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

The West must reassess its record on foreign intervention


An international conference hosted by Germany on Sunday secured a promise from several outside powers to stop interfering in the armed conflict in Libya. It also provided a sobering glimpse of the future of conflict diplomacy in the 21st century.

The two main actors vying for control of the country — the head of the U.N.-backed government, Fayez al-Sarraj, and the rebel general Khalifa Haftar — were present but not at the table. (Still, they agreed to staff ceasefire talks.) The key signatories were Algeria, Egypt, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, and Russia, whose supplies of arms and mercenaries have fanned the conflict into a conflagration. China, another co-signer, has long-term oil industry and infrastructure investments to protect.

Source: The West must reassess its record on foreign intervention

The case for AI transparency requirements


Everyone will welcome better automated customer service, where you can get accurate and thorough answers to questions about complex topics. For example, soon, it might be easy for AI to convey what your health insurance actually covers, based on a database of similar prior claims.

For most of these interactions, it will be obviously and intentionally clear that the text you read, voice you hear, or face you see is not a real person. However, other times it will not be so obvious. As AI technologies quickly and methodically climb out of the uncanny valley, customer service calls, website chatbots, and interactions on social media and in virtual reality may become progressively less evidently artificial.

Source: The case for AI transparency requirements

Shocking Scale Of Abuse On Twitter Against Women Politicians In India | Amnesty International India


Women politicians in India face a shocking scale of abuse on Twitter, reveals data from a new study titled “Troll Patrol India: Exposing Online Abuse Faced by Women Politicians in India. The study was conducted using crowdsourcing, machine learning and data science. It reviewed hundreds of thousands of tweets sent to 95 women politicians — an analysis on an unprecedented scale in India, said Amnesty International India today.

Amnesty International India, in collaboration with Amnesty International – International Secretariat (AI-IS) conducted the study to measure the nature and scale of online abuse faced by women politicians in India. It found that women who express their opinions online are targeted with abuse not just for their opinion, but also for the various immutable identities – such as gender, religion, caste, marital status and many more.

Source: Shocking Scale Of Abuse On Twitter Against Women Politicians In India – Amnesty International India

Australia’s Fires Will Rage Again. Here’s How the Government Can Prepare. | Council on Foreign Relations


Australia has always had bushfires. But with more people living in fire-prone areas, the risk that humans—rather than natural causes such as lightning—ignite the fires has grown. All it takes is malfunctioning equipment or an arsonist for acres to burst into flames.

Source: Australia’s Fires Will Rage Again. Here’s How the Government Can Prepare. | Council on Foreign Relations

Australian bushfires will cause jump in CO2 in atmosphere, say scientists | The Guardian


The devastating bushfires in Australia are likely to cause a jump in carbon concentrations in the atmosphere this year, a forecast suggests, bringing the world closer to 1.5C of global heating.

The fires have not only released vast amounts of carbon dioxide and soot, but the unusual extent of the blazes means regrowth is likely to be slower than in previous years. That will reduce the amount of vegetation available to act as a carbon sink, meaning less carbon dioxide is removed from the air.

Source: Australian bushfires will cause jump in CO2 in atmosphere, say scientists | Environment | The Guardian

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

Liberating the precolonial history of Africa | Aeon Essays


For a long time, historians in the West have seen the Atlantic slave trade as shaping the beginnings of West Africa’s engagement with Europe. There is no question that the slave trade exerted a profound influence in many parts of Africa. However, to look at African history as the history of slavery and the slave trade is no more accurate than to study the history of the Nazis as the sum of the German past.

Even at the height of the Atlantic trade, there is much more to say about West African history than can possibly be glimpsed by focusing only on the slave trade. Digging a little deeper into Freetown, some of this begins to emerge; and what follows is a brief tour of the city and its historical sites to show how this works in practice.

Source: Liberating the precolonial history of Africa | Aeon Essays

Meet the Young People at the Heart of Hong Kong’s Rebellion | Time

Young people around the world, in the Middle East and Latin America and beyond, are railing against sclerotic regimes, economic frustrations and backsliding democracy. In Hong Kong, a semi-autonomous enclave of China with liberal traditions, the protesters are seeking to “reclaim” their city from authoritarianism.

At the movement’s core are high school and university students who cast themselves as urban street fighters, willing to gamble away their futures if it helps preserve their home.

Source: Meet the Young People at the Heart of Hong Kong’s Rebellion | Time