Police officers clash with protesters in a rally against the proposed amendments to the extradition law at the Legislative Council in Hong Kong during the early hours of Monday, June 10, 2019. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)As anger over the proposed extradition law grows, the head of Hong Kong’s legislature has announced the schedule for debate on contentious changes to the territory’s extradition laws, setting a vote by June 20, reported AP. If the territory’s government sends the legislature the widely opposed bill, it would potentially allow criminal suspects to be extradited to mainland China. Andrew Leung, Legislature President, said Tuesday that he had accepted 153 out of 238 proposed amendments to the bills. He said there would be 66 hours for debate. 1 Comment(s) Hong Kong protesters, police clash as demonstrations target Chinese traders Clashes break out as Hong Kong protesters escalate fight in suburbs More Explained “Even the chief executive could not overrule the court, to say that because (a country) wants this offender, I will surrender,” Lam was quoted as saying by AP.Hong Kong voters cannot directly elect their chief executive. Lam was elected in 2017 by a committee dominated by pro-Beijing elites and is widely seen as the Communist Party’s favoured candidate.Legislative Council has sizeable camp of pro-Beijing lawmakersOver the years, Beijing has made significant efforts to integrate Hong Kong with the mainland.How?Only last year October, Beijing opened the world’s longest sea-crossing bridge, connecting Hong Kong and Macau to the city of Zhuhai in southern Guangdong province. Besides this, there have been many instances where those who anger China’s central government in Hong Kong have come under greater pressure since Chinese President Xi Jinping came to power in 2012.In late 2015, several Hong Kong booksellers were detained that intensified worries about the erosion of Hong Kong’s rule of law. They had briefly vanished before resurfacing in police custody in mainland China. Among them, Swedish citizen Gui Minhai is currently being investigated on charges of leaking state secrets after he sold gossipy books about Chinese leaders.In April, nine leaders of a 2014 pro-democracy protest movement known as the “Umbrella Revolution” were convicted on public nuisance and other charges. China blames ‘foreign forces’ for massive Hong Kong protestsA day after Hong Kong witnessed a unified protest march with hundreds of thousands of people taking to the streets to oppose the government’s extradition Bill, the Chinese government on Monday blamed “foreign forces” and said it “resolutely” opposed the “wrong words and deeds of any foreign forces” that interfere in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region’s (SAR) legislation. An editorial in the state-run China Daily also noted that “…foreign forces are seizing the opportunity to advance their own strategy to hurt China by trying to create havoc in Hong Kong.” By Express Web Desk |New Delhi | Updated: June 11, 2019 8:50:12 pm Taking stock of monsoon rain Hong Kong tourism, hotel occupancy falls as protests drag on The full Hong Kong legislature is expected to resume debate on the amendments on Wednesday, and a vote is expected this month.The controversial legislation has become a flashpoint for growing concerns about Beijing’s heavy-handedness and tightening grip over the former British colony, which had been promised it would retain its own legal and social institutions for 50 years after its return to Chinese rule in 1997.What does the extradition bill say? A protester reacts as police officers clash with protesters in a rally against the proposed amendments to the extradition law at the Legislative Council in Hong Kong during the early hours of Monday, June 10, 2019. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)The proposed law allows suspects accused of crimes such as rape and murder to be extradited to China for trial. The Chief Executive of Hong Kong Carrie Lam is pushing for the amendments to be passed this month. She had become the CEO in 2017 as as the candidate favoured by Beijing.Once the law is changed, Hong Kong will also hand over to China individuals accused of crimes in Taiwan and Macau. Taiwan has a tense relationship with China; Macau, like Hong Kong, is a Chinese special administrative region with significant autonomy. LiveKarnataka floor test: Will Kumaraswamy’s 14-month-old govt survive? Best Of Express On Sunday, thousands of protesters descended on the streets in the largest demonstration in Hong Kong in more than a decade. The massive turnout reflected increasing apprehension about relations with the Communist Party-ruled mainland. As per local media, police are mobilising thousands of additional officers to keep a strict check on law and order amid calls for protesters to begin gathering Tuesday night.Some businesses have also announced plans to close on Wednesday and scattered reports told of students planning to boycott classes.Largest protest in more than a decade The extradition law has aroused concerns that this legislation would undermine the city’s independent judicial system as it allows Hong Kong to hand over fugitives to the jurisdictions that the city doesn’t currently have an extradition agreement with, including mainland China, where a fair trial might not be guaranteed. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)Over the weekend, many took to the streets in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory to protest the legislative proposal that would allow criminal suspects to be extradited to mainland China. The protest appeared to be Hong Kong’s largest in more than a decade. The government has maintained that the proposed amendments would ‘plug loopholes’ that allow the city to be used by criminals. It has assured that courts in Hong Kong would make the final decision on extradition, that only certain categories of suspects would be liable, and that individuals accused of political and religious offences would not be extradited.Critics say legislation would entrap HK residents in China’s judicial system A protester covers himself near Hong Kong police officers in anti riot gear during a rallying against the proposed amendments to extradition law at the Legislative Council in Hong Kong during the early hours of Monday, June 10, 2019. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)Critics believe the legislation would put Hong Kong residents at risk of being entrapped in China’s judicial system, and they wouldn’t be guaranteed free and fair trials. They say that the changes would heavily compromise Hong Kong’s legal independence. Hong Kong Bar Association Chair Philip Dykes told the Associated Press that said a lack of faith in Beijing remains a crucial issue.“The government is asking these people with decades of mistrust suddenly to trust the system and to accept assurances that the (Chinese) mainland will offer that they be honoured. And that’s clearly not persuading the people,” Dykes was quoted as saying by the news agency.Hong Kong CEO says changes are necessary to uphold justiceCarrie Lam has said the changes are necessary for Hong Kong to uphold justice and meet its international obligations. Without them, she said Hong Kong risks becoming a “fugitive offenders’ haven”. Lam said the government has considered concerns from the private sector and altered the bill to improve human rights safeguards, emphasising that extradition cases would be decided by Hong Kong courts. 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Related News Surveying the period between March 2015 and March 2019, this year’s Economic Survey also stated that “malaria cases improved significantly…after implementation of Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM)”.The Survey states that Odisha brought about the highest reduction in malaria cases among children below five years but also notes that “major focus of SBM has been on making villages Open Defecation Free (ODF)”.Senior professionals in the state, however, disagree with the analysis. “There is no scientific link between controlling malaria and building toilets,” said Dr Pramila Baral, state director, National Vector-Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP). Climate warming may increase malaria risk in colder regions Best Of Express ASHA worker Gitanjali Bhakta (left) performs a malaria blood test in Lokapada village of Boudh district. (Express photo by Sampad Patnaik)From 4,36,850 malaria cases reported in 2015, Odisha had 66,301 cases reported in 2018, an 85-per cent reduction, giving the eastern coastal state the honour of reporting the highest reduction in malaria cases across the country, according to data from the Health Ministry’s National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme.1 Bengaluru: BBMP registers 1041 dengue cases in 2019, doctors say numbers downplayed Advertising ExplainedFlip side of successWhile successful test helps an ASHA get Rs 75, just testing, and achieving a negative result, fetches her only Rs 15 per case. As negative cases rise, malaria supervisors in Odisha worry whether the lower pay will demotivate ASHAs to work with equal fervour — or, worse, whether false cases will be reported to game the payment structure. Nine ASHAs in different low-endemic districts admitted that as negative tests keep increasing, the associated lower payment is a disincentive for them to continue testing each case of fever for potential malaria.Third, the state government has distributed nearly 1.1 crore long-lasting insecticide nets (LLINs) to combat malaria exposure during sleep. ASHA workers go door-to-door to explain nuances of the net’s use. Karnataka: Supreme Court to rule today, says Speaker’s powers need relook “It is entirely due to the state government efforts, its political and bureaucratic commitment, and ASHAs on the ground,” she emphasised.How it was achievedThe state government relies on a three-step project to keep malaria in check, executed by 47,147 ASHAs trained in diagnosing and monitoring malaria treatment. In the Early Detection and Complete Treatment (EDCT), an ASHA tests any fever case for malaria — so that treatment begins early and the parasite is killed before mosquitoes spread it.Odisha also runs a programme called DAMAN — Duragama Anchala Re Malaria Nirakaran (or controlling malaria in remote locations) — as part of which mass screenings are organised twice a year at ‘malaria camps’ in these areas: in April-June, and September-October. Under DAMAN, the entire population of these areas undergoes a malaria test, irrespective of whether one has fever or malaria symptoms. Indoor residual spray method is used, in which a residual insecticide is applied to inner walls and ceilings of houses so that malaria vectors come in contact with the insecticide. NRC deadline approaching, families stranded in Assam floods stay home “For example, LLINs must not be washed with soap water. They should be hung even at day so that mosquitoes that come in contact with the insecticide die throughout the day,” said Swati Kumhari, vector-borne disease consultant for Boudh district, around 200 km to the west of state capital Bhubaneswar.When The Indian Express visited Lokapada, a village in Harbhanga block of Boudh, ASHA Gitanjali Bhakta, 35, performed a Rapid Diagnostic Kit (RDK) malaria blood test on Arati Dehury, 60, under EDCT programme. Relying on antigen antibody interactions, RDKs are useful in places lacking quality microscopy services.For a positive test result, Gitanjali has to ensure the patient takes the prescribed medication lasting between three and 14 days, depending whether the detected parasite is plasmodium falciparum or plasmodium vivax. She earns Rs 75 per case for the whole process — from detecting a positive case to completing the course of treatment. Written by Sampad Patnaik | Boudh (odisha) | Published: July 17, 2019 3:05:44 am Delhi: 51 malaria cases recorded in June, double of last year Advertising Explained: The Hague rules on Kulbhushan Jadhav today Post Comment(s)
Source:http://www.kesslerfoundation.org/ Reviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Sep 24 2018Kessler Foundation researchers have published their findings linking behavioral symptoms with employment outcomes among adults with moderate to severe traumatic brain injury (TBI). Their findings have implications for strategies aimed at improving employment outcomes in this population. The article, “Impact of frontal neurobehavioral symptoms on employment in individuals with TBI,” was epublished ahead of print on July 19 in Rehabilitation Psychology (doi: 10.1037/rep0000208) The authors are Erica Weber, PhD, Angela Spirou, MA, Nancy Chiaravalloti, PhD, and Jeannie Lengenfelder, PhD, of Traumatic Brain Injury Research at Kessler Foundation.Related StoriesResearch team to create new technology for tackling concussionAn active brain and body associated with reduced risk of dementiaDon’t Miss the Blood-Brain Barrier Drug Delivery (B3DD) Summit this AugustAttaining employment after TBI is challenging. Among those with moderate-to-severe TBI, more than 60% are unemployed. Neural damage to the frontal lobes and white matter tracts often occurs with TBI, resulting in a variety of frontal system neurobehavioral syndromes and an array of overlapping symptoms. Little attention, however, has focused on the influence of these behavioral syndromes on employment.This study looked at 42 participants (ages 18 to 60) with moderate to severe TBI who were more than one year post injury. Participants were classified as Employed or Unemployed. All underwent neuropsychological evaluation, and were evaluated for depression and fatigue. Information regarding neurobehavioral symptoms (disinhibition, apathy, executive dysfunction), was solicited from the participants using the Frontal Systems Behavior Scale questionnaire; caregivers also provided their assessment of the participants’ behaviors pre- and post TBI.Employed and Unemployed individuals did not differ on tests of neurocognition. There were, however, significant differences between the groups on neurobehavioral tests.”Our results indicate that frontal neurobehavioral symptoms may be predictive of the ability to achieve and maintain employment after TBI,” said Dr. Weber, lead author, and a research scientist at Kessler Foundation. “Developing rehabilitative strategies that address these behaviors could improve employment outcomes,” she noted, “and reduce the burden of care on caregivers and society.”
Source:https://www.blf.org.uk/take-action/campaign/nhs-toxic-air-report By Dr. Ananya Mandal, MDOct 26 2018A new report has shown that the air outside the offices of General Practitioners and outside hospitals are high in pollutants. This can aggravate the lung problems in patients of asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) says the report.The report looks at the air quality of 2,200 GP surgeries and 248 hospitals and has shown that the air particles called particulate matter or PM2.5, around them exceed the recommended levels from the World Health Organisation (WHO). When patients with pre-existing lung conditions visit these places, they are put at a great risk the report states.The tiny particles of air pollutants are capable of passing via nose into the lungs and blood stream of the patients visiting these offices and hospitals. These can lead to asthma exacerbations as well says the report. The study was backed by the British Lung Foundation and was conducted by the Cambridge Environmental Research Consultants.The researchers have said that this level of air pollution is “unacceptable”. Alison Cook, director of policy at Cambridge Environmental Research Consultants in a statement said, “It can’t be right that hospital staff and GPs must care for people in environments that could worsen their symptoms and could be putting them at risk of a whole range of health problems.”A total of around 10,000 NHS health centres and areas around them were looked at in this study. It was noted that one third of GP practices and one fourth of hospitals are located in regions where air pollution is beyond recommended safe levels. Not surprisingly, the levels of pollution are greatest in major and moderately large cities such as London and Birmingham as well as Cardiff, Leeds, Leicester, Nottingham and Southampton. Great Ormond Street Hospital in London and Birmingham’s ChildrenRelated StoriesResearch opens possibility of developing single-dose gene therapy for inherited arrhythmiasImplanted device uses microcurrent to exercise heart muscle in cardiomyopathy patientsStudy analyzes high capacity of A. baumannii to persist on various surfacesHospital were particularly vulnerable to pollution, the report said. Smaller towns too were not free from pollution says the report and cites examples of Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, Cornwall, Ipswich, Westcliff-on-Sea, Gillingham, Worthing, Kettering, Basingstoke, Colchester, Hull and Chelmsford. Wales came up with 54 GP surgeries that were located in air polluted areas while Scotland had three in Aberdeen, Falkirk and Berwickshire which were in polluted regions.Dr Maria Neira, from the WHO said that these hospitals and the GP surgeries were the “heart and lungs” of the healthcare system and no one who was visiting these places should be at risk of being exposed to air pollution. The British Lung Foundation also added that at least 12 million people are at risk of air pollution and its harmful effects. Improving the air quality can reduce the exacerbation and aggravation of thousands of cases of asthma, COPD, heart disease, stroke and lung cancers, the BLF says.Air pollution is responsible for around 40,000 prematrue deaths in the UK annually say the statistics. According to a statement from a Defra spokesman, the Government would adhere to its Clean Air Strategy and said, “The forthcoming Environment Bill will include provisions to improve air quality.”UK currently meets its own maximum legally recommended pollutant PM2.5 levels but this is twice as high as the WHO recommendation. This report comes right before the next week’s WHO global pollution conference.
Reviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)Feb 27 2019A study led by researchers at RCSI (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland) has analyzed the pattern of skin cancer rates in kidney transplant patients, which suggests the increased risk is related to the anti-rejection medications.The research is published in JAMA Dermatology and was a collaboration between the National Cancer Registry Ireland and the National Kidney Transplant Service in Beaumont Hospital.Patients who receive a kidney transplant are at increased risk of cancer, in particular skin cancer. The study found that this skin cancer risk falls when the transplant fails and the patients return to dialysis but rises again when they receive another transplant. However, the rate of skin cancer is still higher in patients with failed transplants than pre-transplant patients on dialysis.Related StoriesTrends in colonoscopy rates not aligned with increase in early onset colorectal cancerNew protein target for deadly ovarian cancerStudy: Nearly a quarter of low-risk thyroid cancer patients receive more treatment than necessaryDue to this pattern of skin cancer rates, the data suggests that the cancer risk is related to the stopping and starting of anti-rejection medications.”In recipients of multiple kidney transplants, the incidence of nonmelanoma skin cancer fell during periods defined by transplant failure, but there was still an elevated risk. The incidence of cancer overall highlights the need for continued cancer surveillance during graft failure,” said the study’s lead author Dr Donal Sexton, Department of Nephrology and Kidney Transplantation, Beaumont Hospital, RCSI.The study analyzed the rates of cancer in 3,821 individual deceased and living kidney transplant recipients. Of the patients analyzed, 3,215 recipients had one transplant, 522 recipients a second; and 84 recipients had three kidney transplants.During the patient’s first kidney transplant, the rate of skin cancer rose 15 times higher than before the procedure. That skin cancer rate fell by half when the transplant failed and the patient returned to dialysis; however, the rate was still seven times higher than the pre-transplant patient’s rate. When they received a second transplant, the rate of skin cancer rose again to 12.8 times more than pre-transplant rate.”Our study has provided a comprehensive analysis of cancer risk over multiple kidney transplants in the same individuals. However, the retrospective nature of the analysis makes it difficult to capture the effect of the lag between exposure, cancer development, presentation, and diagnosis, and which may vary by treatment period,” said Professor Peter Conlon, Associate Professor of Medicine at RCSI.RCSI is ranked among the top 250 (top 2%) of universities worldwide in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings (2019) and its research is ranked first in Ireland for citations. It is an international not-for-profit health sciences institution, with its headquarters in Dublin, focused on education and research to drive improvements in human health worldwide. RCSI has been awarded Athena Swan Bronze accreditation for positive gender practice in higher education. Source:https://www.rcsi.com/dublin/news-and-events/news/news-article/2019/02/rcsi-research-suggests-that-anti-rejection-medications-for-multiple-kidney-transplants
The survival of all living things depends on their ability to respond to infections, stresses and injuries. Such threats trigger an immune system response to fend off pathogens and repair damaged tissues. A select group of genes are key to this defense mechanism, and inflammation is a sign that those genes are working to counter the threat or repair the damage.Inflammation serves to protect an organism from a health threat. But if someone feels under threat for long periods of time, their health may suffer significantly with chronic inflammation.”If those genes remain active for an extended period of time, that can promote heart attacks, neurodegenerative diseases, and metastatic cancer,” says co-author Steve Cole of the University of California, Los Angeles.In previous studies, Cole had found that inflammatory responses are heightened among people in socially-marginalized, isolated groups. “We’ve seen this before in chronic loneliness, poverty, PTSD, and other types of adversity,” he says. “But until now, nobody had looked at the effects of discrimination.”Inflammation’s link to racismFor the study, Thames and her co-authors focused on a group of 71 subjects: two-thirds of them were African Americans; the others were white.In addition, 38 of the participants were positive for HIV. Their participation gave scientists a chance to study the effects of racism independently from the effects of the disease.Related StoriesNovel method can help clinicians identify individuals most in need of PrEPHIV persists in spinal fluid even after long-term treatment and is linked to cognitive deficitsStudy: HIV patients continue treatments if health care providers are compassionateThe scientists extracted RNA from the participants’ cells and measured molecules that trigger inflammation, as well as those involved in antiviral responses. The research team found higher levels of the inflammatory molecules in African American participants.The results also indicate that racism may account for as much as 50 percent of the heightened inflammation among African Americans, including those who were positive for HIV.Ruling out other stressorsThe scientists made sure that all the participants had similar socioeconomic background to account for financial stressors, which eliminated poverty as a potential factor for chronic inflammation among the people in the study.”Racial discrimination is a different type of chronic stressor than poverty,” Thames says. “People navigate poverty on a day-to-day basis and are aware that it is happening. They might even be able to address financial stressors through job changes, changes in earnings and financial management. But with discrimination, you don’t always realize that it’s happening.”Individuals’ decisions or lifestyles can reduce the ill effects of some stressors, but racial discrimination is a chronic stressor that people have no control over. “You can’t change your skin color,” she says.Thames notes that this latest study has an obvious limitation: The sample size was small. But she says the results signal that scientists should repeat the study with a larger sample to fully determine the inflammatory effects of racism on people of color.Source:University of Southern CaliforniaJournal reference:Thames, A.D. et al. (2019) Experienced discrimination and racial differences in leukocyte gene expression. Psychoneuroendocrinology. doi.org/10.1016/j.psyneuen.2019.04.016. We know discrimination is linked to health outcomes, but no one was sure exactly how it harmed health. I looked at it as a chronic stressor. Our results showed that racial discrimination appears to trigger an inflammatory response among African Americans at the cellular level.”April Thames, associate professor of psychology and psychiatry at USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences Reviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)May 31 2019A new study indicates that racism is toxic to humans.A team of USC and UCLA scientists found that racist experiences appear to increase inflammation in African American individuals, raising their risk of chronic illness, according to the study published in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology on April 18.
Pål Suren explains: “We generally want both sensitivity and specificity to be as high as possible. There isa trade-off between the two. If the threshold for testing positive is lowered, sensitivity increases but usually at the price of decreasing specificity – and vice versa”.Related StoriesTransgenerational BPA exposure may contribute to autism, study findsBullying in children with ASD gets worse with ageHigh levels of acid in processed foods could affect fetus’ developing brainLanguage delay is a common symptom of autism. However, most of the children (76 per cent) with autism had developed phrase speech at 36 months and did not have significant cognitive delays. For these children, screening scores largely overlap scores in those without autism, meaning it is hard to distinguish these children from children with normal development.The results and methods are presented in more detail in BJPsych Open.BackgroundAutism spectrum disorders (ASD) are neurodevelopmental disorders characterised by persistent impairment in reciprocal social communication and interaction, and restricted, repetitive behavioural patterns. Symptoms usually appear by the second year of life. ASD is often referred to as just “autism”.Current guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics state that ASD screening should be included in general developmental check-ups at ages 18 and 24 months. British guidelines, however, do not recommend universal autism screening. The benefits and disadvantages of such screening have never been assessed in population-based studies.Sensitivity and specificitySensitivity is the proportion of individuals with a condition who test positive. This is a measure of the test’s ability to detect those who have the condition.Specificity is the proportion of individuals without a condition who test negative. This is a measure of the precision of the test, i.e. the test’s ability to distinguish between those with and without the condition.Source:Norwegian Institute of Public HealthJournal reference:Surén, P. et al. (2019) Sensitivity and specificity of early screening for autism. BJPsych Open. doi.org/10.1192/bjo.2019.34 Current available evidence does not support universal early screening for autism.”Dr Pål Surén, lead author of the study Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jun 17 2019Screening for autism at three years of age only identifies those with significant developmental delay, and not those with less severe autism. Early screening may therefore not be as beneficial as previously thought, according to data from the Norwegian Mother, Father and Child Cohort Study.This study measured the extent with which a commonly used screening tool could identify children with autism at 36 months. It found that the tool identified only one in five children who had autism.The screening identified individuals with autism spectrum disorders with significant development delay well but captured very few children with autism who have cognitive skills in the normal range.The authors of this study therefore question whether the benefits of nationwide screening outweigh the costs. Of the 385 children with autism, only one out of five children with autism tested positive at age three. In other words, screening sensitivity was 20 per cent. Screening captured only a minority of the children with autism and mainly those with significant developmental delay. Overall, screening specificity was 99 per cent. This means that the instrument has high precision because there were relatively few “false positives” (only 1 % children without autism tested positive). By lowering the cut-off score in the screening tool, sensitivity improved but led to a considerable increase in the number of false positives. About this studyThis study investigated the “sensitivity” and “specificity” of population-based autism screening at three years of age (see background). A total of 58 520 mothers from the Norwegian Mother, Father and Child Cohort Study participated. They answered the Social Communication Questionnaire (SCQ), a 40-item screening instrument for autism spectrum disorders. The children were followed up until the end of 2015, when they were aged from six to 14-years-old. By the end of the follow-up, 385 children (0.7 per cent) were identified as autistic.Findings
Storage in dose administration aids doesn’t affect warfarin Citation: Brave new world of robotic architecture dawning (2018, February 1) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-02-brave-world-robotic-architecture-dawning.html This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. As noted earlier, robotic construction methods are already in use, and Daas said this will only accelerate, with robots making “everything from small things all the way to skyscrapers.”They become part of building our world,” he said.As for the cultural effect of robots, Daas said that, too, is already happening.”With the invention of the clock, we framed the world, the universe, as a clock—a mechanism that keeps ticking,” Daas said. “Then when we began to use computers, we began to see the world as informational systems, including ourselves. So first we were machines, and then we were computers, and now we are robots. So in that sense it is a cultural phenomenon. We think the robot is the other, but little do we realize it is more about ourselves. Technically, as well as conceptually and experientially, the distinction between robots and humans is fuzzier than ever.”OK, so we’re already building and maintaining things robotically, but what about designing them? Isn’t that the heart of architecture: something irreplaceably human?”We talk about robots and artificial intelligence for design,” Daas said. “How we use robots in the design process, moving from the design process to prototype things. In that sense, robots become partners in exploring and designing. So it’s not that robots are going to take over, but the distinction between robots and us begins to get blurred. One becomes the extension of the other.”Daas believes that robots won’t obviate humans in his field but will instead enhance human life.”We are only afraid of what we don’t understand,” he said. “You have to demystify new technology. If you don’t, we’re driven by fear and baffled by that experience. It is a brave new world.” Explore further Credit: University of Kansas Sure, there have already been 3-D printed houses. And you can pick up a Nest Thermostat with artificial intelligence at your local hardware store. But a new book co-written and co-edited by Mahesh Daas, dean of the University of Kansas School of Architecture & Design, argues that robotics can and soon will be even further integrated into the design processes at the heart of architecture. Daas and his collaborator on “Towards a Robotic Architecture” (2018, Applied Research & Design Publishing), Temple University Assistant Professor of Architecture Andrew John Wit, brought together a variety of notable authors to survey the latest developments in the field.Daas said that, after an introductory framing of the question, the book explores such endeavors as robotic construction methods, robotics used for building operation, and maintenance and the use of robotics in design itself. Finally, it looks to the future, including a chapter on how robotic construction could make life on Mars possible.Daas said robots have fascinated him since he first encountered a robotic toy as a child. He has been involved in the field professionally for 20 years, serving, for instance, as president of the Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture from 2007-09. He serves on the editorial board of the International Journal of Architectural Computing.Despite some scary sci-fi depictions, robotics is nothing to be afraid of, Daas said. On the contrary, he said, robots will be necessary to do many of the things we wish to do in the 21st century. Daas believes robotics will affect every sphere of life: environmental, conceptual and cultural.”The world of tomorrow will not be possible without robotics,” Daas said. “They might be used as agricultural pollinators, as better ways to take care of wilderness, out in oceans. How do you track waste floating around the ocean? Going to Mars. We cannot get there without robots. Climate change can’t be combated without robots and artificial intelligence. We can’t solve the problems of today with the ideas of yesterday.”Indeed, our world is already being affected by robotics, Daas said.”Take the environment. Take self-driving cars,” he said. “There are already companies betting on it; cities are preparing for it. So the environment in which we live is already being transformed by robotic agencies of that kind. Why are drones so popular now? Because they are robotic. The technology of flight is not new. The helicopter is not new. But the ability to sense and respond in real time is new. That’s why drones have become so commonplace. They will transform … every topic: agriculture, biology, medicine and architecture.” Provided by University of Kansas
NASA has been working with other agencies, industry and organizations to test technologies that can help drones navigate safely beyond visual-line-of-sight. Credit: NASA/Dominic Hart “The new space act agreement broadening Uber’s partnership with NASA is exciting, because it allows us to combine Uber’s massive-scale engineering expertise with NASA’s decades of subject matter experience across multiple domains that are key to enabling urban air mobility, starting with airspace systems,” said Jeff Holden, Uber’s chief product officer.As small aircraft enter the marketplace, NASA wants to ensure they do so safely, with acceptable levels of noise, and without burdening the current national air traffic control system. To this end, the agency is leveraging ongoing aeronautics research in areas including: Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) traffic management at low altitude; UAS integration in the National Airspace System; all-electric, general aviation class aircraft development; vertical take-off and landing aircraft; system-wide safety; and more. These activities will generate the data necessary to support the creation of industry standards, Federal Aviation Administration rules and procedures, and other related regulations. NASA will make the research available to the broader UAM community. NASA has signed a second space act agreement with Uber Technologies, Inc., to further explore concepts and technologies related to urban air mobility (UAM) to ensure a safe and efficient system for future air transportation in populated areas. An artist’s conception of a future where different aircraft – vertical takeoff, traditional takeoff, crewed, uncrewed – safely perform a variety of daily missions in rural to urban environments. Credit: NASA/Advanced Concepts Laboratory NASA’s definition of “urban air mobility” is a safe and efficient system for vehicles, piloted or not, to move passengers and cargo within a city. Credit: NASA Citation: NASA, Uber to explore safety, efficiency of future urban airspace (2018, May 9) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-05-nasa-uber-explore-safety-efficiency.html This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. More information: For more information about NASA’s Urban Air Mobility initiative, visit go.nasa.gov/2I04Ec1 Under this agreement, Uber will share its plans for implementing an urban aviation rideshare network. NASA will use the latest in airspace management computer modeling and simulation to assess the impacts of small aircraft – from delivery drones to passenger aircraft with vertical take-off and landing capability – in crowded environments.This is NASA’s first such agreement specifically focused on modeling and simulation for UAM operations.”NASA is excited to be partnering with Uber and others in the community to identify the key challenges facing the UAM market, and explore necessary research, development and testing requirements to address those challenges,” said Jaiwon Shin, associate administrator for NASA’s Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate. “Urban air mobility could revolutionize the way people and cargo move in our cities and fundamentally change our lifestyle much like smart phones have.”At its research facility at the Dallas Fort Worth (DFW) International Airport, NASA will use the data supplied by Uber to simulate a small passenger-carrying aircraft as it flies through DFW airspace during peak scheduled air traffic. Analysis of these simulations will identify safety issues as these new aircraft take to the air in an already crowded air traffic control system. Explore further Taking air travel to the streets, or just above them Provided by NASA
SilkAir has proved the weak link in the Singapore Airlines group JAL to launch low-cost carrier ahead of 2020 Tokyo Olympics © 2018 AFP Explore further The move comes after the firm, facing tough rivalry in the high-end market from other full-service airlines and in economy class from budget carriers, last year consolidated its low-cost units TigerAir and Scoot into a single entity in a streamlining exercise.SIA said it would stump up more than Sg$100 million (US$74.5 million) on a cabin upgrade for the wholly owned subsidiary, including new “lie-flat seats” in business class and backseat in-flight entertainment in business and economy class.The overhaul is expected to start in 2020 and and the merger will take place after a sufficient number of aircraft have had their cabins redesigned, the firm added.Friday’s announcement “is a significant development to provide more growth opportunities and prepare the group for an even stronger future”, SIA chief executive Goh Choon Phong.Last year it embarked on a three-year transformation programme in a bid fend off competition and defend its reputation as one of the world’s leading airlines.SIA said Thursday the transformation has started to bear fruit, with group net profit climbing 148 percent to Sg$893 million in the year ended March 31.But SilkAir, a full-fare carrier that flies largely to holiday spots across Asia, turned in the weakest performance in the group with operating profit tumbling 57 percent to Sg$43 million.The merger “should have been done years ago because SilkAir has always been the weakest link within the SIA group”, said Shukor Yusof, an analyst with aviation consultancy Endau Analytics.Shukor noted that SilkAir was losing to the competition because, as a premium airline, it charges full fares while a host of regional budget carriers sell tickets to the same destinations at a cost a fraction of the cost.”For SIA, the cost of running SilkAir is very expensive,” he told AFP.”As a full-fare airline, flying to a niche resort destination is a very difficult market to make money from because the market these days is focused on carriers offering cheap fares. It’s all about costs.” Singapore Airlines said Friday it will absorb its struggling premium wing SilkAir following a multimillion-dollar upgrade as part of a reform drive to stay competitive. Citation: Singapore Airlines to absorb regional wing after upgrade (2018, May 18) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-05-singapore-airlines-absorb-regional-wing.html This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
Two months after it bought the US firm, “the integration of Monsanto into the Bayer Group can begin,” the Germany-based company said Germany’s Bayer completes purchase of Monsanto German chemicals and pharmaceuticals giant Bayer said Thursday it would finally begin integrating US seeds and pesticides maker Monsanto into its business, after meeting competition authorities’ final conditions for the merger. Explore further Citation: Bayer presses on with Monsanto integration as stock suffers (2018, August 16) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-08-germany-bayer-monsanto.html Two months after it bought the US firm, “the integration of Monsanto into the Bayer Group can begin,” the Leverkusen-based company said.Thursday saw Bayer complete the sale of a final tranche of crop science businesses worth 5.9 billion euros ($6.7 billion) to rival BASF under concessions imposed by cartel watchdogs.But there was no honeymoon for the merged groups after the successful conclusion of their two-year courtship.Investors have been shying away from Bayer’s shares since Monday, after a jury awarded a dying California groundskeeper almost $290 million last week, finding that flagship Monsanto weedkiller Roundup caused his cancer.Stock in Bayer was down 5.9 percent at 76.01 euros by 2:55 pm (1255 GMT) in Frankfurt, having lost 18.6 percent this week.Around 4,500 other court cases are pending and the reputation of glyphosate, the key ingredient in Roundup, has suffered, meaning analysts see Bayer both threatened by legal costs and risking future lost sales.”Bayer believes the jury’s decision is at odds with the weight of scientific evidence,” the group said in its statement Thursday, adding that Monsanto will appeal the decision.Where previously it was muzzled in Monsanto’s legal entanglements, “today… Bayer also gains the ability to become actively involved in the defence efforts in the glyphosate trials and any other legal disputes,” it added. © 2018 AFP This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
Here are five things to know about the fifth-generation successor to today’s 4G technology, which is a decade old and struggling to keep pace with global broadband demand.— What is 5G? —5G promises radically quicker transfers of data, instigating major changes to an array of products and services from self-driving cars to “telemedicine”.On the entertainment front, users will be able to download a high-definition movie in a few minutes compared to an hour or two now. The market for streaming video games, a rapidly growing area, will get a huge lift, as will the “internet of things”—domestic appliances, lighting and other at-home technologies connected and operated remotely.It’s not just about speed of downloads and uploads. 5G promises much lower “latency” than 4G. That is the time lag between a command being sent by a user and a device acting on it.In the real world, that brings into play the possibility of factory robots being operated remotely or surgeons operating on patients from far away using augmented reality glasses. © 2019 AFP Fifth-generation or 5G mobile networks promise ultra-fast downloads, but will there be a rapid rollout and uptake of the technology? Explore further In addition to making network equipment, Huawei has become a major supplier of phones Huawei chairman says ready to sign ‘no-spy’ deal with UK A Samsung Galaxy S10 5G smartphone displayed at a telecom shop in Seoul last month The most visible gain from lower latency could be with the widespread advent of self-driving cars. But these will need 5G networks to cover large areas, which is some way off.— When’s it coming? —5G is already here in South Korea and for fixed internet lines in some US cities. It is also available in parts of Estonia, Finland and Switzerland.The global breakthrough—widespread ultra-fast mobile networks on a par with 4G today—is still in the works.Japan and China are targeting 2020 for nationwide rollouts. The rest of Asia and Europe will follow over the decade.But mobile communications industry body GSMA, which represents 800 operators worldwide, estimates 5G will account for just 15 percent of total global mobile connections in 2025.And when will most of us see 5G smartphones? China’s Huawei was set to launch a 5G phone later Thursday in London.But broad adoption by consumers depends on 5G networks spreading far enough, and for the handhelds’ chips and other architecture to be capable of handling the added workload. Governments first need to harmonise standards for the award of so-called millimetre-wave (mmWave) spectrum, which will carry the vast data flows promised by 5G.That high-frequency mmWave spectrum starts at about 30 gigahertz. In contrast, 4G networks operate at lower than 6 GHz. That means not only ultra-fast broadband but also much greater bandwidth for many more users and devices to be connected to the network at the same time.— Who’s building it? —To bring the promised speeds to the masses, 5G requires a whole new infrastructure of masts, base stations and receivers.Among the networking companies in the race are Huawei, Sweden’s Ericsson and Nokia of Finland. South Korean giant Samsung and China’s ZTE are other infrastructure players.Huawei says it offers better technology at a lower cost. The Chinese leader, however, is hitting hurdles in the global race. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. It is heralded as an essential step to a brave new world of technology, but in the here and now, super-fast 5G networking is already pitting China against the West. — What’s the fuss? —The US government says Huawei—founded by former Chinese army engineer Ren Zhengfei—is a security risk and has urged allies including Britain to shun its equipment over fears it could serve as a Trojan horse for Chinese intelligence services.The US government has banned all federal agencies from acquiring Huawei equipment. Others including Australia, Japan and India have followed suit. Against the backdrop of a US-China trade war, on Tuesday President Donald Trump went further by effectively barring Huawei from the US market.China then formally arrested two Canadians already being held on suspicion of stealing state secrets in a case seen as retaliation over Canada’s arrest of a Huawei executive on a US extradition request. — 5G, give us a wave — Citation: 5G: Five things to know (2019, May 16) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-05-5g.html An antenna for the ultra-fast 5G mobile network
James Bridle on children’s online lives. Here’s a recap of some of the complaints and alleged violations before the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC), some of them still active. In some instances, complainants allege that the sharing of personal data of minors has knowingly occurred. Other complaints note current and past failures of oversight in regards to minors, offensive content and pedophilic activity. 1) In 2018, the Campaign for a Commercial Free-Childhood (CCFC) filed a complaint that details how Google violated COPPA when collecting personal data from minors.2) A 2018 study published in the Proceedings on Privacy Enhancing Technologies finds that “thousands of Android apps potentially violate child protection law.” Google’s Play Store potentially failed to enforce COPPA compliance in thousands of child-directed apps. The complaint to the FTC expands on how the Google Play Store apps are marketing to children and in turn, violating children’s privacy. 3) Although not the first warning, author James Bridle’s essay “Something is Wrong on the Internet” launched a media storm of concern as to the lack of regulation for child-directed bot-generated videos on YouTube Kids, thousands of which offered disturbingly violent, copyright-violating content. In April 2018, YouTube Kids finally launched “new features that allow parents to create a white-listed, non-algorithmic version of its Kids app,” after months of parent and media watch groups demanding this function. YouTube’s response revealed the lack of human oversight regarding inappropriate content on YouTube Kids: “Flagged videos are manually reviewed 24/7 and any videos that don’t belong in the app are removed within hours. For parents who want a more restricted experience, we recommend that they turn off the Search feature in the app.” That YouTube only removed content once flagged and vetted by humans meant that highly disturbing content was being served to minors without parents’ knowledge because of algorithmic discovery. 4) The reliance on algorithmic recommendations for ad revenue has repeatedly resulted in a failure to regulate offensive material on YouTube and YouTube Kids. In March 2017, AT&T, Johnson & Johnson and other companies pulled ads from YouTube because of ad placements next to objectionable content. Following these announcements, “…Google had outlined steps it would take to stop ads from running next to ‘hateful, offensive and derogatory content’ on YouTube and websites in its display network.”Minors: private data and public spaceGiven this pattern of inattention to violation of privacy regulations regarding minors, what assurance do we have that Sidewalk Labs and Sidewalk Toronto will be proactive in protecting the data privacy of children? The consideration of any potential violation of the data privacy of minors may present a point of legislative challenge to Sidewalk Toronto, especially considering the lack of transparency as to how data is collected. How Quayside’s data foraging will distinguish between data generated by minors and those over the age of digital consent is unknown. Sidewalk Toronto has made no mention of minors in any public documents to date. The pattern of inattention should make us wary of granting Sidewalk Toronto access to resident and public data without a very clear understanding of what is being tracked, archived, analyzed and shared. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Explore further Citation: Protecting children’s data privacy in the smart city (2019, May 16) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-05-children-privacy-smart-city.html This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article. Provided by The Conversation Congressmen question Google over kids’ privacy on YouTube The devices that we use have unique identifiers. With cross-browser fingerprinting, the data we generate as users isn’t as anonymized as we believe it is. The tracking of our online activity is extensive, comprehensive and persistent, and generates marketable data shadows that do not need our personal information in order to target us as consumers. Smart city planning will need to address data collection and protecting the privacy of minors in public space. Credit: Shutterstock This should be a significant concern regarding today’s children and youth, who have extremely detailed data profiles that they will carry into adulthood, creating what Google’s Eric Schmidt termed an “indelible record.” What is key to note here is that these instances of alleged violations of children’s privacy have occurred in the private realm, where regulations exist as to how this data should be handled. As smart city projects like Sidewalk Toronto’s Quayside project grow in profile and popularity, they have yet to identify what will happen to data generated in public by minors. Because Sidewalk Toronto may set precedents shaping future smart city planning, children’s privacy in the private and public spheres should be recognized as a national issue.Sidewalk Toronto is a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc., Google’s parent company, with several concerning precedents regarding tracking and collecting the data of minors. The findings reported here are an extension of a longer paper as to how tech and media giants are observation privacy needs of minors. “Data Science, Disney, and The Future of Children’s Entertainment” will be published in The Palgrave Handbook of Children’s Film and Television (July 2019).Minors can’t consentChildren today face unique challenges because they will be targeted by business intelligence, and shaped by this targeting to a degree that we cannot fathom. There are legal protections for minors under 13 as stated by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC) and Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule (COPPA) in the United States. Children and youth are recognized as vulnerable and deserving of special considerations: they cannot make informed decisions as to what they are agreeing to. This makes the data tracking and mining of children under 13 a federal issue. In Europe, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) applies to minors younger than 13 or 16, depending on the country’s age of digital consent. Youth of the age of digital consent (13 or 16 years old and up) are not protected as minors in Canada, the U.S. or Europe: youth data is treated as adult data. Complaints regarding the data of minorsGiven the pattern of inattention and prevarication evident in the instances noted here by Alphabet Inc.’s subsidiaries ensuring data privacy and protection of minors —the most regulated protected demographic in the U.S. —why should Sidewalk Toronto be trusted with the data of minors? For Torontonians, how exactly will Quayside ensure that the data of minors will be protected given that there has been no acknowledgement of the distinct concerns regarding minors or teens to date?
Provided by Rice University Citation: Low-speed electric vehicles could affect Chinese demand for gasoline and disrupt oil prices worldwide, says expert (2019, May 21) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-05-low-speed-electric-vehicles-affect-chinese.html This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Low-speed electric vehicles could reduce China’s demand for gasoline and, in turn, impact global oil prices, according to a new issue brief by an expert in the Center for Energy Studies at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy. Explore further Credit: CC0 Public Domain The electric vehicle revolution will come from China, not the US “Low-Speed Electric Vehicles: An Underappreciated Threat to Gasoline Demand in China and Global Oil Prices?” is authored by Gabriel Collins, the Baker Botts Fellow in Energy and Environmental Regulatory Affairs at the Baker Institute.”Disruptive innovation is typically a Silicon Valley buzzword and not one commonly associated with discussions of gasoline markets,” Collins wrote. “Yet the past several years in China have seen the emergence of a potential disruptor: low-speed electric vehicles. These little vehicles typically lack the aesthetic appeal of a Tesla, but they protect drivers from the elements better than a motorcycle, are faster than a bicycle or e-bike, are easy to park and charge, and, perhaps most endearing to emerging consumers, can be purchased for as little as $3,000 (and in some cases, less).”The International Energy Agency estimated there were 4 million low-speed electric vehicles in China as of midyear 2018, representing about 2 percent of the country’s passenger cars, Collins said. Low-speed electric vehicle sales there appear to have slowed in 2018, but manufacturers still sold nearly 1.5 million of them, roughly 30 percent more units than conventional electric vehicle makers did.”Depending on how proposed government regulations of the sector unfold in 2019 and beyond, sales could rise significantly as low-speed electric vehicles penetrate deeper into lower-tier markets where motorcycles and bicycles remain the prevalent means of transport, as well as into the increasingly crowded urban areas where space is at a premium and many residents still cannot afford larger vehicles,” Collins wrote.If a million low-speed electric vehicles displaced a million gasoline-powered midsize sedans from the market, about 15,000 barrels per day of gasoline demand could effectively be lost, Collins said. At the current estimated low-speed electric vehicle fleet size, the potential fuel demand displacement could exceed 60,000 barrels per day—2 percent of current total Chinese gasoline demand.”Low-speed electric vehicles (and other electric vehicles) are even more impactful when it comes to capturing incremental demand for transport services that might otherwise be served by gasoline-burning motors,” Collins wrote. “Here, 4 million low-speed electric vehicles could capture an amount of incremental gasoline usage equivalent to the nearly 64,000 barrels per day of gasoline demand growth in China between 2016 and 2017.”Collins concluded: “The fact that low-speed electric vehicles in China have thus far been the only electric vehicles worldwide that have successfully sold at industrial scale without unsustainable levels of government financial support suggests that they are a wild card worth watching. This is particularly true given China’s outsized importance as the global ‘oil consumer of last resort,’ as well as the fact that if low-speed electric vehicle manufacturing capacity scales up in China, manufacturers are likely to begin targeting export markets in Africa, India and Southeast Asia. These regions have many of the same characteristics as rural China in terms of no prior car ownership history and low-income levels that often make ‘conventional’ cars prohibitively expensive for most consumers.”Collins conducts a range of globally focused commodity market, energy, water and environmental research. In addition to his research on shifts in China’s domestic oil consumption structure, he focuses on oil field water issues, evolutions in the global gasoline market, water governance and groundwater valuation in Texas and the nexus between food, water and energy. More information: Low-Speed Electric Vehicles: An Underappreciated Threat to Gasoline Demand in China and Global Oil Prices? www.bakerinstitute.org/media/f … 19-ces-chinalsev.pdf
Citation: Renault and Fiat Chrysler stuck over merger terms: report (2019, May 30) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-05-renault-fiat-chrysler-stuck-merger.html Renault’s share price has been punished since the November 2018 arrest of its former chief executive Carlos Ghosn (pictured May 23, 2019) An AFP source close to FCA said “the offer is balanced in terms of valuation, governance and industrial strength.”A deal would hold advantages for both carmakers as FCA is widely seen as a latecomer to the electric vehicle market, where Renault is strong. But the French firm doesn’t have a presence in North America, where Chrysler is strong in the SUV and pick-up sectors.Taking into account Renault’s alliance with Nissan and Mitsubishi, the enlarged group would be the world’s largest carmaking group by a wide margin. Talks between Fiat Chrysler and Renault have hit a roadblock over the financial terms of the proposed merger between the Italian-US and French carmakers, the French business daily Les Echos reported online Thursday, citing sources close to Fiat Chrysler. Renault said earlier this week it is studying “with interest” a 50-50 merger proposal from Fiat Chrysler (FCA), a deal that would forge the world’s third-largest automaker.The newspaper reported on its website that a source close to FCA said several Renault board members believe the terms of the offer need to be sweetened.But that is not how FCA sees things, said the source.”The offer seems fair, it was approved by the board. It is take it or leave it, and fast!” said the source.Meanwhile, the daily said Renault is unhappy as the offer is based on its share price on May 24, the day before the offer was announced, or 51.70 euros.Renault’s share price has been punished since the arrest last November of its former chief executive Carlos Ghosn. Before then it rarely fell below 70 euros per share.An AFP source close to the negotiations said such merger offers are rarely take it or leave it.”These type of offers are certainly negotiable,” said that source.A source close to Renault told AFP that without the carmaker’s board having adopted a position it was difficult to comment on rumours. Renault said it is studying “with interest” a 50-50 merger proposal from Fiat Chrysler, which would forge the world’s third-largest automaker Renault tries to reassure partner Nissan on Fiat plans © 2019 AFP Explore further This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
France Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said that a ban on the destruction of unsold goods, which will affect online retailers like Amazon, would go into effect within four years France’s prime minister on Tuesday announced a crackdown on the destruction of unsold or returned consumer products, a move that will affect online retailers such as Amazon and luxury goods brands. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Citation: France to ban destroying unsold goods, targeting Amazon, luxury brands (2019, June 4) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-06-france-unsold-goods-amazon-luxury.html Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said that a ban on destroying non-food goods—such as clothes, electrical items, hygiene products and cosmetics—would come into force within the next four years.The announcement came after Green parties surged across Europe in last month’s European elections, not least in France where the EELV party came third with 13.5 percent of the vote.According to the French premier’s office, over 650 million euros ($730 million) worth of new consumer products are thrown away or destroyed in France every year, five times more than donations of the same products.The measure would make it compulsory to hand in such products for re-use or recycling.”It is a waste that shocks, that is shocking to common sense. It’s a scandal,” said Philippe, as he launched the measure at a discount store in Paris.The measure is part of a draft bill on the economy which is due to be discussed by the cabinet in July. It would apply by between 2021-2023.France’s junior environment minister Brune Poirson promised a law to tackle waste in January after a television documentary showed Amazon destroying millions of products that had been returned by consumers.Based on hidden camera footage, the documentary on the M6 channel showed containers of unsold or returned products at an Amazon warehouse being sent for destruction under agreements signed between the online giant and third-party retailers.British fashion firm Burberry also caused a furore last year by acknowledging that it had burned unsold clothes, accessories and perfume worth £28.6 million ($35.5 million) annually to prevent them being sold off cheaply.The aim was to maintain the exclusivity and luxury mystique of the brand and it later became clear that the practice was relatively commonplace in the industry.The French PM’s office said special arrangements are anticipated for the luxury sector which would be encouraged to recycle the goods.This would avoid the risk of the copyright problems the luxury brands fear were the goods to be simply given away to third parties, an official at the French premier’s office said.Products which are not usable after a certain date would have exceptions.President Emmanuel Macron has sought to portray himself as a friend of the Green movement, especially in the fight against climate change.But his image was tarnished when prominent campaigner Nicolas Hulot, who Macron had named as environment minister, spectacularly quit the government last August, saying that his cabinet colleagues were doing too little to tackle climate change. Self-destructive behaviour: Burberry not alone Explore further © 2019 AFP
(Reuters) – U.S. Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer called on the FBI and the Federal Trade Commission to conduct a national security and privacy investigation into FaceApp, a face-editing photo app developed in Russia, in a letter sent on Wednesday. FILE PHOTO: U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) speaks to reporters after the weekly Democratic caucus luncheon at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S. June 11, 2019. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/File PhotoThe viral smartphone application, which has seen a new surge of popularity due to a filter that ages photos of users’ faces, requires “full and irrevocable access to their personal photos and data,” which could pose “national security and privacy risks for millions of U.S. citizens,” Schumer said in his letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray and FTC Chairman Joe Simons. The Democratic National Committee also sent out an alert to the party’s 2020 presidential candidates on Wednesday warning them against using the app, pointing to its Russian provenance. In the email, seen by Reuters and first reported by CNN, DNC security chief Bob Lord also urged Democratic presidential campaigns to delete the app immediately if they or their staff had already used it. There is no evidence that FaceApp provides user data to the Russian government. Democrats have invested heavily in bolstering party cyber defenses after U.S. intelligence agencies determined that Russia used hacking as part of an effort to boost support for President Donald Trump’s 2016 election campaign. Russia has repeatedly denied those claims. FaceApp, which was developed by Wireless Lab, a company based in St. Petersburg, says on its website that it has over 80 million active users. Its CEO, Yaroslav Goncharov, used to be an executive at Yandex, widely known as “Russia’s Google.” The app, which was launched in 2017, made headlines in 2018 when it removed its ‘ethnicity filters’ after users condemned them as racist. More recently, it has faced scrutiny from the public over issues such as not clearly communicating that the app uploads images to the cloud rather than processing them locally on a user’s device. It is not clear how the artificial intelligence application retains the data of users or how users may ensure the deletion of their data after usage, Schumer said in the letter. Schumer said the photo editing app’s location in Russia raises questions about how FaceApp lets third parties, including foreign governments, have access to the data of American citizens. Read the letter: tmsnrt.rs/2NWuvJh In a statement cited by media outlets, FaceApp has denied selling or sharing user data with third parties. “99% of users don’t log in; therefore, we don’t have access to any data that could identify a person,” the company said in a statement cited by TechCrunch tcrn.ch/2xTXN0m, adding that most images are deleted from its servers within 48 hours of the upload date. While the company’s research and development team is located in Russia, the user data is not transferred to Russia, according to the statement. Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru and Elizabeth Culliford in San Francisco; editing by Leslie Adler and Richard PullinOur Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
COMMENT parliament TN urges Centre to put decision on Dam Safety Bill on hold SHARE SHARE EMAIL RELATED water supply The resolution was passed unanimously. SHARE Published on Keep dam safety legislation on hold, Palaniswami urges Modi June 26, 2018 water (natural resource) Tamil Nadu Cabinet approves Dam Safety Bill rivers and waterfalls The Tamil Nadu Assembly today adopted a “unanimous” resolution urging the Centre to “keep in abeyance” all efforts towards enacting the Dam Safety Bill 2018 and called for evolving a consensus on the matter with all states. A special government resolution moved by Chief Minister K Palaniswami in the state Assembly received the full support of the DMK-led opposition, even as the resolution highlighted possible “problems” that could crop up over the operation and maintenance of dams by Tamil Nadu located in other states. In his remarks before moving the resolution, Palaniswami recalled late Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa’s opposition to earlier draft bills on the issue, and said the latest bill could affect operation and maintenance of dams including the Mullaperiyar located in neighbouring Kerala.Infringing upon ‘rights’The resolution moved by Palaniswami said the Dam Safety Bill 2018 had provisions that could “affect Tamil Nadu’s rights” as well as impact the operation and maintenance of dams located in other states. “This House urges the Centre to keep in abeyance all efforts towards enacting the proposed Dam Safety Bill (2018) into a law till states are consulted and a consensus evolved,” the resolution said.DMK Deputy Leader Durai Murugan, who spoke on the resolution, said the bill was “yet another proof that Centre is acting in an authoritarian manner,” and welcomed and supported the resolution on behalf of his party.DMK’s allies—Congress and IUML—also expressed their support to the government on the matter. Later, after going for a voice vote, Speaker P Dhanapal said the resolution was “unanimously adopted.” Earlier this month, Palaniswami had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, seeking to “keep in abeyance” the dam safety bill, recalling the state’s earlier objections to it. DMK Working President and Leader of Opposition, MK Stalin, had demanded that a resolution be adopted in the ongoing session of the Assembly on this matter.Dam safety The Bill seeks to constitute a national committee on dam safety which shall evolve safety policies and recommend necessary regulations. It provides for establishment of National Dam Safety Authority as a regulatory body which shall discharge functions to implement the policy, guidelines and standards for dam safety in the country.In certain cases, such as dams of one state falling under the territory of another, the authority shall also perform the role of State Dam Safety Organisation, thereby eliminating potential causes for inter-state conflicts.The Bill also provides for constitution of a State Committee on Dam Safety by the state governments. The provisions of the Bill also lay onus of dam safety on the owner and provides for penal provisions for commission and omission of certain acts. COMMENTS A file photo of Tamil Nadu State secretariat in Fort St. George in Chennai. – M Prabhu