Cover for No Agenda Show 1054: Without Evidence
July 26th, 2018 • 2h 56m

1054: Without Evidence


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Facebook DATA PRIVACY HITS REVENUE on its earnings call that spooked investors
Wed, 25 Jul 2018 23:28
Matt McClain | The Washington Post | Getty Images
Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg
Facebook shareholders wiped more than $130 billion off the company's market value Wednesday after the company's second-quarter earnings call.
Shares fell as much as 24 percent, slumping below $170 in extended trading. The call and subsequent plunge followed a revenue miss for the company and a report of lower daily active user counts in Europe.
At the lowest after-hours price, Facebook would open Thursday with a market value below $500 billion. Its market cap at the close Wednesday was $629.8 billion.
The company's top executives delivered a few scary warnings:
Revenue decelerationChief Financial Officer David Wehner said shareholders can expect "revenue growth rates to decline by high single-digit percentages from prior quarters" for the third and fourth quarter.
"We plan to grow and promote certain engaging experiences like Stories that currently have lower levels of monetization, and we are also giving people who use our services more choices around data privacy which may have an impact on our revenue growth," said Wehner. He also said currency fluctuations would hurt the stock in the second half of the year, after helping it for the last several quarters.
Weaker marginsWehner also said the company expects margin compression, with operating margins trending toward "mid-30s on a percentage basis," compared with second-quarter operating margins of 44 percent.
That tightening is the result of broadening markets, investments in news products '-- such as the recent introduction of the company's long-form video format, IGTV '-- and capital expenditures related to safety and security that total "billions of dollars," Wehner said.
"We think that's the right thing to do for the business in terms of ensuring the community, safety and durability of the franchise," he said. "But they don't have obviously immediate translation into revenue dollars."
Effects of privacy changesFacebook has made several privacy policy changes in recent months in the wake of the company's Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal and the European Union's recently enacted General Data Protection Regulation, a set of rules that give users more control over their online data.
The company's earnings report revealed some of the earliest effects of the GDPR rules, which took effect in May, with the company reporting fewer daily active users in Europe. But the report only encompasses the first month of those changes.
"GDPR hasn't had a revenue impact, but we also fully recognize it wasn't fully rolled out," Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg said on the earnings call. "As we look further out, we recognize there's still risk and we're going to watch closely."
Alterations in White Matter Integrity in Young Adults with Smartphone Dependence
Wed, 25 Jul 2018 14:56
Front Hum Neurosci . 2017; 11: 532.
Yuanming Hu1Department of Radiology, Shenzhen Traditional Chinese Medicine Hospital, Shenzhen, China
Xiaojing Long2Paul C. Lauterbur Research Center for Biomedical Imaging, Shenzhen Institutes of Advanced Technology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shenzhen, China
Hanqing Lyu1Department of Radiology, Shenzhen Traditional Chinese Medicine Hospital, Shenzhen, China
Yangyang Zhou3Department of Radiology, Shenzhen Children's Hospital, Shenzhen, China
Jianxiang Chen1Department of Radiology, Shenzhen Traditional Chinese Medicine Hospital, Shenzhen, China
1Department of Radiology, Shenzhen Traditional Chinese Medicine Hospital, Shenzhen, China
2Paul C. Lauterbur Research Center for Biomedical Imaging, Shenzhen Institutes of Advanced Technology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shenzhen, China
3Department of Radiology, Shenzhen Children's Hospital, Shenzhen, China
Edited by: Felix Scholkmann, University Hospital Zurich, Switzerland
Reviewed by: Arun Bokde, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland; Katherine H. Karlsgodt, University of California, Los Angeles, United States
' These authors have contributed equally to this work.
Received 2017 Jul 15; Accepted 2017 Oct 19.
Copyright (C) 2017 Hu, Long, Lyu, Zhou and Chen.
This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
AbstractSmartphone dependence (SPD) is increasingly regarded as a psychological problem, however, the underlying neural substrates of SPD is still not clear. High resolution magnetic resonance imaging provides a useful tool to help understand and manage the disorder. In this study, a tract-based spatial statistics (TBSS) analysis on diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) was used to measure white matter integrity in young adults with SPD. A total of 49 subjects were recruited and categorized into SPD and control group based on their clinical behavioral tests. To localize regions with abnormal white matter integrity in SPD, the voxel-wise analysis of fractional anisotropy (FA) and mean diffusivity (MD) on the whole brain was performed by TBSS. The correlation between the quantitative variables of brain structures and the behavior measures were performed. Our result demonstrated that SPD had significantly lower white matter integrity than controls in superior longitudinal fasciculus (SLF), superior corona radiata (SCR), internal capsule, external capsule, sagittal stratum, fornix/stria terminalis and midbrain structures. Correlation analysis showed that the observed abnormalities in internal capsule and stria terminalis were correlated with the severity of dependence and behavioral assessments. Our finding facilitated a primary understanding of white matter characteristics in SPD and indicated that the structural deficits might link to behavioral impairments.
Keywords: smartphone dependence, diffusion tensor imaging, tract-based spatial statistics, white matter integrity, behavioral impairment
IntroductionSmartphones are becoming a vital part of our lives. These portable ''mini-computers'' help keep us connected, organized and entertained anywhere and anytime (Samaha and Hawi, 2016). Smartphones allow us to make calls, check and send emails, use chat applications for texting or voice calls, manage calendars, map driving or walking routes, take/edit/store/share videos and photos, play games or music, and more (Long et al., 2016). Smartphones have been changing the way we live'--how we feel, how we behave, how we communicate and how we age (Dennison et al., 2013; Sarwar and Soomro, 2013; Abu-Shanab and Haddad, 2015).
However, accompanying the popularization of smartphones, their overuse has become an epidemic around the world. In the USA, 64% of American adults owned a smartphone in 2014 according to a survey by the Pew Research Center, up from 35% in 2011. As many as 15% of American young adults between 18 years and 29 years of age were found to be heavily dependent on smartphones (Smith, 2015; Long et al., 2016). In China, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology announced that smartphone ownership had exceeded 1.3 billion by 2016, which is 95.5% of the total population (Long et al., 2016). The prevalence of problematic smartphone use among Chinese adolescents and undergraduates was estimated to be 21.3% to 26.2% (Long et al., 2016; Tao et al., 2016). Smartphone ownership initiation also exhibits a younger tendency. In Spain, the proportions of children who own a cell phone at age 10, 12 and 14 are 30%, 70% and 83%, respectively. Furthermore, Spanish children habitually access such devices beginning from 2''3'years of age (Protegeles, 2014).
Smartphone dependence (SPD), also called smartphone addiction or problematic mobile phone use, is regarded as a behavioral addiction, as opposed to a substance addiction, such as drug or alcohol abuse. An increasing number of studies have been conducted on behavioral addictions to videogames (Fisher, 1994), food (Oxford, 2001), shopping (O'Guinn and Faber, 1989; Clark and Calleja, 2008), work (Andreassen et al., 2010), online sex (Griffiths, 2004; Young, 2008) and the Internet (Young, 2004; Beard, 2005). As a subset of addictive behaviors, SPD may share many common properties with other kinds of addiction disorders (Bianchi and Phillips, 2005; Billieux, 2012), especially Internet addiction. For example, they may present similar problematic manifestations (De-Sola Guti(C)rrez et al., 2016), including conscious use in dangerous situations or prohibited contexts (Billieux et al., 2008), loss of interest in other activities (Griffiths, 2000), physical and mental impairment (Ch"liz, 2012), social and familial interruptions (Sansone and Sansone, 2013), and anxiety and loneliness with restricted usage (Ha et al., 2008).
Studies on Internet addiction have focused on the behaviors it involves, its influence on daily life and social performance, clinical diagnosis and treatment (Caplan, 2002; Shaw and Black, 2008; Tao et al., 2010, 2016; The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of China, 2016), as well as effects on brain structures and functions (Yuan et al., 2011; Lin et al., 2012; Wee et al., 2014; Sepede et al., 2016). High-resolution magnetic resonance imaging has allowed enhanced sensitivity and power to detect morphological, functional, regional and network changes in the brain, which has facilitated exploration of the neural substrates of addiction. Evidence has shown altered gray matter density (Yuan et al., 2011; Weng et al., 2013), cortical thickness (Hong et al., 2012; Yuan et al., 2013), cerebral blood flow (Feng et al., 2013), and functional connectivity (Ding et al., 2013; Hong et al., 2013) in regions involved in addictive or compulsive behaviors in subjects with Internet addiction. Changes in white matter tracts (Yuan et al., 2011; Dong et al., 2012; Lin et al., 2012) were also detected by diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), a sensitive tool that reflects the water diffusion characteristics of white matter.
We hypothesized that due to its similarities to other behavioral addictions, SPD may also be associated with impairments of white matter fibers (Wang et al., 2016). In this study, we investigated white matter integrity in young adults with SPD using observer-independent tract-based spatial statistics (TBSS) analysis with DTI and linked the quantitative variables of brain structures to the behavioral measures of SPD.
Materials and MethodsSubjectsThis study was approved by the institutional review board of Shenzhen Traditional Chinese Medicine Hospital. The purpose and procedures of the study was detailedly introduced to volunteers. Informed written consent was obtained from each subject upon participating the study. Forty-nine young adult volunteers were recruited from the local community. No significant difference was found in handedness or in social and educational background among subjects. The medical history of each subject was reviewed carefully to exclude those with endocrinal, neurological, or psychiatric disorders. Subjects who had ever taken benzodiazepines or antipsychotic drugs were also excluded. The demographic information is summarized in Table '‹ 1 .
Table 1Demographic information and questionnaire scores of subjects.
GroupsControl (n = 24)SPD (n = 25)P valueAge23.07 ± 2.0122.11 ± 1.780.1684Gender (M/F)12/1214/110.4335Education (years)15.11 ± 1.5314.72 ± 0.750.3450Phone usage time per week25.2 ± 1.2741.9 ± 3.65<0.01MPATS25.71 ± 7.8362.4 ± 6.79<0.01BIS32.45 ± 10.4750.13 ± 15.31<0.01Group CategorizationQualified subjects were categorized into the control group or SPD group according to their score on the Mobile Phone Addiction Tendency Scale (MPATS; Xiong et al., 2012). The MPATS questionnaire utilizes the criteria for Internet addiction defined by Young (1998) as a reference, with terminology adapted to mobile phone use. It consists of 16 items including questions such as ''Do you check your mobile phone many times a day even when your phone doesn't ring, beep, or buzz?'' ''Would you feel anxious if your cell phone or network was unreachable?'' and ''Have you ever put a relationship or job at risk due to excessive cell phone use?'' The full list of MPATS questions can be seen in the Supplementary File. The items were rated using a five-point Likert scale (1 = not at all, 2 = rarely, 3 = occasionally, 4 = often, 5 = always). Scores higher than 50 were classified as SPD. The Cronbach's alpha of the scale is 0.81, indicating good reliability (Xiong et al., 2012).
The Barratt Impulsiveness Scale-11 (BIS-11) was used to assess the behavioral construct of impulsiveness (Patton et al., 1995). The BIS-11 is composed of 30 items describing attentional, motor, and non-planning impulsivity behaviors and preferences. Items are scored on a four-point Likert scale (1 = rarely/never, 2 = occasionally, 3 = often, 4 = almost always/always). The reliability of the general scale is 0.80.
The usage rate of each function of a smartphone, including traditional calling and texting, chat apps, gaming and entertainment, media and Internet browsing, time checking and camera shooting, as well as sleep status, were also included in the survey questionnaire for assessment of the basic conditions.
MRI AcquisitionMR scanning was conducted on a 3T scanner (MAGNETOM Skyra, Siemens, Erlangen, Germany) with a 32-channel head coil. Diffusion-weighted single-shot echo-planar imaging sequences with a b value of 1000 s/mm2 in 64 gradient directions were used with parameters of TR/TE = 4200/85 ms, FOV = 250 mm — 250 mm, image matrix = 128 — 128, in-plane resolution = 3 mm — 3 mm — 3 mm, iPAT acceleration factor = 2, number of b0 volumes = 8.
Image Processing and AnalysisThe final b0 image was calculated by averaging the eight b0 volumes we obtained. A standard voxel-wise TBSS analysis was performed using FSL (version 5.0.10)1. First, brain extraction was performed, followed by correction for head motion and eddy currents using the FSL-FDT toolbox. Then a tensor model was fit to the raw diffusion images, from which fractional anisotropy (FA) and mean diffusivity (MD) maps were computed. The group mean FA image was calculated and thinned to create a mean FA skeleton (Dennison et al., 2013). Nonlinear registration was used to align the FA maps of all subjects to the target FA image, which was chosen as the ''typical image'' among subjects. The warped images were then normalized to MNI space2. Looking for the largest FA voxel perpendicular to each point on the mean skeleton, the individual FA skeletonized image was created by projecting local FA maxima onto the group template skeleton (Smith et al., 2006). MD maps were co-registered to the MNI space and analyzed as FA maps. Whole-brain voxel-wise analyses between the control and SPD group were performed using the FSL Randomise tool3, which implements permutation-based inference (with 5000 permutations in this study). Multiple comparison correction was performed using the threshold-free cluster enhancement (TFCE) option to control the false positive error as 0.05.
Average FA and MD values were calculated in specific regions of interest (ROI), which were defined by the Johns Hopkins stereotaxic white matter atlas (Mori et al., 2008) and demonstrated significant differences in group analysis. The values were correlated to BIS scores while adjusting for weekly time using a smartphone and to MPATS scores within each group while regressing out BIS scores.
ResultsNo significant differences in age, gender, or years of education were found between the control and SPD. Hours of phone use per week, MPATS, and BIS scores were all notably higher in the SPD group than in the control group (as shown in Table '‹ 1 ).
The usage rates of calling and texting, chat apps, gaming and entertainment, media and Internet browsing, and camera shooting were significantly different in the control and SPD groups (Figure '‹ 1 ). SPD subjects spent much more time on chat apps, gaming and entertainment, media and Internet and camera shooting, while ordinary calling and texting remained the major purpose of smartphone usage in control subjects.
Comparison of behavioral measures by questionnaire. *p < 0.01, **p < 0.001, ***p < 0.0001.
Sleeping hours also differed significantly between controls and SPD subjects. Control subjects reported an average sleep time of 7.43 h per night, whereas SPD subjects slept 5.18 h per night on average.
TBSS analysis demonstrated significant between-group discrepancies in FA. Remarkably lower FA values were identified in the SPD group than in the control group, mainly in the right hemisphere, including the superior longitudinal fasciculus (SLF), superior corona radiata (SCR), anterior limb of the internal capsule (ALIC), posterior limb of the internal capsule (PLIC), external capsule, sagittal stratum and fornix/stria terminalis, as well as the bilateral cerebral peduncle, bilateral superior and middle cerebellar peduncles, bilateral medial lemniscus and pontine crossing tract (Figure '‹ 2 ). In contrast, in most of the aforementioned areas, significantly higher MD values were found in the SPD group than in the control group (Figure '‹ 3 ). No areas of higher FA or lower MD were found in the SPD group.
Tract-based spatial statistics (TBSS) group comparison of fractional anisotropy (FA; red''yellow: control > smartphone dependence (SPD)). Significantly lower FA was found in SPD in the highlighted areas including right superior longitudinal fasciculus (SLF), superior corona radiata (SCR), anterior limb of the internal capsule (ALIC), posterior limb of the internal capsule (PLIC), external capsule, sagittal stratum, fornix/stria terminalis, bilateral cerebral peduncle, superior and middle cerebellar peduncles, medial lemniscus and pontine crossing tract.
TBSS group analysis of mean diffusivity (MD; blue''light blue: control < SPD). Significantly higher MD was found in SPD relative to the control group in the highlighted areas, most of which overlapped with those with significant differences in FA.
Significant correlations between MPATS scores and mean FA and MD values were observed in the SPD group in the ALIC, PLIC and fornix/stria terminalis; these correlations were slightly weaker in the control group (Figures '‹ 4 , '‹ 5 ). There correlation between MPATS scores and FA was significantly negative, while the correlation between MPATS and MD was positive. BIS scores were only significantly correlated with DTI measures in the SLF (Figure '‹ 6 ). BIS was strongly positively correlated with FA and negatively correlated with MD.
Correlation between mobile phone addiction tendency scale (MPATS) scores and FA in specific regions of interest (ROIs). A strongly negative relationship was observed between MPATS and FA in SPD.
Correlation between MPATS scores and MD in specific ROIs. The results demonstrated a strongly positive relationship between MPATS and MD in SPD.
Correlation between Barratt Impulsiveness Scale (BIS) scores and FA/MD in the SLF. The results demonstrated a strongly positive correlation between BIS and FA and a negative correlation between BIS and MD.
DiscussionCell phones are constantly being improved by expanding upon their functionalities, which in turn increases the likelihood of overuse and addiction (De-Sola Guti(C)rrez et al., 2016). Smartphone addiction may affect individual physical and psychological health, academic and work performance, as well as social communication (Sarwar and Soomro, 2013; Abu-Shanab and Haddad, 2015). In this study, we collected DTI to investigate white matter integrity in SPD based on whole-brain voxel-wise TBSS analysis. We also revealed the relationship between fiber abnormalities and behavioral measures of SPD.
Influence on SleepThe health issues that come with overuse of smartphones include text neck, wrist and back problems (Kim and Kim, 2015; Lee et al., 2015), numb fingers (Ä°nal et al., 2015), vision loss (Kim et al., 2012, 2014; Moon et al., 2014), as well as disrupted sleep timing. In our study, SPD subjects reported significantly fewer sleep hours and worse sleep quality compared to controls, which is consistent with previous findings that mobile phone addiction was a risk factor for poor sleep quality (Sahin et al., 2013; Liu et al., 2017). This may be due not only to SPD subjects' difficulty in resisting the temptation to use their phones before and during bedtime, but also to the sleep-disrupting sounds of alerts and effects of blue light throughout the night. The blue light from electronic devices is picked up by special cells at the back of the eyeball and leads to the suppression of melatonin, a hormone involved in sleep timing and circadian rhythms, which may push back sleep time twice as long as coffee (Burke et al., 2015).
Influence on White Matter Microstructural PropertiesIn addition to perceptible changes in sleeping patterns, alterations in white matter microstructural properties were also identified in SPD subjects. The TBSS results revealed decreased FA and increased MD values in the SLF, SCR, anterior and posterior limbs of the internal capsule, external capsule, sagittal stratum, fornix/stria terminalis, cerebral peduncle, superior and middle cerebellar peduncles, medial lemniscus and pontine crossing tract.
The external capsule is a collection of white matter fibers which are thought to connect the cerebral cortex and the striatum through corticostriatal fibers (Hwang et al., 2014). Microstructural alterations in the external capsule have been found to be related to risk for cognitive dysfunction (Hwang et al., 2014), emotion regulation (Korgaonkar et al., 2011), as well as addiction and substance abuse (Upadhyay et al., 2010; Lin et al., 2012). In the present study, compared with normal subjects, individuals with SPD showed significantly lower FA in the external capsule, which is consistent with accumulating evidence suggesting that damage to the corticostriatal circuits may underlie the pathophysiology of addiction (Aston-Jones, 2015; Haber, 2016).
The internal capsule is a white matter structure situated adjacent to the ventral striatum, separating the thalamus and caudate from the putamen. Previous studies have demonstrated abnormal white matter features of the internal capsule in several types of addictions, including alcoholism (Herting et al., 2011), gambling (Yip et al., 2017), drug abuse (Wang et al., 2013; Li et al., 2016), and Internet addiction (Lin et al., 2012). Our finding that SPD involves altered directional organization and architectural integrity in the internal capsule is consistent with previous results. FA within the internal capsule has been shown to be positively correlated with reward-related ventral striatal activity in healthy adults (Koch et al., 2014), which suggests that reduced fiber anisotropy in this region may partially contribute to the structural or functional abnormalities in the ventral striatum previously reported in addictive populations (Belin and Everitt, 2008; Balodis et al., 2012; Yip et al., 2017).
The internal capsule is an important area with high concentrations of both motor and sensory projection fibers. The thalamic radiation, corticospinal and sensory tracts constitute a large part of the anterior and posterior limbs of the internal capsule. To construct the sensory fibers, the medial lemniscus ascends to the thalamus and travels in the internal capsule via third-order neurons. Then, fibers pass upward through the corona radiata to the primary sensory area of the cerebral cortex and adjacent cortical areas for further higher-level processing (Siegel and Sapru, 2011). For the corticospinal tracts, these descending fibers mainly originate from motor and sensory cortices and continue on through the corona radiata and internal capsule, then enter midbrain through the cerebral peduncle and pass through the medulla to the spinal cord (Siegel and Sapru, 2011). White matter changes in the corona radiata, internal capsule, medial lemniscus and cerebral peduncle may result in impairment of proprioception (Jang and Kwon, 2016; Cho and Lee, 2017), reduced sense of discriminative touch (Cerrato et al., 2000), or sensorimotor deficits (Kumral and Bay¼lkem, 2003), which have been found in smartphone addicts (Lee and Seo, 2014) and people with other dependent behaviors (Blanco-Hinojo et al., 2017; Weinstein et al., 2017).
The SLF is an association fiber tract that connects the frontal, occipital, parietal and temporal lobes (Koch et al., 2014). It is thought to be highly relevant for the processing of attention, memory, emotion and language (Yip et al., 2017). There is a growing perception that problematic use of smartphones may have a sustained negative impact on thinking, remembering, attention and emotion regulation (Wilmer et al., 2017). Changes in FA and MD in SLF indicate altered microstructural integrity, which may account for the variation in executive and emotional functioning observed in this disorder (Ward et al., 2017).
The stria terminalis is a bundle of fibers in the brain that serves as a major pathway carrying messages to and from the amygdala. Studies have shown a possible relation between the stria terminalis and addiction processes (Dagher et al., 2009; O'Daly et al., 2012). Emerging evidence suggests that the stria terminalis may play a significant role in anxiety (Avery et al., 2016). Therefore, future work is needed to investigate emotional changes and their connection to brain alterations in SPD subjects.
Smartphone Dependence and Internet AddictionSPD is considered one form of technological addiction, a type of behavioral addiction that involves non-chemical human''machine interaction, as defined by Griffiths (2000). A smartphone has the combined features of a mobile phone and other mobile devices, such as a media player, camera, GPS, and computer, with various applications that require Internet access. Due to the connectivity of smartphones to the Internet, SPD may result in physical, mental and psychosocial problems similar to Internet addiction (Billieux et al., 2008). Neuroimaging research on excessive Internet use has attracted increasing focus. Studies have found that problematic use of the Internet is linked to both functional and structural brain changes (Yuan et al., 2011; Dong et al., 2012; Lin et al., 2012). DTI studies demonstrated microstructural abnormalities in the prefrontal area, corpus callosum, cingulum, inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus, corona radiata, internal and external capsules and parahippocampal gyrus in Internet addiction disorder (Yuan et al., 2011; Lin et al., 2012). Along with similar behavioral symptoms to Internet addiction, SPD has been found to exhibit similar white matter changes in some regions, including the corona radiate and internal and external capsules. However, since there are differences between SPD and Internet addiction in the specific sources of addictive content and concrete applications (Ha et al., 2008), the associated brain changes may vary. For example, the abnormal changes in the corpus callosum previously found in Internet addiction were absent in SPD. Additionally, the severity of addiction may also contribute to the divergence of tissue abnormality.
Relationship between White Matter Integrity and BehaviorIn the behavioral assessment, SPD subjects showed significantly higher scores on MPATS, which represented the severity of dependence. MPATS was modified from Young (1998) diagnostic questionnaire for Internet addiction criteria and specifically adjusted for SPD evaluation. We observed a significantly negative relationship between FA and MPATS as well as a significantly positive relationship between MD and MPATS in the internal capsule and fornix/stria terminalis in SPD subjects. These results indicated that SPD subjects with higher MPATS scores were more likely to have weaker directional organization in the motor and sensory fibers connected through the internal capsule and in the afferent/efferent pathway to the amygdala connected through the stria terminalis. Moreover, the relationship between white matter structural indices and behavior measures in SPD suggests that DTI quantitative parameters can not only be used as predictors of the severity of dependence, but also clarify potential targets for the treatment of SPD.
Evidence has shown that impulsivity plays a role in the development and perpetuation of addiction (Hwang et al., 2014; Aston-Jones, 2015; Haber, 2016). High impulsivity has been identified as a risk factor for smartphone addiction (Belin and Everitt, 2008; Balodis et al., 2012). In the present study, BIS scores were significantly higher in the SPD group compared to controls, which suggested a strong link between impulsivity and smartphone addiction predisposition, consistent with existing findings. FA and MD values were also highly correlated with BIS scores when considering SPD and controls as a whole. However, for each individual group, significant correlations between structural metrics and impulsivity level were only found in SLF. SLF is linked to the relay of information across relatively long distances among the frontal, occipital, parietal and temporal lobes (Koch et al., 2014) and is thought to be involved in executive functioning and emotion regulation (Yip et al., 2017). Our results suggest that subjects with higher impulsivity, particularly SPD subjects, may have more difficulty in conducting or controlling their executive and emotional behaviors.
LimitationsThere are some limitations to this study. First, there is no comprehensive and standardized measuring scale for the diagnosis of SPD or smartphone addiction. Moreover, the assessment of SPD and the measurement of personality factors in our study relied on self-report questionnaires. More objective indices may increase the reliability of SPD categorization and severity determination. Second, the participants in this study were recruited from a relatively small community with similar educational and social backgrounds, which restricted the context of smartphone overuse, which is known to have a wide range of reasons. Third, evaluation of psychological and other factors was not comprehensively conducted in this study. Although endocrinal, neurological and psychiatric illnesses as well as substance abuse behaviors such as drug, alcohol and cigarette abuse were excluded, emotional and mental conditions such as anxiety, loneliness, impatience and obsessive-compulsive behavior that may also be linked to SPD were not considered. Finally, TBSS analysis has a fundamental limitation (Korgaonkar et al., 2011). TBSS is not a voxel-wise method but a comparison of the skeletonized projections of diffusion metrics, which may lead to problems such as losing orientation information, ambiguous assignment of voxels lying in the merging areas of different structures, and difficulty in interpreting the results (Korgaonkar et al., 2011; Tang et al., 2016). However, TBSS can still provide a preliminary delineation of how white matter differs in the target cohort and its relationship to dependent behaviors.
In conclusion, this study investigated the whole-brain white-matter microstructural characteristics affected by SPD, identifying tract integrity by conducting TBSS analysis of DTI. The results demonstrated that SPD is characterized by white matter changes in brain regions involved in motion, sensation, executive functions and emotional processing. The correlations between the quantitative variables of white matter and the behavioral measures indicated that white matter integrity in critical regions may help identify a potential treatment target for SPD. However, from the present study, we cannot infer whether SPD caused the impairments in white matter microstructures or whether the variations in brain structures predisposed individuals to SPD. Future work including longitudinal information and more detailed analysis of psychological functions is needed to clarify the development of SPD.
Author ContributionsYH, XL and JC: conceived and designed the experiments; wrote the article; YH, JC and YZ: performed the experiments; XL, HL and JC: analyzed the data.
Conflict of Interest StatementThe authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.
Funding. The study is supported by the Scientific Research Program of the Shenzhen Science and Technology Innovation Committee (JCYJ20150401163247205, JCYJ20150521094519463, JCYJ20160429191938883), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No.81301285), the Key Laboratory for Magnetic Resonance and Multimodality Imaging of Guangdong Province (2014B030301013), and the Natural Science Foundation of Guangdong Province (2014A030312006). The sponsors did not participate in current study design, data analysis or writing of this report.
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Google to sell plug-in security key to replace passwords
Wed, 25 Jul 2018 16:35
Google Cloud CEO Diane Greene delivers a keynote at the company's 2018 NEXT conference.
Google will soon begin selling a plug-in security key meant to help replace using only passwords for logging into computers, an effective solution to the pervasive problem of phishing attacks, according to the company.
The key, which resembles a USB memory stick, plugs into your computer's USB port and bypasses the process of typing in your passwords. In addition to your password, the device provides a unique encryption key for you and your device. If someone else, say a criminal who bought stolen passwords from the dark web doesn't have it, that person can't access your information.
Google did not announce pricing for the device, but similar gadgets sell for at least $20.
Google has been using the security keys internally in conjunction with password logins for all of its employees, a spokesperson said. The result has been a total fall-off in account takeovers from phishing, or the practice of tricking someone into giving their password away via a link that looks legitimate.
"We have had no reported or confirmed account takeovers since implementing [the] security keys," the spokesperson said.
That's a compelling use case, as companies are trying to find a cure for an epidemic of successful, fraudulent phishing attacks by email.
Those scam emails include those that upended the Democratic National Committee in the 2016 elections, rely on the ability of attackers to grab password credentials and misuse them, a process rendered moot when the victim has a physical, second method of authentication in hand. More than 80% of data breaches are a result of stolen or weak passwords, and phishing was present in 43% of all data breaches, according to a study by Verizon.
The security key acts as a different form of two-factor authentication when logging into a device or service. Other methods of two-factor authentication include receiving a security code on a mobile device or using a biometric identifier, like a fingerprint. Those two methods have seen some pushback because of the added time to the login process or privacy concerns related to biometrics.
Google developed the keys in conjunction with the FIDO (Fast Identity Online) alliance, an industry consortium that focuses on creating better login alternatives, according to the company.
The key fob is now available for Cloud customers directly, but will be available for the general public "soon" via the Google's online store.
GlaxoSmithKline makes $300M investment in 23andMe, forms 50-50 R&D pact | FierceBiotech
Wed, 25 Jul 2018 21:50
GlaxoSmithKline has made a $300 million equity investment in 23andMe as part of a deal that pulls it close to the consumer genetics pioneer. The partners are contributing preclinical programs to a 50-50 collaboration that will use 23andMe's genotypic and phenotypic data to accelerate progress.
The agreement features multiple components. To get the relationship started, 23andMe and GSK are bringing existing programs into the collaboration. 23andMe is proposing to include its early-stage programs, while GSK is contributing its LRRK2 inhibitor. GSK thinks 23andMe's database of people who know their LRRK2 variant status will help the Parkinson's program enroll patients on the way to clinical proof of concept.
GSK and 23andMe will also work on earlier-stage programs. The partners plan to use 23andMe's data to jointly discover drug targets. A joint GSK-23andMe team will then prioritize the targets based on the strength of the hypothesis, chances of drugging them and clinical opportunity. GSK and 23andMe expect to jointly progress ''a number'' of targets every year. Each company can advance targets independently, too. The partners will split the costs and profits related to these activities.
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These activities are set to take place over the next four years. The agreement also features an option to extend the collaboration into a fifth year. If that happens, GSK will become 23andMe's exclusive drug target discovery collaborator.
GSK has also secured itself a source of data to support its internal programs. 23andMe has greenlit GSK to analyze the database to validate its portfolio and support enrollment in its clinical trials.
The expectation is that the genetic and phenotypic information 23andMe has accrued on the users of its testing service will facilitate more targeted R&D activities, from target selection through to the identification of clinical trial participants.
''We know that drug targets with genetic validation have a significantly higher chance of ultimately demonstrating benefit for patients and becoming medicines,'' GSK CSO Hal Barron said in a statement. ''Partnering with 23andMe ... will help to shift our research and development organization to be 'driven by genetics', and increase the impact GSK can have on patients.''
GSK indicated its interest in becoming such a genetics-driven organization when it teamed up with the UK Biobank and Regeneron to sequence 500,000 volunteers in 2017. But the Big Pharma rethought its role in the collaboration at the turn of the year, leaving Regeneron to forge ahead with the sequencing with the financial support of AbbVie, Alnylam, AstraZeneca, Biogen and Pfizer.
By switching its attention to 23andMe, GSK has furthered the turnaround of the genetic testing firm. 23andMe looked to be on the ropes when the FDA hit it with a warning letter in 2013. But the startup pivoted, stepping up its interest in drug discovery while working to resolve the standoff with the FDA. Deals with Genentech, Pfizer and a $250 million financing followed.
Tommy Hilfiger smart clothes track wearers - BBC News
Thu, 26 Jul 2018 12:38
Image copyright Tommy Hilfiger Image caption Tommy Hilfiger's smart clothes include hoodies, jeans and hats A new line of smart clothing from Tommy Hilfiger will track and reward users for wearing its products.
The Tommy Jeans Xplore range, which includes T-shirts, sweatshirts and hoodies, is embedded with a smart chip.
Once paired with an app, it will track users and reward them with points that can be converted into merchandise or concert tickets.
The clothing brand hopes it will create a "micro-community of brand ambassadors".
But it will also provide the brand with an unprecedented level of information on customers, said Liron Slonimsky, chief executive of technology partner Awear Solutions.
She told fashion website WWD: "Never before has a brand been able to understand how the consumer truly uses the product after it leaves the store."
'Ridiculous'The range is available exclusively in the US through the company's website and its flagship store in New York
Prices for the range, which also includes jeans, jackets, hats and bags, go from $29 (£22) to $99.
Reviews from the tech press were not altogether complimentary, with technology website Techcrunch describing the idea as "ridiculous".
"The company hasn't actually innovated here. At best, it's a loyalty program requiring customers to overspend in order to join," it said.
Technology blog network Engadget asked about privacy: "How much data do the tags and app send to Tommy Hilfiger, for example? And how much control do you have over that data, especially if you decide to bow out?"
Tommy Hilfiger is the latest fashion brand to dabble in smart clothing, which has had something of a chequered history.
In 2017, Google partnered with Levi's to launch a high-tech smart jacket that connected to a wearer's phone, enabling them to start or stop music, get directions or read text messages.
The price tag was hefty at $360 and the item could only be washed 10 times to preserve the embedded technology.
Kids in Cages
Mid Term Elections
Opinion | The Children of Flint Were Not 'Poisoned' - The New York Times
Mon, 23 Jul 2018 00:46
By Hernn G"mez and Kim Dietrich
Dr. G"mez and Dr. Dietrich are experts in toxicology and environmental health.
July 22, 2018 Credit Script & Seal FLINT, Mich. '-- Words are toxic, too. Labeling Flint's children as ''poisoned,'' as many journalists and activists have done since the city's water was found to be contaminated with lead in 2014, unjustly stigmatizes their generation.
Let's be clear. It's unacceptable that any child was exposed to drinking water with elevated lead concentrations. We know that lead is a powerful neurotoxicant, that there is no safe level, that the very young are particularly vulnerable and that long-term exposure to low to moderate levels of lead is associated with decreased I.Q.s and other cognitive and behavioral problems, including criminal behavior.
But there is no reason to expect that what happened for a year and a half in Flint will inevitably lead to such effects. The casual use of the word ''poisoned,'' which suggests that the affected children are irreparably brain-damaged, is grossly inaccurate. In a city that already battles high poverty and crime rates, this is particularly problematic.
[ANOTHER VIEW ON FLINT: How a Pediatrician Became a Detective]
In the mid-1970s, the average American child under the age of 5 had a blood lead level of 14 micrograms per deciliter. The good news is that by 2014 it had fallen dramatically, to 0.84 micrograms per deciliter, largely because of the banning of lead in paint and the phaseout of lead in gasoline, among other measures.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now considers a blood lead level in children of 5 micrograms per deciliter and higher to be a ''reference level.'' This measure is intended to identify children at higher risk and set off communitywide prevention activities.
It does not suggest that a child needs medical treatment. In fact, the C.D.C. recommends medical treatment only for blood lead levels at or above 45 micrograms per deciliter. Not a single child in Flint tested this high. This was a surprise for several visiting celebrities, who requested a visit to the ''lead ward'' of Hurley Children's Hospital.
Nonetheless, the reference level has been misinterpreted by laypeople '-- and even public health officials '-- as a poisoning threshold.
After Flint's water was switched from Detroit's municipal system to the Flint River, the annual percentage of Flint children whose blood lead levels surpassed the reference level did increase '-- but only from 2.2 percent to 3.7 percent. One of us, Dr. G"mez, along with fellow researchers, reported these findings in a study in the June issue of The Journal of Pediatrics, which raised questions about how risks and statistics have been communicated regarding this issue.
Moving from evaluating percentages to examining actual blood lead levels in children, we found that levels did increase after the water switched over in 2014, but only by a modest 0.11 micrograms per deciliter. A similar increase of 0.12 micrograms per deciliter occurred randomly in 2010-11. It is not possible, statistically speaking, to distinguish the increase that occurred at the height of the contamination crisis from other random variations over the previous decade.
For comparison, consider the fact that just 20 years ago, nearly 45 percent of young children in Michigan had blood lead levels above the current reference level. If we are to be consistent in the labeling of Flint children as ''poisoned,'' what are we to make of the average American who was a child in the 1970s or earlier? Answer: He has been poisoned and is brain-damaged. And poisoned with lead levels far above, and for a greater period, than those observed in Flint.
People were understandably dismayed by the government's apparent failure to act quickly to switch back the water once concerns were raised in Flint. But based on this more comprehensive view of the data, we are forced to admit that the furor over this issue seems way out of proportion to the actual dangers to the children from lead exposure.
Furthermore, the focus on Flint seems to be distracting the public from a far more widespread problem. Although blood lead levels have long been declining nationwide, there remain many trouble spots. Right now in Michigan, 8.8 percent of children in Detroit, 8.1 percent of children in Grand Rapids and an astounding 14 percent of children in Highland Park surpass the C.D.C. reference level. Flint is at 2.4 percent. A comprehensive analysis of blood lead levels across the United States reveals at least eight states with blood lead levels higher than Flint's were during the water switch.
It is clear that lead exposure is not one city's problem, but the entire nation's.
In the case of Flint, even when taking into account the change in the water supply, the decrease in blood lead levels over the last 11 years has actually been a public health success. The Journal of Pediatrics study found that between 2006 and 2015, the percentage of Flint children testing above the reference level decreased substantially, to 3.7 percent from 11.8 percent.
It is therefore unfair and inaccurate to point a finger at Flint and repeatedly use the word ''poisoned.'' All it does is terrify the parents and community members here who truly believe there may be a ''generation lost'' in this city, when there is no scientific evidence to support this conclusion.
Flint water crisis - Wikipedia
Mon, 23 Jul 2018 00:57
The Flint water crisis first started in 2014 when the drinking water source for the city of Flint, Michigan was changed from Lake Huron and the Detroit River to the cheaper Flint River. Due to insufficient water treatment, lead leached from the lead water pipes into the drinking water, exposing over 100,000 residents. After a pair of scientific studies proved lead contamination was present in the water supply, a federal state of emergency was declared in January 2016 and Flint residents were instructed to use only bottled or filtered water for drinking, cooking, cleaning, and bathing. As of early 2017, the water quality had returned to acceptable levels; however, residents were instructed to continue to use bottled or filtered water until all the lead pipes have been replaced, which is expected to be completed no sooner than 2020.
Synopsis Edit Governor
Rick Snyder and his administration have been widely blamed for the mistakes that led to the crisis, with numerous people calling for his resignation.
The Flint drinking water contamination issue started in April 2014 when Flint changed its water source from treated Detroit Water and Sewerage Department water (sourced from Lake Huron and the Detroit River) to the Flint River. Officials failed to apply corrosion inhibitors to the water. As a result, there was a series of problems that culminated with lead contamination, creating a serious public health danger. The Flint River water that was treated improperly caused lead from aging pipes to leach into the water supply, leading to extremely elevated levels of the heavy metal neurotoxin. In Flint, between 6,000 and 12,000 children have been exposed to drinking water with high levels of lead and they may experience a range of serious health problems.[1] Due to the change in water source, the percentage of Flint children with elevated blood-lead levels may have risen from about 2.5% in 2013 to as much as 5% in 2015.[3] The water change is also a possible cause of an outbreak of Legionnaires' disease in the county that has killed 10 people and affected another 77.[4]
Several lawsuits have been filed against government officials on the issue, and several investigations have been opened. On January 5, 2016, the city was declared to be in a state of emergency by the Governor of Michigan, Rick Snyder, before President Barack Obama declared it to be in a federal state of emergency, authorizing additional help from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Department of Homeland Security less than two weeks later.[5]
Four government officials'--one from the city of Flint, two from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ), and one from the Environmental Protection Agency'--resigned over the mishandling of the crisis, and one additional MDEQ staff member was fired. There have also been fifteen criminal cases filed against local and state officials in regards to the crisis.[6]
Snyder issued an apology to the citizens and promised to fix the problem, and then sent $28 million to Flint for supplies, medical care, and infrastructure upgrades,[7] and later budgeted an additional $30 million to Flint that will give water bill credits of 65% for residents and 20% for businesses.[8] Another $165 million for lead pipe replacements and water bill reimbursements was approved by Snyder on June 29, 2016.[9] A $170 million stopgap spending bill for repairing and upgrading the city of Flint's water system and helping with healthcare costs was approved by the U.S. House of Representatives on December 8, 2016.[10] The Senate approved it the next day.[11] $100 million of the bill is for infrastructure repairs, $50 million for healthcare costs, and $20 million to pay back loans related to the crisis.[12] On January 6, 2017, Snyder signed a bill that accelerates the public notice requirement for lead in drinking water to three business days, from the previous time of 30 days.[13]
On January 24, 2017 the MDEQ told Flint Mayor Karen Weaver that the lead content of Flint water had fallen below the federal limit. The 90th percentile of lead concentrations in Flint was 12 parts per billion from July 2016 through December 2016'--below the "action level" of 15 ppb. It was 20 ppb in the prior six-month period.[14] On the next day, Flint Spokeswoman Kristin Moore said that anywhere from 18,000 to 28,000 homes in the city still needed service lines replaced, and that the city was planning to complete 6,000 homes per year through 2019.[15]
On March 7, 2017, it was reported Flint water sampled by the state in February registered below the federal threshold for lead with 90 percent of samples at or below eight parts per billion, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality says. The MDEQ said February's water tests mark the seventh straight month in which city water was below the 15 ppb level enforced by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. February's testing also showed 95.8 percent of samples taken at homes at risk of high lead levels were at or below 15 ppb.[16]
Timeline of the crisis Edit The following is a sequence of events of the Flint water crisis.[17]
Pre-switch Edit 1967''2013 '' Officials for the City of Flint operate under a plan to use the Flint River as a backup emergency water source.November 29, 2011 - After the city declared a state of financial emergency three weeks earlier, Governor Snyder appointed Michael Brown as the city's Emergency Manager on November 29, effective December 1.[18] He was the first of four such managers who effectively took the place of the Mayor until 2015, when a Receivership Transition Advisory Board was appointed.[19]March 22, 2012 '' County officials announce plans for a new pipeline to reduce costs by delivering water from Lake Huron to Flint.April 16, 2013 '' The city approves the KWA contract.April 17, 2013 - Detroit terminates its water service contract.[20]2014 Edit April 21 '' After construction delays, the water source switch to the Flint River is completed. This date is considered the start of the water crisis.[21]August 14 '' The city announces a water boiling advisory for parts of the city. The advisory is lifted on August 20. A second warning is issued in September.[22]October 2014 '' Flint's General Motors Flint Truck Assembly plant discontinues using Flint tap water due to corroding engine parts from high levels of chlorine.[22]2015 Edit January 12 '' City officials decline an offer to reconnect to Lake Huron water, concerned of higher water rates.[22]January 21 '' Flint residents complain of health issues caused by city water. Residents bring bottles of discolored tap water to a community meeting.[22]February 26 '' EPA manager Miquel Del Toral detects that lead levels in the water at the home of Flint resident Lee-Anne Walters is seven times greater than the EPA's acceptable limit.[22]March 23 '' Flint City Council members vote to reconnect with Detroit water. Emergency manager Jerry Ambrose overrules the vote.[22]June 24 '' EPA manager Miquel Del Toral states in a memo that Virginia Tech scientists, led by water expert Dr. Marc Edwards, found extremely high lead levels in four homes.[22]July 9 '' Flint Mayor Dayne Walling drinks Flint tap water on local television in an attempt to dispel residents' fear of drinking the water.[22]July 13 '' In response to Del Toral's memo, a Michigan Department of Environmental Quality official tells Michigan Radio, ''Anyone who is concerned about lead in the drinking water in Flint can relax.'' [22]September 8 '' Virginia Tech's water study team reports that 40% of Flint homes have elevated levels of lead.[22]September 9 '' MDEQ spokesman Brad Wurfel states that Flint needs to upgrade its infrastructure but is skeptical about Virginia Tech's water study.[22]September 11 '' Virginia Tech recommends that the state of Michigan declare that the water in Flint is not safe for drinking or cooking.[22]September 24 '' Hurley Medical Center pediatrician Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha releases her study showing increased number of children with high lead-blood levels after the water source switch to the Flint River.[22]October 15 '' Michigan Governor Rick Snyder signs a bill for $9.35 million to re-connect to Detroit water and provide relief. The switch is made the following day.[22]December 15 '' Flint Mayor Karen Weaver declares a state of emergency.[22]December 29 '' MDEQ Director Dan Wyant resigns.[22]2016 Edit January 5 '' Governor Snyder declares a state of emergency in Genesee County.[22]January 12 '' The Michigan National Guard is mobilized to help distribute water in Flint.[22]January 13 '' Governor Snyder announces an outbreak of Legionnaires' disease occurred in the Flint area between June 2014 and November 2015.[22]January 14 '' Governor Snyder asks President Barack Obama to declare a disaster in Flint.[22]January 16 '' President Obama declares a state of emergency in Flint and authorizes $5 million in aid.[22]February 3 '' The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform holds a hearing on the Flint water crisis.[22]February 8 '' Governor Snyder turns down a second invitation to testify at congressional hearing on the crisis.[22]March 17 '' Governor Snyder testifies before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.[22]April 20 '' Criminal charges are filed against government employees Mike Glasgow, Stephen Busch, and Mike Prysby.[22]May 4 '' President Obama visits Flint and drinks a glass of filtered Flint water.[22]July 29 '' Six state workers are criminally charged as investigations continue.[22]December 20 '' Four officials are charged with felonies of false pretenses and conspiracy.[22]2017 Edit January 24 '' The MDEQ declares the city's water tested below the federal limit in a six-month long study.February 8 '' State official Richard Baird informs Flint residents that the year long state water bill subsidy will end, effective March 1, 2017.[23]February 16 '' The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) finds the first genetic link from Legionnaires' disease to Flint's water supply.[24]February 20 '' State considers ending bottled water distribution in the City of Flint.[25]March 1 '' State officially ends water bill subsidies for residents of Flint.[26]March 15 '' President Donald Trump meets with Flint Mayor Karen Weaver to discuss infrastructure funding for Flint.[27]March 16 '' Snyder creates the Child Lead Exposure Elimination Commission in an effort to avoid future lead poisoning outbreaks.[28]March 28 '' A federal judge approves $97 million in funding for Michigan to examine and replace lead water service lines for 18,000 Flint homes to be completed in a three-year time frame.[29]April 18 '' Weaver recommends staying with the Great Lakes Water Authority, which would reverse a 2012 decision that kickstarted the water crisis.[30] Governor Snyder agreed with her decision.[31]April 20 '' Six people are arrested at a town hall meeting regarding the crisis at a Flint church for disorderly conduct and interfering with police. The meeting was criticized as violating Michigan's Opening Meetings Act.[32]April 28 '' Weaver announces the city has plans to remove lead piping at 6,000 homes by the end of the year. The project is funded by a $100 million grant approved by Congress earlier that week.[33]May 3 '' A notice warning 8,000 residents that their water will be turned off due to lack of payment causes a controversy in the city.[34]May 17 '' It is reported that 128 blood tests in Flint may have registered falsely low lead levels.[35]June 14 '' Attorney General Bill Schuette charges five officials with involuntary manslaughter, and a sixth with obstruction of justice and lying to a police officer.[36]June 20 '' MDEQ threatens Flint with legal action if a water contract is not approved by June 26, 2017. Mayor Weaver calls for the Flint city council to approve a 30-year contract with the Great Lakes Water Authority.[37]June 26 '' After several hours of debate, city council decides to postpone the vote on whether to approve the 30-year GLWA contract until September 2017.[38]June 28 '' Michigan sues Flint alleging that the city council's failure to approve a recommendation to buy water long term from the GLWA is endangering the public.[39] Flint hired an attorney to fight the charges and renegotiate the contract with the state.[40]July 24 '' The Flint Fast Start initiative announces that over 2,500 of the approximately 30,000 homes needing new water service lines have completed pipe replacement.[41]August 11 '' MDEQ releases a letter stating that Flint has "significant deficiencies", which among other issues include source water, financial, distribution system, management and operations.[42]August 29 '' A study published in the American Chemical Society's publication Environmental Science & Technology says the Flint River was "a likely trigger contributing to the increase in Legionnaires' disease incidence."[43]September 15 '' Water tested from 138 Flint homes last month by Virginia Tech has registered lead levels well below the federal guidelines. Dr. Marc Edwards states it is likely the last time such sampling coordinated by Virginia Tech will be necessary in Flint.[44]September 20 '' A study conducted by professors David Slusky and Daniel Grossman is released demonstrating fertility rates decreased by 12 percent among Flint women and fetal death rates increased by 58 percent since the switch to the Flint river in 2014.[45]October 9 '' State prosecutors announce that Dr. Eden Wells, Michigan's top medical official, will be charged with involuntary manslaughter for her role in the water crisis, which was linked to an outbreak of Legionnaires' disease that caused at least 12 deaths.[46]October 9 '' Flint city council hires a North Dakota-based environmental consultant for $150,000 to conduct an analysis of the city's potential future water sources.[47]October 10 '' A Michigan Department of Health and Human Services study finds that the Flint River water did not contribute to the increase in infant deaths and stillbirths in Flint.[48]October 17 '' A federal judge orders the City of Flint to choose a long-term water source by October 23, 2017.[49]October 26 '' An EPA report finds fault with Michigan's oversight of Flint drinking water system, placing the most blame with the Michigan DEQ.[50]October 31 - City council votes to extend its contract with the GLWA for another 30 days while a long term deal is still pending.[51]November 21 '' City council votes 5''4 to sign the 30''year contract with GLWA.[52]2018 Edit January 8 '' MDEQ official Eric Oswald, DEQ's Drinking Water and Municipal Assistance Division director, tells the EPA he also has concerns about "long-term, technical, managerial and financial capacity" to handle the responsibility and that "the city faces numerous challenges in staffing its limited water treatment plant."[53]January 12 '' An MDEQ study for the first half of 2017 claims 90% of water samples were at or below 7 ppb of lead, with an official stating the city's "water quality is restored." Over 30,000 Flint water samples had been tested during the crisis.[54][55][56]February 5 '' A Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences study on the causes of an outbreak of Legionnaires' disease in Flint in 2014 and 2015 found that low chlorine levels were the cause.[57] Chlorine, which kills microbes responsible for the disease, also reacts with heavy metals like lead and iron. High levels of lead and iron in Flint's water may be responsible for the decreased amount of chlorine available.[58]March 12 - New data from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality shows the spike in samples from Flint elementary schools that tested above 15 parts per billion of lead, the threshold under the Lead and Copper Rule.[59]March 26 - A study published in The Journal of Pediatrics shows blood lead levels in Flint children ages 5 and younger hit an all-time low in 2016.[60]April 2 - A new study by the MDEQ reports that elevated lead levels were found in 4 percent of final water samples from Flint Community Schools. One school's results show lead levels at 100 ppb, six times the federal action level.[61]April 6 - The state announces the distribution of free bottled water in the city is ending. Water distribution centers will be closing in the next few days, although water and replacement cartridges will still be available.[62] In response Mayor Weaver says the city plans to sue the state so it can continue. The program was funded through the $450 million federal loan, which had not run out. The reasoning Michigan planned to end the distribution was due to testing of water resulting in low lead levels. The distribution continued until the supply ran out.April 7 - Hundreds of Flint residents fled to water bottle distribution centers to gather remaining free water bottles. Residents were still worried about drinking water from taps, since not all of the pipelines had been switched.[63]April 12 - A federal judge approves a $4.1M settlement to be used to test Flint children for lead poisoning.[64]April 13 - The Natural Resources Defense Council announced the results of tests of 92 homes with lead service lines showed the 90th percentile for lead was 4 parts per billion.[65]April 23 - Flint resident LeeAnne Walters is awarded the Goldman Environmental Prize for her role in exposing the water crisis.[66][67]April 26 - The EPA approves a $1.9 million grant to Virginia Tech professor Marc Edwards for nationwide research of lead contamination in drinking water. A groundbreaking step, resulting from the Flint Water Crisis, to ensure of the safety of future generations.[68]May 10 - Mayor Karen Weaver announces that Nestle will donate 1.6 million bottles of water (100,000 bottles of water per week) until Labor Day, September 3, 2018. Water will be available to Flint residents at distribution centers located throughout the city. [69]May 16 - Flint Department of Public Works Director Robert Bincsik sends a letter to the EPA saying there are still 14,000 lead service lines in the city, 15% more than previous projections.[70]June 15 - George Krisztian, an assistant director of DEQ's Office of Drinking Water and Municipal Assistance, said that Flint's 90th percentile for lead was 6 ppb in the first six months of the year, up since the state stopped bottled water deliveries to the city in April. The MDEQ also said it's ready to turn the testing program back over to the city.[71]July 11 - Elon Musk states on Twitter: "Please consider this a commitment that I will fund fixing the water in any house in Flint that has water contamination above FDA levels. No kidding."[72]Background Edit Some water service lines in Flint were installed between 1901 and 1920.[73] As with many other municipalities at the time, all of the service lines from the cast iron water mains to end users' homes were constructed of lead, because it was relatively inexpensive and easy to work. Lead pipes can leach lead into the water, especially if certain contaminants are present. However, the water from the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department, where Flint had obtained its water since 1967, had been treated well enough that the leaching from the lead pipes was at levels considered acceptable by state and federal environmental protection agencies.[74] There are an estimated 43,000 service lines in the city; these include 3,500 lead lines, 9,000 known galvanized lines, and 9,000 unknown service lines.[75]
Lead exposure across the U.S. has fallen dramatically since the 1980s, but no blood-lead level is considered completely safe. Children under age five, and especially infants and unborn children, bear the greatest risk of deleterious and irreversible health outcomes.[3] From 2012 to 2016, the CDC set a "reference level" of 5 micrograms per deciliter (µg/dL), in order to target for case management the 2.5% of young American children with the highest blood-lead levels. At 45 µg/dL, chelation therapy is considered.[76] Among the many ways lead can enter a modern American's bloodstream is through lead plumbing. Acidic water makes it easier for the lead found in pipes, leaded solder, and brass faucets to dissolve and to enter a home's drinking water. Therefore, public water treatment systems are legally required to use control measures to make water less acidic. Plumbing that contains lead is often found in buildings constructed in the 1980s and earlier.[77]
Financial emergency Edit From 2011 to 2015, Governor Snyder appointed four emergency managers to control Flint's finances.[78] After 2015, the city continued to receive financial guidance under the lesser oversight of a Receivership Transition Advisory Board.[79]
Switching to a new water source Edit In 2011, Genesee County initiated the switch to the Karegnondi Water Authority (KWA); the KWA would supply water to both Genesee County and Flint.[80] On March 25, 2013, the purchase of 16 million gallons per day from the KWA was approved by the Flint City Council.[81] The KWA informed the council that they could dig to Lake Huron (the new water supply) in 30 months using a bored tunnel.[82] Ed Kurtz, Flint's emergency manager, along with Mayor Dayne Walling and Flint City Council, approved the action and awaited the State Treasurer's approval.[83]
Following this decision, the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD) negotiated with Flint officials by offering to restructure water payments. Flint refused, insisting that KWA was the best water supplier. DWSD argued that Flint could not spend more money on a new water system and that Lake Huron's system was more efficient.[84]
On April 1, 2013, the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department demanded that the state deny Flint's request, as it would start a water war, which would essentially hurt DWSD. This press release also provided an option for Flint: the sale of raw, untreated water. Drain Commissioner Wright of Genesee County, accused the DWSD of media negotiation and then replied, "It would be unprecedented for the state to force one community to enter into an agreement with another, simply to artificially help one community at the other's expense...this is exactly what the [Detroit Water and Sewerage Department] is arguing..."[85]
On April 15, 2013, State Treasurer, Andy Dillon, approved the water purchase contract with the KWA.[86] Emergency Manager Kurtz signed the KWA water purchase agreement the following day.[87] On April 17, the Detroit Water and Sewer Department delivered its one-year termination notice after Flint rejected their last offer. The DWSD expected that Flint would reimburse the investments for the water system that benefited regional customers. Flint and Genesee County rejected such responsibility, but indicated their willingness to purchase pipelines.
In April 2014, to save about $5 million in under two years,[87][88][89] Flint started treating water from the Flint River instead of purchasing Lake Huron water from Detroit. Previously, the Flint River was the backup water source.[90][91] In June 2014, Flint's emergency manager, Darnell Earley, finalized the sale of a nine-mile section of water pipeline to Genesee County for $3.9 million. This pipeline fed Detroit water into the county, and after the Huron pipeline was active, would service the eastern part of the county, as well.[92] By December 2014, the city had already invested $4 million into its water plant.[93] On July 1, 2014, Flint emergency manager, Darnell Earley, gave operational authority to Mayor Dayne Walling over two city departments, including Public Works.[94]
It was later reported that by not adding a corrosion inhibitor, Flint was going to save about $140 per day.[95]
Early water contamination Edit After the permanent switch to the Flint River, city residents began complaining about the color, taste, and odor of their water. In August and September 2014, city officials detected levels of coliform bacteria, so residents were advised to boil their water. The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality determined that cold weather, aging pipes, and a population decline were the cause of this bacteria. According to Stephen Busch, a DEQ district supervisor, the city took appropriate measures to limit a recurrence. General Motors (GM) made the first complaint about the corrosivity of the water. GM stopped using Flint water in October 2014, after reporting that the water was corroding car parts.[96] General Motors requested to switch back to the Detroit Water source, which was later approved by city officials.[97]
Prior to August 2014, additional chlorine had been added to eliminate bacteria from the Flint River. This is likely the cause of a spike in THMs, an unsafe chlorine byproduct, in one of eight water locations.[98] Long-term exposure to this chemical has been linked to cancer and other diseases. Following this test, the DEQ placed Flint on violation notice, but did not reveal the information to residents until January 2015.
The employees of the Flint Public Library declared the water undrinkable after noticing that it was discolored, despite the city's claim that the water was safe. Since 2014, the library has provided safe water for the public alongside the state's most prominent bottled water provider.[99]
January and February 2015 tests showed that the city water met all health and safety standards.[100] Nevertheless, the Detroit water system offered to reconnect Flint, waiving a $4 million connection fee, but was declined by emergency manager Jerry Ambrose. DEQ officials indicated that there is no "imminent threat to public health,'' as the nature of the issue was "communicated poorly."[96]
Return to Detroit water Edit In March 2015, Flint voted to switch back to the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department. This vote was motivated by residential complaints and recommendations from Veolia North America to prevent the city from further violating the Safe Drinking Water Act. Jerry Ambrose, Flint's emergency manager and financial supervisor, disagreed with the reintroduction of the Detroit water source. Ambrose argued, "Flint water today is safe by all Environmental Protection Agency and Michigan Department of Environmental Quality standards, and the city is working daily to improve its quality."[100]
On March 2, 2016, Michigan declared that returning to the Detroit water system must be approved by the State. When approved, the city was granted an emergency loan of $7 million.[101]
In August 2015, local organizations observed that high concentrations of chloride caused the water to be orange and that the water contained high levels of lead. The lead levels were caused by the omission of orthophosphate; this caused excessive corrosion of the iron pipes. Consequently, the three organizations, "...delivered more than 26,000 online petition signatures to Mayor Dayne Walling, demanding the city end its use of the Flint River and reconnect to the Detroit water system."[102] Flint's water supply was switched back to Detroit water systems in October 2015.[103][104] Subsequently, Flint started adding additional orthophosphate to the water to rebuild the pipe lining.[105]
On October 8, 2015, Snyder requested that Michigan Legislators contribute $6 million of the $12 million for Flint to return to Lake Huron water. The City of Flint would pay $2 million, and the Flint-based Charles Stewart Mott Foundation would pay $4 million.[106][107]Jim Ananich, the State Senator representing Flint, demanded that the state refund the $2 million to the city. Ananich also requested further emergency funding from the state and long-term funding to address the effects of the lead contamination.[108]
On September 27, 2016, Flint officials announced that the city will continue to use Detroit water until a new stretch of pipeline is constructed and the Flint River is tested and treated by the KWA.[109]
On December 9, 2016 the MDEQ reported that more than 96 percent of water samples in Flint residencies were now below the EPA lead threshold of 15 parts per billion.[110]
On March 15, 2017, the Genesee County Water and Waste Services Advisory Board voted to construct a new pipeline; it would be a 7-mile, 42-inch connector to the KWA pipeline. The pipeline would allow the treatment of raw Lake Huron water, so the city of Flint can continue to buy pre-treated water from the Great Lakes Water Authority. The $12 million project will allow Flint to remain a customer of the GLWA until at least 2019.[111]
Lead exposure findings Edit In January 2015, a public meeting was held, where citizens complained about the "bad water."[112] Residents complained about the taste, smell, and appearance of the water for 18 months before a Flint physician found highly elevated blood lead levels in the children of Flint. During that time period, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality had insisted the water was safe to drink.[113] A study by Virginia Tech researchers (see section below) determined that the river water, which, due to higher chloride concentration, is more corrosive than the lake water, was leaching lead from aging pipes.[102] Dr. Mozhgan Savabieasfahani, an environmental toxicologist based in Ann Arbor, Michigan said this level of lead exposure is comparable with what the Iraqi people have experienced since the U.S. occupation in 2003.[114]
While the local outcry about Flint water quality was growing in early 2015, Flint water officials filed papers with state regulators purporting to show that "tests at Flint's water treatment plant had detected no lead and testing in homes had registered lead at acceptable levels."[115] The documents falsely claimed that the city had tested tap water from homes with lead service lines, and therefore the highest lead-poisoning risks; in reality, the city does not know the locations of lead service lines, which city officials acknowledged in November 2015 after the Flint Journal/MLive published an article revealing the practice, using documents obtained under the Michigan Freedom of Information Act. The Journal/MLive reported that the city had "disregarded federal rules requiring it to seek out homes with lead plumbing for testing, potentially leading the city and state to underestimate for months the extent of toxic lead leaching into Flint's tap water."[116]
In a new report released March 1, 2016, 37 of the 423 recently tested sentinel sites had results above the 15 ppb limit. Eight of the samples exceeded 100 ppb.[117] A recent study however showed that significantly more samples exceeded the 15 ppb limit in the voluntary or homeowner-driven sampling program whereby concerned citizens decided to acquire a testing kit and conduct sampling on their own (non-sentinel sites).[118]
Studies Edit See Education and research section for later studies.
Hurley Medical Center study Edit On September 24, 2015, Hurley Medical Center in Flint released a study, led by Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, the program director for pediatric residency at Hurley Children's Hospital, confirming that the proportion of infants and children with elevated levels of lead in their blood had nearly doubled since the city switched from the Detroit water system to using the Flint River as its water source.[115][119] Using hospital records, Hanna-Attisha found that a steep rise in blood-lead levels corresponded to the city's switch in water sources.[115] The study was initially dismissed by Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) spokesman Brad Wurfel, who repeated a familiar refrain: "Repeated testing indicated the water tested within acceptable levels."[115] Later, Wurfel apologized to Hanna-Attisha.[115] The team's study appears in the February 2016 issue of American Journal of Public Health.[3]
Hanna-Attisha's research found that the average proportion of Flint children with elevated blood-lead levels (above five micrograms per deciliter, or 5 — 10''3 grams per 100 milliliters of blood) rose from 2.4% (2013, before the change in water source) to 4.9% (2015, after the change in water source), and in some hotspot areas rose from 4% to 10.6%. Michigan Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program data agree an increase occurred, suggesting an increase from 2.2% of children (May 2013 '' April 2014) to 3.0% (May 2014 '' April 2015). Hanna-Attisha's data were taken from hospital laboratory records for children less than five years old. Hanna-Attisha's sample numbers were large, both for the pre-switch and post-switch time periods and for Flint children (1,473) and for children not exposed to Flint water (2,202). Elevated lead levels in children's blood was shown to be correlated with elevated lead levels in Flint water. Because lead screening is not completed for all children, such data may be skewed toward higher-risk children and thus overestimate lead exposure, especially in non''high-risk areas.[3]
Hanna-Attisha and Flint resident LeeAnne Walters were awarded PEN America's Freedom of Expression Courage Award on May 16, 2016.[120]
Virginia Tech water study Edit In September 2015 a team from Virginia Tech arrived in Flint. Led by professor Dr. Marc Edwards, an expert on municipal water quality, the team came to perform lead level testing on the Flint water supply, working under a National Science Foundation grant. Edwards had been contacted by Flint resident, Lee-Anne Walters, whose family suffered from extreme health problems, almost immediately following the switch to the Flint River water. Walters had attempted to act locally, but she was repeatedly ignored by city, state, and EPA officials.[121] The study found that Flint water was "very corrosive" and "causing lead contamination in homes". It concluded in its report that "Flint River water leaches more lead from plumbing than does Detroit water. This is creating a public health threat in some Flint homes that have lead pipe or lead solder."[102][122][123]
Edwards was shocked by the extent of the contamination, but even more so by the inaction of the proper authorities after being made well aware of the contamination. Edwards and his team found that at least a quarter of Flint households had levels of lead above the federal level of 15 parts per billion (ppb) and that in some homes, lead levels were at 13,200 ppb. Edwards said, "It was the injustice of it all and that the very agencies that are paid to protect these residents from lead in water, knew or should've known after June at the very very latest of this year, that federal law was not being followed in Flint, and that these children and residents were not being protected. And the extent to which they went to cover this up exposes a new level of arrogance and uncaring that I have never encountered."[123]
Edwards' team created a website, called "Flint Water Study", with the main purpose of informing, and creating support for Flint residents during the crisis. The site also summarized study results and became a comprehensive public database for all information related to the study.[124]
On January 11, 2016, the Virginia Tech research team led by Edwards announced that it had completed its work. Edwards said, "We now feel that Flint's kids are finally on their way to being protected and decisive actions are under way to ameliorate the harm that was done." Edwards credited the Michigan ACLU and the group Water You Fighting For with doing the "critical work of collecting and coordinating" many water samples analyzed by the Virginia Tech team. Although the labor of the team (composed of scientists, investigators, graduate students, and undergraduates) was free, the investigation still spent more than $180,000 for such expenses as water testing and payment of Michigan Freedom of Information Act costs. A GoFundMe campaign has raised over $116,000 of the $150,000 needed for the team to recover its costs.[125][126]
On January 27, the city of Flint retained Dr. Edwards to monitor the city's water testing efforts.[127]
On March 1, 2016, the Virginia Tech team was given $80,000 from an EPA grant to re-test the lead levels in 271 Flint homes.[128]
On August 11, 2016, Kelsey Pieper, a member of Dr. Edwards' research team, said 45 percent of residents that collected samples in July for the lead testing program had no detectable level of particulate lead in their water supply. She added the study yielded a lead reading of 13.9 ppb, just below the federal action level of 15 ppb. However, Pieper acknowledged the sampling, which was conducted by volunteer residents, does not fulfill the testing requirements of the federal Lead and Copper Rule. State testing of the most-recent six month monitoring period, which began January 1 and complied with Lead and Copper Rule regulations, showed a 90th percentile lead reading of 20 ppb, which exceeds the federal action level. Roughly 93 percent of samples from the third round of expanded state sentinel site testing showed results below the lead action level. Dr. Edwards called the results the "beginning of the end" of the public health disaster associated with the water crisis.[129]
On December 2, 2016, Dr. Edwards said lead wasn't detected in 57 percent of 154 Flint homes tested in November 2016 '' up from 44 percent in July 2016. He also advised people to continue using filters.[130]
Possible link to Legionnaires' disease spike Edit On January 13, 2016, Snyder said that 87 cases of Legionnaires' disease, a waterborne disease, were reported in Genesee County from June 2014 '' November 2015, resulting in 12 deaths (two more people later died from the disease). Although the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) said that there is no evidence of a clear link between the spike in cases and the water system change,[4] Edwards stated the contaminated Flint water could be linked to the spike.[131] In a second report released January 21, state researchers had still not pin-pointed the source of the outbreak.[132] The next day, an official at McLaren Regional Medical Center in Flint confirmed that there was a spike in Legionella cases in Flint and elsewhere in Genesee County, but noted that there was "no definitive data to support that McLaren Flint is the source of exposure for any patient testing positive for the Legionella antigen."[133]
The family of one of the people who died of Legionnaires has filed a $100 million lawsuit against McLaren.[134]
The Flint Journal obtained documents via the Michigan Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) on the Legionnaires' outbreak and published an article on them on January 16, 2016. The documents indicated that on October 17, 2014, employees of the Genesee County Health Department and the Flint water treatment plant met to discuss the county's "concerns regarding the increase in Legionella cases and possible association with the municipal water system." By early October 2014, the Michigan DEQ were aware of a possible link between the water in Flint and the Legionnaires' outbreak, but the public was never informed, and the agency gave assurances about water safety in public statements and at public forums. An internal January 27, 2015 email from a supervisor at the health department said that the Flint water treatment plant had not responded in months to "multiple written and verbal requests" for information. In January 2015, following the complete breakdown in communication between the city and the county on the Legionnaires' investigation, the county filed a FOIA request with the city, seeking "specific water testing locations and laboratory results ... for coliform, E-coli, heterotrophic bacteria and trihalomethanes" and other information. In April 2015, the county health department contacted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and in April 2015 a CDC employee wrote in an email that the Legionnaire's outbreak was "very large, one of the largest we know of in the past decade and community-wide, and in our opinion and experience it needs a comprehensive investigation." However, MDHHS told the county health department at the time that federal assistance was not necessary.[135]
Emails obtained by Progress Michigan in February 2016 indicate Snyder's office knew about the outbreak since March 2015, despite Snyder's claim he was only informed in January 2016.[136]
On March 11, 2016, Governor Snyder ordered an investigation of the MDHHS regarding the outbreak.[137]
On February 16, 2017, it was reported the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention discovered the first genetic links between city water and patients diagnosed with Legionnaires' disease in Genesee County. "The presence of Legionella in Flint was widespread," said Dr. Janet Stout, a research associate professor at the University of Pittsburgh and a national expert on the disease. "The (laboratory) results show that strains (of the bacteria) were throughout the water system." Virginia Tech researcher Amy Pruden published a study that found Legionella levels up to 1,000 times higher than normal tap water in Flint, and said finding a patient whose clinical isolates'--or bacteria'--matched the McLaren water sample without having been hospitalized there "suggests that same strain may have been elsewhere."[138][139]
On March 10, 2017, affidavits filed by experts in court supported the conclusion that Flint water was connected to the Legionnaires' disease outbreak. Dr. Janet Stout wrote in an affidavit: "(It) is my opinion to a reasonable degree of probability that the source water change and the subsequent management of the municipal water system caused conditions to develop within the municipal water distribution system that promoted Legionella growth and dispersion, amplification, and the significant increases in cases of Legionnaires' disease in Genesee County in 2014 and 2015." J. David Krause, director of Forensic Analytical Consulting Services, and Dr. Hung K. Cheung, a doctor specializing in environmental and occupational medicine agreed with her claims.[140]
On February 5, 2018, a study published in the journals Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and mBio concluded that the 2014-2015 outbreak of Legionnaires' disease in Flint was due to low levels of chlorine which, at higher levels, would have made it difficult for bacteria to replicate.[57] Because chlorine reacts with heavy metals like lead and iron, high levels of both in Flint's water may have been responsible for the decreased amount of chlorine available.[58]
Inquiries, investigations, resignations, and release of documents Edit One focus of inquiry is when Snyder became aware of the issue, and how much he knew about it.[141] In a July 2015 email, Dennis Muchmore (then Snyder's chief of staff) wrote to a Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) official, "I'm frustrated by the water issue in Flint. I really don't think people are getting the benefit of the doubt. These folks are scared and worried about the health impacts and they are basically getting blown off by us (as a state we're just not sympathizing with their plight)."[141][142] In a separate email sent on July 22, 2015, MDHHS local health services director Mark Miller wrote to colleagues that it "Sounds like the issue is old lead service lines." These emails were obtained under the Michigan Freedom of Information Act by Virginia Tech researchers studying the crisis, and were released to the public in the first week of January 2016.[142]
In October 2015, it was reported that the city government's data on lead water lines in the city was stored on 45,000 index cards (some dating back a century) located in filing cabinets in Flint's public utility building.[143][144] The Department of Public Works said that it was trying to transition the data into an electronic spreadsheet program, but as of October 1, 2015, only about 25% of the index card information had been digitized.[143]
On October 21, 2015, Snyder announced the creation of a five-member Flint Water Advisory Task Force, consisting of Ken Sikkema of Public Sector Consultants and Chris Kolb of the Michigan Environmental Council (co-chairs) and Dr. Matthew Davis of the University of Michigan Health System, Eric Rothstein of the Galardi Rothstein Group and Dr. Lawrence Reynolds of Mott Children's Health Center in Flint.[145] On December 29, 2015, the Task Force released its preliminary report, saying that the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) bore ultimate blame for the Flint water crisis.[146][147] The task force wrote that the MDEQ's Office of Drinking Water and Municipal Assistance (ODWMA) adopted a "minimalist technical compliance approach" to water safety, which was "unacceptable and simply insufficient to the task of public protection." The task force also found that "Throughout 2015, as the public raised concerns and as independent studies and testing were conducted and brought to the attention of MDEQ, the agency's response was often one of aggressive dismissal, belittlement, and attempts to discredit these efforts and the individuals involved. We find both the tone and substance of many MDEQ public statements to be completely unacceptable." The task force also found that the Michigan DEQ has failed to follow the federal Lead and Copper Rule (LCR). That rule requires "optimized corrosion control treatment," but MDEQ staff instructed City of Flint water treatment staff that corrosion control treatment (CCT) would not be necessary for a year. The task force found that "the decision not to require CCT, made at the direction of the MDEQ, led directly to the contamination of the Flint water system."[146]
The task force's findings prompted the resignation of MDEQ director Dan Wyant and communications director Brad Wurfel.[148][149] Flint Department of Public Works director Howard Croft also resigned.[150]
The Flint Water Advisory Task Force's final report, released March 21, 2016, found the MDEQ, MDHHS, Governor's office, and the state-appointed emergency managers "fundamentally accountable" for the crisis, saying the people of Flint were "needlessly and tragically" exposed to toxic levels of lead and other hazards.[151][152][153]
On January 8, 2016, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Michigan said that it was investigating.[89] A month later, they said they were working with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the EPA's Office of Inspector General, the EPA's Criminal Investigation Division, and the Postal Inspection Service on the investigation.[154]
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) "battled Michigan's Department of Environmental Quality behind the scenes for at least six months over whether Flint needed to use chemical treatments to keep lead lines and plumbing connections from leaching into drinking water" and "did not publicize its concern that Flint residents' health was jeopardized by the state's insistence that such controls were not required by law".[155] In 2015, EPA water expert Miguel A. Del Toral "identified potential problems with Flint's drinking water in February, confirmed the suspicions in April and summarized the looming problem" in an internal memo[156] circulated on June 24, 2015.[155]
Despite these "dire warnings" from Del Toral,[157] the memo was not publicly released until November 2015, after a revision and vetting process.[155] In the interim, the EPA and the Michigan DEQ engaged in a dispute on how to interpret the Lead and Copper Rule. According to EPA Region 5 Administrator Susan Hedman, the EPA pushed to immediately implement corrosion controls in the interests of public health, while the Michigan DEQ sought to delay a decision on corrosion control until two six-month periods of sampling had been completed.[155] Meanwhile, MDEQ spokesman Brad Wurfel called Del Toral a "rogue employee" for his whistle-blowing efforts.[158] Dr. Marc Edwards, who investigated the lead contamination, wrote that Del Toral had made a "heroic effort" that was stymied by the EPA and MDEQ spending months "wrangling over jurisdiction, technicalities and legalities."[159]
In an interview with the Detroit News published on January 12, 2016, Hedman said that "the recommendation to DEQ (regarding the need for corrosion controls) occurred at higher and higher levels during this time period. And the answer kept coming back from DEQ that 'no, we are not going to make a decision until after we see more testing results.'" Hedman said the EPA did not go public with its concerns earlier because (1) state and local governments have primary responsibility for drinking water quality and safety; (2) there was insufficient evidence at that point of the extent of the danger; and (3) the EPA's legal authority to compel the state to take action was unclear, and the EPA discussed the issue with its legal counsel, who only rendered an opinion in November. Hedman said the EPA discussed the issue with its legal counsel and urged the state to have MDHHS warn residents about the danger.[155] On January 21, Hedman's resignation (effective February 1) was accepted.[160]
Assessments of the EPA's action varied. Edwards said that the assessment in Del Toral's original June memo was "100 percent accurate" and criticized the EPA for failing to take more immediate action. State Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich, Democrat of Flint, said, "There's been a failure at all levels to accurately assess the scale of the public health crisis in Flint, and that problem is ongoing. However, the EPA's Miguel Del Toral did excellent work in trying to expose this disaster. Anyone who read his memo and failed to act should be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law."[155] Del Toral later told The Flint Journal, "I was stunned when I found out they did not have corrosion control in place. In my head, I didn't believe that. I thought: That can't be true...that's so basic." He also confirmed that unfiltered Flint water is still unsafe to drink, and doesn't know when that will change.[161]
On January 15, 2016, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette announced that his office would open an investigation into the crisis, saying the situation in Flint "is a human tragedy in which families are struggling with even the most basic parts of daily life."[162][163] To oversee the AG Office's probe, Schuette appointed Todd Flood as special prosecutor and Andrew Arena as chief investigator, who lead a team of nine full-time investigators. At a media roundtable in February 2016, Flood said that the investigation could result in involuntary manslaughter charges, if there was gross negligence leading to a death. Critics have questioned the objectivity of the investigation.[164]
In his annual State of the State address on January 19, 2016, Snyder announced that he would release all of his emails from 2014 and 2015 regarding the crisis.[165] The following day, the governor's office released 274 pages of emails. The New York Times summarized, "the documents provide a glimpse of state leaders who were at times dismissive of the concerns of residents, seemed eager to place responsibility with local government and, even as the scientific testing was hinting at a larger problem, were reluctant to acknowledge it."[78] Later that month in a class action lawsuit related to the crisis, Snyder and the MDEQ were served subpoenas for the release of additional emails dating back to the beginning of 2011.[166] Emails highlighted by Progress Michigan in January 2016 indicate that Michigan state officials were trucking in bottled water to some of their own employees stationed in Flint as early as January 2015 in regards to the unsafe levels of trihalomethanes, or THMs, a by-product of chlorine that had been added to the water to kill Coliform bacteria.[167]
On February 12, 2016, Governor Snyder released additional emails between his office and the MDEQ which about the Legionnaires' outbreak.[168] On February 26, Snyder's office released several thousand more emails regarding the crisis that date back to 2011.[169] An additional batch of emails was released on March 10.[170]
On January 22, 2016, two MDEQ employees (Liane Shekter Smith, former chief of the department's Office of Drinking Water and Municipal Assistance; and Steve Busch, former district supervisor in the division) were suspended, pending an investigation, as a result of questions regarding actions related to water testing in Flint. In response, Snyder said, "Michiganders need to be able to depend on state government to do what's best for them and in the case of the DEQ that means ensuring their drinking water is safe. Some DEQ actions lacked common sense and that resulted in this terrible tragedy in Flint. I look forward to the results of the investigation to ensure these mistakes don't happen again."[157][171] Smith was fired on February 5, 2016.[172]
On July 13, 2016, the Mackinac Center for Public Policy sued the MDEQ over the department's 121-day delay in responding to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests surrounding Flint, including a request for all emails from Shekter-Smith and Bush from 2013 through 2015 containing the word ''Flint'' and a list of ''any employees transferred, reassigned, or suspended as a result of the Flint water issues.''[173] The case was settled in November 2017, with a joint statement saying in part, "The parties also note there are circumstances for which theFOIA currently lacks certainty when documents must be provided. This lack of clarity can foster litigation over what response times are reasonable."[174]
On January 25, 2016, the Genesee County Commission approved a request from Genesee County Prosecuting Attorney David Leyton for $25,000 to conduct an investigation into the crisis. The money will be used to hire two special prosecutors.[175][176]
On March 4, 2016, a report released by the Michigan Auditor General's office called the MDEQ's Office of Drinking Water and Municipal Assistance "not sufficient" in its oversight of the state's Community Water Supply Program.[177]
Legislative hearings Edit Federal Edit On January 14, 2016 U.S. Representative Brenda Lawrence, Democrat, of Southfield, formally requested congressional hearings on the crisis, saying: "We trust our government to protect the health and safety of our communities, and this includes the promise of clean water to drink."[178] The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform began their hearings on the crisis on February 3. Democratic U.S. Representative Dan Kildee from Flint gave an opening statement. The first witnesses were EPA acting deputy assistant administrator Joel Beauvais, Dr. Marc Edwards, new MDEQ Director Keith Creagh, and Flint resident LeeAnne Walters (who alerted EPA water expert Miguel A. Del Toral to the problem).[179][180] On March 15, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee examining the Flint water crisis reveals the EPA, state, and municipal officials attempted to fix the situation behind the scenes according to hearing witness and former EPA regional administrator, Susan Hedman, who cited legal and enforcement challenges as the causes for her actions. Ex-Emergency Financial Manager Darnell Earley, Former Fint Mayor Dayne Walling, and Professor Marc Edwards also testified on that date's hearing.[181] Governor Snyder and EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy testified before that committee on March 17.[182]
On February 10, 2016, a separate committee, the U.S. House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee, held a hearing on the crisis in which Hurley Medical Center pediatrician Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha; Yanna Lambrinidou, president of Parents for Nontoxic Alternatives, an environmental health group; Flint schools Superintendent Bilal Kareem Tawwab; Eric Scorsone, an expert in local government finances from Michigan State University, and Flint Mayor Karen Weaver testified.[183]
On April 13, 2016, the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy and Energy Subcommittee on Health held a joint hearing on the crisis in which Keith Creagh of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, Nick Lyon from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, and Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha of Hurley Medical Center testified.[184][185]
State Edit On February 23, 2016, the Michigan State Legislature started a committee to investigate the crisis.[186] On March 1, one of its members, Senator Jim Ananich of Flint, introduced a resolution that would grant state lawmakers probing the Flint water crisis subpoena power over the Governor's office, which is immune to the state Freedom of Information Act.[187] The committee's first hearing was on March 15, 2016.[188]
On March 29, 2016, the state's Joint Committee on the Flint Water Public Health Emergency held a hearing on the crisis in Flint during which residents and local experts testified.[189]
State of emergency and emergency responses Edit Local Edit Flint Mayor
Karen Weaver declared the city to be in a state of emergency on December 15, 2015.
On December 15, 2015, Mayor Weaver declared the water issue as a citywide public health state of emergency to prompt help from state and federal officials.[119] Weaver's declaration said that additional funding will be needed for special education, mental health, juvenile justice, and social services because of the behavioral and cognitive impacts of high blood lead levels.[89] It was subsequently declared a countywide emergency by the Genesee County Board of Commissioners.[190]
Starting on January 7, 2016, Genesee County Sheriff Robert Pickell had work crews of offenders sentenced to community service begin delivering bottled water, water filters and replacement cartridges, primarily to residents living in homes built between 1901 and 1920, whose plumbing systems are most likely leaching lead into the water. The next week, he ordered his department to begin using reverse 911 to advise homebound residents on how to get help.[73]
On January 10, Mayor Weaver stressed to residents that it was important to also pick up the testing kits, as the city would like to receive at least 500 water test samples per week.[191]
On January 12, officers from the Michigan State Police and Genesee County Sheriff's Department started delivering cases of water, water filters, lead testing kits and replacement cartridges to residents who needed them.[192] The American Red Cross has also been deployed to Flint to deliver bottled water and filters to residents.[193]
On January 14, it was announced Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha will lead a Flint Pediatric Public Health Initiative that includes experts from the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, Hurley Children's Hospital, the Genesee County Health Department, and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to help Flint children diagnosed with lead poisoning.[194]
State Edit On January 5, 2016, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder declared Genesee County to be in a state of emergency.[195]
On January 6, Snyder ordered the Michigan Emergency Operations Center, operated by the Michigan State Police Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division, to open a Joint Information Center to coordinate public outreach and field questions from the residents about the problems caused by the crisis.[196] The State Emergency Operations Center recommended that all Flint children under six years old get tested for lead levels as soon as possible, either by a primary care physician or the Genesee County Health Department.[197] The state has set up water resource sites at several public buildings around Flint where residents can pick up bottled water, water filters, replacement cartridges, and home water testing kits. They also advised residents to call the United Way to receive additional help if needed.[198]
On January 11, Snyder signed an executive order creating a new committee to "work on long-term solutions to the Flint water situation and ongoing public health concerns affecting residents."[199]
On January 13, Snyder activated the Michigan Army National Guard to assist the American Red Cross, starting the next day,[200] with thirty soldiers planned to be in Flint by January 15.[201] The National Guard doubled their number of soldiers deployed to Flint by January 18.[202] On January 19, Snyder ordered more soldiers to Flint by the next day, for a total of 200.[165]
On January 27, Snyder announced the establishment of the new 17-member Flint Water Interagency Coordinating Committee to "make recommendations regarding the health and welfare of people exposed to lead, study Flint's water infrastructure and determine potential upgrades, review Flint Water Task Force recommendations, and establish ways to improve communication between local and state government."[203]
On March 2, Snyder announced the state will partner with the employment agency Michigan Works! Association to hire 81 Flint residents to work at water distribution sites throughout the city.[204]
On March 21, Governor Snyder released a 75-point relief plan for addressing the crisis, which includes programs in the fields of health and human services, education, water supply and infrastructure replacements, and jobs and economic development.[205]
On April 6, 2016, the state began offering up to $100,000 in grant money from the Disaster and Emergency Contingency Fund to local governments affected by the water crisis.[206]
On March 16, 2017, Governor Snyder created the Child Lead Exposure Elimination Commission and appointed Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha of Flint's Hurley Medical Center, Rebecca Meuninck of Ann Arbor, deputy director of the Ecology Center; Paul Haan of Grand Rapids, executive director of the Healthy Homes Coalition of West Michigan, Inc.; and Lyke Thompson of Ann Arbor, director of the Center for Urban Studies at Wayne State University as its members. "Eliminating the risk of child lead exposure will require the coordination and expertise of people across all sectors," Snyder said in the announcement. "Creating this permanent commission will help advance the strategies recommended to better protect Michigan children from lead exposure."[28] On the same day, Governor Snyder said will lower Michigan's "action level" from 15 parts per billion'--the federal limit'--to 10 ppb.[207]
On June 9, 2017, the MDEQ reported their May 2017 testing showed 90 percent of Tier I samples at or below 6 parts per billion of lead with 93.1 percent of the samples at or below 15 ppb.[208]
Federal Edit On January 9, 2016, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) sent two liaison officers to the Michigan Emergency Operations Center to work with the state to monitor the situation.[209][210]
On January 15, Snyder asked President Obama to grant a federal emergency/major disaster designation for Genesee County, seeking federal financial aid for emergency assistance and infrastructure repair in order to "protect the health, safety and welfare of Flint residents."[201][211][212] The following day, Obama signed an emergency declaration giving Flint up to $5 million in federal aid to handle the crisis.[213] FEMA released a statement that said:
The President's action authorizes the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), to coordinate all disaster relief efforts which have the purpose of alleviating the hardship and suffering caused by the emergency on the local population, and to provide appropriate assistance for required emergency measures, authorized under Title V of the Stafford Act, to save lives and to protect property and public health and safety, and to lessen or avert the threat of a catastrophe in Genesee County. FEMA is authorized to provide equipment and resources to alleviate the impacts of the emergency. Emergency protective measures, limited to direct federal assistance, will be provided at 75 percent federal funding. This emergency assistance is to provide water, water filters, water filter cartridges, water test kits, and other necessary related items for a period of no more than 90 days.[214]
After Snyder's request for a "Major Disaster Declaration" status was turned down, FEMA Administrator W. Craig Fugate wrote a letter to Snyder saying that the water contamination "does not meet the legal definition of a 'major disaster'" under federal law because "[t]he incident was not the result of a natural catastrophe, nor was it created by a fire, flood or explosion."[215] In response, Snyder asked Obama for emergency funding under FEMA's Individuals and Households Program, which provides housing assistance and replacement of personal property. He will also ask for money and emergency protective measures, according to the release.[216]
On March 3, 2016, Governor Snyder filed a second appeal for federal help to replace lead pipes and provide medical support and supplies for affected residents which said the estimated economic impact of the Flint water crisis is beginning to exceed $140 million.[217] FEMA rejected his request again on March 16.[218]
The federal response is being led by the Department of Health and Human Services, with assistance from FEMA, the Small Business Administration, the EPA, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of Agriculture, the Office of Preparedness and Response, and the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps.[219] Dr. Nicole Lurie, Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services for Preparedness and Response, was appointed to coordinate the federal response.[220][221]
The EPA issued a Safe Drinking Water Act Emergency Order and took over collecting and testing of water samples, while ordering state agencies to send them previously collected data, on January 21.[222] A week later they advised residents to continue using water filters and drink only bottled water.[223]
On February 12, the USDA extended their nutrition programs for Flint children diagnosed with high blood lead levels.[224] On the next day, Governor Snyder asked for additional help from Medicaid and the State Children's Health Insurance Program for affected Flint children.[225] The Department of Health and Human Services granted his request on February 18, providing an additional $500,000 in Medicaid expansion for affected Flint children and pregnant women.[226] On March 3, a waiver request to include pregnant women and people up to 21 years of age was approved.[227]
On March 1, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced plans to expand its Head Start Program to more Flint children affected by the crisis.[228]
On March 23, the U.S. Department of Labor announced up to $15 million in National Dislocated Worker Grants will help provide temporary jobs to assist with Flint's water crisis recovery. About 400 temporary jobs at water distribution centers throughout the city will be created through the grant. The workers will take the place of the Michigan National Guard soldiers who have been in place since January.[229]
On March 25, 2016, the EPA and FEMA extended the federal emergency until August 14, 2016.[230] The state took over the emergency response after that date.[231]
Criminal cases Edit On April 20, 2016, criminal charges were filed against three people in regards to the crisis by Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette. Former MDEQ employees Michael Prysby and Stephen Busch are charged with misconduct in office, conspiracy to tamper with evidence, tampering with evidence, a treatment violation of the Michigan Safe Drinking Water Act, and a monitoring violation of the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act;[232] former city water plant operator Michael Glasgow was charged with willful neglect of office, a misdemeanor, and felony tampering with evidence.[233] On May 4, 2016 Glasgow accepted a plea deal with prosecutors, admitting to filing false information about lead in Flint water and agreeing to cooperate in other prosecutions.[234] Exactly a year later, the case against Glasgow was dismissed, with prosecutors acknowledging his cooperation and the fact that he was the person who reported the crimes of his colleagues to the MDEQ.[235]
On July 29, 2016, Schuette charged six additional people with crimes in the crisis, three from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and three from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. From the MDEQ, Liane Shekter-Smith was charged with misconduct in office and willful neglect of duty; Adam Rosenthal was charged with misconduct in office, conspiracy to tamper with evidence, tampering with evidence, and neglect; Adam Cook was charged with misconduct in office, conspiracy to engage in misconduct in office, and neglect of duty. From the MDHHS, Nancy Peeler, Corinne Miller, and Robert Scott were charged with misconduct in office, conspiracy to commit misconduct in office, and willful neglect of duty.[236][237][238] MDEQ and MDHHS released a joint statement later that day indicating Peeler, Scott, Cook, and Rosenthal have been suspended without pay. Miller retired in April and Shekter-Smith was fired in February.[239] The cases were consolidated for preliminary hearing purposes on August 9, since the same witnesses will testify against all defendants. The Attorney General's office says it has 10''15 witnesses in each case and roughly 50 exhibits in total.[240] On September 14, 2016, Miller pleaded no contest to the neglect of duty charge and agreed to testify against the other defendants.[241] She was later sentenced to a year probation, 300 hours of community service, and fined $1,200.[242]
On December 20, 2016, Schuette filed false pretenses, conspiracy to commit false pretenses, willful neglect of duty and misconduct in office charges against former Emergency Managers Darnell Earley and Jerry Ambrose; and false pretenses and conspiracy to commit false pretenses charges against former Flint Utilities Administrator Daugherty Johnson and former Flint Department of Public Works director Howard Croft.[6] On November 28, 2017, Daugherty Johnson pleaded no contest to failing to furnish water documents to a Genesee County Health Department employee investigating a possible connection between Flint water and Legionnaires' disease outbreaks. He is scheduled to return to court in May 2018 for sentencing, facing up to one year of imprisonment or a fine of not more than $1,000.[243]
On June 14, 2017, Schuette announced new involuntary manslaughter charges'--15-year felonies'--against Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Nick Lyon, former Flint emergency manager Darnell Earley, former Flint Department of Public Works director Howard Croft, former Michigan Department of Environmental Quality Office of Drinking Water chief Liane Shekter-Smith and DEQ District Supervisor Stephen Busch. Also charged was Dr. Eden Wells, chief medical executive of DHHS, who faces allegations of obstruction of justice and lying to a police officer. Lyon was also charged with a single count of misconduct in office after being accused of having received notice of the Legionnaires' outbreak at least a year before informing the public and the governor, while Wells is also accused of threatening to withhold funding to the Flint Area Community Health and Environment Partnership unless the partnership ceased its investigation into the source of the Legionnaires' outbreak.[244] On October 9, 2017, Dr. Wells was charged with involuntary manslaughter and misconduct in office.[245] On December 20, 2017, Adam Rosenthal pleaded no contest to a public records charge, a one-year misdemeanor that's expected to be dismissed provided he cooperates in other prosecutions.[246]
Lawsuits Edit On November 13, 2015, four families filed a federal class-action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan in Detroit against Governor Rick Snyder and thirteen other city and state officials, including former Flint Mayor Dayne Walling and ex-emergency financial manager Darnell Earley, who was in charge of the city when the switch to the Flint River was made. The complaint alleges that the officials acted recklessly and negligently, leading to serious injuries from lead poisoning, including autoimmune disorders, skin lesions, and "brain fog."[247][248][249] The complaint says that the officials' conduct was "reckless and outrageous" and "shocks the conscience and was deliberately indifferent to ... constitutional rights."[249] The case was dismissed on February 3, 2017, with the judge stating his court has lack of subject-matter jurisdiction in the matter. Their attorneys filed an appeal on February 6.[250][251]
The legal doctrines of sovereign immunity (which protects the state from suit) and official immunity (which in Michigan shields top government officials from personal liability, even in cases of gross negligence) resulted in comparatively few lawsuits being filed in the Flint case, and caused large national plaintiffs' law firms to be reluctant to become involved with the case.[252]
On January 14, 2016, a separate class-action lawsuit against Snyder, the State of Michigan, the City of Flint, Earley, Walling, and Croft was filed by three Flint residents in Michigan Circuit Court in Genesee County.[253][254] This suit targets lower-level officials who (under Michigan law) do not have immunity from claims arising from gross negligence.[252]
A separate suit was filed in January 2016 in the Michigan Court of Claims against the governor and state agencies; that suit alleges violations of the state constitution.[252] In Michigan, the Court of Claims is the only court with subject-matter jurisdiction over claims against the state and its subdivisions.[255]
A new federal lawsuit filed on January 27, 2016, seeks the replacement of all lead service lines in Flint at no cost to residents following claims city and state leaders violated federal laws designed to protect drinking water. It is also asking the court to force city and state officials to provide safe drinking water to Flint residents and require them to follow federal regulations for testing and treating water to control for lead.[256]
On February 2, 2016, a class action lawsuit in U.S. District Court was filed on behalf of Beatrice Boler, a Flint mother of two, Flint pastor Edwin Anderson with his wife, Alline Anderson, and a company, Epco Sales LLC. against Snyder, the MDEQ, two former state appointed emergency managers and former Flint Mayor Dayne Walling that seeks more than $150 million in refunds and compensation for damages for "water that was extraordinarily dangerous, undrinkable and unusable."[257] It was dismissed on April 19, 2016, after the judge ruled the allegations fall under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act, which prevents challenges to the law being ruled on in U.S. District Court and states they must be addressed by the Environmental Protection Agency, and the case should be re-filed in the Michigan Court of Claims.[258]
Also on February 2, a lawsuit was filed in Michigan Circuit Court on behalf of four Genesee County residents who contracted Legionnaires' disease during the Flint water crisis, including one woman who died seven days after entering the emergency room with a headache. The suit names McLaren Regional Medical Center and several Michigan DEQ officials as defendants. Lawyer Geoffrey Fieger represents the plaintiffs.[259]
On February 8, 2016 the parents of a two-year-old girl diagnosed with high blood lead levels filed a lawsuit in federal court, naming as defendants the City of Flint, the State of Michigan, Snyder, Earley, and Walling.[260][261] The case was dismissed on February 7, 2017, with the judge citing his court has a lack of subject matter jurisdiction.[251]
On March 3, 2016, a new lawsuit was filed in state court by LeeAnne Walters, the Flint mother who informed the EPA water expert Miguel Del Toral of the health problems her family experienced after the water switch, against multiple corporate entities and three current and former government employees for their role in the city's water crisis.[262]
On March 7, 2016, another class action lawsuit was filed on behalf of seven residents alleging that tens of thousands of residents have suffered physical and economic injuries and damages. It argues officials failed to take action over "dangerous levels of lead" in drinking water and "downplayed the severity of the contamination."[263]
On March 8, 2016, a federal class action lawsuit was filed on behalf of 500 county inmates against the Genesee County Sheriff's Department in regards to the water quality at the Genesee County Jail. The suit seeks only an injunction that will order the sheriff's department to continue to serve inmates only bottled water and dry food that doesn't require water to prepare.[264]
On March 24, the City of Flint filed a notice of intent sue in the Court of Claims against the State of Michigan, the MDEQ and four MDEQ employees for their mishandling of the crisis.[265] A week later, Mayor Weaver said she has no intentions to proceed with a lawsuit, and the move is to "protect the future interest of the city."[266]
On March 25, a federal lawsuit filed by the ACLU asked for an order requiring water to be delivered to homes of people without access to transportation or who are physically disabled.[267] The case was settled a year later for $87 million (with an additional $10 million in reserve), which will be used to replaced 18,000 lead pipes by 2020.[268]
On April 6, 2016, a class action lawsuit brought by 15 Flint residents accused Governor Snyder and several state agencies and government officials of being in violation of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act in regards to the crisis.[269]
On May 18, 2016, the NAACP sued the state of Michigan and Governor Snyder, seeking compensation for property damages, pain and suffering damages, emotional distress damages and medical monitoring for Flint residents and businesses.[270]
On June 22, 2016, the Michigan Attorney General's Office filed a civil suit against engineering firms Veolia North America and Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam (LAN) who were hired to consult Flint water plant officials after the switch to the Flint River in April 2015. The lawsuit accuses Veolia and LAN of professional negligence and public nuisance. Veolia is also accused of fraud. Veolia called the accusations "baseless, entirely unfounded and [appearing] to be intended to distract from the troubling and disturbing realities that have emerged as a result of this tragedy," and then added, "In fact, when Veolia raised potential lead and copper issues, city officials and representatives told us to exclude it from our scope of work because the city and the EPA were just beginning to conduct lead and copper testing."[271]
On November 15, 2016, Chief Judge Richard B. Yuille, Circuit Court of Genesee County, entered a Case Management Order, wherein he appointed attorney Corey M. Stern, of Levy Konigsberg, L.L.P., ''Lead Counsel'' for all plaintiffs maintaining claims in the Circuit Court of Genesee County for personal injuries and property damage sustained as a result of the Flint Water Crisis. Attorney Wayne B. Mason, of Drinker, Biddle & Reath, L.L.P., was appointed "Lead Counsel" for the Defendants. Judge Yuille called for a small number of lawsuits related to the Flint Water Crisis to serve as bellwethers, cases that will be fully developed and tried to verdict with the idea that they will help attorneys in other cases evaluate whether to settle or take their cases to trial.[272]
On January 30, 2017, a class action lawsuit with over 1,700 plaintiffs against the EPA seeking $722.4 million was filed, charging them with a violation of section 1431 of the Safe Drinking Water Act, which states, "upon receipt of information that a contaminant that is present in or likely to enter a public water system or an underground source of drinking water, or there is a threatened or potential terrorist attack or other intentional act, that may present an imminent and substantial endangerment to the health of persons, the EPA Administrator may take any action she deems necessary to protect human health".[273][274]
Infrastructure repairs and medical treatment Edit On January 7, 2016, Flint Mayor Karen Weaver said that estimates of the cost of fixing water infrastructure in Flint, such as aging pipes, range from millions up to $1.5 billion. These figures encompass infrastructure alone, excluding any public health costs of the disaster. DEQ interim director Keith Creagh said that estimation of total costs would be premature.[275][276] However, in a September 2015 email released by Snyder in January 2016, the state estimated the replacement cost to be $60 million, and said it could take up to 15 years to do.[277]
On January 18, 2016 the United Way of Genesee County estimated 6,000''12,000 children have been exposed to lead poisoning and kicked off a fundraising campaign to raise $100 million over a 10''15 year span for their medical treatment.[1] On January 27, 2016 Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha started a fundraiser for the $80,000 needed for the medical treatment of Flint children affected by lead poisoning. Meridian Health Plan of Detroit has agreed to donate up to $40,000 in matching funds to the Community Foundation of Greater Flint for long-term needs Dr. Hanna-Attisha expects to arise from the lead issue.[278]
At his annual State of the State address on January 19, Snyder apologized again, and asked the Michigan Legislature to give Flint an additional $28 million in funding for filters, replacement cartridges, bottled water, more school nurses and additional intervention specialists. It also will fund lab testing, corrosion control procedures, a study of water-system infrastructure, potentially help Flint deal with unpaid water bills, case management of people with elevated lead-blood levels, assessment of potential linkages to other diseases, crisis counseling and mental health services, and the replacement of plumbing fixtures in schools, child care centers, nursing homes and medical facilities.[165] The Michigan House Appropriations Committee passed the bill the next day, while the Senate approved it on January 28.[279][280] Snyder signed it the next day.[7]
On January 21, 2016 President Obama gave an $80 million loan to Michigan for infrastructure repairs, but the amount going to Flint is uncertain.[281][282]
On January 28, 2016 Democratic U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters and Representative Dan Kildee proposed an amendment to pending federal energy legislation to add the special appropriation of up to $400 million to replace and repair the lead service lines in Flint and $200 million more to create a center for lead research in Flint. They also said the state could choose to match up to $400 million for its share of infrastructure repairs in Flint.[283] The newly amended bill was rejected by the Senate on February 4.[284] A new $220 million bill to address the crisis was proposed in the U.S. Senate on February 24.[285]
At a news conference on February 9, 2016, Flint mayor Karen Weaver said that the city would remove and replace all of the city's 15,000 water service lines containing lead piping. Work was expected to begin in March 2016. The project will receive technical advice from the Lansing Board of Water and Light, which removed over 13,000 lead pipes in Lansing, Michigan. Lansing mayor Virg Bernero volunteered to provide the assistance. Weaver appointed Michael C.H. McDaniel, a retired National Guard brigadier general, to oversee the group leading the project, the Flint Action and Sustainability Team (FAST). The city government hopes to complete the project within a year, using 32 work crews, with priority given to the most at-risk households.[286][287][288] The project is expected to cost $55 million, and the funding sources are not yet secured, but the city plans to seek it from local, state, and federal sources.[288][289] The crews began working on March 4.[290]
On February 16, 2016 the state hired Flint-based engineering firm Rowe Professional Services to begin the process of locating, removing, and eventually replacing lead pipes in the highest risk areas of Flint.[291]
On February 18, 2016 the state gave Flint a $2 million grant that will go towards replacing lead service lines.[292]
On March 6, 2016 Union Labor Life Insurance Company donated $25 million for lead pipe replacements in the city.[293]
On July 18, 2016 city council approved a $500,000 contract with three companies for the second phase of lead pipe replacements: WT Stevens, and Johnson & Wood were awarded $320,000 contracts to do no more than 50 homes each. Goyette was awarded $619,500 to tackle replacing lead lines at 150 Flint homes. The city is using $25 million in funding approved by the Michigan legislature in June that was allocated for replacing Flint lead tainted pipes for Fast Start's third phase which will replace infrastructure at an estimated 5,000 homes in Flint.[294]
On October 10, 2016 city council approved contracts to replace pipes at 788 more homes before winter.[295] The third phase will be funded using a portion of $25 million approved by the Michigan Legislature in June that was allocated for replacing Flint lead tainted pipes for Fast Start's third phase, which will replace infrastructure at an estimated 5,000 homes in Flint. Goyette will be paid $1,663,300.60 for replacements at 260 addresses in city wards two, six and eight. WT Stevens will be paid $2,306,384 for replacements at 488 addresses in city wards three, four, eight and nine.[296]
On October 17, 2016 the second phase of the program was completed on 218 homes. The project was completed by WT Stevens Construction Inc., Johnson & Wood Mechanical, and Goyette Mechanical.[295] By November 22, 2016, the total number of homes with new pipes was 460.[297]
A University of Michigan study released on December 1, 2016 stated a total of 29,100 lead pipes need to be replaced.[298]
On January 19, 2017, an engineer at the Flint Water Plant said the facility is in need of $60 million worth of upgrades, which wouldn't be finished until well into 2019.[299] On February 7, 2017, another report said the cost would be $108 million.[300]
On February 6, 2017, the Genesee Intermediate School District received $6.5 million for the Early On Genesee program to provide free evaluations to as many as 5,000 children up to 5 years old facing possible lead-related developmental delays from the state of Michigan.[301]
On March 17, 2017, Flint received a $100 million grant from the EPA for water infrastructure repairs.[302]
On June 30, 2017, the Genesee County Health Department's Healthy Start Program received $15 million to provide health and social services for people who have had or are at risk for lead exposure stemming from Flint water crisis.[303]
Long term effects of lead poisoning Edit Childhood lead exposure causes a reduction in intellectual functioning and IQ, academic performance, and problem-solving skills, and an increased risk of attention deficit disorder, aggression, and hyperactivity. According to studies, children with elevated levels of lead in the blood are more likely as adults to commit crimes, be imprisoned, be unemployed or underemployed, or be dependent on government services.[304][305][306] In addition, early-life exposure to lead may increase risk of later-life neurological disorders such as Alzheimer's disease,[307] and this risk is likely to persist into late life long after lead has been removed from the body.[308] A 2014 study by researchers at Risk Science Center at the University of Michigan, completed before the Flint water crisis came to light, estimated the annual cost of childhood lead exposure in Michigan at $330 million ($205 million in decreases in lifetime earnings, $105 million in additional criminal justice system expenditures, $18 million in health expenditures to diagnose lead positioning and lead-linked attention deficit disorder), and $2.5 million in additional special education expenditures.[304]
Because the developmental effects of lead exposure appear over a series of years,[309] the total long-term cost of the Flint water crisis "will not be apparent in the short term."[310] However, the cost is expected to be high. Philippe Grandjean of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, an expert in the effects of environmental pollution on brain development, said that "when calculated from the loss of lifetime income, the societal costs from lead exposure (across the United States) reach billion-dollar amounts."[310]
Political responses Edit Federal government Edit Dan Kildee, Democrat representing Flint in the House of Representatives, along with Republican Michigan Representative Fred Upton, sponsored H.R. 4470, the Safe Drinking Water Act Improved Compliance Awareness Act, which would ensure that the public promptly learns of excessive lead levels in their drinking water by setting forth how and when states, EPA, and public utilities communicate their findings. It has passed the House but has yet to be passed by the Senate.[184][needs update ]
Among the Michigan congressional delegation, only Representative Justin Amash, Republican of Cascade Township, opposed federal aid for Flint. Amash opined that "the U.S. Constitution does not authorize the federal government to intervene in an intrastate matter like this one."[311]
In December 2016, President Barack Obama signed Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act of 2016 (co-sponsored by Debbie Stabenow in the Senate[312]) which earmarked $170 million to address the Flint water crisis. The first $100 million was released in March 2017, by the US Environmental Protection Agency after President Trump had taken office.[313]
President Donald Trump's plan to fix the crisis in Michigan has been folded into his federal infrastructure plan.[314] Trump's infrastructure plan proposes $1 trillion in spending on new infrastructure by offering corporations who invest in infrastructure projects tax credits, with the corporations investing approximately $167 billion.[315][316] This plan would require a return of 9''10% to investors to remain feasible.[315] This plan has no direct reference to or specific proposal for the crisis in Flint and as of his election he has not proposed a direct federal intervention.[315]
State legislature Edit On January 4, 2016, citing the Flint water crisis, Michigan Representative Phil Phelps, Democrat of Flushing, announced plans to introduce a bill to the Michigan House of Representatives that would make it a felony for state officials to intentionally manipulate or falsify information in official reports, punishable by up to five years' imprisonment and a $5,000 fine.[317][needs update ]
On March 2, House Democratic leader Tim Greimel called on Governor Snyder to resign, due to his "negligence and indifference" in his handling of the Flint water crisis.[318] Also on that date, State Democratic Party Chairman Brandon Dillon called for Michigan Treasurer Nick Khouri to resign due to his role in a loan agreement from April 2015 that blocked Flint from switching back to the Detroit system.[319]
Presidential candidates Edit Hillary Clinton Edit Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton repeatedly mentioned the crisis during her campaign, saying: "The people of Flint deserve to know the truth about how this happened and what Governor Snyder and other leaders knew about it. And they deserve a solution, fast. Thousands of children may have been exposed to lead, which could irreversibly harm their health and brain functioning. Plus, this catastrophe'--which was caused by a zeal to save money at all costs'--could actually cost $1.5 billion in infrastructure repairs."[320] In a subsequent interview, Clinton referred to her work on lead abatement in housing in upstate New York while a U.S. Senator and called for further funding for healthcare and education for children who will suffer the negative effects of lead exposure on behavior and educational attainment.[321]
The crisis was also the catalyst for a town hall style debate in Flint between Clinton and Democratic rival Bernie Sanders on March 6, 2016, two days before the Michigan Presidential primary election. It was hosted by CNN anchors Anderson Cooper and Don Lemon. Both candidates called for Governor Snyder to resign during the event.[322]
Donald Trump Edit On January 19, 2016, then-Republican-candidate Donald Trump said, "It's a shame what's happening in Flint, Michigan. A thing like that shouldn't happen." After clinching the Republican nomination, Trump visited Flint on September 14, 2016 and toured the water plant and a Flint church, where he promised to fix the water crisis, and in a brief speech there, he blamed NAFTA for General Motors' abandonment of Flint and the area's subsequent ongoing recession caused by it, saying, "It used to be that cars were made in Flint and you couldn't drink the water in Mexico. Now cars are made in Mexico, and you can't drink the water in Flint. That's terrible."[324]
Other responses Edit Lead poisoning and aging infrastructure problems in other cities Edit An investigative report by Reuters released December 19, 2016 found nearly 3,000 areas in the United States with lead poisoning rates at least double those in Flint.[325] The Trump Administration blocked publishing a federal health study on the nationwide water-contamination crisis.[326]
The water disaster called attention to the problem of aging and seriously neglected water infrastructure nationwide.[327][328] The Flint crisis recalled recent lead contamination crises in the tap water in various cities, such as the lead contamination in Washington, D.C. drinking water (2001), Columbia, South Carolina (2005); Durham and Greenville, North Carolina (2006); Jackson, Mississippi (2015); and Sebring, Ohio (2015). The New York Times notes, "Although Congress banned lead water pipes 30 years ago, between 3.3 million and 10 million older ones remain, primed to leach lead into tap water by forces as simple as jostling during repairs or a change in water chemistry." Inadequate regulation was cited as one reason for unsafe lead levels in tap water and "efforts to address shortcomings often encounter push-back from industries like agriculture and mining that fear cost increases, and from politicians ideologically opposed to regulation." The crisis called attention to a "resource gap" for water regulators. The annual budget of the EPA's drinking water office declined 15% from 2006 to 2015, with the office losing over 10% of employees, and the Association of State Drinking Water Administrators reported in 2013 that "federal officials had slashed drinking-water grants, 17 states had cut drinking-water budgets by more than a fifth, and 27 had cut spending on full-time employees," with "serious implications for states' ability to protect public health."[328]
In the aftermath of the water crisis, it was noted that elevated blood-lead levels in children are found in many cities across Michigan, including Detroit, Grand Rapids, Muskegon, and Adrian. Although statewide childhood lead-poisoning rates have dramatically declined since the removal of lead from gasoline, certain areas of the state (particularly low-income areas with older housing stock) continue to experience lead poisoning, mostly from lead paint in homes built before 1978 and lead residue in dust and soil. Lead abatement efforts are slow.[329]
Accusations of environmental racism Edit Civil rights advocates characterized the crisis as a result of environmental racism (Flint's population is 56.6% African American per the 2010 census),[330] a term primarily referring to the disproportionate exposure of ethnic minorities to pollution as a result of "poverty and segregation that has relegated many blacks and other racial minorities to some of the most industrialized or dilapidated environments."[331] Columnist Shaun King, for example, wrote that the crisis was "a horrific clash of race, class, politics and public health."[332]
The Michigan Civil Rights Commission later reiterated this belief in a 138-page report titled "The Flint Water Crisis: Systemic Racism Through the Lens of Flint". Its writers said of it, "Policy makers, government leaders, and decision makers at many levels failed the residents of Flint," said Agustin Arbulu, Director of the Michigan Department of Civil Rights. "By not challenging their assumptions, by not asking themselves the tough questions about how policy and decisions play out in different communities, especially communities primarily made up of people of color, those decisions and actions '' or in some cases, lack of action '' led to the tragedy taking place in Flint." "We strongly believe that the actions that led to the poisoning of Flint's water and the slow response resulted in the abridgement of civil rights for the people of Flint," said Arthur Horwitz, co-chair of the Commission during the time of the investigation. "We are not suggesting that those making decisions related to this crisis were racists, or meant to treat Flint any differently because it is a community of color. Rather, the response is the result of implicit bias and the history of systemic racism that was built into the foundation of Flint. The lessons of Flint are profound. While the exact situation and response that happened in Flint may never happen anywhere else, the factors that led to this crisis remain in place and will most certainly lead to other tragedies if we don't take steps to remedy them. We hope this report is a step in that direction."[333][334] The Governor's office responded: "Some findings of the report and the recommendations are similar to those of the (Flint Water Advisory Task Force and) the legislative panel and the Flint Water Interagency Coordinating Committee," said Gov. Rick Snyder spokeswoman Anna Heaton. "The Governor takes the reporting of each of these panels very seriously, and appreciates the public input that was shared." The findings were no surprise for State Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich. "The presence of racial bias in the Flint water crisis isn't much of a surprise to those of us who live here, but the Michigan Civil Rights Commission's affirmation that the emergency manager law disproportionately hurts communities of color is an important reminder of just how bad the policy is. Now is the time to address this flawed law," Ananich said. He went on to say, "The people of Flint deserve the same level of safety, opportunity and justice that any other city in Michigan enjoys".[335]
Media responses Edit On October 8, 2015, the editorial board of the Detroit Free Press wrote that the crisis was "an obscene failure of government" and criticized Snyder.[336]
On December 31, 2015, the editorial board of the MLive group of Michigan newspapers called upon Snyder to "drop executive privilege and release all of his communications on Flint water," establish a procedure for compensating families with children suffering from elevated lead blood levels, and return Flint to local control.[337]
Some of the most important reporting on the crisis was conducted by investigative reporter Curt Guyette, who works not for a news organization but for the American Civil Liberties Union's Michigan Democracy Watch Project. The work of Guyette and the ACLU was credited with bringing the water contamination to public light.[338][339]
MSNBC host Rachel Maddow has extensively reported on the water crisis on her show since December 2015, keeping it in the national spotlight.[340][341] She has condemned Snyder's use of emergency managers (which she termed a "very, very radical" change "to the way we govern ourselves as Americans, something that nobody else has done") and said, "The kids of Flint, Michigan have been poisoned by a policy decision."[341] Maddow visited Flint and hosted a town hall with government officials and other involved experts on her show on January 27.[342] On October 5, 2017, Maddow won an Emmy Award for the special.[343]
Groups Edit In January 2016, the watchdog group Common Cause called upon Snyder to release all documents related to the Flint water crisis. The governor's office is not subject to the Michigan Freedom of Information Act.[344]
The hacktivist group Anonymous released a YouTube video calling for the arrest of Snyder.[345]
Prominent figures Edit Michael Moore, a Gennessee County native and director/producer of several movies related to Flint, called for Snyder's arrest for mishandling the water crisis in an open letter to the governor, writing, "The facts are all there, Mr. Snyder. Every agency involved in this scheme reported directly to you. The children of Flint didn't have a choice as to whether or not they were going to get to drink clean water." A spokesman for the governor called Moore's call "inflammatory."[346][347] Later, after hearing of the Legionnaires' outbreak, Moore termed the state's actions "murder."[348] Speaking to reporters in Flint, he emphasized that "this was not a mistake ... Ten people have been killed here because of a political decision. They did this. They knew."[349]
In a post on her Facebook page, environmental activist Erin Brockovich called the water crisis a "growing national concern" and said that the crisis was "likely" connected to the Legionnaires' disease outbreak. Brockovich called for the U.S. Environment Protection Agency to become involved in the investigation, saying that the EPA's "continued silence has proven deadly."[348]
On January 16, 2016, the Reverend Jesse Jackson met with Mayor Weaver in Flint and said of the crisis, "The issue of water and air and housing and education and violence are all combined. The problem here obviously is more than just lack of drinkable water. We know the problems here and they will be addressed."[350] Jackson called Flint "a disaster zone" and a "crime scene" during a rally at a Flint church the next day.[351] Jackson, in conjunction with the group Concerned Pastors for Social Action, held a major national march in Flint on February 19 to address the water issue, as well as inner city violence and urban reconstruction.[352]
On January 18, Nontombi Naomi Tutu, daughter of Desmond Tutu, said in a speech at the University of Michigan''Flint, "We actually needed the people of Flint to remind the people of this country what happens when political expediency, when financial concerns, overshadow justice and humanity."[353]
On January 24, actor and clean drinking water advocate Matt Damon called for Snyder's resignation.[354]
On March 7, actor Mark Ruffalo, head of the group Water Defense, visited Flint and called for more federal aid in the emergency and Snyder's resignation while saying, "It's an absolute outrage, it's a moral indecency."[355] Water Defense conducted studies on Flint water in the spring of 2016, claiming it is still unsafe for bathing or showering. Their findings were disputed by Virginia Tech water expert Dr. Marc Edwards on May 31, 2016.[356]
In the third episode of the Adult Swim comedy series Million Dollar Extreme Presents: World Peace, Charles Carroll (member of the group of YouTube comedians "Million Dollar Extreme") delivers a monologue where he describes how viewers can recreate the contaminated water in Flint. In his monologue, the right wing leaning Carroll discusses the concept of tyrannicide with costars Sam Hyde and Andrew Ruse and claims that the situation in Flint is a situation where the violent murder of Republican leadership in the state of Michigan would be justified.[357]
Education and research Edit During its winter 2016 semester, the University of Michigan''Flint offered a one-credit, eight-session series of public forums dedicated to educating Flint residents and students on the crisis.[358]
The University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) committed to spending $100,000 to research the crisis and possible ways to address it.[359]
Wayne State University in Detroit is leading a separate study with five other schools focusing on the Legionnaires' outbreak called the Flint Area Community Health and Environment Partnership.[360] On October 9, 2017 they released their preliminary analysis, which showed approximately 10 percent of all homes on the Flint municipal water system had chlorine levels less than 0.2 mg/L when measured at the kitchen faucet (bypassing filters when present) after five minutes of flushing.[361]
On April 20, 2017 Stephen Estes-Smargiassi, director of planning and sustainability at the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority, told a forum on lead water contamination at the Harvard School of Public Health that a chain-reaction of failures, including those by the financial managers, allowed the water crisis to develop as long as it did. He stated "What happened in Flint? Well, a firestorm of things that went wrong. (Flint) changed (its) source water, didn't do a good job on corrosion control in their treatment", and added "They had, about half of the homes had lead service lines. Money was more important to the emergency manager than people were. That's pretty clear from the evidence," and later went on to say, "State regulators could have picked up on this, but fell down on the job, maybe worse than that. We'll see what happens to those who were indicted. And the federal regulators could have picked up the problem, but didn't until quite late. All of those things, that firestorm of events, resulted in really awful water quality."[362]
On July 20, 2017, Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha and Professor Marc Edwards won Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Media Lab Disobedience Award for their work during the crisis.[363]
On August 7, 2017, West Virginia University published a study validating the correlation between the intake of lead contaminated water and the increase of fetal deaths along with miscarriages during November 2013 to March 2015.[364] The study was led jointly by Daniel Grossman of West Virginia University and David Slusky of the University of Kansas. The data was constructed over the course of two years focusing on the city of Flint and how the data differs among neighboring cites in Michigan. Data shows that after the city switched the water source to the Flint River, fetal deaths rose 58% among women aged 15''49 compared to control areas.
Other possible causes and responses Edit The crisis highlighted a lack of transparency in Michigan government; the state is one of just two states that exempts the governor's office from state freedom-of-information legislation.[365] A number of commentators framed the crisis in terms of human rights, writing that authorities' handling of the issue denied residents their right to clean water.[141][366] Some have framed it as the end result of austerity measures and given priority over human life.[367][368][369] Jacob Lederman, for example, contends that Flint's poisoned water supply, in addition to high crime rates, devastated schools and crumbling infrastructure, can be attributed to neoliberal economic reforms.[370]
Robby Soave, writing in Reason magazine, said that administrative bloat in public-sector trade unions was to blame for the crisis: "Let's not forget the reason why local authorities felt the need to find a cheaper water source: Flint is broke and its desperately poor citizens can't afford higher taxes to pay the pensions of city government retirees. As recently as 2011, it would have cost every person in Flint $10,000 each to cover the unfunded legacy costs of the city's public employees."[371] "Flint was a government-made disaster from top to bottom. Private companies didn't run the system or profit from it," Shikha Dalmia wrote in Reason Magazine.[372]
The crisis brought the National Water Infrastructure Conference to Flint in early March 2017. Michigan Governor Rick Snyder and Flint Mayor Karen Weaver spoke on the first day.[373] Dr. Marc Edwards spoke there two days later.[374]
Prevention Edit Failed infrastructure and economic decline resulted in the toxic levels of lead in the city's water supply.[375] According to an article published in the American Journal of Public Health, to prevent another contamination crisis, officials such as Governor Snyder should consult "professionals"[who? ] and make "qualified"[clarification needed ] decisions. "Snyder and his administration introduced a corrosive water source into an aging water filtration system without adequate corrosion control (APHA)."[376][377] "I wonder how many of the individuals who made those bad decisions were professional engineers, licensed plumbers, or water-treatment specialists?" asked Larry Clark, Sustainable Performance Solutions LLC.[377] In addition to professional consultation, EPA reform of water-testing techniques that concentrate on neighborhoods with lead pipes could "ensure that all cities get an early warning when lead levels rise to the danger point.", said Jeff Ruch, executive director of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).[citation needed ] Addressing[clarification needed ] the government's neglect in Flint's crisis from infrastructure failure due to the city's economic decline could prevent another municipal disaster.[378]
Upholding the Clean Water Act passed in 1972 would have prevented an outbreak of lead poisoning in Flint. This act "established the basic structure for regulating pollutant discharges into the waters of the United States".[379] The EPA has also updated its standards and created six goals for improving the drinking water of the nation. This plan was created in November 2016 to decrease the amount of pollution in water.[380]
Indirect mental health impact Edit As the water crisis unfolded, residents experienced considerable anxiety over the physical and mental health impacts of lead poisoning on both adults and children, stress, and anger and political leaders. Some adults felt guilty about giving children contaminated water, and in some cases family members stopped visiting. Some residents related the water crisis to depression and even thoughts of suicide; some sought treatment for mental breakdowns. The state government gave a $500,000 grant to the Genesee Health System for free counseling in addition to sending state mobile crisis teams and expanding Medicaid programs for affected residents. Volunteer social workers arrived from across the state, and the United States Public Health Service offered training.[381]
Donations of water and money Edit The Flint water crisis has attracted a substantial amount of philanthropic support from a wide variety of individuals and organizations, with donations often focused on bottled water or money. Celebrities including the singers Cher and Bruno Mars, rapper Meek Mill, comedians Dave Chappelle and Jimmy Fallon, and many others have made high profile donations to assist Flint.[382][383][384][385][386] A group made up of actor Mark Wahlberg and rappers Sean Combs, Eminem, and Wiz Khalifa donated 1 million bottles of water to Flint.[387][388][389] Support has also come from numerous companies, including Detroit based Faygo, grocer Meijer, The Dow Chemical Company of nearby Midland, Ball Corporation, among many others.[390][391][392][393]
As of September 8, 2017, the Ruth Mott Foundation and the Community Foundation of Greater Flint have directed a combined $33,480,494 to various programs to aid both children and adults affected by Flint's water crisis. This total reflects donations from many of the celebrities mentioned in this section, as well as from other groups and organizations. This money has gone to fund not only immediate aid for the Flint crisis (such as bottled water distribution), but also to build community organizations and infrastructure in Flint. This money has not gone to actually repairing the Flint water system, which remains the responsibility of local and state governments. The Ruth Mott foundation says much of their work is going towards helping Flint's children, in the form of programs for health, nutrition, and education. [394]
Celebrity and corporate donations Edit The United Auto Workers union donated drinking water to Flint via a caravan of trucks to local food banks, and an AmeriCorps team announced that it would deploy to Flint to assist in response efforts.[395]
The Flint Firebirds' rivals in the Ontario Hockey League made donations: the Windsor Spitfires donated 40,000 bottles of water, and the Sarnia Sting donated 15,000 bottles of water.[396]
Singer Aretha Franklin said she will provide hotel rooms and food for 25''50 Flint residents.[397]
The Little River Band of Ottawa Indians donated $10,000 to the Genesee County Sheriff's Department.[398]
Detroit Lions defensive end Ziggy Ansah donated 94,000 bottles to Flint,[399] and Terrance Knighton and his Washington Redskins teammates donated 3,600 bottles of water to Flint's Catholic Charities USA.[400] On the same day, rock band Pearl Jam and a large group of musicians donated $300,000 to the United Way of Genesee County, and started a CrowdRise fundraiser for donations from its fans.[401] Additionally, fundraising website GoFundMe promised to donate an additional $10,000 to the fund of the winner of a week-long contest that ended on January 29 between a large number of groups trying to raise money for Flint,[402] while Anheuser-Busch donated 51,744 cans of water to the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan.[403]
The Detroit Pistons donated $500,000 to the United Way of Genesee County from their FlintNOW fundraising campaign from the previous night's game.[404]
Walmart, The Coca-Cola Company, Nestl(C) and PepsiCo announced that they would collectively donate a total of 176 truckloads of water (up to 6.5 million bottles) through the end of 2016.[405][406] On the same day, singer Madonna (a native of nearby Bay City) donated $10,000 to the Community Foundation of Greater Flint,[407] and singer Kem donated $10,000 to the Salvation Army of Genesee County.[408] Also, rapper The Game donated $1,000,000 in water bottles to Flint,[409] while FedEx, along with the city of Memphis, Tennessee donated 12,000 bottles of water to the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan.[410]
A group of nine banks collectively donated $600,000 to the Community Foundation of Greater Flint.[411]
Craigslist founder Craig Newmark donated $50,000 and 25,000 cases of water to the United Way of Southeastern Michigan.[412]
The Michigan State Medical Society donated $10,000 to the Community Foundation of Greater Flint.[413]
The LaPorte County, Indiana Sheriff's Office donated 2,300 cases of water to a church in Flint,[414] the Northwest Indiana Truck Club donated 3,500 cases of water to Flint,[415] and NFL player and Flint native Brandon Carr donated $100,000 to the Community Foundation of Greater Flint and $10,000 to the Safe Water Safe Homes Fund.[416]
The police fraternity Brothers Before Others donated 330 cases of water bottles, 361 one-gallon (1.3 m") water jugs and $1,000 to the Flint Police Department.[417] The charity Resources Unite of Dubuque, Iowa collected 300,000 bottles of water for Flint.[418]
A group of students from Ohio State University donated 10,000 pounds of water to Flint's Catholic Charities USA.[419]
Amtrak donated 30,000 bottles of water to Flint.[420]
Consumers Energy, the area's gas and electricity provider, has donated $50,000 during the crisis ($25,000 to the Community Foundation of Greater Flint and $25,000 to the United Way of Genesee County), and its employees are delivering water to Flint homes. It is also matching donations from employees and retirees, up to $25,000.[421]
The Michigan Masonic Charitable Foundation donated $100,000 to the Community Foundation of Greater Flint.[422]
The Dr Pepper Snapple Group donated 41,000 bottles of water to the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan.[423]
Platinum Equity's FlintNOW Foundation, in conjunction with Huntington Bank, started a $25 million economic development program that will loan aid money to Flint businesses affected by the water crisis.[424]
Two prisons in Northern Michigan donated 29,000 bottles of water to the Genesee Intermediate School District.[425]
The Kresge Foundation donated $2 million to the Community Foundation of Greater Flint.[426]
Donations from religious organizations and groups Edit Tabernacle Baptist Church in Knoxville, Tennessee donated 70,000 pounds of water to Flint.[427]
The United Church of Christ and the Disciples of Christ, two Flint-area Protestant denominations worked together to launch a water distribution effort.[428]
Flint Jewish Federation worked in partnership with the American Red Cross to help get clean water to homes.[428]
In January 2016, Muslim organizations, including Who is Hussain, Life for Relief and Development, Islamic Relief USA, and the Michigan Muslim Community Council donated and distributed thousands of bottles of water to Flint-area residents.[428] By May, Michigan's Muslim community had donated more than one million bottles of water to Flint-area residents.[429][430]
Fundraising events Edit Comedians George Lopez, Eddie Griffin, Cedric the Entertainer, Charlie Murphy, and D. L. Hughley performed stand up comedy in Flint's Dort Federal Credit Union Event Center as part of The Comedy Get Down Tour, with the proceeds to go to the Community Foundation of Greater Flint.[431]
$50,000 raised at the Meridian Winter Festival in Detroit was donated to the Community Foundation of Greater Flint.[432]
On February 28, 2016, coinciding with the 88th Academy Awards ceremony, Creed director Ryan Coogler and Selma director Ava DuVernay held a charity event at the Whiting Auditorium in Flint. The event, titled #JusticeForFlint, was live-streamed by Sean Combs' network. Hosted by comedian Hannibal Buress, it featured singers Janelle Mone and Ledisi, as well as actor-activists Jesse Williams and Jussie Smollett, amongst others.[433] The event raised $156,000.[434]
A telethon led by Detroit TV station WDIV and simulcast on Michigan's other NBC affiliates raised $566,982 for the Community Foundation of Greater Flint.[435]Detroit Pistons owner and Flint native Tom Gores matched the amount, doubling the amount raised to $1,133,964.[436]
A benefit concert to support children affected by the crisis presented by Flint country music station Nash FM 95.1 featuring Granger Smith and Tegan Marie was held at the Dort Federal Center in Flint on April 7, with the proceeds going to Hurley's Children Hospital.[437]
A charity celebrity basketball game called Hoop 4 Water featuring former Michigan State Spartans players Morris Peterson (from Flint), Zach Randolph and Jason Richardson, Coach Tom Izzo, and rapper Snoop Dogg was played in Flint on May 22.[438] Izzo and Snoop Dogg agreed to return to Flint for the same event in 2017, along with other celebrities, held on May 20.[439]
Fight for Flint was a boxing fundraiser at Flint's Dort Federal Event Center featuring Tommy "The Hitman" Hearns, along with brothers Andre Dirrell and Anthony Dirrell; Mike Hernandez, Troy Albrine Jr., Rakim Johnson; and female boxers Jackie Kallen, Fatuma Zarika and Alicia Ashley. It was sponsored by Don Elbaum Promotions and the Catholic Charities of Shiawassee and Genesee Counties.[440]
A fundraiser called Fashion For Flint held in late January 2017 helped raised money to purchase 10,000 bottles of water.[441]
In popular culture Edit Film and television Edit The Flint crisis has been the subject of many documentaries, as well as fictional dramatizations. Flint, a television film based on the crisis starring Queen Latifah, Betsy Brandt, Jill Scott, Marin Ireland and Rob Morrow premiered in October 2017.[442]Lead and Copper, a documentary on the Flint water contamination crisis, was released in 2017. [443]
On March 8, 2016, the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan released "Here's to Flint 2016" about the water crisis.[444]
On June 8, 2016, Russian channel RT Documentary released "Murky Waters of Flint. How a whole city was poisoned" about the crisis.[445]
On March 8, 2017, television station WDIV-TV in Detroit aired a documentary called "Failure In Flint: The Crisis Continues".[446]
On May 31, 2017, the PBS show Nova aired an episode about the water crisis called "Poisoned Water".[447] The Flint Institute of Arts screened the episode early, on May 23.[448]
On March 2, 2018, Netflix released Flint Town which covers the Flint water crisis.[449]
Books Edit On June 22, 2016, Bridge Magazine, The Center for Michigan, and Mission Point Press published a book about the crisis called "Poison on Tap". It has been described as a "riveting, authoritative account of the government blunders, mendacity and arrogance" that caused the crisis.[450]
In May 2016, it was announced that Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha was in the process of writing a "dramatic first-hand account" of the Flint Water Crisis.[451] The book, titled, "What the Eyes Don't See: A Story of Crisis, Resistance, and Hope in an American City" was released on June 19, 2018 by Random House imprint One World by editor-in-chief Chris Jackson.[452][453]Anonymous Content optioned the book rights to make a movie, to be produced by Michael Sugar and Rosalie Swedlin, and written/directed by Cherien Dabis.[454]
Music Edit On January 28, 2016, rapper Jon Connor from Flint released a song titled "Fresh Water for Flint" about the crisis and how it has affected his family.[455]
In the spring of 2016, Associate professor of conducting at the University of Colorado Boulder, Andrea Ramsey, in reaction to the Flint water crisis, composed a choral song titled, "But a Flint Holds Fire". Children choirs throughout the country have performed the song. Many of the lyrics for the piece come from Christina Rossetti's 19th-century poem, titled ''Flint.'' [456]
Theater Edit Michigan native and actor Jeff Daniels directed a play called Flint, a "heartfelt and brutally honest story of two couples struggling to endure and believe in the American dream" set in 2014, at his Purple Rose Theatre in Chelsea, Michigan. It ran from January 18 through March 10, 2018.[457]
See also Edit References Edit ^ a b c United Way estimates cost of helping children $100M WNEM-TV, 18 January, 2016 ^ State: McLaren Flint was primary source of Legionnaires' outbreak The Detroit Free Press, May 30, 2018 ^ a b c d Hanna-Attisha, Mona; LaChance, Jenny; Sadler, Richard Casey; Champney Schnepp, Allison (December 21, 2015). "Elevated Blood Lead Levels in Children Associated With the Flint Drinking Water Crisis: A Spatial Analysis of Risk and Public Health Response". American Journal of Public Health. 106 (2): 283''290. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2015.303003. ISSN 0090-0036. PMC 4985856'¯ . PMID 26691115. ^ a b Al Hajal, Khalil (January 13, 2016). "87 cases, 10 fatal, of Legionella bacteria found in Flint area; connection to water crisis unclear". The Flint Journal. Michigan Live . Retrieved January 30, 2016 . ^ "President Obama Signs Michigan Emergency Declaration" (Official White House press release). January 16, 2016 . Retrieved January 16, 2016 . ^ a b Two former Flint emergency managers charged with water crisis crimes The Flint Journal via, December 20, 2016 ^ a b Lawler, Emily (January 29, 2016). "Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder signs $28M aid bill for Flint water crisis". Michigan Live . Retrieved January 29, 2016 . ^ "Gov. Snyder signs $30 million budget bill". WJRT-TV. February 27, 2016 . Retrieved February 27, 2016 . ^ "Michigan governor signs budget with $165M more for Flint". WJRT-TV. June 29, 2016 . Retrieved June 29, 2016 . ^ Halfway there: U.S. House approves spending bill, Flint water funding The Flint Journal via, December 9, 2016 ^ Senate passes bills containing aid for Flint The Detroit News, December 10, 2016 ^ $170 million federal funding package for Flint, communities affected by lead WJRT-TV, December 15, 2016 ^ In Flint, Gov. Rick Snyder signs contaminated water public notice bill The Detroit Free Press, January 6, 2017 ^ Flint water has fallen below federal lead limit The Associated Press via, January 24, 2017 ^ Officials say it may take 3 more years to replace Flint's water pipes The Flint Journal via, January 25, 2017 ^ State says February testing showed Flint water met EPA lead rule The Flint Journal via, March 7, 2017 ^ CNN Library (February 2, 2017). "Flint Water Crisis Fast Facts". . Retrieved February 9, 2017 . ^ Longley, Kristin (November 29, 2011). "Former Acting Mayor Michael Brown named Flint's emergency manager". Flint Journal . Retrieved November 29, 2011 . ^ Powers returned to Flint mayor, no staffing changes announced The Flint Journal via MLive, January 22, 2016 ^ Adams, Dominic (April 25, 2014). "Closing the valve on history: Flint cuts water flow from Detroit after nearly 50 years". Flint Journal. MLive Media Group . Retrieved November 13, 2017 . Detroit terminated its contract with the city effective April 17 last year when Flint decided to purchase water through the KWA. ^ "Lead-Laced Water In Flint: A Step-By-Step Look At The Makings Of A Crisis". . Retrieved May 8, 2018 . ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab Library, CNN. "Flint Water Crisis Fast Facts". CNN . Retrieved May 8, 2018 . ^ Oosting, Jonathan (February 13, 2017). "Flint urging state to reverse water bill credit cutoff". . Retrieved February 13, 2017 . ^ Ron, Fonger (February 16, 2017). "CDC finds first genetic link between Legionnaires' outbreak, Flint water". . Retrieved February 23, 2017 . ^ CARMODY, STEVE (February 20, 2017). "It's unclear how much longer the state will distribute bottled water in Flint". . Retrieved February 23, 2017 . ^ KENNEDY, MERRIT (March 1, 2017). "Michigan Ends Water Subsidies To Flint Despite Mayor's Opposition". . Retrieved March 3, 2017 . ^ Flint Mayor to meet with President during MI trip WNEM-TV, March 17, 2017 ^ a b Gov. Snyder creates child lead exposure commission The Flint Journal via, March 16, 2017 ^ Kennedy, Merrit (March 28, 2017). "Judge Approves $97 Million Settlement To Replace Flint's Water Lines". . Retrieved March 30, 2017 . ^ Eggert, David (April 18, 2017). "Developing '' In reversal, Flint mayor recommends staying with Detroit water system for long haul. Says risky to switch water source again". ^ Gov. Snyder supports Flint mayor's recommendation to stay on Detroit water The Flint Journal via, April 18, 2017 ^ DePaolo, Joe (April 21, 2017). "Police Arrest Six at Flint Water Crisis Town Hall". . Retrieved April 24, 2017 . ^ Service line replacement work about to ratchet up in Flint The Flint Journal via, April 28, 2017 ^ Flint residents warned they could lose their homes for unpaid water bills The Flint Journal via, May 5, 2017 ^ 128 blood tests in Flint may have registered falsely low lead levels The Flint Journal via, May 17, 2017 ^ Glenza, Jessica (June 14, 2017). "Flint water crisis: five officials charged with involuntary manslaughter". The Guardian . Retrieved June 14, 2017 . ^ Future of Flint water in the air as deadline to decide looms closer The Flint Journal via, June 20, 2017 ^ Council approves short-term Flint water contract following fiery debate The Flint Journal via, June 26, 2017 ^ Michigan sues Flint for not approving water deal WJRT-TV (ABC 12), June 28, 2017 ^ Mount Morris attorney to rep Flint City Council in state water lawsuit The Flint Journal via, July 20, 2017 ^ "FAST Start Initiative". July 24, 2017. ^ State says Flint water system is riddled with 'significant deficiencies' The Flint Journal via, August 18, 2017 ^ Study pinpoints Flint River as a 'likely trigger' of Legionnaires' outbreak The Flint Journal via, August 29, 2017 ^ Flint water still meeting EPA lead limits, new Virginia Tech testing shows The Flint Journal via, September 15, 2017 ^ Researchers: Flint's fertility rates fell, fetal death rates climbed during water crisis WJRT-TV (ABC 12), September 20, 2017 ^ Szekely, Peter (October 10, 2017). "Michigan to charge top medical official in Flint water deaths". MSN news. ^ Flint council signs off on $150K contract for analysis of city's water options The Flint Journal via, October 10, 2017 ^ State study says Flint water didn't raise infant deaths, stillbirths The Flint Journal via, October 10, 2017 ^ "Federal judge tells Flint to pick long-term drinking water source by Monday". October 17, 2017 . Retrieved October 17, 2017 . ^ EPA report finds fault with Michigan oversight of Flint drinking water system The Flint Journal via, October 26, 2017 ^ Flint gets green light to remain on GLWA water for the next month The Flint Journal via, October 31, 2017 ^ Flint council votes yes on 30-year water contract with GLWA The Flint Journal via, November 22, 2017 ^ State tells EPA: We're also worried about Flint's capacity to run water system The Flint Journal via, January 9, 2018 ^ 'Flint's water quality is restored' after latest testing, state says The Flint Journal via, January 12, 2018 ^ "SOM - Flint Water Quality Restored, Testing Well Below Federal Action Level and Comparable to Other Cities Across the State". . Retrieved March 1, 2018 . ^ LaFond, Kaye. "Infographic: More than 30,000 water samples have been tested in Flint since the crisis" . Retrieved March 1, 2018 . ^ a b Zahran, Sammy; McElmurry, Shawn P.; Kilgore, Paul E.; Mushinski, David; Press, Jack; Love, Nancy G.; Sadler, Richard C.; Swanson, Michele S. (February 1, 2018). "Assessment of the Legionnaires' disease outbreak in Flint, Michigan". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences: 201718679. doi:10.1073/pnas.1718679115. ISSN 0027-8424. ^ a b "Lethal Pneumonia Outbreak Caused By Low Chlorine In Flint Water". . Retrieved February 6, 2018 . ^ More water samples have elevated lead in latest testing of Flint elementary schools The Flint Journal via, March 12, 2018 ^ Study shows blood lead levels in Flint children at all time low The Flint Journal via, March 26, 2018 ^ Elevated lead found in 4 percent of final water samples from Flint schools The Flint Journal via, April 2, 2018 ^ "State of Michigan: No more free bottled water for Flint residents". Detroit Free Press . Retrieved April 7, 2018 . ^ Flint threatens to sue state over decision to stop water distribution The Flint Journal via, April 16, 2018 ^ 10, News. "Settlement in Flint water crisis leads way for children to be tested for lead" . Retrieved April 13, 2018 . ^ Independent tests show Flint water improving, lead below federal action limit The Flint Journal via, April 13, 2018 ^ Watts, Jonathan (April 23, 2018). "Goldman environmental prize: top awards dominated by women for first time". The Guardian . Retrieved April 23, 2018 . ^ Glenza, Jessica (April 25, 2018). "Flint crisis, four years on: what little trust is left continues to wash away". The Guardian . Retrieved April 25, 2018 . ^ CNN, Sara Ganim,. "EPA funds research to find lead in water". CNN . Retrieved April 27, 2018 . ^ Byrd, Ayana (May 14, 2018). "ICYMI: Nestl(C) to Donate Water to Flint | Colorlines". Colorlines . Retrieved May 14, 2018 . ^ Flint estimates 14,000 lead water service lines still in the ground The Flint Journal via, May 27, 2018 ^ Flint water lead levels stable as state turns testing over to city The Flint Journal via, June 18, 2018 ^ Tweet by Elon Musk, July 11 2018 ^ a b Young, Molly (January 11, 2016). "Sheriff uses reverse 911 for Flint residents who need water help". The Flint Journal. Michigan Live . Retrieved January 11, 2016 . ^ Snyder, Richard D.; Calley, Brian (January 20, 2016). "The City of Flint Police Department Crime Reduction Strategy" (PDF) . Flint Water Study . Retrieved August 14, 2016 . ^ "City officials set to accept proposals to replace lead lines in Flint". The Flint Journal. Michigan Live. May 31, 2016 . Retrieved May 31, 2016 . ^ "Update on Blood Lead Levels in Children". Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . Retrieved April 8, 2016 . ^ "ATSDR Toxicological Profile for Lead" (PDF) . Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. August 2007 . Retrieved April 8, 2016 . ^ a b Bosman, Bosman; Davey, Monica; Smith, Mitch (January 20, 2016). "As Water Problems Grew, Officials Belittled Complaints From Flint". New York Times . Retrieved March 24, 2016 . ^ Fonger, Ron (April 29, 2015). " ' A heavy burden' lifted from Flint as Gov. Rick Snyder declares end of financial emergency". Flint Journal. Michigan Live Media Group . Retrieved July 18, 2015 . ^ Fonger, Ron (May 10, 2011). "DTE Energy tells new regional authority it may want 3 million gallons of Lake Huron water daily". Flint Journal . Retrieved December 6, 2011 . ^ Adams, Dominic (March 25, 2013). "Flint council supports buying water from Lake Huron through KWA". Flint Journal . Retrieved January 11, 2016 . ^ Karegnondi Water Authority prepares to drill 1.5 miles into Lake Huron for new water pipeline to Flint The Flint Journal via, November 26, 2013 ^ Fonger, Ron (March 29, 2013). "Flint emergency manager endorses water pipeline, final decision rests with state of Michigan". Flint Journal . Retrieved January 11, 2016 . ^ How Flint's water crisis unfolded Detroit Free Press ^ Fonger, Ron (April 2, 2013). "Detroit 'water war' claims 'wholly without merit,' Genesee County drain commissioner says". Flint Journal . Retrieved January 11, 2016 . ^ Fonger, Ron (April 19, 2013). "Detroit gives notice: It's terminating water contract covering Flint, Genesee County in one year". Flint Journal . Retrieved January 11, 2016 . ^ a b Winston, Samuel (October 7, 2015). "How the Flint water crisis emerged". Flint Journal. p. 2 . Retrieved January 11, 2016 . ^ "City switch to Flint River water slated to happen Friday". The Flint Journal. Michigan Live. April 24, 2014 . Retrieved April 24, 2014 . ^ a b c Botelho, Greg; Jorgensen, Sarah; Netto, Joseph (January 5, 2016). "Water crisis in Flint, Michigan, draws federal investigation". CNN . Retrieved January 9, 2016 . ^ Fonger, Ron (February 25, 2015). "Detroit offers Flint alternative to using river for long-term water backup". Flint Journal . Retrieved January 11, 2016 . ^ Schuch, Sarah (October 7, 2015). "How the Flint water crisis emerged". Flint Journal. p. 4 . Retrieved January 11, 2016 . ^ Ron, Fonger (June 12, 2014). "Emergency manager accepts $3.9 million Genesee County offer to buy Flint-owned pipeline". The Flint Journal. Michigan Live Media Group . Retrieved June 17, 2014 . ^ Winston, Samuel (October 7, 2015). "How the Flint water crisis emerged". Flint Journal. p. 3 . Retrieved January 11, 2016 . ^ Fonger, Ron (June 4, 2014). "Flint Mayor Dayne Walling gets new authority from emergency manager". Flint Journal. Michigan Live Media Group . Retrieved February 8, 2016 . ^ The Science Behind the Flint Water Crisis: Corrosion of Pipes, Erosion of Trust Elsevier Sci Tech Connect, January 20, 2017 ^ a b Lin, Jeremy C.F.; Rutter, Jean; Park, Haeyoun (January 21, 2016). "Events That Led to Flint's Water Crisis". New York Times . Retrieved February 4, 2016 . ^ Pulido, Laura (July 2, 2016). "Flint, Environmental Racism, and Racial Capitalism". Capitalism Nature Socialism. 27 (3): 1''16. doi:10.1080/10455752.2016.1213013. ISSN 1045-5752. ^ Fonger, Ron (January 2, 2015). "City warns of potential health risks after Flint water tests revealed too much disinfection byproduct". Flint Journal. Michigan Live Media Group . Retrieved February 4, 2016 . ^ Schwarts, K. (2016). "Letter from Flint Public Library about Lead in Water Crisis to PUBLIB" . Retrieved August 14, 2016 . ^ a b "Emergency manager calls City Council's Flint River vote 'incomprehensible ' ". Flint Journal. Michigan Live Media Group. March 25, 2015 . Retrieved February 4, 2016 . ^ Egan, Paul (March 2, 2016). "Dems say state blocked Flint return to Detroit water". The Detroit Free Press . Retrieved March 2, 2016 . ^ a b c Fonger, Ron (September 2, 2015). "Lead leaches into 'very corrosive' Flint drinking water, researchers say". Michigan Live . Retrieved September 2, 2015 . ^ Hanna, Jason; Shortell, David (October 8, 2015). "Flint returning to Detroit water amid lead concerns". CNN . Retrieved December 30, 2015 . ^ Carr, Ada (October 9, 2015). "Contaminants Found in Flint, Michigan, Drinking Water; City to Reconnect to Detroit Water Supply". The Weather Channel . Retrieved December 30, 2015 . ^ Fonger, Ron (December 10, 2015). "Flint will pay for independent water tests, added phosphate treatment". Michigan Live . Retrieved January 11, 2016 . ^ Brush, Mark (October 8, 2015). "Gov. Snyder moves to come up with $12 million to switch Flint's water back to Detroit's supply". Michigan Radio . Retrieved October 8, 2015 . ^ Wisely, John (October 8, 2015). "Snyder announces $12-million plan to fix Flint water". The Detroit Free Press . Retrieved October 8, 2015 . ^ Parkinson, Stephanie (January 13, 2016). "Sen. Ananich calls for emergency funding from the state to address Flint water crisis". WEYI-TV . Retrieved January 13, 2016 . ^ Flint to stay on Detroit water for another year Detroit Free Press, September 27, 2016 ^ State says 96 percent of Flint homes met federal lead standards in November The Flint Journal via, December 9, 2016 ^ County will build new connector, allowing Flint to stay on Detroit water The Flint Journal via, March 16, 2017 ^ "Flint city councilman: 'We got bad water ' ". Detroit Free Press. Associated Press. January 14, 2015 . Retrieved December 30, 2015 . ^ "A timeline of the water crisis in Flint, Michigan". Washington Post. January 16, 2016. Archived from the original on January 16, 2016 . Retrieved January 19, 2016 . ^ Rogers, Lisa John (February 3, 2016). "What Will Happen with the Flint Water Crisis Once the Cameras Leave?". Broadly. Vice . Retrieved February 3, 2016 . ^ a b c d e Erb, Robin (October 10, 2015). "Flint doctor makes state see light about lead in water". The Detroit Free Press . Retrieved October 12, 2015 . ^ Fonger, Ron (November 12, 2015). "Documents show Flint filed false reports about testing for lead in water". Michigan Live . Retrieved November 19, 2015 . ^ Ridley, Gary (March 1, 2016). "Some Flint water test sites still showing high lead levels". The Flint Journal. Michigan Live . Retrieved March 1, 2016 . ^ Goovaerts, Pierre. "The drinking water contamination crisis in Flint: Modeling temporal trends of lead level since returning to Detroit water system". Science of The Total Environment. 581-582: 66''79. doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.09.207. ^ a b Wang, Yanan (December 15, 2015). "In Flint, Mich., there's so much lead in children's blood that a state of emergency is declared". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286 . Retrieved December 15, 2015 . ^ "2016 PEN Literary Gala & Free Expression Awards". PEN America . Retrieved May 26, 2016 . ^ Kozlowski, Kim (January 24, 2016). "Virginia Tech expert helped expose Flint water crisis". Detroit News . Retrieved January 24, 2016 . ^ "Engineering's Marc Edwards heads to Flint as part of study into unprecedented corrosion problem". Virginia Tech. September 14, 2015 . Retrieved December 30, 2015 . ^ a b Lazarus, Oliver. "In Flint, Michigan, a crisis over lead levels in tap water". Public Radio International . Retrieved January 7, 2016 . ^ "The Virginia Tech Research Team". 2017 . Retrieved February 6, 2017 . ^ Carmody, Steve (January 11, 2016). "Virginia Tech ending Flint water investigation". Michigan Radio . Retrieved January 11, 2016 . ^ Egan, Paul (January 12, 2016). "Virginia Tech wrapping up its work on Flint water". The Detroit Free Press . Retrieved January 12, 2016 . ^ Ridley, Gary (January 27, 2016). "Virginia Tech researcher hired by Flint to test water". The Flint Journal. Michigan Live . Retrieved January 27, 2016 . ^ Fonger, Ron (March 1, 2016). "Virginia Tech gets EPA grant to re-test Flint water for lead". The Flint Journal. Michigan Live . Retrieved March 1, 2016 . ^ Ridley, Gary (August 11, 2016). " ' Beginning of the end' for Flint water crisis health disaster, Edwards says". The Flint Journal. Michigan Live . Retrieved August 11, 2016 . ^ Researchers: Flint water improving, but stick with filters WEYI-TV, December 2, 2016 ^ "VA Tech Professor says Flint River water and Legionnaires Disease could be linked". WJRT-TV. January 13, 2016 . Retrieved January 13, 2016 . ^ "Source of deadly Flint Legionnaires' outbreak still unknown, new report says". The Flint Journal. Michigan Live. January 21, 2016 . Retrieved January 21, 2016 . ^ "Officials confirm Legionella bacteria found in Flint's McLaren Hospital's water supply in 2014". The Flint Journal. Michigan Live. January 22, 2016 . Retrieved January 22, 2016 . ^ "Attorney Geoffrey Fieger seeks $100 million in Flint Legionnaires' lawsuit". The Flint Journal. Michigan Live. February 2, 2016 . Retrieved February 2, 2016 . ^ Fonger, Ron (January 16, 2016). "Public never told, but investigators suspected Flint River tie to Legionnaires' in 2014". The Flint Journal. Michigan Live . Retrieved January 16, 2016 . ^ "Officials were warned of Flint water, Legionnaires' link months before public". Michigan Live. Associated Press. February 4, 2016 . Retrieved February 4, 2016 . ^ "Governor wants investigation into MDHHS in handling of Legionnaires' outbreak". The Flint Journal. Michigan Live. March 11, 2016 . Retrieved March 11, 2016 . ^ CDC finds first genetic link between Legionnaires' outbreak, Flint water The flint Journal via, February 16, 2017 ^ New tests raise questions about the source of Legionnaires Disease outbreak, Michigan Radio, February 16, 2017 ^ Experts' affidavits point to Flint water as source of Legionnaires' outbreak The Flint Journal via, May 7, 2017 ^ a b c Graham, David A. (January 9, 2016). "What Did the Governor Know About Flint's Water, and When Did He Know It?". The Atlantic . Retrieved January 9, 2016 . ^ a b Wisely, John (January 7, 2016). "Were Flint water fears 'blown off' by state?". The Detroit Free Press . Retrieved January 7, 2016 . ^ a b Fonger, Ron (October 1, 2015). "Flint data on lead water lines stored on 45,000 index cards". Flnt Journal. MLive . Retrieved February 4, 2016 . ^ Smith, Lindsey (December 16, 2015). "After ignoring and trying to discredit people in Flint, the state was forced to face the problem". Michigan Radio . Retrieved December 16, 2015 . ^ "Gov. Rick Snyder announces Flint Water Task Force to review state, federal and municipal actions, offer recommendations" (Office of the Governor press release). October 21, 2015 . Retrieved October 21, 2015 . ^ a b Johnson, Jiquanda (December 30, 2015). "Four takeaways from the Flint Water Advisory Task Force preliminary report". Michigan Live . Retrieved December 30, 2015 . ^ Duffy, Vincent (December 29, 2015). "Task force lays most blame for Flint water crisis on MDEQ". Michigan Radio . Retrieved December 29, 2015 . ^ Lawler, Emily (December 29, 2015). "Director Dan Wyant resigns after task force blasts MDEQ over Flint water crisis". The Flint Journal. Michigan Live . Retrieved December 29, 2015 . ^ Lawler, Emily (December 30, 2015). "DEQ spokesman also resigns over Flint water crisis, says city 'didn't feel like we cared ' ". Michigan Live . Retrieved December 30, 2015 . ^ Fonger, Ron (November 16, 2015). "Howard Croft, Flint official responsible for water oversight, resigns". The Flint Journal. Michigan Live . Retrieved November 16, 2015 . ^ "Inquiry: State "fundamentally accountable" for Flint crisis". WJRT-TV. March 23, 2016 . Retrieved March 23, 2016 . ^ "Flint Water Advisory Task Force Final Report" (PDF) . Flint Water Advisory Task Force. March 21, 2016 . Retrieved March 21, 2016 . ^ Roy, Siddhartha (March 23, 2016). "Flint Water Advisory Task Force (Final Report)". Flint Water Study Updates . Retrieved March 23, 2016 . ^ "FBI, others involved in federal Flint water investigation". The Flint Journal. Michigan Live. February 2, 2015 . Retrieved February 2, 2015 . ^ a b c d e f Lynch, Jim (January 12, 2016). "EPA stayed silent on Flint's tainted water". The Detroit News . Retrieved January 12, 2016 . ^ Del Toral, Miguel (June 24, 2015). "Memorandum: High Levels of Lead in Flint, Michigan '' Interim Report (Original)" (PDF) . US EPA and ACLU Michigan . Retrieved January 17, 2016 . ^ a b Emery, Amanda (January 22, 2015). "Two Michigan DEQ officials involved in Flint water testing suspended". The Flint Journal. Michigan Live . Retrieved January 22, 2015 . ^ Smith, Lindsey (January 21, 2016). "After blowing the whistle on Flint's water, EPA "rogue employee" has been silent. Until now". Michigan Radio . Retrieved January 21, 2016 . ^ Edwards, Marc (January 13, 2016). "Del Toral's Heroic Effort Was Ultimately Vetted in the Blood Lead of Flint's Children". Flint Water Study Updates . Retrieved January 13, 2016 . ^ Burke, Melissa Nann; Lynch, Jim (January 21, 2016). "Top EPA official in Midwest resigning amid Flint crisis". The Detroit News . Retrieved January 21, 2016 . ^ "EPA official 'stunned' by failure to treat Flint water for lead leaching". The Flint Journal. Michigan Live. January 21, 2015 . Retrieved January 21, 2015 . ^ "Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette plans to open investigation on Flint water crisis". WXYZ-TV. Associated Press. January 15, 2016 . Retrieved January 15, 2016 . ^ Atkinson, Scott; Haimerl, Amy; P(C)rez-Pe±a, Richard (January 15, 2016). "Anger and Scrutiny Grow Over Poisoned Water in Flint, Michigan". The New York Times . Retrieved January 15, 2016 . ^ Oosting, Jonathan (February 9, 2016). "Special counsel: Manslaughter charge possible in Flint". The Detroit News . Retrieved February 9, 2016 . ^ a b c "What Gov. Snyder plans to do about Flint water crisis". WJRT-TV. January 19, 2016 . Retrieved January 19, 2016 . ^ Ridley, Gary (January 26, 2016). "Subpoenas served for Gov. Rick Snyder's Flint water emails". The Flint Journal. Michigan Live . Retrieved January 26, 2016 . ^ Stack, Liam (January 29, 2016). "Michigan Gave State Employees Purified Water as It Denied Crisis, Emails Show". New York Times . Retrieved February 4, 2016 . ^ "Gov. Rick Snyder releases departmental emails produced regarding Flint water crisis" (State of Michigan official site press release). February 12, 2016 . Retrieved February 12, 2016 . ^ "Snyder releases thousands of Flint water crisis e-mails". The Detroit Free Press. February 26, 2016 . Retrieved February 26, 2016 . ^ "Snyder releases more Flint water emails, private email release planned". The Flint Journal. Michigan Live. March 10, 2016 . Retrieved March 10, 2016 . ^ Fonger, Ron (January 26, 2016). "DEQ memo names Michigan drinking water officials suspended over Flint water". The Flint Journal. Michigan Live Media Group . Retrieved February 4, 2016 . ^ "Snyder fires former head of DEQ water quality unit". WJBK. February 5, 2016 . Retrieved February 5, 2016 . ^ Lynch, Jim (July 13, 2016). "Suit accuses DEQ of not complying with open records law". Detroit News . Retrieved November 14, 2017 . ^ "Mackinac Center Settles Transparency Lawsuit with DEQ". Mackinac Center for Public Policy. November 8, 2017 . Retrieved November 14, 2017 . ^ Ridley, Gary (January 27, 2016). 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Rick Snyder target of RICO lawsuit over Flint water crisis". The Flint Journal. Michigan Live. April 6, 2016 . Retrieved April 6, 2016 . ^ "NAACP sues Michigan, governor over Flint lead-tainted water". WJRT-TV. May 18, 2016 . Retrieved May 18, 2016 . ^ "Flint water firm said it was told to 'exclude' lead and copper issues". The Flint Journal. Michigan Live. June 23, 2016 . Retrieved June 23, 2016 . ^ Judge banks on bellwether trials to expedite hundreds of Flint water lawsuits The Flint Journal via, November 16, 2016 ^ Class action lawsuit seeks $722 million from EPA WJRT-TV, January 30, 2017 ^ Lawsuit seeks more than $720M for 1,700 Flint residents over water crisis The Flint Journal via, January 30, 2017 ^ Lawler, Emily (January 7, 2016). "Flint infrastructure fix could cost up to $1.5B, mayor Karen Weaver says". Michigan Live . Retrieved January 8, 2016 . ^ "Cost to fix Flint water infrastructure could reach $1.5 billion: reports". Reuters. January 7, 2016 . 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Retrieved November 17, 2016 . ^ Flint council approves contracts for nearly 750 more pipe replacements The Flint Journal via, October 10, 2016 ^ Crews nearly half way to 1,000 homes having new pipes in Flint before winter The Flint Journal via, November 22, 2016 ^ Number of homes that need new water pipes in Flint has doubled, study says The Flint Journal via, December 1, 2016 ^ Flint water plant needs nearly $60 million worth of upgrades WJRT-TV, January 19, 2017 ^ Consultant puts cost of Flint water plant fixes at $108 million The Flint Journal' via, February 7, 2017 ^ State provides $6.5M to aid Flint children at risk for lead-related delays The Flint Journal via, February 6, 2017 ^ EPA grants $100M for Flint water system repairs CNN, March 17, 2017 ^ $15M from US going to Flint for water crisis health response Associated Press via WEYI-TV (NBC 25), June 30, 2017 ^ a b Mack, Julie (February 1, 2015). "Lead levels elevated for thousands of Michigan children outside of Flint". Michigan Live . Retrieved February 1, 2015 . ^ Barker, Kathryn M.; Qureshi, Farah (February 4, 2016). "Lead poisoning: Sources of exposure, health effects and policy implications". Journalist's Resource . Retrieved February 4, 2016 . ^ Carroll, Aaron E. (February 8, 2016). "What the Science Says About Long-Term Damage From Lead". The New York Times . Retrieved February 8, 2016 . ^ Lahiri, Debomoy K.; Maloney, Bryan (April 1, 2011). "The "LEARn" (Latent Early''life Associated Regulation) model integrates environmental risk factors and the developmental basis of Alzheimer's disease, and proposes remedial steps". Experimental Gerontology. Atlanta, Georgia, USA: Elsevier. 45 (4): 291''296. doi:10.1016/j.exger.2010.01.001. PMC 2881328'¯ . ^ Basha, M. Riyaz; Wei, Wei; Bakheet, Saleh A.; Benitez, Nathalie; Siddiqui, Hasan K.; Ge, Yuan-Wen; Lahiri, Debomoy K.; Zawia, Nasser H. (January 26, 2005). 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Washington Post . Retrieved November 17, 2016 . ^ a b c Ross, Wilbur, Navarro, Peter (October 27, 2016). "Trump Versus Clinton On Infrastructure" (PDF) . ^ "Trump says he can fix Flint's pipes for free. Here's who would really be paying". Washington Post . Retrieved November 17, 2016 . ^ Lawler, Emily (January 4, 2016). "Bill inspired by Flint water crisis would make data manipulation by Michigan officials a felony". Michigan Live . Retrieved January 4, 2016 . ^ McVicar, Brian (March 2, 2016). "Michigan lawmaker calls on Gov. Rick Snyder to resign over 'indifference' to Flint water crisis". The Flint Journal. Michigan Live . Retrieved March 2, 2016 . ^ Fonger, Ron (March 2, 2016). "Democrats call for state treasurer to resign for role in Flint water crisis". The Flint Journal. Michigan Live . Retrieved March 2, 2016 . ^ "Hillary Clinton speaks out on Flint's water emergency". WJRT-TV. January 11, 2016 . Retrieved January 11, 2016 . ^ Emery, Amanda (January 14, 2016). "Hillary Clinton infuriated by Flint water crisis, outraged by Gov. Snyder". The Flint Journal. Michigan Live . Retrieved January 14, 2016 . ^ Democrats Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders debate in Flint: What you need to know The Flint Journal via, March 1, 2016 ^ Donald Trump visits Flint church, asked to leave politics out of speech The Flint Journal via, September 14, 2016 ^ Pell, M.B. and Joshua Schneyer (December 16, 2016). "Off the Charts '' The thousands of U.S. locales where lead poisoning is worse than in Flint". Reuters. Archived from the original on May 2, 2017 . Retrieved May 2, 2017 . ^ Annie Snider (May 14, 2018). "White House, EPA headed off chemical pollution study". . Retrieved May 17, 2018 . ^ "Lead Poisoning In Michigan Highlights Aging Water Systems Nationwide" (Interview with Robert Puentes, director of the Metropolitan Infrastructure Initiative at the Brookings Institution). NPR. Weekend Edition Saturday. January 2, 2016 . Retrieved January 2, 2016 . ^ a b Wines, Michael; Schwartz, John (February 8, 2016). "Unsafe Lead Levels in Tap Water Not Limited to Flint". The New York Times . Retrieved February 8, 2016 . ^ Wilkinson, Mike (January 28, 2016). "Kids' lead levels high in many Michigan cities". Bridge Magazine . Retrieved January 28, 2016 . ^ "Flint (city), Michigan". State & County QuickFacts. U.S. Census Bureau. Archived from the original on January 2, 2016 . Retrieved May 13, 2012 . ^ Eligon, John (January 21, 2016). "A Question of Environmental Racism in Flint". The New York Times . Retrieved January 21, 2016 . ^ King, Shaun (January 11, 2016). "King: Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder did nothing as Flint's water crisis became one of the worst cases of environmental racism in modern American history". The New York Daily News . Retrieved January 11, 2016 . ^ Racism played a role in Flint water crisis, says state report The Flint Journal via, February 17, 2017 ^ The Flint Water Crisis: Systemic Racism Through the Lens of Flint Michigan Civil Rights Commission, February 17, 2017 ^ Racism playing a role in Flint water crisis is not new, officials say The Flint Journal via, February 17, 2017 ^ "Flint water crisis: An obscene failure of government". The Detroit Free Press. October 8, 2015 . Retrieved October 8, 2015 . ^ "Gov. Rick Snyder needs to do more than just apologize for Flint water crisis". Michigan Live. December 31, 2015 . Retrieved December 31, 2015 . ^ Sullivan, Margaret (January 27, 2016). "Should The Times Have Been a Tougher Watchdog in Flint?". The New York Times . Retrieved January 27, 2016 . ^ Clark, Ann (November 3, 2015). "How an investigative journalist helped prove a city was being poisoned with its own water". Columbia Journalism Review . Retrieved November 3, 2015 . ^ Fonger, Ron (December 23, 2015). "MSNBC's Rachel Maddow keeps national spotlight on water crisis in Michigan". Michigan Live . Retrieved December 23, 2015 . ^ a b "Rachel Maddow Slams Rick Snyder For 'Poisoning Flint's Children' With Water Crisis". CBS Detroit. December 19, 2015 . Retrieved December 19, 2015 . ^ Emery, Amanda (January 22, 2016). "Rachel Maddow bringing MSNBC town hall to Flint to discuss water crisis". The Flint Journal. Michigan Live . Retrieved January 22, 2016 . ^ Rachel Maddow wins Emmy for Flint water crisis coverage The Flint Journal via, October 7, 2017 ^ Carmody, Steve (January 6, 2016). "Watchdog group asks Gov. Snyder to release all Flint water crisis documents". Michigan Radio . Retrieved January 6, 2016 . ^ Papenfuss, Mary (January 22, 2016). "US: Anonymous vows politicians linked to toxic Flint Michigan water 'won't go unpunished ' ". The International Business Times . 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Retrieved May 31, 2016 . ^ Million Dollar Extreme Presents World Peace Episode 3 "3 Down 47 to Go Countdown to Mass Funeral" ^ "UM-Flint kicks off first of 8 forums dedicated to the Flint Water Crisis". WJRT-TV. January 22, 2016 . Retrieved January 22, 2016 . ^ Calfas, Jennifer (January 25, 2016). "UM to spend $100K researching solutions to Flint water crisis". Michigan Radio . Retrieved January 25, 2016 . ^ "Wayne State University researchers plan Flint water study". WJRT-TV. Associated Press. March 1, 2016 . Retrieved March 1, 2016 . ^ FACHEP concludes random Legionella sampling in Flint, Genesee County and Wayne County Wayne State University, October 9, 2017 ^ Expert at Harvard forum says Flint EMs cared more about money than people The Flint Journal via, May 5, 2017 ^ Announcing the winners of the Media Lab Disobedience Award Massachusetts Insinuate of Technology, July 20, 2017 ^ Grossman, Daniel; Slutsky, David (August 7, 2017). "The Effect of an Increase in Lead in the Water System on Fertility and Birth Outcomes: The Case of Flint, Michigan" (PDF) . College of Business and Economics Working Paper Series. No.17-25: 1''64 . Retrieved November 19, 2017 . ^ Zarowny, Natalie (January 25, 2016). "Flint water crisis highlights lack of transparency with Michigan government". Michigan Radio . Retrieved January 25, 2016 . ^ Spoer, Benjamin (January 9, 2016). "Flint's water crisis is a human rights violation". Al Jazeera . Retrieved January 9, 2016 . ^ Isquith, Elias (January 9, 2016). "When money matters more than lives: The poisonous cost of austerity in Flint, Michigan". Salon . Retrieved January 9, 2016 . ^ Nichols, John (January 17, 2015). "Outcry Over the Austerity Crisis in Flint Grows". The Nation . Retrieved January 17, 2015 . ^ Fiore, Mark (January 21, 2016). "Video: Austerity Man". Truthdig . Retrieved January 21, 2016 . ^ Lederman, Jacob (January 22, 2016). "Flint's Water Crisis Is No Accident. It's the Result of Years of Devastating Free-Market Reforms". In These Times . Retrieved January 22, 2016 . ^ Soave, Robby (January 21, 2016). "The Government Poisoned Flint's Water'--So Stop Blaming Everyone Else". Reason . Retrieved January 21, 2016 . ^ Dalmia, Shikha (February 11, 2016). "What To Do About Flint? Evacuate The Residents And Turn it Into a Landfill for Liberal Good Intentions". Reason . Retrieved February 11, 2016 . ^ Flint's lead water crisis part of infrastructure conference WNEM-TV, March 7, 2017 ^ Dr. Marc Edwards speaks on current state of the Flint Water Crisis WJRT-TV (ABC 12), March 10, 2017 ^ McGlashen, Andy. "Flint water crisis: Policy changes needed to restore public trust". Michigan Distilled . Retrieved October 8, 2015 . ^ Hanna-Attisha, Mona. "Elevated Blood Lead Levels in Children Associated With the Flint Drinking Water Crisis: A Spatial Analysis of Risk and Public Health Response". AJPH. American Public Health Association . Retrieved November 21, 2015 . ^ a b Lyons, Jessica. "How to Prevent Another Flint Water Crisis". environmental leader. Business Sector Media, LLC . Retrieved February 1, 2016 . ^ Bernstein, Lenny. "Flint's water crisis reveals government failures at every level". The Washington Post . Retrieved January 24, 2016 . ^ EPA,OA,OP,ORPM,RMD, US. "History of the Clean Water Act | US EPA". US EPA. ^ EPA,OW, US. "Drinking Water Action Plan | US EPA". US EPA. ^ A Potent Side Effect to the Flint Water Crisis: Mental Health Problems The New York Times, April 30, 2016 ^ Cher to donate 181,000 bottles of water to help out Flint water crisis The Flint Journal via MLive (January 16, 2016). ^ Truckloads of water to be delivered to Flint senior centers Archived January 27, 2016, at the Wayback Machine., WJRT-TV (January 15, 2016). ^ Meek Mill Promises to Donate Money to Flint Water Crisis, Asks 50 Cent to Help, XXL Magazine (January 18, 2016). ^ Rappers Big Sean, Meek Mill pledge aid to Flint water crisis The Flint Journal via MLive (January 19, 2016) ^ Jimmy Fallon donates $10,000 to Flint water cause, calls on others to donate The Flint Journal via MLive, January 24, 2016 ^ Diddy, Mark Wahlberg, Eminem and Wiz Khalifa to send 1M bottles of water to Flint WEYI-TV, January 24, 2016 ^ Bruno Mars to donate $1 million towards Flint water crisis relief The flint Journal via, August 13, 2017 ^ Dave Chappelle donates $50K to Flint a year after skipping water crisis benefit The Flint Journal via, June 8, 2017 ^ Faygo teams with The United Way to bring Flint clean water, Faygo Beverages Facebook (January 21, 2016). ^ Meijer Inc. donating $500,000 for Flint water crisis relief, WNDU (February 4, 2016). ^ Dow Chemical helping with Flint water relief effort The Flint Journal via MLive, March 24, 2016 ^ Oskar Blues sent 50,000 cans of water to Flint, Mich., more on the way The Denver Post, January 18, 2016 ^ See how $33.4M in Flint water crisis grants, donations have been spent The Flint Journal via, September 8, 2017 ^ Associated Press, UAW members donate drinking water to Flint residents; Americorps to begin effort (January 9, 2016). ^ Support for Flint goes International as Ontario Hockey League teams pitch in, WEYI-TV (January 21, 2016) ^ Aretha Franklin donating hotel stays, food to Flint residents, CBS News (January 27, 2016). ^ Little River Band tribe offers $10,000 donation to help Flint water crisis The Flint Journal via MLive (January 19, 2016). ^ Lions' Ziggy Ansah delivers 94,000 bottles of drinking water to Flint Sports Illustrated, January 22, 2016 ^ Washington Redskins players jump in for help with Flint water crisis The Flint Journal via MLive (January 20, 2016). ^ Adam Graham, Pearl Jam donates $300,000 to Flint water crisis, Detroit News (January 22, 2016). ^ GoFundMe to give $10,000 to highest earning Flint water crisis campaign The Flint Journal via MLive, January 22, 2016 ^ Anheuser-Busch sending 51,744 cans of water to aid in Flint's water crisis The Flint Journal via MLive, January 23, 2016 ^ Detroit Pistons legend recalls 'bustling town' before Flint water crisis, The Flint Journal via MLive (February 5, 2015). ^ Matthew Dolan, Walmart, others promise Flint up to 6.5M water bottles, Detroit Free Press (January 26, 2016) ^ Lindsey Bever, Amid Flint crisis, Walmart, Coca-Cola, Nestl(C) and PepsiCo to donate millions of water bottles, Washington Post (January 26, 2016). ^ Madonna donates $10,000 to help with Flint water emergency WJRT-TV, January 26, 2016 ^ Recording artist, Detroit native Kem donates to Flint water emergency WJRT-TV, January 26, 2016 ^ UPDATE: The Game Pledges To Donate $1,000,000 To Flint, Michigan Amid Current Water Crisis; Rapper Shares Photo Of Bank Wire The Urban Daily, January 26, 2016 ^ Memphis, FedEx Team Up To Donate Water To Flint WWJ, January 26, 2016 ^ Financial institutions offer $600,000 to Flint water crisis relief efforts The Flint Journal via MLive, February 16, 2016 ^ Craigslist founder launches Flint water match campaign The Detroit News, January 25, 2016 ^ MSMS donates $10,000 to help children affected by Flint water crisis The Flint Journal via MLive, February 6, 2016 ^ Indiana sheriff's office delivers semi-truck load of water to Flint The Flint Journal via MLive, February 15, 2016 ^ Indiana truck club delivers 80 tons of bottled water to Flint WJRT-TV, February 15, 2016 ^ Flint native, Dallas Cowboys star announces donations for Flint water emergency WJRT-TV, February 15, 2016 ^ Law enforcement organization donating water to Flint police in water crisis The Flint Journal via MLive, March 3, 2016 ^ Dubuque to Send Almost 300, 000 Water Bottles to Flint, MI KCRG, February 26, 2016 ^ Group from Ohio State University delivers water to Flint WJRT-TV, March 16, 2016 ^ Amtrak makes special water delivery donation to Flint WJRT-TV, March 21, 2016 ^ Consumers Energy employees volunteer amid Flint water crisis WNEM-TV, March 22, 2016 ^ Michigan Masonic Charitable Foundation donates $100,000 to Community Foundation of Greater Flint WJRT-TV, March 22, 2016 ^ Dearborn woman trades Twitter handle for donation in Flint water crisis The Flint Journal via MLive, March 30, 2016 ^ Details of $25 million program to help businesses impacted by Flint water crisis The Flint Journal via MLive, March 30, 2016 ^ Inmates give back to those in Flint WPBN/WTOM, March 23, 2016 ^ $2M grant from Kresge to help fight the effects of lead in Flint children The Flint Journal via, December 2, 2016 ^ 70,000 pounds of water donated to Flint from Knoxville, Tennessee WJRT-TV, March 22, 2016 ^ a b c Michigan groups help Flint with water Detroit Free Press, January 10, 2016 ^ Muslims Respond to Flint water crisis Muslims for American Progress ^ ISPU Case Study: Muslims Give to Flint Muslims for American Progress] May 5, 2016 ^ Flint water crisis no laughing matter for comedian George Lopez The Flint Journal via MLive, February 17, 2016 ^ Winter festival raises $50,000 for Flint water crisis Associated Press/WJRT-TV, February 18, 2016 ^ Massie, Victoria M. (February 28, 2016). "Ava DuVernay and Ryan Coogler are hosting #JusticeForFlint benefit concert. Here's why it matters". Vox . Retrieved February 28, 2016 . ^ Acosta, Roberto (March 1, 2016). "Justice for Flint benefit show raises $156,000 for water crisis relief Justice for Flint benefit show raises $156,000 for water crisis relief". The Flint Journal. Michigan Live . Retrieved March 1, 2016 . ^ Multi-city telethon raises over $1M for families affected by Flint's water crisis WEYI-TV, March 15, 2016 ^ Flint water crisis telethon raises $1.1M with match from Pistons owner The Flint Journal via MLive, March 17, 2016 ^ Benefit concert to help children affected by Flint water crisis The Flint Journal via MLive, April 1, 2016 ^ Snoop Dogg, Morris Peterson Jr., bringing 'Hoop 4 Water' to Flint WJRT-TV, May 21, 2016 ^ Acosta, Roberto (April 16, 2017). "Snoop Dogg returning to Flint for celebrity basketball fundraiser". . Retrieved April 17, 2017 . ^ Thomas Hearns, Dirrell brothers, Jackie Kallen join Fight for Flint The Flint Journal via, October 2, 2016 ^ Fashion For Flint show raises money for bottled water purchase The Flint Journal via, January 30, 2017 ^ Saraiya, Sonia (October 27, 2017). "TV Review: Lifetime's 'Flint' Starring Queen Latifah". Variety. ^ Oscar-winning director working on Flint water crisis documentary, report says The Flint Journal via, February 5, 2017 ^ Here's to Flint 2016 American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan Official YouTube Channel, March 8, 2016 ^ Murky Waters of Flint. How a whole city was poisoned RT Documentary Official YouTube Channel, June 8, 2016 ^ Local 4 special 'Failure In Flint' WDIV-TV, March 8, 2017 ^ NOVA probes chemistry and engineering behind Flint water crisis May 31 The Flint Journal via, May 22, 2017 ^ PBS shows special screening of NOVA's "Poisoned Water" WJRT-TV, May 23, 2017 ^ Holpuch, Amanda (March 3, 2018). "Flint Town: Netflix docu-series shines light on the harsh reality of US policing". The Guardian . Retrieved April 20, 2018 . ^ Flint water crisis book focuses on government failures, those who fought back The Flint Journal via, June 21, 2016 ^ Wilson, Kristian (May 20, 2016). "Who Is Mona Hanna-Attisha? The Flint Activist Just Signed A Book Deal". Bustle . Retrieved November 14, 2017 . ^ Dr. Mona tells CBS 'Sunday Morning' she still doesn't drink Flint tap water The Flint Journal via, June 18, 2018 ^ Hanna-Attisha, Mona (June 19, 2018). What the Eyes Don't See: A Story of Crisis, Resistance, and Hope in an American City. S.l.: One World. ISBN 9780399590832. ^ Funes, Yessenia (May 1, 2017). "A Film On the Flint Doctor Who Exposed the Water Crisis". ColorLines . Retrieved November 14, 2017 . ^ Acosta, Roberto (January 28, 2016). "Rapper Jon Connor releases 'Fresh Water For Flint' in XXL Magazine article". The Flint Journal. Michigan Live . Retrieved January 28, 2016 . ^ KUTA, SARAH (Feb 11, 2017). "Composer pens song to highlight Flint water crisis". . Retrieved February 13, 2017 . ^ 'Flint' play by Jeff Daniels about water crisis to premiere in 2018 The Flint Journal via, October 9, 2017 Further reading Edit External links Edit External mediaAudio "Figuring Flint Out", On the Media, January 22, 2016 Political decisions, racism, ineptitude: Digging into the origins of the Flint water crisis Stateside, April 25, 2017 (Michigan Radio)Video Water crisis in Flint, Michigan, draws federal investigation, CNN, Greg Botelho, Sarah Jorgensen and Joseph Netto, January 9, 2016 How Flint, Michigan, Saved Money and Poisoned Its Children: City Declares Water Emergency, Democracy Now, December 17, 2015 Flint Water Crisis: Who Is To Blame? The Young Turks, January 27, 2016 The House Oversight and Governmental Reform Committee's first hearing on the contaminated drinking water in Flint, MI (February 3, 2016) Full video from C-SPAN The House Oversight and Governmental Reform Committee's second hearing on the contaminated drinking water in Flint, MI (March 15, 2016) Full video from C-SPAN The House Oversight and Governmental Reform Committee's third hearing on the contaminated drinking water in Flint, MI (March 17, 2016) Full video from C-SPANTaking Action on Flint Water '' official Michigan Department of Environmental Quality website on the crisisEPA documents related to Flint drinking water '' from the official EPA '' official website of Dr. Marc Edwards' Virginia Tech Research Team, which investigated the lead contaminationArticles on the Flint water crisis from MLiveArticles on the Flint water crisis from Detroit Free PressFive Things '' Flint Water Crisis Lawsuits (CNN)"But A Flint Holds Fire" by Andrea Ramsey performed by The Michigan State University Children's Choir at the MSU Community Music School Fall 2016 choir concert
Flint Lead 'Poisoning': Medical Evidence Encouraging | National Review
Thu, 26 Jul 2018 13:57
The Flint Water Plant tower in Flint, Mich., February 7, 2016. (Rebecca Cook/Reuters)
The city's kids made photogenic victims, but thankfully the scare was overblown. T he numbers are in on the lead contamination of Flint, Michigan's water in 2014''15, and it's time for a sigh of relief. Medically speaking, the lead in the water turned out to be a non-event.
The increase in lead content in children's blood after the water debacle was small. Tiny, in fact. How tiny? It was basically statistical noise: 0.11 micrograms per deciliter, which is within the range of normal fluctuation. Two experts explain in the New York Times:
A similar increase of 0.12 micrograms per deciliter occurred randomly in 2010-11. It is not possible, statistically speaking, to distinguish the increase that occurred at the height of the contamination crisis from other random variations over the previous decade.
Lead is dangerous and it's proper to be vigilant about it. In terms of municipal management, or politics, the lead saga in Flint shouldn't be overlooked. Any negligence should be adequately punished. If you behave in a grossly careless way and somehow no one gets hurt, you were still grossly careless.
Yet in terms of lead in the water in the Flint, the inescapable takeaway from the Times op-ed by professors Hernn G"mez, the lead author of the study ''Blood Lead Levels of Children in Flint, Michigan: 2006''2016,'' and Kim Dietrich, the principal investigator of the Cincinnati Lead Study, is that the children of Flint dodged a bullet when the city water supply was switched from the Detroit River to the Flint River in 2014. (In 2014''15 there was an outbreak of the bacteria-based Legionnaires' disease in Flint that caused the deaths of 12 people, but ten of the 12 were linked to a single hospital called McLaren Flint.)
When it comes to lead, like any other substance, the question of dose is all-important. There is no ''safe'' level of lead, but we do not live in a lead-free environment, and trace amounts of lead are present in most people's blood. The children of Flint do have lead in their blood '-- but let's look at the numbers.
The level at which the Centers for Disease Control recommends medical treatment is 45 micrograms per deciliter. How many children in Flint tested at this level? Zero.
The authors of the Times piece note that 5 micrograms per deciliter is considered a ''reference level.'' This isn't the point at which someone's health is in jeopardy, but merely a heads-up that it's time to start exploring the environment to discover why the lead levels are elevated. Before the changeover in the water supply, 2.2 percent of Flint children tested above the reference level. After the changeover, that number rose, but only to 3.7 percent. Just 20 years ago, in the late 1990s, when no celebrities were talking about the water in Flint, nearly 45 percent of the children there had lead levels above that point. In 2016, blood-lead levels for tested Flint children hit an all-time low, of 1.15 micrograms per deciliter.
Now let's dial back the clock to the late 1970s, and previous decades, when cars used leaded gasoline and lead was everywhere. Essentially all children in the Seventies were worse off than Flint children at the height of the crisis. In the late 1970s, 88 percent of U.S. children tested had double today's reference level of lead in their blood '-- 10 micrograms of lead per deciliter. In 2015, the worst year of the water problem in Flint, the average child tested had 1.3 micrograms of lead per deciliter. That's down almost half from the levels recorded as recently as 2006, when that figure was 2.33 micrograms of lead per deciliter in the city.
The major error in Flint was not the choice of a different water source: The lead came primarily from the pipes, not the Flint River. Even lead pipes aren't necessarily a problem; some ten million Americans receive their drinking water from them. The problem in Flint was that the new water source was not properly treated with orthophosphate, which limits corrosion.
Having both switched back to the Detroit water system in October 2015 and added orthophosphate, Flint is back to normal. Its water is fine. There are at least 3,810 areas in the country where blood-lead levels stand at twice the level of Flint's, or higher. Yet most of those communities aren't in any danger, either: The story here is the amazing and continuing decline in lead in our country over the last few decades. It's wonderful news for Flint, and wonderful news for America.
The story here is the amazing and continuing decline in lead in our country over the last few decades. It's wonderful news for Flint, and wonderful news for America.
Poorly informed celebrities, we learn from the Times piece, have been visiting Flint and asking to see the lead-poisoned ward at the children's hospital. There isn't one. Flint's children haven't been ''poisoned.'' They were exposed to elevated levels of lead, but none of them presented with high enough lead levels to require medical treatment.
Yet, among others, Flint native Michael Moore has been making absurd claims about the situation the entire time. In 2016, among many ridiculous statements he has made about the matter, he said, ''People's Homes in Flint Are Now Worth Nothing Because They Can't Be Sold.'' Flint's average home sale price dipped during the crisis, but not to zero, and in the past year prices have surged 39 percent.
That's great for Flint. Moore must be glad. Surely he will soon be using his various platforms to celebrate all the happy developments: that Flint real-estate prices have soared to an eight-year high and that its children have much less lead in their blood than their parents and grandparents did. Maybe he'll apologize to the people of Flint for hysterically overreacting to their water problem and helping to drive down their property values by incessantly portraying their city as a hellhole in order to make a buck telling tall tales to his rich fans in places like New York City.
Or maybe Moore will just go mysteriously quiet about the good news in his hometown. I guess we'll see.
Any Collusion?
Russian hackers are said to have infiltrated US electric utilities
Tue, 24 Jul 2018 03:11
Russian hackers broke into the networks of key U.S. power companies last year, possibly causing blackouts, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday.
The attack was first detected in the spring of 2016 and continued throughout 2017, the Journal reported, citing officials at the Department of Homeland Security.
It was carried out by hackers who worked for a Russian state-sponsored group previously known as Dragonfly or Energetic Bear, the Journal reported. DHS officials said the hacking campaign is likely to continue.
DHS did not immediately respond to CNBC's request for comment.
Some companies that were compromised may not yet know they have become a victim in a Russian attack, according to the report. That's because the hackers used the identities of actual employees to enter the utility networks '-- complicating efforts to detect the intrusions.
Since 2014, DHS has been warning utility companies about the possibility of being targeted by Russian hackers, according to the report.
Russia has denied targeting "critical infrastructure" in the U.S., the Journal said.
Read the full report by The Wall Street Journal.
Ministry of Truthiness
New York Daily News Layoffs Ax Half The Newsroom Staff
Tue, 24 Jul 2018 11:27
The New York Daily News, a storied big-city tabloid known for its ruthless and splashy front pages, laid off half its newsroom staff on Monday, marking the latest round of cuts at the beleaguered Tronc company's media holdings.
''We are fundamentally restructuring the Daily News,'' an email from Tronc to the staff reads. ''We are reducing today the size of the editorial team by approximately 50 percent and re-focusing much of our talent on breaking news '-- especially in areas of crime, civil justice and public responsibility.'' The paper had about 85 newsroom employees prior to the cuts, according to the New York Post.
The notice said human resources would notify those affected by day's end. As reporters and editors waited, some were seen going around the newsroom, thanking each other for their work. ''Just trying to make the best of it,'' a staffer said.
Word of sweeping layoffs began circulating on Thursday and Tronc on Sunday sent an email to staff telling them to ''plan to be in the New York newsroom on Monday at 9 a.m. for an important message from Grant Whitmore,'' the general manager of Tronc's eastern region. Prior to announcing the layoffs, Whitmore held a ''30-second meeting'' with the staff in which he said, ''Bear with us, today will be difficult,'' according to a source in the newsroom.
''We've had a feeling something would happen,'' a news staffer told HuffPost when the rumors began to spread. The cancellation of a scheduled large event with interns also set off red flags. Media insider newsletter Study Hall first reported impending cuts last week.
After Tronc purchased the financially troubled daily last summer for a mere $1, it began a restructuring that eliminated many New York-based positions and centralized some roles in Tronc's Chicago headquarters. The New York paper also was hit with a sexual harassment scandal in February that saw two of its top editors fired.
''The decisions being announced today reflect the realities of our business and the need to adapt an ever-changing media environment,'' the Tronc email to Daily News staffers said. ''They are not a reflection on the significant talent that is leaving today. Let there be no doubt: these colleagues are highly valued and will be missed.''
Laid-off staffers were told that they'd be paid for 90 days and would ''be eligible for transitional benefits after that.'' It's ''a pretty decent package,'' one staffer told HuffPost of the severance.
Editor in chief Jim Rich and managing editor Kristen Lee were among those leaving. Robert York, who in 2016 was named editor in chief of the Morning Call, Tronc's newspaper in Allentown, Pennsylvania, will step in to head the Daily News on July 30.
Rich on Thursday declined to comment about the expected layoffs. At the time, rumors swirled that Rich, who formerly served as HuffPost's executive editor, was in the process of resigning or may have already quit. Early Monday, Rich tweeted that ''today was a good day'' for those who ''hate democracy and think local governments should operate unchecked.''
Zach Haberman, 41, the paper's breaking news editor, was let go after almost six years. He recalled his first day on the job covering Hurricane Sandy, which ripped through the city, killing 41 and laying waste to infrastructure.
''This is such a loss for the city,'' Haberman said. ''On the macro level, it's a loss for the residents of New York, it's a loss for journalism, and so many journalists who work so hard. On a micro level, it's a loss for a lot of really good people who will be looking for jobs in a tough market. They're gritty. That's what it means to be at the Daily News.''
He added: ''A lot of people will be joining me today. I look forward to cheering them on as they continue to do great work.''
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, in a statement, lamented the layoffs as a ''drastic move'' and called on Tronc to ''reconsider.''
''In New York, we also calculate loss of an important institution, loss of jobs, and the impact on the families affected,'' Cuomo said. ''I hope Tronc does the same and recalculates its decision.''
The Daily News, which has won 11 Pulitzer Prizes in its 99 years of existence, has seen the same ups and downs that have plagued much of the newspaper industry over the past few decades. It was rescued from bankruptcy in 1993 and nearly went under, and in 2016, its print circulation dropped significantly.
It changed direction and dedicated itself to digital news, making it a Top 10 publisher as recently as 2016. But it has downsized substantially over the years, sustaining major layoffs in 2013, 2014 and even earlier this year, when 21 people '• mostly production workers '• were let go.
In April, Tronc fired its Los Angeles Times editor in chief, Lewis D'Vorkin, and laid off several dozen as the newsroom staff unionized. Tronc recently sold the L.A. Times to Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, a biotech billionaire, for $500 million, along with several smaller California newspapers.
Layoffs in March hit The Chicago Tribune, a flagship Tronc property.
Images show North Korea is dismantling key test site - CNNPolitics
Tue, 24 Jul 2018 03:23
Washington (CNN) New images published Monday by the prominent monitoring group 38 North indicate North Korea has begun dismantling key facilities at the Sohae Satellite Launching Station -- a move analysts say represents "an important first step towards fulfilling a commitment" made by Kim Jong Un during his summit with President Donald Trump in Singapore.
An analysis of the commercial satellite imagery captured between July 20 and July 22 shows that North Korea has started disassembling parts of its main satellite launch station -- a site that is believed to have played an important role in the development of Pyongyang's intercontinental ballistic missile program.
"Since these facilities are believed to have played an important role in the development of technologies for the North's intercontinental ballistic missile program, these efforts represent a significant confidence-building measure on the part of North Korea," according to 38 North's Joseph Bermudez Jr.
"Most notably, these include the rail-mounted processing building -- where space launch vehicles are assembled before moving them to the launchpad -- and the nearby rocket engine test stand used to develop liquid-fuel engines for ballistic missiles and space launch vehicles."
Both Trump and his secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, have been urging patience since the President held a historic summit with Kim in Singapore last month but the President has privately expressed frustration over the perceived lack of progress in talks, a US official told CNN.
Satellite images North Korea Sohae site
SOHAE SATELLITE LAUNCH PAD, NORTH KOREA - JULY 20, 2018: Figure 1. By July 20, dismantlement had begun of the rail-mounted transfer structure on the Sohae launch pad. Mandatory credit for all images: DigitalGlobe/38 North via Getty Images
Trump pushed back against that suggestion Monday, tweeting that he is "very happy" with the progress with North Korea, noting a lack of rocket launches and nuclear tests in recent months.
Adam Mount, a senior fellow and director at the Federation of American Scientists, agreed that these steps "are encouraging and helpful for extending talks" but noted they "are not themselves a major material step toward disarmament or militarily significant restrictions."
"This is consistent with North Korea's public line, which is that its successful test program is now transitioning to mass production of nuclear and missile systems," he said.
"Dismantling test infrastructure, especially for space launch vehicles, does not change this calculation. It's also troubling that North Korea has apparently been allowed to dodge verification at both Punggye-ri and Sohae. That will have to be fixed for subsequent agreements," Mount added.
And while Monday's images may amount to a "confidence building measure" by the North Koreans, it appears that they expect the US to reciprocate if talks are to continue.
CNN reported on Monday that continued negotiations between the two sides hinge on Washington's willingness to make a "bold move" and agree to a peace treaty with Pyongyang, according to an official with close knowledge of North Korea's position on the matter.
If the US is unwilling to replace the armistice agreement that ended the Korean War with a permanent peace that would ensure the survival of Kim's regime, Pyongyang will likely not proceed further with denuclearization talks, the source said.
Meanwhile, US Democrats in Congress remain largely in the dark on the administration's plans with regards to a path forward with North Korea and skepticism over Kim's intentions.
Ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Bob Menendez told CNN on Monday he hopes Pompeo can provide answers when he testifies on Capitol Hill this week.
"We all want diplomacy to succeed, so I am interested to hear more from Secretary Pompeo this Wednesday on his views on this development -- and if he considers this to be significant," the New Jersey Democrat said in reference to the images published Monday.
"The fact of the matter is that last year, on President Trump's watch, North Korea made significant advances in its ballistic missile technology, achieving what many experts agree is a nuclear-capable operational ICBM," Menendez added.
"I want to hear from the secretary how and if this action by North Korea is integrated into a cogent and coherent diplomatic framework that gets us to complete and verifiable dismantlement of North Korea's nuclear and missile programs," he told CNN.
CNN's Kevin Liptak and Will Ripley contributed to this report.
Canada to resettle some of Syria's White Helmets after overnight rescue from advancing regime forces - National |
Mon, 23 Jul 2018 10:09
The Israeli military said Sunday it had rescued members of a Syrian volunteer civil organization known as the White Helmets from the volatile frontier area and evacuated them to a third country, the first such Israeli intervention in Syria's lengthy civil war.
Jordan confirmed that 800 Syrian citizens have entered its territory to be resettled in Western countries, including Canada.
READ MORE: 'Most dangerous job in the world': A look at Syria's first responders
The volunteers, known as White Helmets, had been stranded along the frontier with the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights following the latest Syrian government offensive in southwestern Syria.
The Israeli military said the overnight operation was an ''exceptional humanitarian gesture'' done at the request of the United States and its European allies due to ''an immediate threat to the (Syrians') lives.''
The military said its actions did not reflect a change to Israel's non-intervention policy in Syria's war, now in its eight year, where all the warring parties are considered hostile.
The Syrians would remain in Jordan for three months before moving on to Canada, Britain and Germany, the Jordanian Foreign Ministry's spokesman Mohammed al-Kayed said.
WATCH BELOW: Germany can mediate with Moscow over Syria, foreign minister says
''The request was approved based on pure humanitarian reasons,'' he added.
In a statement released early Sunday morning Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland pledged Canada's continued support for the White Helmets.
''Canada, working in close partnership with the United Kingdom and Germany, has been leading an international effort to ensure the safety of White Helmets and their families,'' she said.
Praising the White Helmets as ''courageous volunteers'' who risk their lives to help fellow Syrians targeted by senseless violence, Freeland said. ''Canada will continue to provide significant humanitarian assistance to the people affected by this conflict in Syria.''
Raed Saleh, head of the Syrian Civil Defence as the White Helmets are also known, said a number of volunteers and their families were evacuated from a dangerous, besieged area and had reached Jordan. He did not elaborate on the numbers of those evacuated.
WATCH: Syrian ''White Helmets'' evacuated to Jordan
The Associated Press first reported on Friday that U.S. officials were finalizing plans to evacuate several hundred Syrian civil defence workers and their families from southwest Syria as Russian-backed government forces closed in on the Quneitra province, along the Golan Heights frontier.
READ MORE: Video shows White Helmets pulling victims from rubble minutes after winning Oscar
The officials said the White Helmets, who have enjoyed backing from the United States and other Western nations for years, were likely to be targeted by Syrian forces as they retook control of the southwest.
Evacuation plans were accelerated after last week's NATO summit in Brussels.
WATCH BELOW: Trudeau announces Canada to lead NATO mission in Iraq
Since the Syrian government offensive began in June, the area along the frontier in the Golan Heights has been the safest in the southwestern region, attracting hundreds of displaced because of its location along the disengagement line with Israel, demarcated in 1974 after a war.
Israel has occupied the Golan Heights since 1967.
WATCH BELOW: Fighting continues in Syria's eastern Ghouta despite ceasefire
Thousands of civilians had taken shelter near the frontier to escape the government offensive.
The Syrian government is unlikely to fire there or carry out airstrikes for fear of an Israeli response.
READ MORE: 26 Syrian civilians killed by Russian air strikes, including 11 children: monitor
Meanwhile, Syrian forces kept up their offensive, pounding the southern tip of the southwestern region where an Islamic State-affiliated group still holds territory.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the bombing '' 130 airstrikes since Saturday '' displaced 20,000 civilians while an estimated 10,000 remain trapped in the area controlled by the militants, with their fate unknown.
WATCH: Director of Middle East organization explains evacuation of White Helmets from Syria
The White Helmets typically have operated in opposition-held areas across Syria, places where government services are almost non-existent, voluntarily risking their lives to save hundreds of civilian lives during relentless government airstrikes and bombardments.
READ MORE: Syrians flee to Israeli-occupied Golan Heights seeking refuge from offensive, are turned away
The government and Russia view the White Helmets as ''agents'' of foreign powers and have regularly accused them of staging rescue missions or chemical attacks.
Syrian state TV Al-Ikhbariya reported the Israeli evacuation of the White Helmets, calling it a ''scandal'' and saying ''terrorist groups'' now have ''zero options.''
WATCH BELOW: Syrian rebels begin evacuating border with Israeli-controlled Golan Heights
Over the last month, Syrian government forces aided by Russian air power have swept through southwestern Syria to consolidate government control over this strategic corner of the country that straddles the border with Jordan and the frontier with Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.
WATCH: Israel's Prime Minister says White Helmets transfer via Israel done at Trudeau, Trump and others' request
With its new advances, government forces are, for the first time since the civil war began in 2011, retaking this territory from the rebels and restoring their positions along the disengagement line in the Golan Heights.
Since the offensive began, Jordan said it will not open its borders to the newly displaced Syrians. Jordan hosts at least 650,000 registered Syrian refugees, according to the U.N., but Amman says a similar number of undocumented Syrians are also in the kingdom.
READ MORE: South Syrian rebels agree surrender deal, Assad takes border crossing
During the latest Syrian government offensive, which began on June 19, around 300,000 Syrians have been displaced, heading toward the sealed Israeli and Jordanian borders in what the U.N. said was the largest single displacement since the Syrian civil war started in 2011.
Some Syrians have opted to be evacuated to northern Idlib province, where the opposition still holds territory. Thousands of armed men and their families were evacuated over the weekend. The Observatory said two buses carrying evacuees were held up by a pro-Syrian government militia, apparently after they went off road.
Panicked passengers, fearing for their lives, posted pictures of the militia surrounding their buses on social media.
Al-Kayed, the Jordanian spokesman, said the transfer of the 800 Syrians does not put the kingdom under any further obligations.
Israel has been sending aid into Syria for several years and has provided medical treatment to thousands of Syrians who reached the Golan Heights frontier.
In the past two years, the Israeli military says it has delivered more than 1,500 tons of food, 250 tons of clothing and nearly a million litres of fuel.
The Israeli military said it will continue to aid those in need but won't allow a massive influx of refugees into the country.
With files from The Canadian Press.
Lame Cherry: IDF Evacuates Terrorists Out of Syria for America
Thu, 26 Jul 2018 11:35
Terrorists are Number 1 !!!!! As another Lame Cherry exclusive in matter anti matter.As you probably missed this, CNS, yes that Right Wing Christian site had this story on featured at Liberty Daily.Israel Praised For Rescuing Syrian Volunteer Rescuers, Reviled by Assad and Russia as ‘Terrorists’The terrorists who are "volunteers" in this propaganda are the White Hats which this blog did a story on exposing that this group was terrorists, funded and supplied by the Obama new world order. Syrian rescue workers had no idea who these terrorists were exactly as they were not part of their rescue structure.Lame Cherry: Syrian Chemical Weapon Theater for American you remember under a week ago when the Lame Cherry posted that who was ... The funding for the White Helmets is the New World Order in basically the ... But who swoops in and "rescues" these ........oh my these would not be Syrians, but are foreigners, who were working for Greater Judea annexing Syria and now the IDF rescued  them.........and is resettling them in the nations of Trudea Canada, Merkel Germany and May England. Yes another load of trained terrorists are being dumped into those terror havens.It is almost as if someone wants to really ramp up terror events for some reason in Europe which would benefit some new movement.Israel won praise from the United States, the European Union and Britain for evacuating more than 400 Syrian civil defense volunteers and their families from the country’s southwest ahead of the advancing forces of the Assad regime which portrays them as terrorists. The unprecedented operation saw Israeli soldiers escort the Syrians through Israeli territory and then to Jordan, whose government confirmed it will accommodate them temporarily, pending their resettlement with the help of the U.N. refugee agency in Canada, Britain and Germany.Ok let someone translate who someone might be in this as America, that would be the Donald had Jews escort Obama terrorists, Sunni out of Syria, and into Jordan's CIA bases, where Jordan will ship out these trained terrorists who are chemical weapon's experts (the white helmets were behind the chemical attacks blamed on Syria) to three leaders who have been stabbing some American leader in the back non stop for the past almost 2 years.The great news is Canada, England and Germany now have trained Obama CIA chemical weapon terrorists arriving in their lands by Jewish escort with DC praise.We now return you to your ignorance in your non donating bliss as you believe Mockingbird stories about evil Russians and Syrians, calling CIA trained Sunni terrorists out of Jordan as rescue workers when history has shown they were behind chemical weapon attacks against Syrians.Just who do you think these terrorists are going to be unleashed on in Canada, Germany and England?Nuff Said  agtG
Lesbians demand 'L' be removed from LGBT
Mon, 23 Jul 2018 20:02
Screen shot
It's open warfare now between the ''L'' and the ''T'' of the LGBT movement.
An organization for lesbians has launched a formal online blast at LGBT activists for calling them ''transphobes'' and they want the LGBT coalition to drop the ''L.''
The lesbians argue they are women attracted to women and there's no room for men who claim they are women.
Biology does make a difference, a big difference, they insist, and it's not enough to simply ''identify'' as being of a particular gender.
The argument appeared in a letter the Lesbian Rights Alliance in the United Kingdom recently posted online that was directed toward Stonewall, the U.K. organization that campaigns for LGBT causes.
''Stonewall does not recognize or represent the many young women who reject conventional feminine stereotypes in appearance and sex roles, and who become lesbians at puberty,'' the letter charged.
''Instead, you support the trans argument that many gender non-conforming lesbians must really be men, born with 'male brains' in the 'wrong body.'''
The organization is demanding Stonewall stop claiming to represent lesbians, ordering the group to ''Remove the L from LGBT.''
Sound off on lesbians wanting the L off LGBT. Take the WND Poll!
The activists explained, ''Lesbians are biological women who are sexually attracted to, and have sexual and emotional relationships with other biological women, only.''
They continued: ''Being a lesbian is primarily about sexuality; it is a same-sex attraction. Stonewall no longer accepts this basic, socially accepted definition of lesbians. In fact it defines homosexuality as 'attraction to the same gender,' not biological sex.
''As a consequence you support the absurd idea that male-bodied persons can be lesbians, and you demand that they be accepted as such by actual lesbians. If we refuse to accept these men as lesbians you label us transphobes and 'TERFs' unleashing a torrent of hate speech upon us from your supporters.''
''TERF'' is a transgender term for ''trans-exclusionary radical feminist,'' which many feminists and lesbians consider a slur or even ''hate-speech.''
The Christian Institute, a U.K.-based organization advocating for traditional marriage, points out the arguments are over Stonewall defining homosexuality as being based on gender ''as opposed to sex.''
At a London ''Pride'' event earlier this month, activists held banners such as ''lesbian = female homosexual.''
Their message, bluntly put: Men who think they are women are not really women.
LGBT organizations accused the lesbians of bigotry and ignorance.
Reported the Institute: ''In recent days the government has launched a 16-week consultation on the Gender Recognition Act which could see safeguards for legally changing sex removed. Currently, it is necessary to have been diagnosed with gender dysphoria, and to have lived as if a member of the opposite sex for two years.
''But Theresa May has indicated her support for 'self-declaration' '' where a man can legally change sex simply by saying he is a woman, and vice versa.''
The lesbian alliance accused Stonewall of ''imposing compulsory heterosexuality on lesbians'' by arguing that men who think they are women are actually women.
''In your support for trans ideology you are literally erasing young lesbians, telling them they must mutilate their own female bodies to impersonate men and appear to be heterosexual. In 2016-17 female adolescents comprised over 60 percent of young people seeking to transition at the gender identity development clinics, the majority of whom are attracted to their own sex,'' the lesbian group said.
LGBTQNation reported how LGBT activists they describe as ''anti-transgender'' literally took over the ''Pride'' parade recently in London.
''A group of eight women blocked the parade and then marched in front of it,'' the activists reported.
The women shouted, among other things, ''A man who says he's a lesbian is a rapist.''
Later, Pride in London organizers said, ''Yesterday a group of individuals labelled as 'Get The L Out!,' who were not a registered parade group, forced their way to the front of the parade to stand on the rainbow flag. Their behavior was shocking and disgusting, and we condemn it completely.''
An analysis in PJMedia summed up the events this way: ''We told you it would happen, and it finally has. Conservatives long predicted that feminism and transgenderism were ultimately incompatible, but for a long time it seemed like the LGBT movement might just hold them together. Well, on Saturday that movement burst open, as lesbians led the parade in attacking transgenderism.''
The Economist recently published a commentary titled ''The gender-identity movement undermines lesbians,'' in which performance artist Pippa Fleming explains why lesbians are concerned over their identity:
''There's an African proverb that states: 'If you don't know where you come from, how do you know where you are going?' Some of the most powerful black people known for their political analysis, social commentary, activism and legacy during the civil-rights, gay-rights and feminist movements were black lesbians. Oops! Did I just say 'lesbian', that dirty seven-letter word that has the GBTQI community scrambling to apologize for or afraid to associate itself with? Lesbianism is as ancient as the cosmos, yet it is a threat to patriarchy because it does not centre [on] males, nor does it seek male wisdom, power or validation. Instead of finding solace within our community against the threat of misogyny and homophobia, lesbian identity is being written out.''
She explained, ''In this current wave of 'free to me' gender politics, any man with a penis can claim to be a female and expect entrance into female-segregated spaces, such as locker rooms, sports teams or colleges, without question. But don't twist it; the generosity does not flow in both directions. Just ask the women who crashed the party at the male lido in Hampstead Heath in London in May: they were promptly escorted out by the police. Lesbian identity is now being dubbed as exclusionary or transphobic. You're damn right it's exclusive: lesbians have a right to say no to the phallus, no matter how it's concealed or revealed.''
Warning that ''Lesbian identity is now being dubbed as exclusionary or transphobic,'' she added, ''The gender-identity movement's attempt to rebrand the lesbian as queer, and the pronouncement that 'anyone can be a lesbian,' are nothing short of erasure.''
San Francisco Bay Area to ban free food at Facebook, tech companies
Thu, 26 Jul 2018 11:43
Facebook Facebook employees eat for free at the company's headquarters in San Francisco, California. Mountain View, a city in Silicon Valley, says that a new office development - where Facebook will move to this fall - will not be allowed to have a cafeteria with free food for employees.The legislation aims to increase business for local food retailers.San Francisco - home to Twitter - is proposing a similar rule that would ban new workplace cafeterias for the same reason. It's no secret that Facebook employees love their office meals. On Instagram, there are countless photos of free meals - from sushi to tacos to coffee waffles - served at Facebook HQ in Menlo Park, California.
But come this fall, when the tech giant moves to a new Mountain View office complex called the Village, that perk will no longer exist.
That's because the city is prohibiting companies from fully subsidizing meals inside the Village, a rule that could spread to other Bay Area cities in the future. Free food is a popular perk at tech companies throughout San Francisco and Silicon Valley.
On Tuesday, San Francisco legislators proposed a similar ban, the San Francisco Examiner reports. If passed, it would adjust zoning laws to bar new construction of on-site workplace cafeterias. (The ban wouldn't be retroactive, however, so on-site food at companies like Google and Twitter would still be available.)
The Village is part of the larger San Antonio Center development, which features a number of restaurants open to the public.
Mountain View passed the project-specific requirement in 2014, but as the San Francisco Chronicle notes, the decision attracted little attention at the time because its construction still had years to go.
Facebook declined to comment on the ban, but spokesperson Jamil Walker added that the company found the new location attractive due to its proximity to public transit, housing, shops, and restaurants.
In both San Francisco and Mountain View, supporters of the regulations argue that the cafeterias take away business from local restaurants and caf(C)s, because they discourage workers from leaving their offices.
In San Francisco's Mid-Market neighborhood, local food retailers have especially struggled to gain foot traffic due to the prevalence of free workplace meals, according to Gwyneth Borden, Executive Director of the Golden Gate Restaurant Association , an organization supporting the rule.
"Restaurants often provide the anchor to get people on the street, and while they're out, they patron other retail," Borden told Business Insider. "While there will always be competition for the food dollar, it goes without saying that it's hard to compete with free."
Twitter, which employs around 2,000 people in San Francisco and is one of the biggest tech employers in Mid-Market, opened its headquarters in the neighborhood in 2012. Since the new rule wouldn't apply to existing on-site food, it would only affect Twitter - and other tech companies like it - if the company decided to expand its footprint in the city. Twitter declined to comment regarding the proposed legislation.
Some San Francisco residents have argued on Twitter that the regulation wouldn't achieve what it intends, since it would only technically ban on-site cafeterias. Companies could still strike up deals with off-site caterers to feed their employees.
Regardless, supporters of the proposal argue that local brick-and-mortar retailers are hurting, and any changes would help them. Borden added that several restauranteurs that have tried to revitalize the Mid-Market food scene have closed in recent years. As Eater has also pointed out, it can take hundreds of thousands of dollars just to get a restaurant off the ground.
"With food being provided for free ... there's no competition in terms of choice nor a reason for employees to leave their building," Borden said. "Perhaps that's great social engineering to get employees to work longer hours and never leave their offices, but it doesn't do much to support the city around them."
This latest proposal from San Francisco follows the city's recent call for tech companies to help with rising housing prices, which are exacerbated in part by the local tech industry's growth. In November, the city of San Francisco will vote on a business tax for large companies which would go toward projects that aim to address homelessness.
Mountain View will have a similar initiative on the November ballot. There, the tax would go primarily toward transit projects, and a sliver of the revenue would help finance affordable housing developments.
SEE ALSO: Disappointing photos show what can happen to billion-dollar mega-developments NOW WATCH: Popular Videos from Insider Inc.
Male Supremacy | Southern Poverty Law Center
Thu, 26 Jul 2018 14:26
Male supremacy misrepresents all women as genetically inferior, manipulative and stupid and reduces them to their reproductive or sexual function '-- with sex being something that they owe men and that can or even should be coerced out of them. Driven by a biological analysis of women as fundamentally inferior to men, male supremacists malign women specifically for their gender. A thinly veiled desire for the domination of women and a conviction that the current system oppresses men in favor of women are the unifying tenets of the male supremacist worldview.
In their own words''Pussy is the only real empowerment women will ever know. Put all the hopelessly wishful thinking of feminist ideology aside and what remains is the fact that it is men and pretty much men only who draw power from accomplishment, who invent technology, build nations, cure disease, create empires and generally advance civilization. Women whether acknowledging it makes us feel warm and fuzzy or not, depend on men for all of that and the only tool they have at their disposal to have any sort of influence on any of it is the power of pussy and pussy is powerful indeed'...Sexual robotics may well prove to be the best thing that ever happened to women from the standpoint of their humanity.... what would that do to the vast majority of women who would suddenly have to prove their worth as human beings beyond simply being the owners of said pussy." '-- Paul Elam, An Ear for Men, Sex Robots: Part 3 - Disempowering Pussy, October 2017
"Women, please listen to Whoopi Goldberg. If you don't want to be slapped, backhanded, punched in the mouth, decked or throttled keep your stinking hands off of other people. A man hitting you back after you have assaulted him does not make you a victim of domestic violence. It makes you a recipient of justice. Deal with it." '-- Paul Elam, October is the Fifth Annual Bash a Violent Bitch Month, ''A Voice for Men,'' September 2015
"We've shouted endlessly at a deaf world that we were on the path to destruction, and we have watched our predictions of men being reduced to indentured servants to a malicious matriarchy come true, even as society continues to dismiss and humiliate us for speaking." '-- Paul Elam on Men's News Daily site, quoted in Angry White Men
''Make rape legal if done on private property. I propose that we make the violent taking of a woman not punishable by law when done off public grounds'....If rape becomes legal under my proposal, a girl will protect her body in the same manner that she protects her purse and smartphone'.... After several months of advertising this law throughout the land, rape would be virtually eliminated on the first day it is applied.'' '-- Roosh V., ''How to Stop Rape,'' Return Of Kings, February 2015
''No means no '-- until it means yes.'' '-- Roosh V., 30 Bangs, March 2012
''If a girl is in favor of abortion, there is evil dwelling in her soul. If you let her into your life, she will do her best to ruin you and bring you down to her level'...If a girl is so revolted by a lifeform that is genetically 50 percent her that she'll go to Planned Parenthood to get it flushed out, she will treat everyone else in her life with the same level of cruelty.'' '-- Matt Forney, ''Why You Should Shun Girls Who Support Abortion, Return of Kings,'' August 2016
''No functioning, healthy society would allow Pulse'--or the kinds of men who frequented it'--to exist'.... No healthy society would mourn their passing. Indeed, depending on your perspective, Mateen was just taking out the trash, eliminating societal parasites via natural selection'.... When a man and a woman are attracted to one another, they are seeing the continuation of their tribe and the formation of the next generation... Babies are produced by heterosexual relationships; all homo relationships ever produce is cum.'' '-- Matt Forney, ''The Orlando Nightclub Shooting and the Moral Sickness of Whites,'' Matt Forney blog, June 2017
''Women should be terrorized by their men; it's the only thing that makes them behave better than chimps.'' '-- Matt Forney under the pseudonym Ferdinand Bardamu, ''The Necessity of Domestic Violence,'' In Mala Fide blog, 2012
BackgroundMale supremacy was fundamental to the foundation of the racist ''alt-right,'' and in many ways served as its ''gateway drug.'' It is characterized by angry rants blaming feminism for the decline of Western civilization and deriding feminists as ''Social Justice Warriors." Personalities like "alt-right" facilitator Milo Yiannopoulos, conspiracy theorist Mike Cernovich, pick-up artist Roosh V. (a.k.a. Daryush Valizadeh) and Return of Kings and writer Matt Forney also constantly straddle the line between more formal ''alt-right'' circles and the male supremacist world.
Though male supremacy lives in a coalition of online spaces, its most established proponents are two hate groups: A Voice for Men, a men's rights website started by the violently bigoted Paul Elam, who has described men as ''indentured servants to a malicious matriarchy,'' regularly talks about the world as gripped by ''misandry'' (hatred of men) and called for October to be renamed the ''Bash-A-Violent-Bitch Month.'' The other is Return of Kings, founded by pick-up artist Roosh V., who advocated for the legalization of rape on private property (then claiming unconvincingly it was satire) and wrote that the path to saving Western civilization is repealing women's suffrage.
On these websites, much like on myriad subreddits, forums, 4chan and 8chan threads where male supremacists gather, the harassment of women is encouraged. In fact, this is sometimes a stated objective: in Paul Elam's words: ''the progress we need will only be realized by inflicting enough pain on the agents of hate, in public view, that it literally shocks society out of its current coma'' '-- or, in other terms, ''rattle the cage of feminists.''
Gross mischaracterizations of all women are the bread-and-butter of male supremacist websites. Roosh regularly depicts women as manipulative, fickle liars with no life, who have to be battled and conquered, writing that the ''only reason very few girls are seen as losers is because they have a pussy, and just about all pussies feel good, regardless of who it's attached to.'' Similarly, Elam has declared that sexual robotics would force the ''vast majority of women [to] suddenly have to prove their worth as human beings beyond simply being the owners of said pussy.''
Male supremacy is an ideology with many faces. Its unifying thread is virulent, at times violent misogyny, and the practice of blaming women and a large feminist conspiracy for the ills of (mostly white) men today. Like other hate groups, male supremacist hate groups propagate conspiracies that see the world as a matriarchy propped up by ''cultural Marxism'' meant to eradicate or subjugate men. It is driven by the belief that men are entitled to a superior place in society than women, which are biologically and intellectually inferior '-- as a result, any advancement that women might have obtained is nothing more than a usurpation. Like white supremacy, male supremacy is driven by fear and anger at the loss of white male status.
There are different paths and constituencies in male supremacist movements: between men's rights activists whose focus appears to be defending the rights of men, all the while decrying their infringement by women; Red Pillers, who claim to be the only ones aware of the existence of a feminist conspiracy running society; pick-up artists, whose goal is to lure women into sleeping with them, while constantly debasing them; involuntary celibates (or incels), who, having failed to find women either willing to have or to be coerced into sex, turn their anger into calls of violence; and men going their own way (MGTOW), who present themselves as male separatists and have chosen to remove themselves from the negative influence of women entirely.
History: the men's rights movementThe respectably named men's rights movement has roots in the ''men's liberation'' movement that emerged in the 1970s, which embraced female liberation and its critique of gender roles. The movement sought to free men from the constraints associated with the male gender role, which removed men from the home, precluded male emotional intimacy and made men their family's exclusive provider.
In the late 1980s and 1990s, however, as recorded by the sociologist Michael Kimmel in his book Angry White Men, this critique of the traditional male role ''morphed into a celebration of all things masculine and a near infatuation with the traditional masculine role itself.'' The problem was no longer oppressive gender roles: ''The problem was, in a word, women '-- or more accurately, women's equality, women's empowerment, and feminism.''
As women gained ground in the workplace and family structures loosened, some men's rights activists started blaming feminism for all of men's ills, whether real or imagined. The traditional masculine role was seen as either worth reestablishing, or, rather than being limiting to both genders, actually benefiting women. Men's rights activists decided to blame women (where others blamed minorities or immigrants) for taking away jobs, for the decline of the family, or for alimony and child custody issues after a divorce, rather than focusing on larger political and structural issues. The father's rights movement served as a common entry-point into the men's rights movement and its focus on domestic abuse: large portions of the movement were based on resentment of women and sustained by junk psychiatry, debunked statistics as well as anecdotal evidence, as was recorded by Pam Chamberlain in a 2011 report for Political Research Associates.
The father of the Men's Rights Movement, Warren Farrell, gave voice to those feelings of male oppression in his 1993 bestseller, The Myth of Male Power, which has since become the bible of the Men's Rights Movement. A former National Organization for Women board member who used to rub shoulders with prominent feminists like Gloria Steinem, Farrell, after his divorce, declared men were as oppressed as women, if not more.
Though claiming to be equally dedicated to the liberation of both men and women, Farrell, in a section of the book called men the new ''nigger'' with the male role ''akin to the field slave '-- or the second class slave'' and the female role ''akin to the house slave '-- the first class slave.'' The book drew equivalences between ''slaves g[iving] up their seats for whites'' and ''men g[iving] up their seats for women,'' and paying child custody and ''taxation without representation.'' Women, Farrell decried, had become too powerful and dangerous because, on top of holding sexual power over men, they could then lead to men's downfall with accusations of sexual harassment and assault.
While some corners of the men's rights movement focused on legitimate grievances (male homelessness and rates of suicide, male conscription, lack of male shelters for domestic violence victims or some discrepancies in the family court system around the issue of child custody and alimony) to draw in followers, it then oriented those followers to who they believed was the root cause of all these issues: women, aided by a large feminist conspiracy.
The men's rights movement lives in a pseudo-academic, seemingly respectable bubble, using litigation to challenge female-only spaces or defend men accused of campus sexual assault though airing more disturbing ideas behind the scene. Often, these men's rights advocacy groups, like the National Coalition for Men (NCFM), founded in 1977, and on whose board of advisors Farrell sits, distort or cherry-pick statistics to indicate female privilege, blame women or create false equivalences between the oppression of men and of women, rather than simply seek to advance the cause of men and fathers. Groups like NCFM use litigation to challenge what they perceived as discrimination in favor of women and try to influence policy on domestic violence, sexual assault, divorce and custody cases. In reality, they offered little help to men other than blaming women or advocating to deny women the structures that they did have to resort to discrimination or violence '-- one of the biggest grievances of the men's rights movement, for instance, is the Violence Against Women Act in 1994.
The men's rights movement has a dedicated international following, including in the United Kingdom and in Australia. Women, too, have helped give the men's rights movement a veneer of even-handedness. Prominent MRAs also include anti-feminist female voices, such as popular Canadian YouTube personality Karen Straughan, American psychologist Helen Smith, and the former head of a domestic-violence shelter for women, the British Erin Pizzey. Men's rights issues also overlap with the rhetoric of equity feminists like Christina Hoff Sommers, who give a mainstream and respectable face to some MRA concerns.
Most recently, Cassie Jaye, an American documentary filmmaker became a men's rights activist after producing The Red Pill documentary, a foray into the world of men's rights activists. As David Futrelle, who monitors the manosphere on his blog ''We Hunted the Mammoth'', decried, Jaye accepted funding directly from MRAs, notably taking money from Paul Elam and from regulars of the violently anti-woman The Red Pill subreddit, a misogynistic forum on Reddit. The misogynistic conspiracy theorist, Mike Cernovich, donated $10,000 to become an associate producer. The documentary, which sees Jaye interviewing MRAs and never challenging them on their myriad of misogynistic positions, sparked outrage in Australia. A campaign denouncing it as ''misogynistic propaganda'' succeeded in getting the film dropped by an Australian cinema. In the US, The Village Voice reportedly refused to run paid ads for the film in its paper.
Prominently featured in the film is rape apologist Paul Elam, the founder of one of the most virulent misogynistic websites feeding the men's rights activist movement, A Voice for Men (AVFM). It publishes a plethora of writers decrying feminism and blaming women for a diversity of ills, often with violent rhetoric. Elam, one of the most public faces of the men's rights movement, is most famously known for declaring October to be ''Bash a Violent Bitch month'' '-- he later called the piece satirical but has been republishing it every October with equally violent introductions. He has claimed that were he to serve on a jury for a men accused of rape, he would automatically declare the defendant not guilty, regardless of the facts of the case.
Founded in 2009, AVFM and its podcast ''Ear for Men'' combines men's rights issues and rabidly misogynistic and violent rhetoric. Elam's writing and interventions make no mystery of his delight in violent fantasies against women. In 2011, A Voice for Men launched Register-Her, a website listing women alongside their picture who they argued belong in prison (the website has since been taken down). It included women deemed to have falsely accused men of rape or domestic violence, others for having protested men's rights activist gatherings, or those Elam simply disagreed with. The effect of Register-Her was an explosion of online harassment. After finding herself targeted, feminist writer Jessica Valenti was forced to leave her home in fear of her safety. Elam, catering to these hordes of harassers, had no qualms egging them on.
Elam remains at the center of the contemporary men's rights movement, however: he hosts the yearly international conference on men's issues bringing together men's rights activists from various countries. He is also a close friend and prot(C)g(C) of Warren Farrell. Elam has defended his foulest writings as ways to bring attention to the men's rights issues that AVFM features. And though Farrell himself told Mother Jones that harassment and violent rhetoric made him uncomfortable, he too asserted that they were strategically necessary:
''I've seen how Martin Luther King alone was dismissed. It took Stokely Carmichael and Eldridge Cleaver to say things that were pretty ridiculous in some ways, but that brought the attention that led to Martin Luther King being seen as the nice, centered, balanced person.''
Roosh, pick up artists and the red pillOne of the defining strands of online male supremacist movements is pick-up artistry. Pick Up Artists (PUA) have focused on teaching men how to manipulate women into sex, all the while constantly disparaging women and the idea of consent.
The most prominent PUA is Roosh V. who has called for the legalization of rape on private property on his popular website, Return of Kings, founded in October 2012. Roosh has repeatedly boasted of raping women in his Bang books, accounts of which were collected by David Futrelle on his website, We Hunted the Mammoth. A website festering with misogyny and incitements to rape, Return of King headlines have included ''When Her No Means Yes,'' ''The Intellectual Inferiority of Women,'' ''Why Women Shouldn't Work'' or ''Don't Let Your Girlfriends Have Homosexual Friends.'' Roosh has organized a ''fat shaming week'' to coerce women into losing weight.
Roosh easily qualifies as both the most visible pick-up artist in the world, with his videos regularly reaching 30,000 views. He has a combined Twitter following of over 55,000 as of January 2018. In 2016, Roosh organized a series of meet-ups in 43 countries, leading thousands of people in various countries to petition their government to ban Roosh from their countries. Some 58,000 people signed a petition to ban Roosh from Scotland and 92,000 people signed a petition to ban him from the UK. Since then, he was reportedly banned from the UK.
Initially coming out of an industry emboldening men to seduce women, according to Alex DiBranco, a Ph.D. candidate in sociology at Yale University who had written on male supremacy for Political Research Associates, pick-up artists and men's rights activists have increasingly become muddled in the online space, especially with the emergence of the Red Pill subreddit, a virulent misogynistic subreddit which includes over 245,500 subscribers as of January 2018.
Set up by Republican New Hampshire state representative Robert Fisher, who resigned from his seat when he was revealed to be the page's creator, the Red Pill is chock full of misogynistic comment, coming from all corners of male supremacy. Fisher, who asserted that rape wasn't all bad because the rapist enjoyed it, wrote that women were inferior to men intellectually, that only their bodies made them worth it and that feminists (or most women) actually want to be dominated and raped.
Though Roosh is perhaps one of the most well-known pick up artists, scores of pick-up artistry niches have developed online, from subreddits like /Seduction (264,026 readers in January 2018) to online forums like, some of which offer sometimes expensive courses to teach men how to lure women into sex. However, their often predatory, cruel and inconsequential advice on how to manipulate women sometimes disappoints its practitioners. Men who felt deceived by these seduction methods but still felt entitled to sexual attention from women eventually gathered on the now defunct ''anti-PUA'' website PUAhate, or the still live They call themselves ''involuntary celibates,'' or incels.
The violence so omnipresent in PUA hate first made headlines in 2014: the website was frequented by Elliot Rodger, whose misogynistic, hate-filled rants, which he attributed to his rejection by women, eventually led him to murder six people and injure fourteen in Isla Vista, California.
It was on PUAHate that Rodger found ''a forum full of men who are starved of sex, just like me.'' It ''confirmed many of the theories I had about how wicked and degenerate women really are.'' In his 140-page manifesto, he declared:
''This whole viewpoint and ideology of abolishing sex stems from being deprived of it all my life. If I cannot have it, I will do everything I can to DESTROY IT. My orchestration of the Day of Retribution is my attempt to do everything, in my power, to destroy everything I cannot have. All of those beautiful girls I've desired so much in my life, but can never have because they despise and loathe me, I will destroy. All of those popular people who live hedonistic lives of pleasure, I will destroy, because they never accepted me as one of them. I will kill them all and make them suffer, just as they have made me suffer. It is only fair.''
While Rodger represents an extreme case, the kind of violence and hatred that led Rodger to action was not particularly surprising given the nature of the incel community. Incels, who luxuriate in their hatred of women, found a home for their hate-filled, misogynistic rants. One of the incel community's common complaints is that women prefer ''Chads'' (empty-headed, good-looking men) to nice men like incels, and for this they deserve punishment. The violent rhetoric of this community finally led to the banning of the /incel subreddit '-- which claimed some 40,000 subscribers '-- in November 2017. The now banned subreddit had long featured content like posts entitled ''all women are sluts.'' Participants often decried women's lack of brain capacity, genetic inferiority, cruelty, or designated women by the terms "femoids" or even, poetically, "cum dumpsters.''
Revealingly, since the Isla Vista shooting, Rodger is sometimes referred to by incel communities as St. Elliott. A Salon overview of incel blogs shows support for Rodger in many corners of the incel community. One, called That Incel blogger, wrote:
What happened is punishment for evil and violence of feminists and liberals. Any of you supporting atrocities like women's suffrage, immodest clothing, child support/alimony, no ban on adultery, ban on prostitution and a lack of female premarital chastity, all the things that drove this young man to be unable to find a girlfriend, are disgusting, horrible people and you created a culture where this is possible.
Rodger is not the first to have committed deadly violence in the name of male supremacy: in fact, his bloodshed is referred to as ''going Sodini,'' after the murder of three women by George Sodini at a Pittsburgh gym. Along with Norwegian Anders Behring Breivik, who slaughtered while 77 decrying feminism and ''divorce on demand'' in his manifesto, misogynistic violence has taken many lives in the U.S. and abroad.
On the borders of the hateful incel community, a community advocating for male separatism has also emerged: calling themselves MGTOW, Men Going Their Own Way, these men decided to withdraw themselves from the toxicity of women increasingly, eventually ''going monk'' by abstaining from sex altogether. Decried by Roosh as ''passive and meek,'' they also deem women inferior and harmful and think they get in the way of male achievement.
Though male supremacy has very much found a comfortable home on incel and PUA spaces and on The Red Pill, as Robert Fisher wrote under his pseudonym redpillschool, it is only one of the domains where misogyny thrives on the far-right:
''There's a reason the_donald, gamer-gate, and other groups have adopted the phrase "red pill." It really doesn't apply to only sexual strategy. But that doesn't devalue the phrase "red pill" since the thread that ties ALL of these groups together is a mutual disdain for feminism (and by extension the liberals who use feminism to push their racism and communism).''
Gamergate and online harassmentTRP is only the tip of a vibrant but hateful online subculture, where men's rights activists who have taken the ''red pill'' now see male oppression everywhere they turn. A constellation of anti-woman websites, subreddits, blogs, and forums constitute the so-called manosphere. Several harassment campaigns have emerged from these loosely defined communities, all of which are united by misogyny.
The capacity for online harassment among this subculture rushed into full view during the 2014 #Gamergate campaign. Ignited by a blog-post by an ex-boyfriend of female video game developer Zo Quinn '-- which led to unfounded accusations that Quinn had slept with men in return for positive coverage of her game '-- #Gamergate turned into a full-blown campaign of harassment against women in the video game industry.
Coordinated from gaming platforms to image boards like 4chan to Reddit and YouTube, the campaign was defined by digital death and rape threats. Fueled by a familiar male supremacist narrative, some ''gamergaters'' claimed to be motivated by their indignation over the supposed collusion between media industries and feminism, rather than by misogyny.
Though many attribute the intensification of male supremacy to #Gamergate, DiBranco instead sees ''Gamergate as significant in that it brought some leaders to the movement.'' Rather than broadening the base of male supremacist networks, #Gamergate helped to propel into the mainstream virulently anti-feminist personalities, most prominently Breitbart's "alt-right" launderer Milo Yiannopoulos and conspiracy theorist Mike Cernovich. As DiBranco writes, Yiannopoulos and Cernovich rose ''to prominence primarily on their misogynist rhetoric.'' Yiannopoulos seized onto the #Gamergate controversy to voice his support of Gamergaters against ''sociopathic feminist programmers and campaigners,'' adding to his rich bibliography of anti-feminist and sexist comments.
Cernovich, too, is another career misogynist: his first blog ''Danger and Play'' (''The true man wants two things: danger and play. For that reason he wants woman, as the most dangerous plaything'') offered such dating advice as ''Misogyny gets you laid.'' Soon, Cernovich also cheered on #Gamergate, calling it ''the most important battle of the culture war this century.'' According to Roosh, Cernovich obtained Quinn's legal complaint against her ex-boyfriend and gave it to Roosh so that he could write a piece attacking Quinn on his popular website Return of Kings.
The "Alt-Right"In An Establishment Conservative's Guide to the Alt-Right, Yiannopoulos and his co-writer, Allum Bokhari, wrote that ''the so-called online 'manosphere,' the nemeses of left-wing feminism, quickly became one of the alt-right's most distinctive constituencies.'' As a Buzzfeed article revealed, Yiannopoulos invited neo-Nazis, white nationalists and members of the alt-right direct access to the editing process.
A tight overlap exists between the "alt-right," white supremacist and male supremacist circles, which feed each other's narratives of the dispossession and oppression of white men, which is blamed on minorities, immigrants and women. Both the alt-right and the manosphere agree that feminism is the cause of Western civilizational decline. In fact, the misogyny intrinsic to the "alt-right" might very well be one of its distinctive feature, or a ''gateway drug.''
Xenophobia and racism had found a home in some corners of the men's rights activist movement from the beginning. Fathers Manifesto, an early fathers' rights group, included a call to exile blacks from the country on its website. The National Coalition for Men protested that undocumented people could use the Violence Against Women Act to stay in the U.S. In male supremacist subreddits, whether /TheRedPill, /incels, /MGTOW or others, xenophobic rhetoric abounds.
The overlap between "alt-right" and manosphere can be seen among several far-right figureheads: Christopher Cantwell, the neo-Nazi arrested at Charlottesville, once wrote for A Voice for Men. He also interviewed MRA Karen Straughan for his website, Radical Agenda. In August 2017, some "alt-right" activists organized a Make Men Great Again conference. Matt Forney, a prominent racist and sexist writer at Return of Kings who has written that raping or beating women is often justified (or that feminists actually want to be raped), now writes on
The overlap isn't surprising: indeed, Return of Kings regularly spouts anti-immigrant rhetoric (although it is open to attractive female immigrants.) Its founder, the widely reviled Roosh, positively reviewed the influential book from "alt-right" and antisemitic Kevin MacDonald. In 2015, Roosh spoke at Richard Spencer's National Policy Institute. Soon enough, the backlash to Roosh's presence in the "alt-right", as a non-white man who had sexual contact with white women, led Roosh to break with the movement. As ''a frustrated mob that wants to control the sexual choices of all men,'' he wrote, the "alt-right" was no better than feminism. Despite this, Roosh rushed to support Richard Spencer when he was caught on camera speaking to an audience, which broke into Nazi salutes at his cries of ''Hail Trump! Hail our People! Hail Victory!''
In many ways, white supremacy and male supremacy are one and the same. A perfect embodiment of this is the concept of ''white shariah,'' a shock-value concept that has been gathering steam in white nationalist circles. ''White shariah'' is the idea that the submission and rape of white women by white men is the only way to save the white race, since white women tend to leave white men for their non-white counterparts, thus making violence necessary.
2017 male supremacy hate groupsView all groups by state and by ideology.
A Voice For Men (Statewide, Texas)
Return of Kings (Statewide, District of Columbia)
Agenda 2030
Tokyo Is Boiling. Will It Be Too Hot for the 2020 Summer Olympics?
Tue, 24 Jul 2018 11:16
TOKYO'--If they gave an award for deceptive Olympic proposals, Tokyo would win a gold medal.
The recent wave of heat stroke and related deaths here make a cruel joke of Tokyo's original bid for the 2020 games, which claimed July 24 to August 9 is a great time for them: ''With many days of mild and sunny weather, this period provides an ideal climate for athletes to perform at their best.'' Yes, if 104 degrees with 74 percent humidity is ideal, that's completely true'--and if you don't mind dying. Monday, just short of two years before the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, was the hottest day in the city's history.
Tokyo had its highest ever recorded temperature: 105 degrees in Ome City, located in the west side of the metropolis. In Kumagaya, located in Saitama Prefecture, next to Tokyo, the highest temperature in recorded history was reached at 106 degrees. On Sunday, the Tokyo Fire Department (which provides ambulance services) dispatched 3,125 cars, the most in a single day since it began providing emergency medical care in 1936. The Fire Department said the surge has been caused by heat-related illnesses and injuries; the heat wave enveloping Tokyo is the one fire they can't put out. Over the last few weeks all across the nation heat-stroke and heat-related illnesses have claimed dozens of lives and injured thousands.
While Tokyo previously averaged a daytime high of 82 to 84 degrees in July and August, even that temperature doesn't take into account the humidity, which can rise above 80 percent, or the resulting heat index.
Right now, as I'm finishing this article at 7 p.m. Tokyo time, it's 89 degrees outside. But when you factor in the 74 percent humidity, it feels like 105 degrees. Imagine being trapped in a Sumo wrestler's armpit in a sauna.
Japan's Meteorological Agency has been issuing advisories urging people to drink water frequently and take other steps to avoid heat stroke.
Ironically, while people were keeling over in the capital on Sunday, the Tokyo Olympic Organizing Committee, led by former prime minister Yoshiro Mori, officially announced the names of the two big wide-eyed Tokyo Olympics mascots, one for the Olympics and one for the Paralympics. The blue-and-white checked Olympics mascot was christened Miraitowa'--a combination of the Japanese words for the future, mirai, and towa, which means perpetuity, eternity, and sometimes immortality. It's a hopeful name for what is shaping up to the be the deadliest Olympics in history.
When it is this hot, even Japan's hardcore salaryman takes off his tie and wears a short-sleeved white shirt or polo shirt. Older men and women walk the streets with a wet rag wrapped around their neck; the drugstores and convenience stores selling ''cooling goods'' like instant ice-packs or menthol cooling towels sell out of merchandise. The handheld fans that we in the West believe are used primarily by the dancing geisha in Shogun World are actually being used in futile attempts to brush away the heat and cool off.
Young men on the street keep pushing up their trendy black-framed glasses because the sweat on their noses makes them slide down. Walking outside from an air-conditioned building into the heat feels like opening the oven in the middle of making rice-crackers and peeking inside. The vending machines that are on every train platform in Tokyo are sold out faster than they can be refilled, leaving thirsty commuters with strange choices'--coconut jello-cubes elixir, anyone? But when you're thirsty enough, you'll drink anything, even Clear Coke. Pocari Sweat, Japan's long-selling sports drink, tastes great.
The heat and the humidity soaks into everything. Futons go damp, pillows become sponges, towels mildew in a day.
What About Last Time?
''Wait,'' you may say, ''Didn't Japan have a very successful nation-changing summer Olympics in 1964?''
Yes, it did'--starting in mid-October. Autumn Olympics? Great idea. Summer Olympics? Not so much. You could argue that this recent spate of hot weather is a freakish event, but you'd be wrong. Whether you believe in climate change or not, as a matter of meteorological fact Tokyo keeps getting hotter.
One of the prescient scribes to warn of the perils of Japan's 2020 Olympics deserves credit now for what was dismissed as alarmist nitpicking a few years ago. Robert Whiting, author of Tokyo Underworld and an expert on Japanese baseball, in a series of articles penned for the Japan Times was the first to ring the warning bell. He noted in his article ''Negative impact of 1964 Olympics profound'' in 2014, that the Tokyo Olympic bid submitted was incredibly disingenuous. He noted the likely temperature posed an ''extreme risk for athletes'' and was ''particularly dangerous for marathoners.'' The one bright spot he found was that, ''Luckily for many, track and field events would be held in the fully air-conditioned new National Stadium.''
Ahem. We'll get back to the new National Stadium proposal in a minute.
In the documents submitted by Tokyo to the International Olympic Committee, the candidate proposal originally stated: ''The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games 16-day competition period will be from Saturday 25 July to Sunday 9 August following the Olympic Opening Ceremony on Friday 24 July.''
But here's the kicker:
''With many days of mild and sunny weather, this period provides an ideal climate for athletes to perform at their best.''
For anyone who has lived in Tokyo during the last decade, that's an obvious and quite brazen lie. I translated the passage for the tiny old woman that sells lunch boxes in my neighborhood and she laughed out loud. ''That's ridiculous. That's why the children have summer vacation in July'--it's too damn hot to be in the school building or go outside.''
But the International Olympics Committee seemed to buy it. In the Report Of The 2020 Evaluation Committee (2013), they note: ''Tokyo proposes to hold the 2020 Olympic Games from Friday 24 July to Sunday 9 August with dates selected for climatic reasons, coinciding with the holiday period, thus maximizing spectator attendance and traffic reduction.'' There appears to be no evaluation of that claim'--or comment on ''climatic reasons.''
Of course, the IOC may have had other reasons to buy the arguments made by Tokyo and select it for the 2020 Olympics.
In 2016, French prosecutors said that $2 million associated with Tokyo's bid apparently was paid to an account linked to the son of the ex-world athletics chief Lamine Diack, who was a member of the International Olympics Committee at the time of the payments. A great deal of the payment was made via Dentsu, Japan's largest advertising agency, which has scored lucrative contracts on the 2020 Olympics.
Japanese investigators said there was no evidence of bribery. The Tokyo governor at the time, Yoichi Masuzoe denied any substance to the claims in the summer of 2016, stating obliquely "Tokyo Metropolitan Government had not put any public money into the lobbying." But there are a number of strange payments associated with the 2020 Olympics bid, including the governor of Tokyo paying the equivalent of $36,000 in September 2013 to a right-wing group leader to help ensure Japan's successful bid.
This might also be a good time to mention that the former vice chairman of Japan's Olympic Committee was investigated by the Japanese government after allegations emerged that he once had close ties to two different yakuza (Japanese mafia) bosses: one the former head of the Sumiyoshi-kai and the the other the current head of the Yamaguchi-gumi, Japan's largest yakuza group.
Again, no prosecutions ensued. But who would be surprised at criminal behavior in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics? Not me. The 1964 Olympics were rife with corruption and bid-rigging.
The winning proposal this time around was founded on a lie and putting it on as planned is tantamount to manslaughter. If you understand Japanese criminal law, when people die at the Olympics, and they will if nothing is done to radically address the problems'--it could be possible to file charges against the organizers for professional negligence resulting in death.
And that bright spot mentioned by Robert Whiting, the air conditioned stadium? It's been scrapped. There has been some effort to address the problem. The International Olympic Committee approved moving the marathon start to 7am, with men's competitive walking beginning even earlier, but will that solve the problem? Unlikely.
When you consider the bribery scandal, the Olympic stadium fiasco, the indifference of the ICO to anything but money, and the arrogance of Japanese leaders who only care about a memorial to themselves'--and the likelihood spectators as well as athletes may well expire from the heat'--you can reach only one conclusion. The best way to enjoy the Tokyo 2020 Olympics with a clear conscience is to boycott them.
I'm already planning my vacation in Helsinki, where the summer actually has real ''mild and sunny weather'' and they welcome a free press. Perhaps I'll go to France, if they actually go ahead and indict Japan and IOC members for bribing their way into this hell of their own making.
Tokyo 2020 Olympics: sayonara.
Obama in Kenya
Security tight as Obama lands in Kogelo - Daily Nation
Wed, 25 Jul 2018 13:28
By ELIZABETH OJINA More by this Author American Secret Service agents yesterday descended on K'Ogelo and much of Alego, restricting the life of folks used to ride boda boda without protective gear or doing free walkabouts.
It is the price the villagers here will have to pay as former President Barack Obama arrives to launch a youth centre. Nyanza regional police boss, Mr Leonard Katana, said both Kenyan Police and American security officers will work together secure the whole event.
"We have stepped up the security to ensure President Obama and his delegates are safe. We are doing surveillance from the air, the land and from the lake," said Mr Katana. "We don't expect people hovering around the private event. People should count with their daily activities."
"The family members know the guest they have invited. Therefore, only accredited guests will be allowed into the venue," he added.
The police will block the road leading to Ng'iya High school as the former President is expected to land there with his chopper.
But there will be a strict stop-and-search routine for anyone using roads near the venue. Those going in will be searched for weapons and will be required to show identification alongside proof of accreditation or invitation.
"We will definitely search residents using this route for security purposes," he said.
He urged the guests to carry light luggage as they come into Sauti Kuu Centre to ease the security search. Right from Saturday, there was heavy security as an elite squad from Kenya's General Service Unit and American Secret Service agents pitched tent. There was an unusually high number of tinted cars with US Embassy diplomatic number plates. The regular police could also be seen patrolling the area.
Journalists covering the event were told to ensure accreditation for their vehicles and themselves in order to be allowed access to the venue.
The entrance to Sauti Kuu youth centre was already guarded with two metal detectors stationed to check guests on two queues; male and female attendees.
There was also tight security at Mama Sarah Obama's homestead with officers patrolling the area.
Traders and artist are cashing in on the President Obama visit by selling caps, calenders, tags, t-shirts, shirts, and other items with the former President's photos and paintings.
John Otieno, a trader, said business was picking up with the excitement of Mr Obama's arrival.
"Many people are buying the t-shirts, calenders and tags in readiness for tomorrow's inauguration of Sauti Kuu Centre by former the American president," he said.
Nicholas Rajula, a community member and businessman, said that residents were looking forward to a public address by President Obama before he left the country.
Related Stories
Why Obama failed us all | The Star, Kenya
Wed, 25 Jul 2018 13:23
This week, former US President Barack Obama was inKenya. He came to carry out what turned out to be a family affair travelling tohis ancestral home in Kogelo and opening a facility associated with his sister DrAuma Obama.
But the visit brought sharp focus to his legacy as American Presidentand what he did to for the home of his forbears and also the entire continentof Africa.
Perhaps the writing was on his face. He seemedsubdued, if not guardedly oblique, as he landed in Kenya after being away forthree years.
He appeared the reluctant visitor, who could not wait to get outand go back whence he cometh. He was not his usual self and in everything, fromhis body language to his speech, he did not quite reflect the charm and ease thatthe occasion demanded of one who was visiting the land of his father's birth.
There was so much love in the air for him but thisquickly dissipated into disappointment from the manner his visit was handled.There seemed an urgency to shorten or perhaps quicken everything he had come todo before he could leave.
Many had expected he would address them perhaps in anopen stadium or even visit his ancestral home in an open motorcade but that wasnot to be.
I must, however, thank his sister Auma, who pulled a major feat ingetting him to come. There are those who are questioning exactly what was thesum total of benefit his presidency has been to Africans in general and Kenyansin particular.
November 4, 2008 was the proudest day for the world.The US had elected the very first Black president and African-Americans hadseemingly overcome decades, even centuries of racial prejudice. It was a greattime to be black and even greater to be Kenyan or an African for that matter.
In Kenya, the news of his victory was greeted with much pride. Suddenly he hadmore cousins than could be counted and never mind that a good number of themwere not even Luo.
A visiting American friend brought with him an Obamacampaign badge and my son, then still young, happily donned it going to church.
His riveting speeches were replayed a thousand times and I downloaded quite afew of them, which I still have. It was a new dawn of great promise, not justfor Africa but also for the world at large.
Obama took his presidency with stride. Kenyans andindeed most Africans believed he was 'our man in the White House.' Expectationswere as diverse as there were people in Africa.
A Ugandan friend I met inEurope told me the moment Obama was declared US President, a janitor atMakerere was so overjoyed that he ordered a beer and told the waiter ''Mpa biya Obama aja kusasula'' (get me abeer, Obama will pay).
Simply put, the expectations of many were high andsometimes out of this world. At least for this janitor it was free beer. Andmany forgot he was indeed an American President first and not African.
Somehowthose expectations continued to linger even after he left office. Many of thosewho lined up the streets to meet him had their own list of things they wantedhim to do for them, from schools to universities to libraries to whatever.Perhaps Obama should have invested more in managing expectations since aninnocent visit like the one he had only served to whip up expectations, when infact he can only do so much.
Of course, every move he made with regard to theAfricans and even his fellow African-Americans were closely monitored by the Whitesupremacists ready to shout hoarse '-- ''now we know he's bad!''
This pharisaic faultfinding dogged his administrationto the end, and it did not stop when he left. He was probably the one AmericanPresident who endured lots of racial slurs and even attitudes to him by manyAmerican White working class were laced with racial condescension.
US PresidentDonald Trump rose to national prominence largely by being the voice of the'Birther' movement, who argued that Obama was a British citizen and could nothave been American because his father was a British citizen. They forgot thatthe British colonials never considered Kenyans British citizens but onlyBritish subjects.
Despite publicly showing his birth certificate andenduring an unending debate on his ability as President, the debate continued.In many ways the current US President fashioned his presidential campaign as ananswer to American apprehensions about Obama's presidency.
In it, he saw andcontinues to see nothing good. This attitude has been blamed on Obama's slowresponse to issues that affected racial minorities, African Americans andindeed, the Africans. He chose instead to give prominence to the LGBT rightsand they never had it better under any presidency than Obama's.
He gave Kenya a wide berth and did not visit duringhis first term, only visiting when he was left with two years in office. WhileKenyans still appreciated that, nothing much came from his relationship withKenya. Besides, he spectacularly failed to keep his promise to come with hiswife the next time he came.
Michelle Obama has given Kenya the cold shoulder andsocial media has compared her to a woman who hated her husband's rural home andin-law and preferred to remain in the comfort of their city residence ratherthan spend time in smoky rural homes. Their two daughters have not set foot inthe land of their ancestry.
A certain Kalenjin man, Felix Kiprono, offered 50cows for Malia's hand, including 70 sheep and 30 goats. Kiprono was distortingthe market with such astronomical offers (anything between five to 15 cows willget you a wife among the Kalenjins depending on several factors).
However, aMaasai man Jeff ole Kishau quickly upped the ante by offering 500 cows. Theoffers did not stop there. These offers were probably more symbolic gestures ofgoodwill to the Obamas than a display of wealth. They failed to pick up on itand his inability to bring his family along, reflected badly on his latest visit.
And when he came he seemed so concerned at his personal safety and did not looklike someone going back home. He looked so nervous being here and could notwait to get out. Decoy convoys ensured that he evaded the people who turned upin large numbers to greet him. This was not someone returning home, he was justmaking a technical appearance.
Obama openly regretted supporting or rather orderingthe removal of Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi. This was perhaps thecontinent's strongest advocate against western imperialism and neo-colonialism.
His people were well kept and the standard of living ofLibyans was one of the highest in the world, not to mention the householdincomes that were a subject of envy. Obama initiated a series of events thatculminated in the downfall of his regime. To this day, Libya remains in a stateof internal conflict, with sectarian violence that has led to tens of thousandsdead and disrupted oil exports. Libya is one of Africa's largest exporters ofcrude oil and disruption in exports led to an immediate spike in prices andthat means the cost of living rises.
Besides, Libya is now the global hub of humantrafficking and slavery and is the Launchpad for illegal migration into Europe.Thousands of young Africans fleeing poverty back at home (which Obama couldhave done more say through AGOA and similar initiatives), end up in Libya,where they are held in slave camps before taking rickety boats trying to reachEurope. Many thousands have died in the process. Gaddafi would not have allowedthis to happen if he was alive and well.
Unlike other American presidents, who facilitatedforeign conflicts that turned out to be massive disasters, Obama readily ownedup to his mistake in Libya and called it his 'biggest foreign policy regret.'
Under him the Africa Growth and Opportunities Actinitiated by Bill Clinton continued but not with the prominence it deserved andat some point, it appeared to be under threat. He kept up appearances with his'Trade not Aid' mantra in regard to Africa but in real essence, the impact ofAGOA was not any better under him than under other US presidents.
He managed to give it another 10 years from 2016. Butto his credit, he shrank American aid to Africa. I am a firm believer that aidhas never and will never be good for Africa. According to a BBC analysis, in2015 Obama spent more money on Afghanistan and Israel ($8.6 billion) than on 42African nations that received a combined total of $8 billion.
There was littleAmerican investment in the continent. Ido not need not say that the Chinese quickly took advantage of the gap andtheir investment and loans to Africa was far higher than that, and theyobviously took advantage of American intransigence to the continent.
Althoughhe did his part in fighting terror groups such as al Shabaab and Boko Haram,pundits feel he should have done more. Then perhaps his lasting legacy wouldhave to do with his investment in the youth of Africa though his Young AfricanLeadership Initiative. The programme, which enrolled hundreds of thousands ofyoung people, was billed a resounding success for Obama.
At the start of his second term in 2013, Obamabrought about the Power Africa Initiative, which was meant to doubleelectricity connections using, among other things, renewable sources.
Today,the true impact of the project is highly in doubt despite the fact that manyKenyan homes are today lighting M-Kopa Solar through Safaricom and otherinitiatives.
The generated capacity (about 2,000 megawatts) remains lowcompared to the anticipated target of 30,000 megawatts. And now the Trump administrationis completely mum if not indifferent to the whole idea. The sustainability ofthe project is now been brought to question as indeed it may just suffer rollbacksif Trump continues in the trajectory he is on right now.
It is believed Obama's cautious approach to matters nationaland international may have given rise to the kind of presidency Trump hasbrought out. Trump ran on a campaign of making America great again and prettymuch rolled back the changes Obama had worked so hard to bring about.
Trump,who is largely impervious to public or international opinion, belittledeverything Obama did. Some have rated Obama as the 12th best USPresident ever. However, Trump is now eroding much of his legacy. Initially, Iheld the view that Trump had been elected so that Americans could appreciatethe good president they had in Obama.
But it is turning out that his caution inapproach to African and African-American matters was in itself quiteill-advised. It is better to have been criticised for doing more for Africathan to endure such recriminations as witnessed in the 'Black Lives Matter'campaign following a post-Obama spate of extra-judicial killings by police.
When Obama stood to speak to a mammoth crowd in SouthAfrica on Tuesday, he was commemorating Nelson Mandela, who was a friend ofGaddafi. In fact, the two were close friends the latter having done his part inhelping crumble apartheid.
While Gaddafi welcomed Obama's election, he warnedhim not to suffer from Inferiority Complex. Speaking in June 2008, Gaddafisaid, ''We fear that Obama will feel that, because he is Black with aninferiority complex, this will make him behave worse than the whites.''
Hecontinued, ''This will be a tragedy. We tell him to be proud of himself as a Blackand feel that all Africa is behind him because if he sticks to this inferioritycomplex, he will have a worse foreign policy than the whites had in the past.''
Well, Gaddafi did not know that he was speaking to the man who would eventuallyorder his removal and he died on Mashujaa day in 2011. Some believe Obama had no place speaking in thatoccasion for what he did to Gaddafi and what his fall has done to the youngpeople of Africa.
Some believe he is a war criminal. Others don't know where toplace him in the grand scheme of things. The iconization of Obama in Kenyanminds must be tempered with reality checks that he may not be seeing things theway we do. His presidency was long on symbolism and short on actual deliveries,not just in Africa but also in America itself.
Yes, the universities andschools will come, but it will be our own effort, money and time that willbring them about '' not Obama. The future of Africa is in our hands not on thoseof Obama.
Police State
New airport scanners could mean you'll never have to remove items from luggage again | CNN Travel
Mon, 23 Jul 2018 10:49
Sheena McKenzie, CNN ' Published 22nd July 2018
(CNN) '-- London's Heathrow Airport is trialling X-ray scanners that could one day spell the end of passengers frantically removing toiletries from their hand luggage -- or at least, that's the plan.
The scanners feature 3D imagery, meaning security staff can see objects inside people's baggage from all angles.
The scanners, which will be trialled over the next six to 12 months, can also detect hidden explosives, the United Kingdom's Department for Transport (DfT) said in a statement.
"If successful, this could lead in future to passengers no longer needing to remove items from hand luggage for screening," the department said.
Similar scanners have also been tested at John F. Kennedy airport in New York and Schiphol airport in Amsterdam.
Currently, passengers must remove all laptops and liquids such as water, shampoo and toothpaste from their hand luggage before passing through security. That said, the DfT maintained that the "rules remain the same -- passengers should expect to remove items if requested during the screening purposes."
CNN's Lorenzo D'Agostino contributed to this report
US and EU reach deal to calm trade war fears '' as it happened | Business | The Guardian
Thu, 26 Jul 2018 08:23
First of all, to work together toward zero tariffs, zero non-tariff barriers, and zero subsidies on non-auto industrial goods. We will also work to reduce barriers and increase trade in services, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, medical products, as well as soybeans.
This will open markets for farmers and workers, increase investment, and lead to greater prosperity in both the United States and the European Union. It will also make trade fairer and more reciprocal.
Secondly, we agreed today to strengthen our strategic cooperation with respect to energy. The European Union wants to import more liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the United States to diversify its energy supply.
Thirdly, we agreed today to launch a close dialogue on standards in order to ease trade, reduce bureaucratic obstacles, and slash costs.
Fourthly, we agreed today to join forces to protect American and European companies better from unfair global trade practices. We will therefore work closely together with like-minded partners to reform the WTO and to address unfair trading practices, including intellectual property theft, forced technology transfer, industrial subsidies, distortions created by state owned enterprises, and overcapacity.
Stormy Daniels's Husband Files for Divorce
Tue, 24 Jul 2018 11:20
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Action on the plane: Young activist prevents deportation of a man to Afghanistan - WORLD
Wed, 25 Jul 2018 21:52
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The $3 Billion Plan to Turn Hoover Dam Into a Giant Battery - The New York Times
Thu, 26 Jul 2018 11:54
Hoover Dam helped transform the American West, harnessing the force of the Colorado River '-- along with millions of cubic feet of concrete and tens of millions of pounds of steel '-- to power millions of homes and businesses. It was one of the great engineering feats of the 20th century.
Now it is the focus of a distinctly 21st-century challenge: turning the dam into a vast reservoir of excess electricity, fed by the solar farms and wind turbines that represent the power sources of the future.
The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, an original operator of the dam when it was erected in the 1930s, wants to equip it with a $3 billion pipeline and a pump station powered by solar and wind energy. The pump station, downstream, would help regulate the water flow through the dam's generators, sending water back to the top to help manage electricity at times of peak demand.
The net result would be a kind of energy storage '-- performing much the same function as the giant lithium-ion batteries being developed to absorb and release power.
The process begins when the dam converts water into energy. Here's how:
The Hoover Dam project may help answer a looming question for the energy industry: how to come up with affordable and efficient power storage, which is seen as the key to transforming the industry and helping curb carbon emissions.
Because the sun does not always shine, and winds can be inconsistent, power companies look for ways to bank the electricity generated from those sources for use when their output slacks off. Otherwise, they have to fire up fossil-fuel plants to meet periods of high demand.
And when solar and wind farms produce more electricity than consumers need, California utilities have had to find ways to get rid of it '-- including giving it away to other states '-- or risk overloading the electric grid and causing blackouts.
''I think we have to look at this as a once-in-a-century moment,'' said Mayor Eric M. Garcetti of Los Angeles. ''So far, it looks really possible. It looks sustainable, and it looks clean.''
The target for completion is 2028, and some say the effort could inspire similar innovations at other dams. Enhancing energy storage could also affect plans for billions of dollars in wind projects being proposed by the billionaires Warren E. Buffett and Philip F. Anschutz.
But the proposal will have to contend with political hurdles, including environmental concerns and the interests of those who use the river for drinking, recreation and services.
In Bullhead City, Ariz., and Laughlin, Nev. '-- sister cities on opposite sides of the Colorado, about 90 miles south of the dam '-- water levels along certain stretches depend on when dams open and close, and some residents see a change in its flow as a disruption, if not a threat.
''Any idea like this has to pass much more than engineering feasibility,'' Peter Gleick, a co-founder of the Pacific Institute, a think tank in Oakland, Calif., and a member of the National Academy of Sciences, internationally known for his work on climate issues. ''It has to be environmentally, politically and economically vetted, and that's likely to prove to be the real problem.''
Housed inside Hoover Dam's 726-foot structure are massive power-generating units. The proposed pump station would help regulate the water flow through the dam's generators, sending water back to the top to help manage electricity at times of peak demand.
Using Hoover Dam to help manage the electricity grid has been mentioned informally over the last 15 years. But no one pursued the idea seriously until about a year ago, as California began grappling with the need to better manage its soaring alternative-electricity production '-- part of weaning itself from coal-fired and nuclear power plants.
In California, by far the leading state in solar power production, that has sometimes meant paying other states to take excess electricity. Companies like Tesla have gotten into the picture, making lithium-ion batteries that are deployed by some utilities, but that form of storage generally remains pricey.
Lazard, the financial advisory and asset management firm, has estimated that utility-scale lithium-ion batteries cost 26 cents a kilowatt-hour, compared with 15 cents for a pumped-storage hydroelectric project. The typical household pays about 12.5 cents a kilowatt-hour for electricity.
Some dams already provide a basis for the Hoover Dam proposal. Los Angeles operates a hydroelectric plant at Pyramid Lake, about 50 miles northwest of the city, that stores energy by using the electric grid to spin a turbine backward and pump water back into the lake.
[Read more: It's tricky to store energy on an industrial scale, but engineers have devised clever workarounds.]
But the Hoover Dam proposal would operate differently. The dam, with its towering 726-foot concrete wall and its 17 power generators that came online in 1936, would not be touched. Instead, engineers propose building a pump station about 20 miles downstream from the main reservoir, Lake Mead, the nation's largest artificial lake. A pipeline would run partly or fully underground, depending on the location ultimately approved.
''Hoover Dam is ideal for this,'' said Kelly Sanders, an assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Southern California. ''It's a gigantic plant. We don't have anything on the horizon as far as batteries of that magnitude.''
Sri Narayan, a chemistry professor at the university, said his studies of lithium-ion batteries showed that they simply weren't ready to store the loads needed to manage all of the wind and solar power coming online.
''With lithium-ion batteries, you have durability issues,'' Mr. Narayan said. ''If they last five to 10 years, that would be a stretch, especially because we expect to use these facilities at full capacity. It has to be 10 times more durable than it is today.''
Mr. Narayan said he felt the Hoover Dam project should be given serious consideration because pumped-storage projects had been tested and proven for decades. In a comparison with lithium-ion batteries, he said, ''I think the argument is very good.''
An aerial view of the Colorado River downstream from Lake Mead and Hoover Dam. Harnessing the river's force, the dam helped transform the American West.
The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, the nation's largest municipal utility, says its proposal would increase the productivity of the dam, which operates at just 20 percent of its potential, to avoid releasing too much water at once and flooding towns downstream.
Engineers have conducted initial feasibility studies, including a review of locations for the pump station that would have as little adverse impact on the environment and nearby communities as possible.
But because Hoover Dam sits on federal land and operates under the Bureau of Reclamation, part of the Interior Department, the bureau must back the project before it can proceed.
''We're aware of the concept, but at this point our regional management has not seen the concept in enough detail to know where we would stand on the overall project,'' said Doug Hendrix, a bureau spokesman.
If the bureau agrees to consider the project, the National Park Service will review the environmental, scientific and aesthetic impact on the downstream recreation area. If the Los Angeles utility receives approval, Park Service officials have told it, the agency wants the pumping operation largely invisible to the public, which could require another engineering feat.
Among the considerations is the effect on bighorn sheep that roam Black Canyon, just below the dam, and on drinking water for places like Bullhead City. Some environmentalists worry that adding a pump facility would impair water flow farther downstream, in particular at the Colorado River Delta, a mostly dry riverbed in Mexico that no longer connects to the sea.
Another concern is that the pump station would draw water from or close to Lake Mohave, where water enthusiasts boat, fish, ride Jet-Skis, kayak and canoe.
Keri Simons, a manager of Watercraft Adventures, a 27-year-old rental business in Laughlin, said water levels already fluctuated in stretches of the Colorado close to the river towns. The smaller Davis Dam, just north of Laughlin, shuts off the flow overnight.
One morning this year, the water level just outside town dropped so low that you could walk across the riverbed, Ms. Simons said. ''We couldn't put any boats out until noon,'' she said. ''Half the river was a sandbar.''
Even if no water is lost because of the pumping project, the thought of any additional stress on the system worries Toby Cotter, the city manager of Bullhead City.
The town thrives on the summer tourism that draws some two million visitors to the area for recreation on the greenish-blue waters, Mr. Cotter said. ''That lake is the lifeblood of this community,'' he said. ''It's not uncommon to see 100 boats on that lake.''
Despite the possible benefits of the project, there are concerns among community members and business owners in the area. Keri Simons, manager of a watercraft-rental business in Laughlin, said water levels were already inconsistent along stretches of the Colorado, sometimes leaving a footpath across the river.
Environmentalists have been pushing Los Angeles to stop using fossil fuels and produce electricity from alternative sources like solar and wind power. And Mayor Garcetti said he would like his city to be the first in the nation to operate solely on clean energy, while maintaining a reliable electric system.
''Our challenge is: How do we get to 100 percent green?'' he said. ''Storage helps. There's no bigger battery in our system than Hoover Dam.''
But old wounds are still raw with some along the Colorado. A coal-fired power plant in Laughlin that the Department of Water and Power and other utilities operated was shut down in 2006, costing 500 jobs and causing the local economies to buckle. And a decision long ago to allot Nevada a small fraction of the water that California and Arizona can draw remains a sore point.
''There's nothing going on in California with power that has given people who are dealing with them any comfort,'' said Joseph Hardy, a Nevada state senator. ''I think from a political standpoint, we would have to allay the fears of California, Nevada and Arizona. There will be a myriad of concerns.''
The decision to close the coal plant angered many residents. They wanted the utility to simply add emission-control features known as scrubbers to reduce carbon pollution. The community later hoped a natural-gas plant would replace the coal facility, but Los Angeles could not agree with the local communities on a site.
The 2,500-acre parcel where the coal plant stood remains largely vacant. ''There's still some sting here,'' said Mr. Cotter, the Bullhead City official.
There have been local efforts to convert the site into a development of housing and businesses '-- or to build a solar farm on a plot of land, if Los Angeles would buy the power.
Mr. Garcetti said other states and cities had worked with Los Angeles to build economic development projects for their communities, so he would like to consider similar ideas for the Hoover Dam project, as well as ways to benefit the entire region. ''I'm all open ears to what their needs are,'' he said.
Mr. Hardy is wary of big-city promises. The Department of Water and Power has treated Nevada so cavalierly, he said, that a security guard at the old coal plant site once refused to return a ball to children after it bounced over the property's fence. He said the guard had told the children's parents that they could file a claim to get it back '-- a process that would take two to three years.
''Not the kindest neighbor,'' Mr. Hardy said.
But he said he was willing to meet with Los Angeles officials to make the project successful.
''The hurdles are minimal and the negotiations simple, as long as everybody agrees with Nevada,'' Mr. Hardy said. ''It would be nice if there was a table that they would come to. I'll provide the table.''
The Hoover Dam is visited by millions of tourists every year. If the plan to pump water back to Lake Mead comes to fruition, federal officials want the operation to be largely invisible to the public.
Southern California home sales crash, a warning sign to the nation
Tue, 24 Jul 2018 18:07
Patrick T. Fallon | Bloomberg | Getty Images
RE/MAX Holdings signage is displayed outside an open house in Redondo Beach, California.
Southern California home sales hit the breaks in June, falling to the lowest reading for the month in four years. Sales of both new and existing houses and condominiums dropped 11.8 percent year-over-year, as prices shot up to a record high, according to CoreLogic. The report covers Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego, Ventura, San Bernardino and Orange Counties.
Sales fell 1.1 percent compared with May, but the average change from May to June, going back to 1988, is a 6 percent gain.
The weakness was especially apparent in sales of newly built homes, which were 47 percent below the June average. Part of that is that builders are putting up fewer homes, so there is simply less to sell.
''A portion of last month's year-over-year sales decline reflects one less business day for deals to be recorded compared with June 2017,'' noted Andrew LePage, a CoreLogic analyst. ''But affordability and inventory constraints are likely the main culprits in last month's sales slowdown, which applied to all six of the region's counties and across most of the major price categories.''
Fewer affordable homesThe median price paid for all Southern California homes sold in June was a record $536,250, according to CoreLogic, a 7.3 percent increase compared to June of 2017. While part of that is due to a mix shift, since there are fewer lower-priced homes for sale, it is becoming increasingly clear that fewer buyers are able to play in the higher price ranges.
''Sales below $500,000 dropped 21 percent on a year-over-year basis, while deals of $500,000 or more fell about 3 percent, marking the first annual decline for that price category in nearly two years,'' said LePage. ''Home sales of $1 million or more last month rose just a tad '' less than 1 percent '' from a year earlier following annual gains of between 5 percent and 21 percent over the prior year.''
LePage points to the rise in mortgage rates over the past six months, increasing significantly a borrower's monthly payment. Rates haven't moved much in the past month, but are suddenly moving higher again this week, pointing to even further weakness in affordability.
In the past, California, one of the largest housing markets in the nation, has been a predictor for the rest of the country. Home prices have been rising everywhere, amid a critical housing shortage. Prices usually lag sales by several months, and sales are beginning to crumble, even as more inventory comes on the market. The supply of homes for sale increased annually in June for the first time in 3 years, according to the National Association of Realtors, but sales fell for the third straight month.
Demi Lovato Hospitalized Following Apparent Overdose: Report | Billboard
Wed, 25 Jul 2018 04:14
7/24/2018 by Hilary Hughes
Update: Sources tell People that Demi Lovato is "okay and stable" following an apparent narcotics overdose on Tuesday morning (July 24).
The pop star is receiving medical care after allegedly overdosing on heroin in her Hollywood Hills home, TMZ reports; they confirmed that the overdose took place in her residence, and that she was treated with Narcan, a medication administered for opioid emergencies. Her condition remains unknown.
Lovato has been public about her struggles with addiction and recently revealed to her fans that her sober journey had come to an end when she released the moving ballad "Sober." In the song, Lovato laments, "Momma, I'm so sorry, I'm not sober anymore. Daddy, please forgive me for the spilled drinks on the floor. The ones who never left me, we've been down this road before. I'm so sorry, I'm not sober anymore."
In a March 2018 Billboard cover story, Lovato revealed she left the 2016 Met Gala early to attend an AA meeting after the "uncomfortable" environment made her want to drink. "I changed my clothes, but I still had my diamonds on -- millions of dollars of diamonds on in an AA meeting," she said. "And I related more to the homeless people in that meeting who struggled with the same struggles that I deal with than the people at the Met Gala -- fake."
Following her debut performance of "Sober" at Rock in Rio Lisbon in June, Lovato shared that she was a "new person with a new life."
Billboard has reached out to Lovato's representatives for comment.
Demi Lovato's overdose is a tragedy, but Washington sits idle while thousands die from overdoses
Thu, 26 Jul 2018 08:09
| July 25, 2018 09:59 AM
Pop star Demi Lovato is beautiful, talented, and successful '-- which makes her alleged heroin overdose on Tuesday all the more heart-wrenching to her family and friends. A woman who has her whole life ahead of her throwing it away due to addiction. Her near-death experience received the attention of many celebrities and media outlets. Lovato's overdose and struggle with addiction is a tragedy, but the 64,000 Americans who died in 2016 have just become nameless statistics, and Washington isn't doing nearly enough to stop this crisis.
According to the New York Times, the amount of Americans who have died from an opioid overdose last year is higher than those who died of AIDS, gun deaths, and car accidents during any given year. More people died in a single year from overdoses than during the entire Vietnam War.
The financial burden is equally as startling. A report from CNBC stated that the economic cost to the United States since 2001 of the opioid epidemic is more than $1 trillion, and is projected to be $500 billion from 2018 through 2020.
Those statistics are incredibly alarming and should warrant urgent action from Washington, but politicians have yet to stop the flow of drugs in our country.
The State Department reported in 2017 that Mexico produces between 90 to 94 percent of all the heroin consumed in the United States.
While American parents mourn the deaths of their children to this plague of drugs in the United States, Mexico has refused to take this issue seriously, and corruption between the government and the drug cartels is rampant. State and local governments will go bankrupt fighting this crisis, but once the drugs have entered local communities, there's only so much they can do.
[Opinion: National Parents' Day amid the opioid epidemic]
The U.S. is sending billions of dollars to Mexico through foreign aid and remittances that both legal and illegal immigrants send back every year. Until Washington starts adding financial pressures on Mexico to fight against the cartel, communities in the U.S. will always be playing defense, and the body count will increase substantially through the end of the decade.
Leaders in Washington need to take this fight to Mexico. Stop sending their government $350 million in foreign aid, tax the billions of dollars in remittances, threaten to pull out of NAFTA, build a wall on the southern border, and add additional screening metrics at the ports of entry.
While Lovato recovered in a hospital room on Tuesday night, approximately 150 other American parents got a call that their child didn't make it. The drugs from Mexico snuffed their future right from underneath them. Until the U.S. takes the fight to its origin and protects the southern border, this crisis will only continue. And while occasionally a high profile celebrity will suffer an overdose and some like actor Philip Seymour Hoffman will die from it, most of overdose deaths will go without national awareness. The only attention they will receive are as statistics used in news articles and bureaucratic reports on the epidemic.
Ryan Girdusky (@RyanGirdusky) is a contributor to the Washington Examiner's Beltway Confidential blog. He is a writer based in New York.
Dogs are People too
Parasite in cat poop could be reducing our fear of failure, study finds
Wed, 25 Jul 2018 04:16
A mind-controlling parasite found in cat feces may give people the courage they need to become entrepreneurs, researchers reported Tuesday.
They found that people who have been infected with the Toxoplasma gondii parasite are more likely to major in business and to have started their own businesses than non-infected people.
The parasite, which makes rodents unafraid of cats, may be reducing the fear of failure in people, Stefanie Johnson of the University of Colorado and colleagues said.
They haven't actually shown that. But toxoplasmosis does get into the brain, and it's been linked to a variety of mental effects in mice and people alike.
It has been linked to a greater risk of "car accidents, mental illness, neuroticism, drug abuse and suicide,'' Johnson and her colleagues wrote in their paper, published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
It might be affecting message-carrying chemicals in the brain called neurotransmitters, or hormones such as testosterone, they wrote.
In particular, scientists have studied whether the parasite might increase risk-taking behavior.
Johnson is an associate professor of management at the University of Colorado and often told her students about the odd effects of the parasite, which travels to the brains of rodents and causes them to lose their innate fear of the smell of cat urine.
That benefits the organism, which reproduces in the bodies of cats. Cats are more likely to eat the unafraid infected mice, thus helping the parasite in its life cycle.
People can catch it from handling droppings from cats that are newly infected, but most people catch the parasite when eating poorly cooked meat, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.
Pregnant women are warned to stay away from cat feces in litter boxes and raw meat because the parasite can cause miscarriages and birth defects.
Most people do not even know that they have been infected, the CDC says. ''More than 30 million men, women, and children in the U.S. carry the toxoplasma parasite, but very few have symptoms because the immune system usually keeps the parasite from causing illness,'' it says on its website.
Johnson said she liked to tell her students about the links between toxoplasma and neurotic behavior.
''There's this crazy finding that if you get infected with this parasite, you could get neurotic and nobody wants to get more neurotic,'' she told NBC News.
''I always talk about this, and one day I was talking to my husband about the study and he said, 'I lecture on that same exact study all the time.' ''
Johnson's husband, Pieter Johnson, teaches biology at the university.
''So we thought we should form a collaboration because how often do biologists and business professors get a chance to work together?'' Stefanie Johnson said.
They set up a study testing students and people who attend seminars on entrepreneurship.
''We thought if all these things are true, maybe it predicts this behavior that is kind of risky, which is entrepreneurship,'' Johnson said.
''It's never a good idea to become an entrepreneur because the risks outweigh the rewards. Very few succeed.''
They gave a saliva test for antibodies to toxoplasma to nearly 1,500 students and to nearly 200 people attending seminars on how to start your own business.
Overall, 22 percent of the people they tested had antibodies to T. gondii, meaning that they had been infected at some point.
The students who were infected were 1.4 times more likely to be business majors and 1.7 percent more likely to have an emphasis in "management and entrepreneurship," the team found.
Among people going to entrepreneurship seminars, infected people were 1.8 times as likely to have started their own businesses.
Johnson said her team is going to continue testing the links. ''Our next research is conservatism, whether toxoplasmosis affects conservatism,'' she said.
She'd also like to test whether successful entrepreneurs are more or less likely to have been infected. ''So what if all the businesses started by toxoplasma-positive people fail? What if that fear was a good thing? We want to know.''
Johnson says she is not infected, even though she has two cats. ''I had, like, four cats growing up. I felt sure I would have it,'' she said. But it makes sense, she added.
''Being a professor is literally the most risk-averse job you can do,'' she said.
War on Straws
San Francisco city leaders vote unanimously to ban plastic straws, single-use foodware |
Wed, 25 Jul 2018 15:30
Tuesday, July 24, 2018 04:55PM
San Francisco's board of supervisors voted unanimously to join cities such as Vancouver, Berkeley and Seattle in banning plastic straws.
The legislation proposed by Supervisor Katy Tang not only includes the elimination of plastic straws, but many non-recyclable plastic items like coffee stirrers. It also includes language that would make San Francisco the first city in the country to ban fluorinated chemicals in food containers. Because San Francisco uses 1-million plastic straws a day, the issue took center stage.
RELATED: Proposed San Francisco straw ban may affect people with disabilities
"I wanted to start with legislation to change containers like coffee cups which we use every single day, but wanted to then start a bit smaller for now and then move on the other items in the future." says Tang.
"We are dedicated to protecting our coast and waterways from the harmful effects of plastic and our disposable culture," said Eva Holman, the Program Lead for the Rise Above Plastics Campaign of the San Francisco Surfider Foundation.
(Copyright (C)2018 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.)
Hate Trumps Love
Pickax-Wielding Vandal Smashes Trump Star on Hollywood Walk of Fame (VIDEO) - Sputnik International
Wed, 25 Jul 2018 15:42
US17:02 25.07.2018(updated 17:55 25.07.2018) Get short URL
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) '' The shattered remains of a sidewalk star awarded to President Donald Trump during his career as a celebrity television host littered Hollywood's walk of fame on Wednesday morning following an overnight attack by an ax-wielding vandal, according to local police.
''Officers were called around 3:30 a.m. to the star's location on Hollywood Boulevard near Highland Avenue, where they found a small pile of rubble in place of the star that Trump received in January 2007 for his role in the NBC show 'The Apprentice,'" police said, as cited by NBC News.
The network's local TV affiliate reported that the vandal later turned himself to police after leaving the pickax at the scene and fleeing.
READ MORE: Trump on Taping Reports: 'Inconceivable That a Lawyer Would Tape a Client'
Trump's star had been repaired following a similar attack during the 2016 presidential campaign by a man with a sledge hammer.
War on Guns
After shooting, Toronto wants to ban handgun sales - CNN
Thu, 26 Jul 2018 08:07
(CNN) Days after a shooting rampage in Toronto killed two people, its city council voted overwhelmingly to urge its federal government to ban the sale of handguns in the city.
The Toronto City Council voted 41-4 on Tuesday to push the Canadian government to ban the sale of handguns and also for the provincial government to ban handgun ammunition sales within the city.
"There are far too many people carrying around guns in our city and our region who should not have them," said Toronto Mayor John Tory in a speech to the city council on Monday. "That leads to another question we need to discuss: Why does anyone in this city need to have a gun at all?"
Tory said the discussion about guns was worth having not only to protect the city from loss of life, but to also respect the victims of shootings.
"Gun violence in any part of our city is horrible and completely unacceptable," he said.
The city council also wants the federal government to consider tougher penalties for gun traffickers, more resources to handle domestic firearm trafficking and tougher screening for mental health and partner violence issues for licensed gun owners.
Canada's most populous city has been grappling with growing gun violence in recent years.
In 2017, Toronto Police Service reported 205 shootings. As of Monday -- with five months left in the year -- the 2018 totals have exceeded last year's totals, with 228 shootings. Homicides in the city have also increased this year, so far to 58 -- exceeding last year's total of 24. Most of the homicides this year, 29 out of 58, were from shootings, according to police.
The shooting in Toronto's Greektown neighborhood killed two people -- Reese Fallon, 18, of Toronto and Julianna Kozis, 10, of Markham -- and injured 13 others.
The shooting suspect, Faisal Hussain, 29, also died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to a source close to the family. Police are still searching for a motive.
The stretch of Danforth Avenue where the shooting took place was filled with mourners holding a community vigil and candlelight procession on Wednesday night, CNN partner CTV reported.
CNN's Hollie Silverman contributed to this report.
Government Admits AR-15s Are Not Weapons of War | Breitbart
Thu, 26 Jul 2018 13:28
In its settlement with Cody Wilson's Defense Distributed the government admitted that semi-automatic firearms below .50 caliber are not weapons of war.On July 10, 2018, Breitbart News reported that the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) brought a suit against the State Department on Wilson's behalf. The suit was filed in 2015 and was the result of State Department action to force Wilson to quit sharing 3-D gun files online.
Wilson and SAF fought the suit on First Amendment grounds and secured a settlement with the State Department and the Department of Justice, the latter of which finalizes the settlement.
The amended regulations proposed in the settlement show the government will no longer look at semi-automatic firearms below .50 caliber as ''military equipment'' or weapons of war.
In offering a definition of ''military equipment'' the settlement says:
The phrase ''Military Equipment'' means (1) Drums and other magazines for firearms to 50 caliber (12.7 mm) inclusive with a capacity greater than 50 rounds, regardless of the jurisdiction of the firearm, and specially designed parts and components therefor; (2) Parts and components specifically designed for conversion of a semi-automatic firearm to a fully automatic firearm; (3) Accessories or attachments specifically designed to automatically stabilize aim (other than gun rests) or for automatic targeting, and specifically designed parts and components therefor.
Attorneys in the case expounded on the amended regulations by pointing out that the settlement ''expressly acknowledges that non-automatic firearms up to .50 caliber widely available in retail outlets in the United States and abroad [a scope that includes AR-15 and other assault-style rifles], are not inherently military.''
Second Amendment Foundation founder and executive vice president Alan Gottlieb spoke to Breitbart News about the settlement, saying:
Not only is this a First Amendment victory for free speech, it also is a devastating blow to the gun prohibition lobby. For years, anti-gunners have contended that modern semi-automatic sport-utility rifles are so-called ''weapons of war,'' and with this settlement, the government has acknowledged they are nothing of the sort.
The federal government now saying semi-automatic firearms below .50 caliber are not inherently military means that they are admitting that rifles like the AR-15 are civilian in nature. This makes perfect sense, as they existed years before the military adopted the fully automatic version.
Gottlieb added, ''Gun rights organizations like the Second Amendment Foundation will now be able to use this government admission in debate and courtrooms from New York to California.''
AWR Hawkins is an award-winning Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News, the host of the Breitbart podcast Bullets with AWR Hawkins, and the writer/curator of Down Range with AWR Hawkins, a weekly newsletter focused on all things Second Amendment, also for Breitbart News. He is the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at Sign up to get Down Range at
Sergio Marchionne, CEO Who Steered Fiat Chrysler, Dies Aged 66
Thu, 26 Jul 2018 12:01
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Rothschild's Ex-Wife Found Dead, Hanging from Doorknob at Home
Thu, 26 Jul 2018 14:22
Annabelle Neilson dies aged 49-years-old - police say death is 'not suspicious'
on&nbsp17th July 2018 @ 12.23pm
(C) press Rothschild's ex-wife Annabelle Neilson was found dead in her London homeThe ex-wife of elite banker Nataniel Rothschild has been found dead at her home in Chelsea, London.
49-year-old Annabelle Neilson's body was discovered hanging from a doorknob in the bathroom of her $4.1 million mansion on Thursday, but news of her sudden and tragic death has only just been made public.
Police have yet to confirm the cause of her death, and haven't ruled out drug or alcohol use, but say they are "not treating it as suspicious."
Neilson was previously married to Nathaniel Rothschild - son of Lord Jacob Rothschild and heir to his family's fortune - for three years after a six-year relationship.
After divorcing Rothschild she was reportedly forced to sign a confidentiality agreement and rescind the dynastic name.
Since splitting with the banking heir, she was in an extremely close relationship with fashion designer Alexander McQueen who also died in eerily similar circumstances to Neilson.
McQueen's death was announced on the afternoon of 11 February 2010.
In the morning, his housekeeper found him hanging from a doorknob at his home in Green Street, London W1.
Annabelle Neilson was supposedly the last person to see McQueen alive and she was left devastated by his death
(C) press Annabelle Neilson was the last person to see Alexander McQueen aliveAccording to the Daily Mail, Annabelle was a great friend of cover girl Kate Moss and also close to the late fashion designer Alexander McQueen, after becoming his muse aged just 22.
"He was my brother, my boyfriend, my soulmate. Most of the time people called me Mr.s McQueen. Quite often we were sharing a bed," she told the Daily Mail in 2015.
"The truth is I was happier with Lee than with anyone else. He asked me to marry him towards the end and I said no. I wish now that I had said yes."
A British aristocrat, Annabelle shocked high society when she eloped to Las Vegas with Nat Rothschild in 1994.
Rothschild is the only son and heir of banker Jacob Rothschild and is in line to become the fifth Baron Rothschild and inherit around £500million on his father's death.
The former couple met on a beach in India, and a close family friend told the Daily Mail at the time of their divorce that Rothschild's parents had been 'appalled' by their then 23-year-old son's 'vulgar' choice of wife.
After just three years of marriage, marked by hard-partying and cataclysmic rows, the couple split and Annabelle reportedly received a generous financial settlement in return for rescinding the dynastic name and signing a confidentiality agreement.
Rothschild reportedly went on to date Natalie Portman and Ivanka Trump, before marrying a topless model, Loretta Basey, two years ago.
Annabelle went on to date Edward Spencer Churchill, the Duke of Marlborough's half-brother, with the exes remaining close after their break-up.
Indeed the last picture of Annabelle was taken at his marriage last week, held at Blenheim Palace in Woodstock, Oxfordshire.
She posed happily alongside her friend Kate Moss in the image.
While her ex-husband's parents were not pleased by their son's choice of wife, Annabelle was in fact very well connected - her paternal grandmother was a second cousin of the late Queen Mother.
The brunette beauty was the daughter of Elizabeth, the Marquesa Campus di Santinelli, while her first cousin was the Earl of Warwick.
As a young girl, Annabelle enjoyed play dates at Warwick Castle.
Growing up, she divided her time between the family's country estate '' Chiltern House in The Chilterns '' and a home in West London.
However, despite her gilded upbringing, Annabelle's childhood was far from easy.
Severely dyslexic, she was badly bullied at her exclusive private school and left at 16 without any qualifications.
She headed to Australia to stay with family friends, but while there was the victim of a horrific assault.
Her attacker, later convicted of killing three women, tied her to a tree and beat her for two hours, leaving her in need of reconstructive surgery.
Left depressed, she was a heroin addict by the time she turned 16.
She managed to get herself off hard drugs but said they helped her survive the brutal experience.
"In a way, heroin saved me because otherwise, I would have killed myself," she told the Daily Mail.
(C) press Rarely seen together, Nathaniel is the only son and heir of Lord Jacob Rothschild who described Annabelle Neilson as 'vulgar'Tall, beautiful and well connected, the young brunette turned to modeling - a decision which changed the course of her life.
It was her work as a muse for McQueen that put Annabelle on the fashion map after they met when she was just 22.
They were introduced by the late Tatler fashion editor Isabella Blow, who was then the muse of celebrated milliner Philip Treacy.
"Issie brought me to Lee as a model.
"She presented me to him as his new girl. Lee loved me immediately and it felt like we knew each other straight away," Annabelle told the Daily Mail in 2015.
"We were so alike. He was also dyslexic; he mirrored me in so many ways."
Indeed it was while working for McQueen in the early 1990s that Annabelle met Kate and Naomi.
Annabelle explained:
"Kate is my best mate and I love her like a sister."
In later life, Annabelle starred in the U.S. reality show Ladies Of London for two seasons, from 2014 to 2015.
She used the series as a way to relaunch herself as a children's author two years ago, publishing a series of books, The Me Me Me's.
The show chronicled her life in London, including a devastating horse accident, which left her with multiple broken injuries, including a broken back and pelvis.
While recovering Annabelle was cared for by her parents at their home off the Kings Road in Chelsea, West London.
Speaking at the family home on Monday, Annabelle's father Max told Mail Online:
"I am sorry but I can't help you. Thank you for calling."
Fans flocked to Instagram to pay tribute to Annabelle.
An Instagram picture of a swimming pool was posted to her account the day following her death, presumably a pre-scheduled post.
READ MORE: Hanging from Doorknobs: 12 Pedophile Related Celebrity Suicides So Far
Wheelchair-bound man who sued inaccessible shops can walk
Thu, 26 Jul 2018 12:31
A wheelchair-using Queens man who's been shaking down businesses by threatening to sue for millions over their lack of handicap access '-- if they don't pay him first '-- was walking just fine when The Post visited him this week.
''Please, take out! I don't want pictures!'' a panicked-looking Arik Matatov said while walking backward into his apartment when a Post reporter showed up at his door.
Matatov, 24, has been making $50,000 demands on dozens of Manhattan businesses that aren't wheelchair accessible and pocketing the cash '-- or suing them for $5 million if they don't cough it up.
In one case, he claimed he would be ''humiliated'' to accept an employee's help up a few steps into the tween clothing store Journeys.
Yet when The Post rang Matatov's Rego Park doorbell Tuesday and a woman called him to the door, he walked over on his own and then stood there without assistance.
When the reporter identified himself and asked Matatov if he uses a wheelchair, Matatov made his plea for no photos and the woman then slammed the door.
A few minutes later, he lumbered out of the building and walked to a pal's Lexus waiting 40 feet away '-- which he entered as the friend held the door open.
The men drove to a local Jewish community center, where Matatov exited the car and unfurled a blind walking cane.
He then walked off using the cane to feel his way '-- but not for support '-- while the buddy held his arm.
The serial litigant's attorney, who has helped him send threatening letters to nearly 50 businesses in the past few months, claimed he had no idea about his client's perambulatory abilities '-- and that he doesn't even ''know him personally.''
''Oh, wow,'' said lawyer Jeffrey Neiman when told what The Post saw.
''I don't know anything about that. Really, I had no idea.
''[Matatov] said he usually needs a wheelchair but he didn't comment in terms of when he needed it. I didn't have reason to question him someone in a wheelchair, you know?'' he continued.
''I'll definitely look into it. I don't do those things, fake lawsuits, I'm not into it.''
He confirmed Matatov does have trouble seeing, although Neiman couldn't say why.
When asked if he knew why Matatov even needs a wheelchair, Neiman said, ''Specifically, no. I'll probably follow up with him at some point.''
News of the Matatov's sudden mobility angered the businesses he has targeted.
''Wow that's amazing '-- I mean it's terrible,'' said attorney Philip Pizzuto, who is representing Broome Street's Caffe Roma in a legal battle with Matatov.
''As an attorney you hear about these things, but it's sad.''
Others weren't exactly shocked.
''It's a scam and we knew it when we first got the letter,'' said Barbara Di Palo, whose family restaurant Brooks 1890 received one of the letters a month ago.
''It costs $5,000 to hire a lawyer, so they think you'll just pay them off. I'm happy you're exposing him. I applaud that. And hopefully they'll stop harassing small businesses.''
A worker at men's clothing store Ari in Soho '-- which Matatov threatened after finding its portable ramp was too small for his chair to get up two steps '-- said he hopes there's consequences.
''These people should be prosecuted for hurting businesses for no reason. There is no merit to this case,'' said the employee, who wouldn't give his name.
''That lawyer should be barred from practicing law,'' he added.
Tom Stebbins of the Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York, which is working to eliminate nuisance suits, said the scheme makes ''a mockery of the legal profession and the civil justice system.''
''The New York Attorney General and the Department of Justice should keep a close eye on these serial filers '-- in both state and federal courts '-- and the lawyers at the lawsuit mills that recruit them,'' he said.
''The fraud and abuse in this system must be stopped so these laws can be returned to their noble intentions,'' he said.
Neiman and Matatov wouldn't be the first people accused of gaming the Americans with Disabilities Act with dozens of suits.
Florida paraplegic Lawrence Feltzin filed more than 50 suits against Big Apple businesses from 2014 through 2016, according to Legal Newsline.
Feltzin's lawyer, Lawrence Fuller, was previously sanctioned by a Florida federal judge in 2003 for filing more than a dozen suits on behalf of a man he claimed to be a quadriplegic '-- who then walked into the courtroom.
''[The client] did not know what a quadriplegic was, and when the term was explained to him, he was repulsed by the thought of being so incapacitated and surprised that he had been thought to be so,'' the judge wrote in his rebuke.
Additional reporting by Jennifer Bain
Sex Dolls
Explosion In Sex Dolls Threatens Japanese Race With "Extinction" | Zero Hedge
Thu, 26 Jul 2018 13:47
As Japanese birth rates plummet amid a generational fertility crisis, experts have fingered an explosion in sex dolls as an emerging threat to the country's already-dire population problem - with some even saying they will lead to the "extinction" of the Japanese race.
According to the RT documentary "Substitutes," industry insiders say that around 2,000 life-like sex dolls - with adjustable fingers, removable head and customizable genitals are sold annually in Japan. Assuming costs come down and the Japanese workforce continues to put in 14-hour days, there could be tens of thousands of sex dolls floating around the island nation within a decade. Maybe don't look in random closets when visiting friends in Japan.
For sex doll salesman Noburu Tanaka, the advantage of owning one of the ¥420,000 ($3,750) synthetic dolls is its lack of expectation. ''It's an amazing feeling. It looks like a doll, but you feel as though it's really alive,'' he told RT. ''When you make love to your wife, there can be some problems. With a doll, none of that matters.''
For Kanako Amano, a demography expert at the NLI Research Institute in Tokyo, the dolls pose an existential threat to the future of a country where the population is estimated to decline by a third in the next 30 years. -RT
"The biggest problem in Japan is the decline in birthrate and population. It's being called a national disaster,'' said Amano. ''The Japanese are at a crossroads, facing the threat of extinction. We're an endangered species."
In the early 1950s, fertility rates hovered at a healthy 2.75 children per woman, UN data shows. By 1960, as businesses asked more and more of their employees, the fertility rate had fallen to 2.08. Japan had sunk to a critical threshold known as "replacement fertility," the bare minimum to avoid losing population.
"In those days, women's university enrollment rate exceeded 40%," Tokyo University economist Hiroshi Yoshida tells Business Insider. But as more women entered the workforce, fertility began to plummet. Today, more than 50 years later, Japan's fertility rate sits at 1.41, the population is falling, and brutally long work hours remain the norm. -Business Insider
That said, "loneliness among older people" appears to be one of the main drivers of the rise in sex dolls in Japan. Sell doll owner Moru, for example, purchased his polymer companion after the death of his wife.
There was a void in my heart,'' he told the documentary team, as he pointed at the row of dolls arranged in a sitting position on his couch. ''When I met them, my life became inextricably bound to them. Since these girls appeared in my home, and thanks to them, I haven't felt that lonely anymore'...'' -RT
Moru and his friend Keroro - who owns up to 20 dolls - take drives or trips together to parks, where they pose the dolls on benches and other locations to take photographs.
Rise of the love machines? People will soon be losing their virginity to robots - academic
'-- RT (@RT_com) June 11, 2016And its not just men!
Female model Hitsuji who is very popular with Japan's youth says she adores her doll Masiro - and says she has no desire to live with man. ''Masiro is not a friend, a family member or a loved one. She's a creature who accepts my love,'' she said. ''I have never consorted with men like that.''
China and Hong Kong, meanwhile, has been suffering from similar low fertility rates amid an epidemic of "grass-eating men" - lame, feminized Chinese man-children who refuse to step up their game and get laid.
Indeed, Hong Kong is suffering from an army of loners - estimated at 20,000 to 40,000 strong - usually in their 20's and 30's, who are choosing video games, anime and internet porn over wives, sex and the inevitable children that follow.
We can blame the prevalence of smartphones, laptops, computers, tablets and other electronic devices. We can even blame it on e-sports, a new pseudo sport that is sweeping the city with government backing. It can also be interpreted as another excuse for people to submerge themselves in the digital world rather than experience the real word. -SCMP
These sexless men are known as "otaku," - a Japanese term for socially awkward gents who have isolated themselves from their families and romantic prospects alike. "[T]hese ''geeks'' tend to be diehard anime and manga fans who have little interest in dating," writes Luisa Tam in the South China Morning Post.
Taking it one step further are the "soshoku danshi," which translates to "grass-eating men" or "herbivore men" - a term coined by Japanese columnist Maki Fukasawa who describes these particular isolationists as having a "monk-like approach to life and relationships," which of course includes no sex.
Studies in Japan estimate that this class of men, normally in their 20s and 30s, account for around 60 per cent to 70 per cent of the male population. Obviously, their reluctance to procreate is a major cause for concern. Japan has had one of lowest birth rates in the world for nearly a decade now. -SCMP
Hong Kong has seen a sharp rise in the number of "grass-eating men," according to Dr. Paul Wong Wai-ching, associate professor of the Department of Social Work and Social Administration at hte University of Hong Kong.
And while some experts have argued that slower population growth could mitigate pressure on China to create new jobs as technology increases productivity, others think China is in deep trouble...
''They should have lifted all birth restrictions before 2010,'' says Baochang. ''Whatever steps they take now, China's low-fertility trend is no longer reversible.'' In three decades, 1/3 of China's population is predicted to be over the age of 60.
Meanwhile, China's one-child policy, and now two-child policy, has conditioned the population to shun large families.
In a generation that grew up without siblings, a one-child mind-set is deeply entrenched. Maternity-leave policies have been expanded but some women say taking leave twice is a career impediment. An All-China Women's Federation survey found 53% of respondents with one child didn't want a second.
Even without birth limits, China's economic development would have reduced fertility rates, says Martin Whyte, a Harvard University Chinese-studies expert. That has been the pattern elsewhere in the world: When incomes rise, the sizes of families tend to go down. -WSJ
If the nation drops birth policies now, says Whyte, ''China will learn what many other countries have learned'--that it is much more difficult to get people to have more babies'' than to force them to stop having them.
VIDEO - VIDEO : Alphabet shrugs off EU fine as earnings beat expectations | Euronews
Thu, 26 Jul 2018 14:51
Alphabet's total revenue for the three months to the end of June is '‚¬27 billion ($32.66 billion). Eighty-six percent of which came from Google's advertising business
Read full article
VIDEO - VIDEO : Summer heatwave: soon the norm in Europe | Euronews
Thu, 26 Jul 2018 14:48
Surface air temperatures have been increasing on a regular basis globally since 1979. On a monthly global average, since 1989, surface air temperatures have been increasing each month every year
Read full article
Why so many women now say they'd rather hang with their dog than their lover
Thu, 26 Jul 2018 14:42
Half of female pet owners prefer to spend time with their dogs than with their partners or family members, a new survey finds
Maybe dogs are really woman's best friend.
Half of female dog-owners say they would rather spend time with their dogs than with their partner or family members, according to a survey conducted by pet food brand Just Right by Purina. And of the more than 1,000 dog owners surveyed, 95% said that they view their dog as part of the family; 62% reported that their furry friend helps them de-stress after work; and 55% believe that their dog provides emotional comfort after receiving bad news.
Taylor Napoli, 35, from South Hadley, Mass. admits that spending time with her 6-year old black lab/collie mix, Dexter, is often better than being with other humans. ''I like when he's laying next to me when my husband isn't here, because I feel like there's no stress,'' she told Moneyish. ''He has no expectations of me. He's just there, and so reliable in a way that people aren't sometimes.''
And now that she's a new mom to a baby girl, Napoli feels guilty about neglecting Dexter, since he was really she and her husband's first child. ''Every morning, I'm making sure that I take him out first before I feed her (the new baby),'' she said, adding that she just bought a new kiddie pool for their pup. ''It doesn't even matter how hot out it is, I always make sure he's able to take a swim every morning,'' she said.
And Sophia Olson, 24, from Kannapolis, N.C., admits that when she and her husband are not taking their 1-year old terrier/spaniel mix Pontiac camping, or teaching him how to swim, they each like to spend their downtime apart with him. ''We like our alone time to be with the dog,'' she said. The elementary school art teacher and part-time waitress said there are only a few hours when she's not with Pontiac. ''In the summer we spend almost all day together '... most of the time we are together asleep in our bed,'' she added.
Olson is one of the almost half (45%) of American pet-owners that say they allow their fur babies to sleep in bed with them, according to a survey by the American Kennel Club. The same is true for Napoli: ''He sleeps with us in the bed,'' she said. ''He's literally never used his dog bed.''
Also read: Americans are willing to wreck their financial futures on behalf of their pets
This all comes at a time when Americans are spending more than ever on their pets. Pet parents spent nearly $70 billion in total on their pets last year, up 4% from 2016, according to the American Pet Products Association (APPA) '-- and that number is expected to continue to climb.
And for most dog owners, their primary pet expense is food. An estimated $29.88 billion will be spent on pet food by the end of this year, according to data from the APPA. And more pet-owners are springing for the fancier foods: Pet owners are projected to spend more than $11,000 on premium organic and grain-free pet-food in 2019, in comparison to about $5,500 on mid-priced food and $2,650 on economy chow.
This is partly due to the fact that human diet trends are making their way into the pet-world. For example, Paleopet , the nutritional book for pets, has gained popularity for its no-starch, meat-centered diet plan. And in 2014, Purina rolled out a line of dog supplement bars such as the Pro Plan Sport PRiME Bar and ReFUEL Bar, which are meant to help puppies gain and keep healthy muscles.
While Olson said that Pontiac doesn't eat better than she and her husband, most of their monthly dog expenses (about $30 a month) do go towards food. ''He does eat grain-free, but we don't cook his food like some people do,'' she said.
Napoli on the other hand, makes sure Dexter is spoiled with as many fancy treats as possible. In addition to the nightly 8 p.m. rawhide bone he gets every day, he also has a sweet tooth. ''When I go to Starbucks, he always gets a 'Puppuccino,''' she said. ''Everyone at Starbucks knows him.'' In fact, after gaining five pounds from the Starbucks secret menu puppy item , Napoli decided to cut Dexter off from his usual espresso cup filled with whipped cream. Dexter's fancy taste brings their monthly food expense to about $40 a month and $30 every two weeks for his rawhides.
Napoli is not alone in indulging her furry friend: Sixty-four percent of those surveyed said that they find themselves asking their dog if it likes its food after serving it, and 40% have even bought their dog a birthday cake. Although Napoli has never indulged Dexter with a cake, she said that she has celebrated his birthday with decorated cookies and doggie ice cream.
(C) 2018 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved
VIDEO - THIS GUY Says Something You'll NEVER HEAR on Corporate-Controlled Media - YouTube
Thu, 26 Jul 2018 14:37
VIDEO - Texas waiter faked "we don't tip terrorist" note on receipt, restaurant says - CBS News
Thu, 26 Jul 2018 14:15
A waiter at a Texas steakhouse made up the viral story about a customer leaving him a racist note , his employer said Monday. The story gained national attention after Khalil Cavil, a 20-year-old server for Saltgrass Steak House in Odessa, Texas, posted a now-deleted image of the receipt he claimed was left for him on July 14.
On the bill, Khalil's name was circled and the words, "we don't tip terrorist," were written at the top.
Cavil wrote in his post, which was deleted as of Tuesday morning: "I share this because I want people to understand that this racism, and this hatred still exists. Although, this is nothing new, it is still something that will test your faith." Cavil's Facebook page also appears to have been deleted.
Saltgrass originally said it had banned the customer blamed for the message. But now, the restaurant's corporate office says it has learned the story was a hoax.
"After further investigation, we have learned that our employee fabricated the entire story," Terry Turney, COO of Saltgrass Steak House, told the Odessa American in a statement. "The customer has been contacted and invited back to our restaurant to dine on us. Racism of any form is intolerable, and we will always act swiftly should it occur in any of our establishments.
"Falsely accusing someone of racism is equaling disturbing," Turney said.
Cavil also admitted to newspaper that he wrote the "we don't tip terrorist" note himself.
"I did write it," Cavil told the Odessa American. "I don't have an explanation. I made a mistake. There is no excuse for what I did."
After sharing his post on Facebook, Cavil had received monetary donations, which he told the newspaper is now being returned.
(C) 2018 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.
VIDEO - Questions raised about Brexit donor's links to Russia - BBC News
Thu, 26 Jul 2018 13:04
The BBC has spoken to a close associate of the Brexit donor Arron Banks, discussions which have raised questions about whether he had business contacts with Russia.
James Pryor worked with Mr Banks on the Brexit campaign and helped to manage his businesses in Africa.
He said that Mr Banks had sought Russian investment for his South African diamond mines. He later refuted his claim on camera after being played recordings of his previous conversations he had had with the BBC reporter Manveen Rana.
Mr Banks denied seeking or having any Russia investors. He also rejected suggestions that he should give more detail about the source of the funding he provided for the Brexit campaign.
VIDEO - White House bans network pool reporter from Rose Garden event
Thu, 26 Jul 2018 12:54
The White House took retaliatory action against Kaitlan Collins, a White House reporter for CNN, after Collins asked President Trump questions at an Oval Office photo op on Wednesday. CNN, rival networks, and the White House Correspondents Association all spoke out against the administration's action.
On Wednesday afternoon Collins was representing all the television networks as the "pool reporter" in the room during a meeting between Trump and Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission.
As is customary, Collins lobbed a few questions at the president. She asked about Vladimir Putin and Michael Cohen. Trump did not answer the questions.
Later in the afternoon, the White House surprised the press corps by announcing a press availability with Trump and Juncker in the Rose Garden. It was said to be open to all press, not just the small pool.
A few minutes later, Collins was asked to come to Bill Shine's office. Shine, a former co-president of Fox News, is the new deputy chief of staff for communications. Shine and press secretary Sarah Sanders met Collins there.
"They said 'You are dis-invited from the press availability in the Rose Garden today,'" Collins said in an interview. "They said that the questions I asked were inappropriate for that venue. And they said I was shouting."
A video clip of the exchange shows that Collins was speaking the same way journalists in the press pool usually speak.
Collins said she reacted by saying, "You're banning me from an event because you didn't like the questions I asked."
Collins said Shine and Sanders asserted that "we're not banning your network. Your photographers can still come. Your producers can still come. But you are not invited to the Rose Garden today."
In a statement in response to press inquiries, Sanders confirmed the dis-invitation. She claimed Collins "shouted questions and refused to leave despite repeatedly being asked to do so."
"To be clear, we support a free press and ask that everyone be respectful of the presidency and guests at the White House," Sanders said.
Other reporters who were in the room said Collins was perfectly respectful.
In a statement, CNN disputed the White House's assertion that Collins' questions were inappropriate.
"Just because the White House is uncomfortable with a question regarding the news of day doesn't mean the question isn't relevant and shouldn't be asked," the network said. "This decision to bar a member of the press is retaliatory in nature and not indicative of an open and free press. We demand better."
What Collins described -- telling a well-known and well-respected reporter that she can't attend a presidential event -- is another serious escalation against the press by the Trump administration.
The association which represents the White House press corps said it strongly condemned the action.
"This type of retaliation is wholly inappropriate, wrong-headed, and weak. It cannot stand," the group said in a statement.
Fox News, one of CNN's top competitors, also spoke out.
"We stand in strong solidarity with CNN for the right to full access for our journalists as part of a free and unfettered press," Fox News president Jay Wallace said. Wallace and Shine previously worked together for many years.
Reporters from the major networks take turns as the TV "pool reporter." Wednesday happened to be CNN's day.
On some days, there's only one opportunity to ask the president questions.
So Collins felt she should ask about two of Wednesday's biggest stories when journalists were let inside the Oval Office for a portion of Trump and Juncker's meeting.
She asked: "Did Michael Cohen betray you, Mr. President?" She repeated the question, then asked "Mr. President, are you worried about what Michael Cohen is about to say to the prosecutors? Are you worried about what is on the other tapes, Mr. President?"
This was a follow-up to Trump's Wednesday morning tweet about the Cohen tape that CNN aired on Tuesday night.
Trump didn't answer, so Collins changed subjects. She asked, "Why is Vladimir Putin not accepting your invitation, Mr. President?"
This was a reference to last week's announcement by Sanders that Putin was being invited to Washington in the fall.
Trump rebuffed the questions by saying, "thank you very much, everybody" to the press pool.
Collins said the photo op was "totally normal."
"It wasn't anything different from any other pool spray," she said.
She was taken aback by Shine and Sanders' assertions later in the day.
Recalling what she told them in the short meeting, she said, "I'm from Alabama. I'm not rude. I believe you should always be polite when you ask a question. I totally believe that."
CNNMoney (New York) First published July 25, 2018: 5:59 PM ET
VIDEO - Gillibrand: Dems Should 'Get Rid of ICE' as Soon as They Retake Congress - YouTube
Thu, 26 Jul 2018 12:40
VIDEO - What's known so far about Faisal Hussain - YouTube
Thu, 26 Jul 2018 12:35
VIDEO - Cliff Richard: BBC seeks leave to appeal High Court privacy judgement - BBC News
Thu, 26 Jul 2018 11:38
Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media caption Sir Cliff Richard v BBC - how did we get here?The BBC is to seek permission to appeal a ruling over its coverage of a police raid on Sir Cliff Richard's home.
A high court judge ruled last week that the BBC infringed Sir Cliff's privacy in its reporting of the story in 2014, and awarded him £210,000 damages.
The raid was part of an investigation into historical child sex allegations - Sir Cliff was never arrested or charged.
The BBC argues the ruling could put press freedom at stake.
The broadcaster will later seek leave to appeal all of the main findings of law in Mr Justice Mann's judgment - although the judge is unlikely to grant an appeal against his own ruling.
BBC legal affairs correspondent, Clive Coleman, said that if he refuses, it will be up to the broadcaster to decide whether to go directly to the Court of Appeal - which he understands the corporation is "carefully considering".
The BBC wants to challenge the judge's findings, including that Sir Cliff had a right to privacy while a suspect in a police investigation - trumping the broadcaster's right to freedom of expression to publish his name and cover the raid.
It will also seek to appeal Sir Cliff's entitlement to damages for injury to his reputation in a privacy case, as opposed to a defamation claim.
The corporation will argue the £210,000 damages awarded will have a damaging effect on media outlets who are aware of a suspect's identity but who do not want to publish for fear of having to make a large payout.
The judge has yet to decide how much Sir Cliff was left out of pocket. The singer has said plans for his professional work were "seriously disrupted" and that he was left "in effect in creative limbo" for two years.
Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media caption Sir Cliff Richard's lawyer said the singer "aimed to right a wrong"At the ruling earlier this month, Mr Justice Mann said a suspect in a police investigation "has a reasonable expectation of privacy", and while Sir Cliff being investigated "might be of interest to the gossip-monger", there was not a "genuine public interest" case.
He also said that while the case could have a "significant impact on press reporting", it did not mean the law was changing or he was setting a precedent as the Human Rights Act already covers the issues at stake.
After the ruling last week, the BBC's director of news and current affairs Fran Unsworth apologised to Sir Cliff and said: "In retrospect, there are things we would have done differently."
But, she said, the case marked a "significant shift" against press freedom and an "important principle" around the public's right to know was at stake.
Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media caption The BBC's director of news said immediately after the ruling that the BBC was considering an appealSpeaking to ITV afterwards, Sir Cliff said senior managers at the BBC have to "carry the can" for their actions, adding: "It's too big a decision to be made badly. It was nonsense."
"I want a correction made to what happened to me and it was made," he said. "Nobody said anything about freedom of speech.
"But I will fight to the death against the abuse of the freedom of speech [and] what the BBC did was an abuse.
"They took it upon themselves to be judge, jury and executioner."
VIDEO - Trump-Juncker meeting: US and EU strike 'zero tariffs' deal to avoid trade war | The Independent
Thu, 26 Jul 2018 08:18
The US and EU have agreed to try and create an environment of zero tariffs, barriers or subsidies '' an undertaking that appears to have diminished the prospect of a prolonged trade war between the two groups.
In a surprise announcement in the Rose Garden of the White House, Donald Trump and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, said they had reached an understanding on lowering barriers between the two sides, whose annual trade in goods and services is worth more than $1 trillion.
''We agreed today, first of all, to work together towards zero tariffs, zero non-tariff barriers, and zero subsidies on non-auto industrial goods,'' said Mr Trump, with Mr Juncker by his side.
Read more Trump's trade war could inflict $500bn of damage on world warns IMF
''We will also work to reduce barriers and increase trade in services, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, medical products, as well as soybeans.''
He added: ''This was a very big day for free and fair trade.''
In turn, Mr Juncker said he ''had the intention to make a deal today and we made a deal today''. He said while negotiations were ongoing, ''we will hold off further tariffs'' and reassess existing tariffs on steel and aluminium.
Ahead of their appearance at the White House, it was reported that the two men had agreed the EU would increase its imports of soybeans and liquefied natural gas. Markets jumped on the news of the deal.
''We had a big day, very big,'' Mr Trump said. ''We set out to launch a new phase of close friendship between the United States and the European Union, strong trade relationships where both of us will win.''
Jean Claude Juncker : US and EU agree to hold off on further tariffs as part of trade talksThe import of soybeans is a boost to American farmers, who have seen prices plummet after China slapped a retaliatory tariff on American goods including soybeans, in the wake of US tariffs on aluminium and steel.
Mr Trump had said earlier on Wednesday that the US was seeking a ''level playing field'' on trade with the EU.
''For years, the US has been losing hundreds of billions of dollars in trade with the European Union, and we just want it to be a level playing field for our farmers, for our manufacturers, for everybody and we also want a big beneficiary, frankly, to be the European Union and we think it can be good for everybody and that's why we are here to discuss,'' he said, sitting alongside Mr Juncker in the Oval Office.
The agreement is likely to dispel fears of an escalating trade war in the wake of Mr Trump's decision to place a 25 per cent tariff on steel imports and a 10 per cent tariff on aluminium imports. The EU subsequently retaliated with tariffs on a number of US goods.
World news in pictures 1/51 25 July 2018A man who was injured in a suspected suicide bomb attack outside a polling station, receives medical treatment at a hospital in Quetta. At least 25 people were killed and 30 injured in the incident. Polling stations in Pakistan opened for the general election for around 105 million constituents. Voters will have to choose from 11,000 candidates to elect 272 members of the Parliament for the next term. These elections are the second in Pakistan's history in which a government was able to complete its term to make way for another government after being ruled by military dictators for half of the 71 years of its existence since its founding in 1947
2/51 24 July 2018A woman reacts as she tries to find her dog, following a wildfire at the village of Mati, near Athens, Greece. At least 60 people are thought to have been killed
3/51 23 July 2018A house is threatened by a huge blaze during a wildfire in Kineta, near Athens. More than 300 firefighters, five aircraft and two helicopters were mobilised to tackle the "extremely difficult" situation due to strong gusts of wind, Athens fire chief Achille Tzouvaras said
AFP/Getty Images
4/51 22 July 2018Israeli-annexed Golan Heights shows a smoke plume rising across the border in Quneitra in southwestern Syria, as rebels destroy their arms stocks prior to their departure
5/51 21 July 2018A Syrian child looks through the window of a bus as displaced people from the Quneitra province wait at the Morek crossing point to be transfered in the provinces of Idlib and Aleppo, northwestern Syria. The transfers come under a surrender deal agreed this week between Russia and Syrian rebels in Quneitra province that will see the sensitive zone fall back under state control. Rebels will hand over territory they control in Quneitra and the neighbouring buffer zone with the Israeli-occupied Golan, a war monitor and a rebel
AFP/Getty Images
6/51 20 July 2018Men push a car past a flooded street in Ahmadabad, India. Hundreds of people have been rescued from flood affected areas in the past week as incessant rains continue to lash Gujarat state
7/51 19 July 2018Arab lawmakers stand up in protest during a Knesset session in Jerusalem. Israel's parliament approved a controversial piece of legislation that defines the country as the nation-state of the Jewish people but which critics warn sidelines minorities
8/51 18 July 2018The 12 boys and their soccer coach who were rescued from a flooded cave arrive for a news conference in the northern province of Chiang Rai, Thailand
9/51 17 July 2018President Barack Obama delivers the 16th Nelson Mandela annual lecture, marking the centenary of the anti-apartheid leader's birth, in Johannesburg, South Africa
10/51 16 July 2018French supporters celebrate on the Champs Elysees their team's victory after the World Cup 2018 final between France and Croatia
11/51 15 July 2018Hugo Lloris lifts the trophy after France beat Croatia 4-2 in the World Cup final in the Luzhniki Stadium in Russia
12/51 14 July 2018Germany's Angelique Kerber beat seven-time champion US player Serena Williams in the Wimbledon final. Kerber won her first Wimbledon title
13/51 13 July 2018Firefighters using fire helicopters fighting wildfires in Sordal in Setesdalen in the southern part of Norway. The fires are thought to be caused by lightning in the very dry landscape
14/51 12 July 2018The Syrian national flag rises in the midst of damaged buildings in Daraa-al-Balad an opposition-held part of the southern city of Daraa. Syria's army entered rebel-held parts of Daraa city, state media said, raising the national flag in the cradle of the uprising that sparked the country's seven-year war, following a deal for rebels to hand over their heavy weapons in Daraa al-Balad and other opposition-held parts of the city
15/51 11 July 2018US President Donald Trump and Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg attend a bilateral breakfast ahead of the NATO Summit in Brussels
16/51 10 July 2018The last four Thai Navy SEALs come out safely after completing the rescue mission inside a cave where 12 boys and their soccer coach have been trapped since June 23, in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai province, northern Thailand. Thailand's navy SEALs say all 12 boys and their soccer coach have been rescued from a flooded cave in far northern Thailand, ending an ordeal that lasted more than two weeks
Royal Thai Navy via AP
17/51 9 July 2018Indonesia worker and firefighters try to extinguish a fire on fishing boats at Benoa harbour in Denpasar, on Indonesia's resort island of Bali. A massive fire laid waste to dozens of boats at a Bali port as firefighters battled to bring the dramatic blaze under control
18/51 8 July 2018Russia's football team are greeted celebrated by fans during a visit at the Moscow's fan zone after they were knocked out of the World Cup in their quarter final match against Croatia on penalties
19/51 7 July 2018Residents look over the flooded town by heavy rain in Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, western Japan. Heavy rainfall killed 47 people, missing more than 49 people and five others in serious condition in southwestern and western Japan, public television reported on 07 July 2018. Japan Meteorological Agency has warned record rainfall on 06 July for flooding, mudslides in southwestern and western Japan. In nine prefectures in western and southwestern Japan, authorities issued evacuation orders to more than one million of people in southwestern and western Japan
20/51 6 July 2018An honour guard hold up a picture of Samarn Kunan, 38, a former member of Thailand's elite navy SEAL unit who died working to save 12 boys and their soccer coach trapped inside a flooded cave, at an airport in Rayong province, Thailand
21/51 5 July 2018The International Space Station, center, passes in front of the Moon in its Earth orbit as photographed from Salgotarjan, Hungary
MTI via AP
22/51 4 July 2018Former Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Razak (C) arrives at Kuala Lumpur High Court in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Malaysia's former prime minister Najib Razak appeared in court to face graft charges linked to the the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal
23/51 3 July 2018Rescue workers come out from the Tham Luang cave complex, as members of under-16 soccer team and their coach have been found alive according to a local media's report, in the northern province of Chiang Rai, Thailand
24/51 2 July 2018Firefighters scramble to control flames surrounding a fire truck as the Pawnee fire jumps across highway 20 near Clearlake Oaks, California
25/51 1 July 2018Presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador greets supporters as he arrives at a polling station during the presidential election in Mexico City
26/51 30 June 2018North Korea leader Kim Jong Un inspects Unit 1524 of the Korean People's Army (KPA)
KCNA via Reuters
27/51 29 June 2018Mount Agung's crater glows red from the lava as it spews volcanic smoke on Bali Island. The Indonesian tourist island closed its international airport, stranding thousands of travelers, as the Mount Agung volcano gushed a 2,500-meter (8,200-feet) column of ash and smoke
28/51 28 June 2018The remains of market stalls smoulder after a fire swept through a marketplace in Nairobi, Kenya. Several people have died in the fire and about 70 are receiving hospital treatment, with rescue teams left searching through the scene
29/51 27 June 2018Smoke rises in the rebel-held town of Nawa in southern Syria during airstrikes by Syrian regime forces. Syria's army launched an assault on the flashpoint southern city of Daraa state media said, after a week of deadly bombardment on the nearby countryside caused mass displacement. Government forces have set their sights on retaking the south of the country, a strategic area that borders Jordan and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights
30/51 26 June 2018French President Emmanuel Macron greets Pope Francis at the end of a private audience at the Vatican
31/51 25 June 2018The frame of an abandoned Peugeot 404 rests in Niger's Tenere desert region of the south central Sahara on Sunday, June 3, 2018. Once a well-worn roadway for overlander tourists, the highway 4,500 kilometers (2,800 miles) are a favored path for migrants heading north in hopes of a better life and more recently thousands who are being expelled south from Algeria
32/51 24 June 2018Saudi women celebrate after they drove their cars in Al Khobar after the law allowing women to drive took effect. Saudi Arabia will allow women to drive from June 24, ending the world's only ban on female motorists
33/51 23 June 2018People gather as the injured are helped by medics at the scene of an explosion during a rally to support the country's new reformist prime minister Abiy Ahmed in Meskel Square in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Reports say the blast occurred shortly after he addressed thousands of his supporters. He then spoke to the crowd afterwards, saying a people had been killed
34/51 22 June 2018Participants of the Dark Mofo Nude Solstice Swim are seen in the River Derwent at dawn, in Hobart, Australia
35/51 21 June 2018Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi participates in a mass yoga session along with other practitioners to mark International Yoga Day at the Forest Research Institute (FRI) in Dehradun.Tens of thousands of yoga practitioners worldwide on June 21 are expected to celebrate the fourth annual International Yoga Day, first proposed by the Indian PM in 2014 to the UN General Assembly and adopted unanimously
36/51 20 June 2018A woman and child are told they will have to wait before crossing the US border as confusion sets in following the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" policy on immigration
37/51 19 June 2018People wave a banner with a picture of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during a gathering of supporters of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Istanbul, Turkey,. Turkish President Erdogan announced on 18 April that Turkey will hold snap presidential and parliamentary elections on 24 June 2018, after elections were scheduled to be held in November 2019
38/51 18 June 2018Residents pass by a temple gate collapsed by an earthquake in Ibaraki, Osaka Prefecture, western Japan. The earthquake, which struck western Japan, killed three people and injured more than 50
39/51 17 June 2018Juan Carlos Osorio, manager of Mexico's national football team, celebrates their World Cup victory against Germany
40/51 16 June 2018Kashmiri youths through stones during clashes between protestors and Indian government forces in Srinagar
41/51 16 June 2018People are silhouetted on the flybridge of a yacht as fireworks illuminates the sky over the Yas Viceroy luxury hotel on the first day of the Muslim holiday of Eid Al-Fitr at the Marina on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi
42/51 15 June 2018Somali Muslims take part in Eid al-Fitr prayer which marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan at the football pitch of the Jamacadaha stadium in Mogadishu
43/51 14 June 2018Artists perform during the opening ceremony of the 2018 World Cup in Russia ahead of the group A match between Russia and Saudi Arabia at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow
44/51 13 June 2018Pope Francis arrives to lead the Wednesday general audience in Saint Peter's square at the Vatican
45/51 12 June 2018US President Donald Trump shakes hands with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during their historic meeting at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore
46/51 11 June 2018US President Donald Trump looking at a cake being brought for him during a working lunch with Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong during his visit to The Istana, the official residence of the prime minister, in Singapore. Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump will meet on June 12 for an unprecedented summit, with the US President calling it a "one time shot" at peace
47/51 10 June 2018Muharrem Ince, presidential candidate of Turkey's main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), delivers a speech from the roof of a bus during a campaign meeting in Istanbul
48/51 9 June 2018French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaking to US Presidend Donald Trump during the second day of the G7 meeting in Charlevoix, Canada. Looking on is US National Security Advisor John Bolton
49/51 8 June 2018Former South African President Jacob Zuma sings and dances on stage after delivering a speech during a rally in his support outside the High Court, in Durban
50/51 7 June 2018Russian President Vladimir Putin listens to a question during his annual call-in show in Moscow. Putin hosts call-in shows every year, which typically provide a platform for ordinary Russians to appeal to the president on issues ranging from foreign policy to housing and utilities
51/51 1/51 25 July 2018A man who was injured in a suspected suicide bomb attack outside a polling station, receives medical treatment at a hospital in Quetta. At least 25 people were killed and 30 injured in the incident. Polling stations in Pakistan opened for the general election for around 105 million constituents. Voters will have to choose from 11,000 candidates to elect 272 members of the Parliament for the next term. These elections are the second in Pakistan's history in which a government was able to complete its term to make way for another government after being ruled by military dictators for half of the 71 years of its existence since its founding in 1947
2/51 24 July 2018A woman reacts as she tries to find her dog, following a wildfire at the village of Mati, near Athens, Greece. At least 60 people are thought to have been killed
3/51 23 July 2018A house is threatened by a huge blaze during a wildfire in Kineta, near Athens. More than 300 firefighters, five aircraft and two helicopters were mobilised to tackle the "extremely difficult" situation due to strong gusts of wind, Athens fire chief Achille Tzouvaras said
AFP/Getty Images
4/51 22 July 2018Israeli-annexed Golan Heights shows a smoke plume rising across the border in Quneitra in southwestern Syria, as rebels destroy their arms stocks prior to their departure
5/51 21 July 2018A Syrian child looks through the window of a bus as displaced people from the Quneitra province wait at the Morek crossing point to be transfered in the provinces of Idlib and Aleppo, northwestern Syria. The transfers come under a surrender deal agreed this week between Russia and Syrian rebels in Quneitra province that will see the sensitive zone fall back under state control. Rebels will hand over territory they control in Quneitra and the neighbouring buffer zone with the Israeli-occupied Golan, a war monitor and a rebel
AFP/Getty Images
6/51 20 July 2018Men push a car past a flooded street in Ahmadabad, India. Hundreds of people have been rescued from flood affected areas in the past week as incessant rains continue to lash Gujarat state
7/51 19 July 2018Arab lawmakers stand up in protest during a Knesset session in Jerusalem. Israel's parliament approved a controversial piece of legislation that defines the country as the nation-state of the Jewish people but which critics warn sidelines minorities
8/51 18 July 2018The 12 boys and their soccer coach who were rescued from a flooded cave arrive for a news conference in the northern province of Chiang Rai, Thailand
9/51 17 July 2018President Barack Obama delivers the 16th Nelson Mandela annual lecture, marking the centenary of the anti-apartheid leader's birth, in Johannesburg, South Africa
10/51 16 July 2018French supporters celebrate on the Champs Elysees their team's victory after the World Cup 2018 final between France and Croatia
11/51 15 July 2018Hugo Lloris lifts the trophy after France beat Croatia 4-2 in the World Cup final in the Luzhniki Stadium in Russia
12/51 14 July 2018Germany's Angelique Kerber beat seven-time champion US player Serena Williams in the Wimbledon final. Kerber won her first Wimbledon title
13/51 13 July 2018Firefighters using fire helicopters fighting wildfires in Sordal in Setesdalen in the southern part of Norway. The fires are thought to be caused by lightning in the very dry landscape
14/51 12 July 2018The Syrian national flag rises in the midst of damaged buildings in Daraa-al-Balad an opposition-held part of the southern city of Daraa. Syria's army entered rebel-held parts of Daraa city, state media said, raising the national flag in the cradle of the uprising that sparked the country's seven-year war, following a deal for rebels to hand over their heavy weapons in Daraa al-Balad and other opposition-held parts of the city
15/51 11 July 2018US President Donald Trump and Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg attend a bilateral breakfast ahead of the NATO Summit in Brussels
16/51 10 July 2018The last four Thai Navy SEALs come out safely after completing the rescue mission inside a cave where 12 boys and their soccer coach have been trapped since June 23, in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai province, northern Thailand. Thailand's navy SEALs say all 12 boys and their soccer coach have been rescued from a flooded cave in far northern Thailand, ending an ordeal that lasted more than two weeks
Royal Thai Navy via AP
17/51 9 July 2018Indonesia worker and firefighters try to extinguish a fire on fishing boats at Benoa harbour in Denpasar, on Indonesia's resort island of Bali. A massive fire laid waste to dozens of boats at a Bali port as firefighters battled to bring the dramatic blaze under control
18/51 8 July 2018Russia's football team are greeted celebrated by fans during a visit at the Moscow's fan zone after they were knocked out of the World Cup in their quarter final match against Croatia on penalties
19/51 7 July 2018Residents look over the flooded town by heavy rain in Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, western Japan. Heavy rainfall killed 47 people, missing more than 49 people and five others in serious condition in southwestern and western Japan, public television reported on 07 July 2018. Japan Meteorological Agency has warned record rainfall on 06 July for flooding, mudslides in southwestern and western Japan. In nine prefectures in western and southwestern Japan, authorities issued evacuation orders to more than one million of people in southwestern and western Japan
20/51 6 July 2018An honour guard hold up a picture of Samarn Kunan, 38, a former member of Thailand's elite navy SEAL unit who died working to save 12 boys and their soccer coach trapped inside a flooded cave, at an airport in Rayong province, Thailand
21/51 5 July 2018The International Space Station, center, passes in front of the Moon in its Earth orbit as photographed from Salgotarjan, Hungary
MTI via AP
22/51 4 July 2018Former Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Razak (C) arrives at Kuala Lumpur High Court in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Malaysia's former prime minister Najib Razak appeared in court to face graft charges linked to the the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal
23/51 3 July 2018Rescue workers come out from the Tham Luang cave complex, as members of under-16 soccer team and their coach have been found alive according to a local media's report, in the northern province of Chiang Rai, Thailand
24/51 2 July 2018Firefighters scramble to control flames surrounding a fire truck as the Pawnee fire jumps across highway 20 near Clearlake Oaks, California
25/51 1 July 2018Presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador greets supporters as he arrives at a polling station during the presidential election in Mexico City
26/51 30 June 2018North Korea leader Kim Jong Un inspects Unit 1524 of the Korean People's Army (KPA)
KCNA via Reuters
27/51 29 June 2018Mount Agung's crater glows red from the lava as it spews volcanic smoke on Bali Island. The Indonesian tourist island closed its international airport, stranding thousands of travelers, as the Mount Agung volcano gushed a 2,500-meter (8,200-feet) column of ash and smoke
28/51 28 June 2018The remains of market stalls smoulder after a fire swept through a marketplace in Nairobi, Kenya. Several people have died in the fire and about 70 are receiving hospital treatment, with rescue teams left searching through the scene
29/51 27 June 2018Smoke rises in the rebel-held town of Nawa in southern Syria during airstrikes by Syrian regime forces. Syria's army launched an assault on the flashpoint southern city of Daraa state media said, after a week of deadly bombardment on the nearby countryside caused mass displacement. Government forces have set their sights on retaking the south of the country, a strategic area that borders Jordan and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights
30/51 26 June 2018French President Emmanuel Macron greets Pope Francis at the end of a private audience at the Vatican
31/51 25 June 2018The frame of an abandoned Peugeot 404 rests in Niger's Tenere desert region of the south central Sahara on Sunday, June 3, 2018. Once a well-worn roadway for overlander tourists, the highway 4,500 kilometers (2,800 miles) are a favored path for migrants heading north in hopes of a better life and more recently thousands who are being expelled south from Algeria
32/51 24 June 2018Saudi women celebrate after they drove their cars in Al Khobar after the law allowing women to drive took effect. Saudi Arabia will allow women to drive from June 24, ending the world's only ban on female motorists
33/51 23 June 2018People gather as the injured are helped by medics at the scene of an explosion during a rally to support the country's new reformist prime minister Abiy Ahmed in Meskel Square in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Reports say the blast occurred shortly after he addressed thousands of his supporters. He then spoke to the crowd afterwards, saying a people had been killed
34/51 22 June 2018Participants of the Dark Mofo Nude Solstice Swim are seen in the River Derwent at dawn, in Hobart, Australia
35/51 21 June 2018Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi participates in a mass yoga session along with other practitioners to mark International Yoga Day at the Forest Research Institute (FRI) in Dehradun.Tens of thousands of yoga practitioners worldwide on June 21 are expected to celebrate the fourth annual International Yoga Day, first proposed by the Indian PM in 2014 to the UN General Assembly and adopted unanimously
36/51 20 June 2018A woman and child are told they will have to wait before crossing the US border as confusion sets in following the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" policy on immigration
37/51 19 June 2018People wave a banner with a picture of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during a gathering of supporters of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Istanbul, Turkey,. Turkish President Erdogan announced on 18 April that Turkey will hold snap presidential and parliamentary elections on 24 June 2018, after elections were scheduled to be held in November 2019
38/51 18 June 2018Residents pass by a temple gate collapsed by an earthquake in Ibaraki, Osaka Prefecture, western Japan. The earthquake, which struck western Japan, killed three people and injured more than 50
39/51 17 June 2018Juan Carlos Osorio, manager of Mexico's national football team, celebrates their World Cup victory against Germany
40/51 16 June 2018Kashmiri youths through stones during clashes between protestors and Indian government forces in Srinagar
41/51 16 June 2018People are silhouetted on the flybridge of a yacht as fireworks illuminates the sky over the Yas Viceroy luxury hotel on the first day of the Muslim holiday of Eid Al-Fitr at the Marina on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi
42/51 15 June 2018Somali Muslims take part in Eid al-Fitr prayer which marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan at the football pitch of the Jamacadaha stadium in Mogadishu
43/51 14 June 2018Artists perform during the opening ceremony of the 2018 World Cup in Russia ahead of the group A match between Russia and Saudi Arabia at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow
44/51 13 June 2018Pope Francis arrives to lead the Wednesday general audience in Saint Peter's square at the Vatican
45/51 12 June 2018US President Donald Trump shakes hands with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during their historic meeting at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore
46/51 11 June 2018US President Donald Trump looking at a cake being brought for him during a working lunch with Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong during his visit to The Istana, the official residence of the prime minister, in Singapore. Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump will meet on June 12 for an unprecedented summit, with the US President calling it a "one time shot" at peace
47/51 10 June 2018Muharrem Ince, presidential candidate of Turkey's main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), delivers a speech from the roof of a bus during a campaign meeting in Istanbul
48/51 9 June 2018French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaking to US Presidend Donald Trump during the second day of the G7 meeting in Charlevoix, Canada. Looking on is US National Security Advisor John Bolton
49/51 8 June 2018Former South African President Jacob Zuma sings and dances on stage after delivering a speech during a rally in his support outside the High Court, in Durban
50/51 7 June 2018Russian President Vladimir Putin listens to a question during his annual call-in show in Moscow. Putin hosts call-in shows every year, which typically provide a platform for ordinary Russians to appeal to the president on issues ranging from foreign policy to housing and utilities
51/51 In what threatened to be a further escalation, Mr Trump's aides had said he wanted to impose a further 25 per cent tariffs on auto imports, a move that would hit European car-makers like BMW and Volkswagen hard, as well as Japanese and South Korean car companies.
Mr Juncker told Mr Trump the two trading partners were ''allies, not enemies''. ''We should talk about reducing tariffs instead of increasing them,'' Mr Juncker said, as Mr Trump nodded.
Just two weeks ago, the US president called the 28-nation strong EU, which includes many of the US's oldest allies, an unfair trading partner and even labelled it a ''foe''. Speaking to CBS on the eve of a meeting with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Mr Trump said the EU was an enemy because of ''what they do to us in trade''.
Asked who was the US's biggest enemy globally, Mr Trump said: ''Well I think we have a lot of foes. I think the European Union is a foe, what they do to us in trade. Now you wouldn't think of the European Union but they're a foe.''
He added: ''Russia is a foe in certain respects. China is a foe economically, certainly they are a foe. But that doesn't mean they are bad. It doesn't mean anything. It means that they are competitive.''
The Associated Press said the negotiations at the White House came as Mr Trump has touched off a series of trade disputes with global trading partners, including China, whom he accused earlier on Wednesday of employing ''vicious'' tactics aimed at hurting American farmers.
Mr Trump's defence came after his administration announced a plan to provide $12bn in emergency relief for farmers who have been slammed by the president's trade disputes with China and other countries.
Chinese President Xi Jinping said at an international summit in South Africa that the world faces ''a choice between cooperation and confrontation'', in remarks that criticised escalating US tariffs on goods from China and other major trading partners. He warned that those who pursue ''economic hegemony only end up hurting themselves''.
If the US and EU were to deepen their trade war involving car manufacturing, it would have major ramifications for both economies. The EU has a huge stake in the US industry, where European companies produce almost 3 million cars a year, accounting for over a quarter of production in the United States.
On Tuesday, Mr Trump had suggested in a tweet: ''Both the US and the EU drop all Tariffs, Barriers and Subsidies! That would finally be called Free Market and Fair Trade! Hope they do it, we are ready '' but they won't!''
After the meeting on Wednesday evening he tweeted once again.
''The United States and the European Union have a $1 TRILLION bilateral trade relationship '' the largest economic relationship in the world,'' he said. ''We want to further strengthen this trade relationship to the benefit of all American and European citizens.''
VIDEO - Facebook earnings Q2 2018
Wed, 25 Jul 2018 23:25
Facebook missed projections on revenue and global daily active users this quarter after struggling with data leaks and fake news scandals.
The company reported its second-quarter earnings after the bell on Wednesday. Shares were down as much as 20 percent. At the current after hours prices and given its market cap at the close Wednesday, Facebook is poised to lose more than $123 billion in market value.
Earnings per share: $1.74 vs. $1.72 per a Thomson Reuters consensus estimateRevenue: $13.23 billion vs. $13.36 billion per a Thomson Reuters consensus estimate Global daily active users (DAUs): 1.47 billion vs. 1.49 billion, according to a StreetAccount and FactSet estimateNorth American DAUs: 185 million vs. 185.4 million, according to a FactSet estimateEuropean DAUs: 279 million vs. 279.4 million, according to a FactSet estimateAverage revenue per user (ARPU): $5.97 vs. $5.95, according to a StreetAccount and FactSet estimateFacebook said 2.5 billion people were using any of its family of apps each month, including Instagram and WhatsApp. Though Facebook-specific global DAU rates were up 11 percent year over year - with growth led through users in India, Indonesia and the Philippines - it was less than Wall Street was projecting. European DAUs were down from 282 million last quarter, potentially related to the effect of the enactment of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union. The set of regulations gives users more control over their online data.
"GDPR has not had a significant (ad) revenue impact, but we also recognize it wasn't fully rolled out this quarter," said Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg on a call with analysts, adding the company recognizes there could be more risk for decreased numbers in the Europe in the future.
North American DAUs remained flat despite the fallout from the Cambridge Analytica data leak scandal and fake news issues. However, average revenue per user in the region rose despite the lack of growth. It reached $25.91 per user, up from $23.59 during the first quarter.
Facebook also surprisingly missed on advertising revenue projections, reached $13.04 billion compared with the StreetAccount and FactSet estimate of $13.16 billion.
On a call with analysts, Facebook advised it expected its revenue growth rates to be lower than the year prior, especially in the second half of this year. Sequentially in the third quarter and fourth quarter, it expected the decline to be as much as high single digit percentages. Some reasons included Facebook investing in Stories, which has lower levels of monetization, as well as improving privacy features as a result of GDPR and other user demands. It also is bracing for currency fluctuations as the dollar gets weaker.
"We continue to focus our product impact on putting privacy first, and that's going to have some impact on revenue growth," said Facebook chief financial officer David Wehner on the earnings call.
However, media buyers believe the company will bounce back.
''A surprisingly mixed set of results," said Marco Rimini, chief development officer at Mindshare. "We believe this is a short term effect of GDPR and some short term negative effects of PR issues. In the mid-term advertisers still believe in Facebook, as do its users."
VIDEO - Video: Swedish student Elin Errson's protest on a plane saved an Afghan man from being deported
Wed, 25 Jul 2018 21:55
Jul 23, 2018 · 08:26 am
Creating and managing a fully-functional adult life can get overwhelming. If the planning isn't intimidating enough, the budgeting is especially stressful with the rising prices of daily essentials. A separate survival fund is not what is required, though. The bulk of survival in the 21st century is based on your product smarts. Knowing what you need when you need it is more than half the battle won.
Needs vary according to different life situations. For instance, in their first tryst with homemaking, young tenants struggle for survival. They need to cultivate a relationship with products they never cared to use at home. Floor cleaners, bathroom cleaners and dish soaps are essential; monitor their usage with discipline. Then there are personal utensils, to be safeguarded with a vengeance. Let's not forget mosquito, rodent and cockroach repellents to keep hefty, unwanted medical bills away. For those shifting into a hostel for the first time, making an initial inventory covering even the most underrated things (basic kitchen implements, first aid kit, clothes hangers, cloth clips etc.) will help reduce self-made crises.
Glowing new parents, meanwhile, face acute, urgent needs. Drowning in best wishes and cute gifts, they tend to face an immediate drought of baby supplies. Figuring out a steady, reliable supply of diapers and baby shampoos, soaps, powders and creams can take a slight edge off of parenting for exhausted new parents.
Then there are the experts, the long-time homemakers. Though proficient, they can be more efficient with regards to their family's nutrition needs with some organisation. A well-laid out kitchen command centre will help plan out their shopping and other chores for the coming day, week and month. Weekly meal plans, for example, will not only ensure all family members eat right, but will also cut down on indecision in the supermarket aisle and the subsequent wasteful spending. Jot down fruits and vegetables, dried fruits and nuts and health beverages for growing kids. Snack Stations are a saviour for moms with perpetually hungry li'l ones, keeping your refrigerator strategically stocked with healthy snacks options that can cater to tastes of all family members.
Once the key needs are identified, the remainder of the daily survival battle is fought on supermarket aisles. Collecting deals, tracking sales days and supermarket hopping have been the holy grail of budget shopping. Some supermarkets, though, are more proactive in presenting value for money on items of daily need. The video below captures the experiences of shoppers who have managed savings just by their choice of supermarket.
PlayBig Bazaar offers the easiest route to budget shopping with its lowest price guarantee on 1500+ daily essentials across all its stores. This offer covers all frequently bought items such as ghee, sugar, edible oil, detergent, toilet cleaners, soaps, shampoos, toothpaste, health drinks, tea, biscuits and much, much more. Moreover, the 'Har Din Lowest Price' guarantee is not limited to a few sales days and will be applicable all year round. To know more about Har Din Lowest Price at Big Bazaar, click here.
This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Big Bazaar and not by the Scroll editorial team.
VIDEO - YouTube - It Was Obama Who Allowed Russia To Do This" Mike Pompeo PUNISHES Senator For Cherry Picking Facts
Wed, 25 Jul 2018 21:22
VIDEO - GlaxoSmithKline, 23andMe team up on genetics-driven drug research
Wed, 25 Jul 2018 15:40
British drug giant GlaxoSmithKline is investing $300 million in consumer genetics company 23andMe, forging a four-year collaboration to discover medicines using human genetics as a guide.
The partnership establishes GSK as 23andMe's exclusive collaborator for drug target discovery, the companies said Wednesday. It comes with an option to extend for a fifth year, and funding and proceeds will be split equally.
The announcement comes as GSK embarks on a new research strategy under new Chief Scientific Officer Hal Barron, a drug industry veteran. The new approach focuses on the immune system, genetics and advanced analytics and technology.
It's not the first time a pharmaceutical company has turned to genetics to improve its drug development. Amgen acquired Iceland's deCODE Genetics in 2012 for $415 million to benefit from its unique genetic database, while Regeneron has partnered with Geisinger Health and the UK Biobank to do the same.
23andMe is a different kind of partner. It's a direct-to-consumer genetic testing company that charges $199 for certain health and ancestry data ($99 just for ancestry). The company has more than 5 million customers, 80 percent of whom have consented to participating in research.
It doesn't have the traditional health records that a system like Geisinger does, but conducts surveys of its users, and says, on average, one person in its database contributes to 200 different research studies.
The company has been focused on drug development of its own, hiring Genentech veteran Richard Scheller in 2015 as chief scientific officer and head of therapeutics.
Together, the companies aim to use 23andMe's genetic database to improve selection of drug targets, finding medicines that are more likely to work and carry a lower safety risk. The collaboration is also designed to speed identification and recruitment of patients for clinical trials.
VIDEO - Trump set for tense trade talks with top EU chief Juncker
Wed, 25 Jul 2018 15:35
The White House will open its doors for the president of the European Commission Wednesday, with relations looking strained amid tariffs and the possibility of an all-out trade war.
Jean-Claude Juncker, who heads the EU's executive arm, will meet President Donald Trump in an attempt to overcome their differences, specifically on car tariffs. Trump wants to increase tariffs on European cars exported to the U.S. to reduce the trade imbalance with the continent. But the EU sees these tariffs as an economic threat and is preparing retaliatory measures.
Just hours prior to the meeting, the EU's trade commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom told Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter that the EU will put tariffs worth $20 billion on U.S. goods if Trump goes ahead with car tariffs. Meanwhile, on Tuesday, the White House said it is preparing a $12 billion aid package for U.S. farmers hit by trade tensions.
''The relations are very tense, are at a very low point,'' Danae Kyriakopoulou, the chief economist at the London-based think tank OMFIF told CNBC Tuesday, citing ongoing tensions over defense spending for the NATO alliance, climate change policy and the recently-applied fine on Google by the European Commission.
''It doesn't set the scene for a very fruitful meeting,'' she said, adding that she only expects the meeting to provide ''some sort of language that's mutually accepted.''
'Drop all tariffs'Trump will receive Juncker and Malmstrom at 1:30 p.m. ET. The president said Wednesday on Twitter that both sides should drop all tariffs.
''I have an idea for them (the European Union). Both the U.S. and the EU drop all tariffs, barriers and subsidies! That would finally be called free market and fair trade! Hope they do it, we are ready '-- but they won't!,'' Trump said.
Trump considers the 10 percent European tax on U.S. cars to be too high, compared to the 2.5 percent duty the U.S. applies on European cars. However, Brussels argues that while this is true for cars, it is not the same for trucks, lorries and other items such as shoes and clothes.
Tweet 1Furthermore, the EU's trade chief Malmstrom explained last month that Europe cannot simply remove the tariffs on U.S. cars overnight, due to World Trade Organization (WTO) rules. These laws dictate that the EU would also have to drop tariffs for every country in the world.
''And I don't think member states are willing to do that,'' she said at a press conference.
Tony Fratto, a founding partner at consultancy Hamilton Place Strategies, told CNBC Tuesday that reducing all car-related tariffs to zero would be a ''good agreement'' but ''it is hard to imagine the Trump administration making that offer.''
''The difficult part is that you hear President Trump continually talking about the differential on autos of 10 percent in Europe and 2.5 percent in the United States, but he conveniently leaves out the 25 percent U.S. tariff on light trucks,'' he said.
'Harmful for both sides'Volker Treier, the deputy general manager at the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce, told CNBC 's ''Street Signs'' Tuesday that an escalation into a trade war would be ''harmful for both sides.''
''Our understanding is that the Americans are trying to distract us from their own shortcomings in their own country by blaming others for unfair dealings,'' he said.
Trump has also imposed tariffs on other countries since the start of the year '-- including China, Canada and Mexico '-- on all sorts of goods. Consequently, the U.S. has also been hit with additional duties as those countries retaliate against Trump's decisions.
"Few will cast a vote based on this issue alone and I therefore don't expect Trump to back down." -David Bach, Yale School of Management Nonetheless, ahead of midterm elections in the U.S. this November, trade tensions could actually be ignored by American citizens.
''There is growing evidence that tariffs and the incipient trade war are hurting parts of Trump's base, especially midwestern farmers and blue-collar workers. But few will cast a vote based on this issue alone and I therefore don't expect Trump to back down,'' David Bach, deputy dean for academic programs at the Yale School of Management, told CNBC via email.
He added that Democrats might also opt to wait until trade tensions weaken the economy and use that argument to boost their chances in 2020.
VIDEO - McCain: Rand Paul 'is now working for Vladimir Putin' - POLITICO
Wed, 25 Jul 2018 12:53
Sen. John McCain on Wednesday accused fellow Sen. Rand Paul of doing Russian President Vladimir Putin's bidding after Paul blocked an attempt to vote on a treaty for NATO membership for Montenegro.
"The senator from Kentucky is now working for Vladimir Putin," McCain bluntly said of Paul on the Senate floor following the dust-up.
Story Continued Below
The Arizona Republican, who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee, was joined on the Senate floor by Democrats Ben Cardin of Maryland and Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire to push for debate and a vote on the treaty. But Paul, who has opposed further expansion of NATO, objected to McCain's request to consider the measure.
Russia has sought to prevent the small Balkan nation from coming under Western influence, and McCain warned about Russian attempts to destabilize Montenegro's government.
The treaty is expected to garner wide support in the Senate. Twenty-three of the 28 NATO member nations have voted in favor of Montenegro joining the alliance.
McCain slammed Paul for killing the vote "without any justification or any rationale."
"If there is objection, you are achieving the objectives of Vladimir Putin," McCain said. "You are achieving the objectives of trying to dismember this small country, which has already been the subject of an attempted coup."
Andrew Hanna contributed to this report.
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VIDEO - Obama says he's from Kenya, again
Wed, 25 Jul 2018 12:49
Official portrait of Barack Obama
WASHINGTON '' Why do so many Americans still believe Barack Obama was born in Kenya?
Maybe because he keeps insisting it's so.
He did again last week, while visiting his ancestral homeland of Kogelo.
Participating in the opening of Sauti Kuu Resource Center, a youth facility built by his half-sister, Auma Obama, he said: ''Now, three years ago, I visited Kenya as the first sitting American president to come from Kenya. When I was president it was a little bit harder to get up here cause my plane didn't fit the tarmac up here.''
''While three years ago my sister Auma introduced me before I gave a speech, today I'm really coming as a brother, as a citizen of the world, as someone with a connection to Africa to talk about the importance of what she's doing but also to create a larger context for what's possible,'' Obama continued.
Get the autographed book that turned the nation and the White House upside down: Where's the Birth Certificate?
So, which is it '' native-born son of Kenya, native-born son of Hawaii or native-born citizen of the world?
Screenshot of Dystel & Goderich's author bios page from 2003, from Wayback Machine
Image from
As far back as at least 1991, Obama and those around him, have been referring to him as Kenyan-born.
Back then, it was his literary agent, Acton & Dystel, promoting his first book, ''Dreams of My Father'' that produced a brochure produced that made the claim.
Mistake? That's what Obama spokesmen said. Yet ''Dreams of My Father'' didn't actually get released in 1991. It wasn't released until 2004, but pre-publication publicity at that time were still making the claim '' just four years before he ran for president. The bio noting his birth in Kenya was still being circulated three years later in 2007. The birthplace was change in the bio April 21, 2007, less than a year before he would announce his campaign for the presidency.
While allies of the former president have been quick to blame his political enemies for continuing to plant doubt about Obama's constitutional eligibility to occupy the White House, obviously not all the assertions being made come from so-called ''birthers,'' a term of derision used by his friends and supporters.
In fact, some of his friends and supporters in Kenya still insist he was born there.
Even Michelle Obama referred to Kenya as ''his home country.''
VIDEO - Maddow Blog on Twitter: "White House edits video to remove question about whether Putin wanted Trump to win."
Wed, 25 Jul 2018 12:22
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VIDEO - Caolan Robertson on Twitter: "Tonight @Lauren_Southern went outside to speak to some of her protestors."
Tue, 24 Jul 2018 17:32
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VIDEO - YouTube - Clapper Admits Obama Is Responsible For Setting Off The Mueller Investigation
Tue, 24 Jul 2018 09:47
VIDEO - Wired Sources on Twitter: "FLASHBACK: Former DNI James Clapper lies through his teeth, claims there was no FISA warrant against any official of the Trump campaign"
Tue, 24 Jul 2018 03:21
FLASHBACK: Former DNI James Clapper lies through his teeth, claims there was no FISA warrant against any official of the Trump campaign
VIDEO - YouTube - One Card to Rule Them All
Mon, 23 Jul 2018 21:44
VIDEO - YouTube - Hillary Clinton in Conversation Live From OZY Fest
Sun, 22 Jul 2018 20:16

Clips & Documents

All Clips
action figures for sale.mp3
Any Canoodling-ISO.m4a
Arron Bank-Questions raised about Brexit donor’s links to Russia.mp3
Clapper Admits Obama Is Responsible For Setting Off The Mueller Investigation-The truth wants to come out.mp3
crichton ISO.mp3
crichton on state of fear.mp3
Flashback-Former DNI James Clapper lies through his teeth, claims there was no FISA warrant against any official of the Trump campaign.mp3
food contamination.mp3
Gillibrand-OZYFEST-Dems Should ‘Get Rid of ICE’ as Soon as They Retake Congress and alitnay of other issues LOL.mp3
GlaxoSmithKline strikes $300 million deal with 23andMe for genetics-driven drug research.mp3
How more US-bound steel is leaving key EU port despite trade dispute-EURONEWS.mp3
impeach rod rosenstein.mp3
italian mayor odd remarks.mp3
Judge Napolitano on Brett Kavanaugh-1-Trumps sister tried to steer him right-brobeaten into choosing BK.mp3
Judge Napolitano on Brett Kavanaugh-2-BK was in charge of Vince Foster investigation-MAYBE FUCKING WITH HILLARY DURING CONFIRMATION HEARING.mp3
kudlow on Trump subsidy for farmers.mp3
Laurene Powell Jobs with HRC - Lutheran services no money bullcrap.mp3
Max Igan on RT-US-EU Tarriffs are about China 3 belts no roads policy.mp3
Obama in Kogleo again saying he is from Kenya.mp3
Pre-Stream-One Card to Rule them All-truthstream media.mp3
psyco laugh ISO.mp3
rainstick report juky rain.mp3
ray mcgovern on Joe Piscopo.mp3
Rob Reiner-Never Funny Podcast-1-We know we know we know what did Trump know.mp3
Rob Reiner-Never Funny Podcast-2-Twitter - and Trump is making people crazy.mp3
russian hack of power grid TWO CBS.mp3
russian hack of power grid update CBS.mp3
Sessions-Lock Her Up 2018 Brouhaha.m4a
suicide bombers in pakistan and syria update.mp3
Summer heatwave-soon the norm in Europe-EURONEWS.mp3
Texas waiter faked we don't tip terrorist note on receipt, restaurant says.mp3
the mcdoual TAPES ONE CBS.mp3
the mcdoual TAPES THREE CBS.mp3
the mcdoual TAPES TWO CBS.mp3
the tapes - eos - tom starkweather.mp3
Toronto shooter Faisal Hussain-fucked up family.mp3
UK heat wave CBS.mp3
UKPMK-EOS-Ding Dong.mp3
White Helmets evacuated to EU redux.mp3
White House bans network pool reporter Kaitlan Collins from Rose Garden event.mp3
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