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from Photographers' Blog:

Remembering Verdun

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Verdun, France

By Charles Platiau

Verdun was the site of one of World War I’s bloodiest battles. Hundreds of thousands of French and German soldiers lost their lives in this north-eastern corner of France, where fighting raged for months in 1916.

Yesterday’s enemies are now united on the battleground. Members of French and German historical associations, all keenly interested in the First World War and all passionate about historical re-enactments, gather in Verdun every year to take part in a commemorative march.

One sunny Saturday in March, I joined up with four historical associations who took part in the event: “Le Poilu de la Marne” - from France, and “Darstellungsgruppe Suddeutches Militar”, “IG 18” and “Verein Historische Uniformen”- from Germany.

The French wore the uniforms of “Poilus” as French infantrymen in the First World War were nicknamed. The Germans wore the famous spiked helmet of the old German army. After laying a wreath in the village of Bezonvaux – one of nine villages that were completely wiped out by the fighting at Verdun – they took part in a 9 mile walk to visit the battlefield.

from Larry Fine:

Woodland in Masters contention with record-tying first nine

AUGUSTA, Georgia (Reuters) - American Gary Woodland roared into contention early in the third round of the Masters by posting a record-tying six-under-par 30 for the front nine at Augusta National on Saturday.

Woodland, who began the warm, sunny day 10 strokes behind halfway leader Bubba Watson, shot up the leaderboard with four birdies and an eagle over his first nine and then added a birdie at the 10th to move within three shots of the 2012 champion.

from FaithWorld:

Deceased Dutch Catholic bishop was child molester – abuse commission

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(St. Christopher's Cathedral in Roermond, 2011/Arch)

The Dutch Catholic Church, in a rare admission of guilt among senior clergy, has confirmed that a bishop who died last year had sexually abused two boys decades earlier.

The diocese of Roermond said a Church commission had found that accusations against former bishop Johannes Gijsen, dating back to his time as chaplain at a minor seminary from 1958 to 1961, were "well founded".

from FaithWorld:

Pope Francis asks forgiveness for ‘evil’ of child abuse by priests

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(Pope Francis waves as he arrives for a meeting with members of an association for children at the Vatican April 11, 2014.  Rueters/Osservatore Romano)

Pope Francis made his first public plea for forgiveness on Friday for the "evil" committed by priests who molested children, using some of his strongest words yet on the Roman Catholic Church's sexual abuse crisis.

from Counterparties:

Explanatory journalism

Something troubling is happening in the stock market. Not only are markets are down – the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 are down 3.1% and 2.6%, respectively, this week – but no one has come up with a convenient, compelling (and misleading) reason why. Never mind, says Matthew Klein, that US stocks are up 30% since the start of 2013. We need to know why they are down this week, as Barry Ritholz writes, because we crave meaning in a random world.

Perhaps it’s all tech stocks’ fault. They have, FT Alphaville’s Dan McCrum drolly commented, “become a little bit more modestly priced”. The Nasdaq is down 7% in the last month. Over the past two and a half months, Twitter, Facebook, Amazon, and Netflix are down 31%, 7%, 21%, and 16%, respectively.

from Reihan Salam:

Why Congress must rethink sanctions on Cuba

Alan Gross, the 64-year-old American who has been imprisoned by Cuban authorities since 2009, is an unremarkable man on the surface. He could be a friend or colleague, or an uncle you’ve been meaning to call.

Yet what distinguishes Gross from most of the rest of us, myself included, is his courage. As a sub-contractor for the U.S. Agency for International Development, Gross traveled to Cuba to help private citizens gain access to the Internet, and thus to news and information not managed or manufactured by the Cuban government. Gross likely knew that his work was dangerous, but he may have underestimated the risk he was taking. In a heartbreaking letter to President Obama, Gross recounted the many ways his wife and daughters have suffered in his absence. He beseeched the president to intervene in his case.

from Alison Frankel:

DOJ, FTC on antitrust, cybersecurity: solution in search of problem?

Way back in 2000, the Electric Power Research Institute, a non-profit funded by utility companies, asked the Justice Department's Antitrust Division for guidance on a proposal to help its members pool information to ward off cyber attacks. EPRI told Justice that companies across the energy sector wanted to exchange information about how best to conduct vulnerability assessments, install anti-hacking protections and formulate restoration plans in case of breaches. EPRI asked for the department's assurance that this kind of industry-wide collaboration would not violate antitrust laws.

In a letter to EPRI, then antitrust chief Joel Klein said it would not, as long as the companies kept EPRI's promise not to use the information exchange to impede competition. The companies could not, for instance, swap details of negotiations with specific anti-hacking service providers. But as long as they avoided talking specifically about prices or other competition-sensitive topics, they'd be fine. "The proposed interdictions on price, purchasing and future product innovation discussions should be sufficient to avoid any threats to competition," Klein wrote. "Indeed, to the extent that the proposed information exchanges result in more efficient means of reducing cyber-security costs, and such savings redound to the benefit of consumers, the information exchanges could be procompetitive in effect."

from Breakingviews:

Comcast’s $45 bln deal warrants some utility logic

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By Jeffrey Goldfarb

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Imagine Comcast’s $45 billion plan to buy Time Warner Cable gets the utility treatment. It isn’t a big stretch these days to liken the pipes that bring the internet into homes to those carrying water or electricity. When power companies and the like merge, though, regulators want consumers to share the spoils.

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