1029: Batteries Not Included

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

3h 7m
April 29th, 2018
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Executive Producers: Tony Cabrera, Sir Jimmy James of the Flatlanders, Stephen Brown, Archduke Sir Nussbaum

Associate Executive Producers: Sir Selvarin Knight-In-Exile, Patrick Comer, Sir Tyler Fox

Cover Artist: Comic Strip Blogger


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Iran dumps dollar for euro in foreign trade transactions '-- RT Business News
Thu, 26 Apr 2018 22:06
As part of its years-long effort to reduce reliance on US currency amid a deepening standoff with Washington, Tehran has announced it will start reporting foreign currency amounts in euros rather than dollars.
The governor of Iran's central bank (CBI) Valiollah Seif said that Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei had welcomed his suggestion of replacing the dollar with the euro in foreign trade, as the ''dollar has no place in our transactions today.'' The new policy could reportedly encourage government bodies and firms linked to the state to increase their use of the euro at the expense of the American currency.
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France will start offering euro-denominated credits to Iranian buyers of its goods later this year to keep its trade out of the reach of US sanctions, said the head of state-owned French investment bank Bpifrance.
According to CBI's Director of Foreign Exchange Rules and Policies Affairs Mehdi Kasraeipour, the share of the greenback in Iran's trade activities is not high. As part of a trade embargo, US banks are banned from dealing with Iran.
Last month, Tehran announced that purchase orders by merchants that are based on US currency would no longer be allowed to go through import procedures. The step followed an official request by the CBI and was specifically meant to address fluctuations in market rates of the US dollar.
The Iranian currency has lost almost half of its value on the free market since last September. The rial has plunged to a record low of about 60,000 against the dollar before authorities set a fixed rate of 42,000 and warned Iranians they would face penalties for using other rates.
Khamenei blamed foreign enemies for the ''recent issues in the currency market'' and asked Iran's intelligence services to defuse the plots against the Islamic republic.
Tehran, which has long sought to switch to non-dollar-based trade, had already signed agreements with several countries. It's in talks with Russia on using national currencies in settlements.
While meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in November, Khamenei said the best way to beat US sanctions against the two countries was joint efforts to dump the American currency in bilateral trade. He told President Putin that, by using methods such as eliminating the US dollar and replacing it with national currencies in transactions between two or more parties, the sides could ''isolate the Americans.''
For more stories on economy & finance visit RT's business section
Iran Ends Oil Transactions In U.S. Dollars - CBS News
Sat, 28 Apr 2018 11:50
Iranian oil workers work at Tehran's oil refinery, Iran, Saturday, Nov. 17, 2007. Iran's president said Saturday that the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries is "under heavy economic and political pressures" and that the oil prices are below its real value, state-run-news agency reported. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made his remarks prior to his trip to Bahrain and Saudi Arabia where he is due to attend the OPEC summit. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)
AP Photo/Vahid Salemi
Iran, OPEC's second-largest producer, has completely stopped conducting oil transactions in U.S. dollars, a top Oil Ministry official said Wednesday, a concerted attempt to reduce reliance on Washington at a time of tension over Tehran's nuclear program and suspected involvement in Iraq.
Iran has dramatically reduced dependence on the dollar over the past year in the face of increasing U.S. pressure on its financial system and the fall in the value of the American currency.
Oil is priced in U.S. dollars on the world market, and the currency's depreciation has concerned producers because it has contributed to rising crude prices and eroded the value of their dollar reserves.
"The dollar has totally been removed from Iran's oil transactions," Oil Ministry official Hojjatollah Ghanimifard told state-run television Wednesday. "We have agreed with all of our crude oil customers to do our transactions in non-dollar currencies."
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called the depreciating dollar a "worthless piece of paper" at a rare summit last year in Saudi Arabia attended by state leaders from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.
Iran put pressure on other OPEC countries at the meeting to price oil in a basket of currencies, but it has not been able to generate support from fellow members — many of whom, including Saudi Arabia, are staunch U.S. allies.
Iran has a tense relationship with the U.S., which has accused Tehran of using its nuclear program as a cover for weapons development and providing support to Shiite militants in Iraq that are killing American troops. Iran has denied the allegations.
Iranian oil officials have said previously that they were shifting oil sales out of the dollar into other currencies, but Ghanimifard indicated Wednesday that all of Iran's oil transactions were now conducted in either euros or yen.
"In Europe, Iran's oil is sold in euros, but both euros and yen are paid for Iranian crude in Asia," said Ghanimifard.
Iran's central bank has also been reducing its foreign reserves denominated in U.S. dollars, motivated by the falling value of the greenback and U.S. attempts to make it difficult for Iran to conduct dollar transactions.
U.S. banks are prohibited from conducting business directly with Iran, and many European banks have curbed their dealings with the country over the past year under pressure from Washington.
However, the U.S. has been wary of targeting Iran's oil industry directly, apparently worried that such a move could drive up crude prices that are already at record levels.
Iranian analysts say Tehran can withstand U.S. pressure as long as it can continue its oil and gas sales, which constitute most of the country's US$80 billion in exports.
(C) 2008 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Iran wants euro payment for new, outstanding oil sales
Sat, 28 Apr 2018 11:49
Raheb Homavandi | TIMA
Iranian workers walk at a unit of South Pars Gas field in Asalouyeh Seaport, north of Persian Gulf, Iran November 19, 2015.
Iran wants to recover tens of billions of dollars it is owed by India and other buyers of its oil in euros and is billing new crude sales in euros, too, looking to reduce its dependence on the U.S. dollar following last month's sanctions relief.
A source at state-owned National Iranian Oil Co (NIOC) told Reuters that Iran will charge in euros for its recently signed oil contracts with firms including French oil and gas major Total, Spanish refiner Cepsa and Litasco, the trading arm of Russia's Lukoil.
"In our invoices we mention a clause that buyers of our oil will have to pay in euros, considering the exchange rate versus the dollar around the time of delivery," the NIOC source said.
Lukoil and Total declined to comment, while Cepsa did not respond to a request for comment.
Oil market braces for Iran's return
Iran has also told its trading partners who owe it billions of dollars that it wants to be paid in euros rather than U.S. dollars, said the person, who has direct knowledge of the matter.
Iran was allowed to recover some of the funds frozen under U.S.-led sanctions in currencies other than dollars, such as the Omani rial and UAE dhiram.
Switching oil sales to euros makes sense as Europe is now one of Iran's biggest trading partners.
"Many European companies are rushing to Iran for business opportunities, so it makes sense to have revenue in euros," said Robin Mills, chief executive of Dubai-based Qamar Energy.
Iran has pushed for years to have the euro replace the dollar as the currency for international oil trade. In 2007, Tehran failed to persuade OPEC members to switch away from the dollar, which its then President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called a "worthless piece of paper".
The NIOC source said Iran's central bank instituted a policy while the country was under sanctions over its disputed nuclear programme to carry out foreign trade in euros.
"Iran shifted to the euro and cancelled trade in dollars because of political reasons," the source said.
Boost for euro tradeIran has the world's fourth-largest proved reserves of crude oil, and expects to quickly increase production, which could lead to tens of billions of euros worth of new oil trade.
Iran's insistence on being paid in euros rather than dollars is also a sign of an uneasy truce between Tehran and Washington even after last month's lifting of most sanctions.
U.S. officials estimate about $100 billion (89.2 billion euros) of Iranian assets were frozen abroad, around half of which Tehran could access as a result of sanctions relief.
It is not clear how much of those funds are oil dues that Iran would want back in euros.
India owes Tehran about $6 billion for oil delivered during the sanctions years.
Last month, NIOC's director general for international affairs told Reuters that Iran "would prefer to receive (oil money owed) in some foreign currency, which for the time being is going to be euro."
Indian government sources confirmed Iran is looking to be paid in euros.
Tehran has asked to be paid using the exchange rates at the time the oil was delivered, along with interest for those payment delays, Indian and Iranian sources said.
Indian officials are working on a mechanism that could involve local banks United Commercial Bank (UCO) and IDBI Bank for handling payments to Iran, one Indian government source said.
UCO CEO R.K. Takkar said the bank is involved in payments to Iran, but did not say if there were any plans to change the payment mechanism. IDBI CEO Kishor Kharat could not be reached for comment.
India could also try to resume payments through Turkey's Halkbank, a channel it stopped using in 2012, or by direct transfer to Iranian banks through the global SWIFT transaction network.
With Iran now again linking to international lenders through SWIFT, the NIOC source said it was easy for Tehran to be paid in any currency it wants, adding: "And we want euros."
Iran wants to be paid in euros, not U.S. dollars
Sat, 28 Apr 2018 11:49
Iran is ready to sell its oil to the world again, but it wants to be paid in euros, not dollars. Over the weekend, a top official at Iran's state-owned oil company said the country had a strong preference for euros.
';var storytext = document.getElementById('storytext');var heightToSkip = 0;function resetValues(){totalHeight = 0;targetChildElement = null;}// Check if story is in the blacklist of articles to remove smartassets// [2017.07.27] Results of a one-off request from r.barbieriif(BLACKLIST[location.pathname] === true) {return}if(storytext == null){console.log("Error finding storytext element for SA embed");return;}for ( i = 0; i 0){heightToSkip -= storytext.childNodes[i].clientHeight;resetValues();}else if(heightToSkip minHeight && targetChildElement != null){//console.log("total height = " + totalHeight);//console.log("childNode = " + targetChildElement);storytext.childNodes[targetChildElement].insertAdjacentHTML('afterend', smartAssetDiv); smartasset = document.getElementById('smartasset-article'); smartasset.style.float = 'left'; // allows module to have text float to right smartasset.style.marginRight ='20px'; smartasset.style.marginBottom ='25px';//console.log(storytext.childNodes[targetChildElement]);//SMARTASSET.setDivIndex(targetChildElement);SMARTASSET.setSmartAssetScript();/* bail out since we're done */break;}}/* div with id="smartassetcontainer". Sanity check to only embed once */else if (storytext.childNodes[i].nodeName.toLowerCase() === 'div' && storytext.childNodes[i].id !== "undefined" && storytext.childNodes[i].id === "smartassetcontainer") {break;}/* div with id="ie_column" */else if (storytext.childNodes[i].nodeName.toLowerCase() === 'div' && storytext.childNodes[i].id !== "undefined" && storytext.childNodes[i].id === "ie_column") {resetValues();}/* embeds from twitter, facebook, youtube */else if (storytext.childNodes[i].nodeName.toLowerCase() === 'div' && storytext.childNodes[i].classList.contains('embed')) {resetValues();}/* cnn video player */else if (storytext.childNodes[i].nodeName.toLowerCase() === 'div' && storytext.childNodes[i].classList.contains('cnnplayer')) {resetValues();}/* images */else if (storytext.childNodes[i].nodeName.toLowerCase() === 'img') {resetValues();}/* images stored in figure tags */ else if (storytext.childNodes[i].nodeName.toLowerCase() === 'figure') {if(storytext.childNodes[i].clientWidth "Our top priority is to receive cash and oil [payments] in euro," Safar-Ali Karamati, a deputy director at the National Iranian Oil Company, told an Iran news outlet on Saturday.
It's the latest sign of Iran deepening business ties to Europe since many sanctions were lifted in January.
In Iran's eyes, "anything other than the dollar would be financially and politically better," says Majid Rafizadeh, a Middle East scholar at Harvard University.
This is not the first time Iran has tried to move away from the U.S. dollar. But the global oil market trades in U.S. dollars, not euros, which makes Iran's demand complicated.
Related: Global currency collapse: Winners and losers
"Iran has long attempted to switch to euros or other local currencies for its exports for several reasons including Tehran's deep-rooted animosity toward the U.S.," says Rafizadeh.
Relying less on the dollar would also decrease the shock if the U.S. decides to impose more sanctions on Iran later on.
The currency market took little notice of Iran's statement.
"If Saudi Arabia made that comment, it would be a big deal," says Win Thin, global head of emerging market currency strategy at Brown Brothers Harriman.
Moving to euros could actually backfire for Iran. Brown Brothers is one of many firms predicting that the euro's value will continue to decline in value against the U.S. dollar, especially if the Federal Reserve continues to raise interest rates.
Related: Why U.S. businesses are losing out in Iran
European companies have struck a number of deals with Iran in recent weeks. In contrast, many American sanctions remain in place, making it difficult for U.S. firms to sell goods in Iran or for a company like McDonald's ( MCD ) to open restaurants there.
In a telling example, Iran ordered 118 new planes from France's Airbus ( EADSF ) , not U.S.-based Boeing ( BA ) .
CNNMoney (New York) First published February 9, 2016: 6:27 AM ET
Pentagon chief Mattis: Direct Israel-Iran conflict 'very likely' -- Puppet Masters -- Sott.net
Sat, 28 Apr 2018 11:10
(C) AP Photo/ Carolyn Kaster James Mattis
Pentagon chief James Mattis told reporters Friday that direct conflict between Israeli and Iranian forces is "very likely," just days after French President Emmanuel Macron confirmed that he believes US President Donald Trump will scrap the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.The defense secretary said conflict between the two countries in Syria is "very likely... because Iran continues to do its proxy work there through Hezbollah."
Mattis later told lawmakers in a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, "I can see how it might start, but I am not sure when or where." Mattis' counterpart, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, met with Mattis after the hearing, according to the Jerusalem Post. Liberman also met with US National Security Adviser John Bolton, who he called a "loyal friend to the state of Israel" in a tweet.
'‹Tensions in the region have continued to rise since US, French and British missile strikes targeted Syria two weeks ago. Newly minted Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that it was "unlikely" Trump would keep the US in the Iran deal during his first news conference at NATO headquarters in Brussels, echoing the perspective of the French head of state.
"My view - I don't know what your president will decide - is that he will get rid of this deal on his own, for domestic reasons," Macron said earlier this week while speaking at The George Washington University in Washington, DC.
"If you heard him in the Oval Office, you will have come to the same conclusions," he said before pointing out that ripping up the Iran deal was one of Trump's campaign promises.
Comment: Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Hossein Baqeri
played down a recent secret deal between Tel Aviv and Washington to undermine the Islamic Republic and said the Israeli regime cannot continue its "disgraceful" life with such "childish alliances".
Speaking at a ceremony in the Western province of Kermanshah on Friday, Major General Baqeri pointed to recent Israeli threats against Iran and said, "The Zionist regime is nothing more than a bubble.""If they think that they can continue their disgraceful lives with such childish alliances, they are completely wrong," he said, adding that because the future is clear and given divine justice, the Israeli regime is doomed to collapse.
"If the Zionist regime thinks that by setting off several fireworks on its neighbors, it can prevent the (Iranian) nation from reaching its goals, it is completely wrong," the commander noted.
He further emphasized that the Iranian nation's goals have been drawn up and that the nation has kicked out the US and its stooges, including Daesh (ISIS or ISIL) and al-Nusra Front terrorist groups as well as some reactionary regimes from Iraq and Syria.
See also:
The endgame in Syria could get ugly really fastMeeting between Mattis and Lieberman about Iran's 'destabilizing' activities in Syria
From Money Loss to New Conflicts: What May Happen if Trump Rips Iran Deal Up
Sat, 28 Apr 2018 11:13
It appears that neither Washington nor Tehran intends to make concessions with regards to the Iran nuclear deal. While the Trump administration signaled that the US may exit the nuclear accord by May 12, the Islamic Republic of Iran has shed light on its further steps if the agreement collapses.
May 12, a deadline set by Donald Trump for the Iran nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), could potentially become a watershed in global politics, as Washington's exit from the accord may affect both American and European business interests and trigger a new conflict in the Middle East.
On April 27, German Chancellor Merkel embarked on an official visit to Washington which some observers see as the EU's last ditch effort to persuade the US president not to exit the nuclear accord after French President Macron failed the mission.
French President Macron told a small group of us tonight he warned @realDonaldTrump he would be opting ''Pandora's Box'' if he kills the Iran deal May 12 says doesn't know what Trump will decide but his view is might get rid of deal for domestic reasons to keep campaign commitment
'-- Andrea Mitchell (@mitchellreports) 26 аÐÑеÐ>>я 2018 Ð".'‹However, a Friday press conference demonstrated that neither Berlin nor Washington had budged.
''Iran will not be doing nuclear weapons, you can bank on it'' President Trump joint press conference w/ German Chancellor Angela Merkel discussing Iran Nuclear Deal '-- May 12 deadline. pic.twitter.com/2YC8MOlYVX
'-- Ben Kennedy (@BenKennedyTV) 27 аÐÑеÐ>>я 2018 Ð".'‹Four Major Flaws in the Iran Nuclear Deal
(C) REUTERS / John MacDougall
From the outset, President Trump cited four major "flaws" in the deal: First, international inspectors haven't got an opportunity to control all the facilities related to the Iran nuclear program, including military ones; second, there is no guarantee that Iran will never be able to create nuclear arms; third, the JCPOA accord will expire in 10-15 years; fourth, no restrictions have so far been imposed on the Iranian ballistic missile program. Additionally, Trump accused Tehran of harboring expansionist plans in the Middle East.
Then the US president announced that on May 12 he would withdraw from the JCPOA if France, Germany and the UK did not accept "significant changes" in the deal, prompting nothing short of a panic among his European allies.
If Trump exits the Iran Deal on May 12, expect the WH & its boosters to use this playbook:1. Blame Europe for not ''fixing'' the deal
2. Then blame Iran for restarting nuke activities in response
3. Emphasize ''maximum pressure'' (aimed at regime change)
4. Beat the war drums
'-- Colin Kahl (@ColinKahl) 27 аÐÑеÐ>>я 2018 Ð".'‹New Business Projects in Grave Danger
(C) AP Photo / Michael Sohn
Speaking to Sputnik, former French Ambassador to Iran Francois Nicoullaud underscored that following the lifting of anti-Iran sanctions, EU member states started investing in the country's market and buying its crude. The collapse of the deal and the looming threat of new anti-Iran restrictions, which will target not only Tehran but its business partners as well, threaten
to nip the newly-signed projects in the bud.
According to Bloomberg, there are at least three global major deals at stake: European multinational corporation Airbus Group SE has signed a $19 billion contract with Tehran envisaging the sale 100 jetliners to Iran; American company Boeing Co. inked a $3 billion and 16.6 billion deals with Iran's Aseman and the country's carrier Iran Air respectively; and France's Total SA has recently concluded a 20-year agreement worth $5 billion to develop the South Pars offshore gas field.
Is the JCPOA 2.0 Possible?
Although Federica Maria Mogherini, a high representative of the EU for foreign affairs and security policy, stated on April 16 that the bloc will implement the existing Iran nuclear deal, French President Macron proposed developing a new document covering the issues of the Iran ballistic missile program and Tehran's "expansion" in the Middle East, during his visit to Washington on April 23-25.
There is plenty of room to fix, improve, strengthen the Iran deal. Talks are making progress. But May 12 is a completely arbitrary deadline for ''fix or nix''. We would lose much, gain nothing, and miss the opportunity for a stronger deal if the US withdraws on that date.
'-- Dan Shapiro (@DanielBShapiro) 28 аÐÑеÐ>>я 2018 Ð".'‹Commenting on Macron's offer, Moscow stated that it will maintain the JCPOA in its current form and sees no alternative to it so far.
While Donald Trump's unpredictability leaves room for speculations about the future of the deal, Tehran has signaled that it won't accept any amendments to the JCPOA. Furthermore, the Iranian leadership hasn't ruled out abandoning the deal altogether, following in the US president's footsteps.
In the course of negotiations in 2014-2015, the Iranians focused their attention on the unambiguous interpretation of the document's provisions. IRI negotiators were scrupulously monitoring the translation of the text into several languages, and repeatedly stated that the polysemy of words and expressions was impermissible. It took a lot of time for the parties involved to bring the content of the document to a common understanding.
"Any change or amendment to the current deal will not be accepted by Iran'... If Trump exits the deal, Iran will surely pull out of it'... Iran will not accept a nuclear deal with no benefits for us," Ali Akbar Velayati, a senior advisor to Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said on April 26.
Tehran Raising the Stakes
On April 24, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif stated that that Iran would be no longer bound by the JCPOA obligations if Trump rips the agreement up.
(C) AP Photo / Michael Sohn
Speaking to journalists on April 21, Zarif warned that in response to the US withdrawal Tehran could restart the production of enriched uranium '-- a key ingredient for a nuclear warhead.
For his part, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Ali Akbar Salehi noted that Iran could bring the enrichment to a 20-percent purity level within just four days at the Fordow plant, stressing that it is not a "political bluff."
On the other hand, if Washington decides to abandon the nuclear deal with Iran the future of the talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un would be hanging in the balance, as the US image as a negotiator would be significantly undermined.
The Ghost of a New War in the Middle East
The JCPOA collapse could potentially lead to new military and political crises in the Middle East. It is doubtful that Israel, Saudi Arabia, and their longstanding ally, the US, would sit idly by if the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) resumes its nuclear program at full capacity.
Speaking to CBS in mid-March 2018, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman stated: "Saudi Arabia does not want to acquire any nuclear bomb, but without a doubt, if Iran developed a nuclear bomb, we will follow suit as soon as possible."
Later, in his interview with The Wall Street Journal, the crown prince predicted a potential
military confrontation with Iran in the next 10-15 years if the international community does not impose tougher sanctions on the IRI.
The JCPOA agreement was reached in 2015 between Tehran, the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia, France, and China plus Germany) and the European Union. On October 18, 2015 the deal came into effect and participants began implementing the provisions of the agreement.
Under the JCPOA, Iran was obligated to eliminate its stockpiles of medium-enriched uranium and reduce its stockpiles of low-enriched uranium by 98 percent. It was stipulated that the IRI will enrich uranium only to 3.67 percent for the next 15 years.
Isral waarschuwt voor 80.000 Iran gesteunde extremisten in Syri
Sat, 28 Apr 2018 11:46
Israel's ambassador to the United Nations on Thursday told the UN Security Council (UNSC) that 80,000 ''extremist'' Shia Muslim militants are operating under Iran's command in Syria
"There are over 80,000 extremists from all over the Middle East who are members of Shia militias in Syria under Iranian control," said Israeli Ambassador Danny Danon. Wednesday, Danon was elected vice president of the 72nd Session of the UN General Assembly.
Lebanon's Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah addresses his supporters during a rare public appearance at an Ashoura ceremony in Beirut's southern suburbs November 3,
Western Attack Failed to Terrorize Syrian Troops or Serve Israel's Interests - Hezbollah Leader
The ambassador showed the UNSC an aerial photograph of what Israel alleges is an Iranian base just on the outskirts of Damascus, the Syrian capital, which Danon said serves as "Iran's central induction and recruitment center in Syria," but reportedly did not offer up any evidence to support his statement.
It is likely that Danon is referring to Hezbollah, and possibly to the Badr Organization, among the most active Shia militias in Syria, which have fought alongside the Syrian Arab Army and Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps in a number of battles in the war-torn nation against the Free Syrian Army, al-Nusra Front, Daesh and a number of other Islamic extremist groups.
Hezbollah is a Shiite political party and military based in Lebanon, labelled a terrorist organization by the United States in 1997. It has evolved from a cell-based structure largely involved with counterinsurgency to a full-fledged army, now considered the strongest non-state force in the world. The Badr Organization is an Iraqi political party that fought Daesh in Iraq and helped the Syrian government retake Aleppo from al-Nusra Front and other extremist groups.
An Israeli Air Force F-15 Eagle fighter plane performs at an air show during the graduation of new cadet pilots at Hatzerim base in the Negev desert, near the southern Israeli city of
Israel Pulls F-15s from Alaska War Games as Tensions Rise with Iran
Danon's announcement comes following the April 9 Israeli attack on Syria's T-4 air base, which killed seven Iranians operating in the country on behalf of the Syrian government.
An IDF member told the New York Times, "It was the first time we attacked live Iranian targets '-- both facilities and people," although the paper issued a correction after the IDF lodged protests, arguing he did not speak for the military.
Since then, Israel has been bracing for potential conflict. On Monday, Sputnik reported that the country pulled its F-15s from scheduled drills in Alaska to keep them instead on high alert in Israel.
Washington DC, Virginia Among STD Capitals Of U.S. | Washington DC, DC Patch
Thu, 26 Apr 2018 21:51
WASHINGTON, DC '-- The number of Americans contracting sexually transmitted diseases is about to reach epidemic levels this year, and Washington, D.C., is at the forefront of the problem, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The highest number ever of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis cases '-- more than 2 million '-- was reported across the nation, the CDC says, with Virginia seeing increased cases of all three diseases.
While all three can be cured with antibiotics, if they are not diagnosed and go untreated, they can have serious health consequences, including infertility, pelvic pain, organ damage, life-threatening ectopic pregnancy, neurological deterioration, stillbirth in infants and increased risk for HIV transmission.
"Increases in STDs are a clear warning of a growing threat," said Dr. Jonathan Mermin, director of CDC's National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention. "STDs are a persistent enemy, growing in number, and outpacing our ability to respond."
Cases of all three sexually transmitted diseases, or STDs, have increased for the first time since 2006, data released by the CDC in April show. That includes rising levels in Virginia, as well as DC.
(For more news like this, find your local Patch here. If you have an iPhone, click here to get the free Patch iPhone app; download the free Patch Android app here.)
April is national STD Awareness Month, and the CDC has several ways people and providers can participate.
Individuals are encouraged to talk about STDs with their partners and to get tested. Ways to reduce the risk of getting and transmitting STDs are using protection, practicing abstinence or reducing the number of partners.
Find a testing site using this CDC resource locator.
Syphilis Cases Increase
Washington, D.C., has the highest rate of syphilis in the United States, according to the data.
The states with the highest syphilis rates are as follows, with DC at No. 1 and Virginia much lower:
D.C. has 84.5 cases per 100,000 peopleNew York has 47.8 cases per 100,000 peopleNevada has 45.4 cases per 100,000 peopleCalifornia has 45.0 cases per 100,000 peopleGeorgia has 40.3 cases per 100,000 peopleMaryland has 30.7 cases per 100,000 peopleVirginia has 15.5 cases per 100,000 peopleSyphilis can start as a painless sore that appears three weeks after exposure to an infected person and heals on its own within three to six weeks, officials say. If left untreated, syphilis can go on to cause a rash, swollen lymph nodes, fever and damage to the heart, brain, nerves, eyes, joints, bones, liver and blood vessels, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Officials said the majority of cases occurred among men who have sex with men. There was also a 36 percent increase in rates of syphilis among women and a 28 percent rise in syphilis among newborns, a condition known as congenital syphilis. The disease is preventable through routine screening and timely treatment with an antibiotic for syphilis among pregnant women.
"Every baby born with syphilis represents a tragic system's failure," said Gail Bolan, director of CDC's Division of STD Prevention. "All it takes is a simple STD test and antibiotic treatment to prevent this enormous heartache and help assure a healthy start for the next generation of Americans."
Syphilis rates increased by nearly 18 percent overall from 2015 to 2016, according to the CDC's annual Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance Report.
Symptoms Of Chlamydia
Of the 2 million new STD diagnoses in 2016, the majority '-- 1.6 million '-- were chlamydia cases, the report said. It can have no symptoms but may present through discharge, burning while urinating, pain, rectal bleeding or swollen testicles. It can cause serious, permanent damage to a woman's reproductive system.
Washington, D.C., reported the highest rate of chlamydia with 1,083 per 100,000 people. Top states in order are Alaska, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Delaware and Arkansas.
Virginia was No. 24 for chlamydia, with a rate of 473.2 cases per 100,000 people and a total of 39,666 cases reported in 2016.
Virginia, DC Gonorrhea Cases
There were 470,000 gonorrhea cases nationally in 2016, according to the CDC. Most who are infected do not have symptoms or may mistake them for a bladder infection. Especially prevalent among those 15 to 24 years old, it can cause infections in the genitals, rectum and throat.
Gonorrhea cases increased by 18.5 percent from 2015 to 2016. The increase in gonorrhea cases is particularly alarming in light of the growing threat of drug resistance to the last remaining recommended gonorrhea treatment, said Bolan.
The CDC's Antibiotic Resistance Lab in Maryland is working on a pilot program to identify outbreaks of gonorrhea and develop alternative treatments.
Mississippi led the country in cases of gonorrhea (239 per 100,000 people) followed by Louisiana, Georgia, Alaska, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, South Carolina and Delaware.
Virginia was No. 25, with a rate of 132.2 people per 100,000 affected and a total of 11,084 cases of gonorrhea in 2016. The District of Columbia had 3,226 cases and a rate of 479.9 people affected per 100,000 residents.
The CDC is also recommending that the federal government step in and assist states in their efforts to combat the epidemic, which now costs more than $16 billion to treat.
The CDC has issued the following recommendations:
Improve diagnosis and treatment of pregnant women and ensure prompt treatment of newborns at birth in the 10 states hardest hit by congenital syphilis.Rapidly test for drug-resistant gonorrhea and treat affected individuals, as part of the federal government's Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria (CARB) Action Plan.Integrate STD prevention into care for people living with HIV.At the same time, the CDC is appealing to state health departments to refocus their resources on STD investigation and services to rapidly detect and treat people living in the areas hardest hit by the STD epidemic.
The agency also is urging health-care providers to make STD screenings and treatments a standard part of medical care, especially for pregnant women and men who have sex with men. It's now or never, said Mermin.
"We have reached a decisive moment for the nation," said Mermin. "STD rates are rising, and many of the country's systems for preventing STDs have eroded. We must mobilize, rebuild and expand services '-- or the human and economic burden will continue to grow."
'-- By Patch editors D'Ann Lawrence White and Elizabeth Janney
Image via Shutterstock
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Bill Cosby Criminal Case: A Timeline From Accusation to Conviction - The New York Times
Thu, 26 Apr 2018 22:56
Bill Cosby, one of the world's best-known entertainers, was found guilty on Thursday of drugging and sexually assaulting a woman 14 years ago.
The jury convicted Mr. Cosby of three counts of aggravated indecent assault against Andrea Constand, at the time a Temple University employee he had mentored.
During the trial, Ms. Constand became something of a proxy for other women, more than 50, who have accused Mr. Cosby of similar sexual misconduct. In the last few years, he has lost television deals, honorary college degrees and his reputation as ''America's Dad.'' Now with the guilty verdict, he is facing possible prison time, up to 10 years, though the sentences could be served concurrently.
Mr. Cosby's first trial ended in a hung jury last June. Here is how his retrial in Norristown, Pa., unfolded and ended with a conviction:
November 2002Ms. Constand, who works for the Temple University women's basketball team, meets Mr. Cosby, a Temple alumnus and supporter, at one of the team's games in Philadelphia.
Andrea Constand in December 2015. That month, Mr. Cosby was arrested on charges of sexually assaulting her. Credit Marta Iwanek/The Canadian Press, via Associated Press January 2004The month that Ms. Constand said Mr. Cosby assaulted her at his home after giving her wine and three pills that left her ''frozen.'' Besides the issue of whether the encounter was consensual, Mr. Cosby's team has questioned whether it occurred earlier than Ms. Constand described, which could place the episode too far outside the statute of limitations for Mr. Cosby to be held criminally liable.
January 2005Ms. Constand, who has left Temple and moved back home to Toronto, tells her mother that Mr. Cosby assaulted her about a year earlier. They call him and contact the Canadian police. Three days later, Mr. Cosby returns the call, apologizes, declines to identify the pills, but suggests the sex was consensual.
Feb. 17, 2005The Montgomery County district attorney at the time, Bruce L. Castor Jr., decides not to charge Mr. Cosby, citing ''insufficient credible and admissible evidence.''
Three of the women who accused Mr. Cosby of sexual abuse, with the attorney Gloria Allred, right, in 2016. Kelly Johnson, second from right, testified last year at Mr. Cosby's first trial. Credit Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images March 8, 2005Ms. Constand sues Mr. Cosby. Eventually a dozen women will agree to present testimony of similar behavior on his part.
September 2005In deposition testimony, Mr. Cosby admits to obtaining quaaludes to give to young women for sex. Ms. Constand's suit is later settled, and both sign a nondisclosure agreement. The deposition and settlement amount are not made public at that point.
October 2014During a comedy routine, Hannibal Buress refers to Mr. Cosby as a rapist. A video of the moment goes viral, prompting many other women to come forward with accusations.
Janice Dickinson in 2016. She testified this month that Mr. Cosby sexually assaulted her in 1982 after giving her a pill in a Lake Tahoe hotel room. Credit Nick Ut/Associated Press July 2015A judge releases parts of Mr. Cosby's deposition in the 2005 civil case. The criminal investigation is later reopened and detectives visit Toronto to interview Ms. Constand.
Nov. 3, 2015Montgomery County voters elect Kevin R. Steele as district attorney. He had criticized the 2005 decision not to prosecute Mr. Cosby.
Kevin R. Steele, the Montgomery County district attorney who is prosecuting Mr. Cosby. Credit Lucas Jackson/Agence France-Presse '-- Getty Images Dec. 30, 2015Mr. Cosby is arrested on charges of aggravated indecent assault. Based on the timing described by Ms. Constand, the charges come just before the expiration of the 12-year statute of limitations for the charge.
Mr. Cosby leaving his arraignment hearing in December 2015. Credit Bryan Anselm for The New York Times June 17, 2017Mr. Cosby's first trial ends in a mistrial after jurors remain deadlocked following six days of deliberations.
April 9, 2018The retrial begins. For the first time, the amount of Mr. Cosby's settlement with Ms. Constand is revealed: $3.38 million. And this time, the judge allows five women to testify that Mr. Cosby assaulted them in ways similar to how Ms. Constand says she was attacked. In the first trial, only one other woman was permitted to take the stand.
Mr. Cosby has a new witness, too: a Temple employee who said Ms. Constand once told her she could make money by falsely accusing a prominent person.
April 26, 2018A jury found Mr. Cosby guilty on three counts of assaulting Ms. Constand: penetration with lack of consent, penetration while unconscious and penetration after administering an intoxicant. These are felonies, each punishable by up to 10 years in state prison, though the sentences could be served concurrently.
Bill Cosby Found Guilty of Sexual Assault in Retrial - The New York Times
Thu, 26 Apr 2018 23:01
NORRISTOWN, Pa. '-- A jury found Bill Cosby guilty Thursday of drugging and sexually assaulting a woman at his home near here 14 years ago, capping the downfall of one of the world's best-known entertainers, and offering a measure of satisfaction to the dozens of women who for years have accused him of similar assaults against them.
On the second day of its deliberations at the Montgomery County Courthouse in this town northwest of Philadelphia, the jury returned to convict Mr. Cosby of three counts of aggravated indecent assault against Andrea Constand, at the time a Temple University employee he had mentored.
The three counts '-- penetration with lack of consent, penetration while unconscious and penetration after administering an intoxicant '-- are felonies, each punishable by up to 10 years in state prison, though the sentences could be served concurrently.
The Montgomery County district attorney, Kevin R. Steele, asked that Mr. Cosby's $1 million bail be revoked, suggesting he had been convicted of a serious crime, owned a plane and could flee, prompting an angry outburst from Mr. Cosby, who shouted, ''He doesn't have a plane, you asshole.''
[Did the #MeToo movement have an effect on the Bill Cosby jury?]
''Enough of that,'' said Judge Steven T. O'Neill. He did not view Mr. Cosby as a flight risk, he said, adding that Mr. Cosby could be released on bail but authorities would continue to hold his passport and he would have to remain in his nearby home. The judge did not set a sentencing date.
Mr. Cosby sat back in his chair after the verdict was announced and quietly stared down. But several women who have accused Mr. Cosby of abusing them, and attended the trial each day, briefly cheered. Judge O'Neill praised the jurors, calling it ''an extraordinarily difficult case'' and adding, ''You have sacrificed much, but you have sacrificed in the service of justice.''
When he was finished, Ms. Constand, who had been quiet throughout, stood up and was hugged by several people, including her lawyer.
Mr. Cosby did not comment as he left the courthouse, but his lead lawyer, Thomas A. Mesereau Jr., said his client would appeal. ''We are very disappointed by the verdict,'' he said. ''We don't believe Mr. Cosby is guilty of anything.''
[The Bill Cosby case: A timeline from accusation to conviction.]
It was the second time a jury had considered Mr. Cosby's fate. His first trial last summer ended with a deadlocked jury after six days of deliberations.
In recent years, Mr. Cosby, 80, had admitted to decades of philandering, and to giving quaaludes to women as part of an effort to have sex, smashing the image he had built as a moralizing public figure and the upstanding paterfamilias in the wildly popular 1980s and '90s sitcom ''The Cosby Show.'' He did not testify in his own defense, avoiding a grilling about those admissions, but he and his lawyers have insisted that his encounter with Ms. Constand was part of a consensual affair, not an assault.
The verdict now marks the bottom of a fall as precipitous as any in show business history and leaves in limbo a large slice of American popular culture from Mr. Cosby's six-decade career as a comedian and actor. For the last few years, his TV shows, films, and recorded stand-up performances, one-time broadcast staples, have largely been shunned, and with the conviction, they are likely to remain so.
At his retrial in the same courthouse and before the same judge as last summer, a new defense team argued unsuccessfully that Ms. Constand, now 45, was a desperate ''con artist'' with financial problems who steadily worked her famous but lonely mark for a lucrative payday.
Andrea Constand is the only woman among more than 50 accusers whose complaint against Mr. Cosby has resulted in a conviction. A jury found him guilty of three counts of aggravated indecent assault. Published On April 26, 2018 Credit Image by Mark Makela/Getty Images The prosecution countered that it was Mr. Cosby who had been a deceiver, hiding behind his amiable image as America's Dad to prey on women that he first incapacitated with intoxicants. During closing arguments Tuesday, a special prosecutor, Kristen Gibbons Feden, had told the jury: ''She is not the con. He is.''
The defense's star witness was a veteran academic adviser at Temple, Mr. Cosby's alma mater, who said Ms. Constand had confided in her in 2004 that she could make money by falsely claiming that she had been molested by a prominent person. Mr. Cosby paid Ms. Constand $3.38 million in 2006 as part of the confidential financial settlement of a lawsuit she had brought against him after prosecutors had originally declined to bring charges.
[Andrea Constand was the ''linchpin'' of the Bill Cosby case.]
But Ms. Constand said she had never spoken with the adviser, and prosecutors rebutted the characterization of Ms. Constand as a schemer. Perhaps most damaging to Mr. Cosby, they were able to introduce testimony from five other women who told jurors they believed they too had been drugged and sexually assaulted by Mr. Cosby in separate incidents in the 1980s. The powerful drumbeat of accounts allowed prosecutors to argue that Ms. Constand's assault was part of a signature pattern of predatory behavior.
The case was the first high-profile trial of the #MeToo era. Candidates were required during jury selection to provide assurances that the accusations against scores of other famous men would not affect their judgment of Mr. Cosby. Mr. Cosby's lawyers referred to the changed atmosphere in American society, warning it and the introduction of accounts from multiple other accusers risked denying Mr. Cosby a fair trial by distracting jurors' attention. ''Mob rule is not due process,'' Kathleen Bliss, one of Mr. Cosby's lawyers told the jury.
Then she spent much of her closing argument urging the jury to discount the accounts of the five supporting witnesses. One was a failed starlet who slept around, she suggested, another a publicity seeker. ''Questioning an accuser is not shaming a victim,'' she told the jury.
The remarks inflamed Ms. Feden, the prosecutor, who called the attacks on the women the same sort of filthy and shameful criticism that kept some victims of sexual assault from ever coming forward.
When Ms. Constand testified, she took the stand as something of a proxy for the other women, more than 50, who have accused Mr. Cosby of abuses, often with details remarkably similar to Ms. Constand's account. A few of those women attended the trial.
Kathleen Bliss, left, and Thomas A. Mesereau Jr., two lawyers for Mr. Cosby, at the courthouse on Wednesday. Credit Tracie Van Auken/EPA, via Shutterstock None of the other accusations had resulted in prosecution. In many of the cases, too much time had passed for criminal charges to be considered, so Ms. Constand's case emerged as the only criminal test of Mr. Cosby's guilt.
But Mr. Cosby is facing civil actions from several accusers, many of whom are suing him for defamation because, they say, he or his staff branded them as liars by dismissing their allegations as fabrications.
The suits have mostly been delayed, pending the outcome of the criminal trial and are likely to draw momentum from the guilty verdict.
Many of Mr. Cosby's accusers celebrated the verdict with laughter and tears. Patricia Steuer, 61, who has accused Mr. Cosby of drugging and assaulting her in 1978 and 1980, said she and her husband were in a pharmacy in Lake Tahoe when the news arrived by text.
''We just collapsed in each other's arms,'' she said. ''We were just crying.''
The case largely turned on the credibility of Ms. Constand, who testified that in a visit in early 2004 to Mr. Cosby's home near Philadelphia, when she was 30 and he was 66, Mr. Cosby gave her pills that left her immobile and drifting in and out of consciousness. He said he had only given her Benadryl.
Mr. Cosby and his wife, Camille, arriving Tuesday at the courthouse for closing arguments. It was the only day Mrs. Cosby appeared at the trial. Credit Tracie Van Auken/EPA, via Shutterstock ''I was kind of jolted awake and felt Mr. Cosby on the couch beside me, behind me, and my vagina was being penetrated quite forcefully, and I felt my breast being touched,'' Ms. Constand said. ''I was limp, and I could not fight him off.''
Adding weight to her accusations was the revelation that a decade earlier, in a deposition in Ms. Constand's lawsuit against him, Mr. Cosby had admitted to having given women quaaludes in an effort to have sex with them.
Ms. Constand, center, with the Montgomery County district attorney, Kevin Steele, left, and Kristen Gibbons Feden, the special prosecutor on the case, at a news conference after the conviction. Credit Dominick Reuter/Agence France-Presse '-- Getty Images But perhaps most damaging was the testimony by the five additional accusers, which took up several days. In Mr. Cosby's first trial, last summer, only one other accuser had been allowed to add her voice to that of Ms. Constand. At the retrial, the accusers included the former model Janice Dickinson, who told jurors Mr. Cosby had assaulted her in a Lake Tahoe hotel room in 1982, after giving her a pill to help with menstrual cramps. ''Here was America's Dad on top of me,'' she told the courtroom, ''a happily married man with five children, on top of me.''
The defense suggested in its cross-examination that Ms. Dickinson had made up the account, pointing to the fact that in her memoir she had recounted the meeting without making any mention of an assault. But Ms. Dickinson's publisher testified that she had told her the rape account and it was only kept out of the book for legal reasons.
Another accuser, Chelan Lasha, told how Mr. Cosby invited her to his suite at the Las Vegas Hilton in 1986 when she was 17 to give her help with her modeling career. Mr. Cosby, she said, gave her a pill and liquor, and then assaulted her.
In court, Ms. Lasha, who was often in tears, called across the courtroom to the entertainer, who was sitting at the defense table.
''You remember,'' she asked, ''don't you, Mr. Cosby?''
The jury deliberating the Cosby case inside the Montgomery County Courthouse was asked to decide on three counts of sexual assault. Credit Brendan Mcdermid/Reuters As in the first trial, Mr. Cosby's legal team insisted Ms. Constand was lying about a consensual, sexual relationship. But while last summer the defense had depicted Mr. Cosby as a flawed man, an unfaithful husband who shattered his fans' illusions, but committed no crime, this time his lawyers focused on the financial struggles they said Ms. Constand was experiencing, which led her to extort money from a man who had been trying to help her with a career in broadcasting.
''You are going to be asking yourself during this trial, 'What does she want from Bill Cosby?' And you already know the answer: 'Money, money and lots more money,' '' Mr. Mesereau told the jurors as he opened his defense of Mr. Cosby. ''She has a history of financial problems until she hits the jackpot with Bill Cosby.''
The defense emphasized inconsistencies in the version of events Ms. Constand had given the police, saying, for example, at one point that the assault had taken place in March 2004, then later changing that January 2004.
Mr. Cosby's lawyers cited her phone records to show she had stayed in touch with him after the encounter and they produced detailed travel itineraries and flight schedules in an effort to show that Mr. Cosby did not stay at his Philadelphia home during the period she said the assault occurred.
''He was lonely and troubled and he made a terrible mistake confiding in her what was going on in his life,'' Mr. Mesereau said.
Under cross-examination, Ms. Constand explained the lapses in her accounts as innocent mistakes, and said her contacts with Mr. Cosby after the incident were mostly cursory, the unavoidable result of her job duties.
Mr. Steele told the jury that Mr. Cosby took away Ms. Constand's ability to consent with the pills he gave her, and that their later contacts were irrelevant.
When Ms. Constand's mother called to confront Mr. Cosby about a year after the incident, the prosecution argued, his apology and his offer to pay for her schooling, therapy and a trip to Florida were evidence he knew he had done something wrong.
Mr. Steele, the district attorney, also worked to rebut the defense claims. He said that Mr. Cosby, a member of Temple University's board of directors and the university's most famous alumnus, set his sights on Ms. Constand, an employee in the university's athletic department who considered Mr. Cosby a mentor.
''This case is about trust,'' Mr. Steele had told the jurors. ''This case is about betrayal, and that betrayal leading to a sexual assault of a woman named Andrea Constand.''
Richard P(C)rez-Pe±a and Cara Buckley contributed to this report.
Why Bill Cosby may not serve much prison time | Euronews
Sat, 28 Apr 2018 11:41
world news
By Meredith Mandell and Danny Cevallos and Hilary Rosenthal last updated: 27/04/2018 Now Reading:Why Bill Cosby may not serve much prison time
Bill Cosby's accusers cheered outside the Norristown, Pennsylvania, courthouse on Thursday when they learned he had been convicted on three counts of aggravated indecent assault and could face as much as 30 years in prison '-- but the amount of jail time he will actually see is an outstanding question.
The maximum sentence for each of the three counts is 10 years, or 30 years in total, meaning the 80-year-old Cosby, who is legally blind and in poor health, could spend the end of his life in prison. (He is currently out on bail and confined to his home while awaiting sentencing.) But legal experts say the maximum sentences are not typically what a defendant will get in Pennsylvania.
"The maximums are very deceptive about what the real sentence is going to be," said Michael DiCindio, a criminal defense attorney who practices in Montgomery County, where Cosby was convicted.
DiCindio said that while there are maximums in the state that could be imposed, Pennsylvania's sentencing guidelines are "going to weigh heavily in balance."
In 1982, the Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing created benchmarks to promote "equity and fairness" in sentencing. The sentencing guidelines for aggravated indecent assault call for 22 to 36 months for each count, rather than the 10-year maximum.
Judges have discretion to consider a variety of factors in determining a sentence, including a defendant's criminal history, the effect of the criminal behavior on public safety and the possibility of mitigating and aggravating factors in the case. Based on those factors, judges decide the length of the sentence on each count, as well as whether those sentences are served consecutively or concurrently.
Defendants are typically assigned a sentencing hearing 60 to 90 days after a conviction. At the sentencing hearing, attorneys for both sides will argue for the aggravating and mitigating circumstances in the case.
"I would think the big battle is whether in fact he gets jail time," said Jack Meyerson, a former federal prosecutor and Philadelphia-based attorney. "Given the public scrutiny over the case and Cosby's celebrity," Meyerson continued, "the judge may feel pressured to send Cosby to prison. Given the circumstances of the case, and public attention, I think he would have to send a message with some jail time."
Cosby has been accused by dozens of women of misbehavior ranging from sexual harassment to assault, but in nearly all of the cases, the statute of limitations had already passed by the time the allegations surfaced. That was not the case for Andrea Constand, a former Temple University employee, who testified that Cosby had drugged and sexually assaulted her in 2004. The three counts Cosby was convicted of on Thursday stem from that encounter.
At Cosby's sentencing hearing, prosecutors will likely argue for a higher sentence based on Cosby's use of intoxicants in Constand's assault, as well as the number of alleged incidents involving other women. On the other hand, Cosby's defense attorneys may argue that, based on his age and poor health, as well as the significant charitable contributions he has made and his lack of a previous criminal record, he should not have to serve jail time.
As in the Larry Nassar case, in which more than 150 women testified at a sentencing hearing for the former Michigan State doctor accused of molesting young gymnasts, the judge could allow Cosby's dozens of accusers to testify in open court.
Cosby's attorneys said they would appeal the conviction. Meyerson said it's possible the attorneys would ask the judge to allow Cosby to remain on bail, rather than imprisoned, pending that appeal. If the judge denies that request, his attorneys could appeal that decision to a higher court.
Agencies ' NBC News U.S. News
Tom Brokaw accused of inappropriate behavior in the 90s: reports | TheHill
Fri, 27 Apr 2018 09:17
Legendary NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw is facing allegations of inappropriate behavior against two women in the 1990s, including a former NBC correspondent.
The women told The Washington Post in interviews that they experienced unwanted advances from Brokaw, including forcible attempts at kissing.
One woman who has come forward publicly, Linda Vester, is a former NBC News employee who says Brokaw, 30 years her senior, once invited himself over to her hotel room while in New York then proceeded to make unwanted advances.
"What do you want from me?" Vester said she asked him.
"An affair of more than passing affection," she recalled him saying.
Brokaw went on to then attempt to kiss Vester, she alleges, which she refused, prompting him to leave. Vester says she relayed the encounter to a friend at the time, both before and after it occurred, who corroborated Vester's account to the Post.
A second encounter with Brokaw happened a year later, she told the newspaper, but both times she feared reporting the incidents would end her career at NBC.
In an interview with Variety, Vester describes an initial encounter with Brokaw, which she says happened in full view of other NBC employees.
"We were in the Denver bureau, and there was a conference room. I'm standing there, and Tom Brokaw enters through the door and grabs me from behind and proceeds to tickle me up and down my waist," Vester said.
"I jumped a foot and I looked at a guy who was the senior editor of 'Nightly,' and his jaw was hanging open. Nobody acted like anything wrong was happening, but I was humiliated."
Vester described the encounter as "out of the blue," as she was working for a different NBC show at the time and had no prior relationship with Brokaw.
Her attorney, Ari Wilkenfeld, also represents the initial accuser who came forward about fellow NBC anchor Matt Lauer with claims of sexual harassment.
Wilkenfield told the Post that Vester is not seeking legal remedy against Brokaw, and is telling her story at "her own expense."
"Linda has shown incredible courage and conviction coming forward to share the details of her experiences working at NBC," Wilkenfield told the newspaper. "She does so at her own expense and peril. She wants nothing for herself."
Lauer, who was fired from the network in November, was accused by multiple women of inappropriate sexual conduct. Lauer's career was one of many to be brought down by the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, which have sought to expose sexual misconduct by powerful figures in media and other industries.
Another woman who chose to remain anonymous told the Post that Brokaw grabbed her hands and held them against his chest when she was a production assistant at NBC News.
"He put my hands under his jacket and against his chest and pulled me in so close and asked me, 'How is your job search going?' " she said. Brokaw later invited her to his office, which she refused, she said. The woman says she left the network shortly after the incident.
Brokaw denied Vester's accusations and did not address the anonymous claim against him in a statement to the Post.
"I met with Linda Vester on two occasions, both at her request, 23 years ago, because she wanted advice with respect to her career at NBC," he said in a statement issued by NBC.
"The meetings were brief, cordial and appropriate, and despite Linda's allegations, I made no romantic overtures towards her, at that time or any other."
GBI Investigating Alpha Kappa Alpha Sex Scandal At Fort Valley State University + AKA Issues Statement'... | StraightFromTheA.com - Atlanta Entertainment Industry News & Gossip
Sat, 28 Apr 2018 06:04
There's been a lot of drama brewing down at Fort Valley State University this week.
The Atlanta Journal Constitution was first to report that the historically Black school was being investigated for hazing allegations and a possible sex ring scandal orchestrated by an employee of the school.
Now the Georgia Bureau of Investigation has gotten involved in the matter which reportedly revolves around Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority.
Details below'...
GBI Special Agent J.T. Ricketson spoke with several news outlets earlier this week and revealed that the GBI was requested by the Georgia Board of Regents and Attorney General's office to ''look into a matter'' at the university.
Fort Valley State University recently notified the University System of Georgia about potential employee misconduct. We can confirm that the University System of Georgia is now conducting an investigation into this alleged employee misconduct, and an FVSU employee who is allegedly involved has been placed on administrative leave.
We can also confirm that the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the Office of the Attorney General are involved and investigating whether criminal activity has occurred. With the investigation pending, we cannot comment further.''
It has been reported that the incident being investigated involves allegations of employee misconduct and hazing linked to Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority and prostitution.
The newest members of Alpha Beta who were initiated this past Spring were involved in a sex ring so they could allegedly pay to ''pledge'' the oldest Black Greek sorority, which was founded in 1908 on the campus of Howard University. The customers are allegedly local politicians and businessmen.
In addition to the alleged hazing/sex scandal, there is also a bit of scandal brewing with the way the information was released.
On Thursday, the AJC released portions of a letter written from Chancellor Steve Wrigley to GBI Director Vernon Keenan calling for the GBI to pull the agent off of the investigation.
''Ricketson has from the moment he got on the case been talking to the media. He has talked to more reporters than Fort Valley State University students and officials. Such behavior damages the quality, credibility and integrity of the investigation.''
The letter continued: ''We need a professional, thorough and timely investigation conducted. Ricketson has demonstrated he cannot provide this.''
Wrigley's complaint got the GBI's attention. The agency sent Wrigley a letter Thursday that said control of the investigation was being moved UP the chain of command.
''I have elevated the case to the command staff level of our investigative division,'' GBI Director Vernon Keenan wrote. An inspector who reports directly to the deputy director will oversee the case.''
Keenan said that there would be a complete and thorough investigation of the claims.
For the record, there is no official confirmation that the investigation is about hazing and/or prostitution '' only that there is an on-going investigation. Nevertheless, social media has been buzzing about the scandalous allegations involving the well-respected sorority.
AKA officials are reportedly taking the claims seriously enough that they have launched their own independent investigation.
We were appalled to learn of allegations of sexual misconduct against a Fort Valley State University employee who also is a graduate member of the sorority.These allegations are in no way representative of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority's 110-year service-based mission or its nearly 300,000 members.
We condemn these allegations in the strongest possible terms. We remain dedicated to our mission to encourage high scholastic and ethical standards, promote unity, alleviate problems concerning girls and women, create opportunities for them to pursue higher education and be of service to millions of people around the world annually.
The University also released a statement addressing how the investigation kicked off:
''On April 5, 2018, administrators from Fort Valley State University received two separate reports of alleged wrongdoing. One report was made anonymously as a tip on a campus complaint hotline. The second report was made separately by an employee to the campus Title IX coordinator. The USG in conjunction with FVSU began an immediate investigation in accordance with its policies.''
Meanwhile, the employee in question has been placed on administrative leave.
What are your thoughts about this sorority hazing scandal?
Tom Brokaw Rips Accuser Claims: I Was "Ambushed and Then Perp Walked" | Hollywood Reporter
Sun, 29 Apr 2018 00:56
The revered NBC News anchor accused of unwanted advances pens a strenuous denial and defense of his legacy.Tom Brokaw, the NBC News anchor who has served as a distinguished anchor emeritus since stepping down as anchor of Nightly News in 2004, penned a blistering rebuttal to accusations that he subjected an underling to unwanted advances in the 1990s, when he was the network's biggest star and she was a 28-year-old just starting out in network news.
In an email obtained by The Hollywood Reporter and sent to a handful of NBC News colleagues, Brokaw, 78, strenuously denies the detailed account of Linda Vester. "I am angry, hurt and unmoored from what I thought would be the final passage of my life and career, a mix of written and broadcast journalism, philanthropy and participation in environmental and social causes that have always given extra meaning to my life," Brokaw wrote.
The NBC News fixture, who joined the network in 1966 and anchored Nightly for 22 years, was accused by Vester and a second anonymous woman of harassment in a Washington Post story published on Thursday. Vester also spoke in a video interview with Variety. Brokaw, through NBC, issued a statement of denial to both publications.
Brokaw has been a special correspondent for NBC News. Colleagues there said he was not scheduled to be in the office on Friday. But it's unclear how NBC News will respond to the allegations. The company is nearing the end of an investigation set off by the toppling of Matt Lauer.
"I am facing a long list of grievances from a former colleague who left NBC News angry that she had failed in her pursuit of stardom. She has unleashed a torrent of unsubstantiated criticism and attacks on me," the anchor, currently a special correspondent at the network, stated in his email to colleagues.
Brokaw's email is published in full below:
It is 4:00 am on the first day of my new life as an accused predator in the universe of American journalism. I was ambushed and then perp walked across the pages of The Washington Post and Variety as an avatar of male misogyny, taken to the guillotine and stripped of any honor and achievement I had earned in more than a half century of journalism and citizenship.
I am angry, hurt and unmoored from what I thought would be the final passage of my life and career, a mix of written and broadcast journalism, philanthropy and participation in environmental and social causes that have always given extra meaning to my life.
Instead I am facing a long list of grievances from a former colleague who left NBC News angry that she had failed in her pursuit of stardom. She has unleashed a torrent of unsubstantiated criticism and attacks on me more than twenty years after I opened the door for her and a new job at Fox news.
Linda Vester was given the run of the Washington Post and Variety to vent her grievances, to complain that I tickled her without permission (you read that right), that I invaded her hotel room, accepted an invitation to her apartment under false pretenses and in general was given a free hand to try to destroy all that I have achieved with my family, my NBC career, my writing and my citizenship.
My family and friends are stunned and supportive. My NBC colleagues are bewildered that Vester, who had limited success at NBC News, a modest career at Fox and a reputation as a colleague who had trouble with the truth, was suddenly the keeper of the flame of journalistic integrity.
Her big charge: that on two occasions more than 20 years ago I made inappropriate and uninvited appearances in her apartment and in a hotel room. As an eager beginner, Vester, like others in that category, was eager for advice and camaraderie with senior colleagues. She often sought me out for informal meetings, including the one she describes in her New York hotel room. I should not have gone but I emphatically did not verbally and physically attack her and suggest an affair in language right out of pulp fiction.
She was coy, not frightened, filled with office gossip, including a recent rumor of an affair. As that discussion advanced she often reminded me she was a Catholic and that she was uncomfortable with my presence. So I left, 23 years later, to be stunned by her melodramatic description of the meeting. A year or so later, as I passed through London after covering end of WWII ceremonies in Moscow, I saw her in the office, chatted and agreed to a drink later. (If NY was so traumatic, why a reunion?) She knew a bar but by that late hour it was closed so she suggested her nearby apartment (not, "Well, no where to go. See you tomorrow").
Again, her hospitality was straight forward with lots of pride in her reporting in the Congo and more questions about NY opportunities.
As I remember, she was at one end of a sofa, I was at the other. It was late and I had been up for 24 hours. As I got up to leave I may have leaned over for a perfunctory goodnight kiss, but my memory is that it happened at the door '' on the cheek. No clenching her neck. That move she so vividly describes is NOT WHO I AM. Not in high school, college or thereafter.
She came to NY and had mixed success on the overnight news. As I remember her try out on TODAY did not go well. Her contract was not renewed.
Here is a part of her story she somehow left out. I think I saw her in the hallways and asked how it was going. She was interested in cable start up and I said I didn't think that was going anywhere. What about Fox, which was just building up? She was interested and followed me to my office where, while she listened in, I called Roger Ailes. He said, "send her over."
She got the job. I never heard from her or saw her again. I was aware that she became a big fan of Ailes, often praising his considerable broadcasting instincts in public. But when he got in trouble on sexual matters, not a peep from this woman who now describes her self as the keeper of the flame for Me:Too.
I am not a perfect person. I've made mistakes, personally and professionally. But as I write this at dawn on the morning after a drive by shooting by Vester, the Washington Post and Variety, I am stunned by the free ride given a woman with a grudge against NBC News, no distinctive credentials or issue passions while at FOX.
As a private citizen who married a wealthy man, she has been active in social causes but she came to Me:Too late, portraying herself as a den mother. In the intervening years since we met on those two occasions, she had no reason to worry I could affect her career.
Some of her relatives by marriage are very close friends. She couldn't pick up the phone and say, "I'd like to talk. I have issues from those two meetings 20 years ago?" Instead she became a character assassin. Strip away all of the hyperbole and what has she achieved? What was her goal? Hard to believe it wasn't much more Look At Me than Me:Too.
I deeply resent the pain and anger she inflicted on my wife, daughters and granddaughters - all women of considerable success and passion about women's rights which they personify in their daily lives and professions. We'll go on as a family that pursues social justice in medical emergency rooms, corporate offices, social therapy, African women's empowerment and journalism. And no one woman's assault can take that away.
I am proud of who I am as a husband, father, grandfather, journalist and citizen. Vester, the Washington Post and Variety cannot diminish that. But in this one woman piece of sensational claims they are trying.
Tom Brokaw
After the publication of Brokaw's email, NBC News chairman Andy Lack wrote a memo to staff, below:
Dear Colleagues,
As you have all seen now in reports from last night, there are allegations against Tom Brokaw, made by a former NBC News journalist, which Tom emphatically denies. As we've shown, we take allegations such as these very seriously, and act on them quickly and decisively when the facts dictate.
The same report included claims against Matt Lauer. As you know, since the week we terminated Matt's employment, NBC Universal has been conducting a review, led by general counsel Kim Harris--who has extensive experience in conducting reviews of this kind--with a team of legal and HR leaders. Kim has advised us that the review is nearing its conclusion, and we will have findings and further steps to share with you as soon as next week.
In addition to the review--which has included interviews with employees who worked on TODAY and elsewhere in NBC News, and a substantial culture assessment conducted with hundreds of employees--we also have been running mandatory in-person workplace training sessions. Thus far, 1600 employees have been trained, and the feedback from those sessions has been overwhelmingly positive. We expect to have all 2,000 of our employees trained by end of summer.
If you are one of the many who has participated in interviews, the culture assessment sessions and/or the workplace training sessions, thank you. Your participation, feedback and insights are crucial to this process, as we move forward as an organization.
And as we have done regularly over the last few months, and will continue to do frequently, we want to remind you that we encourage all employees to speak up and raise any concerns you have about inappropriate conduct you have experienced or observed. There are multiple avenues available that we have shared with you before, you can also find the details on the intranet NBCNow.
Once again, our highest priority is to ensure we have a workplace environment where everyone feels safe and protected. We are absolutely committed to making this a reality--there can be no exception.
As Ever,
Matt Lauer Is Planning His Comeback | Vanity Fair
Sat, 28 Apr 2018 11:34
Matt greets Today show fans at Rockefeller Center on November 27, 2017.
By Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank/Getty Images.
When Matt Lauer has been in the news lately, it's been largely about real estate: either the Hamptons home he was forced out of in the wake of reports of his sexual misconduct, or the Manhattan home, now on the market, where he learned he'd been fired from Today. Since his firing in November, Lauer has reportedly been lying low in another Hamptons home, but a recent sighting in Manhattan suggests what we really should have seen coming: Matt Lauer is ready for his comeback.
Tucked away in a Page Six report about the warm welcome Michael Cohen received at an Upper East Side restaurant (a familiar experience for disgraced members of Trumpworld), there is this intriguing sentence: ''Lauer is said to be testing the waters for a public comeback by coming out of hiding from his Hamptons home. With his marriage to Annette Roque now over, he's ready to restart his life, pals say.'' Lauer was at the same restaurant as Cohen, having lunch with Mitch Modell of Modell's Sporting Goods.
A comeback for Lauer might be easier said than done. So far, none of the dozens of high-profile men who lost their jobs amid the slew of sexual misconduct allegations that began last October have successfully bounced back into the spotlight. In an April 2 New York Times piece, Mario Batali seemed to be testing the waters, as the profile discussed him ''eyeing his second act.'' The backlash, as was surely to be expected, was swift.
As Sarah Ellison wrote for Vanity Fair in November, Lauer had denied allegations of sexual misconduct to NBC executives in the days leading up to his firing. In response to the allegations that got him fired on November 29, Lauer gave a statement to Variety:
''Some of what is being said about me is untrue or mischaracterized, but there is enough truth in these stories to make me feel embarrassed and ashamed,'' he said. ''I regret that my shame is now shared by the people I cherish dearly.''
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42 Grams in Chicago Closed Due to Domestic Abuse, Says Co-Owner - Eater Chicago
Sun, 29 Apr 2018 11:53
Chef Jake Bickelhaupt pled guilty to attacking co-owner Alexa Welsh before the restaurant's closure Alexa Welsh standing with ex-husband Jake Bickelhaupt.42 Grams, The Film [Official photo] It's been nearly a year since highly acclaimed Chicago restaurant 42 Grams suddenly and unexpectedly closed, leaving diners, the media, and industry insiders wondering what happened. According to co-owner Alexa Welsh and court documents obtained by Eater Chicago, the restaurant shuttered after she was attacked by her ex-husband, 42 Grams chef and co-owner Jake Bickelhaupt.
On June 4, 2017, according to the Cook County state attorney's complaint, Bickelhaupt struck Welsh in the head with a bottle, causing lacerations that required two staples. The complaint states that when Bickelhaupt attacked Welsh, he grabbed Welsh ''by her hair'' and then threw her to the ground and struck her in the head ''with a bottle causing injury.'' Police were called by a diner at the restaurant who saw Welsh shortly after the attack, which took place near the restaurant's rear door, according to Welsh.
The following day, Bickelhaupt announced via Twitter that the restaurant was closing after more than three years in operation. According to Welsh, Bickelhaupt made the announcement without consulting her '-- she was still in the emergency room recovering from injuries sustained in the attack. In the confusion, she made her own statement later that day on the restaurant's website and Facebook page, echoing Bickelhaupt's announcement without diving into the reasons behind the closure. Her main goal, at the time, was to ensure people knew that the restaurant wasn't closing due to financial reasons.
Chicago police arrested Bickelhaupt at his apartment on June 6. He was charged with domestic battery; it was later downgraded to simple battery. In July, Bickelhaupt pled guilty and a judge granted him release with stipulations, including mandatory drug and alcohol testing, and the completion of a domestic violence program and fines, according to court records. A restraining order currently bars Bickelhaupt from any contact with Welsh until July 23, 2018, one year from his conviction date. A portion of the criminal complaint filed against Bickelhaupt, along with documentation of his sentencing, is below.
For months after 42 Grams closed, while Welsh's social media presence made oblique references to her experience as a survivor of domestic violence, the two went about business as usual, if separately. A documentary about the restaurant that premiered earlier this year made no reference to Bickelhaupt's arrest or conviction '-- only allusions to his temper, which it framed within the narrative of his perfectionism and his dreams of a Michelin star.
Alexa Welsh answers a fan's question from the 42 Grams Facebook account.42 Grams/Facebook Welsh says that she is choosing to speak about the attack now because she hopes to bring more awareness to the issue of domestic violence. ''I don't see myself as a victim,'' Welsh said. ''I don't feel like a victim. I was victimized but I see myself as a survivor.''
Welsh especially credits the support from Between Friends, a Chicago organization that provides court advocacy and counseling services to local victims of domestic violence, as crucial to her recovery. Welsh said that she wishes she knew about resources like Between Friends immediately after filing charges '-- the organization provides information about things like orders of protection and access to support groups '-- and wants to ensure that more victims know they have places to go for help. ''I didn't get into my first therapy session until late August or early September '-- we're talking three months after the fact,'' Welsh said.
42 Grams before it opened in 2014.Marc Much After counseling, Welsh started to interact with other domestic violence victims, sharing experiences and coping mechanisms. With that support, Welsh felt more confident in making public statements. Two months ago, using the 42 Grams account, Welsh made her first direct public statement about domestic abuse. ''The business did not kill the marriage,'' Welsh wrote in reply to a fan's Facebook post about the pair's divorce. ''Domestic abuse killed the marriage. I decided my life was more important than waiting for someone to change.'' The pair had filed for divorce in November 2016 and it was finalized in January 2017, months before the attack that led to Bickelhaupt's arrest; Welsh and Bickelhaupt had originally hoped to sustain the restaurant until the lease expires in November of this year.
Following Bickelhaupt's conviction, Welsh was left with the sole responsibility of cleaning out the restaurant, informing diners of the closure, and ensuring vendors were paid for outstanding invoices. ''Jake and I built this restaurant together, but physically I took it apart by myself,'' Welsh said. Between $40,000 and $50,000 worth of reservations had to be refunded to diners. The restaurant requiring customers to pay in advance, and the range reflected future reservations over a period of three months.
Court records also show that Welsh filed a lawsuit against Bickelhaupt after the restaurant closed. He allegedly withdrew $2,200 from the 42 Grams restaurant account to pay off personal expenses without Welsh's consent. Welsh said that Bickelhaupt was paying personal credit card bills with restaurant money she needed to pay out refunds, and that she needed to prevent further withdrawals before the account was depleted. ''In essence, I had to protect the business from him,'' Welsh said.
The matter was resolved with an out-of-court settlement, according to Welsh. The settlement included a non-disparage agreement, which prevents Welsh and Bickelhaupt from publicly saying negative things about one other.
In his statement to Eater Chicago about his arrest and conviction, Bickelhaupt wrote: ''I was arrested for a single instance of violence. I will be forever regretful for my actions and the harm I caused. I take full responsibilities for my actions and will continue to do so for the rest of my life. There was no excuse for my actions. I have taken steps and found the help I needed to ensure nothing of this sort will ever happen again and I know I am a better person today than I was on that day.''
Bickelhaupt's written response also mentioned the lawsuit: ''There was an accusation of money being stolen which was actually an oversight on my part that when brought to my attention was remedied immediately by paying the money in full with additional funds given on my own accord.''
Since September, Bickelhaupt has been holding a series of''two-Michelin-starred'' underground dinner series, called Konro, as a throwback to the one he and Welsh ran before 42 Grams opened in 2014. ''It is my goal to continue my life and move forward with my head held high,'' Bickelhaupt's statement continued. ''I want to continue in the next chapter... by following my true passion as a chef.''
Welsh is currently in California on what started as a restaurant consulting job. It's grown to owning and operating a taco restaurant on Laguna Beach. She's not ready to share details, but is excited about spending time on the sunnier west coast, escaping Chicago's dreary weather. In August, she'll be speaking about abuse and substance addiction at the PX+ Hospitality Festival outside of London. ''Maybe my path or my calling '-- whatever you want to call it '-- is to make other people's dreams come true,'' Welsh said.
Here are the documents obtained at Cook County circuit court:
A portion of the criminal complaint filed against Jake Bickelhaupt. The addresses have been removed.Cook County court records This court document showed Jake Bickelhaupt was sentenced to conditional release for battery.Cook County court records A portion of the June 2017 lawsuit filed by Alexa Welsh against Jake Bickelhaupt over alleged breach of contract.Cook County Court records Eater Chicago Sign up for our newsletter.
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Kim's Speech: N Korean Leader's Accent Steals the Show at Summit
Sat, 28 Apr 2018 11:12
Viral11:26 28.04.2018Get short URL
While thousands of people across the world appeared eager to hear what the North Korean leader had to say at the historic meeting with his South Korean counterpart, the way he said those things also surprised many who tuning in for the event.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's "multicultural accent" became one of the highlights of the inter-Korean summit for South Korean viewers watching the event live, South China Morning Post reports.
While the differences in dialects used by North and South Koreans have long being considered a major cultural barrier between the two countries, the viewers were genuinely surprised by Kim's "Swiss-influenced accent."
And it is amazing to listen to KJU's North Korean accent in his casual voice. Not so accurate and sounded like he has a bit of accent from Switzerland in his Korean too.
'-- Minjeong Ko (@Minjeong_KoKo) 27 аÐÑеÐ>>я 2018 Ð".Lots of people asked how different North Korean accent is to the South Korean one. Having heard Kim Jong Un speak, I'd say it's about the same distance between standard American English and the Minnesota English.
'-- T.K. of AAK! (@AskAKorean) 27 аÐÑеÐ>>я 2018 Ð".Kim Jong Un probably spends more time watching South Korean TV than anyone. Jeju residents learned the foreign language that was standard S Korean the same way.
'-- the oranckay (@oranckay) 27 аÐÑеÐ>>я 2018 Ð"."To my ears, Kim Jong Un doesn't have much of a northern accent. He wouldn't sound that out of place in the middle of Seoul." via Bloomberg's Breaking News Asia Managing Editor Kyung Bok Cho
'-- Keith Zhai (@QiZHAI) 27 аÐÑеÐ>>я 2018 Ð".According to the newspaper, Kim likely acquired his accent while studying at a German-language boarding school in Switzerland during his teenage years.
Some members of the audience took note of Kim Jong-un's cadence as well.
"His voice sounds mature and conservative, like that of a much older man. Everyone thought he would sound like a little boy, but he was well-spoken, especially when he made the joke about bringing [North Korean] naengmyun [a traditional cold noodle dish] to South Korea. We were all surprised," a South Korean viewer cited by the newspaper said.
READ MORE: Noodles Gifted by Kim Jong-un to Moon Jae-in Become Instant Hit in Seoul
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in met on April 27 during a joint summit devoted to resolving the issues between the two countries.
At the end of the summit the sides signed a declaration, confirming they strive for the de-nuclearization of the peninsula and the unification of the two states.
TASS: Russian Politics & Diplomacy - Russian senator skeptical about idea to award Nobel Peace Prize to Trump
Sat, 28 Apr 2018 11:15
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MOSCOW, April 28 /TASS/. US Senator Lindsey Graham's statement that US President Donald Trump deserves to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize is nothing more but Washington's unfounded claim to a crucial role on the Korean Peninsula, Russian Federation Council (upper house of parliament) Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Konstantin Kosachev told TASS.
Republican Senator Lindsey Graham told Fox News on Friday that if North Korea abandoned its nuclear program and the situation on the Korean Peninsula was resolved, then "President Trump deserves the Nobel Peace Prize."
"I think the senator sought to make everyone believe that the United States had played a crucial role in the Korean Peninsula breakthrough, which is far from being true. In fact, the US played a crucial role in raising tensions on the Korean Peninsula and staging continuous provocations against North Korea," Kosachev said.
He was confident that North Korea's missile and nuclear programs had been developed solely in response to provocations.
"The recent news comes as a result of collective efforts by six powers, particularly Russia and China, whose position on the issue has been consistent," the Russian senator added.
Kosachev also pointed out that in 2009, then US President Barack Obama had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The Nobel Committee said that he had inspired hope for a better future and had played a role in the pursuit of a world free of nuclear weapons.
On Friday, South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un held a historic meeting in the border village of Panmunjom. The inter-Korean summit, the first in more than ten years, resulted in the signing of a joint declaration - the Panmunjom Declaration for Peace, Prosperity and Unification of the Korean Peninsula.
In other media
The Campaign for Donald Trump's Nobel Peace Prize Has Begun
Sun, 29 Apr 2018 13:36
April 27, 2018 04/27/2018 10:25 am By Adam K. Raymond On Friday, North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un and South Korean president Moon Jae-in came together for a historic meeting that resulted in a once-unimaginable pledge: The two nations will work to officially end the Korean War and denuclearize the peninsula.
Who deserves credit for this momentous meeting and the push toward peace? Donald Trump, says South Korean foreign minister Kang Kyung-wha. ''He's been determined to come to grips with this from day one,'' she recently told CNN.
And he may soon have a Nobel Peace Prize to show for it. Trump and Kim are currently the favorites to win the prize, according to one British oddsmaker, and some of Trump's aides are telling reporters that a lasting thaw between North and South Korea should win Trump the award.
Senator Lindsey Graham, not one of Trump's biggest fans in the upper chamber, agrees. ''It's the biggest change since the end of the hostilities,'' Graham said on Fox News Friday. ''What happened? Donald Trump convinced North Korea and China he was serious about bringing about change.''
''We're not there yet, but if this happens, President Trump deserves the Nobel Peace Prize,'' he said.
Some of Trump's biggest boosters have removed the caveat. They're ready to give him the Nobel now. ''Unlike Obama, he actually deserves the Nobel Peace Prize,'' Fox News host Laura Ingraham tweeted. Carl Higbie, a former Trump administration official who lost his job after he was outed as a bigot, is ready for the Nobel committee to act now. And Bill Mitchell is eager to find out if the heads of liberals will ''explode'' when Trump gets the award.
(Korean) Peace in our time...Nobel Prize for @realDonaldTrump? pic.twitter.com/GmZpO0JX3I
'-- Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) April 27, 2018Donald Trump Jr. is not so sure about the enthusiasm, though. Of course, he thinks his dad deserves the Nobel, but he doesn't think he'll get it. ''Remember who decides this stuff,'' he tweeted. ''Noting [sic] to do with merit as we have all seen. The globalist elite would never give him that win.''
Don Jr. might be wrong though. Even today, with a lasting peace in Korea still a question mark, some Trump skeptics have boosted his candidacy. Eurasia Group head Ian Bremmer, who admits that he's been ''critical of Trump foreign policy missteps,'' is giving credit where credit is due. ''Trump, Xi, Moon and Kim together get my vote for the Nobel Peace Prize,'' he tweeted, including Chinese president Xi Jinping among those deserving recognition, but leaving out one man who belongs in that group too: Dennis Rodman.
The Campaign for Donald Trump's Nobel Peace Prize Has Begun
Earlier search for California serial killer led to wrong man
Sun, 29 Apr 2018 12:55
Joseph James DeAngelo, 72, who authorities suspect is the so-called Golden State Killer responsible for at least a dozen murders and 50 rapes in the 1970s and 80s, is accompanied by Sacramento County Public Defender Diane Howard, right, as he makes his first appearance, Friday, April 27, 2018, in Sacramento County Superior Court in Sacramento, Calif. Joseph James DeAngelo, 72, who authorities suspect is the so-called Golden State Killer responsible for at least a dozen murders and 50 rapes in the 1970s and 80s, makes his first appearance, Friday, April 27, 2018, in Sacramento County Superior Court in Sacramento, Calif. Joseph James DeAngelo, 72, who authorities suspect is the so-called Golden State Killer responsible for at least a dozen murders and 50 rapes in the 1970s and 80s, is arraigned, Friday, April 27, 2018, in Sacramento County Superior Court in Sacramento, Calif. Authorities probe the backyard of the home of murder suspect Joseph DeAngelo, Thursday, April 26, 2018, in Citrus Heights, Calif. DeAngelo, 72, was taken into custody Tuesday on suspicion of committing multiple homicides and rapes in the 1970s and 1980s in California. Authorities spent the day going through the home for evidence. John Lopes, a crime scene investigator for the Sacramento Sheriff's office, carries boxes of evidence taken from the home of murder suspect Joseph DeAngelo to a sheriff's vehicle Thursday, April 26, 2018, in Citrus Heights, Calif. DeAngelo, 72, was taken into custody Tuesday on suspicion of committing multiple homicides and rapes in the 1970s and 1980s in California. Authorities spent the day going through the home for evidence. T. Abbott, left, and John Lopes, right, from the Sacramento County Sheriff's crime scene investigation office, conference about boxes of evidence gathered from the home of murder suspect Joseph DeAngelo, Thursday, April 26, 2018, in Citrus Heights, Calif. DeAngelo, 72, was taken into custod Tuesday on suspicion of committing multiple homicides and rapes in the 1970s and 1980s in California. Authorities spent the day going through the home for evidence. John Lopes, a crime scene investigator for the Sacramento County Sheriff's office, carries boxes of evidence taken from the home of murder suspect Joseph DeAngelo to a sheriff's vehicle Thursday, April 26, 2018, in Citrus Heights, Calif. DeAngelo, 72, was taken into custody Tuesday on suspicion of committing multiple homicides and rapes in the 1970s and 1980s in California. Authorities spent the day going through the home for evidence. An arrest had been made in the case of a man responsible for at least 12 killings and 50 rapes throughout California in the 1970s and 80s. April 28, 2018In March 2017, an Oregon City police officer, working at the request of investigators in California, convinced a judge to order a 73-year-old man in a nursing home to provide a DNA sample. Court documents obtained by The Associated Press said detectives used a genetic profile based off DNA from crime scenes linked to the serial killer and compared it to information on a free online genealogical site.
Investigators cited a rare genetic marker, which the Oregon man shared with the killer, to get the judge to issue the order. The Oregon City man is in extremely poor health in a rehabilitation facility and was unable to answer questions Friday.
His daughter said his family was not aware that authorities took a DNA sample from him while he was lying in bed at the rehabilitation center until she was contacted by the FBI in April 2017 and asked to help expand the family's genetic tree in the search for suspects.
The woman, an amateur genealogist, cooperated, but ultimately investigators determined none of her relatives were viable suspects, she said. The woman spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because she did not want the family's name publicly linked to the case.
"I don't like that they thought that my dad was the bad guy, but the truth is they were able to rule out people in my dad's (family) tree," she said. "They didn't have to look at those people anymore."
The family was angry the FBI had not told them about the sample but felt better after reading an AP story that investigators obtained a warrant, she said. "I mean, they go from California to Oregon to get my dad's DNA? They clearly thought he was the bad guy," she said. "I think DNA is amazing and if you've done something wrong you don't deserve to be protected."
Ultimately investigators turned to a different genealogical site and arrested a man who they say was one of California's most feared and elusive serial killers. On Friday, Joseph James DeAngelo appeared in court to face murder charges. Handcuffed to a wheelchair in orange jail scrubs, the 72-year-old looked dazed and spoke in a faint voice to acknowledge he was represented by a public defender. He did not enter a plea.
DeAngelo, a former police officer, has been charged with eight counts of murder, and additional charges are expected, authorities said. "We have the law to suggest that he is innocent until he's proven guilty," said his attorney, Diane Howard.
Investigators arrested DeAngelo on Tuesday after matching crime-scene DNA with genetic material stored in an online database by a distant relative. They relied on a different website than in the Oregon search, and did not seek a warrant for his DNA. Instead, they waited for him to discard items and swabbed them for DNA, which proved a conclusive match to evidence from crimes more than 30 years ago, they said.
The co-founder of the genealogy website used by authorities to help identify DeAngelo said on Friday that he had no idea its database was tapped by law enforcement. The free genealogy website, which pools DNA profiles that people upload and share publicly to find relatives, said it has always informed users its database can be used for other purposes.
But the site's co-founder Curtis Rogers said the search was "done without our knowledge" and the company does not "hand out data." Officials did not need a court order to access GEDmatch 's large database of genetic blueprints, lead investigator Paul Holes told the Mercury News in San Jose, California. Major commercial DNA companies say they do not give law enforcement access to their genetic data without a court order.
But critics warned the method could jeopardize privacy rights. "People who submit DNA for ancestors testing are unwittingly becoming genetic informants on their innocent family," said Steve Mercer, chief attorney for the forensic division of the Maryland Office of the Public Defender.
"It seems crazy to say a police officer investigating a very serious crime can't do something your cousin can do," said Erin Murphy, a DNA expert and professor at New York University School of Law. "If an ordinary person can do this, why can't a cop? On the other hand, if an ordinary person had done this, we might think they shouldn't."
While most consumers would submit DNA to a commercial company such as Ancestry.com and 23andMe to create a genetic profile, the FBI did so for investigators, Holes told The New York Times. The profile was then uploaded to GEDmatch using a fake profile and pseudonym, the Times reported. The site allows users to remain anonymous.
A year earlier, Holes had identified a rare genetic marker in the assailant's DNA. He entered the information among 189,000 profiles at the genealogy website, YSearch.org, and the results led to a relative of the Oregon man.
A spokeswoman for YSearch.org, which is provided by FamilyTreeDNA.com, said the company was not contacted by law enforcement. The company said it takes the privacy of its customers very seriously but supports "ethically and legally justified uses" of scientific research in genetics and genealogy.
Sacramento District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert told AP she was unaware of the Oregon misfire and didn't believe genealogical sites were used before DeAngelo was identified.
Balsamo reported from Los Angeles and Flaccus reported from Oregon City, Oregon. Associated Press writers Brian Melley in Los Angeles and Matt O'Brien in Providence, Rhode Island, contributed to this report.
The Golden State Killer Is Tracked Through a Thicket of DNA, and Experts Shudder - The New York Times
Sun, 29 Apr 2018 13:32
Genetic testing services have become enormously popular with people looking for long-lost relatives or clues to hereditary diseases. Most never imagined that one day intimate pieces of their DNA could be mined to assist police detectives in criminal cases.
Even as scientific experts applauded this week's arrest of the Golden State Killer suspect, Joseph James DeAngelo, 72, some expressed unease on Friday at reports that detectives in California had used a public genealogy database to identify him. Privacy and ethical issues glossed over in the public's rush to embrace DNA databases are now glaringly apparent, they said.
''This is really tough,'' said Malia Fullerton, an ethicist at the University of Washington who studies DNA forensics. ''He was a horrible man and it is good that he was identified, but does the end justify the means?''
Coming so quickly on the heels of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, in which Facebook data on more than 70 million users was shared without their permission, it is beginning to dawn on consumers that even their most intimate digital data '-- their genetic profiles '-- may be passed around in ways they never intended.
''There is a whole generation that says, 'I don't really care about privacy,''' said Peter Neufeld, a co-founder of The Innocence Project, which uses DNA to exonerate people who were wrongly convicted. ''And then they do, once there is a Cambridge Analytica. No one has thought about what are the possible consequences.''
The trail of the Golden State Killer had gone cold decades ago. The police had linked him to more than 50 rapes and 12 murders from 1976 to 1986, and he had eluded all attempts to find him.
In the years since, scientists have developed powerful tools to identify people by tiny variations in their DNA, as individual as fingerprints. At the same time, the F.B.I. and state law enforcement agencies have been cultivating growing databases of DNA not just from convicted criminals, but also in some cases from people accused of crimes.
The California police had the Golden State Killer's DNA and recently found an unusually well-preserved sample from one of the crime scenes. The problem was finding a match.
Photo Joseph James DeAngelo was arrested in Sacramento, Calif., and charged with several counts of murder. Credit Agence France-Presse '-- Getty Images But these days DNA is stored in many places, and a near-match ultimately was found in a genealogy website beloved by hobbyists called GEDmatch, created by two volunteers in 2011.
Anyone can set up a free profile on GEDmatch. Many customers upload to the site DNA profiles they have already generated on larger commercial sites like 23andMe.
The detectives in the Golden State Killer case uploaded the suspect's DNA sample. But they would have had to check a box online certifying that the DNA was their own or belonged to someone for whom they were legal guardians, or that they had ''obtained authorization'' to upload the sample.
''The purpose was to make these connections and to find these relatives,'' said Blaine Bettinger, a lawyer affiliated with GEDmatch. ''It was not intended to be used by law enforcement to identify suspects of crimes.''
But joining for that purpose does not technically violate site policy, he added.
Erin Murphy, a law professor at New York University and expert on DNA searches, said that using a fake identity might raise questions about the legality of the evidence.
The matches found in GEDmatch were to relatives of the suspect, not the suspect himself.
Since the site provides family trees, detectives also were able to look for relatives who might not have uploaded genetic data to the site themselves.
On GEDmatch, ''it just happens they got lucky,'' said Dr. Ashley Hall, a forensics science expert at the University of Illinois in Chicago.
23andMe has more than 5 million customers, and Ancestry.com has 10 million. But the DNA in databases like these are relevant to tens of millions of others '-- sisters, parents, children. A lot can be learned about a family simply by accessing one member's DNA.
''Suppose you are worried about genetic privacy,'' Ms. Murphy said. ''If your sibling or parent or child engaged in this activity online, they are compromising your family for generations.''
Photo A screen shot of a message posted on the GEDmatch website to its users, addressing its role in the apprehension of Mr. DeAngelo.DNA profiles can be held indefinitely, and the data can be handed over to police who have warrants or subpoenas. You may never commit a crime. But how should you feel if your DNA was used to locate a distant relative who did?
On a Facebook page dedicated to genealogy, hobbyists debated this new use of DNA data.
''I'll volunteer to give my DNA and out any of my cousins who may be rapist/murderers. So much drama over nothing,'' wrote Stu Pike, who said he had used GEDmatch to track down relatives.
But others expressed outrage. ''My relatives consented for their data to be used for genealogy but not for criminal investigations,'' wrote Leah LaPerle Larkin, who adjusted her settings to make sure her family's data was private on the GEDmatch site.
''I've had many sleepless nights the last few years, realizing that it's coming,'' CeCe Moore, a genetic genealogist, said of the possibility that an online site might be used to identify a suspect.
The founder of DNA Detectives, a group that helps adoptees find their biological parents and reunite long-lost relatives, Ms. Moore said that she has been approached numerous times by law enforcement asking her help in solving murder and rape cases.
She declined, she said, ''because I was still wrestling with the ethical questions of using genealogy databases for criminals.''
It's not clear how often law enforcement turns to burgeoning DNA databases. Andy Kill, a spokesman for 23andMe, said the company has ''had a handful of inquiries over the course of 11 years,'' and that no data were ''given out in any circumstance.''
It is unlikely that the apparent success of the method in the Golden State Killer case will spur a rush to use genealogy databases to solve crimes.
''Using a database of this kind will generate an extraordinary number of leads, and running them all down using both nongenetic and genetic information requires a lot of police power,'' Ms. Murphy said. ''So I doubt it will be run of the mill any time soon.''
But it clearly is time for a wider discussion about law-enforcement access to stored DNA, Mr. Neufeld said. ''What really needs to happen is for ethicists, lawyers and minorities likely to be disproportionately affected to think of the unintended consequences of this genetic data.''
Continue reading the main story
Hey Adam and John,
I am a millinial listener working at Bank of America in
downtown Charlotte NC. I wanted to give you guys a little more info on the
subject of KYC as my job is writing software for KYC processes at the bank.
First off, KYC is a federally mandated process that is
required of all banks registered with the SEC and those that are FDIC insured.
The only reason it is coming up frequently in the crypto world, is because the
legitimate centralized exchanges all follow federal requirements to operate as
financial institutions. In order to be in compliance, they must do a KYC
verification on the customer signing up for a new account, loan, or product.
This KYC includes verifying that you are the person you claim you are,
terrorism funding risk assessment, and another piece dedicated to preventing
money laundering prevention.
These exchanges are attempting to be as legitimate as
possible, and as such, the must jump through the hoops laid out by the federal
government. Another reason it is frequently mentioned in association with
crypto, is that technically united states citizens are not permitted to participate
in ICOs, so if it mentions that they will do KYC on initial offering investors,
it is a signal that US customers are able to take part in the ICO.
Anyway sorry for the wall of info, but I felt it was
important to inform you and the listeners why this KYC thing is coming up more
in regards to crypto.
Long time listener and donater,
Fake books sold on Amazon could be used for money laundering
Sat, 28 Apr 2018 11:26
''Worthless'' books priced at up to thousands, of dollars on Amazon.com and which contain only nonsensical text have been identified as possible vehicles for money laundering by an author whose name was, he says, used to send almost $24,000 (£17,200) to an unknown and fraudulent seller.
Amazon's self-publishing arm CreateSpace makes it relatively straightforward to publish a title that contains any text, provided that this isn't ''placeholder'' or dummy text, and allowing fake books to be sold on the Amazon website at a price chosen by the seller.
For a highly priced title, the author can earn royalties of up to 60% for a paperback, or 70% for an ebook. While the internet retailer requires valid taxpayer identification from all its publishers, one affected author, the US-based business writer Patrick Reames, says that a fraudster used his social security number to pose as him, and publish a book under his name.
Reames spoke to the Guardian after Amazon sent him a US government 1099 tax form last month informing him that CreateSpace had paid him tens of thousands of dollars in 2017. Reames, who only makes a few hundred dollars a year from his business titles, searched for his own name on Amazon.com and discovered that, as well as the books he had written himself, which are sold via a publisher, rather than self-published via CreateSpace, a title named Lower Days Ahead also appeared under his name. Selling for $555 (£397), the book contained what appeared to be a computer-generated story.
Reames calculated that the ''ridiculous'' book would have to have sold dozens of copies in 11 weeks to have generated the almost $24,000 that Amazon says he has made from the book.
''There is no way in hell that 90 people in 11 weeks fell for this Amazon-hosted scam,'' he says, speculating that a criminal wanting ''clean'' money published the book via CreateSpace, giving it a high price to put off the casual buyer.
He told the security expert and journalist Brian Krebs, who first broke the story, that he suspected someone had been buying the book using stolen credit and/or debit cards, and ''pocketing the 60% that Amazon gives to authors''.
''It occurred to me that the only purpose that could be served by this 'book' and the account set-up with my credentials was to launder money '... it's clear someone stole my credentials from somewhere and set up an account with Amazon to avoid being held responsible for the taxes '... which, of course, constitutes identity theft and tax fraud,'' Reames wrote on his website, detailing his struggle with Amazon to deal with the situation.
Reames says Amazon has told him that it can send him a letter ''acknowledging than I'm disputing ever having received the funds, because they said they couldn't prove I didn't receive the funds'' and won't share the details of the payee.
''So I can't clear myself and they won't clear me,'' he says.
Reames said the situation would ''almost certainly'' be an issue next year, as the fraudulent account was not shut down until February, and so will affect his taxes for 2018. ''I've not heard anything from Amazon despite the coverage this issue has received and their initial promise to follow up with me. They have provided only a letter confirming that I had contacted them and indicating that they had closed the account associated with the fraudulent book. In the only phone conversation I've had with the fraud group there, they refused to issue a corrected Inland Revenue Service 1099 form or provide me any information about where the funds were being sent,'' he said.
After Krebs published his story, a number of titles priced at hundreds of dollars and containing gibberish were removed from Amazon, but multiple questionable books are still for sale on Amazon.com, including Bongo Shamalamadingdong's A Poor Excuse for a Good Title: I Lied, which retails for $250 in paperback and contains the repeated line: ''Once upon a time there was a chicken and a boy followed it into a garage, thinking it was a magic portal, but alas it was just a garage''. There is also Rich Dan Edward Knight Sr's I Have Abundance Overflowing In My Life Forever: Brinks Trucks Follow Me Everrywhere I Go Eternally (Whatever You Ask Believe Receive) (Volume 1), a 24-page book priced at $2,999.99. There is no evidence that these titles are involved in fraudulent activity; CreateSpace specifications allow for ''joke or gag books with repeated content or an intentional absence of content'', but only if they are ''clearly labelled as such''.
''Whether these worthless titles are being used for illegal or nefarious purposes, I suppose only Amazon can answer that,'' said Reames. ''Some may be the product of delusional individuals or some type of joke, social commentary or satire. However, if any of these books have sold more than one or two vanity copies bought by the 'author', I think it would be a clear indicator that, like in my case, the books are being used to illegally funnel money under the guise of a legitimate transaction '... and again, only Amazon could provide that information.''
An Amazon spokesperson said: ''The security of Amazon accounts is one of our highest priorities, and we have policies and security measures to help protect them. Whenever we become aware of actions like the ones described, we take steps to stop them. If you're concerned about your account, please contact Amazon customer service immediately using the help section on our website. Anyone who believes they've received an incorrect 1099 form or a 1099 form in error can contact us 1099@amazon.com and we will investigate.''
Blockchain is not only crappy technology but a bad vision for the future
Sun, 29 Apr 2018 12:06
Blockchain is not only crappy technology but a bad vision for the future. Its failure to achieve adoption to date is because systems built on trust, norms, and institutions inherently function better than the type of no-need-for-trusted-parties systems blockchain envisions. That's permanent: no matter how much blockchain improves it is still headed in the wrong direction.
This December I wrote a widely-circulated article on the inapplicability of blockchain to any actual problem. People objected mostly not to the technology argument, but rather hoped that decentralization could produce integrity.
Let's start with this: Venmo is a free service to transfer dollars, and bitcoin transfers are not free. Yet after I wrote an article last December saying bitcoin had no use, someone responded that Venmo and Paypal are raking in consumers' money and people should switch to bitcoin.
What a surreal contrast between blockchain's non-usefulness/non-adoption and the conviction of its believers! It's so entirely evident that this person didn't become a bitcoin enthusiast because they were looking for a convenient, free way to transfer money from one person to another and discovered bitcoin. In fact, I would assert that there is no single person in existence who had a problem they wanted to solve, discovered that an available blockchain solution was the best way to solve it, and therefore became a blockchain enthusiast.
There is no single person in existence who had a problem they wanted to solve, discovered that an available blockchain solution was the best way to solve it, and therefore became a blockchain enthusiast.The number of retailers accepting cryptocurrency as a form of payment is declining, and its biggest corporate boosters like IBM, NASDAQ, Fidelity, Swift and Walmart have gone long on press but short on actual rollout. Even the most prominent blockchain company, Ripple, doesn't use blockchain in its product. You read that right: the company Ripple decided the best way to move money across international borders was to not use Ripples.
A blockchain is a literal technology, not a metaphorWhy all the enthusiasm for something so useless in practice?
People have made a number of implausible claims about the future of blockchain'--like that you should use it for AI in place of the type of behavior-tracking that google and facebook do, for example. This is based on a misunderstanding of what a blockchain is. A blockchain isn't an ethereal thing out there in the universe that you can ''put'' things into, it's a specific data structure: a linear transaction log, typically replicated by computers whose owners (called miners) are rewarded for logging new transactions.
In The Golden Compass, Dust permeates the world. It is created by consciousness and is itself conscious, and can condense into angels. Blockchain is not like that.There are two things that are cool about this particular data structure. One is that a change in any block invalidates every block after it, which means that you can't tamper with historical transactions. The second is that you only get rewarded if you're working on the same chain as everyone else, so each participant has an incentive to go with the consensus.
The end result is a shared definitive historical record. And, what's more, because consensus is formed by each person acting in their own interest, adding a false transaction or working from a different history just means you're not getting paid and everyone else is. Following the rules is mathematically enforced'--no government or police force need come in and tell you the transaction you've logged is false (or extort bribes or bully the participants). It's a powerful idea.
So in summary, here's what blockchain-the-technology is: ''Let's create a very long sequence of small files'Š'--'Šeach one containing a hash of the previous file, some new data, and the answer to a difficult math problem'Š'--'Šand divide up some money every hour among anyone willing to certify and store those files for us on their computers.''
Now, here's what blockchain-the-metaphor is: ''What if everyone keeps their records in a tamper-proof repository not owned by anyone?''
An illustration of the difference: In 2006, Walmart launched a system to track its bananas and mangoes from field to store. In 2009 they abandoned it because of logistical problems getting everyone to enter the data, and in 2017 they re-launched it (to much fanfare) on blockchain. If someone comes to you with ''the mango-pickers don't like doing data entry,'' ''I know: let's create a very long sequence of small files, each one containing a hash of the previous file'' is a nonsense answer, but ''What if everyone keeps their records in a tamper-proof repository not owned by anyone?'' at least addresses the right question!
Blockchain-based trustworthiness falls apart in practicePeople treat blockchain as a ''futuristic integrity wand'''--wave a blockchain at the problem, and suddenly your data will be valid. For almost anything people want to be valid, blockchain has been proposed as a solution.
It's true that tampering with data stored on a blockchain is hard, but it's false that blockchain is a good way to create data that has integrity.
It's true that tampering with data stored on a blockchain is hard, but it's false that blockchain is a good way to create data that has integrity.To understand why this is the case, let's work from the practical to the theoretical. For example, let's consider a widely-proposed use case for blockchain: buying an e-book with a ''smart'' contract. The goal of the blockchain is, you don't trust an e-book vendor and they don't trust you (because you're just two individuals on the internet), but, because it's on blockchain, you'll be able to trust the transaction.
In the traditional system, once you pay you're hoping you'll receive the book, but once the vendor has your money they don't have any incentive to deliver. You're relying on Visa or Amazon or the government to make things fair'--what a recipe for being a chump! In contrast, on a blockchain system, by executing the transaction as a record in a tamper-proof repository not owned by anyone, the transfer of money and digital product is automatic, atomic, and direct, with no middleman needed to arbitrate the transaction, dictate terms, and take a fat cut on the way. Isn't that better for everybody?
Hm. Perhaps you are very skilled at writing software. When the novelist proposes the smart contract, you take an hour or two to make sure that the contract will withdraw only an amount of money equal to the agreed-upon price, and that the book'Š'--'Šrather than some other file, or nothing at all'Š'--'Šwill actually arrive.
An e-book consultantAuditing software is hard! The most-heavily scrutinized smart contract in history had a small bug that nobody noticed'Š'--'Šthat is, until someone did notice it, and used it to steal fifty million dollars. If cryptocurrency enthusiasts putting together a $150m investment fund can't properly audit the software, how confident are you in your e-book audit? Perhaps you would rather write your own counteroffer software contract, in case this e-book author has hidden a recursion bug in their version to drain your ethereum wallet of all your life savings?
It's a complicated way to buy a book! It's not trustless, you're trusting in the software (and your ability to defend yourself in a software-driven world), instead of trusting other people.
''I'd rather look at the source code to make sure he didn't vote twice.''Another example: the purported advantages for a voting system in a weakly-governed country. ''Keep your voting records in a tamper-proof repository not owned by anyone'' sounds right'Š'--'Šyet is your Afghan villager going to download the blockchain from a broadcast node and decrypt the Merkle root from his Linux command line to independently verify that his vote has been counted? Or will he rely on the mobile app of a trusted third party'Š'--'Šlike the nonprofit or open-source consortium administering the election or providing the software?
These sound like stupid examples'Š'--'Šnovelists and villagers hiring e-bodyguard hackers to protect them from malicious customers and nonprofits whose clever smart-contracts might steal their money and votes??'Š'--'Šuntil you realize that's actually the point. Instead of relying on trust or regulation, in the blockchain world, individuals are on-purpose responsible for their own security precautions. And if the software they use is malicious or buggy, they should have read the software more carefully.
The entire worldview underlying blockchain is wrongYou actually see it over and over again. Blockchain systems are supposed to be more trustworthy, but in fact they are the least trustworthy systems in the world. Today, in less than a decade, three successive top bitcoin exchanges have been hacked, another is accused of insider trading, the demonstration-project DAO smart contract got drained, crypto price swings are ten times those of the world's most mismanaged currencies, and bitcoin, the ''killer app'' of crypto transparency, is almost certainly artificially propped up by fake transactions involving billions of literally imaginary dollars.
How exactly does blockchain stop this guy from spraying pesticides?Blockchain systems do not magically make the data in them accurate or the people entering the data trustworthy, they merely enable you to audit whether it has been tampered with. A person who sprayed pesticides on a mango can still enter onto a blockchain system that the mangoes were organic. A corrupt government can create a blockchain system to count the votes and just allocate an extra million addresses to their cronies. An investment fund whose charter is written in software can still misallocate funds.
How then, is trust created?
In the case of buying an e-book, even if you're buying it with a smart contract, instead of auditing the software you'll rely on one of four things, each of them characteristics of the ''old way'': either the author of the smart contract is someone you know of and trust, the seller of the e-book has a reputation to uphold, you or friends of yours have bought e-books from this seller in the past successfully, or you're just willing to hope that this person will deal fairly. In each case, even if the transaction is effectuated via a smart contract, in practice you're relying on trust of a counterparty or middleman, not your self-protective right to audit the software, each man an island unto himself. The contract still works, but the fact that the promise is written in auditable software rather than government-enforced English makes it less transparent, not more transparent.
The same for the vote counting. Before blockchain can even get involved, you need to trust that voter registration is done fairly, that ballots are given only to eligible voters, that the votes are made anonymously rather than bought or intimidated, that the vote displayed by the balloting system is the same as the vote recorded, and that no extra votes are given to the political cronies to cast. Blockchain makes none of these problems easier and many of them harder'--but more importantly, solving them in a blockchain context requires a set of awkward workarounds that undermine the core premise. So we know the entries are valid, let's allow only trusted nonprofits to make entries'--and you're back at the good old ''classic'' ledger. In fact, if you look at any blockchain solution, inevitably you'll find an awkward workaround to re-create trusted parties in a trustless world.
A crypto-medieval systemYet absent these ''old way'' factors'--supposing you actually attempted to rely on blockchain's self-interest/self-protection to build a real system'--you'd be in a real mess.
The Knights Templar was sort of a banking system, actually.Eight hundred years ago in Europe'Š'--'Šwith weak governments unable to enforce laws and trusted counterparties few, fragile and far between'Š'--'Štheft was rampant, safe banking was a fantasy, and personal security was at the point of the sword. This is what Somalia looks like now, and also, what it looks like to transact on the blockchain in the ideal scenario.
Somalia on purpose. That's the vision. Nobody wants it!
Even the most die-hard crypto enthusiasts prefer in practice to rely on trust rather than their own crypto-medieval systems. 93% of bitcoins are mined by managed consortiums, yet none of the consortiums use smart contracts to manage payouts. Instead, they promise things like a ''long history of stable and accurate payouts.'' Sounds like a trustworthy middleman!
Trusted sellers of stolen credit cards and cocaine.Same with Silk Road, a cryptocurrency-driven online drug bazaar. The key to Silk Road wasn't the bitcoins (that was just to evade government detection), it was the reputation scores that allowed people to trust criminals. And the reputation scores weren't tracked on a tamper-proof blockchain, they were tracked by a trusted middleman!
If Ripple, Silk Road, Slush Pool, and the DAO all prefer ''old way'' systems of creating and enforcing trust, it's no wonder that the outside world had not adopted trustless systems either!
In the name of all blockchain stands for, it's time to abandon blockchainA decentralized, tamper-proof repository sounds like a great way to audit where your mango comes from, how fresh it is, and whether it has been sprayed with pesticides or not. But actually, laws on food labeling, nonprofit or government inspectors, an independent, trusted free press, empowered workers who trust whistleblower protections, credible grocery stores, your local nonprofit farmer's market, and so on, do a way better job. People who actually care about food safety do not adopt blockchain because trusted is better than trustless. Blockchain's technology mess exposes its metaphor mess'Š'--'Ša software engineer pointing out that storing the data a sequence of small hashed files won't get the mango-pickers to accurately report whether they sprayed pesticides is also pointing out why peer-to-peer interaction with no regulations, norms, middlemen, or trusted parties is actually a bad way to empower people.
Smarter produce in under 2.2 secondsLike the farmer's market or the organic labeling standard, so many real ideas are hiding in plain sight. Do you wish there was a type of financial institution that was secure and well-regulated in all the traditional ways, but also has the integrity of being people-powered? A credit union's members elect its directors, and the transaction-processing revenue is divided up among the members. Move your money! Prefer a deflationary monetary policy? Central bankers are appointed by elected leaders. Want to make elections more secure and democratic? Help write open source voting software, go out and register voters, or volunteer as an election observer here or abroad! Wish there was a trusted e-book delivery service that charged lower transaction fees and distributed more of the earnings to the authors? You can already consider stated payout rates when you buy music or books, buy directly from the authors, or start your own e-book site that's even better than what's out there!
Projects based on the elimination of trust have failed to capture customers' interest because trust is actually so damn valuable. A lawless and mistrustful world where self-interest is the only principle and paranoia is the only source of safety is a not a paradise but a crypto-medieval hellhole.
As a society, and as technologists and entrepreneurs in particular, we're going to have to get good at cooperating'Š'--'Šat building trust, and, at being trustworthy. Instead of directing resources to the elimination of trust, we should direct our resources to the creation of trust'--whether we use a long series of sequentially hashed files as our storage medium or not.
Kai Stinchcombe coined the terms ''crypto-medieval'' ''futuristic integrity wand'' and ''smart mango.'' Please use freely: coining terms makes you a futurist.
Switzerland Wants to Be the World Capital of Cryptocurrency - WSJ
Sun, 29 Apr 2018 12:20
ZUG, Switzerland'--When 24-year-old Ian Worrall launched his crypto-investment startup MyBit last year, he chose this Swiss lakeside city.
It was an odd fit: the no-holds-barred corner of the financial markets meeting button-down Switzerland.
Yet this nation, as closely tied to its ultrasafe Swiss franc as it is to the Alps, is entranced by volatile digital currencies. Buildings in Zug and in Zurich, Switzerland's financial center, are blossoming into crypto-finance hubs.
Four of the 10 biggest initial coin offerings last year were in Switzerland, according to PwC, more than any other country.
The hope is the country's banking prowess, low taxes, elite universities and the Swiss brand itself will do for Switzerland what Silicon Valley did for the U.S.
Efforts to expand the so-called Crypto Valley into what Switzerland's economics minister has called Crypto Nation have seen some success and may offset the country's shrinking banking sector. The number of banks here has fallen 20% in the past decade, according to the Swiss Bankers Association.
Created with Highcharts 6.0.4DownhillNumber of banks in SwitzerlandSource: Swiss Bankers Association
.Switzerland ''is the best from a tax, legal and operational standpoint,'' Mr. Worrall said from the MyBit headquarters in a startup hub called Crypto Valley Labs, where the ''California Republic'' state flag hangs in his office.
MyBit is an investment platform to fund Internet of Things devices like self-driving automobiles. It raised the equivalent of some $3 million in an initial coin offering last summer.
The space once housed an energy-technology company. There's a circus school next door.
The number of companies at Crypto Valley Labs and another location jumped from 15 early last year to over 100, said Mathias Ruch, managing partner at Lakeside Partners, which developed the site. ''I'm signing contracts on a daily basis,'' he said.
The canton of Zug, population around 120,000, has emerged as the heart of Switzerland's Crypto Valley. Its population grew at the fastest rate of all Swiss cantons in 2017, and its jobless rate is 2.3%, below Switzerland's 2.9% average and down 0.2 percentage points from a year ago. Its corporate tax rate is 14.6%.
Matthias Michel, Zug's economics minister, said Crypto Valley wasn't a grand plan. Rather, it began five years ago when pioneers of blockchain platforms like Monetas put down roots in Zug, attracted by the business-friendly environment. Others followed, and an ecosystem developed.
In the process, Zug became a pilgrimage destination for global crypto devotees, complete with guided tours. There's a ''Bitcoin accepted here'' sign at city hall.
''You cannot copy and paste [what Zug has done], it's a systematic approach which makes it strong,'' said Mr. Michel.
Created with Highcharts 6.0.4Swiss MadeNumber of initial coin offerings in the top 10Source: PwC
.Recently, officials from Finma, the Swiss financial regulator, met industry representatives at a packed conference here. The meeting showcased another Swiss advantage'--nimble regulators, or as Mr. Worrall described the approach: ''Do your best, and if you mess up, we'll work with you.''
While Finma is receptive to cryptocurrencies, the
Swiss National Bankis skeptical and has warned of the risks associated with them. Executives from large banks echo those worries.
''From our standpoint, until you are able to trace all of these transactions and subject them to strict rules on anti-money laundering, this is a huge risk,'' said
UBSChief Executive Sergio Ermotti.
There are other drawbacks for Switzerland. Despite a skilled workforce, the country lacks a startup culture: There is a greater stigma attached to failing at a new business in Switzerland than there is in the U.S. High living costs will make it hard to scale up. If Mr. Worrall expands, it will probably be in Berlin.
The biggest fear, though, isn't the central bank or living costs, industry participants say, but rather the potential to run afoul of U.S. regulators.
Switzerland has spent years distancing itself from a reputation as a shady-money haven. Banks have spent billions of dollars settling damaging charges from U.S. authorities related to tax evasion and mortgage-backed securities. Crypto startups say it's hard to open a business bank account.
This reputational risk was highlighted in January by U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who warned that cryptoocurrencies can't be allowed to become the equivalent of ''the Swiss-numbered bank account.''
And even the Swiss are starting to add some nuance to their crypto ambitions. Economics minister Johann Schneider-Ammann, who caused a stir when he called Switzerland ''Crypto Nation'' a few months ago, has recently backtracked, telling a conference in Zug Thursday that he should have called Switzerland ''Blockchain Nation,'' a nod to the technology underpinning digital money.
Still, cryptocurrencies are taking hold. One sign: A building housing blockchain and crypto-finance companies called Trust Square opened on Zurich's ritzy Bahnhofstrasse across from the central bank'--just a few blocks from banking giants
Credit Suisseand UBS and kitty corner from
TiffanyDaniel Gasteiger, who developed Trust Square, launched his first blockchain startup from his apartment two years ago, after having spent two decades at UBS and Credit Suisse. Now he has 16 employees, and Trust Square's 200 workspaces rented in one week. As for his neighbors at the Swiss National Bank, ''they need to have an open spirit toward innovation,'' he said.
Mr. Gasteiger has positioned Trust Square as a research hub for ''Swiss made'' blockchain. The offices'--which once housed a bank'--include space for universities. He thinks even if the digital-currency craze fizzles, Switzerland's diversified economy will thrive. The banking system is another matter, he says.
''Switzerland will be fine. There will still be watches, chocolate and tourism. It is a question of a new financial center based on trust,'' Mr. Gasteiger said.
Amazon fixes Alexa bug that let Echo keep listening
Fri, 27 Apr 2018 20:31
Amazon Echo speakers - Bloomberg
Amazon's Echo speakers featured a bug that meant the speaker continued to listen to its surroundings.
Security researchers found way to make the device continue listening long after it should have switched off. Amazon said this would not allow the recordings to be passed to hackers, but would have stayed with Amazon itself.
Amazon Echo speakers listen out for the word "Alexa", the name of its voice assistant, before completing a command, like "Alexa, read tell me today's news". Any interaction with Alexa is recorded to improve the service, but once the command is finished, Alexa stops recording.
But security researchers from Checkmarx developed an Alexa Skill that would keep Alexa listening long after it should have switched itself off and automatically transcribe what it hears for an attacker.
When an Alexa skill completes its task it is supposed to stop listening. However, sometimes Alexa doesn't hear a command correctly, which will lead the Echo to ask for the user to repeat it. This "re-prompt" feature could be exploited, the researchers found, and be programmed to carry on listening, while muting Alexa's responses.
Amazon's new Echo Dot speakers Credit: AP
The only sign the Echo was still on was a blue light ring, which normally lights up when Alexa receives a command.
"For the Echo... listening is key," Checkmarx said. "However, with this device's rise in popularity, one of today's biggest fears in connection to such devices is privacy. Especially when it comes to a user's fear of being unknowingly recorded."
Amazon Alexa | Everything you need to know
Amazon has since addressed the flaw to better detect Skills which appear to be built for listening to users and automatically detecting long listening sessions by an Echo. Manipulating the Echo didn't actually require any attacks on the Echo itself, only a Skill coded to exploit its current features.
"We have put mitigations in place for detecting this type of Skill behavior and reject or suppress those Skills when we do," Amazon said.
It's not the first flaw found on Amazon's Echo. Last year it was revealed second hand Echo devices could be tampered with to be turned into listening devices.
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Look for companion OTG" phones
ZTZ431 browser hardlinked
ZTE Z431 secret codes
Fri, 27 Apr 2018 04:12
Phones Specs >> ZTE >> ZTE Z431 Specs ZTE secret codesDisplay IMEI. IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) is a unique 15-digit number assigned to all cellular devices. We can use this number to block a mobile phone from being used by another person or phone company if it has been lost or stolen. Use this to displays your ZTE handset's IMEI Number IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) is a unique 15-digit number assigned to all cellular devices. We can use this number to block a mobile phone from being used by another person or phone company if it has been lost or stolen. . The same code works from all other GSM handsets.Type *#06#Version.
Type *983*7469#Battery Temperature.
Type *983*1688#Keypad Test.
Type *983*5391#Phone Reset / User Code Reset.
Type *983*5651#Sim Lock Info.
Type *983*757#Master Reset.
Type *983*22387#Audio Test.
Type *983*2831#Version Info.
Type *983*837# ANDROID secret codes*#06# - IMEI number The International Mobile station Equipment Identity number (IMEI) is a number used to identify a device that uses terrestrial cellular networks. Since the IMEI standard is used for any terrestrial cellular network device, this means that 3G/4G tablets, laptops with PCMCIA wireless internet cards, and other mobile equipment are also tagged with these numbers. *#*#273282*255*663282*#*#* - Immediate backup of all media files
This code can be used to get some interesting information about ZTE Z431 and battery. It shows following 4 menus on screen:
* Phone information
* Battery information* Battery history* Usage statistics*#*#7780#*#*
This code can be used for a factory data reset. It'll remove following things:
* Google account settings stored in your phone
* System and application data and settings* Downloaded applicationsIt'll NOT remove:* Current system software and bundled applications
* SD card files e.g. photos, music files, etc.PS: Once you give this code, you get a prompt screen asking you to click on "Reset phone" button. So you get a chance to cancel your operation.*2767*3855# - Think before you give this code. This code is used for factory format. It'll remove all files and settings including the internal memory storage. It'll also reinstall the phone firmware.
PS: Once you give this code, there is no way to cancel the operation unless you remove the battery from the phone. So think twice before giving this code.
*#*#34971539#*#* - This code is used to get information about phone camera. It shows following 4 menus:* Update camera firmware in image (Don't try this option)* Update camera firmware in SD card* Get camera firmware version in ZTE Z431* Get firmware update countWARNING: Never use the first option otherwise your phone camera will stop working and you'll need to take ZTE Z431 to service center to reinstall camera firmware.
This one is favorite one. This code can be used to change the "End Call / Power" button action in your phone. Be default, if you long press the button, it shows a screen asking you to select any option from Silent mode, Airplane mode and Power off.
You can change this action using this code. You can enable direct power off on this button so you don't need to waste your time in selecting the option.
*#*#225#*#* - Events calendar.
*#*#426#*#* - Debug information for Google Play service. Google Play services is used to update Google apps and apps from Google Play. This component provides core functionality like authentication to your Google services, synchronized contacts, access to all the latest user privacy settings, and higher quality, lower-powered location based services.
*#*#759#*#* - Access Google Partner setup (Rlz debug interface).
*#872564# - USB logging control
*#9900# - System dump mode ZTE Z431
*#*#97#*#* - Language and Keyboard settings in ZTE Z431
*#*#46*#*# - Reset Sim in ZTE Z431
*#301279# - HSDPA HSDPA means ''High Speed Downlink Packet Access'' and is a technique used in the UMTS mobile communication system, the download speeds of currently 3.6 Mbit/s to 7.2 Mbit/s. HSUPA is developed commercially since 2007 in Germany. High Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA, 3.5G, 3G + or UMTS broadband) is a data transmission method of the cellular standards UMTS, which was defined by the 3rd Generation Partnership Project. The method enables DSL-like data rates in mobile networks. HSDPA is available in Germany, among others by the network operators Vodafone, E-Plus, O2, and telecom and in Switzerland by Swisscom, Sunrise and Orange. In Austria operate the A1, T-Mobile, Orange and Three HSDPA networks. /HSUPA HSUPA means ''High Speed Uplink Packet Access'' and is a technique used in the UMTS mobile communication system, the upload speeds up to 5.8 Mbit/s. High Speed Uplink Packet Access (HSUPA) is a transmission method of the UMTS mobile radio standard that allows higher data rates in the uplink and reduces the round trip time (often referred to as ping). HSUPA Category 6 were up to 5.76 Mbit / s and category 9 (Release 9) up to 23 Mbit / s can be achieved. HSUPA is part of Release 9 of UMTS. Control Menu
*#7465625# - View phone lock status
*7465625*638*Code# = Enables Network lock #7465625*638*Code# = Disables Network lock *7465625*782*Code# = Enables Subset lock #7465625*782*Code# = Disables Subset lock *7465625*77*Code# = Enables SP lock #7465625*77*Code# = Disables SP lock *7465625*27*Code# = Enables CP lock #7465625*27*Code# = Disables CP lock *7465625*746*Code# = Enables SIM lock #7465625*746*Code# = Disables SIM lock *7465625*228# = Activa lock ON #7465625*228# = Activa lock OFF *7465625*28638# = Auto Network lock ON #7465625*28638# = Auto Network lock OFF *7465625*28782# = Auto subset lock ON #7465625*28782# = Auto subset lock OFF *7465625*2877# = Auto SP lock ON #7465625*2877# = Auto SP lock OFF *7465625*2827# = Auto CP lock ON #7465625*2827# = Auto CP lock OFF *7465625*28746# = Auto SIM lock ON #7465625*28746# = Auto SIM lock OFF*#*#273283*255*663282*#*#* - This code opens a File copy screen where you can backup your media files e.g. Images, Sound, Video and Voice memo.
*#*#197328640#*#* - This code can be used to enter into Service mode. You can run various tests and change settings in the service mode.
WLAN, GPS and Bluetooth Test Codes:*#*#232339#*#* OR *#*#526#*#* OR *#*#528#*#* - WLAN test (Use "Menu" button to start various tests)
*#*#232338#*#* - Shows WiFi MAC address MAC (Media Access Control), address is a globally unique identifier assigned to network devices, and therefore it is often referred to as hardware or physical address. MAC addresses are 6-byte (48-bits) in length, and are written in MM:MM:MM:SS:SS:SS format. The first 3-bytes are ID number of the manufacturer, which is assigned by an Internet standards body. The second 3-bytes are serial number assigned by the manufacturer.
*#*#1472365#*#* - GPS The Global Positioning System (GPS) is a space-based navigation system that provides location and time information in all weather conditions, anywhere on or near the Earth where there is an unobstructed line of sight to four or more GPS satellites. test
*#*#1575#*#* - For a more advanced GPS test
*#*#232331#*#* - Bluetooth test Bluetooth is a wireless technology for exchanging data over short distances. The chip can be plugged into computers, digital cameras and mobile phones. Using a special radio frequency to transmit data, it creates a short range network. It is very secure and can connect up to eight devices (items of electronic equipment) at the same time. The chip can be plugged into items such as computers, digital cameras, mobile phones and faxes.
*#*#232337#*# - Shows Bluetooth device address in ZTE Z431
*#*#8255#*#* - This code can be used to launch GTalk Service Monitor. Gtalk Service Monitor and play services monitor are developer options to let you examine and debug the push connections to google talk and google play services. Below these, the "restore default heartbeats" button lets you bring back the original heartbeat exchange settings if you have to. The final button is about making a donation to the developer of this convenient app. and that is it! now, you are left to experiment with the data and wi-fi settings until you land the most comfortable intervals for you.
*#*#36245#*#* - Access email debug information.
Codes to get Firmware version information:
*#*#4986*2650468#*#* - PDA, Phone, H/W, RFCallDate
*#*#1234#*#* OR *#1234# - PDA and Phone firmware information
*#*#1111#*#* - FTA SW Version (1234 in the same code will give PDA and firmware version)
*#12580*369# - Software and hardware info
*#9090# - Diagnostic configuration in ZTE Z431
*#*#2222#*#* - FTA HW Version
*#*#44336#*#* - PDA, Phone, CSC The Customer Service Code (CSC) plays an important role in the operation of your mobile device. Different countries have different standards for both voice and data communications to a cell phone tower. Although most countries follow the international standard for WiFi connects, there are variations from the standard. The CSC code ensures that your mobile device complies with the standards for your country, and your cell phone operator. The CSC code also determines the source for firmware updates via FOTA or Samsung Kies. , Build Time, Changelist number
Codes to launch various Factory Tests:
*#*#0283#*#* - Packet Loopback
*#*#0*#*#* - LCD display test
*#*#0673#*#* OR *#*#0289#*#* - Melody test
*#*#0842#*#* - Device test (Vibration test and BackLight test)
*#*#2663#*#* - Touch screen version ZTE Z431
*#*#2664#*#* - Touch screen test
*#*#0588#*#* - Proximity sensor test
*#*#3264#*#* - RAM version ZTE Z431
GSM codes for ZTE Z431Change PIN PIN code or Personal identification number, numeric password to authenticate a user of an ATM or credit card. If you suspect that your handset has become blocked, you may need a PUK Code. PUK stands for Personal Unblocking Key. If you have entered your PIN code incorrectly 3 times your sim card will be blocked and you will be unable to make and receive calls/texts. - ** 04 *, then enter the PIN old, and twice a new PIN.
Change PIN2 - ** 042 *, then enter the old The PIN2, and twice the new PIN2.Unlock SIM-card (PIN) - ** 05 * then enter the PUK and new PIN twiceUnlock SIM-card (PIN2) - ** 052 *, then enter the PUK2 and new PIN2 twiceCall Forwarding (you have to order the service from the operator)##002# - Cancel all diverts
##004# - Cancel all conditional call forwarding**004* phone number # - Activate all conditional call forwardingUnconditional call forwarding (Call Forward All)###21 - Switch off and deactivate
#21# - Deactivate**21*phone number# - Enable and Activate*21# - Activate*#21# - Check the conditionDiversion in case of "no answer"###61 - Switch off and deactivate
#61# - Deactivate**61* phone number# - Enable and Activate*61# - Activate*#61# - Check the conditionSetting the call time until the call forwarding option "no answer"When installing forwarding on "no answer" you can set the time in seconds that the system allows you to hook. If during this time you have not picked up the phone, the incoming call will be diverted.
Example: - ** 61 * + ** 709576617601234 # 30 - set the waiting time of 30 secondsSet timeout - ** 61 * Phone Number ** N #, N = 5..30 (seconds)Remove the previous installation - ## 61 #Diversion in case of "not available"# ## 62 - Switch off and deactivate
# 62 # - Deactivate** 62 *phone number# - Enable and Activate* 62 # - Activate* # 62 # - Check the conditionDiversion in case of "busy"###67 - Switch off and deactivate
#67# - Deactivate**67*phone number# - Enable and Activate*67# - Activate*#67# - Check the conditionCall Barring (you have to order the service from the operator)Change the password for all bans (default - 0000)
- ** 03 * 330 * old password * new password * new password #Barring of all outgoing calls
**33*password# - Activate#33*password# - Deactivate*#33# - Check the conditionBarring of all calls**330*password# - Activate
#330*password# - Deactivate*#330# - Check the conditionBarring of all outgoing international calls**331*password# - Activate
#331*password# - Deactivate*#331# - Check the conditionBarring of all outgoing calls**333*password# - Activate
#333*password# - Deactivate*#333# - Check the conditionBarring of all incoming calls**353*password# - Activate
#353*password# - Deactivate*#353# - Check the conditionBarring all incoming calls when roaming**351*password# - Activate
#351*password# - Deactivate*#351# - Check the conditionCall waiting (you have to order the service from the operator)*43# - Activate
#43# - Deactivate*#43# - Check the conditionTransfer your phone number (Anti ANI)#30#phone number - Block
*30#phone number - Allow*#30# - Check the conditionShow phone number of the caller you (ANI)#77# - Block
*77# - Allow*#77# - Check the conditionSmart menu GP - *111#
Rob - *140# Banglalink - *789# Comments, questions and answers to the secret codes of ZTE Z431 Ask a question about secret codes ZTE Z431
40 great apps for the Nokia E71, or how to do cool things with your symbian phone '' Sebastian Montabone
Fri, 27 Apr 2018 17:23
I really like my Nokia E71. And I am not the only one saying it. It has many fans around the world, so it is not surprising that it has more than 300 positive reviews on Amazon. It also comes with a nice price tag. The only problem I had was that I spent a lot of time searching for useful applications for this phone. This post is the result of my findings: 40 great applications that cover my needs(and hopefully yours) in many different areas.
The E71 is powered by Symbian OS, specifically S60 3rd edition. This version of the Symbian OS is currently the oldest one that can run most of the software that is out there, including applications developed with the new Nokia Qt SDK. This means that if you have a phone with a newer version of the Symbian OS (S60 5th edition or Symbian^3), you should be able to run all the applications that I am going to list here as well.
OK, here I present you 40 great apps for the Nokia E71:
Y-BrowserThis is a file browser for your phone. The nice thing is that it shows you hidden directories and files, so it is better to use this one instead of the built in browser.JoikuSpot LightShare your phone's internet connection via WiFi. Connect multiple devices (laptops, other WiFi enabled phones, etc) to your phone and browse the internet everywhere.SportsTrackerIf you do any type of outdoor exercises like jogging, walking, cycling, etc, download this app. It logs your position using GPS, and then uploads your exercises to an online server that shows your average speed, distance covered, map of the region, etc. It also can be connected to social networking sites such as facebook to encourage your work outs. Highly recommended.Nokia MapsThe nice thing about Nokia Maps is that the maps data can be downloaded to the phone's memory and then you can use it without any connection to the internet. Ideal when travelling abroad and you don't have a local sim card or when you don't want to pay for data plans. Also, it comes with turn by turn voice directions in many languages. And all of this for free, for ever.Google MapsSome times you may need extra information that is not available on Nokia Maps. On these rare occasions it is always handy to have the Googls Maps application installed. The good thing is that you can use the places that you saved on Nokia Maps (Favorites) in Google Maps (Starred Items). Note that this app does not come with turn by turn voice directions and it uses internet to get the maps.MetroThis application tells you the shortest route from one station to another in your local metro (subway), as well as the one with fewest connections. It uses offline data, so no internet access is necessary. Cities from all over the world are supported. Highly recommended.cCalcProThis is a powerful yet easy to use scientific calculator. It contains many functions such as simple mathematical ones, as well as trigonometric, financial and base functions. You could actually just use this calculator for every calculation you make, even for the simple ones since it is so easy to use, every key in the keyboard is mapped to a specific function, so it is like using a real calculator.MobiReaderThis app turns your phone into a nice e-book reader. For managing your e-books, and changing them to the format that this app understands, you can use Calibre, a great software for managing e-books on the PC.Photo BrowserThis app displays your photos in a nice grid gallery with an easy to use interface. It looks and works better than the built in photo viewer.SnapperIf you want to make time-lapse movies, this is the app you should get. It allows you to take a picture every second, minute, hour, or any time interval that you need, up to one picture a day. It is simple to use and it works great. All the images are stored in a single folder. You can transfer that folder to the PC and then just drag and drop the first image into Avidemux and with a couple of clicks you can create a video out of them.ScreenSnapThis is for taking screen-shots in your phone. It does the same thing as the Print Screen button on a PC.SmartCamThis application allows you to use your phone as a web-cam. It can use Bluetooth or WiFi for connecting to the device.m3DCamHave you ever seen a 3D image using a Red and Cyan lens?, well this app lets you create those images. Take an photo, move the phone and take the second one. This app then creates the image that you can see with your lenses in 3D.BeatEdDo you play any instrument?, if you do, you should check this app out. It is a drum machine. Ideal for accompanying your training sessions. You can create your own rhythms with its 16 channel audio mixer. It is really easy to use and you can download many samples from the website to get you started.Chromatic TunerIf you need to tune your instrument, this is the app that you are looking for. Simply go to a quiet place, start the application and play a note on your guitar (or any other tunable instrument). It will tell you which note is being played.eBuddyInstant messenger. Chat with your friends from msn, yahoo, facebook, and many others in just one application.Opera MobileA great mobile web browser, with support for tabs and many other features.SkypeCall and chat worldwide with your friends, cheaper than using regular phones.FringThis application integrates all your contacts from your phone contacts, msn, yahoo, etc, and allows you to chat, call and video call them using internet as well as cellular calls. It could be used to replace the native contact list, as well as the log of the calls.GmailRead your email everywhere.S60SpotOnUse your camera flash and the LCD screen to illuminate your surroundings. Nice to have when the lights go out.CompassThis application uses the position of the sun and moon to indicate you where the north is. You only need to put the phone facing up, aligned with the shown diagram and you will know where the north is. Also, it gives you extra information such as sunrise, sunset and moon phase.SideralisIf you like to watch the stars, this app is for you. Once you configure it for your location, it will show you the stars that are in your view. You can freely navigate the 3D display of the stars to match the part of the sky you are looking at. Information about the stars is available as well as some astronomic terms explained.RemoteWitchControl your PC with your phone. Specially useful for presentations or media playback.PyS60This is the Python port to the S60 phones. Install it to add the ability to run python scripts on your phone. You need to install both, first PythonForS60_1_4_5_3rdEd.sis and then PythonScriptShell_1_4_5_3rdEd.SIS. Note that there is a newer version of PyS60 here that features Python 2.5, but some applications need the older version installed. Well, you can actually have both versions installed without problems.PedThis is a Python IDE as well as a general text editor. You need to install PyS60 first in order to install it. Also, you need to install it on the same place that you installed PyS60 (phone memory). It has many features, in particular auto completion. You can access the auto completion feature by holding the green button (call) and then pressing the enter button (center of d-pad). This app is also great for text editing in general.JBakTaskManThis is an advanced task manager. It has many nice features, such as launching applications by typing their name, among many others. A must have app for the power user.FreeTimeBoxThis is an awesome and simple application. It simply displays the current time at the menu bar, always. Now you will never need to go to the Home screen just for knowing the time when you are in the middle of something. You can configure it to disappear when certain applications are running (games for example), as well as the appearance and position. This app is a must.vHome 4.2If you want to change how the Home screen looks, you can install this app. It is a task manager that allows you to change the Home screen with many features. For example, if you need more than the normal 6 apps shortcuts, you can add up to 14 with this app. You can also add weather information or RSS feeds to your home screen. Recommended for the power user.GPFCeNintendo emulator. This emulator supports sound. Re play your old NES games while you wait for the bus, or anywhere!.AntSnesSuper Nintendo emulator. It does not support sound though, but the idea of having the ability to play your old Super NES games in your phone is awesome.DOSBoxDOS emulator. This is the port of the DOSBox project to the S60 platform. With this, you can run DOS on your phone, so you can use all your old DOS programs in your phone. You can even run big applications such as Windows 98.PampPersonal Apache MySQL PHP. Really. You can have a whole web-server on your phone, with databases, and dynamic pages. You could be hosting a whole CMS or a forum from your pocket. You could for example show a live feed from the camera without needing any external services. The possibilities are endless.SICFTPThis is an FTP client. Transfer files back and forth from any server.PuttyGood ol' Putty. Telnet and SSH client on your phone. Thanks to this you could be working on the bus ride to/from work.CpuMonThis application displays the usage of CPU and Memory. Good for measuring performance of applications on real devices.Energy ProfilerNokia released this nice application which shows the energy consumed by the device. This can be useful to developers and normal users. Developers can use this app for measuring the energy used by their applications to try to minimize it. Normal users can see the effects of applications and usage of the phone for extending battery life.Device StatusThis app, developed by Nokia, shows you detailed information about the phone, such as the model, IMEI number, software version, memory available, installed applications, and network information, among other things.CellTrackThis application shows you information about the cell that you are connected to, such as the cell id and signal strength, among others.FreeUnRarThis application allows you to open rar files.Please let me know if you think there is a cool application for the E71 that is missing from this list.
Posted in General.
By samontab '' February 28, 2011
Flip phones and other "dumbphones" new tech trend | CBC News
Sat, 28 Apr 2018 06:14
According to figures from Statistics Canada, 94 per cent of those surveyed between the ages of 15 and 34 own a smartphone. Figures like that that make it difficult to imagine a massive reversal in smartphone usage, but that could be what's happening with flip phones or "dumbphones" gaining popularity.
Sara Martin uses her iPhone all the time, despite curbing her social media use in an attempt to limit how often she checks her device. She is aware of how it affects her life and concerned for how it will impact her daughter in the future.
"There's enough out there now that has pointed to some of the dangers, the addictive properties of smartphone use," says Martin. "My daughter, she's young now, but at some point, she's going to want a cell phone, and I can't deny her that; I can't cut her off from her peer group. But what I can do is I can get her a flip phone."
Flip phones re-emerge in pop cultureIt's an idea that's gaining traction. In recent weeks, several celebrities sported a flip phone, including Rihanna, Daniel Day-Lewis, and Kim Kardashian.
Large electronics companies are releasing new devices that are either flip phones or a lessened version of a smartphone, sometimes referred to as a "dumbphone." Samsung, for example, created the Galaxy J2 Pro, a smartphone that can't connect to the internet. The company says it is designed for students so they can focus more on their studies.
Geoffrey Fowler, a personal technology columnist for The Wall Street Journal, decided it was enough of a trend to offer a segment on how to choose a simpler phone.
"It's okay to not use a smartphone. In fact, if you don't want one, you're not alone," says Fowler. "Whether you're on a budget, seeking security, preparing for emergencies, or just looking to unplug, I'll help you find the right basic phone."
Dumbphones make good companions for smartphonesDaniel Bader is a Canadian technology analyst who says we aren't going back in time, but believes demand for these devices will increase for a different purpose.
"It's something that people are trying to do to spend more time in meaningful interactions, rather than being with people and staring at their phones," says Bader. "If we do see any meaningful increase in the sales of dumbphones over the next couple of years, it won't be as replacements but as augments to smartphones."
If we do see any meaningful increase in the sales of dumbphones over the next couple of years, it won't be as replacements but as augments to smartphones. - Daniel Bader In other words, a second phone. Something that enables you to be in contact when needed, but less distracted overall. In fact, Bader says he envisions more of the "Light Phone," a small, basic phone that connects to your smartphone and adds your contacts, but can only make phone calls.
Mindfulness the ultimate solutionBader says in the wake of stories about the harmful effects of addictive smartphone use and even the recent Facebook data breach, he understands there is a backlash. But in the tech world, they don't usually last.
"Like people rejecting Facebook and Twitter temporarily, they will eventually come back to using a smartphone just in a more concerted and deliberate way, being mindful of how much they're using their phone and how much they're staring at their screen every day," he says.
I think if you are conscious of the reasons...you don't have to go to the extreme of the late '90s to have a cell phone. - Sara Martin For Sara Martin, mindful use of a smartphone is the best long-term option.
"I think if you are conscious of the reasons why you're using a smartphone and the amount of time and the way in which you're engaging with it, you don't have to go to the extreme of the late '90s to have a cell phone."
Keyboard Tougher than expected
FaceBag Analytica
2017 Founders' Letter - Investor Relations - Alphabet
Sun, 29 Apr 2018 12:38
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair ...''
So begins Dickens' ''A Tale of Two Cities,'' and what a great articulation it is of the transformative time we live in. We're in an era of great inspiration and possibility, but with this opportunity comes the need for tremendous thoughtfulness and responsibility as technology is deeply and irrevocably interwoven into our societies.
Computation Explosion The power and potential of computation to tackle important problems has never been greater. In the last few years, the cost of computation has continued to plummet. The Pentium IIs we used in the first year of Google performed about 100 million floating point operations per second. The GPUs we use today perform about 20 trillion such operations '-- a factor of about 200,000 difference '-- and our very own TPUs are now capable of 180 trillion (180,000,000,000,000) floating point operations per second.
Even these startling gains may look small if the promise of quantum computing comes to fruition. For a specialized class of problems, quantum computers can solve them exponentially faster. For instance, if we are successful with our 72 qubit prototype, it would take millions of conventional computers to be able to emulate it. A 333 qubit error-corrected quantum computer would live up to our name, offering a 10,000,000,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000x speedup.
There are several factors at play in this boom of computing. First, of course, is the steady hum of Moore's Law, although some of the traditional measures such as transistor counts, density, and clock frequencies have slowed. The second factor is greater demand, stemming from advanced graphics in gaming and, surprisingly, from the GPU-friendly proof-of-work algorithms found in some of today's leading cryptocurrencies, such as Ethereum. However, the third and most important factor is the profound revolution in machine learning that has been building over the past decade. It is both made possible by these increasingly powerful processors and is also the major impetus for developing them further.
The Spring of Hope The new spring in artificial intelligence is the most significant development in computing in my lifetime. When we started the company, neural networks were a forgotten footnote in computer science; a remnant of the AI winter of the 1980's. Yet today, this broad brush of technology has found an astounding number of applications. We now use it to:
understand images in Google Photos; enable Waymo cars to recognize and distinguish objects safely; significantly improve sound and camera quality in our hardware; understand and produce speech for Google Home; translate over 100 languages in Google Translate; caption over a billion videos in 10 languages on YouTube; improve the efficiency of our data centers; suggest short replies to emails; help doctors diagnose diseases, such as diabetic retinopathy; discover new planetary systems; create better neural networks (AutoML); ... and much more. Every month, there are stunning new applications and transformative new techniques. In this sense, we are truly in a technology renaissance, an exciting time where we can see applications across nearly every segment of modern society.
However, such powerful tools also bring with them new questions and responsibilities. How will they affect employment across different sectors? How can we understand what they are doing under the hood? What about measures of fairness? How might they manipulate people? Are they safe?
There is serious thought and research going into all of these issues. Most notably, safety spans a wide range of concerns from the fears of sci-fi style sentience to the more near-term questions such as validating the performance of self-driving cars. A few of our noteworthy initiatives on AI safety are as follows:
Bringing Precision to the AI Safety Discussion DeepMind Ethics & Society PAIR: People+AI Research Initiative Partnership on AI I expect machine learning technology to continue to evolve rapidly and for Alphabet to continue to be a leader '-- in both the technological and ethical evolution of the field.
G is for Google Roughly three years ago, we restructured the company as Alphabet, with Google as a subsidiary (albeit far larger than the rest). As I write this, Google is in its 20th year of existence and continues to serve ever more people with information and technology products and services. Over one billion people now use Search, YouTube, Maps, Play, Gmail, Android, and Chrome every month.
This widespread adoption of technology creates new opportunities, but also new responsibilities as the social fabric of the world is increasingly intertwined.
Expectations about technology can differ significantly based on nationality, cultural background, and political affiliation. Therefore, Google must evolve its products with ever more care and thoughtfulness.
The purpose of Alphabet has been to allow new applications of technology to thrive with greater independence. While it is too early to declare the strategy a success, I am cautiously optimistic. Just a few months ago, the Onduo joint venture between Verily and Sanofi launched their first offering to help people with diabetes manage the disease. Waymo has begun operating fully self-driving cars on public roads and has crossed 5 million miles of testing. Sidewalk Labs has begun a large development project in Toronto. And Project Wing has performed some of the earliest drone deliveries in Australia.
There remains a high level of collaboration. Most notably, our two machine learning centers of excellence '-- Google Brain (an X graduate) and DeepMind '-- continue to bring their expertise to projects throughout Alphabet and the world. And the Nest subsidiary has now officially rejoined Google to form a more robust hardware group.
The Epoch of Belief and the Epoch of Incredulity Technology companies have historically been wide- eyed and idealistic about the opportunities that their innovations create. And for the overwhelming part, the arc of history shows that these advances, including the Internet and mobile devices, have created opportunities and dramatically improved the quality of life for billions of people. However, there are very legitimate and pertinent issues being raised, across the globe, about the implications and impacts of these advances. This is an important discussion to have. While I am optimistic about the potential to bring technology to bear on the greatest problems in the world, we are on a path that we must tread with deep responsibility, care, and humility. That is Alphabet's goal.
Sergey Brin President, Alphabet
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Twitter caught up in Cambridge Analytica data scandal
Sun, 29 Apr 2018 05:55
T witter sold data to the Cambridge University academic who harvested millions of Facebook users' information without their knowledge, the Sunday Telegraph can reveal.
Aleksandr Kogan, who created tools for Cambridge Analytica that allowed the political consultancy to psychologically profile and target voters, bought the data from the microblogging website in 2015, before the recent scandal came to light.
The Regulatory Risk for Facebook, Alphabet, and Twitter - Barron's
Sun, 29 Apr 2018 13:44
Alphabet , Facebook , and Twitter shares rose on strong earnings last week. But the threat of government oversight looms.
Michael Graham Managing director, Canaccord Genuity ''Facebook management addressed important data and privacy issues head-on, outlining new disclosure standards for political ads and hiring aggressively against privacy initiatives.'...For the time being, the worst is very likely behind Facebook stock.''
Stephen Turner Analyst, Hilliard Lyons ''We believe that a Neutral position on Alphabet ahead of Europe's General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, is appropriate.'...In particular, the 'right to be forgotten' could pose a long-term threat to companies processing large quantities of targeted user data.''
Stephen Ju Analyst, Credit Suisse ''While'...second-quarter user data [could] see some volatility given GDPR implementation, we are comfortable with our [Facebook] revenue estimates, as the ad-pricing growth it has continued to demonstrate should more than offset any headwinds.''
Peter Stabler Senior analyst, Wells Fargo Securities ''We expect GDPR risk to be manageable for Twitter. An updated privacy policy has been rolled out globally, and we believe that Twitter's lighter involvement in gathering'...user data insulates it to a greater degree than key rivals Facebook and Alphabet.''
'--Ed Lin
Next Week Stormy MarketsCrosscurrents continue to buffet stocks. A high percentage of companies, led by Amazon.com, Alphabet, and Facebook, beat earnings estimates, but the 10-year Treasury breached 3%, and fears that earnings had peaked sideswiped stocks. The Dow industrials fell 0.62% to 24,311.19 on the week; the Standard & Poor's 500 was flat at 2669.91; and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 0.37% to 7119.80. The VIX averaged 16.77 on the week. The yield on the 10-year Treasury ended at 2.96% and the two-year at 2.48%. Oil slipped a bit, ending at $68 and bitcoin finished $9,100.
Macron, Merkel, and TrumpThe leaders of France and Germany came to Washington intent on persuading President Trump not to remove the U.S. from the Iran nuclear accord. France's Macron has a famously good relationship with Trump; Merkel, a frostier one. But both argued that it made no sense to negotiate a denuclearization of North Korea if you're going to pull out of the Iran deal. Trump has said he will decide the U.S. role in the Iran deal by May 12.
Meeting at the BorderWashington diplomacy was a backdrop to a historic meeting of North Korea's Kim Jong-un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in at Panmunjom on Thursday. After eight hours of meetings, the pair promised to try to reduce tensions, normalize relations, and formally end the war, which began in 1950.
Pompeo In, Jackson OutCIA chief Mike Pompeo narrowly passed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and was confirmed by the Senate as secretary of state. Meanwhile, Trump's nominee to run the Veterans Affairs Department, White House physician and rear admiral, Ronny Jackson, lost bipartisan support over allegations of problems in the White House medical unit, and withdrew.
A New Plan for SearsEddie Lampert, who runs ESL Investments, the hedge fund that has long owned struggling retailer Sears, offered to buy company assets, including Kenmore appliances, an appliance-parts unit, and real estate. The sale, which would break up the retailer, would pump cash into the stores. Sears had earlier shopped the assets.
China Companies Eye IPOsThe music-streaming service of Tencent Holdings , Tencent Music Group Entertainment, said it would seek an IPO in the U.S., following Spotify Technology . And Didi Chuxing Technology, a ride-sharing service, has been talking to bankers, reported The Wall Street Journal, but hasn't decided on a venue. Alibaba Group Holding , which went public in 2014 in New York, is also apparently exploring a China offering, and laptop maker Xiaomi is looking at a Hong Kong or China IPO of $100 billion.
Comcast Goes for SkyCable and broadband giant Comcast formally made its $31 billion bid for Sky, topping an existing bid from 21st Century Fox (Barron's shares ownership with Fox). The Wall Street Journal also reported that Comcast is mulling a bid to break up Walt Disney 's pending acquisition of Fox entertainment assets.
Cosby Found GuiltyA Pennsylvania court convicted comedian and actor Bill Cosby, 80, of drugging and assaulting a woman 14 years ago.
Edited by Robert Teitelman and Teresa Vozzo
Email: editors@barrons.com
How the Internet Turned Bad '' Hacker Noon
Sun, 29 Apr 2018 14:03
The 1990s Vision Failedby Ph.D Arnold King, author of nonfiction books, primarily in the area of political economy, and in a previous life, he started one of the web's first commercial sites.It has been 25 years since I formed my first impressions of the Internet. I thought that it would shift the balance of power away from large organizations. I thought that individuals and smaller entities would gain more autonomy. What we see today is not what I hoped for back then.
In 1993, I did not picture people having their online experience being ''fed'' to them by large corporations using mysterious algorithms. Instead, I envisioned individuals in control, creating and exploring on their own.
In hindsight, I think that four developments took place that changed the direction of the Internet.
The masses came to the Internet. Many of the new arrivals were less technically savvy, were more interested in passively consuming entertainment than in contributing creatively, and were less able to handle uncensored content in a mature way. They have been willing to give up autonomy in exchange for convenience.At the same time, the capability of artificial intelligence grew rapidly. Better artificial intelligence made corporate control over the user experience more cost-effective than had been the case earlier.The winner-take-all mentality took over. Entrepreneurs and consultants were convinced that only one firm in each market segment would dominate. In recent years, this has become almost a self-fulfilling prophecy, as stock market investors poured money into leading firms, giving those firms the freedom to experiment with new business ventures, under-price competitors, and buy out rivals.The peer-to-peer structure of the Internet and the services provided over it did not scale gracefully. The idea of a ''dumb network'' of fully distributed computing gave way to caching servers and server farms. The personal blog or web site gave way to Facebook and YouTube.Blogs vs. FacebookTo me, blogs symbolize the ''old vision'' of the Internet, and Facebook epitomizes the new trend.
When you read blogs, you make your own deliberate choices about which writers to follow. With Facebook, you rely on the ''feed'' provided by the artificial intelligence algorithm.
Blog writers put effort into their work. They develop a distinctive style. In general, there are two types of blog posts. One type is a collection of links that the blogger believes will be interesting. The other type is a single reference, for which the blogger will provide a quote and additional commentary. On Facebook, many posts are just mindless ''shares'' where the person doing the sharing adds nothing to what he or she is sharing.
Bloggers create ''metadata.'' They put their posts into categories, and they add keyword tags. This allows readers to filter what they read. It has the potential to allow for sophisticated searching of blog posts by topic. On Facebook, the artificial intelligence tries to infer our interests from our behavior. We do not select topics ourselves.
The most popular environment for reading and writing blogs is the personal computer, which allows a reader time to think and gives a writer a tool for composing and editing several paragraphs. The most popular environment for reading and posting to Facebook is the smart phone, which favors rapid scrolling and photos with just a few words included.
Catering to the mass marketBefore August of 1995, ordinary households were kept off the World Wide Web by significant technical barriers. Until Microsoft released Windows 95, people with Windows computers could not access the Internet without installing additional software. And until America Online provided Web access, the users of the most popular networking service were limited to email and other more primitive Internet protocols.
The fall of 1995 began the period of mass-market adoption of the Internet. Another important leap occurred early in 2007, when Apple's iPhone spurred the use of Internet-enabled smart phones.
As the masses immigrated to the Internet, the average character of the users changed. Early settlers were very focused on preserving anonymity and privacy. Recent arrivals seem more concerned with getting noticed. Although early settlers were intrigued by entertainment on the Internet, for the most part they valued its practical uses more highly. Recent arrivals demand much more entertainment. Early settlers wanted to be active participants in building the World Wide Web and to explore its various strands. Recent arrivals are more passive users of sites like Google and Wikipedia.
Hal Varian, a keen observer of technology who became the chief economist at Google, once wrote a paper that contrasted software that is easy to learn with software that is easy to use. Sometimes, software that is a bit harder to learn can be more powerful. But catering to the mass market can lead software developers to focus on making the software easy to learn rather than easy to use. This distinction may be useful for understanding how Facebook triumphed over blogging.
Big Data and Big OrganizationsBack in the 1990s, many of us thought that since everyone could have their own web site, all web sites were created approximately equal. In Free Agent Nation, Dan Pink exuberantly proclaimed that the Internet fulfilled Marx's vision of workers owning the means of production. We thought that the ''means of production'' were computers connected to the Internet, and they were accessible to individuals.
Instead, enormous advantages accrued to large companies that could amass vast stores of user data and then mine that data using artificial intelligence. If the ''means of production'' today are Big Data and the algorithms to exploit it, then the means of production are much more accessible to Facebook, Apple, Amazon, and Google than they are to ordinary individuals.
Walled Gardens vs. the JungleAlthough America Online was a powerful franchise in the mid-1990s, its glory soon faded. We thought that the reason for this was that AOL was a ''walled garden,'' as opposed to the open Internet. The pattern that we noticed was that closed systems tended to lose out. This was the explanation for the near-demise of Apple Computer, which was much less friendly to outside developers than its competitor, Microsoft.
Today, the iPhone is much closer to a walled garden than smart phones that use the Android operating system. Yet the iPhone has maintained a powerful market position.
Facebook is much closer to a walled garden than is the world of blogs. But Facebook grew rapidly in recent years, and blogs are getting less attention.
Push vs. PullTraditional mass media was ''pushed'' to the users. If you wanted to watch a TV program in 1970, you could not record it or stream it. You had to turn your set to the right channel at the right time.
The World Wide Web was designed as a ''pull'' technology. You would make the choice to visit a web site, often by following links from other web sites.
Big corporations and advertisers are more comfortable with ''push'' than with ''pull.'' But in the 1990s, it looked like ''pull'' was going to win. One of the first efforts at ''push technology,'' Pointcast Network, famously flopped.
Today, ''push technology'' is everywhere, in the form of ''notifications.'' 21st-century consumers, especially smart phone owners, seem to welcome it.
Fraying at the EdgeThe traditional telephone system put a lot of intelligence in the middle of the network. Central switchboards did a lot of the connecting work. Sound pulses traveled over wires, and your phone, sitting on the edge of the network, did not have to be intelligent to make sound pulses intelligible. But by the same token, your phone could only respond to sound pulses, not to text or video.
With the Internet, all forms of content are reduced to small digital packets, and the routers in the middle of the network do not know what is in those packets. Only when the packets reach their destination are they re-assembled and then converted to text, sound, or video by an intelligent device located on the edge.
Hence, the Internet was described as a dumb network with intelligence on the edge. One of the characteristics of such a network is that it is difficult to censor. If you do not know the content of packets until they reach the edge, by then it is too late to censor them.
Today, governments are better able to meet the challenge of censoring the Internet. Part of the reason is that the Internet is less de-centralized than it once was. It turns out that in order to process today's volume of content efficiently, the Internet needs more intelligence in the network itself.
The advent of ''cloud computing'' also changes the relationship between the edge and the network. The ''cloud'' is an intelligent center, and the many devices that rely on the ''cloud'' are in that respect somewhat less intelligent than the computers that used the Internet in the 1990s.
Another factor is the importance of major service providers, such as Google and Facebook. These mega-sites give government officials targets to attack when they are not pleased with what they see.
GovernanceOne of the aspects of the Internet that intrigued me the most in 1993 was its governance mechanism. You can get the flavor of it by reading this brief history of the Internet, written twenty years ago. In particular, note the role of Requests for Comments (RFCs) and Internet Engineering Task Force Working Groups, which I will refer to as IETFs.
I compare IETFs with government agencies this way:
'-- IETFs are staffed by part-time or limited-term volunteers, whose compensation comes from their regular employers (universities, corporations, government agencies). Agencies are staffed by full-time permanent employees, using taxpayer dollars.
'-- IETFs solve the problems that they work on. Agencies perpetuate the problems that they work on.
'-- A particular group of engineers in an IETF disbands once it has solved its problem. An agency never disbands.
When I hear calls for government regulation of the Internet, to me that sounds like a step backward. The IETF approach to regulation seems much better than the agency approach.
Things Could ChangeCall me a snob or an old fogy, but I am not happy with where the Internet is today. I believe that things could change. I think that a lot of people are unhappy with the current state of the Internet. But I suspect that the enemy is us.
I am not sure what the solution will look like. I don't think that regulating Facebook is the answer, especially if the main driver of regulation is that people are upset that Donald Trump won the 2016 election.
I don't think that blockchain is the answer, even though it has some of the characteristics of the 1990s Internet. I have little confidence that blockchain can scale gracefully, given what we have seen so far and given the way that the Internet has evolved. And even if blockchain is able to overcome scaling problems, I think that the lesson of the last 25 years is that culture pushes on technology harder than technology pushes on culture.
I think that the challenge that we face on the Internet is the challenge that we face in society in general. In our modern world, we thrive by doing less ourselves and getting more from the services provided by others. But we seem tempted to become passive and careless in ceding power to governments and other large organizations.
In short, how can we sustain an ethic of individual responsibility while enjoying the benefits of extreme interdependence?
by Ph.D Arnold King, author of nonfiction books, primarily in the area of political economy, and in a previous life, he started one of the web's first commercial sites. Originally published on Hacker Noon.
Shut Up Slave!
Alfie Evans: Legal battle toddler dies - BBC News
Sun, 29 Apr 2018 13:22
Image copyright Kate James Alfie Evans, the 23-month-old toddler at the centre of a High Court legal battle, has died, nearly a week after his life support was withdrawn.
The boy from Merseyside, who had a degenerative brain condition, died at 02:30 BST, his father Tom Evans said.
On Facebook he wrote: "My gladiator lay down his shield and gained his wings... absolutely heartbroken."
The Pope, who took a personal interest in the case, tweeted: "I am deeply moved by the death of little Alfie."
He added: "Today I pray especially for his parents, as God the Father receives him in his tender embrace."
Hundreds of supporters of Alfie's parents, known as Alfie's Army, released balloons at a park in a tribute to the toddler.
His aunt Sarah Evans thanked the crowd, saying: "Our hearts are broken. We are absolutely shattered as a family."
Alfie's parents lost all legal challenges to a court ruling allowing the hospital to withdraw ventilation.
The boy had his life support withdrawn on Monday after being in a semi-vegetative state for more than a year.
The legal campaign, launched by Mr Evans and Alfie's mother Kate James, attracted widespread attention and saw them clash with doctors over the child's treatment.
The case drew international support including from Pope Francis, who asked that "their desire to seek new forms of treatment may be granted".
Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media caption Hundreds of well-wishers gathered to release balloons in tributeEarlier in April, Mr Evans pleaded with him to "save our son" during a meeting in Rome.
Image copyright Christopher Furlong Image caption A woman grieves outside the children's hospital A statement from Alder Hey Children's Hospital in Liverpool, where Alfie was treated, said staff expressed their "heartfelt sympathy".
"All of us feel deeply for Alfie, Kate, Tom and his whole family and our thoughts are with them. This has been a devastating journey for them," it said.
It asked those wishing to leave tributes to Alfie to place them at the nearby Springfield Park.
Image copyright Facebook The RC Archbishop of Liverpool, Malcolm McMahon, said: "All who have been touched by the story of this little boy's heroic struggle for life will feel this loss deeply.
"Now it is time for us to give Tom and Kate space to grieve their son's death and offer our prayers for him and consolation for all."
Everton FC tweeted: "Everybody at the Club is deeply saddened by the loss of the brave young Evertonian. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family."
The Bradley Lowery Foundation, named after the six-year-old boy who died after suffering from neuroblastoma, paid tribute to Alfie's parents, saying "they did everything they could for their little boy".
Image copyright ACTION4ALFIE Image caption Alfie Evans was in a "semi-vegetative state" in Alder Hey Children's Hospital Alfie, who was born in May 2016, was first admitted to the hospital the following December after suffering seizures, and had been a patient ever since.
His parents, who live in Bootle, wanted to fly the toddler to an Italian hospital, but this was rejected by doctors who said continuing treatment was "not in Alfie's best interests".
Alder Hey Hospital said scans showed "catastrophic degradation of his brain tissue" and that further treatment was not only "futile" but also "unkind and inhumane".
The couple heavily criticised medical staff, with Mr Evans suggesting his son was a "prisoner" at the hospital and had been misdiagnosed.
Image copyright PA Image caption Tom Evans and Kate James contested the hospital's decision to take Alfie off life support Hospital bosses were backed by the High Court, which ruled in their favour on 20 February, after accepting medical evidence that there was "no hope" for the youngster.
In a four-month legal battle, Alfie's parents unsuccessfully contested the ruling at the Court of Appeal, Supreme Court and European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).
Alfie was granted Italian citizenship on Monday, with the country's government saying it hoped the toddler could have an "immediate transfer to Italy".
However, two days later the Court of Appeal upheld a ruling preventing the toddler from travelling abroad after life support was withdrawn.
Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media caption On Thursday, Alfie's father Tom Evans urged campaigners to "return to your lives"Supporters of Alfie's parents protested outside the hospital, prompting its bosses to defend staff who they said had endured a "barrage" of abuse.
On Monday, a group of protesters tried to get into the hospital after the ECHR refused to intervene.
Merseyside Police is investigating claims patients and staff had been intimidated.
On Thursday, Mr Evans thanked supporters but asked them "to go home" so the parents could build a relationship with the hospital to provide the toddler "with the dignity and comfort he needs".
17 eyewitnesses testify before the OPCW
Sat, 28 Apr 2018 11:44
Upon the request of Russia, on 27 April, 17 eye witnesses of the alleged chemical attack that took place at Douma, came to testify before the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemcial Weapons. Every one of these 17 witnesses confirmed that this chemical attack never took place.
These individuals are Syrian citizens that appear in a video that the White Helmets has broadcast across the world as proof of a ''chemical attack'' in Douma where the directors of this hospital are based.
Delegations from the United States, the United Kingdom and France have protested against what they qualified as a ''show'' and have even guaranteed that they can provide evidence that contradicts the declarations of these witnesses. However they have not produced them.
Considering that the video of the White Helmets met the evidentiary threshold that the Syrian government used chemical weapons, the United States, France and the United Kingdom bombed Syria on 14 April.
For its part, the Russian Federation's delegation stressed that the reaction of the three Western powers - bombing Syria before the declarations of eye witnesses that deny that a chemical attack took place, demonstrates that these countries are acting in bad faith and that all this was a manipulation aimed at justifying bombing the Syrian Arab Republic.
The Russian delegation announced at the meeting that the Russian Federation will not permit any new aggression against the Syrian Arab Republic.
Emotional Support Mamals
Dogs in the mall - in furniture store on couches
are probably excited about the stricter emotional support regulation happening
on airlines. But we need to acknowledge that passengers can still bring their
pets on the plane, they just have to pay to do it. So, really, people who don’t
want to fly in Noah’s Ark are not going to experience a difference, it is only
the people who fly with companions that have to jump through extra hoops or pay
more money to fly. This just seems like an opportunistic move on the airlines
to make an extra buck not only in the selling of animal plane tickets, but also
in potentially selling the mental and physical health data of their passengers.
only the check out clerk needed to look over an ESA letter, now passengers need
to submit forms days in advance of flying. They are told to send this
information to an unprotected email address or fax number. Who is on the other
end of these contacts? I want to know what happens to the health information
that is required in these forms. Alaska Airlines’s privacy policy makes it
clear that passenger data is up for grabs, so how are they protecting health
data? Are HIPAA laws addressing this change in policy?
for the rant, but I’m pissed. No one is talking about the real issue of health
Emotional support animals proliferate at Yale
Sun, 29 Apr 2018 14:05
Eric Wang
If you walked into the Grace Hopper College courtyard last year, you may have seen a cat on a leash. Last fall you might have seen a dog; this semester, there are two of them scurrying around Hopper.
These are emotional support animals. While Yale College does not allow students to live with pets on campus, University Policy 4400 allows students to live with emotional support animals, also called assistance animals, ''on a case-by-case basis in a reasonable accommodation for a documented disability.''
Last year, there was one registered support animal on Yale's campus, a kitten named Sawa. There are now 14 '-- a number that Sarah Chang, associate director of the Resource Office on Disabilities, expects to rise.
''If what has played out at other schools is true, then yes, [there will be] a lot more,'' Chang said. ''I do think we're going to see a large increase in numbers, definitely.''
Emotional support animals require no training. They don't even have to be dogs. Their purpose is to provide a therapeutic benefit through companionship. At Yale, there are emotional support dogs, emotional support cats and even an emotional support hedgehog. All members of the class of 2021 were asked on the first-year housing survey whether they would be agreeable to sharing a suite with a student who has an emotional support animal or service animal.
Still, despite the increase in the number of such animals, there is little scientific evidence to support their impact on humans, according to Molly Crossman GRD '19, a Yale doctoral student in psychology who has studied the mental health benefits of people's interactions with animals.
''There isn't research that speaks directly to emotional support animals. There's little directly on that that I'm aware of,'' Crossman said. ''Although we generally agree that science informs policy, often it just doesn't work out like that.''
Yale and colleges across the country have adopted policies that allow emotional support animals '-- not necessarily because the science backs it up, but because the schools have to, in order to comply with the Fair Housing Act. The act states that ''persons with disabilities may request a reasonable accommodation for any service animal, including an emotional support animal.'' The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 prohibits discrimination based on disability.
''Those two laws are basically the reason we weren't inspired to create the program,'' Chang explained. ''We were mandated to create the program. All universities have to follow those laws.''
Violating the laws can be costly. In 2013, Grand Valley State University paid $40,000 in a settlement after a student sued the university for preventing her from keeping an emotional support guinea pig on campus. Two years later, two students received $140,000 in a settlement with the University of Nebraska at Kearney after they were denied ''reasonable accommodations'' to keep two emotional support dogs. A similar suit at Kent State University cost the school $145,000 the following year.
These settlements are commonly discussed at conferences with mental health educators, according to Jamie Axelrod, director of disability resources at Northern Arizona University, where more than 100 requests for emotional support animals are received each year. After these lawsuits in the early 2010s, many schools across the country, including Yale, created policies to specifically address emotional support animals.
''It was clear that in those cases that the HUD [U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development] was looking for, maybe, something that didn't require as much as proof as they would in accommodation in an academic setting,'' Axelrod said. ''A different standard of what is required.''
During reading period of her sophomore spring, Micaela Bullard Elias '18 started getting serious gastrointestinal problems, and eventually decided to go to Yale Health. She took several tests for various physical illnesses, but they all turned up negative. She lost about 30 pounds in a month, and started to develop insomnia. She was given fluids through IV to keep her hydrated.
In the end, she was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder that manifested physically.
Bullard started taking medicine, but it helped only so much. She would still wake up six or seven times a night, thinking she had to go to the bathroom, but really just suffering from symptoms of anxiety.
Bullard had seen Sally Weiner '18, the first student with a registered emotional support animal, in the Hopper courtyard with her cat, Sawa. She thought an emotional support animal might improve her life and after a conversation with Weiner about how Sawa had helped her with anxiety, Bullard decided to go through the process herself.
Bullard got medical documentation from her psychologist that stated her diagnosis and explained how an emotional support animal, would help alleviate the impact of her condition as part of her treatment plan. She met with Chang, who explained the rules Bullard would have to follow. Her emotional support animal would only be allowed in specific places on campus, unlike service animals, and she couldn't bring the dog to the library or class. Chang also discussed with Bullard the practical side of keeping an emotional support animal on campus: What would she do with the animal after graduation? What would she do with the animal over breaks? What would she do with the animal if she wanted to go to New York City for a weekend? The Resource Office on Disabilities expects students not to leave the animal with other people over night. Despite some lingering questions, Bullard decided that it would be worth it.
Bullard currently lives in a two-person Hopper College suite with her friend Tianyi Shi '18. The two live with Bullard's emotional support animal, an Italian Greyhound named Pascal, who likes to jump up and lick visitors on the face. He weighs 14 pounds and is about 16 inches tall.
Bullard said that since she got Pascal her symptoms have all but disappeared. She no longer wakes up several times in the middle of the night, and no longer vomits because of anxiety. She says her insomnia is gone. Her symptoms have improved so much that she plans to go off medication this summer, she says.
''I'll still get anxious, you know, because everyone gets anxious at some point in time, but it hasn't hindered my ability to study since I got him,'' Bullard said. ''I also just enjoy life more generally. Honestly I'm kind of surprised by the impact he's had in terms of my emotional state and my ability to sleep. It's a little crazy.''
Pascal has become a regular in the Hopper courtyard, often surrounded by students who want to play with him. Bullard's room is also a popular destination for friends who feel comforted by her emotional support animal.
Despite what Bullard considers a success for her and others who are helped by her dog, she still worries about how other students are affected by Pascal. Students have complained about Pascal jumping in the courtyard. And after another emotional support dog moved into her entryway, Bullard received a complaint about barking.
''It can be really annoying, especially since another service animal moved into our entryway,'' said a student who lives between the two emotional support animals and asked to remain anonymous. ''They bark at each other and interact with each other, and then they will be barking for like 10 minutes on end '... I imagine that people who don't like dogs are not thrilled about it.''
The student added, however, that the dogs rarely bark at night, and that it's nice having dogs around in the college. ''I don't think a minor annoyance to us is a significant enough reason to warrant people not always being comfortable,'' the student said. ''College is noisy. It's fine.''
Some Hopper students now refer to Bullard's entryway as ''The Isle of Dogs,'' a reference to the recently released Wes Anderson film. And while it's important for Yale to support students who suffer from anxiety and allow comfort animals, one Hopper student said, the University should better regulate the dogs, which can be ''loud and disruptive.''
''Just because he's very beneficial to me doesn't mean that he should be a detriment to other people,'' Bullard said. ''That's something that worries me a lot.''
According to a survey by the American College Health Association-National College Health Assessment, in spring 2017, 20.6 percent of students have been treated by a professional for anxiety. In fall 2011, the number was 12 percent.
While emotional support animals are far from the only way to treat anxiety '-- they are usually recommended along with other treatment methods '-- psychiatrists have seen increasing demand from patients to write emotional support animal letters, a phenomenon that psychologists Jeffrey Younggren, Jennifer Boisvert and Cassandra Boness explore in the paper ''Examining Emotional Support Animals and Role Conflicts In Professional Psychology.''
''Altogether, this media publicity and industry has implications for psychologists as they might be pressured by patient requests for a letter of evaluation in support of their need for an emotional support animal or certification of their pet,'' the paper states.
The papers address many sites on the Internet that offer emotional support animal letters '-- required documentation for registering an animal as an emotional support animal '-- cheaply and in less than 24 hours, and how psychologists have to be careful when writing an emotional support animal letter.
Despite the complaints from some students, Bullard's situation is practically a best-case scenario. She spent months researching what kind of animal she wanted in her dorm '-- looking for one that was hypoallergenic, didn't smell and didn't make much noise. She kept her suitemate in the loop the whole time, and arrived on campus with all the required forms completed and her dog fully vaccinated.
However, with many emotional support animals on the way, the potential for complaints will increase, and not all emotional support animal owners are as responsible as Bullard. At Washington State University, a student brought a 95-pound pig into her room, and it chewed up the room's carpeting, furniture and closet doors, according to the New York Times. And Crossman said there is reason for concern that those who suffer from anxiety could have their symptoms exacerbated by having to take care of an animal.
A dog owner herself, Chang is aware that there are almost no studies proving the efficacy of emotional support animals. But Yale, like every other university in the country, is required by law to allow them.
''Yale can't really do anything to prevent controversy because we have to follow the law,'' Chang said. ''We're trying to implement [the policy] as smoothly as possible here within the Yale community by working to ensure that our rules are fair both for the people who are requesting the animals on campus and for everyone else who then has to live in a community and share the space with those animals.''
So far, the policy has worked relatively smoothly. And while there's no solid scientific evidence backing the use of emotional support animals, Crossman warned against citing the lack of data to prevent people from getting emotional support animals.
''It's probably even more important, from my perspective, to make sure we're not discriminating against students who have mental illnesses,'' Crossman said. ''Right now, the law says we have to protect this right, so if students are meeting this standard, my impression is that we should meet that standard across the board.''
Jacob Sweet | jacob.sweet@yale.edu
CMHC Voices Against Violence - MasculinUT
Sun, 29 Apr 2018 12:49
About MasculinUTProject Goals and Guiding PrinciplesWhy does UT Austin need MasculinUT?Campus PartnersPrevious EventsWhat do Healthy Masculinities Look Like?What is Restrictive Masculinity?Masculinity and the Intersections of Social, Cultural and Political IdentitiesPoster Campaign Get Involved Resources
MasculinUT is a project by Voices Against Violence in the Counseling and Mental Health Center led by a steering committee of UT Austin students, faculty, and staff. We aim to promote healthy masculinities on the UT Austin campus through public events, educational workshops, and other forms of student involvement. Our goal is to impact campus culture to increase acceptance of gender diversity, promote healthy relationships with an emphasis on consent, and prevent interpersonal violence.
Interested in getting involved or joining our mailing list? Contact us at: voicesagainstviolence@austin.utexas.edu
Upcoming Events/Projects: Poster Campaign Previous Events: Poster Campaign Launch on West Mall Moonlight: A Showing and Conversation with Trevante Rhodes Face Masks and MasculinUT at the Creekside Residence Hall - September 20th, 2017. Come join us as residents of Creekside apply face masks and discuss masculinities together.Film Screening and Discussion with Filmmaker of #BLACKMENDREAM Showdown Against Sexual Assault Towards a Feminist Sociology of Incest in Mexico Author-meets-critic conversation with Dr. Gloria Gonzlez-L"pez Screening and Discussion of The Mask You Live In for Suicide Prevention Week This is Men's Work MasculinUT Student Leadership Lunch Fishbowl Discussions: Asian American MasculinUT MasculinUT Interested in participating in the next fishbowl event? Contact voicesagainstviolence@austin.utexas.edu
Interpersonal Violence
Sun, 29 Apr 2018 12:54
APA takes a public health approach to violence prevention advocacy, using psychological research to inform policies and programs.
Prevention and SupportWorking with our members and partner organizations, we advocate for funding and support for victim services, research, and implementation of evidence-based approaches to violence prevention. APA advocates in the following areas of interpersonal violence prevention:
Understanding Interpersonal Violence1,580In 2014, an estimated 1,580 children died of abuse and neglect in the United States.
One in threeOne in three women will experience rape, physical violence or stalking in her lifetime. Individuals with disabilities, people of color and non-gender conforming individuals have a heightened risk of domestic and sexual abuse.
Psychologists Take to the Hill to Support the Violence Against Women ActOn April 6, 2017, APA's Public Interest Government Relations Office held an advocacy training and Capitol Hill day for participants in the Leadership Institute for Women in Psychology (LIWP). Forty psychologists provided congressional offices with information on programs under the Violence Against Women Act that target underserved populations. They requested full funding for those programs. Participants discussed how the risk of domestic violence and sexual violence is higher for women of color, women with disabilities, sexual and gender minorities, older adults and other marginalized populations.
The enthusiastic responses from congressional staff underscored the importance of psychologists coming to the table to help policymakers understand the unique needs of victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.
Sen. Claire McCaskill meets with APA members Constance Brooks, PhD, (left) and Johanna Nilsson, PhD (right).
APA Senior Legislative and Federal Affairs Officer Amalia Corby addresses participants at the 2017 Leadership Institute for Women in Psychology.
APA member Kathryn Anderson, MD, (left) and Senior Legislative and APA Federal Affairs Officer Gabe Twose (right) meet with Congressman Jamie Raskin.
APA Member Pamela Niesluchowski, PsyD, meets with Sen. Tammy Duckworth (left) and Sen. Dick Durbin (right).
Congresswoman Jenniffer Gonzlez-Col"n (left) meets with APA members Yadira Sanchez, PhD, and Kathleen Brown, PhD, as APA legislative and federal affairs officer, Micah Haskell-Hoehl, looks on.
APA Actions Related to Interpersonal Violence Interpersonal Violence occurs across age, ethnic, gender and economic lines, among persons with disabilities, and among heterosexual and same-sex couples. About APA AdvocacyAPA represents the largest and most visible national presence advocating for psychology at the federal level. There are three APA government relations offices and two APA-affiliated organizations that engage in government relations activities.
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About Voices Against Violence
Sun, 29 Apr 2018 12:52
Voices Against Violence (VAV) offers comprehensive violence prevention and response programs. We address issues of interpersonal violence, such as sexual violence, dating violence, and stalking. VAV aims to provide the campus with tools to identify and interrupt interpersonal violence, support survivors, and build a campus that values and promotes healthy relationships and consent.
National studies have demonstrated time and time again that interpersonal violence is a behavioral epidemic across the United States. The tragic facts are that an estimated 30% of women and 6% of men report being a victim of attempted or completed sexual assault by the time they finish college. In one study, one in 20 (4.7%) women reported being raped in college since the beginning of the year - a period of approximately 7 months - and nearly three quarters of those rapes (72%) happened with the victims were so intoxicated they were unable to consent or refuse. Over a lifetime, 1 in 5 women and 1 in 71 men in the United States have experienced rape, 80% of which occurs before age 25.
While statistics like this can be overwhelming, VAV believes that one is too many. We believe that interpersonal violence is everyone's issue and that it is preventable. We invite you to envision and create a safer campus with us.
VAV Impact Statement Learn more about VAV's programming, definitions and philosophies by reading the 2016-17 Impact Statement
More Information About Us:How
WhoHistory Krebs, C.P., Lindquist, C.H., Warner, T.D., Fisher, B.S., & Martin, S.L. (2007). The Campus Sexual Assault (CSA) Study. National Institute of Justice. Mohler-Kuo, M., Dowdall, G., Koss, M., & Wechsler, H. (2004).Correlates of Rape While Intoxicated in a National Sample of College Women. Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 65, 37-45. Black, M.C., Basile, K.C., Breiding, M.J., Smith, S.G., Walters, M.L., Merrick, M.T., Chen, J., & Stevens, M.R. (2011). The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS): 2010 Summary Report. Atlanta, GA: National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Together we can build a safer campus
About Voices Against Violence
Sun, 29 Apr 2018 12:51
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University of Texas to Treat Masculinity as a 'Mental Health' Issue | Trending
Sun, 29 Apr 2018 12:49
The Counseling and Mental Health Center at the University of Texas at Austin recently launched a new program to help male students ''take control over their gender identity and develop a healthy sense of masculinity.''
Treating masculinity as if it were a mental health crisis, ''MasculinUT'' is organized by the school's counseling staff and most recently organized a poster series encouraging students to develop a ''healthy model of masculinity.''
The program is predicated on a critique of so-called ''restrictive masculinity.'' Men, the program argues, suffer when they are told to ''act like a man'' or when they are encouraged to fulfill traditional gender roles, such as being ''successful'' or ''the breadwinner.''
Though you might enjoy ''taking care of people'' or being ''active,'' MasculinUT warns that many of these attributes are actually dangerous, claiming that ''traditional ideas of masculinity place men into rigid (or restrictive) boxes [which]... prevent them from developing their emotional maturity.''
''If you are a male student at UT reading this right now, we hope that learning about this helps you not to feel guilty about having participated in these definitions of masculinity, and instead feel empowered to break the cycle!'' the program offers.
The program is currently without leadership, but not for long. The school is in the process of hiring a ''healthy masculinities coordinator'' to run the program, and a school official tells PJ Media that some hopeful hirees are interviewing for the position later this week.
MMA fighter with links to Trump, Cohen is questioned by FBI
Sun, 29 Apr 2018 11:53
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Fedor Emelianenko, of Russia, waves to fans before fighting against Frank Mir in a heavyweight mixed martial arts bout for the heavyweight at Bellator 198, Saturday, April 28, 2018, in Rosemont, Ill. Emelianenko won the bout. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
ROSEMONT, Ill. (AP) '-- A Russian mixed martial arts fighter who has connections with President Donald Trump, the president's personal attorney Michael Cohen and Russian President Vladimir Putin was questioned this week by the FBI, his manager confirmed Saturday.
Fedor Emelianenko was questioned by agents who met him in his hotel room on Tuesday, manager Jerry Millen said before Emelianenko's Bellator MMA heavyweight fight against Frank Mir. Millen declined to detail his client's conversations with the agents.
"The FBI came to the hotel looking to talk to Fedor and they were very nice, came in to speak with Fedor for a few minutes, spoke to me, very cool guys, and that's all I can really say about it. Again, the FBI did come to the hotel, they found us, knocked on the door," Millen said.
"Hundred percent, kind of surprised," Millen added. "They were very nice, very professional."
The agents were in attendance at Saturday's fight, Millen said.
Putin has attended Emelianenko's fights, and the 41-year-old fighter has been photographed with the Russian president. His connection with Trump dates back to 2008, when he was signed by Affliction Entertainment, a fight league in which Trump had an ownership stake. Trump announced a joint venture involving MMA and Emelianenko at a news conference on June 5, 2008.
Affliction ended up folding for financial reasons after two events, both headlined by Emelianenko.
Cohen was the league's chief operating officer. Two weeks ago, the FBI raided Cohen's New York offices, hotel and home, seeking information about a nondisclosure agreement he brokered with porn star Stormy Daniels days before the 2016 election. Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, has said she had an affair with Trump in 2006.
The criminal investigation of Cohen is linked to special counsel Robert Mueller's ongoing probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian officials.
The fighter's encounter with the FBI was first reported by The Telegraph of London.
Emelianenko dominated MMA's heavyweight division from 2000-2010. He retired in 2012 but began fighting again in 2015. He's currently under contract with Bellator.
Donors Paid $50 Million To Fusion GPS | The Daily Caller
Sun, 29 Apr 2018 12:48
A group of wealthy donors from New York and California have forked out $50 million to fund a Russia investigation being conducted by Christopher Steele, Fusion GPS and a former Senate staffer for Dianne Feinstein.
That bombshell revelation is made in a footnote to the House Intelligence Committee's newly released report on Russian interference in the presidential campaign.
Fusion GPS hired Steele, a former MI6 agent, to investigate Trump's activities in Russia. He would go on to produce a 35-page report alleging collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian government.
The Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee funded the project. A law firm representing the organizations hired Fusion GPS in April 2016.
While the dossier project failed to help former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton win the presidency, Fusion GPS and Steele have continued their investigative work.
That's according to statements from Daniel Jones, a former Feinstein staffer who runs the Penn Quarter Group (PQG), a Washington, D.C., consulting firm. (RELATED: Back Channel To Christopher Steele Reveals Details Of Senate Testimony)
The House report states that in March 2017, Jones told the FBI about a project he is working on with Steele and Fusion GPS that is being funded to the tune of $50 million by 7 to 10 wealthy donors from New York and California.
''In late March 2017, Jones met with FBI regarding PQG, which he described as 'exposing foreign influence in Western election,''' reads the committee's report.
''[Redacted] told FBI that PQG was being funded by 7 to 10 wealthy donors located primarily in New York and California, who provided approximately $50 million.''
''[Redacted] further stated that PQG had secured the services of Steele, his associate [redacted], and Fusion GPS to continue exposing Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. Presidential election,'' reads the report, which adds that Jones ''planned to share the information he obtained with policymakers'...and with the press.''
Jones ''also offered to provide PQG's entire holdings to the FBI,'' the report says.
The report cites a transcript of an interview that Jones gave to the FBI. The transcript, known as an FD-302, is dated March 28, 2017.
Passage from House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence report, released April 27, 2018.
The report confirms recent reporting about Jones' work with Fusion and Steele. The Federalist first reported on Feb. 20 that evidence suggested Jones was working with Fusion.
Jones' name first emerged in connection with the Russia probe in February after Fox News published a batch of text messages exchanged between Virginia Sen. Mark Warner and Adam Waldman, a lawyer for Oleg Deripaska, a Russian oligarch who is under scrutiny in the Russia probe.
The texts show that Waldman was working as a backchannel between Steele and Warner. Waldman referred to Jones in two exchanges with Warner, who sought to meet with Steele separate from the rest of the Senate Intel panel.
According to text messages seen exclusively by TheDCNF, Jones first contacted Waldman on March 15, 2017, saying that he was with a non-profit group that had just been formed in Washington, D.C.
''Dan Jones here from the Democracy Integrity Project. Chris wanted us to connect,'' Jones wrote, referring to Steele.
Waldman met with Jones on March 16, 2017.
During that meeting, Waldman says that Jones revealed that he was working with Fusion GPS. Jones also said that a ''group of Silicon Valley billionaires and George Soros'' were funding the project with Fusion GPS, according to Waldman, who testified to the Senate Intelligence panel on Nov. 3.
It remains unclear how Waldman is connected to Steele, who is based in London. Waldman's connection to the former British spy and to Deripaska has prompted questions from Republican lawmakers. Waldman has told TheDCNF that he cannot discuss his relationship to Steele.
According to Waldman, Jones also referred to Fusion GPS during their March 2017 meeting as a ''shadow media organization helping the government.''
In one text message, Jones suggested to Waldman that his team helped place a report with Reuters about Trump's real estate activities.
''Our team helped with this,'' Jones wrote, linking to the March 17, 2017 Reuters article.
Jones sent Waldman several other news articles, including one from McClatchy alleging that the FBI was investigating whether Russian bots influence conservative media outlets like Breitbart and InfoWars.
The same McClatchy reporters who wrote that article also recently published a report alleging that special counsel Robert Mueller has been provided with evidence supporting the Steele dossier's allegation that Trump lawyer Michael Cohen visited Prague in Aug. 2016. Cohen has vehemently denied the allegation. The McClatchy report has not been corroborated. (RELATED: Here's Why You Should Be Skeptical Of That Michael Cohen Story)
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800,000 people are about to flee New York, California because of taxes
Fri, 27 Apr 2018 18:35
Conservative economists Arthur Laffer and Stephen Moore are predicting a new mass exodus of wealth from New York and California because of the new tax law. But academics who have studied taxes and migration call the forecast "pure nonsense."In an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal headlined "So Long, California. Sayonara, New York," Laffer and Moore (who have both advised President Donald Trump) say the new tax bill will cause a net 800,000 people to move out of California and New York over the next three years.
The tax changes limit the deduction of state and local taxes to $10,000, so many high-earning taxpayers in high-tax states will actually face a tax increase under the new tax code.
Laffer and Moore say that the effective income-tax rate (what people actually pay) for high earners in California will jump from 8.5 percent to 13 percent. Wealthy Manhattanites would face a similar increase, they say. Those who make $10 million or more will see a potential tax hike of 50 percent or more, according to their analysis.Those hikes, they say, will cause an exodus of residents to move to lower or no-income tax states.
"In years to come, millions of people, thousands of businesses and tens of billions of dollars of net income will flee high-tax blue states for low-tax red states," they said. They say 800,000 people will move from California and New York over the next three years. Connecticut, New Jersey and Minnesota will lose a combined 500,000 people over the same period.
Yet economist and sociologist Cristobal Young of Stanford, who co-authored the leading study on wealth and tax migration, calls the forecast "pure nonsense."
He said that California, New York and New Jersey have been high-tax states for decades and they still have the highest per capita concentration of rich people in the country.
"There is no correlation between the top tax state tax rate and the number (or rate) of millionaires in a state," he said. He added that the people most affected by tax rates are the "late-career working rich" and they are less likely to move because they are "embedded in place for a host of social and economic reasons," from the location of their companies and jobs to their social lives, charitable boards and customers.
Moore and Laffer say that 3.5 million Americans on net have moved from the highest-tax states to the lowest-tax ones. They add that high earners are the ones who have cost the states the most by leaving. Yet they fail to mention that very few of those 3.5 million were high earners.
What's more, the number of millionaires in those high-tax states is actually growing, not shrinking.
Since 2010, New Jersey has added 119,000 net new millionaires, for a current total of 3.3 million, according to the latest data from Phoenix Marketing. New York has added 305,000 new millionaires, for a total of 7.6 million. And California has added a whopping 730,000 new millionaires since 2010, bringing its total to 13.4 million.That's not to say that rich people haven't left these states. They have. High-profile emigres like David Tepper leaving New Jersey for Florida give outsized publicity to the moves. Yet the high-tax states are also creating the most wealth '-- and more new millionaires than the number who are leaving. What's more, it's unclear that taxes are the chief reason for people moving from the Northeast to Florida.
And despite Moore and Laffer's claim that it's the wealthy who the most tax-sensitive and are leaving in greater numbers, the lower-earners are moving more '' usually because of jobs or the costs of housing.
Young's study, done with Charles Varner of Stanford University, and Ithai Lurie and Richard Prisinzano of the U.S. Department of Treasury, analyzed 13 years of income data for all Americans earning $1 million or more and they found that only 2.4 percent of million-dollar earners move every year. That rate is lower than the 2.9 percent move rate for the broader population. They found that only 0.04 percent of millionaire earners move for tax reasons.
So yes, many millionaires will move because of the tax changes. But if history is any guide, the high-tax states will likely continue to create more wealth than they lose.
WATCH: Here's what the new tax law means for your retirement
Agenda 2030
Severe thunderstorms, hail and torrential rain expected across Western Europe this weekend
Sat, 28 Apr 2018 11:11
A severe weather setup is shaping up for France, Germany and BeNeLux this weekend. Severe thunderstorms with threats for large hail, severe winds and torrential rainfall. On Saturday, severe thunderstorms are possible in France and south-southwestern Germany. A more robust and dangerous day is expected on Sunday, with threats for large to possibly very large hail, severe winds, torrential rainfall across parts of France and BeNeLux.
General overview
After an extensive upper ridge and overall quite stable and unusually warm conditions lately, parts of Europe are entering a more dynamic weather pattern this weekend. A large trough over the eastern Atlantic will progress towards WSW Europe on Saturday, gradually transforming into a large upper low on Sunday, centered over the Bay of Biscay. To the east, an upper ridge will move onto Balkans and SE Europe, allowing a corridor of warm air advection with strong southerly jet stream in-between these large features. In addition, a good moisture recovery will be resulting both from advection of the warming Mediterranean region as well as from evapotranspiration.
Saturday, April 28th
The first day of interest will be tomorrow, Saturday Apr 28th. A developing active pattern can be revealed on the maps, with a deep trough entering W Iberian peninsula and a strong ridge across the Balkan peninsula. Resulting in warm/moist airmass advection from the W Mediterranean region into France and around the Alps.
As it is the first day of moisture recovery, moisture will still be lacking, so only marginal to moderate instability will be available, despite being under moderately strong shear and a strong jet stream that will be rounding the main trough. However, some organized severe storms will be possible from France into SSW Germany in the afternoon and evening hours. Main threats will be strong to severe winds, large hail and torrential rainfall.
Sunday, April 29thA more dangerous weather setup is expected on late Sunday, as the upper low pushes further NE across France and develops a significant negatively-tilted short wave trough, moving across ESE France towards Benelux.
This will result in tightening pressure gradient across from the baroclinic zone stretching from SE France across E France / W Germany towards the Netherlands, enhancing the deep layer shear into 50-70 knots range, as well as producing good helicity.
Strong diurnal heating should result in increasing instability due to the recovered moisture across most of central Europe. It appears likely that MLCAPE will well exceed 1000-1500 J/kg in many areas, allowing plenty of fuel for thunderstorms. Combined with an aforementioned strong deep layer shear and helicity, widespread organized thunderstorms are likely. Those will be capable of producing severe weather, including large to very large hail (diameter of 3-5 cm likely), severe damaging winds and torrential rainfall. Good SR helicity enhances
some threat for tornadoes as well, especially across the ESE France and BeNeLux region.Simulated radar reflectivity based on WRF model for Sunday afternoon hours indicates that an organized convective system will likely be pushed across NE France and Benelux. With the favorable conditions available, threat for severe damaging winds and large hail could effect a broad area from NE France across BeNeLux (MCS possible).
Total 24-hour rainfall accumulation (per WRF model) for Sunday, some areas could receive quite an excessive amount of rainfall as the shear profiles and moisture content through the baroclinic zone allow maintaining of both convective and statiform precipitation.
Expect 50-80 mm of total rainfall over broad areas.We are closely monitoring the evolution of this trough and severe weather potential and will be updating through the weekend - stay tuned!
Mission 2018: bring the Paris climate pact to life
Sat, 28 Apr 2018 11:45
Apr. 28, 2018 | 09:42 AM
This handout image obtained via the Nature Publishing website on April 24, 2018 shows melt ponds on the Arctic sea ice in the Central Arctic. (AFP PHOTO / NATURE PUBLISHING / ALFRED WEGENER INSTITUT)
SummaryPARIS: Front-line negotiators from more than 190 nations gathering for climate talks in Bonn on Monday face a daunting task: bring the 2015 Paris Agreement to life.The world's only climate treaty pledges to cap global warming at "well under" two degrees Celsius and prevent manmade CO2 from leeching into the atmosphere by century's end.
The window of opportunity for holding the rise in temperature at 2 C (3.6 F) -- much less the 1.5 C ceiling the Paris pact vows to consider -- has grown perilously narrow.
Under pressure, the rift between rich and developing countries that stymied climate talks for more than two decades before the 2015 accord put all nations on the same page has reemerged.
When it comes, however, to the rich-nation promise of $100 billion (82 billion euros) per year in climate finance from 2020, the issue cuts the other way.
Battery Cars
Hemel Hempstead autopilot Tesla seat switch driver banned - BBC News
Sat, 28 Apr 2018 17:35
Image caption Bhavesh Patel was filmed by a passenger in another car A driver who moved into the passenger seat after putting his electric car into autopilot while at 40mph on a motorway has been banned from driving.
Bhavesh Patel, 39, of Alfreton Road, Nottingham, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving at St Albans Crown Court.
A witness in another car filmed him sitting in the passenger seat of his Tesla S 60 on the M1 between junctions 8 and 9 near Hemel Hempstead.
Patel said he was the "unlucky one who got caught", the court was told.
The footage was posted on social media before it was reported to the police.
Image copyright Herts Police
Image caption PC Kirk Caldicutt said what Bhavesh Patel did was "grossly irresponsible and could have easily ended in tragedy" The court heard Patel told officers what he had done was "silly" but his car was capable of something "amazing" when he was interviewed at Stevenage Police Station.
He added he was the "unlucky one who got caught".
A statement provided by a Tesla engineer said the autopilot was intended to provide assistance to a "fully-attentive driver", the court heard.
PC Kirk Caldicutt from Hertfordshire Police said: "What Patel did was grossly irresponsible and could have easily ended in tragedy.
"He not only endangered his own life but the lives of other innocent people using the motorway on that day."
Patel was disqualified for 18 months and must do 100 hours of unpaid work.
He was also told to pay the Crown Prosecution Service costs of £1,800.
Amid the opioid epidemic, white means victim, black means addict | US news | The Guardian
Sun, 29 Apr 2018 12:11
My cursor is hovering over the ''unfriend'' button, but I haven't clicked it.
Today, my relationship-severing finger is poised to get rid of Matt. Matt is a friend with whom I spent a lot of time about six years ago. We were close in rehab, but I haven't seen him since. I entered Greenbriar treatment center in Washington, Pennsylvania, just a few days after he'd arrived, and he showed me the ropes. For the next few weeks, we were virtually inseparable.
.Rehab can be a frightening place when you first arrive. With any luck, you've already had some sort of ''come to Jesus'' moment with yourself and you've realized that you need to be there or else you're going to die. I had had no such moment and was fully convinced that this was all a big mistake. Once I got through the door into the facility, I heard it lock electronically with a loud buzz and a finality that shook my bones. I immediately regretted it. There is no lonelier feeling on this Earth than sitting there, abandoned and broken. You've burned all your bridges on the outside and your life feels as though it's half a world away. This is the moment when you really need a guy like Matt to walk up to you, thrust out his hand and say: ''Hi! I'm Matt! What's your name?''
Over the next few weeks, he and I attended group therapy sessions together and stayed up late talking about our problems, our addictions and our families. We ugly-cried in front of each other as we shared our darkest secrets, what we had done for drugs and how deeply unhappy we were. Matt is a man who, in many ways, helped me to take my recovery seriously in rehab and, in the first few weeks after my release, he helped me to remain sober on the outside.
And, today, I sit in front of my monitor poised to cancel him forever because whiteness is apparently more addictive than any drug could ever be. We sobered up in the same facility, but he was a victim. I was an addict. Matt is a Christian. I am not. Matt is a Republican. I am not. And, most significantly, Matt is white. I am not. And these facts make all the difference in America.
These self-evident truths will wait patiently for you outside the walls of the rehab facility or any microcosm where black people might begin to feel the illusion of equality is real. Once you leave, these American realities attack you like a bully waiting in the bushes after school. They will, in one way or another, remind you that America's social hierarchies will rule everything you touch. Even your recovery from drug and alcohol abuse. And you don't have to dig very deep into the so-called ''opioid epidemic'' to find the hypocrisy and the insult to people of color. Matt is a victim. I am a drug addict.
.The offices of Vision Towards Peace are behind a door so small in the borough of Wilkinsburg that, if you weren't looking for them, you'd never know they were there. I have come here to talk with Erica Upshaw-Givner, its founder, about her perspectives regarding African American drug addiction and other problems facing our community. She is running a bit late, so I take a seat in the waiting room. To the left of my chair sits a large box full of children's toys. I ask the receptionist if they're doing a toy drive, and she says no. They get a lot of mothers who are seeking help, and it's a good thing to have toys on hand. A woman waiting with me in the room is talkative. She reveals that she is a client and is struggling with addiction. Two members of her immediate family have been murdered, and living with the memory of their brutal deaths is making it difficult for her to maintain sobriety.
''It's hard out there,'' she says. ''That's why I like coming in here.''
After awhile, I figure out that she isn't waiting for an appointment. She's just hanging out, chatting with the receptionist. Wasting time because she doesn't want to leave. She tells me that addiction runs in her family and assumes that I'm there to get help, too.
''Don't be ashamed to get help. That's what they do here.''
She tells me ''God bless'' when she finally decides to leave, and I am left to watch the waiting room TV. The reporter is telling me that the US Senate has just passed the Supporting Grandparents Raising Children Act for grandparents who are ''increasingly coming to the rescue'' of children whose parents have been victimized by drugs. I begin to count how many black people I've known throughout my life who have been raised by their grandparents for the same reason. I am still counting when Upshaw-Givner enters the room and tells me to come on back to her office to talk.
She is relaxed and comfortable in a way that makes me immediately want to tell her my darkest secrets. I ask her about the opioid epidemic.
''Before this opioid epidemic, or those words were used, I was already working with this population. But, it wasn't an 'opioid epidemic' then. It was just called a 'heroin addict'.''
Upshaw-Givner is an African American woman and has been a licensed clinical social worker and working in addiction counseling for about 16 years. After her organization outgrew its space in the Hill District, another predominantly African American neighborhood in Pittsburgh, it moved to Wilkinsburg.
Upshaw-Givner said everyone was welcome at Vision Towards Peace. Having dealt with addiction in her own family, Upshaw-Givner is enthusiastic about providing services to all who have been adversely affected by addiction. Though all are welcome, the clientele at Vision Towards Peace is roughly 83% African American, 5% biracial and the rest are white '' people whom Upshaw-Givner diplomatically refers to as ''our counterparts''.
''The 'opioid epidemic', the crisis response, that is for 'our counterparts','' Upshaw-Givner says.
Back when Upshaw-Givner was working with African American veterans, pregnant women and youth on methadone, it was different than it is now. ''A lot of times, when you look at our counterparts, they want to justify this addiction as: 'Well, it was just pills. I was in a car accident and one thing led to another.' But, when our people had those issues, they were still a dopehead or a dope addict and that was the label they had.''
I remember the images that flashed across the TV earlier while listening to the newsman tell me about the Supporting Grandparents Raising Children Act. Compassionate emergency medical personnel were gingerly removing skinny, ghostly white bodies from messy homes. Had I not known what the story was about, I would have thought they were the victims of an earthquake or other natural disaster. Victims.
I remember my own psychological self-abuse when I was using drugs. I was just an addict. It was my fault, and there was no way out. I remember knowing for certain that I was no victim of an epidemic. I was just garbage and knowing that made me want to use more. I wondered, if I had known that I was just the victim of an epidemic, whether I would have thought differently.
''Once our counterparts started dying, it became a public health crisis. But it wasn't a public health crisis 15 years ago when I was in the field and going to black people's homes, providing care for them.''
Vision Towards Peace is not a rehab facility. It's a smaller organization with four African American clinicians. The organization's focus is on mental health and, oftentimes, mental health issues come with an attendant diagnosis of substance abuse.
Mental health issues such as depression and anxiety have always been a staple of African American life. These ills just come with the territory of being black in America. In short, being subject to unchecked bigotry will make you depressed and anxious. Negative stereotypes, income inequality and daily casual and overt racism play a part in our everyday existences and, because we have learned to accept these conditions as an unpleasant fact of life, we often go undiagnosed or turn to drugs and alcohol to cope. Often we do not trust doctors due to historical prejudices and bias embedded in the American medical industry. Our addictions are believed to be because we are feckless, lazy and unwilling to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps in what most white Americans consider to be a meritocracy. And what they refuse to understand has been killing us both directly and indirectly for centuries.
I have had two white friends die of heroin overdoses in the past year. They were good people from middle class homes. I know that their families voted for Trump. I know that their families are also racists. It's been said that increasing economic hardship is what is driving so many white Americans to turn to the needle '' hardships that black Americans have lived under since time immemorial. Yet white people keep voting in the same individuals responsible for that economic hardship because the explanation that someone brown is to blame for their troubles works every time. I ask Upshaw-Givner what she thinks of this.
''I think of hierarchies and how we are important in society. When our counterparts go outside, they know that a white man is important and then a white woman is important. Then a black woman is important and then a black man is beneath that. So, when they seek help at Vision Towards Peace, I don't look like them and they don't look like me and they can still maintain their hierarchical position of 'better than' even in this office. It makes me think sometimes about how they find me and why they stay.
''These offices are an intimate place where you divulge the most intimate details. So, why would they come here to a black woman? Even if they don't feel above me as their therapist, they don't feel beneath the therapist who looks like them. You see what I'm saying? Even here, where they're seeking help, the hierarchies play out.
''I don't judge anyone, but, even if I did, our counterparts don't care if I judge them because in society they are still more important than me. It doesn't matter how much education I have or what I've done. They want to still maintain their level of importance.''
I leave the Vision Towards Peace offices with a lot to think about. I remember that I was in rehab over Christmas time and how lonely and isolated I felt away from my family. I was at my lowest. I sat in the common room and cried. Matt came in and asked me to join a group of people he'd assembled for a small Christmas celebration. I told him I just wanted to be alone. He sat down anyway. He told me that God had given me many blessings and I should be grateful. He told me I was ''smart'' and ''articulate'' and that giving praise to God is nothing to be ashamed of. I was so low in myself that I took this as a compliment at the time. It made me feel better. I reluctantly followed him.
I am remembering this moment now and the full weight of the racist condescension behind his comments hits me as I'm on the bus leaving Vision Towards Peace. I take out my phone and find his Facebook profile, his smiling face looking up at me. I go through his friends list and see that I am the only one without Trump support filling their walls. I am the only black one. I hover my thumb over the unfriend button. Then I think maybe I can talk to him. Maybe if I explain it better, he might really listen. I spare him for now and shove my phone back into my pocket.
When I left rehab five years ago, they gave me instructions on my last day to attend 90 meetings in 90 days. By this time, I had seen the light and was more than willing to comply. I didn't want to go back to my old life. It was a shambles. Many people who don't struggle with drug addiction tend to conflate drug and alcohol use with a ''good time''. The reality is quite different. Drug abuse is about pain and loneliness. But I've stopped going to meetings so much because I know who I'm sitting with when I go.
It happens outside during cigarette breaks when ''our counterparts'' reveal themselves. They blame drug trafficking for the fact that they've been ensnared into this life of ugliness. It's the Mexicans who bring it across our borders who are to blame. Dealing with the Mexicans is the only way to stop the problem. I find this kind of talk incomprehensible. The parents of white drug addicts are the most delusional. They are incredulous that their little angel may have, in fact, picked up the needle under her own power and sunk it into her own skin. So now we all have to build a giant wall to protect her. Because white America cannot believe that brown people aren't the basis of all their problems.
I meet Nique Craft for the first time at the library. We were introduced via social media. Over the phone I'd joked about being hungry for fried chicken, and she brings me some that she's made. Craft is an unemployed chef and is very open about her past and current struggles with drug abuse. ''I feel like, with potential employers, if I don't talk about it and it comes up or they find out, they think I'm trying to hide it.''
She has done a lot of other kinds of drugs, but her drug of choice is heroin.
''Heroin was always on my list of 'don't do'. I won Dare awards in the fifth grade. I won four years in a row. I always won. I was always really afraid of needles as a kid, too.''
I ask her how she wound up doing the drug she most feared. She most feared the needle, but the needle eventually became her favorite way to administer drugs.
''It was through my proximity to white people that I was put in the path of drugs. I think I was more of a needle druggie at the very end than anything else.''
She says there are two types of white drug addicts. ''There's just the straight-up uneducated kids and then there's the rich kids who want to create problems who don't really have them '' those are the kinds of kids I usually wound up hanging out with.''
It was through a chain of coincidences and bad choices that heroin wound up in her field of vision. But always with white people. She says she takes full responsibility and is on track to getting her life back together. She has been clean for four years and is currently ''white-knuckling it''.
The world of drug addiction for Craft has come with all its worst terrors: jail time, sex work, selling drugs herself and homelessness. But the experience of being a black woman and a heroin addict is not one you'll see on the news. Recently, the American airwaves regarding opioid abuse are too full of stories of white people who have fallen on hard times and turned to opioids. And I want to know what she thinks of all this.
''All of the people I did drugs with were white. All of our dealers were black. The dealers specifically wouldn't deal with the white kids because they were white. They would only deal with me. So I became this middleman. I don't think it was a conscious decision that any of us made. Those chips just fell.''
I ask her if she feels she became the ''black girl'' in the group, and she answers in the affirmative. There were always random jokes about it. ''That came up all the time. I buried my self-hate within the drugs.''
I come from a similar background and I tell her this. Being the only black child plunked in the middle of whiteness has its effects. I've grown up with the idea that I was to be accommodating them if only to keep them off my back. I suffered the jokes and the humiliations, knowing that it was better to not cause trouble. Craft's experience goes even deeper.
She was adopted and raised in the suburbs of Newburgh, New York, by a German white mother who occasionally extolled the virtues of Hitler. She said her upbringing was emotionally fraught, and they are no longer in contact. This is the kind of pain that gets ignored in our national narrative about drug addiction. The pain of racism and the mental health issues it leaves in its wake are never addressed.
''So, I haven't been diagnosed with bipolar, but I have the tendencies. I have been diagnosed manic depressive. I've been told that it's harder to diagnose black women with bipolar.''
''This idea of the crazy black woman, the angry black woman, the take-no-nonsense black woman can oftentimes play into your mental illness. But people don't see the mental illness part and just assume that you are being this angry black woman. Or [there's] this myth of black woman strength. They don't think we feel pain as much. You're a black woman, you're strong. You can get through anything. Well, there are times when we are not strong and they don't believe us.''
I have been guilty of believing this myself.
When she shares that she's overdosed on several occasions, I let her know I haven't and she tells me what it's like. She says overdoses usually happen when you're alone; when you wake up and realize that there is no one there to help you, it's terrifying.
Craft hasn't gotten much support from her white friends. She attributes their attitudes to the fact that they seem to always have support and, now that they're dying in record numbers, support is coming from the US government itself.
Craft cleaned up cold turkey without ever having gone to a rehab facility. She has never been prescribed Suboxone, a drug that is more and more replacing methadone for heroin addicts. When she tells me this, I think about what Upshaw-Givner told me about the drug.
''Suboxone doesn't test positive on a drug screen so you can go and get a job. Dissolve it under your tongue and get a job. Methadone shows up on drug screens. So you had all these black people losing their jobs for testing positive. But they didn't think about that when it was just us. Now, it's pretty and cleaned up so that certain people can maintain their status.''
Craft is doing well now.
Since we first talked, she has found a job as a chef.
She is funny, honest and outgoing and getting clean all on her own is quite a feat if you know anything about heroin addiction. I ask her the tritest question of them all next '' what advice would you give to others who are struggling?
''It's really hard when I try to talk to people about getting off drugs.'' I ask her why and the tears begin to flow. ''Because every time I thought about it, my plans were to kill myself. Not to get off drugs, but just to get away so I could do my final amount.'' Now I'm crying, too. Because it would be a shame for the world to lose such a bright person. I ask her who her support system is made up of now. ''Now all my friends are women of color, mostly black, and a few white allies.''
I pull out my phone to look at Matt's profile and wonder if I should delete him right then and there. I ask Craft what she thinks about white people.
''I sat at the table. As an adoptee, I sat at their tables and I know how they think. I know how they think when they don't like us at all. I know how they think when they think that they love us but they have no idea about us. There's so many levels to how they feel about us. I'm almost at a point of pity because all of it comes from them not knowing anything. They have to make themselves feel superior because they know they really aren't. They find little tidbits of the truth about how they've been lied to their whole lives. They know that there's a crack in their armor, and it's very hard for them to accept it.''
I say goodbye to her and leave the library.
Back at Greenbriar, Matt once told me that he was really sorry that I'd fallen into alcohol and drug abuse. He told me that he thought I could really do something with my life and now I'm not so sure what he meant. That was a long time ago and he has since gone back home, surrounded by rural white people, many of whom I assume to believe every racist thing they were ever taught, who believe me and Craft, and even Upshaw-Givner with all her work to make the world a better place, to be somehow inferior. I pull out my phone and scroll through Matt's timeline, where I see conservative, borderline racist viewpoint after conservative, borderline racist viewpoint. I read quotes he posted from conservative political commentator Tucker Carlson, and I know that he never really considered me a friend. I was only there to assure him that he was not racist, which is what many white people do with their black friends. He was a victim. I was an addict.
The opioid epidemic is yet another slap in the face to black Americans that we can see clearly, but white Americans cannot. I find myself wishing that there was a rehab for them to go to. A place where they can unlearn all of the falsehoods about race that they've been taught. I wish there was a place that could prove to them once and for all that they are not favored by God and superior because of the color or lack thereof in their skin. I wish there was a place that could prove to them that this thinking is nothing short of a pathology. But no such place exists and, in the end, it's hard to disabuse anyone of a lie that comforts them. So, I decide finally to delete Matt from my contacts. I use my index finger and push the ''unfriend'' button succinctly and with purpose. The Trump administration has announced plans for a temporary memorial outside of the White House in honor of opioid abuse victims. Victims of this epidemic. I think about this for a moment and then I block Matt for good measure.
Brian Broome is an MFA fellow at the University of Pittsburgh. For more, click here.
Looking for more great work from Pittsburgh's independent reporting project PublicSource? Try these links:
Let's Talk About Race: The Conversation Pittsburgh Needs to HaveDepression is not something a black person necessarily grows up understanding. I didn't until I had toMeet Colton, a student with Down syndrome, who plans to take part in the wave of inclusive higher ed programs
VIDEO - Video Shows San Francisco Train Station Corridor Overrun With Drug Users | MRCTV
Sun, 29 Apr 2018 14:51
Just how bad has it become in the once beautiful city of San Francisco? Drug users have pretty much taken over part of one of San Francisco's busiest train stations.
Bay Area resident Shannon Gafford noticed a disturbing trend during his regular commute to work every day. He couldn't believe what he was seeing '-- and wanted to prove it to his friends '-- so he decided to take video and document the horrifically sad scene.
''One morning I said, 'I got to pull out the camera and show my friends this. They're not going to believe it,'' Gafford told KPIX 5 - San Francisco.
Here's two of Gafford's videos:
That's a pretty disgusting display of a city that clearly doesn't give a damn about people. But, I suppose this is what you get when you have Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) representing the San Francisco district and nothing but Democratic mayors since 1968.
One would think that the answer to a drug epidemic would be to increase drug prevention programs. But, this is San Francisco. Why clean people up when you can just clean up the mess some drug addicts leave behind?
Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) says that they are in the process of ''recruiting more community service officers, more than 30 new sworn officers and 20 new station cleaners.''
Democratic Mayor Mark Farrell announced a $12.8 million plan, including $750,000 just to clean up the needles littering the city.
For full coverage of the story, watch below:
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VIDEO - MSNBC Guest Slams 'Homophobic Psychopaths' in the Trump Admin | MRCTV
Sun, 29 Apr 2018 14:44
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VIDEO - Joy Reid Oddly Claims: 'I Genuinely Do Not Believe I Wrote Those Hateful Things' | MRCTV
Sun, 29 Apr 2018 14:40
The mission of the Media Research Center is to create a media culture in America where truth and liberty flourish. The MRC is a research and education organization operating under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, and contributions to the MRC are tax-deductible.
The Media Research Center participates in the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC). The MRC's CFC code is 42353.
VIDEO - Watch Michelle Wolf roast Sarah Huckabee Sanders - YouTube
Sun, 29 Apr 2018 14:37
VIDEO - Lindsey Graham: If Korean Peace Holds, 'Trump Deserves the Nobel Peace Prize' - YouTube
Sun, 29 Apr 2018 14:19
VIDEO - Schiff: Fair to Say Trump Deserves Credit for North Korea Coming to the Table - YouTube
Sun, 29 Apr 2018 14:14
Sun, 29 Apr 2018 12:57
ELECTRIC FAT-BIKE PROTOTYPE PROJECTFINAL GOAL IS A BIKE THAT NEVER HAS TO BE RECHARGED FROM THE GRID ! ( Autonomous ) All this in a DIY environment and made true easily available materials ! According to established 1860 laws of thermodynamics perpetual motion violates 1st and the 2nd laws thermodynamics!
This technology with or without magnets will produce a motor/generator that can reach more then 100% efficiency ! YES this is against ''their'' laws of physics ! This also means Einstein (Mason) was wrong !? Who knows it might have been done on purpose !?
NO BRANCH OF SCIENCE HAS EVER EXPLAINED STATIC FORCE !? The MrPreva Experiment PROOF IS IN THE PUDDING !!! Self Assisted Oscillation in a Shorted Coil - Bucking Magnetic Field Oscillation!
The basics of amplifying energy true the DIALECTRIC field...AETHER or whatever you want to call it like MrPreva,Bedini, Don Smith etc!
Master IVO
SURPRESSED Lueling Permanent Magnet Motor Germany
AuroraTek Demonstrates Overunity Transformer start at 25.00min
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VIDEO - Your insurance company knows more about you than Facebook - CBS News
Sun, 29 Apr 2018 12:40
Congress may have forced Mark Zuckerberg to reveal more about personal data gathered on Facebook (FB). But consider this: Your insurance company likely knows a lot more about you.
Insurers' cache of private information includes credit reports, the market value of your home, age, marital status, education and, in the case of a life insurance policy, the status of your health.
In fact, insurance companies know more than legal authorities can often obtain -- and insurance companies don't even have to issue warrants to get it. But insurers won't discuss this information or how it's used, instead saying it's proprietary and, if leaked, would give competitors an unfair advantage.
"I doubt anyone fully grasps how much and what insurers have on us, how they obtain it and how they use it," said Bob Hunter, the director of insurance for the Consumer Federation of America.
Insurers believe they're entitled to your private information because they offer products such as car insurance that are required by virtually every state. They argue that these calculated risks could cause them to suffer billions in losses if they guess wrong.
And now, insurers are learning to harness artificial intelligence (AI) to interpret this information. This helps them delve deep into our lives and determine what triggers us to buy insurance, purchase more of it and keep it when it's no longer a bargain.
Conversely, it gives them a heads up if a policyholder is likely to get in trouble, so the insurer can cancel the policy or not offer it in the first place.
AI gives insurers an in-depth ability to interpret data as minute as bar bills or social media postings that indicate alcoholism or tobacco use.
More than half of all insurers in a survey by Marsh & McLennan said they also use the "Internet of Things" to find out about people. For example, a device in your car can tell your insurer if you're driving safely. Drivers don't have to allow it, but they often do in exchange for lower premiums.
Michael Barry, the head of media for the Insurance Information Institute, which represents property-casualty insurers, said regulators are trying to catch up to the new realities. "To make sure there's a proper balance between the information insurers gather from current or prospective policyholders and with whom and how they share that information, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) has created a Big Data Working Group." But the NAIC can only set guidelines for state regulators, who aren't governed by national law.
So how does AI help insurers? CEO Dror Katzav of Atidot, an Israeli technology firm, said by mining data from life insurers and linking it to public information such as Census data, he can pinpoint people experiencing a "change in circumstances," which could lead to their buying more insurance. Say you change addresses. Your insurer would be able to tell if you're in a better neighborhood and a candidate for more insurance.
With billions of dollars on the line, insurers maintain a huge database of those they regard -- correctly or erroneously -- as bad risks. ISO, a subsidiary of Verisk Analytics, uses detailed reports from insurers to perform this type of "predictive analytics."
Insurers can also obtain crucial data on car accidents and violations on an almost real-time basis. One company, Nexar, said it can "automatically create a comprehensive collision report within minutes of an incident -- including footage of the crash and notify [insurance] providers."
"Insurers look for everything they can find on an individual or company, including Yelp reviews," said risk consultant Evan Taylor of NFP Corporate Services, an insurance consultancy.
While these new tech tools can be beneficial, insurers have also been caught using "price optimization," now outlawed in 16 states. Insurers mined customer data and tested incremental price increases to figure out which policyholders would switch to another carrier. The AI told insurers who would accept higher premiums, so they could charge them more.
Amy Bach, executive director of United Policyholders, which represents consumers, said insurers' knowledge of their customers' financial status can aid the insurer if and when a claim is filed. "Insurers can determine how to lowball a claim settlement offer and get away with it, where the breaking point is and when the consumer will push back and retain a lawyer," said Bach. "AI finds the sweet spots in both sales and claims."
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VIDEO - The CIA / Mossad Wars for Oil in Sudan - Genie Oil Part 7 - YouTube
Sun, 29 Apr 2018 12:39
VIDEO - Lemon'...WHCD Is Honoring Free Speech'...Then Attacks Kanye For 'Not Understanding The Power Of His Words' - YouTube
Sun, 29 Apr 2018 12:22
VIDEO - Comedian Michelle Wolf Headlines White House Correspondents' Dinner, Apr 28 2018
Sun, 29 Apr 2018 11:49
April 28, 2018 2018-04-28T21:30:55-04:00 https://images.c-span.org/Files/a67/20180428222426001_hd.jpg The 2018 White House Correspondents' Dinner was held in the nation's capital. President Trump did not attend but members of his administration were present including White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders. Comedian Michelle Wolf headlined the event. Emceeing the festivities was Bloomberg News Senior White House Correspondent and Association President Margaret Talev.The 2018 White House Correspondents' Dinner was held in the nation's capital. President Trump did not attend but members of his'... read more
2018 White House Correspondents' Dinner The 2018 White House Correspondents' Dinner was held in the nation's capital. President Trump did not attend but members of his administration were present including White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders. Comedian Michelle Wolf headlined the event. Emceeing the festivities was Bloomberg News Senior White House Correspondent and Association President Margaret Talev. close
*This transcript was compiled from uncorrected Closed Captioning.
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VIDEO - 7 targets Michelle Wolf took aim at during the White House correspondents' dinner | TheHill
Sun, 29 Apr 2018 11:36
Comedian Michelle Wolf didn't pull any punches at the White House Correspondents' Association dinner on Saturday, taking aim at a number of politicians as this year's headliner.
The comedian, known for her HBO standup special "Nice Lady" and past work on "The Daily Show," spent time lambasting President Trump Donald John Trump7 targets Michelle Wolf took aim at during the White House correspondents' dinner North Korea says it will dismantle nuclear test site next month: report President of White House Correspondents Association defends journalism after Trump attacks MORE , as well as his top aides.
It was Trump's second year skipping the dinner, which brings journalists and government officials together to raise money for scholarships.
Here are seven targets Wolf took aim at in her segment and the jokes she used to roast them:
President Trump
It should come as no surprise that Trump himself was the target of many of Wolf's jokes.
The comedian homed in on topics ranging from Trump's degrading comments about women to his proposals for new gun policies.
''Trump isn't here, if you haven't noticed. He's not here,'' Wolf said. ''And I know, I know, I would drag him here myself, but it turns out the president of the United States is the one pussy you're not allowed to grab.''
The quip referenced the infamous ''Access Hollywood'' tape, a recording released during Trump's 2016 presidential campaign, in which he can be heard boasting about groping and kissing women without their consent.
In another jab, Wolf labeled Trump an ''idea guy,'' pointing specifically to his proposal that teachers be allowed to carry guns on school campuses.
''Trump is also an idea guy. He's got loads of ideas. You've got to love him for that,'' she said. ''He wants to give teachers guns. And I support that because then they can sell them for things they need '-- like supplies.''
Wolf roasted Trump throughout the night, including multiple jabs at his past business ventures.
Vice President Pence
Wolf took aim at Pence, calling him a "weird little guy" and saying he's the reason she doesn't want Trump to be impeached.
''Mike Pence Michael (Mike) Richard Pence7 targets Michelle Wolf took aim at during the White House correspondents' dinner Pence to receive briefing on wall progress at US-Mexico border Gender and race shouldn't define your politics MORE is what happens when Anderson Cooper isn't gay,'' she said, comparing the vice president to the CNN host.
Pence, Wolf quipped, is the kind of guy that ''brushes his teeth and then drinks orange juice and thinks 'mhmm!' ''
Pence is a vocal opponent of abortion, Wolf pointed out before making a connection to Republican National Committee finance official Elliott Broidy, who stepped down earlier this month after reports broke that he impregnated a Playboy model.
''I know a lot of you are very anti-abortion, you know, unless it's the one you got for your secret mistress,'' Wolf said.
She also took a swipe at reports that Pence will only meet with other women when his wife is accompanying him.
''When people first heard this, they were like 'that's crazy.' But now in this current climate, they're like, 'that's a good witness,' '' Wolf said of the #MeToo movement.
Hillary Clinton
Trump's former rival presidential candidate was knocked for her 2016 campaign strategy during the dinner. Trump, Wolf joked, did a better job communicating with Russia than Clinton did communicating with Americans.
"It is kind of crazy the Trump campaign was in contact with Russia when the Hillary campaign wasn't even in contact with Michigan. It's a direct flight. It's so close," Wolf joked.
Clinton has been criticized for her 2016 campaign strategy, with many saying she didn't visit enough key states in the Midwest, including Michigan and Wisconsin. Ivanka Trump
Trump's daughter also found herself the butt of Wolf's jokes.
"There's also, of course, Ivanka," Wolf said. "She was supposed to be an advocate for women, but it turns out she's about as helpful to women as an empty box of tampons. She's done nothing to satisfy women. So I guess like father, like daughter."
"Oh, you don't think he's good in bed, come on," Wolf continued. "She does clean up nice, though. Ivanka cleans up nice. She's the diaper genie of the administration. On the outside she looks sleek, but the inside it's still full of shit."
Democrats are expected to take back
a number of seats in the 2018 midterms but, Wolf joked, the party's campaign strategy is so poor it will somehow botch its odds come November.
"But I also want to make fun of Democrats," Wolf started. "Democrats are harder to make fun of because you guys don't do anything. People think you might flip the House and Senate this November, but you guys always find a way to mess it up. You're somehow going to lose by 12 points to a guy named Jeff Pedophile, Nazi doctor."
Trump's key spokeswomen
Two of Trump's key spokeswomen, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and White House senior adviser Kellyanne Conway Kellyanne Elizabeth Conway7 targets Michelle Wolf took aim at during the White House correspondents' dinner Stormy Daniels lawyer: Hopefully someone 'really good-looking' plays me in a Trump movie Stormy Daniels lawyer chats with Kellyanne Conway at WHCD party MORE , took hits for their interactions with the press.
"Kellyanne Conway has the perfect last name for what she does '-- Conway," Wolf said. "You guys have to stop putting Kellyanne on your shows. If you don't give her a platform, she has nowhere to lie. If a tree falls in the woods, how do we get Kellyanne under that tree? I'm not suggesting she gets hurt. Just stuck. Stuck under a tree."
Wolf went after both Conway and Sanders, accusing the two of bending the truth.
"We are graced with Sarah's presence tonight," Wolf said of Sanders. "Every time Sarah steps up to the podium, I get excited. I'm not really sure what we're going to get, you know? A press briefing, a bunch of lies or divided into softball teams. It's shirts and skins, and this time don't be such a little bitch, Jim Acosta."
"I actually really like Sarah. I think she's very resourceful," Wolf continued. "But she burns facts and then she uses that ash to create a perfect smokey eye. Like maybe she's born with it, maybe it's lies."
Wolf took a quick jab at Fox News host Sean Hannity, suggesting that the conservative media personality was not even enough of a journalist to be worth a mention.
''People want me to make fun of Sean Hannity tonight , but I just could not do that,'' she said. ''This dinner is for journalists.''
Hannity is a staunch supporter of and informal adviser to Trump. It was revealed in court recently that Hannity was a client of Michael Cohen, a longtime associate and personal lawyer to Trump.
Hannity has denied that claim, however, saying that he only ever discussed real estate with Cohen.
'-- Morgan Gstalter contributed.
VIDEO - Drug Users Take Over Corridors Of San Francisco BART Station CBS San Francisco
Sat, 28 Apr 2018 22:44
SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) '-- Shocking video is calling attention to what's going on in one of the busiest BART stations in the Bay Area: drug users blatantly shooting up out in the open as commuters walk by, others slumped along filthy corridors.
Read The Latest Bay Area News From CBS San Francisco
It's a gauntlet commuters walk through every morning at the Civic Center BART and Muni station.
Regular commuter Shannon Gafford knows people have to see it to believe it. ''One morning I said, 'I got to pull out the camera and show my friends this. They're not going to believe it,''' he said.
UPDATE: BART Officials Appalled By Video Of Rampant Drug Use At Civic CenterAnd over the course of a week, Gafford documented his trip to work. His videos show dozens of people slumped along a hallway, open IV drug use, unconscious men and women, and piles of vomit on either side of the hallways.
Some may find the video shocking. Others may find it routine.
''Every day. Every morning. 5:30 to 6 o'clock. You can see there's dozens of them. Needles everywhere. Crack. Heroin.''
''It's a real concern for our riders, and we appreciate that,'' said BART spokesman Chris Filippi. ''But what we have to do is make the most of the resources, the limited resources that we have.''
BART, which has been pledging to address the problem, says it's recruiting more community service officers, more than 30 new sworn officers and 20 new station cleaners. But will that be enough?
''The situation in our BART stations is simply unacceptable,'' said San Francisco Mayor Mark Farrell. ''Borders on disastrous.''
This week, Farrell unveiled a $13 million plan to get needles '' among other things '' off of city streets. But the city's jurisdiction ends when you head down those BART stairs.
''I don't care, at the end of the day, if now we have jurisdictional issues,'' said Farrell. ''As mayor, I want to get something done, and I want to make sure these BART stations are cleaned up.''
While homeless services are offered to those in the city's BART stations, Farrell says San Francisco police may be needed because BART admits it is simply overwhelmed by the crisis that has landed in its hallways.
''We're in the midst of national homelessness crisis, and we're also in the middle of a drug crisis,'' said Filippi. ''Unfortunately, as a transit agency, we have limited resources and we're not really equipped to deal with these social issues.''
So for now, the status quo is a daily commute through a human crisis that shows no end.
''You feel bad for these people in a way. I mean, because you are human, you see them,'' said Gafford. ''This isn't going anywhere. It's getting worse.''
Wilson WalkerWilson Walker joined KPIX 5 in July of 2007. His television career started at WSOC-TV in Charlotte, North Carolina in 1999. There, he covered the... More from Wilson WalkerComments (114)
VIDEO - Watch: Finland wins world cheerleading championship with high-flying routine | Yle Uutiset | yle.fi
Sat, 28 Apr 2018 21:59
Click on the arrow to see the performance. Yle regrets the loss of audio at the start of the routine.
Team Finland took home the World Championship in cheerleading on Friday, marking the first time in the competition's history that the US did not win the main category of the event.
"We've been working towards this moment for many years. Last year it looked for the first time like we might be in the running, and this year we did it. Two great routines were enough," said the team's head coach Maria Wahlroos in a Finnish Cheerleading Federation bulletin.
Team Finland's All Girls Premier squad won the 2018 championship with 707.5 points, beating second place Team USA by 4.5 points, and third place Team Sweden. Last year Team Finland placed second in this same competition.
"This just goes to show that attaining the world championship is within reach. Hopefully, this will inspire others to give it a go. It would be great to have more enthusiastic athletes on the national team and help more young people achieve their dreams," Wahlroos continued.
Six different national cheerleading teams represented Finland at the Orlando, Florida competition. Finland's Co-ed team took sixth place and the Dance team came in fourth. The junior teams took second in the All Girls category, and third in the Co-ed category.
Team Finland celebrates in a group photo. Image:Riikka Taivassalo
VIDEO - Visio Dei on Twitter: "A prophet. Trump on North Korea in 1999 #Maga #Korea #RedWave2018 #Missouri #StLouis #Kcmo #stl #trump #MeetThePress #BREAKING #KimJongUn #SouthKorea #NorthKorea https://t.co/ftMOO02eVI"
Sat, 28 Apr 2018 17:42
Log in Sign up Visio Dei @ VisioDeiFromLA A prophet. Trump on North Korea in 1999
#Maga #Korea #RedWave2018 #Missouri #StLouis #Kcmo #stl #trump #MeetThePress #BREAKING #KimJongUn #SouthKorea #NorthKorea pic.twitter.com/ftMOO02eVI 9:54 PM - 26 Apr 2018 Twitter by: Visio Dei @VisioDeiFromLA theboleyn @ theboleyn
Apr 27 Replying to
@VisioDeiFromLA He's the only one that's managed to do this because he's made genuine and serious threats which is the only thing North Korea listens to. Obama made America a laughing stock..
View conversation · 👾XenoNeuronics👽 @ Xenoneuronics
Apr 27 Replying to
@theboleyn @VisioDeiFromLA pic.twitter.com/K9LQA9eL9s View conversation · 🇺🇸 🐇Kimberley Krzyzewski🐇 🇺🇸 @ KimKriz1
Apr 27 Replying to
@VisioDeiFromLA Genius and prophet. ðŸ'–ðŸ'–ðŸ'–this man
View conversation · Bennie E 🚠@ Benelliot3
Apr 27 Replying to
@VisioDeiFromLA Trump has never changed - Thanks for sharing this video
View conversation · Robert Wade @ wade4365
Apr 27 Replying to
@VisioDeiFromLA You hoping for Nobel Peace Award. Well that's going to happen. Rocket Man can not be trusted! Why don't you go to North Korea ?
View conversation · #StopTheWitchHunt @ klshrews2
Apr 27 Replying to
@VisioDeiFromLA @33stan33 A man with a plan!
View conversation · Dark Gray Matter @ fatloogie
Apr 27 Replying to
@VisioDeiFromLA @vealchuc RT the he ll out of that.
View conversation · M!ck3y R3ckl3$$ $wag @ Mickey_Reckless
Apr 27 Replying to
@VisioDeiFromLA Interesting.. wtf happened to Trump now days though?!
View conversation · Fighter Angel @ FighterAngel1
Apr 27 Replying to
@VisioDeiFromLA @CJHanselman That's why Real Americans love President TRUMP , America has a Real MAN as a President, God Bless America and our President Trump.
View conversation · Bella🌹' ¸ðŸŒ¹ @ GoddessBella666
Apr 27 Replying to
@VisioDeiFromLA You're seriously calling Drumpf a prophet? Wow.
View conversation · Bella🌹' ¸ðŸŒ¹ @ GoddessBella666
Apr 27 Replying to
@KimKriz1 @VisioDeiFromLA maybe he will grab you by the P
View conversation · O-ren Ishii @ RokiRaych
Apr 27 Replying to
@VisioDeiFromLA Prophet Shamp foresaw it
destinyencounters.com/news/2018/3/10'... View conversation · Yousef Al-Hadhrami @ YousefHadhrami
23h Replying to
@VisioDeiFromLA @jan_gaim @jan_gaim and soon he will say the same about Syria
View conversation · Visio Dei @ VisioDeiFromLA
23h Replying to
@YousefHadhrami @jan_gaim Lets hope peace comes soon to Syria, my friend.
View conversation · Grant Vine @ grantvine7
18h Replying to
@VisioDeiFromLA @Makerel_Sky Talks sense. Who is he?
View conversation · Sir Mix-a-Locke @ lockesalterego
18h Replying to
@VisioDeiFromLA I love the zoom in, lol.Great clip.
View conversation · Angie Moak @ AMOAMS
17h Replying to
@VisioDeiFromLA #MeetThePress has never been the same since
#TimRussert passed and never will be. Thanks for sharing the video.
View conversation · Ken Prier @ KenPrier
17h Replying to
@VisioDeiFromLA Guess it is rocket science to past presidents
View conversation · Sarah Esposito @ sfarrell1818
3h Replying to
@VisioDeiFromLA @POTUS Wow, unbelievable, I love President Trump.
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VIDEO - Richard Serra "Television Delivers People" (1973) - YouTube
Sat, 28 Apr 2018 17:37
VIDEO - Koreas summit: Will historic talks lead to lasting peace? - BBC News
Sat, 28 Apr 2018 11:43
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Media caption Welcoming Kim Jong-un with pomp and ritualFriday's dramatic meeting between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and his North Korean counterpart, Chairman Kim Jong-un, represents an unambiguous historic breakthrough at least in terms of the image of bilateral reconciliation and the emotional uplift it has given to South Korea public opinion.
Whether the agreement announced at the meeting - the new Panmunjeom Declaration for Peace, Prosperity and Unification of the Korean Peninsula - offers, in substance, the right mix of concrete measures to propel the two Koreas and the wider international community towards a lasting peace remains an open question.
The symbolic impact of a North Korean leader setting foot for the first time on South Korean soil cannot be underestimated.
Mr Kim's bold decision to stride confidently into nominally hostile territory reflects the young dictator's confidence and acute sense of political theatre and expertly executed timing.
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Media caption The moment Kim Jong-un crossed into South KoreaHis clever, seemingly spontaneous gesture to President Moon to reciprocate his step into the South by having him join him for an instance in stepping back into the North was an inspired way of asserting the equality of the two countries and their leaders.
It also, by blurring the boundary between the two countries, hinted at the goal of unification that both Seoul and Pyongyang have long sought to realise.
The rest of the day was full of visual firsts and a set of cleverly choreographed images of the two leaders chatting informally and intimately in the open air - deliberately advancing a powerful new narrative of the two Koreas as agents of their own destiny.
Handshakes, broad smiles and bear hugs have amplified this message of Koreans determining their own future, in the process offsetting past memories of a peninsula all too often dominated by the self-interest of external great powers, whether China, Japan, or more recently, during the Cold War, the United States and the former Soviet Union.
The two leaders' joint statements before the international media were another pitch perfect moment for Mr Kim to challenge the world's preconceptions.
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Media caption Kim Jong-un issues his pledge for peace with South KoreaIn an instance, Mr Kim's confident and relaxed announcement to the press dispelled the picture of a remote, rigid, autocratic leader in favour of a normal, humanised statesman, intent on working to advance the cause of peace and national reconciliation.
A cynic might see this as both a simple propaganda victory for Mr Kim, and also his attempt to lock in place the nuclear and missile advances the North has already achieved by calling for "phased'...disarmament" - by intentionally downplaying the expectation of immediate progress while emphasising the need for step-by-step negotiations.
The joint declaration echoes the themes of past accords, including the previous Korean leaders summits of 2000 and 2007, and an earlier 1991 bilateral Reconciliation and Non-Aggression agreement.
Plans to establish joint liaison missions, military dialogue and confidence building measures, economic co-operation, and the expansion of contact between the citizens of the two countries have featured in earlier agreements.
However, Friday's declaration is more specific in its proposals, with the two countries pledging, for example, "to cease all hostile acts against each other in every domain, including land, sea and air'..." and providing a series of key dates for the early implementation by both sides of a raft of new confidence building measures.
These include the cessation of "all hostile acts" near the demilitarised zone by 1 May, the start of bilateral military talks in May, joint participation by the two Koreas in the 2018 Asian Games, the re-establishment of family reunions by 15 August, and, perhaps most importantly of all, a return visit to the North by President Moon's by as soon as the autumn of this year.
Committing to early, albeit incremental, steps in the direction of peace, appears to be motivated by the Korean leaders' wish to foster an irresistible sense of momentum and urgency.
The declaration also calls for future peace treaty talks involving the two Koreas, together with one or both of China and the US.
The logic of binding external actors into a definite - but evolving - timetable for progress on key issues is that it lowers the risk of conflict on the peninsula - something both Koreas are keen to avoid and which they have long had reason to fear given the past bellicose language of a "fire and fury" Donald Trump.
Playing for time is a viable option, given that President Moon is at the start of his five-year presidency - a marked contrast to the summits of 2000 and 2007, when the respective leaders of the South, Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun, were already well into their presidential terms.
Mr Moon can count, therefore, on repeat meetings with Mr Kim, and the two men appear genuinely interested in sustaining their dialogue and making progress on the wide-ranging set of initiatives included in the declaration.
Mr Kim's own statements at the summit have also been a vocal argument in favour of identity politics, given his stress on "one nation, one language, one blood", and his repeated rejection of any future conflict between the Koreas - two themes that will have played well with a South Korean public that traditionally is sympathetic to a narrative of self-confident, although not necessarily strident, nationalism.
Image copyright AFP Image caption President Trump says he will continue to exert maximum pressure on North Korea For all of the stress on Koreans determining their common future, there is no escaping the decisive importance of the US.
The much anticipated Trump-Kim summit in May or early June will be critical in testing the sincerity of the North's commitment to a peaceful settlement.
Pyongyang's professed commitment to "denuclearisation" is likely to be very different from Washington's demand for "comprehensive, verifiable and irreversible" nuclear disarmament.
Not only will the Trump-Kim summit be a way of measuring the gap between the US and North Korea on this issue; it will also be an important opportunity to gauge how far the US has developed its own strategy for narrowing the differences with the North.
President Moon has cleverly and repeatedly allowed Mr Trump to assume credit for the breakthrough in inter-Korean relations, recognising perhaps that boosting the US president's ego is the best way of minimising the risk of war and keeping Mr Trump engaged in dialogue with the North.
Whatever the long-term, substantive outcome from the Panmunjeom summit, the event has memorably showcased the political astuteness, diplomatic agility and strategic vision of both Korean leaders.
The dramatic events of Friday are a reminder that personality and leadership are key ingredients in effecting historical change, sometimes allowing relatively small powers to advance their interests in spite of the competing interests of larger, more influential states.
Dr John Nilsson-Wright
Senior Research Fellow for Northeast Asia, Asia-Pacific Programme, Chatham House
Senior Lecturer in Japanese Politics and International Relations, University of Cambridge
VIDEO-Trump: 'Wherever There's a Problem, Iran is Right There'
Sat, 28 Apr 2018 11:05
VIDEO - 11alive.com | Woman at the center of Alpha Kappa Alpha sex scandal allegations at Fort Valley resigns
Sat, 28 Apr 2018 06:03
Resignation letters obtained by 11Alive showed Alecia Johnson, an apparent member of the sorority, resigned from her position as Executive Assistant to the President and Director of Special Events at Fort Valley State University.
FORT VALLEY, Ga. '' The Fort Valley State University employee allegedly involved in the GBI investigation on sexual misconduct on campus has resigned.
Resignation letters obtained by 11Alive showed Alecia Johnson resigned from her position as Executive Assistant to the President and Director of Special Events at Fort Valley State University on April 18.
This was the same day 11Alive broke the news of the investigation.
Johnson wrote to the university's president Paul Jones stating, ''I find it best under the circumstance to render my resignation effective immediately.''
RELATED | Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority responds to Fort Valley State University sex scandal allegations
The school went under investigation by the GBI for alleged employee misconduct involving students and outside players. GBI Special Agent J.T. Ricketson said they were requested by the Georgia Board of Regents and Attorney General's office to "look into a matter" at the university.
Ricketson said their criminal investigation began Thursday, April 12 and the scope keeps widening. While he wouldn't categorize the investigation, posts on Twitter and other social media platforms pointed to a sex scandal with the Alpha Beta chapter of the oldest historically black sorority in the world, Alpha Kappa Alpha.
MORE NEWS | Syracuse U. to review Greek system after racist fraternity video goes viral
In a statement to 11Alive, the sorority said they have a "zero-tolerance policy for hazing, member sexual misconduct, and harassment, and we take any allegations of this nature very seriously."
They said the Fort Valley employee who was on administrative, and has not resigned -- Alecia Johnson -- is a member of the sorority and were "appalled to learn of allegations of sexual misconduct."
MORE | Sorority responds to FVSU sex scandal allegations
On Friday, 11Alive obtained a ''withdraw of privileges'' letter from Alpha Kappa Alpha South Atlanta Regional Director stating, ''Alpha Beta has been placed on Withdrawal of Privileges, effective immediately, by the Office of the South Atlantic Regional Director of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.''
The letter continued stating, ''Withdrawal of Privileges shall disqualify the chapter from participation in the Sorority and all Sorority activities, including the 65th South Atlantic Regional Conference. Members cannot serve as a representative or spokesperson and cannot represent yourself in any manner as a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.''
The sanction will remain in effect pending the outcome of the investigation and members of the chapter are expected to meet with the investigative team, the letter ended.
(C) 2018 WXIA
VIDEO - Tom Brokaw Accused of Sexual Harassment in Video '' Variety
Sat, 28 Apr 2018 00:46
Linda Vester had a reputation for covering tough stories. As a war correspondent for NBC News in the '90s, she spent three tours of duty in the Middle East and took two assignments in Africa.
But as it turned out, her biggest battle at work wasn't in the field. She says it was as a victim of sexual harassment by Tom Brokaw, the legendary newsman who manned the anchor desk for ''NBC Nightly News'' for 22 years and hosted ''Today'' and ''Meet the Press.''
In a series of interviews with Variety conducted over several months, Vester alleged that Brokaw physically tried to force her to kiss him on two separate occasions, groped her in a NBC conference room and showed up at her hotel room uninvited. Two friends who Vester told at the time corroborated her story with Variety, and she shared her journal entries from the time period. Brokaw, who has been married to Meredith Auld since 1962, has never before been publicly accused of sexual harassment.
In a statement from him supplied by a NBC News spokesman, Brokaw said of the allegations, ''I met with Linda Vester on two occasions, both at her request, 23 years ago because she wanted advice with respect to her career at NBC. The meetings were brief, cordial and appropriate, and despite Linda's allegations, I made no romantic overtures towards her at that time or any other.''
Vester, who was 28 at the time of the alleged incident, says she didn't report Brokaw's conduct to the police or NBC human resources because she was scared it would end her career. She left NBC in 1999 and went on to anchor her own show on Fox News through 2006.
She's speaking out now, because she believes her story sheds light on the culture at NBC News, where she believes male bosses treated their female colleagues as objects. After ''Today'' co-host Matt Lauer was fired for inappropriate conduct involving an NBC employee last November, NBC launched an internal review of its practices but didn't bring in an outside firm to investigate '-- a step Vester believes is necessary to fix NBC's culture.
''What Linda is doing, like others before her have done, is to give her truthful account in the hope that other women will not have to endure what she did,'' says Ari Wilkenfeld, her attorney, who also represented one of the victims of Lauer's sexual harassment. ''Linda is literally seeking nothing for herself. She comes forward at her own expense and at her own peril. By her being willing to go on the record, perhaps this will embolden other brave women to tell their stories.''
Here's Vester's story in her own words and in the video above. (Note: the testimony below has been edited and condensed from several lengthy conversations with Vester, but does not include the video testimony posted here.)Linda Vester: In September 1989, I was hired at NBC News to be groomed as a foreign correspondent. I had just finished a Fulbright in the Middle East, and I had been doing freelance work for CBS in Gaza. When I was interviewing at NBC, the network offered me a job where I could work my way up through the ranks. They started me as a researcher, then a field producer, then I was sent to the NBC Tampa affiliate to get more on-air experience. Then Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, and NBC said, ''We need her to report from the Gulf.'' I was there for the duration of the Gulf War.
After I returned to the United States, I continued working jointly for NBC and its affiliates, until I was made a full-time correspondent for ''Weekend Today'' in 1993. At this point, at 28, I'm one the youngest correspondents at the network. In August, I was assigned to cover Pope John Paul's trip to Denver.
We were in the Denver bureau, and there was a conference room. I'm standing there, and Tom Brokaw enters through the door and grabs me from behind and proceeds to tickle me up and down my waist. I jumped a foot and I looked at a guy who was the senior editor of ''Nightly,'' and his jaw was hanging open. Nobody acted like anything wrong was happening, but I was humiliated. I didn't know Brokaw other than to say hello in the hall. He was the most powerful man at the network, and I was the most junior person, reporting for an entirely different show. It was really out of the blue.
There was a culture at NBC News, in my experience, where women who raise questions about misconduct get labeled as troublemakers. It can torpedo your career. I already knew that, so I didn't want to make any trouble. I had just been hired full-time, and I wanted to be able to do my job. I did my best to collect myself and get on with my work.
In terms of the next time I saw Brokaw, I can't remember. But I know when he assaulted me, which was the first week of January in 1994. I was in New York on assignment for ''Weekend Today.'' I was preparing to go back to Washington D.C., where I lived. And I was sitting at a borrowed desk, when I received a computer message from Tom Brokaw asking me what I was doing that night.
I barely knew him and I didn't work for his broadcast. But when the most powerful man at the network sends you a computer message, you answer him. So I replied that I had checked out of my hotel and I was going to catch the last shuttle back to D.C. before the snowstorm.
He wrote that it wasn't a good idea. He asked me about staying in New York to have drinks. And then he wrote a second message that said, ''Nah, too risky.''
At this point, my antennae went up. I was trying to use humor to signal that I was not interested in whatever he was suggesting, so I wrote, ''I only drink milk and cookies.'' It was the only thing I could think of at the moment, hoping it would jolt him into realizing that this was inappropriate and I was [nearly] 30 years younger than him.
Then I wrote a line that tried more pointedly to make him aware that what he was doing was questionable. This is in my journal. I said: ''There is nothing I would like more than a great chat with someone I admire, but if appearances are a concern, that's valid.'' I was trying to say if you're concerned this looks wrong, it's because it is wrong. I immediately logged out of the system, because that shows you're not longer available for discussion.
I got really scared, so I called my best friend, who was a producer in the Washington bureau, and I read her all the messages out loud. She said, ''He's hitting on you and you've got to get out of the situation.'' I was quite shaken, as I made my way to dinner. I took a cab to the airport to catch the shuttle to D.C., but when I got to LaGuardia, I had missed my flight. So I took a cab back to the Essex House, checked back in, put the phone onto my lap and started returning calls. Every correspondent's travel was kept in a central file that anyone can access, so anybody could tell where I was.
I received three calls that night. One was from a friend. Another was from a source. And the third was from Tom Brokaw. He said he was coming over to order milk and cookies.
I felt powerless to say no. He could ruin my career. I don't recall saying, ''Ok.'' I just remember being frozen. I went cold inside and started shaking. And I felt trapped because he was undeterred by anything I had said before. It wasn't a request. He was insistent.
I called my friend again, and I was scared out of my mind. She said, ''Ok, I'm going to stay on the phone with you, and let's hope he changes his mind and doesn't show up.'' About 30 minutes later, there was a knock at the door. She and I both realize that it's Tom. I started shaking.
I open the door. I ask in an intentionally skeptical way, trying to slow this down, ''What are you doing here?''
He answered that he was attending his stage manager's retirement party and was in the neighborhood. He walked past me and sat down on the sofa in my suite. He puts his arm on the back of the sofa and he said, ''I like our rat-a-tat-tat.'' I thought it was a bizarre statement.
I said nothing to him. He was sitting, and I was standing across the coffee table from him approximately four feet away. Now I could feel myself trembling. As I stood there, I asked in a frustrated and scared tone, ''What do you want from me?''
And he gave me a look of annoyance like he couldn't believe I didn't get it. He said, ''An affair of more than passing affection.''
I struggled for what to say, trying not to offend a man that could end my career. So I protested, and I said, ''But you're married and I'm Catholic.''
And then he shot me another annoyed look and said in a condescending tone, ''Don't tell me you're like Russert.'' That was a reference to Tim Russert, who was famously Catholic.
I insisted, ''I am.''
Tom patted the sofa, where he intended for me to sit. I sat down, and I was so afraid, I jammed myself up against the back of the sofa and I grabbed a throw pillow, because I was trying to signal to him with my body language that I was both frightened and unwilling. Just to be sure I was getting the message across, I brought up a case of sexual harassment that had happened in the Washington D.C. bureau. ''That caused a lot of pain,'' I said.
That's when he leaned over, and pressed a finger to my lips. He said, ''This is our compact.''
He grabbed me behind my neck and tried to force me to kiss him. I was shocked to feel the amount of force and his full strength on me. I could smell alcohol on his breath, but he was totally sober. He spoke clearly. He was in control of his faculties.
I broke away and stood up and said, ''Tom, I do not want to do this with you. If I did, I would leave for London with a loss of innocence and I don't want to go down that road.'' I had just been promoted to foreign correspondent in the London bureau.
He sat there for what felt like minutes and he finally said, ''I guess I should go.'' I said, ''Yeah.'' And he got up and tried to kiss me again on the way out as he left.
I stood at the door shaking for a long time, and I called my friend and told her I was safe. I told her exactly what had happened '-- every word '-- and she stayed on the phone with me for a while. And then, eventually, I wrote down everything that had happened in my journal and fell asleep.
The next day, I got on a plane back to D.C. and Brokaw repeatedly sent me computer messages that I refused to answer. He finally sent me a message late in the afternoon that said something like, ''I want to lower the temperature on this. Call me.'' He put down his extension number. I felt like I had to call him, not because I wanted to, but because he was so powerful. I don't remember verbatim what he said. But I do remember he was engaging in verbal gymnastics to try to revise what had happened the night before in such a way as to make it sound like it started out as consensual. I did not assent to this revision of events. I was disgusted.
Shortly after, I moved to London. In May 1995, it was the 50th anniversary of VE Day, and all the correspondents were working on reports for different coverage. Tom had come over to anchor ''Nightly News'' from London.
I'm out of the office, doing a story. When I get back, I found that Tom had left a small square post-it note on my desk that said, ''Milk and cookies?''
My heart sank. I thought, ''Oh god. Not this again.'' I hoped that if I was just out of the bureau, I could avoid him. But I had my laptop with me, and I got a computer message from him asking what everyone was doing that night. This was inappropriate because we're not friendly and he'd already attacked me. I tried to be polite, again signaling that I wasn't interested.
I wrote back something like, ''I don't know what everyone else is doing, but I'm going out with friends.''
''Where?'' he wanted to know.
Regrettably, I answered his question honestly. I said the name of the restaurant. I figured he wouldn't be brazen enough to show up to a restaurant where I'm with other people who aren't even in television.
But he did, and then he invited himself to my flat. He didn't ask. He said. At this point, I'm heartsick. I can't believe this is happening again. I can't believe someone who is supposedly a decent journalist is being so coercive and disgusting. I remember unlocking my door to my flat and turning on the lights and Tom walking past me. He sits down in my living room and asks for drinks. I got two glasses of tap water and set them down on the table.
He started bragging about himself and particularly bragging about how he was such close friends with Bob Redford. I'm baffled that the anchor of NBC Nightly News is boasting about his movie star friends.
He pats the sofa. As I sit, reluctantly again, I look down at his hands and I made a mental note of how swollen his knuckles were, a reminder of just how much older than me he was.
In the same exact way as in 1994, he reached behind my neck and tried to force my head toward him and force me to kiss him. I broke away again. I said, ''You need to go.'' And incredibly, he said, ''Can you walk me to a taxi?'' I thought, ''You just tried to assault me, but you expect me to walk you to a taxi?''
Even though I know I was not in any way at fault in what happened to me with Brokaw, I still suffered years of humiliation and isolation. I really do hope that by me telling my story and by shining this light, Comcast will understand why it's so essential to hire outside counsel to investigate this deeply rooted problem.
VIDEO - Take On Me On The Theremin - YouTube
Fri, 27 Apr 2018 18:43
VIDEO - Report: Secretly taped audio shows Democratic leader pressuring candidate to drop out of race - Videos - CBS News
Fri, 27 Apr 2018 18:41
Apr 26, 2018 11:54 AM EDT CBSN
A report from "The Intercept" is raising questions for Democratic leadership. On secretly taped audio recordings, the House Minority Whip can be heard pressuring a progressive candidate to drop out of the race. Investigative reporter Lee Fang joined CBSN after breaking the story.
VIDEO - Twitter
Fri, 27 Apr 2018 18:36
AlRashid ibn-Uzamere @ IbnUzamere
Apr 26 Replying to
@camanpour @cnni @PBS The only credit Trump gets is for begging China & Russia to support sanctions which then provided the squeeze on NK.I am not convinced that exchanging abuses & threats with Kim was the magic wand.Diplomacy has helped us this far.
View conversation · Dewey Holleman @ ADMDEWEY
Apr 26 Replying to
@camanpour @cnni @PBS They are playing him like deck of stacked cards. They know he loves to take credit from the 30,000 viewpoint and they know he loves compliments.
View conversation · pete @ ipglow
8h Replying to
@camanpour @Oddy4real and
3 others @CNN will not push this and of course the disappointed democrats and liberals that want Trump to fail will find all means to discredit The whole process but one thing is clear since Trump came to power everything is just adding up in the right places. He is achieving results
View conversation · Loki @ sharpval9
6h Replying to
@camanpour @cnni and
2 others @HemButs Please watchðŸŠðŸŠðŸŠ
View conversation · H @ HemButs
6h Replying to
@sharpval9 @camanpour and
2 others Oh wow. I thought CNN was fake news.
View conversation · Kelly Willis @ Kelly62u
5h Replying to
pic.twitter.com/hG4U2AqULm View conversation · DC Dude @ DCDude1776
5h Replying to
@Acosta @camanpour @Acosta First Kanye got red-pilled, then Chance the Rapper, now
@camanpour twitter.com/camanpour/stat'... View conversation · Perry @ BAMAPERRY
5h Replying to
@camanpour @cnni @PBS ObongO didn't make it happen?
View conversation · Alan Bryan @ AlanBryan7
5h Replying to
@DCDude1776 @GrayConnolly and
2 others She's telling the truth, like the rest, and the libs can't stand the truth.
View conversation · DC Dude @ DCDude1776
5h Replying to
@AlanBryan7 We'll see if anything becomes of this, but it certainly seems like we're moving forward faster with more consequential ground rules to start than we have in the past. I'm still skeptical, given DPRK's track record.
View conversation · Alan Bryan @ AlanBryan7
5h Replying to
@DCDude1776 I'm very skeptical too, but this movement is very encouraging. I'm hoping and praying for the best.
View conversation · Julian H. (Ping) @ OriginalPING
4h Replying to
@camanpour @cnni and
2 others @DonaldJTrumpJr View conversation · Nicholas Virzi @ nicholasvirzi
4h Replying to
@ADMDEWEY @camanpour and
2 others A few months back everybody was saying Trump was gonna take us to nuclear war.
View conversation · Bonnie @ BonBee81
4h Replying to
@camanpour @cnni @PBS Might want to tell your network to report that instead of false information
View conversation · Paul A. Sanchez @ Paulsanchez408
4h Replying to
@camanpour @cnni @PBS Wow
View conversation · sylvia toh paik choo @ paikchoo
4h Replying to
@camanpour @piersmorgan and
2 others give the man the nobel peace prize already!
View conversation · my house @ 2dechat
3h Replying to
@camanpour @cnni @PBS Wow, must have been really painful to report that this is POTUS at the helm of peace.
View conversation · Dr. Kankokage @ kankokage
3h Replying to
@camanpour @cnni @PBS pic.twitter.com/x1lxgxoKur View conversation · Matthew Braun @ FreiherrBraun
2h Replying to
@camanpour @cnni @PBS Whoa. That's quite the admission.
View conversation ·
VIDEO - Genealogy site didn't know it was used to seek serial killer
Fri, 27 Apr 2018 18:34
WATCH: Investigators say they used DNA and a genealogy website to track down former police officer Joseph DeAngelo, who is accused of 12 murders.
A genealogy website that investigators used to find the former police officer they believe was one of California's most terrifying serial killers had no idea its services were being used to pursue a suspect who eluded law enforcement for four decades.
Florida-based GEDmatch said it was never approached by authorities or anyone else about the case. The free genealogy website, which pools DNA profiles that people upload and share publicly, says that it has always informed users its database can be used for other purposes.
But the site's co-founder said he has privacy concerns after learning that law enforcement used the site and insists that his company does not "hand out data."
"This was done without our knowledge, and it's been overwhelming," Curtis Rogers told The Associated Press.
Lead investigator Paul Holes told the Mercury News in San Jose, California, that GEDmatch was one of his team's biggest tools.
Holes said officials did not need a court order to access GEDMatch's large database of genetic blueprints. Major commercial DNA companies say they do not give law enforcement access their genetic data without a court order.
Joseph James DeAngelo, 72, was arrested Tuesday after investigators matched crime-scene DNA with genetic material stored by a distant relative on an online site. From there, they narrowed it down to the Sacramento-area grandfather using DNA obtained from material he had discarded, Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert said.
Civil libertarians said the practice raises troubling legal and privacy concerns for the millions of people who submit their DNA to such sites to discover their heritage.
There are not strong privacy laws to keep police from trolling ancestry site databases, said Steve Mercer, the chief attorney for the forensic division of the Maryland Office of the Public Defender.
"People who submit DNA for ancestors testing are unwittingly becoming genetic informants on their innocent family," Mercer said, adding that they "have fewer privacy protections than convicted offenders whose DNA is contained in regulated databanks."
GEDMatch is a free site where users who have DNA profiles from commercial companies such as Ancestry.com and 23andMe can upload them to expand their search for relatives.
Holes said officials did not need a court order to access GEDMatch's database of genetic blueprints.
DNA was just coming into use as a criminal investigative tool in 1986 when the predator variously known as the East Area Rapist and the Golden State Killer apparently ended his decade-long wave of attacks.
DeAngelo, a former police officer, probably would have known about the new method, experts said.
"He knew police techniques," said John Jay College of Criminal Justice professor Louis Schlesinger. "He was smart."
No one who knew DeAngelo over the decades connected him with the string of at least a dozen murders, 50 rapes and dozens of burglaries that happened throughout California from 1976 to 1986.
After he was identified as the suspect, prosecutors rushed to charge him with eight killings.
In addition, police in the central California farming town of Visalia said Thursday that DeAngelo is now a suspect in a 13th killing and about 100 burglaries.
In 1975, community college teacher Claude Snelling was shot while trying to stop a masked intruder from kidnapping his 16-year-old daughter from his home.
Investigators lacked DNA evidence so Snelling's death and the burglaries weren't included in the tally of Golden State Killer crimes but fingerprints and shoe tracks will be reviewed for matches to DeAngelo, Visalia Police Chief Jason Salazar said.
Investigators searched DeAngelo's home on Thursday, looking for class rings, earrings, dishes and other items that were taken from crime scenes as well as weapons.
DeAngelo worked nearly three decades in a Sacramento-area supermarket warehouse as a truck mechanic, retiring last year. As a neighbor, he was known for taking meticulous care of his lawn in suburban Citrus Heights.
He also worked as a police officer in the farming town of Exeter, not far from Visalia, from 1973 to 1976.
DeAngelo was a "black sheep" who didn't joke around with other officers, said Farrel Ward, 75, who served on the force with DeAngelo.
Ward said it's possible that DeAngelo helped with the search for Snelling's killer and the elusive burglar, but he doesn't recall DeAngelo directly investigating the killing.
"I've been thinking, but there's no indication whatsoever that anything was wrong," Ward said. "How could you just go out and kill somebody and go back and go to work? I don't understand that."
Later, DeAngelo joined the Auburn Police Department outside of Sacramento but was fired in 1979 after he was caught shoplifting a hammer and dog repellent.
Balsamo reported from Los Angeles. Associated Press writers Brian Melley in Los Angeles, Paul Elias in San Francisco and Matt O'Brien in Providence, Rhode Island, contributed to this report.
VIDEO - Clinton fundraiser loses Port Authority post after cursing out cops
Thu, 26 Apr 2018 23:22
A Washington lobbyist who played a leading role in raising money for Hillary Clinton's presidential runs resigned her commissionership at a top transportation agency after being caught cursing out police on video.
"You may shut the f--- up!" fumed the lobbyist, Caren Turner, at a Tenafly, New Jersey, cop during a March 31 traffic stop of a car in which Turner's daughter had been a passenger.
"You're an ass," Turner later told the officer, according to a police report released Wednesday. "Look at that smug-ass look on your face."
Turner, 60, had become increasingly frustrated and angry after police politely declined to discuss in detail why they had pulled over that car, which was being impounded after being found to have an expired registration.
A police dashcam video '-- which has gone viral '-- shows Turner, who lives in Tenafly, arriving in her own vehicle just as police were finishing up ticketing the driver for violations that included failure to have a current insurance card, driving an unregistered vehicle and driving with the license plate obscured.
And she promptly began taking a peremptory tone, dropping names and mentioning her position as a commissioner of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. She also flashed a gold badge from the PA at the cops.
The Port Authority operates all three major New York area airports, river crossings between Manhattan and New Jersey, and the World Trade Center site in New York.
Source: YouTube
Turner, who heads her own government and public affairs firm, was appointed the head of the Port Authority's ethics committee last year by Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican.
She has raised money for Republicans and Democrats, and in 2008 served on the national finance committee of Clinton's presidential campaign.
Turner did not answer the door at her home on Wednesday when a CNBC reporter knocked. Efforts to reach her by phone for comment were unsuccessful.
Her company's webpage notes that she has been described as having "an iron fist in a velvet glove," and that she "advocates winning on the merits of the argument, not the contacts."
But she seemed to do just the opposite in the video.
"No, don't call me 'miss,' I'm 'commissioner, thank you!' Turner snapped at one of the cops as they stood on the side of a road in broad daylight.
"I'm the commissioner of the Port Authority, and I'm heading up over 4,000 police officers."
"I'm also an attorney," she sniffed.
Turner in short order told police she was there "as a concerned citizen and friend of the mayor" who has "been in Tenafly for 25 years," that she planned on reporting the officers to Tenafly's police commissioner, and that the occupants of the car included grad students at Yale and MIT.
She also accused the two officers of having "ruined" the Easter and Passover weekend "of a lot of people" by stopping the car.
"I got all your information, sweetheart," Turner told the officer, referring to his name and badge number. "I got your name."
"I'm very disappointed in the way you are acting."
The officer had several times calmly told Turner that she should ask the driver of the car why police had stopped the car. The cop noted that the driver and passengers were adults.
"No, no, no, I need to know," Turner pointedly said when the officer explained that the car's driver had all the information about the stop and could tell her what was going on.
At one point, as Turner harangued him, the officer said: "I just don't appreciate your demeanor. You're being very demanding."
Later, he asked her to stop walking toward him as he was being forced against the front end of his car to avoid contact with her.
When that cop told her she could take her daughter with her, Turner went ballistic.
"You may not tell me when to take my kid, you may shut the f--- up!" Turner snapped.
A police report about the incident written by one of the officers notes Turner's "condescending tone," and also that "she was attempting to misappropriately use her professional position to gain authority in this situation."
Turner later was seen at Tenafly police headquarters speaking to a dispatcher and then a lieutenant, according to the report.
Tenafly's police chief later contacted the Port Authority about the incident. The PA's inspector general opened an inquiry into Turner's conduct, which led her to resign last Friday.
The Port Authority, in an emailed statement said, "The video speaks for itself. The conduct was indefensible."
"The Board takes its recently adopted Code of Ethics for Commissioners extremely seriously and was preparing to form a special committee to review the findings of the Inspector General investigation and take action at this Thursday's Board meeting," the PA said. "Commissioner Turner's resignation was appropriate given her outrageous conduct."
The PA was rocked in recent years by the "Bridgegate" scandal in which a Christie staffer and political appointees conspired to create traffic jams in Fort Lee, New Jersey, at the George Washington Bridge. David Samson, the PA's executive director, later pleaded guilty to a crime relating to coercing United Airlines to restart a discontinued flight to South Carolina so Samson could more easily visit his vacation home there.
Tenafly's mayor, Peter Rustin, told CNBC that the conduct of Turner, with whom he is friendly, was "unfortunate."
"I support my police officers," Rustin said. "I think they did a good job under the circumstances. It was not an easy situation. I think they showed some restraint."
New Jersey State Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, who had backed Turner's appointment to the Port Authority, said in a prepared statement that "there are no excuses for what transpired" on the video.
"Her resignation was appropriate. As was the Port Authority's condemnation of this behavior by a commissioner," said Weinberg, a Democrat.
Tenafly Police Chief Robert Chamberlain on Wednesday issued a statement on the incident.
"I want to thank and recognize the Port Authority of NY/NJ for their professionalism and prompt attention to the matter," Chamberlain said. "I would like to thank everyone who reached out to the Tenafly Police Department to offer words of praise and commendation for the two officers seen on the dash cam video involving a motor vehicle stop."
"The outpouring of support from people across the country has been truly heartfelt. I am extremely proud of the composure, poise and restraint that Officer Savitsky and Officer Casper exhibited that day," Chamberlain said. "I truly believe their professionalism is a representation of the greater law enforcement community and is reflective of new training initiatives to assistlaw enforcement personnel in similar situations."
'-- Additional reporting by Ashley Turner.
VIDEO - Diamond and Silk Go Off On Rep Sheila Jackson Lee: Don't Try To Mix My Words 4/26/18 - YouTube
Thu, 26 Apr 2018 22:04
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