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Switzerland Politics

Security firm Kaspersky Labs has opened its first self-styled ‘Transparency Center’ and begun processing threat-related data from European users in data centers located in Switzerland — flipping the switch on the start of a relocation commitment it announced late last year in the face of suspicion that its antivirus software had been compromised by the Russian government […]
techcrunch.com | 11/13/18

Next Monday, 29 October, most of the formal representatives of the world's nations will convene for three weeks to collectively consider the most significant developments in global network communications networks and services, and make multilateral adjustments in a treaty instrument signed by almost every country at the end. They will also elect heads of the various International Telecommunication Union (ITU) secretariats and permanent bodies for the next four years. Once called a "conference of high contracting parties," it is today referred to as the "plenipotentiary conference" because the representatives can act and sign for their Nation States. PP-2018 is being hosted by the UAE in Dubai.

This multilateral process has been occurring for the past 168 years since nations first decided to interconnect their communication networks and services. Contrary to purported experts, the ITU is *not* part of the U.N., but its own independent treaty-based organization which has an agreement to facilitate U.N. member needs through its own separate instruments and activities that date back a hundred years before the U.N. came into existence.

It is also worth noting that it was the U.S. after both the First and Second World Wars who was chiefly responsible for creating the contemporary ITU — writing its treaty instruments and hosting the related multilateral conferences in Washington DC and Atlantic City. The U.S. at the time was seeking cooperative international global solutions for internetwork and security challenges posed by new technologies spanning multiple national jurisdictions, and one of the principal leaders, Jerry Gross, was subsequently elected Secretary-General. Until the mid-90s, the U.S. dominated almost all the many ITU venues.

I have had the privilege of writing some of the history and analyzing the "Plenipots" for the past fifty years — including stints on the inside both as a ITU Member U.S. government employee and helping running the PP-1989 Nice Secretariat. It is making "legislative sausage" on a global scale. My interest as a lawyer and engineer analyst variously in government, industry and academia is public international law and the treatment of major technical and operational challenges.

Worth noting is the larger reality that the ITU activities have always set on a global political-economic ecosystem that shapes where and how communication products and services are created and made available in the marketplace. Both the individual national and institutional players in that ecosystem have changed significantly over the past two decades. For example, there has been dramatic transformative shifts from legacy government-provided telecommunications to diverse mobile offerings and internets, and now to NFV and 5G combined with the proliferation of device connectivity and big data analysis. Institutionally, the industry work has shifted massively to 3GPP and a mix of non-ITU venues.

The principal enduring requirement — maintaining sovereignty

Every nation has absolute, sovereign jurisdiction within its geographic boundaries over its communication networks and services, including radio emissions and satellites. It is the basic predicate of public international law and national existence. Every nation asserts its absolute sovereignty. Its assertion has existed as the threshold provision in every related treaty instrument. Every communication and radio emission that crosses a national boundary occurs pursuant to ITU treaty provisions — with the understanding that each nation nonetheless still has absolute jurisdiction within its borders and can establish additional non-contravening arrangements.

Sovereignty became a challenge when networks were first interconnected across national borders in 1850, and increased with each new technology — especially radio internets a hundred years ago, then radio communication satellites in the 1960s, then data communication internets in the 1970s.

Today, similar challenges arise from virtualized extraterritorial networks and services instantiated across national boundaries — both NFV (Network Functions Virtualisation) and so-called Over the Top (OTT) manifestations provided from cloud data centers. It is a profound change for network architectures and provisioning with substantial obstacles. Emerging use of ephemeral end-to-end encryption dramatically escalates the jurisdiction (and security) concerns. Rational nations are not likely to forfeit needed controls over these implementations — which if not accomplished multilaterally, will result in domestic Balkanisation within each country that will drive up provider costs. Some treatment of these prominent exterritorial developments that adversely impact the exercise of national sovereignty were expected at PP-2018.

The second enduring requirement – maintaining cybersecurity

Cybersecurity challenges today have become enormous as a result of multiple legal and technical factors. As with sovereignty, national security requirements have been a fundamental component of ITU treaty instruments since their inception.

Although cybersecurity solutions were developed for the radio sector a hundred years ago, the challenge for internetworking platforms on top of transport services have proven intractable and become exponentially devastating over the past two decades in part because Member nations have been unable to cooperate in establishing necessary multilateral legal, technical, and operational platforms and practices. Tossing the problem to "the marketplace" or end-users has also proven to be a non-solution.

The emerging use of ephemeral end-to-end encryption is beginning to create significant vulnerabilities as both criminals as well as nation-state sponsored adversaries adapt the platforms for theft, fraud and regime-change tactics by tunneling into remote servers and user end-points. Here also, significant treatment of cybersecurity was expected at PP-2018.

The PP2018 proposals

Extensive proposals were submitted by six regional blocs: Africa; Asia-Pacific; Arab; CITEL (Americas); Europe; RCC (Russian Regional Commonwealth). An additional nine proposals were separately submitted by: Argentina, Canada, Costa Rica & Dominican Republic; Brazil; Canada & USA; Central African Republic; China; Germany; India; Switzerland; USA. A common practice in recent Plenipots, the proposals focussed on the Resolutions contained in the Final Acts rather than organic provisions of the Constitution and Convention. The documents are publicly available.

While most of the proposals are generic and certain to be widely supported, a substantive focus also emerges on sovereignty and cybersecurity — manifested through resolutions on OTT provisioning, cybersecurity, and revision of the International Telecommunication Regulations (ITRs).

OTT. The OTT concerns internationally are a parallel to Network Neutrality domestically. Along with network operators, nations assert a right to control the communication services on their infrastructures to meet their own requirements — including sovereignty. OTT developments are also a precursor of NFV and 5G implementations of virtualized services and a fundamental change in how network communications are implemented. From a sovereignty perspective, the "global rules of the road" are fundamentally important for every nation. At the PP-2014, only the Arab bloc mentioned OTT developments. Now, four years later, OTT related proposals were submitted by four regional blocs (Africa, Arab, Europe, RCC) plus Brazil and China individually.

All of the proposals except China's offer different versions of a new resolution on OTT that largely call for further study over the next four years. The Africa bloc expresses a specific concern regarding OTT end-to-end encryption. Rather than proposing a new resolution, China simply notes that "fast growing OTT, in particular, has posed unprecedented challenges to the development and security of telecommunications/ICT worldwide" and calls for its consideration as part of further studies related to amended International Telecommunication Regulations.

Cybersecurity. Because countries treat national security as a fundamental role of the State, cybersecurity provisions have been a basic component of every treaty instrument since 1850. Those provisions are scattered throughout the bodies of the instruments. With the increasing introduction of DARPA internet platforms in public infrastructures beginning in the mid-90s, cybersecurity emerged as a serious network security challenge. The scaling security incidents resulted in the first explicit Plenipotentiary resolution in 2002 — subsequently known as Res. 130 and prescient in its articulation of the problems.

The Resolution evolved and expanded every four years since 2002, and for PP-2018 is the subject of all the regional bloc proposals (except RCC) plus Brazil and India. All the proposals are a variation on similar themes — calling attention to the problems and for all ITU bodies and participants in its work to collaborate globally to meet growing threats and challenges. Brazil called for use of the concept of cyber-hygiene that has been appearing in national cybersecurity strategies, as well as using the common term "cybersecurity" rather than the odd political construct "building confidence and security in the use of information and communication technologies." Although cybersecurity remains a profound threat for every nation, the complexity and dynamics of the challenges in a global intergovernmental setting seem to elude definitive solutions.

ITRs. Among ITU treaty instruments, there are presently two sets of International Telecommunication Regulations (ITRs) - one signed by essentially all nations in 1988 to enable public internets and facilitate global trade in services, and another in 2012 signed by half of those nations. The divergence represents a bifurcation among nations on the role of multilateral instruments and ITU bodies as facilitating institutions. Entwined are concerns of sovereignty and cybersecurity, as well as growth and control of global markets for products and services. The divergence resulted in a PP-2014 resolution calling for additional dialogue and study — designated Res. 146.

Five regional blocs (Africa, Arab, Europe, CITEL, RCC) submitted proposals plus China. The proposals not unexpectedly reflect the existing divergence with Europe opposing any further ITR related efforts, and the others offering Res. 146 changes that continue the efforts and look toward further consideration at PP-2022. RCC offered a detailed composite of the 1988 and 2012 ITR provisions and suggesting a harmonization among them.

Although the divergences here have existed since the inception of the ITU and its precursors, current nationalistic trends are leading away from convergence and cooperation, so the course for the near future remains uncertain until triggered by evolving extraterritorial or cybersecurity requirements. In the meantime, Res. 146 seems likely to remain in modified form to continue study and dialogue.

The PP2018 elections

The elections are comparatively uneventful. The current Secretary-General Houlin Zhao is a highly regarded and experienced leader set to begin his second term and running uncontested. Other positions among the various ITU secretariats and boards are either uncontested or being pursued by multiple highly qualified candidates. The organization's construct of relatively independent sectors largely driven by industry contributions — except for the very large Radio Sector which is driven by every nation's spectrum management agency — is a proven construct that continues to serve common global needs.

The Long Arc

Although there are contemporary challenges, the PP-2018 should finish successfully. The submitted proposals are rather generic and designed to promote unity and stability. The process of reaching agreement on Final Acts tends to result in provisions on which every nation can give nuanced approval — sometimes combined with clarifying statements. For 168 years through constant technical and political-economic changes in the world, the value proposition of engagement and cooperation under the ITU aegis have remained compelling.

Written by Anthony Rutkowski, Principal, Netmagic Associates LLC

www.circleid.com | 10/25/18
Speaker Nabih Berri Friday headed to Switzerland to participate in the annual Inter-Parliamentary Union assembly, a statement from his office reported, as a solution to Lebanon’s government formation impasse continues to evade political leaders.
The Swiss government regrets the "deteriorating" situation regarding sanctions imposed by the United States on Iran, but recommends Swiss firms pursue their business relations with the Islamic Republic on an informed basis, it said on Thursday.
Don't look for any political overtones or distractions when Switzerland goes after a place in the knockout round of the World Cup in a match against Costa Rica.
www.foxnews.com | 6/26/18
Salah was said to be considering retiring from Egypt over interactions with a Chechen politician, and two Swiss players caused a firestorm by displaying an Albanian symbol.
www.nytimes.com | 6/25/18
Xherdan Shaqiri played the match with a Swiss flag on one shoe and a Kosovo flag on the other and he made a dramatic hand gesture after he scored the game-winner.
www.nytimes.com | 6/23/18
[Shabait] Asmara -The leaders of the Cuba, Switzerland, France, the UK, Yemen, Libya, Nigeria and Palestine sent messages of congratulations to the people and Government of Eritrea in connection with the 27th Independence Day anniversary.
allafrica.com | 5/24/18
Kaspersky Lab is adapting its infrastructure to move a number of core processes from Russia to Switzerland after allegations of espionage sprung up. After the US government and other parties accused it of spying on customers at the Russian state's demand, cybersecurity software maker, Kaspersky Labs, has announced it will be moving core infrastructure processes [&hellip
Things are going from bad to worse for Kaspersky Labs, the Russian anti-virus software developer. The Dutch government says it's planning to phase out the use of the software "as a precautionary measure", and is proactively suggesting other companies...
www.engadget.com | 5/15/18

In the early 1980s, Israeli Mossad agents used a fake diving resort in Sudan to smuggle thousands of Jewish refugees out of Africa. More than three decades later, the agency’s daring mission is getting the Hollywood treatment.

The mission, known as “Operation Brothers” was devised by a small team of undercover operatives who rented out an abandoned tourist resort in Sudan as a cover — and then opened it up to actual tourists. From there, the agents evacuated a lost tribe of Ethiopian Jews, right under the noses of Sudanese authorities.

The Ethiopian Jews were persecuted by their government, prohibited from practicing their religion and barred from traveling to places where they could practice it freely, according to the BBC.  Roughly 2,500 Jews were killed and 7,000 became homeless in the weeks surrounding Lt. Col. Mengistu Haile Mariam’s assumption of power over Ethiopia in 1977.

Also Read: Holy Land Goes Hollywood: Gal Gadot, 'Fauda' Put Israel in Spotlight

Ethiopian Jews started fleeing civil war and famine, and many went to nearby Sudan. About 12,000 walked from the remote Gondar region, suffering hunger, thirst, and attacks by bandits and wild animals.

The Israeli government sent the Mossad to extract the Ethiopian Jews and bring them to Israel in a series of missions, which included “Operation Moses” and “Operation Solomon.”

“It’s one of those stories that are hard to believe,” Gad Shimron, one of the Mossad agents who operated the resort, told TheWrap. “It was the only time when Europeans had extracted Africans from the continent, not to be enslaved but to be freed.”

The real-life story of “Operation Brothers,” one of the lesser-known Mossad missions, is now the subject of a new movie called “Red Sea Diving Resort.” The drama, written and directed by “Homeland” co-creator Gideon Raff, is expected to be released later this year and stars Chris Evans, Haley Bennett, Alessandro Nivola, Michael K. Williams and Ben Kingsley.

The operation took place during Ethiopia’s worst-ever famine, which killed an estimated 400,000 people between 1983 and 1985, according to Human Rights Watch. As images of starving children reached the West, many tied to help. “We Are the World,” written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie and featuring more than 40 American pop stars, became the biggest charity single of all time, raising more than $63 million.

But, according to Shimron, who wrote about his his experience in Sudan in a 1997 book, “Mossad Exodus,” Israel went further.

“Some sang songs like ‘We Are the World,'” he said. “But Israel was the only country to actually do something.”

Also Read: Why 'Fauda' Is the Best-Kept Secret on Netflix

Israeli commando unit training for “Operation Brothers” in Sudan. Photo: Gad Shimron

“The civil war in Ethiopia had caused many of the Jews to flee to neighboring Sudan,” Shimron said. “The problem with that was that Sudan was an enemy country [of Israel] so the Mossad took on the mission to extract them.”

In order to do that, Shimron and his crew came up with a gutsy plan: they rented the Arous Holiday Village, a tiny beach resort that had been built by Italian entrepreneurs in the early ’70s, and used it as their cover for the mission. The village was abandoned after the Sudanese government failed to deliver on basic infrastructure amenities like road access, water and electricity, according to Shimron.

“We established a shell company in Switzerland for cover, rented the village for about $300,000 and then began extracting groups of 100 to 150 people to the beach,” Shimron said. There, the refugees were met by Israeli Navy Seals, who brought them to a ship headed to Israel.

Also Read: Anti-Israel Boycott Group Demands Netflix Drop 'Fauda' for Supporting 'Colonialism and Apartheid'

Gad Shimron in Sudan. Photo: Gad Shimron

The operation was so covert, neither the local employees who worked at the resort nor the guests who stayed there were aware of the village’s real purpose. According to Shimron, the refugees never stayed at the resort, which was used only used as a front. The resort proved surprisingly successful, drawing foreign scuba divers and other tourists. Rescue operations happened outside the resort in the dead of night.

At one point, four members of Shimron’s team, including the operation’s commander, were surrounded by a group of 20 armed Sudanese soldiers. The soldiers stopped them on a beach just as they were about to load a group of refugees onto a boat that would take them to a bigger vessel waiting for them in international waters.

“For a second I thought we were finished,” said Shimron, who was following the group. He said he saw one of his fellow agents lowering his hands and arguing with the Sudanese soldiers.

“He was yelling at them for shooting at poor defenseless tourists who had paid good money for a night-dive,” Shimron said. “The Sudanese, who had never seen any tourists, or diving for that matter, were so confused, they folded.”

Gad Shimron at Arous Holiday Village. Photo: Gad Shimron

Just to be safe, Shimron and his team stopped evacuating people by boats, using only Hercules cargo planes to evacuate refugees.

Also Read: How Did the Chicken Cross the Euro Pop Charts? Starring in a #MeToo Music Anthem

“You have to understand what it was like for some of these Ethiopian refugees who had never seen a plane in their lives before,” Shimron said. “For them it was like Jonah and the whale.”

All in all, about 6,000 Ethiopians were rescued during “Operation Brothers.” But the operation had largely gone unnoticed, overshadowed by another dramatic rescue, 1984’s “Operation Moses,” which airlifted more than 8,000 Ethiopian Jews to Israel in less than three months later that year.

Also Read: I Carried a Gun in Israel. Here's What I Learned About Gun Control

The enormity of the rescue only hit him once, he said, when visiting the absorption center in Israel where the refugees had been placed.

“There was a small child, maybe seven or eight-years-old, he came up to me, tugged at my sleeve and said, ‘Uncle, I remember you from the red truck.'”

“I’ll admit, I’m not the sentimental type,” Shimron said. “But I may have shed a few tears.”

Related stories from TheWrap:

Natalie Portman Addresses Canceled Israel Trip: 'I Must Stand Up Against Violence'

Natalie Portman Won't Accept Award in Israel Due to 'Extremely Distressing' Recent Events

www.thewrap.com | 5/9/18
[Radio Dabanga] Khartoum / Kassala -The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), and the Sudanese Government welcomed a high-level donor delegation last week, including representatives from, Canada, Denmark, the European Union, France, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Norway, South Korea, Qatar, Sweden, Switzerland, and the USA.
allafrica.com | 5/4/18
Last week, it was reported that the Central Bank of Turkey withdrew the national gold reserve from the US Federal Reserve System. Given the fact that the United States has been imposing whole packages of sanctions on Russia one after another since 2014, why does Russia still keep its gold and other assets in the USA? If it is not in the USA, then where does Russia keep her gold? Turkey's "American gold" was partly returned to Turkey and deposited to European banks, particularly in England and Switzerland. Ankara's gold reserve totals 564.6 tons.Accumulating physical gold by central banks has become a trend lately. Even such a small European country as Hungary returned three tons of its gold from London in early 2018. Venezuela, Holland, Austria and Germany did the same - the countries that feel pressure from the part of the Washington consensus. For example, both the European Union and the Western world have been criticizing Hungary heavily. The nation's gold reserve gives Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban a reason to feel more confident.What about Russia? She has been the main "whipping girl" in the eyes of the "civilized world" lately. Yevgeny Fedorov, a member of the State Duma Committee on Budget and Taxes, told Pravda.Ru, that the information about the location of Russia's gold is classified." "Some of Russia's gold used to be stored in the USA, but we do not know whether Russia has returned that gold," the MP said. According to Yevgeny Fedorov, the Central Bank of Russia "is a branch of the US Federal Reserve, so I would not be surprised if we still keep some of our gold in the United States," he said. "If we don't keep our gold in the USA, then we do keep some of our assets there - i.e. we support the US economy, which is a very bad phenomenon," Fedorov told Pravda.Ru. This policy, the MP added, is stipulated in Article 15 of the Constitution, the system of international treaties and the status of the Central Bank of the Russian Federation. To change such a state of affairs, Russia needs to conduct revolutionary reforms. "It is only now, when the law on counter-sentences raises the need to remove US managers from Russian ministries and the Central Bank. If Putin wins with his policy to end the subordination to the American unipolar world, then everything may work out well," Yevgeny Fedorov told Pravda.Ru. In turn, researcher Mikhail Khazin told Pravda.Ru that Russia does not keep its physical gold in the US. "We keep our assets in US government securities, but we have been recently reducing the share of these assets significantly. There is a probability that the Americans will not give them back, so we need to get rid of those bonds," the expert told Pravda.Ru. Pavel Salin, director of the Center for Policy Studies of the Finance University, also said that Russia does not keep its physical gold in the United States."The Russian gold reserve is stored in Russia, and the foreign exchange reserves are kept at US Treasuries. We tend to reduce their amount, but it is impossible to do it instantly, because it will look like an attempt to collapse the US debt market with all ensuing consequences. It could also trigger a major conflict with China that holds $1 trillion 200 million in these bonds and Japan - about one trillion dollars," the expert told Pravda.Ru.According to the US Treasury, the Central Bank of Russia sold US government bonds worth 11.9 billion dollars from December to February, having this reduced the volume of assets by 11.2 percent ($93.8 billion). It is worthy of note that immediately after the introduction of sanctions against Russia in March 2014, the Central Bank of Russia withdrew about $115 billion from the US Federal Reserve System (FRS). However, two weeks after the incident, the Russian Central Bank returned the funds to Fed accounts, Reuters says. Pravda.Ru Read article on the Russian version of Pravda.Ru
[USAID] Today, the U.S. government announced nearly $67 million in additional humanitarian assistance for the people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) at the DRC Humanitarian Conference held in Geneva, Switzerland.
allafrica.com | 4/16/18
[State Department] Today, the U.S. government announced nearly $67 million in additional humanitarian assistance for the people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) at the DRC Humanitarian Conference held in Geneva, Switzerland.
allafrica.com | 4/13/18
[Nation] The Swiss government has deported five Sudanese nationals for violating residence and migration laws, state media reported.
allafrica.com | 4/12/18
[Premium Times] The government of Switzerland has blocked several bank accounts in the country linked to the planned bribery trial of Eni and Shell executives in Milan, Italy, as it relates to the infamous Malabu oil scam.
allafrica.com | 4/4/18

Leading Moscow-based anti-virus software provider Kaspersky Lab is planning to open a data center in Switzerland to address Western government concerns that Russia exploits its anti-virus software to spy on customers, according to a report from Reuters on Wednesday. From the report: "Kaspersky is setting up the center in response to actions in the United States, Britain and Lithuania last year to stop using the company's products… The action is the latest effort by Kaspersky, a global leader in anti-virus software, to parry accusations by the U.S. government and others that the company spies on customers at the behest of Russian intelligence. The U.S. last year ordered civilian government agencies to remove the Kaspersky software from their networks."

www.circleid.com | 3/21/18
[Independent (Kampala)] Kampala -The Uganda government is in a fix. Suspend and cancel the contract awarded to the Switzerland based firm, SGS, to carry out a motor vehicle inspection and possibly pay the price for violating the agreement or stay the contract amidst any illegality, if at all it exists, and avoid the compensation.
allafrica.com | 3/5/18
[Namibian] Switzerland energy company, Vitol SA, offered to pay the Namibian government US$1 (about N$11,70) per year to rent the N$5,6 billion state-owned fuel storage facility at Walvis Bay for 10 years.
allafrica.com | 2/23/18
[East African] Mogadishu -Switzerland is ready to host talks between the Federal Government of Somalia and the breakaway Somaliland, official said.
allafrica.com | 2/13/18
[Vanguard] Abuja -Federal Government and Switzerland on Monday held a political consultation to deepen the existing diplomatic engagement in economic cooperation, migration issues and human trafficking, Foreign Affairs Ministry has said.
allafrica.com | 2/13/18

While Donald Trump reviewed his first year in office during his first State of the Union address on Tuesday, viewers, including celebrities, hilariously reviewed his politics on social media.

During the president’s nearly 80 minute speech, Hollywood stars tweeted their reactions with many calling out Trump for his policies on tax cuts and immigration, in addition to amplifying his own clapping with the microphone.

“Tonight, I call upon on all of us to set aside our differences, to seek out common ground, and to summon the unity we need to deliver for the people. This is really the key. These are the people we were elected to serve,” Trump told Congress.

“I am asking both parties to come together to give us the safe, fast, reliable, and modern infrastructure our economy needs and our people deserve,” he later added.

RELATED: Melania Trump Bucked Women Legislators’ Wear-Black Protest of State of the Union — Twitter Reacts

Actors and musicians, as well as politicians, pointed out what Trump and his speech were lacking on Twitter.

“I tried. I listened but the amount of BS and stunts and questions raised that will never be answered made me throw my remote and now I am listening to Tom Petty and am a better American for it. #SOTU,” actress Elizabeth Banks said, adding, “PS not all immigrants are in murderous gangs, one did my hair color today – I don’t really need to say this, right?”

I tried. I listened but the amount of BS and stunts and questions raised that will never be answered made me throw my remote and now I am listening to Tom Petty and am a better American for it. #SOTU

— Elizabeth Banks (@ElizabethBanks) January 31, 2018

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“Dreamers should not be used as a bargaining chip or held hostage in exchange for anti-immigrant policies,” California Senator Kamala Harris tweeted.

Dreamers should not be used as a bargaining chip or held hostage in exchange for anti-immigrant policies. #SOTU

— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) January 31, 2018

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“How ungrateful can a man be? In his long inauguration address Trump did not spend one minute to thank the people who helped him get elected, his dedicated Russian allies and their peerless leader, Vladimir Putin. I have just lost all respect for POTUS the Putz,” comedian Carl Reiner shared.

How ungrateful can a man be? In his long inauguration address Trump did not spend one minute to thank the people who helped him get elected, his dedicated Russian allies and their peerless leader, Vladimir Putin. I have just lost all respect for POTUS the Putz,

— carl reiner (@carlreiner) January 31, 2018

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My vision for America is one in which everyone is welcomed, regardless of religion, race, or country of origin. It’s people who make America great, not bigoted policies. #StateOfTheDream

— ashley judd (@AshleyJudd) January 31, 2018

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Trump talked about DACA and immigration, but what he did not tell the American people is that he precipitated this crisis in September by repealing President Obama’s executive order protecting Dreamers. #BernieResponds

— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) January 31, 2018

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RELATED: All the Lawmakers Who Are Boycotting President Trump’s State of the Union Address

Meanwhile, host Andy Cohen and actress Amber Tamblyn turned footage of Minority Leader of the United States House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi into memes.

Nancy Pelosi’s stink eye is EVERYTHING!!!!!

— Andy Cohen (@Andy) January 31, 2018

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America right now is like pic.twitter.com/qVxR7o6Thv

— Amber Tamblyn (@ambertamblyn) January 31, 2018

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In addition, some were fed up with Trump’s round of applause for himself.

WILL SOMEONE PLEASE TELL THIS MAN TO NOT CLAP RIGHT IN THE MIC

— Grace VanderWaal (@GraceVanderWaal) January 31, 2018

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Clap Fest 2018

— Big Boi (@BigBoi) January 31, 2018

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Even Trump’s clapping is obnoxious

— Larry Wilmore (@larrywilmore) January 31, 2018

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And others boycotted the SOTU by encouraging their followers to skip the address.

Chrissy Teigen, Chance the Rapper and The Big Sick‘s Kumail Nanjiani were among those sharing their protest.

Important: https://t.co/lEfzghjI7G

— christine teigen (@chrissyteigen) January 31, 2018

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The State of our Union is that just when you thought @chrissyteigen already did everything, she now does magic #SOTU pic.twitter.com/gWJPfSxYD5

— Rick Martínez (@rickmzp) January 31, 2018

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RT if you're not watching #SOTU

— Chance The Rapper (@ChanceFrom79th) January 31, 2018

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not watching

— Kumail Nanjiani (@kumailn) January 31, 2018

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In addition to Trump’s highly anticipated speech, First Lady Melania Trump also made her first public appearance since allegations of her husband’s affair with porn star Stormy Daniels.

Breaking tradition, Mrs. Trump arrived separately from the president, opting to ride with her guests invited to the first lady’s box, according to CNN.

The appearance comes after the first lady abruptly canceled a planned trip to Davos, Switzerland, with President Trump last week amid allegations that he had an affair with porn star Stormy Daniels. The change of plans stirred further speculation about a possible rift between the first couple, especially after it was reported that the first lady traveled to West Palm Beach, Florida, on Friday instead of Davos.

people.com | 1/31/18

Donald Trump and Piers Morgan acted like old friends in their highly-anticipated sit-down interview, during which Trump pledged once again to fight “radical Islamic terror.”

The clip from the upcoming segment — set to air on ITV Hub in the U.K. on Sunday, Jan. 28 at 10 p.m. — was released by “Good Morning Britain” on Thursday night, and showed Trump telling the host, “I missed you.”

Morgan, who previously won “Celebrity Apprentice,” interviewed Trump during the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. It marks the first international TV interview that the president has made since taking office.

Also Read: Porn Star Stormy Daniels to Appear on 'Jimmy Kimmel Live' in Wake of Donald Trump Affair Story

The pair got serious when Morgan asked if he regretted retweeting the UK’s anti-Muslim videos, which sparked outrage in Britain.

“I am big believer in fighting radical Islamic terror,” Trump said, when Morgan pointed out that he retweeted unverified videos, he stumbled over his words. “I didn’t do it … I did a retweet,” he responded.

Trump went on to say that despite rocky relations with the British government. “The real me is someone who loves Britain, loves the U.K. … I love Scotland,” the avid golfer added. “I don’t want to make any difficulty for your country.”

Also Read: Don Lemon Blames Trump for CNN Death Threats: Addresses President Directly on Air (Video)

Morgan then asked him to apologize to the people of Britain. “If you’re telling me they’re horrible racist people, I would certainly apologize if you would like me to do that,” he said, referring to the creators of the videos.

The president went on to say that he has a “very good relationship” with Prime Minister Theresa May and praised her for doing “a very good job.”

Also Read: Trump's 'Loser Terrorist' Tweet After London Attack Sparks Harsh Response From Theresa May

Watch the teaser below and click here for the full clip.

WORLD EXCLUSIVE: Here’s the moment when @piersmorgan @gmb was reunited with President @realDonaldTrump.

The full interview will be broadcast on @ITV on Sunday 28 January at 10pm and available on the ITV Hub. pic.twitter.com/E5UmOKAqiq

– Good Morning Britain (@GMB) January 26, 2018

Also Read: Seth Meyers Says Trump Is America's First Porno President, Election Was Porn Too (Video)

Despite acting chummy, Morgan has voiced his criticism of Trump’s actions in the past. Last November, he blasted Trump for sharing the videos from “disgustingly racist far-right extremists” after Trump retweeted videos that claim to show Muslims engaging in violent acts, The Hill reported.

See Morgan’s tweets about the interview below.

BREAKING NEWS:
President Trump has publicly apologised for retweeting far-right group Britain First.
Says he didn't know who they were. 'I don't want to be involved with these people. If you're telling me they're horrible racist people. I certainly apologise.' pic.twitter.com/S1apSWC7rR

— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) January 26, 2018

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www.thewrap.com | 1/26/18
European leaders spoke out against nationalism and protectionism at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland on Thursday, taking veiled swipes at President Trump ahead of his Friday speech at the gathering of global leaders in business and politics.
www.foxnews.com | 1/25/18

DAVOS, Switzerland — The U.S. treasury chief welcomed a weaker dollar on Wednesday, breaking with a decades-long commitment by the U.S. government to back a strong dollar.

The comments led to an immediate, sharp drop in the value of the dollar in currency markets.

DAVOS, Switzerland — The Latest on the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland (all times local):

9:00 p.m.

President Donald Trump's trip to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, appears to be on.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Monday that if "all things go as expected" with reopening the government, the delegation will travel Tuesday and the president will go later in the week.

Greenpeace is famous for campaigning against corporations.

We made “Choke” out of Coca-Cola's logo to draw attention to the massive plastic pollution impact they have around the world. 

Polar bear hijacks Coke’s holiday advertising in London. 5 Dec, 2017

We stand in the way of imports of dirty cars and expose corporate misbehaviour wherever we encounter it.

The public image of Greenpeace is often one of "corporate bashers". We can indeed be pretty harsh and irreverent when calling attention to corporate misdeeds, like in this satire video.

 

Of course, we don't believe that everyone in a corporation thinks like the man in the video. There are many in business - and many businesses - that want to do the right thing for people and planet. We applaud them.

Greenpeace never says no without offering an alternative. We are so committed to getting the solutions our world needs adopted fast, that we are, at times, willing to praise corporations that are still part of the problem.

We'll say “well done” to Coca Cola for eliminating climate damaging refrigerants from their cooling equipment because it benefits our climate and future generations. But we do so in the context of us demanding more fundamental change.  And we do so at the very same time as we campaign against them on plastic pollution.

We have “no permanent friends or enemies”. That's part of our core values - and it works to achieve change. The work with Coca-Cola to eliminate climate damaging gases, for example, also started as a brand jam when they were providing the “green Sydney Olympics” with cooling equipment that destroyed our climate.

Campaign against the use of HFCs in fridges by the Sydney Olympics sponsor, Coca-Cola. 14 Jun, 2000

It’s a fact, though, that corporations who misbehave are too rarely punished - and too often have captured our political leaders. The public good - our planet, our future - is the loser.

You can see that clearly in our new report Justice for People and Planet, which showcases 20 case studies of corporate capture, collusion and impunity. The report describes how some corporations have abused and violated human and environmental rights around the world. The examples are as shocking as they are diverse, ranging from deforestation, water and air pollution, plastic pollution, or waste dumping, to chemical spills, nuclear disaster, violations of Indigenous rights and more.

The report argues that it is the rules that govern our global economy (and lack thereof) that are the real reason behind such corporate misdeeds. Economic globalisation has created significant governance gaps. There are no enforceable social and environmental global rules governing global economic players.

That we lack these rules to deliver a sustainable and fair economy worldwide is the result of specific political choices by our leaders. The cases presented in our report show that corporate impunity for environmental destruction and human rights violations is a result of the current economic and legal systems.

The failure to protect human rights and the environment is often caused by state institutions and decision-makers being captured by specific corporate interests. This all too often leads to politicians failing to pass binding laws and failing to ensure corporations are held to account.

There is a different way. Effective state action could end corporate capture and close the governance gap. Global regulations with teeth are clearly possible – they exist! The World Trade Organisation, for example, can sanction countries that break its rules.

We need similarly strong roles for the environment and human rights. That’s why we're putting forward 10 Principles for Corporate Accountability:

  1. People and the environment, not corporations, must be at the heart of governance and public life.
  2. Public participation should be inherent to all policy making.
  3. States should abandon policies that undermine environmental and human rights.
  4. Corporations should be subject to binding rules both where they are based and where they operate.
  5. States should require due diligence reporting and cradle to grave responsibility for corporate products and services.
  6. States should promote a race to the top by prohibiting corporations from carrying out activities abroad which are prohibited in their home state for reasons of risks to environmental or human rights.
  7. States should create policies that provide transparency in all corporate and government activities that impact environmental and human rights, including in trade, tax, finance and investment regimes.
  8. Corporations and those individuals who direct them should be liable for environmental and human rights violations committed domestically or abroad by companies under their control.
  9. People affected by environmental and human rights violations should be guaranteed their right to effective access to remedy, including in company home states where necessary.
  10. States must actually enforce the regulatory and policy frameworks they create.

You can find much more detail about these principles (and why they are needed) in the report itself.

And you can, like us, take heart in some steps in the right direction that are already underway: France, recently required corporations to identify potential risks to people and the environment as a result of their activities, and act to prevent harm to people and the environment.

Switzerland is gearing up for a people’s referendum that would legally oblige corporations to incorporate respect for human rights and the environment in all their business activities.

New specialised laws such as the UK’s Modern Slavery Act also require businesses to tackle slavery and human trafficking in their supply chains.

All these show how governments can make rules with teeth to govern corporate activities around the world. If they want to.

Statue of Justice Activity in Davos. 18 Jan, 2018

A more just and sustainable world is possible. If all who want a livable planet push for it - together. Are you in? 

Daniel Mittler is the Political Director of Greenpeace International

 

 

 

[Vanguard] The Federal Government has signed an agreement with leading trade law firm, King and Spalding, LLP Geneva, Switzerland to provide legal services for Nigeria's trade remedy legislation as a key element of modern trade policy.
allafrica.com | 1/11/18

The politics of Switzerland take place in the framework of a multi-party federal parliamentary democratic republic, whereby the Federal Council of Switzerland is the head of government. Executive power is exercised by the government and the federal administration and is not concentrated in any one person. Federal legislative power is vested in both the government and the two chambers of the Federal Assembly of Switzerland. The judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature. For any change in the constitution, a referendum is mandatory; for any change in a law, a referendum can be requested. Through referenda, citizens may challenge any law voted by federal parliament and through initiatives introduce amendments to the federal constitution, making Switzerland the closest state in the world to a direct democracy.


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