Digital, Journalist, Online, Reporting, Social, Video, Writing

New audio reveals Juncker and Mogherini talked policy in Russian prank call

(Stephanie Burnett broke this news story, and it was featured in news outlets, including Politico.)

A Russian duo described as pranksters have duped European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini into believing they were speaking to the Armenian prime minister, Euronews has learned, prompting concerns about security breaches.

The two separate calls, which lasted about 10 minutes and 12 minutes respectively, occurred in May shortly after Nikol Pashinyan was sworn in as Armenia’s new prime minister.

On the other end of the line, however, were Alexey Stolyarov and Vladimir Kuznetsov.

What did Juncker and Mogherini say?

Conversation with Juncker
The call with Juncker appears to have been taken on May 9, as he refers to US President Donald Trump’s decision to abandon the Iran nuclear the day before — a move the EU leader called a “mistake” on the phone.

“This is a major concern for us and for me personally because I do think that this is a major mistake, the one that Trump had made yesterday night,” said Juncker.

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Digital, Journalist, Multi-media, Online, Reporting, Social, Writing

Online Concierge Service Helps Men Find Gifts for Their Partners

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This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition in Sept. 2014.

Dating is a serious business in Hong Kong. In an era of online dating and mobile matchmaking apps, every day thousands of single men and women in the city are busy searching for prospective partners through dating services. But what about those who have found true love and want to keep hold of it?

Enter the Butlur – an online gift-giving concierge service that describes itself as “helping discerning men delight women who have everything”.

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Digital, Journalist, Multi-media, Online, Reporting, Social, Writing

Have You Ever Wondered Why East Asians Spontaneously Make V-Signs in Photos?

Originally published on TIME.com

Spend a few minutes browsing social media, or watch groups of travelers posing in front of a popular tourist attraction, and you’re bound to come across it: attractive young Asians flashing smiles and making the V-for-Victory sign (or peace sign). The raised index and middle fingers, with palm facing outward, are as much a part of Asian portraiture as saying cheese is to English speakers. But why?

To non-Asians, the gesture seems so intrinsically woven into the popular culture of Beijing, Osaka or Taipei as to make it seem that it was forever thus — but, in fact, its earliest origins date back no further than the late 1960s, and the gesture didn’t really find widespread acceptance until the late 1980s.

Some say it began with Janet Lynn. The American figure skater was favored to take home gold in the 1972 Olympics in Japan. But the 18-year-old’s dream came crashing down when she fell during her performance. The gold medal was gone. She knew it, and Japan knew it.

But instead of grimacing, the shaggy-haired blonde simply smiled. Lynn’s behavior ran charmingly counter to the Japanese norm of saving face, and in doing so earned her legions of Japanese fans.

“They could not understand how I could smile knowing that I could not win anything,” said Lynn, who eventually went home with a bronze, in a telephone interview. “I couldn’t go anywhere the next day without mobs of people. It was like I was a rock star, people giving me things, trying to shake my hands.” Continue reading

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What we can learn from Venezuela and Kenya

It didn’t come as a surprise.

This year’s elections around the world were often marred by allegations of election fraud, including vote buying, intimidation and physical violence. But what is new is the shift in how such claims are being reported in the digital age – and taken seriously.

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