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Electromagnetic Radiation From Cellphones And WI-FI Is Harmful To Insects

Technology is quite literally destroying nature, with a yet another report further confirming that electromagnetic radiation from power lines and cell towers can disorientate birds and insects and destroy plant health. The paper warns that as nations switch to 5G, this threat could increase.

In the analysis, EKLIPSE, an EU-funded review body dedicated to policy that may impact biodiversity and the ecosystem, looked over 97 studies on how electromagnetic radiation may affect the environment. It concluded this radiation could indeed pose a potential risk to bird and insect orientation and plant health, The Telegraph reported.

This is not a new finding, as studies dating back for years have come to the same conclusion. In fact, one study from 2010 even suggested that this electromagnetic radiation may be playing a role in the decline of certain animal and insect populations.

However the charity Buglife warned that despite good evidence of the harms there was little research ongoing to assess the impact, or apply pollution limits.

The charity said ‘serious impacts on the environment could not be ruled out’ and called for 5G transmitters to be placed away from street lights, which attract insects, or areas where they could harm wildlife.

Studies also show electromagnetic radiation could be seriously affecting human health.

The total number of insects has decreased by 76% in the last 37 years

Insects, which comprise two thirds of all species on Earth, have been dying off at alarming rates — with disastrous impacts on food chains and habitats.

This warning comes from German entomology enthusiasts, or bug catchers, who have collected 80 million insects in the Rhine countryside over the last 37 years.

‘It is our greatest fear that a point of no return will be reached, which will lead to a permanent loss of diversity.’

To demonstrate the rapid decline, a lab technician held up two bottles: one from 1994 contains 1,400 grammes of trapped insects, the newest one just 300 grammes.

We only became aware of the seriousness of this decline in 2011, and every year since then we have seen it get worse,’ says Dr Sorg.

Although the exact roots of the die-off is not yet clear, ‘the cause is anthropogenic, there’s no doubt about it,’ he said.

In February, they published the first synthesis of 73 studies on entomological fauna around the world over the past 40 years, covering places from Costa Rica to southern France.

They calculated that over 40 per cent of insect species are threatened with extinction and each year another one per cent is added to this list.

Although pesticides and modern farming play a huge role, electromagnetic radiation could also be a factor.

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EU Wants To Ban AI-powered Citizen Scoring And Mass Surveillance

A group of policy experts assembled by the EU has recommended that it ban the use of AI for mass surveillance and mass “scoring of individuals”; a practice that potentially involves collecting varied data about citizens — everything from criminal records to their behavior on social media — and then using it to assess their moral or ethical integrity.

In its latest report, the EU’s High Level Expert Group on Artificial Intelligence says that “AI enabled mass scale of scoring of individuals,” should be banned. In addition, instances where AI and big data could be used to identify national security threats should be tightly regulated.

“While there may be a strong temptation for governments to ‘secure society’ by building a pervasive surveillance system based on AI systems, this would be extremely dangerous if pushed to extreme levels,” the report released today reads.

The group also calls for commercial surveillance of individuals and societies to be “countered” — suggesting the EU’s response to the potency and potential for misuse of AI technologies should include ensuring that online people-tracking is “strictly in line with fundamental rights such as privacy”, including when it concerns ‘free’ services.

However, much of the report simply recommends “further study,” while other recommendations, like limits on the use of emotional tracking and assessment technologies, are maddeningly vague.

Following the publication of the report, the EU will look to explore the practicalities of the recommendations in time for concrete proposals by early 2020. And, somehow, to turn that into legislation that will protect European citizens’ rights in an age of big data and artificial intelligence.

Europe can distinguish itself from others by developing, deploying, using, and scaling Trustworthy AI, which we believe should become the only kind of AI in Europe, in a manner that can enhance both individual and societal well-being,” the document reads.

Other key recommendations:

  • Closely follow data collection practices of institutions and businesses
  • Require self-identification of AI systems in human-machine interactions
  • Support challenges to address climate change and hold an annual “AI for good” challenge
  • Include workers whose jobs are impacted by AI in the AI design process
  • Map skills shortages to identify AI opportunities
  • Support the development of AI testing systems that let civil society organizations conduct independent quality verification
  • Support elementary AI education courses for all EU citizens
  • Fund government employee AI training and assess potential privacy and personal data risks of AI systems before government agencies procure them
  • Create monitoring mechanisms to track the impact of AI on European members states and across the EU
  • Fund additional research into the impact of AI on individuals and society, including on the rule of law, democracy, jobs, and social systems and structures
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Extremely Dangerous Pesticide Found In 30 Percent Of Citrus Fruits In Denmark

The annual pesticide report revealed late last year by the Fødevarestyrelsen food authority showed that almost all of the food samples tested in Denmark adhered to the national pesticide standards.

But apparently citrus fruits are under severe scrutiny at the moment due to a high prevalence of chlorpyrifos, a controversial pesticide banned in Denmark, which is still sold in loads of countries around the world.

Chlorpyrifos, a pesticide known for its damaging effects on children’s brain development, is among the top 15 active substances most frequently found in European unprocessed food and prominently present in fruit. This is the conclusion of a new briefing published today, bringing together all official EU data on the analysis of 791 different pesticide residues.

A series of investigative articles published by media outlets across Europe highlighted that the previous European market approval process of chlorpyrifos ignored hundreds of independent studies showing evidence of brain-harming effects. The investigation also found that the EU approval was based on just one single study, that was commissioned by industry.   

There is no acceptable dose to avoid brain damage

Exposure to chlorpyrifos, even in small doses, can harm children’s brain development and hormonal systems. Scientists have linked it to decreases of IQ in children, working memory loss, endocrine disruption, autism and Parkinson’s Disease.

The notorious pesticide was created to attack the nervous system of insects, but it has been found to damage the nervous system of humans. It has also been linked to affecting the brains of foetuses and infants, as well as being suspected of causing ADHD, autism and lower IQ in children.

It is found in Danish supermarkets because it is legal in other countries that Denmark imports food goods from, including China, Thailand and Spain.

“Ideally, it should be banned globally, but the first step would be to ban it in the EU as we have a joint set of rules. It would be a relatively simple step to take – particularly given that several countries have already banned it,” Camilla Udsen, a spokesperson with the consumer organisation TÆNK, told Danwatch.

In 2016, studies for the Danish ministry of environment found chlorpyrifos in the urine from nine out of ten children and their mothers.

Environmental scientists claim that data from Dow Chemicals’ own research back in 2000 actually showed that chlorpyrifos has an impact of the development of cerebellum (‘little brain’) in rats. These findings had however not been recorded in the conclusions filed to the EU authorities.

The present EU approval of chlorpyrifos expires on 31 January 2020. This could indicate the story of chlorpyrifos is coming to an end.

Yet that is not necessarily the case.

Market analysts project that the sale of chlorpyrifos will see significant growth in the next five years, according to Persistance Market Research which will release a new report in August.

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Adidas Loses “3 Stripes” Trademark Case In Europe

The Adidas three-stripe logo is famous and many fans think it’s cool, but it’s just not distinctive enough to deserve trademark protection, an EU court ruled Wednesday.

The three-stripe logo was first registered by Adidas’s founder, Adi Dassler, on a football boot on 18 August 1949, but the court said it was not sufficient to identify the products as originating from the brand.

The ruling is part of a long-running dispute between the German sportswear manufacturer and the Belgian company Shoe Branding Europe.

The fight between the two shoemakers stemmed from an earlier legal battle, though, in which Adidas successfully opposed Shoe Branding’s registration of a two-stripe trademark for its sneaker and sportswear brand Patrick. In that case, the court found that Shoe Branding’s stripes were confusingly similar to Adidas’ two-stripe trademark, and blocked the registration.

Adidas, which can appeal to the European court of justice, said it was “disappointed” with the ruling but still evaluating its implications.

“This ruling is limited to this particular execution of the three-stripe mark and does not impact on the broad scope of protection that Adidas has on its well-known three-stripe mark in various forms in Europe,” the company said in a statement.

Adidas’ most recent setback doesn’t mean it is no longer entitled to protect its intellectual property. In fact, the company has numerous other three-stripe trademarks registered in the EU. But Wednesday’s ruling may limit its scope.

Wednesday’s ruling could erode the value of the Adidas brand, currently worth $14.3 billion, according to David Haigh, chief executive of consultancy Brand Finance.

“The name is more important but the recognizable three stripes are also a major contributor to recognition,” he said.