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NYC Making Push to Get Fired Workers Vaccinated, Rehired

Associated Press reported:

New York City is making a push to give city workers fired earlier this year for not getting the COVID-19 vaccine a chance to get their old jobs back — if they get fully vaccinated.

In February, Mayor Eric Adams fired more than 1,400 workers who failed to comply with the vaccine mandate put in place by his predecessor, Bill de Blasio.

Just short of 600 unvaccinated non-Department of Education workers are receiving a letter with details, and DOE employees are expected to receive a letter later in the summer, a city spokesperson said, adding that 97% of workers are vaccinated and that the goal has always been “vaccination rather than termination.”

The mandate required vaccinations as a workplace safety rule. In March, Adams was the target of criticism for exempting athletes and performers not based in New York City from the city’s vaccine mandate, while keeping the rule in place for private and public workers.

Smartphone Apps Promised to Help Combat the Pandemic. How Well Did They Work?

STAT News reported:

When the pandemic hit, tech giants like Apple and Google as well as upstart technology companies marched out new tools aimed at curbing the crisis. Now, more than two years into the pandemic, we are getting a clearer answer to a crucial question: Did they work?

A new review paper, published Monday in Nature Biotechnology, explores the wide range of apps rolled out to combat the pandemic by monitoring cases, tracking the virus’ spread, keeping tabs on symptoms and more. Some of those apps brought clear benefits, while others fell short. They also sparked a bevy of questions about the role of technology in healthcare, including how best to preserve patient privacy.

Your Google Chrome Extensions Could Be Used to Secretly Track You Online

TechRadar reported:

Web browser extensions could be used as a means of identifying users and tracking them across the web, new research suggests. Online tracking has been the bane of the internet from the earliest days, but over the last few years, people have become increasingly unwilling to put up with invasions of privacy.

While some people claim tracking is necessary to provide personalized ads, and thus keep internet services free, others shiver at the thought of companies keeping tabs on what they do online.

Ever since Google announced it would be killing third-party cookies, stakeholders have been looking for viable alternatives. “Fingerprinting” people based on the various characteristics of the device they use emerged as one of the options. Those characteristics include factors like display resolution, fonts, GPU performance, installed apps and more.

Success Academy to Lift Student COVID Vaccine Mandate

New York Post reported:

New York City’s largest charter school network, Success Academy, is doing away with its pandemic protocols for students, The Post has learned.

Beginning in the fall, the network’s roughly 20,000 students will no longer have to be vaccinated or take weekly COVID-19 tests and will be able to participate in most clubs regardless of their inoculation status.

The announcement came after more than 1,000 parents and guardians engaged in a months-long campaign of writing letters and signing petitions against the mandates, organizers said.

Two-thirds of the students, called “scholars,” are already at least partially vaccinated against COVID-19, according to school data. But those who were not had to sit on the sidelines at some after-school activities.

Officials Said Weighing Indoor Mask Mandate, Offering COVID Shots for Youngest Kids

The Times of Israel reported:

With coronavirus infection rates rising, health officials are reportedly set to discuss a return to indoor masking and the possibility of authorizing COVID-19 vaccines for infants and preschoolers.

Israel officially lifted the indoor mask mandate on April 24, scrapping one of the few remaining coronavirus restrictions that were still in place more than two years into the pandemic.

According to an unnamed Health Ministry official cited by the Kan public broadcaster on Sunday, a return to the measure will be examined and a decision will be made next week.

Additionally, officials will also consider authorizing COVID-19 vaccines for the youngest children after U.S. regulators on Friday gave their approval for the first shots for infants and preschoolers.

Arbitrator Strikes Down Stellantis COVID Vaccine Mandate

CBC News reported:

A COVID-19 vaccine mandate for Canadian Stellantis employees that was fought by some Unifor locals has been struck down by an arbitrator in a decision made after “careful review and not without considerable personal reservation.”

Arbitrator Marilyn Nairn sided with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Canada, the Stellantis subsidiary, in concluding that the two-dose COVID-19 vaccine policy was reasonable at the outset, and continued to be reasonable.

But following a review of the evidence surrounding waning immunity and the effect of the Omicron variant, she concluded there was a “negligible difference” in the risk of transmission between receiving two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine and remaining unvaccinated, and therefore the policy was no longer reasonable.

Under her decision, the policy will no longer be in effect as of June 25.

Macau Hotel Locked Down After COVID Cases, 700 People to Be Quarantined — Media

Reuters reported:

A hotel and casino resort in the world’s biggest gambling hub of Macau was locked down by authorities with 700 people inside on Tuesday due to a coronavirus infection outbreak on the property, local broadcaster TDM reported.

The lockdown comes as the Chinese special administrative region carries out two-day mass testing of its more than 600,000 population after dozens of locally transmitted coronavirus cases were discovered over the weekend.

Footage obtained by the broadcaster and industry publications showed police officers in protective gear sealing the complex to prevent people from entering or leaving. Government officials were also preparing COVID-19 tests for the hundreds of people inside.

Health Minister Flags Changes to International Vaccine Passports

The Sydney Morning Herald reported:

Australians traveling to parts of Europe must still verify their vaccination status with local authorities before they can soak up the full range of attractions, but the app used by locals does not recognize Australian COVID-19 Digital Certificates.

As industry warns red tape is hindering international travel, Health Minister Mark Butler will meet with his G20 counterparts on Monday to discuss potential solutions, including ways to “reduce the impediments for travelers as they cross borders”.

A pilot project to test ways for their countries to recognize each other’s vaccine certificates will be on the agenda as leaders work to get trade and travel “back to normal” across the G20, which includes Australia, Brazil, Canada, the United States and the European Union.

While an International COVID-19 Vaccination Certificate generated through MyGov is enough to gain entry to most European countries, laws that exclude unvaccinated people from restaurants, bars and other venues are widespread.

Big Banker Brother: Deutsche Bank Eavesdropping on Employees With Surveillance App

ZeroHedge reported:

According to the Financial Times, Deutsche Bank, Germany’s largest lender, has started requiring certain bankers to download and install the mobile surveillance app Movius, which allows compliance staff to monitor calls, text messages and WhatsApp conversations, according to people familiar with the matter.

Movius has partnerships with various telecoms, such as Spring, Telstra, Telefónica and Blackberry, and was used by several financial institutions during the pandemic in order to monitor employees working from home, particularly those in heavily regulated roles such as trading.

Though this isn’t the first time Deutsche Bank has made headlines for surveilling employees, the German lender joins the likes of JPMorgan Chase, UBS, Julius Baer, Jeffries and Cantor Fitzgerald in the use of Movius in recent years — and comes as banks are expanding their use of monitoring software amid government crackdowns on banks’ record-keeping practices and general compliance.

Both the U.S. Government and the U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority, as well as BaFin in Germany, have demanded that banks explain how they monitor their staffs’ personal communications.

Soon, Humanity Won’t Be Alone in the Universe

Newsweek reported:

Well, the long wait is almost over. Even if humanity has been alone in this galaxy, till now, we won’t be for very much longer. For better or worse, we’re about to meet artificial intelligence — or AI — in one form or another. Though, alas, the encounter will be murky, vague and fraught with opportunities for error.

One trend worries ethicist Giada Pistilli, a growing willingness to make claims based on subjective impression instead of scientific rigor and proof. When it comes to artificial intelligence, expert testimony will be countered by many calling those experts “enslavers of sentient beings.” In fact, what matters most will not be some purported “AI Awakening.” It will be our own reactions, arising out of both culture and human nature.