The Not Fake News Update, 20 May 2021

I’ve had my second vaccine shot, it’s unbearably hot outside, and really, what else do you need to know?

Well, quite a bit, actually. It’s been a busy few days, and you might have missed some of the more important items if you rely on chance glimpses in your Twitter feed to get your news. Here’s a quick rundown:

-To the sounds of widespread celebration, Israel and Hamas have declared a cease-fire following eleven days of exchanging rocket fire with airstrikes. Each side blames the other for starting the fight, and each side is claiming victory. Meanwhile, weapons manufacturers in Iran and the United States have started working three shifts.

-Darwin’s Arch, a natural rock formation in the Galapagos Islands, has collapsed due to erosion. The two remaining unconnected towers of stone are to be renamed the “Pillars of Evolution” in Darwin’s honor. According to the Babylon Bee, this is a more accurate representation now that there’s a missing link.

-China’s Zhurong rover, reporting from its deployment on Mars, has sent back its first pictures from that planet. This makes China the second nation on Earth to successfully launch a mission to the surface of another world, and it makes Mars the first planet in the solar system to be populated entirely by robots.

-The Taliban has agreed to attend a summit with leaders of the Afghan Republic in Istanbul. Earlier talks had stalled with the announcement that the United States plans to delay its military withdrawal. Taliban representatives had objected to the American influence on the agenda; Republic leaders had objected to the musical selection, “The Rains of Castamere”.

-Following threats by Canadian firm Centerra Gold to sue the government of Kyrgyzstan over their temporary seizure of the mine, the Krygyz parliament has approved their president’s plan to take it over on a more permanent basis. Centerra Gold had previously been at once the largest taxpayer in the region and the only one to operate as a concession. The government alleges corruption and disregard for environmental safety on the part of the Canadian firm, which it says is in default for sums approaching $4 billion.

-Working more than 55 hours per week can indeed be hazardous to your health, reports the United Nations World Health Organization (UNO WHO). An international study, the first of its kind, has determined that excessive work hours leads to heart attacks and strokes that can be explained in no other way. Representatives of American labor unions reportedly responded “No shit, Sherlock”, though that’s just a bit of gossip.

-The COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, a remarkably toothless and powerless bit of legislation, has flown through both chambers of Congress and has been signed into law by the President. The provisions of this act request, require, compel, and pay for law enforcement agencies to report crimes as hate crimes if they qualify. In a rare gesture to pragmatism, the final section of the act empowers courts to require re-education as a condition for early release.

-China has officially banned the use by citizens or banking entities of cryptocurrency exchanges, citing their high volatility and equating it with gambling. Meanwhile, Indonesian crypto firm Gotek has announced a merger with payment provider Tokopedia in what will be that nation’s largest ever business deal. And, in unrelated news, hacking group DarkSide has reportedly received $90 million in Bitcoin ransom payments over the past year.

-The United States has ended sanctions against the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project between Russia and Germany, citing national interest, despite President Biden’s stated personal objection. This pipeline, once completed, will be one of the world’s largest conveyors of natural gas, and will compete with American shale gas sales overseas.

-After a fifteen year delay, Qatar has finalized scheduling of their national legislative election for this October. While the Council remains largely an advisory body, it will provide the origin of most new laws to be approved by the Emir. The Emir has, reportedly, announced the formation of an all-new congress, this one with blackjack and hookers. On further reflection, he later determined to forget the congress.

-BREAKING NEWS: Boko Haram leader Abubekar Shekau has reportedly been killed in a raid by rival terror group IS in his west African headquarters compound. Aside from evidence of mass explosive detonations, no confirmation has been received.

-THIS JUST IN: Epstein is still dead, and none of his close friends or business associates appears to have been arrested on child sex charges relating to his capture, imprisonment, and the disclosure of vast amounts of evidence.

And that’s all the news that is news and some that isn’t, here in lockdown in mid-May, Year Two of COVID. If you can think of something we missed, please write it in pencil on the back of a $20 bill and send it to us here at The Not Fake News.

If you’re feeling rich and found this entertaining or informative, feel free to support us, or buy us a coffee. We can use the morale boost — and the caffeine.

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