According to a new study by Expensivity, a financial aggregator website, the crisis-ridden, tiny Mediterranean country Lebanon boasts the most expensive McDonald’s menu — setting consumers back as much as $44.45 for a Big Mac meal with a large fries and a large coke.
A kid’s meal — known as a happy meal — goes for $21.89; also the most expensive happy meal in the world.
These exorbitant prices comes as Lebanon experiences an unprecedented economic and financial crisis, with its local currency having lost over 80 percent of its value on the black market, and inflation at an all-time high. Food and medicine shortages in supermarkets and pharmacies have become familiar sights as the country’s latest government attempts to handle the situation.
In an ironic twist, Lebanon was the holder of the world’s cheapest Big Mac in July when it cost just $1.68 for those earning anything but Lebanese pounds, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit.
Now, however, the American fast food chain’s best-seller goes for $21.89. Many, then, will decide to go for the locally-sourced and cheaper shawarma to quell their fast food appetite.
French climber pockets Mont Blanc gems after 2013 find
A treasure trove of emeralds, rubies and sapphires buried for decades on a glacier off France’s Mont Blanc has finally been shared between the climber who discovered them and local authorities, eight years after they were found.
The mountaineer stumbled across the precious stones in 2013. They had remained hidden in a metal box that was on board an Indian plane that crashed in the desolate landscape some 50 years earlier.
“The stones have been shared this week” in two equal lots valued at around 150,000 euros ($169,000) each, Chamonix mayor Eric Fournier told AFP.
He said he was “very happy” that events had been brought to a conclusion, in particular for the climber who he praised for his “integrity” in turning his find in to police as required by law.
Two Air India planes crashed into Mont Blanc in 1950 and in 1966.
Over the years, climbers have routinely found debris, baggage and human remains from the aircraft.
In September 2012, India took possession of a bag of diplomatic mail from the Kangchenjunga, a Boeing 707 flying from Mumbai which crashed on the southwest face of Mont Blanc on January 24, 1966.
The crash killed 117 people including the pioneer of India’s nuclear program, Homi Jehangir Bhabha.
Authorities believe the precious stones are likely to have come from that flight which had been en route from Mumbai to New York.
Bob Dole, war hero, longtime US senator, presidential candidate, dies at 98
Bob Dole, who overcame grievous World War Two combat wounds to become a pre-eminent figure in US politics as a longtime Republican senator from Kansas and his party’s unsuccessful 1996 presidential nominee, died on Sunday. He was 98.
Dole, known for a wit that ranged from self-deprecating to caustic, died in his sleep, the Elizabeth Dole Foundation said. Dole announced in February that he had been diagnosed with advanced lung cancer and would begin treatment.
“America has lost one of its heroes; our family has lost its rock,” Dole’s family said in a statement. “He embodied the integrity, humor, compassion and unbounded work ethic of the wide open plains of his youth. He was a powerful voice for pragmatic conservatism.”
Dole sought the presidency three times https://www.reuters.com/world/us/facts-about-late-former-senator-bob-dol… and was the Republican Party’s nominee in 1996 but lost to Democratic incumbent Bill Clinton. Dole was his party’s vice presidential nominee in 1976 on a ticket headed by incumbent President Gerald Ford but they lost to Democrat Jimmy Carter and his running mate Walter Mondale.
Dole, known for referring to himself in the third person, made a classic American journey from the poverty of the Great Depression of the 1930s, through World War Two battlefields to the corridors of power with a stoic Midwestern dignity.
He represented Kansas in Congress for 35 years: 1961 to 1969 in the House of Representatives and 1969 to 1996 in the Senate. Dole helped shepherd Republican President Ronald Reagan’s legislative agenda as Senate majority leader in the 1980s and spearheaded important legislation of his own.
Dole, who lost the use of his right arm from a war wound, was an advocate for the disabled and worked to shore up the finances of the Social Security retirement program. Dole was instrumental in passage of the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act prohibiting discrimination on the basis of disability in employment, public accommodations and transportation.
He also was a key figure behind building a memorial honoring Americans who served in World War Two on Washington’s National Mall, now a popular tourist stop.
President Joe Biden fondly recalled his visit to Dole in February at the Watergate complex in Washington where he lived.
“We picked up right where we left off, as though it were only yesterday that we were sharing a laugh in the Senate dining room or debating the great issues of the day, often against each other, on the Senate floor,” Biden said in a statement.
“Though we often disagreed, he never hesitated to work with me or other Democrats when it mattered most,” Biden said in a statement, a contrast to today’s bitter partisanship that has made it hard for the major parties to cooperate on legislation.
Former President Donald Trump called Dole “an American war hero.” In a statement, Trump added, “the Republican Party was made stronger by his service.”
Dole, who described himself as “a Trumper” in support of the former president, in July voiced impatience with Trump’s ongoing allegation that the 2020 election had been stolen from him because of massive voter fraud — a claim that has been rejected by several court challenges and Trump’s own Justice Department.
“He lost the election, and I regret that he did,” Dole told USA Today’s Susan Page. “I’m sort of Trumped out,” he added.
“When I think of the greatest generation, I think of Senator Bob Dole — a man who dedicated his life to serving our country. Rest In Peace, my friend,” Senator Mitt Romney, a former Republican presidential candidate, wrote on Twitter.
American flags were ordered to fly at half-staff at the White House, the US Capitol and other federal buildings.
“To those who believe that I am too combative, I say if I am combative, it is for love of country,” Dole said in his speech accepting his party’s 1996 presidential nomination. .”.. And to those who believe that I live and breathe compromise, I say that in politics honorable compromise is no sin. It is what protects us from absolutism and intolerance.”
Dole defeated rivals including conservative commentator Pat Buchanan to secure the nomination. At age 73, he found himself facing Clinton, 50 at the time, a charismatic embodiment of the postwar baby boom who already had weathered charges of adultery and military draft evasion.
Dole subtly raised Clinton’s past by saying: “If something happened along the route and you had to leave your children with Bob Dole or Bill Clinton, I think you’d probably leave them with Bob Dole.”
Clinton defeated Dole, capturing 49 percent of the popular vote to Dole’s 41 percent and third-party challenger Ross Perot’s 8 percent. Dole won 19 of the 50 states, losing the state-by-state Electoral College by a 379-159 count.
Clinton in 1997 awarded Dole the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor. Dole in 2018 received the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest honor Congress can bestow.
On Capitol Hill, Dole was a pragmatic conservative and an effective legislator liked by Democrats as well as Republicans for his ability to build coalitions and pass broadly acceptable laws. He was Senate majority leader from 1985 to 1987 and then again from 1995 to 1996, and was Senate minority leader from 1987 to 1995.
Dole acquired a reputation for sometimes lashing out at rivals and assumed the role of “hatchet man” as Ford’s running mate in 1976.
In a 1976 debate with Mondale, Dole declared: “If we added up the killed and wounded in Democrat wars in this century, it would be about 1.6 million Americans, enough to fill the city of Detroit.” Trying to recoup from that statement, Dole displayed a flash of humor, saying, “They told me to go for the jugular, so I did — mine.”
When he sought the Republican presidential nomination in 1988, Dole snapped at Vice President George H.W. Bush, saying, “Stop lying about my record.” Bush won the nomination and the presidency. Dole attended Bush’s 2018 funeral service at the US Capitol Rotunda, standing up from his wheelchair with the help of an aide and raising his left hand for a final salute.
Dole also sought the 1980 Republican presidential nomination eventually won by Reagan.
Dole’s wife, Elizabeth, served as Republican senator from North Carolina from 2003 to 2009, and as Bush’s secretary of labor and Reagan’s secretary of transportation.
Robert Joseph Dole was born on July 22, 1923, one of four children of a grain elevator manager and a traveling saleswoman in Russell, Kansas.
As a US Army lieutenant in World War Two, he led an assault on a German machine-gun nest in Italy. A shell wrecked his right shoulder, paralyzed his right arm, broke vertebrae, riddled his body with shrapnel and cost him a kidney. Decorated for heroism, Dole spent 39 months in hospitals before returning to civilian life.
Dole attended law school, unable to write but getting through with the help of his first wife, Phyllis, who transcribed class lectures he recorded. Dole had one daughter, Robin, from his first marriage.
Dole became involved in the 2016 Republican presidential campaign by endorsing Jeb Bush and joining his campaign. After Bush dropped out, Dole endorsed eventual winner Donald Trump. Former Dole adviser Paul Manafort served as Trump’s campaign chairman. In 2017, Dole praised Trump for having “immensely helped restore our position as leader of the free world.
Facebook whistleblower says transparency needed to fix social media ills
A deeper investigation into Facebook’s lack of controls to prevent misinformation and abuse in languages other than English is likely to leave people “even more shocked” about the potential harms caused by the social media firm, whistleblower Frances Haugen told Reuters.
Haugen, a former product manager at Meta Platforms Inc’s Facebook, spoke at the Reuters Next conference on Friday.
She left the company in May with thousands of internal documents which she leaked to the Wall Street Journal. That led to a series of articles in September detailing how the company knew its apps helped spread divisive content and harmed the mental health of some young users.
Facebook also knew it had too few workers with the necessary language skills to identify objectionable posts from users in a number of developing countries, according to the internal documents and Reuters interviews with former employees.
People who use the platform in languages other than English are using a “raw, dangerous version of Facebook,” Haugen said.
Facebook has consistently said it disagrees with Haugen’s characterization of the internal research and that it is proud of the work it has done to stop abuse on the platform.
Haugen said the company should be required to disclose which languages are supported by its tech safety systems, otherwise “Facebook will do … the bare minimum to minimize PR risk,” she said.
The internal Facebook documents made public by Haugen have also raised fresh concerns about how it may have failed to take actions to prevent the spread of misleading information.
Haugen said the social media company knew it could introduce “strategic friction” to make users slow down before resharing posts, such as requiring users to click a link before they were able to share the content. But she said the company avoided taking such actions in order to preserve profit.
Such measures to prompt users to reconsider sharing certain content could be helpful given that allowing tech platforms or governments to determine what information is true poses many risks, according to Internet and legal experts who spoke during a separate panel at the Reuters Next conference on Friday.
“In regulating speech, you’re handing states the power to manipulate speech for their own purposes,” said David Greene, civil liberties director at the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
The documents made public by Haugen have led to a series of US congressional hearings. Adam Mosseri, head of Meta Platforms’ Instagram app, will testify next week on the app’s effect on young people.
Asked what she would say to Mosseri given the opportunity, Haugen said she would question why the company has not released more of its internal research.
“We have evidence now that Facebook has known for years that it was harming kids,” she said. “How are we supposed to trust you going forward?“