Choices and Habits are Your Roadmap to Health and Happiness

By Laura Carlson – Anyone can fall into an unhealthy routine. The trick is to recognize you could make better choices and then follow through. Through structuring good habits, you can reshape your lifestyle and map your own road to health and happiness.

Eat breakfast. Almost universally, those who successfully maintain a healthy lifestyle eat breakfast every day.

Drink water. This is an important component in healthy eating. People who are fit, healthy and happy tend to drink water, and lots of it.

Exercising. Exercise is the other biggest component in a healthy, fit lifestyle. Some research reflects that regular exercise helps reduce your risk of many life-shortening health issues, such as heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes.


Source: Choices and Habits are Your Roadmap to Health and Happiness

Amid Detroit’s Rebirth, Many African Americans Feel Left Behind | US News

An analysis from U.S. News & World Report, based on recently released U.S. Census data, shows Motown is the second-least racially diverse city of 300,000 or more. African Americans make up 80% of its 670,000 residents, one of the highest percentages of any city in the nation.

Yet as Detroit’s fortunes are changing, so, too, is its racial composition. From 2010 to 2018, Detroit saw the biggest growth in racial diversity of any city analyzed by U.S. News, a trend fueled largely by an influx of white residents. Drawn to the Motor City by its anything-is-possible buzz, experts say, the newcomers stay because of below-average costs of living – particularly cheap housing – along with low business start-up costs and gritty Midwestern street cred.

But the gentrification that’s driving Motown’s urban-renaissance narrative, analysts say, is actually creating a tale of two Detroits.

Source: Amid Detroit’s Rebirth, Many African Americans Feel Left Behind | Cities | US News

Facebook’s lie-friendly ads policy is showing in Trump’s ads

What did Facebook expect?

The company has doubled down on its policy of allowing political ads that contain lies, explaining that it shouldn’t be in the business of evaluating ads.

One unfortunate (and predictable) consequence of that is that the Trump campaign, the biggest overall buyer of Facebook ads, would take advantage. In fact Facebook’s policy looks almost tailor-fit to Trump’s Facebook ad game.

Source: Facebook’s lie-friendly ads policy is showing in Trump’s ads

Joe Biden’s Plan to Rescue U.S. Foreign Policy After Trump

By nearly every measure, the credibility and influence of the United States in the world have diminished since President Barack Obama and I left office on January 20, 2017. President Donald Trump has belittled, undermined, and in some cases abandoned U.S. allies and partners. He has turned on our own intelligence professionals, diplomats, and troops. He has emboldened our adversaries and squandered our leverage to contend with national security challenges from North Korea to Iran, from Syria to Afghanistan to Venezuela, with practically nothing to show for it. He has launched ill-advised trade wars, against the United States’ friends and foes alike, that are hurting the American middle class. He has abdicated American leadership in mobilizing collective action to meet new threats, especially those unique to this century. Most profoundly, he has turned away from the democratic values that give strength to our nation and unify us as a people.

Meanwhile, the global challenges facing the United States—from climate change and mass migration to technological disruption and infectious diseases—have grown more complex and more urgent, while the rapid advance of authoritarianism, nationalism, and illiberalism has undermined our ability to collectively meet them.

Democracies—paralyzed by hyperpartisanship, hobbled by corruption, weighed down by extreme inequality—are having a harder time delivering for their people. Trust in democratic institutions is down. Fear of the Other is up. And the international system that the United States so carefully constructed is coming apart at the seams. Trump and demagogues around the world are leaning into these forces for their own personal and political gain.

The triumph of democracy and liberalism over fascism and autocracy created the free world. But this contest does not just define our past. It will define our future, as well.

First and foremost, we must repair and reinvigorate our own democracy, even as we strengthen the coalition of democracies that stand with us around the world. The United States’ ability to be a force for progress in the world and to mobilize collective action starts at home.

But democracy is not just the foundation of American society. It is also the wellspring of our power. It strengthens and amplifies our leadership to keep us safe in the world. It is the engine of our ingenuity that drives our economic prosperity. It is the heart of who we are and how we see the world—and how the world sees us. It allows us to self-correct and keep striving to reach our ideals over time.

As a nation, we have to prove to the world that the United States is prepared to lead again—not just with the example of our power but also with the power of our example. To that end, as president, I will take decisive steps to renew our core values. I will immediately reverse the Trump administration’s cruel and senseless policies that separate parents from their children at our border; end Trump’s detrimental asylum policies; terminate the travel ban; order a review of Temporary Protected Status, for vulnerable populations; and set our annual refugee admissions at 125,000, and seek to raise it over time, commensurate with our responsibility and our values.

I will reaffirm the ban on torture and restore greater transparency in U.S. military operations, including policies instituted during the Obama-Biden administration to reduce civilian casualties. I will restore a government-wide focus on lifting up women and girls around the world. And I will ensure that the White House is once again the great defender—not the chief assailant—of the core pillars and institutions of our democratic values, from respecting freedom of the press, to protecting and securing the sacred right to vote, to upholding judicial independence. These changes are just a start, a day-one down payment on our commitment to living up to democratic values at home.”

I will also take steps to tackle the self-dealing, conflicts of interest, dark money, and rank corruption that are serving narrow, private, or foreign agendas and undermining our democracy. That starts by fighting for a constitutional amendment to completely eliminate private dollars from federal elections.

During my first year in office, the United States will organize and host a global Summit for Democracy to renew the spirit and shared purpose of the nations of the free world. It will bring together the world’s democracies to strengthen our democratic institutions, honestly confront nations that are backsliding, and forge a common agenda.’

Economic security is national security. Our trade policy has to start at home, by strengthening our greatest asset—our middle class—and making sure that everyone can share in the success of the country, no matter one’s race, gender, zip code, religion, sexual orientation, or disability. That will require enormous investments in our infrastructure—broadband, highways, rail, the energy grid, smart cities—and in education.

I will make investment in research and development a cornerstone of my presidency, so that the United States is leading the charge in innovation. There is no reason we should be falling behind China or anyone else when it comes to clean energy, quantum computing, artificial intelligence, 5G, high-speed rail, or the race to end cancer as we know it. We have the greatest research universities in the world. We have a strong tradition of the rule of law.

The wrong thing to do is to put our heads in the sand and say no more trade deals. Countries will trade with or without the United States. The question is, Who writes the rules that govern trade? Who will make sure they protect workers, the environment, transparency, and middle-class wages? The United States, not China, should be leading that effort.

China represents a special challenge. I have spent many hours with its leaders, and I understand what we are up against. China is playing the long game by extending its global reach, promoting its own political model, and investing in the technologies of the future. Meanwhile, Trump has designated imports from the United States’ closest allies—from Canada to the European Union—as national security threats in order to impose damaging and reckless tariffs. By cutting us off from the economic clout of our partners, Trump has kneecapped our country’s capacity to take on the real economic threat.

The United States does need to get tough with China. If China has its way, it will keep robbing the United States and American companies of their technology and intellectual property. It will also keep using subsidies to give its state-owned enterprises an unfair advantage—and a leg up on dominating the technologies and industries of the future.

The world does not organize itself. For 70 years, the United States, under Democratic and Republican presidents, played a leading role in writing the rules, forging the agreements, and animating the institutions that guide relations among nations and advance collective security and prosperity—until Trump. If we continue his abdication of that responsibility, then one of two things will happen: either someone else will take the United States’ place, but not in a way that advances our interests and values, or no one will, and chaos will ensue. Either way, that’s not good for America.

We can be strong and smart at the same time. There is a big difference between large-scale, open-ended deployments of tens of thousands of American combat troops, which must end, and using a few hundred Special Forces soldiers and intelligence assets to support local partners against a common enemy. Those smaller-scale missions are sustainable militarily, economically, and politically, and they advance the national interest.

Yet diplomacy should be the first instrument of American power.

Diplomacy also requires credibility, and Trump has shattered ours. In the conduct of foreign policy, and especially in times of crisis, a nation’s word is its most valuable asset. By pulling out of treaty after treaty, reneging on policy after policy, walking away from U.S. responsibilities, and lying about matters big and small, Trump has bankrupted the United States’ word in the world.

He has also alienated the United States from the very democratic allies it needs most. He has taken a battering ram to the NATO alliance, treating it like an American-run protection racket.

In order to regain the confidence of the world, we are going to have to prove that the United States says what it means and means what it says. This is especially important when it comes to the challenges that will define our time: climate change, the renewed threat of nuclear war, and disruptive technology.

The United States must lead the world to take on the existential threat we face—climate change. If we don’t get this right, nothing else will matter.

We must once more harness that power and rally the free world to meet the challenges facing the world today. It falls to the United States to lead the way. No other nation has that capacity. No other nation is built on that idea.

We have to champion liberty and democracy, reclaim our credibility, and look with unrelenting optimism and determination toward our future.

Source: Joe Biden’s Plan to Rescue U.S. Foreign Policy After Trump

Security Services: Moscow’s Fifth Column Across Eurasia | The Diplomat

Since Vladimir Putin came to power twenty years ago, much ink has been spent detailing the role of the security services in Russian politics, and it is generally accepted that the Putin regime essentially is a result of the Soviet-era KGB’s takeover of the Russian state.

But few have connected this to Russian foreign policy in its neighborhood. Meanwhile, many observers have puzzled over the reluctance of former Soviet states to embrace political reform or liberalization. Many have connected this to Russia’s active opposition to greater openness and political participation in neighboring states.

But few have ventured into specifics – how does Russia make its influence felt? Who is the “enforcer” with the power and resolve to translate Moscow’s words into action?

The role of security services in foreign policy is a notoriously challenging subject of study. Acknowledging this, we contend that there is overwhelming circumstantial evidence to suggest that Moscow’s manipulation of security services is a key instrument in its efforts to maintain its “sphere of privileged interests” in its neighborhood, and equally, a leading impediment to political reform.

This is illustrated by an examination of those moments in the life of the new post-Soviet states in which the hand of Moscow appears to be present.

Source: Security Services: Moscow’s Fifth Column Across Eurasia – The Diplomat

Budget battle hampers EU in space |

With the continuous militarization of space, EU policymakers have started dropping their opposition to plans linking Europe’s civilian space assets with defense elements. But as the political tide is slowly turning, cuts proposed in the EU’s draft budget threaten the new ambition.

“The rise in geopolitical tensions we see on Earth is being extended and projected into space,” EU’s chief diplomat Josep Borrell told the 12th European Space Conference, attended by policymakers, industry and researchers.

“Space is the new frontier of global politics,” he added.

Source: Budget battle hampers EU in space –

EU fuels rocket program with €100m |

The European Commission announced a €100 million investment in a prototype rocket project on Tuesday (21 January), as Europe aims to keep a firm hold in a space industry predicted to be worth €1 trillion in the coming years.

Ariane 6 is due to launch later this year after development kicked off in 2014 under the watch of the European Space Agency (ESA). The new model is touted by lead designers Arianespace as a “flexible” entry in its long-running series of launch vehicles.

The Ariane program’s first four iterations put roughly 50% of the world’s commercial satellites into space, starting in the late 1970s, breaking a United States monopoly over launches. Continuing that trend is the name of the game.

Source: EU fuels rocket program with €100m –

MEP Axel Voss publishes EU digital manifesto, warns of EU’s ‘digital dependency’ |

Conservative German MEP Axel Voss, also known as the father of the controversial copyright reform, has published a manifesto on European digital policy in which he warns that Europe should not become a “digital colony” of other powers. EURACTIV Germany reports.

Voss (CDU) decided to publish his manifesto on European digital policy because he could not wait much longer, he told EURACTIV. That is because the European People’s Party(EPP)’s digital strategy paper is still being discussed and this process “took far too long”, according to Voss.

Source: MEP Axel Voss publishes EU digital manifesto, warns of EU’s ‘digital dependency’ –

Europeans to pass national digital tax by end 2020 if no OECD deal |

Despite the US threats of imposing new tariffs, France, Italy, Spain and the UK said on Wednesday (22 January) they would move ahead with their national digital tax if there is no agreement at the OECD level by the end of this year.

The digital tax is one of the ‘hot issues’ at the World Economic Forum in Davos (Switzerland) this week.

A last-minute conversation between French President Emmanuel Macron and US President, Donald Trump helped to avoid an escalation in the transatlantic trade war.

Paris agreed to suspend the collection of its tax on Google, Facebook and the like until the end of the year. In return, the Trump administration will not move ahead with imposing further tariffs on French products worth $2.4billion.

Source: Europeans to pass national digital tax by end 2020 if no OECD deal –

Facebook ‘on the side of free expression’ as EU steps up disinformation fight |

Social media giant Facebook has warned against curtailing freedom of expression as the EU considers measures to clamp down on disinformation campaigns across online platforms.

In the online world, “the scope of what we deem to be acceptable speech” has narrowed over recent years, leading to potential erosions in freedom of expression, said Nick Clegg, Facebook’s Facebook’s VP for Global Affairs, at Rome’s LUISS Guido Carli University on Tuesday (21 January).

Even though other social media companies, such as Twitter, have committed to ban political advertising online, Facebook has repeatedly resisted pressure to take action against political advertising across its platforms.

Source: Facebook ‘on the side of free expression’ as EU steps up disinformation fight –