Jay Z Reportedly Taking Legal Action Against Former Tidal Owners

The lawsuit claims TIDAL’s former owners distorted subscriber numbers.

Ralph Bristout Mar 31, 2016

According to Bloomberg, Jay Z is going after the previous owners of Tidal for claims that he was given inflated subscriber numbers before acquiring the service.

The news was first reported by Norwegian press as the Roc Nation mogul filing a multi-million dollar lawsuit against the former owners of Tidal, which sold the service to him for about $56 million.

“It became clear after taking control of TIDAL and conducting our own audit that the total number of subscribers was actually well below the 540,000 reported to us by the prior owners,” said Tidal representatives in an emailed statement to Bloomberg. Before the deal, the streaming service was owned by the Norwegian media company Schibsted ASA.

The statement continues, stating, “As a result we have now served legal notice to parties involved in the sale.” It’s been reported that TIDAL wants about $15 million back.

Meanwhile, Schibsted defended the sale, telling Norway’s BreakIt News, as relayed by USA Today, “We want to point out that it was a publicly traded company that was acquired, with what it means by the transparency of financial reporting. Otherwise we have no comments.”

The lawsuit comes just a few days after Tidal revealed that its service has now gained more than 3 million subscribers worldwide, thanks to exclusives like Kanye West’s The Life of Pablo.

Sourced From – https://revolt.tv/stories/2016/03/31/jay-reportedly-taking-legal-action-tidal-owners-6253597a67

ConAgra must pay $108.9 million in lawsuit over fatal 2009 blast; verdict likely a Nebraska record

The Slim Jim plant in Garner, North Carolina, after the explosion on June 9, 2009. Four people died as a result of the explosion, which was caused by a natural gas leak during water heater installation.

POSTED: FRIDAY, MARCH 25, 2016 1:50 PM | UPDATED: 12:13 AM, SUN MAR 27, 2016.

ConAgra Foods, the Fortune 500 company that is moving its headquarters from Omaha to Chicago, has been found liable for $108.9 million in a civil lawsuit that looks to be the largest of its kind in Nebraska history.

The case is related to damages and injuries stemming from a fatal explosion at a Slim Jim plant in North Carolina in 2009. ConAgra told The World-Herald that it plans to appeal.

The company was found Friday to be “negligent” in the explosion and the resulting injuries by a civil lawsuit jury in Douglas County District Court.

Nebraska courts don’t keep formal records of the jury verdicts leading to the largest monetary damages. Recent large ones have included the $43.8 million verdict last year in Douglas County Court in a dispute between rival software firms. The Fraser Stryker law firm of Omaha said at the time that it believed the total to be the largest in state history.

Lawyers in the courtroom moments after the ConAgra verdict said they thought it was the largest, but none wished to say so formally.

The ConAgra lawsuit had its genesis in payments made to the injured after the 2009 explosion, which happened during a water heater installation at the giant food-processing plant in Garner, North Carolina. Four people died, and many were injured. California-based Jacobs Engineering, which had a contract to perform services at the plant, in later years paid about $108 million to settle lawsuits that said it was at fault.

Later, Jacobs decided to sue ConAgra to recoup the money, saying it had no role in the explosion. The Douglas County jury agreed Friday, finding Jacobs not negligent.

“We are grateful for the court’s and the jury’s time and dedication to this case, and that our client Jacobs Engineering was vindicated after seven years,” said Gil Keteltas, Jacobs’ lead trial lawyer with the Baker Hostetler firm of Washington, D.C.

While sizable, the $108.9 million is a fraction of ConAgra’s $16 billion in revenue last year from sales of products such as Slim Jims, Chef Boyardee pasta and Alexia frozen side dishes.

The jury award comes amid rough sledding in Omaha for ConAgra. The company said last year that it plans to move the headquarters, in Omaha since the 1920s, to Chicago sometime this year. The company also eliminated 1,500 U.S. jobs and has embarked on a plan to save $300 million annually via a cost-cutting plan.

ConAgra spokesman Dan Hare said Friday that, “While we respect the jury’s decision, we have several strong grounds for appeal, which we plan to pursue.”

Assisting in securing the verdict were Baker Hostetler’s Bob Abrams, and Ed Tricker and others with the Lincoln firm Woods & Aitken.

“It was a Herculean task,” Douglas County District Judge Gary Randall said from the bench, describing of the work of the 12-person jury, whom he thanked for sitting through weeks of detailed and sometimes tedious arguments about the fine points of contract law.

The dispute emerged after the explosion, caused by a natural gas leak during water heater installation. The jury found that it was 70 percent ConAgra’s fault and 30 percent the fault of another contractor that will not have to pay any of the $108.9 million because the jury found that ConAgra controlled the actions of that contractor.

Jacobs was another contractor on the Slim Jim site, performing a variety of services for ConAgra. Because of that, it became the target of lawsuits by the injured, lawsuits that Jacobs wound up settling for about $108 million. Companies sometimes pay settlements to avoid the expense of defending lawsuits in court, whether they engaged in disputed conduct or not.

In the Douglas County case, Jacobs, a engineering firm with about $12 billion in annual revenue, said it deserved its money back. Jacobs said it had no role in the explosion.

After the explosion, ConAgra shut the Slim Jim plant and donated the land to the North Carolina town, along with $3 million for a community center.

Contact the writer: 402-444-3197, russell.hubbard@owh.com

Complete coverage: ConAgra moving headquarters to Chicago

Correction: ConAgra is liable for $108 million in damages sought by Jacobs Engineering; an earlier version of this story misstated the amount for which the jury found ConAgra liable.

Sourced From – http://www.omaha.com/money/conagra-liable-for-million-after-fatal-explosion-likely-the-largest/article_81f336ce-f2ba-11e5-840e-f3bca4f3f045.html

The Mafia Runs Guns for ISIS in Europe

The mobsters have the weapons, and they’re making a killing selling them off to Islamic radicals.

CASTEL VOLTURNO, Italy — By the time Aziz Ehsan, a 46-year-old Iraqi, was arrested near Naples on Tuesday, local anti-mafia police had already been trailing him for days to determine just why he was in the heartland of the Camorra crime syndicate’s territory. He was well known by both the French and Belgian secret services, which list him as a suspected ISIS contact. The Neapolitan cops were also aware of an international arrest warrant for him in Switzerland, where he was wanted in connection with a variety of offenses, including forgery, assault, and possession of illegal weapons.

He was apparently just the type of person Italian authorities thought might provide a valuable clue as they work to piece together the details of the complex relationshipbetween Jihadist fighters and Italy’s various mobs.

But when the attacks took place in Brussels, the authorities decided it was time to move in and get him. He was arrested as he slept in a car with Italian license plates registered to a deceased man on Tuesday and is awaiting extradition to Switzerland, France, or Belgium.

He claimed that he was in the area to scout out luxury hotels for rich Iraqi tourists, but the police didn’t buy it; he appeared to have been living in the car for days. They also pointed to an absence of notebooks, a laptop, or tablet—items you’d think to bring on a research trip. His no-frills, no contract “burner” cellphone, like the kind favored by Western jihadis, was another sign that Ehsan wasn’t in the region to see which five-star hotels offered the best glass of Limoncello.

“We executed a European arrest warrant near Naples and arrested an Iraqi citizen known to the Belgian and French secret service,” Italy’s interior minister Angelino Alfano declared after his arrest. “He was in contact with terrorists.”

Ehsan’s presence in Italy very likely posed no imminent threat to anyone in this country, but it may be extremely significant in Europe’s losing battle against ISIS-motivated terrorism. Authorities now want to know if Ehsan was here on business, especially if he was working with the Camorra to secure false documents or illegal arms—both big moneymakers for the Neapolitan clans.

Since the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris in January 2015, Italian anti-mafia and anti-terrorism officials have been unraveling long-standing connections between Jihadi fighters and the Camorra in Naples. They have also uncovered ties to the Sicilian Cosa Nostra Mafia and the Calabrese ‘Ndrangheta gang, tracing weapons being trafficked in from the former Yugoslavia and several African nations which allegedly arrive easily in Neapolitan ports.

Italian anti-mafia police have made three major arrests in the last 12 months, during which they have confiscated major weapons arsenals that included Kalashnikov rifles, submachine guns, body armor, and hundreds of rounds of ammunition that were ready to be sold to terrorist connections. They even found a price list for a wide variety of weapons available for prices ranging from €250 to €3,000 that was printed in Arabic, French, and Italian.

“Naples has been, for many years, a central logistics base for the Middle East. The Camorra is also active in the world of Jihadist terrorism that passes through Naples,” Franco Roberti, a prominent anti-mafia prosecutor, told The Daily Beast before the Brussels attacks. “Naples lends itself to this type of activity. In the past there have been contacts between Jihadi militants and the Camorra clans.”

He says that Italy’s mafia-fighting forces have “thwarted plots and synergies” between the terrorists and the mobsters. What’s not known, of course, is how many plots they’ve missed.

It is certainly a well-known fact that the Camorra runs a highly successful enterprise in the lawless Neapolitan hinterland running drugs, illegal arms and forged documents that make it especially easy for anyone entering Europe illegally to pass through even the tightest borders. It is just as well-known that the main client base has never been strictly Italian.

“We have evidence that groups of the Camorra are implicated in an exchange of weapons for drugs with terrorist groups,” Pierluigi Vigna, Italy’s national anti-mafia prosecutor, said before he passed away in 2012.

Vigna’s words were quoted in a variety of Wikileaks cables that imply that the United States government has been well aware of the terrorist-mafia connection for some time. “Criminal interaction between Italian organized crime and Islamic extremist groups provides potential terrorists with access to funding and logistical support from criminal organizations with established smuggling routes and an entrenched presence in the United States,” according to one cable on Italy penned by the FBI.

Investigators say logistics help in moving Jihadi fighters through Europe is one of the hardest rackets to crack. Last summer, Salah Abdeslam, who, until last week, was the most wanted man in Europe for his role in the deadly terrorist attacks in Paris, traveled freely through Italy with the help of a network of what could be referred to as mafia-sponsored terrorism travel agents.

Authorities in Italy say he boarded a ferry in Bari headed for Greece last August, and that he used a pre-paid Italian debit card until the Paris attacks. Authorities say he used his real name tied to fake Italian documents in both instances.

The idea of Europe’s most wanted man running free is concerning enough. But what is at least as worrying is that the weapons being trafficked into Italy will end up being used in European capitals. Michele del Prete, an Italian counter-terrorism official who has been focusing on the links between organized crime and violent jihadists, warns that the two forces of evil have found a comfortable partnership. “It is established and proven that the lawless climate in Naples has often created favorable conditions for logistical support, exchange of weapons, and false documents,” he said. “There are specialized groups we have tracked in various municipalities and prefectures that we know are facilitating terrorism.”

Investigator Roberti takes it a step further. “Campania, especially the province of Caserta and Castel Volturno, is one of the main gateways into Europe for those who want to become a terrorist,” he said. “It has been demonstrated by numerous investigations. On this now, there are no doubts.”

Read Full Article – http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/03/24/inside-the-mafia-isis-connection.html

Vincent Cassel says Italian dubbers have a ‘mafia-like’ hold on film industry

The French actor Vincent Cassel has labelled the powerful Italian voiceover industry a “mafia”, claiming it is impossible to see foreign films in their original language in Italy.

Cassel, whose new movie Un moment d’égarement (One Wild Moment) debuts in Italian cinemas on 24 March, is upset that the local dub of the Jean-François Richet-directed comedy loses nuances in the Parisian and Corsican accents spoken by its French characters.

“In Italy it is difficult to see a film in the original language, because the voice actors here are a mafia,” he told the Independent. “There’s film dubbing in France, too, but the dubbers don’t have so much power that they run the show. There are the creators and the dubbers. The dubbers stick to the voiceovers. When there’s a dubbers’ strike, the cinemas don’t close.”

Cassel’s comments have caused a storm in Italy, which has long preferred dubbed versions of foreign movies, resulting in an entire industry of voiceover artists. Many have become stars in their own right: when Claudio Capone, the man who was the Italian voice of John Travolta, died in 2008, tributes poured in.

In 2014, a 15-day strike by the country’s dubbers meant several US TV shows were broadcast in their original language with Italian subtitles, drawing complaints. In 1998, dozens of Hollywood films had their Italian releases delayed due to industrial action.

Roberto Pedicini, a famous Italian voiceover artist, who has dubbed Cassel in the past, said the practice improved the popularity of foreign films. “It would be nice to see every film in its original language. The problem is that we’d have to learn really diverse languages, given that the most awarded films at festivals are Asian or from the Middle East,” he told the Adnkronos news agency. “And subtitles are often misleading or compromised.”

Read Full Article – http://www.theguardian.com/film/2016/mar/23/vincent-cassel-criticises-italian-dubbers-one-wild-moment

What today’s Supreme Court decision means for the future of legal weed

March 21 at 1:50 PM

The Supreme Court’s decision today to toss out a lawsuit that could have brought Colorado’s legal marijuana boom to a screeching halt hasn’t deterred opponents of the national legalization effort.

Already, the plaintiffs and their supporters are looking to regroup. “The Court’s decision does not bar additional challenges to Colorado’s scheme in federal district court,” said Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson in a statement.

Oklahoma and Nebraska asked the Supreme Court to hear a challenge to Colorado’s marijuana legalization framework, saying that the state’s legalization regime was causing marijuana to flow across the borders into their own states, creating law enforcement headaches.

But by a 6-2 majority, the Supreme Court declined to hear the case, without comment.

In a statement, Peterson’s office said it would work with Oklahoma and other states “to determine the best next steps toward vindicating the rule of law.”

Other opponents are remaining optimistic, as well. “It’s obviously a disappointment,” said Kevin Sabet of Smart Approaches to Marijuana in an email. “But we think legalization will be defeated on its own policy merits,” he added.

They’re facing an increasingly steep uphill battle.

In the lawsuit, the plaintiffs argued that since marijuana is illegal under the federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA), it can’t be regulated at the state level. But numerous legal experts have pointed out that assumption is incorrect.

“Congress has no power to compel states to prohibit the cultivation, possession and transfer of marijuana,” according to Randy Barnett, an attorney who litigated a Supreme Court case exploring the limits of the CSA. “In the absence of such state prohibition, all such activities are completely legal under state law, notwithstanding that they are illegal under federal law,” he wrote last year.

In short, Congress can say that marijuana is illegal at the federal level. But if a state doesn’t want to enforce that prohibition itself, it doesn’t have to do so. And if it wants to go one step further and set up a market to regulate the trade in the drug, it’s free to do that as well.

“This is the result that most of us were expecting,” legal professor Sam Kamin, who was part of the task force implementing Colorado’s marijuana laws, said in an email. “This never seemed like the right case to test the power of the states to tax and regulate marijuana (everyone seems to agree that they have the right to legalize marijuana).”

The U.S. Justice Department filed a brief last December urging the Supreme Court to throw the lawsuit out. “With the federal government uninterested in bringing such a suit at the moment, this seems to take things out of the courts and into the political process for the near term,” Kamen said.

Legalization advocates say that while the decision likely won’t have any big practical effects in the near-term, it does send a signal to other states mulling their own marijuana policy in the coming years. “The Supreme Court’s rejection of this misguided effort to undo cautious and effective state-level regulation of marijuana is excellent news for the many other states looking to adopt similar reforms in 2016 and beyond,” said Tamar Todd, director of the office of legal affairs at the Drug Policy Alliance, in a statement.

Observers on both sides of the issue point out that the court’s majority did not issue any explanation of their dismissal, which is standard practice in cases like this. The justices may have objected to the lawsuit on its merits, or they may have simply felt that it wasn’t proper for them to take up the case at this time, preferring instead to let the state-level legalization experiments play out.

“Of course, everything may change with a new administration in 2017,” law professor Sam Kamin said in an email. “But with marijuana on the ballot in another big handful of states this fall, the genie may be out of the bottle by the time the next president is sworn into office.”


Full Article Sourced From – https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/03/21/what-todays-supreme-court-decision-means-for-the-future-of-legal-weed/