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An Austrian business delegation headed by the country’s President Alexander Van der Bellen explored with its Lebanese counterparts mutual investment opportunities during a forum held in Beirut Tuesday evening.
From Hollywood to hip hop, it’s the weapon that is wielded by cops and outlaws alike. The Glock pistol has achieved global cult status but the business is still shrouded in mystery in its native Austria.

With HBO throwing in the towel on boxing, one of its biggest fighters is heading to online streaming.

Canelo Alvarez has signed a five-year, 11-fight deal with DAZN, the sports streaming service led by former ESPN president John Skipper. The company claims Alvarez’s deal is the richest sports contract for any athlete in history.

ESPN reported it’s for $365 million, which would surpass the 13-year/$325 million contract that baseball star Giancarlo Stanton signed with the Miami Marlins in 2014 (he’s since been traded to the New York Yankees). A representative for DAZN did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for clarification on the actual dollar amount of the contract.

Also Read: HBO to Throw in The Towel on Live Boxing Matches After 45 Years

The deal begins with the Dec. 15 bout at Madison Square Garden against Rocky Fielding for his WBA Super Middleweight World Title.

“We are thrilled to be exclusive partners with Golden Boy Promotions and Oscar De La Hoya,” said Skipper, DAZN Group Executive Chairman. “By bringing Canelo’s fights to DAZN, we will turn his pay-per-view success into a growth engine for subscribers – a truly transformational moment for our business and the entire industry.”

Skipper, who resigned from ESPN after 27 years last December, joined DAZN’s parent company Perform Group as executive chairman in May. DAZN was launched just two years ago, and made its U.S. debut earlier this year.

Also Read: Ex-ESPN Boss John Skipper Lands New Job

As part of the deal, Golden Boy Promotions — Alvarez’s management company led by Oscar de la Hoya — will put on up to 10 fights each year on DAZN beginning in 2019. The DAZN-Golden Boy deal includes a large production element, which places Oscar De La Hoya as executive producer of the live fight nights.

Alvarez and Golden Boy were one of HBO’s biggest boxing draws. In 2014, HBO pried Alvarez and Golden Boy away from rival Showtime in a huge exclusive deal. But last month, HBO said it would no longer feature live boxing matches beginning next year, which had a programming staple for 45 years.

The deal between Alvarez and DAZN in landmark in another way: It will take one of boxing’s biggest draws off Pay-Per-View, where the sport makes the most of its money. The fights will be available in all DAZN markets, including the United States, Canada, Italy, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Japan. The service is available for $9.99 per month.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Floyd Mayweather Wants to Fight Manny Pacquiao Again; But Boxing Fans, Not So Much

Logan Paul and KSI Will Face Off in YouTube Boxing Match

'The Contender' Season 5 Host Andre Ward Says Boxing Competition Series Is as 'Real as It Gets'

www.thewrap.com | 10/17/18

In the rather unique world of public international law for cybersecurity, the treaty provisions of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) stand alone. They form the multilateral basis for the existence of all communication networks, internets, and services worldwide and have obtained the ascent by every nation in the world. They also contain the only meaningful multilateral cybersecurity provisions that have endured over a century and a half through all manner of technological change. Indeed, it was radio internets a hundred years ago that gave rise to the greatest cybersecurity challenges.

So when all the nations of the world meet every four years at ITU Plenipotentiary Conferences to review these treaty provisions, the activity is eagerly watched by the small group of international cybersecurity law historians for potential changes to respond to new developments. The 2018 Plenipotentiary Conference (PP-18) is coming up in about three months — meeting at Dubai, 29 Oct to 16 Nov. Today, watching these treaty conferences is easier with all the documents available online in multiple languages shortly after being received. Indeed, almost the entire history of materials is available on-line going back to 1865.

The documents for the period from 1865 to 1865 reside in the Austria State Archives in Vienna, and for the period between 1917-1922, in the U.S. National Archives. The United States played the leading role in forming the modern day ITU treaty provisions, including key cybersecurity norms, in a series of conferences at the end of the First World War, including a long seminal treaty drafting conference in Washington in 1920 and in Paris in 1921 to add global radio internet provisions.

Most of the cybersecurity treaty making proposals to the ITU instruments in recent years have been relatively unimpressive — largely dealing with the enormous major issues today by adopting or altering conference resolutions rather than changing organic law found in the provisions. For a stable body of public international law that has formed the basis for all global telecommunication and cybersecurity over a century and a half, the basics remain fairly constant. Instantiating and protecting communication capabilities across the borders of national sovereigns fundamentally remain the same. It is an arena where Bully Bilateralism fails spectacularly.

Thusfar, the PP-18 input proposals are not particularly notable - primarily directed at getting national candidate officials elected to ITU positions in its multiple component bodies and slots on its continuing management mechanism, the Council. As perhaps the first evidence of the adverse effects of the current U.S. Administration, the candidacy of a highly-regarded U.S. expert was withdrawn for re-election to the Radio Regulations Board on which she already sits. Thus, the U.S. will have no representative on this key international quasi-judicial body overseeing radio spectrum use which the U.S. itself created seventy years ago, and has had a presence over many decades, including a continuing one since 1999. Notwithstanding the widely divergent views about the ITU in domestic Washington politics over the decades, one consistency has been the support for significant involvement in the Radiocommunication Sector since 1904 except for a brief period under Harding.

One of the significant PP-18 bellwethers among the input materials is a report on potentially holding a treaty conference to amend the International Telecommunication Regulations (ITR) that exist as an independent instrument. The principal purpose of the current ITR provisions adopted in 1988 was legalizing public internets globally and providing for related cybersecurity

An ill-advised subsequent attempt by Russia to amend the provisions in 2012 resulted in half the world rejecting the provisions. However, there are certainly ample reasons to amend and evolve the 1988 treaty given the plain need for a multilateral instrument directed at instantiating extraterritorial NFV-SDN-5G capabilities and OTT services. U.S. Cloud Service providers have also been actively seeking treaty provisions.

The only sage input into the meeting dealing with the subject matter occurred earlier this year — notably from China speaking for the first time on the subject — which took the strategic global leadership view that such provisions were essential for the global economy and would eventually be adopted.

For the present, it appears as if the U.S. Administration is content with trashing multilateral obligations and institutions, and moving back to a world of national insularity — forcing U.S. companies to locate their facilities and services abroad in multiple jurisdictions with long-term adverse effects. How it will prevent network products and services from entering the U.S. from abroad seems best described as a fool's errand. What the unfolding U.S. calamity does provide, however, is to give other nations — especially China — the opportunity to forge the necessary multilateral arrangements to pursue emerging markets and larger global market shares. China is today by far, the largest-scale participant in all manner of industry standards bodies in the telecommunication sector, including cybersecurity-related activities. It is a role once played by the U.S. government and industry.

So from a cybersecurity legal historian's perspective, events at the PP-18 remain a kind of fascinating crystal ball for looking into a future where the U.S. has clearly lost its leadership at best, and viability in the worlds of spectrum management and global information economy at worst. ...to be continued.

Written by Anthony Rutkowski, Principal, Netmagic Associates LLC

www.circleid.com | 7/26/18
On the eve of his first visit to Austria, Vladimir Putin gave a lengthy interview to Austrian television channel ORF.The interviewer, Armin Wolf, was interested not only in issues of Russia's foreign policy, but also in domestic political plans of Vladimir Putin harbours. It is worthy of note that, as the Austrian journalist said, there were no prohibitions from the Kremlin concerning the topics of the interview. Armin Wolf was least interested in details of the possible mutually beneficial cooperation between Moscow and Vienna, although this was the reasons for the interview to take place. Contrary to the general trend set by the United States, Austria did not expel Russian diplomats in connection with the so-called "Skripal case.""Austria and Russia have long had very good and deep relationship. Austria is our traditional and reliable partner in Europe. Despite all the difficulties of previous years, with Austria, we have never interrupted our dialogue in politics, security and economy," Putin said, adding that the two countries have many common interests.However, Wolf wanted to find out why the Russian administration was working closely with Austrian nationalist parties that are critical of the European Union. The question contained an allusion to Russia's alleged intention to split the European Union. Putin had to patiently explain obvious things to the Austrian reporter:"We have no goal to divide anything in the European Union, we are interested in the prosperous EU, because the European Union is our largest trade and economic partner, and the more problems the European Union has, the more risks and uncertainties we have to deal with," Putin said. Of course, the Austrian journalist could not but ask Putin about "Russia's interference" in the presidential election in the United States. The journalist asked the Russian president about activities of the Internet Research Agency, aka the "troll factory", which is associated with Russian entrepreneur Yevgeny Prigozhin. The journalist persistently tried to get Vladimir Putin to confirm the thesis that the man who is commonly referred to as the "chef" because of his restaurant business, could influence the elections in the US, because he had very close ties with the Russian government. Putin had this to say in response to this question: "There is such a person in the United States, Mr. Soros, who interferes in all affairs throughout the world, and I often hear our American friends saying that America has nothing to do with it as a state. Rumour has it that Mr. Soros wants to shake the euro, the European currency, and this is already being discussed in expert circles. Ask the US State Department why he wants to do it. You will be told that the US State Department has nothing to do with it as this is a personal matter of Mr. George Soros. Here, we can say that this is a personal matter of Mr. Prigozhin. This is my answer to you. Are you satisfied with this answer?"Putin did not give a direct answer to the question of why he has not been able to have a meeting with his US counterpart Donald Trump lately. "The pre-election campaign for the Congress is getting started, and the presidential election is not too far away, attacks on the President of the United States continue in different directions. I think that this is the first thing," the Russian leader said explaining the reason why he has not been able to meet Donald Trump lately. Armin Wolf asked a question about the possibility of a nuclear war between the United States and North Korea. According to Vladimir Putin, "this is a terrible assumption," because the DPRK is a close neighbour of Russia, and one of Pyongyang's nuclear test sites is only 190 kilometres from the Russian border."We are pinning great hopes on a personal meeting between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, because mutual claims have gone too far," Putin said.Putin had to answer biased questions about the relations between Russia and Ukraine. He tried to explain Russia's position in detail, but the Austrian journalist tried to take the conversation in another direction.For example, speaking about the MH17 disaster, Armin Wolf dogmatically stated that the passenger plane was shot down with a missile of Russian origin and assumed that it was about time Russia should admit that officially. "If you have some patience and listen to me, then you will know my point of view on this issue, okay?" Putin replied, adding that, firstly, Ukraine has Soviet-made weapons and, secondly, Russia is not allowed to access the materials of the investigation, even though Ukraine can access it. The journalist continued by saying that "everyone already knows where the missile came from." Putin responded: "Malaysian officials have recently stated that they did not see Russia's involvement in the terrible tragedy. They said that they had no evidence to prove it. Don't you know about this?"Armin Wolf continued with a question about Russia's alleged military interference in the Crimean events from 2014."Russian army units have always been present in the Crimea. Do you want to just ask questions all the time or do you want to hear my answers? The first thing that we did when events in Ukraine began...but what kind of events were they? I will now say, and you will tell me yes or no. It was an armed coup and seizure of power. Yes or no, can you tell me?"The journalist mumbled that he was no expert on the subject of the Ukrainian constitution. Explaining how the Crimean peninsula escaped from Ukraine's rampant nationalism and reunited with Russia, Vladimir Putin switched to German in an attempt to convey his message to the Austrian journalist. "What should happen so Russia returns the Crimea to Ukraine?" the journalist asked."There are no such conditions and there cannot be. You have interrupted me yet again. If you had let me finish, you would have understood my point. When the unconstitutional armed coup took place in Ukraine, when power was seized by force, our army units were deployed in Ukraine on legal grounds - there was a Russian army base there. There was no one else there. But there were our armed forces there."The journalist was ready to interrupt Putin again, so the president had to say: "Seien Sie so nett, lassen Sie mich etwas sagen." ["Will you please be so kind and let me proceed."]. Then he continued:"When the spiral of unconstitutional actions in Ukraine started twisting, when the people in the Crimea started sensing danger, when whole trains of nationalists started arriving there, when they  started blocking buses and automotive transport, the people wanted to defend themselves. The first thing that came to mind was to restore their rights that had been received within the framework of Ukraine, when the Crimea was granted autonomy. This is what kicked everything off, and the parliament started working on the process to determine its independence on Ukraine. Is this strictly prohibited by the Charter of the United Nations? No. The right of nations to self-determination is clearly stated there," Putin said."The annexation of the Crimea was the first incident, when a country in Europe annexed a part of another country against its will, which was perceived as a threat to neighbouring states," the journalist interrupted Putin."You know, if you do not like my answers, then you do not ask any questions, but if you want to get my opinion on questions, then you have to be patient," Putin said. "The Crimea gained its independence as a result of the will of the Crimeans in an open referendum, rather than as a result of the invasion of Russian troops. You are talking about annexation, but do you call annexation a referendum held by the people living on this territory? In this case, one should call Kosovo's self-identification an act of annexation too," Putin said. Wolf tried to develop the Crimean question by drawing a parallel with events in Chechnya, Ingushetia and Dagestan.Putin replied: "Yes, Al-Qaeda's radical groups did want to alienate those territories from the Russian Federation and form their caliphate from the Black to the Caspian Sea. I do not think that Austria and Europe would have been happy about it. Yet, the Chechen people themselves came to an entirely different conclusion in the elections, and the Chechen people signed an agreement with the Russian Federation."When talking about Syria, the journalist claimed that Russia was defending a regime that was using chemical weapons against its people."You said that everyone proved that Assad had used chemical weapons. Yet, our specialists say the opposite, and it goes about the Douma incident, which was used to strike a missile blow on Syria after it was assumed that there were chemical weapons used in the city of Douma," Putin said adding that the OPCW was invited to investigate those events."Instead of waiting for one or two days and giving the OPCW an opportunity to work on the spot, a missile attack was conducted. Please tell me: is this the best way to resolve a question of objectivity of what was happening there? In my opinion, it was an attempt to create conditions that wold make investigation impossible," Putin said. As for Russian domestic affairs, the Austrian reporter asked only a couple of questions about low salaries and the number of the poor."Since 2012, Russia has gone through a number of very difficult challenges in its economy. That was not only because of so-called sanctions and restrictions, but also because prices on Russian traditional export goods had halved. It affected Russia's GDP budget revenues, and ultimately, people's incomes. Yet, we have preserved and strengthened the macroeconomic stability in the country," Putin said. Armin Wolf also asked Putin about his plans for the future, as well as about the Russian opposition. "Some say that you have turned the country into an authoritarian system, in which you are the czar. Is this true?" the journalist asked."No, this is not true, because we have a democratic state, and we all live within the framework of the current Constitution. Our Constitution says that a president can be elected for two consecutive terms. After two legitimate terms of my presidency I left this post, did not change the Constitution and moved to another job, where I served as the prime minister. Afterwards, I returned in 2012 and won the election again," said Putin.The Austrian journalist was very interested why opposition activist Alexei Navalny could not participate in the elections. Wolff also wanted to know why Putin prefers not to call the blogger's name in public."We have a lot of rebels, just like you, just like the United States," Putin replied. "We do not want to have another, second, third or fifth Saakashvili, the former President of Georgia. We do not want people like Saakashvili on our political scene. Russia needs those who bring positive agenda, who know, and not just designate problems, and we enough of them, just like you have in Austria, just like in any other country," Putin added. Wolf continued insisting that Navalny was not given an opportunity to run, and people could not even take a look at the candidate. "Voters can look at any person they want because the Internet is free for us. No one shut him away. The media is free. People can always go out and say something out loud, and this is what various political figures do. If a person acquires some sort of electors' support, then he becomes a figure which the state must communicate and negotiate with. Yet, if their level of confidence is 0,01, 0,02, 0,03 percent, then what can we talk about? This is just another Saakashvili. Why do we need such clowns?" Putin said. "My presidential term has just begun, it's only a start, so let's not put the cart before the horse. I've never violated the Constitution of my country and I'm not going to do that," the president said answering a question about his plans for the future. At the end of the interview, the journalist asked Putin a very unusual question that, as it seems, no one has ever asked the Russian president before. The question was about Putin's so-called "alpha male photos," on which he posed semi-naked. According to the journalists, it is unusual for a head of state to publish such photos for the general public."Well, thank God, you said semi-naked, and not naked. If I'm having a holiday, I do not think I should hide in the bushes, there's nothing bad about it," Putin said. Later, Armin Wolf shared his impressions of the interview with the Russian president. He said that the Russian president was a very artful and complex interlocutor. Wolf added that he was impressed with Putin's quiet voice most. "As a matter of fact, my expectations were justified. Judging from what we see on television, Vladimir Putin is not very tall, I knew it, we all know what he looks like, but there's a thing that really struck me. He has a rather sonorous voice, but he speaks very quietly, especially before and after the interview, and even quieter when he speaks German. You have to concentrate a lot to understand him, because he has a very quiet voice. This struck me most in such a powerful man," said the journalist.
Last week, it was reported that the Central Bank of Turkey withdrew the national gold reserve from the US Federal Reserve System. Given the fact that the United States has been imposing whole packages of sanctions on Russia one after another since 2014, why does Russia still keep its gold and other assets in the USA? If it is not in the USA, then where does Russia keep her gold? Turkey's "American gold" was partly returned to Turkey and deposited to European banks, particularly in England and Switzerland. Ankara's gold reserve totals 564.6 tons.Accumulating physical gold by central banks has become a trend lately. Even such a small European country as Hungary returned three tons of its gold from London in early 2018. Venezuela, Holland, Austria and Germany did the same - the countries that feel pressure from the part of the Washington consensus. For example, both the European Union and the Western world have been criticizing Hungary heavily. The nation's gold reserve gives Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban a reason to feel more confident.What about Russia? She has been the main "whipping girl" in the eyes of the "civilized world" lately. Yevgeny Fedorov, a member of the State Duma Committee on Budget and Taxes, told Pravda.Ru, that the information about the location of Russia's gold is classified." "Some of Russia's gold used to be stored in the USA, but we do not know whether Russia has returned that gold," the MP said. According to Yevgeny Fedorov, the Central Bank of Russia "is a branch of the US Federal Reserve, so I would not be surprised if we still keep some of our gold in the United States," he said. "If we don't keep our gold in the USA, then we do keep some of our assets there - i.e. we support the US economy, which is a very bad phenomenon," Fedorov told Pravda.Ru. This policy, the MP added, is stipulated in Article 15 of the Constitution, the system of international treaties and the status of the Central Bank of the Russian Federation. To change such a state of affairs, Russia needs to conduct revolutionary reforms. "It is only now, when the law on counter-sentences raises the need to remove US managers from Russian ministries and the Central Bank. If Putin wins with his policy to end the subordination to the American unipolar world, then everything may work out well," Yevgeny Fedorov told Pravda.Ru. In turn, researcher Mikhail Khazin told Pravda.Ru that Russia does not keep its physical gold in the US. "We keep our assets in US government securities, but we have been recently reducing the share of these assets significantly. There is a probability that the Americans will not give them back, so we need to get rid of those bonds," the expert told Pravda.Ru. Pavel Salin, director of the Center for Policy Studies of the Finance University, also said that Russia does not keep its physical gold in the United States."The Russian gold reserve is stored in Russia, and the foreign exchange reserves are kept at US Treasuries. We tend to reduce their amount, but it is impossible to do it instantly, because it will look like an attempt to collapse the US debt market with all ensuing consequences. It could also trigger a major conflict with China that holds $1 trillion 200 million in these bonds and Japan - about one trillion dollars," the expert told Pravda.Ru.According to the US Treasury, the Central Bank of Russia sold US government bonds worth 11.9 billion dollars from December to February, having this reduced the volume of assets by 11.2 percent ($93.8 billion). It is worthy of note that immediately after the introduction of sanctions against Russia in March 2014, the Central Bank of Russia withdrew about $115 billion from the US Federal Reserve System (FRS). However, two weeks after the incident, the Russian Central Bank returned the funds to Fed accounts, Reuters says. Pravda.Ru Read article on the Russian version of Pravda.Ru

The year 2018 represents a tipping point for the Internet and its governance. Internet governance risks being consumed by inertia. Policy decisions are needed if we want to prevent the Internet from fragmenting into numerous national and commercial Internet(s).

Geopolitical shifts, in particular, will affect how the Internet is governed. The Internet is made vulnerable by the fragmentation of global society, which is likely to accelerate in response to the ongoing crisis of multilateralism. If this crisis leads to further restrictions in the movement of people, capital, and goods across national borders, the same is likely to happen with the digital economy, including the cross-border flow of data and services.

Filling policy gaps

The first sign of a crisis in multilateralism in digital policy was the failure of the 5th UN Group of Governmental Experts (UN GGE) to reach consensus on a final report. Towards the end of 2017, the World Trade Organization (WTO) failed to agree on any mandate for e-commerce negotiations during the WTO Ministerial meeting in Buenos Aires.

The gaps in global rules are increasingly being filled by bilateral and regional arrangements, in particular on cybersecurity and e-commerce. Plurilateral digital trade arrangements are being considered as an alternative to the shortcomings of the WTO e-commerce negotiations.

In 2018, national legislation and courts will have a major impact on the global Internet. The main regulation with global impact will be the entry into force of the EU's General Data Protection Regulation on 25 May, which will determine how data is governed beyond the shores of Europe.

Using divergences to reach convergences

There are a few elements on which to build constructive solutions and some optimism.

First, interests in digital policy are now more clearly defined than a few years ago, when digital ideologies focused only on blue-sky thinking and an 'unstoppable march into a bright digital future'. Governments need to deliver prosperity, stability, and security as part of their social contracts with citizens. The industry needs to make a profit, whether it is by selling services online or by monetizing data. Citizens have a strong interest in having their dignity and core human rights protected online as they should be offline. A common thread binds them all: actors have a strong interest in preserving a safe, stable, and unified Internet.

A clear delineation of the interests of all actors, a healthy interdependence, and complementarity between those actors is a good basis for negotiations, compromise, and ideally, consensus, on how the Internet should further develop as a technological enabler of a stable and prosperous society.

Secondly, the diversity of the Internet is reflected in the diversity of interests and, ultimately, negotiating positions in digital geo-politics. While the USA, China, and Russia disagreed on the future of cybersecurity regulation within the UN GGE, they did agree about the need for digital commerce regulation in the WTO. All three countries are part of the WTO plurilateral negotiations on digital commerce. This variable geometry in the positions of the main actors in digital policy could create more space for potential trade-offs and compromise.

The 2018 forecast of the 10 main digital policy developments is set against this broad backdrop that makes progress and retreat equally possible. It draws on continuous monitoring of digital policy carried out through the GIP Digital Watch observatory and further discussed during the GIP's monthly briefings.

For a more in-depth analysis, read the full article.

* * *

1. GDPR: Data in the centre of digital politics – Data will dominate digital policy in 2018. Entering into effect on 25 May, the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will reshape the way companies, and institutions handle data in Europe and beyond. Its main impact will be on the Internet industry's business model, which is based on data monetization. More broadly, data will also move to a higher place on the agendas of international organizations dealing with health, humanitarian, and development issues, among others.

2. Cybersecurity geopolitics: The search for new governance mechanisms – 2017 ended with increasing cybersecurity risks and a lack of multilateral solutions to deal with them after the failure of the UN GGE. In 2018, the search for new policy mechanisms will intensify. The following solutions are being considered: a 6th UN GGE with a specific mandate, a UN Open-ended Working Group, a Conference on Disarmament, a Committee on the Peaceful Uses of ICT, or an Expert Group on International Telecommunication Regulation.

3. Digital trade and the Internet economy – The growth of e-commerce worldwide has not been matched with the development of policy frameworks. In the aftermath of the failure of the WTO Ministerial Conference to initiate e-commerce negotiations, some countries will develop plurilateral regimes. One of the main challenges will be to delineate core trade from other digital policy issues that affect trade, such as cybersecurity and data protection. The Internet economy will also be impacted by data protection, taxation, and labor regulations worldwide.

4. Courts: Active maker of digital rules – In the search for solutions to their digital problems, Internet users and organizations will increasingly refer to courts. Judges could become de facto rule-makers in the field of digital policy, as was the case with the right to be forgotten. The CJEU ruled that Uber is a transportation (not information) company with far-reaching consequences for Uber and the sharing economy. Courts in Canada, Australia, Austria, France, and other countries are following this trend in shaping global digital policy rules.

5. Artificial intelligence: Between philosophical considerations and practical applications – Artificial intelligence (AI) features highly in public debates, with a wide range of views put forward, from being 'the best or worst thing to ever happen to humanity'. This debate involving entrepreneurs, philosophers, politicians, and the general public will continue in 2018. On a digital policy level, AI will be addressed in the interplay with big data and the IoT. Other questions will include the automation and future of jobs, robot tax, privacy protection, and regulation of the use of lethal autonomous weapons.

6. Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies: Between boom and bust – The fast growth of cryptocurrencies opened many regulatory questions. Is this growth inflating a bubble that may soon burst? What should be the role of financial regulators in preventing a potential bust? In 2018, governments will focus on initial coin offerings and the risk of misusing cryptocurrencies for money laundering, tax avoidance, and illegal financial transactions.

7. Content policy: Fake news and violent extremism online – 'Fake news' was the word of the year in 2017. It will remain high on policy agendas in 2018 together with other content policy issues. France would like to introduce a new law against fake news in election time. Other countries are considering similar proposals. The main criticism is that fake news regulations may open possibilities for censorship and reduce freedom of expression. Researchers in civil society advise that a regulatory approach should be used only as an exception, while the focus should be on building a digital culture and critical thinking among citizens.

8. Net neutrality: Global impact of new US regulation – The US decision to end net neutrality triggered debate in December which spilled over to the new year. The main issues are how net neutrality will be protected in the USA, and since content transits mostly through the USA, and whether this will affect other countries worldwide. Net neutrality and zero rating will also remain high on agendas in some developing countries, while platform or data neutrality may move higher.

9. Encryption: More pressure on backdoor access – In 2018, governments worldwide will continue to put legal and policy pressure on Internet companies to provide backdoor access to users' data, or reduce levels of encryption. Users' data is the Internet companies' main commodity, and losing users' trust could endanger their business model. They will try to find a predictable regulatory framework for sharing data with law enforcement agencies, which would shield them from political and ad hoc pressure by governments.

10. ICANN: Online identities, jurisdiction, and governance – ICANN is likely to remain outside the policy limelight in 2018. Two issues that may resurface are related to broader online identities and jurisdiction. In a time when politics focuses on identities and symbolism, online identity may resurface as a major political issue. In particular, it could happen around the question of .amazon. While it is unlikely that there will be further impactful discussions or decisions on the US jurisdiction of ICANN, we might see more focused debate on the topic of 'limited, partial, relative or tailored immunity for ICANN'.

* * *

Based on the original article, A tipping point for the Internet: 10 predictions for 2018, published on 11 January 2018. Read the full article.

Written by Jovan Kurbalija, Director of DiploFoundation & Head of Geneva Internet Platform

www.circleid.com | 1/13/18

Traditional early morning Japanese breakfast, briefing on objectives, equipment check and drive into the beautiful mountainous forests of this region: this is the daily routine that will allow us to complete our latest investigation into the radiological status in some of the most contaminated areas of Fukushima prefecture.

But there is nothing normal about the routine in Fukushima.

Nearly seven years after the triple reactor meltdown, this unique nuclear crisis is still underway. Of the many complex issues resulting from the disaster, one in particular may have become routine but is anything but normal: the vast amounts of nuclear waste, stored and being transported across Fukushima prefecture.

A satellite image shows damage at Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant In Fukushima Prefecture. 

As a result of the Fukushima Daiichi accident, gases and particulates which vented into the atmosphere, led to radioactive fallout greater than 10,000 becquerels per square meter contaminating an estimated 8 percent, or 24,000 square kilometers, of the landmass of Japan. The highest concentrations (greater than 1 million becquerels per meter square) centered in an area more than than 400 square kilometers within Fukushima prefecture.

In the period 2013-14, the Japanese government set about a decontamination program with the objective of being able to lift evacuation orders in the Special Decontaminated Area (SDA) of Fukushima prefecture. Other areas of Fukushima and other prefectures where contamination was lower but significant were also subject to decontamination efforts in the so called Intensive Contamination Survey Area (ICSA).

Two areas of the SDA in particular were subject to concentrated efforts between 2014-2016, namely Iitate and Namie. A total of 24-28,000 people formally lived in these areas, with all evacuated in the days and months following the March 2011 disaster.

The decontamination program consisted of scraping, reverse tillage and removal of top soil from farmland, stripping and removal of soil from school yards, parks and gardens, trimming and cutting of contaminated trees and plants in a 20 meter area around peoples homes, and the same along a 10-15 meter strip either side of the roads, including into the nearby forests.

Aerial view of nuclear waste storage area in the mountainous forests of Iitate, Fukushima prefecture in Japan.

This program involved millions of work hours and tens of thousands workers (often Fukushima citizens displaced by the earthquake, tsunami and reactor meltdown), and often homeless and recruited off the streets of cities, and exploited for a wage of 70 dollars a day to work long hours in a radioactive environment. All this for a man-made nuclear disaster officially estimated at costing 21 trillion yen but with other estimates as high as 70 trillion yen.

As of March 2017, the decontamination program was officially declared complete and evacuation orders were lifted for the less contaminated areas of Namie and Iitate, so called area 2. The even higher radiation areas of Iitate and Namie, Area 3, and where no decontamination program has been applied, remain closed to habitation.

In terms of effectiveness, radiation levels in these decontaminated zones have been reduced in many areas but there are also multiple examples where levels remain significantly above the governments long range target levels. In addition to where decontamination has been only partially effective, the principle problem for Iitate and Namie is that the decontamination has created islands where levels have been reduced, but which are surrounded by land, and in particular, forested mountains, for which there is no possible decontamination. Forests make up more than 70% of these areas.

As a consequence, areas decontaminated are subject to recontamination through weathering processes and the natural water and lifecycle of trees and rivers. Given the half life of the principle radionuclide of concern – cesium-137 at 30 years – this will be an on-going source of significant recontamination for perhaps ten half lives – or 300 years.

Greenpeace documents the ongoing radioactive decontamination work in Iitate district, Japan. The area is still contaminated since the March 2011 explosions at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear power plant.

So apart from the decontamination not covering the largest areas of significant contamination in the forested mountains of Fukushima, and in reality only a small fraction of the total landmass of contaminated areas, the program has generated almost unimaginable volumes of nuclear waste. According to the Japanese Government Ministry of Environment in its September 2017 report, a total of 7.5 million nuclear waste bags (equal to 8.4 million m³) from within the SDA was in storage across Fukushima.

A further 6 million m³ of waste is generated in the ICSA within Fukushima prefecture (but not including waste produced from the wider ICSA which stretches from Iwati prefecture in the north to Chiba in the south on the outskirts of Tokyo). In total nuclear waste generated from decontamination is stored at over 1000 Temporary Storage Sites (TSS) and elsewhere at 141,000 locations across Fukushima.

The Government projects a total of 30 million m³ of waste will be generated, of which 10 million is to be incinerated, generating 1 million cubic meters of highly contaminated ash waste. Options to use some of the less contaminated waste in construction of walls and roads is actively under consideration.

Government policy is for all of this waste to be deposited at two sites north of the Fukushima Daiichi plant at Okuma and Futaba – both of which remain closed to habitation at present but which are targeted for limited resettlement as early as 2021. Although the facilities are not completed yet, they are supposed to be in operation only for 30 years – after which the waste is to be deposited in a permanent site. The reality is there is no prospects of this waste being moved to another permanent site anywhere else in Japan.

As we conducted our radiation survey work across Fukushima in September and October 2017, it was impossible not to witness the vast scale of both the waste storage areas and the volume of nuclear transports that are now underway. Again the numbers are numbing.

In the space of one hour standing in a main street of Iitate village, six nuclear waste trucks passed us by. Not really surprising since in the year to October over 34,000 trucks moved nuclear waste across Fukushima to Okuma and Futaba. The target volume of waste to be moved to these sites in 2017 is 500,000 m³. And this is only the beginning. By 2020, the Government is planning for as much as 6.5 million m³ of nuclear waste to be transported to the Futaba and Okuma sites – a rough estimate would mean over one million nuclear transports in 2020.

On any measure this is insanity – and yet the thousands of citizens who formally lived in Namie and Iitate are expected and pressurized by the Japanese government to return to live amidst this nuclear disaster zone.

Perhaps one of the most shocking experience in our visit to Fukushima was to witness a vast incineration complex hidden deep in the woods of southern Iitate and a nearby vast storage area with tens of thousands of waste bags surrounded on all sides by thick forests. The tragic irony of a multi-billion dollar and ultimately failed policy of decontamination that has unnecessarily exposed thousands of poorly protected and desperate workers to radiation – but which leads to a vast nuclear dump surrounded by a radioactive forest which that can never be decontaminated.

There is no logic to this, unless you are a trucking and incineration business and of course the Japanese government, desperate to create the myth of recovery after Fukushima. On this evidence there is no 'after', only 'forever'.

This new abnormal in Fukushima is a direct result of the triple reactor meltdown and a cynical government policy that prioritizes the unattainable fantasy of effective radioactive decontamination, while de-prioritising the safety, health and well being of the people of Fukushima.

The nuclear waste crisis underway in Fukushima is only one of the many reasons why the Japanese government was under scrutiny at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva last month. Recommendations were submitted to the United Nations by the governments of Austria, Mexico, Portugal and Germany at the calling on the Japanese government to take further measures to support the evacuees of Fukushima, in particular women and children.

The Government in Tokyo is to announce its decision on whether it accepts or rejects these recommendations at the United Nations in March 2018. Greenpeace, together with other human rights groups and civil society in Japan are calling on the government to accept that it has failed to defend the rights of its citizens and to agree to implement corrective measures immediately.

Shaun Burnie is a senior nuclear specialist with Greenpeace Germany

Austria is one of the 12 richest countries in the world in terms of GDP per capita, has a well-developed social market economy, and a high standard of living. Until the 1980s, many of Austria's largest industry firms were nationalised; in recent years, however, privatisation has reduced state holdings to a level comparable to other European economies. Labour movements are particularly strong in Austria and have large influence on labour politics. Next to a highly-developed industry, international tourism is the most important part of the national economy. Germany has historically been the main trading partner of Austria, making it vulnerable to rapid changes in the German economy. However, since Austria became a member state of the European Union it has gained closer ties to other European Union economies, reducing its economic dependence on Germany. In addition, membership in the EU has drawn an influx of foreign investors attracted by Austria's access to the single European market and proximity to the aspiring economies of the European Union. Growth in GDP accelerated in recent years and reached 3.3% in 2006. In 2004 Austria was the fourth richest country within the European Union, having a GDP (PPP) per capita of approximately € 27,666, with Luxembourg, Ireland, and Netherlands leading the list. Vienna was ranked the fifth richest NUTS-2 region within Europe with GDP reaching € 38,632 per capita, just behind Inner London, Luxembourg, Brussels-Capital Region and Hamburg. Growth has been steady in recent years 2002-2006 varying between 1 and 3.3 %.


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