So much has happened, it’s very likely that in all the hubbub and hullabaloo you’ve missed something which otherwise might be considered Earth-shatteringly important. And so, without further ado, here’s a brief precis of those items of interest that may have failed entirely to have caught your interest since our last Update:
– Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has died.
– In Belarus, President Lukashenko has been officially inaugurated for his sixth term in office regardless of massive and occasionally crippling protests in his own country and multiple refusals to accept the legitimacy of his election from abroad. His stated intention is now to change the country’s constitution, presumably in hopes nobody would notice.
– September 22nd marks the anniversary of Bilbo Baggins’s birthday, and the day he set out for Rivendell shortly before the beginning of the War of the Ring and the end of the Third Age. Unlike what’s happening in Belarus, the Ring had a peaceful transfer of power to its next bearer.
– Archaeologists have discovered physical evidence of chromium being used as an additive to steel in ancient Persia nearly a thousand years ago. The region was noted for beautifully detailed and corrosion-resistant, yet strangely brittle, swords. “Stainless” steel was not again manufactured until the late 19th century.
– Microsoft has purchased video game developer ZeniMax and its subsidiaries, including Bethesda Games, for $7.5 billion, making it the most expensive gaming takeover in history. (For the curious: That’s 5.8 billion Nuka-Cola caps.)
– A Federal court has issued an injunction blocking Commerce’s moves against the Chinese WeChat software platform. The government attempted to remove the software from major distribution platforms and block its distribution and transactions in the United States on national security grounds, citing an inability to prevent its use for espionage. The court determined that the First Amendment questions were of sufficient merit to warrant a hearing. WeChat is used by a billion people, 18 million of whom live in the United States.
– The FinCEN Files, leaked documents from the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, were released to the public and the press. These detail nearly $2 trillion in suspicious financial transactions that could include money laundering beginning twenty years ago. For perspective, and contrary to internet rumor, Donald Trump is not mentioned; curiously, the writer of this summary is, but has never laundered money save accidentally via Maytag and a pants pocket.
– Canada has permanently ended all free trade talks with China over the Huawei espionage scandal, the arrest of Chinese billionaire Meng Wanzhou over money-laundering charges involving Iran, and the subsequent retaliatory arrest of two former Canadian diplomats. The Canadian government has declared that it is time to review all agreements made over the past four years. China is at present Canada’s second largest trading partner.
– Atlantic hurricanes have entered the auxiliary naming phase faster than in any other season on record. To date there have now been 23 named storms; Beta and Teddy both made landfall and are dissolving, and no new tropical storms appear to be forming in the North Atlantic at this time.
– Predictable violent protests followed the equally predictable Grand Jury findings in the Breonna Taylor case in Louisville. Protesters appear unable to accept that justice has only a tenuous relationship at best with the Criminal Justice System.
– THIS JUST IN: Epstein is still dead. This marks a new record in amount of time being dead set by the former billionaire, who by virtue of his deceased status continues to avoid prosecution for the massive financial malfeasance used to create his fortune, including actions that led to the 2007-8 financial collapse. Widely known as a pedophile, he was if possible far, far creepier.
And that’s all the news that isn’t COVID, because let’s face it COVID’s been with us so long it’s no longer really news. If you disagree, and especially if you have other news items to suggest be added to this list, please mention them in the comments.
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