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DeSantis takes new shot at Disney; Iger tries to end ‘culture war’

The right-wing Florida governor continues to attack his state’s largest tourism draw.



Disney does not want to wear its politics on its sleeve. The company, like nearly every large brand going after a mass market audience, wants to appeal to as many people as possible.

That's easier for most brands than it is for a company operating in the storytelling space. Walt Disney (DIS) - Get Free Report by simply showing that not all people are white and straight while telling stories about diverse groups including a variety of religions runs the risk of being labeled as "woke" by conservatives.

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That's at least part of why Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has gone after the company. The right-wing presidential candidate has repeatedly accused Disney of "sexualizing children." That's not something he explains or gives examples of, but it has been a regular talking point for the governor.

DeSantis has tried to market himself as someone working to protect children from "woke" ideas and ideologies. That's what inspired his "Parental Rights in Education Act," a bill he proposed limiting the discussion of gender identity and sexuality in most K-12 classrooms.

Dubbed, the "Don't Say Gay" bill by critics, the legislation caused former Disney CEO Bob Chapek to directly critique DeSantis. That touched off the war between the Florida governor and a company that drives billions in tourist revenue to his state.

It's a war that current CEO Bob Iger does not want and his latest remarks make that very clear.

Iger does not see being inclusive in storytelling as political.

Image source: Shutterstock/TheStreet Illustration

Iger wants to take Disney out of politics

DeSantis has taken out his wrath on Disney by dismantling the former Reedy Creek Improvement District (RCID) that allowed the company to govern the land its theme parks sit on as well as adjacent areas. That's a common arrangement in Florida, which has over 2,000 special districts, but the Florida governor has routinely painted Disney as getting "special treatment."

Disney and Florida currently both have lawsuits filed about the future of former RCID, but Iger wants to try to tamp down the political war with DeSantis, while still fighting the actual legal one in the courts.

At the recent Walt Disney World investor summit, Iger reportedly said that Disney will “quiet the noise” in the ongoing culture war that it finds itself in with conservatives, BlogMickey reported. That's similar to comments he made to employees at a town hall meeting when he rejoined the company in 2022.

On that day he said, "to the extent that I can work to quiet things down, I’m going to do that."

DeSantis needs Disney as an enemy

As he seeks the Republican nomination for president, DeSantis has used Disney as his proxy for woke companies who are undermining traditional values by acknowledging that the LGBTQ+ community exists. Disney, which has never released an R-rated movie under its own name, is hardly stuffing its films with sexual content of the straight or gay kind.

The company does, however, include gay characters and has featured a trans character on the Disney Channel show "Raven's Home."  

DeSantis wants to be seen as taking on the company and pushed back against the notion that he should not be at war with a company that brings his state so much money, in a recent ABC News interview.

"That's kind of the old-guard Republicans where they basically always just bend the knee to the big, powerful corporations. You've got to stand for what's right. So I'm always going to stand for our kids," he said.

DeSantis continued to attack the company for its opposition to his legislation.

"I think Disney made a mistake in doing what they're doing. But we have every right to push back and defend our policies against those who are seeking to undermine them," he said. "And that was the right thing to do."

Iger did make it clear in his town hall that he does not view the company's content choices as being political.

"I think that some of the subjects that have proven to be controversial as it relates to Disney have been branded ‘political’, and I don’t necessarily think they are. I don’t think that when you are telling stories and attempting to be a good citizen of the world that that’s political. Just not how I view it," he said.

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Canon’s new technology competes with ASML in chip manufacturing

The new system, FPA-1200NZ2C, can produce 5 nanometer semiconductors and scale down to 2 nm, surpassing the capabilities of the A17 Pro chip found in Apple’s…



The new system, FPA-1200NZ2C, can produce 5 nanometer semiconductors and scale down to 2 nm, surpassing the capabilities of the A17 Pro chip found in Apple’s iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max.

Canon, the Japanese company known for its printers and cameras, unveiled an innovative solution on Friday, Oct. 13,  which is designed to aid in the production of cutting-edge semiconductor components.

According to a report from CNBC, Canon’s recently introduced “nanoimprint lithography” system represents the company’s competitive response to Dutch firm ASML, a dominant force in the extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography machine sector. ASML’s machinery is essential for producing cutting-edge chips, including those used in the latest Apple iPhones.

The utilization of these machines has been drawn into the technological conflict between the United States and China. The United States, employing export restrictions and diverse sanctions, has aimed to obstruct China's access to crucial chips and manufacturing machinery, hampering the progress of the world's second-largest economy in a field where it is already perceived as lagging.

ASML's EUV technology has gained significant traction among leading chip manufacturers due to its crucial role in enabling the production of semiconductors at 5 nanometers and below. This nanometer measurement pertains to the size of chip features, with smaller values accommodating more features on a chip, consequently enhancing semiconductor performance.

Canon reportedly announced that its new system, the FPA-1200NZ2C, can produce semiconductors matching a 5nm process and scale down to 2nm, surpassing the capabilities of the A17 Pro chip found in Apple's iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max, which is a 3nm semiconductor.

The Dutch government has imposed restrictions on ASML, preventing the export of its EUV lithography machines to China, where no units have been shipped. This limitation exists due to the critical role of these machines in the production of cutting-edge semiconductor chips.

With Canon's assertion that their new machine can facilitate the production of semiconductors equivalent to 2nm, it is likely to face increased scrutiny.

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Cointelegraph reported earlier that the Biden administration is targeting a loophole that has allowed developers in China to purchase chips from the infamous Huaqiangbei electronics area in Shenzhen, a city in southern China.

However, China has released draft security regulations for companies providing generative artificial intelligence (AI) services, encompassing restrictions on data sources used for AI model training.

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How the ‘laws of war’ apply to the conflict between Israel and Hamas

A scholar of the laws of war explores the complex issues raised by Israeli bombing of Gaza in retaliation for the slaughter of its citizens.



Warring parties are duty-bound to minimize civilian casualties. Ahmad Hasaballah/Getty Images

The killing of Israeli civilians by Hamas and retaliatory airstrikes on the densely populated Gaza Strip by Israel raises numerous issues under international law.

Indeed, President Joe Biden made express reference to the “laws of war” in comments he made at the White house on Oct. 10, 2023, noting that while democracies like the U.S. and Israel uphold such standards, “terrorists” such as Hamas “purposefully target civilians.” Speaking the same day, the European Union’s top diplomat Josep Borrell condemned Hamas’ attack but also suggested that Israel was not acting in accordance with international law by cutting water, electricity and food to civilians in Gaza.

But international law and the very nature of the conflict itself – along with the status of the two sides involved – is a complex area. The Conversation turned to Robert Goldman, an expert on the laws of war at American University Washington College of Law, for guidance on some of the issues.

What are the ‘laws of war’?

The laws of war, also known as International Humanitarian Law (IHL), consist of the four 1949 Geneva Conventions, their two Additional Protocols of 1977, the Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907, as well as certain weapons conventions.

Simply put, these instruments seek to spare civilians and others who are no longer active combatants from the effects of hostilities by placing restrictions and prohibitions on the conduct of warfare.

It is important to understand that modern IHL is not concerned with the reasons for, or the legality of, going to war. Rather, that is governed by the United Nations Charter and member state’s own practice.

It is also important to note that violations of the laws of war are notoriously hard to prosecute and can be frustrated by lack of cooperation by the parties involved.

What is the nature of the conflict between Israel and Hamas?

The answer to this question is by no means clear.

Many humanitarian law experts would argue that Hamas and Israel are engaged in what is known as a “non-international armed conflict.” In other words, it would be classified the same way as a civil war that pits the armed forces of a state against an armed non-state actor, rather than a international conflict between two or more sovereign states.

If that were the case, the conflict would not be governed by the entirety of the laws of war, but instead by the more limited Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions along with numerous customary law rules, which derive from general practices accepted as law. Common Article 3, which applies to civilians and those no longer fighting, prohibits practices such as torture, summary execution and denial of a fair trial. But Prisoner of War status only applies to conflicts between states, so would not apply.

But some international observers, including the United Nations, view Israel as, in effect, occupying Gaza – a view predicated on the fact that Israel controls Gaza’s borders and airspace and it supplies most of its electricity.

If that is the case, then the recent outbreak of hostilities between Hamas and Israel would trigger the entirety of laws of war.

That said, I do not believe that Israel is an occupying power in Gaza under a strict reading of the law. This is because Israel ceased governing and pulled its forces out of Gaza in 2005. Since 2007, Hamas, after expelling the Palestinian Authority, has in effect governed Gaza.

Is the bombing of Gaza illegal under international law?

Today the rules governing the conduct of hostilities in both international and non-international armed conflicts are essentially the same.

The foremost requirement in all conflicts is that combatants must always distinguish between civilians and combatants, and that attacks can only be directed at combatants and other military targets.

Protecting civilian populations caught in warfare essentially depends upon three factors:

  1. Civilians must abstain from fighting;
  2. The party in control of the civilian population must not place them at heightened risk of harm by using them as human shields; and
  3. The attacking force must take precautions to avoid or minimize excessive civilian casualties when attacking lawful targets.

Not only are civilians in Gaza not lawful targets, they are also protected under IHL by the rule of proportionality. This rule prohibits an attack against a military target which foreseeably could cause civilian casualties that are excessive, or disproportionate in relation to the advantage anticipated from the target’s destruction.

In the case of Gaza, this rule requires that before launching an attack, the Israeli military analyze and determine the likely effect on civilians. If it appears that such an attack will cause disproportionate civilian casualties, then it must be suspended or canceled.

Given Gaza’s urban density, it will be extremely difficult for the Israelis to avoid substantial civilian casualties even when using precision weapons.

And this task will be nearly impossible if Hamas, as it has consistently done in the past, uses it civilians and now hostages to shield military targets.

While Israel bears primary responsibility to avoid excessive civilian deaths in its bombardment of Gaza, Hamas’ ability to claim the bombardment constitutes a war crime would be weakened if it deliberately places its own people in harms way.

And while Israel is complying with its duty to give an advanced warning of an attack in north Gaza, the problem remains: Where do 1 million people go to seek safety when borders are closed and military targets are being hit throughout Gaza?

Is Israel’s siege of Gaza illegal?

Unlike in the past, total siege warfare now is unlawful regardless of whether the warring parties are involved in international or non-international hostilities.

Blocking the entry of all food, water, medicines and cutting off electricity – as appears to be happening in Gaza – will disproportionately affect civilians, foreseeably leading to their starvation. This is a banned method of warfare under customary and conventional IHL.

No matter how horrific the actions of Hamas, IHL does not permit an aggrieved party to respond in kind. Violation of the law by one party cannot, in principle, justify or sanction actions by the other that violate established prohibitions in international humanitarian law.

What are the status and obligations of Hamas under IHL?

IHL rules apply equally to all the warring parties irrespective of the nature of the conflict. This means that Israeli and Hamas combatants have the same rights and duties.

If, however, the conflict is non-international, then Hamas will be regarded as an armed non-state actor and its combatants ineligible for Prisoner of War status upon capture. Accordingly, Israel can try them for all their hostile acts whether or not Hamas complies with the laws of war.

Masked men in black hold aloft rifles.
Masked militants from the Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades, a military wing of Hamas. AP Photo/Adel Hana

But even if the conflict is an international one, then Hamas’s fighters would still be debarred from Prisoner of War status. They are not the armed forces of Palestine – which is recognized as a state by 138 nations and has the Palestine Authority as its government.

Rather, Hamas combatants are an irregular armed group. To be eligible for Prisoner of War status under Article 4A(2) of the Third Geneva Convention, members of an irregular armed group must adhere to very strict standards, both collectively and individually. These includes distinguishing themselves from civilians and complying with the laws of war. Manifestly Hamas has not and do not meet these standards. As such, Israel could lawfully deny them Prisoner of War status upon capture.

Israel, the U.S. and others label Hamas fighters as terrorists. Hamas’s recent acts – indiscriminately firing thousands of rockets into Israel, targeting, killing and taking civilians as hostages – are acts of terrorism in warfare and qualify as war crimes.

Robert Goldman does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

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China’s AI ‘Blacklist’ To Google’s Chatbot Fumble: A Round-Up Of The Week’s Top AI News

It’s been a week of revelations in the tech world, with China proposing a blacklist to regulate AI, to chatbots from Google and Microsoft showing their…



It’s been a week of revelations in the tech world, with China proposing a blacklist to regulate AI, to chatbots from Google and Microsoft showing their limitations. We also saw Nvidia’s stock predicted to make significant gains, and OpenAI’s CEO Sam Altman made a couple of intriguing statements on artificial intelligence.

China Proposes ‘Blacklist’ For AI Training Data

China has taken a step towards regulating its AI industry by proposing a blacklist of sources that cannot be used for training generative AI models. This includes censored content from the Chinese internet. The proposal was published by China’s National Information Security Standardization Committee, which includes officials from the Cyberspace Administration of China, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, and the police. Read the full article here.

Google, Microsoft Chatbots Misfire on Israel-Hamas Conflict News

In a recent experiment, chatbots from Google GOOG and Microsoft Corporation MSFT incorrectly reported a ceasefire in the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict. While the chatbots often provided balanced responses and decent news summaries, they also produced glaring errors, raising questions about their credibility and potential to contribute to public confusion during rapidly evolving and complex conflicts. Read the full article here.

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ChatGPT Chief Sam Altman’s ‘Internet Troll Streak’

Sam Altman, the chief of ChatGPT and boss of Microsoft-backed OpenAI, admitted on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast that he has an “internet troll streak.” Altman spoke on a wide range of topics, including AI, ChatGPT, and how a future version of GPT could display the word soup of our inner thoughts. Read the full article here.

Nvidia’s Shares Predicted to Rise by 50%

Analysts at TD Cowen believe that the Nvidia Corporation NVDA stock still has significant growth potential, following a revision of their price target on the semiconductor firm. The team led by Matthew Ramsay upheld their Outperform rating on Nvidia and escalated their price target to $700 from the previously projected $600. Read the full article here.

Future AI Could Display ‘Word Soup’ of Your Thoughts

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman believes that there will be a neural device that will be able to display words as you think them and communicate telepathically. Altman believes neural devices will leverage advancements in artificial intelligence to visualize the thoughts of people. Read the full article here.

The post China’s AI ‘Blacklist’ To Google’s Chatbot Fumble: A Round-Up Of The Week’s Top AI News appeared first on The Dales Report.

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