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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

The only thing I’d be impartial about is what prison this guy goes to. -- Prospective Juror, Martin Shkreli trial ...

... Harper's republishes some of the jury selection proceedings in the Martin Shkreli case.

Vanity Fair: "... Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times chief book reviewer and Pulitzer Prize winner, who has been, by a wide margin, the most powerful book critic in the English-speaking world, is stepping down.... Kakutani said that she could neither confirm nor comment. But sources familiar with her decision, which comes a year after the Times restructured its books coverage, told me that last year’s election had triggered a desire to branch out and write more essays about culture and politics in Trump’s America."

... Washington Post: "... investigators believe they have discovered the 'smoking gun' that would support a decades-old theory that [Amelia] Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan, were captured by the Japanese: a newly unearthed photograph from the National Archives that purportedly shows Earhart and Noonan — and their plane — on an atoll in the Marshall Islands.... Gary Tarpinian,  executive producer of the History documentary, told the Today show that they believe the Koshu, the Japanese merchant ship in the photo, took Earhart to Saipan, where she died in Japanese custody."

Summer Beach Reading. James Hohmann of the Washington Post suggests Al Franken's Giant of the Senate. Hohmann's column hits some of the highlights. CW: Let us be thankful that Donald Trump is incapable of learning the lessons Franken learned from his team. If Trump were half as bright as Franken, he would be a succesful president & very effective dictator.

Politico: "MSNBC has parted ways with anchor Greta Van Susteren after just six months on air, as her show failed to live up to the network's ratings expectations. An MSNBC executive said the decision to remove the former Fox News host was purely for business reasons, based on ratings."

Click on the picture to see larger image.... 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."

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."

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."

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."

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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