Steve Martin, This Is a Bad Tribute to Carrie Fisher
Thu, 29 Dec 2016 00:37
Carrie Fisher on the set of Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope.Photo: Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images''I wish I had known I was a sex symbol,'' Carrie Fisher said during her excellent press tour for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, in which she returned alongside Harrison Ford to play General Leia Organa. ''That's so odd, because I don't look at myself even remotely that way.''
Of course, ''sex symbol'' is a one-dimensional reading of her character, who was a brilliant tactician, a strong rebel leader, and an ace shot with a blaster. And yet, with the launch of George Lucas's Star Wars trilogy in 1977 '-- and especially thanks to her infamous metal-and-leather bikini in 1983's Return of the Jedi '-- that's exactly what Fisher became on an international scale.
Princess Leia's status as the catalyst of male sexual awakening has been alluded to countless times in pop culture. On Friends, when Ross confesses to Rachel that he had a sexual fantasy about bikini-clad Leia, Phoebe assures her it's a rite of passage. ''Every guy our age loved that,'' she says. ''It's huge. That's the moment when she stopped being a princess and she became, like, a woman.'' As the Washington Post's Alyssa Rosenberg points out, one of the most glaring signs that Leia is seen as sexy rather than complex is the Philadelphia dad who complained about a scantily clad Leia action figure. And on Tuesday, Steve Martin helpfully reminded us of this fact in a now-deleted tweet when he said that for him as a young man, ''she was the most beautiful creature I had ever seen.''
But that characterization of Leia '-- as a wet dream for prepubescent men '-- is something Fisher spoke out against her whole career. She addressed Leia's role as a sex object in a 1983 interview with Rolling Stone. ''Let's not forget that these movies are basically boys' fantasies,'' she said. ''So the other way they made her more female in this one was to have her take off her clothes.'' And she was even more explicit in a recent interview with new Star Wars actress Daisy Ridley:
FISHER: Listen! I am not a sex symbol, so that's an opinion of someone. I don't share that.
RIDLEY: I don't think that's the right'--
FISHER: Word for it? Well, you should fight for your outfit. Don't be a slave like I was.
RIDLEY: All right, I'll fight.
FISHER: You keep fighting against that slave outfit.
So remember Fisher for her immense talent, her outspoken feminism, and her moving commentary on mental health '-- not for the way she looked onscreen.
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Mystery as NATO Auditor General is found shot dead in suspicious circumstances | World | News | Daily Express
Tue, 27 Dec 2016 21:26
According to reports, Yves Chandelon, the 62-year-old auditor general of NATO was found miles away from both his home and office.
His body was found in the Belgian town of Andenne, 62 miles away from his home in Lens on December 16.
According to local newspaper reports Mr Chandelon was the registered keeper of three weapons however the gun found at the scene did not belong to him, it has been claimed.
Mr Chandelon was found dead in his car after being shot in the headRelated articlesAnd more bizarrely it has been reported locally that the gun which killed him was found in the glovebox of the vehicle.
Local news reports say Mr Chandelon's family are concerned about the circumstances of the case.
They say initial suggestions that it was a possible suicide are incorrect.
The body was found in the village of Bonneville in Andenne, BelgiumAnd it has been reported that the former director of The Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) Luxembourg had complained of getting strange telephone calls before he died and "felt threatened".
Belgian newspaper group SudInfo.be reported Mr Chandelon's family has a number of unanswered questions surrounding the strange death.
The newspaper claims local prosecutor Vincent Macq is probing the death but that a post mortem is yet to be carried out.
The death of the senior NATO chief is suspicious say reportsPart of that investigation is the fact that Mr Chandelon was responsible for probing terror financing as part of his high ranking job.
Mr Chandelon was employed by the NATO support and procurement agency (NSPA) in Capellen in south-western Luxembourg, 7 miles west of Luxembourg City.
The local newspaper Luxemburger Wort reported Mr Chandelon had gone to Belgium to visit a friend.
Wed, June 8, 2016AFP/Getty Images
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Polish troops land with parachutes at the military compound near Torun, central Poland as part of the NATO Anaconda-16 military exercise
They said police are currently probing whether he had received any threats that could be related to his work and highlighted that the gun used was not registered in his name.
As Auditor General, Mr Chandelon was responsible for internal accounting at NSPA as well as external investigations into money laundering activities and terrorist financing.
According to Flemish newspaper The Morning Mr Chandelon's relatives said he attended his office Christmas party the night before he died.
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See today's front and back pages, download the newspaper, order back issues and use the historic Daily Express newspaper archive.
Status Quo guitarist Rick Parfitt dies aged 68 | Music | The Guardian
Mon, 26 Dec 2016 03:16
Rick Parfitt (left) and Francis Rossi of Status Quo. Photograph: Peter Wafzig/Getty Images
The Status Quo guitarist Rick Parfitt has died at the age of 68 after suffering from a severe infection.
Parfitt was taken to hospital in Marbella, Spain, on Thursday evening due to complications arising from a pre-existing shoulder injury. He died there at lunchtime on Saturday, his manager and family said in a statement.
''We are truly devastated to have to announce that Status Quo guitarist Rick Parfitt has passed away at lunchtime today,'' the statement said. ''He died in hospital in Marbella, Spain, as a result of a severe infection, having been admitted to hospital on Thursday evening following complications to a shoulder injury incurred by a previous fall.
''This tragic news comes at a time when Rick was hugely looking forward to launching a solo career with an album and autobiography planned for 2017, following his departure from Status Quo's touring activities on medical advice. He will be sorely missed by his family, friends, fellow band members, management, crew and his dedicated legion of fans from throughout the world, gained through 50 years of monumental success with Status Quo.''
It added: ''Rick is survived by his wife, Lyndsay, their twins, Tommy and Lily, and Rick's adult children, Rick Jr and Harry. No further comment will be made at this time and Rick's family and the band ask for their privacy to be respected at this difficult time.''
Parfitt's son, Rick Parfitt Jr, tweeted:
The Surrey-born guitarist had been dogged by health concerns for years, most recently pulling out of the band's tour after a heart attack over the summer. Parfitt's manager, Simon Porter, said at the time that he had ''died'' for several minutes.
Parfitt underwent a quadruple heart bypass in 1997. Doctors told Parfitt then that his lifestyle involving touring, drink and drugs could kill him. He cut down on his vices but vowed not to become a ''born-again Christian'' and continued to enjoy the ''odd pint''.
Status Quo found success globally with hits such as Rockin' All Over The World and Whatever You Want. In 2015 the band passed a milestone enjoyed by only a handful of musicians: 500 weeks in the UK album charts.
After news of Parfitt's death, the band's official website was updated to show a full-screen picture of him on stage.
He joins a long list of celebrated musicians to have died in 2016, including David Bowie, Prince and Leonard Cohen.
Other celebrities paid tribute to Parfitt on social media:
George Michael, pop superstar, dies at 53 | Music | The Guardian
Mon, 26 Dec 2016 03:17
George Michael in 2011. He has died peacefully at home. Photograph: Chris Radburn/PA
The pop superstar George Michael has died peacefully at home, his publicist said.
The 53-year-old, who was set to release a documentary in 2017, rose to fame as half of Wham!, known for their hits Club Tropicana and Last Christmas. He had a highly successful solo career which included the songs Careless Whisper, Faith, Outside and Freedom! 90.
Michael '' who was born Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou '' had 11 UK number ones and sold more than 100m albums throughout a career spanning almost four decades. His last album, Symphonica, was released in 2014.
Thames Valley police told the BBC an ambulance had attended a house in Goring, Oxfordshire, at 1.42pm. They said the death was being treated as ''unexplained but not suspicious'' and they would not comment further until after a postmortem.
In a statement, the star's publicist said: ''It is with great sadness that we can confirm our beloved son, brother and friend George passed away peacefully at home over the Christmas period.
''The family would ask that their privacy be respected at this difficult and emotional time. There will be no further comment at this stage.''
Michael's manager, Michael Lippman, said he had died from heart failure and was found ''in bed, lying peacefully''. His publicist, Cindi Berger, said he had not been ill.
On Twitter, Andrew Ridgeley, Michael's partner in Wham!, said he was ''heartbroken at the loss of my beloved friend''.
Sir Elton John, another friend and collaborator, wrote on Instagram of his ''deep shock'' at the lost of a ''the kindest, most generous soul and a brilliant artist''.
Michael was born in London to Greek Cypriot parents and first achieved pop success with school friend Ridgeley in the pop duo Wham! They split up in 1986 and he went on to have a glittering solo career that also saw him collaborate with John, Aretha Franklin, and Queen, after the death of Freddie Mercury.
He also had frequent brushes with the law, including his highly publicised arrest in a Los Angeles public toilet in 1998, an episode that led him to acknowledge his homosexuality and his relationship with Kenny Goss. His track Outside, released the same year, poked fun at the arrest and reached No 2 in the charts.
But Michael would struggle to recapture the same success and his last studio album, Patience, was released in 2004.
In later years he had a series of arrests for drugs and driving offences and was banned from driving twice. In 2011 he officially announced the ending of a turbulent 15-year relationship with Goss '' though he said that the pair had actually split about two years earlier. After a career hiatus that he described as ''a very long period of grief and self-abuse'', he announced his return to performing and said he felt remorse for the impact his high-profile arrests might have had on young gay people striving for acceptance.
Michael nearly died of pneumonia in late 2011. After receiving treatment in a Vienna hospital, he made a tearful appearance outside his London home and said it had been ''touch and go'' whether he lived. Doctors had performed a tracheotomy to keep his airways open and he was unconscious for some of his spell in hospital.
In May 2013 Michael had to be airlifted to hospital with a head injury after falling from his vehicle on the M1.
Michael's 1990 album Listen Without Prejudice Vol 1 had been set to be reissued, accompanied by a new film featuring Stevie Wonder, John and the supermodels who starred in the video to his hit single Freedom! 90.
The movie, with the working title Freedom: George Michael, was to be narrated by Michael and set to feature Mark Ronson, Mary J Blige, Tony Bennett, Liam Gallagher, James Corden and Ricky Gervais.
The record was his second solo album, after the hugely successful Faith, and was arranged, produced and almost entirely written by Michael, but did not feature him on the album cover.
It featured hits including Cowboys and Angels, Mother's Pride and Praying for Time and outsold Faith in the UK, where it went platinum four times but led to a court case with US record label Sony spurred by Michael's frustration at how the album was marketed. Michael lost the case.
Paying tribute, contemporaries Duran Duran referred to theloss of ''another talented soul'' in a year which has seen the death of several major-league rock and pop stars, among them David Bowie, Prince and Leonard Cohen. Rick Parfitt, guitarist in Status Quo, died on Christmas Eve at the age of 68.
Brian May, the Queen guitarist, said the news of Michael's death was ''beyond sad'' and LaToya Jackson said he had ''an amazing gift''. Martin Fry, the lead singer and songwriter with ABC, said on Twitter: ''Absolutely devastated to hear of the loss of George Michael.''
Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader, said Michael was ''an exceptional artist and a strong supporter of LGBT and workers' rights''. Nicola Sturgeon, the Scottish first minister, was among the first to pay tribute, describing him as ''an amazing talent gone too soon''.
Richard Adams obituary
Tue, 27 Dec 2016 20:16
The origins of Watership Down lay in stories Richard Adams wrote down to entertain his daughters on long car journeys. Photograph: Express/Getty Images
Richard Adams, who has died aged 96, was the author of one of the most successful books of the 1970s. Published in 1972, Watership Down, Adams's story about a colony of rabbits travelling across the country in search of a better home in the Berkshire Downs when their burrow is destroyed, became a cult novel, with a ''crossover'' readership.
Despite being published as an adult book, Watership Down won the two most distinguished children's book prizes, the Carnegie medal and the Guardian children's book prize, and sold more than 100,000 copies in Britain in its first year of publication. Unlike some such instant successes, Watership Down was not just a book of its time; it is now firmly established as a classic and has sold more than 50m copies worldwide.
The story of the publication of Watership Down is an example of the quirky nature of publishing. As a manuscript of more than 200,000 words, it was turned down by all of the major publishers and many of the smaller ones, before Rex Collings, a small independent company, picked it up. From the moment of publication, it was widely hailed as an exceptional title and almost instantly became a bestseller. At one point, it held the record for the highest sum paid for paperback rights. Its mass success and cult status was furthered by its subsequent adaptation in 1978 to animated cartoon film, with a soundtrack that included the hit single Bright Eyes.
The origins of Watership Down lay in stories Adams wrote down to entertain his daughters on long car journeys, based on his observation of rabbits from the train window on his daily commute to work. However, Adams himself did not categorise it as a children's book. Once published, its evocation of the English countryside (the Downs near Adams's home), combined with its detailed descriptions of rabbit society '' much taken from RM Lockley's The Private Life of the Rabbit (1964) '' which includes a sharply observed study of leadership through the characters of Fiver, Bigwig and Hazel, made it as much a political allegory as a simple adventure story.
Son of Evelyn Adams, a country doctor, and his wife, Lilian (nee Button), Richard was born in Newbury, and brought up in Berkshire. He was educated at Bradfield college, Berkshire, and Worcester College, Oxford, where he studied history for two years until he was called up in 1940. He served in the Royal Army Service Corps in Palestine, Europe and the far east before returning to Oxford in 1946 to finish his studies. Adams then joined the civil service, where he worked in the Ministry of Housing and Local Government and in the Department of the Environment, before becoming a full-time writer in 1974 after the success of his first book.
Subsequent books followed quickly, including Shardik (1974), the story of a hunter and a giant bear, which was particularly poorly received by readers wanting more Watership Down; The Tyger Voyage (1976), a picture book in verse with illustrations by Nicola Bayley; and The Plague Dogs (1977). None had the same success as Watership Down.
Adams was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 1975 and held posts as writer in residence at both the University of Florida (1975) and Hollins University in Virginia (1976). He continued to write for both adults and children. He revisited Watership Down in Tales from Watership Down (1996) and contributed a short story to Gentle Footprints: A Collection of Animal Stories, which was published to raise funds for the Born Free Foundation in 2010, just before his 90th birthday.
For almost all his writing, Adams drew on his deep affection for the countryside and the wildlife that lives in it that was formed during his childhood. In his autobiography, The Day Gone By (1990), he describes how, as a child, he lost his heart twice, once to the River Kennet and once to the Downs, of which he writes: ''I can't remember ever to have done anything '' anything at all '' more delightful than walking on the crest of the Downs, looking away to the purple, heat-rimmed edge of the horizon.''
Adams was invited to become president of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in 1980, having been a lifelong campaigner for animal welfare and an active member of the society, including taking part in a lecture tour in Canada in 1977 to drum up opposition to the hunting of baby seals. In a subsequent RSPCA members watchdog publication Adams was described as giving a stirring and inspiring speech as president elect, but his time at the RSPCA was short lived.
Already going through a turbulent time internally, as traditionalists and modernisers fought and tried to put right the £1m deficit that had accrued, the RSPCA council voted to shorten Adams's term of office as president and he resigned in protest. He later commented angrily that senior members of the council were more interested in their own careers than in the welfare of animals.
He continued to be honoured for his work throughout his life, and was the recipient of the inaugural Whitchurch arts award in 2010, given by the town in which he lived in later years, and which he received at the Watership Down pub in Whitchurch. Earlier this year, it was announced that the BBC planned a new adaptation of Watership Down for release in 2017.
Adams married Elizabeth Acland in 1949, and they had two daughters, Juliet and Rosamond. They all survive him.
' Richard George Adams, writer, born 9 May 1920; died 24 December 2016
130 Celebrities that Died in 2016 99.5 WYCD Detroit's Best Country
Wed, 28 Dec 2016 22:47
By: Jon Corrigan
We said goodbye to '' what seemed like '' an inordinate number of celebrities in 2016, and from every spectrum of fame.
From David Bowie to Prince, Muhammad Ali to Gordie Howie or Alan Rickman to Gene Wilder, join us in paying them tribute one final time.
Jan. 4 '' Robert Stigwood, entertainment manager '' managed the Bee Gees and Cream '' age 81
Jan. 6 '' Pat Harrington Jr., actor '' Schneider on ''One Day at a Time'' '' age 86
Jan. 7 '' Troy Shondell, singer '' big hit was ''This Time (We're Really Breaking Up)'' '' age 76
Jan. 7 '' Kitty Kallen, singer '' Big Band era, biggest hit was '''Little Things Mean a Lot'' '' age 94
Jan. 8 '' David Bowie, musician '' two-time Grammy winner and pop culture icon '' age 69
David Bowie (Getty Images)
Jan. 11 '' David Margulies, actor '' played the mayor in Ghost Busters I and II (1984 & 1989)- age '' 78
Jan. 14 '' Alan Rickman, actor '' Hans Gruber in Die Hard and Severus Snape in Harry Potter '' age 69
Alan Rickman (Photo by Desiree Navarro/WireImage)
Jan. 14 '' Ren(C) Ang(C)lil, singer/manager '' husband and manager of Celine Dion '' age 73
Jan. 15 '' Dan Haggerty, actor '' The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams '' age 74
Jan. 15 '' Noreen Corcoran, actress '' Kelly Gregg in Bachelor Father (1957-59) '' age 72
Jan. 18 '' Glen Frey, singer/songwriter '' founded legendary group The Eagles '' age 67
Glenn Frey (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)
Jan. 26 '' Abe Vigoda, actor '' Detective Fish on Barney Miller (1975-'77) '' age 94
Jan. 28 '' Paul Kantner, singer/songwriter '' co-founder of The Jefferson Airplane '' age 74
Jan. 28 '' Mike Minor, actor '' Steve Eliot on Petticoat Junction '' age 75
Feb. 2 '' Bob Elliot, comedian '' one-half of the comedy duo of Bob and Ray '' age 92
Feb. 3 '' Maurice White, musician/songwriter '' founding member of Earth, Wind & Fire '' age 74
Maurice White (Photo by Steve Grayson/WireImage)
Feb. 3 '' Joe Alaskey, voice actor '' Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Sylvester, Tweety '' age 63
Feb. 4 '' Joe Dowell, singer '' #1 hit song ''Wooden Heart'' (1961) '' age 76
Feb. 13 '' Antonin Scalia, Supreme Court Justice '' appointed by Ronald Reagan in 1986 '' age 79
Feb. 15 '' George Gaynes, actor '' Commandant Eric Lassard on the Police Academy series '' age 98
Feb. 19 '' Harper Lee, novelist '' Pulitzer Prize for fiction for novel ''To Kill a Mockingbird'' '' age 89
Harper Lee (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Feb. 22 '' Yolande Fox, singer '' Miss America 1951 and sang opera '' age 87
Feb. 22 '' Sonny James, country music singer/songwriter '' the first teenage country crossover #1 single ''Young Love'' '' age 87
Sonny James (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for IEBA)
Feb. 24 '' Lennie Baker, musician '' 1950s music tribute group and TV show Sha-Na-Na (1969-2000) '' age 69
Feb. 25 '' Tony Burton, actor '' boxing trainer to Apollo Creed and later Rocky in six Rocky films '' age 78
Feb. 28 '' George Kennedy, actor '' Academy Award for Cool Hand Luke also in all the Airport movies '' age 91
Feb. 29 '' Gil Hill, police commander/actor '' Inspector Todd in three Beverly Hills Cop films '' age 84
Gil Hill (Credit: IMDB)
Mar. 4 '' Joey Martin Feek, singer/songwriter '' husband and wife country duo ''Joey + Rory'' '' age 40
Mar. 6 '' Nancy Reagan, First Lady of the U.S. (1981-1989) '' wife to 40th President Ronald Reagan '' age 94
Mar. 8 '' Sir George Martin, producer for the ''Beatles'' albums, known as ''The Fifth Beatle'' '' age 90
Mar. 9 '' Robert Horton, actor '' Flint McCullough in Wagon Train (1957-1962) '' age 91
Mar. 10 '' Keith Emerson, musician/keyboardist '' created Emerson, Lake & Palmer rock group '' age 71
Keith Emerson (Getty Images)
Mar. 13 '' Adrienne Corri, actress '' Mrs. Alexander in A Clockwork Orange (1971) '' age 85
Mar. 16 '' Frank Sinatra Jr., singer '' singer and son of Frank Sinatra'' age 72
Mar. 17 '' Larry Drake, actor '' Benny Stulwicz on L.A. Law (1987-1994) '' age 66
Mar. 18 '' Joe Santos, actor '' Lieutenant Dennis Becker on The Rockford Files (1974-1980) '' age 84
Mar. 21 '' Peter Brown, actor '' Deputy Johnny McKay in Lawman (1958-62) and Chad Cooper in Laredo (1965-67) '' age 80
Mar. 22 '' Rob Ford, politician '' crack smoking Mayor of Toronto, Canada '' age 46
Rob Ford (GEOFF ROBINS/AFP/Getty Images)
Mar. 22 '' Richard Bradford, actor '' Man in a Suitcase on British ITC (1967) '' age 81
Mar. 22 '' Phife Dawg, singer '' rapper with the group A Tribe Called Quest, also known as ''Five Foot Assassin'' '' age 45
Mar. 23 '' Joe Garagiola, baseball player '' MLB catcher and announcer and television host '' age 90
Mar. 23 '' Ken Howard, actor '' Coach Reeves on White Shadow & President of SAG-AFTRA '' age 71
Mar. 24 '' Earl Hamner, Jr., writer/producer '' created The Waltons '' age 92
Mar. 24 '' Garry Shandling, comedian '' Garry Shandling Show and The Larry Sanders Show '' age 66
Gary Shandling (Paul Drinkwater/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
Mar. 27 '' Mother Angelica, Franciscan nun '' founder of Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) '' age 92
Mar. 28 '' James Noble, actor '' Governor Gatling on Benson (1979-1986) '' age 94
Mar. 29 '' Patty Duke, actress '' played identical cousins in The Patty Duke Show (1963-1966) '' age 69
Apr. 6 '' Merle Haggard, singer/songwriter '' ''I'm a Lonesome Fugitive,'' ''Okie From Muskogee'' '' age 79
Merle Haggard / Courtesy Vanguard
Apr. 12 '' Anne Jackson, actress '' married to Eli Wallach who died in 2014 '' age 90
Apr. 17 '' Doris Roberts, actress '' Marie Barone on ''Everybody Loves Raymond'' (1996''2005) '' age 90
Doris Roberts (Photo by Jerod Harris/WireImage)
Apr. 21 '' Prince, singer/songerwriter/musician '' pop culture icon, seven Grammy Awards, ''Purple Rain'' '' age 57
Prince (Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images)
Apr. 21 '' Lonnie (Mack) McIntosh, guitarist '' pioneered the 'lead guitar solo', ''Wham!'' & ''Memphis'' '' age 74
Apr. 23 '' Madeleine Sherwood, actress '' Reverend Mother Placido in The Flying Nun (1967-70) '' age 94
Apr. 24 '' Billy Paul, singer '' Grammy Award for ''Me and Mrs. Jones'' (1972) '' age 81
May 8 '' William Schallert, actor '' Martin Lane (Patty's Father) on The Patty Duke Show '' age 93
May 12 '' Julius La Rosa, singer '' ''Anywhere I Wander'' fired by Arthur Godfrey on the air '' age 86
May 19 '' Morley Safer, journalist '' CBS News for 52 years (1964-2016), 60 Minutes for 46 years (1970-2016) won 12 Emmy Awards '' age 84
Morley Safer (Carl Mydans/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)
May 19 '' Alan Young, actor '' Wilbur Post on Mr. Ed (1961-66) '' age 96
May 27 '' Mike Barnett, singer '' co-founder of the singing group ''The Lettermen'' '' age 89
June 3 '' Muhammad Ali (formerly Cassius Clay), professional boxer '' three-time heavyweight champion (1964, 1974, and 1978) '' age 74
Muhammad Ali (Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images)
June 10 '' Gordie Howe, hockey player '' Detroit Red Wings for 25 seasons, 23-time NHL All-Star '' age 88
Getty Images: Dave Sandford
June 13 '' Michu Meszaros, actor/circus performer '' was the man in the ALF costume on TV show ALF '' age 76
June 14 '' Ann Guilbert, actress '' Millie Helper in The Dick Van Dyke Show and Yetta Rosenberg in The Nanny '' age 87
June 14 '' Ronnie Claire Edwards, actress '' Corabeth Walton Godsey on The Waltons (1972-81) '' age 83
June 17 '' Ron Lester, actor '' Billy Bob in movie Varsity Blues '' age 45
June 19 '' Anton Yelchin, actor '' Pavel Chekov in three Star Trek movies (2009-16) '' age 27
Anton Yelchin (Photo by Francois Durand/Getty Images)
June 27 '' Mack Rice, songwriter '' ''Mustang Sally'' & ''Respect Yourself'' '' age 82
June 28 '' Scotty Moore, guitarist '' backed Elvis in early recordings and pioneered new styles '' age 84
June 28 '' Buddy Ryan, NFL football coach '' while defensive coordinator for Chicago Bears invented the 46 defense '' age 85
June 28 '' Pat Summitt, NCAA basketball coach '' University of Tennessee Woman's team (1974 '' 2012) the winningest NCAA coach ever '' age 64
Pat Summitt (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
July 2 '' Michael Cimino, writer/director '' Deer Hunter, Thunderbolt and Lightfoot '' age 77
July 2 '' Elie Wiesel, Jewish writer/political activist '' Holocaust survivor and Nobel Laureate '' age 87
July 2 '' Teddy Rooney, actor/musician '' son of Mickey Rooney and Martha Vickers '' age 66
July 3 '' Noel Neill, actress '' Lois Lane in Adventures of Superman (1952-58) '' age 95
July 6 '' Danny Smythe, musician '' founding member of the Box Tops (Devilles) '' age 67
July 16 '' Bonnie Brown, musician '' family musical group The Browns '' age 77
July 19 '' Garry Marshall, writer/producer/actor '' created Happy Days, Mork & Mindy, Laverne & Shirley '' age 81
Garry Marshall (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for WGAw)
July 27 '' Jerry Doyle, actor '' Michael Garibaldi in Babylon 5 '' age 60
July 30 '' Gloria DeHaven, actress/singer '' So This Is Paris, The Girl Rush '' age 91
Aug. 2 '' David Huddleston, actor '' actor Santa Claus: The Movie '' age 85
Aug. 3 '' Ricci Martin, entertainer '' son of Dean Martin '' age 62
Aug. 6 '' Pete Fountain, jazz musician '' played with both Al Hirt and Lawrence Welk '' age 86
Aug. 11 '' Glenn Yarbrough, singer '' The Limeliters, ''Baby the Rain Must Fall'' '' age 86
Aug. 13 '' Michel Richard, chef/restaurateur '' restaurant Citrus in L.A. and 5 other cities '' age 68
Aug. 13 '' Kenny Baker, actor '' played R2-D2 in the Star Wars franchise '' age 81
Kenny Baker (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
Aug. 14 '' Fyvush Finkel, actor '' lawyer Douglas Wambaugh on Picket Fences '' age 93
Aug. 19 ''Jack Riley, actor '' Elliot Carlin on The Bob Newhart Show '' age 80
Aug. 23 '' Steven Hill, actor '' District Attorney Adam Schiff on Law & Order (1990-2000) '' age 94
Aug. 25 '' Jeanne Martin, model '' Orange Bowl Queen (1947) & Dean Martin's wife '' age 89
Aug. 25 '' Marvin Kaplan, actor '' telephone worker Henry on the TV show Alice '' age 89
Aug. 29 '' Gene Wilder, actor '' Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein, Willy Wonka '' age 83
Gene Wilder (Photo by MJ Kim/Getty Images)
Sept. 1 '' Jon Polito, actor '' Steve Crosetti on Homicide: Life on the Street '' age 65
Sept. 6 '' Hugh O'Brian, actor '' starred in TV series The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp (1955''1961) '' age 91
Sept. 9 '' James Stacy, actor '' Johnny Madrid Lancer on Lancer (1968-'70) '' age 79
Sept. 17 '' Charmian Carr, actress '' Liesl Von Trapp (eldest daughter) in The Sound of Music '' age 73
Sept. 24 '' Bill Nunn, actor '' Robbie Robertson in Spider-Man film trilogy '' age 63
Sept. 25 '' Jean Shepard, singer/songwriter '' pioneered country music for women '' 82
Sept. 25 '' Jos(C) Fernndez, baseball player '' starting pitcher for the Miami Marlins '' age 24
Jose Fernandez (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Sept. 25 '' Arnold Palmer, golfer '' legendary professional golfer, creator of beverage of the same name '' age 87
Arnold Palmer (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Sept. 28 '' Shimon Peres, statesman '' President of Israel (2007-'14) '' age 93
Oct. 21 '' Kevin Meaney, comedian '' Uncle Buck in the TV series by the same name '' age 60
Oct. 24 '' Bobby Vee, singer '' ''Take Good Care of My Baby,'' ''The Night Has a Thousand Eyes'' '' age 73
Oct. 30 '' Tammy Grimes, stage actress '' Molly in The Unsinkable Molly Brown '' age 82
Nov. 3 '' Kay Starr, singer '' ''Wheel of Fortune'' and ''The Rock And Roll Waltz'' '' age 94
Nov. 7 '' Janet Reno, Attorney General of the United States 1993-2001 nominated by President Bill Clinton '' age 78
Nov. 7 '' Leonard Cohen, poet/songwriter '' ''Suzanne,'' ''Hallelujah'' and ''Bird on the Wire'' '' age 82
Leonard Cohen (Getty Images)
Nov. 11 '' Robert Vaughn, actor '' Napoleon Solo in The Man from U.N.C.L.E (1964-'68) '' age 83
Nov. 13 '' Leon Russell, musician/songwriter '' ''A Song for You,'' ''Tight Rope'' and ''This Masquerade'' '' age 74
Nov. 14 '' Gwen Ifill, journalist '' Washington Week and PBS NewsHour on PBS '' age 61
Nov. 15 '' Holly Dunn, singer/songwriter '' ''Are You Ever Gonna Love Me'' and ''You Really Had Me Going'' '' age 59
Nov. 24 '' Florence Henderson, actress/singer '' Carol Brady on The Brady Bunch (1969 to 1974) '' age 82
Florence Henderson (Photo by Gabriel Olsen/Getty Images)
Nov. 25 '' Fidel Castro, dictator '' Prime Minister then President of Cuba from 1959-2008 '' age 90
Fidel Castro (Photo by Jorge Rey/Getty Images)
Nov. 25 '' Ron Glass, actor '' Det. Ron Harris on Barney Miller (1975-1982) '' age 71
Nov. 26 '' Fritz Weaver, actor '' Dr. Josef Weiss in the mini series Holocaust '' age 90
Nov. 28 '' Van Williams, actor '' Kenny Madison in Bourbon Street Beat (1959), Surfside 6 (1960) '' age 82
Nov. 28 '' Jim Delligatti, McDonald's franchisee '' created The Big Mac '' age 98
Nov. 30 '' Keo Woolford, actor '' Det. Chang on Hawaii Five-0 (2010 version) '' age 49
Nov. 30 '' Grant Tinker, television executive '' Chairman and CEO of NBC (1981-'86) married to Mary Tyler Moore (1962-'81) '' age 90
Dec. 3 '' Don Calfa, actor '' Paulie the hitman in Weekend at Bernie's (1989) '' age 76
Dec. 3 '' Billy Chapin, actor '' Little John Harper in The Night of the Hunter (1955) '' age 72
Dec. 7 '' Greg Lake, musician '' founding member of Emerson, Lake & Palmer '' age 69
Greg Lake (Getty Images)
Dec. 8 '' Joseph Mascolo, actor '' Stefano DiMera on The Days of Our Lives (1982-'85) & (1993-2001) '' age 87
Dec. 8 '' John Glenn, WWII & Korean War fighter pilot, Marine Colonel, NASA astronaut, Senator from Ohio (1974-99), first American to orbit the Earth (1962) '' age 95
John Glenn (ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images)
Dec. 12 '' Jim Lowe, singer '' biggest hit ''The Green Door'' (1956) '' age 93
Dec. 13 '' Alan Thicke, actor '' Jason Seaver, father on Growing Pains (1985-'92) '' age 69
Alan Thicke (Photo by Rich Polk/Getty Images for Patron)
Dec. 14 '' Bernard Fox, actor '' Dr. Bombay in Bewitched and Colonel Crittendon in Hogan's Heroes '' age 89
Dec. 15 '' Craig Sager, sports reporter '' best known for covering the NBA and for his loud suits '' age 65
Craig Sager (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Dec. 18 '' Zsa Zsa Gabor, Hungarian actress and socialite '' Moulin Rouge (1952), married nine times to mostly wealthy men '' age 99
Dec. 20 ''Mich¨le Morgan, French actress '' Joan of Paris (1942), Higher and Higher (1943) '' age 96
Dec. 25 '' George Michael, singer '' pop culture icon with #1 hits ''Faith'' and ''Careless Whisper '' age 53
Dec. 27 '' Carrie Fisher, actress '' best known as Princess Leia Organa in the Star Wars Franchise '' age 60
Eni sells 30% Zohr stake to Rosneft
Sat, 24 Dec 2016 22:09
December 12th, 201611:05amPosted In: Natural Gas News, News By Country, Russia, United Kingdom, Qatar, Egypt, Corporate, Mergers & Acquisitions, Exploration & Production, Political, Ministries, Natural Gas News Africa, Natural Gas News Europe, Africa Natural GasEni said December 12 it has agreed to sell to Russian state oil giant Rosneft a 30% stake in the giant Zohr gasfield and the surrounding Shourouk concession, offshore Egypt. The Italian major currently holds 90% of the asset following its recent 10% transfer to BP of which completion is ongoing. It comes in the context of last week's announced sale of a 19.5% equity stake in Rosneft to Glencore and Qatar's sovereign wealth fund.
Rosneft will pay $1.125bn, plus the pro quota reimbursement of past expenditures which amount so far to some $450mn. Rosneft also has an option to buy a further 5% stake under the same terms. The options mean that eventually BP may later on own as much as 15% and Rosneft 35% of Zohr.
Eni said first gas from Zohr remains on schedule for the end of 2017; the field has a total potential of 850bn m" (30 trillion ft") gas in place. The gas is expected to meet local demand.
The Italian major said that, including this transaction, over the last four years it has generated total cash of about $6.3bn by monetising stakes in its ''huge upstream discoveries''.
The Zohr field's planned development (Graphic credit: Eni)
Over the weekend, Switzerland-based oil trader and mining group Glencore and the Qatar Investment Authority announced a new ''strategic partnership'' relating to Rosneft.
On December 7, Glencore and QIA agreed to buy on a 50-50 basis a 19.5% stake in Rosneft from the Russian government for '¬10.2bn. For Glencore, this increases the exposure of its oil and gas assets, relative to mining, at a time of low oil prices. BP already owns a 19.75% stake in Rosneft.
Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin said December 12: ''While being extremely complex to execute, this privatisation deal is the largest in the history of Russia.'' Sechin, as a former Russian deputy prime minister from 2008 to 2012, helped engineer the initial sale of a stake in Rosneft to BP as a way of seeking international acceptance of the state company following its expropriation of the privately-held Russian independent Yukos.
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Putin announces ceasefire agreements in Syria
Thu, 29 Dec 2016 13:49
Putin praised Russia's Foreign and Defense Ministries for their work with Turkish and Iranian counterparts.
Russia, Turkey, and Iran undertake commitments to guarantee peaceful settlement in Syria. Photo: Sappers of the Russian Armed Forces clear mines in a street of eastern Aleppo. Source: Timur Abdullayev/TASS
Agreements have been achieved on a ceasefire regime in Syria and the sides are ready to start peace talks, said Russia's President Vladimir Putin.
"Reports have just arrived that several hours ago there was a development that we all have looked and worked for for so long. Three documents have been signed. A ceasefire between the Syrian government and the armed opposition is the one. A package of measures to control the ceasefire is the other. There is also a declaration of readiness to enter peace talks on Syrian conflict settlement," Putin said at a meeting with Russian foreign and defense ministers.
Russia, Turkey, and Iran undertake commitments to guarantee peaceful settlement in Syria. The deal comes as a result of Russia's cooperation with partners in the region, Putin said."No doubt, the agreements reached are fragile and demand special attention and assistance with the goal of preservation and development. But nevertheless, this is a notable result of our joint work, efforts of the Defense Ministry, the Foreign Ministry and our partners in the regions," Putin said at the meeting with the foreign and defense ministers.
Putin said the Foreign Ministry and Defense Ministry were constantly in a contact with partners in Damascus and other capitals. "They did a very great job jointly with partners from Turkey. We know that most recently a trilateral meeting of foreign ministers of Russia, Turkey, and Iran was held in Moscow where the three countries undertook commitments on control and guarantees of peaceful settlement in the Syrian Republic."
Read more: How could Russian-NATO relations break down in 2017?>>>
Obama administration is close to announcing measures to punish Russia for election interference - The Washington Post
Tue, 27 Dec 2016 21:22
The Obama administration is close to announcing a series of measures to punish Russia for its interference in the 2016 presidential election, including economic sanctions and diplomatic censure, according to U.S. officials.
The administration is still finalizing the details, which are also expected to include covert action that likely will involve cyber operations, the officials said. An announcement on the public elements of the response could come as early as this week.
The sanctions part of the package culminates weeks of debate in the White House about how to revise an executive order from last year meant to give the president authority to respond to cyberattacks from overseas, but which did not originally cover efforts to influence the electoral system.
The Obama administration last year rolled the order out to great fanfare as a way to punish and deter foreign hackers who harm the United States' economic or national security.
The threat to use it last year helped wring a pledge out of China's president that his country would cease hacking U.S. companies' secrets to benefit Chinese firms.
(Jason Aldag/The Washington Post)
But officials this fall concluded that it could not, as written, be used to punish the most significant cyber-provocation in recent memory against the United States '-- Russia's hacking of Democratic organizations, targeting of state election systems and meddling in the presidential election.
With the clock ticking, the White House is working on adapting the authority to punish the Russians, according to the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. President Obama last week pledged there would be a response to Moscow's interference in the U.S. elections.
One clear way to use the order against the Russian suspects would be to declare the electoral systems part of the ''critical infrastructure'' of the United States. Or it could be amended to clearly apply to the new threat '-- interfering in elections.
Administration officials would also like to make it difficult for President-elect Donald Trump to roll back any action they take.
''Part of the goal here is to make sure that we have as much of the record public or communicated to Congress in a form that would be difficult to simply walk back,'' said one senior administration official, who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.
Obama issued the executive order in April 2015, creating the sanctions tool as a way to hold accountable people who harm computer systems related to critical functions such as electricity generation or transportation or who gain a competitive advantage through cybertheft of commercial secrets.
The order allows the government to freeze the assets in the United States of people overseas who have engaged in cyber acts that have threatened U.S. national security or financial stability. The sanctions would also block commercial transactions with the designated individuals and bar their entry into the country.
But just a year later, a Russian military spy agency would hack into the Democratic National Committee and steal a trove of emails that were released a few months later on WikiLeaks, U.S. officials said. Other releases followed, including the hacked emails of Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman, John Podesta.
''Fundamentally, it was a low-tech, high-impact event,'' said Zachary Goldman, a sanctions and national security expert at New York University School of Law. And the 2015 executive order was not crafted to target hackers who steal emails and dump them on WikiLeaks or seek to disrupt an election. ''It was an authority published at a particular time to address a particular set of problems,'' he said.
So officials ''need to engage in some legal acrobatics to fit the DNC hack into an existing authority, or they need to write a new authority,'' Goldman said.
Administration officials would like Obama to use the power before leaving office to demonstrate its utility.
''When the president came into office, he didn't have that many tools out there to use as a response'' to malicious cyber-acts, said Ari Schwartz, a former senior director for cybersecurity on the National Security Council. ''Having the sanctions tool is really a big one. It can make a very strong statement in a way that is less drastic than bombing a country and more impactful than sending out a cable from the State Department.''
The National Security Council concluded that it would not be able to use the authority against Russian hackers because their malicious activity did not clearly fit under its terms, which require harm to critical infrastructure or the theft of commercial secrets.
''You would (a) have to be able to say that the actual electoral infrastructure, such as state databases, was critical infrastructure, and (b) that what the Russians did actually harmed it,'' said the administration official who spoke on the condition of anonymity. ''Those are two high bars.''
Though Russian government hackers are believed to have penetrated at least one state voter-registration database, they did not tamper with the data, officials said.
Some analysts believe that state election systems would fit under ''government facilities,'' which is one of the 16 critical infrastructure sectors designated by the Department of Homeland Security.
Another option is to use the executive order against other Russian targets '-- say, hackers who stole commercial secrets '-- and then, in either a public message or a private one, make clear that the United States considers its electoral systems to be critical infrastructure.
The idea is to not only punish but also deter.
''As much as I am concerned about what happened to us in the election, I am also concerned about what will happen to us in the future,'' a second official said. ''I am firmly convinced that the Russians and others will say, 'That worked pretty well in 2016, so let's keep going.' We have elections every two years in this country.''
Even the threat of sanctions can have deterrent value. Officials and experts point to the agreement Chinese President Xi Jinping reached with Obama last year that his country would stop commercial cyberspying. Xi came to the table following news reports last summer that the administration was preparing to sanction Chinese companies.
Complicating matters, the Trump transition team has not yet had extensive briefings with the White House on cyber issues, including the potential use of the cyber-sanctions order. The slow pace has caused consternation among officials, who fear that the administration's accomplishments in cybersecurity could languish if the next administration fails to understand their value.
[Trump turning away intelligence briefers since election win]
Sanctions are not a silver bullet. Obama noted that ''we already have enormous numbers of sanctions against the Russians'' for their activities in Ukraine. So it is questionable, some experts say, whether adding new ones would have a meaningful effect in changing the Kremlin's behavior. But in combination with other measures, they could be effective.
Criminal indictments of Russians might become an option, officials said, but the FBI has so far not gathered enough evidence that could be introduced in a criminal case. At one point, federal prosecutors and FBI agents in San Francisco considered indicting Guccifer 2.0, a nickname for a person or people believed to be affiliated with the Russian influence operation and whose true identity was unknown.
Before the election, the administration used diplomatic channels to warn Russia. Obama spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin at a Group of 20 summit in China in September. About a week before the election, the United States sent a ''hotline''-style message to Moscow using a special channel for crisis communication created in 2013 as part of the State Department's Nuclear Risk Reduction Center. As part of that message, the officials said, the administration asked Russia to stop targeting state voter registration and election systems. It was the first use of that system. The Russians, officials said, appeared to comply.
Here's what you need to know about Russia's election hacking
Obama says 'we will' retaliate against Russia for election hacking
Moscow has the world's attention. For Putin, that's a win.
Syria: US Moves to Arm Rebels with Anti-Aircraft Weapons
Tue, 27 Dec 2016 22:18
Russia says that the new bill could see weapons fall into the hands of its enemies.
Russia has said that a U.S. decision to lift restrictions on supplying Syrian rebels with weapons Tuesday, would be a threat to Russian troops operating in Syria and amounts to ''a hostile act.''
RELATED:Mass Graves Discovered in Aleppo by Russian Troops
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswomen, Maria Zakharova, said in a statement that the move by Barack Obama's administration to ease restrictions on arms deliveries, through the defense policy bill passed last week, would threaten the Russian airforce, military personnel and the Russian embassy in Syria.
''Washington has placed its bets on supplying military aid to anti-government forces who don't differ than much blood-thirsty head choppers. Now, the possibility of supplying them with weapons, including mobile anti-aircraft complexes, has been written into this new bill,'' said Zakharova.
''We, therefore, view the step as a hostile act,'' Zakharova continued.
Zakharova argued that Obama's outgoing administration was trying to get Donald Trump's incoming administration to continue an ''anti-Russian line'' and is attempting to complicate the already difficult situation for when Trump takes office on Jan. 20.
The statement made reference to U.S. accusations that Russia interfered in the U.S. presidential elections, arguing it was an attempt at ''increasing the degree of Russophobia.''
RELATED:Turkey's Erdogan to Consult Trump over Syrian No-Fly Zone
The signing of the bill is to purportedly help arm Syrian Democratic Forces, SDF, a group made up of mainly Kurds fighting against the Islamic State Group. However, previous shipments of U.S. arms have landed in the hands of extremist organizations in Syria, including the al-Qaida-affiliated Nusra front.
Turkey sees the majority Kurdish force as a terrorist organization and Turkey has been aiding the Free Syrian army, FSA, as part of Operation Euphrates in Northern Syria.
Despite Trump inflaming tensions with Russia, by renewing calls for an arms race, the statement from the Russian Foreign Ministry reiterated President Vladamir Putin's hope for ease tensions between the two states.
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German legislators want to fine Facebook for fake news - UPI.com
Wed, 28 Dec 2016 13:01
BERLIN, Dec. 20 (UPI) -- German lawmakers want new laws to prosecute social media outlets, including Facebook, for publishing fake news and hate messages.
Social Democratic Party parliamentary chairman Thomas Oppermann suggests fines as high as $519,000 for violations, according to an interview with German weekly magazine Der Spiegel.
"If after the relevant checks Facebook does not immediately, within 24 hours, delete the offending post then [it] must reckon with severe penalties of up to 500,000 euros."
He also said Facebook hasn't dealt with the problem enough. "Facebook did not avail itself of the opportunity to regulate the issue of complaint management itself," Oppermann said. "Now market dominating platforms like Facebook will be legally required to build a legal protection office in Germany that is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year."
He said victims of fake news and hate messages should contact the platform in which they've been targeted
Other officials in Germany back Oppermann.
Justice Minister Heiko Maas told the daily S¼ddeutsche Zeitung the government would set "legal consequences" if the number of hate messages and false reports don't decrease. "We expect clear improvements in Facebook's removal practice. The standard must be German law," he told the newspaper.
Patrick Sensburg, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats, said in an interview with Deutsche Welle on Tuesday that the government should be "ratcheting up the statutory offenses" against fake news producers and "take action against the people who run these websites."
The ruling coalition wants a law before the 2017 elections.
"There has been only talk for too long. Now we in the coalition will take action at the beginning of next year," Volker Kauder, a senior member of Merkel's Christian Democrats, said in a statement on Friday.
A Facebook spokesman told The Hill the company wants to speak with German lawmakers about the issue.
"We take the issues raised very seriously. And we are engaging with key politicians and digital experts from all parties and relevant ministries in Germany interested in this matter," said a Facebook spokesperson in a statement emailed to The Hill.
Facebook has been taking its own steps to crack down on what is called fake news.
Last week, Facebook introduced tools to allow users to flag news to be checked by independent vetting organizations. But after some conservative media outlets, including Breitbart, were concerned that the fact-checking will not be objective, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said only the most "obvious hoaxes," that are "designed to get people to click on the stories and see ads" would be flagged.
Germany Considers Fining Facebook $522,000 Per Fake News Item | Heat Street
Wed, 28 Dec 2016 12:59
The government of Germany is considering imposing a legal regime that would allow fining social networks such as Facebook up to 500,000 euros ($522,000) for each day the platform leaves a ''fake news'' story up without deleting it.
In the name of combating harms from false news, the German government next year will consider the bill, which has bipartisan support, that will allow both official and private complainants to flag content that is considered ''fake news''.
The law would also force the social networks to create in-country offices focused on responding to takedown demands and would make these networks responsible for compensation if a post by individual users were found to slander someone.
''If after the relevant checks Facebook does not immediately, within 24 hours, delete the offending post then [it] must reckon with severe penalties of up to 500,000 euros,'' said Germany's parliamentary chief of the Social Democrat party, Thomas Oppermann in an interview with Germany's Der Spiegel magazine.
German lawmakers believe this bill will help tackle the possibility of Russia meddling in Parliamentary elections scheduled for next year. This follows the allegations that the Kremlin was behind the hacking of the Democratic National Committee that led to the leak of thousands of emails by key aides to Hillary Clinton.
The German intelligence agency has warned that Russia could try to undermine the elections next year by employing automated bots on social media to spread fake news articles.
Some members of the government have advocated criminalizing the spread of so-called ''fake news''. Patrick Sensburg, a senior MP in Merkel's party said recently: ''Targeting disinformation to destabilize a state should be a criminal offence.''
Hans-Georg Maassen, the head of Germany's domestic intelligence agency, told Bild am Sonntag: ''Facebook is earning an awful lot of money with fake news.'' He added: ''A company that earns billions from the internet also has a social responsibility.''
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The great "Fake News" scare of 1530 (hint: it repeats today)
Wed, 28 Dec 2016 16:33
Fake news has always been around for humor purposes, but the real ''fake news'' scares happen when the establishment is so used to getting away with lying, that any alternate narrative is demonized as factually false, irresponsible, and dangerous.
''The Onion'' was next to ''The Economist'' in the newspaper stands for almost two decades. ''Weekly World News'', which one-ups most British tabloids with regular Elvis sightings and vivid descriptions of two-mile fish orbiting in the rings of Jupiter, is still next to ''Foreign Policy'' in the same newspaper stands. This was never considered problematic in the slightest. Why, then, is a unified establishment screaming bloody murder about ''fake news'' all of a sudden?
To see the pattern here, it helps to know a little history '' let's look at the great ''Fake News'' scare of 1530. It has a lot of elements similar to ours today.
''The statements that make [established] people mad are the ones they worry might be believed. ['...] If Galileo had said that people in Padua were ten feet tall, he would have been regarded as a harmless eccentric. Saying the earth orbited the sun was another matter. The church knew this would set people thinking.'' '-- Paul Graham
After the Black Death hit Europe hard around 1350, the monasteries were chronically short on manpower. The families that had used to send a child or two to become monks or nuns simply needed all their kids to work in the fields, to ensure food production, before such luxuries as manning the monasteries could even be considered. Therefore, any work that required involving monasteries became increasingly steep or scarce for the coming century.
This is relevant as those monasteries were the only places that produced books, all of which were in Latin, and all of which were in complete synchronization with the messages of the Catholic Church, the owner of the monasteries and therefore the owner of all mass media at the time. To compound the situation, the same owner also employed all the news anchors '' the village preachers, who were the ones who read the books (in Latin) and translated them to the common tongue in villages.
A book was hideously expensive to produce. Not only was each page copied by hand, but the pages were made from animal hides: it was estimated that a single book may require the hides of as much as 300 calves. We don't have a lot of comparative numbers from Europe of the time, but we do have them from elsewhere: a fine book in the Islamic world of the time could cost 100 dinars, with the annual paycheck required to support a middle-class family being about 25 dinars. Put differently, the prospect of buying one single book would consume an entire family income for four years '' or in the $500k to $1M range in today's value.
Gutenberg was convinced his invention would strengthen the Church, as the ability to mass produce books from a single original would eliminate all the small copying errors invariably introduced in the manual book production process. It would therefore, he argued, improve the consistency of Christian bibles. The result was the exact opposite, through mechanisms Gutenberg did not foresee.
To the day, almost a century later, Johannes Gutenberg combined the four inventions of the squeeze press, oil-based inks, metal movable type, and cheap rag-based pages to produce the first printing press. All of a sudden, books could be mass produced cheaply, and there was an enormous profit motive to be made in producing books for the common people. You could accurately and shamelessly call it an undercutting of the monastery business. (''How will the monks get paid if we allow cheap copying technologies?'')
Gutenberg was convinced his invention would strengthen the Church, as the ability to mass produce books from a single original would eliminate all the small copying errors invariably introduced in the manual book production process. The result was the exact opposite, through mechanisms Gutenberg did not foresee.
It's important to remember here, that through the media cartel of the medieval ages (where the Catholic Church produced all news and reported all news), that there was an absolute gatekeeper position over the narrative. The Church could essentially claim that something was true, and everybody would believe it. This is a very powerful position, being the gatekeeper of true and false '' one that is prone to abuse without any opposition, or competition, in reporting. As it turned out, the Catholic Church would indeed come to abuse this power quite egregiously, and paid the price for it.
What Martin Luther protested was only superficially the selling of salvation to raise funds: fundamentally, he was objecting to abuse of the gatekeeper position over truth and lie for the gatekeeper's material benefit.
In the late 1400s, the Catholic Church needed to raise money, and came up with the idea of selling forgiveness for sins, the basic idea being that you didn't need to be a good person to gain the favor of the Church (and divine beings), you only needed to be Rich. A priest, monk, and theologist named Martin Luther took particular exception to this message, seeing how it stood in complete opposition to everything the Church was supposed to be about, and nailed his 95 theses to the church door in 1517.
These 95 theses outlined how the entire practice of selling divine forgiveness was based on falsehoods, fabrications, and fiction. However, it's important to look at the bigger picture here: what Martin Luther protested was only superficially the selling of salvation to raise funds. More fundamentally, he was objecting to abuse of the gatekeeper position over truth and lie to twist the narrative for the gatekeeper's material benefit.
This is where the story should start to feel familiar with modern day conflicts over the Power of Narrative.
Luther was excommunicated '' banished, exiled '' in 1521. This was one of the graver punishments administered, short of the death penalty, and the only thing remaining for somebody thus punished was normally to leave for foreign lands. However, in Luther's case, he was given refuge in lands siding with him instead of the Catholic regime, ultimately setting off a century of civil war over the Power of Narrative.
The final death knell came when Luther published bibles in German and French using the new printing press, the so-called Luther Bibles, first published in 1522. These set off shockwaves, as they were 1) distributed by the cartload in the streets of Paris and France, 2) were readable by the common people without translation by the clergy, and 3) didn't cost the equivalent of a million dollars each.
The Church immediately went into a panic, as they had instantly lost their gatekeeper position. No longer were they able to stand unchallenged when they were reading from the Bible in Latin, as people could '' and would '' verify the claims made, using their own direct sources. And as it turned out, a lot of the things that had been claimed '' selling salvation among them '' had been baloney of the highest order with no support in the Christian Bible as claimed.
The Catholic church went on a rampage and a crusade against this new spread of ideas that would challenge its narrative, and in particular, against the technology which enabled people to challenge its narrative. Copying books cheaply and efficiently instead of paying four annual salaries for a single book '' the audacity, the outrageous heresy! How dared people copy books themselves without respecting the Church? Obviously, books could only be properly copied in monasteries, to ensure proper quality.
(''How will the monks copying books get paid otherwise?'' was as much a smokescreen then as it is today.)
The church kept up the pressure against the printing press, as it saw all the resulting non-sanctioned news channels as completely fake, not just being wrong, but being dangerous. They were irresponsible. They were deliberately spreading misinformation '' at least the Church saw it that way, a Church which was institutionally incapable of unlearning that it was no longer the single source of information and would no longer have whatever outlandish claim accepted without question.
However, the nobility and royalty of the time were certainly paying attention to the Church. After all, the Archbishop installed Kings, so there was a mutual dependence for power between the clergy and royalty at the time. Therefore, when the Church exclaimed the sky is falling (''there is fake news everywhere! We must do something!!!111!!one!''), the royalty tended to listen.
As a result, on January 13, 1535, the French King Francis I signed into law the death penalty by hanging for using a printing press at all. Yes, you read that right: there was a death penalty for making unauthorized copies. The justification for the law, as still readable in the preserved logs from 1535, was to ''prevent the spread of misinformation and false news''.
So the gatekeepers of knowledge and culture in 1530, on losing their gatekeeper position over the narrative, didn't counter with higher-quality reporting, but instead attacked the technology enabling competition, calling it out as spreading misinformation and irresponsible fake reports. Does any of this seem'... familiar?
The law was a complete fiasco. Once people had learned to read competing reporting, there was no unlearning it. The law was repealed shortly thereafter. England went another route to prevent the success of the printing press by establishing a censorship regime with printing monopolies, known as copyright, but that's a story for another day.
As a final touch, let's consider the words of Paul Graham, in his excellent essay ''what you can't say'': ''No one gets in trouble for saying that 2 + 2 is 5, or that people in Pittsburgh are ten feet tall. Such obviously false statements might be treated as jokes, or at worst as evidence of insanity, but they are not likely to make anyone mad. The statements that make people mad are the ones they worry might be believed. I suspect the statements that make people maddest are those they worry might be true. ['...] If Galileo had said that people in Padua were ten feet tall, he would have been regarded as a harmless eccentric. Saying the earth orbited the sun was another matter. The church knew this would set people thinking.''
Privacy and narrative remain your own responsibility.
About Rick FalkvingeRick is Head of Privacy at Private Internet Access. He is also the founder of the first Pirate Party and is a political evangelist, traveling around Europe and the world to talk and write about ideas of a sensible information policy. Additionally, he has a tech entrepreneur background and loves good whisky and fast motorcycles.
Consumer Reports: Don't buy the new MacBook Pro
Fri, 23 Dec 2016 20:15
Consumer Reports said Thursday that it has decided not to recommend Apple's new MacBook Pros, because the notebooks' battery life can be miserable.
The issue isn't exactly new: Many MacBook Pro owners have been complaining on social media that their computers have short battery life. Consumer Reports' tests confirmed customers' gripes.
The MacBook Pro's battery life was "highly inconsistent from one trial to the next," Consumer Reports said in its review. For example one MacBook Pro model ran 16 hours in one test and less than four hours in the next. Another got a stunning 19.5 hours of battery life in its best test, and dropped to a woeful 4.5 hours in its worst.
Although battery life can vary from test to test, Consumer Reports said a fluctuation as large as the one it experienced on the MacBook Pro is extremely rare. Usually, laptop battery life only varies about 5% from test to test.
Since Consumer Reports said averaging the battery life length would not reflect what a customer would actually experience, it decided to factor in the lowest battery life measured for each model. That resulted in some truly dreadful ratings.
The 15-inch version received a score of 56 out of 100. The 13-inch version without the new Touch Bar got a 47, and the 13-inch MacBook Pro with a Touch Bar only got a score of 40.
That's well south of the MacBook Air (70 of 100), which is half the price of the cheapest MacBook Pro that Consumer Reports reviewed. The $585 Acer Aspire even scored higher than the new MacBooks. Consumer Reports' best-reviewed model is the Vaio Z, which received an overall score of 81 out of 100.
None of the MacBook Pro's scores were high enough for Consumer Reports to recommend them. It marked the first time Consumer Reports said consumers shouldn't buy a MacBook.
An Apple(AAPL, Tech30) spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.
Related: Is the MacBook Pro's Touch Bar a gimmick?
Apple claims that the new MacBook Pros get 10 hours of battery life. The new computers' most notable new feature is the Touch Bar, a touch-sensitive strip above the keyboard that changes functions based on the software running on screen.
Consumer Reports and Apple have a checkered history. The magazine notoriously failed to recommend the iPhone 4 for its 'antennagate' signal issues, even though it rated the phone higher than any other smartphone on the market.
That led to a crabby Steve Jobs giving a press conference, announcing that Apple would give every iPhone 4 customer a free case.
But Consumer Reports was the first major publication to throw cold water on Apple's 'bendgate' phone cracking controversy. In lab tests, Consumer Reports found that the iPhone 6 was far more durable than YouTube videos made it appear.
CNNMoney (New York)First published December 23, 2016: 9:18 AM ET
Universal CTO Ty Roberts talks APIs, VR and hi-res music
Sat, 24 Dec 2016 16:34
Universal Music Group sprang a surprise this year when it recruited veteran digital media innovator and Gracenote co-founder Ty Roberts as its new SVP and chief technology officer in April.
After eight months soaking up lessons from the many arms of UMG's global empire and working on some new product ideas, Roberts, whose past includes producing some of the first interactive music products with artists including David Bowie and Brian Eno, has plenty to say about music/tech trends in 2016, and how things have changed since the heyday of CDs.
''The big difference today is that the products are a combination of music, but also information and real-time information like social commentary. The products themselves are dynamic now,'' he says.
''A product today is more like an API. As a fan, you should be able to talk to the computer server at Universal which serves you back the latest thing: a package of music, information, 'here are some people talking about it', the lyrics and more.''
Roberts also notes the ability for an artist or label to continue developing a music product after its 'release'. Kanye West tinkering with 'The Life of Pablo' may be the obvious example in 2016.
However, UMG has also experimented with adding post-release bonus tracks to albums on Spotify: something that used to involve a label shipping (and fans buying) a brand new CD.
''The products in the past were static, non-dynamic and fixed. In this world we can continue to evolve these things. That's a really big deal,'' says Roberts.
''And if we're going to do that, we should be starting to think about pulling together a better definition of a product: it's not just the components. How do we want it to be presented?''
One example of that from 2016 is VRTGO, the virtual-reality app that Universal released in October with a selection of made-for-VR music videos.
''There's a great opportunity in VR because there's no established VR platform. There are 50 different companies making different things to show off with VR, and we can be one of those. The format isn't fixed yet, which is our opportunity to experiment,'' says Roberts.
''You see VRTGO as an application now, but really it's an API. You could take that and put it inside another application, and these things will play back in a unique way, and provide more of a complete experience for which our artists have delivered the components.''
Roberts thinks that VR may be one of the first formats where musical products are truly dynamic, but which also allow ''multi-person interactivity'' where fans experience music together within a virtual world created for (or even by) the artist responsible for the work.
It's the kind of experience that's familiar for gamers, but much less so for music fans.
''Games tend to be more competitive. I want something more social, emotional and collaborative. It's going to transform it from a passive experience to an active experience,'' says Roberts.
''As an example: do you want to go on a virtual date with someone you've met across the internet inside a Peter Gabriel album, and walk around Peter Gabriel's world together? That kind of experience is going to be possible.''
In a speech at Midem in June, Roberts talked about the need for the music industry to adapt to a ''world of systems'' despite historically not having been very good at building databases and computer systems itself.
He's optimistic that the industry is adapting to the challenge, partly through more tech-savvy staff in senior positions, and partly through more collaboration both within the industry and with external tech firms.
''We're working with the other companies and third parties better, which is great. A lot of the innovative ideas in the space are coming from third parties. There's nothing like five budding entrepreneurs in a room with an idea!'' he says.
The Open Music Initiative, which UMG is part of, is one example of the industry pulling together with third parties to work on common goals, and particularly to create new standards for music data.
''I'm super excited about it, we're all putting our best ideas in there,'' he says. ''And you see from things like Wikipedia that fans are happy to help us. Even if you have all the experts in the world, if you want to cover everything, you need help.''
That's just one way that fans have been seen as co-creators in 2016. Others include social platforms like Musical.ly and Flipagram, which have seen fans creating their own video content around and with music.
While there are copyright questions to debate and licensing negotiations to hammer out around these companies, Roberts sees the user-generated content trend as exciting
''This generation of fans, the generation today, is very creative. They are used to being part of the creative process on their mobile phones. Their world is not just 'look what I'm listening to', it's 'look at what I did with it, here's how I interpreted it','' says Roberts.
''If they can't imprint themselves on the media or around the media in some way, it feels a bit static and suffocating to them. And they don't necessarily want to create something that lasts for hours: it's something that's very snackable and short, that their friends look at and laugh and cry. We have to embrace that.''
Roberts also talks about entering an era where a musical artwork is not just a reflection of the artist that created it, but also the fans that are reinterpreting it.
''Even with music videos, the artist can release their version or multiple versions, but then release the raw components for fans to make something else,'' he says. ''That idea of a co-creative experience with the fans? The artists who will embrace that will really connect deeply with those fans.''
As 2016 comes to an end, Roberts has been preparing for the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) which takes place in Las Vegas in early January. Universal will be among other music companies backing the Hi-Res Audio pavilion at the show.
''For CES, we have brought the equipment and services together, along with the other music companies and independents and created a mini version of Capitol Studios on the show floor,'' says Roberts.
''We'll be showing people a lot better product offering than we've had in the past, but it's the beginning of the journey. We're at CES showing the visions of the future. We've got a couple of major streaming services talking about what this means for them.
''It could take a year to get this into the marketplace, but we really think we can make this a mainstream product.''
Roberts adds that he thinks the music industry has a chance to ''take back the living room'' as an entertainment medium, capitalising on the fact that a growing number of people not only have an HD television, but also a decent sound system attached to it.
''Part of the message is take off the earphones, play some music and look at some information and visuals while you listen,'' he says.
''The music industry can take advantage of these products to deliver high-quality sound. But also the opportunity to create a lot of new experiences around the music. It's not just delivering the sound: it's the credits, the visuals, the other assets. it's hi-res both auditorially and visually.''
However, Roberts also sees plenty of potential in new audio devices without a screen, such as Amazon's Echo and the emerging world of voice-activated assistants on smart speakers.
''Today it's a command-and-fetch robot: 'Tell me what the number one song was in 1989' or 'Play me Lady Gaga's last album'. But it has the opportunity to evolve into a conversation,'' says Roberts.
As an example, he suggests Alexa might ask if you want to learn about some music you don't know already, but which it thinks you'll love '' ''Would you like to learn about early jazz, the founders of hip-hop or explore music from Chicago?'' '' before taking you on a journey into whichever one you choose.
''It's an opportunity to get into a dialogue, to be a discovery experience driven by dialogue. I don't want it to be a school: it should be like when you talk to that great friend you have who knows about music. Conversation! But it will probably take a few years,'' he says.
Overall, Roberts is optimistic about the music industry's ability to forge positive relationships with the developers of all this technology, particularly when it's smaller startups.
''When those entrepreneurs come to our company, we embrace them: we try to understand what they're doing and figure out how to work with them. There always were technologists in the music companies. The difference now is they are at the top of their food chain,'' he says.
''This is really what's changed it. This is how the world works now: there's always something new, and you have to embrace it. We have to figure out how to empower all these people.''
Police seek Amazon Echo data in murder case
Tue, 27 Dec 2016 17:10
Amazon declined to give police any of the information that the Echo logged on its servers, but it did hand over Bates' account details and purchases. Police say they were able to pull data off of the speaker, but it's unclear what info they were able to access. Due to the so-called always on nature of the connected device, the authorities are after any audio the speaker may have picked up that night. Sure, the Echo is activated by certain words, but it's not uncommon for the IoT gadget to be alerted to listen by accident.
Police say Bates had several other smart home devices, including a water meter. That piece of tech shows that 140 gallons of water were used between 1AM and 3AM the night Collins was found dead in Bates' hot tub. Investigators allege the water was used to wash away evidence of what happened off of the patio. The examination of the water meter and the request for stored Echo information raises a bigger question about privacy. At a time when we have any number of devices tracking and automating our habits at home, should that information be used against us in criminal cases?
Bates' attorney argues that it shouldn't. "You have an expectation of privacy in your home, and I have a big problem that law enforcement can use the technology that advances our quality of life against us," defense attorney Kimberly Weber said. Of course, there's also the question of how reliable information is from smart home devices. Accuracy can be an issue for any number of IoT gadgets. However, an audio recording would seemingly be a solid piece of evidence, if released.
Just as we saw with the quest to unlock an iPhone in the San Bernardino case, it will be interesting to see how authorities and the companies who make smart home devices work out the tension between serving customers, maintaining privacy and pursuing justice.
We reached out to Amazon for comment and will update when we hear back.
Scientists say your ''mind" isn't confined to your brain, or even your body '-- Quartz
Tue, 27 Dec 2016 21:24
You might wonder, at some point today, what's going on in another person's mind. You may compliment someone's great mind, or say they are out of their mind. You may even try to expand or free your own mind.
But what is a mind? Defining the concept is a surprisingly slippery task. The mind is the seat of consciousness, the essence of your being. Without a mind, you cannot be considered meaningfully alive. So what exactly, and where precisely, is it?
Traditionally, scientists have tried to define the mind as the product of brain activity: The brain is the physical substance, and the mind is the conscious product of those firing neurons, according to the classic argument. But growing evidence shows that the mind goes far beyond the physical workings of your brain.
No doubt, the brain plays an incredibly important role. But our mind cannot be confined to what's inside our skull, or even our body, according to a definition first put forward by Dan Siegel, a professor of psychiatry at UCLA School of Medicine and the author of a recently published book, Mind: A Journey to the Heart of Being Human.
He first came up with the definition more than two decades ago, at a meeting of 40 scientists across disciplines, including neuroscientists, physicists, sociologists, and anthropologists. The aim was to come to an understanding of the mind that would appeal to common ground and satisfy those wrestling with the question across these fields.
After much discussion, they decided that a key component of the mind is: ''the emergent self-organizing process, both embodied and relational, that regulates energy and information flow within and among us.'' It's not catchy. But it is interesting, and with meaningful implications.
The most immediately shocking element of this definition is that our mind extends beyond our physical selves. In other words, our mind is not simply our perception of experiences, but those experiences themselves. Siegel argues that it's impossible to completely disentangle our subjective view of the world from our interactions.
''I realized if someone asked me to define the shoreline but insisted, is it the water or the sand, I would have to say the shore is both sand and sea,'' says Siegel. ''You can't limit our understanding of the coastline to insist it's one or the other. I started thinking, maybe the mind is like the coastline'--some inner and inter process. Mental life for an anthropologist or sociologist is profoundly social. Your thoughts, feelings, memories, attention, what you experience in this subjective world is part of mind.''
The definition has since been supported by research across the sciences, but much of the original idea came from mathematics. Siegel realized the mind meets the mathematical definition of a complex system in that it's open (can influence things outside itself), chaos capable (which simply means it's roughly randomly distributed), and non-linear (which means a small input leads to large and difficult to predict result).
In math, complex systems are self-organizing, and Siegel believes this idea is the foundation to mental health. Again borrowing from the mathematics, optimal self-organization is: flexible, adaptive, coherent, energized, and stable. This means that without optimal self-organization, you arrive at either chaos or rigidity'--a notion that, Siegel says, fits the range of symptoms of mental health disorders.
Finally, self-organization demands linking together differentiated ideas or, essentially, integration. And Siegel says integration'--whether that's within the brain or within society'--is the foundation of a healthy mind.
Siegel says he wrote his book now because he sees so much misery in society, and he believes this is partly shaped by how we perceive our own minds. He talks of doing research in Namibia, where people he spoke to attributed their happiness to a sense of belonging.
When Siegel was asked in return whether he belonged in America, his answer was less upbeat: ''I thought how isolated we all are and how disconnected we feel,'' he says. ''In our modern society we have this belief that mind is brain activity and this means the self, which comes from the mind, is separate and we don't really belong. But we're all part of each others' lives. The mind is not just brain activity. When we realize it's this relational process, there's this huge shift in this sense of belonging.''
In other words, even perceiving our mind as simply a product of our brain, rather than relations, can make us feel more isolated. And to appreciate the benefits of interrelations, you simply have to open your mind.
Google alters algorithm to remove Holocaust denial search results | The Indian Express
Tue, 27 Dec 2016 23:03
By: Tech Desk | Published:December 27, 2016 4:09 pm Google earlier made corrections to results to queries such as 'are jews evil', 'are muslims bad' and 'are women evil'.Google has changed its algorithm to completely remove Holocaust denial results for the query 'Did the Holocaust happen?'. Google Search, which earlier showed link to a Stormfront's article on 10 reasons why the Holocaust didn't happen, has removed that result and other similar Holocaust denial sites. Stormfront is a neo-Nazi, white supremacist website. Digital Trends quoted a spokesperson from Google, who said, ''Judging which pages on the web best answer a query is a challenging problem and we don't always get it right.''
Google's u-turn comes after it had earlier said it won't be removing the result. In an earlier comment to Fortune magazine, Google has said it does ''not remove content from search results, except in very limited cases such as illegal content, malware and violations of our webmaster guidelines.'' But now it looks like Google is cracking down on this sort of content, which spreads false information.
Google has altered its search results in the past as well. The search giant removed phrases like 'are jews evil', 'are muslims bad' and 'are women evil' from the autocomplete feature in the search box after a Guardian report had highlighted these. However search results from websites around topics like these still continue to figure in Google search results. Many of these are from white-supremacist websites, which spew racial, religious hatred against minority communities, women.
Also read: Google Pixel XL review: The new Android flagship in the market
In fact as the Gizmodo reports points out if you search on phrases like 'are jews evil' etc, results from Stormfront still appear in the first page. A query on 'Are Muslims evil' also include anti-Muslim articles in the first page of results itself.
However, a Google spokesperson in a statement to Gizmodo said the company will continue to make changes to its algorithm over time to 'tackle such challenges'. Whether this means that in future misleading websites with false information get removed altogether from results remains to be seen.
(C) The Indian Express Online Media Pvt Ltd
Twitter Embraces Its Role As A Media Company
Thu, 29 Dec 2016 13:32
Getty Images / BuzzFeed News
If you're wondering whether Twitter views itself as a media company or not, take a look at its careers page.
Twitter Careers currently displays three open roles for editors, and another for an associate producer for online video. According to Twitter's job descriptions, editors '-- who will work on the company's Periscope video product '-- should be ''experienced multi-lingual media junkie[s].'' Meanwhile, qualified producer candidates must ''know how to get a show 'on air' and keep it there.''
At a time when social media companies shirk the ''media company'' label, Twitter, which has also balked at such descriptions in the past, seems to be embracing the role. Twitter is hiring editors and testing breaking news push notifications. It's regularly announcing deals for new, premium live video content traditionally associated with ''media'' companies (last week, it was a Golden Globe pre-show). It's making daily calls on what's news and what's not in its Moments tab and on Periscope. And after years of being classified as a ''social networking'' application in Apple's App Store, it's found a new home in the store's ''news'' category.
Whether Twitter says it or not, it's clear the company wants to be more than simply a dumb pipe for programming created by others. Increasingly, Twitter seems to be positioning itself to procure, program and promote that media as well.
After years of experimentation (Twitter Music, a 2012 partnership with NASCAR, an Olympics deal with NBCU, etc.), Twitter put its media operation into gear in October 2015 with the introduction of Moments, a tab that highlights the day's news in collections of curated tweets. Since Moments' inception, the team behind the feature has struggled with decisions every news organization deals with; it's had to figure out how to handle graphic content (it uses warning labels) and it's made choices on whether to include all viewpoints despite the risk of false equivalency (needs improvement). When Twitter's Moments teams has made mistakes, it's acknowledged them and has even removed a post after admitting bad judgement.
Twitter followed Moments with a series of bigger media bets. Its premium live video efforts, which include a deal to air live NFL games and original programming created exclusively for Twitter (BuzzFeed has partnered with Twitter on this effort), are at the forefront of this push. Seemingly every time you open Twitter on the web, you'll find a live video running beside the timeline. Twitter eventually wants to run these premium live videos 24/7 on its platform, according to a person with familiar with the company's thinking. This same person said that the associate producer job Twitter recently posted is part of a push within the company to hire ''TV people.'' Twitter declined comment on its plans for premium live video and the job openings that will support it.
Twitter's media efforts are occurring against a backdrop of leadership changes at the company, one that has seen Anthony Noto consolidate power around his dual role as Twitter's COO and CFO following the departures of former COO Adam Bain and former CTO Adam Messinger. Sources tell BuzzFeed News that when it comes to Twitter's premium video deals, Noto '-- a guy who once ran the Global Telecommunications, Media and Technology Investment Banking practice at Goldman Sachs '-- ''is in the driver's seat.''
For Twitter, a definitive move into media at a time when larger rivals like Facebook dance and prevaricate around it, could be a savvy tactical decision. Twitter's real-time nature makes it a great platform for breaking news funneled into it by others. In Moments, the company is developing crucial institutional knowledge around news curation. And then there are those ongoing premium live video efforts. If Twitter were to elegantly unite all of that, if it were to fully embrace its ''media company'' side, it might gain something it's long lacked: an identity.
CLIPS AND DOCS
VIDEO - Turkey's Erdogan: 'Confirmed evidence' US-led coalition supports ISIS & other terrorists in Syria | The Millennium Report
Thu, 29 Dec 2016 13:57
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan (C) Murad Sezer / Reuters
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said ''it's very clear'' that the US-led coalition is supporting terrorist groups in Syria, Islamic State (IS, also known as ISIS/ISIL) among them.''They give support to terrorist groups including Daesh (Arabic for IS),'' Erdogan said.
Saying that the US have accused Turkey of supporting IS, speaking at a press conference on Tuesday the Turkish leader blamed the US-led coalition for assisting terrorists themselves.
Apart from IS, he also mentioned Kurdish People's Protection Units in northern Syria (YPG) and Democratic Union Party (PYD) as groups supported by the coalition.
''We have confirmed evidence, with pictures, photos and videos,'' he added.
_Erdogan has also called on Saudi Arabia and Qatar to join Russia, Turkey and Iran in peace talks on Syria. On Tuesday, the Turkish leader said officials of these Gulf states should be included in the talks of foreign ministers in Kazakhstan next month, as their countries had ''shown goodwill and given support'' to Syria, AP reported.
However, the Turkish president stressed that Ankara itself would not take part should Syrian Kurdish groups '' whom he called ''terrorist organizations'' '' be invited to take part in the meeting.
READ MORE: Moscow wants Saudi Arabia to join Russia-Turkey-Iran efforts for Syria peace '' UN envoy
Commenting on Ankara's accusations, US State Department spokesman Mark Toner said Erdogan's claims were ''ludicrous.''
Saying that there is ''no basis for truth'' in Erdogan's statement, Toner added that Washington is ''100 percent behind the defeat and destruction of Daesh, even beyond Syria and Iraq.''
The State Department also praised Ankara's efforts in northern Syria, saying that they have been ''very efficient, very successful.'' The US is in ''constant contact'' with Turkey, Toner added.
''The evidence [mentioned by Erdogan] is quite ample, [the US] have been doing it for a number of years, including running secret CIA operations through Jordan, then through Turkey and into Syria,'' Michael Maloof, a security analyst and former Pentagon official, told RT.
He added that Erdogan's comments were ''disingenuous,'' however, as ''he continues to supply arms [into Syria] as well, with his ultimate aim [being] to go after the Kurds, and ISIS is secondary.''
On Tuesday, Moscow also accused Washington of ''sponsoring terrorism'' in Syria.
READ MORE: US defense bill 'directly threatens' security of Russian military in Syria '' Russian FM spokesperson
Commenting on the latest National Defense Authorization Act signed into law by President Barack Obama, the Russian Foreign Ministry pointed out that the new bill ''openly stipulates the possibility'' of delivering more weapons to Syria.
Those arms ''will soon find their way to the jihadists,'' ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said, adding that America had ''refused'' to fully cooperate in fighting terrorism.
VIDEO - Obama Argues He Could Have Beat Trump If He Ran A Third Term - YouTube
Thu, 29 Dec 2016 05:12
VIDEO - Violent Brawls Breakout At Malls Across The United States! - YouTube
Thu, 29 Dec 2016 04:27
VIDEO - Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, & Joe Biden ARE OFFICIALLY DELUSIONAL !!!!!!!!!! - YouTube
Thu, 29 Dec 2016 04:10
VIDEO - Cops Demand Amazon Turnover Data From "Alexa Electronic Personal Assistant" - YouTube
Thu, 29 Dec 2016 03:58
VIDEO - The Trump plane and air traffic control joke together! "Make ATC Great Again!" - YouTube
Thu, 29 Dec 2016 02:58
VIDEO - Man Who Interrogated 9/11 Mastermind: 'Political Correctness' Allows Terrorists to Operate Among Us | MRCTV
Thu, 29 Dec 2016 02:16
Dr. James Mitchell, who interrogated 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, told Fox News' ''The Kelly File'' on Wednesday that political correctness allows for terrorists to operate amongst us ''without being challenged'' and that the terrorist mastermind predicted that attacks like what happened in Berlin recently would occur. Read Full Story
VIDEO - 'Hardball' Panelist: Putin Did What Gorbachev and Castro Couldn't with 'Coup' of U.S. Gov't | MRCTV
Thu, 29 Dec 2016 02:08
See more in the cross-post on the NewsBusters blog.
Appearing as a guest on Wednesday's Hardball, The Root political editor Jason Johnson told his fellow MSNBC panelists that Russian President Vladimir Putin was the biggest winner of 2016 because he succeeded where Mikhail Gorbachev and the late Fidel Castro couldn't in ''[taking] over the United States'' via a ''coup'' through ''Manchurian candidate'' Donald Trump.
''Biggest winner? Vladimir Putin. He did it. He did it. He did what Gorbachev couldn't do, what Castro couldn't do. He basically took over the United States and got himself a Manchurian candidate and that is something no other Russian leader has been able to do,'' Johnson explained.
VIDEO - 'Daily Show' Co-Creator Hails Event Fighting Unity of Inauguration; 'I'm Thrilled' | MRCTV
Thu, 29 Dec 2016 02:03
See more in the cross-post on the NewsBusters blog.
Ultra-liberal Daily Show co-creator Lizz Winstead appeared on Thursday's Hardball to express how she's ''thrilled'' with a star-studded concert in Miami set to compete with January 20's presidential inauguration that won't be an act of, say, unity for the country, but one of ''solidarity'' with ''people who literally don't want to watch this person get sworn in.''
Winstead also expressed glee that President-elect Donald Trump has been unable to attract A-list celebrities for his inauguration seeing as how he plans to ''literally destroy the lives'' of celebrities who are ''women, black and brown...[or] immigrants.''
VIDEO - CBS Freaks Out: Trump Asked for Lists of Federal Programs and Workers | MRCTV
Thu, 29 Dec 2016 01:59
In yet another report on CBS Evening News about seemingly nothing, the network tried to stoke fear of President-Elect Donald Trump's upcoming administration Thursday night. The cause of their concern? He did the unthinkable and asked for a list of federal programs he would be overseeing. ''The Trump transition team has been sending questionnaires to cabinet departments, not at all unusual, but some of the questions sent to the State Department are raising concerns,'' announced Anchor Scott Pelley.
''The memo shared with CBS News requested details on 'existing programs and activities to promote gender equality, such as ending gender-based violence'...''' reported CBS' Margaret Brennan, ''As well a list of jobs that handle those issues.''
According to Brennan, the memo did not include a reason as to why the transition team wanted the list of programs. But as the future president, does Trump need to note why he wants it? And why the fear, unless it quote, ''raised concern that the Trump administration might want to cancel State Department initiatives championed by former Secretary Hillary Clinton.'' Ah, of course!
''The memo did not ask for the names of officials who work on these programs, unlike a controversial questionnaire sent by the Trump team to the Energy Department earlier this month,'' Brennan recalled. The request was controversial predominantly for leftists because Trump requested a list of programs and employees associated with President Obama's climate change initiatives.
Brennan noted that House Democrats on the Foreign Affairs Committee were so alarmed that they sent a letter to Secretary John Kerry. ''In our view, gathering names in this manner bears striking resemblance to dark chapters in our history marked by enemies lists and political witch hunts,'' Brennan said, reading from their letter.
The CBS reporter waited until the very end of her report to admit that State Department Spokesperson John Kirby told the press, ''The request for organizations and names and details were normal.'' That is after she played a clip of him saying the Obama administration would be concerned if, ''there were issue-specific lists of names that were being provided.''
The fear that CBS and liberals are trying to spread over the requested lists is absolutely absurd. After Trump takes the oath of office on January 20 he will have all the information about federal programs and federal employees readily available to him. The federal government has the Office of Personnel Management, which literally lists every federal employee. If Trump wants a list of programs to find places to cut spending that's his prerogative. That's not a witch hunt, that's looking out for tax payers.
VIDEO - MSNBC's Hayes Fear Trump 'Could Literally' Trigger Nuclear Armageddon | MRCTV
Thu, 29 Dec 2016 01:43
MSNBC took their fear mongering of President-elect Donald Trump to new heights Tuesday night when All In host Chris Hayes reported that, ''Trump's comments about nuclear weapons have experts worried he could literally inadvertently trigger a catastrophe.'' Hayes used two segments of his show to try to drive home his narrative and help spread his fear. He also brought on Esquire writer Charlie Pierce to aid him in his endeavor.
Reading from the liberal Washington Post, Hayes quoted a ''nuclear nonproliferation expert'' saying, ''Imagine we're in a crisis '' if he recklessly tweets, people could read these things in the worst possible light '... The North Koreans have a plan to use nuclear weapons very early in a conflict. They're not going to wait around.''
The MSNBC host told the real life story of a Soviet colonel who talked his government out of attacking the U.S. One day in 1983, a computer system falsely detected one and then five launch signatures being picked up coming from the U.S. The colonel argued that the launch was too small for it to be real, with no provocation on their end, and talked his government out of a perceived counter attack.
Hayes' point was that Trump was so radically unhinged mentally that the colonel, or any nuclear power, couldn't properly read him and possibly launch their stockpiles in error.
After introducing Pierce, Hayes vented, ''And Charlie, you know, I have not thought as much about nuclear weapons in a long time as I have been thinking about them in the last few weeks.'' Pierce explained that he grew up with an ever present fear of a nuclear attack, and warned that it still is a persistent threat:
We have what, I think the total is 7100, individual nuclear war heads. I don't even want to know what the destructive capabilities there. And we're about to hand the launch orders over to a guy who can't stay away from his phone for 15 minutes'... So yeah, I think we're all good to need a refresher course in what nuclear weapons are all about.
''He's basically making this calculation about rational action,'' Hayes argued, reiterating his point that Trump is too unhinged to be understandable:
But largely he's thinking to myself, ''This doesn't make any sense. There's no reason the U.S. is starting a war right now.'' And it made me think how important just a general assumption of predictability and rationality is in the kind of game theoretical decisions made around nuclear weapons.
Pierce recalled that the same fear was present when Ronald Reagan was elected president, but noted that nuclear reduction was started under his tenure. But Pierce didn't extend the benefit of the doubt to Trump. He instead joked that Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin wanted a nuclear arms race because they seem, ''To identify his national manhood with the number of war heads he has. Boy, there's Freudian levels of that I don't want to get into.''
The shear level of fear mongering conducted by Hayes and Pierce was absolutely ridiculous. If Hayes was so worried about a nuclear build up, where was this outrage when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton approved signing over U.S. uranium claims to Russia? Hayes's matter-of-fact discussion of Trump triggering a nuclear armageddon was arguably fake news.
VIDEO - Mitchell to Kerry: 'How Disappointed Are You' Trump Could Undo Your Hard 'Work?' | MRCTV
Thu, 29 Dec 2016 01:31
See more in the cross-post on the NewsBusters blog.
MSNBC host and NBC News correspondent Andrea Mitchell scored an exclusive interview on Wednesday afternoon with Secretary of State John Kerry following his speech blasting Israel and, not surprisingly, she served up softballs for Kerry up to attack Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The warm feelings were clear from the onset as Mitchell gushed over how Kerry's 70-minute-plus remarks were ''unusual'' representing ''an important moment'' even though President-elect Donald Trump had been tweeting how he's ''very much disagreeing'' with the Obama administration's Israel policy and December 23 United Nations (UN) vote.
VIDEO - Netanyahu's Response to Kerry: 'Israelis Do Not Need to be Lectured About the Importance of Peace by Foreign Leaders' | MRCTV
Thu, 29 Dec 2016 01:26
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Wednesday slammed Secretary of State John Kerry for a speech he described as ''almost as unbalanced'' as last Friday's U.N. Security Council resolution condemning Israel. ''Israelis do not need to be lectured about the importance of peace by foreign leaders,'' he said.
VIDEO - John Kerry: Israel can be Jewish or democratic. It cannot be both.
Wed, 28 Dec 2016 19:26
Team CrowderWednesday December 28 2016
The past week has shown how much the Obama Administration hates Israel (see Alan Dershowitz Face-Stomps Obama Over Anti-Israel Resolution and Netanyahu Spokesperson: Obama 'Helped Craft' Abominable Anti-Israel Resolution). This past year has shown how much John Kerry is a blithering idiot (see John Kerry Wants Media to 'Stop Covering Terrorism' and John Kerry Idiotically Claims Climate Change as Dangerous as ISIS). But according to our current, and THANKFULLY outgoing Secretary of State, Israel has a choice about being either Jewish or democratic.
No, seriously. There is video'...
''Israel can either be Jewish or democratic. It cannot be both.''
I'm actually pretty speechless. It was always assumed the Obama Administration hated Israel. Most of the people who influence Barack Obama made it appear the president most likely hated Israel, leaving room for ''reasonable doubt.'' But the administration at least paid lip service. Now? After Secretary Lurch says ''Israel can either be Jewish or democratic,'' and finishes the job the UN resolution started? The president and his slimy cronies aren't even bothering to cover it up. They hate Israel, they do not believe it should be its own state, they're perfectly fine catering to the whims of Palestinians who teach their toddlers to slaughter the Jews. I poop swastica you not. Watch Palestinians Teach Their Children to Stab Jews'... And They're Doing It.
Oh no, that video isn't a one off. The ''state'' of Palestine hates Israel and wants to see it blown off the map. And if they can't blow it up, they'll kill Israelis one by one. Here are some more of the Palestinians greatest hits:
There is no no doubt that the Obama Administration despises Israel. There is no doubt Obama sides with Palestine, sympathizes with Islamic nations, sees Israel as the enemy. Israel, the stabilizing democracy in the Middle East, is seen as the enemy amidst nations which promote terrorism. This is our president. Yay.
Obama is conducting his own private little war against Israel in his final thirty days in office. Which, in my opinion, makes Obama the lowest form of human sludge to ever ooze across our planet and slink into the Oval Office. He has tarnished the office of President. May he forever look back on his legacy to see it burned to the ground by future leadership.
You have a lot of work ahead of you, President-Elect Trump. A lot of work.
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VIDEO - Fights break out at malls across United States - CNN.com
Wed, 28 Dec 2016 17:43
Some of the mayhem was captured on social media. The chaos prevented some shoppers from grabbing clothes off clearance racks and returning gifts.
The mall incidents, which ranged from minor melees to mass evacuations, occurred from Colorado to Tennessee and Texas to New Jersey.
Police in some cities are investigating the role social media may have played in organizing the disturbances. The motive behind the mall brawls is not yet known.
Here's what happened at nine of those malls.
It all started with a social media post that promised a fight at the Town Center at Aurora.
Aurora Police Department spokesman Sgt. Chris Amsler said about 100 people had gathered in the food court before the brawls broke out -- prompting the Colorado mall to close early on Monday afternoon..
"(It) kind of morphed into this large disturbance," Amsler said.
When off-duty police officers working as security guards tried to break up a fight, people circled the officers, who called for backup, Amsler said.
As police officers on duty arrived, fights broke out throughout the mall, at a movie theater and at a nearby park-and-ride lot, he said.
He estimated 500 people were involved. Authorities arrested five people, all juveniles, and recovered no weapons, he said. One person assaulted at the park-and-ride lot suffered "significant" injuries and was taken to a hospital, Amsler said.
In Aurora, Illinois, eight juveniles, ranging in age from 13 to 17, have been charged in connection with the large disturbances at Fox Valley Mall, police said in a statement released Tuesday. The teens were taking into custody Monday evening after police received a call for assistance at the shopping center"due to an unruly crowd in the common area," police said.
"All of the charges lodged are misdemeanors, however, police are not ruling out enhancing them to felonies," the statement said. More arrests are possible, police said.
Moments after the call, a fight broke out in the food court area and those were followed by several other smaller altercations, the Aurora police said.
The brawl forced evacuations and the mall closed. No injuries were reported in the incident.
In Memphis, seven people were arrested after incidents at two malls, CNN affiliate WMC reported.Police said a group started a disturbance in the Wolfchase Galleria food court and started running, which prompted some customers to call 911, WMC said.
Then a crowd gathered outside Oak Court Mall, about 10 miles west, and started a disturbance, WMC said. Both malls were cleared and closed early for the night.
Shots were reported in both incidents, but police said they found no evidence of gunfire, WMC said.
No injuries were reported, CNN affiliate WATN said.
Loud sounds kicked off a wave of panic at Hamilton Place Mall, in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Several people were pushed to the ground as shoppers rushed to exit the mall, police said.
Officers rushed to the scene after receiving reports of "shots fired," but the sounds turned out to be fireworks.
"Our investigation concluded that it was perpetrated a group of individuals who were setting off fireworks, possibly to coverup the actions of a shoplifting crime," the Chattanooga Police Department said in a statement.
Minor injuries were reported after the incident.
Police have descriptions of the suspects involved in this incident and video footage, the statement said.
Fayetteville, North Carolina
In Fayetteville, North Carolina, people panicked after teenagers fought in the food court, Fayetteville police spokesman Shawn Strepay told CNN affiliate WRAL. No shots were fired, despite reports of gunfire, Strepay said."Once people start running in that area or chairs are getting knocked over, tables, that sort of thing, that echoes and it could resemble the sound of a gunshot to a lot of people," he said.
Elizabeth, New Jersey
The first calls from the The Mills at Jersey Gardens came in just after nightfall Monday. Witnesses said they thought they had heard shots fired. That, along with a fight, led to what Elizabeth police Officer Greg Jones described as a "chaotic panic and everybody running all at once."
Ultimately, though, patrons had mistaken the sound of a chair slammed during a fight for gunfire, city officials told CNN affiliate News 12 New Jersey. Two people, an 8-year-old and 12-year-old, were injured, the station reported.
Amateur video taken from inside Buckland Hills Mall, in Manchester, Connecticut, shows people screaming as punches were being thrown inside the shops on the day after Christmas.
"It was estimated that there were several hundred teenagers inside the mall and several other fights broke out around the same time," the Manchester Police Department said in a statement.
No weapons were involved, but one Manchester police officer was assaulted while trying to break up a first fight, police said. The officer did not sustain any significant injuries.
Fort Worth, Texas
The security guards had no other choice but to place the Hulen Mall on lockdown. At one point, police told CNN affiliate KTVT, at least 100 people were involved in a series of fights.Fort Worth Police spokeswoman Tamara Velle said officers initially responded to reported gunfire inside the mall. After breaking up the fights, officers stopped by each store to let people leave while the lockdown remained in effect, KTVT reported.
There were no reported injures or property damage -- thanks in large part to local police, Kelle said.
"You keep hearing the horror stories of the mall shootings across the nations right now," Velle told KTVT. "Anytime we're hearing about a mall shooting and it's the day after Christmas, (where) you have tons of people holiday shopping ... we're going to get in there as fast as we can."
Shortly after sunset, a large-scale disturbance broke out at Beachwood Place Mall, in Beachwood, Ohio.
An initial report of gunfire was quickly found to be false by police.
"One male juvenile was arrested for attempting to strike an officer that was dealing with another disorderly patron," Beachwood police said in a statement.
Beachwood police, officers from nearby jurisdictions and mall security were able to disperse the juveniles and remove them from the mall, police said in a statement. Beachwood Police Capt. Gary Haba told CNN that pepper spray was used to disperse a large crowd at one point.
The disturbance appears "to have been loosely organized on social media," the statement said.
Beachwood mall was re-opened and there were no injuries or other arrests.
CNN's Ralph Ellis, Marlena Baldacci, Jack Hannah, AnneClaire Stapleton, Mayra Cuevas, Tony Marco and Jamiel Lynch contributed to this report.
VIDEO - Former spy reports Kremlin cultivated Trump as an asset for 5 years
Wed, 28 Dec 2016 16:22
Well, this makes more than a few things makes much more sense. Via David Corn at Mother Jones.
In June, the former Western intelligence officer'--who spent almost two decades on Russian intelligence matters and who now works with a US firm that gathers information on Russia for corporate clients'--was assigned the task of researching Trump's dealings in Russia and elsewhere, according to the former spy and his associates in this American firm. This was for an opposition research project originally financed by a Republican client critical of the celebrity mogul. (Before the former spy was retained, the project's financing switched to a client allied with Democrats.) "It started off as a fairly general inquiry," says the former spook, who asks not to be identified. But when he dug into Trump, he notes, he came across troubling information indicating connections between Trump and the Russian government. According to his sources, he says, "there was an established exchange of information between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin of mutual benefit."
Mother Jones has reviewed that report and other memos this former spy wrote. The first memo, based on the former intelligence officer's conversations with Russian sources, noted, "Russian regime has been cultivating, supporting and assisting TRUMP for at least 5 years. Aim, endorsed by PUTIN, has been to encourage splits and divisions in western alliance." It maintained that Trump "and his inner circle have accepted a regular flow of intelligence from the Kremlin, including on his Democratic and other political rivals." It claimed that Russian intelligence had "compromised" Trump during his visits to Moscow and could "blackmail him." It also reported that Russian intelligence had compiled a dossier on Hillary Clinton based on "bugged conversations she had on various visits to Russia and intercepted phone calls."
The former intelligence officer says the response from the FBI was "shock and horror." The FBI, after receiving the first memo, did not immediately request additional material, according to the former intelligence officer and his American associates. Yet in August, they say, the FBI asked him for all information in his possession and for him to explain how the material had been gathered and to identify his sources. The former spy forwarded to the bureau several memos'--some of which referred to members of Trump's inner circle. After that point, he continued to share information with the FBI. "It's quite clear there was or is a pretty substantial inquiry going on," he says.
"This is something of huge significance, way above party politics," the former intelligence officer comments. "I think [Trump's] own party should be aware of this stuff as well."
And this isn't the only big problem that Trump now has.
Corn appeared on MSNBC to discuss this.
Corn has a followup piece which looks at he likelihood that Trump was spied on while in Russia.
During Trump's stay in Moscow, US intelligence experts note, he would have been a natural and obvious target for Russian intelligence. At the time, Trump was a prominent American, an international businessman, and a celebrity. He was also deeply involved in US politics. He had almost run for president in 2000 and nearly did so again in 2012, and he had been a leading foe of President Barack Obama, having pushed the conspiracy theory that Obama had been born in Kenya.
James Lewis, a cybersecurity expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, points out, "It's safe to assume that high-profile public figures and billionaires attract the attention of the Russian security services, including bugging any hotel rooms." And Malcolm Nance, a terrorism and intelligence expert and author of The Plot to Hack America, says the Russian version of the National Security Agency, the Spetssvyaz, manages specialized technical teams that would have been all over Trump:
''These communications intercept units are designated for high-importance personages of political and diplomatic standing, such as Donald Trump. These units would've employed the most advanced intelligence collection systems in the nation. Anything short of a highly encrypted communications suite using military-grade technology would be simple for Russian intelligence to exploit. Donald Trump's mobile phone would be among the easiest to exploit. His mobile phone, Bluetooth, and laptops were most likely not shielded and could have been intercepted and exploited any number of ways. This means virtually everything he said, everything he texted, everything he wrote, and every communication he had in the electronic spectrum would be in the possession of Russian intelligence then and now. His guest rooms in Moscow could have had virtually undetectable voice and video communications intercept devices planted in such a way that nothing could be done by Trump in private and would defy detection. The Spetssvyaz would also employ Russian military intelligence subunits as well as Federal Security Service (FSB) surveillance units which could follow him anywhere that he goes with seemingly normal people and detect, document, and provide a record of anything and anyone he met.
Trump could have attempted to take countermeasures to defeat any surveillance. "About the only way to ensure against electronic surveillance," the former CIA official says, "is to use a burner phone'--one you're not going to use again'--stay off your normal personal email (use a one-time address you will not use again), and keep [communications] on that one to routine, non-sensitive messages'...That was my practice in Moscow'...during which all I sent were innocuous text messages on a phone I never used again." And Lewis remarks, "If you used a mobile phone with an encrypted app and kept that phone in your possession for the entire trip, you could make it harder for them. A lot of people use Signal or Telegram [for encrypted texting], but the Russians could still have many ways around this when you are in Moscow."
But Trump didn't use a burner phone, he sent out several tweets from his normal Android phone while in Russia so if he said or did anything compromising '-- Russian intelligence probably has it.
ln addition to significant ties to the Kremlin and having met with Russian supporters to discuss Syria during the campaign Trump has a brewing problem with various Apprentice tapes which are in the possession of actor/comedian Tom Arnold which also overlap with the Russia issue.
On a Seattle radio program earlier this month, Arnold said that he had access to the footage but decided not to release it because he believed that Trump's followers would only be emboldened by the offensive remarks.
''I think if the people that like him saw him saying the N-word, matter-of-factly saying this stuff, I think they would have liked him more for being politically incorrect,'' Arnold explained at the time.
According to Arnold, he received access to the video via a time-limited password to a system that is designed to share work within the entertainment industry while preventing piracy.
Things became serious, Arnold said, when ''Alt Right nuts'' began to threaten his family during the election. But Trump's connection to Russia and Vladimir Putin made Arnold take his case for exposing the GOP nominee to ''7 powerful Hollywood people who have everything.''
It appears that those ''big shots'' refused to release information about Trump.
''They hate me now,'' Arnold wrote. ''Terrible career move but I believe if Russia has something they can blackmail our president with its worth the risk to me. Plus I'm a 57 year old father of 1 & 3 yr olds. I want to do all I can so there's a safe America for them.''
After Arnold's initial tweet mentioning the tapes he says he received a call from a lawyer threatening a defamation suit.
On Twitter Wednesday, Arnold claimed to have received a voicemail from someone in Trump's camp threatening him with a defamation suit over his claims that he has tapes of Trump spewing racial slurs and calling his own son a ''retard.''
This is actually a fairly dumb move for Trump because Arnold's primary defense would be to release the tape which he hadn't done so far because of a $5 Million NDA that would impact the producers who provided it to him in the first place as reported by the LATimes.
"When the people sent it to me, it was funny," Arnold said, explaining that hundreds of people have seen the footage that was sent around years ago as a Christmas video.
"He wasn't going to be president of the United States. It was him sitting in that chair using the N-word, using the C-word, calling his son [intellectually disabled]," Arnold said.
Arnold then went on to recount the Sunday before the election, allegedly being called by good friend Arnold Schwarzenegger's CAA agent and Hillary Clinton, asking for him to release the tapes.
But at that point, Arnold asserted that the people originally responsible for the distribution of the footage, two editors and an associate producer, were "scared to death."
"They were scared of his people. They're scared they'll never work again," said Arnold. "There's a $5-million confidentiality agreement."
"If that had gotten released, it absolutely would have finished him," Monson told Arnold.
Now apparently Arnold is gung-ho to release the tape and again, part of the reason is the fact that Trump has lied about Russia and Putin.
So that's all bad. And the 2013 timeline is consistent with when Trump took the Miss Universe Contest to Moscow.
Trump has said his understanding of Russia is based in part on the 2013 Miss Universe event in Moscow, where the Manhattan mogul watched 86 contestants don shimmering evening gowns and skimpy swimsuits for what he would call ''the world's biggest and most iconic beauty contest.''
''I know Russia well,'' Trump told Fox News on May 6. ''I had a major event in Russia two or three years ago, which was a big, big incredible event.'' Asked whether he had met with Putin there, Trump declined to say, though he added: ''I got to meet a lot of people.''
At the heart of the episode is Trump's relationship with Aras Agalarov, a billionaire Russian real estate mogul with ties to Putin, and Agalarov's rakish son, Emin, 36, a dance-pop singer with ambitions to international stardom who got Trump to appear in one of his music videos.
The father and son are two of several ultra-wealthy Russians to whom Trump is connected and with whom he has pursued real estate deals. ''I have always been interested in building in Russia,'' he told the New York Post just after his return from Moscow. He also boasted upon his return from the pageant that ''almost all of the oligarchs were in the room.''
And yet there's more bad news, as Trump attempted to shut down his charity Foundation to eliminate ''conflicts'' New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman told him not so fast.
Donald Trump cannot move ahead with his plan to dismantle his charitable foundation because state prosecutors are probing whether the president-elect personally benefited from its spending, the New York attorney general's office said Tuesday.
"The Trump foundation is still under investigation by this office and cannot legally dissolve until that investigation is complete," said Amy Spitalnick, spokeswoman for state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.
The admissions by the Donald J. Trump Foundation were in a 2015 tax filing made public after a presidential election in which it was revealed that Trump has used the charity to settle lawsuits, make a $25,000 political contribution and purchase items, such as a painting of himself, that was displayed at one of his properties.
The 2015 tax filing was posted on the nonprofit monitoring website GuideStar on Nov. 18 by someone using an email address from the foundation's law firm, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, said GuideStar spokeswoman Jackie Enterline Fekeci.
In the tax filing, the foundation acknowledged that it used money or assets in violation of the regulations not only during 2015, but in prior years. But the tax filing doesn't provide details on the violations.
So Trump is apparently being looked at by the FBI, the New York Attorney General and if he and his deplorables keep trying to intimidate Arnold he may find himself spewing the N-word on tape all over a California court room. With all this at stake you might think someone wouldn't go around poking all these bears with a sharp stick.
Yeah, of course not.
Yeah, the media didn't report that because it's not true '-- this is.
I'm not sure which of these stories is going to explode in his face first like big black bomb from Acme, but when they finally do '-- it's going to be really really ugly.
Tuesday, Dec 27, 2016 · 10:30:17 PM PST · Frank Vyan WaltonVia Newsweek's Kurt Eichenwald.
Officials from two European countries tell Newsweek that Trump's comments about Russia's hacking have alarmed several NATO partners because it suggests he either does not believe the information he receives in intelligence briefings, does not pay attention to it, does not understand it or is misleading the American public for unknown reasons. One British official says members of that government who are aware of the scope of Russia's cyberattacks both in Western Europe and America found Trump's comments ''quite disturbing'' because they fear that, if elected, the Republican presidential nominee would continue to ignore information gathered by intelligence services in the formulation of U.S. foreign policy.
Trump's behavior, however, has at times concerned the Russians, leading them to revise their hacking and disinformation strategy. For example, when Trump launched into an inexplicable attack on the parents of a Muslim-American soldier who died in combat, the Kremlin assumed the Republican nominee was showing himself psychologically unfit to be president and would be forced by his party to withdraw from the race. As a result, Moscow put its hacking campaign temporarily on hold, ending the distribution of documents until Trump stabilized, both personally and in the polls, according to reports provided to Western intelligence.
There isn't a question of whether Russia has tried to help Trump, hurt Clinton, and/or influence our election. They have. The question of whether Trump has been part of the Russian intellgence propaganda pipeline is already answered, he is.
Donald Trump has quoted misinformation regarding Hillary Clinton's campaign that was seemingly first propagated by a Kremlin-run news agency.
Mr Trump told his supporters that a leaked email from Sidney Blumenthal, a close aide to both Hillary and Bill Clinton, showed that he thought the Benghazi embassy attack had been "preventable".
In reality, Mr Blumenthal was forwarding on a Newsweek article by journalist Kurt Eichenwald which included the following phrase: "One important point has been universally acknowledged by the nine previous reports about Benghazi: the attack was almost certainly preventable."
He had sent the article to John Podesta, Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman.
Trump quoted the above phrase verbatim clearly stating it belonging to Mr Blumenthal rather than its correct author, Mr Eichenwald.
The misappropriation of the statement to Mr Blumenthal was first made in an article by Sputnik, a right-wing Russian news agency sponsored by Vladimir Putin's regime. The article has since been removed.
The only question is how long they've been at this behind the scenes and whether Trump himself is fully cognizant of how deeply he's been manipulated and used by a foreign power. Chances are, he has no idea or worse, even when he's been specifically told about Russia's influence by the intel community he remains in deep denial. Again, that's not good.
VIDEO - Lindsey Graham: Donald Trump disagrees with the entire US Senate on Russia - CNNPolitics.com
Wed, 28 Dec 2016 13:33
Republicans Lindsey Graham and John McCain, on a trip to Estonia, a Baltic nation threatened by a belligerent Russia, told CNN's Jim Sciutto in an exclusive interview that the matter was settled and that Trump was simply wrong to question the bipartisan agreement.
"There are 100 United States senators. Amy Klobuchar is on this trip with us. She's a Democrat from Minnesota. I would say that 99 of us believe the Russians did this and we're going to do something about it," said Graham, who is planning a hearing with McCain on Russia's interference with US elections. "We're going to put sanctions together that hit Putin as an individual and his inner circle for interfering in our election, and they're doing it all over the world -- not just in the United States."
McCain, Graham and Klobuchar are also headed to Latvia, Lithuania, Ukraine, Georgia and Montenegro to meet with officials about the Russian threat. The intelligence community has formally blamed the Kremlin for interfering in the most recent presidential election, using sophisticated hacking schemes and cyber intrusions to expose the emails of Democratic Party officials.
Graham and McCain were frequent critics of Trump during the campaign, and raised alarms about Trump's relationship with Vladimir Putin, who Trump has praised as a "strong leader."
McCain also reiterated his worries about Rex Tillerson, the retiring ExxonMobil CEO whom Trump has chosen to lead the State Department. McCain declined to say whether there would be a confirmation showdown next month in the Senate, noting that presidents tend to have the right to pick their own advisers. But McCain said he had "concerns" about Tillerson's favorable posture toward Putin and Russia.
McCain expressed confidence, however, that Trump would "change his view" toward Russia -- and specifically their role in the cyberattacks -- once he becomes commander in chief and is "presented with the overwhelming evidence."
Some Trump positions, such as those against Iran and China, have endeared him to his party's hawks. Graham saluted those views but said that if Democrats and Republicans alike did not smack back at Putin, it would embolden the nations that Trump believes are geopolitical threats.
"If we don't push back against Putin, Iran and China -- they could hack in to our systems," Graham said. "Today it's Democrats, tomorrow it could be Republicans with the Iranians and the Chinese."
VIDEO - Lesson from History: Transgender Mania is Sign of Cultural Collapse - Camille Paglia - YouTube
Tue, 27 Dec 2016 21:51
VIDEO - Russian Media Praises Alex Jones - YouTube
Tue, 27 Dec 2016 20:08
VIDEO - Clinton aide says Foundation paid for Chelsea's wedding, WikiLeaks emails show | Fox News
Tue, 27 Dec 2016 18:00
Former President Bill Clinton's top aide wrote in 2012 that Chelsea Clinton used Clinton Foundation resources ''for her wedding and life for a decade'' and a top Foundation donor was responsible for ''killing'' unfavorable press coverage '' all as an internal Foundation audit uncovered numerous conflicts of interest and ''quid pro quo benefits,'' according to emails released Sunday by WikiLeaks.
Doug Band, founder of global strategies company Teneo and Bill Clinton's personal assistant since the 1990s, wrote the Jan. 4, 2012, email to future Hillary Clinton presidential campaign chair John Podesta and two other Clinton aides after receiving word that Chelsea had told ''one of the [President] bush 43 kids'' and others about ''an internal investigation of money within the foundation.'' Band wrote such chatter was ''not smart.''
''The investigation into her getting paid for campaigning, using foundation resources for her wedding and life for a decade, taxes on money from her parents'....,'' Band wrote. ''I hope that you will speak to her and end this[.] Once we go down this road'....''
EMAIL DETAILS HOW TOP AIDES MADE EX-PRESIDENT CLINTON RICH
The FBI reportedly is looking into The Clinton Foundation, although the extent and focus of the investigation is unclear. Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential nominee, had previously said some of the ''personal'' emails she deleted from her secret, homebrew server '' the subject of another FBI probe '' were related to Chelsea's wedding.
Band's email, which was revealed after Podesta's Gmail account was hacked and subsequently uploaded to WikiLeaks, came at a time of turmoil and upheaval within The Clinton Foundation. Aside from the internal audit, previous emails show a prolonged effort to untangle Teneo from the Foundation. When Band launched the company in summer 2011, he was still employed by the Foundation and Bill Clinton was listed as a Teneo adviser.
But after much haggling, Clinton's and Band's roles were clearly delineated: Band continued on as a personal aide to Clinton and Clinton became a Teneo client. During the back-and-forth that produced the final document spelling out each of the men's roles, Band on Nov. 12, 2011 wrote an 11-page memo outlining how Teneo was created and how it had helped to enrich Clinton and the Foundation. In that draft of the memo, Band wrote he had ''sought to leverage my activities, including my partner role at Teneo, to support and to raise funds for the Foundation.''
''I am sure I have done so imperfectly,'' he added.
In another section of the memo, which was later deleted, Band wrote about billionaire hedge fund manager Marc Lasry as a ''good example of the complex relationships a friend/supporter can have within the foundation.'' Chelsea Clinton worked for Lasry, Lasry held Foundation fundraisers and Band was a paid adviser for Lasry's firm, Avenue Capital, an investment company whose holding American Media Inc. publishes The National Enquirer.
But fundraisers and jobs weren't Lasry's lone contribution to Team Clinton.
''He has been helpful on a number of fronts, including '... responding favorably to our requests to use his plane for Foundation and the Clintons' personal purposes, killing potential unfavorable stories in the Enquirer [of which he owns a controlling share of the debt]'...'' Band wrote.
Less than a month after Band's Teneo memo went out, lawyers from Simpson, Thacher & Bartlett LLP, the firm contracted to run the internal Foundation audit, emailed a draft of a governance memorandum and recommendations to Podesta, who was serving as a special adviser to the Foundation, and Bruce Lindsey, then the Foundation's CEO.
The audit draft noted substantial issues, including a Conflict-of-Interest Policy that had not been implemented, conflicts that were not disclosed in a timely fashion and board members not following the policy when they became aware of conflicts.
''In addition, some interviewees reported conflicts of those raising funds or donors, some of whom may have an expectation of quid pro quo benefits in return for gifts,'' according to the Dec. 5, 2011, draft. Another section of the document noted that ''interviewees also mentioned instances in which gifts and payments received by staff had not been properly disclosed.''
There were other problems, including 1,298 ''complimentary'' $20,000 memberships for the Clinton Global Initiative as opposed to just 500 paid memberships. Of the ''complimentary'' group, ''276 were coded 'discretionary,''' the audit noted.
''Interviewees informed us that there is no transparency into how the comp list is developed,'' the document stated.
The lawyers conducting the audit also noticed problems in the Foundation's IRS Form 990, the tax return document of an organization that is exempt from income tax. While charitable groups are allowed to pay board members and staff a reasonable salary, none of the reasonable compensation calculations identified by the lawyers were ever done, the 990 form showed. The lawyers also wrote the 990 indicated the Foundation had a written conflict-of-interest policy that was enforced.
''However, we did not find evidence of that enforcement,'' the memo stated.
Other problems included a ''very small'' Foundation Board ''comprised solely of 'insiders'''; unsigned Board minutes that ''appear to have been cloned from one year to the next; ''material weaknesses'' in the ''segregation of accounting duties, review of journal entries, audit adjustments and financial statement preparation, and lack of Board meetings.''
VIDEO - 24mins-57States-DNC Chair Candidates Discuss Future Democratic | Video | C-SPAN.org
Tue, 27 Dec 2016 17:09
December 2, 2016Future of the Democratic Party The candidates for Democratic National Committee (DNC) chair outlined their plans on transforming the party after the 2016 elections. Some of their'... read more
Future of the Democratic Party The candidates for Democratic National Committee (DNC) chair outlined their plans on transforming the party after the 2016 elections. Some of their ideas included increasing outreach and engagement of youth voters, focusing on all 50 states, and making the DNC chair a full time position.
This discussion was part of the Association of State Democratic Chairs' ''Future of the Party Forum.'' close
*This transcript was compiled from uncorrected Closed Captioning.
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VIDEO - No survivors found after Russian military plane with 92 on board crashes en route to Syria - The Washington Post
Mon, 26 Dec 2016 12:55
MOSCOW '-- It was the second national tragedy in less than a week, once again played out in agonizing detail on national television, once again in the shadow of Russia's military involvement in Syria. Once again, the nation was left with more questions than answers.
Early Sunday, a Russian military passenger plane carrying dozens of members of the Red Army Choir and a beloved and prominent charity worker plunged into the Black Sea minutes after it took off en route to a military base in Syria. All 92 people on board are believed to have died.
The crash shook Russia six days after its ambassador to Turkey, Andrei Karlov, was killed in public by a man who shouted about the war in Syria after the shooting.
The assassination was captured live on video that was sent around the world. Russian and Turkish investigators are still trying to figure out whether the gunman, a 22-year-old Turkish police officer, acted alone.
As of Sunday evening, the cause of the plane crash had not been determined. Though officials were saying terrorism was not seen as the likely cause, Russia's special Investigative Committee, which opened a criminal inquiry, was considering all possibilities.
''Of course, the entire spectrum and almost any possible causes .'.'. are being probed, but it is premature now to speak about this'' as a terrorist act, Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov told reporters in Sochi, the Black Sea resort where the plane had made a refueling stop.
[Russian jets keep crashing, and it may be an aircraft carrier's fault]
Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov, a military spokesman, told reporters in Moscow that no one survived after the aging Soviet-era jet, which had set out from Moscow, crashed shortly after taking off from the Sochi airport. The plane did not send a distress signal.
The pilot was ''first-class,'' Konashenkov said, and the 33-year-old Tu-154 jet had been serviced recently.
In nationally televised comments, Russian President Vladimir Putin declared Monday a national day of mourning and said the cause of the crash would be carefully investigated.
Throughout the day, top-ranking legislators and Defense Ministry officials assured the public that a terrorist could never have made it onto the heavily guarded airfield outside Moscow where the jet first took off. Later, officials revealed that the plane had been scheduled to refuel at the military base in Mozdok, Russia, but had been rerouted to Sochi because of inclement weather. The Interfax news agency quoted a military source as saying the airport in Sochi, site of the 2014 Olympics, also has increased security.
[An advanced Russian jet just crashed during its debut off the Syrian coast]
The Defense Ministry published a list of passengers that included 64 members of the famed Alexandrov Ensemble, better known internationally as the Red Army Choir. They were heading to the Khmeimim air base in Syria to entertain Russian military personnel for the New Year's holiday.
The choir, founded in 1928, has performed around the world. During the Cold War, it presented a human face for the Soviet Union with its repertoire of Russian folk songs. More recently, the ensemble, which the Defense Ministry said had 285 members, added popular Western music to its performances. Among those who were on the plane was the ensemble's artistic director, Valery Khalilov.
Also aboard was Yelizaveta Glinka, known in Russia as ''Doctor Liza,'' who had won broad acclaim for her charity work, which included missions to the war zone in eastern Ukraine. Her foundation announced that she was accompanying a shipment of medicine for a hospital in Syria.
Russian state television showed clips of her accepting an honor from Putin for her work. When she and fellow workers depart for a war zone, she said at the ceremony this month, ''we never know whether we'll return, because war is hell on Earth.''
[Satellite images highlight potential problems with Russia's lone aircraft carrier]
Throughout the day in Moscow, people placed flowers outside the headquarters of the choir.
The country also mourned nine journalists who were on the flight, and some stations canceled entertainment programs in favor of wall-to-wall coverage of the recovery effort and interviews with loved ones of the victims.
Their remains, authorities said, were to be taken to Moscow for identification.
U.S. Ambassador John Tefft joined other diplomats and international leaders in offering condolences.
The Tu-154, designed in the late 1960s, was the workhorse of the Soviet, and later Russian, fleet of intermediate-range passenger jets. Russian airlines have replaced the jets with modern aircraft, but government agencies have continued to use them.
Denis Manturov, Russia's minister for industry and trade, said Sunday that it was too early to make a decision about whether to take the jets out of service.
''First we need to finish the investigation and understand the reasons'' for the crash, he said.
56 hours with the Russian army in Syria
Russian airline spars with government over cause of crash in Egypt
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VIDEO - Best Putin jokes - YouTube
Mon, 26 Dec 2016 05:36
VIDEO - Vladimir Putin humiliates BBC Reporter John Simpson - YouTube
Mon, 26 Dec 2016 05:31
VIDEO - Russian military plane with 92 on board crashes en route to Syria - YouTube
Sun, 25 Dec 2016 08:03
VIDEO - Duterte: "I Will Burn Down The United Nations" | Zero Hedge
Sat, 24 Dec 2016 22:33
The United Nations is making a lot of enemies.
Yesterday, when the Obama administration refused to veto a UN vote over Isreal settlements, one which provoked Israel to lash out at the Obama administration saying "friends don't act that way", but more importantly defied Trump who in a previous tweet urged Obama to veto the resolution, the President-elect had one message, or rather tweet, to the UN:
However, Trump is not the only one to hold a prominent grudge against the international organization, which many have accused of being nothing but an ineffective, if material, waste of taxpayer funds: taking Obama's threat several steps further, Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte threatened to ''burn down'' the United Nations headquarters in New York, in response to mounting international criticism over his bloody crackdown on suspected drug dealers.
''You go and file a complaint in the United Nations, I will burn down the United Nations if you want,'' Duterte said, quoted by the New York Times. ''I will burn it down if I go to America,'' he added during a speech at an army base in the country's southern city of Zamboanga.
Earlier in the week, Duterte called Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, a top UN official, an ''idiot'' and ''son of a bitch'' after the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights suggested launching an investigation into Duterte's own accounts of killings when he was mayor of Davao City, and the ''shocking'' number of deaths during the ongoing anti-drug war.
''This guy [Zeid] is ever the joker or crazy,'' Duterte said during a televised speech, repeatedly calling him stupid. ''You UN officials, sitting there on your asses, we pay you your salaries. You idiot, do not tell me what to do... Who gave you the right?'' he said quoted by Reuters
Needless to say, the UN does not appear to be very popular among the Philippines ruling elite.
In September, the outspoken Philippines leader refused to meet UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and even threatened to leave the UN after it criticized his 'War on Drugs.' A UN official told Reuters it was ''basically unheard of'' for a leader to be too busy to meet the secretary-general.
More than 6,000 people have been killed as part of Duterte's crackdown, a third by police and the rest still officially under investigation. Duterte says the shootings by police were in self-defence.
Duterte's "controversial" methods of cracking down on illegal drugs stem from his 22 years as mayor of Davao City. Last week, Duterte admitted he personally killed suspected criminals during his time as mayor of Davao City (the third most populous metropolitan area in the Philippines with more than 1.6 million inhabitants), patrolling the streets on a motorcycle.
''In Davao I used to do it personally. Just to show to the guys [the police] that if I can do it, why can't you,'' Duterte said, as quoted by AFP.
He added that he would ''go around in Davao with a motorcycle, with a big bike around, and I would just patrol the streets, looking for trouble also. I was really looking for a confrontation so I could kill.''
As for his parting shot at the UN's employee and the overall organization, Duterte lashed out: ''please shut up because your brain is lacking there,'' he told Zeid.
''Go back to school. You United Nations, you do not know diplomacy. You do not know how to behave to be an employee of the United Nations" adding ''You do not talk to me like that, you son of a bitch."
And now, Trump seems to agree.
VIDEO - Professor Stephen Cohen: Vladimir Putin is potentially America's most valuable national security partner | Veterans Today
Sat, 24 Dec 2016 22:32
Russian Foreign Ministry: the White House ''apparently forgot that according to American law, support for terrorists is a severe, criminally liable offense."
'...by Jonas E. Alexis
Professor Stephen Cohen has recently brought the whole house down during an interview with Tucker Carlson. Cohen is a contrarian. As such, he doesn't care about what the media and puppets of the New World Order say anymore.
Cohen is an old man, so he is not worrying about his career anymore. He's already tenured, and what seems to matter to him during this time is truth. He has recently declared:
''Vladimir Putin is potentially America's most essential, valuable national security partner.''
Obviously that does not line up with the New World Order ideology, which basically articulates the incoherent and perverse idea that Putin is the ''new Hitler'' and a supporter of a brutal regime in Syria.
How can you really be a supporter of a brutal regime when in fact you are destroying terrorist cells such as al-Qaeda, al-Nusra, and ISIS in the region and when you are freeing the civilian population? As the Russian Foreign Ministry has recently declared:
''It has been observed for a long time that the current administration in Washington is ready to help any destructive forces in its bid for a regime change in Syria.''
The US, the Russian Foreign Ministry continued to say, ''protects the Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist group [now Jabhat Fatah al-Sham], which is nothing else but a branch of Al-Qaeda, which carried out the most gruesome terrorist acts in US history.''
The Russian Foreign Ministry dropped the political bomb when they declared that the White House
''apparently forgot that according to American law, support for terrorists is a severe, criminally liable offense. If you or I gave money, weapons or support to Al-Qaeda or ISIS, we would be thrown in jail.
''Yet the US government has been violating this law for years, quietly supporting allies and partners of Al-Qaeda, ISIL, Jabhat Fateh al Sham and other terrorist groups.''
The Russian Foreign Ministry has said that the US has been playing this political game from time immemorial, and it is high time that they get serious. That makes perfect sense. It is high time that political mush-heads stop playing with terrorists and get real.
Don't ever let the Zionist media and political mush-heads do the thinking for you.
Cohen has also made the point that NATO has gone mad by building major military bases around the Russian borders. Cohen leaves the impression that not a single nation on the entire planet would appreciate this madness'--not even the United States of America.
In other words, Washington is actually playing double standards, and we all know that double standards have no place whatsoever in constructive dialogue and the political order.
Obama has less than a month in the White House. Perhaps he needs to wake up when it comes to Russia. He still can make an impression before leaves office. Russia and indeed Vladimir Putin would almost certainly forgive him.
Will he do it? Even if he doesn't, we can congratulate Russia for making the New World Order bleed this year.
 ''US 'protects' Nusra terrorists, 'punishes' Moscow for Assad support '' Russian FM,'' Russia Today, December 24, 2016.
Related Posts:The views expressed herein are the views of the author exclusively and not necessarily the views of VT, VT authors, affiliates, advertisers, sponsors, partners, technicians, or the Veterans Today Network and its assigns. LEGAL NOTICE - COMMENT POLICYPosted by Jonas E. Alexis on December 24, 2016, With 130 Reads Filed under World. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.
VIDEO - Part 1: Robert Reich: Like a Tyrant, Trump Is Deploying Seven Techniques to Control the Media - YouTube
Sat, 24 Dec 2016 22:26
VIDEO - Hours After Harassing Ivanka on Flight, Watch What Man Does When Confronted by...
Sat, 24 Dec 2016 22:18
One of the most talked about stories this week was the realization that the liberal left has become so unhinged over Trump's victory that his children aren't allowed to be treated like decent human beings anymore.
Ivanka Trump and her children were verbally berated by a passenger on a Jet Blue flight because'...they exist.
Not only that, liberals tried to blame Ivanka for the whole thing.
Now, it looks like the guy who yelled at her doesn't want to talk anymore.
From The Daily Caller:
The man who harassed Ivanka Trump on a commercial flight out of New York is now refusing to speak.
Dan Goldstein '-- a lawyer who lives in Brooklyn '-- remained silent when he was approached by a TMZ photographer at the San Francisco airport Thursday, just hours after he and his husband were kicked off a JetBlue flight because he berated the president-elect's daughter.
What's wrong tough guy?
Not so tough now that millions of Americans know what a creep you are?
Can you imagine if this had happened to the child of a Democrat?
Whether grown up or not. The hypocrisy here is mind numbing.
I hated this article. I'm a liberal.
VIDEO - Teen Vogue Writer Battles Tucker Carlson: 'You're Actually Being a Partisan Hack' | Mediaite
Sat, 24 Dec 2016 16:16
Teen Vogue writer Lauren Duca faced off with Fox's Tucker Carlson tonight in what became a mesmerizing and fierce back and forth about Ivanka Trump and various things that Duca has written.
Carlson confronted Duca for tweeting the following about Ivanka Trump shortly after she was confronted loudly on an airplane:
Duca told Carlson she thinks Ivanka Trump shouldn't be confronted like that in public, especially with her kids present, but also said the incoming First Daughter is not immune from criticism.
Carlson repeatedly confronted Duca for saying that Trump has a ''sinister complicity'' in the agenda pushed by her father. Duca completely stood by that comment and emphasized that there's a difference between harassment of Trump and legitimate criticism of her for backing up the ''most anti-woman candidate in decades.''
As they kept going back and forth, Duca told off Carlson for interrupting her saying: ''You're actually being a partisan hack that's just attacking me ad nauseam and not allowing me to speak.''
Carlson moved on to her recent viral column about Trump ''gaslighting'' America, and when he said ''Teen Vogue, which I guess you write for,'' Duca immediately mocked his response by pointing out that, of course, he knew she wrote for the magazine article from which he was quoting.
They then continued to battle over Duca's contention that Trump is engaging in psychological warfare, and at one point Carlson brought up the fact that she writes about topics like Ariana Grande and thigh-high boots.
Carlson concluded the interview by saying, ''You should stick to the thigh-high boots. You're better at that.'' Duca started to fire back but Carlson ended the segment.
She did, however, tweet this out afterwards:
Watch the video above, via Fox News.
[image via screengrab]
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VIDEO - Day 60 - Where is Eric Braverman? - YouTube
Sat, 24 Dec 2016 00:15
VIDEO - FMR MTV VJ Sounds Off On Failed Racist Anti-Male Video - YouTube
Fri, 23 Dec 2016 22:40
VIDEO - Pod Cast Inventor: What A Trump Presidency Means For The Future Of Our Country - YouTube
Fri, 23 Dec 2016 19:47