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from Alison Frankel:

Why the Arab Bank terror-finance trial matters

Last week, on the evening of Sept. 11, a lawyer named Mark Werbner stood outside his hotel in Brooklyn and looked across the East River at the blue lights commemorating the collapse of the World Trade Center in 2001. Werbner, who is from Dallas, was in New York because he represents American victims of Hamas bombings and shootings during the second Palestinian Intifada. Since early August, he and his co-counsel have been trying the victims' claims against Jordan's Arab Bank, which they accuse of financing the Hamas terror operations. As he looked at the blue lights, Werbner told jurors Thursday during closing arguments in the Arab Bank trial, he stepped back and asked himself whether the 10 years of work he'd put into the case had accomplished anything.

"What am I doing here? What difference will it make?" he told jurors. "You know what's going on in the world since then. It's not any better. You know what we're facing."

I've asked myself the same question, after watching portions of the Arab Bank trial over the past six weeks. For all of the dogged investigation, numbing research and considerable expense that the victims' lawyers have devoted to their case against Arab Bank, militants - including those from Hamas - are still finding ways to finance operations targeting civilians. Even as lawyers in this case argued in whispered sidebars in an air-conditioned courtroom in Brooklyn over the admission of pieces of evidence from an uprising that ended a decade ago, the Islamic State was putting out videos of its merciless beheadings of American journalists and a British aid worker. The 11 jurors who've endured long weeks of a multilingual, document-intensive trial must also have wondered: Can private litigation against a bank prevent terrorism?

The four lawyers who spoke Thursday for the plaintiffs in the Arab Bank case assured them that it can - that the message they send with their verdict will force international banks to do more than check wire transfers against terrorism blacklists. If jurors find Arab Bank liable for processing about $73 million that allegedly propped up Hamas operations in the Second Intifada, the lawyers said, banks around the world will be on notice that they're responsible for actively policing against financing terror.

from Stories I’d like to see:

Just how strange is Governor Andrew Cuomo?

New York Governor M. Cuomo stands during a news conference following a bi-state meeting on regional security and preparedness in New York

1. What’s the matter with Andrew Cuomo?

By now I assume New Yorker editor David Remnick has assigned someone to do a profile of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who is fast becoming the Howard Hughes of big-time politicians.

But just in case he hasn’t, here’s a reminder for him or any other smart editor why it’s time to take a long look at the governor: The New York Times report in late July detailing how Cuomo interfered with his supposedly independent corruption commission was great stuff. Even better were subsequent accounts in the Times and elsewhere about the governor’s clumsy attempts to explain things once he got caught.

from Blogs Dashboard:

Fashion Lookout: NYFW Spring 2015 Coverage, Social Media

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Zy28Qk38jA&list=UUZsx_d2eYmFdQnlbxcvEKkw[/youtube]

from jharonnemartis:

DESIGNERS KORS AND KATE COMPETING FOR FANS ON SOCIAL MEDIA

New York Fashion Week featured a new runway star – glamorous, trendy and not affiliated with any one designer. Social media arrived as a marketing tool, with the potential to boost the bottom line of design firms that get it right. We look at two players to see who might pull ahead in the race for online dominance.

In New York, Facebook, Twitter and e-commerce tools instantly brought the latest styles to fans around the world, even giving customers the chance to buy them immediately.

from Blogs Dashboard:

DESIGNERS KORS AND KATE COMPETING FOR FANS ON SOCIAL MEDIA

New York Fashion Week featured a new runway star – glamorous, trendy and not affiliated with any one designer. Social media arrived as a marketing tool, with the potential to boost the bottom line of design firms that get it right. We look at two players to see who might pull ahead in the race for online dominance.

In New York, Facebook, Twitter and e-commerce tools instantly brought the latest styles to fans around the world, even giving customers the chance to buy them immediately.

from The Great Debate:

Not one woman gets her own pedestal among Central Park’s statues

The Central Park statue of Dr. James Marion Sims is pictured along 5th Ave in the Manhattan borough of New York

There are 50 statues in New York’s Central Park, one of the world’s most visited spots. Not one of them is of a woman who exists outside of fiction.

There are marble monuments to dozens of men, most of them real, but not a single statue commemorating the life or contributions of a real-life woman. Even the fictional female characters – Alice in Wonderland, Juliet Capulet and Mother Goose – were created by men.

from The Great Debate:

You can’t blame immigrants for gun violence

A pile of handguns are placed in a trash bin after they were surrendered during a gun buyback program in Los Angeles, California

The eruption of anti-immigrant fury over the federal government’s plans to temporarily relocate undocumented Latino children to shelters and Border Patrol facilities in Murietta, California, and other cities, is largely founded on the expressed belief that immigrants bring drugs and crime, threatening the safety of communities.

Yet as figures from the Murietta Police Department show, Latinos commit fewer crimes, especially drug offenses, compared to whites in their respective proportions of the city’s population.  Racially diverse areas with rapidly growing, younger immigrant populations are also becoming dramatically safer from gun violence, according to surprising new figures from the Centers for Disease Control.

from The Human Impact:

Do gender and sexuality really matter anymore?

Contestants wait for the start of the annual race on high heels during Gay Pride celebrations in the quarter of Chueca in Madrid

Contestants wait for the start of the annual race on high heels during Gay Pride celebrations in the quarter of Chueca in Madrid

When I sat down with directors Dan Sickles and Antonio Santini to discuss “Mala Mala,” their documentary which premiered last month at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York, I took out my laptop and went over my questions one more time, as I always do.

from Global Markets Forum Dashboard:

Bitcoin regulations could come as early as summer – NY regulator

Benjamin Lawsky, Superintendent of the New York State Department of Financial Services

Benjamin Lawsky, Superintendent of the New York State Department of Financial Services

(Note to readers: This blog was orginally posted on May 1, 2014 and was updated on May 15th with news of a Bitcoin-focused hedge fund at the bottom).

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