California Firefighters walk ahead of flames engulfing the bush
Image: © Will Lester / AP/Press Association Images

Floods and fire, Olympic scandal, kidneys for sale. 13-19 August: What just happened?

Natural disasters hit the US, Olympics chief arrested, illegal organ sales in India. Here's our review of the news over the last seven days

Natural disasters strike US in a week of fire and flood

Massive bush fires sweeping through California, huge floods hitting Louisiana forcing thousands to flee their homes – it’s been a rough week for the US. With such a terrible impact on people’s lives, as thousands struggle get to work, the economy is sure to take a hit. In Baton Rouge, almost 10,000 people are now living in emergency shelters, with many more are still trapped in their homes. Take a look at this interactive map to see which areas have been hardest hit. Meanwhile, in California, more than 80,000 people have been evacuated as fires tear through areas that have been affected by drought for years. Some people say the number of dead trees are a major factor, but others blame water scarcity, highlighted recently by the dispute over Nestle’s right to extract water in the region.

It’s been a strange old Olympics, and it just got a bit stranger

Workers with large balloons, featuring the writing 'Rio 2016', walk past the olympic park in Rio
Image: © Michael Kappeler / DPA/PA Images

Patrick Hickey, the Head of European Olympic Committees, has been arrested over allegations of illegal ticket sales. After green water, protests and booing, now the Olympics finds itself in the middle of another scandal. Brazilian police claim Hickey was involved in a scheme to resell Olympic tickets at higher than their face value, with a potential profit of around $3.1m. It follows earlier arrests last week, linked to a company called THG, that held the rights to resell tickets for the 2012 and 2016 Olympics. Check out this Guardian article, which explains all.

There’s a lot at stake in India’s illegal kidney racket

Shakel Ahmed, 28, left, whose kidney was removed, recovers at city civil hospital as his mother father sit near him, in Gurgaon, on the outskirts of New Delhi, India
Image: © Manish Swarup / AP/Press Association Images

Doctors in India have been involved in an illegal scam where poor villagers are selling their kidneys to rich patients. It seems like there really is no limit to what money can buy. In Mumbai’s elite hospital, five top doctors have been arrested for their involvement in the harvesting racket. The police were tipped off by a worker, who reported a suspicious kidney transplant involving a woman and her ‘husband’. This turned out to be a rich male patient buying a poor female villager’s kidney. Both were unknown to each other before the op. The demand for organs, especially kidneys, is high in India, with around 200,000 Indians needing transplants every year, but the supply can’t keep up. This article from Quartz explains more about this massive, and very troubling, market.

Deliveroo drivers take to the streets, but this time without a pizza in sight

Deliveroo riders make wage demands during a protest outside the company offices in Torrington Place, Fitzrovia, London.
Image: © Jonathan Brady / PA Wire/Press Association Images

Workers for the takeaway delivery company Deliveroo have been on strike in London this week, in protest at possible changes to the way they’re paid. The new contract means that instead of being paid $9.15 an hour, they’d now get $4.40 for every delivery made. Drivers say this might work during busy times, but what about when it’s quiet? They’re worried it could mean their wages go down. On the flip side, the company argue they’re just responding to driver demands for greater flexibility. They've now agreed not to force through the new contracts. Have a read of our article that explains what’s going on.

In other news…

Britons better off. Disposable income is at a record high the UK. A report by the Office for National Statistics shows that most households are better than at any time since the 2008 financial crash. So, that’s all good then.

Genghis Khant. Mongolia currently has the world’s worst performing . It lost 7.8% of its value this month. The country has lots of natural resources, but a collapse in the price of things like gold, and the fact that China, which buys 90% of its exports, isn’t buying so much, means they’re suffering from a deep economic crisis.

Swift relief. US pop star Taylor Swift has donated $1m to help those affected by the recent floods in Louisiana. With 60,000 people registering for disaster aid in the region, the money is much needed. Nice one T-Swizzle.

Don’t like your boss’s social media posts? Consider yourself fined!

A man wears a knitted eggplant balaclava
Image: © Phil Ferguson

Workers at a Chinese travel company have apparently been fined for not commenting on their boss's social media posts. Oops. Around 200 employees were fined $7.50 each, after failing to engage with their CEO's Weibo posts, which contain news about the company and inspirational mantras. Trying to work out the appropriate emoji for this… Unhappy face? Angry face? Utterly incredulous face? Eggplant?

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