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Groundbreaking A.I. Robots Will Hold Conversations and Learn Users’ Personalities

This year, as coronavirus-induced panic caused public life to retreat behind closed doors, the fortunes of socially vulnerable senior citizens plummeted. For many, being forced to curtail visits from friends and family, keeping coronavirus out meant letting loneliness in. In the not-so-distant future, however, this painful trade-off may not be necessary. That’s thanks to advances in the realm of “socially intelligent” artificial intelligence, a phenomenon that a group of British scientists is

Scotland's 'Navigators' Transform Lives in the Emergency Room

A 15-millimeter hole in his kidney is what it took to open Robbie’s eyes. Fifteen booze-fueled years of knife crime and gang violence had landed him here at one of Scotland’s largest hospitals, hemorrhaging from a stab wound in an emergency room he’d visited 16 times before. Something needed to change — the 26-year-old knew it, but he hadn’t a clue where to start. And then, as Robbie recovered in the resuscitation unit, two curiously-clad men appeared by his bedside at Glasgow’s Royal Infirmary

British Prisoners And Their Families—The Forgotten Victims Of COVID-19

In the frenzied first days of Britain’s coronavirus outbreak, as contagion fears reached fever pitch and public life retreated behind closed doors, the nation’s lockups locked-down. With little notice, prison visits were cancelled, exercise and education activities curtailed, and out-of-cell time cut to as little as thirty minutes a day. Such muscular measures were necessary, officials said, spurred by fears that a single super-spreader might bring down an entire institution. That COVID-19 has

UK: Fears of resurgent terrorism as COVID-19 lockdown ends | DW | 12.07.2020

On June 20, as Brits basked in the mid-summer sunshine, terror struck with little warning. Armed with a knife, 25-year-old Khairi Saadallah walked into a park in Reading and stabbed to death three friendsin a frenzied, indiscriminate attack, prosecutors allege. It was — in the words of Neil Basu, head of UK counter-terror policing — the "re-emergence" of one disease, extremism, as another, COVID-19, recedes. He is not alone in his concern. Deprived of social stimulation during lockdown, expert

UK-China Relations In Freefall Pose A Big Brexit Problem

In 2015, George Osborne - then the U.K.’s finance minister - crowed that Britain was China’s “best partner in the West”. What a difference five years can make. As Beijing mobilizes against Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement, and London looks to lock Huawei out of its 5G future, Anglo-Chinese relations are in freefall. On Monday (July 6), things came to a head. The U.K. is guilty of “gross interference,” decried Ambassador Liu Xiaoming, Beijing’s man in Britain, in typically sharp-tongued fash

What Poland’s Presidential Election Means For European Unity

As Poles head to the polls today, a presidential race-cum-culture war reaches its climax. The incumbent Andrzej Duda - a man who plays fast and loose with press freedom and the rule of law - seeks re-election on a platform of Eurosceptic populism. His principle rival, Warsaw’s cosmopolitan mayor Rafal Trzaskowski, offers voters a very different vision, one that defends Poland’s beleaguered minorities, and endorses ever closer E.U. integration. In many ways, the contest is a microcosm of much de

Scotland's whisky industry: Ne'er a drop to drink?

Winters are cold in Scotland, and summer is brief. And at all times, it rains. Right? Not exactly. Like most parts of the planet, Scotland is warming. Average temperatures today are almost 1 degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) higher than they were a half-century ago. For Scotland's world-famous whisky industry, that's a serious problem. "2018 was just really, really unbelievable," recalls Callum Fraser, production manager at Glenfarclas, Scotland's oldest family-owned whisky maker. A summe

Uncertain Future For European Kids Detained In Syria’s Terror Prison Camps

In the sprawling prison camps of northeastern Syria, home to hundreds-of-thousands of Islamic State (IS) detainees, coronavirus is far from the only chronic health concern. Malnutrition, hypothermia, and preventable disease stalk the fetid, overflowing terrorist penitentiaries, whilst another contagion, religious fundamentalism, proliferates unchecked. Every year, hundreds of children, many of European lineage, are born into this abject deprivation. They are the sons and daughters of some 12,00

The Scottish independence debate is being reshaped by the pandemic

There was a moment, five days before 2014’s historic vote on Scottish independence, when the contest came alive. Electrified by an opinion poll that put the rival camps neck-and-neck, supporters of both sides poured onto the streets in a deluge of democratic fervor. A carnival atmosphere engulfed Glasgow, Scotland’s largest city, as activists made their final, thunderous push for victory.

Scottish islands: Guinea pigs for post-lockdown measures? | DW | 28.05.2020

Barren, beautiful, and sparsely populated. Social distancing comes easily on the remote islands of Scotland. Mile after mile of "machair" — windswept coastal grassland — can be strolled without encountering another living soul. For those in need of a little solitude, it's perfect; for a populace determined to keep a pandemic at bay, it's even better. As coronavirus wreaked havoc on the mainland, Scotland's offshore communities acted fast to insulate themselves, halting ferry and air arrivals fo

Coronavirus takes tragic toll on UK care homes | DW | 03.05.2020

How best to describe his employees' mood last week? Mike Padgham, who runs a number of care homes in Yorkshire, doesn't know. After a lengthy pause, he finds the word: "solemn." The specter of COVID-19 had suddenly materialized, killing three of his care home residents in quick succession. To his staff, they were "part of the family." But there's been little time to mourn. Five weeks into the lockdown, Britain's care homes have become a critical front in the coronavirus fight. More than any ot

Moratorium on travel may devastate U.K. fruit and vegetable growers

GLASGOW, Scotland — Cultivating hops is a difficult business. Long before the little cone-shaped flowers are ready for harvest, days of gruelling groundwork must be laid. For hours on end, workers kneel as they intricately thread the infant shoots around lengths of string. “Training,” as the process is known, takes skill, focus and patience. But most of all, it requires manpower — and that’s why Ali Capper is worried. “We’ve already recruited. We’ve got a team of people all hoping to come. They

Scotland Has Found the Perfect Solution to Homelessness

Eight weeks ago, Chris* was waking to the bitter winter chill of Scotland’s east coast. With nowhere to call home and “absolutely nothing” to his name, he had run out of options, and was living on the streets. “I felt really hopeless, it was so depressing,” recalls the 30-year-old Edinburgh man. But today, he’s feeling a little brighter. “I have a nice room with its own bathroom. It’s restful and I respect everyone here,” Chris says of his current accommodation – Edinburgh’s Old Waverley Hotel,

Europe-China Relations Start To Show Coronavirus Strain

China’s new year celebrations involve travel on an unimaginable scale. Upwards of half-a-billion people piled onto trains, planes, and busses, criss-crossing a continent-sized country. It’s an epidemiologist’s nightmare. And yet, somehow, Beijing managed to get a lid on its coronavirus outbreak—which emerged on the eve of the holiday—with remarkable success. Scarcely 3% of COVID-19 deaths globally have been recorded in China, a nation home to one-fifth of the planet’s population. That is, of c

British costume designers make scrubs for coronavirus 'superheroes'

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings. GLASGOW — From Downton Abbey to Game of Thrones, Star Wars and Batman, their artistry has enthralled millions. But now a group of British costume designers are fulfilling an altogether different public service: making scrubs for medics on the front line of the coronavirus fight. Working from makeshift studios in homes across the country, hundreds of people from the arts are plugging the

UK Parliament To Go Virtual Amid Coronavirus Crisis - But There Are Problems

In 1940, as German bombers filled the skies over London, parliamentarians fled the historic Palace of Westminster, convening at a less obvious target nearby. Eighty years on, British lawmakers are again uprooting in the face of catastrophe, retreating to a place their predecessors could scarcely have imagined: cyberspace. While the UK remains in coronavirus lockdown, parliamentary business is to be conducted virtually, authorities announced this week. The scheme will see MPs quizzing government

British bakers reintroduce World War II bread in coronavirus fight

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings. GLASGOW — As British politicians invoke memories of World War II’s “Blitz Spirit” during the coronavirus lockdown, and many are quietly channeling the stoic resolve their elders showed in the face of enormous hardship, some in the nation’s baking community are taking a more direct cue from history. Britain's National Loaf — a nutrient-dense whole wheat bread first produced in 1942 — has
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