Top Stories

January 02, 2018


Time’s Up – Women from across Hollywood form movement to target systemic sexual harassment

Following the highly prominent #MeToo campaign, in response to issues of systemic sexual harassment, 300 women from across Hollywood (actresses, agents, writers, directors, producers and entertainment executives) have formed a movement that seeks to fight these issues within Hollywood and in workplaces across the US. Time’s Up, whose members include actresses America Ferrera, Kerry Washington and Reese Witherspoon, is run solely by volunteers and consists of several working groups. One is behind the creation of a $13 million legal defence fund to help less privileged women – like janitors, nurses and workers at farms, factories, restaurants and hotels – protect themselves from sexual misconduct. Another group is devising legislation to tackle abuses and address how nondisclosure agreements silence victims of sexual harassment. (NY Times)

Corporate Reputation

Apple apologises for iPhone battery performance controversy

Apple has published a letter to customers that apologises for any “misunderstandings” associated with its recent admission that it deliberately slows down iPhones with older batteries. The tech company was hit by lawsuits from iPhone owners, who had long believed that Apple slowed down older phones to drive new sales. In the letter, Apple explains the technical background for its approach to phone battery life, detailing the chemical aging process of rechargeable batteries. It promises to add software features that provide more information to users about battery health, and will offer users a $50 discount on battery replacements throughout 2018. This is a significant change in attitude around iPhone batteries – a decade ago, when the first iPhone came out, Apple said most iPhone users would never need to replace their batteries. (The Verve)

Social Innovation

Silicon Valley robotics company partners with Rwandan government to deliver blood by drone

A partnership between Zipline, a Silicon Valley robotics company, and the Rwandan health ministry has dramatically improved the efficiency of blood delivery (from an average of four hours to half an hour) to remote regions of the country through the use of drones. Currently servicing 12 regional hospitals, each serving a population of approximately half a million, this use of innovative technology allows doctors to request blood via either WhatsApp message or Zipline’s website. The ordered blood, attached to a parachute, is dropped in a pre-designated area near the clinic or hospital. The partnership has resulted in the delivery of more than 5,500 units of blood over the last year, assisting in the reduction of maternal deaths and malaria-induced anaemia. Zipline plans to expand its delivery network into Tanzania to support more than 1,000 clinics. (The Guardian)

Sustainable Investment

African Development Bank challenged over financing of oil and gas projects

Nigerian NGO Environmental Rights Action (ERA), part of Friends of the Earth International, has asked the African Development Bank (AfDB) and other financial institutions to stop funding fossil fuel projects, following the World Bank’s announcement that it will cease funding such projects after 2019. ERA asserts the need for action due to the impact the continued implementation of fossil fuel projects will have on the feasibility of progress towards the Paris Agreement and subsequently the potential harm vulnerable African nations will face if the funding of these projects continues. They suggest that if these institutions stopped funding oil and gas projects that there would be an associated transition away from fossil fuels to renewable energy. (The Guardian Nigeria)

Human Rights

Report: Australian federal government failing to meet Indigenous Peoples targets

The Australian federal government is under critique for its failure to meet the targets outlined a decade ago in the Closing the Gap strategy to reduce Indigenous disadvantage within Australia. Of the seven targets outlined in the strategy, only one – to halve the gap in year 12 attainment – is on track, whilst four are set to expire in 2018. The Closing the Gap strategy itself has been critiqued for the lack of Indigenous consultation regarding the initial setting of the targets. The federal government is calling for more Indigenous consultation in its “refresh” of the targets but it has already rejected the most important mechanism to do so, an Indigenous voice to parliament, according to Prof Megan Davis, head of the University of New South Wales’s Indigenous Law Centre. (The Guardian)


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Image Source: Drones by Andrew Turner at Flickr. CC BY 2.0