Ecuador Halts China Visa Waivers; Nationwide Blackout Strikes

Originally published at:

In California, the passage of Assembly Bill 1955 has sparked a debate over the balance between state influence and parental rights in schools. The bill, which prohibits schools from disclosing a student’s sexual orientation or gender identity to parents without the student’s consent, aims to protect students from potentially unsupportive home environments. Proponents argue that it ensures a safer space for students, while critics contend it undermines parental authority and promotes state loyalty over family bonds. This legislation is part of a broader discussion on the role of education in addressing sexuality and gender identity, with some viewing it as an effort to align children with progressive ideologies at the expense of traditional family values.

Ecuador has suspended its visa waiver program with China due to a surge in Chinese nationals using the country as a transit point to reach the United States. The visa-free travel agreement, in place since 2016, saw nearly half of Chinese travelers overstaying or not leaving through regular routes. This has contributed to a significant increase in Chinese nationals detained at the U.S.-Mexico border, with over 37,000 apprehended in 2023 alone. The suspension, effective July 1, aims to curb human trafficking and migrant smuggling, although China remains a crucial trade partner and financier for Ecuador. Concurrently, the arrest of eight Tajikistan nationals with potential ISIS connections after crossing the U.S. southern border has raised national security concerns, highlighting the challenges in the federal government’s screening processes.

Ecuador also faced a nationwide power blackout on Wednesday, affecting 17 million people and disrupting essential services, including hospitals and the major subway system. The blackout was attributed to a faulty transmission line, causing a cascade disconnection. Public Works Minister Roberto Luque assured that efforts are underway to resolve the issue swiftly. This incident follows a power emergency declared by President Daniel Noboa months earlier, which included nationwide rationing due to reduced hydroelectric power generation. The blackout also led to a significant drop in national internet connectivity, further complicating the situation.

Japan’s Norinchukin Bank is set to liquidate $63 billion in U.S. and European government bonds by March 2025 to address massive unrealized losses. The bank’s financial troubles stem from substantial investments in low-yield foreign bonds, which have depreciated due to rising interest rates. Norinchukin’s net loss for the fiscal year ending March 2025 is expected to reach 1.5 trillion yen. The bank plans to sell over 10 trillion yen in foreign bonds to mitigate these losses and diversify its portfolio. This move could impact the U.S. bond market, given the significant holdings of Japanese investors. Norinchukin is also exploring alternative investments to prevent further losses and aims to return to profitability by March 2026. The bank is considering raising 1.2 trillion yen and has initiated discussions with key investors to shore up its finances.

FedEx has partnered with police to share AI car surveillance camera feeds, utilizing tools from Flock Safety, a startup valued at $4 billion. This collaboration involves FedEx providing surveillance feeds to law enforcement, with some police departments reciprocating. Civil rights activists have raised concerns about the expansion of a mass surveillance network, as private entities like FedEx are not subject to the same transparency laws as police. Flock Safety’s technology, which tracks vehicles by various identifying characteristics, is used by both public police departments and private businesses. The company’s senior vice president of policy and communications, Joshua Thomas, stated that the technology helps deter and solve crimes by providing objective video evidence. However, previous reports suggest that Flock’s marketing data may have exaggerated its impact on crime rates and that the company likely installed cameras without proper permits in various states.


California’s Assembly Bill 1955: Are Teachers Gaining More Influence Over Parental Rights?

The Senate just passed Assembly Bill 1955 that could make it illegal for teachers to inform parents if their own children change their gender identity.

Source | Submitted by rhollenb

Ecuador Halts China Visa Waiver Amid Surge in US-Bound Migrants

Ecuador is suspending a visa agreement with China amid a “worrying increase” in arrivals who are using the South American country as a jumpoff point to begin their northbound journey to the United States.

Source | Submitted by AaronMcKeon

Ecuador Plunged into Darkness: Nationwide Blackout Affects 17 Million

“A nationwide power blackout hit Ecuador on Wednesday afternoon, plunging 17 million people into darkness.”

Source | Submitted by bcoop

Japan’s Norinchukin Bank to Liquidate $63 Billion in Bonds Amid Massive Losses

Japan’s Norinchukin bank, best known as Japan’s CLO whale, was quietly added to the list of counterparties for the Fed’s Standing Repo Facility, a/k/a the Fed’s foreign bank bailout slush fund.

Source | Submitted by Shplad

FedEx’s Secret Police Force: Building an AI Car Surveillance Network with Law Enforcement

“FedEx is partnering with police to share AI car surveillance camera feeds, Forbes has learned.”

Source | Submitted by Shplad