🌊 On Wednesdays, We Strike

Nearly every state is suing Meta, why the pilot wanted to crash the plane, and Roca Votes: Sandwichgate

A California hiker was rescued by helicopter from a cave this weekend. She was stuck 100 feet underground for 16 hours in a space so tight "you can’t even turn your head to the side." Thankfully, a volunteer cave rescue team saved her, giving hope to all of us stuck between a rock and a hard place. It’s hard to imagine her pain — unless of course you’ve flown middle seat on Spirit.

In today's edition:

  • Nearly every state is suing Meta

  • Why the pilot wanted to crash the plane

  • Roca Votes: Sandwichgate

 🔑 Key Stories

Icelandic Women Go on Strike

Women in Iceland announced a nationwide strike on Tuesday to protest gender-based inequality

  • Per several metrics, Iceland is the world’s most gender-equal country. Yet women there still earn 9.7% less relative to median earnings for men, and the prevalence of gender-based violence remains high

  • On Tuesday, tens of thousands of female and nonbinary workers went on strike in Iceland to protest ongoing pay disparities and gender-based violence

  • The strike shut down much of the country, including most of its banks, schools, and libraries. Iceland’s largest labor unions supported the strike, which also called on women and nonbinary people to refuse to perform household chores. Several major companies also publicly backed the strikes and offered striking workers full pay

Dig Deeper

  • One notable strike participant was Iceland’s prime minister, Katrín Jakobsdóttir, who walked off the job on Tuesday in solidarity. “As you know, we have not yet reached our goals of full gender equality and we are still tackling the gender-based wage gap, which is unacceptable in 2023,” she told a local news outlet. “We are still tackling gender-based violence, which has been a priority for my government to tackle”

China: Li Out

China officially removed Li Shangfu as defense minister months after he went missing from public view

  • Li, 65, was widely considered one of China’s most powerful and well-connected government officials. This March, he was appointed defense minister and state councilor. Analysts widely believed Chinese President Xi Jinping handpicked Li for those roles

  • Li was last seen in public in August. His subsequent disappearance drew comparisons to Qin Gang, China’s former foreign minister who unexpectedly went missing in June

  • On Tuesday, Chinese media confirmed Li’s removal as defense minister and the removal of Li and Qin as state councilors

Dig Deeper

  • Last month, US officials claimed China was investigating Li for corruption related to equipment procurement and development. In late July, China’s government also unexpectedly replaced the two top commanders of the wing of China’s military that oversees nuclear and conventional missiles. It is unclear if there are any connections between the recent turnover, or if they are all separate

42 Attorney Generals Sue Meta

The attorneys general of 41 states and Washington, DC sued Meta for allegedly tailoring their social media platforms to be addictive to children

  • For years, data have shown that social media worsens teenagers’ mental health, especially among teenage girls. Meta claims it has adopted numerous safeguards to protect children using its platforms

  • On Tuesday, 42 attorneys general sued Meta. The lawsuits alleged Meta designed its platforms to be addictive; knew that those had negative effects on children; and deceived the public about that fact

  • Meta denounced the lawsuit as counterproductive and harmful

Dig Deeper

  • In general, social media companies are immune from lawsuits for content shared on their platforms under Section 230 of a digital content law. Tuesday’s lawsuits seek to sidestep that by suing Meta for its exploitative practices and alleged attempts to conceal them, not the content on its platforms

  • In a statement, a Meta spokesperson said, “We’re disappointed that instead of working productively with companies across the industry to create clear, age-appropriate standards…the attorneys general have chosen this path”

Iran Supporting Attacks on US?

A US official accused Iran of “actively facilitating” attacks against US forces in the Middle East

  • Since Hamas invaded Israel on October 7, the US has warned against other countries or groups escalating the conflict. It has deployed aircraft carriers and soldiers to the region to deter further escalations

  • In recent weeks, US forces have reported a surge in attacks against them in Syria, Iraq, and elsewhere

  • On Monday, White House spokesman John Kirby accused Iran of “actively facilitating” attacks against US forces in the Middle East. “We know that Iran is closely monitoring these events, and in some cases, actively facilitating these attacks and spurring on others,” he said

  • Iran – which supports Hamas, Hezbollah, and more – denied ordering the attacks

Dig Deeper

  • On Monday, Iran’s foreign minister said Iran “neither gives orders to the resistance groups across the region, nor stop them from taking decisions in their own countries based on their own interests”

Ride the Wave of the SmartShade Market

Together with RYSE

Smart phones, smart watches, smart homes – everything’s smart these days but news companies…

  • If you feel like you’ve missed out on the smart home boom, we present to you RYSE — an up-and-coming SmartShades company that is launching in +100 Best Buys this year

  • RYSE’s technology retrofits regular shades and installs in just minutes

  • They already have 100s of investors and even received a $4M grant from the Canadian government to develop clean-tech products

Dig Deeper

🍿 Popcorn

ICYMI

  • LeGlobal: The 2023–24 NBA season tipped off with a record 125 international players from 40 countries on opening-night rosters. Canada is the most-represented country

  • Wheels on the bus go up in smoke: Rio de Janeiro gangsters reportedly torched 35+ buses after police killed the nephew of a top militia leader known as the paramilitary group’s “man of war”

  • Blame it on the shrooms: The pilot accused of trying to shut down an Alaska Airlines plane’s engines mid-flight claimed he had a “nervous breakdown” after 40 hours without sleep and taking shrooms

Wildcard

  • Cloudy with a chance of explosives: Oregon State University warned students and staff to avoid food delivery service Starship’s automated delivery robots over concerns they might contain explosives

  • Javelinas tee off: A herd of javelinas — medium-sized boar-like animals — destroyed Arizona’s prestigious Seven Canyons Golf Club, tearing up chunks of tee box, fairway, and rough

  • Access denied: Air Canada forgot to bring Canada’s chief accessibility officer’s wheelchair on a Toronto-Vancouver flight, leaving her “furious” and urging airlines to “do better”

👇 What do you think?

Today's Poll:

Do you use any smart home products?

Login or Subscribe to participate in polls.

Today’s poll is sponsored by RYSE, a new technology company poised to disrupt the smart home industry, launching soon in +100 Best Buys!

Today's Question:

Today’s Question is under the Roca Votes Wrap!

See yesterday's results below the Wrap! 

🌯 Roca Wrap

We founded RocaNews because we wanted news companies to just give us the facts – not tell us what to think. That has inspired us to do the “Roca Votes” series, where we summarize a controversial topic and see how Roca Nation feels about it.

Szabolcs Fekete worked at Citibank in London for seven years. An analyst specializing in financial crime, he took a business trip to Amsterdam last July. After, he submitted an expense report detailing his expenses – all of which were below the bank’s daily €100 ($106) expense limit.

Yet while reviewing Fekete’s expense report, a director at the bank noticed that Fekete had ordered two of several food items. He became suspicious and asked Fekete for an explanation.

"I was on the business trip by myself and...I had 2 coffees as they were very small," Fekete responded in relation to one receipt. He went on to explain, “...on that day I skipped breakfast and only had 1 coffee in the morning. For lunch I had 1 sandwich with a drink and 1 coffee in the restaurant, and took another coffee back to the office with me and had the second sandwich in the afternoon…which also served as my dinner."

Upon further questioning, Fekete assumed the offensive: “All my expenses are within the €100 daily allowance. Could you please outline what your concern is as I don't think I have to justify my eating habits to this extent.”

Unconvinced, the director brought the matter up with the bank’s security and investigations services department, which proceeded to question Fekete about whether he had shared a meal of pasta pesto and bolognese with his partner. Fekete said no – but later backtracked on that statement.

Fekete admitted to sharing meals with his partner but blamed it on personal difficulties. He said he was struggling after the death of his grandma, had taken six weeks of medical leave, and was on strong medication when he replied to emails. Citi does not allow spousal meals to be reimbursed. For Fekete’s violation of its policy and subsequent lying about the violation, the bank fired him. Fekete then took the bank to court for wrongful termination.

In the end, the judge sided with Citi.

“I have found that this case is not about the sums of money involved. This case is about the filing of the expense claim and the conduct of the claimant thereafter,” the judge said. He went on to highlight that Fekete “was employed in a position of trust in a global financial institution” and that he should have made a “full and frank disclosure at the first opportunity” after his lie.

A spokesperson for Citi said, “We are pleased with the decision.”

Our questions to you are:

Would you have fired Fekete? If you were Fekete, would you have sued? Should employers care who eats food on a business trip if the food’s cost falls within the per diem?

Is there a difference between buying your partner a meal versus coffee on the company card? What was worse: Violating company policy, or lying about it?

Let us know what you think by replying directly to this email or emailing [email protected]!

 🌊 Roca Clubhouse

Yesterday's Poll:

Do you know what a VPN does?
Yes: 70%
No: 30%

Yesterday's Question:

Would you let a family member access your dating app profile? Would you let a friend access your dating app profile?

Mary from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: “I don’t have a dating profile (yet), but I would say I would let family and friends access it in the sense that they could view it, but I would not want them in my messages as I wouldn’t not want anyone in any of my text messages. I treat a dating profile like social media, where I would make it so that I would feel comfortable no matter who saw it. But messages are different because if I want you to see something I’ll message you about it rather than you find it yourself.”

Sarah from Basalt, Colorado: “I met my husband through match.com in 2010. My bestie and I perused the profiles to find possible matches and she was the one who ‘found’ my sweeetie. I reached out to him and we’ve been together for 13 years. couldn’t have done it without her.”

Andrés: “NO! I think if you let them access and suggest people on the dating apps, they'll start reflecting their beliefs and interests into mine. I know what I like and what I don't. Therefore, why should I let anyone into my very private self?”

Jeremias: “I'd let my friends access it but not my fam. I think my friends know what kind of thing i'm looking for in a relationship while my family has only a superficial look.”

Jill from Cheyenne, Wyoming: “I have let my friends swipe for me in the past but I was right there to give the final say. That was fun just to see who they thought I would match or connect with. I'm not sure if my family would even want to swipe for me so I don't think I would”

🧠 Final Thoughts

Happy Hump Day Roca! Last week we received a record number of responses to the Roca Votes Wrap so we gladly brought another one to you in today’s newsletter. Let us know what you think!

—Max and Max