First thing: human rights activists, dissidents and journalists targeted by Pegasus spyware

First thing: human rights activists, dissidents and journalists targeted by Pegasus spyware


Human rights lawyers, activists and dissidents around the world have been selected as possible candidates for invasive surveillance via their phones, leaked phone data suggests.

The Guardian’s Project Pegasus reveals that their cell phone numbers appeared in leaked files, indicating that they were selected before possible surveillance targeting by government clients of Israeli company NSO Group, which developed the Pegasus spyware .

NSO has repeatedly insisted that Pegasus is intended to be used only to spy on terrorists and serious criminals. The tool can extract messages, photos and emails, record calls and secretly activate microphones.

  • Loujain al-Hathloul, Saudi Arabia’s foremost women’s rights activist, was among those selected for possible targeting, just weeks before her kidnapping in 2018 in the United Arab Emirates. and the forcible return to Saudi Arabia, where she was imprisoned for three years and was reportedly tortured. Hathloul is believed to have been selected by the United Arab Emirates, a known NSO client and a close ally of Saudi Arabia.
  • Check out this handy explainer on Pegasus, and what this spyware is capable of.

NSO has claimed it will cut off customers if they abuse Pegasus. In a response to the consortium, he denied that the leaked documents constituted evidence of targeting with Pegasus and said he “will continue to investigate all credible allegations of abuse and take appropriate action based on the outcome of these surveys ”.

‘Scary’ right-wing backlash against Biden takes root in Republican states

US President Joe Biden delivers remarks in a speech at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania last week. Photograph: Leah Millis / Reuters

Joe Biden may have promised to use his presidency to “restore the soul of America” ​​and to unite the nation, defuse “anger, resentment and hatred” and bring Americans back to a world where they are. treated “each other with dignity and respect.”

But six months later, Biden’s assurances may sound too romantic. About 1,400 miles west of the White House in Dallas, Texas, people hoping for change are witnessing an explosion of regressive, far-right laws pushed by Republicans across the state, writes Ed Pilkington .

  • Of particular concern is the Republican bill to make it even more difficult to vote. – in a state which already makes voting more difficult than any other in the country.
  • Another new law slated to go into effect in September is effectively trying to turn ordinary citizens into anti-abortion bounty hunters, offering a $ 10,000 reward to anyone who successfully sues a fellow Texan for helping a woman request an abortion beyond six weeks pregnant.

Huge fire in Oregon spreads as wildfires burn in western United States

The Bootleg Fire burns in southeastern Oregon. The wildfire is the largest of the many currently burning in the west. Photographie : National Wildfire Coordinating G/ZUMA/REX/Shutterstock

The Bootleg Fire, the largest wildfire in the United States, burned down a drier forest landscape in Oregon on Sunday, one of 70 major fires in the west and neighboring states.

The wildfire, which rages just north of the California border, affected more than 476 square miles (1,210 km²), an area the size of Los Angeles.

  • Erratic winds fed the Bootleg Fire, creating dangerous conditions for firefighters and hampering their efforts.
  • Two thousand residents were evacuated a largely rural area of ​​lakes and wildlife refuges.
  • The fire, which is 22% contained, burned at least 67 homes and 100 addictions while threatening thousands more.

In other news …

File photo dated 12/16/16 of Katie Hopkins who has been banned from the upcoming Big Brother VIP season in Australia after admitting to deliberately disobeying strict hotel quarantine rules.
December 2016 file photo of Katie Hopkins, who was banned from the upcoming season of Australia’s Big Brother VIP after admitting to deliberately disobeying strict hotel quarantine rules. Photograph: Philip Toscano / PA
  • British far-right commentator Katie Hopkins faces imminent deportation from Australia, after her visa was canceled because she bragged about breaking hotel quarantine rules. Hopkins, 46, broadcast a live video of what she claimed to be a hotel room in Sydney on Saturday morning, describing the Covid-19 lockdowns as “the biggest hoax in human history” .
  • An American father and son have been jailed in Tokyo for helping former Nissan president Carlos Ghosn flee to Lebanon. A Tokyo court handed down the first sentences related to Ghosn’s arrest and escape from Japan, ruling that US Army Special Forces veteran Michael Taylor will be jailed for two years and his son Peter for one. year and eight months.
  • Billionaire space race could be a giant leap for pollution, like Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson and co hope to dramatically increase the number of people traveling in space.
  • The spectators applauded as a stone statue of a Confederate general was hoisted by a crane and removed from a pedestal where it stood for 99 years outside a southern Louisiana city hall on Saturday.

Statistics of the day: almost 80% of dozens of everyday groceries are supplied by a handful of businesses

A joint survey by the Guardian and Food and Water Watch shows that a handful of mega-companies dominate every link in the food supply chain: from seeds and fertilizers to slaughterhouses and supermarkets to grains and beer, U.S. consumers are almost entirely at the mercy of a few big companies when buying food.

Don’t Miss: Wisconsin Workers Fight Against Factory Move to Mexico

Workers at Hufcor, a family-owned business founded in Janesville, Wisconsin, 120 years ago, are fighting plant closure and relocation of operations to Monterrey, Mexico, destroying the jobs of 166 workers. Their opponent? Private equity firm OpenGate Capital, which bought the company four years ago and which, according to Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin, “has a habit of shutting down businesses and giving coupons to workers in the Wisconsin ”.

Climate check

Covering the climate crisis is one of the most important things we do at The Guardian. So today we present to you Climate check, a new First Thing section to help you stay on top of the environmental stories that matter most. Today, we thought we would draw your attention to the fact that the American Petroleum Institute, a powerful American lobby group, is receiving millions from oil companies to help big oil companies block climate action. My colleague Chris McGreal reports.

Last thing: is it wrong to steal someone’s tattoo?

Adele Exarchopoulos tattoo detail at the premiere and closing ceremony of 'OSS 117: From Africa with Love', at the 74th Festival de Cannes in France on July 17, 2021.
Adele Exarchopoulos tattoo detail at the premiere and closing ceremony of ‘OSS 117: From Africa with Love’, at the 74th Cannes Film Festival in France on Saturday. Photographie : David Fisher/REX/Shutterstock

Once a symbol of individualism, many tattoos today are far from unique. What happens when you walk into a tattoo parlor and come out with someone else’s ink ornament on your arm after a quick Google search for “cool tattooed men”? James Shackell knows it.

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