Monday, June 24
Amazon fined nearly $6 million over warehouse labor quotas
Economy

Amazon fined nearly $6 million over warehouse labor quotas

An Amazon spokesperson said in a statement that the company is appealing the sanctions and denied that the company used "fixed quotas." Spokeswoman Maureen Lynch Vogel said that “individual performance is evaluated over an extended period of time, compared to the performance of the entire site team” and that workers can “review their performance whenever they wish.” . California law also prohibits quotas that interfere with employees' ability to take mandatory breaks or use the bathroom, or that prevent employers from following state health and safety laws. Experts said the law was among the first in the country to regulate algorithmically tracked inventory quotas and require employers to make quotas transparent to workers. The fines announced Tuesday are the largest under the law. The...
A strange rock in a box is linked to a shooting star that fell 54 years ago
World

A strange rock in a box is linked to a shooting star that fell 54 years ago

She and her team hunted down image negatives containing fireballs stored at the German Aerospace Center in Augsburg. After digitizing the images, the researchers estimated various parameters related to the incoming meteors, such as their masses, shapes, speeds and entry angles. Using this data, the researchers identified a dozen events that most likely produced sizable meteorites. Before 1976 only three had occurred. The team reconstructed the trajectory of each of those three fireballs and calculated where the meteorites would most likely be found. There was only one match to the location where the Ischgl meteorite was recovered. This led researchers to conclude that the fireball that crossed the horizon in the early morning hours of November 24, 1970 gave birth to the Ischgl meteor...
Health officials tried to circumvent public records laws, lawmakers say
Health

Health officials tried to circumvent public records laws, lawmakers say

In one of those emails, from June 2021, Greg Folkers, Dr. Fauci's former chief of staff, was discussing global biosafety practices and referenced an EcoHealth fact sheet. Folkers rendered the group's name as "Ec~Health," a misspelling that lawmakers said appeared to be a deliberate attempt to prevent the email from being caught in keyword searches to satisfy FOIA requests related to EcoHealth . In a separate email the same month, Folkers rendered the last name of Kristian Andersen, a prominent virologist who has investigated the origins of the pandemic and faced scrutiny from lawmakers, as “anders$n.” Experts on records retention policies said the comments reflect the lax practices of federal government agencies, with officials strategically misspelling words in emails, missing deadlines...
New professional women’s hockey league will launch in 6 cities
Sports

New professional women’s hockey league will launch in 6 cities

For the first season, each team will play 24 regular season games starting in January 2024. The league says subsequent seasons will begin in November and include 32 games. An expansion is also possible in the future, he said. In its final season, the PHF had teams in Boston; buffalo; Simsbury, Conn.; East Rutherford, New Jersey; Richfield, MN; Montreal; and Toronto. With the start of the new championship, Buffalo and Connecticut lose their teams, while Ottawa gains one. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said his league is reluctant to get involved in women's hockey as long as the split continues. Stan Kasten, president and CEO of the Los Angeles Dodgers, who serves on the new league's board of directors, said the NHL has provided advice. “The NHL has supported us fantastically,” he s...
Google restores AI search functionality after errors and flaws
Technology

Google restores AI search functionality after errors and flaws

Liz Reid, Google's recently promoted head of search, wrote in a blog post Thursday that the company has pared back its AI overviews in certain ways, implementing "additional opt-in refinements" to provide more health-conscious responses, disabling misleading advice and limiting the inclusion of satire and user responses from forums like Reddit. “We will continue to improve when and how we show AI insights and strengthen our protections,” he wrote, adding that Google is working on updates to improve broad sets of search results. Ashley Thompson, a spokeswoman for Google, said in a statement Friday that the company has made more than a dozen technical updates to its systems. “AI overviews help people answer large numbers of search queries today, serving as a starting point for content on th...
Spicy noodles and pickled fish: Chinese restaurants move to Hong Kong
Economy

Spicy noodles and pickled fish: Chinese restaurants move to Hong Kong

In the Shek Tong Tsui area, where Return Home Hunan opened in May, many of the brightly colored restaurants – once mainstays of the neighborhood – had recently closed their doors. A restaurant that served cheap noodles and milk tea was gone, as was a restaurant where retirees gathered to eat dim sum and catch up on the day's news. “The restaurant business is hard work,” said Roy Tse, the owner of a local restaurant that sold lunch rice dishes once popular among office workers in Hong Kong's Taikoo Shing business district. There are fewer visitors at lunchtime these days. Those still coming order the bases. Yeung Hei, the manager of Fu Ging Aromatic Noodles, a historic local Hong Kong restaurant where a chef braises beef brisket in front of the window, said he had customers arriving eve...
When the only way out of the war in Gaza is to buy your way out
World

When the only way out of the war in Gaza is to buy your way out

In February, when Dr Ghayyda traveled to the Egyptian capital to register his parents, sister and nephew, he took his 23-year-old son with him to avoid carrying more than $10,000. By then he had raised about $25,000. “The whole process was quite long, complex and uncertain,” he said. In an interview in his office in Cairo, Mr. Organi spoke at length and in detail about Hala's activities, although he said his role in the company was limited and that he was just one of many shareholders. Hala has long been listed on Organi Group's website as one of the conglomerate's companies, but the reference appears to have been removed recently. Organi Group did not respond to a request for comment when asked why they removed Hala from their website. Mr. Organi described Hala as a tour company, “jus...
Google CEO testifies in Ozy Media founder’s fraud trial
Economy

Google CEO testifies in Ozy Media founder’s fraud trial

At the center of the federal criminal trial is an incident in 2021 in which Mr. Watson's deputy deceived Goldman Sachs employees on a fundraising call by posing as a YouTube executive. The revelation of the call precipitated Ozy's downfall. Defense lawyers for Mr. Watson and Ozy accused his deputy, Samir Rao, of the false phone call and of misrepresenting Ozy's financial details to potential investors. Ms. Frison said in her opening statement in May that Mr. Rao was “incompetent for the role he was filling.” Mr. Rao and Suzee Han, Ozy's former chief of staff, pleaded guilty last year to fraud charges. Watson's defense continued to point the finger at Rao during cross-examination this week, pressing prosecution witnesses about Mr Watson's personal involvement in the alleged illegal condu...
Fauci says the idea that he hid a lab leak is ‘absurd’
Health

Fauci says the idea that he hid a lab leak is ‘absurd’

Monday is the first opportunity for lawmakers to ask him about his agency's record-keeping practices. For Republicans on the committee, the hearing is also the culmination, so far, of a long campaign against American scientists and health officials who they say helped trigger the Covid pandemic. No new evidence of a pandemic emerging from a laboratory, with or without the help of American taxpayer funding, has emerged in a series of high-profile hearings over the past year. In a report on Monday, titled “Republicans' Fauci Flop,” Democratic lawmakers said Republicans on the committee failed to prove that the coronavirus, known as SARS-CoV-2, came from a lab leak. “Select Republicans on the subcommittee devoted time and taxpayer money to an investigation into federally funded research th...
As Ukraine expands its military draft, some men are in hiding
World

As Ukraine expands its military draft, some men are in hiding

Tymofii Brik, a sociologist at the Kyiv School of Economics, said polls “suggest that the willingness to defend the nation among Ukrainians has remained constant” throughout the war, with about a third of people indicating a willingness to serve. However, Ukraine's mobilization has opened up painful divisions in society. Vitaliy Bondarenko, a 29-year-old conscript officer from Lviv, said the men ran away every time his vehicle stopped. “They see us and run away,” he said. Many Ukrainian soldiers resent those who try to avoid the draft, arguing that their actions weaken their country's war effort. “Given the intensity of the current fighting, the army cannot fight without a regular replenishment of personnel,” said another recently enlisted Mykyta, 25, who gave only his first name accord...