The Paradox of Lives Run Through ‘Social Media’

14 Dec

A man leans back to pose for his selfie stick, not realising his head is on fire… 

 selfie stick

this was the defining image of the Social Paradox Exhibition, which took place on November 23rd at the Stolen Space Gallery in Shoreditch, sponsored by newly launched calendar app Calio.

‘The Social Paradox’ is an apt name for an apt name for a street art exhibition which sought to demonstrate how the tools we use to organise our social lives at the same time hold us enslaved to outdated popularity metrics which often serve to isolate more than connect.

One canvas by Iranian street artist Nafir displayed a girl jubilant about gaining 3 ‘followers’, who were displayed as 3 flesh-eating zombies stalking behind her. Another by iHeart on the subject of VR showed a young boy wearing virtual reality goggles looking down at his hand dissolving in front of him. The real world had become less tangible than the virtual one.

Joe Iurrato’s canvas displays a young boy and girl sitting in front of a sunset, arms around each other… taking selfies. ‘Modern Love’ is the piece’s title. Sad, he implies, that we are so busy recording and curating our lives to enjoy them. The theme of the whole exhibition was neatly encapsulated in the piece by WordtoMother, called simply ‘Social Media Mask’. The self-image we manifest for public viewing becomes so all-consuming it takes over our real identity.

I’m not going to step over into Freudian-style analysis of the conflict between the conscious, unconscious, the ego and the superego… but you get the idea. There is a dichotomy between how our upbringing and social norms state we should behave, and the need to play up to a social media audience which revels in the obscene, the disastrous and, on the flip side, over-idealised standards of perfection. It’s no wonder so many people suffer from ‘anxiety’.

Meet the Organisers….

Citrus-fruit IPA and boutique-label G&Ts were provided complimentary by a local brewer FourPure, the bartenders cheerfully admitting to having sneaked a drink or two or three and a bit giggly as a result. The ambience was pitch-perfect, and typically of Shoreditch everyone was striking an attitude or making clever conversation, an atmosphere which made it intimidating to take copious notes, so if my description of the exhibition is short on detail it’s because I was having too much fun.

Calio, the tech venture behind the company, actually has its manifesto that our lives contain too much tech; that an app should serve a useful function that is rooted in reality. The calendar app they have designed is spartan in its simplicity. You can invite your friends to an event which you create; suggest several different times and locations which they can vote on. And all these are stored in your personal calendar. You can sync this calendar with friends and family.

To widen its commercial appeal, Brand Accounts are going to be introduced in January. Artists and event planners can create a business profile, and by following them you get updates about all their future events.

While the app doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles currently – though the makers say they are open to suggestions – by distancing itself from the ubiquitous ‘share’ culture, they provide an alternative platform to facebook, where there is an inbuilt tendency to constantly assess and reassess upcoming events by the number attending, ‘maybe attending’ and just ‘interested’. And it has better functionality than Whatsapp, being designed specifically for events.

Calio has a bit of a cult following at the moment, and might accumulate a similar user base to that Whatsapp did when it first launched just by positioning itself as an alternative to the status quo. Calio does not share your data with third parties. In fact, they’ve made a solemn promise not even the app managers can view your personal calendar.

Will they, like Whatsapp, sell out to the highest corporate bidder? I asked co-founder Ramy Al Kadhi, and received a response of sound business sense, despite he and founding partner Latif Baluch’s anti-establishment posturing.

“Obviously we know what the value of the company is, and as business people if someone came up with something higher than the valuation, we would have to take it seriously. But they would need to demonstrate a growth path for that.

For example, if someone wanted to make it about events curation, we’d say no. It’s essentially a calendar app, and that should be our focus.”

I asked what inspired them to come up with the idea.

“There used to be a beautiful app called Sunrise, which let you sync its calendar app with all other apps. Outlook bought them for £100million. They closed Sunrise down, and converted the user base to Outlook…. We saw a gap in the market, and while we’ve created a number of apps before – it’s what we’re in the business of doing – with this one it was something we thought people would really need.”

 

 

Advertisements

Three Blockchain Startups Disrupting Fintech

8 Oct

SFOX

SFOX is an advanced crypto-currency trading platform, which aims to replicate the facilities offered to ‘sophisticated investors’ in traditional finance, allowing real-time price arbitration between the main and more minor digital currencies, such as itbit, gemini, bitfinex, bitstamp and more. ‘Our algorithms love volatility’, it declares proudly on its twitter page.
It offers similar styles of trades to the ‘iceberg’ trade offered by the big financial exchanges, where an order remains hidden until it is placed; this they call the ‘Sniper’ trade. The ‘Gorilla’ algorithm lets you break up a large order and distribute it in bite-size chunks throughout the day.
One unnamed investor believes they are one to bet on this year. In Jan 25, 2017, according to its listing on Crunchbase, SFOX raised an Unknown Amount for a ‘venture at an unknown valuation.’

 

Chain

Chain has positioned itself as the market leader for integrating blockchain technology into financial services infrastructure. It was the chosen business partner for a joint venture between Citi and Nasdaq in May 2017, to use the blockchain to make and verify certain cross-border transactions.
Adena Friedman, CEO, Nasdaq, said of the partnership, “Through this effective integration of blockchain technology and global financial systems, we can realize greater operational transparency and ease of reconciliation, which can have profound implications for outdated administrative functions in the capital markets.”
It claims it can facilitate a development platform for all foreseeable asset types, and its blockchain technology was made open-source in 2016, making it easy for companies to install the Chain OS and build their own in-house solution. Its blockchain platform looks to become the Microsoft of the fintech world.

 

SABR.io

SABR.io describes itself as ‘Palantir for the blockchain’, and has been similarly gaining ground among law enforcers for its ability to do end-to-end analytics on blockchain applications and related locations; tracking payment services and identifying suspicious patterns and activity. Because while Distributed Ledger Technology is indelible and publicly accessible, the accounts by which it is accessed can be forged or faked.
SABR.io does an important job in ensuring those interacting with the technology are legal entities, enabling compliance with Anti Money Laundering obligations and prohibiting trading with sanctioned institutions or individuals.

Monsanto’s battle with UN over allegedly cancerous herbicide

2 Jun

Monsanto Papers : the battle of information

translated from http://www.lemonde.fr/planete/article/2017/06/02/monsanto-les-moissons-du-fiel_5137487_3244.html

To defend glyphosate, the firm has taken the issue to the United Nations Against Cancer, which has classed its flagship product cancerous. Second section of our inquiry.

It had promised “more inoffensive than the salt on the table”, but that was just in its adverts. Glyphosate, the herbicide most widely used on the planet, the principal ingredient in its flagship product, the Roundup, on which it has based its business model, its fortune and reputation, sold for more than forty years and becoming a best-seller with the development of transgenic seeds called “Roundup ready”, could be in reality cancerous.

On 20 March 2015, Monsanto was visibly affected. On that day, glyphosate was declared genetically toxic (it damages DNA), cancerous to animals and “likely cancerous” to people, according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).

The jury: a group of 17 seasoned experts of 11 nationalities, assembled by this official agnec of the UN charged with compiling an inventory of cancerous substances et whose opinion has been the authority for almost half a century. There is therefore no doubt that this will also be the case for their conclusions on glyphosate, published in the form of a report, ‘monograph 112’

Declaration of War

Far from sight, the fury of the American firm crossed the Atlantic by fibre-optic. The same day, a missive amounting to a declaration of war parted for Geneva, in Switzerland, directed to the World Health Organisation, the umbrella body of the IARC

The paper bore at its head the celebrated green branch surrounded by an orange rectangle: the Monsanto logo. “We seem to understand that the members of the CIRC have deliberately chosen to ignore the numerous studies and regulatory evaluations publicly available which support the conclusion that glyphosate does not present a risk to human health”, accused Philip Miller, the vice president of Monsanto charged with regulatory affairs.

…..

(article continues for paying subscribers)

 

 

 

 

Get paid for face-time: launch of the ‘Uber’ for freelance professionals and tradesmen

9 May

Picture the scenario : you are stranded suddenly with a dinner party emergency, or your boiler has exploded, and you need to consult an expert right away. But although google has managed to put the entire world at our fingertips, tracking down a professional to give their reassuringly expert opinion, face-to-face, is a little more difficult and time-consuming.

Or maybe you want some face time with your therapist while they are on holiday; maybe you want to get some legal advice without paying the prohibitive rates charged by a corporate firm. Plenty of paralegals are fully equipped to give an initial legal consultation.

Hence, 121with, the video conferencing platform with a difference. Seekers of services can upload their card details, before browsing the listed profiles of professional service-providers by their chosen keywords. ‘Why, it’s little more than a skype call that you have to pay for,’ one invitee interjected at the launch event.

Well no, the founders patiently explained. On 121with, payment takes place automatically, almost immediately after the video call has finished. In a real-time payment system similar to Uber’s, the transfer goes through, via Stripe at a rate of T+4 (seconds), which is the UK standard. Moreover, there is a minimum charge of 50p per second, incentivising service-providers to make sure every second counts.

The advantages of the 121with system are obvious and manifold: stress, hassle-free payments, saving administrative costs on invoice issuing and bank transfers; no travel costs; and finally, the platform can act as a productivity boost to existing businesses, which may be “set in an hourly or half-hourly charge mindset”, exhorts Joint Managing Director Tom Stokely. “We think 121with is going to shake that up a bit.”

The site is live now, and 121with is looking for ‘affiliate’ partners for initial profile listing, as the platform’s pioneer professionals will be carefully screened for quality and value for money.

But it is hoped the system will become to an extent self-regulating through the organic growth of the market, as poor quality or overpriced offerings will attract negative customer reviews and fail to compete. There is also, naturally, an arbitration process offered between seeker and provider if a refund becomes necessary.

Before the Vote

26 Apr

Right of asylum, immigration quotas, border controls.. a deep fracture has emerged between the candidates.

It’s a record in French history: France has recorded 85, 700 requests for asylum in 2016. Even if it’s small in relation to its neighbours Italy (121, 200) and Germany (722, 300), this influx of migrants, because of the war in Syria and historic conflicts or humanitarian situations (the Sudan, Afghanistan, Haiti), have forced the question of the welcome that France can or should reserve at the centre of the presidential campaign.

But if the questions about borders, integration or identity have gained an important place in the campaign, the responses that the candidates have raised in their programmes are sparse (a hundred proposals to more than three thousand in total) and very polarised. A France open or closed, here are the main promises of the 11 candidates for the presidential election.

Borders in and around Europe

According to the Schengen agreement, all citizens can move freely within the eponymous zone (26 states of which 22 are part of the European Union). And on the exterior, the agency Frontex tries to maintain surveillance faced with the influx of migrants.

The borders question is typically an embarrassing one for candidates, outside the extreme right, faced simultaneously with the humanitarian crisis of the migrants, but also by the high-stakes surveillance of terrorist movements.

On the extreme right, the positions have the merit of clarity: Nicolas Dupont-Aignan and Marine Le Pen think that control of immigration is no longer secured by Frontex and that they should exit Schengen to take back national borders, which would consequently be reinforced. They believe therefore six thousand customs posts should also be reinstated, according to the Front National candidate, which demands also the recall of the reservists.

Calling for a double layer of borders, Francois Fillon says he is in favour of staying in Schengen (and in tripling the budget of Frontex), but also to the “temporary reintroduction of controls on the interior borders” (an operation in reality already in place since the events of November 2015).

In opposition, there are those who think the actual borders of Schengen are already sufficient: Benoit Hamon, Emmanuel Macron and Jean-Luc Melenchon. But with certain nuances since Emmanuel Macron wanted to increase the powers of border guards and outposts in Europe, while Jean-Luc Melenchon wanted what he termed the “militarisation of the politics of controlling migration flows.”

The extreme left believes to want to abolish all borders, both on the interior and exterior of the European Union – say Nathalie Arthaud and Philippe Poutou, in a spirit which is “internationalist” and “in solidarity”.

 

The Right to Asylum

In the face of crowds of migrants, the practical application of the right to asylum, a principle enshrined in the preamble of the Constitution, is a question of debate among the political class. It is anyway on this question that ghost of the candidates’ previous promises looms largest: where Nathalie Arthaud and Philippe Poutou supported regularising all the sans-papiers, Marine Le Pen and Nicolas Dupon-Aignan want, in contrast, to make the conditions of asylum harder. The candidate from Debout la France is proposing a dozen measures to allocate a residence to asylum-seekers. The Front National candidate, le Pen, insists on the necessity of “making it impossible to regularise or naturalise foreigners in an illegal situation.”

Between these two opposing poles, two candidates declare they favour welcoming asylum-seekers, notably in instituting a humanitarian visa (Benoit Hamon) and in constructing welcome camps along international norms (Jean-Luc Melenchon). Three other candidates want to shorten the delay in the administrative response (Emmanuel Macron, Jacques Cheminade and Francois Fillon). It is therefore on the specific public services the refugees can access on which the majority of candidates have made promises.

 

On Quotas

In 2016, around 227 500 foreigners gained their first right to stay in France, an increase of 4.6% in relation to 2015. A rise which lies principally in admissions for humanitarian reasons. These permissions were not limited by quotas; France has never applied such a limitation, in contrast to the US for example. A majority of candidates are not in favour ( Nathalie Arthaud, Jacques Cheminade, Benoit Hamon, Emmanuel Macron, Jean-Luc Melenchon and Philippe Poutou).

Among them those who have no fixed position: Jean Lassalle and Francois Asselineau. This last is content to propose a referendum on the whole group of questions lying in various degrees in relation to the volumes of migrants – quotas, familial regroupment, right to own land…

Three candidates are in support of quotas. The most extreme position is, with no surprise, that of Marine Le Pen, who recommends “reducing legal immigration to an annual cap of 10 thousand (persons).” She is following on the platform of Francois Fillon, who wanted to inscribe it in the Constitution, and of Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, who wants “to vote annually in Parliament an immigration ceiling” related to the unemployment rate.

In 2006, Nicolas Sarkozy had already fostered support for establishing quotas, but this ambition faced opposition, risking the censure of the constitutional council, and was adjourned.

 

The Right of Soil

The right of earth consists of conferring French nationality on children born in France More precisely, a child born in France of foreign parents becomes automatically French on their 18th year, if they are in our country and have been more than five years; this has been true since 1515. Certain candidates propose to limit this opportunity (Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, Francois Fillon), or aim to remove it (Marine Le Pen).

For the Front National, this represents making a kind of “acquisition of French nationality (is) possible just through filiation or naturalisation, for which the conditions are elsewhere more demanding”… that which can in many more complex cases, looks impossible. Not only for the French whose ancestors came from abroad several generations ago, but also for a number of other cases – pieds-noirs, those from Alsace, whose families were German at the beginning of the last century…

On the other side, Jacques Cheminade, Emmanuel Macron and Jean-Luc Melenchon want to preserve the right of soil. Four candidates have no position on this prickly subject: Nathalie Arthaud, Benoit Hamon, Jean Lassale and Philippe Poutou.

A new breed of banker?

26 Apr

 ‘Difficult but talented’ replaced by ‘Pedestrian but hard-working’.

A slew of regulatory reforms have made banks much safer places – Dodd-Frank in the US, and the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (Mifids 1 and 2, as they are affectionately known) – have made it harder for banks to market and sell risky securities to ‘unsophisticated’ investors, and regularised professional trading standards to combat volatility.

But now that over-the-counter derivatives and so-called ‘dark pools’, where large trades can be placed anonymously without the onerous reporting obligations of licensed exchanges, have been strait-jacketed by legislation, is there any place for the dashing, risk-loving daredevil of popular stereotype?

According to eFinancial careers, which keeps a close eye on trends in the industry, the typical banker has become almost… boring.

“A lot of people who had successful careers – the most talented people of my generation – have left the industry to do other things,” Kerim Derhalli, the ex-Deutsche MD who himself has quit banking to head Invstr, a social network for amateur investors, told the recruitment firm.

It is certainly true that investment banking still pays the highest starting salary for graduate recruitments, according to a UK survey by graduate recruitment research company High Fliers. Their report, on ‘The Graduate Market in 2016‘, put the welcome package at investment banking firms at £47,000, the top-ranking sector, with banking and finance ranked third at £36,000.

Though the number of positions at banking and finance companies did not increase by even a quarter of the increase seen within IT & Telecommunications, which went up 219% compared to just a 37% rise in finance positions.

The High Fliers report recorded that “The number of entry-level positions available for graduates in IT & telecommunications and in the public sector has more than doubled over the last ten years, whilst recruitment at the top consulting firms has increased by two-thirds.”

This is corroborated by another eFinancial careers source, former head of rate sales at Deutsche Bank Chris Yoshida. “When I went into banking [in 2000] my graduate class was comprised of the best students from the best universities in the world,” said Yoshida, who now advocates for the Kairos Society, an organization that helps young entrepreneurs effect global change. “This is no longer the case – the very top students now want to work for Google and Facebook. Banks are attracting the students who are in the top 50% to 75% (rather than the top quartile).”

 

Even banking interns, such as those enrolled in the Goldman Sachs 2016 ‘summer analyst class’, which prepares those keen on a financial career in its inner workings before they have even graduated, have become less motivated by materialism.

Goldman Sachs, which has a spoof twitter account under the label ‘GSElevator… Straight to Hell’, reported on its blog that its interns were predominantly interested in saving to buy a house (46%), while just 3% wanted to own luxury items. I suppose it might come across as presumptuous before you’d even been offered the highly desired and competitive job to say ‘I just want a Ferrari’, but… the tone of the industry has definitely changed.

Perhaps this is partly due to the emergence of multiple sources of alternative finance like crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending platforms; and alternative payment systems such as Paypal and now blockchain-linked crypto-currency mechanisms.

Before the Vote: What the Candidates are Proposing on the Subject of Immigration

21 Apr

translated from:

http://www.lemonde.fr/les-decodeurs/article/2017/04/20/avantlevote-ce-que-proposent-les-candidats-en-matiere-d-immigration_5114035_4355770.html

Right of asylum, immigration quotas, border controls.. a deep fracture has emerged between the candidates.

It’s a record in French history: France has recorded 85, 700 requests for asylum in 2016. Even if it’s small in relation to its neighbours Italy (121, 200) and Germany (722, 300), this influx of migrants, because of the war in Syria and historic conflicts or humanitarian situations (the Sudan, Afghanistan, Haiti), have forced the question of the welcome that France can or should reserve at the centre of the presidential campaign.

But if the questions about borders, integration or identity have gained an important place in the campaign, the responses that the candidates have raised in their programmes are sparse (a hundred proposals to more than three thousand in total) and very polarised. A France open or closed, here are the main promises of the 11 candidates for the presidential election.

Borders in and around Europe

According to the Schengen agreement, all citizens can move freely within the eponymous zone (26 states of which 22 are part of the European Union). And on the exterior, the agency Frontex tries to maintain surveillance faced with the influx of migrants.

The borders question is typically an embarrassing one for candidates, outside the extreme right, faced simultaneously with the humanitarian crisis of the migrants, but also by the high-stakes surveillance of terrorist movements.

On the extreme right, the positions have the merit of clarity: Nicolas Dupont-Aignan and Marine Le Pen think that control of immigration is no longer secured by Frontex and that they should exit Schengen to take back national borders, which would consequently be reinforced. They believe therefore six thousand customs posts should also be reinstated, according to the Front National candidate, which demands also the recall of the reservists.

Calling for a double layer of borders, Francois Fillon says he is in favour of staying in Schengen (and in tripling the budget of Frontex), but also to the “temporary reintroduction of controls on the interior borders” (an operation in reality already in place since the events of November 2015).

In opposition, there are those who think the actual borders of Schengen are already sufficient: Benoit Hamon, Emmanuel Macron and Jean-Luc Melenchon. But with certain nuances since Emmanuel Macron wanted to increase the powers of border guards and outposts in Europe, while Jean-Luc Melenchon wanted what he termed the “militarisation of the politics of controlling migration flows.”

The extreme left believes to want to abolish all borders, both on the interior and exterior of the European Union – say Nathalie Arthaud and Philippe Poutou, in a spirit which is “internationalist” and “in solidarity”.

 

The Right to Asylum

In the face of crowds of migrants, the practical application of the right to asylum, a principle enshrined in the preamble of the Constitution, is a question of debate among the political class. It is anyway on this question that ghost of the candidates’ previous promises looms largest: where Nathalie Arthaud and Philippe Poutou supported regularising all the sans-papiers, Marine Le Pen and Nicolas Dupon-Aignan want, in contrast, to make the conditions of asylum harder. The candidate from Debout la France is proposing a dozen measures to allocate a residence to asylum-seekers. The Front National candidate, le Pen, insists on the necessity of “making it impossible to regularise or naturalise foreigners in an illegal situation.”

Between these two opposing poles, two candidates declare they favour welcoming asylum-seekers, notably in instituting a humanitarian visa (Benoit Hamon) and in constructing welcome camps along international norms (Jean-Luc Melenchon). Three other candidates want to shorten the delay in the administrative response (Emmanuel Macron, Jacques Cheminade and Francois Fillon). It is therefore on the specific public services the refugees can access on which the majority of candidates have made promises.

 

On Quotas

In 2016, around 227 500 foreigners gained their first right to stay in France, an increase of 4.6% in relation to 2015. A rise which lies principally in admissions for humanitarian reasons. These permissions were not limited by quotas; France has never applied such a limitation, in contrast to the US for example. A majority of candidates are not in favour ( Nathalie Arthaud, Jacques Cheminade, Benoit Hamon, Emmanuel Macron, Jean-Luc Melenchon and Philippe Poutou).

Among them those who have no fixed position: Jean Lassalle and Francois Asselineau. This last is content to propose a referendum on the whole group of questions lying in various degrees in relation to the volumes of migrants – quotas, familial regroupment, right to own land…

Three candidates are in support of quotas. The most extreme position is, with no surprise, that of Marine Le Pen, who recommends “reducing legal immigration to an annual cap of 10 thousand (persons).” She is following on the platform of Francois Fillon, who wanted to inscribe it in the Constitution, and of Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, who wants “to vote annually in Parliament an immigration ceiling” related to the unemployment rate.

In 2006, Nicolas Sarkozy had already fostered support for establishing quotas, but this ambition faced opposition, risking the censure of the constitutional council, and was adjourned.

 

The Right of Soil

The right of earth consists of conferring French nationality on children born in France More precisely, a child born in France of foreign parents becomes automatically French on their 18th year, if they are in our country and have been more than five years; this has been true since 1515. Certain candidates propose to limit this opportunity (Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, Francois Fillon), or aim to remove it (Marine Le Pen).

For the Front National, this represents making a kind of “acquisition of French nationality (is) possible just through filiation or naturalisation, for which the conditions are elsewhere more demanding”… that which can in many more complex cases, looks impossible. Not only for the French whose ancestors came from abroad several generations ago, but also for a number of other cases – pieds-noirs, those from Alsace, whose families were German at the beginning of the last century…

On the other side, Jacques Cheminade, Emmanuel Macron and Jean-Luc Melenchon want to preserve the right of soil. Four candidates have no position on this prickly subject: Nathalie Arthaud, Benoit Hamon, Jean Lassale and Philippe Poutou.

The French Justice Department demands lifting of the immunity of Marine Le Pen at the European Parliament

14 Apr

translated from http://www.lemonde.fr/election-presidentielle-2017/article/2017/04/14/la-justice-francaise-a-demande-au-parlement-europeen-la-levee-de-l-immunite-de-marine-le-pen_5111132_4854003.html

The French justice department has demanded that the European Parliament lifts the parliamentary immunity of Marine Le Pen and of Marie-Christine Boutonnet, targets of an enquiry into suspected fictional employment of parliamentary assistants by the Front National (FN), Agence France-Presse (AFP) learned on Friday 14th April from a judiciary source.

The judges at the preliminary hearing addressed their demands to lift the parliamentary immunity of the FN European delegates on 29 and 30 March, specified this source, confirming the information relayed by Europe 1. These demands have been issued from the Paris Bench to the Bench General**, which transfers it, according to the procedure, to the chancellery before being sent to the European Parliament.

The extreme-right candidate in the presidential election has retreated behind her parliamentary immunity in order to block the judges’ summons issued in February and in March. She promises to attend the judiciary hearing after the electoral period. Marie-Christine Boutonnet has not responded to the summons of the ‘financial’ judges at the beginning of March.

 

Vote in an open session

The demand to lift the immunity that the French justice? Has addressed to the European Parliament is ‘standard procedure’, Marine Le Pen said on Friday.

Examining this demand to lift their immunity could take several months as it needs to be the subject of a vote in open session of the European Parliament. A debate would therefore happen in session, on the issue of which each European Deputy would be called to place an individual vote.

“The European deputy will keep their seat, but they will lose their immunity,” it is explained on the website of the European Parliament, reporting that the revocation of immunity is not a punishment but that “it simply authorises a national authority to investigate and pursue an inquiry.

“The preliminary hearing judges do not expect they will be successful before the presidential election,” France Inter stated with assurance.

The preliminary hearing judges are not able to compel a European Deputy to stand before them like anyone else who is answerable to judiciary authority. For each coercive measure, they have to first achieve the lifting of the immunity granted by the European Parliament. This was the same issue in another case presided over by the preliminary hearing judges at Nanterre, where they reproached Mme Le Pen for having distributed over Twitter images of executions by the jihadist group Islamic State.

 

Two parliamentary assistants put under scrutiny

A preliminary hearing has been opened by the Paris bench, which follows a parliamentary inquiry underway since 2015. The presiding judges are trying to determine if the Front National has created a system to remunerate its executives and employees with public funds of the European Union through contracts for assistants to deputies.

Following a police search at the FN head office, in February 2017, investigators seized a document leading them to believe that the ‘fraudulent’ was thought to have been established since 2012, and known by Marine Le Pen.

The European Parliament, which plays a civilian part in this affair, had informed the French justice department about the 29 parliamentary assistants. The trigger was their presence in positions listed in the last information chart for France, which throws doubt on their effective employment at the assembly sitting at Strasbourg.

 

 

Credit Suisse Scoped for a Tax Investigation

31 Mar

translated from

http://www.lemonde.fr/entreprises/article/2017/03/31/credit-suisse-vise-par-une-enquete-fiscale_5103855_1656994.html

The tax authorities have returned to the second Helvetic bank at Paris, London and Amsterdam.

Credit Suisse announced, Friday 31 March in a statement, that its offices in Paris, London and Amsterdam had become the object of a tax investigation and had received ‘the visit’ from the tax authorities of the countries concerned.

The second Helvetic bank is clear that it is cooperating with the inquiry which is ongoing. According to the Swiss press, the affair started in the Netherlands, where the tax authorities have received documents showing the existence of hidden accounts for purposes of tax evasion, in the opinion of a Swiss bank.

According to the Zurich-based publication ‘Tages Anzeiger,’ the locals of Credit Suisse became the object of a ‘raid’ like paintings and gold ingots were seized in several countries.

LGC appoints Ryder to oversee high-rise in Newcastle’s new science hub – ‘Silicon Square’?

17 Mar

Legal and General Capital, which bought a £350million stake in Newcastle’s exciting new science and technology development hub in June 2016, has announced award-winning international firm Ryder Architecture to oversee the first of its grade A office buildings at Newcastle Science Central.

Newcastle Science Central is a site linked both geographically and academically with Newcastle University, which is situated on the 24-acre plot. Commercial space so far is restricted to the 30 businesses operating from the Core, which include among their number a nation-leading computer science institute. Businesses have been selected on the basis of their “positive impact economically, environmentally and socially.”

Also in the pipeline is Newcastle Laboratory, 76,000 sq ft of commercial lab space with supporting office accommodation for science-based companies, which is scheduled to open spring 2018. It will add to the ripe environment for invention fostered by Newcastle University centres such as the National Institute for Smart Data Innovation, and the National Innovation Centre for Ageing.

More vital office space will be provided through a development partnership between LGC, Newcastle City Council and Newcastle University, which aims to raise 100,000 sq ft of Grade A office space, then a second office adding another 100,000 sq ft to the site. A spokesperson envisioned it becoming the ‘gateway’ to the site, and the area enclosed by the three buildings will become a public square, providing a hub and meeting place for workers, residents and visitors to congregate.

Richard Wise, partner at Ryder, said: “Building A promises to deliver a high quality, timeless piece of architecture which will provide unique, much needed flexible office space on one of the most prominent gateway sites in Newcastle.  It will set the tone for the subsequent developments.  Ryder is delighted to have this opportunity to build upon the success enjoyed to date on Science Central.”

Ryder Architecture, alongside Aura, have together been appointed as the design team to deliver the Newcastle Laboratory on Newcastle Science Central. This state-of the art building will provide over 70,000 sq ft of specialist facilities for the flourishing life sciences and healthcare sector in the region, offering high quality, incubation and grow-on space to meet the needs of innovative businesses in this sector. Construction is due to start on site in Spring 2017 and the facility is due to open in Spring/Summer 2018.