8 June 2017   Leave a comment

It appears as if no British party will win a majority of seats in Parliament.  So if a government is to be formed, it will have to be a coalition government, most likely one with Labor pairing with either the Liberal Democrats or the Scottish National Party (there are actually other possibilities as well, but they seem remote right now, but we shall see).  This result would not have been predicted two months ago when Prime Minister May called for a general election.  The Conservatives seemed to be poised for a stunning victory.  But Labor’s Jeremy Corbyn, who seemed to be a relic of a long-past left-wing fantasy, has pulled off a rather dramatic election.  It is hard to square this election with the Brexit vote and it augurs ill for the negotiations with the EU.

There is an interesting trade war going on between the US and Mexico.  Cane sugar and beet sugar farmers in the US want to restrict the importation of Mexican refined sugar.  That action would raise of the price of refined sugar in the US since Mexico is a more efficient producer of sugar than the US.  Mexico, however, has threatened to retaliate by limiting the importation of high fructose corn syrup from the US, a move that would damage corn farmers in the US.  The battle between two agricultural giants in the US–cane sugar vs. corn–will likely lead to increased lobbying by both and an increase in campaign contributions.  In the end, however, the losers will be American and Mexican consumers who will pay higher prices for one of those two (or, in the worst case, both) products.  We will have to monitor the outcome of the current talks between the US and Mexico.

Tracking refugees is very difficult.  Many of them move in a manner specifically designed to avoid being identified.  But many refugees use smartphones to communicate with loved ones left behind, and smartphone usage can identify the movement of refugees anonymously.  The Pew Research CenterGoogle searches in Arabic and Turkic languages has examined to determine how and when refugees move and the circumstances that determine their movement.  It is an intriguing example of how “big data” can offer an insight into social activities that are difficult to measure otherwise.

Posted June 8, 2017 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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