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Lebanon’s crisis, New Black Wall Street, Venus and space squids | Aviation News



Welcome to the week in numbers, where we break down the biggest economic and business news stories of the week so you can impress yourself and your friends.

We’ve kicked off June with big stories on the effort to create a new Black Wall Street 100 years after the racially charged Tulsa massacre in the United States; on Lebanon’s descent into what could rank as one of the world’s three worst economic crises in 150 years; and on stubbornly high worldwide job losses, among other news.

So pour yourself another cup of coffee (or take the one you forgot about out of the microwave) and get your scrolling thumb ready.


The amount a financial literacy startup is urging Black investors to put into Bitcoin, calling cryptocurrency “the perfect platform for our people to build wealth where it may never again be destroyed”.

The initiative by New Black Wall Street LLC was launched in memory of the people who were killed in Tulsa, Oklahoma during one of the worst race riots in US history 100 years ago — a riot that torched what was then known as Black Wall Street. The crypto-focused startup is just one organisation working on Black economic empowerment profiled by Al Jazeera’s Ben Piven. Check out the full story here.

40 percent

The staggering plunge in gross domestic product (GDP) per capita in Lebanon, which is descending swiftly into what could end up being one of the world’s three worst economic crises in 150 years.

“Such a brutal and rapid contraction is usually associated with conflicts or wars,” the World Bank warned in its latest Lebanon Economic Monitor, published on Tuesday. The report pulled no punches in its criticism of Lebanon’s political elites, accusing the country’s authorities of deliberately mounting an inadequate policy response to the country’s economic crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic and last year’s Port of Beirut explosion. Read the full story here.


The estimated number of American children who lost at least one parent to COVID-19 by February, according to research published in JAMA Pediatrics. As the US reaches the grim milestone of 600,000 COVID-19 deaths, that number has grown. In addition to the emotional toll, children who lose a parent are at higher risk for mental health problems, challenges in school and economic disparities that last for years, researchers say.

Al Jazeera spoke with three mothers about the men they lost and how they have balanced helping their children cope while navigating the new financial realities of being single parents. Read the full story here and if you want to listen to the podcast, click the player below.

75 million

The pandemic-induced global shortfall in jobs for 2021, according to a new report by the International Labour Organization (ILO) released Wednesday.

Two regions — Latin America and the Caribbean, and Europe and Central Asia — have been hit hardest by the ongoing job losses. Slow coronavirus vaccine rollouts and a surge in virus variants in some parts of the world have made the global recovery uneven and sluggish in places, and the ILO says it will get worse before it gets better, with some losses persisting through at least 2022. Read the full story here.

Mexico’s tourism industry is eager to rebound from a tough 2020, but a new United States downgrade of the country’s civil aviation authority could hurt Mexican airlines’ plans to expand [File: Emilio Espejel/AP Photo]


The category to which the US Federal Aviation Administration downgraded Mexico’s civil aviation authority, leading to concerns that Mexican airlines will miss out on a much-needed tourism boom because they can’t add new flight routes to the US.

About 10.5 million American tourists visit Mexico in a typical year, and tourism accounts for 8.7 percent of Mexico’s economy, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. So what will the FAA’s downgrade mean for Mexico? Al Jazeera’s Ann Deslandes has the full story here.


The amount NASA plans to award to develop two missions to Venus between 2028 and 2030 — ventures known as DAVINCI+ (Deep Atmosphere Venus Investigation of Noble Gases, Chemistry and Imaging) and VERITAS (Venus Emissivity, Radio Science, InSAR, Topography and Spectroscopy).

Aside from their formidable acronyms, the two missions are a big deal because it’s been decades since the US space agency last visited Earth’s “sister planet”. Read the story here.


Bobtail squid are part of the Understanding of Microgravity on Animal-Microbe Interactions (UMAMI) experiment that will launch to the International Space Station [Courtesy: Isaac Watson/NASA]


The weight in pounds (3,311kg) of the science experiments, new solar arrays and other cargo on board the SpaceX Dragon resupply mission that launched Thursday from the US on its way to the International Space Station, according to NASA.

Among the experiments on board: bobtail squid and the bacteria that call them home. The experiment is designed to study the effects of spaceflight on the symbiotic relationship between microbes and their animal hosts. It’s also a free ticket to outer space for tiny cephalopods that don’t really get out much. We’re happy for them — take lots of pictures!

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New Zealand’s Hubbard selected as first transgender Olympian | LGBTQ News




Laurel Hubbard, 43, will compete in the super-heavyweight women’s event in Tokyo.

Weightlifter Laurel Hubbard will become the first transgender athlete to compete at the Olympics after being selected by New Zealand for the women’s event at the Tokyo Games, a decision set to test the ideal of fair competition in sport.

New Zealand Olympic Committee chief Kereyn Smith said 43-year-old Hubbard – who was assigned male at birth but transitioned to female in 2013 – had met all the qualification criteria for transgender athletes.

“We acknowledge that gender identity in sport is a highly sensitive and complex issue requiring a balance between human rights and fairness on the field of play,” Smith said in a statement.

Hubbard will compete in the super-heavyweight 87-kg category after showing testosterone levels below the threshold required by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

The 43-year-old had competed in men’s weightlifting competitions before transitioning.

“I am grateful and humbled by the kindness and support that has been given to me by so many New Zealanders,” Hubbard, an intensely private person who rarely speaks to the media, said in a statement issued by the New Zealand Olympic Committee (NZOC) on Monday.

Hubbard has been eligible to compete at Olympics since 2015, when the IOC issued guidelines allowing any transgender athlete to compete as a woman provided their testosterone levels are below 10 nanomoles per litre for at least 12 months before their first competition.

Some scientists have said the guidelines do little to mitigate the biological advantages of people who have gone through puberty as males, including bone and muscle density.

Advocates for transgender inclusion argue the process of transition decreases that advantage considerably and that physical differences between athletes mean there is never a truly level playing field.

Save Women’s Sport Australasia, an advocacy group for women athletes, criticised Hubbard’s selection.

“It is flawed policy from the IOC that has allowed the selection of a 43-year-old biological male who identifies as a woman to compete in the female category,” the group said in a statement.

Weightlifting has been at the centre of the debate about the fairness of transgender athletes competing against women, and Hubbard’s presence in Tokyo could prove divisive.

Her gold medal wins at the 2019 Pacific Games in Samoa, where she topped the podium ahead of Samoa’s Commonwealth Games champion Feagaiga Stowers, triggered outrage in the host nation.

Samoa’s weightlifting boss said Hubbard’s selection for Tokyo would be like letting athletes “dope” and feared it could cost the small Pacific nation a medal.

Belgian weightlifter Anna Vanbellinghen said last month allowing Hubbard to compete at Tokyo was unfair for women and “like a bad joke”.

Australia’s weightlifting federation sought to block Hubbard from competing at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast but organisers rejected the move.

Hubbard was forced to withdraw after injuring herself during competition, and thought her career was over.

“When I broke my arm at the Commonwealth Games three years ago, I was advised that my sporting career had likely reached its end,” Hubbard said on Monday, thanking New Zealanders.

“But your support, your encouragement, and your aroha (love) carried me through the darkness.”

Olympic Weightlifting New Zealand President Richie Patterson said Hubbard had worked hard to come back from the potentially career-ending injury.

“Laurel has shown grit and perseverance in her return from a significant injury and overcoming the challenges in building back confidence on the competition platform,” he said.

Hubbard is currently ranked 16th in the world in the super heavyweight category.

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Apple Daily could shut ‘in days’ after Hong Kong asset freeze | Freedom of the Press News




Company adviser says action under security law means it cannot access some $50 million in funds to pay staff and vendors.

Hong Kong pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily will be forced to shut “in a matter of days” after authorities used the national security law imposed by China to freeze the company’s assets as it arrested the paper’s editor and four other directors, an adviser to jailed tycoon Jimmy Lai told Reuters on Monday.

Mark Simon, speaking by phone from the United States, said the company was no longer able to access its funds and would be holding a board meeting on Monday to discuss how to move forward.

“We thought we’d be able to make it to the end of the month,” Simon told the news agency. “It’s just getting harder and harder. It’s essentially a matter of days.”

His comments signal closure is imminent even after Apple Daily said on Sunday the freezing of its assets had left the newspaper with cash for “a few weeks” for normal operations.”

The news comes two days after editor Ryan Law, 47, and chief executive Cheung Kim-hung, 59, were denied bail after being charged under the security law with collusion with foreign forces.

Apple Daily’s editor-in-chief Ryan Law arrives back at the detention centre after he was remanded in custody on Saturday [Lam Yik/Reuters]

Three other senior executives were also arrested last Thursday when 500 police officers raided the newspaper’s offices in a case that has drawn condemnation from Western nations, human rights groups and the chief United Nations spokesperson for human rights.

The three have been released on bail.

Simon told Reuters it had become impossible to conduct banking operations.

“Vendors tried to put money into our accounts and were rejected. We can’t bank. Some vendors tried to do that as a favour. We just wanted to find out and it was rejected,” he said.

Speaking earlier to US news channel CNN, Simon said the company had about $50 million available, but was unable to access the funds.

The publisher has come under increasing pressure since its owner Jimmy Lai was arrested under the national security law last August, which marked the first time the company’s headquarters was raided. Lai, 73, is now jailed and facing trial under the national security law. In May, the authorities also froze some assets belonging to the longtime critic of Beijing has also had some of his assets frozen.

Three companies related to Apple Daily are also being prosecuted for collusion with a foreign country and authorities have frozen HK$18 million ($2.3 million) of their assets.

China imposed the national security law on Hong Kong last June saying it was necessary to restore “stability” to a territory that had been rocked by mass protests in 2019, some of which turned violent.

The broadly-worded law criminalises acts such as subversion, sedition, collusion with foreign forces and secession with possible life imprisonment, but critics have said it is being used to suppress legitimate political debate with dozens of pro-democracy politicians and activists among the more than 100 arrested since it was brought into force.

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Birmingham Classic: Ons Jabeur beats Daria Kasatkina to win first title




Tunisian second seed Ons Jabeur defeated Russia’s Daria Kasatkina in straight sets to win her first singles title at the Birmingham Classic.

World number 24 Jabeur triumphed 7-5 6-4 against the fourth seed to become the first Arab woman to win a WTA title.

In Berlin, Russian qualifier Liudmila Samsonova stunned Swiss fifth seed Belinda Bencic to win her first title.

The 22-year-old world number 106 battled back from a set down to win 1-6 6-1 6-3 in her first final.

Victories for Jabeur and Samsonova mean there have now been 10 first-time singles winners on the women’s Tour this year.

Jabeur broke Kasatkina’s serve three times to prevail in the first set, before successive breaks at the start of the second put the 26-year-old in control at 4-0.

Two-time Grand Slam quarter-finalist Kasatkina recovered to 4-3, but Jabeur held on to win a singles final at the third attempt.

It was a breakthrough week for Samsonova in Germany, during which she also defeated seventh seed Victoria Azarenka of Belaurus in the semi-final.

World number 12 Bencic won the first five games as she dominated the opening set, but Samsonova matched that feat in the second before completing her comeback with breaks in the first and ninth games in the deciding set.

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