Author: Fworld

Nike fined $14 Million for Blocking Cross-border Sales of Soccer Merchandise

U.S. sportswear maker Nike was hit with a 12.5 million euro ($14.14 million) fine on Monday for blocking cross-border sales of soccer merchandise of some of Europe’s best-known clubs, the latest EU sanction against such restrictions.

The European Commission said Nike’s illegal practices occurred between 2004 to 2017 and related to licensed merchandise for FC Barcelona, Manchester United, Juventus, Inter Milan, AS Roma and the French Football Federation.

The European Union case focused on Nike’s role as a licensor for making and distributing licensed merchandise featuring a soccer club’s brands and not its own trademarks.

The sanction came after a two-year investigation triggered by a sector inquiry into e-commerce in the 28-country bloc. The EU wants to boost online trade and economic growth.

European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said Nike’s actions deprived soccer fans in other countries of the opportunity to buy their clubs’ merchandise such as mugs, bags, bed sheets, stationery and toys.

“Nike prevented many of its licensees from selling these branded products in a different country leading to less choice and higher prices for consumers,” she said in a statement.

Nike’s practices included clauses in contracts prohibiting out-of-territory sales by licensees and threats to end agreements if licensees ignored the clauses. Its fine was cut by 40 percent after it cooperated with the EU enforcer.

($1 = 0.8839 euros)

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Nike fined $14 Million for Blocking Cross-border Sales of Soccer Merchandise

U.S. sportswear maker Nike was hit with a 12.5 million euro ($14.14 million) fine on Monday for blocking cross-border sales of soccer merchandise of some of Europe’s best-known clubs, the latest EU sanction against such restrictions.

The European Commission said Nike’s illegal practices occurred between 2004 to 2017 and related to licensed merchandise for FC Barcelona, Manchester United, Juventus, Inter Milan, AS Roma and the French Football Federation.

The European Union case focused on Nike’s role as a licensor for making and distributing licensed merchandise featuring a soccer club’s brands and not its own trademarks.

The sanction came after a two-year investigation triggered by a sector inquiry into e-commerce in the 28-country bloc. The EU wants to boost online trade and economic growth.

European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said Nike’s actions deprived soccer fans in other countries of the opportunity to buy their clubs’ merchandise such as mugs, bags, bed sheets, stationery and toys.

“Nike prevented many of its licensees from selling these branded products in a different country leading to less choice and higher prices for consumers,” she said in a statement.

Nike’s practices included clauses in contracts prohibiting out-of-territory sales by licensees and threats to end agreements if licensees ignored the clauses. Its fine was cut by 40 percent after it cooperated with the EU enforcer.

($1 = 0.8839 euros)

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Kremlin, After Mueller Report, Says it’s Open to Better US Ties

Russia is ready to improve ties with the United States but it is up to Washington to make the first move, the Kremlin said on Monday after the conclusion of a U.S. investigation into alleged collusion between Donald Trump and Moscow in the 2016 election.

U.S. Attorney General William Barr said in a summary released on Sunday that Special Counsel Robert Mueller had found no evidence of collusion in his investigation, though had not determined whether Trump obstructed justice by undermining inquiries that have dogged his presidency.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov dismissed the report on a conference call and said Russia had never interfered and did not plan to interfere in the United States or other countries’ internal affairs and elections.

“…It’s hard to find a black cat in a dark room, especially if there is no cat,” Peskov told reporters.

U.S. intelligence agencies said shortly before Trump took office in January 2017 that Moscow meddled in the presidential election with a campaign of email hacking and online propaganda aimed at sowing discord in the United States.

Commenting on the possibility of an improvement in ties with the United States after the conclusion of the Mueller report, Peskov said President Vladimir Putin had repeatedly stated he was open to shoring up relations.

“In this case, the ball is absolutely in their court. It was given to Trump in Helsinki,” Peskov said, referring to a summit between Putin and Trump in the Finnish capital in July 2018.

 

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Kremlin, After Mueller Report, Says it’s Open to Better US Ties

Russia is ready to improve ties with the United States but it is up to Washington to make the first move, the Kremlin said on Monday after the conclusion of a U.S. investigation into alleged collusion between Donald Trump and Moscow in the 2016 election.

U.S. Attorney General William Barr said in a summary released on Sunday that Special Counsel Robert Mueller had found no evidence of collusion in his investigation, though had not determined whether Trump obstructed justice by undermining inquiries that have dogged his presidency.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov dismissed the report on a conference call and said Russia had never interfered and did not plan to interfere in the United States or other countries’ internal affairs and elections.

“…It’s hard to find a black cat in a dark room, especially if there is no cat,” Peskov told reporters.

U.S. intelligence agencies said shortly before Trump took office in January 2017 that Moscow meddled in the presidential election with a campaign of email hacking and online propaganda aimed at sowing discord in the United States.

Commenting on the possibility of an improvement in ties with the United States after the conclusion of the Mueller report, Peskov said President Vladimir Putin had repeatedly stated he was open to shoring up relations.

“In this case, the ball is absolutely in their court. It was given to Trump in Helsinki,” Peskov said, referring to a summit between Putin and Trump in the Finnish capital in July 2018.

 

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In 2018, at Least 50 US Deaths From Surging Right-Wing Extremist Attacks

The deadly mosque shootings in New Zealand last week by a gunman who promoted an anti-immigrant manifesto coincide with a surge in the incidents of right-wing extremist killings in the U.S. 

Last year, domestic extremists killed at least 50 people in the U.S., up from 37 murders in 2017, according to the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism, which tracks such murders. The last five years have produced a higher number of extremist-related murders than any other five-year period since 1970, according to the ADL.

Mark Pitcavage, a senior fellow at the Center on Extremism, said that every one of the perpetrators of last year’s murders had ties to at least one right-wing movement.

The majority of the murders were committed by white supremacists, with a smaller number perpetrated by anti-government extremists and extreme misogynists who identify as “involuntary celibates” or incels, Pitcavage said.

While a few high-profile incidents such as the massacre of 11 Jewish worshippers by white supremacist Robert Bowers at a Pittsburgh synagogue last October have been widely reported, others have received scant attention. 

Just two months before the synagogue shooting rampage, another man espousing white supremacist views, Joden Rocco, stabbed a 24-year-old black man outside a bar in Pittsburgh. In an Instagram video posted before the killing, Rocco said that he was trying to see how many times he could use a racial slur for African-Americans before getting kicked out of bars. 

“Every year there are a number of incidents like this where one person dies or sometimes two people die, but it was not something where there were mass casualties … or attracted a lot of attention, but it was an extremist killing someone,” Pitcavage said. “Someone died. There was a victim. A life was lost.”

Among other underreported incidents:

In January 2018, Samuel Woodward stabbed to death Blaze Bernstein, a gay Jewish college student. Investigators later found homophobic and neo-Nazi material on Woodward’s cellphone, including content related to the violent hate group Atomwaffen
In October, Gregory Bush, a 51-year-old unemployed white resident of Louisville, Kentucky, killed two African-Americans ages 67 and 69, at a supermarket.
In November, Scott Paul Beierle, a man who had posted sexist and racist videos online, killed two women and injured four others at a yoga studio in Tallahassee, Florida

In addition to ADL, other research organizations have also reported increases in extremist-related killings last year, though in smaller numbers. The Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University in San Bernardino tracked 22 ideologically driven murders in 2018, including 17 carried out by white supremacists, up from 15 the previous year. 

The Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups, said at least 40 people were killed in the U.S. and Canada by “individuals who were either motivated by or attracted to far-right ideologies.” SPLC said 2018 was the deadliest year for victims of right-wing extremism. 

“We’re just seeing a whole lot of violence from people who are influenced by white supremacy and that kind of extremism,” said Heidi Beirich, director of SPLC’s intelligence project.

President Donald Trump said recently that he did not think white nationalism was a growing problem following the New Zealand rampage by self-styled white nationalist Brenton Tarrant that killed 50 Muslim worshippers at two mosques. 

But the SPLC said white nationalism is on the rise. The Alabama-based legal advocacy organization recently reported that the number of hate groups in the U.S. rose to a record 1,020 last year, boosted by increases in the number of both white and black nationalist groups. 

Not all white nationalists are violent. But those who commit acts of violence in the name of white nationalism do so out of fear that immigration into Western countries is sowing the seeds of “white genocide,” experts say.

“If you look at the man who killed all those people tragically in New Zealand, he talks constantly about white people being displaced in their home countries,” Beirich said. 

With demographic fears driving the violence, Beirich said the problem is unlikely to go away any time soon. 

“The demographic trends that they view as destroying them are not going to shift,” Beirich said. 

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In 2018, at Least 50 US Deaths From Surging Right-Wing Extremist Attacks

The deadly mosque shootings in New Zealand last week by a gunman who promoted an anti-immigrant manifesto coincide with a surge in the incidents of right-wing extremist killings in the U.S. 

Last year, domestic extremists killed at least 50 people in the U.S., up from 37 murders in 2017, according to the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism, which tracks such murders. The last five years have produced a higher number of extremist-related murders than any other five-year period since 1970, according to the ADL.

Mark Pitcavage, a senior fellow at the Center on Extremism, said that every one of the perpetrators of last year’s murders had ties to at least one right-wing movement.

The majority of the murders were committed by white supremacists, with a smaller number perpetrated by anti-government extremists and extreme misogynists who identify as “involuntary celibates” or incels, Pitcavage said.

While a few high-profile incidents such as the massacre of 11 Jewish worshippers by white supremacist Robert Bowers at a Pittsburgh synagogue last October have been widely reported, others have received scant attention. 

Just two months before the synagogue shooting rampage, another man espousing white supremacist views, Joden Rocco, stabbed a 24-year-old black man outside a bar in Pittsburgh. In an Instagram video posted before the killing, Rocco said that he was trying to see how many times he could use a racial slur for African-Americans before getting kicked out of bars. 

“Every year there are a number of incidents like this where one person dies or sometimes two people die, but it was not something where there were mass casualties … or attracted a lot of attention, but it was an extremist killing someone,” Pitcavage said. “Someone died. There was a victim. A life was lost.”

Among other underreported incidents:

In January 2018, Samuel Woodward stabbed to death Blaze Bernstein, a gay Jewish college student. Investigators later found homophobic and neo-Nazi material on Woodward’s cellphone, including content related to the violent hate group Atomwaffen
In October, Gregory Bush, a 51-year-old unemployed white resident of Louisville, Kentucky, killed two African-Americans ages 67 and 69, at a supermarket.
In November, Scott Paul Beierle, a man who had posted sexist and racist videos online, killed two women and injured four others at a yoga studio in Tallahassee, Florida

In addition to ADL, other research organizations have also reported increases in extremist-related killings last year, though in smaller numbers. The Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University in San Bernardino tracked 22 ideologically driven murders in 2018, including 17 carried out by white supremacists, up from 15 the previous year. 

The Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups, said at least 40 people were killed in the U.S. and Canada by “individuals who were either motivated by or attracted to far-right ideologies.” SPLC said 2018 was the deadliest year for victims of right-wing extremism. 

“We’re just seeing a whole lot of violence from people who are influenced by white supremacy and that kind of extremism,” said Heidi Beirich, director of SPLC’s intelligence project.

President Donald Trump said recently that he did not think white nationalism was a growing problem following the New Zealand rampage by self-styled white nationalist Brenton Tarrant that killed 50 Muslim worshippers at two mosques. 

But the SPLC said white nationalism is on the rise. The Alabama-based legal advocacy organization recently reported that the number of hate groups in the U.S. rose to a record 1,020 last year, boosted by increases in the number of both white and black nationalist groups. 

Not all white nationalists are violent. But those who commit acts of violence in the name of white nationalism do so out of fear that immigration into Western countries is sowing the seeds of “white genocide,” experts say.

“If you look at the man who killed all those people tragically in New Zealand, he talks constantly about white people being displaced in their home countries,” Beirich said. 

With demographic fears driving the violence, Beirich said the problem is unlikely to go away any time soon. 

“The demographic trends that they view as destroying them are not going to shift,” Beirich said. 

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Looking for Election Boost, Israel’s Netanyahu in US to Meet with Trump

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrived in Washington looking for an electoral advantage from U.S. President Donald Trump’s expected formal recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the disputed Golan Heights.

Netanyahu, facing corruption charges and a tough re-election contest April 9, is meeting Monday with Trump at the White House and having dinner there on Tuesday, sandwiched around a speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a major U.S. lobbying group for the Jewish state.

Trump said on Twitter last week that he would recognize the Israeli ownership of the Golan Heights, the territory to the northeast of Israel along the Syrian border that was seized by Israel from Syria in the Six-Day War in 1967 and annexed in 1981.

Trump’s stance breaks with long-standing U.S. policy and the international community, which considers the Golan Heights as Israeli-occupied, not a sovereign holding.  

“President Trump will sign tomorrow in the presence of PM Netanyahu an order recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights,” Foreign Minister Israel Katz wrote on Twitter on Sunday.

Netanyahu is lagging in political surveys ahead of next month’s election.  His main rival, former military chief Benny Gantz, is speaking at the annual AIPAC convention on Monday, but only Netanyahu will be at the White House dinner on Tuesday.

Trump compared his decision to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights as similar to that of his decision last year to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, another stance at odds with the international community. Israel claims Jerusalem as its eternal and indivisible capital, but the Palestinians have also staked a claim on Jerusalem as their capital in any eventual creation of a Palestinian state.

Netanyahu, in the run-up to the election, has stressed his friendship with Trump.

“Our alliance in recent years has never been stronger,” the Israeli leader said last week as he met in Jerusalem with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.  “It is an unbreakable bond.  It is based on shared values of liberty and democracy and shared interest to fight the enemies of democracy, the enemies of our way of life, the terrorists that prowl our airspace and our countries, and working together we have been able to achieve an enormous amount.”

Trump’s Golan Heights announcement came shortly after Pompeo visited the Western Wall, one of Judaism’s holiest sites in Palestinian east Jerusalem, with Netanyahu, the first time such a high-ranking U.S. official had visited the site with an Israeli leader.

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Israel’s PM to Meet Trump 3 Weeks Before Election

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is to meet with U.S. President Donald Trump this week in Washington. The meeting comes as Netanyahu’s Likud party is lagging in opinion polls ahead of elections next month.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his chief rival, former chief of staff, Benny Gantz are speaking at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee meeting this week in Washington.

But only Netanyahu is scheduled to meet with President Donald Trump and attend a state dinner at the White House.

 

Trump announced a change in American policy on the Golan Heights, which Israel seized from Syria in 1967 and later annexed. Trump tweeted last week that the United States recognizes Israeli sovereignty over the territory, and later explained in the move in an interview with Fox News Business. He compared it to his decision last year to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

“I was inundated with calls from the leaders. Mostly the leaders saying, ‘Please do not do it’. I did it. It has been done and it is fine. Golan Heights is the same thing … This is sovereignty. This is security, regional security, so it is not about Netanyahu’s re-election. No, I would not know about that,” said Trump.

Netanyahu is facing a series of corruption allegations, and the latest opinion polls show the new Blue and White Party headed by Gant edging past Netanyahu’s Likud.

The Israeli prime minister has stressed his close relationship with Trump, and he lauded close U.S.-Israel ties in a meeting with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last week.

 

“Our alliance in recent years has never been stronger,” he said. “It is an unbreakable bond. It is based on shared values of liberty and democracy and shared interest to fight the enemies of democracy, the enemies of our way of life, the terrorists that prowl our airspace and our countries, and working together we have been able to achieve an enormous amount.”

Netanyahu also thanked the United States for walking away from what he called the “disastrous” Iran nuclear deal.

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