Friday, July 20, 2018

At Lions Gate, a Drama in the Legal Department

Wayne Levin was the general counsel of Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. for 17 years, during which he helped it grow from a tiny independent studio to the Hollywood powerhouse behind “The Hunger Games” and “Mad Men.”

Exclusive: U.S. open to lifting sanctions off aluminum giant Rusal - Mnuchin

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - The U.S. Treasury is open to removing Russian aluminum producer Rusal from a U.S. sanctions list, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Friday, adding the objective was “not to put Rusal out of business.”

The U.S. Treasury in April imposed sanctions against billionaire Oleg Deripaska and the eight companies in which he is a large shareholder, including Rusal, in response to what it called “malign activities” by Russia. But the sanctions caused havoc in the global aluminum market, prompting several countries and companies to successfully lobby Treasury for a softening of the terms on Rusal.

In search of the national bourgeoisie

According to the classical concept, the national bourgeoisie is the driving force behind the formation of nation states. It was the force that destroyed monarchies and empires, bringing national states onto the arena of history and laying the foundations for democracy and market economies. In Ukraine, searches for a national bourgeoisie have been continuing since the first days of independence, but no particular success has yet been achieved. The oligarchy, which quickly flourished in the post-Soviet disorder, did not even demonstrate united support for the state in 2014, but openly sabotages the establishment of democracy and the institutional modernisation of Ukraine under the European model. 

Overboard (2018 film)

Overboard is a 2018 American romantic comedy and drama film directed by Rob Greenberg, written by Greenberg, Bob Fisher, and Leslie Dixon and starring Eugenio DerbezAnna FarisEva LongoriaJohn Hannah, and Swoosie Kurtz. A remake of the 1987 film of the same title, the plot follows a struggling working-class single mother who convinces a rich playboy with amnesia that they are a married couple.
Overboard was released in the United States on May 4, 2018 and has grossed over $90 million worldwide. The film received mixed reviews from critics, who praised Faris's performance but criticized the bland story for not adding anything new to the original.

Russia Open to Second Trump-Putin Summit

MOSCOW—The Russian government signaled Friday its openness to a possible second summit between President Vladimir Putin and his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump, even as some officials in Moscow remain taken aback by the firestorm that has surrounded the meeting between the two leaders earlier this week.

A Study of Thousands of Dropbox Projects Reveals How Successful Teams Collaborate

The use of virtual file-sharing platforms like Dropbox, Google Docs, and others has become ubiquitous in business, academic, and other settings. But is your team using such collaborative platforms as effectively as they could be?

How Russian Journalist Arkady Babchenko Faked His Own Death (HBO)

Ukraine wants to expand cooperation with British army – Defense Ministry Ukraine wants to expand cooperation with British army – Defense Ministry

Lieutenant General Serhiy Besarab, Deputy Head of the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, has held a meeting with Major General Douglas Chalmers, Deputy Commanding General for Support of the British Armed Forces, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry reports.

Honest History: Donbas was never primarily a Russian place in Ukraine

Saving the Russian people of Donbas – this is how the Kremlin justifies its military invasion in eastern Ukraine, a war that is more than four years old with more than 10,000 people killed.

Brexit: European Commission publishes Communication on preparing for the UK's withdrawal from the EU

Brussels, 19 July 2018
On 30 March 2019, the United Kingdom will leave the EU and become a third country. This will have repercussions for citizens, businesses and administrations in both the United Kingdom and the EU. These repercussions range from new controls at the EU's outer border with the UK, to the validity of UK-issued licences, certificates and authorisations and to different rules for data transfers.
Today's text calls on Member States and private parties to step up preparations and follows a request by the European Council (Article 50) last month to intensify preparedness at all levels and for all outcomes.

Президент підписав Закон щодо посилення соцзахисту постраждалих учасників Революції Гідності

Президент Петро Порошенко підписав Закон України № 2443-VIII «Про внесення змін до деяких законодавчих актів України щодо соціального захисту постраждалих учасників Революції Гідності та деяких інших осіб».
Закон спрямований на посилення соціальної захищеності учасників антитерористичної операції, учасників Революції Гідності та членів сімей загиблих з числа таких осіб.
Законом вносяться зміни до низки законів України в частині: визначення пільг та інших соціальних гарантій для постраждалих учасників Революції Гідності; встановлення, що медико-соціальна експертиза дітей проводиться лікарсько-консультативними комісіями лікувально-профілактичних закладів.

Two years after Sheremet's murder: Over 20 tests, four theories – PGO

Andriy Lysenko, the press secretary of the Prosecutor General's Office (PGO) of Ukraine, has said over 20 different tests have been conducted as part of an investigation into the murder of Belarusian journalist Pavel Sheremet in Kyiv, some of which are still under way.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Putin Tells Diplomats He Made Trump a New Offer on Ukraine at Their Summit

Vladimir Putin told Russian diplomats that he made a proposal to Donald Trump at their summit this week to hold a referendum to help resolve the conflict in eastern Ukraine, but agreed not to disclose the plan publicly so the U.S. president could consider it, according to two people who attended Putin’s closed-door speech on Thursday.

California Energy News Update

California continues to see growth in alternative and clean energy initiatives.  Below is a sample of recent notable developments.
Solar Panels on Every Home Starting 2020
The California Energy Commission (CEC) voted on May 9, 2018 to impose additional energy efficiency building standards, including the requirement that starting in 2020, new homes (with some exceptions) have solar panels.  The CEC hopes this will cut energy use in new homes by 50%, and claims that this additional building standard will reduce greenhouse gas emission by an amount equivalent to removing 115,000 fossil fuel cars off the road.  

As Council OKs House-Sharing Regs, Airbnb Host Charges NYC With Retaliation for Exercise of Free Speech

The long-running struggle between the New York City government and Airbnb reached new heights on Wednesday as the City Council passed a law requiring the company to disclose its hosts and the company bankrolled a lawsuit filed on behalf of one of its hosts.
On Wednesday, the City Council passed a bill that would require Airbnb to report the names and addresses of its hosts to the city’s Office of Special Enforcement; failure to comply could be punishable by fines ranging from $5,000 to $25,000.
The bill has been sent to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s desk for his signature.


UNIT.City is Ukraine’s first innovation park. It is the location where matchless infrastructure and all-inclusive ecosystem enable high technology, innovative and creative businesses to happen and flourish.
Here the concentration of companies, startups, students, professionals and research laboratories creates conditions for businesses within the park to grow faster than outside.

Kyiv, Ukraine

Barack Obama: The Nelson Mandela Lecture

When my staff told me that I was to deliver a lecture, I thought back to the stuffy old professors in bow ties and tweed, and I wondered if this was one more sign of the stage of life that I’m entering, along with gray hair and slightly failing eyesight. I thought about the fact that my daughters think anything I tell them is a lecture. I thought about the American press and how they often got frustrated at my long-winded answers at press conferences, when my responses didn’t conform to two-minute sound bites.

The Taj Mahal: Monumental Neglect

Ravaged by a toxic cocktail of environmental pollution, gross governmental neglect, and bureaucratic apathy, India’s most iconic monument — the Taj Mahal — should be “demolished,” an irate Supreme Court suggested on July 11, sending shockwaves through the nation of 1.3 billion people.

An Expat’s Guide to Real Estate in Dubai

Dubai, a relative newborn on the world stage, was a city built around cars. And even though its economy is more diversified than those of its Gulf neighbors, this desert metropolis still feels ripple effects of the oil industry’s booms and busts.
From 2011 to 2014, when oil prices were more than $100 a barrel, Dubai’s property market soared. Apartments in the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, were more than $1,000 per square foot, according to consultants Cluttons LLC. Now, as oil hovers at $70, values in the Burj Khalifa have dropped to about $650 per square foot. But the Russian currency crisis and Brexit, coupled with increased taxes and fees for everyday purchases, have made Dubai a less affordable place to live.

Full transcript: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Recode Decode

Kara Swisher: Mark, thank you so much for talking to me.
Mark Zuckerberg: Happy to do it.
This is our first interview in years, right? We’ve seen each other.
Yeah. Happy to do it.
No problem. I’m gonna start off with the news of the day. You saw the Putin/Trump press conference, essentially.
I saw the news about it.
You saw the news about it. Tell me what you think about his idea that there is no evidence that the Russians used social media, and did different things during the election.

Vladimir Poutine n'entend plus miser sur Donald Trump

Alors que Donald Trump était plutôt considéré comme un «idiot utile» par une partie de l'élite russe, ses zigzags après le sommet d'Helsinki la poussent à se demander s'il n'est pas plutôt un «idiot inutile».

Ukraine’s not a country, Putin told Bush. What’d he tell Trump about Montenegro?

Ukraine’s not a country, Putin told Bush. What’d he tell Trump about Montenegro?

Avoiding the GIGO trap

“Garbage in, garbage out.”
It has a nice ring to it. And engineers have long embraced it as a mantra. If you don’t put the right stuff in, don’t expect to get good results.
And so, when we banned leaded gasoline, the car industry complained that they’d never be able to make cars run well again.
And when HP started making printers for consumers, they were eager to point out that you needed to use special paper, and definitely not labels.

Brussels opens legal proceedings over Hungary's 'Stop Soros' law

The Hungarian government is in breach of the EU’s charter of fundamental rights over a law that criminalises people who help asylum seekers, the European commission has said.
The commission, the guardian of EU law, announced on Thursday it had sent the Hungarian government a letter of formal notice over the “Stop Soros” law. The letter is the first step in a legal process that could lead to Hungary being taken to the European court of justice (ECJ) and told to change the law.


                                                                                             Володимир Мачуський 

Постановка проблеми. Економічна криза в Україні, спричинена геополітичним конфліктом, призвела до втрати позицій суб’єктами великого підприємництва і, водночас, виявила стійкість суб’єктів малого і середнього підприємництва в кризових умовах [1]. Звідси, безпека і економічний добробут української держави можуть бути реалізовані, зокрема, через подальше розкриття потенційних можливостей малого і середнього підприємництва, створення сприятливих умов для розвитку малого бізнесу. Вдосконалення правового статусу об’єктів інфраструктури підтримки малого і середнього підприємництва дозволить забезпечити доступність об’єктів інфраструктури підтримки малого бізнесу для всіх суб’єктів малого і середнього підприємництва і тим самим сприятиме формуванню належного конкурентного середовища в сфері підприємництва в Україні.

The First Casualty of Russia’s War Against Ukraine: The Truth

KYIV, Ukraine—In 2014, the eastern Ukrainian city of Sloviansk was at the epicenter of the separatist insurgency, which, with financial and military backing from Moscow, spawned two breakaway republics in eastern Ukraine.
That April, combined Russian-separatist forces seized control of Sloviansk. According to accounts from civilians living in the city at the time, Russian special forces troops and agents from Russia’s security services operated openly among the separatists’ ranks.
After more than four years, Russia is still waging a proxy war in eastern Ukraine. More than 10,300 Ukrainians have died. And the deaths, civilian and military, continue to mount.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

An SBI update (keep your expectations low)

Throughout the autumn of 2017, the blog plotted the predictable and deliberately slow progress relating to the creation of the creation of the State Bureau of Investigations – a process timed to insure that it would not be fully functional and productive before the elections of 2019.
18th July 2018 witnessed that latest progress (as glacial as it may be) toward establishing the leadership of the SBI under the guidance of the Director, Roman Tryb.  For all intent and purpose, Mr Tryb since his appointment has been an Emperor without Empire or legion.

Declaration by the High Representative on behalf of the EU on the alignment of certain countries concerning restrictive measures in response to the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol

On 18 June 2018, the Council adopted Decision 2018/880 amending Decision 2014/386/CFSP.
The Council extends the existing restrictive measures until 23 June 2019.
The Candidate Countries Montenegro* and Albania*, and the EFTA country Norway, member of the European Economic Area, as well as Ukraine and Georgia, align themselves with this declaration.

Remarks by President Trump in Meeting with Cabinet Members

"...there’s never been a President as tough on Russia as I have been" - President Trump
 Issued on: 

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, thank you very much for being here at today’s Cabinet meeting.  I have just returned from a very historic trip to Europe, where we’ve made incredible progress toward achieving greater peace, security, and prosperity for America, for our allies, and, in fact, for the entire world.
The meetings with NATO, the United Kingdom, and with Russia were a tremendous success.  And I think you will see that, and it will play out over a period of years, frankly.  But they were a tremendous success.
At home, our economy is thriving and booming like, I would say, never before.  People are looking, and they’re trying to find times.  And there’s never been a time like this.

Ukrainian farmers thresh almost 17 mln tonnes of grains

As of July 18, Ukrainian agrarians harvested 16.7 million tonnes of grains from the area of 5.34 million hectares, the press service of the Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food reports. In particular, the farmers harvested 12.5 million tonnes of winter wheat on the area of 3.8 million hectares, or 60% to the forecast; 23,700 tonnes of spring wheat on the area of 10,000 hectares, or 5% to the forecast; and 855,400 tonnes of spring barley on the area of 440,500 hectares, or 29% to the forecast; 465,000 tonnes of peas on the area of 287,000 hectares, or 68% to the forecast. The average yield of cereals is at 31.3 c/ha.


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressional Ukraine Caucus Chairs, Representatives Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), Sandy Levin (D-MI), and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) issued a joint statement after President Donald Trump’s summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki:
“As co-chairs of the bipartisan Ukraine Caucus, we are deeply troubled by the President’s subservient behavior towards President Putin. The United States must never tolerate actions that seek to weaken democratic institutions in the U.S. and our allies abroad.

The man in the street: Is American Trump Ukrainian Yanukovych

Yes, Trump is also afraid of Putin as Yanukovych (former president of Ukraine). 

Yes, Trump will also run away to Russia as Yanukovych fled.

No, Trump outsmarted both Putin and the American establishment.

EU imposes individual sanctions on six persons involved in Kerch Strait Bridge construction

The European Union has decided to impose individual sanctions against six people involved in the illegal construction of the Kerch Strait Bridge, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has said.
"Good news from Brussels! In the development of our agreements at the Ukraine-EU summit, the ambassadors of the EU member states have decided to impose individual sanctions against six people involved in the illegal construction of the Kerch bridge," Poroshenko wrote on his Facebook page on Wednesday, July 18.

Access To Justice: Spending Impact

I recently moderated a panel at Elevate by LegalShield where one of the speakers mentioned the statistic that the average American only has $500 in savings. This was not the first time that I have heard this figure and of course, it’s not enough to hire an attorney to do much. And, do not get me wrong, we do have an access to justice crisis with those below the poverty line and eligible for legal aid. However, this savings statistic includes the middle class. I was reminded of something that my husband once said about why some cannot make ends meet, “It’s not the people that make less; it’s the people that spend more.”

How Regulation Could Help Cryptocurrencies Grow

Ignorance may be bliss for some, but ask anyone in commerce or finance, and they will make it abundantly clear: Ignorance is risk. For that reason, U.S. markets embrace reasonable regulation to ensure transparency and fairness. Stocks are regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), commodities by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), and government currency by the Department of the Treasury and the Federal Reserve. But an emergent fourth asset class, cryptocurrencies, has no single regulator, and that is leading to uncertainty and confusion.

Statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine on the 4th anniversary of the downing of the flight MH 17

17 of July will forever remain in our memory as a tragic day of a  terrible terrorist act, which killed 298 people. Four years ago the  Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 was shot down by the Russian  anti-aircraft missile system «Buk».
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs  of Ukraine expresses its sincere condolences to all relatives and next  of kin of those who died in this catastrophe.
Currently it is our  common duty and matter of honor to establish and bring to justice those  involved in the downing of the Malaysian Airlines flight MH17.

President emphasizes that Ukraine has won a case against Russia in the Stockholm Arbitration

President Petro Poroshenko stresses that the Stockholm Arbitration explicitly obliged Russian Gazprom to pay NJSC Naftogaz of Ukraine $4.6 billion. The Head of State reminded that he had given the relevant instructions regarding the preparation of the appeal to the Stockholm arbitration and the resolution of the issue in the international court.
"There is an understanding in Stockholm. Because Ukraine won $4.6 billion from Russia for the first time. And Russia once again demonstrates that it is not going to carry out any agreements and even a court decision," Petro Poroshenko said during the Freedom of Speech program regarding statements of misunderstanding in the Stockholm arbitration in the case between Naftogaz and Gazprom.

Trump, Putin and the betrayal of America

Donald Trump’s press conference with Vladimir Putin this week is likely to go down as one of the signature moments of his presidency. In an appalling display, the US president refused to endorse the verdict of his own intelligence agencies that Russia had deliberately intervened in the 2016 US presidential election. Instead, he gave equal credit to the “extremely strong and powerful” denial of such interference issued by President Putin. Mr Trump followed this up with a baffling and self-serving rant against his domestic critics — name-checking all his usual foes from Hillary Clinton to the FBI.

Revocable vs. Irrevocable Trusts: A Comparative Analysis

As you go through your estate planning process, it’s important you fully understand the options and tools available for you to accomplish your goals. For example, knowing the difference between revocable and irrevocable trusts is crucial to your estate planning success.
Here is a brief analysis of each type of trust and how they differ from each other.