All posts on January, 2017

Business and financeGulliver

Chaos at airports as America introduces a travel ban

BARELY a week into his presidency, Donald Trump has thrown global travel into tumult with his executive order barring travellers from seven majority-Muslim countries from entering the United States. A fellow Gulliver has posted about the potential long-term implications of the ban for the travel industry. But in the short run, one thing is already clear: President Trump’s action has sown chaos in American airports.

Clear to everyone but Mr Trump himself, that is. In a series of tweets, he denied that his action had caused any disruption at airports, instead blaming a Delta Air Lines computer glitch, protesters, and Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer, whom he accused of producing “fake tears” in support of people denied entry to the country.

Only 109 people out of 325,000 were detained and held for questioning. Big problems at airports were caused by Delta computer outage,…..

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 30,…Continue reading

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Business and financeGulliver

How Donald Trump’s immigration edict will affect American tourism

THERE are many ways to look at Donald Trump’s decision to ban travellers from seven countries with predominantly Muslim populations. Whether Mr Trump’s order is legal, moral or self-defeating has been discussed at length elsewhere on this site. Here on Gulliver, however, we are mostly concerned with what the move means for the future of travel to America.

The executive order which the president signed on January 27th restricts immigration from Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Syria, Libya, Somalia and Yemen. Mr Trump says the aim of the edict is to thwart terrorism. It affects travellers on all types of visas (other than diplomatic and UN ones) and refugees and will be in force for 90 days (indefinitely in the case of Syrian refugees). It is still unclear exactly what it means for dual nationals or those with green cards, although Reince…Continue reading

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Tech Buzz

BlackBerry, Microsoft and the Ever-Smarter Connected Car

BlackBerry last week announced that its turnaround was finished, and Microsoft finally provided some information on its new connected car deliverables. One strange thing was that after CEO John Chen excitedly pointed out that BlackBerry had displaced Microsoft in Ford, he then announced a strategic initiative to work more closely with Microsoft on BlackBerry’s own market-leading QNX car OS.

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Emerging Tech

Apple Formally Joins High-Powered AI Partnership

The Partnership on AI has announced that Apple, well known for its culture of secrecy, has joined the organization as a founding member. The other founding members are Amazon, Facebook, Google/Deep Mind, IBM and Microsoft. The group also announced the final composition of its inaugural board of trustees. The group plans to announce additional details sometime after the board’s Feb. 3 meeting.

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Trump Clings to Personal Phone Despite Security Risks

President Donald J. Trump apparently has continued to use his personal Android smartphone despite security concerns. Trump was concerned about losing access to his personal phone even prior to taking his oath of office, according to a report citing unnamed aides who said he worried about how isolated he could become in the White House without his phone to keep in touch with friends.

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Business and financeButtonwood's notebook

Making protectionism unpopular again

BACK in 1906, an insurgent politician called Joseph Chamberlain (once known as Radical Joe, he had switched to the Conservatives over home rule for Ireland*) lured the British government into a campaign in favour of tariffs. The result was a devastating defeat for the Conservatives. The opposition Liberal party recognised that tariffs were a tax on the goods bought by the poor, particularly on food, and warned that the policy would lead to a “smaller loaf”. They portrayed tariffs as “stomach taxes”.

A hundred years ago, then, it was easy to make protectionism unpopular. Despite the prosperity brought by 70 years under a more open trading system, it now seems that opinion may have changed: tariffs are favoured by “populist” politicians.**

The trick for modern populists has been to focus on the positive benefits to American workers in terms of jobs, rather than the adverse impact on consumers. In fact, protectionism is highly unlikely to restore American manufacturing jobs, which are under threat from automation as well as globalisation, as our Continue reading

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