Sunday, January 31, 2016

From the archives: the open society and its enemies revisited

Karl Popper on democracy

In 1988 The Economist invited the philosopher Karl Popper to write an article on democracy. It appeared in the issue of April 23rd that year and made the case for a two-party system. As America’s presidential race begins, with the Iowa caucus on February 1st, we are republishing it, below.

The first book in English by Professor Sir Karl Popper was accepted for publication in London while Hitler’s bombs were falling, and was published in 1945 under the title “The Open Society and its Enemies”. The book was well received, but in this article Sir Karl questions whether his central theory of democracy (which he does not characterise as “the rule of the people”) has been understood.

Yatsenyuk waits for return of $1.5 bln stolen by Yanukovych's allies

Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk is waiting that $1.5 billion stolen by former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych's allies will be returned to the national budget, and then it will be spent on the maintenance and modernization of the army and improvement in social standards.

I hope that the law enforcement system and the judiciary will do their utmost so that the assets stolen from the people of Ukraine could be returned to the budget, and this resource will be used to pay allowances and modernize the army and raise social standards," Yatsenyuk said during the "10 Minutes with the Prime Minister" weekly program broadcast by major TV channels on Sunday evening.

Criminal Justice (Offences Relating to Information Systems) Bill 2016 (PDF)


The primary purpose of the Bill is to transpose the European Directive 2013/40 or the Cybercrime Directive as it is more commonly known. The Cybercrime Directive is aimed at harmonising Member States' criminal law in the area of cybercrime by creating minimum rules for the definition of cybercrime offences and the relevant sanctions and to improve cooperation between competent authorities.


Ireland, along with other Member States, did not meet the 4 September 2015 deadline for bring into force laws to transpose the Directive. The projected timeline for enactment and commencement of the Bill is uncertain. The upcoming election certainly will not aid the Bill's progression through the Oireachtas and it is likely that the Bill will not move forward until the next Dáil is formed.

Yanukovych’s ex-ecology minister regains luxurious properties, Rolls Royce after court ruling

Mark Rachkevych

Kyiv’s Pechersk District Court has unfrozen the assets of the former environmental minister under ex-President Viktor Yanukovych.

The Dec. 25 ruling appeared in the court registry last week and says that Mykola Zlochevsky legally obtained corporate rights and other wealth in December 2013-January 2014 while serving as deputy head of the National Security and Defense Council. Justice Vitaliy Pysanets also ruled that authorities didn’t lawfully issue Zlochevsky a notice of suspicion, judging that handing his lawyer the notice didn’t procedurally qualify.

PM: $ 1.5 billion of the former regime should be used to support and modernization of the army and social standards

"I hope the law enforcement system and the judging will do everything to the funds that were stolen from the people of Ukraine, have been returned to the budget, and this source will be used for cash collateral and modernization of the army and the increase of social standards", - the Prime Minister of Ukraine Arseniy Yatsenyuk in the "10 minutes" on Sunday, 31st January.

He recalled that this year the Government by 16 billion hryvnia increased funding for the security and defense sector - up to 113 billion, increasing the amount of money for military personnel.


At the same time Yatsenyuk stressed the need to continue the policy to increase the cash collateral for the Ukrainian Army, National Guard, Border Guards "and all the soldiers who guard the security and peace in the country."

Statement by the HR/VP Federica Mogherini on the start of Geneva intra Syrian talks and the situation in Syria

While some signs of hope arrive from Geneva, today we mourn new victims in Syria, murdered by the same who are trying to kill any perspective of peace.

The attack near the Seyyida Zeinab shrine is clearly aimed to disrupt the attempts to start a political process. Nevertheless, this process, started in November last year in Vienna, provides the best and probably only chance to bring to an end the conflict in Syria, which has caused and continues to cause so much suffering to so many.

It is encouraging that  both the opposition and government delegations are now present in Geneva to begin the next stage of this process.

The Firm (novel)

The Firm is a 1991 legal thriller and the second novel by John Grisham. It was his first widely recognized book, and in 1993 after it sold 1.5 million copies, was made into a film starring Tom Cruise and Gene Hackman
Marilyn Stasio of The New York Times wrote that "Mr. Grisham, a criminal defense attorney, writes with such relish about the firm's devious legal practices that his novel might be taken as a how-to manual for ambitious tax-law students."

Corporate Lawyers Say They Are Spending More In-House


Chief legal officers at corporations in 41 countries say they are spending more — and hiring more staff members — in-house, according to a new study by the Association of Corporate Counsel, a legal professionals membership group, that asked 1,300 corporate lawyers and chief legal officers.

The rise is being driven by more government regulatory scrutiny as corporate dealings become increasingly multinational, according to the group’s report. One-third of those responding said their companies had been the target of regulators in the last two years.

The president dismissed for violating of the oath of 86 judges, including three judges for non-legal solutions against the activists of the Revolution Dignity

President Poroshenko signed a decree that sacked for violating the oath of 86 judges.

Decree №27 / 2016 dated January 30, the Head of State dismissed the three judges of the non-legal solutions against the activists of the Revolution Benefits.

The Supreme Council of Justice decided that the judge Chervonozavodsky district court of Kharkiv Denis Chudovsky, judge of Obolon district court of Kiev Yulia Shvachach and the judge of Shevchenko district court of Kiev, Dmitry Kravets during Maidan had violated the oath, and recommended them to fire. 

Also, the Decree №28 / 2016 dated January 30, the President dismissed for violation of the oath of a number of 83 judges in the courts of Russia annexed the Crimea.

In Ukraine, Putin Tries to Cash in Before Luck Runs Out

BY STEPHEN BLANK

Ukraine has become the object of high-stakes diplomacy. This does not mean that fighting has stopped—quite the opposite. Russian forces continue to launch probes and violate the cease-fire agreement; they have substantially reinforced themselves, as have the Ukrainian forces arrayed against them. Nevertheless, a major diplomatic campaign is occurring.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has 
taken complete political control of the separatist forces by sending veteran troubleshooter Dmitri Kozak to take over Russia's relations with the so-called Donetsk People's Republic (DNR) and the Luhansk People's Republic (LNR). 

He also sent another confidante, Boris Gryzlov, former chairman of the Duma, to negotiate with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in Kyiv, and a third gray eminence, Vladislav Surkov, has met with US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland in Kaliningrad.

War in Syria: Russia’s 'rustbucket' military delivers a hi-tech shock to West and Israel


Their army’s equipment and strategy was “outmoded”; their air force’s bombs and missiles were “more dumb than smart”; their navy was “more rust than ready”. For decades, this was Western military leaders’ view, steeped in condescension, of their Russian counterparts. What they have seen in Syria and Ukraine has come as a shock. 

Russian military jets have, at times, been carrying out more sorties in a day in Syria than the US-led coalition has done in a month. The Russian navy has launched ballistic missiles from the Caspian Sea 900 miles way, and kept supply lines going to Syria. The air defences installed by the Russians in Syria and eastern Ukraine would make it extremely hazardous for the West to carry out strikes against the Assad regime or Ukrainian separatists.

Wanted: a grand bargain to rescue EU from 'polycrisis'

BY PAUL TAYLOR

BRUSSELS - The European Union needs an ambitious grand bargain at its next summit to rescue itself from an accumulation of crises that threaten to blow apart its model of integration.

Like children at a birthday party, each leader has to get a going-home present. And as with many children's parties,  there may be a tantrum along the way.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is at risk at home from a backlash against a mass influx of Syrian refugees. British Prime Minister David Cameron is trying to win a referendum on staying in the EU and cannot help her due to public hostility to immigration. Nor can French President Francois Hollande, who is struggling for re-election in a country transfixed by the threat from Islamist militants.

Concrete agreements and recommendations on the circular economy

Sustainable procurement, financial incentives, recycling materials and sharing best practices. This is just a handful of the topics discussed at a conference on opportunities for and obstacles to a European circular economy in Rotterdam on 25 and 26 January. 

The meeting ‘Unwrapping the package: towards a circular economy in Europe’ was co-hosted by the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment and the European Commission and resulted in several concrete agreements and recommendations.

The Netherlands promotes a circular economy

Роман Безсмертний: "Росія зацікавлена, щоб ця війна тривала без кінця"

Євгеній Будерацький, Тетяна Ніколаєнко
12 лютого минає рік як були підписані домовленості під кодовою назвою Мінськ-2. Станом на кінець року жоден з їх пунктів не був до кінця виконаний. Наприкінці минулого року керівники України, Німеччини, Франції та Росії домовились продовжити термін дії угод.
Водночас з початку року Росія надіслала в групу нового представника – члена російського Радбезу Бориса гризлова і стала педалювати тему внесення змін до Конституції. На останню зустріч мінської робочої групи представники бойовиків навіть принесли 2 аркуша паперу, які пропонували спецстатус Донбасу та ледь не зірвали роботу групи. Адже заява  Гризлова була випущена в ЗМІ тоді, коли група ще засідала і ні сном, ні духом не знала про папери.
Про те, що відбувається в рамках мінської групи, чи змінилась ситуація з появою Гризлова і чи буде цього року мир, INSIDER поспілкувався з представником України в політичній підгрупі Романом Безсмертним.  

Fit and finish

Seth Godin

It's pretty clear that the design of the egg carton isn't going to change the flavor of the omelette.

Except, of course, it does.

It does because people can't judge the eggs until they eat them, but they can judge the packaging in the store. And if they choose someone else's product, you never get a chance.
Not only that, but the placebo effect creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. We like what we liked. The customer would rather be proven right than proven wrong.

That's why it's so important to understand the worldview and biases of the person you seek to influence, to connect with, to delight. And why the semiotics and stories we produce matter so much more than we imagine.

Having “the talk” about end-of-life documents


Everyone dreads the day when it’s time to have “the talk” on how to handle a loved one’s inevitable passing. As unpleasant as that conversation sounds, it has to happen. Death comes for all of us. However, that reality also provides you with the opportunity to make your preferences known while you still can, and get them all down on paper in a form that ensures they’ll be carried out.

Some people will immediately recognize the opportunity end-of-life legal documents represent, and will get to work on them on their own; others will need some uncomfortable prodding. And is it any wonder? This is a discussion that combines two things no one wants to think about: legal paperwork and death. But we can help with the paperwork side, at least, and maybe even provide some tips on how to open up a dialogue.

TOP-5 Exporters of Corn from Ukraine in 2015/16MY (September-December)

Main exporters of corn from Ukraine in 2015/16MY


Pirates in our public library: Why Indian scholars are closely watching a court case in Quebec


The online library aaaaarg.fail, which is being sued for copyright violation, gives researchers access to a wealth of vital texts that are inaccessible in the subcontinent. Originally published on Scroll.in and republished here with permission.

In 2005, Sean Dockray did what any sensible government should have done for its students. The American artist set up a sharing-enabled platform for a website then called aaaaarg.org, and uploaded digital copies of largely theoretical and philosophical texts that could be freely downloaded by readers. Before long, many of the researchers, students, teachers, and scholars who used the site began to upload scans of texts in their possession – exactly as Dockray hoped they would.

Chairperson of Verkhovna Rada Committee on Industrial Policy and Entrepreneurship Viktor Halasiuk presents program on economy development

At the morning briefing at the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, Viktor Halasiuk announced major items of the anti-crisis plan on the development of economy.

"This program is a complex document that envisions a number of key and primary steps, measures, reforms, laws to be implemented in five crucial fields to let the Ukrainians feel real positive changes brought by numerous reforms," the people's deputy said.

In particular, the list presented by Viktor Halasiuk envisions the following priorities:

The real reason police almost never face charges


We’ve all seen the videos: white police officers using extreme, sometimes deadly, force when confronting black or brown civilians. Some of these high-profile incidents have resulted in indictments of the police—the Walter Scott shooting in South Carolina is one such instance—but those are the rare exceptions. 

More typical are cases like the police shootings of Tamir Rice in Cleveland and Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. In those cases and many, many others, the police officers are cleared of criminal charges.

Staunch law-and-order types argue that the evidence doesn’t support indictments, and that the system is working as it should. But is it? Or does the lack of police indictments stem from the cozy relationship of the local police and prosecutors?

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Wake-Up Call

U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce Reports on Massive Opportunity Loss for Women-Owned Businesses


WASHINGTON, DC, January 12, 2015 -- Today, the U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce issued a detailed statistical report (http://uswcc.org/wake-up-call) and wake-up call highlighting the disparity between the number of women business owners in America and their business revenues. This report, derived from the recently released2012 U.S. Census Survey of Business Owners details the stark reality: women business owners are failing to achieve revenues on par with male-owned firms.

Law of Ukraine On Banks and Banking (PDF)

This Law defines the structure of the banking system, economic, organizational and legal fundamentals for establishment, operation, reorganization and liquidation (resolution) of banks. 

The purpose of this Law is to provide legal support for stable development and operation of banks in Ukraine in order to create an appropriate competitive environment in the financial market, protect legitimate interests of bank depositors and clients, introduce favorable conditions for the development of the economy of Ukraine, and support the domestic commodity producers.

Speech by NBU Governor Valeria Gontareva on Monetary Policy

Dear colleagues,

I would like to greet all the participants at our traditional meeting following the Board's monetary policy meeting. I would like to inform you that the Board of the National Bank of Ukraine continues to pursue a restrained monetary policy. We have decided to leave the discount rate unchanged at 22% per annum.

The Board’s decision to keep the current monetary policy in place is consistent with the NBU’s primary objective of achieving and maintaining price stability in the country. This move will help mitigate risks to price stability.  These risks are growing amid global financial and commodity markets turbulence.  This move will also enable the NBU to achieve its objective of lowering inflation to 12% by end-2016 and 8% by end-2017.  

What California Retail Employers Need to Know About Accommodating Pregnancy


IF WOMEN ARE SO GOOD AT MANAGING MONEY, WHY ARE SO FEW OF THEM DOING IT?


Of all the rarefied niches on Wall Street, perhaps the most opaque and exclusive is the hedge fund industry, where traders are handed millions and even billions of dollars to invest on behalf of banks, endowments, pension funds and the superrich.

This is the province of the so-called Masters of the Universe, who, if successful, can become billionaires trading other people’s money. And it’s the last bastion of finance where women are having serious trouble breaking in. As of 2015, less than 2 percent of hedge funds were run or owned by women—about 150 to 200 globally—and the majority of those managed less than $100 million of funds.

U.S. Textron, Ukroboronprom sign contract to modernize HMMWVs in Ukraine

U.S. Textron Systems and the Ukroboronprom State Concern will establish industrial cooperation to modernize U.S. HMMWVs at the Ukrainian defense industrial facilities to the Survivable Combat Tactical Vehicles (SCTV) with improved anti-mine and ballistic protection similar to that of MRAP (Mine Resistant Ambush Protected) protection.

The contract was signed by Textron Systems and SpetsTechnoExport, incorporated in Ukroboronprom. The information that the contract was signed was announced by Ukraine during the International Armoured Vehicles Conference held on January 25 through January 28, 2016 in London, the press service of SpetsTechnoExport reported.

Turkey reveals airspace violation by Russian jet

Turkey’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has said that a Russian fighter jet violated Turkish airspace on Friday.

An official statement released on Saturday said that the Russian craft -- a SU-34 fighter-bomber -- was repeatedly warned by Turkish air radar units in Russian and English.

"A Russian SU-34 fighter jet violated Turkish airspace yesterday (Jan. 29, 2016) at 11.46 a.m. local time in Turkey [0946 GMT]," the statement read.

Rubber Stamp Justice: US Courts, Debt Buying Corporations, and the Poor (PDF)

Every year, several hundred thousand people across the United States are sued by companies they have never done business with and may never have heard of. 

These firms are called debt buyers and although they have never loaned anyone a penny, millions of Americans owe them money. Debt buyers purchase vast portfolios of bad debts—mostly delinquent credit cards—from lenders who have written them off as a loss. 

They pay just pennies on the dollar but can go after alleged debtors for the full face value of every debt plus interest at rates that routinely exceed 25 percent.

Germany Blames Russia For Parliament Cyberattack

A six-month cyberattack against the German parliament in 2015 was organized by the Russian government, according to a report in the newsweekly Der Spiegel. 

The magazine reported on January 30 that German authorities are certain that a Trojan virus attack against the Bundestag's computer network in the first half of 2015 was carried out by a Russian-government-funded hacker group known by the names Sofacy and APT28.

The attack shut down the network for several days and compromised a large amount of German government data.

Remarks by Ambassador Pyatt at the “Countering Information War in Ukraine” Conference

Ukraine Crisis Media Center
Kyiv, Ukraine

AMBASSADOR PYATT:  Thank you, Vasyl.  Thank you, Dmytro, for the excellent remarks.  Let me first of all congratulate UCMC and the NATO folks for putting this event together.  It’s extremely timely.   

The best evidence of that was the press conference yesterday given by the NATO Secretary General, where he placed a major focus on the challenge of hybrid warfare and the need for those of us in the Transatlantic community to think systematically about how we meet this challenge.

It’s important to recognize that what we’ve come to call hybrid warfare, which Ukraine has now been subject to for two long years, is a combination of instruments.  It’s economic pressure; it’s military pressure, the little green men; it’s political pressure; and of course, it is information pressure and the weaponization of information.

Литвиненко. Расследования


Высокий суд Лондона завершил публичные слушания и 21 января огласил решение по делу о гибели бывшего сотрудника ФСБ Александра Литвиненко. Судья Роберт Оуэн в докладе, который он готовил несколько месяцев, пришел к выводу, что «операция ФСБ по убийству Литвиненко, вероятно, была утверждена Патрушевым, а также президентом Путиным» (Николай Патрушев — бывший руководитель ФСБ). 
ПОЛНЫЙ ТЕКСТ (в формате pdf)

Report into the death of Alexander Litvinenko (PDF) - Chairman: Sir Robert Owen

On 22 July 2014 the Secretary of State for Home Affairs, the Rt Hon Theresa May MP, announced, in a written statement laid before the House of Commons, that an Inquiry under the Inquiries Act 2005 was to be held into the death of Alexander Litvinenko.

I was appointed to chair the Inquiry. I opened the Inquiry on 31 July 2014. The oral hearings were completed on 31 July 2015, and my Report was duly delivered to the Secretary of State in January 2016.

My conclusions on the central issues in this Report are to be found at Parts 8, 9 and 10. Those Parts of the Report, and the conclusions they contain, are based on the totality of the evidence that I have heard – that is, both the ‘open’ and the ‘closed’ evidence. The conclusions are mine and mine alone.

Termination checklists: five considerations to start with

on January 29, 2016

This is Five focuses on the termination process.  Employers should develop a termination checklist to ensure all documents and contingencies are consistently covered during the process.  Here are five pointers employers can use to start in developing their own checklist:
1.      Final wages must be timely paid.
The employee’s wages must be paid at the time of termination.  In addition, employers are required to pay the employee all accrued but unused vacation in this final paycheck.  In addition, other items employers should review to ensure they are timely paid:

Constitutional amendments not stipulate special status for Donbas - Verkhovna Rada Speaker

The amendments to the Constitution of Ukraine regarding decentralization do not provide for autonomy, federalization or "special status" for Donbas.

Verkhovna Rada Speaker Volodymyr Groysman said this in an interview with Rada parliamentary TV channel.

"I call on everybody to take these constitutional amendments regarding decentralization, read paragraph 18 and find a single word referring to ‘special status’ for Donbas. You will not find a single word about autonomy or federalization or the special status for Donbas in the amendments to the Constitution," he stressed.