U.S., Japan Sign Limited Deal on Farming, Digital Trade Deals   

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U.S., Japan Sign Limited Deal on Farming, Digital Trade Deals(Bloomberg) -- The U.S. and Japan signed a limited trade deal intended to boost markets for American farmers and give Tokyo assurances, for now, that President Donald Trump won’t impose tariffs on auto imports.The accords on agriculture and digital trade cover about $55 billion worth of commerce between the world’s largest- and third-biggest economies, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said at a ceremony in the Oval Office alongside Trump.The accord is a “game changer for our farmers” and ranchers, Trump said at the event.The goal is for the accord to take effect Jan. 1.Trump, who faces re-election next year, was eager to make a deal with Japan to appease U.S. farmers who have been largely shut out of the Chinese market as a result of his trade war with Beijing. American agricultural producers, also reeling from bad weather and low commodity prices, are a core component of Trump’s political base.Under the deal, Japan will lower or reduce tariffs on some $7.2 billion of American-grown farming products, including beef and pork.Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s priority was to win a pledge that the U.S. won’t slap tariffs on Japanese automobile exports, a sector valued at about $50 billion a year and a cornerstone of the country’s economy.Read more: Click here for the most recent research from Bloomberg EconomicsThe written text of the deal doesn’t explicitly cover auto tariffs, but Abe has said he received assurances that Japan would be spared from them.The proposed pact won’t lower the barriers protecting Japan’s rice farmers -- a powerful group supporting Abe’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party. This could help the prime minster smooth the deal’s course through parliament, where it must be ratified before coming into effect.The U.S. has said this agreement -- which was signed in principle on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly last month -- is just the first phase of a broader agreement.To contact the reporters on this story: Justin Sink in Washington at jsink1@bloomberg.net;Jennifer A. Dlouhy in Washington at jdlouhy1@bloomberg.net;Brendan Murray in London at brmurray@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Margaret Collins at mcollins45@bloomberg.net, Sarah McGregor, Robert JamesonFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.



          

Why the EU is rejecting Boris Johnson's latest Brexit plan   

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Why the EU is rejecting Boris Johnson's latest Brexit planIt was no secret that the European Union wasn't prepared to accept U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson's latest Brexit proposal, but The Guardian obtained leaked documents with the EU's point-by-point reasoning for its rejection.Johnson's plan included Northern Ireland remaining in an all-Ireland regulatory zone within the EU's single market for goods and electricity, but with a catch that the EU reportedly couldn't come to terms with. Northern Ireland's parliament would hang on to veto powers to block the arrangement every four years, which was cause for concern for the EU.Beyond that, The Guardian reports that the EU believes Johnson's plan could eventually result in abuses within the trading market. For example, they argue Johnson and his team provided no details about how to combat smuggling and that they removed assurances made by previous Prime Minister Theresa May that Northern Ireland would not enjoy a competitive advantage when it comes to trade. The EU also noted that the U.K. would have access to EU databases which would allow it to police the Irish customs border and the U.K.-Northern Ireland regulatory border even if the proposal was vetoed.EU sources denied that Brussels would present a counteroffer to Downing Street. "It is the U.K. that wants to replace the backstop -- and that is our solution," one senior EU diplomat said. Read more at The Guardian.



          

Boost for Johnson as Court Rules in His Favor: Brexit Update   

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Boost for Johnson as Court Rules in His Favor: Brexit Update(Bloomberg) -- Follow @Brexit, sign up to our Brexit Bulletin, and tell us your Brexit story. As Brexit negotiations resumed in Brussels, Boris Johnson got a boost from the courts. A Scottish judge ruled in the prime minister’s favor in a case that could have forced him to obey a law requiring him to delay Brexit if he can’t reach a deal.But the lift may only be short-lived. The judge ignored the prime minister’s frequent assertions he won’t seek an extension and instead relied on assurances from government lawyers that he would obey the law. That may make it harder for Johnson to leave without a deal on Oct. 31.Key Developments:Johnson’s lead negotiator, David Frost, is in Brussels for talks with European CommissionScottish judge rules in Johnson’s favor after pledges over Brexit delayWhen This $2 Trillion Market Turns, Start Worrying About BrexitBrexit Deal Prospects Fade as Talks Stall, EU Signals PessimismJohnson Calls EU Counterparts to Urge Shift (4 p.m.)Boris Johnson spoke to his counterparts in Denmark, Sweden and Poland this afternoon, his office said. Brexit minister James Duddridge told Parliament the prime minister was trying to “whip up enthusiasm for the deal and avoid no-deal."Questioned over how the government would meet its apparently contradictory commitments to leave the EU by Oct. 31 and to abide by a law requiring it to seek a delay to Brexit if there isn’t a deal, Johnson’s spokesman James Slack told reporters: "The manner in which this is achieved is a matter for the government." he gave no further details.Government Won’t Publish Brexit Legal Text (3:45 p.m.)Brexit Minister James Duddridge said the government won’t make public the full legal 44-page text of its latest proposals to the EU.The full text “will only be published when doing so will assist with the negotiations,” Duddridge told MPs after being questioned about the issue in the House of Commons. “We’re not going to provide that legal text if it’s going to get in the way of negotiations and get in the way of a deal.”Keir Starmer, Brexit spokesman for the opposition Labour Party, said both Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar and European Commission President Jean-Claude Junker had asked for the document to be published. “The only party insisting on secrecy is the U.K. Government,” he told lawmakers. “The question is obvious: What is the Government hiding?”No Deal Trade Burden at 8 Billion Pounds (1:30 p.m.)Businesses trading between the U.K. and European Union will face almost 8 billion pounds ($9.9 billion) of additional costs in a no-deal Brexit, according to new estimates by the U.K’s tax and customs authority HMRC.Importers will pay a total of 3.8 billion pounds submitting the necessary customs declarations forms if the U.K. leaves the EU without a deal at the end of this month. Exporters’ costs will rise to 3.9 billion pounds, HMRC said.The calculation shows the cost for one year and is based on 2017 trade flows. HMRC said it calculated that year’s EU-U.K. trade flows as if they were carried out with the U.K. outside the bloc.Johnson Wins Scottish Challenge on Extension (12:55 p.m.)A Scottish judge refused to put further obligations on Boris Johnson, saying his “unequivocal assurances’’ to seek an extension to the Brexit deadline were sufficient.At a hearing in Edinburgh on Friday, Johnson’s lawyers promised he will obey a law that forces him to postpone Brexit. The claimants had argued that Johnson couldn’t be trusted and should be forced to comply with the legislation under threat of a fine or imprisonment.“I am not persuaded that it is necessary for the court to grant the orders sought or any variant of them,” Judge Peter Cullen said while giving his ruling.Jo Maugham, one of the challengers, said he will appeal the decision.Johnson May Meet Varadkar As EU Seeks Progress (12:15 p.m.)Boris Johnson may try to meet with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar in the coming days as he seeks to show progress in Brexit talks, according to a U.K. official speaking on condition of anonymity.The U.K. accepts both sides need to know where the proposals put forward by Johnson are heading by Friday, the person said. Both Varadkar and French President Emmanuel Macron signaled they want progress by the end of the week.If insufficient progress is made, then Johnson’s plan may not even appear on the agenda for the Oct. 17-18 EU Council meeting, the person said.Brexit TimelineTime for EU to Compromise, U.K. Says (11:45 a.m.)Boris Johnson wants the EU to engage fully with his proposals for the Irish border and it’s the bloc’s turn to compromise, the prime minister’s spokesman James Slack told reporters in London.Reiterating that he won’t accept Northern Ireland being in a separate customs territory from the rest of the U.K., Slack said London has made compromises and expects Brussels to follow suit. He doubled-down on the premier’s pledge to leave with or without a deal on Oct. 31.“We are ready to talk with the EU at a pace to secure a deal so that we can move on and build a new partnership between the U.K. and the EU, but if this is to be possible, the EU must match the compromises that the U.K. has made,” Slack told reporters. “The prime minister believes that we have set out a fair and sensible compromise.”Johnson will call the leaders of Poland, Sweden and Denmark on Monday, Slack said.EU Demands ‘Workable Solution’ (11:35 a.m.)David Frost, the U.K.’s chief negotiator, is at the European Commission for Brexit talks today, commission spokeswoman Mina Andreeva said.The negotiations this week are “to give the U.K. the opportunity to present their proposals in more detail and then we’ll take stock,” she said.She added that the U.K. has to come up with “a workable solution now and not something based on untried and revocable arrangements.”Scottish Ruling Expected at Noon (Earlier)The latest Scottish court ruling related to Brexit is expected at noon Monday. Politicians are seeking a ruling that forces Prime Minister Boris Johnson to obey a law that requires him to seek an extension if he can’t reach a deal with the European Union.Jolyon Maugham, a lawyer backing the case, said there are two elements to the ruling. First, will the court order Johnson to act as the law dictates, which would create the possibility of fines or even a jail term if he fails?Second, is sending a letter requesting the extension -- which Johnson’s lawyers have promised to do -- enough to comply with the law. Or could the court look at other actions by Johnson that might be seen as undermining the law?Earlier:Brexit Deal Prospects Fade as Talks Stall, EU Signals PessimismWhen This $2 Trillion Market Turns, Start Worrying About Brexit\--With assistance from Edward Evans, Anthony Aarons, Ian Wishart, Alex Morales and Jessica Shankleman.To contact the reporters on this story: Jonathan Browning in London at jbrowning9@bloomberg.net;Robert Hutton in London at rhutton1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Tim Ross at tross54@bloomberg.net, Edward Evans, Thomas PennyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.



          

Boucher - Richelieu val-des-monts - Val-des-Monts, QC   

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Poste disponible pour Boucher, apprentissage disponible si vous désirez apprendre le métier. Possibilité d'assurances groupe, avancement et horaires flexibles. $14 - $20 an hour
From Indeed - Thu, 19 Sep 2019 12:51:27 GMT - View all Val-des-Monts, QC jobs
          

Trump defends decision to abandon Kurdish allies in Syria   

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WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump on Monday cast his decision to abandon Kurdish fighters in Syria as fulfilling a campaign promise to withdraw from “endless war” in the Middle East, even as Republican critics and others said he was sacrificing a U.S. ally and undermining American credibility.

Trump declared U.S. troops would step aside for an expected Turkish attack on the Kurds, who have fought alongside Americans for years, but he then threatened to destroy the Turks’ economy if they went too far.

Even Trump’s staunchest Republican congressional allies expressed outrage at the prospect of abandoning Syrian Kurds who had fought the Islamic State group with American arms and advice. It was the latest example of Trump’s approach to foreign policy that critics condemn as impulsive, that he sometimes reverses and that frequently is untethered to the advice of his national security aides.

“A catastrophic mistake,” said Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the No. 3 House Republican leader. “Shot in the arm to the bad guys,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.

Trump said he understood criticism from fellow GOP leaders but disagreed. He said he could also name supporters, but he didn’t.

Pentagon and State Department officials held out the possibility of persuading Turkey to abandon its expected invasion. U.S. officials said they had seen no indication that Turkey had begun a military operation by late Monday.

Trump, in late afternoon remarks to reporters, appeared largely unconcerned at the prospect of Turkish forces attacking the Kurds, who include a faction he described as “natural enemies” of the Turks.

“But I have told Turkey that if they do anything outside of what we would think is humane ... they could suffer the wrath of an extremely decimated economy,” Trump said.

In recent weeks, the U.S. and Turkey had reached an apparent accommodation of Turkish concerns about the presence of Kurdish fighters, seen in Turkey as a threat. American and Turkish soldiers had been conducting joint patrols in a zone along the border. As part of that work, barriers designed to protect the Kurds were dismantled amid assurances that Turkey would not invade.

Graham said Turkey’s NATO membership should be suspended if it attacks into northeastern Turkey, potentially annihilating Kurdish fighters who acted as a U.S. proxy army in a five-year fight to eliminate the Islamic State’s so-called caliphate. Graham, who had talked Trump out of a withdrawal from Syria last December, said letting Turkey invade would be a mistake of historic proportion and would “lead to ISIS reemergence.”

This all comes at a pivotal moment of Trump’s presidency. House Democrats are marching forward with their impeachment inquiry into whether he compromised national security or abused his office by seeking negative information on former Vice President Joe Biden, a political rival, from Ukraine and other foreign countries.

As he faces the impeachment inquiry, Trump has appeared more focused on making good on his political pledges, even at the risk of sending a troubling signal to American allies abroad.

“I campaigned on the fact that I was going to bring our soldiers home and bring them home as rapidly as possible,” he said.

The strong pushback on Capitol Hill prompted Trump to recast as well as restate his decision, but with renewed bombast and self-flattery.

He promised to destroy the Turkish economy “if Turkey does anything that I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, consider to be off limits.”

Sunday night the White House had said the U.S. would get its troops out of the way of the Turkish forces. That announcement came after Trump spoke by phone with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

One official described that White House announcement as a botched effort appeared aimed at making Trump look bold for ending a war. The official said attempts by the Pentagon and State Department to make the statement stronger in its opposition to Turkey’s military action were unsuccessful.

That official, like others interviewed, was not authorized to speak on the record and was granted anonymity to comment.

The official added that Erdogan appeared to be reconsidering his earlier resolve because he was relatively quiet Monday.

But damage done to relations with the Kurds could be irreparable.

An official familiar with the Erdogan call said the Turkish president was “ranting” at Trump, saying the safe zone was not working and that Turkey couldn’t trust the U.S. military to do what was needed. And in reaction, Trump said the U.S. wanted no part of an invasion and would withdraw troops.

The announcement threw the military situation in Syria into fresh chaos and injected deeper uncertainty into U.S. relations with European allies. A French official, speaking on condition of anonymity on a sensitive topic, said France wasn’t informed ahead of time. A Foreign Ministry statement warned Turkey to avoid any action that would harm the international coalition against the Islamic State and noted the Kurds had been essential allies. It entirely omitted any mention of the United States.

U.S. involvement in Syria has been fraught with peril since it started in 2014 with the insertion of small numbers of special operations forces to recruit, train, arm and advise local fighters to combat the Islamic State. Trump entered the White House in 2017 intent on getting out of Syria, and even before the counter-IS military campaign reclaimed the last militant strongholds early this year, he declared victory and said troops would leave.

Trump defended his latest decision, acknowledging in tweets that “the Kurds fought with us” but adding that they “were paid massive amounts of money and equipment to do so.”

“I held off this fight for almost 3 years, but it is time for us to get out of these ridiculous Endless Wars, many of them tribal, and bring our soldiers home,” he wrote.

In his later remarks, Trump asserted that American troops in Syria are not performing useful work. They are, he said, “not fighting.” They are “just there,” he said.

Among the first to move were about 30 U.S. troops from two outposts who would be in the immediate area of a Turkish invasion. It’s unclear whether others among the roughly 1,000 U.S. forces in northeastern Syria would be moved, but officials said there was no plan for any to leave Syria entirely.

Bulent Aliriza, director of the Turkey Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said that a U.S. withdrawal from Syria would be a major boost to Russia’s position there.

He added that other allies in the region, including the Kurds, will “look at this withdrawal as U.S. unwillingness to stand up for its rights and maintain its alliances in the region.”

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., another strong Trump supporter, said in an appearance on “Fox & Friends” that he had concerns.

“I want to make sure we keep our word for those who fight with us and help us,” he said, adding that, “If you make a commitment and somebody is fighting with you, America should keep their word.”

Former Trump administration officials also expressed concern.

Nikki Haley, who served as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said the U.S. “must always have the backs of our allies, if we expect them to have our back. ... Leaving them to die is a big mistake.”

Turkey considers the People’s Protection Units, or YPG, an extension of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, which has waged an insurgency against Turkey for 35 years.

___

With contributions from Associated Press writers Zeynep Bilginsoy in Istanbul; Zeina Karam and Sarah El Deeb in Beirut; and Lori Hinnant in Paris.


          

Trump defends decision to abandon Kurdish allies in Syria   

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WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump on Monday cast his decision to abandon Kurdish fighters in Syria as fulfilling a campaign promise to withdraw from “endless war” in the Middle East, even as Republican critics and others said he was sacrificing a U.S. ally and undermining American credibility.

Trump declared U.S. troops would step aside for an expected Turkish attack on the Kurds, who have fought alongside Americans for years, but he then threatened to destroy the Turks’ economy if they went too far.

Even Trump’s staunchest Republican congressional allies expressed outrage at the prospect of abandoning Syrian Kurds who had fought the Islamic State group with American arms and advice.

“A catastrophic mistake,” said Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the No. 3 House Republican leader. “Shot in the arm to the bad guys,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.

Trump said he understood criticism from fellow GOP leaders but disagreed. He said he could also name supporters, but he didn’t.

Pentagon and State Department officials held out the possibility of persuading Turkey to abandon its expected invasion. U.S. officials said they had seen no indication that Turkey had begun a military operation by late Monday.

Trump, in late afternoon remarks to reporters, appeared largely unconcerned at the prospect of Turkish forces attacking the Kurds, who include a faction he described as “natural enemies” of the Turks.

“But I have told Turkey that if they do anything outside of what we would think is humane … they could suffer the wrath of an extremely decimated economy,” Trump said.

In recent weeks, the U.S. and Turkey had reached an apparent accommodation of Turkish concerns about the presence of Kurdish fighters, seen in Turkey as a threat. American and Turkish soldiers had been conducting joint patrols in a zone along the border. As part of that work, barriers designed to protect the Kurds were dismantled amid assurances that Turkey would not invade.

Graham said Turkey’s NATO membership should be suspended if it attacks into northeastern Turkey, potentially annihilating Kurdish fighters who acted as a U.S. proxy army in a five-year fight to eliminate the Islamic State’s so-called caliphate. Graham, who had talked Trump out of a withdrawal from Syria last December, said letting Turkey invade would be a mistake of historic proportion and would “lead to ISIS reemergence.”

This all comes at a pivotal moment of Trump’s presidency. House Democrats are marching forward with their impeachment inquiry into whether he compromised national security or abused his office by seeking negative information on former Vice President Joe Biden, a political rival, from Ukraine and other foreign countries.

As he faces the impeachment inquiry, Trump has appeared more focused on making good on his political pledges, even at the risk of sending a troubling signal to American allies abroad.

“I campaigned on the fact that I was going to bring our soldiers home and bring them home as rapidly as possible,” he said.

The strong pushback on Capitol Hill prompted Trump to recast as well as restate his decision, but with renewed bombast and self-flattery.

He promised to destroy the Turkish economy “if Turkey does anything that I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, consider to be off limits.”

Sunday night the White House had said the U.S. would get its troops out of the way of the Turkish forces. That announcement came after Trump spoke by phone with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

One official described that White House announcement as a botched effort appeared aimed at making Trump look bold for ending a war. The official said attempts by the Pentagon and State Department to make the statement stronger in its opposition to Turkey’s military action were unsuccessful.

That official, like others interviewed, was not authorized to speak on the record and was granted anonymity to comment.

The official added that Erdogan appeared to be reconsidering his earlier resolve because he was relatively quiet Monday. But damage done to relations with the Kurds could be irreparable.

An official familiar with the Erdogan call said the Turkish president was “ranting” at Trump, saying the safe zone was not working and that Turkey couldn’t trust the U.S. military to do what was needed. And in reaction, Trump said the U.S. wanted no part of an invasion and would withdraw troops.

The announcement threw the military situation in Syria into fresh chaos and injected deeper uncertainty into U.S. relations with European allies. A French official, speaking on condition of anonymity on a sensitive topic, said France wasn’t informed ahead of time. A Foreign Ministry statement warned Turkey to avoid any action that would harm the international coalition against the Islamic State and noted the Kurds had been essential allies. It entirely omitted any mention of the United States.

U.S. involvement in Syria has been fraught with peril since it started in 2014 with the insertion of small numbers of special operations forces to recruit, train, arm and advise local fighters to combat the Islamic State. Trump entered the White House in 2017 intent on getting out of Syria, and even before the counter-IS military campaign reclaimed the last militant strongholds early this year, he declared victory and said troops would leave.

Trump defended his latest decision, acknowledging in tweets that “the Kurds fought with us” but adding that they “were paid massive amounts of money and equipment to do so.”

“I held off this fight for almost 3 years, but it is time for us to get out of these ridiculous Endless Wars, many of them tribal, and bring our soldiers home,” he wrote.

In his later remarks, Trump asserted that American troops in Syria are not performing useful work. They are, he said, “not fighting.” They are “just there,” he said.

Among the first to move were about 30 U.S. troops from two outposts who would be in the immediate area of a Turkish invasion. It’s unclear whether others among the roughly 1,000 U.S. forces in northeastern Syria would be moved, but officials said there was no plan for any to leave Syria entirely.

Bulent Aliriza, director of the Turkey Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said that a U.S. withdrawal from Syria would be a major boost to Russia’s position there.

He added that other allies in the region, including the Kurds, will “look at this withdrawal as U.S. unwillingness to stand up for its rights and maintain its alliances in the region.”

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., another strong Trump supporter, said in an appearance on “Fox & Friends” that he had concerns.

“I want to make sure we keep our word for those who fight with us and help us,” he said, adding that, “If you make a commitment and somebody is fighting with you, America should keep their word.”

Former Trump administration officials also expressed concern.

Nikki Haley, who served as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said the U.S. “must always have the backs of our allies, if we expect them to have our back. … Leaving them to die is a big mistake.”

Turkey considers the People’s Protection Units, or YPG, an extension of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, which has waged an insurgency against Turkey for 35 years.


          

Conseiller(ère) service à la clientèle - Assurance de dommages - Univesta assurances et services financiers - Rimouski, QC   

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Nous sommes régis par l’AMF et certains critères sont obligatoires afin de pouvoir suivre la formation. Je me dois d’atteindre les différents objectifs qui me…
From Indeed - Fri, 04 Oct 2019 20:05:54 GMT - View all Rimouski, QC jobs
          

Conseiller(ère) service à la clientèle - Assurance de dommages - Univesta assurances et services financiers - Rivière-du-Loup, QC   

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Nous sommes régis par l’AMF et certains critères sont obligatoires afin de pouvoir suivre la formation. Je me dois d’atteindre les différents objectifs qui me…
From Indeed - Fri, 04 Oct 2019 20:05:48 GMT - View all Rivière-du-Loup, QC jobs
          

Conseiller(ère) service à la clientèle - Assurance de dommages - Univesta assurances et services financiers - Degelis, QC   

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Nous sommes régis par l’AMF et certains critères sont obligatoires afin de pouvoir suivre la formation. Je me dois d’atteindre les différents objectifs qui me…
From Indeed - Fri, 04 Oct 2019 20:06:00 GMT - View all Degelis, QC jobs
          

US Move in Syria a “Stab in Back” for SDF: SDF Spokesman   

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Al-Manar | October 7, 2019 The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) has been “stabbed in the back” by a surprise U.S. statement on Monday that U.S. forces would not be involved in a Turkish operation in northern Syria, the SDF said. “There were assurances from the United States of America that it would not allow […]
          

THAUMASIA_Academie sur Management des entreprises d'assurance    

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Bonsoir,

Quel type d'avis souhaitez-vous ?

Concernant la pertinence du sujet : il semble en ligne avec votre doctorat, comme il serait pour tout domaine d'entreprise que vous choisiriez.

Qu'est-ce qui vous a fait, justement, opter pour le domaine des assurances ?


          

Artifact: What Went Wrong?   

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Published on October 8, 2019 12:10 PM UTC

Previously: Card Balance and ArtifactArtifact Embraces Card Balance ChangesReview: Artifact

Epistemic Status: Looks pretty dead

Artifact had every advantage. Artifact should have been great. Artifact was great for the right players, and had generally positive reviews. Then Artifact fell flat, its players bled out, its cards lost most of their value, and the game died.

Valve takes the long view, so the game is being retooled and might return. But for now, for all practical purposes, the game is dead.

Richard Garfield and Skaff Elias have one take on this podcast. They follow up with more thoughts in this interview.

Here’s my take, which is that multiple major mistakes were made, all of which mattered, and all of which will be key to avoid if we are to bring the combination of strategic depth and player-friendly economic models back to collectible card games.

I see ten key mistakes, which I will detail below.

Alas, we do not get to run controlled experiments. The lack of ability to experiment and iterate was the meta-level problem with Artifact. The parts of the game that Valve knew how to test, and knew to test, were outstanding, finely crafted and polished. The parts that Valve did not test had severe problems.

We will never know for sure which reasons were most critical, and which ones were minor setbacks. I will make it clear what my guesses are, but they are just that, guesses.

Reason 1: Artifact Was Too Complex, Complicated and Confusing

Artifact streams were difficult to follow even if you knew the game. As teaching tools they didn’t work at all. I heard multiple reports that excellent streamers were unable to explain to viewers what was going on in their Artifact games.

I was mostly able to follow streams when I had a strong strategic understanding of the game and all of its cards and recognized all the cards on sight. Mostly.

I was fortunate to learn Artifact in person with those deeply committed to it, at the Valve offices, and in a setting where I had several days with no distractions to become comfortable with the game and how it worked. All eight of us who were introduced to the game that week got what it was about and had fun. We were able to pass through hours of not knowing why our heroes had died or our cards hadn’t worked the way we expected.

But that’s all an extraordinary bar to entry. It also helped that we were playing against each other, rather than spikes from the internet beating us over the head with netdecks.

Valve did amazingly great work on the user interface that, in addition to making the game beautiful, made it as clear as possible what was going on at all times. It wasn’t enough.

What was enough was the same thing that Magic: The Gathering players need: A human who will sit down with you and explain how things work. No other solution comes close.

Whenever I talked to players who bounced off Artifact, even top professional Magic players, complexity was always the number one complaint.

I introduced Gaudenis Vidugiris to the game. He bounced off. Too complicated.

I introduced Sam Black to the game. He bounced off. Too complicated.

I played in a tournament match during the beta against Andrew Cuneo. He knew the basic rules but had no idea what was going on and felt lost and helpless. He bounced off.

Randy Buehler reported it took him about two weeks to start understanding things well enough to begin having fun.

If those four think your game is too complicated and hard to grasp, I have some news. Your game is too complicated and hard to grasp. There is no large audience that is more sophisticated than that, that wants more complexity than that.

Artifact when you don’t know what is going on is a frustrating experience. I was only able to enjoy playing Artifact when I was playing most days, and making it my strategic gaming focus, and giving games the attention they deserved. When I did that, I had some of the best and most intensive and interesting gaming experiences I can remember. Whenever I tried to phone things in, it became quickly clear there was no point.

Some of us stuck with the game through those problems and got tens or hundreds of hours of good experiences out of the game. But eventually it took its toll on all of us. When Valve started changing cards, I lost heart and gave up, no longer confident that my mastery of this complex information and its strategic implications would last long enough to justify the continued investment.

I loved Artifact. I love complex games and love that they exist and that others love them. It brings me joy to know others are building superstructures in Minecraft, Dwarf Fortress and Europa Universalis. Whenever I was at the World Boardgaming Championships I would devote entire days to games of Advanced Civilization, then I would check on those who devoted their entire week to a single game of Global War, and would have done the same for any games of Empires in Arms. But it is worth noting that as much as I admire them and want to try them, I have never played Global War or Empires in Arms. They take too long, require too much dedication, and I could never make it happen. They’re a bridge or two too far.

The most extreme case might be, interestingly, the game Artifact was based on: Dota 2. Dota 2 takes dozens of hours before one is able to play the game as anything other than a training exercise. I tried to learn it by having someone sit down and play a learning game with me. It lasted an hour. At the end of that hour, I felt only marginally closer to understanding the game. I still was so bad at the game that I suspected I was hurting my team by doing anything at all rather than staying in the starting area doing nothing. 

Tutorials continue to be a grand unsolved problem. It’s not clear that most of them aren’t actively counterproductive for games at this level, and we shouldn’t just assign experienced players to teach and mentor newer players. No other tech is known to work (and for Dota 2, even that seemed like it wasn’t great).

Despite these problems, Dota 2 is huge, and hugely successful. Part of that is greater resonance. Part of that is path dependence, as so many players have made the investment and that has justified it to others. Part of that is that the game pays off in hundreds or thousands of hours. But it’s not like I can watch a stream of Dota 2 and have any idea what is going on in the sense that people watching Artifact don’t know what is going on. It’s not like I feel there’s a reasonable path to learning the game, even though I’ve wanted to at various points.

It is easy to see why complexity didn’t seem like a mission critical issue for the Dota 2 card game, when Dota 2 itself arguably has these issues even worse than Artifact. And as Artifcact designers Richard Garfield and Skaff Elias point out, even if you knock out 90%+ of all potential players with this, that still leaves plenty of eager potential participants. The point is a few players who love you, not to appeal to everyone.

I don’t think this had to be fatal on its own, but it put a lot of pressure on the game to deliver the goods elsewhere to make up for it.

Reason 2: Artifact Was Too Skill Testing

Artifact announced it was handing Stanislav Cifka a million dollars.

They worded this as an announcement of a million dollar first prize tournament. Technically, many of us had hope it might be us. But we all knew, in our heart of hearts, it was going to be Stanislav Cifka. He owned all of us throughout the beta, going through entire tournaments without dropping games. The one time I can think of he did lose, it was through a clear tactical error in the final.

I entered one Artifact tournament after the game premiered, and played in several beta tournaments. Results were, shall we say, mixed.

In every case, for every match that I won, I could point to impactful errors by my opponent.

In every case, for every match that I lost, I knew I had made key mistakes and deserved to lose.

Good players in Artifact have a huge advantage against bad players. Great players have the same advantage against good players.

If you had to line up players such that the player in front would dominate the player behind them such that an upset would be very surprising (so let’s say 400 ELO points distance), for Magic: The Gathering you’d get something like (Top Player -> PTQ Level Player -> Reasonable Store Player -> Bad Player) for four players in the row. I can see a case for three or five.

Chess would have (2800 -> 2400 -> 2000 -> 1600 -> 1200 -> 800) so it would have six.

Artifact would have at least six. It might have seven.

That is too much skill testing, especially for a game that people didn’t think was all that skill testing. Players noticed all the bad parts of too much skill testing without the benefits.

What made this hard to see? Artifact had lots of random events, but they were mostly small rather than adding up, so all that did was give better players unique situations to roll with and plan for. It had lots of decisions with long term payoffs, that compounded and played in to each other. Poorer players didn’t even notice many of the things that were causing them to lose. And this all plays into reason three.

Reason 3: Artifact Wasn’t Random Enough but Was Perceived as Random in Bad Ways

Randomness is vital to games. The biggest benefits of randomness are variety of game play and game situations, such that the game feels fresh, the opportunity for tension and surprise, the chance for players to beat players who are better than them so worse players so more matchups remain interesting and poor players do not lose interest, and giving players the chance to make interesting strategic choices where they have to decide what risks are acceptable and worthwhile.

As Garfield and Skaff point out in their textbook, luck and skill are not opposites. But Artifact definitely had (if anything) too much skill, and did not have enough luck. After a while, the games start to bleed together, following similar patterns. There are lots of little random events that can be good or bad for you, but those even out, so the better player reliably crushed the weaker player, more than in any other known card game.

The randomness the game did have was great. Knowing when to risk a bad arrow, or hope for a good one, and how to maximize your chances of getting one, was quite interesting, as was trying to maximize your chances of lining up well with where heroes would end up within a lane, or what would happen based on where the enemy placed their heroes versus where you would place yours, or your chance of getting the item you wanted out of your store, and so forth.

The problem is that if you add up a lot of little random things, you get far less than additive amounts of net randomness in the result. But you might get more than additive amounts of perceived randomness. Players see each individual random element as part of a constant barrage. And the randomness that Artifact did have was too often the kind of explicit non-card-draw randomness that creates player ire and complaints.

Mark Rosewater and others who work on Magic often note that players react to different kinds of randomness in different ways. Coin flips and die rolls are the worst, when one outcome is clearly good for a player and the other bad, because they stick out as explicit intentional randomness. There is a reason we all hated Frenetic Efreet, and why we don’t make cards like that anymore.

The arrows of Artifact felt to players like that kind of randomness. As opposed to drawing different cards in the wrong order or wrong place, or having the tools for the wrong matchup, which are forms of randomness people accept.

The distributions of heroes, and who lined up against who, especially in the opening, was the same. Sometimes you would have heroes face off and someone would go back to the fountain on turn one. Other times, they’d miss each other entirely. That was a big swing that players had little control over, although they could build their decks to assert more or less control over it. The secret was that losing those flips was much less bad than it appeared, since the hero comes back two turns later to the lane of your choice and not that much damage gets dealt to the tower. It definitely risks a runaway via item purchases, or perhaps very quick tower kills, but it’s quite manageable by design. Thus, it didn’t actually let bad players beat good players that often. But it sure felt like it did.

The lesson is to do your best to hide your randomness where it isn’t viewed as the bad kind of random, and to make sure it is available in at least some large chunks. Artifact’s best randomness was the placement of heroes simultaneously, because it doesn’t feel like randomness. The shop items also felt ‘fair’ because they were drawing cards from a deck.

Reason 4: Artifact Had No Meaningful Outer Loop

When Artifact launched, you could enter a casual queue and play matches that meant nothing. Or, you could enter a competitive queue that cost $1 (one ticket, if you played keeper draft you had to bring packs as well) and returned slightly less than that in value. That seems like the actual minimum charge required to keep the matches interesting without embracing toxic free-to-play style mechanics that would have destroyed card value along with the overall game experience. So hats off to them for charging just enough to keep it interesting, and not a cent more.

The problem was that this was all you had to do, unless you found a tournament online that would last all day and was definitely a niche product.

Winning at first did not bring any benefits whatsoever, beyond the small return from the tournament itself. The only benefit of winning was you played against harder opponents, but your rating was invisible to you, so you got to experience the frustration of not winning more when you got better at the game without the reward of knowing that you were improving via the rating. There were no larger prizes or thresholds or other things to aspire to, beyond what the community created for itself.

Later, Artifact added experience points and levels in a tacked-on fashion, parallel to the ratings that actually mattered and continued to remain hidden. The new system meant that if you played games, you had a number that slowly went up, which slowly gave you a small number of packs and icon rewards, and allowed you to have a higher number next to your name. It was really weird that I could know how many games my opponent played, but not how good they were in any real fashion. This seemed to not fit a game that was so much about skill.

There was no meaningful ‘collect cards’ outer loop, because drafting cards was not a practical way to assemble what you needed – any reasonable person would simply buy what they wanted, especially once the prices started coming down. There was no meaningful achievement loop. When I thought about playing games, I did not expect to get any form of reward beyond the game itself, other than the opportunity to improve my skills. In today’s world, that is not acceptable.

What should Artifact’s outer loop have been? At a minimum, Artifact could have had a system that allowed qualification towards its big prize tournaments. Given Artifact’s emphasis on skill, giving players a competitive structure to climb seems like the obvious thing to do, and was something that was promised in the form of a million dollar tournament that was never delivered – which at least to me severely damages the credibility of future Valve promises. Artifact should also have given players the chance to know their true Elo ratings. What they did offer, in the form of cumulative rewards, was much better than nothing, but the rewards quickly became few and far between in a way that felt super far away, leaving players without realistic aspirations, and strongly encouraged players to play only a small number of games before mostly maxing out. Without getting into the weeds here too much, there are a lot of ways to vastly improve how much such a system encourages play.

Another key part of the outer loop is ‘keeping up’ with expansions. When one plays in Arena, Hearthstone or Eternal, one is constantly aware that one’s collection naturally decays over time, with continuous play required to get the cards to keep going. The only alternative is payment. Artifact of course was planning to have expansions, but not even one of them was ever announced. This was an underappreciated huge deal. Without knowledge of a future expansion, the most important and unique outer loop of all was crippled – my collection was complete and would remain so for the indefinite future.

Reason 5: Artifact Had No Good Budget Format

What is so weird is that they ran cash prize tournaments in a very good budget format, called Commons Only, during the beta. This format spontaneously turned out to foster interesting play that focused on lane resource allocation, as playing only commons means that mostly things in a given lane remain stuck in that lane. This is an excellent way to get one’s feet wet, as the game does not need to be grasped as a unified whole in the same way. It had several viable decks at the highest level that covered the four colors.

Then for some reason, this did not become a default format to offer players. I still have no idea why, beyond fear that players might not feel enough need to buy more cards, but I don’t model Valve as thinking that way. Without a budget format that could sustain itself, the game seemed much more expensive and off-putting, as playing Artifact with inferior tools can be very disheartening.

This then made Artifact’s economic model seem and be worse than it would have been otherwise, making one of their biggest problems even worse.

Reason 6: Artifact’s Economic Model Was Marketed Poorly and Misconstrued

I put this before the important real flaws in the economic model because I believe that perception of Artifact’s model as greedy, stingy, unreasonable and out of step with the times was far more hurtful than the real flaws it had. Artifact had in effect a perfectly reasonable economic model, but players did not see it that way.

What happened? A lot of it was the way the model was presented. Artifact did not highlight its customer-friendly economic features.

Artifact charged minimal amounts for tournament and draft participation, even allowing you to play for free if you chose to do so, at the expense of your opponents not having a strong incentive to give the games their full attention. When entry was charged, the rake taken on it was very small.

This is a big deal. In all the other collectible card games I know, playing limited is something you earn through grinding, or something you buy at remarkably high hourly rates. 

In Artifact, once you pay the initial $20 fee, you can draft as many times as you want, for free, forever. 

That’s the best drafting deal ever offered, and that is how Artifact’s offering should have been framed. It is also how the bulk of players should have been playing the bulk of their games.

If players had thought of Artifact as a $20 experience that allowed you to play its primary mode of play forever, and also gave you assets you could sell to get a lot of that $20 back (in the first week you could get more than all of that $20 back, although that did not last) then players would have seen that this is a good deal the same way that paying $30 for Slay the Spire or $60 for Dragon Quest XI is a good deal. You then have an option to play constructed, which can cost up to a few hundred for a complete set of playable cards, but there is no one forcing you to do that if it is not interesting to you.

The cost of constructed in Artifact started around $200, then decreased as the game failed, but $200 for a full set of playable cards from a large set compares favorably to what you would pay in other similar games. It compares even better if you consider that you can sell those cards afterwards and hope to potentially even profit, and you can choose to buy only those cards you need, without having to go through a super inefficient dusting or wildcard system.

But none of that mattered, because all people heard was ‘Artifact is not free to play.’ This cached out as two things: Artifact costs $20 initially (whether or not this was at first effectively $0 given that the cards you get along with that can be sold) and Artifact does not reward your daily play with cards that suffice to let you build a constructed deck. Players only considered the question of ‘how generous are you to people who don’t want to ever pay money but do want to build a collection’ and generally looked for markers of generosity within the free-to-play business model I consider deeply flawed, rather than considering the system holistically or comparing it to a normal pay-to-play title.

Thus, players got angry, and the game got review bombed, and professional reviews constantly referred to the game as greedy and as using an aggressive, outdated business model. Once that becomes the story, you’re in deep trouble, whether or not it is accurate.

Reason 7: Artifact’s Economic Model Was Flawed

As much as I will defend Artifact’s economic model as being unfairly maligned and having the right overall concepts at its foundation, the execution of those ideas was botched. One of the ways this happened was very not subtle and should have been obvious, especially since I tried to caution them about it. The others were understandable mistakes that would have been difficult to notice in advance.

The big mistake was to lock all transactions to the Steam Marketplace, preventing players from transacting with each other directly, and then take a 15% cut of every transaction.

15% is a freaking huge fee, and the desire to collect that fee ruled out any ability to loan cards or give cards to friends. Thus, the ability to let a friend play a deck you’ve assembled, or try out something cool, was gone.

Players ended up feeling tied to their cards a large percentage of the amount they would have felt tied with no ability to sell at all. One of the big advantages of having cards that can transfer is the ability to recapture value, but a 15% transaction tax makes that story far more difficult to tell. Another is to have tight markets so you feel like you’re getting a fair price when you buy or sell. Magic Online provides this through the use of trading bots, so you don’t feel like trading is too expensive. The problem is that if every card comes with a 15% fee, then that makes any profitable trading strategy need to widen out by 15% on top of the 15% fee, so they can pay the 15% when it’s their turn to pay it. So effectively there is a 30% gap between buy and sell prices, plus the profits to the dealers who are worried their inventory will lose value and at paying large costs to get rid of things they no longer want, so you’re looking at a gap of 40% minimum when you don’t have ‘natural’ flow to trade against. That is super punishing.

Combine that with an interface for trading where it suggests prices you might want to seek to pay, but which often fail to actually make a trade happen, and the whole experience is super frustrating. I felt bad every time I went to use the market for a non-trivial purpose, and all my dreams of speculation or investment in undervalued cards went away completely the moment I saw the market structure.

Even worse was that the game was creating sources of surplus card flow to be dumped onto the market, debasing the value of the cards. Starting a new account forced players to open $20 of product, without giving most people much reason to keep those cards, since they would end up mostly playing limited or leaving the game entirely. So why wouldn’t they reclaim what value they could by dumping everything into the market, even at a big loss? Then, when this flow pushed prices down, players saw cards as an increasingly bad investment, further depressing demand, and accelerating the downward price spiral set in motion by a declining player base.

We add to that the giving away of product in daily rewards. The daily rewards may not have looked like much to players, but it was still a large flooding of the market, because many of the players getting the free packs had no reason to hang onto them when they could get some steam credit by dumping the cards. I’ve been working on modeling this interaction for some time, and I firmly believe that you mostly must choose two of these three: either give cards away steadily for free, or allow cards to be exchanged freely, or allow cards to retain value. If you give away cards and let them be exchanged, the market floods and value is depressed. If you give away cards and want them to retain value, you have to lock those cards down (if not all cards) to avoid this. If you don’t give away cards for free, then value is maintained because incoming supply is always paid for, so unless you have a large decline in the player base, someone is paying for that supply at whatever price you charge.

If you’re going to have a marketplace and want your cards to have value, it imposes real restrictions on you. What you distribute has to be chosen very carefully. Players need to fully own their cards and be able to reasonably transfer them. Players need assurances that their card value will be protected.

You have to mean it, or it won’t work.

Reason 8: Artifact Set Expectations Too High

Artifact came from Valve and Richard Garfield, based upon DOTA 2, looking better and with more polish than any other digital card game has ever launched with by a wide margin. The game is gorgeous, the result of years of loving detail and care, and came after a long gap of game publishing from a studio with a long record of hits. It was presented as the Next Big Thing, and a lot of people got super excited. Tons of players tried it out when it launched.

Alas, a lot of those players had no business playing Artifact, because they weren’t the type of player who enjoys that level of complex strategic interaction. And also alas, the game launched essentially unfinished, because it didn’t have its outer loops in place in any form, and without a good way to bring new players up to speed, but it was presented as fully ready rather than early access.

This resulted in a strong early peak in users, followed by a huge decline, which looked like failure and also did terrible things to the market, and resulted in terrible reviews because people were evaluating the game against a standard it never had a hope of meeting.

If Artifact had launched first as early access, allowing players to first view it as a game in progress, all of that could have been avoided. It also would have allowed them to fix their problems before it was too late, because they would have avoided the next issue.

Reason 9: Artifact Did Not Run the Right Tests Because They Didn’t Test Their Economy

Artifact ran an extensive beta test where many of us played a lot of games. The problem was that what they didn’t do was test Artifact where players did not have full card access. Throughout the beta, players were given complete collections.

Which was super awesome for the players, and allowed us to better test the ‘final form’ of the constructed format. What it didn’t do was give an idea of how players would in practice interact with the game. What would their experience be? What would they choose to do, what types of decks would they build and face? Would the economy work? How would desire to build a collection interact with and drive player spend and behavior? And so on.

These are super important questions. Artifact’s test of them was on launch day.

Arena solved this problem by running a beta with its full economy working as designed, with credits from card purchases being given when the cards were reset later. That solution is not available to a game with a full marketplace, especially if you want to predict player actions and market dynamics, so the problem isn’t a trivial one to solve. If I buy a copy of Drow Ranger in the market, someone gets that money, so Valve can’t refund it without taking those proceeds away.

My guess is that would indeed be the right thing to do – to take those profits away upon reset. For the test period, cards and packs cost Relics which can be bought with steam credits, and the market trades in Relics. At the reset, Relics are destroyed, and all funds used to purchase Relics are returned as either steam credits or as funds one can use to purchase selected items in Artifact.

The important task is to impose some set of reasonable card access restrictions, and see how players build decks, play the game and use the market in response to that.

Reason 10: Artifact Did Not React Well or Quickly to Initial Failures and Did Almost No Press

It is normal for a game to see a huge decline in play numbers over its first few weeks. No one knows that better than Valve. So it was understandable for Valve not to be too concerned about the decline in numbers over the first few weeks, until it was clear that the ongoing trajectory was not going to improve. More troubling should have been the reviews of various types that were coming in, the reports of players dropping the game or not streaming or watching the game due to complexity concerns, and other not-the-number-of-users red flags.

What initial reactions they did have, enshrining free drafting and giving a first draft of player achievements and rewards for playing, were good starts, but did not turn around the narrative. Valve counted, as it has done in other cases, on its players to get the word out. That didn’t work, and players continued to view the economy as greedy and the game as having nothing for them to do.

Still, those stopgaps combined with the excellent reception the game got from many lovers of deep strategy games, bought Valve some time. During that time, they could have made further improvements, offered more things to do, or at least announced future things and improvements that players could anticipate. They also did not engage in any public interactions that showed they were aware of the issues, or illustrated their thinking or intentions.

Also importantly, for a game whose core success strategy was supposed to involve top level competition, they left actual competitions entirely in the hands of outsiders. There were some cool tournaments held, but Valve itself didn’t have any planned or offered. Players who came to the game without knowing about the tournaments didn’t realize there was any organized play. What play was organized didn’t have a clear path to getting involved other than either knowing someone or signing up for a single elimination all day tournament through discord. When I say all day, I mean all day. I think giving us a few Grand Prix style events, with five figure prize pools, that could be qualified for via wins or win rates in queued events, would have gone a long way towards tiding things over. Having that feed into a fully announced and scheduled million dollar first prize tournament? Even better.

Instead, every week that went by we all wondered whether Valve would be willing to follow through, or would instead abandon its pledge. Which is what eventually happened – it turned out to be a conditional promise that had assumed the game’s success. Why were we still playing?

When the time came to address the metagame being stale, and people complaining about some cards being better than others, Valve responded not by printing or releasing new cards or expansions, but by changing cards via fiat. This got them a lot of initial good press they had at least done something to respond to players and shake the game up. I saw that response, and thought that perhaps my negative reaction had been premature. If they kept changing things to keep the game dynamic, and embraced this new system, that would be tough on card value and make it especially taxing on players who tried to take breaks from the game, but they would be providing new and different experiences, show responsiveness to the player base, and be able to iterate towards where they needed to be while we waited for the first expansion.

Alas, such iterated changes did not come, nor did more radical changes or any announced plans. When the first set of changes did not revive the player base on its own, that was it. So we never got to find out what that experiment would have looked like, or whether it would have worked. Nor did we try releasing the first expansion to see if that helped shake things up and make people think of the game as a changing and evolving thing.

I respect the hell out of ‘it will be released when it is ready’ as a principle of game creation. Kudos to those with the resources and determination to pull it off. But once one releases a game that requires continuous play and a critical mass of players, one no longer has the luxury of time. One certainly does not have the luxury of time with no communications.

Conclusion

Artifact was, as my review made clear, a uniquely amazing game in important ways. It did a lot of things uniquely right. Alas, it also did a lot of things uniquely wrong. I’ve listed ten. If we could fix one of the ten, could we have saved the game? My guess is that no one of them alone would have been enough to turn the game into a success if it were fixed, but each of them would have made a substantial difference. Solving a lot of them, I believe, would have been enough. While the complexity issue in particular is a huge deal, that complexity also brought many benefits, and I think that with proper handling of other issues the complexity problem could have been navigated, as it was in the original DOTA 2. It was the combined weight of so many different problems that ended up bringing the game down.

Could the game still be saved? There is a bad taste in everyone’s mouth, legacy economic problems that will weigh on the enterprise, and the players have almost all checked out. At this point, time pressure is no longer a major concern, as everything that can be lost to delays has already been lost. If the game came back in a few years, with solutions for its problems and proper support including prize support, I do believe it can still be a modest success on its own terms. I do not expect that to happen.

The greater tragedy would be to draw broad conclusions about what is fatal to a game, and for Artifact to become a way to inhibit innovation and drive games towards becoming Hearthstone clones (or otherwise stick to existing templates) even more than they already do. The more we realize how many different ways there are to improve our prospects when exploring interesting new space, the better our chances for creating the next unique great thing.

 

 



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Do medical X-rays give you cancer?

It would be very surprising if they did. They have been in use for about a century so one would think that any adverse effects would have been noticed long ago. Yet the article below says they do cause cancer -- in South Korea.

But the article is inconclusive. WHO were the people who had many X-rays?  Probably the poor as the poor are always shown to have worse health.  So the greater incidence of cancer among X-ray recipients was entirely as expected -- as a normal correlate of poverty.

There is so much crap in epidemiological research.  Inconclusive articles like this are a big pain to me as I repeatedly feel obliged to point out the obvious flaws in them


Association of Exposure to Diagnostic Low-Dose Ionizing Radiation With Risk of Cancer Among Youths in South Korea

Jae-Young Hong et al.

Abstract

Importance:  Diagnostic low-dose ionizing radiation has great medical benefits; however, its increasing use has raised concerns about possible cancer risks.

Objective:  To examine the risk of cancer after diagnostic low-dose radiation exposure.

Design, Setting, and Participants  This population-based cohort study included youths aged 0 to 19 years at baseline from South Korean National Health Insurance System claim records from January 1, 2006, to December 31, 2015. Exposure to diagnostic low-dose ionizing radiation was classified as any that occurred on or after the entry date, when the participant was aged 0 to 19 years, on or before the exit date, and at least 2 years before any cancer diagnosis. Cancer diagnoses were based on International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, Tenth Revision codes. Data were analyzed from March 2018 to September 2018.

Main Outcomes and Measures:  The primary analysis assessed the incidence rate ratios (IRRs) for exposed vs nonexposed individuals using the number of person-years as an offset.

Results:  The cohort included a total of 12 068 821 individuals (6 339 782 [52.5%] boys). There were 2 309 841 individuals (19.1%) aged 0 to 4 years, 2 951 679 individuals (24.5%) aged 5 to 9 years, 3 489 709 individuals (28.9%) aged 10 to 14 years, and 3 317 593 individuals (27.5%) aged 15 to 19 years. Of these, 1 275 829 individuals (10.6%) were exposed to diagnostic low-dose ionizing radiation between 2006 and 2015, and 10 792 992 individuals (89.4%) were not exposed. By December 31, 2015, 21 912 cancers were recorded. Among individuals who had been exposed, 1444 individuals (0.1%) received a cancer diagnosis. The overall cancer incidence was greater among exposed individuals than among nonexposed individuals after adjusting for age and sex (IRR, 1.64 [95% CI, 1.56-1.73]; P < .001). Among individuals who had undergone computed tomography scans in particular, the overall cancer incidence was greater among exposed individuals than among nonexposed individuals after adjusting for age and sex (IRR, 1.54 [95% CI, 1.45-1.63]; P < .001). The incidence of cancer increased significantly for many types of lymphoid, hematopoietic, and solid cancers after exposure to diagnostic low-dose ionizing radiation. Among lymphoid and hematopoietic cancers, incidence of cancer increased the most for other myeloid leukemias (IRR, 2.14 [95% CI, 1.86-2.46]) and myelodysplasia (IRR, 2.48 [95% CI, 1.77-3.47]). Among solid cancers, incidence of cancer increased the most for breast (IRR, 2.32 [95% CI, 1.35-3.99]) and thyroid (IRR, 2.19 [95% CI, 1.97-2.20]) cancers.

Conclusions and Relevance:  This study found an association of increased incidence of cancer with exposure to diagnostic low-dose ionizing radiation in a large cohort. Given this risk, diagnostic low-dose ionizing radiation should be limited to situations in which there is a definite clinical indication.

JAMA Netw Open. 2019;2(9):e1910584. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.10584

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A new map by a Houston-based nonprofit shows clear disparities in life expectancy on either side of a line along Interstate 35 in Travis County, with those in the west living often more than a decade longer than in areas in the east.

In case anybody accuses me of unsubstantiated generalizations, I am reproducing here one of the thousands of articles that show the poor to have worse health.  The discussion below is about Austin, Texas and some of the disparities reported are extreme


The map, released Monday by the Episcopal Health Foundation, relied on six years of mortality data from the National Center for Health Statistics and drills down to the neighborhood-level by looking at census tracts. It found huge differences in life expectancy in neighborhoods sometimes only a few miles apart.

In the Rosewood area in East Austin, near East 12th Street and Pleasant Valley Road, for example, a person can expect to live to about 72, the map shows. About 5 miles away near Enfield Road in West Austin — on the other side of I-35 — life expectancy is 83, or 11 years longer.

Poverty levels and demographics also vary widely in the two areas.

Rosewood is largely black and Hispanic, with nearly 50% of residents living below the federal poverty line. The West Austin neighborhood is 88% white, with only 10% considered in poverty.

The area with the shortest life expectancy in Travis County is in Oak Hill near Sunset Valley, where people can expect to live to age 68. Just about a mile to the west is the area with the longest life expectancy, near Barton Creek Boulevard and Southwest Parkway, where a person can expect to live to age 88, or 20 years longer.

The median life expectancy in Texas is 77.8 years.

Austin Public Health has found similar disparities in health outcomes between eastern and western Travis County. The department said it regularly uses its own data to decide where to target its efforts, often on the east side. Cassandra DeLeon, assistant director for disease prevention, said this includes providing job training, education campaigns and access to healthy food.

SOURCE 

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Another lie from Pocohontas

This is typical psychopathic behavior.  She tells lies to suit the moment with no thought of it coming back to bite her later on

U.S. presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren is coming under scrutiny after resurfaced video from 2008 appears to contradict a claim she is now making on her campaign trail.

The Democratic hopeful, 70, told a town hall audience in Nevada on Wednesday that she lost her job teaching special needs students in the early 1970s because she was 'visibly pregnant'.

'By the end of the first year, I was visibly pregnant, and the principal did what principals did in those days - wish me luck and hire someone else for the job,' she told the crowd in Carson City.

However, a YouTube clip posted in January 2008 shows Warren giving a different explanation as to why she left that school.

In the video, she tells interviewer Harry Kreisler that her undergraduate degree was in speech pathology and audiology, and, as such, she didn't have the necessary educational requirements to continue on at the school.

According to her Wikipedia page, Warren was teaching at the school on an 'emergency certificate' and was required to return to graduate school to take extra courses in education.

Several viewers of the 2008 clip have left comments beneath the video wondering why there are now apparent discrepancies between her two stories.

'She needs to explain why she is now saying "principal did what principals do" and they fired her. Beyond her other fabrications, is this really someone we want for president?' one asked.

SOURCE 

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Trump shows what government is

Since the Democratic Party leadership and the mainstream mass media went into apoplectic disbelief that Trump won the presidential election in November 2016, they have been in a deep state of denial and determination.

Their denial is because they still cannot believe that someone like Trump could have been elected president of the United States. And they have been determined to reverse the outcome of the election, since “really” he was not the winner; after all, Hillary Clinton had more of the popular vote, while Trump “only” had won the electoral college majority. Besides, if not for those hacking Russian meddlers, the minds of American voters would not have been twisted in the wrong direction. History has to be undone in the name of “social justice” and democracy.

Mueller’s Failure Overcome by a Whistleblower’s Claim
The Mueller Report failed to provide the legal leverage to move forward with impeachment. There had not been demonstrable collusion between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin’s government to influence the 2016 presidential election; and the Russian hacking and attempted social media manipulation could not be shown to have affected the outcome of the election. The Democrats had pinned so much hope on Robert Mueller, and, damn it, he let them down.

But, now, a whistleblower’s accusations seemed to give them the smoking gun the Democrats had been hoping for in their political dreams. Oh no! An American president attempted to influence a foreign government to investigate possible political corruption connecting the son of Trump’s leading potential Democratic Party rival for the presidency in the 2020 election. Hunter Biden may have been earning $50,000 a month as a board member of a Ukrainian energy company due to the influence of his father, Joe, while his father was vice president of the United States.

Plus, Trump seemed to use congressionally funded military aid to Ukraine as a “carrot” to get the Ukrainian government to dig up and provide the dirt to bolster “The Donald’s” chances for re-election in November 2020. Oh, the horror! Donald Trump may have used the office of the presidency to influence a foreign government with taxpayers’ money to gain a political advantage for himself.

The Nature of Politics: Power, Plunder, and Privilege for Some
Let us remember the nature of politics: it is the use of government power for plunder and privilege so some may gain at the expense of others in society through regulation or redistribution. It does not matter whether an absolute monarch, a totalitarian state, or a functioning democracy does this. It is the reason why those who are concerned with liberty and prosperity have insisted that governments always must be restrained and restricted to a limited and narrow set of functions and responsibilities for the protection of individual freedom, without becoming its destroyer.

If Donald Trump has one redeeming quality, it is his refreshing honesty. He rarely hides behind the rarified rhetoric of altruist promise-making typically heard in political discourse. He tells you who he is and what he wants. He knows where American businesses should invest to make what he considers “America great again,” and they better or there will be consequences. He knows which are the “bad” nations and trading partners, and he is going to teach them a lesson through either trade sanctions or import tariffs to get them to give Trump what he wants. And he will punish other countries that don’t go along with his executive ordering dictates and demands, because America comes first and he knows what America both needs and wants.

Like many other successful demagogues of the past, Donald Trump knows how to play to an audience. The words, the phrases, the short and repeated slogans and name callings that stick in the minds of those enticed by his assurances that all their problems will go away, if only he is in charge to set it all right. Anyone who does not agree with and fawn over his every word and deed is an enemy — an enemy of him and therefore to America. (See my article “The U.S. Revives the Personal State.”)

Modern Democratic Politics Is Trading Votes for Favors
But what has Donald Trump done — even if it is found to be technically against the law — that has not been done by politicians of both major political parties over the decades in both domestic policy and foreign affairs? Which politician does not offer a quid pro quo to voters that if they will only cast their ballot for him come Election Day, he will use taxpayers’ money to give them an unending stream of government-funded programs, subsidies, protections, and privileges?

That is the nature of the political arena of exchange in modern democratic society. Government is not primarily a protector of people’s individual rights; it is a huge and intricate tax-funded pumping machine that transfers wealth and income from certain groups and sectors of the society to others through a complex and interconnected network of federal, state, and municipal bureaucracies. Any freedoms preserved or any freedoms extended are the secondary effects of a political system operating with purposes in mind having little or nothing to do, per se, with human liberty anymore.

In foreign affairs, every U.S. administration in modern times, from Franklin Roosevelt’s to Donald Trump’s, has used political, military, and financial promises and pressures to get foreign governments to do what the president of that time wanted and considered “good for America” and the world. Whether or not some previous occupant of the Oval Office was as transparent as President Trump in making plain how self-serving it is, it was always considered good for the political future of that earlier chief executive, either for winning reelection into the Oval Office or influencing what would be his hoped-for legacy and “place in history.” (See my article “A Call for ‘Do-Nothing’ Presidents Without Legacies.”)

U.S. tax dollars have been used to support or overthrow foreign governments; tax-funded dollars have been used to arm dictators considered “friendly” to America, who often used that military aid to brutalize their own people; those tax dollars have been applied to influence elections and public opinion in other lands considered to be part of America’s “national interest.”

Mafia Bosses and Politicians Both Try to Eliminate Opposition
It often seems as if politicians think and act like a mafia boss. The godfather rarely says directly, “Get rid of ‘Vito the Knife’ tonight.” He says things more indirectly, like, “You know, life would be so much easier if only Vito stopped bothering me.” And his mafia lieutenants know exactly what he wants, just in case the FBI is bugging his office. Trump basically just says to the Ukrainian president, “Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, seem to have been part of Ukraine’s corruption problems. Why don’t you look into it and share any information you get with some representatives of mine? By the way, the U.S. has been a really good diplomatic and financial friend of the Ukraine compared to those misguided and financially stingy Europeans.”

Trump has simply personalized it more than most other former presidents before him, who tended to couch it in the rhetoric of the “common good,” the “general welfare,” and the “safety of the free world.” It is an inevitable part of any American foreign interventionist policy, just as its counterpart in domestic interventionist policies. Interventionism is the politics of regulation and redistribution. Virtually nothing that government touches in a world of interventionism fails to benefit some at others’ expense, given that all interventions inescapably divert the course of social and economic events from the patterns they would have followed if left free from government interference.

You want to eliminate Trump-like actions and policies? There is, ultimately, only one means and method to do so: End the interventionist-welfare state. Restore and relegate government to the limited and narrow protection of each individual’s right to his life, liberty, and honestly acquired property. Then there is nothing for government to sell and supply to Peter at Paul’s expense. But that is not the politics that either Democrats or Republicans want, as reflected in their campaign promises and policy deeds. Thus, the political circus will continue, regardless of who wins the White House or the congressional elections in 2020.

SOURCE 

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For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated), A Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

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Comment on Thiel: Seahawks survive Pete’s ‘fatal optimism’ by Bruce McDermott   

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Actually, the statistical analysis I saw says that the chance of victory would actually have done DOWN if Myers had made it, from 51 to 47%, because even with a make, the Rams would have had the ball with 90 seconds left and a chance to do from the 25 what they actually did from the 38. Whereas if the Hawks went for it and made it, of course, their chances to win would have gone way up. The clear statistically correct call was to go for it. But Pete, for all his assurances that analytics in football are "legit," shows no such respect for them in the heat of the battle. He's a very good coach overall--good motivator, good teacher, good father figure, etc....but his weak link is game day decisions. Mood-driven, impulsive, apparently random and sometimes irrational.
          

Brexit: Boris Johnson claims EU has not explained in detail why it objects to his alternative backstop plan - as it happened   

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Rolling coverage of the day’s political developments as they happen

If I may put the point another way, the government accepts that in executing its political policy it must comply with the 2019 Act. That being the government’s clearly stated position before the court, there is no need for coercive orders against it or against the prime minister to be pronounced. The court should not pronounce coercive orders (or decree for interdict) unless it has been established on the basis of cogent evidence that it is truly necessary for such orders to be granted. In my opinion, that has not been done in the present case.

I would add only this. I approach matters on the basis that it would be destructive of one of the core principles of constitutional propriety and of the mutual trust that is the bedrock of the relationship between the court and the crown for the prime minister or the government to renege on what they have assured the court that the prime minister intends to do.

“Ulster says No,” is one of the historic cries of unionism. The DUP’s Sammy Wilson has inverted that in a statement - one of several we’ve had from the party recently - strongly criticising the Irish government for its stance on Brexit. Wilson said:

It seems the ‘not an inch’ approach in Dublin will lead to no deal. How times have changed. Its now a case of ‘Dublin Says No’.

The DUP has worked with the prime minister to place a reasonable proposal on the table. It may not be perfect but it’s a fair deal. It recognises our unique situation and respects the referendum result ...

In response to another urgent question Conor Burns, an international trade minister, has told MPs that the government will publish its plans for the tariffs that would apply in the event of a no-deal Brexit “shortly”. That may mean tomorrow.

Theresa May’s government published its own tariff schedule for no deal, but the new government will take a different approach.

In the Commons James Duddridge, the Brexit minister, has just said that his boss, the Brexit secretary Stephen Barclay, is going around Europe “whipping up support and enthusiasm” for the PM’s Brexit deal.

(If Barclay is supposed to be whipping up enthusiasm for the deal, there is precious little evidence so far that his mission is having any success.)

These are from Dale Vince, the businessman who took the case to the Scottish court of session calling for a ruling saying Boris Johnson would have to obey the Benn Act, along with Joanna Cherry and Jolyon Maugham.

It might not look like it, but we won today. pic.twitter.com/9ecmWqRqmA

It was always my understanding that we couldn’t actually lose this case, because; either the court would issue the injunction obliging BJ to uphold the law - or he would give clear undertakings to the court that he would do so. That’s what happened today…

In her question a few minutes ago Jo Swinson, the Lib Dem leader, said the government’s refusal to publish the legal text would prompt fears that the government was prepared to lower standards. Surely the public had a right to know if the PM was prepared to sacrifice the quality of food on supermarket shelves, the rights of workers to take holiday and the rights of children to breath clean air?

James Duddridge, the Brext minister, replied:

Quite frankly, that’s a load of rubbish.

That is not our intention. And our constituents, if they are worried and scared as a result of what the Liberal Democrats say, that is a terrible thing.

The Labour MP Tonia Antoniazzi asked if the DUP had seen the full legal text. Why would it be right for them to see it, but not the other opposition parties.

Duddridge said he would not comment. He said MPs who had been ministers would know that, in a negotiation, different people see different bits of text.

In the Commons Hilary Benn, the Labour chair of the Brexit committee, said something did not add up in relation to what James Duddridge said about there being no need for new infrastructure in Ireland. He said Boris Johnson told the BBC last week there would be a system of customs checks away from the border. But the plan published last week said customs checks would be carried out at traders’ premises, or other designated locations. And it said goods would be under customs supervision as they crossed the border. So how can you have customs checks with no customs infrastructure?

Duddridge replied:

The government are looking for a tailored solution.

Duddridge is responding to Starmer.

He says what the PM said in the Commons on Thursday last week about there being no need for any new infrastructure anywhere was correct.

Starmer is responding.

He says MPs have not seen the 44-page legal text. That means they have to guess, or, even worse, take the PM’s word for it.

Sir Keir Starmer, the shadow Brexit secretary, has just asked his urgent question on when the government the legal text of its new Brexit plan

James Duddridge, the Brexit minister, is replying.

The SNP has today announced it is setting up a social justice and fairness commission, which it says will show how Scotland could use independence to create a fairer society. It is intended to complement the work of the SNP’s sustainable growth commission, which reported last year. Shona Robison, the former Scottish government’s health secretary who will convene the commission, said:

Independence is fundamentally about creating a better Scotland.

The social justice and fairness commission will explore in detail how we can use the powers of independence to end poverty, tackle inequality and improve the lives of families across Scotland.

@theSNP has announced the membership of a Social Justice and Fairness Commission to build the case for independence – showing how, with full powers, Scotland can tackle poverty and create a fairer society. pic.twitter.com/lDo7r0oTAS

Plaid Cymru has confirmed that it would support Jeremy Corbyn as leader of an interim administration to prevent a no-deal Brexit. A Plaid Cymru source said:

It’s not about who, but about how we stop a disastrous crash-out Brexit. This is about policies not personalities.

The focus now must be on ensuring that the anti-no deal legislation is enacted. We cannot afford to do anything to jeopardise that – that includes playing party political games over who should lead a caretaker administration.

These are from ITV’s Robert Peston.

UK is leaving EU on 31 October without a deal, that EU is poised to reject Johnson’s offer. Without the EU state aid constraints, Treasury could pump money into any businesses affected by no deal that need temporary support

Here is a bit more detail about this. A statutory instrument confirming that the UK would keep the existing EU rules on state aid was supposed to be pushed through tomorrow. This has now been pulled by Downing Street. What is now being debated by ministers and officials is...

"whether and when to pull the existing state-aid statutory instrument and effectively have no state aid regime from 31 October" - which would not need primary legislation, says government official. As I said earlier, this would give Johnson maximum flexibility to help...

businesses damaged by a no-deal Brexit. And Labour is unlikely to kick up a stink, since Corbyn and McDonnell have always been iffy about EU state aid rules, which they see as limiting the freedom of a Labour government to run an interventionist industrial policy.

This is from the SNP MP Joanna Cherry, one of the people who brought the case to the Scottish court of session in an attempt to get a ruling that Boris Johnson must comply with the Benn Act. She said:

As a result of this important court action, we have forced the Tory government to concede that the prime minister will comply with the law, and promise to send a letter requesting a Brexit extension and not frustrate the purpose of the Benn Act.

However, given Boris Johnson’s slippery track record of acting unlawfully, and the contradictory statements issued by the UK government - we do not trust the Tory leader or believe he can be taken at his word to obey the letter and spirit of the law. As such, we will appeal the decision, and expect that appeal to be heard tomorrow.

A senior member of the Home Office’s drugs advisory panel has quit, claiming political interference is undermining its independence. Prof Alex Stevens, who worked on the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD), has posted a thread on Twitter explaining his decision, which was revealed by the Guardian.

I have resigned from the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs. Recent political vetting and
exclusion of suitably qualified applicants to join means that the ACMD is losing its independence. A thread to explain follows…

Here is a Guardian video of the Extinction Rebellion protests around Westminster.

This is from Neale Richmond, an Irish senator and Fine Gael Europe spokesperson, explaining for the benefit of Boris Johnson (see 12.32pm) what the EU thinks the problems are with the UK’s Brexit plan.

1) Creates a Customs Border
2) Only partial regulatory alignment
3) Stormont veto (maj only needed in one community)
4) No legal guarantees
5) Technology isn’t in existence
6) Contrary to Dec’17 declaration
7) Far removed from backstop

Bruno Bonnell, a French MP for Emmanuel Macron’s En Marche! party, told Emma Barnett on Radio 5 Live this morning that Boris Johnson’s Brexit plan was “almost like a joke”. He explained:

It’s not a final version - it’s almost like a joke. We don’t even understand it ...

This is not a genuine offer. This is clearly a political manipulation to put the responsibility of a no-deal Brexit on the EU’s side.

First of all, what he is suggesting right now is a very complex process, and even more complicated than what is proposed by the backstop.

Secondly, it’s again a last-minute proposal, as if he wanted to force the issue and put the responsibility of a no-deal Brexit onto the EU’s shoulders.

The European commission said it plans to “take stock” later this week in terms of making an assessment of the UK’s Brexit plan. At its regular, daily briefing, the commission’s chief spokeswoman Mina Andreeva said:

Talks will continue today and this week in order to give the UK the opportunity to present their proposals in more detail and then we will take stock with member states and the European parliament throughout the week.

And, as we have said before, everyday counts in these talks.

Labour MP Stephen Hepburn has been suspended from the party following a complaint of sexual harassment, the Press Association reports. It is understood his case has been referred to the national constitutional committee and he has been suspended pending that process.

Ian Jones from the Press Association has filed this, looking at four potential dates for the general election.

Time is running out for a general election to take place before the Christmas season.

The earliest date for polling day is probably Thursday November 28.

The Green party has proposed the legalisation of drug use in the UK and the establishment of a regulated market with tightly-controlled specialist pharmacies selling currently illegal substances.

It appears to be the first time a UK political party has gone so far as to call for the radical change in drug policy, and it comes amid heightened concern over the exploitation of teenagers by county lines drug gangs and record drug-related deaths. Dr Alex Armitage, the Green party candidate for Hackney North and Stoke Newington who is leading on the policy told the Guardian:

Our policy stems from the fact that we’re recognising more and more that the prohibition of drugs is a complete and utter failure, particularly for people marginalised in society.

It doesn’t matter if you’re dealer recruited into organised crime group after being excluded from school, or a person who was abused as a child who uses heroin to numb the pain or whether you live in an affluent area and worry about your home being burgled by people who need to steal to enable their drug use. It’s an issue that affects everyone in society in one way or another.

Here is some Twitter comment on the Scottish court judgment.

From the law lecturer and Times journalist Raphael Hogarth

The Court of Session holds there's no need for it to force the PM to comply with the Benn Act and seek an extension, given that his lawyers said he would. But it also fires a warning shot: the PM had better not renege and destroy "core principles of constitutional propriety". pic.twitter.com/c1ISLS0WdB

Lord Pentland @JudgesScotland says the court has to trust @BorisJohnson and @GOVUK law officers are telling the truth: he will obey #BennAct #courtofsession pic.twitter.com/qhpHlddKsi

Key para of the Scottish judgment is here: there can be no doubt that PM accepts he must comply with Benn Act, and that he will not frustrate its purpose. https://t.co/CWdChBPGgd pic.twitter.com/3deOtPy1zV

Paragraph 43 looks like the important one

The government's assurances are legally sufficient, so *no* order needed

Looks like government has now boxed itself into making the application under the Benn Act in the event of No Deal

Case did well to get those promises, so bravo pic.twitter.com/KWmFqVO5xN

If the government now breaks the law, it also will be breaching these "clear and unequivocal" averments to the court

Not a Scots lawyer, but that looks like enough for an order to be made later this month, if need be

So, in essence

As per my analysis a few days ago, No 10 headed off prospect of a court order by making express statements to the court

That could not have been done lightly or without full legal advice

No 10 Ten knew what it was committing to, even if it pretended otherwise

Here is a link to the full text of the Scottish court’s judgment.

The Opinion of Lord Pentland in the petition of DALE VINCE, JOLYON MAUGHAM QC and JOANNA CHERRY QC MP
is now available and can be read in full via this link: https://t.co/8HP6LwSaIp

These are from Jolyon Maugham, the lawyer who has lost the case in Scotland intended to get the court to issue an order compelling Boris Johnson to comply with the Benn Act.

In short, we've lost. THREAD

The Judge has decided that because the Government accepts that it will send the letter and not frustrate the purpose of the Act, it is "neither necessary nor appropriate" to make orders. pic.twitter.com/cTArzEkocC

The Judge adds that the Government's position is underpinned by the fact that the Advocate General for Scotland (the PM's 'man in London' if you like) is an officer of the court. pic.twitter.com/hfgFJ2E2hw

The true heart of the Court's reasoning can be seen in this passage. The true question raised by this case (see next tweet) is whether the Government is committed to this "core principle". pic.twitter.com/k7jYHlpwqz

I expressed this dilemma here (on Friday). I would rather live in the world the Court believes continues to exist. But I doubt we do. https://t.co/PVgXpPjlkl

As we have extracted promises from the Govt, the question whether this loss matters depends on whether you think I am right or the Court is right. But, on any view, there are now risks of an unlawful Brexit that would not, had the decision gone the other way, have existed.

I expect the Inner House of the Court of Session tomorrow to hear our appeal. /ENDS

Here is James Cleverly, the Conservative party chairman’s, take on the Brexit crisis.

Why “more time” doesn’t actually help “get a deal”.

We want a new deal, will leave with no deal if we have to, but no more delays.

#GetBrexitDone. pic.twitter.com/mgXWGNixpH

There are five urgent questions in the Commons today.

5 UQs TODAY from 3:30pm

1. @Keir_Starmer to ask @SteveBarclay to make a statement on when the Government intend to publish the full legal text of their proposed changes to the Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration.

2. @ChrisLeslieMP to ask @trussliz
to make a statement on the publication of the UK’s Schedule of Tariffs in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

3. @DavidMundellDCT to ask @trussliz on US intention to impose tariffs of 25% on Single Malt Scotch Whisky and other UK products on 18 Oct

4. @DavidDavisMP to ask @patel4witham on Henriques’ report into Met’s Operation Midland

5. @TulipSiddiq to ask @DominicRaab to make a statement on the case of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, following release of one British-Australian national who was also imprisoned at Evin Prison

During his interviews at Watford hospital Boris Johnson also said he was willing to speak to President Trump about the American diplomat’s wife who is using diplomatic immunity to escape criminal proceedings in relation to a car crash that killed Harry Dunn, 19, in Northamptonshire. Johnson said:

I think everybody’s sympathies are very much with the family of Harry Dunn and our condolences to them for their tragic loss.

I must answer you directly, I do not think that it can be right to use the process of diplomatic immunity for this type of purpose.

Anti-Brexit campaigners have failed in an attempt to force Boris Johnson to ask for an extension to article 50 if he is unable to get a Brexit deal through parliament, my colleague Severin Carrell reports. His story goes on:

Lord Pentland, sitting in the court of session in Edinburgh, rejected their request for a court order instructing the prime minister to seek an extension if he cannot get a deal passed by the Commons this month.

Related: Court rejects latest request to force PM to ask for Brexit extension

Boris Johnson has also restated his claim that the UK will definitely leave the EU on 31 October - even though MPs have passed the Benn Act, which is intended to stop that happening. Asked about the Scottish court case about whether he must send a letter requesting an extension in the event of there being no deal, Johnson said:

We will study any judgments, of course, very closely, as we always do. We will respect the law. And we will leave the European Union on October 31. Clearly, that’s what the people of this country voted for. I think most people just want just to get Brexit done.

The court of sessions judgement on Brexit will be out at 12.45pm, the lawyer Jolyon Maugham says.

Right. Have been sitting here wondering whether I dare 'go see a man about a dog'. Court has rescued me from my dilemma by saying the decision will be published at 12.45.

This is what Boris Johnson said at Watford hospital when a reporter asked him if his Brexit plan was “dead in the water”. He replied:

Our proposal is very fair, very reasonable. What it does is respect the Good Friday agreement, the peace process in Northern Ireland. It makes sure there’s no hard border, no checks at all at the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland. It also goes further in allowing Northern Ireland and Ireland in alignment, both for agrifoods, for cattle and so on, but also for industrial goods as well. That’s a big step forward, big advance, big compromise by the UK government.

What we are saying to our friends is, this is a very generous, fair and reasonable offer that we have made. What we would like to hear from you now is what your thoughts are. And if you have issues with any of the proposals that we’ve come up with, then let’s get into the detail and discuss them.

Well, I spoke to both Antti Rinne, the Finnish prime minster, and to Emmanuel Macron yesterday. And I think they can see that there is an argument now for pushing on and getting on with some substantive talks on the detail of what we are proposing ...

The issue is, what is the EU’s objection [to the UK plan]. We haven’t really heard the detail from them about what they think the problems are. It is time for use to get together and really thrash this thing out.

Boris Johnson has been visiting Watford general hospital this morning. Looking at the photographs from the visit, it seems that for the second time in a week he’s been engaging in mug politics - getting your chinaware to do your political messaging.

I got my coffee in the end. pic.twitter.com/F5cDVZHhHA

The lawyer Jolyon Maugham has a useful Twitter thread on what to expect from today’s court of session Brexit judgment. It starts here.

A short thread, in advance of the decision today, on where things are with the Scottish proceedings. THREAD

I’m just back from the Downing Street lobby briefing, and nothing was said by the prime minister’s spokesman to suggest that Boris Johnson thinks there is much chance of the UK reaching a Brexit agreement with the EU this week. Johnson is due to hold telephone calls today with the prime ministers of Sweden, Denmark and Poland, but the spokesman did not announce any plans for Johnson to hold face-to-face meetings with his EU counterparts and he would not deny a report saying a meeting with Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, has not taken place because Merkel’s office could not find a slot for him in the diary.

There was a stage when Johnson was claiming that the UK was making significant progress in its talks with the EU. But the spokesman was not using language like that this morning, although when pressed he said that the EU did view the publication of the UK plans last week as a “step forward”.

We are ready to talk with the EU at a pace to secure a deal so that we can move on and build a new partnership between the UK and the EU, but if this is to be possible the EU must match the compromises that the UK has made.

#NorthSeaNeighbours – Frank & honest discussion today with @SteveBarclay as good neighbours do. Important questions still remain on UK #Brexit proposals and more realism and clarity necessary this week. Full support for @MichelBarnier pic.twitter.com/7A0KUUmdb2

These are from ITV’s Robert Peston.

So believe it or not, the 21 Tory MPs expelled from the parliamentary Conservative party, plus Rudd who quit, today refused to support opposition MPs who wanted to put down an SO24 motion that would have allowed MPs to seize control of parliament’s business on any day between...

now and Brexit day on 31 October. Labour and SNP had ordered all their MPs to London to support the motion. But now it won’t be put on the order paper till next Tuesday, if at all. The point of the motion was to give MPs the power to pass whatever legislation they thought they...

need to stop a no-deal Brexit on 31 October. But the Tory rebels apparently now buy the Johnson and Cummings argument that MPs flexing their collective muscles to stop a no-deal Brexit is undermining their chances of getting a deal. But as I reported earlier, there is next to...

no chance of the EU accepting Johnson’s offer anyway (see https://t.co/3D5abBMm2p). So Cummings and Johnson will be chortling into their coffees as we speak. And business in the Commons today will be of magnificent unimportance.

On the BBC’s Westminster Hour last night Lee Rowley, a Tory Brexiter who voted against Theresa May’s deal three times, said he did not think leave voters would blame Boris Johnson if Brexit were delayed. He explained:

I think the British people have more or less clocked what’s going on here. And I was out in my constituency, North East Derbyshire - 60% leave seat, formerly Labour-held for 80 years – this weekend. I lost track of the number of people who said to me on the doorstep –we know what’s going on, Boris is trying to get a deal and he is also trying to get us out. And if he doesn’t achieve that, and Boris is clear that he is going to do that, but if he doesn’t, we know where the problem will be. Because it’s the same problem that’s been there’s been for the last two years. Parliament doesn’t want to leave.

One of the key questions in British politics at the moment is whether pro-leave voters will blame Boris Johnson if Brexit has to be extended, and line up behind Nigel Farage’s Brexit party at the general election, or whether they will give Johnson the benefit on the grounds that at least he tried.

As Mujtaba Rahman says in his Eurasia briefing (see 9.57am), No 10 used to think a Brexit delay would be disastrous for the Tories electorally, but now they have changed their mind. Rahman says:

The election could turn on this question: how damaging will an extension be for Boris? His strategy is to make enough gains in Labour-held leave areas in the North and Midlands to offset likely losses to the SNP in Scotland and the pro-Remain Lib Dems in the South. This gamble would be compounded by an extension, which would likely play into the hands of Nigel Farage’s Brexit party, who would cry betrayal. To win a majority, the Tories need to further squeeze the Brexit party’s vote.

Initially, Boris allies were nervous about the impact of an extension. But during last week’s Tory conference they became confident that the “Farage factor” would not scupper Johnson’s chances of victory. They were cheered by opinion poll and focus group findings that the PM would not be blamed for the latest delay to Brexit. As one aide said: “The public see him as Mr. Brexit and the only one who can deliver it. They know who is responsible [for delay] and we will keep reminding them of it.”

So far, confidence in Mr Johnson’s handling of Brexit — and indeed his party’s standing in the polls which, according to Opinium’s latest poll, is, at 38 per cent, higher than at any time since last February, before Mrs May failed to deliver Brexit — has not suffered in the wake of what are already diminishing expectations among voters that Brexit will be delivered at the end of the month.

According to YouGov, at the beginning of September, three in five (60 per cent) Leave voters thought it likely that Brexit would have happened by October 31, while only about one in four (27 per cent) thought it unlikely. Now only about a half of them (49 per cent) expect Mr Johnson to meet the deadline.

My money is on Johnson and Cons losing blame game fwiw. BXP voters are low attention and low trust, when Farage announces “he has failed, he has betrayed Brexit” on Nov 1st that’s who they will respond to. https://t.co/7nGG00QJaS

BXP does best among white voters with low formal educational qualifications. Such voters tend to express lower interest in politics, score lower on political knowledge etc. Less likely to be following things day to day. Therefore less likely to know detail of why Boris faile..d

I'm just not convinced Brexit Party voters will abandon Boris Johnson if extension happens. Why?

78% approve of his handling of Brexit
75% say MPs SHOULD vote for deal
74% approve of job as PM
64% say "surrender" acceptable language
59% "more positive" of BJ since conference

Were Johnson and his team to successfully recruit Brexit party voters [at the general election] then they would likely win sizeable majorities. If Johnson won back half of the Brexit party vote then he might win a comfortable majority, with 348 seats to Labour’s 201. If he goes further and wins back three-quarters of Farage’s Brexiteers then the number of Conservative seats increased at around 370 to Labour’s 185 - a commanding majority.

Might this actually happen? We do think that the Brexit party vote is softer than some think, for a couple of reasons. First, when these voters are asked who would make the best prime minister - Johnson or Corbyn- they break 84% to 1% for Johnson. Lord Ashcroft asked a slightly different question, whether they would want to see a Conservative government led by Johnson or a Labour government led by Corbyn. 94% opted for a Johnson government. A campaign that inevitably presents voters with this simple binary choice would likely see many Brexit party voters conclude “Johnson”.

Mujtaba Rahman, the Brexit specialist at the Eurasia consultancy who produces regular briefing notes based on what he’s been told by insiders in London and Brussels, has issued an update on the state of play this morning. He says he thinks the chances of the UK and the EU agreeing a deal this week are now “close to zero”, and that the chances of a no-deal Brexit happening on 31 October are also “extremely small”. We’re heading for an election, he assumes.

Here’s an extract.

UK ministers admit privately there is little prospect of agreement. As one put it: “If the consent mechanism [on regulation] were the only problem, then a deal would be doable. But if we say Northern Ireland must be in the UK customs territory and the EU says it must be in the [EU] customs union, the problems are insurmountable. That’s where we are.”

Downing Street’s official line remains that the UK will leave on 31 October with or without a deal. At the same time, it insists the government “will obey” the Benn Act approved by parliament, forcing Johnson to seek an extension to UK membership if a deal has not been approved by parliament by 19 October. Ministers refuse to say how these contradictory positions will be reconciled. Some admit privately they do not know.

This is from my colleague Severin Carrell.

Seems @DaleVince @JolyonMaugham @joannaccherry #BennAct decision won’t be published until noon, in writing. No #courtofsession hearing with Pentland today, says @JudgesScotland press office

The lawyer Jolyon Maugham says he does not know what time the Scottish court judgment will be issued. I had been told 10am, but that may have been duff information.

A decision of the Outer House of the Court of Session is expected today but we are not expecting a hearing. It will be issued to the parties and published in the normal way. We do not, as matters stand, know the time at which it will be issued.

Politicians spend a lot of time in interviews dodging questions, but mostly they are not very good at it. They could all learn by watching Jennifer Arcuri, the American businesswoman at the centre of the scandal over claims that Boris Johnson improperly helped her company with grants and trade mission access when he was mayor of London because they had a very close friendship. She has given an interview to Good Morning Britain this morning, and she managed to give a non-answer that made her look strong and assertive, not weak and evasive. This is what she said when Piers Morgan asked her if she had ever had an intimate relationship with Johnson. She said:

Because the press have made me this objectified ex-model pole dancer, I am really not going to answer that question ... I’m sorry, I am not going to be putting myself in a position for you to weaponise my answer. I’m being used as a pawn. This entire thing is a crazy charade.

‘It’s really categorically no-one’s business.’

Tech entrepreneur Jennifer Arcuri refuses to answer any questions about the intimacy of her relationship with Boris Johnson over concerns her answer will be weaponised. pic.twitter.com/fg1fYcncqq

‘Boris never gave me favouritism.’

US businesswoman Jennifer Arcuri says Boris Johnson never gave her preferential treatment and only knew her as an ‘extremely passionate entrepreneur of the London tech scene’. pic.twitter.com/Je4x1gWn2A

Related: Jennifer Arcuri refuses to rule out claims of affair with Boris Johnson

A decision is expected to be made on whether the prime minister can be forced by the courts to send a letter requesting an article 50 extension.

Documents submitted to the court of session on behalf of Boris Johnson were read out on Friday, in which he makes it clear he will not attempt to frustrate the so-called Benn Act.

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Court rejects latest request to force PM to ask for Brexit extension   

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Scottish court rejects request to order Boris Johnson to seek extension if he cannot get deal passed by MPs

Anti-Brexit campaigners have failed in an attempt to force Boris Johnson to ask for an extension to article 50 if he is unable to get a Brexit deal through parliament.

Lord Pentland, sitting in the court of session in Edinburgh, rejected their request for a court order instructing the prime minister to seek an extension if he cannot get a deal passed by the Commons this month.

Pentland said he had to take at face value pledges made by the UK government on Friday that Johnson would write the letter seeking an extension on 19 October as required under the so-called Benn act. Pentland said those assurances were unequivocal.

Related: How far away are UK and EU from reaching a Brexit deal?

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