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Last May, Cuba's Ministry of Communication (MINCOM) announced resolutions 98 and 99 limiting wireless transmission power and outdoor cables that made community networks like Havana's SNET, illegal. Since SNET was the world's largest community network that did not have Internet access, implementation of the resolutions was postponed for 60 days for negotiations between SNET administrators and MINCOM. The negotiations have ended with a decision to transfer SNET's services and content to ETECSA, Cuba's government-monopoly ISP, and to provide access through Cuba's nationwide chain of 611 Youth Computer Clubs (YCCs), as illustrated by the diagram shown here.

The new regulations authorize people to install WiFi equipment in their homes and businesses in order to access the YCCs, represented by the blue building, and public WiFi hotspots, represented by the sunny outdoor location. The diagram also shows cables running from the YCCs to larger buildings that may represent ETECSA data centers, wireless Internet points of presence, and homes with DSL connectivity.

The government says SNET "will grow with the increased infrastructure" of the YCCs and ETECSA and claims that the intent of Resolutions 98 and 99 is to expand Internet access, but many in the SNET community fear losing access to and control of the assets they have created. You can see their point of view by searching Twitter for the hashtags #YoSoySnet and #FuerzaSnet. The protesters (and I) have many questions about the takeover, like:

  • While some testing has begun, this conversion will take time and resources — why not allow parallel operation of SNET during the cutover to ETECSA/YCC?
  • How many homes are close enough to connect to current WiFi hotspots and YCCs?
  • Given the current planned infrastructure expansion, how long will it take to re-connect all current SNET users?
  • How many of the 611 YCCs have fiber links and what is the schedule for connecting the others?
  • Are rooftop and other outside antennas legal (MINCOM FAQ 18)?
  • Will wireless network installer be added to the list of self-employment occupations (MINCOM FAQ 19)?
  • What provisions are being made to extend connectivity to community network members in smaller cities, outside of Havana?
  • SNET offers many services in addition to gaming — social networking (similar to Facebook), FTP (file transfer) for content sharing, live music streaming, software for download, and forums for developers and engineers, poetry, literature, comics, and sports. Will all of the current SNET services and content be supported?
  • Was the ETECSA/YCC migration anticipated and planned for during the drafting of resolutions 98 and 99?
  • Were SNET and YCC representatives consulted or involved in the drafting of resolutions 98 and 99?
  • There has been some dissension among SNET administrators in the past — was this agreement approved unanimously?
  • In Spain, the UK, Argentina, and other nations, the decision was made to cooperate with and support community networks — to treat them as cooperatively-owned Internet service providers. Did MINCOM consider that alternative and, if so, why was it rejected?
  • Some SNET members have been detained and threatened for voicing opposition to the takeover of the network — are those reports accurate?
  • What will ETECSA/YCC charge for access to former SNET services?
  • Did MINCOM do a cost/benefit analysis of the conversion?
  • Will former SNET members be compensated in any way for their investment in equipment or time in creating intellectual capital in the form of content, software or communication infrastructure?

SNET was a Cuban success story — a user-owned and operated cooperative that developed infrastructure, applications, and content. SNET and the other Cuban community networks may have connected as many homes as ETECSA's home DSL service, Nauta Hogar. Cuba's community networks also developed human capital — experienced users and technicians who, in the long run, benefit both ETECSA and society.

Skeptics see this takeover as confiscation of community assets rather than an effort to better serve the public. Transparent answers to these and related questions could ease their concerns, and I hope ETECSA and the JCCs can deliver on their promises quickly.

Written by Larry Press, Professor of Information Systems at California State University

www.circleid.com | 8/22/19

The new regulations establish constraints on private network transmission power and cabling that, if enforced, will put Cuba's cooperatively-owned community networks out of business.

New Cuban regulations regarding private WiFi networks went into effect yesterday, and the New York Times and others proclaimed that "Cuba expands Internet access to private homes and businesses." Yes, Cubans can legally import and install WiFi routers in their homes, small cafes, B&Bs, etc., but these regulations will make little difference in Internet access.

For a start, very few homes and small businesses in Cuba have links to the Internet. Furthermore, my guess is that most people in homes that are connected to the Internet have already installed registered or unregistered WiFi routers. (Resolution No. 65/2003 dated June 5, 2003, states the procedure for registering a private data network).

If that is the case, what do these new regulations change?

They establish constraints on private network transmission power and cabling that, if enforced, will put Cuba's cooperatively-owned community networks, the largest of which is SNET in Havana, out of business. Even if they are not enforced today, they will hang like the sword of Damocles over their heads.

That's the bad news. The good news is that the Ministry of Communication has postponed enforcement for 60 days while they negotiate with SNET.

SNET will remain up during 60 days of negotiation (source).

Why would the Cuban government want to eliminate community networks? Do they see them as economic competitors to the government Internet service provider, ETECSA? Is ETECSA embarrassed by the fact that community networks connect so many people at so little cost? Do they fear clandestine, anti-government communication? I really don't know.

Guifi.net the world's largest Internet-connected community networkIf Cuba aspires to what the International Telecommunication Union refers to as fourth-generation policy, which they characterize as "Integrated regulation — led by economic and social policy goals," they should regard the community networks as collaborators, not competitors. They should legitimatize SNET and the others, subsidize and work with them and provide them with Internet connectivity. SNET is the world's largest community network that is not connected to the Internet. Cuba should follow the lead set by Spain, where they have provided Internet connectivity to Guifi.net, the world's largest Internet-connected community network. Looking to the future, community networkers could play a valuable role in the installation of Cuba's 5G wireless infrastructure.

Cuba proudly proclaims (Trumpets) that they are working toward the computerization of society. The outcome of these negotiations with SNET will shed light on the veracity of that claim.

Written by Larry Press, Professor of Information Systems at California State University

www.circleid.com | 7/31/19

Gina Gershon and other members of the cast of Woody Allen’s new film defended working with the director, calling the opportunity “a dream come true.”

“It’s a beautiful script; a dream come true,” Gershon said in a press conference Tuesday. “These are crazy times; one has to analyze the situation and decide how you feel; I’m delighted to be part of this team.”

Filming on Allen’s film, under the working title of “Rifkin’s Festival,” begins Wednesday and is scheduled to wrap by Aug. 20. The project stars the previously announced Christoph Waltz, Wallace Shawn, Elena Anaya, Louis Garrel, Gershon and Sergi López.

Woody Allen is set to begin production on his 51st film in San Sebastian, Spain.

Also Read: Woody Allen Releases 'A Rainy Day in New York' Trailer Despite US Distribution Limbo (Video)

Allen was also on hand for the press conference, and he described “Rifkin’s Festival” as “a romantic comedy about some folks from the United States who arrive at the San Sebastian Film Festival, and what happens has a comical resonance to what takes place here.” He added that the city in the Gipuzkoa region of Spain is like a character in the film.

Allen was asked at the press conference whether he would one day consider retiring.

“I’ve always focused on my work and that absorbs my brain,” he said. “It doesn’t matter what’s happened to my wife, my children and politics. I’ll probably drop dead in the middle of setting up a sequence.”

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Like Gershon, Anaya similarly referred to the script as “the most beautiful story” she had ever read and praised working with Allen.

“It’s a day-dream, because Woody is a genius, he’s endearing and a legend; It has been a huge pleasure to be directed by him,” Anaya said.

“He discovered me and there’s a special magic about filming with him once again,” Wallace Shawn, who has collaborated with Allen in the past, said of working with the director. “It’s something very beautiful; because it’s his dream and we walk through that dream.”

Also Read: Amazon Fires Back at Woody Allen Over Breach of Contract Lawsuit

Allen describes “Rifkin’s Festival” as a “tribute to cinema” and follows a couple during the San Sebastian film festival in which the woman has an affair with a brilliant French director and the man falls in love with a Spanish woman living in the city.

The MediaPro Studio, an offshoot of the MediaPro Group, will co-produce the film. They previously collaborated with Allen on his globe trotting films “Midnight in Paris,” “You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger” and “Vicky Cristina Barcelona.”

Allen’s 50th film “A Rainy Day in New York,” starring Elle Fanning and Timotheé Chalamet, is reportedly being released in several international territories despite being caught in distribution limbo in the U.S. after Amazon nixed its distribution deal with Allen.

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www.thewrap.com | 7/9/19
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Cuba has legalized WiFi access to public Internet hotspots from nearby homes and small businesses, but SNET and other community networks remain illegal under the new regulations. Does this signify a significant policy change?

Soon after ETECSA began rolling out WiFi hotspots for Internet access, people began linking to them from homes and community street nets. These connections and importing the WiFi equipment they used were illegal, but generally tolerated as long as they remained apolitical and avoided pornography. Regulations passed last month legalized some of this activity in a bid to boost connectivity by allowing Internet access from homes and small private businesses like restaurants and vacation rentals that are located close enough to a hotspot to establish a WiFi connection.

The added convenience may generate more revenue for ETECSA, and it will give the Ministry of Communication some small fees and, more important, registration data on the local-area network operators. (If you license a connection, you have the power to rescind the license). It will also generate some additional network traffic, which may strain network capacity. There are two WiFi frequency bands — 2.4 and 5 GHz — and a friend told me that currently only the 2.4 GHz band is being used. The new regulations allow use of the 5 GHz band as well, which will add capacity from homes and businesses to the hotspots, but backhaul capacity from the hotspots to the Internet may become more of a bottleneck and exacerbate quality of service problems.

So much for small networks, but what, if anything, will be the impact of these regulations and their enforcement be on larger, community networks, the largest of which is Havana's SNET? The new regulations bar cables that cross streets and radio transmitter power over 100 mW. SNET uses cables and higher-powered transmitters, so, if these regulations were enforced, they would put SNET and smaller community networks out of business.

However, community networks have been illegal and tolerated since their inception, so it may be that they will continue to be ignored. If that is the case, the new regulations don't really change the status quo, but what if these new regulations foreshadow a policy change? What if ETECSA were willing to collaborate with community networks following the example of Guifi.net in Spain?

If that were the case, ETECSA could take steps like providing high-speed wireless or fiber Internet connections at the locations of the central SNET backbone "pillars" and allowing cables and faster wireless links to and within second-level networks that serve up to 200 users. They could also cooperate with SNET administrators in purchasing supplies and equipment and network management and they could do the same for smaller community networks outside of Havana.

So, which is it — a step backward with cracking down on SNET and other community networks, a slightly positive step adding locations from which one can access a WiFi hotspot, or a positive indication of a policy change and a step toward incorporating community networks into the recognized and supported Cuban Internet infrastructure?

We will know the answer when the new rules go into effect on July 29, but my guess is that it will be the middle choice, a slightly positive step. Cracking down on SNET would be disruptive — eliminating jobs and depriving thousands of users of services they value, and I don't think the government would want those problems. At the other extreme, full cooperation with community networks would mean ETECSA giving up control and the dilution of their bureaucratic and financial monopoly, which seems unlikely. That leaves "meh" — much ado about not much.

But, to end on a more upbeat note — a friend tells me that he has heard that SNET community representatives are talking with the government. Could ETECSA and the Communication Ministry have different views and, if so, who is in charge?

Written by Larry Press, Professor of Information Systems at California State University

www.circleid.com | 6/13/19
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Phillip Youmans’ “Burning Cane” took home the Founders Award for best narrative feature at the 18th annual Tribeca Film Festival on Thursday, with star Wendell Pierce earning Best Actor. Youmans is the first African-American director to win the Founders Award and the youngest director to have a feature in Tribeca – he wrote, directed and shot the film at age 17.

Korean director Bora Kim’s “House of Hummingbird” won for best international narrative feature, and Ji-hu Park won best international actress.

In addition, Ellen Fiske and Ellinor Hallin won for their documentary feature “Scheme Birds.”

Here’s the complete list of winners.

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U.S. NARRATIVE COMPETITION CATEGORIES:

The jurors for the 2019 U.S. Narrative Competition were Lucy Alibar, Jonathan Ames, Cory Hardrict, Dana Harris, and Jenny Lumet.

Founders Award for Best Narrative Feature – “Burning Cane,” directed by Phillip Youmans. The winner receives $20,000, sponsored by AT&T, and the art award “Bloom” by Fred Tomaselli.

Best Actress in a U.S. Narrative Feature Film – Haley Bennett in “Swallow”
Jury special mention: “For her always surprising and deeply engaging work in “Stray Dolls,” Geetanjali Thapi.

Best Actor in a U.S. Narrative Feature Film – Wendell Pierce in “Burning Cane”

Best Cinematography in a U.S. Narrative Feature Film – Phillip Youmans for “Burning Cane.”
Special Jury mention: For work that took us to the icy coasts and sweltering kitchens of rural Maine, Todd Banhazl for “Blow the Man Down.”

Best Screenplay in a U.S. Narrative Feature Film – Bridget Savage Cole and Danielle Krudy for “Blow the Man Down.”  The winner receives $2,500. Special jury mention: “To a story of a woman finding her biological family and her logical family on the highway, Ani Simon-Kennedy for “The Short History of the Long Road.”

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INTERNATIONAL NARRATIVE COMPETITION CATEGORIES:

The jurors for the 2019 International Narrative Competition were Gbenga Akinnagbe, Angela Bassett, Baltasar Kormákur, Rebecca Miller, and Steve Zaillian.

Best International Narrative Feature – “House of Hummingbird (Beol-sae)” (South Korea, USA) directed and written by Bora Kim. The winner receives $20,000 and the art award “Easter” by Eddie Kang. J

Best Actress in an International Narrative Feature Film – Ji-hu Park in “House of Hummingbird (Beol-sae)” (South Korea, USA).

Best Actor in an International Narrative Feature Film – Ali Atay in “Noah Land.”

Best Cinematography in an International Narrative Feature Film – Cinematography by Kang Gook-hyun for “House of Hummingbird (Beol-sae)” (South Korea, USA) directed by Bora Kim.

Best Screenplay in an International Narrative Feature Film – “Noah Land (Nuh Tepesi)” written by Cenk Ertürk (Germany, Turkey, USA). The winner receives $2,500.

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DOCUMENTARY COMPETITION CATEGORIES:

The jurors for the 2019 Documentary Competition were Drake Doremus, Robert Greene, Julie Goldman, Andrew LaVallee, and Cheryl McDonough.

Best Documentary Feature – “Scheme Birds “(Scotland, Sweden) directed and written by Ellen Fiske, Ellinor Hallin. The winner receives $20,000, and the art award “Oil Lotus Woman” by Shepard Fairey. J

Best Cinematography in a Documentary Film – Cinematography by Yang Sun, “Shuang Liang for Our Time Machine” (China) directed by Yang Sun, S. Leo Chiang. The winner receives $2,500.

Best Editing in a Documentary Film – Editing by Jennifer Tiexiera for “17 Blocks” (USA) directed by Davy Rothbart.  The winner receives $2,500. Special Jury mention: “This brave film uses editing to reveal narrative layers that weren’t immediately apparent, challenging and surprising viewers along the way. The special jury mention goes to ‘Rewind.'”

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BEST NEW NARRATIVE DIRECTOR COMPETITION:

The jurors for the 2019 Best New Narrative Director Competition were Stephen Kay, Bill Keith, Justin Long, Piper Perabo, and Mélita Toscan du Plantier.

Best New Narrative Director – “The Gasoline Thieves (Huachicolero)” (Mexico, Spain, UK, USA) directed by Edgar Nito. The winner receives $10,000, and the art award “Love Trap” by Walter Robinson.

BEST NEW DOCUMENTARY DIRECTOR COMPETITION:

The jurors for the 2019 Albert Maysles New Documentary Director Award were David Cross, Orlando von Einsiedel, and Kathrine Narducci.

Albert Maysles New Documentary Director Award – “Scheme Birds” (Scotland, Sweden) directed by Ellen Fiske and Ellinor Hallin. The winner receives $10,000 sponsored by CNN Films, and the art award “Indigo Rocket Over Tribeca” by Stephen Hannock.

THE NORA EPHRON AWARD

The jurors for the 2019 Nora Ephron Award, presented by CHANEL, were Debra Messing, Chloë Sevigny, and DeWanda Wise.

The Nora Ephron Award – Rania Attieh for “Initials S.G. (Iniciales S.G.)” (Argentina, Lebanon, USA) directed by Rania Attieh, Daniel Garcia. Rania receives $25,000, sponsored by CHANEL, and the art award “Alison the Lacemaker” by Swoon.

SHORT FILM COMPETITION CATEGORIES:

The jurors for the 2019 Narrative Short Competition and Animated sections were Maureen Dowd, Topher Grace, Rosalind Lichter, Hamish Linklater, Lily Rabe, Phoebe Robinson, and Jeff Scher.

Best Narrative Short – “Maja” (Denmark) directed by Marijana Jankovic. The winner receives $5,000 sponsored by Bulleit Frontier Whiskey, and the art award “Amy Sillman” by Amy Sillman.

Special Jury Mention: “The Dishwasher “directed and written by Nick Hartanto, Sam Roden.

Shorts Animation Award – “My Mother’s Eyes” (UK) directed and written by Jenny Wright. The winner receives $5,000 sponsored by Bulleit Frontier Whiskey, and the art award “Balloon Dog, Magneta” by Jeff Koons.

The jurors for the 2019 Short Documentary and Student Visionary Competitions were Dr. Kevin Cahill, David Krumholtz, Kathy Najimy, Sheila Nevins, Agunda Okeyo, Aaron Rodgers, and Buster Scher.

Best Documentary Short – “Learning To Skateboard In a Warzone (If You’re A Girl)” (UK) directed by Carol Dysinger. The winner receives $5,000 sponsored by Bulleit Frontier Whiskey, and the art award “28 Millimeters, Portrait of a Generation” by JR. Special Jury Mention: “An unflinching and delicate portrait of a loving father with a haunted past who bravely decides to stand up to the powers that be in Ferguson, Missouri in St. Louis Superman.”

Student Visionary Award – “Jebel Banat” (Egypt) directed and written by Sharine Atif. The winner receives $5,000 sponsored by Bulleit Frontier Whiskey, and the art award “Chrysler Building” by Jane Dickson.
Special Jury mention: “Set in rural China, this stunningly cinematic short Pearl (Zhen Zhu) follows the strife of a small family down a path of rupture and loss.”

STORYSCAPES AWARD

The 2019 Storyscapes Award, presented by AT&T, which recognizes groundbreaking approaches in storytelling and technology, jurors were Lisa Osborne, Paul Smalera, and Adaora Udoji.

Storyscapes Award – “The Key” (USA, Iraq), created by Celine Tricart.  The winner receives $10,000, presented by AT&T.

TRIBECA X AWARD

Previously awarded last week were the 2019 Tribeca X Awards, sponsored by PwC. Tribeca X recognizes excellence in storytelling at the intersection of advertising and entertainment. The jurors were Nabil Elderkin, Kim Gehrig, Jason Kreher, Kinjil Mathur, Patrick Milling-Smith, and John Osborn.

Feature

The winner of the Best Feature Film was awarded to “Almost Human” for The Carlsberg Foundation. Directed by Jeppe Rønde.

Short

The winner of the Best Short Film was awarded to “The Face of Distracted Driving” for AT&T. Directed by Errol Morris for BBDO New York.

Episodic

The winner of the Best Episodic Film was awarded to “History of Memory” for HP. Directed by Sarah Klein and Tom Mason for Redglass Pictures, The Garage by HP.

VR

The winner of the Best VR Film was awarded to “The 100%” by Stand Up to Cancer, HP and Intel. Directed by Hernan Barangan for Springbok Entertainment.

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www.thewrap.com | 5/3/19

Antigua and Barbuda will host the eighteenth regional meeting of the Caribbean Network Operators Group (CaribNOG) from September 25 to 27.

CaribNOG is a vibrant community of professionals committed to improving the region’s networks, expanding the technical capacity of those who build and secure them, and strengthening the interconnections among all actors in the Internet space.

Called CaribNOG 18, the upcoming meeting is themed “Securing Caribbean Networks,” and will focus on a range of stability, security and resiliency issues that are central to Internet development. IT and security professionals, network administrators, telecommunications and computer engineers, Internet exchange point operators and data centre managers from across the region are expected to attend.

Stephen Lee, CaribNOG Program Director invited all interested stakeholders to submit proposals for topics, lightning presentations or full sessions for the consideration of the CaribNOG 18 coordination team.

“It’s an opportunity for anyone with an interest in Caribbean development to let us know how the community of people who take responsibility for developing the Internet in the region can focus our attention, efforts and resources, to align with the evolving development priorities of the region,” Lee said.

Meeting registration, provisional agenda, as well as a call for presentations and sponsors, will be available online soon.

Bevil Wooding, Caribbean Outreach Liaison at the American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN) and one of the founders of CaribNOG, announced the date and venue of the upcoming meeting on the closing day of CaribNOG 17, held at Hilton Barbados Resort, Bridgetown from April 10 to 12. The September meeting is one of several highlights of the group’s 2019 calendar.

On April 30 and May 1, CaribNOG will be a part of the Caribbean Telecommunications Union’s “Caribbean FutureScape” event at Hyatt Regency Trinidad in Port of Spain, which aims to provide participants with an immersive and interactive experience demonstrating the possibility of a fully integrated digital Caribbean.

On June 3 and 4, CaribNOG will work alongside the American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN), the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and the Internet Society, to support an “ARIN in the Caribbean” outreach event targeting network operators, business leaders, regulators, and government officials in Nassau, Bahamas. Since 2018, the “ARIN in the Caribbean” series has touched eight Caribbean countries: Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, the British Virgin Islands, Grenada, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and the US Virgin Islands.

On June 11 to 13, CaribNOG will support the fifth meeting of the Caribbean Peering and Interconnection Forum, called CarPIF 5, to be held in St George’s, Grenada. CarPIF is a CaribNOG initiative held in collaboration with the Internet Society as well as local, regional and international stakeholders. At CarPIF, Internet service providers, data centre managers, Internet exchange point coordinators, content delivery network operators and technology professionals come together to exchange practical knowledge and strike deals to develop and improve the region’s Internet sector. Content providers such as Google, Akamai and Facebook have regularly attended at the event.

Apart from its upcoming events, the CaribNOG community will also focus on a range of capacity-building activities, including collaborative research projects, resource development, expanded communication channels and new outreach initiatives throughout the year.

Written by Gerard Best, Development Journalist

www.circleid.com | 4/26/19
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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.   

Plastics are in the air. Not only literally. Everyone's talking about plastic pollution and the need to take action.

You don’t need to be conducting a scientific research to see that plastic waste is invading our environment, specially our oceans. With up to 12 million tons of plastic entering the oceans every year it is not surprising that we find plastic everywhere, not only polluting the water and severely impacting marine species, but also accumulating in the food chain.

Plastic-Spitting Dragon Protests at Our Oceans Conference in Malta. 5 Oct. 2017.

And so people all over the world are building up a movement to transition to a society free of single-use plastic and the throw-away culture it entails. Whether it be by individual action and changing everyday habits, by signing petitions or by creating change in their communities and local businesses. 

The movement to #BreakFreeFromPlastic is on the rise and there’s no stopping it!

But where are we on policy? This week, the European Commission has released the European Plastics Strategy. A document that reflects the vision and the objectives of the Commission on this issue and that will be translated into measures and actions.

The European Union (together with countries in the North American Free Trade Agreement) is the second largest producer of plastic after China.

  • In the EU, 25.8 million tons of plastic waste are generated each year, 70% of which is incinerated or dumped in landfill. 
  • In the EU, 150,000 - 500,000 tons of plastic waste enter the oceans every year.
  • It is estimated that between 75,000 and 300,000 tons of microplastics are released to the environment each year from EU countries. 

We need to change these numbers. It seems like this new EU strategy echoes this urgency and is certainly something worth praising. But once we get to the details, it seems to go down the usual path.

There’s certainly some good ideas, like treating microplastic ingredients (including cosmetic microbeads) as toxic pollution using the EU chemical regulation.  

And it sets a target that by 2030, 100% of plastic packaging in the EU market will be reusable or recyclable, with a first legislative proposal in 2018 to tackle some single use items. Promising!

But again we find a text too focused on recycling. It’s all over the place. While reduction and reuse is hardly mentioned. Their target won’t be achieved without reducing the production and consumption of plastic packaging and single-use items, much of which are unnecessary in the first place and have already existing alternatives waiting to be scaled up.

Deposit return schemes are increasingly being implemented. Bulk stores are blooming in many places, water fountains are coming back to cities and public places, and reusable items are coming into fashion. But alternatives need to be backed up by bold and ambitious political measures.

So if you are a European citizen, watch out for changes in our legislations and be ready to ask your national government to ensure single-use plastic item bans are fast tracked as the crisis is urgent and the EU process can take years. It’s a real opportunity for change and we mustn’t let it slip!

And even if you’re not in Europe, we still need your support. In a globalised world, whatever happens in the European region will have impact in other regions, through companies headquartered in the EU, trade or by simply, and most importantly, setting an example for others to follow that ambitious measures can be taken to phase-out single-use plastic.

While we wait for the next political move, you can still do your part. Whether it be refusing straws, bags, using refillable bottles or taking community action. Every step counts, no matter how big or small. Pick yours and start today to join the movement! We can all #BreakFreeFromPlastic!

Elvira Jiménez is EU Plastics Project leader with Greenpeace Spain

On December 20, Russian President Putin started his 14th, large press conference. Interestingly, on December 20 Russia marks the Day of the Security Officer, which has been commonly known in Russia as the "Chekist Day" ('Chekist' is a Russian colloquialism for 'KGB officer'). After the press conference, Putin will attend a gala evening dedicated to this date.A record number of journalists - more than 1,700 people - were accredited for the press conference. Traditionally, Putin started the press conference with a brief report about the economic situation in Russia. The president said that Russia's GDP grew by 1.7 percent over the year. The real level of wages was growing, while the inflation rate remained on an acceptable level. As of 2018, it will exceed the target level of 4 percent and will make up 4.1-4.2 percent. The unemployment level in the country decreased to 4.8 percent having thus set an all-time low, Putin said. Life expectancy in the Russian Federation in 2018 increased to 72.9 years compared to 72.7 years last year.The budget surplus of the Russian Federation in 2018 will make up 2.1 percent of GDP.Putin stressed that Russia needs a breakthrough, a leap into the new technological order. This requires resources, which the government and the administration are looking for. Answering a question of whether the Russian economy is stagnating, Putin said that the government did not rely on "mechanical" calculations in its forecasts. The government plans a growth of three  percent by 2021. Fluctuations are possible, but it is important to enter another league of economies, Putin said, adding that Russia's goal is to become the fifth economy in the world.Speaking about the work of the Russian government, Putin said that he was "generally pleased" with the work that the Russian government conducts under the chairmanship of Dmitry Medvedev. According to the head of state, the budget surplus of 2.1 percent of GDP is a good indicator of the work of the government.Answering the question of whether the fiscal burden on Russian people was too high and how it could be related to the policy of the government that raises VAT, housing and utility tariffs for people and imposes a tax on self-employed individuals, Putin said that in many countries VAT makes up 20% (Russia is raising VAT from 18 to 20 percent from January 1, 2019). Putin said that the change in the VAT rate was necessary to reduce oil and gas budget deficit. He said that during the recent economic crises, Russia was forced to spend petrodollars, which led to an increase in the oil and gas deficit. It became possible to reduce it to 6.6 percent.Answering a question about fears of a new global military conflict, a global nuclear disaster and a world war, Putin noted that the world was underestimating the danger of a nuclear war during the recent years. The danger of such a scenario in the world is being obscured, which may lead to the death of human civilisation and even the whole planet, President Putin said. In the West, there is an idea of using low yield nuclear weapons, but the use of such weapons can lead to a global catastrophe, the Russian leader stressed.Answering a question about unnecessary conflicts between authorities and representatives of the younger generation, about dispersing rap concerts, banning young people from participating in rallies, Putin said that young people make the foundation of today's and future Russia.Yet, there are different kinds of young people, he said. He referred to the story of young paratroopers, who were fighting to death with hordes of terrorists. "Out of several dozen, only six of them remained, and they were fighting against two thousand militants," said Putin making a reference to the feat of 90 paratroopers from Pskov, who engaged in a battle with 2,500 Chechen terrorists near the village of Ulus-Kert in 2000. In addition to young military men, there are a lot of young volunteers and people who are engaged in search and rescue activities. "Those people make the stronghold of today and the future of Russia," Putin said, adding that "there are also talented musicians."He then condemned the drug propaganda in rap songs. "Do we want to degrade? In no way this should be encouraged. At the same time, one should counteract differently here," he said. Therefore, the Russian president considers the arrests of rap singers and the abortion of their concerts unnecessary, since such conflicts are counterproductive."Yet, there is nothing good in the fact that they use foul language in their songs - but let them sing so," Putin noted. "Art does not exist to indulge sordid values," he added. Speaking about the state of affairs in Ukraine, attempts to solve political problems of the Donbass by force are doomed to failure, Vladimir Putin said when answering a question from a correspondent of Ukrainian news agency UNIAN, who asked the Russian president how much money Russia spends on the Donbass, whose people Russia treats like slaves."Attempts to solve political issues with the help of force, and we can see that this is exactly what the Ukrainian authorities have been doing for several years, are doomed to failure. It must be understood," Putin said.Putin also said that Russian-Ukrainian relations are not going to go back to normal until there were Russophobes in power in Ukraine. "As long as there are Russophobes in power in Kiev, who do not understand what the interests of their own people are, an abnormal situation like this will continue regardless of who is in power in the Kremlin," Putin said.At the same time, Russia is interested in peace and prosperity in Ukraine, as Ukraine remains one of the largest economic partners of the Russian Federation. The trade turnover between Russia and Ukraine has increased compared to 2017. "This is not strange, because it is a natural connection, and these natural connections will someday make their presence felt," he added.Russia will continue providing humanitarian and other assistance to people living in the Donbass. "We really provide humanitarian, other type of assistance and support to people who live in this territory. We are doing it so that they do not get crushed, torn and eaten there. And we will do it further," said the head of state.It was not Russia, but the Ukrainian authorities that set up the blockade between the Donbass and the rest of Ukraine. "It is them, who shell the people, whom they consider their own citizens. Every day people get killed there - civilian people," Putin said. Maria Butina, a Russian citizen, who was arrested in the USA, was not executing any tasks for the Russian authorities, no matter what she may say.  Therefore, there are no grounds for accusations against Butina in the United States, Putin said. "They force her to confess, but I do not really understand what she can confess there, because she was not fulfilling any assignments of the state bodies of Russia, and I can responsibly declare this to you, no matter what she's saying there under the influence of threats of imprisonment for 12-15 years," said Putin. "I don't understand why they jailed her. There is simply no reason for it," Putin added.Speaking about the detention of foreign citizens in the United States, Putin said that Moscow would not be acting on an "eye for an eye" principle to subsequently exchange prisoners.Speaking about the case of Skripal poisoning, Putin said that there was nothing to comment on - Skripal and his daughter are alive, but the media hype does not subside. Thus, the Skripal case is only a pretext for an attack on Moscow, Putin said. "If there had been no Skripals, they would have come up with something else just to contain the development of Russia as a competitor," Putin said. At the same time, Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi is dead, but no one introduces sanctions, the Russian president recalled, pointing out the policy of double standards in the West.The Russian president believes that the Russian economy has adapted itself to international sanctions. Generally, Russia has always been living under sanctions which the West impose on Russia at the time when Russia's power and international influence grows. The West has lost the Russian market, and the number of jobs in the West has declined. The unemployment level in Russia is only 4.8 percent, while in EU countries, for example, in Spain, it reaches 15 percent, he said. Moreover, restrictions forced the Russians to think different in many areas. The share of transport engineering currently makes up more than 90 percent, while sales to the foreign market have increased.Answering a question about growing nostalgia for the times of the USSR among the Russians, President Vladimir Putin said that he considered the restoration of socialism in Russia impossible."I think it is impossible," he said. "A profound change in society excludes the restoration of socialism ... this is impossible," the president added.Speaking about elements of socialism that can and even need to be restored, Putin noted the equitable distribution of resources, the aspiration to reduce the level of poverty to a minimum, ensure medical and educational services to people on acceptable conditions. "We are carrying out such policies now. This is what our national projects aim to," Putin said. With regard to the withdrawal of American troops from Syria, Putin said that the United States withdraws troops from Afghanistan every year. The withdrawal of US troops from Syria, is not yet visible either, he noted.Putin said that there was no need for US troops to be present in Syria. "Let us not forget that the presence of US troops in Syria is illegitimate. The UN Security Council had not confirmed the presence of US troops in Syria. It is only the decision of the UN Security Council or the invitation from the legitimate government of Syria that can make the presence of a foreign military contingent in Syria legal," Putin added. Vladimir Putin agreed with Donald Trump who said that the United States contributed to the destruction of terrorists in Syria. "I agree with Donald here," he said but recalled that Russia had taken immense efforts to destroy terrorists."Despite all discrepancies, there's still quite a constructive dialogue between our specialists, our military men and special services to resolve acute problems in the struggle against terrorism in Syria," Putin said. Photo credits: kremlin.ru
Spain's central government is threatening to deploy national police to ensure security in Catalonia if regional authorities fail to stop the recent disruptions by pro-independence protesters on major highways.
www.foxnews.com | 12/11/18

PORT OF Spain – Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley Saturday described the behaviour of a former government minister as “dangerous and reckless” after he allegedly made public his telephone number “and encouraged...

www.nationnews.com | 12/9/18
After a year-long investigation into her alleged failure to pay 14.5 million euros (over $16.5 million) to the Spanish government, Shakira will reportedly face criminal tax fraud charges, according to Spain’s El Pais newspaper. A report in El Pais published on Friday (12/7) said that authorities have notified the singer’s attorney of the pending court…
www.stereogum.com | 12/8/18
The country’s current socialist government has promised to remove the body of fascist dictator General Franco from its mausoleum.
www.bbc.co.uk | 12/7/18

PORT OF Spain – The Trinidad and Tobago government Thursday said while it had sought to develop an arrangement with the Sandals Resorts Intonation (SRI) to manage a proposed hotel property in Tobago, no...

www.nationnews.com | 11/2/18
A Spanish artist paints a red dove on the grave of General Franco, amid a fight over his reburial.
www.bbc.co.uk | 10/31/18
The Spanish government said Tuesday that the Vatican has agreed to jointly find ways to prevent the remains of late Spanish dictator Gen. Francisco Franco from being reburied under a central Madrid cathedral after they are exhumed from a glorifying mausoleum.
www.foxnews.com | 10/30/18

PORT OF Spain – The Trinidad and Tobago government Saturday said teams were working to rescue people trapped by floods and landslides caused by heavy rains over the past 48 hours, and that the full extent...

www.nationnews.com | 10/20/18
Venezuelan authorities have freed a prominent opposition activist jailed for four years just days after an anti-government politician died in state custody.
www.foxnews.com | 10/13/18

PORT OF Spain– Opposition Leader Kamla Persad Bissessar Friday called for fresh general elections as she dismissed suggestions by the Keith Rowley government that it had been able to turn around the economy...

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Who was at the meeting, who wasn't at the meeting and who else should the Cubans meet with?

While Cuban president Miguel Díaz-Canel was in New York to address the United Nations, he met with members of Congress and executives from the agriculture, travel and information and communication technology (ICT) industries. The ICT meeting was at Google's New York office and ten other companies attended. In addition to Díaz-Canel the Cuban ministers of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment and Communications were at the meeting.

Since the only report I have seen of the meeting was a short article in Granma (Spanish), I don't know what was discussed or decided — I can only guess.

The following is a list of the companies at the meeting with a little speculation.

Google: Perhaps they talked about their latest, rumored, unspecified deal to expand Internet access in Cuba. Another possibility would be bringing their African broadband infrastructure company CSquared (begun as Google Project Link) to Cuba.

VaynerMedia: I'd not heard of them, but they seem to be an Internet-savvy PR agency that has done work for many companies, including Google. Perhaps they would like to promote Cuban tourism, ICT or biotech companies or Cuban offshore development services. Or, they might be interested in a Cuban production facility. (Google has production spaces in ten cities — how about Havana)?

Connectify: They are already in Cuba — their software is widely used by Cubans who share connections at WiFi hotspots.

Mapbox: I bet this map of Cuba uses their geographic information system tools. Perhaps they will develop something for the Cuban tourism industry?

McKinsey and Company: They might be looking for a strategic ICT planning engagement. (Others will work for less — see below).

Virgin Group: This is a capital investment company with experience in travel, telecommunication, media and other areas where Cuba has both needs and assets — might they invest in Cuba, S. A.?

AirBnB: They are already doing a robust business in Cuba by providing a good deal for both Cuban renters and tourists. (I wonder whether Trump's clamp-down on tourism has hurt them).

Revolution: I assume this is Revolution Ventures. If so, they may be interested in investing in Cuban startups.

Twitter: Cubans already use Twitter — what more can they be thinking of?

Microsoft: Pirated Microsoft software is common in Cuba — might they be talking about some sort of licensing or royalty agreement in return for support? (I recall long ago visiting a government-run storefront where you could bring floppy disks and order copies of all major US software, including Microsoft's). Microsoft might also be looking for tech employees, offshoring or opening a Cuban development center.

Bloomberg: Did they attend as financially-oriented journalists?

Cresta AI: might they be looking for developers or to build intelligent applications?

Those were the attendees. Who not there?

I was relieved to notice that none of the large US wireless or wireline ISPs were at the meeting. I would not want to wish my experience with Verizon and Spectrum on Cubans.

Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel meets in New York with executives of the U.S. technology companies on Sept. 24, 2018

I was surprised that Cisco did not participate. Cisco supplied Cuban networking infrastructure in the early days of the Internet, but Huawei has replaced them today. Still, Cisco is the only US ICT company I can think of besides Google that has made the effort to build relationships in today's Cuba, enabling them to begin offering their Cisco Networking Academy training at the Universidad de Ciencias Informáticas. Cisco-trained students may be willing to purchase their equipment once in the workforce.

I was also surprised that no one from ETECSA was there, although there may have been ETECSA representatives seated in the periphery of the room behind the conference table as is often the case in such meetings.

Finally, who was not there that I would advise Díaz-Canel and Cuban ICT decision makers meet with?

I would urge the Cubans to consider a broad set of advisers and collaborators as they plan the future of their Internet, for example:

  • Organizations like the International Telecommunications Union, the United Nations Development Program and the Internet Society, which have expertise in networking in developing nations, national broadband planning, regulation, and policy. Cuba needs to consider next-generation infrastructure ownership and regulatory alternatives as well as next-generation technology.
  • ICT ministries of nations like Singapore's Ministry of Communications and Information, which has been an ICT planning leader for many years.
  • Municipal networking experts like The Baller Group and a representative of Stockholm's successful municipal network AB Stokab.
  • Representatives of citizen networks like Havana's SNET and Spain's Guifi.net. Cubans are well educated and have a culture and tradition of innovation and self-sufficiency (thanks in part to the US embargo). SNET (and El Paquete Semanal) are providing much of what people use the Internet for. Might ETECSA look upon these organizations as collaborators (or customers) rather than extra-legal competitors?
  • Consultants and consulting firms with deep expertise in networking in developing nations like the Network Startup Resource Center, the Association for Progressive Communication (which provided UUCP connectivity to Cuba in the pre-Internet days) or Steve Song in Africa.
  • People from companies working on future technologies which will not be available for a number of years, for example, representatives of low-Earth satellite companies like OneWeb and SpaceX or engineers working on Ericsson's long-run 5G mobile products.
  • To keep the technology and policy experts honest, I would also include some people concerned with the social impact of the Internet, for example, Yuval Noah Harari, Zeynep Tufekci and Elon Musk.

Don't get me wrong — I think meeting and establishing relationships with companies from the US and other nations is a positive step for the Cubans, but I hope they broaden their contacts and meet with an eclectic group of people and organizations thinking about long-range planning for leapfrogging to future technologies as well as stopgap interim measures like WiFi hotspots, home DSL and 3 and 4G mobile connectivity. One can imagine a most interesting Cuban Internet-advisory committee.

Written by Larry Press, Professor of Information Systems at California State University

www.circleid.com | 10/5/18

The world’s top female athletes, leaders in sports media and industry influencers gathered this week not only to talk about their love of the game, but also issues central to the current cultural environment.

The ninth annual espnW: Women + Sports Summit held at the Pelican Hill Resort in Newport Beach, California, and hosted by “SportsCenter” co-anchor Sage Steele featured keynote speakers including Danica Patrick, Candace Parker, Michael Ian Black and the gold medal-winning U.S. national ice hockey team.

With the #MeToo movement having launched shortly after the 2017 Summit and the Kavanaugh hearing still dominating headlines — gender equality, sexual assault, workplace harassment and female empowerment steered the discussion more than ever.

Also Read: ESPN+ Passes 1 Million Paid Subscriber Mark in Less Than 6 Months

Despite tackling serious issues impacting all women, ESPN talent such as Sarah Spain, Julie Foudy, Hannah Storm, Cari Champion and Mina Kimes also added some light-hearted fun into the mix when they took to the stage.

From an intimate performance of Andra Day’s empowerment anthem “Rise Up” and the brave stories of sexual assault survivors, to LeBron James’ manager/best friend Maverick Carter telling everyone to “be selfish” and ESPN president Jimmy Pitaro dropping “Top Gun 2” casting news, here are some of the top thought-provoking and conversation-sparking quotes:

Maverick Carter with Cari Champion

Maverick Carter, CEO of SpringHill Entertainment and “UNINTERRUPTED” with co-creator LeBron James
[On breaking into the entertainment industry]: “It is all about telling the story. We thought that if we stuck with the most authentic version of ourselves and LeBron kept doing his main thing (basketball) then we could build something lasting. If you build something on bulls–t then you’re screwed.

“The key to making any deal is to be very clear on what you want — that is the easy part — but also understanding what the other side actually needs. Everyone has to leave the room feeling good and not like they’ve been taken advantage of. The fact of the matter is people are very selfish, but there’s nothing wrong with that and selfish gets a bad rap.”

[On if LeBron will ever run for president: “Right now, he is focused on being a great basketball player … I don’t see him focusing on it [politics] right now. But who knows what’s in the future. He’ll be 34 in December, so who knows how much longer he’s going to play basketball. You never know what’s next with that guy.”

Also Read: Alex Rodriguez, Maria Menounos Take the Wheel for 'Jeep Wrangler Celebrity Customs' Web Series (Video)

Danica Patrick and Hannah Storm/ Dan Stark for ESPN

Danica Patrick, former IndyCar and NASCAR driver
“I was never conscious of being the fastest girl out there, it was about being the fastest driver. There was no gender attached to it.”

[On retiring from pro racing]: “I came to the realization that what made me happy wasn’t really racing. It was wasn’t like I’d wake up thinking about about it every single day. Would I go to a race track for fun? Heck no! Last year, having my winery launch, my clothing line launch and then my book came out — all these things were happening at the same time.” [One being asked to host the 2018 ESPYs]: “I think I said ‘me?!? You get Justin Timberlake to do that, not me.’ Saying yes was the scariest part. If something is equally as exciting as it is scary then go for it. You will never have growth unless you have pain. One part of the growth was having confidence in myself, so I said yes. We’re not scared of change, what we’re scared of is leaving something behind. You have to shift your mindset and ask, ‘but what if it’s better?'”

Also Read: How Alex Gibney's ESPN Docuseries 'Enhanced' Tackles Moral Dilemmas of Modern Technology

Meghan Duggan, Hilary Knight, Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson and Kendall Coyne Schofield/Robby Klein for ESPN

U.S. national ice hockey team gold medalists Meghan Duggan, Hilary Knight, Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson and Kendall Coyne Schofield
[On threatening to boycott the 2017 world championships]: “Our sport needed major change in many areas … most importantly how they [USA Hockey] treated women in our sport. It was the culmination of many years of mistreatment, we did it to help the next generation coming up through the rinks … we had to dig down and come together to stand up for what we’re fighting for.

“We’re trying to change a culture. We’re trying to change behaviors that have been around for many years. There’s accountability on both sides. For us, it’s continuing to push the envelope, and for them, it’s being receptive to what we’re trying to accomplish together moving forward.”

“Stand up for what is right and what you know. Stick together and create the change.”

Sarah Klein, Jordyn Wieber and Mina Kime/Rob Klein for ESPN

Sarah Klein and Olympic gold medalist Jordyn Wieber, survivors of sexual abuse from Dr. Larry Nassar
[Wieber on being abused from eight years old]: “Most of us don’t know childhood sexual abuse is happening while it is happening. A lot of us would have said then he was a good guy. At first I didn’t want to think about it, I’d block it out. I remember saying ‘he did that treatment to me but I wasn’t sexually abused.’ I didn’t want to go through the shame that I was sexually abused and let it happen.

“Everybody protected him and that makes me so angry — my motivation is to make sure no one goes through this again. That culture has to change. Coaches need to care about kids more and not about winning. The point of sports is not just to win.”

[Klein on testifying against Nassar]: “He was my loved one, my friend, my trusted advisor. I was 38 when the Indy Star article came out, and it took me time to realize … he had told me it was OK, that was all I ever knew. The article was the ‘aha moment’ of all aha moments. One in four women are sexually abused, most of us don’t get the chance to look at our abusers in the eye. I had to walk my eight-year-old self to that podium in court. It was a redefining moment for my identity … I was able to walk away as a woman.”

Jimmy Pitaro, Sage Steele and Rachel Epstein/ Dan Stark for ESPN

Jimmy Pitaro, ESPN president
[On the future growth of ESPN]: “We have to appeal to a younger audience, and if we don’t all of us will be in trouble. And I am speaking to all of us as an industry. We have to first and foremost protect the core audience, but also be creating products and services for the younger generation, and a very important component of that is girls. One of my biggest priorities is the brand, making it more relevant and for the younger generation.”

Also Read: ESPN Lands Knockout 7-Year Rights Deal With Top Rank Boxing

[On workplace equality]: “We have done a good job in terms of diversity but not always a good job at inclusion. I heard it and we’re doing something about it. Women cannot feel like they’re on the team and not in the game.”

“One of the things that I love about ESPN is it’s heart. So much that we do is about heart … telling those stories that get you emotional and gives you goosebumps. Sports is the great unifier. You forget about all the nonsense and the divisiveness that is out there right now.”

[On his wife, actress Jean Louisa Kelly’s career success]: “My wife is doing ‘Top Gun 2.'”
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Former ESPN Host Jemele Hill Joins The Atlantic

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ESPN+ Passes 1 Million Paid Subscriber Mark in Less Than 6 Months

www.thewrap.com | 10/4/18

On Friday night’s episode of “The Late Show,” Stephen Colbert delivered some pointed words about what was somehow not the biggest story of the week — Donald Trump’s apparent threat to not sign the government funding bill because it doesn’t pay for his border wall.

“I have got great news. Our government continues to exist,” Colbert said to open his monologue. “Because this week the Senate passed a spending bill that would keep the government open until December. But no one is sure if Trump will sign it. Especially since he tweeted, “I want to know, where is the money for Border Security and the WALL in this ridiculous Spending Bill, and where will it come from after the Midterms?’

“I’m going to guess not from Mexico? The only thing Trump has been able to build so far are the eight wall prototypes that went up last year. They are different shapes and colors. They are like accent walls. Because they are to keep out anyone with an accent.”

Also Read: Colbert Rips Senate for Setting 'Totally Artificial Deadline' for Christine Blasey Ford's Testimony

Colbert then reminded us of Trump’s visit to the fake walls back in March. Then “The Late Show” played a clip in which Trump delivered a speech about how much he loved the prototypes.

Trump: “I have just come from a trip to the border where I met with our wonderful border agents, border patrol, and the ICE agents, unbelievable people, and reviewed prototypes of a new physical wall that will protect our border and protect our country… It is going to be very effective… it will be 99.5 percent successful.”

“It turns out, he was 100 percent yanking that out of his butt,” Colbert said after the clip, before leading into a pretty lengthy parody Trump campaign chant. “Because a government report shows that all of the border wall designs can be broken, and every one of them was vulnerable to at least one breaching technique, and in at least one case crews were able to make the prototype wall completely unstable to the point of collapse.

Also Read: Colbert: Tucker Carlson 'Has Degraded His Reputation by Saying Disgusting Things' for Money (Video)

“So the wall fell down? Now we know the chant for the 2020 rallies. ‘Rebuild the wall! Put it back up! Maybe with some struts or dig a deep moat or something! Put some crocodiles in the moat! Fill the moat with gasoline and make the crocodiles flame proof!’ “

Colbert then pivoted to the incident in which Trump suggested that Spain build a wall of its own — across the Sahara Desert.

“Trump seems to think that walls are the solution to every problem, because Spain’s foreign minister just revealed that Trump urged him to build a wall across the Sahara. What?” Colbert said.

Also Read: Colbert Warns Carolina Residents That Trump Is 'Prepared to Make You the Next Puerto Rico' (Video)

“The Sahara Desert, the largest desert in the world. You can’t construct a wall in the desert! Building something on sand is literally the metaphor for instability. ‘After you build the wall on sand, you can make yourself a beautiful house of cards to live in. Maybe, think about this, maybe the cards could be made of glass and keep your stone collection in there.’

“Does our president really think people who trudge through a thousand miles of the most brutal desert on the planet will go, ‘Wait, there’s a wall. Darn it, okay. Let’s go back’?”

You can watch this portion of Colbert’s monologue from Friday night’s episode of “The Late Show” in the video embedded at the top of this post. They seem to have had a bit of a hiccup with the aspect ratio, but it’s certainly still watchable.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Colbert Rips Senate for Setting 'Totally Artificial Deadline' for Christine Blasey Ford's Testimony

Colbert: Tucker Carlson 'Has Degraded His Reputation by Saying Disgusting Things' for Money (Video)

Colbert Drinks on Stage to Forget the Horrible Week, Delivers Dead-On Alex Jones Impression (Video)

Colbert: You Can't Mitigate Trump's Worst Inclinations 'Because All of Trump's Inclinations Are Tied for Worst' (Video)

www.thewrap.com | 9/22/18

The politics of Spain take place in the framework of a parliamentary representative democratic constitutional monarchy, whereby the Monarch is the Head of State and the President of the Government is the head of government in a multi-party system. Executive power is vested in the government. Central legislative power is vested in the two chambers of parliament.


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