COMMENT: Mark Levin says everything I think on the question of Facebook & Google. I don’t particularly like Mark Zuckerberg, Sheryl Sandberg and Jeff Bezos but excessive taxation or, worse still, breaking these companies up is not the answer.  The way to take them on is to provide alternative platforms. Platforms which will challenge the philosophical viewpoints of these tech titans. Zuckerberg believes in a world devoid of privacy. Why are we surprised when his company pays scant regard to privacy issues? Don’t like it? Challenge it!


85 Year-Old Mireille Knoll Survived The Holocaust. Now She Is Stabbed & Burned To Death In Anti-Semitic Attack


The brutal killing of a Holocaust survivor Mireille Knoll raises anti-Semitism fears in France

  March 26 at 12:36 PM
 The Paris prosecutor’s office is investigating whether anti-Semitism was a motivation for the killing of an 85-year-old Holocaust survivor that has outraged France’s Jewish community.Mireille Knoll was stabbed 11 times and left in her burning Paris apartment Friday, French government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux announced Monday afternoon on Twitter.

Authorities have taken two suspects into custody, according to a judicial official who was not authorized to speak publicly on the case and would tell The Washington Post only that one of the suspects was born in 1989.

Jewish advocacy groups were quick to put the case within the context of rising anti-Semitism in France and to point out the similarities to another high-profile case being investigated as anti-Semitic: the April 2017 killing of Sarah Halimi, a 66-year-old Orthodox Jewish physician and kindergarten teacher who was beaten in her apartment and then thrown out a window. Authorities suspect a Muslim neighbor.

“This was the same Paris arrondissement, several streets apart,” said Noémie Halioua, a French journalist with Actualité Juive and the author of a new book on the Halimi case. “And both victims were elderly women who lived alone and who had both previously complained of threats.”

Knoll and Halimi lived in the 11th Arrondissement (or district) on the eastern side of Paris, an area that has traditionally been home to immigrant populations but in recent years has seen large-scale gentrification.

“There is also the barbarity of the crimes and the fact that in both cases the victims were fragile women,” Halioua said.

In the Knoll case, French authorities announced Monday that they were investigating whether the suspects targeted the victim because she belonged to a specific religion.

That new line of official inquiry came amid mounting public pressure.

Speaking on French radio Monday morning, Francis Kalifat, the head of France’s largest Jewish advocacy organization, the Representative Council of French Jewish Organizations, bristled at the suggestion that investigators should use caution before classifying the killing an anti-Semitic attack.

“Prudence? Obviously,” he said. “But prudence doesn’t mean we should exclude the possibility that this could have been an anti-Semitic act.”

French authorities have often hesitated to formally ascribe a motivation of “anti-Semitism” to attacks on Jews in recent years. This has been a point of contention between Jewish leaders and the French government, even as French President Emmanuel Macron has recently sought to improve relations.

The Halimi killing became a national scandal when authorities initially declined to investigate it as an anti-Semitic attack, despite her family’s testimony that the suspect had confronted her with verbal slurs on a regular basis.

The same was true in the 2006 slaying of Ilan Halimi, a 23-year-old Jewish cellphone salesman (no relation to Sarah Halimi) who was killed by the “Gang of Barbarians,” a band of immigrant criminals from the Paris suburbs. The gang had targeted Ilan Halimi because he was Jewish — and had even demanded massive ransom sums from his middle-class family, which the gang members assumed would be wealthy because they were Jewish.

In the Sarah Halimi case, public outrage reached such a level that Macron intervened.

“I took a stand by calling on justice to shed light on the anti-Semitic dimension of Sarah Halimi’s murder,” he recalled in a speech this month, “and I am glad that this dimension could finally be recognized. That is what an investigation must be used to do, to establish the circumstances of a crime and to qualify it precisely.”

But at a time when Holocaust survivors’ numbers are dwindling, the killing of Knoll proved a dark addition to a narrative that has provoked concern among many European leaders, especially as instances of historical revisionism take root across the continent.

As a child, Knoll escaped the “Vel d’Hiv” roundup of Parisian Jews in July 1942, according to Meyer Habib, a right-leaning French parliamentary deputy and confidant of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Habib issued a statement on the case Sunday, drawing on a conversation with Knoll’s relatives.

Two years into Nazi occupation, French police forces in Paris carried out mass arrests of approximately 13,000 Jews, who were then deposited in the now-demolished Velodrome d’Hiver stadium near the Eiffel Tower. Most of those arrested were subsequently deported to Auschwitz.

“Even in the 1930s, that was not the case in such an extent,” he said. “What we see today is new, horrible and intolerable.”


COMMENT: Driving without due care and attention, death by careless driving? The fellow behind the wheel isn’t even watching the road, which, I suppose, is the major attraction of driver-less vehicles.



UK self-driving car trials continue despite death of US pedestrian

Jaguar Land Rover to demonstrate autonomous cars’ emergency braking on streets


A self-driving ‘pod’ being tested in Greenwich
 The public response in a trial of self-driving pods in London was less than positive. Photograph: Victoria Jones/PA Wire

Britain is pushing ahead with tests of self-driving cars on public roads despite mounting public concern over safety after a pedestrian was killed by one in the US.

The country’s biggest carmaker, Jaguar Land Rover, has been experimenting with autonomous cars on roads in the Midlands and is set to demonstrate more of the cars’ features, including an emergency braking warning system, on urban streets this week.

Government-backed trials using small autonomous vehicles in south London are due to end on Friday, with organisers reporting widespread public unease about the implications for road safety and cybersecurity.

A self-driving Uber car killed a woman in Tempe, Arizona on Sunday night – the first time a self-driving vehicle has killed someone that was not its occupant. Elaine Herzberg, 49, was wheeling her bicycle when she was struck by the Volvo, and later died of her injuries in hospital.

Police in Arizona said initial video footage suggested Herzberg walked out suddenly. One previous death involving autonomous cars, a Tesla Model S owner killed in Florida in 2016 when his car crashed on autopilot, was blamed on the driver’s inattention, but investigators highlighted design flaws in the vehicle.

Many in the motor and insurance industries expect safety benefits from autonomous cars since more than 90% of accidents involve human error. In 2016, the latest full year for which data is available, 448 pedestrians were killed by vehicles on UK roads, and more than 6,000 in the US. But fears remain over how driverless cars will interact with humans on the roads.

Christian Wolmar, the author of Driverless Cars: a Road to Nowhere, said the Arizona accident would have a big impact: “We don’t know precisely what happened, but it is clear Uber are worried by withdrawing all their cars. Driverless cars will not be accepted if there is a perception that they are not 100% safe. Of course new technology has blips, but this one, that no one has particularly asked for, is being sold on the basis that it’s so much safer.”

In London, members of the public have been using low-speed autonomous pods on cycle paths and walkways around the Greenwich peninsula as the culmination of a three-year Gateway study into people’s responses to driverless technology.

Gateway said that under half of 1,300 public responses were positive about the new technology, with those uncertain or opposed citing cybersecurity and road safety fears. A spokesman said: “The lesson is you absolutely have to build in security and road safety from the get-go.”

The pods have had one reported collision, hitting a barrier with the roads minister, Jesse Norman, onboard. He has nonetheless pledged to keep the UK in the vanguard of developing autonomous technology, recently confirming an overhaul of road laws to include self-driving cars. Greenwich is expected to to allow Ford and Jaguar Land Rover autonomous cars on its streets in the next phase of testing.

Gatwick announced it would be testing autonomous vehicles to shuttle staff across the airfield, which it said could lead to “an Uber-like service” for ground staff to hail.