Odds and Ends 

India is investigating Google over alleged Android abuse

More than 95% of the smartphones that ship in India run Android, according to industry estimates. Now the Indian antitrust watchdog is convinced that the nation should investigate whether Google is abusing the dominant position of its mobile operating system to hurt local rivals. The Competition Commission of India (CCI), the local anti-monopoly regulator, began looking at Google’s Android business in India last year after it received a complaint from unspecified people. Last month, the regulator preliminarily found that Google had abused the dominant position of Android in the nation,…

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Ken Clarke: Brexit is like a parody version of student politics

The Father of the House loves the EU but doesnt want another referendum, called Theresa May bloody difficult yet backed her deal three times, and finds the political deadlock both annoying and hugely entertaining The twin pillars of Tory pro-Europeanism, the two men who defended that lonely cause in the Thatcher heyday and through the long trudge of the Major years, have responded very differently to Brexit. On one side stands Michael Heseltine, belated darling of the remainers, the lion in winter who won bloody difficult woman? She is a…

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‘My Brexit nightmare’: readers on how the uncertainty is affecting their lives

We ask readers in Britain and Europe to tell us how they are coping As dates for the UK to exit the EU come and go, weve been asking readers to tell us how theyre dealing with the uncertainty. People who responded to a Chispa. My whole life for the last two years has been held hostage to this horrendous waiting game of uncertainty that Brexit has become. When I retired, after over 30 years working in education, just after the referendum, my plan was to enjoy my retirement with…

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With No End in Sight, Europe is Sick of Brexit Bullshit

The divorce from hell, the longest separation ever, trying to live together after breaking uphowever one describes the excruciating uncoupling of the United Kingdom and the European Union, one thing is sure: Europeans are starting to get a little bit tired of the whole bloody affair. On Thursday, U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May bought a few more weeks to secure domestic backing for her E.U. compromise, though no one is optimistic that she will get it. French president Emmanuel Macron was so unimpressed with Mays plea he downgraded his prediction…

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Government rejects Brexit petition to revoke article 50 signed by 5.8 million people

MPs will debate the petition but government says stopping Brexit would break promises The British government has rejected a petition calling for Brexit to be stopped, which gathered The petition is due to be debated by MPs on 1 April, after breaking the 100,000 threshold for consideration and becoming the best-supported proposal in the history of the House of Commons and governments e-petitions website. Rejecting the oft-repeated claim that EU withdrawal is the will of the people, it calls for the revocation of the Article 50 letter informing the European…

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UK workplace rights reform doesnt look disruptive to gig economy giants

The UK government has set out a labor market reform package it bills as a major upgrade to workplace rights in the era of disruptive gig economy platforms. The reforms, which include new legislation, are intended to take account of changes in working practices including those flowing from tech platforms. But despite some gig economy platforms standing accused of exploiting workers, the government’s package does not look set to require a radical reworking of existing business models — and unions have attacked the reforms as weak and lacking substance, pointing out that,…

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UK parliament seizes cache of internal Facebook documents to further privacy probe

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg may yet regret underestimating a UK parliamentary committee that’s been investigating the democracy-denting impact of online disinformation for the best part of this year — and whose repeat requests for facetime he’s just as repeatedly snubbed. In the latest high gear change, reported in yesterday’s Observer, the committee has used parliamentary powers to seize a cache of documents pertaining to a US lawsuit to further its attempt to hold Facebook to account for misuse of user data. Facebook’s oversight — or rather lack of it — where…

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What you need to know ahead of the EU copyright vote

European Union lawmakers are facing a major vote on digital copyright reform proposals on Wednesday — a process that has set the Internet’s hair fully on fire. Here’s a run down of the issues and what’s at stake… Article 13 The most controversial component of the proposals concerns user-generated content platforms such as YouTube, and the idea they should be made liable for copyright infringements committed by their users — instead of the current regime of takedowns after the fact (which locks rights holders into having to constantly monitor and…

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Dublin’s homelessness crisis jars with narrative of Irish economic boom

Ireland is the EUs star performer, but almost 700 families have become homeless in the capital this year Jobs are bountiful, luring back emigrants and drawing newcomers. Property prices are soaring. Chic restaurants are fully booked weeks in advance. RT television is showcasing the top new entries to People in emergency accommodation in Ireland Its virtually an emergency situation, said Tommy Gordon, who manages Wicklow Homeless Five Loaves, a drop-in centre south of Dublin. Were supplying tents and sleeping bags to the homeless and food to those in financial difficulty.…

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‘Have people inspected’ at Irish border after Brexit, says Rees-Mogg

Critics deride suggestion of return to arrangements as we had during the Troubles Jacob Rees-Mogg has sparked a fresh row about the status of the Irish border after Brexit after a video emerged in which he suggests a return to checks as we had during the Troubles. The Conservative MP is seen on the footage from the public meeting suggesting the government could keep an eye on the border. Ireland would not be a free for all. It would be perfectly possible to continue with historic arrangements to ensure that…

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Jeremy Hunt on Brexit: ‘We are heading for no deal by accident’

Probability of exit without deal increasing by the day, UK foreign secretary says The Brexit process is currently heading for no deal by accident, the foreign secretary, Jeremy Hunt, has said during talks in Austria, stepping up his warnings about a potential collapse in talks. This is not project fear, this is project reality, Hunt told a press conference in Vienna alongside his Austrian counterpart, Karin Kneissl. We have to make a decision on Britains future relationship with the EU by the end of this year and we have to…

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Anti-Brexit protest: thousands march two years after referendum

Peoples Vote demonstration in London culminates with speeches in Parliament Square A roar of pro-European chants rose up above Pall Mall and across the royal parks as tens of thousands attended an anti-Brexit march marking the second anniversary of the EU referendum. Some marched on Saturday in the hope of stopping Brexit, some just wanted to alter the mood music to help change the direction of government travel, but young and old, Labour and Tory, they were all united in their pro-European passion. Police on foot, in riot vans in…

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US on brink of trade war with EU, Canada and Mexico as tit-for-tat tariffs begin

Jean-Claude Juncker pledges retaliation as EU companies face 25% tariffs on steel and 10% on aluminiumTrump imposes tariffs business live The United States and its traditional allies are on the brink of a full-scale trade war after European and Canadian leaders reacted swiftly and angrily to Donald Trumps decision to impose tariffs on steel and aluminium producers. The president of the European commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, promised immediate retaliation after the US commerce secretary, Wilbur Ross, said EU companies would face a 25% duty on steel and a 10% duty on…

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Theresa May forced to give MPs single market vote after shock defeat

More than 80 Labour peers defy whip on amendment calling for vote on EEA membership MPs will have a vote on remaining in the European Economic Area effectively a vote on the single market after a shock defeat for the government in the Lords. It means the Brexit strategy of both Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn has been blown apart in the last 24 hours. The rebel Labour amendment in the Lords opened the prospect of a Commons vote on the EEA a less stringent version of the single market…

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Brexit will cause loss of influence on scale of 1970s, says ex-MI6 chief

Sir John Sawers tells MPs national assessment is needed of how Britains future standing can be recovered Brexit is set to cause a loss of UK influence on a par with the 1970s, requiring a national assessment of how the UKs future standing can be recovered once Brexit is complete, Sir John Sawers, the former head of MI6, has warned. Speaking to the foreign affairs select committee, Sawers said: We can see the trend of the coming years and we do not want to go through a repeat of the…

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