‘Network Propaganda’ explored

first_imgConversations surrounding the 2016 U.S. presidential election often involve references to “fake news,” Russian interference, data breaches, and the impact of various social media platforms on the divisive outcome. A new book from researchers at the Berkman Klein Center (BKC) that has its origins in a three-year study of the media ecosystem surrounding the election disrupts this narrative.“Network Propaganda: Manipulation, Disinformation, and Radicalization in American Politics,” by Yochai Benkler, the Berkman Professor for Entrepreneurial Legal Studies at Harvard Law School and faculty co-director of BKC; Robert Faris, the research director at the center; and Hal Roberts, a fellow there, provides a comprehensive study of the media ecosystem surrounding the race.“The idea of this book was to wrestle — really starting just after the election, even though the work started far before that — with what just happened? What the heck just happened in our country, to our media system, to our democracy?” Roberts said at a book talk on Oct. 4. The talk was moderated by Martha Minow, 300th Anniversary University Professor at Harvard.A major contribution of the book is what the researchers call an “asymmetric polarization” model that stems from their research on partisan media ecosystems. The model, created with data from the media sources most cited during and after the election period, shows that left-wing media outlets are more closely aligned with centrist media outlets, and right-wing media sources are much more skewed and “are operating in their own media world,” Roberts said. The researchers found that this pattern was evident during the election and was even more pronounced during the first year of Donald Trump’s presidency.Asymmetric polarization was consistent across different platforms; it was found in analyses based on cross-media linking and in media sharing patterns on Twitter and Facebook.,“There are clearly two sides, and those two sides are not the same. The right is more insular; it’s more extreme; it’s more partisan,” Faris said of the findings. “That’s not a subjective opinion; that’s an empirical observation. And much of what we try to do in this book is to document that and understand what it means and how it’s reflected in different behavior.”The three-year study, which ran from April 2015, the start of the election cycle, until November 2017, captured the first year of the Trump presidency. The research draws on 4 million online media articles sourced from Media Cloud, a joint project between BKC and the MIT Media Lab, but also includes data from offline media coverage, and from social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, among others. The researchers also draw on previous work on media consumption trends and trust in institutions to contextualize their findings.In addition to studying current media ecosystems, “Network Propaganda” also explores the history of political communications in the U.S. and the rise of different trends, such as radicalization, and the creation of a market for outrage.“We go through a good bit of the media history and describe how changes in technology, changes in law and regulation, and changes in political culture all worked to reinforce each other in a long-term feedback effect to change the fundamental economics of the outrage industry,” Benkler said. The trio trace that market from its genesis in the 1960s to the rise of Rush Limbaugh in the early 1990s and the creation of Fox News.“Network Propaganda” examines media coverage surrounding major events, and topics of media coverage during the election time span, including disinformation and how it was spread and consumed. The book also examines spikes in media coverage, like the one at the start of Robert Mueller’s investigation into foreign interference in the 2016 election. Case studies illustrate the researchers’ findings throughout the book, offering in-depth analysis of how trends in partisan media evolved to their present state, and how media outlets are grappling with concerns of trust.“The thing that most surprised us, and to us seems to be most contrary to the prevailing narrative of the moment, is that it’s professional mainstream media — both in its professional centrist model, and in its highly commercially successful right-wing model — [that] is the scaffolding on which everything else is built,” Benkler said.“Network Propaganda” is an open-access title and available to read for free online.This article first appeared on the Harvard Law Today website.last_img read more

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New Endowed Professor

first_imgGopinath “Gopi” Munisamy, a University of Georgia professor of agricultural and applied economics, was recently named Distinguished Professor of Agricultural Marketing in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. Spanning more than 35 years in academia and government, his work includes topics in agricultural policy, markets, trade and economic development.Munisamy began his position at UGA in May 2019 after serving seven years as director of the markets and trade economics division at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Economic Research Service. Prior to that, he was a professor of applied economics at Oregon State University.“How can I provide information that makes people’s lives better?” It’s a driving question that Munisamy says brought him into the field and keeps him motivated. “That’s why I stuck to agricultural economics all of my life. This position (at UGA) gives me a great opportunity to be more effective at that.”One of his current research interests is using machine learning and artificial intelligence for better forecasting of market outcomes like price, production, consumption and trade. He is currently collaborating with other faculty at the university on this broad-based informatics initiative. He also has plans to study international dimensions of climate change with other faculty in the college.Octavio Ramirez, head of the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, applauded Munisamy’s accomplishments and appointment to the professorship, which received an initial endowment contribution from the Milton M. Ratner Foundation.“His exceptional academic credentials and research skills, combined with his experiences at USDA, make him capable of rigorously analyzing the complex global food and agricultural markets, trade, and policy issues being faced by the state of Georgia and our country and translating those analyses into extremely valuable information for industry and policymakers.”The top issues currently affecting the industry are recovery from multiple natural disasters, the trade war and now the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Munisamy, who teaches international agricultural trade and policy to graduate students and agricultural policy to undergraduates. He underscores the importance of domestic and international features of agricultural markets.“Trade is a very important sector,” he says. “Georgia produces more than 60 commodities. You really have to look closely at domestic and international issues affecting markets and provide information useful to farmers, consumers and policymakers.”Munisamy says it’s vital for academia and government to work together, as both are paramount to solving industry problems.“In Washington, you’re running between meetings and reacting to issues that come up,” he said. “More often, you’re pulling together information and delivering it to policymakers. In academia, you’re leading knowledge creation. These roles complement each other, and you have to have these moving together.”To learn more about the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, visit agecon.uga.edu.last_img read more

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Renewable Energy Allies

first_imgBy Dialogo July 01, 2013 Airmen and academics from El Salvador and the United States recently completed a state-of-the-art hybrid power station at a Salvadoran Military base that could serve as a model in the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources. The station includes solar panels, rechargeable batteries and a biomass gasifier that transforms coconut shells into synfuel to serve as a combustion fuel source for an electric generator. The system is the first of its kind to be installed at a Salvadoran Military base. The 2nd Air Brigade has other renewal energy initiatives, including $100,000 worth of lights with photovoltaic capability donated by SOUTHCOM in 2010. They help illuminate perimeter areas of the base. First of its Kind Educational Outreach The initiative was led by SOUTHCOM and executed by Florida International University, the United States Military Academy at West Point and the State University of New York at Cobleskill in conjunction with the Salvadoran 2nd Air Brigade and Don Bosco University of El Salvador. The hybrid system helps to reduce fuel consumption because it exploits the available coconut shell biomass, which if not utilized by the gasifier, returns to the environment as organic waste, Valdizón said. He added that, from the military viewpoint, the system serves as a survival contingency backup. It can also be used during emergencies, such as natural disasters or if there is a shortage of fossil fuel, such as carbon, petroleum and natural gas. Colonel Douglas Tochez, commander of the 2nd Air Brigade, said that the Salvadoran Air Force plans to use the innovative equipment to limit pollution and reap financial benefits. “This is one of the reasons the cadets are part of the team,” Oetken said. “They are very familiar with the scientific principles of how the biomass gasifier that provides synfuel for the generator works.” The experience from El Salvador will serve the cadets as a data collection point. The system produces up to 80 kilowatt-hours (kwh) of power per day under ideal conditions. When the coconut shells are burned, the biomass gasifier produces 45 kwh of power per day, and with full sun the solar panels generate another 35 kwh of power per day. That’s enough to power 36 typical homes in El Salvador, according to 2012 figures from the World Bank. The system provides power to the dining facility of the 2nd Air Brigade of the Salvadoran Air Force at Comalapa in La Paz department. In October 2012, pilots, educators, students and government officials from El Salvador and the United States visited the 2nd Air Brigade to assemble and install the unit. They also trained base personnel to use and maintain the system. center_img For Oetken, the project has surpassed its goals. “Even though I think this project was cool, I believe the best potential is the long-term relationship that we are able to establish,” he said. “The cost of basic services that we have is very high,” Col. Tochez told Diálogo. “We would like to see how we can also save on resources, especially on this matter, the economic issue, to alleviate our assigned budget.” “If the renewable energy system generates more power than the dining facility needs, the excess power can be provided to the electrical grid for general use,” Oetken told Diálogo. The project, according to Oetken, is unique because it combines renewable energy, either from the use of solar energy, batteries or the biomass gasifier. “The system can provide power to the installation as well as a rapid response to power outages to the installation’s dining facility. It also provides additional power capable of feeding the grid, if required, thus reducing the cost of energy for the base,” he said. The hybrid system installed at the 2nd Air Brigade is a duplicate of one installed at West Point that U.S. cadets and professors use for educational purposes. Professors and students from Don Bosco University initially attended as observers, but they have become more involved in the project. The vice-chancellor of Don Bosco’s Science & Technology Department, Reina de Alvarado, said in February 2013 that the academic institution is looking to support maintenance schedules, training programs, and the establishment of academic relationships with U.S. institutions. Anselmo Valdizón, engineer and director of the Energy Research Institute at Don Bosco University, agrees with Oetken. “Not only can we count on the grid, the biodiesel power plant, and the photovoltaic systems, but we also can count on the combination of all energy sources,” Valdizón said. “I believe this system is very interesting because not only is it all about technology, but three technologies converging into one system.” Mark Oetken, the Army science advisor for U.S Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), explained that the system is designed to either be incorporated into the electric grid or used as an independent mobile system. High Technology “The teamwork displayed on this project offers us the opportunity to generate broader knowledge, it gives us more opportunities for our students, and through the Energy Research Institute, not only contributes to research, but also to strengthen ourselves,” de Alvarado said. “We see the importance of developing strong alliances with U.S. universities.” last_img read more

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8 easy ways to simplify your financial life

first_img 4SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr by: AJ SmithDo you find yourself overwhelmed by your financial responsibilities? Do you sometimes ignore your accounts and budget because thinking about them adds stress or confusion? Understanding the steps for good financial decision-making and simplifying your role can help you take control of your finances. Check out the following tips to create an easier structure in your finances and watch how each small change adds up.1. Pare Down Your AccountsYou probably don’t really need more than one savings or checking account or to have accounts with many different financial institutions. One method to simplify your financial life is to consolidate your bank accounts to one checking account and one savings account to cut down on the paperwork and tracking.2. Prioritize Picture your future and choose a few financial goals to focus on at a time, like boosting your 401(k) or growing an ample emergency fund. It’s important to be specific about the goals you want to accomplish and plan the clear steps you need to take to reach them. Writing your goals down can help you stick to them. continue reading »last_img read more

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Social media specialists share strategies and principles

first_img continue reading » Social media is taking some of the sting out of social distancing. It’s also helping savvy credit union marketers double down on member service in this time of great need.Long a venue for friendly banter and upbeat marketing, those channels now are doing double duty as information lifelines for member-owned cooperatives like Wright-Patt Credit Union($5.1B, Beavercreek, OH) and Greater Texas Federal Credit Union ($688.1M, Austin, TX).“We’ve been getting requests for member service and help through the COVID-19 situation every day through Facebook,” says Adam Wik, who joined WPCU as public relations and social media specialist a little more than a year ago after working marketing at a local hospital and university. “Our members rarely post requests for service through other social platforms [LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram at WPCU], but we’re still seeing strong impressions and know members are checking all these pages often for updates.” ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

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Racist Posts on NY Cop Blog Raise Ire at Time of Tension

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Week after week, racist posts appear on Thee Rant, a blog for current or former New York City police officers: African Americans are called “apes;” a retired officer says one of the blessings of retirement is not having to work the Puerto Rican Day parade, with its “old obese tatted up women stuffed into outfits that they purchased or shoplifted at the local Kmart store; a Middle Eastern cab driver berated by an officer is termed a “third worlder” who should have his “head split open.”And week after week, the department’s top officials are, at once, embarrassed and powerless.“It’s very disturbing stuff. Outrageous stuff,” said Stephen Davis, the chief spokesman for the NYPD. “We see it. It’s a problem.”At the heart of the problem are the limits the department faces in what it can do.“Monitoring these things is challenging,” Davis said. “There are privacy issues involved. We can’t go and peel back email names and tags and try to find out who these people are.”The issue of the blog, started by former NYPD officer Ed Polstein in 1999, has gained notoriety most recently after a white South Carolina police officer shot a black man to death. Shortly after a video of the officer appearing to shoot the fleeing man in the back went viral on the Internet, Thee Rant blew up with comments.“Cop looked good in his stance,” read one post.Polstein, who did not respond to requests for an interview, has said previously that anyone wishing to post on the blog has to provide proof that they are a current or former member of the NYPD. But whether they are, and how many have signed up, are among the many mysteries surrounding Thee Rant. The blog says it garners 120,000 page views daily.Leonard Levitt, a respected former Newsday reporter who runs the website NYPD Confidential, said he has stopped assigning much significance to Thee Rant.“To be honest, I don’t read it,” Levitt said. “I’d say these guys represent the worst elements of the department. I don’t think they speak for the average cop. I have a feeling it’s four or five guys doing most of the yowling.”Incidents of officers being investigated or punished for their behavior online, in social media or on personal cell phones, have cropped up in Illinois, Missouri and Florida in recent weeks and months.In a St. Louis suburb, for instance, an officer was fired after posting racist remarks about the protests in Ferguson. In San Francisco, eight officers were fired for exchanging racist and homophobic text messages.Relations between the police and minorities have been fraught in New York for decades. The assault on Abner Louima and the killing of Amadou Diallo during Rudy Giuliani’s administration sparked a rise in tension. The aggressive stop-and-frisk tactics during Michael Bloomberg’s mayoralty deepened the mistrust and anger. And the choking death of Eric Garner on Staten Island last year provoked protests and slogans.William Bratton, Mayor Bill DeBlasio’s police commissioner, has acknowledged the poor relations and vowed to improve them.The existence of Thee Rant, and the occasional, perhaps outsize attention it gets, has not made Bratton’s efforts easier.Garner’s death prompted some of the more extensive back and forth on the blog. Garner was killed when an officer sought to subdue him during a stop for illegally selling loose cigarettes. Bratton initially said it appeared the officer had used an improper chokehold. But a grand jury on Staten Island declined to indict the officer.On Thee Rant, support for the officer was substantial. And occasionally ugly.“A more accurate headline would be “Non Compliant Fat Bastard Gets Just Due In Resisting Law Enforcement Officers,” read a post in reaction to headlines in the city’s papers.“Yes, they’ll pay off the ‘family,’” started another. “It’s a lot cheaper than a riot…And therein lies the problem…The cities of America are held hostage by the strong-arm tactics of the savages.”Davis, the NYPD spokesman, said department policy is that officers should not be on social media, as well as blogs, except for official business. The department has shown it is willing to act against problem officers when it can. In 2012, New York City police officers were disciplined over racist and violent comments made on Facebook, many of which targeted the annual Labor Day West Indian Parade, describing the event as a “scheduled riot” and comparing it to working at a zoo.“We don’t know how many active police officers are on it,” Davis said of Thee Rant. “If we did identify active officers speaking on the site in that capacity they would be disciplined for violating policy.”“Unfortunately,” he added, “it’s one of these things that we don’t have ownership of. We don’t have any control over it. Some say that’s good, others maybe say it’s bad.”Davis said he did not know of any active effort to determine whether current officers are commenting on the site or who they are. He said the department would investigate any specific allegation that a particular officer was behind objectionable comments.“It’s, in a sense, unfortunate that a lot of it is done under the banner of freedom of expression now,” Davis said.Polstein, who joined the department in 1988, told the New York Daily News in 2005 that he’d started the blog as his personal diary. “It was how I felt at the moment,” he told the News. “It is my constitutional right to vent.”Over the years, the local media has occasionally reported on Thee Rant. In one recent instance, the blog decided to go after a reporter who had done a story about the South Carolina shooting comments. One contributor to the blog found a video of the reporter at a conference, posted it, and then encouraged others to mock the reporter’s looks.The coverage prompted objections from at least one current or former officer, who suggested Polstein should take a more active role in moderating the blog.“There hasn’t been a moderator on here in days,” the officer wrote. “If Ed had any loyalty to active duty cops, he’d remove the law enforcement angle of the board and let er rip. As it is, anytime a lazy reporter wants to smear the NYPD, all he has to do is come here and read the ravings of some diaper wearing geriatric that fell hard off the Aricept train and say that it was an active NYPD cop saying it.”The NYPD’s Davis said he hoped the police union might step in to rein in the blog.“A lot of retired people are still active in the union and it doesn’t do anybody any good to have these remarks out there,” he said. “They really don’t help. But that’s the nature of the social media beast right now.”Al O’Leary, spokesman for the New York City Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, declined to comment for this story.ProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom. Sign up for their newsletter.last_img read more

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Wuhan to convert gymnasium, exhibition center into temporary hospitals

first_imgThe hospitals will serve as temporary medical sites with functions of emergency treatment and clinical testing.Conversion work started late Monday, and by Tuesday morning, hundreds of beds have been in place.The city had previously planned two makeshift hospitals, Huoshenshan and Leishenshan, with 2,600 beds in total for the treatment of the patients infected with the virus. Huoshenshan has been completed, and Leishenshan is under construction.Topics : Wuhan in central China’s Hubei Province plans to convert three existing venues, including a gymnasium and an exhibition center, into hospitals to receive patients infected with the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), the headquarters for the epidemic control said late Monday.The Hongshan Gymnasium, Wuhan International Conference and Exhibition Center and a cultural building complex dubbed “Wuhan Livingroom” will be turned into hospitals with a total of 3,400 beds, according to the headquarters.The sites, located in the districts of Jianghan, Wuchang and Dongxihu, will take in patients with mild symptoms caused by the coronavirus.last_img read more

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PREMIUMIndonesian stocks record narrow losses as OJK, IDX prepare crisis measures

first_imgIndonesian stocks recorded narrow losses on Friday after plummeting more than 4 percent earlier in the day amid global fears of a coronavirus pandemic.The Jakarta Composite Index (JCI), the main gauge of the Indonesia Stock Exchange (IDX), fell as much as 4.47 percent to 5,288.37, a level unseen since December 2016, during Friday’s intraday session before slowly rebounding to end the trading day at 5,452.7, 1.5 percent down from the previous close. It was an extension of its 2.69 percent loss the previous day, as spooked investors dumped stocks across Asia.Foreign investors recorded net sales of Rp 17.21 billion (US$1.2 million) on Friday, taking the total net sales this year to Rp 4.72 trillion, IDX data shows.“We’re not the worst. This is a global phenomenon caused by the extraordinary panic over the novel coronavirus [outbreak],” IDX president direc… Topics : Facebook jakarta-composite-index JCI Indonesia-Stock-Exchange IDX coronavirus China Financial-Services-Authority OJK LOG INDon’t have an account? Register here Linkedin Google Forgot Password ? Log in with your social accountlast_img read more

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BeIN Sports blocks Serie A broadcasts over Saudi dispute

first_imgThe group holds the rights to Serie A until 2021 in 35 areas including France, Turkey, 24 Middle East and North African countries, Indonesia and the Philippines, and claims to generate over half of the league’s international revenues.Last week the World Trade Organization largely agreed with BeIN, saying in a report the Saudi authorities had done nothing to prevent, nor punish the piracy.The rights dispute is also part of a broader conflict between Qatar and its Gulf neighbors, who cut diplomatic ties with and imposed an economic blockade on Doha over claims the country was to close to Iran. The blue screens that were presented to disappointed fans also come as BeIN and Serie A prepare to negotiate broadcast rights for upcoming seasons. “It would not be appropriate to comment further, other than to say our legal and public position has been consistent and well documented for three years.”Viewers were also unable to tune in to league leaders Juventus’ clash with Bologna on Monday. “For legal reasons, BeIN has had to take the unfortunate decision to not broadcast Serie A matches,” the broadcaster tweeted.The comments refer to a long-standing dispute with Saudi Arabia, which it claims is behind a pirate system, named BeoutQ, that shows its images via satellite.BeIN’s president Yousef al-Obaidly has criticised both Serie A and the Spanish football authorities for their relationships with Saudi Arabia despite the allegedly state-sponsored pirating of one of its key international broadcasters. Fans of Serie A around the world were deprived of the chance to watch the league’s return from the coronavirus shutdown after BeIN Sports pulled its coverage from the air over a dispute with the league, the broadcaster confirmed on Monday.Subscribers to the Qatar-owned network who tuned in to watch Saturday’s comeback match between Torino and Parma were greeted with blue screens and that continued for Sunday’s more high-profile matches featuring Atalanta and Inter Milan.”No Serie A matches are being broadcast on BeIN Sports’ entire global network,” a spokesperson told AFP.center_img Topics :last_img read more

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Joseph Mariathasan: Why a Danish inn suggests a post-Brexit trade problem

first_imgSource: EurostatTrade balance between India and EU member states, €m, 2016India was of course, the crown jewel of Britain’s colonial empire. Queen Victoria was proclaimed Empress of India in 1877 at the request of prime minister Benjamin Disraeli in a bid to bind India more closely to Britain.But the British never had India completely to themselves. The Portuguese only left their colonies in India (Goa, Daman and Diu) in 1961, and that was not by choice. Many Goans have since emigrated to the UK and elsewhere within the EU as Portuguese citizens.The French also owned various territories, most significantly Pondicherry in Tamil Nadu, which were fully transferred to India in 1962. French remains an official language and there is still a French community in Pondicherry.Exports to India from EU member states What the UK does have with India is the largest trade deficit of any EU country.Trade balance between India and EU member states (€m, 2016) Source: EurostatWhile the UK, Portugal and France have well established and long-standing relationships with India, they are not the only European nations with historical links from colonial times.Denmark may not be an obvious ex-colonial power, but Serampore in West Bengal’s Hooghly district was under the Danish rule from 1755 to 1845, when it was known as Fredriksnagore in honour of the Danish King Frederik V, who ruled from 1746 to 1766.The trading post was ceded to Britain in 1845 together with another Danish settlement in India, Tranquebar (Tharangambadi) in Tamil Nadu.For a more in-depth look at India’s Danish links, Soumitra Das writes for The Wire about the history of the Danes in Serampore here. There is also a fascinating 2010 report, Indo-Danish Heritage Buildings of Serampore, by Flemming Aalund and Simon Rastén, detailing several buildings originating from the Danish period that are still significant landmarks.The authors of the latter state that, during the heyday of Danish overseas trade, Serampore thrived and developed through considerable public and private investments.Moreover, while the salary offered to Danish government officers was notoriously low, “the officers conducted private business along with their official duties, and it seems that the condition in Serampore was especially liberal, providing attractive private business opportunities”.    The newly renovated Denmark Tavern, says Das, is a handsome yellow and white double-storeyed building with well-furnished rooms for accommodation with a comfortable cafe where people can enjoy a cup of coffee.It may not represent five-star luxury, but I suspect it will attract many tourists in the future, as word gets out of its historic origins. For the Danes at least, Serampore may still have the ability to provide “attractive private business opportunities”.Whatever one’s views on Brexit, the resurrection of the Denmark Tavern in Serampore suggests that the UK does not have a monopoly on sentimental relationships with India. It will take more than sentimentality to reverse the UK’s trade deficit with India. Source: EurostatImports from India to EU member states In February this year the Denmark Tavern – which dates back to 1786 – was reopened in Serampore in the Indian state of West Bengal. The restoration was led by the National Museum of Denmark along with the state heritage commission.As Commonwealth heads of government gather in London this week, the Denmark Tavern can be seen as an illustration that, as the UK tries to improve its trading links with its old colonies for a post-Brexit world, it faces tough competition even with its sentimental links.When it comes to trade, the position for the UK does not look as great as pro-Brexit politicians may proclaim.In fact, not only do Germany and France export much more to India than the UK, but so does Belgium, as data from Eurostat illustrate.last_img read more

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