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Mairead McGuinness nominated next Irish Commissioner-designate

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Today (8 September) European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced that having interviewed the two candidates put forward by the Irish government for the post of Commissioner, she has decided to propose Mairead McGuinness to the European Parliament. In a surprise move, the new Irish commissioner has been offered the portfolio of financial services, financial stability, and capital markets union.

Executive Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis will assume responsibility for the trade portfolio, and will remain the Commission's representative on the Eurogroup, in cooperation with Commissioner Gentiloni.

Mairead McGuinness has been a member of the European Parliament since 2004 and currently holds the post of First Vice-President. She is widely respected, but has little known expertise in the portfolio she has been offered having served on unrelated committees in the parliament, including: agriculture and rural development; environment, public health and food safety; and the petitions committee.

The other Irish candidate, Andrew McDowell, was a former chief economic advisor to then Taoiseach Enda Kenny. He had just completed a mandate as Vice-President of the European Investment Banking. This may not just have been a question of gender balance trumping expertise, but the recognition that McGuinness is a shrewd political actor, who has also demonstrated during the Brexit discussions that she is a skilled media operator, this is not surprising given her background as a journalist.

While rumours swirled that there would be a wider shake-up of portfolios, the President appears to have settled on a more modest redistribution. Dombrovskis is a trusted and respected heavyweight in the current Commission, it is unlikely that there will be strong objections to him being given the important trade dossier. As a current MEP, McGuinness is one of their own, it is unlikely that the European Parliament will try to block her nomination.

It was widely anticipated that Ireland would lose the trade portfolio, but financial services and the Capital Markets Union are important sectors to Ireland, which hopes to become an even bigger player in this sector. Many London-based companies are already turning to Dublin as Brexit looms on the horizon. McGuinness will be in charge of directorate general what has yet to decide if the UK’s financial services in different areas will maintain “equivalence”; this is one of the unilateral powers that the European Commission will continue to exercise, whether there is, or isn’t a deal with the UK, by 1 January 2020.

Commentators have pointed to the fact that Ireland now holds three important economic posts. Paschal Donohoe, Ireland’s Finance Minister became President of the Eurogroup in July. Ireland’s former Governor of Ireland’s central bank is now Chief Economist for the European Central Bank in 2019.

Ireland was the eighth largest exporter of financial services (excluding insurance and pension services) in the world in 2017, according to UNCTAD. It has been successful in reducing its non-performing loans from 21% to 6% in 2018 over a four-year period. The sector is an important one for Ireland.

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World’s first space-based digital currency exchange for ultra-secure transactions

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Migration to an on-orbit satellite network architecture fortifies Biteeu as one of the most secure virtual currency exchanges in the world that places user privacy and security first.

CAPE CANAVERAL, FLORIDA – June 30, 2021 – Biteeu today announced the successful launch of its digital security infrastructure into space onboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket under the rideshare program. The space node created for Biteeu by space-as-a-service solution provider and partner SpaceChain is installed on a YAM-2 satellite carried by the rocket. The mission was made possible by satellite operator Loft Orbital.

This marks Biteeu as the first cryptocurrency exchange in the world to leverage the high security of space-grade infrastructure for ultra-secure Bitcoin cryptocurrency transactions, and having its public satellite key backed up on a space node.

Biteeu has obtained the ISO 27001 certification which validates the exchange meets global best practices for its information security management system. Today’s announcement further reinforces the exchange’s commitment to ensuring ultra-secure user privacy with cutting-edge technology.

Once activated, the space node will be capable of processing multisignature Bitcoin transactions. Multisignature technology requires more than one private key in order to authorize a bitcoin transaction from a crypto-wallet address, rendering the transaction more secure than standard single-signature methods.

Various security mechanisms held by the Biteeu space node, including the latency in communication between the ground stations and satellites of up to 12 hours, prevent cyber fraud and theft as hackers are unable to move digital assets out quickly.

The added remoteness in space, together with the offline end-to-end encrypted satellite communication and the public key stored on the satellite, greatly enhances the security of data and transactions, which can be vulnerable to cyberattacks and hacking if hosted solely on physical Earth-based servers.

“As digital currency becomes a driver in the new age of global commerce, we are seeing limitations of land-based infrastructure with growing security concerns that impede users from realizing the full benefit of cryptocurrencies,” said Shukhrat Ibragimov, Biteeu co-founder and chairman. “By integrating innovative, decentralized space-based technology, we are able to address security vulnerabilities and continuously build the confidence of institutional and retail traders in managing their funds with the best trading experience.”

Hardware and software tests are expected to be completed by November 2021. Upon completion, Biteeu users will be able to authorize Bitcoin multisignature transactions in space through the multisignature wallet.

The on-orbit satellite network architecture migration is poised to fortify Biteeu as one of the most secure virtual currency exchanges in the world that places user privacy and security as of the utmost importance. Biteeu is operated and managed by Eurasian Space Ventures (ESV), a private company registered in Kazakhstan which aims to serve as an international hub for space projects and related organizations looking to capitalize on the well-established space infrastructure and ecosystem in the country.

ESV and SpaceChain have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for ongoing collaboration and developing joint projects in the field of space technologies over a period of two years.

“The establishment of Biteeu’s multisignature transaction in space encapsulates our continuous effort in upholding the highest levels of data protection for our users and raising the benchmark of security standards in the cryptocurrency market,” said Talgat Dossanov, Biteeu co-founder and CEO. “We are at the forefront of this financial innovation and we look forward to enabling our global users with a more secure, robust platform that can be accessed from virtually anywhere.”

Users who sign up with Biteeu with a promo code spacebiteeu2021 will receive a certificate with a serial number that validates that their names and cryptocurrency wallets have been added to the space project and sent securely to the Biteeu space node on orbit.

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The invalidation of the EU-US Privacy Shield and the GAFA tax

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The invalidation of the EU-US Privacy Shield, the GAFA tax and the privacy
protection of European citizens has been the focus of recent cyber
conflicts between Europe and the United States.

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'Belarus is becoming the North Korea of Europe: nontransparent, unpredictable and dangerous’

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Tsikhanouskaya says Belarus is becoming the North Korea of Europe: ‘nontransparent, unpredictable and dangerous’. Tsikhanouskaya, the elected leader of Belarus who is now living in exile was invited to an exchange of views with members of the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee on Tuesday (26 May).

The meeting took place following recent events in Belarus, including the unprecedented forced landing of the Ryanair flight in Minsk Belarus and the detention by Belarusian authorities of journalist Raman Pratasevich and Sofia Sapega.

Tsikhanouskaya said: “Since the rigged elections of August 2020, the regime has completely lost the boundaries of acceptable behavior. Let us be frank, the previous EU strategy of wait and see towards the Belarusian regime doesn't work.

“The EU approach of gradually elevated pressure on the Lukashenko regime has not managed to change his behavior and has only led to a growing sense of impunity and messy repressions.

“I call on the European Parliament to make sure that the reaction of the international community is not limited to the Ryanair flight incident. The response must address the situation in Belarus in its entirety, or we will all face such situations in the future, Lukashenko is turning my country into the North Korea of Europe: nontransparent, unpredictable and dangerous.”

Tsikhanouskaya highlighted three other recent developments: the elimination of Tutby media; the death of political activist Vitold Ashurak in prison custody; and the decision to delay the next national vote until the end of 2023.

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