MARCH 13, 2014 A Relentless March to Russia's DoorstepWikiLeaks, Ukraine and NATOby CONN HALLINAN
Is the Russian occupation of the Crimea a case of aggressive expansionism by Moscow or aimed at at blocking a scheme by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to roll right up to the Russia’s western border? WikiLeaks has revealed a secret cable describing a meeting between French and American diplomats that suggests the latter, a plan that has been in the works since at least 2009.
Titled “A/S Gordon’s meeting with policy makers in Paris,” the cable summarizes a Sept. 16, 2009 get-together between Philip Gordon, then assistant U.S. Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, and French diplomats Jean-David Levitte, Damien Loras, and Francois Richier. Gordon is currently a special assistant to President Obama on the Middle East.
While the bulk of the cable covers an exchange of views concerning Iran, the second to last item is entitled “NATO’s enlargement and strategic concept.” At this point Levitte, former French ambassador to the U.S. from 2002 to 2007, interjects that “[French] President [Nicholas] Sarkozy was ‘convinced’ that Ukraine would one day be a member of NATO, but that there was no point in rushing the process and antagonizing Russia, particularly if the Ukrainian public was largely against membership.” Gordon goes on to paraphrase Levitte’s opinion that, “the Bucharest summit declaration was very clear that NATO had an open door and Ukraine and Georgia have a vocation in NATO.”
Levitte is currently a fellow at the conservative Brookings Institute.
Publication en ligne des actes de la journée d’études « Patrimoine photographié, patrimoine photographique »
organisée le 12 avril 2010 grâce à un étroit partenariat entre l’École pratique des Hautes Études (EPHE) et l’Institut national d’histoire de l’art (INHA)..
Sous la direction de Raphaële Bertho (alors doctorante), Jean-Philippe Garric (Conseiller scientifique à l’INHA pour l’histoire de l’architecture) et François Queyrel (directeur d’études en archéologie grecque à l’EPHE)Avec la collaboration de Arlette Auduc, Maria-Francesca Bonetti, Antonio Brucculeri, MarcBui, Clémentine Durand, Audrey Gouy, Virginie Nobs, Anne-Laure Pierre, SergePlantureux, Dubravka Preradović, Lorenzo Scaramella, Danièle Terrer et RobertaValtorta Publication réalisée avec la collaboration d’Anne Szulmajster-Celnikier, Frédéric Magda, Sophie Pillet,Pierre-Olivier Védrine.
Via Thomas-Penette Michel
An unprecedented gathering of baby great white sharks near the Monterey Bay shoreline this week has scientists as curious as the public about what happens next. The arrival of more sharks, perhaps even the giant great whites on the tails of these smaller ones? Or their departure from local beaches to the sites of large elephant seal populations for feeding? Most of the sharks are 8- to 12-foot juveniles, part of a rookery that has been displaced north by the gathering strength of an El Niño, said Sean Van Sommeran, executive director of the Pelagic Shark Research Foundation. “It’s the same process of dynamics and water currents that has driven sea lions north,” Van Sommeran said. No record exists of such a gathering in Monterey Bay or Bay Area coastal waters, though, perhaps as a prelude, a great white shark was verified inside Monterey harbor last year, Van Sommeran said. Rangers have since posted a shark warning sign at the kiosk near the park’s campground. A week after the first en masse sighting, a great white swam under a kayak Tuesday — and the paddler, a marine biologist out to see the sharks, snapped a series of photos unlike anything ever seen on the Central Coast. “I was just off the cement ship (the ruins of the Palo Alto, just off Seacliff State Beach) when this 8-foot great white shark swam right under my kayak,” said Giancarlo Thomae, who works as an interpretive specialist for a whale watching operation.
(Use SALT RETCOL for alerts on retail columns) (Bloomberg) -- Since 2008, Adidas AG chief Herbert Hainer has abandoned two long-term strategy plans after failing to deliver the promised results. This week, Hainer expects to offer a third such plan -- and says he deserves two more years to get it on track. Hainer, a 60-year-old Bavarian who has been CEO since 2001, last year persuaded the supervisory board to extend his contract through March 2017. That will provide “sufficient time for a smooth transition” to the next CEO, he told employees in a letter released last month as recruiter Egon Zehnder International set out searching for his successor. For some investors, that’s too slow. “The sooner Hainer hands the baton to a successor the better,” said Ingo Speich, a portfolio manager at Union Investment, which holds 1 percent of Adidas shares. “A new strategy would be believable only with new leadership.” At a March 26 event at Adidas’ headquarters in Herzogenaurach, about two hours’ drive north of Munich, Hainer and his deputies will present a five-year financial plan. The initiative is aimed at wresting back market share from Nike Inc. -- which has proven better at courting young people in big cities like London, Hong Kong and San Francisco -- and protecting its soccer franchise from upstarts such as Under Armour Inc. “I want to have a convincing message that says, ’OK, we are waking up,’” said Cedric Rossi, an analyst at Bryan Garnier & Co. in Paris who has a “neutral” rating on the shares. “When you look at the last two strategy plans Adidas implemented, the two were a failure.” Successor Search On stage with Hainer will be internal candidates for his job, brand chief Eric Liedtke and sales head Roland Auschel. The board is also looking outside, part of “a long-term process that has just begun,” Hainer wrote in his letter to employees. The company declined to comment on calls for Hainer’s early departure. The No. 2 athletic gear maker -- sponsor of soccer’s quadrennial World Cup since 1970 and of last year’s top two teams, Germany and Argentina -- last summer said it wouldn’t reach targets of 17 billion euros in revenue and an operating margin of 11 percent for 2015. Adidas is now predicting sales of roughly 15.5 billion euros and a margin of 6.5 percent to 7 percent this year as it boosts marketing. After the world financial crisis in 2008, the company also abandoned targets for 2009. Nike, the world’s top supplier of sports gear, on March 19 said its sales for the quarter ended in February rose 7 percent from a year ago and its profit margin widened to 14 percent -- double Adidas’. In the U.S., which accounts for about a third of global sport shoe sales, according to market researcher Euromonitor International, Adidas is far behind Nike in basketball and American football. And “soccer isn’t meaningful here,” said Matt Powell, an analyst at market researcher NPD Group. “The problem is there’s no quick fix,” Powell said. “An idea someone has today will take months to make it to retail.” That’s not to say Hainer’s tenure has been a total flop. Adidas has made strong progress in China, and its shares are up 20 percent this year after losing 38 percent in 2014, the worst performer in Germany’s 30-stock DAX index. Its market value has more than tripled since Hainer took over in 2001 -- though Nike has grown almost nine-fold in that time period. The problems aren’t lost on Hainer, who said on a March 5 earnings call that the company has “turned our entire marketing organization upside-down” to let divisions such as running shoes and soccer cleats take charge of their advertising. “There’s a European mentality that comes out of Germany and you try to apply it here and it becomes very difficult,” Adidas North American president Mark King said in a recent interview with Bloomberg Television. Middle Fingers Yet some recent Adidas’ marketing isn’t in keeping with the company’s history as a no-nonsense supplier of precision shoes used by Europe’s soccer elite, top marathon runners, and mountaineers like the legendary Reinhold Messner. A video ad, There Will be Haters, featured Uruguay’s Luis Suarez, expelled from last summer’s World Cup for biting an opponent, surrounded by graphics of raised middle fingers. And a World Cup campaign featured players holding bloody cow hearts pledging to “give their heart” to the tournament. The company declined to say which agency was responsible for those ads, but says it has shifted most of its business to 72andSunny, a shop in Los Angeles that makes cheeky ads with swimsuit models for Carl’s Jr. and more wholesome spots on work- life balance for Google Inc. Adidas says it expects those ads, to be unveiled this summer, to focus more closely on its core values as a sporting goods brand. Even before revealing his new plan, Hainer has made a series of strategic moves. Adidas sold its Rockport walking shoe business in January and on March 16 said it won’t pursue a new NBA sponsorship deal when its current one ends in two years. The company has even managed to rekindle interest in its faded Reebok brand by targeting niche sports like mud-racing, though that’s a long way from 1985, when movie star Cybill Shepherd was shot at the Emmys wearing a black gown, formal gloves — and orange Reeboks. “It never feels good when you don’t reach all the goals you set out in either sport or business,” Hainer said on the earnings call as explanation for failing to meet the 2015 targets. “I have lots of interests and hobbies and my wife is crying for more time.” But if Hainer has his way, his wife will have to wait. To contact the reporter on this story: Aaron Ricadela in Frankfurt at firstname.lastname@example.org To contact the editors responsible for this story: Matthew Boyle at email@example.com David Rocks This article was written by Aaron Ricadela from Bloomberg and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.
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