Survival prep, arms control, and other ways to prevent human extinction | Vox


The odds that humanity will go extinct in the near future are low — but not zero. And unless we prepare now, we could manage to turn a survivable catastrophe into one that promises doom for all of us.

That’s the basic argument of End Times: A Brief Guide to the End of the World, a comprehensive, terrifying, but ultimately hopeful new book from Bryan Walsh. A longtime reporter at Time magazine, now an editor at the science magazine OneZero, Walsh goes through every major threat to humankind’s survival, from climate change to nuclear war to “supervolcanoes,” and lays out how each could destroy us, how the threats compare to each other, and what, if anything, we can do now to prevent doom.

Source: Survival prep, arms control, and other ways to prevent human extinction – Vox

Five takeaways from Justice IG report on Comey | TheHill

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The Justice Department watchdog unveiled a report Thursday rebuking former FBI director James Comey over his handling of memos detailing his conversations with President Trump, saying he violated FBI policies.

The report from DOJ Inspector General (IG) Michael Horowitz rebutted Comey’s claims that the memos were merely personal recollections, not official FBI records, and sharply criticized the former FBI chief for mishandling sensitive information.

While highly critical of Comey’s actions, the inspector general did not make recommendations on whether the former top government official should face any charges, and Attorney General William Barr has declined to prosecute him.

Source: Five takeaways from Justice IG report on Comey | TheHill

GDIT wins $7.6B Pentagon business software cloud contract | FCW


The Pentagon’s other big cloud play — a 10-year, $8 billion email and business software buy — was awarded today to a team led by General Dynamics Information Technology.

GDIT is joined by team partners Dell Marketing L.P. and Minburn Technology Group. They’ll be integrating Department of Defense users and systems to work with the Microsoft O365 platform.

Source: GDIT wins $7.6B Pentagon business software cloud contract — FCW

Trump’s hostility to election security preparedness


The president’s hostile stance became public in April of 2019 when the Secretary of DHS Kirstjen Nielsen was told not to bring up election security in front of the president. Nielsen had been pushing for a White House-led Cabinet meeting on securing the 2020 elections. While DHS has the lead, election security crosses many federal government departments.

A Cabinet-level meeting would help put the issue front and center. But the Secretary’s attempts were foiled and she was forced out that same month.

Other parts of the federal government besides DHS are critical to election security as well—particularly the intelligence community.

Source: Trump’s hostility to election security preparedness

Corrupt anti-corruption campaigns


The crisis in the Amazon is a stark example of the damage that can be done when governments bow unequivocally to business interests. It also highlights an increasingly common phenomenon: the cynical manipulation of anti-corruption efforts to undermine democracy and advance an authoritarian political agenda.

Some conservative economists argue that corruption can be benign, or even beneficial, as it enables economic actors to bypass regulations, thereby enabling markets to function more effectively.

While there may be instances of benign corruption, the truth is that corruption corrodes markets, protects incumbents from competitive challenges by impeding the entry of new actors, destroys the moral fabric of society, and stunts economic development.

Indeed, as Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) shows, there is a strong inverse correlation between development and corruption.

Source: Corrupt anti-corruption campaigns

Connecticut Hopes to Keep Companies, Residents From Leaving | US News


The state’s struggles with retaining businesses and talent and with maintaining a balanced budget are not new. Moody’s downgraded Connecticut’s bonds in 2017, and debt obligations – particularly teacher pensions – continue to plague the budget. As people and companies leave, tax revenue declines, creating a gap in funding for expenses.

Now, a small army of Connecticut detractors is starting to unite. A Facebook group for “people who have left or are leaving Connecticut” has grown to nearly 5,000 members in three months.

Gripes about the state’s taxes and cost of living are common in the group, as are recommendations for relocation; Florida seems to be a favorite.

Source: Connecticut Hopes to Keep Companies, Residents From Leaving | Best States | US News

The Economy Turns Fickle When Trump Needs it Most | US News

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“The economy is sort of the only selling point he has, and if that starts going south, what does he have left?” says Kimberly Ann Elliott, a trade expert and nonresident fellow at the Center for Global Development.

Trump commands the support of the GOP, with 88% approval per the most recent Gallup poll. And, certainly, he has immigration retooling to run on, as well as his willingness to shake up America’s foreign policy position. But these issues have been more divisive among independents and considerably more unpopular among Democrats than his handling of the economy to this point in his presidency.

Source: The Economy Turns Fickle When Trump Needs it Most | The Civic Report | US News

Indian state on alert ahead of publication of citizenship register | Reuters


Tens of thousands of paramilitary personnel and police were deployed in India’s border state of Assam on Friday, the eve of the publication of a citizenship register that could leave millions of people stateless, many of them Muslims.

Illegal immigrants will be sent to detention centers and eventually deported to Bangladesh, the government says.

But there are no facilities to hold large numbers of people and Bangladesh has made no commitment to accept people rejected by India.

Source: Indian state on alert ahead of publication of citizenship register – Reuters

‘Where do I go?’ EU citizens face legal limbo after decades in Britain | Reuters

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Like thousands of European Union nationals who have made Britain their home after living in the country for decades, Amato always assumed she had earned the legal right to settle permanently.

But the government didn’t agree. The interior ministry rejected her request for permanent residency last year, saying she did not have enough evidence to document her status.

She was devastated.

Source: ‘Where do I go?’ EU citizens face legal limbo after decades in Britain – Reuters

Explainer: Can political unrest in Hong Kong break its currency peg? | Reuters


Three months of anti-government protests have thrown Hong Kong into its deepest crisis in decades, pounding the financial hub’s economy and stock market and adding to its Sino-U.S. trade war woes.

The forwards market suggests speculative bets on the peg breaking are building.

Twelve-month forwards HKD1YV= recently traded outside the currency’s range. Spreads in option markets have spiked to their widest in three years this month, in favor of dollar calls, suggesting investors are paying a high premium to bet on the Hong Kong dollar’s drop.

Source: Explainer: Can political unrest in Hong Kong break its currency peg? – Reuters