By Walt Hickey
A massive car theft ring allegedly composed primarily of children has been busted, according to police in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The police say that 19 children aged nine to 16 stole 46 vehicles worth $1,138,718. The scheming scamps hit 18 car dealerships in the area, according to the police, and all but six of the vehicles have since been recovered. On Thursday police said that they had taken four ragamuffins into custody, found another three that would be charged on minor offenses they did not believe merited an arrest, and were still looking for the other 12 children, who I can only assume are desperately attempting to sign agents for when Vin Diesel wants to adapt this into The Fast & The Precocious. Anyone with information is encouraged to either contact CrimeStoppers or, alternatively, be mad but mainly just genuinely impressed.
Last week, Amazon and the NFL renewed their Thursday Night Football streaming package, but the big news is they added a Saturday night game to the mix that will air exclusively on the retailer’s Prime Video service. This is a compelling preview of what’s to come. ESPN’s Monday Night Football rights (which cost $1.9 billion per year) expire in 2021, but the real action happens in 2022, when everything else— Amazon’s rights, CBS’s $1 billion Sunday AFC rights, Fox’s $1.1 billion Sunday NFC rights, NBC’s $950 million Sunday Night rights, Fox’s $660 million Thursday Night rights, and Yahoo’s digital rights — are up. Most compelling, though, is that the rights for NFL Sunday Ticket are up in 2022 as well. It seems Amazon wants it, DAZN wants it, and current rightsholder AT&T DirecTV is under pressure to cut spending, and is thought to not want it as much. The current value of Sunday Ticket is $1.5 billion per year. Amazon scoring an exclusive game — likely the best they can get given what’s locked down — is being interpreted as a shot across the bow for anyone else who wants Sunday Ticket.
In order to sell a Japanese car to an American, here’s what happens: the car is assembled in Japan, and loaded on to a cargo ship, which goes to the Port of Long Beach in California, which is unloaded on to a pier with a parking lot full of thousands of vehicles, then moved to a larger lot eight miles away, then sent to dealers via rail and truck, where it sits on a lot until a person buys it. Now, here’s the issue: people stopped buying them. U.S. Toyota sales in April were down 54 percent, Subaru was down 47 percent, and Hyundai was down 39 percent. Overall, demand is projected to drop 27 percent to 12.5 million vehicles this year. Dealers have stopped accepting cars, and those lots near Long Beach are mighty full, so now lots of large shipping carriers laden with thousands of automobiles are parked a mile off the coast of California.
The Sumida Aquarium in Tokyo is calling on people to do their part to advance a noble goal: play peek-a-boo with approximately 300 spotted garden eels, who in the absence of the typical crowd at the aquarium are increasingly getting cautious of their surroundings. This is a problem, because normally the eels — accustomed to the crowds — are not spooked into hiding by their caretakers coming, but now they are, which makes health checks harder. So in order to help the eels become extroverts again, you can video call the aquarium on May 3 through 5 to see the eels from one of five screens and, more importantly, be seen by some eels. It’s important for all of us to do our part in trying times.
But I’ve Got People Back On Land That Count On Me
Worldwide, about 1.2 million seafarers are working aboard 65,000 ships at sea. In that line of work, typically a sailor will sign a contract for a set amount of time with the caveat that at the end of the run it’s the responsibility of the ship operator to get them back home at no charge. Over the past two months, though, crew change has been impossible, requiring extensions to terms. According to new data from the International Maritime Employers’ Council and the International Chamber of Shipping, today 150,000 seafarers are in need of a crew change by May 15. Of those, 40,000 are from the Philippines, 20,000 from India, 15,000 from Ukraine and 10,000 from China.
The board of ICANN has rejected a proposed billion-dollar sale of the .org domain from the Public Interest Registry to private equity group Ethos Capital, which would have transitioned the operators of the top level domain for non-profit groups to for-profit. Right now, there are 10.5 million .org domains, and the fear was that moving control to a for-profit group — which would also force the PIR to take on a $360 million debt instrument — would jack up prices for groups that are non-profits.
India’s 7,517 kilometer coastline is the worksite of 16 million fishers, operating everything from rinky-dink boats to fuel community markets to industrial mechanized fleets. In 1950, India produced less than a million tonnes of fish, a figure that has since risen to 11 million tonnes in 2016, and as an industry it’s responsible for 1.03 percent of the Indian GDP. Catch was down 9 percent even before the current pandemic obliterated the market for fish processing in the subcontinent, with the industry incurring an estimated monthly loss of $896 million. That’s an issue, because even in good times the global fishing industry is lousy with miserable work conditions and razor-thin margins.
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