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In the spotlight
EU tells Google, Facebook and Twitter to extend fake news watch, COVID-19 in focus
The European Commission has told Google, Facebook, Twitter and Microsoft to continue monthly reports on their efforts to tackle fake news, especially on COVID-19, for another six months.
Is Big Tech too powerful?
On 15 December, the European Commission proposed a comprehensive set of new rules for all digital services, including social media, online market places, and other online platforms. The two proposals are based on the principle of what is illegal offline should also be illegal online. Tough negotiations await in the European Parliament.
Censorship and Data: the stakes and consequences are getting serious
A recent Pew Research article pinpointed major concerns with social media platforms. “Americans have complicated feelings about their relationship with big technology companies,” the article observes.
Very promising development from Twitter, accepting applications from academic groups for elevated access to their API https://t.co/BmsrcYf2b3
— European Disinformation Observatory (@SOMAObservatory) January 27, 2021
Understanding privacy: governments can work towards creating standard operating guidelines
In January 2018, WhatsApp Business was announced, which would allow people to communicate easily and free of cost. The new product was widely accepted worldwide with a surge in messaging to business accounts—crossing more than 175 million messages per day.
CSC: Consortium of the EU Innovative Medicines Initiative to establish €70M project for the development of AI in medicine
To take AI development in pathology to the next level, a European consortium combining leading European research centres, hospitals as well as major pharmaceutical industries, is going to develop a repository for the sharing of pathology data. The 6-year, €70 million project called BIGPICTURE, will herald a new era in pathology.
— LIFE Programme (@LIFEprogramme) January 29, 2021
Looking into the links between climate and development policies
Tackling global warming while realising sustainable development is a key challenge for policymakers worldwide who are working towards the objectives of both the United Nations Paris Agreement and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Mobility & Energy
What’s next for EU Energy Research after Brexit?
More than four years ago, the people of Britain voted to leave the European Union, but it’s only now that we can begin to understand the full impact of that decision.
Agriculture & Food
Essential Science: EU clears mealworms as ‘safe to eat’
The European Union has taken a major step, whatever your individual feelings, in declaring mealworms as ‘safe to eat’ and hence as a sustainable source of protein that can be used to replace meat within a diet.
Pandemic provides golden opportunity for planners to reshape towns and cities
Pandemic positives are a bit thin on the ground but its timing, in one particular way at least, has been auspicious given the attention it has brought on how people live and work. The focus has come at a time where almost all local authorities are reviewing development plans that will guide the….
WHO team exits Wuhan quarantine to start Covid fact-finding mission
World Health Organization team has emerged from quarantine in the Chinese city of Wuhan to start field work in a fact-finding mission on the origins of the virus that caused the Covid-19 pandemic.
COVID-19’s sad anniversary
An important anniversary has slipped by. It was in January 2020, while visiting Hong Kong for a few days, that I started seeing stories about a strange new virus diagnosed in the industrial Chinese city of Wuhan. The first headlines didn’t seem like a big deal. Some “experts” were saying the virus had been found in Wuhan and nowhere else.
Why history suggests Covid-19 is here to stay – Virologist Prof. Marc Van Ranst
A mysterious flu-like illness that caused loss of taste and smell in the late 19th century was probably caused by a coronavirus that still causes the ‘common cold’ in people today, according to Professor Marc Van Ranst at KU Leuven in Belgium, an expert on coronaviruses. He says that the foothold of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in the human population today means it is likely to follow a similar pattern and become a continuously circulating, or ‘endemic’ virus, joining four other human coronaviruses that infect people with common cold symptoms.
Science policy & Communication
Don’t answer that phone! Can the always-on culture be beat?
The widespread use of digital tools, including ICT, for work purposes has enabled workers with greater working time autonomy and flexibility in work organisation. In contrast, however, they also have created new ways of extending working hours and diluting the boundaries between working and free time..
— EUvsDisinfo (@EUvsDisinfo) January 29, 2021
Research groups decry focus on applications in Horizon Europe health plan
A leaked draft of the work programme for the health cluster in the EU‘s next research programme, Horizon Europe, outlines six key topics it will tackle. But research organisations fear it lacks balance between fundamental and applied research.
MEPs call for workers to have ‘right to disconnect’
“The pressure to be always ‘on’, always reachable, is growing as the boundaries between private life and work-life are increasingly becoming blurred,” said MEP Alex Agius Saliba, lead rapporteur on the initiative. “[But] it is fundamental that we protect workers from the invasion of their rest time, ensuring that they have the right to rest and leisure and that the maximum limit of the workday is safeguarded,” he added.
EPRS Briefing – Covid-19 vaccination campaigns: The public dimension
The arrival of the Covid-19 vaccines marks a turning point in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. For European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, vaccination is about self protection and solidarity. For many people, it is also about trust. Some are hesitant to get vaccinated, while others are against vaccination on principle.
EU and UNDP launch two-year project to address urgent adaptation financing gaps in Africa
The European Union and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) launched a two-year project to scale up climate change adaptation in Africa yesterday at the Climate Adaptation Summit. The EU-funded project will address adaptation financing gaps in Africa to build more effective locally-led climate actions across the continent.
What can Covid-19 teach us about the mysteries of smell?
Before Covid, the group, called AbScent, had grown to around 1,500 members, most of whom lost olfaction after a head injury, a virus or a sinus disease. And then the pandemic began. It soon became a nearly full time job just to process the flood of thousands of distressed people who were asking to join AbScent.
The new gourmet feeds: kombucha for fhickens?
Animal feed is no longer one-size-fits-all. A new focus on gut health, nutrition and avoiding antibiotics makes the feed supplement market a bright spot in agriculture stock.adobe.com. I’ll start by conceding the point that animal feed might not be the sexiest topic you consider today.