Domingo, 8 de septiembre de 2019

Investidura trampa de Sánchez

En toda su majestad de gran monarca republicano, Charles de Gaulle llegó a la conclusión de que «el poder es la impotencia». No se sabe si lo coligió antes o después de apreciar la imposibilidad, según decía, de gobernar un país con 240 variedades de queso. Por ello, el padre de la Francia de la posguerra y hacedor del mito de su propia liberación del nazismo, lo que explica su ingratitud con Gran Bretaña y con Estados Unidos, era un versado estratega de hacer como si en las situaciones más inverosímiles.

Así se lo confió a Alain Peyrefitte, ministro, confidente y biógrafo suyo, tras declarar Argelia su independencia en 1962.…  Seguir leyendo »

Latinajos

Mi liberada:

En enero de 1918 Ramón Menéndez Pidal escribió una carta a El Sol en protesta por que el periódico diera el nombre de América Latina a una de sus secciones de política internacional. El filólogo creía que ese nombre desleía la presencia española en el continente. Elvira Roca (Imperofobia, pag. 413) data la acuñación en 1856 y señala dos candidatos: el filósofo chileno exiliado en Francia, Francisco Bilbao, y el poeta colombiano José María Torres Caicedo. El sintagma arraigó por el interés de Francia y de la política expansionista de Napoleón III: latina colaba la influencia francesa, que se reducía a Haití y parte de las Antillas.…  Seguir leyendo »

Un dirigente al que solo le importa ganar

La cólera. Menin aeide, thea, Peleiadeo Achileos, “Canta la cólera, oh diosa, de Aquiles Pelida”. Esta es la primera palabra de la primera frase de la primera escena de la Ilíada, el poema épico de Homero: menin. Es la cólera con la que Boris Johnson intenta explicarlo todo: el significado de Homero, el de la Grecia clásica y el de la democracia que nos ha legado esta herencia.

Boris Johnson está en el escenario del Salón Central de Westminster. A su espalda, el imponente órgano; frente a él, la sala repleta. Sostiene en la mano el manuscrito con su intervención haciéndolo revolotear, pero el comienzo de la Ilíada lo cita de memoria.…  Seguir leyendo »

Cuando hace apenas unas semanas conocí la noticia del fallecimiento de João Gilberto, instintivamente me vino a la mente el famoso verso con el que John Keats abre su poema Edimión: «A thing of beauty is a joy forever» («Es lo bello -tradujo entre nosotros Mariá Manent- alegría para siempre»). Porque la guitarra y la voz de João Gilberto han sido y son en mi vida, como seguro que en otras muchas, fuente y remanso de felicidad y porque sus interpretaciones y grabaciones constituyen un legado de inagotable belleza para las generaciones futuras.

A João Gilberto se le conoce mundialmente por ser, junto con Antonio Carlos Jobim y Vinicius de Morais, padre de la Bossa Nova.…  Seguir leyendo »

Novia a la fuga

Una de las sensaciones de la rentrée están siendo los piropos que Pablo Iglesias dedica, fuera de cámara y micrófono, a Albert Rivera, después de haberle convertido en el blanco preferido de sus vituperios durante los últimos años. Ya no es ni «fascista», ni «joseantoniano», ni siquiera «don Cuñado». Según el líder de Podemos, su colega de Ciudadanos está haciendo una demostración de coraje personal, al defender la «autonomía» de la política, frente a los «grupos de presión económicos y mediáticos» que le instan a abstenerse en la investidura de Sánchez.

Iglesias sostiene, además, que Rivera está actuando de forma «coherente», al supeditarlo todo a su pretensión de arrebatar al PP el «liderazgo de la derecha».…  Seguir leyendo »

Former Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe is seen at the closing ceremony of the 28th Southern African Development Community summit of heads of state and government, in Johannesburg, South Africa, on Aug. 17, 2008. (Jerome Delay/AP)

Glowing tributes of Zimbabwe’s strongman and former longtime ruler, Robert Mugabe, have been pouring in since he died Friday morning. Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta called Mugabe a “shining beacon of Africa’s liberation,” while South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said, “We remember him as a towering leader of a struggle for independence of the people of Zimbabwe” and “as an outstanding leader on the African continent.”

This praise may come as a surprise, particularly in the West, given Mugabe’s infamous record of human rights abuses. Yet the glaring reality is that, for Zimbabweans, Mugabe’s legacy is more complicated than many abroad would think.…  Seguir leyendo »

In Zimbabwe, former president Robert Mugabe has died, but the institutional legacies that helped shape his long and repressive regime live on. In 2019, the current economic crisis under President Emmerson Mnangagwa — created by a mix of drought and bad monetary policies — has led to mass unrest and new signs of repression.

A wave of protests that began after a 130 percent rise in fuel prices in January continued throughout the year. The government response has grown increasingly violent, with reports that security forces were beating and detaining protesters. In August, the crackdown escalated with the arrest of members of the Rural Teachers Union who were campaigning for wage increases.…  Seguir leyendo »

The Armar-6 humanoid robot takes part in a warehouse assistant demonstration at the CeBIT 2018 tech fair in Hanover, Germany, on 11 June 2018. Photo: Getty Images.

What examples are there of AI helping to solve some of the world’s problems?

A couple of examples that I find motivating are areas where AI is being used to provide healthcare, where human support might be quite restrictive or not enough. AI can also improve accuracy rates to help more people in a safer manner.

Another example is a product we’ve developed at AI for Good called rAInbow, where we’ve built an AI tool to help detect early signs of domestic violence and abuse. It’s an issue that affects one in three women, whether it’s physical, sexual, psychological or financial abuse.…  Seguir leyendo »

EU and Ukraine flags in Lviv town hall. Photo via Getty Images.

Since the Euromaidan revolution in the winter of 2013–14, the EU has adopted a significantly more strategic approach to reform in Ukraine, in order to address fundamental weaknesses within Ukrainian state institutions.

The EU Commission of 2014–19 launched a number of major innovations to support Ukraine, which represented a step-change in EU support for domestic reforms in a neighbouring country.

The most significant of these was the creation of the Support Group for Ukraine (SGUA), a special taskforce for delivering assistance and supporting Ukraine, which became operational during Jean-Claude Juncker presidency of the Commission. The SGUA, led by Peter Wagner since 2016, consists of 35-40 officials who have developed an in-depth knowledge of Ukraine and have experimented with new approaches in supporting reforms.…  Seguir leyendo »

Sales of papal-pictured capulanas have been brisk. Photo: Chatham House.

Pope Francis’ visit to Mozambique on 4–6 September comes at a critical political moment. The theme for the papal Africa trip (which also includes Madagascar and Mauritius) is ‘pilgrim of hope, peace and reconciliation’. This is especially relevant for Mozambique, as this is the first week of the official campaign for Mozambique’s sixth national elections on 15 October.

It is also the one-month anniversary of the Maputo Accords for Peace and Reconciliation between the government and the armed opposition, RENAMO (and the fifth anniversary of the previous such agreement in 2014).

What is unusual is that the pope accepted to visit Mozambique just after a peace accord and in the run-up to national elections.…  Seguir leyendo »

Emmanuel Macron and Vladimir Putin during a meeting at the Fort de Bregancon, a summer residence of the president of France. Photo by Alexei Druzhinin\TASS via Getty Images.

There is no world leader with a more contradictory attitude toward Russia than Emmanuel Macron.

The French president was ostensibly the ‘least apologist’ candidate of those running in the first round of the 2017 elections. Compared to the Russian-funded Marine Le Pen on one end of the spectrum, and the radical leftist Jean-Luc Mélenchon on the other, Macron seemed a model of moderation.

To the Kremlin, he must have been perceived as the least desirable candidate for its interests, which is why they hacked the servers of his party, En Marche, just prior to the vote in a last-ditch attempt to derail the campaign.…  Seguir leyendo »

View of the Amazon rainforest in smoke. Photo: Getty Images.

The circular bioeconomy is an emerging model for more sustainable industrial development. It combines two key sustainability concepts. First, it involves using more renewable and bio-based resources for value-added products, like food, energy, chemicals and materials, by utilizing organic waste streams from forestry and agriculture, while biodegradable products are returned to the environment and thereby re-enter the nutrient cycle.

Second, it keeps those sustainable materials and products in use longer through sharing, reusing, remanufacturing and recycling – instead of throwing them away after a single use.

A third important part of a circular bioeconomy is that of cascading the use of biomass resources.…  Seguir leyendo »