Splainer

Friday, January 15 2021


Dive In

Having to take these actions fragment the public conversation. They divide us. They limit the potential for clarification, redemption, and learning. And sets a precedent I feel is dangerous: the power an individual or corporation has over a part of the global public conversation.

That’s Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey indulging in a bit of public hand-wringing over the dangers posed by big tech’s—collective but uncoordinated—decision to kick Trump off their platforms. We’d take this seriously if Twitter didn’t regularly shut down accounts of Indian writers and activists at will—while ignoring hate speech from the right. So yeah, he may be right about the dangerous power of his company…

Big Story

The great hunt for the coronavirus’ origins

The TLDR: After months of negotiations with Beijing, a World Health Organisation team has landed in China to trace the source of the pandemic—which has long become fodder for an international blame game. We explain exactly what the team will look for and why its success matters.

 

The WHO mission

Ten international members—who include experts in virology, ecology and public health—have landed in Wuhan, where the first Covid case was detected. Their task: to pinpoint the species in which this virus emerged—and the circumstances in which it jumped from animals to humans:

 

Not on the agenda: assigning blame on any one country.

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In today’s edition

Headlines That Matter

  • India drags feet on vaccine exports
  • WhatsApp faces privacy challenge
  • Armie Hammer is under a cloud
  • Sebi targets biz TV anchor
  • A new worry about the Indonesia crash

 

Weekend Advisory

  • So you want a cool desk calendar
  • Why you should never lift weights in running shoes
  • A deep dive into human rituals—why and how we create them
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