Monday, February 6, 2017

More US tech firms oppose Trump travel ban; UK's electric vehicle sales boom; Queen Elizabeth's 65-year reign

1 More US tech firms oppose Trump travel ban (BBC) Thirty more US technology firms have signed a brief opposing President Trump's immigration ban, bringing the total number involved to 127. The new signatories include Tesla, Adobe, HP and Evernote.

They join 97 others who have filed a legal document stating the ban "inflicts significant harm" on their businesses and is unconstitutional. The amicus brief allows parties not directly involved in a case but who feel affected by it, to give a view. It was filed in Washington and also includes Apple, Facebook and Microsoft as signatories.

Mr Trump's executive order halted the entire US refugee programme for 120 days, indefinitely banned Syrian refugees and suspended permission to enter the US for all nationals from seven Muslim-majority countries. There is currently a nationwide temporary restraining order in place, which was issued by a federal judge in Washington.

2 UK’s electric vehicle boom (Rob Davies in The Guardian) The number of new cars registered in the UK hit a 12-year high in January, with electric vehicles taking a record share of the market, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

The industry body had warned of a slowdown in the motor trade in 2017 because of the impact of the weak pound, but there was no sign of deceleration in the first monthly numbers of the year. Drivers registered 174,564 cars in January, up 2.9% on last year, to reach the highest monthly level since 2005, the trade body said.

Alternative fuel vehicles, mainly electric cars, such as the Nissan Leaf, increased by a fifth to reach a record 4.2% share of new vehicle registrations, beating a previous high of 3.6% in November last year. Petrol cars were also up strongly, gaining 8.9%, with diesel car registrations down 4.3%, continuing the fall seen in December, amid suggestions of higher taxes to curb emissions.

3 Queen Elizabeth’s 65-year reign (San Francisco Chronicle) On Monday, Queen Elizabeth II marks her Sapphire Jubilee, becoming the first British monarch to reign for 65 years. It's just one of many milestones the queen has marked in her nine decades. Here are some other significant numbers about her record-breaking life and reign:

Elizabeth assumed the throne on the death of her father, King George VI, on Feb. 6, 1952. On September 9, 2015, she became Britain's longest-reigning monarch, passing her great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria.  She turned 90 on April 21, 2016, and has been the world's oldest monarch since the death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah in 2015.

She has had 13 British prime ministers serve during her reign, from Winston Churchill to Theresa May. She has met 12 US presidents, from Herbert Hoover (after he had left office) to Barack Obama — more than a quarter of all the US presidents since Independence. The only president during her reign that she did not meet was Lyndon B. Johnson. She is due to meet President Donald Trump when he comes to Britain for a controversial state visit later this year.

She has traveled more than 1 million miles (1.6 million kilometers) on official trips, visiting 106 of the 193 current official members of the United Nations. She has visited Canada 22 times — the largest number of trips to any nation.

She has four children, eight grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. She has cut back on her official duties in the past few years, but Elizabeth still conducted 341 official engagements in 2015.

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