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Nets Star Kyrie Irving Calls Vaccine Mandates ‘One of Biggest Violations of Human Rights in History’

PennLive reported:

At this point, it is pretty well known where Brooklyn Nets superstar Kyrie Irving stands in regard to COVID-19 vaccine legislation.

The point guard, who is unvaccinated, missed a large portion of his team’s regular-season home games a season ago due to New York’s COVID-19 vaccination mandate, as he was unable to play at the Barclays Center until the rule was lifted in March.

On Tuesday morning, Irving doubled down on his sentiment, this time taking to Twitter to refer to mandates as overreaches of historic proportions.

“If I can work and be unvaccinated, then all of my brothers and sisters who are also unvaccinated should be able to do the same, without being discriminated against, vilified or fired,” Irving tweeted. “This enforced Vaccine/Pandemic is one the biggest violations of human rights in history.”

NYC Mayor Adams Ends COVID Vaccine Mandates for Private Sector, Student Athletes — but City Worker Rule Stays

New York Daily News reported:

Mayor Adams announced Tuesday that he’s scrapping the city’s coronavirus vaccine mandates for private-sector employees and student-athletes — but the inoculation requirement for municipal workers will stay in place.

The workforce rule, which was the first of its kind in the country when rolled out by former Mayor Bill de Blasio in December, has required all private-sector employees in the city to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The second policy has mandated high school students be vaccinated if they want to engage in sports and other extracurricular activities.

In a press conference at City Hall on Tuesday morning, Adams said his administration is lifting the private-sector requirement effective Nov. 1. The school rule is going away immediately. But one pandemic precaution that Adams said he’s not squashing at the moment is the vaccine mandate for the city’s municipal workforce.

“It was crucial to put that in place and we’re keeping it in place,” he said. The mandate has required the city’s more than 300,000 municipal workers — including teachers, cops and firefighters — to be fully vaccinated. The requirement has for months prompted loud protests from a small group of unvaccinated city workers as well as Republicans in the City Council.

California Parents Petition SCOTUS Over Gavin Newsom’s COVID-Induced School Closures

Fox News reported:

The Center for American Liberty and the Dhillon Law Group, filed a petition to the Supreme Court last week to overturn a decision by the Ninth Circuit Federal Court of Appeals, which dismissed the case Brach v. Newsom, regarding California’s school closures during COVID.

The Ninth Circuit court ruled that the lawsuit was moot because Newsom had allowed in-person education to resume. However, the petition to the Supreme Court noted that other circuit courts have “concluded that challenges to an executive’s emergency restrictions are not moot when the declaration of emergency remains in effect.”

The petitioners “include parents of school-age children in California who challenged Governor Newsom’s school-closure policy because they wanted to send their children to a private school in person,” the petition states.

Brach v. Newsom was filed on behalf of plaintiffs who challenged Gov. Newsom’s order barring in-classroom education in over 30 counties across California. The Vice President of Education Policy at California Policy Center Lance Christensen told Fox News Digital that “California arbitrarily closed schools at the behest of the teacher union and kept kids out of classrooms, damaging the lives of millions of kids unnecessarily.”

EXCLUSIVE: Hospital With 1st COVID Vaccine Mandate in United States Not Requiring Updated Booster

The Epoch Times reported:

The first hospital in the United States to mandate all its healthcare workers get the COVID-19 vaccine has quietly decided not to require the updated booster shot after facing staffing shortages, according to an internal email obtained by The Epoch Times.

Houston Methodist Hospital in April 2021 announced it was mandating the vaccine. The hospital fired hundreds of employees who refused to get the original vaccines and later mandated booster shots.

But in the new email, the hospital’s chief physician informed employees that they will not be made to get the newest boosters, which are produced by Pfizer and Moderna and aimed at the Omicron subvariant strains BA.4 and BA.5.

Spokeswoman Stephanie Amin said the hospital hadn’t ended its vaccine mandate. “We just aren’t mandating the new booster just yet. Waiting to see if we surge again and what the scientific data will show,” Amin told the Epoch Times.

Challenges Against Employer COVID Vaccine Mandates Show No Sign of Slowing

The National Law Review reported:

Lawsuits opposing COVID-19 vaccine mandates have surpassed the 1,000-complaint mark. The vast majority of these cases (75%) have been filed against employers. August 2022 brought the highest number of new complaints challenging employer COVID-19 vaccination requirements since the wave of vaccine mandate litigation began.

When legal challenges to COVID-19 vaccine mandates began to rise sharply in the fall of 2021, cases were directed mostly at Biden Administration executive orders and agency directives, as well as vaccination requirements, imposed upon certain industries by state and local governments. However, the bulk of filings since has mostly targeted employers, public and private, that have adopted policies requiring their employees to get vaccinated. These cases have been filed at a steady clip in 2022 and saw a sharp uptick this summer.

The jump in filings may be attributed in part to the dismissals that the EEOC and state agencies are beginning to issue on some of the thousands of charges that have been filed. The updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the changing attitude toward vaccines and COVID-19 also may be having an impact.

U.S. States Ask Appeals Court to Reinstate Facebook Lawsuit

Reuters reported:

A big group of U.S. states, led by New York, argued to an appeals court Monday that it should reinstate an antitrust lawsuit against Meta’s (META.O) Facebook because of ongoing harm from the company’s actions and because the states had not waited too long to file their complaint.

Barbara Underwood, solicitor general of New York which led the group that consists of 46 states, Guam and District of Columbia, said that it was wrong to treat states like a class action and put a limit on when they can sue. States not involved are Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and South Dakota. She said that Facebook’s actions harmed the economy and the marketplace.

The states are asking the three-judge panel on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to reinstate a lawsuit filed in 2020, the same time that the U.S. Federal Trade Commission sued the company.

Both the FTC and the states had asked the court to order Facebook to sell Instagram, which it bought for $1 billion in 2012, and WhatsApp, which it bought for $19 billion in 2014. The FTC fight with Facebook is going forward.

Molly Russell Inquest Opens Almost Five Years After Teenager’s Death

The Guardian reported:

The inquest into the death of the teenager Molly Russell, who killed herself after viewing graphic content online, opens on Tuesday, with executives at Instagram’s parent company and Pinterest among the witnesses scheduled to appear.

Molly, 14, from Harrow, north-west London, viewed a large amount of online material, including some linked to anxiety, depression, self-harm and suicide, in the months before she died in November 2017.

Her father, Ian Russell, has become a prominent campaigner for regulating social media platforms in order to better shield young people from damaging content.

The inquest has been delayed multiple times owing to legal and procedural issues including requests from Instagram’s owner, Meta, to redact content to protect the privacy of users.

As TikTok Competes With Google in Search, Report Flags Misinfo Concerns

Newsweek reported:

TikTok may be the preferred platform for entertaining videos, but a research report released a few days ago stated that many of its users — who are mostly teenagers and young adults — are likely to find misleading information on the Chinese app when they search for important topics such as COVID-19, the Russia-Ukraine war or the U.S. presidential election.

When researchers searched for content on top news topics on TikTok, they found that almost 20%, or one in five, of the suggested videos, contained misinformation, according to the report published by NewsGuard, a tool that tracks the credibility of online information.

NewsGuard cited the example of hydroxychloroquine, a drug that sparked a debate after the onset of COVID-19. While many people — including former U.S. President Donald Trump — touted it as a cure, the FDA had disregarded claims that it could prevent coronavirus.

On TikTok, when the researchers searched for ‘hydroxychloroquine,’ a video of a woman claiming to make the drug in her kitchen appeared. Four videos that appeared in the top 20 results offered instructions for making a homemade version of the prescription drug, which can only be made in controlled laboratory settings.

Here’s Why Tech Companies Keep Paying Millions to Settle Lawsuits in Illinois

CNN Business reported:

Regulators have spent years trying to make big tech companies pay for the ways they harvest and, at times, abuse users’ data. One state, meanwhile, is literally making them pay up — and pay out directly to consumers.

Illinois is one of just a few states in the United States that has a law requiring companies to get consumers’ consent before snagging their biometric data, and its rule, passed in 2008, is seen as the toughest in the nation.

The law, called the Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA), doesn’t just force companies to get permission from people before collecting biometric data like fingerprints or scans of facial geometry. It also sets rules regarding how companies must safeguard such information, prohibits companies from selling Illinois residents’ biometric data and allows Illinois residents to sue companies for alleged violations of the law.

In the nearly 15 years since its passage, services using biometric data — from palm print recognition for buying groceries to facial-recognition software for unlocking your smartphone — have become increasingly common. But legislation in the United States has not kept up. There is no federal legislation on the matter, and among the select few states to have taken action, the Illinois law is seen as uniquely effective.

Dozens of Civil Rights Groups Are Calling on Amazon and MGM to Cancel Ring Nation Reality Show

The Verge reported:

Amazon and MGM are marketing Ring Nation, their upcoming reality TV show hosted by comedian and former NSA agent Wanda Sykes, as “a new twist on the popular clip show genre.”

But over 40 different civil rights organizations are now speaking out against the program for being a dangerous piece of pro-surveillance corporate propaganda and are calling on the studios to cancel the show before it ever sees the light of day.

Today, Fight for the Future, MediaJustice, Action Center on Race and the Economy, and dozens of other civil rights groups affiliated with the Cancel Ring Nation campaign published an open letter addressed to MGM leadership warning them about “the dangerous precedent MGM is setting in normalizing and promoting Amazon’s harmful network of surveillance cameras.”

The letter, addressed to MGM TV chairman Mark Burnett and MGM president of unscripted TV Barry Poznick, goes into detail about the dangers Ring cameras and the culture associated with them pose to vulnerable communities and argues that Ring Nation is just the latest piece of Amazon’s Ring-branded “surveillance network” being sold as entertainment.

Mark Zuckerberg Has Lost $70 Billion in Net Worth, Bumping Him Down to 20th Richest Person in the World

Insider reported:

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s net worth has plummeted by $70 billion so far this year, bumping him down to the 20th richest person in the world, estimates show.

Zuckerberg started the year with a $125 billion fortune, according to Bloomberg’s Billionaires Index. But since then, it’s tanked down to $55.3 billion, a fall of just over 55%, according to the data. Forbes puts his net worth at $53.4 billion.

Meta, which owns Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Oculus, has had a tumultuous past 12 months since Zuckerberg said it would become a “metaverse” company and then unveiled a massive rebrand last October. Facebook went on to report its first-ever decline in user numbers, losing roughly one million daily active users in the last quarter of 2021.

Don’t Cook Chicken in NyQuil: FDA Warns About Dangerous Social Media Challenges

CNN Health reported:

Want to cook chicken in NyQuil? Overdose on antihistamines? Swallow laundry detergent pods? While most of us would recoil in horror from such dangerous suggestions, adolescents and young adults continue to be susceptible to social media dares like these, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

“One social media trend relying on peer pressure is online video clips of people misusing nonprescription medications and encouraging viewers to do so too. These video challenges, which often target youths, can harm people — and even cause death,” the FDA stated in a warning.

One recent challenge posted on social media encouraged people to cook chicken in a mixture of acetaminophen, dextromethorphan and doxylamine — the basic ingredients of NyQuil and some similar over-the-counter cough and cold products.

The agency also pointed to a TikTok challenge daring people to hallucinate by taking large doses of the over-the-counter antihistamine diphenhydramine. Called the “Benadryl Challenge,” the FDA cited reports of teens ending up in hospital emergency rooms or dying after participating.

Twitter Founder Jack Dorsey to Be Deposed in Twitter v. Musk Case

CNN Business reported:

Twitter co-founder and former CEO Jack Dorsey will be questioned on Tuesday morning by lawyers for the company and Elon Musk as part of the court fight over their $44 billion acquisition deal, according to a notice of a deposition filed Monday.

Dorsey — who stepped down as CEO of Twitter last November and remained on the board until late May — was previously subpoenaed by Musk’s team for a wide range of information, including all documents and communications regarding the merger agreement as well as those “reflecting, referring to or relating to the impact or effect of false or spam accounts on Twitter’s business and operations.”