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25 - 31 Dec 2017

by Bjinse Tue Dec 26th, 2017 at 10:23:08 PM EST

Your take on this week's news


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by Bjinse on Tue Dec 26th, 2017 at 10:28:35 PM EST
Row over French anti-racist lands minister in mess - BBC
A French campaigner on race and feminist issues has landed the government of President Emmanuel Macron in an embarrassing mess, after she was deselected from an official advisory committee apparently because of her outspoken views.

Rokhaya Diallo, a 39-year-old journalist of West African origin, was one of 30 personalities named a week ago to the National Digital Council, a quasi-governmental body whose task is to analyse the impact of new information technologies on society.

But just a few days later the minister for digital affairs, Mounir Mahjoubi, asked for a new list of names, making it clear that Ms Diallo's presence on the panel was not conducive to the necessary "serenity" for the council to do its job.

It followed pressure from opponents of Ms Diallo - not all of them on the political right - who say her past comments decrying "state racism" in France and defending the Islamic veil show she is unfit for a position advising ministers.

by Bernard on Wed Dec 27th, 2017 at 09:36:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Viktor Orbán to address CSU ahead of German coalition talks - Politico
BERLIN -- Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán will address Angela Merkel's Bavarian allies in January, right before the chancellor begins talks with Germany's Social Democrats on forming a government.

A spokeswoman for the Christian Social Union's (CSU) parliamentary group confirmed on Thursday that Orbán -- arguably Merkel's most high-profile opponent on the European stage -- will attend a party summit between January 4 and 6 at a former monastery in rural Bavaria.

Although the CSU, which exists only in Bavaria, is in an alliance at the national level with Merkel's CDU, it has often been among the chancellor's harshest critics, particularly in regard to immigration issues.

In September 2015, at the height of Europe's migration crisis, the CSU fêted Hungary's hard-line leader as the guardian of the EU's external borders at another summit -- a direct rebuke of Merkel and her open-border refugee policy.

by Bernard on Thu Dec 28th, 2017 at 06:09:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Cloud of corruption hangs over Bulgaria as it takes up EU presidency  - Guardian
The presidency - chairing EU meetings and setting an agenda - does not have the clout it once did, but it is still a big moment for the eastern Balkan nation of 7.4 million people, which was part of the last wave of EU enlargement that reunited east and west.

Yet more than a decade after Bulgaria joined the EU, questions remain over its record in tackling corruption, while the presence of far-right minority parties in government has caused alarm. According to Transparency International's corruption perceptions index, Bulgaria is the most corrupt country in the EU.

"No one [in Bulgaria] is prosecuting political corruption, there are no ex-government officials in jail," says Ognian Shentov, chairman of the Centre for the Study of Democracy in Sofia. "We have reached a stage of state corruption which we describe as state capture."

by Bernard on Thu Dec 28th, 2017 at 06:25:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Goodbye Russia: A generation packs its bags - BBC
Between 2000 and 2014, approximately 1.8 million Russians left the country, according to Alina Polyakova, director of research for Europe and Eurasia at the Atlantic Council in Washington. Earlier this year she warned the trend was intensifying and called this outward migration of largely well-educated young people "a significant national security threat to the Russian Federation".

Calculating the numbers of people who have left the country is complicated by the fact that most retain their Russian passports even if they gain passports or residence permits in other countries. The State Statistics Service counted 350,000 emigrants in 2015 - 10 times more than in 2010.

by Bernard on Fri Dec 29th, 2017 at 09:07:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Loyalists told Charles Haughey MI5 `asked us to execute you'
"In 1985 we were approached by a MI5 officer attached to the NIO (Northern Ireland Office) and based in Lisburn, Alex Jones was his supposed name," the UVF said.

"He asked us to execute you."

The previously secret letter, on UVF headed paper, showed the loyalists told Mr Haughey that the MI5 operative gave details of his cars, photographs of his home, his island, Inishvickillane, and his yacht, Celtic Mist.

"We refused to do it, we were asked would we accept responsibility if you were killed we refused," the UVF said in the letter.

Signed in block capitals "Capt W Johnston", the name used by the UVF in all its formal statements, it closed with the line: "We have no love for you but we are not going to carry out work for the Dirty Tricks Department of the British."



Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Dec 30th, 2017 at 01:08:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
MI5 in NI were a bunch of murderous tossers who, judging by the revelations of both Peter Wright and Colin Wallace, were both completely out of control and out of their depth.

This doesn't surprise me in the slightest and, although it's unlikely we'll ever know the truth of the affair, I would be prepare to take this at face value.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Dec 30th, 2017 at 07:54:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Germany ends 2017 without a government for Angela Merkel - DW
It is unknown in the history of modern Germany: Three months after the election the country still doesn't have a new government. How can it be that Merkel's CDU remains on the hunt for a coalition partner?
For now, the situation remains unresolved. The majority of voters don't like this. Business leaders are pressing for a solution, and allies in Europe are raising their eyebrows. French President Emmanuel Macron recently wished Angela Merkel "bon courage" -- good luck. His plans for reforming the EU can't progress without a new German government.

Exploratory talks are set to begin on January 7. Schulz has promised his party that he will include it at every step, so he wants to hold a congress to get the approval of party delegates before exploratory talks would progress into formal coalition talks. The bigger hurdle, however, would come after that: The SPD's 440,000 members will be allowed to vote on whether or not it should enter into another grand coalition. The general prognosis is that there is little chance of a new government being in place before Easter.


Easter?!!
by Bernard on Sun Dec 31st, 2017 at 06:48:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Bjinse on Tue Dec 26th, 2017 at 10:28:37 PM EST
A Road Map for Reviving the Midwest - Bloomberg
[John] Austin also sees social, racial and political divergence between the successful towns and the lagging ones. Declining Midwestern areas are often white enclaves, which were once destinations for white flight from inner cities; now, these counties often tend to have fewer immigrants, more stagnant economies and higher levels of support for the angry, nostalgia-tinged campaign of President Donald Trump. But more ethnically diverse regions have flourished economically, and these have tended to vote for the Democrats.

There are two obvious reasons for this divergence -- two trends that both improve a town's economy, and tend to make it more ethnically diverse and tolerant. Those are universities and immigration. Therefore, two of Austin's main suggestions for the Rust Belt include directing more resources to universities and being more welcoming to immigrants.

Both of these recommendations are supported by economic theory and evidence. As the U.S. has shifted into high-value-added knowledge-intensive industries, the benefit of having a cluster of educated, smart workers has increased. Economics research confirms that the local benefit of colleges isn't a coincidence -- regions where the government granted land to universities more than 150 years ago are now flourishing.

by Bernard on Sun Dec 31st, 2017 at 12:07:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Goldman Sachs chooses Dublin as post-Brexit home
[It] will move about 20 people to the Irish capital, according to two people familiar with the bank's plans. ... Goldman Sachs and the Central Bank of Ireland (CBI) both declined to comment on the US bank's asset management plans. The bank currently serves Ireland using the EU passport of its London business, and would probably need to update that after Brexit.

ya think?

archived: Nov 2017
The boss of Goldman Sachs just called for a second Brexit referendum
"So much at stake, why not make sure consensus still there?"

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Mon Jan 1st, 2018 at 12:43:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Second Circuit Ruling Stuns Major Stock Exchanges
[The city of] Providence, Rhode Island and other institutional investors claim in a 57-page lawsuit that the scheme began after the onset of the global economic crisis.
[...]
The predatory practices allegedly extended to defendant Barclays PLC, which is accused of selling special access to material data, including orders made by it and the plaintiff class so that the high frequency trading [HFT] firms could trade against them using the competitive advantages they had put in place.



Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Mon Jan 1st, 2018 at 12:56:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
yea, the GS standard model of unprotected
hire and fire doesn't work in the highly regulated workspaces of Germany and France. Ireland is a much better fit

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Jan 1st, 2018 at 08:14:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Bjinse on Tue Dec 26th, 2017 at 10:28:39 PM EST
Looks like the Mueller investigation is <a href=http://www.businessinsider.com/mueller-questions-rnc-digital-operation-trump-campaign-russia-2017-12?op=1>now focusing its examination on the Trump campaign data operation</a>. Campaign committee staffers are being questioned about the joint RNC-Trump operation that son-in-law Jared Kushner ran. Obviously the possibility of Russian-RNC-Trump collusion is of interest, as well as how the Russian ads that were purchased on social media were so well geographically targeted. There's a bit more to the article, and I suspect we're simply getting a taste of what Mueller's team likely already knows or has good reason to suspect.

"There are no innocents. There are, however, different degrees of responsibility." -- Lisbeth Salander
by Don Durito on Wed Dec 27th, 2017 at 06:41:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not sure what I managed to do wrong with link embedding. Guessing something blindingly simple I overlooked - even after double checking the FAQ. Apologies for that.

"There are no innocents. There are, however, different degrees of responsibility." -- Lisbeth Salander
by Don Durito on Wed Dec 27th, 2017 at 06:48:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Welcome! Html is disabled for new users to prevent fraudulent spam bots, I think.
by generic on Wed Dec 27th, 2017 at 08:07:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Okay. Thanks for the info! That makes sense. In this day and age in particular, a good site or blog admin would not want to take any chances.

"There are no innocents. There are, however, different degrees of responsibility." -- Lisbeth Salander
by Don Durito on Wed Dec 27th, 2017 at 08:36:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
[ET Moderation Technology™]

Welcome to ET! I've changed your user status, you should be able to post links to websites now.

by Bjinse on Thu Dec 28th, 2017 at 12:24:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Awesome! Thank you so much. :-)

"There are no innocents. There are, however, different degrees of responsibility." -- Lisbeth Salander
by Don Durito on Thu Dec 28th, 2017 at 03:33:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]

Mueller is reportedly zeroing in on the Trump campaign's data operation -- and the RNC - Business Insider
Two sources told Yahoo News that Mueller's team is examining whether the joint RNC-Trump campaign data operation -- which was directed on Trump's side by Brad Parscale and managed by Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner -- "was related to the activities of Russian trolls and bots aimed at influencing the American electorate."

The FBI has been scrutinizing Kushner's contacts in December 2016 with the Russian ambassador to the US and the CEO of a sanctioned Russian bank.

The special counsel's office declined to comment on its ongoing investigation. Multiple requests to various current and former RNC officials on Wednesday went unanswered. A source close to one of the Trump campaign's data firms said they were "unaware of anyone being questioned."

It is not surprising that federal investigators have begun to examine the possibility that Russia and the Trump campaign helped each other during the election. Investigators have been looking into whether Russia provided the campaign with voter information stolen by Russian hackers from election databases in several states, and whether the Trump campaign helped Russia target its political ads to specific demographics and voting precincts.

by Bernard on Wed Dec 27th, 2017 at 09:29:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe, just maybe the Robert Mueller investigation is looking at Cambridge Analytica, Rebekah and Robert Mercer and their Brexit campaign?

Cambridge Analytca: the Geotargeting and Emotional Data Mining Scrtipts

Believe me, Twitter and Facebook earned multiple thousands of dollars from the Trump Election campaign compared to Russian ads from a few minor bots doing the Kremlin's bidding. Specialists from Facebook and Twitter were embedded in the centra run by Brad Parscale for Trump.

Is There Any There There? | Wired - Aug. 2016 |

The British number-crunchers and PhDs started working with down-ballot candidates in the US two years ago, and came to prominence this year touting its "psychographic targeting." The approach supposedly builds on traditional ad targeting metrics like demographics (age, race, income) and behavior (voting, spending, online habits) by adding a person's psychological profile.

To generate models, Cambridge, which employs data scientists and psychologists, draws on personality surveys it has conducted by telephone, email, and social media since 2013. It uses those samples to predict the personality traits of voters--traits like, say, neuroticism. Candidates can use those findings to tailor their message to a specific audience.

Cambridge CEO Alexander Nix claims his company's data models "absolutely, indefatigably" raised Cruz's poll numbers. "Every decision of the campaign--where to spend the money, who to target, how to target them, what to speak to them about, what channels of communications to use, what messages to send--was all driven by our data," says Nix, who was among those included in WIRED's Next List of business leaders.

The Power of Big Data and Psychographics

by Oui on Wed Dec 27th, 2017 at 10:16:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Generally we like to see one reasonable, sane and on point post before we take a user off newbie status, which you have certainly provided. Welcome.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Dec 28th, 2017 at 05:06:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A newbie? Nice description for a young person.

Don Durito is always in for a chat at his favorite Place.

by Oui on Thu Dec 28th, 2017 at 08:15:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
On ET 'newbie' refers only to user status at ET, not age or intellectual prowess, etc. It should imply no insult. I was a newbie at ~ age 68.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Jan 6th, 2018 at 02:50:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Welcome!

If what is shown is what you typed then [I think] you need a double quote (") after the href= and before the first closing > to enclose the URL reference in quotes.

I keep a file on my desktop called "example href.txt" to remind me how to do it!

by oldremainmer48 on Sun Dec 31st, 2017 at 02:51:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You need to surround the url with quote marks ""

now focusing its examination on the Trump campaign data operation

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Dec 27th, 2017 at 09:10:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Quote marks are not needed (I never use them): it must be effectively an HTML restriction on his account. Someone like Colman needs to set it up, I guess.
by Bernard on Wed Dec 27th, 2017 at 09:28:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
New users are restricted from HTML immediately after signing up - this harkens back to the period when spammers began to flood ET and additional steps in the registration process were put in place.
by Bjinse on Thu Dec 28th, 2017 at 12:29:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
see typo above: The ULR string must be enclosed by double quotes thus <a href=""> PUT HOT LINK TEXT HERE </a> in the first part of the HTML tag.

--OR--

Copy & paste URL into text box without enclosing HTML tags.

http://www.businessinsider.com/mueller-questions-rnc-digital-operation-trump-campaign-russia-2017-12 ?op=1

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Wed Dec 27th, 2017 at 10:28:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This attack on "democracy" is crawling all over the fourth estate. Sumbuddy notify Mueller to notify Kerners that an FBI raid on his father's cousin's nephew's sister-in-law's former roommate is coming.




Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Fri Dec 29th, 2017 at 05:50:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Bjinse on Tue Dec 26th, 2017 at 10:28:41 PM EST
Ex-footballer George Weah to become Liberia's president - Guardian
The former footballer George Weah has won Liberia's presidential election, defeating vice-president Joseph Boakai in a runoff with 61.5% of the vote.

Thursday's announcement by the country's election commission chair, Jerome Korkoyah, means Weah will succeed Ellen Johnson Sirleaf as Liberia's president next month, in what will be the country's first democratic transition since 1944. It follows two devastating civil wars.

The commission said Weah had taken 61.5% of the vote, based on 98.1% of ballots cast.

by Bernard on Thu Dec 28th, 2017 at 06:57:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hackers Charged with Disabling Police Cameras Before Inauguration
Two Romanian nationals have been arrested and charged with disabling more than 120 D.C. Metropolitan Police Department surveillance cameras ahead of President Trump's inauguration last January, the Justice Department announced Thursday.

ahem
Mihai Alexandru Isvanca, 25, and Eveline Cismaru, 28, have been charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, as well as conspiracy to commit various forms of computer fraud. Authorities say the two men disabled the cameras as part of a scheme to distribute ransomware.

Unpossible!
The arrests were made with the assistance of The Netherlands' National High Tech Crimes Unit, the U.K.'s National Crime Agency and Metropolitan Police, as well as Romania's national police force, according to the police statement. The two men remain in Romania, awaiting extradition. Isvanca is in police custody; Cismaru in under house arrest.

If only Mr Mueller had such resources, America would be great again. Maybe next year.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Mon Jan 1st, 2018 at 01:15:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"The arrests were made with the assistance of The Netherlands' National High Tech Crimes Unit ..."

Ah ... the Dutch cybercrime unit, excellent cooperation with Russia's FSB:

Dutch Cooperated with Sergei Mikhailov (FSB)

One year ago Sergei Mikhailov was arrested in a "hackers" round-up in Moscow accused of treason. Divulging state secrets to the CIA.

Some speculate the arrests were connected with #Russiagate and hacking into the US Election 2016 campaign.

And no, the Dutch THTC and the FSB are not working together on the MH17 crash, nor are the CIA and SBU providing essential information to JIT.

by Oui on Mon Jan 1st, 2018 at 09:18:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Bjinse on Tue Dec 26th, 2017 at 10:29:25 PM EST
Prioritise Greenhouse Gas Neutrality - SWP

Two years after the climate summit in Paris, the euphoria over the diplomatic break-through and adoption of new targets - holding the temperature increase to well below 2 degrees Celsius, preferably even to 1.5 degrees - has largely evaporated. There has been little sign of additional ambition in climate change mitigation since. One fundamental problem is the global nature of temperature targets, which are little suited for generating concrete national action plans and not at all suited for evaluating emissions reduction measures implemented by governments or businesses. Starting with the "facilitative dialogue" being prepared at the Bonn climate summit for 2018, it is the third Paris mitigation target that should be the benchmark: namely to attain greenhouse-gas neutrality in the second half of the century. The European Commission and member states of the European Union (EU) should make the zero emissions target their central reference point in reformulating the Climate Roadmap 2050 and in adopting a long-term decarbonisation strategy. This could provide the opportunity to redesign the EU's climate policy so as to make it both more ambitious and more pragmatic.

by Bjinse on Thu Dec 28th, 2017 at 10:11:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Bjinse on Tue Dec 26th, 2017 at 10:29:28 PM EST
Evangelical Christians 'uncritical' in support for Trump, UK bishop says  - Guardian
Paul Bayes, the bishop of Liverpool, said "self-styled evangelicals" risked bringing the word evangelical into disrepute, and added there was no justification for Christians contradicting God's teaching to protect the poor and the weak.

Bayes told the Guardian: "Some of the things that have been said by religious leaders seem to collude with a system that marginalises the poor, a system which builds walls instead of bridges, a system which says people on the margins of society should be excluded, a system which says we're not welcoming people any more into our country.

"Whenever people say those kinds of things, they need to be able to justify that they're saying those things as Christians, and I do not believe it's justifiable."

He said he regretted that "people who call themselves evangelical in the US seem to be uncritically accepting" positions taken by Trump and his allies.

by Bernard on Thu Dec 28th, 2017 at 06:22:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
See my earlier diary on topic ... right-wing criticism of Christmas sermons in churches reminding the rich of growing inequality. My pastor earned a thumbs-up for his inspiring words during midnight mass. I also noticed a revival of young persons taking notice of social aspects beyond a narcissistic society of property ownership.

I used the exact quote from article and Anglican bishop in Liverpool ...

Christian Zionists Collude with Alt-right Trump

by Oui on Thu Dec 28th, 2017 at 06:49:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
2 psychologists think taking selfies all the time could be a sign of a mental condition called 'selfitis'
In 2014, a spoof news article coined the term "selfitis," saying that the American Psychiatric Association was going to start recognising it as a real disorder.

Three years on, two researchers have looked at the term and have decided there could be some truth to it.

Psychologists Mark D. Griffiths and Janarthanan Balakrishnan have published a paper in the International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, in which they argue that selfitis is a real condition, and can be diagnosed as excessive selfie taking.

by das monde on Fri Dec 29th, 2017 at 03:04:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Some have suggested that much of the problem comes from evangelical dominionism, the extention of the belief that god granted christians dominion over the earth and all of the animals into the idea that christians should have dominion over the government, that the US should be a specifically Christian nation.

But christian nationalism is just one leg of the problem. Another is the belief that success in life is a sign of god's favour. there has always been a strand of this but while the bible was restricted to those who read latin, the contradictions between this belief and the example of Jesus life could be ignored. However, once the bible was translated into english, the new middle class puritans overtly and specifically embraced this creed as justification for their wealth alongside their less lucky protestant brethre. A couple of centuries on this means that becoming rich is equivalent to increasing righteousness. Therefore people like the Koch's must be godly because wealth.

Add that to christian nationalism and you have modern evangelical republicanism

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Dec 28th, 2017 at 08:40:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by das monde on Fri Dec 29th, 2017 at 04:38:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
comng to a remainder bin near you

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Dec 29th, 2017 at 03:48:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Bjinse on Tue Dec 26th, 2017 at 10:29:32 PM EST
by Bjinse on Tue Dec 26th, 2017 at 10:29:35 PM EST
Common Law
The common-law system prevails in England, the United States, and other countries colonized by England. It is distinct from the civil-law system, which predominates in Europe and in areas colonized by France and Spain. The common-law system is used in all the states of the United States except Louisiana, where French Civil Law combined with English Criminal Law to form a hybrid system.

Tort law

The boundaries of tort law are defined by common law and state statutory law. Judges, in interpreting the language of statutes, have wide latitude in determining which actions qualify as legally cognizable wrongs, which defenses may override any given claim, and the appropriate measure of damages. Although tort law varies by state, many courts utilize the Restatement of Torts (2nd) as an influential guide.

Assault, aggravated assault, battery, and micro-aggression

Generally, the common law definition is the same in criminal and Tort Law. There is, however, an additional Criminal Law category of assault consisting of an attempted but unsuccessful Battery.

Statutory definitions of assault in the various jurisdictions throughout the United States are not substantially different from the common-law definition.

This system is false.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Thu Dec 28th, 2017 at 01:30:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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