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Posts Tagged ‘Guardian’

Posted by hkarner - 8. April 2019

Date: 07-04-2019
Source: The Guardian
Subject: Brexit: furious Tories will try to oust May if UK fights Euro elections

PM says Brexit could ‘slip through our fingers’ as Conservatives fear taking part in EU election would boost far right

Theresa May is facing growing pressure from Tory backbenchers over the prospect that the UK will have to take part in EU elections in May.

Theresa May’s mutinous MPs are warning her that they will move to oust her within weeks if the UK is forced to take part in European elections next month and extend its EU membership beyond the end of June.

Tory MPs are increasingly angry at the prospect of voters being asked to go to the polls to elect MEPs three years after the Brexit referendum, in an election they fear will be boycotted by many Conservatives and be a gift to the far right and Nigel Farage’s new Brexit party. Senior Tories said one silver lining of a long extension would be that it would allow them to move quickly to force May out, and hold a leadership election starting as soon as this month. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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European demolishers meet…..

Posted by hkarner - 5. April 2019

Date: 04-04-2019
Source: The Guardian
Subject: Salvini aims to forge far-right alliance ahead of European elections

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Italian deputy PM holding gathering of far-right parties including Germany’s AfD next week as he seeks to create bloc of populists

Shaun Walker in Budapest, Angela Giuffrida in Rome and Jon Henley in Paris

Italy’s deputy PM, Matteo Salvini, is hosting a gathering of European far-right parties in Milan next week.

Matteo Salvini, Italy’s deputy prime minister and leader of its far-right League party, will host a gathering of European far-right parties in Milan next week aimed at building an alliance before elections in May.

Salvini is attempting to position himself as the informal leader of Eurosceptic, populist forces in Europe, but it remains unclear whether any kind of formal coalition will work, given policy differences between parties and the tangled web of alliances already at play inside the European parliament.

Europe’s rightwing populists are in power in Italy, Hungary, Austria and Poland and are riding high in several countries including France and the Netherlands, and, according to polls, will make significant advances in May’s elections. However, they are not predicted to form a majority and most analysts believe they will struggle to present a united front. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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EU cannot betray ‚increasing majority‘ who want UK to remain, says Tusk

Posted by hkarner - 28. März 2019

Date: 27-03-2019
Source: The Guardian

EC president hails those who marched against Brexit and millions who petitioned to revoke article 50

Donald Tusk: ‘They must feel that they are represented by you in this chamber. Because they are Europeans.’

Donald Tusk has issued a rallying call to the “increasing majority” of British people who want to cancel Brexit and stay in the European Union.

In a stirring intervention, the European council president hailed those who marched on the streets of London and the millions who are petitioning the government to revoke article 50.

Speaking to the European parliament, Tusk reprimanded those who voiced concerns about a potential lengthy extension to article 50 in the event of the Commons rejecting the withdrawal agreement again this week.

Tusk said: “Let me make one personal remark to the members of this parliament. Before the European council, I said that we should be open to a long extension if the UK wishes to rethink its Brexit strategy, which would of course mean the UK’s participation in the European parliament elections. And then there were voices saying that this would be harmful or inconvenient to some of you.

“Let me be clear: such thinking is unacceptable. You cannot betray the 6 million people who signed the petition to revoke article 50, the 1 million people who marched for a people’s vote, or the increasing majority of people who want to remain in the European Union” Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Dirty lies: how the car industry hid the truth about diesel emissions

Posted by hkarner - 24. März 2019

Date: 23-03-2019
Source: The Guardian By Beth Gardiner

The ‘Dieselgate’ scandal was suppressed for years – while we should have been driving electric cars.

John German had not been looking to make a splash when he commissioned an examination of pollution from diesel cars back in 2013. The exam compared what came out of their exhaust pipes, during the lab tests that were required by law, with emissions on the road under real driving conditions. German and his colleagues at the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) in the US just wanted to tie up the last loose ends in a big report, and thought the research would give them something positive to say about diesel. They might even be able to offer tips to Europe from the US’s experience in getting the dirty fuel to run a little cleaner.

But that was not how it turned out. They chose a Volkswagen Jetta as their first test subject, and a VW Passat next. Regulators in California agreed to do the routine certification test for them, and the council hired researchers from West Virginia University to then drive the same cars through cities, along highways and into the mountains, using equipment that tests emissions straight from the cars’ exhausts. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Donald Tusk: EU will only back short Brexit delay if May’s deal passes

Posted by hkarner - 21. März 2019

No deal looms as Germany demands ‘concrete purpose’ for extension and France threatens to block it

Donald Tusk has put a no-deal Brexit back on the table by saying EU leaders will only agree to a short delay if MPs back Theresa May’s deal next week, on a day of high drama in Brussels and London.

After belatedly receiving the prime minister’s formal letter requesting a three-month extension of article 50, and taking a late afternoon phone call with her, the European council president admitted that success appeared “frail, even illusory” on the eve of Thursday’s summit.

The German foreign minister, Heiko Maas, tweeted: “The letter from Theresa May has not solved any problem yet. If the European council [summit of leaders] is to decide on an extension of the deadline for Britain, we would like to know what is the concrete purpose.” Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Posted by hkarner - 18. März 2019

Date: 16-03-2019
Source: The Guardian By Frans de Waal
Subject: What animals can teach us about politics

Decades of studying primates has convinced me that animal politics are not so different from our own – and even in the wild, leadership is about much more than being a bully.

In July 2017, when Sean Spicer, then the White House press secretary, was discovered hiding in the bushes to dodge questions from reporters, I knew Washington politics had become truly primatological. A few weeks earlier, James Comey had intentionally worn a blue suit while standing at the back of a room with blue curtains so as to blend in. The FBI director hoped to go unnoticed and avoid a presidential hug. (The tactic failed.)

Making creative use of the environment is primate politics at its best, as is the role of body language such as sitting on a throne high above the grovelling masses, descending into their midst with an escalator or raising one’s arm so underlings can kiss your armpit (a pheromonal ritual invented by Saddam Hussein). The link between high evaluations of debate performances and the candidates’ heights is well known – taller candidates have a leg up. This advantage explains why short leaders bring along boxes to stand on during group photos. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Could robots make us better humans?

Posted by hkarner - 7. März 2019

Date: 06-03-2019
Source: the Guardian

Machines can already write music and beat us at games like chess and Go. But the rise of artificial intelligence should inspire hope as well as fear, says Marcus du Sautoy

Marcus du Sautoy … ‘We often behave too like machines.’

As Marcus du Sautoy greets me at the entrance to New College, Oxford, his appearance is a quiet riot of colour. His clothes rather suggest someone who ran into White Stuff or Fat Face and frantically grabbed anything he could find – in this case, a salmon zip-up top, multihued check trousers and shoes that are a headache-inducing shade of turquoise. When we settle down to talk in a nearby meeting room, he repeatedly glances at a notepad – whose pages, just to add to all the garishness, are a bold shade of yellow.

They are full of what look like scrawled equations, mixed with odd-looking shapes: the raw material, he explains, of a project involving very complicated geometry. “There’s an infinite symmetrical structure that I’m looking at,” he says, “and I think the top bit of it will tell me everything that’s going on inside it. It’s almost like an infinite lake, and I should be able to know everything that’s happening in it by looking at the first centimetre.”

He suddenly looks rather pained. “But I don’t know.”

Du Sautoy, 53, is a professor of maths and a fellow of New College. Eleven years ago, Oxford University made him its Simonyi professor for the public understanding of science, a role ideally suited to a prolific author who is a regular presence on the TV. But a lot of his day-to-day life still seems to revolve around the fascinatingly abstract and complex world of pure maths – which, as his current quest suggests, is becoming ever more onerous and complex. Modern mathematicians stand on top of a body of knowledge that stretches back centuries. A great many theorems have been proved; even some of the most complicated fields of research have been fully explored, and closed off. To appreciably extend human understanding often seems to require unfathomable intellectual leaps. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Don’t look now: why you should be worried about machines reading your emotions

Posted by hkarner - 7. März 2019

Date: 07-03-2019
Source: The Guardian

Machines can now allegedly identify anger, fear, disgust and sadness. ‘Emotion detection’ has grown from a research project to a $20bn industry

‘Some developers claim that algorithms will become attuned to our innermost feelings, vastly improving interaction with our devices.’

Could a program detect potential terrorists by reading their facial expressions and behavior? This was the hypothesis put to the test by the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) in 2003, as it began testing a new surveillance program called the Screening of Passengers by Observation Techniques program, or Spot for short.

While developing the program, they consulted Paul Ekman, emeritus professor of psychology at the University of California, San Francisco. Decades earlier, Ekman had developed a method to identify minute facial expressions and map them on to corresponding emotions. This method was used to train “behavior detection officers” to scan faces for signs of deception. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Seven weeks before we leave the EU… has anyone seen David Cameron?

Posted by hkarner - 11. Februar 2019

Date: 10-02-2019
Source: The Guardian

David Cameron: ‘He’s rethinking all the decisions he made’

With Brexit weeks away, many see the former PM as the man who wrecked Britain. Cameron’s memoirs will reveal more but meanwhile, we ask his friends and former colleagues: where did it all go wrong and where does he go from here?

In the icy depths of late January, just as Theresa May was absorbing the latest parliamentary defeat for her Brexit plan, David Cameron landed in the sunshine of southern India. He had been hired to deliver a lecture on geopolitics, plus a few amusing cricket anecdotes, in Chennai, in honour of the late Indian entrepreneur KS Narayanan. The businessman was known in his home country for quitting while he was ahead, retiring at the height of his powers. Cameron, however, is better known for doing the opposite.

The official line is that the man who brought us Brexit, and then walked away whistling from his final farewell to the nation, has no regrets; that all will be explained in the memoirs he is due to publish later this year, and that meanwhile he is enjoying an agreeable retirement on the international speaking circuit. In private, it’s not that simple. He may be more sanguine about it than his old friend George Osborne, but Brexit has divided the Camerons’ social circle just as it has divided the country, and they have not been spared the backlash. One society hostess entertaining the couple recently had to ring fellow guests in advance, checking that they would be able to keep things civil; not all the responses were positive. Even his wife Samantha’s Instagram feed, devoted mainly to holiday snaps and puffs for her new fashion business, is occasionally invaded by passersby criticising her husband. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The Age of Surveillance Capitalism by Shoshana Zuboff review – we are the pawns

Posted by hkarner - 4. Februar 2019

Date: 03-02-2019
Source: The Guardian

Tech companies want to control every aspect of what we do, for profit. A bold, important book identifies our new era of capitalism

The alarm beside your bed rings, triggered by an event in your calendar. The smart thermostat in your bedroom, sensing your motion, turns on the hot water and reports your movements to a central database. News updates ping your phone, with your daily decision whether to click on them or not carefully monitored, and parameters adjusted accordingly. How far and where your morning run takes you, the conditions of your commute, the contents of your text messages, the words you speak in your own home and your actions beneath all-seeing cameras, the contents of your shopping basket, your impulse purchases, your speculative searches and choices of dates and mates – all recorded, rendered as data, processed, analysed, bought, bundled and resold like sub-prime mortgages. The litany of appropriated experiences is repeated so often and so extensively that we become numb, forgetting that this is not some dystopian imagining of the future, but the present.

 While insisting their technology is too complex to be legislated, companies spend billions lobbying against oversight

Originally intent on organising all human knowledge, Google ended up controlling all access to it; we do the searching, and are searched in turn. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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