Mexico Front-Runner’s Ambitious Plan Depends on ‘Economizer-in-Chief’

Mexico’s leading presidential candidate has a daunting challenge that keeps his would-be finance minister awake at night: find some $20 billion every year to step up social spending and public investment without raising taxes or debt.

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Lidya Raises $6.9 Million In A Series A Round Led By Omidyar Network

The funding was led by Omidyar Network, the Silicon Valley impact investment firm established by Pierre Omidyar, the founder of eBay. New investors, Alitheia Capital (via the Umunthu Fund), Bamboo Capital Partners, and Tekton Ventures, also joined the …

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‘Playing patient investor, Omidyar has not made many exits from $1.3bn portfolio’

Philanthropic impact investor Omidyar Network has invested close to $1.3-billion in non-profit and for-profit ventures globally since it was founded in 2004 by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar. But an investment principal at the fund confesses that the funder …

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BIG Forms Partnership With Global Real Estate Investment Platform, Reitium

BIG Blockchain Intelligence Group Inc. , a leading developer of Blockchain technology search, risk-scoring and data analytics solutions, announced today the Company has formed a partnership with Reitium Blockchain Technologies Ltd. . Under the terms of the partnership, BIG’s cryptocurrency transaction risk-scoring BitRank VerifiedTM service will be integrated into Reitium’s platform.

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Teacher Retirement System of Texas Lowers Holdings in Highwoods Properties Inc

Teacher Retirement System of Texas trimmed its position in Highwoods Properties Inc by 35.4% in the 1st quarter, according to its most recent 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The firm owned 22,848 shares of the real estate investment trust’s stock after selling 12,532 shares during the quarter.

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Why the Air Force Thinks It Can Turn Gamers Into Its Next Top Guns

In late May, the U.S. Air Force announced its intention to release an advanced video game simulation. The theory is that the game, if successful, will be an effective recruitment tool among high school students.

If this sounds familiar, it’s because the U.S. Army already did the exact same thing with a game called “America’s Army,” launched in 2002. That one was for a while relatively popular, but as a recruitment tool there’s little doubt it failed. Indeed, it was panned early and often for claiming to offer a realistic soldiering experience while glamorizing it as an exciting and largely consequence-free adventure. The game, of course, never showed the tedium or the dark side of military service in conflict—but what proper recruitment propaganda ever does?

Not content to merely copy a failed program, the so-far untitled Air Force game seeks to combine the allure of video games with the Orwellian realities of modern “big data” applications that the government is so fond of. In this case, officials have suggested they are literally going to monitor players to spot particularly talented ones they can recruit.

Call it recruitment recon.

As an example, imagine that the Air Force identifies a player who is particularly good at controlling the game’s simulated planes, so they offer him/her a $100,000 signing bonus to sign up for the real thing. But isn’t it possible that video game talent might not translate into real-life skills in combat? Incredibly, that seems to have been lost on the USAF.

Which is why this could be an even bigger disaster than the “America’s Army” folly—and much more expensive, too. While the Army’s gambit cost millions to design, it at least had a limited return on investment. The Air Force is prepared to throw major bonuses at good video game players on the notion that, like the 1984 movie The Last Starfighter, that’s where you’re going to find real talent.

The reason this makes sense to the Air Force (but nobody else) is because, with the advent of drone operations (i.e. remote control targeting), a number of people actually are employed in joystick-based warfare. It’s not clear whether the game will feature a drone operator mode (based in some outpost in the Nevada desert), as it seems to be focused on advanced warplanes in the heat of battle, not blowing up Pakistani wedding parties from thousands of miles away. This should come as no surprise because the life of an actual drone operator is reportedly pretty miserable, and the point of the Air Force’s game is to get kids to play so you can collect all sorts of data from them.

So far, Air Force officials aren’t providing a lot of specifics, just ambitions. They’ve also avoided estimating what the program will cost. Creating a game advanced enough to reliably attract an audience gets more expensive every year. At this point just developing a game can be counted on to cost a minimum of $100 million, to say nothing of all of the server and metadata processing costs, and the costs associated with marketing the game.

This is precisely why high-end video games don’t attempt to survive as advertising platforms. The cost of developing games has grown precipitously over the years, and players are focused on playing. They don’t want to be sold anything—not by companies, not by Uncle Sam.

This is why using a war simulation video game as a marketing tool is a terrible idea. Even in the highly unlikely event that the U.S. Air Force actually does make a popular video game, that doesn’t mean its fan base is going to be inclined toward military service, let alone suited to it. This is what happens when you combine lofty recruitment goals with a bottomless pit of taxpayer money: the military is encouraged to make reckless attempts to engage the public. The Air Force now appears to be lining up one of the most reckless of blunders yet.

Jason Ditz is news editor at Antiwar.com, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the cause of non-interventionism. His work has appeared in Forbes, the Toronto Star, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, the Providence Journal, the Daily Caller, the American Conservative, the Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.

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Ally Bridge Group Expands Early-stage Cancer Solution Portfolio with Investment in Quantum Surgical

Quantum’s predecessor company Medtech SA, a leading French neurosurgical robotics company, was acquired by global orthopaedics giant Zimmer Biomet in 2016 after an investment from ABG in 2015. “ABG is excited to support again the Quantum Surgical team led by Bertin Nahum in their new venture following our successful investment in — and exit from — Medtech SA.

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Merkel Outlines Plan to Overhaul EU

The German chancellor outlined proposals for overhauling and strengthening the architecture of the European Union, including combining nations’ defense capabilities and building a common investment fund for the eurozone.

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