Category Archives: Alerts

UK Millennials Suffer Worst Fall In Income Next To Greece

By: Ben Chu of The Independent

UK millennials have suffered the second-worst falls in their incomes of any of the dozen advanced economies surveyed by a think tank over the past decade.

In a new report, the Resolution Foundation calculates that average real hourly earnings for under-30s in Britain fell 13 per cent between 2007 and 2014.

Only Greece, where real earnings slumped by 25 per cent over the same period as the eurozone country plunged into depression, saw a worst performance for this age group among the dozen advanced economies Resolution analysed in the latest research from its Intergenerational Commission.

British millennials experienced bigger income falls than other crisis-hit southern eurozone states such as Portugal and Italy, where earnings fell 12 per cent and 6 per cent respectively.

Average incomes for Spanish millennials fell by only around 2 per cent.

Resolution also found that the gap between the pay performance of UK millennials and workers aged between 50 and 59 was particularly pronounced, with older UK workers seeing their pay fall by around half the extent of the younger group.

In Italy and France the declines were roughly in line. In Germany, Spain and Italy the older group of workers saw larger pay declines than millennials.

“The pay squeeze has been deeper in the UK than in most other places, and more focused on young people in particular,” said Resolution.

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To Give Or Not To Give 50% of Earth to Wildlife

By : Robin Mckie

The orangutan is one of our planet’s most distinctive and intelligent creatures. It has been observed using primitive tools, such as the branch of a tree, to hunt food, and is capable of complex social behaviour. Orangutans also played a special role in humanity’s own intellectual history when, in the 19th century, Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace, co-developers of the theory of natural selection, used observations of them to hone their ideas about evolution.

But humanity has not repaid orangutans with kindness. The numbers of these distinctive, red-maned primates are now plummeting thanks to our destruction of their habitats and illegal hunting of the species. Last week, an international study revealed that its population in Borneo, the animal’s last main stronghold, now stands at between 70,000 and 100,000, less than half of what it was in 1995. “I expected to see a fairly steep decline, but I did not anticipate it would be this large,” said one of the study’s co-authors, Serge Wich of Liverpool John Moores University.

For good measure, conservationists say numbers are likely to fall by at least another 45,000 by 2050, thanks to the expansion of palm oil plantations, which are replacing their forest homes. One of Earth’s most spectacular creatures is heading towards oblivion, along with the vaquita dolphin, the Javan rhinoceros, the western lowland gorilla, the Amur leopard and many other species whose numbers are today declining dramatically. All of these are threatened with the fate that has already befallen the Tasmanian tiger, the dodo, the ivory-billed woodpecker and the baiji dolphin – victims of humanity’s urge to kill, exploit and cultivate.

As a result, scientists warn that humanity could soon be left increasingly isolated on a planet bereft of wildlife and inhabited only by ourselves plus domesticated animals and their parasites. This grim scenario will form the background to a key conference – Safeguarding Space for Nature and Securing Our Future – to be held in London on 27-28 February.

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Muller Indicted Over A Dozen Russian Nationals For Meddling

By: CHRIS SOMMERFELDT, DENIS SLATTERY of Daily News

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s office has charged more than a dozen Russian nationals with violating U.S. criminal laws in order to interfere with the 2016 election, the Department of Justice said on Friday.

A federal grand jury in the District of Columbia indicted 13 Russians and three Russian entities and charged them with trying to sway the election in favor of President Trump, according to court documents.

“The indictment alleges that the Russian conspirators want to promote discord in the United States and undermine public confidence in democracy,” deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein said Friday. “We must not allow them to succeed.”

The indictment was sought through Mueller, who has been tasked with investigating Moscow’s efforts to interfere in the election and any possible ties to the Trump campaign.

“Defendants’ operations included supporting the presidential campaign of then-candidate Donald J. Trump and disparaging Hillary Clinton,” according to the indictment.

Trump, despite the conclusions of the U.S. intelligence community, has repeatedly cast doubt on whether Russia attempted influence on the election.

But the efforts of the foreign “organization” in the indictment date to at least 2014.

“The defendants allegedly conducted what they called information warfare against the United States with the stated goal of spreading distrust towards the candidates and the political system in general,” Rosenstein said.

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Kentucky Gov Blames Violent Video Games For Shootings

By: Scott Wartman of Enquirer

A day after a former student opened fire at a high school in Parkland, Fla., killing 17 people, Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin called for the nation to consider restrictions on violence in video games and movies, not guns.

“We need to have an honest conversation as to what should and should not be allowed in the United States as it relates to the things being put in the hands of our young people,” Bevin said during a stop in Covington on Thursday.

What shouldn’t be put in the hands of young people? Violent video games and movies, Bevin said.

“I’m a big believer in the First Amendment and right to free speech, but there are certain things that are so graphic as it relates to violence, and things that are so pornographic on a whole another front that we allow to pass under the guise of free speech, which arguably are,” Bevin said. “But there is zero redemptive value. There is zero upside to any of this being in the public domain, let alone in the minds and hands and homes of our young people.”

As the school shootings mount, so has pressure on politicians to strengthen gun control laws.

Three weeks earlier in Bevin’s 15-year-old student at a high school in western Kentucky shot and killed two people and wounded 16.

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Who Was The Florida Shooter ?

By: John Schuppe of NBC

The young man charged with killing 17 people at his former Florida high school worried some of his classmates, talking about his guns and sharing pictures of small animals he had shot.

He had a “very disturbing” social media presence and had been expelled from school, officials said, supplying new details on the life of accused shooter, Nikolas Cruz.

Cruz, 19, has been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder in the attack Wednesday at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, which he was expelled from last year for disciplinary reasons, officials said. The attack unfolded just before classes were dismissed for the day.

Cruz, who arrived at the scene in an Uber, confessed to the attack, telling investigators he had brought the AR-15 and several loaded magazines stuffed into a backpack and planned to leave them behind in order to blend in with fleeing students, according to a police affidavit. After the shooting, he made it to a Walmart, where he bought a drink, then continued to a McDonald’s, where he sat for a bit, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said at a news conference Thursday evening. Soon after leaving, Cruz was arrested,

A motive in the shooting remains unclear.

Cruz legally bought the .223 caliber rifle used in the shootings in February 2017 at Sunrise Tactical Supply, a federally licensed gun store in Coral Springs, authorities said.

Cruz’s court-appointed defense lawyer, Broward County Assistant Public Defender Melisa McNeill, called him “a broken human being” and said he was “mournful, remorseful” and “fully aware of what is going on.”

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A.I Recognizes Terrorist Propaganda With 99% Accuracy

By: Kevin Litman-Navarro

The UK-based company ASI Data Science unveiled a machine learning algorithm Wednesday that can identify terrorist propaganda videos with 99 percent accuracy

This development marks one of the first instances of a company successfully using A.I. to flag extremist propaganda. The Islamic State group is notorious for its social media recruiting efforts, and this algorithm could help curtail them.

While the researchers at ASI wouldn’t discuss any technical specifics of the algorithm, it appears to work like other kinds of A.I. recognition software. The algorithm can examine any video and determine the probability that the video is a piece of extremist propaganda. According to the BBC, the algorithm was trained on thousands of hours of terrorist recruiting videos, and it uses characteristics from these videos to assign probability scores.

If a video is marked as very high probability, it is tagged for review by a human content moderator. Because the videos aren’t automatically taken down, any false positive should be caught before the video is wrongfully removed. ASI said that the algorithm could detect up to 94 percent of Islamic State uploads.

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Facebook Loses Millions Of The 25 & Under Market

By: Kurt Wagner & Rani Molla

Facebook is losing young users even quicker than expected, according to new estimates by eMarketer.

The digital measurement firm predicted last year that Facebook would see a 3.4 percent drop in 12- to 17-year-old users in the U.S. in 2017, the first time it had predicted a drop in usage for any age group on Facebook.

The reality: The number of U.S.

Facebook users in the 12- to 17-year-old demographic declined by 9.9 percent in 2017, eMarketer found, or about 1.4 million total users. That’s almost three times the decline expected. There were roughly 12.1 million U.S. Facebook users in the 12- to 17-year-old demographic by the end of the year.

There are likely multiple reasons for the decline. Facebook has been losing its “cool” factor for years, and young people have more options than ever for staying in touch with friends and family. Facebook also serves as a digital record keeper — but many young people don’t seem to care about saving their life online, at least not publicly. That explains why Snapchat and Instagram, which offer features for sharing photos and videos that disappear, are growing in popularity among this demographic.

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Falcon Heavy Makes History

By: The BBC

The mammoth vehicle – the most powerful since the shuttle system – lifted clear of its pad without incident to soar high over the Atlantic Ocean.

It was billed as a risky test flight in advance of the lift-off.

The SpaceX CEO said the challenges of developing the new rocket meant the chances of a successful first outing might be only 50-50.

“I had this image of just a giant explosion on the pad, a wheel bouncing down the road. But fortunately that’s not what happened,” he told reporters after the event.

With this debut, the Falcon Heavy aims to become the most capable launch vehicle available.

It is designed to deliver a maximum payload to low-Earth orbit of 64 tonnes – the equivalent of putting five London double-decker buses in space.

Such performance is slightly more than double that of the world’s next most powerful rocket, the Delta IV Heavy – but at one third of the cost, says Mr Musk.

For this experimental and uncertain mission, however, he decided on a much smaller and whimsical payload – his old cherry-red Tesla sports car.

A space-suited mannequin was strapped in the driver’s seat, and the radio set to play David Bowie’s classic hit Space Oddity on a loop.

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Positive Perspective Of The Stock Market Tumble

By: Jay Zagorski of The Conversation

Stocks, which only recently were practically hitting a new record every other day, suddenly seem to be in free fall.

Global stock markets plunged on Feb. 5, continuing the already precipitous decline from the week before. The Dow Jones industrial average, one of the most widely followed indexes, fell by almost 1,200 points, a 4.6 percent loss and the biggest point decline on record. Put another way, the world’s 500 richest people lost about US$114 billion in a single day.

Since the Dow’s record peak of 26,617 on Jan. 26, the index has fallen almost 9 percent. This brings it close to what is known as a “correction,” which is often described as a fall of 10 percent. Corrections are simply a large enough fall in stock prices to get some people to believe the market’s upward trajectory has stopped. We’ll be in a “bear” market if losses reach 20 percent.

What does this mean for investors and the rest of us? In my view, there are three important ideas to keep in mind as we assess the impact of a plunging stock market on the economy and our wallets.

Don’t panic

First, the stock market often makes very dramatic moves in a short period of time, and extreme volatility like Monday’s occasionally occurs. One of the most famous market plunges occurred in 1929, at the start of the Great Depression.

On Oct. 25 1929, a Friday, the Dow Jones industrial average closed at 301. The following Monday, dubbed “Black Monday” in trading lore, the Dow closed at 260, a drop of 13.5 percent. Then the next day, called “Black Tuesday,” the Dow fell to 230 points, a loss of 11.7 percent.

People were in a panic after only two days of steep losses. On Wednesday, which has no moniker, the Dow reversed course and rose up to 259. This rise almost entirely wiped out the previous day’s fall.

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Lead Investigator of The Illegal Ivory Trade Found Dead

By: The BBC

Esmond Bradley Martin, 75, was found in his Nairobi home on Sunday with a stab wound to his neck.

The former UN special envoy for rhino conservation was known for his undercover work investigating the black market.

The US citizen had recently returned from a research trip to Myanmar.

Bradley Martin was in the process of writing up his findings when he died, reports the BBC’s Alastair Leithead from Nairobi.

His wife found him in their house in Langata. Police are investigating the circumstances but suspect it was a botched robbery.

Our correspondent says Bradley Martin had spent decades risking his life to secretly photograph and document illegal sales of ivory and rhino horn, travelling to China, Vietnam, and Laos to pose as a buyer and establish the details of black market prices.

He first went to Kenya from the US in the 1970s when there was a surge in the number of elephants being killed for their ivory.

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