Colors: Purple Color

The Electric Scooter Championship (eSC) is the world’s first-ever international electric race scooter series. The championship, which will hold its first event in 2021, will race specially developed high-speed electric scooters in the heart of major cities, and has been developed to make international motorsport more accessible, affordable and sustainable than ever before.

Conceived as an all-new electric sporting category, the series will also promote the cost, convenience and sustainability benefits of micromobility within the rapidly changing electric mobility landscape.

The series – officially the eSkootr Championship™ – has been co-founded by a group led by motorsport entrepreneur CEO Hrag Sarkissian and COO Khalil Beschir, a he  

The business is further supported through its collaboration with Formula E racer and UN Ambassador Lucas di Grassi, and former F1 driver Alex Wurz, who is also eSC Safety Ambassador.

di Grassi said: “The concept of a new series, operating on a global scale with professional participants, yet running with a carbon-zero footprint and offering solutions for a better, more mobile society is a fascinating glimpse toward a more accessible and sustainable way to go racing.

“As we’ve already seen with Formula E, there is considerable scope for disruption within the electric mobility space – both on and off the track. And, as the discussion around micromobility grows, the Electric Scooter Championship is perfectly placed to amplify the benefits of clean, sustainable transport solutions within our everyday lives.

“This is the start of real – and important – growth for micromobility within motorsport”. 

Wurz added: “The world is changing, and everything in our society reflects that dynamic change – whether it is anticipated or unexpected. Of course, motorsport is not removed from that conversation, and we’ve already seen ways in which the sport has started to develop in order to better serve both its competitors and its audience.

“With eSC, we’ve taken that scalability to an extreme, creating a series that can operate from a tiny footprint yet still work as an accelerant for meaningful change within the world’s leading cities”.

The inaugural eSkootr Championship season will kick off in 2021 at a series of specially designed urban venues in some of the world’s most cosmopolitan and progressive cities. 

Professional eSC teams and riders will use high-speed, purpose-built race scooters capable of speeds reaching 100km/h (60mph). The eSC has already partnered with a recognised high-technology provider on the spec of its first race model and will reveal the prototype later this year.

The category’s affordability removes the high barrier to entry seen in most other motorsport series, and its versatility means the series can recruit from a truly diverse cross-section of competitors – including racing drivers, cyclists, skaters, snowboarders, motorcyclists, and even esports racers. 

At the heart of the eSC is the central belief that micromobility is perfectly suited to our times. 

For young people and those on a budget, it provides an affordable transportation solution with zero emissions. In a post COVID urban landscape, micromobility offers an escape from congestion, an escape from pollution, and an escape from car dependency.

The eSC will champion safer, smarter and more sustainable micromobility choices. 
At each venue city, the series will bring together representatives from government, industry and civil society to help define policies and practices to build a more sustainable and deliverable vision of future urban transportation.

It will show how densely populated areas can efficiently build protected, sustainable city networks where escooters, ebikes and bicycles all share space together. And it will introduce a fresh mobility landscape to city commuters who have spent decades travelling clogged and congested routes by motor car.

 

Media in the United Kingdom and the United States have reported that Microsoft is set to replace dozens of contract journalists on its MSN website and, instead, use automatic systems to select news stories.

The curating of stories from news organisations and selection of headlines and pictures from the MSN site is currently done by journalists.

Sources say that artificial intelligence will perform these new production tasks.

Microsoft has said that it was part of an evaluation of its business.

In a statement, the tech giant said: “Like all companies, we evaluate our business on a regular basis. This can result in increased investment in some places and, from time to time, redeployment in others.

These decisions are not the result of the current pandemic”.

Microsoft, like some other tech companies, pays new organisations to use their content on its website.

But it employs journalists to decide which stories to display and how they are presented.

It was reported that around 50 contract news producers at the Seattle Times in the US, for instance, will lose their jobs at the end of June, but a team of full-time journalists will remain.

Some of the sacked journalists warned that artificial intelligence may not be fully familiar with strict editorial guidelines and could end up letting through inappropriate stories.

Microsoft is one of the many tech companies experimenting with forms of so-called robot journalists to cut costs.

Google is also investing in projects to understand how it might work

The terms are frequently used in programming codes which originated decades ago.
US bank JPMorgan has also announced a similar move as more companies address racism following the killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis.

Replacing the terms could cost millions and take months, according to experts.

In programming speak, "master" refers to the main version of code that controls the "slaves," or replicas. "Blacklist" is used to describe items that are automatically denied, typically forbidden websites.

Twitter's engineering division tweeted out a set of words that it wants "to move away from using in favour of more inclusive language". The list includes replacing "whitelist" with "allowlist" and "master/slave" with "leader/follower".

Last month, Twitter founder Jack Dorsey donated $3m (£2.4m) to former NFL player Colin Kaepernick's Know Your Rights Camp to "advance the liberation and well-being" of minority communities.

JPMorgan said it is also dropping the outdated coding terms as the Black Lives Matter movement ripples through the corporate world. It said the terms had appeared in some of its technology policies and programming codes.

Last month, GitHub, the world's biggest site for software developers, said it was working on changing the term 'master' from its coding language. The firm, owned by Microsoft, is used by 50 million developers to store and update its coding projects.

Google's Chromium web browser project and Android operating system have both encouraged developers to avoid using the terms "blacklist" and "whitelist".

Global brands are also looking carefully at their product logos and names to avoid racial stereotyping. In recent weeks, a number of well-known brands have said they will be changing or reviewing their branding including Quaker Oats which is renaming its Aunt Jemima line of syrups and foods.

At the same time, social media platforms are also under pressure to tackle hate posts, with Facebook facing a widespread ad boycott from the Stop Hate for Profit campaign. Ford, Adidas, Coca Cola, Unilever and Starbucks have all added their weight to the campaign, aimed at removing hateful content on social networks.

Following the success of the first virtual walking tour – ‘Central Squares’, this second tour moves to new parts of the city.

‘Centenary Square and canals’ looks at a key city square and how it has changed over the years. It then moves on through the International Convention Centre to the canals and Gas Street Basin.

The history, present day and future direction of travel of Birmingham are all considered during the tour.

Speaking of the new tour, author and publisher Jonathan Berg says: “The virtual tours are for everyone interested in exploring Birmingham.

“You can undertake them from the comfort of your own home anywhere in the world”.

The tours are also designed as self-guided tours taking you on a real walk round the city if you are in Birmingham and unable to join a ‘live’ tour at the present time. There are two versions of the tour available – a low resolution one for use on your phone and a HD version that plays well on a big screen!

The new tour is currently available free and can be ordered from the Visit Birmingham website.

At the end of the new tour are links to downloadable information especially useful for students studying Birmingham.  

Jonathan Berg says that: “This is the second virtual tour to be published with another two in development.

“The ‘box set’ of four will fully cover Geography GCSE requirements for studying a UK city, which schools who were intending to come to the city on field courses are already finding very useful”.

 

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) has announced the four winners of the 10th nationwide BAFTA Young Game Designers (YGD) competition. This year’s winners, selected by a jury of industry experts, were revealed at the first-ever digital ceremony today, hosted by presenter Aoife Wilson. 

BAFTA YGD discovers, showcases and supports Britain’s young games talent by providing access to some of the most creative minds in the industry, through a year-round programme of mentorship, workshops and networking.

This year’s cohort of 53 talented finalists were competing across four categories: two for YGD Game Concept, celebrating the best original game idea from the 10-14 and 15-18 age groups, and two for YGD Game Making, rewarding the coding skills used to create a prototype game in the same two age groups. Entries were judged on gameplay design, creativity and suitability for the chosen games platform. 

The 2020 BAFTA YGD winners include four aspiring game creators aged between 10 and 18: 

Cameron Crosland, Strung Up - Game Concept Award (10-14 year old category)
Evie Sanger-Davies, Fruit Frenzy - Game Concept Award (15-18 year old category)
Alex Robinson, Complicated Co-operation - Game Making Award (10-14 year old category)
Michael Ballantyne, Contramotion - Game Making Award (15-18 year old category)

Amanda Berry OBE, Chief Executive of BAFTA, said: “We are proud to be celebrating the tenth anniversary of BAFTA YGD, an initiative focused on recognising and championing young talent in games. We are so impressed with the amount of skill and creativity showcased by our 53 finalists, from all over the UK, and wish to extend a huge congratulations to our four brilliant winners! I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank all of the educators across the country who continue to support this important initiative and inspire their students through the power of games.”

In light of government restrictions and advice in relation to COVID-19, tonight’s BAFTA YGD Awards took the format of a pre-produced digital show, streamed as-live on BAFTA’s YouTube and available to watch afterwards. The ceremony was hosted by Aoife Wilson (writer, presenter and producer for Eurogamer), with notable industry figures congratulating this year’s deserving winners, including Abubakar Salim, Alysia Judge, Julia Hardy, Elle-Osili Wood, Austin Wintory, Troy Baker and Siobhan Reddy. 

The ceremony also featured a highlights reel looking back at the last 10 years of BAFTA YGD, including appearances from previous winners, Dan Pearce and Rhianna Hawkins. Rhianna Hawkins was winner of the Game Concept Award in 2014 and Dan Pearce was the winner of the first ever BAFTA YGD competition in 2010. Dan has subsequently gone on to receive a BAFTA Games Award nomination in 2014 for his game, Castles in the Sky. 

In addition to the prestigious BAFTA YGD Award, winners will be given the chance to build on their games ideas through a robust mentorship scheme with leading figures in games, as well as an insight into a career in games, and the industry as a whole. As well as support for further development of their game, winners also receive a host of prizes, including workshops, games, software subscriptions, merchandise, and many more. 

Supporting partners of BAFTA Young Game Designers include: Creative Assembly (SEGA), Criterion (EA), Jagex, PlayStation, Tencent, Ubisoft, and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. 

Nearly a million businesses in the UK and around the world can now set up a single online store to sell products, with no fee, on Facebook and Instagram.

The initial phase of the Facebook Shops rollout has been brought forward and extended because of coronavirus.

The store will appear on business pages, Instagram profiles and through targeted ads.

The company has already used a no-fees approach in its Facebook Marketplace for persona; classifieds.

Facebook’s Layla Amjad said: “It’s bigger than usual just because we want to make sure we’re moving quickly to get these tools in the hands of as many businesses wherever they are, big or small, to help them survive during these times”.

Products Manager, George Lee said that it had been in the pipelines for at least half a year.

He said: “Obviously, given the current situation, we have accelerated a lot of our efforts.

“We are in a unique position to be able to contribute to the survival of a bunch of these businesses”.

The shopping feature will also eventually appear on WhatsApp and the company’s other messaging apps and integrate with live streams.

For the average Facebook user, “this will be a really seamless experience”, Miss Amjadi said.

“You can go much deeper now without leaving the app”.

Once a buyer decides they want to spend money, they will usually be diected to the company’s webpage to complete the transaction.

And if problems arise or a buyer wants to ask questions, they can do so through Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, or Instagram Direct messager, some of which are already used by companies for that purpose.

The rollout is part of a wider range of changes planned for shopping across Facebook’s products.