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European countries have to "get ready for a rough ride" says an author who rejects claims of turbulence in world history over in recent decades.
www.bbc.co.uk | 10/23/18
Italy’s government vowed to forge ahead with its spending plans, despite warnings by the European Union that its proposed budget would breach the bloc’s fiscal rules, raising the prospect of a clash with Brussels.
www.wsj.com | 10/22/18
Chancellor Angela Merkel has offered government support to efforts to open up Germany to U.S. gas, a key concession to President Trump as he tries to loosen Russia’s grip on Europe’s largest energy market.
www.wsj.com | 10/22/18

Amazon Studios has tapped Chris Castallo as head of unscripted television.

Castallo replaces Heather Schuster, who left Amazon in August, after less than a year on the job.

In his new role, he will spearhead development of unscripted as the company eyes formats with global appeal. Castallo will be heavily involved in Mark Burnett’s “Eco-Challenge” and the upcoming fashion series with Tim Gunn and Heidi Klum. Castallo will report directly to Amazon TV co-heads Albert Cheng and Vernon Sanders.

Also Read: Amazon Studios Names James Farrell Head of International Originals

Castallo was most recently head of development at Verizon’s mobile platform, Go90, until it was shut down in July. He was also a former head of alternative for CBS, where he oversaw reality series including “Survivor,” “Amazing Race,” “Undercover Boss” and “Big Brother” during his 10-year tenure. He was named executive VP of alternative programming in 2013 after previously serving as senior VP.

Schuster’s exit came after an investigation into her corporate conduct, according to Deadline. Citing an unnamed source, the site reported that the investigation stemmed from concerns about Schuster’s verbal behavior. Schuster was named to the position last October, filling the vacancy left by Conrad Riggs during the executive shakeup following the ouster of former programming boss Roy Price.

Last week, Amazon named James Farrell as head of international originals. In the newly created role, Farrell will lead the international originals teams in Japan, India, Europe, Mexico and Brazil, as well as future locales. He’ll report to Jen Salke.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Amazon Studios Names James Farrell Head of International Originals

Ebay Says Amazon 'Illegally' Poached High-Value Sellers in New Lawsuit

Amazon's Jeff Bezos: Social Media Inflames 'Identity Politics, Tribalism'

www.thewrap.com | 10/22/18
The Lebanese government should coordinate with European governments to look into the fate of missing Lebanese journalist Samir Kassab, the director of a media freedom NGO said Sunday, five years after Kassab was kidnapped in Syria.

LONDON/BELFAST ? Hundreds of thousands of supporters of the European Union marched through London on Saturday in the biggest demonstration so far to demand that the British government holds a public vote...

www.nationnews.com | 10/20/18

Amazon Studios has named James Farrell as head of international originals. In the newly created role, Farrell will lead the international originals teams in Japan, India, Europe, Mexico and Brazil, as well as future locales. He’ll report to Jen Salke.

Previously, Farrell was Amazon Studios’ head of content and international expansion. He helped launch Prime Video in Japan, India and Latin America.

“We’ve had significant success in this area to date and, by streamlining our International Originals Team under one creative leader, we can strategically carry out our ambitious global vision and ensure our future growth,” said Salke, the head of Amazon Studios. “Breakout ideas can come from creators all over the world and, by ramping up global production and making Amazon Studios the home for creators worldwide, the possibilities are endless in terms of what we can bring our Prime Video audience.”

Also Read: Ebay Says Amazon 'Illegally' Poached High-Value Sellers in New Lawsuit

“The opportunity around the world to find top quality original content and deliver it to Amazon’s global customer base is absolutely huge. Our goal is to search out the most unique voices throughout the world and then move quickly to help bring their visions to life,” said Farrell. “We’re committed to finding the best stories, no matter their country of origin, and will be casting a wide net and moving very fast in the months and years ahead. There’s nothing I enjoy more than talking with creators in their offices and homes around the world, and it’s very exciting to be taking on this new role at Amazon Studios.”

Brad Beale, vice president of worldwide content licensing, will continue to oversee the acquisition and licensing of television and film for Prime Video globally.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Amazon's Jeff Bezos: Social Media Inflames 'Identity Politics, Tribalism'

Blake Lively Scripted Series in the Works at Amazon

Mark Judge's Memoir Selling for $1,899 on Amazon — Yes, You Read That Right

www.thewrap.com | 10/19/18
Italy’s government approved a draft budget law for next year, confirming a set of expansionary measures that could lead to a fast-rising deficit and a conflict with the European Union.
www.wsj.com | 10/15/18
Italy’s government approved a draft budget law for next year, confirming a set of expansionary measures that could lead to a fast-rising deficit and a conflict with the European Union.
www.wsj.com | 10/15/18

A chill must have gone down the spines of dissident journalists all over the world when the news about Jamal Khashoggi came out a week ago — that he had disappeared inside the Saudi consulate in Turkey and may have been killed and dismembered by Saudi government operatives.

Iranian journalist Masih Alinejad found it frightening and ominous. “My first reaction when I heard the news was I got goosebumps,” she told me last week on a visit to Los Angeles. “I said, ‘This could happen to me as well.’ We journalists of the Middle East — this is the fear we have in our hearts. We are not totally out of their reach.”

Like Khashoggi, the 42-year-old Alinejad is based in the United States, nominally beyond the reach of the regime that she relentlessly criticizes over her social media channels, in her recent book “The Wind In My Hair” and in her work for various outlets including the Voice of America Persian service.

Also Read: WME Parent Company Endeavor 'Assessing' Saudi Partnership After Jamal Khashoggi's Disappearance (Exclusive)

How safe is she?

Alinejad leads a large and growing civil disobedience campaign against the compulsory hijab, encouraging women in Iran to remove their hijabs and posting photos and videos of them doing so on social media.

She encourages women to out their sexual harrassers by taking video and sending it to her, and she posts that as well.

Her Instagram videos typically draw millions of views, making her the voice of dissident Iranian women from her home base in Brooklyn and a constant thorn in the side of the Iranian regime.

Also Read: New York Times Cancels Hosted Saudi Arabia Trips After Khashoggi Disappearance

The parallels to another authoritarian regime, Saudi Arabia, are unmistakable for Alinejad. In March, she was threatened by a prominent member of the Basij — Iran’s feared paramilitary arm.

The official told BBC’s Persian Service “that he would hire someone in America to kill Masih — to cut her chest, cut her tongue and send it to her parents in Iran,” Alinejad recalled (she wrote about it in the Washington Post at the time).

When she tried to lodge a complaint at the Iranian interest section in the Pakistan embassy in Washington, she was told she could not enter unless she covered her hair. She refused.

Also Read: CNN Pulls Out of Saudi Arabia Conference Amid Khashoggi Disappearance

That is not the only threat that Alinejad has faced. A year ago, the Iranian government prevailed on Alinejad’s parents to invite her to Turkey, saying that they wanted to “have a chat” with her. Alinejad smelled a trap and declined to go.

After that incident, her parents publicly denounced her and she said she no longer is in contact with them.

Recently came word that a senior official in the Iranian department that oversees public morals told the Iranian Fars News Agency that if Alinejad enters any embassy outside of Iran, she should be arrested. So far Alinejad has not gone abroad, but the still-unconfirmed fate of Jamal Khashoggi weighs heavily on her.

Also Read: Iranian Feminist on How Western Liberals Are Making Women's Lives Worse in Her Country (Video)

“I have to be more careful, that’s it,” she said. “But I don’t want to live in fear. I don’t want to keep silent because of that.”

Alinejad spoke at a WrapWomen event earlier this year, talking about the responsibility of the West to support dissident voices — even when it made diplomatic relations more complicated. To fail to do so, she argues, betrays our democratic values.

“This story is beyond sad,” she said. “Being a journalist and living in fear all your life in your country — you leave your country for one dream — to be safe, to be the voice of the people who are suffering from lack of freedom. And then, in a safe country you get killed? It means they attacked your dreams. And it’s more sad if you see the West doesn’t take any action.”

Also Read: STX Entertainment CEO Robert Simonds Withdraws From Saudi Conference Amid Khashoggi Disappearance

Alinejad had harsh words for those in America and Europe who welcomed Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman as a reformer without scrutinizing his other repressive actions, such as locking up his relatives and women who had challenged the driving ban.

“They are talking about bin Salman’s reform to let women drive, but they never ask where are the campaigners against the driving ban,” she observed. “They are in prison right now in Saudi Arabia, but they (the West) doesn’t care because the reform is the main issue… When we are fighting the dictatorship in the Middle East, and the West legitimizes them — that kills us.

“We try to stop living in paranoia,” she said. “I have only one life. If Khashoggi was alive he’d say the same thing, I’m sure. We have only one life. We dedicate ourselves to our goal, to our dream. What really kills me is that in a really free country, in the West, you can take action, but because of the political agenda they keep silent. They don’t force the Saudi government or Iranian government to pay the price. That’s what kills me.

“What is the West going to do?” she asked.

Watch Alinejad’s interview from last June below. She will also be appearing at WrapWomen’s Power Women Summit on November 1-2 in Los Angeles.

Related stories from TheWrap:

STX Entertainment CEO Robert Simonds Withdraws From Saudi Conference Amid Khashoggi Disappearance

New York Times Cancels Hosted Saudi Arabia Trips After Khashoggi Disappearance

CNN Pulls Out of Saudi Arabia Conference Amid Khashoggi Disappearance

WME Parent Company Endeavor 'Assessing' Saudi Partnership After Jamal Khashoggi's Disappearance (Exclusive)

www.thewrap.com | 10/15/18
European Social Fund money is not being dispersed to local projects quickly enough, says Local Government Association.
www.bbc.co.uk | 10/12/18

Filed under: Government/Legal,Safety

5-year process to get technology long used in Europe and Japan

Continue reading NHTSA OKs advanced headlights for use in U.S.

NHTSA OKs advanced headlights for use in U.S. originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 11 Oct 2018 18:14:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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www.autoblog.com | 10/12/18
Italy’s fiscal watchdog criticized the economic forecasts of the country’s new government, in a blow to the credibility of budget policies that are unnerving investors and the European Union.
www.wsj.com | 10/9/18
Italy’s fiscal watchdog criticized the economic forecasts of the country’s new government, in a blow to the credibility of budget policies that are unnerving investors and the European Union.
www.wsj.com | 10/9/18
Bulgarian prosecutors have opened an investigation into the suspected misuse of European Union funds, following the brutal slaying of a television reporter who highlighted possible government corruption.
www.foxnews.com | 10/9/18
Ireland is growing faster than any other European economy but the budget its government is due to announce Tuesday will be notably cautious for one reason: Brexit.
www.wsj.com | 10/9/18
Hundreds of thousands of new jobs in Germany are being done by workers from eastern Europe, according to government figures. Employment figures in July were 700,000 higher than in the previous year.
www.dw.com | 10/7/18

First Lady Melania Trump is catching heat yet again over her clothing choice.

On Friday, while visiting a safari in Nairobi National Park in Kenya — a stop on her first solo trip to Africa — FLOTUS was photographed wearing a white pith helmet, a hat most commonly associated with colonialists.

In the 19th and 20th centuries, European military personnel often wore pith helmets as they sought out colonies in Africa and Asia. The hats remained popular with those who moved to colonized countries and are seen by many as symbolic of the oppression of colonization.

Shortly after the sighting, several people called Melania out on Twitter. “Melania Trump wearing a pith helmet on her trip to ‘Africa’ is more than a silly sartorial choice. It’s a reflection of her outdated understanding of Africa,” Kim Yi Dionne, a political-science professor who specializes in African politics at the University of California, Riverside wrote.

“Also, she was photographed in safari attire multiple times on this trip,” Dionne added.

Matt Carotenuto, a historian and coordinator of African Studies at St. Lawrence University wrote, “Melania completes the stereotype trifecta– elephants, orphans and even the pith helmet.”

FLOTUS’ accessory of choice came just one day after she was greeted in Malawi with a crowd of protestors, including two carrying a sign that read: “Welcome to Malawi #NOTAS—HOLE!,” according to the Associated Press.

The hashtag was a reference to her husband Donald Trump’s remarks in January in which he reportedly referred to some African nations, along with Haiti and El Salvador, as “s—hole countries.”

Malawi was the first lady’s second stop on her four-nation tour of Africa.

While there, she reportedly toured outdoor classrooms at Chipala Primary School in Lilongwe, before giving remarks as the U.S. ambassador passed out 1.4 million books paid for through a national reading program funded by the U.S.

Melania Trump wearing a pith helmet on her trip to "Africa" is more than a silly sartorial choice. It's a reflection of her outdated understanding of Africa. (Also, she was photographed in safari attire multiple times on this trip.) #FLOTUSinAfricaBingo https://t.co/aCnkOnPBF8

— kim yi dionne (@dadakim) October 5, 2018

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Melania completes the stereotype trifecta–elephants, orphans and even the pith helmet…..#FLOTUSinAfrica2018 @africasacountry @AFP @AP pic.twitter.com/TkgFb3w4yY

— Matt Carotenuto (@matt_carotenuto) October 5, 2018

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“I wanted to be here to see the successful programs that United States is providing the children and thank you for everything you’ve done,” Melania said.

The first lady arrived in Ghana on Tuesday and stayed in the capital city of Accra, where she met over tea with Ghana’s first lady, Rebecca Akufo-Addo, at the presidential palace.

On Wednesday, she visited Cape Coast Castle, a former slave holding fort on Ghana’s coast.

After Kenya, FLOTUS will travel to Egypt before returning to Washington, D.C., on Sunday.

In June, Melania ruffled feathers once more when she visited McAllen, Texas, to visit migrant children who were separated from their parents as they were held at detention centers on the Mexico-U.S. border.

RELATED: First Lady Melania Trump to Speak Out in Rare ‘Wide-Ranging’ Sit-Down Interview with ABC News

For the trip, FLOTUS wore a green Zara jacket featuring the words “I Really Don’t Care, Do U?”

After many slammed the First Lady for being insensitive, her communications director, Stephanie Grisham came to her defense.

“It’s a jacket. There was no hidden message,” Grisham said in a statement. After today’s important visit to Texas, I hope the media isn’t going to choose to focus on her wardrobe (Much like her high heels last year).”

people.com | 10/6/18

Thanksgiving is just around the corner in Canada. It's a time of year when the harvest is in, the weather grows colder and families gather to give thanks for all they have.

It is in this moment of gratitude that I want to highlight one of the most valuable and unique offerings in our industry: the ways in which country code top-level domains (ccTLDs) give back. Canadians who choose to use a ccTLD, which for us is .CA, help contribute to investments in the internet community.

CIRA believes that it is important to give back to the internet, whether that be the Canadian internet community or the global internet in which we operate the .CA TLD and participate as a strong contributor. Further, as a not-for-profit organization, CIRA invests its resources into our aspirational goal of building a better online Canada. In fact, we believe so much in this goal that we've invested $6 million dollars over the last five years toward this goal, outside of the investment in our core mandate of bringing .CA to more Canadians and operating a safe, secure and trusted top-level domain.

Many of our ccTLD peers contribute to the internet ecosystem as well. While each organization's program is a little bit different, the intent is the same: to invest in a purpose greater than profit with a return on investment that benefits the communities we serve.

With the exception of a handful of generic TLDs, you won't find this from our more profit-driven peers.

It's a cycle: From community to ccTLD and back

At CIRA, we hold ourselves to high standards in stewarding .CA, which includes providing a safe, secure and stable .CA and underlying domain name system (DNS). We make every effort to provide the best service possible for our customers — .CA holders and others who subscribe to our cybersecurity services.

A portion of the revenue we make, thanks to our customers' trust in us, is funneled back into the Canadian internet community. Here's how:

  • We invest in internet exchange points (IXPs) that provide greater resiliency, data sovereignty and a higher-performing internet in our country. There are 10 IXPs across Canada and we've recently been a catalyst to an additional one in development in the Arctic community of Iqaluit, Nunavut. This will revolutionize the internet there, where right now the community is reliant on satellite connections resulting in slow and expensive internet service.
  • Through our Community Investment Program, we provide grants to organizations across Canada working on the frontlines of the internet. We've contributed $5.45 million over five years through that program. This has included 130 projects from across Canada including one underway now through an organization called Compucorps that will work with Indigenous women to increase their knowledge of website building and online branding to help them engage more in e-commerce. Or the Ragged edge community network stabilization and expansion project that focused on internet infrastructure in Northern Vancouver Island.
  • We're developing and investing in innovative products and services that secure the internet for its users, including our cybersecurity services (our D-Zone suite of products) that keep Canadian schoolchildren safe and add layers of protection to critical healthcare and municipal infrastructure.
  • We encourage Canadians to learn more about their internet by testing its speed and performance through CIRA's Internet Performance Test. There have been over 100,000 tests conducted across the country.
  • We fund, organize and participate in events and forums in Canada and globally where important topics are discussed, which influence internet policy, including an upcoming Canadian Internet Forum, a multistakeholder event being organized for early 2019.

All of that investment improves and expands the internet, gets more Canadians online, safely and securely, and makes it easier and more practical for them to participate in the digital economy. It also creates more opportunities to choose a .CA. Thus, the cycle starts again.

And it's global. We've long shared "giving back" experiences with our European peers — but examples are found around the globe. A recent visit to Brazil showed me a ccTLD highly committed to this cycle of giving back. I was impressed with all they do with their resources and encourage others to learn more from them.

Thanks for making a choice to give back

In Canada, as we gather around the dinner table for our Thanksgiving dinners, I want to give thanks to CIRA's customers for making it possible for our organization to give back. Consumers have more choices than ever when it comes to domain names. They can choose to go with .com or .net, or one of nearly a thousand new domain extensions. But what sets CIRA apart, alongside some of our ccTLD peers, is the determination to give back to the internet ecosystem in our countries. To invest what we earn into a higher purpose.

Thank you to those consumers who chose a ccTLD over others — because of you we're getting closer to a stronger, higher performing and more secure internet every day.

* * *

There are several ccTLDs that give back to the internet community. Here are a few examples.

Sweden: The Internet Foundation in Sweden, IIS invests funds to improve the stability of internet infrastructure in Sweden and to promote internet-focused research, training and education. For example, IIS invested 1 million SEK (about $145,000 CAD) roughly one year ago into Foo Café, a meeting place for developers, which sponsors meetups and events to help developers grow their competence and share knowledge.

Brazil: The Brazilian Internet Steering Committee — a multi-sectoral configuration of 21 members from civil society, the government, the business sector and the academic community — guide the healthy growth of the network in Brazil. One of their initiatives is the Web Technologies Study Center (Ceweb.br), created to help the Brazilian public participate in the global development of the web and public policymaking.

The Netherlands: SIDN not only operates .nl, it also provides funding support to ideas and projects that aim to make the internet stronger or that use the internet in innovative ways. For example, SIDN funded AI for GOOD, a project that aims to use artificial intelligence to improve the world. This online platform presents AI programming challenges to students, start-ups, hackers and developers to solve.

United Kingdom: Nominet funded a granting program for 10 years under the name Nominet Trust. In 2017, that fund began independent operation as the Social Tech Trust and Nominet is now focusing funding on connection, inclusivity and security. For example, they are working with Scouts UK to develop a cybersecurity curriculum and with the Prince's Trust on a digital platform to mentor troubled youth online.

Written by Byron Holland, President and CEO of CIRA

www.circleid.com | 10/4/18
Italy’s government set its budget deficit targets for 2020 and 2021 at lower levels than previously envisaged, after initial government plans had unnerved financial markets and European authorities.
www.wsj.com | 10/3/18

BIRMINGHAM, England ? Britain cannot be bullied, Brexit minister Dominic Raab said on Monday, sharpening the government’s criticism of the European Union for taunting Prime Minister Theresa May and souring...

www.nationnews.com | 10/1/18
Italy’s antiestablishment government has significantly widened its budget-deficit target for next year to fund its electoral promises, in a move that will likely put it on collision course with the European Union.
www.wsj.com | 9/28/18
Italy’s antiestablishment government has significantly widened its budget-deficit target for next year to fund its electoral promises, in a move that will likely put it on collision course with the European Union.
www.wsj.com | 9/28/18
The European Union is exploring a landmark deal with Egypt it hopes could alleviate a refugee crisis that has upended politics on the continent, EU officials said.
www.wsj.com | 9/21/18
The European Union is exploring a landmark deal with Egypt it hopes could alleviate a refugee crisis that has upended politics on the continent, EU officials said.
www.wsj.com | 9/20/18

The battle between 21st Century Fox and Comcast for British pay-TV company Sky PLC appears headed for a little-used aspect of how mergers and acquisitions are handled in the U.K.: An auction.

In the event that 21st Century Fox and Comcast find themselves at auction for Sky, here’s how the process plays out.

The U.K. Takeover Panel, which oversees all mergers and acquisitions, sets a deadline that, if there are still multiple suitors for a company, will trigger an auction to determine the winning bidder. The Takeover Panel does this to ensure that the company being acquired isn’t “under siege” for too long, while giving the shareholders for the potential buyers enough time to review all relevant materials from the proposal. Per the U.K.’s Takeover Code, that deadline is 46 days after the most recent offer is formally published with the U.K. Stock Exchange.

In this case, Fox and Comcast have until Saturday, 5 p.m. local time to either bow out or make their “best and final offer” for Sky. In the meantime, the three companies will negotiate the rules of the auction, which the Takeover Panel will formally announce on Friday.

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

Typically, the auction would last for five consecutive days, but the Panel allows for the parties to figure out the process themselves, as long as it doesn’t skirt any official rules. There have only been three British takeover situations since 2007 that have involved auctions handled by the regulator, per an analysis by Reuters.

The reason for Sky to take this to the auction stage would be to maximize the value for its shareholders, hoping the auction-style setting will force Comcast and Fox to keep one-upping each other.

Currently, Comcast holds the superior bid at $34 billion (£25.9 billion), roughly $2 billion higher than Fox’s offer of $32.5 billion (£24.5 billion). Comcast’s all-cash offer translates to £14.75 a share, which is roughly five percent higher than Fox’s £14 a share bid. Comcast’s offer has been recommended by the Sky Independent Committee of Directors.

Also Read: Comcast Increases Bid for Sky to $34 Billion

However, since Fox already owns 39 percent of the company, it needs only to convince another 12 percent to vote in its favor, whereas Comcast has to convince 51 percent of the board to vote in its favor.

With this headed towards an auction, it begs the question: Why does everyone want Sky so much?

More and more, U.S. companies have been looking internationally for a way to further build scale to compete against the rising tide of deep-pocketed tech companies — like Amazon and Netflix — invading their turf.

Sky’s businesses would grow Comcast’s international revenue from 9 percent of its overall revenue to 25 percent. Sky counts nearly 23 million customers in key parts of Europe, including Germany, Italy and Austria, along with the U.K. and Ireland.

Also Read: Fox and Disney Shareholders Vote to Approve $71.3 Billion Merger

Sky would fit in nicely with Comcast’s other assets, namely NBCUniversal, with its mix of entertainment, sports and news content. In February, Sky extended its rights deal with the English Premier League through 2022, among the world’s most popular (and thus, valuable) sports leagues. That would work well with Comcast, which holds the U.S. TV rights for the British soccer league via NBCUniversal, also through 2022.

Fox’s stake in Sky is part of its $71.3 billion sale of film and TV assets to Disney. CEO Bob Iger has previously referred to Sky as the “crown jewel” of Fox assets. Disney could use Sky’s broadband services to launch its upcoming service, which will debut at the end of 2019, in Europe.

Also, there’s a bit of corporate gamesmanship involved. Comcast made its own bid to buy the Fox assets instead of Disney, which forced Disney to increase its offer from its initial $52.4 billion that Fox accepted last year.

You can imagine that Iger would love to return the favor.

21st Century Fox declined to comment for this story, while representatives for Comcast and Sky did not return TheWrap’s request for comment.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Comcast Drops Bid for Fox Assets to Focus on Sky Instead

British Government OKs Fox's Bid to Buy Sky

Comcast Increases Bid for Sky to $34 Billion

www.thewrap.com | 9/20/18
Apple has finished wiring billions of euros to pay back illegal tax benefits to the Irish government according to Reuters. Overall, Apple has paid $15.3 billion (€13.1 billion) for the original fine as well as $1.4 billion (€1.2 billion) in interests. In August 2016 the European Commission ruled that Apple benefited from illegal tax benefits […]
techcrunch.com | 9/18/18

Filed under: Government/Legal,Ownership

Britons would have to get an international license to drive in Europe

Continue reading A 'no-deal' Brexit would make driving in Europe harder

A 'no-deal' Brexit would make driving in Europe harder originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 14 Sep 2018 13:01:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink  |  Email this  |  Comments
www.autoblog.com | 9/14/18
In another blow to the UK government’s record on bulk data handling for intelligence purposes the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ruled that state surveillance practices violated human rights law. Arguments against the UK intelligence agencies’ bulk collection and data sharing practices were heard by the court in November last year. In today’s […]
techcrunch.com | 9/13/18
The lawmakers denounced Viktor Orban’s government as a “systemic threat to the rule of law,” labeling Hungary an authoritarian state that encourages other nationalists.
www.wsj.com | 9/13/18
The lawmakers denounced Viktor Orban’s government as a “systemic threat to the rule of law,” labeling Hungary an authoritarian state that encourages other nationalists.
www.wsj.com | 9/13/18
The Latest on Europe's migrant crisis (all times local): 5:20 p.m. Greek regional authorities are threatening to shut a migrant camp on the Aegean Sea island of Lesbos unless the government takes quick action to improve conditions there.
www.foxnews.com | 9/10/18
The US president will meet with the Irish government in November as part of a European tour.
www.bbc.co.uk | 9/7/18

Paul Greengrass is the master of the moment, of a muscular and immersive style of filmmaking that plunges us into the thick of the action. But “22 July,” the Greengrass film that premiered at the Venice Film Festival on Wednesday, is a movie not about the moment, but about the aftermath.

Make no mistake, “22 July” is also immersive and visceral. But in its slow move from action to consequences, from terror to something close to healing, it feels new from the veteran British director.

This might be the first Greengrass movie that doesn’t just make you flinch, it makes you cry.

Also Read: Director Paul Greengrass Tackles Norway's Deadliest Terrorist Attack in '22 July' Trailer (Video)

The film is based on the attacks carried out in Norway in July 2011: A far-right, anti-Muslim zealot named Anders Behring Breivik detonated a bomb near a government building in Oslo, and 90 minutes later went to a camp on the island of Utøya and killed more than 60 people, many of them teenagers. It was Norway’s most violent day since World War II, and it has already been the subject of a Norwegian film, the similarly titled “U – July 22” by Erik Poppe.

Poppe’s film never leaves the island, focusing on characters who rarely glimpse the shooter. Greengrass takes a less focused, more all-encompassing approach, which partly plays into his strengths and partly finds him reaching for new ones.

The director may have achieved his greatest commercial success with his three Jason Bourne movies – 2004’s “The Bourne Supremacy,” 2007’s “The Bourne Ultimatum” and 2016’s “Jason Bourne” – which set new standards for kinetic action filmmaking and are set in a destabilized world where order has been shattered.

But he’s also made a string of gripping films detailing some of the events that have shattered our own world in recent years: the Sept. 11 attacks in “United 93,” Somalian piracy in “Captain Phillips” and the U.S. invasion of Iraq in “Green Zone,” all of them examples of an urgent filmmaking approach that was honed on nonfiction television dramas and blossomed with 2002’s “Bloody Sunday,” about British military violence in Northern Ireland in 1972.

Also Read: 'First Man' Film Review: Ryan Gosling and Damien Chazelle Slip the Surly Bonds of Earth

Breivik’s preparations are dealt with quickly, intercut with the lives of some of those who will become his victims, particularly the kids on the island. We’re quickly into the attacks, which are as harrowing and chaotic as you’d expect – but within the first 45 minutes of this nearly two-and-a-half-hour film, the killing has stopped and Breivik has surrendered to the police without resisting.

And that’s when Greengrass begins to explore a complex question: What happens now? What happens to the killer, who wants to turn his trial into a showcase for ideas he thinks will rid Europe of immigrants and end “enforced multi-culturalism?” To his lawyer, a family man compelled by duty to mount a defense of the indefensible? To Norway itself, which failed to notice warning signs that might have prevented the attacks? And above all, what happens to the families who lost children on the island, and to the teens who survived, terribly injured physically or emotionally or both?

This is where Greengrass takes his time, following several strands simultaneously. Some are more engrossing than others; the government investigation into what went wrong is a bureaucratic detour in a largely emotional journey.

Also Read: 'The Sisters Brothers' Film Review: John C. Reilly and Joaquin Phoenix Saddle Up for an Extraordinary Western

But the film slowly zeroes in on two disturbing stories that slowly come together: the relationship between Breivik (the thoroughly creepy Anders Danielsen Lie) and his attorney (Jon Oigarden) as the trial nears, and the agonizingly slow recovery of Viljar (Jonas Strang Gravli) a teenage boy who miraculously survives despite multiple gunshot wounds, one that leaves bullet fragments perilously close to his brain stem.

It culminates in an unlikely arena that turns out to be the real center of this movie: the courtroom, where Viljar works up the resolve to confront his would-be killer. Using the hand-held style that has long been his trademark, Greengrass makes a young man’s five-minute speech as riveting as a “Bourne” fight scene; the action is internal, conveyed in glances rather than punches, but it nonetheless hits hard.

“22 July” is not always easy to watch – if the shootings don’t get you, the brain surgery might – but there are enough grace notes sprinkled through the telling to make this a genuinely affecting film even in the rare moments when the momentum flags or the choices give us pause. (All of the Norwegian characters speak a lightly-accented English, an artistic choice that seems both entirely justifiable and somehow beneath Greengrass.)

But for the most part, Greengrass is in total command with this chronicle of a horrific event and its lengthy, painful aftermath. This gifted director has immersed us in the moment in past films, but this time he’s in it for the long haul.

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www.thewrap.com | 9/5/18
President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev have played the game of bad cop and good cop in their efforts to explain the essence of the pension reform to the people of Russia. Putin's behaviour in relation to the prime minister looks unethical, just as it looks wrong in relation to his electors. It appears that Putin may eventually lose control of the patriotic idea - the only idea that still helps him stay in his office. After the president's televised address to the nation on August 29, it became clear that it was Putin who initiated the pension reform in Russia. This is evidenced by his harsh affirmation about the lack of alternatives to the reform. Until recently, however, Putin tried to distance himself from his government, which he had allegedly commissioned to develop and implement the unpopular reform. As a result, Medvedev failed to handle the psychological burden and disappeared from the public eye for a while. When he reappeared in front of the cameras, one could see him as a tired and sick person.Putin is being unethical towards his voters as well. Putin's voter is commonly known in Russia as "vatnik", who values Putin's achievements in building the Russian world, limiting the influence of American globalism and oligarchic structures.During the above-mentioned speech, Putin referred to experts twice without naming them. Apparently, it goes about Alexei Kudrin, experts of the Higher School of Economics - liberal, pro-Western people, whom Putin's voters despise. Thus, Putin has shown disrespect to his electors in a hope that people are ignorant and they do not need to know any names. Addressing the nation with his speech, Putin said: "Even if we sell all buildings of the Pension Fund, the money will be enough only for a few months. And then what?" However, we understand that it goes about all the knick-knacks, apartments and plots of land that our fat officials, MPs and oligarchs have. Putin clearly gave it to understand that he would never rip epaulettes off their shoulders. As a matter of fact, we do not understand now what makes Putin different from late Boris Yeltsin, who also entrusted everything to "Chicago boys" and plunged the country into chaos. We can see Putin threatening us now that the system will not have money for pensions in six or seven years if everything remains the same. The first reason for the looming crisis, as Putin says, is demography. "In 2005, the ratio of working citizens, who replenish the Pension Fund regularly, and citizens receiving old-age insurance pensions, is nearly 1.7 to one, but in 2019,  it will be 1.2 to one," Putin said noting that life expectancy in Russia had increased by eight years.The trend is the same in Western countries. Robots continue to replace humans depriving them of jobs, but the pension system in the West is far from collapsing. In Western countries, the pension fund gets replenished through the growth in people's wages and, accordingly, deductions to the budget. The most surprising thing is that such a system works identically in Russia too, although officials tend to conceal it in order to speculate on the topic of who feeds whom. Thus, the average Russian citizen during his work service of 20 years and an average salary of 40,000 rubles gives away about 2.4 million rubles to the Pension Fund. Russian male pensioners live for an average of eight years, during which they receive back only 1.600 million, and the state keeps the remaining 800,000 rubles in the budget. No one knows what that money goes for, although it is obvious that the state wants to take and spend even more. It is worthy of note that when speaking about the growth, Putin refers to Russia during the 1990s. Why not compare indicators of the year 2018 to 2014, when the West started imposing sanctions on Russia one after another, and the Russian economy started rolling down the hill?Putin dismisses all alternative proposals for financing the Pension Fund. He did not mention the amendment on the progressive scale of taxation, although there was such a proposal made at the hearings in the State Duma on August 21. That money could be used to compensate entrepreneurs for their contributions to the Pension Fund to support people of pre-retirement age.Putin does not want to attract oil revenues to finance the Pension Fund either. According to him, this money will not be enough to pay pensions for as little as two months. Yet, oil revenues constitute a supplementary, rather than the only source of income for the Pension Fund. "What if oil prices go down?" Putin says. Indeed, the government would then need to find a way to increase tax collection from other sources.For comparison, the deficit of the Pension Fund in 2018 will amount to 257 billion rubles, while the net outflow of capital in 2017 was 31.3 billion dollars, which is about 1 trillion 966 billion rubles. The National Welfare Fund holds 4 trillion 844 billion rubles. Gazprom's profit is evaluated at 997 billion rubles. The profit of Russia's largest state-run bank, Sberbank, is 542 billion rubles. The Russian shadow economy is evaluated at 33.6 trillion rubles, or 39 percent of GDP, said business ombudsman Boris Titov.Therefore, all of the measures that Putin voiced in his speech look superficial. We have an impression that all of the "gifts" that Putin mentioned in his speech had been included in the reform in advance. Obviously, the inflation will eat up the promised addition of 1,000 rubles per year. Putin speaks about a pension of 20,000 rubles by 2024, whereas in Europe, pensions make up 40 percent of what a people get during their work service. One can only guess why Putin takes such a position. Probably, this is due to the overwhelming external pressure. If Putin had tried to explain that, people would have probably understood. Instead, they saw their president laying the burden of responsibility for the future of the country on the population. Putin does not feel guilty for the fact that Russia has not been able to amass enough money during the 2000s to finance social programs and build an independent financial system. He does not feel guilty for showing insufficient resistance to the shadow economy and corruption. Instead, he was trying to come to terms with oligarchs. An agreement with them has turned out to be more important for him than an agreement with the people.Putin's voters want a strong social state that would successfully support the foreign policy of the Kremlin from the inside. The living standard in Russia has been decreasing for the last five years, and Putin wants his electors to pedal back. Putin's rating may eventually collapse, and the president will lose control of the idea of patriotism that he has been talking about for so long. People will feel humiliated and betrayed when they realise that their president lied to them. Lyuba Lulko (Stepushova)Pravda.Ru Read article on the Russian version of Pravda.Ru
The supreme leader of Iran casted doubt on saving the international nuclear deal after the U.S. withdrawal earlier this year, saying Wednesday that the government should stop pinning its hopes on Europe if it doesn't serve its interests.
www.foxnews.com | 8/29/18
The German government is considering providing emergency financial assistance to Turkey as concerns grow in Berlin that a full-blown economic crisis could destabilize the region, German and European officials said.
www.wsj.com | 8/29/18
The German government is considering providing emergency financial assistance to Turkey as concerns grow in Berlin that a full-blown economic crisis could destabilize the region, German and European officials said.
www.wsj.com | 8/29/18
Concerns mounted Saturday about the medical and psychological health of 150 migrants who were spending their 10th day stuck aboard an Italian coast guard ship while the government insists that other European Union nations must take them.
www.foxnews.com | 8/25/18

Tucker Carlson offered a vigorous defense of his coverage of white farmers in South Africa, who he says face the threat of having their land expropriated by the country’s political leaders.

Carlson said that his facts were accurate and that extremism in the country against its white minority was a real problem.

“Pushing back against racial discrimination is always worth doing and yet for some reason — a reason nobody really explained — luminaries in the media disagree,” said Carlson.”In an Orwellian turn, various news outlets suggested it was somehow racist to oppose the racist policies of the South African government, even Nazi-like.”

Also Read: Surprise! Trump Praises CNN's Jim Acosta After London 'Takedown': 'Actually a Nice Guy'

The Fox News host then played footage of Al Sharpton on MSNBC, who suggested that Carlson was parroting “neo-Nazi” talking points by speaking about the concerns of white South Africans.

After that, Carlson showed footage of South African politician Julius Malema, who leads the country’s third largest political party, making various disparaging remarks toward white people including direct threats of violence.

“I’m saying to you, we’ve not called for the killing of white people, at least for now. I can’t guarantee the future,” Malema told Turkish media earlier this year. Carlson also played footage of Malema saying he wanted to “cut the throat of whiteness” in his country to cheering crowds.

Carlson’s commentary on South Africa received attention after President Donald Trump tweeted about the issue after watching the program.

“I have asked Secretary of State @SecPompeo to closely study the South Africa land and farm seizures and expropriations and the large scale killing of farmers,” said Trump.

I have asked Secretary of State @SecPompeo to closely study the South Africa land and farm seizures and expropriations and the large scale killing of farmers. “South African Government is now seizing land from white farmers.” @TuckerCarlson @FoxNews

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 23, 2018

The tweet and the Carlson coverage prompted an immediate backlash from those like Sharpton who said there was no issue happening in South Africa and that the ultimate root of the story was racism.

“White nationalists, neo-Nazis, and members of the alt-right in Europe and the United States — see the South African land expropriation plan as much more than a potential economic misstep: to them, it’s a full-scale genocide against the country’s white minority,” wrote Vox in its explanation of Trump’s tweet.

“Fox News Channel host Tucker Carlson successfully injected a longstanding ‘white genocide’ conspiracy theory about land reform measures in South Africa into President Donald Trump’s mind, rendering his primetime ‘Tucker Carlson Tonight’ show a conduit for racist conspiracy theories advanced by the most radical white supremacists in the world for delivery to the Oval Office,” wrote RightWingWatch.

Malema — as Carlson pointed out Thursday evening — blamed “white right-wingers” and “Jews” for any outrage caused by Trump’s actions.

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www.thewrap.com | 8/24/18
When major smartphone manufacturers talk about growth, they generally target three different markets: China, which is the biggest; the United States, which is highly influential and profitable; and the rest. India will soon rise from the latter pile, but until it does, Europe might be the most interesting battleground for the respective companies dominating the US and Chinese spheres. Until very recently, Western Europe looked a lot like the United States, with Samsung commanding more than a third of the market, Apple in a close second spot, and minnows picking up the scraps. But IDC's latest data, as provided to The Verge, shows China's Huawei enjoying a meteoric rise since the start of 2017. Yes, the same Huawei that the US government advises its citizens to avoid.

Huawei is marketing quite aggressively over here, but I still haven't seen any of their phones in the wild. It's exclusively Samsung and Apple, so far.

osnews.com | 8/23/18
With the British government so fragile, the European Union is discussing how to finesse the real state of the talks to protect Prime Minister Theresa May and avoid a cliff edge.
www.nytimes.com | 8/15/18
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: Fotodom.ru/Kommersant
The tightening of economic sanctions against Russia can be considered a declaration of an economic war, and Russia will have to respond to this war, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said on August 10 at a meeting with employees of the Kronotsky State Reserve."I would not want to comment on future sanctions, but I can say one thing. If they ban the activities of banks or the use of a particular currency, then it can be called a declaration of an economic war, " said the Prime Minister. "We will have to react to this war - with economic methods, political methods, and, if necessary, with the help of other methods, and our American friends should understand this," Medvedev said. Speaking about the current and recently announced sanctions, Medvedev said that the USA wants the Russian government to change its positions on certain issues. "By and large, they want to restrict our economic power," the Russian prime minister said. He reminded that the West had imposed sanctions on Moscow many times during the Soviet times as well. "For the last 100 years, our country has been living under conditions of constant pressure of sanctions. They want to remove Russia from the list of powerful competitors on the international field," he said."Russia was developing fairly well in the early twentieth century, and despite all the difficulties of the Soviet period, there were periods of rapid development, and many did not like it. This is not particularly appealing to those countries that are involved in the imposition of sanctions - largely the United States and a number of their allies. Nothing has changed since then," Medvedev said.As an example of unfair economic competition, Medvedev referred to restrictions with regard to Russia's gas supplies to Europe. The US is interested in supplying its own liquefied natural gas to the European market, and this is a tool of unfair competition," Medvedev said.On August 8, it also became known that the USA would introduce additional sanctions against Russia on August 22 over the poisoning of former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury. The new restrictions will affect exports of dual-purpose goods to Russia. If Russia provides no guarantees to the United States that it will not use chemical weapons, Washington may impose more restrictions on Russia, which may ban, inter alia, Aeroflot flights to the United States and denial of bank loans.The news of the sanctions have depreciated the Russian ruble against the euro and the dollar. One dollar is traded at around 67 rubles (77 rubles for one euro).
Across Europe, nationalists and upstart politicians are promoting the use of Christian imagery as they seek to change the Continent’s established politics and define Europe as Christian in reaction to recent Muslim immigration.
www.wsj.com | 8/10/18
Across Europe, nationalists and upstart politicians are promoting the use of Christian imagery as they seek to change the Continent’s established politics and define Europe as Christian in reaction to recent Muslim immigration.
www.wsj.com | 8/10/18

The politics of Europe deals with the continually evolving politics within the continent. It is a topic far more detailed than other continents due to a number of factors including the long history of nation states in the region as well as the modern day trend towards increased political unity amongst the European states. The current politics of Europe can be traced back to historical events within the continent. Likewise geography, economy and culture have contributed to the current political make-up of Europe. Modern European politics is dominated by the European Union, since the fall of the Iron Curtain and the collapse of the Eastern Bloc of Communist states. After the end of the Cold War, the EU expanded eastward to include the former Communist countries. By 2007, it had 27 member states.


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