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Best podcasts of the week: How one of history’s biggest call centre scams was exposed | Podcasts

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Picks of the week

Chameleon: Scam Likely
Apple Podcasts, episodes weekly

Most of us have answered an anxiety-inducing, if unconvincing, scam call – 82% of people in the UK, according to Ofcom. This gripping podcast series takes that fear to the next level, with host Yudhijit Bhattacharjee following a team unravelling one of the biggest call centre scams ever pulled – $300m stolen from tens of thousands of Americans. The hunt is on to peg down the shadowy multinational mob behind it all. Hollie Richardson

Fed Up
Wondery, episodes weekly

Casey Wilson throws an abundance of shade as she tells the story of warring wellness queens Tanya Zuckerbrot and Emily Gellis. When Gellis exposed the side effects of Zuckerbrot’s popular fibre-heavy F-Factor diet, it shook the money-making tree and kicked off a court case. Wilson balances a compelling trip into influencer culture with a little sarcasm. Hannah Verdier

Daniel Robinson, a 24-year-old geologist who went missing from a field site outside Phoenix, Arizona in June 2021, features in NBC’s compelling Dateline: Missing in America.
Daniel Robinson, a 24-year-old geologist who went missing from a field site outside Phoenix, Arizona in June 2021, features in NBC’s compelling Dateline: Missing in America. Photograph: AP

WikiListen
Widely available, episodes daily

This 10-minute daily podcast series is the audio equivalent of vanishing into a Wikipedia hole. It’s a digression-packed, bantery attempt to read through a different Wiki page every day, with topics ranging from “spontaneous human combustion” to “urine indicator dye”. Alexi Duggins

Proud Stutter
Widely available, regular episodes

Hosted by Maya Chupkov, “a proud woman who stutters”, this podcast aims to change the way that we understand how people speak. Each week she and a co-host “ally” conduct informative, honest and insightful interviews with people who stammer – starting in the first episode with Dr Cameron Raynes, a lecturer at the University of South Australia. AD

Dateline: Missing in America
Widely available, episodes weekly

There’s always something very intriguing about people who vanish, and Josh Mankiewicz and Andrea Canning peel off the layers of such stories in this podcast. Each episode focuses on one missing person, starting with Heidi Planck, a California mum whose ex-husband raised the alarm when she didn’t pick her son up from school. HV

There’s a podcast for that

England’s players celebrate during a victory party in Trafalgar Square in central London on 1 August 2022.
England’s players celebrate during a victory party in Trafalgar Square in central London on 1 August 2022. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

This week, to celebrate England’s Women’s Euro 2022 win, Ella Braidwood chooses five of the best women’s football podcasts, from in-depth match analysis to a podcast inspired by the FA’s 50-year ban.

Their Pitch

Hosted by Swedish broadcasters Mia Eriksson and Amanda Zaza, Their Pitch made headlines in April for its interview with Iceland captain Sara Björk Gunnarsdóttir, in which she slammed the decision to play Women’s Euros 2022 games at Manchester City’s academy ground as “disrespectful to women’s football”. It’s testament to the quality of this podcast’s coverage, which features interviews with top flight players and coaching staff competing in Europe, the United States and Canada. There’s a big nod too to those from the Nordic countries, with star guests including Sweden and Chelsea defender Magdalena Eriksson, plus smile-inducing interviews with a couple of Lionesses, namely tournament heroes Ella Toone and Mary Earps. (The latter advises that a good way to remember the pronunciation of her surname is that it rhymes with “burps”.)

The Athletic Women’s Football Podcast

Offering methodical and thorough analysis, The Athletic’s Women’s Football Podcast has been running since late 2020 and is vital fodder for anyone looking to get stuck into the Women’s Super League (WSL). Hosts Kait Borsay and Lynsey Hooper dissect the ins and outs of England’s top tier, alongside the major tournaments across Europe. The treatment of the women’s game over the years is examined through a critical lens, while guest appearances have included Lioness royalty Kelly Smith, golden boot winner Beth Mead, and former England striker and current sporting director of Los Angeles’s Angel City FC, Eni Aluko.

Quite Unsuitable For Females

In 1921, the FA passed a motion declaring that “football is quite unsuitable for females”, banning women from playing on its grounds for half a century. This five-episode series by the National Football Museum explores the calamitous impact of the ban, alongside the harmful stereotypes and barriers faced by women and girls playing today, from the grassroots to the elite level. The LGBTQ+ inclusivity of the sport, and the golden age of the women’s game pre-ban, are also highlighted – in particular, with the legacy of Lily Parr and the team she played for: Dick, Kerr Ladies – while its four hosts are adept at balancing the informative with the engaging.

Goal Diggers Podcast

A black, female-led podcast by a group of fans who know their football, from transfer predictions to match round-ups: this show is refreshing, funny and smart. The banter is enough to make you smile even in the darkest depths of winter, while the discussions are insightful, informative and packed with witty one liners. The podcast mostly looks at the men’s game, but there are dedicated episodes on women’s football – also available as slickly produced videos on YouTube – including an edition on the WSL and one ahead of the Euros.

The Guardian’s Women’s Football Weekly

Relive the highs and lows of the Euro with the Guardian’s first women’s football podcast, which follows the tournament from start to finish. Hosted by sports broadcaster Faye Carruthers, it features in-depth match analysis with guests including ex-England internationals Anita Asante and Karen Carney. The Guardian’s football journalists Suzanne Wrack and Jonathan Liew also make regular appearances, providing their insights and, following England’s historic win, their sheer elation. Carruthers also heads up TalkSport’s Women’s Football Weekly podcast, which focuses on the WSL, including player interviews and discussions on the treatment of the sport: from the quality of refereeing, to the possible use of VAR in the WSL.

For even more, sign up to Moving the Goalposts, the Guardian’s women’s football newsletter

Why not try …

  • Abortion: The Body Politic, the legendary US broadcaster Katie Couric’s six-part history of reproductive rights in America.

  • The tenth season of Hollywood scandal show Disgraceland, focused on the real story of Britney Spears’ conservatorship case.

  • Lexx Education, in which standup comedian Laura Lexx tries to pass her science GCSE again, aided by her younger brother.

In last week’s newsletter we mistakenly provided a link to the audiobook of The Electricity of Every Living Thing, when we meant to link to the serialised dramatisation.

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Elon Musk sells Tesla shares worth $6.9bn as Twitter trial looms | Elon Musk

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Elon Musk has sold $6.9bn (£5.7bn) worth of shares in Tesla after admitting that he could need the funds if he loses a legal battle with Twitter and is forced to buy the social media platform.

The Tesla CEO walked away from a $44bn deal to buy Twitter in July but the company has launched a lawsuit demanding that he complete the deal. A trial will take place in Delaware in October.

“In the (hopefully unlikely) event that Twitter forces this deal to close *and* some equity partners don’t come through, it is important to avoid an emergency sale of Tesla stock,” Musk said in a tweet late on Tuesday.

In other comments on Twitter on Tuesday, Musk said “yes” when asked if he was finished selling Tesla stock. He also said he would buy Tesla stock again if the Twitter deal does not close.

Musk has committed more than $30bn of his own money to the financing of the deal, with more than $7bn of that total provided by a coterie of associates including tech tycoon Larry Ellison, the Qatar state investment fund and the world’s biggest cryptocurrency exchange, Binance.

Musk, the world’s richest person, sold $8.5bn worth of Tesla shares in April and had said at the time there were no further sales planned. But since then, legal experts had suggested that if Musk is forced to complete the acquisition or settle the dispute with a stiff penalty, he was likely to sell more Tesla shares.

Last week Musk launched a countersuit against Twitter, accusing the platform of deliberately miscounting the number of spam accounts on the platform. Twitter has consistently stated that the number of spam accounts on its service is less than 5% of its user base, which currently stands at just under 238 million. Legal experts have said that Musk will find it hard to convince a judge that Twitter’s spam issue represents a “company material adverse effect” that substantially alters the company’s value – and therefore voids the deal.

Musk sold about 7.92m Tesla shares between 5 August and 9 August, according to multiple filings. He now owns 155m Tesla shares or just under 15% of the electric carmaker.

The latest sales bring total Tesla stock sales by Musk to about $32bn in less than one year. However, Musk remains comfortably ahead of Jeff Bezos as the world’s richest man with an estimated $250bn fortune, according to the Bloomberg billionaires index.

Tesla shares have risen nearly 15% since the automaker reported better-than-expected earnings on 20 July, also helped by the Biden administration’s climate bill that, if passed, would lift the cap on tax credits for electric vehicles.

Musk also teased on Tuesday that he could start his own social media platform. When asked by a Twitter user if he had thought about creating his own platform if the deal didn’t close, he replied: “X.com”.

With Reuters



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Iran reveals use of cryptocurrency to pay for imports • The Register

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Iran has announced it used cryptocurrency to pay for imports, raising the prospect that the nation is using digital assets to evade sanctions.

Trade minister Alireza Peyman Pak revealed the transaction with the tweet below, which translates as “This week, the first official import order was successfully placed with cryptocurrency worth ten million dollars. By the end of September, the use of cryptocurrencies and smart contracts will be widespread in foreign trade with target countries.”

It is unclear what Peman Pak referred to with his mention of widespread use of crypto for foreign trade, and the identity of the foreign countries he mentioned is also obscure.

But the intent of the announcement appears clear: Iran will use cryptocurrency to settle cross-border trades.

That’s very significant because Iran is subject to extensive sanctions aimed at preventing its ability to acquire nuclear weapons and reduce its ability to sponsor terrorism. Sanctions prevent the sale of many commodities and technologies to Iran, and financial institutions aren’t allowed to deal with their Iranian counterparts, who are mostly shunned around the world.

As explained in this advisory [PDF] issued by the US Treasury, Iran has developed numerous practices to evade sanctions, including payment offsetting schemes that let it sell oil in contravention of sanctions. Proceeds of such sales are alleged to have been funnelled to terrorist groups.

While cryptocurrency’s anonymity has been largely disproved, trades in digital assets aren’t regulated so sanctions enforcement will be more complex if Iran and its trading partners use crypto instead of fiat currencies.

Which perhaps adds more weight to the argument that cryptocurrency has few proven uses beyond speculative trading, making the ransomware industry possible, and helping authoritarian states like Iran and North Korea to acquire materiel for weapons.

Peyman Pak’s mention of “widespread” cross-border crypto deals, facilitated by automated smart contracts, therefore represents a challenge to those who monitor and enforce sanctions – and something new to worry about for the rest of us. ®



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Edwards Lifesciences is hiring at its ‘key’ Shannon and Limerick facilities

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The medtech company is hiring for a variety of roles at both its Limerick and Shannon sites, the latter of which is being transformed into a specialised manufacturing facility.

Medical devices giant Edwards Lifesciences began renovations to convert its existing Shannon facility into a specialised manufacturing centre at the end of July.

The expansion will allow the company to produce components that are an integral part of its transcatheter heart valves. The conversion is part of Edwards Lifesciences’ expansion plan that will see it hire for hundreds of new roles in the coming years.

“The expanded capability at our Shannon facility demonstrates that our operations in Ireland are a key enabler for Edwards to continue helping patients across the globe,” said Andrew Walls, general manager for the company’s manufacturing facilities in Ireland.

According to Walls, hiring is currently underway at the company’s Shannon and Limerick facilities for a variety of functions such as assembly and inspection roles, manufacturing and quality engineering, supply chain, warehouse operations and project management.

Why Ireland?

Headquartered in Irvine, California, Edwards Lifesciences established its operations in Shannon in 2018 and announced 600 new jobs for the mid-west region. This number was then doubled a year later when it revealed increased investment in Limerick.

When the Limerick plant was officially opened in October 2021, the medtech company added another 250 roles onto the previously announced 600, promising 850 new jobs by 2025.

“As the company grows and serves even more patients around the world, Edwards conducted a thorough review of its global valve manufacturing network to ensure we have the right facilities and talent to address our future needs,” Walls told SiliconRepublic.com

“We consider multiple factors when determining where we decide to manufacture – for example, a location that will allow us to produce close to where products are utilised, a location that offers advantages for our supply chain, excellent local talent pool for an engaged workforce, an interest in education and good academic infrastructure, and other characteristics that will be good for business and, ultimately, good for patients.

“Both our Shannon and Limerick sites are key enablers for Edwards Lifesciences to continue helping patients across the globe.”

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