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World News Daily(2024-07-09) : French Political Instability due to Election Uncertainty

French Political Instability due to Election Uncertainty

Macron retained Prime Minister Gabriel Attal after a chaotic election. No clear winner emerged; left, center, and right all fell short. The New Popular Front led but did not secure a majority. The far-right National Rally came in third. Despite a high voter turnout, France now faces a hung parliament, possibly leading to political gridlock.

This outcome has broader implications beyond French politics. It could affect the war in Ukraine, global diplomacy, and Europe's economy. Germany, a key partner, expressed relief that the far right did not dominate.

Attal planned to resign but will remain for now. His disagreement with Macron's decision to hold early elections highlights internal tensions. France's political uncertainty looms large, especially with the Paris Olympics approaching.

In summary, France's political landscape is fractured, with far-reaching implications. The stability of Europe and beyond hangs in the balance.



Barcelona's Plan to Ban Airbnb Rentals to Address Housing Crisis

Barcelona plans to ban short-term rentals by November 2028. Mayor Jaume Collboni aims to reclaim 10,000 Airbnb apartments for long-term housing, addressing the city's severe housing crisis. This move reflects a global trend scrutinizing platforms like Airbnb and VRBO, questioning the balance between tourism and local welfare.

Critics blame Airbnb for inflating housing prices, forcing locals to endure unregulated hotel-like environments. However, a Harvard Business Review study suggests that outright bans might not lower rents significantly. In New York City, the ban led to record hotel rates, averaging $300 per night.

City councils may prioritize local sentiments over tourism, using bans to signal political responsiveness. Alternatives like Berlin's 90-day rental limit for owner-occupiers exist, balancing supplementary income for part-time hosts with housing stability.

The challenge lies in effective regulation. How to implement and fund such measures remains crucial. The debate continues, not just about numbers, but about community well-being and tourism's role.


UN Official Welcomes Two-Week Truce in Congo Amid Alarming Violence

The top U.N. official in Congo, Bintou Keita, welcomed a two-week truce in the east, where violence is at "alarming levels." She hopes for a permanent ceasefire. Keita expressed concern over M23 rebel group's rapid expansion and attacks, despite Congolese army operations supported by U.N. peacekeepers and southern Africa forces.

Keita accused Rwanda of supporting M23, enabling territorial gains and risking a wider regional conflict. She also criticized other armed groups for "horrific attacks" causing hundreds of deaths and injuries.

Congo's President Felix Tshisekedi accuses Rwanda of military backing for M23, which Rwanda denies. U.S. deputy ambassador Stephanie Sullivan called Rwanda's support for M23 "irresponsible" and expressed alarm at the conflict's rapid escalation.

Sullivan urged Rwanda and Congo to de-escalate, commit to diplomatic processes, and hold accountable those responsible for human rights abuses. She commended the two-week truce, facilitated by the U.S. and Angola, and pledged to monitor it.

Congolese and Rwandan ambassadors exchanged accusations at the U.N. Security Council meeting. Congo's ambassador called for Rwandan troops' withdrawal and sanctions on Rwanda for supporting M23. Rwanda's ambassador claimed Congo failed to protect Congolese Tutsis and reiterated the need to address the FDLR rebel group's threat.


Myanmar Military's Escalating Bombings on Civilians

Myanmar Military's Escalating Bombings on Civilians

Myanmar's military, relentless, bombs civilians daily. 2024, a record year: 819 airstrikes, 359 dead, 756 wounded. Sanctions on jet fuel, meant to halt this, failed. U.S., Australia, Canada, EU, U.K. tried, but Myanmar adapted, sourced fuel from China, Malaysia, Vietnam. Amnesty International calls these bombings war crimes.

Jet A1 fuel, crucial for airstrikes, slipped through sanctions. Myanmar, lacking refining capacity, relies on imports. Singapore, main supplier, cut ties. Thailand emerged, supplying fuel via two companies, two banks. Swan Energy, a Yangon trader, claimed 100% market share, importing 10,000 tonnes monthly.

The military, embattled, doubles airstrikes, losing ground to insurgents. Civilians pay the price, caught in escalating violence. International efforts, fragmented, prove insufficient. Myanmar's military, undeterred, continues its campaign, indifferent to global outcry.


UK Chancellor Aims to Boost Economy with Housing and Wind Farm Reforms

UK Chancellor Aims to Boost Economy with Housing and Wind Farm Reforms

New Chancellor Rachel Reeves aims to kickstart Britain's economy and tackle housing shortages. In her first speech, she highlighted reforms in the planning system and lifted the ban on new onshore wind farms. Reeves plans to restore mandatory housing targets and cut red tape to boost housebuilding.

Labour's goal is to build 1.5 million homes, aiming for 300,000 annually. This push follows a period of economic stagnation post-Brexit, pandemic, and global inflation. Reeves emphasized Britain as a safe investment haven and set a target for the highest sustained growth in the G7.

The party also plans to raise £7.35 billion by closing tax loopholes and create a £7.3 billion National Wealth Fund for key industries. Reeves confirmed no changes to the Bank of England's reserve treatment.

Reeves' approach signals a decisive shift towards economic recovery and growth, focusing on housing and business investment.



Southeast Asia's Largest EV Charging Hub to be Built in Singapore

Southeast Asia's Largest EV Charging Hub to be Built in Singapore

Volt Singapore, part of Keppel, plans to build Southeast Asia's largest EV charging hub. Set in western Singapore, it will host 80 fast-charging points for buses, taxis, and cars. The hub aims to be operational by mid-2026, supporting Singapore's goal to phase out combustion engine vehicles by 2040.

The project, awarded by ComfortDelGro, involves a 15-year contract. Details on the contract's value were not disclosed. Charging times will be as quick as 10 minutes, thanks to 360 kW and 120 kW charging points.

EV adoption in Singapore is growing. From January to May, EVs made up nearly one-third of new car registrations, almost doubling from 2023. Volt, a joint venture between Keppel Infrastructure and Wanbang Digital Energy, is keen on promoting sustainable transportation.

Singapore is pushing for greener commercial transport. ComfortDelGro aims to switch 90% of its cars and 50% of its buses to cleaner energy by 2030. Grab, another Singapore-based company, plans to replace its ride-hailing fleet with low-emission vehicles by the same year.

By 2030, Singapore expects to have 60,000 EV chargers, up from over 7,100 currently.



Oppenheimer Raises S&P 500 Target to 5,900

Oppenheimer's Stoltzfus raises S&P 500 target to 5,900. AI is driving a market shift, reducing fear and emphasizing long-term focus. Nvidia leads gains, up 154% this year. Anticipates Fed rate cuts by late 2024. Recommends investing in technology and industrials.


German Government's Bitcoin Sales Cause Market Volatility

German Government's Bitcoin Sales Cause Market Volatility

Germany's government has been selling large amounts of bitcoin, causing market volatility. The sales began last month, with the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) selling 900 bitcoins in June, followed by additional sales of 3,000 and 2,739 bitcoins in subsequent weeks. These sales, along with others from the collapsed exchange Mt. Gox, have pushed bitcoin's price down.

The German government seized nearly 50,000 bitcoins in 2024 from a movie piracy site, worth around $2.2 billion at the time. Currently, the BKA holds about 32,488 bitcoins, valued at roughly $1.9 billion. Some, like Bundestag member Joana Cotar, argue the government should hold onto bitcoin as a strategic reserve currency rather than sell it.

Despite the significant sales, bitcoin's overall market remains large, with around 19.7 million bitcoins in circulation, worth $1.1 trillion. The impact of these sales on bitcoin's price underscores the cryptocurrency's sensitivity to large-scale transactions and government actions.


Ariane 6 Rocket's Historic Launch: Europe's Return to Heavy-Lift Capabilities

Ariane 6 Rocket's Historic Launch: Europe's Return to Heavy-Lift Capabilities

On July 9, 2024, Europe's Ariane 6 rocket will launch from French Guiana, carrying nearly 12 satellites and experimental devices. This marks Europe's return to heavy-lift rockets. The launch is scheduled for 2 PM Eastern Time.

Ariane 6 has been highly anticipated, originally intended as a successor to the Ariane 5, which retired a year ago. The first flight of Ariane 6 will last 2 hours, 51 minutes, and 40 seconds. It will showcase the rocket's capability to reignite its second stage up to four times, enabling precise payload placement in various orbits and reducing space debris.

The rocket will carry 11 international payloads, including satellites and experimental units. Notably, two space capsules will return intact to Earth, providing valuable data for future spacecraft design.

Ariane 6 will launch in two configurations: A62 with two solid rocket boosters and A64 with four. These boosters, combined with a Vulcain 2.1 engine, will provide 350 tons of thrust. The second stage will utilize the Vinci engine to propel the rocket and its 10,350 kg payload into low Earth orbit.

Success for Ariane 6 could revitalize Europe's heavy-lift capabilities, offering flights at a lower cost than Ariane 5. However, competition from SpaceX and others presents a significant challenge.

The launch will be live-streamed by ESA, with options for French, German, and annotation-free broadcasts.



DotaMath: Advanced Mathematical Reasoning with Code Assistance

DotaMath, a new approach to complex math problems, breaks them down into simpler parts. It uses code to solve these parts, checks its work, and corrects mistakes. Trained on a large dataset of math questions and answers, DotaMath models perform well on tests, even outperforming other models. The method shows promise for tackling tough math challenges. Code is available online for anyone to use.


Baidu Netdisk launches the Apple Vision Pro version, supporting VR and 4K video.

Baidu Netdisk launches an Apple Vision Pro version, supporting VR and 4K video. The first AI storage application arrives on VisionOS. The new version offers 16TB of space and super membership privileges. Baidu Netdisk previously apologized for the "Incentive Plan" and has since updated the version.

VisionOS: Apple's virtual reality operating system. VR: Virtual reality technology, providing immersive experiences.


Pestle App Enhances Recipe Management with On-Device AI

Pestle, a recipe app, now grabs recipes from Instagram Reels using on-device AI. This move bypasses OpenAI's ChatGPT, aiming for speed and privacy.

Will Bishop, Pestle's creator, started the app to simplify recipe hunting online. He found recipe sites cluttered and slow, often hiding the actual recipe under ads and stories. Pestle lets users save recipes directly from web browsers on iOS, organizing them neatly.

The new feature responds to user demand for saving recipes from Instagram. Bishop avoided using ChatGPT due to slow response times and privacy concerns. Instead, he opted for on-device machine learning, which processes recipes in under a second.

To use this feature, share a Reel with Pestle, similar to saving from the web. The app also imports plain-text recipes. Pestle's updates are free on iOS, with subscription options unlocking additional features like meal planning and shopping list integrations.


OSIRIS-REx Asteroid Sample: Clues to Life's Origins

OSIRIS-REx Asteroid Sample: Clues to Life's Origins

NASA's OSIRIS-REx mission successfully returned 121.6 grams of asteroid Bennu. Initial analysis indicates that the sample is abundant in carbon, nitrogen, and organic compounds—essential elements for life as we understand it. The sample also contains pristine magnesium-sodium phosphate, a first for any meteorite.

Bennu's composition suggests a history involving water, possibly originating from a small, ancient oceanic world. This discovery prompts questions about how these elements aggregated and provides insights into Bennu's past.

The asteroid's elements closely match those of the Sun, remaining unchanged since the formation of the solar system. This makes Bennu a time capsule, offering a window into the early solar system and potentially the prebiotic chemistry that preceded life on Earth.

Dante Lauretta, the principal investigator of OSIRIS-REx, highlights the significance of studying these materials, which are vital for understanding the solar system's formation and the origins of life.

In the coming years, various laboratories will analyze Bennu's sample, anticipating further insights into the origins and evolution of Earth-like planets.


Video Game

Nintendo participates in BitSummit Drift and releases a new game.

Nintendo will participate in the BitSummit Drift event from July 19th to 21st, showcasing 12 games, including two unannounced new titles. Additionally, Nintendo plans to release a new installment of "The Legend of Zelda" on September 26th, along with a limited edition Lite console. Switch 2 games will support DLSS, but Nintendo will not mandate its activation. The online services for Wii U and 3DS will terminate in April next year.


Fallout London Mod Nears Completion

Fallout London Mod Nears Completion

Fallout London, a substantial mod for Fallout 4, edges closer to launch. Team FOLON signals completion near, focusing now on final checks.

"Quality assurance" ensures the product meets standards before public release. Think of it as a final polish on a piece of fine furniture.



Skydance Acquires Paramount for $8 Billion

Skydance Acquires Paramount for $8 Billion

Skydance, a media company, has just acquired Paramount for $8 billion.

Skydance now oversees Paramount's extensive film library, studio facilities, and production resources.

This acquisition significantly alters the entertainment industry, combining Skydance's technology-driven methods with Paramount's renowned heritage.

Impact: Anticipate groundbreaking films, enhanced global distribution, and a new chapter in Hollywood's competitive landscape.


ChatGPT Outperforms Humans in Comedy Writing, Study Finds

ChatGPT Outperforms Humans in Comedy Writing, Study Finds

In a study from USC, ChatGPT 3.5 outperformed humans in creating comedy. Drew Gorenz and Norbert Schwarz pitted the AI against people in comedy tasks. ChatGPT's jokes received higher scores, with 69.5% finding them funnier.

The AI's success challenges the idea that humor requires human emotion. It suggests that machines can replicate the essence of comedy—timing, originality, and wit. This raises concerns for comedy writers, as AI could potentially rival their craft.

The study also examined ChatGPT's ability to generate satirical headlines. The results were mixed, with some preferring the AI's output and others favoring the originals. This indicates that AI can match, if not surpass, human creativity in comedy.

For the entertainment industry, this shift is significant. It blurs the line between human and machine creativity. As AI continues to evolve, it may redefine what we find amusing and who we turn to for laughs.



AI Model Estimates Lung Function from Chest X-rays

Highly accurate AI model estimates lung function from chest X-rays.

This technology bypasses traditional lung function tests. It analyzes X-rays to predict lung health. The AI's precision rivals invasive methods.

Lung function tests typically require breathing into a device. This new approach simplifies the process. It offers a non-invasive alternative.

The implications are vast. Early detection of lung issues becomes more accessible. Healthcare delivery could shift towards preventive care.

AI in medicine continues to advance. This model is a testament to its potential. It promises efficiency and accuracy in diagnostics.

In essence, this AI tool enhances lung health assessment. It paves the way for more streamlined medical practices. The future of healthcare looks brighter with such innovations.


Early Autism Diagnosis Possible Through Stool Samples

Early Autism Diagnosis Possible Through Stool Samples

Scientists have discovered variations in gut microbes between autistic and non-autistic children, which could pave the way for a simple stool test to diagnose autism early.

Presently, autism diagnosis can take three to four years, with most children being diagnosed at age six. Professor Qi Su's team has developed a method to diagnose autism in children under four using a panel of microbiome biomarkers.

Autism rates have increased due to heightened awareness and expanded diagnostic criteria. In the UK, approximately one in 100 people are on the autism spectrum. While genetic factors are significant, other contributors include older parents, birth complications, and environmental exposures.

Su's team examined stool samples from 1,627 children aged one to 13. They identified 51 types of bacteria, 18 viruses, 14 archaea, seven fungi, and a dozen metabolic pathways that were altered in autistic children. Through machine learning, they were able to accurately identify autistic children with 82% accuracy.

The study indicates that the microbiome may influence the severity of autism, potentially enabling personalized interventions such as dietary changes or probiotics to enhance gut diversity.

Dr. Dominic Farsi acknowledges the potential of this approach but emphasizes the need for further research. Dr. Elizabeth Lund stresses the importance of quicker, more automated diagnostic methods to address current backlogs and clinician shortages.

The team is currently investigating whether stool samples can diagnose autism in one-year-old children.



Yaroslava Mahuchikh Breaks Women's High Jump World Record

Yaroslava Mahuchikh, Ukraine's high jump star, broke the world record in Paris. She leaped 2.10 meters, surpassing Stefka Kostadinova's 1987 mark of 2.09. Mahuchikh, 22, felt capable of this feat beforehand. She secured victory after clearing 2.03 meters, then set a Ukrainian record with 2.07 meters. The final jump, 2.10 meters, was a first-try success.

Diamond League: A prestigious annual series of track and field competitions.


Spain vs. France: Euro 2024 Semifinal Showdown

Spain and France clash in Munich for the Euro 2024 semifinal. Spain leads in scoring, netting 11 goals. France, with Kylian Mbappé masked due to a broken nose, has scored only through own goals and a penalty.

Spain remains undefeated, while France struggled in the group stages. Spain's Pedri is out with a knee injury, and Carvajal and Le Normand are suspended. France's Marcus Thuram is cleared to play.

Both Spain and France have tight defenses, each conceding three goals. The historical matchup favors Spain, leading 16-13 in wins.

France's Deschamps and Spain's de la Fuente are confident. Mbappé is praised for his leadership. The match promises intensity and tactical battles.



King Arthur Baking Co. Navigates Pandemic Challenges and Future Plans

King Arthur Baking Co., America's oldest flour company, founded in 1790, faced a surge in demand during the pandemic. CEO Karen Colberg navigated the crisis by leveraging the company's strengths: a robust mail-order business and extensive online baking resources.

The pandemic boosted home baking, a trend that persists. King Arthur responds by expanding its product line, including gluten-free options and bread mix kits, aiming to diversify beyond flour.

Employee ownership since 2004 fosters a collaborative culture. Colberg highlights the benefits of shared leadership, emphasizing humility and open communication.

Looking ahead, King Arthur plans to open baking schools nationwide, starting in 2026, to capitalize on the growing interest in artisan baking.