Welcome back to another Wednesday news roundup. Here’s what you need to know today:
Calls grow to cancel the 2021 Summer Olympics in Tokyo as Japan grapples with COVID
Already delayed once, the 2021 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo could be staring down an outright cancellation. The Tokyo Medical Practitioners Association is reportedly calling on the International Olympic Committee to cancel the Games over surging rates of COVID-19 infections. Tokyo and other prefectures are under a state of emergency through May 31, and the group claims that hospitals in the city are currently at capacity. If things don’t calm down in the next few months, heat exhaustion could further strain the healthcare system. At the time of writing, only 3.5 percent of Japan’s 126-million-strong population is vaccinated.
H/t to Reuters
One of China’s towers had to be evacuated after it started wobbling
The 980-foot-tall SEG Plaza tower in Shenzhen was reportedly evacuated yesterday after it began wobbling, sending shoppers inside panicking. The tower, Shenzen’s 18th tallest, was completed in 2000 contains offices and a shopping center. The building began shaking at approximately 1:00 p.m. and was emptied over the next hour and a half, and seismologists confirmed that no earthquakes had hit the city that day.
H/t to The Guardian
Darwin’s Arch in the Galápagos Islands collapsed
Darwin’s Arch, a naturally formed stone bridge off the coast of the Galápagos Islands, has been felled by erosion. In a tweet, Ecuador’s Ministry of Environment and Water confirmed that the structure collapsed on Monday, May 17, leaving behind only two stone pillars. Divers aboard a ship run by Aggressor Adventures were actually there to witness the failure as it happened.
H/t to Gizmodo
KAWS is flying a hot air balloon mimicking his work around the world
Whatever you may think of KAWS’s art, you might be seeing a lot more of it soon. KAWS (whose real name is Brian Donnelly), will fly a 138-foot-tall hot air balloon version of his signature “dead Mickey Mouse” character, Companion, over Australia, China, Turkey, and Spain, following its maiden flight in the English city of Bristol, which is known as a global epicenter of hot air balloon-ing. Passengers will soon be able to buy tickets if they’d like to go up for a ride.
H/t to CNN
Whitney Museum of American Art workers move to unionize
Aggrieved by stagnant wages and pandemic-induced job insecurity, workers at the Whitney Museum of American Art in Manhattan filed a petition on Monday, May 17, to hold a unionization election. Approximately 185 workers across all of the museum’s departments, citing how the museum had slashed 20 percent of its workforce since the pandemic began (despite receiving a Payment Protection Program loan), signed on. All of the Hispanic Society of America’s staff in Manhattan filed a petition for a union election two weeks ago, citing the same issues.
H/t to Hyperallergic
Boca Chica residents are pissed off at Elon Musk’s nearby rocket launches
Elon Musk’s plans to build out a spaceport near the small, unincorporated town of Boca Chica, Texas, have been well documented (including by AN), but extant residents are now pushing back. SpaceX’s last few Starship test launches have had, well, explosive endings, and Boca Chica residents are reportedly tired of being showered in steel, and having debris litter the nearby Lower Rio Grande National Wildlife Refuge. Worse still, SpaceX is reportedly not cleaning up after themselves even as the company scales up testing, and the noise and increased traffic could be disrupting wildlife there.
H/t to Texas Monthly