Mark Hamill on Carrie Fisher: ‘Gorgeous, fiercely independent and ferociously funny’

Actors Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher pose at the dinner during the 33rd AFI Life Achievement Award tribute to George Lucas in 2005.
Image: Getty Images

There has been an outpouring of poignant tributes for Carrie Fisher, but none more touching than that of her intergalactic twin.

Mark Hamill, who played Princess’ Leia twin brother Luke Skywalker, farewelled Fisher in a Facebook post after the writer and actress died aged 60 in Los Angeles Tuesday.

“It’s never easy to lose such a vital, irreplaceable member of the family, but this is downright heartbreaking,” he wrote.

“She was OUR Princess, damn it, and the actress who played her blurred into one gorgeous, fiercely independent & ferociously funny, take-charge woman who took our collective breath away.”

Paying tribute to her toughness but also her vulnerability, Hamill said his life “would have been far emptier without her.”

Hamill remembered the laughter he’d shared with Fisher, and that’s surely how she’d want to be remembered.

Rebellious and quipping to the end, she knew how to go: “Drowned in moonlight, strangled by my own bra.”

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Jobs for all? In the US that notion is about to be tested to destruction | John Harris

Donald Trump says hell bring back full employment. But maybe no politician has the power to deliver this

The story has rather got lost in the midst of Donald Trumps statements this week about his fabled wall, the merits of torture, and all the other stuff that has underlined the frightening nature of his arrival in power but on Monday, the new president hosted a remarkable meeting.

In the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Trump held talks with the leaders of US trade unions: among them, the presidents of the Laborers International Union of North America, the Smart (it stands for sheet metal, air, rail and transportation) Union, and the United Brotherhood of Carpenters. Despite US unions overwhelmingly backing Hillary Clinton the carpenters, for example, recently warned that Trumps legacy will ruin America all was apparently warmth and cordiality.

The respect that the president of the United States just showed us was nothing short of incredible, said Sean McGarvey, president of the umbrella organisation North Americas Building Trades Unions. He then praised Trumps plans for infrastructure, trade and energy policy, and looked ahead to the administration putting America back to work, with the middle class jobs our members and all Americans are demanding.

Welcome, once again, to the element of Trump-ism that liberal dismay drowns out, but which partly accounts for the fact that this most unqualified of presidents is in office and which, for all his dismal approval ratings, is surely playing pretty well in the post-industrial places whose support took him over the line in November.

Understand that, and you may realise why his loudly ridiculed inauguration speech may have sounded potent and promising to millions of Americans. Through the same prism, moreover, you might be able to discern something too often overlooked: that amid Trumps lies and bigotry, there may lurk a political project of spectacular daring. In the way it put Trump on political ground long assumed to belong to the Democrats, one US columnist said the summit with the unions represented a great act of political larceny. The same applies to his economic policy on the whole.

Put simply, Trump and his people want to eat the American lefts lunch. At the same time, they intend to shred the Republican partys ingrained belief in laissez-faire economics, reset rightwing politics somehow bagging 60% of the white vote, and 40% of the black and Hispanic vote whereupon a new dawn will break and well govern for 50 years. The quotes come from the interview Trumps infamous strategist Steve Bannon gave to the writer Michael Wolff, a few days after Trump was elected. Like [Andrew] Jacksons populism, were going to build an entirely new political movement, he said. Its everything related to jobs. The conservatives are going to go crazy With negative interest rates throughout the world, its the greatest opportunity to rebuild everything. Shipyards, ironworks, get them all jacked up It will be as exciting as the 1930s, greater than the Reagan revolution conservatives, plus populists, in an economic nationalist movement.

Trump puts this in his customary way, with a familiar sense that he hasnt fully thought things through: We are going to put a lot of people back to work. We are going to use common sense and we are going to do it the way it is supposed to be done.

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Even More Evidence That Electric Cars Could Save the Planet

Everyone’s saying it: The future of driving is electric. The big-name car companies have plans to start devoting Tesla some tough competition. Jaguar’s I-Pace electric SUV will be on sale soon, and Porsche is taunting a new conception Mission E Cross Turismo, which looks like an SUV’d Panamera( in a good way ). And normal cars for regular people are going the same way. Blended, Ford and GM plan to offer 34 full electric models in the next five years.

Add to that cities or even whole countries talking about banning sales of cars powered by internal combustion engines: Norway( by 2025 ), India( by 2030 ), France and the UK( 2040 ). China, the world’s largest car market, has considered the idea, and in the meantime has imposed some of the planet’s most stringent environmental standards.

All this change comes in the name of environmental protection, eliminating the pollutants that stimulate cities gross and unhealthy and the CO 2 that contributes to global climate change. Instead, have the people drive battery-powered electric cars, the kind without exhaust pipes and that run emissions free. But the energy to charge the things has to come from somewhere. And if that place starts with burning coal, for example, then how green is your electric car, truly?

The Union of Concerned Scientists has just crunched the latest numbers to find the answer. The outcomes depend on where in the US you live and drive, but in general battery boosters can breathe easy.

“For the US overall, an electric vehicle is much cleaner than a gasoline vehicle, even when you take into account the emissions from natural gas, coal, or however else you’re generating the electricity, ” says Dave Reichmuth, a senior technologist in the nonprofit’s clean vehicles program. And as the electric grid moves away from dirty fuel sources, the gap is widen. The UCS study appears beyond driving-related emissions to consider the entire supply chain that goes into stimulating vehicles run. For the gas guys, that means all the emissions links with extracting crude oil are included. For electrics, the UCS employs power plant emissions data regarding the EPA, and includes the environmental cost of mining coal, for example. Because different chunks of the country build power in different ways, research results vary by region.

To put everything on the same scale, the researchers turned their computations into a familiar format: miles per gallon. An electric car driver in renewable-happy California is doing as much damage to the environment as a gas automobile that gets 109 miles per gallon. In Texas, that number drops to 60 mpg. In the center of the country, around Illinois and Missouri, it’s only 39 mpg. Nationwide, under this system, electric cars make the same emissions as automobiles that get 80 mpg–making them several times cleaner than the average economy of regular automobiles, which hovers around 28 mpg.

The impact of electric vehicles depends on how that energy is generated, which varies by region.

Union of Concerned Scientists

In 2009, when the UCS started running these figures, an electric car in California would get only 78 mpg. In Kansas and Colorado, they’d be luck to make 35 — now those areas have jumped to 46 mpg. Credit the increase to the country’s shift away from coal, which in 2009 induced half the nation’s electricity, and now makes about a third, and toward renewables, which now account for 10 percentage of electricity generation. “Even use EVs that are out there are getting cleanser over period, and that doesn’t happen with a gas car, ” Reichmuth says.

The engineer stresses that his figures are based on the average electric car, but all EVs are not created equal. A big, heavy electric SUV won’t get as many miles from its electrons as a small, aerodynamic auto. Reichmuth says the most efficient automobiles are currently the Hyundai Ioniq EV, the Tesla Model 3, and the Toyota Prius Prime( when it’s in electric-only mode ). Driving one of those vehicles would equate to getting 147 mpg in California.

The global scene isn’t quite so clear, but the same principles is only applicable. If the bulk of your energy production comes from coal( looking at you, India, Russia, and China ), then driving an electric car won’t bringing the same benefits. Norway, on the other hand, with 98 percent renewable energy generation, builds California look like a smog-covered dump.

If you live in a coal country but want your electric habit to make a bigger change, consider pairing your auto with rooftop solar panel. Tesla sells fancy solar roof tiles and home battery storage solutions; Mercedes also offers a home battery. And so America’s driving habit gets ever cleaner, from generation to acceleration.

Charge Accounts

If you’re thinking of buying an electric car, you’re about to get a lot more choices. 2018 is the year conceptions start hitting the market as real vehicles.

There are still issues around power supply. EVs could destroy the grid, or fix it.

But don’t rule out gas engines just yet–engineers are determined to attain them more and more efficient.

Mexico’s lost generation of young girls robbed of innocence and education

Study reveals rising number of Mexican girls in relationships and marriages with older men and casts fresh light on causes of child marriage in Latin America

Hundreds of thousands of young girls across Mexico are being driven into relationships and marriages with older men, denying them a childhood and an education, new research reveals.

Of the 320,000-plus Mexican girls between the ages of 12 and 17 who are cohabiting, nearly 70% are with a partner who is at least 11 years their senior, according to a report commissioned by the Ford Foundation.

The data represents part of a wider trend across Latin America, the only region in the world where child marriage is increasing rather than in decline.

Researchers found that 83% of married girls had left school, with the number rising to 92% among those living informally with a man. In contrast, just 15% of Mexican girls not in such relationships dropped out of school.

The findings, due to be published next month by a Mexico City-based research group, also show that 25,000 girls aged between 12 and 14 are living in early unions.

The report comes weeks after the secretary general of the Organization of American States, Luis Almagro, issued a statement pledging to tackle child marriage in Latin America. With one in five girls married or living in informal unions before the age of 18 we are losing entire generations to poverty, discrimination and violence, he said.

In Mexico, more than 10% of girls are married under the age of 15. Worldwide, the country has the eighth highest number of child marriages (pdf).

While many girls are driven into relationships as a means of acquiring status and security or to attempt to escape poverty and violence at home early unions often perpetuate a cycle of abuse and deprivation rooted in gender inequality.

A law introduced in Mexico in 2014 set the minimum legal age for marriage at 18 for both men and women, but many states do not comply, or make exceptions. In some areas, civil guidance states the minimum age is 14 for girls and 16 for boys.

Neither does legislation address the larger problem of young girls cohabiting with older men in a non-formal context.

Across Mexico, 81% of marriages among girls aged 12- to 17-years-old are not recognised legally, according to the report by Investigacin en Salud y Demografa (Insad).

Using data from national household surveys conducted in 2015, researchers studied girls across several age groups, either married or living with a partner. They found that most girls aged between 12 and 17 were at least six years younger than their partner or husband; 65-69% were at least 11 years younger. Less than a fifth were with a partner who was five or less years older.

Heather Hamilton, deputy executive director for the charity Girls Not Brides, said: You have a situation where a girl is perhaps choosing to be in a union, but only because she lacks other options.

Perhaps there is a desire to escape poverty or a violent home environment. But we dont want a world in which girls are forced to make the least bad choice.

Hamilton said cultural factors also contributed to the abuse of young women. Regionally, there is a strong perception that if you have a younger woman you are more masculine. But its also about control the younger the girl, the more you can control her.

Insads report on early unions in Mexico (pdf) found that, even when a girl claimed to be in an early union through choice, her partner was usually the one with the power and resources. The study also concluded that many girls enter unions not because they are pregnant but for other reasons.

Hamilton said the data challenged the widespread belief in Latin America that teen pregnancy is behind high rates of child marriage: The research finds this isnt necessarily the case, at least not in half of the cases in Mexico.

A young mother in the state of Sinaloa cradles her newborn baby. Half of all girl living in early unions in Mexico have at least one child Photograph: Jonathan Hyams/Save the Children

Married girls and those living with an older man are more likely than their single peers to suffer violence, sexually transmitted infections and other health complications.

While one in four girls in Mexico will enter into a union before the age of 18, the rate is more than 30% in some states, including Chiapas and Guerrero. The rate was also much higher in rural areas.

Estela Rivero, one of the reports co-authors, said: There is significant variation across the country. Early unions are highly prevalent and still normalised in many areas of Mexico.

She said that, given the high number of informal unions, the government must recognise that legal restrictions on child marriage fall short of tackling the issue.

The government must guarantee all women have access to education beyond secondary level and that girls and their families are motivated to continue with schooling, Rivero said.

Actions are also needed to change societys perception of what is expected from women. Our research found many girls enter into early unions as they perceive it to be what is required of them or it is their best option to gain status in the community.

The UN has warned that the rising rate of child marriage in Latin America the only part of the world that has not seen a decline in the last 30 years should act as a silent alarm for the regions leaders.

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Tesla unveils new, lower-priced Model 3

This undated photo provided by Tesla Motors shows the Model 3 car. The promise of an affordable electric car from Tesla Motors had hundreds of people lining up to reserve one. At a starting price of $35,000 before federal and state government incentives the Model 3 is less than half the cost of Tesla’s previous models. (Tesla Motors via AP)

It’s the car thousands of people were waiting for: Tesla Motors’ new, lower-priced Model 3 sedan.

Tesla unveiled the Model 3 on Thursday night at its Los Angeles design studio. It doesn’t go on sale until late 2017, but in the first 24 hours that order banks were open, Tesla said it had more than 115,000 reservations. Long lines at Tesla stores, reminiscent of the crowds at Apple stores for early models of the iPhone, were reported from Hong Kong to Austin, Texas, to Washington, D.C. Buyers put down a $1,000 deposit to reserve the car.

At a starting price of $35,000 before federal and state government incentives the Model 3 is less than half the cost of Tesla’s previous models. Tesla CEO Elon Musk says the car will go at least 215 miles when fully charged, about double what drivers get from current competitors in its price range, such as the Nissan Leaf and BMW i3.

Prototypes shown Thursday night looked like a shorter version of Tesla’s Model S sedan. The Model 3 has a panoramic glass roof and an elongated hood. Inside, it seats five adults and has the same large touchscreen dashboard as other Teslas. It also has Tesla’s suite of semi-autonomous driving features, including automatic lane changing and lane keeping. Musk said it will accelerate from zero to 60 in less than 6 seconds.

Musk said the car is on schedule to go on sale at the end of 2017, eliciting a cheer from the crowd of around 800 people. Tesla has a history of missing deadlines for its vehicles to hit the market.

“I do feel fairly confident it will be next year,” Musk said.

The Model 3 is the most serious test yet of 13-year-old Tesla’s ability to go from a niche player to a full-fledged automaker. It could be the car that finally makes electrics mainstream or consumers could continue to be skeptical that electrics will work for everyday use. In the U.S., they still make up less than 1 percent of annual sales. Either way, the Model 3 is already changing the industry, spurring competitors to speed development of electric cars and improve their battery range.

General Motors Co. is set to start selling the Chevrolet Bolt electric car at the end of this year. The Bolt will have a similar price tag and a 200-mile range. Hyundai’s Ioniq, which has a 110-mile electric range and could match Tesla on price, goes on sale this fall. Audi will follow with an electric SUV in 2018.

Musk said last month he’s not worried. He thinks the Model 3 will compete most directly with small luxury cars such as the Audi A4 and the BMW 3 Series.

Musk said Tesla will expand its stores and its fast-charging Supercharger stations globally in order to support the Model 3. He said the company plans to double its stores worldwide to 441 by the end of 2017, and it will double its Superchargers to 7,200. Tesla will also add thousands of its so-called destination charging stations at hotels and other locations.

Right now, Tesla sells two vehicles: The Model S sedan, which starts at $71,000, and the Model X SUV, which starts around $80,000. But a lower-priced car was Musk’s longtime goal. Musk said the Model S and Model X, along with Tesla’s first car, the discontinued Roadster sports car, helped Tesla make the money to invest in the Model 3.

“We needed to figure out how we, as a tiny company with very few resources, could make a difference,” he said.

Tesla lowered the cost of the car, in part, by making cheaper batteries. The company previously assembled its battery packs with cells made in Japan by Panasonic Corp. But Tesla and Panasonic are building a massive, $5 billion factory in Nevada which will supply batteries for the Model 3. Tesla says the scale of the factory will lower the cost of its battery packs by 30 percent.

The Model 3 puts Tesla within reach of millions more customers. Last year, only 2.1 percent of new cars purchased in the U.S. cost $75,000 or more, but 35 percent or 5.5 million cost $35,000 or more, according to TrueCar. The Model 3 is a critical part of the money-losing automaker’s plan to increase sales from around 85,000 this year to 500,000 by 2020.

Robin Santucci got the sixth spot in line when he arrived at the Santa Monica, California, Tesla store at 3:45 a.m. Thursday. By 9 a.m., he estimated there were 200 people in line.

Santucci has admired Tesla for years. When he got his current car, an electric Fiat 500, he made sure the lease would run out at the end of 2017 so his next car could be the Model 3.

“The design of every other car they’ve put out is beautiful,” said Santucci, who works in digital advertising and lives in West Hollywood.

Santucci added that he didn’t want to wait too long to order a car because the federal tax credit of $7,500 will sunset once Tesla sells 200,000 vehicles in the U.S. That is still likely several years away, although a ticker at the Tesla event showed orders continuing to rise throughout the night.

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VW and Shell try to block EU push for electric cars

Industry giants call for biofuels over electric and fuel efficient vehicles puts Europes carbon emissions targets at risk, say experts

VW and Shell have unified to try to block Europes push for electric cars and more efficient cars, saying biofuels should be at heart of efforts to green the industry instead.

The EU is scheming two new fuel efficiency targets for 2025 and 2030 to help meet promises made at the Paris climate summit last December.

But executives from the two industrial giants launched a study on Wednesday night proposing greater use of biofuels, CO2 car labelling, and the EUs emissions trading system( ETS) instead.

In reality, such a package would involve the end of meaningful new regulatory action on automobile emissions for more than a decade, EU sources say.

Ulrich Eichhorn, VWs new head of research and growth, used to say plug-in hybrids and more efficient vehicles were building block for the future, but that higher shares for biofuels would be needed in the meantime.

He told a session in Brussels: Modern diesel and natural gas engines will absolutely be required to deliver CO2 targets until 2020 and they will also contribute to further reductions going on from there.

In gratifying the Paris aims, societal expenses need to be minimised to keep our industrial strength and competitiveness, he said.

The Auto Fuels Coalition study, written by Roland Berger, makes a series of highly pessimistic assumptions about the costs of fuel efficiency improvements, and equally optimistic ones about greenhouse gas emissions from biofuels. A recent EU study observed the dirtiest biofuels three times more polluting than diesel.

An EU source told: these two industries have realised they have a shared interest. When you saw who was paying for the study, you knew what the answer would be.

Campaigners point out that signs of an electric vehicles take-off this spring have included 400, 000 pre-orders for the new Teslas Model 3, as well as a bid by the Dutch parliament to prohibition petrol and diesel engines by 2025. On Thursday Germany promised a 1bn subsidy boost for electric cars.

Yet the industry study presumes a lack of public appetite for electric cars over the next decade continuing until 5m urban recharging centres have been installed and renewable electricity costs fall from current rates.

Dr Christoph Wolff, the managing director of the European Climate Foundation, told the Protector: Electrification is taking off rapidly in markets such as China, Norway and the Netherlands. EU policymakers need to agree stringent measures, which will push the automobile sector towards developing products that are fit to compete in this fast-evolving marketplace.

Saudi Arabias recent declaration that it would detach itself from petroleum dependency by 2030 was heralded by campaigners as such a development. The increasing cost-competitivenessof renewables has been another.

But Shells vice-president for downstream strategy, Colin Crooks, told: Liquid gasolines will remain essential during the[ low-carbon] transition as internal combustion engines are expected to still continue powering most transport for many years to come.

The Dutch oil giant has invested heavily in Brazilian ethanol and Crooks should be pointed out that biofuels would play a key role into the future, albeit one require policy incentives.

New gasolines will require financial support from governments to support technology development and reduce investment risk, he said.

Road transport currently stimulates up about a fifth of Europes greenhouse gas emissions. The EU has defined an objective of a 60% reduction in transport emissions by 2050 as measured against 1990 levels. Emission levels are currently 20% above that rate, although they have begun to fall.

By 2021 , no new cars will be allowed to emit more than 95 grams of CO2 per kilometre, but electrification and widescale renewable energy will be needed to approach zero emissions levels.

Carlos Calvo Ambel, an analyst for the Transport and Environment thinktank, used to say Europe would miss its greenhouse gas targets altogether if it followed the Auto Fuels Coalition papers advice.

Carmakers, petroleum companies and biofuels producers are making a desperate bid to dissuade Europe from undertaking fuel efficiency the criteria for cars, vans and trucks, a push for electric vehicles and many of the other badly required actions in the transport sector, he said.

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Look ma, no hands: what will it mean when all cars can drive themselves?

Autonomous vehicles are the focus of attention from Silicon Valley to the Treasury. Once they catch on, our roads and our workplaces will be transformed

The chancellor may have been keen to talk about the autonomous future in his budget, but the money that talked loudest last week came from Uber’s billion-pound deal with Swedish carmaker Volvo.

The scale of the order suggests driverless cars could indeed be just around the corner: 24,000 Volvos are to be kitted out with the ride-hailing company’s self-driving technology between 2019 and 2021. Assuming a robot driver can do three times as many shifts as a human, those cars alone could replace, for example, every non-Uber taxi or minicab in London.

How Uber deploys its new driverless SUVs remains to be seen: but the news underlines how the technology could rapidly change the face of transport, manufacturing and work. So who will win and lose in the driverless future?


Technology companies
The race has been led by Google’s self-driving division, now spun off as Waymo, which has just started trials of a driverless taxi service in Phoenix, Arizona. Even before its first lift has been hailed by a member of the public – and without having made a car of its own, as it currently buys in Chrysler minivans – Waymo has been valued at $70bn (£52bn) by Morgan Stanley.

Mobileye, an Israeli maker of chips and cameras for self-driving vehicles with revenues of only $300m a year, was bought by Intel for $15.3bn in March. Uber is rushing to develop its own robo-taxi tech to scale up profits on its enormous global customer base.

Richard Cuerden, academy director at the British transport research centre TRL, says of the future: “It’s very unlikely that we will buy cars as we do now for personal ownership. Firms will make money through things like data sharing and advertising.”

The utopian vision of a driverless future is that just about everyone would benefit from shorter, safer and more productive journeys. If driverlessness means shared ownership, as many hope and believe, as well as more efficient use of road space through intelligent and connected vehicles, there is the scope to massively reduce congestion. If the model also reduces the costs of door-to-door transport, cars could go a long way to ensuring more independent mobility for the elderly and disabled.

Online media and retailers
Fewer young people are buying cars, and not just because they are strapped for cash: smartphones and tablets mean journeys by bus or train are more enjoyable. Today’s stressed driver can hope for a similar future, Cuerden says: “You needn’t face forward any more, you’ll be doing a million different things. The holy grail is to free up that time.” Watching Netflix, Instagramming the motorway, internet shopping: a whole new segment of the population will be online and available.

Logistics firms
The unveiling by Elon Musk of Tesla’s Semi electric truck, with its autopilot features, will have caught the attention of haulage firms. Around one-third of costs in the $7bn US trucking industry is drivers’ wages.

In the UK, salaries have risen due to a lack of drivers: the Freight Transport Association last year said there was a shortfall of almost 35,000 drivers compared with available HGVs. Firms whose delivery routes and schedules are minutely plotted to save time, fuel and money, will probably hope that trials of “platooned” lorries – linked vehicles travelling in convoy with perhaps just one driver in the lead cab – are just the first step to a driverless future.

Lithium miners
As chancellor Philip Hammond said while announcing a £400m fund for charging networks, the road to autonomy starts with electric cars. And those batteries need minerals: the global lithium-ion battery market is expected to more than double in value in the next seven years to around $75bn, according to Transparency Market Research, as electric car sales grow. Elements such as cobalt will be in increasing demand, and mining firms such as Glencore have already struck deals with carmakers who want to lock in supplies.


Traditional car manufacturers
Many expect the number of vehicles in private household ownership to fall. Car manufacturers have been hiring directors from software and tech firms as the market has tilted – witness Tesla’s valuation surpassing Ford and GM’s this year.

Partnerships between Ford and Uber’s rival Lyft, as well as Volvo’s Uber deal, could point to how sales evolve. Philippa Oldham, head of transport at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, says: “Traditional sales have already been going down year-on-year as people go to a leasing model.

“Ford and BMW have car-share businesses, while BMW is diversifying into repurposing batteries as energy storage solutions in homes. The challenge is where they develop their business models.”

Insurance firms
The majority of car accidents involve some element of human error, and predictions in studies of the potential drop in fatalities from self-driving cars have ranged from 80 to 95%. KPMG found insurance premiums could be expected to drop by 50% in a decade.

On the other hand, some expect an increase in crashes – and more wrangles for insurers’ legal departments – during the transition period while humans and machines share the roads.

Other issues remain, as Martyn Thomas, professor of IT at Gresham College, warns: “How they will price the risk of hacking is a complete mystery: a cybersecurity vulnerability that could be exploited by criminals could affect thousands of cars in a single day and put insurers out of business.”

But, says Nick Reed, head of mobility research at component maker Bosch, motor insurance has to survive, even if it is passed to manufacturers and fleets once owner-drivers become passengers: “The business model will change. But consumers always need to have the confidence that, in the event of an incident, there is compensation.”

Service stations and hotels
Goodbye, Moto? The appeal of a picnic on the M6 may diminish substantially when humans are no longer prompted by driver fatigue to pull in, and are instead engrossed in season 54 of The Simpsons. Electric charging networks may well not operate like petrol stations, where a vehicle has to pull in to refuel. However, should full autonomy allow all occupants to drink en route, more frequent stops could become a human necessity.

While few UK journeys might require an overnight commute, a vehicle comfortable enough to sleep in could make hotels a less necessary option for business travellers – while longer US trips might be continued without the need for a roadside motel.

Professional drivers
Around a million people in the UK who drive for a living could have to retrain, the chancellor said, acknowledging that “for some people, this will be very challenging”.

Cuerden is not convinced that so many jobs would be lost: “We’re leading the HGV platooning trials, which see trucks operating more effectively – but all would need drivers for now. Long term, they might have time on their hands, but perform new tasks.”

By 2030, he believes, the bulk of journeys will be covered autonomously, but a human backup could remain. Meanwhile, many taxi firms still value “the customer interface, the human touch,” Cuerden says. “So drivers might become stewards.”

Government coffers
The £46bn that the UK government claims to have forsaken by freezing fuel duty may be only a warm-up for the gaping hole that an all-electric fleet would mean. Tens of millions in revenue for traffic offences could also be jeopardised by law-abiding robots.

British councils also made a £750m profit on parking in 2016. Some have predicted that the UK parking industry, worth £1.5bn in 2015, would effectively disappear in a world of fewer cars.

However, the British Parking Association remains defiantly upbeat: “The number of cars entering, exiting and navigating a parking facility will likely be very much the same as it is now. Just without people.”

Visions of the future? Five self-driving cars

A Westfield POD autonomous vehicle in Greenwich. Photograph: Victoria Jones/PA

Westfield POD
The most futuristic way to get around Greenwich – at least down the towpath from the O2 Arena.
The electric pods, which are built in the Midlands and souped up with driverless gadgetry from Oxbotica, are currently in public trials in south London to test how the public interacts with the technology.

Navya’s Autonom Cab. Photograph: Eric Piermont/AFP/Getty Images

Navya Autonom Cab
The French manufacturer’s latest vehicle looks more or less like a sleek, people-carrier-style taxi. It just has no driver’s seat, steering wheel, or pedals: its six passenger seats all face inwards. The Autonom Cab should be in production next year, capable of speeds of 55mph – although, as it is designed for city centres, it probably will not be seen anywhere where it is allowed to go that fast. Starts at around £230,000.

Uber has bought 24,000 Volvo SUVs for its mooted self-driving service.

Uber’s Volvo XC90
London’s transport authorities will be praying that Uber doesn’t want to traverse its narrow streets with these chunky Volvo XC90 SUVs. The ride-hailing app
ordered 24,000 of the £50,000 vehicles last week, for which Uber will provide the yet-to-be-built self-driving system. The cars are already available with semi-autonomous capabilities, including some automatic braking – but Uber’s self-driving version isn’t expected until 2021.

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Toyota Camry NASCAR Edition listed on Ebay for $160 K

  • ( RK Motors)

  • ( RK Motors)

  • ( RK Motors)

As the years have gone on, the marketing strategy of win on Sunday, sell on Monday has became less and less reliable.

A lot of this can be attributed to the fact that the Toyota Camrys, Chevrolet SSs, and Ford Fusions that you ensure on the street are nothing like the ones you see on the NASCAR racetrack.

Except this one.

Featuring a 358 V8 that they are able turn out 680 horsepower, this 2010 Toyota Camry comes as close to Kyle Busch or Martin Truexs race car as you could possibly get, although we dont recommend taking it pack racing at Talladega anytime soon. Honestly, were not fully convinced its street legal.

The car was built from scratch by the guys at RK Motors for the 2010 SEMA show, and features a 6 speed manual transmission, a roll cage and only 17 miles on the odometer – thats less than 7 laps around Daytona!

Air Conditioning, a leather interior and a sound system all come as added bonuses.

The Camry is for sale on eBay with a Buy It Now cost of $159,900 until June 11.

More auto news and features from Fox Sports

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In the wake of Peterloo: the Manchester Guardian prospectus, 1821

In April 1821, a month before the publication of the first edition of the Manchester Guardian, a prospectus was issued explaining the aims and objectives of the proposed newspaper. Below we reproduce the text of the prospectus in full

The Guardian was founded by a young cotton merchant called John Edward Taylor in the wake of the Peterloo massacre of 1819, in which soldiers had killed 11 people at a public meeting in Manchester. A reformer and religious nonconformist, Taylor had written the first eyewitness account of Peterloo and wanted to see a new paper committed to political change and truthful reporting. At the time he was already writing most of one of the city’s existing six weekly papers, the Manchester Chronicle. In April 1821, ten of his friends raised £1,050 and issued a prospectus for a seventh – the Manchester Guardian. This was intended to be read by “the class to whom, more especially, advertisements are generally addressed”.

On Saturday, the 5th of May, 1821, will be Published,
Price Seven-pence,
No. 1 of a New Weekly Paper,

The Manchester Guardian

The Place of Publication will be announced when the necessary arrangements are completed; and, in the mean time, Orders, Advertisements, and Communications, will be received by Mr SOWLER, Bookseller, St Ann’s Square, Messrs ROBINSON AND ELLIS, St Ann’s Place; and Mr JOHN FORD, Market-street.


It may safely be asserted, that no former period, in the history of our Country, has been marked by the agitation of questions of a more important character, than those which are now claiming the attention of the public. To any one, who regards, for a moment, the conflicting ‘views and wishes of the Commercial and Agricultural Interests, -the considerations which may arise out of the existing Laws for the regulation of our Currency,- the present and the anticipated pressure of the National Debt and of Taxation, – this statement will be sufficiently apparent.

But there are other subjects, of greater and more permanent importance, which the circumstances of the times are forcing upon public attention. The effect of the great diffusion of Education within the last quarter of a century, is attested by the greatly increased interest which political subjects excite, and the immense extension of the circle within which they are discussed. It is of the utmost importance that this increased interest should be turned to beneficial account; that it should be made effective in promoting all those ameliorations in our laws and political institutions, of which experience has proved the necessity, and in fixing upon a broader and more impregnable basis the fabric of our liberties.

John Edward Taylor, founder of the Guardian. Photograph: Courtesy of the University of Manchester Library

Though the concerns which relate to the internal prosperity of this country, must always be of paramount consequence to its Inhabitants, Foreign Politics will now be a subject of anxious observation; for there perhaps never was a period, at which the affairs of other nations could awaken, in the minds of Englishmen, so deep an interest as at the present moment. The friends of freedom, every where, must watch, with intense anxiety, the progress of those efforts which several Continental States, as well as others in the New World, are now making to free themselves from the incumbering pressure of antiquated and despotic Governments, and to establish, in lieu thereof, institutions conformable to the increased intelligence of the age, and calculated for the promotion of public happiness, and the security of popular rights. Proportionate to the interest with which these magnificent experiments are regarded, will be the wish, that nothing may impede the success, or detract from the purity, of their course; that no internal commotions, or external attacks, excited or dictated by the unprincipled hostility of foreign and arbitrary governments, may defer the consolidation of such political establishments, as are suited to the condition of the People, as the national will requires, and the national wants demand.

The considerations which have just been stated, seem to render the influence of the public press, the spirited discussion of political questions, and the accurate detail, of facts, particularly important at this juncture; and we believe it has been generally felt, that no existing local Newspaper has possessed a degree of public consideration correspondent with the wealth and intelligence of this town and of the sur­rounding district, and their high rank in the scale of national importance. The present, therefore, seems a favourable opportunity for establishing a Newspaper, which, by supporting a consistent character for sin­cere and undeviating attachment to rational Liberty, may promote that union and concentration amongst the friends of freedom in this neighbourhood, which is in itself so desirable, and the want of which has been hitherto so sensibly felt.

In conformity with these views, arrangements are now making for the speedy publication of a paper under the title above given. It will zealously enforce the principles of civil and religious Liberty, in the most comprehensive sense of those terms; it will warmly advocate the cause of Reform; it will endeavour to assist in the diffusion of just principles of Political Economy; and support, without reference to the party from which they emanate, whatever measures may, according to the matured and unbiassed judgment of itsConductors, tend to promote the moral advantage, or the political welfare, of the Community.

The Foreign Intelligence of the week will be regularly and succinctly detailed, whilst particular attention will be paid to Parliamentary Debates. The most prominent speeches on each side of every important question, will be given as fully as possible, and the remainder will be condensed with as much attention to the preservation of the spirit of the debate, as the limits of a weekly paper will permit.

The site of the Manchester Guardian building as it was in 1821. Photograph: Unknown/GNM Archive

The commercial connexions and knowledge of the Conductors of the GUARDIAN will, they appre­hend, give them the means of occasionally stating, with accuracy and effect, the condition of Trade and its prospects, particularly as far as regards that most important branch the Cotton Manufacture. They hope thus, in some measure, to supply that information on this subject, the deficiency of which is often so obviously apparent, both amongst public men and those connected with the press.

Whilst they will exercise the right of spirited and vigorous animadversion upon public questions and boldly expose public delinquencies, they will sedulously avoid all tendency to private slander, and en­deavour to prevent the best prerogatives and most important duties of the press from degenerating into calumny and abuse.

With a view to make their Journal as generally interesting as possible, occasional notices of new books, and other subjects of a literary and scientific character, will be introduced by the Conductors of the GUARDIAN into its columns, which they will always feel a gratification in opening to the spirited and liberal communications of Correspondents.

Manchester is the centre of a most populous district, throughout which the GUARDIAN will circulate; and particular attention will be paid to all subjects of local interest. Authentic articles of intelligence coming under this head, will at all times be thankfully accepted. Details of interesting proceedings, whether of a commercial or political nature, in our Courts of Law, will from time to time be given; whilst every exertion will be made to present to its readers full and accurate reports of important public Meet­ings, both in this and the neighbouring towns.

The MANCHESTER GUARDIAN will commence its course with a very considerable circulation. It has secured an extensive and valuable patronage throughout the surrounding districts, amongst the classes to whom, more especially, Advertisements are generally addressed; and whilst its Conductors respectfully solicit the support of advertisers both in this and the neighbouring towns, they confidently assure them, that it will offer a most eligible medium for giving extensive publicity to their notices.

The original prospectus for the Manchester Guardian, 1821. Photograph: The University of Manchester Library for the Guardian

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Tornadoes, grapefruit-sized hail could strike Great Plains, forecasters caution | Fox News

Forecasters have moved North Texas squarely into the crosshairs of a large cyclone capable of producing “significant” tornadoes and grapefruit-sized hail Tuesday afternoon and evening, placing at the least 10 million people at moderate risk.

The most dangerous climate heavy breezes, tornadoes and giant hail will likely take aim at a 102,000 -square-mile area stretching from central Texas to southern Nebraska, including the Dallas, Oklahoma City and Wichita, Kansas, areas, in agreement with the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma. Severe thunderstorms and strong gust gusts are also predicted for Mid-Atlantic countries where voters are casting ballots in primary elections.

George Eischen, 51, spent Tuesday morning moving vehicles off the plenty at his Chevrolet dealership in the small town of Fairview, about 100 miles northwest of Oklahoma City. Eischen said he has been lining the new vehicles “bumper to bumper” in the shop and even the floor of the hall protecting children from the hail.

Storm Events Reported on April 26, 2016 | WeatherDB

“We’ve never been hit by a tornado here in township, amazingly, ” Eischen told. “But yeah, we’ve had hail. And that’s the real foe of the car dealer.”

In all, more than 53 million people from the Rio Grande in South Texas to Omaha, Nebraska, and parts of Missouri, Arkansas, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky are at a slight danger or higher of experiencingsevere climate Tuesday. That tally also includes Washington , D.C ., Philadelphia and Baltimore, where a separate cyclone system could bring strong gusts and thunderstorms to Mid-Atlantic states.

“We shouldn’t assume that we’re going to have a lot of information you know, a lot of lead time, ” Storm Prediction Center meteorologist Matt Mosier told. “We may or we may not.”

Winds gusting up to 60 mph downed trees, damaged houses and knocked out power in parts of northern and central Missouri.

The National Weather Service reported that storms early Tuesday brought torrential rains and hail ranging from 1 to 1.5 inches in Kansas City and other northwest Missouri towns, stretching north to St. Joseph.

Storms are expected in Delaware, Maryland and Pennsylvania, where voters are casting ballots in primary elections Tuesday, though forecasters aren’t expecting a severe weather outbreak there.

Some schools in the Oklahoma City area called off classes Tuesday, while others said students would be sent home early to avoid the worst of the weather.

Mid-Del Public Schools, in the Oklahoma City suburb of Midwest City, canceled class late Monday. It said in a statement that the safety of students and staff is a priority , noting that it reworked its tornado safety plan three years ago after a twister killed seven schoolchildren in the neighboring suburb of Moore.

In recent years, authorities have been able to predict cyclone conditions like these several days in advance with greater confidence, Mosier told, though he noted that the climate doesn’t always pan out as expected.

“It’s never straightforward when you’re sitting here talking about( predicting) big tornadoes, ” Mosier said. “We’re trying to be as confident or as accurate as we can.”

Residents of affected areas should develop a plan to take shelter from a quick-forming cyclone without driving in severe conditions, Mosier said.

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