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Europe Edition: Donald Trump, George Weah, Italy: Your Friday Briefing

A coalition of right-wing parties could surpass the governing Democratic Party. The anti-establishment Five Star Movement and the far-right League party have gained in recent polls._____PhotoCredit Vahid Salemi/Associated Press• Iran and Saudi Arabia are competing in a surprising new category: gender equality.Both countries are responding to domestic and international pressure over women’s rights and are now vying over who can be quicker to overhaul their repressive rules.Separately, our correspondent in Cairo met the women of Egypt’s only roller derby club. They say the sport’s bump and tumble help unleash their frustrations and offer a sense of empowerment._____PhotoCredit Esther Aarts• If you’re still looking for New Year’s resolutions, here’s our advice: Set concrete goals, measure progress and aim high.We asked experts in their fields to teach us how to improve ourselves in 2018, including how to better clean a home, build a team or save for retirement.Many of us make getting fit and losing weight our resolutions, but the odds are that we’ll fail. (If you want to set a lower bar, here are five vows that are easily kept.)BusinessPhotoCredit Vincent Yu/Associated Press• Apple, accused of slowing down old iPhones, said that it would discount the cost of battery replacements worldwide for anyone with an iPhone 6 or later to regain customers’ trust.Continue reading the main story• Uber shareholders agreed to sell a significant stake in the ride-hailing giant to SoftBank. […]

Far Right Plans Its Next Moves With a New Energy

The ugliness of the rally — which included crowds of young white men offering the Nazi salute and which led to the death of a woman in a car attack — has resulted in a fracture on the right. […]

Far-Right Groups Surge Into National View in Charlottesville

Many Americans watched transfixed as members of those groups marched down the street, barked out anti-Semitic chants and openly displayed the symbols of Nazi Germany and the secessionist South.And many looked on in horror as a speeding car crashed into other vehicles on a crowded street Saturday afternoon, resulting in the death of a 32-year-old woman and injuries to at least 19 other people.Though President Trump, in his comments, declined to single out the white supremacist movement, many mainstream conservatives were appalled. Senator John McCain called the white supremacists “traitors” on Twitter.The House speaker, Paul D. Ryan, called them “repugnant.”The Justice Department announced late Saturday that it was opening a civil rights investigation. “The violence and deaths in Charlottesville strike at the heart of American law and justice,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement. “When such actions arise from racial bigotry and hatred, they betray our core values and cannot be tolerated.”Some left-leaning Charlottesville organizers like Laura Goldblatt, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Virginia, said that the full airing of such ideas would eventually lead more Americans to reject them. “I think this is the beginning of the end for this spectacularized part of the movement,” Ms. Goldblatt said.But some key far-right leaders say the outcome was exactly what they had hoped for.“We achieved all of our objectives,” Matthew Heimbach, a founder of the Nationalist Front, a neo-Nazi group that bills itself as an umbrella organization for the white nationalist movement, said in an interview Saturday. “We showed that our movement is not just online, but growing physically. […]

12 favorite sea slugs of the man who’s discovered more than 1000 of them

Terry Gosliner’s lifelong passion for nudibranchs has taken him all over the world in search of the surreal sea slugs; here are his greatest hits. […]

Commando Raids on ISIS Yield Vital Data in Shadowy War

“If we can scoop somebody up alive, with their cellphones and diaries, it really can help speed up the demise of a terrorist group like ISIS,” said Dell L. Dailey, a retired commander of the military’s Joint Special Operations Command and the chairman of the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point.Continue reading the main storyAmerican military and intelligence officials caution that the Islamic State is far from defeated, particularly with a sophisticated propaganda apparatus that continues to inspire and, in some cases, enable its global following to carry out attacks. But in the self-proclaimed caliphate across swaths of Iraq and Syria, the terrorist group’s last two major strongholds are under siege, many senior leaders have fled south to the Euphrates River Valley, and its legions of foreign fighters are battling to the death or slipping away, possibly to wreak havoc in Europe.The race to drive the jihadists out of eastern Syria, where they have held sway for three years, has gained new urgency as rival forces converge on ungoverned parts of the region. Syrian forces and Iranian-backed militias that support them are advancing east, closer to American-backed fighters battling to reclaim Raqqa. Russia threatened on Monday to target American and allied aircraft the day after the United States military brought down a Syrian warplane.This highly volatile environment puts an increasing premium on the Special Operations missions.Despite his nom de guerre, Mr. Uzbeki, 39, was a native of Tajikistan, not Uzbekistan, and honed his fighting skills with the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, a Taliban-allied jihadist group, according to an American military official. About 10 years ago, he moved to Pakistan, where he had extensive contacts with Al Qaeda, the official said. In recent years, he had moved to Syria and joined the Islamic State’s fighting ranks.Mr. Uzbeki was close to Mr. Baghdadi, the Islamic State’s leader, and helped plot a deadly attack on a nightclub in Istanbul on New Year’s Day. […]

The pope’s gift to Trump is the subtlest shade we’ve seen all week.

A report on the employment practices of green groups finds that the sector, despite its socially progressive reputation, is still overwhelmingly the bastion of white men.

According to the study, released by Green 2.0, roughly 3 out of 10 people at environmental organizations are people of color, but at the senior staff level, the figure drops closer to 1 out of 10. And at all levels, from full-time employees to board members, men make up three-quarters or more of NGO staffs.

Click to embiggen.Green 2.0

The new report, titled “Beyond Diversity: A Roadmap to Building an Inclusive Organization,” relied on more than 85 interviews of executives and HR reps and recruiters at environmental organizations.

Representatives of NGOs and foundations largely agreed on the benefits of having a more diverse workforce, from the added perspectives in addressing environmental problems to a deeper focus on environmental justice to allowing the movement to engage a wider audience.

The most worrisome finding is that fewer than 40 percent of environmental groups even had diversity plans in place to ensure they’re more inclusive. According to the report, “Research shows that diversity plans increases the odds of black men in management positions significantly.”

[…]

This bike trailer not only carries cargo, it pushes your bicycle with an electric motor

NÜWIEL’s “intelligent bicycle trailer” aims to help people move heavier loads by bike both safely and comfortably. […]