French elections: Macron and Le Pen through to run-off

Centrist newcomer Emmanuel Macron will go head-to-head with far-right leader Marine Le Pen One-Minute Read Monday, April 24, 2017 – 9:10am Emmanuel Macron, the 39-year-old independent centrist, will face the National Front’s Marine Le Pen in the run-off for the French presidency, as the country turns away from its established political parties. In the first round of voting, Macron received 23.9 per cent of the vote, ahead of Le Pen on 21.4 per cent, while embattled former Republican prime minister Francois Fillon received 19.9 per cent and far-left candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon finished on 19.6 per cent. See related French election 2017: Who are the candidates? Who is Emmanuel Macron and… Read More

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Sennheiser is working with Samsung to bring its 3D audio earbuds to Android

Three-dimensional audio — otherwise known as binaural audio — is all about recording sound as close as possible to the way your ears hear it. Usually that means using big recording rigs configured to look like a human head, but Sennheiser wants to make the process simpler. Earlier this year at CES, it unveiled its Ambeo Smart Surround earbuds, which come with embedded microphones capable of recording 3D audio. The Smart Surrounds were announced as iPhone-only, but now the company is planning to bring them to Android. Sennheiser CEO Andreas Sennheiser (it’s a family-owned business) announced the news at the IFA Global Press Conference in Portugal. Sennheiser told The Korea… Read More

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Music reviews, April 24: Pond, Allan Holdsworth, Dim Sum and Hawking

This week new music is reviewed from Pond, Allan Holdsworth, Dim Sum, Hawking and the Judys: POND: The Weather (Marathon Artists): One of the most curious developments in global rock music is the explosion of psychedelia in Australia. Whether it’s due to licking cane toads or just the general effects of sunstroke, Down Under acts are replacing the nation’s “more-cowbell” reputation with spiralling synthesizers, reverberating off-kilter vocals and quirky, often blatantly meaningless lyrics. Formed by former Tame Impala guitarist Nicholas Allbrook and including Impala’s Jay Watson in its membership, Pond plays fuzzed-out, spaced-out pop. The group burst onto the scene with 2015’s sprawling Currents. It’s follow-up finds the Perth group… Read More

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How Trump Is Upending the Conventional Wisdom on Illegal Immigration

Obamacare remains the law of the land. So does NAFTA. Tax reform exists only as pixels in a tweet. Infrastructure ain’t happening. Five months after the Republicans won united control of Congress and the presidency, it seems uncertain whether one-party Washington can avoid a government shutdown over a budget dispute. Yet as Day 100 of his presidency nears, President Donald Trump can take credit for one huge accomplishment, an accomplishment more central to his election campaign than any of the unfulfilled pledges above. Illegal immigration into the United States has slowed dramatically. The Department of Homeland Security reports that illegal crossings across the southern border plunged 40 percent in the… Read More

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Don’t Grade a President on His First 100 Days

The election of Donald Trump, and the early days of his presidency, have driven many Americans to rummage through history in search of context and understanding. Trump himself has been compared to historical figures ranging from Ronald Reagan to Henry Ford, and from Andrew Jackson to Benito Mussolini. His steps have been condemned as unprecedented by his critics, and praised as historic by his supporters. To place contemporary events in perspective, we turned to a pair of historians of the United States. Julian Zelizer is a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University. He is the author, most recently, of The Fierce Urgency of Now: Lyndon Johnson, Congress,… Read More

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MPs want to ban British ministers like George Osborne from taking private-sector jobs after they quit

LONDON — Ex-ministers like George Osborne should be banned for two years from taking lobbying jobs related to their former departments after they quit, according to an cross-party committee of MPs. A new report from the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee argues that the current watchdog set up to monitor jobs taken by MPs and ministers, called Acoba, has “damaged public trust” by being “toothless” and “ineffectual.” It said: “It has become part of the culture in public life that individuals are entitled to capitalise on their public sector experience when they move into the private sector – the “new normal” – but there is a lack of clear… Read More

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Brexit may not stop the EU having control over the City

LONDON — Finance companies want the government to let Europe’s top court remain supreme in the City post-Brexit, in exchange for continued access to the EU’s Single Market. The Times reports on Monday that finance executives are increasingly convinced that the government should use supremacy of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) over the finance industry as a bargaining chip to win market access. Here is the key section of The Times’ report: “Financial institutions are pushing David Davis, the Brexit secretary, to put ECJ oversight of the City on the negotiating table because they see it as key to getting the EU to agree a deal that would allow… Read More

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NOMURA: Macron could send the euro to $1.15

LONDON — The euro could move as high as $1.15 following centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron’s win in the first round of France’s presidential election on Sunday, according to analysts at Nomura. The currency rallied sharply overnight as the results came in, and remains up by more than 1% to trade at around 1.084. Macron — the most pro-EU candidate on the ballot — won 23.8% of first round votes. Far right, anti-EU candidate Marine Le Pen came second, with polls suggesting that Macron should win the final round comfortably next month. With the threat of a far right-wing government in France receding, the euro crash that would have accompanied it… Read More

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‘Watch your back, Jeff Bezos’: Amazon sparks laughs on HBO’s ‘Silicon Valley’ season premiere

HBO has ramped up the tech-themed comedy “Silicon Valley” for its fourth season. (HBO Illustration) HBO’s “Silicon Valley” comedy series presents a California-centric view of how tech is done (and undone), but Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and Seattle-based Amazon Web Services came in for satirical shout-outs in Sunday night’s season premiere. The show centers on the travails of a startup called Pied Piper, often suffered at the hands of Hooli, a monolithic Google-like company. As the season’s first episode begins, Pied Piper is pivoting from the data compression and storage business to video chat – specifically, a miraculous smartphone app called PiperChat that can conference an unlimited number of video… Read More

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