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Donald Trump receives news of indictment

Donald TrumpAccording to two sources, Donald Trump is charged with more than 30 counts of business fraud in a Manhattan grand jury indictment.

The indictment is the first time a current or former president has been charged with a felony in American history.

On Tuesday, Donald Trump is due to appear in court.

The indictment was filed under seal and will be made public shortly, but no charges have been made public.


The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office was investigating Donald Trump’s probable participation in a hush money payment scheme and cover-up involving adult film star Stormy Daniels.

The infidelity story originally came to light roughly a decade ago, but the hush money charges came to light soon before the 2016 presidential election.

Although grand jury discussions are confidential, a source claims that a witness talked with the grand jury for more than 30 minutes before choosing to indict Trump.

The decision

With this judgment, the American political system will definitely shift and reach uncharted terrain.

The fact that a former leader is facing criminal charges while campaigning for president for a second time is making history.

Notwithstanding this, following the indictment, Donald Trump delivered a statement in which he claimed political persecution and high-level election interference.

“I believe this Witch-Hunt will backfire massively on Joe Biden,” said Trump.

“The American people realize exactly what the Radical Left Democrats are doing here. Everyone can see it.”

“So our Movement, and our Party – united and strong – will first defeat Alvin Bragg, and then we will defeat Joe Biden, and we are going to throw every last one of these Crooked Democrats out of office so we can MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”

Getting the news

According to one insider, Trump was taken aback by the grand jury’s decision to prosecute him.

Trump predicted an indictment, but he anticipated it would take weeks.

“Is this a shock today? Hell yes,” said the anonymous source.

Meanwhile, Trump’s legal team was called by Bragg’s office.

“This evening, we contacted Mr. Trump’s attorney to coordinate his surrender to the Manhattan DA’s Office for arraignment on a Supreme Court indictment, which remains under seal,” Bragg’s office said on Thursday.

“Guidance will be provided when the arraignment date is selected.”

Read also: Donald Trump kicks off 2024 bid in Waco rally

The campaign and witch hunt

Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in 2024 took a fresh turn when he declared his determination to run despite criminal charges.

Trump has regularly referred to his investigations as a “witch hunt.”

He has attempted to convince the people by portraying himself as a victim of Democratic prosecutors’ political probes.

As the indictment date approached, Donald Trump called on his supporters to protest his detention, echoing his call to action in the 2020 election, when he vowed vengeance for his failure.

He has long avoided legal ramifications for his personal, commercial, and political actions, settling countless private civil claims and paying his way out of Trump Organization problems.

He was impeached twice as president by the Democratic-led House but was not acquitted by the Senate.

Notwithstanding his lack of indictment, the Trump Organization was charged with various tax fraud violations in December.

Trump supporters and GOP opponents lobbied the Manhattan district attorney’s office for the 2024 indictment.

“I think the unprecedented indictment of a former president of the United States on a campaign finance issue is an outrage,” said former Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday.

“It appears to millions of Americans to be nothing more than a political prosecution that’s driven by a prosecutor who literally ran for office on a pledge to indict the former president.”

GOP comes to Trump’s defense

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has committed to investigate the matter.

Republicans in Congress, on the other hand, raced to Trump’s defense, attacking Bragg on Twitter and accusing him of leading a political witch hunt.

Jim Jordan, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, criticized the claims and demanded that Bragg testify before Congress about the investigation.

Senator Ted Cruz described the indictment as “totally unprecedented,” alleging that it militarizes the legal system even more.

One Republican, on the other hand, had faith in the legal system.

“I believe in the rule of law,” said Rep. Don Bacon of Nebraska.

“I think we have checks and balances and I trust the system.”

“We have a judge. We have jurors. There is appeals. So I think in the end, justice will be done.”

“If he’s guilty, it will show up. But if not, I think that will be shown too.”

Image source: ABC7 New York

Paul Rusesabagina freed from prison, returns to the US

Paul RusesabaginaRwandan human rights campaigner Paul Rusesabagina was eventually released from prison in Kigali last week.

On Wednesday, he returned to the United States.

The guy who inspired the Don Cheadle-led film Hotel Rwanda has arrived to the US Army’s Brooke Army Medical Center at Joint Base San Antonio, according to a State Department official.

The return

An official issued a statement on Wednesday announcing Paul Rusesabagina’s safe return.

“The US government is focused on ensuring that Mr. Rusesabagina and his family’s well-being are prioritized, and that all assistance available is offered in an appropriate and timely manner,” the official said.

The official also declined to provide any information, citing privacy concerns out of respect for the family.

Rusesabagina’s daughter, Carine Kanima, also verified her father’s homecoming online.

“PAUL RUSESABAGINA IS FREE,” she tweeted, sharing a photo of her father smiling in an airplane.

“Dad has just arrived in San Antonio, Texas.”

“Thank you to EVERYONE who worked soooo hard to bring home,” she added.

“Our Family is finally reunited today.”

Rusesabagina and his release

Paul Rusesabagina was freed from a Rwandan jail last week after President Paul Kagame shortened his sentence.

Senior US sources informed reporters on Friday that he had been relocated to Kigali and was staying at the house of the Qatari envoy.

“He will be spending a limited period of time hosted by the Qataris, likely a couple of days,” said one official.

He would fly to Doha before returning to the United States, they said.

According to a US congressional staffer familiar with Rusesabagina’s case, he will take part in the Department of Defense program PISA (Post-Isolation Support Activities).

Several recently released US unlawful prisoners have participated in the program, which varies in length but has a maximum of 19 days.

The program is intended to assist people in reintegrating into society.

Paul Rusesabagina was released after requesting a pardon from President Kagame in a letter delivered in October 2022.

Read also: Donald Trump kicks off 2024 bid in Waco rally

“If I am granted a pardon and released, I understand fully that I will spend the remainder of my days in the United States in quiet reflection,” he wrote.

“I can assure you through this letter that I hold no personal or political ambitions otherwise.”

“I will leave questions regarding Rwandan politics behind me.”

Rusesabagina is a dual Rwandan and Belgian citizen who was scheduled to be freed together with 19 other individuals sentenced with him.

After word of his release broke, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken issued the following statement:

“It is a relief to know that Paul is rejoining his family, and the US Government is grateful to the Rwandan Government for making this reunion possible.”

“We also thank the Government of Qatar for their valuable assistance that will enable Paul’s return to the United States.”

The arrest and sentence

Paul Rusesabagina was apprehended by Rwandan police while traveling overseas in 2020.

His relatives said the arrest was the result of an abduction.

Rusesabagina was found guilty of terrorism-related crimes and sentenced to 25 years in prison in September 2021.

During the trial, he was accused of being a member of the terror organization MRCD-FLN, which was responsible for two deadly assaults in 2018.

The Clooney Foundation for Justice, on the other hand, called the decision a “show trial.”

According to the organization, the conviction lacked the necessary fairness assurances needed by African and international norms.

A senior US official previously stated that no concession to the US as a government could result in Paul Rusesabagina’s release.

Instead, a plan was devised in collaboration with Rusesabagina, the Rwandan government, and the American administration.

It took months to establish an agreement that was acceptable to all parties concerned.

Image source: BBC

Nashville massacre sees 6 dead in school shooting

Nashville On Monday morning, a 28-year-old shooter opened fire on a private Christian school in Nashville, resulting in a carnage.

Six individuals were slain by the shooter, including three 9-year-old children and three adults.

Investigators suspect they used a map to travel the campus, leaving some paperwork behind and scouting a second place for a possible second attack.

The shooter

Audrey Hale was identified as the shooter by authorities.

Hale, a former Covenant School student, is accused of plotting a school attack.

At a news conference, Metro Nashville Police Chief John Drake claimed that the suspect was armed with three firearms when they entered the school through a side entry.

Police referred to Hale as “the female shooter,” and it was subsequently revealed during a news conference that Hale was transsexual.

According to a spokesperson, Hale used male pronouns on social sites.

The shooting

According to authorities, the school shooting lasted 14 minutes.

The initial report of gunfire came in at 10:13 a.m.

According to police spokesperson Don Aaron, Audrey Hale died at 10:27 a.m.

He emphasized that no school resource officer was assigned to monitor the private school because it was administered by the church.

According to officials, Hale opened fire on the school’s first and second floors.

Five cops on the scene rushed upstairs to investigate when they heard gunfire.

According to Aaron, they tracked down Audrey Hale and shot her.


During the event, authorities seized Hale’s things, which contained exact school maps identifying monitoring and entrance locations.

“We had some writings that we’re going over that pertain to this day, the actual incident,” said Drake.

“We have a map drawn out of how this was all going to take place.”

Authorities say Hale considered targeting another venue but decided against it after conducting a “threat assessment” due to the site’s high security.

Drake also revealed that the show would have taken place in Nashville.

Police believe Hale legally got two of the three guns, an AR-style rifle, an AR-style pistol, and a handgun.

According to Drake, authorities are still investigating a motive, searching the shooter’s home, and questioning the suspect’s father.

According to the president of Nossi College of Art & Design in Nashville, Hale graduated in 2022.

Hale is a freelance graphic designer and a part-time grocery shopper, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Read also: Donald Trump kicks off 2024 bid in Waco rally

The victims

Evelyn Dieckhau, Hallie Scruggs, and William Kinney, all nine years old, were identified by Nashville police on Monday afternoon.

Cynthia Peak, 61, Katherine Koonce, 60, and Mike Hill, 61, worked at the plant.

According to the school’s website, Koonce is the principal of Covenant and has attended Vanderbilt University, Trevecca Nazarene University, and Georgia State University.

According to Don Aaron, Hill was a Covenant caretaker and substitute teacher at the moment the incident occurred.

The school shooting in Nashville was the worst since a 2022 attack in Uvalde, Texas, which killed 21 people.

The Covenant School, founded in 2001 as a branch of Covenant Presbyterian Church, is a private Christian school for children in preschool through sixth grade.

Families’ concerns

In response to the tragic assault, a large police and fire force was called in.

As they approached the school, they joined families who had gathered outside to await the return of their loved ones.

Avery Myrick, whose mother worked at the school, claimed she received a text message from her mother in which she stated she was hiding in a closet.

She could hear gunfire all across campus.

Fortunately, Myrick’s mother was not injured.

“Just getting that initial phone call that was OK, it obviously brings a ton of relief, but you’re still hurting for the people out there who may not get that call,” she said.

Meanwhile, Jozen Reodica, a Shearwater Health employee, recorded police taking students from the school on Monday.

The children walked in a line along the street, holding hands.

Reodica suspected something was awry when she saw police vehicles turn up at the school across the street to where she works.

“They (the police) started to close down the road,” she said. “It happened so fast.”

“I saw a policeman run to the scene and then after a few minutes kids were already crossing.”

David Rausch, the director of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, stated that the department was aiding the Metro Nashville Police Department with the investigation.

He went on to suggest that they would each view the officer-involved shooting scenario separately.

Police are analyzing video from the school shooting.

Congress urged to do something

During a news conference, President Joe Biden issued a proclamation, calling the shooting “sick” and “heartbreaking.”

He also requested that Congress enact gun safety legislation.

“We have to do more to stop gun violence,” said Biden.

“It’s ripping our communities apart, ripping the soul of this nation, ripping at the very soul of the nation.”

“And we have to do more to protect our schools, so they aren’t turned into prisons.”

Meanwhile, Nashville Mayor Jon Cooper has scheduled a candlelight tribute for the victims for Wednesday evening.

The event is being held at One Public Square Park.

“It is important that we stand together on this dark day for Nashville,” he tweeted.

Nashville has also set up a fund to help the victims of the calamity.

Image source: Axios

Burnout: the debate of getting a diagnosis

Burnout Just before the 2020 pandemic, studies and media reports showed a significant incidence of burnout among working people.

Occupations with the highest rates of burnout include the health care, education and service sectors.

It got even more attention when New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced her resignation earlier this year. 

“I know what the job takes, and I know that I no longer have enough in the tank to do it justice.”

Psychologist Christina Masrach, who has studied work-related stress for decades, has found a term that comes up frequently in her research.  

“She’s talking about an empty tank,” Maslach pointed out.

Maslach said the pandemic shows how important work is to a healthy and functioning society, even when people are tired.  

Modern understanding

Some scholars believe burnout is a modern phenomenon caused by our busy culture, while others believe it’s a fresh iteration of a long series of fatigue problems. .

They mentioned the ancient Greek concept of Asedia, which the 5th-century monk and theologian John Cassian characterized as physical lethargy and yawning hunger.

In the 1970s, Herbert Freudenberger, a consultant psychologist for volunteers working with drug users, coined the term “burnout.”

Freudenberger used this phrase to describe the following characteristics of volunteers:  

  • A gradual loss of motivation
  • Emotional depletion
  • Reduced commitment

Christina Maslach noticed similar trends in interviews with social workers in California, which inspired her to develop a burnout detection tool, the Maslach Burnout Inventory.

They discovered her three traits in Susan Jackson, a doctoral student at the time.

Chronic feelings of fatigue, cynicism and inefficiency, or low personal achievement.

According to Renzo Bianchi, an occupational psychologist at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Maslach’s scale has elevated burnout to a legitimate research topic. 

“Before [the Maslach Burnout Inventory], burnout was pop psychology,” said Bianchi.


Since its inception, Maslach’s inventory has been the most widely used tool for studying burnout, although its definition of the disease has been criticized.

Wilmar Schaufeli and Dirk Enzmann, organizational psychologists, wrote The Burnout Companion to Study and Practice: A Critical Analysis in 1998.

They argued that boxing burnout, defined as a combination of fatigue, cynicism, and inefficiency, was “arbitrary.”  

“What would have happened if other items had been included?” they proposed.

“Most likely, other dimensions would have appeared.”

The three aspects and causes, according to Evangelia Demerouti of Eindhoven University of Technology, are loosely defined.

Nonwork circumstances, such as health concerns and childcare duties, can all contribute to weariness.

Disagreements have developed in competing opinions, one of which is how to use Maslachi’s inventory.

There was no mention of a cutoff point to define when people went from not burnt out to burnt out in the inventory.

It was instead intended to assist academics in identifying patterns in a work environment or profession.

Maslach has limited effect over how others employ the inventory method.

A modified version of the Maslach Burnout Inventory was used in nearly 86% of the physician burnout studies presented at JAMA 2018, some of which reduced the number of statements or assessed fatigue.

They were using an unapproved version of the scale that included a cutoff value, but there was little consensus on its definition.

Among all papers, JAMA researchers found 142 burnout categories.

Researchers identified 11 different assessment tools that did not use inventory variants within the study group.

Concerns have led educators to rethink how burnout is defined and measured. 

“We don’t [have] a good conceptualization of diagnosis of burnout,” said Demerouti.

“We need to start from scratch.”

Read also: Mental health struggles are weighing down college students


Experts believe fatigue is a key feature, according to Bianchi and his team in 2021.

Research over the past two decades has focused on the idea that burnout leads to cognitive changes such as memory impairment and difficulty concentrating.

Charlie Renaud of the University of Rennes argues that the problem could lead to forgetfulness.

People’s problems can spill over into personal situations and make leisure activities more difficult.

Renaud argued that as more information becomes available, scientists will include questions about cognitive changes in burnout assessments.

Connection to depression

Depression is usually attributed to individuals, but the concepts seem to contradict each other as sociological causes lead to burnout.

Researchers have questioned whether the latter occurs as a diagnosis in and of itself.

Research shows that the concepts do not contradict each other.

Prolonged stress at work can lead to depression, and mood can lead to burnout.

Furthermore, according to Bianchi and his colleagues, fatigue was associated with depression, not cynicism or inefficiency.

If various symptoms fall under burnout, fatigue and sadness seem to be a more viable combination than Masrach’s inventory. 

“The real problem is that we want to believe that burnout is not a depressive condition [or] as severe as a depressive condition,” said Bianchi, but he said it isn’t true.

Should it be diagnosed?

The diagnosis is controversial because not everyone considers it a good idea. 

“Burnout was never, ever thought of as a clinical diagnosis,” Maslach explained.

However, Bianchi and his team disagreed with this statement.

They developed a proprietary scale, the Occupational Depression Inventory, to measure nine key symptoms associated with major depression, including cognitive impairment and suicide risk, in terms of work.

If burnout is a form of depression, Bianchi says it may need to be addressed.  

“Hopefully, the interventions, the treatments, the forms of support that exist for depressed people can be applied for occupational depression,” he said.

According to Kirsi Ahora of the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, this treatment does not reduce the work-related stress that causes this condition. 

“[Imagine] the person is on sick leave, for example, for a few weeks and recuperates and rests,” she offered.

“And he comes back to the exactly same situation where the demands are too high and no support and whatever. Then he or she starts burning out again.”

The current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders does not include burnout.

Maslach’s theory of burnout got support when the World Health Organization classified the syndrome in his 2019 International Classification of Diseases.

Nevertheless, the World Health Organization has stated that this is an occupational phenomenon and not a medical problem. 

Image source: Greater Good Science Center

Banks in Europe wary of the crisis, stocks take a dip

Banks The European financial crisis took a fresh turn on Friday, with bank stocks plummeting.

Investors had a part, acting on their residual concerns about prior bank crises spilling over into the broader sector.


The European Stoxx Europe 600 Banks index measures the top 42 banks in Europe and the United Kingdom.

It concluded 3.8% lower.

Despite this, the index has fallen almost 18% from its peak in late February.

Similarly, the FTSE 100 index in London fell 1.3%.

Deutsche Bank (DB) shares dropped 14.5% before recovering to settle 8.5% down.

The shares of UBS and Credit Suisse fell 3.6% and 5.2%, respectively.

Deutsche Bank

In recent days, Deutsche Bank’s expenses for safeguarding itself against a potential debt default has risen.

According to S&P Market Intelligence data, the bank’s five-year credit default swap (CDS) touched 203 basis points on Thursday, the highest level since early 2019.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz stated on Friday that there was no cause to be concerned about Deutsche Bank.

“It’s a very profitable bank,” said Scholz.

In Brussels, EU leaders released a unified statement praising the European banking system for its stability and appropriate capital and liquidity levels.

CMC Markets’ chief market analyst, Michael Hewson, backed the report by saying:

“The rising price of insuring CDS senior debt is weighing on Deutsche Bank, as well as other European banks, on concerns over the impact of rising rates on the wider economy and banks’ balance sheets.”

Read also: Bank stocks the top of investments today

Interest rate hike

This week, the European Central Bank delivered on its promise to raise interest rates by half a percentage point.

Their decision was based on their belief that inflation was a more serious economic danger than the current global financial crisis.

The Bank of England hiked its main interest rate by a quarter percentage point on Thursday, following data indicating an unexpected uptick in inflation in February.

Market jitters, according to Susannah Streeter, head of money and markets at Hargreaves Lansdown.

“Worries about contagion are again rearing up even though more deposits appear to have been flowing into the German lender since the banking scare erupted,” she said.

“It is thought to have capital reserves well in excess of regulatory requirements.”

Experts think Deutsche Bank’s Friday statement that it will repay one of its bonds five years ahead of schedule shook markets.

Investors frequently interpret such a move as evidence that the firm is financially sound and capable of repaying creditors on time.

US crisis effect

While investors were enthusiastic at the time, the failures of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank in the United States, as well as Credit Suisse’s emergency takeover, damaged their faith.

Investors may have interpreted the statement as Deutsche Bank’s concern about the status of the banking industry.

According to Capital Economics deputy chief markets economist Jonas Goltermann, some investors fear banks are overcompensating.

In addition, he claimed that the bank’s activities appeared to have backfired.

According to a source familiar with the matter, Deutsche Bank’s decision to repay the bond ahead of schedule was pre-planned rather than a reaction to recent market developments.

The bond would have lost its eligibility as a type of regulatory capital later under the rules adopted in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis.

According to the source, the bank replaced the bond in February by issuing a similar sort of bond.

Similarly, Commerzbank (CRZBF) in Germany and Société Générale in France suffered significant losses, ending the quarter with losses of 5.5% and 5.9%, respectively.

Swiss banks remain wary

In an emergency takeover orchestrated by the Swiss government this week, UBS, Switzerland’s largest bank, paid 3 billion Swiss francs ($3.25 billion) for its Swiss rival.

After the failures of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank earlier this month, the decision helped to calm markets.

Yet, investors were nervous on Friday.

After a Bloomberg report that the US Department of Justice was examining their employees’ links to help Russian oligarchs avoid Western sanctions, UBS and Credit Suisse failed.

According to the article, the DOJ sent subpoenas to the personnel prior to UBS’s purchase of Credit Suisse.

In the meantime, staff of major American banks are being investigated.

According to Hewson of CMC Markets, the DOJ investigation into UBS contributed to broad price weakness across European banks.

Image source: Euromoney

Mental health struggles are weighing down college students

Mental healthAccording to a new survey, many college students are struggling with their mental health, with many considering leaving out.

In the survey, two out of every five undergraduate students, or roughly half of all female students, commonly feel emotional stress throughout their studies.

The survey

Gallup and the Lumina Foundation, a private independent organization, released the new findings on Thursday.

The study was done in the fall of 2022, with responses from 12,000 persons with a high school diploma but no associate’s or bachelor’s degree.

It discovered that more than 40% of undergraduate degree students pondered dropping out in the previous six months.

Several people preferred emotional hardship and personal mental health to money difficulties and academic trouble.

Experts say that the adolescent years are a sensitive time for mental health, and college offers big changes that can act as additional sensors.

Sarah K. Lipson, an assistant professor at Boston University and the primary investigator of the Healthy Minds Network, elaborated:

“About 75% of lifetime mental health problems will onset by the mid-20s, so that means that the college years are a very epidemiologically vulnerable time.”

“And then for many adolescents and young adults, the transition to college comes with newfound autonomy.”

“They may be experiencing the first signs and symptoms of mental health problems while now in this new level of independence that also includes new independence over their decision-making as it relates to mental health.”

An estimated one in every five persons in the United States suffers from a mental illness, with young adults aged 18 to 25 bearing a disproportionate share of the burden.

The percentage of college students experiencing anxiety and depression has been increasing for years, and the situation has only become worse since the pandemic.

According to a Kaiser Family Foundation study, half of young adults aged 18 to 24 had anxiety and depression symptoms in 2023.

Breaking the stigma

According to experts, mental health in college is critical.

Lipson claims that it predicts practically every long-term result that individuals care about, including:

  • The future
  • Economic earnings
  • Workplace productivity
  • Future mental health
  • Future physical health

With that in mind, assistance is desperately required.

According to a Healthy Minds Network study from 2021, one out of every seven college students had suicide ideation, which was higher than in 2020.

Read also: Insomnia could lead to higher chances of suffering heart attacks

Julie Wolfson, the Fountain House’s College ReEntry program’s director of outreach and research, stated:

“For a lot of students, this isn’t what they saw their life looking like. This isn’t the timeline that they had for themselves.”

“They see their friends continuing on and becoming juniors and seniors, graduating and getting their first job. But they feel stuck and like they’re watching their life plan slipping away.”

Lipson added that it generates a shame spiral.

Mental health specialists, on the other hand, highlighted the significance of prioritizing personal needs over the status quo.

“There’s no shame in taking some time off,” said Union College psychologist Marcus Hotaling.

“Take a semester. Take a year. Get yourself better – whether it be through therapy or medication – and come back stronger, a better student, more focused, and more importantly, healthier.”

Authorities also advise educational institutions to assist by relieving pressure through rules that make it easier to return.

“When a student is trying to do the best thing for themselves, that should be celebrated and promoted,” said Wolfson.

“For a school to then put a ton of barriers for them to come back, it makes students not want to seek help.”

“I would hope that in the future, there could be policies and systems that are more welcoming to students who are trying to take care of themselves.”

Support development

Mental health treatment is subjective, and specialists advise that taking a vacation from school is not appropriate for everyone.

According to Ryan Patel, chair of the American College Health Association’s mental health section, tracking progress through self-assessments of symptoms and gauges of functioning might benefit in making the decision.

“If we’re making progress and you’re getting better, then it could make sense to think about continuing school,” said Patel.

“But if you’re doing everything you can in your day-to-day life to improve your mental health and we’re not making progress, or things are getting worse despite best efforts, that’s where the differentiating point occurs, in my mind.”

As the demand for services grows, college counseling facilities are failing to keep up.

Additionally, the mental health professional deficit goes beyond the university.

Experts, on the other hand, believe that institutions are particularly positioned to provide students with a network of support.

“Colleges have an educational mission, and I would make the argument that spreads to education about health and safety,” said Hotaling.

He believes that college professors should be educated to notice urgent issues or dangers to the safety of their students.

They should, however, be aware that students might face a succession of mental health issues and be aware of the resources available to help them.

Image source: North American InterFraternity Conference

Utah gives divisive bill the green light for social media restrictions

Utah For more than a decade, the world has been transitioning toward a new era of technology and social media.

Many users began using the platforms as teens and grew up with them, and now their children want to join in on the fun.

Yet, there has been a heated controversy about whether they should even be permitted on the platforms in the first place.

On Thursday, Utah’s governor signed a divisive bill to protect children online.

The news

Utah’s governor signed legislation requiring teens to get parental permission before creating social media accounts on various sites.

The bill is largely considered as the most drastic step taken by state or federal lawmakers to safeguard kids online.

The following clauses are included in the Utah Social Media Regulation Act:

  • Social media platforms must conduct age verification for Utah residents
  • Band ads for minors
  • Impose an online curfew
  • Restrict sites between 10:30 pm to 6:30 am for those under 18
  • Parents must be able to access their teens’ accounts

The legislation

Republican Senator Michael McKell introduced the bill, which was subsequently adopted by Republican Governor Spencer Cox.

It will go into effect on March 1, 2024.

McKell discussed how the development of social media has increased anxiety, depression, and suicidal ideation among Utah and national children.

“When it comes down to it, [the bill] is about protecting our children,” he said.

“As a lawmaker and parent, I believe this bill is the best path forward to prevent our children from succumbing to the negative and sometimes life-threatening effects of social media.”

The measure also comes after years of lobbying by American legislators for safeguards to protect children and teenagers online.

Concerns about young users falling into dangerous rabbit holes have persisted, resulting in a new sort of abuse and harassment.

Furthermore, it is claimed that social media has exacerbated what is being described as a teenage mental health crisis in the United States.

Consequentially yet, no federal legislation has been adopted.

The states and proposals

Utah is the first state to introduce legislation that emphasizes the online protection of children.

They are, however, not the only ones who have devised such a strategy.

Connecticut and Ohio legislators, for example, are pushing to pass legislation mandating social networking services to acquire parental approval before allowing users under the age of 16 to join.

“We can assume more methods like the Utah bill could find their way into other states’ plans, especially if actions are not taken at the federal level,” said ABI Research analyst Michael Inouye.

“Eventually, if enough states implement similar or related legislation, we could see a more concerted effort at the federal level to codify these (likely) disparate state laws under a US-wide policy.”

Read also: Social media to undergo stricter regulations this year


Industry experts and Big Tech businesses have long urged the US government to pass legislation to safeguard younger social media users.

Many expressed concerns about the measure’s ramifications even before it was enacted.

Utah’s set of restrictions, according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, are damaging to user privacy.

According to the group, the bill would also make user data less secure, internet access less private, and impinge on the basic rights of underage users.

“Social media provides a lifeline for many young people, in addition to community, education, and conversation,” said EFF director of activism Jason Kelley.

“They use it in part because it can be private.”

“The law, which would limit social media access and require parental consent and monitoring for minors, will incalculably harm the ability of young people to protect their privacy and deter them from exercising their rights.”

Lucy Ivey, a TikTok influencer and Utah Valley University student, concurred with the group’s sentiments.

She claimed that her LGBT peers would face challenges as a result of the shift.

“My worry with this bill is that it will take away privacy from teenagers, and a lot of kids don’t have good relationships with their parents or don’t have a reliable guardian that would be needed to get access to social media,” said Ivey.

“I think about my LGBTQ friends; some who have a hard time with their parents because of their sexuality or identity, and they could be losing an important place where they can be themselves, and be seen and heard.”

Ivey founded Our Era at the age of 15, subsequently extending her output on TikTok, where she expressed concern about the bill’s implications on content creators like herself.

“With a new law like this, they may now be intimidated and discouraged by the legal hoops required to use social media out of fear of authority or their parents, or fear of losing their privacy at a time when teens are figuring out who they are.”

Facebook’s parent company, Meta, declared that it had the same goals as parents and politicians.

Nonetheless, by offering accessible platforms, the firm encourages young people to have a joyful and secure online experience.

According to Antigone Davis, Meta’s global head of safety, the company will continue to work with experts, governments, and parents to address the issues.

Even if the Utah legislative procedures are flawed, the initial efforts to address the problems, according to Inouye, are limited.

Image source: The Salt Lake Tribune

TikTok would take a ban over algorithm sale

TikTokYears ago, Trump threatened to ban TikTok if its Chinese owners did not sell the company to US investors.

While the firm avoided such a disaster, a comparable crisis awaits it in 2023.

The news

TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew will testify before US senators on Thursday, some of whom have started calling for the app to be banned in the country.

They reasoned that TikTok constituted a national security threat, forcing sales demands to climb once more.

Analysts and experts, on the other hand, feel that an outright divestment is no longer viable.

They claim that the Chinese government considers TikTok technology to be sensitive.

They have also been working since 2020 to ensure that the corporation can refuse potential transactions from its Beijing-based owner, ByteDance.

Another issue is the ownership of TikTok’s algorithms and the massive data collected from its 150 million American clients.

Chinese officials

Content recommendation algorithms, for example, are critical to the Chinese government’s national interests.

Officials proposed tougher limits on the sale of the technology to foreign bidders in December.

Brock Silvers, chief investment officer of Kaiyuan Capital, commented on Beijing and the acquisition of TikTok.

“Beijing will have no say in the US decision to mandate the sale of TikTok, but it will retain the ultimate approval authority over such a sale.”

“It also seems extremely unlikely that Beijing will accept any deal that removes TikTok’s algorithm[s] from its direct control and regulatory authority.”

The algorithm

Since they keep users interested, TikTok’s algorithms are key to the app’s success.

The algorithm suggests videos depending on the user’s interests and behavior, pouring flicks they love watching.

Chinese regulators placed the algorithms on the restricted list of technologies in August 2020.

By then, the Trump government was aiming to restrict TikTok unless it was sold.

Nonetheless, a statement issued by a trade professor at the University of International Business and Economics was published in official Chinese media.

Cui Fan, the professor, stated that the revised restrictions implied ByteDance would need a Beijing permit to monetize the technology.

“Some cutting-edge technologies might impact national security and public welfare, and need to be included in [export control] management,” said Cui Fan.

TikTok’s intended 2020 sale to Oracle and Walmart was thwarted when Beijing added the algorithm to its export restriction list.

The Trump-era directive targeting TikTok was later repealed by the Biden administration.

Instead, they substituted a broad mandate for exploring technology associated with foreign competitors.

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The spotlight again

While they were relieved to be out of the political spotlight, the firm got caught up in the geopolitical battle between China and the United States.

Alex Capri of the Hinrich Foundation stated:

“The TikTok hearings in the United States mark the beginnings of a regulatory meat-grinder facing all [Chinese] tech companies.”

A senior Chinese regulator of digital and traditional media made a visit to the ByteDance office last week.

He encouraged the firm to improve recommendation algorithms in order to distribute excellent energies and improve online content review, according to the regulator’s website.

The visit was centered on Beijing’s desire to keep its most powerful internet businesses close.

A Chinese government body acquired a 1% golden share in ByteDance’s Beijing subsidiary in April 2021, according to the corporate data website Qichacha.

The firm controls the Chinese version of TikTok, Douyin, as well as Toutiao, a news aggregation app.

“TikTok’s algorithms make it truly unique in terms of data harvesting and strategic analytics,” said Capri.

“Therefore, I don’t see Beijing allowing it to fall into the hands of US interests.”

“Unless they can somehow still access TikTok’s data through other means and methods, including ongoing cyber intrusion and other forms of back-door access.”

A tighter grip on the technology

Recently, Chinese officials have intensified their grip and control over algorithm tech.

A legislation mandating firms to register recommendation algorithms with the Cyberspace Administration entered into effect in March 2022.

The administration is a regulator of the internet that reports to President Xi Jinping.

Additionally, legislation controlling deep synthesis algorithms went into action in early 2023, restricting the deployment of AI-powered picture, audio, and text-generation software.

According to adjunct New York University School of Law professor Winston ma, the legislative revisions suggest that the company’s recommendation algorithms may be subject to China’s export rules.


TikTok has taken initiative to set up technological and organizational precautions to secure user data from unauthorized access.

The recommendations under Project Texas would give the US government and third-party firms some influence over the company’s data operations.

The company is working on Project Clover, a similar plan for the European Union.

Yet, US officials are not entirely happy because China may have influence over TikTok’s Chinese owners.

Capri stated that if TikTok was sold to an American, the problems would persist.

“A change of TikTok’s ownership solves nothing,” he said.

“The real issue is general data security and who ultimately has access to that data, by whatever means, regardless of legal ownership.”

According to Capri, the real test is if user data can be adequately ring-fenced and whether privacy and security can be accomplished by data segregation, encryption, and other ways.

Brock Silvers believes the two parties will reach an agreement in which American concerns will be addressed while Beijing retains control of TikTok.

He believes that Beijing would rather TikTok forsake the American market than hand over the algorithm.

“If any Chinese company is to have a chance of surviving increased scrutiny from Western governments, they have to entrust their data to third party security firms and endure rigorous third party audits and government intrusion, in addition to transferring ownership,” said Capri.

“This is really an existential crisis for Chinese firms operating in the west.

Image source: Business Insider

FC Barcelona controversy looks to be out of the woods

FC BarcelonaCatalan soccer juggernaut FC Barcelona has previously been accused of misconduct by Spanish authorities.

Previous club presidents Sandro Rosell and Josep Maria Bartomeu were accused of accepting payments from the former referees committee vice president.

Nevertheless, further developments in the sports scandal revealed that Spanish authorities did not find evidence of recurring payments.

What happened?

Athletics cheating has always been frowned upon, regardless of country.

FC Barcelona was accused of paying José Maria Enriquez Negreira, deputy president of Spain’s officiating committee, to favor the team.

The following announcement was made:

“Through presidents [Sandro] Rosell and [Josep] Bartomeu, Barcelona reached and maintained a strictly confidential verbal agreement with the defendant Negreira, so that, in his capacity as vice president of the refereeing committee and in exchange for money, he would carry out actions aimed at favoring Barcelona in the decision making of the referees in the matches played by the club, and thus in the results of the competitions.”

The former presidents & payments

Sandro Rosell served as FC Barcelona’s president from 2010 to 2014, until Josep Bartomeu took over.

Bartomeu was in control of the athletic powerhouse until he stepped down in 2020, and Joan Laporta took over in 2021.

According to Barcelona, the funds were made to Negreira’s company, Dasnil 96 SL.

They were ostensibly designed for “technical reporting on refereing,” with the assumption that such services were widespread in the game.

Laporta, who served as president from 2003 to 2010, would be invited to testify.

He, on the other hand, disputed charges that Barcelona had paid off the authorities.

“Barca have never bought referees nor influence,” said Laporta. “That was never the intention, and that has to be clear.”

“The facts contradict those that are trying to tell a different story.”

Meanwhile, Negreira made a statement of his own, saying:

“FC Barcelona considered that the team was harmed and other teams were favored. This is a personal hypothesis, nobody has told me directly.”

“My obligation was to give my opinion about the matches in terms of arbitration and the players. Technical advice.”

“What FC Barcelona wanted was to make sure that no decisions were made against the club, that everything was neutral.”

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Investigations and charges

José Maria Enriquez Negreira resigned as vice president of Spain’s referees committee in 2018.

While he has been out of work for years, he was the sole focus of a tax office investigation for payments from Barcelona totaling around €1.4 million ($1.51 million) between 2016 and 2018.

After investigating payments from 2014 to 2018, prosecutors charged Rossell and Bartomeu, as well as ex-FC Barcelona officials Oscar Gau and Albert Soler.

Nevertheless, La Liga president Javier Tebas declared that FC Barcelona could not face sporting fines after a three-year delay.

He did, however, agree to revisit the matter once the legal procedures were completed.

The Spanish Football Federation and La Liga have provided UEFA the relevant information and documentation.

People may decide to act in response to the outcome.

FIFA could be involved.

The latest development

The FC Barcelona money-laundering investigation has advanced.

According to EFE, the latest results show that the club’s €7.5 million ($8.1 million) payments to Negreira had no influence on on-field decisions.

The charges include a lack of explanation and proper documentation for the millions of euros supplied to Negreira’s economic interests, meaning that the club continued to pay for illegal services.

The claims are a big gain for FC Barcelona after the allegations earlier this year turned the club upside down.

The club has kept mute about the topic, preferring to focus on external investigations and internal operations.

Joan Laporta was supposed to speak with the press after gathering all of the necessary evidence and information.

Barca, according to Laport, will soon supply intelligence, ready to attack and defend.

A former La Liga referee also appeared on behalf of Barcelona, claiming that Negreira did not ask him to influence decisions in favor of the Catalan club.

Image source: CNN

Dry farming provides alternate solution amid climate crisis

Dry farmingClimate change is flipping the world on its head, causing lakes to dry up and sea levels to increase.

Due to a lack of suitable water supply, farmers in the West have been forced to experiment with dry farming.

It has been effective thus far, but it will not address agriculture’s challenges.

Yet, because it relies less on limited natural resources, it has paved the way for smaller-scale manufacturers.

As a result, dry-farmed produce is usually smaller in size, and harvests are less plentiful.

Nevertheless, dry farming can produce more tasty and longer-lasting food.

How does it work?

The first and most frequently held belief is that dry farming is a method of raising plants without the need of water.

Amy Garrett, executive director of the nonprofit Dry Farming Institute in Corvallis, Oregon, reminded us that without water, nothing grows.

Dry-farmed plants receive moisture from the soil rather than being sprayed.

The unique agricultural strategy is possible in all Western states, but it requires the rainy season since precipitation is absorbed into the soil.

During a dry growing season, plant roots may pull in moisture.

Dry farming may be utilized to grow a wide range of fruits and vegetables, including:

  • Corn
  • Potatoes
  • Squash
  • Tomatoes
  • Watermelons

In contrast to rain-fed agriculture, crops thrive without irrigation during the rainy season.

Some factors, however, are essential for dry farming to be efficient.

David Runsten, water policy director for the Community Alliance with Family Farmers in California, stated:

“You need to be in a place where there’s sufficient rainfall to create moisture in the soil.”

Farmers that wish to experiment with dry farming must use a number of methods to keep their crops moist.

They will need to plant early in the season, for example, to take advantage of soil moisture from winter showers.

Farmers should also plant widely to allow roots to seek water.

Farmers can also plant young seedlings in furrows, decreasing wind drying and putting a layer of mulch above the soil for insulation.

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Beyond the West

Dry farming is popular all throughout the world, from the olive groves of the Mediterranean to the melon fields of Botswana to the wineries of Chile.

Indigenous peoples in the American West have practiced dry farming for thousands of years.

“Dry farming is just farming – it’s our way of life,” said Michael Kotutwa Johnson.

Johnson is a Hopi Tribe member and a University of Arizona in Tucson Indigenous resilience expert.

He dry farms corn and lima beans, which he learned from his grandfather.

Johnson stated how the Hopi community’s goals and spiritual beliefs are aligned with the thorough grasp of the natural environment necessary for dry farming.

“You get to really learn what the environment gives you, and you learn to reciprocate,” he said, noting that a relationship between the cropping system and farmer develops.

“It’s a beautiful thing, and it’s something that needs to be cherished.”

The method through history

When non-Indigenous people first arrived in the West, they practiced dry farming.

Throughout the twentieth century, commercial farmers depended on irrigation to fulfill the needs of increasing markets.

Farmers now have more control over water on demand, according to Jay Lund, deputy director of the University of California’s Center for Watershed Studies, allowing them to boost output.

“They could have a lot more reliable crop yields, and much higher crop yields,” he said.

Water irrigation, on the other hand, is currently in short supply throughout the West.

In places like California’s San Joaquin Valley, water is collected from deep aquifers and transported through canals and pipes before being deposited on crops.

According to experts, more than one-quarter of irrigation water is lost during conveyance owing to leaks and evaporation.

Another significant difficulty in the region is that water is being extracted faster than it is being restored.

“There just isn’t sufficient water for the amount of farmland that’s been planted,” said Runsten.

Irrigation access is presently limited.

Farmers in other states are currently facing water scarcity and are being forced to forgo irrigation.

Runsten believes that the situation is unlikely to improve very soon.

The future of dry farming

Farmers are still hesitant about the environmental benefits of dry farming.

Alex Stone, an Oregon State University horticulture, revealed that growers in the region are apprehensive of the strategy, even when planting popular varieties.

In California, for example, Early Girl tomatoes are extensively dry-farmed for supermarkets and farmer markets.

“They just see them as elite, expensive, small tomatoes,” said Stone.

Dry farming is also an alternative if water supplies become scarce.

Experts admit, however, that there is no one-size-fits-all solution to climate change.

Crops that thrived in the absence of irrigation, for example, might struggle in the future.

“As summers become hotter and drier, crops will require even more water as they will lose more water [through evapotranspiration], making dry farming riskier,” said Stone.

Image source: The Guardian