Travel industry relief mixed with fury after government eases rules “South Africa’s infection rate currently stands at 3.8 cases per 100,000 residents – below many countries where unrestricted travel is permitted such as the US, France, Greece, the Netherlands, and newly admitted Turkey. “South Africa’s continued red listing is also unjustified under the framework applied by the UK’s very own Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC), and UK ministers’ interpretation of the data is therefore arbitrary and inconsistent.” There is growing fury in South Africa at the UK’s continuing insistence on hotel quarantine, which effectively acts as a travel ban – keeping families apart and suppressing tourism to one of British travellers’ favourite long-haul destinations. Naledi Pandor, South Africa’s minister of International Relations and Cooperation, has accused the UK of inflicting “political punishment” by keeping her country on its red list. Restrictions were originally imposed by the UK after the Beta variant of coronavirus was first identified in South Africa in December 2020. Earlier this week the British high commission in Pretoria issued a joint statement with South Africa’s Department of Health that talked of “the most up-to-date and accurate sharing of information”. The careful wording appears designed to permit British ministers to attribute South Africa’s removal from the red list to newly acquired data. Two weeks ago, eight countries were taken off the red list – including Egypt, Turkey and Kenya. A further 54 nations remain in the highest risk category.https://www.independent.co.uk/travel/news-and-advice/south-africa-red-list-peter-hain-b1930439.html
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But what evidence there is simply does not support the idea that Facebook, or social media more generally, is the primary cause of polarization. The increase in political polarization in the US pre-dates social media by several decades. If it were true that Facebook is the chief cause of polarization, we would expect to see it going up wherever Facebook is popular. It isn’t. In fact, polarization has gone down in a number of countries with high social media use at the same time that it has risen in the US. Specifically, we expect the reporting to suggest that a change to Facebook’s News Feed ranking algorithm was responsible for elevating polarizing content on the platform. In January 2018, we made ranking changes to promote Meaningful Social Interactions (MSI) – so that you would see more content from friends, family and groups you are part of in your News Feed. This change was heavily driven by internal and external research that showed that meaningful engagement with friends and family on our platform was better for people’s wellbeing, and we further refined and improved it over time as we do with all ranking metrics. Of course, everyone has a rogue uncle or an old school classmate who holds strong or extreme views we disagree with – that’s life – and the change meant you are more likely to come across their posts too.https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/02/technology/whistle-blower-facebook-memo.html
China's power crisis shocks Australia's wool industry. Price of farm inputs also tipped to rise The Chinese government has placed restrictions on electricity use. Help keep family & friends informed by sharing this article The Chinese government has put restrictions on electricity use, which has had an immediate impact on its manufacturing sector and on global markets such as wool. Restrictions on electricity use in China force wool mills to reduce production The Australian wool market fell sharply this week in useful source response to the news The energy crisis is also expected to affect global fertiliser and glyphosate prices Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) chief executive Stuart McCullogh said some Chinese mills had this week reduced production by up to 40 per cent because of the power cuts. "There's probably five big converters of greasy wool in China and some of them are domiciled in those provinces [affected by power cuts], so it will have an effect," he said. "How long this goes for ... it's completely out of our control." Australia's wool industry benchmark, the Eastern Market Indicator (EMI), closed the week at 1337 cents a kilogram, down 31 cents, with a high pass-in rate of 22.7 per cent. It is understood power generators in China have been forced to limit supply because of tight coal supplies and high prices. According to Rabobank analyst Wes Lefroy, the rationalisation of energy also comes at a time when China is looking to curb its greenhouse gas emissions. Sign up for Rural RoundUp: Stories from rural and regional Australia, in your inbox every Friday, or for Rural news daily.https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-10-02/china-power-restriction-shocks-wool-industry/100506408