Unemployed Russian citizens will have to pay all insurance contributions to social funds for themselves. It goes about the fees to the pension fund, the mandatory medical insurance fund and the social insurance fund. The new rule will affect only able-bodied individuals of working age who officially do not work anywhere.The suggestion in the draft law "On Amendments to Article 23, Article 419 and Article 425 of the Tax Code of the Russian Federation" was prepared by a member of the State Duma Committee on Labor, Social Policy and Veterans Affairs Sergei Vostretsov.Under the current law, the fees to the Pension Fund, the Mandatory Medical Insurance Fund and the Social Insurance Fund are paid by the employer (for employed individuals). In total, they make up 30 percent per month and give the right to free health care services, retirement benefits, sickness allowance, maternity and child care allowance. Every month, the employer shall transfer the following taxes for every employee: 22 percent to the Pension Fund, 5.1 percent to the Compulsory Health Insurance Fund and 2.9 percent to the Social Security Fund. The personal income tax is withheld from every employee as well. Vadim Gorshenin, the chairman of the Board of Directors of Pravda.Ru found a number of interesting nuances in Vostretsov's initiative. "From his initiative, we learn that 18 million Russians of working age do not work anywhere officially. I looked into the Rosstat data (I did not find the data for 2018), and in 2017, there were 3.967 million unemployed people in Russia, which accounted for 6.6 percent of the total working-age population. As of January 2018, Rosstat announced that the unemployment rate in Russia declined to 5.2%, that is, to 3.918 million."At the same time, Russian officials announced that the unemployment level in 2018 reached its all-time low. All of a sudden, we can see Mr. Vostretsov saying that there are as many as 18 million unemployed people in the country. Let's take these figures as a basis and we will find out that the unemployment level in today's Russia actually makes up 15 percent - the highest in the 2000s. Before that, the record was 9.4 percent - 5.544 million people."There is something that I like about Mr. Vostretsov's initiative - namely the need for unemployed citizens to cover their own social welfare spending. Such a measure should educate civil feelings and understanding of what our common state budget is made of. I have long proposed to introduce this principle with respect to all citizens in general, rather than just a single category of people. On the other hand, what if such a move would double or triple the unemployment rate?"In the meantime, there is a clear understanding that the treasury is empty while oligarchs keep counting their growing dividend from privatised mineral companies."Vadim GorsheninPravda.Ru Chairman of Board of Directors Read article in Russian
www.pravdareport.com | 11/20/18
Greg Wyler, Founder and Executive Chairman, OneWebOneWeb is building a large constellation of low-Earth orbit (LEO) Internet-service satellites and Via Satellite has published the "definitive 2018" interview of OneWeb CEO Greg Wyler. The following are some of the quotes that caught my eye:
The tone of the interview was positive, but the early emphasis on emergency and mobile services (where they will have competition from other, relatively focused LEO satellite companies like Telesat and Leosat) makes me wonder whether their goal of eliminating the digital divide by 2027 might be slipping.
If I could have asked one question, it would have been about the objection to OneWeb that has been raised by the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB). If the FSB succeeds in stopping OneWeb in Russia, they will lose access to a potential market. Furthermore, it would jeopardize their contract for 21 launches with the Soviet space agency Roscosmos and perhaps cost and delay the project.
This has been a quick summary of a long interview — you should check out the full interview.
Written by Larry Press, Professor of Information Systems at California State University
www.circleid.com | 11/16/18
In Western countries, they started talking about AIDS in 1989. In the USSR, AIDS was declared a disease of the degrading Western world. According to Soviet specialists, the appearance of such a disease in the Soviet society - a society of high morality - was out of the question. However, glasnost and perestroika did their work, and AIDS set foot on the Soviet land in 1988. The exposure of children in the town of Elista is considered to be the first contraction of the disease in the Soviet Union.The news about the appearance of the terrifying deadly disease started rumours about the intentional infection of people through infected needles. However, it turned out that AIDS had gotten into the Soviet Union long before 1988, but the information had been kept hidden from the public eye. But it turned out that AIDS was already known in the Union. But the information is carefully classified.Back in 1985, a citizen of the Central African Republic came to Moscow for treatment. He was diagnosed with AIDS at once. Doctors checked the people whom he had been in contact with and found two other cases of the infection. However, when all African students were examined, it became known that as many as 200 individuals staying on the territory of the USSR had AIDS.In 1987, AIDS was diagnosed in a Soviet interpreter, who had infected several of his partners, and those in turn had infected another 24 people.However, the Soviet authorities were trying to convince the population that normal Soviet citizens could not have the disease as AIDS was common only among drug addicts, prostitutes and homosexuals. The government started changing its mind after several children were infected with AIDS during blood transfusion. In 1988, Soviet newspapers wrote that 81 citizens of the USSR and 300 foreign nationals living in the country had AIDS. The complicated economic situation contributed to the rapid spread of the disease. In Soviet hospitals, doctors commonly used reusable tools. Such practices led to hundreds of cases of the disease in the country. By 1990, as many as 270 children had been infected with the deadly disease. After the information was made public, the Soviet Union was gripped with panic. Many would refuse to receive any hospital treatment, special AIDS centres would be set up, all incidents would be investigated, AIDS patients would be persecuted and demonized. In 1990, a law was adopted about anonymous testing and the prohibition of discrimination against patients.Soon the collapse of the USSR, the AIDS epidemic started spreading across the former Soviet Union by leaps and bounds. Today, there are more than 900,000 HIV-positive individuals in Russia.
www.pravdareport.com | 10/15/18
Let us look back at the history of Russian propaganda films. The standard-bearer must be Sergei Eisenstein’s 1938 “Alexander Nevsky,” a Stalinist-era epic centered on the hero Prince Alexander, who drove out the Romans in the 13th century. The barely-veiled subtext of that film, however, was a depiction of Russo-German relations as the war loomed ahead, with a call to arms for citizens and a clear warning to would-be attackers. I’ve no idea how effective it was at reaching its propagandistic goals, but the film itself is gorgeous and filled with inventive effects, and Eisenstein accomplished at least the feat of cinematic excellence.
Flash forward to 2018, and the quality of Russian propaganda films has fallen dramatically. Case in point: “Maximum Impact,” a joint Russian-American action comedy about a top-secret summit meeting between the American secretary of state and Russian head of state, with the goal of shoring up relations between the two countries. (Much like the stated goal of the company that produced this film, Czar Pictures.)
In the film, the only thing getting in the way of the U.S. and Russia becoming best buds is a shadowy coalition between a raggedy Smoking Man-esque American (a Democrat?) played by Billy Baldwin and the Germans (?), who are plotting to frame the very innocent Russians for a terrorist attack. Starring in this picture, and a handful of recent films intent on portraying positive images of Russians, is the actor Alexander Nevsky, an Orange County Putin acolyte who looks like if you asked your grandmother to paint a portrait of Steven Seagal in her community art class, and acts like acting is his own personal hell that he must endure.
It’s not not a worthy cause to portray Russian citizens in a more flattering light; god knows American propagandistic films painted Soviets as the big bad for decades, and that’s not an easy image recovery. But hoo-boy, this movie has some pretty blatant intentions of specifically making the FSB (née KGB) look nice and not shady at all. Whatever, that’s fine. American cinema isn’t short on pro-CIA narratives. But aside from the political implications, you’ll find this film is also quite hateful of women, too. Goody!
Directed by Andrzej Barkowiak — cinematographer of “The Verdict,” “Speed,” and “Falling Down” — this film bears zero resemblance to any film Barkowiak has ever made before, including those he directed himself, like the stunning 1990s breakout Jet Li vehicles “Romeo Must Die” or “Cradle 2 the Grave.” It is as though Barkowiak was body-snatched and replaced with Tommy Wiseau, and it doesn’t help that “Rush Hour” scribe Ross LaManna is recycling some of his worst jokes here, most of which focus on shaming and harassing women and then laughing at how frazzled they get, specifically Kelly Hu’s character Kate, a secret service officer.
When Kate and FSB agent Maxim (Nevsky) — Get it? Maxim-um Impact? — round up their people to take on the pesky Germans together, Kate’s subjected to humiliation after humiliation. At one point, Maxim comes up behind her, puts a giant silver bowl over her head to restrain and blind her, and begins cutting off her hair, while all the men laugh. “That was a $250 haircut,” she throws back at them before finishing with the scissors herself. Hahahaha! (In many cultures, forcibly cutting off a woman’s hair is a means of publicly dehumanizing them.)
Sometimes Kate gets to participate in her own sexualization, like when the teams are watching surveillance footage, and she remarks upon seeing herself that her pants aren’t doing her ass any favors. Another time, Kate gets the nutty idea to jack a car to better chase the Germans, and one of her peers lovingly calls her a “crazy-ass bitch.” For the life of me, I cannot understand why Hu signed on for this film. Perhaps it was the allure of physical comedy and kicking and punching the bad guys, both of which are rarely offered to women actors.
What’s most dizzying about this film has nothing to do with political messages; those are all too clear. Instead, it’s the particularly mean and bizarre humor that boggles the mind. It becomes impossible to decode the joke or what the hell LaManna was thinking.
Tom Arnold as Agent Barnes gets the most confounding of these scenes: Barnes chatters about his enlarged prostate and health issues constantly. When the team is en route to Russia, he interrupts a discussion, wailing about his need to pee. Only, when he opens the bathroom door, there is a teen girl texting on her phone, crouched by the toilet. Barnes yelps at her to, “Watch out!” And then we cut to an exterior of the plane, while we hear Barnes emphatically and vocally relieving himself, ostensibly right over the head of this teen girl. It’s scenes like these that will have you sighing, wondering what happened to the days of sophisticated propaganda.
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www.thewrap.com | 9/27/18
Members of the special commission of Russia's Federal Space Agency Roscosmos investigating into the causes of the recent depressurisation of the Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft came to conclusion that American astronauts could intentionally drill a hole in the coating to bring back their sick colleague back to Earth ahead of schedule.Roscosmos asked NASA to provide health reports for US astronauts and the data from their video cameras. Chances to obtain such information are extremely small, because this type of information is regarded as medical secrecy. If the above version of the incident is confirmed, Russian-American relations may sink to new lows. Against the backdrop of the aggravation of relations between the two countries, space has so far remained practically the only sphere where it was possible to maintain fruitful cooperation between Russia and the United States.Roscosmos officials refused to comment on the above-mentioned version. Vladimir Ustimenko, an official spokesman for the agency, said that Roscosmos will not discuss any insinuations until the special commission exposes the results of its work. The incident on board the International Space Station took place on August 30, when pressure on the docked Soyuz spaceships started falling. The crew found a small hole in the shell of the spacecraft and fixed the problem with the help of epoxy resin. On August 31, astronauts strengthened the patch with an additional layer of sealant.A few days later, Roscosmos representatives said that the depressurisation of the spaceship occurred due to a manufacturing defect. Russian Space Corporation Energia launched an internal investigation into the incident with the participation of a special commission of Roscosmos.On September 4, the head of Roscosmos, Dmitry Rogozin, did not exclude a version of sabotage on the ISS. Cosmonaut Maxim Suraev, who spent 167 days on board the ISS in 2014, supported such an assumption. "Maybe, someone was very tired of flying in there, and they wanted an early descent. They drilled a hole, and if it hadn't been found, the crew would have returned back to Earth ahead of schedule," he said. The day before, Rogozin told reporters at the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok that the results of the investigation conducted by the special commission of Roscosmos have not provided an objective picture of what happened. "The situation has turned out to be much more complicated than we thought before," the head of the state corporation admitted.For the time being, it is believed that the hole in the coating of the Soyuz spaceship appeared after the vehicle docked to the ISS. Around the hole, there were traces found indicating that someone was trying to drill the hole several times. The drill could leave such traces on the shell of the spacecraft when used in vacuum. The Soyuz docks the ISS near the "Dawn" module next to the lock with the American part of the station. One can access the ship only with the permission from the commander, but one could enter the spaceship covertly too. Mission Control allegedly ordered the commander of the Russian crew not to allow US specialists to the Russian part of the ISS without commander's permission. There are six people living on board the ISS at the moment: Andrew Feustel, Richard Arnold and Serena Aunon-Chancellor (all US citizens), Alexander Gerst (Germany), Oleg Artemiev and Sergei Prokopiev (Russia).
www.pravdareport.com | 9/12/18
As an explosive New York Times op-ed about President Donald Trump dominates the headlines, senior officials in the White House are denying on the record that they have any connection to the piece, titled “I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration.”
In the essay, an anonymous author claiming to be a senior official within the Trump administration asserted that top White House officials are secretly working to “thwart” the president’s “misguided impulses” and “worst inclinations.” The author also blasted Trump’s “amorality” and “anti-democratic” actions, and accused the president of attacking conservative ideals including “free minds, free markets and free people.”
RELATED: President Trump Suggests Times Made Up Official Who Penned Op-Ed After First Calling It Treason
“Meetings with him veer off topic and off the rails, he engages in repetitive rants, and his impulsiveness results in half-baked, ill-informed and occasionally reckless decisions that have to be walked back,” the author wrote.
As speculation around the author’s identity continues to build — with even the president unsure of how to respond to the essay — here are the members of the president’s cabinet who, according to NBC News, have said they did not write the Times op-ed.VICE PRESIDENT MIKE PENCE:
Some have pointed to Pence’s affinity for the archaic word “lodestar”, which is used in the op-ed, as a clue that he’s the culprit. But the vice president’s office “definitively denies” that he was the author, and his communications director tweeted that “the Vice President puts his name on his Op-Eds.”
https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.jsSECRETARY OF STATE MIKE POMPEO:
Pompeo said, “It’s not mine” and chastised The Times for taking “a disgruntled deceptive bad actor’s word for anything and put it in their newspaper.”DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE DAN COATS:
“Speculation that The New York Times op-ed was written by me or my Principal Deputy is patently false. We did not,” he said in a statement.DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY KIRSTJEN NIELSEN:
“Secretary Nielsen is focused on leading the men and women of DHS and protecting the homeland – not writing anonymous and false opinion pieces for the New York Times,” the agency’s press secretary, Tyler Q. Houlton, said in a statement.
RELATED: Trump Reportedly Requested Official Photos of His Inauguration Have ‘Empty Areas’ Cropped OutDEFENSE SECRETARY JAMES MATTIS:
“It was not his op-ed,” chief Pentagon spokesperson Dana White said.DIRECTOR OF THE OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET MICK MULVANEY:
“No, Dir. Mulvaney is not the author,” a spokesperson for Mulvaney told NBC News.DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT SECRETARY BEN CARSON:
“The Secretary didn’t write the op-ed,” a spokesperson for Carson told NBC News.TREASURY SECRETARY STEVE MNUCHIN:
“It is laughable to think this could come from the Secretary,” Tony Sayegh Jr., a spokesman for Mnuchin, tweeted.
https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.jsDEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS SECRETARY ROBERT WILKIE:
“Neither Secretary Wilkie nor anyone else at VA wrote the op-ed,” an agency spokesperson told NBC News.LABOR SECRETARY ALEX ACOSTA:
“The Secretary does not play these sophomoric Washington games. He is definitively not the author,” a department spokesperson told NBC News.CIA DIRECTOR GINA HASPEL:
“No!” Haspel’s press secretary Tim Barrett said.COUNSELOR TO THE PRESIDENT KELLYANNE CONWAY:
“Of course not,” Conway told NBC News.EPA ACTING ADMINISTRATOR ANDREW WHEELER:
“Acting Administrator Wheeler supports President Trump 100 percent and is honored to serve in his Cabinet. He also believes whoever wrote the op-ed should resign,” an EPA spokesperson told NBC News.AGRICULTURE SECRETARY SONNY PERDUE:
“No, Secretary Perdue did not write the op-ed,” a department spokesperson told NBC News.SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION ADMINISTRATOR LINDA MCMAHON:
“Administrator McMahon is not the author,” an agency spokesperson told NBC News.ENERGY SECRETARY RICK PERRY:
“I am not the author of the New York Times OpEd, nor do I agree with its characterizations,” Perry tweeted.
https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.jsSECRETARY OF COMMERCE WILBUR ROSS:
“I did not write and am thoroughly appalled by this op-ed,” Ross tweeted.
RELATED VIDEO: Trump Calls Omarosa Manigault Newman a ‘Dog’ After She Claims He’s Racist and in ‘Mental Decline’WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL DON MCGAHN:
McGahn told reporters, “no,” when they asked if he was the author.TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY ELAINE CHAO
“For those who have inquired, this is to confirm that Secretary Chao is not the author of the op-ed,” a spokesperson told NBC News.U.S. AMBASSADOR TO Russia JON HUNTSMAN
“When you’re serving as the U.S. envoy in Moscow, you’re an easy target on all sides. Anything sent out by me would have carried my name. An early political lesson I learned: never send an anonymous op-ed,” Huntsman said, via a statement tweeted by a spokesperson for the U.S. embassy in Moscow.
https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.jsHEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES SECRETARY ALEX AZAR
“No, Secretary Azar did not write the op-ed,” an agency spokesperson told NBC News.U.S. TRADE REPRESENTATIVE ROBERT LIGHTHIZER
“I did not write it. It does not reflect my views at all, and it does not reflect the views of anyone I know in the Administration,” he said via a statement to NBC News.
people.com | 9/6/18
In what’s becoming a rite of passage for Silicon Valley executives, Twitter chief Jack Dorsey headed to Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, testifying to Congress that his company doesn’t censor users based on politics or target conservative voices.
Those in the gallery and watching at home didn’t glean much new from Dorsey’s testimony, however. Dorsey calmly reiterated much of what he’s already said in recent months — that Twitter doesn’t make decisions based on “political ideology,” as he said in his opening remarks. This comes after the company has been criticized from both the left and the right of late. Conservatives have accused Twitter of shadow-banning prominent right-wing voices — which Dorsey denied on Wednesday. At the same time, the social media platform has been skewered by many on the left for not booting conspiracy theorist Alex Jones last month, as did several other tech giants.
When asked why Twitter suspended conservative commentator Candace Owens for mimicking New York Times reporter Sarah Jeong’s contentious tweets, including “cancel white people,” Dorsey said it was a “mistake.”
He argued it wouldn’t make business sense for Twitter to jettison large swaths of Republicans, viewing the platform as a new-age “public square” where almost anything should be allowed to be said. “Impartiality is our guiding principle,” Dorsey added.
Dorsey also acknowledged the Twitter ecosystem can often be “toxic” for users, particularly women, as Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO) put it. The exec said Twitter is focused on making the platform more hospitable right now, at the expense of all-out growth.
“Our singular objective as a company right now is to increase the health of public conversation, and we realize that will come at short-term cost,” Dorsey said.
The few moments that offered an opportunity for clarity didn’t reveal much. Dorsey declined to disclose how many content moderators the company has employed, saying he’ll follow up with “specific numbers” later. He was cagey when pressed by one representative to disclose his political affiliation, eventually conceding and saying he’s a registered Independent. One illuminating exchange did come when Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) pressed Dorsey on whether Twitter follows Russian laws mandating user data be stored in Russia. Dorsey at first said he’ll get back to Kinzinger on it, before saying, “We don’t have servers in Russia.”
Dorsey was often candid when talking about how Twitter can improve. On its arcane user guidelines, Dorsey said if you “sat down with a cup of coffee you wouldn’t be able to understand them.” He added Twitter’s verification process is “not where we’d like it to be” and needs work.
While several Republican urged Twitter to treat conservatives fairly, some Democrats said the questions over political bias were a waste of time. Rep. John Sarbanes (D-MD) called the fixation on Twitter’s politics a “charade” at one point.
The day did have a farcical element to it. During a break in the Senate’s hearing earlier in the day, Jones — on hand in the audience — called Sen. Marco Rubio a “frat boy” and “snake.” Rubio, in return, dismissed Jones as a “clown.” Later, right-wing activist Laura Loomer interrupted the hearing, loudly shouting at Dorsey. She was drowned out by Rep. Billy Young (R-LA) suddenly bursting into an auctioneer’s call.
Ultimately, the daylong testimony yielded little insight. Much like Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s trip to Washington last spring, our elected representatives lobbed complaints and demanded Twitter do a better job, whether its protecting conservatives or making its platform less toxic. But they also said they’d prefer Twitter handle its issues alone, preferring to bypass legislation that would restrict major social media companies. In other words, don’t expect Congress to do much about Silicon Valley’s headaches for the time being.
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www.thewrap.com | 9/6/18
In July 2018, activists of Liza-Alert (volunteer organization that looks for missing people) launched an Internet flashmob in Russia under the hashtag #wewonttellmom. Hundreds of Russians started sharing their stories on social media, in which they confessed how they were either harassed or molested in their childhood. Organizers of the flashmob believe that so many confessions from so many people should attract public attention to the subject. It is worthy of note that the number of cases of sexual ill-treatment over minors increased in 2017. In 2016, there were 5,038 cases filed, but their number increased to 7,011 in 2017.It has been observed that in 70 percent of cases, a child becomes a victim of sexual violence committed by their relative or acquaintance. Adolescents become victims of harassment at a much lesser extent. Smaller children, as a rule, do not even understand what is happening to them and treat everything as a game that an adult man wants to play with them. At the same time, nine out of ten minors do not talk about what happened to anyone: pre-school children can not put everything in words properly, while older children are usually too ashamed and scared to tell their stories to anyone else. Moreover, children's relatives may often choose to hush up the incident and prefer not to go to law enforcement bodies. Only 10-12 percent of victims go to police.According to the World Health Organization, 20 percent of women and 5-10 percent of men encountered incidents of sexual ill-treatment during their childhood. Below are just a few stories that we picked from social media under the above-mentioned hashtag to translate into English. Tatiana, Izhevsk"I was about ten years old. We were out in the street with a little brother of a friend of mine. We found a sled behind the house. There was a nice-looking young man there. He had such a soft face and such a soft voice and he convincingly started asking us to follow him to a very good ice slide. Me and Misha (that was the boy's name) followed the man. He brought us to the kindergarten, but it was a day off, so he opened the gate with a key (he probably worked there). Then he took us to a site where there was an ice slide. The man told Misha to play there, and then he took me to the veranda to find out something important. He put me in front of him and started taking off my pants saying: "Let me see how warm you are, as you can get cold there on the slide." I began to break away from him, but then he said: "OK, let's try from behind." I managed to run away from him, I ran to Misha, and we both escaped....It's been 35 years, but I still remember the grayish face of that pedophile, I remember how anxious and excited he was." Irina: "I was 11 years old. I was staying at my girlfriend's, who had an older brother. Suddenly he locked his sister in the bathroom for no reason and threw himself at me, trying to kiss me. I was very scared, I started screaming as much as I could. Then he threw me on the bed and began ripping off my tights and my underwear saying that it would only be one time, that he has done that to his sister and to his sister's girlfriends, and I was next. I was losing strength, but still I was trying to pull my tights up. The next moment, his sister broke free from the bathroom and rushed to rescue me. I never told my parents about that attack." Ekaterina, Moscow:"We were going back home from a sports class. I said bye-bye to my friends and was walking alone, when a big man grabbed me. I was eight at that time, and it was winter. I screamed, my friends heard me, but he put a knife to my throat and told me that I should say I was all right, and so I did. He started undressing and groping me and told me to grope him. He then said that if I liked it then I could see him more often. I said "Yes" because I was afraid that otherwise he would kill me. I came home in tears, all my clothes were unbuttoned. I told my parents about what happened. My father took a knife and went to look for that man. Thank God, he did not find him, or he would have been jailed. We hadn't reported the incident to the police. Afterwards, I had had fear of adult men, even if they were just passers-by."Diana, Moscow:"My mother used to work as a cleaner at a driving school in the evenings. She would often take me there with her. I was five or six years old, and while she was cleaning the rooms I was playing around as there were so many interesting things there. It was a good driving school where mostly men worked, and everyone treated me very well, I trusted everyone there. I do not remember much about how this situation happened. I remember there was a guard there, who asked me to show my wee wee to him and he showed me his. He asked me to touch it, and I even poked my finger at it once. I did not show him mine - I didn't want to and I was wearing layers of clothes. Then my mother came and I started asking her to spend the night in the driving school. My mother was very surprised, she took me home, of course. I realized the horror of the story only in my adolescent age. I do not know why I let the guard do it all, I don't know why I didn't want to run away. I never saw that man there again, though my mother worked at the driving school for several years afterwards." Marina, Moscow"I was seven years old, I just started going to school. My mom had to go to work an hour earlier than my school was starting, so I was one of the first kids to come to school. My mom was working not far from my school, so she would take me there with her, and I had to finish my way to school alone. One day, as I was going to school alone, a man stopped in front of me. He opened up his coat and tried to force me to take it into my mouth. I was trying to run away, but he was strong, he was trying to make me do it. He was saying that it would not hurt, that I had to help him. I didn't know whether it was good or bad, I had not seen a penis before. I only remember that I managed to escape. I never told my mother. I just decided not to use that way to school anymore." Elena, Novocherkassk"In my distant Soviet childhood, I was once sitting on a bench, when a man whom I didn't know approached me and started telling me very emotionally about his sick daughter at home, who had no friends. He wondered whether I could go with him to his place to meet his daughter and play with her. Of course, I agreed, because I was a Little Octobrist, I felt it was my duty to help the sick girl. It turned out that the man lived in the apartment building nearby. When we entered the apartment, he suddenly pricked up his ears. The next moment, his wife came out of the kitchen. As soon as she saw us, she started yelling in a very frightful way: "Again?? Again???? You scum, you bastard!" She then literally plunged her nails into his face while saying to me quickly: "Little girl, please go home, please." The man was mumbling something, and his wife was sobbing and yelling at him. I did not understand anything and ran home. When I was home, I told the story to my mother, and to my surprise she got really scared and started preaching me to never talk to strangers. I was eight years old when it happened. I now understand, of course, that that man's wife knew about his perversion, but my mother! She knew that there was a pedophile living next door, but she took no effort to do anything about that."
www.pravdareport.com | 8/29/18
The status of Depp's health made for a hot topic on social media after he was snapped in Russia while touring with his band, The Hollywood Vampires.
www.dailymail.co.uk | 6/17/18
In an open letter on Monday addressed to “Fellow Humans,” actress Rose McGowan urged people not to seek to blame Anthony Bourdain’s girlfriend, her friend Asia Argento, for his death by suicide last week.
“Many of these people who lost their ‘friend’ are wanting to lash out and blame. You must not sink to that level. Suicide is a horrible choice, but it is that person’s choice,” she wrote.
“Anthony was part of a ‘pull up your bootstraps and march on’ generation. The a ‘strong man doesn’t ask for help’ generation,” McGowan wrote in the letter, which she said was sent at the urging of Argento herself.
“I know before Anthony died he reached out for help, and yet he did not take the doctor’s advice. And that has led us here, to this tragedy, to this loss, to this world of hurt,” McGowan noted. “Do NOT do the sexist thing and burn a woman on the pyre of misplaced blame. Anthony’s internal war was his war, but now she’s been left on the battlefield to take the bullets. It is in no way fair or acceptable to blame her or anyone else, not even Anthony.”
Argento, who had been publicly linked to Bourdain for more than a year, had become the target of some online trolls speculating about the state of their relationship.
Hours before Bourdain’s body was found in a hotel room outside Paris, People reported, Argento had posted a now-deleted Instagram post of herself wearing a t-shirt that read “F— Everyone” with the caption “You know who you are.”
McGowan said that Bourdain and Argento “had a free relationship, they loved without borders of traditional relationships, and they established the parameters of their relationship early on. Asia is a free bird, and so was Anthony.”
McGowan also urged fans to focus on the unique challenges of depression as a mental illness. “Anthony was open with his demons, he even wrote a book about them,” she wrote. “In the beginning of their relationship, Anthony told a mutual friend, ‘He’s never met anyone who wanted to die more than him.'”
She added that Argento herself shared some of the same mental-health issues. “Through a lot of this last year, Asia did want the pain to stop,” she wrote. “But here’s the thing, over their time together, thankfully, she did the work to get help, so she could stay alive and live another day for her and her children.
“Anthony’s depression didn’t let him, he put down his armor, and that was very much his choice,” she wrote. “His decision, not hers. His depression won.”
Read her full letter here:
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www.thewrap.com | 6/11/18
Johnny Depp isn't just fine — he's apparently getting fit?? Many fans were concerned about the star's health after some photos of the actor looking strikingly thin were posted by fans while he's on tour with his band, Hollywood Vampires, in St. Petersburg, Russia over the weekend. He was looking awfully thin… Related: Depp Dumped By New Lawyers [...]
perezhilton.com | 6/6/18
PHE claims travel between European countries experiencing measles epidemics is behind England's outbreak, as well as people failing to take up the recommended MMR vaccines.
www.dailymail.co.uk | 6/5/18
Is Johnny Depp OK?? Fans are concerned about the star's health and well-being after photos surfaced online over the weekend of the actor appearing "ill" during a stay at the Four Seasons hotel in St. Petersburg, Russia. Related: More Bad Behavior Accusations Against Johnny Depp Depp has been in the headlines plenty over the last year for several [...]
perezhilton.com | 6/2/18
Sergei Skripal is a former colonel in Russia's military intelligence who betrayed dozens of agents to Britain
www.dnaindia.com | 5/29/18
The inauguration ceremony for President Putin was held in the Moscow Kremlin on May 7. This has been Putin's fourth inauguration. A few minutes before noon, the president left the First Building of the Kremlin, where his office is located, and went to the parade residence of the head of state - the Grand Kremlin Palace - to take the oath. Putin went to the inauguration on a "Cortege" project vehicle.At the Grand Kremlin Palace, Putin ascended the Grand Main Staircase and strolled through the halls of the palace - Georgievsky, Aleksandrovsky and Andreevsky - to the sound of a counter march and fanfare. Putting his right hand on the Constitution, Putin said the text of the oath. The chairman of the Constitutional Court of Russia announced that the head of state was sworn in. Putin received the symbols of power and a duplicate of the president's standard was raised over the residence to the music of the Russian anthem.Then Putin addressed the citizens of the Russian Federation. In his speech, Putin called Russia a country of "grandiose victories and accomplishments" and thanked the Russians for their support at the last presidential election. "In this support, there is faith and hope that Russia will continue to strengthen its power, and people will live better," he said.The president also assured that, when taking office as president, he "particularly keenly" realises his "enormous responsibility to everyone" in Russia. Serving Russia is "above everything else to me," he said. "It is my duty and meaning of life to do everything for Russia, for its present and future, peaceful and prosperous." "There is no time for swinging," Putin concluded.Vladimir Putin noted that Russia has been able to achieve a lot recently. Russia has learned to defend her interests and managed to revive the pride of the Fatherland. The country also ensured its security and defence capability. These areas will be given first priority attention in the future, he assured, but the main purpose now is associated with settling domestic issues, ensuring safety and health of Russian citizens. "Our guide is Russia for people," Putin said. "We need breakthroughs in all spheres of life," he said. Improving the quality of life of Russians, including education and healthcare, as well as protecting motherhood and childhood would be his prime objectives as president, Putin said adding that he would make every effort to achieve those goals.At the end of the ceremony, artillery weapons fired 30 solemn volleys from the side of the Kremlin embankment. Afterwards, Putin walked through the inner passage of the Grand Kremlin Palace to Sobornaya Square to see the parade of the Presidential Regiment, where more than 2,000 guests were waiting for Putin to appear. Vladimir Putin refused from the traditional passage of the presidential motorcade along Moscow to the Kremlin, which became a peculiarity of the ceremony. As for the list of foreign guests, who were invited to attend the inauguration, there was temporary charge d'affaires of the Lithuanian Embassy in Moscow Giedrius Galkauskas and American actor Steven Seagal, who received Russian citizenship in 2006. Seagal came to the inauguration with his wife.Pravda.Ru
www.pravdareport.com | 5/7/18
On April 26, Russia remembers victims of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant accident. Events in memory of the disaster and those who lost their lives liquidating its consequences will be held throughout the country. The largest disaster in the history of the world nuclear power industry occurred on April 26, 1986, when an explosion took place at the fourth power unit of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant.The explosion of the nuclear reactor released a large amount of radioactive substances into the environment. The area of radiation pollution in Ukraine amounted to 50,000 square kilometres covering the territory of 12 regions. In 2012, the Russian authorities established the Day of participants of liquidation of consequences of radiation accidents and disasters in memory of the tragedy.It is believed that the explosion at the nuclear reactor occurred in the course of an experiment, when engineers of the nuclear power plant were trying to turn the cooling of the reactor off. Not to interrupt the experiment, the engineers deactivated automatic protection of the reactor. In fact, on April 26, 1986, preventive maintenance works were planned. According to Gosatomnadzor nuclear watchdog, the accident took place because RBMK reactors were designed incorrectly. Everyone knew about the drawback but did not attach proper importance to it. The explosion of the Chernobyl reactor hardly produced any gamma radiation, but emissions of radionuclides into the atmosphere were equivalent to the explosion of about 40 modern nuclear bombs or 400 bombs that the Americans dropped on Hiroshima. The people who started liquidating the consequences of the nuclear explosion had to spend a lot of time next to radionuclides, and it was them who suffered most from the Chernobyl accident. Radiation sickness affected 134 people, of whom 28 died. According to the official investigation of the World Health Organisation, the consequences of the accident could have killed 40,000 people.Vyacheslav Grishin, chairman of the All-Russian Union of Public Associations "Chernobyl Union" told pravda.ru that he took part in the liquidation of the consequences of the disaster twice. "I was not among the first liquidators. The entire process took 4.5 years, and people called those years a period of war. Those who were going to Chernobyl for the second or third time would say that they were going to war. It was like a real war for them, even though there was a war in Afghanistan going on at that time." Pravda.RuRead article on the Russian version of Pravda.Ru
www.pravdareport.com | 4/26/18
President Putin may sign a new decree after his inauguration on May 7 about the development of healthcare system and infrastructure in Russia. It is believed that the decree will stipulate the budget of nearly ten trillion rubles for these purposes, Bloomberg said. The number can be revised. Most of the spending is scheduled for the period after 2020, although it was said that in order to increase spending on social needs, the authorities will cut expenditure in other areas and will look for other sources of income. In particular, it is planned to raise taxes and introduce a new 4% sales tax, although these measures have not been approved yet. The new decree is part of Putin's assignments that were promulgated following the results of the president's message to the Federal Assembly. The presidential administration is to prepare decrees on "improving the living standards of citizens, ensuring the sustainable growth of their real incomes, increasing the level of pensions above the inflation rate and halving the level of poverty in the country."In addition, by analogy with 2012 decrees, new "national goals" are to be elaborated to target such issues as education, health, housing, roads and small businesses.The chief of the Accounting Chamber, Tatyana Golikova, noted that to achieve the above-mentioned goals, the Russian economy needs to grow by four percent a year. "The programs that we have today do not embrace resources of the regions," she said. The authorities are not going to expose the sources, from where they are going to find the funds for Putin's new ten-trillion ruble decree. Some of the costs will be realized by reducing spending, for example, on defense or by redistributing budget funds. Conducting a tax maneuver for the entire economy for 2019-2020 could increase budget revenues by almost 450 billion rubles. Another possible source of income is raising the retirement age. Depending on how significant it will be, the budget may save 0.1-0.2% of GDP by 2050.The vectors of increasing Russia's spending have been chosen correctly, the head of the Center for Economic Studies of the Institute of Globalization and Social Movements, Vasily Koltashov told Pravda.Ru. "Social spending and improving the financial situation of Russians who work for the state is a very important goal to pursue. It, in fact, determines the future of the domestic market and, probably, the society in general. Therefore, the redistribution of funds for such purposes is the right move to make. The problem that arises immediately after such a decision is called the liberal bureaucratization of such departments as health care, education, and the entire social sphere."It goes about a lot of paperwork, formalities and reports, especially for science and education workers. If we talk about tax reforms, then we do not have a progressive tax. There are very large taxes on salaries - the Russians pay 13 percent of this tax. Plus, there are a lot of fiscal deductions that make poor people even poorer. I believe it would be reasonable to take some from defense. The state needs to pay more attention to social needs and send positive signals to the private sector."Pravda.Ru Read article on the Russian version of Pravda.Ru
www.pravdareport.com | 4/24/18
Two accounts of her health illustrate the challenge Britain faces in maintaining a global coalition around the poisoning while keeping much of its evidence secret.
www.nytimes.com | 4/6/18
Reality Check looks into claims about the health of the Russian tourism industry.
www.bbc.co.uk | 4/2/18
A man in Russia's southern province of Dagestan shot into a crowd leaving a church on Sunday, killing five people and injuring at least five others, Russian news agencies reported, citing the local health ministry.
www.dnaindia.com | 2/19/18
American freeskier Nick Goepper returned to the snow on Sunday in Pyeongchang, South Korea, to defend his Olympic bronze medal in men’s slopestyle — and he did even better than that, winning silver.
His final score of 93.60, earned on his last of three runs in the event, came in just behind the 95.00 of Norway’s Oystein Braaten.
With his second-place finish, Goepper is the only athlete to medal twice in slopestyle, which was introduced at the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.
“It feels incredible,” he tells PEOPLE of the win, not long after competing. “I really just wanted to come here and lay it all out there and land a run and be able to say I was accomplished, and I feel I did exactly that.”
Speaking to a room of reporters, Goepper, 23 echoed that same joy. “It was such a pleasure to be a part of the best slopestyle skiing competition in history,” he said. “Qualification was just mind-blowing, and then the final was two-times that. And to be able to land my third and final run and come away with my second Olympic medal is a dream come true.”
Goepper previously earned earned bronze in slopestyle (in which competitors are scored as they perform a variety of tricks and jumps down a mixed-terrain course, not dissimilar to skateboarding) at Sochi. He was part of a rare nation’s sweep of the podium, alongside Joss Christensen, who won gold, and Gus Kenworthy, who earned silver
Hampered by injury, Christensen failed to qualify for Team USA this year; Kenworthy competed in the slopestyle finals on Sunday but disappointed in all three runs, coming last.
Both he and Goepper had made strong showings in the slopestyle qualifying earlier Sunday — which aired Saturday night stateside — placing fifth and seventh, respectively, heading into the finals in the afternoon. Kenworthy was even skiing with a broken thumb and a bruised hip.
With Goepper’s win, the U.S. stands at 10 total medals. (Speedskater John-Henry Krueger nabbed the ninth, a silver, in Saturday’s men’s 1,000-meter event.)
Keep Following PEOPLE’s Complete Coverage of the 2018 Winter Olympics
For Goepper, the 2018 Games were somewhat of a “redemption time,” he told PEOPLE in Pyeongchang, South Korea, a few days before his event.
“I’m coming off a poor result at the X Games in Aspen a couple weeks ago, and that was really tough for me,” he said. “I made an uncharacteristic mistake three times in all my runs, and I’m really just using that as fuel and motivation to bring into this and really step it up and shine, because that’s what I came here to do.”
The memory of his third-place finish four years ago also motivated him.
“I remember just being not as satisfied as I could have been ,” he said, adding, “I mean we’re just picking at straws here. Just being as competitive as I am, I really, really want to win a gold medal. And that’s pretty much what I came here to do.”
However, having earned a silver on Sunday, he tells PEOPLE, “This is an incredibly fulfilling experience, especially with a different perspective than I had in Sochi.”
One change from his experience then to now? “I was sort of a lone wolf in Russia last time and I didn’t have that much fun, so I really want to be able to take the whole experience in while I’m here,” he previously told PEOPLE.
RELATED VIDEO: Olympian Gus Kenworthy on His Impact as the ‘Gay Skier’
In recent weeks, Goepper has also spoken publicly about his mental health and substance abuse struggles following the post-Olympics high of Sochi.
He said the decision to discuss those issues “really comes down to just me being comfortable with who I am.”
“I’m not necessarily trying to be a big advocate or a spokesperson or anything like that,” he told PEOPLE. “Who knows, I might down the road, once I become even more comfortable and learn more about this.”
“But I think just growing up and being more comfortable in my own skin really helped me be more open and candid with the public about some of those personal struggles,” he continued, “and especially being in a position of a public figure, I think it’s a really good thing to do that.”
The 2018 Winter Olympics are airing live on NBC. To learn more, visit teamusa.org.
people.com | 2/18/18
Maybe Nick Goepper would always have had something to prove.
Maybe, if it wasn’t his upcoming freestyle ski event at the 2018 Winter Olympics, the 23-year-old medalist would be focused on, say, being the best surfer or being the best skateboarder or maybe having the nicest truck.
But he’s not thinking about any of those things, even if he wanted to. He’s thinking about his skiing, because that’s what everyone else is going to be thinking about, too.
“I think I can ski better and I’m going to ski better here,” he told PEOPLE in Pyeongchang, South Korea, a week and change before he is set to compete in men’s slopestyle at the Games, an event in which competitors perform a variety of tricks and jumps down a mixed-terrain course, not dissimilar in skateboarding.
At that same competition four years ago, in Sochi, Russia, Goepper took bronze in a rare single-nation sweep of the podium alongside teammates Joss Christensen (gold) and Gus Kenworthy (silver).
Still, his performance dissatisfied him in some way, strange as he realizes that can sound to others.
“Just being as competitive as I am, I really, really want to win a gold medal,” he says. “And that’s pretty much what I came here to do.”
Ever analytical, he says, “I’m confident that this will be a good event and I think there’s a lot of stuff that I’ve learned this season and just things that I have to tweak and just be better at, so I know what I have to do.”
Keep Following PEOPLE’s Complete Coverage of the 2018 Winter Olympics
“I’m one of those types of people that always has something to prove, no matter what,” explains Goepper, who is participating in Procter & Gamble’s “Love Over Bias” campaign. “Even though I might have a stack of accomplishments, I still have something to prove. And not just to other people but also just to myself, that I always want to just have a leg up. I always want to ski better than I ever have before.”
His third-place finish at the 2014 Olympics kicked off a whirlwind media tour — helped along by Kenworthy’s role in the rescue of a litter of Russian puppies, which landed on the cover of PEOPLE — after which he found himself grappling, then at 20 years old, with questions beyond his ability to succeed on the snow.
“One thing that I really struggled with after Sochi was, like, I really didn’t have any plan,” he says. “I mean, I was sort of on the Olympic celebration tour with all my friends and blah, blah, blah — and then there sort of was this aimlessness of just what in my day, I didn’t really know what I was supposed to be doing.”
“But there wasn’t anything that I was supposed to be doing,” he says. “I was just supposed to be getting back to work.”
He realizes that — now. But after Sochi, especially coming down from his post-Olympics high, Goepper found himself in an entirely different mindset, an experience he opened up about last month.
“That summer of 2014 I really experienced this, like, emotional distress and really just started to kind of slide emotionally,” he said in a video interview with the X Games.
In August 2014, while home in Indiana and amid his anxiety and depression, he threw rocks at several cars, authorities said. He later came forward voluntarily with what he’d done, paid back his victims and apologized.
“It was real messed up, but I would go to bed at night and I would want the night to be like really long,” Goepper said in the video. “I would literally stay up all night because that was how the time would tick by the slowest — thinking that the morning would never come. And all of a sudden the sun would come up and I would be like, ‘Another day of feeling this way.’ ”
“I mean, there came a point when I was drinking every day and I was constantly thinking about ways to end my own life,” Goepper said.
“I was, like, flirting with that idea , I wasn’t ballsy or committed enough to actually do it,” he said. “It was more like a really messed up way of saying ‘help me’ but without just saying it to a friend or a family member.”
A “huge turning point” came after Goepper sought recovery at a rehab center in Texas, in the fall of 2015: “Talking to other people and just like befriending other people at this recovery center, where I could relate to and I could talk to and I could like share similar stories with, that was hugely inspiring,” he said in the X Games video.
Talking to PEOPLE last week, Goepper said the decision to speak out about his post-Sochi issues “really comes down to just me being comfortable with who I am.”
“I’m not necessarily trying to be a big advocate or a spokesperson or anything like that,” he says. “Who knows, I might down the road, once I become even more comfortable and learn more about this.”
“But I think just growing up and being more comfortable in my own skin really helped me be more open and candid with the public about some of those personal struggles,” he continues, “and especially being in a position of a public figure, I think it’s a really good thing to do that.”
RELATED VIDEO: The PyeongChang Winter Games, by the Numbers
On the snow this weekend, Goepper says he is looking forward to showing “smooth, consistent, technical, difficult skiing.” (He pulled off a double cork 1440 in Park City, Utah, a few weeks back, giving him a days-long confidence booster.)
And after that?
“Some people lately have referred for me to be like one of the veterans, or like one of the older guys. I haven’t even gotten close to the first half of my career being over yet — I mean, I’m only 23. I feel great,” Goepper says. “I love the idea of really having an athletic career for a while. There’s just so much more to learn, there’s so much more to master, there’s so many more places to go and stuff. So I’m just really excited for the rest of the journey.”
The Olympics are airing live on NBC. To learn more, visit teamusa.org.
people.com | 2/17/18
This preview focuses on private, invite-only events aimed at a professional industry audience of stakeholders in the Academy Awards.
As soon as Oscar voting closes on Tuesday, Feb. 27 at 5 p.m. PST, the Academy’s prohibition on “non-screening events” ends. Party season begins again. Here’s a first look at the top gatherings of nominees and creative ensembles before and after Jimmy Kimmel hosts the big show on Sunday, March 4.
The Oscar Concert with the Los Angeles Philharmonic
Logline: The great Michael Giacchino (an Oscar-winning Academy Governor) led a team making fresh arrangements of this year’s nominated scores. The L.A. Phil will perform them live with film clips.
Tickets: Unlike everything else from here down, this is open to the public. Tickets start at $43.
Vanity Fair, Barneys New York, and Sony Pictures Classics’ Cocktail Party
Logline: Cocktail with one of the season’s buzziest films, “Call Me by Your Name,” while servicing one of the mag’s many advertising clients touching Oscar week.
Global Green’s 15th Anniversary Oscar Party
Logline: The CEO of the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation will be honored but the Oscar-winning environmentalist himself is not expected. Stepping into the spotlight instead: Sophia Bush, Elisabeth Röhm, Sharon Lawrence and Ed O’Neill.
Thursday, March 1
Cadillac Celebrates the 90th Academy Awards
Logline: Michael Patrick’s soiree always draws a mix of familiar faces (Zoe Saldana, Christoph Waltz, Naomi Watts, Joel McHale) and some news ones (Angela Sarafyan, Jay Ellis) at one of the most social industry gatherings of the week.
Connection: As the Academy’s official wheels, Cadillac will be shuttling nominees and presenters across town all week to many of the events listed below.
Gersh Oscar Party
Logline: The agency and Tequila Don Julio 1942 will raise a glass to the agency’s nominees Allison Janney, Sam Rockwell and Richard Jenkins.
Lookout: I don’t envy the elegant face of the Chateau, Anya Varda, and her team that night. March is coming in like a lion.
Vanity Fair and Lancôme Paris Toast Women in Hollywood
Logline: Oscar week doubles as a debut for Graydon Carter’s successor, new top editor Radhika Jones. The high-end cosmetics brand will make a donation to Time’s Up on behalf of the guests, who include Ava DuVernay.
Universal, Focus Features and DreamWorks Animation Oscar Nominee Celebration Dinner
Gary Oldman and Leo DiCaprio buddied up at the Chateau at a party for “Darkest Hour” earlier this awards season. (Focus Features)
Logline: There’a pile of nominees and nominations here with Focus having a banner year (“Darkest Hour,” “Phantom Thread,” and “Victoria & Abdul”). A year ago, Universal was not scheduling Oscar week plans for “Get Out,” but after Jordan Peele’s commercial and critical hit took off, that all changed.
Friday, March 2
British Consul General Michael Howells’ Film is Great Reception
Logline: Don’t tell the ultra-nationalist xenophobes. The foreigners are already here.
There are U.K.-born nominees in 17 of the 24 Oscar categories and representation in five of the top races: Best Picture (“The Darkest Hour,” “The Phantom Thread,” “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”), Best Actress (Sally Hawkins), Supporting Actress (Lesley Manvill), Best Actor (Daniel Kaluuya, Daniel Day Lewis, Gary Oldman), and Director (Christopher Nolan).
Feature: Host Michael Howells gave one of the best speeches of this awards season at BAFTA’s Golden Globes weekend Tea Party. Take note and shut up when he addresses his backyard.
Pours: Even the bar is British. Sponsors include Silent Pool Gin, Aberlour Whiskey, Chapel Down (English Sparkling Wine), Seedlip (non-alcoholic spirit) and Fever Tree tonics.
Emma Stone hosts Women in Film’s Celebration of the 2018 Female Oscar Nominees
Power Women: Emma Stone and Patty Jenkins in a Party Report file photo from the AFI Life Achievement Award. (Michael Kovac/Getty Images)
Logline: The reigning Best Actress winner (and in the famous flub, also announced as the Best Picture winner) joins Women in Film president Cathy Schulman and the community of female nominees from both sides of the camera.
The industry’s reckoning of institutionalized gender inequality and systemic sexual assault engulfed Hollywood, and Schulman’s been sounding the alarm for years. How WiF addresses the state of the industry on its biggest weekend will set the tone for what happens as as we turn the page to a new “industry year.”
Who’s Who: Kobe Bryant, the champ of this year’s Oscars gatherings, should be there. Add nominees Denzel Washington, Octavia Spencer, Laurie Metcalf, Guillermo del Toro, Dee Rees, Christopher Nolan, Luca Guadagnino, Hans Zimmer, James Mangold and Michael Green to the list and call it a top crowd.
Bonus: The agency will also raise a glass to nominated projects “Call Me by Your Name,” “Mudbound” and “The Square,” all of which hail from Endeavor Content.
Saturday, March 3
Film Independent Spirit Awards
Logline: The industry’s booziest daytime bash of the year. Everyone heeds Film Independent President Josh Welsh’s mantra to “leave the thank-you notes at home,” adding to a celebratory day that begins in the lounges outside the main tent as early as 11 a.m.
Sony Pictures Classics Annual Oscar Nominees Dinner
January 2017 at Sundance: Luca Guadagnino, Michael Stuhlbarg, Timothée Chalamet, Armie Hammer, Walter Fasano (TheWrap)
Why they will be smiling: This is the finish line. The “Call Me by Your Name” troika — Timothée Chalamet, Armie Hammer, and director Luca Guadagnino — end the 14-month promotional tour that started back at Sundance 2017.
Other Nominees: SPC will also toast its two foreign language nominees, “A Fantastic Woman” (from Chile) and “Loveless” (from Russia).
MPTF’s Annual “Night Before”
Logline: The MPTF is where the gatekeepers and power brokers in the industry convene on the night before the Oscars. This is an invite worth fighting for. Make a big donation and step in to Jeffrey Katzenberg’s circle.
Sign of the times: YouTube joins the list of blue-chip corporate sponsors.
Oscars Viewing Parties on Sunday, March 4
*Top Invite* – 2018 Elton John AIDS Foundation Academy Awards Viewing Party
Logline: The most choice invite if you’re not seated in the first 15 rows of the Kodak Theatre itself.
Do: drink top-shelf champagne and feast on cuisine from a Michelin three-star restaurant in Spain with a great cross section of Hollywood.
Don’t: Don’t try to take any pictures of Sir Elton or stand too close to his head table. You may be excused for asking frequent guest Robert Kraft what happened in the Super Bowl. By 8:45 or so, trophy winners start pouring in as the telecast on screen comes to you.
Charity Component: Contributing to the EJAF mission, presenting sponsor BVLGARI is donating a 13 carat white gold diamond necklace, the “BVLGARI DIVISSIMA” to the live auction.
Wow Booking: Greta Van Fleet. This is a return to prime form for the EJAF, welcoming a big up-and-coming band heralded as a savior of guitar rock, not a nostalgia act. Because all 42 of the headlining dates on their first U.S. tour sold out in advance and they’re headed to Coachella, the four Michigan boys are a choice dessert on the evening.
Byron Allen’s Second Annual Entertainment Studios Gala
Logline: Katy Perry and Jamie Foxx will perform at the benefit for Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Last year’s inaugural event raised $1 million, and “Byron hopes to raise even more again this year,” a rep for Entertainment Studios tells the Party Report.
IMDb Live Viewing Party
Logline: This is part party, part live broadcast. Dave Karger, Kevin Smith and other IMDb talent will provide live commentary on the show that will stream across IMDb platforms.
Guests: About 300 industry types.
Notables: Last year, Issa Rae and Aisha Tyler were among the crowd about a mile away from the actual show.
Mercedes-Benz Viewing Party
Logline: The Four Seasons is an Oscars week base camp, so this is sort of like watching the golf tournament from the clubhouse. Last year was a mixed bag of names from Housewives (Kandi Burruss) to 1980s basketball star Ralph Sampson, to ESPN’s man in L.A., Stan Verrett.
Nordstrom Local Oscar Viewing Party for the Fashion Industry
Logline: With New York’s fashion week two weeks in the rearview mirror, the style set can kick back here before hitting the after parties.
The Academy’s Governors Ball
Logline: They have a lot of “make-up” homework to do after last year’s Governors Ball drowned in the surreal wake of the Oscars envelope flub.
Vanity Fair Oscar Party
Radhika Jones (Larry Busacca/Getty Images)
Logline: It’s the first outing for new Editor-in-Chief Radhika Jones (above). She steps into the bridge of a ship that Graydon Carter built and is already making waves. On Feb. 15, a round of layoffs included Jane Sarkin and Beth Kseniak, two founding mothers of VF Oscar night that has been the “toughest invite in town” over the past 24 years.
On the brighter (or sadder?) side of “recently separated” news, single Jennifer Aniston should be there. Forget the Brad Pitt sequel rumors. Please, let her show up with Angelina Jolie.
Details on other late night soirees to come.
Please send invites, updates, and details to the party and event contributor Mikey Glazer here.
Related stories from TheWrap:
www.thewrap.com | 2/16/18
The top figure skating pair teams in the world came together in PyeongChang on Tuesday night for the 2018 Olympic Games’ pairs short program.
Going into the event, all eyes were on Alexa Scimeca Knierim and Chris Knierim, the sole U.S. pair team at the Olympics.
The two-time U.S. national champions had already picked up a bronze medal in the team event, for which they skated both the short and long programs. But for Tuesday’s short program, the couple — who began skating together in 2012 and married in June 2016 — was considered a bit of an underdog team. They’d only placed as high as seventh at world champions, and fifth at their Grand Prix assignments in Japan and the U.S.
The skate ended with China’s Sui Wenjing and Han Cong claiming the top spot with a score of 82.39, followed by OAR/Russia’s Yevgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov’s 81.68, and Canada’s Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford’s 76.82.
Although it wasn’t their strongest skate, scoring only a 65.55, the Knierim’s celebrated the opportunity to be on Olympic ice on Valentine’s Day —something they also celebrated on social media prior to their skate.
“We were soaking it in,” Alexa told NBC after their skate. “We promised we would be present every single second.
Chris also said he whispered “great job and Happy Valentine’s Day” to her after their short program.
Her response? “I told him the only thing that would top this is having a child on Valentine’s Day!”
The pair also have a dramatic personal story, with Alexa Scimeca Knierim overcoming a rare and potentially deadly gastrointestinal condition less than two years ago.
“This competition’s very meaningful for us,” Scimeca Knierim, 26, told PEOPLE earlier this week. “We’ve kind of been lacking the joy and lightheartedness of life for about two years now, from all the struggles we’ve been through, so being here together, Chris and I are kind of just enjoying it.”
She credits her faith for getting her through, and when asked whether such a competition feels like a celebration, having made it through the lows of Alexa’s health struggles, the couple is quick to reply yes. “One-hundred percent,” Chris, 30, told PEOPLE.
The event also featured the debut of North Korean skaters Ryom Tae-ok, 19, and Kim Ju-sik, 25.
But the ones to beat were Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford, of Canada. Like most competitors on Tuesday, the pair had a sea of wins under their belt — including the 2015 and 2016 world champions, seven Canadian national championship titles, victories at the Autumn Classic and Skate Canada, and bronze medals at Skate America and the Grand Prix Final.
Most importantly, Duhamel (who made headlines for rescuing a dog headed to the South Korean meat trade) and Radford already struck gold in PyeongChang — winning the short and long programs for Canada in the team event and topping the competition in the free skate.
Keep Following PEOPLE’s Complete Coverage of the 2018 Winter Olympics
Still, Duhamel and Radford had stiff competition coming their way. Mainly, there was Germany’s Aliona Savchenko and Bruno Massot, who won the Grand Prix Final in December, as well as gold in the U.S. and silver in Canada.
Savchenko is a seasoned Olympic pro, with two bronze medals from past pairings over her four previous Olympic games. Her pairing with Masson put her at the front of the pack this time around — though she and Masson chose to skate to last season’s short program Tuesday night, telling reporters it felt more comfortable to them.
Behind them were OAR/Russia’s pair Yevgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov and China’s Sui Wenjing and Han Cong — the two teams who were also on the podium at December’s Grand Prix Final.
Tarasova and Morozov are two-time European Championships gold medalists and the reigning Russian national champions. Earlier at the Olympics, they earned a silver medal for their contribution to the team event’s short program. They also had history on their side, as Russian pairs have won gold in every Olympic Games from 1964 to 2006.
PEOPLE‘s special issue The Best of Olympic Figure Skating is available now in the Time Inc. store, on Amazon, and wherever magazines are sold.
Wenjing and Cong perhaps had the most to prove on Tuesday, having missed the 2014 Sochi Olympics when they weren’t selected to the team. Since then, Sui underwent surgeries on both of her feet — operations that forced her to learn how to walk and skate again. She came back alongside Wenjing with a vengeance. They won gold at the 2017 Shanghai Trophy, took silver medals at the Grand Prix final, and have two Worlds silver medals on their trophy case. They are the reigning world champions.
And then there is France’s Vanessa James and Morgan Cipres, who competed in their second Olympics together. Though they nearly spoiled a Russian podium sweet at the European Championships (missing the bronze by 0.01 points), the duo had been fighting hard through their Olympic season. They scored a victory at the Autumn Classic, and nabbed silver and bronze in the Canada and France Grand Prix series.
But it’s been a tough journey in PyeongChang so far. James and Cipres failed to advance to the free skate earlier and finished sixth in the team event for France. At the Sochi Olympics, they placed tenth.
RELATED VIDEO: The 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics Is on… and It’s Really, Really Cold!
Now that a victor has been selected, the pairs will next take on the free skate competition, set for Wednesday.
The 2018 Winter Olympics are airing live on NBC. To learn more, visit teamusa.org.
people.com | 2/14/18
Sorry, Stephen Colbert — you almost had a three-day weekend there. The “Late Show” host and his staff scrambled to tape a new cold open on Friday. Why? Because well, as the CBS personality put it, “Trump continues to happen.”
In this case, it was the prior evening’s late-breaking news that the POTUS tried to fire lead Russia collusion investigator Robert Mueller back in June that forced the overtime.
Ordinarily, Colbert’s crew pre-tapes two shows on Thursdays, providing an original episode for Friday evening. Though they still did that, the intro was a total re-do.
“So that uncrossable line in the ethical sand? Turns out Trump crossed it seven months ago,” Colbert said in the new version, which was shot bare bones in the halls of his offices. “I can’t wait to find out about the nuke he launched on Thanksgiving.”
Of course, per Trump, the Muller thing is all “fake news.”
Watch the video above.
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www.thewrap.com | 1/27/18
One day after Donald Trump handed out his Fake News Awards, the Sundance Film Festival kicked off with a film that genuinely sets a new standard for falsehoods — because director Maxim Pozdorovkin’s documentary is based on the Russian propaganda generated during the presidential election that put Trump in power.
The film was designed, said the director, to be constructed from “television news footage without a single true statement in it.”
“Our New President” screened on the opening night of the Sundance Film Festival, and you could argue that playing this kind of movie at an indie film festival is about as sure-fire as a rock singer yelling “Hello, Cleveland!” Even in a red state like Utah, festival goers will respond to anything that’s seen as anti-Trump as surely and uncritically as fans will cheer for the name of their city.
But “Our New President” is weirder and quirkier than that; it’s made to unsettle and provoke, not to take shots at Trump.
The film doesn’t try to answer the question of whether or how Russia influenced the election by misleading American voters — it’s more about how the state-sponsored media fed Russian citizens a nonstop narrative of how a downright evil Hillary Clinton, who by the way is also suffering from a variety of physical and mental disabilities, including “retardation,” was a threat to Russia and to the world.
And by the way, she was also cursed by a Russian mummy she visited as First Lady in 1997.
In this narrative, Trump was a hero mostly because he wasn’t Hillary, though the Russians engage in some bouts of Trumpian mythmaking on their own.
With its music cranked to melodramatic extremes and its chapters veering from one facet of the election to another, “Our New President” is freewheeling rather than cohesive, and it’s designed as a twisted but troubling showcase instead of an investigation. And Russian wackos making conspiratorial videos are a bit more entertaining than their American counterparts, perhaps, since they don’t hit quite so close to home.
But that’s another thing that keeps “Our New President” from having the impact it might: The Russian government is sponsoring disinformation and some of its citizens are buying into outlandish conspiracy theories, but is that really worse than some of the ranting we hear from Alex Jones or even Sean Hannity? As the current climate in Washington spirals into dangerous absurdity and a real Russian investigation moves forward methodically, it’s hard to feel enlightened or even terribly amused by the revelations here.
Still, Pozdorovkin isn’t really after revelations. “Our Next President” takes the funhouse-mirror environment of modern politics (where the funhouse is never any fun) and finds a new way to illustrate and explore it. There are worse ways to kick off a festival that will no doubt take lots more shots at our year-old president over the next 10 days.
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www.thewrap.com | 1/19/18
The year 2018 represents a tipping point for the Internet and its governance. Internet governance risks being consumed by inertia. Policy decisions are needed if we want to prevent the Internet from fragmenting into numerous national and commercial Internet(s).
Geopolitical shifts, in particular, will affect how the Internet is governed. The Internet is made vulnerable by the fragmentation of global society, which is likely to accelerate in response to the ongoing crisis of multilateralism. If this crisis leads to further restrictions in the movement of people, capital, and goods across national borders, the same is likely to happen with the digital economy, including the cross-border flow of data and services.
Filling policy gaps
The first sign of a crisis in multilateralism in digital policy was the failure of the 5th UN Group of Governmental Experts (UN GGE) to reach consensus on a final report. Towards the end of 2017, the World Trade Organization (WTO) failed to agree on any mandate for e-commerce negotiations during the WTO Ministerial meeting in Buenos Aires.
The gaps in global rules are increasingly being filled by bilateral and regional arrangements, in particular on cybersecurity and e-commerce. Plurilateral digital trade arrangements are being considered as an alternative to the shortcomings of the WTO e-commerce negotiations.
In 2018, national legislation and courts will have a major impact on the global Internet. The main regulation with global impact will be the entry into force of the EU's General Data Protection Regulation on 25 May, which will determine how data is governed beyond the shores of Europe.
Using divergences to reach convergences
There are a few elements on which to build constructive solutions and some optimism.
First, interests in digital policy are now more clearly defined than a few years ago, when digital ideologies focused only on blue-sky thinking and an 'unstoppable march into a bright digital future'. Governments need to deliver prosperity, stability, and security as part of their social contracts with citizens. The industry needs to make a profit, whether it is by selling services online or by monetizing data. Citizens have a strong interest in having their dignity and core human rights protected online as they should be offline. A common thread binds them all: actors have a strong interest in preserving a safe, stable, and unified Internet.
A clear delineation of the interests of all actors, a healthy interdependence, and complementarity between those actors is a good basis for negotiations, compromise, and ideally, consensus, on how the Internet should further develop as a technological enabler of a stable and prosperous society.
Secondly, the diversity of the Internet is reflected in the diversity of interests and, ultimately, negotiating positions in digital geo-politics. While the USA, China, and Russia disagreed on the future of cybersecurity regulation within the UN GGE, they did agree about the need for digital commerce regulation in the WTO. All three countries are part of the WTO plurilateral negotiations on digital commerce. This variable geometry in the positions of the main actors in digital policy could create more space for potential trade-offs and compromise.
The 2018 forecast of the 10 main digital policy developments is set against this broad backdrop that makes progress and retreat equally possible. It draws on continuous monitoring of digital policy carried out through the GIP Digital Watch observatory and further discussed during the GIP's monthly briefings.
For a more in-depth analysis, read the full article.
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1. GDPR: Data in the centre of digital politics – Data will dominate digital policy in 2018. Entering into effect on 25 May, the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will reshape the way companies, and institutions handle data in Europe and beyond. Its main impact will be on the Internet industry's business model, which is based on data monetization. More broadly, data will also move to a higher place on the agendas of international organizations dealing with health, humanitarian, and development issues, among others.
2. Cybersecurity geopolitics: The search for new governance mechanisms – 2017 ended with increasing cybersecurity risks and a lack of multilateral solutions to deal with them after the failure of the UN GGE. In 2018, the search for new policy mechanisms will intensify. The following solutions are being considered: a 6th UN GGE with a specific mandate, a UN Open-ended Working Group, a Conference on Disarmament, a Committee on the Peaceful Uses of ICT, or an Expert Group on International Telecommunication Regulation.
3. Digital trade and the Internet economy – The growth of e-commerce worldwide has not been matched with the development of policy frameworks. In the aftermath of the failure of the WTO Ministerial Conference to initiate e-commerce negotiations, some countries will develop plurilateral regimes. One of the main challenges will be to delineate core trade from other digital policy issues that affect trade, such as cybersecurity and data protection. The Internet economy will also be impacted by data protection, taxation, and labor regulations worldwide.
4. Courts: Active maker of digital rules – In the search for solutions to their digital problems, Internet users and organizations will increasingly refer to courts. Judges could become de facto rule-makers in the field of digital policy, as was the case with the right to be forgotten. The CJEU ruled that Uber is a transportation (not information) company with far-reaching consequences for Uber and the sharing economy. Courts in Canada, Australia, Austria, France, and other countries are following this trend in shaping global digital policy rules.
5. Artificial intelligence: Between philosophical considerations and practical applications – Artificial intelligence (AI) features highly in public debates, with a wide range of views put forward, from being 'the best or worst thing to ever happen to humanity'. This debate involving entrepreneurs, philosophers, politicians, and the general public will continue in 2018. On a digital policy level, AI will be addressed in the interplay with big data and the IoT. Other questions will include the automation and future of jobs, robot tax, privacy protection, and regulation of the use of lethal autonomous weapons.
6. Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies: Between boom and bust – The fast growth of cryptocurrencies opened many regulatory questions. Is this growth inflating a bubble that may soon burst? What should be the role of financial regulators in preventing a potential bust? In 2018, governments will focus on initial coin offerings and the risk of misusing cryptocurrencies for money laundering, tax avoidance, and illegal financial transactions.
7. Content policy: Fake news and violent extremism online – 'Fake news' was the word of the year in 2017. It will remain high on policy agendas in 2018 together with other content policy issues. France would like to introduce a new law against fake news in election time. Other countries are considering similar proposals. The main criticism is that fake news regulations may open possibilities for censorship and reduce freedom of expression. Researchers in civil society advise that a regulatory approach should be used only as an exception, while the focus should be on building a digital culture and critical thinking among citizens.
8. Net neutrality: Global impact of new US regulation – The US decision to end net neutrality triggered debate in December which spilled over to the new year. The main issues are how net neutrality will be protected in the USA, and since content transits mostly through the USA, and whether this will affect other countries worldwide. Net neutrality and zero rating will also remain high on agendas in some developing countries, while platform or data neutrality may move higher.
9. Encryption: More pressure on backdoor access – In 2018, governments worldwide will continue to put legal and policy pressure on Internet companies to provide backdoor access to users' data, or reduce levels of encryption. Users' data is the Internet companies' main commodity, and losing users' trust could endanger their business model. They will try to find a predictable regulatory framework for sharing data with law enforcement agencies, which would shield them from political and ad hoc pressure by governments.
10. ICANN: Online identities, jurisdiction, and governance – ICANN is likely to remain outside the policy limelight in 2018. Two issues that may resurface are related to broader online identities and jurisdiction. In a time when politics focuses on identities and symbolism, online identity may resurface as a major political issue. In particular, it could happen around the question of .amazon. While it is unlikely that there will be further impactful discussions or decisions on the US jurisdiction of ICANN, we might see more focused debate on the topic of 'limited, partial, relative or tailored immunity for ICANN'.
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Based on the original article, A tipping point for the Internet: 10 predictions for 2018, published on 11 January 2018. Read the full article.
Written by Jovan Kurbalija, Director of DiploFoundation & Head of Geneva Internet Platform
www.circleid.com | 1/13/18
Three Oscars, Three Golden Globes, a Tony, and a lifetime of memorable performances. Denzel Washington has proven that he is one of the most iconic actors in Hollywood today. With his latest film “The Magnificent Seven” out and his expecting Oscar-contending film “Fences” coming soon, let’s look back at his long career.
Let’s start with this picture of him as a kid that was used in a Boys & Girls Club of America ad, just to show you he was born with that steely-eyed gaze.
After getting started in Maryland and Off-Broadway theatre, Washington got his first major role on the 80s hit medical TV show “St. Elsewhere” as Dr. Philip Chandler.
In 1987, Washington earned his first Academy Award nomination playing the famed South African activist Steve Biko in “Cry Freedom.”
Two years later, Washington was officially a major star in Hollywood when he won Best Supporting Actor at the Oscars for his work in “Glory.” Washington plays Silas Trip, a bitter runaway slave who joins the Union in the Civil War, but who doesn’t believe victory will bring him freedom.
In 1990, Washington worked with Spike Lee to make the film “Mo’ Better Blues.” Washington plays Bleek Gilliam, a jazz trumpeter whose life spirals out of control as he makes one bad decision after another.
Two years later, Washington reunited with Lee to make what is considered to be one of the most defining works of both men’s careers: “Malcolm X.” Washington got his third Oscar nomination for his legendary performance as the legendary activist.
In 1993, Washington starred alongside Tom Hanks in “Philadelphia” as Joe Miller, a personal injury lawyer hired by a gay man with AIDS to represent him in a wrongful termination lawsuit connected to his disease.
In 1995, Washington began taking more high-octane roles, namely the lead role in “Crimson Tide” alongside Gene Hackman. The two men play commanding officers on the submarine Alabama that engage in a bitter struggle for power while a rebellion in Russia threatens to start the Cold War all over again.
One of Washington’s more polarizing films was the 1999 biopic “The Hurricane.” He plays Rubin Carter, a boxer who was falsely convicted of triple murder and who spent 20 years in prison before he was exonerated. The film earned Washington a Golden Globe, but also received criticism for taking liberties with the facts of the case.
In 2000, Washington introduced himself to a new generation of moviegoers in the Disney film “Remember The Titans” as the coach of a recently desegregated high school football team.
The following year, Washington became the first African-American actor since Sidney Poitier to win a Lead Actor Oscar when he played against type as the corrupt cop Alonzo Harris in “Training Day”
2002 saw Washington make his directorial debut with “Antwone Fisher,” a story about a Navy sailor with a troubled past that he sorts through with the help of a kindly psychologist.
In the mid 00s, Washington built on his “Crimson Tide” reputation and starred in a series of successful thrillers. Among these was a remake of the 1962 classic “The Manchurian Candidate.”
Then, in 2007, Washington played against type again and took the role of infamous Harlem drug kingpin Frank Lucas in “American Gangster”
In 2012, Washington earned his fourth Best Actor Oscar nomination and sixth nomination overall for his work in “Flight.” In the Robert Zemeckis film, he plays an airline pilot who saves nearly everyone on board when he makes an emergency crash landing. Still, six people die in the crash, and the pilot’s new popularity is short-lived when it is discovered that he was flying while intoxicated.
Now, fresh off receiving the Cecil B. Demille Award at the Golden Globes, Washington has reunited with “Training Day” director Antoine Fuqua to star in a new rendition of one of the greatest westerns of all time, “The Magnificent Seven.” Washington plays Sam Chisholm, a bounty hunter who rounds up a new Seven to protect a town from a vicious robber baron.
Later this year, he is expected to contend at the Oscars with his adaptation of August Wilson’s “Fences,” a tale of a former Negro League pitcher who struggles to deal with his new life as a garbage man. Washington played the lead role in a Broadway revival in 2010, for which he won a Tony Award.
www.thewrap.com | 12/23/17