Thursday, April 12, 2018

In the news, Wednesday, March 28, 2018


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MAR 27      INDEX      MAR 29
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Information from some sites may not be reliable, or may not be vetted.
Some sources may require subscription.

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from Asia Times Online

Painful FANG ends up giving Asian markets a ‘toothache’
Facebook fears fuel slump in tech stock prices on Wall Street while President Trump's trade move against China gives markets the jitters. It was like pulling teeth in early trading on Asian markets on Wednesday as the pain of a wobbly FANG was felt across the region. Stocks in Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google’s parent company Alphabet slumped as the darlings of the Nasdaq suffered their worst day in more than three years in overnight trading. Known collectively as FANG, these tech giants came under fire after investors became spooked by Facebook’s ongoing privacy scandal, triggering a sharp sell-off.

Is the Patriot system good enough for missile defense?
A recent failure in Saudi Arabia has led to questions over the reliability of the US-made system with some countries opting for a Russian alternative. Unless a truly objective review is done, and with it recommendations proposed and implemented, more and more countries will look elsewhere for solutions. Saudi Arabia has already indicated it has signed an MOU to buy the Russian S-400, as has Turkey. South Korea is developing the M-SAM Cheolmae-2 system in an unusual deal.

Lax US arms controls drive Turkish ‘fake news’ over Afrin
US-made AT-4 anti-tank missiles have ended up in the hands of Kurdish rebels, potentially fueling further violence in Syria.

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from Competitive Enterprise Institute
RIGHT-CENTER BIAS

European-Style Tech Regulation Not the Answer to Facebook Privacy Concerns
The fallout at Facebook continues to grow after it was revealed that millions of Facebook users’ data was used by the consulting firm Cambridge Analytica, in violation of Facebook’s policies. While reactions have been varied, we're beginning to hear loud calls for European-style privacy regulations to be imposed on companies like Facebook. This would deliver a stunning setback to a largely free, innovative, and prosperous tech sector in the United States. As with Facebook and many companies before it, we’re watching in real-time as market forces correct a problem with how a company manages their users’ data. The last thing we need is a European-style regulatory overreach that prevents a new Apple, Uber, or Facebook from becoming the next great American success story.

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from First Things

The German Economic Miracle Depended on Immigrants
Germany successfully integrated large quantities of migrants into the workforce in the 60s, to everyone's benefit.

Social Psychology Suggests “March for Our Lives” Is Unlikely to Change Anything. Here’s Why.
Like many recent political movements, March for Our Lives was marked with grandstanding, emotional appeals and the moral outrage that have come to define modern political protests. The mainstream media promises, however, that “this time, it’s different,” and this march for gun control (let’s be honest about its intentions) will change America and eventually end the gun debate. Social psychology, on the other hand, tells us that movements like March for Our Lives are unlikely to change anything. This is because, despite their bold rhetoric, these movements operate entirely on what is called a high construal level, or being defined by features which all but guarantee that no matter how much outrage there may be, no concrete, workable solution will emerge.

Is Moderation the Next Big Thing in American Politics?
Evidence indicates Americans are tired of both left- and right-wing extremes. Pundits are declaring that America is a nation divided. In fairness, this is a true statement, but it's not a new phenomenon. America has been a nation divided since at least the election of 1800. That said, the division is not a dichotomous one. Recent data show that a large and growing number of Americans self-identify as neither Republican nor Democrat, but as Independent. It would appear that a large number of Americans are growing increasingly tired of the ever more extreme stances of the two major parties, instead favoring more moderate approaches to governance.

Administrative Law Is the Real 'Deep State'
When people ask me whether there is some sinister, behind-the-scenes cabal running Washington, I tell them that petty corruption, self-interest, and “public choice” are much better explanations for the nonsensical policies being imposed on the country. So you won’t be surprised that rhetoric about the “deep state” rubs me the wrong way. If the term simply was used to describe D.C.’s bloated, self-interested, and left-leaning bureaucracies, that would be okay. But it seems that the phrase also implies some sort of secret master plan on the part of shadowy insiders. To be blunt, the people in Washington don’t have the competence to design, implement, and enforce any type of master plan.

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from The Guardian (UK)
LEFT-CENTER BIAS, HIGH, daily newspaper

A million bottles a minute: world's plastic binge 'as dangerous as climate change'
Annual consumption of plastic bottles is set to top half a trillion by 2021, far outstripping recycling efforts and jeopardising oceans, coastlines and other environments

The plastics crisis is more urgent than you know. Recycling bottles won’t fix it
A deposit scheme for bottles won’t make a scrap of difference. This stuff is in our food, our clothes – and in us

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from The Spokesman-Review
Newspaper in Spokane, Washington

Facebook revamps privacy tools as tighter EU rules draw near
Facebook is giving its privacy tools a makeover as it reels from criticisms over its data practices and faces tighter European regulations in the coming months. The changes won’t affect Facebook’s privacy policies or the types of data it gathers on users. But the company hopes its 2.2 billion users will have an easier time navigating its complex and often confusing privacy and security settings. Facebook says it also wants to give users a simpler way to access and download the data it collects on them.

Inslee signs 5 commissioner bill for Spokane County
In a move that pleased legislative supporters and angered local county officials, Spokane County was put on a track to expand its board of commissioners in the 2022 election. A bill signed Wednesday by Gov. Jay Inslee requires Spokane County to go from the state’s standard three-person board to five members, and to elect them by district in both the primary and general elections. Current commissioners run in the primary in the district in which they live, but are elected countywide in the general.

Valley council selects final Barker Road plan
The Spokane Valley City Council has selected a final design for the Barker Road grade separation project after input from residents and the business community. The council Tuesday voted unanimously to move forward with a design that includes a three-leg roundabout 200 feet north of the Trent Avenue and Barker Road intersection. The $19 million project would replace an at-grade intersection at Trent Avenue and the BNSF rail tracks with an overpass.

Washington regulators receive proposed terms for Avista’s sale to Canadian utility
The sale of Avista Corp. to a Canadian utility passed a major milestone Tuesday, when the parties outlined conditions in a proposed agreement with Washington regulators. After the $5.3 billion sale, Avista would operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Hydro One Ltd. of Toronto. Hydro One has agreed to keep Avista’s headquarters in Spokane, retain similar workforce levels and continue as a major player in the region’s economic development efforts.

City set to replace Post Street Bridge
Engineers have been eyeing the Post Street Bridge for decades, looking at its decaying foundations, its dwindling ability to carry weight and the huge pipe it bears carrying all of downtown’s sewage. This week, the city selected a company to design and build the historic bridge’s $13.5 million replacement. “It’s time to replace that bridge, just from an infrastructure standpoint,” said Marlene Feist, director of strategic development for the city’s public works and utilities department. The new bridge will function much like the current iteration, with vehicles traveling one way northbound and ample room for pedestrians and cyclists.

Spokane considers burning sewer sludge after outcry over fertilizer use
A study expected to be finished by the end of the year will explore the possibility of incinerating the solid material left over at the city’s waste water treatment plant at the Waste-to-Energy facility on the West Plains. The material had been used as fertilizer on area farms, but concerns have sprouted about harmful chemicals in the sludge seeping into the water tab

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from The Times and The Sunday Times
London, United Kingdom

Holier than thou: students most likely to attend church
Students at Oxford, Cambridge and Durham are twice as likely to worship on a Sunday as the general population, according to Church of England data. Almost 5,000 people regularly attend services at the universities, whose colleges contain 56 chapels. It is the first time that the church has published data for all three universities, finding that their chapels have at least 4,688 regular worshippers. In 2016, 2,981 people attended every Sunday, of whom 1,685 were students — equating to 2.6 per cent of the student bodies. This is almost double the 1.4 per cent of the English population who attend Sunday services in Anglican churches. The real figure will be higher, as only 43 of the 56 chapels provided data.

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from Tri-City Herald
Newspaper in Kennewick, Washington

Leaks spur officials to lower water levels behind Priest Rapids Dam
Grant Public Utility District officials are reducing water levels behind the Priest Rapids Dam on the Columbia River after an inspection revealed leaks. There is no threat to life of property, the PUD said in a news release. The PUD declared a “non-failure emergency” after an inspection revealed leaking in spillway monoliths, which are the expanse of concrete below each of the 40 foot by 50 foot spillways. Priest Rapids is near Mattawa.

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