15-19 July Weekly News

 

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July 15, 2019  

July 19, 2019

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July 19, 2019

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New cracks in the global economy as exports tumble

 isn't entirely clear yet when or if the US-China trade war will come to a resolution - or whether this is the start of a "broader shift in US policy away from free trade", as think tank Capital Economics points out.

Mr Trump has already indicated that Vietnam - which up to now has been a beneficiary of the US-China trade war - could be next on his tariff list, and economists say Taiwan and South Korea could also be next in line.

Sia is home to the world's next generation of companies and consumers.

By 2050 it could see its share of the global economy grow to 52%, according to the Asian Development Bank - which means the region would also be the main driver of global growth.

But analysts say if the US's anti-free trade trend continues and hits more of Asia's economies, that could hurt the region's long term potential growth rate - in turn hurting the rest of us.

https://www.bbc.com/news/business-49013571

 

Flat Earth: How did YouTube help spread a conspiracy theory?

All around the world, there are conspiracy theorists who believe the Earth is flat. And their community seems to be growing, judging by attendance at flat Earth conferences and events.

Flat Earthers say YouTube was key in helping them spread their message. One researcher found that of attendees at a flat Earth conference, nearly all said they first came to the idea through the video-sharing platform.

The Google-owned company says it's taking action to prevent conspiracy videos from reaching large numbers of people.

https://www.bbc.com/news/av/stories-49021903/flat-earth-how-did-youtube-help-spread-a-conspiracy-theory

 

Cost of F-35s to increase nearly 10% after Turkey’s suspension

Price of F-35 jets will increase by nearly 10% after the U.S. decision to suspend Ankara from the fighter jet program, the head of Presidency of Defense Industries (SSB) said Thursday.

On Wednesday the United States said it was removing Turkey from the F-35 jet program over its purchase of Russian S-400 defense systems. Ankara had ordered more than 100 of the stealth fighters and Turkish defense companies were also involved in building the jets, manufacturing some of the critical components for the aircraft.

Speaking to reporters in Ankara, Ismail Demir said other countries involved in the F-35 program would face an additional cost of $7-8 million per jet and delayed deliveries as a result of the move.

Demir said Turkish companies would evaluate how to compensate for their losses from Turkey's removal, but added that the recent improvements in the industry will pay off and the sector will emerge stronger as a result.

Demir also said the U.S. was being careful with its wording, opting to use "suspension" instead of "expulsion" as the latter could have a set of different contractual implications.

"So far, we fulfilled all our payments and duties in F-35 program. It is a one-sided decision not included in any agreement. We are waiting for the decision to be formalized," he said.

Demir said Turkey would continue investing in the defense sector to further develop it to fulfill the country's defense needs without needing other nations.

"Our national fighter jet program is proceeding without any problems. The project will be expedited," he said and added that Turkey would evaluate alternatives for the F-35 jet.

https://www.dailysabah.com/defense/2019/07/18/cost-of-f-35s-to-increase-nearly-10-after-turkeys-suspension

 

FaceApp is no angel: Popular app poses security threats

FaceApp's aging filter may have taken the internet by storm, but it can pose a number of security threats. People have been sharing selfies that with the help of the filter show how they might look like in 30 years. However, this entertaining app is no angel: When you download the app and agree to the terms and conditions, you also agree to more than letting the app age your selfie.

The app is easy to use. First, you take a selfie or choose one from your gallery and upload it. After a few touches and a little help from artificial intelligence (AI), the app turns the photo to your older self. It also has various filters that allow you to add glasses, beard or even change your hairstyle. And the good part is the app is free of charge.

Well, if something is free online, you have to be twice careful. When you download the app, the app asks for permission, for example, to access your gallery and camera. Most of the time, when we download an app we skip the terms and conditions pages and agree to whatever terms it lays down for us. The problem is in most cases that we do not have a clear idea about the permission we give to a certain app.

When you agree to FaceApp's terms and conditions, you also allow the app to store your location data as well as your digital footprint, including your search engine data. Meanwhile, your photos can also be used and shared by third parties, mainly for commercial purposes. While downloading such apps it is important to keep in mind that your digital footprint can be traced; but only if you allow it. Never forget that your digital data is important, and the most important data that you possess are your photos.

https://www.dailysabah.com/life/2019/07/18/faceapp-is-no-angel-popular-app-poses-security-threats

 

Singapore deploys friendly robots to spruce up city

Hundreds of "friendly" robots that speak multiple languages and sing are being rolled out across high-tech Singapore, to help clean the city-state's hotels, shopping malls and government buildings.

Four of the robots, which have oval-shaped heads with lights for eyes, have already got down to work and it is hoped that 300 will be put into service by March next year.

They scrub, mop, vacuum and sweep autonomously, and can entertain by rapping in English.

The robots speak all four of multiethnic Singapore's official languages -- English, Malay, Mandarin and Tamil -- plus Japanese and "Singlish," a local patois that mixes English with words from the myriad local tongues.

"I'm the coolest thing in town, I'll make your world light up, hey you're never gonna frown," rapped one of the robots as they were unveiled Wednesday.

The devices, which come in 13 different models and are produced by local company LionsBot, also tell jokes or ask humans to move aside if they are in the way.

Humans can get a response from the robots by pressing a button called the "heart," or use an app to ask them how they are feeling or what their hobbies are.

"Everybody knows a cleaner that's always friendly and would remember your name and say hi, so we hope to recreate that," LionsBot CEO Dylan Ng told AFP.

The robots can be rented from Sg$1,350 (about $1,000) a month.

LionsBot has signed agreements with six cleaning partners to deploy the robots gradually over the coming months as they are produced.

Those already in use are in Changi Airport's new shopping and entertainment complex, an art gallery, a resort and an office building.

The robots also have a serious purpose: to help plug a labour shortage in the rapidly aging country of 5.6 million people.

Ng stressed the robots were not intended to replace human cleaners, but to act as their assistants.

https://www.dailysabah.com/history/2019/07/18/singapore-deploys-friendly-robots-to-spruce-up-city

 

Iran seizes foreign oil tanker for 'smuggling oil', crew arrested

Iran’s  Revolutionary Guard Corps have seized a foreign tanker accused of smuggling oil with a crew of 12, according to Iranian state TV.

The report on Thursday did not identify the impounded vessel, but said it was "smuggling one million litres of fuel" from Iranian smugglers to foreign customers.

The announcement came a day after Iran's foreign ministry said Iranian forces assisted a foreign ship "with technical failure" after it sent out a distress call.

Al Jazeera's Dorsa Jabbari, reporting from Tehran, said the ship impounded was the same one towed by Iranian forces.

"The Iranians say this tanker was initially rescued on Sunday after it sent out distress signals. But once it was towed into Larak island, they say they understood it was smuggling oil and that's when they seized it," she said, adding that the crew were arrested.

"The state TV, quoting the commander of the Revolutionary Guard, said Iran will not stand for this kind of piracy in the Strait of Hormuz."

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/07/iran-seizes-foreign-oil-tanker-smuggling-oil-crew-arrested-190718112357048.html

 

NASA Mars mission: 'Not willing to rule out 2033'

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine told the United States Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation that there is a path to reach Mars by 2033, contradicting an earlier independent report that found that timeline impossible .

The report's authors wrote, "We find that even without budget constraints, a Mars 2033 orbital mission cannot be realistically scheduled under NASA's current and notional plans. Our analysis suggests that a Mars orbital mission could be carried out no earlier than the 2037 orbital window without accepting large technology development, schedule delay, cost overrun, and budget shortfall risks." 

The senators told Bridenstine that long-term planning needed to include mission vision, commercial leadership, appropriate spacesuits, and talent development to replace the aging workforces at both NASA and its commercial partners. Attracting young engineering and scientific talent, especially women, has been a challenge for both the agency and the private sector since the dawn of the space age. 

Both Bridenstine and the senators agreed that the Artemis programme and the human mission to Mars require the same type of continuity of vision that underpinned the Apollo 11 mission. That mission was a continuous effort that spanned three presidential administrations governed by two political parties. John F. Kennedy delivered his famous "we choose to go to the moon" speech in September 1962. The Apollo 11 didn't take off until 1969. By then, President Lyndon B. Johnson's time in the White House had already come and gone, and Richard M. Nixon was enjoying his first few months in office.

 

 

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