March 22, 2018

From cocaine to crypto: Drug lord Pablo Escobar’s brother launches bitcoin spinoff

Creator of Russia’s biggest financial pyramid linked to 50 suicides joins the crypto-craze

The cryptocurrency, named diet bitcoin, is one of the numerous bitcoin spin-offs, and, like other spin-offs, claims to be better than the original.

“The value will be very high as we are identical in numbers to bitcoin, except we are 4,000 times cheaper right now,” Roberto Escobar’s cryptocurrency website claims. The coin is now worth $2, and is mineable like bitcoin.

Escobar, who claims he made billions in his lifetime, says investing in diet bitcoin is a good opportunity to raise some cash.

“I made over $100 billion in profit throughout my career,” adding, “Buy as many dietbitcoins as you can afford, the value will be very high soon,” Escobar told

Pablo Escobar’s brother was the accountant of the Medellin cartel, and spent more than 11 years in a maximum-security prison in Colombia. Roberto claims he was involved only in managing the money.

“I managed the telephones, the books. I never got involved in terrorism, or killings, and I criticized [Pablo] many times for that,” he told the Irish Times in 2009.

After being released, Roberto founded Escobar Inc and registered successor-in-interest rights to his brother who lives in the US.

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Origins of gold discovered in space

According to scientists, the burst of gravitational waves with tiny ripples in the fabric of space was an ultra-powerful collision between two neutron stars. Those collisions are in fact the cosmic forge in which gold and other precious metals are made, before being flung out into the universe. 

Planetary collisions brought metals to Earth

“It was so exciting, the way we got the alert and found the light source corresponding to the gravitational waves,” Kate Maguire of Queen’s University Belfast told the Financial Times. She was one of more than 3,000 researchers around the world who took part in the project.

Maguire said they discovered that the debris from the stellar collision included gold during analysis of the different wavelengths of the explosion’s spectrum. The explosive collision between the neutron stars propelled glowing debris into space at 300 million kph – around one-third of the speed of light.

Researchers claim that, although the extreme velocity smears out the heavy metals, making it hard to identify individual elements, gold is undoubtedly there. “We estimate that the collision created about as much gold as the mass of the earth,” said Professor Andrew Levan of Warwick University, another leading member of the large band of astronomers analyzing the event.

This means that an Earth made of pure gold which is about six billion trillion (6,000,000,000,000,000,000,000) tons could have been fashioned from the debris of that one collision.

To compare, statistics show the total amount of gold extracted and used by humanity since the beginning of civilization is about 187,000 tons.

Bronze Age iron weapons ‘came from outer space’, claims new study

According to the US Geological Survey, the current global output from gold mines is believed to be around 3,100 tons per year. 

Neutron star collisions occur only about once every 10,000 years in the Milky Way galaxy. Scientists, however, say that their conditions are so favorable to r-process nucleosynthesis (it creates elements like gold and platinum) that they are likely to be the main source of gold and other heavy elements. 

“We can make enough gold in neutron star collisions to do away with supernovae as a source,” said Professor Levan. “We should find out for sure within the next two years. There are still big uncertainties.”

The initial neutron collision propels gold and other atoms into space at about 300 million kph as a glowing gas cloud, leaving a black hole behind at the site of the explosion.

“Over tens of thousands of years the cloud dissolves gradually into the interstellar medium, which will eventually create the next generation of stars,” said another member of the project, Professor Smartt from Queen’s University Belfast.

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China ready for trade war with ‘repeat abuser’ of international norms US

US media reports have claimed the White House was preparing punitive measures, including tariffs on Chinese technology and telecoms commodity imports valued at $60 billion, to be a announced on Friday.

That was despite the much-vaunted rapport between US President Donald Trump and China’s Xi Jinping, following the former’s state visit to Beijing last year. A fortnight ago, Trump announced tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, hitting the EU, Japan and South Korea, as well as China.  

Trump eyeing punitive tariffs on $60bn of Chinese imports, tech – report

“The Chinese side never wants to fight a trade war with anybody, but if we are forced to, we will not hide from it,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying warned on Wednesday. Beijing will “definitely take firm and necessary countermeasures to defend its legal rights,” she said, as quoted by China’s Global Times.

Meanwhile, the Commerce Ministry said in a statement that Vice-Minister Wang Shouwen had slammed Trump’s new wave of protectionism at an informal meeting of ministers from 50 World Trade Organization (WTO) member-states in India earlier this week.

“Trade restriction measures will not only hurt the global trade order but also cause serious damage to the multilateral trade system,” Wang said, urging all countries to “support the global multilateral trade system and defend the authority and effectiveness of WTO rules.”

The Commerce ministry welcomed Wednesday’s WTO ruling against Obama-era anti-subsidy tariffs on Chinese goods. The decision “proves that the US side has violated WTO rules, repeatedly abused trade remedy measures, which has seriously damaged the fair and just nature of the international trade environment and weakened the stability of the multilateral trading system,” the statement said.

In the Argentine capital Buenos Aires this week, outgoing People’s Bank of China governor  Zhou Xiaochuan stressed China’s “continued support for multilateralism” at a summit of G20 finance ministers and central bank governors.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang told a Tuesday press conference that the two economic powers should talk through their differences rather than impose trade restrictions. “In trade, disputes are always resolved through consultation, negotiation and dialogue. I hope both sides will act rationally rather than emotionally to avoid a trade war,” he said.

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Facebook’s Zuckerberg Vows to Bolster Privacy Amid Data Crisis

Mr. Zuckerberg said the company would investigate apps like the third-party quiz app that had previously obtained access to “large amounts of information” from the social network. He also said the company would restrict third-party developers’ access.


Why Leaving Facebook Doesn’t Always Mean Quitting Facebook

In the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, in which data from over 50 million Facebook profiles was secretly scraped and mined for voter insights, many Facebook users have decided to delete their accounts — but untangling yourself from a site like Facebook is not as easy as pressing “delete.”

By AINARA TIEFENTHÄLER, DEBORAH ACOSTA and ROBIN STEIN on Publish Date March 21, 2018. . Watch in Times Video »

“We also made mistakes, there’s more to do, and we need to step up and do it,” he wrote in his Facebook statement.

The Cambridge Analytica revelations added to the questions that have been raised about Facebook’s handling of user data and security. Those questions have only intensified as the company has faced criticism over the role its platform played in Russian attempts to influence the 2016 presidential election and the way it has been used to spread misinformation on the internet.

The resulting backlash is Facebook’s worst crisis since it was founded by Mr. Zuckerberg and others in 2004. The information, photos and other content that users post and their frequent engagement with the platform is crucial to the social network, and to the company’s profitability. Questions about user privacy and security threaten the company’s standing at a time when people are already uneasy about whether the use of technology can bring good or ill.

Last Friday, after The New York Times, The Observer of London and Channel 4 in Britain told Facebook that Cambridge Analytica had not deleted all of the data it had obtained, the social network banned the political consulting firm and Aleksandr Kogan, the Cambridge University researcher who created the personality quiz app that was used to harvest user data.

“This was a breach of trust between Kogan, Cambridge Analytica and Facebook,” Mr. Zuckerberg wrote on Wednesday. “But it was also a breach of trust between Facebook and the people who share their data with us and expect us to protect it.”

Facebook representatives confirmed that Cambridge Analytica representatives met with Facebook on Tuesday to discuss lifting the ban. Mr. Zuckerberg told The Times he did not rule out allowing Cambridge Analytica back, saying Facebook must first conduct a “full forensic audit of the firm” and “have full confirmation that there’s no wrongdoing here.”


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The reaction to the Cambridge Analytica disclosure has been severe. Politicians in the United States and Britain have called for Mr. Zuckerberg to explain how his company handles user data, and state attorneys general in Massachusetts and New York have begun investigating Cambridge Analytica and Facebook. A #DeleteFacebook movement calling on people to close their accounts has also gathered steam.

In Washington, there have been more calls for regulation of internet companies like Facebook. Mr. Zuckerberg’s troubles there were illustrated by the final passage on Wednesday of a bill to combat sex trafficking. The bill would lift liability protections that internet companies have enjoyed for content that users post on their platforms. Facebook and other internet giants had quietly fought the bill for more than a year, but eventually dropped their opposition.

Lawmakers who have demanded that Mr. Zuckerberg testify before Congress about Facebook’s relationship with Cambridge Analytica were not appeased by his statement.

“You need to come to Congress and testify to this under oath,” Senator Ed Markey, Democrat of Massachusetts, tweeted in response to Mr. Zuckerberg’s post.

Independent researchers who have used data from Facebook said that Mr. Zuckerberg’s statement did not acknowledge how the gathering of user data was fundamental to the company’s operations.

“He avoided the big issue, which is that for many years, Facebook was basically giving away user data like it was handing out candy,” said Jonathan Albright, research director at the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University. “There is no question that handing out that data made Facebook the success it is as a company. This has to be recognized as part of their business model and not just a one-off problem.”

In his statement, Mr. Zuckerberg laid out a timeline of Facebook’s dealings with Cambridge Analytica. He traced the information-sharing issue to 2007, when Facebook decided to become an open platform — enabling people to use Facebook to log into other apps and share detailed personal information about themselves and their friends.

In 2013, Mr. Kogan, the Cambridge researcher, created a personality quiz app that about 300,000 people installed, Mr. Zuckerberg wrote. Because Facebook was an open platform, Mr. Kogan was able to collect data on tens of millions of friends of those users who had installed the personality quiz app.


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A year later, Mr. Zuckerberg said, Facebook changed its policy to limit how much data third-party apps could access. “These actions would prevent any app like Kogan’s from being able to access so much data today,” he wrote.

By 2015, Mr. Kogan had shared his data and findings with Cambridge Analytica, which later used the material to single out American voters. Mr. Zuckerberg said Facebook had banned Mr. Kogan’s app and demanded that the researcher and Cambridge Analytica formally certify that the data had been deleted. He did not address in his post why Facebook had not already disclosed those activities to its users whose data had been harvested by Mr. Kogan and Cambridge Analytica.

“Whenever there’s an issue where someone’s data gets passed to someone who the rules of the system shouldn’t have allowed it to, that’s rightfully a big issue and deserves to be a big uproar,” Mr. Zuckerberg said in the interview.

For Mr. Zuckerberg, the outcry over Cambridge Analytica has been personally damaging. Inside Facebook, even his staunch supporters have described a tense atmosphere. Some employees have sought to transfer to other divisions, such as the messaging app WhatsApp and the photo-sharing platform Instagram, calling their work on Facebook’s main product “demoralizing.”

Mr. Zuckerberg spent part of the past week hunkered down with a small group of engineers to discuss how to make information on Facebook’s users more secure, and to potentially give them more control of their data, according to two Facebook employees who declined to be named because the proceedings were confidential.

His silence on the matter has prompted mounting criticism in the past few days. Facebook held a staff meeting on Tuesday to answer questions about Cambridge Analytica and the surrounding outcry, but Mr. Zuckerberg did not appear at the event. He was scheduled to appear at a staff meeting that was set for Friday.

In his interview with The Times, Mr. Zuckerberg said that the company’s efforts to safeguard its platform from bad behavior — which includes preparing for possible interference attempts in the 2018 midterm elections — were an important part of a larger transformation at the company, which has had to adjust from its roots as a social network for college students into a powerful global information hub.

“If you had asked me, when I got started with Facebook, if one of the central things I’d need to work on now is preventing governments from interfering in each other’s elections, there’s no way I thought that’s what I’d be doing if we talked in 2004 in my dorm room,” Mr. Zuckerberg said.

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Mark Zuckerberg’s Reckoning: ‘This Is a Major Trust Issue’

Zuckerberg: The first thing is, I really wanted to make sure we had a full and accurate understanding of everything that happened. I know that there was a lot of pressure to speak sooner, but my assessment was that it was more important that what we said was fully accurate.

The second thing is, the most important thing is that we fix this system so that issues like this don’t happen again. It’s not like there aren’t going to be other different kind of things we’ll also have to fix. But when there’s a certain problem, we have a responsibility to at least make sure we resolve that problem.

So the actions here that we’re going to do involve first, dramatically reducing the amount of data that developers have access to, so that apps and developers can’t do what Kogan did here. The most important actions there we actually took three or four years ago, in 2014. But when we examined the systems this week, there were certainly other things we felt we should lock down, too. So we’re going ahead and doing that.

Even if you solve the problem going forward, there’s still this issue of: Are there other Cambridge Analyticas out there, or other Kogans who, when the platform worked a certain way in the past, were there apps which could have gotten access to more information, and potentially sold it without us knowing, or done something that violated people’s trust? We also need to make sure we get that under control. That’s why we spent a lot of time figuring out, O.K. here’s what it’s going to take to do a full investigation of every app that got access to a large amount of information before we changed the platform policies to dramatically reduce the data access that developers had. For any app that we uncover that has any suspicious activity, we’re going to go do a full forensic audit, and make sure we have the capacity to do that, to make sure that other developers aren’t doing what Kogan did here.

The third thing is, it’s really important that people know what apps they’ve authorized. A lot of people have been on Facebook now for five or 10 years, and sometimes you signed into an app a long time ago and you may have forgotten about that. So one of the steps we’re taking is making it so apps can no longer access data after you haven’t used them for three months.

But it’s also just really important to put in front of people a tool of, here are all the apps you’ve connected to and authorized, here’s an easy way to deauthorize them, to revoke their permission to get access to your activity.

Kevin Roose: Is Facebook planning to notify the 50 million users whose data was shared with Cambridge Analytica?


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Zuckerberg: Yes. We’re going to tell anyone whose data may have been shared.

Now, there’s a question of whether we have the exact record in our systems today of who your friends were on that day when there was access three and a half or four years ago, so we’re going to be conservative on that and try to tell anyone whose data may have been affected, even if we don’t know for certain that they were. It’s likely that we’ll build a tool like we did with the Russian misinformation investigation, that anyone can go to it and see if their data was affected by this.

Roose: Do you have a preliminary estimate of how many apps you’ll be investigating?

Zuckerberg: It will be in the thousands.

Frenkel: Were those app developers notified that you’ll be investigating this yet?

Zuckerberg: Just when I posted. And we’ll be reaching out in the near term.

Frenkel: Are you going to be hiring people to help conduct those investigations?

Zuckerberg: Yes, I would imagine we’re going to have to grow the team to work on this.

Roose: You mentioned a contract that developers will have to sign in order to ask anyone for access to broader profile information. What will be the terms of that contract, and what will be the penalties for violating it?

Zuckerberg: So, the important thing there is that it’s a high-touch process. The specific point we were trying to make is that it’s not going to be some terms of service that a developer can sign up for just on their computer when developing something. I guess technically, that would be a contract as well.

The point of what we’re trying to do here is to create a situation where we have a real person-to-person relationship with any developer who is asking for the most sensitive data. That doesn’t mean that — if you’re a developer and you want to put Facebook Login on your website, you can do that. If you want to get access to ask people for their religious affiliation, or their sexual orientation, for data that could be very sensitive, we want to make sure we have a clear relationship with those people.

Frenkel: We understood that Cambridge Analytica had reached out to Facebook and asked that its ban on the platform be reconsidered. Are you giving any thought to allowing Cambridge Analytica back in?


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Zuckerberg: The first thing we need to do is conduct this full forensic audit of the firm, that they don’t have any people’s data from our community and that they’ve deleted anything, including derivative data, that they might have. We’re working with the regulator in the U.K. on this, so our forensic audit was actually paused in the near term to cede the way for the ICO there to do their own government investigation. We’re certainly not going to consider letting them back onto the platform until we have full confirmation that there’s no wrongdoing here.

Roose: There were reports as far back as 2015 that Cambridge Analytica had access to this data set. Why didn’t you suspend them then?

Zuckerberg: So, we actually heard, I think it was at the end of 2015 — some journalists from The Guardian reached out to us and told us what you just said. And it was not just about Cambridge Analytica, it was about this developer, Aleksandr Kogan, who had shared data with them.

We took action immediately at that point. We banned Kogan’s app from the platform, we demanded that Kogan and Cambridge Analytica and a couple other parties that Kogan had shared the data with would legally certify that they didn’t have the data, and weren’t using it in any of their operations. They gave us that formal certification. At the time, they told us they never had gotten access to raw Facebook data, so we made that decision.

Frenkel: In retrospect, do you wish you had demanded proof that the data had been deleted?

Zuckerberg: Yes. They gave us a formal and legal certification, and it seems at this point that that was false.

Again, we haven’t done our full investigation and audit yet so I can’t say definitively that they actually have data. I’ve just read all the same reports that you have, including in The New York Times, that says that journalists have seen evidence that they have the data, which is a strong enough signal for us to go on, and take action here.

That’s the basic driver behind us now needing to go and do a full investigation into any app that had access to a large amount of data before we locked down the platform policies in 2014. Just having folks tell us that they were using the data correctly, I think, does not satisfy our responsibility to our community to protect their data.

Frenkel: Are you actively looking at some of these dark web data brokers that have been in news reports recently, that say that other independent researchers are potentially trading in this data?


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Zuckerberg: Yes, we’re investigating that too.

Roose: Are you worried about the #DeleteFacebook campaign that’s been going around? Have you seen meaningful numbers of people deleting their accounts, and are you worried that will be a trend?

Zuckerberg: I don’t think we’ve seen a meaningful number of people act on that, but, you know, it’s not good. I think it’s a clear signal that this is a major trust issue for people, and I understand that. And whether people delete their app over it or just don’t feel good about using Facebook, that’s a big issue that I think we have a responsibility to rectify.

Frenkel: We’re now heading into the 2018 midterms. Could you speak about what Facebook is going to do ahead of the 2018 midterms to make people feel more confident that the platform won’t be used this way again?

Zuckerberg: This is an incredibly important point. There’s no doubt that in 2016, there were a number of issues including foreign interference and false news that we did not have as much of a handle on as we feel a responsibility to for our community.

Now, the good news here is that these problems aren’t necessarily rocket science. They’re hard, but they’re things that if you invest and work on making it harder for adversaries to do what they’re trying to do, you can really reduce the amount of false news, make it harder for foreign governments to interfere.

One of the things that gives me confidence is that we’ve seen a number of elections at this point where this has gone a lot better. In the months after the 2016 election, there was the French election. The new A.I. tools we built after the 2016 elections found, I think, more than 30,000 fake accounts that we believe were linked to Russian sources who were trying to do the same kind of tactics they did in the U.S. in the 2016 election. We were able to disable them and prevent that from happening on a large scale in France.

In last year, in 2017 with the special election in Alabama, we deployed some new A.I. tools to identify fake accounts and false news, and we found a significant number of Macedonian accounts that were trying to spread false news, and were able to eliminate those. And that, actually, is something I haven’t talked about publicly before, so you’re the first people I’m telling about that.

I feel a lot better about the systems now. At the same time, I think Russia and other governments are going to get more sophisticated in what they do, too. So we need to make sure that we up our game. This is a massive focus for us to make sure we’re dialed in for not only the 2018 elections in the U.S., but the Indian elections, the Brazilian elections, and a number of other elections that are going on this year that are really important.


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Frenkel: The Times reported that [Facebook chief security officer Alex] Stamos will be leaving toward the end of this year. Is there a broader plan for how Facebook is going to structure security on its platform ahead of all these important elections?

Zuckerberg: Sure. One of the important things we’ve done is, we want to unify all of our security efforts. And you reported on a reorg around Alex Stamos, and I’ll say something about him in a second. He’s been a very valuable contributor here and was a really central figure in helping us identify the foreign interference with Russia. And I think he has done very good work, and I’m hopeful he’ll be engaged for a while here on that.

One of the big things we needed to do is coordinate our efforts a lot better across the whole company. It’s not all A.I., right? There’s certainly a lot that A.I. can do, we can train classifiers to identify content, but most of what we do is identify things that people should look at. So we’re going to double the amount of people working on security this year. We’ll have more than 20,000 people working on security and community operations by the end of the year, I think we have about 15,000 now. So it’s really the technical systems we have working with the people in our operations functions that make the biggest deal.

The last thing I’d add on this. Take things like false news. You know, a lot of it is really spam, if you think about it. It’s the same people who might have been sending you Viagra emails in the ’90s, now they’re trying to come up with sensational content and push it into Facebook and other apps in order to get you to click on it and see ads. There are some pretty basic policy decisions we’ve made, like O.K., if you’re anywhere close to being a fake news site, you can’t put Facebook ads on your site, right? So then suddenly, it becomes harder for them to make money. If you make it hard enough for them to make money, they just kind of go and do something else.

Roose: Is the basic economic model of Facebook, in which users provide data that Facebook uses to help advertisers and developers to better target potential customers and users — do you feel like that works, given what we now know about the risks?

Zuckerberg: Yeah, so this is a really important question. The thing about the ad model that is really important that aligns with our mission is that — our mission is to build a community for everyone in the world and to bring the world closer together. And a really important part of that is making a service that people can afford. A lot of the people, once you get past the first billion people, can’t afford to pay a lot. Therefore, having it be free and have a business model that is ad-supported ends up being really important and aligned.

Now, over time, might there be ways for people who can afford it to pay a different way? That’s certainly something we’ve thought about over time. But I don’t think the ad model is going to go away, because I think fundamentally, it’s important to have a service like this that everyone in the world can use, and the only way to do that is to have it be very cheap or free.

Roose: Adam Mosseri, Facebook’s head of News Feed, recently said he had lost some sleep over Facebook’s role in the violence in Myanmar. You’ve said you’re “outraged” about what happened with Cambridge Analytica, but when you think about the many things that are happening with Facebook all over the world, are you losing any sleep? Do you feel any guilt about the role Facebook is playing in the world?


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Zuckerberg: That’s a good question. I think, you know, we’re doing something here which is unprecedented, in terms of building a community for people all over the world to be able to share what matters to them, and connect across boundaries. I think what we’re seeing is, there are new challenges that I don’t think anyone had anticipated before.

If you had asked me, when I got started with Facebook, if one of the central things I’d need to work on now is preventing governments from interfering in each other’s elections, there’s no way I thought that’s what I’d be doing, if we talked in 2004 in my dorm room.

I don’t know that it’s possible to know every issue that you’re going to face down the road. But we have a real responsibility to take all these issues seriously as they come up, and work with experts and people around the world to make sure we solve them, and do a good job for our community.

It’s certainly true that, over the course of Facebook, I’ve made all kinds of different mistakes, whether that’s technical mistakes or business mistakes or hiring mistakes. We’ve launched product after product that didn’t work. I spend most of my time looking forward, trying to figure out how to solve the issues that people are having today, because I think that’s what people in our community would want.

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Trump, Defending Call With Putin, Attacks ‘Crazed’ Media and His Predecessors

One senior White House official said Mr. Trump had never seen the briefing cards. Another said the president had been determined not to antagonize Mr. Putin, believing that his rapport with the Russian leader was the key to better relations between the countries.

It was that rationale that Mr. Trump appeared to embrace on Wednesday.

“Getting along with Russia (and others) is a good thing, not a bad thing,” the president wrote. “They can help solve problems with North Korea, Syria, Ukraine, ISIS, Iran and even the coming Arms Race.”

Mr. Trump’s defense of his phone call with President Vladimir V. Putin pointed up his aversion to confronting Russia about its misdeeds. Credit Maxim Shemetov/Reuters

The president also took on his predecessors, both Republican and Democrat, saying they had been incapable of forging better relations with Moscow.

“Bush tried to get along, but didn’t have the ‘smarts,’” Mr. Trump wrote. “Obama and Clinton tried, but didn’t have the energy or chemistry (remember RESET).”

He was referring to the policy of Hillary Clinton, his 2016 campaign rival, who as secretary of state in Mr. Obama’s administration pursued a “reset” with Russia aimed at turning around a dysfunctional relationship.

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The call revived questions about Mr. Trump’s stance toward Mr. Putin just after his administration had taken its most aggressive steps against Moscow, moving last week to impose sanctions for Russia’s interference in the election and other “malicious cyberattacks.”

The United States also joined Britain, France and Germany in denouncing the Russian government for violating international law for the attack on the spy, Sergei V. Skripal, and his daughter, Yulia.

Still, since his first face-to-face meeting with Mr. Putin over the summer, Mr. Trump has consistently refused to criticize the Russian president directly. In November, after a meeting with Mr. Putin on the sideline of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit meeting in Danang, Vietnam, Mr. Trump said the Russian president “means it” when he denied having meddled in the 2016 election, and was “very insulted by” the charge, which is the conclusion of American intelligence agencies.


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Mr. Trump began his day on Wednesday indirectly criticizing Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel, for the Russia investigation, continuing to attack him by name against the advice of his own lawyers.

“I was opposed to the selection of Mueller to be Special Council,” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter in quotes he attributed to Alan M. Dershowitz, a professor emeritus at Harvard Law School. “I think President Trump was right when he said there never should have been a Special Council appointed because there was no probable cause for believing that there was any crime, collusion or otherwise, or obstruction of justice!”

It was not immediately clear on Wednesday which remarks of Mr. Dershowitz’s the president was quoting. An interview with Mr. Dershowitz on Fox News on Tuesday and an opinion piece by Mr. Dershowitz published on Wednesday did not include the exact phrasing that Mr. Trump used in his tweets. And the language was not found in a search of Mr. Dershowitz’s cable news appearances over the past week.

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Meredith Says It Intends to Sell Time, Sports Illustrated, Fortune and Money

The decision to sell Time, Sports Illustrated, Fortune and Money was widely expected. Still, the sale of what were some of Time Inc.’s most celebrated titles further signals the decline of the magazine industry. Though it had once helped shape American culture, Time Inc. has not just been swallowed up; it will soon be spit out in pieces.

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Mr. Harty said that multiple parties — the majority of which he called “nontraditional wealthy individuals” — had expressed interest in buying the magazines. He said that he expected to announce deals by the end of June.

Meredith’s deal for Time Inc. was made possible by a $650 million infusion from Koch Equity Development, the private equity arm of the billionaire brothers Charles G. and David H. Koch. The brothers, Mr. Harty said, “have expressed no interest” in acquiring any of the four titles. He also said the company did not plan to sell the titles to another possible suitor: David J. Pecker, the chief executive of American Media Inc., who is close with President Trump.

Like many other magazines, Time, Sports Illustrated, Fortune and Money have battled vanishing advertising revenue and declining circulation. Sports Illustrated, once published weekly, has been reduced to every two weeks.

Meredith scheduled an employee meeting in New York for March 28 and another in Des Moines on April 11, during which the company said it planned to unveil a reorganization of its sales business. In a memo, Mr. Harty and Jon Werther, the president of Meredith’s national media group, wrote, “We look forward to sharing our vision for the future and hearing what’s on your mind.”

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Your Money: Seeking Your College Application Essays About Money

Credit Ian Thomas Jansen-Lonnquist for The New York Times

Did you apply for college this year and write an undergraduate application essay about money, work, social class or related topics? If so, I’d like to see it.

I write the personal finance column for The New York Times, and since 2013 I’ve been collecting as many essays like this as I can find each spring and publishing a handful of great ones in early May. You can read a selection of essays from 2017 here.

What qualifies? A description of your job at McDonald’s is welcome, as are musings on what it’s like to have no earthly idea what you want to be when you grow up. We’ve published stories about the struggles of families who are poor and disquisitions on towns where parents can cover for their children’s recklessness with their cash and connections. Reckoning with wealth (yours or that of others) is welcome, as are all attempts to wrestle with its absence and the impact of that.

Please submit your essays to us by Wednesday, April 25, using the form on this page. We’ll publish a few of them during the first weekend in May and pay the writers our normal freelance rate.

Also, anyone who wants to send in a bit of multimedia to go with the essay is welcome to do so below. Videos, Instagram Stories or Snapchat stories are all fine. If you are submitting a story from either Instagram or Snapchat, please download it and send it as a video file.

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‘Blurred Lines’ Verdict Upheld by Appeals Court

The singer Robin Thicke, who wrote “Blurred Lines” with Pharrell Williams. Credit Kena Betancur/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

In the music industry’s most closely watched copyright case, a federal appeals court on Wednesday upheld a jury’s finding that Robin Thicke’s song “Blurred Lines” infringed on the copyright of Marvin Gaye’s “Got to Give It Up.”

When the case went to trial in 2015, it became a flash point in the music industry over the limits of copyright. The family of Gaye, who died in 1984, argued that “Got to Give It Up” was copied without permission, and that it had helped make “Blurred Lines” the biggest hit of 2013.

Lawyers for Mr. Thicke and Pharrell Williams, who helped write and record the song, disputed that claim, and in the wider music industry, many worried that suit went too far in trying to protect generic elements of a song’s style and “feel.”

A victory, opponents of the case warned, could lead more litigation and have a chilling effect on creativity. Since the dispute over “Blurred Lines” began, there have been several prominent settlements over credit and royalties. For example, even before the “Blurred Lines” verdict was announced, Sam Smith willingly shared credit for his hit “Stay With Me” after Tom Petty said it sounded like his song “I Won’t Back Down.”


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Even the appeals court decision, by a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, reflected the dispute over the case’s ramifications.

Marvin Gaye walking ahead of his Rolls Royce in Notting Hill, London in 1976. The family of Gaye, who died in 1984, argued that “Got to Give It Up” was copied without permission, and that it had helped make “Blurred Lines” the biggest hit of 2013. Credit John Minihan/Evening Standard, via Getty Images

In a ruling that for the most part was concerned with procedural issues, the judges upheld most of the trial court’s decision and its damages award of $5.3 million. They reversed a decision that had also assigned liability to the rapper T.I., who contributed to the song, and Interscope Records, which released it.

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U.S. in Talks on Tariff Exemptions, Trade Official Says

Mr. Lighthizer’s testimony came a day after the Treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, was warned by global economic leaders at a meeting in Buenos Aires that the United States was risking a trade war by initiating the tariffs. President Trump declared earlier in the month that “trade wars are good, and easy to win.”

But Mr. Lighthizer struck a different note on Wednesday. “Nobody wins from a trade war,” he said. “We certainly don’t want a trade war. On the other hand, you have to ask yourself, can we go on with an $800 (and growing) billion trade deficit?”


How Trump’s Protectionism Backfires

President Trump’s tariffs against steel and aluminum imports, designed to protect blue-collar workers, could instead undermine their livelihood.

If Mr. Trump decides to exclude Brazil and South Korea from the tariffs, and allows Canada and Mexico to remain exempt, he will have given a reprieve to the four largest foreign suppliers of steel to the United States, together accounting for half of all steel imports. That could make the tariffs less helpful to domestic steel mills.

“It raises the question of, if you exempt all of them, who’s left?” said William Reinsch, a trade expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “It will reduce the value of the relief to the domestic industry.”

Foreign governments have continued to engage in high-level talks with the administration to make the case for exclusion from the tariffs. Cecilia Malmstrom, the European Union’s commissioner for trade, said in a statement that she had met with the United States commerce secretary, Wilbur Ross, this week to talk about steel and aluminum trade “with a view to identifying mutually acceptable outcomes as rapidly as possible.”

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Mr. Trump spoke this week with President Emmanuel Macron of France about how Europe and the United States “might come together over tariffs,” a White House official said in a statement.

Administration officials have said that the tariffs are intended to counter an influx of cheap metals from China that are entering the United States through other countries. The Commerce Department has cited national security as the premise for the tariffs, saying that the imports are crippling domestic producers and, by extension, the nation’s industrial base.

Asked about reports that the administration was preparing a new set of tariffs aimed at China, Mr. Lighthizer said Mr. Trump would make a decision “in the very near future.” Mr. Lighthizer has been investigating China’s trade practices since August, including allegations of theft of intellectual property.


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Mr. Lighthizer indicated that the administration was specifically concerned about Chinese policies that compel American companies to share technology when they make investments in China.

“There are certain technology products that are under assault,” he said. “You have to give consideration to whether or not you would put tariffs on those products.”

But he noted that any tariffs would take into account the economic impact of raising the cost of consumer goods. “You would create an algorithm that would maximize the pressure on China and minimize the pressure on U.S. consumers,” he said.

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