У Генеральній прокуратурі України заперечили повідомлення про остаточне повернення резиденції «Межигір’я» у державну власність. Як заявив в ефірі «Громадського радіо» керівник Департаменту спецрозслідувань Генеральної прокуратури України Сергій Горбатюк, наразі тільки територія «Межигір’я» належить державі, а розташовані на ній будівлі досі належать компанії «Танталіт» і колишньому президентові Віктору Януковичу. Водночас, за його словами, всі ці будівлі перебувають під арештом у рамках кримінального провадження.

«Рішення стосовно цих будівель може бути ухвалене лише за результатами судового розгляду кримінального провадження стосовно колишнього президента, чи тих людей, які допомагали йому у заволодінні Межигір’ям», – сказав Горбатюк.

За його словами, Господарський суд повернув в державну власність земельні ділянки ще у 2015 році, а сьогодні «було ухвалене рішення за позовом прокуратури Києва про визнання незаконним продажу державної резиденції «Межигір’я».

Раніше міністр екології і природних ресурсів Остап Семерак заявив, що Вищий господарський суд ухвалив рішення про повернення резиденції «Межигір’я» у власність держави. Семерак додав, що Мінприроди ініціюватиме надання «Межигір’ю» статусу об’єкта природно-заповідного фонду.

За його словами, цей статус «відкриє територію «Межигір’я» для людей, дозволить забезпечити догляд за рідкісними тваринами й рослинами».

30 листопада Вищий госпсуд розглядав справу щодо визнання недійсним договору і свідоцтва права власності стосовно фірм, які пов’язують з екс-президентом Віктором Януковичем.

Як повідомляв генпрокурор Юрій Луценко, Київський апеляційний господарський суд 1 серпня визнав недійсним виведення з державної власності резиденції «Межигір’я», в якій кілька років жив колишній президент України Віктор Янукович.

Скасувати через суд передачу резиденції «Межигір’я» фірмам, близьким до екс-президента Віктора Януковича, пропонував міністр екології та природних ресурсів України Остап Семерак. Його відомство підготувало касаційну скаргу на рішення українських судів, які раніше визнавали привласнення Януковичем «Межигір’я» законним.

«Межигірʼя» раніше було резиденцією Віктора Януковича, однак після його втечі з країни в лютому 2014 року територія відкрита для відвідувачів. Нині в резиденції проходять екскурсії й громадські заходи, знімаються фільми. Будівлями та зоокуточком «Межигір’я» опікуються волонтери, які збирають на це кошти з відвідувачів.


Міністр оборони України Степан Полторак заявляє, що наступного року «в рази» буде збільшене фінансування напряму аеророзвідки.

Як повідомила прес-служба Міноборони, про це він сказав на зустрічі з керівником Центру підтримки аеророзвідки Марією Берлінською, волонтеркою Інною Шевчукі полковником Маратом Утюшевим. Зокрема, йдеться про закупівлю, утримання й обслуговування безпілотників, підготовку спеціалістів, створення відповідних підрозділів у бойових частинах Збройних силах України.

«Оборонне відомство готове упроваджувати досвід волонтерів, які з першого дня російської агресії допомагали військовослужбовцям безпілотною літальною технікою, та продовжують готувати спеціалістів у цій галузі. Міністерство оборони готове також долучитися до створення разом із волонтерами школи підготовки спеціалістів – аеророзвідників», – цитує Полторака сайт Міноборони.

У червні цього року у відповідь на офіційний запит проекту Радіо Свобода «Донбас.Реалії» в Міністерстві оборони України повідомили, зараз використовують десяток різних типів українських та іноземних безпілотних літальних апаратів, які закупили і отримали як партнерську допомогу, а також від волонтерських організацій.

В ​Україні існує Центр підтримки безпілотної авіації – на сто відсотків волонтерський проект. Там уже випустили понад 200 операторів БПЛА. Від 2016 року при Генштабі України створили окрему військову частину, яка спеціалізується на аеророзвідці. В її основі – волонтерський проект. Утім, як зазначають керівники центру, зараз він менш ніж на десять відсотків фінансується з бюджету. Решта грошей, як і раніше, – допомога звичайних українців.


Facebook Inc. said on Wednesday it was temporarily disabling the ability of advertisers on its social network to exclude racial groups from the intended audience of ads while it studies how the feature could be used to discriminate.

Facebook’s chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, told African-American U.S. lawmakers in a letter that the company was determined to do better after a news report said Facebook had failed to block discriminatory ads.

The U.S.-based news organization ProPublica reported last week that, as part of an investigation, it had purchased discriminatory housing ads on Facebook and slipped them past the company’s review process, despite claims by Facebook months earlier that it was able to detect and block such ads.

“Until we can better ensure that our tools will not be used inappropriately, we are disabling the option that permits advertisers to exclude multicultural affinity segments from the audience for their ads,” Sandberg wrote in the letter to the Congressional Black Caucus, according to a copy posted online by ProPublica.

It is unlawful under U.S. law to publish certain types of ads if they indicate a preference based on race, religion, sex or certain classifications.

Facebook, the world’s largest social network with 2.1 billion users and $36 billion in annual revenue, has been on the defensive for its advertising practices.

In September, it disclosed the existence of Russia-linked ads that ran during the 2016 U.S. election campaign. The same month it turned off a tool, also reported by ProPublica, that had inadvertently let advertisers target based on people’s self-reported jobs, even if the job was “Jew hater.”

Sandberg said in the letter that advertisers who use Facebook’s targeting options to include certain races for ads about housing, employment or credit will have to certify to Facebook that they are complying with Facebook’s anti-discrimination policy and with applicable law.

Sandberg defended race- and culture-based marketing in general, saying it was a common and legitimate practice in the ad industry to try to reach specific communities.

U.S. Representative Robin Kelly of Illinois, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, said Facebook’s action was appropriate.

“When I first raised this issue with Facebook, I was disappointed,” Kelly, a Democrat, said in a statement. “When it became necessary to raise the issue again, I was irritated. Thankfully, we’ve been able to establish a constructive pipeline of communication that’s resulted in a positive step forward.”


For individuals, storing information in the cloud means it can be available to them anywhere they have a connection to the internet. It can be cheap, and it can be useful, but because all that data is going back and forth, it’s not quite as secure as storing everything on your phone or home computer. But what if you could wear your information? That’s the idea behind some National Science Foundation-supported research into cloud clothing. VOA’s Kevin Enochs reports.


Broadcast reporters for Russian state-funded TV channel RT will no longer be able to report daily from the U.S. Capitol.

A committee that governs Capitol Hill access for broadcast journalists has withdrawn credentials for RT after the company complied earlier this month with a U.S. demand that it register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act. The law applies to people or companies disseminating information in the U.S. on behalf of foreign governments, political parties and other “foreign principals.”

The action also comes just days after Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed legislation allowing Russia to register international media outlets as foreign agents, an act seen as the Kremlin’s retaliation for the Trump administration decision on RT. The new rules require disclosures to the Russian government and are seen as stigmatizing the news outlets as promoters of American propaganda.

 

In Washington, C-SPAN’s Craig Caplan informed RT that its credentials were being withdrawn after a unanimous vote of the executive committee of the Congressional Radio and Television Correspondents’ Galleries.

Caplan, the chairman of that committee, wrote that gallery rules “state clearly that news credentials may not be issued to any applicant employed by ‘any foreign government or representative thereof.’ ” He said the FARA registration made the network ineligible to hold news credentials, and their withdrawal is effective immediately.

Many news outlets with ties to foreign governments are required to similarly register. English-language newspaper China Daily is registered due to its affiliation with the Chinese government, for example. But the pressure on RT has angered Russian officials, who have said they will retaliate with restrictions on U.S. news outlets.

The letter was sent to Mikhail Solodovnikov of RT’s U.S.-based production company, T & R Productions. RT did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

U.S. intelligence agencies have alleged RT served as a propaganda outlet for the Kremlin as part of a multi-pronged effort to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Russia denies interfering.

 


U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley warned Wednesday that North Korea’s latest intercontinental ballistic missile launch “brings the world closer to war, not further from it.”

“We have never sought war with North Korea and still today we do not seek it,” Haley told an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council. But she warned that if there is war, it will be because of continued acts of aggression like the missile launch.

“And if war comes, make no mistake, the North Korean regime will be utterly destroyed,” she added.

She also called on U.N. member states to cut ties with Pyongyang. “All countries should sever diplomatic relations with North Korea and limit military, scientific, technical or commercial cooperation,” she said.

Haley said President Donald Trump told his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, in a phone call earlier in the day that the time has come for Beijing to cut off all oil exports to North Korea.

“In 2003, China actually stopped the oil to North Korea; soon after, North Korea came to the [negotiating] table,” Haley said.

In September, the U.N. Security Council imposed tough economic sanctions aimed at cutting off financial and fuel lifelines to North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs. Among the measures was a one-third cut of North Korea’s oil imports, as well as drastic reductions to the amount of gas, diesel and heavy fuel oil it could import.

New U.S. sanctions expected

In a tweet earlier Wednesday, President Trump pledged to impose new unilateral sanctions against the rogue Asian nation.

“We want to do everything we can to put maximum pressure on North Korea,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in response to a question from VOA about whether the administration believes the new sanctions will be effective.

“We’re going to continue doing that in every way possible — both diplomatically, economically and working with our partners and allies and ask them to step up and do more in this process, as well,” she said.

Later Wednesday, while speaking about tax reform in the Midwestern state of Missouri, Trump took another dig at North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, calling him “Little Rocket Man” and describing him as a “sick puppy.”

U.S. lawmakers react

The ranking Democratic member on the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff, noting that North Korea will soon have the capability of delivering a nuclear weapon to American shores said “it’s well past time” for the administration to use whatever diplomatic strategy it has.

“And if they do not, they need to develop one fast, as the military options are nothing short of disastrous, said the lawmaker Wednesday.

That sentiment was echoed by the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.  

“Yesterday, the bluster continued as the president uttered his third ‘redline’ to address the North Korea nuclear challenge, but so far has failed to put in place the people or strategy that could do just that,” Congressman Eliot Engel said.

Rising threat

The missile launched early Wednesday morning north of Pyongyang reached an altitude of 4,500 kilometers – more than 10 times higher than the orbit of the International Space Station – before splashing into Japan’s exclusive economic zone east of the Korean peninsula about 1,000 kilometers from its launch site.

It was Pyongyang’s third ICMB test this year and its 20th ballistic missile launch of 2017.

The test represents a key accomplishment for Pyongyang’s missile program, and shows it can send rockets higher and further than ever before, according to U.S. officials and analysts.  

“It went higher frankly than any previous shot they have taken,” U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Tuesday. “It’s a research-and-development effort on their part to continue building ballistic missiles that can threaten everywhere in the world basically.”

Each missile launch or atomic weapons test by Pyongyang highlights the risks of a very dangerous nuclear flashpoint, said Robert Manning, a senior fellow on international security at the Atlantic Council.

“The North Korean nuclear problem is part of a larger Korea question, the last vestige of the Cold War,” Manning said. “It holds the potential to reshape geopolitics in East Asia toward either a more cooperative future or a confrontational one. The risks of nuclear war and proliferation, chaos in North Korea, and how the eventual reunification of the Korean Peninsula occurs are likely to have a transformative impact on U.S.-Chinese relations, U.S. alliances with the Republic of Korea and Japan, and the strategic equation in the region and beyond.”


The future of almost 800,000 undocumented young people in the United States is hanging in the balance in an end-of-year legislative pileup on Capitol Hill that could result in the shutdown of the federal government.

The government will run out of money December 8 unless Congress approves a new budget or budget extension. While the focus this week has been largely on the Senate’s approval of its tax cut bill, the budget bill could have greater short-term ramifications. The Republican-dominated Senate cannot pass it alone; Democratic votes will be needed.

But both houses of Congress will have to vote on a spending measure before it can go into effect.

And underlying all the discussions of spending priorities is finding a permanent solution for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which gave temporary protection from deportation, and permission to legally work, to undocumented young people brought to the U.S. as children.

Trump calls for legislation

President Donald Trump rescinded the Obama administration measure earlier this year, calling on Congress to pass legislation that would provide DACA recipients with a path to permanent status in the U.S. before the program phases out in March 2018.

Democrats initially pushed for stand-alone legislation to address the problem, but given the country’s contentious immigration debate, they have instead tried to tie DACA legislation to the spending bill.

Some Democrats have vowed to vote against any budget bill that does not include a DACA fix, threatening a government shutdown when the funding runs out.

But House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin has said the fix to the DACA program should “be considered on its own merits” and not as part of a larger spending bill.

Action stalled

Moves toward any bipartisan agreement stalled before a planned meeting Tuesday when Trump tweeted that he “didn’t see a deal” with Senate and House Democratic leaders Chuck Schumer of New York and Nancy Pelosi of California, respectively.

Trump tweeted a claim that a deal was being held up, in part, because Schumer and Pelosi “want illegal immigrants flooding into our Country unchecked.”

House Democratic Minority Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland responded to Trump’s tweet in a background briefing with reporters Tuesday morning, saying, “That is absolutely false. That has nothing to do with reality — he is pandering to his angry base. DACA kids are here. They’re not flooding across the border. They’re here.”

Hoyer reiterated a Democratic claim that if brought up for a floor vote, DACA legislation would pass by 300 votes.

Schumer and Pelosi responded by withdrawing from the meeting with Trump, asking to work instead with Senate and House Republican leaders Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Ryan, respectively. The White House meeting continued with all Republicans present and no Democrats.

On the face of it, the March 2018 deadline for the program gives lawmakers room to maneuver if Congress were to pass a short-term spending bill and kick DACA down the road. The budget could be extended to Christmas to give Democrats and Republicans more room to work on a compromise.

But some DACA recipients have already lost their status.

Renewal failures

The Department of Homeland Security said in October that about 22,000 DACA recipients had failed to renew their two-year permits before an October 5 deadline. That number may come down after a review of renewal applications that may have been lost in the mail.

And while support for DACA is bipartisan, it may not be enough. Both parties are reluctant to risk the political blowback that would occur if either side appears responsible for a government shutdown.


Міністерство закордонних справ України заявляє, що Київ рішуче засуджує запуск Північною Кореєю нової міжконтинентальної балістичної ракети Хвасон-15, здатною нести ядерний заряд.

«Дії Пхеньяна, спрямовані на розвиток більш потужних ракет, а також погрози застосувати ядерну зброю є серйозною загрозою не лише безпосереднім сусідам КНДР, але і глобальній стабільності й безпеці вже далеко поза межами Корейського півострова. Продовження Пхеньяном таких запусків є свідомим і систематичним порушенням міжнародного права та низки відповідних резолюцій РБ ООН щодо північнокорейської ракетної програми», – йдеться в заяві МЗС.

У відомстві закликали керівництво КНДР негайно припинити провокації.

Північна Корея заявила, що 28 листопада випробувала новий вид міжконтинентальної балістичної ракети, яка може досягти території США.

Після цього президент США Дональд Трамп пообіцяв посилити санкції проти Пхеньяна. Рада безпеки ООН відкрила позачергову сесію, щоб обговорити випробування.

 


Snapchat is separating what friends share and what media organizations publish in an attempt to appeal to a broader range of users.

The photo messaging app has not been gaining enough users, especially beyond its core of younger people. Parent company Snap Inc.’s stock is down sharply since its initial public offering earlier this year.

Users will now see two separate feeds — one from friends and one from publishers and non-friend accounts they follow. Before, Snapchat was mixing those posts, much the way Twitter, Facebook and other rivals continue to do. Snap hinted at changes three weeks ago, but didn’t provide details then.

CEO Evan Spiegel took a jab at rivals, writing that social media “fueled ‘fake news’” because of this content mixing.

 


Влада Туреччини видала Москві підозрюваних у шпигунстві громадян Росії Олександра Смирнова і Юрія Анісімова в обмін на звільнення лідерів кримськотатарського національного руху Ахтема Чийгоза й Ільмі Умерова, повідомляє турецька телекомпанія Haberturk.

Смирнова й Анісімова заарештували в квітні 2016 року. Їх звинуватили в участі в угрупованні, відповідальному за вбивство семи чеченців у період з 2000 по 2015 рік, повідомляє телекомпанія.

За даними Haberturk, підозрювані відкинули звинувачення на свою адресу, серед яких були «спроби отримати секретну державну інформацію для цілей політичного чи військового шпигунства» і «сприяння вбивству».

Турецькі і російські чиновники не коментували цю інформацію.

Російська влада 25 жовтня звільнила засуджених в анексованому Криму заступників голови Меджлісу кримськотатарського народу Ахтема Чийгоза та Ільмі Умерова і передали їх Туреччині. Після цього Умеров і Чийгоз приїхали до Києва.

Президент України Петро Порошенко 25 жовтня подякував президентові Туреччини Реджепу Тайїпу Ердогану за його зусилля у звільненні засуджених в Криму Чийгоза і Умерова.

З моменту звільнення Умерова та Чийгоза не було достеменно відомо, на яких умовах Росія відпустила їх.

Кримський адвокат Едем Семедляєв направляв запит до Адміністрації президента Росії, в якому просив роз’яснити, на підставі якого указу вивезли з Криму засудженого Умерова.


Телеканал «1+1» висловив обурення анулюванням прокатного посвідчення серіалу «Свати».

«З 2015 року в Україні існує так званий «чорний список» Міністерства культури. Наразі до нього входять 113 осіб, які вважаються такими, що представлять загрозу національній безпеці України. Наскільки ми зрозуміли, причиною попадання до нього Добронравова і заборони серіалу «Свати» стали висловлювання актора щодо Криму. Проте чому саме зараз постало питання заборонити популярний серіал українського виробництва, для нас залишається загадкою. Натомість інші серіали і фільми за участі Добронравова, які демонструвалися на українському ТВ, залишилися поза увагою органів влади», – йдеться в заяві, оприлюдненій на сайті телеканалу.

29 листопада голова Державного агентства України з питань кіно Пилип Іллєнко повідомив у Facebook, що Держкіно скасувало державну реєстрацію і визнало недійсними прокатні посвідчення на всі сезони серіалу «Свати».

Минулого тижня Служба безпеки України повідомила про заборону Федору Добронравову, який знімається в серіалі «Свати», на в’їзд в Україну терміном на три роки. У відомстві повідомили, що росіянин робив антиукраїнські публічні заяви, в яких, зокрема, підтримував анексію Криму Росією, він також неодноразово відвідував Крим з порушенням встановленого українським законом порядку.

28 листопада Міністерство культури України внесло Добронравова до переліку осіб, які загрожують національній безпеці держави.

Раніше заступник Державної агенції з питань кіно Сергій Неретін у коментарі Радіо Свобода пояснював, що Держкіно буде зобов’язане заборонити серіал «Свати» в тому випадку, якщо Міністерство культури включить Добронравова до переліку осіб, які загрожують нацбезпеці держави.

Серіал «Свати» виходить із 2008 року, знімає його студія «Квартал 95».


The U.S. Supreme Court signaled Wednesday it may be open to new limits on the government’s ability to track someone’s movements by accessing data on that person’s cellphone.

A case before the high court could result in a landmark decision in the ongoing debate over civil liberties protections in an era of rapid technological change.

At issue is whether law enforcement will be able to access cellphone data that can reveal a person’s whereabouts without having to first obtain a court-issued search warrant.

The case stems from the conviction of Timothy Carpenter for a series of robberies back in 2010 and 2011. Prosecutors were able to obtain cellphone records that indicated his location over a period of months, information that proved crucial to his conviction.

Get a warrant

On Wednesday, lawyers for the American Civil Liberties Union argued that law enforcement should be required to obtain a court-ordered search warrant before obtaining such information.

They also argued that allowing law enforcement to access the cellphone data without a warrant would violate the prohibition on unreasonable search and seizures contained in the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

“It is impossible to go about our daily lives without leaving a trail of digital breadcrumbs that reveal where we have been over time, what we have done, who we spent time with,” said ACLU attorney Nathan Freed Wessler, who spoke to reporters outside the Supreme Court following oral arguments. “It is time for the court, we think, to update Fourth Amendment doctrine to provide reasonable protections today.”

Some of the justices also raised concerns about privacy in the digital age.

“Most Americans, I think, still want to avoid Big Brother,” Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who often sides with the liberal wing of the court, said.

Chief Justice John Roberts, who often sides with conservatives on the court, said the central question was whether the cellphone information should be accessible to the government “without a warrant.”

Privacy versus security

Justice Department lawyers defended the process of obtaining the data without a court warrant, arguing that even though the technology has changed, the need to rapidly obtain such information for law enforcement has not. The government also argued that privacy rights are not at issue because law enforcement agencies can obtain information from telecommunications companies that record transactions with their customers.

Justices Samuel Alito and Anthony Kennedy indicated they were open to the government’s position in the case.

Legal experts say whichever way the court eventually rules could have an enormous impact on privacy rights in the digital age.

“I don’t think that this is a world that anybody anticipated a couple of decades ago,” Stanford University law professor David Alan Sklansky said via Skype. “These new data capabilities are rapidly increasing the things that government can do for good and for evil. And figuring out how we allow the government to make full use of these new capabilities, without endangering political liberties and endangering the privacy that is necessary for us to have the kind of flourishing democratic social life we want, is a huge ongoing challenge.”

Sklansky added that the United States “has historically been a leader in thinking about privacy rights, particularly with regard to privacy from the government.”

And he predicted that other countries will be closely following the high court case as they wrestle with similar conflicts. “This is a global problem. Countries around the world are trying to figure out how to deal with it. I think that people in all democratic countries should care about how the United States winds up resolving this question,” he said.

Past rulings

Twice in recent years the Supreme Court has ruled in major cases related to privacy and technology and both times ruled against law enforcement.

The court ruled in 2012 that a warrant is required to place a GPS tracking device on a vehicle. And in 2014, the high court ruled that a warrant is required to search a cellphone seized during an arrest.

A decision in the current case, known as Carpenter v. U.S., is expected sometime before the end of June.


Bitcoin blasted past $11,000 to hit a record high for the sixth day in a row on Wednesday after gaining more than $1,000 in just 12 hours, stoking concerns that a rapidly swelling bubble could be set to burst in spectacular

fashion.

Here are some facts that you might not know about the largest and best-known cryptocurrency.

HOW MANY ARE THERE?

Bitcoin’s supply is limited to 21 million — a number that is expected to be reached around the year 2140. So far, around 16.7 million bitcoins have been released into the system, with 12.5 new ones released roughly every 10 minutes via a process called “mining,” in which a global network of computers competes to solve complex algorithms in reward for the new bitcoins.

ENERGY DRAIN

These mining computers require a vast amount of energy to run. A recent estimate by tech news site Motherboard put the energy cost of a single bitcoin transaction at 215 kilowatt-hours, assuming that there are around 300,000 bitcoin transactions per day. That’s almost enough energy as the average American household consumes in a whole week.

BITS OF BITCOIN

Bitcoin’s smallest unit is a Satoshi, named after the elusive creator of the cryptocurrency, Satoshi Nakamoto. One Satoshi is one hundred-millionth of a bitcoin, making it worth around $0.0001 at current exchange rates.

BITCOIN BILLIONAIRES

Bitcoin has performed better than every central-bank-issued currency in every year since 2011 except for 2014, when it performed worse than any traditional currency. So far in 2017, it is up around 1000 percent. If you had bought $1,000 of bitcoin at the start of 2013 and had never sold any of it, you

would now be sitting on $80 million. Many people consider bitcoin to be more of a speculative instrument than a currency, because of its volatility, increasingly high transaction fees, and the fact that relatively few merchants accept it.

EXCHANGE HEISTS

More than 980,000 bitcoins have been stolen from exchanges, either by hackers or insiders. That’s a total of more than $10 billion at current exchange rates. Few have been recovered.

MYSTERY CREATOR

Despite many attempts to find the creator of bitcoin, and a number of claims, we still do not know who Satoshi Nakamoto is, or was. Australian computer scientist and entrepreneur Craig Wright convinced some prominent members of the bitcoin community that he was Nakamoto in May 2016, but he then refused to provide the evidence that most of the community said was necessary. It is not clear whether Satoshi Nakamoto, assumed to be a pseudonym, was a name used by a group of developers or by one individual. Nor is it clear that Nakamoto is still alive — the late computer scientist Hal Finney’s name is sometimes put forward. Developer Nick Szabo has denied claims that he is Nakamoto, as has tech entrepreneur Elon Musk more recently.

INFLATED CHINESE TRADING

Until earlier this year, it was thought that Chinese exchanges accounted for around 90 percent of trading volume. But it has become clear that some exchanges inflated their volumes through so-called wash trades, repeatedly trading nominal amounts of bitcoin back and forth between accounts. Since the Chinese authorities imposed transaction fees, Chinese trading volumes have fallen sharply, and now represent less than 20 percent, according to data from website Bitcoinity.

“MARKET CAP”

The total value of all bitcoins released into the system so far has now reached as high as $190 billion. That makes its total value — sometimes dubbed its “market cap” — greater than that of Disney, and bigger than the market cap of BlackRock and Goldman Sachs combined.

CRYPTO-RIVALS

Bitcoin is far from the only cryptocurrency. There are now well over 1,000 rivals, according to trade website Coinmarketcap. 

“SHORTING”

It is already possible to short bitcoin on a number of retail platforms and exchanges, via contracts for difference (CFDs), leveraged-up margin trading or by borrowing bitcoin from exchanges without leverage. But a number of big financial institutions — including CME Group, CBOE and Nasdaq — have

recently announced that they will offer bitcoin futures, which will open up the possibility of shorting the cryptocurrency to the mainstream professional investment universe.

Reporting by Jemima Kelly.


The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, Ajit Pai, accused social media company Twitter of being politically biased  Tuesday as he defended his plan to roll back rules intended to ensure a free and open internet.

Pai, a Republican named by President Donald Trump to head up the FCC, unveiled plans last week to scrap the 2015 landmark net neutrality rules, moving to give broadband service providers sweeping power over what content consumers can access.

“When it comes to an open internet, Twitter is part of the problem,” Pai said. “The company has a viewpoint and uses that viewpoint to discriminate.”

He pointed to Twitter’s refusal to let Representative Marsha Blackburn, a Tennessee Republican, advertise a campaign video with an anti-abortion message.

“To say the least, the company appears to have a double standard when it comes to suspending or de-verifying conservative users’ accounts as opposed to those of liberal users,” Pai said.

A spokesperson for Twitter said that at no time was Blackburn’s video censored and that her followers would have been able to still see it.

“Because advertisements are served to users who do not necessarily follow an account, we therefore have higher standards for their content,” the Twitter spokesperson said.

Twitter in October declined a campaign video advertisement by Blackburn, who announced she was running for the U.S. Senate, saying that a remark by Blackburn about opposing abortion was inflammatory. Twitter later reversed its decision.

Internet-based firms’ letter

Pai’s criticism came a day after Twitter and a number of other internet-based companies — including AirBnb, Reddit, Shutterstock, Tumblr and Etsy — sent a letter urging the FCC to maintain the net neutrality rules.

Trump is a prolific user of Twitter, often posting his thoughts on the news of the day. He used Twitter throughout his presidential campaign to circumvent traditional media and talk directly to voters.

Pai has also been a frequent user of the website — acknowledging during the speech, “I love Twitter” — to push his case in favor of the rule changes. On Tuesday afternoon, he even posted a link to his remarks critical of Twitter on his own Twitter account.

Following Pai’s remarks on Tuesday, at an event organized by the libertarian-leaning R Street Institute, two other FCC commissioners said they would support his proposal when they vote on December 14.

Big internet service providers such as AT&T, Comcast and Verizon Communications have favored a repeal of net neutrality. On the other side, websites such as Facebook and Alphabet’s Google have favored the rules.

The rules prohibit broadband providers from giving or selling access to speedy internet, essentially a “fast lane,” to certain internet services over others.

“So when you get past the wild accusations, fearmongering and hysteria, here’s the boring bottom line,” Pai said. “The plan to restore internet freedom would return us to the light touch, market-based approach under which the internet thrived.”


Researchers from Northwestern University and Argonne National Laboratory near Chicago are using advanced technology to unwrap the mysteries of an 1,800-year-old mummy.

 

They say the high-energy X-ray beams from a synchrotron will provide molecular information about what is inside the mummy of the little girl. Argonne says it’s the first time the beams have been used in this way.

 

Researchers say the technology allows them to study what’s inside the mummy while leaving the 5-year-old girl’s remains and wrappings intact.

 

Scientists examined the rare find on Monday in the hopes of learning more about how the girl died. And they say studying the wrapping materials may shed new light on ancient Egyptian culture.

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A U.S. District Court judge in Washington ruled Tuesday in favor of President Donald Trump in his bid to install White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney as acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

Judge Timothy Kelly declined to stop, on an emergency basis, the president from making Mulvaney the acting director of the CFPB.

 

In doing so, Kelly ruled against Leandra English, the CFPB’s deputy director. English had requested an emergency restraining order to stop Mulvaney from becoming acting director, claiming the position was rightfully hers.

Mulvaney is a former small-business owner and congressman who once called the agency a “sick, sad” joke that should be abolished.

“This agency will stay open. Rumors that I’m going to set the place on fire or blow it up or lock the doors are completely false,” he told reporters on Monday. “I am a member of the executive branch of government. We intend to execute the laws of the United States.”

The battle over the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau boiled over last week.

Former Director Richard Cordray, criticized by conservative Republicans and business interests in Washington, abruptly resigned and named English, his chief of staff, as deputy director, meaning she would be his successor.

Trump countered by appointing Mulvaney, who opposes government regulations on business as much as Cordray believes they are essential.

2011 law cited

English had argued that the law that created the agency in 2011 clearly spelled out that she should be acting director. Her lawsuit against Mulvaney asked the court to deny the Trump administration’s claim that another law gave the president the power to name an acting director.

The White House and bureau lawyers, in turn, said there were precedents showing that Trump was authorized to fill temporary vacancies in federal agencies even when another law of succession might be on the books.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was founded after the global financial crisis of 2008. Its job is to protect consumers against predatory lending and and other questionable practices by banks, credit card companies, lenders and debt collectors.

Republicans, including Mulvaney, have said the agency has too much power and loads down banks with too much bureaucracy.