All posts filed under: News

Breaking Down Brexit: How the UK Voted

So ends the most bitter and polarising experience of British electoral democracy. The economics of Brexit was heatedly and endlessly debated in the UK’s referendum campaign on EU membership, but ultimately it was trumped by voters’ considerations about national integrity and identity. A majority of 17.4m people voted to leave, against 16.1m for remain. How the drama unfolded Assiduous watchers of the early referendum results had been advised that if the outcome in Sunderland (perenially among the first to declare election results) showed anything more than a six-point winning margin for Leave, then Brexit would be the likely outcome nationally. Anything less, however, and Remain could expect overall victory. In the event, Sunderland produced a remarkable 22-point margin in favour of Leave (61-39), while nearby Newcastle, which had been expected to produce a comfortable margin for Remain, only narrowly favoured the pro-EU choice (51% to 49%). The value of sterling fell off a cliff as the currency markets reacted to these early shocks, but the Remain side’s nerves were briefly steadied a little by better …

News in Brief: Orlando Aftermath, Assassination in Britain

Orlando Aftermath On June 12, 49 people were killed in a mass-shooting terrorist attack at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando Florida. The event has sparked a revival of the gun control debate in the U.S. as well as concerns about homegrown Islamist terror attacks. The tragedy has also drawn attention to homophobia and hate crime. The debate over which concern deserves most attention: gun control, Islamist terror or homophobia, appears to have created a new level of division in an already divided society. Read more about how motivated reasoning has contributed to the reactions to Orlando here and here. British MP Jo Cox Assassinated A British MP, Jo Cox, was murdered on Thursday by a 52 year old man, Thomas Mair. Vigils have been held across the UK which have been led by the leaders of both the Labour and Conservative parties. Police have indicated that Thomas Mair’s links to far-right groups will be a priority line of inquiry and they have also indicated that they will be investigating his history of mental ill-health. The …

News in Brief: Cancer Vaccine, the Blockchain in Central Banks & Overcoming Antibiotic Resistance

Universal cancer vaccine breakthrough A research team from Germany and the Netherlands have published work in Nature regarding a nanoparticle RNA vaccine which takes advantage of the immune system’s response to viral infection and refocuses it to fight cancer. It has been found to induce anti-tumour immune responses in mice and three human patients with advanced melanoma. This breakthrough possibly represents a step towards a universal vaccine for all (or some) cancers. Read the original study here. Central bankers meet with blockchain start-up CEO Central bankers and Chair of the U.S. Federal Reserve Janet Yellen met with the CEO of Chain a San Francisco blockchain and bitcoin start-up. Blockchain and bitcoin represent a true paradigm shift in technology and the way in which money and transactions are handled. Read more about bitcoin and blockchain in the talk that was given at the event here. ‘As long as we study life, it will be read’: the Selfish Gene turns 40 Science writer Adam Rutherford in The Guardian has composed a tribute to Richard Dawkins’ The Selfish …