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Rep Berman fights for increased government transparency with first bill

first_img14Jan Rep. Berman fights for increased government transparency with first bill Categories: Berman News State Rep. Ryan Berman submits his government transparency plan to the House enrolling clerk.State Rep. Ryan Berman, along with a bipartisan group of his Michigan House colleagues, has introduced a comprehensive plan to increase the transparency of state government.Berman, of Commerce Township, said Michigan is one of a very few states that still exempts its governor, lieutenant governor and the Legislature from sunshine laws. The bipartisan solution would remove these exemptions and make the government more accountable to the people of Michigan.“Transparency isn’t a partisan issue,” Berman said. “Transparency is about being open and accountable to the people we’re here to serve.”The transparency plan will subject the Legislature to a new Legislative Open Records Act (LORA) and the governor and lieutenant governor to the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).“State representatives, senators and the governor should be held to the same transparency laws as local governments and school boards. It makes no sense to exempt our elected state officials from these important standards,” Berman said. “It’s time to update the law and set an example of openness and honesty.”Just like some documents containing sensitive personal information are exempt from disclosure by local governments under the current FOIA law, the new LORA will exempt some records, including letters to and from people in the district, human resources files, and ongoing legislative investigations or lawsuits.The plan, laid out in House Bills 4007-16, has been referred to the House Government Operations Committee for consideration.###last_img read more

UK subscriptionfree satellite TV service Freesat

first_imgUK subscription-free satellite TV service Freesat has launched a new low-cost Freesat HD box that includes its connected TV service freetime. The Humax-manufactured box goes on sale today at a recommended price of £99 (€118) from retailers including John Lewis, Currys PC World.Freesat’s Chief Technology Officer, Matthew Huntington, said that the new Freesat HD with freetime box was a “natural extension of our award-winning TV service.”Freesat launched freetime a year ago and the service offers a roll-back TV guide, daily TV recommendations and on-demand services including the BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, 4oD, Demand 5 and YouTube.“The affordable Humax HB-1000S brings the seamless freetime TV guide to cost-conscious consumers, opening up the opportunity for more people to benefit from this leading subscription-free satellite service,” said Graham North, commercial director of Humax.last_img read more

Tech giant Apple considered a move for its media c

first_imgTech giant Apple considered a move for its media counterpart Time Warner, according to the UK Financial Times, which added that banking sources said it would be more likely to move for Netflix.The newspaper said Apple’s Eddy Cue, who reports directly to CEO Tim Cook, discussed a possible move for Time Warner with the company’s strategy chief Olaf Olafsson, adding talks never progressed beyond a preliminary stage.It went on to cite several unnamed banking sources who suggested it would be more likely to move for a streaming service such as Netflix, which would be a better fit.Netflix, which went from market star performer to enduring a period in which its stock price was fluctuating down- as well as upwards, ended up 2.6% on the day on the back of the Apple stories. It registered gains earlier this week when it said its movies deal with Disney will kick in later this year.Back in 2014 News Corp. was rebuffed in an approach for Time Warner and subsequently dropped its interest.last_img read more

Interviewed by Louis James Editor International

first_img(Interviewed by Louis James, Editor, International Speculator)L: Doug, we’ve had a lot of questions from readers about the apparent push governments are making to go to paperless currency – all electronic, no cash. Do you think that’s likely, and what would be the implications?Doug: I think it’s probably inevitable. It’s not just cash, but the whole world is becoming increasingly digital. Credit cards already work very well all around the world, and everyone in the world, it seems, will soon have a smartphone – or at least everyone who might have any cash.But it’s not just a question of evolving technology. Governments hate cash for lots of reasons, starting with the fact it costs a couple of cents to print a piece of paper currency, and they have to be replaced quite often. As the US has destroyed the value of the dollar, they’ve had to take the copper out of pennies, and soon they’ll take the nickel out of nickels. Furthermore, with modern technology, counterfeiters – including unfriendly foreign governments – can turn out US currency that’s almost indistinguishable from the real thing. And the stuff takes up a lot of space if it’s enough to be of value. So sure, governments would like to get rid of tangible currency. They’d like to see all money kept in banks, which are today no more than arms of the state. But it’s not so simple: increasing numbers of people trust neither banks – most of which are insolvent – or currencies – most of which are on their way to their intrinsic values.L: Hm. On the technology front, when I was in central Africa a few weeks ago, plastic money was accepted happily everywhere I went – Rwanda, Burundi, the DRC, and Kenya – though not by street vendors yet. And I had access to the Internet everywhere I went, even in the middle of the jungle…Doug: Yes, the move towards digital currencies is already happening, and not just as a result of government efforts. Remember Bitcoin. And, as you know, I’m a big fan of Goldmoney.com, which is leading the way to a sound digital currency. Although Goldmoney.com has bowed to government pressure and has suspended its service allowing customers to transfer funds among one another, it’s another sign of the times…L: Yes, and Goldmoney.com is not the first attempt, nor will it be the last. We should mention to new readers that you are an investor in Goldmoney.com.Doug: The world’s going to digital currencies is in part a good thing, because it’s convenient. But it’s definitely a double-edged sword, because of government involvement in the field. If it were a strictly market phenomenon, I’d have no problem with it. It’d be just another choice. But if the state runs it, it would reduce people’s choices – and privacy. But that’s entirely apart from the fact that government – and I know this assertion will be shocking to most readers – has no business creating currency or minting money. Money, of all things, should be a purely market phenomenon. Government, as an institution, inevitably and necessarily corrupts everything it touches. Money is far too important to be left to the tender mercies of the state.L: Sure. A completely digital currency would be an unlimited license to print and spend. Need to give people more welfare? Just tap a few keys, and it appears in their bank accounts. Need to buy more missiles? Just a few more taps on the keyboard… But the privacy issue is even scarier: digital money would seem like Big Brother‘s dream come true. They wouldn’t even have to send their minions out to go through people’s trash. They could see everything anyone ever spent money on and where they were physically when they did it, search for activity nearby, and much more, just by having computers report the details of people’s accounts.Doug: Exactly. They would justify it with a host of phony excuses ranging from the so-called War on Terrorism to the so-called War on Drugs. Maybe they’ll tie it in to their disastrously failed War on Poverty. As the War on Islam heats up, one front will be an attack on the excellent Muslim hawala system, which allows cheap and reliable transfer of money between countries; that system, which is kind of a private SWIFT network, is excellent for evading FX controls. Ironically, Islamic countries are some of the very worst perpetrators of currency controls.L: Maybe that’s why the informal network exists in the first place? But yes, they gotta stop those evil money launderers from washing their money and hanging it out to dry…Doug: Don’t get me started on “money laundering.” It’s a completely artificial crime. It wasn’t even heard of 20 years ago, because the “crime” didn’t exist. Now, everyone speaks of it as though it were a real crime, like murder. It’s ridiculous, and further proof of the totally degraded state of the average person worldwide, absolutely including US citizens – what we used to call Americans. The government proclaims something as a law, and “sheeple” robotically assume it’s part of the cosmic firmament. If an official tells them to do or not to do something, they roll over on their backs like whipped dogs and wet themselves out of fear. The War on Drugs may be where “money laundering” originated as a crime, but today it has a lot more to do with something infinitely more important to the state: the War on Tax Evasion.Incidentally, not that a US citizen can open an account with a Swiss bank anyway any longer – except with at least seven figures and loads of paperwork – but now the policy in Switzerland is to insist that clients prove that their funds are all tax paid. The situation is out of control. And the world’s governments are increasingly working together to make sure no one slips through the net.L: Gotta keep the cattle in line.Doug: That’s right; the US has sent swarms of agents all around the world to bully and cajole bureaucrats in other countries into giving them access to bank account information and to impose income taxes in places that didn’t have them. In Uruguay, where I was last week, for example, there was no income tax two years ago. Now there is. And they’re trying to do the same thing in Paraguay. That’s about the last personal-income-tax holdout among the larger countries of the world.L: When I was in Paraguay last, they had passed an income-tax law, but it was being blocked from implementation by the legislature itself, on procedural grounds. I was told that since all of the legislators are deeply corrupted, none of them want to have to account for their income, and that’s why the measure will never be implemented. “Never” seems a bit optimistic, but it reminds me of your call to make corruption your friend. At any rate, why would the US government care if other countries have income taxes – so they can have tax treaties with them?Doug: I’m sure that’s part of it. A bigger part may be that countries with high tax burdens want so-called tax harmonization, so it’s less tempting to businesses and individuals to leave their borders and go where they can benefit from a lower tax burden – or pay no taxes at all. Governments all around the world, in spite of their differences, share a concern about their income streams – especially since most of them are absolutely bankrupt now – and their bureaucracies work together closely when it suits them. For example, the reason why you get asked if you are carrying more than $10,000 in cash on you when you board an international flight these days, even in a tiny African or South American country, is that it’s an OECD standard that’s been… enthusiastically encouraged. When it first started, it was only $3,000, but that generated too much work for them, so they raised it to $10,000. But all the bad ideas in the world now seem to be coming out of the US.You know, up until the Bank Secrecy Act of 1971, Americans didn’t have to report foreign bank accounts or brokerage accounts. Reporting income generated by such accounts was required, but the existence of the accounts themselves was not required. The rules and reporting requirements have now become so draconian that most foreign banks don’t even want to see a US taxpayer darken their door, let alone open an account for one. It’s a cancer, spreading out from the US.L: So, is this trend inevitable? At some point will Big Brother know everything about all transactions?Doug: Yes. And if they can’t get everything they want from you off your cell phone, which will probably also become your wallet with a digital credit-card app at some point in the near future, they will be able to monitor everything physically via the swarms of tiny spy drones they will flood the skies with. The technology will soon make this cheap as dirt, and computational power is increasing rapidly to the point where it will be possible to process all the images.L: Only if the people don’t divulge everything they are doing and whom they are doing it with on Facebook and Twitter.Doug: [Laughs] Ah, yes, Facebook, the CIA’s most successful covert op. I idiotically opened a Facebook account some years back because someone convinced me it would be a good way to keep in touch with old school friends I’d lost touch with. Now I get scores of people who want to friend me every month, and I know very, very few of them. It will be one-stop shopping for Homeland Security to round up the usual suspects when they feel the time is right. I hate Facebook and never use it for anything. I wonder how many of my Facebook friends are actually government stooges out looking for somebody to railroad…L: A sobering thought.Doug: I have to say that the prognosis for privacy is very grim. The only possible saving grace I can see is that the snoops may end up with information overload, most of it worthless or irrelevant. That’s what seriously impeded the East German and Romanian secret police. But with computer technology getting better and better, there’s not much reason to believe Homeland Security will be buried the way the Stasi was with its primitive technology.I really see no way to stop this trend, nor hide from it – at least in the US or Europe. There’s one thing, however, we can hope for: the coming collapse of the modern nation-state. This will happen, sooner or later, in Europe and North America, at least. This is a possible bright side of the building worldwide financial collapse; it might bring down Big Brother… although it’s more likely, I’m afraid, that he’ll redouble his efforts to control everything. Unfortunately, the immediate aftermath of that collapse is likely to be very unpleasant, especially for those in the most developed and powerful countries.The best way to insulate yourself from this, therefore, is to live in a country whose government doesn’t have the power, financial resources, or technical ability to do these things. As per our last conversation, Africa might be a good place to get out of harm’s way, but it’s a bit too far off the beaten path for my taste and has way too many problems. That’s why I like Latin America.L: What about the hope that if people get pushed too far, they may rebel? Everyone has things they don’t want made public, even those with absolutely nothing nefarious about them. A total lack of privacy would seem intolerable, after some – probably short – period of time. As Princess Leia told Governor Tarkin in the original Star Wars movie: the tighter they squeeze their fist, the more people will slip through their fingers. Or maybe not. It is, frankly, very dismaying to me that the Big Brother concept has been turned into a “reality” TV show.Doug: People may think it’s funny now, or even an egalitarian ideal to live in a society in which no one has any secrets, but that won’t last. If only in relation to currency controls – what we started out talking about – I think there’s something to your Star Wars quote. The more total the monitoring and control the state achieves over the legal economy, the more it will push people into the black market. We saw that in Soviet times. Stringent and very intrusive state monitoring, compulsion, and punishment only made the informal market flourish all the more. I’m sure this will happen. Even North Korea has an active black market. But I don’t like that term. What’s called “the black market” is really the free market; it’s heroic. The legal market – with all its taxes and regulations – is actually the one in need of either radical reform or abolition.L: But the monitoring beyond finance – your drone swarms – might make noncompliance too risky for most people to try.Doug: True. And maybe the US will get not just 10% of the population hooked on stuff like Prozac, but 20% or 50%. As Aldous Huxley pointed out in Brave New World, it’s much easier to control zombies. That’s another reason why I think that hope for the future rests in what are today derided as corrupt Third-World countries. If you’re going to have a ridiculous number of impossible laws, corruption is a good thing. Increasingly, what matters is not the number or even nature of laws on the books in the place you live, but the amount of actual control the state has over private individuals. Corruption subverts idiotic laws; it’s the next best thing to abolishing them.L: I’ve often said that on paper, the US is freer than Mexico, but in fact, Mexico has become much freer than the US, in spite of its legally powerful socialist government. The average Mexican considers tax evasion to be a universal given, but US taxpayers fear their government – a letter from the IRS can cause instant weight loss.Doug: It’s certainly true that in Argentina, where I’m building a new home, people don’t fear their government. Well, not in the police-state sense, anyway; they see it as more of a nuisance. It’s probably more accurate to say they are resigned to their government destroying the economy periodically than to say they actively fear it. If I get pulled over for speeding in Argentina – which itself would be highly unusual – I feel that I have nothing to fear at all, whereas back in the US, I could end up getting tased, have my car taken, and do jail time for saying or doing the wrong thing, even without harming anyone. Any contact with the police in the US brings an increasing risk of a lethal outcome these days. I understand that there are about 40,000 SWAT raids on real and imagined targets every year, and the number is growing fast.Another contrast: in Argentina, most people despise the police and military, whereas in the US, they are apotheosized. This tells you a lot about the psychological states of these populations – it’s a very bad trend in the US.L: On the subject of Argentina, perhaps we should mention that readers who’d like to meet you could head down there for the upcoming harvest celebration.Doug: Well, I’m in the middle of one right now, but another is coming up next week, and there’s still time to sign up for that one. Sure – we have a lot of readers, and I’ve enjoyed meeting many, but it would be nice to get to know more of them. And it’s a nice time to get away from the dying days of winter in the northern hemisphere and come to a place where the weather is pleasant and the wines are fantastic. And I’m really tickled with our world-class gym, spa, and all the rest of it.L: Very well. Investment implications?Doug: Well, this highlights the importance of owning gold, but not for investment purposes or even for the financial prudence we’ve spoken of before, but for a different kind of prudence: privacy – and even freedom.One thing that has changed since we started having these conversations – back when gold was trading at about $600 per ounce – is that having approached $2,000 per ounce, and being likely to surpass that level soon, governments are going to start clamping down on gold more and more. Back when gold was under $300 an ounce, it wasn’t convenient to carry large nominal sums in gold – it was too bulky, too heavy. A roll of hundred-dollar bills was less trouble. But now you can hide $20,000 in one hand using gold. This has not gone unnoticed by the bad guys, and customs and immigrations forms of several countries have started asking not only if you are carrying more than $10,000 in cash, but specifically gold. Incidentally, to keep up with this type of thing, I urge readers to sign up at International Man, which has a great, free daily letter.L: I agree; it’s an excellent publication. That’s an interesting admission for Big Brother to make, asking people to declare cash and gold; in effect, it admits gold’s value as money… But okay, if the state achieves total monitoring and control of the legal economy, and the informal economy becomes much larger, would that not greatly increase the demand for gold? The black market is, as you say, a free – if somewhat chaotic – market, so, according to you and Aristotle, would not gold emerge as the money of choice in that market? And would that not add to the speculative reason for owning gold in addition to the reasons of prudence?Doug: Yes, and yes. Other sub-trends speculators might look for, within the overall trend of digitalization of our world, would lie in various new technologies this will make possible. Many of them would be very positive and profitable for those who deploy them commercially first. This is the sort of thing Alex Daly keeps tabs on in our Casey Extraordinary Technology letter.L: That reminds me of what you said about our phones becoming our wallets. You already don’t really need a physical card to make most revolving credit purchases, just the information on the account. Not only do we buy all sort of thing online these days with this information, but there are chips that transmit gas-card info to gas pumps so we don’t even need to get our wallets out to fill up our tanks. Who knows where that will end up, but I can imagine that as phones and computers (and what used to be TVs) all merge into one technology – which already includes payment systems – money will get folded into this technology as well.Doug: I fully expect that, even though I still don’t own a cell phone and really loathe the things. As an individual human being, I’m going to keep on paying for things in cash for as long as I can – and to me, gold is the real cash of the world. But as a speculator, I think there’s a lot of money to be made investing in the developers of these technological innovations.L: Good luck with that fight. As Locutus of Borg said, “Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated.” There are computer chips in clothing, in cars – heck, it won’t be long before they’re in our food and in the drinking water… Only to help doctors monitor our health, of course.Doug: I know, I know. The prison planet we live on could get pretty ugly before it frees up again. I fear that before things get better, they will have to get much worse, and our world will soon come to resemble a cross between Huxley’s Brave New World and Orwell’s 1984 – or maybe Soylent Green if it gets really bad.L: Another cheerful thought, Doug.Doug: You know I call ’em like I see ’em. I hope many of our current readers will look into The Casey Report as well, if only because this month has part two of a long article that I’m rather fond of, titled Evil, Stupidity, and the Decline of America, which examines the root causes of the pickle the West is now in.But the greater the invasion of privacy, the greater the need for privacy there will be – and the market will respond. I doubt you’ll need stolen eyeballs for retina scans, as in the movie Minority Report, but technologies that identify you to the monitors as a Boy Scout from Iowa (with a perfect grade-point average, totally clean driving record, and no arrests or interrogations) will certainly become available. Clean digital identities should become highly lucrative commodities, all the more so for being illegal. But, with any luck, when the revolution comes – and it will, even though it will be most unpleasant, inconvenient, and dangerous – I hope it turns out more like the revolutions in V for Vendetta or the American Revolution than the one in France under Robespierre. In any event, there’s no doubt in my mind that things will get much worse before the world reboots and gets better again.L: Well, that’s marginally better. As has been observed before, as in the times of chattel slavery, for example, when laws become unjust, just people must become outlaws.Doug: Just so. Maybe we’ll all have our chance to play Robin Hood against an evil king.L: Right then. Thanks for your thoughts… I’ll have to take a closer look at our technology picks for my own investment portfolio.Doug: You should. And you’re welcome. Talk to you soon. In the meantime, live, and be wellL: Until next time.last_img read more

Fantastic essay – Linda

first_imgFantastic essay! – Linda Recommended Link For the first time ever: a guided tour of Doug’s Ranch in UruguayDoug Casey was kind enough to take our cameras on a guided tour of beautiful Uruguayan Estancia. We even captured Doug showing off a few special pieces in his art collection. Click here for a rare look inside the private life of one of the world’s most reclusive millionaires. Recommended Link By Justin Spittler, editor, Casey Daily DispatchCalifornia just made history.Last week, state regulators announced a new mandate that will require all new homes to have solar panels. The law applies to single-family homes and low-rise apartment buildings. It will go into effect in 2020. As a result, California became the first state to introduce such a mandate.And as I’ll show you in today’s Dispatch, this isn’t just big news for the people of California.It’s big news for all Americans… and it’s a massive investing opportunity.I’ll tell you why in a second. But let’s first take a closer look at the mandate… and how it will impact people living in California. — Hi guys, Tell John Hunt his article was absolutely spot-on, just brilliant.– Anthony center_img — • The mandate is expected to add $9,500 in costs for each new home built…Now, some folks worry that this will make it even less affordable to buy homes in California. That’s the bad news.The good news is that the average Californian is expected to see $19,000 in energy savings over the next 30 years.This mandate will have serious ripple effects. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Florida, Nevada, or even Texas eventually introduced similar legislation.If that happens, more and more Americans will need to buy solar panels. And that will obviously be good news for the solar panel companies. But here’s the thing…• The solar energy industry will flourish even if other states don’t follow California’s lead… There’s a simple reason for this.Solar energy has become very cheap. According to a recent report from asset management firm Lazard, the cost of solar power has declined 86% since 2009. That’s the biggest drop of any major energy source.As a result, one megawatt hour of solar power now costs just $50. That’s less than half of what it costs to produce one megawatt-hour of coal power ($102). And get this… solar energy currently accounts for just 2% of U.S. electricity needs. So, solar energy will become even cheaper as the industry achieves economies of scale.This will encourage even more people to adopt solar energy for their energy needs.You can see where I’m going with this. But look, I’m not the only investor bullish on solar stocks. Just look at this chart of the Guggenheim Solar ETF (TAN), which invests in a basket of solar stocks.You can see that TAN surged 9% following California’s big announcement. It’s now up 46% over the last year. That’s a big move. But solar stocks should climb much higher in the coming months.Check out this chart to see why. It compares the performance of TAN to the S&P 500.When this line is rising, it means that solar stocks are doing better than the S&P 500. When it’s falling, it means they’re doing worse.You can see that solar stocks have been underperforming the market for the past 10 years. This means they have a lot of catching up to do. But the trend has changed direction over the past few months… and solar stocks will continue to move higher, thanks to California’s mandate and the industry’s rapidly improving economics.So, consider investing in solar stocks if you haven’t already. You can easily do so with TAN.As I mentioned earlier, this ETF invests in a basket of solar stocks and allows you to bet on this big trend without taking on any company-specific risks.Regards, Justin Spittler Buenos Aires, Argentina May 18, 2018Reader MailbagToday, lots of great feedback on Wednesday’s Dispatch featuring an important update on Argentina and a new essay from John Hunt…Nice essay, Justin. – Peter New tool could disrupt the entire $8 trillion food industry Scientists recently discovered a new tool hidden in billion-year-old bacteria that could disrupt the entire $8 trillion global food industry… This could mean 35X growth for the industry at the center of this new technology. Click here to learn more. Beautiful. Perfect. Now I see why John Hunt and Doug Casey are writing novels together. Always nice to be reminded that I’m not completely alone in my view of government people. Thanks! – Gordon As always, if you have any questions or suggestions for the Dispatch, send them to us right here.In Case You Missed It…Doug Casey just found a crypto guru worthy of Casey Research subscribers…This bright young German has been involved with digital currencies since he invested in e-gold in the late ’90s—long before the current blockchain breakthrough.And like Doug, he’s a truly an “international man.” He made so much money from cryptos; he dropped everything and traveled the world for five years. And now, he has an important message…last_img read more

Welcome to a new season of Invisibilia The NPR pr

first_imgWelcome to a new season of Invisibilia! The NPR program and podcast explores the invisible forces that shape human behavior. Episode 3 involves two brothers who are happy about the polite, helpful tenant who moves into their mother’s house, until they start to suspect he has sinister motives. Here at Shots, we are exploring the main theme of the story — the things left unsaid, and the havoc they can cause on your personal relationships — with an essay by behavioral scientist Nicholas Epley.The average human brain contains roughly 100 billion neurons, each of which is attached to thousands of other neurons, meaning that another person’s brain is likely to be the most complicated thing you will ever think about. And yet, despite this dizzying complexity, you and I routinely guess what’s going on in the mind of other people almost as easily as we breathe.It takes only a split second to form an impression about another person’s intelligence or intentions, guess what our spouse or a homeless person is feeling, and predict what a political opponent is thinking. You can even leap quickly to conclusions about people in situations you’ve never experienced before, from what’s going on in the mind of our president to the mind of a homeless person begging for food. Making judgments about another person’s mind is easy. Making judgments accurately, however, is hard. In fact, our research indicates that it is surprisingly hard.Consider, for instance, an experiment that Tal Eyal, Mary Steffel and I conducted that put people’s beliefs about their mind reading abilities to the test. We recruited people who we thought would know something about each other, namely romantic couples. These couples had been together for an average of 10 years. Fifty-eight percent were married.One person in each couple played the role of Responder, reading 20 statements and reporting how much he or she agreed with each one on a scale ranging from minus 3 (strongly disagree) to 3 (strongly agree). These statements included, “I would like to spend a year in London or Paris,” “I would rather spend a quiet evening at home rather than go out to a party,” and “Our family is too heavily in debt today.”The other member of each couple played the role of Predictor, guessing how his or her partner would respond to each statement, and also predicting how many of the statements he or she guessed correctly. Think of this as something like The Newlywed Game for science.Our Predictors believed they guessed an average of 13 items out of 20 exactly correctly. In truth, the task was much harder than our predictors expected. They actually guessed only five, on average, correctly.The problem with our inferences about others is not incompetence, but hubris. We tend to think we understand each other better than we actually do.So what’s a person trying to understand the most complicated thing on this planet to do? Dale Carnegie offered a suggestion in 1936: Principle 8. In what has become the Bible of social relations, How to Win Friends and Influence People, Carnegie describes his eighth principle as a method that will “work wonders” for you: “Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view.” That is, do some perspective-taking.Even if you never read Carnegie’s book, his suggestion has a powerful ring of common sense to it. Indeed, the vast majority of people we surveyed predicted that actively adopting another person’s perspective would help them understand another person better in a variety of ways, from understanding another person’s reaction when looking at a picture to predicting movie preferences.Our research, however, suggests that this bit of common sense is at least somewhat mistaken. When we tested the impact of perspective-taking on accuracy in a series of 25 experiments we recently published, we found no evidence that actively considering another person’s perspective systematically increased accuracy.If anything, perspective-taking tended to decrease accuracy, including in the romantic couples study I described earlier. This experiment included another condition in which one member of each couple was asked to put themselves in their partner’s shoes before predicting their partner’s responses. This perspective-taking actually decreased accuracy compared to the control group I already described, but it slightly increased the number of items these perspective-takers thought they had predicted correctly. Perspective-taking may work some wonders for your social life, but understanding another person better does not seem to be one of those wonders.Instead, accurate insight reliably comes only when you actually gain knowledge about what it is like to be another person. We refer to this as perspective-getting, as opposed to perspective-taking. The easiest way to get another’s perspective is by simply asking them to describe what’s actually going on in their minds in a context where they can report it both honestly and accurately.This solution may seem painfully obvious, but it is not so obvious to people who are in the midst of actually using it. The romantic couples study I’ve described included another condition in which predictors were given a chance to ask their partner to report their feelings about each of the statements before predicting how he or she would respond. This increased accuracy dramatically, even though those who asked did not have any more confidence in the accuracy of their judgments than those who guessed their partners’ reactions. Even those who take the right approach to understanding the mind of another person — asking directly and listening carefully — seem unaware of how much they had learned.True insight into the minds of others is not likely to come from honing your powers of intuition, but rather by learning to stop guessing about what’s on the mind of another person and learning to listen instead.Nicholas Epley is the John Templeton Keller Professor of Behavioral Science at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. He is the author of Mindwise: Why We Misunderstand What Others Think, Believe, Feel, and Want. Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.last_img read more

Would You Be Thankful or Horrified If the Emails You Got While

first_img The only list that measures privately-held company performance across multiple dimensions—not just revenue. August 25, 2017 Add to Queue Email Nina Zipkin Image credit: Shutterstock –shares 2019 Entrepreneur 360 List Would You Be Thankful or Horrified If the Emails You Got While on Vacation Disappeared?center_img Arianna Huffington really wants to make sure her employees unplug. 2 min read Next Article Americans are known for being truly terrible at taking time off. A study from careers site Glassdoor found that the average employee reported only taking 54 percent of the vacation days they had available to them. More telling is that 66 percent of those polled said that they worked while they were away.There are tons of tools out there to make your inbox a little less daunting, but if you’re always checking email, even if you’re supposed to be relaxing, that stress will still follow you to whatever beach you’ve parked yourself on.Arianna Huffington, the founder and CEO of wellness brand Thrive Global, has long been a proponent of unplugging to the point of creating on-the-nose merch — such as a $50 charging bed for your phone. Now, she’s introduced an email office tool called Thrive Away that she described in a post for Harvard Business Review.Related: The Impact Of Chronic Work Stress On Your Employees“While you’re on vacation, people who email you get a message, letting them know when you’ll be back. And then — the most important part — the tool deletes the email,” she wrote.” If the email is important, the sender can always send it again. If it’s not, then it’s not waiting for you when you get back, or even worse, tempting you to read it while you’re away.”While most companies likely won’t implement an office-wide system like Huffington’s, it’s a helpful reminder that if you don’t respond to that email right away, the world won’t come to an end. And as a business owner, if you want your employees to stay healthy and productive, it’s on you to encourage them to actually take that time away for themselves — and leave their inboxes behind. Entrepreneur Staff Staff Writer. Covers leadership, media, technology and culture. Apply Now »last_img read more

Tesla Model 3 Moves to 247 Production

first_imgTesla Tesla Model 3 Moves to 24/7 Production Yesterday, it was revealed that Tesla intended to stop Model 3 production for up to five days. The reason given was to improve automation. However, a letter sent by Elon Musk to employees reveals the real reason for the pause in production: Tesla is upgrading the plant for round the clock production from next week.As Electrek reports, in the letter Musk confirmed that Model 3 production had reached 2,000 per week, which is double that attained in January. The goal is to reach 5,000 per week no later than June 30, but in order to achieve that and allow for a margin of error, Musk is setting the new goal of 6,000 per week by that date.Going from 2,000 to 6,000 in just over two months would be very optimistic if not for the fact Tesla is also introducing another shift to the production line, meaning the Model 3 will be manufactured 24/7 in Fremont. Tesla’s general assembly, body and paint teams will all add a third shift and require more people. Tesla is expecting to employ an extra 400 people a week for several weeks across its entire operation to help support that.The letter goes on to talk about improving the build precision of the Model 3 to exceptional standards and how Tesla needs to become profitable. With that in mind, “we will be far more rigorous about expenditures” and all contracts with third-parties will be reviewed. Musk describes the contractor situation within Tesla as being like a “Russian nesting doll” and that some perform “worse than a drunken sloth.” So expect some big changes on that front soon.There’s a suggestion of one more pause in production during May for further upgrades, but beyond that Model 3 production just got serious. Six-thousand by the end of June does indeed look achievable if 24/7 production works without a hitch. That also means the dual motor version could still happen in July. Next Article Fireside Chat | July 25: Three Surprising Ways to Build Your Brand Matthew Humphries Elon Musk is serious about reaching 6,000 cars per week by June. Learn from renowned serial entrepreneur David Meltzer how to find your frequency in order to stand out from your competitors and build a brand that is authentic, lasting and impactful. Image credit: via PC Magcenter_img Add to Queue This story originally appeared on PCMag –shares Senior Editor 2 min read April 18, 2018 Enroll Now for $5last_img read more

Struggling Deals Site LivingSocial Kills Events Group Closes New York Office

first_img Journalist Benjamin Kabin Technology July 17, 2013 Free Webinar | July 31: Secrets to Running a Successful Family Business Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Add to Queue Register Now » Discount-of-the-day site LivingSocial is closing its Fifth Avenue office in New York City and eliminating its local events division, leaving 30 full-time staffers without jobs.Remaining New York staffers in its sales and advertising department have been asked to work from home. Once all local events in New York are completed by Oct. 1, the company plans to lay off dozens of part-time employees.The news, confirmed by TheNextWeb, comes less than a month after the company shuttered its Seattle office, where it also asked displaced employees to work remotely.The deals site stressed that these changes are not part of a cost-cutting effort but “a decision geared towards achieving profitability.” LivingSocial said that larger events have been more lucrative than the niche ones offered by the local-events division. Meanwhile, the company said it plans to create 50 new jobs for its call center in Tucson, Ariz.Last November, LivingSocial laid off 400 employees, mostly in the U.S., in an effort to “streamline” its sales and editorial departments. Groupon, another big daily discount site, saw massive layoffs in 2012 as well, cutting 648 jobs over a six-month period.Related: What Happens When Startups Grow Too Fast  –shares Struggling Deals Site LivingSocial Kills Events Group, Closes New York Office Image credit: blog.buyometric.co.uk Next Article 1 min read Learn how to successfully navigate family business dynamics and build businesses that excel.last_img read more

Salesforce to Buy Demandware for About 28 Billion

first_img Add to Queue Reuters Image credit: Salesforce June 1, 2016 Register Now » This story originally appeared on Reuters Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right. Next Article center_img Salesforce –shares Salesforce to Buy Demandware for About $2.8 Billion Cloud-based software maker Salesforce.com Inc. said it would buy Demandware Inc., whose software is used by businesses to run ecommerce websites, for about $2.8 billion.The deal will help Salesforce open a new front as it look to take away more market share from traditional software providers such as Oracle Corp. and SAP AG, both of which already offer cloud-based ecommerce services.The ecommerce market has been growing at a blistering pace as retailers expand their online presence, boosting demand for software that helps manage functions such as payment processing and inventory management.Salesforce’s cash offer of $75 per share represents a 56.3 percent premium to Demandware’s Tuesday closing.Demandware’s shares, which have fallen about 21 percent in the past year, were up 52.1 percent at $73 in premarket trading on Wednesday. Shares of Salesforce, considered a barometer for the cloud-computing industry, slipped 2 percent.Demandware, whose customers include Lands’ End Inc., L’Oreal SA and Marks and Spencer Group Plc., has reported sales growth of more than 30 percent for the last 10 quarters.Global spending on digital commerce platforms is expected to grow over 14 percent annually to about $8.5 billion by 2020, Salesforce said, citing research firm Gartner.The deal, slated to close in Salesforce’s second quarter ending July, is expected to increase the company’s 2017 revenue by about $100 million-$120 million.Salesforce had forecast fiscal 2017 revenue of $8.16 billion-$8.2 billion in May.BofA Merrill Lynch is Salesforce’s financial adviser for the deal, while Goldman Sachs is advising Demandware.(Reporting by Anya George Tharakan and Kshitiz Goliya in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty) 2 min read Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goalslast_img read more

Baidu Showcases Major Advances in AI Assistant Ecosystem with DuerOS 50 and

first_imgBaidu Showcases Major Advances in AI Assistant Ecosystem with DuerOS 5.0 and New Product Innovation Globe NewswireJuly 3, 2019, 12:27 pmJuly 3, 2019 Baidu, Inc. unveiled DuerOS 5.0, the latest iteration of its conversational AI system, at Baidu Create 2019 in Beijing. The upgrade advances the development of its AI assistant technology that powers a rapidly-expanding ecosystem of smart hardware products. Baidu also showcased three new DuerOS-powered smart speaker additions to its product lineup, further strengthening its innovative consumer offerings.Baidu’s upgraded conversational AI assistant, DuerOS 5.0, pushes the burgeoning AI technology forward with two major new features. Integrating AI into real-world applications, a new ‘full-duplex’ feature allows Xiaodu to respond without the need for a wake word, creating a continuous conversation experience for users. Further underscoring Baidu’s pioneering vision for exceptional user experiences, DuerOS 5.0 also introduces a key feature that enables Xiaodu to recognize in sync when to reply and execute tasks and when to just listen and not to respond or react. The overall experience brings a seamless integration of AI to life, generating a more natural human-machine interaction.Robin Li, Baidu’s co-Founder, Chairman and CEO, took to the Baidu Create stage and amazed attendees with a demo of Xiaodu’s new “continuous conversation” ability and its “super-high IQ”. Li said that, with the two new features, Baidu has taken a huge step forward in voice interaction experience to realize smooth human-machine communication without the hassles of constantly having to wake up devices or getting interference from conversation.Marketing Technology News: Constant Contact Unveils New WooCommerce and Shopify Offerings at 2019 Internet Retailer ConferenceKun Jing, Vice President of Baidu and General Manager of Baidu Smart Living Group (SLG), officially kicked off the launch of DuerOS 5.0 and the three new Xiaodu series smart speakers at the conference. In his keynote, he said that, as of June 2019, the DuerOS voice assistant install base has surpassed 400 million and monthly voice queries on DuerOS exceeded 3.6 billion (not including those from Baidu’s apps).As an entrance and hub for a connected world, smart speakers hold an increasingly integral position in Baidu’s smart living revolution. The launch of three new Xiaodu smart speakers further accentuates Baidu’s efforts to drive transformation in this fast-growing segment. The new devices include Xiaodu smart speakers “King Kong” , “Play” and the “Xiaodu at Home 1C 4G” battery version. All three devices are priced competitively at RMB199, demonstrating Baidu’s commitment to enabling more families to enjoy smart living affordably.Xiaodu smart speaker “King Kong”, rolled out in early June, brings a premium and sophisticated design, complete with infrared control and DLNA projection screen technology that can instantly turn the device into a TV. Xiaodu smart speakers have also joined forces with iQiyi, whose AI projection technology powers a voice-controlled video experience. Responding to user demand for a more expansive smart speaker experience, Baidu developed its first mobile smart speaker, “Xiaodu at Home 1C 4G” battery version. The portable device runs without needing to connect to a power source, supports Nano SIM cards and can even serve as a mobile hotspot, allowing users to take Xiaodu’s AI with them anytime, anywhere. Xiaodu smart speaker “Play” was specially designed with innovative features that cater to younger generations.Baidu’s technological strength in AI software-hardware integration has quickly translated into commercial success. According to data from three independent market research firms including Canalys, shipments of Xiaodu smart speakers ranked third globally and first in China for Q1 2019.Marketing Technology News: CoSchedule Launches Marketing Suite to Transform the Way Marketers WorkUnderpinning the company’s commitment to openness, Baidu’s Xiaodu Skills Open Platform has also seen explosive growth, with the number of skills growing by 300%, the skill PV by 1,926,523%, the skill types by 126% and the next-day skill retention rate by 200% between May 2018 and May 2019. Currently, the Xiaodu Skills Open Platform counts more than 32,000 developers and over 2,000 wide-ranging skills.Further showcasing Baidu’s ecosystem of offerings, Kun Jing announced the official launch of Xiaodu VIP, which offers two joint membership models – ‘Xiaodu x iQiyi’ and ‘Xiaodu x brand’. The new VIP membership is part of Baidu’s business transformation that harnesses the power of user experience through AI by allowing users and brands to interact effortlessly.Baidu Create 2019 provided an end-to-end demonstration of how Xiaodu’s implementation of AI technology is having a profound impact on Baidu’s leading position in the intelligent transformation of industry. Xiaodu will serve as a pioneer in shaping the future of the smart living as Baidu continues to deliver smart interactive technology and product innovation to respond to the needs of its users.Marketing Technology News: Connected TV is Transforming the Digital Advertising Ecosystem: ExtremLatest Video Benchmarks Report Shows 49% of Video Ad Impressions Going to CTV AIBaiduDuerOS 5.0Marketing TechnologyNewsRobin LiXiaodu x iQiyi Previous ArticleYouTube Gaining Popularity With Generation Z as Demand for Video Content Rises, Facebook’s Popularity DecliningNext ArticleHitachi High-Tech Group to Lead Japanese Distribution of SparkCognition’s Automated Machine Learning Modeling Product, Darwinlast_img read more

CHOP celebrates EC approval of first and only gene therapy for patients

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Dec 6 2018Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) celebrates a pivotal moment in medicine: approval by the European Commission (EC) of LUXTURNA® (voretigene neparvovec), the first and only gene therapy for patients with an inherited retinal disease, last month. This also makes LUXTURNA the first gene therapy for a genetic disease that has received regulatory approval in both the U.S. and European Union (EU).The EC approved LUXTURNA, a one-time gene therapy for the treatment of vision loss due to inherited retinal dystrophy caused by confirmed biallelic RPE65 mutations, in pediatric and adult patients who have sufficient viable retinal cells. RPE65 -mediated inherited retinal disease is a progressive condition that leads to total blindness in most patients.The authorization is valid in all 28 member states of the EU, as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. In December 2017, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved LUXTURNA for use in patients in the U.S.”The European Commission’s approval of LUXTURNA highlights the vital role of pediatric research in developing breakthrough cures,” said Bryan Wolf, MD, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer and Chair of the Department of Biomedical and Health Informatics at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. “The research conducted as a collaborative effort between CHOP’s Raymond G. Perelman Center for Cellular and Molecular Therapeutics (CCMT) and investigators at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania laid the groundwork for this revolutionary gene therapy, which was developed and is now manufactured by Spark Therapeutics. Today, we are thrilled to see LUXTURNA approved as a therapy for children and adults outside the U.S.”Related StoriesGuidelines to help children develop healthy habits early in lifeResearchers identify gene mutations linked to leukemia in children with Down’s syndromeRevolutionary gene replacement surgery restores vision in patients with retinal degenerationCHOP founded Spark Therapeutics in 2013 in an effort to accelerate the timeline for bringing new gene therapies to market. Spark’s mission, to create a world where no life is limited by genetic disease, was to build on the foundational research conducted over a multi-year period by the CHOP and Penn Medicine teams.Beginning in 2000, the initial research for LUXTURNA was conducted by Jean Bennett, MD, PhD, F.M. Kirby professor of Ophthalmology at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania’s Scheie Eye Institute, and Albert M. Maguire, MD, a professor of Ophthalmology at Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine and an attending physician at CHOP. Bennett and Maguire joined forces with then-CHOP researcher Katherine A. High, MD, a gene therapy pioneer who directed the CCMT and who is now Spark’s President and head of research and development. Dr. Maguire served as a Principal Investigator of the therapy’s clinical trials.In the U.S., the gene therapy is currently administered at 10 treatment centers by leading retinal surgeons who receive training provided by Spark Therapeutics on the administration procedure.In January 2018, Spark Therapeutics entered into a licensing and supply agreement with Novartis covering development, registration and commercialization rights to LUXTURNA in markets outside the U.S. Upon the transfer of the marketing authorization from Spark Therapeutics to Novartis. Novartis can commercialize LUXTURNA in the EU/EEA. Novartis already has exclusive rights to pursue development, registration and commercialization in all other countries outside the U.S., and Spark Therapeutics will supply the gene therapy to Novartis.Source: https://www.chop.edu/news/children-s-hospital-celebrates-european-commission-approval-first-its-kind-gene-therapylast_img read more

Amazon hits trilliondollar milestone with focus on the long game Update

first_img Citation: Amazon hits trillion-dollar milestone with focus on the long game (Update) (2018, September 4) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-09-amazon-tops-trillion-stock.html Amazon Spheres, in Seattle, Washington, is part of the home of the online giant, which is seeking a second North American headquarters Explore further Amazon CEO and founder Jeff Bezos, seen with his wife MacKenzie Bezos, has become the world’s richest person based on his company stake but has also created a private space exploration firm and has purchased the Washington Post newspaper Amazon’s market value hit $1 trillion on Tuesday, the second company after Apple to hit the milestone, following an incredible journey for the internet giant which has kept a long-term focus since launching as an online bookseller two decades ago. For example, Amazon’s lucrative cloud computing business is built on technology infrastructure that the company needed to run its own operations.Investing in warehouses, trucking, drones, shipping and other distribution systems not only enables Amazon to drive down costs they position the company to compete with the likes of FedEx and UPS.Buying the Whole Foods grocery chain last year got Amazon established real world outlets while putting its delivery and retail smarts and systems to work in the brick-and-mortar world.Drugs and digital adsPrescription medicine would be a natural market for Amazon to expand into, according to Enderle. Meanwhile, Amazon is reportedly beefing up its digital advertising business to better compete in an online ad market dominated by Google and Facebook.In the past quarter, Amazon posted its best-ever profit of $2.5 billion as Bezos, whose stake in the company has made him the richest person, highlighted the importance of digital assistant Alexa that powers Amazon electronics along with cars, appliances and other connected devices. According to the research firm eMarketer, Amazon’s e-commerce revenue will grow more than 28 percent this year to reach $394 billion, and will account for 49 percent of US online retail sales and nearly five percent of all retail spending.One of Amazon’s revenue drivers is its Prime subscription service which offers streaming video and music, free delivery and other perks and which has more than 100 million members worldwide.Arrogance trapSome fear Amazon is becoming too dominant a force, especially in retail, sparking antitrust discussion even as the company keeps expanding globally and searches for a second headquarters in North America.”It wasn’t that long ago that people were freaking out about Walmart, and Amazon basically stepped on Walmart,” analyst Enderle said.”What Amazon means is disruption and people don’t like to be disrupted.”Critics of the company include US President Donald Trump, who has expressed ire at the Bezos-owned Washington Post newspaper that has published stories the president didn’t like.Bezos bought the Washington Post five years ago for $250 million from his personal funds.While his skills could be advantageous in the content-oriented business, getting into news comes with the risk of displeasing politicians.”The Post was a mistake because it results in him going to war with people he wouldn’t otherwise go to war with,” Enderle said.Amazon’s huge cloud computing segment powers systems for government clients, and contracts could be influenced by politics.Amazon must also guard against the kind of arrogance that can undo companies that come to dominate markets, according to the analyst.”If Amazon does have a downfall, it will be arrogance in dealing with the customer,” Enderle said. Amazon powers up profits as footprint grows Early gains lifted Amazon’s value to $1 trillion only briefly, with the final close at $2,039.51 giving it a value of $995 billion.Amazon’s journey from an online bookseller in a garage to a global e-commerce powerhouse has centered on obsession with the long road.The company initially incorporated as “Cadabra” by Jeff Bezos in 1994 and backed with money borrowed from his parents joined Apple as the second US technology firm to be valued at $1 trillion on Tuesday.Apple crossed the trillion-dollar value threshold a month ago and has remained above it. Amazon became the second US company at that eye-popping value.GlobalData Retail managing director Neil Saunders called Amazon’s valuation achievement “extraordinary” and considered it a sign of the company’s potential.”Despite its size and scale, there is still something young about Amazon,” Saunders said.”Amazon is really only just getting started.”Created in a garage in a suburb of Seattle, Washington, the company renamed “Amazon” sold its first book—Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought by Douglas Hofstadter—in mid-1995.By the end of that year, Amazon was selling books online throughout the US. Amazon went public in early 1997.The company for more than a decade put growth over profit, investing heavily in warehouses, distribution networks, and data centers.”Every cent they made they put back in the company,” said independent technology analyst Rob Enderle. “They kept their eye on the prize, which was initially to take over most of commerce.”Innovation sans scandalSaunders said Amazon’s success comes from the fact that it innovates unlike any other.”This heady pace of creativity is the key reason why it stays several steps ahead of the market and is able to generate so much growth,” Saunders said.Bezos has kept firm control of Amazon, steering clear of hedge fund investors inclined to short-term tactics aimed at getting share prices to jump.The founder and chief executive also avoided scandals or other distractions, keeping revenue and costs close enough to manage and easing into “adjacent markets” that play into Amazon strengths or interests, according to Enderle. © 2018 AFP Amazon has expanded from its modest origins two decades ago as an online bookseller to a global powerhouse worth $1 trillion This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

Air strikes on Syrian rebel enclave intensify monitor

first_img Related News BEIRUT (Reuters) – Air strikes targeted rebel-held cities in northwest Syria on Friday, a war monitor reported, widening bombardment of the last major insurgent enclave to areas that had mostly escaped it. The strikes killed three people in Idlib and three in Maarat al-Numan, two of the largest cities in the region, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported. Another nine people were killed elsewhere in the enclave, it said. President Bashar al-Assad’s government, backed by Russia, has waged a major assault against the northwestern enclave since the end of April in a battle the Observatory says has killed nearly 2,450 people. Related News World 10 Jul 2019 Assad hits a wall in Syrian war as front lines harden {{category}} {{time}} {{title}}center_img Syria’s eight-year war has killed half a million people, driven half the pre-war population of 22 million from their homes, inspired a wave of militant attacks around the globe, and dragged in regional and world powers. Aid agencies say the scale of bombardment in the north west risks further humanitarian disaster. Hundreds of thousands of people have already fled towards the Turkish border. While both Idlib city and Maarat al-Numan were heavily targeted by airstrikes in earlier phases of the war, they have not been a major focus of bombardment in recent months, with the military more focussed on hitting areas near the front lines. There was a surge of violence this week on the area of Tel Hamamiyat on the southwestern edge of the enclave, where pro-government al-Watan newspaper and rebel statements reported major fighting. A spokesman for the local government controlling most of the enclave, which is held predominantly by jihadist factions, said Friday prayers had been suspended in several cities due to the air strikes. More than two months of Assad’s Russian-backed assault in and around Idlib province have yielded little or no military gains, marking a rare case of a campaign that has not gone his way since Moscow joined his war effort in 2015.Turkey, which backs some rebel groups in northwest Syria and controls an adjacent zone along its own border, agreed a truce last year with Russia to reduce warfare around the enclave. Those areas, and the quarter of Syria east of the Euphrates river which is held by U.S.-backed Kurdish groups, are the only parts still out of Assad’s control. (Reporting by Angus McDowall in Beirut and Sarah Dadouch in Istanbul; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne) World 07 Jul 2019 Russian-led assault in Syria leaves over 500 civilians dead – rights groups, rescuers World 10 Jul 2019 Exclusive: New chemical weapons team to launch first Syria investigationslast_img read more