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Guardian News & Media today announced a series of senior editorial changes across its US, UK and Australian operations.

Guardian News & Media today announced a series of senior editorial changes across its US, UK and Australian operations.

Janine Gibson, editor-in-chief of Guardian US, will move to London where she will assume the role of a deputy editor of Guardian News & Media and editor-in-chief of theguardian.com.

Katharine Viner, currently editor-in-chief of Guardian Australia and a deputy editor of Guardian News & Media, will replace Gibson as editor-in-chief of Guardian US, moving to New York from Sydney. She remains a deputy editor of Guardian News & Media.

Both will take up their new roles in summer 2014.

Gibson launched Guardian US in September 2011, and has since created a truly agenda-setting digital news operation which, amongst many triumphs, is most notable for its handling of the extraordinary, multi award-winning Edward Snowden revelations. Under her stewardship, Guardian US has grown to account for over a third of the Guardian’s global audience of 40 million unique users, and has become a formidable force within the US media landscape.

Gibson’s new role will see her accelerating the next stage of the Guardian’s digital transformation, which has already seen the media organisation become the third biggest English-language newspaper in the world, with market-beating digital revenues.

Launched by Viner in May 2013, Guardian Australia has seen rapid growth with record traffic figures, massive reader engagement, a raft of exclusive stories — including former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard breaking her silence on losing power and the revelation that Australia was spying on the Indonesian president’s phone — and the recruitment of high-profile contributors from politics, the arts and the media. Viner has created a lively, challenging and thought-provoking digital operation which has proved popular with readers and advertisers alike. Under her leadership, Guardian Australia has grown its highly engaged and loyal audience to almost four million browsers and has become a force to be reckoned with in both Australian journalism and Australian public life.

Alan Rusbridger, editor-in-chief of Guardian News & Media, said: “Janine has done an extraordinary job launching and editing Guardian US. She has pioneered award-winning, agenda-setting digital journalism, assembled a first-rate team, and built a hugely significant audience in the US. With her unparalleled experience of digital journalism, she is perfectly placed to spearhead the next phase of the Guardian’s digital journey.

”Katharine has done a terrific job in Australia, opening a brand-new operation in Sydney, hiring a fantastic team of interesting and talented journalists, increasing traffic dramatically, setting the agenda, and quickly establishing the Guardian as a force to be reckoned with in Australian journalism. She will bring experience, energy, enthusiasm and expertise to ensure that Guardian US goes from strength to strength.”

Janine Gibson said: “It’s been a privilege to have had the opportunity to launch and lead Guardian US for the last three years. I’m immensely proud of our fantastic team — the site’s success is entirely down to them — and I’m grateful to them and our readers for their support. My sadness at leaving them is assuaged only by the knowledge that Katharine Viner is a brilliant editor and the very best person to lead them through this next phase of growth and innovation. Part of coming here was about figuring out new ways to do groundbreaking digital journalism. It’s exciting to take what we’ve learned and continue to build the Guardian’s global, digital future.”

Katharine Viner said: “I’m delighted to be moving to New York to edit Guardian US after an amazing year launching Guardian Australia. Guardian US has established itself firmly in the US media landscape with the extraordinary series of NSA scoops, and I’m looking forward to working with the terrific Guardian US team to uncover more untold stories and deepen our relationship with our American readers. I can’t wait to get going.”

Further changes will see Stuart Millar, currently deputy editor of Guardian US, move to London, where he will take the role of overall head of news, working with journalists and editors across every news desk, across every platform and device. Emily Wilson, currently UK network editor of theguardian.com, will replace Viner as editor of Guardian Australia.

– Ends –

Media Contact:

Gennady Kolker
Director of Media Relations, Guardian US
e: gennady.kolker@theguardian.com
t: 646-937-5878
m: 347-515-2001

Notes to editors

Janine Gibson
Janine Gibson joined the Guardian in 1998 as media correspondent and was made editor of MediaGuardian in 2000. During her time as editor she launched the MediaGuardian website, which quickly established itself as the breaking news source for the media industry. In May 2003, she was appointed editor of the Media, Society, Education and Technology print supplements. Her appointment as editor of the Guardian website was announced in 2008, when her responsibilities were expanded to include the supervision all of Guardian News & Media’s digital news content.

In 2011, Janine left London to become editor-in-chief of Guardian US – the Guardian’s New York-based newsroom – where she leads a staff of reporters and editors who cover American news for an online, global audience.

Under Janine’s leadership, the US site has won a range of prestigious awards, including the 2013 Online Journalism Awards for Innovative Investigative Journalism and Watchdog Journalism, the Polk award for national security journalism and AdWeek’s Hottest News site award. In 2012, Guardian US won three prizes for interactives at The Malofiej Awards and first place in the “explanatory reporting” category at the 2012 Online Journalism Awards.

Janine began her career working for Televisual, first as staff writer, then as news editor and finally deputy editor. She joined the weekly trade newspaper Broadcast in July 1997 as international editor and moved to the Independent as media correspondent a year later. She has a degree in English Literature, two children, a full driving licence and plays the piano (but not as well as Alan Rusbridger). She tweets at @JanineGibson.

Katharine Viner
Katharine Viner joined the Guardian as a writer in 1997 and has since undertaken numerous roles including editor of Weekend magazine, features editor, head of commentary and opinion, and Saturday editor.

She has been deputy editor of the Guardian since 2007 and launched the award-winning Guardian Australia in May 2013 as editor-in-chief. Guardian Australia has quickly established itself as a major presence in Australian public life, with a series of agenda-setting scoops,
record-breaking traffic and a deeply engaged readership. Katharine gave the 2013 AN Smith lecture in journalism at the University of Melbourne, The Rise of the Reader, discussing journalism in the age of the open web.

Prior to joining the Guardian, Katharine worked at the Sunday Times in London. She is the co-editor of an award-winning play, has been on the judging panel of the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction (formerly known as the Orange Prize) and is a board member of London’s Royal Court theatre. Katharine tweets at @KathViner.

About Guardian News & Media
Guardian News & Media (GNM) publishes theguardian.com, the third largest English-speaking newspaper website in the world (comScore, November 2013). Since launching its US and Australia digital editions in 2011 and 2013 respectively, traffic from outside of the UK now represents over two-thirds of the Guardian’s total digital audience.
In the UK, GNM publishes the Guardian newspaper six days a week and the world’s oldest Sunday newspaper, The Observer.

The newspapers were named the most trustworthy, accurate and reliable newspapers in the UK in 2013.

The Guardian, which was first published in 1821, is most recently renowned for its agenda-setting NSA and GCHQ revelations following disclosures by whistleblower Edward Snowden, its globally acclaimed investigation into phone hacking and the launch of its groundbreaking digital-first strategy in 2011 and its trailblazing partnership with WikiLeaks in 2010.

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Former IMF chief charged with aggravated pimping in connection with alleged prostitution ring at Carlton hotel in Lille

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former head of the International Monetary Fund, is to go on trial on charges of pimping in connection with an alleged prostitution ring at a luxury hotel in the northern French city of Lille

Magistrates in France decided on Fridayto press ahead with charging the former Socialist minister in spite of calls by the state prosecutor for the case to be dropped.

Strauss-Kahn, 64, a former French presidential candidate, has admitted attending the “libertine” parties and having sex with a number of women. However, he has always insisted he did not know that some of them were prostitutes.

The case, known as the Carlton affair after the luxury hotel where the orgies were said to have taken place, centres around allegations that businessmen and police officials in Lille operated a vice ring supplying women for sex parties.

This affair, which came to light in late 2011, is the last of a series of inquiries into Strauss-Kahn since his arrest in New York in May 2011 where he was accused of trying to rape a hotel maid.

The charges in the US were eventually dropped because of doubts over maid Nafissatou Diallo’s credibility after she was found to have lied on her immigration claim, but Strauss-Kahn was later forced to pay her substantial damages reported to be in the region of $6m( 3.9m).

Two subsequent cases against the former French finance minister have also been dropped. An allegation of sexual assault against writer Tristane Banon in Paris in 2003 did not result in criminal charges because it had passed the legal time limit. In October last year, French prosecutors decided to drop an inquiry into allegations of gang rape at a hotel in Washington after one of the women involved who had made the claim retracted her evidence.

The state prosecutor had recommended that the Carlton affair charges against Strauss-Kahn be dropped on the grounds of a lack of evidence.

Magistrates decided otherwise; they put aside a charge of “aggravated pimping as part of an organised gang”, but maintained the lesser charge of “aggravated pimping as part of a group”. He is facing trial along with 12 other defendants.

In France pimping can cover a wide range of crimes including aiding or encouraging prostitution. A trial is expected to take place next year. If convicted, Strauss-Kahn could face up to 10 years in prison and a 1.5m ( 860,000) fine.

The former IMF chief has vehemently denied all allegations against him and described them as “dangerous and malicious insinuations and extrapolations”.

“It will all come out publicly before the tribunal and everyone will realise that there is nothing in this case,” Henri Leclerc, one of Strauss Kahn’s lawyers said on Friday.

Leclerc said the legal team was “under no illusions” about the “relentlessness shown by the investigating magistrates” and claimed Strauss-Kahn was being targeted because of his high profile.

“This decision is based on an ideological and moral analysis, but certainly not on any legal grounds. We’re sending someone to court for nothing,” said the lawyer.

After an earlier hearing into the Carlton affair, Leclerc told the French radio station Europe 1 that Strauss-Kahn could not have known whether the women at the parties were prostitutes.

“As you can imagine, at these kinds of parties you’re not always dressed, and I challenge you to distinguish a naked prostitute from any other naked woman,” Leclerc said.

Strauss-Kahn had been a frontrunner as the Socialist party’s candidate to become French president in last year’s election before his arrest in New York. He was forced to resign from his job as IMF chief and his third wife Anne Sinclair, a wealthy heiress and former television presenter, divorced him.

At the Cannes film festival in May, Strauss-Kahn was pictured with a new girlfriend, Moroccan-born Myriam L’Aouffir, 45, who works in the internet and social media department at France Television.

Reports this week claimed Snowden had applied for asylum in Russia because he feared torture if he was returned to US

The US has told the Russian government that it will not seek the death penalty for Edward Snowden should he be extradited, in an attempt to prevent Moscow from granting asylum to the former National Security Agency contractor.

In a letter sent this week, US attorney general Eric Holder told his Russian counterpart that the charges faced by Snowden do not carry the death penalty. Holder added that the US “would not seek the death penalty even if Mr Snowden were charged with additional, death penalty-eligible crimes”.

Holder said he had sent the letter, addressed to Alexander Vladimirovich, Russia’s minister of justice, in response to reports that Snowden had applied for temporary asylum in Russia “on the grounds that if he were returned to the United States, he would be tortured and would face the death penalty”.

“These claims are entirely without merit,” Holder said. In addition to his assurance that Snowden would not face capital punishment, the attorney general wrote: “Torture is unlawful in the United States.”

In the letter, released by the US Department of Justice on Friday, Holder added: “We believe that these assurances eliminate these asserted grounds for Mr Snowden’s claim that he should be treated as a refugee or granted asylum, temporary or otherwise.”

The US has been seeking Snowden’s extradition to face felony charges for leaking details of NSA surveillance programmes. There were authoritative reports on Wednesday that authorities in Moscow had granted Snowden permission to stay in Russia temporarily, but when Snowden’s lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, arrived to meet his client at Sheremetyevo airport, he said the papers were not yet ready.

Kucherena, who has close links to the Kremlin, said Snowden would stay in the airport’s transit zone, where he has been in limbo since arriving from Hong Kong on 23 June, for the near future.

The letter from Holder, and the apparent glitch in Snowden’s asylum application, suggest that Snowden’s fate is far from secure.

But a spokesman for President Vladimir Putin insisted Russia has not budged from its refusal to extradite Snowden. Asked by a reporter on Friday whether the government’s position had changed, Dmitry Peskov told Russian news agencies that “Russia has never extradited anyone and never will.” Putin has previously insisted Russia will not extradite Snowden to the US. There is no US-Russia extradition treaty.

Putin’s statement still leaves the Russian authorities room for manoeuvre, however, as Snowden is not technically on Russian soil.

Peskov said that Putin is not involved in reviewing Snowden’s application or involved in discussions about the whistleblower’s future with the US, though he said the Russian security service, the FSB, had been in touch with the FBI.

Speaking on Wednesday, Snowden’s lawyer said he was hoped to settle in Russia. “[Snowden] wants to find work in Russia, travel and somehow create a life for himself,” Kucherena told the television station Rossiya 24. He said Snowden had already begun learning Russian.

There is support among some Russian politicians for Snowden to be allowed to stay in the country. The speaker of the Russian parliament, Sergei Naryshkin, has said Snowden should be granted asylum to protect him from the death penalty.

The letter from Holder was designed to allay those fears and negate the grounds for which Snowden as allegedly applied for asylum in Russia. The attorney general said that if Snowden returned to the US he would “promptly be brought before a civilian court” and would receive “all the protections that United States law provides”.

“Any questioning of Mr Snowden could be conducted only with his consent: his participation would be entirely voluntary, and his legal counsel would be present should he wish it,” Holder said.

He added that despite Snowden’s passport being revoked he “remains a US citizen” and said the US would facilitate a direct return to the country.

Germany’s president, who helped expose the workings of East Germany’s Stasi secret police, waded into the row on Friday. President Joachim Gauck, whose role is largely symbolic, said whistleblowers such as Snowden deserved respect for defending freedom.

“The fear that our telephones or mails are recorded and stored by foreign intelligence services is a constraint on the feeling of freedom and then the danger grows that freedom itself is damaged,” Gauck said.

Ten years after the US-led invasion of Iraq the Guardian spoke to some of the key players about the legacy of the conflict

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Vitalii Sediuk, who is affiliated with Ukrainian television channel 1+1, has been linked to string of celebrity stunts

A man who attempted to upstage Adele at Sunday’s Grammy Awards faces a possible trespassing charge for his latest awkward celebrity interaction.

Vitalii Sediuk spoke briefly before Adele took the stage and received the telecast’s first Grammy Award. He was shooed away by presenter Jennifer Lopez and video of the ceremony shows him walking off the stage while Adele delivered her acceptance speech, crediting Lopez as a “good luck charm.”

Jail records show Sediuk spent the next several hours in custody and was ordered to appear for a March 4 court date. He told The Hollywood Reporter, which first reported his arrest, that he did not have a ticket to the show and took musician Adam Levine’s seat before going on stage.

Sediuk’s intrusion came after Los Angeles police increased security at the Grammys due to an ongoing manhunt for a rogue ex-officer targeting police and their families.

Police said they had no details on Sediuk’s arrest, other than it was made by private security at the show.

Publicists for the Grammy Awards did not return emails Tuesday seeking comment on the incident.

Sediuk, 24, has gained notoriety for other stunts involving celebrities. Will Smith slapped the 24-year-old last year after attempting to kiss him on the red carpet of the Moscow premiere of “Men in Black III.” Madonna received a bouquet of hydrangeas from Sediuk at the 2011 Venice Film Festival and promptly stashed them under a table, declaring, “I absolutely loathe hydrangeas.”

Sediuk was not immediately available for an interview Tuesday.
“I’m not a crazy guy,” Sediuk told the Reporter. “I just think differently.”
He was working for the Ukrainian television channel 1+1 when he was slapped by Smith in May, and told the Reporter that his station wasn’t credentialed for Sunday’s show. He claims he followed Katy Perry into the show and that security never asked him for a ticket.

He said he didn’t plan on going onstage, but went up after hearing Adele’s name after she won the award for Best Pop Solo Performance. He was pulled away from the microphone by Lopez, who appeared unfazed and Adele delivered her acceptance speech without further incident.

“Like Adele said, she’s her good luck charm,” Lopez’s publicist Mark Young wrote in an email Tuesday.

Agricultural giant has won more than $23m from its targets, but one case is being heard at Supreme Court this month

The agricultural giant Monsanto has sued hundreds of small farmers in the United States in recent years in attempts to protect its patent rights on genetically engineered seeds that it produces and sells, a new report said on Tuesday.

The study, produced jointly by the Center for Food Safety and the Save Our Seeds campaigning groups, has outlined what it says is a concerted effort by the multinational to dominate the seeds industry in the US and prevent farmers from replanting crops they have produced from Monsanto seeds.

In its report, called Seed Giants vs US Farmers, the CFS said it had tracked numerous law suits that Monsanto had brought against farmers and found some 142 patent infringement suits against 410 farmers and 56 small businesses in more than 27 states. In total the firm has won more than $23m from its targets, the report said.

However, one of those suits, against Indiana soybean farmer Vernon Hugh Bowman, is a potentially landmark patent case that could have wide implications for genetic engineering and who controls patents on living organisms. The CFS and SOS are both supporting Bowman in the case, which will be heard in the Supreme Court later this month.

“Corporations did not create seeds and many are challenging the existing patent system that allows private companies to assert ownership over a resource that is vital to survival and that historically has been in the public domain,” said Debbie Barker, an expert with SOS and one of the report’s co-authors. Another co-author, CFS legal expert George Kimbrell, said victory in the Bowman case could help shift that balance of power back to farmers. “The great weight of history and the law is on the side of Mr Bowman and farmers in general,” he said.

The report also revealed the dominance that large firms and their genetically altered crops have in the US and global market. It found that 53% of the world’s commercial seed market is controlled by just three firms – Monsanto, DuPont and Syngenta.

Meanwhile genetically-altered commodity crops – and thus the influence of patent protection – have spread to become overwhelmingly dominant. In the US some 93% of soybeans and 86% of corn crops come from such seeds.

The Bowman case has come about after the 75-year-old farmer bought soybeans from a grain elevator near his farm in Indiana and used them to plant a late-season second crop. He then used some of the resulting seeds to replant such crops in subsequent years. Because he bought them from a third party which put no restrictions on their use, Bowman has argued he is legally able to plant and replant them and that Monsanto’s patent on the seeds’ genes does not apply.

Monsanto, which has won its case against Bowman in lower courts, vociferously disagrees. It argues that it needs its patents in order to protect its business interests and provide a motivation for spending millions of dollars on research and development of hardier, disease-resistant seeds that can boost food yields.

On a website set up to put forward its point of view on the Bowman case, the company argues that if the supreme court rules against it, vast swathes of research and patent-reliant industries will be under threat. Strong patent protection that covers genetic innovations, and is passed on in subsequent generations of crops, is vital to preserving the motivation for developing new agricultural products, the firm insists.

“If Bowman prevails, however, this field of research could be altered severely, as would many others in medicine, biofuels, and environmental science, as easily replicable technologies would no longer enjoy any meaningful protection under the patent laws,” the firm said in a statement.

In some of the South Korean artist’s daring photographs, viewers are afforded stomach-churning vertical views of her feet dangling hundreds of feet above the bustling city streets of Seoul, Hong Kong and New York below, or longer shots of her balanced precariously on tower-block parapets

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