Thursday, 25 April 2019

FastCompany/Mark Wilson: The former lead designer of Gmail just fixed Gmail on his own

Fast Company

    04.25.197:00 am

The former lead designer of Gmail just fixed Gmail on his own
The free Chrome extension Simplify will give you the Gmail you want.
The former lead designer of Gmail just fixed Gmail on his own

By Mark Wilson 5 minute Read

Michael Leggett is even more annoyed with Gmail than you are.
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“It’s like Lucky Charms got spewed all over the screen,” he says to me, as he scrolls through his inbox. It’s true. Folders, contacts, Google apps like Docs and Drive–and at least half a dozen notifications–all clutter Gmail at any given moment. And of course, there’s that massive Gmail logo that sits in the upper left-hand corner of the screen. Just in case you forgot that you just typed “gmail.com” into your browser bar three seconds ago. “Go look at any desktop app and tell me how many have a huge fucking logo in the top left,” rants Leggett. “C’mon. It’s pure ego, pure bullshit. Drop the logo. Give me a break.”

Rather than sit there and stew, Leggett decided to do something about it: He created a free Chrome extension called Simplify, where all the extraneous folders and functions overloading Gmail seem to melt away, leaving you with a calm screen and nothing but your messages. It’s understatedly beautiful, and every button just seems like it’s in the right place. In fact, it feels a little too good for some random free Chrome extension made by some random developer. Let’s just say that Leggett was highly qualified for the job.
The default Gmail inbox above, with the Simplify extension below. [Image: courtesy Simplify]

You see, Leggett was actually the lead designer for Gmail from 2008 to 2012. He also cofounded the since-discontinued Inbox, which attempted to reimagine Gmail for the modern era. After leaving Google in 2015, he did a short stint at Facebook working on Messenger, before landing at Nori, a company addressing climate change with blockchain where he still works. Still, in his off hours, Gmail’s design continues to haunt him. He’s long known that the platform is something of a necessary evil for most of us. “It’s a survival mechanism,” he says to me. “You look at bad UI all day long and probably get used to tuning it out.”

Leggett has been trying to fix Gmail for over a decade. He remembers developing a massively complex Gmail concept back in 2008, that wrapped many of Google’s services into Gmail itself, with things like your Docs and chat filling tiny windows in a single browser screen. “We gave that to Larry and Sergey, and they were like, ‘This looks awful,'” Leggett recounts. “We walked out of the meeting and said, ‘They’re right. This is awful . . . that’s what led to Inbox.”

It would take six years and two redesigns to eventually launch Inbox, which became known as the better version of Gmail–with swipe gestures, smart categorizing your mail into purchases and finances, and an airier design scheme.

But even Inbox was a consolation for Leggett. “The original vision was much, much bigger than email,” says Leggett. “It was an app to replace every Google app but Search. It was a personal information app. It had a lot of different data sources–some even outside Google. It was like your inbox for the web, News, Calendar, and Docs.” Ultimately, management had decided that Google services should stay disparate. Leggett would grow frustrated by the frequent futility of working inside the big machine. “I jumped off in 2012, in part because I moved to Seattle, in part because I felt like it was dead man walking,” says Leggett. “The best I could hope for is, it’s really good and Google will force people to switch to Inbox, or it’s really good and they take the best features and put into Gmail.” The latter happened, to some extent. Gmail got tools like Smart Reply, Snooze (which allow you to silence an email until later), better gestures, and new emails that popped up in tiny windows, allowing you to multitask.
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After leaving Google, and in his spare time, Leggett began developing a Chrome extension that would fix what frustrated him most about Gmail–first and foremost, what he sees as the app’s excessive visual noise. The extension was a personal project for himself and some acquaintances, and it wasn’t the first such extension he’s built. He’s developed over a dozen extensions that redesign sites around the web to his liking. “I’m not the world’s best designer by any means,” he admits. “But when something bothers me, I feel a need to do something about it.”

When Google announced the cancellation of Inbox, a good friend encouraged him to “just put your thing out there.” Mostly working alone, Leggett polished his extension into Simplify. Still, he sat on the project rather than going public. He wanted to give Google one last chance. Knowing that Gmail’s 15-year anniversary was April 1 and the company had teased some announcements, he thought that might include a revamp of Gmail’s design. Instead, the company announced the option to preschedule an email (“something we talked about for years and years,” he says). So he launched Simplify on April 2–the very next day.

[Image: courtesy Simplify]
After using it for about 15 minutes, I’ve already decided I’ll never go back. Simplify cuts down on the visual noise of Gmail’s right and left sidebars, eliminating them, and hiding them under pull-up and drop-down menus. It moves all of the core functions–like delete and archive–to the top bar. And there’s a lot of room on top to take advantage of, since Simplify gets rid of the prominent search bar in Gmail, and tucks it away to the right corner. And a small update that many people will appreciate is that the new mail button has been moved from the top left to the bottom right of the screen. It’s good there. Why? Because the new mail window appears at the bottom right of the screen, too. You can go from creating an email to typing an email faster. (That is, if you don’t use keyboard shortcuts to navigate around this UI entirely, which Leggett implores me to do.)

The extension has been downloaded over 15,000 times since launching this month. About 500 new people are installing it a day. Beyond that, Leggett can’t say much about Simplify’s success metrics. Given the extreme risk of allowing access of your email to a third-party service, he built Simplify to run entirely in your browser. It doesn’t serve ads or collect analytics of any sort. It has no way of making money. And he put the code onto Github to prove he’s being a good citizen.

Leggett already had an offer to buy Simplify. He’s promised that he will never sell it, though he has toyed with building a completely separate paid service some day (for which he has many ideas, and might extend his redesigns beyond Gmail). He readily shares dozens of additional fixes he hopes to make to Gmail soon.

“It’s been fun, really fun, making something, being able to serve something directly to people,” says Leggett. “To say, ‘I wish it did this,’ and then it does that, it’s fantastic. It’s so satisfying.”
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About the author

Mark Wilson is a senior writer at Fast Company. He started Philanthroper.com, a simple way to give back every day

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The Week UK: English language test scandal ‘could be bigger than Windrush’

The Week UK
   
UK News
English language test scandal ‘could be bigger than Windrush’
Apr 25, 2019
Home Office under pressure over ‘hostile environment’ strategy that has left thousands of foreign students facing deportation

         
     
          
     
     

Tolga Akmen/AFP/Getty Images

The Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, is being forced to deal with Theresa May's legacy

The Home Office is facing mounting pressure over an English language testing row that MPs have warned could be bigger than the Windrush scandal.
See related
Who are the Windrush generation and how did the scandal unfold?
How will UK immigration system work after Brexit?

Around 34,000 foreign students have had their visas cancelled or curtailed and more than 1,000 people were forcibly removed from the UK after the government accused tens of thousands of students who sat a Home Office-approved test of cheating.

Following a BBC Panorama undercover investigation in 2014 which revealed clear evidence of fraud in at least two testing centre, the Home Office launched a drive to find and deport cheats - part of then-home secretary Theresa May’s “hostile environment” strategy.

Over 90% of foreign students who took the test in 96 centres between 2011 and 2014 were accused of cheating, a figure Labour MP Stephen Timms dismissed as “nonsense”.

“There is no way that 90% of those who sat the test were cheating. Do they really believe they were presiding over a system in which over 90% were cheating? It doesn’t make sense. It’s completely implausible,” he said.

More than 4,000 students have since left the country without an opportunity to prove their innocence, while those deemed guilty who chose to remain have spent the past five years fighting the Home Office decision which in many cases appears to be arbitrary.

The Guardian understands that students who took the test of English for international communication (Toeic) five or more years ago “are still being targeted by immigration enforcement officers and being taken to immigration detention centres ahead of enforced removal from the UK”.

The Financial Times says many of those fighting deportation appeals “are stripped not only of the right to study but also to work, to rent accommodation, to drive, have a bank account or use the National Health Service”.

The hostile enrivonment approach has also made it harder for rejected applicants to challenge Home Office rulings, while legal aid has been withdrawn from nearly all immigration cases.

The FT says “supporters of those accused of cheating in Toeic see the accusations as part of a pattern of unreasonable, harsh behaviour towards immigrants by the Home Office that has generated a string of scandals”.

These include the recent DNA scandal in which the Home Office admitted unlawfully demanding samples from hundreds of families to prove they were related to each other and, most notably, the wrongful treatment of the Windrush generation.

Ilford South MP Mike Gapes, who has advised a number of affected people in his constituency, has said the English-language testing scandal could be even bigger than Windrush “in terms of the number of individuals removed from the country and whose livelihoods are being destroyed by anguish and despair”.

Amid criticism from MPs, the Home Secretary Sajid Javid is expected to rule on the fate of thousands of the targeted students this week.

“His predecessor Amber Rudd bungled the Windrush scandal: it was not her mess, but such was the level of public anger by the time she attempted to sort it, that a misstep cost her the job,” writes Martha Gill in The Guardian.

“It is up to the current home secretary to set right this latest wrong, and quickly,” she adds.

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Investopedia/Adam Hayes: What is Quarter - Q1, Q2, Q3, Q4 A?

Investopedia
Investing Financial Analysis
Quarter - Q1, Q2, Q3, Q4
Reviewed by Adam Hayes
Updated Apr 10, 2019
What Is a Quarter - Q1, Q2, Q3, Q4?

A quarter is a three-month period on a company's financial calendar that acts as a basis for periodic financial reports and the paying of dividends. A quarter refers to one-fourth of a year and is typically expressed as "Q1” for the first quarter, “Q2” for the second quarter, and so forth.

Most financial reporting and dividend payments are done on a quarterly basis. Not all companies will have fiscal quarters that correspond to calendar quarters and it is common for a company to close their fourth quarter after their busiest time of year. Dividends are also often paid on a quarterly basis although companies outside the U.S. may do so very unevenly.

The standard calendar quarters that make up the year are: January, February, and March (Q1); April, May, and June (Q2); July, August, and September (Q3); and October, November, and December (Q4). A quarter is often shown with its relevant year, as in Q1 2018 or Q1/18 which represents the first quarter of the year 2018.
Key Takeaways

    A quarter is a three-month period on a company's financial calendar that acts as a basis for periodic financial reports and the paying of dividends.
    A quarter refers to one-fourth of a year and is typically expressed as "Q1” for the first quarter, “Q2” for the second quarter, and so forth.
    Quarterly reports are a crucial piece of information for investors and analysts.

What's a Quarter?
The Importance of Fiscal Quarters

Companies have two main accounting or financial reporting periods: the fiscal quarter and the fiscal year (FY). The fiscal year for most companies runs from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, with fiscal quarters that begin on Jan. 1, Mar. 1, July 1 and Oct. 1.

Some companies have fiscal years that follow different dates. Costco Wholesale Corporation's fiscal year begins in September and ends in the following August. For 2014, Costco's four quarters began on Sept. 2, 2013, Nov. 29, 2013, Feb. 17, 2014 and May 12, 2014.

Fiscal quarters for a company will coincide with their fiscal year (FY).

Companies, investors, and analysts use data from different quarters to make comparisons and evaluate trends. For example, it is common for a company’s quarterly report to be compared to the same quarter the previous year. Many companies are seasonal which would make a comparison over sequential quarters misleading. A retail company could earn half their annual profits in the fourth quarter while a construction company does most of its business in the first three quarters. In this situation, comparing the first quarter results for a department store to their performance during the fourth quarter would indicate an alarming drop in sales.

Evaluating a seasonal company during their slow quarters can be enlightening. It is reasonable to assume that if sales and profits are growing in the off-quarters, when compared to the same quarters in prior years, the intrinsic strength of the company is also improving. For example, auto dealers typically have a slow first quarter and rarely conduct incentive sales programs in February and March. Therefore, if an auto dealer were seeing a significant improvement in sales in the first quarter, this year compared to last, it may indicate the potential for surprisingly strong sales in the second and third quarter as well.
Key Takeaways

    A quarter is a three-month period on a company's financial calendar that acts as a basis for periodic financial reports and the paying of dividends.
    A quarter refers to one-fourth of a year and is typically expressed as "Q1” for the first quarter, “Q2” for the second quarter, and so forth.
    Quarterly reports are a crucial piece of information for investors and analysts.

Quarterly Reports

Quarterly reports are important for publicly traded companies and their investors. Each release has the potential to significantly affect the value of a company’s stock. If a company has a good quarter, its stock value may increase. If the company has a poor quarter the value of its stock could drop dramatically.

All public companies in the United States must file quarterly reports, known as 10-Qs, with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) at the end of their first three fiscal quarters. Each 10-Q includes unaudited financial statements and operations information for the previous three months (quarter). A publicly traded company must also file an annual report, known as a 10-K, which summarizes the first three quarters and reports on the fourth quarter. The annual report will often include more detailed information than the quarterly reports including an audit statement, presentations, and additional disclosures.

The quarterly earnings report often includes forward-looking “guidance” for what management expects from the next few quarters or through the end of the year. These estimates are used by analysts and investors to develop their expectations for performance over the next few quarters. Those estimates and guidances, provided by analysts and management, can have a big impact on a stock every three months. If management issues guidance for the next quarter that is worse than expected, the stock’s price will drop. Similarly, if management issues guidance—or an analyst upgrades their independent estimates—the stock can rise significantly.
Limitations of Quarterly Reports

Some executives of public companies have questioned the importance of the quarterly-reporting system. Warren Buffett, the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway (BRK), and Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JP Morgan Chase (JPM) have both been critics, saying that it puts too much pressure on companies and executives to deliver short-term results to please analysts and investors as opposed to focusing on the long-term interests of the business.

Following a discussion with former PepsiCo CEO, Indra Nooyi, on August 17, 2018, President Trump joined the opposition saying he had spoken to business leaders who believe they would create more jobs and improve their businesses if they moved from a quarterly reporting system to a semi-annual one. The President asked the SEC to study the problem.
Quarterly Dividends

In the U.S., most companies that pay a dividend will distribute it more or less evenly over four quarters. For example, Microsoft (MSFT) paid an annual dividend of $1.47 per share in 2016 but split it up as $.36 in the first, second, and third quarter and $.39 in the fourth quarter.

In many economies outside the U.S., it is common to split the annual dividend into quarterly payments with one of the payments to be much larger than the others. It is also not unusual to find companies outside the U.S. that only pay one dividend per year. For example, SAP SE (SAP) paid a $1.188 dividend in May 2018 and $.98 in May of 2017.

The payment of quarterly dividends can create some volatility in a stock when the ex-date arrives. Some analysts have noticed that investors may rebalance or sell their stock on the ex-date or soon after when the dividend growth rate appears to be slowing or there are other changes in the market that make the dividend less attractive.
Non-Standard Quarters

For a variety of reasons, some public companies will use a non-standard or non-calendar quarterly reporting system. For example, Walmart's first quarter is February, March, and April; Apple Inc's Q1 is October, November, and December; Microsoft Corporation's Q1 is July, August, and September. In addition, certain governments use different quarter systems. The first quarter of the United States federal government’s fiscal year is October, November, and December, Q2 is January, February, and March, Q3 is April, May, and June, and Q4 is July, August, and September. State governments may also have their own fiscal calendars.

Sometimes a company may have a non-standard fiscal year to help with business or tax planning. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) allows companies to choose a “tax year” that is still 52-53 weeks long but does not end in December. H&R Block (HRB) ends its fiscal year on April 30th, which makes sense because that is the end of the busiest part of the company’s year. Releasing your annual report, which may be accompanied by shareholder meetings and additional disclosures after the busiest part of your year will help managers and shareholders make better decisions about the year ahead.

Companies that rely on U.S. government contracts may use September as the end of their fiscal year, and the fourth quarter because that is when they expect new projects to be closed and budget planning from the government to be available. Historically, large technology firms had stronger quarters early in the year, which is why many of them (including Microsoft (MSFT)) have a fiscal year that closes at the end of June.

Some companies have very unusual quarterly systems. Adobe (ADBE) closes their fiscal year on the Friday closest to November 30th. In 2018, November 30th was a Friday, as well as the last day of the month but in 2017, ADBE closed their fourth quarter and the fiscal year on Friday, December 1st, because it was the Friday closest to November 30th.
Trailing 4 Quarters

Companies report their summary annual statements once per year, so the information can become stale and out of date in between the annual reporting cycle. One approach to solve this problem is to use a trailing 4 quarters or trailing twelve months (TTM) analysis.

Imagine a company that reported their annual data for 2017, including the fourth quarter, in January 2018. By the middle of the fourth quarter of 2018, the annual data for 2018 can be estimated by summarizing the last four quarters. In this case, assume that the company’s third quarter 2018 results are available. An analyst would manually combine the quarterly data from the first three quarters of 2018 with the last quarter of 2017 to make an estimate of the company’s earnings, and revenue trends.

This analysis will overlap some of the data used in the last annual report, but it will still give some insight into how 2018 is likely to look by the end of the year. If the first three quarters of 2018 had been poor compared to the first three quarters of 2017, the trailing four-quarter analysis will show that as lower expected performance in 2018.
Related Terms
What Quarter Over Quarter Means
Quarter over quarter (Q/Q) is a measure of an investment or a company's growth from one quarter to the next.
more
Trailing 12 Months: What Everyone Should Know
Trailing 12 months (TTM) is the term for the data from the past 12 consecutive months used for reporting financial figures. A company's trailing 12 months represent its financial performance for a 12-month period.
more
The Meaning of Quarter on Quarter (QOQ)
The definition of quarter on quarter (QOQ) is a measuring technique that calculates the change between one fiscal quarter and the previous fiscal quarter.
more
How to Interpret Financial Statements
Financial statements are written records that convey the business activities and the financial performance of a company. Financial statements include the balance sheet, income statement, and cash flow statement.
more
Cash Flow From Operating Activities (CFO)
Cash Flow From Operating Activities (CFO) nindicates the amount of cash a company generates from its ongoing, regular business activities.
more
How to Understand Days Payable Outstanding
Days payable outstanding (DPO) is a financial ratio that indicates the average time (in days) that a company takes to pay its bills and invoices to its trade creditors, which include suppliers, vendors, or other companies.
more
Related Articles

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Financial Analysis
SEC Filings: Forms You Need To Know

Financial Analysis
When does Q4 start and finish?

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SWI swissinfo.ch: Ex-Swiss minister seeks funds for Vatican Swiss Guard barracks



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Pope protection
Ex-Swiss minister seeks funds for Vatican Swiss Guard barracks
This content was published on April 24, 2019 4:18 PM Apr 24, 2019 - 16:18
Swiss Guards parade in Vatican

Swiss Guards, in their blue-and-yellow uniforms, parade in the courtyard of the Papal Guard barracks at the Vatican, Rome, in 2006
(Keystone / Maurizio Brambatti)

Former Swiss cabinet minister Doris Leuthard has agreed to help find tens of millions of Swiss francs to fund a new barracks for the Swiss Guard at the Vatican City in Rome, Italy.

Leuthard, who stepped down as environment, transport, energy and communications minister in December 2018, will preside over a foundation which plans to rebuild the Swiss Guard barracks in Rome.

She will be responsible for having to find around CHF55 million ($54 million), the foundation said on Wednesday.

The current barracks, built in the 19th-century, is run-down and does not have sufficient space to house the guards and their families. The Ticino architects Durisch+Nolli are overseeing the design of the project, which should be ready in 2023.

The foundation plans to seek funds in Switzerland and abroad with support from Vatican City officials.

In Rome, the Pontifical Swiss Guardexternal link is tasked with protecting the pope and his official palace in the Vatican City. The elite corps has protected the Vatican since 1506 since the first Swiss mercenaries arrived on request of the then Pope Julius II.

All members of the 135-strong company are single Swiss men (aged 19-30) and Roman Catholic, and they serve for a period of at least two years.
Swiss Guards
Behind the Vatican walls

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The Conversation/Mamadou Coulibaly: Fight against malaria needs combination of innovative science and communities

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Fight against malaria needs combination of innovative science and communities
November 22, 2018 3.25pm SAST
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    Mamadou Coulibaly

    Head, Malaria Research and Training Center, Université des sciences, des techniques et des technologies de Bamako

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Mamadou Coulibaly does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.
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The Conversation is funded by the National Research Foundation, eight universities, including the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Rhodes University, Stellenbosch University and the Universities of Cape Town, Johannesburg, Kwa-Zulu Natal, Pretoria, and South Africa. It is hosted by the Universities of the Witwatersrand and Western Cape, the African Population and Health Research Centre and the Nigerian Academy of Science. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is a Strategic Partner. more
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Bed nets treated with insecticide have been effective in fighting malaria in Africa. Shutterstock

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Current strategies to prevent malaria using bed nets and insecticides protect millions of people from malaria-transmitting mosquitoes. Last year 175 million bed nets treated with insecticide were delivered across sub-Saharan Africa. Between 2000 and 2015 bed nets are estimated to have prevented an estimated 450 million malaria cases.

But these measures offer only limited protection. According to the latest World Malaria Report, 44% of people in African countries with high malaria rates don’t have access to bed nets and insecticides. Even when they are available, they’re not failsafe. For example, the use of bed nets has been linked to an increase in mosquitoes biting outdoors, and they can also develop resistance to the insecticide.

Worldwide there were 435,000 deaths last year from malaria. Over 90% were in Africa. This means that scientists need to redouble efforts to develop new, complementary measures to eliminate the disease.

One promising solution includes reducing the population of malaria mosquitoes through genetic modification to help reach the target of ending transmission.

Target Malaria, a research consortium working across the USA, Europe and Africa, is in the early stages of developing a genetically modified mosquito that can either produce only male offspring or reduce female fertility in subsequent generations.

Where I work in Mali, we are currently studying local mosquito populations to help inform work on genetic modification.

Though the scientific research often gets the limelight, the process also involves working side by side with local communities from the very beginning. This engagement helps us get not only the communities’ feedback but also their active participation.
Genetic modification

Our work in Mali involves trying to understand the mosquito species that are responsible for malaria transmission and to gather as much baseline data as possible on the local malaria mosquitoes. These data include: abundance, biting and resting behaviour, migration, effective population size. This is a crucial first step that will be the basis for further work in our country.

Genetic modification could be achieved in one of two ways.

The first is to bias the sex ratio so future offspring would be all males. This is done by fragmenting the X chromosome in the males so they only pass on a Y chromosome. As a result, their offspring is male (XY), as a female would need to inherit an X from each parent (XX).

The second way is to reduce female fertility. This is achieved by targeting the gene responsible for fertility in females. A female that has one copy of this fertility gene disrupted will be able to reproduce normally, but when both copies within her chromosomes are disrupted, the female cannot produce viable offspring, reducing the mosquito population.

But as the science to make this possible gets closer, we must ensure that the public debate around such a novel and potentially transformative technology also keeps up.

This means not only exploring what we can do in a laboratory, but exploring and understanding what is acceptable to the communities most affected by such innovations. We need to ensure that any new malaria control method fully meets their needs.
Involving communities

In Mali, where Target Malaria has been working since 2012, there is an ongoing dialogue at national, regional and community levels.

Our teams visit the communities around our in-sectary where insects are kept and studied, as well as field sites nearly every week and community members visit our laboratories. We also get permission from individual households to collect mosquitoes from homes or compounds. And we ask communities before we catch mosquitoes in swarms.

But engagement is not just about information and acceptance, it’s also about collaboration. Our “relay” staff, who live in the communities, can provide information even when we are not there.

On top of this we respect the decision-making processes of each individual village regardless of how different the processes can be.

We will continue following this way of doing things for each subsequent phase of our work.

The reason for such extensive and transparent engagement is clear.

As researchers, our role is not only to determine whether the genetic alteration of mosquitoes to stop malaria is scientifically possible. It is also to ensure that this can be done ethically and responsibly to meet the needs of the affected population. We can only do this by involving them.

    Malaria
    Genetic modification
    Mali
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    malaria nets
    Malaria control
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    Genetic research
    Malaria vector

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    Pierre Rossouw

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    I am just a scientist, not involved directly with malaria research, although fellows of mine are.  I understand that malaria is classified a a preventable disease? 

    Why the new hi-tech approach? Does it not have sufficient social status?  I’m not being difficult, just have confusing feedback.
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Gulf Business/Aarti Nagraj: Dubai Crown Prince issues new regulation for testing self-driving vehicles



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Dubai Crown Prince issues new regulation for testing self-driving vehicles


The RTA will be responsible for providing licences to operators and overseeing their compliance

Aarti Nagraj

Wednesday 24 April 2019



A new resolution regulating the testing of autonomous vehicles in Dubai has been passed by the emirate’s Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.


The resolution is part of the first phase of a legislative framework being created to ensure efficiency, reliability and security of smart mobility and is part of Dubai’s autonomous transportation strategy.


Under the regulation, Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) will review the technical aspects and standards related to the safety of self-driving vehicles that will be included in vehicle manuals.


These should be compliant with RTA’s autonomous vehicle testing requirements.


The RTA has also been tasked with specifying the safety requirements that should be met in vehicle tests. It is also authorised to set all other conditions and requirements for the tests.


The RTA will be responsible for providing licences to operators and overseeing their compliance with the regulations.


It will also develop the infrastructure required to conduct such vehicle tests in coordination with concerned authorities in Dubai.


The resolution is effective from the date of its publication in the official gazette, a statement said.


Read: Video: Dubai tests autonomous transport pods


Under its autonomous transportation strategy, Dubai aims to transform 25 per cent of the total transportation in Dubai to self-driving mode by 2030 involving five million daily trips.


The strategy is expected to bring Dhs22bn in annual economic revenues in several sectors by reducing transportation costs, carbon emissions and accidents, and raising the productivity of individuals.


The strategy aims to help cut transportation costs by 44 per cent, resulting in savings of up to Dhs900m a year.


It will also help save Dhs1.5bn a year by reducing environmental pollution by 12 per cent, as well as generate Dhs18bn in annual economic returns by increasing the efficiency of the transportation sector in Dubai by 2030, according to officials.


Read: Dubai’s new self driving strategy approved


As part of the strategy the ‘Dubai World Autonomous Transportation Challenge’ has been launched to encourage innovative international companies, academic institutions and centres of research and development to provide transportations solutions and scenarios that are realistic and tailored for the streets of Dubai.


Read: Dubai’s RTA launches $5m challenge for self-driving cars

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Gulf Business/Aarti Nagraj: Plans cancelled for Dhs2.6bn Six Flags Dubai theme park project

Gulf Business
Plans cancelled for Dhs2.6bn Six Flags Dubai theme park project

Shareholders say the project is not in the company’s “best interests”
Aarti Nagraj
Thursday 25 April 2019


DXB Entertainments will no longer be going forward with the Six Flags theme park project in Dubai, the company’s shareholders decided during a meeting on Wednesday.

In a bourse statement on Thursday, the company – which operates Dubai Parks and Resorts – said that the project was not in the company’s “best interests”.

The planned Six Flags theme park was expected to feature the world’s biggest rollercoaster among its 27 rides and attractions.

Construction began in July 2016, with expectations of a 2019 opening.

However, it was put on hold earlier this year since the financing for the project was no longer available.

Read more: Six Flags Dubai theme park put on hold as funding withdrawn

Six Flags plans world’s biggest roller coaster in Dubai

“Proceeding with the development and establishment of the Six Flags theme park is not in the best interest of the company or its shareholders”, the statement on Thursday said.

“Hence it has been resolved not to continue with the project”.

The board of directors has been instructed to take all the actions required to implement and perfect the shareholders’ resolution, the statement added.

“The shareholders also approved the board’s plan to direct the available proceeds of the rights issue to maximise shareholders’ value by enhancing the existing theme parks of Motiongate and Bollywood Parks,” it said.

Through the approved enhancement plan, select rides, including thrill rides and rides which at this time are “world-record” will be added to the two theme parks.

The enhancement will be funded through the reutilisation of rights issue proceeds and assets from the 2016 rights issue and therefore requires no additional financing.

The move is hoped to broaden the appeal of the destination, increasing dwell times, driving per capita spend and encouraging both new and repeat visitation.

Mohamed Almulla, CEO and managing director, DXB Entertainments, said: “The expansion offsets part of the existing capital commitment for the already approved Bollywood ParksTM Dubai enhancement plan which we started at the end of last year.

“The expansion complements our hotel strategy designed to grow international visitation by positioning Dubai Parks and Resorts as a world class holiday destination with over 1,300 hotel rooms expected to be delivered by 2020.”

Listed on the Dubai Financial Market (DFM), DXB Entertainments recently announced that it had narrowed its 2018 full-year net loss by more than 10 per cent to Dhs1bn.

Dubai Parks and Resorts recorded close to 2.8 million visits in 2018, an increase of 22 per cent compared to the previous year.

Read: Dubai Parks and Resorts records almost 2.8 million visits in 2018

Meanwhile operating expenses fell to Dhs728m, down 21 per cent year-on-year.

Dubai Parks, which comprises Bollywood, Hollywood and Legoland theme parks, targeted 6.7 million visitors in 2017, but only drew in 2.3 million.

With an estimated development cost of Dhs13.2bn for Dubai Parks, DXB Entertainment reached a deal with creditors to restructure $1.14bn of debt in March last year.
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The Atlantic/Alexis C. Madrigal: Twitter Is Not America

   
 The Atlantic             

Technology
Twitter Is Not America

A new Pew study finds a gulf between the general population and Twitter users.
Alexis C. Madrigal
10:00 AM ET
The Twitter logo displayed at the New York Stock Exchange in 2016
Reuters / Brendan McDermid

Twitter, as it turns out, is not a good model of the world.

Hard as that is for the Twitter-addicted to believe, it is true, and a recent Pew Research study presents new evidence about the way that the platform leans.

In the United States, Twitter users are statistically younger, wealthier, and more politically liberal than the general population. They are also substantially better educated, according to Pew: 42 percent of sampled users had a college degree, versus 31 percent for U.S. adults broadly. Forty-one percent reported an income of more than $75,000, too, another large difference from the country as a whole. They were far more likely (60 percent) to be Democrats or lean Democratic than to be Republicans or lean Republican (35 percent).

Read: Everybody’s in a bubble, and that’s a problem

But Pew’s methodology was able to capture another layer of distortion: The Twitter of the platform’s fanatics is very different from the norm. In other words, Media Twitter is not Median Twitter.

First, Pew split up the Twitter users it surveyed into two groups: the top 10 percent most active users and the bottom 90 percent. Among that less-active group, the median user had tweeted twice total and had 19 followers. Most had never tweeted about politics, not even about Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s meeting with Donald Trump.

Then there were the top 10 percent most active users. This group was remarkably different; its members tweeted a median of 138 times a month, and 81 percent used Twitter more than once a day. These Twitter power users were much more likely to be women: 65 percent versus 48 percent for the less-active group. They were also more likely to tweet about politics, though there were not huge attitudinal differences between heavy and light users.

Read: How Twitter fuels anxiety

As the platforms age, their devotees become more and more distinct from the regular person. For more than a decade now, many people in media and technology have been feeding an hour or two of Twitter into our brains every single day. Because we’re surrounded by people who live their lives like this—and, crucially, because so many of the journalists who write about the internet experience the internet in this way—it might feel like this is just how Twitter is, that a representative sample of America is plugged into the machine in this way.

But it’s not. Twitter is not America. And few people who work outside the information industries choose to spend their lives reading tweets, let alone writing them.

Twitter is a highly individual experience that works like a collective hallucination, not a community. It’s probably totally fine that a good chunk of the nation’s elites spend so much time on it. What could go wrong?

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.
Alexis C. Madrigal is a staff writer at The Atlantic and the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology.
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The Atlantic

NASA HQ News: NASA to Broadcast Next Space Station Resupply Launch, Prelaunch Activities

April 24, 2019
MEDIA ADVISORY M19-030
NASA to Broadcast Next Space Station Resupply Launch, Prelaunch Activities


A two-stage SpaceX Falcon 9 launch vehicle lifts off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on December 5, 2018 at 1:16 p.m. EST, carrying the 16th Commercial Resupply Services mission to the International Space Station.

Credits: NASA

NASA commercial cargo provider SpaceX is targeting no earlier than 4:22 a.m. EDT Tuesday, April 30, for the launch of its next resupply mission to the International Space Station. Live coverage will begin on NASA Television and the agency’s website Monday, April 29, with prelaunch events. 

This is the 17th SpaceX mission under NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services contract. The Dragon spacecraft will deliver supplies and critical materials to support dozens of the more than 250 science and research investigations that will occur during Expeditions 59 and 60. The spacecraft’sunpressurized trunk will transport NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory-3 (OCO-3) and Space Test Program-Houston 6 (STP-H6).

OCO-3 will be installed robotically on the exterior of the space station’s Japanese Experiment Module Exposed Facility Unit, where it will measure and map carbon dioxide from space to increase our understanding of the relationship between carbon and climate. STP-H6 is an X-ray communication investigation that will be used to perform a space-based demonstration of a new technology for generating beams of modulated X-rays. This technology may be useful for providing efficient communication to deep space probes, or communicating with hypersonic vehicles where plasma sheaths prevent traditional radio communications.

The spacecraft will take two days to reach the space station before installation on Thursday, May 2. When it arrives, astronaut David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency will grapple Dragon, with NASA astronaut Nick Hague serving as backup. NASA astronaut Christina Koch will assist by monitoring telemetry during Dragon’s approach. After Dragon capture, mission control in Houston will send commands to the station’s arm to rotate and install the spacecraft on the bottom of the station’s Harmony module.

Full mission coverage is as follows (all times Eastern):

Monday, April 29

    10:30 a.m. – What’s on Board science briefing from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. This briefing will highlight the following research:
        Genes in Space winners Rebecca Li, Aarthi Vijayakumar, Michelle Sung and David Li will discuss their experiment to study how cells repair their own DNA in space.
        Kristen John, principal investigator at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, will discuss the Hermes Facility, a reconfigurable testing facility that can accommodate up to four experiments at a time. The facility will be used for investigations into the formation and behavior of asteroids and comets, impact dynamics, and planetary evolution.
        Annmarie Eldering, project scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, will discuss how OCO-3 observes the complex dynamics of Earth’s atmospheric carbon cycle.   
        Danilo Tagle, program director at the National Institutes of Health, and Geraldine Hamilton, president and chief scientific officer of Emulate, Inc.,will discuss Tissue Chips in Space, research that will employ tissue chip technology to develop and advance novel medical technologies on Earth.

    1 p.m. – Prelaunch news conference with representatives from NASA’s International Space Station Program, SpaceX and the U.S. Air Force’s 45th Space Wing.

Tuesday, April 30

    4 a.m. – NASA TV launch coverage begins for the 4:22 a.m., liftoff
    5:30 a.m. – Postlaunch news conference with representatives from NASA’s International Space Station Program and SpaceX.

Thursday, May 2

    5:30 a.m. – Dragon rendezvous and capture coverage begins. Capture is scheduled for approximately 7 a.m.
    9 a.m. – Dragon installation to the nadir port of the Harmony module of the station

Dragon will remain at the space station until May 31, when the spacecraft will return to Earth with research and return cargo.

The deadline for media to apply for accreditation for this launch has passed, but for information about media accreditation, email ksc-media-accreditat@mail.nasa.gov.

For the latest schedule of prelaunch briefings, events and NASA TV coverage, visit:

https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-to-broadcast-next-space-station-resupply-launch-prelaunch-activities

Learn more about the SpaceX resupply mission at:

https://www.nasa.gov/spacex

-end-
     

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

NoMoreFakeNews.com/Jon Rappoport: AI and genetic cures of disease: where's the evidence?

NoMoreFakeNews.com 
AI and genetic cures of disease: where's the evidence?
(To read about Jon's mega-collection, The Matrix Revealed, click here.)
"Isn't it wonderful?  Disease is genetic, and we can alter gene function.  We're winning..."

Much trumpeting of genetic cures is on the propaganda agenda these days---but where is the evidence?

In order to rank as a cure, manipulation of DNA would have to heal a well-defined disease across the board, in a vast majority of cases.  No such victories are occurring at present.

But in order to raise huge money for continuing research, you don't say, "Well, we hope the minor triumphs so far will expand in the future, so please write us a check for five hundred million dollars."  Instead, you tell lies, you exaggerate, you avoid stark facts.

Reliable DNA cures are, right now, far beyond the reach of modern research.  This means claiming the basic CAUSE of a given disease is gene-based is highly questionable, because the proof is in the pudding.  If you can't produce a real cure across the board, utilizing the purported DNA-cause, you can't really claim you know the cause.  Get it?  "Well, we know what's causing Disease X, it's a particular gene, which we've isolated, but, ahem, we can't cure Disease X."  No.  That doesn't fly.

Then we have the so-called AI component.  It goes this way; "In order to achieve genetic cures, we need to do an enormous amount of DNA sorting, which would take humans years and years.  But with computers, we can accomplish the work in manageable time.  This in itself is a miracle of modern science..."  Yes, it might be, if, again, cures were really available, but they're not.  Therefore, the invocation of AI is piece of misdirection.

All the propaganda focusing on genes rests on the pop-science notion, first floated decades ago, that the functioning of the human body is directed by genetic information, which contains complex commands.  This, too, is an unproven assertion---particularly the related idea that every disease is created by a single gene.  That assumption hasn't panned out.  In this regard, the holy grail would consist of the ability to cure a grave disease which is obviously clustering in a given population because of environmental toxins.  "You see, it doesn't matter how much pollution our corporations cause.  We can go in and change genetic programming, so humans are invulnerable to the poisons."

That is yet one more unproven assertion.  It should be classified as a fairy tale until further notice.

I'm not saying absolutely NOTHING useful has been learned from doing genetic research.  I'm saying what has been learned has been massaged, exaggerated, and lied about, to a vast degree.

I've described, above, the basic lies.  We're talking about pop culture notions and comic book characterizations being put in place, replacing sober truth.
Use this link to order Jon's Matrix Collections.
Jon Rappoport

The author of three explosive collections, THE MATRIX REVEALED, EXIT FROM THE MATRIX, and POWER OUTSIDE THE MATRIX, Jon was a candidate for a US Congressional seat in the 29th District of California. He maintains a consulting practice for private clients, the purpose of which is the expansion of personal creative power. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, he has worked as an investigative reporter for 30 years, writing articles on politics, medicine, and health for CBS Healthwatch, LA Weekly, Spin Magazine, Stern, and other newspapers and magazines in the US and Europe. Jon has delivered lectures and seminars on global politics, health, logic, and creative power to audiences around the world.
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Should Our Leaders Draw Inspiration From Dubai's Ruler, The Vice President and Prime Minister of The UAE, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum?

As in many nations, Earth Day 2019, was observed in Ghana,  on Monday, 22nd April.  And, World Book Day fell on Tuesday, April 23rd. Alas, our generation (I'll be 66 at the end of July), have not been very good stewards of the portion of the planet Earth's landmass, which  makes up the sovereign territory of the Republic of Ghana.

And, as a people, we don't have a very close relationship with books, either  - and it tells in the quality of our conversations about the  issues that exercise our minds. Pity.

We often think of creative people as eccentrics who aren't "Correct up there at all?", to quote a genius who read an article of mine in ModernGhana.com, a few days ago entitled: "To Win Power Again, Must The NDC Become A More Creative And Principled Political Party?"  Hmmmm, eyeasem o.

Today, I am sharing a comment I made in a Facebook post on a story about Dubai's ruler, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, setting up a new ministry - "the world's first virtual "Ministry of Possibilities" to incubate and develop radical solutions to government's most pressing problems. -  for the UAE. It speaks for itself. Our leaders must draw inspiration from Dubai's Ruler, the Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

Please read on:

"Definitely  one of the most significant and imaginative leaders, ever to rule any nation, in the entire  history of humankind.

If only our homeland Ghana,  had  just a few politicians with even a quarter of this truly great leader's creativity, Ghana would be a success storry,  within a decade. Kudos to him.

To the NDC's brilliant  but hot-headed Sammy Gyamfi & Co, and their opposite numbers in the NPP,  one humbly says: Gentlemen, instead of the endless  propaganda fueling the politics-of-equalisation,  please  think more creatively, about how to better the lives of ordinary people in Ghanaian society.

And, finally, please  focus on  how best  to reform our byzantine system to make it more transparent, to stop people with greedy ambitions from manipulating it to: "Chop Ghana small!", to use a phrase of infamy. To that one humbly says: "Over to you,  Joe Lartey!" Hmmmm, Oman Ghana eyeasem o  - asem kesie ebeba debi ankasa."

End of culled comment I made about the ruler of Dubai, and the UAE's  Vice President and Prime Minister , Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum,  announcing the setting up of the "world's first virtual "Ministry of Possibilities" to incubate and develop radical solutions to government's most pressing problems.'

Here is the culled original story itself from GulfBusiness.com:

Please read on:

"Sheikh Mohammed launches new UAE Ministry of Possibilities

The “unconventional” entity will operate without a minister

Staff writer

Tuesday 23 April 2019.

The UAE has launched a new virtual “Ministry of Possibilities”, which will operate without a minister and focus on building new government systems, the country’s Vice President and Prime Minister and Dubai’s ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum announced on Tuesday.

Taking to Twitter, Sheikh Mohammed said the “unconventional ministry” will be staffed with cabinet members.

Sheikh Mohammed also issued directives to start working on the first phase of a number of national programmes in the form of four departments. These include the departments of Anticipatory services, Behavioural rewards, UAE talent and Government procurement.

The ministry will oversee key functions that require quick, bold and effective decisions, a statement said.

“Its roles include applying design-thinking and experimentation to develop proactive and disruptive solutions to tackle critical issues, bringing together federal and local government teams and the private sector,” it added.

    We launched the world's first virtual "Ministry of Possibilities," a new government work system in the UAE. The virtual ministry, administered by the cabinet, will address pressing national portfolios and build future government systems. pic.twitter.com/DQAu3N8zqx

    — HH Sheikh Mohammed (@HHShkMohd) April 23, 2019

Sheikh Mohammed said: “The reality we are experiencing in the UAE today is a product of unconventional leadership. We need modern systems to make our unconventional ambitions a reality.”

He added: “The future brings challenges that require constant government restructuring. The word impossible does not exist in our dictionary. It is not part of our vision and will never be part of our future.”

The ministry will begin working on several projects, including providing proactive services to the public, building an electronic platform to facilitate government purchases and shortening its time from 60 days to 6 minutes, Sheikh Mohammed explained.

It will also establish “specialised systems to discover talents in every child in the UAE”, he said.

The ministry will be located in AREA 2071 in Emirates Towers in Dubai.

    .@HHShkMohd: Today we launched the Ministry of Possibilities, an unconventional ministry without a minister. Its staff are cabinet members. The ministry works on important national matters and towards building new government systems for the future. pic.twitter.com/zBgBrai9qg

    — Dubai Media Office (@DXBMediaOffice) April 23, 2019

The four departments will focus on the following issues.

Anticipatory services

Working with a specialised team drawn from various government entities and experts in data analysis and data privacy, the department will develop a system for anticipating the needs of the public and delivering services to them before they are requested.

The department will conduct research to assess the current state of government service delivery and identify areas of improvement. It will also work on developing ways to embed anticipatory services in all areas of government.

Behavioural rewards

The ministry of Possibilities will oversee the department of Behavioural rewards in the first phase.

The department will bring together a team from different ministries and public entities to develop an approach for incentivising positive behaviour through a point-based “rewards” system. Individuals will be able to collect points that can be used in payments for government services.

The department will also develop a list of positive behaviours with a measurement system that will calculate points and rewards. It will launch initiatives to reinforce positive behaviour in society and develop a framework to enable government entities to contribute to the list in line with the policies.

Developing Emirati talent

The department will develop tools to identify talent of all ages and from all social segments and create innovative channels to enable citizens to develop their skills and talent for the service of their country. It will create a framework for talent development and analysis, create an evaluation mechanism and collaborate with companies to provide necessary support.

Government procurement

It aims to develop a radically new approach for government procurement that will make procurement faster and more accessible, especially for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

The department aims to create an easy-to-use government procurement platform based on the latest developments in digital markets that will help promote SMEs and improve government cost effectiveness. The platform will also update government procurement policies to speed up transactions and improve efficiency.

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The Week UK: GUILT TRIP Gove vows tougher action on climate change after Greta Thunberg speech

The Week UK
 UK News
Climate change: Michael Gove promises tougher action after Greta Thunberg speech
Apr 24, 2019
Environment secretary says teen activist made him feel ‘sense of guilt’ for inaction of older generations

         
     
          
     
     

Michael Gove has pledged tougher action on climate change after confessing that a speech by a teenage environmentalist had made him feel “a sense of responsibility and guilt” over his generation’s muted response to the dangers facing the planet.

In a speech in Westminster, Greta Thunberg, 16, the Swedish schoolgirl activist who has inspired protests across the world, said the UK government’s support for “new exploitation of fossil fuels”, such as the shale gas fracking industry, the expansion of North Sea oil and gas fields and the expansion of airports, is “beyond absurd”.
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In response, the environment secretary told her: “As I listened to you I felt great admiration but also a sense of responsibility and guilt because I recognise I am of your parents’ generation. I recognise we have not done nearly enough to deal with the problem of climate change.”

Gove declared that “thanks to the leadership of Greta and others” it has “become inescapable that we have to act”, The Times reports. He added: “Greta, your voice has been heard”.

In her speech, Thunberg took the current generation of politicians to task, telling them their “ongoing irresponsible behaviour will no doubt be remembered in history as one of the greatest failures of humankind”.

She added: “You lied to us. You gave us false hope. You told us that the future was something to look forward to. You don’t listen to the science because you are only interested in solutions that will enable you to carry on like before.”

Earlier in the day, Thunberg had met the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, and the leaders of the Liberal Democrats, the Scottish National Party and Plaid Cymru, as well as the Green MP Caroline Lucas.

However, Theresa May declined to attend the meeting and an empty chair marked her absence. The Times criticises the Prime Minister, saying “she would have been wise to find the time” to meet the teenage activist, who has rapidly attained a global profile as the voice of a younger generation demanding radical action on climate change.

Thunberg has also received praise for educating the public about autism. Speaking to the BBC yesterday, she said the “gift” of living with Asperger syndrome helps her “see things from outside the box” when it comes to the environment. “I don’t easily fall for lies, I can see through things,” she said.

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Gulf Business: Sheikh Mohammed launches new UAE Ministry of Possibilities

Gulf Business
Sheikh Mohammed launches new UAE Ministry of Possibilities

The “unconventional” entity will operate without a minister
Staff writer
Tuesday 23 April 2019


The UAE has launched a new virtual “Ministry of Possibilities”, which will operate without a minister and focus on building new government systems, the country’s Vice President and Prime Minister and Dubai’s ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum announced on Tuesday.

Taking to Twitter, Sheikh Mohammed said the “unconventional ministry” will be staffed with cabinet members.

Sheikh Mohammed also issued directives to start working on the first phase of a number of national programmes in the form of four departments. These include the departments of Anticipatory services, Behavioural rewards, UAE talent and Government procurement.

The ministry will oversee key functions that require quick, bold and effective decisions, a statement said.

“Its roles include applying design-thinking and experimentation to develop proactive and disruptive solutions to tackle critical issues, bringing together federal and local government teams and the private sector,” it added.

    We launched the world's first virtual "Ministry of Possibilities," a new government work system in the UAE. The virtual ministry, administered by the cabinet, will address pressing national portfolios and build future government systems. pic.twitter.com/DQAu3N8zqx

    — HH Sheikh Mohammed (@HHShkMohd) April 23, 2019

Sheikh Mohammed said: “The reality we are experiencing in the UAE today is a product of unconventional leadership. We need modern systems to make our unconventional ambitions a reality.”

He added: “The future brings challenges that require constant government restructuring. The word impossible does not exist in our dictionary. It is not part of our vision and will never be part of our future.”

The ministry will begin working on several projects, including providing proactive services to the public, building an electronic platform to facilitate government purchases and shortening its time from 60 days to 6 minutes, Sheikh Mohammed explained.

It will also establish “specialised systems to discover talents in every child in the UAE”, he said.

The ministry will be located in AREA 2071 in Emirates Towers in Dubai.

    .@HHShkMohd: Today we launched the Ministry of Possibilities, an unconventional ministry without a minister. Its staff are cabinet members. The ministry works on important national matters and towards building new government systems for the future. pic.twitter.com/zBgBrai9qg

    — Dubai Media Office (@DXBMediaOffice) April 23, 2019

The four departments will focus on the following issues.

Anticipatory services

Working with a specialised team drawn from various government entities and experts in data analysis and data privacy, the department will develop a system for anticipating the needs of the public and delivering services to them before they are requested.

The department will conduct research to assess the current state of government service delivery and identify areas of improvement. It will also work on developing ways to embed anticipatory services in all areas of government.

Behavioural rewards

The ministry of Possibilities will oversee the department of Behavioural rewards in the first phase.

The department will bring together a team from different ministries and public entities to develop an approach for incentivising positive behaviour through a point-based “rewards” system. Individuals will be able to collect points that can be used in payments for government services.

The department will also develop a list of positive behaviours with a measurement system that will calculate points and rewards. It will launch initiatives to reinforce positive behaviour in society and develop a framework to enable government entities to contribute to the list in line with the policies.

Developing Emirati talent

The department will develop tools to identify talent of all ages and from all social segments and create innovative channels to enable citizens to develop their skills and talent for the service of their country. It will create a framework for talent development and analysis, create an evaluation mechanism and collaborate with companies to provide necessary support.

Government procurement

It aims to develop a radically new approach for government procurement that will make procurement faster and more accessible, especially for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

The department aims to create an easy-to-use government procurement platform based on the latest developments in digital markets that will help promote SMEs and improve government cost effectiveness. The platform will also update government procurement policies to speed up transactions and improve efficiency.
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The Barents Observer/Atle Staalesen: Along Russia’s border to Norway, a big show of military force

The Barents Observer

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Shooting in the borderland. Photo: mil.ru
Along Russia’s border to Norway, a big show of military force
Sounds of explosion rocked through the borderlands as 1,000 forces and more than 340 military vehicles, tanks and aircraft engaged in military training.
By
Atle Staalesen
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April 23, 2019

There was no silent Easter in the border areas between Russia and Norway. As locals on the Norwegian side relaxed in their cabins on Easter Monday, the nearby military units based in the Russian Pechenga Valley were anything but dormant.

According to the Northern Fleet, about 1,000 troops and more than 340 pieces of equipment engaged in a fight against a simulated enemy. Involved were T-72B3 tanks, mobile artillery units, amphibious armored vehicles, aircraft and helicopters.

The drills that were headed by Colonel Sergey Pelipeya included fire with multiple rocket launcher BM-21 Grad and self-propelled gun 2S3 Akatsiya, as well as guided anti-tank weapon Fagot. In the air were supersonic fighter jets Su-24, and missiles were fired with self-propelled anti-aircraft weapon 2K22 Tunguska. Applied were also the man-portable surface-to-air missile Igla and  9K32 Strela.

Complexes for radio-electronic warfare were also taken use of, and the exercise stretched thought both day and night.


Training in the Pechenga area. Photo: mil.ru


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According to the Russian military, special attention was given to the elimination of enemy drones.

On the sideline was watching Northern Fleet Head Commander Nikolay Yevmenov. With high esteem he followed the confident action of the motorized units, the Northern Fleet press service informs.

It is not the first time that the powerful military units dislocated in the Pechenga area hold major exercises on this time of year. Similar drills were held in 2018.
Su-24 fighter jets over Pechenga. Photo: mil.ru



The shooting in the borderlands takes place on the backdrop of a growing distrust between the two neighboring countries.

When visited St.Petersburg earlier this month, Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg made clear to journalists that she regretted that Russian authorities do not always inform nearby Norwegians about military drills.

It is not clear whether or not the Norwegian side was warned about this week’s exercise.

As Norway’s Chief of Defence Haakon Bruun-Hanssen on Tuesday this week presented his annual report he told NTB that the Russian side has reduced its warning hours ahead of exercises and that this is about to become a «new normality».

He also argued that the security situation has deteriorated in the course of 2018.

«The Russians train and exercise more with their military capacities, also in closer vicinity to us than before, and they demonstrate their discomfort through the use of military force in away that we previously have not seen,» Bruun-Hanssen told NTB.
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