Breaking the Bubble (11/28/2022)

Madison Kurtz, Contributing Writer

Domestic:

The world’s largest volcano, Mauna Loa, erupted last Monday at 4:30 a.m. ET for the first time in nearly 40 years. Its last eruption was in 1984, making this the longest quiet period for the volcano in recorded history. According to the U.S. Geological Survey its impacts will stay in the Northeast Rift Zone and will not be a threat to any communities, though much of the area is expected to receive less than a quarter inch of ashfall. Though “roughly half” of Mauna Loa’s eruptions since 1843 have avoided populated areas, according to CNN, what is not certain is the location and speed of lava flows. Shelters have opened as a precaution. 

A same-sex marriage bill was set to pass last Tuesday. The bill would mandate federal recognition of same-sex marriages and would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act that has explicitly denied federal benefits to same-sex couples for over 20 years. Though many Republicans voted against the bill, a majority of both parties in the Senate support it. The test vote of this bill symbolizes the notable shift in U.S. culture and politics concerning same-sex marriage. 

International:

Despite escalating protests in Beijing and Shanghai, China last weekend, President Xi Jinping is not changing the “zero COVID” policy measures, according to US News. It has been almost three years since the country’s discovery of the virus, and now the continuous restrictions are leading to calls for the president to resign. In an effort to calm protests officials relaxed some regulations like resuming public bus services and few businesses, but experts believe that most of the measures will stay in place for the foreseeable future. The protests last weekend were the biggest showing of opposition to the Chinese Communist Party in decades, but are also expected to cease because of heavy police force.

Ireland’s Data Protection Commission fined tech giant Meta $275 million last Monday for last year’s massive data leak. Investigation by Irish regulators revealed that Facebook had not taken precautions to ensure the platform could not be “scraped” for information, which is a violation of the General Data Protection Regulation, according to The New York Times. The violation allowed an online hacker forum to publish over 500 million users’ private information including names, locations and birth dates. The fines imposed on Meta since last year now accumulate to more than $900 million. Previous violations of E.U. data privacy law relates to the messaging service WhatsApp and to the mistreatment of children’s data. The fine implemented last Monday is particularly important because it strongly enforced the General Data Protection Regulation, enacted in 2018, and is seen as a large step towards more aggressive data protection. 

Cryptocurrency lender BlockFi Inc. filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy last Monday, blaming it on both their downturn this summer and on the bankruptcy of cryptocurrency exchange FTX that was announced earlier this month. The lender is filing in an effort to formulate a plan to repay creditors and get back what it can from FTX, whose trading firm defaulted on $680 million that was owed to them this month. According to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Trenton, N.J., the top 10 creditors of BlockFi alone are owed almost $1.2 billion. The sequence of both FTX and BlockFi bankruptcy reveals the vulnerability of crypto firms in cases where there is no “lender of last resort to swallow bad assets and stem contagion,” according to The Wall Street Journal.

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