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Archive for 22. Juli 2018

May’s Brexit Plan Gets Pushback From EU

Posted by hkarner - 22. Juli 2018

Date: 21-07-2018
Source: The Wall Street Journal

The EU’s chief negotiator casts doubt on key elements, raising the risk of a chaotic separation

The European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said some major aspects of U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May’s plan weren’t practical.

BRUSSELS—The European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator raised serious doubts about U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May’s plan for Britain’s future trade relationship with the bloc, saying parts of it would risk undermining the EU’s single market in goods and services.

In the first official reaction from the EU to the plan, Michel Barnier said Friday that it contained some positive suggestions but that key elements violated negotiating guidelines laid out by EU leaders.

The cool response underlines the risks that Britain could crash out of the bloc without a Brexit deal on March 29, 2019. With that departure date, EU officials warn that there are roughly three months left to solve remaining disagreements about the terms of Britain’s exit and to sketch the shape of future economic and security ties. The deal must be agreed by the U.K. parliament and the European Parliament. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The ‘Everything Handmade’ Trend Will Curb Job Losses

Posted by hkarner - 22. Juli 2018

Date: 21-07-2018
Source: The Wall Street Journal By Jay W. Richards

Automation will eliminate some jobs, but consumers will often pay a premium for the human touch.

Experts have predicted the looming automation of everything, with machines replacing labor and putting half the population out of work. This forecast seems to follow from basic economic logic:

Economic growth is about getting more output from less input.

Labor is an input.

We are now devising powerful forms of automation, which will dilute our labor to homeopathic levels—especially in middle skill, blue-collar trades.

Therefore, much of the population will soon be jobless.

That inference is too simple. There’s disruption ahead, but other trends may fend off the job famine. Here’s one: As ever more goods become cheap commodities, the economic value of the human touch—of literal labor—goes up. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Vanadium is the latest beneficiary of the battery craze

Posted by hkarner - 22. Juli 2018

Date: 19-07-2018
Source: The Economist

A metal used to harden steel could also help prevent global warming

OPEN a toolbox, pull out a spanner and you may be holding a bit of the answer to global warming: vanadium, a metal named after Vanadis, the Scandinavian goddess of beauty. Used mostly in alloys to strengthen steel, its appearance may not live up to the romance of its name. Yet vanadium could become a vital ingredient in large clean-energy batteries, in which case it will shine a lot brighter.

Its price has already been rising faster than cobalt, copper and nickel, all of which are used in lithium-ion batteries (see chart). The main reason for the run-up is prosaic. About nine-tenths of the world’s vanadium is used to harden steel; China has tightened standards on the strength of rebar to make buildings more earthquake-proof. Mark Smith, boss of Largo Resources, which mines high-purity vanadium in Brazil, says this alone should increase demand for the metal by up to 15,000 tonnes in 2018-19. Last year total production was 83,000 tonnes. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Hibernation: How Europe Can Survive the Trump Era

Posted by hkarner - 22. Juli 2018

Date: 21-07-2018
Source: SPIEGEL An Essay by Dirk Kurbjuweit

Explosive narcissism and vulgar capitalism: It is impossible to engage in politics with this U.S. president. Europe should resist the temptation to fixate on Donald Trump and instead pursue its own goals. That’s the lesson of a deeply disorienting week.

Politicians are used to engaging in politics — either with or in opposition to other politicians. Traditionally, the foreign policy of one nation-state or alliance is confronted by the foreign policy of another nation-state or alliance. That’s the way it has been for hundreds of years. But that’s not the way it is at the moment. When Donald Trump is involved, politics is not confronting politics. Rather, politics is confronting the bizarre.

There is no precedent for such a situation in the history of the West. That fact is also contributing to the difficulties of practicing politics in this day and age. Politicians, after all, frequently look to the history books for examples to follow and traditions to pursue. But in the history of democracies, the chapter on the bizarre is rather thin. Someone like Trump is a totally new beast and requires a completely novel approach to politics. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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