THE RUNDOWN – 20.03.16

Mar 20 2016 BY Eto Worchie

It’s been a busy week. So much so that you probably haven’t had the time to catch up with everything going on in the world. Fortunately (for you), we’ve got your back. Here’s what happened this week in the worlds of Politics, Technology, Sports, Music and Business alongside a few other miscellaneous bits that caught our eye.

 

World

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  • The pilot of a Lufthansa passenger jumbo jet has reported that a drone aircraft nearly collided with his airliner on its landing approach to Los Angeles, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. The close encounter between the wide-body, four-engine Airbus A380 and the drone occurred at about 1.30pm at an altitude of 5,000ft (152 metres) as the unmanned aircraft passed about 200ft (61 meters) over the Lufthansa flight 14 miles (22.5 km) east of the city’s international airport, the FAA said.
  • Prince Harry has begun a five-day visit to Nepal by saying he hoped his visit would shine a spotlight on the “resolve and resilience of the Nepalese people” still recovering from the April 2015 earthquake. Harry said he was delighted to be asked to visit a country that had captured the imagination of himself and many fellow Britons, during a Nepalese government reception.
  • The Anne Frank foundation has criticised an “escape room” game made to look like the apartment where the teenage Jewish diarist hid with her family from the Netherlands’ Nazi occupiers during the second world war. According to its website, the Escape Bunker has a room styled to look like the Frank family’s apartment. Visitors are locked in and have to escape within an hour using teamwork, creativity and “out-of-the-box” thinking.
  • Brazil is bracing for a critical moment in its continuing political crisis amid fears that pro-government demonstrators gathering in cities across the country will clash with opponents. Early on Friday morning police in São Paulo used water cannons in an attempt to clear anti-government protesters from Avenida Paulista, the city’s main thoroughfare, ahead of a march by government supporters and featuring former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.
  • Two Democratic Republic of Congo activists are on hunger strike after the supreme court rejected their application for release from jail, where they have been held for more than a year without trial. Fred Bauma and Yves Makwambala, members of the youth group Struggle for Change (Lucha), were arrested on 15 March last year in a raid by security services on a meeting in Kinshasa. The government said at the time that the group was believed to be planning an attack against “state security”. “The case [against them] is empty,” said their lawyer, Beaupaul Mutemba. “They have no basis on which to hold them.”
  • Refugees and migrants arriving in Europe will be sent back across the Aegean sea under the terms of a deal between the EU and Turkey that has been criticised by aid agencies as inhumane. In an agreement that raises the prospect of a desperate last-minute rush to Greek shores by refugees and migrants hoping to beat the deadline of midnight on Saturday, the European council president, Donald Tusk, resolved sticking points with Turkey’s prime minister, Ahmet Davutoğlu, before all of the EU’s 28 leaders approved the deal at talks in Brussels.

 

Politics

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  • Labour has urged the new work and pensions secretary, Stephen Crabb, to appear before parliament on Monday to announce formally that controversial cuts to disability benefits that triggered the resignation of Iain Duncan Smith will be dropped. Owen Smith, the shadow work and pensions secretary, welcomed Crabb’s appointment, and said: “His very first act as secretary of state must be to come to parliament on Monday to announce the full reversal of cruel Tory cuts that will see 370,000 disabled people lose £3,500 a year.”
  • George Osborne has announced that he will abolish the tampon tax – the 5% VAT charged on women’s sanitary products – after the prime minister raised the issue with his European partners at a summit in Brussels. The chancellor had faced a potential rebellion over the issue, after an amendment tabled by the Labour MP for Dewsbury and Mirfield, Paula Sherriff, won the backing of Eurosceptics keen to assert Britain’s power to set its own tax rates.
  • The political pressure on David Cameron to explain Britain’s role in a potential “stabilisation force” in Libya has increased as he was pressed to give evidence to the foreign affairs select committee on the UK’s strategy. The committee is conducting an inquiry into British planning for Libya in the wake of the downfall of its dictator, Muammar Gaddafi, in 2011, as well as into how to end the political and security chaos that has gripped the country since.
  • The chair of a poverty charity found himself being escorted out of parliament by a police officer after a bad-tempered meeting at which he told an MP the eviction of long-term tenants from flats sold by the charity was not his problem. Keith Nunn, chair of trustees for the Glasspool Trust, said “It happens” when asked about the impact on the tenants, some of whom are vulnerable families, according to the Labour MP for Walthamstow, Stella Creasy.
  • David Cameron and George Osborne were struggling to maintain a semblance of unity in the Tory party as allies of Iain Duncan Smith said he had quit the cabinet because he regarded their cuts to welfare as “morally indefensible”. The extraordinary accusation from the Duncan Smith camp came the day after he sensationally quit as work and pensions secretary in a bitter row over £4bn of cuts to benefits for the disabled, which were announced in Osborne’s budget last Wednesday.

Sports

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  • Victoria Azarenka stunned everyone by defeating World number 1, Serena Williams in the BNP Paribas Open Finals 6-4 6-4 in Indian Wells.
  • Novak Djokovic defeated Milos Raonic to secure the BNP Paribas Open title. Following his win, the Men’s World Number 1 said  male tennis players should earn more than female stars as it attracts more spectators.
  • Nico Rosberg wins an incident-packed Australian GP after a huge crash for Maclaren’s Fernando Alonso
  • Jenson Button says Formula One’s new rules restricting radio communications between drivers and the team are largely unenforceable. From the start of the new season here on Sunday pitwall-to-driver messages have been restricted to emergency situations, a move that will curtail much of the enjoyment of TV watchers.

Music

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  • SoundCloud’s subscription service – originally planned for 2015 – is due to finally launch later this year. After its deal with Sony was confirmed this week.
  • The Friends Of Finsbury Park group is stepping up its campaign to stop this year’s Wireless Festival. The 45,000-capacity festival featured acts such as Drake, David Guetta, Avicii, Kendrick Lamar and Nicki Minaj in 2015, but video footage emerged showing chaotic scenes after a crowd forced open a security door to gain access to the site during a performance by Lethal Bizzle.
  • Kaytranada has revealed details of his début album 99.9%, featuring the likes of Alunageorge, Craig David and more, it has been announced. The Montreal-hailing experimental artist unveiled plans for the début LP on Benji B’s show on BBC Radio One this week, which will be released on May 6 through XL Recordings.

 

Technology

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  • A major consumer electronics firm has become the first to launch a mass-market virtual reality headset, in what could be the move that takes VR technology into the mainstream. Sony said that its PlayStation VR headset, which works with the PlayStation 4 console, would be launched in October for $399 in the US and £349 in the UK.
  • A number of major news websites have seen adverts hijacked by a malicious campaign that attempts to install “ransomware” on users computers, according to a warning from security researchers Malwarebytes. The attack, which was targeted at US users, hit websites including the New York Times, the BBC, AOL and the NFL over the weekend. Combined, the targeted sites have traffic in the billions of visitors.
  • Windows 7 users are reporting that Windows 10 is automatically installing on their PCs without permission. Scores of users have posted on Twitter, forums, Reddit and gaming sites to complain about Windows 10 automatically installing, seemingly without asking, and often in the middle of doing something important.
  • Amazon’s UK boss Chris North has quit the company to join US online photo gift retailer Shutterfly. North’s departure comes just as Amazon accelerates its plans to enter the grocery market in the UK. The US company recently revealed a deal to sell fresh, chilled and frozen food made by Morrisons, the Bradford-based supermarket chain, after it began selling frozen items via its Prime Now service in London, Birmingham, Newcastle, Manchester and Liverpool.
  • Apple’s chief executive Tim Cook has taken to national TV, Capitol Hill and his company’s shareholders’ meeting to try to persuade consumers that the iPhone maker is right in its privacy standoff with the US government. But buried in the transcript of a recent interview with Time magazine offers some key on-the-record insights Cook has not made before.