The boom times for the U.S. lobster industry are imperiled this year because of a shortage of a little fish that has been luring the crustaceans into traps for hundreds of years.
Members of the lobster business fear a looming bait crisis could disrupt the industry during a time when lobsters are as plentiful, valuable and in demand as ever. America’s lobster catch has climbed this decade, especially in Maine, but the fishery is dependent on herring — a schooling fish other fishermen seek in the Atlantic Ocean.
Federal regulators are imposing a steep cut in the herring fishery this year, and some areas of the East Coast are already restricted to fishing, months before the lobster season gets rolling. East Coast herring fishermen brought more than 200 million pounds of the fish to docks as recently as 2014, but this year’s catch will be limited to less than a fifth of that total.
The cut is leaving lobstermen, who have baited traps with herring for generations in Maine, scrambling for new bait sources and concerned about their ability to get lobster to customers who have come to expect easy availability in recent years.
“If you don’t have bait, you’re not going to fish. If the price of bait goes up, you’re not going to fish,” said Patrice McCarron, executive director of the Maine Lobstermen’s Association. “We have to take the big picture, and make sure our communities continue to have viable fisheries.”
The cut in the herring quota stems from a scientific assessment of the fish’s population last year by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center. The assessment found a below-average number of young herring are surviving in the ocean.
The loss of herring has sounded alarms among scientists and conservationists, because the fish also serve a critical role in the ocean food chain and they’re valuable as food for humans.
It’s unclear exactly what factors are causing young herring to fail to survive to maturity, said Jonathan Deroba, lead assessment scientist for herring with the Northeast Fisheries Science Center. He said it’s “premature to predict the sky is falling,” though he added the herring population could be suffering from multiple stresses at once.
“We’d be foolish not to look at climate change. The abundance of haddock, which are egg predators. And fishing activity on Georges Bank disrupting herring,” Deroba said. Georges Bank is a key fishing area off New England.
Fishermen bring herring to shore mostly in Maine and Massachusetts, which are also the biggest lobster fishing states. Lobstermen also load traps with other kinds of bait, such as menhaden, and some herring is available in freezers, but fishermen said they’re concerned there won’t be enough to go around.
The New England Fishery Management Council is also considering herring catch quota for 2020 and 2021 later this year, and fishermen said they’re concerned the cuts could be maintained for those years. The loss of herring is also a heavy blow to the fishermen who harvest the species, said Jeff Kaelin, who works in government relations for Lund’s Fisheries, a herring harvester based in Cape May, New Jersey.
“It’s going to be tough on everyone,” Kaelin said, not just the people who catch the herring, but also “the lobstermen who depend on it for historic bait supply.”
The U.S. lobster fishery set an all-time record for value at docks in 2016, when the catch was worth more than $670 million. That was also the year the herring catch fell to its lowest point since 2002, though it was still more than 138 million pounds.
Lobsterman Jeffrey Peterson, who fishes out of the island town of Vinalhaven, Maine, said he’s sure he’ll be able to load his traps with bait this summer. He’s just concerned about how expensive it’ll be to do so.
“It’ll be around,” he said. “It’s just how much they gouge you for it.”
The Eiffel Tower was plunged into darkness late on Saturday as the city of Paris switched off the lights on its best-known tourist attraction to mark this
year’s Earth Hour.
The 13th annual edition of the global event, organized by environmental group World Wildlife Fund to push for action on climate change and other man-made threats to the planet, called for nearly 200 major landmarks around the world to be unplugged at 8:30 p.m. local time.
They included New York’s Empire State Building, the Christ the Redeemer statue in Brazil and the Sydney Opera House.
Ahead of the Eiffel Tower shutdown, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo and Junior Environment Minister Brune Poirson appeared at the foot of the 130-year-old edifice for a public discussion on global warming and declining biodiversity.
Earth Hour has grown steadily since the first event in 2007 and is now marked in more than 180 countries and territories, according to its organizers.
The Eiffel Tower, the Empire State Building, the Sydney Opera House, the Brandenburg Gate, the Acropolis and many more iconic landmarks went dark at 8:30 p.m. local time, Saturday night, for Earth Hour, an annual call for local action on climate change.
Earth Hour is the brain child of the World Wildlife Fund.
“By going dark for Earth Hour, we can show steadfast commitment to protecting our families, our communities and our planet from the dangerous effects of a warming world,” said Lou Leonard, WWF senior vice president, climate and energy. “The rising demand for energy, food and water means this problem is only going to worsen, unless we act now.”
Individuals and companies around the world participated in the hour-long demonstration to show their support for the fight against climate change and the conservation of the natural world.
WWF said Earth’s “rich biodiversity, the vast web of life that connects the health of oceans, rivers and forests to the prosperity of communities and nations, is threatened.”
The fund also reports that wildlife populations monitored by WWF “have experienced an average decline of 60 percent in less than a single person’s lifetime, and many unique and precious species are at risk of vanishing forever.”
“We have to ask ourselves what we’re willing to do after the lights come back on,” Leonard said. “If we embrace bold solutions, we still have time to stabilize the climate and safeguard our communities and the diverse wildlife, ecosystems and natural resources that sustain us all.”
“We are the first generation to know we are destroying the world,” WWF said. “And we could be the last that can do anything about it.”
For techies and phone geeks, Digital Cambodia 2019 was the place to be.
More than a dozen high school students clustered at the booth for Cellcard, Cambodia’s leading mobile operator. Under the booth’s 5G sign, they played video games on their phones.
Hak Kimheng, a ninth grade student in Phnom Penh, said his mom bought him a Samsung smartphone a few months ago, when he moved to the capital city from nearby Kandal province to live with his uncle while attending school. Like moms everywhere, she thought the smartphone would help her stay in touch with her son.
But smartphones being smartphones and kids being kids, Hak Kimheng, 16, has used it to set up an account on Facebook, Cambodia’s favorite social media platform. He’s also downloaded Khmer Academy, a tutoring app filled with math, physics and chemistry lessons.
And for one hour a day, Hak Kimheng watches soccer on the YouTube app he downloaded. While it’s better than nothing, the internet connection is “slow … and the video image is not clear,” he said. “I want it to be faster. … It’ll be good to have 5G.”
Not far from the Cellcard booth, Cambodian government officials, ASEAN telecom and IT ministers, businesspeople, telecom and tech company representatives gathered for the opening ceremonies of Digital Cambodia 2019. The event, which ran from March 15 to March 17, attracted more than 100 speakers from throughout Southeast Asia, high level officials, businesspeople, researchers and telecom company representatives.
The discussions focused on 5G, which, with speeds as much as 100 times faster than 4G, will mean better soccer viewing for Hak Kimheng and faster connections for all users. But 5G will also be central to a world of smart cities filled with smart homes and offices replete with devices connected to the “internet of things” [[ https://www.zdnet.com/article/what-is-the-internet-of-things-everything-you-need-to-know-about-the-iot-right-now/ ]] humming along amid torrents of personal, business and official data.
‘A milestone year’
David Li, CEO of Cambodian operations for the Chinese company, Huawei, which is facing challenges over security from the U.S., spoke first, promising to “help Cambodia obtain better digital technology to improve social productivity and national economy.”
Government ministers, one from finance and economy and one from posts and telecommunication, listened as Li continued, pointing out that Huawei Technologies Cambodia launched in 1999. “We have been operating 2G, 3G, 4G, and now we’re heading toward 5G,” he said.
“Currently we are the only industry vendor that can provide the intertwined 5G system. I believe this year 2019 will be a milestone year for 5G in Cambodia,” Li said.
While this next generation of mobile networks will take years to roll out, the U.S. and China are in a race over whose technology will set the standards for 5G networks, something which will have immediate commercial value and carry longer term strategic implications for developing the dominant platform for 6G.
Citing concern that Huawei is, like all Chinese companies, linked to the Beijing government, the U.S. has been urging allies not to let Huawei build their 5G networks. But in countries like Thailand, which is Cambodia’s neighbor and a U.S. ally, Huawei is building and testing a 5G network because authorities said its low cost trumped U.S. pressure.
Huawei has long maintained it doesn’t provide back doors for the Chinese government, pointing out the lack of evidence to support the allegations, according to Bloomberg.
William Carter, deputy director of the Technology Policy Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) said earlier this month that any country doing business with Huawei on 5G will have to deal with the risk of Chinese influence.
“And the question will be to what extent is that concern enough to overcome the price advantage and the service advantages and the integrated financing advantages doing business with Huawei,” he said.
As more private businesses and government services move toward cashless payment and online data access, Cambodia is emerging as a rich market for 5G telecoms. Approximately 13.6 million people, or 82 percent of Cambodians, use the internet, and about 7 million use Facebook, the number of mobile subscriptions is around 19.5 million by January 2019, or 120 percent penetration, according to the Ministry of Posts.
Sok Puthyvuth, secretary of state at the posts and telecommunication told VOA Khmer that Cambodia is eager for 5G, urging private companies, including mobile operators and internet companies, “to make 5G available across the country.”
Thomas Hundt, CEO of Smart Axiata, one of Cambodia’s mobile telecommunications operators, told VOA Khmer only that the company is preparing for a 5G rollout, because users’ data consumption is overwhelming the 4.5G network. “We see an immediate need to come out with the next evolution of technology … at some point this year.”
Cellcard CEO Ian Watson, said the company is targeting a commercial launch of 5G services in the second quarter of 2019.
Tram IvTek, Cambodia’s minister of Posts and Telecommunications said at the opening ceremony of Digital Cambodia that the government “is strongly committed to connecting the country and to ensure the benefits of ICT (information and communications technology) reach the remotest corners as well as the most vulnerable communities” by 2020.
Aun Pornmoniroth, minister of economy and finance in a March 12 workshop on Cambodia’s digital economy, suggested it will take “five to 10 years or more to set up a complete digital economy and turn Cambodia’s economy into a technological leader.”
Meas Po, undersecretary of state at Ministry of Post, said the government has yet to decide which company it will partner with for building the 5G infrastructure but it has not ruled out Huawei or other Chinese companies. “In our country, we have our protective system, in other countries, they have theirs. We don’t allow anyone to just freely hack our data.”
Smart Axiata’s Hundt said his company wanted to a partner that would “guarantee to us that the equipment is solid and sound [and] our users’ data is safeguarded and the network is fully secured from cyber-security perspectives.”
Nguon Somaly, who earned a master’s degree in law and technology at Tallinn University of Technology in Estonia, has written extensively on data privacy in Cambodia. She contends Cambodian social media users don’t have the data privacy concerns of users in the U.S. and Europe.
“Cambodian youths don’t really care about privacy [on social media], but people in [the] EU are concerned about their data privacy,” said Somaly, referring to the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which restricts how personal data is collected and handled.
“That is money and it can be analyzed and generate income,” Somaly said. “China is not a free country and privacy is not their priority. Their priority is to generate business opportunities and income.”
Xu Ning, a reporter with VOA’s Mandarin Service, contributed to this report from Washington, D.C.
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For decades, it was virtually unknown outside a small circle of investors, corporate lawyers and government officials.
But in recent years, the small interagency body known as the Committee for Investment in the United States has grown in prominence, propelled by a U.S. desire to use it as an instrument of national security and foreign policy.
This week, the panel made headlines after it reportedly directed Chinese gaming company Beijing Kunlun Tech to divest itself of Grindr, a popular gay dating app, because of concern the user data it collects could be used to blackmail military and intelligence personnel.
Operating out of the Treasury Department, the nine-member CFIUS (pronounced Cy-fius) reviews foreign investments in U.S. businesses to determine whether they pose a national security threat.
Notification was voluntary
Until last year, notifying the panel about such investments was voluntary, something Kunlun and California-based Grindr took advantage of when they closed a deal in 2016.
But given growing U.S. concern about Chinese companies with ties to Beijing buying businesses in sensitive U.S. industries, the committee’s rare intervention to undo the deal was hardly a surprise, said Harry Broadman, a former CFIUS member.
“I think anyone who was surprised by the decision really didn’t understand the legislative history, legislative landscape and the politics” of CFIUS, said Broadman, who is now a partner and chair of the emerging markets practice at consulting firm Berkley Research Group.
The action by CFIUS is the latest in a series aimed at Chinese companies investing in the U.S. tech sector and comes as the Trump administration wages a global campaign against telecom giant Huawei Technologies and remains locked in a trade dispute with Beijing. The U.S. says the state-linked company could gain access to critical telecom infrastructure and is urging allies to bar it from participating in their new 5G networks.
While the administration has yet to formulate a policy on Huawei, the world’s largest supplier of telecom equipment, the latest CFIUS action underscores how the U.S. is increasingly turning to the body to restrict Chinese investments across a broad swath of U.S. technology companies.
“CFIUS is one of the few tools that the government has that can be used on a case-by-case basis to try to untangle [a] web of dependencies and solve potential national security issues, and the government has become increasingly willing to use that tool more aggressively,” said Joshua Gruenspecht, an attorney at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati in Washington, who represents companies before the committee.
CFIUS’s history has long been intertwined with politics and periodic public backlash against foreign investment in the U.S.
In 1975 it was congressional concern over the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) investments in U.S. stocks and bonds that led President Gerald Ford to set up the committee through an executive order. It was tasked with monitoring the impact of foreign investment in the United States but had little other authority.
In the years that followed, backlash against foreign acquisitions of certain U.S. firms led Congress to beef up the agency.
In 1988, spurred in part by a Japanese attempt to buy a U.S. semiconductor firm, Congress enshrined CFIUS in law, granting the president the authority to block mergers and acquisitions that threatened national security.
In 2007, outrage over CFIUS’s decision to approve the sale of management operations of six key U.S. ports to a Dubai port operator led Congress to pass new legislation, broadening the definition of national security and requiring greater scrutiny by CFIUS of certain types of foreign direct investment, according to the Congressional Research Service.
But by far the biggest change to how CFIUS reviews and approves foreign transactions came last summer when Congress passed the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act of 2018.
Slated to be fully implemented in 2020, the new law vastly expanded CFIUS’s jurisdiction and authority, requiring foreign companies that take even a non-controlling stake in a sensitive U.S. business to get the committee’s clearance.
While the new law did not mention China by name, concern about Chinese investments and national security dominated the debate that led to its enactment.
“There is no mistake that both the congressional intent and the executive intent has a clear eye on the role of China in the transactions,” Broadman said.
Threats to ‘technological superiority’
Under interim rules issued by the Treasury Department last fall, investments in U.S. businesses that develop and manufacture “critical technologies” in one or more of 27 designated industries are now subject to review by CFIUS. Most of the covered technologies are already subject to U.S. export controls. The designated industries are sectors where foreign investment “threatens to undermine U.S. technological superiority that is critical to U.S. national security,” according to the Treasury Department. They range from semiconductor machinery to aircraft manufacturing.
The new regulations mean that foreign companies seeking to invest in any of these technologies and industries must notify CFIUS at least 45 days prior to closing a deal. CFIUS will then have 30 days to clear the deal, propose a conditional approval or reject it outright. If parties to a transaction do not withdraw in response to CFIUS’s concerns, the president will be given 15 days to block it.
To date, U.S. presidents have blocked five deals — four of them involving Chinese companies. One was blocked by the late President George H.W. Bush in 1990, two by former President Barack Obama in 2012 and 2016, and two by President Donald Trump.
The number is deceptively small. A far greater number of deals are simply withdrawn by parties after they don’t get timely clearance or CFIUS opens a formal investigation. According to the Treasury Department, of the 942 notices of transactions filed with CFIUS between 2009 and 2016, 107 were withdrawn during the review or after an investigation.
In recent years, CFIUS has reviewed between 200 and 250 cases per year, according to Gruenspecht. But the number is likely to exceed 2,000 a year under the new CFIUS regime, he added.
The tighter scrutiny has raised questions about whether the new law strikes the right balance between encouraging foreign investment and protecting national security.
“I think the short answer is it’s too early to tell,” Gruenspecht said. However, he added, if the new law “becomes a recipe for taking foreign investment off the table for whole realms of new emerging technology, that crosses a lot of boundaries.”
Concern in Europe
The U.S. is not the only country toughening screening measures for foreign investment. In December, the European Union proposed a new regulation for members to adopt “CFIUS-like” foreign investment review processes.
Gruenspecht said that while foreign investors are not “thrilled” about the additional CFIUS scrutiny, “a lot of Western nations are also saying, actually, ‘We totally understand the rational behind CFIUS and we’re looking to implement our own internal versions of CFIUS ourselves.’ ”
Facebook said Friday it is further tightening requirements for European Union political advertising, in its latest efforts to prevent foreign interference and increase transparency ahead of the bloc’s parliamentary elections.
However, some EU politicians criticized the social media giant, saying the measures will make pan-European online campaigning harder.
Under the new rules, people, parties and other groups buying political ads will have to confirm to Facebook that they are located in the same EU country as the Facebook users they are targeting.
That’s on top of a previously announced requirement for ad buyers to confirm their identities. It means advertisements aimed at voters across the EU’s 28 countries will have to register a person in each of those nations.
“It’s a disgrace that Facebook doesn’t see Europe as an entity and appears not to care about the consequences of undermining European democracy,” Guy Verhofstadt, leader of the parliament’s liberal ALDE group, said on Twitter. “Limiting political campaigns to one country is totally the opposite of what we want.”
The response underscores the balancing act for Silicon Valley tech companies as they face pressure from EU authorities to do more to prevent their platforms being used by outside groups, including Russia, to meddle in the May elections. Hundreds of millions of people are set to vote for more than 700 EU parliamentary lawmakers.
Facebook, which also owns Instagram and WhatsApp, said it will start blocking ads that don’t comply in mid-April.
The company will ask ad buyers to submit documents and use technical checks to verify their identity and location.
“We recognize that some people can try and work around any system but we are confident this will be a real barrier for anyone thinking of using our ads to interfere in an election from outside of a country,” Richard Allen, Facebook’s vice president of global policy solutions, said in a blog post.
Facebook said earlier this year that EU political ads will carry “paid for by” disclaimers. Clicking the label will reveal more detailed information such as how much money was spent on the ad, how many people saw it, and their age, gender and location.
The ad transparency rules have already been rolled out in the U.S., Britain, Brazil, India, Ukraine and Israel. Facebook will expand them globally by the end of June.
Twitter and Google have introduced similar political ad requirements.
Facebook is also making improvements to a database that stores ads for seven years, including widening access so that election regulators and watchdog groups can analyze political or issue ads.
Lyft Inc shares on Friday opened up 21.2 percent at $87.24 in its market debut on the Nasdaq after the company was valued at $24.3 billion in the first initial public offering (IPO) of a ride-hailing startup.
On Thursday, Lyft said it priced 32.5 million shares, slightly more that it was offering originally, at $72, the top of its already elevated $70-$72 per share target range for the IPO.
After a few minutes of trading, shares were up 18.6 percent at $85.42.
Instead of celebrating the first day of trading at the Nasdaq in New York, Lyft opted to mark the occasion at a defunct auto dealership in downtown Los Angeles.
A couple hundred people – Lyft staff, family and friends, stakeholders and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti – gathered before dawn for the kick-off event.
Lyft has recently bought the facility to turn it into a driver services center, the first of several it plans to open across the U.S. in the coming months, where drivers can get discounted services like help with taxes or charging electric vehicles.
Національний банк встановив курс гривні на понеділок 1 квітня. Офіційний курс становитиме 27,2 гривні за 1 долар США.
Курс гривні 29 березня становить 27,24 гривні за долар. Таким чином, згідно з даними НБУ, на початку квітня гривня дещо зміцнішає після кількатижневого падіння.
За даними профільного сайту «Мінфін», торги на міжбанку 29 березня почалися з курсу 27,21-27,26 гривень за долар. Протягом дня курс послабився до 27,26-27,31 гривень за долар.
Пікового значення 28,39 за курсом НБУ впродовж останніх місяців долар сягнув 30 листопада 2018 року. На 12 березня 2019 року офіційний курс становив 26,31 гривні, це найвищий курс гривні від липня 2018 року.
Most of us don’t give much thought to getting dressed every day, but for the elderly and disabled, seemingly simple tasks – like buttoning a shirt – can prove complicated. Fashion design students recently looked at low-tech ways to make clothes smarter. Tina Trinh reports.
At one atom thick, graphene is one of those miracle materials that many say is the stuff of the future. The future may be now as graphene’s potential is being realized as the key to quick efficient 5G networks, and the future of telecommunications. VOA’s Kevin Enochs reports.
Influential figures in Washington are calling for the establishment of a bilateral free-trade agreement with Taiwan, even as U.S. and Chinese officials move toward a resolution of their long-running trade dispute.
“We have a lot of issues with Beijing, and a lot of opportunities with Taiwan,” said Edwin J. Feulner in an interview with VOA. Feulner is the founder and former president of the Heritage Foundation, an influential think tank in Washington known for its conservative views and ties with the Republican Party.
Feulner thinks trade negotiations between Washington and Beijing will most likely conclude within 60 days, at which point a full-force push for a bilateral trade agreement with Taiwan could begin. Those talks would be “more or less independent of what’s going on with bilateral negotiations with Beijing,” he said.
WATCH: Feulner: Taiwan Not Seen by Administration as ‘Bargaining Chip’
Feulner predicted “huge bipartisan support on Capitol Hill” for such an agreement. “Both Republican and Democrat, both House and Senate members, are overwhelmingly positive that a free China can exist, and can be there in the world community today,” he said.
WATCH: Feulner: ‘We Intend to Strengthen Our Friends’
However, any such deal could be expected to anger authorities in Beijing, who see Taiwan as a renegade Chinese province and adamantly oppose any initiatives that treat the island as an independent country or entity.
The international community has seen how Beijing tries to make Taiwan pay for any inroads it makes toward international recognition, said Scott W. Harold, a senior political scientist at the RAND Corporation, a global policy research group. But Beijing’s problem, he said, “is that they’ve dialed the pain up so high, so often, that it’s hard to see what more they can do.”
On Wednesday, Feulner invited Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen to participate by Skype in a conference at the Heritage Foundation in Washington. Tsai, on a stopover in Hawaii after visiting three Indo-Pacific nations that still maintain diplomatic relations with Taiwan, told the audience her government was enthusiastic about the prospect of bilateral trade talks with the U.S.
“If we can have a breakthrough in trade with the U.S., this will be very helpful in terms of encouraging many other trading partners to do the same,” she said, adding that a trade deal with the United States would reduce Taipei’s reliance on China “as they increase their political influence in Taiwan, primarily using economic actors.”
Tsai expressed hope that talks with Washington will include discussion about Taiwan’s role in the global high-tech supply chain “amid concerns of technology theft and control over 5G networks” by Beijing.
Two prominent members of the U.S. Congress joined Feulner in welcoming Tsai to the U.S. and expressed their support for a bilateral free-trade agreement. Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado, a Republican and a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, called the pursuit of a bilateral free-trade agreement with Taiwan “imperative.”
Rep. Ted Yoho of Florida, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the most senior Republican on its subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific and Nonproliferation, told Tsai and the audience that “trade is important between our nations, but more important than that is our common belief in the values we hold, the democracies that we have together. That in itself is the thing that really binds us together.”
Steve Yates, former U.S. government official and longtime observer of U.S.-Taiwan relations, told VOA that President Donald Trump has “unhesitatingly signed” a series of resolutions and bills in support of closer ties between Washington and Taipei. To him, this signals it might be time “for the administration and Congress to be able to cross that bridge and get some results.”
Facebook was charged with discrimination by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development because of its ad-targeting system.
HUD said Thursday Facebook is allowing advertisers to exclude people based on their neighborhood by drawing a red line around those neighborhoods on a map and giving advertisers the option of showing ads only to men or only to women.
The agency also claims Facebook allowed advertisers to exclude people that the social media company classified as parents; non-American-born; non-Christian; interested in accessibility; interested in Hispanic culture or a wide variety of other interests that closely align with the Fair Housing Act’s protected classes.
HUD, which is pursuing civil charges and potential monetary awards that could run into the millions, said Facebook’s ad platform is “encouraging, enabling, and causing housing discrimination” because it allows advertisers to exclude people who they don’t want to see their ads.
The claim from HUD comes less than a week after Facebook said it would overhaul its ad-targeting systems to prevent discrimination in housing , credit and employment ads as part of a legal settlement with a group that includes the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Fair Housing Alliance and others.
The technology at the heart of the clashes is what has helped turned Facebook into a goliath with annual revenue of close to $56 billion.
It can offer advertisers and groups the ability to direct messages with precision to exactly the crowd that they want to see it. The potential is as breathtaking as it is potentially destructive.
Facebook has taken fire for allowing groups to target groups of people identified as “Jew-haters” and Nazi sympathizers. There remains the fallout from the 2016 election, when, among other things, Facebook allowed fake Russian accounts to buy ads targeting U.S. users to enflame political divisions.
The company is wrestling with several government investigations in the U.S. and Europe over its data and privacy practices. A shakeup this month that ended with the departure of some of Facebook’s highest ranking executives raised questions about the company’s direction.
The departures came shortly after CEO Mark Zuckerberg laid out a new “privacy-focused” vision for social networking. He has promised to transform Facebook from a company known for devouring the personal information shared by its users to one that gives people more ways to communicate in truly private fashion, with their intimate thoughts and pictures shielded by encryption in ways that Facebook itself can’t read.
However, HUD Secretary Ben Carson said Thursday there is little difference between the potential for discrimination in Facebook’s technology, and discrimination that has taken place for years.
“Facebook is discriminating against people based upon who they are and where they live,” Carson said. “Using a computer to limit a person’s housing choices can be just as discriminatory as slamming a door in someone’s face.”
Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment early Thursday.
Національний банк України встановив на 29 березня курс 27 гривень 24,87 копійки за долар США, послабивши українську валюту майже на 17 копійок. Регулятор продовжує відбивати тенденції, що спостерігаються на українському міжбанківському валютному ринку, не втручаючись у перебіг торгів.
Торги на міжбанку 28 березня розпочалися з рівнів 27 гривень 22 – 24 копійки, що значно вище за рівні закриття 27 березня (27,11 – 27,135), інформує профільний сайт «Мінфін». Упродовж сесії 28 березня значних коливань не було, підсумкові показники 27 гривень 23,5 – 26 копійок.
Свого пікового значення 28 гривень 39 копійок за курсом НБУ впродовж останнього року долар сягнув 30 листопада 2018 року. На 12 березня 2019 року офіційний курс становив 26 гривень 31 копійку, це найвищий курс гривні від липня 2018 року.
Britons desperately wanting some clarity in the country’s interminable Brexit saga were disappointed Wednesday when lawmakers plunged the country’s proposed exit from the European Union, after half-a-century of membership, into further disarray, failing to find a majority for any way forward after a series of so-called indicative votes.
The hope had been a majority might emerge from the eight different options they voted on, which included staying in the EU, leaving with no withdrawal agreement, remaining in the bloc’s customs union and/or single market or holding a second Brexit referendum.
“Parliament Finally Has Its Say: No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No.” Britain’s Guardian newspaper announced on its front-page Thursday.
“In summary: the Commons has now overwhelmingly rejected every single type of Brexit, and no Brexit,” tweeted Michel Deacon, the Daily Telegraph’s parliamentary sketch-writer. The option of leaving without a deal was defeated by a huge margin. So, too, was a motion that would see Brexit cancelled altogether.
It wasn’t what the organizers of the indicative votes in the House of Commons had hoped would be the upshot. Backed by the opposition parties and pro-EU Conservative rebels they seized control of the parliamentary agenda from the government, the first time in 140 years that Downing Street hasn’t called the shots on what can be debated and when on the floor of the House of Commons.
“This is going well. Putting the Commons in charge was clearly a brilliant idea,” tweeted Andrew Neil, the arch-Brexiter presenter of a BBC politics show. The EU’s chief executive Jean-Claude Juncker said Britain’s intentions had become more mysterious than those of the mythological sphinxes guarding ancient tombs.
To add to the confusion in London, just before the indicative voting, an exhausted Prime Minister Theresa May told her Conservative lawmakers she would relinquish the party leadership and resign as prime minister, but only if her contentious Brexit withdrawal agreement, which parliament has twice rejected, is passed.
May’s announcement was a last-ditch bid to persuade Conservative Brexiters to back her withdrawal agreement, a deal they disapprove of because it would keep Britain closely aligned with the European Union and obedient to its rules while a longer-term trade relationship is negotiated.
A hardcore of Conservative Eurosceptics and ten lawmakers from Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party, who May has to rely on because her government is a minority one, have adamantly refused to back her deal. They say the plan poses a risk to the integrity of the union of the United Kingdom. The DUP believes if it took effect, it would cause trade differences between Northern Ireland and Great Britain, and create in effect a “border down the Irish Sea.”
There were no signs Thursday that May will be able to persuade enough holdouts to vote for her deal, if it is put before the Commons for a third time, leaving Britain on course to crash out of the EU without a deal on April 12, unless the British government requests, for the second time, a Brexit postponement.
EU negotiators have indicated they might be open to another delay, but only if it is a lengthy one of a year or more.
It remains unclear how the political deadlock in London can be broken. The idea of leaving without a transition deal has strong opposition in the Commons and would likely be blocked by a majority of lawmakers.
Frustration on EU side
EU negotiators, out of exasperation, could decide to raise the stakes and decline another Brexit postponement, hoping to force the Commons to stop Brexit altogether, say some analysts. But it is unlikely they would risk such a high stakes gamble, fearing that might push Britain into crashing out by accident as much as by design.
European Council President, Donald Tusk, said last week in Brussels that the European Union will work with Britain for as long as it takes and on Wednesday he urged European lawmakers to be open to a long delay in Britain’s departure.
That leaves Britain trapped — paralyzed by a deadlocked House of Commons, itself a reflection of a country split down the middle over staying a member of the EU or quitting. With all avenues seemingly leading to dead-ends, there is more talk now in the British parliament of the need to hold an general election, hoping that returns a parliament that is not so undecided.
Behind-the-scenes Cabinet ministers and Conservative party officials are war-gaming calling an election three years ahead of schedule. David Davies, a pro-Brexit Conservative MP who quit as Brexit minister, says “a general election is a lot more likely now.” He added: “I don’t say it’s going to happen, but clearly if a government can’t get through on the one issue which we were really elected to deal with at the last election it puts us all in a very difficult situation.”
The problem in calling a snap election is the British public doesn’t want another one so soon after the Conservatives called another early poll two years ago, according to opinion surveys, with just 12 percent backing the idea.
The other problem for the Conservatives is that they would be fighting an election with a leader who has announced she intends to step down soon and heading a party that’s even more deeply and rancorously divided than the main opposition Labour party.
In the division lobbies on Wednesday some Conservative lawmakers on different sides of the Brexit question were spotted cursing each other and one clash prompted the intervention of colleagues, who feared a brawl might break out.
Commons in charge
Organizers of Wednesday’s indicative voting are placing some hopes that the Commons can still break the deadlock. They say clarity could be reached on Monday when lawmakers are due for another session of indicative voting, this time on the options that attracted the most support.
Labour’s Stephen Doughty said they never expected the votes on Wednesday to reveal a majority for one option. The whole idea was to narrow down the alternatives that have the most support and for parliament then to reconsider.
The two closest votes Wednesday were for staying in the EU’s customs union and another for a second referendum confirming any Brexit departure. Both attracted more votes than May’s deal has got the two occasions it was voted on in parliament. Campaigners for a second referendum appear buoyed.
They believe Britons have shifted their attitudes on Brexit since the 2016 referendum, pointing to a new polling study by veteran pollster John Curtice, which indicates voters are becoming increasingly doubtful about Brexit. The study suggests two and half years after the plebiscite, leaving the European Union may not now reflect majority thinking.your ad here
British cybersecurity inspectors have found significant technical issues in Chinese telecom supplier Huawei’s software that they say pose risks for the country’s telecom companies.
The annual report Thursday said there is only “limited assurance” that long-term national security risks from Huawei’s involvement in critical British telecom networks can be adequately managed.
The report adds pressure on Huawei, which is at the center of a geopolitical battle between the U.S. and China.
The U.S. government wants its European allies to ban the company from next-generation mobile networks set to roll out in coming years over fears Huawei gear could be used for cyberespionage.
The report noted that Britain’s cybersecurity authorities did not believe the defects were a result of “Chinese state interference.”
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