The Puerto Rico Fiscal Oversight Board is on a tight deadline to draft a recovery plan that will put the island back on its financial feet, avoid further defaults, and pave the way for a sustainable economic future. The Board is currently slated to unveil its Fiscal and Economic Growth Plan (FEGP) in time to meet a self-imposed deadline of January 31, curiously proximate to the expiration of PROMESA unilateral stay on creditor litigation that expires on February 15 unless extended by the Board. For his part, newly elected Governor Ricky Rossello has formally asked the board for an extension on this deadline.
In a statement on Monday, prosecutors investigating the scandal said they asked a Seoul court to issue an arrest warrant for Lee, the son of the Samsung group chairman Lee Kun-hee.
Al Jazeera’s Harry Fawcett, reporting from Seoul, said charges against Lee include bribery, embezzlement and perjury.
“The spokesman [of the prosecution] said the economic impact of all this is important, but justice is more important,” our correspondent reported.
“That is a sign that there is a recognition of just how big an entity Samsung is, its revenues worth about a fifth of South Korea’s GDP. So obviously they weigh this very carefully before deciding to move ahead and seek the arrest of such a vital part of South Korea’s economy.”
The South Korean news agency Yonhap reported that a court will hold a hearing on Wednesday to review the arrest warrant.
… As a Republican, Thiel would face an uphill battle, despite a net worth of $2.7 billion that would allow him to outspend opponents. Just 30% of voters cast their ballots for Trump during the general election; the state has historically tilted toward Democrats.
He’s also among a growing number of Californians in favor of a CalExit—California seceding from the union to form its own country, a move supported by Uber and Hyperloop co-founder Shervin Pishevar. “I think it would be good for California, good for the rest of the country,” Thiel said in a recent New York Times interview, adding that “it would help Mr. Trump’s re-election campaign” in 2020. California voters were principally responsible for Hillary Clinton’s win of the national popular vote in the recent presidential election. …
A new study by University of Arizona biologists helps explain why different groups of animals differ dramatically in their number of species, and how this is related to differences in their body forms and ways of life.
For millennia, humans have marveled at the seemingly boundless variety and diversity of animals inhabiting the Earth. So far, biologists have described and catalogued about 1.5 million animal species, a number that many think might be eclipsed by the number of species still awaiting discovery.
Hundreds of protesters demanding jobs clashed with police in several Tunisian towns on Saturday, blocking the route of visiting President Beji Caid Essebsi in one region, on the sixth anniversary of the country’s revolution.
Local residents said protests that erupted in the southern town of Ben Guerdane had spread over the weekend to several other areas such as Sidi Bouzid, Meknassi and Gafsa, where Essebsi visited to mark the 2011 uprising that ousted autocrat Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.
Six years after that revolt, Tunisia is hailed as a model of democratic transition, but rural central and southern regions remain flashpoints for rioting in marginalised towns where many young Tunisians see little economic opportunity or progress.
… Putting a twist on “We are the people”, a chant popular with anti-Islamisation movement PEGIDA, Merkel said “All of us, we are all the people”.
Merkel said freedom of speech and religion, freedom of the press and freedom of travel are “not gifts that you don’t have to work for”.
“Sometimes you have to make it clear that you are in favour of freedom” she added, warning, “I am convinced that we are again living in such a time”.
Looking ahead to the general election due to be held in Germany later this year, Merkel said the notion of “prosperity for all” will be central to her campaign. …
Rex Tillerson, president-elect Donald Trump’s pick for secretary of state, told senators at his confirmation hearing on Wednesday that he would keep Chinese ships from accessing artificial islands it has been building in the South China Sea.
“We’re going to send China a clear signal that, first, the island-building stops, and second, your access to those islands is also not going to be allowed,” said Mr. Tillerson.
The construction of military installations on newly created islands, in waters claimed by other Asian countries, was “akin to Russia’s taking of Crimea,” he said.
“They’re taking territory or declaring control of territories that are not rightfully China’s.”
Democrats are going after Donald Trump’s Secretary of Education pick, Betsy DeVos, over some minor donations she made to a non-partisan civil liberties group back in 2012 and 2013.
Politico reports that some Democratic lobbyists and lawmakers are concerned with DeVos’ donations to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) because of the group’s legal representation of students who have been denied due-process rights when accused of sexual assault.
“Do [they] truly not see the problem with making it easier to discipline ‘accused,’ rather than ‘guilty,’ people?” Tweet This
Lisa Maatz, a top policy adviser at the American Association of University Women, told Politico that she sees the donations as “a red flag,” possibly viewing a DeVos nomination as a threat to her organization, which advocates for the enforcement of Title IX.
Following Donald Trump’s election, the graduate and undergraduate student governments at SIU-Carbondale issued a resolution demanding that the school shelter illegal immigrant students, as well as their families, from deportation efforts.
After reviewing the matter with other administrators, SIU System President Randy Dunn rejected the proposal, saying the designation is not clearly defined and would jeopardize SIU’s federal financial aid dollars.
Gaze at the end of a river, where saltwater and freshwater meet. It may not look like anything, but new research suggests this could be a massive source of electricity. …
… Recently, a team of researchers from Switzerland and the United States built a new kind of osmotic power generator that vastly outperforms any that came before. In their version, one side of the tank contains a higher concentration of seawater ions than the other side of the tank.
Dutch media are buzzing today with the latest Russian hacking news. Apparently, Vladimir Putin’s digital foot soldiers tried to hack the report of the Dutch investigation into the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17, which was shot down above Ukraine in 2014. The attempt to hack the report was made on September 29, 2015, only two weeks before it was made public.
The strategy used by the Russian hackers was similar to how they hacked the DNC, thereby exposing the internal emails of high-ranking Democrat officials and causing a major headache for the Democratic Party and, especially, for Hillary Clinton’s flailing campaign.
One of the investigators received an email telling him that he had to login again to the secured website because something had gone wrong. If he had clicked on the link provided in the email, the Russians would’ve been able to read the report because it was published.
Blockchain technology is quickly expanding beyond bitcoin. While many proponents of bitcoin see the blockchain as no more than competition for existing payment methods or gold, I believe blockchain technology is the harbinger of things the world has never before seen.