1002: Ras-Putin

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

2h 41m
January 24th, 2018
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Executive Producers: John & Kelly Rutter

Cover Artist: Patrick Buijs

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Fake Alarms
From Dude Named Ben
I worked for FEMA's IT department during Katrina. The
password requirements for many government systems are a little ridiculous: high
minimum character count, a number, a symbol, minimum 2 uppercase and 2
lowercase characters, and the password is very often generated for you, unable
to be changed.
This of course means nobody can remember their password. I
took quite a lot of "forgot my password" tickets.
Out responding to other tickets, I saw passwords on Post-Its
stuck to monitors very frequently. The other one is under the keyboard, or
pasted to the back of the keyboard. Next most common is inside of the main desk
drawer. There is no password security and FEMA's filled with fairly clueless
boneheads. (I had to clean a bunch of malware off one guy's computer because
he'd been looking at porn.) Even saw a DoJ employee who was staging there for a
few weeks with a password posted on the monitor. You'd think those guys would
really know better.
Bottom line, if someone has access to a building, they can
have a field day on the emergency management networks of just about any
government agency, pretty sure. Visiting local emergency management centers
while covering Ivan the year before that, I saw that most of their employees
were anything but tech-savvy, and made the FEMA crew look like savants. I'm
sure the human side of their infosec was and still is absolutely piss-poor.
If you mention any of this on the show please keep me
anonymous. Thanks for your hard work and courage as always.
Migrants
O*NET OnLine
Tue, 23 Jan 2018 05:20
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DV Lottery instructions
Tue, 23 Jan 2018 05:16
UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE 2019 DIVERSITY IMMIGRANT VISA PROGRAM (DV-2019) Program Overview The Department of State administers the Congressionally-mandated Diversity Immigrant Visa Program annually. Section 203(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) provides for a class of immigrants known as ''diversity immigrants'' from countries with historically low rates of immigration to the United States. For Fiscal Year 2019, 50,000 Diversity Visas (DVs) will be available. There is no cost to register for the DV program. Applicants who are selected in the program (''selectees'') must meet simple but strict eligibility requirements to qualify for a diversity visa. The Department of State determine selectees through a randomized computer drawing. The Department of State distributes diversity visas among six geographic regions, and no single country may receive more than seven percent of the available DVs in any one year. For DV-2019, natives of the following countries are not eligible to apply, because more than 50,000 natives of these countries immigrated to the United States in the previous five years: Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China (mainland-born), Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and Vietnam. Persons born in Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR, and Taiwan are eligible. There were no changes in eligibility this year. Eligibility Requirement #1: Individuals born in countries whose natives qualify may be eligible to enter. If you were not born in an eligible country, there are two other ways you might be able to qualify. ‚· Was your spouse born in a country whose natives are eligible? If yes, you can claim your spouse's country of birth '' provided that both you and your spouse are named on the selected entry, are found eligible and issued diversity visas, and enter the United States simultaneously. ‚· Were you born in a country whose natives are ineligible, but in which neither of your parents was born or legally resident at the time of your birth? If yes, you may claim the country of birth
UNCLASSIFIED - 2 - UNCLASSIFIED of one of your parents if it is a country whose natives are eligible for the DV-2019 program. For more details on what this means, see the Frequently Asked Questions. Requirement #2: Each DV applicant must meet the education/work experience requirement of the DV program by having either: ‚· at least a high school education or its equivalent, defined as successful completion of a 12-year course of formal elementary and secondary education; OR ‚· two years of work experience within the past five years in an occupation that requires at least two years of training or experience to perform. The Department of State will use the U.S. Department of Labor's O*Net Online database to determine qualifying work experience. For more information about qualifying work experience, see the Frequently Asked Questions. Do not submit an entry to the DV program unless you meet both of these requirements. Entry period Applicants must submit entries for the DV-2019 program electronically at dvlottery.state.gov between noon, Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) (GMT-4), Wednesday, October 18, 2017, and noon, Eastern Standard Time (EST) (GMT-5), Wednesday, November 22, 2017. Do not wait until the last week of the registration period to enter, as heavy demand may result in website delays. No late entries or paper entries will be accepted. The law allows only one entry by or for each person during each registration period. The Department of State uses sophisticated technology to detect multiple entries. Individuals with more than one entry will be disqualified. Completing your Electronic Entry for the DV-2019 Program Submit your Electronic Diversity Visa Entry Form (E-DV Entry Form or DS-5501), online at dvlottery.state.gov. We will not accept incomplete entries. There is no cost to submit an entry form. Please use an updated browser when submitting your application; older browsers (Internet Explorer 8, for example) will likely encounter problems with the online DV system. We strongly encourage you to complete the entry form yourself, without a ''visa consultant,'' ''visa agent,'' or other facilitator who offers to help. If someone helps you, you should be present when your entry is prepared so you can provide the correct answers to the questions and retain the confirmation page and your unique confirmation number. It is extremely important that you retain your confirmation page and unique confirmation number. Without this information, you will not be able to access the online system that informs you of your entry status. Be wary if someone offers to keep this information for you. You also should retain access to the email account listed in your E-DV entry. See the Frequently Asked Questions for more information about Diversity Visa program scams. You may also wish to view our video for an introduction to the Diversity Visa program and step-by-step guide to help you submit an entry.
UNCLASSIFIED - 3 - UNCLASSIFIED After you submit a complete entry, you will see a confirmation screen containing your name and a unique confirmation number. Print this confirmation screen for your records. Starting May 15, 2018, you will be able to check the status of your entry by returning to dvlottery.state.gov, clicking on Entrant Status Check, and entering your unique confirmation number and personal information. You must use Entrant Status Check to check if you have been selected for DV-2019 and if selected, to check your immigrant visa interview appointment date. The U.S. government will not inform you directly. Entrant Status Check is the sole source for instructions on how to proceed with your application. Please review the Frequently Asked Questions for more information about the selection process. You must provide the following information to complete your entry: 1. Name '' last/family name, first name, middle name '' exactly as on your passport. 2. Gender '' male or female. 3. Birth date '' day, month, year. 4. City where you were born. 5. Country where you were born '' Use the name of the country currently used for the place where you were born. 6. Country of eligibility for the DV program '' Your country of eligibility will normally be the same as your country of birth. Your country of eligibility is not related to where you live or your nationality, if it is different from your country of birth. If you were born in a country that is not eligible, please review the Frequently Asked Questions to see if there is another way you may be eligible. 7. Entrant photograph(s) '' Recent photographs (taken within the last six months) of yourself, your spouse, and all your children. See Submitting a Digital Photograph for compositional and technical specifications. You do not need to include a photograph for a spouse or child who is already a U.S. citizen or a Lawful Permanent Resident, but you will not be penalized if you do. We cannot accept group photographs; you must submit a photograph for each individual. Your entry may be disqualified or your visa application refused if the photographs have been manipulated in any way, or do not meet the specifications explained below. Submitting the same photograph that was submitted with a prior year's entry will result in disqualification. See Submitting a Digital Photograph for more information. 8. Mailing Address '' In Care Of Address Line 1 Address Line 2 City/Town District/Country/Province/State Postal Code/Zip Code Country 9. Country where you live today.
UNCLASSIFIED - 4 - UNCLASSIFIED 10. Phone number (optional). 11. Email address '' An email address to which you have direct access, and will continue to have direct access, after we notify selectees in May of next year. If your entry is selected and you respond to the notification of your selection through the Entrant Status Check, you will receive follow-up email communication from the Department of State notifying you that details of your immigrant visa interview are available on Entrant Status Check. The Department of State will never send you an email telling you that you have been selected for the DV program. See the Frequently Asked Questions for more information about the selection process. 12. Highest level of education you have achieved, as of today: (1) Primary school only, (2) Some high school, no diploma, (3) High school diploma, (4) Vocational school, (5) Some university courses, (6) University degree, (7) Some graduate-level courses, (8) Master's degree, (9) Some doctoral-level courses, and (10) Doctorate. See the Frequently Asked Questions for more information about educational requirements. 13. Current marital status: (1) Unmarried, (2) married and my spouse is NOT a U.S. citizen or U.S. Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR), (3) married and my spouse IS a U.S. citizen or U.S. LPR, (4) divorced, (5) widowed, or (6) legally separated. Enter the name, date of birth, gender, city/town of birth, and country of birth of your spouse, and a photograph of your spouse meeting the same technical specifications as your photo. Failure to list your eligible spouse will result in your disqualification as the Diversity Visa principal applicant and refusal of all visa applications in your case at the time of the visa interview. You must list your spouse even if you currently are separated from him/her, unless you are legally separated. Legal separation is an arrangement when a couple remain married but live apart, following a court order. If you and your spouse are legally separated, your spouse will not be able to immigrate with you through the Diversity Visa program. You will not be penalized if you choose to enter the name of a spouse from whom you are legally separated. If you are not legally separated by a court order, you must include your spouse even if you plan to be divorced before you apply for the Diversity Visa. Failure to list your eligible spouse is grounds for disqualification. If your spouse is a U.S. citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident, do not list him/her in your entry. A spouse who is already a U.S. citizen or LPR will not require or be issued a visa. Therefore, if you select ''married and my spouse IS a U.S. citizen or U.S. LPR'' on your entry, you will not be prompted to include further information on your spouse. See the Frequently Asked Questions for more information about family members. 14. Number of children '' List the name, date of birth, gender, city/town of birth, and country of birth for all living unmarried children under 21 years of age, regardless of whether they are living with you or intend to accompany or follow to join you, should you immigrate to the United States. Submit individual photographs of each of your children using the same technical specifications as your own photograph. Be sure to include: ‚· all living natural children;
UNCLASSIFIED - 5 - UNCLASSIFIED ‚· all living children legally adopted by you; and, ‚· all living step-children who are unmarried and under the age of 21 on the date of your electronic entry, even if you are no longer legally married to the child's parent, and even if the child does not currently reside with you and/or will not immigrate with you. Married children and children who are already aged 21 or older when you submit your entry are not eligible for the DV program. However, the Child Status Protection Act protects children from ''aging out'' in certain circumstances. If you submit your DV entry before your unmarried child turns 21, and the child turns 21 before visa issuance, it is possible that he or she may be treated as though he or she were under 21 for visa processing purposes. A child who is already a U.S. citizen or LPR will not require or be issued a Diversity Visa; you will not be penalized for either including or omitting such family members from your entry. Failure to list all children who are eligible will result in disqualification of the principal applicant and refusal of all visa applications in the case at the time of the visa interview. See the Frequently Asked Questions for more information about family members. See the Frequently Asked Questions for more information about completing your Electronic Entry for the DV-2019 Program. Selection of Applicants Based on the allocations of available visas in each region and country, the Department of State will randomly select individuals by computer from among qualified entries. All DV-2019 entrants must go to the Entrant Status Check using the unique confirmation number saved from their DV-2019 online entry registration to find out whether their entry has been selected in the DV program. Entrant Status Check will be available on the E-DV website at dvlottery.state.gov beginning May 15, 2018, through at least September 30, 2019. If your entry is selected, you will be directed to a confirmation page providing further instructions, including information about fees connected with immigration to the United States. Entrant Status Check will be the ONLY means by which the Department of State notifies selectees of their selection for DV-2019. The Department of State will not mail notification letters or notify selectees by email. U.S. embassies and consulates will not provide a list of selectees. Individuals who have not been selected also ONLY will be notified through Entrant Status Check. You are strongly encouraged to access Entrant Status Check yourself. Do not rely on someone else to check and inform you. In order to immigrate, DV selectees must be admissible to the United States. The DS-260, Online Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration Application, electronically, and the consular officer, in person, will ask you questions about your eligibility to immigrate under U.S. law. These questions include criminal and security related topics. All selectees, including family members, must be issued by September 30, 2019. Under no circumstances can the Department of State issue DVs or approve adjustments after this date, nor can family members obtain DVs to follow-to-join the principal applicant in the United States after this date. See the Frequently Asked Questions for more information about the selection process.
UNCLASSIFIED - 6 - UNCLASSIFIED Submitting a Digital Photograph (Image) You can take a new digital photograph or scan a recent (taken within the last six months) photograph with a digital scanner, as long as it meets the compositional and technical specifications listed below. Test your photos through the photo validation link on the E-DV website, which provides additional technical advice on photo composition and examples of acceptable and unacceptable photos. Do not submit an old photograph. Submitting the same photograph that you submitted with a prior year's entry, a photograph that has been manipulated, or a photograph that does not meet the specifications below will result in disqualification. Photographs must be in 24-bit color depth. If you are using a scanner, the settings must be for True Color or 24-bit color mode. See the additional scanning requirements below. Compositional Specifications: ‚· Head Position o The subject must directly face the camera. o The subject's head should not be tilted up, down, or to the side. o The head height or facial region size (measured from the top of the head, including the hair, to the bottom of the chin) must be between 50 percent and 69 percent of the image's total height. The eye height (measured from the bottom of the image to the level of the eyes) should be between 56 percent and 69 percent of the image's height. Digital Image Head Size Template Review examples on the Photo Requirements webpage. ‚· Light-colored Background o The subject should be in front of a neutral, light-colored background. ‚· Focus o The photograph must be in focus. ‚· No Glasses o The subject must not wear glasses or other items that detract from the face.
UNCLASSIFIED - 7 - UNCLASSIFIED ‚· No Head Coverings or Hats o Head coverings or hats worn for religious reasons are acceptable, but the head covering may not obscure any portion of the face. Tribal or other headgear not religious in nature may not be worn. Photographs of military, airline, or other personnel wearing hats will not be accepted. Technical Specifications ‚Ÿ Taking a New Digital Image. If you submit a new digital image, it must meet the following specifications: ƒº Image File Format: The image must be in the Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPEG) format. ƒº Image File Size: The maximum image file size is 240 kilobytes (240 KB). ƒº ƒº Image Resolution and Dimensions: Minimum acceptable dimensions are 600 pixels (width) x 600 pixels (height) up to 1200 pixels x 1200 pixels. Image pixel dimensions must be in a square aspect ratio (meaning the height must be equal to the width). ƒº Image Color Depth: Image must be in color (24 bits per pixel). 24-bit black and white or 8-bit images will not be accepted. ‚· Scanning a Submitted Photograph. Before you scan a photographic print, make sure it meets the color and compositional specifications listed above. Scan the print using the following scanner specifications: ƒº Scanner Resolution: Scanned at a resolution of at least 300 dots per inch (dpi). ƒº Image File Format: The image must be in the Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPEG) format. ƒº Image File Size: The maximum image file size is 240 kilobytes (240 KB). ƒº Image Resolution: 600 by 600 pixels to 1200 by 1200 pixels ƒº Image Color Depth: 24-bit color. Black and white, monochrome, or grayscale images will not be accepted.
UNCLASSIFIED - 8 - UNCLASSIFIED FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQS) ELIGIBILITY 1. What do the terms ''native'' and ''chargeability'' mean? Native ordinarily means someone born in a particular country, regardless of the individual's current country of residence or nationality. Native can also mean someone who is entitled to be charged to a country other than the one in which he/she was born under the provisions of Section 202(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. Because there is a numerical limitation on immigrants who enter from a country or geographic region, each individual is charged to a country. Your chargeability refers to the country towards which limitation you count. Your country of eligibility will normally will be the same as your country of birth. However, you may choose your country of eligibility as the country of birth of your spouse, or the country of birth of either of your parents if you were born in a country in which neither parent was born, and in which your parents were not resident at the time of your birth. These are the only three ways to select your country of chargeability. Listing an incorrect country of eligibility or chargeability (i.e., one to which you cannot establish a valid claim) will disqualify your entry. 2. Can I still apply if I was not born in a qualifying country? There are two circumstances in which you still might be eligible to apply. First, if your derivative spouse was born in an eligible country, you may claim chargeability to that country. As your eligibility is based on your spouse, you will only be issued an immigrant visa if your spouse is also eligible for and issued an immigrant visa. Both of you must enter the United States together using your DVs. Similarly, your minor dependent child can be ''charged'' to a parent's country of birth. Second, you can be ''charged'' to the country of birth of either of your parents as long as neither of your parents was born in or a resident of your country of birth at the time of your birth. People are not generally considered residents of a country in which they were not born or legally naturalized, if they were only visiting, studying in the country temporarily, or stationed temporarily for business or professional reasons on behalf of a company or government of a country other than the one in which you were born. If you claim alternate chargeability through either of the above, you must provide an explanation on the E-DV Entry Form, in question #6. Listing an incorrect country of eligibility or chargeability (i.e., one to which you cannot establish a valid claim) will disqualify your entry. 3. Why do natives of certain countries not qualify for the DV program? DVs are intended to provide an immigration opportunity for persons who are not from ''high admission'' countries. U.S. law defines ''high admission countries'' as those from which a total of 50,000 persons in the Family-Sponsored and Employment-Based visa categories immigrated to the United States during the previous five years. Each year, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) counts the family and employment immigrant admission and adjustment of status numbers for the previous five years to identify the countries that are considered ''high admission'' and whose natives will therefore be ineligible for the annual Diversity Visa program. Since USCIS makes this calculation annually, the list of countries whose natives are eligible or not eligible may change from one year to the next. 4. How many DV-2019 visas will go to natives of each region and eligible country? United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) determines the regional DV limits for each year according to a formula specified in Section 203(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). The number
UNCLASSIFIED - 9 - UNCLASSIFIED of visas the Department of State eventually will issue to natives of each country will depend on the regional limits established, how many entrants come from each country, and how many of the selected entrants are found eligible for the visa. No more than seven percent of the total visas available can go to natives of any one country. 5. What are the requirements for education or work experience? U.S. immigration law and regulations require that every DV entrant must have at least a high school education or its equivalent or have two years of work experience within the past five years in an occupation that requires at least two years of training or experience. A ''high school education or equivalent'' is defined as successful completion of a 12-year course of elementary and secondary education in the United States OR the successful completion in another country of a formal course of elementary and secondary education comparable to a high school education in the United States. Only formal courses of study meet this requirement; correspondence programs or equivalency certificates (such as the General Equivalency Diploma G.E.D.) are not acceptable. You must present documentary proof of education or work experience to the consular officer at the time of the visa interview. If you do not meet the requirements for education or work experience, your entry will be disqualified at the time of your visa interview, and no visas will be issued to you or any of your family members. 6. What occupations qualify for the DV program? The Department of State will use the U.S. Department of Labor's (DOL) O*Net OnLine database to determine qualifying work experience. The O*Net OnLine database categorizes job experience into five ''job zones.'' While the DOL website lists many occupations , not all occupations qualify for the DV program. To qualify for a DV on the basis of your work experience, you must have, within the past five years, two years of experience in an occupation classified in a Specific Vocational Preparation (SVP) range of 7.0 or higher. If you do not meet the requirements for education or work experience, your entry will be disqualified at the time of your visa interview, and no visas will be issued to you or any of your family members. 7. How can I find the qualifying DV occupations in the Department of Labor's O*Net OnLine database? When you are in O*Net OnLine, follow these steps to determine if your occupation qualifies: 1. Under ''Find Occupations'' select ''Job Family'' from the pull down menu; 2. Browse by ''Job Family,'' make your selection, and click ''GO;'' 3. Click on the link for your specific occupation; and 4. Select the tab ''Job Zone'' to find the designated Job Zone number and Specific Vocational Preparation (SVP) rating range. As an example, select Aerospace Engineers. At the bottom of the Summary Report for Aerospace Engineers, under the Job Zone section, you will find the designated Job Zone 4, SVP Range, 7.0 to < >UNCLASSIFIED - 10 - UNCLASSIFIED receive notification in a timely manner, and gives both the visa applicants and our embassies and consulates time to prepare and complete cases for visa issuance. We strongly encourage you to enter early during the registration period. Excessive demand at end of the registration period may slow the system down. We cannot accept entries after noon EST on Tuesday, November 22, 2017. 10. I am in the United States. Can I enter the DV program? Yes, an entrant may apply while in the United States or another country. An entrant may submit an entry from any location. 11. Can I only enter once during the registration period? Yes, the law allows only one entry by or for each person during each registration period. The Department of State uses sophisticated technology to detect multiple entries. Individuals with more than one entry will be disqualified. 12. May my spouse and I each submit a separate entry? Yes, each spouse may each submit one entry if each meets the eligibility requirements. If either spouse is selected, the other is entitled to apply as a derivative dependent. 13. What family members must I include in my DV entry? Spouse: If you are legally married, you must list your spouse regardless of whether he/she lives with you or intends to immigrate to the United States. You must list your spouse even if you currently are separated from him/her, unless you are legally separated. Legal separation is an arrangement when a couple remain married but live apart, following a court order. If you and your spouse are legally separated, your spouse will not be able to immigrate with you through the Diversity Visa program. You will not be penalized if you choose to enter the name of a spouse from whom you are legally separated. If you are not legally separated by a court order, you must include your spouse even if you plan to be divorced before you apply for the Diversity Visa. Failure to list your eligible spouse is grounds for disqualification. If you are divorced or your spouse is deceased, you do not have to list your former spouse. The only exception to this requirement is if your spouse is already a U.S. citizen or U.S. Lawful Permanent Resident. If your spouse is a U.S. citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident, do not list him/her in your entry. A spouse who is already a U.S. citizen or a Lawful Permanent Resident will not require or be issued a DV. Therefore, if you select ''married and my spouse IS a U.S. citizen or U.S. LPR'' on your entry, you will not be able to include further information on your spouse. Children: You must list ALL your living children who are unmarried and under 21 years of age at the time of your initial DV entry, whether they are your natural children, your step-children (even if you are now divorced from that child's parent), your spouse's children, or children you have formally adopted in accordance with the applicable laws. List all children under 21 years of age at the time of your electronic entry, even if they no longer reside with you or you do not intend for them to immigrate under the DV program. You are not required to list children who are already U.S. citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents, though you will not be penalized if you do include them. Parents and siblings of the entrant are ineligible to receive DV visas as dependents, and you should not include them in your entry. If you list family members on your entry, they are not required to apply for a visa or to immigrate or travel with you. However, if you fail to include an eligible dependent on your original entry, your case will be disqualified at the time of your visa interview, and no visas will be issued to you or any of your family members. This only applies to those who were family members at the time the original application was submitted, not those acquired at a later date. Your spouse, if eligible to enter, may still submit a separate entry even though he or she is listed on your entry, as long as both entries include details about all dependents in your family (see FAQ #12 above). 14. Must I submit my own entry, or can someone else do it for me?
UNCLASSIFIED - 11 - UNCLASSIFIED We encourage you to prepare and submit your own entry, but you may have someone submit the entry for you. Regardless of whether you submit your own entry, or an attorney, friend, relative, or someone else submits it on your behalf, only one entry may be submitted in your name. You, as the entrant, are responsible for ensuring that information in the entry is correct and complete; entries that are not correct or complete may be disqualified. Entrants should keep their own confirmation number so that they are able to independently check the status of their entry using Entrant Status Check at dvlottery.state.gov. Entrants should retain access to the email account used in the E-DV submission. 15. I'm already registered for an immigrant visa in another category. Can I still apply for the DV program? Yes. 16. When will E-DV be available online? You can enter online during the registration period beginning at 12:00 pm (noon) Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) (GMT-4) on Wednesday, October 18, 2017, and ending at 12:00 pm (noon) Eastern Standard Time (EST) (GMT-5) on Wednesday, November 22, 2017. 17. Can I download and save the E-DV entry form into a word processing program and finish it later? No, you will not be able to save the form into another program for completion and submission later. The E-DV Entry Form is a web-form only. You must fill in the information and submit it while online. 18. Can I save the form online and finish it later? No. The E-DV Entry Form is designed to be completed and submitted at one time. You will have 60 minutes starting from when you download the form to complete and submit your entry through the E-DV website. If you exceed the 60-minute limit and have not submitted your complete entry electronically, the system discards any information already entered. The system deletes any partial entries so that they are not accidentally identified as duplicates of a later, complete entry. Read the DV instructions completely before you start to complete the form online, so that you know exactly what information you will need. 19. I don't have a scanner. Can I send photographs to someone in the United States to scan them, save them, and email them back to me so I can use them in my entry? Yes, as long as the photograph meets the requirements in the instructions and is electronically submitted with, and at the same time as, the E-DV online entry. You must already have the scanned photograph file when you submit the entry online; it cannot be submitted separately from the online application. The entire entry (photograph and application together) can be submitted electronically from the United States or from overseas. 20. According to the procedures, the system will reject my E-DV Entry Form if my photos don't meet the specifications. Can I resubmit my entry? Yes, as long as your submission is completed by 12:00 pm (noon) Eastern Standard Time (EST) (GMT-5) on Wednesday, November 22, 2017. If your photo(s) did not meet the specifications, the E-DV website will not accept your entry, so you will not receive a confirmation notice. However, given the unpredictable nature of the Internet, you may not receive the rejection notice immediately. If you can correct the photo(s) and re-send the Form Part One or Two within 60 minutes, you may be able to successfully submit the entry. Otherwise, you will have to restart the entire entry process. You can try to submit an application as many times as is necessary until a complete application is received and the confirmation notice sent. Once you receive a confirmation notice, your entry is complete, and you should NOT submit any additional entries. 21. How soon after I submit my entry will I receive the electronic confirmation notice? You should receive the confirmation notice immediately, including a confirmation number that you must record and keep. However, the unpredictable nature of the Internet can result in delays. You can hit the ''Submit''
UNCLASSIFIED - 12 - UNCLASSIFIED button as many times as is necessary until a complete application is sent and you receive the confirmation notice. However, once you receive a confirmation notice, do not resubmit your information. 22. I hit the ''Submit" button, but did not receive a confirmation number. If I submit another entry, will I be disqualified? If you did not receive a confirmation number, your entry was not recorded. You must submit another entry. It will not be counted as a duplicate. Once you receive a confirmation number, do not resubmit your information. SELECTION 23. How do I know if I am selected? You must use your confirmation number to access the Entrant Status Check available on the E-DV website at dvlottery.state.gov starting May 15, 2018, through September 30, 2019. Entrant Status Check is the sole means by which the Department of State will notify you if you are selected, provide further instructions on your visa application, and notify you of your immigrant visa interview appointment date and time. In order to ensure the use of all available visas, the Department of State may use Entrant Status Check to notify additional selectees after May 15, 2018. Retain your confirmation number until September 30, 2019 in case of any updates. The only authorized Department of State website for official online entry in the Diversity Visa Program and Entrant Status Check is dvlottery.state.gov. The Department of State will NOT contact you to tell you that you have been selected (see FAQ #24). 24. How will I know if I am not selected? Will I be notified? The Department of State will NOT notify you directly if your entry is not selected. You must use the Entrant Status Check to learn whether you were selected. You may check the status of your DV-2019 entry through the Entrant Status Check on the E-DV website at starting May 15, 2018, until September 30, 2019. Keep your confirmation number until at least September 30, 2019. (Status information for the previous year's DV program, DV-2018, is available online from May 2, 2017, through September 30, 2018.) 25. What if I lose my confirmation number? You must have your confirmation number to access Entrant Status Check. A tool is now available in Entrant Status Check (ESC) on the E-DV website that will allow you to retrieve your confirmation number via the email address with which you registered by entering certain personal information to confirm your identity. U.S. embassies and consulates and the Kentucky Consular Center are unable to check your selection status for you or provide your confirmation number to you directly (other than through the Entrant Status Check retrieval tool). The Department of State is NOT able to provide a list of those selected to continue the visa process. 26. Will I receive information from the Department of State by email or by postal mail? The Department of State will not send you a notification letter. The U.S. government has never sent emails to notify individuals that they have been selected, and there are no plans to use email for this purpose for the DV-2019 program. If you are a selectee, you will only receive email communications regarding your visa appointment after you have responded to the notification instructions on Entrant Status Check. These emails will not contain information on the actual appointment date and time; they will simply tell you to go to the Entrant Status Check website for details. The Department of State may send emails reminding DV lottery applicants to check the ESC for their status. However, such emails will never indicate whether the lottery applicant was selected or not. Only internet sites that end with the ''.gov'' domain suffix are official U.S. government websites. Many other websites (e.g., with the suffixes ''.com,'' ''.org,'' or ''.net'') provide immigration and visa-related information and services. The Department of State does not endorse, recommend, or sponsor any information or material on these other websites.
UNCLASSIFIED - 13 - UNCLASSIFIED You may receive emails from websites that try to trick you into sending money or providing your personal information. You may be asked to pay for forms and information about immigration procedures, all of which are available free on the Department of State website, travel.state.gov, or through U.S. embassy or consulate websites. Additionally, organizations or websites may try to steal your money by charging fees for DV-related services. If you send money to one of these non-government organizations or webites, you will likely never see it again. Also, do not send personal information to these websites, as it may be used for identity fraud/theft. These deceptive emails may come from people pretending to be affiliated with the Kentucky Consular Center or the Department of State. Remember that the U.S. government has never sent emails to notify individuals they have been selected, and there are no plans to use email for this purpose for the DV-2019 program. The Department of State will never ask you to send money by mail or by services such as Western Union. 27. How many individuals will be selected for DV-2019? For DV-2019, 50,000 Diversity Visas are available. Because it is likely that some of the first 50,000 persons who are selected will not qualify for visas or not pursue their cases to visa issuance, more than 50,000 entries will be selected to ensure that all of the available DVs are issued. However, this also means there may not be a sufficient number of visas for all those selected. You can check the E-DV website's Entrant Status Check to see if you have been selected for further processing and your place on the list. Interviews for the DV-2019 program will begin in October 2018 for selectees who have submitted all pre-interview paperwork and other information as requested in the notification instructions. Selectees who provide all required information will be informed of their visa interview appointment through the E-DV website's Entrant Status Check four to six weeks before the scheduled interviews with U.S. consular officers overseas. Each month, visas will be issued to those applicants who are eligible for issuance during that month, as long as visas are available. Once all of the 50,000 DV visas have been issued, the program will end. Visa numbers could be finished before September 2019. Selected applicants who wish to apply for visas must be prepared to act promptly on their cases. Being randomly chosen as a selectee does not guarantee that you will receive a visa. Selection merely means that you are eligible to apply for a Diversity Visa. If your rank number becomes eligible for final processing, you potentially may be issued a Diversity Visa. Only 50,000 visas will be issued to such applicants. 28. How will successful entrants be selected? Official notifications of selection will be made through Entrant Status Check, available May 15, 2018, through September 30, 2019, on the E-DV website dvlottery.state.gov. The Department of State does not send selectee notifications or letters by regular postal mail or by email. Any email notification or mailed letter stating that you have been selected to receive a DV that does not come from the Department of State is not legitimate. Any email communication you receive from the Department of State will direct you to review Entrant Status Check for new information about your application. The Department of State will never ask you to send money by mail or by services such as Western Union. All entries received from each region are individually numbered; at the end of the entry period, a computer will randomly select entries from among all the entries received for each geographic region. Within each region, the first entry randomly selected will be the first case registered; the second entry selected will be the second case registered, etc. All entries received within each region during the entry period will have an equal chance of being selected. When an entry has been selected, the entrant will receive notification of his or her selection through the Entrant Status Check available starting May 15, 2018, on the E-DV website dvlottery.state.gov. If you are selected and you respond to the instructions provided online via Entrant Status Check, the Department of State's Kentucky Consular Center (KCC) will process the case until those selected are instructed to appear for visa interviews at a U.S. embassy or consulate or until those in the United States who are applying to adjust status apply with USCIS in the United States. 29. I am already in the United States. If selected, may I adjust my status with USCIS?
UNCLASSIFIED - 14 - UNCLASSIFIED Yes, provided you are otherwise eligible to adjust status under the terms of Section 245 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), you may apply to USCIS for adjustment of status to permanent resident. You must ensure that USCIS can complete action on your case, including processing of any overseas applications for a spouse or for children under 21 years of age, before September 30, 2019, since on that date your eligibility for the DV-2019 program expires. The Departnment of State will not approve any visa numbers or adjustments of status for the DV-2019 program after midnight EDT on September 30, 2019, under any circumstances. 30. If I am selected, for how long am I entitled to apply for a Diversity Visa? If you are selected in the DV-2019 program, you are entitled to apply for visa issuance only during U.S. government fiscal year 2019, which is from October 1, 2018, through September 30, 2019. We encourage selectees to apply for visas as early as possible, once their program rank numbers become eligible. Without exception, all selected and eligible applicants must obtain their visa or adjust status by the end of the fiscal year. There is no carry-over of DV benefits into the next year for persons who are selected but who do not obtain visas by September 30, 2019 (the end of the fiscal year). Also, spouses and children who derive status from a DV-2019 registration can only obtain visas in the DV category between October 1, 2018, and September 30, 2019. Individuals who apply overseas will receive an appointment notification from the Department of State through Entrant Status Check on the E-DV website four to six weeks before the scheduled appointment. 31. If a DV selectee dies, what happens to the case? If a DV selectee dies at any point before he or she has traveled to the United States or adjusted status, the DV case is automatically closed. Any derivative spouse and/or children of the deceased selectee will no longer be entitled to apply for a DV visa. Any visas issued to them will be revoked. FEES 32. How much does it cost to enter the Diversity Visa program? There is no fee charged to submit an electronic entry. However, if you are selected and apply for a Diversity Visa, you must pay all required visa application fees at the time of visa application and interview directly to the consular cashier at the U.S. embassy or consulate. If you are a selectee already in the United States and you apply to USCIS to adjust status, you will pay all required fees application directly to USCIS. If you are selected, you will receive details of required DV and immigrant visa application fees with the instructions provided through the E-DV website at dvlottery.state.gov. 33. How and where do I pay DV and immigrant visa fees if I am selected? If you are a randomly selected entrant, you will receive instructions for the DV application process through Entrant Status Check at dvlottery.state.gov. You will pay all DV and immigrant application visa fees in person only at the U.S. embassy or consulate at the time of the visa application. The consular cashier will immediately give you a U.S. government receipt for payment. Do not send money for DV fees to anyone through the mail, Western Union, or any other delivery service if you are applying for an immigrant visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate. If you are selected and you are already present in the United States and plan to file for adjustment of status with USCIS, the instructions page accessible through Entrant Status Check at dvlottery.state.gov contains separate instructions on how to mail adjustment of status application fees to a U.S. bank. 34. If I apply for a DV, but don't qualify to receive one, can I get a refund of the visa fees I paid? No. Visa application fees cannot be refunded. You must meet all qualifications for the visa as detailed in these instructions. If a consular officer determines you do not meet requirements for the visa, or you are otherwise ineligible for the DV under U.S. law, the officer cannot issue a visa and you will forfeit all fees paid. INELIGIBILITIES
UNCLASSIFIED - 15 - UNCLASSIFIED 35. As a DV applicant, can I receive a waiver of any grounds of visa ineligibility? Does my waiver application receive any special processing? DV applicants are subject to all grounds of ineligibility for immigrant visas specified in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). There are no special provisions for the waiver of any ground of visa ineligibility aside from those ordinarily provided in the INA, nor is there special processing for waiver requests. Some general waiver provisions for people with close relatives who are U.S. citizens or Lawful Permanent Resident aliens may be available to DV applicants in some cases, but the time constraints in the DV program may make it difficult for applicants to benefit from such provisions. DV FRAUD WARNING AND SCAMS 36. How can I report internet fraud or unsolicited emails? Please visit the econsumer.gov website, hosted by the Federal Trade Commission in cooperation with consumer-protection agencies from 17 nations. You also may report fraud to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Internet Crime Complaint Center. To file a complaint about unsolicited email, visit the Department of Justice Contact Us page. DV STATISTICS 37. How many visas will be issued in DV-2019? By law, a maximum of 55,000 visas are available each year to eligible persons. However, in November 1997, the U.S. Congress passed the Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act (NACARA), which stipulates that beginning as early as DV-1999, and for as long as necessary, up to 5,000 of the 55,000 annually-allocated DVs will be made available for use under the NACARA program. The actual reduction of the limit began with DV-2000 and will remain in effect through the DV-2019 program, so 50,000 visas remain for the DV program described in these instructions. MISCELLANEOUS 38. If I receive a visa through the DV program, will the U.S. government pay for my airfare to the United States, help me find housing and employment, and/or provide healthcare or any subsidies until I am fully settled? No. The U.S. government will not provide any of these services to you if you receive a visa through the DV program. If you are selected to apply for a DV, you must demonstrate that you will not become a public charge in the United States before being issued a visa. This evidence may be in the form of a combination of your personal assets, an Affidavit of Support (Form I-134) submitted by a relative or friend residing in the United States, an offer of employment from an employer in the United States, or other evidence.
UNCLASSIFIED - 16 - UNCLASSIFIED LIST OF COUNTRIES/AREAS BY REGION WHOSE NATIVES ARE ELIGIBLE FOR DV-2019 The list below shows the countries whose natives are eligible for DV-2019, grouped by geographic region. Dependent areas overseas are included within the region of the governing country. USCIS identified the countries whose natives are not eligible for the DV-2019 program according to the formula in Section 203(c) of the INA. The countries whose natives are not eligible for the DV program (because they are the principal source countries of Family-Sponsored and Employment-Based immigration or ''high-admission'' countries) are noted after the respective regional lists. AFRICA Algeria Angola Benin Botswana Burkina Faso Burundi Cameroon Cabo Verde Central African Republic Chad Comoros Congo Congo, Democratic Republic of the Cote D'Ivoire (Ivory Coast) Djibouti Egypt* Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Ethiopia Gabon Gambia, The Ghana Guinea Guinea-Bissau Kenya Lesotho Liberia Libya Madagascar Malawi Mali Mauritania Mauritius Morocco Mozambique Namibia Niger Rwanda Sao Tome and Principe Senegal Seychelles Sierra Leone Somalia South Africa South Sudan Sudan Swaziland Tanzania Togo Tunisia Uganda Zambia Zimbabwe * Persons born in the areas administered prior to June 1967 by Israel, Jordan, Syria, and Egypt are chargeable, respectively, to Israel, Jordan, Syria, and Egypt. Persons born in the Gaza Strip are chargeable to Egypt; persons born in the West Bank are chargeable to Jordan; persons born in the Golan Heights are chargeable to Syria. In Africa, natives of Nigeria are not eligible for this year's Diversity Visa program. ASIA Afghanistan Bahrain Bhutan Brunei Burma Cambodia Hong Kong Special Administrative Region** Indonesia Iran Iraq Israel* Japan Jordan* Kuwait Laos Lebanon Malaysia Maldives Mongolia
UNCLASSIFIED - 17 - UNCLASSIFIED Nepal North Korea Oman Qatar Saudi Arabia Singapore Sri Lanka Syria* Taiwan** Thailand Timor-Leste United Arab Emirates Yemen *Persons born in the areas administered prior to June 1967 by Israel, Jordan, Syria, and Egypt are chargeable, respectively, to Israel, Jordan, Syria, and Egypt. Persons born in the Gaza Strip are chargeable to Egypt; persons born in the West Bank are chargeable to Jordan; persons born in the Golan Heights are chargeable to Syria. **Hong Kong S.A.R. (Asia region), Macau S.A.R. (Europe region, chargeable to Portugal), and Taiwan (Asia region) do qualify and are listed here. For the purposes of the diversity program only, persons born in Macau S.A.R. derive eligibility from Portugal. Natives of the following Asia Region countries are not eligible for this year's Diversity Visa program: Bangladesh, China (mainland-born), India, Pakistan, South Korea, Philippines, and Vietnam. EUROPE Albania Andorra Armenia Austria Azerbaijan Belarus Belgium Bosnia and Herzegovina Bulgaria Croatia Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark (including components and dependent areas overseas) Estonia Finland France (including components and dependent areas overseas) Georgia Germany Greece Hungary Iceland Ireland Italy Kazakhstan Kosovo Kyrgyzstan Latvia Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macau Special Administrative Region** Macedonia Malta Moldova Monaco Montenegro Netherlands (including components and dependent areas overseas) Northern Ireland*** Norway (including components and dependent areas overseas) Poland Portugal (including components and dependent areas overseas) Romania Russia San Marino Serbia Slovakia Slovenia Spain Sweden Switzerland Tajikistan Turkey Turkmenistan Ukraine Uzbekistan Vatican City ** Macau S.A.R. does qualify and is listed above and for the purposes of the diversity program only; persons born in Macau S.A.R. derive eligibility from Portugal. ***For purposes of the diversity program only, Northern Ireland is treated separately. Northern Ireland does qualify and is listed among the qualifying areas.
UNCLASSIFIED - 18 - UNCLASSIFIED Natives of the following European countries are not eligible for this year's DV program: Great Britain (United Kingdom). Great Britain (United Kingdom) includes the following dependent areas: Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, British Indian Ocean Territory, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Montserrat, Pitcairn, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, St. Helena, and Turks and Caicos Islands. NORTH AMERICA The Bahamas In North America, natives of Canada and Mexico are not eligible for this year's DV program. OCEANIA Australia (including components and dependent areas overseas) Fiji Kiribati Marshall Islands Micronesia, Federated States of Nauru New Zealand (including components and dependent areas overseas) Palau Papua New Guinea Samoa Solomon Islands Tonga Tuvalu Vanuatu SOUTH AMERICA, CENTRAL AMERICA, AND THE CARIBBEAN Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Barbados Belize Bolivia Chile Costa Rica Cuba Dominica Ecuador Grenada Guatemala Guyana Honduras Nicaragua Panama Paraguay Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Suriname Trinidad and Tobago Uruguay Venezuela Countries in this region whose natives are not eligible for this year's DV program: Brazil, Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Haiti, Jamaica, Mexico, and Peru.
Diversity Visa Instructions
Tue, 23 Jan 2018 05:15
The information in this section refers to the processing requirements for the DV-2019 program. Instructions for DV-2018 applicants can be found below.
DV-2019 Program: Online RegistrationDV-2019 Program: The revised online registration period for the DV-2019 Program begins on Tuesday, October 18, 2017 at 12:00 noon, Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) (GMT-4), and concludes on Wednesday, November 22, 2017 at 12:00 noon, Eastern Standard Time (EST) (GMT-4). All entries made prior to October 18, 2017, will need to be resubmitted for the entrant to be considered. We regret the inconvenience to Diversity Visa entrants. In order to ensure fairness and protect the integrity of the process for all those concerned, however, we must restart the entry process for this year (DV-2019). If you entered before Wednesday, October 18, 2017, that entry will not be considered, and you will need to submit another entry during the new registration period. You may submit one new entry without being disqualified for submitting multiple entries. Individuals who submit more than one entry during the new registration period will be disqualified.
DV-2019 Program InstructionsThe English version of the DV-2019 Program Instructions in PDF format are provided for your convenience and required use. The English language version of the DV-2019 Program Instructions is the only official version. Unofficial translations in additional languages will be added to this webpage as they become available.
Note: As indicated in the instructions, for the purposes of eligibility some countries include components and dependent areas overseas. If you are a native of a dependency or overseas territory, please select the appropriate country of eligibility. For example, natives of Macau S.A.R should select Portugal, and natives of Martinique should select France.
DV-2019 Translations (unofficial)
Please view our video for an introduction to the Diversity Visa program, and step-by-step guidance to help you submit an entry. (Note: minor changes have been made to the DV-2019 entry form, but the instructions provided in the video are still valid.)
DV-2018 Program: Online RegistrationDV 2018 Program: Online registration for the DV 2018 Program began on Thursday, October 4, 2016 at 12:00 noon, Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) (GMT-4), and concluded on Monday, November 7, 2016 at 12:00 noon, Eastern Standard Time (EST) (GMT-4).
DV-2018 Program InstructionsSelect the English version of the DV-2018 Program Instructions in PDF format for your convenience and required use. The English language version of the DV-2018 Program Instructions is the only official version. Unofficial translations in additional languages will be added as they become available.
Translations (All translations are in .pdf format)
Note: If you do not see instructions in your native language, please see the U.S. Embassy or Consulate website to find out whether your country may have additional Diversity Visa information.
Note: As indicated in the instructions, for the purposes of eligibility some countries include components and dependent areas overseas. If you are a native of a dependency or overseas territory, please select the appropriate country of eligibility. For example, natives of Macau S.A.R should select Portugal, and natives of Martinique should select France.
DV-2018 Translations (unofficial)
Diversity Visa Program InformationSee the Diversity Visa Program webpage for information about:
Talking Tubes
The NSA can recognize you by just your voice, predating Apple, Amazon
Wed, 24 Jan 2018 15:31
For technology users who have marveled at the ability of Siri or Alexa to recognize their voice, consider this: The National Security Agency has apparently been way ahead of Apple or Amazon.
The agency has at its disposal voice recognition technology that it employs to identify terrorists, government spies, or anyone they choose '-- with just a phone call, according to a report by The Intercept. The disclosure was revealed in a recently published article, part of a trove of documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.
The publication wrote that by using recorded audio, the NSA is able to create a "voiceprint," or a map of qualities that mark a voice as singular, and identify the person speaking. The documents also suggest the agency is continuously improving its speech recognition capabilities, the publication noted.
According to a classified memo obtained by The Intercept, the agency has employed this technology since at least 2006, with the document referencing technology "that identifies people by the sound of their voices."
In fact, the NSA used such technology during Operation Iraqi Freedom, when analysts were able to verify audio thought to be of Saddam Hussein speaking. It suggests that national security operatives had access to high-level voice technology long before Amazon, Apple and Google's solutions became cultural touchstones.
A "voiceprint" is "a dynamic computer model of the individual's vocal characteristics," the publication explained, created by an algorithm analyzing features like pitch and mouth shape. Then, using the NSA's formidable bank of recorded audio files, the agency is able to match the speaker to an identity.
Identifying people through their voiceprints is a skill at which the "NSA reigns supreme," according to a leaked document from 2008. And, they're only getting better.
The NSA did not immediately reply to CNBC's request for comment. The full story can be found on The Intercept's website.
Trump Health Rotation
Statin Wars: how Big Pharma infiltrates governments and the medical profession - Michael West
Wed, 24 Jan 2018 16:00
Science journalist Maryanne Demasi completes her two-part investigation into statins, one of the world's most profitable drugs. We know statins work. What we don't know is information about their side effects. Many leading doctors now believe statins are being overprescribed but the raw data on statins remains concealed by the pharmaceutical companies who make them, businesses which are heavily subsidised by taxpayers around the world. This two-part series is the result of an important peer-reviewed article by Demasi. It is NOT medical advice.
Statin Wars Part 2 '-- Read Part 1 here.Have we been misled?Yesterday, I reported on renewed calls for greater transparency from a growing number of doctors seeking access to undisclosed data on statin side effects.
These calls have prompted fresh concerns about the authenticity of the statin data and led to bitter divisions within the medical fraternity.
Proponents describe statins as one of ''the most important advances in medical history and have prevented untold heart attacks and strokes''. Detractors say statins ''serve no purpose in lowering cholesterol to prevent cardiac problems'' and even label them ''unnecessary and toxic''.
Early clinical trials suggested that statins should be limited to people with advanced heart disease. Today however, a vastly different discussion is afoot.
Some UK experts suggest that everyone over the age of 50 should be on a statin, even if they don't have high cholesterol. Others propose we offer statins as condiments in burger outlets to ''cancel out'' the effects of a fast-food meal. Some suggest we screen kids for high cholesterol to identify statin recipients and there has even been discussion about putting statins in the water supply.
So how did we go from prescribing statins to a select group of people to recommending them for children, adults and anyone who consumes drinking water?
In Part 2 of this investigation, I examine how statins came to be one of the most widely prescribed drugs in the history of medicine.
My full peer-reviewed article on the subject was published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine yesterday, which you can read here.
The rise of a blockbuster drugThe cost of developing a prescription drug to gain market approval now exceeds $US2.5 billion. A more effective way to fast-track company profits is to broaden the use of an existing drug. In the case of statins, influencing medical prescribing guidelines is a convenient and powerful way to increase the use of a drug and drive higher profits.
When the US National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) revised its definition of ''high cholesterol'' by dramatically lowering the threshold, it meant millions more people would become eligible for statins overnight. The decision was not based on any new scientific data but rather the increasingly popular notion that ''lower is better''.
The move sparked a furore when it was revealed that eight out of nine members on the 2004 NCEP guideline committee had direct financial ties to statin manufacturers.
''eight out of nine members on the 2004 NCEP guideline committee had direct financial ties to statin manufacturers'' Then, in 2013, the American College of Cardiologists (ACC) and the American Heart Association (AHA) changed their guidelines to reflect a person's ''calculated risk''. Again, it meant that millions more adults would be prescribed statins, most of whom were older people without heart disease and for whom the evidence for benefit was lacking.
Shortly after, the UK's National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (N.I.C.E) announced its plan to slash the ''calculated risk'' threshold for prescribing statins by half. N.I.C.E's deciding panel comprised 12 members, eight of whom had financial ties to manufacturers of cholesterol-lowering drugs. UK doctors vigorously objected to the changes saying it was ''not evidence-based'' and could lead to the ''medicalisation of healthy people at the cost of more needy, unwell patients''.
In addition, the ''risk calculators'' which a doctor uses to assess a patient's risk of heart disease and determine whether or not to prescribe a statin, is likely to be inaccurate. A study examined five risk calculators and demonstrated that four, including the new AHA-ACC-risk calculator, showed the over-estimation of risk could be as high as 115 per cent, giving rise to concerns about the undisciplined over-prescription of statins.
This phenomenon is dubbed ''diagnosis creep'', a process which '' by simply changing the definition of a disease or lowering the threshold of risk '' healthy people are turned into patients overnight. Doctors are now raising awareness to reduce the harms of over-diagnosing and over-medicating people, in a campaign called ''Too Much Medicine'', upon which I previously reported.
Conflicts of InterestIn the 1980s, when US President Ronald Reagan came into office and slashed government funding to the National Institutes of Health, it left a gaping hole for private industry to move in.
Drug manufacturers sponsor the vast majority of statin trials. Notably, one major non-industry funded study on statins actually showed that the drug had no benefit in reducing death or coronary heart disease in healthy people. A recent Cochrane review showed that sponsorship of drug trials by the drug manufacturer leads to more favourable results and conclusions than sponsorship by other sources.
Peter Goetzsche
There is also concern about the influential views of eminent doctors who are on the payroll of drug companies. These doctors might argue that ''science is science'' and that it doesn't matter who pays for it. But others disagree.
''When drug industry sponsored trials cannot be examined and questioned by independent researchers, science ceases to exist and it becomes nothing more than marketing'', says Professor Peter G¸tzsche from the Nordic Cochrane Collaboration.
Robert DuBroff
''Reputations and big money are at stake. Not only are financial conflicts of interest at play, but the behavior of many statin proponents exemplifies the concept of confirmation bias '' seeing what you want to see and ignoring what you do not'', says US cardiologist Professor Robert DuBroff from the University of New Mexico.
Underplaying the risksThere are simple ways to design a clinical trial which has the effect of minimising the harms of the drug. One example is the use of a ''run-in'' period, such as in the Heart Protection Study. All participants took a statin for six weeks prior to the commencement of the trial, after which time, 36 per cent of people were excluded from the trial.
Removing a third of participants from a trial, presumably because they were not compliant or experienced unacceptable side effects, would grossly underestimate the actual rate of side effects recorded during the trial. This may explain why the rate of side effects in statin trials is significantly lower than the rates reported by doctors in ''real world'' observations.
In the past few years, statins have been linked to a small but significant increased risk of type-2 diabetes. It has led to a safety label change on statins by the US Food & Drug Administration and has sparked multi-million dollar class actions against the statin manufacturers.
Statistics, statisticsOften when you hear about the benefits of statins, you may be told they reduce your risk of having a heart attack by 30 per cent or more. Others say this may be misleading.
For example, a study claimed that taking Lipitor reduced the risk of heart attack by 36 per cent. It led to an impressive advertisement for Pfizer's product, featuring a trustworthy doctor.
Lipitor ad
However, when you examine the study closely, you find that taking a statin reduced the risk from 3.1 per cent down to 2 per cent (see Table 4). So yes '' technically '' the number was reduced by 36 per cent, but the ''absolute'' reduction in risk was only 1.1 per cent which sounds less impressive. For this reason, drug companies will avoid quoting absolute risk numbers in their marketing and advertising campaigns.When prescribed a statin, most people want to know how long it will extend their life. Will it be ten years, or five years? A group of researchers attempted to answer this question by re-analysing the trial data on statins. The study demonstrated that, when people who took a statin every day for five years, it only increased their life expectancy by between three to four days .
Statin proponents were quick to defend their position claiming that the benefits would have accumulated if the statins were taken beyond five years. However, it is disingenuous to claim that the benefits of statins accumulate in the absence of accumulating side effects. In fact, the longer the duration of a trial, the more likely it is that other diseases, which take longer to develop, would emerge such as cancer and neuro-cognitive dysfunction.
In conclusionDetailed in this report are some of the factors which have influenced the over-prescription of statins. Clinical trials use run-in periods to exclude people who cannot tolerate statins. They exclude people on other medications, they exclude very elderly people, the vast majority of trials are funded by industry and no independent researchers are permitted to scrutinise the raw data which are being held by the CTT Collaboration. Hence, doctors might need to remain inherently sceptical when prescribing these medications to healthy people, at low risk of heart disease, unless they can be sure the benefits outweigh the harms. The campaign for greater transparency in medicine is therefore of vital public interest.
Read Maryanne's full peer-reviewed article published yesterday in the British Journal of Sports Medicine here.
_______
Dr Maryanne Demasi
Dr Maryanne Demasi is an investigative medical reporter with a PhD in Rheumatology.
You can follow her on Twitter @MaryanneDemasi.
Dear Pfizer, pay it back
Statin Wars: secrecy and the world's most lucrative drugs - Michael West
Wed, 24 Jan 2018 16:00
Science journalist Maryanne Demasi investigates statins, one of the world's most profitable drugs. We know statins work. What we don't know is information about their side effects. Many leading doctors now believe statins are being overprescribed but the raw data on statins remains concealed by the pharmaceutical companies who make them, businesses which are heavily subsidised by taxpayers around the world. This two-part series is the result of an important peer-reviewed article by Demasi. It is NOT medical advice.
PART 1The Statin WarsStatins are the most widely prescribed cholesterol-lowering drugs in the world.
Since their introduction in the late 1980s, statins have been a particularly lucrative class of drugs, primarily for pharmaceutical giants Pfizer, Merck Sharp & Dohme and AstraZeneca.
Pfizer's Lipitor is the most profitable drug in the history of medicine. At its peak in 2006, yearly revenue for Lipitor exceeded $US 12 billion.
Despite their patents recently expiring, revenue for statins is still expected to rise, with total sales on track to reach an estimated $US1 trillion by 2020. Statins are very big business.
Yet this business is facing renewed calls for transparency from a growing number of doctors who pose these questions: where and what are the side effects of statins if the raw data remain hidden?
In this two-part series, I consider these questions and the responses so far. This is a war for information '-- The Statins War.
My full peer-reviewed article is published today in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. You can read it here.
The ''Side Effects'' DataWho has them and where are the crucial data on the side-effects of statins?
Professor Rory Collins
The answer is it is held by the Cholesterol Treatment Trialists' (CTT) Collaboration; the rather Orwellian title awarded to a group of researchers at Oxford University, led by Professor Sir Rory Collins.
While the CTT Collaboration periodically publishes its interpretation of the data on statins, what it does not do is permit independent researchers to verify CTT results by allowing access to the raw data.
I approached the CTT Collaboration in 2013 when doing research for the ABC's TV program Catalyst. CTT researchers revealed that to gain access to the data from the drug companies, they would not be permitted to share the raw data with any third parties.
In a written statement, the CTT wrote:
''Such an agreement was necessary'...'...without such an agreement the trial data could not have been brought together for systematic analysis''.
What does this mean?
It means a legal instrument which had been drafted by drug companies effectively preserves their monopoly over the raw data of side-effects of statins.
This in itself is a matter for serious concern since science, by its very nature, requires contestibility.
Further, while Professor Rory Collins has assured people that there are ''few troubling side effects'' associated with statin use even he publicly admits he has not seen the full data set on statin side effects.
The lack of independent scrutiny surrounding statin side-effects has ignited fresh concerns from some quarters within the medical profession.
The conclusions of the CTT Collaboration have influenced international guidelines for prescribing statins and have led to what has been called the '''Statinisation''of the population by Stanford University Professor, John Ioannidis.
Sharing data is essential for transparencySharing data with other researchers is vital for scientific transparency. It is vital for doctors, their patients and the public interest. It allows for independent scrutiny of the clinical trial results and fosters greater confidence about the true benefits and risks of a medication.
It has been shown that when drug companies sponsor their own clinical trials and withhold the raw data, the benefits of a drug are likely to be exaggerated and the harms underplayed.
Take for example the famous case of the hidden Tamiflu and Relenza data, on which I previously reported. Tamiflu and Relenza are prescription medications marketed to reduce the duration of flu symptoms and reduce hospital complications.
Based on favourable trial results released by the drug's manufacturer, Australia's Federal Government spent millions of taxpayer dollars stockpiling these medications in warehouses across the country, ready to dispense in the event of a flu pandemic.
However, a group of researchers demanded access to the unpublished data from the drug manufacturers, Roche and GlaxoSmithKline. A very public campaign pressured the manufacturers into handing over its unpublished data to independent researchers from the Cochrane Collaboration.
Cochrane researchers analysed all the high quality trials, including the new unpublished data and concluded the medications were ''largely ineffective'' in reducing hospital admissions and complications from influenza, and come with serious side-effects.
The pro transparency campaignThis secrecy has now cultivated doubt about the authenticity of the conclusions drawn by the CTT Collaboration, which may have a profound impact for the confidence of doctors prescribing statins.
''The simple fact that the raw data on statin side effects have not been made available yet, sounds alarm bells and breeds mistrust '' something we can do without when heart disease is increasing now in the most statinised populations ever,'' says UK cardiologist Dr Scott Murray, President of the British Association For Cardiovascular Prevention & Rehabilitation (BACPR).
''The CTT analysis has some contradictory results that raise doubts about the robustness of the findings,'' says cardiologist Professor Vikas Saini, President of the Lown Institute, Massachusetts.
Dr Alan Cassels
''We cannot trust the conclusions of research derived through a scheme that doesn't allow us to independently examine the evidence for ourselves. The 'trust us, we're experts' approach to the statin hypothesis has probably been more damaging to science and humanity than many other controversies in medicine,'' says Dr Alan Cassels, Drug Policy researcher, University of Victoria, Canada.
The CTT Collaboration, a branch of the Clinical Trial Service Unit (CTSU) at Oxford, assures the public it is ''independent''. However, there is growing unease about this proposition of independence as it is now known that the CTSU has received over £260 million in research funding from the pharmaceutical industry, the vast majority of it from manufacturers of cholesterol-lowering drugs.
And so it goes, a growing chorus of leaders in the medical field in a heightened state of unease, denied access to data by a data monopoly preserving agreement, drafted by the funders.
The CTT Collaboration has its sayJust as the pro-transparency campaigners are motivated to gain access, so are those wanting to protect the information.
And they seem minded to play both the man and the ball.
In 2014, Prof Rory Collins said those who spoke out about statin side effects were ''far worse'' and had probably ''killed more people'' than ''the paper on the MMR vaccine''.
When the Australian Broadcasting Corporation TV Catalyst series, Heart Of The Matter, which I produced, challenged the over-prescription of statins and highlighted the limitations of industry-sponsored trials, it was labelled ''biased'' with some claiming ''the ABC has blood on its hands'' or ''people will die'' as a result of the programs.
One doctor later published an article postulating the program may have caused up to ''2900 potentially fatal heart attacks and strokes'' as around 60,000 people stopped taking their statins despite there being no fall in the number of statin drugs being dispensed by the Australia's drug subsidy program, the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) and the Repatriation Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.
''The whole issue is shrouded in secrecy and riddled with huge financial conflicts of interest, which does not instil public confidence'' In France also, following extensive media coverage of a book that challenged the widespread prescription of statins, the book was blamed for potentially causing 10,000 deaths if patients stopped taking their statins.
These claims were debunked however when the national statistics showed the actual number of deaths (not the predicted number of deaths) significantly decreased in the following year. Cardiologists later warned that it was 'not evidence-based to claim that statin discontinuation increased mortality' and that before scientists made alarmist claims in the future, they should assess the 'real effects of statin discontinuation rather than making dubious extrapolations and calculations'.
A call to actionSir Richard Thompson
Queen Elizabeth's former doctor of 21 years and the immediate past president of the UK Royal College of Physicians, Sir Richard Thompson says, ''The statin controversy is another example of murky conflicts, misleading statistics and abuse of contrarian views that are sadly so frequent in clinical trials. The public will continue to distrust the value of their doctor's advice if these uncertainties are not quickly resolved''.
''The whole issue is shrouded in secrecy and riddled with huge financial conflicts of interest, which does not instil public confidence,'' says Professor Peter G¸tzsche of the Nordic Cochrane Collaboration.
''It's high time the proper evaluation of [statin] harms is enforced to provide reliable data as soon as possible'' says Emeritus Professor Klim McPherson, Public Health Epidemiologist, Oxford University.
Eminent cardiologists have also weighed in on the debate.
''The CTT Collaboration should share their database with independent scientists. That they refuse fosters suspicion. If you have a great result, wouldn't confirmation make it even greater?'' says cardiac electrophysiologist and Fellow of the American College of Cardiology, Dr John Mandrola.
Dr Rita Redberg
''Unfortunately, until all data is available and discussed with patients, millions of people taking these drugs will continue to have far greater chance of harm than benefit,'' says US cardiologist Professor Rita Redberg, University of California San Francisco.
The call to action is growing louder and with it the pressure is mounting on the CTT Collaboration to respond, not with criticism, but with data.
Read Maryanne's full peer-reviewed article published today in the British Journal of Sports Medicine here.
_______
Dr Maryanne Demasi
Dr Maryanne Demasi is an investigative medical reporter with a PhD in Rheumatology.
You can follow her on Twitter @MaryanneDemasi.
Don't miss PART TWO tomorrow which analyses why there is such reluctance to heed these calls for transparency.
Kellogg's ''junk science'' and Australia's health policy
Agenda 2030
Climate Scientists Buried In Snow | The Daily Caller
Wed, 24 Jan 2018 13:54
Scientists have once again set up a mock Arctic base camp to educate world leaders about man-made global warming at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
Climate scientists hope their mock camp illustrates how global warming could impact the Arctic, but the ''Gore effect'' may make it harder to get the message across. Davos has seen frigid temperatures along with about six feet of snow in the last six days.
There was so much snow, authorities evacuated some neighborhoods due to avalanche concerns, CNBC reported. Global elites headed to the conference had to force their way through heavy snow drifts.
CNBC reported that ''heavy snow had already blocked the rail line through the Alps from Zurich, and villages along the route were at the highest level of avalanche alert.'' Davos visitors were forced off trains and onto ''a half-hour bus trip on back roads around the blockage and then loading them onto a crowded red commuter train that ran the rest of the way into Davos.''
WATCH NOW:
The camp was first set up by climate scientists, including those from the British Antarctic Survey, at Davos in 2017 to ''convey that long-term negative changes in the Arctic pose serious socio-economic risks to the rest of the world,'' according to a January 2017 World Economic Forum blog post.
Scientists hope to convince global leaders to take drastic actions to fight global warming. Climate has been a major topic of past Davos meetings, and even though most of the world signed onto the Paris climate accord, experts fear it's not enough to stop ''dangerous'' warming.
Indeed, high-profile celebrities and politicians have visited the camp in the past, including former Vice President Al Gore. Fashion designer Stella McCartney visited the camp this year, obviously bundled up to stay warm in the midst of all that snow.
''Scientific evidence on Arctic change is unequivocal and it is sending us a warning cry that has profound consequences and global risks,'' scientists wrote in 2017. ''Yet the risks from Arctic change remain invisible to the world's most powerful decision-makers. We wanted to change that.''
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F-Russia
Glenn Greenwald: Russia Investigation Is a Red Herring
Tue, 23 Jan 2018 19:16
It's 10:45 p.m. Rio de Janeiro time. Glenn Greenwald and I are finishing dinner at a deserted bistro in Ipanema. The restaurant, which serves its sweating beer bottles in metal buckets and goes heavy on the protein, is almost aggressively unremarkable (English menus on the table, a bossa-nova version of ''Hey Jude'' on the stereo). Greenwald avoids both meat and alcohol but seems to enjoy dining here. ''I really believe that if I still lived in New York, the vast majority of my friends would be New York and Washington media people and I would kind of be implicitly co-opted.'' He eats a panko-crusted shrimp. ''It just gives me this huge buffer. You've seen how I live, right? When I leave my computer, that world disappears.''
Greenwald, now 50, has seemed to live in his own bubble in Rio for years, since well before he published Edward Snowden's leaks and broke the domestic-spying story in 2013 '-- landing himself a Pulitzer Prize, a book deal, and, in time, the backing of a billionaire (that's Pierre Omidyar) to start a muckraking, shit-stirring media empire (that's First Look Media, home to the Intercept, though its ambitions have been downgraded over time). But he seems even more on his own since the election, just as the agitated left has regained the momentum it lost in the Obama years.
The reason is Russia. For the better part of two years, Greenwald has resisted the nagging bipartisan suspicion that Trumpworld is in one way or another compromised by a meddling foreign power. If there's a conspiracy, he suspects, it's one against the president; where others see collusion, he sees ''McCarthyism.'' Greenwald is predisposed to righteous posturing and contrarian eye-poking '-- and reflexively more skeptical of the U.S. intelligence community than of those it tells us to see as ''enemies.''
And even if claims about Russian meddling are corroborated by Robert Mueller's investigation, Greenwald's not sure it adds up to much '-- some hacked emails changing hands, none all that damaging in their content, maybe some malevolent Twitter bots. In his eyes, the Russia-Trump story is a shiny red herring '-- one that distracts from the failures, corruption, and malice of the very Establishment so invested in promoting it. And when in January, as ''Journalism Twitter'' was chastising the president for one outrage or another, Congress quietly passed a bipartisan bill to reauthorize sweeping NSA surveillance, you had to admit Greenwald might have been onto something.
''When Trump becomes the starting point and ending point for how we talk about American politics, [we] don't end up talking about the fundamental ways the American political and economic and cultural system are completely fucked for huge numbers of Americans who voted for Trump for that reason,'' he says. ''We don't talk about all the ways the Democratic Party is a complete fucking disaster and a corrupt, sleazy sewer, and not an adequate alternative to this far-right movement that's taking over American politics.''
Greenwald's been yelling about this, quite heatedly, since before the election. ''In the Democratic Echo Chamber, Inconvenient Truths Are Recast As Putin Plots,'' reads the headline of an Intercept piece published in October 2016. ''The Increasingly Unhinged Russia Rhetoric Comes From a Long-Standing U.S. Playbook,'' reads another, from February 2017. As Mueller's investigation widened, no fallen domino '-- not the guilty plea of former Trump national-security adviser Michael Flynn, not the indictment of former campaign chairman Paul Manafort '-- chastened Greenwald. When it was recently reported that Steve Bannon had lobbed a ''treason'' charge in the direction of Donald Trump Jr. '-- precipitating his break with the president '-- Greenwald rolled his eyes. Bannon's ''motives are pure & pristine and he is simply trying to inform the public about the truth,'' Greenwald tweeted sarcastically.
This is a year in which even the most anti-Establishment liberals have found themselves rooting for Mueller, a Republican who ran George W. Bush's war-on-terror FBI. ''It is not an insubstantial portion of Democratic online loyalists who believe that if you deviate from Democratic Party orthodoxy on the Trump-Russia question, you are a paid Kremlin agent,'' Greenwald says. And many of those who don't believe Greenwald works for Vladimir Putin tend to think he does his bidding for free. ''I love him,'' says former Gawker editor John Cook, who worked with Greenwald at the Intercept. ''He's dead, tragically wrong on this.''
Thanks to this never-ending hot take, Greenwald has been excommunicated from the liberal salons that celebrated him in the Snowden era; anybody who questions the Russia consensus, he says, ''becomes a blasphemer. Becomes a heretic. I think that's what they see me as.'' Greenwald is no longer invited on MSNBC, and he's portrayed in the Twitter fever swamp as a leading villain of the self-styled Resistance. ''I used to be really good friends with Rachel Maddow,'' he says. ''And I've seen her devolution from this really interesting, really smart, independent thinker into this utterly scripted, intellectually dishonest, partisan hack.'' His view of the liberal online media is equally charitable. ''Think about one interesting, creative, like, intellectually novel thing that [Vox's] Matt Yglesias or Ezra Klein have said in like ten years,'' he says. ''In general, they're just churning out Democratic Party agitprop every single day of the most superficial type.'' (Reached for comment, none of these people would respond to Greenwald.)
All this has led to one of the less-anticipated developments of the Donald Trump presidency: Glenn Greenwald, Fox News darling. For his sins, Greenwald has been embraced by opportunistic #MAGA partisans seeking to discredit the Trump-Russia story. When alt-right ringleader Mike Cernovich sat for a 60 Minutes interview last year, he praised only one journalist: Greenwald. ''My opinion of Glenn ten or 15 years ago was entirely negative,'' says Fox News' Tucker Carlson, who now heralds him as one of the ''clearest thinkers'' in media. (A parallel phenomenon involves the rehabilitation by the Resistance of an armada of neoconservative zombies '-- David Frum, Max Boot, Robert Kagan, Bill Kristol '-- and the lionization, at least temporarily, of Trump-skeptical Republican politicians like John McCain, Jeff Flake, and Lindsey Graham.)
This, by the way, is the reason we're eating dinner so late on a Tuesday: Greenwald has to be at a TV studio in a few minutes to be interviewed by Carlson. We leave the restaurant and head across the street to the garage where he parked his Mitsubishi Outlander. Unexpectedly, the gate to the entrance has been shut and the attendant is missing. Mild panic sets in. Greenwald begins rattling the gate. Even if we catch a cab to the studio, his TV clothes are in the car, and he is currently wearing shorts and an old polo shirt. ''How,'' he frets, ''can I go on Fox News dressed like this?''
Anybody who questions it becomes a blasphemer. Becomes a heretic. I think that's what they see me as. The parking attendant eventually shows up. There is no traffic; we book it to a high-rise studio with postcard views of Sugarloaf Mountain and Christ the Redeemer. Greenwald changes into a shirt and tie but keeps on his shorts and flip-flops. ''I've never worn long pants when I'm appearing on TV,'' he says with a grin. He is miked up and fitted with an earpiece, then forced to wait 20 minutes as his segment keeps getting bumped. The experience of actually listening to Carlson's show seems to get to him.
''He's on a huge anti-gun-control, anti-disarmament rant,'' Greenwald tells me the first time I ask him what Carlson's talking about. ''Bullshit,'' he says the second time I ask, rolling his eyes. By the time he goes live, it is 11:50 p.m., and Carlson asks just two questions.
''So I only had like three minutes,'' he says, un-miking himself. ''But it's fine. It was worth it. It was cathartic.''
Greenwald's home is located on a dead-end cobblestone street, under a thick canopy of trees, a few miles inland from Ipanema Beach. The grounds are large enough to comfortably accommodate Greenwald; his husband, David Miranda; their two recently adopted children; household staff; 24 formerly stray dogs; and some dog poop, which, when I visit the day before his appearance on Tucker Carlson Tonight, I step in.
Greenwald greets me in his cathedral-like living room dressed in his usual shorts and polo. When I joke that he lives in a gated community '-- a guard in a booth controls access to the street '-- he seems wounded and explains that he could afford the place only because the recent Brazilian recession had devastated Rio's housing market. He plays coy when I ask him who owned the house previously. ''I think it was some hedge-fund pig,'' he says.
In person, Greenwald is funny and unguarded, which is the opposite of his online persona. Within minutes of my arrival, he launches into a story about a possible joint op-ed written with Katie Couric, before relaying a conversation he had with Ta-Nehisi Coates about how problematic it is to collaborate with people like Katie Couric. ''It sounds like I'm obnoxiously name-dropping, and I'm not!'' he says, catching himself. ''But it was like, 'How do you maintain your authenticity and the original kind of passion about the world that led you to be someone worth listening to, when now, suddenly, all these doors that had been previously closed are swinging open for you?''…''
Greenwald grew up near Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He was closeted in high school and cultivated a rebel iconoclasm to cope. ''One of the strategies you can develop is, I'm never going to be weak,'' he says. ''I'm always gonna be smarter and stronger and more aggressive.'' Comparing himself to the titular character in the mockumentary American Vandal, he says he once prompted a schoolwide investigation by spray-painting the walls with ''extremely offensive profanities about individual students and teachers.'' ''He was always warring with the administration, warring with teachers,'' says his friend and former classmate Norman Fleisher. Instead of schoolwork, he devoted himself to the competitive-debate circuit and, in his senior year, to a failed bid for the Lauderdale Lakes City Council. He squeaked into George Washington University, where he majored in philosophy '-- Nietzsche '-- and again poured all his energy into debate. After that, law school at NYU, then a job at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, the most decorated and macho of the city's white-shoe firms. In 1995, he left Wachtell to start his own litigation practice and carved a niche doing pro bono civil-liberties work, including defending neo-Nazi Matthew Hale.
Greenwald supported the U.S. invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, but in 2005, when it became clear that the war on terror had produced a massive suspension of civil liberties '-- warrantless wiretapping, Guantnamo Bay '-- Greenwald abandoned his law practice and devoted himself to calling out the administration on his website, Unclaimed Territory. That year, he broke up with a longtime boyfriend, a psychotherapist. To unwind, he came to Rio alone, where he met the then-19-year-old Miranda. Their relationship did not, at the time, entitle Miranda to a visa '-- so Greenwald stayed in Brazil; Miranda is now the first openly gay city councilman in Rio's history.
Early on, the mainstream press was docile in its coverage of the war on terror. Greenwald and his allies in the nascent left-wing blogosphere emerged to push back. '''…'Barbarians at the gate' was kind of the metaphor,'' Greenwald says, and his prosecutorial hatchet jobs on the Bush White House became especially popular, despite (or perhaps because of) his exhausting, didactic prose. When he moved his blog to Salon in 2007, says his former colleague Alex Pareene, ''editors would joke about the incredibly SEO-unfriendly headlines on his blog posts. Like, 3,000 words with the headline 'And Another Thought.''…'' Twitter, when that was invented, proved irresistible to Greenwald. ''I would wake up at like nine in the morning and see somebody saying something stupid on Twitter, and then it would be four in the afternoon, and I haven't gotten out of bed.''
Once Obama was elected, the left blogosphere cleaved. ''Some people, they revealed they're mainstream, democratic liberals and defended a mainstream, democratic liberal administration,'' says Pareene. ''Others, they stuck to their line of opposition to the use of American power.'' Greenwald was clearly in the latter camp, praising Ron Paul's military isolationism and blasting the various ''war criminals'' who still ran D.C. Which meant that, by 2013, Greenwald, now writing for The Guardian, had spent a decade hurling invective at essentially everyone in Washington. To someone like Edward Snowden, those were unimpeachable bona fides. To others with more sympathy for the American Establishment, coordinating the publication of Snowden's documents was something else. Greenwald hatred was intense not just in the intelligence community but also among would-be allies of transparency in the press; Andrew Ross Sorkin of the New York Times said he'd ''almost arrest Glenn Greenwald.'' Then''Meet the Press moderator David Gregory asked Greenwald if he should be charged for having ''aided and abetted'' Snowden. Greenwald was not wearing long pants during that interview, either.
Greenwald's self-conception as an opposition figure, though, was getting more complicated. In 2014, Omidyar, the founder of eBay, poured $250 million into a news organization called First Look Media and handed Greenwald the keys. One of Greenwald's collaborators on the Snowden story, the documentarian Laura Poitras, made a movie about the experience, Citizenfour, in which Greenwald was something of a second star. In 2015, it won the Oscar for Best Documentary, which Greenwald says he could not enjoy because host Neil Patrick Harris joked that ''Snowden couldn't be here for some treason.'' At an after-party that night, a BuzzFeed reporter asked him about it. ''I'm like, 'I'm really trying hard not to say anything about it,''…'' Greenwald recalls. ''And they're like, 'No, but you must have an opinion on it,' and I was like, 'Neil Patrick Harris is a fucking moron, and that joke was completely idiotic and offensive.''…'' (For the record, Snowden thought it was funny.)
Last September, Greenwald traveled to Santa Fe, New Mexico, to speak at an event held by the Lannan Foundation, an organization that offers prizes and speaking engagements to NPR-friendly types like Roxane Gay and Colson Whitehead. Wearing a light-gray suit and black Hugo Boss boots, Greenwald joked with the crowd for a few minutes before warning them that he wouldn't be discussing the well-chronicled sins of the Trump administration. ''I really don't think you need me taking up your time talking about that,'' he said. ''And if you do for some reason want that, you can always just go home and turn on MSNBC.'' Instead, Greenwald delivered an absorbing reading of the postelection landscape that fell somewhere between a troll job and a comprehensive articulation of his worldview.
The Trump election '-- because it upended countless political norms, because polls failed to predict it '-- was a psychologically destabilizing development. ''When events happen that are so fucking out of the ordinary, people look for unifying events,'' Greenwald tells me. ''It becomes like a religion.'' But Greenwald didn't view the election as an aberration that needed to be explained. ''Every time Trump says or does something that is xenophobic, or bigoted, or militaristic, or threatening, people always say, 'This is not what America is about,''…'' he told the crowd in Sante Fe. ''I always react to that by saying, 'It's not?''…''
Rather than see Trump as a product of a rotten power structure, as Greenwald does, and the 2016 election as a wild reaction against that power structure, as Greenwald also does, it was easier for most American liberals to frame his victory as an accident. And rather than look within to eradicate the conditions that wrought Trump, it was more comforting to pin his rise on an external foe.
The Russian scandal proved ideal. ''Across the political aisle, American elites are preoccupied with rejuvenating a Cold War in the name of believing that all of our problems are traceable to the Kremlin,'' Greenwald argued. The notion that ''Putin is not some fumbling dictator but some kind of an omnipotent mastermind,'' he went on, ''stems very much from this human desire to believe that when things go wrong, it can't be our fault.''
Put another way: If you believe the 2016 election was a populist uprising against complacent elites, the Russia preoccupation can seem like an effort to ignore what Trump voters '-- and Sanders voters '-- were trying to say. Alternatively, if you believe Trump's victory was a Russia-perpetrated fraud, normalcy is restored simply by removing him from office. Which, conveniently, is what many hope Mueller's Russia probe will do.
The week I visit Greenwald in Rio, the news out of the D.C.-Moscow gyre is the indictment of three Trump-campaign aides: Rick Gates, George Papadopoulos, and Manafort. Sitting at Greenwald's dining-room table, as a little dog named Kane molests a bigger dog named Enzo, I make the mistake of suggesting this is a ''huge'' development. Greenwald is ready for me before I finish my sentence.
''Have they been huge?'' he pounces, answering his own question. ''I mean, I guess they've been huge in the sense that Donald Trump's former campaign manager was indicted on multiple felony charges, right? That's inherently huge, but it's not particularly huge for the Russia story, because all the charges leveled against Manafort were unrelated to questions of collusion with the Russians.'' Fair enough, but Papadopoulos's arrest was in fact related to the question of collusion. Greenwald waves this away. ''They had all these kind of losers who weren't even in the Trump campaign,'' he says. ''You know, these charlatans who were constantly puffing up their r(C)sum(C)s, who come from the shittiest schools and have no significant experience.'' He continues: ''What happened this week, for me, is exactly what I've been expecting all along.''
True. Last March, Greenwald wrote an Intercept piece that forecast the ''indictment of a low-level operative like Carter Page, or the prosecution of someone like Paul Manafort on matters unrelated to hacking.'' His point then, as now, is that such developments are far removed from the original impetus of the investigation: whether Trump and Russia worked together to throw the election. ''If you go back to what the Democrats were saying in 2016 and then into 2017, it wasn't 'Paul Manafort is laundering money and hiding taxes and failing to register forms about how he's a foreign agent,''…'' Greenwald says. ''Because that's true of that entire scumbag lobbyist class in D.C.''
When it comes to what the investigation was designed to focus on, Greenwald says he's still waiting for hard evidence that the Trump campaign aided Russian operatives in hacking the Clinton-campaign emails '-- or struck some other corrupt bargain. Absent that, he's not impressed. ''Some Russians wanted to help Trump win the election, and certain people connected to the Trump campaign were receptive to receiving that help. Who the fuck cares about that?''
Greenwald's not wrong to criticize the zealotry of the Russia pile-on. The investigation's boosters not only seem to ignore America's own long history of election meddling (''Yanks to the Rescue: The Secret Story of How American Advisers Helped Yeltsin Win,'' crowed a 1996 Time cover story) but also have elevated a bipartisan class of Russia conspiracists like Louise Mensch and Eric Garland to unfortunate prominence. Which is how, for instance, a deranged 127-tweet rant about ''game theory'' became cherished by liberals as a Russiagate decoder ring.
How did all this happen? In a recent issue of n+1, Cornell Law School professor Aziz Rana called 2016 the ''last election of the Cold War.'' What he meant was that for half a century, an unassailable Western consensus had prevailed that democracy and global capitalism were better than what the other team was offering. Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush, the presumptive 2016 favorites, reflected this consensus. Their dismal showings suggested the consensus had been busted, and among the signs that the political spectrum had broadened was the appearance of a new-seeming category of Russia-skeptic firebrands sometimes called the alt-left. Greenwald was one of the loudest voices, but there were others, many so divergent in their views of everything but Russia that it hardly made sense to group them together: the Trump-curious burn-it-all-down types; the ''dirtbag left,'' led by the irreverent politics podcast Chapo Trap House; anti-Zionist-anti-imperialists like Max Blumenthal; basically all of Russian television network RT's on-air talent; retired NYU scholar and Nation eminence Stephen F. Cohen.
These critics note the irony that many who were critical of national-security abuses during the Bush and Obama years have now, in the name of defending the republic, put their faith in opaque intelligence agencies and retired generals. That uncomfortable alliance between liberals and the ''deep state'' is the Greenwald-Trumpworld relationship inverted; on Russia, the America Firsters in the White House share more with dovish lefties than with Washington's centrist power elite. To borrow from the language of Brexit, the ideological split on the Russia question may be more ''Leave'' versus ''Remain'' than Republican versus Democrat. In other words, Establishment insiders versus skeptical outsiders.
''For me, the fundamental question is: How satisfied are you with the prevailing order, with the status quo?'' By this, Greenwald does not mean life in the Trump era but the behavior of American elites over the past several generations. ''How benevolent do you regard American power and American institutions?'' The answer to that question says a lot about how you rate the Trump threat.
One afternoon, Greenwald and I drive to a sports club affiliated with Rio's most popular soccer team, Flamengo. His mischievous and adorable children, Jonathas, 8, and Jo£o Vitor, 10, are scheduled for a tennis lesson at the club's clay courts. It occurs to me that a tennis match with Greenwald would make an entertaining narrative stunt. Greenwald declines, telling me that he's too good. ''You're going to feel bad because I'm going to destroy you, and you're going to try and get vengeance on me through the profile.'' That I'm cooking up a savage hit piece becomes a running joke throughout my visit '-- as does Greenwald's inevitable reaction to my hit piece. ''Unfortunately,'' he imagines tweeting, ''New York apparently has eliminated its entire editorial and fact-checking team as evidenced by this wretched article filled with lies. 1/29.''
In truth, a hatchet job probably wouldn't bother Greenwald. He's long positioned himself as a radical adversary of the courtier press corps; a hostile story would confirm his view. Indeed, the formidable team of investigative journalists that surrounds Greenwald at the Intercept reflects this bent. But the ambitions of the First Look Media empire have also been hobbled by Greenwald's team-last M.O. In 2014, Greenwald co-wrote a lengthy piece documenting '-- and further contributing to '-- the company's managerial dysfunction.
Greenwald's half-a-million-dollar Intercept salary reflects his role as the founder and figurehead of the organization. But since the Snowden revelations, Greenwald hasn't done much original reporting, and he has lately repositioned himself as a bomb-throwing media critic. This is in some ways a natural role for him, one that harks back to his early blogging days. ''His general default position is that we shouldn't believe anything the elite Establishment politicians are saying without fact-checking them,'' says Jeremy Scahill, his Intercept co-founder. ''We certainly shouldn't believe the anonymous proclamations of CIA, NSA, FBI officials.''
In Glenn's defense, he has never purported to be a patriot. Greenwald's bunker mentality makes his Russia skepticism especially intuitive. ''Every groove in his brain,'' one Greenwald critic told me, burnishes his suspicion that the political and media Establishment has a vested interest in promoting the story. His Bush-era awakening created a built-in distrust of national-security apparatuses; his focus on U.S. power abuses tends to outweigh concerns about threats to the homeland; his isolationism makes him wary of belligerent rhetoric; his civil libertarianism demands that unpopular views not be censored.
In 2012, many liberals who now consider Kremlin-linked Facebook memes an act of war mocked Mitt Romney for calling Russia our ''No. 1 geopolitical foe.'' Greenwald, meanwhile, has been more consistent. ''He's always minimized whatever the threat vector that people like me were concerned about,'' says Lawfare editor Ben Wittes, a longtime Greenwald opponent and unlikely celebrity of the Russiagate media sphere. ''He's doing the exact same thing now. Just that the threat vector we're concerned about is the Russian state versus our leadership.'' Wittes adds, tongue in cheek: ''In Glenn's defense, he has never purported to be a patriot.''
To listen to intelligence veterans, there is also a defensive aspect to Greenwald's collusion skepticism. ''You really cannot dismiss as part of his motivation the way in which this new story is undermining the very things that he made his reputation on,'' says cybersecurity expert Stewart Baker, a former NSA general counsel. ''Which is: embracing WikiLeaks and Snowden and a hostility to the idea that there are national-security threats the U.S. has to respond to.''
Journalistically, the problem with this dynamic is there's virtually no revelation in the Russia story that could get Greenwald to change his mind. Which means that while Scahill and other Intercept colleagues tend to evaluate each new revelation at face value, Greenwald focuses disproportionately on debunked or overblown Russia stories. Ever the lawyer, he curates evidence that suits his argument. More than a year ago, the Washington Post published an erroneous story alleging that Russia had hacked into a U.S. electrical grid in Vermont. Greenwald continues to bring this up. To him, it's not just a random piece of bad reporting but a crucial exhibit in a case he's building.
Which makes his lack of interest in a report the Intercept itself produced all the more curious. In June, it published an explosive story that Russia had attempted to infiltrate voter-registration systems days before the election by sending phishing emails to more than 100 local election officials. The information came from a leaked NSA report; shortly before the Intercept published its story, a Georgia NSA employee named Reality Winner was arrested on espionage charges. Almost immediately, the Intercept was accused of exposing Winner with its own sloppy methods. But the scoop itself represented one of the first credible claims that, more than trying to influence American voters, Russia may have been directly targeting election technology. Greenwald distanced himself from the bungled leak at the time and now says he doesn't buy the story outright. ''I never liked the story. I thought it was bullshit and knew it was going to be huge in a way that was totally unjustified in what it actually revealed,'' he says. ''I think it tried to overstate the importance of what that document was.''
Greenwald's selective outrage has become habitual. In November, The Atlanticpublished Twitter correspondence from 2016 in which a WikiLeaks representative gave Donald Trump Jr. campaign advice.
Greenwald pooh-poohed the coordination, implying that Julian Assange was just playing his usual 4-D chess. Barrett Brown '-- a pro-transparency autodidact who served more than four years in federal prison for spreading hacked data and won a National Magazine Award for Intercept essays he wrote while incarcerated '-- was livid. ''He doesn't seem to be engaging on the actual revelations that keep coming out on Russia and Trump's people,'' Brown says. ''My best guess is he's just ignoring these things in favor of the less difficult argument that some people who are backing the Trump-Russia narrative are full of shit.''
It probably doesn't matter to Greenwald in the end how many new details emerge about Russia. The big truth '-- that American society is in dire need of reform and Russia is not to blame for that '-- can never be dislodged by the little truths. Still, in the weeks following my visit to Rio, Greenwald seemed to grow self-conscious of his alienated stance. On December 8, he emailed me that he'd been asked to appear on the Sean Hannity Show to talk about his criticism of a CNN story about emails between Trump's team and WikiLeaks that he considered ''the biggest fuck-up yet in the Trump/Russia story '-- totally humiliating.'' A few hours later, he reconsidered. ''Actually I've decided to take the opportunity to go on and just spend the whole time bashing the shit out of Fox and Hannity rather than doing what they want me to do: attacking CNN.'' Later, he sent this: ''Reading up now on all the Fox Fake News scandals of the year '-- what a fucking list.''
Ultimately, after being asked to appear on all three of Fox News' prime-time programs, he went on Laura Ingraham's show, where he fulfilled his promise to bash Fox News. The next morning, Greenwald tweeted a clip of the confrontation to his 940,000 followers, then immediately got into an argument with somebody called @hoboken1111.
*This article appears in the January 22, 2018, issue of New York Magazine.
The administration has a new tariff on something people really like.
Pence said he was going to the Middle East to promote peace and help persecuted Christians. Now he's just taking pictures.
Featuring a highly partisan White House voice-mail message.
And over half of Democrats think Trump's mentally unstable. We're not all just going to get along.
He reportedly told them ''your cast is about to get gunned down in a matter of hours.''
A breakdown of the 16 most competitive seats.
When rescuers found Nathan Carman after seven days at sea, his mother had vanished without a trace. But his past was about to resurface.
The part where Christopher Wray resisted calls to fire his deputy, not Trump's continued attacks on the FBI's independence.
White House aides seemed pleased that they were able to keep him out of the negotiation process, but it probably won't last.
Extending the shutdown probably wouldn't have helped Dreamers '-- and definitely would have hurt low-income kids in need of health care.
It's often assumed Democrats could win lots of ''pro-life'' voters with a more flexible position on abortion. That may get it backward.
Characteristically above-board behavior.
ISIS may be in full retreat, but two key U.S. allies are now fighting each other.
In really bad timing for Republicans, a state court applying state law overturns a congressional map and requires new districts this year.
All the lowlights from a barely functioning Washington.
Dems can still prevail in the larger battle over immigration policy '-- but ending the shutdown Monday definitely wasn't a victory.
Conservatives pining for a fifth SCOTUS vote to overturn Roe v. Wade may have to win the 2020 election to outlast Ginsburg.
STORIES
Google Ends Faulty Fact Check Feature | The Daily Caller
Wed, 24 Jan 2018 16:12
Google says it is discontinuing its fact-check feature because it proved to be too faulty for public use, directly attributing the decision to an investigation by The Daily Caller News Foundation. The company has no date set for when it will return, if ever.
''We launched the reviewed claims feature at the end of last year as an experiment with the aim of helping people quickly learn more about news publications,'' a spokeswoman for Google told TheDCNF, while also adding that TheDCNF was the catalyst for the recent move. ''We said previously that we encountered challenges in our systems that maps fact checks to publishers, and on further examination it's clear that we are unable to deliver the quality we'd like for users.''
WATCH:
There were two main problems with the fact-check widget, which appeared on the sidebar of Google's search results for very few sites and publications.
First, the legitimate outlets chosen were virtually all ones with conservatives audiences. The Daily Caller, for example, was given such treatment, while sites like Vox, Slate, The Huffington Post, Mother Jones and several others clearly on the left side of the political spectrum were not.
Second, and perhaps most importantly, many of the fact-checks were wrong. One of the purported reviewed claims was for an article that straightforwardly reported that yet another member of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigative team was a donor for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former President Barack Obama.
Google attributed the fact-check to The Washington Post, something it's vice president of communications took issue with.
''We went back and double-checked the story and the information submitted to Google, and The Daily Caller was not mentioned at all, even in links,'' Kristine Coratti, of WaPo, told TheDCNF. ''We clearly labeled the source, so I cannot speak to how The Daily Caller ended up being erroneously listed as the source of the fact-checked quote in this case.''
After days of back-and-forth with representatives at Google, TheDCNF was told it was probably due to the algorithms, something the company doesn't talk about as a matter of internal policy.
Google removed that single purported fact-check at the time of TheDCNF's initial inquiries, but there were several others that were also false, if not all of them.
For instance, a ''claim'' attributed to The Daily Caller by Google's feature and its third-party fact-checking partner Snopes was ''a transgender woman raped a young girl in a women's bathroom because bills were passed'...''
A quick read of the news piece shows that there was no mention of a bill or any form of legislation. The story was merely a straightforward reporting of a disturbing incident originally reported on by a local outlet.
The whole program has been suspended for the foreseeable future as of Friday. Google engineers are reportedly heading back to the drawing boards to see how they can vastly improve a fact-check system, while it remains to be seen if the company will abandon the project altogether.
''As we continue to work on addressing this problem and assess how best to serve our users,'' the Google spokeswoman continued, ''we are putting the experiment on hold.''
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The Programmer at the Center of a $100 Billion Crypto Storm - WSJ
Wed, 24 Jan 2018 15:17
The drop was swift: Prices for bitcoin and dozens of other digital currencies on Jan. 8 fell sharply, lopping more than $100 billion off their collective market value.
The globe-rattling move can be traced to one address: An apartment in a new residential building across the street from a local union headquarters in a gentrifying section of Long Island City, Queens.
It is the workplace of Brandon Chez, the 31-year-old computer programmer behind coinmarketcap.com, a website that is a top source for data on bitcoin and hundreds of other cryptocurrencies. Mr. Chez's site, which went live in 2013, has become one of the most heavily trafficked websites in the world.
Competition is heating up. On Thursday, Intercontinental Exchange Inc., the owner of the New York Stock Exchange, announced a partnership to launch a bitcoin data feed for Wall Street banks and traders. Independent sites including Onchainfx.com have also popped up.Meanwhile, Mr. Chez's site is wielding unexpected impact. On January 7, coinmarketcap.com decided to remove trading activity from South Korean exchanges from its price-quote algorithms. The reason: prices there were significantly and persistently higher than in other countries. To some, it seemed the Korean trades were artificially inflating the price of bitcoin.
Without the South Korean bids and offers embedded in the CoinMarketCap listings, prices on the site fell precipitously. The price of the cryptocurrency XRP, for example, went from about $3.40 to $2.60 in one sharp move.
Created with Highcharts 6.0.4Traffic PeakTop bitcoin-related websites' rankings among all sites, by user traffic.Source: Amazon/Alexa Internet
Created with Highcharts 6.0.4Coinmarketcap.comCoinbase.comBlockchain.infoCoindesk.comFeb. '17March '17April '17May '17June '17July '17Aug. '17Sept. '17Oct. '17Nov. '17Dec. '17Jan. '1801,0002,0003,0004,0005,0006,0007,000
. . Yet little is known about how the site operates. Because Mr. Chez initially didn't communicate the change, few if any outside the site knew why it was happening. Traders tried to help each other on message boards like Reddit and social media. Many were angry.
''This decision is really head scratching and irresponsible,'' said a user on Reddit with the name ''vilnius2013.''
In a Jan. 10 email exchange with The Wall Street Journal, Mr. Chez explained that coinmarketcap.com decided to make the change in its price algorithm on the evening of Sunday Jan. 7, though it remains unclear specifically when it went into effect.
By Monday morning, prices on his website for bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple Inc.'s XRP, and dozens of other cryptocurrencies suddenly were being quoted materially lower, sometimes 15% or more.Then, that Monday afternoon in New York, CoinMarketCap released a statement on Twitter that it ''excluded some Korean exchanges in price calculations due to the extreme divergence in prices from the rest of the world and limited arbitrage opportunity.''
Mr. Chez wrote in his email to the Journal that ''a lot of users were complaining about the inaccurate prices,'' but he ''didn't realize how big of an impact'' the Korean exclusion would have.
''I think the market was already on a downturn at that point so the timing was quite unfortunate,'' he added.
The site ''caused the market to crash,'' Mati Greenspan, an analyst at brokerage firm eToro, wrote in a client note. ''For myself and all of you reading, I propose that we boycott this website effective immediately.''
So far, that message has been ignored. On Monday, coinmarketcap.com was ranked 117th globally by Amazon's website-ranking service, up from 142nd before the Korea decision. Coinmarketcap.com also ranked higher than most U.S. news websites, and even Alibaba.com, a major Chinese retailer site that was ranked 174th globally.That is quite a feat for a company that doesn't have a corporate office, nor any clear outlet to the outside world save for a Twitter and Facebook account. The website doesn't disclose any company officials, nor does it provide any contact beyond a general support email.Part of the reason Mr. Chez's site is surging in popularity comes from the mad rally over the past year in cryptocurrencies beyond bitcoin, often called ''alt coins.'' Coinmarketcap.com lists prices for more than 1,100 of them, from Ethereum, the second most valuable to something called AppleCoin, which Monday had a market capitalization on the site of $23.
Mr. Chez, whose name has been listed in public records databases as owner of the company, said in an email that ''our goal was and still is to remain a neutral and accurate source for the cryptocurrency community.'' CoinMarketCap is registered in New York as a limited liability company, with an address in Long Island City, according to the databases.
On that location sits a seven-story, brown-brick apartment building that was built within the last two years. Mr. Chez is listed as a resident there. The same address is also listed on public records linked to CoinMarketCap. Earlier this month, a person inside the apartment didn't answer the door, and Mr. Chez declined to be interviewed.
Bitcoin, the leading cryptocurrency, was created in 2009 as a software program designed to run across a network of computers, but without any central authority. As it grew, exchanges were formed online that brought together buyers and sellers. Because all those exchanges operate independently, prices can vary widely.
Coinmarketcap.com takes all that information and produces one standard price quote, making it easier to track data across different exchanges.
It generally avoids news stories and analysis. Instead, the site focuses on data, tallying the overall market value of all cryptocurrencies and publishing the percentage of the market made up by bitcoin.
After receiving a bachelor's degree in computer science from Rochester Institute of Technology in 2009, Mr. Chez worked at Lockheed Martin and Mediabistro, which runs a website for journalists, according to an earlier version of his LinkedIn profile, which has since been altered. The same year that he started coinmarketcap.com, he took a job as a software engineer at Rocketrip, which helps companies manage business expenses. He left that job in 2015. Mediabistro confirmed his employment; Lockheed and Rocketrip didn't respond.CoinMarketCap appears to make money by selling display advertising through AlphabetInc.'s Google. A form through which potential advertisers can sign up says there is a ''$20,000 minimum order'' for campaigns.As bitcoin has emerged from the underground world of nerds and criminals to become a mainstream investment, the risk of hacks and scandals has also blossomed. What's a government to do? The WSJ's Steven Russolillo travels the world (sort of) to see how regulators are responding to the remarkable rise of cryptocurrencies. Video: Sharon Shi and Crystal Tai
. '--Lisa Schwartz contributed to this article.
The Latest: Merkel says right-wing populism is 'a poison' | News & Observer
Wed, 24 Jan 2018 14:20
The Latest on the World Economic Forum in Davos (all times local):
3:15 p.m.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel says right-wing populism in Europe is a "poison" that is driven by unresolved problems.
In Germany, the nationalist, anti-migrant Alternative for Germany party won seats in parliament for the first time in September, and similar populist parties have also grown strong in France, Netherlands and elsewhere.
Merkel said Wednesday that she hoped support would not rise further for such parties, and that her government is trying to get right-wing populism "under control, but it is a poison."
She said some Germans were attracted to the right first during the Greek financial crisis when Germany was paying a large share of the bailouts to Athens, and then again in 2015 during the flood of migrants into Europe.
___
3:00 p.m.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel says that with Britain's decision to leave the European Union the remaining countries in the bloc need to speak with one voice on the world stage.
She said Wednesday that the EU's remaining 27 member states need one voice on foreign policy "if we Europeans want to be taken seriously."
She added the so-called Brexit decision has invigorated the EU, and that only as a bloc can it tackle big challenges like that posed by China's growing influence.
She said, however, that Europe "regrets" the British decision to leave and is looking forward to keeping close ties.
She says "we are available for any form of partnership."
She reiterated that access to the bloc's common market is tied to freedom of movement. "We can't make any compromises there," she said.
___
2:50 p.m.
Spain's King Felipe VI says the recent Catalan push for independence was an attack on the country's democratic system and should serve as a lesson for democracies around the world on the need to preserve the rule of law and national sovereignty.
Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, the king said Wednesday that what happened in Catalonia was "an attempt to undermine the basic rules of our democratic system."
Spain experienced its worst political crisis in a decade late last year, when the Catalan parliament declared independence. Spain fired the regional government, dissolved Catalonia's parliament and called regional elections in December.
___
2:45 p.m.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is lobbying for multilateral solutions to global problems, telling leaders in Davos that there is too much "national egoism" at the moment.
Merkel said Wednesday that the meeting's motto of "creating a shared future in a fractured world" was "exactly right" for 2018.
She says "we believe that isolationism won't take us forward. We believe that we must cooperate, that protectionism is not the correct answer."
On climate change, for example, she says efforts are going on "sadly without the United States" after Washington's decision to withdraw from the Paris agreement.
___
2:25 p.m.
Like countless others this winter, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has fallen victim to a bug, and as a result he won't be attending this year's World Economic Forum.
EU Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas said in Brussels that the head of the bloc's executive arm "has a stomach flu that will not allow him to travel to Davos."
Juncker was due to be one of the main speakers on Thursday, ahead of British Prime Minister Theresa May.
Delegates were looking forward to hearing their respective assessments of Brexit.
Britain is due to leave the EU in March 2019 and is about to begin thorny trade discussions with the bloc. Juncker's Commission plays a key role in the discussions.
___
2:15 p.m.
Italy's prime minister says he understands U.S. President Donald Trump's "America First" mindset. But he insists it shouldn't come at the expense of free trade.
Paolo Gentiloni told reporters Wednesday at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland: "I consider legitimate for each country to say, 'My country first'. I could say 'Italy first,' why not?"
But, he added, if economic growth is the goal, then that means trade '-- and protectionism runs counter to that.
He said: "It is legitimate that each and every single one of us thinks of protecting some sectors for their own markets, but these choices across all sectors can never translate into protectionism."
Gentiloni said he believed the improving global economy stems from free trade, international treaties and the "free-market union formula we have in Europe."
___
12:00 p.m.
U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross thinks Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau used his speech at the World Economic Forum to put pressure on the U.S. in the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement.
In an address to the forum Tuesday, Trudeau said his country and the 10 remaining members of the Trans-Pacific Partnership had revised their trade deal in the wake of the U.S. withdrawal. He said he is "working very hard" to convince U.S. President Donald Trump about the merits of NAFTA.
Ross said Wednesday that Trudeau's speech was designed "to put a little pressure on the U.S. in the NAFTA talks."
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin insisted the Trump administration believes in "bilateral trading agreements" but that it wants to make sure "U.S. opportunities are equal to other people's opportunities in the U.S."
___
10:45 a.m.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has brushed off concerns about a tough reception from globalist critics at the elite World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
He said Wednesday that "we don't have to worry about this crowd."
Mnuchin spoke in the wake of scattered protests and concerns that Trump's "America First" message could clash with the internationalist throngs in Davos.
President Donald Trump is coming with an unusually large delegation to this year's Davos event. Mnuchin said it was "very important" for the U.S. to communicate with its counterparts.
Mnuchin, flanked by U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross at a press briefing, said: "This is an important forum. There are world leaders here from all over the world, there are important ministers from all over the world, there are important CEOs and private investors."
"Our objective is to be here to interact with important counterparts."
___
10:15 a.m.
U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has conceded that China could slap retaliatory tariffs on U.S. products following President Donald Trump's decision this week to impose tariffs on imported solar-energy components and large washing machines.
At a press conference at the World Economic Forum, Ross said Wednesday that there's "always potential for retribution and retaliation and that's up to the Chinese to decide."
Ross is part of one of the biggest U.S. delegations to ever come to the WEF, the highlight of which will be Trump's speech on Friday. Many participants at the forum are concerned about Trump's "America First" program and whether that augurs a new era of protectionism.
Ross also said trade wars are "fought every single day" and that every day, someone is trying to violate rules and "take advantage" of things.
___
9:45 a.m.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says his country is "absolutely" committed to free and fair trade, two days after President Donald Trump signed off on new tariffs on imported solar-energy components and large washing machines.
At a news conference at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Mnuchin said Wednesday that strong U.S. growth was good for the world economy and that there is no inconsistency with Trump's "America First" agenda and his belief in working with others on trade.
Mnuchin also said he's not "particularly concerned" by reports China is preparing to wind down its purchases of U.S. Treasuries, in part because of the U.S.'s stance on free trade.
___
6 a.m.
It's day two at the World Economic Forum and there'll be no escaping Europe.
The leaders of France and Germany, President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, are set to headline the roll-call of leaders Wednesday, two days before President Donald Trump is due to give his own speech in the heavily snow-covered Swiss town of Davos.
Europe's economic revival is one of the main reasons why the global economy is powering ahead and both Macron '-- who will make his first appearance at the WEF since being elected president '-- and Merkel will trumpet how the region has turned the corner after years of crisis.
King Felipe VI of Spain is also due to address delegates and anything he says about the restive region of Catalonia is likely to be of interest.
Russia bans satirical British film The Death Of Stalin | Daily Mail Online
Wed, 24 Jan 2018 14:13
Russia has banned the release of British comedy film The Death Of Stalin after labelling it 'offensive' and 'extremist'.
The movie, which stars Steve Buscemi and Jason Isaacs , had been due for a limited release on Thursday after it was given an 18+ certificate by the culture ministry.
But that certificate has now been withdrawn after a wave of protest from conservative figures who said it 'lampooned the history of our country'.
The Death of Stalin, a Franco-British comedy starring Jason Isaacs (pictured here as Georgy Zhukov), has been banned in Russia for being 'offensive' and 'extremist'
The ministry said the film's release was cancelled after officials found it contained 'information whose distribution is legally banned in Russia'.
Armando Iannucci's comedy, which had a world premiere in September last year, takes a satirical look at the power scramble after Stalin's 1953 death.
On Monday, Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky held a private screening for officials and film directors.
Yelena Drapeko, deputy head of the lower house of parliament's culture committee, told the RBK news site that she had 'never seen anything so disgusting in my life'.
The Armando Iannucci comedy, which was due out Thursday on an 18+ certificate, has now had its licence withdrawn
'(The audience), me included, saw elements of extremism in the film,' she said.
After the screening 22 people signed a letter urging Medinsky to delay the release and check if the film broke any laws.
The signatories included film director Nikita Mikhalkov - who won an Oscar for his 1995 film 'Burnt by the Sun', set during Stalin repressions - and Marshal Zhukov's daughter Era.
The letter published on the culture ministry's site slammed the film as 'lampooning the history of our country' and 'blackening the memory of our citizens who conquered fascism'.
The film contained elements 'that can be assessed as extremist and aimed at humiliating Russian people,' the letter said.
The Russian national anthem was used in an 'offensive way' in the trailer, it added.
It also called for the release to be delayed because next month sees the 75th anniversary of Soviet victory against the Nazis in the Battle of Stalingrad in 1943.
One of the letter's signatories, the head of a public chamber advising the culture ministry, Yury Polyakov, told TASS state news agency the film is 'part of an ideological battle against our country'.
The ban came after a special screening for officials and directors on Monday, who penned an open letter urging Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky to look again at the licence
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that he was not aware of the controversy and that the matter was the prerogative of the culture ministry.
'The Death of Stalin' became the top trending item on Russian Twitter after the announcement.
'I think Charlie Chaplin would be under house arrest now in Russia,' wrote Alexei Venediktov, editor-in-chief of popular Echo of Moscow radio.
The film has prompted a mixed reaction from Russian media, ranging from praise to condemnation.
The Komsomolskaya Pravda tabloid slammed it as 'a comedy that could have been filmed by Hitler' and 'possibly the most sickening film about the USSR of recent times'.
But critic Andrei Arkhangelsky wrote in Ogonyok magazine that the irreverent comedy is paradoxically able to 'convey the full seriousness of what happened'.
German leader Merkel says the current world order is under threat
Wed, 24 Jan 2018 13:57
German leader Angela Merkel said that multilateralism was under threat and said that protectionism is not the answer to the world's problems.
"Frankly speaking, the country I have the honor to represent and where I am chancellor has difficulties. And polarization is something that we see in our country as well, which we haven't had for decades," Merkel said.
She attributed increasing populism and polarization to both the euro zone crisis and migration crisis seen in Europe over the last few years following an influx of refugees but said Germany would not shrink from the world stage.
"Germany wishes to be a country that lends its contribution in the future to solve the problems of the world together, we think that shutting ourselves off and isolating ourselves will not lead us into a good future. Protectionism is not the proper answer," she said.
Merkel is just the latest leader at Davos to criticize a protectionist and isolationist stance towards the world's problems. Such comments appear to be directed towards President Donald Trump who has adopted an "America First" stance in his foreign and economic policies.
Merkel's comments also come amid continued speculation over Germany, and indeed Merkel's, political future after months of negotiations aimed at forming a coalition government. This after no one party gained a majority in last September's election.
Merkel's conservative alliance of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and Christian Social Union (CSU) first attempted to form a coalition with the Green party and pro-business Free Democratic Party (FDP), but it failed after the parties couldn't agree on various policies ranging from immigration to euro zone integration.
Sean Gallup | Getty Images
German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks at the headquarters of SPD for preliminary coalition talks on January 7, 2017.
With no prospect of an alliance, Merkel's coalition partner in several former governments, the Social Democratic party (SPD) led by Martin Schulz, did a U-turn on an earlier pledge to voters not to go into government with the CDU-CSU again and began talks with Merkel's conservative alliance in January.
The decision could backfire on the SPD which performed badly in the last election due to its supporters' disapproval of its alliance with the CDU-CSU. As such, the SPD is likely to extract many concessions from the CDU-CSU during upcoming negotiations in return for its support in government.
There is also doubt over whether Merkel, known as "Mutti" (mother) in Germany, will see out the whole of what will be her fourth term as chancellor and there is speculation on who her successor might be.
Merkel said on Wednesday that she would continue to hold talks aimed at forming a government.
Companies Explore Whether U.S. Can Replace 'Double Irish' - WSJ
Wed, 24 Jan 2018 13:04
U.S. companies rich in intellectual property are looking at a new tax-friendly regime: the U.S.
A provision in the newly revised U.S. tax code slashes the income tax companies pay on royalties from the overseas use of intellectual property or so-called intangible assets, such as licenses and patents.
The new tax break, for what is dubbed foreign-derived intangible income, effectively reduces tax on foreign income from goods and services produced in the U.S. using patents and other intellectual property to 13.125% until the end of 2025, after which the rate rises to 16.4%. Previously, royalties paid to a unit in the U.S. would have been taxed similarly to other U.S. income, for which the top corporate tax rate was 35%. The new headline corporate rate is 21%.
The deduction is meant to induce companies with large U.S. operations and significant foreign income from patent royalties to base more of those assets in the U.S. Such companies, especially in technology and pharmaceutical sectors, often hold foreign rights for their IP in a company based in a low-tax country.
The Double Irish is a structure that allows companies to reduce taxable income by setting up two entities'--an Irish-registered parent based in a tax haven such as Bermuda that houses a company's foreign IP rights, and an Irish subsidiary, which licenses the IP and pays royalties in turn. Since Ireland doesn't tax the royalties paid, the company's tax bill is effectively reduced.
The structure was particularly attractive to U.S. companies, which could also stockpile foreign profits abroad without paying U.S. taxes'--something they may no longer be able to do under the new code because it includes a set of minimum taxes on foreign income. Tax advisers estimate that hundreds of companies have used the Double Irish to move tens of billions of dollars a year to low- or no-tax jurisdictions.
The Google unit in Ireland that sells ads across Europe, for instance, has paid tens of billions of euros in royalty fees for the use of Google's intellectual property to a unit in the Netherlands that then pays nearly all those fees to an Irish company that is managed in Bermuda, where there is no corporate income tax, according to corporate filings in the Netherlands and Ireland. In 2016, Google's Dutch entity reported paying nearly '‚¬16 billion ($19.6 billion) to that unit, filings show.Spokesmen for Google and Facebook declined to comment. Both companies previously have said they pay all taxes that they owe. An Allergan spokesman said the firm is committed to investing both in the U.S. and its operations in Ireland.
Taxing the IntellectA shakeup in global tax treaties and laws is forcing companies to rethink where they house intellectual property (IP)'--and pay royalties. Here are some top places they're considering:Corporate income tax rates, by country
Ireland
12.5%
IP tax break: Companies can deduct the cost to acquire a variety of IP assets and amortize them to offset profits.
Luxembourg
18%*
Some income from software and IP is 80% tax exempt if Luxembourg unit funded R&D.
U.K.
19%
Some income from patents or patented products derived from UK activities is taxable at 10%.
U.S.
21%
New FDII effectively taxes "foreign derived intangible income" at 13.125%, rising to 16.4% in 2025.
Netherlands
25%'
Qualifying income allocated to an ''innovation box'' is taxed at 7%.
Malta
35%
Refunds available for five sevenths of corporate tax on royalty income.
*15% for companies with taxable profit under '‚¬25,000 ' 20% for income under '‚¬200,000Sources: the governments (corporate tax rates); PwC, Deloitte, KPMG, Dutch government (IP tax breaks)
. . In recent years, pressure from countries in Europe and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, a group of rich nations, has led to an update of tax rules that generally requires companies to keep their IP in places where they have substantial operations. That has led countries, including Ireland, to close loopholes that allowed structures like the Double Irish to exist and has set off a race among companies to find a new home for their IP.
For companies that produce much of their intellectual property on American soil, the U.S. is now an option, advisers say.
''Now the U.S. has to enter your consideration, absolutely,'' said Anna Scally, head of the tech and media practice in Ireland for accounting firm KPMG. She added that firms are currently crunching numbers to find the best alternative locales that comply with tax rules. ''It's not a slam dunk,'' Ms. Scally said of the U.S. ''But it is an option.''
Among the options for companies are locales such as Malta, which despite a high headline corporate tax rate gives significant tax breaks, including for royalties, and has a tax treaty with Ireland that would allow an Irish-registered company to be managed there after 2020, similar to the Double Irish, according to tax advisers. In a report last fall, the charity Christian Aid Ireland, which says it fights against tax injustice, dubbed the structure the ''Single Malt.''
Other options include the U.K., the Netherlands and Luxembourg, which have enacted special low-tax regimes for some IP income, in the range of 10% to 15%. Advisers say Ireland remains a leading option even without the Double Irish because its corporate tax rate is 12.5% and many tech companies already have a large presence in that country.
The U.S.'s elevation as a tax-efficient locale may face challenges from other countries that claim the new foreign-derived tax deduction is an unfair trade subsidy, tax advisers say. Also, the effective FDII rate is set to rise to 16.4% in 2025'--without taking into account additional U.S. state taxes'--and could make the break less attractive.
The possibility of a political reversal has also made businesses more cautious, experts say.
''I don't think any firm would be well served by betting the ranch on the stability of the new tax law,'' said Edward Kleinbard, a former U.S. tax official who is now a tax professor at the University of Southern California law school.
Evidence suggests a massive scandal is brewing at the FBI | New York Post
Wed, 24 Jan 2018 12:43
During the financial crisis, the federal government bailed out banks it declared ''too big to fail.'' Fearing their bankruptcy might trigger economic Armageddon, the feds propped them up with taxpayer cash.
Something similar is happening now at the FBI, with the Washington wagons circling the agency to protect it from charges of corruption. This time, the appropriate tag line is ''too big to believe.''
Yet each day brings credible reports suggesting there is a massive scandal involving the top ranks of America's premier law enforcement agency. The reports, which feature talk among agents of a ''secret society'' and suddenly missing text messages, point to the existence both of a cabal dedicated to defeating Donald Trump in 2016 and of a plan to let Hillary Clinton skate free in the classified email probe.
If either one is true '-- and I believe both probably are '-- it would mean FBI leaders betrayed the nation by abusing their powers in a bid to pick the president.
More support for this view involves the FBI's use of the Russian dossier on Trump that was paid for by the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee. It is almost certain that the FBI used the dossier to get FISA court warrants to spy on Trump associates, meaning it used the opposition research of the party in power to convince a court to let it spy on the candidate of the other party '-- likely without telling the court of the dossier's political link.
Even worse, there is growing reason to believe someone in President Barack Obama's administration turned over classified information about Trump to the Clinton campaign.
As one former federal prosecutor put it, ''It doesn't get worse than that.'' That prosecutor, Joseph ­diGenova, believes Trump was correct when he claimed Obama aides wiretapped his phones at Trump Tower.
These and other elements combine to make a toxic brew that smells to high heaven, but most Americans don't know much about it. Mainstream media coverage has been sparse and dismissive and there's a blackout from the same Democrats obsessed with Russia, Russia, Russia.
Partisan motives aside, it's as if a scandal of this magnitude is more than America can bear '-- so let's pretend there's nothing to see and move along.
But, thankfully the disgraceful episode won't be washed away, thanks to a handful of congressional Republicans, led by California Rep. Devin Nunes, chairman of the House's Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. After he accused the FBI of stonewalling in turning over records, the bureau relented, at least partially.
The result was clear evidence of bias against Trump by officials charged with investigating him and Clinton. Those same agents appear to have acted on that bias to tilt the election to Clinton.
In one text message, an agent suggests that Attorney General Loretta Lynch knew while the investigation was still going on that the FBI would not recommend charges against Clinton.
How could she know unless the fix was in?
All roads in the explosive developments lead to James Comey, whose Boy Scout image belied a sinister belief that he, like his infamous predecessor J. Edgar Hoover, was above the law.
It is why I named him J. Edgar Comey last year and wrote that he was ''adept at using innuendo and leaks'' to let everybody in Washington know they could be the next to be investigated.
It was in the office of Comey's top deputy, Andrew McCabe, where agents discussed an ''insurance policy'' in the event that Trump won. Reports indicated that the Russia-collusion probe was that insurance policy.
The text was from Peter Strzok, the top investigator on the Trump case, and was sent to Lisa Page, an FBI lawyer and also his mistress.
''I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy's office '-- that there's no way he gets elected '-- but I'm afraid we can't take that risk. It's like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you're 40 . . . '' Strzok wrote.
It is frightening that Strzok, who called Trump ''an idiot,'' was the lead investigator on both the Clinton and Trump cases.
After these messages surfaced, special counsel Robert Mueller removed Strzok and Page from his probe, though both still work at the FBI.
Strzok, despite his talk of an ''insurance policy'' in 2016, wrote in May of 2017 that he was skeptical Mueller's probe would find anything on Trump because ''there's no big there there.''
Talk about irony. While Dems and the left-wing media already found Trump guilty of collusion before Mueller was appointed, the real scandal might be the conduct of the probers themselves.
Suspicions are hardly allayed by the fact that the FBI says it can't find five months of messages between Strzok and Page, who exchanged an estimated 50,000 messages overall. The missing period '-- Dec. 14, 2016 through May 17, 2017 '-- was a crucial time in Washington.
There were numerous leaks of classified material just before and after Trump's inauguration on Jan. 20.
And the president fired Comey last May 9, provoking an intense lobbying effort for a special counsel, which led to Mueller's appointment on May 19.
Jeff Sessions, the attorney general, has emerged from his hidey hole to notice that the FBI has run amok, and said Monday he would ''leave no stone unturned'' to find the five months of missing texts.
Fine, but the House is racing ahead of him. Nunes has prepared a four-page memo, based on classified material that purportedly lays out what the FBI and others did to corrupt the election.
A movement to release the memo is gaining steam, but Congress says it might take weeks. Why wait? Americans can handle the truth, no matter how big it is.
Pence, star of David Filed under bill de blasio, donald trump, dossier, fbi, hillary clinton, israel, james comey, mike pence, Peter Strzok, robert mueller, scandals
Hawaii's Governor Admits He Couldn't Tell The Public About The False Missile Alert Because He Didn't Know His Twitter Password
Wed, 24 Jan 2018 05:25
"I have to confess that I don't know my Twitter account log-ons and the passwords," said Gov. David Ige, when asked why there was a delay in telling the public the missile alert was false.
Jennifer Sinco Kelleher / AP Share on Facebook Share Share on Pinterest Pin Pinterest
Hawaii Gov. David Ige delivers his annual State of the State address in Honolulu.
HONOLULU '-- Hawaii Gov. David Ige said Monday that he was delayed in notifying the public about a false inbound missile alert because he did not know the password to his Twitter account.
Though Hawaii recently became the firststate since the Cold War to enact preparedness plans for a missile attack, state officials have appeared less than ready for such an event after the alert was accidentally sent out on the morning of Jan. 13, terrifying residents and visitors. A full 38 minutes passed before officials sent another alert clarifying it was a false alarm.
At a hearing at the Hawaii State Capitol on Friday, it was revealed that Ige was informed that the alert was false two minutes after it was pushed to phones across the state. But Ige did not tweet that information to the public for another 15 minutes.
By then, other state officials and even a high school student, who simply called the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency to ask if it was a mistake, had already shared the news that it was a false alarm.
Ige addressed the delay in comments to reporters Monday following his State of the State speech, in which he did not address the false missile alert. Asked why he had not shared the news about the false alarm earlier, Ige said he had been making calls to the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency and that he could not log in to his Twitter account.
"I was in the process of making calls to the leadership team both in Hawaii Emergency Management as well as others," Ige said, according to the Star Advertiser.
"I have to confess that I don't know my Twitter account log-ons and the passwords, so certainly that's one of the changes that I've made," he said. "I've been putting that on my phone so that we can access the social media directly."
Asked why he did not mention the false alert during his State of the State address, Ige said he did not think it was appropriate to bring it up, and noted that he has already made several press statements about the subject.
Ige's communications director, Cindy McMillan, told BuzzFeed News Friday that after learning the alert was false, the governor had to track her down to prepare a message, since her team handles his social media accounts.
McMillan said that the governor's Twitter and Facebook accounts will continue to be managed by staff, except in emergency situations.
"Going forward, he will be able to log in on his phone to post in an emergency situation," McMillan said. "However, staff will continue to post to and manage both accounts on a day-to-day basis."
McMillan did not respond to two specific inquires from BuzzFeed News asking whether the governor knows his password now.
Michelle Broder Van Dyke is a reporter and night editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Hawaii.
Contact Michelle Broder Van Dyke at michelle@buzzfeed.com.
Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.
(C) 2018 BuzzFeed, Inc.
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Scalise says House not bound by McConnell's deal with Senate Democrats - POLITICO
Wed, 24 Jan 2018 05:23
House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (left), who is pictured with Speaker Paul Ryan, said in an interview with Playbook that the House is not bound by the deal cut in the Senate to end the shutdown. | Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP Photo
As the Senate was voting yesterday, we headed up to the third floor of the capitol to sit down with HOUSE MAJORITY WHIP STEVE SCALISE (R-LA.). Scalise was recently discharged from the hospital, where he had another post-shooting surgery. Monday was his first day back in the Capitol.
SCALISE was in good spirits. He was sharp -- especially considering he had surgery less than two weeks ago. He had a few thoughts about the immigration debate'... Keep this in mind: Scalise -- and Chief Deputy Whip Patrick McHenry of North Carolina -- interact with every single House Republican. They know the mood of the conference as well as anyone.
Story Continued Below
SCALISE told us the House doesn't feel at all bound by SENATE MAJORITY LEADER MITCH MCCONNELL'S (R-KY) agreement with Senate Democrats to consider immigration legislation by Feb. 8. ''March is really the timeline. '... The House wasn't part of that deal.''
We asked SCALISE if Graham-Durbin -- the bipartisan immigration deal du jour -- stands a chance, and he said ''not in the House.'' ''It's good for everybody to put their ideas on paper but ultimately there are things that can and cannot pass in the House. And we have to work through those details and we're working through them.''
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SCALISE said he thought it would ''excite our base'' if they get a big immigration deal. But he said bluntly: ''We're not going to pass a bill that has amnesty. There are things that would anger our base that I don't see us passing in the House.''
WELL, that deal was cute while it lasted. If the House doesn't feel at all bound by the deal cut in the Senate, this whole three-day shutdown was for absolutely naught. YES, THERE APPEARS TO BE a bipartisan kumbaya in the Senate. But in the House, there's a different tune being sung.
-- EXPECTATION SETTING: The Senate seems quite ready to tackle a big, bipartisan immigration deal. The only big legislation the House has passed in the last year is a tax bill, which was done with Republicans only. As we kick off this immigration debate, set your expectations to the lowest common denominator. Yes, it's true that if put on truth serum, a majority of the House would probably support the DREAM Act. But in the real world, the leadership will be worried about their own preservation, and conservatives will ensure the debate tacks to the right.
'... OF COURSE, there's a case to be made that the House will feel such intense political pressure that they'll have to put something on the floor that a huge chunk of the conference hates. Time will only tell. But we think that's unlikely.
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Tronc and Axios Are In Talks For a News Partnership - WSJ
Wed, 24 Jan 2018 05:22
Jan. 23, 2018 11:56 a.m. ET Newspaper owner Tronc Inc. TRNC -0.38% is in talks with the news startup Axios to syndicate its coverage in the Los Angeles Times, people familiar with the discussions say.
The potential partnership, which has not been finalized, would involve Axios supplying political stories'--one of its areas of expertise'--but might also extend to other topics, the people said.
So far, talks have focused on publishing coverage in the Los Angeles Times, but the deal could expand to include other Tronc properties, which include papers such as the Baltimore Sun and Chicago Tribune, the people said.
It's unclear what such a partnership would mean for Tronc's own political coverage and its Washington, D.C. bureau, a corps of about 16 journalists that service the company's portfolio of newspapers across the United States. In the past, executives at Tronc have floated proposals for cutting costs by reducing staffing at the D.C. bureau or eliminating it, but were met with resistance from senior editors at the Los Angeles Times, according to people familiar with the matter.
For Axios, the partnership would provide more visibility in Hollywood. Axios is said to be interested in raising its profile in Los Angeles and recently secured investment from WndrCo, a media and technology firm co-founded by producer Jeffrey Katzenberg.
The financial terms of the potential arrangement aren't clear. It might provide a new revenue stream for Axios, which has thus far supported itself through advertising.
The tie-up with Axios would come amid heightened interest in political news over the past year-and-a-half. Axios launched about a year ago in the early days of the Trump administration and has emerged as a source of insider news on Washington happenings.
One of the proponents of an Axios partnership, Los Angeles Times Chief Executive Ross Levinsohn, took a leave of absence last week after NPR reported that Mr. Levinsohn was a defendant in two sexual-harassment lawsuits that had been settled. The report also said that Mr. Levinsohn was accused of making disparaging remarks about women and gay people at previous jobs. Tronc is investigating the matter.
Such a partnership would fall in line with public statements by Tronc executives about the direction of the company. At a conference last week, Mr. Levinsohn outlined a plan that called for Tronc to forge alliances with distribution partners and platforms in various markets.
Microsoft Resumes Bitcoin Payments After Halt Over Uncertainty | Coinnewsline
Wed, 24 Jan 2018 05:10
Microsoft has once more began receiving bitcoin payments from its customers on their online store.
News coming from Bleeping Computer claims that the Tech giant temporarily suspended bitcoin transactions last week, with the company sources citing the ''unstable'' state of the coin caused mostly by its current high volatility and fees, the tech news source added.
An unnamed spokeswoman from Microsoft has now confirmed that bitcoin payments feature is now back online.
She affirmed by saying:
''We've revived bitcoin as a payment option in our store after meeting with our provider to ensure that lower bitcoin amounts can be redeemable by customers.''
Also, online gaming platform Steam withdrew its bitcoin payments feature in early December, quoting chronic problems with the bitcoin's high transaction fees and volatile price.
Just a month ago, bitcoin's price had soared to All-Time Highs of about $20,000. Prices have fluctuated since then following a general move downwards.
Microsoft first added bitcoin payment feature for digital products in 2014, enabling U.S. customers to use the digital currency to purchase apps, games, and videos from its Windows Phone and Xbox platforms.
Google Suspends Publisher Fact-Checking After Accusations Of Discrimination | Zero Hedge
Tue, 23 Jan 2018 20:53
Google is following in Facebook's footsteps and abandoning a search feature that displayed fact checks for publishers after a malfunction prompted conservative media outlets to accuse Google of discrimination.
Facebook ditched its "Fake News" flag last month after it discovered that flagged stories actually saw a boost in readership. Last week, CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed that Facebook would try out a new system: It would rank news organizations by trustworthiness, using data gleaned from user surveys.
The feature in question is Google's "Reviewed Claims" feature, which was launched last year.
A Google spokesperson said the company was withdrawing the service because "it's clear that we are unable to deliver the quality we'd like for users."
"We launched the reviewed claims feature in our Knowledge Panel at the end of last year as an experiment with the aim of helping people quickly learn more about news publications," a Google spokesperson said in an emailed statement to Poynter.
"We said previously that we encountered challenges in our systems that maps fact checks to publishers, and on further examination it's clear that we are unable to deliver the quality we'd like for users."
Google launched the Knowledge Panel feature in November on mobile and desktop in an effort to display information about specific publishers in search, according to Poynter. Part of that feature included a Reviewed Claims column that matched outlets' disputed claims with fact checks contributed by independent fact-checking organizations to the Schema.org ClaimReview markup.
However, that feature came under fire last week when The Daily Caller published a story blasting Google for wrongly appending a Washington Post fact check to one of its stories about Robert Mueller's investigation team.
Ironically, it was the fact check that was incorrect.
Google told Poynter on Friday that the decision to suspend Reviewed Claims resulted in part because of The Daily Caller's complaint, as well as feedback from other users.
Going forward, Google's spokesperson said that the feature won't be scrapped: Instead, Google's engineers will keep working to improve it until it's ready to be reintroduced.
Page and Strzok Referenced 'Secret Society' that Met Day After Election
Tue, 23 Jan 2018 19:46
There is serious talk on Capitol Hill about the appointment of a second special counsel amid several new bombshell revelations swirling around the Trump/Russia probe. First, there are the allegations of shocking and substantial government surveillance abuses under President Obama outlined in the FISA abuse memo. Secondly, the FBI lost five months of key text messages between the anti-Trump/pro-Clinton FBI officials Peter Strzok and his mistress Lisa Page. And now there's talk of a "secret society" of officials within the FBI that apparently met the day after the election of Donald J. Trump to plot against the president-elect.
Top Republicans now believe there may be real grounds for a second special counsel, Fox News reported Monday evening.
Reps. Devin Nunes (R-CA), Trey Gowdy (R-SC), and Bob Goodlatte (R- VA) met on Saturday to discuss the FISA memo and the text messages. On Monday, the trio put out the following statement:
According to Fox News, Nunes, Gowdy and Goodlatte are in the process of going through the steps necessary to release the four-page FISA memo and intend to see it released to the public by early February.
No, We Won't Calm Down '' Tone Policing Is Just Another Way to Protect Privilege - Everyday Feminism
Tue, 23 Jan 2018 19:14
Title No, We Won't Calm Down '' Tone Policing Is Just Another Way to Protect Privilege, by Robot Hugs
Panel 1 (Two women are having a conversation. One of them is angry.)
Woman 1: (Angry) Over 1200 Aboriginal women have been murdered or disappeared over the last 30 years '' we're five times more likely to be murdered than white women! Our bullshit government doesn't even pretend like it gives a damn
Panel 2 (Other woman from Panel 1 is talking to the angry woman.)
Woman 2: You know, I totally agree that this is a very serious problem'... but all this anger you're displaying is really distracting from the issue, don't you think?
Panel 3 (Robot Hugs is reading a book titled The Book of Jerk Moves)
Robot Hugs (RH): Let's see'...mhm'...mhm'...Yup! This is a textbook case of'...
Panel 4 (''Tone Policing'' in large blue letters.)
Text: Tone Policing
Panel 5 (Robot Hugs is talking to the reader.)
Text: What is tone policing?
RH: Tone policing is a silencing tactic. That means it's part of a set of tools used by people holding privilege to prevent marginalized individuals or groups from sharing their experiences of oppression.
Panel 6 (A man talking to the reader.)
Text: Tone policing works by derailing a discussion by critiquing the emotionality of the message rather than the message itself.
Man 1: It's hard to take feminists seriously when they're so angry all the time!
Panel 7 (Four people talking to the reader.)
Text: At its core, tone policing suggest that people distance themselves from their own emotions of anger, frustration, or fear in order to be heard.
Person 1: But my anger'...
Person 2: And my sadness'...
Person 3: And my frustration'...
Person 4: And my fear'...
All four speakers: '... are central to the issue being discussed!
Panel 8 (Three people talking to the reader.)
Text: A key part of tone policing is that it allows privileged people to define the terms of a conversation about oppression in order for that discussion to continue.
Man 2: I feel like you're not willing to have a civil discussion with me.
Man 3: There's no way this can be discussed productively until you calm down.
Woman 3: I know that trans folk are more likely to experience violence, but you're kind of letting fear overtake reason at this point, don't you think?
Panel 9 (The word ''reason'' is printed in a gray rectangular box, and the word ''emotion'' is written in cursive in a pink abstract shape. A bidirectional arrow goes between, with the word ''or'' indicating that you can choose one or the other. An angry man is talking to Robot Hugs.)
Text: Generally, this hinges on the idea that emotion and reason cannot coexist '' that reasonable discussions cannot involve emotions.
Man 4: Reason verses emotion'... what a convenient manufactured binary. That makes me so mad!
RH: What a reasonable position to take!
Panel 10 (Three blocks of text. Two people are talking, illustrating the first piece of text; two other people are talking, illustrating the second piece of text; and an individual person is talking, illustrating the third piece of text.)
Text: Tone policing suggests'...1: That the only productive conversation is calm conversation.
Person 5: Why do you get to decide what constitutes ''productive?''
Person 6: Why do you get to decide what constitutes ''calm?''
Text: 2: That conversations are ''debates'' with two or more sides being presented calmly, equally, and neutrally'... but some topics don't have two equal sides, and some viewpoints don't have to be met neutrally.
Woman 4: But are trans women really women? Let's debate.
Man 5: Let's not.
Text: 3: That conversations must drive towards solutions, and that emotionality is a hindrance towards solution '...but discussions can also be for exploring the extent and limits of a topic or situation, for letting off steam, for finding community, and for feeling less alone.
Woman 5: I didn't know that everyone else was sick of this too'...I always thought it was just me! I feel so much better!
Panel 11 (Four people are talking to the reader, illustrating each of four cards. Image of pitch forks, boards with nails in them, and torches.)
Text: And tone policing is often paired with other silencing or manipulative tactics
Card: Tone policing plus gaslighting
Woman 6: It's really hard to continue this conversation given your out-of-proportion anger.
Card: Tone policing plus conditional support
Man 6: I'd be a lot more wiling to support your cause if it wasn't always a giant pitchfork mob.
Card: Tone policing plus paternalism
Person 7: Why don't you calm down so we can discuss this like adults?
Card: Reverse tone policing
Woman 7: It's so refreshing to meet an activist like you who isn't constantly manufacturing outrage.
Panel 12 (A woman is talking, frustrated.)
Text: And it's often a case of moving goal posts'...
Woman 8: No matter how I talk about an issue, someone's going to tell me to ''calm it down.''
Panel 13 (A woman and a man are having a conversation. The woman is angry. The man is tone policing.)
Woman 8:(visibly angry) A group of old, white, straight men have no goddam right telling me what I can and can't do with my own fucking uterus. My body, my choice, assholes!
Man 7: Whoa, whoa, calm down. You will catch more flies with honey, you know'...
Panel 14 (A woman and a man are having a conversation. The woman is frustrated. The man is still tone policing.)
Woman 8:(somewhat frustrated) It's really frustrating that people who will never get pregnant keep trying to control my body and my reproductive choices. Their laws are literally killing us.
Man 7: Wow, geez, you know, it's really difficult to take you seriously when you're so emotional.
Panel 15 (A robot, who was the woman in Panel 14, and a man are having a conversation. The man is actually still tone policing. A card asks ''Why does tone policing happen?'' Robot Hugs addresses the reader.)
Woman 8:(literally a robot) It's unacceptable that laws about abortion are largely out of our control and decided by people who will never experience pregnancy, but are willing to participate in unnecessary state control over marginalized bodies.
Man 7: You'd probably find people are more willing to support you if you came off as less rage filled, you know.
Text: Why does tone policing happen?
RH: It allows a person to regain control over a conversation that is going in a way that makes them uncomfortable, by framing the speaker as overly emotional and therefore unreasonable. Whether used intentionally or not, tone policing allows people who hold privilege to avoid the discomfort cause by being exposed to the very real emotional fallout of oppression and discrimination.
Panel 16 (A man and Robot Hugs are having a conversation.)
Man 8: Your sadness about rape culture makes me sad.
RH: So you'll help?
Man 8: Could you just not make me sad, instead?
Panel 17 (Robot Hugs is talking to the reader. A woman speaks to illustrate RH's words.)
RH: I get it, I really do. When I hear things like'...
Woman with crutches: 99% of the time, able-bodied people don't give a damn about us!
RH: '...it makes me feel uncomfortable or maybe defensive.
Panel 18 (Robot Hugs is talking to the reader.)
RH: But these conversations aren't meant to be comfortable. We're discussing real, dangerous, structural things that make lives worse for entire groups of people. If it makes you feel uncomfortable, the thing to do isn't to try to get us to talk about it differently '' the thing to do is to help us stop it from happening.
Panel 19 (A man is talking to the reader.)
Man 9: I want to be a good ally, but I find people's anger hard to manage sometimes. But it's legitimate anger, I understand that. If it gets too much for me, maybe it's time to stop out rather than attempt to redirect the course of conversation.
Panel 20 (A card that says ''So remember'' and seven people individually, and then as a group, talking to the reader, illustrating valid emotions. A card that says, ''It's your turn to listen now'' with ''listen'' in large blue letters for emphasis.)
Text: So remember'...
Person 8: My anger is genuine
Person 9: My frustration is valid.
Person 10: My fear is real.
Person 11: I'm not being shrill.
Person 12: I'm not being aggressive.
Person 13: I'm not hysterical.
Person 14: I'm not just whining.
Everyone together: Our emotions are valid. You don't get to dictate the terms of our activism. You don't get to dictate the ways we can talk about about our experiences.
Text: It's your turn to listen now.
Michigan Man Threatened to Gun Down CNN Employees | Hollywood Reporter
Tue, 23 Jan 2018 19:06
2:02 AM PST 1/23/2018 by Abid Rahman
A man from Michigan has been arrested after threatening to go on a killing spree at CNN's Atlanta headquarters.
According to federal court documents obtained by WGCL-TV, Brandon Griesemer, a 19-year-old from a suburb of Detroit, made 22 nuisance phone calls to CNN Center last week. The calls began with Griesemer berating the network as "fake news" and escalated to threats of mass murder.
WGCL-TV reports that Griesemer told a CNN operator he was "coming to gun you all down."
Griesemer also reportedly said in another call, "I'm smarter than you. More powerful than you. I have more guns than you. More manpower. Your cast is about to get gunned down in a matter of hours."
He continued, "I am coming to Georgia right now to go to the CNN headquarters to f---ing gun every single last one of you."
After the FBI was alerted, investigators were able to trace the caller and stop him from traveling to Atlanta to carry out his violent threats, WGCL-TV reports.
Late on Monday night, CNN released a statement addressing the reports. "We take any threats to CNN employees or workplaces around the world extremely seriously. This one is no exception. We have been in touch with local and federal law enforcement throughout and have taken all necessary measures to ensure the safety of our people."
Since he took office, President Donald Trump and his supporters have attacked the press, and CNN in particular, for what the administration deems "fake news." On numerous occasions over the last year, Trump has retweeted memes and gifs of himself attacking CNN physically in some way, including short clips of him "body slamming" the network.
On Tuesday, CNN chief Jeff Zucker wrote a memo to staff addressing the threat. His full memo is below:
As you may have seen in press reports overnight, there was a significant security threat that was aimed at our employees at the CNN Center in Atlanta earlier this month.
I want to make sure you all know that we were in close contact with local and federal law enforcement from the moment the threats were made, throughout the entire investigation, and up until the suspect was arrested last week. We continue to remain in contact with them about this matter.
I know the details of this will seem frightening to some of you, and I understand. I can tell you that, at no time, as these phone calls came in did the federal law enforcement officials feel that there was an immediate threat of danger to any of our employees. With that said, we still stepped up our security procedures in Atlanta and elsewhere, as a precautionary measure.
Sadly, this is part of the reality we live in, as members of the media. I want to assure you that at every level of this company, nothing is more important than your safety. While you know we don't talk publicly about security measures, let me assure you that we have addressed this situation.
I have a regularly scheduled broadcast town hall on Thursday at 1pm ET. I've asked Jeff Gilbert, who heads up Turner Security, to join me to update all of us, with as much detail as he reasonably can, on security at CNN. Please join me then, and send me your questions in advance or during the town hall.
Jan 23, 8:20 am PST Updated with memo from Jeff Zucker.
Very ideological Congress members share more news on Facebook | Pew Research Center
Tue, 23 Jan 2018 19:04
The most ideological members of Congress shared news stories on their Facebook pages more than twice as often as moderate legislators between Jan. 2, 2015, and July 20, 2017, according to a new Pew Research Center study that examined all official Facebook posts created by members of Congress in this period.
The analysis included links to national news websites that members of Congress linked to at least 25 times overall in the time studied.
Members of Congress with very conservative or very liberal voting records shared news links in about 14% of all their posts. But members with more moderate ideology scores shared links to news stories in just 6% of their posts. (Ideology measures are derived from an analysis of congressional roll call votes compiled by Voteview.com. Moderate members were defined as those with scores in the middle 20% of Voteview's DW-NOMINATE measure, while very liberal or conservative members had scores in the 10% most liberal and 10% most conservative ends of the measure.)
Some of the outlets included in the study were linked to exclusively by Democrats or by Republicans in Congress. The most conservative Republicans shared news from these outlets almost 10 times as much as the most moderate Republicans. Among the most conservative Republicans, 11% of news links went to outlets exclusively shared by other Republicans. But among the most moderate Republicans, only 1% of news links that members shared on Facebook were to such outlets.
There was little difference among Democrats in the rate of sharing news from outlets linked to exclusively by Democrats across the ideological spectrum.
Overall, 5% of the news links that members of Congress shared on Facebook went to outlets linked to exclusively by Democrats or by Republicans. Among Democrats, these outlets included The Nation, Mic.com, The Root and New Republic. Among Republicans, these outlets included Breitbart, The Daily Signal, The Blaze, CNS News, Conservative Review, The Federalist and several other sites.
There was a large partisan gap in how often legislators shared stories from outlets linked to by members of just one party. Of all national news links that Republicans in Congress posted on Facebook, 8% went to outlets cited only by other Republicans. Among Democrats, the equivalent number was just 1%.
Compared with the full period studied, this partisan gap was slightly narrower once President Donald Trump took office: From Jan. 20 to July 20, 2017, 6% of Republicans' links went to outlets exclusively shared by other Republicans. Among Democrats, the percentage of links that went to outlets shared exclusively by other Democrats was 1%, for a difference of 5 percentage points.
Note: Full methodology can be found here.
Topics: Congress, Social Media, Political Polarization
New German swimming pool will have a separated area for Muslim women
Tue, 23 Jan 2018 18:22
The new swimming pool in the German city of Bonn, will be equipped with a curtain to create a separate area for Muslim women.
Earlier the city already introduced gender-segregated swimming hours, during which only women were allowed. Especially Muslim women were given the opportunity to swim and bath unobserved by men.
But now the city has gone a step further with a completely separated basin with a huge curtain that blocks view. Some German media say the city and its swimming pool are now ''Shariah ready''.
Local politician Werner H¼mmrich (FDP) says: ''We do not want to exclude a group from using the pool and therefore we meet certain social demands. The swimming pool will be specially designed so that gender-segregated swimming can be offered.'' According to H¼mmrich, that was a ''political requirement''.
Head of the local CDU fraction Wolfgang Maiwaldt says: ''Our new swimming pool should and will be a swimming pool for all.''
After Angela Merkel invited at least one million migrants to Germany several new problems at swimming pools emerged as well. Apart from Muslim women demanding separate swimming areas, male Muslim migrants sexually assaulted several German girls. Even special leaflets were handed out to teach them how to behave properly.
Drill Synonyms, Drill Antonyms | Merriam-Webster Thesaurus
Tue, 23 Jan 2018 17:32
Thesaurus Synonyms and Antonyms of drill
1an established and often automatic or monotonous series of actions followed when engaging in some activity shuttling the kids between extracurricular activities is all part of the suburban drillSynonyms of drillroutine, grind, groove, lockstep, pattern, rote, rut, treadmill Words Related to drilldaily dozen, regimen; housekeeping; custom, fashion, habit, practice (also practise), trick, wont; approach, manner, method, procedure, strategy, style, tack, technique, way; design, plan, program, scheme; convention, policy, tradition
2something done over and over in order to develop skill doing vocabulary drills all afternoon in preparation for the testSynonyms of drillexercise, practice (also practise), routine, training, workout Words Related to drillassignment, homework, lesson; brushup, refresher, review
Synonyms and Antonyms of drill
1to make a hole or series of holes in the nerve-jangling sound when a dentist drills a toothSynonyms of 1drillbore, drill, hole, pierce, punch, puncture, riddle Words Related to 1drillbroach, tap; poke, prick, prickle; penetrate; burrow (into), excavate, gouge, groove, hollow; break, cut, gash, notch, rend, rupture, slash, slit, split Near Antonyms of 1drillfill, patch, plug, seal
2to strike with a missile from a gun drilled the target from 100 yards awaySynonyms of 1drilldrill, gun, plug, pop Words Related to 1drillblow away, bring down, drop, pick off, shoot down; blaze, pepper, potshot, snipe (at); blast (at), fire (at); pistol, shotgun; machine-gun, tommy-gun; croak [slang], destroy, dispatch, do in, fell, ice [slang], kill, slay; annihilate, blot out, butcher, decimate, massacre, slaughter, wipe out
Synonyms and Antonyms of drill
to put or set into the ground to grow he drills soybeans in the same rows with cornSynonyms of 2drilldrill, put in, seed, sow Words Related to 2drillbed; replant, transplant; broadcast, scatter; pot; overseed, reseed Near Antonyms of 2drillgather, harvest, reap
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Meet the Air Force Officers or 'Missileers' in Control of US Nuclear Missiles
Tue, 23 Jan 2018 17:18
The capsule is the size of a shipping container. At one end is a single bunk sectioned off by a red blackout curtain. At the other is a stall with a toilet and sink, like an airplane bathroom. The air feels that way, too: recycled and somewhat stale.
When you're inside these walls, you're 60- to 80-feet below ground, down a groaning freight elevator and through two blast doors, the second of which weighs eight tons and can only be opened from the inside. You've crossed from a dank antechamber over a small walkway into a completely isolated space, suspended within the Earth's crust so it can survive a near-miss blast.
It's from this capsule (and dozens of others exactly like it, spread across the Western United States) that the Air Force's Nuclear and Missile Operations Officers, more casually known as "missileers," monitor and control our country's collection of 450 nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). The officers who do this job work rotating 24-hour shifts, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
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The missileers' mission: Ensure that our nuclear weapons are ready to launch on command'--a gentle reminder to our adversaries that it would be, to put it mildly, a really bad idea to attack us.
At any given moment, 90 missileers are sitting on alert, or "pulling crew," as it's known in Air Force parlance. Though women are notoriously underrepresented in the U.S. Military, the Air Force is better at gender equality than the other branches'--there's a disproportionally high number of women in this role. By March 2016, the Air Force had enough of them to schedule an all-female alert.
It requires a lot of discipline, Captain Marian Dinkha (left) says of the job.Tyler Joe
The missileers' mission: Ensure that the world's most consequential weapons are infallible and ready to launch on command'--a not-so-gentle reminder to our adversaries that it would be, to put it mildly, a really bad idea to attack the United States.
Air Force troops have been doing this job for generations'--since 1970, without interruption'--and yet the average American probably thought very little about our nuclear weapons, let alone who controls them, from 1991 until approximately January 20th of this year. (Or perhaps November 9th, 2016.) But the topic of nuclear war leapt much further forward in our collective conscious when, in July, North Korea conducted two tests of its own intercontinental ballistic missile system: one on July 4th (no coincidence there, certainly) and a second three weeks later, which experts say had the potential to reach California. Over Labor Day weekend, the hermit kingdom's state-run media released a photo of Kim Jung-un inspecting what appears to be a nuclear device.
For his part, President Donald Trump said that North Korea's continued threats would be "met with fire and fury, and, frankly, power the likes of which this world has never seen before." The next day, Pyongyang announced plans to volley missiles towards the nearby U.S. territory of Guam.
Should either world leader decide to end this troubling game of chicken with an attack, the missileers will receive the call they train for their entire career. "We defend the United States with combat-ready nuclear forces, and, on order, we'll conduct global strike," says Colonel Cathy Barrington, operations group commander of the 91st Missile Wing at Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota. Barrington took over just three months ago, but began as a missileer herself in 1998. The protocol hasn't changed since then: Copy. Decode. Validate. Authenticate.
"You always have it in the back of your mind that maybe tomorrow is the day."
To do so, both missileers'--they always work in teams of two, the capsule they occupy emblazoned with the words "no-lone zone"'--would open a safe located between their workstations. It's secured with two padlocks, one fastened on by each missileer at the beginning of the shift, the combinations known only to the owner. Inside is a code that the incoming encrypted message must match. But there's an A-side and a B-side and neither missileer knows both; they must be put together like opposite sides of an equation. It's all part of Two-Person Control'--a system that ensures a rogue missileer can't start World War III on her own.
"It is a very precise method," Barrington explains. "It's not haphazard. It is exacting. Missileers have to know all kinds of rules. They have to know it cold."
A group of the female missileers at Minot Air Force base before going out on an all-woman alert.Courtesy of the Air Force
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Once the officers determine that they've received a valid order, each member of the pair would have to enter an "enable" code simultaneously. They would then "vote" to launch by turning their launch keys (also stored in the safe) in unison. At least one other capsule in their squadron of five would have to do the exact same thing. Then, as many as 50 ICBMs would blast off into the sky.
Waiting for that call today are Captain Amber Moore and Captain Marian Dinkha. Both are in their late-20s (Moore is 28; Dinkha, 27) and both are from the Midwest (Oklahoma and Illinois, respectively). Neither wanted to be a missileer. Moore was hoping to go to medical school, and Dinkha, whose mother is South Korean and whose father is Iraqi, and who herself speaks English, Japanese, and Aramaic, wanted to be a foreign area officer. Around the time they both commissioned, however, the military was going through a reduction in force, and both women were lucky to be able to move forward with their careers in the Air Force at all.
The Pentagon regularly sends test messages to make sure that, when The Call does come through, the crew can recognize what is a correct order and what is not.Tyler Joe
"When I got assigned to missiles, my commander was shocked. I was shocked. I cried a little bit," says Dinkha. "I thought, I studied math and linguistics'--what am I going to do with missiles? But then you have to kick your ass into gear." Dinkha recalls how she would listen to her dad, who immigrated when he was 16 and enlisted in the U.S. army, talk about the traveling he did in the military. Missileers, however, are relegated to just three bases out west. "Once you get into higher positions, you can start doing the squirrely stuff'--that's what they call it'--get assigned to Hawaii maybe, or Europe. I'll still have the opportunity to travel, I'll just be older. Hopefully I'll still be sparkly enough to enjoy it."
Newbie missileers are assigned to eight shifts a month. There are no weekends. There are no holidays. It's easy to see why it's not the most desirable assignment.
"When I got assigned to missiles, I was shocked. I cried a little bit."
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It is, on the other hand, one of the most honorable: "As an American taxpayer, who do you want out there taking care of our nuclear weapons?" asks Barrington. "You want highly capable people who have the highest level of integrity."
Perhaps it's the tight quarters and the 24-hour shifts, but both women mention the sense of community as something they' ve come to love about being a missileer. "There's a lot of time to mentor one-on-one, to provide that leadership," Moore says, adding that "not everyone makes it through the training. It's a rigorous course: learning the weapons system itself, the history, all the codes, the emergency war orders. You go through a number of screenings, a number of background checks."
Captain Amber Moore adjusts one of the capsule's myriad communications systems, all of which'--with their floppy disks and landlines'--are from another era.Tyler Joe
The strict elimination process is part of something known as the Personnel Reliability Program (PRP). Encompassing security, medical, and psychological evaluations, PRP is described by Barrington as a way to "ensure that we have the most trustworthy people on alert, and that they can focus on the task at hand."
"You are constantly assessing yourself. If someone dies in the family, or there's a breakup'...for some people if their dog dies, that's a PRP down," Dinkha explains of PRP's continued function even after you've gotten the job. "It's up to you to say, 'I cannot pull alert because I am mentally or emotionally unstable right now.' I'm a very private person, so that was definitely a hump for me to get over."
PRP isn't just about telling your commander that you need to take a mental health day. There's a laundry list of restrictions that come with it: Within eight to 12 hours of your shift, you can't drink alcohol or even take a Sudafed'--anything that might impair you. You have to fill out a "danger form" if you're planning to go paragliding or shark-diving while on leave. You can't be on PRP if you've been hypnotized even once in your life.
According to a DOD directive, "Only those personnel who have demonstrated the highest degree of individual reliability for allegiance, trustworthiness, conduct, behavior, and responsibility shall be allowed to perform duties associated with nuclear weapons, and they shall be continuously evaluated for adherence to PRP standards." It's all very sensical and comforting until you remember that the order to launch a nuclear missile can only come from the President of the United States, a man who should ostensibly be held to PRP standards...but seemingly is not.
Former director of national intelligence James Clapper recently said that he worries about Trump's access to the nuclear-launch codes.
Regarding allegiance, a special counsel is currently investigating potential collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government to influence the 2016 election. Regarding trustworthiness, Trump made a demonstrably false statement at least once a day for his first 40 days in office (a running tally of all his lies since the inauguration can be found on the New York Times' website). Regarding conduct, behavior, and responsibility, we'll let his Twitter feed speak for itself. Former director of national intelligence James Clapper even recently said that he worries about Trump's access to the nuclear-launch codes: "There's very little in the way of controls over exercising a nuclear option, which is pretty damn scary."
The missile facilities, which take up 12% of North Dakota, are surrounded by farm land.Tyler Joe
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When asked about the current president's temperament, the missileers are predictably tight-lipped. Colonel Barrington does offer this bit of peace of mind, perhaps surprisingly by way of the 2013 thriller White House Down starring Channing Tatum and Jamie Foxx: "That idea's not at all accurate. You have a president who opens up his box and he's [she mimes someone typing] sending out the messages, he's launched'...that's not how it works at all."
Older missileers thought for sure during the Cold War that they would get the order to launch, but it never came," says Dinkha. And she's right: America hasn't used a nuke since 1945. So what exactly goes on down in those capsules?
"Our mission every day is to provide deterrence," offers Moore. "Every day we try to make our enemies ask themselves the question, Does the benefit of attacking the U.S. outweigh the cost? Because they know that we're always prepared to fire back." Readiness is imperative. A missileer's day-to-day is a lot of maintenance, a lot of making sure each ICBM is in tip-top shape, able to sail over the arctic circle instantaneously.
Their technical orders are an approximately 1,000-page manual that they have to become proficient in by the end of their six-month training.Tyler Joe
Barrington likens our missiles to a car in idle mode. But the analogy actually goes a bit further: It's like the U.S. government left a car in a lot (okay, an underground lot) with the keys in the ignition and the engine running...and these officers are trying to keep tabs on it remotely'...and, actually, they're dealing with quite a few cars.
Each missile is three nautical miles from a capsule, and each team of two missileers is responsible for 10. The missiles are also buried below ground, surrounded by fields of sunflowers and flax'--by cattle farms, oil rigs, and wind turbines. Fifteen-hundred miles of cabling connects the missileers to their missiles, though they can also communicate with the machines via satellite or low-frequency waves'--myriad redundancies are in place in case of emergency or catastrophe or, hell, just a North Dakotan winter storm. Constantly these troopers ping their weapons, gathering status updates: Are they overheating? Too cold? Low on fuel? Did the power go out? Is there a security breach near the missile silo? When an issue arises, they fix it immediately or dispatch another airman to do so.
"Missileers have to know all kinds of rules. They have to know it cold."
"There are definitely those shifts that make up for all the quiet ones you've ever had," laments Dinkha. "Where you just stay up for 30 hours because everything that could go wrong does go wrong." (Both women say the longest they've pulled crew is 48 hours, though they know missileers who have worked a 72. Sometimes the snow is just too heavy and the roads too treacherous to get another crew out to the capsule.)
As a new missileer you're scheduled with the same partner every alert, and you 'form a very strong bond with them,' says Moore (right).Tyler Joe
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They're doing all of this, by the way, on a computer that looks like it should be part of a history exhibit at the National Air and Space Museum. Aside from a few "programs to refurbish and rebuild," the equipment is the same as it was in the 1970s'--the missileers code their commands using 0s and 1s. At first it seems like another example of the government being behind the times, but then you remember Sony and the DNC and you realize, Maybe updating the systems would actually be more dangerous than doing things the old-fashioned way. "You can't just stick laptops down there and say, 'Now you are going to get messages via email,'" Barrington says.
"I know I won't be away for six months or a year. You know you'll be gone for 24-hour periods, but then you get to come back home."
Being cut off from modern tech can make slow days in the capsule feel even slower. "At first you're both awake and you're going over your inspections, and it gives you time to get to know that person, because you may not really ever talk to that person and then you are expected to go hang out in close quarters for 24 hours," says Moore, adding that later they break the day into shifts. Whoever's on the night shift naps early, then takes the console around 10 p.m. while the other sleeps until about 5:30 in the morning. That's a lot of time to fill and'--thanks to the moratorium on wifi-capable electronics'--you can't exactly spend it scrolling Instagram.
"I got my master's in education done while I was down there," Moore says. "Once I retire from the Air Force, I plan to teach 5th or 6th grade science." She used to bring art supplies down and paint (watercolors only'--you don't want to be that person using oils in a confined space). Ditto for riding the exercise bike that's stashed in a corner, especially since there isn't a shower. "I do a lot of push-ups and sit-ups," she adds, noting that "they're not gonna get you extremely sweaty if you do them in small doses."
Clockwise from left: MAF support staff play ping pong in their off time; A cook is on staff to prepare meals; The MAF is heavily guarded by security forces who work three-day shifts.Tyler Joe
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She taught herself to crochet during quiet alerts, as well, and is currently working on a camo-patterned blanket for her husband, who is in the Army reserves. They have a baby boy, Jacob, who's six months old. The job is a bit different now that she's a mom: "Sometimes during the night, I'm like, 'Ah, I wish I was home cuddling my baby instead of sitting here,'" Moore says. But from the perspective of a parent, the role has at least one major perk: Missileers are not deployable. "It's comforting. I know I won't be away for six months or a year. You know you'll be gone for 24-hour periods, but then you get to come back home."
When hunger strikes, missileers can order food from a cook stationed at the missile alert facility (MAF) directly above them. But the menu is mostly sports-bar fare, and many airmen choose to pack their own meals instead. Dinkha says she's trying to eat better, but "it's a struggle." There's a joke among the missileers about gaining the "Minot 15." There is also a joke that, because many officers tote sleeping bags and pajamas with them, their enemies will suffer "death by bunny slippers."
Death'--inflicting it, anyway'--isn't something the missileers seem to think about much. Neither woman has a moral objection to using nuclear weapons (if she did, she'd have been assigned to a different career field). During their training at Vandenberg Air Force Base near Santa Barbara, California, all potential missileers are grilled about their capacity to "key-turn on command." "If it were to happen, we would do it because that's what expected of us," says Dinkha. "I don't really see a difference between boots on the ground, guy with a gun in his hand, expected to shoot someone if the need arises, and me with my ICBM."
Moore, here with her six-month-old son Jacob, boards horses on-base and rides in her off-duty time.Tyler Joe
The difference, of course, is the scope of damage that could be levied. According to Barrington, each ICBM is 60 feet tall, weighs 79,000 pounds, and has a range of 8,000 miles. The missiles travel at 15,000 miles per hour'--seven times faster than a speeding bullet. That means if you were to fly on one from New York to L.A., you'd get there in under 10 minutes. And, perhaps most importantly, each can be outfitted with a nuclear warhead. (The official Air Force line is that the missiles are "nuclear-capable," hence the "can be," but with readiness and rapidity as their objective it seems safe to assume that the missiles' rocket-like bodies are mated to nukes.) The bombs dropped over Japan during World War II released roughly the same amount of energy as 20,000 tons of TNT and killed more than 100,000 people in the process. Today's weapons are far more powerful.
"I don't really see a difference between boots on the ground, guy with a gun in his hand, and me with my ICBM."
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But the missileers are more defense than offense, Moore and Dinkha insist. Their mere presence keeps enemies at bay. "It's almost a silent peace," says Dinkha. "The reason we haven't had any attacks by weapons of mass destruction is because of the deterrence we provide. I think it would just be different if we didn't have them."
Even the recent heightened tensions between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un don't rattle them. "You always have it in the back of your mind that maybe tomorrow is the day," says Moore. "But North Korea testing more missiles doesn't really affect how I do my job."
From left: Dinkha opens the eight-ton blast door that seals off the capsule; The REACT console, the missileers' computer system, is largely the same as it was in 1970.Tyler Joe
"We watch the news. I think it gives an added motivation and it helps underline, yup, this is why my job is still relevant," says Barrington. Because the Soviet Union, the Cold War'--that all ended decades ago. And pilots are what people envision when they think of the Air Force. Fighter jets. Aviator sunglasses. Not two women quietly toiling away in an unglamorous underground bunker. "It's okay that nobody thinks about us on a regular basis'--it means what we're doing is working," she says. "Let everybody else get the glory."
With any luck, that's exactly how it stays.
Rupert Murdoch: Facebook should pay for news - BBC News
Tue, 23 Jan 2018 15:32
Image copyright AFP/Getty Media mogul Rupert Murdoch said Facebook should pay fees to publishers if it is committed to supporting accurate news.
His statement comes as pressure mounts on the social network to quell the spread of misinformation.
Facebook last week said it would survey its users and prioritise news sources they deemed "trustworthy".
Mr Murdoch, who controls titles including The Times and the Sun, said the proposals were "inadequate".
He said social media firms should pay publishers a fee in the same way that cable network operators pay for the channels they offer.
"The publishers are obviously enhancing the value and integrity of Facebook through their news and content, but are not being adequately rewarded for those services," Mr Murdoch said.
"Carriage payments would have a minor impact on Facebook's profits, but a major impact on the prospects for publishers and journalists."
Neither had he seen a subscription model that "truly recognises the investment in and the social value of professional journalism", added Mr Murdoch, who also controls the Fox News cable channel in the US.
Facebook to use surveys to boost 'trustworthy' news
Facebook plans major changes to news feed
Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Mark Zuckerberg is Facebook's chief executive Google and Facebook take the lion's share of new advertising revenue - a shift that has hurt the newspapers, which produce most original news.
Mr Murdoch is executive chairman of News Corp, which also owns the Wall Street Journal and a stable of newspapers in Australia and elswehere.
The company's revenue has declined in recent years and it reported a loss for the 2017 financial year.
His comments come as Facebook admitted that social media posed a potential threat to democracy and pledged to tackle the problem head-on.
Its civic engagement chief, Samidh Chakrabarti, said in a blog post: "In 2016, we at Facebook were far too slow to recognise how bad actors were abusing our platform. We're working diligently to neutralise these risks now."
He also elaborated on the decision to let Facebook's users rank the "trustworthiness" of news sources: "We don't want to be the arbiters of truth, nor do we imagine this is a role the world would want for us."
While acknowledging concerns over the rise of "echo chambers", Mr Chakrabarti argued that the "best deterrent will ultimately be a discerning public".
Facebook and Google did not offer a response to Mr Murdoch's comments.
The more Facebook examines itself, the more fault it finds - The Verge
Tue, 23 Jan 2018 15:31
In October, I started writing a daily newsletter about Facebook and democracy. Fallout from the 2016 election had resulted in a daily deluge of journalism about the unforeseen consequences that Facebook and other social networks were having. By organizing those stories into one place, I hoped to chronicle a cultural reckoning and help give it some shape. I entered into it without a strong sense of how social networks should respond to the unfolding crises around the world. I simply wanted to understand: how is social media reshaping our world?
Today, we learned that Facebook itself has been grappling with this question. In a remarkable set of blog posts from a company that is publishing evermore of them, the company owned up to some of the ways that Facebook can negatively effect democracy. ''We're as determined as ever to fight the negative influences and ensure that our platform is unquestionably a source for democratic good,'' wrote Katie Harbath, Facebook's global politics and government outreach director. ''Our role is to ensure that the good outweighs the forces that can compromise healthy discourse.''
Samidh Chakrabarti, a product manager who works on civic engagement, outlined some of those forces in a separate post. So here's what we now think we know about Facebook and democracy '-- or, at least, what Facebook no longer disputes:
''We have a moral duty to understand how these technologies are being used.''
Facebook's targeting tools are easily abused by bad actors, including foreign governments. Russia's use of these tools in the 2016 US presidential election was of course instrumental in kicking off this entire discussion. (Some of it is still online!)Sophisticated misinformation campaigns will defeat Facebook's best efforts to defeat them, at least some of the time. In one case, a single firm in Poland created 40,000 fake accounts to be deployed for propaganda purposes.Filter bubbles are real, and difficult to burst. Pew says that political polarization in the United States began more than 20 years ago. But Facebook's design can accelerate that polarization.Governments are using Facebook to target and harass their own citizens, sometimes resulting in real-world violence. In Cambodia, authorities have arrested opposition party leaders based on false stories '-- and also arrested citizens who spoke out against Prime Minister Hun Sen.Social media can distort policymakers' view of public opinion, in part because minority viewpoints are underrepresented. Women are underrepresented in political discussion on Facebook, for example.Whether social media is a net benefit to democracy is, at best, an open question. ''I wish I could guarantee that the positives are destined to outweigh the negatives, but I can't,'' Chakrabarti writes. ''That's why we have a moral duty to understand how these technologies are being used and what can be done to make communities like Facebook as representative, civil, and trustworthy as possible.''
There is little precedent for a technology company to call itself out publicly in this way, on its own corporate blog. Today's series of essays on democracy '--which will continue over the coming days and weeks, the company said '-- comes on the heels of two other significant announcements, on subsequent Fridays, about changes to the News Feed that will reduce the amount of news in it while promoting more trustworthy journalism. And less than two months after a post about how browsing Facebook could be bad for your self-esteem.
There is little precedent for a technology company to call itself out publicly in this way
What to make of this? Certainly there is ammunition here for anyone considering the idea of spending less time on Facebook and its apps. It could also be a gift to governments, democratic and otherwise, who would use the information here to subject Facebook to new regulations. That Facebook would invite '-- and publish '-- this level of criticism speaks to how high the stakes are for its business. Of the big four tech companies, Facebook is arguably the easiest to quit using. The company is more sensitive to pressure in part because it has to be.
Of course, Facebook highlights the company's positive contributions to democracy. It does expose some people to journalism who might not otherwise see it, and encourages them to discuss it. It registers voters and created a tool to let Americans explore their local ballots.
But compared to the negative effects that Facebook now admits to, these contributions can look small. Meanwhile, in a near-weekly series of blog posts, Facebook builds the case against itself. Most people will continue using it as normal. But increasingly, they have reason to wonder: should we?
Partij Sylvana Simons valt uiteen: ook ex-dakloze stapt op | Binnenland | Telegraaf.nl
Tue, 23 Jan 2018 13:37
Dit keer gaat het om Naomi Doevendans, die op haar Facebookpagina aangeeft zich terug te trekken uit de lijst van Bij1. De ex-dakloze wil niet aangeven wat de reden is van haar vertrek bij de nieuwe partij, die afgelopen maand fikse partijcrises meemaakte.
In januari stapten ook zelfbenoemd oud-psychiater Cailin Kuit en buschauffeur Bob Schoute op. De eerste kwam in opspraak toen bleek dat zij loog over haar werk als 'psychiater', terwijl ze nooit ingeschreven heeft gestaan in het artsenregister. De artsenfederatie KNMG dreigde daarop met aangifte en wilde opheldering van Sylvana Simons. Schoute stopte om persoonlijke redenen.
Pikante foto'sLater waren er twijfels over kandidaat Ana Paula Lima, van wie zeer pikante foto's op prostitutiewebsite Kinky.nl verschenen. Zij verklaarde dat het om een vals profiel ging. Op een site voor prostitueebezoekers zijn echter klantrecensies te vinden van recente datum. Bezoekers verbazen zich over het feit dat het profiel opeens is verdwenen van de site. Een van de tevreden klanten stelde vast dat de profielfoto's kloppen met wat hij in werkelijkheid aantrof.
De nu opgestapte Doevendans gaf eerder nog aan middels 'privilegetrainingen' mensen te willen laten verenigen. ''Voorheen was de politieke wereld niet aan mij besteed, daar zij een inclusief plan van aanpak miste. Ook de normalisering van discriminatie, de propaganda en de onwetendheid hielden mij op een zekere afstand.''
'Campagnemanager' Chihiro Geuzenbroek van Bij1 is onbereikbaar voor commentaar.
Bij1 doet mee aan de gemeenteraadsverkiezingen in Amsterdam op 21 maart.
Trump's Nuclear Posture Review seems to confirm Russian doomsday weapon - Business Insider
Tue, 23 Jan 2018 13:34
Russian President Putin watches a missile launch during naval exercises in 2005. REUTERS/ITAR-TASS/PRESIDENTIAL PRESS SERVICE
A leaked draft of President Donald Trump's nuclear posture review seems to confirm that Russia has been building an underwater nuclear doomsday machine.Reports of the torpedo sent a chill down the spines of experts, who say it could not only destroy a city but poison the area with radiation for years to come.Russia may have intentionally let on that it was working on the doomsday device to sow fear in the US and deter attacks.President Donald Trump's nuclear posture review, leaked to HuffPost this month, seems to show the US believes Russia is building a dangerous new undersea nuclear weapon that critics say could cause widespread death and damage.
"Russia is developing and deploying new nuclear warheads and launchers," the leaked review says, adding that these systems include "a new intercontinental, nuclear-armed, undersea autonomous torpedo."
Printouts of plans for such a nuclear torpedo had been spotted in state TV footage of a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and military chiefs in November 2015.
What is Russia's doomsday machine?A briefing slide of the alleged Status-6 nuclear torpedo captured from Russian TV. BBC
The footage showed plans for a submarine that could travel 6,200 miles at 100 knots underwater and detonate a megaton-class thermonuclear weapon to create "wide areas of radioactive contamination," according to a BBC translation of the photographed document.
The submarine was designed to "destroy important economic installations of the enemy in coastal areas and cause guaranteed devastating damage to the country's territory by creating wide areas of radioactive contamination, rendering them unusable for military, economic or other activity for a long time," the BBC reported.
Since then, many have disputed the notion that Russia would build such a system. But the leaked draft of Trump's nuclear posture review indicates the US government at its highest levels believes the torpedo, known as the "oceanic multi-purpose Status-6 system," is real.
Jeffrey Lewis, a leading academic on nuclear matters, quickly gave the Status-6 a catchier name: "Putin's doomsday machine."
Not only could the weapon obliterate the area with potentially 100 times the power of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945, but it could also leave behind long-lasting radioactive waste.
Lewis has described the weapon as "bat-s---" crazy and "absurd." He previously told Business Insider that the idea was "deeply, deeply, deeply immoral" and that the US never considers weapons like this for its nuclear arsenal.
For Russia, doomsday may be the pointvia U.S. Air Force
When the plans for the Status-6 leaked in 2015, the Brookings Institution characterized their appearance on camera as deliberate messaging rather than sloppy work.
Nuclear weapons have been used exactly twice in combat '-- both times by the US, and both times dropped by a propeller aircraft over largely unprotected Japanese airspace at the close of World War II. No fancy intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarines, or long-range bombers or cruise missiles have ever delivered a nuclear weapon fired in anger.
The real function of nuclear weapons today is political. Countries build them and bank on their deterrent effect, meaning they calculate that no one will attack a nuclear-armed nation.
For Russia, the Status-6 doomsday machine wouldn't make much sense unless everybody knew about it.
As Russia has become increasingly aggressive in its foreign policy while maintaining a weaker military than the US's and NATO's, it may have convinced itself it's time to show its doomsday weapons.
Leaked Pentagon Doc Stokes Fears Russia Building 'Doomsday Torpedo' CBS Chicago
Tue, 23 Jan 2018 13:33
CBS Local '-- The Russian government is reportedly developing a city-killing torpedo, called Kanyon, that would allegedly leave a country's coastline uninhabitable for decades. The terrifying news, which sounds more likely to come from a ''James Bond'' film, was actually leaked from the Pentagon's report on nuclear weapons posturing.
The ''doomsday torpedo'' has been on the U.S. military's radar for several years and was first revealed publicly by the Washington Free Beacon in 2015. Kanyon, an autonomous underwater vehicle carrying a lethal 100-megaton thermonuclear weapon, is reportedly being designed by the Russians to attack coastal areas, major cities, naval bases, and other sea ports.
The massive nuclear payload of Kanyon would equal the explosion of 100 million tons of TNT and is twice as powerful as the most powerful thermonuclear weapon ever tested, according to Popular Mechanics.
Perhaps even worse than the immediate devastation of a nuclear attack by this Russia robot sub, experts add that the radioactive fallout from such a powerful torpedo would leave the contaminated area off-limits to humans for the next 100 years. Russia's alleged use of the radioactive isotope Cobalt-60 is to blame for the long recovery time.
Jeffrey Lewis, an expert on nuclear policy, called Kanyon's development ''absurd.'' In an interview with Business Insider, Lewis added that Russia's willingness to create such a torpedo was ''deeply, deeply, deeply immoral'' and the U.S. has not even considered copying Kanyon's design.
Bitcoin Falls Below $10,000 as Virtual Currency Bubble Deflates - The New York Times
Tue, 23 Jan 2018 13:26
One person on Reddit wrote about persuading family members to buy digital tokens late in 2017 and regretting it.
''Fast forward to today,'' the user, going by the screen name PM_ME_UR_ROOM_VIEW, wrote. ''I opened my phone and I find a barrage of messages from them accusing me of scamming them and tricking them into crypto because they lost money, I tried to explain to them that this is normal and it will bounce back soon and it's just a correction and don't sell but they aren't listening.''
For skeptics of virtual currencies, the falling prices have provided some vindication.
''Most people are buying Bitcoin, not because of a belief in its future as a global currency, but because they expect it to rise in value,'' a note from economists at Capital Economics said on Wednesday. ''Accordingly, it has all the hallmarks of a classic speculative bubble, which we expect to burst.''
The pessimism in recent days has been fed by several reports that governments around the world were planning to tighten the reins on virtual currency trading.
South Korean officials have said they were contemplating shutting down the virtual currency exchanges that have popped up over the past year. South Korea has seen the most frenzied surge of ordinary investors throwing their savings into Bitcoin and other digital tokens.
The Chinese government has already shut down exchanges in China, but it was recently reported to be taking even further measures against new forms of online trading as well as Bitcoin mining operations in the country.
Regulators in the United States have continued to crack down on smaller virtual currencies like Bitconnect, which has been described as a Ponzi scheme by many in the industry.
Bitcoin, which began in 2009, has been through these sorts of wild swings before. The price spiked in late 2013 to above $1,000, before moves by the Chinese government sent the price sliding. It was only last year that the price again recovered to the same levels.
Since that recovery, an array of virtual currencies have been on a nearly uninterrupted tear. With Bitcoin, investors have been betting that it could be a new kind of asset, outside the control of any government, something like digital gold.
Investors have also been putting money into newer virtual currencies like Ethereum and Ripple, which were designed to do more sophisticated types of transactions than Bitcoin.
The excitement has been amplified by hedge funds that were created in the last year to invest in virtual currencies and by Wall Street institutions that have expressed an interest.
But investments in these new tokens have far outstripped their real-world use in the types of transactions for which they are intended. Ripple, for example, is supposed to help financial institutions transfer money across international borders. But only a few institutions have said they are using the currency, known as XRP, for that purpose.
Some longtime virtual currency investors have said that a major price pullback was necessary after the hype had gotten so far ahead of the reality.
''This is the ecosystem purging the 'easy money' crowd that arrived in past couple months,'' Spencer Bogart, a partner with the hedge fund Blockchain Capital, wrote on Twitter.
Prominent individual investors echoed that sentiment. ''I usually recommend people to buy during dips like these if they were hesitant to enter the market before because you can get in on a discount,'' said James Spediacci, who with his brother Julian runs an investment club for virtual currency investors.
Monica Quaintance, lead engineer at a company working on technology related to digital currencies and an organizer of events for women interested in them, said investors should expect price volatility until there is strong government regulation. ''People want to know that if they make a lot of money from Bitcoin they're going to be able to keep the money,'' Ms. Quaintance said.
But for those less enamored of the technology, the declines are viewed as the beginning of an even steeper fall.
''The latest price falls suggest that the bubble is bursting '-- although with prices still ten times higher than a year ago, they have a lot further to fall yet,'' Capital Economics wrote.
Follow Nathaniel Popper and Nellie Bowles on Twitter: @nathanielpopper and @NellieBowles
A version of this article appears in print on January 18, 2018, on Page B3 of the New York edition with the headline: Bitcoin Price Declines as Virtual Currency Bubble Deflates.
Continue reading the main story
China's New Blockchain Drive: Who's Leading it, and Why? - Bitcoin News
Tue, 23 Jan 2018 13:17
Blockchain
China observers have noticed a pivot in the national government's approach to blockchain technology and even Bitcoin recently. But where did this come from? Asia's Bitcoin ambassador Willson Lee has revealed some behind-the-scenes machinations could be driving change.
Also read: 42 Banks Join New Japanese Blockchain Consortium
People Need to Understand Bitcoin, and New Technology Needs a Human FaceLee's Bitcoin evangelism has made him a celebrity in China, with regular event appearances and media interviews. His traveling two-hour presentation, ''Bitcoinomics,'' across north and south-east Asia introduces newcomers to digital currency. Next, he's taking the show to Brazil.
His material comes from personal research and his ''Bitcoin World Tour,'' where he traveled to over 15 countries starting in 2014. Lee is also making a documentary about his experiences called ''The Man From Bitcoin.''
Notably, the Malaysia native's presentation style is what Chinese call ''nong min'' '-- ''in farmers' terms,'' or in a casual manner easy for the layperson to understand.
People fear what they don't understand, Lee said. They need to understand Bitcoin easily before they'll accept or even use it.
To an extent, Lee personifies Bitcoin in the mainstream Asian media. Lee said he does it absolutely to promote Bitcoin and blockchain technology, but the local culture demands a well-known identity to promote them.
''The Asian mentality looks more towards an idol, or figure,'' Lee said. ''People want to follow the person, not the technology itself.''
Lee's Bitcoin World Tour in VietnamHow This Turned Into Chinese Government EndorsementExecutives often hire Lee to present at corporate events, and he regularly packs out ballrooms and conference halls. At one such event in Changsha, Hunan Province, a member of China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) was in the audience.
The representative told him MIIT planned to look more closely at blockchain technology, and had already set up a committee to begin research. All it needed was a catalyst to make a big noise and get everyone talking. So Lee formed the World Blockchain Foundation, a not-for-profit organization to promote blockchain technology, and planned a conference with high-profile guests on the invite list.
For its first stage MIIT, via its research committees, published the Blockchain Technology and Application Development white paper on 18th October. That began to create some buzz, but it needed to grab attention from the Chinese political echelon.
So then came the conference, a more glamorous event (by usual crypto conference standards) designed mainly to announce China's intent to become involved in blockchain technology development. The event took place on 30-31st October, also in Changsha.
Need to Announce China's Blockchain Arrival PubliclyAny new policy direction in China, even those backed by senior government bureaucrats, first requires endorsement from the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC).
Looking at the guest list, the conference was the highest-level blockchain-related event in China to date. Several high-profile Party, administrative, plus banking and insurance company leaders attended.
The first day saw Li Meng, Vice Chairman of the National Government, join proceedings. The second brought Li Wu Wei, Vice Chairman of the CPC's National Political Bureau. Both joined in photoshoots with conference presenters and sponsors.
Lee spoke on both days of the conference, regularly referring to Bitcoin. While some presenters spoke about China's technological leadership role, others called for permissive regulation to allow Bitcoin and blockchain to flourish there. A group of international guests expressed hope that China could nurture the technology and take a leadership role.
Tencent, maker of various online services including China's popular WeChat platform, announced it is developing a ''cloud blockchain'' platform. It is particularly interested in applying smart contract technology.
Anecdotal feedback suggested the invitees responded positively to the speeches.
World Blockchain Foundation's Ongoing RoleNow the conference is over, MIIT and Lee's World Blockchain Foundation (WBF) must start the serious work of facilitating actual Chinese leadership in the blockchain industry.
WBF will perform education and training and blockchain technology R&D. It also plans to establish some industrial standards for blockchain and will perform consultative services for both corporate and government clients.
WBF will also have various advisory boards '-- legal, technological, business and economic. And of course, it will continue to liaise with government departments and political officials wherever possible.
From initial skepticism and mistrust in 2013 to 2016's tacit endorsements, China has come a long way towards discovering blockchain's benefits. Not only that, but it's not marginalizing Bitcoin '-- there's definitely a place for financial technologies at the table.
This is thanks to the the open minds at MIIT, and Lee's promotional work.
China realizes now that blockchain technology is a wide and beneficial field, said Lee. It's not a clever investment product designed to swindle investors out of their savings, as the government once feared. Instead, as some conference presenters mentioned, blockchain hardware and software applications could drive China's economy into the future.
What will it take for blockchain technology to win support at all levels? Does Bitcoin need more charismatic promoters to still get attention? Let's hear your thoughts.
Images via Wilson Lee.
Do you want to talk about bitcoin in a comfortable (and censorship-free) environment? Check out the Bitcoin.com Forums '-- all the big players in Bitcoin have posted there, and we welcome all opinions.
Powerful Quake Strikes Off Alaska; Tsunami Alert Is Downgraded Along Coast : The Two-Way : NPR
Tue, 23 Jan 2018 13:15
A map from the U.S. Tsunami Warning System shows the offshore location of a powerful earthquake that struck overnight, along with the revised tsunami advisory area. U.S. Tsunami Warning Systemhide caption
toggle captionU.S. Tsunami Warning System A map from the U.S. Tsunami Warning System shows the offshore location of a powerful earthquake that struck overnight, along with the revised tsunami advisory area.
U.S. Tsunami Warning System A powerful magnitude 7.9 earthquake struck off Alaska late Monday night, initially prompting a tsunami warning for a large section of the state's coast and parts of Canada. As more data came in, the U.S. Tsunami Warning System downgraded the threat to an advisory for Alaska's Chignik Bay.
Several smaller aftershocks were also been felt after the quake, whose epicenter was located about 6 miles below the surface and 175 miles southeast of Kodiak, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
Warnings from the National Weather Service were pushed out to cellphones in Alaska warning "Emergency Alert. Tsunami danger on the coast. Go to high ground or move inland."
But as the effects of the quake became clear, those alerts were soon canceled.
"The warning system reported several waves around the state of under a foot," member station KTOO reports.
In its initial response, the National Tsunami Warning Center at Palmer, Alaska, issued a tsunami warnings or watches for long swaths of the west coast of Canada and the U.S., from Alaska and British Columbia to parts of California. Public radio station KMXT in Kodiak issued this advisory over its airwaves: "This is a tsunami warning. this is not a drill. Please get out to higher ground."
There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries related to the earthquake.
Alaska 7.9 Magnitude Earthquake Prompts Tsunami Warnings-NO DRILL
Tue, 23 Jan 2018 12:42
A 7.9-magnitude earthquake struck the Gulf of Alaska early on Tuesday, prompting warnings of a possible tsunami down the West Coast of North America.
Evacuation orders were in place in parts of Alaska and as far south as San Francisco as officials urged people who live near the ocean to be ready to flee if needed, Reuters reported.
Hundreds of people packed into the high school in Kodiak, a town of 6,100 people on Alaska's Kodiak Island, one of the closest settlements to the epicenter. Long lines of traffic formed in coastal communities including Homer and Seward, residents warned on social media.
"People are fine," Neil Hecht, the high school's assistant principal, said in a phone interview. "Spirits are high. Everyone is doing well here."
The school stands 164 feet above sea level, said Hecht, who added he was unsure if evacuees would have to spend the night there.
Kodiak police warned at 2:29 a.m. local time (1129 GMT) that water was receding from the harbor, a precursor to a tsunami.
"Please heed local warnings to move inland or to higher ground," Alaska Gov. Bill Walker said in a statement.
San Francisco residents who live three blocks from the Pacific Ocean or five blocks from San Francisco Bay were told to prepare to evacuate by the city's Department of Emergency Management.
There were no immediate reports of damage or injury.
The quake, initially measured at magnitude 8.2, struck around 160 miles southeast of Chiniak, Alaska at a depth of 25 km at 12:31 a.m. local time (931 GMT), the U.S. Geological Survey said.
"If you are located in this coastal area, move inland to higher ground. Tsunami warnings mean that a tsunami with significant inundation is possible or is already occurring," the Anchorage Office of Emergency Management said in a warning for Alaska and British Columbia.
A tsunami watch for the entire U.S. West Coast was issued.
"Based on all available data a tsunami may have been generated by this earthquake that could be destructive on coastal areas even far from the epicenter," the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said.
An initial tsunami watch for Hawaii was canceled.
Japan's meteorological agency said it was monitoring the situation but did not issue a tsunami alert.
(C) 2018 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.
Washington State net neutrality bill
Tue, 23 Jan 2018 12:22
AN ACT Relating to protecting an open internet in Washington1state; and adding a new chapter to Title 19 RCW.2BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF WASHINGTON:3NEW SECTION. Sec. 1. (1) A person engaged in the provision of4broadband internet access service in Washington state shall publicly5disclose accurate information regarding the network management6practices, performance, and commercial terms of its broadband7internet access services sufficient for consumers to make informed8choices regarding use of such services and for content, application,9service, and device providers to develop, market, and maintain10internet offerings.11(2) A person engaged in the provision of broadband internet12access service in Washington state, insofar as such a person is so13engaged, may not:14(a) Block lawful content, applications, services, or nonharmful15devices, subject to reasonable network management;16(b) Impair or degrade lawful internet traffic on the basis of17internet content, application, or service, or use of a nonharmful18device, subject to reasonable network management;19(c) Engage in paid prioritization;20H-3275.1HOUSE BILL 2282State of Washington65th Legislature2018 Regular SessionBy Representatives Hansen, Cody, Goodman, Pettigrew, Tarleton, Fey,DeBolt, Bergquist, Springer, Santos, McBride, Smith, Chapman,Slatter, Peterson, Wylie, Fitzgibbon, Morris, Stonier, Lytton,Sawyer, Robinson, Tharinger, Kagi, Pellicciotti, Dolan, Orwall, Valdez, Haler, Kilduff, Senn, Frame, Sells, Kirby, Stanford, Blake,Reeves, Clibborn, Macri, Kloba, Appleton, Stambaugh, Jinkins, Ormsby,Ryu, Hayes, Pollet, Doglio, Ortiz-Self, Riccelli, and McDonaldPrefiled 12/13/17. Read first time 01/08/18. Referred to Committeeon Technology & Economic Development.p. 1HB 2282
(d) Unreasonably interfere with or unreasonably disadvantage: (i)1End users' ability to select, access, and use broadband internet2access service or the lawful internet content, applications,3services, or devices of their choice; or (ii) edge providers' ability4to make lawful content, applications, services, or devices available5to end users.6(3) The utilities and transportation commission may waive the7prohibition on paid prioritization in subsection (1)(c) of this8section only if the petitioner demonstrates that the practice would9provide some significant public interest benefit and would not harm10the open nature of the internet in Washington state.11(4) The definitions in this subsection apply throughout this12section unless the context clearly requires otherwise.13(a)(i) "Broadband internet access service" means a mass-market14retail service by wire or radio that provides the capability to15transmit data to and receive data from all or substantially all16internet endpoints, including any capabilities that are incidental to17and enable the operation of the communications service, but excluding18dial-up internet access service.19(ii) The term also encompasses any service that the federal20communications commission finds to be providing a functional21equivalent of the service described in (a)(i) of this subsection, or22that is used to evade the protections set forth in this section.23(b) "Edge provider" means any individual or entity that provides24any content, application, or service over the internet, and any25individual or entity that provides a device used for accessing any26content, application, or service over the internet.27(c) "End user" means any individual or entity that uses a28broadband internet access service.29(d) "Mobile broadband internet access service" means a broadband30internet service that serves end users primarily using mobile31stations.32(e) "Paid prioritization" means the management of a broadband33provider's network to directly or indirectly favor some traffic over34other traffic, including through the use of techniques such as35traffic shaping, prioritization, resource reservation, or other forms36of preferential traffic management, either:37(i) In exchange for consideration, monetary or otherwise, from a38third party; or39(ii) To benefit an affiliated entity.40p. 2HB 2282
(f) "Reasonable network management" means a practice that has a1primarily technical network management justification, but does not2include other business practices. A network management practice is3reasonable if it is primarily used for and tailored to achieving a4legitimate network management purpose, taking into account the5particular network architecture and technology of the broadband6internet access service.7NEW SECTION. Sec. 2. The legislature finds that the practices8covered by this chapter are matters vitally affecting the public9interest for the purpose of applying the consumer protection act,10chapter 19.86 RCW. A violation of this chapter is not reasonable in11relation to the development and preservation of business and is an12unfair or deceptive act in trade or commerce and an unfair method of13competition for the purpose of applying the consumer protection act,14chapter 19.86 RCW.15NEW SECTION. Sec. 3. The internet consumer access account is16created in the state treasury. All receipts from recoveries by the17office of the attorney general for lawsuits related to the consumer18protection act under the provisions of this chapter, or otherwise19designated to this account, must be deposited into the account.20Moneys in the account may be spent only after appropriation.21Expenditures from the account may be used only for costs incurred by22the office of the attorney general in the administration and23enforcement of this chapter.24NEW SECTION. Sec. 4. Sections 1 through 3 of this act25constitute a new chapter in Title 19 RCW.26--- END ---p. 3HB 2282
Snubbing FCC, States Are Writing Their Own Net Neutrality Laws
Tue, 23 Jan 2018 12:12
This article has been updated with new information about California and Rhode Island.
For those who either hoped or feared that a December 14 vote by the FCC to scrap net neutrality regulations would settle the matter, it must feel like extra innings of a long hard-fought game. Along with the expected flood of lawsuits by activist groups fighting to preserve net neutrality, states have also taken up the cause. ''We all agree that in an ideal world it should be handled at the federal level,'' says California state senator Scott Wiener. ''But if the federal government's going to abdicate, then we need to take action, and I'm glad that a number of states are looking at this.''
Along with pursuing lawsuits over irregularities in the FCC process (like millions of fake citizen comments being submitted), several states are crafting their own net neutrality laws, which they will start debating as new legislative sessions commence this month. They would prohibit internet service providers from blocking or hindering access to legal online content sources, or from offering premium-bandwidth ''fast lane'' deals to others. Washington State was first to act, with Democratic and Republican state representatives debuting nearly identical bills back on December 13 and 14.
Such bipartisanship is rare. In most cases, the charge is led by Democrats, often with anti-Trump overtones. ''I would say California and New York are two deep-blue states where Donald Trump is the least popular president in modern history,'' says New York state senator Brad Hoylman, who represents a large chunk of Manhattan. He's teaming up with Wiener, whose district includes all of San Francisco, to craft legislation that each state can use. ''We have very similar constituencies in many regards, including technology and immigrants and LGBT folks,'' says Hoylman. It would be hard to find a bluer coalition.
Looking for LeverageRegardless of their politics, state net neutrality advocates face a tough course through unfamiliar territory. In its lengthy order abolishing net neutrality policy, the FCC asserted the federal government's right to preempt other laws or policies. ''Allowing state and local governments to adopt their own separate requirements, which could impose far greater burdens than the federal regulatory regime, could significantly disrupt the balance we strike here,'' reads the FCC's abolition order.
''Telecommunications in particular'--it's very, very hairy to try to do this without triggering federal preemption,'' says Jake Egloff, the legislative aide to New York Democratic assemblymember Patricia Fahy. They have also crafted legislation establishing net neutrality requirements. Rather than regulate ISPs directly, it would exert financial pressure by only allowing the state and local governments to contract with ISPs certified as meeting New York's net neutrality requirements. ''I don't want to say backdoor, but it is a side door,'' says Fahy, whose district includes the state capital, Albany. A state senator and representative in Rhode Island are now working on legislation similar to Fahy's.
The state's ''power of the purse'' is just one of the side-door measures her colleague Hoylman and California's Wiener are considering. On January 3, Wiener introduced a bill that would make meeting net neutrality standards a prerequisite not only for state contracts but also for awarding cable franchises or providing access to state-owned land or utility poles for laying cables or installing cellular transmitters. And both legislators are looking at the front-door approach of regulating ISPs directly under consumer protection law. California's bill, essentially a placeholder that will grow into more-detailed legislation, also promises to strengthen ''the state's consumer protection and deceptive and unfair business practice laws.''
''The FCC issued their fiat that tells the states they can't do anything,'' says Wiener. ''We don't think the FCC has that power, and they've lost that argument in court before.''
Related: The Political Dumpster Fire Of Net Neutrality Is Just Heating Up
He and other state legislators point to a March, 2016 court case as precedent. While under Democrat control, the FCC tried to preempt state laws in Tennessee and North Carolina that prevented municipal-owned broadband networks from expanding. The FCC said its mandate to expand access to broadband allowed it to override the state restrictions, which critics called favors to private ISPs. The Sixth Circuit Court Of Appeals disagreed, finding that the FCC didn't have the authority to meddle in state affairs.
Washington State went right for the front door with its legislation, directly telling ISPs what they can and cannot do, in the belief that the FCC can't stop them. ''There is not a specific granting of preemption authority from Congress in this space,'' says Republican Norma Smith, who represents a largely rural area of islands north of Seattle. ''[The FCC] said, on the one hand, that they don't have the authority to regulate standards and conduct on the internet,'' says Smith's Democratic counterpart and frequent collaborator Drew Hansen. ''But on the other hand, they can still have the authority to preempt state laws'...I don't know how both of those can exist at the same time.''
Neither Smith nor Hansen, who represents wealthy Bainbridge Island and other areas across the bay from Seattle, is waiting to find out. Their nearly identical legislation, which they expect to consolidate into one bill, is among the most concise descriptions of net neutrality, each running less than three pages. By comparison, the 2015 FCC order establishing net neutrality regulations ran 313 pages, and the order to abolish them ran 210.
Hansen's bill for instance, first requires ISPs to ''disclose accurate information regarding the network management practices, performance, and commercial terms of its broadband internet access services sufficient for consumers to make informed choices.'' That gives the state and consumer groups information they can use to challenge ISPs on whether they are living up to commitments. It goes on to prohibit blocking and impairing access to content (often called throttling) or allowing ''paid prioritization.'' It defines that last item to include ''favor[ing] some traffic over other traffic'...In exchange for consideration, monetary or otherwise, from a third party; or To benefit an affiliated entity.'' It goes through and prohibits all the technical ways that an ISP could do that.
Paid prioritization, often called fast lanes, is the biggest worry for net neutrality advocates. ''Yes, I think blocking and throttling can happen,'' says Scott Wiener, ''but it's so extreme [and] there would be such a public outcry that I think the companies are less likely to want to take that heat.'' Wiener doesn't trust ISPs to say no to fast lanes, despite pledges some of them have made, given the demands of shareholders. ''There will be enormous pressure on them to try and monetize their newly obtained power to charge for a fast lane,'' he says. ''I mean, we've seen that with the airlines. They can't resist charging you for everything.''
Even Congressional Republicans in D.C. who supported the net neutrality rollback claim to be against blocking and throttling. Both would be prohibited by legislation introduced by Tennessee representative Marsha Blackburn, who ranks perhaps second to FCC chairman Ajit Pai on the villain list for net neutrality advocates. Blackburn leaves the door to paid prioritization open by allowing ISPs to offer ''specialized services.''
At least some fellow Republicans in Washington State feel otherwise. Norma Smith's bill has the same prohibition on paid prioritization as Hansen's. ''We clearly have Republicans like myself who are concerned about the impact on consumers and the people we represent,'' she says, ''and I think you are going to see [legislation] that is indeed bipartisan.''
The Privacy PrecedentA recent battle between Washington, D.C. and Washington State shows how the net neutrality fight may develop. Last March, Blackburn joined Republican Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona on legislation abolishing FCC regulations that prevented ISPs from collecting and selling customer information such as browsing history, app usage history, and location data. ''While congressional Republicans may be making it easier to sell your data, lawmakers in Olympia have a strong record of accomplishment in protecting your personal information,'' wrote Norma Smith in a Seattle Times op-ed after the Blackburn-Flake repeal passed.
In April, Hansen, Smith and 73 other state reps, including a few Republicans, introduced legislation to create a state version of the privacy rules that the U.S. Congress had just abolished. Despite the bipartisan support and success in the state house of representatives, the privacy billed failed to clear the Republican-controlled Senate in 2017. ''My Republican colleagues in the senate just refused to give it a hearing,'' says Hansen, the bill's original author. He and Smith expect the fortunes to be better this year, now that Democrats control both houses in Olympia. ''There was bipartisan support there, I know that personally,'' says Smith, ''but it didn't get out of the senate, and I think it will probably have a much better chance this time around.''
Brad Hoylman makes a similar prediction for New York State, where the senate is also passing to Democratic control. At least seven internet privacy bills have been kicking around the senate and assembly in Albany. ''I've not seen any indication that Senate Republicans in New York are prepared to stand up to Trump,'' says Hoylman.
But even one-party ruled California has had a hard time. Its ISP privacy bill also failed to move ahead last year. ''The legislative process, even for easy bills with no opposition, is treacherous,'' says Wiener. And privacy legislation had opposition not only from ISPs but from Silicon Valley companies like Facebook worried about how it would affect their ability to profile and advertise to users.
''With [privacy legislation], there was unified, tech-telecom opposition to it,'' says Wiener. ''Net neutrality has divided industry, so you have the Googles and Facebooks and Netflixes and other technology companies that strongly support net neutrality, and you have the ISPs that oppose it.''
Plenty of other challenges remain for privacy and net neutrality legislation. ''This is new territory for any state legislator to do net neutrality [policy],'' says Ernesto Falcon, legislative counsel at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. ''They've had the luxury of always having the FCC doing that for them, whether it was a Republican administration or a Democratic administration.''
Another challenge is time. The California legislature meets for most of the year, from January to November in 2018, but other states have much shorter schedules. New York State adjourns in June, and Washington runs only till March. Washington has a ''citizen legislature,'' where serving is only a part-time job.
States United Against the United StatesIn all, 22 states have introduced some legislation responding to the rollback of ISP privacy regulations, according to a compilation by the National Conference of State Legislatures. (Although only a few bills have passed so far.) That provides a list of usual suspects for states that will also come out with net neutrality legislation in the coming weeks, says Falcon, who is advising Wiener, Hoylman, and other states that he declines to name. ''On a practical level, [privacy and net neutrality] are both areas where the people are demanding something very different from what Congress and the FCC are willing to permit,'' says Drew Hansen.
Another clue to where legislation may appear is the growing list of states upset about irregularities and fraud in the public comments process for the FCC's net neutrality rollback. Several have already announced plans to sue, with New York angling to lead a coalition.
As more states get active in the coming weeks, collaboration may increase. ''As we craft bills, we'll look at what other states are doing,'' says Wiener. ''We'll make sure they know what we're doing'--not re-create the wheel.'' Just the combination of California and New York is a mighty one. Together they account for about one-fifth of the country's population and economic output.
These states also have a personal connection. Wiener and Hoylman have been friends since their Harvard Law School days in the mid-'90s, and they have traded legislative ideas before. ''I'm stealing this idea from Scott Wiener,'' says Hoylman. ''I'm not at all embarrassed to say that I borrow from counterparts on the other coast.''
Patricia Fahey in New York State got the idea for her bill from Washington governor Jay Inslee, who first proposed limiting state business to net neutrality-friendly ISPs. (On December 13, Inslee held a joint press conference with Smith, Hansen, state attorney general Bob Ferguson, and business leaders to announce a multi-pronged net neutrality offensive.)
All the legislators I spoke to say they are keeping an eye on other states. But they are also watching their own constituencies. Several national polls show that majorities of Americans, even a majority of Republicans, support some form of net neutrality regulation. ''One of the things that has been significant is hearing from so many small business owners [and] our small telecom providers all supporting this effort [for a net neutrality law],'' says Smith. ''I represent a rural economy, and I want the folks that I represent to be able to participate fully in the economy of the 21st century.''
With her Republican counterparts in D.C. holding very different notions of how to achieve those goals, Smith and all the state legislators working on net neutrality laws are in for a long fight. Preemption will be the big battle, and with each state writing its own laws, it may take more than a single case to resolve. Meanwhile state attorney generals, along with activists, will also be suing the FCC over how it handled the whole repeal process.
Just dragging the issue out could be a win for those who advocate more aggressive net neutrality protections. Uncertainty about regulations makes businesses nervous and hesitant to invest. The ISPs that lobbied to undo federal regulations may regret the move, warns Wiener. ''For the companies that repealed net neutrality, they need to understand that they're going to have a fight state by state,'' he says. ''So maybe we should go back and have net neutrality [regulated] federally to avoid that.''
About the authorSean Captain is a technology journalist and editor. Follow him on Twitter @seancaptain.
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Montana becomes first state to implement net neutrality after FCC repeal | TheHill
Tue, 23 Jan 2018 12:09
Montana Gov. Steve Bullock (D) signed an executive order on Monday requiring internet service providers with state contracts to abide by net neutrality principles.
The order makes his state the first to push back on the Federal Communications Commission's decision to repeal the open internet rules last month.
''There has been a lot of talk around the country about how to respond to the recent decision by the Federal Communications Commission to repeal net neutrality rules, which keep the internet free and open. It's time to actually do something about it,'' Bullock said in a statement.
''This is a simple step states can take to preserve and protect net neutrality. We can't wait for folks in Washington DC to come to their senses and reinstate these rules.''
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The order says that in order to receive a contract with the state government, internet service providers must not engage in blocking or throttling web content or create internet fast lanes. Those practices were all banned under the Obama-era 2015 net neutrality order.
The Republican FCC voted to dismantle those rules in December.
The FCC's repeal includes a ban on states implementing their own net neutrality rules, but Democratic-controlled legislatures around the country are eager to challenge that provision.
Democrats are fighting back by pushing for legislation in Congress that would wipe out the FCC vote, suing to overturn it and now by implementing laws at the state level. They argue the rules were an important check on the power of companies that control access to the internet, such as Comcast and Verizon.
But most Republicans, including FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, argue the rules were unnecessary and that existing laws are sufficient to preserve an open internet.
Bullock's office said the executive order goes into effect immediately, but there will be a six-month grace period for companies to ensure that they're in compliance.
The governor said on Monday that he is encouraging his counterparts and legislators in other states to follow suit, promising to personally email a copy of his order to any who ask for it.
''When the FCC repealed its net neutrality rules, it said consumers should choose,'' Bullock said in his statement. ''The State of Montana is one of the biggest consumers of internet services in our state. Today we're making our choice clear: we want net neutrality.''
'--Updated at 3:37 p.m.
States pursue net neutrality rules after FCC rollback | TheHill
Tue, 23 Jan 2018 12:09
States are moving to write their own net neutrality regulations after the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in December decided to scrap the Obama-era internet rules.
California, New York and Washington are pushing their own versions of net neutrality rules and more state governments are expected to do the same, according to a report from Fast Company.
The FCC's net neutrality rules prevented broadband service providers from blocking or slowing down websites or creating internet "fast lanes." The rules were intended to create a level playing field on the internet. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai's measure rolling back net neutrality, though, also pre-empts states from passing similar rules.
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According to the report, states are taking different paths to ensure companies follow net neutrality principles.
In New York, for example, state legislators are crafting legislation that would only allow broadband providers that comply with net neutrality to receive state and local government contracts.
California legislators are considering something along these lines as well, but are also weighing regulating broadband providers directly via consumer protection laws.
''The FCC issued their fiat that tells the states they can't do anything. We don't think the FCC has that power, and they've lost that argument in court before,'' California state Sen. Scott Wiener (D) told Fast Company.
In Washington state, legislators have proposed a bill similar to the FCC net neutrality rules. A draft of the bill includes a provision that would force internet service providers to ''disclose accurate information regarding the network management practices, performance, and commercial terms of its broadband internet access services sufficient for consumers to make informed choices.''
Should internet service providers not live up to net neutrality standards, states and consumer groups would be able to pursue action against them accordingly.
Democrats control the legislatures in those three states, but net neutrality bills could still face obstacles.
In California, legislators were unable to pass privacy legislation targeting internet service providers after industry opposition.
Who's Lying: FBI Says 5 Months Of Texts "Lost," Yet IG Horowitz Says His Office Received Them In August | Zero Hedge
Tue, 23 Jan 2018 05:11
A major contradiction has been discovered between yesterday's revelation that the FBI "lost" five months of text messages, and a claim by the DOJ's Inspector General, Michael Horowitz - who claimed his office received the texts in question between FBI employees Peter Strzok and his mistress Lisa Page last August.
Michael Horowitz testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee
Knowledge of the missing texts was revealed in a Saturday letter from Ron Johnson (R-WI), Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC) - after the Committee received an additional 384 pages of text messages between Strzok and Page, several of which contained anti-Trump / pro-Clinton bias. The new DOJ submission included a cover letter from the Assistant AG for Legislative Affairs, Stephen Boyd, claiming that the FBI was unable to preserve text messages between the two agents for a five month period between December 14, 2016 and May 17, 2017 - due to "misconfiguration issues" with FBI-issued Samsung 5 devices used by Strzok and Page (despite over 10,000 texts which were recovered from their devices without incident).
However - as the Gateway Pundit's Josh Caplan points out, the lost text messages are in direct contradiction to a December 13, 2017 letter from the DOJ's internal watchdog - Inspector General Michael Horowitz, to Senate Judiciary Committee Chuck Grassley and HSGAC Chairman Ron Johnson, in which he claims he received the texts in question on August 10, 2017.
In gathering evidence for the OIG's ongoing 2016 election review, we requested, consistent with standard practice, that the FBI produce text messages from the FBI-issued phones of certain FBI employees involved in the Clinton email investigation based on search terms we provided. After finding a number of politically-oriented text messages between Page and Strzok, the OIG sought from the FBI all text messages between Strzok and Page from their FBI-issued phones through November 30, 2016, which covered the entire period of the Clinton e-mail server investigation. The FBI produced these text messages on July 20, 2017. Following our review of those text messages, the OIG expanded our request to the FBI to include all text messages between Strzok and Page from November 30, 2016, through the date of the document request, which was July 28, 2017.
The OIG received these additional messages on August 10, 2017.
This glaring contradiction suggests someone is lying or perhaps simply incompetent.
Have had a couple of questions on this -- I'm told that DOJ's inspector general *does not* have the missing Strzok-Page text messages. https://t.co/NZvQ06Q2Ja@dailycaller
Chuck Ross (@ChuckRossDC) January 22, 2018Did Horowitz's office *think* they had received the texts in question without actually verifying? Did the DOJ screw up and fail to read Horowitz's letter before "losing" the text messages so that "leaky" Congressional investigators wouldn't see them? Either way, this question needs answering.
While you can draw your own conclusions, keep in mind that Inspector Horowitz has been described as your archetypical Boy Scout bureaucrat - who as we reported two weeks ago - fought the Obama administation to restore powers taken away from the OIG by then-Attorney General, Eric Holder.
After a multi-year battle, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) successfully introduced H.R.6450 - the Inspector General Empowerment Act of 2016 - signed by a defeated lame duck President Obama into law on December 16th, 2016, cementing an alliance between Horrowitz and both houses of Congress.
And Congress has been very engaged with Horowitz's investigation; spoon-feeding the OIG all the questions they need in order to nail the DOJ, FBI and the Obama Administration for what many believe to be egregious abuses of power.
19) 14 Questions for the IG!
This powerful letter is a thing of beauty that expands the scope and establishes the legal framework for a special counsel. Read in it's entirety to see where we are headed. (Steel Dossier, Uranium One, Clinton Foundation)
PDF> https://t.co/gscpkulJ5Opic.twitter.com/VjXjwGRkr8
TrumpSoldier (@DaveNYviii) January 6, 201820) 14 Questions Summary
1-5 clinton email investigation
6-8 Clinton Foundation Uranium One
9 DNC Election Rigging
10 -14 Weaponized DOJ/FBI SteeleDoss Russian HOAX
TrumpSoldier (@DaveNYviii) January 6, 2018As such, the OIG report is expected to be a bombshell, while also satisfying a legal requirement for the Department of Justice to impartially appoint a Special Counsel to launch an official criminal investigation into the matter.
As illustrated below, the report will go from the Office of the Inspector General to both investigative committees of Congress, along with Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
OIG report flowchart, courtesy TrumpSoldier (@DaveNYviii)
At this point, Horowitz's office needs to clarify whether or not they indeed took delivery of the "lost" text messages. If the OIG does indeed have them, it will be interesting to get to the bottom of exactly what the DOJ claims happened, and particularly juicy if they're caught in a lie.
When you read Ron Johnson's letter to Christopher Wray dial in on these 5 questions. #Strzok
PDF> https://t.co/isz1mWL08Xpic.twitter.com/AKeSgveyxO
TrumpSoldier (@DaveNYviii) January 22, 2018The letters in question can be seen below:
PHOTOS: Inside Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock's suite at Mandalay Bay - Gallery
Tue, 23 Jan 2018 05:08
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Picture 1. Door leading to stairwell secured by L bracket. Photos of the Mandalay Bay suite where Stephen Paddock committed the 1 October mass shooting were released by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department in a report dated 1/18/18.
Photo By: LVMPD
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Picture 2. View from 100 hallway towards room 32-135. Photos of the Mandalay Bay suite where Stephen Paddock committed the 1 October mass shooting were released by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department in a report dated 1/18/18.
Photo By: LVMPD
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Picture 3. Food service cart in hallway with camera. Photos of the Mandalay Bay suite where Stephen Paddock committed the 1 October mass shooting were released by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department in a report dated 1/18/18.
Photo By: LVMPD
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Picture 4. Food service cart in hallway with camera. Photos of the Mandalay Bay suite where Stephen Paddock committed the 1 October mass shooting were released by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department in a report dated 1/18/18.
Photo By: LVMPD
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Picture 5. View from entry of 32-135 towards sitting area. Photos of the Mandalay Bay suite where Stephen Paddock committed the 1 October mass shooting were released by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department in a report dated 1/18/18.
Photo By: LVMPD
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Picture 6. View from foyer of room 32-135 towards the sitting area. Photos of the Mandalay Bay suite where Stephen Paddock committed the 1 October mass shooting were released by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department in a report dated 1/18/18.
Photo By: LVMPD
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Picture 7. View from sitting area towards the bar/kitchenette. Photos of the Mandalay Bay suite where Stephen Paddock committed the 1 October mass shooting were released by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department in a report dated 1/18/18.
Photo By: LVMPD
Copyright 2018 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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Picture 8. Photos of the Mandalay Bay suite where Stephen Paddock committed the 1 October mass shooting were released by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department in a report dated 1/18/18.
Photo By: LVMPD
Copyright 2018 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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Picture 9. View from sitting area toward bar/kitchenette. Photos of the Mandalay Bay suite where Stephen Paddock committed the 1 October mass shooting were released by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department in a report dated 1/18/18.
Photo By: LVMPD
Copyright 2018 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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Picture 10. View from sitting area towards master bedroom. Photos of the Mandalay Bay suite where Stephen Paddock committed the 1 October mass shooting were released by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department in a report dated 1/18/18.
Photo By: LVMPD
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Picture 11. View of connecting doors between room 32-135 and 32-134. Photos of the Mandalay Bay suite where Stephen Paddock committed the 1 October mass shooting were released by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department in a report dated 1/18/18.
Photo By: LVMPD
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Picture 12. Photos of the Mandalay Bay suite where Stephen Paddock committed the 1 October mass shooting were released by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department in a report dated 1/18/18.
Photo By: LVMPD
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Picture 13. Surveillance camera mounted to room door peephole. Photos of the Mandalay Bay suite where Stephen Paddock committed the 1 October mass shooting were released by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department in a report dated 1/18/18.
Photo By: LVMPD
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Picture 14. Photos of the Mandalay Bay suite where Stephen Paddock committed the 1 October mass shooting were released by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department in a report dated 1/18/18.
Photo By: LVMPD
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Picture 15. Handwritten note with distance and bullet drop calculations. Photos of the Mandalay Bay suite where Stephen Paddock committed the 1 October mass shooting were released by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department in a report dated 1/18/18.
Photo By: LVMPD
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Picture 16. Damage to entry door of room 32-135. Photos of the Mandalay Bay suite where Stephen Paddock committed the 1 October mass shooting were released by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department in a report dated 1/18/18.
Photo By: LVMPD
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Picture 17. Damage to entry door of room 32-135. Photos of the Mandalay Bay suite where Stephen Paddock committed the 1 October mass shooting were released by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department in a report dated 1/18/18.
Photo By: LVMPD
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Picture 18. Desk in master bedroom of 32-135 with SCUBA mask and power hand drill. Photos of the Mandalay Bay suite where Stephen Paddock committed the 1 October mass shooting were released by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department in a report dated 1/18/18.
Photo By: LVMPD
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Picture 19. Interior of room 32-134 from connecting doors. Photos of the Mandalay Bay suite where Stephen Paddock committed the 1 October mass shooting were released by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department in a report dated 1/18/18.
Photo By: LVMPD
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Picture 20. Interior of room 32-134 towards bathroom. Photos of the Mandalay Bay suite where Stephen Paddock committed the 1 October mass shooting were released by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department in a report dated 1/18/18.
Photo By: LVMPD
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Picture 21. Hallway of room 32-134 with food service cart and laptop connected to cameras in 100 hallway. Photos of the Mandalay Bay suite where Stephen Paddock committed the 1 October mass shooting were released by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department in a report dated 1/18/18.
Photo By: LVMPD
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Picture 22. Paddock's vehicle. Photos of the Mandalay Bay suite where Stephen Paddock committed the 1 October mass shooting were released by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department in a report dated 1/18/18.
Photo By: LVMPD
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Picture 23. Explosive precursors found in Paddock's vehicle. Photos of the Mandalay Bay suite where Stephen Paddock committed the 1 October mass shooting were released by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department in a report dated 1/18/18.
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Picture 24. Explosive targets found in Paddock's vehicle. Photos of the Mandalay Bay suite where Stephen Paddock committed the 1 October mass shooting were released by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department in a report dated 1/18/18.
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Copyright 2018 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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Picture 25. McCarran Airport fuel tank with bullet strikes. Photos related to the 1 October mass shooting were released by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department in a report dated 1/18/18.
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Picture 26. Photos related to the 1 October mass shooting were released by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department in a report dated 1/18/18.
Photo By: LVMPD
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Picture 27. Lower bullet strike on fuel tank at McCarran Airport. Photos related to the 1 October mass shooting were released by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department in a report dated 1/18/18.
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Picture 28. View of the Las Vegas Village from room 32-135. Photos related to the 1 October mass shooting were released by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department in a report dated 1/18/18.
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Floor plan of Stephen Paddock's suite at the Mandalay Bay. Photos related to the 1 October mass shooting were released by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department in a report dated 1/18/18.
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Map of locations where victims were recovered from the exterior perimeter. Photos related to the 1 October mass shooting were released by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department in a report dated 1/18/18.
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Map of locations where victims of the 1 October Las Vegas mass shooting were found. Photos related to the 1 October mass shooting were released by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department in a report dated 1/18/18.
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Top Secret FISA Court Order - President Obama Spying on Political Enemies
Mon, 22 Jan 2018 22:07
Description: A newly released court order from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA) found that the National Security Agency, under former President Obama, routinely violated American privacy prote...
A newly released court order from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA) found that the National Security Agency, under former President Obama, routinely violated American privacy protections while scouring through overseas intercepts and failed to disclose the extent of the problems until the final days before Donald Trump was elected president last fall. In describing the violations, the FISA court said the illegal searches conducted by the NSA under Obama were "widespread" and created a "very serious Fourth Amendment issue." These new discoveries come from a recently unsealed FISA court document dated April 26, 2017 and center around a hearing dated October 26, 2017, just days before the 2016 election, in which the FISA court apparently learned for the first time of "widespread" and illegal spying on American citizens by the NSA under the Obama administration.
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'Martial Law' In The House Of Representatives
Mon, 22 Jan 2018 17:30
'Martial Law' In The House Of RepresentativesOur Advertisers Represent Some Of The Most Unique Products & Services On Earth!
'Martial Law' In TheHouse Of Representatives
Congressman Michael C. Burgess, MD
9-29-8
WASHINGTON, DC -- Under the martial law procedure, long-standing House rules that require at least one day between the unveiling of significant legislation and the House floor vote on that legislation so that Members can learn what they are being asked to vote on are swept away. Instead, under "martial law," the Leadership can file legislation with tens or hundreds of pages of fine print and move immediately to debate and votes on it, before Members of Congress, the media, or the public have an opportunity to understand fully what provisions have been altered or inserted into the legislation behind closed doors. This is the procedure that the Leadership intends to use to muscle through important bills in the next two days.
Panicky Bitcoin investors struggle to withdraw cash from money exchanges as they look to 'safe' gold investments amid fears of cryptocurrency collapse
Mon, 22 Jan 2018 17:15
THERE are mounting fears that Bitcoin investors will struggle to get their cash out after the cryptocurrency's value fell 40 per cent in a single month.
Many are looking to put their money in gold instead, with some European gold traders reporting a "five fold increase" in demand amid fears Bitcoin could collapse entirely.
Reuters
Bitcoin owners are flocking to invest in gold amid fears the cryptocurrency may collapseBut it could be bad news for investors tied up in Bitconnect who fear they will lose their money after the controversial trader announced it was shutting down.
It assured customers they would be able to withdraw at a "recent exchange rate" but "continuous cyber-attacks" have prevented them from doing so, Fortune reports.
Concerned investors have since taken to social media to complain they fear losing anything from a few thousand dollars to their entire "family savings".
Adding to fears, some panicked investors have reportedly been tricked into handing over the contents of their cryptocurrency wallets by scammers presenting themselves as Bitconnect "customer support".
Reuters
Many bitcoin investors report having difficulty in withdrawing their money before the currency collapsesWall Street veteran Peter Boockvar has warned of an impending "epic crash" which could slash 90 per cent off Bitcoin, currently valued at around £8,300.
He told CNBC the cryptocurrency's value could fall to between $1,000 (£718) and $3,000 (£2,154) over the next year.
This uncertainty is driving Bitcoin owners to invest in the more reliable gold, according to Daniel Marburger, director of Coininvest.
He told the Times how he sold 30kg of gold worth around £1million on "one crazy day" - January 16.
CEO of Ripple, Brad Garlinghouse, explains how he sees the future for his cryptocurrency and its rival Bitcoin Alamy
Gold traders have been inundated with requests from people wanting to invest in the more reliable precious metal insteadMarburger added: "It is an unprecedented time and shows the sway from bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies back to a solid, robust investment in these uncertain times."
Investors are believed to mostly be exchanging their Bitcoins for sovereign coins of gold Britannia, one ounce of which is worth around £,1000.
The largely untraceable Bitcoins are beneficial to criminals who can use them to buy drugs and weapons on online black markets on "The Dark Web".
They are less useful for everyday consumers who cannot buy goods or, say, invest in properties using the cryptocurrency.
BIT VOLATILEToday's bitcoin rate in USD and GBP and latest on the cryptocurrency
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Other gold merchants including Goldcore reported similar trends.
Its founder Mark O'Byrne said: "They [the bitcoin sellers] told us they were concerned that the massive price appreciation was unsustainable and they got nervous about it."
One in three British millennials will have invested in a cryptocurrency by 2020, according to the London Block Exchange.
Why Mo'Nique Is Asking Her Fans to Boycott Netflix
Mon, 22 Jan 2018 11:38
'Alias Grace' Actor Albert Schultz Accused of Sexual Misconduct by Four Actresses
(C) Donna Ward/Getty Images Comedian Mo'Nique performs on her ''Spread The Love'' Tour at Madison Square Garden on April 24, 2010 in New York. Earlier today, Mo'Nique posted a plea on Instagram to her fans, asking them to boycott Netflix because of gender and racial bias. In it, Mo'Nique tries to make the case for why she should get Amy Schumer, Chris Rock, Dave Chappelle money for her stand-up special, but, unintentionally, she also makes the case for why it's so hard to negotiate with Netflix in the first place.
In the Instagram video, Mo'Nique says Netflix offered her $500,000 for her next special, a number she found to be low, considering that Dave Chappelle and Chris Rock were each reportedly paid $20 million for theirs. She also points to Amy Schumer renegotiating her $11 million deal to get closer to Chappelle and Rock's pay. According to Mo'Nique, Netflix said the $500,000 is based on how many people they expected to watch the special. When the comedian brought up her r(C)sum(C) '-- Oscar winner, influential stand-up, etc. '-- Netflix said they don't pay performers for their r(C)sum(C)s. However, when asked why they gave so much to Schumer, Netflix allegedly pointed to Schumer selling out Madison Square Garden and having a hit movie in Trainwreck. As Mo'Nique asks, isn't that just Schumer's r(C)sum(C)? Essentially, Mo'Nique argues, she's a legend, and Netflix pays legends millions.
Though, as Mo'Nique noted, Netflix thinks of her as a legend, it seems extremely unlikely that she'll get paid as much as Rock or Chappelle or even Schumer, largely because of all their relative positions going into the negotiation. When reached by Vulture, a spokesperson at Netflix responded, ''Netflix does not comment on contract negotiations.'' Which shouldn't come as a surprise, as Netflix is especially secretive, even by the famously opaque standards of Hollywood. More than money, it's about data. When Showtime released Mo'Nique's 2007 special, I Coulda Been Your Cellmate!, Mo'Nique and her team would know how many people watched it. When it moved to Netflix recently, they no longer had that information, as Netflix doesn't share viewership data with talent. Netflix enters negotiations knowing exactly how many people watched the special, while Mo'nique does not. As elsewhere in the Peak TV landscape, the streaming service has all the leverage.
Further complicating matters is that, in Schumer's and Rock's cases, Netflix was in the position of luring them away from HBO, while Mo'Nique's last special, Something Different, was self-released on Amazon. And that gets to something I've been writing about for a while: With Netflix buying up such a large percentage of stand-up specials '-- often by paying more than everyone else '-- there aren't tons of other outlets for comedians to turn to if they think they're being lowballed by the streaming service. Showtime still does a handful, but HBO and Comedy Central only do a few. That's not great for talent like Mo'Nique. As one agent told Vulture, ''She will be lucky if she can find anywhere else that will even pay her half of what Netflix was offering.''
Related slideshow: Binge-worthy Netflix series(via Photo Services)
1/44 SLIDES (C) Netflix
Stranger Things (2016- )Genre: Science fiction/horror
The story is set in the fictional town of Hawkins, where the disappearance of a young boy, Will Byers (Noah Schnapp), triggers a series of mysterious and deadly happenings. The second season took the story ahead from the last one's climax as Byers begins to see horrible visions of a monster attack on Hawkins and everyone's favorite character Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) returns with her lethal psychokinetic abilities.
(Pictured L-R) Schnapp, FInn Wolfhard, Gaten Matarazzo and Caleb Mclaughlin.
Disclaimer: Some shows may not be streaming in all countries.
2/44 SLIDES (C) Patrick Harbron/Netflix
Mindhunter (2017)Genre: Crime/Drama
Produced by Charlize Theron and acclaimed director David Fincher, the thriller chronicles the early days of criminal psychology and criminal profiling in the '70s, as FBI agents Holden Ford (Jonathan Groff, pictured) and Bill Trench (Holt McCallany) interview serial killers to delve deeper into the workings of a criminal mind.
3/44 SLIDES (C) Jessica Miglio/Netflix
The Punisher (2017)Genre: Superhero/crime fiction
The riveting thriller follows the trigger-friendly vigilante, as he discovers a devious conspiracy which involved the murder of his family.
4/44 SLIDES (C) Robert Viglasky/Netflix
The Crown (2016- )Genre: Historical drama
Based on the life of Queen Elizabeth II, the fictional drama features Claire Foy in the lead role and chronicles the queen's life from her marriage to Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (Matt Smith, R), in 1947 to the present day. For her powerful performance, Foy won the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a TV drama in 2017.
5/44 SLIDES (C) Netflix
13 Reasons Why (2017- )Genre: Drama/mystery
Based on the eponymous 2007 novel by Jay Asher, the dark mystery revolves around high school student Clay Jensen (Dylan Minnette, pictured), who receives a box of tapes previously recorded by his friend, Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford), before she committed suicide. The tapes reveal the reasons and people behind her death. The second season is set to premiere in 2018.
6/44 SLIDES (C) Joe Lederer/Netflix
A Series of Unfortunate Events (2017- )Genre: Comedy/drama
Based on the children's novel series of the same name by Lemony Snicket, the story is based on the lives of orphans Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire, as they escape the clutches of their evil relative, Count Olaf, who is determined to steal their inheritance. Neil Patrick Harris (L) stars as the twisted Olaf, with Louis Hynes (R) and Malina Weissman as Klaus and Violet, respectively. The show has been renewed for two more seasons.
7/44 SLIDES (C) Netflix
Santa Clarita Diet (2017- )Genre: Comedy/horror
Marked by its use of a single camera to shoot most scenes, the dark comedy revolves around real estate agent Joel (Timothy Olyphant, L) and his wife Sheila (Drew Barrymore, R), who becomes a zombie and develops an insatiable hunger for human flesh. The next season is expected to premiere in 2018.
8/44 SLIDES (C) Netflix
BoJack Horseman (2014- )Genre: Animation/comedy
Voiced by Will Arnett, BoJack Horseman is the star of the fictional '90s sitcom, ''Horsin' Around.'' The washed-up horseman, who lives in Hollywood, is trying hard to cope up with his ''former-star'' status. The series has been renewed for a fifth season.
9/44 SLIDES (C) JoJo Whilden/Netflix
The OA (2016- )Genre: Drama/fantasy/mystery
Filled with supernatural and sci-fi elements, the show stars Brit Marling (pictured, R) as Prairie Johnson, a young woman who returns home after missing for seven years. Johnson, who was previously blind, now calls herself ''The OA'' and is able to see'--leading to speculations and panic among other residents of the town. It was renewed for a second season, dubbed ''Part II.''
10/44 SLIDES (C) David Giesbrecht/Netflix
House of Cards (2013- )Genre: Political drama
U.S. President Francis Underwood (Kevin Spacey, pictured) and First Lady Claire Underwood (Robin Wright) steal the spotlight in this politically charged edge-of-the-seat thriller. For the portrayal of the scheming, conniving character, Spacey won his first and only Golden Globe award to date for Best Actor in a TV Drama.
11/44 SLIDES (C) Juan Pablo Gutierrez/Netflix
Narcos (2015- )Genre: Crime drama
While the first two seasons chronicled the rise and fall of notorious Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar (Wagner Moura), the third season revolves around DEA agent Javier Pe±a (Pedro Pascal, pictured) as he takes down the infamous Cali Cartel. The nail-biting thriller has been renewed for its fourth season.
12/44 SLIDES (C) Eric Liebowitz/Netflix
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (2015- )Genre: Comedy
Created by actress Tina Fey and screenwriter Robert Carlock, the popular comedy follows the story of Kimmy Schmidt (Ellie Kemper), survivor of a doomsday cult, who tries to start a new life in New York City with her bright, positive attitude. The critically acclaimed series has been renewed for a fourth season.
13/44 SLIDES (C) Patrick Harbron/Netflix
Daredevil (2015- )Genre: Superhero/crime fiction
The show portrays the story of blind lawyer Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox, pictured), who uses his heightened super senses to fight crime at night, donning the identity of Daredevil. Several Marvel Comics heroes appeared in the series, most notably Punisher (Jon Bernthal), who will have his own spin-off series on Netflix. The third season of ''Daredevil'' will be released in 2018.
14/44 SLIDES (C) Cara Howe/Netflix
Orange Is the New Black (2013- )Genre: Comedy-drama
The critically acclaimed series revolves around Piper Chapman (Taylor Schilling) and her experience during her sentence in a minimum-security women's federal prison. It has been renewed for a sixth and seventh season, with the upcoming one set to start streaming in 2018.
(L-R) Laura Prepon and Schilling in a still from the show.
15/44 SLIDES (C) Murray Close/Netflix
Sense8 (2015- )Genre: Science fiction
The story revolves around eight strangers from different parts of the world, who become ''sensates,'' or human beings who are connected both mentally and emotionally. Even though the show was cancelled after two seasons, incredible fan demand led to the confirmation of a series finale in 2018.
16/44 SLIDES (C) Erik Pendzich/REX/Shutterstock
Jessica Jones (2015- )Genre: Superhero/crime fiction
Another popular Marvel superhero series, ''Jessica Jones'' features Krysten Ritter (pictured) as a former superhero with special powers, who opens her own detective agency. The second season of the dark thriller is slated for a 2018 release.
17/44 SLIDES (C) Netflix
Master of None (2015- )Genre: Comedy-drama
The rib-tickling series is the story of a 30-year old actor Dev (Aziz Ansari), who tries to manage his personal and professional lives through hilarious circumstances, in New York City. With two seasons already out, the show helped Ansari win the Primetime Emmy for outstanding comedy writing two years in a row, shared with Alan Young in 2016 and Lena Waithe in 2017.
18/44 SLIDES (C) Netflix
Luke Cage (2016- )Genre: Superhero/crime fiction
First seen in Season 1 of ''Jessica Jones,'' actor Mike Colter (pictured) wooed the audience with his portrayal of Luke Cage, a former convict with superhuman strength and unbreakable skin. The first season of Cage's very own series was released on Sept. 30, 2016, and the show has been renewed for a second season in 2018.
19/44 SLIDES (C) Netflix/Everett/REX Shutterstock
Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp (2015- )Genre: Comedy
The hilarious Netflix series comes as a prequel to David Wain's cult romantical satire, ''Wet Hot American Summer'' (2001). Most of the film's original cast starred in the series, joined occasionally by popular guest stars like Chris Pine, Jon Hamm, Kristen Wiig and more. It led to a sequel series, ''Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later,'' released in 2017.
(Pictured) Christopher Meloni in a still from the show.
20/44 SLIDES (C) Netflix/Everett/REX Shutterstock
Grace and Frankie (2015- )Genre: Comedy-drama
The show follows the story of Grace Hanson (L) and Frankie Bergstein (Lily Tomlin), who strike an unlikely friendship after their husbands reveal they have been romantically involved for over 20 years. A fourth season of the show is set to premiere in 2018.
21/44 SLIDES (C) Netflix
Bloodline (2015- )Genre: Thriller
The popular dark thriller series aired its third and final season in May 2017. The show follows the story of John Rayburn (Kyle Chandler, pictured) and his family as his notorious brother, Danny (Ben Mendelsohn), returns from a hiatus to reveal the dark secrets of the Rayburns. Mendelsohn won a Primetime Emmy for Best Guest Actor in a Drama Series in 2017.
22/44 SLIDES (C) Netflix
The Mr. Peabody & Sherman Show (2015-)Genre: Animation/comedy
The popular animated series from the '60s ''The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show'' featured a segment called ''Peabody's Improbable History.'' The popularity of the lead character in the segment, a genius-intellect dog named Mr. Peabody, lead to a 2014 film, ''Mr. Peabody & Sherman.'' In 2015, Mr. Peabody (voiced by Chris Parnell) got his very own Netflix series, where he hosts a TV variety show with larger-than-life characters, like James Madison and the Bigfoot, as his guests.
23/44 SLIDES (C) Netflix
Flaked (2016- )Genre: Comedy
Created by actor Will Arnett (pictured) and screenwriter Mark Chappell, ''Flaked'' follows the story of a self-help guru, Chip, whose struggles to keep up his know-all personality have hysterical outcomes.
24/44 SLIDES (C) Sarah Shatz/Netflix
The Defenders (2017)Genre: Superhero/crime fiction
Jessica Jones, Iron Fist (Finn Jones, 2nd from L), Daredevil and Luke Cage reluctantly team up in this epic crossover series, as they take on a villainous outfit, the Hand, to protect New York City.
25/44 SLIDES (C) Netflix
The Get Down (2016- )Genre: Drama/musical
Set in the 1970s Bronx neighborhood of New York, the show chronicles the rise of disco and hip-hop from the perspective of a group of teenagers. The second and final part was released in April 2017.
(Pictured) Justice Smith in a still from the show.
26/44 SLIDES (C) Moviestore/REX/Shutterstock
Mad Men (2007-15)Genre: Drama
Created by Matthew Weiner, the series is set in the cutthroat world of New York advertising in the 1960s as talented executives, led by Don Draper (Jon Hamm) take the industry by storm. It also features Elisabeth Moss, Vincent Kartheiser, January Jones, Christina Hendricks and others.
27/44 SLIDES (C) Jackson Davis/Netflix
Ozark (2017- )It is about a financial planner Marty Byrde (Jason Bateman, pictured) who secretly moves with his family from Chicago to the Ozarks, in Missouri, following a money laundering scheme that goes wrong. The show has been renewed for another season.
28/44 SLIDES (C) Frank Ockenfels/Warner Bros TV/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock
Gilmore Girls (2000-07)Genre: Comedy/Drama
It centers on single mother Lorelai Gilmore (Lauren Graham, R) and her relationship with her teen daughter, Rory (Alexis Bledel, L), whom she had conceived when she was 16.
29/44 SLIDES (C) Michele K. Short/AMC/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock
Better Call Saul (2015- )Genre: Crime/Drama
A spin-off of ''Breaking Bad'''--which features the parent show's doubtful lawyer Saul Goodman played by Bob Odenkirk (pictured). The story follows the life of the criminal lawyer called James Morgan ''Jimmy'' McGill (Odenkirk), that takes place six years before ''Breaking Bad'' began.
30/44 SLIDES (C) Robert Viglasky/Netflix
Peaky Blinders (2013- )Genre: Crime/Drama
It is about the Peaky Blinders criminal gang, led by Tommy Shelby (Cillian Murphy, pictured) in 1919 Birmingham, U.K. The other main character in the series is Inspector Chester Campbell (Sam Neill), who is hired as a commissioned detective for the suppression of the gang.
31/44 SLIDES (C) Doug Hyun/AMC
Breaking Bad (2008-13)Genre: Crime/Drama/Thriller
Walter White (Bryan Cranston, pictured) is a high school chemistry teacher who gets diagnosed with an inoperable cancer. To ensure a secure future for his family, he takes on a new career path as a meth producer.
32/44 SLIDES (C) Ali Goldstein/NBC-TV/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock
30 Rock (2006-13)Genre: Comedy
The show was loosely based on Tina Fey's experience on the set of ''Saturday Night Live.'' It stars Fey as Liz Lemon'--headwriter of fictitious show ''TGS with Tracy Jordan'''--managing her relationship with the star Tracy Jordan (Tracy Morgan) and the network executive (Alec Baldwin) of the show.
33/44 SLIDES (C) FX
American Crime Story (2016- )Genre: Biography/Crime/Drama
An anthology series in which each season focuses on a real-life story. The first season presented the murder trial of O. J. Simpson, the upcoming second season is about the assassination of designer Gianni Versace by serial killer Andrew Cunanan.
34/44 SLIDES (C) FX
Archer (2009- )Genre: Animation, Action, Comedy
The animated series revolves around the life and exploits of an international spy Sterling Archer.
35/44 SLIDES (C) Netflix
Chef's Table (2015-17)Genre: Documentary
In this documentary web series, each episode focuses on the life and kitchen of a renowned chef.
(Pictured) A still from the show.
36/44 SLIDES (C) NBCU Photo Bank/Getty Images
Cheers (1982''93)Created by James Burrows, Glen Charles, and Les Charles, the American sitcom had a successful run of 11 seasons. It's set in a Boston bar called Cheers where a group of regulars meet and share their life experiences.
(Pictured) Ted Danson and Rhea Perlman in a still from the show.
37/44 SLIDES (C) Bryn Colton/Daily Mail/REX/Shutterstock
Fawlty Towers (1975''79)Genre: Comedy
The sitcom is set in the fictional hotel called Fawlty Towers. It focuses on the arrogant and rude owner of the hotel, Basil Fawlty (John Cleese) and his bossy wife Sybil (Prunella Scales). In order to raise their hotel's profile, the couple ends up getting involved in silly situations.
(Pictured) Scales, Connie Booth, Cleese and Andrew Sachs in a still from the show.
38/44 SLIDES (C) NBC-TV/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock
Friday Night Lights (2006-11)Genre: Drama/Sports
The trials and tribulations of a high-school football team in a Texas small town are captured extremely well in this sports drama.
(Pictured) Kyle Chandler in a still from the show.
39/44 SLIDES (C) Chris Haston/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images
Freaks and Geeks (1999-2000)Genre: Comedy/Drama
The short-lived series is about a group of high school students. Linda Cardellini starred in the series as Lindsay Weir'--a shy ''mathlete'' who goes on to become one of the school's slacker ''freaks'' after she befriends a group of misfits.
(Pictured) Cardellini and Jason Segel in a still from the show.
40/44 SLIDES (C) Netflix
Luther (2010- )Genre: Crime/Drama/Mystery
Created by Neil Cross, the series stars Idris Elba (pictured) in the title character of DCI John Luther '-- a dedicated police detective who is obsessive about his work. Elba's incredible performance on the show has earned him several accolades, including Critics Choice Television Award, Golden Globe Award and Screen Actors Guild Award.
41/44 SLIDES (C) Frank Ockenfels/Dutch Oven/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock
Suits (2011- )Genre: Comedy/Drama
Created and written by Aaron Korsh, the show revolves around Mike Ross (Patrick J. Adams, L), a college-dropout, who finds a job as a law associate with one of New York City's best lawyer'--Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht, R).
42/44 SLIDES (C) Erica Parise/Netflix/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock
Glow (2017- )Genre: Comedy/Drama/Sport
The show focuses on the personal and professional lives of a group of women who perform for a wrestling association'--the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling (or GLOW).
(Pictured) Alison Brie in a still from the show.
43/44 SLIDES (C) Netflix/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock
Black Mirror (2011- )Genre: Drama/Sci-Fi/Thriller
Created by Charlie Brooker, the sci-fi anthology series focuses on the dark side of modern society and new technologies.
(Pictured) Bryce Dallas Howard in a still from the show.
44/44 SLIDES (C) Hartswood Films/REX/Shutterstock
Sherlock (2010- )Genre: Crime/Drama/Mystery
The Emmy award-winning series is based on the ''Sherlock Holmes'' detective stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. English actor Benedict Cumberbatch (L) plays the titular role and Martin Freeman (R) appears as Dr. John Watson.
MORE FROM VULTURE.COM Here's Your Complete List of the 2018 SAG Award Winners Vulture.comCatherine Zeta-Jones Praises Her 'Articulate' Husband, Michael Douglas, Over His Misconduct Denials Vulture.comGod Save Paul Bettany, Who's Reportedly in Talks to Play The Crown's Prince Philip Vulture.com Vulture.com
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THE WATER WAR IN CAPE TOWN CAPE TOWN | ''We have 121 days left of usable water in our dams,'' warned Mayor Patricia de Lille. She will now ask Western Cape Environment MEC Anton Bredell for the city to be declared a disaster area, so that it can institu
Mon, 22 Jan 2018 11:15
THE WATER WAR IN CAPE TOWN
CAPE TOWN | ''We have 121 days left of usable water in our dams,'' warned Mayor Patricia de Lille. She will now ask Western Cape Environment MEC Anton Bredell for the city to be declared a disaster area, so that it can institute emergency measures.
''We are in a very serious crisis,'' said De Lille, adding the average dam level was at 23% on Monday.
She warned that if dam levels dipped below the 10% mark, water shedding would be implemented, similar to what Eskom did when it was battling to provide enough electricity. She said the 3B restrictions would be intensified, meaning all garden watering will be stopped, and exemptions would be withdrawn.
She said some Capetonians were unfazed, despite tough water restrictions. ''Just last week we were still issuing fines to people washing their cars with potable water, people using a sprinkler to water their gardens outside of the designated times, and people using drinking water to wash down hard surfaces,'' De Lille reported. Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille, law enforcement officer Gershwin Maxim, water inspector Basil van Rooy and Pinelands councillor Brian Watkyns visited some residences in Pinelands.
Mayor Patricia de Lille said the City had issued 36 fines for contraventions of Level 3B restrictions over the past week. The fines ranged from R500 to R2 000, and were issued in 19 areas including Blackberry Mall, Strandfontein; Van der Heever Street, Kuils River; a building site in Mitchells Plain, Riebeeck Street in the CBD, and a building site in Duinefontein Road, Heideveld, among other areas.
She said the City continued to monitor the water usage of the top 20 000 water consumers in formal residences, as well as commercial, industrial and government properties in all suburbs.
''During this time of drought, we have appealed to all residents, businesses and government departments to work with the City of Cape Town to conserve water. Reducing consumption is the key intervention during a time of drought, as international best practice shows,'' said De Lille. ''No one is escaping our efforts to see to it that consumption is reduced voluntarily, or forcibly, if required. We have such great water ambassadors in every suburb, but we have many rotten apples as well, who are spoiling all of our efforts to conserve water.''
Not so, say the the City of Cape Town's top two water wasters, who claim the City is the biggest culprit of them all.
On Tuesday, Cape Town mayor Patricia De Lille named and shamed 100 residences that used the most water in Cape Town. but unfortunately it quickly backfired on the City.
In Haywood Road, Crawford, where the ''No.1 water waster'' was said to have used a whopping 702 000 litres of water in just one month, only two old people lived at this particular residence, there was no garden and the pool was nearly empty.
A pensioner, who lives at the property, blamed their high bill on a burst water pipe last month. ''I don't know how we could have used so much water when we are trying to save as much water as we can,'' she said.
''We have stopped using the dishwasher and placed buckets in the sink so we can reuse the water for some pot plants we have. We haven't filled the pool and it is close to empty by now and I have no garden as my entire yard is paved.
''In the first week of February, I had a leakage problem in my front yard and it was running for an entire day. When the council finally came out the man told me with a laugh, 'your property, your problem'.
''I had to let my insurance company send someone out to fix the problem. They also had to fix the piping in the ground because apparently my water meter was running down fast, but I had nothing running in the house
''I am a pensioner and have been living here for the past 29 years and I have never received such an exorbitant bill ever.''
Number two on the water wasters' list is a residence in Manenberg Avenue, Manenberg, whose meter showed a massive 655 000 litres of water was used last month.
Manenberg Avenue is made up of maisonettes and blocks of flats. There are no swimming pools or gardens, but plenty of leaking pipes.
Resident Martha Thuysma, 64, said her water meter is so faulty she literally turns her water off to stop her house from flooding.
''At night I have to put my water off because of this faulty water meter,'' she said. ''We all have the same problem here, faulty meters and leaking pipes from the bathroom.
''If I do not put my water off at night I will wake up to a house flooded with water. It has happened many times already.
''My daughter called how many times to town's office, but nothing. Hulle praat so van (They talk about) water saving, but they don't come to fix when there is water leaking. I'm still paying a bill of R2 000 because of leakages; I'm afraid to see what the bill will be now.''
Another resident in Manenberg Avenue, Badroeniesa Ely, 55, said she lives alone, but received a water bill of almost R5 000.
Ely said. ''I live alone; my husband and children are dead. I work three times a week and the rest of the time I look after my sick sister-in-law. I literally only come home to sleep. Nou waar kan ek so klomp water gebruik het? (So how can I be using so much water?)''
The other water wasters who make up the top five on the list are: Boundary Road, Lansdowne, who used 557 000 litres; Upper Hillwood Road, Bishop's Court who used 554 000 litres; and a Bishop's Court residence in Norwich Drive who used 500 000 litres.
on Wednesday morning, while speaking to Aden Thomas on Heart FM, De Lille's spokeswoman Zara Nicholson admitted some people were wrongfully blamed. She said officials would now be sent to all high consumers to get to the heart of the matter.
''On 28 February, a report came through that an underground leak has been found in Haywood Road,'' she explained. It's something that is being looked into. Officials will be going out to all those houses to see for any underground leaks.''
Cape Town's Water Crisis Day Zero: The Day the Taps Run Dry | Time
Mon, 22 Jan 2018 11:10
After three years of unprecedented drought, the South African city of Cape Town has less than 90 days worth of water in its reservoirs, putting it on track to be the first major city in the world to run out of water. Unless residents drastically cut down on daily use, warns Cape Town Mayor Patricia De Lille, taps in the seaside metropolis of four million will soon run dry. On April 22, to be exact. Here's what to know:
The date is just a scare tactic, surely?Nope. Day Zero, as it is called, is real, and is calculated every week based on current reservoir capacity and daily consumption. On Jan. 8 Mayor De Lille revised the date down from April 29, based on a citywide uptick in daily usage. The city won't literally run dry; in most cases, reservoirs can't be drained to the last drop, as silt and debris make the last 10% of a dam's water unusable. City authorities have decided that once the dams reach 13.5% capacity, municipal water supply will be turned off for all but essential services, like hospitals.
What happens when the taps are turned off?Cape Town enters Mad Max territory (well, almost). Residents will have to go to one of some 200 municipal water points throughout the city where they can collect a maximum of 25 liters (6.6 gallons) a day. Armed guards will be standing by to keep the peace and prevent anyone from taking more than their share. Of course, the truly wealthy will be protected. The local version of Craigslist is already full of listings for companies wiling to truck in tankers full of water from less drought-prone parts of the country, for a price.
What steps are residents taking?The city has capped household water usage at 87 liters (23 gallons) per person, per day. For most homes, that means keeping showers under 2 minutes, no watering the garden or washing the car, refraining from flushing the toilet unless absolutely necessary, recycling bathing water where possible and severely limiting dishwasher and washing machine use. Water storage tanks are already on backorder, unwashed hair is now a symbol of upright citizenship, and public restrooms are festooned with admonishments to ''let it mellow.''
Are the self-imposed limits working?Not really. According to city statistics, only 54% of residents are hitting their target, one of the reasons why Day Zero was moved forward a week earlier this year. But the city has few options for punishing individual water abusers and ensuring compliance, so everyone pays the price.
Didn't anyone see this coming?Yes and no. City planners have long pointed out that Cape Town's water capacity hasn't kept up with population growth, which has nearly doubled over the past 20 years. Still, a three-year drought on this scale is a ''once a millennium'' event, say climatologists, and even the best-planned water system would have taken a hit under current conditions. Now the city is playing catch up, hastily (and expensively) installing desalination plants and looking into groundwater extraction. But it's unlikely any of those systems will be brought online before Day Zero, or even before the rainy season is due to start up again in May (if indeed it does). These systems are unlikely to go to waste, however. Climate change researchers predict more frequent dry years and fewer wet years to come. More likely, they say, Capetonians are just getting a preview of the new normal.
Passagier boos op schaarsgeklede stewardessen: 'Ik kon haar borsten zien' | Buitenland | Telegraaf.nl
Mon, 22 Jan 2018 10:27
Dokter June Robertson, afkomstig uit het Nieuw-Zeelandse Wellington, vliegt voor haar werk zo'n twee keer per jaar naar Maleisi. De vrouw was zo boos geworden tijdens haar laatste vlucht dat ze besloot senator Hanafi Mamat uit Maleisi een brief te sturen, aldus de Malysian Digesty.
'Walgelijk''žIk ben erg beledigd door de extreem rokjes die de stewardessen van AirAsia dragen. Dit vind ik walgelijk. Niet iedereen kan dit op prijs stellen'', schrijft de vrouw van middelbare leeftijd in de brief die ze ook op Facebook heeft gezet.
Het begin van de brief.
''¸ Facebook
Zo omschrijft Robertson ook een incident in een supermarkt op het vliegveld van Kuala Lumpur. 'žEen van de vrouwen van AirAsia boog voorover en ik kon haar ondergoed zien. Verschrikkelijk!''
'Kan je je jasje dichtdoen?'Ook vertelde ze over het incident afgelopen oktober toen ze van Auckland naar Kuala Lumpur vloog waar ze een stewardess vroeg of ze zichzelf kon bedekken.'žDe vrouw die ons bediende in de business class had haar blouse geopend en ik kon de bovenkant van haar borsten zien. Ik tekende bewaar aan en vroeg haar of ze haar jasje dicht kon doen terwijl ze zich over ons heen aan het buigen was.''
Robertson eindigt haar brief met dat ze het fijn vindt dat vrouwen in Maleisi niet als prostituees zijn gekleed en dat mensen veel respect hebben voor elkaar. De dokter heeft er geen problemen mee hoe de mannen van AirAsia zijn gekleed.
'Uniformen die voldoen aan de Sharia'Senator Mamat heeft zich inmiddels uitgesproken over de uniformen van de stewardessen. Hij heeft voorgesteld of vrouwen niet uniformen zouden kunnen dragen die voldoen aan de Sharia, dit om toeristen niet het verkeerde idee te geven over Maleisi.
Mamat beweert ook dat passagiers 'žopgewonden'' zouden kunnen raken van de huidige uniformen van de stewardessen van AirAsia.
Was Lynch coordinating with Comey in the Clinton investigation? | TheHill
Mon, 22 Jan 2018 00:24
Former Attorney General Loretta Lynch knew well in advance of FBI Director James Comey's 2016 press conference that he would recommend against charging Hillary Clinton, according to information turned over to the Senate Homeland Security Committee on Friday.
The revelation was included in 384 pages of text messages exchanged between FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, and it significantly diminishes the credibility of Lynch's earlier commitment to accept Comey's recommendation - a commitment she made under the pretense that the two were not coordinating with each other.
And it gets worse. Comey and Lynch reportedly knew that Clinton would never face charges even before the FBI conducted its three-hour interview with Clinton, which was supposedly meant to gather more information into her mishandling of classified information.
On July 1, 2016, as the Lynch announcement became public, Page texted Strzok:
Page: And yeah, it's a real profile in couragw [sic], since she knows no charges will be brought.
There are other revelations within the text messages. But in the cover letter accompanying them, the FBI notified Congress that many additional text messages are missing. According to the FBI, its "technical system for retaining text messages sent and received on FBI mobile devices failed to preserve text messages for Mr. Strzok and Ms. Page from December 14, 2016 to approximately to [sic] May 17, 2017."
The reason?
(M)any FBI-provided Samsung 5 mobile devices did not capture or store text messages due to misconfiguration issues related to rollouts, provisioning, and software upgrades that conflicted with the FBI's collection capabilities. The result was that data that should have been automatically collected and retained for long-term storage and retrieval was not collected.
In a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray sent yesterday, the head of the Senate Homeland Security Committee Ron Johnson, a Republican from Wisconsin, called the loss of records "concerning."
Strzok and Page communicated in a voluminous fashion via text message while allegedly having an illicit affair. Strzok was a key figure in the Hillary Clinton exoneration and reportedly interviewed President Trump's former national security adviser Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn (which resulted in Flynn pleading guilty to lying to the FBI). Until last summer, Strzok and Page were both members of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team investigating the allegations of collusion between Russia and Trump's campaign. Neither has been accused of wrongdoing.
The text messages seem to indicate that some within the FBI were making investigatory decisions based on Trump's ascendancy among the Republican field of presidential candidates. On May 4, 2016 Strzok and Page had the following text message exchange:
Page: And holy shit Cruz just dropped out of the race. It's going to be a Clinton Trump race. Unbelievable.
Strzok: What?!?!??
Page: You heard it right my friend.
Strzok: I saw trump won, figured it would be a bit...Now the pressure really starts to finish MYE...
Page: It sure does. We need to talk about follow up call tomorrow.
"MYE" stands for "midyear exam" and was the FBI case name for the Clinton email investigation.
The text exchanges also indicate the FBI substituted, and then omitted, damaging language in FBI Director Comey's July 5, 2016 statement that recommended Clinton not be charged. The original draft noted that Clinton had improperly used personal email to contact President Obama while abroad in the territory of sophisticated adversaries. According to the text exchange, an FBI official then removed President Obama's name and stated that Clinton had simply emailed "another senior government official." In the final statement as delivered by Comey on July 5, both references were omitted entirely.
Other texts suggest Strzok and Page intended to subvert rules governing preservation of their discussions about FBI matters. In April of 2016, Page texted:
Page: so look, you say we text on that phone when we talk about Hillary because it can't be traced...
In previous text messages produced to the House of Representatives, Strzok and Page discussed needing an "insurance policy" in the event Trump were to become president. The newest batch of text messages turned over on Friday show that in February of 2016, Page texted Strzok that then-candidate Trump "simply can not [sic] be president."
Any neutral observer would have to be concerned about supposed missing evidence from a premier law enforcement and intel collection agency as well as the types of discussions and conflicts of interest apparently at issue with key officials within the FBI. It's one more piece of a developing story that unfortunately points to alleged misconduct by some at top levels in our intelligence community. If the allegations bear out, it could have huge implications for a number of investigations handled by the officials in question over the past decade - not just cases related to the 2016 campaign.
The FBI did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Sharyl Attkisson (@SharylAttkisson) is an Emmy-award winning investigative journalist, author of The New York Times bestsellers "The Smear" and "Stonewalled," and host of Sinclair's Sunday TV program "Full Measure."
Planned Parenthood Paid Left-Wing Firm to Get Media to Report Videos Were "Highly Edited" | LifeNews.com
Sun, 21 Jan 2018 23:20
There is an old saying, ''You get what you pay for.'' That adage held true in the recent disclosure by Planned Parenthood that they hired the radical leftist firm, Fusion GPS, to produce an analysis of incriminating videos released by the Center for Medical Progress favorable to Planned Parenthood.
''There's no doubt that Planned Parenthood got what they paid for, which was an 'analysis' that could be used by their supporters in the main stream media as fodder for a propaganda campaign against the Center for Medical Progress,'' said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue. Newman also serves on the Board of the Center for Medical Progress.
That report was prominently referred to in an 11-page letter sent yesterday by Planned Parenthood's CEO Cecile Richards to Congressional leadership.
A close reading of that letter actually verifies allegations made by the Center for Medical Progress while the Fusion GPS reports admits that there was no audio alterations in the videos.
''The Planned Parenthood executives featured in the videos say what they say and Planned Parenthood can try to spin it all they want, but the truth remains that Planned Parenthood received financial consideration for human fetal remains '' and sometimes intact fetuses '' and did in fact alter abortion procedures to ensure organs or bodies would be suitable for sale. These acts are crimes for which Planned Parenthood officials should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,'' said Newman.
Fusion GPS is a Democratic opposition research firm that, according to the Weekly Standard, ''has a history of harassing socially conservative Republican donors, possibly on behalf of the Obama campaign. In fact, Fusion GPS admitted in its ''report'' that it ''conducted preliminary research into the CMP organization and its personnel.''
''In reality, Fusion GPS is nothing more than a lackey for the pro-abortion, pro-Planned Parenthood Democratic party that was hired to dig up the dirt on the CMP and its members and make their new boss, Planned Parenthood look good,'' said Newman. ''They have more credibility issues than Hillary Clinton!''
SIGN THE PETITION! Congress Must De-Fund Planned Parenthood Immediately
More about Fusion GPS and its shady background is available here from LifeSiteNews.com.
David Daleiden, head of the Center for Medical Policy issued a formal statement regarding what he has called Fusion GPS's ''failed 'analysis''' of the undercover videos.
Planned Parenthood's desperate, 11th-hour attempt to pay their hand-picked ''experts'' to distract from the crimes documented on video is a complete failure. The absence of bathroom breaks and waiting periods between meetings does not change the hours of dialogue with top-level Planned Parenthood executives eager to manipulate abortion procedures to get high-quality baby parts for financially profitable sale. While even Planned Parenthood's ''experts'' found ''no evidence of audio manipulation'' in the recordings, it is telling that Planned Parenthood is trying so hard to pretend that their staff did not refer to a dismembered fetus as ''a baby'' and ''another boy.'' Planned Parenthood's abortion providers are far more honest about the brutal reality of their work than the paid political consultants at the national office. If Planned Parenthood really wants to disprove the now-overwhelming body of evidence that their affiliates traffic in baby body parts, they should release their fetal tissue contracts with the for-profit company StemExpress for law enforcement, Congress, and all the world to see.
As for the Richards letter to Congressional leadership, it bears a certain tone of desperation that also has serious credibility issues. Her claim that just 1% of Planned Parenthood's affiliates are involved with ''fetal tissue research'' is misleading.
Since the first CMP video was released in July, many of the Planned Parenthood affiliates have either halted participation in the selling of fetal remains or had procurement contracts terminated by StemExpress, a biotech tissue procurement company featured in the most recent CMP video. Prior to the release of the video series, Planned Parenthood participation was much larger and growing.
CLICK LIKE IF YOU'RE PRO-LIFE!
Daleiden released the following statement regarding Richard's letter:
Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards makes two key admissions today in Planned Parenthood's letter to Congress: that Planned Parenthood gets paid $60 per baby body part harvested, and that Planned Parenthood doctors alter their abortion procedures to get higher-quality body parts. Both of these admissions speak to Planned Parenthood's financial benefit and profit motive for supplying fetal tissue, and both are the points CMP's videos have documented and illustrated from the very beginning. When a Tissue Procurement Organization handles all dissection, packaging, and shipping of fetal organs, and all Planned Parenthood does is spend 10 minutes consenting a patient, the $60 per body part harvested quickly adds up to illegal baby parts profit for Planned Parenthood. And when a Planned Parenthood doctor manipulates the abortion to get higher-quality baby parts, they are prizing Planned Parenthood's financial interests ahead of women's health.
SIGN THE PETITION! Congress Must Investigate Planned Parenthood for Selling Aborted Baby Parts
''It's obvious that Planned Parenthood officials will say anything and twist anything at this point to stay out of jail. Their denials are just like those of every other criminal that claims innocence to save themselves from prison sentences,'' said Newman. ''The videos portray an accurate picture of Planned Parenthood's greedy and illegal involvement in the selling of human fetal remains as well as the dangerous exploitation of women by altering their procedures in order to make an extra buck. We continue to call for criminal prosecutions in very jurisdiction where Planned Parenthood was involved in this illicit activity.''
LifeNews.com Note: Cheryl Sullenger is a leader of Operation Rescue, a pro-life that monitors abortion practitioners and exposes their illegal and unethical practices.
Number of Late-term Abortion Facilities in the USA May Surprise You
Sun, 21 Jan 2018 22:45
By Cheryl Sullenger
Washington, D.C. '-- When Marist polled the American public on the subject of late-term abortion in November 2015, the results were striking.
A full 81% of Americans support banning abortion after the first trimester of pregnancy. Even among those who identify themselves as ''pro-choice,'' two-thirds oppose second and third trimester abortions to the extent that they agree they should be illegal.
Clearly, based on the unpopularity of late-term abortions, one might conclude that the number of abortion facilities that conduct these abortion procedures would be very small.
However, according to a survey conducted by Operation Rescue in December 2015 through January 2016, the actual number might be surprising.
First, however, it is important to clarify terms.
A human pregnancy lasts 40 weeks. A baby in the womb is considered to be full-term at 37 weeks.
The first trimester of pregnancy extends through the first 12 weeks of gestation. Surgical abortion facilities often classify first trimester abortions as those done through the end of 13 weeks. Surgical abortions within this time frame can be done using a one-day procedure.
Abortions done after this time usually require a two day procedure or more depending on the size of the pre-born baby. (Read a description of the late-term Induction Abortion method.)
The term ''late-term abortion'' can refer to all second and third trimester abortions, but since there is currently a Congressional effort to ban abortion after 20 weeks, references here to ''late term abortion facilities'' will mean those that conduct abortions at 20 weeks of pregnancy and later.
In the United States, as of this writing, there are 511 active surgical abortion facilities.
Of those, 162 surgical abortion clinics conduct abortions at 20 weeks gestation or later. Out of the 162 late-term facilities, 122 facilities, about 76%, will not provide abortions after 24 weeks.
Despite research that shows viability may occur as early as 22 weeks, abortion businesses consider viability at 24 weeks of pregnancy. There are 40 abortion facilities in America that openly do abortions at 24 weeks or later.
It may be surprising to know that the vast majority of abortion facilities that offer abortions at 20 weeks or later are not affiliated with Planned Parenthood. Only 18 out of 162 late-term facilities are Planned Parenthood facilities. The remainder, 144 facilities, are independent or have other affiliations.
Five abortion facilities openly conduct abortions throughout all nine months of pregnancy. These extreme late-term abortion facilities include:
' Southwestern Women's Options in Albuquerque, New Mexico
' Pro-Choice Medical Center in Beverly Hills, California
' Boulder Abortion Clinic in Boulder, Colorado
' Germantown Reproductive Health Services in Germantown, Maryland
' Women's Med Center in Kettering, Ohio, a suburb of Dayton
Since abortion risks to women increase for each week of pregnancy it is important to note that all five of these facilities are not equipped to deal with those consequences, which are all-too frequently life-threatening in nature.
Thus, late-term abortions pose a grave public safety risk to women in this country, who often don't find out until they are on a gurney in the back of an ambulance just how dangerous late-term abortions can be.
But the risks only increase when the abortionists operate under the radar '' some illegally '-- quietly doing late-term abortions that are not publicly advertised.
Such was the case with Kermit Gosnell, a West Philadelphia abortionist who quietly conducted illegal late-term abortions throughout the evening and into the early morning hours, unbeknownst to the general public, at his ''House of Horrors'' abortion facility. Gosnell was caught and convicted not only of illegal late-term abortions, but also three counts of first degree murder for ''snipping'' the necks of babies born alive during late-term abortions.
But Gosnell certainly is not the only abortionist to play fast and loose with the legal limits on late-term abortions.
Steven Chase Brigham made a practice of committing illegal late-term abortions. He used a bi-state abortion scheme in an attempt to circumvent gestational limits on abortion in his home state of New Jersey. This dangerous behavior cost him medical licenses in New York and later in New Jersey, but that hasn't stopped New Jersey residents from spotting him at his clinics on abortion days. Is Brigham still conducting abortions illegally? It would not be surprising to find out that he was.
Also known for illegal late-term abortions is James Scott Pendergraft IV, who was caught by Operation Rescue operating a bi-state late-term abortion scheme similar to Brigham's, but with a twist. Pendergraft, who lives in Florida, advertised that he would fly to Maryland where he would oversee the injection of late-term babies with a drug called Digoxin to stop their hearts. He was then willing to send women home while dangerously still carrying their dead babies, which could then be ''delivered'' at a local hospital of their choice.
But what Pendergraft never told his patients was that he was not licensed to practice in Maryland. While the Maryland Board of Physicians broke up Pendergraft's illegal late-term operation and put his accomplice, Harold O. Alexander, on a short suspension, it didn't stop Pendergraft or Alexander from conducting late-term abortions illegally.
Pendergraft was arrested in October, 2015, in South Carolina '' when he is also unlicensed '' operating an illegal rolling abortion business out of his vehicle. Authorities discovered drugs and bloody surgical instruments in his possession that were caked with fetal tissue. His criminal case is pending.
Meanwhile, Operation Rescue has confirmed that Alexander continues to do late-term abortions through 26 weeks even though the Maryland Board of Physicians filed an Administrative Complaint against him for this illicit practice in July, 2015, and is seeking to revoke his medical license in that state.
From this we can conclude that there are an unknown number of abortionists in American who offer late-term abortions in secret and perhaps illegally at great risk to the lives of women and their babies that the laws of our nation should protect.
While the public soundly rejects late-term abortions, the number of late-term abortion facilities that openly commit such barbaric procedures certainly does not reflect that sentiment. Worse yet is the fact that the number of known late-term facilities is low compared to what actually transpires in the shadows of the secretive American abortion industry.
This problem is a case in point for a Federal ban on late-term abortions, tight abortion restrictions, greater oversight of abortion facilities, and strict enforcement of abortion laws.
On Tuesday, March 15, 2016, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee is conducting a hearing on entitled ''Late-Term Abortion: Protecting Babies Born Alive and Capable of Pain.'' That testimony will be of great interest to those of us who work to expose late-term abortion abuses and halt that grisly practice as we move toward the goal of building an abortion-free America.
View the live stream beginning at 10:00 a.m. Eastern on March 15 of the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on late-term abortions.
Note: Karen Myers contributed to this report.
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VIDEO - DAVOS 2018 LIVE: Gentiloni, Merkel and Macron at World Economic Forum | World | News | Express.co.uk
Wed, 24 Jan 2018 15:07
Mr Gentiloni said the populist right-wing parties standing in the upcoming election would cause disruption to reforms of Italy.
The huge gathering of the world's political elite steps up a gear on day two with addresses from the leader of Italy, with Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron to feature later this afternoon.
A whole host of leaders are joining the four-day Swiss forum with Theresa May and Donald Trump among those attempting to have their say and steer global policy.
But some have faced trouble even getting to the event with snowfall higher at the resort than at any time since 1999.
GETTY/REUTERS
Major world leaders will address Davos today Related articles Liam Fox reveals EU CONTINUES to invest in UK as London keeps top spot Davos: Banks 'don't even have a plan A' for another financial crisis There is a ring of steel at the event with thousands of soliders guarding the resort, but that did not stop a group of anti-Trump protesters breaking through last night for a noisy demonstration.
Yesterday, Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau made waves with an apparent swipe of Donald Trump by announcing a new agreement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership
The member countries of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTTP), also known as TPP 11, reached a basic agreement on the pact in November.
Last year Donald Trump abandoned the talks, prompting fears the deal could be bogged down by resistance from Canada.
Please follow Express.co.uk for live updates on the the second day of Davos below..
GETTY
The WEF is underway in Davos 2:15pm: Disappointment for Jean-Claude Juncker fans
Jean-Claude Juncker had been expected to arrive at Davos tomorrow, but he's feeling poorly.
The European Commission President has stomach flu, according to his official spokesman.
It deprives Theresa May of a rare chance to corner him on the sidelines over Brexit.
2:00pm: Merkel 'wants partnership with UK'
Mrs Merkel insisted Europe wanted to maintain a close relationship with the EU, but insisted once again it could not be at the expense of freedom of movement.
She said: ''Let me say for Germany, but also for all of us, we want to have a good partnership with Britain in the future.
''It's in their hands how close they want this partnership to be.''
A full round-up of her speech is here.
1:45pm: Merkel calls for shared foreign policy
She tells the audience a shared foreign and defence policy will help the EU "take our destiny into our own hands".
And she says the EU can no longer rely on the US who now "concentrate on themselves and their own security".
1:32pm: Angela Merkel takes the stage
Angela Merkel is on her feet talking about the spirit of global cooperation and an open world trade system.
She admits polarisation is something that is visible in her own country following the economic and migration crises.
But she says: ''Germany wishes to be a country that will lend its contribution to solve the problems of the world together.''
She also speaks out against protectionism, a common theme of this summit that is being seen as a criticism of Donald Trump.
Angela Merkel at Davos 1:25pm: "Be stronger as Europe"
Quizzed about his message for Donald Trump, Mr Gentiloni said the President was very welcome at Davos.
He said the President's protectionist ''America first'' protectionist policy was understandable but ''obviously there's a limit''.
He said people have to keep the free trade system functioning ''without disrupting what has given us all this potential''.
The Italian said: ''Europe is not there to give our opinion on what the elected President of the US decides.
''Europe has an enormous trade force, economic force but not yet a sufficiently strong political decision.
''This is the opportunity for the next month to relaunch a political role of the main European countries or all the European countries.''
He urged the bloc: ''Be stronger as Europe.''
1:15pm: Italy's migartion policy will not change
Asked about how big a role migration will play in he country's upcoming election, the Italian leader said the impact was ''very, very strong''.
He said: ''It is very strong in very single country perhaps without taking into account the numbers of migrants and the real flows.
''How much did the migration issue the vote in the UK about the EU? A lot.''
He said: ''It is important we don;t give up our principles so we save lives of those who cross the sea. We are not closing our ports.''
He admitted it was a ''costly'' political decision but said that it was not going to change.
1:05pm: Critics of the EU "have lost"
Paulo Gentiloni said this year ''we have the unprecedented chance to relaunch the EU'' after the "perfect storm" of the Brexit vote and migrant crisis.
He said: ''Those who have bet on a final crisis in the EU have clearly lost.''
He says there must be a stronger political union on the continent and warned populism gives the wrong answers to the right questions.
1:00pm: "We have to manage crises"
Mr Gentiloni is talking up the Italian economy, saying his government is ''doing its best'' to improve the country's business environment.
He admits the nation has a ''long way to go'' in its reforms but says the programme he has put in place must continue.
Talking about migration, he says: ''We have to manage crises while at the same time go deeper and tackle the root cause of the phenomena causing the crisis.''
Paulo Gentiloni at Davos 12:50pm: Speeches loom
Paulo Gentiloni is about to make his speech to the hall.
The Italian leader will be followed by Angela Merkel.
11:30am: Brexit 'not a good choice for UK'
In his interview this morning, Paolo Gentiloni was bullish about the pro-EU sentiment of Italians and said they recognised Brexit is ''not a good choice'' for the UK.
He told CNBC: ''Yes, there is a mood to blame Brussels for several things.
''In many cases, it is also justified, because there are rules that are changed from year to year, and difficulties in many sectors, but at the end of the day I think that Italian citizens are, and they have been for 60 years, fundamentally pro-European.
''I have also to add, sadly, that the example of the British decision to leave EU is the opposite sense.
''So, what is happening to the UK, and I totally respect the British people's decision, but I think it is evident, at least for Italian public opinion, that it was not a good choice for UK.
''The choice is taken, we respect, we cooperate, but the crisis of the EU was in 2016.
''Now we are in 2018, and I think 2018 could be a year of the relaunch of the EU, not of the crisis of the EU.''
GETTY
Brazilian President Michel Temer 10:50am: Brazil slams Trump over protectionism
Brazilian President Michel Temer appeared to lash out at Donald Trump with a blast against protectionism.
Speaking in Davos, he said: ''When we are closed within ourselves, we are closed to new possibilities and effective solutions to our shared problems.
Mr Temer vowed to press on with his reform agenda, including changes to social security, regardless of the approach of presidential elections this year.
The president said he would battle "day and night" to win passage of social security reform through Congress.
The reform includes an overhaul of Brazil's costly pension system.
And he urged people: ''Brazil is back in business. Do invest in Brazil, and you shall not regret it.''
CNBC
Paolo Gentiloni 10:40am: Blair says Europe wil be weakened by Brexit
Here's a little more on what Tony Blair had to say for himself this morning.
10:30am: May on the way
Theresa May is flying in later today, once she has done battle with Jeremy Corbyn at PMQs.
She is, however, not scheduled to speak to the summit until tomorrow morning.
Later that day, she is expected to hold a meeting on the sidelines with Donald Trump.
It is hoped the pair can clear the air after a fraught few months that saw the President lash out at the PM on Twitter after he shared posts by far-right group Britain First.
He has also cancelled a planned visit to London in a row over the new US Embassy.
9:50am: Tony Blair says Leavers will change mind on Brexit
Tony Blair has been skulking around the ski resort in a fetching parka, talking about Brexit again.
The ex-Labour Prime Minister popped up on Bloomberg TV to insist the UK has the ''right to think again'' when people see the final deal.
He told the channel: ''Many people in the UK will say 'is this really worth it?'''
9:20am:Paolo Gentiloni says anti-EU parties will not prevail in Italian election
Ahead of his Davos speech, Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni has been speaking about the country's upcoming election.
Forza Italia, formed by ex-Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, and the populist Northern League are in talks to form a right-wing coalition with an anti-EU agenda.
But Mr Gentiloni, who is not running for re-election, ruled out his own Democratic Party joining forces with them and expressed concerns about a hung parliament.
He told CNBC: "We hope this will not be the case and that the center-left that I represent will have a majority.
''In any case I think we will be the pillar of a possible coalition and we have certain expertise in flexibility in politics in my country.
"But I think that the populist anti-EU position will not prevail and that Italy will keep its stability.''
He added: ''We have to be very careful with this election not to disrupt the reforms that we've realised in the last five years with the effort of Italian workers and enterprises.
''To disrupt this would be very serious.''
GETTY
Steven Mnuchin said the US is open for business 9:00am: The US delegation are in town
US Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin kicked things off with a press conference this morning where he defended Mr Trump's ''America first'' policy.
Mr Mnuchin said the approach still meant working alongside the rest of the world.
He said the President's tax reforms were already showing signs of boosting investment in the country.
The Treasury Secretary said: ''We couldn't be happier. The response from US businesses has been even better than we expected.''
And he argued a weaker US dollar was good for American trade.
GETTY
Anti-Trump protesters in Switzerland 8:35am: Anti-Trump protesters break through Davos security
Anti-capitalist protesters marched through Swiss cities last night to protest the visit by Donald Trump, breaking through a security cordon in Davos.
Organisers called for the protests under the mottos ''Trump Not Welcome'' and ''Smash WEF!''
About 20 demonstrators broke through security to reach the Davos Congress Centre, holding banners and shouting ''Wipe out WEF'' before they were disbanded by police.
There is meant to be a ring of steel at the ski resort. More than 4,000 Swiss soldiers have been deployed alongside 1,000 police and a no-fly zone is in place.
Police estimated that there were another 2,000 demonstrators in Zurich.
Mr Trump is due to speak at the forum on Friday and is scheduled to fly in this evening.
8:15am: The full schedule for today has been released
Here are some highlights of the programme (all times GMT):
8:00am: Launch of the Global Centre for Cybersecurity
9:00: Christine Lagarde from the IMF on Solving the Economic Generation Gap
9:15am: Could 2018 Be the Year of the Next Financial Crisis?
9:20am: Special Address by Michel Temer, President of Brazil
10:15am: Spain and Europe: Present and Future, with speakers King Felipe VI and B¸rge Brende
11:30am: Stabilising the Mediterranean, a session on mass migration featuring Paolo Gentiloni among others.
12:50pm: Special Address by Paolo Gentiloni, Prime Minister of Italy
1:00pm: A conversation with new Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa
1:20pm: Special Address by Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel
2:30pm: A conversation Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai on the age of artificial intelligence
4:00pm: Press Conference with the Finance Minister of Brazil, Henrique Meirelles
4:30pm: Special Address by French President Emmanuel Macron
8:00am: A new day at Davos
After yesterday's curtain raiser, the forum really clicks into gear today.
Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni will make his address at 12:50pm GMT, closely followed by Angela Merkel at 1:20pm and Emmanuel Macron at 4:30pm.
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VIDEO - Russian bans release of UK black comedy film 'The Death of Stalin' | Euronews
Wed, 24 Jan 2018 14:15
Government figures say British director Armando Iannucci's movie insults the Russian people and mocks the country's Soviet past.
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VIDEO - EU welcomes Silvio Berlusconi as the man to save Italy from populism | Euronews
Wed, 24 Jan 2018 14:07
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VIDEO - EU THREAT: Brussels to tell Poland 'obey '' or we won't pay' in judiciary showdown | World | News | Express.co.uk
Wed, 24 Jan 2018 14:01
Poland, the EU budget's largest net beneficiary, caused outrage in Brussels after passing legislation to give the ruling Law and Justice party effective control over judicial appointments and the supreme court.
The move, which the nation's government claimed last month was a means of speeding up the legal process, was accused by international justice watchdog the Council of Europe as being a ''grave threat'' which ''puts at serious risk the independence of all parts of the Polish judiciary''.
And the bloc responded by invoking Article 7 '' allowing them to level sanctions on Poland and revoke their EU voting rights
Now the EU are believed to be considering holding back cash from the less economically developed member state.
GETTY
Poland is the EU budget's largest net beneficiary Related articles Senior MEP fears Brexit will INTENSIFY EU pressure on non-euro states Make Europe Great Again! Polish MEP warns Polexit could END the EU Poland was allocated '‚¬80billion of cohesion funds in the EU's current '‚¬1trillion budget.
But eurocrats reportedly see their next budget as a means of forcing their will on member states as they scramble to save money and force cohesion on the EU27 with expansive new projects in the wake of Brexit.
Under the scheme, Brussels will demand member states have a ''functioning and independent judiciary'' '' in a direct challenge to Warsaw.
G¼nther Oettinger, the EU's budget commissioner, said the bloc are considering either making compliance a direct condition of claiming cash back from Brussels, or introducing an ''incentive scheme'' in which more obedience to the rule ''could be seen as a way of getting more resources''.
GETTY
Poland caused outrage in Brussels with their vote to pass judicial reforms Vera Jourova, the EU's commissioner for justice, has been tasked with finding a way to assess a member state's compliance, reiterating the the bloc might ''insist that independent justice systems are necessary for the effective control of the use of EU funds''.
The EU's bid to bully Poland into changing the very fabric of their government follows demands from Paris to withhold cash from any nations who act ''contrary to European goals''.
Speaking at a high-level conference on the EU budget for 2020-26, Nathalie Loiseau, a French European Affairs Minister, said "conditionality of funds was not a dirty word".
GETTY
G¼nther Oettinger (right) confirmed the bloc are considering blackmailing Poland with the budget Mrs Loiseau said new budgets rules need to include "conditionality" provisions that would tie cohesion funding to member states' adherence to minimum rule-of-law provisions.
She added this issue was the "elephant in the room" at every EU meeting.
Mrs Loiseau said: "It would be totally inappropriate for a Member State to receive EU funds for a goal and pursue other goals with national money."
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VIDEO - Hawaii Gov. Slow To Fix Missile Error Because He Forgot Twitter Password CBS Dallas / Fort Worth
Wed, 24 Jan 2018 13:51
CBS Local '-- More than a week after a false alarm claimed that a missile was headed towards Hawaii and sparked widespread panic, the governor of America's 50th state made an embarrassing admission as to why it took officials so long to defuse the phony alert. Although Governor David Ige reportedly knew the alert was a mistake two minutes after it was sent, Ige confessed he forgot what his Twitter password was and couldn't tell the public as a result.
''I have to confess that I don't know my Twitter account log-ons and the passwords, so certainly that's one of the changes that I've made. I've been putting that on my phone so that we can access the social media directly,'' Gov. Ige said, via the Honolulu Star Advertiser.
Questions had been mounting since the early morning panic on Jan. 13, when the governor was noticeably silent for 17 minutes after the missile alert was issued. At 8:24 a.m. local time, Ige finally gained access to his Twitter to join local senators in squashing the alarm. A correction on Facebook reportedly came several minutes after Ige's brief four-word tweet.
''I was in the process of making calls to the leadership team both in Hawaii Emergency Management as well as others,'' Gov. Ige added, defending his office's actions during the crisis. ''The focus really was on trying to get as many people informed about the fact that it was a false alert.''
Hawaii Emergency Management Agency Administrator Vern Miyagi reported that the error happened when someone hit the wrong button and issued the missile warning.
''Clearly, government agencies are not prepared and lack the capacity to deal with emergency situations,'' Hawaii's House Speaker Scott Saiki said in a statement after the blunder.
VIDEO - The unofficial "Democrats lost the shutdown" media highlight reel - Hot Air Hot Air
Wed, 24 Jan 2018 13:47
As promised last night, we will eventually get bored with laughing at Chuck Schumer for lighting an exploding cigar for himself and his caucus.
Just not yet.
Kudos to David Rutz and the Free Beacon for some of their finest editing ever here. They faced a challenging dilemma: Given the sheer volume of footage of po-faced reporters and harrumphing progressives lamenting the Democratic capitulation, how do you choose just two minutes of video for a highlight reel? (Rutz went the extra mile by splicing in erstwhile Schumer mouthpiece Jimmy Kimmel mourning yesterday's big cave.) Even Schumer's own caucus couldn't be bothered to put on a happy face for reporters, choosing to grumble to them anonymously instead:
''We went in with a very weak set of cards, with [25] people up for reelection,'' said one Democratic senator, one of several lawmakers who requested anonymity to assess Schumer's performance frankly'...
A third Democratic senator said it was an unwinnable battle from the start because the GOP funding measures included a six-year extension of the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), a top Democratic priority.
''You can't win. McConnell used craven politics by pitting one group of children versus another,'' the third lawmaker said.
Tying a funding bill to a long-term CHIP extension was one smart play by Republicans to apply pressure to Democrats. Another smart play was keeping Trump out of the fray of negotiations. POTUS ''was tempted by Schumer's offer to provide wall funding and increase defense spending,'' according to WaPo, but he was smart enough to listen to McConnell and Paul Ryan when they advised him that Democrats were in a jam and likely to buckle. The polling was more complicated than the public knew, too. Three different national polls showed Republicans would be blamed for a shutdown, but (a) the public's memory about these things tends to be short and (b) the polling in red states, where numerous vulnerable Democrats are facing reelection this year, was different.
A survey of red-state voters conducted last month by the Senate Majority PAC, which aims to elect Democrats to the Senate, showed that 48 percent of respondents would blame them for a shutdown, compared with 39 percent who said the fault would lie with Trump and the Republicans.
Other Democrats also felt uncomfortable with the shutdown being defined purely as an exercise to address the concerns of the dreamers.
It'd be a cold comfort to Democrats this fall to know that most of the country thought the GOP was to blame if Claire McCaskill, Jon Tester, and Heidi Heitkamp got punted out of the Senate because red-staters saw things differently. On the other hand:
CNN's pre-shutdown poll on that same subject looked different, and obviously a trend towards Democrats nationally as the shutdown wore on wouldn't have necessarily solved their red-state problem. But if you're a liberal angry at Schumer for caving, there's another reason for you to be angry. If only he'd held out a little bit longer'...
In lieu of an exit question, read Matt Fuller of HuffPost arguing that the Democratic ''cave'' isn't nearly as bad as disappointed progressives and reporters (but I repeat myself) are making it out to be. In the end, what did Schumer give up? He lost some face but he gets another crack at this in three weeks and this time he has a promise, sort of, from McConnell to hold a vote on a DACA fix before then. If Schumer's lost anything, it's a bit of his freedom to maneuver: Having caved once and been pummeled for it, he can't do it again next month. If Trump and McConnell drive another hard bargain, he'll be forced to roll the dice on a more extended shutdown and hope that the next exploding cigar doesn't cause a much bigger boom.
VIDEO - Trump fires back at Schumer: 'If there is no Wall, there is no DACA' | Fox News
Wed, 24 Jan 2018 13:26
President Donald Trump fired back Tuesday night at Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer for offering, then rescinding, a deal to support border wall funding in return for an immigration package that protects illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. as children.
"Cryin' Chuck Schumer fully understands, especially after his humiliating defeat, that if there is no Wall, there is no DACA," the president tweeted around 11 p.m. EST. "We must have safety and security, together with a strong Military, for our great people!"
Earlier Tuesday evening, White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley slammed Schumer during an appearance on Fox News' "Outnumbered Overtime."
''He comes over here with a phony plan and a fake promise,'' Gidley said, referring to Schumer, D-N.Y.
A Schumer aide confirmed to Fox News on Tuesday that the leader withdrew his offer of a boost in funding for the president's proposed border wall. It was initially made during negotiations over the government spending bill with the president last Friday, the aide said.
Schumer's office says he pulled the wall offer on Sunday.
But Gidley said they didn't take the offer seriously, saying the Democrat offered less than one-tenth of what was needed to secure the border in his ''bogus negotiation.'' The administration wants $18 billion for a border wall.
''You can't rescind money you never really offered in the first place,'' he said.
After a three-day government shutdown, Democrats agreed to re-open the government Monday after Republicans assured them the Senate would soon consider legislation that would protect the so-called Dreamers.
SCHUMER BASHED BY LEFT OVER SHUTDOWN-ENDING DEAL
During Tuesday's press briefing at the White House, press secretary Sarah Sanders said the president opposes an immigration proposal brokered by Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Jeff Flake of Arizona and Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois.
''In a bipartisan meeting here at the White House two weeks ago we outlined a path forward on four issues: serious border security, an end to chain migration, the cancellation of the outdated and unsafe visa lottery and a permanent solution to DACA,'' Sanders said. ''Unfortunately, the Flake-Graham-Durbin agreement does not meet these bench marks.''
Fox News' Mike Emanuel and Joseph Weber contributed to this report.
Alex Pappas is a politics reporter at FoxNews.com. Follow him on Twitter at @AlexPappas.
VIDEO - GOP senator claims to have informant alleging secret anti-Trump meetings | TheHill
Wed, 24 Jan 2018 13:19
Sen. Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonGOP senator claims to have informant alleging secret anti-Trump meetingsMissing text messages inflame Republican anger at the FBIGOP senator releases additional messages from FBI agent removed from Mueller probeMORE (R-Wis.) says that a whistleblower has told Congress about secret meetings between FBI and Department of Justice (DOJ) officials who allegedly gathered to discuss ways to undermine President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump: If there's no wall, there's no DACA fixTrump appears to call out Samsung over missing FBI text messagesTrump Commerce pick told lawmakers he would look at reversing Obama move on internet oversight: reportMORE following his victory in the 2016 election.
Johnson's comments come after House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Trey GowdyHarold (Trey) Watson GowdyGOP senator claims to have informant alleging secret anti-Trump meetingsMissing text messages inflame Republican anger at the FBITop committee Dems: GOP chairs trying to undermine Russia probe with FBI textsMORE (R-S.C.) said two FBI agents accused of anti-Trump bias made reference in text messages to a ''secret society'' within the FBI and DOJ in the aftermath of Trump's election.
Speaking Tuesday on Fox New Channel's ''Special Report,'' Johnson, the chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said he has an informant to back those claims up.
''The secret society '-- we have an informant talking about a group holding secret meetings off-site,'' Johnson said.
''We have to continue to dig into it,'' he added. ''This is not a distraction. This is biased, potentially corruption at the highest levels of the FBI.''
Johnson joined several GOP lawmakers in calling for a second special counsel to investigate the FBI's handling of the investigation into whether Trump campaign officials had improper contacts with Russians during the election.
That probe is currently being led by special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probeMORE .
''Robert Mueller used to run the FBI,'' Johnson said. ''He's in no position to do an investigation over this kind of misconduct. I think at this point in time, we probably should be looking at a special counsel to undertake this investigation, but Congress is going to have to continue to dig.''
FBI agents Peter Strzok and Lisa Page have attracted the scrutiny of GOP lawmakers for exchanging text messages that were disparaging of Trump and in which they appeared to discuss efforts to undermine him. Other messages also disparaged other political figures, including Democrats.
This week, the DOJ's inspector general informed congressional investigators that the FBI had lost five months' worth of texts between Strzok and Page, further inflaming GOP anger at the FBI.
Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsTrump appears to call out Samsung over missing FBI text messagesSessions: Trump following through on promise to lower crimeStakes intensify: Mueller seeks to question TrumpMORE has launched an investigation into the missing texts.
VIDEO - The OIG report , The War, Investigation and the Forthcoming Storm - YouTube
Wed, 24 Jan 2018 11:42
VIDEO - RAW: Turks vs Kurds mass brawl in Hannover Airport - YouTube
Wed, 24 Jan 2018 11:08
VIDEO - State proposal could force new vaccine requirement for Florida public school students - abcactionnews.com WFTS-TV
Wed, 24 Jan 2018 11:07
TAMPA, Fla. '-- A bill filed this month in the Florida Senate would create a new vaccine requirement for public school students.
SB 1558: School Health Immunizations, also known as the "Women's Cancer Prevention Act", revises child immunization requirements to include a vaccine for human papillomavirus.
"If we're not given the choice to make our own health care decisions, then what are we given the choice to do," asked parent England Davis.
Davis tells ABC Action News, she is ready to uproot her daughter from school if she's forced to get vaccinated for HPV.
"If that legislation passes, I won't be able to keep her in public school," said Davis. "I will not, I refuse, I will home school her out."
Public school students in Florida are already required to get vaccinations for tetanus, mumps, and other communicable diseases.
"HPV causes six different types of cancer in both men and women," said Dr. Anna Giuliano, a cancer epidemiologist with Moffitt Cancer Center Tampa. "The vaccine is very safe, the benefits far outweigh any of the side effects."
RECOMMENDED: Flu stomps the nation, overwhelming ERs and leaving 20 children dead
Dr. Giuliano says vaccinating more young people will help eliminate cervical cancer, the most common disease caused by HPV.
"In my lifetime, we would see in the state of Florida almost no new cases of cervical cancer," said Dr. Giuliano.
Some say deciding whether or not vaccinate should be left to the parent, not the state.
"Home school would be an option right away," said Rachel Nye. "I don't believe that anyone should be forced to vaccinate their child."
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Copyright 2018 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
VIDEO - Carlos From Ny - Amazing Show - Bitconnect Annual Ceremony 28/10/2017 - YouTube
Wed, 24 Jan 2018 05:26
VIDEO - Steinhoff Raises $586 Million From PSG Sale to Boost Funds - Bloomberg
Wed, 24 Jan 2018 05:15
Steinhoff International Holdings NV raised 7.1 billion rand ($586 million) of shares in South African financial services firm PSG Group Ltd., the latest in a line of disposals aimed at shoring up the retailer's battered balance sheet.
The owner of Mattress Firm in the U.S. and Poundland in the U.K. placed almost 29.5 million shares in Stellenbosch, South Africa-based PSG with institutional investors, Steinhoff said in a statement Monday. That's on top of the 20.6 million PSG shares sold late last year at the start of an accounting scandal that's wiped out most of its market value.
''This is positive for Steinhoff as it will secure a decent bit of liquidity out of a fairly well-priced asset,'' Alec Abraham, an analyst at Johannesburg-based Sasfin Securities Ltd., said by phone. ''By selling out of a non-core asset, the company is better able to support its core, furniture businesses.''
The shares rose 3.7 percent as of 4:41 p.m. in Frankfurt, where Steinhoff moved its primary listing from Johannesburg in December 2015. PSG rose 0.2 percent by the close in the South African city to 254 rand, about 5.5 percent higher than the 240 rand price Steinhoff received for its stock. The retailer holds a 2.5 stake after the placement.
Read More: Why South Africa's Steinhoff Could Be Next Enron: QuickTake Q&A
Steinhoff has been identifying non-core assets to sell while holding talks with lenders about providing financial support. The company said Dec. 5 it had uncovered accounting irregularities and later announced it would have to restate accounts going back to 2015. Chief Executive Officer Markus Jooste and chairman and biggest shareholder Christo Wiese have both resigned.
The company earlier this year sold a luxury Gulfstream 550 private jet that had once been valued at $25 million, while French unit Conforama has disposed of a 17 percent stake in online retailer Showroomprive for 79 million euros ($97 million). That's about half what it paid for the shares in May last year.
The PSG placing was carried out by PSG itself and the South African unit of Standard Bank Group Ltd.
Separately, Amsterdam Court's Enterprise Chamber delayed a verdict on a case brought against Steinhoff by a former joint-venture partner until no later than Feb. 19. It had been due to make a decision on the case Monday.
VIDEO - UN flag no longer offers 'natural protection' to peacekeepers - BBC News
Tue, 23 Jan 2018 20:57
Image copyright Reuters Image caption Missions in Africa are among the most dangerous for UN peacekeeping troops The UN's flag and blue helmets no longer offer "natural protection" to its peacekeeping forces, who should not shy from using force if necessary, a high-level United Nations report says.
UN peacekeepers should be prepared to take offensive measures to eliminate threats, according to the report.
It said that force was the only "language" understood by attackers.
Almost 200 peacekeepers have been killed in the past five years. Missions in Africa are among the most dangerous.
This figure is more than during any other five-year period in history, and 2017 saw the highest number of peacekeeper fatalities through violent acts in over two decades, with 56 peacekeepers killed, the report says.
Peacekeepers face armed groups, terrorists, organised crime, street gangs, criminal and political exploitation, and other threats, it said.
"Unfortunately, hostile forces do not understand a language other than force. To deter and repel attacks and to defeat attackers," the report said, adding: "The United Nations needs to be strong and not fear to use force when necessary."
The report, called Improving Security of United Nations Peacekeepers: We need to change the way we are doing business, was commissioned by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and submitted in December by a team headed by Brazilian Lt Gen Carlos Alberto dos Santos Cruz, a former UN commander in Haiti and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media caption Is UN peacekeeping working in Africa?Enhanced pre-deployment training and better equipment are among the report's recommendations to deal with those threats.
It suggests that troops need to change their mindset, take risks and show a willingness to face these new challenges.
Leadership at all levels needs to show initiative, commitment, and determination to adapt, the report urges, adding that the United Nations is most often attacked as a result of inaction.
"Each mission is unique, and even within each country, different situations require different actions given the threat that prevails in an area," the report said.
"But what never changes is that the interpretation of mandates, rules of engagements and other documents should support taking ACTION, and not be used to justify INACTION."
Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media caption What home comforts keeps this UN peacekeeper going?Missions in Africa are the most vulnerable, with the UN mission in Mali having lost 91 people since 2013, while 29 were lost in the Central African Republic and 26 in Sudan's war-torn region of Darfur.
The vast majority of the victims themselves were from Africa. Chad and Tanzania have suffered the heaviest losses since 2013, followed by Guinea, Niger and Ethiopia, the report added.
VIDEO - The View Annihilates Megyn Kelly Over Jane Fonda Feud: 'How Much Work Have You Had, Bitch?!' | Mediaite
Tue, 23 Jan 2018 20:39
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The View Annihilates Megyn Kelly Over Jane Fonda Feud: 'How Much Work Have You Had, Bitch?!'Yesterday, NBC's Megyn Kellydecided to absolutely tear into acting legend Jane Fonda after Fonda took some jabs at her over Kelly's plastic surgery questions during their interview some months ago. Apparently looking to spark a heated feud, Kelly brought up Fonda's anti-war activism during the Vietnam War, pointing out that some veterans still call her ''Hanoi Jane.''
During ABC's broadcast of The View, the entire panel was, shall we say, less than impressed by Kelly '-- host of Megyn Kelly Today on rival network NBC. And by less than impressed, we actually mean they went all in on annihilating the former Fox News anchor.
Right off the bat, Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar and Meghan McCain took issue with Kelly invoking the Vietnam War.
''To drag the Vietnam War into a plastic surgery conversation is a real stretch, Megyn, okay?'' Behar said. ''And why are people more angry with Jane Fonda about the Vietnam War than they were to [former President Richard] Nixon and '-- to an unjust and filthy war? How can you focus on Jane Fonda?''
Meanwhile, McCain said that Fonda's ''anti-war propaganda'' was a big deal to veterans and POWs like her father '-- Sen. John McCain (R-AZ). At the same time, Meghan McCain noted that Fonda has said she regrets some of what she did and said. The View co-host further noted that this is a much more serious issue at hand than revisiting it in a debate about plastic surgery.
At one point, Behar had some EXTREMELY strong words for .
''Jane should have just said to her, 'And how much work have you had, bitch?!''' The comment was met with raucous cheers from the audience.
McCain jumped back in to directly address guest host Ann Curry, explaining that ''all of this is beneath all of us'' while expressing great admiration for the journalistic work Curry has done over the years while stating that industry is lacking more ''people like Ann.
Towards the end of the segment, Behar walked her strong remarks back, expressing regret that she went so far.
''I have to apologize to Megyn Kelly. I didn't mean the call her a bitch. I've met her. I like her. She's struggling for a persona. Like a comedian is looking for, who am I on stage? She doesn't know who she is. I like her.''
Watch the clip above, via ABC.
[image via screengrab]
'--
Follow Justin Baragona on Twitter: @justinbaragona
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VIDEO - The Missileers: Air Force has trained 247 women for nuclear launch - NBC News
Tue, 23 Jan 2018 17:14
Master Sgt. Tad Wagner looks over an inert Minuteman 3 missile in a training launch tube at Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota on June 25, 2014. Charlie Riedel / AP file
"If they match, it means that it's an authentic order from the president," Dinkha said. "If for whatever reason those values don't match, then we won't take any actions on it."
If the code does match, each missileer turns her key, at the same time, to launch.
"There's no red phone like people like to imagine," Dinkha said. "In terms of key turning, you need to have two people, obviously, to do it '-- just to prevent someone going rogue and doing it on their own."
Should the day come, however, Dinkha says she and the other missileers of Minot are ready.
"If it's a valid message," she said, "we will absolutely key turn on it."
VIDEO - LAUSD Teacher Strips Naked On Elementary School Playground, Chases Nearby Students CBS Los Angeles
Tue, 23 Jan 2018 13:38
LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) '-- A physical education teacher at Carthay Center Elementary School outraged parents and upset students when he stripped naked on campus Friday and proceeded to chase nearby second-graders and fifth-graders.
''He was supposed to be helping them learn P.E., run around and have fun,'' one parent told CBS2's Adrianna Weingold. ''But he undressed and started chasing the kids while he was naked, and then the kids ducked and dodged, ran into some of the classrooms and got safe haven that way.''
A video taken by a construction worker passing by captured the unidentified teacher putting his pants back on in the middle of the playground.
Parents were notified of the incident via robocall as well as a letter that was sent home with students.
''An individual began behaving in an unusual way, prompting us to contact law enforcement,'' the letter reads in part. ''As a safety precaution, our school went on a brief lock-down while officers responded and took the individual into custody.''
''All of the kids saw his private parts. Very embarrassing, very upset,'' said one parent.
While LAUSD officials say they cannot comment on the incident, they do say that the man was approved to be on campus and that he was a contracted employee.
Mental health counselors were made available to the children following the incident.
School police say they are continuing to investigate the man and are working on a case against him.
VIDEO - BREAKING: Thousands of New Strzok-Page Text Messages Reference "SECRET SOCIETY" Within DOJ and FBI WORKING AGAINST TRUMP (VIDEO)
Tue, 23 Jan 2018 13:32
More than 50,000 texts were exchanged between two FBI officials who have come under fire for exchanging anti-Trump messages during the 2016 election, Attorney General Jeff Sessions revealed Monday.
The figure surfaced as lawmakers have been pressing for answers after revelations that the FBI ''failed to preserve'' five months of texts between Peter Strzok and Lisa Page.
''We will leave no stone unturned to confirm with certainty why these text messages are not now available to be produced and will use every technology available to determine whether the missing messages are recoverable from another source,'' Sessions said in a statement provided to Fox News. ''If we are successful, we will update the congressional committees immediately.''
''After reviewing the voluminous records on the FBI's servers, which included over 50,000 texts, the Inspector General discovered the FBI's system failed to retain text messages for approximately 5 months between December 14, 2017 to May 17, 2017,'' Sessions said.
The '50,000' number does not include the 'missing' text messages, according to Fox News.
Rep. Ratcliffe and Trey Gowdy spoke with Fox News after the news broke about the 50,000 new text messages.
Ratcliffe said,
''What we learned today in the thousands of text messages that we've reviewed that perhaps they may not have done that (checked their bias at the door). There's certainly a factual basis to question whether or not they acted on that bias. We know about this insurance policy that was referenced in trying to prevent Donald Trump from becoming president.''
''We learned today from information that in the immediate aftermath of his election that there may have been a 'secret society' of folks within the Department of Justice and the FBI to include Page and Strzok to be working against him.''
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Gowdy also went off about the new Strzok and Page text messages.
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Rep. Ratcliffe also tweeted about the new text messages he reviewed Monday along with Trey Gowdy.
''The thousands of texts and I reviewed today revealed manifest bias among top FBI officials against . The texts between Strzok and Page referenced a ''secret society.'''' Ratcliffe tweeted.
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Intercultural Resources is a centre for Research, Documentation and Intervention. ICR is engaged in research on the diverse dissenting voices and social movements in India.
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