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Top Obama aides ‘sorry’ they did not recognize Armenian genocide
Source:  POLITICO
Friday, 19 January 2018 15:46

Two top aides to former President Barack Obama say his administration failed by not officially declaring that the mass slaughter of Armenians roughly 100 years ago constituted genocide — a topic that threatens America’s fragile relationship with Turkey.

"It was a mistake," said Ben Rhodes, who served as a deputy national security adviser in the Obama administration. "We should have recognized the Armenian genocide."

"I'm sorry," added Samantha Power, Obama's ambassador to the United Nations. "I'm sorry that we disappointed so many Armenian Americans."

The two shared their regrets earlier this week in response to an audience question during an episode of Pod Save the World, a podcast hosted by Tommy Vietor, another former Obama aide. Their statements were unusually frank given the sensitivity of an issue that has bedeviled U.S. presidents for years.


Historians mark 1915 as the start of the yearslong slaughter of some 1.5 million Armenians. The genocide took place during the breakup of the Ottoman Empire, primarily in what is modern-day Turkey, during and after World War I.

Turkish leaders detest the notion that their country's founding fathers may have committed genocide, arguing that there was no organized campaign to murder Armenians. Most major U.S. and Europeans historians disagree with that, although their opinion is not unanimous. Turkish leaders have warned for years that official U.S. recognition of an Armenian genocide would inflict grave harm on their relationship with Washington, potentially including ending U.S. access to a military base in southern Turkey. Several European countries have formally recognized the massacre as a genocide, usually drawing diplomatic retaliation from Turkey.

Turkey is a NATO member and the U.S. relies on its cooperation on several Middle East issues, including the fight against the Islamic State terrorist group.

As a presidential candidate in 2008, Obama promised that he would formally recognize an Armenian genocide as historical fact. But as president, he passed up multiple chances to do so, including in 2015, when Armenians marked the 100th anniversary of the atrocities.

"Every year there was a reason not to," Rhodes explained. "Turkey was vital to some issue that we were dealing with, or there was some dialogue between Turkey and the Armenian government about the past."

"Frankly, here's the lesson, I think, going forward: Get it done the first year, you know, because if you don't it gets harder every year in a way,” Rhodes added.


Power, who won a Pulitzer Prize in 2003 for a book criticizing America's historical inaction toward genocide and mass killing, suggested that the administration was "played a little bit" by Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan and others invested in delaying a genocide declaration.

Erdogan was well-attuned to the U.S. political mood and calendar, and he and others would hold out the possibility that by uttering the word "genocide" Obama might derail ongoing attempts at rapprochement between Turkey and Armenia.

Armenian Americans were bitterly disappointed in Obama's failure to fulfill his campaign promise, but Power insisted that the former president meant well and was considering the bigger picture.

Obama is a "consequentialist," Power said. "He always thought 'OK, I could feel good, I could meet a campaign promise and deliver for the Armenian Americans to whom I've made this promise. And then what? What if it sets back this thing [the diplomatic dialogue] that could be much more promising? I think he really believed that it could have that perverse effect, because he was told that by people who studied the region and knew the region."

Ultimately, U.S. officials won't be able to keep tip-toeing around the truth of what happened, Power added.
"Just tell the truth. It's safer in the long run," Power said.



'Subway is dying': Battles at HQ are killing the world's largest fast-food chain — and many franchisees are turning against the CEO
Source:  AOL
Friday, 19 January 2018 15:46

  • Subway's public-relations crises and inability to keep up with trends are merely the tip of the iceberg of the company's problems.
  • Franchisees say executives have been slow to innovate and have made decisions that are killing business.
  • Divisions are present in the company's headquarters, as seen with the ouster of the head of US marketing.
  • Three franchisees told Business Insider they thought the chain needed to replace top executives, including CEO Suzanne Greco, the younger sister of the chain's cofounder Fred DeLuca.


Subway is in crisis.

The search for a turnaround

Trouble at the top

Dysfunction that has turned 'flat-out evil'

Too big to survive

Conflicting interests

'Subway is dying'

Read more...


Fusion GPS testimony brings alleged dossier source Sergei Millian back into the spotlight
Source:  business insider
Friday, 19 January 2018 15:46

sergei millian

  • The House Intelligence Committee released the transcript of its interview with Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson on Thursday.
  • Simpson spoke at length about Sergei Millian, a Belarus-born businessman who has worked with the Trump Organization and was reportedly a key source in the explosive Trump-Russia dossier.
  • Millian appears to have begun downplaying his ties to the Trump Organization after Western reporters started digging into Trump's Russia ties in 2016.


Sergei Millian, a Belarus-born businessman who has worked with the Trump Organization and was reportedly a key source in the explosive dossier alleging ties between President Donald Trump and Russia, has come back into the spotlight following Thursday's release of testimony before the House Intelligence Committee. 

Glenn Simpson, who cofounded the opposition research firm Fusion GPS, told lawmakers that a trip Trump Organization representatives took to Moscow several years ago had come onto the firm's radar as part of their research into Trump's business history. 

The trip was organized by Sergei Millian, Simpson said. He said Millian "came up in connection with Chris' work as one of the people around Trump who had a Russian background." Chris is a reference to Christopher Steele, the former British intelligence officer hired by Fusion to research Trump's Russia ties. 

Millian is believed to be a key source in a collection of memos Steele wrote between June and December of 2016 outlining Trump and his campaign members' alleged ties to Russian officials. The memos allege that Moscow and the Trump campaign worked hand in hand at points to influence the US election.

sergei millian

Millian, who changed his name when he arrived in the US from Siarhei Kukuts to Sergei Millian, founded the Russian-American Chamber of Commerce in 2006. He has described himself as an exclusive broker for the Trump Organization with respect to the company's potential real-estate dealings in Russia. 

Simpson referred to the Russian-American Chamber as a "shadowy kind of trade group."

"Russians are known to use chambers of commerce and trade groups for intelligence operations," Simpson said.

Millian attended several black-tie events at Trump's inauguration. He told the Russian news agency RIA that he had been in touch with the Trump Organization as late as April 2016. He was also photographed at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in June 2016 with the Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, a longtime business associate of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

It was around that time that Millian's organization, the Russian-American Chamber of Commerce, was looking for "delegates" to attend the Russian Oil & Gas Forum in Moscow.

But Millian appears to have begun downplaying his ties to the Trump Organization after reporters began digging into Trump's Russia ties in 2016.

Contrary to what he told RIA, Millian told Business Insider in an email last year that the last time he worked on a Trump-brand project was "in Florida around 2008." He did not respond to a subsequent request to clarify the discrepancy.

There were also discrepancies in his resume, Simpson said in his testimony.

"In one resume he said he was from Belarus and he went to Minsk State, and then in another he was from Moscow and went to Moscow State," Simpson said. "In one he said he worked for the Belarusian Foreign Ministry; in the other, he said he worked for the Russian Foreign Ministry."

Millian, who Simpson said was trained as a linguist, told ABC in July 2016 that he was "one of those very few people who have insider knowledge of Kremlin politics who has the ability to understand the Russian mentality and who has been able to successfully integrate in American society."

Millian and the Trump campaign

Millian was apparently trying to integrate with Trump's campaign team, as well.

Millian told associates in 2016 that he was in regular touch with George Papadopoulos — a campaign foreign policy adviser who pleaded guilty last fall to making false statements to the FBI about the extent and nature of his contacts with Kremlin-linked foreign nationals.

Papadopoulos tried to connect another Trump aide, Boris Epshteyn, with Millian in September 2016, according to The Washington Post. Epshteyn said the meeting never happened.

Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner was copied on emails exchanged between Millian and Trump's lawyer Michael Cohen. Those emails, according to Kushner's lawyer, consisted of Cohen urging Millian to stop speaking to the press. 

Simpson, however, suggested that the Millian-Cohen connection ran deeper.

Michael Cohen

"As further time went on, we found [Millian] was connected to Michael Cohen, the president's lawyer," Simpson told the House committee. "Michael Cohen was very adamant that he didn't actually have a connection to Sergi, even though he was one of only like 100 people who followed Sergi on Twitter. And they — we had Twitter messages back and forth between the two of them just — we just pulled them off of Twitter."

Millian did not return a request for comment. Cohen told Business Insider earlier this month that the last time he spoke to Millian was in November 2016, days before the election, in which they exchanged "4-6 emails." He said he not have access to the emails offhand but offered to share their content later.

Millian has also worked with Rossotrudnichestvo, a Russian government organization whose "fundamental" goal is to familiarize "young people from different countries" with Russian culture through exchange trips to Moscow. The FBI has investigated whether Rossotrudnichestvo is a front for the Russian government to cultivate "young, up-and-coming Americans as Russian intelligence assets" — a theory Rossotrudnichestvo has strongly denied.

Simpson mentioned Millian's work for Rossotrudnichestvo in his testimony, noting that the organization had landed on the FBI's radar for allegedly conducting recruiting operations. Last January, however, Millian told Mother Jones he "never got any business with Rossotrudnichestvo." He did not respond to requests from Business Insider to clarify.

Millian and the dossier

While Millian was not directly named in the version of the dossier that was published by BuzzFeed last January, he was "someone who was important," Simpson said.

ABC reported last January that a version of the dossier "provided to the FBI included Millian’s name as a source." The Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal reported later that Millian was either source "D" or "E" in the dossier, which Millian has denied.

Source D, according to the dossier, had been "present" for Trump's alleged "perverted conduct in Moscow." 

Source E, meanwhile," acknowledged that the Russian regime had been behind the recent leak of embarrassing e-mail messages, emanating from the Democratic National Committee (DNC), to the WikiLeaks platform," according to the dossier.

Source E also claimed that the Trump campaign and Russia had moles in the Democratic Party; that US-based "cyber operators" were coordinating attacks on the DNC and Clinton's campaign chairman John Podesta; and that these operators were being paid covertly via Russian "diplomatic staff" in "key" US cities via that Russia's emigre pension system.

The same source is quoted in the dossier as saying the Trump campaign was "relatively relaxed" about the attention on Trump's reported ties to Russia "because it deflected media and the Democrats' attention away from Trump's business dealings in China."

Millian has worked as the "vice president of the World Chinese Merchants Union Association" since 2015, according to his LinkedIn page. He wrote last April that he traveled to Beijing to meet with a Chinese official and the Russian ambassador to the Republic of San Marino.

SEE ALSO: Russia-linked Twitter accounts are working overtime to help Devin Nunes and WikiLeaks

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: This congressman wants to target the USPS to help stop the opioid crisis


10 Great Job Markets In 2018, And Their Best Industries
Source:  Forbes Real Time
Friday, 19 January 2018 15:46

ZipRecruiter, an online job search engine with more than eight million active listings, conducted a detailed analysis of which towns and cities show the most promise and published the results, including the industries strongest in those markets.

Microsoft Surface Book 2 13 Review
Source:  Digital Trends
Friday, 19 January 2018 15:45

Microsoft took what was best about its Surface Book 2-in-1 and made it even better. Our Microsoft Surface Book 2 13 review looks at an incredibly well-built machine that’s both fast and enjoyed awesome battery life.

The post Microsoft Surface Book 2 13 Review appeared first on Digital Trends.


Going back to school or changing careers? Re-learn how to learn first.
Source:  Mashable
Friday, 19 January 2018 15:45

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Heads up: All products featured here are selected by Mashable's commerce team and meet our rigorous standards for awesomeness. If you buy something, Mashable may earn an affiliate commission.

Career advice: Employers only want employees who have great skills.

This may not have been that big of a deal 20, or even 10 years ago — if you could operate Microsoft Excel, you were golden. However, today's job market is competitive AF. Middle school students are now learning the stuff previously taught in college and the rest of us are just trying to play catch up. (Since when are coding and Photoshop "preferred skills"?) And if you've been out of school for even a minuscule amount of time, you may have forgotten what it's like to learn. Read more...

More about College, Career Advice, Learning, Procrastination, and Skills

Fri Jan 19 '18 Announcement from Geezer: European Tour & New Album
Source:  Indiegogo: Announcements
Friday, 19 January 2018 15:45

This update is a video update... please check the link below.

 


Jesse Williams' Monthly Spousal Support Upped to $50,000 a Month
Source:  E!
Friday, 19 January 2018 15:45

Jesse Williams, Aryn Drakelee-WilliamsJesse Williams has been ordered to pay a significant amount more to his estranged wife, Aryn Drake-Lee, in spousal and child support. E! News can confirm that, last week, a judge signed...

Snake Bite Kills Young Man
Source:  Live Leak
Friday, 19 January 2018 15:45

Not sure where the video originiates from, looks to be south-east asia.

What it’s like to film a sex scene with Catherine Zeta-Jones
Source:  New York Post
Friday, 19 January 2018 15:44

"Cocaine Godmother" actress Jenny Pellicer talked to Page Six about the steamy on-set moments.

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