Wednesday, July 18, 2018

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.

Google to Be Fined Record $5 Billion by EU Over Android

Google will be fined about 4.3 billion euros ($5 billion) by the European Union over apps for Android mobile devices, setting a record for antitrust penalties, according to a person familiar with the EU decision.
The penalty -- the same amount the Netherlands contributes to the EU budget every year -- is due to be announced by EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager at 1 p.m. in Brussels.

Trump, seeking to calm political storm over Putin summit, says he misspoke

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump tried on Tuesday to calm a storm over his failure to hold Russian President Vladimir Putin accountable for meddling in the 2016 U.S. election, saying he misspoke in a joint news conference in Helsinki.

Legal Update - Sexual Harassment Guidance for All Employers: Protect Your Employees and Your Company

Ten years ago, Tarana Burke created the “Me Too” campaign as a grass-roots movement to reach sexual assault survivors in underprivileged communities. The campaign recently grabbed the national spotlight after actress Alyssa Milano used the phrase in a tweet arising from the numerous reports of women who have accused Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment, sexual assault and other unlawful conduct. In the weeks that followed, thousands of victims have come and continue to come forward to report instances of harassment and abuse in the workplace. As an employer, you have a legal responsibility to implement rules and procedures to prevent and correct such abuse occurring in the workplace. It is imperative that you protect your employees from harassment and company from the fallout that accompanies inadequate safeguards and compliance.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Not such a Turkish Delight in Odessa

It is no secret that foreign agencies work in Odessa Oblast.
The most obvious that would come to mind is that of the Russian Federation, but as a reader moves closer to Europe then the Romanian SIE is active, as is Mossad, and of course Turkey across the Black Sea also has a great interest in Odessa too.
To be fair there are numerous agencies active in Odessa as a reader would expect from a city that is a transport hub on internationally recognised trading routes (as well as internationally recognised smuggling routes – be it people, guns, drugs and counterfeit).

Freedom, not Free-for-all

A serious stereotype used against Ukrainians, not only by enemies, but also often by themselves, is a peculiar concept of ​​their love of freedom. Indeed, a penchant for freedom is identified by our citizens as one of the key features of their national character, which, for example, distinguishes Ukrainians from Russians.

Protesters scuffle over demands to fire anti-graft prosecutor (PHOTOS, VIDEO)

About 20 anti-graft activists came on July 17 to the office of Anti-Corruption Prosecutor Nazar Kholodnytsky to demand his resignation after he closed the embezzlement case against Interior Minister Arsen Avakov’s son Oleksandr.
They, however, clashed with about 200 protesters led by Avakov’s advisor Ilia Kiva, a controversial former police official who since 2017 has headed the Socialist Party of Ukraine.

EU and Japan sign Economic Partnership Agreement

The key parts of the agreement
With regards to agricultural exports from the EU, the agreement will, in particular:
  • scrap Japanese duties on many cheeses such as Gouda and Cheddar (which currently are at 29.8%) as well as on wine exports (currently at 15% on average);
  • allow the EU to increase its beef exports to Japan substantially, while on pork there will be duty-free trade in processed meat and almost duty-free trade for fresh meat;
  • ensure the protection in Japan of more than 200 high-quality European agricultural products, so called Geographical Indications (GIs), and the protection of a selection of Japanese GIs in the EU.

Five Things to Know About the Supreme Court

The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) is the highest court in the country. It is composed of nine Justices who are responsible for deciding whether a law violates the Constitution. Brush up on your SCOTUS expertise with USAGov’s five facts to know:
  1. The Supreme Court used to meet in the U.S. Capitol building. SCOTUS and Congress shared the building when the nation’s capital was first moved to Washington, D.C. It was supposed to be a temporary arrangement, but it lasted more than 100 years. Justices heard cases in various chambers and committee rooms until the Supreme Court Building was completed in 1935.

U.S. lawmakers urge Google, Facebook to resist Vietnam cybersecurity law

HANOI (Reuters) - Seventeen U.S. lawmakers have urged the CEOs of Facebook and Google to resist changes stipulated by a new cybersecurity law in Vietnam, which critics say gives the Communist-ruled state more power to crackdown on dissent.

Monday, July 16, 2018

With Trump on his side, Putin admits Russia staged the ‘referendum’ to annex Crimea

It is devastating that the only positive thing to be said about the Helsinki Summit on 16 July is that US President Donald Trump did not, as feared, ‘recognize Crimea as Russian’.  At least, not publicly.  Trump was unable or unwilling to mention even one of the grave crimes which the regime of  Russian President Vladimir Putin has committed over recent years.  In fact, according to Trump, the low in US-Russian relations was not because of its interference in the US presidential elections, confirmed by all US intelligence services, Russia’s invasion and annexation of Crimea and military aggression against Ukraine, the downing by a Russian Buk missile of Malaysian airliner MH17, the use of radioactive polonium and nerve gas against perceived enemies on British territory, war crimes in Syria and much more.  No, it was because, the man tweeted, of “many years of US foolishness and stupidity and now, the Rigged Witch Hunt!," 

Путин Трампу помогал и у него теперь проблемы

President Trump will meet with members of Congress tomorrow

Joe Biden: Today's presser was "beneath the dignity of the office of the President"

Former Vice President Joe Biden said President Trump's remarks at a joint news conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin "do not reflect what Americans think and who we are."
In a statement, he said today's news conference between Trump and Putin was "beneath the dignity of the office of the President."

The Trump-Putin Summit in Helsinki

Sitting in a stuffy overpacked hall at the Presidential Palace, in Helsinki, watching Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump give a joint press conference after their meeting today, I was shocked but not surprised. Not surprised because it has been clear for some time that, at a minimum, Trump has a kind of autocrat’s envy for Putin, who is the strongman that Trump likes to play on television, and, at a maximum, may feel beholden to him or the Russian state and those close to it.

Beirut (film)

Beirut, also known as The Negotiator (UK), is a 2018 American espionage thriller film directed by Brad Anderson and written by Tony Gilroy. Set in 1982 during the Lebanese Civil War, the film stars Jon Hamm as a former U.S. diplomat who returns to service in the titular city of Beirut in order to save a colleague from the group responsible for the death of his family. Rosamund PikeDean NorrisShea WhighamLarry Pine and Mark Pellegrino also star. Principal photography began in Morocco in June 2016.
The film premiered on January 22, 2018 at the Sundance Film Festival and was released in the United States on April 11, 2018. It received generally positive reviews from critics, who called it "absorbing despite its flaws" and praised Hamm and Pike's performances.

Declaration by the High Representative, Federica Mogherini, on behalf of the European Union on the occasion of the Day of International Criminal Justice, 17 July 2018

On the occasion of the Day of International Criminal Justice the European Union reaffirms its commitment to the fight against impunity for the most serious crimes and violations of international humanitarian law.
International criminal justice is not only a powerful deterrent against future abuses, but it is, most of all, instrumental in achieving accountability and sustainable peace. Injustice and impunity have proven in the past to be the main obstacles to healing the deep wounds in societies caused by the most serious crimes and could create fertile ground for the recurrence of conflict. International criminal justice not only contributes to ending impunity but also to fostering broader societal trust and reconciliation. bans Crimea reservations on its website has switched off an option of reserving accommodation in the occupied Crimea. "We’re sorry, it is not possible to make leisure reservations in Crimea at this time on our website," reads the service message if users choose Crimea as their desired leisure destination, Krym.Realii reports.

EU consumer rules: The European Commission and EU consumer authorities push Airbnb to comply

Airbnb's current pricing presentation and a number of its terms do not comply with the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive, the Unfair Contract Terms Directive, and the Regulation on the jurisdiction in civil and commercial matters. Therefore the European consumer authorities and the Commission have demanded from Airbnb a number of changes. The company has until the end of August to present their proposals. Once Airbnb proposes solutions to rectify this, the Commission and the EU consumer authorities will review the proposed changes. If they are not considered satisfactory, Airbnb could face an enforcement action.

We are located on the eastern flank of NATO and jointly defend Europe - Ukrainian President during the Sea Breeze 2018 military training

President Petro Poroshenko stresses the importance of enhancing Ukraine's integration with the European Union and the North Atlantic Alliance. While attending the multinational exercises "Sea Breeze 2018" during his working trip to Odesa, the President recalled his recent participation in the Brussels Summit of NATO. "I am confident that Summit’s documents help us further develop cooperation with our partners, reform the Armed Forces of Ukraine, reform the Naval Forces of Ukraine and change them for building on the basis of NATO standards," he stressed.

How Many Death Penalty Cases Does the Court Decide a Year?

Today, we’re looking at the death penalty caseload.  From 1992 to the end of 2017, the Court has decided 470 death penalty cases.
The Court decided thirty-three death penalty cases in 1992, fifteen in 1993, seven in 1994, fifteen in 1995, eight in 1996, fourteen in 1997 and thirteen in 1998.

Here's How Ukraine's Ousted Government Got Away With $40 Billion

After then-president Viktor Yanukovych fled his palace during Ukraine’s bloody 2014 revolution, law enforcement agents across the globe focused on one question: How did the Kremlin-backed politician and his cronies make $40 billion in state assets disappear?
The US, the UK, Latvia, and others pitched in to help the new Ukrainian government answer that question, and they traced how Yanukovych and his top lieutenants — including President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort — used shell companies in offshore havens to move $700 million between 2008 and 2014.

Trump tells Putin at Helsinki summit: 'I really think the world wants to see us get along' - live updates

US president Donald Trump says relations with Russia have ‘never been worse as he arrives for high-stakes summit with Vladimir Putin. Russia says it agrees

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Як ГРУ, за версією США, "ламало" американські вибори: розповідь у п'яти діях

У п'ятницю, 13 липня, офіс спецпрокурора Роберта Мюллера озвучив нові звинувачення у розслідуванні російського втручання в американські вибори проти 12 співробітників двох частин Головного розвідувального управління РФ. Росіян звинувачують у багаторівневому зламі комп'ютерних систем, крадіжці документів та особистих даних.

G7 Foreign Ministers statement on MH17


The G7 foreign ministers today issued the following statement in advance of the anniversary of the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17:
“We, the G7 foreign ministers, of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, and the High Representative of the European Union, are united in our condemnation, in the strongest possible terms, of the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, a civilian aircraft flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur on July 17, 2014.

Trump-Putin Summit Eases Russia’s Isolation While Posing New Risks

HELSINKI—President Donald Trump’s summit with President Vladimir Putin on Monday to discuss international security issues will mark a symbolic end to the American effort to isolate Russia after its 2014 annexation of Crimea.

Виталий Портников: Встреча Путина и Трампа станет карикатурной

One cannot stop the idea the time for which has come - President on granting autocephaly to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church

“People say one cannot stop the idea the time for which has come. The idea of autocephaly in Ukraine is exactly of that kind. The very logic of historic process, of Ukrainian nation’s development, Ukrainian state’s development leads us to the Tomos,” President Petro Poroshenko emphasized during the participation in the Nationwide pilgrimage dedicated to the 1030th anniversary of Christianization of Ukraine-Rus’ in the course of the working trip to Ternopil region.
The Head of State especially emphasized that it is not about creating a state church: "The churches were and will be independent, as stipulated by the Constitution".

С приветом ваши бандеровцы или как МИД РФ снова в Украине потерялся

Ukrainian interest. Success in Brussels, Procrustean bed for Trump, and surprise in Greece

Brussels has hosted the Ukraine-EU and the NATO summit, and Ukraine can be quite pleased with the outcome of both. Donald Trump taught another lesson of attracting all media attention, but saw an unexpected "postcard greeting from Homeland." Greece is expelling two Russian diplomats.

Honest History: To whom does Crimea belong?

Two days after the Kremlin held a sham referendum at gunpoint in Crimea on March 16, 2014, in an attempt to justify the illegal annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula, Russian President Vladimir Putin addressed his nation.
“In hearts and in minds of the people, Crimea has always been and remains an integral part of Russia,” he said, falsely claiming that Crimeans had unanimously made a free choice to leave Ukraine and join Russia.
Ukraine and its Western allies called the Crimean referendum illegitimate because it came only weeks after Russian troops invaded and occupied the peninsula, installing pro-Kremlin authorities at the point of a gun.

Ukraine’s Status as a Non-Nuclear Weapon State: Past, Present and Future

From the Lisbon Protocol to the Budapest Memorandum. When, why and how the concept of Ukraine’s status as a non-nuclear weapon state was designed? Declaration of Ukraine’s status as a non-nuclear weapon state and strengthening of its independent statehood. Negotiations on the outline of Ukraine’s non-nuclear weapon state status under international law: process and outcome. The time of wasted opportunities. Budapest Memorandum: a historic mistake or inadequate actions by Ukraine’s government? Modern model to guarantee Ukraine’s security as a non-nuclear weapon state.

Turkey issues presidential decrees reshaping institutions

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkey issued presidential decrees on Sunday reshaping key political, military and bureaucratic institutions as part of the transformation to a powerful executive presidency triggered by last month’s election.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

The India-Russia-US Energy Triangle

In early June 2018, India received its first consignment of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Russia’s Gazprom. This followed the first ever arrival of an LNG cargo to Indian shores from the United States in March this year. Each occasion found India’s Union Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas (MoPNG), Dharmendra Pradhan, in attendance, as if to symbolize that India is engaging both the United States and Russia as part of its agenda to diversify away from acute dependence on OPEC for energy sources. It also means that the United States and Russia, besides vying for a share of the Indian defense market, will now increasingly find themselves in competition for India’s energy pie as well.

Bastille Day – Ukraine buys 55 Airbus (French) helicopters

As the citizens of France celebrate lopping off the heads of their aristocracy, with no doubt Bastille Day celebrations continuing into Sunday for the World Cup final, the 14th July also witnessed Ukraine sign a contract with France to purchase 55 helicopters for the Ministry of Interior.
The deal was witnessed by Prime Minister Groisman, Interior Minister Avakov and French Ambassador to Ukraine Isabel Dumont, with the contract being signed by Gennady Balla, the Director of Horev Avia (a State owned enterprise) and Bruno Even, the General Manager of Airbus Helicopters.

Tips for successful negotiations and mediations

The experience of litigation is foreign to a lot of people, and the different stages of litigation can require different strategies and points of reference from the parties.  Mediation is one of the aspects of litigation that can be confusing for parties in a lawsuit, but there are few ground rules to understand about the process that can make it a lot less daunting.  Mediation is a non-binding meeting where the parties in a lawsuit hire an independent third party (a retired judge or lawyer) to try to reach a settlement.  Here are five concepts all parties should understand about the mediation process: