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Ink Rx? Welcome to World of Paramedical Tattoos…


HECKER, Ill. — The first fingernail tattoo started off as a joke.

The client, a man who had lost part of two fingers in a construction accident, wandered into Eternal Ink Tattoo Studio and asked for a fingernail design at the tips of his fingers. It was his way of making light of a bad situation.

The idea amused everyone in the studio. But once Eric Catalano, the owner, had finished the tattoo and put away his needles, “the mood changed in here,” he recalled recently. “Everything turned from funny to wow.”

A photo of the inked fingers went viral, and Mr. Catalano, 39, was thrust into the emerging world of paramedical tattooing. The fingernails looked so realistic that even “Ripley’s Believe It or Not!” tracked him down to feature his work.

“There was a lot of pressure after that,” Mr. Catalano said. “I was so nervous. But it turns out the next one came out amazing. Just like the first one.”

Now people with life-altering scars are coming from as far as Ireland to visit Mr. Catalano’s tattoo shop, some 30 miles outside of St. Louis. They enter Eternal Ink looking for a specific kind of healing: Mr. Catalano’s work makes his clients feel physically whole again, picking up where doctors leave off.

Using tattoos to blend in rather than stand out is a relatively new enterprise. The pigments and techniques of paramedical tattooing aren’t standardized, but paramedical tattoo artists across the country are quickly establishing reputations for using flesh-toned pigments to camouflage imperfections, scars and discolorations.

At the Academy of Advanced Cosmetics in Alpharetta, Ga., Feleshia Sams trains students in paramedical tattoos, showing them how to cover stretch marks, surgery scars and discolored skin. They also learn how to approach paramedical tattoos for people of color; Ms. Sams, 41, created a new line of 30 skin-colored and undertone pigments for trained professionals that she sells online and at her school.

More than 100 aspiring paramedical tattoo artists have completed her course. A tattoo license is required, but separate paramedical tattoo training is not.

Because tattoos are considered cosmetic, the work typically isn’t covered by medical insurance. (Paramedical tattoos remain mostly unregulated, and health care professionals debate the safety of tattoo ink.) Still, many people are willing to pay out of pocket for a service they see as crucial to healing.

Leslie Pollan, 32, a dog breeder in Oxford, Miss., said she sees the service as priceless. After she was bitten on the face by a puppy in 2014, Ms. Pollan scheduled countless corrective surgeries, even journeying into neighboring Tennessee for consultations.

“I went to plastic surgeons that were supposed to be the best in Memphis,” she said. “They gave me no hope, so I started looking for other options.”

She ultimately traveled six hours for a paramedical tattoo session with Mr. Catalano. He used ink and his tattoo needle to camouflage Ms. Pollan’s lip scar, giving her peace of mind and a path to greater confidence.

“You don’t understand until you’ve been through it,” Ms. Pollan said. “It really made me have a different outlook on life.”

Mr. Catalano remains self-taught. And he said he’s still refining the process. For example, he has found that the ink in fingernail tattoos doesn’t always absorb into the scar tissue, so he sometimes has to redo them or touch them up.

He uses techniques he picked up years ago while helping breast cancer survivors who wanted tattoos of areolas — the darkened area around nipples — after having mastectomies. Those tattoos are among the most common paramedical requests.

His grandmother had breast cancer, and her battle with the disease is one reason Mr. Catalano is so dedicated to helping those with the diagnosis.

“Cancer took away a part of my body I can never get back,” said Sarah Penberthy, a breast cancer survivor who traveled from Festus, Mo., to Hecker for Mr. Catalano’s areola tattoos. “I felt like I wasn’t even human.”

Ms. Penberthy, 39, said she was grateful for her life after the ordeal but still felt incomplete. The tattooed nipples and chest plate have helped her feel more comfortable with her experience.

Mr. Catalano doesn’t charge for paramedical tattoos. A GoFundMe page established last year brought in more than $12,000, allowing him to donate his skills — at least for the time being. Each Wednesday (called “Wellness Wednesday”), he does up to eight reconstructive tattoos in his small shop.

“Financially it doesn’t make sense, but it’s just something that I love to do,” Mr. Catalano said. “Every time I see that emotion, I’m 100 percent sure this is something that I can’t stop doing.”

Elsewhere, the business of paramedical tattoos is supported by the plastic surgery industry, said Ms. Sams, the tattoo instructor. Americans spent more than $16.5 billion on cosmetic plastic surgery and minimally invasive procedures in 2018. After tummy tucks, breast augmentations and other procedures, some patients want to cover their scars.

“It’s going to take off even more,” she said, referring to paramedical tattoos. “We’re providing students with a nontraditional way to make a career.”

This article was produced in collaboration with Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent nonprofit news service of the Kaiser Family Foundation. The author is a reporter for Kaiser Health News.

The post Ink Rx? Welcome to the World of Paramedical Tattoos appeared first on New York Times.



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Top NSC official may be moved after 'Anonymous' rumor fallout…


Top Trump administration officials are in discussions to reassign deputy national security adviser Victoria Coates to the Department of Energy from the National Security Council, per two sources familiar with the planning.

Why it matters: Coates’ working relationship with National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien, who elevated her to the deputy role only months ago, has strained amid an effort by some people inside the administration to tag her as “Anonymous” — a charge she has vehemently denied to colleagues.

  • Coates could take on a senior role under Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette, the former deputy secretary who was elevated to lead the department in December after Rick Perry’s departure.
  • A decision on such a personnel move has not been finalized and discussions could still fall apart, one source tells Axios.
  • “We do not comment on personnel matters,” National Security Council spokesman John Ullyot told Axios. Coates declined comment.

Driving the news: As Politico first reported, Coates has been the target of a whisper campaign in recent weeks making a circumstantial case that she was the identity behind an op-ed in the New York Times and later a bestselling book describing a resistance movement against President Trump in his own White House.

  • One of the literary agents behind Anonymous’ book, “A Warning,” went so far as to release a statement saying explicitly that Coates is not the author, did not edit the book, did not see it in advance and did not know about it.

Between the lines: Coates’ potential reassignment comes as Trump, fresh from acquittal in his impeachment trial, institutes personnel moves to bring early loyalists back into the White House and tests purges of staff he considers disloyal throughout the federal government.

  • Coates was an original member of Trump’s national security team, having been brought in during the transition by Trump’s first NSA, Michael Flynn.

Don’t forget: Coates has strong working and personal ties to the Energy Department. She advised Perry in his 2012 presidential campaign and regularly coordinates with the department in her NSC role on issues including sanctions and oil and LNG supplies and touching on Iran, Iraq and the Gulf region.



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Towns 'sealed shut'; 58 million on lockdown…


UP to 58 million people have been forced into indefinite lockdown in China’s Hubei province – the region at the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak.

New lockdown measures- introduced on Sunday – dictate that only one family member can leave the house once every three days to buy supermarket essentials.

Read our coronavirus live blog for all the latest news and updates.

 A Chinese woman walks through a nearly empty and shuttered commercial street following new lockdown measures

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A Chinese woman walks through a nearly empty and shuttered commercial street following new lockdown measuresCredit: Getty Images – Getty

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The province’s 200,000 rural communities – home to 24 million people – will also be sealed shut, accessible for community residents and vehicles via only one guarded entrance.

Similar restrictions are set to take effect on urban residential compounds.

INDEFINITE LOCKDOWN

The regulations, as reported by the South China Morning Post, read: “In principle, every villager should stay at home. If he really needs to step outside, he has to wear a mask and keep a minimum 1.5 metres from other people.

“All leisure and entertainment venues shall be shut down and all group activities shall be suspended. Weddings should be postponed, and funeral processes minimised … Visiting other households is strictly prohibited, as is playing mahjong and card games.”

Every villager should stay at home. If he really needs to step outside, he has to wear a mask and keep a minimum 1.5 metres from other people.

New regulations

The province has also banned vehicles and public transportation in the region, with the exception of police vans, ambulances and other specially licensed vehicles.

Residents who are restricted will be sent essentials arranged by the government.

All other “non-essential” businesses and public venues will also close until further notice, with the exception of chemists, hotels, food shops and medical services.

One government notice, as reported by Strait Times, read: “Those who do not take the initiative to report or disobey the deployment shall be dealt with resolutely and seriously, and the head of the unit shall be held accountable.”

The tough new measures come just four days after former Shanghai mayor Ying Yong took office in Hubei.

ORIGINS OF THE SPREAD

The coronavirus was first detected in the city of Wuhan in the central Chinese province Hubei in December.

Hubai accounts for over 80 per cent of confirmed coronavirus cases and 96 per cent of the deaths in China.

Authorities have been forced to impose strict and isolating lockdown measures.

Wuhan was the first Chinese city to face a complete lockdown, with other cities following suit.

The virus has since infected about 71,000 people worldwide.

HOUSE-BOUND

Much of China has been instructed to remain indoors, with many coming up with novel ways to entertain themselves.

One man, Pan, said he jogged 66 kilometres in a loop at his home and another time for 30km on the spot in his bathroom, while live-streaming the action to his followers.

He recalled: “I felt a little dizzy at first, but you get used to it after you circle many times.

“Running is like an addiction. If you don’t run for a long time, you get itchy feet.”

Others have retreated online for their entertainment through group chats, online dating and online tutorials.

What is coronavirus?

Coronavirus is an airborne virus, spread in a similar way to colds and the flu.

The virus attacks the respiratory system, causing lung lesions.

Symptoms include a runny nose, headache, cough and fever, shortness of breath, chills and body aches.

It is incredibly contagious and is spread through contact with anything the virus is on as well as infected breath, coughs or sneezes.

Symptoms include a runny nose, headache, cough and fever, shortness of breath, chills and body aches.

In most cases, you won’t know whether you have a coronavirus or a different cold-causing virus, such as rhinovirus.

But if a coronavirus infection spreads to the lower respiratory tract (your windpipe and your lungs), it can cause pneumonia, especially in older people, people with heart disease or people with weakened immune systems.

There is no vaccine for coronavirus.

In 2003 an outbreak of a similar virus, SARS, infected more than 8,000 people in 37 countries before it was brought under control, killing 800 of those worldwide.

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 A Chinese woman wears a protective mask as she crosses a nearly empty intersection in Beijing

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A Chinese woman wears a protective mask as she crosses a nearly empty intersection in BeijingCredit: Getty Images – Getty
 A once thriving shopping area is now deserted

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A once thriving shopping area is now desertedCredit: Getty Images – Getty
 The number of cases of coronavirus rose to more than 44000 in mainland China on Wednesday

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The number of cases of coronavirus rose to more than 44000 in mainland China on WednesdayCredit: Getty Images – Getty
 A woman asks a securing guard in front of the entrance of China World Trade Center for direction

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A woman asks a securing guard in front of the entrance of China World Trade Center for directionCredit: Getty Images – Getty
 Pan completes exercises in his bedroom as many Chinese come up with novel ways to entertain themselves indoors

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Pan completes exercises in his bedroom as many Chinese come up with novel ways to entertain themselves indoorsCredit: AFP or licensors
 Pan Shancu runs in his bedroom in Hangzhou to pass the time

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Pan Shancu runs in his bedroom in Hangzhou to pass the timeCredit: AFP or licensors


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Armed gang steals toilet paper in panic-buying Hong Kong…


Hong Kong (AFP) – A gang of knife-wielding men jumped a delivery driver in Hong Kong and stole hundreds of toilet rolls, police said Monday, in a city wracked by shortages caused by coronavirus panic-buying.

Toilet rolls have become hot property in the densely packed business hub, despite government assurances that supplies remain unaffected by the virus outbreak.

Supermarkets have found themselves unable to restock quickly enough, leading to sometimes lengthy queues and shelves wiped clean within moments of opening.

There has also been a run on staples such as rice and pasta, as well as hand sanitiser and other cleaning items.

Police said a truck driver was held up early Monday by three men outside a supermarket in Mong Kok, a working-class district with a history of “triad” organised crime gangs.

“A delivery man was threatened by three knife-wielding men who took toilet paper worth more than HK$1,000 ($130),” a police spokesman told AFP.

A police source told AFP the missing rolls were later recovered and two suspects were arrested on scene although it was not clear if they were directly involved in the armed robbery.

Footage from Now TV showed police investigators standing around multiple crates of toilet roll outside a Wellcome supermarket. One of the crates was only half stacked.

Hong Kongers reacted with a mixture of bafflement and merriment to the heist.

One woman passing by the scene of the crime who was interviewed by local TV station iCable quipped: “I’d steal face masks, but not toilet roll.”

The city, which has 58 confirmed coronavirus cases, is currently experiencing a genuine shortage of face masks.

The hysteria that has swept through Hong Kong since the coronavirus outbreak exploded on mainland China is partly fuelled by the city’s tragic recent history of confronting a deadly disease.

In 2003, some 299 Hong Kongers died of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), an outbreak that began on the mainland but was initially covered up by Beijing — action that left a lasting legacy of distrust towards the authorities on public health issues.

The new coronavirus outbreak also comes at a time when the city’s pro-Beijing leadership has historic low approval ratings after refusing to bow to months of angry pro-democracy protests last year.

Authorities have blamed online rumours for the panic-buying and say supplies of food and household goods remain stable.

But the panic-buying has itself created shortages in one of the world’s most densely populated cities where supermarkets and pharmacies have limited floor space.

Photos posted online have shown some people proudly stuffing their cramped city apartments with packets of hoarded toilet rolls.

On Sunday, the head of the city’s Consumer Council warned people not to stockpile toilet rolls in their flats as they were prone to mould in the notoriously humid climate.

She also reiterated that there were ample stocks of paper.

Supermarket chain Wellcome called Monday’s robbery a “senseless act”, and called on people not to bulk buy or hoard toilet roll.

“We want to emphasize that we have sufficient toilet roll supply to meet demand,” it said in a statement. “The temporary shortage was caused by the sudden and unusual surge in demand.”



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Dog owners take more photos of pet than family…


If you find yourself posting more pictures of your dog than your spouse you are not alone.

The results of a study from Rover.com, a site that connects dog owners with dog sitters, exposes the results of the never-ending obsession with taking pictures of pets.

The study shows that 65% of dog owners admit to taking more photos of their dog than their significant other. The study also reveals that nearly half of people polled said they find it harder to leave their dog for a week than their human counterpart.

94% of dog owners consider their dogs to be a part of their family and 56% greet their dog as soon as they walk in the door usually before saying hello to the rest of the family.

The majority of dog people even said they would include their dog in family moments like marriage proposals, holiday cards, and vacations.

“Young Americans are less likely to be homeowners or parents than previous generations, but one category they lead in is pet ownership. They shower their dogs with attention and splurge on expensive gifts because their dog is their best friend, and they want to be their dog’s best friend too,” said Brandie Gonzales, pet lifestyle expert for Rover. “Dog people are deeply concerned about their dog’s feelings and well-being. And we’re seeing that reflected in everything from how people name their dog to what they feed them, and the type of pet care they prefer.”

The report includes responses from thousands of dog owners across the country as well as scientific research on pet parents’ relationships with their dogs. Overall, the data revealed that the human-dog relationship has evolved from one of ownership to one based on family.



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Attorney seeks justice for Marine confined more than two years without trial or charges…


A Marine recruit arrested for allegedly striking a drill instructor at the service’s San Diego boot camp has spent most of the last two years in the brig and is now confined to a federal prison hospital.

He has not had a trial, nor has he been charged with a crime, according to the Marine Corps and the man’s attorney.

Jay-Ar Ruiz’ case raises questions about how the military justice system handles complex issues involving mental health, his attorney says, and how someone like Ruiz — who his lawyer says had a pre-existing mental illness — was allowed to ship off to boot camp in the first place.

Ruiz, 28, enlisted in the Marine Corpsin Los Angeles and reported to the San Diego Marine Corps Recruit Depot in November 2017. By January 2018, three months later, he was locked in the brig at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, where he would remain for 22 months.

It wasn’t long after he started training that Ruiz began exhibiting behaviors his lawyer says were symptomatic of mental illness — a condition she says should have disqualified him for military service.

“Within days (of arriving at boot camp) he starts exhibiting behaviors with this personality disorder,” said attorney Beth Payton-O’Brien during an interview. “He gets dropped within 30 days. He should have never been recruited.”

Payton-O’Brien, a retired Navy captain and former military judge, is Ruiz’ civilian military defense attorney. She recently signed on to defend the Marine, who is incarcerated at a secure federal medical center in Springfield, Missouri.

He was transferred to the facility in November, after 22 months in the Miramar brig.

Payton-O’Brien said Ruiz authorized her to discuss his case and medical condition with the Union-Tribune, which has also been in communication with Ruiz via letters and email.

A spokesman for MCRD San Diego, which is still Ruiz’ command, said he could not go into detail about Ruiz’ case, though the Marines do not dispute the main facts as described by Payton-O’Brien.

Ruiz’ issues began well before he shipped off to boot camp in November 2017.

In June 2017, a woman in Los Angeles County filed a temporary restraining order against him, according to online court records, which did not provide details. However, upon arrival in boot camp, Ruiz began sending the woman letters, violating the order.

When he was confronted by a Marine staff sergeant about the letters and was served with a military protective order, Ruiz reacted violently, striking the staff sergeant, who placed him in a bear hug, rendering him unconscious, Payton-O’Brien said.

He received medical care and was sent to the brig.

As in the civilian justice system, military service members facing criminal charges can be held in custody before trial. A military brig functions like a jail and a prison.

Ruiz began pretrial confinement in January 2018, awaiting an article 32 hearing which, in the military system, is similar to a civilian grand jury, except a hearing officer hears testimony and makes a recommendation whether to proceed to court-martial.

Early in Ruiz’ process, it became apparent to his first military defense attorney that he was not fit to defend himself, Payton-O’Brien said. It took six months before Navy doctors examined his mental health.

In the military justice system, a service member will normally be treated for any mental illness until they are deemed competent to defend themselves in court, Payton-O’Brien said.

Ruiz has gone through at least two competency hearings, she said. He was again found not mentally competent for trial last summer and transferred to the medical facility in Missouri in November.

“I can’t believe how long this case has been sitting around,” Payton-O’Brien said. “It’s shocking to me that if somebody is found to be not competent to assist in their defense, that it would take almost four months to get him transferred into a mental health facility.”

A Marine Corps official not authorized to comment publicly told the Union-Tribune that delays in Ruiz’ case could be partially attributed to the Marine’s conduct while in the brig, which included damaging the facilities.

The Marines did not comment on why Ruiz was kept in the brig so long without psychiatric care.

The service also has not released Ruiz’ charge sheet. His lawyer said he is accused of assault, disobeying orders, damaging government property, stalking, violating a restraining order and fraudulent enlistment.

The Marines also declined to comment on the circumstances of Ruiz’ recruitment or his screening process.

Payton-O’Brien said the Marines are ready to administratively separate Ruiz — to remove him from the Marines — without levying criminal charges.

She said she wonders how Ruiz will conduct himself at an administrative separation board, which she plans to attend.

“The government said they’re going to drop the charges, (but) how can he be competent to defend himself in an admin board?” Payton-O’Brien said.

Payton-O’Brien said Friday she hopes to resolve Ruiz’ case without an administrative board.

If so, she hopes he continues to get medical care if he is released. She is concerned about the long-term effects of his time in custody without mental health treatment.

As for Ruiz, he has sent several pieces of correspondence, both via mail and email, alleging wrongdoing by some in the military justice system.

He says the hospital he’s at now is no different than prison.

“There’s prison politics and anything that happens in a federal penitentiary is the same here,” Ruiz wrote in a Dec. 30 letter.

Neither Payton-O’Brien nor the Marines could say when they expect the case to be resolved.



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EU officials scold Zuckerberg as charm offensive flops…


Mark Zuckerberg came to Brussels looking to make friends.

But in a number of high-profile meetings Monday, European officials responded: no thanks.

Facebook’s chief executive was scolded for the company’s involvement in a series of recent scandals, asked to do more to clamp down on widespread misinformation on its global platform and urged to take greater responsibility for the role that the social networking giant plays in people’s daily lives.

The cold reception comes as the tech giant is facing mounting regulatory pressure in Europe, the United States and beyond. In response, Zuckerberg has pledged billions of dollars in resources to clamp down on everything from fake news to privacy violations — promises that have been met with widespread skepticism from policymakers across the globe.

“I spent time saying that when you have such a big position, you need to anticipate the role that you play in our societies and economies, and not wait for regulators or governments to tell you what you have to do,” said Thierry Breton, Europe’s commissioner for internal markets.

“Facebook cannot push away all the responsibility” — European Commission Vice President Vera Jourová

“It’s up to them to see the impact of their responsibility before we tell them so,” the French policymaker added.

The pushback followed a full-court charm offensive by Zuckerberg to woo local lawmakers in his first trip to Brussels in early 2018 in the aftermath of the Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal.

This time, the Facebook CEO focused on high-level policymakers, meeting with Margrethe Vestager, the region’s competition chief, as well as Věra Jourová, the Commission’s vice president in charge of fundamental rights and election integrity.

His outreach included the publication of suggestions on how to regulate online content, a hot topic for European officials, and claims, during his trip to the Munich Security Conference ahead of Brussels, that the tech giant would be willing to pay more tax to countries beyond the United States in proposed digital tax reforms that may be completed by the end of the year.

European Commission Vice President Margrethe Vestager | Christof Stache/AFP via Getty Images

Zuckerberg and senior Facebook executives say that they want governments to come up with new rules to police the online world, and that it should not be left to private firms to determine how much of the digital economy is run.

But with the European Union to unveil a raft of digital proposals later this week, many of which will touch on Facebook’s core business, officials politely rebuffed many of these advances Monday, claiming the company must do more on its own to combat many of the regulatory challenges now confronting the company.

Brussels will publish new policies around artificial intelligence, the use of data and how the region will approach the global digital economy — efforts that will lead to years of hard-fought lobbying before final rules are passed.

“Facebook cannot push away all the responsibility,” Jourová said after her meeting with the tech boss. “Facebook and Mr. Zuckerberg have to answer themselves a question: ‘Who do they want to be as a company and what values do they want to promote?'”

Wearing a blue suit and tie for his rounds of meetings inside the Commission’s Berlaymont building in central Brussels, Zuckerberg told a small group of reporters before he met with EU officials that he wanted to find a way — laid out in recommendations on Monday — to work with authorities on a model for regulating social media platforms.

His idea would be for Facebook not to be treated like telecoms firms that just carry content, with no accountability for that material, nor like traditional publishers, which have control over such content. It comes amid a growing drumbeat on both sides of the Atlantic for social media companies to be held more responsible for what users posts online, including hate speech, terrorist content and other harmful material.

“It’s not for us to adapt to those companies, but for them to adapt to us” — European Commissioner Thierry Breton

“Given that there are more than 100 billion pieces of content a day, and that we’re not generally producing the content, I think that that would be operationally unfeasible,” Zuckerberg said, in reference to strict content rules for Facebook and others.

Antitrust storm clouds

Despite Zuckerberg’s whirlwind schedule — which was treated more like a state visit by a national leader than a series of meetings with a corporate executive — Commission officials remain overtly skeptical of Facebook’s intentions.

Talking to reporters Monday, Breton dismissed Zuckerberg’s suggestions on potential ways to regulate online content, saying they were “too low in terms of responsibility and regulation [and] there is nothing on market power,” in reference to Facebook’s dominance over much of social media

Breton also dismissed Zuckerberg’s proposal for a third status for Facebook that would fall between telecom provider and publisher while expressing skepticism at the idea of one single EU regulator. Taking the stage alongside the Facebook chief executive, the French official cut off the tech boss from speaking, something that Zuckerberg is not accustomed to.

“It’s not for us to adapt to those companies, but for them to adapt to us,” he said.

Like Google and Microsoft before it, Facebook has often misjudged how to interact with policymakers in Brussels.

Officials routinely gripe that Facebook executives either do not understand Europe’s priorities or do not take their complaints seriously — something that Nick Clegg, the United Kingdom’s former deputy prime minister and former MEP, has tried to change since he took over as the company’s chief global lobbyist in early 2019.

Facebook Vice President Nick Clegg has made an effort to woo EU leaders | Tobias Schwarz/AFP via Getty Images

Clegg, who has spent much of his first year at Facebook visiting national EU capitals, attended many of Zuckerberg’s meetings in Brussels on Monday, often hovering in the back. The former British lawmaker also met with Didier Reynders, the Commission’s justice commissioner.

Still, Zuckerberg faced a tough climb in his efforts to convince European lawmakers that Facebook is now one of the good guys.

Brussels is already investigating whether the company’s online marketplace broke the region’s tough antitrust rules, though no charges have yet to be filed. An EU official said Zuckerberg’s meeting with Vestager, who runs both Europe’s competition cases and is in charge of its broader digital industrial policy, was friendly, but to the point.

“They had a good exchange of current issues in the digital sector,” Vestager and Zuckerberg said in a joint statement.

The Dane has openly questioned whether a few digital giants should be allowed to dominate much of the online world, and has raised particular concerns about how these firms collect and use people’s online data. But she has been careful not to portray herself as against Silicon Valley, despite Donald Trump calling her the “tax lady” for ordering Apple to repay €13 billion in back taxes. Both Dublin and the iPhone maker are appealing.

Jourová, the Czech politician who regularly speaks about her childhood growing up behind the Iron Curtain, said she had urged the millennial tech boss to do more to defend democratic values, and make it easier for outsiders to understand how decisions were made on Facebook’s platforms through its complex algorithms.

Such changes must come from the company, she said. Zuckerberg, she added, should not wait for policymakers to draw up new rules.

“It will not be up to governments or regulators to ensure that Facebook wants to be a force for good or bad,” Jourová said.

Want more analysis from POLITICO? POLITICO Pro is our premium intelligence service for professionals. From financial services to trade, technology, cybersecurity and more, Pro delivers real time intelligence, deep insight and breaking scoops you need to keep one step ahead. Email pro@politico.eu to request a complimentary trial.



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WHITE HOUSE LOVE! Stephen Miller weds Pence press secretary…


President Trump and first lady Melania Trump raced from the Daytona 500 to his namesake DC hotel Sunday night for the wedding of senior adviser Stephen Miller and Vice President Mike Pence’s press secretary, Katie Waldman.

The affair took place at the Trump International Hotel and included a ceremony officiated by Rabbi Aryeh Lightstone, senior adviser to US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, according to the couple’s New York Times wedding announcement.

Former White House chief of staff Reince Priebus and wife Sally were also in attendance. The former Republican National Committee chairman posted a photo of him and his wife with the happy couple on Twitter along with a congratulatory message.

“Spectacular and very special wedding tonight with new bride and groom Stephen and Katie Miller! So much fun and still going with ⁦@realDonaldTrump⁩ having fun and the band is going strong!” Priebus tweeted.

During the festivities, the commander-in-chief made a speech ribbing his senior adviser for choosing a holiday weekend to wed his bride, according to a Real Clear Politics reporter.

“[Miller] is the only one who could have a damn wedding in the middle of Presidents’ Day weekend. I’m sure it didn’t affect anybody here,” Trump said during his speech.

The president, who spent the morning in Florida serving as grand marshal at the Daytona 500, then joked that he didn’t think he could miss the wedding without upsetting the bride.

“I think Steve would understand. I don’t think Katie would. But that’s okay,” he quipped.

The Trumps stayed at the wedding for about two hours, while reporters were kept out of the event and waited outside the hotel.

Waldman (right) with Vice President Mike Pence
Waldman (second from right) with Vice President Mike PenceCQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Waldman, 28, was previously a spokeswoman for Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.

Miller, 34, has worked under Trump since joining his campaign in January 2016. He has served as the White House’s chief architect of immigration policy, and is personally responsible for spearheading hardline policies such as family separations at the border, the indefinite detention of migrant families and releasing migrants into sanctuary cities.

He has reportedly pushed Trump to end the practice of birthright citizenship, under which babies born to non-citizens on US soil are granted the right of citizenship.

The two were introduced by mutual friends in the spring of 2018, according to the Times, and were engaged in November 2019.



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Dems Weigh Whether to Pursue New Investigations on President…


WASHINGTON—House Democrats are grappling with whether to pursue further investigations of President Trump following his acquittal in the Senate, facing both an election in nine months and fresh White House actions that they say demand scrutiny.

Democrats want to look into whether the president improperly influenced the Justice Department’s sentencing recommendation for a Trump confidant, casting Mr. Trump as emboldened by the end of the impeachment process. At the same time, party leaders are eager to focus on pocketbook issues…



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Bolton book remains stuck in classification review…


DURHAM, N.C. — Former national security adviser John Bolton on Monday is scheduled to deliver his first public remarks since the conclusion of President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial.

Bolton’s appearance at Duke University comes as one of his aides tells NBC News that it’s unclear if his book about his time in the Trump White House — “The Room Where It Happened” — will publish next month as planned. The aide said a White House national security review of the manuscript could push back the book’s March 17 publication date.

Bolton also is scheduled to speak publicly on Wednesday at Vanderbilt University.

He and the White House have been at odds for nearly two months over the publication of his book. The White House has said it contains classified information. But Bolton, who also wrote a book about his time in the Bush administration as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, has maintained that there is nothing classified in his book.

When Bolton submitted his book to the White House in December for a standard national security review his lawyer, Charles Cooper, wrote in a letter that the former national security adviser was not required to do so but was out of an abundance of caution.

After parts of his book leaked to the media, Bolton’s team said the White House review process had been corrupted.

“We continue to believe that the manuscript contains no legitimately classified material,” Sarah Tinsley, a senior adviser to Bolton, recently said in a statement. She expressed concern that the review process “is more about suppressing Ambassador Bolton’s book than about classification issues.”

One possibility is the White House has or will retroactively classify information in Bolton’s book.

A longtime fixture in the Republican Party, Bolton recently became a target for Trump and his allies after revelations that he would directly link the president to the White House’s pressure campaign on Ukraine. The New York Times has reported that Bolton writes in his book that Trump sought his help with his Ukraine pressure campaign.

Bolton offered to testify in the president’s impeachment trial, where he would have provided a first-hand account of the Trump’s decision to withhold U.S. aid to Ukraine in exchange for its government announcing an investigation into his political rivals. But Senate Republicans rejected the idea and acquitted Trump of charges that he abused the power of his office by pressuring Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to announce a corruption investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter.

Biden is running in the Democratic primary to challenge Trump in the November election.

Bolton left the White House in September on contentious terms with Trump. He said he resigned, while the president said he was fired. He served 17 months as Trump’s national security adviser.



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