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  • 19.05.2019 | GoT petition to remake season 8 with ‘competent writers’ hits 1 million signatures




    A change.org petition posted online by one extremely frustrated Game of Thrones fan has garnered over one million signatures as people clamber to share their despair over how the series’ final season is turning out. Based on the best-selling books by George R.R. Martin, the show is gearing up for its final episode. The series has proven an enormous success, generated a huge audience worldwide and becoming a franchise worth an estimated $1 billion. The petition’s creator, identified only as Dylan D in Fort Worth, Texas, admits it’s beyond unlikely that HBO will actually succumb to their viewers’ demands to rewrite and reshoot the entire last season, but says “As Heath Ledger’s Joker once said, ‘It’s not about the money, it’s about sending a message.’ And I think this message is one of frustration and disappointment at its core.” The popular petition’s creator insists he didn’t start it “to be an entitled, whiny fan,” but set it up simply “because I was immensely disappointed and needed to vent. Do I have a solution? I’ve got plenty of ideas, but no, I’m not a Hollywood writer. But you don’t need to be a mechanic to know your car is broken.” Dylan wrote in an update post on the petition that he hadn’t bothered to check in on it for days after starting until a colleague told him it had generated half a million signatures. It currently stands at well over one million signatures. Sadly for Dylan and like-minded GoT fans, HBO has not commented on the petition or the prospect of an entire season re-make.     ...

    A change.org petition posted online by one extremely frustrated Game of Thrones fan has garnered over one million signatures as people clamber to share their despair over how the series’ final season is turning out.

    Based on the best-selling books by George R.R. Martin, the show is gearing up for its final episode. The series has proven an enormous success, generated a huge audience worldwide and becoming a franchise worth an estimated $1 billion.

    The petition’s creator, identified only as Dylan D in Fort Worth, Texas, admits it’s beyond unlikely that HBO will actually succumb to their viewers’ demands to rewrite and reshoot the entire last season, but says “As Heath Ledger’s Joker once said, ‘It’s not about the money, it’s about sending a message.’ And I think this message is one of frustration and disappointment at its core.”

    The popular petition’s creator insists he didn’t start it “to be an entitled, whiny fan,” but set it up simply “because I was immensely disappointed and needed to vent. Do I have a solution? I’ve got plenty of ideas, but no, I’m not a Hollywood writer. But you don’t need to be a mechanic to know your car is broken.”

    Dylan wrote in an update post on the petition that he hadn’t bothered to check in on it for days after starting until a colleague told him it had generated half a million signatures. It currently stands at well over one million signatures.

    Sadly for Dylan and like-minded GoT fans, HBO has not commented on the petition or the prospect of an entire season re-make.

     

     


    19.05.2019 | Iraq slams Exxon Mobil's staff evacuation, says it’s politically motivated




    Exxon Mobil’s decision to take its foreign employees out from the West Qurna 1 oilfield was unjustified, according to Iraq’s oil minister. He added that the withdrawal does not pose a threat to the country’s oilfields. “The withdrawal of multiple employees – despite their small number – temporarily has nothing to do with the security situation or threats in the oilfields in of southern Iraq, but it’s for political reasons,” Thamer Ghadhban said in a statement on Sunday. The official slammed the decision as “unacceptable and unjustified” as the companies operate freely and safely in the region.  It was earlier reported that major US energy company, Exxon Mobil, evacuated around 60 non-Iraqi staff from the oilfield in southern Iraq as a precautionary measure amid rising tensions in the Middle East between neighboring Iran and the US. The withdrawal did not affect the facility’s operations, the head of Iraq’s state-owned South Oil Company which owns the oilfield, Ihsan Abdul Jabbar said. The Iraqi oil ministry is now seeking clarification from the American oil giant and sent Exxon Mobil a letter, demanding that work immediately resume at the oilfield under a long-term agreement. Exxon Mobil’s decision came on the heels of a US order for non-essential government staff to leave Iraq, both from the US Embassy in Baghdad and the US Consulate in Erbil. Such moves might indicate that the country is expecting some kind of destabilization, even warfare in the region, an analyst earlier told RT.     ...

    Exxon Mobil’s decision to take its foreign employees out from the West Qurna 1 oilfield was unjustified, according to Iraq’s oil minister. He added that the withdrawal does not pose a threat to the country’s oilfields.

    “The withdrawal of multiple employees – despite their small number – temporarily has nothing to do with the security situation or threats in the oilfields in of southern Iraq, but it’s for political reasons,” Thamer Ghadhban said in a statement on Sunday. The official slammed the decision as “unacceptable and unjustified” as the companies operate freely and safely in the region. 

    It was earlier reported that major US energy company, Exxon Mobil, evacuated around 60 non-Iraqi staff from the oilfield in southern Iraq as a precautionary measure amid rising tensions in the Middle East between neighboring Iran and the US. The withdrawal did not affect the facility’s operations, the head of Iraq’s state-owned South Oil Company which owns the oilfield, Ihsan Abdul Jabbar said.

    The Iraqi oil ministry is now seeking clarification from the American oil giant and sent Exxon Mobil a letter, demanding that work immediately resume at the oilfield under a long-term agreement.

    Exxon Mobil’s decision came on the heels of a US order for non-essential government staff to leave Iraq, both from the US Embassy in Baghdad and the US Consulate in Erbil. Such moves might indicate that the country is expecting some kind of destabilization, even warfare in the region, an analyst earlier told RT.

     

     


    19.05.2019 | ‘Nightmare scenario’ or ‘anything’s possible?’ French split on whether inter-EU war can occur




    A new poll found that the French are divided on whether a war can break out among EU members, while over half of them believe that the bloc may collapse in two decades or less. RT asked people in Paris what they think. The data was released earlier this week by the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR), a pro-EU think tank. The survey, conducted in 14 member states, that the support for the European Union is “record high,” but the majority of people fear that the bloc may collapse in one or two decades. Some 58 percent of polled Frenchmen called the grim scenario “realistic,” as did the majority of Italians and Germans. Talking the ‘worst case’ scenario, 34 percent of Frenchmen revealed that a war between EU member states can indeed happen, while 32 percent said it won’t happen. The people RT spoke to on the streets of Paris were also divided on what the future may hold. Some dismissed the notion of an inter-EU armed conflict outright. “It’s like a nightmare: That will never happen,” one man insisted. Others felt that Europeans have learned from past mistakes and will try to find ways of resolving disagreements peacefully, despite having “differences in [our] cultures.” Others expressed the opposite view, saying that the prospect of an armed conflict remains “something that could happen in the future.” “In 20 years, lots of things could happen and there could be a war,” one person in Paris told RT. “We could see a repeat of the First or the Second World Wars… we never know.” Even when not thinking about catastrophic events such as warfare, some locals find the current state of affairs worrisome. “We are a little bit scared but I hope this will not end with more consequences like Brexit or so,” a man said.       ...

    A new poll found that the French are divided on whether a war can break out among EU members, while over half of them believe that the bloc may collapse in two decades or less. RT asked people in Paris what they think.

    The data was released earlier this week by the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR), a pro-EU think tank.

    The survey, conducted in 14 member states, that the support for the European Union is “record high,” but the majority of people fear that the bloc may collapse in one or two decades. Some 58 percent of polled Frenchmen called the grim scenario “realistic,” as did the majority of Italians and Germans.

    Talking the ‘worst case’ scenario, 34 percent of Frenchmen revealed that a war between EU member states can indeed happen, while 32 percent said it won’t happen. The people RT spoke to on the streets of Paris were also divided on what the future may hold.

    Some dismissed the notion of an inter-EU armed conflict outright. “It’s like a nightmare: That will never happen,” one man insisted. Others felt that Europeans have learned from past mistakes and will try to find ways of resolving disagreements peacefully, despite having “differences in [our] cultures.”

    Others expressed the opposite view, saying that the prospect of an armed conflict remains “something that could happen in the future.”

    “In 20 years, lots of things could happen and there could be a war,” one person in Paris told RT.

    “We could see a repeat of the First or the Second World Wars… we never know.”

    Even when not thinking about catastrophic events such as warfare, some locals find the current state of affairs worrisome. “We are a little bit scared but I hope this will not end with more consequences like Brexit or so,” a man said.

     

     

     


    19.05.2019 | Dracarys! Angry fans want to torch final ‘Game of Thrones’ season




    If you ever needed evidence that 2019 is seeing an unhealthy merger of culture with politics, almost a million fans angry over the final season of ‘Game of Thrones’ have now signed a petition to “remake” it. The Change.org petition to “Remake Game of Thrones Season 8 with competent writers” has attracted over 850,000 signatures and counting, and at this rate will reach over a million by the time the series’ finale airs on Sunday. For those who have lived under a rock this past decade, ‘Game of Thrones’ (GoT) is an international cultural phenomenon, an Emmy-winning HBO show that premiered in 2011 and is currently on its last season, with one more episode to go. To illustrate the show’s impact, a recent survey by the Workforce Institute suggests more than 27 million Americans plan to watch the series finale, and over 10 million plan to be late, call out, or skip work on Monday to cope with the aftermath. Based on the best-selling series of fantasy novels by George R.R. Martin, ‘Game of Thrones’ has been adapted for television by D.B. Weiss and David Benioff, previously best known for 2004’s ‘Troy.’ Because the latest book in Martin’s unfinished series came out in 2011, the year the show started airing, Benioff and Weiss have had to conjure the ending themselves. Their adaptation has drawn much ire from the fans of the books, even though Martin himself has been reportedly “heavily involved” in the show’s production. Now, however, legions of angry fans of the show are taking to a for-profit petition site and demanding that HBO remake the last season, because they are not happy with how the story turned out. “I didn’t make this petition to be an entitled, whiny fan,” the initiator, who goes by Dylan, says in his explanation. “I made it because I was immensely disappointed and needed to vent. Do I have a solution? I’ve got plenty of ideas, but no, I’m not a Hollywood writer. But you don’t need to be a mechanic to know your car is broken.” How’s the petition work anyway? Will HBO just be like “oh ok let’s do it!” Plus, all the actors, you think they’re gonna screw over Weiss and Benioff and come back for season 8.2? This level of sense of entitlement is unbearable — Drew McDonald (@DrewMcTweets) Audience entitlement is not a recent phenomenon. Back in 2009, fans frustrated with Martin’s publishing pace were making such a racket on the internet that fellow novelist Neil Gaiman was prompted to write a now-legendary blog post declaring that “George R.R. Martin is not your b***ch.” What makes 2019 different, however, is that the sense of entitlement has grown exponentially, in tandem with the unprecedented politicization of culture. Remember the cringe-worthy “Pokemon Go-to-the-polls” moment from Hillary Clinton’s campaign in 2016? Meanwhile, President Donald Trump is fond of using memes based on ‘Game of Thrones’ for his foreign policy, despite HBO grumbling about it. Not only have people projected their own opinions, hopes, fears and aspirations into the show, but the social and political climate has changed so much since 2011, that ‘Game of Thrones’ is now being dragged for the same things it was once applauded for. Once upstream of politics, entertainment has become politics. This is why the fans disappointed that their beloved “khaleesi” turned out to be a dragon-happy Mad Queen have reacted to it politically, with a petition, even as they point out that shows like 'Game of Thrones' and movies like 'Star Wars' have been their escape from the politically-obsessed reality. The irony is so thick it can be cut with Valyrian steel. The initiator of the ‘Game of Thrones’ petition is fully aware the petition won’t change anything, and has said so. There are countless petitions on the for-profit Change.org, including the one about ending the Saudi-led war in Yemen, with over 700,000 signatures and zero effect. The only thing these petitions seem to accomplish is make the people who signed them feel like they’ve done something. Meanwhile, King’s Landing – and American politics – keep smoldering.     ...

    If you ever needed evidence that 2019 is seeing an unhealthy merger of culture with politics, almost a million fans angry over the final season of ‘Game of Thrones’ have now signed a petition to “remake” it.

    The Change.org petition to “Remake Game of Thrones Season 8 with competent writers” has attracted over 850,000 signatures and counting, and at this rate will reach over a million by the time the series’ finale airs on Sunday.

    For those who have lived under a rock this past decade, ‘Game of Thrones’ (GoT) is an international cultural phenomenon, an Emmy-winning HBO show that premiered in 2011 and is currently on its last season, with one more episode to go.

    To illustrate the show’s impact, a recent survey by the Workforce Institute suggests more than 27 million Americans plan to watch the series finale, and over 10 million plan to be late, call out, or skip work on Monday to cope with the aftermath.

    Based on the best-selling series of fantasy novels by George R.R. Martin, ‘Game of Thrones’ has been adapted for television by D.B. Weiss and David Benioff, previously best known for 2004’s ‘Troy.’ Because the latest book in Martin’s unfinished series came out in 2011, the year the show started airing, Benioff and Weiss have had to conjure the ending themselves. Their adaptation has drawn much ire from the fans of the books, even though Martin himself has been reportedly “heavily involved” in the show’s production.

    Now, however, legions of angry fans of the show are taking to a for-profit petition site and demanding that HBO remake the last season, because they are not happy with how the story turned out.

    “I didn’t make this petition to be an entitled, whiny fan,” the initiator, who goes by Dylan, says in his explanation. “I made it because I was immensely disappointed and needed to vent. Do I have a solution? I’ve got plenty of ideas, but no, I’m not a Hollywood writer. But you don’t need to be a mechanic to know your car is broken.”

    How’s the petition work anyway? Will HBO just be like “oh ok let’s do it!” Plus, all the actors, you think they’re gonna screw over Weiss and Benioff and come back for season 8.2? This level of sense of entitlement is unbearable

    — Drew McDonald (@DrewMcTweets)

    Audience entitlement is not a recent phenomenon. Back in 2009, fans frustrated with Martin’s publishing pace were making such a racket on the internet that fellow novelist Neil Gaiman was prompted to write a now-legendary blog post declaring that “George R.R. Martin is not your b***ch.”

    What makes 2019 different, however, is that the sense of entitlement has grown exponentially, in tandem with the unprecedented politicization of culture. Remember the cringe-worthy “Pokemon Go-to-the-polls” moment from Hillary Clinton’s campaign in 2016? Meanwhile, President Donald Trump is fond of using memes based on ‘Game of Thrones’ for his foreign policy, despite HBO grumbling about it.

    Not only have people projected their own opinions, hopes, fears and aspirations into the show, but the social and political climate has changed so much since 2011, that ‘Game of Thrones’ is now being dragged for the same things it was once applauded for.

    Once upstream of politics, entertainment has become politics. This is why the fans disappointed that their beloved “khaleesi” turned out to be a dragon-happy Mad Queen have reacted to it politically, with a petition, even as they point out that shows like 'Game of Thrones' and movies like 'Star Wars' have been their escape from the politically-obsessed reality. The irony is so thick it can be cut with Valyrian steel.

    The initiator of the ‘Game of Thrones’ petition is fully aware the petition won’t change anything, and has said so. There are countless petitions on the for-profit Change.org, including the one about ending the Saudi-led war in Yemen, with over 700,000 signatures and zero effect. The only thing these petitions seem to accomplish is make the people who signed them feel like they’ve done something.

    Meanwhile, King’s Landing – and American politics – keep smoldering.

     

     


    19.05.2019 | Louvre pyramid, JFK library & other iconic designs by late Chinese-US architect I.M. Pei (PHOTOS




    World-renowned Chinese-born architect I.M. Pei has died at the age of 102, his son Li Chung Pei confirmed, leaving behind dozens of distinctive buildings as well as three children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Pei trained under modernist architect and Bauhaus founder Walter Gropius, getting his start with commercial real estate developer Zeckendorf in New York and launching his own firm in 1955. Perhaps Pei’s most iconic structure, the glass and steel entrance pyramid of the Louvre Museum in Paris was completed in 1989; when it was first proposed, 90 percent of Parisians reportedly loathed it, though it has since become a beloved landmark. The National Gallery East Building in Washington, DC opened in 1978, a brutalist monolith built in marble on a trapezoidal plot of land featuring a triangle motif. It is one of his most critically-acclaimed buildings, popular with architectural critics and visitors alike. The 70-story Bank of China Tower in Hong Kong is one of the most recognizable of Pei’s buildings. Another triangle-themed construction, it was designed to reflect “the aspirations of the Chinese people,” according to Pei, who was forced to tweak some of the structural elements when influential feng shui advocates complained. It is currently the fourth-tallest building in Hong Kong. Pei considered the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, in Boston, Massachusetts, the most important commission of his life. He was personally selected by Jacqueline Kennedy to design the building, which combines a triangular tower with a square glassed-in atrium and opened in 1979. While he initially refused the commission for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio, Pei overcame his distaste for the art form and built a sprawling, reflective half-pyramid ending in a tower, its side sprouting a cylindrical performance space. Completed in 1995, it would stand out anywhere, but presents a stark contrast with the rest of Cleveland. The sand-toned stacked-box design of the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha, Qatar was inspired by a six-month tour of the world’s mosques. Pei convinced the project’s backers to construct an island specifically for the museum, rejecting the original site as unsuitable. It was finished in 2008. Not all Pei’s buildings were successful - the Hancock Tower in Boston, commissioned by John Hancock Insurance to overshadow the building of competitor Prudential, became the tallest building in New England when completed in 1976 but began shedding glass panels before it was even complete, forcing the builders to replace the entire facade.     ...

    World-renowned Chinese-born architect I.M. Pei has died at the age of 102, his son Li Chung Pei confirmed, leaving behind dozens of distinctive buildings as well as three children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

    Pei trained under modernist architect and Bauhaus founder Walter Gropius, getting his start with commercial real estate developer Zeckendorf in New York and launching his own firm in 1955.

    Perhaps Pei’s most iconic structure, the glass and steel entrance pyramid of the Louvre Museum in Paris was completed in 1989; when it was first proposed, 90 percent of Parisians reportedly loathed it, though it has since become a beloved landmark.

    The National Gallery East Building in Washington, DC opened in 1978, a brutalist monolith built in marble on a trapezoidal plot of land featuring a triangle motif. It is one of his most critically-acclaimed buildings, popular with architectural critics and visitors alike.

    The 70-story Bank of China Tower in Hong Kong is one of the most recognizable of Pei’s buildings. Another triangle-themed construction, it was designed to reflect “the aspirations of the Chinese people,” according to Pei, who was forced to tweak some of the structural elements when influential feng shui advocates complained. It is currently the fourth-tallest building in Hong Kong.

    Pei considered the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, in Boston, Massachusetts, the most important commission of his life. He was personally selected by Jacqueline Kennedy to design the building, which combines a triangular tower with a square glassed-in atrium and opened in 1979.

    While he initially refused the commission for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio, Pei overcame his distaste for the art form and built a sprawling, reflective half-pyramid ending in a tower, its side sprouting a cylindrical performance space. Completed in 1995, it would stand out anywhere, but presents a stark contrast with the rest of Cleveland.

    The sand-toned stacked-box design of the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha, Qatar was inspired by a six-month tour of the world’s mosques. Pei convinced the project’s backers to construct an island specifically for the museum, rejecting the original site as unsuitable. It was finished in 2008.

    Not all Pei’s buildings were successful - the Hancock Tower in Boston, commissioned by John Hancock Insurance to overshadow the building of competitor Prudential, became the tallest building in New England when completed in 1976 but began shedding glass panels before it was even complete, forcing the builders to replace the entire facade.

     

     


    19.05.2019 | Meet America’s newest $9 trillion climate change solution




    Democratic Presidential hopeful and Washington Governor Jay Inslee unveiled a plan for combating climate change through an oft-before cited transition away from fossil fuels and towards renewable energy. The proposal, which Inslee refers to as the “Evergreen Economy Plan”, would cost $9 trillion and is distinct from the Green New Deal championed by AOC. Inslee says his plan seeks to create eight million jobs over ten years while it builds a “clean energy economy”. The hefty price tag for the EEP would come from government ($300 billion annually) as well as private ($600 billion annually) funds. Inslee took the opportunity in announcing his plan to pat himself on the back for his clean energy efforts in his home state of Washington, which, Inslee says, is the “fastest-growing economy in the nation.” The plan may divide the democratic party with those who back the Green New Deal and the Evergreen Economy plan. Inslee told the Guardian, however, that where the Green New Deal was like saying we should go to the moon, whereas his plan was like how to build the rocket ship. Inslee is focusing on climate initiatives as the basis for his 2020 campaign for the White House, which Inslee says is the crux of other initiatives as well, with extreme temperatures and weather threatening everything from the economy and national security. According to the extensive document outlining the plan, the EEP cites an “urgent need to support frontline, low-income, and Indigenous communities, and communities of color. These communities are being impacted first and worst by the accelerating damages of climate change, and have endured a legacy of air, water, toxics and climate pollution, along with a deficit of public investment and support.” Inslee’s plan takes a shot at fossil fuels, calling for an end to “all manner of fossil fuel giveaways,” and protecting public lands.     ...

    Democratic Presidential hopeful and Washington Governor Jay Inslee unveiled a plan for combating climate change through an oft-before cited transition away from fossil fuels and towards renewable energy.

    The proposal, which Inslee refers to as the “Evergreen Economy Plan”, would cost $9 trillion and is distinct from the Green New Deal championed by AOC. Inslee says his plan seeks to create eight million jobs over ten years while it builds a “clean energy economy”.

    The hefty price tag for the EEP would come from government ($300 billion annually) as well as private ($600 billion annually) funds. Inslee took the opportunity in announcing his plan to pat himself on the back for his clean energy efforts in his home state of Washington, which, Inslee says, is the “fastest-growing economy in the nation.”

    The plan may divide the democratic party with those who back the Green New Deal and the Evergreen Economy plan. Inslee told the Guardian, however, that where the Green New Deal was like saying we should go to the moon, whereas his plan was like how to build the rocket ship.

    Inslee is focusing on climate initiatives as the basis for his 2020 campaign for the White House, which Inslee says is the crux of other initiatives as well, with extreme temperatures and weather threatening everything from the economy and national security.

    According to the extensive document outlining the plan, the EEP cites an “urgent need to support frontline, low-income, and Indigenous communities, and communities of color. These communities are being impacted first and worst by the accelerating damages of climate change, and have endured a legacy of air, water, toxics and climate pollution, along with a deficit of public investment and support.”

    Inslee’s plan takes a shot at fossil fuels, calling for an end to “all manner of fossil fuel giveaways,” and protecting public lands.

     

     


    18.05.2019 | US mulls ‘temporary reprieve’ of Huawei ban




    Restrictions on Huawei Technologies may temporarily be scaled back, the US Commerce Department noted on Friday after blacklisting the Chinese tech giant under President Donald Trump’s ‘national emergency’ declaration. The department might issue a temporary general license for 90 days to give companies using Huawei's equipment enough time to maintain their communications network while switching to alternatives, Reuters reported. The possible award of a general license however would not apply to new transactions, the Commerce Department noted. Washington added Huawei to its blacklist on Thursday after Trump ruled that the Chinese firm could “undermine US national security or foreign policy interests,” particularly in developing America’s 5G network. Huawei slammed Washington’s decision amid accusations of spying and trade tensions with Beijing, warning that the move will leave the US behind in deploying 5G telecommunications services which in the long run will only hurt Americans.   ...

    Restrictions on Huawei Technologies may temporarily be scaled back, the US Commerce Department noted on Friday after blacklisting the Chinese tech giant under President Donald Trump’s ‘national emergency’ declaration.

    The department might issue a temporary general license for 90 days to give companies using Huawei's equipment enough time to maintain their communications network while switching to alternatives, Reuters reported.

    The possible award of a general license however would not apply to new transactions, the Commerce Department noted.

    Washington added Huawei to its blacklist on Thursday after Trump ruled that the Chinese firm could “undermine US national security or foreign policy interests,” particularly in developing America’s 5G network.

    Huawei slammed Washington’s decision amid accusations of spying and trade tensions with Beijing, warning that the move will leave the US behind in deploying 5G telecommunications services which in the long run will only hurt Americans.

     


    18.05.2019 | Absence is coming: Game of Thrones finale could kill workplace productivity on Monday




    The final Game of Thrones episode premiering on May 19 is likely to cause major workplace conflicts, a new survey from the Workforce Institute at Kronos, conducted by the Harris Poll, has found. According to the study, the “Absence is Coming” episode could be as disastrous to America’s workplaces on Monday morning as it will likely be to some of the show’s characters. “Approximately 27.2 million employees who plan to watch the Game of Thrones finale live admit they will either miss work completely, arrive late, work remotely, be less productive than usual, or experience another impact on work obligations Monday because of the series finale of the most popular show in HBO history,” it said. Based on the survey’s predictions, approximately 10.7 million Americans are already planning to take the day off from work completely while 2.9 million are planning to show up late. Season 8 has already had a negative impact on workplace productivity, the study found. It estimated that 4.4 million employees have already “missed work specifically to stream reruns to refresh their memory on key plotlines or catch up on missed episodes.” When asked which Game of Thrones character they’d most like to have as a manager, one in four respondents (28 percent) named Jon Snow. Tyrion Lannister came in second (12 percent), followed by Mother of Dragons Daenerys Targaryen (nine percent). Even Cersei Lannister got two percent of the vote. “What do we say to the God of Absence? Not today – or at least organizations can if they embrace, not avoid, cultural phenomenon like the Game of Thrones series finale,” said Joyce Maroney, executive director at the Workforce Institute at Kronos. “Empower employees with flexible schedules and the ability to request time off or swap shifts from anywhere, at any time so they can enjoy moments that matter in their lives, and don’t be shy to use pop culture common ground to build camaraderie with employees and managers,” she added. According to Maroney, the survey also found that a third of employees (33 percent) use TV shows and events to build closer relationships with colleagues and supervisors. “Open the lines of communication with your employees, use the right tools to simplify scheduling, and have a playbook to incorporate these events, when appropriate, into your engagement strategy.” The survey was conducted online between May 7 and May 9, before ‘The Bells’ episode (the series’ most-watched so far, with 18.4 million viewers) aired. It analyzed results of 1,090 working adults who took part in the online poll alongside US Census Data and extrapolated its final tallies from there. The Game of Thrones’ finale is expected to rival some of the most-watched series finales of all time and create the “biggest storm of workplace disruption since the Super Bowl.”     ...

    The final Game of Thrones episode premiering on May 19 is likely to cause major workplace conflicts, a new survey from the Workforce Institute at Kronos, conducted by the Harris Poll, has found.

    According to the study, the “Absence is Coming” episode could be as disastrous to America’s workplaces on Monday morning as it will likely be to some of the show’s characters.

    “Approximately 27.2 million employees who plan to watch the Game of Thrones finale live admit they will either miss work completely, arrive late, work remotely, be less productive than usual, or experience another impact on work obligations Monday because of the series finale of the most popular show in HBO history,” it said.

    Based on the survey’s predictions, approximately 10.7 million Americans are already planning to take the day off from work completely while 2.9 million are planning to show up late. Season 8 has already had a negative impact on workplace productivity, the study found. It estimated that 4.4 million employees have already “missed work specifically to stream reruns to refresh their memory on key plotlines or catch up on missed episodes.”

    When asked which Game of Thrones character they’d most like to have as a manager, one in four respondents (28 percent) named Jon Snow. Tyrion Lannister came in second (12 percent), followed by Mother of Dragons Daenerys Targaryen (nine percent). Even Cersei Lannister got two percent of the vote.

    “What do we say to the God of Absence? Not today – or at least organizations can if they embrace, not avoid, cultural phenomenon like the Game of Thrones series finale,” said Joyce Maroney, executive director at the Workforce Institute at Kronos.

    “Empower employees with flexible schedules and the ability to request time off or swap shifts from anywhere, at any time so they can enjoy moments that matter in their lives, and don’t be shy to use pop culture common ground to build camaraderie with employees and managers,” she added.

    According to Maroney, the survey also found that a third of employees (33 percent) use TV shows and events to build closer relationships with colleagues and supervisors. “Open the lines of communication with your employees, use the right tools to simplify scheduling, and have a playbook to incorporate these events, when appropriate, into your engagement strategy.”

    The survey was conducted online between May 7 and May 9, before ‘The Bells’ episode (the series’ most-watched so far, with 18.4 million viewers) aired. It analyzed results of 1,090 working adults who took part in the online poll alongside US Census Data and extrapolated its final tallies from there.

    The Game of Thrones’ finale is expected to rival some of the most-watched series finales of all time and create the “biggest storm of workplace disruption since the Super Bowl.”

     

     


    18.05.2019 | Italy’s antitrust watchdog to probe Google over abuse of market dominance




    Italy has joined a growing list of nations to challenge US tech giant Google in connection with alleged abuse of the corporation’s market power in the smart device sector. The Italian Antitrust Authority said it launched an investigation into antitrust practices. According to a statement, the move comes after Google refused to integrate the application “Enel X Recharge,” designed by Italy’s energy multinational Enel, on its Android Auto app. According to the regulator, Android Auto allows users to use some apps and phone features while driving, while the exclusion of the Enel’s app reduces the usability of the app, including the booking of recharge stations. Enel’s app helps to inform users about the location of charging stations for electric cars and how to reach them. Google reportedly reinforces the business model of its Google Maps app, which also allows the Android users to get information about charging stations. The competition regulator said that its officials conducted inspections in some of the companies concerned. The investigation is expected to be completed by May 30 next year. Google’s Android operating system is one of the world’s most popular mobile software systems. Android is installed on more than 80 percent of devices globally. Google enjoys a dominant position in the market of smart device operating systems. In March, the European Commission fined the California-based company €1.5 billion ($1.7 billion) for abusing its market dominance, marking the third antitrust penalty against the Big Tech firm in less than three years. In 2018, the EU hit Google with the biggest antitrust fine of €4.3 billion, saying that its Android system tended to block rivals. A year earlier, the corporation was fined €2.4 billion over manipulated search results.     ...

    Italy has joined a growing list of nations to challenge US tech giant Google in connection with alleged abuse of the corporation’s market power in the smart device sector.

    The Italian Antitrust Authority said it launched an investigation into antitrust practices. According to a statement, the move comes after Google refused to integrate the application “Enel X Recharge,” designed by Italy’s energy multinational Enel, on its Android Auto app.

    According to the regulator, Android Auto allows users to use some apps and phone features while driving, while the exclusion of the Enel’s app reduces the usability of the app, including the booking of recharge stations.

    Enel’s app helps to inform users about the location of charging stations for electric cars and how to reach them. Google reportedly reinforces the business model of its Google Maps app, which also allows the Android users to get information about charging stations.

    The competition regulator said that its officials conducted inspections in some of the companies concerned. The investigation is expected to be completed by May 30 next year.

    Google’s Android operating system is one of the world’s most popular mobile software systems. Android is installed on more than 80 percent of devices globally. Google enjoys a dominant position in the market of smart device operating systems.

    In March, the European Commission fined the California-based company €1.5 billion ($1.7 billion) for abusing its market dominance, marking the third antitrust penalty against the Big Tech firm in less than three years. In 2018, the EU hit Google with the biggest antitrust fine of €4.3 billion, saying that its Android system tended to block rivals. A year earlier, the corporation was fined €2.4 billion over manipulated search results.

     

     


    18.05.2019 | ‘One third of art market is fake’: Art detective reveals how terrorists, mafia profit from it




    As the ‘Indiana Jones of Lost Art’, Arthur Brand often finds himself at the crossroads of the illicit art trade and a shadowy criminal underground. The art detective joined RT’s SophieCo to reveal the secrets of his trade. From the posh galleries of the European art scene to the farthest reaches of the Afghan Hindu Kush, Brand is on the hunt for stolen treasures. His work can sound much like a spy thriller, a world of clandestine meetings and forged documents. Working with criminals, of course, has its risks. “Sometimes you get threats,” he said, “I have to be cautious.” The mafia and other criminal groups aren’t the only players dealing in stolen artwork; terrorist militants have entered the black market as well – what the CIA calls the world’s fourth largest illegal enterprise. The unlikely archeologists use the proceeds from stolen relics to finance their terror attacks. “They call it blood antiques,” Brand said. “Groups like the Taliban, Al-Qaeda and ISIS, they conquer a certain area which is full of treasures,” forging paperwork and selling the artifacts in legal markets. “Museums have bought [them] in the past” he said. “You can find them at auction houses. You can find them at art deals.” Brand noted that in addition to the stolen masterpieces, fake ones are making the rounds as well. “It's absolutely more common than rare,” he said. “Thirty percent on the art market is fake. Either it's complete fake or they have messed with it.”     ...

    As the ‘Indiana Jones of Lost Art’, Arthur Brand often finds himself at the crossroads of the illicit art trade and a shadowy criminal underground. The art detective joined RT’s SophieCo to reveal the secrets of his trade.

    From the posh galleries of the European art scene to the farthest reaches of the Afghan Hindu Kush, Brand is on the hunt for stolen treasures. His work can sound much like a spy thriller, a world of clandestine meetings and forged documents.

    Working with criminals, of course, has its risks.

    “Sometimes you get threats,” he said, “I have to be cautious.”

    The mafia and other criminal groups aren’t the only players dealing in stolen artwork; terrorist militants have entered the black market as well – what the CIA calls the world’s fourth largest illegal enterprise. The unlikely archeologists use the proceeds from stolen relics to finance their terror attacks.

    “They call it blood antiques,” Brand said. “Groups like the Taliban, Al-Qaeda and ISIS, they conquer a certain area which is full of treasures,” forging paperwork and selling the artifacts in legal markets.

    “Museums have bought [them] in the past” he said. “You can find them at auction houses. You can find them at art deals.”

    Brand noted that in addition to the stolen masterpieces, fake ones are making the rounds as well.

    “It's absolutely more common than rare,” he said. “Thirty percent on the art market is fake. Either it's complete fake or they have messed with it.”

     

     



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