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Reproaching N. Korea, EU Divide, New Billionaire Capital

Reproaching N. Korea, EU Divide, New Billionaire Capital


The United States and China agreed yesterday on a United Nations draft resolution containing "very tough measures" against North Korea over its nuclear "provocations," AFP reports. Both countries have bristled at the hubris of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un. The draft resolution will now be presented to the other UN Security Council members and a diplomat said it could be adopted "in the coming days."


"We should make a Guantanamo-like camp for them. Without torturing them," said Mayor Leopold Lippens of Belgian town Knokke, when asked by Sud Presse journalists about illegal migrants. More refugees could enter Belgium amid neighboring France's efforts to dismantle the notorious Calais "jungle." Lippens argued that migrants without permission to stay should eventually be "sent back to their countries," adding that the migrant issue was "starting to piss me off." A French court blocked the government's plans to raze the Calais "jungle" on Tuesday as it postponed a decision. Belgium, meanwhile, has reestablished border controls.


Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has threatened to block any EU decisions made at a meeting today if all countries don't agree to accept their share of refugees. It represents yet another escalation among EU nations over the year-long crisis, Kathimerini reports. This came after Austria and nine Balkan states (three of them EU members) decided to take measures of their own at the expense of Athens to "choke off the flow of refugees from Greece," The New York Times writes. Tsipras, who described Austria's behavior as "unacceptable," said his government "will not accept turning the country into a warehouse of souls," saying the decision threatens to effectively leave tens of thousands of asylum seekers stranded in cash-strapped Greece. According to official figures, more than 100,000 refugees entered Greece in the first six weeks of this year, more than the total for the first half of 2015.



French authorities are demanding Google pay 1.6 billion euros ($1.76 billion) in back taxes after evading payments via a "double Irish, Dutch Sandwich" tax optimization technique,Le Monde reports. Unlike its British counterpart, the French tax office is unwilling to negotiate the figure. Italy is also seeking more than 200 million euros ($220 million) from the U.S. Internet search giant.


Is there "a bombshell" waiting to be found in Donald Trump's tax records? Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney seems to believe that's the reason the billionaire hasn't yet released his tax records. The Republican front-runner's response came in the form of a scathing tweet: "Mitt Romney, who totally blew an election that should have been won and whose tax returns made him look like a fool, is now playing tough guy." Read more from The Hill.


Photo: European Southern Observatory

The European Southern Observatory, an intergovernmental astronomy research organization, has released a spectacular new image of the Milky Way to mark the completion of its Chile-based APEX Telescope Large Area Survey of the Galaxy (ATLASGAL).


North-West University in Mahikeng, South Africa, has been evacuated and closed indefinitely after a group of protesting students went on a rampage last night, torching buildings and looting property, newspaper The Star reports. Students were demonstrating over the dissolution of a student council group, in the process "completely" destroying the administration building, "along with all official records," the university's spokesman said. The damage is expected to run "in the millions."


As part of our Rue Amelot essay series, a South American writer rethinks the soundtrack of his teenage revolution, concluding that his aversion to culturally significant genres was a youthful indiscretion that deprived him of musical riches. "Given all of my teenage wisdom, I thought that people who listened to traditional and popular genres such as pagode, axé, sertanejo or funk were ignorant," writes Fred Di Giacomo. "I'd also decided that white classical music and black jazz that my dad used to listen to at home were an utter drag. I had no idea that, translating lyrics from AC/DC or Elvis, I'd be left with something close to carioca funk about ‘blue suede shoes,' ‘whole lotta' women, picking up girls and other deep philosophical questions for humankind. I also had no idea that playing songs from the Sex Pistols or Green Day was actually a lot easier than a guitar solo from calypso guitarist Chimbinha."

Read the full article, Rock, Rebellion And My Misguided Shame Of Brazilian Culture.


Apple is trying to develop a new security system that would better protect iPhones from government attempts to hack into devices, The New York Times reports. This comes amid antagonism between the Cupertino giant and the FBI, after the latter requested Apple help it unlock the phone of one of the two San Bernardino shooters. CEO Tim Cook has refused to comply, saying such a move would be "bad for America."


Which famous French Impressionist painter was born on Feb. 25? Find out in today's shot of history!


Bye-bye New York. Beijing is now the world's city of choice for billionaires, with 100 of them now living in the Chinese capital, compared to 95 in the Big Apple.

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Influencer Union? The Next Labor Rights Battle May Be For Social Media Creators

With the end of the Hollywood writers and actors strikes, the creator economy is the next frontier for organized labor.

​photograph of a smartphone on a selfie stick

Smartphone on a selfie stick

Steve Gale/Unsplash
David Craig and Stuart Cunningham

Hollywood writers and actors recently proved that they could go toe-to-toe with powerful media conglomerates. After going on strike in the summer of 2023, they secured better pay, more transparency from streaming services and safeguards from having their work exploited or replaced by artificial intelligence.

But the future of entertainment extends well beyond Hollywood. Social media creators – otherwise known as influencers, YouTubers, TikTokers, vloggers and live streamers – entertain and inform a vast portion of the planet.

✉️ You can receive our Bon Vivant selection of fresh reads on international culture, food & travel directly in your inbox. Subscribe here.

For the past decade, we’ve mapped the contours and dimensions of the global social media entertainment industry. Unlike their Hollywood counterparts, these creators struggle to be seen as entertainers worthy of basic labor protections.

Keep reading...Show less

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