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Explainer: Understand Broad and Pressing Issues and News

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One of the most important aspects of news is that it needs to be understandable and accessible to people from different walks of life. With BusinessMirror’s Explainer, we aim to provide people with an avenue for easy-to-understand forms of news for better perusal and an easier introduction to the broadest issues in our country and economy today.

AI and The Future of Work: 5 experts on what ChatGPT, DALL-E  and other AI tools mean for artists and knowledge workers

The Conversation asked five artificial intelligence researchers to discuss how large language models are likely to affect artists and knowledge workers. And, as our experts noted, the technology is far from perfect, which raises a host of issues—from misinformation to plagiarism—that affect human workers.

Working out with God: Why people see fitness as religious

Each January, Americans collectively atone for yet another celebratory season of indulgence. Some proclaim sobriety for “Dry January.” Others use the dawn of a new year to focus on other forms of self-improvement, like taking up meditation or a new skin care routine. But adopting a new fitness plan is the most popular vow.

EXPLAINER: Why fusion could be a clean-energy breakthrough

There are decades more to wait before fusion could one day — maybe — be used to produce electricity in the real world. But the promise of fusion is enticing. If harnessed, it could produce nearly limitless, carbon-free energy to supply humanity’s electricity needs without raising global temperatures and worsening climate change.

What is ethical animal research? A scientist and veterinarian explain

A proposed measure in Switzerland would have made that country the first to ban medical and scientific experimentation on animals. It failed to pass in February 2022, with only 21 percent of voters in favor. Yet globally, including in the United States, there is concern about whether animal research is ethical.

EXPLAINER: Why are China’s COVID rules so strict?

BEIJING — At the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, China set out its “zero-COVID” measures that were harsh, but not out of line with what many other countries were doing to try and contain the virus. While most other nations saw the health and safety regulations as temporary until vaccines were widely available, however, China has stuck steadfastly to its strategy.

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EXPLAINER: How will UN climate deal on loss and damage work?

While government leaders, environmentalists and activists celebrated plans for such a fund, there are many outstanding questions, ranging from how it will work to long-term repercussions. Here is a look at the development of the idea of “loss and damage,” the term it’s given in climate negotiations, and what we know about the fund.

Why some people think fascism is the greatest expression of democracy ever invented

Warnings that leaders like Donald Trump hold a dagger at the throat of democracy have evoked a sense of befuddlement among moderates. How can so many Republicans—voters, once reasonable-sounding officeholders and the new breed of activists who claim to be superpatriots committed to democracy—be acting like willing enablers of democracy’s destruction?

How Michael Flynn goes local to spread Christian nationalism

In Sarasota County, Flynn and his allies have created a kind of laboratory for his approach, energizing local conservative activists through social media and public appearances, and gatherings at a venue called The Hollow that has become a meeting place for the far right. He questions American democratic institutions, repeats lies about the 2020 election, attacks the news media and embraces conspiracy theories about COVID-19. One of the groups he’s welcomed into the fold is the violent extremist group the Proud Boys.

EXPLAINER: What to expect from China’s party congress

The proceedings surrounding the event are shrouded in secrecy, as is typical in China’s authoritarian one-party state. But the weeklong congress, the 20th in its more than 100-year history, is expected to produce a new set of leaders handpicked by Xi, who faces no term limits and has yet to indicate a successor after a decade in the top spot.

What to know about the UN General Assembly

UNITED NATIONS—After two years of virtual and hybrid summits, the world’s leaders are reconvening on the river’s edge in New York this week at the UN General Assembly, an exercise in multilateralism born from the hope for lasting peace that followed World War II.

Michael Flynn: From DC insider to holy warrior

An investigation by The Associated Press and the PBS series “Frontline” found that Flynn has used public appearances to energize voters, made political endorsements to build alliances and amassed a network of nonprofit groups to advance the movement. Along the way, Flynn and his companies have earned hundreds of thousands of dollars for his efforts.

HOT FUTURE: If you thought this summer’s heat waves were bad, a new study has some disturbing news about dangerous heat in the future

AS global temperatures rise, people in the tropics, including places like India and Africa’s Sahel region, will likely face dangerously hot conditions almost daily by the end of the century—even as the world reduces its greenhouse gas emissions, a new study shows.
listeria, food poisoning

What is listeria? A microbiologist explains the bacterium behind recent deadly food poisoning outbreaks

The variety of foods responsible for US listeria outbreaks in the past decade shows just how easily these bacteria get around. Listeria has turned up in hard-boiled eggs, enoki mushrooms, cooked chicken and, in 2021, packaged salad – twice. How can such a tiny organism bypass extensive disinfection efforts and wreak such havoc? As a microbiologist who has been working with listeria and trying to solve these mysteries, I’d like to share some insider secrets about this unique little pathogen and its strategies of survival inside and outside our bodies.

The metaverse isn’t here yet, but it already has a long history

People played chess using the telegraph 150 years ago; those virtual chessboards weren’t located on either end of the wire. In 1992 Bruce Sterling noted that telephone calls don’t take place in your phone or in the other person’s phone. They take place in a virtual environment: “The place between the phones. The indefinite place out there, where the two of you, two human beings, actually meet and communicate.”

Donald Trump ‘took the Fifth.’ What does it actually mean?

The ex-president issued a statement saying he had done nothing wrong but was invoking the Fifth Amendment’s protection against self-incrimination. It’s a constitutional right that gets high-profile exposure in settings from Congress to TV crime shows, but there are nuances. Here’s what it means—and doesn’t—to “plead [or ‘take’] the Fifth.”

EXPLAINER: A look at the missile that killed al-Qaida leader

Other high-profile airstrikes in the past had inadvertently killed innocent civilians. In this case, the US carefully chose to use a type of Hellfire missile that greatly minimized the chance of other casualties. Although US officials have not publicly confirmed which variant of the Hellfire was used, experts and others familiar with counterterrorism operations said a likely option was the highly secretive Hellfire R9X — know by various nicknames, including the “knife bomb” or the "flying Ginsu."

EXPLAINER: What’s the role of personhood in abortion debate?

In its 1973 Roe v. Wade decision providing the right to abortion nationwide, the US Supreme Court majority found that “the word ‘person,’ as used in the Fourteenth Amendment, does not include the unborn.” Some anti-abortion advocates say that is wrong, arguing that personhood includes fertilized eggs, embryos and fetuses that should be considered people with the same rights as those already born.

EXPLAINER: Why is China staging drills around Taiwan?

China has increasingly forcefully declared that Taiwan must be brought under its control by force if necessary and in defiance of Washington and other backers of the island's democracy. Pelosi's visit came at a particularly sensitive time when Chinese President and head of the armed forces Xi Jinping is preparing to seek a third five-year term as leader of the ruling Communist Party. Xi has named no successor and he's accumulated vast powers despite criticism of his handling of the economy, partly as a result of his hardline approach to COVID-19 and a marked downturn in relations with the West.

Is Alex Jones’s trial about free speech rights?

An attorney for the parents of one of the children who were killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting told jurors that Jones repeatedly “lied and attacked the parents of murdered children” when he told his Infowars audience that the 2012 attack was a hoax. Attorney Mark Bankston said during his opening statement to determine damages against Jones that Jones created a “massive campaign of lies” and recruited “wild extremists from the fringes of the internet ... who were as cruel as Mr. Jones wanted them to be" to the victims' families. Jones later blasted the case, calling it a “show trial” and an assault on the First Amendment.

Foot-and-mouth disease and the efforts to stop it

Thousands of cattle are covered in blisters from highly infectious foot-and-mouth disease in Indonesia, sounding the alarm for the country, its Southeast Asian neighbors and Australia. The virus found in two provinces in May has now infected several hundred-thousand animals across multiple provinces, including the popular tourist destination of Bali.

How much for gas? Around the world, pain is felt at the pump

Across the globe, drivers like Mueller are rethinking their habits and personal finances amid skyrocketing prices for gasoline and diesel, fueled by Russia's war in Ukraine and the global rebound from the Covid-19 pandemic. Energy prices are a key driver of inflation that is rising worldwide and making the cost of living more expensive.

Why is China denying Hong Kong was a UK colony?

HONG KONG is preparing to introduce new middle-school textbooks that will deny the Chinese territory was ever a British colony. China’s Communist rulers say the semi-autonomous city and the nearby former Portuguese colony of Macao were merely occupied by foreign powers and that China never relinquished sovereignty over them.

ESG investing and the debate surrounding it

ESG has become popular across a wide range of investors, from smaller-pocketed regular people to pension funds responsible for the retirements of millions of workers. ESG investments overall have amassed enough monetary might to buy all of the stock of the most valuable US company, Apple, seven times over. To critics, meanwhile, ESG is just the latest example of the world trying to get “woke.”

EXPLAINER: What’s behind North Korea’s COVID-19 admission?

Because the North has been shut up tight since early 2020, with no reporters, aid workers or diplomats regularly going in, reading the situation is something of a guessing game, and the North has been vague with its state media descriptions of widespread fevers. But there are some worrying facts: no reported vaccines, very limited testing capability, a terrible medical system and widespread poverty.

Why Victory Day in Russia is different this year

THE invasion of Ukraine means that fewer Russian tanks and other military hardware will rumble through Moscow’s Red Square today, when the country marks its victory over Nazi Germany in World War II. The patriotic fervor associated with the sacred holiday, however, could be as strong as ever.

Yes, Putin and Russia are fascist: A political scientist shows how they meet the textbook definition

The Conversation

WHEN Vladimir Putin unleashed an unprovoked invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, the Ukrainian media, public and policy-makers almost unanimously began calling the Russian president and the state he leads “rashyst.” The term is a hybrid of a derogatory moniker for Russia—“rasha”—and “fascist.”

EXPLAINER: A look at what’s behind the protests in Canada

In the United States, the protests have been cheered and promoted by Fox News personalities and former president Donald Trump, who issued a statement attacking “the harsh policies of far left lunatic Justin Trudeau who has destroyed Canada with insane COVID mandates.” Texas Sen. Ted Cruz has called the truckers “heroes” and “patriots,” and Tesla billionaire Elon Musk also tweeted his support.

Why fear of 5G halting flights has faded

THE rollout of new 5G wireless service in the US failed to have the much-dreaded result of crippling air travel, although it began in rocky fashion, with international airlines canceling some flights to the US and spotty problems showing up on domestic flights.

People wearing a face mask to protect against the spread of coronavirus walk along a street in downtown Barcelona, Spain, July 3, 2021.

EXPLAINER: What does it mean for COVID-19 to be endemic?

Some European countries such as Spain are making tentative plans for when they might start treating COVID-19 as an “endemic” disease, but the World Health Organization and other officials have warned that the world is nowhere close to declaring the pandemic over. A look at what endemic means and the implications for the future.

Radicalization pipelines: How targeted advertising on social media drives people to extremes

Have you had the experience of looking at some product online and then seeing ads for it all over your social-media feed? Far from coincidence, these instances of eerily accurate advertising provide glimpses into the behind-the-scenes mechanisms that feed an item you search for on Google, “like” on social media or come across while browsing into custom advertising on social media.
Coronavirus variants

From delta to omicron, here’s how scientists know which coronavirus variants are circulating in the US

How do scientists know what versions of the coronavirus are present? How quickly can they see which viral variants are making inroads in a population? Epidemiologists who study novel approaches for outbreak detection explain how the genomic surveillance system works in the US and why it’s important to know which virus variants are circulating.

EXPLAINER: Main issues at Russia-US security talks

The amassing of Russian troops and equipment near Ukraine's border has caused worries in Kyiv and in the West that Moscow could be planning to launch an invasion. Russia, the United States and its NATO allies are meeting this week for negotiations focused on Moscow's demand for Western security guarantees and Western concerns about a recent buildup of Russian troops near Ukraine.