Brexit and British agriculture (a bit long but a window into the Brexit muddle)

The EU’s Common Agricultural Policy provides a total of £3bn per year – more than half of all farm income – which on average supplies 50-80% of a British farmer’s income. The EU also protects its farmers with tariffs on agricultural imports from outside the bloc of 12.2%, rising to as much as 51% on …

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Keeping the cost of drugs high

The Trump administration has dramatically increased the number of legitimate shipments of prescriptions it seizes at the border. The Food and Drug Administration is seizing shipments of cheaper, legal medications from legitimate pharmacies around the world. High drug prices in the U.S. have long driven Americans to look internationally for cheaper medications. Historically, the federal …

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Hurry up – the human workers will soon be gone!

Robots modelled on the human hand could soon be deployed on British farms to pick cauliflowers and other vegetables. Harvesting cauliflowers is not straightforward: each head must be assessed, to ensure that it is suitably white and compact, and then carefully prised from its stem, with a few outer leaves still attached to protect the …

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Concentration camps for prostitutes

One dark chapter in the American story gets left out of the history books: the American Plan, which detained tens, and possibly hundreds of thousands of women from the 1910s through the 1950s. Under the plan, conceived during World War I to protect soldiers from “promiscuous” women and the diseases they possibly carried, women were …

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Good news

Ten years ago, Richard Thaler, a Nobel Prize-winning economist, and law professor Cass Sunstein, published a book that suggested a brilliant idea: by exploiting simple quirks of human nature – our susceptibility to peer pressure; our tendency to put off coming to a decision – you can nudge people into making the right choices. Indeed …

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