Odds and Ends 

European Parliament moves to majority teleworking in response to COVID-19

The European Parliament is instructing managers to prepare for all but a minority of staff to work remotely for 70% of the week as of next Monday — dialling up its response to Covid-19, the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Full-time remote working may follow, it has also said. In an email sent today European Parliament staff have been instructed that teleworking will be introduced on March 16 — for “all colleagues whose physical presences in Parliament is not absolutely indispensable”. “At this stage it will be 70% teleworking.…

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EU lawmakers are eyeing risk-based rules for AI, per leaked white paper

The European Commission is considering a temporary ban on the use of facial recognition technology, according to a draft proposal for regulating artificial intelligence obtained by Euroactiv. Creating rules to ensure AI is ‘trustworthy and human’ has been an early flagship policy promise of the new Commission, led by president Ursula von der Leyen. But the leaked proposal suggests the EU’s executive body is in fact leaning towards tweaks of existing rules and sector/app specific risk-assessments and requirements, rather than anything as firm as blanket sectoral requirements or bans. The…

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As the new year beckons European investors start moving into new roles

As the Holiday Season approaches, new jobs for players in the tech ecosystem beckon. And this is no less true for investors. Two notable moves have recently happened that are worthy of note in the European scene. The first is that GR Capital, a pan-European VC, is opening an office in London and has lured Jason Ball, who, earlier this year, left Qualcomm Ventures where had been European Managing Director for over a decade. Ball spent ten years as a mentor at Seedcamp and individually invested in more than ten…

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Headlines 

Monopolies cost Americans $300 a month. We’re no longer the land of free markets | Thomas Philippon

In a reversal from a few decades ago, American consumers are facing oligopolies while Europeans benefit from competition When I landed in Boston in 1999, the United States was the land of free markets. Many goods and services were cheaper here than in Europe. Twenty years later, American free markets are becoming a myth. Internet service, cellphone plans, and plane tickets are now cheaper in Europe and Asia than in the US. In 2018, the twice as much on cellphone services as households in France or the UK. This is…

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Headlines 

Brexit: EU prepares to grant UK three-month extension

UK will have option to leave earlier if deal is ratified, leaked draft shows The EU is preparing to sign off on a Brexit extension to 31 January 2020 with an option for the UK to leave earlier if a deal is ratified, according to a leaked draft of the agreement seen by the Guardian. Despite UKs request for a further delay. The UK would be able to leave on the first day of the month after a deal is ratified, according to the paper. The draft paper suggests a…

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Headlines 

Brexit divisions threaten to plunge Labour party conference into chaos

Senior shadow ministers publicly defy Jeremy Corbyn with calls for Labour to back remain Jeremy Corbyn was struggling to contain an open revolt by some of his most senior shadow ministers, MPs and party activists last night as anger over his refusal to back a policy of remaining in the EU threatened to wreck the Labour conference. With delegates already reeling from a failed attempt by Corbyn supporters to Labours head of policy, Andrew Fisher, a key Corbyn aide who masterminded the 2017 election campaign, had resigned, reportedly telling colleagues…

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Brexit Deadlock as Boris Johnsons Lies Finally Catch Up With Him

LONDONUnfortunately longest parliamentary shutdown in 40 years and the first since the aftermath of World War II to be called at a time of constitutional crisis. a humiliating defeat in the House of Commons on Tuesday night when 21 Conservative lawmakers voted to take control of Brexit away from their own prime minister, Johnson called for a new election to be held. The opposition parties are refusing to accept this latest gambit until they are certain that Johnson wont try some kind of procedural maneuver to push through a no…

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Europes top court sharpens guidance for sites using leaky social plug-ins

Europe’s top court has made a ruling that could affect scores of websites that embed the Facebook ‘Like’ button and receive visitors from the region. The ruling by the Court of Justice of the EU states such sites are jointly responsible for the initial data processing — and must either obtain informed consent from site visitors prior to data being transferred to Facebook, or be able to demonstrate a legitimate interest legal basis for processing this data. The ruling is significant because, as currently seems to be the case, Facebook’s…

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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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Headlines 

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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Headlines 

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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