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03 апреля, 02:24

Saudi Crown Prince Admits Saudis "Financed Terrorist Groups", Blesses Israeli Statehood

Saudi Arabia's crown prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS) admitted in a wide-ranging interview in The Atlantic that Saudi nationals have funded terrorist groups, and quite stunningly - that Israelis are entitled to live peacefully on their own land - yet another indicator that the relationship between Riyadh and Tel Aviv is strengthening. When it comes to financing extremist groups, I challenge anyone if he can bring any evidence that the Saudi government financed terrorist groups. Yes, there are people from Saudi Arabia who financed terrorist groups. This is against Saudi law. We have a lot of people in jail now, not only for financing terrorist groups, but even for supporting them. -The Atlantic Bin Salman's comments come days after a U.S. judge rejected Saudi Arabia's request to dismiss lawsuits accusing it of involvement in the 9/11 attacks. The cases are based on the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (Jasta), a 2016 law that provides an exemption to the legal principle of sovereign immunity, allowing families of the victims to take foreign governments to court. The families point to the fact that the majority of the hijackers were Saudi citizens, and claim that Saudi officials and institutions "aided and abetted" the attackers in the years leading up to the 9/11 attacks, according to court documents. -Middle East Eye MbS also told The Atlantic when asked if Jewish people have a right to a nation-state in at least part of their ancestral homeland: “I believe the Palestinians and the Israelis have the right to have their own land. But we have to have a peace agreement to assure the stability for everyone and to have normal relations...  We have religious concerns about the fate of the holy mosque in Jerusalem and about the rights of the Palestinian people. This is what we have. We don’t have any objection against any other people. This is what we have. We don’t have any objection against any other people” Saudi Arabia does not currently recognize Israel - maintaining for years that normalizing relations all depends on the withdrawal from Arab lands captured in the 1967 Middle East War - territory Palestinians claim to be theirs for the establishment of a future state. "There are a lot of interests we share with Israel and if there is peace," MbS added. "There would be a lot of interest between Israel and the Gulf Cooperation Council countries and countries like Egypt and Jordan” Behold the "Coalition to fight terrorism" Recall that the first two stops Donald Trump made as President were Saudi Arabia and Israel, where he met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin "Bibi" Netanyahu and Saudi Arabia's King Salman to discuss a coalition to fight terrorism - which, aside from the US and Israel, includes Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the UAE, Bahrain, Oman and Jordan - assembled to fight the Islamic State and curtail Iran's regional ambitions. Last November, the 32-year-old bin Salman announced plans to "wipe terrorists from the face of the earth," by forming a coalition of 40 Muslim countries to defeat ISIS. Speaking at a summit of defence ministers from across 41 majority-Muslim countries he spoke of a need for a "pan-Islamic united front" against terrorism. He said: “In past years, terrorism has been functioning in all of our countries... with no coordination among national authorities. "That ends today, with this alliance." -express.co.uk The first official meeting of the new Muslim alliance was held a week later - just two days after an attack at a Mosque in Egypt killed over 300 people, including 30 children - in what was called the country's worst terrorism incident. Meanwhile, bin Salman traveled to Washington D.C. in March, where he began what's been described as a cross-country road show to lure American firms and investment to Saudi Arabia - a crucial component of his "Vision 2030" plan to wean the ultraconservative kingdom's economy off its reliance on oil. Since being appointed heir to the thrown, MbS, 32, has embarked on what fawning US media have described as an "ambitious" reform agenda. He has earned-widespread praise for lifting restrictions on women driving while loosening rules around male-female interactions and also reining in the country's religious police. In an effort to wean the Kingdom off of its dependence on oil, MbS launched his Vision 2030 initiative - a plan that relies on foreign investment.

03 апреля, 00:48

New Zealand hold England to draw on final day of second Test – as it happened

New Zealand won a series at home to England for the first in 34 years after an immense rearguard action on a dramatic day at Christchurch 7.22am BST I suppose that’s an appropriate end to a trying winter for England. But today is more about New Zealand - a resourceful, likeable, sometimes brilliant side who fully deserve this victory. On behalf of all the OBO writers, thanks for your company all winter, and for keeping us sane during the small hours. It feels a long time ago that James Vince made 83 on the first day of the Ashes at the Gabba. Bye! Related: England frustrated by New Zealand and bad light as second Test is drawn 7.21am BST Kane Williamson speaks “It was an amazing day of Test cricket. I want to thank Joe and his team - that was a really hard-fought series. We didn’t get off to a great start but the guys showed a lot of steel. Ish Sodhi and Neil Wagner were just phenomenal.” Continue reading...

02 апреля, 23:25

Trump Pushing For Nafta Deal In Next Two Weeks

Having gone nowhere for the past year of Nafta negotiations, the Trump administration is said to be pushing for the U.S., Canada and Mexico to reach a Nafta deal in principle to be announced at the Summit of the Americas in Peru on April 13-14, Bloomberg reported citing three people familiar. The US will host Nafta negotiators in Washington this week, where it hopes to achieve a breakthrough on significant remaining differences, Bloomberg said, adding that under the White House push, leaders of the three nations would be able to announce at regional summit that they’ve reached agreement on the broad outlines of an updated Nafta deal, while technical talks could continue to hammer out the finer details and legal text. While it is unlikely that full deal will be penned, the meetings may make enough progress on issues including automotive rules of origin to host an eighth round of talks with the full negotiating teams in Washington next week. Goal is also to advance as much as possible toward the Trump administration’s goal of an announcement in Peru Still, disagreement persists and significant differences remain on issues ranging from automotive content to government procurement, and there is no assurance an agreement, even in principal, can be reached. As part of the last minute blitz negotiations, Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo will travel to Washington for meetings with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer on Wednesday,  while Trump's adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner and Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray - who have been the lead people for managing the relationship between President Donald Trump and his Mexican counterpart Enrique Pena Nieto - will also meet in Washington this week. Separately, Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland will travel to Washington to meet with Lighthizer on Friday and may also meet with Mexico’s top Nafta negotiators at the same time. “Canada is committed to concluding a modern, mutually beneficial Nafta as soon as possible,” said Adam Austen, a spokesman for Freeland, while declining to comment on her meeting schedule. In immediate response to the news, both the Mexian peso - which led EM FX losses for much of the day - and the Canadian loonie spiked, after a sharp move higher in the dollar during today's equity selloff depressed the rest of G-10 FX.    

02 апреля, 22:30

Actualités du jour, 2 avril 2018

La flotte caspienne sera déplacée d'Astrakhan à Kaspiisk au Daghestan, a annoncé aujourd'hui le ministre de la Défense Sergueï Choïgou. Il a souligné que le transfert de la flotte est une composante majeure de la sécurité dans la région de la mer Caspienne. En octobre 2017, le Ministère de la Défense a commencé la construction d'une base navale sur la mer Caspienne pouvant accueillir tous les navires lance-missiles de la flotte et assurer leur déploiement rapide pour l'utilisation d'armes de précision. Pendant ces dernières 24 heures les militaires de Kiev ont bombardé deux fois les positions de la Milice populaire de Lougansk. La région du village Nizhnee Lozovoye a subi les coups de feu, menés avec les véhicules blindés et des missiles antichars. Le matin de 1 avril les militaires de Kiev ont fait exploser une voiture de l’ambulance « Ural » de la Milice populaire de la République populaire de Lougansk à l’aide de missiles antichars guidés dans la région de Nizhnee Lozovoye. Le bombardement a causé trois blessés parmi les soldats, la voiture a été brûlée. Selon l’information du Centre commun de contrôle et de coordination du régime du cessez-le-feu, le matin les militaires ukrainiens ont commencé à bombarder une localité Spartak au nord de Donetsk avec l’utilisation des lance-grenades et des armes légères. La Russie fera des efforts pour répondre à la demande de la Turquie d'accélérer la livraison des complexes S-400, a déclaré l'assistant du président russe Youri Oushakov. À la mi-mars, le ministre russe des affaires étrangères Sergueï Lavrov a déclaré que la Russie avait réagi positivement à la demande de la Turquie de réduire les délais de la livraison des S-400. La première livraison des systèmes de défense antiaérienne serait effectuée déjà en 2019. Le Ministère de la Défense de la Fédération de Russie a annoncé le début du retrait des militaires du dernier rempart dans la Ghûta d’Est, la ville de la Douma. "Au total, 1146 personnes ont été transportées à l’aide de 24 bus dans la direction de la province d’Idlib, dont 112 militaires et 1 034 membres de leurs familles", a indiqué le Ministère de la Défense. La ville était tenue par les militaires du groupement "Jays al-Islam". L'assistant du président de la Russie Youri Oushakov a déclaré que le président américain Donald Trump, au cours d'une conversation téléphonique avec Vladimir Poutine, a suggéré de tenir une réunion bilatérale à Washington. Selon lui, la possibilité de la rencontre de Poutine avec Trump dans la première moitié de l'année n'a pas été discutée. Aliya Zaripova ______________________________________________________ Агентство ANNA-News это волонтерский проект. Волонтеры ANNA-News ведут свои репортажи с мест событий, снимают видеоролики и публикуют аналитические статьи по проблеме национальной безопасности России и ее союзников в современных военно-политических условиях. ANNA-News это самые последние и актуальные новости из районов боевых действий Более подробно на сайте http://anna-news.info Помочь материально: http://anna-news.info/помощь-агентству-anna-news/ Мы в соцсетях: Вконтакте https://vk.com/anna_news Facebooke https://www.facebook.com/newsanna/ Twitter https://twitter.com/annanews_info Instagram https://www.instagram.com/anna_news.info/

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02 апреля, 19:53

Online Ad Fraud Is Off The Charts: "28% Of All Web Traffic Comes From Click Farms"

Authored by Bob Hoffman, author of the “Ad Contrarian” blog and writer of several books including "BadMen: How Advertising Went From A Minor Annoyance To A Major Menace," "Marketers Are From Mars, Consumers Are From New Jersey," and "101 Contrarian Ideas About Advertising" Ad Fraud Is Off The Charts In one of the most imprudent announcements in years, the ANA (Association of National Advertisers) congratulated itself a while back on having achieved a 10% reduction in ad fraud in 2017. "The fraud decline is particularly impressive recognizing that this is occurring when digital advertising spending is expected to increase by 10 percent or more." According to their calculations, global ad fraud dropped from $7.2 billion in 2016 to $6.5 billion in 2017. The ANA announced this despite unmistakable indications that ad fraud is growing ferociously and is completely out of control. Every reputable independent ad fraud expert I know peed their pants laughing at this bullshit. Now there's some serious data indicating how ludicrously delusional the ANA and the marketing industry are. A new report released by Adobe last week indicated that actual losses to ad fraud may be 10 times the ANA's number. The Adobe study, reported in The Wall Street Journal, claims that... "...about 28% of website traffic showed strong “non-human signals,” leading the company to believe that the traffic came from bots or click farms." Using Adobe's 28% number and projecting this out over $237 billion in estimated online ad spending this year (WARNING: COPYWRITER MATH COMING UP) I calculate that online ad fraud may reach $66 billion in 2018. This is astonishing, even to an old hysteric like me. And it may even be higher. The Adobe calculation is based on the signals that Adobe can detect. Since the fraudsters are always one step ahead, it is reasonable to assume that there is some undetected fraud. Praneet Sharma CTO of Method Media Intelligence says, "Avoiding detection will be the major obstacle that fraudsters will present." According to another ad fraud expert, Dr. Augustine Fou, "No matter what you are hearing or reading about digital ad fraud, I can assure you it's actually worse than you think." Ya know, ten billion here, ten billion there...it starts to add up.

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02 апреля, 14:05

This Is the Surprising Decade That Travel Experts Say Was the True Golden Age of Air Travel

Most people think of the 1950s and 1960s as the golden age of air travel. But some travel experts think this more recent decade qualifies

02 апреля, 14:00

If Your Data Is Bad, Your Machine Learning Tools Are Useless

Alan Schein Photography/Getty Images Poor data quality is enemy number one to the widespread, profitable use of machine learning. While the caustic observation, “garbage-in, garbage-out” has plagued analytics and decision-making for generations, it carries a special warning for machine learning. The quality demands of machine learning are steep, and bad data can rear its ugly head twice — first in the historical data used to train the predictive model and second in the new data used by that model to make future decisions. To properly train a predictive model, historical data must meet exceptionally broad and high quality standards. First, the data must be right: It must be correct, properly labeled, de-deduped, and so forth. But you must also have the right data — lots of unbiased data, over the entire range of inputs for which one aims to develop the predictive model. Most data quality work focuses on one criterion or the other, but for machine learning, you must work on both simultaneously. Yet today, most data fails to meet basic “data are right” standards. Reasons range from data creators not understanding what is expected, to poorly calibrated measurement gear, to overly complex processes, to human error. To compensate, data scientists cleanse the data before training the predictive model. It is time-consuming, tedious work (taking up to 80% of data scientists’ time), and it’s the problem data scientists complain about most. Even with such efforts, cleaning neither detects nor corrects all the errors, and as yet, there is no way to understand the impact on the predictive model. What’s more, data does not always meets “the right data” standards, as reports of bias in facial recognition and criminal justice attest. Increasingly-complex problems demand not just more data, but more diverse, comprehensive data. And with this comes more quality problems. For example, handwritten notes and local acronyms have complicated IBM’s efforts to apply machine learning (e.g., Watson) to cancer treatment. Data quality is no less troublesome in implementation. Consider an organization seeking productivity gains with its machine learning program. While the data science team that developed the predictive model may have done a solid job cleaning the training data, it can still be compromised by bad data going forward. Again, it takes people — lots of them — to find and correct the errors. This in turns subverts the hoped-for productivity gains. Further, as machine learning technologies penetrate organizations, the output of one predictive model will feed the next, and the next, and so on, even crossing company boundaries. The risk is that a minor error at one step will cascade, causing more errors and growing ever larger across an entire process. These concerns must be met with an aggressive, well-executed quality program, far more involved than required for day-in, day-out business. It requires the leaders of the overall effort to take all of the following five steps. First, clarify your objectives and assess whether you have the right data to support these objectives. Consider a mortgage-origination company that wishes to apply machine learning to its loan process. Should it grant the loan and, if so, under what terms? Possible objectives for using machine learning include: Lowering the cost of the existing decision process. Since making better decisions is not an objective, existing data may well be adequate. Removing bias from the existing decision process. This bias is almost certainly reflected in its existing data. Proceed with caution. Improving the decision making process — granting fewer loans which default and approving previously-rejected loans that will perform. Note that while the company has plenty of data on previously-rejected mortgages, it does not know whether these mortgages would have performed. Proceed with extreme caution. When the data fall short of the objectives, the best recourse is to find new data, to scale back the objectives, or both. Second, build plenty of time to execute data quality fundamentals into your overall project plan. For training, this means four person-months of cleaning for every person-month building the model, as you must measure quality levels, assess sources, de-duplicate, and clean training data, much as you would for any important analysis. For implementations, it is best to eliminate the root causes of error and so minimize ongoing cleaning. Doing so will have the salutary effect of eliminating hidden data factories, saving you time and money in operations as well. Start this work as soon as possible and at least six months before you wish to let your predictive model loose. Third, maintain an audit trail as you prepare the training data. Maintain a copy of your original training data, the data you used in training, and the steps used in getting from the first to the second. Doing so is simply good practice (though many unwisely skip it), and it may help you make the process improvements you’ll need to use your predictive model in future decisions. Further, it is important to understand the biases and limitations in your model and the audit trail can help you sort it out. Fourth, charge a specific individual (or team) with responsibility for data quality as you turn your model loose. This person should possess intimate knowledge of the data, including its strengths and weaknesses, and have two foci. First, day-in and day-out, they set and enforce standards for the quality of incoming data. If the data aren’t good enough, humans must take over. Second, they lead ongoing efforts to find and eliminate root causes of error. This work should already have started and it must continue. Finally, obtain independent, rigorous quality assurance. As used here, quality assurance is the process of ensuring that the quality program provides the desired results. The watchword here is independent, so this work should be carried out by others — an internal QA department, a team from outside the department, or a qualified third party. Even after taking these five steps, you will certainly find that your data is not perfect. You may be able to accommodate some minor data quality issues in the predictive model, such as a single missing value among the fifteen most important variables. To explore this area, pair data scientists and your most experienced businesspeople when preparing the data and training the model. Laura Kornhauser, of Stratyfy, Inc., a start-up focused on bringing transparency and accountability to artificial intelligence, put it this way: “Bring your businesspeople and your data scientists together as soon as possible. Businesspeople, in particular, have dealt with bad data forever, and you need to build their expertise into your predictive model.” Seem like a lot? It is. But machine learning has incredible power and you need to learn to tap that power. Poor data quality can cause that power to be delayed, denied, or misused, fully justifying every ounce of the effort.

02 апреля, 10:30

Former Czech President Exposes 'All-Inclusive' Europe's "Leftist Utopia" Demise

Via The Gatestone Institute, Europe All Inclusive, a book by former Czech President Václav Klaus, co-authored by the Arab-speaking economist Jiří Weigl, recently published by Hungary's Századvég School of Politics Foundation, has already been translated into six languages. The Századvég School of Politics Foundation is connected to the think tank Századvég, which, in turn, is close to the FIDESZ party led by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. In the book, the authors write: "What we see today is a similarly fundamental challenge to the future of Europe... and especially its 'integrated' part, is riddled with hypocrisy, pseudo-humanism and other dubious concepts. [When] the most dangerous of them are the currently fashionable, and ultimately suicidal, ideologies of multiculturalism and human-rightism... These ideologies promote the notion that migration is a human right, and that the right to migrate leads to further rights and entitlements including social welfare hand-outs for migrants... Europe is weakened by the leftist utopia of trying to transform a continent that was once proud of its past into an inefficient solidaristic state, turning its inhabitants from citizens into dependent clients." In February 2018, Former Czech President Václav Klaus (left) delivered a copy of the Hungarian translation of his book, Europe All Inclusive, to Viktor Orbán (right), the Prime Minister of Hungary. (Image source: Václav Klaus Institute) The following are excerpts of a speech, "Is Our Membership in the EU a Real Blessing?", delivered by Václav Klaus at the Corvinus University of Budapest on February 22, 2018: I came to Budapest to participate in the launching of the book about the recent mass migration to Europe. Its formal launching took place yesterday in the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. Our ambition in writing the book was to contribute to the refutation of the false and misleading interpretations of the current European migration crisis. They have been promoted and propagated by the European political and intellectual elites with their progressivist, multicultural, politically correct views and attitudes. Their thinking is based on the untenable assumption that the mass migration is a positive social phenomenon. We strongly disagree. It is not a positive phenomenon, it destabilizes Europe, it endangers the peaceful and quiet developments in individual European countries. History teaches us that any mass migration creates considerable cultural, social and political conflicts, shocks and tensions. Its costs have always been much higher than its benefits. We see it in Europe these days. The costs connected with it are high and visible and – to be frank – we have not been able to find any benefits from of it. It is evident that Europe does not need any mass migration. We are aware of the specifics regarding the current mass migration, of the Hungarian stance, which is the result of the courageous -- and in Europe singular and isolated -- position of Prime Minister Orbán. We can assure you that his views are greatly supported in the Czech Republic. I am glad to say that my own views are very similar to Prime Minister Orbán's views. There are plenty of arguments suggesting that the contemporary migration crisis is connected with the post-democratic character of the EU: it is a by-product of the already long-existing European crisis; systemic errors and misconceptions of European policies; built-in defects of EU institutional arrangements, and the ideological confusions and prejudices of European multicultural political elites. My criticism is based on the fact that we are – due to our EU membership – once again masterminded from abroad and that our sovereignty is again considerably constrained. The substance of my polemics with the EU arrangements is based both on the criticism of the negative effects of the ambitions to centralize economically and excessively unify the European continent. It is also based on those who underestimate the negative consequences of undemocratically suppressing nation-states in favor of a pan-European governance. In the communist era, our dream was to be free citizens, not just inhabitants of our non-free states. Regarding mass migration, the issue of citizenship has become crucial again. Citizenship reflects that one belongs to a particular political community. I strongly disagreed with a well-known and often quoted statement by President Obama, when he famously announced that he is "a citizen of the world". The European political elites similarly keep saying that they are citizens of Europe. Yet, it is impossible to be a citizen of Europe. Europe is not a political community. One can only be an inhabitant of Europe. I want to live in a Europe with less of the EU and with more of the nation-states. The currently prevailing EU ideology (I call it Europeism) systematically undermines the traditional, historically proven building blocks of the European society: the nation state, the family, the man. I am very much in favor of the increased openness of the European society. It was attained in the first phase of the European integration process (in the era of the EEC and the EC). I am, however, very critical of the increased bureaucratic centralization, of the permanently growing regulations that suppress human activity, and of the frustrating de-democratization that is connected with the second phase of the European integration process (with the era of the EU), with the European unification. To sum it up, our membership in such an entity is a very mixed blessing. We should have the courage to say it loudly. *  *  * Václav Klaus is the former president and former prime minister of the Czech Republic and author more than 40 books, including: Europe All Inclusive: A Brief Guide to Understanding the Current Migration Crisis" (2017), Blue Planet in Green Shackles: What Is Endangered: Climate or Freedom? (2007) andRenaissance: The Rebirth of Liberty in the Heart of Europe (1997). The excerpts were shortened by Josef Zbořil and are reprinted here with the kind permission of the author.

02 апреля, 10:00

[GGP] Explaining Poland's Coal Paradox

In the U.S. coal is succumbing to market forces despite the Trump Administration's push to support the industry. Abundant, cheap and cleaner natural gas together with ever more efficient and increasingly affordable wind and solar continue displacing coal in electricity generation. But to assume this...

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02 апреля, 09:55

Philippines starts vote recount in Marcos son's contest for vice presidency

MANILA (Reuters) - The Philippines on Monday began a manual recount of votes in a vice presidential election after the son and namesake of former dictator Ferdinand Marcos contested the outcome, while the incumbent assured supporters her win was not in doubt.

02 апреля, 02:57

Elon Musk "Jokes" That Tesla Has Filed For Bankruptcy

In what we assume is a morbid April Fool's joke, late on Sunday Elon Musk decided to have some "fun" with his 20 million Twitter followers and unknown number of investors, and after previewing earlier in the day that he will have "Important news in a few hours …", the Tesla CEO tweeted that "Tesla Goes Bankrupt Palo Alto, California, April 1, 2018 -- Despite intense efforts to raise money, including a last-ditch mass sale of Easter Eggs, we are sad to report that Tesla has gone completely and totally bankrupt. So bankrupt, you can't believe it." Tesla Goes Bankrupt Palo Alto, California, April 1, 2018 -- Despite intense efforts to raise money, including a last-ditch mass sale of Easter Eggs, we are sad to report that Tesla has gone completely and totally bankrupt. So bankrupt, you can't believe it. — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 1, 2018 There was more "humor" - in a subsequent tweet, Musk tweeted that "There are many chapters of bankruptcy and, as critics so rightly pointed out, Tesla has them *all*, including Chapter 14 and a half (the worst one)." There are many chapters of bankruptcy and, as critics so rightly pointed out, Tesla has them *all*, including Chapter 14 and a half (the worst one). — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 1, 2018 Musk concluded joking that after the bankruptcy, he "was found passed out against a Tesla Model 3, surrounded by "Teslaquilla" bottles, the tracks of dried tears still visible on his cheeks. This is not a forward-looking statement, because, obviously, what's the point? Happy New Month!"... Elon was found passed out against a Tesla Model 3, surrounded by "Teslaquilla" bottles, the tracks of dried tears still visible on his cheeks. This is not a forward-looking statement, because, obviously, what's the point? Happy New Month! pic.twitter.com/YcouvFz6Y1 — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 1, 2018 ... a clear explanation that this is all in the April 1 realm of fiction... for now. And while to Musk it may all be a joke, to Tesla bondholders (and recently shareholders: TSLA stock plunged 22% in March, its biggest drop since December 2010) it is anything but, because as we showed last week, the price on Tesla's 2025 bonds tumbled after a downgrade by Moody's deep into junk territory, warning the company may have to raise another $2 billion... ... sending the bond yield - and thus risk - above that of Ukraine. Meanwhile, the real joke is that Tesla continues to burn record amount of cash and has now gone through over $8 billion in just the last 4 years. ... which even Goldman recently warned may deteriorate substantially as Tesla deliveries  are set to decline and miss guidance. Finally, what would assure an instant end to Musk's sense of humor, is if Tesla's clients who had - not very prudently - given the company over $850 million to hold on their behalf as deposits for some future pipe dream, decided to have a "run on the bank", and pull their deposits, unleashing an overnight liquidity crisis. For the sake of Elon Musk, "Teslaquilla", and all those who still believe in the Tesla dream not to mention Martian colonization, we can only hope it does not get to there. Meanwhile, assuring that today's joke is tomorrow's reality, on Sunday, the NTSB said it was "unhappy" that Tesla made public information about the crash of its Model X vehicle on Autopilot that killed the driver last month. Specifically, it looks like the NTSB is not happy with Tesla's claim that its autopilot is not at fault for the recent deadly Model X crash: "The NTSB is looking into all aspects of this crash including the driver's previous concerns about the autopilot," said O'Neil. "We will work to determine the probable cause of the crash and our next update of information about our investigation will likely be when we publish a preliminary report, which generally occurs within a few weeks of completion of field work." Last week, the company said that a search of its service records did not "find anything suggesting that the customer ever complained to Tesla about the performance of Autopilot. There was a concern raised once about navigation not working correctly, but Autopilot's performance is unrelated to navigation." The good news is that if the Tesla fairy tale does indeed end in a fiery Chapter 7, or "14 and a half", as increasingly more predict it will, at least Elon will have provided the schaudenfreuders with enough ammunition to last them several lifetimes.

01 апреля, 22:49

Google's Waymo denies 'masterplan' to harvest data from driverless cars 

GOOGLE has “no master plan” to ­harvest the mass of data that will be generated by its self-driving cars arm. The assurance from John Krafcik, the chief executive of Waymo, comes in the wake of the Facebook scandal, where millions of users’ details were shared with other businesses. Mr Krafcik said access to the ­information generated by those travelling in cars using Waymo’s autonomous driving technology was not a priority for the company, which is owned by Google parent, Alphabet. “Our aim is moving people around the world and that is very hard,” he said, speaking at the New York Auto Show the day after the company revealed a partnership with Jaguar to use tens of thousands of the British ­company’s I-Pace electric cars.  Waymo boss John Krafcik says the company's priority is reducing fatalities on the roads Credit: Reuters “To the core of my body, I swear on my father’s grave, it’s not a priority,“ Mr Krafcik said. “ I’m not saying it won’t be a workstream in the future but at the moment it is not in our workspace.” Pressed for assurances that the company was not working on gathering data from its driverless car programme, the former Ford and Hyundai ­executive said the amount of work on data ­gathering was “zero, a big zero”. Facebook and Cambridge Analytica | The story so far User data is an increasingly valuable commodity. Some experts believe that access to the information generated by the riders in cars could be much more valuable than current sources. Users of driverless cars will not only provide ­information about their geographical movements – almost certainly in real time – but also financial information to allow them to access cars. The fact that they are effectively “trapped” in a vehicle for the duration of a journey also makes them a captive audience to advertisers. Documents from a legal battle with ride hailing ­service Uber reveal that Waymo has spent more than $1bn (£713,000) ­developing driverless cars. Mr Krafcik intimated that the company expects to pump billions more into perfecting the technology. He said Waymo has a desire to become a manufacturer of cars, which is why it has agreed partnerships with companies such as Jaguar Land Rover, Fiat Chrysler and Honda. Waymo has agreed a partnership with Jaguar to use it's electric I-Pace cars. Pictured are Waymo chief John Krafcik and JLR chief Ralf Speth  Credit: Bloomberg The “bubble car” that Google developed prior to its renaming as Waymo was designed as a symbol that the company was serious about autonomous driving, Mr Krafcik added. Google first became interested in the technology in 2007 and 2008, according to Mr Krafcik, who became Waymo chief executive in 2016. “As the rest of the car industry was saying: ‘Oh God, how do we survive?’, Larry and Sergei [Google’s founders] were asking: ‘Should we get into self-driving?’” he said. Mr Krafcik said Waymo was ­motivated by reducing the number of fatalities on the roads, pointing out the number of deaths globally was the “equivalent of a 737 airliner crashing every hour”. “Getting to zero fatalities has to be the big goal,” he said. “The car industry invented the term “accident” – really it’s a crash or a tragedy – it changed the language to make it seem like it was OK.” He said a secondary motivation was bringing mobility to those unable to drive – such as those who have lost their sight. He added there is “obviously” a long-term financial incentive.

01 апреля, 05:22

"Huge Caravan" Of Central American Refugees Is Headed For The U.S. Border

Over 1,500 Central Americans are on a crusade across Mexico in the hopes of being granted asylum at the U.S. border - a move which is set to pose an enormous challenge to the Trump administration's much campaigned about immigration policies, while reminding Trump's base that they still don't have the wall they elected him to build 14 months into his presidency.  "We want to become one, supporting us shoulder to shoulder and show that together we can break down borders," say the caravan's organizers. Luc Forsyth for BuzzFeed News Setting out six days ago and marching under the slogan "Migrantes en la lucha" ("Migrants in the Fight") during holy week, the caravan comprised mostly of Hondurans was organized roughly a month ago by the mysterious group Pueblo Sin Fronteras (People Without Borders) - which solicited donations via Facebook and encouraged volunteers to contact them.  ''Our mission is to provide shelter and safety to migrants and refugees in transit, accompany them in their journey, and together demand respect for our human rights," reads the group's mission statement. The Central American migrants, mostly Hondurans and Guatemalans, flee their countries because of insecurity and because they are threatened by gang members, also because of the economic and political situation in the region. -proceso.hn (translated) “The crime rate is horrible, you can't live there,” a migrant named "Karen" told BuzzFeed News on the side of a highway near the Southern Mexico town of Huixtla. “After the president [was sworn in] it got worse. There were deaths, mobs, robbed homes, adults and kids were beaten up.” "They want to reach the border and ask for asylum, the majority flee from gang violence, extortion and police abuses," says one of the organizers named Garibo. Before setting out on the journey, the migrants were organized into groups of 10 to 15 people, and a leader was designated for each group. Five groups were then banded together in what organizers call a sector. While there are organizers from Pueblos Sin Fronteras leading the way, much of the effort to get to the US border is in the hands of the migrants themselves. -BuzzFeed Migrants gathered for the march in the southern Mexico border town of Tapachula in advance of the march - where Pueblo Sin Fronteras conducted introductory workshops to help the Central Americans best navigate the United States once they arrive - including security drills in which male refugees are to form a wall around any threats to the women and children. Help along the way Despite a majority of the Hondurans being in Mexico illegally - which Mexican authorities have historically been stringent about, the caravan has not been stopped on its journey, and people from Mexican towns along the way have been helping the migrants.  The group is also planning to take "the Train of Death" in Arriaga in order to expedite the journey north, and several towns have provided buses to help the migrants along. "La Bestia," Train of Death (Luc Forsyth for BuzzFeed News) ...children, women, and men, most of them from Honduras — have boldly crossed immigration checkpoints, military bases, and police in a desperate, sometimes chaotic march toward the United States. Despite their being in Mexico without authorization, no one has made any effort to stop them. -BuzzFeed The municipality we’re at now is offering buses to get us to the next town. It’s been happening at several stops, I imagine they’re more interested in getting people out of their public squares. pic.twitter.com/6ay7Rn8fzI — Adolfo Flores (@aflores) March 30, 2018 A local at the town the caravan is arriving brought bread and ham for people. pic.twitter.com/xEybmayAT0 — Adolfo Flores (@aflores) March 27, 2018   Here the migrants are seen boarding covered hopper freight railcars. A video shows the migrants marching on the tracks and preparing to board the train in Arriaga. In the train boarding video, a DJI Mavic Pro drone worth $1,000 to $1,300 USD was spotted. The march is depicted as a grassroots effort, but perhaps, there is some big money behind the movement. BuzzFeed reporter Adolfo Flores has been embedded with the caravan, providing updates over Twitter: On the move again. pic.twitter.com/JLhgTShshm — Adolfo Flores (@aflores) March 28, 2018 Everyone is in for the night. pic.twitter.com/9CA6NOTnNa — Adolfo Flores (@aflores) March 28, 2018 The caravan is on day five of its trek and finally made it to Oaxaca. pic.twitter.com/x7rqWrJh4z — Adolfo Flores (@aflores) March 29, 2018 This morning the caravan, anticipating a long day walk, got up at 4am to beat the sun. pic.twitter.com/Pk8URSSHP4 — Adolfo Flores (@aflores) March 30, 2018 The caravan of Central Americans is getting ready to settle in for the day and make dinner. pic.twitter.com/BuSSJ9AiYL — Adolfo Flores (@aflores) March 30, 2018 About 80% of them are from Honduras. Many said they are fleeing poverty, but also political unrest and violence that followed the swearing in of Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández after a highly contested election last year. The group often breaks into chants of “out with JOH.” They also chant “we aren't immigrants, we're international workers” and “the people united will never be defeated.” Still, there are no guarantees on the route or assurances that once they reach the US border they'll be able to cross undetected or be allowed to stay under some type of protection like asylum. Alex Mensing, another organizer with Pueblos Sin Fronteras, made that point clear to the migrants before the group started out. He also stressed that everyone is responsible for their own food, water, and payment for vans or buses. Still, it's far cheaper than being assaulted or falling into the hands of unscrupulous smugglers. -BuzzFeed Here they come! 

31 марта, 15:23

No One Saw It Coming: How Russia Went to War against China in 2020

Task and Purpose, John T. Kuehn Security, Asia Some fiction that could end up being a reality? You make the call.  August 30, 2020 From:  U.S. Ambassador, Tokyo To:   Secretary of State Pompeo Mr. Secretary, I am writing this to you, after the fact obviously, to review the last several months of operations in the war none of us foresaw just two years ago. Background and Discussion:  As you recall, we were in some disarray after the departure of your predecessor, Mr. Tillerson, and you asked all of us for our own take on the situation in Korea, especially with the appointment of Mr. Bolton coinciding as it did with your own appointment and the President’s initiation to meet with Mr. Kim. As we all know, Kim met with President-Chairman Xi in March of that year and there was much speculation as to what passed between them.  Reality only became clear, however after the President’s earth-shaking meeting with Kim and President Moon of S. Korea in Seoul.  This was followed, not long after, by the Pyongyang Protocol in August, wherein all three leaders announced the demilitarization of the peninsula with the withdrawal of all US forces and the institution of a UN-led mission with a regime of inspections to ensure the dismantling of Kim’s nuclear weapons programs. This — of course — stunned everyone, as did the Nobel Peace Prize shared by Kim, Trump, and Moon the following year.  But as you know, as these high profile events took place, China was on the move. We now know, through various sources, some from your former Agency colleagues, that China had long been displeased with Kim.  What we did not know was that Kim had reneged on an ultra-secret deal with his other enabler, Mr. Putin of Russia. Kim had met secretly, even in secret from his own government, with Russian agents prior to going to Beijing, assuring them that he would do nothing to compromise Russia’s ongoing support for his nefarious programs, including his weapons program, which Russia was secretly paying for and assisting with. It now appears he was duplicitous in the extreme. There is no way to understand what happened absent that conclusion. He turned right around and cut a secret deal with China. Read full article

31 марта, 13:00

Bitcoin's Biggest Winners—or Losers—Are Likely to Be Men

A thought experiment about risk-taking, equity, and gender.

31 марта, 12:00

The Americanization of an Ancient Faith

The 2,000-year-old Coptic Church is trying something new: spreading its message across the United States—and the rest of the world.

31 марта, 12:00

The Americanization of an Ancient Faith

The 2,000-year-old Coptic Church is trying something new: spreading its message across the United States—and the rest of the world.

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30 марта, 01:32

France's Macron vows support for northern Syrians, Kurdish militia

France's president on Thursday assured the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) of Paris' support to stabilise northeastern Syria against Islamic State, and Kurdish officials said he had committed…

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29 марта, 22:01

Anatomy of Success: Conn's Inc. (CONN)

Anatomy of Success: Conn's Inc. (CONN)