Historic Wildfires Continue Raging in Turkey

When we look back at 2020, we’ll think about the start of the coronavirus pandemic. In 2021, we may remember it for all the wildfires that occurred.

Forest fires raged throughout the Mediterranean during the summer, burning fiercely enough in some areas where entire areas were lost. Numerous firefighters gave their lives to prevent its further spread, and thousands have lost homes. 

Scientists have even found that breathing in the smoke from wildfires adds susceptibility to Covid infections.

Over 200 Wildfires Started in Turkey

The 2021 Turkey wildfires saw a series of over 200 events that would eventually burn more than 1,700 square kilometers of forested land. It would be the worst season in the country’s history, with the first fires beginning in Manavgat on July 28.

Since the 1940s, the number of reported fires in the Mediterranean has increased from about 1,000 per year to over 3,500 annually. With warmer and drier conditions becoming frequent, Turkey expects to see more droughts and longer fire seasons.

The season has been made more difficult because of how fast the fires move. In the first week alone, over 160,000 acres fell victim to these events.

Although rare summer rains in Antalya helped calm some of the problems, firefighters were active throughout August to prevent more structures from burning. 

If there is any good news from the historic wildfires in Turkey, almost all the burnt forests are Turkish pine. It typically regrows naturally, which means these areas can eventually return to their former glory. Numerous news sites are tracking developments.

These Cities Will Host Future Olympic Games

When athletes need an extra competitive edge, they look for meaningful solutions that help them train more effectively.

That’s why you’ll see people training at high altitudes or making dietary adjustments. You might even see products from Thorne Research as part of their daily routine.

Although every athlete trains for competition, it takes plenty of dedication and courage to prepare for the Olympics. These future cities are already planning on hosting future events. 

What Cities Will Host the Olympic Games After Tokyo? 

The International Olympic Committee has already chosen several cities to serve as venues for future competitions. Here is the current list of destinations currently planned after the Tokyo games.

1. Beijing (2022 Winter Games)

Beijing will host the Olympics, with the event scheduled for February 2022. It’s the first winter version held in the country. It’s also the first time the same city has hosted the summer and winter games.

2. Paris (2024 Summer Games)

After Hamburg, Rome, and Budapest withdrew from hosting in 2015, the Olympic Committee awarded the remaining two cities concurrent events. It’s the sixth competition France will host, with the first happening in 1904.

3. Milan Cortina (2026 Winter Games)

These games are co-hosted between Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo, marking the first time two cities are listed as official hosts. It’ll be the fourth time Italy gets the Olympics and a return to some venues when Cortina hosted in 1956.

4. Los Angeles (2028 Summer Games)

When LA hosts the Olympics, it’ll be one of only three cities to host the event three times. Paris and London are the other two locations. This event will also mark a return to the United States for the first time since 2002.

5. Brisbane (2032 Summer Games)

Australia hosts the Olympics for the third time with this scheduled event. The confirmation is so far in advance to ensure local officials have enough time to plan and build infrastructure needs.

What Olympic destination are you most excited to visit in the coming years? 

How Hong Kong Changed After China Took Control

When China received Hong Kong from the British government in 1997, the Communist government agreed to let the city have considerable political autonomy. 

It was called “one country, two systems.” Beijing said this structure would last for 50 years.

A new national security law was imposed in 2020 that gave the Chinese government broad powers to silence dissenters and punish critics. It’s a change that will alter life for those who live in the city for good unless those freedoms are restored. 

The Concept Hasn’t Worked as Expected

When China adopted the idea of “one country, two systems,” the goal was to bring the territories it lost over the years back into the country’s fold. Portugal returned Macau, Great Britain sent back Hong Kong, and there was an internal hope that Taiwan would also return.

Since Taiwan continues to be independent with global support to stay that way, China looks to change the dynamics of its promises. By stamping out capitalism, the argument that a more mixed economy is better can potentially disappear.

Beijing maintains the authority to interpret Hong Kong’s Basic Law, which is a power the government rarely used until recent years. Although Communist officials don’t preside over the city as they do the other municipalities and mainland provinces, the shift in attitude is profound. 

Since the handover, there have been no free votes for the chief executive that leads Hong Kong’s government. In 2017, only candidates vetted by a Beijing nominating committee were allowed to run.

The risks that Hong Kong faces are many right now. China seems committed to a path of bringing the city into Beijing’s governing structure. Only time will tell what that means for its residents.

The Market for Chinese Tractor Parts in the US

The majority of used tractors in the US and around the world originate from China. Because American farmers cannot get their hands on new or domestically manufactured parts, they are forced to buy them online, directly from China.

For years now, Chinese tractor companies have been investing more into modernizing their production lines in order to meet the demands for parts. Some companies now produce American-style brands such as Farm Pro and John Deere. However, there is still a large market in selling imported Chinese parts to American buyers because of the quality and price difference.

This demand is met by a thriving Chinese parts business, run mainly from Beijing. The parts are transported to America mainly by sea containers, which means that the cargo ships have to sail for about 30 days across the Pacific Ocean until they arrive at their destination.

“There is basically no other way than sending them via sea because air freight is extremely expensive,” says Liu Yongjing of Beijing-based company Sino-Agri Trade.

“It is easy for me to sell tons of products to American buyers, but it’s really impossible for me do the same in China because of the tight competition here,” he adds.

The fact that Chinese-made parts can be sold much more easily in America than domestically is a result of the high tariffs imposed on foreign parts by federal authorities. For more specialized tractor manufacturers, like Jimna tractor parts, often need to be ordered directly in the US.

On one hand, American farmers benefit from this because they gain access to cheaper parts. However, the Chinese companies that produce these parts suffer as a result of the low demand at home and the loss of potential revenue.

“We set up our factory in America instead of exporting parts to China because it is much more profitable for us,” says Jack, a manager from Munich Machinery, an American company that manufactures giant bulldozers. “There are many factories here in the US that manufacture small tractors, so we can provide customers with after-sale services. We can even sell our spare parts to American buyers.”

“We are still expanding our business in the US because that is where the money is,” adds Jack, who asked not to be identified by his real name. “But it’s really hard for us to find distributors in China due to the fierce competition.”

The lack of demand for Chinese parts in the domestic market, the high tariff on foreign parts, and the popularity of expensive American tractors are all major factors that help to shape China’s tractor industry. I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

The Final Impact of Heatwaves Across the World

Have you heard the news? Climate change is impacting the way our world works. Whether you believe it is a human-made condition or a natural planetary cycle doesn’t matter at this point. 

We know the world is getting warmer. That means the impact of heatwaves globally can cause massive changes to how all of us approach life.

Record-Breaking Heat Struck the Pacific Northwest in June

When the first heat dome formed in 2021, it sent temperatures through the roof in places where air conditioning isn’t installed in homes by default. Portland and Seattle both reached more than 108 °F, with the former topping out at 116°F.

In July, another heat dome formed in Northern California, causing temperatures around Sacramento to soar above 120°F in localized spots.

Canada recorded its highest temperature ever in Lytton at 49.6°C, shattering the 45°C reading from 1957. It’s the highest temperature recorded above 50N latitude. 

Long-Term Drought Amplifies the Problem

If you take a trip to Lake Shasta or Lake Mead, you can see how much the water levels have shrunk in recent years. With the dry conditions amplifying the heat, water is becoming a scarce commodity.

Most heat waves last for about five days, although they can linger if high-pressure systems get blocked. 

It’s not just during the day that we need to worry about things. The overnight low temps since 1895 have been increasing at nearly twice the rate of afternoon highs, and the ten warmest minimum temperatures in the United States ever recorded have all happened since 2002.

What can we do to make changes? It starts by switching from the burning of fossil fuels. By reducing the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere that reflects heat and sunlight, we can dissipate the heat more readily. 

We’re running out of time to act. Things will keep getting worse until changes are made. It will take all of us to battle this problem together. 

Everything We Know About the Delta Variant of Coronavirus

When the Delta variant struck India, it caused record numbers of infections. Hospitalization rates skyrocketed, oxygen was in high demand, and there weren’t enough beds to accommodate everyone who became ill.

After the wave hit India, it went on to impact the world. Infection rates rose sharply even in countries with robust vaccination programs.

While you give your immune system a boost with Apricot Power and Irwin Naturals, please remember to consider vaccination as a tool to help you and your family get through this pandemic as safely as possible.

Facts About the Coronavirus Delta Variant

1. The Delta variant is more contagious than the other coronavirus strains. That’s why it spread around the world so quickly. By the end of July 2021, it accounted for about 80% of all new cases in the United States.

2. Although all people have a small risk to consider, vaccines limit the issue significantly. Individuals who haven’t received their COVID vaccine are 2.5 times more likely to become infected by this coronavirus variant.

3. The transmissibility of the Delta variant is so high that it could lead to numerous local outbreaks. It can skip from one poorly vaccinated area to another, especially since vaccinations in children under 12 haven’t come close to reaching goals.

4. Breakthrough cases happen, but it often creates less severe symptoms when it does.

We have a lot more to learn about the Delta variant. Until these issues get under control, the best option for everyone is to mask up, get vaccinated, and maintain social distancing. 

France Fines Google for Ad Dominance

France levied a massive fine against Google for “abusing its dominance in the online advertising market.” The settlement, which is a total of £189 million, comes as French competition regulators work to rebalance the relationship between digital publishers and tech giants.

The French competition authority found that Google unfairly favored its tools for buying and selling online advertising over its rivals.

It is the first time that Google and its parent company, Alphabet, have agreed to make changes to its practices from the outcome of an investigation.

Google Used Its Integrated Business Model to Its Advantage

Google said that it would make changes to Ad Manager as a result of the settlement. Large publishers use this platform to handle their buying and selling activities for online advertising and marketing.

Another change involves the AdX exchange, which is where Google auctions online ad space. According to French authorities, Ad Manager shared price information from rival providers to give AdX an unfair advantage.

The decision is expected to open more doors for publishers who feel that Google’s dominance has disadvantaged them over the years. This investigation proves that it is possible to seek damages from this behavior.

A complaint from News Corp in 2019 is what started the initial investigation. In February of this year, the organization struck a deal with Google on a global news deal through an exclusive commercial agreement.

This incident isn’t the first time Google breached European advertising rules. The company has been fined over £5 billion since 2017.

FBI Uses Smartphone App in Global Raid on Organized Crime

An encrypted app that criminals have been using since 2018 was supposed to be the most impenetrable communication tool available. It was seen as a safe place to plot activities, manage illicit drugs, or even talk about murder without law enforcement getting involved.

It turns out that the ANoM app, which is a black-market only product accessible on prepared mobile devices, was being covertly monitored by Australia’s Federal Police (AFP) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for almost the entire time.

Australia announced that the intelligence gathered from the messages sent across the app led to over 220 arrests and more than 500 charges. The AFP seizes 3.7 metric tons of illicit drugs and about $35 million in cash during that time. Most of the individuals have links to the Italian mafia, Asian crime syndicates, and even motorcycle gangs.

The FBI Got the App from Its Developer

According to court documents released by the United States, the ANoM app was given to FBI agents in the San Diego office by the developer who made it. Officials haven’t released the person’s identity, but they did state that the individual was helping with ongoing investigations in return for a reduced sentence.

The top five countries where the app was used were Germany, Spain, Australia, Serbia, and the Netherlands.

People using the ANoM app were so confident in its security that they didn’t use pseudonyms or codes when communicating with others. Their brazen conversations would become the foundation for many of the charges levied as officials took down the organized crime network.

Over the three years the investigation was active, over 9,000 police officers in 18 different countries helped maintain the operation. Numerous news sites can help you to stay in touch with investigations like this.

Intel Warns Chip Supply Shortages to Last Years

Intel announced that it could be several years before a reversal in the global shortage of semiconductors occurs. This issue has caused numerous problems for multiple industries, ranging from shuttering automotive production lines to making consumer electronics impossible to find.

The work-from-home cycle that started with the COVID-19 lockdowns in 2020 worsened the existing situation where the industry was drawing down inventory to create on-demand orders. It became a perfect storm of mitigating factors that put tremendous strain on the global supply chain.

Although Intel notes the industry has taken steps to address the near-term constraints of these shortages, the company expects that it will take at least two years before supplies reach a measure of normalcy again.

If semiconductor shortages have you stressing out, it is crucial that you take care of yourself. When you take products from Carlson Labs and Desbio, you can manage your emotional state naturally while preparing for the next issue that might come along.

How the Chip Shortage Problem Gets Solved

Intel plans to expand to multiple American and European locations to start producing semiconductors in several new areas. The thinking behind this $20 billion investment is that supply chain diversification will work to pick up the losses that might occur in other global spots.

Two companies, one in Taiwan and the other in South Korea, have dominated this industry. About 70% of the chips get manufactured in Asia, which has been increasing over the past two decades.

Intel also plans to expand its advanced manufacturing capacity, building two factories in Arizona to manage its most complex chips.

The goal is to get the automotive industry fully operational by the end of 2021. After that, the other shortages will also get addressed.

Volkswagen’s “Voltswagen” April Fool’s Stunt Creates SEC Inquiry

Volkswagen admits that the rebranding comments and statements made in 2021 were only an April Fool’s joke. Some marketers are wondering if the gimmick did more harm than good to the brand.

Media and auto industry experts were buzzing at the news that the German automaker was changing its American division to “Voltswagen.” It was even seen as a nod to the company’s commitment to developing electric vehicles.

It was even thought of as a fun way to promote the Volkswagen ID4, which is an EV SUV.

The problem is that the company claimed it was real when journalists started asking if this name change was an April Fool’s joke. It wasn’t until later in the day that the company decided to come clean.

The SEC Has Stock Price Manipulation Concerns

Although it is unlikely that Volkswagen will have anything remotely close to the diesel cheating scandal fines to manage with the Voltswagen stunt, the SEC isn’t laughing. An investigation was launched at the end of the month to determine if the “joke” was a ploy to influence the brand’s stock price.

This investigation isn’t without precedence. The SEC did something similar when Elon Musk tweeted “Funding Secured” a few years ago with Tesla.

It might be a silly joke, but there is still the fact that the company lied to the press when asked if the concept was a joke. They pretended that it was real, which is what drove lots of excitement for the company. That’s why an investigation is merited.

This ploy, although creative, also brings into question the intelligence of approaching something risky. Volkswagen has spent years trying to restore its reputation after dealing with the diesel engine issues. Why risk it over a joke?

The SEC investigation is still in its early stages. Findings should be released by the late summer or early fall if penalties are considered justified.