The Download: counting China’s mpox cases, and Meta has blocked news in Canada

This is today’s edition of The Download, our weekday newsletter that provides a daily dose of what’s going on in the world of technology.

Decoding the data of the Chinese mpox outbreak

Almost exactly a year after the World Health Organization declared mpox (formerly known as monkeypox) a public health emergency, the hot spot for the outbreak has quietly moved from the US and Europe to Asia. China in particular is experiencing a concerning increase in mpox cases right now.

While Beijing did recently issue a guidance on mpox prevention, the country hasn’t taken a very proactive approach to containing the outbreak. It hasn’t talked at all about using mpox vaccines, for example. And the way Beijing has so far reported disease data, combined with the way the WHO publishes it, makes it really difficult to understand the exact scale of mpox in the country. Read the full story.

—Zeyi Yang

This story is from China Report, Zeyi’s weekly newsletter giving you the inside track on all things happening in China. Sign up to receive it in your inbox every Tuesday.

Check out Zeyi’s story digging into China’s public mpox health crisis published earlier this week.

The must-reads

I’ve combed the internet to find you today’s most fun/important/scary/fascinating stories about technology.

1 Meta has started blocking news in Canada
Publishers have branded the decision an abuse of power. (The Verge)
+ And the US could be next. (Vox)
+ The news business is in a state of flux right now. (NY Mag $)

2 The US is set to give South Korea billions in chip subsidies
And China’s not happy about it. (FT $)
+ Relations between South and North Korea are at a new low. (Economist $)

3 Kenya has suspended Worldcoin from operating there
Its authorities are probing whether it’s safe—or legal. (Reuters)
+ How Worldcoin recruited its first half a million test users. (MIT Technology Review)

4 Ukraine is hitting Russians with 3D-printed bombs
They’re lightweight, cheap, and deadly. (Economist $)
+ Mass-market military drones have changed the way wars are fought. (MIT Technology Review)

5 China is still trading billions of dollars’ worth of crypto
Despite it being illegal there since 2021. (WSJ $)
+ The country is cracking down on young people spending time online again. (Bloomberg $)
+ Why China kicked out the crypto miners. (MIT Technology Review)

6 Amazon’s grocery business is struggling
Turns out bricks and mortar stores aren’t so easy to run after all. (WP $)
+ So the company’s growing its health services instead. (Bloomberg $)

7 The FDA could approve the first pill for postpartum depression
It’s much faster-acting than current antidepressants. (Wired $)
+ Reproductive health misinformation has flourished on Meta’s platforms. (Slate $)

8 NASA has regained contact with Voyager 2
After a week in the dark, the 46-year old spacecraft is back in business. (New Scientist $) 

9 A YouTube sleuth became caught up in their own true crime investigation
But our appetite for grisly drama remains unabated. (New Yorker $)
+ YouTube is benefiting off the back of the Hollywood labor strikes. (The Information $)

10 We need new antibiotics
Ancient drug molecules could hold the key to helping us discover new treatments. (Vox)
+ AI is dreaming up drugs that no one has ever seen. Now we’ve got to see if they work. (MIT Technology Review)

Quote of the day

“Some people think I look too human when I stand up. I am a Malayan sun bear!”

—A statement from Hangzhou Zoo in China reassures visitors that, contrary to internet conspiracy theories, its Malayan sun bear is not a man in a suit, the New York Times reports. 

The big story

Zimbabwe’s climate migration is a sign of what’s to come

December 2021

Julius Mutero has spent his entire adult life farming a three-hectare plot in Zimbabwe, but has harvested virtually nothing in the past six years. He is just one of the 86 million people in sub-Saharan Africa who the World Bank estimates will migrate domestically by 2050 because of climate change—the largest number predicted in any of six major regions the organization studied.

In Zimbabwe, farmers who have tried to stay put and adapt have found their efforts woefully inadequate in the face of new weather extremes. Droughts have already forced tens of thousands from the country’s lowlands to the Eastern Highlands. But their desperate moves are creating new competition for water in the region, and tensions may soon boil over. Read the full story.

—Andrew Mambondiyani

We can still have nice things

A place for comfort, fun and distraction in these weird times. (Got any ideas? Drop me a line or tweet ’em at me.)

+ Any gamers planning a trip to Tokyo should swing by the Final Fantasy Eorzea cafe.
+ It turns out that jellyfish have been bobbing about for over 500 million years 🪼
+ What’s your all-time favorite rap song?
+ It’s definitely time for a banh mi.
+ Let the Oppenheimer hype remind you about how into black holes he was.

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