1 Eurosceptic ‘earthquake’ in European parliament (BBC) Eurosceptic and far-right parties have seized ground in elections to the European parliament, in what France’s PM called a “political earthquake”. While the French National Front and UK Independence Party both appear headed for first place, the three big centrist blocs in parliament all lost seats. The outcome means a greater say for those who want to cut back the EU’s powers, or abolish it completely.
“The people have spoken loud and clear,” a triumphant Marine Le Pen told cheering supporters at National Front (FN) party headquarters in Paris. “They no longer want to be led by those outside our borders, by EU commissioners and technocrats who are unelected. They want to be protected from globalisation and take back the reins of their destiny.” Provisional results suggested the FN could win 25 European Parliament seats – a stunning increase on its three in 2009.
Across the board, the centre-right European People’s Party was set to win 211 out of the 751 seats, with 28.1% across the bloc, according to estimated results issued by the European Parliament. That would make it the biggest group – but with more than 60 seats fewer than before. That put it ahead of the Socialist group with 193 seats (25.7%), Liberals with 74 (9.9%) and Greens 58 (7.7%).
UKIP leader Nigel Farage was predicting that his party would come first in Britain, saying: “The inevitability of European integration ends tonight.” The anti-bailout hard-left group in parliament was set to make big gains, largely thanks to Syriza in Greece and United Left in Spain, gaining about 12 seats. Martin Schulz, the former Socialist president of the European Parliament – said of the FN victory: “It’s a bad day for the European Union, when a party with a racist, xenophobic and anti-Semitic programme gets 25% of the vote.”
The election is the biggest exercise in multi-national democracy in the world. The vote will affect the lives of the EU’s 500 million citizens. The parliament’s powers have expanded since the last election in 2009, and it is hoping to have a decisive say in who gets the EU’s top job, president of the European Commission.
2 Comparing Steve Jobs and Elon Musk (Alyson Shontell in San Francisco Chronicle) Steve Jobs introduced us to iPods, iPads, iPhones, iTunes and more. Two and a half years ago, Jobs passed away. Since then, people have asked, “Who will be the next Steve Jobs?”
Elon Musk is a common answer; some even think he’s surpassed Steve Jobs. Musk helped create PayPal, a widely-used consumer product that changed the way people pay for things online. He also founded electric car company Tesla and rocket company SpaceX.
Dolly Singh has worked with Musk for more than five years. She joined him as Head of Talent Acquisition at SpaceX and calls Musk “brilliant, dynamic, charismatic” and “an exceptional freak of nature” on Quora. She also says this: “In my humble opinion, Mr. Jobs in all his greatness has nothing on Elon. Elon is Wernher von Braun, Howard Hughes, Henry Ford, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and every other badass all rolled into one.”
Another answer with more than 3,800 up-votes on Quora lists all the ways Musk is not Steve Jobs (such as, “Steve Jobs patented everything; Musk hates patents”) and concludes: “Elon Musk isn’t the next Steve Jobs. He is far beyond and better than Steve Jobs ever was.” Comparing Jobs and Musk is apples and oranges. Both are/were legendary leaders of different kinds.
3 End of the road for India’s Ambassador car (The Guardian) The maker of the Ambassador has halted production of the car, the choice of Indian officialdom, blaming weak demand and a lack of funds, and casting doubt on the future of a vehicle that has looked the same for nearly six decades. Hindustan Motors said it had suspended work at its Uttarpara plant, outside the eastern city of Kolkata, until further notice.
Modelled on Britain’s Morris Oxford, the Ambassador was the first car to be made in India, according to the company, and was once a status symbol. But it began losing its dominance in the mid-1980s when Maruti Suzuki introduced its cheaper 800 hatchback. It lost further cachet and market share when global carmakers began setting up shop in India in the mid-1990s, offering models with modern designs and technology.
The Ambassador has remained the recognisable choice of a dwindling share of bureaucrats and politicians, usually painted white with a red beacon on top and a chauffeur behind the wheel. The cars are still used as taxis in some Indian cities.