Daily digest: Calls to cancel the 2021 Olympics grow louder, a wobbly tower in China, and more

Shaping Up To Be A Wild Summer...

Daily digest: Calls to cancel the 2021 Olympics grow louder, a wobbly tower in China, and more

Tokyo with Kengo Kuma’s new National Stadium seen in the distance (Daniel Ramirez/Wikimedia Commons, accessed under the CC BY 2.0 license)

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