Study Shows Only A Fraction Of EU Countries Are Pursuing Paris Climate Deal

By: Arthur Nelson 

Sweden, Germany and France are the only European countries pursuing environmental policies in line with promises made at the Paris climate conference, according to a new ranking study.

The UK is in fifth position in the table which assesses policy actions taken by EU states to meet Europe’s pledge of a 40% cut in carbon emissions by 2030.

Poland, the Czech Republic, Spain and Italy are judged to be propping up the league, due to their support for forestry and carbon accounting dodges that weaken the greenhouse gas reduction effort.

“EU politicians portraying themselves as climate leaders should put their money where their mouth is by closing loopholes in the EU’s key climate law and pushing for more ambition,” said Femke de Jong, the EU policy director for Carbon Market Watch, a campaign group that co-drafted the EU Climate Leadership Board survey.

The ranking was compiled using ministerial statements and official documents submitted to the European commission, and was then cross-checked with country representatives.

It focuses on behind-the-scenes lobby forays mounted by EU countries in negotiations over an “effort sharing regulation” to cover the 60% of European emissions that come from transport, buildings, agriculture and waste management.

These fall outside the bloc’s flagship Emissions Trading System (ETS) which allocates tradable pollution permits to heavy industry.

Several countries have tried to gain wiggle room in the talks by pushing for measures such as a later (and higher) baseline for measuring their CO2 cuts, or greater use of forestry credits to meet the EU’s climate goal.

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Elon Musk’s New Venture: Merging Our Brains With Tech Using ‘Neurolink’ 

By: Nick Statt of The Verge 

SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk is backing a brain-computer interface venture called Neuralink, according to The Wall Street Journal. The company, which is still in the earliest stages of existence and has no public presence whatsoever, is centered on creating devices that can be implanted in the human brain, with the eventual purpose of helping human beings merge with software and keep pace with advancements in artificial intelligence. These enhancements could improve memory or allow for more direct interfacing with computing devices.
Musk has hinted at the existence of Neuralink a few times over the last six months or so. More recently, Musk told a crowd in Dubai, “Over time I think we will probably see a closer merger of biological intelligence and digital intelligence.” He added that “it’s mostly about the bandwidth, the speed of the connection between your brain and the digital version of yourself, particularly output.” On Twitter, Musk has responded to inquiring fans about his progress on a so-called “neural lace,” which is sci-fi shorthand for a brain-computer interface humans could use to improve themselves.

These types of brain-computer interfaces exist today only in science fiction. In the medical realm, electrode arrays and other implants have been used to help ameliorate the effects of Parkinson’s, epilepsy, and other neurodegenerative diseases. However, very few people on the planet have complex implants placed inside their skulls, while the number of patients with very basic stimulating devices number only in the tens of thousands. This is partly because it is incredibly dangerous and invasive to operate on the human brain, and only those who have exhausted every other medical option choose to undergo such surgery as a last resort.

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Can Psychedelics Aid With Depression? 

Compliments of The CBC

We think of psychedelic drugs, hallucinogens, as party drugs. Drugs that let us escape our minds, and even let us feel like we’re escaping our bodies.

Magic mushrooms, Ayahuasca and Peyote have long been understood by non-western cultures to free the mind and help heal emotional trauma.

Today, researchers are discovering that the drug, ketamine, can do the same thing. Ketamine or “Special K” is known on the street as an illicit party drug. It can give users an out-of-body experience, a feeling of dissociation.

But ketamine is intended for use by doctors and veterinarians as an anaesthetic. It also has a darker side as the so called “date rape drug”.

Dr. Pierre Blier is leading research at the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre using low doses of ketamine to treat patients with severe and treatment-resistant depression, and in particular, patients who have thoughts of suicide.

In fact, pharmaceutical companies are conducting multi-centre clinical trials on ketamine, and researchers are optimistic that an intra-nasal version may be on the market as soon as 2019.

Dr. David Nutt has looked at the brains of people while they’ve been on LSD, but also on other hallucinogens like psilocybin, the ingredient that makes magic mushrooms “magic.”

And he thinks the findings — as they relate to people with depression, in particular — are too powerful to ignore.

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Nim Kidd Replaces Craig Fugate As The New Director Of FEMA

With complimentary contributions by Evan Moon, WUFT News

After several months without an Administrator, Mr. Nim Kidd has been appointed as the new Administrator of FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency.  His appointment replaces Mr. Craig Fugate, the Administrator during the Obama Administration.   Craig Fugate led FEMA through many catastrophic disasters including; Joplin and Moore tornadoes, Hurricane Sandy, Hurricane Matthew, Hurricane Katrina and the 2016 Louisiana floods.  In a WUFT News First at Five interview, anchor Evyn Moon sat down with Craig Fugate discussing his career, his concern about the handling of migrant children crossing our borders, and his recommendation for Nim Kidd to replace him as the FEMA Administrator.

The Obama Administration’s outreach to grass root organizations and providing resources for local emergency preparedness was unprecedented in approach and success.   Now we wait to see if the Trump Administration will give Nim Kidd the support he needs to get things done and continue helping people to recover from disasters without limitation from bureaucracy and political barriers.

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Another Terrorist Attack Thwarted in Antwerp Belgium 

By: Gareth Davies of The Daily Mail

A French -Tunisian has been arrested after trying to drive a car loaded with liquid gas, assault rifles and knives into a crowd of shoppers in Antwerp in an attempted terror attack.

Belgian police, who confirmed the bomb squad had been sent to the area, said the car was being driven at high speed and that pedestrians had to jump out of the way to avoid being injured.

Authorities found knives, a shotgun and a gas can with an unknown liquid in the car prompting officers who usually deal with extremist attacks to take over the case.

It comes just hours after three people were killed in London by a terrorist who mowed down pedestrians and cyclists outside the House of Commons before stabbing a policeman to death.

Belgian police arrested a man named as Mohamed R, 39, on Thursday after he tried to drive into a crowd at high-speed in a shopping area in the port city of Antwerp at around 11am.

The suspect, who has not been confirmed as a Muslim but is named after the religion’s prophet and is said to be of North African descent, was wearing camouflage when he was arrested.

Belgian security forces found a rifle as well as bladed weapons in the car driven by the Frenchman who tried to ram a crowd in the main pedestrianised street in the port city, described by the French President Francois Hollande as an ‘attempted terrorist attack’.

The federal prosecutor’s office also said bomb disposal units were sent to the scene to examine the vehicle.

‘Different arms were found in the boot – bladed weapons, a riot gun (rifle) and a container of liquid that is still unidentified,’ the federal prosecutor’s office said in a statement.

‘The suspect is Mohamed R, born on May 8, 1977, of French nationality and a resident of France,’ the statement said.

The driver sped off after Belgian soldiers, who have been deployed around the country to assist the counter-terrorism fight, tried to stop the car.

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Senate Has Decided Profit Is More Important Than Internet Privacy 

By: Caleb Chen Of Private Internet Access

The FCC online privacy rules currently require ISPs to get your affirmative consent before selling your personal, sensitive information to advertisers. Notably, the FCC didn’t go as far as to ban “pay-for-privacy” schemes that were being offered by some ISPs. Back in 2016, when the FCC passed sweeping net neutrality and online privacy rules for Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and telecoms to follow, the FTC did release a statement titled: Net Neutrality and Privacy: Don’t Fear the Reclassification.

The Senators that proposed this resolution did so for a reason

If you’re wondering whether or not the Senators that proposed S.J.Res 34 received any money from ISPs or telecoms, the answer is a resounding yes. Vocativ has a nice infographic that shows which Senators have received donations from telecoms and ISPs, and even trade groups like the CTIA. In a recent filing with the FCC, the CTIA has been attempting to push the idea that web browsing history and app usage data are not sensitive information.

Despite widespread disapproval from constituents, S.J.Res 34 has passed the United States Senate with a vote of 50-48, with two absent votes. Earlier today, at 12:25 Eastern March 23, 2017, the US Senate voted on S.J.Res 34, and will use the Congressional Review Act to strip away broadband privacy protections that kept Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and telecoms from selling your internet history and app data usage to third parties. S.J.Res 34 was first introduced by 23 Republican Senators earlier this month and its blitz approval is a giant blow to privacy rights in the United States.

The resolution, which is now effectively half passed, will hand responsibility of broadband privacy regulation from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and disallow the FCC from making any rules protecting Internet privacy ever again.

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Advertisers Pull From YouTube In Protest Of Their Extremist Content 

By: Jessica Guynn Of USA Today

AT&T, Verizon, Johnson & Johnson and other major U.S. advertisers are pulling hundreds of millions of dollars in business from Google and its video service YouTube despite the Internet giant’s pledge this week to keep offensive and extremist content away from ads.

AT&T said that it is halting all ad spending on Google except for search ads. That means AT&T ads will not run on YouTube or two million websites that take part in Google’s ad network.

“We are deeply concerned that our ads may have appeared alongside YouTube content promoting terrorism and hate,” the company said in an emailed statement. “Until Google can ensure this won’t happen again, we are removing our ads from Google’s non-search platforms.”

Sanette Chao, who handles marketing communications and branding for Verizon, confirmed that mobile operator has also pulled its ads.

Once we were notified that our ads were appearing on non-sanctioned websites, we took immediate action to suspend this type of ad placement and launched an investigation,” Chao said in a statement.

Google declined to comment on the defection of advertisers.

“As announced, we’ve begun an extensive review of our advertising policies and have made a public commitment to put in place changes that give brands more control over where their ads appear,” the Internet giant said in a statement. “We’re also raising the bar for our ads policies to further safeguard our advertisers’ brands.”

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Robocops To Be Added To Dubai Police Force 

By: PoliceOne Staff

During the 11 Best Police Practices Forum, Dubai police officials announced they will welcome their first robot cop this May.
According to The Gulf News, Director of the Future Shaping Centre of Dubai Police Brigadier Abdullah Bin Sultan said the department hopes robocops will make up 25 percent of the police force by 2030.
The robots are equipped with facial recognition technology that allows them to scan faces from nearly 30 feet away, Newsweek reported. Citizens will be able to report crimes and pay fines on the robocop’s touchscreen body.
“We planned for a security system for the future of the city to tackle future crimes. By 2025, Dubai will be one of the best five cities in the world on security level,” he said.

 

In addition to the upgraded police technology, Bin Sultan said all police buildings will be 50 percent self-power-generated. A DNA data bank will be built as well.
“By 2030, there will be no mysterious or unknown crimes in Dubai and the police will have the biggest DNA data bank in the country,” he said.
Brigadier Khalid Nasser Al Razouqi, general director of smart services for Dubai police, said the department is looking to make everything smart and add more artificial intelligence.
“By 2030, we will have the first smart police station which won’t require human employees,” he said.

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Shooting Outside UK Parliamanet After Car Ploughs Though Crowd.

Compliments of The Independent

A police officer is believed to have died after an assailant launched a car and knife attack on Westminster in central London, ramming into members of the public on Westminster Bridge before entering Parliament grounds, where he was shot by officers.

One woman died on Westminster Bridge and the attack is being described by police as a “terrorist incident”. At least 10 others have been hurt in total, according to authorities, some with “catastrophic” injuries.
At least three gun shots were heard by those inside Westminster, and proceedings in the House of Commons were immediately suspended. Theresa May will chair a meeting of the Government’s emergency Cobra committee later today, a Downing Street spokesman said.
The deputy speaker of the Commons, David Lidington, announced the suspension in the House, saying a police officer had been stabbed and the “alleged assailant shot by armed police”.

Early reports indicate the car, which mounted the pavement on Westminster Bridge and mowed into around a dozen people, was the same vehicle which then rammed into the railings of the Palace of Westminster, just around the corner.

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In Efforts To Combat Deforestation This Man Has Been Planting His Own Forest

By: Sam Cowie Of The Guardian

When Antonio Vicente bought a patch of land in São Paulo state and said he wanted to use it to plant a forest, people called him crazy. It was 1973 and forests were seen by many as an obstacle to progress and profit.

Brazil’s then military government encouraged wealthy landowners to expand by offering them generously subsidised credit to invest in modern farming techniques, a move the ruling generals hoped would boost national agriculture.

But water, or an impending lack of it, was Vicente’s concern as he worriedly watched the expansion of cattle grazing and industry, the destruction of local forests, and the growth of the population and the rapid urbanisation of the state.

One of 14 children, Vicente grew up on a farm where his father worked. He’d watched him cut down the trees at the owners’ orders, for use in charcoal production and to clear more land for grazing cattle. Eventually the farm’s water springs dried up and never returned.

Maintaining forests are essential for water supplies because trees absorb and retain water in their roots and help to prevent soil erosion. So with some donkeys and a small team, he worked on his little patch – 31 hectares (77 acres) of land that had been razed for grazing cattle – and set about regenerating.

“The area was totally stripped,” he says, demonstrating by pointing to a painting of the treeless land in 1976. “The water supplies had nearly dried up.”
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