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Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov announced a possible move that Russia can take in response to new US sanctions. The new sanctions, which the US plans to put in effect against Russia on Aug. 22, include the ban on the supplies of dual-use equipment to Russia, restrict the activities of Russian banks, lower the level of diplomatic interaction and even ban the flights of Russia's Aeroflot to the United States.Many experts believe that Russia will choose to get rid of the US dollar in its economy. Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said that the US dollar was an "unreliable currency." "We have significantly cut investing our reserves in US assets. In fact, the dollar, which was considered the world currency, already becomes a risk instrument for settlements," Siluanov said.The Russian Finance Minister also suggested a solution that may serve as Russia's powerful response to the United States. "We can fix the dollar equivalent, but receive the euro, other freely convertible currencies, and, eventually, the national currency for oil supplies," Siluanov said adding that Russia may continue reducing its investment in US securities. The remarks from the Finance Minister triggered many discussions in social media in Russia. Some believe that Mr. Siluanov was talking about the "beginning of the end" of the domestic market, the reintroduction of the planned economy similar to the one that used to exist in the USSR. Others see more reasons for the Russian ruble to decline further against the dollar. At the same time, the topic of the dollar peg in the Russian economy is not new. When Russian President Putin warned representatives of big business that it was becoming increasingly risky to keep money in foreign accounts and in offshore companies, he spoke about the current situation. In May of this year, Anton Siluanov also spoke about the need for Russia to move away from the dollar, although those statements did not attract much attention. "The restrictions that American partners impose are of an extraterritorial nature. The willingness of Europe to provide its position to American partners will show whether the euro can replace the dollar in settlements," he said. "If our European partners declare their unequivocal position, we certainly see a way out in using the European settlement unit and European organizations for financial settlements, payments for goods and services that often fall under various restrictions today," he added. Today, Siluanov continues this line of thinking and sees other currencies that may replace the dollar - the euro, the ruble and the yuan. The minister believes that one should invest less in dollars and use them less to be less dependent on sanctions. Yet, those who prefer to read between the lines are led to believe that the Russian government was going to ban the use of dollars in Russia. For the time being, Russia's state policy in relation to the US economy eyes further reduction of Russia's investment in US bonds and public debt. Photo credits:
Europe’s economy has slowed, and seems unlikely to bounce back strongly in what remains of a year that began with high hopes and then hit a series of setbacks. | 8/13/18
A mysterious Chinese company went on a buying binge in the Czech Republic following Xi Jinping’s call for greater sway in the region. What was the cost? | 8/12/18
Russia is prepared for another package of US sanctions and may respond to it with a military and strategic blow.The new bill about new sanctions against Russia includes measures against the Kremlin elite and bans transactions with a new Russian sovereign debt. The Russian side will respond to the US with mirrored military and strategic measures, Anatoly Aksakov, the chairman of the Committee for Financial Market at the State Duma said. Russia may revise some of Moscow's international obligations. Aksakov stressed that it goes about  new acquisitions of Russia's sovereign debt, which does not need to be increased as the budget operates with a surplus.Russia's budget is based on the price of oil at $40 per barrel. Taking into account the fact that today the price of oil is above $70, the Russian National Welfare Fund, which accumulates reserves, has been growing lately. Thus, the impact of US sanctions in this regard will be minimal.Russia is prepared for the new sanctions, which, as Aksakov believes, are not going to affect the Russian economy. However, foreign investors have been turning their backs on Russian securities lately because of the intention of the US administration to impose new sanctions on Russia. The Kremlin noted that US senators are going too far. As long as Russia's unsubstantiated and far-fetched interference in US elections gives US officials the right to cause economic damage to the Russian economy and to the well-being of the Russian population, Russia has every reason to develop its own measures, including military and strategic ones, that would lead to irreparable losses for the US economy and population. Russia may revise some of its international obligations against the background of its highly strained relations with the West. In the past, Russia had assumed certain obligations under certain international legal conditions. As long as the conditions are changing, the obligations will change too. The US abjures its international responsibilities on a regular basis as well, including in the sphere of control over the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons (Iran nuclear deal), and in terms of tariff and non-tariff protectionism in trade.According to the Nezavisimaya Gazeta newspaper, the document entitled "Defending American Security from Kremlin Aggression Act (DASKAA), is intended to exert economic, political and diplomatic pressure on Russia in response to Russia's ongoing interference in the American electoral process. The authors of the document pay special attention to Russia's "pernicious influence in Syria" and "aggression in the Crimea".The authors of the document are Democrat Ben Cardin, Republican Lindsey Graham, Democrat Robert Menendez, Republican Cory Gardner, Republican John McCain, Democrat Jeanne Shaheen. The measures to be taken against Russia include "sanctions against political figures, oligarchs, family members and others who directly or indirectly contribute to illegal and corrupt activities on behalf of Vladimir Putin."DASKAA also contains a paragraph on restrictive measures against transactions involving investment in energy projects that have the support of state or parastatal organizations of Russia, as well as sectoral sanctions against any person in Russia that could be involved in "malicious cyberactivity."The bill has received a lot of media attention lately because of its requirement to prohibit transactions with the new Russian sovereign debt. Interestingly, the bill appeared soon after the Putin-Trump summit in Helsinki. The DASKAA text also complicates the procedure for the US withdrawal from NATO as much as possible and simplifies the transfer of defense equipment to the countries of the military bloc in order to reduce the dependence of certain NATO countries on Russia's military equipment.US officials started proposing new anti-Russian initiatives after the Helsinki summit.  For example, Republican Senator John Barrasso put forward an initiative against Russia's Nord Stream 2 energy project. According to him, European countries need to diversify their imports of natural gas and opt for organic fuels from the United States.Experts believe that such actions could take the world to a global crisis as financial markets would experience the shock that the world has not seen since the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers in 2008. Restrictions on capital mobilization and sales of energy carriers would imply default on Russia's external obligations, the amount of which is only slightly less than the debts of LB before its bankruptcy. USA's new measures may thus trigger the effect of a house of cards and lead to deleverage on all markets. In the beginning of the current year, when everyone was expecting sanctions on Russia's federal OFZ bonds, the US Treasury Secretary clearly stated that such a move would be dangerous for the world financial system. At the same time, the USA may pass the DASKAA act to keep Russia on a short leash as was the case with the CAATSA act, the implementation of which took place only eight months after the document was adopted.
Business managers worry whether a cease-fire between Brussels and the White House will hold. The uncertainty is bad for growth. | 8/2/18

Google is working on a return to China, with the tech giant developing a censored search engine to appease the country’s laws, according to a report from The Intercept on Wednesday.

The search engine would “blacklist sensitive queries,” according to a company whistleblower, who told the outlet he was concerned about the precedent this move would set.

“I’m against large companies and governments collaborating in the oppression of their people, and feel like transparency around what’s being done is in the public interest,” the whistleblower told The Intercept. “What is done in China will become a template for many other nations.”

Also Read: Jimmy Kimmel Accepts Ted Cruz's One-on-One Basketball Challenge - and He's Got Jokes (Video)

Google’s clandestine plans have been spearheaded by CEO Sundar Pichai since early 2017, according to the report. The project, operating under the name “Dragonfly,” is limited to a few hundred employees, The Intercept reports. The search engine would strictly be a mobile app when it launches, potentially within the next six to nine months, according to the report.

“We provide a number of mobile apps in China, such as Google Translate and Files Go, help Chinese developers, and have made significant investments in Chinese companies like But we don’t comment on speculation about future plans,” a Google spokesperson told TheWrap.

Also Read: Ex-Google Engineer Sues Company for Sexual Harassment, Says She Was Slapped at Company Party

China’s “Great Firewall,” as it has facetiously been dubbed, has stifled free speech online for years through a network of moderators, technical restraints and legislative regulations. The Chinese government blocks access to pornography and news stories that are overly critical of its Communist regime, as well as major sites like YouTube, Twitter and Facebook. Google’s new search engine would scrub results for topics the government doesn’t allow, like the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, along with certain images, per The Intercept. A parallel online universe exists in China, with popular social media platforms like WeChat and Weibo, a Twitter-esque communication app, filling the void of their blocked Western analogs.

President Xi Jinping has made it clear in recent years he isn’t in favor of a free press.

“All news media run by the party must work to speak for the party’s will and its propositions, and protect the party’s authority and unity,” Xi said in 2016.

Also Read: Logan Paul Gets YouTube Downgrade: Ousted From Google Preferred, Booted From 'Foursome'

Google operated a censored version of its search engine in China between 2006 and 2010. The Mountain View, California-based company pulled out of China as its online censorship became increasingly severe. Attempts “to further limit free speech on the web,” said the company in 2010 had given it reason to back away from the country entirely.

That decision appears to be reconsidered under Pichai’s stewardship.

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National Geographic Partners will lose three of its top executives in a restructuring, CEO Gary Knell wrote in an internal memo on Tuesday.

Rachel Webber, executive vice president of digital; Rosa Zeegers, executive vice president of consumer products and experiences; and Laura Nichols, senior vice president and chief communications officer, are all set to depart the company by the end of the month.

Webber will transition into an advisory role in which she will “identify growth opportunities,” including exploring VR experiences and developing an OTT strategy.

Also Read: Gary E Knell to Succeed Declan Moore as Nat Geo Partners CEO

The reorganization comes under the leadership of Knell — who was appointed CEO of Nat Geo Partners in February — in an attempt to streamline the company’s editorial operations, combining print and digital efforts.

Susan Goldberg, currently editor-in-chief of the print magazine, will serve as serve as editorial director for the new combined-print-and-digitial division, NG Media. David Miller, currently general manager of digital, will expand his duties to become general manager for NG Media.

“As in any newly constructed enterprise, it takes concerted effort to pull pieces together and create clear goals through which we can identify success,” Knell wrote. “We must decide at times what to ‘double down’ on and what to minimize. These are often hard choices and not crystal clear. But decisions need to be made and history, of course, will judge their success.”

“As in nearly all reorganizations, we face the unhappy reality of parting with outstanding colleagues who have contributed greatly to Nat Geo’s success,” he continued. “Please join me in thanking Rosa Zeegers and Laura Nichols for their work in setting up a new foundation for NGP. We wish them nothing but the best in all future endeavors.”

Also Read: Nat Geo Lines up 2 New Travel Series From Gordon Ramsay, Jeff Goldblum

A joint venture between National Geographic Society and 21st Century Fox, National Geographic Partners combines the brand’s television channels with its media and consumer-oriented assets, including the magazines, National Geographic studios, books and related digital and social media platforms.

Read Knell’s full memo below.

Dear All,

When National Geographic Partners was formed in 2015, the objective was simple: transform one of the world’s most iconic media brands into a streamlined global business, aligned in every way with the Society’s historic excellence in science, adventure and exploration.

As in any newly constructed enterprise, it takes concerted effort to pull pieces together and create clear goals through which we can identify success. We must decide at times what to “double down” on and what to minimize. These are often hard choices and not crystal clear. But decisions need to be made and history, of course, will judge their success.

In order to best realize our potential and at the same time recognize the competitive world in which we operate, we are announcing today some important changes to our structure and operating model.

First, understanding how vital our global television platforms remain, we cannot emphasize enough how critical the Nat Geo Channel 2.0 strategy is to support. It makes Nat Geo relevant by creating outstanding world-class programming, it creates a great buzz with audiences, it pays off with important cable and satellite affiliates, and it brings in vital sponsors to support our work. Over three-fourths of our revenues come from these platforms.

Courteney Monroe will continue her outstanding work as CEO of Nat Geo Global Networks, overseeing a team of producers, schedulers and promoters, and coordinating with our international teams in Europe, Latin America and Asia. We have an incredibly exciting program agenda this next season with such major platforms as “Mars,” “Cosmos,” “Valley of the Boom” and others. These will build off a year in which our ratings are up and we have received a record 18 Emmy nominations. In order to centralize relationships with producers and talent, Courteney will also oversee a reenergized National Geographic Studios, which will combine our video formats – long-form and branded – that will allow us to drive creative excellence across NGP video platforms.

We need to look at our editorial hub as “one newsroom” and work to eliminate artificial divisions between print or digital-only staff. Our editorial staff will thus be aligned across all platforms and in collaboration with Courteney’s team on tentpole series. Susan Goldberg will serve as Editorial Director of the newly founded NG Media unit. There, all short-form content, photography, storytelling across platforms, cartography and graphics will be centrally organized under Susan’s leadership. The content verticals around animals, science, travel, culture and environment will be overseen by editors. And each platform, from the magazine to Facebook to Instagram, will have teams focused on what best performs there. We need to work across all platforms, in keeping with many other major media companies, mirroring the way our audiences access content. Susan will, of course, remain Editor in Chief of National Geographic Magazine.

I’ve asked David Miller, currently General Manager of Digital, to expand his duties to become General Manager of NG Media – co-leading this new unit together with Susan. David will be charged with driving subscriptions and membership for print (magazines and books) and digital platforms, as well as coordinating on sponsorships and ad-driven content. We will work to roll out a more directed agenda around membership focusing on print renewals first. David will also oversee our Photography Business and NG Creative teams, as well as our Maps group in Colorado.

As we continue to face ever-changing consumer behavior, we need to keep thinking ahead and prepare for the next big opportunity. In that context, Rachel Webber will transition into a strategic advisor role and help us identify growth opportunities in areas like AR, VR, live experiences and gaming, as well as an OTT strategy.

Our Strategic Partnerships team, led by Brendan Ripp, will continue to develop innovative sponsorships across television, digital and print platforms, working with our colleagues at 21CF. The Strategic Partnerships team will add product licensing into their portfolio so that brand extensions in non-media iterations, such as kids products, apparel and other consumer goods consistent with Nat Geo’s high standards, will be managed there to better reflect our desire to engage with world-class organizations.

Nancy Schumacher will continue to lead our successful Travel group. It’s impressive what these folks have achieved and how they continue to grow. With the integration of our private jet business, we are well prepared for running this high-profit engine that brings our brand to life in a unique way.

We will create a combined Marketing, Communications, Research, Data and Insights team under Jill Cress. It will be a “one-stop shop” to help drive a consumer-inspired approach to support our growth and revenue priorities. Key areas of focus include creating premium marketing to drive engagement and revenue around our priorities – including the Channel, magazine and membership. In this context, we need to better design performance metrics to measure how our investments are delivering results with our audiences in financial and brand-building terms. We need to simplify the direct-to-consumer marketing of our shows and platforms to better promote our great content and build affection with our audiences.

As part of that effort, the Global Communications team will now move into Jill’s group, with Chris Albert and Courtney Rowe reporting directly to Jill. Chris will continue to lead communications around all Channel priorities as well as continue to strengthen our talent relations efforts and lead the events team. Courtney Rowe will lead our internal and external corporate communications including the work she has been doing with the partnerships team. There will be more clarity on specific roles related to the defined priorities, which Jill, Chris and Courtney will review and share in the near future.

In recognition of her outstanding work before and during the transition, I’ve asked Marcela Martin to add to her important role as CFO by taking on a Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) function to coordinate our operations, facilities, and technology platforms. Marcela will also be chairing our new Operations Council that will coordinate the corporate support functions – Legal, HR and IT. As part of this change, Marcus East will now report to Marcela as Chief Technology Officer. Craig Mutch and Jeff Schneider – who have done outstanding work through this transition – will continue to report into their respective 21CF HR and Legal structures. They will also partner with Marcela on the Operations Council so that we have a more cohesive, responsive and efficient corporate structure to serve the content-driven agenda for NGP.

And as you recently heard, I’m delighted that Timo Gorner has become our Chief of Staff. He will help me push things faster through the enterprise and should be a resource to improve decision making and drive our priorities across the board.

As in nearly all reorganizations, we face the unhappy reality of parting with outstanding colleagues who have contributed greatly to Nat Geo’s success. Please join me in thanking Rosa Zeegers and Laura Nichols for their work in setting up a new foundation for NGP. We wish them nothing but the best in all future endeavors.

Finally, we will ask our newly appointed leadership team to come back with detailed operational plans in the next couple months. There is no shortcut to aligning all the pieces and we will work diligently over the summer to create the best, most common-sense approach to our work.

It is my sincere hope for us to focus on what we do best: create great content which will continue to inspire wonder and inform the world of the many challenges facing our planet. We are all in this together, and recognize our brand’s singular power and role as leaders and keepers of history. We will provide resources through subscriptions and advertising to support that content. That was true 130 years ago….and is still true today. Different skill sets, but the basic business hasn’t changed.

To hear more about these organizational changes, I encourage you to join me for an All-Hands Meeting at 10 a.m. ET in Grosvenor or via livestream (details will be sent shortly).

Thank you for what you do every day and we look forward to engaging with each of you on what you can do to help us all succeed together.



Variety first reported the news.

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Matthew Weiner’s “The Romanoffs” is finally coming to Amazon Prime, the streamer announced Saturday during the Television Critics Association press tour. The news was a bit of a surprise, as Amazon hasn’t said a word about the long-gestating project for months, following accusations of sexual misconduct posed against the “Mad Men” creator last fall by a writer who worked on the AMC series.

Amazon revealed the highly-anticipated original anthology series will debut on Friday, October 12. And, because you’ve been waiting so long to find out when it’s coming, Amazon also decided to tell you who is coming when it lands, with a teaser announcing a line-up of huge guest stars.

According to the show’s official logline, “The Romanoffs” is a contemporary anthology series, set around the globe, featuring eight separate stories about people who believe themselves to be descendants of the Russian royal family. The Romanoffs was shot on location in three continents and seven countries collaborating with local productions and creative talent across Europe, the Americas and the Far East.

Also Read: 'Mad Men' Producer Calls Matthew Weiner 'Emotional Terrorist' After Harassment Accusation

And each one of these stories will take place in a new location with a new cast, which includes the impressive list of guest stars that were announced in the teaser clip (seen above) today.

See the crazy long lineup of actors below:

Noah Wyle (“Falling Skies”), Kathryn Hahn (“Transparent”), Kerry Bishé (“Halt & Catch Fire”), Jay R. Ferguson (“Mad Men”), Ben Miles (“Collateral”), Mary Kay Place (“Big Love”), Griffin Dunne (“Imposters”), Cara Buono (“Mad Men”), Ron Livingston (“The Conjuring”), Jon Tenney (“Hand of God”), Clea DuVall (“Veep”), Radha Mitchell (“Silent Hill”), Hugh Skinner (“Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again”), Juan Pablo Castañeda (“The Debt of Maximillian”), Emily Rudd (“Electric Dreams”), Adèle Anderson (“Company Business”), Annet Mahendru (“The Americans”), Louise Bourgoin (“I Am a Soldier”), Hera Hilmar (“Two Birds”) and Inès Melab (“Agathe Koltès”).

Also Read: 'Mad Men' Writer Accuses Matthew Weiner of Sexual Harassment, Showrunner Denies It

The previously announced “Romanoffs” cast includes Isabelle Huppert (“Elle”), Marthe Keller (“Marathon Man”), Aaron Eckhart (“Sully”), Diane Lane (“Unfaithful”), Christina Hendricks (“Mad Men”), John Slattery (“Mad Men”), Amanda Peet (“Togetherness”), Jack Huston (“Boardwalk Empire”), Corey Stoll (“The Strain”), Andrew Rannells (“Girls”), Mike Doyle (“Odd Mom Out”), JJ Field (“TURN: Washington’s Spies”), Janet Montgomery (“Salem,” “This Is Us”) and Paul Reiser (“Red Oaks”).

The series is written and executive produced by creator Weiner and “Mad Men” alum Semi Chellas. Co-executive producers include Kriss Turner Towner (“The Bernie Mac Show”), Blake McCormick (“Mad Men”) and Kathy Ciric (“Z: The Beginning of Everything”). Also joining the series from the old “Mad Men” team are Andre Jacquemetton and Maria Jacquemetton, who will act as consulting producers and writers.

Watch the teaser (which, again, is mainly just a list of names) above.

“The Romanoffs” will debut Friday, October 12, on Amazon Prime.

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The state of the eurozone economy and the ECB’s next policy steps are some of the issues President Mario Draghi will likely address at a news conference Thursday. | 7/26/18

Bitcoin's unreal hype has obscured that it is mostly used to facilitate drug deals, ransomware, tax evasion, and even the occasional murder for hire. After the 60% price drop, demand for bitcoin mining gear has fallen so much TSMC has to lower sales estimates for 2018. (That's good news for telecom. Qualcomm and probably others are close to going into production on 5G chips at TSMC. But Apple has bought up so much of TSMC's 7 nm capacity that chip quantities could be severely limited until well into 2019 unless TSMC demand drops.)

Now, Austrian Ambassador in Tehran Stefan Scholz has suggested it could be a powerful boost to the European intent to bypass the U.S. economic blockade. That could provide demand for $billions of bitcoins.

Financial Express quotes Scholz, "One of the ways for safeguarding European interests in Iran is to tap the digital payment methods and cryptocurrency channels." He added, ”unorthodox and innovative measures" were being considered to allow banking transactions to continue. We are all in this together, since the EU is facing a net loss of 10 billion euros ($11.7 billion) in lost trade with Iran next year."

Blockchain is potentially good stuff, routing around institutions in a sometimes useful way.

The illustration from Vint Cerf is right that few if any need blockchain when a database suffices. However, Jonathan Askin is persuasive that blockchain makes interesting disintermediation practical, maybe even community alternatives to Facebook/Google. Bitcoin fools distract from real uses.

Several Nobel Laureates think Bitcoin is a scam and Ponzi scheme. I'm pretty sure they are 90% but not 100% correct.

From Baidu, some of what they are doing with Blockchain. (Source:

Super Chain Product Introduction

What is a super chain?

The Super Chain is a blockchain 3.0 solution that Baidu plans to open source with powerful network throughput and high concurrency for general smart contract processing. Based on the pluggable consensus mechanism, DAG parallel computing network and stereo network, it truly breaks through the technical bottleneck of the current blockchain and paves the way for the wide application of blockchain. In addition, XuperChain's maximum compatibility with Bitcoin and Ethereum is friendly to blockchain developers and has a low migration threshold. The global deployment of XuperChain is the foundation of XuperChain's credibility. Supernodes with powerful performance participate in the competition of accounting rights to ensure the efficiency of the whole network operation; while other lightweight nodes act as supervisory nodes, monitoring supernodes to perform their duties, thus forming a more credible autonomous blockchain operation. system.

Product operation

The Superchain is a blockchain operating system that supports the operation of a large number of parallel blockchains. Each blockchain supports intra-chain concurrent and sidechain technologies. Analogous to the traditional operating system has processes and threads, then in the definition of the super chain, the parallel chain is the process, the side chain is the thread.

The superchain proposes the concept of supercomputing nodes, using supercomputers and distributed architectures to solve blockchain network computing power and storage problems. At the same time, the DAG network is combined with the side chain and parallel chain technology to realize the core technology that makes maximum use of parallel computing power. The network form of the entire superchain is as follows:

How to use

The superchain manages the entire superchain network through a root chain. The root chain can be upgraded to any consensus mechanism through voting mechanisms, including but not limited to POW, POS, etc.

The functions of the super chain mainly include: creating parallel chain and super chain network management. Anyone wants to use the superchain network, it just needs to call the interface of the root chain and create a block of its own. When creating, you can specify a consensus mechanism. Any call to the Root API interface and functionality requires fuel consumption. When creating a blockchain, you can specify the Genesis block parameters to determine the creation rules.

User-created blockchain capabilities

1. Each application has an independent chain instead of sharing a chain like the application on the Ethereum

2. Has a complete blockchain computing power, do not need to share computing power with others (there is no such an application service coexisting soaring, resulting in the entire super-chain network ?? situation)

3 Can develop their own consensus mechanism and mining incentive strategy

4. Can write their own smart contracts and have independent resources to run

Developer ecology

We will open up the superchain ecosystem to help developers quickly create blockchain applications. The Superchain will provide the underlying support and developer tools that enable enterprise and individual developers to focus on application innovation and feature development, making it easy to get the business up. A series of support plans will be launched to promote the block-level application of the blockchain, and work together with developers to create a super-chain application ecosystem.

Open source plan

In July 2018, Baidu's internal open source

2, 2019, Q1 open source to the whole society

Written by Dave Burstein, Editor, DSL Prime | 7/22/18
The president turned his ire on the American central bank, as well as trading partners that are fighting back against his tariffs, in a series of Twitter posts. | 7/21/18

Comcast called off its battle with Disney over much of 21st Century Fox’s TV and film business on Thursday, sending shares of both companies higher in the process.

Comcast stock increased 2.6 percent to $34.91 a share as markets closed, while Disney also enjoyed a 1.3 percent bump, hitting $112.13 a share. Fox shares dipped about 2 percent in early trading, but rallied to close only 0.3 percent down on the day.

Fox shareholders have enjoyed a nice run since Disney first announced its buyout plans in December 2017. The dueling Comcast-Disney offers have helped spark a 40 percent jump since Disney’s initial offer.

Also Read: Comcast Drops Bid for Fox Assets to Focus on Sky Instead

Wall Street appears to approve of Comcast waving the white flag, with shareholders happy to see the company isn’t increasing its $66 billion all-cash bid for Fox. At the same time, Comcast is turning its attention to European broadcaster Sky, a company that is 39 percent owned by Fox. Both companies will now fight over the remaining control of Sky.

Comcast’s move clears the way for Disney to acquire the film and TV studios, among other assets, from Fox. “Our incredible enthusiasm for this acquisition and the value it will create has continued to grow as we’ve come to know 21st Century Fox’s stellar array of talent and assets,” said Disney CEO Bob Iger in a statement. “We’re extremely pleased with today’s news, and our focus now is on completing the regulatory process and ultimately moving toward integrating our businesses.”

Upon completion of its $71.3 billion buyout of Fox’s assets, Disney will add to its content arsenal as it prepares to launch its own streaming service to take on Netflix. Iger was apparently thrilled when CNBC’s David Faber broke the news to him Thursday that Comcast is backing down, saying “holy crap” in response.

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Disney Chief Bob Iger's Response to Comcast Bowing Out of Fox Sweepstakes: 'Holy Crap'

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The U.K.’s planned exit from the EU will have a “small” negative impact on the bloc’s economy, although it will prove more damaging to countries such as Ireland, the Netherlands and Belgium that have closer links with Britain, the IMF said. | 7/19/18

The European Data Protection Board certainly has been keeping its records straight. Its 27 May statement starts with the following:

"WP29 has been offering guidance to ICANN on how to bring WHOIS in compliance with European data protection law since 2003."

All internet users have dealings with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, yet the vast majority have never heard of ICANN. Responsible for deciding how the Domain Name System (DNS) is run, ICANN may be a technical standard-setting body, but its policies and activities acquire political nuances more often than not. At its core, there is a distinction between ICANN the organisation, incorporated in California, and the ICANN community, a multistakeholder group of volunteers who develop the policies that are subsequently implemented by the organisation.

Fifteen years ago, and only a few years after ICANN was established, European data protection regulators had already spotted the flaws with ICANN's WHOIS service, a public database of registrants' contact details. At the end of 2017, mere months before European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into effect, ICANN had yet to devise a plan to make its WHOIS registrant database compliant. However, this is no longer the era of paltry fines for violating data protection laws, when compliance was at best facultative.

Data protection as a human right

Here it's important to recall the diverse origins of data protection law. At the EU level, the 1995 Data Protection Directive aimed to harmonize the regulation of automated data processing in order to fulfill the EU's goal of free movement of goods and services (see recitals 7 and 8). In parallel, data protection began to be conceived as a human right, a notion that reached a more concrete with the Treaty of Lisbon and the 2009 European Union Charter of Fundamental Rights. Today's GDPR, which replaces the old directive, explicitly relies on the EU's human rights framework for its rationale (see recital 1 and following).

Unlike traditional human rights legislation, the GDPR contains concrete provisions for direct enforcement. That is, it grants entitlements to individuals against other legal persons beyond the state, i.e. companies. In addition, the contemplation of hefty fines for violation (up to 4% of global annual turnover for business entities), which is not an enforcement mechanism usually associated with human rights. This stick is what triggered the compliance rush witnessed over the past year, and the numerous subscription confirmation emails received from organisations long forgotten.

The GDPR is also interesting in that it creates an extremely specific and detailed bundle of rights to the benefit of EU citizens and residents against any data controller and processor, wherever they may be located. The EU thus acted according to a highly pragmatic conceptualisation of "online jurisdiction" similar to that of the Canadian courts in the 2017 Equustek case. In this high-profile copyright infringement case, the Canadian Supreme Court ruled that Google had to delist the incriminated website from its search results on a worldwide basis, not only under the subdomain. If a full de-listing meant applying Canadian law beyond its borders, so be it (it is worth noting the order failed at the enforcement level in the US.) With the GDPR, the EU adopts a similar perspective: individuals must be protected, even if it means potentially reaching out to every single data controller and processor in the world.

Extraterritoriality in cyberspace?

The application of laws based on residency, citizenship, or other non-territorial bases isn't new. Tax law, notably from the US, is often applied in a similar way. The internet makes such an application of law even more salient, as individuals create and manage legal relationships across territories at an unprecedented scale. This can be unsettling for the "territorial" states, hence the observed trend toward extraterritoriality. States seek to have their laws apply to individuals irrespective of their physical location, particularly when dealing with internet-related issues, as a means of obtaining immediate legal effectivity. Regardless of whether GDPR's alleged extraterritoriality is good or bad, it can be said that states, the EU, and courts will most likely favour an interpretation of "online jurisdiction" which maximizes their power and their perceived efficiency at enforcing their own laws.

An overly cynical (and factually wrong) conclusion would be that ICANN, as a non-profit California corporation, is not subject to human rights law, as they only create legal relations between governments and individuals. This would stem from an understanding of human rights law as a solely vertical arrangement between states and individuals, which disregards how an entity like ICANN can interfere with "horizontal" human rights entitlements, like those put into place by the GDPR. Recent events show that enforcing corporate respect for human rights is not some civil society pipe dream: a German court already ruled that ICANN's last-minute GDPR compliance plan is not quite compliant.

Human rights at ICANN, beyond the Bylaw

ICANN has found itself in a double bind: on one side, an expansive understanding of jurisdiction is gaining ground around the world; on the other, a set of human rights norms, previously constrained to treaties and the often staid world of public international law, is finding a new horizontality. The standard for personal data protection has been decidedly raised, prompting us to rethink what human rights compliance means. ICANN's global mission is tied to the functioning of internet, but its operations can severely interfere with individuals' exercise of human rights, as well as the commitments of governments to uphold these rights.

Developing a high-level commitment, as ICANN did with its 2017 Human Rights Bylaw, is a first step. However, viable solutions must, at the same time, go deeper. Indeed, the operationalisation of ICANN's human rights bylaw must pass through a refocusing of the lens, away from international treaties and into the low-level application of human rights norms at the transnational and national level. Rather than biding time before fines mandate action, the ICANN community should carry out sustained research and documentation of ICANN's concrete interference with human rights, both existent and potential. The multistakeholder community should also put in place the necessary efforts to go beyond the mere human rights bylaw and into real compliance assessment, an ever-evolving activity that requires constant attention and monitoring.

In a 17 May letter, European commissioners asked ICANN, through its CEO, to "show leadership and demonstrate that the multi-stakeholder model actually delivers." Be it taunting or encouraging, this challenge underscores the current need for intentional, proactive leadership from both the ICANN organisation and its community. Beyond enhancing its accountability, proactively identifying and preventing human rights violations might just prevent further debacles the next time a human rights law (not so) suddenly becomes applicable to ICANN. As California adopts its own improved data protection law, that time may come sooner than expected.

Special thanks to Collin Kurre from Article19 for her thoughtful suggestions

Written by Raphaël Beauregard-Lacroix | 7/19/18
Travellers stuck in Britain and Europe have blasted the airline for leaving them 'high and dry' and accused them of wrecking their family holidays and business trips.
The European Union is pressuring China to open its economy to outsiders and help revamp an international trade system now under fire by the Trump administration. | 7/19/18

Discovery Communications announced on Wednesday that it has extended CEO David Zaslav’s contract through 2023.

“A dynamic, creative, and passionate leader, David is a builder and an innovator, laser focused on creating value,” Discovery chairman Robert Miron said in a statement. “This multi-year commitment affirms our confidence in David’s leadership, and on behalf of the entire Board of Directors, we are excited for David and his strong management team to drive further success and growth in this next chapter of the new Discovery.”

Zaslav joined Discovery as president and CEO in 2007. The contract extension ensures Zaslav will remain in the role for the next five and a half years.

Also Read: Discovery Boss David Zaslav's Pay Rose Above $42 Million Last Year

Earlier this year, Discovery acquired Scripps Networks Interactive, home to brands including HGTV, Food Network, and Travel Channel. Discovery also signed a partnership with the PGA Tour to create a first-of-its kind international golf service, including global television and multi-platform live rights, outside the United States, to all PGA Tour media properties.

“I am thrilled. Leading Discovery is my dream job,” Zaslav said in a statement. “I would like to thank Discovery’s board of directors, fantastic management team, business partners, and all of our passionate superfans around the world for helping to make Discovery the unparalleled company it is today. Together, we are building something special.

“The new Discovery has the leading IP portfolio of beloved brands in the world, reaching viewers globally on every screen and service,” he continued. “Being at Discovery for the past 11 years has been the privilege of my career.  I am confident our brand strength, global platform and marketplace differentiation will ensure that Discovery continues to grow and deliver value to our viewers, partners and shareholders for many years to come.”

Also Read: Discovery's David Zaslav Calls US Skinny Bundles 'Overstuffed Turkeys'

Zaslav’s new contract is through Dec. 31, 2023. Zaslav has committed to hold the majority of his equity from stock grants to term, furthering the alignment of shareholder and management interests, the company said in a release.

“David has done a masterful job leading and growing Discovery over the last decade. He is a visionary, a strategic builder and all around great guy,” said John Malone, Discovery director and chairman, Liberty Media Corporation and Liberty Global, Inc. “Under David’s leadership, Discovery has scaled new heights becoming the leader in sports across Europe, building the leading global IP portfolio of high quality content, and positioning Discovery for continued global growth. We are lucky to have him.”

Related stories from TheWrap:

Charter in Talks to Pick Up 'Manhunt' Anthology Series From Discovery

Discovery Orders Documentary on Thai Soccer Team Cave Rescue

Discovery Hooks PGA Tour Rights Outside the US for $2 Billion | 7/18/18
Despite months of negative headlines—from escalating trade conflicts to European political turmoil to emerging-market currency declines—global economic growth has remained robust. | 7/17/18
The European Union is hunting for free-trade deals in Asia and Latin America to help compensate for lost business with the United States. | 7/17/18

After Donald Trump accepted Russian President Vladmir Putin‘s denial of interfering in the 2016 presidential election—despite the findings of  Trump’s own U.S. intelligence agencies that Putin’s forces launched a cyber attack on the U.S. with the intent of disrupting the election—even the president’s usual supporters lambasted him.

At the normally Trump-friendly Fox News, analyst Brit Hume tweeted that when Trump was asked about who he believes on Russian interference, Trump’s “vague and rambling non-answer, with renewed complaints about Hillary’s server” was a “lame response, to say the least.”

Trump, finally asked whom he believes on Russia interference, gives a vague and rambling non-answer, with renewed complaints about Hillary’s server. Says he trusts US intel but made clear he takes Putin’s denials seriously. Lame response, to say the least.

— Brit Hume (@brithume) July 16, 2018

Fox News’ chief political anchor Bret Baier tweeted that he thought the press conference was “surreal.”

Guy Benson, a Fox News contributor, called Trump’s answer on whether he believed U.S. intelligence or Putin “atrocious.”

He also tweeted that Trump’s support of support of Putin is “rooted in an embarrassing, juvenile, insecure, consuming obsession over his own legitimacy.”

“Easily one of his worst days as president,” he wrote.  “And again, juxtapose that performance with how he just treated our European & North American allies.”

Appalling moral equivalence & equivocation — rooted in an embarrassing, juvenile, insecure, consuming obsession over his own legitimacy. Easily one of his worst days as president. And again, juxtapose that performance with how he just treated our European & North American allies.

— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) July 16, 2018

Fox Business Network’s Neil Cavuto called Trump’s news conference — during which he never criticized Putin — “disgusting,” adding that “It’s not a right or left thing. It’s just wrong.”

Neil Cavuto of Fox Business calls Trump's press conference "disgusting", "That sets us back a lot."

— Axios (@axios) July 16, 2018

Even Fox and Friends anchor Abby Huntsman was piqued, tweeting: “No negotiation is worth throwing your own people and country under the bus.”

Top Republicans in Congress, known not to criticize Trump — at least publicly — are also slamming him.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, issued a press release contradicting Trump, saying “there is no question that Russia interfered in our election and continues attempts to undermine democracy here and around the world.”

“That is not just the finding of the American intelligence community but also the House Committee on Intelligence. The president must appreciate that Russia is not our ally.”

Rep. Liz Cheney, a Wyoming Republican and daughter of the arch-conservative former Vice President Dick Cheney, says she is “deeply troubled” by how Trump sided with Putin.

“As a member of the House Armed Services Committee, I am deeply troubled by President Trump’s defense of Putin against the intelligence agencies of the U.S. & his suggestion of moral equivalence between the U.S. and Russia,” she tweeted. “Russia poses a grave threat to our national security.”

Senator Lindsay Graham Tweeted that Trump should check the soccer ball which Putin gave at their meeting for “listening devices.”

He also wrote: “Missed opportunity by President Trump to firmly hold Russia accountable for 2016 meddling and deliver a strong warning regarding future elections.”

Missed opportunity by President Trump to firmly hold Russia accountable for 2016 meddling and deliver a strong warning regarding future elections.

This answer by President Trump will be seen by Russia as a sign of weakness and create far more problems than it solves. (1/3)

— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) July 16, 2018

Senator John McCain said in a powerful statement that today’s press conference in Helsinki was “one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory.”

“President Trump proved not only unable, but unwilling to stand up to Putin,” McCain said. “He and Putin seemed to be speaking from the same script as the president made a conscious choice to defend a tyrant against the fair questions of a free press, and to grant Putin an uncontested platform to spew propaganda and lies to the world.”

Former CIA Director John Brennan took the criticism even further, writing on Twitter that Trump’s performance at the Helsinki press conference “rises to & exceeds the threshold of ‘high crimes & misdemeanors.’ It was nothing short of treasonous. Not only were Trump’s comments imbecilic, he is wholly in the pocket of Putin.”

And Brennan, who served in the administrations of both President Barack Obama and President George W. Bush, had a simple, urgent question to GOP lawmakers and media influencers who were also troubled on Monday:  “Republican Patriots: Where are you???” | 7/17/18
The majority of foreigners, who visited Russia during the FIFA 2018 World Cup, were thrilled with what they saw and experienced in the country. They were thrilled to see Russia that was so much different from what their media was making them to believe. The level of organization of the tournament in Russia was superb indeed: no incident was reported, not a single brawl occurred. Nikolskaya Street, where most fans gathered, became the street of global peace and the main street of the world. The goal of the organizing committee was to show foreigners Russia's best side, to make them remember their time in Russia and have unforgettable impressions. Today, one can say for certain: the goal has been achieved. The 2018 World Cup has changed Russia's imaged for the better in the whole world. The performance of the Russian football team at the tournament became an important addition to the organization of the whole event. Few in Russia could even think that the national football team could exit the group, reach the 1/8 finals and even leave Spain behind on the way. Even when Russia lost to Croatia in a series of penalty kicks, the whole nation was infinitely grateful to their footballers for their amazing achievement. Ratings of broadcasts of playoff matches with the participation of the Russian national team were comparable with the ratings of president's New Year speech. The World Cup has given Russia not only 12 stadiums that hosted the games, but also almost a hundred smaller arenas throughout the European territory of the country. They will be used for  children's sports schools.New airport terminals, renovated roads and streets, the experience of thousands of people who were involved in the organization of the world's biggest event has become the precious legacy that football has given Russia. The whole world has finally got a chance to see Russia as an open and hospitable country, and we would like to hope that many foreign fans would like to come to Russia again and bring their families along. It is worthy of note that all foreigners having FAN IDs for the 2018 World Cup will not need to get the Russian visa if they wish to visit Russia again before the end of 2018. The 2018 World Cup cost Russia more than $14 billion. The financial results of the tournament  have not been calculated yet, but one can already say that the income that Russia has received was a lot lower than the spending. However, profit is not the most important thing, and Russia did not have the goal to make as much as possible from football. Russian football fans bought the largest amount of tickets - 900,000 of 2.4 million. Surprisingly, American fans come next - they bought 89,000 tickets. The list continues with Brazil - 72,500 tickets, Colombia - 65,200, Germany - 62,500, Mexico - 60,300, Argentina - 54,000, Peru - 43,600, China - 40,300, Australia - 36,400, and England - 32,400.The number of European visitors was unexpectedly low. Having been zombified by the media, many British and French fans preferred to stay home and watch the games on TV. Yet, the number of American visitors was higher than expected. Financial results of the 2018 World Cup will follow soon, although experts say that the football tournament has contributed from 0.2 to 1 percent of GDP to the Russian economy. The infrastructure created for the competition and the subsequently growing tourist flow can bring an additional 120-180 billion rubles to Russia's GDP annually for the next five years.Given that Russia's GDP amounted to about 92 trillion rubles last year, these expected revenues will simply be invisible and fit within the error margin. The spending of 1.2 trillion rubles that Russia has incurred during seven years of preparations for the event is just as insignificant.
The United States exported $11.5 billion in agricultural products to the European Union last year. | 7/11/18

This article was co-authored by Marc Lindsey, President and Co-founder of Avenue4 LLC and Janine Goodman, Vice President and Co-founder of Avenue4 LLC.

On September 24, 2015, the free supply of IPv4 numbers in North America dwindled to zero. Despite fears to the contrary, IPv4 network operators have been able to support and extend their IP networks by purchasing the IPv4 address space they need from organizations with excess unused supply through the IPv4 market. The IPv4 market has proved to be an effective means of redistributing previously allocated IPv4 numbers, and could provide enough IPv4 addresses to facilitate the Internet's growth for several more years while the protracted migration to IPv6 is underway. Although the market has matured since we wrote our last "Insider's Guide” in May 2015, some old inefficiencies and impediments persist and new challenges have been exposed.

IPv6 Migration Hasn't Solved the Problem

IPv6 provides up to 3.4 x 10^38 unique IP addresses — easily enough to support the expected growth of the Internet for the foreseeable future. However, incompatibility between IPv4 and IPv6 has hobbled the transition. Despite its generous capacity, not enough network operators and end users are actually moving to IPv6 to justify retiring IPv4 networks. By the end of June 2018, IPv6 traffic represented less than a quarter of the total global Internet traffic, according to Google's IPv6 adoption statistics. Migration to IPv6 is simply not occurring fast enough to accommodate continued Internet expansion.

The CGN Band-Aid

As the world slowly migrates to IPv6, some network operators are leaning heavily on Carrier-grade Network Address Translation (CGNs) to help mitigate their IPv4 address consumption while continuing to extract value out of their existing IPv4 network infrastructure. CGNs allow many endpoints served by a single carrier to share a smaller number of unique IPv4 addresses. But CGNs have considerable drawbacks:

  • Designing, procuring, implementing and operating CGNs give rise to capital and operating expenses invested in short-term solutions.
  • CGNs can frustrate law enforcement seeking to identify bad actors, and impede proper functioning of Internet security and other Web-enabled applications that depend on unique endpoint IP address mapping.
  • Extensive use of CGNs adds additional complexity to the networks that use them, and that complexity can compromise network performance, availability, reliability and scalability.
  • Industry experts believe end-point obfuscation caused by CGNs stunts the development and deployment of important Internet innovations such as IoT.

CGNs are not a viable long-term solution.

Workings of the Private Market

Meanwhile, IPv4 number trading between private parties is very active in North America, Europe and the Asia Pacific region. The IPv4 market has created powerful financial incentives for entities to free up excess inventory and sell it to organizations that still need more IPv4 numbers to operate and grow their networks.

The first widely publicized sale occurred in 2011 soon after the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) exhausted its IPv4 supply. Microsoft purchased Nortel's IPv4 inventory of 666,624 legacy numbers for $7.5 million. Since then, the sale, lease or other conveyance of IP numbers has accelerated. At the end of 2017, ARIN recorded nearly 39 million numbers transferred between private parties. In the first half of 2018, over 24 million numbers were transferred — putting 2018 on track to reach the highest volume of ARIN registration transfers ever.

Despite the IPv4 marketplace's success, it operates inefficiently. There are no established standards of conduct, little transparency, and even less accountability. Many participants in the market struggle to define, from a legal perspective, what is being bought and sold. Contract terms and conditions can vary significantly, often derived from other industries and not always fit for the nuances of IPv4 transactions. There are no accepted means to establish market value. Market trades are handled via ad-hoc bi-lateral negotiations. And total transaction costs (e.g., registry charges, legal fees, escrow account charges, and broker/sales agent commissions) are not always apparent.

Notwithstanding these inefficiencies, buyers and sellers who follow key market-proven tips and practices can trade and transfer numbers successfully.

1. Define Your Preferred Deal Structure Early

Before participating in the marketplace, both buyers and sellers should understand the specific exclusive rights in IPv4 numbers that can be conveyed, identify and assess the trade-offs of the available deal approaches, and select the approach that best fits their business objectives. For both buyers and sellers, flexibility is vital to maximizing the value of their transactions.

One-time asset sales agreements are common. But large deals can also include options, installment payments and phased delivery, and other creative, value-enhancing features such as allowing the buyer to pay a portion of the purchase price in the form of credits that the seller can use to offset purchases of unrelated enterprise services supplied by the buyer.

2. Select the Right Advisors

The burgeoning IPv4 broker industry is an artifact of the new market. There are a slew of brokers now offering services specifically to IPv4 market participants. This pool of participants will keep increasing. There are no meaningful barriers to entry for IPv4 brokers. There also is no self-regulatory or independent body to enforce minimal qualifications, experience or codes of conduct. Many (incorrectly) assume that brokers appearing on the ARIN, RIPE and APNIC facilitator lists have been vetted by the RIRs to meet minimum experience, skill and ethical standards. The RIRs do not perform any such vetting. In fact, they expressly disclaim responsibility for the quality or suitability of their registered facilitators. Consequently, assessing the qualifications and ethics of prospective brokers, and managing the quality of their performance once engaged, is critical to success for market participants.

Buyers or sellers planning to enlist the assistance of a broker, advisor or other form of intermediary should test the broker's experience and understanding of the industry by interviewing multiple brokers and researching the credentials and backgrounds of the firms' professionals. Getting references in this business can be tough; no one wants to go on record.

The brokerage or market services agreement should clearly describe when the intermediary earns its fees and when those fees are payable. The service agreement should also disclose whose interest the broker represents, including whether it receives any form of compensation or fees from other parties in the deal. Setting and documenting expectations up front will help avoid disputes down the line.

3. Perform Due Diligence

Immediately upon initiating trade discussions, the prospective buyer and seller should sign a mutual confidentiality agreement and conduct due diligence.

Buyer due diligence begins when it obtains from the seller or its broker the specific designation of the available IP address range. The buyer should verify that the prospective seller is an active organization in good standing by checking the records of the secretary of state where the company is organized, examining corporate credit ratings and, for publicly traded companies, reviewing recent SEC filings. Buyers should also confirm that (a) the selling entity is, in fact, the current registrant or a legal successor of the listed registrant by investigating the RIR registration records for the IPv4 space being sold, and (b) the individual purporting to represent the seller is authorized to act on the seller's behalf.

A buyer should require its seller to disclose material facts about the block for sale, including whether (i) any of the numbers are currently in use, (ii) any third-parties have made a competing claim to control the block, or (iii) there are any known inaccuracies in the RIR registration records. Buyers also may want to analyze the reputation and prior usage of the numbers in the available block. Thorough due diligence may involve even more comprehensive written questions presented by the buyer to seller.

Seller due diligence is less intensive but still necessary. Eventually, trades become public knowledge when the RIR registration records are updated. Many sellers care about their reputations and prefer to conduct business with organizations that have compatible values. IPv4 transactions are no different.

Sellers should know their buyer's business before proceeding to the contract phase, and should also establish criteria to filter out potential buyers with whom the seller will not conduct business as part of its go-to-market strategy. In addition, the seller's due diligence should examine the potential buyer's ability to fulfill the payment terms of the contract. This financial assessment will determine when it may be prudent to require an up-front deposit or employ an escrow as part of the payment terms. Sellers should also verify the authority of the people claiming to represent potential buyers.

Where registration transfer is a closing condition, examining the seller's prior transfer experience and its ability to successfully register with the relevant RIR the quantity of numbers purchased is important. For buyers in the ARIN or APNIC region, sellers should consider, and weight favorably, offers from buyers that have been pre-qualified by the applicable RIR to receive the block sizes in the deal. Pre-approval will alleviate some uncertainty in the registration transfer approval process.

No transaction is without some risk. The objective of properly conducted due diligence is to identify — before the agreement is signed — transactions that present unreasonable or readily avoidable risks. If due diligence reveals that these risks are within acceptable parameters for both buyer and seller, the parties can then enter into contract negotiations to fairly allocate reasonable risks between them.

4. Focus on the Terms and Conditions that Matter

The uncertainty or misperception about the legal rights attached to IPv4 numbers causes some buyers to define in their asset purchase agreements the rights they believe they will acquire, relying on their experience with traditional tangible property-based asset purchase arrangements or merger and acquisition deals.

Buyers, for example, seek guarantees that they will receive good and clear "title" to the IPv4 numbers. Recognizing that ownership of IP numbers is not settled law, sellers, who may otherwise believe they possess title to their numbers, should resist contractually overcommitting to convey title — at least until the question of ownership is resolved by the courts. On a related point, some buyers demand sellers represent and warrant that they will convey to the buyer unconstrained exclusive use rights. But IP numbers are part of the Internet Protocol, which relies on the operation of interconnected global registries, servers and networks. And any range of IP numbers can be used without constraint on private networks. Sellers' promises to convey exclusive rights in their IPv4 numbers should, therefore, be limited to the right to register in the RIR system, and use for Public Internet routing, the IPv4 numbers being traded.

Some additional key contract terms to focus on include:

  • Clear termination triggers that can only be invoked prior to the closing of the transaction
  • Appropriate limits on liabilities and disclaimers for both parties
  • Descriptions of any responsibilities and liabilities that survive the closing, and if some survive, for how long
  • Representations and warranties tailored for the manageable risks and conditions specific to IPv4 sales and transfers
  • Scope and duration of each party's post-closing obligations
  • Delineation of the duties, liabilities and costs that are assumed by the buyer once the IPv4 addresses are sold versus those that are retained by the seller
  • Terms that secure the transfer and payment (e.g., third-party escrow) for the in-scope address space

Ready to Navigate the Market

The private IPv4 market is evolving. It has been used effectively to redistribute millions of underutilized IPv4 assets, yet buyers and sellers continue to face obstacles. Market participants can achieve their business objectives by employing market-proven tips and best practices. Network operators that lack the resources or insight to navigate the challenges of today's market remain at risk of being competitively disadvantaged.

Written by Marc Lindsey, President and Co-founder at Avenue4 LLC | 7/10/18
The venture firm, which plans to announce $1.65 billion in new funds, is hoping to use the money for new investments in Europe and Silicon Valley. | 7/9/18
British Prime Minister Theresa May secured a cabinet agreement on Friday for her plans to leave the European Union, overcoming rifts among her ministers to win support for "a business-friendly" proposal aimed at spurring stalled Brexit talks. | 7/7/18
We have told G7 Leaders to Make Gender Inequality and Patriarchy History For most people, the annual G7 meeting may just seem like an expensive photo-op that doesn't connect with any concrete change in people's lives. But for us, appointed by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to sit on his G7 Gender Equality Advisory Council, it was a unique opportunity to push for strong commitments for girls' and women's rights. We had the opportunity to meet the seven leaders for breakfast and make a strong case for concrete commitments and accelerated action to achieve gender equality within a generation.  There is unprecedented momentum and support for gender equality and women's rights. With the universal adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals, which put gender equality at the center, and the global attention brought by #MeToo and related campaigns on ending sexual harassment and other forms of violence against women, support for improving outcomes for girls and women has never been so high. The explosion of discussions in our offices and shopfloors, our boardrooms and lockerooms, our dining rooms and bedrooms must come right to the G7 table. It is therefore significant that leaders spent two hours discussing gender equality and that it was also part of other discussions. As the richest economies in the world, G7 countries can bring about far reaching systemic changes envisaged in the global agenda for sustainable development. The impact of G7 countries goes well beyond their borders. We have told leaders that they must use this unique footprint for the benefit of women and girls.  Together with the Gender Equality Advisory Council, we have put forward a comprehensive set of recommendations.  As a foundation, it is critical to eliminate discriminatory legislation which persists in G7 countries and around the world. We also called for the removal of barriers to women's income's security and participation in the labour market. Concrete measures, such as legislation and implementation of pay equity can close the wage gap between men and women. And the jobs of the future, whether it is in the digital economy or artificial intelligence, must help close - not further widen - the gender gap.  For most women, the challenge of balancing productive and reproductive lives creates a "motherhood penalty" that triggers major setbacks for women in the economy. G7 leaders can shape an economy that closes the gap between women and men through affordable childcare, paid parental leave, and greater incentives for men to do half of all care work.  Addressing violence against women in the workplace is critical. Employers, shareholders, customers, trade unions, Boards, Ministers all have an obligation to make workplaces safe, hold perpetrators accountable and end impunity. The emerging International Labour Organization's standard to end violence and harassment at work should be supported to drive greater progress in this area. None of this will happen without the full participation and voice of women at all decision-making tables. We applaud the increasing numbers of countries with gender equal cabinets. We need more countries to follow suit, as well as the private sector.  Because men still disproportionately control our political, economic, religious, and media institutions, they have a special responsibility to actively support policies and cultural change. Men's voices and actions, including those of our predominately male political leaders, are critical because they have such a big impact on the attitudes and behavior of other men.  We welcome the announcement by Canada, the European Union, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the World Bank of an investment of nearly US$ 3 billion for girls' education, including the single largest investment in education for women and girls in crisis and conflict situations. This is a significant step forward to build a foundation for greater progress.  In our own work, as the Executive Director of UN Women, and as a writer and activist focused on engaging men to promote gender equality and end violence against women, we've been witness to dramatic changes over the past few decades. The courage of individual women and the leadership of women's movements have meant that patriarchy is being dismantled in front of our eyes. But greater leadership is required. A strong commitment by G7 leaders to take this agenda forward beyond the Summit can push forward the most dramatic and far-reaching revolution in human history. The one that will make gender inequality history. UN Women
When long time Uber employee and head of Uber’s food delivery business in Europe, Middle East and Africa, Jambu Palaniappan, quit the on-demand juggernaut, it was let slip that he planned to join a European venture capital firm, but it wasn’t clear who. Until now. TechCrunch has learned from several sources in the European early-stage […] | 7/5/18
London-based Fever, an urban events discovery app-cum-entertainment events business with an online media arm that it uses as marketing megaphone and data-gathering lens on its community of users, has closed a $20 million Series C investment to expand into new markets across Europe and North America — and win more hipsters over to its own […] | 7/5/18
The Ivorian government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Visa with an aim to digitize government services and ensure financial services are accessible to more Ivorians. Adama Koné, the Minister of Finance and Economy and Andrew Torre, Visa’s Regional President for Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa (CEMEA) signed the MOU, [&hellip

auDA (.au Domain Administration Ltd) and Afilias Australia are pleased to announce the successful and historic transition of more than 3.1 million .au domain names from a legacy system to all new infrastructure in Australia. Prior to this event, Afilias had successfully transitioned 25 TLDs, including the 2.4 million .org domain (which held the record for largest transition until today).

The transition, completed on Sunday July 1, advances several goals of the .au Registry Transformation Project (2017) undertaken by auDA: 1) maintain and promote the operational stability and utility of the .au ccTLD; and 2) ensure the security, confidentiality, integrity and availability of the data associated with the .au registration service, .au WHOIS service and the .au authoritative DNS name services.

The transition was implemented by Afilias Australia Pty Ltd, which was selected in December, 2017 following a global tender process. The transition is the culmination of six months of careful planning, testing and coordinating with registrars who provide .au names to the public. Afilias Australia Pty Ltd is a wholly owned subsidiary of Afilias plc, the most experienced TLD transition company worldwide and a global leader in registry services, supporting over 200 TLDs comprising more than 22 million domain names.

The move to Afilias' next-generation registry service will enable the .au domain to build a global reputation for reliability and security, based on the following:

  • More, modern infrastructure: Afilias has built new, up to date infrastructure in every state of Australia which will make .au names respond faster and more locally.
  • Better security: The .au namespace is a critical part of the Australian digital economy. By deploying state of the art technology and working closely with Australian cyber security authorities, Afilias is ensuring that .au has the best defences against foreign and domestic security threats.
  • Abuse, Spam and Phishing Protection: Afilias is an industry leader in proactively tackling suspicious domains linked to spam and phishing activities. This experience will help auDA mitigate abuse in the .au namespace, enhancing trust and protecting the Australian internet community.
  • Australian management and support team: .au will be supported in-country by a fully equipped Afilias registry office in Melbourne. This office is backed by Afilias' experienced teams in North America, Europe and Asia.

Competitive pricing: auDA has already announced a 10% reduction in wholesale fees for .au names. Additional savings are earmarked for other activities designed to ensure the .au namespace remains the preferred address for Australians.

Cameron Boardman, CEO of auDA said: "The transition to Afilias' modern registry positions .au to meet the needs of Australia's expanding digital economy, and offers all Australians the best possible service by ensuring the reliability and security of operations as well as the confidentiality, integrity and availability of data."

Ram Mohan, Executive Vice President of Afilias, noted "Afilias is proud to support .au, one of the world's leading ccTLDs, as it enters a new era of growth and vitality enabled by modern, high capacity, secure and resilient infrastructure. The .au Registrars have done a wonderful job working with us on the transition, and we look forward to supporting them and the entire Australian internet community for many years to come."

The new system for .au went live on Sunday, July 1, 2018. During the handover of the registry database from the legacy operator to Afilias, .au websites and email continued to work without interruption during this historic transition event. | 7/1/18
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AMC Theaters is entering the movie ticket subscription battle, as they announced the launch of their AMC Stubs A-List program, a plan that offers three movie tickets a week for $19.95/month. But what does AMC’s plan promise that makes it worth a price tag that’s double that of MoviePass?

Sustainability, says AMC CEO Adam Aron — and premium format screenings.

“Our program will be profitable while others struggle to be profitable,” said Aron during an investor call without mentioning the rival $9.95/month subscription program by name.

Since MoviePass announced that they would be launching a nationwide subscription program at a monthly rate below the average ticket price of many major markets, AMC has been their main rival. Hours after the plan was announced, AMC countered with a statement saying that they considered MoviePass’ business plan to be “unsustainable” and that their plan to work with theater chains in exchange for a percentage of concession sales would put the squeeze on exhibitors.

Also Read: AMC Theatres Announces MoviePass Killer: 12 Movies Per Month for $19.95

In the following months, AMC has been putting together a plan to expand their already existing AMC Stubs loyalty program with a subscription plan similar to the ones they have already rolled out at their European chain, Odeon. Aron says that at the $19.95 price point, moviegoers will enjoy a bargain at a rate that won’t disrupt the current theater system.

“Our program should be beneficial for all involved. A good deal for consumers, but being done at a sustainable price point where we will be profitable … and in turn, that we can share that increased profitability with our studio and premium format partners.”

And while Aron made an effort to keep direct comparisons to MoviePass to a minimum, he noted perks of the A-List plan that coincide with some of the technical difficulties and frustrations that MoviePass subscribers have complained about on social media.

Also Read: MoviePass Wants Millennials to See More Indie Films, Starting With 'American Animals'

While MoviePass subscribers can only buy tickets in advance from select partners like Landmark Theaters, AMC is promising advance ticketing at all their locations for all films. Also, while MoviePass has removed the ability to see repeat screenings of a film — in part to push subscribers toward using it for indie films rather than binges of the same blockbuster — AMC will allow repeat screenings, so Marvel fans can use the subscription to watch “Avengers 4” next year as much as they want.

But what AMC hopes will be the big draw for the program is that all premium formats, including IMAX, will be included as part of the plan. While European subscription plans include an extra charge for IMAX screenings, A-List will remove the $5-10 upcharge for premium screenings, making the monthly subscription price cheaper than a premium ticket in major markets.

“We think that the demand is going to be tremendous,” IMAX CEO Rich Gelfond told TheWrap. “The ability to get premium tickets and for IMAX in particular will be a big part of the marketing efforts for this plan and we do plan to support that plan. I expect that we will be seeing an increase in attendance immediately as this plan rolls out.”

Also Read: MoviePass Owner Announces Plan to Acquire Emmett Furla Oasis Films

AMC is expecting that it will take more time for them to see profits. Between the $5 million marketing campaign and the growing pains that will come with building the subscriber base, Aron says they expect a net cost of $5-10 million in ticket sales through the end of 2018. Based on their customer data — which includes MoviePass subscribers that have used AMC — they have found that the earliest subscribers are the ones that use the system the most frequently.

But starting in 2019, AMC is expecting annual earnings before taxes from A-List of $15-20 million per 1 million subscribers, and that’s assuming that subscribers use the service 2.5 times a month.

“If the average usage drops down to even 2.25 times per month, we could see that run rate grow by another $10 million,” Aron said.

Also Read: MoviePass Parent Company Stock Continues Free Fall, Drops 12 Percent to New All-Time Low

The timing of this rollout is certainly interesting considering where MoviePass is. While MoviePass is moving forward on plans to create their own production wing, their parent company, data group Helios and Matheson, is at risk of being delisted from Nasdaq as their stock price has fallen below a dollar for more than 30 days. The company has presented several options to its shareholders on how to stabilize its financial structure.

But AMC is rolling out A-List now not because of MoviePass, but because the box office is white hot right now. Domestic box office revenue is set to hit $6 billion before the end of June for the first time ever, and is more than 6 percent ahead of last year’s pace. The A-List plan will open subscriptions next Tuesday following the opening weekend of “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom,” with early subscribers able to lock in the subscription price should it be adjusted in the future.

Early subscribers will be able to use the service on a July release slate that includes “Ant-Man and The Wasp,” “Blindspotting,” “Skyscraper,” and “Mission: Impossible — Fallout.”

“If there’s ever a time to lose money on this plan, it’s now,” Aron said confidently to investors. “AMC is on fire right now, and that fire is roaring hot.”

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Sony Pictures TV will undergo an unspecified number of layoffs as part of a divisional reorg, which will include the creation of a direct-to-consumer unit.

In a memo on the changes sent to staff on Wednesday morning, Sony Pictures TV Chairman Mike Hopkins (pictured above) outlined three areas to be reorganized. Hopkins said that the company will combine global networks operations and worldwide distribution/home etertainment into a single business unit that will then operate in a territory management model that “brings together, under a single local leader, businesses that have been historically separate.”

“With this approach, we gain a more efficient structure giving regional leaders, along with their direct reports in each country, the ability to make smart, strategic business decisions, while keeping local consumers at the core of what we do,” Hopkins said.

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The second area to be reorganized will be centralizing key services “to help drive integrated programming, operations, creative services and sales functions.” Hopkins said that unit will be based in Culver City, and a newly created role, EVP, Networks Operations, Programming & Strategy, given to TC Schultz.

Finally, Hopkins said that a direct-to-consumer unit will be created including Crackle, Funimation, Film1 OTT and Animax on demand. That unit will will be overseen by Eric Berger, who will continue to oversee getTV, Cine Sony and Sony Movie Channel.

Hopkins ended the memo by recognizing the changes “will be a significant adjustment.”

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“We’ve had to make some difficult decisions but they were important moves as we reorient our business to align with the realities of today’s marketplace,” he said.

Below is Hopkins’ full memo on the changes. The note was obtained by TheWrap shortly after he sent it to staff on Wednesday.

Hi Everyone,

I wanted to share some important organizational changes taking place across our television networks, distribution and home entertainment units that will fundamentally change the way we operate and manage those businesses moving forward. These changes are part of our ongoing “Reimagining SPE” efforts that Tony announced earlier this year to create a stronger and more agile organization, one that is better able to pivot and capitalize on opportunities in a fast-changing and increasingly complex global marketplace.

Over the next several weeks, we will be reorganizing in the following areas:

  • Combining global networks operations and worldwide distribution/home entertainment into a single business unit operating in a territory management model;
  • Centralizing key services to help drive integrated programming, operations, creative services and sales functions;
  • Establishing a direct-to-consumer unit focused on engaging audiences and building new platforms.

Territory Management Model 

Broadly speaking, the new territory management model brings together, under a single local leader, businesses that have been historically separate. With this approach, we gain a more efficient structure giving regional leaders, along with their direct reports in each country, the ability to make smart, strategic business decisions, while keeping local consumers at the core of what we do.

With this change, we are appointing leaders within each region, under the leadership of Keith Le Goy. These regional leaders will have oversight of television and home entertainment distribution, as well as management of SPT-owned networks in their respective territories. Leadership and approach by region will be as follows:

  • In Europe, the newly combined organization will be led by Mark Young (WE) and John Rossiter (CEEMA).
  • The APAC region will be overseen by Ken Lo.
  • Alex Marin will oversee operations in LATAM and Canada.
  • In addition to her responsibility for US cable, Flory Bramnick will now take on US syndication duties and advertiser sales. Jason Spivak will oversee management of US home entertainment, pay TV and SVOD sales.
  • Paul Littmann will continue to oversee our global deals and emerging clients across the distribution, home entertainment and networks businesses.

We are also re-energizing our first-run syndication business, and John Weiser will step into a newly developed role, President, First Run Television, reporting to me. In this position, John will be focused on identifying and selling first-run syndication properties partnering with Holly Jacobs for US production, Michael Davies for Embassy Row and Wayne Garvie’s international production teams.

Our India channels operation, led by NP Singh, will begin to oversee television distribution in India. NP will continue to report to me.

Centralized Services

 Moving forward, we are bringing key global networks functions under one centralized services unitbased in Culver City. TC Schultz, reporting to me in a newly created role of EVP, Networks Operations, Programming & Strategy, will move back to Los Angeles to oversee programming, tech operations and creative services.

Additional services will be centralized under Keith as follows:

  • Distribution operations will be led by Angel Orengo, who relocates to Los Angeles for this new role from his previous stint as EVP, Distribution for EMEA.
  • Distribution strategy and content management will be led by Mike Wald, with the added oversight of content acquisition, content partnerships and global partner marketing.
  • consumer insights and innovation unit, focusing on sales strategy, data and process engineering across distribution and home entertainment, will be led by Kim Overall.
  • Lexine Wong will continue to lead home entertainment marketing.


Finally, in keeping with our goal of connecting directly with our viewers and increasing our understanding of how to engage with them, we are forming a new unit of direct-to-consumer properties, including Crackle, Funimation, Film1 OTT and Animax on demand, that will be overseen by Eric Berger, reporting to me. Takiyama-san, who leads Animax and Animax on demand, and Gen Fukunaga, who leads Funimation, will continue to be an important part of our global anime effort. In addition, Eric will continue to oversee our US channels businesses – getTV, Cine Sony and Sony Movie Channel.

I understand that these changes, following the restructuring earlier this year, will be a significant adjustment for many of you. We’ve had to make some difficult decisions but they were important moves as we reorient our business to align with the realities of today’s marketplace.

I look forward to speaking with you and answering any questions you may have when we meet later today.


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More to come…

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Early June 2018 the European Internet community traveled into the Caucasian Mountains to participate in EURODIG 11. On its way into the digital age, Europe is, as EU Commissioner Mariya Gabriel said, at another crossroad. In cyberspace, Europe risks becoming sandwiched between US and Chinese Cyberpower policies. Social networks, search engines, smartphones, eTrade platforms — key sectors of today's digital economy — are dominated both by the US and Chinese giants: Alibaba and Amazon, Google and Baidu, Facebook and Weibo, Apple and Huawai. And it is also clear, that the 2020s global political agenda will be determined by issues like cyberwar and digital trade where the United States of America and the Peoples Republic of China will be the main competitors. Insofar EURODIG was a good opportunity to discuss the role of Europe in this forthcoming very complex cyber powerplay.

EURODIG is the European regional version of the UN based Internet Governance Forum (IGF). The 11th edition in Tbilisi, Georgia, saw 800 registrations from more than 50 countries, representing all stakeholder groups. And the agenda covered nearly everything: from cybersecurity and digital trade to artificial intelligence and human rights. EU Commissioner Mariya Gabriel called EURODIG "the most successful and most relevant regional initiative on Internet Governance." And indeed, over the years, EURODIG has innovated the IGF processes with new ideas: interactive formats of sessions, tangible output in form of clear and short messages, a youth IGF, open calls for themes, decentralized and bottom-up management procedures.

However, the Tbilisi meeting also showed that the IGF community, which has grown substantially since the days of the 2005 UN World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), is now also partly the victim of its own success. There is a risk that the "usual suspects" of the global Internet Governance debate, who have been the drivers of discussions in the past, are sidelined and substituted by new communities which represent new powerhouses from governments and businesses. Those powerhouses have their own new agendas and tend to ignore widely what has been achieved over the last two decades in building a functioning Internet Governance ecosystem.

Reinventing the Wheel?

For years the message from EURODIG and the IGF was: Internet Governance is a big political issue and the multistakeholder approach is an innovation in global policymaking. 15 years after the WSIS I, world leaders have now recognized that the internet is indeed a big issue — they call it now "cyber" or "digital" — and they discuss it at summit meetings like BRICS, G7 or G20. But they have partly different ideas how to manage this network of networks. They pay lipservice to the multistakeholder approach, but the reality is that the majority of governments prefer to negotiate Internet-related issues behind closed doors.

This is the case if it comes to cybersecurity where a UN Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) tried to define rules of the road for the cyberspace. This is the case for digital trade, where the intergovernmental World Trade Organisation is negotiating behind closed doors frameworks for eCommerce. Both issues have been discussed since years both at the IGF and EURODIG. And agreements which have been achieved in this global Internet Governance debate are certainly also relevant for cybersecurity and digital trade.

The Tunis Agenda (2005) has defined what Internet Governance is and has invited both state and non-state actors to participate — in their respective roles — in the development of Internet-related public policies. The NetMundial Declaration (2014) has defined fundamental principles for good behaviour in cyberspace and has specified guidelines for multistakeholder cooperation as openness, transparency, bottom-up and inclusive. ICANN's IANA transition (2016) has demonstrated the feasibility of multistakeholder cross-community processes by transferring the responsibility for the management of key global Internet resources — domain names, IP addresses, and Internet protocols — to the empowered community (which include also governments in their respective role).

But the new intergovernmental negotiating bodies which are dealing now with cybersecurity and digital trade are rather dislinked from IGF and ICANN processes. What we see is that new intergovernmental silos are emerging and the risk is growing that in all those new closed silos the cyberwheel is reinvented.

This new intergovernmental silo approach could become a big problem. The Internet is a network of networks, everything is connected with everything via protocols and codes. This has consequences for Internet-related public policies. In the analog world, security issues had only little to do with trade, environment or freedom of expression. In the digital world, those issues are interconnected as the new EU data protection legislation (GDPR) is demonstrating. The regulation of a human rights issue — privacy — has far-reaching consequences for the business model of internet corporations and the security agenda of law enforcement agencies. And this is valid also the other way around. Any cybersecurity treaty will have economic implications and touches human rights. And agreements on digital trade will have a cybersecurity component and will also have consequences for human rights.

In other words, the big challenge with the Internet Governance Ecosystems and its growing complexity is not only to include all stakeholders in their respective roles in policy development and decision making but also to inter-link the new emerging intergovernmental silos and to pull them into a multistakeholder environment. What is needed is a holistic approach to global Internet negotiations as it was also recognized during the recent Bratislava meeting (May 2018) of the Global Commission on Stability in Cyberspace.

The Need for a Holistic Approach

How to organize such a holistic approach? The first step has to be to enhance communication among all governmental and non-governmental stakeholders. Decisions can be made only on an informed basis. No single stakeholder has all the knowledge and all the capacities which are needed to find sustainable solutions.

There is a need for something like a "global clearinghouse" which identifies the key components of an issue before decisions are made. But wait a minute, such a "clearinghouse" does already exist. If we would not have the Internet Governance Forum (IGF), there would be a need to invent it now. The IGF and its regional and national subsidiaries — like EURODIG — provide the needed framework for such a discussion across constituencies, stakeholders, state and nonstate organizations. The problem is that some governments and some business underestimate the potential of the IGF and are looking for alternative venues.

It is certainly true that the IGF has some weaknesses. The UNCSTD IGF Improvement Working Group has made some recommendations which have been reaffirmed by the UN General Assembly in its WSIS+10 Resolution in December 2015. Progress is slow but there is improvement: More intercessional work, more tangible output, more interlinkage with national and regional initiatives. And we see as EURDOG in Tbilissi has demonstrated, a more interactive cross-community debate, the involvement of more young people and the ability to send 62 short and concrete messages to all stakeholders which tell them what they could and should do in fields like cybersecurity, digital trade, artificial intelligence or human rights.

The new UN Internet Commission, which will be probably established under the guidance of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guiterres by the forthcoming UN General Assembly in fall 2018 would be very wise if it would push for a strengthening of the IGF process and to recommend to governmental and non-governmental stakeholders not only to deepen the multistakeholder cooperation but to argue also in favor of a holistic approach.

A new Round of Controversies?

However, recent meetings on the highest political level did send some contradicting and confusing messages to the global Internet community.

On the one hand, the leaders of the G7 — including US President Trump, French President Macron and the German Chancellor Merkel — during its meeting in June 2018 in Canada remained silent with regard to cybersecurity and digtal trade, but agreed on a "Commitment on Defending Democracy from Foreign Threats" which included the establishment of "a G7 Rapid Response Mechanism to strengthen our coordination to identify and respond to diverse and evolving threats to our democracies, including through sharing information and analysis, and identifying opportunities for coordinated response… in collaboration with governments, civil society and the private sector". The G7 wants to "engage directly with internet service providers and social media platforms regarding malicious misuse of information technology by foreign actors, with a particular focus on improving transparency regarding the use and seeking to prevent the illegal use of personal data and breaches of privacy."

On the other hand the leaders of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) — including Chinese President Xi, Russian President Putin and India's President Modi — during its parallel meeting in China supported "the central role of the UN in developing universal international rules and principles as well as norms for countries' responsible behaviour in the information space." They advocated for "the establishment of a working mechanism within the framework of the UN". And they argued that "a governing organization established to manage key internet resources must be international, more representative and democratic."

What does this mean? Is this the kick-start for a re-opening of the ICANN vs. ITU controversy? It could become a "hot fall" for Internet discussions.

In October 2018 there will be ICANN's High-Level GAC Meeting in Barcelona. The other week ITU's Plenipotentiary Conference starts in Dubai. Mid-November 2018 will see the IGF in Paris. And at the end of November 2018, the leaders of the G20 meet in Buenos Aires. Let's wait and see how the Internet world looks in December 2018.

A Chance for Europe

In this process, Europe has a chance to become a driver and pioneer.

1. Europe's strength is the rule of law. European institutions — from the Council of Europe with the European Court of Human Rights to the institutions of the European Union with the European Parliament, European Commission and European Court of Justice have produced instruments and offer procedures which make clear that cyberspace is not ruled by the "law of the jungle". GDPR is an interesting case and it remains to be seen how this European regulation contributes to more stability in cyberspace. It is a complicated issue and slippery territory but there is a need for rules-based frameworks also for issues like cybersecurity, taxation, fake news, hatespeech and others.

2. Europe's opportunity is industry 4.0, Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things. To link Europe's manufacturing industry to digitalization has a lot of potential. Europe has a highly developed educational system which is able to produce the skill sets needed for tomorrows digital economy.

3. But Europe's weakness is to translate good ideas into concrete policies and projects. The 28 member states of the EU have declared the establishment of a Digital Single Market as a high priority. Under the Estonian EU presidency (Fall 2017) there was a "Digital EU Summit". There is some progress, but progress is slow. And Europe has an implementation problem.

Looking into the coming months, there is a window of opportunity for a big European Cyber initiative which could include also proposals for a holistic approach to global Internet negotiations. When the French president Macron announced that Paris will host this year's IGF in Paris (November 2018) he also indicated that time is ripe to speed up Europe's journey into the digital age. After Paris, The Hague will host EURODIG 12 in June 2019. And the 14th IGF is scheduled for Berlin (November 2019). What is needed now on the road to Paris, The Hague and Berlin is more European steam.

Written by Wolfgang Kleinwächter, Professor Emeritus at the University of Aarhus | 6/18/18
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Was it a Hollywood extravagance or a turning point in world history, maybe even with a future impact on Iran? Of course, only time will tell. All the praise or criticism of Trump is sheer speculation.

Naturally, Israel hopes it will also affect Iran's drive for nuclear weapons. Leading Israeli experts, such as Menashe Amir, see signs that the ayatollahs are worried that Trump may parlay the Singapore summit to mobilize greater pressure on Tehran. His scrapping of the 2015 deal has already forced several big European concerns to cancel lucrative deals with Iran for fear of being sanctioned by Washington. Most notably, the Nike decision to bar the Iranian soccer squad from wearing Nike sports shoes at the current World Cup. It's no contest when having to choose between doing business in the American and Iranian economies.

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With their fans still buzzing about the ending of “Avengers: Infinity War,” Marvel Studios is looking to cap off a wildly successful 2018 with “Ant-Man and the Wasp,” the sequel to a film that was one of the studio’s lowest-grossing releases. But box office trackers are expecting an improvement with a $75 million opening, roughly 30 percent higher than the $57 million made by the first “Ant-Man” in 2015.

While this result would make “Wasp” the first Marvel Studios release since “Doctor Strange” to post an opening below $100 million, the film still has the chance to post a higher figure, especially if Marvel fans get word that it contains clues to how Ant-Man will factor into next year’s “Avengers 4.”

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While many other Marvel movies have been released in major overseas territories before the U.S., American fans will get the film in the first wave of releases while much of Western Europe will see it two weeks later. Disney has done this to give “Wasp” some distance from their other superhero offering, “The Incredibles 2,” which is following a steady international rollout schedule. The release in those territories will also take place after the FIFA World Cup Final, which will be played on July 15.

In all, “Ant-Man and the Wasp” has a opportunity to improve on its predecessor’s $180 million domestic total and $519 million global gross, possibly pushing Marvel Studios past $4 billion in global grosses for 2018 and past $17 billion in lifetime grosses. This week, “Avengers: Infinity War” became the first ever summer release to gross $2 billion worldwide, while “Black Panther” became one of the top ten highest grossing films ever with $1.34 billion.

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Taking place before “Infinity War,” “Ant-Man and the Wasp” sees Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) under house arrest as he tries to balance his secret life as Ant-Man with his responsibilities as a father. In the midst of this struggle, Scott’s partners in superheroics, Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly), discover a potential secret to their past after a criminal named Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen) steals one of their suits and uses it to phase through walls. As Ant-Man swings into action, he’s joined by Hope, who takes up her mother’s mantle as The Wasp.

The film also stars Michael Pena, Walton Goggins, Bobby Cannavale, Judy Greer and Laurence Fishburne. Also joining the cast is Michelle Pfeiffer in her first superhero movie since “Batman Returns,” playing Hope’s long-lost mother and the original Wasp, Janet van Dyne. Peyton Reed returns to direct, with Rudd sharing screenplay credit with a new writing team led by “Spider-Man: Homecoming” co-writer Chris McKenna.

“Ant-Man and the Wasp” hits theaters July 6.

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The economy of Europe comprises more than 731 million people in 48 different states. Like other continents, the wealth of Europe's states varies, although the poorest are well above the poorest states of other continents in terms of GDP and living standards. The difference in wealth across Europe can be seen in a rough East-West divide. Whilst Western European states all have high GDPs and living standards, many of Eastern Europe's economies are still rising from the collapse of the communist Soviet Union and former Yugoslavia. Throughout this article "Europe" and derivatives of the word are taken to include selected states whose territory is only partly in Europe – such as Turkey, Azerbaijan, and the Russian Federation – and states that are geographically in Asia, bordering Europe – such as Armenia and Cyprus. Europe was the first continent to industrialize – led by the United Kingdom in the 18th century – and as a result, it has become the richest continent in the world today and the nominal GDP in 2010 is $19.920 trillion (32.4% of the World). Europe's largest national economy is that of Germany, which ranks fourth globally in nominal GDP, and fifth in purchasing power parity (PPP) GDP; followed by France, ranking fifth globally in nominal GDP, followed by the United Kingdom, ranking sixth globally in nominal GDP, followed by Italy, which ranks seventh globally in nominal GDP, then by Russia ranking tenth globally in nominal GDP. These 5 countries are all ranking in the world's top 10, therefore European economies account for half of the 10 wealthiest ones. The end of World War II has since brought European countries closer together, culminating in the formation of the European Union (EU) and in 1999, the introduction of a unified currency – the euro. European Union as a whole is, by far, the wealthiest and largest economy in the world, topping the US by more than 2.000 billions at a time of great economic slowdown– see List of countries by GDP. In 2009 Europe remained the world's wealthiest region. Its $32,7 trillion in assets under management represented more than one-third of the world’s wealth. Unlike North America ($29,3 trillion) it was one of few regions where wealth surpassed its precrisis year-end peak. Of the top 500 largest corporations measured by revenue, 184 have their headquarters in Europe. 161 are located in the EU, 15 in Switzerland, 6 in Russia, 1 in Turkey, 1 in Norway. 19 out of the top 26 nations in the world with the highest nominal GDP per capita are in Europe as of 2010. nr 1 Monaco $203,900 nr 2 Liechtenstein $136,864 nr 3 Luxembourg $104.390 nr 4 Norway $84,543 nr 6 Switzerland $67,074 nr 7 Denmark $55,112 nr 8 San Marino $50,670 nr 10 Sweden $47,667 nr 13 Netherlands 46,418 nr 15 Ireland $45,642 nr 16 Austria $43,723 nr 17 Finland $43,133 nr 19 Belgium $42,596 nr 21 Andorra $41,130 nr 22 France $40,591 nr 23 Germany $40,511 nr 24 Iceland $39,562 nr 25 UK $36,298 nr 26 Italy $33,828

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