Good morning.Last week a hacker successfully stole $600 million worth of cryptocurrency from platform Poly Network. The hacker has returned all but $33 million worth, and yesterday Poly offered the cyber bandit a job as the company's "chief security advisor" and sent a $500,000, no-strings-attached reward.
Who says crime doesn't pay?
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Pakistan. At least three people are dead and 50 others wounded after a bomb ripped through a Shia Muslim procession in central Pakistan. Ashura commemorates the killing of the Prophet Mohammed’s grandson Hussein in the Battle of Karbala in 680 AD – a defining moment in the birth of Shia Islam.
Amazon. The e-commerce giant built by Jeff Bezos has finally surpassed Walmart as the largest retailer outside of China (where Alibaba is based). While not a surprise, Amazon's overtaking of Walmart comes on the heels of an 18-month pandemic during which consumers shifted to shopping online rather than in person.
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Eritrea. United Nations rights experts have demanded that Asmara immediately release a Swedish-Eritrean journalist held without charge and largely incommunicado for two decades, voicing fear he may no longer be alive. Dawit Isaak was among a group of politicians and journalists who were seized in what was described as a draconian purge in September 2001.
1940 British PM Churchill says of Royal Air Force, "Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few"
1619 1st known African Americans in English North America (approx. 20) land at Point Comfort (Fort Monroe), Virginia. They are then sold or traded into servitude.
Jailed Soldiers Released
The Story 45 Nigerian soldiers who were court-martialed and jailed seven years ago for demanding adequate weaponry to aid the fight against the North-East insurgency have been released.
Complain, and be punished? According to Femi Falana, SAN, who represented them during the military court-martial, “the only allegation proved against them at the court-martial was that they protested the refusal of the military authorities to provide weapons to fight insurgency. “Unlike many soldiers who deserted the army, the convicts were ready to defend the territorial integrity of the country. They only made a legitimate demand for equipment to fight the fighters who were better equipped and motivated.
Are they returning to the Army? Thisday quoted unnamed “reliable sources” as saying that the soldiers would be taken to Defence Headquarters in Abuja to meet with both the Chief of Defence Staff and the Chief of Army Staff. Also, the soldiers have been scheduled for rehabilitation in Eket, Akwa Ibom by an NGO to ease their reintegration into the society. According to the paper, 20 of the 54 inmates were interned at the Ikoyi Correctional Centre and four pursued degrees at the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN).
Initially, the soldiers were charged with mutiny and sentenced to death but their sentences were commuted to 10 years jail term after the case was reviewed. The soldiers were released to the waiting arms of their families before they were conveyed in a bus belonging to the Baptist Convention, branded “Plenty – Move Faster”, to the chambers of Falana. SOURCE
Gotcha, Elephant Tusks
The Story Officials in Nigeria have seized more than 17 tonnes of pangolin parts and elephant tusks - believed to be worth at least £38m.
Where? Officials said the seizure was made at Lekki, near Nigeria's main port in Lagos, and was the product of "extensive collaboration" with British, US and German officials, as well as international organisations. The haul included 196 bags containing 17,134kg of pangolin scales, 870kg of elephant tusks and 4.6kg of pangolin claws.
What are they used for? Pangolins are critically endangered and are one of the world's most trafficked animals due to demand for their scales in traditional Chinese medicine. Nigeria is now the main country used by gangs to send African pangolins to Asia, according to law enforcement officials and wildlife experts.
How long has this been going on? There has been a tenfold increase in seizures of pangolin scales - mainly procured in Africa - between 2014 and 2018, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNDOC). An estimated 370,000 of the animals would have been killed to obtain the 185 tonnes of scales that have been seized during this time period.
This seizure was part of government attempts to combat illegal wildlife trading, which is common in the country. Three foreign nationals were arrested and a fourth, described as the kingpin of the operation by authorities, is being pursued. SOURCE
The Story A young Chinese woman hiding out in Dubai to avoid extradition back to China says she was abducted from her hotel room and held for eight days in a clandestine Chinese-run detention facility in Dubai.
What's she wanted for? Beijing considers 26-year-old Wu Huan's fiancé a dissident; Wu said she was questioned and threatened in Chinese and forced to sign legal papers incriminating her fiancé for harassing her. While in detention, she saw or heard two other prisoners, both Uyghurs. Wu was finally released on June 8 and is now seeking asylum in the Netherlands.
Are Dubai authorities involved in this? In a statement on Monday, Dubai police denied allowing any foreign governments to run any detention centers within its borders, and said Wu exited the country with her friend three months ago. "Black sites" -- secret jails where prisoners are held without any legal recourse -- are common in China, but Wu's account is the only testimony that Beijing has set one up in another country.
Did she have an idea of where she was held? No, she could not pinpoint the exact location of the black site. Wu's fiancé, 19-year-old Wang Jingyu, is wanted by China because he posted messages questioning Chinese media coverage of the Hong Kong protests in 2019 and China’s actions in a border clash with India. If accurate, it would reflect how China is increasingly using its international clout to detain or bring back citizens it wants from overseas, be they dissidents, corruption suspects, or ethnic minorities. SOURCE
The Taliban is trying to rework its image.
Not many. On Wednesday, the Islamist militant group held its first press conference since taking control of Afghanistan. Their spokesman tried to convince the world that they've changed since they last held power in the '90s. The group promised to respect women’s rights...within its strict interpretation of Islamic law. And that women can go to school and work...within that same “framework.” But many Afghans – especially women – are skeptical.
Do you blame them?
Nope. Many are still terrified of a regime that used public stonings, amputations, rape, and forced marriages to control them. Now, women have virtually disappeared from the streets of Kabul. The prices for burqas have reportedly skyrocketed. One of Afghanistan's first female mayors said she's waiting for the Taliban to "come for people like me and kill me." It comes as a UN rep reportedly said the group has already started “house-to-house" searches for people on its target list.
Their actions are left to be seen.
With the Taliban back in power in Afghanistan, women's rights and safety arein danger. The Taliban says they've changed. But as the rush to leave the country shows, few are willing to stake their lives on it. SOURCE
Many of us believe that the average human has 5 senses, but that’s not actually true. What two other senses do we have that are often left unknown to most lay people? A. Vestibular and proprioceptive senses B. Sixth and Seven sense C. Foresight and Hindsight
QUESTION & ANSWER
Who is the most badass scientist in modern history?
You’ve probably seen this meme before.
Obviously this is a terrible example, but my point is that pigeons may be a little more intelligent than one might think.
Scientist Shigeru Watanabe wanted to grasp just how intelligent pigeons were—and what better way to do that than by teaching them about art history?
Scientists Porter and Neuringer had already seen that pigeons could discriminate between Bach and Stravinsky … but the evidence surrounding visual arts was a little unclear.
In 1995, Watanabe led a team who decided to find out if pigeons could tell the difference between Picasso (generally a cubist painter) and Monet (an impressionist painter).
The scientists used paintings like Monet’s Terrace of Saint-Adresse (1866):
And other paintings, including Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d'Avignon (1907):
(And no, they didn’t include any from Picasso’s Blue Period—that would have probably thrown the birds off.)
Unfortunately, they couldn’t take the pigeons on a field trip to see the real paintings, so they instead had them look at the works of art on projected slides.
Another interesting thing to note is that when Monet’s paintings were shown upside down, the pigeons evidently got confused—but when Picasso’s paintings were turned upside down, they didn’t have a problem with it.
All in all, it was pretty much a success. Watanabe’s report stated:
Pigeons successfully learned to discriminate color slides of paintings by Monet and Picasso … they discriminated novel paintings by Monet and Picasso that had never been presented during the discrimination training.
Furthermore, they showed generalization from Monet's to Cezanne's and Renoir's paintings or from Picasso's to Braque's and Matisse's paintings.
Watanabe and his team won an Ig Nobel Prize for this, and rightly so. They published an entire report on pigeon behaviour. If that isn’t cool, I don’t know what is.
Although I doubt that pigeons are ever going to be art connoisseurs, without this guy I doubt we’d be making the scientific advancements we are today. SOURCE
Many of us believe that the average human has 5 senses, but that’s not actually true. What two other senses do we have that are often left unknown to most lay people? A. Vestibular and proprioceptive senses