German project hits political roadblock, robots are coming for your jobs, & more

Facebook announced its intentions to release a cryptocurrency in the near future. The Facebook Libra will allow users to make purchases or send money to family and friends quickly and easily, with minimal fees. The cryptocurrency is expected to be integrated heavily into the Facebook-owned Whatsapp and Facebook social media platform. The company’s whitepaper on the new cryptocurrency outlines its intentions in detail:

Facebook Libra

“The mission for Libra is a simple global currency and financial infrastructure that empowers billions of people. Libra is made up of three parts that will work together to create a more inclusive financial system:

It is built on a secure, scalable, and reliable blockchain;

It is backed by a reserve of assets designed to give it intrinsic value;

It is governed by the independent Libra Association tasked with evolving the ecosystem.”

Cryptocurrency advocates are not convinced Libra will do anything to help the unbanked or those in need of financial services. Instead, the project might unearth a huge privacy problem for users.

A potential gas pipeline connecting Russia and Germany is in the midst of political problems. While the project would be a major swoon for economic development in the region, some countries do not want to allow the plans to move forward. Denmark has stopped any momentum on the project, as it is refusing to give construction permits for the pipeline to be built in Danish waters, a necessary step toward the completion of the entire pipeline. The Danes are doing there best to stop the pipeline from being built altogether.

“They are almost getting to the point where they have built everything except what is in the Danish zone,” said Hans Mouritzen, a senior researcher on foreign policy at the Danish Institute for International Studies. “Denmark needs a good relationship with Germany,” Mouritzen said. “But the Germans are phasing out coal, and they are phasing out nuclear power plants, so they really need this gas.”

Russia has already run into problems with Ukraine, which is refusing to sign a new agreement for the pipeline. Ukraine is requesting the US levy stronger sanctions against Russia to pump the breaks on the expansion of the pipeline.

As the world inches closer to robots in every facet of life, human jobs will be phased out. According to a recent study, as many as 20 million manufacturing jobs around the world will be lost by 2030. Robotic usage across the globe doubled between 2010 and 2016, and shows no signs of slowing. This technological takeover has workers left out in the cold, this according to British Labour MP Yuvette Cooper:

Robots replacing human jobs

“As technology changes our workplaces, it is workers who should be in the driving seat, but our research shows that workers are too often being shut out of decisions that affect both their working conditions and their enjoyment of work. If we fail to prepare, we face a future where jobs get worse and workers’ voices go unheard.”

A study on the effect of robots in the workplace conducted by YouGov shows that 58% of workers aren’t consulted when it comes to introducing new technology into the workplace. 

The political feud between the United States and Iran has Europe stuck squarely in the middle. Iran is calling for Europe to assist in preserving its economy after the United States levied sanctions on the middle-eastern country. But because of Europe’s part in the Iran Nuclear Deal, the situation is not so simple:

“The Europeans are stuck in the middle, said Guillaume Xavier-Bender, an Iran analyst with the German Marshall Fund in Brussels, ‘and it’s unfortunate, since they initiated the deal in the first place.’ But, he added, ‘they believe so much in the value of the deal, it’s difficult for them to think a bit outside it.’”

US President Donald Trump has raised fears of an all-out war between the two countries after Iran brought down a US drone in June. 

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