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One Sentence News / Jan 26, 2022

Colin Wright
Colin Wright
The news simply summarized / January 26, 2022
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Summary: It’s been a tumultuous few days on Wall Street, with declines last week collapsing into major losses across industries on Monday and Tuesday, the S&P 500 index fumbling into “correction” territory (which suggests general sentiment about the market has reverted from optimism to pessimism) and crypto-assets stumbling hard, with Bitcoin falling and remaining at less than half its recent all-time high price.
Context: This mini-crash is thought to be partially the consequence of concerns about Omicron and its continued influence globally, and partially related to uncertainties about a maybe-conflict in Ukraine, but it’s considered to be more directly tied to worries about what the US central bank might announce today at the conclusion of a two-day meeting—there’s a chance the Fed will move more aggressively than anticipated to rein in inflation, bumping up key interest rates faster than planned, and traders don’t want to be caught flat-footed if that ends up being the case.
—The New York Times
Summary: The Pentagon has announced that 8,500 US troops have been placed in a heightened state of preparedness, ready to deploy if necessary, across Eastern Europe due to escalating tensions with Russia.
Context: This standoff was sparked by Russia moving about 120,000 troops and accompanying military hardware to its borders with Ukraine, so a force this small is mostly symbolic, but it comes alongside the deployment of soldiers and weaponry (including ships and aircraft) by EU member states into the region, the 40,000-or-so troops in the NATO Response Force, and the shipment of about 200,000 pounds of what the US Embassy in Kyiv has euphemistically called “lethal aid” by the US military to Ukraine.
—Axios
Summary: A group of hacktivists calling themselves the Belarusian Cyber Partisans claims they’ve infected the Belarusian state-run train network with ransomware, taking out key portions of the system’s capabilities and impeding the transport of Russian military forces to locations along Belarus’ border with neighboring Ukraine.
Context: A somewhat lighter story from that same general drumbeat toward conflict in Ukraine that, if confirmed (and the evidence does suggest this is true, but it’s yet to be fully confirmed by independent cybersecurity groups) would represent the first time ransomware has been used for purely political, military infrastructural purposes, the group having offered to provide the de-encryption key to those running the trains so they can get everything back online only if the Belarusian president stops aiding Russian troops in their preparations for a possible invasion of Ukraine.
—Ars Technica
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There’s a lot of hubbub about NATO right now (due to Russia’s military presence on Ukraine’s borders and accompanying demands that Ukraine never be allowed to join NATO—a military alliance formed to counter the Soviet Union in the wake of WWII) but another powerful force in the region, the Euro, is increasingly popular throughout Europe, with several new European Union member states actively pursuing single-currency membership (at least one of which, Bulgaria, plans to make this plan a reality in 2024).
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Portion of ads shown alongside 78 climate-related search terms that were placed by fossil fuel-dependent companies on Google.
In practice, that means if you search for something like “net zero” or “fossil fuels” on Google, 20% of the ads you see will have been paid for by companies like ExxonMobil, Shell, and Aramco.
—The Guardian
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Colin Wright
Colin Wright @colinismyname

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