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Safety/Irony Alert. CNBC (December 25): Your new home security system may be an open invitation to hackers to make you, and perhaps many others, unsafe.” -- CW

Click on the picture to see larger image.... Low Society News. AP: "... Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump were among the guests as Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin (mih-NOO’-shin’s) married a Scottish actress. Mnuchin exchanged vows Saturday night with Louise Linton at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington. Mrs. Trump wore a pink blush dress" CW: which, if you follow Reality Chex, you will know was enhanced by some really costly baubles that remind the bride of Grace Kelly or happy times or something.

New Yorker: "In a paper in the journal Nature, an international team of researchers announced that they have pushed back the date of the earliest human remains to three hundred thousand years ago. And the specimens in question were found not in East Africa, which has become synonymous with a sort of paleoanthropological Garden of Eden, but clear on the other side of the continent — and the Sahara — in Morocco." -- CW ...

Washington Post: "Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus took a final, bittersweet bow Sunday, staging its last three shows [in Uniondale, N.Y.,] after 146 years of entertaining American audiences with gravity-defying trapeze stunts, comically clumsy clowns and trained tigers." -- CW 

Guardian: "Pippa Middleton [sister of Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge --] has married James Matthews in what has been called the society wedding of the year, in front of royalty, family and friends." -- CW

Washington Post: "Two months before Monday’s [May 8] announcement that Sinclair Broadcast Group would pay $3.9 billion for Tribune Media and add to its dominance as the nation’s largest owner of local TV stations, a top executive at Sinclair beamed a short commentary piece to many of the company’s 173 stations.In the segment, which looks like it belongs in a newscast, Sinclair vice president for news Scott Livingston stands before a wall of video monitors and warns that 'some members of the national media are using their platforms to push their own personal bias and agenda to control exactly what people think.' He accuses the national media of publishing 'fake news stories' — a direct echo of President Trump’s frequent complaint — and then asks viewers to visit the station’s website to share 'content concerns.' The piece was a 'must-run,' meaning news directors and station managers from Baltimore to Seattle had to find room for it.... While partisan coverage is a familiar staple of cable networks — Fox News on the right, MSNBC on the left — it remains mostly unheard of in broadcast TV, where it has generally been accepted that public airwaves should be used in the difficult-to-define public interest.” -- CW 

CNN: "21st Century Fox and the private equity firm Blackstone are in talks to launch a bid for Tribune Media, one of the nation's largest television broadcasting companies, a source with knowledge of the matter said Sunday. The deal currently under discussion would see Blackstone and Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox forming a joint venture. Blackstone would provide the cash for the acquisition while Fox would add all its owned-and-operated television stations to the joint venture." -- CW 

New York Times: "Prehistoric humans — perhaps Neanderthals or another lost species — occupied what is now California some 130,000 years ago, a team of scientists reported on Wednesday. The bold and fiercely disputed claim, published in the journal Nature, is based on a study of mastodon bones discovered near San Diego. If the scientists are right, they would significantly alter our understanding of how humans spread around the planet." -- CW 

If you're curious as to how realistic the New York City apartments of TV sitcom characters are -- in terms of what the characters could reasonably afford -- the Washington Post checks out several of the hovels & dream rentals of a number of shows. Kinda fun. CW: My husband & I (he paid the rent) had a fairly spacious two-bedroom with a galley kitchen (dishwasher included!) & dining room plus teensy closets on Washington Square in the 1980s & '90s. NYU owned the building & helped considerably with the rent.

Politico: "Comedian Hasan Minhaj will be this year's entertainer for the White House Correspondents' Dinner later this month, the association's president announced on Tuesday. Minhaj is a stand up comedian and senior correspondent on 'The Daily Show,' where he has performed caustic bits on ... Donald Trump, liberals and others in between. Minhaj has Washington experience already, having performed as host of last year's Radio and Television Correspondents' Association Dinner." -- CW 

AFP: "After months of uncertainty and controversy, Bob Dylan finally accepted the 2016 Nobel Prize in literature at a jovial, champagne-laced ceremony on Saturday, [April 1,] the Swedish Academy announced. The academy, which awards the coveted prize, ended prolonged speculation as to whether the 75-year-old troubadour would use a concert stopover in Stockholm to accept the gold medal and diploma awarded to him back in October." -- CW 

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The Obamas' European Tour April 2009 - Part 1

Wall Street Journal graphic.

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Be sure to see the EuroGallery, too, which has some excellent photographs of events. Link via the navigation bar above.

The Washington Post has an excellent slideshow of the President's European trip. Time magazine also has an outstanding slideshow of the Obamas' European trip. Also, don't miss the White House's fabulous slideshow of behind-the-scenes photos.

Sunday Commentary on the President & First Lady's European Excursion:

Reuters photo.

A. A. Gill in the New York Times: "Honey, we shrank the monarchy."

Maureen Dowd: President Obama's unique life experience makes him well-suited to dealing with egotistical world leaders.

Michael Scherer has an interesting post on Obama's view of "American exceptionalism" -- one of the many embarassments of the Bush era, now put in perspective.

In Slate, Fred Kaplan hails the return of statescraft.

AP: President Obama defuses Turkey's objections to Denmark's Anders Fogh Rasmussen to head NATO, & the deal is done.

New York Times: at a luncheon for EU leaders, President Obama urged them to admit Turkey to the Union.

Reuters Update: the French & Germans are not amused. BBC report here.

Brief video of Obama-EU leaders' joint news conference following the EU summit meeting:

Brief video of President Obama addressing the EU summit members:

I liked this short EUX.TV video in which handlers get the European leaders to line up for a group photo:

The BBC News has a video of President Obama's full Prague speech. And here's a link to the transcript of the full speech.

This Politico video covers the meat of the President's Prague speech. It runs about 15 minutes:

This EUX.TV video of the President's speech in the Prague Castle complex captures the highlights. (If you wonder why the backdrop seems to be a sort of sickly yellow, that's because that's what color the air is in one of the world's most polluted nations.)

Here's the President's news conference following the close of the NATO summit. Runs 32 minutes.

Update: here's the White House blog on the NATO summit vis-a-vis Afghanistan.

New York Times: the Czech Republic's embarassing domestic politics (er, it has no government just now) have wrecked its hopes for a chance to shine on the world stage when EU leaders -- and the Obamas -- converge on the Republic for their annual summit.

After painstaking research & analysis, Gail Collins resolves the "long-standing question of who can be more irritating, the Republicans or the French."

President Obama's town hall meeting in Strasbourg (runs an hour):

Here's AP raw video of the raucous greeting the Obamas received in Strasbourg:

The Guardian reports on the behind-the-scenes negotiations that secured the G-20 concord.

President Obama held a news conference following the conclusion of the G-20 summit.C-SPAN has it here. Runs 53 minutes.

A touching moment when Michelle Obama encourages students at a school catering mostly to ethnic minority girls for whom English is a second language:

"We are not amused." Actually, we are:

Charles Wolfson of CBS News: President Obama & Secretary Clinton have used international meetings to conduct an impressive array of diplomacy not directly related to the meetings' objectives.

The Obamas meet Queen Elizabeth II & her husband Prince Philip in the royal residence of Buckingham Palace.

Link here to Time magazine photos of the Obamas' visit to Buckingham Palace.

Meanwhile, out in the courtyard,that's President Obama's armored car. Those are Queen Elizabeth's Corgis.No word on what happened next.

Getty image.This BBC News report on the lead-up to the G-20 meetings contains some good video footage. Duration: about 5 minutes:

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