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The Week Magazine

The Week Magazine October 16, 2020

The Week makes sense of the news by curating the best of the U.S. and international media into a succinct, lively digest.

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United States
The Week Publications, Inc.
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48 Edities

in deze editie

1 min.
the grand plan that got lost in space

UNITED KINGDOM Ciaran McGrath Daily Express So much for those dreams of a great British satellite navigation system, said Ciaran McGrath. The U.K. government has long known the risks of being reliant on the U.S.’s Global Positioning System, especially given that China and Russia are both racing to develop technologies that can disable GPS. That’s why the European Union built its own satnav system, Galileo. But because of Brexit, “the U.K. has been frozen out of Galileo,” after investing more than $1.3 billion in the project and developing “much of the technology.” So two years ago, then–Prime Minister Theresa May resolved that we should strike out on our own and create a homegrown rival. Now, with up to $120 million already spent, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government has all but conceded that’s not…

2 min.
proud boys: now on standby for the election

President Trump has gone from condoning “violent white supremacists” to asking for their help, said Dana Milbank in WashingtonPost.com. In front of tens of millions of Americans watching last week’s presidential debate, Trump refused to say the words “white supremacy,” would not pledge to a peaceful transfer of power, and instead told the Proud Boys—a far-right vigilante group—to “stand back and stand by.” The next day, Trump feigned that he’d never heard of this gang of neo-Nazi thugs who marched with Klansmen in Charlottesville, Va., fomented violence in Kenosha, Wis., and attacked protesters with “bear mace and clubs” in Portland, Ore. After Trump was eventually pressured into telling the Proud Boys to “stand down,” hate groups took the rebuke “with a wink,” said Brian Karem in TheBulwark.com. Whatever Trump meant…

2 min.
the election: what if a candidate dies?

President Trump’s illness with Covid-19 and Joe Biden’s risk of infection have pushed to the forefront a knotty question, said election-law expert Richard Hasen in Slate.com: What happens when a presidential candidate dies or becomes incapacitated this close to the election? “Thanks to our Rube Goldberg machine for choosing the president,” the answer is “murky,” and may lead to chaos. If a candidate dies before the election, it’s up to the party’s national political committee to choose a replacement candidate. With millions of votes already cast, the election would have to proceed “with the deceased or incapacitated candidate’s name on the ballot.”Then, because it’s the Electoral College that actually elects the president, we face a complicated question: Whether state legislatures would allow electors to switch their votes to the replacement…

1 min.
wit & wisdom

“Every joke is a tiny revolution.” George Orwell, quoted in The New York Times “Despair is always rational, but hope is human.” Novelist Richard Flanagan, quoted in The Guardian (U.K.) “The human heart dares not stay away too long from that which hurt it most. There is a return journey to anguish that few of us are released from making.” Author Lillian Smith, quoted in ArtsJournal.com “It is inhumane, in my opinion, to force people who have a genuine medical need for coffee to wait in line behind people who apparently view it as some kind of recreational activity.” Humorist Dave Barry, quoted in Parade “Rancor is an outpouring of a feeling of inferiority.” Philosopher José Ortega y Gasset, quoted in The Washington Post “Cowing people is not the same as converting them.” Columnist Michelle…

2 min.
‘woke’ wars: a silicon valley chief tells activists to leave

A tech CEO’s decision to “clamp down” on employee activism has riled up Silicon Valley, said Vlad Savov and Isabelle Lee in Bloomberg.com. Brian Armstrong of Coinbase, the country’s biggest cryptocurrency exchange, last week outlined rules for the company’s “apolitical” stance, including that employees should refrain from advocating “for causes or candidates internally that are unrelated to our mission.” Armstrong later doubled down by offering “severance packages to employees who don’t want to comply.” He pointed to “internal strife” at Google and Facebook, which has knotted itself into a pretzel trying to defend free speech on its platform while recently creating new policies to curb divisive posts on internal message boards. Google was sued for firing an employee who alleged discrimination against conservative white men. But Coinbase’s request prompted a…

2 min.
what’s new in tech

Google will try paying for news Google will pay media outlets $1 billion over the next three years to publish their news, said Ingrid Lunden in TechCrunch.com. The “Google News Showcase” that the company announced last week is rolling out first in Germany and Brazil. It’s the “latest effort to claw back more credibility in the news-publishing world” for Google, which faces accusations that it’s a free rider on news outlets’ work. Publishers have sued Google for a cut of its search revenue in several countries, including Germany. There, Google won in court, “but arguably, it didn’t win in the court of public opinion.” Faced with antitrust scrutiny around the world, Google has a lot of incentive to “rehabilitate its image.” It’s not clear, though, if Google will stick with the…