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  • By: Vincent van den Born
  • Facebook’s new rules requiring “all advertisers to register in the country where they wish to purchase political advertising,” were waived for the EU elections this month after EU officials complained about “encroachment upon fundamental EU rights and freedoms.” The rules were installed to prevent ‘foreign influence’ on elections.
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  • By: Willem Cornax
  • Fake news remains hot. Recent cases in the UK show old media creating fake news as well, seemingly based on the political outlook of their targets. If these cases are not treated in the same manner by social media platforms, they show the fight against fake news to be political in nature. What to do?
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  • By: Vincent van den Born
  • In December 2017, there was a “massive fight”, with residents again using bats and knives. One person was hospitalised, several wounded, seven arrested. The unrest persisted. Another ‘incident’ a year later made it into the national press: twenty residents used sticks and knives and threw tiles in another “massive fight”. Again one of them was hospitalised. Six arrests were made. In 2018, a resident was sentenced to 15 months in jail for mutilating another resident with a knive the year before, lacerating his face from the mouth to the ear. A 15 centimeter cut.
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  • By: Vincent van den Born
  • Among the FRA’s findings are that 70% of respondents believe that government does not combat antisemitism effectively. More shockingly, that “people face so much antisemitic abuse that some of the incidents they experience appear trivial to them.” Almost 8 out of 10 respondents (79%) do not even report incidents, with the reason most given (in 48% of cases) feeling that it won’t make a change if they did.
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  • By: Vincent van den Born
  • As ESA’s website explains, its Planetary Defence Office is an “essential element” in ESA’s safety-related activities. It’s stated goals:Become aware of the current and future position of near-Earth objects relative to our planetEstimate the likelihood of Earth impactsAssess the consequences of any possible impactInform relevant parties, e.g. national emergency response agenciesDevelop methods to deflect any risky asteroids
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  • By: Vincent van den Born
  • “Finally, a nation also exists by virtue of its limits and borders. I believe very deeply in an open patriotism, in a France that is radiant internationally and conquering, but to be open, we have to have limits. To welcome people in a house, you need to have borders, and it is necessary they are respected, rules are needed. And today, one is forced to conclude that these things are not as they should be. First, on a European level, we have decided to have a common border, the famous Schengen Area, ruled by the Dublin Agreements. That doesn’t work anymore.”
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  • By: Vincent van den Born
  • Appended to the email refusing publication were new editorial guidelines prescribing an “appropriate use of language and sensitivity to sociocultural norms.” According to the new criteria, ‘sleeping beauties’ is “a clear violation of sociocultural norms.” Professor Van Raan calls the decision “Bizar. I refuse to capitulate for this political correctness gone wild.” He states that the ban is a typical example of things being carried too far on American campus-universities and”a measure you can only expect in a DDR-like police state.”
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  • By: Vincent van den Born
  • English newspaper The Daily Telegraph published an article on 15 April in which Lucy Noble, artistic director of the Royal Albert Hall, blamed the dominance of ‘white male titans’ for the lack of interest in classical music among young people. Although her plea for attention for music by women and minorities is valid, she throws out the baby with the bathwater by making artistic values subservient to political considerations. Widening the canon isn’t enough, the canon itself has to go.
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  • By: Vincent van den Born
  • The Mission of Brunei Darussalam wrote an aide memoir to present its point of view. It starts by stressing that Islam is Brunei’s official religion and that “strong religious values with rich heritage of tradition and culture, form the very foundation of the unique Bruneian identity (…) which are important to be preserved.” The document continues by Brunei asserting its sovereignty and the right to enforce laws “reflecting our own cultural and religious values.”
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  • By: Vincent van den Born
  • Spanish authorities report that 6.000 unaccompanied youths came into the country in 2018. Spain now has 12.500 under-age illegal migrants on register, the vast majority from Morocco, double the number of the previous year and it is expected to rise further throughout 2019. Thousands of them stray into the rest of Europe, looking for a residence permit: the number of official registered as having gone ‘missing’ is now 5.950.
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  • By: Vincent van den Born
  • The EU did give money to the EHT. But it did so through the European Research Council, not through the ESA as one would assume going on the information given. The EU provided about €34.3 million in funding (€14 million for the BlackHoleCam-project and another €30.3 for the RadioNet-project). A rather long list of other institutions providing funding suggests that the claim that it wouldn’t have happened without the EU is rather facetious.
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