Iceland PM resigns, a cure for blindness and WhatsApp extends encryption

Technology Eye | April. 06, 2016

Iceland’s prime minister became the first casualty of the global revelations on offshore companies as he stepped down on Tuesday .

In a day of high drama in Reykjavik, Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson first tried to hang on to his office by seeking the dissolution of parliament. But after Iceland’s president refused to grant the request, Mr Gunnlaugsson decided to resign.

More than 20,000 Icelanders took to the streets of Reykjavik on Monday evening in one of the biggest protests ever seen in the country following revelations that Mr Gunnlaugsson once owned an offshore company. (FT)

In the news

Ted Cruz thumps Trump in Wisconsin The Texas senator has convincingly beaten Donald Trump in the latest Republican primary, raising the odds that the party’s presidential nominee will be decided at a contested convention . The victory means Mr Cruz has won nine of the 31 states where Republicans have voted in the 2016 race. (FT)

Surge in executions sparks outcry More people were put to death last year than at any point since 1989, according to Amnesty International. At least 1,634 people were executed last year, a rise of more than 50 per cent from the previous year, with Iran, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia behind most of the killings . (BBC)

WhatsApp extends encryption WhatsApp has completed its push to prevent law enforcement agencies snooping on the private messages sent by its users. The Facebook-owned chat app extended end-to-end encryption to 1bn users, following Apple to become the latest tech company to roll out encryption against government wishes. (FT)

US tax crackdown provokes fury The White House move aimed to stop Pfizer’s planned $160bn takeover of Allergan has brought anger from foreign multinationals who say they are caught in the crossfire of Obama’s campaign. (FT)

Ford to invest in Mexico The US company will spend $1.6bn on a new factory in Mexico to build small cars, reigniting the smouldering US election controversy over the effects of bilateral trade agreements . (FT)

It's a big day for

Big oil services The US government is set to file a lawsuit to block the planned $25bn takeover by oil services group Halliburton of its rival Baker Hughes. (fastFT)

UK healthcare Thousands of patients will face disruption as junior doctors hold a second 48-hour strike against changes to working conditions . (FT)

Food for thought

A cure for blindness Sheila Nirenberg, a neuroscientist, has developed a visor-mounted camera that collects visual information from the world and sends it to genes injected into the eye. By sending the right impulses at the right time, the brain can then process this data as an image, which could serve as a prosthetic device for the blind, she says. (Bloomberg)

Why fossil fuel power plants will be left stranded After last year’s Paris climate conference, the world congratulated itself on having agreed a new process, even though real action was postponed, writes Martin Wolf. “Given the longevity of a large part of the capital stock, the time for decisive change is right now, not decades in future. But the world is not really serious about climate, is it? It prefers fiddling while the planet burns.” (FT)

How Anbang lost Starwood Was it fear of overpaying or pressures back home in China? One person with insight into the talks said that China’s regulators had “clipped the wings” of its high-flying chairman, while a second person confirmed that the problems were regulatory. (FT)

Low oil paradox When oil prices began dropping, the International Monetary Fund predicted a “shot in the arm” for the global economy. Now, nearly two years on, hopes that cheaper oil would recreate lost dynamism in Europe, China, the US and Japan have been dashed . (FT)

Writers who spied Ian Fleming and John Le Carré’s careers in British intelligence are well known, but less obvious figures were recruited too. Roald Dahl served as a spy from Washington. Peter Matthiessen joined the CIA out of Yale. The link between authorship and espionage is “unsurprising”, the Economist says .

Video of the day

Sterling’s burst of nerves The Brexit referendum in June is a cause for concern. But it’s also one of the most well-flagged risks in financial markets for this year. The FT’s Katie Martin asks whether nerves have gone too far . (FT)

SOURCE: World Economic Forum

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