Citigroup, Twitter, Lyft: Prince’s Arrest Touches Many

HONG KONG — Using the arrest of Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, the prominent millionaire investor, Saudi Arabia has touched among the wealthiest and many influential investors on the planet.

Among Prince Alwaleed’s crown jewels: sizable stakes in Twitter, Lyft and Citigroup. He’s gone into business with a few of the corporate world’s greatest titans, including Bill Gates, Rupert Murdoch and Michael R. Bloomberg.

His investments span the world, such as the Four Seasons Hotel George V in Paris, the Savoy working in london and also the Plaza in New You are able to. He’s also committed to the AccorHotels chain and Canary Wharf, the London business development.

So vast are his investments he continues to be known as the Warren Buffett from the Middle East.

Prince Alwaleed’s arrest will probably reverberate across a large number of companies all over the world that count an investment company he founded, Kingdom Holding, like a major investor or shareholder.

The move was a part of a sweeping and unparalleled roundup with a minimum of 10 other princes, four ministers and a large number of former ministers, hrs following the Saudi ruler, King Salman, decreed the development of a effective new anticorruption committee, brought by his favorite boy and top advisor, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The arrests made an appearance is the crown prince’s latest key to make good on his ambitious modernization plans and also to further consolidate the outstanding amount of power he’s accumulated at 32 over military, foreign, social and economic policies. His ascent and brash approach have angered some people from the royal family.

Prince Alwaleed, a 62-year-old by having an Omar Sharif mustache, ubiquitous sunshades and penchant for publicity, is really a relatively flamboyant figure for that royal family and is among the most prominent Saudis worldwide. His arrest appears targeted at demonstrating that nobody is past the achieve from the committee and also the crown prince.

The confinement from the princes, stated to stay in the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Riyadh, might be a particularly strange experience for Prince Alwaleed, the master of stakes in many Four Seasons hotels.

Prince Alwaleed’s style was displayed during a visit to the Red Ocean resort of Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt, in August. Inside a turn worth President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, a marketing video in the trip shows the prince, bare-chested and putting on a set of shorts, leading an entourage of males round the resort — cycling, playing beach volleyball, doing the backstroke, water-skiing, and hiking up a mountain, pumping his arms above his mind triumphantly while clutching a mobile phone in a single hands.

Set to action-movie music, a lot of the recording unfolds from the backdrop of his 280-feet yacht, the dominion 5KR.

[Video: الوليد بن طلال يتسلق الجبال ويتجول بالدراجه في شرم الشيخ بمصر Watch online.]

الوليد بن طلال يتسلق الجبال ويتجول بالدراجه في شرم الشيخ بمصر

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Throughout the trip, the prince, who already owns several dozen hotels in Egypt, announced an additional $800 million purchase of the country’s tourism industry. He came critique from some conservative Egyptians for any video that demonstrated him ending up in Egypt’s female minister of investment and worldwide cooperation, Sahar Nasr, aboard his yacht as they was again putting on shorts. It had been unusual protocol inside a public meeting for any family member that rules a hyperconservative Islamic kingdom.

The arrests are available as Crown Prince Mohammed has forged a detailed relationship with President Trump, who shares his aggressive method of Saudi’s regional rival, Iran, and the penchant for bold decisions.

By comparison, Prince Alwaleed sparred with Mr. Trump on Twitter throughout the American presidential election, talking about him like a “disgrace not just to the Republicans but to any or all America.” Mr. Trump fired back, also on Twitter, he would be a “dopey prince” attempting to “control our U.S. politicians with daddy’s money.”

But despite his wealth, Prince Alwaleed wasn’t viewed as particularly effective inside the Saudi royal family or as a menace to the crown prince’s consolidation of power. His father, Prince Talal, referred to as “Red Prince,” spent years in exile after leading a type of leftist revolt among royals in 1962, coupled with grumbled previously about being ignored within the royal succession. Prince Alwaleed themself initially objected towards the naming of Mohammed as crown prince, though he rapidly stopped complaining in public places.

A far more likely reason behind his inclusion within the arrests, experts stated, is the fact that he may go bankrupt throughout the 2008 economic crisis. He’d been highly leveraged and in some way got aspects of the federal government to bail him out, through his connections to then-King Abdullah and also the finance minister, who’s also stated to possess been arrested. Prince Alwaleed’s boy Prince Khaled is married towards the minister’s daughter.

“They should have uncovered proof of irregular activity and desired to make a good example of him,” Ali Shihabi, founding father of the independent Arabia Foundation in Washington, stated on Sunday from Abu Dhabi inside a telephone interview.

Others stated there is bad bloodstream between Prince Alwaleed and also the crown prince. An old U . s . States ambassador, Chas W. Freeman Junior., stated maybe Prince Alwaleed “has been strongly identified in Saudi with civil society, that is because of its nature a counter to power of power.”

“He includes a status,” Mr. Freeman stated, “for being quite blunt and blunt and being critical of other areas from the royal family — and he is not well loved.”

Others stated these were amazed at the takedown of somebody who has been an ambassador to worldwide business.

“I haven’t heard anything about Alwaleed being politically active in a manner that would threaten M.B.S.,” stated F. Gregory Gause III, a specialist on Saudi Arabia along with a professor at Texas A&ampM College, talking about the crown prince by his initials.

The surprising arrests of Prince Alwaleed along with other prominent figures within the private sector and technocratic class, experts stated, could shake investor confidence in Saudi Arabia because the kingdom attempts to shed its image being an oil-dependent petrostate. The move comes just days after Saudi Arabia held a significant investment conference to drum up curiosity about that effort.

Saudi Arabia can also be attempting to diversify its economy, a high priority from the crown prince. The dominion is intending to list the condition-owned oil giant Saudi Aramco the coming year with what is anticipated is the greatest dpo ever.

President Trump openly known as on Saturday for Saudi Arabia to list out the organization within the U . s . States.

Prince Alwaleed is the type of Saudi figure who makes Western investors and visitors feel at ease inside a kingdom noted for its ultraconservative ideology, using its bans on the concept of religions apart from Islam and, until lately, on women motorists — exactly the type of modernizing person Prince Mohammed has typically searched for to advertise.

He results in personally as relaxed, not formal or rigid, and centered on business. A Brand New You are able to Occasions reporter who visited his office years back found towering images of his daughter, with no mind scarf. The prince’s welcome was usual for his grand gestures: He presented the reporter, visiting dads and moms prior to the internet, having a full-length document from the Occasions.

More lately, Prince Alwaleed made early bets on a few of the technology world’s greatest stars, earning him handsome returns. He purchased a proper stake in JD.com, a Chinese online store, anticipating China’s emergence like a vast e-commerce market.

In no time of corporate crises, Prince Alwaleed has walked directly into tip the total amount.

Once the phone hacking scandal rocked a London tabloid of the Murdochs, the prince continued the BBC to state that Rebekah Brooks, then your leader from the British unit of Mr. Murdoch’s News Corporation, should resign. “You bet she’s to visit,Inches he stated in This summer 2011. She resigned the following day.

At that time, Prince Alwaleed was the 2nd-greatest shareholder in News Corporation, having a greater than 6 % stake. He later offered the majority of his stake in the organization.

Within the darkest hrs from the 2008 economic crisis, Prince Alwaleed stated he’d increase his stake in Citigroup — moving of unity using the then-embattled bank’s leader, Vikram S. Pandit.

Prince Alwaleed has labored carefully with a few of Wall Street’s greatest and finest known banks and investors.

Just last month, Lloyd C. Blankfein, the chairman and leader of Goldman Sachs, sitting across from Prince Alwaleed in a meeting in Riyadh. The 2 spoken about investments and economic developments in the centre East. A longtime banker for Kingdom Holding, Goldman Sachs lately helped Prince Alwaleed’s company get a 16 percent stake in Banque Saudi Fransi, the Saudi bank.

As he traveled to New You are able to in 2016, Prince Alwaleed met with Mr. Blankfein and Mr. Bloomberg. Following a meeting, Mr. Bloomberg decided to support news programming around the Alarab News Funnel, a venture Prince Alwaleed owns independently.

Prince Alwaleed also shares a good investment with Mr. Gates, the co-founding father of Microsoft, in Four Seasons Resorts and hotels.

Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist and former government official who fled into exile throughout the summer time, stated Prince Alwaleed had recently be a vocal supporter from the crown prince’s economic reforms and attempted to influence him to go back to the nation. Mr. Khashoggi stated the prince sent him a text saying, “An enlightened mind like you ought to be around now building the 4th Saudi condition under Mohammed bin Salman.”

But Prince Mohammad made an appearance to possess been keeping his distance, delaying four several weeks before granting a requested meeting, Mr. Khashoggi stated, adding, “I’m certain hurt him. But Alwaleed is royalist. He believes within the unity from the royal family.”

Creating A.I. That May Develop A.I.

Bay Area — They’re an aspiration of researchers but possibly a nightmare for highly trained software engineers: artificially intelligent machines that may build other artificially intelligent machines.

With recent speeches both in Plastic Valley and China, Shaun Dean, certainly one of Google’s leading engineers, spotlighted a Google project known as AutoML. ML is brief for machine learning, talking about computer algorithms that may learn how to perform particular tasks by themselves by analyzing data. AutoML, consequently, is really a machine-learning formula that learns to construct other machine-learning algorithms.

By using it, Google may soon try to produce a.I. technology that may partially go ahead and take humans from building the A.I. systems that lots of feel are the way forward for we’ve got the technology industry.

The work belongs to a significantly bigger effort to create the most recent and finest A.I. strategies to a broader assortment of companies and software developers.

The tech market is promising from smartphone apps that may recognize faces to cars that may drive by themselves. But by a few estimates, only 10,000 people worldwide possess the education, experience and talent required to build the complex and often mysterious mathematical algorithms which will drive this latest variety of artificial intelligence.

The world’s largest tech companies, including Google, Facebook and Microsoft, sometimes pay huge amount of money annually to some.I. experts, effectively cornering the marketplace for this tough-to-find talent. The shortage isn’t disappearing in the near future, simply because mastering these skills takes many years of work.

The isn’t prepared to wait. Information mill developing a variety of tools that can make it simpler for just about any operation to construct its very own A.I. software, including such things as image and speech recognition services an internet-based chatbots.

“We are following a same path that information technology has adopted with each and every new kind of technology,” stated Frederick Sirosh, smoking president at Microsoft, which lately unveiled something to assist coders build deep neural systems, a kind of computer formula that’s driving a lot of the current progress within the A.I. field. “We are eliminating many of the heavy-lifting.Inches

This isn’t altruism. Researchers like Mr. Dean think that if more and more people and firms will work on artificial intelligence, it’ll propel their very own research. Simultaneously, the likes of Google, Amazon . com and Microsoft see serious profit the popularity that Mr. Sirosh described. All are selling cloud-computing services that will help other companies and developers develop a.I.

“There is real interest in this,” stated Matt Scott, a co-founder and also the chief technical officer of Malong, a start-in China that provides similar services. “And the various tools aren’t yet satisfying all of the demand.”

Interactive Feature The way a Robot Learns to understand

Interactive Feature Exactly what a Robot Can Perform Once It’s Learned to Learns

This is probably what Google has in your mind for AutoML, as the organization is constantly on the hail the project’s progress. Google’s leader, Sundar Pichai, boasted about AutoML recently while unveiling a brand new Android smartphone.

Eventually, google’s project can help companies build systems with artificial intelligence even when it normally won’t have extensive expertise, Mr. Dean stated. Today, he believed, a maximum of a couple of 1000 companies possess the right talent for creating a.I., however, many more possess the necessary data.

“We wish to move from a large number of organizations solving machine learning problems to millions,” he stated.

Bing is investing heavily in cloud-computing services — services which help other companies build and run software — so it expects to be among its primary economic engines within the a long time. After snapping up this type of large area of the world’s top A.I researchers, it features a way of jump-beginning this engine.

Neural systems are quickly speeding up the introduction of A.I. Instead of building a picture-recognition service or perhaps a language translation application by hands, one type of code at any given time, engineers can a lot more rapidly build an formula that learns tasks by itself.

By analyzing the sounds inside a vast assortment of old tech support team calls, for example, a piece of equipment-learning formula can learn how to recognize spoken words.

But creating a neural network isn’t like creating a website or some run-of-the-mill smartphone application. It takes significant math skills, extreme learning from mistakes, along with a fair quantity of intuition. Jean-François Gagné, the main executive of the independent machine-learning lab known as Element AI, refers back to the process as “a new type of computer-programming.Inches

In creating a neural network, researchers run dozens or perhaps countless experiments across an enormous network of machines, testing how good an formula can become familiar with a task like recognizing a picture or converting in one language to a different. They adjust particular areas of the formula again and again, until they choose something which works. Some refer to it as a “dark art,” simply because researchers find it hard to explain why they create particular adjustments.

However with AutoML, Bing is attempting to automate this method. The organization is building algorithms that evaluate the introduction of other algorithms, learning which methods are effective and which aren’t. Eventually, they learn how to build more efficient machine learning. Google stated AutoML could now build algorithms that, in some instances, identified objects in photos more precisely than services built exclusively by human experts.

Barret Zoph, among the Google researchers behind the work, believes the same method will ultimately work nicely for other tasks, like speech recognition or machine translation.

This isn’t always a simple factor to wrap your mind around. But it’s a part of a substantial trend inside a.I. research. Experts refer to it as “learning to learn” or “meta-learning.”

Many believe such methods will considerably accelerate the progress of the.I. both in the internet and physical worlds. In the College of California, Berkeley, researchers are building techniques that may allow robots to understand new tasks according to what they’ve learned previously.

“Computers are likely to invent the algorithms for all of us, basically,” stated a Berkeley professor, Pieter Abbeel. “Algorithms introduced by computers can solve many, many problems very rapidly — a minimum of that’s the hope.”

This is a means of expanding the amount of people and companies that may build artificial intelligence. These techniques won’t replace A.I. researchers entirely. Experts, like individuals at Google, must still do large amount of the key design work. However the belief would be that the work of the couple of experts might help many more build their very own software.

Renato Negrinho, a investigator at Carnegie Mellon College who’s exploring technology much like AutoML, stated it was not really a reality today but ought to be within the a long time. “It is only a matter of when,” he stated.

Education Disrupted: Inside Silicon Valley’s Playbook for Wooing School Superintendents

BALTIMORE COUNTY, Md. — They call it the “Church Lane Hug.”

That is how educators at Church Lane Elementary Technology, a public school here, describe the protective two-armed way they teach students to carry their school-issued laptops.

Administrators at Baltimore County Public Schools, the 25th-largest public school system in the United States, have embraced the laptops as well, as part of one of the nation’s most ambitious classroom technology makeovers. In 2014, the district committed more than $200 million for HP laptops, and it is spending millions of dollars on math, science and language software. Its vendors visit classrooms. Some schoolchildren have been featured in tech-company promotional videos.

And Silicon Valley has embraced the school district right back.

HP has promoted the district as a model to follow in places as diverse as New York City and Rwanda. Daly Computers, which supplied the HP laptops, donated $30,000 this year to the district’s education foundation. Baltimore County schools’ top officials have traveled widely to industry-funded education events, with travel sometimes paid for by industry-sponsored groups.

Silicon Valley is going all out to own America’s school computer-and-software market, projected to reach $21 billion in sales by 2020. An industry has grown up around courting public-school decision makers, and tech companies are using a sophisticated playbook to reach them, The New York Times has found in a review of thousands of pages of Baltimore County school documents and in interviews with dozens of school officials, researchers, teachers, tech executives and parents.

School leaders have become so central to sales that a few private firms will now, for fees that can climb into the tens of thousands of dollars, arrange meetings for vendors with school officials, on some occasions paying superintendents as consultants. Tech-backed organizations have also flown superintendents to conferences at resorts. And school leaders have evangelized company products to other districts.

These marketing approaches are legal. But there is little rigorous evidence so far to indicate that using computers in class improves educational results. Even so, schools nationwide are convinced enough to have adopted them in hopes of preparing students for the new economy.

In some significant ways, the industry’s efforts to push laptops and apps in schools resemble influence techniques pioneered by drug makers. The pharmaceutical industry has long cultivated physicians as experts and financed organizations, like patient advocacy groups, to promote its products.

Studies have found that strategies like these work, and even a free $20 meal from a drug maker can influence a doctor’s prescribing practices. That is one reason the government today maintains a database of drug maker payments, including meals, to many physicians.

Tech companies have not gone as far as drug companies, which have regularly paid doctors to give speeches. But industry practices, like flying school officials to speak at events and taking school leaders to steak and sushi restaurants, merit examination, some experts say.

“If benefits are flowing in both directions, with payments from schools to vendors,” said Rob Reich, a political-science professor at Stanford University, “and dinner and travel going to the school leaders, it’s a pay-for-play arrangement.”

Close ties between school districts and their tech vendors can be seen nationwide. But the scale of Baltimore County schools’ digital conversion makes the district a case study in industry relationships. Last fall, the district hosted the League of Innovative Schools, a network of tech-friendly superintendents. Dozens of visiting superintendents toured schools together with vendors like Apple, HP and Lego Education, a division of the toy company.

The superintendents’ league is run by Digital Promise, a nonprofit that promotes technology in schools. It charges $25,000 annually for corporate sponsorships that enable the companies to attend the superintendent meetings. Lego, a sponsor of the Baltimore County meeting, gave a 30-minute pitch, handing out little yellow blocks so the superintendents could build palm-size Lego ducks.

Karen Cator, the chief executive of Digital Promise, said it was important for schools and industry to work together. “We want a healthy, void-of-conflict-of-interest relationship between people who create products for education and their customers,” she said. “The reason is so that companies can create the best possible products to meet the needs of schools.”

Several parents said they were troubled by school officials’ getting close to the companies seeking their business. Dr. Cynthia M. Boyd, a practicing geriatrician and professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine with children in district schools, said it reminded her of drug makers’ promoting their medicines in hospitals.

“You don’t have to be paid by Big Pharma, or Big Ed Tech, to be influenced,” Dr. Boyd said. She has raised concerns about the tech initiative at school board meetings.

A Makeover Is Born

Baltimore County’s 173 schools span a 600-square-mile horseshoe around the city of Baltimore, which has a separate school system. Like many districts, the school system struggles to keep facilities up-to-date. Some of its 113,000 students attend spacious new schools. Some older schools, though, are overcrowded, requiring trailers as overflow classrooms. In some, tap water runs brown. And, in budget documents, the district said it lacked the “dedicated resources” for students with disabilities.

In a district riven by disparities, Dallas Dance, the superintendent from 2012 through this past summer, made an appealing argument for a tech makeover. To help students develop new-economy skills, he said, every school must provide an equitable digital learning environment — including giving every student the same device.

“Why does a first grader need to have it?” Mr. Dance said in an interview last year. “In order to break the silos of equity, you’ve got to say that everyone gets it.”

The district wanted a device that would work both for youngsters who couldn’t yet type and for high schoolers. In early 2014, it chose a particularly complex machine, an HP laptop that converts to a tablet. That device ranked third out of four devices the district considered, according to the district’s hardware evaluation forms, which The Times obtained. Over all, the HP device scored 27 on a 46-point scale. A Dell device ranked first at 34.

Document | How One School District Chose Its Laptops The district’s hardware evaluations for HP, Dell, Apple and Lenovo devices. The winning device: HP.

The district ultimately awarded a $205 million, multiyear contract to Daly Computers, a Maryland reseller, to furnish the device, called the Elitebook Revolve.

Mychael Dickerson, a school district spokesman, said, “The device chosen was the one that was closely aligned to what was recommended by stakeholders.” Daly did not respond to inquiries.

With the laptop deal sealed, Silicon Valley kicked into gear.

In September 2014, shortly after the first schools received laptops, HP invited the superintendent to give a keynote speech at a major education conference in New York City. Soon after, Gus Schmedlen, HP’s vice president for worldwide education, described the event at a school board meeting.

“We had to pick one group, one group to present what was the best education technology plan in the world for the last academic year,” Mr. Schmedlen said. “And guess whose it was? Baltimore County Public Schools!”

An HP spokesman said the company did not pay for the trip. He said the company does not provide “compensation, meals, travel or other perks to school administrators or any other public sector officials.”

Interactive Feature | Education Disrupted A series examining how Silicon Valley is gaining influence in public schools.

The superintendent later appeared in an HP video. “We are going to continue needing a thought partner like HP to say what’s working and what’s not working,” he said.

Microsoft, whose Windows software runs the laptops, named the district a Microsoft Showcase school system. Intel, whose chips power the laptops, gave Ryan Imbriale, the executive director of the district’s department of innovative learning, an Intel Education Visionary award.

Recently, parents and teachers have reported problems with the HP devices, including batteries falling out and keyboard tiles becoming detached. HP has discontinued the Elitebook Revolve.

Mr. Dickerson, the district spokesman, said there was not “a widespread issue with damaged devices.”

An HP spokesman said: “While the Revolve is no longer on the market, it would be factually inaccurate to suggest that’s related to product quality.”

Asked what device would eventually replace the Revolve in the schools, the district said it was asking vendors for proposals.

Mr. Dance’s technology makeover is now in the hands of an interim superintendent, Verletta White. In April Mr. Dance announced his resignation, without citing a reason. Ms. White has indicated that she will continue the tech initiative while increasing a focus on literacy.

A Baltimore County school board member, David Uhlfelder, said a representative from the Office of the Maryland State Prosecutor had interviewed him in September about Mr. Dance’s relationship with a former school vendor (a company not in the tech industry).

The prosecutor’s office declined to confirm or deny its interest in Mr. Dance.

Mr. Dance, who discussed the district’s tech initiatives with a Times reporter last year, did not respond to repeated emails and phone calls this week seeking comment.

Courting the Superintendents

In Baltimore County and beyond, the digital makeover of America’s schools has spawned a circuit of conferences, funded by Microsoft, Google, Dell and other tech vendors, that lavish attention on tech-friendly educators.

Mr. Dance’s travel schedule sheds light on that world.

Between March 2014, when the laptop contract was announced, and April 2017, when he announced his resignation, Mr. Dance took at least 65 out-of-state trips related to the district’s tech initiatives or involving industry-funded groups, according to a Times analysis of travel documents obtained under public records laws — nearly two trips per month on average. Those trips cost more than $33,000. The Times counted only trips with local receipts, indicating Mr. Dance set foot in the cities.

At least $13,000 of Mr. Dance’s airline tickets, hotel bills, meals and other fees were paid for by organizations sponsored by tech companies, some of which were school vendors, The Times found. The $13,000 is an incomplete number, because some groups cover superintendents’ costs directly, which means school records may not include them.

Another way tech companies reach superintendents is to pay private businesses that set up conferences or small-group meetings with them. Superintendents nationwide have attended these events.

One prominent provider is the Education Research and Development Institute, or ERDI, which regularly gathers superintendents and other school leaders for conferences where they can network with companies that sell to schools.

ERDI offered several service levels this year, according to a membership rate card obtained by The Times. A $13,000 fee for Bronze membership entitles a company to one confidential meeting, where executives can meet with five school leaders to discuss products and school needs. Diamond members could pay $66,000 for six such meetings.

Document | How Much It Costs to Meet With Superintendents The Education Research and Development Institute, known as ERDI, charges membership fees to school vendors to arrange small-group meetings with superintendents who can provide product feedback.

ERDI has offered superintendents $2,000 per conference as participating consultants, according to a Louisiana Board of Ethics filing. And there are other perks.

“Because we are asking for their time and expertise, we commonly offer to pay the cost of their food, transportation and lodging during their participation,” ERDI’s president, David M. Sundstrom, said in an email.

Mr. Dance’s calendar indicated that he had attended at least five ERDI events.

Mr. Dance received payment last year as an adviser for ERDI, according to his most recent district financial disclosure. It lists Dulle Enterprises, a company that owned ERDI in the past, as an employer from which he earned income.

Last February, at an ERDI conference in New Orleans, Mr. Dance met with Curriculum Associates, which makes reading software, as well as DreamBox Learning, a math platform.

At the time, both companies had contracts with the district. A few months after the event, the school board approved additional money for both companies. Each contract is now worth about $3.2 million.

A DreamBox spokeswoman said there was no connection between the meeting and its contract. “Even the appearance of impropriety is something we take very seriously and take steps to avoid,” she said.

A Curriculum Associates spokeswoman said: “These panels are not sales presentations, but rather focus-group opportunities to solicit feedback on products under development.”

Ms. White, the interim superintendent, has been involved with ERDI since 2013, according to Mr. Dickerson. He said Ms. White used vacation time to attend events, where she “provided guidance to education-related companies on goods, services and products that are in development to benefit student performance.”

Asked whether Ms. White had received ERDI payments, Mr. Dickerson said, “Participation in ERDI is done independently of the school system.” In an email, Ms. White said she found ERDI to be a “beneficial professional learning experience.” She didn’t respond to a question about ERDI compensation.

She added, “I do not believe there are any conflicts of interests” related to the district’s tech initiative.

Mr. Sundstrom, ERDI’s president, said education companies pay a fee to attend events “not to meet school leaders or make a sale,” but to get meaningful feedback on their education products from knowledgeable school leaders. He added that school officials do not make purchases at ERDI sessions and that it is their school boards that approve district purchases.

Baltimore County’s travel rules say, “No travel expenses will be paid by those seeking to do business with the Baltimore County Public Schools prior to obtaining a contract.” Mr. Dickerson explained that applied to companies currently bidding for contracts.

A Foundation’s Big Fund-Raiser

Beneath crystal chandeliers last April, politicians, school leaders, vendors and community members gathered in a banquet hall. The occasion was State of the Schools, an annual fund-raising luncheon arranged by the Education Foundation of Baltimore County Public Schools.

The foundation was created in the early 1990s and raises money for schools. Tech companies have made significant donations, and have directors sitting on the foundation’s board. The directors include employees from Discovery Education, Pearson and Microsoft, all vendors with multimillion-dollar district contracts.

Daly, the laptop provider, was the biggest donor, giving $30,000. McGraw-Hill, Discovery Education, Pearson and Microsoft each donated $1,500 to $15,000. Of the $211,500 in publicly listed donations for the event, tech companies gave about 43 percent.

“You have these huge contracts, and then you donate all this money, and the foundation puts up a banner advertising your company’s name,” said Michael J. Collins, a former Maryland state senator and former school board member. “I just didn’t think that passed the smell test.”

Discovery Education said it trained employees to avoid potential conflicts of interest. Microsoft said its policies followed government gift and ethics rules. Pearson said its donation had been nominal and vetted to prevent conflict of interest. McGraw-Hill said it was committed to integrity and transparency.

Deborah S. Phelps, the foundation’s executive director, said it awarded scholarships and gave schools grants for projects in culture, science, technology and other subjects.

When asked if the foundation had policies governing donations from vendors or potential vendors, Ms. Phelps said no. “‘There’s not necessarily a policy,” she said. There is also no policy prohibiting foundation board members who are vendors from reviewing grants involving their or competitors’ products, she said.

Mr. Dickerson said the focus of Baltimore County Public Schools was on “supporting students, teachers and their learning environments.” He added: “We are unapologetic for engaging with our Education Foundation, business partners and community stakeholders in an effort to close known achievement gaps.”

Mr. Reich of Stanford suggested school districts establish clearer rules governing their relationships with vendors, particularly with tech companies racing to win over the gatekeepers to America’s classrooms. Otherwise, parents could lose trust in the system.

“School leaders should be just as concerned about the perception of corruption as actual corruption,” he said.

A couple of things to inquire about yourself before choosing the Xbox One X

The Xbox One X is placed to ship November. 7, promising power for 4K gaming and video inside a smaller sized frame for $499. Microsoft gave me an evaluation unit to check for around per week, together with codes for many games.

Overall, the Xbox One X is really a fast, solid console. Before you hurry to purchase one, there’s two primary things to ask: Just how much power will i need and just what can i experience this factor?

Better performance is the primary recommendation to get the Xbox One X. Microsoft brags that this is actually the “most effective console” available, and backs that track of a remarkable listing of specs that may rival a gaming PC. It’s also important to note that Microsoft jammed many of these enhancements right into a much smaller sized frame compared to Xbox One. The outcome is that games run better and appear better, with increased shades of shadow and lightweight, all while helping you save some space.

The Xbox One X also offers an HDR Blu-ray player, that makes it valuable to keep things interesting outdoors of gaming too.

That brings us to some related point: The Xbox One X supports 4K gaming in addition to 4K video, because of individuals power enhancements. But naturally, you’ll get the most from individuals enhancements for those who have a 4K television. That’s not saying that the enhancements is going to be lost for you should you not possess a 4K set — Microsoft promises individuals with 1080p sets may also visit a difference — however the variations will not be rather as stunning.

Obviously, everything power is sort of useless should you not have games to experience onto it.  Microsoft continues to be moving out use of games which are “Xbox One X Enhanced” through the review period, but there are many games that haven’t yet emerge. You will find games for example “Forza Motorsports 7,” particularly, which have looked amazing in demos around the Xbox One X but haven’t yet land.

That could be a valid reason to carry off for the time being, specifically if you come with an Xbox One — a console that simply had a refresh this past year. You will not be barred from doing offers that are not enhanced for that Xbox One X if you purchase one now. You’ll just end up waiting some time throughout the planet to trap your decision.

Even among Xbox fans, the Xbox One X attracts a really particular kind of person: somebody that wants something approaching the strength of your personal computer, but additionally wants the social features from the console. Should you simply want 4K video and games, for instance, there is the 2016 Xbox One S which you’ll find for $250.

Plus there is the issue of methods it compares to competitors, namely the Ps 4 Pro. Personally, I believe the choice between getting and Xbox or perhaps a Ps continues to be entirely driven in what you play. For most of us, exclusives on either console determines their allegiances. However if you simply are undecided relating to this generation, there are a couple of additional points to consider.

First is cost. The Xbox One X is $100 more costly than Sony’s offering, as well as for that you will get a quicker processor, more effective graphics processing and much more memory. There is also use of an increasing library of backwards-compatible games which have been on Xbox previously.

The new sony, however, has more to provide than kindness for your budget. Ps, at this time, may be the only console having a VR headset. While Microsoft has headsets for Computers and it has mentioned plans for console VR, it isn’t here yet. The Ps 4 Pro’s library can also be absolutely nothing to sneeze at.

Within the finish, there’s little to knock about Xbox One X, in line with the time I’ve spent by using it. It’s compact, capable and to date meets the guarantees Microsoft’s made. But when it comes to whether you really need it, I’d express it helps make the most sense for gamers who would like lots of power and who’ve already made the 4K upgrades at home to make the most of it.

Plastic Valley helped Russia sway the united states election. Now what? Emily Bell

Almost annually following the shock election of Jesse Trump, the communication tactics and tools that helped him win power remain probably the most questionable issue in American politics and media. The 2016 “October surprise” was, looking back, less the leak of Hillary Clinton’s boring emails because the realisation that Plastic Valley had accidentally built a very efficient real-time buying and selling system for targeted propaganda.

A little office of Russian trolls could derail 241 many years of US political history with a number of dank memes as well as an advertising budget that will barely buy a billboard in Brooklyn.

On Wednesday, lawyers from Twitter, Google and facebook will mind to Washington Electricity to try and show congressional intelligence committees just how they permitted categories of foreign actors to focus on American voters.

Facebook has accepted to selling $100,000 of advertising, a lot of it in roubles, to suspicious parties, though it thought it was impossible to state just what the ads were or who may have seen them. Twitter continues to be so mortified by the chance that out of control bot military on its platform may have swayed the election that it’s opening a “transparency centre” for future political advertising disclosures. Additionally, it announced a week ago it had been banning two Kremlin-supported media outlets, RT and Sputnik, from buying advertising.

Embarrassingly for Twitter, RT responded by immediately publishing information on conferences between RT and Twitter’s partnership teams prior to the 2016 election where Twitter brainstormed ad strategies using the Russians.

claims that Twitter contacted RT having a comprehensive pre-election advertising plan. To be able to lure RT to accept the exclusive elections offer, Twitter guaranteed a bundle of perks and bonuses.

The sale incorporated things like closed beta testing of recent tools and merchandise, a customised emoji hashtag that will help RT stick out with special election coverage customised analytics and research solutions, along with a dedicated group of Twitter experts to assist with content curation and media strategy.

This sort of services are offered by most platform “partner” teams at social networking companies, whose job it’s to inspire publishers to make use of their technologies and pay money to improve their presence in it. Possibly probably the most ironic facet of Twitter banning RT and Sputnik from buying advertising is the fact that both Russian media outlets have active accounts serving, in RT’s situation, greater than 2.5 million supporters.And, to help highlight the issue with platform governance, they’ve accounts blue “verified” ticks.

As the spotlight has shone brightly around the Russian advertising issue, it appears likely that activities which had no financial component were more influential in moving or subduing voters. A mix of “organic” – delinquent – activity promoted having a light sprinkling of money is exactly what really propels brands, arguments, occasions along with other “content” to the peak of people’s social networking feeds. (Jonathan Albright, an investigation director at Columbia University’s Tow Center, has collected data showing the overall achieve and activity from the Russian propagandists vastly exceeds the achieve from the 3,000 ads Facebook admits to selling.)

In how to choose this issue, politicians and also the media are realising that the way you think and discuss various kinds of messages continues to be well and truly damaged. Social networking makes an exercise – along with a fortune – from erasing traditional limitations between various kinds of material. Where after we had propaganda, press announcements, journalism and advertising, we’ve “content”. Where after we had direct marketing, banner advertising and promotions, we now have “monetisation”. Where we had media proprietors, ad agencies and clients, we now have “partners”. Who might resist partners monetising their content? It may sound so mutually advantageous and efficient. However neo-Nazis having to pay to focus on pensioners with racist propaganda includes a less wholesome ring into it.

A bit of research released a week ago through the US academics Daniel Kreiss and Shannon MacGregor describes the function that social networking companies performed in 2016’s domestic politics, noting with surprise the relationship between technology companies and political campaigns frequently went beyond those of vendor and purchaser. The research describes the way the technology companies wooed campaigns, which partnership teams within companies for example Google, Facebook, Twitter and Microsoft “serve as quasi-digital consultants to campaigns, shaping digital strategy, content, and execution”. This can seem eerily familiar to media companies and news organisations which have a likewise symbiotic relationship using their technological frenemies. This closeness is possibly as big concern for that lengthy-term health of democracy because the accidental access tech companies have provided to malicious actors.

One reaction to the immediate crisis may be the honest ads act, a bipartisan bill that aims to create digital political advertising into line along with other media, demanding full disclosure about funding sources from anybody spending over $500. So far, digital advertising continues to be classified in the same manner as skywriting or marketing messages on pencils, which avoid the requirement of disclosure for logical reasons. In the event that defence was ever highly relevant to digital advertising that is certainly no more relevant now. However , it’s not obvious even that compensated persuasion in online messaging could be considered ‘political advertising. May possibly not even mention an applicant or perhaps a party but simply propagate a particular group of values. It may be, as a few of the Russian activity was, an invite to some public meeting or perhaps a rally.

It’s so hard to know precisely what messages are now being targeted where, and nearly impossible for users to recognize what may well be a targeted ad. Investigative journalists in the American non-profit news organisation ProPublica have built a task to gather and index all political ads circulated through Facebook. Once similar projects examined election flyers, or pamphlets pressed through doorways. Now collecting and analysing the large number of assorted material requires algorithms and browser extensions. The information of targeted ads is recognized as private through the platforms as well as their clients, so unless of course disclosure is voluntary it requires a forensic operation to even consider the content of business messages.

The lack of ability to be aware what an advertisement is if you notice the first is easier for media companies than they wish to admit. The dwindling banner advertising model propping up many publishers is giving method to one of “native advertising”, which merges with editorial. Media companies are now able to operate effectively as advertising agencies for businesses, helping them shape and write “stories” that throw an innocuous light on the given subject or present the advertiser or their sector inside a sanitised and uncritical way. Most publishers would reject the concept that their partnerships with companies and advertisers were area of the same issue because the democratic threat from overseas authoritarians. However the techniques and tools of political messaging and manipulation are exactly like individuals utilized by commercial publishers to produce new kinds of advertising revenue.

The Russian campaign advertising scandal has electrified American media, most famously simply because they benefit from the ritual humiliation of the invincible Plastic Valley overlords. However, if the cause of the issue is tackled, it might have unwelcome repercussions on their behalf far nearer to home.

ECB set to announce major policy shift Barclays sinks on ‘difficult’ quarter

  • ECB set to announce unwinding of €60bn-a-month quantitative easing programme, a significant policy transfer of Frankfurt pound dips .1pc to €1.1198 from the euro in front of the unveiling
  • FTSE 100 claws background lost in yesterday’s 1.1pc plunge regains .1pc in early stages
  • Banking heavyweight Barclays dives 4.7pc after reporting on the “difficult” quarter in the Markets division.

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9:52AM

‘Touch and go whether Barclays will break even just in 2017’

It’s now touch and go whether Barclays will break even just in 2017, based on Hargreaves Lansdown’s Laith Khalaf following a bank’s disappointing figures today.

He stated that whenever making some progress the financial institution “seems to become stalling somewhat” and it is leader Jes Staley is going to be searching to “recover some momentum once we move ahead into the coming yearInch.

He added:

“There’s lots of noise in Barclays’s latest buying and selling results, with one-off charges, adjustments and writedowns muddying the waters significantly.

“This is actually the very first time Barclays has reported since eliminating its bad bank, but anybody who wished this may simplify its financial reporting is going to be greatly disappointed. “

I am still around the search for many pithiness in the Twitterati about this. I am now wading via a load of tweets from people complaining regarding their card no longer working. 

9:36AM

ECB will appear to result in very little fuss around the markets as you possibly can

The ECB will announce the unwinding of quantitative easing at lunchtime that much we know however the pace and timing is exactly what the text and currencies markets will latch onto.

The central bank will searching to result in very little fuss around the markets as you possibly can, getting developed for this announcement all summer time.

Listed here are the 3 options ING feel are up for grabs today:

  1. Given-style, the gradual tapering option. This method would visit a straight line scaling back from the asset purchases. This may be either monthly or per quarter, using the latter supplying more versatility.
  2.  The staircase option. Here, the ECB could reduce its monthly QE purchases in The month of january by a few €20bn, keep your purchases unchanged until June after which lessen the monthly purchases all over again by another €20bn until September.
  3.  Lower for extended. Here, the ECB could reduce its monthly purchases by greater than markets presently be prepared to about €20bn or €25bn monthly, yet still time extending QE before the finish of 2018. 
9:07AM

Barclays sinks on ‘difficult’ quarter in investment bank division

Revenue in the Markets division came by 31pc

Shares in banking heavyweight Barclays stepped as little as 5.6pc today following its results however it seems to become fighting back.

For any stock its size (Barclays includes a market cap of £32bn), it is a pretty sharp fall and it is worst day’s buying and selling since April. What did the harm?

  • The bank’s leader James Staley stated that it absolutely was a “difficult” quarter in the investment banking division. He added that the “insufficient volume and volatility” in Fixed Earnings, Currencies and Goods hit “revenues hard” using the division underperforming its US peers.
  • Revenue within the Markets division came by 31pc.

The organization stated it expects to determine a better performance within the battling division later on quarters, however. 

Shore Capital analyst Gary Greenwood finds the silver lining within the figures.

He stated the “disappointing” answers are “simply because of quarterly volatility connected with weak market conditions”.

I’d help you find all some pithy tweets around the figures but I am presently wading via a load of basketball tweets. Apparently the Brooklyn Nets play in the Barclays Center.

8:27AM

Agenda: ECB set to announce major policy shift Barclays sinks on ‘difficult’ quarter

ECB president Mario Draghi

All eyes take presctiption the ECB today where President Mario Draghi and also the Governing Council are anticipated to unveil their intend to unwind the central bank’s huge quantitative easing programme, a significant policy transfer of Frankfurt. 

The eurozone continues to be connected to €60bn-a-month of financial existence support however the currency bloc’s strengthening recovery and easing fears over weak inflation make the stimulus more and more unnecessary.

The interest rate and timing from the tapering will probably be the focus for that markets with analysts expecting a sluggish unwinding starting in The month of january to have an initial nine-month period.

Amind from the decision (due at 12.45, Mr Draghi can give a press conference soon after), the pound is sliding off yesterday’s highs from the euro, dipping .1pc to €1.1198.

From the action in Frankfurt, the FTSE 100 is rebounding following yesterday’s 1.1pc plunge, helped through the softening pound.

Banking heavyweight Barclays has dived 4.7pc in early stages after reporting on the “difficult” quarter in the Markets division.

This mid-day, US tech giants Microsoft, Amazon . com, Twitter and Google are all because of update the marketplace so look out for an active session over the Atlantic.

Interim results: C&C Group, Barclays

Full-year results: Redefine Worldwide, Connect Group, Debenhams

Buying and selling statement: Avocet Mining, RELX, KAZ Minerals, OPG Power Ventures, National Express Group

AGM: Argos Sources, Imagination Technologies Group, Mila Sources, Alumasc Group, Standard Existence United kingdom Smaller sized Companies Trust, Mattioli Forest

Financial aspects: Nationwide HPI m/m (United kingdom), High-street Lending (United kingdom), Goods Trade Balance (US), Preliminary Wholesale Inventories m/m (US), Unemployment Claims (US), Pending Home Sales m/m (US), GfK Consumer Climate (EU), ECB Financial Policy Decision (EU)