BERLIN — News on the first day of the Berlin Festival that film – read Constantin Film – had helped drive a 2019 full year profits surge at parent Highlight Communications came as little surprise. Few European movie companies enjoy the robust health of Constantin Film. Oliver Berben’s presentation on Monday of Constantin Television’s lineup […]
variety.com | 2/23/20
Berlinale Renames Silver Bear Prize After Festival’s First Director Alfred Bauer Accused of Nazi Ties
The Berlinale Film Festival has renamed its top award, the Silver Bear Alfred Bauer Prize, after a report surfaced that accused the festival’s first director and the prize’s namesake of Nazi ties, the festival announced Tuesday.
The festival will now award a special prize named The Silver Bear 70th Berlinale, in honor of the 70th anniversary of the film festival. It will similarly be awarded by the International Jury.
Late last month, the Berlinale suspended the Silver Bear prize after an article in the German newspaper Die Zeit said Bauer played a previously unknown role in the Nazi film bureaucracy and engaging in National Socialist film politics.
The Berlinale then hired external historians to conduct an investigation into Bauer’s role during the Nazi era and commissioned the “Institute for Contemporary History” (IfZ). The IfZ was founded in 1949 to academically research the National Socialist dictatorship.
“We are convinced that an external and independent group of historians should investigate Alfred Bauer’s position in the Nazi regime,” Berlinale executive director Mariette Rissenbeek said in a statement. “Moreover, we also agree on this with the Deutsche Kinemathek, which supports this approach. Accordingly, we are pleased that the IfZ can now initiate the necessary research work.”
Bauer was the festival’s first director between 1951 to 1976. He died in 1986 and the prize was named in his honor the following year.
The results of the IfZ assessment are expected in the coming summer.
The European Film Market and the Berlinale Film Festival kick off this week and run through March 1.
Related stories from TheWrap:
www.thewrap.com | 2/18/20
Ruth Wilson and Matt Bomer are set to star in a feature film drama based on the true story of 1980s AIDS activist Ruth Coker Burks, an individual with knowledge of the project tells TheWrap.
Tony Award-nominee Michael Arden will make his feature directorial debut on the film that is being presented to buyers at this week’s European Film Market in Berlin. Arden will direct from a screenplay by Rebecca Pollock and Kas Graham.
Coker Burks, also known as the Cemetery Angel, is a former caregiver for AIDS victims and activist for AIDS awareness from Arkansas who during the height of the crisis in the 1980s gave up her salary in order to house and even bury those who suffered from the disease. “The Book of Ruth” will be set during 1983 and center on how a woman devoted to her work, her faith and her family comes to educate herself about AIDS after her new neighbor (Bomer) turns out to be a gay man fleeing New York City after his partner died from the disease.
Scott LaStaiti, Dominic Tighe and Thomas Daley will produce “The Book of Ruth.” Cora Palfrey and Sarah Lebutsch are executive producing, and production is expected to begin later this year.
CAA will handle North American sales for the film at EFM, and Independent Film Sales will handle the international rights.
“It’s a great honor and privilege to tell this important story about the responsibility one human has to another, especially in a time of crisis. As a gay man, I feel that Ruth’s story of empathy in the face of great prejudice and adversary is one so needed in our modern time. It is vital for us to remember that we lost an entire generation to the AIDS epidemic and that so many people, including Ruth, sacrificed their own comfort, station and livelihood to help those in need during this plague. This is one of the finest scripts I have ever read, brimming with honesty and searing with social challenge. We have two of the finest actors imaginable on board in Ruth Wilson and Matt Bomer. Their work across all media speaks for itself and their commitment to the inspiration of empathy and compassion is perfectly aligned with the message of this film,” Arden said in a statement.
“We couldn’t be prouder and more excited by the incredible talent that are bringing this vital story to life. This female-led story tells us that out of the deepest darkness can come the brightest light and the work of Ruth Coker Burks is a constant reminder of all that is best about humanity. The story is ultimately filled with hope and love. Ruth and Matt will light up the screen with their exceptional abilities and in Michael Arden, a gay man who grew up in conservative Texas, we are lucky to have such a visionary director who brings authenticity to the film and a deep understanding of these characters and their community. We look forward to continuing to build upon this already prestigious package and casting a fine ensemble of actors,” the producers LaStaiti, Tighe and Daley said in a statement.
“We are delighted to work together with the talented cast and crew assembled on this immensely powerful story. ‘The Book of Ruth’ is taking a look at recent history, showing us what a person can achieve if they put their prejudices aside and do the right thing. It is a truly inspirational story that buyers and audiences undoubtedly will respond to,” Independent’s head of sales Sarah Lebutsch said in a statement.
Bomer stars on “The Sinner” and will next be seen in the Netflix movie adaptation of “The Boys in the Band.” Wilson was last seen on “His Dark Materials” on HBO and her last film was “The Little Stranger” from 2018.
Pollock and Graham’s 2019 script “Betty Ford” appeared on the Blacklist and was optioned by Ryan Murphy with Sarah Paulson attached. Arden is is the first and only director nominated for two Tony Awards before reaching the age of 35.
Wilson is represented by CAA, Untitled Entertainment and Troika and Relevant. Bomer is represented by CAA, Anonymous Content, Viewpoint and Steve Warren at Hansen, Jacobson, Teller, Hoberman, Newman, Warren, Richman, Rush, Kaller & Gellman.
Deadline first reported the news on the project.
Related stories from TheWrap:
www.thewrap.com | 2/18/20
On January 28, the UK government was set to announce whether it would allow Huawei, the Chinese information and communication technologies provider, to develop its 5G infrastructure. Given Brexit and its need to form new alliances, the decision was marked as a significant moment for the UK's trade future. Leading up to the day of the decision, the UK was subjected to a significant amount of pressure from the United States government to reject any deal with Huawei. (Similar pressure was exercised towards any other US ally considering to use Huawei's 5G infrastructure). In a tweet sent by US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, the day before the decision was due, he made the claim that Britain's decision would effectively be one of sovereignty.
We can debate the merits of this claim, but the thing that I want to focus on is the often-use of the word 'sovereignty' in conjunction with the Internet and technology. It is interesting to observe how in almost every single discussion about the role governments should have in the Internet, the term 'sovereignty' pops up. Terms like "digital sovereignty," "technological sovereignty," or "Internet sovereignty" have become commonplace.
But, does sovereignty help advance the Internet governance conversations?
The answer is an emphatic 'no'; sovereignty adds an extra layer of complexity and only pushes states further apart while, simultaneously, it undermines and fragments the Internet. Sovereignty and the Internet are — prima facie — two irreconcilable concepts.
Born out of the effort to connect networks with one another, the Internet was originally designed not to recognize any geographical boundaries. Its design embodies a true decentralized structure in the sense that it is both architecturally decentralized — it runs on multiple computers — as well as politically — no central authority has power over those networks. This decentralized nature has further allowed the various autonomous networks to interconnect with one another irrespective of where in the world they are located. In fact, since its inception, one of the Internet's distinguishable characteristics has been its global reach: "any endpoint of the Internet can address any other endpoint, and the information received at one endpoint is as intended by the sender, wherever the receiver connects to the Internet. Implicit in this is the requirement of global, managed addressing and naming services ."
Sovereignty, on the other hand, is all about strict geographical boundaries. It refers to the legal autonomy of the state to act independently and without constraints within its own territory. Under its Rousseaunian tradition, it reflects the power of the state emerging from its people and for the people.
In the context of geopolitical disputes for transnational communication technologies, sovereignty is currently seen as the construction of a governance system with the ability to coordinate and manage exchanges that may or may not address primary issues of privacy/data protection and security. In this context, its application is one of scale. Historically, countries always sought to impose some sort of domestic legislation to the Internet, but, at the same time, most of them equally understood and respected the need for network autonomy and integrity. Over the past few years, however, there has been a significant shift in this thinking, with an increasing number of countries now actively seeking to centralize control over the Internet. For any country interested in the governance of the Internet, the claim to sovereignty is a claim to power.
Such a Foucauldian approach considers sovereign power as a constant negotiation about the validity of claims of knowledge and truth, which dictates the power dynamics within a system. In this context, we can observe countries, like Russia and China, racing to codify their own notions of sovereignty in international law, much in the same way, the West was integrating its ideas of "universal values" when the Internet first emerged and for the best part of its commercial history.
Three distinguishable forms of "Internet sovereignty" have emerged thus far.
The first one is China's vision of sovereignty, which is predominantly attached to notions of national security and securitization. (Russia is also part of this thinking, but its vision and technology implementation is not nearly as advanced as China's.) China's Internet sovereignty is all about the right of national governments to supervise, regulate and censor all electronic content that passes through its borders — what Bill Bishop has referred to as the "invisible birdcage. " In China, "Internet sovereignty" first appeared in a 2010 White Paper, which indicated that "within Chinese territory the Internet is under the jurisdiction of Chinese sovereignty. […] To build, utilize and administer the Internet well is an issue that concerns national economic prosperity and development, state security and social harmony, state sovereignty and dignity, and the basic interests of the people ". Since then and through a series of laws focusing primarily on cybersecurity, China has increasingly placed chokepoints on its Internet infrastructure, requiring network operators to store data within China and allowing Chinese authorities to conduct spot-checks on the network operations of any company operating out of China. On December 1, 2019, China rolled out its Cybersecurity Multi-level Protection Scheme (MLPS 2.0), aiming to create a system that is able to monitor every activity in China: Internet, mobile, WeChat type social networks, cloud systems, national and international email — everything. The framework's goal is not to empower users or even allow companies to make money; it is an attempt to centralize control over key network operations to the Chinese government. With this strategy, China does not seek to close itself out of the global Internet but, instead, to strengthen global network integration.
For Europe, sovereignty means independence from the dominant US technology companies. Europe started flirting with "digital sovereignty" as a response to the Snowden revelations in 2013. A 2014 research paper by the Global Public Policy Institute (GPPi) and New America's Open Technology Institute identified around 12 European countries using the term or considering practical policy solutions to its end. These policies ranged from the construction of new undersea cables to stronger data protection rules; they detailed different layers of extreme with some going as far as to suggest forced data localization and routing rules. Although most of these proposals never materialized, Europe has integrated sovereignty in its recent digital strategy. Last year, Ursula Von Der Leyen, Europe's chief Commissioner stated that "it is not too late to achieve technological sovereignty in some critical areas. "Similarly, her number two and the EU's competition czarina, Commissioner Margrethe Vestager argued that digital sovereignty can be achieved through "the development of key value chains and technologies that are of strategic importance for Europe" and which should be "open, truly European, innovative and lead to widespread knowledge dissemination. "
And, then, there is the case of India. India presents a big oxymoron being both the largest democracy in the world and the world leader in deploying Internet shutdowns as a political tool to assert its sovereignty. Since August 2019, India has sanctioned the longest Internet shutdown ever to occur in a democracy, in the disputed Kashmir region. Discretionary and vague legal rules regarding the control the government can exercise over India's Internet service providers has further enabled the government to restrict or limit access to regional and district levels. But, it is its data localization laws that further indicate India's direction towards a more sovereignty-based Internet. A series of recent laws require different forms of data, from governmental to heath and financial to be stored in India. Additionally, India's data protection legislation lays out the conditions under which "critical" and "sensitive" data are to be stored locally; this includes, financial, health and biometric information. An official document by the Committee of Experts on data protection acknowledged that although "laws facilitating cross-border data flows […] greatly foster research, technology development and economic growth ", critical personal data should be processed only in India with no cross-border transfer allowed.
So, what does this all mean and why should we care?
For the state, to view the Internet as nothing more than an extension of its sovereignty right should not come as a surprise. The key role of states is to make more of life 'legible' as James Scott has convincingly argued — this means to better record and measure human affairs in an effort to make them easier to manage. However, the drive for 'legible' or readable structures that can be easily understood and regulated often comes with a fatal flaw; in the top-down drive to simplify and formalize our understanding of complex systems, we sometimes disregard the local and practical knowledge critical to managing the complexity. To this end, our expectations that the state should — or would for that matter — see the Internet in a different fashion must be moderated. With this in mind, what is the impact sovereignty has on the current state of play?
The first point of this consideration is the pressure sovereignty places on the Internet. Although, as we said previously, it should be expected that governments apply rules of sovereignty in all aspects of international relations, including the Internet, the stricter the application of those rules, the more danger there is for the Internet to splinter and fragment. And, by this, we don't mean that the global Internet will cease to exist; rather, it will be neither desirable nor beneficial for people and networks to participate in the global Internet. Its resilience, which depends on the very fact that networks are diversely spread around the world, will diminish and with it any need for interoperation.
The other problem is how sovereignty contributes to state actors not being willing to collaborate. States are already split in their views of the Internet — a split that grows bigger. A UN resolution by Russia in the last days of 2019 on cybercrime, demonstrated the increasing division amongst the views of states. The resolution, which was opposed by the US and Europe but backed by China, passed 79 to 60, with 33 abstentions. And, although we should not sound the alarm bells yet, still this resolution indicates a clear move towards a more sovereign based approach for the Internet, which does not create any conditions for collaboration. In fact, sovereignty is the antithesis to collaboration, and this constitutes a problem. The Internet's past is based on collaboration. Its future also depends on it.
Why is all this important? Because, whichever nation manages to crack the sovereignty code, will also determine the Internet we will end up using. Will it be an open and global space-based on interoperation and mutual agreement? Or, will it be a closed and fragmented model based on geographical boundaries and cultural relativism?
This post was originally published in komaitis.org
Written by Konstantinos Komaitis, Senior Director, Policy Development and Implementation, Internet Society
www.circleid.com | 2/5/20
Oviva, the health tech startup that provides a digital solution for Type 2 diabetes treatment in Europe, has raised $21 million in Series B funding. Leading the round is MTIP, with participation by new investor Earlybird, and existing investors AlbionVC, F-Prime Capital, Eight Roads Ventures and Partech. Oviva says the new capital will be used […]
techcrunch.com | 1/15/20
Former European junior diving champion Victoria Vincent on how early retirement affected her mental health.
www.bbc.co.uk | 12/13/19
Former European junior diving champion Victoria Vincent on how early retirement affected her mental health.
www.bbc.co.uk | 12/13/19
The doctor who discovered why drug addicts in Edinburgh were infected with the new disease Aids.
www.bbc.co.uk | 12/1/19
The nominees for this year’s Streamy Awards were announced Wednesday by Dick Clark Productions, Tubefilter and YouTube. David Dobrik leads the way with 11 nominations and murder-mystery reality web series “Escape the Night: Season 4” follows with five nominations.
Lil Nas X and Lizzo are both nominated for the first time.
The awards specifically celebrate the best in online video. This year’s ceremony, the ninth one, will be held Dec. 13 at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, California. It will stream live globally on YouTube.
“Creators are the heart and soul of YouTube, so we’re excited to celebrate and honor their creativity, diversity and hard work,” Jamie Byrne, director of creator partnerships at YouTube, said in a statement. “Together with the Streamys, we’ve expanded our award categories to even more regions around the world to bring fans some of the biggest and most unforgettable moments from the past year, all from the creators they love.”
See the full list of nominees below:
Show of the Year
Action or Sci-Fi
First Person presented by GoPro HERO8 Black
International: Asia Pacific
International: Europe, Middle East, and Africa
International: Latin America
Health and Wellness
Kids and Family
Science and Education
Visual and Special Effects
Company or Brand
Nonprofit or NGO
Branded Content: Series
Branded Content: Video
Social Good Campaign
Related stories from TheWrap:
www.thewrap.com | 10/16/19
European Union Member States published a report on the 'EU coordinated risk assessment on cybersecurity in Fifth Generation (5G) networks'. The report is based on the results of the national cybersecurity risk assessments by all EU Member States. It identifies the main threats and threats actors, the most sensitive assets, the main vulnerabilities, and several strategic risks. From the release:
"5G networks is the future backbone of our increasingly digitised economies and societies. Billions of connected objects and systems are concerned, including in critical sectors such as energy, transport, banking, and health, as well as industrial control systems carrying sensitive information and supporting safety systems. Ensuring the security and resilience of 5G networks is, therefore, essential."
The report identifies out various effects that the 5G network roll-out is expected to have including these:
— "Due to new characteristics of the 5G network architecture and new functionalities, certain pieces of network equipment or functions are becoming more sensitive, such as base stations or key technical management functions of the networks."
— "An increased exposure to risks related to the reliance of mobile network operators on suppliers. This will also lead to a higher number of attacks paths that might be exploited by threat actors and increase the potential severity of the impact of such attacks. Among the various potential actors, non-EU States or State-backed are considered as the most serious ones and the most likely to target 5G networks."
www.circleid.com | 10/15/19
Opera legend Jessye Norman died Monday at age 74.
The soprano died from septic shock and multi-organ failure secondary to complications of a spinal cord injury she had sustained in 2015, according to family statement issued to the Associated Press.
“We are so proud of Jessye’s musical achievements and the inspiration that she provided to audiences around the world that will continue to be a source of joy. We are equally proud of her humanitarian endeavors addressing matters such as hunger, homelessness, youth development, and arts and culture education,” the family statement read.
Norman was born in Georgia to a musical family. As a child, she sang in the church gospel choir and listened to the Metropolitan Opera via radio. At 16, she entered a singing competition named after her idol — Marian Anderson. Norman did not win, but was offered a full scholarship to Howard University.
After graduating with a Masters from the University of Michigan in 1968, Norman spent a decade in Europe building up her operatic repertoire, performing with German and Italian companies. It wouldn’t be until 1982 when she made her U.S. debut performing with the Opera Company of Philadelphia. She would debut at the Metropolitan Opera — the company she listened to as a child on the radio — the following year. By the mid-’80s, she was one of the most in-demand sopranos in the world.
Norman sang at the second inaugurations of presidents Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton. In 1996, she sang at the Opening Ceremony of the 1996 Summer Olympics, which were held in her home state of Georgia. She also famously sang at the 9/11 memorial in March 2002.
Norman won four Grammy Awards over her long career and won the Life Achievement Award in 2006. She was also bestowed many honors, including the Légion d’honneur, the Kennedy Center Honors, and National Media of the Arts. She received the 12th Glenn Gould Prize for her contribution to opera and the arts in 2018.
She was also a philanthropist, contributing to many causes dear to heart, including music and homeless programs, and AIDS research.
Related stories from TheWrap:
www.thewrap.com | 9/30/19
Earlier this year, Jamie Stewart's amorphous and long-running art-pop collective Xiu Xiu released their album Girl With Basket Of Fruit . They've already toured North America once this year, and they were getting set for another lengthy tour, one that would've taken them across both North America and Europe. But today, Polyvinyl, the group's label, has…
www.stereogum.com | 9/20/19
Digital transformation practice based in Cape Town, South Africa has partnered with Ms Bola Bardet to create and launch Susu Healthcare. This digital healthcare company was taken from concept to launch in less than 18 months with the help of the experts at DYDX. Susu, recently won the Sanofi in Africa Health Challenge at the [&hellip
www.itnewsafrica.com | 9/11/19
The World Health Organization blames misinformation for the global resurgence of the disease.
www.bbc.co.uk | 8/29/19
12 Documentaries to Check Out This Fall, Including Films by Bruce Springsteen and Agnès Varda (Photos)
The summer of 2018 produced three documentaries that earned over $10 million at the domestic box office. While this summer didn’t get quite as close, this fall has documentary releases about rock stars, athletes and even one posthumous release from an auteur. New films by Bruce Springsteen, Agnès Varda and Asif Kapadia could help make for a busy season for non-fiction cinema, with many more potentially on the way from the fall festival circuit. Here are 10 with impending releases you need to check out.
“Untouchable” – Sept. 2 (Hulu)
Too soon? The Hulu documentary “Untouchable” opens some still fresh wounds about the Harvey Weinstein scandal and the #MeToo movement. Ursula Macfarlane’s documentary first made its premiere at Sundance, and it features some harrowing interviews with accusers such as Rosanna Arquette, Hope D’Amore, Paz de la Huerta, Erika Rosenbaum and others.
“Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice” – Sept. 6 (Greenwich Entertainment)
Oscar winners Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman direct this documentary about the career of Linda Ronstadt, gathering together archival footage that spans 50 years. It charts the early days of her career in the 1960s through becoming the highest paid female rock and roll performer in the ’70s, all culminating in her retirement in 2011 due to her battle with Parkinson’s disease. Emmylou Harris, Dolly Parton, Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Brown and JD Souther are just some of the friends and collaborators interviewed for the film.
“Blink of an Eye” – Sept. 6 (1091)
History isn’t often focused on the losers, but “Blink of an Eye” looks at the career of Michael Waltrip, a NASCAR racecar driver who held a record losing streak across 462 races. Despite his struggles, he was invited to be a part of Dale Earnhardt’s Sr.’s racing team and soon earned his first checkered flag. The only problem was that race was the 2001 Daytona 500, the race in which Earnhardt Sr. was killed in a tragic crash on the race’s final lap. “Blink of an Eye” examines Waltrip’s relationship with the Earnhardt family, and the documentary from director Paul Taublieb will also be adapted into a narrative feature film.
“Liam: As It Was” – Sept. 13 (Screen Media)
With Oasis, Liam Gallagher was the frontman of one of the biggest rock bands in the world. But the film “Liam: As It Was” looks at how Gallagher had to reset his career and find his voice after splitting from the band as part of his fractured relationship with his brother Noel. In fact, Noel specifically refused to allow Liam to use any Oasis songs as part of the documentary. The film coincides with the release of Gallagher’s second solo album, “Why Me? Why Not.,” and directors Gavin Fitzgerald and Charlie Lightening even capture the frank and frequently foul-mouthed Gallagher behind the scenes and at home with his mother grousing about Noel.
“Diego Maradona” – Sept. 20 (HBO)
Asif Kapadia’s gift as a filmmaker is weaving a narrative entirely through archival footage. Just as with “Senna” and “Amy,” Kapadia combs through over 500 hours of the legendary Argentinian soccer star’s personal archive. The film starts with his arrival in Europe in July 1984 and how in the subsequent years he was treated as though he were a God, both on and off the field. But it also examines how that extreme level of fame led to darker days and strained relationships.
“Where’s My Roy Cohn?” – Sept. 20 (Sony Classics)
Filmmaker Matt Tyrnauer told TheWrap at Sundance that he chose to make his film about the political maneuver Roy Cohn the day Donald Trump was elected. His ruthless influence was felt far and wide, not just on politics but on the culture at large, serving as a mentor for Roger Stone, Ronald Reagan and Trump alike. The film takes a blunt approach in describing just how deeply this one man has shaped American democracy and society.
“Midnight Traveler” – Sept. 18 (Oscilloscope)
Afghan filmmaker Hassan Fazili got intimate access to the story of a family fleeing their home after being targeted by the Taliban. That’s because it was his own family who was on the run. Fazili shot his film “Midnight Traveler” across several years on three separate iPhones, capturing the daring moments as they crossed borders and the more intimate home movie moments of his family as refugees. The doc won the World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award for No Borders at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.
“Western Stars” – October (Warner Bros.)
Bruce Springsteen knew he wasn’t going to tour on behalf of his latest album “Western Stars,” so he and collaborator Thom Zimny co-directed a documentary by the same name that features live performances of all 13 of the album’s tracks. Springsteen parked under a 100-year-old barn to perform the more acoustic, melancholy sounds of “Western Stars,” and the film is laced with The Boss’s narration and archival footage as he reflects on his past.
“The Cave” – Mid-Oct. (Nat Geo)
Not to be confused with the narrative feature about the Thai soccer team rescue mission, “The Cave” is the latest film from “Last Man in Aleppo” director Feras Fayyad as he gets inside a secret, hidden, underground hospital in Syria. The hospital is led by a team of female medical professionals and civilians and provides under the radar care for the besieged refugees and locals in the region. Fayyad specifically profiles the work of Dr. Amani, a 30-year-old pediatrician who works tirelessly to restore health and hope to Syrian youth.
“The Kingmaker” – Late Oct. (Greenwich Entertainment/Showtime)
Lauren Greenfield has made a name for herself directing documentary profiles on those who live opulently and lavishly, specifically with her films “The Queen of Versailles” and “Generation Wealth.” But her latest combines that lavish lifestyle with politics, obtaining unprecedented access to the former first lady of the Philippines, Imelda Marcos. “The Kingmaker” explores the disturbing legacy of the Marcos regime and chronicles Imelda’s present-day push to help her son, Bongbong, win the vice-presidency. Greenfield’s film takes on the form of a “dark fairy tale” as Marcos tries to rewrite her family’s corrupt history and prove she’s a matriarch who deeply loves her country.
“Scandalous” – Nov. 15 (Magnolia/CNN Films)
Mark Landsman’s “Scandalous” looks at the life of Generoso Pope Jr., the media magnate who turned the National Enquirer from a simple racing and sporting magazine to a household name for gossip and one that frequently finds itself at the center of political scandal. The film’s history dates back to the 1950s but includes interviews with former staffers and other media experts who examine how the paper has thrived on its diet of scandal, gossip, medical oddities, conspiracy theories, and paparazzi photos.
“Varda by Agnes” – Nov. 22 (Janus Films)
In what is the final film of the late, French auteur Agnès Varda, “Varda by Agnès” is a playful and profound retrospective on Varda’s career as examined by Varda herself. She reflects in a autobiography of sorts on filmmaking, feminism, aging and even the smaller things like cats, colors, beaches and heart-shaped potatoes. The film premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival in February, shortly before her death in March.
www.thewrap.com | 8/28/19
The newly-formed World Surf League (WSL) Studios unveiled its debut slate of programming on Monday, which includes a documentary film about 11-time World Surf Champion Kelly Slater and the series “Transformed,” highlighting how surfing has impacted cultures around the world.
Designed to appeal to surf fans and new audiences ahead of the sport’s Olympic debut in the 2020 Tokyo Summer Games, the slate of documentaries, docuseries and daily short-form content will be distributed across multiple platforms.
“Kelly is the greatest surfer of all time and has not only every major record in our sport by a wide margin but also so more world titles than any other athlete with 11,” WSL president of Content, Media and WSL Studios, Erik Logan, told TheWrap of the “The Kelly Slater Documentary,” which follows the surf legend’s 2019 competitive campaign, personal life, and Olympics quest.
“Pair that with this pivotal year in his career, we all felt that allowing the viewers see the level of storytelling we are embarking on was the perfect place to start. Never before will you see Kelly open up as much as he does while embracing this project … and he has more World Titles than Tom Brady, by the way!” Logan added.
“WSL Studios will be the main engine for the creation of content, with outputs not only on our O&O Platforms but the many other distribution platforms as well. From a timing point of view, the scale and size of the other platforms provide the opportunity for the studio to engage the global audience further,” he explained.
For the first time, the end of the 2019 WSL Championship Tour season in December will determine the first qualifiers for the 2020 Olympic Games. The WSL will qualify 18 of the 40 Olympians, two men and two women for each country.
“Having multiple points of content before and after the Olympics with WSL Studios and our core business will provide entry points for new fans to see the passion and power of this sport, with the goal of engaging new fans to witness the world’s best surfing year-in and year-out on the WSL Championship Tour,” Logan said.
“The possibility of story through the aperture of surfing is so big that we have had to really focus on some key areas with our first slate. Anchoring to Kelly and then expanding through to Big Wave and non-competition series we feel we have put some markers out as to what is possible,” he continued.
The WSL Podcast Network (in partnership with Himalaya Studios) will focus heavily with news, interviews and information, along with sharing important community initiatives such as Ocean Health and Equality.
See the full WSL Studios slate, per the studio’s show descriptions, below:
“The Kelly Slater Documentary”
Box to Box Films Co-development Partnership
“Deep Blue: The Mark Visser Project”
“Surf Ranch Sessions”
“All In” Season 2
Related stories from TheWrap:
www.thewrap.com | 8/19/19
Some 166,000 German infants lack measles immunization, health insurers warn. Their finding underscores a recent World Health Organization alert that in Germany, and other European nations, the virus is still 'endemic.'
www.dw.com | 8/8/19
A representative for former President Bill Clinton’s spokesperson said Monday he did not know anything about the crimes financier Jeffrey Epstein pleased guilty to more than a decade ago or the new sex trafficking charges filed against him.
Fox News is among outlets that have reported that Clinton took numerous flights on Epstein’s plane between 2001 and 2003. Vanity Fair detailed a trip they took to “explore the problems of AIDS and economic development in Africa.” The Center for Responsible Politics reported that Epstein donated $139,000 to Democratic federal candidates and committees between 1989 to 2003.
“President Clinton knows nothing about the terrible crimes Jeffrey Epstein pleaded guilty to in Florida some years ago, or those with which he has been recently charged in New York,” Clinton’s press secretary, Angel Ureña, tweeted in a statement Monday.
He added: “In 2002 and 2003, President Clinton took a total of four trips on Jeffrey Epstein’s airplane: one to Europe, one to Asia and two to Africa, which included stops in connection with the work of the Clinton Foundation. Staff, supporters of the Foundation, and his Secret Service detail traveled on every leg of every trip.”
“He had one meeting with Epstein in his Harlem office in 2002, and around the same time made one brief visit to Epstein’s New York apartment with a staff member and his security detail,” Ureña continued. “He’s not spoken to Epstein in well over a decade, and has never been to Little St. James Island, Epstein’s ranch in New Mexico, or his residence in Florida.”
Epstein was arrested on Saturday on one count of sex trafficking and one count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking. Prosecutors said Epstein used cash to solicit sex from underage girls as young as 14, asking them for “massages” and then molesting or sexually abusing them between 1999 and 2005. Epstein has pleaded not guilty to these charges.
He pleaded not guilty. Epstein was ordered to stay in jail until his bail hearing next Monday, the Associated Press reported.
Epstein also has connections to President Trump. In a 2002 New York Magazine piece, Trump said, “I’ve known Jeff for fifteen years. Terrific guy. He’s a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side.”
Epstein pleaded guilty in 2008 to soliciting sex from a minor, and served only 13 months in a county jail in Florida.
In November, the Miami Herald reported that Trump Administration Labor Secretary Alex Acosta, who was the U.S. attorney in Florida at the time, brokered the plea deal, which has received new scrutiny in light of the new charges.
Related stories from TheWrap:
www.thewrap.com | 7/9/19
The wind-blown hairs of oak caterpillars are a health risk in Germany and Benelux countries.
www.bbc.co.uk | 7/5/19
People in Europe have the lowest levels of trust in vaccines, according to a global survey of public attitudes toward health and science published Wednesday.
www.dailystar.com.lb | 6/20/19
Having been involved in the telecommunications industry for a long time, I followed many of the discussions involving health concerns when the 3G and 4G mobile technologies were introduced.
This time, with 5G, the situation is no different. Again, there are many communities worried about the potential negative health effects of the radiation that emanates from mobile communications.
During the 3G and 4G introductions, there has been extensive research done on this issue. All manufacturers have done their own tests. Many countries have done independent tests. On an international level, the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva has also done its own studies on the topic. In the case of Australia, this was done by the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA).
They have concluded that if the technology gets deployed according to stringent standards, the health risks are minimal. In relation to mobile handsets, there are now warnings for users, which provide ways to reduce risks, such as using headphones, rather than having long conversations with the phone glued to the ear.
There have always been risks involved with any technology ever since humans started to invent tools. In the case of telecoms tools, I believe far more lives will have been saved by using mobile phones. We do accept risks, for example, with motor vehicles, which are not banned although 1.3 million people per year are killed in motor vehicle accidents.
That is not to say that we don't try to minimize risks and car safety is constantly being improved. Manufacturers have improved the vehicles; governments have improved road conditions and regulations, and drivers have improved their driving skills.
Regarding 5G, many communities are arguing about the fact that most research is now a decade old and that we are now also able to test the effects of radiation, for example, on our DNA. Renewed research is always welcome, preferably by a respected and independent organization, such as the WHO.
One of the major 5G concerns for communities is the densification of the mobile network. For the next stage of 5G — which is still a few years away — the technology will start supporting so-called IoT services (autonomous cars, smart cities, smart infrastructure and so on). For this to happen, new mobile antennas are needed at distances of a few hundred meters of each other. While in principle the higher frequencies do have less risk, the combined intensity of the signal is different to that in the case of 3G and 4G.
Some communities in California are now banning 5G in their areas. In Europe, Brussels is banning 5G — so far, the largest city to do so. In Switzerland, the Canton of Geneva has put a hold on the rollout of 5G. They can't ban it — only the government can do so — but the Canton can control the speed of the rollout. In Australia, communities in the Blue Mountains, Byron Bay, Tweed Valley and the Northern Rivers are among the most vocal on this issue.
One of the problems is a lack of information. In some cases, arguments are used that are totally false. However, without any updated response from the manufactures, operators and governments — other than referring to their old research — people are clearly concerned about the health risks of 5G technology.
While I am confident that 5G will not cause significant harm, I strongly believe that new healthcare research is needed in relation to 5G.
It doesn't do the industry any good when so many communities are boycotting 5G. This sentiment will only spread further if the industry doesn't act quickly and start asking the WHO and, in Australia, ARPANSA to do specific research on the various new elements of the 5G technology. It would be in the industry's own interests to ensure that the risks of 5G technology are fully researched and communicated. It will also take pro-active engagement with communities to ensure that their concerns are addressed. This won't be easy as there is currently not a lot of trust in governments and businesses in our societies.
If independent research does confirm that 5G is predominantly safe, while it is true that there will always be people who will never be convinced, by working together and taking community concerns seriously, it is possible to achieve the best outcome for this new technology.
Written by Paul Budde, Managing Director of Paul Budde Communication
www.circleid.com | 6/19/19
Some of the biggest topics in tech — including whether Facebook and Google should be broken up and how Netflix makes its content decisions — were front and center this week at Code Conference 2019 in Scottsdale, Arizona.
But if you couldn’t make it out to the desert, don’t worry about it.
Here were the seven lessons that were learned this week at #CodeCon:
1. Everyone Cares About Content Moderation — But the Rules Are as Unclear as Ever
The main takeaway from Code Conference 2019 is that Silicon Valley is fixated on content moderation. Several reps from some of the world’s biggest tech companies took the stage and explained how seriously they take moderation and clamping down on “hate speech” — a term that varies from company to company. How they’re fighting it, though, continues to remain cloaked behind arcane rules that often times appear to be arbitrarily enforced.
Twitter policy head Vijaya Gadde, echoing CEO Jack Dorsey’s key talking point from the last year that the company is focused on improving the “health” of conversation on its platform, said Twitter has had to crack down on undesirable speech to meet this goal.
“We’ve had to move very much from what we were, which was a platform that very much enabled as much free speech as possible, to one that is cognizant of the impact it’s having on the world and our responsibility and our role in shaping that,” Gadde said on Tuesday.
Former Twitter CEO Ev Williams, who now runs Medium, went even further on Wednesday, outlining the company’s “aggressive” moderation policy that includes reviewing what users are doing and saying on other platforms.
But it’s also clear that moderation policies can change on a whim. YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki, speaking for the first time since last week’s demonetization of right-wing comedian Steven Crowder after he used slights like “lispy queer” against Vox’s Carlos Maza, said she was “very sorry” to members of the LGBTQ community offended by the company’s initial response to the issue — that Crowder hadn’t violated its policies. The Google-owned video giant ultimately demonetized Crowder after its first response was bashed by Maza and other critics.
Wojcicki said the company’s newly updated policies on hate speech, which rolled out right after the Maza-Crowder saga, had been in the works for months. YouTube had even started briefing European reporters on the guidelines before American reporters because “they’re ahead” on the clock, she said. That explanation didn’t make much sense to many people at the conference, however, who felt the new rules were obviously tied to the Crowder incident. You came away from the conference with the impression the rules are a merely a work-in-progress for many of the companies, policies that can and will be tweaked to appease advertisers and critics whenever a fire needs to be put out.
2. Breakup Big Tech? It’s Debatable
Another talking point of the conference was whether mega-tech companies like Facebook, Amazon, Google and Apple need to be broken up. The idea, which has gained traction in the last year and has been touted by Democratic presidential candidate and U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, was hotly debated.
Those in favor of an antitrust crackdown believe competition has been stifled by the tech giants. The companies have become too big and immobile, they argue, making it difficult to address issues like meddling in national elections.
Predictably, this belief wasn’t shared by the two Facebook execs at the conference, Instagram chief Adam Mosseri and Facebook VR head Andrew Bosworth.
“Personally, if we split it off, it might make a lot of my life easier, and it would probably be beneficial for me as an individual. But I just think it’s a terrible idea,” Mosseri said. “If you’re trying to solve election integrity, if you’re trying to approach content issues like hate speech, and you split us off, it would just make it exponentially more difficult — particularly for us at Instagram — to keep us safe.”
Bosworth echoed Mosseri, saying Facebook’s control of WhatsApp and Instagram allows the company to better “share and combine data” to tackle its issues.
Former Facebook product manager and current Wired author Antonio Garcia Martinez said he was in favor of breaking up the Big 4 tech companies, though. He argued the case has more to do with a “lack of consumer benefit,” rather than consumer harm, where users aren’t getting the best product because they face little competition.
“In the case of Facebook, it’s pretty clear the acquisition of WhatsApp and Instagram were obviously anti-competitive blocking moves,” Martinez said. “There’s been polls out that a lot of WhatsApp and Instagram users don’t even realize they’re owned by Facebook.”
The majority of the crowd seemed to agree it was time to take action against the Big 4. New York University business professor Scott Galloway drew the biggest laughs and cheers of the conference when making the case for breaking up Silicon Valley’s biggest companies. “Without antitrust (laws), we don’t have competition,” Galloway said. “If we didn’t have the (Department of Justice) move in on Microsoft, we wouldn’t have the object of every innovator’s affection, Google. We’d also be saying ‘I don’t know, Bing it.'”
3. How Netflix Makes Its Calls
It’s not just about streaming data for Netflix. Cindy Holland, Netflix’s VP of original content, offered some rare insight into how the notoriously cryptic streaming service makes its content decisions. When Recode’s Kara Swisher asked why the company canceled its “One Day at a Time” reboot earlier this year, Holland’s response was telling — but typically vague in terms of actual data.
“The basic calculation is how much viewing are we getting for how much it costs,” Holland said. “But we also look at is it reaching different audiences, is it gaining critical acclaim, is it doing something for us as a business that we like. And ‘One Day at a Time,’ frankly, if you looked at it just from a season one standpoint, we wouldn’t have renewed that show on a viewing-to-cost basis.”
Holland, who announced the return of “Russian Doll” while at the conference, said that while much of the entertainment industry “operates in a culture of fear,” Netflix isn’t worried about taking risks.
“We’re not afraid to try a bunch of different things, some of which may work, some of which may not. It’s part of our culture to embrace mistakes and failure and learn something from it.”
4. Ryan Murphy: Bad WaPo Intern
Ryan Murphy may be a TV powerhouse, but according to Recode’s Kara Swisher he wasn’t much of an intern when he worked at the Washington Post decades ago as an aspiring journalist before he moved into writing for TV and film on shows like “Popular,” “Nip/Tuck” and the Fox hit “Glee.”
“He was the worst intern ever. But as it turned out, it didn’t matter,” Swisher, a former Post reporter, said while moderating a Netflix panel.
“Great showrunner,” Holland, Netflix’s VP of original content, chimed in.
“He was great,” Swisher added. “He was just mean to everybody at The Post — it was terrific to see.”
5. Real Life Iron Man Is a Dud
Easily the biggest letdown of Code Conference 2019 involved Gravity, a self-described “British aeronautical innovation company” that created a buzz on Tuesday morning with a promised demo of a jet-pack that essentially turned its user into Tony Stark. Between sessions, a horde of conference attendees flocked outside in anticipation.
Sadly, it wasn’t worth standing in the dry desert heat. Rather than having the pilot flying around in the sky, the jet-pack merely had him hovering at about the exact height necessary to kick someone in the head. So much for Iron Man. “That was a real downer,” one rep for a New York-based startup mumbled after the demo ended abruptly. You can catch a glimpse of it yourself below — and if the “whooshing” sound is too loud, it was 10 times worse in person.
6. Digital Media Is Only Getting More Popular
One thing that stood out from venture capitalist Mary Meeker’s annual Internet Trends Report: Americans are spending a record 6.3 hours each day interacting with digital media. Most of this time is spent on their phones — and that makes sense when you look at some of her other findings. Podcasts, for one thing, have exponentially grown in the last five years, with 700 million people worldwide listening to shows on a monthly basis.
7. Can’t Escape Trump
Even at a tech and media conference, you couldn’t escape President Trump.
Gadde drew laughs when discussing a recent meeting with the president, where he talked to Dorsey about “improving civility” on Twitter, among other objectives.
On Wednesday, the conversation turned more serious. A.G. Sulzberger, the publisher of The New York Times, said he believes the president’s routine attacks on the media — and in particular, his use of the what he described as the “Stalinist” phrase “enemy of the people” — has put journalists abroad in danger.
Marking a detour from 2018, Code Conference was especially focused on politics this year.
Stacey Abrams, a Democrat who lost a close race for governor last year in Georgia, opened the conference on Tuesday, urging the tech industry to fight misinformation campaigns and help “level the playing field” when it comes to what she described as active attempts at voter suppression. And on Wednesday morning, the focus shifted to the U.S. border, with RAICES spokeswoman Erika Andiola comparing the detainment camps housing immigrants seeking refugee status to concentration camps. At Code Conference, politics and tech appeared to be increasingly intertwined.
Related stories from TheWrap:
www.thewrap.com | 6/12/19
Everyday measures are key to preserving the European way life, say Germany's health minister and the premier of Schleswig-Holstein state. Jens Spahn and Daniel Günther want a faith that shares the continent's values.
www.dw.com | 5/23/19
In a competition marked by so many stylish exercises and genre hybrids, sometimes a little simplicity can provide a welcome respite. And that’s exactly what director Ira Sachs puts on offer with “Frankie,” an inter-generational family drama that premiered in Cannes on Monday.
Telling the story of a dying matriarch who assembles the extended clan for one last family trip, the film studiously avoids melodrama or theatrics of any sort, enfolding instead as a kind of melancholic tone poem about a family dealing with impending change, as they take a series of unhurried strolls through the Portuguese town of Sintra.
Because it follows French and American actors as they chattily wind through a picturesque European setting over the course of an uneventful day, “Frankie” could easily be retitled “Before Sunset: At Death’s Door,” but the project’s original title, “A Family Vacation,” would be equally valid.
Without any big meltdowns or major dramatic turns, the film feels something like a family album, presenting a series of snapshots of various people at different stages of life gathered together at one particular point in time.
As you can guess, at the center of it all sits the dying Frankie, a 60-something French actress well-known on both sides of the Atlantic, played by Isabelle Huppert, a 60-something French actress with a career on similar coasts (who is happily in fine health, may she remain so).
Taking a role designed to collapse the divide between performer and character as opportunity to uncover new levels on naturalism, Huppert offers another beautifully modulated turn in a part that is primarily reactive. Her best moments arrive as subtle winces and bodily shifts, like when she goes to an older woman’s birthday or gets offered a new script, and we can see her process in real time that she will never see that age or star in that film.
Knowing she doesn’t have much time left, she unites with her new husband Jimmy (Brendan Gleeson), son Paul (Jeremie Renier), ex-husband Michel (Pascal Greggory), step-daughter Sylvia (Vinette Robinson) and her family to spend an idyllic last holiday together, although they mostly spend time dealing with their own personal issues.
Unbeknownst to anyone else, she’s also invited her stylist friend Irene (Marisa Tomei) with the plan to engineer some last-minute matchmaking with her son, but the American friend arrives with her boyfriend Gary (Greg Kinnear) in tow.
With all the pieces on the board, the film moves forward at an unhurried pace, giving room to each character as they consider their own paths forward. Like most ensemble drama, some narrative strands prove more successful than other; Gleeson and Robinson feel particularly underused, but Tomei is quietly sensational as a vibrant woman entering middle-age, while feeling as uncertain as she had 20 years before.
As the lead’s friend and confidante – the one person present because she was asked, not because she was expected – Tomei gets some of the best scenes in the film in those she shares with Huppert. That seems entirely by design; they are the few moments of peace when Frankie stops mulling over her dimming future and allows herself to live in her present.
Related stories from TheWrap:
www.thewrap.com | 5/20/19
There is much hype around 5G, but none of it is new. We saw the same propaganda — fueled by the manufacturers — in the run-up to the launch of the 3G and 4G versions of the mobile technology.
Driverless cars and a range of other IoT applications can indeed potentially open new revenue streams. The reality, however, is that these markets might not eventuate until somewhere between 2025 and 2030. The reason for this is that many of these developments have little to do with technology. They depend far more on radical changes in society and the economy. This means that it is more likely we will see any large-scale implementation of such services over decades rather than years.
Obviously, there will be some low-hanging fruit when the 5G network is rolled out and starts covering larger parts of the country, but also this development will take many years.
Take, for example, autonomous cars and consider this. For that technology to work a very large part of the road infrastructure will need to be covered by 5G. This would require a 5G antenna every 200 meters along those roads. In Europe, the telecoms operators have argued that if this is to happen car manufacturers will have to assist in such an investment. To date, there has been little or no interest from them in co-funding such infrastructure.
Apart from those logistics, the 5G technology would have to be extended with mm-wave technology, and that would require new spectrum that has not yet been allocated. There are also questions regarding health safety that still haven't been answered.
So what is in it for the operators in the meantime? Basically, greater network efficiencies and extra capacity, at incremental costs. So no new revenues but lower costs. It will also provide more backhaul capacity. This makes the operators less dependent on the fixed copper networks for their backhaul requirements.
In the heavily concentrated telecoms market in the USA, we also might see that carriers such as Verizon and AT&T will force users of the fixed copper network onto their 5G mobile networks. This most likely at higher costs to the users and at lower costs to the operators. By doing so, they will hope to avoid rolling out fiber networks deeper into the market. Without any serious competition and regulatory oversight, they might well be able to get away with this. With competition in general in decline, it will be tempting for operators in other countries to replicate such strategies.
It is however interesting to contemplate 5G as an infrastructure technology being applied by fiber network operators (FTT-5G). Rather than bringing fiber all the way to the home, can it be used to provide customers access for the last few hundred meters to this through 5G? If this is a reality (bringing fiber to every 5G cell/tower) then we could see massive cost savings on the consumer access end of the network.
In countries with poor network quality, we could see the lower end of the broadband market moving to mobile-only solutions. Of course this only works in areas where 5G will be made available. However, bear in mind that a full rollout could take 5 to 10 years. Unfortunately, those in already poor fixed broadband parts of regional and rural areas are not going to get 5G anytime soon. The reality being that initial networks will be predominantly rolled out in metro and urban areas.
Another observation here is that there is a ban in place on Huawei 5G equipment in the USA and Australia. These two countries will be at a disadvantage, as this Chinese company is the global leader in 5G, both in relation to innovation and price/performance. This will give all those 5G operators in countries that don't have the Huawei ban a great advantage over those in America and Australia. The political ban could hamper innovations specifically in the area of IoT.
This could be seriously detrimental to technical innovation in the USA, as this country no longer has its own national telecoms infrastructure manufacturing industry. It might be less relevant to Australia as this country is not a technology leader, just a follower. The lack of innovation in Australia was recently lamented by David Thodey, Chair of CSIRO and Jobs NSW and former CEO of Telstra & IBM ANZ.
5G equipment itself is only part of the overall costs of the 5G rollout. The fact that the other manufacturers are roughly one-third more expensive than Huawei will also affect the actual price that consumers will have to pay.
So don't expect 5G miracles to happen any time soon. Initially, it will be a network efficiency play mainly about network efficiency, and very few users will notice much change. As far as exciting new services are concerned, nothing significant is going to happen in the next few years. Nevertheless, over the longer term, 5G will be an exciting new technology that will most certainly lead to a broad range of innovations and new developments in the telecoms market.
Written by Paul Budde, Managing Director of Paul Budde Communication
www.circleid.com | 5/3/19
When Withings introduced pulse wave velocity (PWV) measurements on its flagship scale, it offered customers an indicator of their cardiovascular health. In addition to more standard calculations, like weight and body mass index, the Body Cardio scale...
www.engadget.com | 4/18/19
The cards entitle EU citizens to state-provided medical treatment if they fall ill in EU countries.
www.bbc.co.uk | 4/16/19
Health officials start campaign to stress importance of the MMR vaccine after outbreaks across Europe.
www.bbc.co.uk | 4/4/19
James (Jon) Castle - 7 December 1950 to 12 January 2018
Over four decades Captain Jon Castle navigated Greenpeace ships by the twin stars of ‘right and wrong’, defending the environment and promoting peace. Greenpeace chronicler, Rex Weyler, recounts a few of the stories that made up an extraordinary life.
Captain Jon Castle onboard the MV Sirius, 1 May 1996
James (Jon) Castle first opened his eyes virtually at sea. He was born 7 December 1950 in Cobo Bay on the Channel Island of Guernsey, UK. He grew up in a house known locally as Casa del Mare, the closest house on the island to the sea, the second son of Robert Breedlove Castle and Mary Constance Castle.
Young Jon Castle loved the sea and boats. He worked on De Ile de Serk, a cargo boat that supplied nearby Sark island, and he studied at the University of Southampton to become an officer in the Merchant Navy.
Jon became a beloved skipper of Greenpeace ships. He sailed on many campaigns and famously skippered two ships during Greenpeace’s action against Shell’s North Sea oil platform, Brent Spar. During his activist career, Jon spelt his name as "Castel" to avoid unwanted attention on his family.Right and wrong
Jon had two personal obsessions: he loved books and world knowledge and was extremely well-read. He also loved sacred sites and spent personal holidays walking to stone circles, standing stones, and holy wells.
As a young man, Jon became acquainted with the Quaker tradition, drawn by their dedication to peace, civil rights, and direct social action. In 1977, when Greenpeace purchased their first ship - the Aberdeen trawler renamed, the Rainbow Warrior - Jon signed on as first mate, working with skipper Peter Bouquet and activists Susi Newborn, Denise Bell and Pete Wilkinson.
In 1978, Wilkinson and Castle learned of the British government dumping radioactive waste at sea in the deep ocean trench off the coast of Spain in the Sea of Biscay. In July, the Rainbow Warrior followed the British ship, Gem, south from the English coast, carrying a load of toxic, radioactive waste barrels. The now-famous confrontation during which the Gem crew dropped barrels onto a Greenpeace inflatable boat, ultimately changed maritime law and initiated a ban on toxic dumping at sea.
After being arrested by Spanish authorities, Castle and Bouquet staged a dramatic escape from La Coru?a harbour at night, without running lights, and returned the Greenpeace ship to action. Crew member Simone Hollander recalls, as the ship entered Dublin harbour in 1978, Jon cheerfully insisting that the entire crew help clean the ship's bilges before going ashore, an action that not only built camaraderie among the crew, but showed a mariner's respect for the ship itself. In 1979, they brought the ship to Amsterdam and participated in the first Greenpeace International meeting.
In 1980 Castle and the Rainbow Warrior crew confronted Norwegian and Spanish whaling ships, were again arrested by Spanish authorities, and brought into custody in the El Ferrol naval base.
The Rainbow Warrior remained in custody for five months, as the Spanish government demanded 10 million pesetas to compensate the whaling company. On the night of November 8, 1980, the Rainbow Warrior, with Castle at the helm, quietly escaped the naval base, through the North Atlantic, and into port in Jersey.
In 1995, Castle skippered the MV Greenpeace during the campaign against French nuclear testing in the Pacific and led a flotilla into New Zealand to replace the original Rainbow Warrior that French agents bombed in Auckland in 1985.
Over the years, Castle became legendary for his maritime skills, courage, compassion, commitment, and for his incorruptible integrity. "Environmentalism: That does not mean a lot to me," he once said, "I am here because of what is right and wrong. Those words are good enough for me."Brent Spar Action at Brent Spar Oil Rig in the North Sea, 16 June 1995
One of the most successful Greenpeace campaigns of all time began in the summer of 1995 when Shell Oil announced a plan to dump a floating oil storage tank, containing toxic petroleum residue, into the North Atlantic. Castle signed on as skipper of the Greenpeace vessel Moby Dick, out of Lerwick, Scotland. A month later, on 30 April 1995, Castle and other activists occupied the Brent Spar and called for a boycott of Shell service stations.
When Shell security and British police sprayed the protesters with water cannons, images flooded across world media, demonstrations broke out across Europe, and on May 15, at the G7 summit, German chancellor Helmut Kohl publicly protested to British Prime Minister John Major. In June, 11 nations, at the Oslo and Paris Commission meetings, called for a moratorium on sea disposal of offshore installations.
After three weeks, British police managed to evict Castle and the other occupiers and held them briefly in an Aberdeen jail. When Shell and the British government defied public sentiment and began towing the Spar to the disposal site, consumers boycotted Shell stations across Europe. Once released, Castle took charge of the chartered Greenpeace vessel Altair and continued to pursue the Brent Spar towards the dumping ground. Castle called on the master of another Greenpeace ship, fitted with a helideck, to alter course and rendezvous with him. Using a helicopter, protesters re-occupied the Spar and cut the wires to the detonators of scuppering charges.
One of the occupiers, young recruit Eric Heijselaar, recalls: "One of the first people I met as I climbed on board was a red-haired giant of a man grinning broadly at us. My first thought was that he was a deckhand, or maybe the bosun. So I asked if he knew whether a cabin had been assigned to me yet. He gave me a lovely warm smile, and reassured me that, yes, a cabin had been arranged. At dinner I found out that he was Jon Castle, not a deckhand, not the bosun, but the captain. And what a captain!"
With activists occupying the Spar once again, Castle and the crew kept up their pursuit when suddenly the Spar altered course, heading towards Norway. Shell had given up. The company announced that Brent Spar would be cleaned out and used as a foundation for a new ferry terminal. Three years later, in 1998, the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic (OSPAR) passed a ban on dumping oil installations into the North Sea.
"There was no question among the crew who had made this possible, who had caused this to happen," Heijselaar recalls. "It was Jon Castle. His quiet enthusiasm and the trust he put into people made this crew one of the best I ever saw. He always knew exactly what he wanted out of a campaign, how to gain momentum, and he always found the right words to explain his philosophies. He was that rare combination, both a mechanic and a mystic. And above all he was a very loving, kind human being."Moruroa
After the Brent Spar campaign, Castle returned to the South Pacific on the Rainbow Warrior II, to obstruct a proposed French nuclear test in the Moruroa atoll. Expecting the French to occupy their ship, Castle and engineer, Luis Manuel Pinto da Costa, rigged the steering mechanism to be controlled from the crow's-nest. When French commandos boarded the ship, Castle stationed himself in the crow's-nest, cut away the access ladder and greased the mast so that the raiders would have difficulty arresting him.
Eventually, the commandos cut a hole into the engine-room and severed cables controlling the engine, radio, and steering mechanism, making Castle's remote control system worthless. They towed the Rainbow Warrior II to the island of Hao, as three other protest vessels arrived.
Three thousand demonstrators gathered in the French port of Papeete, demanding that France abandon the tests. Oscar Temaru - leader of Tavini Huiraatira, an anti-nuclear, pro-independence party - who had been aboard the Rainbow Warrior II when it was raided, welcomed anti-testing supporters from Britain, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Sweden, Canada, Germany, Brazil, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, the Philippines, and American Samoa. Eventually, France ended their tests, and atmospheric nuclear testing in the world's oceans stopped once and for all.“Moral courage”
Through these extraordinary missions, Jon Castle advocated "self-reflection" not only for individual activists, but for the organisation that he loved. Activists, Castle maintained, required "moral courage." He cautioned, "Don't seek approval. Someone has to be way out in front... illuminating territory in advance of the main body of thought."
He opposed "corporatism" in activist organisations and urged Greenpeace to avoid becoming "over-centralised or compartmentalised." He felt that activist decisions should emerge from the actions themselves, not in an office. We can't fight industrialism with "money, numbers, and high-tech alone," he once wrote in a personal manifesto. Organisations have to avoid traps of "self-perpetuation" and focus on the job "upsetting powerful forces, taking on multinationals and the military-industrial complex."
He recalled that Greenpeace had become popular "because a gut message came through to the thirsty hearts of poor suffering people ... feeling the destruction around them." Activists, Castle felt, required "freedom of expression, spontaneity [and] an integrated lifestyle." An activist organisation should foster a "feeling of community" and exhibit "moral courage." Castle felt that social change activists had to "question the materialistic, consumerist lifestyle that drives energy overuse, the increasingly inequitable world economic tyranny that creates poverty and drives environmental degradation," and must maintain "honour, courage and the creative edge."Well loved hero
Susi Newborn, who was there to welcome Jon aboard the Rainbow Warrior way back in 1977, and who gave the ship its name, wrote about her friend with whom she felt "welded at the heart: He was a Buddhist and a vegetarian and had an earring in his ear. He liked poetry and classical music and could be very dark, but also very funny. Once, I cut his hair as he downed a bottle or two of rum reciting The Second Coming by Yeats."
Newborn recalls Castle insisting that women steer the ships in and out of port because, "they got it right, were naturals." She recalls a night at sea, Castle "lashed to the wheel facing one of the biggest storms of last century head on. I was flung about my cabin like a rag doll until I passed out. We never talked about the storm, as if too scared to summon up the behemoth we had encountered. A small handwritten note pinned somewhere in the mess, the sole acknowledgment of a skipper to his six-person crew: ‘Thank You.’” Others remember Castle as the Greenpeace captain that could regularly be found in the galley doing kitchen duty.
In 2008, with the small yacht Musichana, Castle and Pete Bouquet staged a two-man invasion of Diego Garcia island to protest the American bomber base there and the UK's refusal to allow evicted Chagos Islanders to return to their homes. They anchored in the lagoon and radioed the British Indian Ocean Territories officials on the island to tell them they and the US Air Force were acting in breach of international law and United Nations resolutions. When arrested, Castle politely lectured his captors on their immoral and illegal conduct.
In one of his final actions, as he battled with his failing health, Castle helped friends in Scotland operate a soup kitchen, quietly prepping food and washing up behind the scenes.
Upon hearing of his passing, Greenpeace ships around the world - the Arctic Sunrise, the Esperanza, and the Rainbow Warrior - flew their flags at half mast.
Jon is fondly remembered by his brother David, ex-wife Caroline, their son, Morgan Castle, born in 1982, and their daughter, Eowyn Castle, born in 1984. Morgan has a daughter of eight months Flora, and and Eowyn has a daughter, Rose, who is 2.
feedproxy.google.com | 3/29/19
Ryley Walker just wrapped up his month-long residency at Brooklyn's Union Pool last night, and next Thursday, he was going to kick off a European tour with a show in Hamburg, Germany. But today, he's announced that the upcoming tour has been cancelled, explaining in a note on Facebook that "my mental health is at…
www.stereogum.com | 3/27/19
The global Top-Level Domain market is currently estimated at 348 million domains across all recorded TLDs. Although the overall domain count has continued to grow in all regions and types, the Council of European National Top-Level Domain Registries (CENTR) reports that the pace of growth has slowed considerably. "As of January 2019, it has seen its lowest recorded year-on-year rate of 3.7%."
"While domain count and growth are not the only measurement of market health, they can provide an indication of general uptake and interest in domain names. At present, the indication is a continued slow-down. This may be explained by multiple factors, such as a market saturation, alter- native online presence choices (e.g. social media) or even a concentra- tion of market share to fewer TLDs."
www.circleid.com | 3/12/19