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We can’t ban killer robots – it’s already too late | Philip Ball
Telling international arms traders they can’t make killer robots is like telling soft-drinks makers that they can’t make orangeade

One response to the call by experts in robotics and artificial intelligence for an ban on “killer robots” (“lethal autonomous weapons systems” or Laws in the language of international treaties) is to say: shouldn’t you have thought about that sooner?

Figures such as Tesla’s CEO, Elon Musk, are among the 116 specialists calling for the ban. “We do not have long to act,” they say. “Once this Pandora’s box is opened, it will be hard to close.” But such systems are arguably already here, such as the “unmanned combat air vehicleTaranis developed by BAE and others, or the autonomous SGR-A1 sentry gun made by Samsung and deployed along the South Korean border. Autonomous tanks are in the works, while human control of lethal drones is becoming just a matter of degree.

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Police arrest at least 26 people in pre-Notting Hill carnival raids

Officers stage series of swoops across capital in crackdown on knife crime, drugs and child abuse before west London event

Police have arrested at least 26 people in a series of raids before the Notting Hill carnival.

Eight properties in Lewisham, south-east London, were searched and eight arrests made early on Tuesday morning in an intelligence-led operation.

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Police arrest at least 26 people in pre-Notting Hill carnival raids

Officers stage series of swoops across capital in crackdown on knife crime, drugs and child abuse before west London event

Police have arrested at least 26 people in a series of raids before the Notting Hill carnival.

Eight properties in Lewisham, south-east London, were searched and eight arrests made early on Tuesday morning in an intelligence-led operation.

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Cambridge University censorship U-turn is censored by China

Chinese academics commend decision to unblock access to sensitive articles, but Beijing expunges mention of the climbdown from internet

Chinese intellectuals and bloggers have celebrated Cambridge University’s decision to push back against Beijing’s draconian information controls – but Communist party censors reacted almost immediately to prevent word of the snub spreading in mainland China.

Cambridge University Press, the world’s oldest publishing house, had faced a ferocious public backlash following its admission last week that it had complied with a Chinese order to block access to more than 300 politically sensitive articles published in its journal the China Quarterly.

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Second council loses citizenship powers after moving Australia Day celebrations

Minister Alex Hawke says Greens MPs will not be allowed to circumvent ban on holding citizenship cermonies

Darebin council has been stripped of the right to hold citizenship ceremonies less than 24 hours after voting to move its Australia Day celebrations and the assistant immigration minister, Alex Hawke, says Greens MPs will not be allowed to circumvent the ban.

The Melbourne MP Adam Bandt offered to hold citizenship ceremonies for Darebin’s neighbouring council, the City of Yarra, when that council voted last week against holding citizenship ceremonies on 26 January or using the term “Australia Day” in official correspondence.

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UK public finances expected to improve in July - business live

Tax receipts set to help government borrowing figures, with CBI industrial trends and German confidence survey also due

Not much in the way of corporate news, but we do have figures from UK housebuilder Persimmon. My colleague Julia Kollewe reports:

Persimmon, one of Britain’s biggest housebuilders, says it has fared better than anticipated since last year’s Brexit vote, and is looking forward to a good autumn sales season. It posted a 30% rise in profit before tax to £457.4m in the first six months of the year.

Through the second half of 2016 the group experienced stronger market conditions than expected post the EU referendum on 23 June 2016, particularly through the traditionally slower summer weeks. Against these stronger comparatives, customer interest over the last seven weeks from 1 July has remained robust and our average weekly private sales rate per site was 2% ahead of the same period last year.

A very strong, sector leading performance from Persimmon in the first half, delivering operating margin growth of 380 basis points to 27.6%. In our view, Help to Buy is acting as a bullet proof vest for the new build sector allowing it to ride above the challenges faced by the second hand market, with Persimmon continuing to balance the markets appetite more new homes with investors desires for higher cash returns.

After a pretty gloomy day for European markets on Monday - in keeping with the weather - the prospects for today are looking a little brighter.

A slight recovery on Wall Street - helped by further weakness in the dollar - has given a bit of a lift to sentiment. In Asia the Hang Seng has climbed 1% while the Nikkei is marginally higher. Europe is expected to follow suit:

Our European opening calls:$FTSE 7346 up 27
$DAX 12101 up 35
$CAC 5098 up 11$IBEX 10384 up 24$MIB 21772 up 19

Continue reading...
Cambridge University censorship U-turn is censored by China

Chinese academics commend decision to unblock access to sensitive articles, but Beijing expunges mention of the climbdown from internet

Chinese intellectuals and bloggers have celebrated Cambridge University’s decision to push back against Beijing’s draconian information controls after Communist party censors fought to prevent word of the snub spreading in mainland China.

Cambridge University Press, the world’s oldest publishing house, had faced a ferocious public backlash following its admission last week that it had complied with a Chinese order to block access to more than 300 politically sensitive articles published in its journal the China Quarterly.

Continue reading...
UK public finances expected to improve in July - business live

Tax receipts set to help government borrowing figures, with CBI industrial trends and German confidence survey also due

Not much in the way of corporate news, but we do have figures from UK housebuilder Persimmon. My colleague Julia Kollewe reports:

Persimmon, one of Britain’s biggest housebuilders, says it has fared better than anticipated since last year’s Brexit vote, and is looking forward to a good autumn sales season. It posted a 30% rise in profit before tax to £457.4m in the first six months of the year.

Through the second half of 2016 the group experienced stronger market conditions than expected post the EU referendum on 23 June 2016, particularly through the traditionally slower summer weeks. Against these stronger comparatives, customer interest over the last seven weeks from 1 July has remained robust and our average weekly private sales rate per site was 2% ahead of the same period last year.

A very strong, sector leading performance from Persimmon in the first half, delivering operating margin growth of 380 basis points to 27.6%. In our view, Help to Buy is acting as a bullet proof vest for the new build sector allowing it to ride above the challenges faced by the second hand market, with Persimmon continuing to balance the markets appetite more new homes with investors desires for higher cash returns.

After a pretty gloomy day for European markets on Monday - in keeping with the weather - the prospects for today are looking a little brighter.

A slight recovery on Wall Street - helped by further weakness in the dollar - has given a bit of a lift to sentiment. In Asia the Hang Seng has climbed 1% while the Nikkei is marginally higher. Europe is expected to follow suit:

Our European opening calls:$FTSE 7346 up 27
$DAX 12101 up 35
$CAC 5098 up 11$IBEX 10384 up 24$MIB 21772 up 19

Continue reading...
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