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Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said the EU must limit immigration to people seeking political asylum. Czech President Milos Zeman said the foreign incomers and their descendants who can’t adapt and follow local norms should “return home,”

Pope Francis receives US President Barack Obama

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Vatican Radio – Pope Francis receives US President Barack Obama

ope Francis received the President of the United States, Barack Obama on Thursday morning in the Apostolic Palace at the Vatican.

President Obama arrived at the meeting through the Hall of St. Ambrose – a bright, high-ceilinged rectangular room decorated with allegories of Felicity, Prudence and the Virtues, Rest and Security. He was preceded by a column of the Gentlemen of His Holiness, and accompanied by the Prefect of the Papal Household, Archbishop Georg Ganswein, who walked at his side. Pope Francis made his way briskly from the library to the Sala dei troni – the Hall of Thrones – to greet the President.

A handshake and a brief exchange of pleasantries, and the Pope and the President were in the library of the Apostolic Palace, sitting across from one another at the Holy Father’s desk. “It’s a great honor,” said the President to the Pope, “I’m a great admirer – thank you so much for receiving me.” President Obama went on to say, “[I bring] greetings from my family,” adding, “the last time I came to meet your predecessor I was able to bring my wife and children.”

Then, the room was cleared of journalists, and the Pope and the President, assisted by their interpreters – Msgr. Mark Miles of the Vatican’s Secretariat of State, and Alessandra Bonatti of the US State Dept. – spoke privately for nearly an hour: fifty-two minutes, to be precise.

The private meeting concluded and the members of the official White House delegation were presented to Pope Francis, among whom were the Secretary of State, John Kerry, US Ambassador to the Holy See, Kenneth Hackett, National Security Adviser Susan Rice, and White House Press Secretary Jay Carney. After the Holy Father greeted the delegation members, the Pope and the President exchanged gifts.

529 members of Muslim Brotherhood sentenced to death

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REUTERS – An Egyptian court sentenced 529 members of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood to death on charges including murder on Monday, a defence lawyer said, in a sharp escalation of a crackdown on the movement.

The ruling was the biggest mass death sentence handed out in Egypt’s modern history, lawyers said.

Turmoil has deepened since the army overthrew Egypt’s first freely elected president, Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood, in July. Security forces have killed hundreds of Brotherhood members in the streets, and arrested thousands.

Most of the defendants at Monday’s hearing were detained during clashes which erupted in the southern province of Minya after the forced dispersal of two Muslim Brotherhood protest camps in Cairo on August 14.

Islamists have also stepped up attacks on the police and army since Mursi’s ouster, killing hundreds and carrying out high profile operations against Interior Ministry officials.

„The court has decided to sentence to death 529 defendants, and 16 were acquitted,” lawyer Ahmed al-Sharif told Reuters. The ruling can be appealed.

The charges against the group, on trial in Minya since Saturday, include violence, inciting murder, storming a police station, attacking persons and damaging public and private property.

„This is the quickest case and the number sentenced to death is the largest in the history of the judiciary,” said lawyer Nabil Abdel Salam, who defends some Brotherhood leaders including Mursi.

State television reported the sentences without comment. A government spokesman did not immediately respond to calls.

An online Magna Carta

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The Guardian: An online Magna Carta: Berners-Lee calls for bill of rights for web. Web’s inventor warns neutrality under sustained attack from governments and corporations

The inventor of the world wide web believes an online „Magna Carta” is needed to protect and enshrine the independence of the medium he created and the rights of its users worldwide.

Sir Tim Berners-Lee told the Guardian the web had come under increasing attack from governments and corporate influence and that new rules were needed to protect the „open, neutral” system.

Speaking exactly 25 years after he wrote the first draft of the first proposal for what would become the world wide web, the computer scientist said: „We need a global constitution – a bill of rights.”

Berners-Lee’s Magna Carta plan is to be taken up as part of an initiative called „the web we want”, which calls on people to generate a digital bill of rights in each country – a statement of principles he hopes will be supported by public institutions, government officials and corporations.

„Unless we have an open, neutral internet we can rely on without worrying about what’s happening at the back door, we can’t have open government, good democracy, good healthcare, connected communities and diversity of culture. It’s not naive to think we can have that, but it is naive to think we can just sit back and get it.”

Berners-Lee has been an outspoken critic of the American and British spy agencies’ surveillance of citizens following the revelations by National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden. In the light of what has emerged, he said, people were looking for an overhaul of how the security services were managed.

His views also echo across the technology industry, where there is particular anger about the efforts by the NSA and Britain’s GCHQ to undermine encryption and security tools – something many cybersecurity experts say has been counterproductive and undermined everyone’s security.

Principles of privacy, free speech and responsible anonymity would be explored in the Magna Carta scheme. „These issues have crept up on us,” Berners-Lee said. „Our rights are being infringed more and more on every side, and the danger is that we get used to it. So I want to use the 25th anniversary for us all to do that, to take the web back into our own hands and define the web we want for the next 25 years.”

The web constitution proposal should also examine the impact of copyright laws and the cultural-societal issues around the ethics of technology.

While regional regulation and cultural sensitivities would vary, Berners-Lee said he believed a shared document of principle could provide an international standard for the values of the open web.

He is optimistic that the „web we want” campaign can be mainstream, despite the apparent lack of awareness of public interest in the Snowden story.

„I wouldn’t say people in the UK are apathetic – I would say that they have greater trust in their government than other countries. They have the attitude that we voted for them, so let them get on and do it.

„But we need our lawyers and our politicians to understand programming, to understand what can be done with a computer. We also need to revisit a lot of legal structure, copyright law – the laws that put people in jail which have been largely set up to protect the movie producers … None of this has been set up to preserve the day to day discourse between individuals and the day to day democracy that we need to run the country,” he said.

Berners-Lee also spoke out strongly in favour of changing a key and controversial element of internet governance that would remove a small but symbolic piece of US control. The US has clung on to the Iana contract, which controls the dominant database of all domain names, but has faced increased pressure post-Snowden.

He said: „The removal of the explicit link to the US department of commerce is long overdue. The US can’t have a global place in the running of something which is so non-national. There is huge momentum towards that uncoupling but it is right that we keep a multi-stakeholder approach, and one where governments and companies are both kept at arm’s length.”

Berners-Lee also reiterated his concern that the web could be balkanised by countries or organisations carving up the digital space to work under their own rules, whether for censorship, regulation or commerce.

We all have to play a role in that future, he said, citing resistance to proposed copyright theft regulation.

He said: „The key thing is getting people to fight for the web and to see the harm that a fractured web would bring. Like any human system, the web needs policing and of course we need national laws, but we must not turn the network into a series of national silos.”

Berners-Lee also starred in the London 2012 Olympics, typing the words „this is for everyone” on a computer in the centre of the arena. He has stuck firmly to the principle of openness, inclusivity and democracy since he invented the web in 1989, choosing not to commercialise his model. Rejecting the idea that government and commercial control of such a powerful medium was inevitable, Berners-Lee said it would be impossible: „Not until they prise the keyboards from our cold, dead fingers.”

Oscars 2014

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oscar.go.com – Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role: Jared Leto for Dallas Buyers Club

 

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imdb – Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role: Cate Blanchett for Blue Jasmine

 

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imdb – Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role: Matthew McConaughey for Dallas Buyers Club (2013)

 

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imdb – Best Motion Picture of the Year: 12 Years a Slave (2013)