Sunday, July 31, 2016

Putin’s Economy Is Stuck and He Doesn’t Know How to Get It Going

Vladimir Putin’s economy has been shrinking for 18 months but he still doesn’t have a plan to get it going again.
After focusing almost exclusively on foreign policy since early 2014, the need to get the economy back into gear is forcing the Russian president to face a painful choice: bow to the demands of the markets or protect his Kremlin-centered system.


This is the great human rights issue of our time, and...I am determined that we will make it a national and international mission to rid our world of this barbaric evil,' prime minister says.

Prime Minister Theresa May set out a drive to tackle modern slavery in Britain on Sunday, pledging more funding and a new cross-government taskforce to help stamp out what she called a "barbaric evil."

She made the pledge as a review into the 2015 Modern Slavery Act, pioneered by May in her previous role as interior minister, showed that in 2015, 40 percent more victims had been identified and 14 percent more slavery offenses had been prosecuted.

Turkish gov’t introduces new decree law to overhaul army

Turkey’s government is set to conduct a major overhaul on various spheres of the country’s military after surviving a coup attempt on July 15 that highlighted the extent of the infiltration of the outlawed Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ) into the top ranks of the military.

With the latest state of emergency decree law published in the Official Gazette on July 31, the Turkish army will be subjected to a series of changes in a number of fields, including its services commands, educational and health institutions and the Supreme Military Council (YAŞ), in a move that President 
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said should be considered as part of a larger restructuring process that includes the state and the judiciary.

Whatcha Gonna Do When a Data Breach Happens to You—Part 2 Which Law Applies?

In today’s blog, we’ll continue to take a look at what constitutes a “data breach” and what your obligations are under the applicable law.
The breach
If someone breaks through a locked office door and steals a server or a stack of closing files, most would agree such an event probably would meet the definition of a data breach, when non-public personal information (NPI) is accessed via fraudulent means.  However, has a breach occurred if you lose a phone or laptop?  Believe it or not, these latter two events happen far more often than the “break-in-and-steal” events.  Does the law require you to issue a data breach notification when you misplace your phone or laptop?  Does it make any difference if the phone required a passcode or if the laptop was encrypted?

Ukraine Rises in E-Government Development Index

Ukraine has been ranked 62 out of 193 countries in the E-Government Development Index 2016 published by the UN, which is 25 points higher than 2014, Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman wrote on Facebook.
Groysman said this was an important achievement for Ukraine and added: "I have always thought that e-technology is an important instrument for ensuring transparency and effectiveness of power in the current circumstances, of countering corruption, increasing the quality of services and citizen participation. That’s why, wherever I work — in the city council, the parliament, or the government — I always promote their implementation."

Tesla, SolarCity set to announce merger on Monday: sources

Tesla Motors Inc (TSLA.O) and SolarCity Corp (SCTY.O) could announce they have agreed to merge as early as Monday, people familiar with the matter said, setting the stage for a campaign to convince the two companies' shareholders to back the deal.

Combining the clean energy car maker with the solar panel installer is a major part of billionaire Elon Musk's strategy, who earlier in July unveiled his master plan "part deux" that calls for the combined company to offer consumers a single source of hardware to power a low-carbon lifestyle.

Poland's Constitutional Court Crisis: Duda signs controversial amendments to law

European Commission estimates changes as part of preliminary assessment of rule of law in the country

Poland's President Andrzej Duda signed amendments to the law on the Polish Constitutional Court which had been the issue of dispute between the government and the opposition since last year.

This is reported by Ukrinform referring to the Polish President's Office.

"The new law on the Constitutional Court resumes the decisions envisaged in the 1997 Constitutional Court law and brings court-related legal provisions into line with the Constitution", reads a statement.

Informacja w sprawie ustawy z dnia 22 lipca 2016 r. o Trybunale Konstytucyjnym

Ustawa z dnia  22 lipca 2016 r. zastępuje obowiązującą od dnia 30 sierpnia 
2015 r. ustawę o Trybunale Konstytucyjnym z dnia 25 czerwca 2015 r. 

Nowa ustawa o Trybunale Konstytucyjnym  przywraca, co do zasady,  rozwiązania zawarte w ustawie o Trybunale Konstytucyjnym z 1997 r. dostosowującej regulacje prawne dotyczące sądu konstytucyjnego do Konstytucji. Do najważniejszych rozwiązań przyjętych w ustawie zaliczyć należy:

- wymóg udziału, w sprawie rozpoznawanej w pełnym składzie, co najmniej 11 sędziów,

The Real Plot Against America

In retrospect, it worked out much better than planned. Who’d have thought a pariah nation, run by an authoritarian who makes his political opponents disappear, could so easily hijack a great democracy? It didn’t take much. A talented nerd can bring down a minnow of a nation. But this level of political crime requires more refined mechanics — you need everyone to play their assigned roles.

You start with a stooge, a fugitive holed up in London, releasing stolen emails on the eve of the Democratic National Convention, in the name of “transparency.” Cyberburglars rely on a partner in crime to pick up stolen goods. And WikiLeaks has always been there for Russia, a nation with no transparency.

Why is the SEC Investigating Tesla Motors?

on July 30, 2016
Posted in equity, risk factors

On July 11, 2016, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating whether Tesla Motors Inc. violated the securities laws, apparently by not disclosing timely a fatal crash involving a Tesla Model S. Tesla’s handling of the incident from a disclosure standpoint raises interesting issues involving materiality and risk factors.

It seems the SEC is examining whether Tesla should have disclosed information regarding the fatal crash in offering documents relating to the sale of approximately $2.8 billion of Tesla common stock, nearly $600 million of which were sold by Tesla CEO, Elon Musk.

Mark Carney Has Started A Revolution By Embracing Fintech And Blockchain

In the aftermath of Britain’s referendum vote to leave the European Union, Brexit’s loudest advocates scurried from public view and the political establishment descended into a caustic battle for control. Emerging from the melee was Theresa May, who has a reputation for consistency, if little else. But the UK doesn’t need a caretaker in these uncertain and turbulent times. It needs bold and innovative leadership.
One person has quietly stepped up into the role: Canadian Mark Carney, the Governor of the Bank of England. Carney acted quickly to stem the panic from Brexit. Now he can and should do more. The list of challenges is daunting: prevent a recession from becoming a depression, preserve London’s preeminence as a financial capital, jump-start entrepreneurship, and make the economy work for everyone, not just a few. In normal circumstances, a central bank would take on one or two of these.

День независимости Московии – Битва при Алексине 1 августа 1472 г.

А.Горский.Когда Москва освободилась от власти Орды?

Время правления Ивана III – с 1462г. по 1505г.– стало эпохой, в которую московские владения выросли в несколько раз. Первым приобретением Ивана Васильевича было Ярославское княжество, присоединенное уже в 1463г..[1046]В 1474г. уростовских князей была куплена остававшаяся номинально суверенной часть их княжества,[1047]а в 1478г. под непосредственную власть московского князя перешла огромная Новгородская земля.[1048]К первой половине княжения Ивана III относится и ликвидация зависимости от Орды.

Turkey says to back away from EU migrant deal if no visa-free travel

Turkey would have to back out of its agreement with the European Union to stem the flow of migrants into the bloc if the EU does not deliver visa-free travel for Turks, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has said.

A bubbling underworld – Odessa

This entry perhaps requires something of a full (or as full as is necessary) disclosure, if for no other reason than to add some local provenance to a past practitioner career that very much rubbed up against organised crime, initially indirectly and latterly directly.
Within the family tree on the Slavic side there are, perhaps paradoxically given the author’s past career, several (in)famous Slavic organised criminals.  Indeed the godfather of the boy is, or was, a Godfather.  For the sake of this entry he will be called “Uncle V”.

Prezydent dobił Trybunał

Ewa Siedlecka

Prezydent podpisał w sobotę ustawę o Trybunale Konstytucyjnym mimo apeli, by poddał ją wcześniej ocenie TK.

EU encouraged car industry to cheat, French report says

European national authorities “encouraged” car manufacturers to produce diesel cars that polluted more than EU limits allowed by insufficiently investigating emissions of cars on the road, a French committee concluded in a report published Friday (29 July).

The report said market surveillance of emissions of diesel vehicles, once sold, was “largely insufficient”.

“The absence or lack of transparency of surveillance testing and control by public authorities on emissions of vehicles offered for sale in the European Union, constitutes incitement to fraud and therefore must be absolutely corrected,” the committee wrote.

10 Benefits Businesses Offer Employees: Infographic

Posted in Infographics

Elimination of 'Crimea federal district' does not change US sanction policy - Pyatt

On July 28, Russian President Vladimir Putin made Crimea and Sevastopol part of the Southern Federal District

The United States will not change its policy on Russia-occupied Crimea regardless of the Kremlin's decision to 'annihilate' the peninsula autonomy.

This was stated by US Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey R. Pyatt during the telephone talks with journalists as part of the communication project Brussels hub, the Ukrainian news outlet Yevropesika Pravda reports.

Trial of Yanukovych's ally Yefremov suspected of separatism begins Aug 1

The trial of politician, ex-president Viktor Yanukovych's ally Oleksandr Yefremov, who is suspected of involvement in the creation of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People's Republic (LPR), begins on Monday, August 1, according to the Ukrainian news portal, RBC-Ukraine.

The trial is scheduled to convene at 12:00 Kyiv time to select a pre-trial restraint, RBC-Ukraine reported. The court will meet at Kyiv's Pechersky court at 42a Khreschatyk Street. According to the news portal, the prosecution will demand Yefremov be held in custody for two months. Police are to ensure increased security, according to reports. In addition, social networks have begun preparations for an indefinite campaign to place public pressure on the court, as well as to assure that Yefremov will remain in custody.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Writer Zhadan Receives Ukrainian Book of the Year Award from Poroshenko

Writer Serhiy Zhadan received the Ukrainian Book of the Year Award from President Petro Poroshenko for his novel Mesopotamia. A corresponding decree was published on the Presidential website on Saturday, July 30.
Zhadan received the award in the category ‘For outstanding achievements in literature’. Family Leisure Club publishing house where Mesopotamia was published in 2014 was also awarded.

Hong Kong: Changes ahead in insurance regulation

The Office of the Commissioner of Insurance (OCI) recently released its 2015 Annual Report, highlighting the considerable challenges and changes ahead for the insurance industry and the OCI.
Essential preparation is underway for the OCI to be succeeded by Hong Kong’s new insurance regulator, the Independent Insurance Authority (IIA), which is expected to start operation in late 2016, but not all insurance regulatory functions will be transferred to the IIA until 2018.

Did Putin Try to Steal an American Election?

Some foreign leaders settle for stealing billions of dollars. Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, may have wanted to steal something even more valuable: an American presidential election.

As our election takes a turn that could be drawn from a Cold War spy novel (except it would be too implausible), Putin has an obvious favorite in the race: Donald Trump. “It’s crystal clear to me” that Putin favors Trump, says Michael McFaul, a Stanford professor who was ambassador to Russia until 2014. “If I were Putin, I would rather deal with Trump, too, given the things he has said about foreign policy.”

Racism unleashed: True extent of the 'explosion of blatant hate' that followed Brexit result revealed

Exclusive: Prime Minister accused of helping create the 'hostile environment' that paved the way for 'F*** off to Poland' messages, excrement through letter boxes, and racist abuse from children as young as ten

The full extent and true nature of the “blatant hate” that has beset post-Brexit Britain is today detailed for the first time after The Independent was given exclusive access to a database of more than 500 racist incidents compiled in the weeks since the EU referendum.

The Future of China's Diplomacy in the Middle East


Despite its rising power, China should resist the temptation to become militarily involved in the Middle East.

President Xi Jinping made his first overseas visit in 2016 to Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Iran, which implied that China is considering bringing its “One Belt and One Road” strategy (OBOR) to the Middle East and regards this region as a critical area of neighborhood diplomacy. So what kind of diplomacy should China conduct in the Middle East? Is it the time for China to become militarily involved — for example, to send an army to Syria? Also, given that China issued an “Arab Policy Paper” right before the visit, does this mean that China-Arab relations will cover Chinese-Iranian relations as well? To answer those questions, we need to figure out three things: the main characteristic of the Middle East, China’s comparative advantages, and China’s interests in this region.

“Yarovaya” Law – New Data Retention Obligations for Telecom Providers and Arrangers in Russia

Posted in Legislative & Regulatory Developments, Privacy, Security
On July 6, 2016, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed Federal Law No 374-FZ. This law is also known as the “Yarovaya” law (named after a Russian senator who was the main driving force for the law to come into existence).
The Yarovaya law introduces amendments to certain Russian federal laws. The majority of the amendments came into effect on July 20, 2016, however, some of the requirements relating to storage of metadata, as described below, will only come into force starting from July 1, 2018. A draft law which aims to postpone the effective date of such requirements due to their technical complexity from July 1, 2018 to July 1, 2023 is currently being considered by the Russian State Duma.
The Yarovaya law, which is political and primarily aimed at combating terrorism, contains new rules on data retention which need to be taken into account by telecom companies and other persons operating or assisting in the operation of communications services.

Week’s balance: NBU’s liberalism, IMF’s holiday mood, and optimistic stats

Olha Hordienko (UNIAN)

The National Bank has once again lowered its key rate and continued to soften forex restrictions; the IMF's leaders have announced they are leaving for a summer vacation without setting a date for the meeting on Ukraine – these are the key economic news of the past week.

The key event of the last week in the Ukrainian economy was another decision of the National Bank to cut the key rate. From July 29, it is set at 15.5%. A year ago, the key rate was at the highest historical level of 30%, after which the regulator has been lowering it gradually, approaching the level of a 12% inflation projected for the year-end. Central banks around the world use the mechanism to reduce the key rate to stimulate credit growth and economic development. As for the business environment, the news of the changed rate is always very important as it affects the behavior of markets. 

Путин ставит на раскол в ЕС, надеясь разделаться с санкциями

Эндрю Осборн
МОСКВА (Рейтер) - Владимир Путин едет в субботу в Словению, развивая усилия положить конец санкциям ЕС и воодушевленный признаками того, что его тактика увещевания более податливых южных и восточных членов блока начинает приносить плоды.
Санкции, наложенные из-за украинского кризиса, призваны заблокировать доступ к западным кредитам и технологиям для лиц и компаний, связанных с Путиным. В сочетании с санкциями США и "Большой семерки" они усложняют задачу России справиться с трудностями в экономике, подстегиваемыми падением нефтяных цен.
Евросоюз ранее в июле продлил экономические санкции в отношении Москвы до начала 2017-го, несмотря на сомнения некоторых стран, таких как Словакия, по поводу эффективности меры.

The Democrats’ Putin dilemma


While Obama and Clinton ridicule Trump's vow to 'get along great' with the Russian leader, the administration is quietly trying to open a dialogue of its own.

Donald Trump was the bogeyman of this week’s Democratic national convention. But placing a close second to Trump was Russia’s President, Vladimir Putin. Democrats linked the two bad guys together, hammering Trump for his past words of praise for Putin as a “strong leader” and his claim that the U.S. would “get along great” with Russia if he is elected.

U.S. Department of Education Launches New Feedback System for Federal Student Aid

On July 1, the U.S. Department of Education (“ED”) launched the Federal Student Aid Feedback System, an online portal that allows federal student aid customers to submit complaints, provide positive feedback, and report allegations of suspicious activity regarding the federal student aid programs. The Feedback System was identified as a primary objective of the “Student Aid Bill of Rights” proposed by President Obama in March of 2015.
This new feedback system is part of a larger effort by ED to enhance its oversight and enforcement capabilities with regards to student loan borrowing. Although it does not create any new requirements for institutions participating in the federal student financial aid programs, the feedback system will provide new avenues for customers to alert ED about potential compliance issues or misconduct.

Five reminders about vacation time under California law

The Keeper of Lost Causes

Serbia supports sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine

In the framework of a trip to the Ukrainian peacekeepers in Kosovo (Republic of Serbia), Vice Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic integration of Ukraine Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze paid a visit to Belgrade and held a number of meetings with the top officials of the Republic of Serbia, in particular, Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić, Minister of Defence Zoran Đorđević, Minister without portfolio in charge of European Integration Jadranka Joksimović, Minister of Foreign Affairs Ivica Dačić, Minister of Finance Dušan Vujović.

Prime Minister of Serbia Aleksandar Vučić stressed that Serbia supports the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine: “Our position is clear. And this decision will remain unchanged. A border issue is also difficult and sensitive for us."

US police are using Pokémon Go to lure criminals to their stations

Virginia’s Smithfield Police Department invited eight ‘random citizens’ to catch super-rare Ditto in their processing room, after New Hampshire police employed same tactic

There can’t be any doubts now of Pokémon Go’s world domination – even the police are getting in on the action.

U.S. confirms plan to return 4,000 hectares of land in Okinawa to Japan


The United States will return 4,000 hectares (9,900 acres) of land in Okinawa Prefecture to Japan — its largest handover since the island’s reversion to Japanese control in 1972 — in the wake of a local woman’s murder by a civilian contractor that has stoked widespread protests there.

U.S. officials confirmed Friday that preparations are underway to return part of the Northern Training Area, America’s largest military facility on Okinawa, to the government. The move will “reduce the amount of U.S.-administered land on Okinawa by 17 percent,” U.S. Forces Japan said in a statement.

Ex-head of Regions Party faction Yefremov detained on suspicion of violation of Ukraine's territorial integrity

Former head of the Party of Regions faction in the Verkhovna Rada, Oleksandr Yefremov, has been detained on suspicion of violation of the territorial integrity of Ukraine, Ukraine's Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko has said.

"Ex-head of the Regions Party faction Yefremov has been detained on suspicion of infringement of the territorial integrity and inviolability of Ukraine," Lutsenko wrote on his Facebook page on Saturday.

"He has been detained at the airport with a ticket to Vienna this morning," the press secretary of the Prosecutor General, Larysa Sarhan, told Interfax-Ukraine on Saturday.

A Real House of Cards: Trump, Putin and Yanukovych

Published on Wednesday, 27 July 2016 10:17
Category: Articles and Commentary
Written by Taras Kuzio

Those who have watched the Netflix series House of Cards may be surprised to read how close it is sometimes to reality. Both candidates in this year’s election for president of the United States – Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump – have accepted donations from Ukrainian oligarchs and Ukraine’s former president, Viktor Yanukovych, who is in hiding in Russia. Yanukovych is wanted by Interpol and by Ukraine for mass corporate raiding of Ukraine’s state budget and leaving the country bankrupt, murdering EuroMaidan protestors and committing treason when he supported Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

Friday, July 29, 2016


Buried in your credit card agreement, your employment contract, or in the click through agreement in your online purchase, is almost certainly a forced arbitration clause designed to trick you out of your constitutional rights. 

Forced arbitration requires Americans to “agree” to surrender fundamental constitutional rights without ever realizing it. Most Americans believe forced arbitration is a kind of mediation or other voluntary process, but in reality, it is nothing of the sort. Mediation generally involves a third party who helps to facilitate a mutually agreeable settlement between two parties, but does not impose any judgment, while voluntary arbitration involves parties that choose to allow a third party to analyze and impose a judgment after a dispute arises. Forced arbitration simply eliminates this choice. Forced arbitration eliminates the right to hold corporations accountable in court when they break the law. Instead, legal disputes are funneled into a secret system designed by the same entities against whom the dispute has arisen.