The billion-dollar ultimatum

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TUESDAY

August 30, 2016

The secretive global legal system known as ISDS is so powerful and tilted so sharply in favor of international corporations that countries go to extreme lengths to avoid getting tangled up in it. Donald Trump’s campaign CEO Stephen Bannon and an associate were accused of sexual harassment in a 1990s court case. And actor Gene Wilder — best known for his role in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory — has died.

 

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How corporations can intimidate countries with one threat. 

The secretive global legal system known as ISDS is so powerful — and tilted so sharply in favor of international corporations — that countries go to extreme lengths to avoid getting tangled up in it.

ISDS can force countries to pay hundreds of millions or even billions of dollars, money that poor countries can’t afford.

In many cases corporations don’t even bother suing; just the threat of an ISDS case is enough to help them get away with not paying taxes or not following environmental laws.

The latest installment in a four-part BuzzFeed News investigation shows how corporations can use this kind of threat to bring a country to its knees.

ISDS can force countries to pay hundreds of millions or even billions of dollars, money that poor countries can’t afford.

Here’s yesterday’s story: A shocking look at how executives convicted of crimes use this special forum to escape punishment. And here’s the video. BuzzFeed News

 

DID YOU HEAR ABOUT THIS?

Actor Gene Wilder, who starred in classics like Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory and Blazing Saddles, has died aged 83. 

The actor died in his Connecticut home as a result of complications from Alzheimer’s disease, Wilder’s nephew said, adding Wilder hadn’t disclosed his illness because he did not want to disappoint or confuse his fans.

Wilder, a Milwaukee native who was born Jerry Silberman in 1933, was nominated for an Oscar twice in his career — once for best supporting actor for his role in The Producers and once for co-writing Young Frankenstein with Mel Brooks.

Celebrities took to Twitter to mourn and pay tribute to the legendary actor. Here are seven Gene Wilder movie moments we won’t forget. And here’s how fans reacted to his death.

Gene Wilder in the 1971 film Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.

Gene Wilder in the 1971 film Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. Courtesy Of The Everett Collection

Texas LGBT students say they don’t feel safe now that people can carry guns on campus.

Many LGBT students at the University of Houston say they feel like they can no longer express themselves safely now that a law allowing people to carry concealed weapons on campus is in effect and classes have begun.

“I feel like I can’t speak up for myself anymore,” Robyn Foley, 22, a transgender and intersex student who majors in anthropology, told BuzzFeed News. “I can’t correct someone on my pronouns” — Robyn’s pronoun is “they” — “I can’t stand up for my transgender friends, because if I do and someone gets pissed off all they have to do is pull out a gun.”

Huma Abedin, a top aide to Hillary Clinton, is separating from former New York congressman Anthony Weiner after his latest sexting scandal.

The New York Post on Sunday published raunchy photos that Weiner allegedly sent to another woman. One of the pictures showed the congressman’s crotch, and the couple’s young son visible in bed next to him.

Abedin said Monday she’ll separate from her husband, after he was reported to be involved in another sexting scandal. Weiner, who resigned from US Congress in 2011 after he was caught sending explicit photos of himself to women on social media, had his 2013 run for New York City mayor derailed when more sexts emerged.

Weiner and Abedin

Weiner and Abedin John Moore / Getty Images

 

QUICK THINGS TO KNOW

  • US presidential election: Donald Trump’s campaign CEO Stephen Bannon and an associate were accused of sexual harassment in a 1990s court case. Former KKK leader David Duke’s robocall urges voters to vote for him and Donald Trump. 

  • Class(es) warfare: A fight over teachers has left this once tight-knit town broken: “This is like living in hell.” BuzzFeed News' Karla Zabludovsky reports from San Miguel del Puerto, Mexico.

  • In tech: Apple has to repay up to €13 billion ($14.5 billion) in illegal tax benefits to Ireland, the European Commission has ruled. On Sept. 7, the company will unveil the newest iPhone — expect a new dual-camera system, but probably no headphone jack. And Facebook made a sketchy website’s fake news story about Fox News host Megyn Kelly a top trending topic.

  • US news: California lawmakers passed a bill that would require prison time for those convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious victim. The effort was motivated by the sentencing of former Stanford swimmer Brock Turner.

  • More than 300 wild reindeer were killed by a lightning strike in Norway. Authorities called it an “unusually deadly event.” (Warning: This post contains upsetting images.)

  • RiRi and Drake: So there was a ~moment~ at Sunday night’s MTV Video Music Awards when it seemed that Rihanna dodged a kiss from Drake. But this video looks quite a bit different. Sorry, it looks like Drake wins again.

Dodged or not?

Dodged or not? Via Giphy

 

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