To make Black history more accessible, an Oakland, California man designed his own augmented reality app. Matt Dibble has the story.
Newly named Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal has emerged from behind the scenes to take over one of Silicon Valley’s highest-profile and politically volatile jobs.
But his prior lack of name recognition, coupled with a solid technical background, appears to be what some big company backers were looking for to lead Twitter out of its current morass.
A 37-year-old immigrant from India, Agrawal comes from outside the ranks of celebrity CEOs, which include the man he’s replacing, Jack Dorsey, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg or SpaceX and Tesla’s Elon Musk. Those brand-name company founders and leaders have often been in the news — and on Twitter — for exploits beyond the day-to-day running of their companies.
Having served as Twitter’s chief technology officer for the past four years, Agrawal’s appointment was seen by Wall Street as a choice of someone who will focus on ushering Twitter into what’s widely seen as the internet’s next era — the metaverse.
Agrawal is a “‘safe’ pick who should be looked upon as favorably by investors,” wrote CFRA Research analyst Angelo Zino, who noted that Twitter shareholder Elliott Management Corp. had pressured Dorsey to step down.
Elliott released a statement Monday saying Agrawal and new board chairman Bret Taylor were the “right leaders for Twitter at this pivotal moment for the company.” Taylor is president and chief operating officer of the business software company Salesforce.
Agrawal joins a growing cadre of Indian American CEOs of large tech companies, including Sundar Pichai of Google parent Alphabet, Microsoft’s Satya Nadella and IBM’s Arvind Krishna.
He joined San Francisco-based Twitter in 2011, when it had just 1,000 employees, and has been its chief technical officer since 2017. At the end of last year, the company had a workforce of 5,500.
Agrawal previously worked at Microsoft, Yahoo and AT&T in research roles. At Twitter, he’s worked on machine learning, revenue and consumer engineering and helping with audience growth. He studied at Stanford and the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay.
While Twitter has high-profile users like politicians and celebrities and is a favorite of journalists, its user base lags far behind old rivals like Facebook and YouTube and newer ones like TikTok. It has just over 200 million daily active users, a common industry metric.
As CEO, Agrawal will have to step beyond the technical details and deal with the social and political issues Twitter and social media are struggling with. Those include misinformation, abuse and effects on mental health.
Agrawal got a fast introduction to life as CEO of a high-profile company that’s one of the central platforms for political speech online. Conservatives quickly unearthed a tweet he sent in 2010 that read “If they are not gonna make a distinction between muslims and extremists, then why should I distinguish between white people and racists.”
As some Twitter users pointed out, the 11-year-old tweet was quoting a segment on “The Daily Show,” which was referencing the firing of Juan Williams, who made a comment about being nervous about Muslims on an airplane.
Twitter did not immediately respond to a message for comment on the tweet.
Twitter founder and CEO Jack Dorsey is stepping down as the company’s leader.
In a news release, Twitter said Dorsey would be replaced by Parag Agrawal, who has been the company’s chief technology officer since 2017. The move is effective immediately.
“I’ve decided to leave Twitter because I believe the company is ready to move on from its founders. My trust in Parag as Twitter’s CEO is deep. His work over the past 10 years has been transformational. I’m deeply grateful for his skill, heart, and soul. It’s his time to lead,” Dorsey said in a statement.
Dorsey’s most recent tweet, posted Sunday, simply said, “I love twitter.”
Dorsey, 45, founded the microblogging platform in 2006 and was CEO until 2008 when he was pushed aside only to return to the top spot in 2015.
Last year, Elliott Management, a major stakeholder in the company, wanted Dorsey to choose between being CEO of Twitter or CEO of Square, a digital payment company he founded.
Twitter’s stock rose on the news, but trading of the shares was suspended.
Some information in this report came from Reuters.
Australia’s government said Sunday it will introduce legislation to unmask online trolls and hold social media giants like Facebook and Twitter responsible for identifying them.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison, whose conservative coalition government faces an election in the first half of 2022, said the law would protect Australians from online abuse and harassment.
“The online world should not be a wild west where bots and bigots and trolls and others can just anonymously go around and harm people and hurt people, harass them and bully them and sledge them,” Morrison told reporters.
“That is not what can happen in the real world, and there is no case for it to be able to be happening in the digital world.”
Attorney General Michaelia Cash said the legislation, reportedly to be introduced to parliament by early 2022, is needed to clarify that the social media platforms, and not the users, were responsible for defamatory comments by other people.
Confusion had been sown by a High Court ruling in September that found Australian media, as users managing their own pages on a social network, could be held liable for defamatory third-party comments posted on their pages, Cash said.
Under the planned Australian legislation, the social media companies themselves would be responsible for such defamatory content, not the users, she said.
It would also aim to stop people making defamatory comments without being identified, she said.
“You should not be able to use the cloak of online anonymity to spread your vile, defamatory comments,” the attorney general said.
The legislation would demand that social media platforms have a nominated entity based in Australia, she said.
The platforms could defend themselves from being sued as the publisher of defamatory comment only if they complied with the new legislation’s demands to have a complaints system in place that could provide the details of the person making the comment, if necessary, Cash said.
People would also be able to apply to the High Court for an “information disclosure order” demanding a social media service provide details “to unmask the troll,” the attorney general said.
In some cases, she said, the “troll” may be asked to take down the comment, which could end the matter if the other side is satisfied.
Australia’s opposition leader Anthony Albanese said he would support a safer online environment for everyone.
But he said the government had failed to propose action to stop the spread of misinformation on social media and accused some of the government’s own members of spreading misinformation about COVID and vaccinations.
China was behind one of the biggest hacks of all time, quietly stealing email and data from organizations, according to the U.S. and other nations’ governments. Experts say China-orchestrated attacks on strategic targets have increased in recent years. Michelle Quinn reports.
Producer: Michelle Quinn. Camera: Michael Burke.
The shutdown of internet access via mobile phone networks that began Saturday dragged on for a fourth day Tuesday. The government said in a statement the shutdown is in the interest of national defense and public security and will last until around 10 p.m. tonight.
VOA talked to some Burkinabes on the streets of Ouagadougou to ask how the shutdown was affecting them and what they thought of the government’s decision.
Alexi Sawadogo, a physician, spoke outside a bank on one of the city’s busy boulevards. He said he was there to check his account balance as the shutdown meant he could no longer do so online.
“It disconnects us from our friends who are outside the country, with whom we communicate regularly,” he says. He notes that he understands that it is because of the French convoy that was blockaded in the north, but says insecurity is not a valid reason and that the government needs to review its strategy.
The shutdown has come in the wake of protests in recent days that have blocked a French military supply convoy that is attempting to travel from Ivory Coast to Niger. Protesters say they want an end to French military intervention in the regional war against Islamist militants.
There have also been protests against the government’s handling of security, after a terrorist group believed to be associated with al-Qai da killed more than 50 military police in an assault on a base in northern Burkina Faso on November 14th.
Ali Dayorgo, a university student, said the shutdown has affected his ability to work and learn the latest news.
He says he doesn’t understand why the shutdown is happening, but he hears the voice of the Burkinabe youth. “I feel the anger of the youth,” he expressed, adding that even if he doesn’t join protests against insecurity, he supports them.
A funeral for some of the victims of the attack is taking place in Ouagadougou today.
Drabo Mahamadou is the national executive secretary of the “Save Burkina Faso Movement,” one of the protest groups that is calling for President Roch Kabore to resign. He said they have called on the population to attend Tuesday’s funeral and to attend a protest on Saturday.
He says, because the government is insensitive to pain, we are calling on the population to come out en masse on the 27th. We want [protesters] to prove that this government is not helping Burkina Faso. It is the government that is causing harm to the Burkinabé people.
A government spokesperson could not be reached for comment.
Eloise Bertrand is a research fellow at the University of Portsmouth who focuses on Burkina Faso. She thinks the restrictions on the internet are unwise; pointing out that “this shutdown may well backfire against the government. We can see that civil society groups and stakeholders who were not really involved in protests against the French convoy are annoyed and angered by this internet shutdown.”
Reports suggest the French military convoy is now waiting in the town of Zinaire, about 30 kilometers north of the capital. Protests are also said to be taking place in the town.
With the demonstrations continuing, it remains to be seen if the government will lift the internet shutdown tonight. Further protests are scheduled for Saturday.
Apple says it is suing Israeli NSO Group, maker of the controversial Pegasus spyware.
Apple will be the second company to sue NSO after Facebook, now Meta, sued over similar concerns that Pegasus was targeting WhatsApp users. Meta owns WhatsApp. The case is still working its way through the courts.
Apple says the spyware specifically targeted its users. It also wants to prevent NSO from using any Apple product or service, which would be a massive blow to the company that sells governments the ability to hack iPhones and Android phones in order to gain full access.
Apple says it has created a software patch to protect devices from Pegasus.
The Cupertino, California-based company says it is seeking undisclosed damages it says it incurred because of NSO. It says it would donate any award money to organizations that investigate and expose spyware.
One such company, Citizen Lab, was central in uncovering how Pegasus worked.
“This is Apple saying: If you do this, if you weaponize our software against innocent users, researchers, dissidents, activists or journalists, Apple will give you no quarter,” Ivan Krstic, head of Apple security engineering and architecture, said in an interview Monday with the New York Times.
Earlier this month, the U.S. put NSO along with three other software companies on a blacklist that places severe restrictions on their ability to do business in the U.S.
It said the companies “developed and supplied spyware to foreign governments” and that the spyware was used “to maliciously target government officials, journalists, businesspeople, activists, academics and embassy workers.”
NSO did not immediately comment on the lawsuit, but has previously said it takes precautions to prevent the abuse of its products.
The pressure against NSO appears to be working, as many news outlets reported the company was at risk of defaulting on its loans.
Some information in this report comes from Reuters.
A Sydney restaurant is using a Chinese-made, multi-lingual hospitality robot to address chronic staff shortages as Australia’s economy begins to recover from COVID-19 lockdowns and border closures.
The robot waiter is programmed to know the layout of the tables and delivers food from the kitchen. It is also multi-lingual, programmed to communicate in English and Mandarin. The so-called BellaBot is built by the Chinese firm PuduTech.
Each machine costs about $17,000. They can be leased for $34 per day for each device, or the equivalent of two hours’ wages for restaurant staff. The devices are in use in other Australian restaurants and imports into Australia appear to be unaffected by recent trade tensions between the two countries.
Liarne Schai, the co-owner of the Matterhorn Restaurant in Sydney, is delighted with her new mechanical staff member.
“Ah, love the robot. Love the robot, she makes my life a lot easier. It is like a tower that has got four trays. It will carry eight of our dinner plates in one go. She is geo-mapped to the floor (customer names, location of tables, etc.) The robot knows where all our tables are,” Schai said.
Australia’s hospitality workforce has traditionally relied on international students. They have, however, been restricted from entering after Australia closed its borders to most foreign nationals in March 2020 in an effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Labor shortages are affecting not only hospitality in Australia, but a range of industries from construction to information technology.
Liarne Schai says she has tried for months without success to recruit workers.
“It is the biggest issue we have at the moment. We have been running ads for chefs, for waiters, for kitchen hands for six months and we have had zero applicants. We are offering above award wages, we are offering bonuses, we are offering everything you can think of to attract appropriate staff and I am not even getting inappropriate staff, or untrained staff. I am just getting nobody.”
Labor shortages should ease when Australia reopens its borders to foreign nationals, but analysts expect many vacancies will remain unfilled.
Employer groups have demanded that Australia increase its intake of migrant workers.
Australia’s official unemployment rate stands at 5.2%.
But with more than 700,000 Australians without a job, there are calls for the government to boost domestic training programs and wages.
Australian mining billionaire Andrew Forrest’s philanthropic organization will help 18 small news publishers in the country to negotiate collectively with Google and Facebook to secure licensing deals for the supply of news content.
Forrest’s Minderoo Foundation on Monday said it would submit an application with the country’s competition regulator, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), allowing the publishers to bargain without breaching competition laws.
Forrest, Australia’s richest man, is the chairman and the largest shareholder of iron ore miner Fortescue Metals Group. He has a net worth of around A$27.2 billion ($19.7 billion), according to the Australian Financial Review.
Facebook and Alphabet Inc’s Google have been required since March to negotiate with Australian media outlets for content that drives traffic and advertising to their websites. If they don’t, the government may take over the negotiation.
Both companies have since struck licensing deals with most of Australia’s main media companies, but they have not entered into agreements with many small firms. The federal government is scheduled to begin a review of the law’s effectiveness in March.
Frontier Technology, an initiative of Minderoo, said it would assist the publishers.
“Small Australian publishers who produce public interest journalism for their communities should be given the same opportunity as large publishers to negotiate for use of their content for the public benefit,” Emma McDonald, Frontier Technology’s director of policy, said in a statement.
Google and Facebook did not immediately respond to requests seeking comment.
The 18 small publishers include online publications that attract multicultural audiences and focus on issues at a local or regional level, McDonald said.
The move comes after ACCC late last month allowed a body representing 261 radio stations to negotiate a content deal.
News organizations, which have been losing advertising revenue to online aggregators, have complained for years about the big technology companies using content in search results or other features without payment.
As researchers at U.S space agency NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory prepare for the 16th flight of Ingenuity, the Mars helicopter, the team has used recently downloaded data from the Mars mission to create the best video yet of one of Ingenuity’s previous flights.
The 1.8-kilogram aircraft arrived on the planet packed away on NASA’s Perseverance rover when it landed on Mars in February. Originally designed to be a simple demonstration project to prove flight was possible in the thin Martian atmosphere, the aircraft has far exceeded expectations and has completed 15 flights.
JPL scientists say Ingenuity’s 16th flight is scheduled to take place no earlier than Saturday. In the meantime, they have been examining the video footage taken by Perseverance of the helicopter’s 13th flight on September 4, which they say provides the most detailed look yet of the Martian aircraft in action.
The Ingenuity team said the helicopter is providing NASA with data to guide the Perseverance rover. They said the 2 minutes, 40.5 seconds Flight 13 was one of Ingenuity’s most complicated. It involved flying into varied terrain within a geological feature known as the “Séítah” and taking images of an outcrop from multiple angles for the rover team.
The images, taken from an altitude of 8 meters, complement those collected during Ingenuity’s previous flights, providing valuable insight for Perseverance scientists and rover drivers.
The video was captured by the rover’s two-camera Mastcam-Z. One video clip of Flight 13 shows most of Ingenuity’s flight profile. The other provides a closeup of takeoff and landing, which was acquired as part of a science observation intended to measure the dust plumes generated by the helicopter.
Justin Maki, JPL’s Mastcam-Z principal operator, said the video shows the value of the camera system, and while the helicopter is little more than a speck in the wide view, “It gives viewers a good feel for the size of the environment that Ingenuity is exploring.”
Ingenuity’s performance will guide how future missions will be designed and how those missions will utilize aircraft to help determine where rovers should go and where they cannot.
Aside from solar batteries, a camera and a transmitter, Ingenuity carries no scientific instruments.
After making a promise on Twitter, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has sold about 900,000 shares of the electric car maker’s stock, netting over $1.1 billion that will go toward paying tax obligations for stock options.
The sales, disclosed in two regulatory filings late Wednesday, will cover tax obligations for stock options granted to Musk in September. He exercised options to buy just over 2.1 million shares for $6.24 each. The company’s stock closed Wednesday at $1,067.95 per share.
The transactions were “automatically effected” as part of a trading plan adopted on Sept. 14 to sell options that expire next year, according to forms filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. That was nearly two months before he floated the idea of the sale on Twitter.
After the transactions, Musk still owns about 170 million Tesla shares.
Musk was Tesla’s largest shareholder as of June, owning about 17% of the company, according to data provider FactSet. He’s the wealthiest person in the world, according to Forbes, with a net worth of around $282 billion, most of it in Tesla stock.
Last weekend, Musk said he would sell 10% of his holdings in the company, worth more than $20 billion, based on the results of a poll he conducted on Twitter. The sale tweets caused a sell off of the stock Monday and Tuesday, but it recovered some on Wednesday. The shares were up 2.6% to $1,096 in extended trading Wednesday, and they have risen more than 50% this year.
Wedbush Analyst Daniel Ives said it appears Musk will start selling shares as the year ends. “The question will be for investors if he sells his full 10% ownership stake over the coming months or is it done piece-by-piece during 2022,” Ives wrote in a note to investors.
Ives calculated that Musk has about $10 billion in taxes coming due on stock options that vest next summer.
The sometimes abrasive and unpredictable Musk said he proposed selling the stock as some Democrats have been pushing for billionaires to pay taxes when the price of the stocks they hold goes up, even if they don’t sell any shares. However, the wording on unrealized gains, also called a “billionaires tax,” was removed from President Joe Biden’s budget, which is still being negotiated.
“Much is made lately of unrealized gains being a means of tax avoidance, so I propose selling 10% of my Tesla stock,” he tweeted Saturday afternoon. “Do you support this?”
Tesla does not pay Musk a cash salary, but has received huge stock options. “I only have stock, thus the only way for me to pay taxes personally is to sell stock,” Musk tweeted.
Tesla Inc. is based in Palo Alto, California, although Musk has announced it will move its headquarters to Texas.
The United States and China surprised the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow on Wednesday with a joint declaration to take action to limit global warming over the next decade.
The declaration came as delegates entered the final hours of negotiations to agree on a final text at the conference that will outline how the world will limit global warming to less than 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
China and the United States are the world’s two biggest polluters, and scientists say their future actions are critical in the fight against climate change. The absence of Chinese leader Xi Jinping from the summit last week was strongly criticized by U.S. President Joe Biden.
U.S. climate envoy John Kerry told reporters in Glasgow on Wednesday that the joint declaration builds on statements made by both countries in April.
“We also expressed a shared desire for success at this COP on mitigation, adaptation, support and, frankly, all of the key issues which will result in the world raising ambition and being able to address this crisis. Now, with this announcement, we’ve arrived at a new step, a road map for our present and future collaboration on this issue,” Kerry said at a press conference.
“The United States and China have no shortage of differences, but on climate, cooperation is the only way to get this job done. This is not a discretionary thing, frankly. This is science. It’s math and physics that dictate the road that we have to travel,” Kerry added.
China’s chief climate negotiator, Xie Zhenhua, echoed those sentiments.
“Climate change is a challenge, a common challenge, faced by humanity,” Xie told reporters. “It bears on the well-being of future generations. Now, climate change is becoming increasingly urgent and severe, making it a future challenge into an existential crisis. In the area of climate change, there is more agreement between China and the U.S. than divergence, making it an area with huge potential for our cooperation. We are two days away from the end of the Glasgow COP, so we hope that this joint declaration can make a China-U.S. contribution to the success of COP26.”
Among the joint pledges were cooperation on controlling methane emissions, tackling illegal deforestation, enhancing renewable energy generation and speeding up financial support for poorer nations. But the declaration did not include many specific dates or targets.
After the joint declaration, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres tweeted, “I welcome today’s agreement between China and the USA to work together to take more ambitious #ClimateAction in this decade. Tackling the climate crisis requires international cooperation and solidarity, and this is an important step in the right direction.”
Climate activists offered a cautious welcome to the declaration.
“This announcement comes at a critical moment at COP26 and offers new hope that with the support and backing of two of the world’s most critical voices, we may be able to limit climate change to 1.5 degrees,” Genevieve Maricle, director of U.S. climate policy action at the World Wildlife Fund, wrote in an email to VOA. “But we must also be clear-eyed about what is still required if the two countries are to deliver the emission reductions necessary in the next nine years. 1.5C-alignment will require a whole-of-economy response.”
The joint declaration has given new momentum to the negotiations as delegates try to agree on a final text, officially known as the “cover decision,” by the end of the conference on Friday. The text details how parties to the COP26 summit will limit global warming to no more than 1.5 degrees C in Earth’s average temperatures above pre-industrial levels — the target agreed on at the Paris climate summit in 2015.
The first draft text of the decision, published Wednesday, urges countries to “revisit and strengthen” their targets on cutting emissions before the end of 2022. It says rich countries should go beyond the pledge to pay poorer nations $100 billion a year. The draft text calls on governments to phase out coal and fossil fuels, but with no fixed dates.
The COP26 host, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, urged delegates to “grasp the opportunity.”
“We’re now finding things are tough, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. It doesn’t mean that we can’t keep 1.5 alive,” Johnson said. “I think with sufficient energy and commitment, and with leaders from around the world now ringing up their negotiators and asking them to move in the ways that they know they can move and should move, I still think we can achieve it. But I’m not going to pretend to you that it is by any means a done deal.”
Jennifer Morgan, executive director of Greenpeace International, told VOA that the language of the draft text was weak.
“This is not a plan to address the climate emergency. It’s a bit like a pledge and a wink and a hope,” Morgan said. “Countries need to commit to actually come back to increase and strengthen their targets and their actions. That’s clearly one thing. The text does include that coal will be phased out and fossil fuel subsidies will be phased out. I think optimally, you would have dates by which time they would be phased out, but it’s important that they’re there.”
Delegates are also negotiating how much — and quickly — richer nations should pay poorer countries to help them deal with the impact of climate change and de-carbonize their economies. While richer countries are responsible for the majority of greenhouse gas emissions, developing countries tend to suffer greater impacts of climate change. A pledge first made in 2009 by richer nations to pay $100 billion annually — and renewed at the Paris climate summit in 2015 — has still not been fulfilled.
“It’s very frustrating to see countries that have spent six years conspicuously patting themselves on the back for signing that promissory note in Paris, quietly edging towards default now that vulnerable nations and future generations are demanding payment here now in Glasgow,” Johnson said Wednesday.
U.S.-based drugmaker Pfizer is seeking to make a booster shot of its COVID-19 vaccine available to all adult Americans 18 years of age and older.
Pfizer filed the request Tuesday with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, citing a new clinical trial involving 10,000 volunteers who received a third injection of the two-dose vaccine, which it developed in collaboration with German-based BioNTech. According to Pfizer, the preliminary results show the third shot boosted a person’s protection against the virus to about 95%.
The request comes just weeks after the FDA and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention authorized a third shot of the Pfizer vaccine for Americans 65 and older, adults at a high risk of severe illness, plus front-line workers such as teachers, health care workers and others whose jobs place them at greater risk of contracting COVID-19. The Pfizer booster shot is available for people regardless of whether they initially received the two-shot Moderna vaccine or the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which offers less protection than either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.
Astra-Zeneca’s separate unit
British-Swedish drugmaker Astra-Zeneca announced Tuesday that it is creating a separate unit entirely devoted to developing and manufacturing COVID-19 vaccines and treatments. The company’s two-shot vaccine, developed in collaboration with the University of Oxford, had a troubled rollout due to manufacturing delays and confirmation of a link between the vaccine and rare, possibly fatal blood clots, prompting some governments to limit its use among certain age groups.
But the AstraZeneca vaccine is cheaper and easier to use because it does not need to be stored at ultra-cold temperatures than either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. The vaccine makes up the bulk of the vaccine supply of COVAX, the international vaccine sharing mechanism for the world’s poorest nations supported by the United Nations and the health organizations Gavi and CEPI.
Meanwhile, the current surge of new COVID-19 infections in Germany prompted Dr. Christian Drosten, the head of virology at Berlin’s Charite Hospital, to issue a warning Wednesday that 100,000 people could die if the vaccination rate does not pick up quickly, and that Germany faces “a very tough winter with new shutdown measures.”
Drosten’s warning coincided with an announcement by the country’s Robert Koch Institute of 39,676 new COVID-19 infections across Germany, a new one-day record. Charite Hospital announced Tuesday that it is postponing all non-critical operations due to the growing rate of new COVID-19 patients.
In a related matter, the country’s vaccine advisory committee Wednesday recommended that people 30 years of age and under be vaccinated only with the Pfizer vaccine. The committee cited a higher risk of younger people developing a rare side effect of myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart, from the Moderna vaccine than the Pfizer version.
In the U.S. sports world, quarterback Aaron Rodgers of the National Football League’s Green Bay Packers franchise acknowledged “misleading” the public about his vaccination status shortly before the start of the current season.
Rodgers has been under intense criticism since last week’s revelation that he had tested positive for COVID-19, contradicting his earlier claims back in August that he had been “immunized.” Rodgers told radio sports host Pat McAfee after his diagnosis that he had not taken any of the approved vaccines because of concerns about adverse side effects, and instead relied on homeopathic treatments as an alternative.
In a follow-up interview with McAfee Tuesday, Rodgers said he took “full responsibility” for his comments back in August, but also said that he continued to stand by his concerns about the vaccines. He also said he expects to be cleared to rejoin the Packers in time for Sunday’s game against the Seattle Seahawks.
The NFL has fined Rodgers and teammate Allen Lazard $14,650 each for violating the league’s COVID-19 protocols for unvaccinated players when they attended a Halloween party despite their status. The Packers were also fined $300,000 for failing to discipline the players and for not reporting the violations to NFL officials.
Some information for this report came from the Associated Press and Reuters.
A coalition of 19 countries including Britain and the United States on Wednesday agreed to create zero emissions shipping trade routes between ports to speed up the decarbonization of the global maritime industry, officials involved said.
Shipping, which transports about 90% of world trade, accounts for nearly 3% of the world’s CO2 emissions.
U.N. shipping agency the International Maritime Organization (IMO) has said it aims to reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions from ships by 50% from 2008 levels by 2050. The goal is not aligned with the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change and the sector is under pressure to be more ambitious.
The signatory countries involved in the ‘Clydebank Declaration’, which was launched at the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, agreed to support the establishment of at least six green corridors by 2025, which will require developing supplies of zero emissions fuels, the infrastructure required for decarbonization and regulatory frameworks.
“It is our aspiration to see many more corridors in operation by 2030,” their mission statement said.
Britain’s maritime minister Robert Courts said countries alone would not be able to decarbonize shipping routes without the commitment of private and non-governmental sectors.
“The UK and indeed many of the countries, companies and NGOs here today believe zero emissions international shipping is possible by 2050,” Courts said at the launch.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said the declaration was “a big step forward for green shipping corridors and collective action”.
Buttigieg added that the United States was “pressing for the IMO to adopt a goal of zero emissions for international shipping by 2050”.
The IMO’s Secretary General Kitack Lim said on Saturday “we must upgrade our ambition, keeping up with the latest developments in the global community”.
Industry needs regulatory help
Jan Dieleman, president of ocean transportation with agri business giant Cargill, one of the world’s biggest ship charterers, said “the real challenge is to turn any statements (at COP26) into something meaningful”.
“The majority of the industry has accepted we need to decarbonize,” he told Reuters.
“Industry leadership needs to be followed up with global regulation and policies to ensure industry-wide transformation. We will not succeed without global regulation.”
Christian Ingerslev, chief executive of Maersk Tankers, which has over 210 oil products tankers under commercial management, said it had spent over $30 million over the last three years to bring their carbon emissions down through digital solutions.
“We need governments to not only back the regulatory push but also to help create the zero emissions fuels at scale,” he said.
“The only way this is going to work is to set a market-based measure through a carbon tax.”
Other signatory countries are Australia, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Denmark, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Republic of Ireland, Japan, Marshall Islands, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway and Sweden.