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  • October 9, 2019
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Weekly Briefing: Digital Government Top 100

Our weekly rundown of global policy

Top Stories

Digital government: Apolitical’s 100 most influential people of 2019. In recent years, government has reinvented itself through digital innovation in ways we could have never imagined. Now it’s time to meet some of the people behind that transformation. (Apolitical)

Whether you’re a native or novice, you need to think digital first. But you can’t do it alone. Our latest field guide is a hands-on introduction for public service teams — split into eight bite-sized weekly activities — that will equip you with the digital skills and trends you need to know. (Apolitical)

To get women into politics, we need better data. Only 24% of members of parliament around the world are women. To tackle low political participation, first we need the numbers to understand it: more voter, local and systemic data are key. (Jessica Roland, Women Deliver)

Government can fight deep fakes — here’s how. In a world of “fake news”, it’s hard to trust what you see online. From updated defamation laws to media literacy education and transparency guidelines, here’s how smart policymaking can protect citizens. (Clare Welch, London School of Economics and Political Science)

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Have you worked on an interesting policy? Want to share your thoughts on a policymaking trend? Reach influencers in 160+ countries by contributing to Apolitical as an opinion writer. Submit your idea here.

Energy, Environment and Economic Opportunity

Ethiopian cities swap cars for exercise once a month. Designed to reduce pollution, improve health and encourage socialising, up to 20 Ethiopian cities are now going car-free on the last Sunday of each month and running community workouts on newly traffic-free roads. (BBC)

Safety and Justice

Instead of fines, speeders in Estonia are getting a time-out. Drivers can opt for a 45-minute break for moderate speeders, or a 60-minute break for serious offenders, rather than a traditional ticket. The police will collect data on which deterrent is more effective at decreasing accidents. (ERR News)

Technology Frontiers

Detroit is using wearable word-counting devices to boost child development. Hearing new words helps kids learn to speak and get ready for school. But, on average, children from poorer families hear fewer. New “talk pedometers” — voice recorders worn by kids — help parents keep track by counting their words. (Detroit Free Press)

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

“Countries with a greater proportion of women as top decision-makers in legislatures have lower levels of income inequality.” — Jessica Roland, Senior Associate for Policy and Advocacy at Women Deliver.

Evolving Cities

Patna, India has opened a free sewage disposal helpline to avoid dumping. Only one in five home toilets are connected to the city’s sewage system. With a third of government waste treatment sites unused, the line offers advice on where to dispose of waste, saving children from deadly waterborne diseases. (World Economic Forum)

Chicago’s public library is the largest in the US to go fine-free. In a bid to make reading more accessible to those with low incomes, the city has eliminated fines for overdue books and wiped all existing library debt. (Governing)

Health and Ageing

The UK will offer a winter flu vaccine to every primary school child. By targeting “super-spreader” kids — those most likely to infect others — it aims to stop the virus reaching families and vulnerable elderly relatives. One of the biggest flu vaccination campaigns ever, it’s designed to relieve pressure on health services. (The Guardian)

And finally

When a Los Angeles woman tried to report a crime to a police robot, it told her to go away — and sang a song. When she tried to notify it of a nearby brawl, the five-foot tall, egg-shaped bot told her to “step out of the way” and buzzed away, humming a space-like tune. (Metro)

(Picture credit: Unsplash)

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