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Business

Some of the world’s leading robotics and artificial intelligence pioneers are calling on the United Nations to ban the development and use of killer robots.

Tesla’s Elon Musk and Google’s Mustafa Suleyman are leading a group of 116 specialists from across 26 countries who are calling for the ban on autonomous weapons.

The UN recently voted to begin formal discussions on such weapons which include drones, tanks and automated machine guns.

Ahead of this, the group of founders of AI and robotics companies have sent an open letter to the UN calling for it to prevent the arms race that is currently under way for killer robots.

In their letter, the founders warn the review conference of the convention on conventional weapons that this arms race threatens to usher in the “third revolution in warfare” after gunpowder and nuclear arms.

The founders wrote: “Once developed, lethal autonomous weapons will permit armed conflict to be fought at a scale greater than ever, and at timescales faster than humans can comprehend. theguardian.com
Employees at McDonald's restaurants in Cambridge and Crayford, near London, voted overwhelmingly for a strike.

The Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU) said staff wanted secure working hours and a £10 per hour wage.

A spokesman for McDonald's said the fast-food company "works hard to ensure teams are treated fairly".

"We can confirm that, following a ballot process, the BFAWU have indicated that a small number of our employees representing less than 0.01% of our workforce are intending to strike in two of our restaurants.

"As per the terms of the ballot, the dispute is solely related to our internal grievance procedures."

Rebecca Long-Bailey, shadow secretary for business, environment and industrial strategy, said: "The strike at McDonald's is motivated by working people coming together to fight for decent pay and working conditions." bbc.com
Competition is heating up among U.S. grocery chains, but Americans are increasingly buying their food at Walmart.

The retailer on Thursday said food sales had grown to their highest level in five years, as Walmart expands its grocery business both in stores and online by adding more organic produce.

The company is also testing grocery delivery in New York, and has taken aggressive steps to compete with Amazon.com, which is the process of buying Whole Foods Market for $13.7 billion, as well as with European discounters like Aldi and Lidl, which are ramping up their presence in the United States.

“We’ve seen strong results from the rollout of online grocery, which is now in more than 900 U.S. locations,” Doug McMillon, president and chief executive of Walmart, said in a Thursday call with analysts.

“We’re expanding this service in many of our markets around the world.” washingtonpost.com
24 hours ago the cryptocurrency was trading below $3,700.

Yesterday it surged passed $4,000 and has no signs of stopping.

It’s now trading around $4,190.00.

For reference, a week ago Bitcoin hit an all-time high as it passed $3,000 for the first time.

Two weeks ago Bitcoin went through a hard fork, and came out essentially unscathed.

A few days later Bitcoin locked in SegWit, a code modification that fixes malleability issues and frees up space in blocks, allowing for more transactions to be stored in each one. techcrunch.com
Travis Kalanick may no longer be Uber’s chief executive, but he’s still a major figure at the ride-hailing company.

Now, a firm that is a prominent investor in Uber has sued Mr. Kalanick, who was ousted as Uber’s leader in June, in an attempt to remove him from the company’s board of directors.

The lawsuit filed in Delaware Chancery Court is the latest flare-up over the fate of Uber, the privately held company founded eight years ago by Mr. Kalanick that is valued at nearly $70 billion.

Mr. Kalanick stepped down as chief in June under pressure from investors, but he has remained on the company’s board. 

Since his departure, Uber’s directors have sparred behind the scenes over potential candidates for the top job and other matters, hampering the company’s decision-making.

In its lawsuit, Benchmark, a Silicon Valley venture capital firm that is one of Uber’s largest shareholders, accused Mr. Kalanick of fraud, breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty. nytimes.com
Jeffrey Lord, the indefatigable defender of President Trump whose advocacy turned him into an unlikely political celebrity, was fired by CNN on Thursday after a convoluted Twitter exchange in which he evoked — mockingly, he said — a Nazi salute.

Mr. Lord received the news by telephone while on his way to CNN’s Manhattan studio in a town car provided by the network, which ferried him from his home near Harrisburg, Pa.

After Mr. Lord, 66, learned that his contract had been severed, the car turned around.

“I didn’t have to walk; I thanked them for that,” he said in an telephone interview from the road.

While Mr. Lord was often castigated by critics for his relentless lobbying on Mr. Trump’s behalf — he was once rebuked on air by Anderson Cooper in particularly crude terms — it was a social media squabble that led to his ouster.

Mr. Lord had recently accused Angelo Carusone, president of the liberal watchdog site Media Matters, of emulating fascists by calling for sponsors to boycott Sean Hannity’s Fox News show. nytimes.com
The Walt Disney Company has been slapped with a lawsuit claiming that more than 40 of its smartphone apps are illegally spying on children.

The class-action lawsuit alleges that Disney is violating the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).

The law, passed in 1998, was designed to protect the privacy of children online.

"COPPA imposes certain requirements on operators of websites or online services directed to children under 13 years of age, and on operators of other websites or online services that have actual knowledge that they are collecting personal information online from a child under 13 years of age," reads a summary of the law on the Federal Trade Commission's website.

The lawsuit claims that the apps have "trackers" installed into them, which can collect information such as geographical location, internet browsing history and other personal information.

These items are then sold to third-parties for advertising purposes. foxnews.com
Monsanto Co. started an agricultural revolution with its “Roundup Ready” seeds, genetically modified to resist the effects of its blockbuster herbicide called Roundup.

That ability to kill weeds while leaving desirable crops intact helped the company turn Roundup’s active ingredient, the chemical glyphosate, into one of the world’s most-used crop chemicals.

When that heavy use raised health concerns, Monsanto noted that the herbicide’s safety had repeatedly been vetted by outsiders.

Monsanto’s internal emails tell a different story.

The correspondence shows the company’s chief of regulatory science, William Heydens, and other Monsanto scientists were heavily involved in organizing, reviewing, and editing drafts submitted by the outside experts.

Dozens of internal Monsanto emails, released on Aug. 1 by plaintiffs’ lawyers who are suing the company, reveal how Monsanto worked with an outside consulting firm to induce the scientific journal Critical Reviews in Toxicology to publish a purported “independent” review of Roundup’s health effects that appears to be anything but. bloomberg.com