AI News, Candidates lay out China policy in Democratic debate

Democratic Candidates Discuss Foreign Policy in the Middle East

Electric-scooter rental companies are hitting speed bumps in the U.S. over safety and other concerns.

Democratic Candidates Spar at Last Debate Before Iowa Caucuses

The debate touched upon a myriad of topics including public education, health care reform, climate change, the impeachment of President Donald Trump, whether a woman can be elected president, and the question of authorization for military action in the Middle East.  When asked by moderator Wolf Blitzer about the authorization for military force in the Middle East following the 9/11 terrorist attack, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders said, “I think my record speaks to that.” “In 2002, when the Congress was debating whether or not we go into a war in Iraq, invade Iraq, I got up on the floor of the House and I said that would be a disaster, it would lead to unprecedented levels of chaos in the region.

We just found out today that four Republicans are joining Democrats to go to him and say: You must have an authorization of military force if you’re going to go to war with Iran.” South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, the only military veteran on the stage, said the lessons of the past are personal for him.  “There are enlisted people that I served with barely old enough to remember those votes on the authorization after 9/11, on the war in Iraq.

“The heart and soul of our disastrous trade agreements – and I’m the guy who voted against NAFTA and against permanent normal trade relations with China – is that we have forced American workers to compete against people in Mexico, in China, elsewhere, who earn starvation wages, $1 or $2 an hour,” Sanders said.

There was a lively scene outside the auditorium before the debate commenced.  As a drone buzzed overhead taking pictures, an airplane flew in circles pulling a banner that read: “President Trump Fights for Iowa Farmers.” On the ground, a group of pro-immigration reform protestors carried lighted posters that read “Stop Deportations” and they chanted “undocumented, unafraid.” Jose Munoz, national communications director for the group, United We Dream Action, based in Washington, D.C., wanted to be at the debate to challenge Joe Biden about his record on deportations during the Obama administration.

Thornier trade issues await after initial US-China deal

President Donald Trump on Wednesday described an initial trade agreement with China as “righting the wrongs of the past and delivering a future of economic justice and security for American workers, farmers and families.'

The president was preparing to sign a trade agreement with China that is expected to boost exports from U.S. farmers and manufacturers and ease trade tensions between the two countries going into November’s presidential election.

agreement would do little to force China to make the major economic changes such as reducing unfair subsidies for its own companies that the Trump administration sought when it started the trade war by imposing tariffs on Chinese imports in July 2018.

Skeptics say a satisfactory resolution may be next to impossible given China's ambitions to become the global leader in such advanced technologies as driverless cars and artificial intelligence.

The U.S. has dropped plans to impose tariffs on an additional $160 billion in Chinese imports, and it cut in half, to 7.5%, existing tariffs on $110 billion of good from China.

The administration argues that the deal is a solid start that includes Chinese commitments to do more to protect intellectual property, curb the practice of forcing foreign companies to hand over sensitive technology and refrain from manipulating their currency lower to benefit Chinese exporters.

Derek Scissors, China specialist at the American Enterprise Institute, said the trade war has already delivered a benefit for Trump, even if it hasn’t forced Beijing to make major changes to its economic policy: Trump’s tariffs have reduced Chinese exports to the United States and narrowed America's trade deficit with China.

A wide trade deficit can actually reflect economic strength because it means that a nation's consumers feel prosperous and confident enough to spend freely —

So far this year, the U.S. deficit with China in the trade of goods has declined by 16%, or $62 billion, to $321 billion compared with a year earlier.

Andrew Yang is running for president in 2020. Here's everything we know about the candidate and how he stacks up against the competition.

We ask people whether they are familiar with a candidate, whether they would be satisfied or unsatisfied with that candidate as the nominee, and sometimes we also ask whether they think that person would win or lose in a general election against President Donald Trump.

Some of Yang's other unique policy proposals include paying NCAA college athletes, providing free marriage counseling for all, and creating an exchange program for high school students to spend time in different parts of the country and meet people they otherwise wouldn't. 

Based on the 12 polls conducted by Insider since late August, we can gather a sense of the geographic regions where candidates are overperforming when it comes to how satisfied voters would be if they were chosen as the presidential nominee.

Yang reported raising $1.7 million from 80,000 donors who donated an average of just $17.92 in March and February alone, bringing his quarterly haul to $1.8 million.

Owing to his outsider perspective, Yang was identified one of the least experienced candidates in the field by far when we asked respondents to rank the candidates based on how prepared they are for the rigors of the presidency given what they knew about their history of public service and experience with government.

Out of the 268 undecided voters who knew of Yang, 46% would be satisfied with him as the nominee and 24% would not be satisfied, giving him positive net support of 21 percentage points, due to rounding error, among general election voters Furthermore, Yang is locking down way more loyal supporters than any of the other candidates in the mid-tier of polling.

For example, among respondents who said they'd vote in the Democratic primary, 19% said a candidate being a college professor made them likelier to support them, while 4% said it made them less likely to, for a +15% net favorability.

Attributes perceived as most valuable include he is multi-lingual (+25%), age 50 or younger (+23%), a child of immigrants (+21%), an Ivy League graduate (+7%) and a lawyer (+3%).

Attributes considered to be a liability based on the preferences of self-reported Democratic voters include his past as a business owner (-11%), that he spent little time in government (-22%), was a corporate lawyer (-33%) and grew up wealthy (-42%).

19 big predictions about 2020, from Trump’s reelection to Brexit

2020 is going to feature a lot of huge changes: There are presidential and congressional elections in the US, a scheduled Brexit in the UK, and ongoing crises in China and India as the countries’ governments attempt to crack down on their Muslim minorities.

That said, we did pretty well — 12 out of our 16 predictions came true — and in the interest of practicing and getting better, we’re doing it again for 2020, this time with 18 predictions.

number of other writers — like Scott Alexander, Rodney Brooks, the Financial Times staff, Zachary Jacobi — have also been practicing for the past few years, making predictions and then looking back to see how they did in a kind of annual tradition we’ve decided to emulate.

The basics are simple: Decades of political science work on election forecasting imply that presidents running for reelection enjoy an incumbency advantage, that a strong economy helps the incumbent’s party, and that high levels of US military fatalities hurt the incumbent’s party.

In short: Trump is the incumbent, the economy is growing while unemployment stays very low, and despite some close calls, Trump hasn’t started new wars or expanded existing ones in ways that kill a lot of US service members.

Instead, Democrats’ hopes rest on the two 2014 losses they think they can reverse — in North Carolina and Colorado — as well as on a special election in Arizona, an unlikely Alabama seat they won in 2017, and Susan Collins’s once-safe seat in Maine, which Dems hope her vote for Kavanaugh will make competitive.

Though sweeps of this magnitude do happen (2006 and 2008 both saw huge Democratic sweeps), they’re rare, especially as the parties have polarized geographically and because Democrats are underdogs, in Alabama and North Carolina in particular.

If you go through and multiply out the combined odds that each member of the court doesn’t die in the coming year, using their age (rounding to the nearest year) and gender in the SSA tables, you get 77 percent odds that no one dies.

As my colleagues Anna North and Ian Millhiser explain, abortion-rights advocates consider this restriction both medically unnecessary (the rate of complications for first-trimester abortions is very low, and you don’t need admitting privileges to send people with complications to a nearby hospital) and designed to shut down abortion clinics.

The fact that it’s hearing this case so soon after setting a precedent that admitting privileges laws are unconstitutional suggests strongly that the court — which has since added the conservative Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh and lost abortion-rights supporter Anthony Kennedy — is ready to overrule Whole Woman’s Health and allow more state restrictions on abortion.

the World Bank doesn’t update its estimates of the number and share of people living on $1.90 a day or less every year, and it’s not clear it will provide new numbers in 2020 that reach past the 2015 poverty estimates first released in 2018 (and updated last year).

But provided there are new numbers released in 2020, I expect them to find that the number of people — not just the share — living in extreme poverty fell in recent years.

Last week, Trump made a public statement appearing to mildly deescalate the military standoff with Iran, one that he started by ordering the killing of one of the country’s top military and political leaders in an airstrike.

But his aggression is paired with a stated aversion to nation-building and a strong reliance on methods like drones that don’t risk the lives of American service members (while frequently risking the lives of civilians).

Taken together, I think that means an escalation with Iran, of which I think there’s a greater than 20 percent chance, would most likely mean drone strikes (or other airstrikes) on targets in Iran (or against Iranian proxies like Hezbollah), not a land invasion like the 2003 attack on Iraq.

really hope I’m wrong about this, but sadly, I see very little reason to think that in 2020, China will shut down the internment camps where it’s been detaining 1 million Uighur Muslims in the northwestern region of Xinjiang.

The first group to release a gene drive — a genetically modified organism (in this case, mosquitoes) that has an embedded CRISPR gene editor to ensure that all of its offspring get the desired modification as well — will almost certainly be Target Malaria.

The group is interested in using the technology, once properly tested, to spread infertility genes among malaria-carrying mosquitos, crashing the mosquito population and, hopefully, enabling malaria eradication in the affected area.

First it needed to do a “sterile male” release, where it would release male mosquitos modified to be infertile, and then release mosquitos with an “X-shredder,” a genetic modification that rips up the X chromosome of male mosquitoes so that they pass on only Y chromosomes and have almost exclusively male offspring, potentially reducing the overall population.

So far, only the sterile male release has occurred (in Burkina Faso), and given the careful, deliberate pace at which Target Malaria operates, I would be surprised if there’s an X-shredder release this year, not to mention a gene drive.

The fierce global backlash against Jiankui made it clear that the world is uncomfortable with such uses of technology — rightfully so, as there’s immense potential for misuse, and Jiankui’s experiments were enormously irresponsible.

But even if we manage to stabilize or decrease the death toll, the number of drug-resistant infections could still rise — and the trend suggests that’s likely to happen, because we aren’t addressing our overuse of antibiotics with anything like the necessary speed.

— SS This prediction is really a proxy for, “Plant-based meats will continue to grow, consumer demand for them will remain strong, and the leading companies in the business will end the year in a good position,” and that seems likely to me.

The trends that drove plant-based meat’s success in 2019 — consumer interest, concern with sustainability, and new, tastier plant-based options — are still in effect, and Beyond Meat is still enjoying name recognition and the benefits of being the most established purely plant-based company.

But I don’t see a lot of reason to expect it to change in 2020, not with the same people in power across most of the world’s biggest emitters and the same incentives for shortsighted climate policy around the world.

That suggests that the “new normal” is a record fire about every other year — though 2020 is likely to be worse than the early parts of the decade, as the effects of climate change worsen.

Twice a week, you’ll get a roundup of ideas and solutions for tackling our biggest challenges: improving public health, decreasing human and animal suffering, easing catastrophic risks, and — to put it simply — getting better at doing good.

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