Venezuelan Government Defiant as US Moves to Sanction Oil Industry After Move

first_img Share Ten people were killed in clashes following Venezuela’s election to choose an assembly to create a new constitution: https://t.co/qpKgSgyajV pic.twitter.com/plpwTYoueb— CFR (@CFR_org) July 31, 2017 Venezuela’s socialist government claimed a popular mandate to dramatically recast the country’s political system even as the United States pledged potentially devastating oil sanctions on Monday and condemnations of the process poured in from governments around the world and the opposition at home. Electoral authorities said more than 8 million people voted Sunday to create a constitutional assembly endowing President Nicolas Maduro’s ruling party with virtually unlimited powers — a figure widely disputed by independent analysts. The official result would mean the ruling party won more support than it had in any national election since 2013, despite a cratering economy, spiraling inflation, shortages of medicine and malnutrition. Opinion polls showed 85 percent of Venezuelans disapproved of the constitutional assembly and similar numbers disapprove of Maduro’s overall performance. Independent analysts and opposition leaders estimated the real turnout at less than half the government’s claim in a vote watched by government-allied observers but no internationally recognized poll monitors. Opposition leader Henrique Capriles, the governor of the central state of Miranda, urged Venezuelans to protest Monday against an assembly that critics fear will effectively create a single-party state. In a strike at Venezuela’s already flailing economy, U.S. officials said the Trump administration is preparing to levy new sanctions on Venezuela, following through on threats to impose penalties if the country went through with the weekend election. The officials said the new sanctions could be imposed as early as Monday and will likely target Venezuela’s oil sector, including possibly its state owned petroleum company. One official said an announcement was imminent. The officials were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity. Maduro has said the new assembly will begin to govern within a week. He said he would use the assembly’s powers to bar opposition candidates from running in gubernatorial elections in December unless they sit with his party to negotiate an end to hostilities that have generated four months of protests that have killed at least 125 and wounded nearly 2,000. Venezuela’s chief prosecutor’s office reported 10 deaths in new rounds of clashes Sunday between protesters and police. Seven police officers were wounded when a fiery explosion went off as they drove past piles of trash that had been used to blockade a street in an opposition stronghold in eastern Caracas. Maduro says a new constitution is the only way to end such conflicts. “The people have delivered the constitutional assembly,” Maduro said on national television. “More than 8 million in the middle of threats … it’s when imperialism challenges us that we prove ourselves worthy of the blood of the liberators that runs through the veins of men, women, children and young people.” National Electoral Council President Tibisay Lucena announced just before midnight that turnout in Sunday’s vote was 41.53 percent, or 8,089,320 people. The electoral council’s vote counts in the past have been seen as reliable and generally accurate, but the widely mocked announcement appeared certain to escalate the polarization and political conflict paralyzing the country. “If it wasn’t a tragedy … if it didn’t mean more crisis, the electoral council’s number would almost make you laugh,” opposition leader Freddy Guevara said on Twitter. Maduro has threatened that one of the constitutional assembly’s first acts would be jailing Guevara for inciting violence. An exit poll based on surveys from 110 voting centers by New York investment bank Torino Capital and a Venezuela public opinion company estimated 3.6 million people voted, or about 18.5 percent of registered voters. “The results thus suggest that the government maintains an important loyal core of supporters that it can mobilize in both electoral and non-electoral scenarios,” the report concluded. The same pollsters noted that Venezuela has an estimated 2.6 million government employees, “suggesting that a large fraction of the votes could have not been voluntary.” The European Union and nations including Argentina, Canada, Colombia, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Spain, Britain and the United States criticized Sunday’s vote. The Trump administration again promised “strong and swift actions” against Venezuelan officials, including the 545 participants in the constitutional assembly, many of them low-ranking party members. Maduro said he had received congratulations from the governments of Cuba, Bolivia and Nicaragua, among others. Opposition leaders had called for a boycott of the vote, declaring it rigged for the ruling party. Ahead of the vote, the opposition organized a series of work stoppages as well as a July 16 protest referendum that it said drew more than 7.5 million symbolic votes against the constitutional assembly. The president of the opposition-led National Assembly, Julio Borges, told Venezuelan news channel Globovision Monday that Maduro’s foes would continue protesting until they won free elections and a change of government. He said Sunday’s vote had given Maduro “less legitimacy, less credibility, less popular support and less ability to govern.” Maduro called the vote for a constitutional assembly in May after a month of protests against his government, which has overseen Venezuela’s descent into a devastating crisis during its four years in power. Due to plunging oil prices and widespread corruption and mismanagement, Venezuela’s inflation and homicide rates are among the world’s highest, and widespread shortages of food and medicine have citizens dying of preventable illnesses and rooting through trash to feed themselves. The 545-seat constituent assembly will have the task of rewriting the country’s constitution and will have powers above and beyond other state institutions, including the opposition-controlled congress. Maduro made clear in a televised address Saturday that he intends to use the assembly not just to rewrite the country’s charter but to govern without limitation. Describing the vote as “the election of a power that’s above and beyond every other,” Maduro said he wants the assembly to strip opposition lawmakers and governors of constitutional immunity from prosecution — one of the few remaining checks on ruling party power. Declaring the opposition “already has its prison cell waiting,” Maduro added: “All the criminals will go to prison for the crimes they’ve committed.” ___ By MICHAEL WEISSENSTEIN and MATTHEW LEE, Associated Presslast_img read more

2018 is the year of graph databases Heres why

first_imgWith the explosion of data, businesses are looking to innovate as they connect their operations to a whole host of different technologies. The need for consistency across all data elements is now stronger than ever. That’s where graph databases come in handy. Because they allow for a high level of flexibility when it comes to representing your data and also while handling complex interactions within different elements, graph databases are considered by many to be the next big trend in databases. In this article, we dive deep into the current graph database scene, and list out 3 top reasons why graph databases will continue to soar in terms of popularity in 2018. What are graph databases, anyway? Simply put, graph databases are databases that follow the graph model. What is a graph model, then? In mathematical terms, a graph is simply a collection of nodes, with different nodes connected by edges. Each node contains some information about the graph, while edges denote the connection between the nodes. How are graph databases different from the relational databases, you might ask? Well, the key difference between the two is the fact that graph data models allow for more flexible and fine-grained relationships between data objects, as compared to relational models. There are some more differences between the graph data model and the relational data model, which you should read through for more information. Often, you will see that graph databases are without a schema. This allows for a very flexible data model, much like the document or key/value store database models. A unique feature of the graph databases, however, is that they also support relationships between the data objects like a relational database. This is useful because it allows for a more flexible and faster database, which can be invaluable to your project which demands a quicker response time. Image courtesy DB-Engines The rise in popularity of the graph database models over the last 5 years has been stunning, but not exactly surprising. If we were to drill down the 3 key factors that have propelled the popularity of graph databases to a whole new level, what would they be? Let’s find out. Major players entering the graph database market About a decade ago, the graph database family included just Neo4j and a couple of other less-popular graph databases. More recently, however, all the major players in the industry such as Oracle (Oracle Spatial and Graph), Microsoft (Graph Engine), SAP (SAP Hana as a graph store) and IBM (Compose for JanusGraph) have come up with graph offerings of their own. The most recent entrant to the graph database market is Amazon, with Amazon Neptune announced just last year. According to Andy Jassy, CEO of Amazon Web Services, graph databases are becoming a part of the growing trend of multi-model databases. Per Jassy, these databases are finding increased adoption on the cloud as they support a myriad of useful data processing methods. The traditional over-reliance on relational databases is slowly breaking down, he says. Rise of the Cypher Query Language With graph databases slowly getting mainstream recognition and adoption, the major companies have identified the need for a standard query language for all graph databases. Similar to SQL, Cypher has emerged as a standard and is a widely-adopted alternative to write efficient and easy to understand graph queries. As of today, the Cypher Query Language is used in popular graph databases such as Neo4j, SAP Hana, Redis graph and so on. The OpenCypher project, the project that develops and maintains Cypher, has also released Cypher for popular Big Data frameworks like Apache Spark. Cypher’s popularity has risen tremendously over the last few years. The primary reason for this is the fact that like SQL, Cypher’s declarative nature allows users to state the actions they want performed on their graph data without explicitly specifying them. Finding critical real-world applications Graph databases were in the news as early as 2016, when the Panama paper leaks were revealed with the help of Neo4j and Linkurious, a data visualization software. In more recent times, graph databases have also found increased applications in online recommendation engines, as well as for performing tasks that include fraud detection and managing social media. Facebook’s search app also uses graph technology to map social relationships. Graph databases are also finding applications in virtual assistants to drive conversations – eBay’s virtual shopping assistant is an example. Even NASA uses the knowledge graph architecture to find critical data. What next for graph databases? With growing adoption of graph databases, we expect graph-based platforms to soon become the foundational elements of many corporate tech stacks. The next focus area for these databases will be practical implementations such as graph analytics and building graph-based applications. The rising number of graph databases would also mean more competition, and that is a good thing – competition will bring more innovation, and enable incorporation of more cutting-edge features. With a healthy and steadily growing community of developers, data scientists and even business analysts, this evolution may be on the cards, sooner than we might expect. Read Next Amazon Neptune: A graph database service for your applications When, why and how to use Graph analytics for your big datalast_img read more

Airtable a Slacklike coding platform for nontechies raises 100 million in funding

first_imgYesterday, Airtable, a cloud collaboration service, has raised $100 million in funding. The company has raised the funds to expand its business with more talent and offices outside the US. The company has also catapulted to a $1.1 billion valuation. According to PitchBook, the company was only valued at $152 million, eight months ago in its last round. Airtable, the maker of a coding platform for non-techies was founded by Howie Liu, Emmett Nicholas and Andrew Ofstad. It uses a simple interface as a frontend to produce apps and other web-based experiences. This interface is built on spreadsheets and other tools familiar to knowledge workers. Airtable just had 30,000 customers, eight months back. But Airtable’s tools are now used by approximately, 80,000 businesses. One of the major advantages of Airtable is its Slack-like approach to the task of buildings things. Airtable make it easy for non-developers to code There are many tools for building apps and other products but usually, they are very technical and complicated. It becomes difficult for those who aren’t well versed with programming. Also, it’s equally difficult and expensive to build apps that solve this problem. Airtable identified this problem and has built powerful macros under the hood of standard-looking database interfaces. It has made things easy for people who aren’t good at coding. With Airtable, one can customize their own database as per their requirements without relying on someone’s DB model The competition and the market scenario Airtable is not the only organization working on this issue. Companies like DashDash and Microsoft and partners are also working in the same direction. Microsoft’s Excel is known to all, Microsoft and partners are now working towards enhancing the functionalities of the spreadsheets. It seems the competition is going to be tough in near future! Airtable also has a platform called Blocks. Blocks help its users to bring in data from a number of sources. It also lets users select different kinds of outputs. Users can decide how and where the data is to be used, whether it be a marketing campaign across text messaging, an AI-based bot, or a VR experience. Read more about this news on TechCrunch. Read Next Python, Tensorflow, Excel and more – Data professionals reveal their top tools Is Microsoft planning to make Python an official Scripting Language for its Excel package? Manage Security in Excellast_img read more