May 2nd Daily News Digest

May 2nd Daily News Digest

Good afternoon. In todays digest we give links and context to some of the most interesting stories of the past 24 hours.

UK News

The UK health secretary Jeremy Hunt has announced an independent review after 450,000 women aged around 70 had failed to get invitations for routine breast scans since 2009. Up to 270 of the women may have died as a result. Hunt blamed a computer algorithm for the mistake. All the women will be contacted via a letter by the end of May.

In a blow to "corruption and criminality, including in Vladimir Putin’s Russia:"

Tax havens operating under the British flag must expose their clients to public scrutiny after Theresa May backed down in the face of a Tory rebellion.

On Tuesday the pro-Brexit Conservative MP Bob Seely used parliamentary privilege to link the pro-Brexit think-tank Legatum Institute to Russia. Drawing from intelligence documents he accused one of the Institute's backers the billionaire Christopher Chandler of working for Russian intelligence services. The think tank has "strong links to cabinet ministers, MPs, economists and campaigners who support a hard Brexit" the Times Reports. The think tank dismissed the claims as “complete nonsense”. 

Claire Ainsley, in an opinion piece in inews writes how there is a new working class which no political party speaks to. The new working class is made up of:

people living on low to middle incomes, doing jobs in the service sector like retail, hospitality and care. Many of them won’t define themselves through work at all. It is multi-ethnic, diverse, more likely to be female than male, and younger than the traditional working class.

Ainsley writes that Labours vote share from this population has been declining as the Conservatives has begun to rise. She also stresses the importance of listening to this new class.

The website LibertyStratCom is reporting that "Labour Data Was Shared With Leave EU And Cambridge Analytica." James Patrick writes:

Sensitive personal data of Labour voters was processed by a third party and shared with Arron Banks’s Leave.EU, Cambridge Analytica, and others associated with unofficial groups campaigning to leave the European Union in February 2016.
Data based upon demographics, class, finances and ethnicity, was used to identify core groups of Labour voters to be targeted with UKIP-led messaging and was instrumental in deciding where Nigel Farage appeared to speak during the Brexit campaign.

US News

In an update to yesterday's digest, a slow trickle of the caravan heading towards the US-Mexico border from central America have been allowed to make asylum applications.  Reuters reports that:

Border agents slowly admitted 17 of the asylum seekers on Tuesday, according to organizers with the Pueblo Sin Fronteras immigrant rights group, after eight were allowed to request protection on Monday night. 
That still left roughly 115 migrants waiting in a makeshift camp outside the busy border post in the Mexican city of Tijuana.

The Verge is reporting that:

Republican FCC commissioner Michael O’Rielly broke a federal law preventing officials from advocating for political candidates when he told a crowd that one way to avoid policy changes was to “make sure that President Trump gets reelected,” according to a newly released letter from government officials. O’Rielly was warned by the officials about making similar comments in the future.

World News

In an effort to save energy Japan has launched its Cool Biz campaign which will last until September 30th and encourages its workers to

dress down, ditching their suits and ties for open-necked, short-sleeved shirts in their offices. It also encourages offices to set air conditioners at 28 degrees Celsius.

Media

A Danish journalist became the first to be found guilty under Malaysia's new Anti-Fake News Act on Monday. Salah Salem Saleh Sulaiman, 46 pled guilty to the charge of publishing " fake news through a video on YouTube” with "ill-intent." In the video Sulaiman accused the police of taking 50 minutes to respond to distress calls following the shooting of a Palestinian lecturer on April 21. The police contested this saying they had taken only 8 minutes. The judge fined Sulaiman 10,000 ringgit ($2,552) but he opted to spend a month in jail because he could not pay.

Felicia Cravens, a former tea party activist is teaching her fellow conservatives how to spot fake news online. 

Cravens goes hunting for fake profiles posting outlandish stories, overseas spammers trying to trick Americans with fake news, and other forms of misinformation targeting her fellow conservatives.

She reveals her findings in livestreams and on her facebook page Unfakery. She recently revealed that she and a small group of others had "uncovered a network of more than 100 fake Facebook accounts spreading pro-Trump content on groups and on their profiles" according to Buzzfeed News.

The Colombia Journalism Review recently reported that "One legal case could open a can of worms for defamation suits against writers." If the outcome goes against Ryan Goldberg the fromer Gawker freelancer being sued then it could open the door for journalists to be sued even after they have left the publications they published their work for even after the publications are defunct. This might have a chilling effect on journalism, and it all hinges on four words "deemed to have received." To find out why the case matters read the linked article.

Tech

Plans were unveiled in New Zealand on Tuesday to start taxing people who buy books and other small items online. The tax has been nicknamed the 'Amazon Tax' by some. The move is an attempt to close the loophole that allowed people to buy items from abroad without paying the 15% tax imposed on goods sold in stores.

Snapchats shares drop 16% after lower than expected user growth in Q1. The company gained only 4 million new daily users which is 3 million less than had been predicted. 

Shares in Match Group online dating conglomerate, with ownership in Tinder, match.com and OkCupid, among others took a tumble after it was announced that Facebook would be entering the online dating world. Testing of the Facebook matching feature will start taking place later this year will allow users to find dates using the information people share about themselves on the platform. 

Science

In a nationwide survey in the US by the health insurer, Cigna nearly 50% of the respondents reported feeling lonely or left out always or some of the time. The survey was conducted on 20,000 people and younger generations reported the highest loneliness scores. This research is worrying when we consider that:

"We have robust evidence that it [loneliness] increases risk for premature mortality," says Holt-Lunstad. Studies have found that it is a predictor of premature death, not just for the elderly, but even more so for younger people.

Some research has suggested that increased phone and social media use contribute to the rise in depression and suicide in young people however the Cigna survey did not find a link between social media use and loneliness. However, "respondents who said they have more in-person social interactions on a daily basis reported being less lonely."

On Monday the Irish government announced that it would be:

opening an official inquiry and setting up phone help lines and emergency testing after it emerged that a publicly funded smear test program had mistakenly cleared at least 208 women who later received diagnoses of cervical cancer.

Of the 208 women who had received false negative results between 2010 and 2014 at least, 17 have already died. The government is contacting all of those affected and is planning to set up a fund to provide automatic compensation so that those affected do not need to go to the courts.

In a recent study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) scientists have found that children raised in a rural environment "had more stress-resilient immune systems and might be at lower risk of mental illness" than those who grow up petless in an urban environment.

It is important to stress that this research was carried out on only 40 healthy men and there we must be careful not to overgeneralise this result however the findings are intriguing. The study suggests that raising children with pets can be beneficial to their mental health. 

Although the city dweller reported feeling less stress during the research it was found that:

Those who grew up in cities had significantly higher levels of immune system components called peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) after the stressful experience.
They also showed prolonged elevation of the inflammatory compound interleukin 6 and muted activation of the anti-inflammatory compound interleukin 10.

This is potentially very interesting news because:

previous studies have shown that those with an exaggerated inflammatory response are more likely to develop depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) later in life.

Because it has been shown that our microbial environment shapes our immunoregulatory response to stress and that this occurs early on in life the papers authors advise:

eating foods rich in healthy bacteria, or probiotics, spending time in nature and getting a furred pet.

Reddit

On Reddit /u/JustAnotherUser_1 posted an excellent post about how to structure answers in job interviews and applications. The methods are CAR (Context Action Result) and STAR (Situation Task Action Result). 

Youtube

The Youtuber Drew Gooden recently released a fascinating video talking about efficiency in comedy. He used American version of The Office and Friends as case studies. He argues that laugh tracks detract from the jokes and waste time. In the episode of Friends that, he analysed over 5 minutes were lost due to laughter from the audience. He found that there are slightly more jokes in episodes of The Office than in Friends. The video is well worth a watch.

Thanks for reading. See you soon. 

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