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Issue #16

Fake designer shops scam 800,000 people, workers bring AI to office, roaring kitty revives meme stocks, and more.

News from May 9 - May 16, 2024

Banks Gave $6.9 Trillion to Fossil Fuels

Research shows major banks have funneled $6.9 trillion into the fossil fuel industry since the 2016 Paris Agreement. According to the report, despite promises to cut emissions, banks continue to finance oil, gas, and coal companies, including $3.3 trillion for their expansion.

US banks are the biggest contributors, providing 30% of the 2023 total. JP Morgan Chase leads globally with $40.8 billion, followed by Bank of America and Japan's Mizuho. In Europe, Barclays tops the list with $24.2 billion, followed by Santander and Deutsche Bank.

Critics say continued fossil fuel financing worsens climate issues and affects Indigenous lands. Some banks, however, highlight their efforts to support energy sector transitions toward sustainability. The report's accuracy has been questioned, as it relied on financial market data that didn't clearly show what was being financed or by whom. Syndicated loans and bond issues often involve multiple banks, making it hard to track exact contributions. Additionally, the report couldn't differentiate between funding for transition technology and new oil wells.


Hackers Scramble $840 Million Art Auction

Christie's is set to auction an estimated $840 million worth of art this week, but a cyberattack has disrupted its plans. As of Monday afternoon, visitors to the auction house's website were met with a message apologizing for the outage and promising a quick resolution.

The hack, referred to by Christie's as a "technology security issue," was first noticed on Thursday evening. The auction house's executive team and internal and external tech experts are working to resolve the issue. Despite the disruption, three major auctions are still scheduled: the Rosa de la Cruz collection ($30 million), 21st-century art ($100 million), and 20th-century art ($500 million).

Christie's digital platform, a key growth driver, has been instrumental in attracting new and younger buyers, with 33% of new American bidders coming through the online platform. While the main bidding will now occur via phone and in-person, a placeholder site and Christie's Live service will support online viewing and bidding.


Fake Designer Shops Scam 800,000 People

An international investigation reveals that over 800,000 people in Europe and the US have been duped by a network of fake online designer shops, allegedly operated from China. These scams have led to the unauthorized sharing of card details and personal data.

The investigation by the Guardian, Die Zeit, and Le Monde uncovered 76,000 fake websites selling discounted goods from brands like Dior, Nike, and Prada. The sites, created since 2015, processed over 1 million fake orders, attempting to steal up to €50 million. While many sites have been abandoned, over 22,500 are still active.

Simon Miller, the director of policy and communications for Stop Scams UK: "Data can be more valuable than sales. If you are hoovering up someone’s card details that data is invaluable then for a bank account takeover." 

Katherine Hart, a lead officer at the Chartered Trading Standards Institute: "This is one of the largest online fake shop scams that I have seen." Critics argue the scam highlights the need for better consumer protection and international cooperation. The scam's sophisticated network uses expired domains to avoid detection, and the stolen data could be valuable to cybercriminals and foreign intelligence agencies.


Bulletin Board 

  • CEO: Creatives Will Adapt to AI. Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen, who has led the company for nearly 17 years, believes AI will revolutionize creative software by enhancing and democratizing creativity. He emphasizes Adobe's commitment to leveraging technology to deliver value and support creatives throughout the content lifecycle. Narayen acknowledges the potential dangers of AI, such as undermining artistic integrity and the challenge of distinguishing genuine creativity from AI-generated content. He stresses the importance of balancing these risks with the positive impact AI can have on expanding creative possibilities. Source
  • Workers Bring AI to Office. Microsoft and LinkedIn's 2024 Work Trend Index reveals a significant shift in the workplace as employees increasingly bring their own AI tools to work. This trend, known as BYOAI, spans all generations and highlights a gap between employee initiative and company readiness. While 75% of professionals use AI to boost efficiency, many leaders struggle to implement a clear AI vision. This disconnect means employees are driving AI adoption independently. Additionally, AI skills have become crucial for hiring, with many leaders preferring candidates who are proficient in AI, even if they have less experience. Source
  • Internet Use Boosts Wellbeing. Using the internet is linked to positive wellbeing, except for young women. The research, covering 2 million people over 16 years, suggests internet users have better physical and mental health. Women aged 15 to 24, however, reported worse “community wellbeing,” consistent with findings on cyberbullying and social media-related depression. Researchers noted that banning social media for young people might backfire. Andrew Przybylski, professor of human behavior and technology: "Strategies that are least effective, especially with young people, are restrictions… It leads to concealment, lying, and rebellion." Source
  • Friday School Absences Surge. Friday school absences in the UK have surged, with 50,000 more children missing school on Fridays than on Mondays. Absences are 20% higher on Fridays, driven by parents taking long weekends. Overall, school absences have increased to 7% from 4.7% in 2019, with unauthorized holidays up 25% since the pandemic. Belgium is also seeing more kids skipping school since the pandemic. Source
  • Roaring Kitty Revives Meme Stocks. Meme stocks are back as GameStop shares surged 75% after investor Keith "Roaring Kitty" Gill posted on social media following a three-year hiatus. His cryptic message boosted GameStop's stock up to 110% and halted trading multiple times. This resurgence has reignited interest in meme stocks like AMC and popular cryptocurrencies such as Dogecoin and Shiba Inu. Gill, who gained fame for his bullish analysis during the 2021 meme stock frenzy, continues to influence market trends, sparking both excitement and caution among investors. RoaringKitty: “A few things I am not: I am not a cat. I am not an institutional investor, nor am I a hedge fund.” Source

Disclaimer: This blog offers insights into international business and global events for informational purposes only. It is not intended as investment or business advice. WeavePay is not liable for any decisions made based on the content provided.

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