News

Netflix takes aim at Hollywood's theatrical window for movie releases

New Europe News - Tue, 30/09/2014 - 21:24
by  Associated Press Netflix takes aim at the theatrical window by JAKE COYLE, Associated Press - 30 September 2014 16:24-04:00

NEW YORK (AP) — Hollywood's carefully controlled system of movie rollouts is officially under siege.

Windowing — the practice of opening a movie first in theaters and then in other stages of home video, streaming and television release — has been under increasing pressure as smaller screens fight axgainst the prominence of the theatrical big screen. Now, Netflix has fired the most notable missive across the bow of windowing, announcing plans to release a sequel to "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" on the day it hits Imax theaters next August.

The film, produced by the Weinstein Co., isn't a studio production, so it's in many ways only marginally more significant than the plethora of independent films regularly released on video-on-demand. But the announcement constitutes the biggest move yet by a major digital outlet to blow up Hollywood's traditional release pattern.

"This is a very unique opportunity for somebody from the outside coming in to shake up what appears to be an increasingly antiquated release strategy," says Rich Greenfield, a media analyst for BTIG Research. "They had to get into the movie business to reduce windowing, and I think this is an important Step 1 for Netflix."

Exhibitors, in tandem with the major studios, have long sought to guard the theatrical window. On Tuesday, two of the country's largest theater chains, Regal Cinemas and Cinemark, which both included some Imax theaters, promptly refused to carry the film.

"We will not participate in an experiment where you can see the same product on screens varying from three stories tall to 3 inches wide on a smartphone," said Regal spokesman Russ Nunley. "We believe the choice for truly enjoying a magnificent movie is clear."

The same chains also declined to screen Warner Bros.' day-and-date release "Veronica Mars" earlier this year. Warner Bros. instead bought up the 270 AMC theaters it played in while it was also released on VOD.

The sequel "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: The Green Legend" is no sure bet despite the sensation of its 2000 precursor. "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" won four Oscars, including best foreign-language film, and earned $214 million worldwide. The film's international appeal surely also motivated the ever-expanding Netflix, which has recently made inroads into Europe.

But sequels released so long after the original often struggle to keep audience interest. And, perhaps most importantly, "The Green Legend" will not be helmed by the acclaimed director of "Crouching Tiger," Ang Lee. Instead, it's directed by Yuen Wo-Ping, the martial arts choreographer of "The Matrix" and both parts of "Kill Bill." It's currently being shot in New Zealand.

Weinstein Co. co-chairman Harvey Weinstein said in a statement, "The moviegoing experience is evolving quickly and profoundly, and Netflix is unquestionably at the forefront of that movement."

Netflix has dabbled in releasing movies before, including distributing the 2013 documentary about the Egyptian revolution "The Square," which was nominated for a best-documentary Academy Award. And its most celebrated entry into original television, "House of Cards," too, has had a widespread effect in the movie business, alerting the industry to a new avenue for big-name talents such as Kevin Spacey and David Fincher.

Netflix's entry into the movie business comes at a potentially fragile time for the movie industry, following a summer in which the box office was down 15 percent from last year. But one of the summer's buzziest successes was a smaller science-fiction thriller, "Snowpiercer," released by the Weinstein Co.' boutique label, Radius. It made nearly $11 million on VOD, more than double its theatrical revenue.

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Follow AP Film Writer Jake Coyle on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/jake_coyle

News Topics: Business, Arts and entertainment, Movies, Entertainment, Movie industry, Documentaries, Entertainment industry, Media and entertainment industry, Industries

People, Places and Companies: Ang Lee, Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, David Fincher

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Categories: News

Ogwumike scores 18 as US women rout Angola 119-44 in record fashion to finish pool play 3-0

New Europe News - Tue, 30/09/2014 - 21:23
by  Associated Press US women rout Angola 119-44 finish pool play 3-0 by DOUG FEINBERG, Associated Press - 30 September 2014 16:23-04:00

ISTANBUL (AP) — Nneka Ogwumike scored 18 points to lead the U.S. women's national team to a record 119-44 rout of Angola on Tuesday night and close out preliminary play at the women's world championship.

The U.S. (3-0) will next play Friday in the quarterfinals against the winner of Canada and the Czech Republic.

The Americans took it right to Angola scoring the game's first 12 points. By the time Angola (0-3) had its second basket with 3:36 left in the quarter the lead had ballooned to 24-6 and the rout was on.

The U.S. led 33-11 after one quarter and Maya Moore's three-point play just before the half made it 61-25 as the Americans put on an offensive clinic, shooting 70 percent at the break.

The lead kept growing in the second half and the U.S. broke the team record for margin of victory, surpassing the 70-point win over Senegal in 1990.

Point guard Sue Bird set her own mark, playing in a U.S. record 28th world championship game, breaking a tie with Tamika Catchings, Katie Smith and Delisha Milton-Jones. Bird is playing in a team-record fourth worlds.

African teams are still looking for their first win in a preliminary round game of the world championship. All their wins have come in the classification rounds without a chance for a medal at stake.

These two teams have only met one other time and that was in the 2012 London Olympics, a 90-38 U.S. win.

In other action Tuesday in Group D, Serbia edged China 65-63; Australia routed Belarus 87-45 to win Group C while Cuba beat Korea 73-57 to advance to the qualifying round. Spain won Group A topping the Czech Republic 67-43 and Brazil advanced to the next round beating Japan 79-56. Turkey, which already clinched Group B, beat Mozambique 64-54 and France edged Canada 63-59.

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Follow Doug on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/dougfeinberg

News Topics: Sports, 2014 FIBA Women's Basketball World Championships, FIBA Women's Basketball World Championships, International basketball, Women's sports, WNBA basketball, Women's basketball, Events, Basketball, Professional basketball, Olympic games

People, Places and Companies: Maya Moore, Sue Bird, Tamika Catchings, Katie Smith, Angola, United States, Turkey, East Asia, Southern Africa, Africa, North America, Middle East, Western Europe, Europe, Asia

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Categories: News

SEC charges 2 men with insider trading related to Bill Ackman's bet against Herbalife stock

New Europe News - Tue, 30/09/2014 - 21:18
by  Associated Press SEC charges 2 with insider trading of Herbalife Associated Press - 30 September 2014 16:18-04:00

NEW YORK (AP) — The Securities and Exchange Commission has charged two men with insider trading after they learned that hedge fund manager Bill Ackman was betting against Herbalife Ltd.'s stock.

The SEC says Filip Szymik was told by his roommate, then an analyst at Ackman's hedge fund, Pershing Square Capital Management, that Ackman was going to announce a negative view of Herbalife Ltd. Szymik then told another friend, Jordan Peixoto, according to the SEC.

The SEC says Peixoto bet against Herbalife stock a day before Ackman made the announcement in December 2012, earning him $47,100.

The SEC settled with Szymik, who did not make any Herbalife trades. He will pay a $47,100 penalty. Szymik did not admit any wrongdoing.

A lawyer for Peixoto says he will fight the allegations.

News Topics: Business, Illegal insider trading, Corporate crime, Corporate news, Crime, General news

People, Places and Companies: Bill Ackman, Herbalife Ltd

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Categories: News

Stocks end an indecisive day lower, leaving the S&P 500 with its third monthly loss of 2014

New Europe News - Tue, 30/09/2014 - 21:15
by  Associated Press Stocks slip, leaving S&P 500 down for September Associated Press - 30 September 2014 16:15-04:00

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks are ending slightly lower, leaving the Standard & Poor's 500 index in the red for September.

It was only the third monthly loss for the benchmark index this year.

After a day of slight ups and downs, the S&P 500 fell five points, or 0.3 percent, to close at 1,972 on Tuesday.

The Dow Jones industrial average lost 28 points, or 0.2 percent, to 17,042.

The Nasdaq composite fell 12 points, or 0.3 percent, to 4,493.

The S&P 500 fell 1.6 percent in September, but is still up 6.7 percent for the year.

EBay rose 8 percent after the company said it would spin off the mobile payment service PayPal.

Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.50 percent.

News Topics: Business, General news, Stock indices and averages, Stock prices, Stock markets, Financial markets, Leading economic indicators, Economy

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Categories: News

Broadway-bound 'Gigi' cast adds a phantom, a nanny and a newsie alongside Vanessa Hudgens

New Europe News - Tue, 30/09/2014 - 21:13
by  Associated Press 'Gigi' cast adds a phantom, a nanny and a newsie by MARK KENNEDY, Associated Press - 30 September 2014 16:13-04:00

NEW YORK (AP) — Vanessa Hudgens will be getting some help onstage in "Gigi" by a longtime phantom, a newsboy and former British nanny.

Producers of the Broadway-bound revival said Tuesday that the cast will include Howard McGillin, a longtime title character in "The Phantom of the Opera" and Corey Cott, who played Jack Kelly in "Newsies" on Broadway. Steffanie Leigh, a onetime Mary Poppins, also has landed a role.

"Gigi," set in Paris at the turn of the last century, comes from Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Lowe, the same composer and lyricist as "My Fair Lady." It centers on a teenage girl being groomed to serve as a companion to a bored, wealthy playboy until the pair realize they have fallen in love.

Hudgens, 25, who made her feature film debut in Catherine Hardwicke's "Thirteen," will be making her Broadway debut in the title role. She's best known for playing Gabriella, the love interest of Zac Efron's Troy, in Disney's "High School Musical" movies.

The director will be Eric Schaeffer, who staged the recent revival of "Follies" and "Million Dollar Quartet." Choreography will be done by Joshua Bergasse, who is choreographing the "On the Town" revival this season. Playwright Heidi Thomas, who wrote the PBS/BBC hit "Call the Midwife," is reimagining the new production of "Gigi."

The new musical will be seen at the Kennedy Center from Jan. 16-Feb. 12 and then move to Broadway. Tickets to the Washington, D.C., show go on sale Wednesday morning.

Producers also announced a creative team with plenty of clout: Derek McLane will design the sets, Catherine Zuber will do costumes and Natasha Katz will handle the lighting. Al, are Tony winners.

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Online: http://www.kennedy-center.org

News Topics: Arts and entertainment, Musical theater, Choreography, Theater, Performing arts, Entertainment, Dance

People, Places and Companies: Vanessa Hudgens, Catherine Hardwicke, Zac Efron, Eric Schaeffer, Heidi Thomas

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Categories: News

Bronze statue of Ed Sullivan stolen from television academy plaza

New Europe News - Tue, 30/09/2014 - 21:08
by  Associated Press Ed Sullivan statue stolen from TV academy plaza Associated Press - 30 September 2014 16:08-04:00

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Los Angeles police are investigating the theft of a solid bronze statue of Ed Sullivan from an outdoor exhibit at the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.

The statue was taken Sunday from atop a pedestal in the academy's Hall of Fame Plaza in North Hollywood.

A police statement describes the statue as standing 18 inches tall and weighing about 20 pounds.

The Police Department's North Hollywood area burglary detectives have asked the public for any information that would lead to an arrest.

Officer Drake Madison said Tuesday there had been no break in the case.

The plaza where the statue stood honors significant TV personalities and pioneers. Sullivan's classic variety show, "The Ed Sullivan Show," lasted for more than two decades. He died in 1974.

News Topics: Arts and entertainment, General news, Television programs, Entertainment

People, Places and Companies: Ed Sullivan, Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, United States, North America

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Categories: News

Obama sets up refugee plan for Central American minors; only relatives legally in US can apply

New Europe News - Tue, 30/09/2014 - 21:08
by  Associated Press Refugee plan aimed at Central American minors by JIM KUHNHENN, Associated Press - 30 September 2014 16:08-04:00

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration is initiating a program to give refugee status to some young people from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador in response to the influx of unaccompanied minors arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Under the program, immigrants from those countries who are lawfully in the United States will be able to request that child relatives still in those three countries be resettled in the United States as refugees. The program would establish in-country processing to screen the young people to determine if they qualify to join relatives in the U.S.

The program would not provide a path for minors to join relatives illegally in the United States.

In a memorandum to the State Department, the White House allocated 4,000 slots for refugees from Latin America and the Caribbean.

News Topics: General news, Political refugees, Immigration, Human welfare, Social issues, Social affairs

People, Places and Companies: United States, Latin America and Caribbean, Central America, North America

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Categories: News

BC-US--Grain Prices, US

New Europe News - Tue, 30/09/2014 - 21:07
by  Associated Press BC-US--Grain Prices, US Associated Press - 30 September 2014 16:07-04:00

CHICAGO (AP) — Futures trading on the Chicago Board of Trade Tuesday.:

Settle WHEAT (5,000 bu ; cents per bushel) Dec 477 3-4 Mar 490 1-2 May 498 3-4 Jul 504 1-2 Sep 515 1-2 Dec 531 3-4 Mar 542 3-4 May 547 1-2 Jul 540 1-4 Sep 547 1-4 Dec 555 1-4 Mar 556 1-2 May 565 Jul 536 1-2 CORN (5,000 bu ; cents per bushel) Dec 320 3-4 Mar 333 1-2 May 342 Jul 349 1-2 Sep 356 3-4 Dec 366 3-4 Mar 376 1-4 May 383 1-2 Jul 389 1-4 Sep 388 3-4 Dec 392 1-4 Jul 411 Dec 406 OATS (5,000 bu ; cents per bushel) Dec 335 1-2 Mar 322 1-2 May 316 1-2 Jul 312 1-4 Sep 316 1-2 Dec 313 3-4 Mar 313 3-4 May 313 3-4 Jul 314 3-4 Sep 314 3-4 Jul 314 3-4 Sep 314 3-4 SOYBEANS (5,000 bu ; cents per bushel) Nov 913 1-4 Jan 921 1-4 Mar 929 3-4 May 938 Jul 944 1-2 Aug 947 1-2 Sep 939 1-2 Nov 937 1-2 Jan 944 1-4 Mar 950 1-2 May 956 1-4 Jul 963 1-2 Aug 964 1-4 Sep 957 3-4 Nov 959 Jul 979 Nov 962 SOYBEAN OIL (60,000 lbs; cents per lb) Oct 32.27 Dec 32.37 Jan 32.65 Mar 32.92 May 33.06 Jul 33.11 Aug 33.16 Sep 33.20 Oct 33.11 Dec 33.15 Jan 33.33 Mar 33.53 May 33.76 Jul 33.98 Aug 33.99 Sep 33.98 Oct 33.86 Dec 33.80 Jul 33.80 Oct 33.80 Dec 33.80 SOYBEAN MEAL (100 tons; dollars per ton) Oct 304.60 Dec 298.90 Jan 297.40 Mar 295.70 May 295.90 Jul 298.40 Aug 299.80 Sep 300.90 Oct 300.10 Dec 300.40 Jan 301.10 Mar 302.60 May 303.80 Jul 304.80 Aug 305.10 Sep 305.10 Oct 305.10 Dec 301.50 Jul 301.50 Oct 301.50 Dec 301.50 News Topics: Soft commodity markets, Grain markets, Soybean markets, Coarse grain markets, Soybean oil markets, Wheat markets, Corn markets, Feed meal markets, Vegetable oil markets, Commodity markets, Financial markets, Business, Grain and edible oil markets

People, Places and Companies: Chicago, Illinois, United States, North America

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Categories: News

Obama sets up refugee plan for Central American minors;only relatives legally in US can apply

New Europe News - Tue, 30/09/2014 - 21:07
by  Associated Press Refugee plan aimed at Central American minors Associated Press - 30 September 2014 16:07-04:00

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration is initiating a program to give refugee status to some young people from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador in response to the influx of unaccompanied minors arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Under the program, immigrants from those countries who are lawfully in the United States will be able to request that child relatives still in those three countries be resettled in the United States as refugees. The program would establish in-country processing to screen the young people to determine if they qualify to join relatives in the U.S.

The program would not provide a path for minors to join relatives illegally in the United States.

In a memorandum to the State Department, the White House allocated 4,000 slots for refugees from Latin America and the Caribbean.

News Topics: General news, Political refugees, Immigration, Human welfare, Social issues, Social affairs

People, Places and Companies: United States, Latin America and Caribbean, Central America, North America

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Categories: News

Mohamed Mohamud to be sentenced Wednesday for plot to attack Christmas tree-lighting ceremony

New Europe News - Tue, 30/09/2014 - 20:56
by  Associated Press Somali American to be sentenced in US terror case by STEVEN DUBOIS, Associated Press - 30 September 2014 15:56-04:00

PORTLAND, Oregon (AP) — A Somali American is scheduled to be sentenced Wednesday for attempting to detonate a weapon of mass destruction four years ago in Portland, Oregon.

Mohamed Mohamud faces a maximum sentence of life in prison for the plot that was actually an FBI sting. Agents posing as terrorists supplied the fake bomb that Mohamud tried to detonate at a Christmas tree-lighting ceremony.

In court documents, government lawyers ask a federal judge to sentence Mohamud to 40 years in prison, saying he never wavered in his willingness to kill thousands.

Defense attorneys seek a 10-year sentence. They say the plot wouldn't have happened without government involvement and Mohamud has shown remorse.

The sentencing was delayed a year after the government disclosed that warrantless overseas wiretaps helped make its case. Mohamud's conviction was later upheld.

News Topics: General news, Sentencing, Legal proceedings, Law and order

People, Places and Companies: Portland, Oregon, United States, North America

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Categories: News

Grand Canyon officials try to outsmart elk nosing into water-refilling stations for a drink

New Europe News - Tue, 30/09/2014 - 20:55
by  Associated Press Elk nose into Grand Canyon water stations by FELICIA FONSECA, Associated Press - 30 September 2014 15:55-04:00

FLAGSTAFF, Arizona (AP) — Thirsty hikers have to wait. The elk are first in line.

The animals are helping themselves to water from bottle-filling stations set up around Grand Canyon National Park by lifting the spring-loaded levers with their noses and letting the water flow. It's not exactly the kind of use officials had in mind when they installed the stations and dropped the sale of disposable water bottles.

Now, they are elk-proofing the stations to outsmart the animals, conserve water and protect visitors from aggressive behavior.

About a dozen filling stations are set up throughout the park. The elk favor the one at popular South Kaibab Trail.

Chief resource manager Martha Hahn says caging in the water spout and changing up the way of turning on the water should keep the animals away.

News Topics: General news, Canyons, Environment and nature

People, Places and Companies: Arizona, Flagstaff, United States, North America

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Categories: News

Global index ranks Norway tops, Afghanistan worst for well-being of older citizens

New Europe News - Tue, 30/09/2014 - 20:40
by  Associated Press Index ranks Norway tops for well-being of elderly by DAVID CRARY, Associated Press - 30 September 2014 15:40-04:00

NEW YORK (AP) — A global index reflecting economic security, health and other factors ranks Norway and Sweden as having the highest level of well-being for older people. Of 96 nations in the index, Afghanistan ranked last.

The Global AgeWatch Index, released on Tuesday, was compiled by HelpAge International, a London-based nonprofit with affiliates in 65 countries. Its mission is to help older people challenge discrimination and overcome poverty.

The indicators measured in the index include life expectancy, coverage by pension plans, access to public transit, and the poverty rate for people over 60. The countries in the index are home to about 90 percent of the world's 60-plus population.

Switzerland, Canada and Germany joined Norway and Sweden in the top five. The United States was eighth, China 48th, Russia 65th and India 69th.

News Topics: General news, Elderly welfare, Human welfare, Social issues, Social affairs

People, Places and Companies: Norway, Afghanistan, Western Europe, Europe, Central Asia, Asia

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Categories: News

Roma striker Francesco Totti becomes oldest player to score in Champions League, at 38

New Europe News - Tue, 30/09/2014 - 20:36
by  Associated Press Totti becomes oldest scorer in Champions League Associated Press - 30 September 2014 15:36-04:00

MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Francesco Totti became the oldest player to score a goal in the Champions League when the 38-year-old Italian equalized for Roma against Manchester City on Tuesday.

Totti broke the record held by former Manchester United midfielder Ryan Giggs, who was 37 years and nine months when he scored against Benfica in September 2011.

Totti turned 38 on Saturday.

The former Italy forward ran onto a pass from Radja Nainggolan and clipped a superb finish over City goalkeeper Joe Hart in the 23rd minute at Etihad Stadium. It was the first time Totti has scored in England.

The goal made it 1-1 in the Group E game.

News Topics: Sports, Men's soccer, Professional soccer, Soccer, Men's sports

People, Places and Companies: Francesco Totti, Ryan Giggs, Joe Hart, Manchester, England, United Kingdom, Western Europe, Europe

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Categories: News

Prominent Iranian movie directors launch campaign calling for nuclear deal

New Europe News - Tue, 30/09/2014 - 20:27
by  Associated Press Iranian filmmakers call for nuclear deal Associated Press - 30 September 2014 15:27-04:00

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Six prominent Iranian film directors have launched a campaign calling for a nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers.

The filmmakers include Rakhshan Bani-Etemad, who won the award for best screenplay at this year's Venice Film Festival, and Asghar Farhadi, who won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 2012.

Slogans on the website, No2NoDeal.com, say a deal to resolve the decade-long impasse over Iran's nuclear program is possible before the end of the year and call for the lifting of crippling international sanctions.

Western nations have long suspected Iran of secretly pursuing a nuclear weapon capability alongside its civilian atomic program. Iran insists its nuclear program is entirely devoted to peaceful purposes.

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On the web: http://no2nodeal.com/

News Topics: General news, Movies, Movie awards, Entertainment, Arts and entertainment

People, Places and Companies: Asghar Farhadi, Iran, Middle East

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Categories: News

Hungarian hunter and Madagascar's 'royal dog' will join competition at 2015 Westminster show

New Europe News - Tue, 30/09/2014 - 20:20
by  Associated Press 2015 Westminster pack to include 2 new breeds by JENNIFER PELTZ, Associated Press - 30 September 2014 15:20-04:00

NEW YORK (AP) — One is a rugged, versatile hunter conditioned to withstand frosty Hungarian winters. The other is a happy-go-lucky companion from the island of Madagascar. Both will join the pack at the Westminster Kennel Club show next year.

The wirehaired visla and the coton de tulear are the latest breeds to be added to the nation's premier canine competition, set for Feb. 16-17. The club's leaders — and Luna the coton de tulear and Falko the wirehaired visla — looked ahead to the show at a news conference Tuesday at Madison Square Garden.

Luna stood politely as organizers discussed plans for the first Westminster show to include her small-but-sturdy breed, dubbed the "royal dog of Madagascar" and known for its flowing, cotton-like coat and chipper disposition.

"I say they're a big dog in a small dog's boots," Luna's breeder and co-owner, Adrianne Dering, said afterward. The breed initially developed on its own in the island nation off southeastern Africa, then became popular with Madagascar's aristocracy and later with French colonists, according to the United States of America Coton de Tulear Club.

"They're just very adaptable, and they like everybody," Dering said. Prospective owners need to be prepared to brush the dogs' long coats a few times a week, unless they're kept in a shorter cut.

Falko, a wirehaired visla owned by Anton Sagh of Montreal, Canada, relaxed on the floor before his star turn Tuesday. While the breed can be low-key, the wirehaired visla was bred to be hardy, all-weather hunting aides in the rough terrain of northern Hungary, with a brushy coat and somewhat heavier build than its cousin the visla.

"They're just phenomenal in the field," but "really easygoing to live with," though they do benefit from a yard to run in or a few-mile walk each day," Wirehaired Visla Club of America President Jean Schroeder said by phone.

Breeds are added to the show after the American Kennel Club recognizes them, which requires having several hundred dogs of the breed nationwide, among other criteria. There are now 180 AKC-recognized breeds.

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Reach Jennifer Peltz on Twitter @ jennpeltz.

News Topics: General news, Dog shows, Dogs, Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, Sports, Mammals, Animals, Events

People, Places and Companies: Madagascar, East Africa, Africa

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Categories: News

UfM Ministers in charge of the Digital Economy launch new digital cooperation initiatives

New Europe News - Tue, 30/09/2014 - 19:46
by  KG/EUROPA

Digital Economy Ministers and representatives of ministries, the UfM Secretariat, telecoms regulators, development banks and EU institutions today pledged closer cooperation to reap the benefits of the digital economy for Euro-Mediterranean citizens, consumers and businesses.

Gathered in Brussels for today's Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) Ministerial meeting, participants agreed to forge closer ties on the use of open data and e-government, and to step-up dialogue between national telecoms regulators around the Mediterranean. They also agreed to improve connectivity between scientific and research communities and to work on a long-term eHealth cooperation strategy.

European Commission Vice-President Neelie Kroes said: "The European Commission aims to promote a fair, modern, open, competitive and transparent market for communications, a connected ICT research environment, an open and vibrant use of the internet for all and a diverse media environment. Today's agreement with our Southern Mediterranean neighbourhood and partner countries means we can share experiences and learn from each other in ways that are not always possible in other sectors."

H.E. Dr. Azzam Sleit, Minister of Information and Communication Technology, from the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and Co-President commented: "It is widely recognized that the growth of the digital economy has a far-reaching impact on the whole economy, and this is attributed to the influence of ICT services have on all IT sectors, such as transportation, health education, environment and financial services. Despite the promising potential that digital economy holds for us, there remains a set of challenges for which we need to find solutions."

UfM Secretary General Mr. Fathallah Sijilmassi stated: "The Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) are a driving force for the modernization of both the private and public life, and thus, for the further development, integration and sustainable economic growth of the entire Mediterranean region. The UfM Secretariat stands ready to actively participate in the cooperative initiatives outlined today and to move forward the agenda for the advancement of the Digital Economy."

The Heads of Delegation adopted an achievable, forward-looking and focused declaration which responds to the rapid pace of digital change and the huge potential of the digital technologies for the economy and society. They committed to:

  • Build closer ties to foster the use of open data and e-government, leaning on the principles already developed in the 2013 G8 Open Data Charter such as open data by default;
  • Boost e-infrastructures connectivity between scientific and research communities –also as a means of exploiting open data;
  • Establish a regular recommendations-based dialogue between functionally independent telecoms regulators and Euro-Mediterranean ICT Ministries in order to create a harmonized, pro-competitive and investment-friendly environment in the sector, and to accelerate the development of the EU-Southern Mediterranean Information Society;
  • Through the UfM, to promote more cross-border business through the use of electronic business transactions and eSignatures;
  • Work on a long-term cooperation strategy for e-Health and to expand the deployment of e-Health solutions; and
  • Support the current global discussions on Internet governance.

The UfM framework and ICT stakeholders

Ministerial representatives also welcomed the contribution that key stakeholders can make to ensure that the UfM is focusing and listening to the right issues and that it has the means to achieve results. As such, the UfM provides a stable and pro-active political framework for cooperation. Development banks can facilitate financial support and incentives in key areas. Regulators and ICT ministries can play their respective roles. Ministers also underlined the need to reach out more to include civil society, bloggers, young entrepreneurs, digital champions and ICT innovators both in the EU and in southern Mediterranean countries.

EU commitment

The EU is committed to helping its Southern and Eastern neighbours in their paths to peace, democracy and socio-economic development. Around €8.3 billion in EU funding is foreseen until 2020 for bilateral and regional programmes targeting southern Mediterranean countries.

Background

The previous Euro-Mediterranean Ministerial Meeting on Information and Communication Technology (ICT) was held in Cairo in February 2008.The UfM itself was created in 2008 as a platform for political dialogue, coordination, cooperation and consensus building. It currently encompasses 43 Members: 28 EU member states and 15 Southern and Eastern Mediterranean countries. The European Union assumed the permanent northern co-presidency of the UfM in February 2012. Jordan assumed the southern co-presidency in June 2012.

The Secretariat of the UfM focuses on implementing regional cooperation projects and initiatives in cross-cutting areas such as energy, environment, education, transport, business development and social affairs. The Secretariat works in close collaboration with governments and with an active network of Euro-Mediterranean partners to assist project promoters throughout the entire project cycle.

Categories: News

In dueling UN speeches Israel, Palestinians outline unilateral moves unlikely to succeed

New Europe News - Tue, 30/09/2014 - 19:42
by  Associated Press Israel, Palestinians part ways in dueling speeches by JOSEF FEDERMAN, Associated Press - 30 September 2014 14:42-04:00

JERUSALEM (AP) — In a pair of fiery speeches at the United Nations, the Israeli and Palestinian leaders appear to have abandoned any hope of reviving peace talks and instead seem intent on pressing forward with separate diplomatic initiatives that all but ignore each other.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called for an alliance with moderate Arab countries against radical Islam, while Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, after accusing Israel of "genocide," plans on appealing to the U.N. Security Council to endorse Palestinian independence.

Both plans offer novel attempts at breaking months of deadlock. Yet both appear doomed to fail.

Here's a look at what lies ahead:

Israel: After a failed round of peace talks last spring and a war against Hamas that inflicted heavy damage in the Gaza Strip, Netanyahu is under pressure to seize the diplomatic initiative.

Seeking to rally international support, Netanyahu said in his address Monday that Hamas and the Islamic State extremist group are ideological brethren — an oft-repeated claim that has gained little traction around the world. He then urged moderate Arab countries to join him in the battle against Sunni Islamic extremists and an empowered Shiite Iran.

"Our challenge is to transform these common interests to create a productive partnership," he said, adding that such an alliance could even "facilitate peace" between Israel and the Palestinians. He mentioned Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia as possible allies.

Netanyahu's proposal was largely devoid of details. A top adviser, Dore Gold, in a radio interview on Tuesday, said Netanyahu would elaborate "at the right time."

Netanyahu's intended partners, however, appear to be in no hurry to take him up on his offer.

Abdulkhaleq Abdulla, a professor of political science at United Arab Emirates University, said the lack of progress in peace efforts with the Palestinians, and continued Israeli settlement construction, have hurt Netanyahu's credibility in the Arab world.

"This guy is just talking nonsense," Abdulla said. "This is one person nobody wants to hang around with or be seen sitting next door to."

Similar concerns were voiced recently by the emir of Qatar, Sheik Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. The Gulf country once stood out for hosting an Israeli trade office but closed it in 2009 in protest over Israel's war with Hamas, the first of three in less than six years.

In an interview last week with CNN, he said his country was open to reviving relations with Israel "as long as they are serious in making peace and providing and protecting the Palestinian people."

Egypt, which has a peace agreement with Israel and maintains close security ties with the Jewish state, was seen as largely supportive of Israel during its latest war against Hamas in Gaza. But President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi has also said he supports the Palestinian people and their pursuit of statehood.

"Chances for such alliance (with Israel) are nearly nonexistent," said Sameh Seif al-Yazal, a former Egyptian intelligence official who is close to el-Sissi.

Yossi Beilin, a former Israeli deputy foreign minister, said Israeli leaders have tried to forge alliances with Arab moderates since the first Gulf war in 1991. But he said sharing a "common denominator" is not enough.

"The naive belief that there is any chance in the world that the Arab world will make peace with us before we make peace with the Palestinians is really strange," Beilin said. He said had Netanyahu mentioned the 2002 Arab peace plan — which offered comprehensive peace with the Arab world in exchange for a peace agreement with the Palestinians — the speech would have been more serious.

But Eli Avidar, who headed Israel's trade office in Qatar from 1999-2001, said Netanyahu's ideas are "absolutely realistic."

"I can see obvious signs for the common interest of Israel and Arabian states," he said.

Palestinians: The Palestinians have long had little faith in Netanyahu, but Abbas' accusation at the U.N. last week that Israel conducted a "war of genocide" in Gaza all but buried the chances of resuming dialogue.

Palestinian officials say Abbas is now set on turning to the U.N. Security Council for a resolution that would set a deadline for Israel to withdraw from occupied lands to make way for an independent Palestinian state.

The U.S., which says a Palestinian state can only be established through negotiations, has already said it opposes the proposal. So the key test for Abbas will be whether he can muster nine votes in the 15-member council. That is the number required to trigger a U.S. veto, a scenario the Palestinians believe would embarrass an American government and portray it as out of step with international opinion.

Palestinian officials expect the U.N. vote to take place in the coming weeks. After that, Abbas has threatened to take steps toward joining the International Criminal Court, opening the door to pursuing war crimes charges against Israel. Such a move would transform Abbas' tense relationship with Israel into an openly hostile one.

Abbas is also pushing forward with reconciliation with Hamas, which seized control of Gaza from his forces seven years ago. Last week the sides announced a partial deal that would allow Abbas to regain a foothold in Gaza by manning border crossings and helping to coordinate international postwar reconstruction efforts.

But the deal left many issues unanswered — most notably the fate of Hamas' heavily armed military wing.

These issues, not peace talks with Israel, will likely preoccupy Abbas in the coming months.

The United States: U.S. officials have few expectations for the Israeli-Palestinian front anytime soon. When Netanyahu visits the White House on Wednesday, they say talks will likely focus almost exclusively on Iran's nuclear program, at Netanyahu's request.

The Americans also believe Abbas is in no rush to take action at the U.N. or in the International Criminal Court until at least after the Nov. 4 midterm elections.

With the Palestinian issue sidelined, Obama appears set to focus his efforts on battling the Islamic State and focusing on reaching a nuclear deal with Iran by a Nov. 24 deadline.

But officials say Secretary of State John Kerry remains determined to make one last push for Israeli-Palestinian peace by early next year.

___

Associated Press writers Adam Schreck in Dubai, Maggie Michael in Cairo and Matthew Lee in Washington contributed reporting.

News Topics: General news, Diplomacy, International relations, Government and politics, Peace process, Courts, Judiciary

People, Places and Companies: Benjamin Netanyahu, Mahmoud Abbas, Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, Yossi Beilin, John Kerry, Israel, Palestinian territories, Egypt, Middle East, Gaza Strip, United Arab Emirates, United States, Iran, Qatar, North Africa, Africa, North America

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Categories: News

Protests get nonstop coverage in Hong Kong, but not a single image in China's state media

New Europe News - Tue, 30/09/2014 - 19:41
by  Associated Press No images of Hong Kong protests in China's media by DIDI TANG, Associated Press - 30 September 2014 14:41-04:00

BEIJING (AP) — China's government has cut off news about Hong Kong's pro-democracy protests to the rest of the country, a clampdown so thorough that no image of the rallies has appeared in state-controlled media, and at least one man has been detained for reposting accounts of the events.

By contrast, media in semiautonomous Hong Kong have been broadcasting nonstop about the crowds, showing unarmed students fending off tear gas and pepper spray with umbrellas as they call for more representative democracy in the former British colony.

The contrast highlights the differences in the "one country, two systems" arrangement that China's Communist Party agreed to when it negotiated the 1997 return of Hong Kong. It also reflects Beijing's extreme sensitivity about any possible sparks of pro-democracy protest spreading to the mainland.

"The authorities see this as a matter of life and death," said Shanghai-based columnist and independent analyst Zhao Chu. "They don't see it as a local affair but a fuse that can take down their world."

In Hong Kong, broadcasters NOW and Cable TV have carried wall-to-wall coverage of the unfolding events, including student leaders storming government headquarters Friday and the running clashes with police over the weekend. Hong Kong's pro-democracy newspaper, the popular Apple Daily, has run its own live Internet feed that features aerial images of the crowds captured by a drone.

Beijing clearly has not been pleased with the unfettered coverage and has appeared to lump the Hong Kong media outlets in with foreign ones.

"Several Western media are making a big fuss, and some even have done live casts," said an editorial on the party-run news site of the People's Daily.

While Hong Kong enjoys civil liberties unheard of on the mainland under the "one country, two systems" arrangement, the situation is vastly different in Beijing's official media, through which the authorities can largely control the narrative on any outbreaks of unrest in the mainland.

The coverage of the Hong Kong protests has been confined in mainland China to TV anchors reading brief statements with no video and text reports with no photos. The reports have mostly mentioned illegal gatherings in Hong Kong and the efforts of authorities to disperse them.

The Hong Kong-based China Media Project counted only nine articles in Chinese newspapers Tuesday about the protests, six of them stemming from a news release by the official Xinhua News Agency saying the protests had hurt Hong Kong's economy and misquoting a high-profile university administrator as saying students should disperse.

The other three pieces appeared in the nationalistic newspaper Global Times, which called the gatherings illegal, disruptive of social order and harmful to the economy.

Censorship of microblogs — including phrases such as "tear gas" — has kept online discussion muted. The image-sharing Instagram service was shut down in China over the weekend.

"The clampdown has been most thorough, covering all media — traditional or new, central or local, governmental or market-oriented," Zhao said.

Some images from Hong Kong's streets have seeped into the mainland via cellphone messaging services. Many users have converted words into images to avoid having searchable text that can be easily caught by censors. Still, users are complaining of posts being deleted, including in private chats with friends.

Activist Wang Long in the southern city of Shenzhen, who reposted news about the protests on the instant messaging service WeChat, was detained Monday by police on suspicion of causing trouble, his lawyer friend Fan Biaowen said.

The controls have been largely effective.

"The majority of the Chinese public does not know what's going on in Hong Kong. Only a handful know," said Beijing-based journalism professor Zhan Jiang.

While Hong Kong is outside China's "Great Fire Wall" that blocks mainland access to many foreign Internet news and social sites, authorities could conceivably shut down the Internet there — as they have done in the country's restive ethnic regions — because of their control of telecommunications companies.

For now, that seems unlikely because the move would dent Hong Kong's image as an open financial center.

Nevertheless, rumors of that possibility have fueled a rush to download Firechat, a messaging service that can send and receive messages without an Internet connection. Instead, the handsets can message each other in a daisy-chain fashion that creates a cloud-like network.

Beijing is on edge because it fears the social movement in Hong Kong and its appeal for democracy could galvanize members of the Chinese public, said Zhao, the analyst from Shanghai.

"It must be tightly controlled so it will not infect the mainland," he said.

___

Associated Press writers Ian Mader in Beijing and Kelvin Chan in Hong Kong contributed to this report.

News Topics: General news, Protests and demonstrations, Online news media, Media, Political and civil unrest, Online media, News media

People, Places and Companies: Hong Kong, China, Beijing, Shanghai, Greater China, East Asia, Asia

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Categories: News

Second Ministerial Conference of the Global Alliance against Child Sexual Abuse Online

New Europe News - Tue, 30/09/2014 - 19:41
by  KG/EUROPA

The Global Alliance against Child Sexual Abuse Online has been up and running since 2012. Concrete goals have been set and additional countries have joined forces, but the fight to eradicate the online exploitation of children is far from complete.

At the invitation of EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmström and US Attorney General Eric Holder, global decision-makers are meeting in Washington for the second ministerial conference of the Global Alliance (30 September).

Ministers and representatives from participating countries, experts from law enforcement authorities, the private sector, victim advocacy groups and frontline organisations will assess how to expand the fight against global proliferation of child sexual abuse online.

"The threat to young people posed by online sex predators is on the rise. Challenges are constantly evolving. Every time a picture of an abused child is shown that child is being abused, over and over again. The global alliance shows our collective willingness to fight this hideous crime, something we can only do by working together. Our collective promises must become a reality", said Commissioner for Home Affairs, Cecilia Malmström.

"Together, thanks to the hard work of the Global Alliance countries, this important, life-changing work has enabled us to intervene to rescue numerous child victims suffering at the hands of abusers; to arrest and prosecute those who did them harm; and to begin the long process of healing for each one of these survivors,” said U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. "I have no doubt that this work will continue – and be amplified – by the work we’re discussing today."

Child sexual abuse online is a crime that knows no borders. Child abuse images circulate easily across jurisdictions and perpetuate victimisation of children whose abuse is depicted and disclosed time and again. Child pornography offenders are increasingly operating in international online groups that use sophisticated technologies to frustrate the efforts of law enforcement who investigate their crimes. Different laws and policies across jurisdictions represent a challenge for law enforcement.

This is why international cooperation is crucial and why commitments under the Global Alliance aim to improve victim identification, prosecute perpetrators more successfully, increase awareness and reduce the number of child sexual abuse images available online.

Progress achieved and future potential actions under the Global Alliance will be discussed at the conference. A first report summarising the commitments that participating countries have undertaken in order to reach the four political targets has already been issued.

At the conference the Commission will also hand-over the secretariat and presidency tasks of the Global Alliance to the US authorities.

Background

On 5 December 2012, EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmström together with US Attorney General Eric Holder launched a Global Alliance against Child Sexual Abuse Online.

From 48 countries initially, the Global Alliance currently consists of 54 countries: the 28 EU Member States, Albania, Armenia, Australia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cambodia, Canada, Costa Rica, Georgia, Ghana, Israel, Japan, Kosovo, South Korea, Mexico, Moldova, Montenegro, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Philippines, Serbia, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine and United States.

The countries of the alliance are committing themselves to a number of policy targets and goals, notably:

  • enhancing efforts to identify victims and ensuring that they receive the necessary assistance, support and protection;
  • enhancing efforts to investigate cases of child sexual abuse online and to identify and prosecute offenders;
  • increasing children's awareness of online risks;
  • reducing the availability of child pornography online and the re-victimization of children
Categories: News

Algeria identifies some kidnappers of French hiker later beheaded by Islamic militants

New Europe News - Tue, 30/09/2014 - 19:38
by  Associated Press Algeria identifies some kidnappers of French hiker Associated Press - 30 September 2014 14:38-04:00

ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) — Algeria's justice minister has told state television that some of the members of the group that kidnapped and beheaded a French hiker have been identified.

Tayeb Louh said Tuesday evening that the initial investigation has resulted in the identification of "certain members of the terrorist group behind the crime."

French mountain guide Herve Gourdel was kidnapped while hiking in Algeria on Sept. 21 by a splinter group from the Algerian branch of al-Qaida pledging allegiance to the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq.

The militants demanded France end its participation in U.S.-led airstrikes against Islamic State. On Thursday, a video surfaced on social network sites showing Gourdel's decapitation.

Algerian army and police have scoured the mountainous region where Gourdel was kidnapped searching for the group and his remains.

News Topics: General news, Hostage situations, Kidnapping, Crime

People, Places and Companies: Algeria, Algiers, North Africa, Africa, Middle East

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Categories: News