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Bitcoin under THREAT as XRP Ripple set to SOAR

Bitcoin is quickly being caught up by rival cryptocurrencies which offer more features but money manager Brian Kelly has revealed why Ripple, the second largest digital currency, is controversial. Speaking to CNBC, he said: “Ripple’s somewhat controversial here in the decentralised world because Ripple is a centralised currency. “It was premined 100 percent by the Ripple company. “Now what they’ve done to alleviate a lot of those fears is they’ve locked up a lot of the Ripple that they own.” XRP is the cryptocurrency that powers Ripple’s blockchain technology to send money across the world in real time settlements. Ripple has attracted tens of millions of dollars worth of investment leading to it being dubbed the bitcoin that banks like. Mr Kelly said that Ripple has calmed some of the concerns by slowly making the cryptocurrency available in the future. He said: “They’re going to slowly mete it out over the next several years, this has alleviated some of the concern. “That being said, purist denaturalised coin people don’t necessarily like what Ripple has done. “I happen to like that they have several banks using it, and they have a company that is out there trying to make the value of the currency go high.” Ripple also does not hold the level of anonymity that bitcoin does, which makes the currency more favourable to banks. Banks are taking notice of Ripple, with over 100 banks around the world using the blockchain, according to the company’s CEO Brad Garlinghouse. He told CNBC: “We have over 100 banks working with Ripple today around the world. “I think the vast majority of banks, like 99.9 percent of banks actually are paying other banks, the global money sender banks like JP Morgan or Citibank to make those settlements. “A lot of the banks are very excited about democratising how these global payments flow.” The XRP token that powers Ripple climbed to $3 on Wednesday for the first time ever. According to CoinDesk, the cryptocurrency had fallen 24.99 percent to $2.54, at 10:19 am, in London. Source: https://www.express.co.uk/finance/city/901684/Bitcoin-price-Ripple-ethereum-cryptocurrency-CNBC-Brian-Kelly

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Harvey Weinstein’s Wife’s Fashion Label Marchesa Is in Big Trouble

It was once the go-to fashion house for every aspiring actress on the red carpet. However the 2018 Golden Globes may have sounded the death knell for Georgina Chapman’s fashion label Marchesa, after not a single actress wore a stitch of the brand founded by Harvey Weinstein’s estranged wife to this year’s ceremony. In the course of several months of damaging revelations it has emerged that not only did Weinstein finance his wife’s brand he also pressured actresses to wear the clothes on the red carpet. And apart from one statement in which she confirmed she was leaving her husband, and expressed sympathy for his victims, Chapman has said nothing publicly about the scandal. This silence may, of course, be based on strict legal advice and a noble desire to protect her two children with Weinstein, but her incredibly low profile has done nothing to put clear blue water between her brand and her husband’s behavior. Indeed, it has increasingly appeared from many accounts that Marchesa was just one more vector used by Weinstein to assert control over the careers (and bodies) of women. It’s hard to believe that Chapman had no idea her husband had anything to do with the stars such as Sandra Bullock, Anne Hathaway, Jennifer Lopez and Renee Zellweger who showed up at her studio for fittings to wear her dresses on the red carpet. “He was the mastermind behind Marchesa—orchestrating deals and using his influence in terms of the celebrity connections for her on behalf of the brand,” an L.A. fashion publicist told the Hollywood Reporter of Weinstein. “They both benefited from the relationship, but she certainly knew about his bad behavior.” The Hollywood Reporter claimed Weinstein pressured Felicity Huffman to wear his wife’s label when publicizing her 2005 movie, Transamerica. Huffman later confirmed that Weinstein threatened to pull financial support for the film if she didn’t wear the brand to the 2005 ceremony. She showed up in a flowing white Marchesa gown that year. The Daily Mail reported that Sienna Miller was similarly pressured to wear Marchesa in 2007, the year she made another Weinstein movie, Factory Girl. Weinstein himself admitted to “maybe” helping Renee Zellweger pick a Marchesa dress for the premiere of Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason. The future of Chapman’s once red carpet-friendly label, named after the Marchesa Luisa Casati, an eccentric 20th-century Italian heiress, and famed for its focus on intricate featherwork and fantastical detailing, now seems bleak. Rose McGowan, the actress whose allegation that she was raped by Weinstein triggered the tidal wave of claims against him, has suggested that actresses “who happily worked for The Pig Monster” should wear the brand. Although Chapman has made only one public statement since the scandal broke, it was reported in December that Marchesa will return to New York Fashion Week in February to present its fall collection. [contfnewc] [contfnewc]

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PSC and Other UK Human Rights Organisations Banned From Israel

According to a list released by Israel’s Strategic Affairs Ministry on Sunday, high profile members and officers of 20 global human rights organisations will be banned from entering Israel or Palestine. The list includes three UK organisations – the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), Friends of Al Aqsa and War on Want. In March 2017, Hugh Lanning, Chair of PSC, became the first high profile human rights campaigner to be denied access to Israel under the so called anti-boycott law passed in 2016. Since then Israel has also, under this and other laws, denied entry to representatives of Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and Jewish Voice for Peace. Israeli civil society organisations and human rights activists have also been subject to restrictions on their rights to campaign, freedom of movement and speech. The release by Israel of a list of banned organisations is not a surprise, given the erosion of democratic norms by the Israeli government in recent years. Alongside this law, Israel has passed a series of measures though the Knesset that seek to limit the freedoms of groups inside and outside Israel to campaign on behalf of the rights of Palestinians. Hugh Lanning, PSC Chair, said: “This latest announcement should be a wakeup call for the UK government and all those who continue to describe Israel as a normal liberal democracy. Liberal democracies do not prevent entry to individuals whose only offence is to draw attention to human rights abuses and to call for non-violent action to address them. Only states that wish to protect their ability to act unjustly behave in this way. Boris Johnson must take robust action to protect the rights of UK citizens to protest peacefully and to cross borders without illegitimate restriction. He should make clear that the UK Government will not cooperate with these measures. Neither the PSC nor any of its members will be intimidated by such measures; they are a mark of Israel’s increasing desperation in the face of the growth in global support for the tactic of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions. BDS is a non-violent means of holding Israel to account for its violations of international law and its denial of the rights of the Palestinian people.” Ben Jamal, PSC Director, said: “Through this measure, Israel not only seeks to prevent peaceful human rights activists from entering Israel, but also from entering Palestine. This includes members of PSC and other organisations who, like myself, are of Palestinian origin and who have family and friends in Palestine. In April 2017, PSC’s Vice Chair, senior academic Kamel Hawwash, was separated from his family at the airport, whilst visiting family in Jerusalem. Israel is also seeking to prevent contact between Palestinian civil society, unions and other organisations, and their UK counterparts as part of an attempt to isolate Palestinians from the outside world and to prevent the outside world from bearing witness to Israel’s violation of Palestinian rights. All of those across the globe who care about human rights and civil liberties will regard such actions as an affront to democratic values. This ban will only serve to reinforce our determination to continue campaigning alongside all of those in Israel, Palestine and across the globe working to achieve freedom, justice and equality for all in the Middle East. All those in the UK who share these aims should take this opportunity to demonstrate their solidarity by joining PSC as members.”

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