On Friday, British Prime Minister Theresa May will deliver a speech at Belfast’s Waterfront Hall. Its contents have been widely leaked. May is set to denounce the “backstop” her government negotiated with the European Union as part of the Brexit agreement. She will say that the proposal would breach the Belfast Agreement that secured peace in Northern Ireland and leave the people of Northern Ireland without any representation in trade negotiations. She will say that “the economic and constitutional dislocation of a formal ‘third country’ customs border within our own country is something I will never accept and I believe no British prime minister could ever accept.… Seguir leyendo »
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The European Commission, which administers antitrust policy in the European Union, has just hit Google with a record fine of 4.34 billion euros ($5 billion U.S.). This fine is intended to punish Google for the way in which it has structured the market for its operating system. Here’s what you need to know.
The massive fine is for “tying” the operating system to specific applications.
Android is the operating system used by most smartphones that aren’t manufactured by Apple. It is, in principle, an “open source” operating system, which allows phone manufacturers to modify it in various ways. For example, Samsung’s popular Galaxy phones run Android but use a “skin” and various Samsung-branded applications to differentiate it from competitors’ products.… Seguir leyendo »
An Irish Times exit poll says Ireland has voted to repeal the constitutional provision banning abortion with a crushing majority. The poll says that 68 percent voted yes and 32 percent voted against. People on both sides had expected a yes vote over the past couple of days; few had expected that the margin would be so decisive. Of course, the exit poll may be wrong, but it is hard to imagine that it could be wrong enough to call the final result into question.
It’s not just the big cities that voted yes
Ireland, like the United States, has very different patterns of voting in urban areas and in the countryside.… Seguir leyendo »
The dead babies scandal in Ireland has taken a new turn, as investigators have confirmed that significant quantities of human remains in two underground structures, one a decommissioned septic tank. A sampling of the remains suggested that they were from human infants, ranging from foetuses at approximately 35 weeks of development to children 3 years old. These remains seem to date from the 1925 to 1961 period when a Catholic order of nuns, the Bon Secour sisters, ran a home for unmarried mothers on the premises.
Early reports suggested a mass grave for 800 babies
When this scandal first broke in 2014, much reportage, including two stories published by The Washington Post claimed that the bodies of 800 babies had been discovered in a disused septic tank.… Seguir leyendo »
The chief political aide of Marine Le Pen, the leader of France’s far-right National Front party and candidate for the French presidential election, has just been put under investigation by French magistrates. If the charges are correct, the National Front leader has been cheating on European Parliament expenses to pay her bodyguard and her chief political aide for jobs they didn’t do.
This may sound strange. The National Front, like other European far-right parties, is virulently hostile to the European Union — so why is it able to use European Union resources to build itself up? Yet as we discuss in a new research article for the Review of International Political Economy, the National Front is far from unique.… Seguir leyendo »