Election thumping on the cards for Merkel coalition parties: polls

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives and the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) both face a drubbing in a regional election on Oct. 28 that risks further weakening their crisis-plagued national government, polls showed on Thursday.

Knotch launches Blueprint to help marketers find the best publishers of sponsored content

When I last wrote about Knotch, the company had just patented its color-based feedback system that helps advertisers measure the effectiveness of their sponsored content.

Since then, it’s added a competitive intelligence product and now Blueprint, a tool for marketers who want to find the best topics, formats and partners to reach their desired audience.

Lara Vandenberg, Knotch’s senior vice president of marketing and communications, told me that agencies had been asking the company to recommend of which publishers to work with, so Blueprint is meant to meet that need. She described it as both “this ultimate content planning product” and as “a predictive matchmaker for brands as content becomes so much more of a focus.”

To accomplish this, she said Knotch is scouring the web for sponsored content, then automatically identifying elements like content, themes and trends.

Knotch Blueprint

Marketers can then access this data by browsing through different themes and publishers. They can also search based on the audience and metrics that they’re looking for, and Blueprint will recommend publishers who seem like a good fit.  Blueprint offers detailed about publishers, like how often they’re publishing sponsored content, who their advertisers are and what kind of response they’re getting.

In some cases, marketers can even click a button to send a message directly to the publisher’s sales team.

The initial brands using Blueprint include JP Morgan Chase and Ford. Vandenberg said the product will only be monetized on the brand side, but publishers can also claim their profiles, turning them into “verified” accounts where Knotch measures their sponsored content directly.

“The idea is for Knotch to be with a brand at every phase of the content cycle, except for the creating,” Vandenberg said. That means the company wants to be involved in “the measurement, the optimization, the distribution, the planning.”

Ronnie O’Sullivan wins but John Higgins, Neil Robertson & Judd Trump exit English Open

Former world champions John Higgins and Neil Robertson and world number five Judd Trump are knocked out of the English Open.

Chile court hears appeal of case seeking damages from Church over abuse claims

Three men, who have accused Chilean priest Fernando Karadima of sexual abuse, asked a court in Santiago on Thursday to find the Roman Catholic Church in Chile responsible for “moral damages,” claiming the Church had covered up abuse, and to pay them a total of 450 million pesos ($650,000).

Trump says it looks like Saudi journalist Khashoggi is dead

President Donald Trump said on Thursday he presumes journalist Jamal Khashoggi is dead and that the U.S. response to Saudi Arabia will likely be “very severe” but that he still wanted to get to the bottom of what exactly happened.

Goldman Sachs joins growing band of businesses snubbing Saudi conference

Goldman Sachs Group Inc on Thursday joined the growing list of high-profile businesses snubbing a Saudi investment conference next week amid mounting pressure on Riyad over the disappearance of…

Canada not sending anyone to Saudi Arabia business summit and never planned to: source

OTTAWA — The federal government has no intention of sending anyone to a major investment conference in Saudi Arabia next week at a time when Riyadh is the target of global outrage — and one source insists Ottawa never had plans to dispatch a delegation.

Cabinet ministers, federal officials and embassy staff will skip the Future Investment Initiative in Riyadh, which is sometimes referred to as “Davos in the Desert,” a senior government insider said Thursday.

Last year, then-natural resources minister Jim Carr attended the inaugural edition of the summit.

This year’s event comes as Saudi Arabia faces intense global pressure following the disappearance and apparent death of Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi citizen and U.S. resident who has written critically of the Saudi regime.

In recent days, key international figures have announced they’ve cancelled plans to attend the Saudi summit. They include top business executives, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, European cabinet ministers, International Monetary Fund head Christine Lagarde and World Bank President Jim Yong Kim.

On the bilateral front, Canada’s relationship with Saudi Arabia has deteriorated significantly since the summer.

A wall mural displays the ‘2030 Vision’ logo and Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia.

In August, Riyadh suspended diplomatic ties with Canada and expelled the Canadian ambassador after Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland criticized the regime on Twitter for its arrest of social activists.

The Canadian official, speaking on condition of anonymity Thursday, declined to draw a direct link to recent events when asked why Canadians were skipping the summit — they said Canada is just not going.

On Thursday in the House of Commons, Freeland called Khashoggi’s disappearance deeply troubling as she was pressed by opposition MPs to explain why the government is honouring a multibillion-dollar arms contract with a Saudi regime accused of human rights violations and war crimes.

“Canada has said this with a very strong voice. That’s the message I transmitted to Saudi Arabia’s foreign affairs minister,” Freeland said in reference to the Khashoggi case.

“I’ve also discussed this subject with my counterparts in Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States. We join our partners in calling for a thorough investigation and accountability for this act.”

In response to another question on Saudi Arabia, she said: “Canada’s position on human rights in general, very much including in Saudi Arabia, is clear and firm.”

U.S. President Donald Trump has said that, during their recent conversation, the Saudi king firmly denied allegations that he or his crown prince had any knowledge of or role in the disappearance of Khashoggi, who was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

— with files from The Associated Press