The one-year anniversary of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s engagement announcement just happened last week. In a few weeks, it will be their seven-month wedding anniversary. Meghan has already undertaken one large charitable project – putting together the Hubb Community Kitchen cookbook – and traveled on one mini-tour in Europe, and one huge tour in […]
www.celebitchy.com | 12/5/18
Central European University, founded after the collapse of the Soviet Union, has been forced from its campus in Budapest by the increasingly authoritarian government of Prime Minister Viktor Orban.
www.nytimes.com | 12/3/18
Students have one day left to save Central European University from being driven out of the country.
www.nytimes.com | 11/30/18
CNN’s public relations department went into overdrive this week, promoting a special weeklong series on the rise of anti-Semitism across Europe.
Unfortunately, the PR push came at the exact same time one of its contributors, Temple University professor Marc Lamont Hill, called for an armed Palestinian “resistance” against Israel and used a known Hamas rallying cry calling for the destruction of the Jewish State during a speech at the United Nations.
On Thursday, CNN fired Hill over the issue.
“Marc Lamont Hill is no longer under contract with CNN,” a spokesperson told TheWrap.
During his remarks, Hill called for a free Palestine, “from the river to the sea,” a line which has been used repeatedly by Hamas leader Khaled Mash’al. The phrase was also used by the Palestinian Liberation Organization beginning with its founding in 1964, when it was still classified as a terror group.
Hill also voiced support for violent Palestinian “resistance,” suggesting that Palestinians could be inspired by “slave revolts and self-defense and tactics otherwise divergent from Dr. King or Mahatma Gandhi.”
“If we are standing in solidarity with the Palestinian people, we must recognize the right of an occupied people to defend itself,” Hill said.
The Anti-Defamation League condemned Hill, calling the comments “divisive and destructive against Israel.”
“Those calling for ‘from the river to the sea’ are calling for an end to the State of Israel,” ADL Senior Vice President Sharon Nazarian told the Jewish Journal. “It is a shame that, once again, this annual event at the United Nations does not promote constructive pathways to ‘Palestinian solidarity’ and a future of peace, but instead divisive and destructive action against Israel.”
The imbroglio was conspicuously absent from the network’s “Reliable Sources” newsletter Wednesday — written by Brian Stelter.
Hill spent much of Wednesday and Thursday on Twitter defending himself from critics and insisting the phrase was not exclusive to Hamas.
“The phrase dates back to at least the middle of the British Mandate and has never been the exclusive province of a particular ideological camp,” Hill tweeted. “The idea that this is a Hamas phrase is simply untrue.”
As the Hill outrage gained steam, CNN offered fulsome talking points to reporters on “a major new investigation” on the “startling rise in anti-Semitism across Europe.”
Among the most notable statistics in the press release was that a “third of Europeans say they know either ‘just a little’ or nothing at all about the Holocaust. Around one in 20 Europeans has never heard of the Holocaust.” The state of Israel was established, in part, due to the world’s shock at the revelation of the horrors of the Holocaust.
It’s not the first time Hill has created headlines and headaches for CNN. Last month, Hill’s association with Nation of Islam chief Louis Farrakhan was brought to wide public attention after reporting from TheWrap showed the minister was using Hill in promotional material for a music collection. Farrakhan himself has tweeted approvingly of their friendship.
Farrakhan, who is classified as an extremist by the Southern Poverty Law Center for his long history of anti-semitic statements, recently lost his Twitter verification over similar remarks — like this one comparing Jews to termites. Farrakhan’s friendship with Women’s March leaders like Linda Sarsour and Tamika Mallory have led other movement leaders like Alyssa Milano and Debra Messing to publicly disassociate from the 2019 event.
In 2008, Hill defended Farrakhan during an appearance on “Hannity & Colmes.”
“I do not know if he is an anti-Semite,” Hill said after Hannity confronted him with quotes from Farrakhan, including his description of Judaism as a “gutter religion.” Hill said the line was “out of context.”
CNN also passed on multiple opportunities to comment on the Hill-Farrakhan connection at the time.
Related stories from TheWrap:
www.thewrap.com | 11/29/18
We’re accustomed to horror movies using creativity and artistry to cover up their low budgets; a filmmaker can create plenty of scares with one set and a cast of four. The low-budget musical, on the other hand, is expected to provide splashy razzle-dazzle and grandeur with the same economy of means, and it’s a tougher genre to make succeed on a dime. That said, if you’re willing to overlook a little scruffiness at the edges, it’s a Christmas miracle that the Scottish import “Anna and the Apocalypse” works so well as both a horror movie and a musical.
And “Christmas miracle” should be taken literally, because this is a holiday movie as well. And if you don’t think the undead mix well with musical numbers and gaudy Yuletide decor, “Anna” might be the movie to change your mind.
It’s a film that the protagonist of “Heathers” might call “teen angst with a body count”: High-school senior Anna (Ella Hunt), mourning the death of her mother, has put off telling her father, Tony (Mark Benton, “Eddie the Eagle”), that she wants to go to Australia rather than heading directly to university. Anna’s best pal John (Malcolm Cumming) pines for her despite those feelings not being reciprocal. Newspaper editor Steph (Sarah Swire, who also choreographs) has been dumped by her girlfriend and abandoned by her vacationing parents for the holidays.
All these mini-dramas get shoved to the background, of course, when the zombies emerge. And while “Anna and the Apocalypse” doesn’t rewrite the rules of any of its genres — Anna and John sing the upbeat “Turning My Life Around,” oblivious to the carnage unfolding behind them, in a scene very reminiscent of “Shaun of the Dead” — it’s got a real spark of joy, even when the story turns grim. And while this might be a comic and tuneful zombie saga, it doesn’t mean that every likable character is going to make it to the final fade-out.
As musicals go, “Anna” is closer to “La La Land” or “The Last Five Years” than to “Moulin Rouge!”: There’s only one elaborate moment of group choreography (“Hollywood Ending,” a song about adolescent disappointment), with most of the songs involving just a handful of performers. But plenty of tonal flavors are represented, from upbeat (the aforementioned “Turning My Life Around”) to the yearning (“Break Away,” “Human Voice”).
Anna’s ex Nick (Ben Wiggins) gets to fancy himself a “Soldier at War,” as the zombie outbreak lets him put his bullying to practical use, and there’s even a saucy holiday song, “Christmas Means Nothing Without You,” which ups the innuendo ante from “Santa Baby.” (The music and lyrics are by Roddy Hart and Tommy Reilly.)
The main cast (including Marli Sui and Christopher Leveaux as a pair of high-school sweethearts) nimbly balance the film’s multitude of tones; Hunt, in particular, makes a forceful and empathetic leading lady, while Cumming charmingly steals scenes as the goofy BFF who’s never going to be the BF.
But Paul Kaye (“Game of Thrones”) goes overboard as the school’s power-mad headmaster, shooting for the kind of grand grotesque usually played by “Rocky Horror” creator Richard O’Brien. Compared to the rest of the performers, he appears to have wandered in from the Christmas panto show next door.
There’s a fascinating story-behind-the-story to “Anna and the Apocalypse”: Filmmaker Ryan McHenry, the man behind the viral “Ryan Gosling Won’t Eat His Cereal” clips, made a “High School Musical”-inspired short called “Zombie Musical,” but he tragically died of bone cancer before he could make the feature.
His friends took up the cause, hiring John McPhail to direct the film; for someone working with limited means, and shooting on locations rather than sets, McPhail brings the film a cohesive look, less slick than “High School Musical” but more along the lines of songs breaking out in the midst of a European “Degrassi” knock-off.
Those charitable enough to watch a musical that doesn’t feature overhead cameras sweeping over hundreds of chorines may enjoy “Anna” for its humble charms. And if those assembly-line Hallmark flicks made you think there was nothing new in the world of Christmas movies, get ready for a breath of fresh air — one that smells like both pine needles and blood.
Related stories from TheWrap:
www.thewrap.com | 11/29/18
Revised broadband satellite plan
Mark Handley, a professor at University College London, has created videos based on simulations he ran of both the original and revised phase 1 plans. You should watch the videos, but it will help to first look over a few images from his simulation of the new plan.
Starlink phase-1 is shown below. Handley assumed a phase offset between adjacent planes that would minimize the chance of a collision. The minimum crossing distance between satellites is a little over 90 km — an improvement over the previous plan.
Looking up, there are several satellites in view at any one time (but fewer than there would have been with the previous 1,100 km plan):
Radio transmission will be used for links between the satellite constellation and the ground and laser links will be used between satellites. Handley assumed that each satellite links to the one before and after it in its plane and to the second closest in the adjacent planes in order to improve east-west routes. In his simulation of the first plan, he assumed a fifth laser linked to a satellite in the crossing plane, but that would be more difficult at this fast-moving lower altitude. It will be interesting to see how SpaceX uses the inter-satellite links.
A simulated route between San Francisco and London is shown below. Note that latency is about half that of current, terrestrial routes. (The latency advantage of satellite routes over terrestrial is generally greater for long distances).
Nine parallel routes between New York and London are shown below — eight have lower latency than the current, terrestrial route.
The following image shows all three phases — Handley is not sure if the other two will interact with the phase 1 satellites.
Only Elon Musk knows what motivated this revision in SpaceX's Starlink plan, but we can speculate. They have had two test satellites in orbit at around 550 km altitude for some time, and that experience must have informed the decision. Musk reported that the links between the test satellites and the ground were performing well, but did not mention the laser links between satellites. Perhaps they feared difficulty with the longer laser links at 1,100 km or some other engineering problem. (Musk recently fired several managers in an effort to keep the project on schedule).
Because SpaceX and others are planning to launch thousands of new low-Earth orbit satellites, the FCC is focusing their attention on debris mitigation. The chance of a collision with the new plan is reduced since the minimum distance between satellites increases from over 40 to slightly over 90 km and.
The lower-altitude satellites may require more fuel to overcome a slight increase in atmospheric drag, but they will be easier to de-orbit when their life (around 5 years) is up, further reducing the likelihood of a collision.
Starlink's primary goal is affordable global broadband service to individuals and organizations, but Musk has also predicted that they would carry half of the global long-distance traffic. Handley's simulations predict roughly 2X latency improvement over current terrestrial cables on long routes and he points out that low-latency long-distance service will appeal to financial companies with offices in Europe, North America, and Asia. If capacity turns out to be sufficient, I imagine Starlink will also attract tier 1 ISPs and large companies like Google.
Finally, SpaceX also has approval for a constellation of 7,518 very low-Earth orbit satellites operating at altitudes from 335km to 346km. These will not be launched until SpaceX has satellite engineering, regulatory and market experience and time to assess potential cooperation/competition from 5G terrestrial networks.
I recommend watching the videos of both of Handley's simulations because the narratives are different and both are inciteful. You should also read his paper Delay is Not an Option: Low Latency Routing in Space.
Written by Larry Press, Professor of Information Systems at California State University
www.circleid.com | 11/28/18
Dave Davis Contributor Dave Davis joined Copyright Clearance Center in 1994 and currently serves as a research analyst. He previously held directorships in both public libraries and corporate libraries and earned joint master’s degrees in Library and Information Sciences and Medieval European History from Catholic University of America. More posts by this contributor How AI […]
techcrunch.com | 11/3/18
Facebook said on Friday that the release of thousands of private user messages wasn’t the result of a hack of its security system, but rather due to “malicious browser extensions.”
According to a BBC report Friday, hackers were offering to sell private messages for 10 cents apiece. The hackers said they had access to 120 million accounts, but cybersecurity firm Digital Shadows, working for the BBC, was only able to confirm 81,000 profiles had been breached.
“Based on our investigation so far, we believe this information was obtained through malicious browser extensions installed off of Facebook,” Guy Rosen, vice president of Product Management, said in a statement to TheWrap. “We have contacted browser makers to ensure that known malicious extensions are no longer available to download in their stores and to share information that could help identify additional extensions that may be related.”
A Facebook rep did not name specific malicious browser extensions when asked by TheWrap, saying the company’s internal investigation was still ongoing. Browser extensions can allow hackers to view whatever a user is seeing on their screen. In other words, Facebook is saying the private messages were lifted by hackers viewing someone’s screen, rather than a direct breach of its security system.
The rep added that most of the accounts impacted were from central and eastern Europe and that Facebook has a page dedicated to helping users remove malicious extensions.
The BBC contacted five users who confirmed the hacked private messages were theirs. All five users were from Russia. One of the private messages included vacation pictures, while another discussed a Depeche Mode concert, and a third included an “intimate correspondence between two lovers,” according to the BBC.
“We encourage people to check the browser extensions they’ve installed and remove any that they don’t fully trust,” Rosen said, adding that Facebook has contacted law enforcement and “local authorities” to remove the website displaying the private messages. “As we continue to investigate, we will take action to secure people’s accounts as appropriate.”
Facebook last month announced up to 30 million profiles were vulnerable to a breach of its security system.
The 30 million users that were hit fell into three separate groups. There were 15 million users who had their name and contact info — either their phone number, email, or both, for some users — grabbed by the attackers. Another 14 million had their names and contact info lifted, as well as their “username, gender, locale/language, relationship status, religion, hometown, self-reported current city, birthdate, device types used to access Facebook, education, work, the last 10 places they checked into or were tagged in, website, people or Pages they follow” and their “15 most recent searches,” according to Rosen. The remaining 1 million vulnerable users did not have their information compromised by the attack.
Related stories from TheWrap:
www.thewrap.com | 11/2/18
The chancellor of the Exchequer promised more money for health, education and even fixing potholes. But worry remains about the country’s withdrawal from the European Union.
www.nytimes.com | 10/30/18
Scientists from Russian National Research Medical University named after Pirogov in cooperation with the Moscow State University and specialists from the Scientific Centre named after Kulakov created human embryos with a genome that determines resistance to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).The scientists modified the genome of embryos at a single cell stage (zygote) with the help of the CRISPR-Cas9 system. From zygotes, the scientists cut out 32 nucleotides from the CCR5 gene sequence that encodes the receptor, to which the virus clings to enter blood cells.Some people living on Earth naturally possess this particular variant of CCR5 gene and show increased resistance to HIV infection. The technology may help protect children of HIV-infected mothers who respond negatively to antiviral therapy.Pravdy.Ru talked about the technology to Denis Rebrikov, Doctor of Biological Sciences, Professor of the Russian Academy of Sciences."Scientists started working with systems to modify the genome of human embryos not so long ago. Chinese researchers made the first attempt in 2015. Changing the human genome at the level of the embryo is a new direction that has neither the proper legislation base, nor the adequate public perception yet. "Our society is very conservative. Most people are still concerned about GMO products that have been in use for more than 30 years already. We've seen two generations growing under the influence of GMO products, and numerous studies have shown that GMO products are safer for humans than classic agricultural technologies. Yet, the general public is still wary of plants and animals created with the use of genetic engineering."Therefore, the introduction of the technology of genome changing in human embryos into medical practice will be difficult because of public perception in the first place. "One should clarify here that the genome of the human embryo is not modified on the embryo as such, but on a single cell - a zygote, which formed as a result of the fusion of an egg and a sperm cell. A zygote is the first cell from which the human body develops. Accordingly, the most convenient moment when we can change the genetic program so that it is changed throughout the body is the stage of the zygote. "Although the idea of changing the zygote genome may seem obvious, its practical implementation was extremely complicated due to the underdevelopment of technologies. However, in the last three or four years, highly efficient genome-changing methods have appeared, based on the CRISPR/Cas bacterial system.""What are the challenges that this gene technology is facing?" "If we talk about changing the human genome at the level of the embryo, then there are not so many medical objectives for this technology today. The appearance of the majority of monogenic hereditary diseases in a child from his or her parents can be avoided without changing the genome - it can be done by selecting a healthy embryo in the IVF procedure."One of the potentially important objectives for genomic medicine is the creation of HIV-resistant embryos. In our studies, the choice of this particular model was not so much for the solution of a specific medical problem, but for the sake of developing a technology of precise introduction of changes to the human genome on the single cell level."With this model, we do not create a new genotype, but only change one natural variant for another. Some people (mostly among the North European population) have a gene variant of one of cell surface receptors - the chemokine receptor 5 (CCR5), which the immunodeficiency virus finds inconvenient to attach to the cell surface. It turned out that such a "protective" receptor protects human cells from the penetration of the virus. The carrier of this CCR5 variant is naturally protected from the HIV infection.Now let's see where such a modification of the genome could be applied in practice, in medicine. It is an open secret that most patients respond well to anti-HIV treatment. Today, a proper therapy can make an HIV-positive person live as long as a noninflected people do. HIV infection itself is not an obstacle for reproductive function today: mothers on antiretroviral therapy give birth to HIV-negative children. There are people whose response to the antiretroviral therapy is a lot weaker, apparently due to their individual genetic peculiarities. If this is a young woman who wants to have a child, the risk of having a child with HIV will be much higher than the average. In the future, medicine can offer such women a technology to make the foetus resistant to HIV in order to avoid the risk of HIV infection.
www.pravdareport.com | 10/29/18
Central European University, founded to ease the transition to democracy after the Soviet Union’s fall, has been a target of Viktor Orban, Hungary’s far-right leader.
www.nytimes.com | 10/25/18
This blog by Ira Magaziner, often called the "the father of ICANN," is part of a series of posts CircleID will be hosting from the ICANN community to commemorate ICANN's 20th anniversary. CircleID collaborated with ICANN to spread the word and to encourage participation. We invite you to submit your essays to us in consideration for posting. (You can watch the video interview of Magaziner done for ICANN’s History Project here.)
* * *
My story begins in ancient times when dinosaurs ruled the earth. It was a time when you could download a movie onto your desktop computer through your 56k dial-up connection if you had a few days. It was a time when more people were on the Minitel in France than on the Internet globally and when the Republic of Korea could fit all of its internet users into one small hotel room. I know because I met them all in that room.
In early 1995, then United States President Bill Clinton asked me, as his senior advisor for policy development, to help recommend what steps he could take if re-elected in 1996 to accelerate the long-term growth of the US economy. I suggested that we set a policy environment in the U.S. and globally that could accelerate the growth of the newly developed Internet, we could help fuel a global economic transformation.
I realized that the Internet had great potential, but that its future was very precarious, balanced on a knife’s edge between two extremes that could delay it or even destroy it. On the one side, if the Internet was too anarchic with no publicly accepted guidelines, it could engender constant lawsuits, scaring away investors and people who wanted to help build it. On the other side, if typical forces of bureaucracy took over with a mass of government regulations and slow intergovernmental governing bodies, the creativity and growth of the internet would be stifled.
We formed an inter-departmental task force and over the next few years: passed legislation and negotiated international treaties with other countries that kept Internet commerce free of tariffs and taxation; recognized the legality of digital signatures and contracts; protected Internet intellectual property; allowed the market to set standards rather than regulators; kept Internet telephony and transmission in general free from burdensome regulation; and empowered consumers to use the Internet affordably, among other measures. We aimed to establish the Internet as a global medium of communication and commerce that could allow any individual to participate.
As we did all of this, there was one problem that concerned us deeply: how could the technical coordination of the Internet succeed and scale in the face of the complex political and legal challenges that were already beginning to undermine the legitimacy of the Internet as it then existed?
At that time, IANA was housed in a small office at the University of Southern California (USC) and run by Jon Postel under a contract the University had with the U.S. Department of Defense/Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).
From a small office filled with large stacks of paper and books on the floor, on tables, and hanging off of shelves on the walls, it was Jon who decided what the top-level prefixes were for each country, and who in each country should be responsible for administering the Internet.
The A-root server was run by a company called Network Solutions in Virginia under a contract with the U.S. Department of Commerce. It had a virtual monopoly to sell domain names. It worked with Jon to synch up numbers with names.
But, Jon and the leadership of Network Solutions did not get along. There were constant disputes. They were so frustrated with each other that on more than one occasion I found myself trying to referee disputes between them at the request of the Department of Commerce and DARPA who, as administrators of the contracts, were often caught in the middle.
Internet infrastructure was also insecure. I went on a tour to visit some of the servers that ran the Internet. Some were in university basements where I literally could have walked in and pulled the plugs on the servers. There was no security.
The tenuous nature of these arrangements led to significant concerns which came to a head one fateful week in early January 1996. During this week, the following events occurred:
It was quite a week. We clearly had to do something.
I went home that Sunday, and while watching my favorite U.S. football team lose terribly on the television, I drafted the first concept memo of what an organization could look like that could successfully solve the current and potential challenges.
The idea of setting up a global, private, non-profit, apolitical institution, staffed by technical experts, that would be a grassroots organization accountable to Internet users and constituencies, while also being recognized by governments, was unprecedented and risky. When I discussed it with my interdepartmental taskforce, we knew it would be difficult and somewhat messy to implement, but we felt it offered the best chance to allow the Internet to grow and flourish.
The organization would have a government advisory group that could ensure the views of the collective governments were at the forefront, but that the governments would not control it. The organization would provide a strong focal point recognized by governments to combat any lawsuits. It would be flexible enough to evolve as the Internet evolved. It would generate its own independent funding by a small fee on each domain name registration, but it should never get too big. It would be stakeholder-based, and its legitimacy would have to be renewed regularly by its ability to persuade the various Internet constituency groups that it remained the best solution.
After two years of consultation, vigorous debate and many helpful suggestions and excellent modifications, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) was born in 1998.
Grassroots democracy is by its nature contentious and there have been bumps along the way. Overall, thanks to the efforts of many people who have played pivotal roles like Becky Burr and Andy Pincus who worked with me in the U.S. Government to establish ICANN, Esther Dyson, Vint Cerf, Mike Roberts and Steve Crocker who guided ICANN at key points, and the efforts of many others too numerous to mention who did the hard work of building the organization, ICANN has succeeded.
The political, policy and technical controversies that threatened to stifle or even destroy the Internet in its infancy in the late 1990s did not do so. The Internet is alive and well.
Billions of people now use the Internet. It accommodates a myriad of languages and alphabets. Wi-Fi, mobile devices, applications, and the “Internet of Things,” have all been incorporated. Despite almost unimaginable amounts of data and more addresses and domain names than we ever contemplated, one never reads about technical or legal problems that caused the Internet to break down.
While serious issues of privacy, security and equity must be addressed, no one can doubt that the Internet has created a positive transformation in the way the world communicates and does business. The Internet economy has grown at ten times the rate of the regular economy for more than twenty years now.
Congratulations to all of the people who have made ICANN a success over the past twenty years and to those of you working with ICANN today who will ensure its success over the next twenty years.
Written by Ira Magaziner
www.circleid.com | 10/25/18
Central European University threatens to move most teaching to Vienna amid row over academic freedom.
www.bbc.co.uk | 10/25/18
Central European University said Thursday it will move its U.S.-accredited programs from Hungary's capital of Budapest to the Austrian capital of Vienna because of uncertainty over its academic freedom.
www.foxnews.com | 10/25/18
This essay is part of a series of posts CircleID will be hosting from the ICANN community to commemorate ICANN's 20th anniversary. CircleID collaborated with ICANN to spread the word and to encourage participation. We invite you to submit your essays to us in consideration for posting.
Essentially everyone in the computing field has heard how the creation of ICANN absolutely changed the development of the Internet and the organization of the Domain Name System (DNS). Consequently, the growth of ICANN promoted the deliberation about New Internet Trends. The blog is structured as an interview with Eugenio Triana who was one of ICANN's nine initial directors in October 1998. Further info about him is available online on official web page of ICANN and BoD
The dialogue covers the early origins from the perspective of European institutions. It covers the conceptualization and governance transmitted by a member of the European Commission, Deputy Director General, and the person responsible for the Commission's relations with the Information and Communications Technology user interests.
I want to show a great gratitude to Eugenio Triana for his voluntary contribution to this interview specially prepared for ICANN63 in recognition to the 20th anniversary of ICANN.
Interviewed by Oscar M Bonastre on 30 July 2018 from Alicante, Spain with Eugenio Triana, one of ICANN's nine initial directors in October 1998.
Chair of Standards, Technical and Professional Activities. BoD IEEE Spain Section
Written by Oscar M Bonastre
www.circleid.com | 10/15/18
Bethenny Frankel has a new man in her life!
The Real Housewives of New York City star was in Boston over the weekend, when she was spotted getting affectionate with a mystery man, according to photos obtained by TMZ.
On Sunday, Frankel was photographed holding hands with a man while waiting at a crosswalk in Boston. He sported an all-black outfit with sneakers while she kept it casual in a cream sweater, dark grey pants and high heel sneakers. A day later, the mother of one was snapped kissing him on Monday morning near Boston College, where she grasped his face with her left hand as he leaned in for a smooch.
According to Daily Mail, the man is 29-year-old tech startup investor and advisor, Ben Kosinski, who Frankel, 47, follows on Instagram. Kosinski graduated from the University of Miami with a degree in economics in 2011 and is a managing partner at Kosinski Ventures, his LinkedIn profile states.
Frankel’s rep had no comment and PEOPLE is out to Kosinski for comment.
RELATED: Bethenny Frankel Says Late Boyfriend Dennis Shields Would Have Been ‘Cheering Her On’ at HSN Debut
The Skinnygirl mogul documented her trip to Boston and Boston University on her Instagram Story Monday, including Warren Towers, the residence where lived. “I lived here! This is Warren Towers! I went to B.U. for two years and so did Andy Cohen. Andy Cohen and I both lived in this building. This is it! Hi Boston, hi B.U. Look at this,” she said.
She also shared footage of the bar where she worked as a cocktail waitress. “I was always in the cocktail business. Who knew? Midnight to 2 a.m., you could make like almost $1,000 because there were so many European, international, wealthy people ordering sex on the beach shots. That’s how I was able to bring money to live in France for a semester,” she explained about her “old stomping grounds.”
While driving, Frankel drove past a restaurant called Papa Razzi. “How about we not eat at that restaurant today? Would that be a good idea?” she said on her Instagram Story. She then added with a smile, “I didn’t even know they had paparazzi in Boston,” possibly hinting at the photos captured over the weekend.
RELATED: Bethenny Frankel Says She’s ‘Going Through an Emotional Storm’ as She Mourns Dennis Shields
Her new romance comes nearly two months after Frankel’s late boyfriend Dennis Shields was found dead of a suspected overdose in his Trump Tower apartment at age 51.
“It’s hard to breathe & I appreciate you giving me the space & support to try to do so,” she tweeted, 16 days after his Aug. 10 death.
“It’s excruciating-sudden death is no closure & constant ?s & memories,” wrote Frankel. “Our relationship is current so it’s painfully raw. Trying to stay healthy & move through it w tears & close friends. Xo.”
His death has also taken a physical toll on Frankel, who confirmed that she’s lost weight as a result of the grieving process.
Responding to a fan last month who asked “how/are you losing weight?” the reality star replied, “Death will do that to a person.”
“#griefdiet I don’t recommend it,” added Frankel, who revealed over the weekend that she accidentally texted her late boyfriend.
people.com | 10/9/18
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.
“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:
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
Foreign companies will be able to access the Russian equivalent of the SWIFT payment system. The State Duma is preparing a bill designed to protect the companies that have fallen under Western sanctions in order to give them a possibility to conduct mutual settlements with foreign counterparties. Russian MPs believe that the system will function most effectively if the BRICS countries, as well as Iran and Turkey, join it. "Although they plan to use national currencies in settlements with Russia, but they do not exclude that settlements can be conducted through the Russian equivalent of SWIFT," Anatoly Aksakov, the head of the State Duma Committee on Financial Markets said. Earlier, first deputy chairman of the Central Bank, Olga Skorobogatova, said that connecting foreign companies to the financial messaging system would expand possibilities for mutual exchange of messages and settlements between sanctioned companies that do not have access to making payments through the original SWIFT system, and foreign contractors.The Russian equivalent to SWIFT is a financial messaging system known for the Russian initials as SPFS. The bill stipulates for direct messaging between both Russian and foreign legal entities.According to the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, there are more than 400 participants in the SPFS system, including banks, the federal treasury, legal entities, and corporate clients. "Inside the country, our system covers the exchange in financial messages completely," a source at the Central Bank of Russia said. "If we talk about cross-border operations, they can be implemented only on the basis of the agreement between several countries. There are such discussions happening already on the level of both the Eurasian Economic Union and BRICS."In the near future, SWIFT may have another competitor in Europe. The head of the German Foreign Ministry, Heiko Maas, said in August that the European Union was in need of its own and independent SWIFT system to protect the financial stability of European companies from US sanctions. Russia found such an intention of European partners quite natural. After the appearance of the European SWIFT system, Russia intends to offer European companies to incorporate a Russian analogue to SWIFT."The possibility to connect foreign countries to the Russian system depends on a number of factors. As for Iran, a lot depends on the volume of economic cooperation that is going to happen. So far, it has not been large at all, but there are reasons for it to grow, especially in the oil and gas sector," Nikolai Kozhanov, a researcher at the European University at St. Petersburg Energy Policy Research Center said. Turkey is already showing willingness to cooperate with the Russian SWIFT. "The Russian equivalent to SWIFT is a revolutionary innovation in the digital world. The possibility of its use by Turkish companies can provide an important development of trade relations between our countries," Mehmet Yolcu, chairman of the board of directors of FinExpertiza Turkey said.According to Dmitry Mosyakov, director of the Center for Southeast Asia, Australia and Oceania of the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, China's position on the matter will depend on its relations with the United States. The worse China's relationship with the States goes, the better it is for the Russian SWIFT system. "The relations between China and the USA have been quite intense lately, but if the United States shows positive signs to China, then taking into account the volume of their trade ($500-600 billion) and China's trade volume with Russia ($100 billion as of 2018), China will demonstrate loyalty to the United States and will not connect to the Russian project," the expert said. SWIFT is an international interbank system for transmitting information and making payments. The system incorporates more than 11,000 financial institutions in 200 countries of the world. After 9/11 attacks, the United States gained access to SWIFT network in order to track possible transactions between terrorist groups. Thus, US authorities have access to information related to any payment that goes through SWIFT. Russia launched its own version of SWIFT - SPFS - for domestic financial operations in December 2014. Also read: SWIFT refuses to cut Russia off
www.pravdareport.com | 10/4/18
Edinburgh universities say the new venture could transform the area into "the data capital of Europe".
www.bbc.co.uk | 9/25/18
More than 250 staff members say Cardiff University should take a more "pro-European" stance.
www.bbc.co.uk | 9/10/18
Russia's Yandex has taken its self-driving efforts one step further, launching an autonomous ride-hailing service in the university city of Innopolis, Russia. The company claims it's the first such service to launch in Europe. For now, there will be...
www.engadget.com | 8/28/18
Hungary's Central European University says it has been forced to suspend education programs for refugees and asylum seekers due to a new "immigration surtax" that took effect last week.
www.foxnews.com | 8/28/18
Researchers at the University of Bergen in Norway studied records of 120,000 people from 17 European countries to discover the average age at which people start smoking has dropped.
www.dailymail.co.uk | 8/28/18
The European University at St. Petersburg lost its teaching license after attacks from conservative nationalists who resent its Western orientation.
www.nytimes.com | 8/27/18
Jobocalypse now: The impending social catastrophe Public enemy number one: Artificial Intelligence, the monster which has already undermined our collective existence, the fuel for social terrorism As school holidays end in Latin America and begin in Europe, as parents frantically scrabble to get their children into the best schools, as the world goes nuts on sanctions and hatred and sabre-rattling, let us all remember once and for all that our collective future is the next generation. That, along with the destruction of our planet and its inhabitants, are the burning issues of today and this is what we must concentrate on finding solutions to. And this is why I write this article to get people thinking of solutions, for all of us.
www.pravdareport.com | 8/7/18
Lauren Geoghegan and Jay Austin were living out their dream of traveling the world by bicycle.
Tragically, while out doing what they loved with five other cyclists, their quest was cut short when they were run over and stabbed to death by armed men in Tajikistan on Sunday.
Geoghegan’s parents confirmed in a statement to CBS News that the couple, who were both 29-years-old, were killed in the attack.
ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack. Two other tourists, Dutch and Swiss national, were killed while three riders survived, NPR reports.
Geoghegan and Austin started their journey in 2017. They first biked through Africa, Europe, and Central Asia before finding themselves in Tajikistan, using all of their life savings to fund their trip. The couple also documented their travels on their blog SimplyCycling.
“The yearlong bicycle adventure Lauren and her partner, Jay Austin, were enjoying was typical of her enthusiasm embrace of life’s opportunities, her openness to new people and places, and her quest for a better understanding of the world,” her parents, Robert and Elvira Geoghegan, said in a statement given to CBS.
Before setting off, Geoghegan worked in the admissions office at Georgetown University, where she was also a graduate.
Austin, who was originally from New York, was also a graduate of Georgetown University where he received his master’s degree, according to The Washington Post. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Delaware.
He worked with the Department of Housing and Urban Development for seven years, his mother Jeanne Santovasco told The Post.
“He was a gentle soul who cared about the world and not leaving any footprint and leaving it a better place,” Santovasco said during an interview on Tuesday, The Washington Post reported.
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Austin’s blog entries reflected exactly that. In April, the 29-year-old dedicated a post to discussing how the people of this world are inherently good despite all the horror stories you hear on the news.
“You watch the news and you read the papers and you’re led to believe that the world is a big, scary place. People, the narrative goes, are not to be trusted. People are bad. People are evil. People are axe murderers and monsters and worse,” he wrote from Morrocco.
“Badness exists, sure, but even that’s quite rare. By and large, humans are kind. Self-interested sometimes, myopic sometimes, but kind. Generous and wonderful and kind. No greater revelation has come from our journey than this.”
Austin and Geoghegan wrote on their blog that they had plans to continue biking for, “maybe another year or two or three. But only if we’re enjoying it.”
people.com | 8/2/18
It’s been 40 years since the release of “National Lampoon’s Animal House.” That means “Animal House” is older now than the events of “Animal House” were when “Animal House” came out. It’s part of our history now, along with “National Lampoon’s Vacation” and “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.” Each of these films are considered comedy classics, or at least extremely influential, because of their eagerness and skill at capturing an idea of America — both the country and its culture — that we think is real, but never existed, and possibly never should have.
But these are just the best-known “National Lampoon” movies. The brand has been used on many motion picture comedies over the years, including many theatrical releases and more straight-to-video schlock than most people realize. With the 40th anniversary of “Animal House” on the horizon, and the 35th anniversary of “Vacation” the same week, we’re counting down the best of the major “National Lampoon” movies (including a few sequels that didn’t technically wear the “National Lampoon” name tag) from worst to best.
13. “Movie Madness” (1982)
The second National Lampoon movie might not be their most immature, the most offensive or even the most amateurish, but that doesn’t make it funny. “Movie Madness” is a triptych of short films, satirizing baby-boomer dramas, hardboiled cop films and sexy prime-time soap operas (which, yes, invalidates the whole title). The story of a guy who can’t stop having powerful revelations, and a “good” cop who keeps falling on his face, and a world in which everyone you meet is a millionaire rushing into marriage are mildly amusing, but the film never takes them further than the premise, repeating the same obvious jokes over and over again.
12. “Christmas Vacation 2: Cousin Eddie’s Island Adventure” (2003)
The straight-to-video “Vacation” spinoff features Randy Quaid as the Griswold’s boorish and oafish Cousin Eddie, who loses his job testing nuclear radiation for side effects, but gets bitten by a monkey, so he’s compensated with a free tropical getaway. Naturally, Eddie and his family get shipwrecked. There may be a laugh in “Christmas Vacation 2,” somewhere, but good luck finding them beneath the cheap production values and tedious, uninspired gags.
11. “Class Reunion” (1982)
The slasher genre was still young when “Class Reunion” tried to lampoon the phenomenon, which is probably why the film has no meaningful observations and instead relies on a bunch of outlandish caricatures to steal whatever laughs it can get. It’s the story of a high school prank gone wrong, and then a class reunion a decade later, where characters — including a slimeball, a snob, a vampire and woman possessed a la “The Exorcist”) — are trapped in their old high school with a murderer. Gross humor abounds, but most of it falls completely flat. At least it’s fast-paced and bizarre.
10. “Senior Trip” (1995)
Jeremy Renner made his feature-film debut in “Senior Trip” as Dags, the cool stoner teen locked in a never-ending war with his principal, played by Matt Frewer. When the class’s letter to the president gets national attention, everyone winds up on a bus (driven by Tommy Chong) to Washington, D.C., where of course they party really hard and stick it to the man. The young cast brings some vibrancy to the otherwise flimsy and familiar tale, and Frewer is eager to humiliate himself as the stuck-up authority figure who suffers indignity after indignity. It’s not “good” per se, but compared to some of the other Lampoon films, it almost looks that way.
9. “European Vacation” (1985)
The worst theatrically-released film in the “Vacation” series is a tedious rehash of the original, in which the Griswolds win a European vacation and wreck the whole continent. Most of the set pieces are uncomfortably unfunny, and unlike the original, which had a perspective on America which was observant and satirical, “European Vacation” does little more than take cheap shots at other cultures, which in turn paints the Griswolds in a very ugly light, and makes us like them less than ever.
8. “Vacation” (2015)
The Griswolds’ oldest son Rusty, now played by Ed Helms, decides to take his own family on a cross-country vacation, and naturally it all goes horribly wrong in one outlandish comic set piece after another. The original “Vacation” was founded on false memories of idyllic American life, and telling the story from Rusty’s perspective, now warped by nostalgia, is clever, but the cleverness ends there. Instead of whimsical subversions of our expectations we get thudding sewage jokes aplenty. Still, the remake/reboot of “Vacation” has a few comic highlights, including the jurisdictional crisis at the Four Corners Monument, the ill-fated rafting expedition, and the wacky cameo by Chris Hemsworth.
7. “Van Wilder” (2002)
Ryan Reynolds stars in a cross between “PCU” and “Ferris Bueller,” as a college senior who’s been at the university for nearly a decade and now practically runs the place. Kal Penn plays his horny personal assistant and Tara Reid is the school reporter trying to get the inside scoop on a campus legend, and naturally she falls in love with him. The likable cast manages to overcome (most of) the film’s laziest jokes, but even so it’s a juvenile flick with a flimsy narrative throughline that barely drives the story forward, and it doesn’t earn any of its big emotional climaxes.
6. “Van Wilder: The Rise of Taj” (2006)
The sequel to “Van Wilder” brings back Kal Penn and Van Wilder’s dog, but trades everything else in for a mostly enjoyable but very familiar “Animal House” riff, set in a fictional university in England. Taj becomes the advisor to a fraternity full of outsiders, and together they combat a snobbish culture in a series of competitions. Taj also woos future “Walking Dead” star Lauren Cohan, whose obvious charisma shines through her underwritten character. It’s amazing what a difference even a simple storytelling structure makes, so even though “The Rise of Taj” isn’t as expensive or as star-studded as the original “Van Wilder,” it plays slightly better just by staying focused.
5. “Animal House” (1978)
“Animal House” is a frustrating paradox. On one hand it’s an incredibly influential comedy which spawned a whole genre of “Snobs vs. Slobs” movies and rocketed many great actors to stardom. On the other hand, it’s almost impossible to root for the so-called “heroes” of this movie. Not that the snobs are good people, by any stretch, but the allegedly heroic slobs are cruel, judgmental, sexist a-holes who commit crimes which would be unforgivable by modern standards (and don’t seem any better in historical context). It’s hard to deny the pioneering style or “Animal House,” or its talented cast and historical impact, but it’s not actually very funny anymore.
4. “Vegas Vacation” (1997)
Mostly overlooked but surprisingly amusing, “Vegas Vacation,” finds the Griswolds taking a trip to Las Vegas and getting snookered into a world of decadence, gambling, addiction, and celebrity. The in-jokes about Las Vegas are generally spot-on, and keeping the family in one place gives them an opportunity to interact with each other and to grow as characters, instead of just getting carted off to one funny locale after another. It may not be a comedy masterpiece, but there are a lot of laughs, and the story works.
3. “Loaded Weapon 1” (1993)
National Lampoon returned to the spoof genre with this consistently hilarious parody of macho action films, starring Emilio Estevez as the renegade cop and Samuel L. Jackson as the by-the-books officer, as well as a cavalcade of unexpected cameos in nearly every other role. The non-stop sight gags and puns are unusually clever and usually laugh-out-loud ridiculous. Of the many films to try to emulate the hyperactive laughs-per-minute ratio of “Airplane!,” this is one of the best.
2. “Christmas Vacation” (1989)
All Clark Griswold wants is to have the perfect family Christmas. That’s what makes “Christmas Vacation” so effective. Like the original “Vacation,” the third film in the series is about modest cultural expectations getting stymied at every turn by harsh realities and dumb, stupid luck. It’s hard not to sympathize with Clark’s plight, but he’s so danged unflappable that you can’t help but laugh every time something does go horribly wrong. And you’ll almost certainly howl when he finally loses it completely, in a yuletide outburst for the ages.
1. “Vacation” (1983)
The original “Vacation” is the best National Lampoon movie. It’s also one of the best comedies of the 1980s, featuring a cast at the top of their game, an insightful (albeit sporadically problematic) script by John Hughes, and spot-on, razor sharp direction by Harold Ramis. Clark Griswold just wants to take his family on a cross-country road trip to Wally World. America has other plans. The universally familiar frustrations of being stuck with people who love, but don’t always like, each other makes “Vacation” connect on a personal level. The cruel reversals of fortune they face at every turn, and Clark’s stalwart dedication to staying positive, are wickedly mischievous. And the subversive attitude towards nostalgia is just as insightful as ever. Chevy Chase has never been better, and Beverly D’Angelo matches him at every turn. It’s the perfect vacation movie, and an expertly crafted lampoon of the nation.
www.thewrap.com | 7/23/18
For someone so smart, how can Mark Zuckerberg be so very, very dumb?
Maybe it’s a lack of what we used to call a “liberal arts” education — a foundation in basic philosophy, history, ethics — although they used to teach that stuff at Harvard. Maybe it’s the moral confusion we sometimes see in very leftie liberals who are afraid to offend anyone at any time.
Zuckerberg clearly does not understand that free speech is the bedrock of a democratic society, but that it has its limits. This confusion is very concerning in someone who controls as large a platform as Facebook.
For example: Holocaust denial, which is banned in both Germany and France because of the evident danger to free society posed by spreading poisonous lies. Denying the Holocaust is not an academic point of view or the result of random confusion — it is a deliberate tactic used to sustain and justify anti-Semitism. Those kinds of lies once led to the near-extinction of Zuckerberg’s own ancestral group, European Jews.
But bizarrely, Zuckerberg this week used Holocaust denial as the example of free speech that he would not want to suppress on Facebook.
In an interview with Recode’s Kara Swisher (one of the only journalists whom he seems to grant interviews), Zuckerberg said when asked about regulating speech on Facebook:
Here Swisher correctly interjects that this is probably not the case.
Zuckerberg plows on:
That was a lot of words, and none of them very eloquent. Did Zuckerberg just compare Holocaust deniers to himself when he misspeaks in public?
For the record, Holocaust denial is usually the textbook example of why you sometimes need to regulate speech. (Yelling “Fire!” in a crowded theater is another one.) Instead, Zuckerberg is using it as an example of why Facebook prefers to let everyone hash it out in public.
After thoughtful people criticized him on Wednesday, Zuckerberg followed up with a note to Swisher saying he was misunderstood — “I personally find Holocaust denial deeply offensive, and I absolutely didn’t intend to defend the intent of people who deny that.” But that explanation still did not reflect an understanding that this is not a subject of debate among people of good will or that Facebook should have a position on this.
Yesterday, Simon Wiesenthal Center Associate Dean Abraham Cooper said that Facebook officials told the Simon Wiesenthal Center in 2009 that Holocaust denial content would be removed from the platform.
“Holocaust denial is the quintessential ‘fake news,'” Cooper said in a statement. “The Nazi Holocaust is the most documented atrocity in history, allowing the canard of Holocaust denial to be posted on Facebook, or any other social media platform cannot be justified in the name of ‘free exchange of ideas’ when the idea itself is based on a falsehood.”
Get it, Mark? People who control mass communication platforms have a responsibility to think about the intent of the people using the platform. Uncomfortable as it may be, Facebook morally and ethically must make judgement calls about the content being posted. Those of us in news organizations do it every day.
The same goes for denying that the Sandy Hook massacre ever happened. It is immoral for Facebook to exercise no judgement around this content, aimed at spreading misinformation.
And yes, it’s complicated and sticky and a lot harder than coding Xs and Os.
The reality is that Zuckerbeg is winging it when it comes to making value judgements about the vast array of content on his platform. He doesn’t want to have to make decisions, dammit, that’s not why he started the thing.
Zuckerberg has demonstrated before his extreme discomfort with monitoring content, and his unwillingness to step in and make judgement calls. This moral abdication — this doing nothing — dovetails with Facebook’s profitable but questionable practice of mining the data of his users and then selling it to third parties even when he said he wasn’t doing so.
So now we can add Holocaust Denial to the list of things that the man who controls a communications platform with 2 billion-plus users does not understand.
Related stories from TheWrap:
www.thewrap.com | 7/19/18
The majority of foreigners, who visited Russia during the FIFA 2018 World Cup, were thrilled with what they saw and experienced in the country. They were thrilled to see Russia that was so much different from what their media was making them to believe. The level of organization of the tournament in Russia was superb indeed: no incident was reported, not a single brawl occurred. Nikolskaya Street, where most fans gathered, became the street of global peace and the main street of the world. The goal of the organizing committee was to show foreigners Russia's best side, to make them remember their time in Russia and have unforgettable impressions. Today, one can say for certain: the goal has been achieved. The 2018 World Cup has changed Russia's imaged for the better in the whole world. The performance of the Russian football team at the tournament became an important addition to the organization of the whole event. Few in Russia could even think that the national football team could exit the group, reach the 1/8 finals and even leave Spain behind on the way. Even when Russia lost to Croatia in a series of penalty kicks, the whole nation was infinitely grateful to their footballers for their amazing achievement. Ratings of broadcasts of playoff matches with the participation of the Russian national team were comparable with the ratings of president's New Year speech. The World Cup has given Russia not only 12 stadiums that hosted the games, but also almost a hundred smaller arenas throughout the European territory of the country. They will be used for children's sports schools.New airport terminals, renovated roads and streets, the experience of thousands of people who were involved in the organization of the world's biggest event has become the precious legacy that football has given Russia. The whole world has finally got a chance to see Russia as an open and hospitable country, and we would like to hope that many foreign fans would like to come to Russia again and bring their families along. It is worthy of note that all foreigners having FAN IDs for the 2018 World Cup will not need to get the Russian visa if they wish to visit Russia again before the end of 2018. The 2018 World Cup cost Russia more than $14 billion. The financial results of the tournament have not been calculated yet, but one can already say that the income that Russia has received was a lot lower than the spending. However, profit is not the most important thing, and Russia did not have the goal to make as much as possible from football. Russian football fans bought the largest amount of tickets - 900,000 of 2.4 million. Surprisingly, American fans come next - they bought 89,000 tickets. The list continues with Brazil - 72,500 tickets, Colombia - 65,200, Germany - 62,500, Mexico - 60,300, Argentina - 54,000, Peru - 43,600, China - 40,300, Australia - 36,400, and England - 32,400.The number of European visitors was unexpectedly low. Having been zombified by the media, many British and French fans preferred to stay home and watch the games on TV. Yet, the number of American visitors was higher than expected. Financial results of the 2018 World Cup will follow soon, although experts say that the football tournament has contributed from 0.2 to 1 percent of GDP to the Russian economy. The infrastructure created for the competition and the subsequently growing tourist flow can bring an additional 120-180 billion rubles to Russia's GDP annually for the next five years.Given that Russia's GDP amounted to about 92 trillion rubles last year, these expected revenues will simply be invisible and fit within the error margin. The spending of 1.2 trillion rubles that Russia has incurred during seven years of preparations for the event is just as insignificant.
www.pravdareport.com | 7/16/18
www.itnewsafrica.com | 7/8/18
European activists protested Saturday against U.S. President Donald Trump's upcoming appearance at NATO, marching through Belgium's capital to plead for less military spending and more public money for schools and clean energy.
www.foxnews.com | 7/7/18
[New Times] 567 young Rwandans pursuing their studies from some 19 countries from Asia, Europe, America and Africa on Wednesday started a civic education programme (Itorero) that will last one month.
allafrica.com | 7/6/18
We have told G7 Leaders to Make Gender Inequality and Patriarchy History For most people, the annual G7 meeting may just seem like an expensive photo-op that doesn't connect with any concrete change in people's lives. But for us, appointed by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to sit on his G7 Gender Equality Advisory Council, it was a unique opportunity to push for strong commitments for girls' and women's rights. We had the opportunity to meet the seven leaders for breakfast and make a strong case for concrete commitments and accelerated action to achieve gender equality within a generation. There is unprecedented momentum and support for gender equality and women's rights. With the universal adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals, which put gender equality at the center, and the global attention brought by #MeToo and related campaigns on ending sexual harassment and other forms of violence against women, support for improving outcomes for girls and women has never been so high. The explosion of discussions in our offices and shopfloors, our boardrooms and lockerooms, our dining rooms and bedrooms must come right to the G7 table. It is therefore significant that leaders spent two hours discussing gender equality and that it was also part of other discussions. As the richest economies in the world, G7 countries can bring about far reaching systemic changes envisaged in the global agenda for sustainable development. The impact of G7 countries goes well beyond their borders. We have told leaders that they must use this unique footprint for the benefit of women and girls. Together with the Gender Equality Advisory Council, we have put forward a comprehensive set of recommendations. As a foundation, it is critical to eliminate discriminatory legislation which persists in G7 countries and around the world. We also called for the removal of barriers to women's income's security and participation in the labour market. Concrete measures, such as legislation and implementation of pay equity can close the wage gap between men and women. And the jobs of the future, whether it is in the digital economy or artificial intelligence, must help close - not further widen - the gender gap. For most women, the challenge of balancing productive and reproductive lives creates a "motherhood penalty" that triggers major setbacks for women in the economy. G7 leaders can shape an economy that closes the gap between women and men through affordable childcare, paid parental leave, and greater incentives for men to do half of all care work. Addressing violence against women in the workplace is critical. Employers, shareholders, customers, trade unions, Boards, Ministers all have an obligation to make workplaces safe, hold perpetrators accountable and end impunity. The emerging International Labour Organization's standard to end violence and harassment at work should be supported to drive greater progress in this area. None of this will happen without the full participation and voice of women at all decision-making tables. We applaud the increasing numbers of countries with gender equal cabinets. We need more countries to follow suit, as well as the private sector. Because men still disproportionately control our political, economic, religious, and media institutions, they have a special responsibility to actively support policies and cultural change. Men's voices and actions, including those of our predominately male political leaders, are critical because they have such a big impact on the attitudes and behavior of other men. We welcome the announcement by Canada, the European Union, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the World Bank of an investment of nearly US$ 3 billion for girls' education, including the single largest investment in education for women and girls in crisis and conflict situations. This is a significant step forward to build a foundation for greater progress. In our own work, as the Executive Director of UN Women, and as a writer and activist focused on engaging men to promote gender equality and end violence against women, we've been witness to dramatic changes over the past few decades. The courage of individual women and the leadership of women's movements have meant that patriarchy is being dismantled in front of our eyes. But greater leadership is required. A strong commitment by G7 leaders to take this agenda forward beyond the Summit can push forward the most dramatic and far-reaching revolution in human history. The one that will make gender inequality history. UN Women
www.pravdareport.com | 7/5/18
Children from eastern Europe are being forced to hide their nationalities in Scotland's schools, say the front pages.
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Early June 2018 the European Internet community traveled into the Caucasian Mountains to participate in EURODIG 11. On its way into the digital age, Europe is, as EU Commissioner Mariya Gabriel said, at another crossroad. In cyberspace, Europe risks becoming sandwiched between US and Chinese Cyberpower policies. Social networks, search engines, smartphones, eTrade platforms — key sectors of today's digital economy — are dominated both by the US and Chinese giants: Alibaba and Amazon, Google and Baidu, Facebook and Weibo, Apple and Huawai. And it is also clear, that the 2020s global political agenda will be determined by issues like cyberwar and digital trade where the United States of America and the Peoples Republic of China will be the main competitors. Insofar EURODIG was a good opportunity to discuss the role of Europe in this forthcoming very complex cyber powerplay.
EURODIG is the European regional version of the UN based Internet Governance Forum (IGF). The 11th edition in Tbilisi, Georgia, saw 800 registrations from more than 50 countries, representing all stakeholder groups. And the agenda covered nearly everything: from cybersecurity and digital trade to artificial intelligence and human rights. EU Commissioner Mariya Gabriel called EURODIG "the most successful and most relevant regional initiative on Internet Governance." And indeed, over the years, EURODIG has innovated the IGF processes with new ideas: interactive formats of sessions, tangible output in form of clear and short messages, a youth IGF, open calls for themes, decentralized and bottom-up management procedures.
However, the Tbilisi meeting also showed that the IGF community, which has grown substantially since the days of the 2005 UN World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), is now also partly the victim of its own success. There is a risk that the "usual suspects" of the global Internet Governance debate, who have been the drivers of discussions in the past, are sidelined and substituted by new communities which represent new powerhouses from governments and businesses. Those powerhouses have their own new agendas and tend to ignore widely what has been achieved over the last two decades in building a functioning Internet Governance ecosystem.
Reinventing the Wheel?
For years the message from EURODIG and the IGF was: Internet Governance is a big political issue and the multistakeholder approach is an innovation in global policymaking. 15 years after the WSIS I, world leaders have now recognized that the internet is indeed a big issue — they call it now "cyber" or "digital" — and they discuss it at summit meetings like BRICS, G7 or G20. But they have partly different ideas how to manage this network of networks. They pay lipservice to the multistakeholder approach, but the reality is that the majority of governments prefer to negotiate Internet-related issues behind closed doors.
This is the case if it comes to cybersecurity where a UN Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) tried to define rules of the road for the cyberspace. This is the case for digital trade, where the intergovernmental World Trade Organisation is negotiating behind closed doors frameworks for eCommerce. Both issues have been discussed since years both at the IGF and EURODIG. And agreements which have been achieved in this global Internet Governance debate are certainly also relevant for cybersecurity and digital trade.
The Tunis Agenda (2005) has defined what Internet Governance is and has invited both state and non-state actors to participate — in their respective roles — in the development of Internet-related public policies. The NetMundial Declaration (2014) has defined fundamental principles for good behaviour in cyberspace and has specified guidelines for multistakeholder cooperation as openness, transparency, bottom-up and inclusive. ICANN's IANA transition (2016) has demonstrated the feasibility of multistakeholder cross-community processes by transferring the responsibility for the management of key global Internet resources — domain names, IP addresses, and Internet protocols — to the empowered community (which include also governments in their respective role).
But the new intergovernmental negotiating bodies which are dealing now with cybersecurity and digital trade are rather dislinked from IGF and ICANN processes. What we see is that new intergovernmental silos are emerging and the risk is growing that in all those new closed silos the cyberwheel is reinvented.
This new intergovernmental silo approach could become a big problem. The Internet is a network of networks, everything is connected with everything via protocols and codes. This has consequences for Internet-related public policies. In the analog world, security issues had only little to do with trade, environment or freedom of expression. In the digital world, those issues are interconnected as the new EU data protection legislation (GDPR) is demonstrating. The regulation of a human rights issue — privacy — has far-reaching consequences for the business model of internet corporations and the security agenda of law enforcement agencies. And this is valid also the other way around. Any cybersecurity treaty will have economic implications and touches human rights. And agreements on digital trade will have a cybersecurity component and will also have consequences for human rights.
In other words, the big challenge with the Internet Governance Ecosystems and its growing complexity is not only to include all stakeholders in their respective roles in policy development and decision making but also to inter-link the new emerging intergovernmental silos and to pull them into a multistakeholder environment. What is needed is a holistic approach to global Internet negotiations as it was also recognized during the recent Bratislava meeting (May 2018) of the Global Commission on Stability in Cyberspace.
The Need for a Holistic Approach
How to organize such a holistic approach? The first step has to be to enhance communication among all governmental and non-governmental stakeholders. Decisions can be made only on an informed basis. No single stakeholder has all the knowledge and all the capacities which are needed to find sustainable solutions.
There is a need for something like a "global clearinghouse" which identifies the key components of an issue before decisions are made. But wait a minute, such a "clearinghouse" does already exist. If we would not have the Internet Governance Forum (IGF), there would be a need to invent it now. The IGF and its regional and national subsidiaries — like EURODIG — provide the needed framework for such a discussion across constituencies, stakeholders, state and nonstate organizations. The problem is that some governments and some business underestimate the potential of the IGF and are looking for alternative venues.
It is certainly true that the IGF has some weaknesses. The UNCSTD IGF Improvement Working Group has made some recommendations which have been reaffirmed by the UN General Assembly in its WSIS+10 Resolution in December 2015. Progress is slow but there is improvement: More intercessional work, more tangible output, more interlinkage with national and regional initiatives. And we see as EURDOG in Tbilissi has demonstrated, a more interactive cross-community debate, the involvement of more young people and the ability to send 62 short and concrete messages to all stakeholders which tell them what they could and should do in fields like cybersecurity, digital trade, artificial intelligence or human rights.
The new UN Internet Commission, which will be probably established under the guidance of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guiterres by the forthcoming UN General Assembly in fall 2018 would be very wise if it would push for a strengthening of the IGF process and to recommend to governmental and non-governmental stakeholders not only to deepen the multistakeholder cooperation but to argue also in favor of a holistic approach.
A new Round of Controversies?
However, recent meetings on the highest political level did send some contradicting and confusing messages to the global Internet community.
On the one hand, the leaders of the G7 — including US President Trump, French President Macron and the German Chancellor Merkel — during its meeting in June 2018 in Canada remained silent with regard to cybersecurity and digtal trade, but agreed on a "Commitment on Defending Democracy from Foreign Threats" which included the establishment of "a G7 Rapid Response Mechanism to strengthen our coordination to identify and respond to diverse and evolving threats to our democracies, including through sharing information and analysis, and identifying opportunities for coordinated response… in collaboration with governments, civil society and the private sector". The G7 wants to "engage directly with internet service providers and social media platforms regarding malicious misuse of information technology by foreign actors, with a particular focus on improving transparency regarding the use and seeking to prevent the illegal use of personal data and breaches of privacy."
On the other hand the leaders of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) — including Chinese President Xi, Russian President Putin and India's President Modi — during its parallel meeting in China supported "the central role of the UN in developing universal international rules and principles as well as norms for countries' responsible behaviour in the information space." They advocated for "the establishment of a working mechanism within the framework of the UN". And they argued that "a governing organization established to manage key internet resources must be international, more representative and democratic."
What does this mean? Is this the kick-start for a re-opening of the ICANN vs. ITU controversy? It could become a "hot fall" for Internet discussions.
In October 2018 there will be ICANN's High-Level GAC Meeting in Barcelona. The other week ITU's Plenipotentiary Conference starts in Dubai. Mid-November 2018 will see the IGF in Paris. And at the end of November 2018, the leaders of the G20 meet in Buenos Aires. Let's wait and see how the Internet world looks in December 2018.
A Chance for Europe
In this process, Europe has a chance to become a driver and pioneer.
1. Europe's strength is the rule of law. European institutions — from the Council of Europe with the European Court of Human Rights to the institutions of the European Union with the European Parliament, European Commission and European Court of Justice have produced instruments and offer procedures which make clear that cyberspace is not ruled by the "law of the jungle". GDPR is an interesting case and it remains to be seen how this European regulation contributes to more stability in cyberspace. It is a complicated issue and slippery territory but there is a need for rules-based frameworks also for issues like cybersecurity, taxation, fake news, hatespeech and others.
2. Europe's opportunity is industry 4.0, Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things. To link Europe's manufacturing industry to digitalization has a lot of potential. Europe has a highly developed educational system which is able to produce the skill sets needed for tomorrows digital economy.
3. But Europe's weakness is to translate good ideas into concrete policies and projects. The 28 member states of the EU have declared the establishment of a Digital Single Market as a high priority. Under the Estonian EU presidency (Fall 2017) there was a "Digital EU Summit". There is some progress, but progress is slow. And Europe has an implementation problem.
Looking into the coming months, there is a window of opportunity for a big European Cyber initiative which could include also proposals for a holistic approach to global Internet negotiations. When the French president Macron announced that Paris will host this year's IGF in Paris (November 2018) he also indicated that time is ripe to speed up Europe's journey into the digital age. After Paris, The Hague will host EURODIG 12 in June 2019. And the 14th IGF is scheduled for Berlin (November 2019). What is needed now on the road to Paris, The Hague and Berlin is more European steam.
Written by Wolfgang Kleinwächter, Professor Emeritus at the University of Aarhus
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