Hong Kong leader says she would ‘quit’ if she could, fears her ability to resolve crisis now ‘very limited’ | Reuters


Embattled Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said she has caused “unforgivable havoc” by igniting the political crisis engulfing the city and would quit if she had a choice, according to an audio recording of remarks she made last week to a group of businesspeople.

At the closed-door meeting, Lam told the group that she now has “very limited” room to resolve the crisis because the unrest has become a national security and sovereignty issue for China amid rising tensions with the United States.

Source: Special Report: Hong Kong leader says she would ‘quit’ if she could, fears her ability to resolve crisis now ‘very limited’ – Reuters

U.S., France, Britain may be complicit in Yemen war crimes, U.N. report says | Reuters


The United States, Britain and France may be complicit in war crimes in Yemen by arming and providing intelligence and logistics support to a Saudi-led coalition that starves civilians as a war tactic, the United Nations said on Tuesday.

U.N. investigators recommended that all states impose a ban on arms transfers to the warring parties to prevent them from being used to commit serious violations.

Source: U.S., France, Britain may be complicit in Yemen war crimes, U.N. report says – Reuters

Brexit showdown: British lawmakers bid to block PM leaving EU with no deal | Reuters

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British lawmakers will on Tuesday try to stop Boris Johnson from pursuing what they cast as a calamitous no-deal Brexit, a challenge a senior government source said would prompt the prime minister to call for a snap election on Oct. 14.

More than three years since the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union in a referendum, the outcome of the Brexit crisis remains uncertain with a range of options from a turbulent no-deal exit to abandoning the entire endeavor.

Source: Brexit showdown: British lawmakers bid to block PM leaving EU with no deal – Reuters

Slave to sachets: How poverty worsens the plastics crisis in the Philippines | Reuters

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No one lives on the island, yet each morning its shores are covered in garbage, much of it single-use sachets of shampoo, toothpaste, detergent and coffee that are carried out to sea by the rivers of overcrowded Manila.

“We collect mostly plastics here and the number one type are sachets,” said Gualva, one of 17 people employed by the environment agency to help preserve the island and its forest.

The agency, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), calls them “Mangrove Warriors”, and pays them slightly above $8 per day.

Source: Slave to sachets: How poverty worsens the plastics crisis in the Philippines – Reuters

A climate-change frontier in the world’s northernmost town | Reuters

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“We are losing the Svalbard we know. We are losing the Arctic as we know it because of climate change,” he says amid the constant crackle and trickle of the ice dissolving. “This is a forewarning of all the hardship and problems that will spread around the planet.”

Since 1970, average annual temperatures have risen by 4 degrees Celsius in Svalbard, with winter temperatures rising more than 7 degrees, according to a report released by the Norwegian Centre for Climate Services in February.

The “Climate in Svalbard 2100” report also warns that the annual mean air temperature in Svalbard is projected to increase by 7 to 10 degrees Celsius by the end of this century.

Source: A climate-change frontier in the world’s northernmost town | The Wider Image | Reuters

Singapore hotels see best month in years amid Hong Kong turmoil | Reuters


Singapore’s hotel occupancy rates have climbed to their highest in over a decade as travelers and business events switched from Hong Kong, where pro-democracy protests have slammed tourist numbers and wider business sentiment.

Source: Singapore hotels see best month in years amid Hong Kong turmoil – Reuters

What Russian Chatbots Think About Us | Defense One


We’re told that androids can dream of electric sheep. But what do chatbots think about humans? A group of Russian scientists decided to find out.

The Platforma Center for Social Projection, a private organization that specializes in sociological research, recently conducted the first survey of sophisticated Russian and foreign chatbots — voice assistants that use artificial intelligence to learn with and from the user.

Inspired by the many amusing YouTube videos that show chatbots arguing with each other, the Platforma researchers decided to do the same. They launched a set of bot interactions intended to draw out the chatbots’ “world view,” “value positions,” and “ideas about the future” — “in other words, the set of stereotypes that the neural network selects from the entire array of available information, responding to audience requests,” as they wrote.

Source: What Russian Chatbots Think About Us – Defense One

Executing the US Africa Strategy, At Sea | Defense One


The U.S. Africa Strategy and the Defense Department’s Strategy for Africa provide a framework for engagement with African nations to help them create a “self-reliant, stable, and prosperous continent.”

In alignment with these strategies, U.S. Naval Forces Africa, or NAVAF, postures our forces in strategic locations to improve maritime security and helps our African partner navies and coast guards to improve their own abilities to identify and deal with threats.

First and foremost, our goal is to work with African maritime nations to enable African solutions to African problems.

Source: Executing the US Africa Strategy, At Sea – Defense One

How The Real Time Payments Revolution is Pushing Mastercard Beyond Cards | Fortune


“We’ve built a business over 50 years in credit cards, and making something complex really simple,” Michael Miebach, Mastercard’s chief product and innovation officer, tells Fortune.

“But if we want to be a relevant partner to our customers, we cannot just say that cards are the answer to everything. It comes down to solving the needs of an individual customer; if they want speed in payments, we need instant payments.”

It is this strategy that has guided a slew of acquisitions by Mastercard in the payments space in recent years—from its 2016 purchase of U.K.-based Vocalink to its deals this year for New York-based fintech firms Transactis and Transfast.

Those acquisitions are designed to help Mastercard capitalize on advancements made in the real-time payments space, which took a big step forward with the 2017 launch of The Clearing House’s RTP platform.

Source: How The Real Time Payments Revolution is Pushing Mastercard Beyond Cards | Fortune

ESA spacecraft dodges potential collision with Starlink satellite | SpaceNews.com

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The European Space Agency said Sept. 2 it maneuvered one of its Earth science satellites to avoid a potential collision with a SpaceX Starlink satellite, the first time the agency said it’s had to maneuver to avoid a satellite associated with a broadband megaconstellation.

Source: ESA spacecraft dodges potential collision with Starlink satellite – SpaceNews.com