Car makers ask US to slow down on allowing self-driving cars
By Jon Brodkin
As US regulators consider issuing guidance allowing the sale of self-driving cars, an industry group representing automakers has urged the government to take things slow. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said in January that within six months it intended to "develop guidance on the safe deployment and operation of autonomous vehicles." Paul Scullion, safety manager at the Association of Global Automakers, warned that issuing guidance instead of writing regulations could allow dangerous cars on the road. The NHTSA argued that it can't wait any longer before issuing guidance because self-driving technology is already hitting the road. Google is looking for a faster timeline than traditional automakers. Google "is pushing Congress to give the NHTSA new powers to grant it special, expedited permission to sell cars without steering wheels or pedals.”
Can tech give the fashion industry a sustainability makeover?
By Hannah Gould
Technology is revolutionising the way we use and relate to clothes. Last year, Google and Levi’s announced they were partnering on Project Languard to develop a fabric that can send commands to your smartphone via gestures like tapping or swiping. Ralph Lauren already offers a t-shirt for a cool $295 that sends workout data to an iPhone, and Lady Gaga has brought 3D printing to the red carpet. But beyond the super hi-tech, others are working on merging technology and fashion to address environmental concerns.
The open web is not going away
By Zack Rosen
Evan Williams (founder of Blogger, Twitter and Medium) has gone so far as to say that in the future, “individual websites won’t matter.” In the future Internet, he believes there will only be large, closed Internet-company-controlled walled gardens. But the open web is too important, too vital and too large of an industry (at $190 billion it’s bigger than digital advertising) to wither on the vine. It’s not going away. But it does need to get better. And not a little better — a LOT better.
Read the full article here.
SUSTAINABILITY & ENVIRONMENT
Cuba’s sustainable agriculture at risk in US thaw
By Miguel Altieri
As the US and Cuba try to work through trust issues and build a healthy relationship it could harm sustainable agriculture in Cuba. US agribusiness investment in developing countries usually follows the same pattern of allowing a few corporation to control the majority of production. Small farmers will be forced off their land and traditional farming will be abandoned, undoing decades of growth in Cuba’s agricultural sector.
15 Cities that Have Committed to Clean Energy
By James Crugnale
The Weather Channel
Cities in New York, Colorado, Maryland, Michigan, Kansas, California, Vermont, Minnesota, and yes, even Texas, have committed to using 100 percent clean energy! Unsurprisingly 6 of the 15 cities are in California, but we’ll take it.
Read the full article here.
LABOR, TRADE, & ECONOMY
North Carolina Starts to See Economic Price For Anti-Bias Law
By Jon Schuppe
After he signed a controversial new "anti-discrimination" law last month curbing LGBT protections, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory said he wasn't worried about employers following through on threats to leave the state. But the economic backlash has continued in potentially damaging ways. A handful of companies have said in recent days that they would either pull, reconsider or avoid projects in North Carolina — moves that separate them from a much larger field of firms, including many of the state's biggest employers, who have signed a letter of opposition to the law.
Panama Papers: How did Panama become a tax haven?
A huge leak of documents from a Panamanian law firm, Mossack Fonseca, has thrown new light on how the rich and powerful hide their wealth. It has also brought renewed attention on Panama itself, one of the world's best-known tax havens. But what makes Panama different from other low or no-tax jurisdictions and how did it become this way?
Labor Unrest At India Plant
By Dezan Shira
A troubled history of labor unrest at the Maruti Suzuki India (MSI) factory in the industrial town of Manesar has damaged the region’s reputation as an investment destination. The Gurgaon – Manesar belt in the state of Haryana is a premier manufacturing area in North India, and is the country’s largest manufacturer of automobiles. Yet, recent labor unrest has caused manufacturing managers to muscle up their HR and security practices, forcing workers and labor unions to be more direct.
Read the full article here.
GLOBAL CONFLICT & DEVELOPMENT
Egypt, Saudi Arabia sign 60 billion riyal investment fund pact
By Ali Abdelati
Egypt and Saudi Arabia signed an agreement late on Saturday to set up a 60 billion Saudi riyal investment fund among other investment agreements including an economic free-zone to develop Egypt's Sinai region, Egyptian state television reported. The signing of the agreements took place in Egypt's Abdeen palace in the presence of Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Saudi's King Salman, during a rare 4-day visit to Egypt. Egypt has struggled to spur economic growth since the 2011 uprising ushered in political instability that scared off tourists and foreign investors, key sources of foreign currency.
John Kerry calls on Afghan Taliban ‘to enter into a peace process’
US Secretary of State John Kerry on Saturday called on the Afghan Taliban to restart direct peace talks with Kabul, weeks after the militant group refused to return to the negotiating table. "We discussed our shared goal of launching peace talks with the Taliban," he told reporters at a joint press conference with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in Kabul. "We call on the Taliban to enter into a peace process, a legitimate process that brings an end to violence.” The announcement comes just over a month after the militant group, which has been waging a war against Kabul and US-led international forces since they were toppled from power in 2001, refused to hold negotiations until preconditions including the withdrawal of foreign troops was met.
Pakistan, India peace talks 'suspended'
Pakistan's ambassador to India has said the peace process between India and Pakistan is currently suspended. Abdul Basit said no meetings were currently scheduled between the foreign secretaries of the two countries. Diplomatic talks were postponed after an attack on an Indian air base in January which Delhi blamed on Pakistan-based militants.
The Pillaging of America's State Universities
By Jonathan R. Cole
Dramatic cuts in public spending for state flagship universities seem to be at odds with widespread public sentiment. Americans say they strongly believe in exceptional educational systems; they want their kids to attend excellent and selective colleges and to get good, well-paying, prestigious jobs. They also support university research. Nonetheless, many state legislators seem to be ignoring public opinion as they essentially starve some of the best universities—those that educate about two-thirds of American college students.
Which happens more: People struck by lightning or people committing voter fraud by impersonation?
By Tom Kertscher
In a blog post one month before Wisconsin’s presidential primary election US Congressman Mark Pocan called for making it easier to vote in the Badger State. But the Madison-area Democrat’s post on Medium, an online publishing platform for sharing information and viewpoints, started by making a claim about voter fraud that we want to check. "Let’s put it this way, more people are struck by lightning than commit in-person voter fraud," said Pocan.
Philadelphia will be a case study for this criminal-justice reform
By Daniel Denvir
Children convicted of committing murder on Philadelphia’s violent streets long faced the prospect of receiving the harshest sentence short of death: life without parole. Today, the city has more juvenile offenders locked up for life than any other. But the tough-on-crime pendulum began to swing back. In 2012, the US Supreme Court ruled that mandatory life without parole for juveniles was unconstitutional, and in a January decision they made that ruling retroactive. And so Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams has roughly 300 big decisions to make: How long will he seek to imprison the onetime juveniles, many now much older, who until recently were set to die behind bars?