Bitcoin boils over; Trump's 'fake news' awards


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Curated top stories

  • “Panic” in the cryptocurrency market – Fearful investors pushed cryptocurrencies into a massive dive, including the best-known bitcoin, which tumbled below $10,000. This was nearly half its record peak of $19,783 on December 17 (The Verge). Two other popular virtual currencies, ethereum and ripple, also slumped. Analysts attributed the steep fall to regulatory uncertainties and reports that South Korea and China could ban such trading (The New York Times). Charles Hayter, founder of Cryptocompare, which owns cryptocurrencies, told The Associated Press that there was “panic in the market” as investors sought to shed their holdings. (Read WikiTribune‘s Timeline 2018: tracking bitcoin, blockchain, and cryptocurrencies here.)
  • Donald J. Trump handed out “Fake News Awards” on Twitter – The sarcastic accolades from the U.S. president, which were also published on the GOP website, heavily featured CNN and were met with a backlash by mainstream media. “The media spent 90% of the time focused on negative coverage or fake news” during the first year of Trump’s presidency, the announcement claimed. But many pointed out that some of the inaccurate reporting Trump highlighted came from journalists’ Twitter feeds rather than published news stories, and included opinion pieces and predictions. (Read more: Asian regimes act on Trump’s message that media is “enemy of the people.”)
  • Anti-government protests in Pakistan – Opposition parties in Pakistan united to bring thousands of protesters out onto the streets of Lahore (Al Jazeera). The demonstrators called for the resignation of the governor of Punjab province, over allegations that security forces there killed political party workers. The unrest follows violent protests earlier this month (Al Jazeera) over the murder of a seven-year-old girl, and broader anger towards the police following an estimated 1,750 similar crimes reported across Pakistan in 2017.
  • UK to pay up over border security – UK Prime Minister Theresa May ceded to requests from French President Emanuel Macron to contribute more to border security between the countries. The UK will provide an additional £44.5 million toward security around the French port of Calais, in what is seen as a gesture of goodwill towards France as the UK prepares for more Brexit negotiations. (Read more WikiTribune Brexit coverage here.) The area near the crossing into the UK is still home to an estimated 700 migrants and refugees, more than a year after the infamous “jungle” camp was dismantled.
  • Market bombing kills 12 in Nigeria – Two suspected suicide bombers struck a market in northeastern Nigeria, killing 12 people and injuring 48, according to a government agency. The market, near a camp for displaced people, has been a frequent target for the Islamic extremist group Boko Haram. More than 20,000 people have been killed during the insurgency, which started in effort to impose Sharia law in Nigeria.

What we’re reading

  • “Today, everyone’s second self is encoded in contrails of data … In one possible future, everyone will be ranked like hotels on TripAdvisor,” this piece for the New Statesman looks into how ordinary people are being forced to burnish their brands online. Such a responsibility used to be only for the famous, so what can we learn from the successes and PR disasters of celebrities who took charge of their reputations? – Jack Barton
  • Facebook’s overhaul of its news feed to focus more on social interactions wiped $25 billion from its market cap and left publishers reeling, but regular users may barely have noticed. This Buzzfeed piece discusses whether Facebook taking a step back from news sharing is a good thing for ensuring that shared news is reliable, or whether Mark Zuckerberg is running scared from the fake news debate. – Jack Barton

What the WikiTribune community is up to

  • In the aftermath of World War II, the European Economic Community, now European Union (EU) gradually enlarged its membership, which in turn led to more complex structures and procedures. Here  outlines the past, present, and future of the EU.
  • President Donald J. Trump launched a fresh salvo in his long-running criticism of the press by handing out his “fake news awards,” highlighting allegedly biased and inaccurate reporting by mainstream media. Contribute to our story on the awards and input what yours would be.
  • The “world’s biggest air purifier” is noticeably improving the atmospheric quality in the Chinese city of Xian according to the scientist behind the experiment. WikiTribune‘s Ella Navarro has the story, but it would be great with your collaboration.
  • We’ve tied up the long and winding tale of sexual harassment, “Me Too” and “Time’s Up” in our evolving piece on sex and power. If you feel there are gaps in the story, please contribute. Otherwise we plan to “park” it here.
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