7 Scenarios for How the Mueller Probe Might End | WIRED


The breaking news hit a snowy Washington on Wednesday: Newly installed attorney general William Barr appears to be preparing to announce the end of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.

But what would “Mueller wrapping up” actually mean?

And does the rapid movement, soon after Barr was installed at the Justice Department, indicate that he shut down the Mueller probe prematurely?

A recent New York Times article documenting Trump’s two-year-long campaign to obstruct and muddy the investigation exacerbated those fears, as did an ominous tweet by conservative commentator—and White House spouse—Matt Schlapp pronouncing that “Mueller will be gone soon.”

The tea leaves around Mueller in recent weeks seem especially hard to read—and they’re conflicting at best.

Source: 7 Scenarios for How the Mueller Probe Might End | WIRED

So far at pope’s anti-abuse summit, survivors are stealing the show


Since the beginning of the abuse crisis, bishops and other Church officials seeking to turn things around have often touted their listening sessions with victims, and even popes, beginning with Benedict XVI during his 2008 trip to the United States, have gotten into the act. Critics have charged that those victims were often selected precisely because they were tame, unlikely to push back or do much publicly other than expressing gratitude.

On Wednesday, however, a dozen of the world’s most outspoken survivors of clerical abuse and advocates sat down with the summit organizers. Typically, they didn’t all come out saying the same thing … which, in a way, was probably the point.

Some of those survivors came away ticked off that Francis himself didn’t show up, even though his presence was never part of the plan.

Source: So far at pope’s anti-abuse summit, survivors are stealing the show

Smartphones, teens, and depression: Should we panic? Not yet. | Vox


Teens in the United States are coming of age at a time when digital technology is truly ubiquitous, where smartphones are all of our “constant companions.”

These youth are also, according to national surveys, increasingly in crisis.

Here are some of the most troubling statistics.

Between 2009 and 2017, the number of high schoolers who contemplated suicide increased 25 percent.

The number of teens diagnosed with clinical depression grew 37 percent between 2005 and 2014.

It could be that more teens are willing to admit they’re struggling and are seeking help. But deaths by suicide among teens have increased as well.

Source: Smartphones, teens, and depression: Should we panic? Not yet. – Vox

CNN’s decision to hire Sarah Isgur and its backlash, explained | Vox


Top editors at CNN say they are “thrilled” that Sarah Isgur, a former Trump administration spokesperson and longtime Republican operative with no journalism experience, will join their staff ahead of the 2020 presidential campaign season as a political editor, despite a ferocious public backlash to the announcement on Tuesday.

Hours after news of Isgur’s hiring broke, CNN sent Vox an email trying to downplay the extent to which she’ll shape the network’s political coverage.

Source: CNN’s decision to hire Sarah Isgur and its backlash, explained – Vox

Eastern Europe’s problem isn’t Russia | POLITICO


There’s an enemy stalking the post-Soviet states of Eastern Europe — undermining governments, attacking the economy and sowing instability.

Russia? No. The greatest threat to countries like Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine lies in their own poor governance and abuse of informal power.

And while these weaknesses make them more vulnerable to their powerful eastern neighbor, the blame for their consequences ultimately lies at home.

Source: Eastern Europe’s problem isn’t Russia – POLITICO

‘Digital gangsters’: UK parliament slams Facebook on data protection, disinformation | EURACTIV.com


A UK Parliamentary report has singled out Facebook for failing to effectively protect user data and stem the spread of disinformation across its platform, saying that the tech giant “is unwilling to be accountable to regulators around the world.”

The inquiry, the last in a succession of reports from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), examined Facebook’s use of user data, as well as the series of events that led to the Cambridge Analytica scandal, in which the personal data of 87 million users were acquired unjustly.

Source: ‘Digital gangsters’: UK parliament slams Facebook on data protection, disinformation – EURACTIV.com

Regulating against radicalization | EURACTIV.com

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In a period tarnished by terrorist attacks across the continent, the EU is seeking to clamp down on the dissemination of terrorist content online, which is often seen as an effective method of radicalization.

The regulation on preventing the dissemination of terrorist content online was presented by the Commission towards the end of 2018, as a means to oblige hosting services to detect, identify and remove terrorist content, without encroaching on fundamental rights, such as freedom of expression and information.

The legislation is seen as a legacy-maker for the outgoing Security Chief Sir Julian King, and there are many who would like to see talks tied up in Parliament as soon as possible, following the Council’s adoption of their negotiating position in December.

However, a number of challenges lie ahead.

Source: Regulating against radicalisation – EURACTIV.com

What comes after the last chance Commission? | EURACTIV.com


In 2014, the EU was still suffering through the euro crisis.

Unemployment had hit unprecedentedly high levels; intergovernmental emergency measures burdened the Union’s democratic quality; the trust in European institutions of a politics-fatigued electorate had hit an all-time low.

Then came Juncker. Building on his ‘election’ as a Spitzenkandidat, he sought to give the Commission democratic legitimacy through becoming more ‘political’ and leveraging this new bond with the Parliament into bolder agenda-setting vis-à-vis the European Council.

He restructured the internal set-up to enable what he called the “last chance Commission” to turn the corner, by channeling its attention towards ‘big-ticket’ items and easing off on hyper-regulation

Five years on, the EU still seems to be stumbling from one summit to the next, even if migration and rule of law have supplanted economic issues at the top of the agenda.

Source: What comes after the last chance Commission? – EURACTIV.com

The Brief – The Independent Eleven | EURACTIV.com


Leaving the party that got you elected is very rare in Britain. So, too, is the emergence of a new party. That makes the joining of eight ex-Labour MPs with three ex-Conservatives in the Independent Group the most significant since the launch of the Social Democrat Party in 1981.

The timing of the defections is a perfect distraction for Theresa May’s latest mercy mission to Brussels, though they probably won’t make her task of getting a Brexit deal through Parliament any easier, and will make a general election slightly more likely.

More important is whether they are the start of a radical re-alignment of British politics.

Source: The Brief – The Independent Eleven – EURACTIV.com

Fitch warns of British debt downgrade on ‘hard’ Brexit risk | EURACTIV.com


The country’s departure from the European Union without a divorce agreement would create a risk of “substantial disruption to UK economic and trade prospects, at least in the near term,” Fitch said.

Fitch put Britain’s long-term debt on credit watch “negative” for a possible downgrade from the current “AA” rating.

Source: Fitch warns of British debt downgrade on ‘hard’ Brexit risk – EURACTIV.com