1210: Pain of Imprisonment

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

3h 0m
January 23rd, 2020
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Executive Producers: Baron Mule Strong, Sheriff of Liepers Fork, Frank Ajzensztat, Knight of Armadale Baron of Stonnington Viscount of Port Philip Bay Australia, Anonymous, Sir Cal, of Lavender Blossoms

Associate Executive Producers: Baroness Susan Johnson, Todd Troutman, Baron David of Pennsylvania, NoAgenda Local 512, Sir Don, Baron of New Hampshire, Sir Karl with a K

Cover Artist: Comic Strip Blogger


Start of Show
"It's called Coronavirus, I guess"
Guest producer
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Wuhan Virus
Make sure you get the patented version of Corona virus, beware of fakes!
Inside the Chinese lab poised to study world's most dangerous pathogens : Nature News & Comment
Thu, 23 Jan 2020 06:11
Wuhan Virology Institute
Hazard suits hang at the National Bio-safety Laboratory, Wuhan, the first lab on the Chinese mainland equipped for the highest level of biocontainment.
A laboratory in Wuhan is on the cusp of being cleared to work with the world's most dangerous pathogens. The move is part of a plan to build between five and seven biosafety level-4 (BSL-4) labs across the Chinese mainland by 2025, and has generated much excitement, as well as some concerns.
Some scientists outside China worry about pathogens escaping, and the addition of a biological dimension to geopolitical tensions between China and other nations. But Chinese microbiologists are celebrating their entrance to the elite cadre empowered to wrestle with the world's greatest biological threats.
''It will offer more opportunities for Chinese researchers, and our contribution on the BSL'‘4-level pathogens will benefit the world,'' says George Gao, director of the Chinese Academy of Sciences Key Laboratory of Pathogenic Microbiology and Immunology in Beijing. There are already two BSL-4 labs in Taiwan, but the National Bio-safety Laboratory, Wuhan, would be the first on the Chinese mainland.
The lab was certified as meeting the standards and criteria of BSL-4 by the China National Accreditation Service for Conformity Assessment (CNAS) in January. The CNAS examined the lab's infrastructure, equipment and management, says a CNAS representative, paving the way for the Ministry of Health to give its approval. A representative from the ministry says it will move slowly and cautiously; if the assessment goes smoothly, it could approve the laboratory by the end of June.
BSL-4 is the highest level of biocontainment: its criteria include filtering air and treating water and waste before they leave the laboratory, and stipulating that researchers change clothes and shower before and after using lab facilities. Such labs are often controversial. The first BSL-4 lab in Japan was built in 1981, but operated with lower-risk pathogens until 2015, when safety concerns were finally overcome.
The expansion of BSL-4-lab networks in the United States and Europe over the past 15 years '-- with more than a dozen now in operation or under construction in each region '-- also met with resistance, including questions about the need for so many facilities.
''Viruses don't know borders.''
The Wuhan lab cost 300 million yuan (US$44 million), and to allay safety concerns it was built far above the flood plain and with the capacity to withstand a magnitude-7 earthquake, although the area has no history of strong earthquakes. It will focus on the control of emerging diseases, store purified viruses and act as a World Health Organization 'reference laboratory' linked to similar labs around the world. ''It will be a key node in the global biosafety-lab network,'' says lab director Yuan Zhiming.
The Chinese Academy of Sciences approved the construction of a BSL-4 laboratory in 2003, and the epidemic of SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) around the same time lent the project momentum. The lab was designed and constructed with French assistance as part of a 2004 cooperative agreement on the prevention and control of emerging infectious diseases. But the complexity of the project, China's lack of experience, difficulty in maintaining funding and long government approval procedures meant that construction wasn't finished until the end of 2014.
The lab's first project will be to study the BSL-3 pathogen that causes Crimean''Congo haemorrhagic fever: a deadly tick-borne virus that affects livestock across the world, including in northwest China, and that can jump to people.
Future plans include studying the pathogen that causes SARS, which also doesn't require a BSL-4 lab, before moving on to Ebola and the West African Lassa virus, which do. Some one million Chinese people work in Africa; the country needs to be ready for any eventuality, says Yuan. ''Viruses don't know borders.''
Gao travelled to Sierra Leone during the recent Ebola outbreak, allowing his team to report the speed with which the virus mutated into new strains1. The Wuhan lab will give his group a chance to study how such viruses cause disease, and to develop treatments based on antibodies and small molecules, he says.
Muyi Xiao for Nature
The central monitor room at China's National Bio-safety Laboratory.
The opportunities for international collaboration, meanwhile, will aid the genetic analysis and epidemiology of emergent diseases. ''The world is facing more new emerging viruses, and we need more contribution from China,'' says Gao. In particular, the emergence of zoonotic viruses '-- those that jump to humans from animals, such as SARS or Ebola '-- is a concern, says Bruno Lina, director of the VirPath virology lab in Lyon, France.
Many staff from the Wuhan lab have been training at a BSL-4 lab in Lyon, which some scientists find reassuring. And the facility has already carried out a test-run using a low-risk virus.
But worries surround the Chinese lab, too. The SARS virus has escaped from high-level containment facilities in Beijing multiple times, notes Richard Ebright, a molecular biologist at Rutgers University in Piscataway, New Jersey. Tim Trevan, founder of CHROME Biosafety and Biosecurity Consulting in Damascus, Maryland, says that an open culture is important to keeping BSL-4 labs safe, and he questions how easy this will be in China, where society emphasizes hierarchy. ''Diversity of viewpoint, flat structures where everyone feels free to speak up and openness of information are important,'' he says.
Yuan says that he has worked to address this issue with staff. ''We tell them the most important thing is that they report what they have or haven't done,'' he says. And the lab's inter­national collaborations will increase openness. ''Transparency is the basis of the lab,'' he adds.
The plan to expand into a network heightens such concerns. One BSL-4 lab in Harbin is already awaiting accreditation; the next two are expected to be in Beijing and Kunming, the latter focused on using monkey models to study disease.
Lina says that China's size justifies this scale, and that the opportunity to combine BSL-4 research with an abundance of research monkeys '-- Chinese researchers face less red tape than those in the West when it comes to research on primates '-- could be powerful. ''If you want to test vaccines or antivirals, you need a non-human primate model,'' says Lina.
But Ebright is not convinced of the need for more than one BSL-4 lab in mainland China. He suspects that the expansion there is a reaction to the networks in the United States and Europe, which he says are also unwarranted. He adds that governments will assume that such excess capacity is for the potential development of bioweapons.
''These facilities are inherently dual use,'' he says. The prospect of ramping up opportunities to inject monkeys with pathogens also worries, rather than excites, him: ''They can run, they can scratch, they can bite.''
Trevan says China's investment in a BSL-4 lab may, above all, be a way to prove to the world that the nation is competitive. ''It is a big status symbol in biology,'' he says, ''whether it's a need or not.''
How dangerous is coronavirus? | Fox News
Thu, 23 Jan 2020 07:21
Three weeks after Chinese officials announced the outbreak of a new virus, more than 400 people have been sickened and 17 have died, leading to questions of just how alarmed the public should be.
The coronavirus, or 2019-nCoV, began at an animal and seafood market in the city of Wuhan and has since spread to several other countries, including the United States. The illness is now said to be transferable between humans.
As news of the virus spread and death tolls began to spike, many have begun to question how dangerous the new outbreak is. Coronaviruses, which get their name from their crown-like appearance, come in many types that cause illnesses in people and animals.
A health official scans the body temperature of a passenger as she arrives at the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Tangerang, Indonesia on Wednesday. Indonesia is screening travelers from overseas for a new type of coronavirus as fears spread about a mysterious infectious disease after its first death reported in China. (AP Photo/Tatan Syuflana)
Most coronaviruses cause mild symptoms such as the common cold that patients easily recover from. Other strains of the virus such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) can cause pneumonia and possible death.
SARS killed 770 of 8,000 people infected in 2002-2003. MERS killed about three or four out of every 10 people infected, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said.
In an effort to curb the spread of the disease, the city of Wuhan shut down all air and train traffic to contain it. The World Health Organization (WHO) on Wednesday convened an emergency meeting to debate how to address the outbreak, including the possiblity of declaring a public health emergency.
"The decision about whether or not to declare a public health emergency of international concern is one I take extremely seriously, and one I am only prepared to make with appropriate consideration of all the evidence," WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus tweeted.
Ghebreyesus said the committee needed another day to discuss the issue and come to a decision.
The CDC said it was monitoring the situation and, for now, "the immediate health risk from 2019-nCoV to the general American public is considered low at this time."
The patients infected in China experienced mild symptoms and have been discharged from hospitals, the CDC said. Investigations to learn more about the coronavirus is ongoing, the agency said.
"Investigations into this novel coronavirus are ongoing and we are monitoring and responding to this evolving situation,'' said Martin Cetron, director of the CDC's Division of Global Migration and Quarantine.
The first case reported in the U.S. came on Tuesday, when federal health officials said a man in Seattle, Wash., who recently traveled to Wuhan had been infected. He is in stable condition and poses "very little risk" to medical staff and the public, officials said.
Human coronaviruses are passed through coughing and sneezing, close personal contact, touching objects with the virus on it and then touching the mouth, nose or eyes before washing your hands, according to the CDC.
Passengers wear masks to prevent an outbreak of a new coronavirus in a subway station, in Hong Kong. The first case of coronavirus in Macao was confirmed on Wednesday, according to state broadcaster CCTV. The infected person, a 52-year-old woman, was a traveller from Wuhan. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
The CDC and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) began screening passengers to detect ill travelers arriving at airports in San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles on direct or connecting flights from Wuhan.
Sen. Tom Cotton has raised concerns about a Chinese cover-up of the virus as it spreads to various countries. In a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, Cotton urged Azar to vet information from China, given its history of cover-ups during the SARS outbreak. At the time, China didn't announce the disease to the public until five months after it began.
"If you have reason to believe that U.S. officials are being provided with false or misleading information about the disease from Chinese government officials, I ask you to notify Congress immediately," Cotton said in a letter.
He noted that banning entry into the U.S. from those traveling from China could be a possibility. China has reportedly warned lower-level officials not to cover up the spread of the new coronavirus.
Fox News' Madeline Farber contributed to this report.
Bill Gates warns that the next pandemic disease is coming - Business Insider
Wed, 22 Jan 2020 09:28
The next deadly disease that will cause a global pandemic is coming, Bill Gates said on Friday at a discussion of epidemics.We're not ready.An illness like the pandemic 1918 influenza could kill 30 million people within six months, Gates said, adding that the next disease might not even be a flu, but something we've never seen.The world should prepare as it does for war, Gates said.If there's one thing that we know from history, it's that a deadly new disease will arise and spread around the globe.
That could happen easily within the next decade. And as Bill Gates told listeners on Friday at a discussion about epidemics hosted by the Massachusetts Medical Society and the New England Journal of Medicine, we're not ready.
Gates acknowledged that he's usually the optimist in the room, reminding people that we're lifting children out of poverty around the globe and getting better at eliminating diseases like polio and malaria.
But "there's one area though where the world isn't making much progress," Gates said, "and that's pandemic preparedness."
The likelihood that such a disease will appear continues to rise. New pathogens emerge all the time as the world population increases and humanity encroaches on wild environments. It's becoming easier and easier for individual people or small groups to create weaponized diseases that could spread like wildfire around the globe.
According to Gates, a small non-state actor could build an even deadlier form of smallpox in a lab.
And in our interconnected world, people are always hopping on planes, crossing from cities on one continent to those on another in a matter of hours.
Gates presented a simulation by the Institute for Disease Modeling that found that a new flu like the one that killed 50 million people in the 1918 pandemic would now most likely kill 30 million people within six months.
And the disease that next takes us by surprise is likely to be one we see for the first time at the start of an outbreak, like what happened recently with SARS and MERS viruses.
If you were to tell the world's governments that weapons that could kill 30 million people were under construction right now, there'd be a sense of urgency about preparing for the threat, Gates said.
"In the case of biological threats, that sense of urgency is lacking," he said. "The world needs to prepare for pandemics in the same serious way it prepares for war."
Doctors Without Borders (MSF) staffer Alex Eilert Paulsen watches as mattresses and bed frames burn at the Ebola Treatment Unit (ETU) on January 31, 2015 in Paynesville, Liberia. John Moore/Getty
Stopping the next pandemicThe one time the military tried a sort of simulated war game against a smallpox pandemic, the final score was "smallpox one, humanity zero," Gates said.
But he reiterated that he's an optimist, saying he thinks we could better prepare for the next viral or bacterial threat.
In some ways, we're better prepared now than we were for previous pandemics. We have antiviral drugs that can in many cases do at least something to improve survival rates. We have antibiotics that can treat secondary infections like pneumonia associated with the flu.
We're also getting closer to a universal flu vaccine; Gates announced on Friday that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation would offer $12 million in grants to encourage its development.
And we're getting better at rapid diagnosis too '-- which is essential, as the first step toward fighting a new disease is quarantine. Just this week, a new research paper in the journal Science touted the development of a way to use the gene-editing technology Crispr to rapidly detect diseases and identify them using the same sort of paper strip used in a home pregnancy test.
But we're not yet good enough at rapidly identifying the threat from a disease and coordinating a response, as the global reaction to the latest Ebola epidemic showed.
There needs to be better communication between militaries and governments to help coordinate responses, Gates said. And he thinks governments need ways to quickly enlist the help of the private sector when it comes to developing technology and tools to fight an emerging deadly disease.
Melinda Gates recently said that the threat of a global pandemic, whether it emerges naturally or is engineered, was perhaps the biggest risk to humanity.
"Think of the number of people who leave New York City every day and go all over the world '-- we're an interconnected world," she said.
Those connections make us all vulnerable.
US Patent for Coronavirus Patent (Patent # 10,130,701 issued November 20, 2018) - Justia Patents Search
Wed, 22 Jan 2020 06:46
FIELD OF THE INVENTIONThe present invention relates to an attenuated coronavirus comprising a variant replicase gene, which causes the virus to have reduced pathogenicity. The present invention also relates to the use of such a coronavirus in a vaccine to prevent and/or treat a disease.
BACKGROUND TO THE INVENTIONAvian infectious bronchitis virus (IBV), the aetiological agent of infectious bronchitis (IB), is a highly infectious and contagious pathogen of domestic fowl that replicates primarily in the respiratory tract but also in epithelial cells of the gut, kidney and oviduct. IBV is a member of the Order Nidovirales, Family Coronaviridae, Subfamily Corona virinae and Genus Gammacoronavirus; genetically very similar coronaviruses cause disease in turkeys, guinea fowl and pheasants.
Clinical signs of IB include sneezing, tracheal rales, nasal discharge and wheezing. Meat-type birds have reduced weight gain, whilst egg-laying birds lay fewer eggs and produce poor quality eggs. The respiratory infection predisposes chickens to secondary bacterial infections which can be fatal in chicks. The virus can also cause permanent damage to the oviduct, especially in chicks, leading to reduced egg production and quality; and kidney, sometimes leading to kidney disease which can be fatal.
IBV has been reported to be responsible for more economic loss to the poultry industry than any other infectious disease. Although live attenuated vaccines and inactivated vaccines are universally used in the control of IBV, the protection gained by use of vaccination can be lost either due to vaccine breakdown or the introduction of a new IBV serotype that is not related to the vaccine used, posing a risk to the poultry industry.
Further, there is a need in the industry to develop vaccines which are suitable for use in ovo, in order to improve the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of vaccination programmes. A major challenge associated with in ovo vaccination is that the virus must be capable of replicating in the presence of maternally-derived antibodies against the virus, without being pathogenic to the embryo. Current IBV vaccines are derived following multiple passage in embryonated eggs, this results in viruses with reduced pathogenicity for chickens, so that they can be used as live attenuated vaccines. However such viruses almost always show an increased virulence to embryos and therefore cannot be used for in ova vaccination as they cause reduced hatchability. A 70% reduction in hatchability is seen in some cases.
Attenuation following multiple passage in embryonated eggs also suffers from other disadvantages. It is an empirical method, as attenuation of the viruses is random and will differ every time the virus is passaged, so passage of the same virus through a different series of eggs for attenuation purposes will lead to a different set of mutations leading to attenuation. There are also efficacy problems associated with the process: some mutations will affect the replication of the virus and some of the mutations may make the virus too attenuated. Mutations can also occur in the S gene which may also affect immunogenicity so that the desired immune response is affected and the potential vaccine may not protect against the required serotype. In addition there are problems associated with reversion to virulence and stability of vaccines.
It is important that new and safer vaccines are developed for the control of IBV. Thus there is a need for IBV vaccines which are not associated with these issues, in particular vaccines which may be used for in ovo vaccination.
SUMMARY OF ASPECTS OF THE INVENTIONThe present inventors have used a reverse genetics approach in order to rationally attenuate IBV. This approach is much more controllable than random attenuation following multiple passages in embryonated eggs because the position of each mutation is known and its effect on the virus, i.e. the reason for attenuation, can be derived.
Using their reverse genetics approach, the present inventors have identified various mutations which cause the virus to have reduced levels of pathogenicity. The levels of pathogenicity may be reduced such that when the virus is administered to an embryonated egg, it is capable of replicating without being pathogenic to the embryo. Such viruses may be suitable for in ovo vaccination, which is a significant advantage and has improvement over attenuated IBV vaccines produced following multiple passage in embryonated eggs.
Thus in a first aspect, the present invention provides a live, attenuated coronavirus comprising a variant replicase gene encoding polyproteins comprising a mutation in one or more of non-structural protein(s) (nsp)-10, nsp-14, nsp-15 or nsp-16.
The variant replicase gene may encode a protein comprising one or more amino acid mutations selected from the list of:
Pro to Leu at position 85 of SEQ ID NO: 6, Val to Leu at position 393 of SEQ ID NO: 7; Leu to Ile at position 183 of SEQ ID NO: 8; Val to Ile at position 209 of SEQ ID NO: 9. The replicase gene may encode a protein comprising the amino acid mutation Pro to Leu at position 85 of SEQ ID NO: 6.
The replicase gene may encode a protein comprising the amino acid mutations Val to Leu at position 393 of SEQ ID NO: 7; Leu to Ile at position 183 of SEQ ID NO: 8; and Val to Ile at position 209 of SEQ ID NO: 9.
The replicase gene may encodes a protein comprising the amino acid mutations Pro to Leu at position 85 of SEQ ID NO: 6; Val to Leu at position 393 of SEQ ID NO:7; Leu to Ile at position 183 of SEQ ID NO:8; and Val to Ile at position 209 of SEQ ID NO: 9.
The replicase gene may comprise one or more nucleotide substitutions selected from the list of:
C to T at nucleotide position 12137;
G to C at nucleotide position 18114;
T to A at nucleotide position 19047; and
G to A at nucleotide position 20139;
compared to the sequence shown as SEQ ID NO: 1.
The coronavirus may be an infectious bronchitis virus (IBV).
The coronavirus may be IBV M41.
The coronavirus may comprise an S protein at least part of which is from an IBV serotype other than M41.
For example, the S1 subunit or the entire S protein may be from an IBV serotype other than M41.
The coronavirus according to the first aspect of the invention has reduced pathogenicity compared to a coronavirus expressing a corresponding wild-type replicase, such that when the virus is administered to an embryonated egg, it is capable of replicating without being pathogenic to the embryo.
In a second aspect, the present invention provides a variant replicase gene as defined in connection with the first aspect of the invention.
In a third aspect, the present invention provides a protein encoded by a variant coronavirus replicase gene according to the second aspect of the invention.
In a fourth aspect, the present invention provides a plasmid comprising a replicase gene according to the second aspect of the invention.
In a fifth aspect, the present invention provides a method for making the coronavirus according to the first aspect of the invention which comprises the following steps:
(i) transfecting a plasmid according to the fourth aspect of the invention into a host cell; (ii) infecting the host cell with a recombining virus comprising the genome of a coronavirus strain with a replicase gene; (iii) allowing homologous recombination to occur between the replicase gene sequences in the plasmid and the corresponding sequences in the recombining virus genome to produce a modified replicase gene; and (iv) selecting for recombining virus comprising the modified replicase gene. The recombining virus may be a vaccinia virus.
The method may also include the step:
(v) recovering recombinant coronavirus comprising the modified replicase gene from the DNA from the recombining virus from step (iv). In a sixth aspect, the present invention provides a cell capable of producing a coronavirus according to the first aspect of the invention.
In a seventh aspect, the present invention provides a vaccine comprising a coronavirus according to the first aspect of the invention and a pharmaceutically acceptable carrier.
In an eighth aspect, the present invention provides a method for treating and/or preventing a disease in a subject which comprises the step of administering a vaccine according to the seventh aspect of the invention to the subject.
Further aspects of the invention provide:
the vaccine according to the seventh aspect of the invention for use in treating and/or preventing a disease in a subject. use of a coronavirus according to the first aspect of the invention in the manufacture of a vaccine for treating and/or preventing a disease in a subject. The disease may be infectious bronchitis (IB).
The method of administration of the vaccine may be selected from the group consisting of; eye drop administration, intranasal administration, drinking water administration, post-hatch injection and in ovo injection.
Vaccination may be by in ova vaccination.
The present invention also provides a method for producing a vaccine according to the seventh aspect of the invention, which comprises the step of infecting a cell according to the sixth aspect of the invention with a coronavirus according to the first aspect of the invention.
DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURESFIG. 1'--Growth kinetics of M41-R-6 and M41-R-12 compared to M41-CK (M41 EP4) on CK cells
FIG. 2'--Clinical signs, snicking and wheezing, associated with M41-R-6 and M41-R-12 compared to M41-CK (M41 EP4) and Beau-R (Bars show mock, Beau-R, M41-R 6, M41-R 12, M41-CK EP4 from left to right of each timepoint).
FIG. 3'--Ciliary activity of the viruses in tracheal rings isolated from tracheas taken from infected chicks. 100% ciliary activity indicates no effect by the virus; apathogenic, 0% activity indicates complete loss of ciliary activity, complete ciliostasis, indicating the virus is pathogenic (Bars show mock, Beau-R, M41-R 6, M41-R 12, M41-CK EP4 from left to right of each timepoint).
FIG. 4'--Clinical signs, snicking, associated with M41R-nsp10rep and M41R-nsp14,15,16rep compared to M41-R-12 and M41-CK (M41 EP5) (Bars show mock, M41-R12; M41R-nsp10rep; M41R-nsp14,15,16rep and M41-CK EP5 from left to right of each timepoint).
FIG. 5'--Ciliary activity of M41R-nsp10rep and M41R-nsp14,15,16rep compared to M41-R-12 and M41-CK in tracheal rings isolated from tracheas taken from infected chicks (Bars show mock; M41-R12; M41R-nsp10rep; M41R-nsp14,15,16rep and M41-CK EP5 from left to right of each timepoint).
FIG. 6'--Clinical signs, snicking, associated with M41R-nsp10, 15rep, M41R-nsp10, 14, 15rep, M41R-nsp10, 14, 16rep, M41R-nsp10, 15, 16rep and M41-K compared to M41-CK (Bars show mock, M41R-nsp10,15rep1; M41R-nsp10,14,16rep4; M41R-nsp10,15,16rep8; M41R-nsp10,14,15rep10; M41-K6 and M41-CK EP4 from left to right of each timepoint).
FIG. 7'--Clinical signs, wheezing, associated with M41R-nsp10, 15rep, M41R-nsp10, 14, 15rep, M41R-nsp10, 14, 16rep, M41R-nsp10, 15, 16rep and M41-K compared to M41-CK (Bars show mock, M41R-nsp10,15rep1; M14R-nsp10,14,16rep4; M41R-nsp10,15,16rep8; M41R-nsp10,14,15rep10; M41-K6 and M41-CK EP4 from left to right of each timepoint).
FIG. 8'--Ciliary activity of M41R-nsp10, 15rep, M41R-nsp10, 14, 15rep, M41R-nsp10, 14, 16rep, M41R-nsp10, 15, 16rep and M41-K compared to M41-CK in tracheal rings isolated from tracheas taken from infected chicks (Bars show mock, M41R-nsp10,15rep1; M41R-nsp10,14,16rep4; M41R-nsp10,15,16rep8; M41R-nsp10,14,15rep10; M41-K6 and M41-CK EP4 from left to right of each timepoint).
FIG. 9'--Growth kinetics of rIBVs compared to M41-CK on CK cells. FIG. 9A shows the results for M41-R and M41-K. FIG. 9B shows the results for M41-nsp10 rep; M41R-nsp14, 15, 16 rep; M41R-nsp10, 15 rep; M41R-nsp10, 15, 16 rep; M41R-nsp10, 14, 15 rep; and M41R-nsp10, 14, 16.
FIG. 10'--Position of amino acid mutations in mutated nsp10, nsp14, nsp15 and nsp16 sequences.
FIG. 11'--A) Snicking; B) Respiratory symptoms (wheezing and rales combined) and C) Ciliary activity of rIBV M41R-nsp 10,14 rep and rIBV M41R-nsp 10,16 rep compared to M41-CK (Bars show mock, M41R-nsp10,14rep; M41R-nsp10,16rep and M41-K from left to right of each timepoint).
DETAILED DESCRIPTIONThe present invention provides a coronavirus comprising a variant replicase gene which, when expressed in the coronavirus, causes the virus to have reduced pathogenicity compared to a corresponding coronavirus which comprises the wild-type replicase gene.
Gammacoronavirus is a genus of animal virus belonging to the family Coronaviridae. Coronaviruses are enveloped viruses with a positive-sense single-stranded RNA genome and a helical symmetry.
The genomic size of coronaviruses ranges from approximately 27 to 32 kilobases, which is the longest size for any known RNA virus.
Coronaviruses primarily infect the upper respiratory or gastrointestinal tract of mammals and birds. Five to six different currently known strains of coronaviruses infect humans. The most publicized human coronavirus, SARS-CoV which causes severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), has a unique pathogenesis because it causes both upper and lower respiratory tract infections and can also cause gastroenteritis. Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) also causes a lower respiratory tract infection in humans. Coronaviruses are believed to cause a significant percentage of all common colds in human adults.
Coronaviruses also cause a range of diseases in livestock animals and domesticated pets, some of which can be serious and are a threat to the farming industry. Economically significant coronaviruses of livestock animals include infectious bronchitis virus (IBV) which mainly causes respiratory disease in chickens and seriously affects the poultry industry worldwide; porcine coronavirus (transmissible gastroenteritis, TGE) and bovine coronavirus, which both result in diarrhoea in young animals. Feline coronavirus has two forms, feline enteric coronavirus is a pathogen of minor clinical significance, but spontaneous mutation of this virus can result in feline infectious peritonitis (FIP), a disease associated with high mortality.
There are also two types of canine coronavirus (CCoV), one that causes mild gastrointestinal disease and one that has been found to cause respiratory disease. Mouse hepatitis virus (MHV) is a coronavirus that causes an epidemic murine illness with high mortality, especially among colonies of laboratory mice.
Coronaviruses are divided into four groups, as shown below:
Alpha Canine coronavirus (CCoV) Feline coronavirus (FeCoV) Human coronavirus 229E (HCoV-229E) Porcine epidemic diarrhoea virus (PEDV) Transmissible gastroenteritis virus (TGEV) Human Coronavirus NL63 (NL or New Haven) Beta Bovine coronavirus (BCoV) Canine respiratory coronavirus (CRCoV)'--Common in SE Asia and Micronesia Human coronavirus OC43 (HCoV-OC43) Mouse hepatitis virus (MHV) Porcine haemagglutinating encephalomyelitis virus (HEV) Rat coronavirus (Roy). Rat Coronavirus is quite prevalent in Eastern Australia where, as of March/April 2008, it has been found among native and feral rodent colonies. (No common name as of yet) (HCoV-HKU1) 'ƒSevere acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) Gamma Infectious bronchitis virus (IBV) Turkey coronavirus (Bluecomb disease virus) Pheasant coronavirus Guinea fowl coronavirus Delta Bulbul coronavirus (BuCoV) Thrush coronavirus (ThCoV) Munia coronavirus (MuCoV) Porcine coronavirus (PorCov) HKU15 The variant replicase gene of the coronavirus of the present invention may be derived from an alphacoronavirus such as TGEV; a betacoronavirus such as MHV; or a gammacoronavirus such as IBV.
As used herein the term ''derived from'' means that the replicase gene comprises substantially the same nucleotide sequence as the wild-type replicase gene of the relevant coronavirus. For example, the variant replicase gene of the present invention may have up to 80%, 85%, 90%, 95%, 98% or 99% identity with the wild type replicase sequence. The variant coronavirus replicase gene encodes a protein comprising a mutation in one or more of non-structural protein (nsp)-10, nsp-14, nsp-15 or nsp-16 when compared to the wild-type sequence of the non-structural protein.
Avian infectious bronchitis (IB) is an acute and highly contagious respiratory disease of chickens which causes significant economic losses. The disease is characterized by respiratory signs including gasping, coughing, sneezing, tracheal rales, and nasal discharge. In young chickens, severe respiratory distress may occur. In layers, respiratory distress, nephritis, decrease in egg production, and loss of internal egg quality and egg shell quality are common.
In broilers, coughing and rattling are common clinical signs, rapidly spreading in all the birds of the premises. Morbidity is 100% in non-vaccinated flocks. Mortality varies depending on age, virus strain, and secondary infections but may be up to 60% in non-vaccinated flocks.
The first IBV serotype to be identified was Massachusetts, but in the United States several serotypes, including Arkansas and Delaware, are currently circulating, in addition to the originally identified Massachusetts type.
The IBV strain Beaudette was derived following at least 150 passages in chick embryos. IBV Beaudette is no longer pathogenic for hatched chickens but rapidly kills embryos.
H120 is a commercial live attenuated IBV Massachusetts serotype vaccine strain, attenuated by approximately 120 passages in embryonated chicken eggs. H52 is another Massachusetts vaccine, and represents an earlier and slightly more pathogenic passage virus (passage 52) during the development of H120. Vaccines based on H120 are commonly used.
IB QX is a virulent field isolate of IBV. It is sometimes known as ''Chinese QX'' as it was originally isolated following outbreaks of disease in the Qingdao region in China in the mid 1990s. Since that time the virus has crept towards Europe. From 2004, severe egg production issues have been identified with a very similar virus in parts of Western Europe, predominantly in the Netherlands, but also reported from Germany, France, Belgium, Denmark and in the UK.
The virus isolated from the Dutch cases was identified by the Dutch Research Institute at Deventer as a new strain that they called D388. The Chinese connection came from further tests which showed that the virus was 99% similar to the Chinese QX viruses. A live attenuated QX-like IBV vaccine strain has now been developed.
IBV is an enveloped virus that replicates in the cell cytoplasm and contains an non-segmented, single-stranded, positive sense RNA genome. IBV has a 27.6 kb RNA genome and like all coronaviruses contains the four structural proteins; spike glycoprotein (S), small membrane protein (E), integral membrane protein (M) and nucleocapsid protein (N) which interacts with the genomic RNA.
The genome is organised in the following manner: 5'²UTR'--polymerase (replicase) gene'--structural protein genes (S-E-M-N)'--UTR 3'²; where the UTR are untranslated regions (each Ë'500 nucleotides in IBV).
The lipid envelope contains three membrane proteins: S, M and E. The IBV S protein is a type I glycoprotein which oligomerizes in the endoplasmic reticulum and is assembled into homotrimer inserted in the virion membrane via the transmembrane domain and is associated through non-covalent interactions with the M protein. Following incorporation into coronavirus particles, the S protein is responsible for binding to the target cell receptor and fusion of the viral and cellular membranes. The S glycoprotein consists of four domains: a signal sequence that is cleaved during synthesis; the ectodomain, which is present on the outside of the virion particle; the transmembrane region responsible for anchoring the S protein into the lipid bilayer of the virion particle; and the cytoplasmic tail.
All coronaviruses also encode a set of accessory protein genes of unknown function that are not required for replication in vitro, but may play a role in pathogenesis. IBV encodes two accessory genes, genes 3 and 5, which both express two accessory proteins 3a, 3b and 5a, 5b, respectively.
The variant replicase gene of the coronavirus of the present invention may be derived from an IBV. For example the IBV may be IBV Beaudette, H120, H52, IB QX, D388 or M41.
The IBV may be IBV M41. M41 is a prototypic Massachusetts serotype that was isolated in the USA in 1941. It is an isolate used in many labs throughout the world as a pathogenic lab stain and can be obtained from ATCC (VR-21'). Attenuated variants are also used by several vaccine producers as IBV vaccines against Massachusetts serotypes causing problems in the field. The present inventors chose to use this strain as they had worked for many years on this virus, and because the sequence of the complete virus genome is available. The M41 isolate, M41-CK, used by the present inventors was adapted to grow in primary chick kidney (CK) cells and was therefore deemed amenable for recovery as an infectious virus from a cDNA of the complete genome. It is representative of a pathogenic IBV and therefore can be analysed for mutations that cause either loss or reduction in pathogenicity.
The genome sequence of IBV M41-CK is provided as SEQ ID NO: 1.
In addition to the structural and accessory genes, two-thirds of a coronavirus genome comprises the replicase gene (at the 5'² end of the genome), which is expressed as two polyproteins, pp1a and pp1ab, in which pp1ab is an extension product of pp1a as a result of a ''1 ribosomal shift mechanism. The two polyproteins are cleaved by two types of virus-encoded proteinases usually resulting in 16 non-structural proteins (Nsp1-16); IBV lacks Nsp1 thereby encoding Nsp2-16.
Thus Gene 1 in IBV encodes 15 (16 in other coronaviruses) non-structural proteins (nsp2-16), which are associated with RNA replication and transcription.
The term 'replicase protein' is used herein to refer to the pp1a and pp1ab polyproteins or individual nsp subunits.
The term 'replicase gene' is used herein to refer to a nucleic acid sequence which encodes for replicase proteins.
A summary of the functions of coronavirus nsp proteins is provided in Table 1.
TABLE 1 Nsp Protein Key features 1 Conserved within but not between coronavirus genetic groups; potential regulatory functions in the host cell. 2 Dispensable for MHV and SARS-CoV replication in tissue culture 3 Acidic domain; macro domain with ADRP and poly (ADP-ribose)-binding activities; one or two ZBD- containing papain-like proteases; Y domain 4 Transmembrane domain 5 3C-like main protease, homodimer 6 Transmembrane domain 7 Interacts with nsp8 to form a hexadecamer complex 8 Noncannonical RNA polymerase; interacts with nsp7 to form a hexadecameric complex 9 ssRNA-binding protein, dimer 10 RNA-binding protein, homododecamer, zinc-binding domain, known to interact with nsp14 and nsp16 11 Unknown 12 RNA-dependent RNA polymerase 13 Zinc-binding domain, NTPase, dNTPase, 5'²-to-3'² RNA and DNA helicase, RNA 5'²-triphosphate 14 3'²-to 5'² exoribonuclease, zinc-binding domain and N7- methyltransferase 15 Uridylate-specific endoribonuclease, homohexamer 16 Putative ribose-2'²-O-methyltransferase
The variant replicase gene encoded by the coronavirus of the present invention comprises a mutation in one or more of the sections of sequence encoding nsp-10, nsp-14, nsp-15 or nsp-16.
Nsp10 has RNA-binding activity and appears to be involved in homo and/or heterotypic interactions within other nsps from the pp1a/pp1ab region. It adopts an α/β fold comprised of five α-helices, one 310-helix and three β-strands. Two zinc-binding sites have been identified that are formed by conserved cysteine residues and one histidine residue (Cys-74/Cys-77/His-83/Cys-90; Cys-117/Cys-120/Cys-128/Cys-130). The protein has been confirmed to bind single-stranded and double-stranded RNA and DNA without obvious specificity. Nsp-10 can be cross-linked with nsp-9, suggesting the existing of a complex network of protein-protein interactions involving nsp-7, -8, -9 and -10. In addition, nsp-10 is known to interact with nsp-14 and nsp-16.
Nsp-14 comprises a 3'²-to-5'² exoribonuclease (ExoN) active domain in the amino-terminal region. SARS-CoV ExoN has been demonstrated to have metal ion-dependent 3'²-to-5'² exoribonuclease activity that acts on both single-stranded and double-stranded RNA, but not on DNA. Nsp-14 has been shown to have proof-reading activity. This nsp has also been shown to have N7-methyltransferase (MT) activity in the carboxyl-terminal region.
Nsp-15 associated NendoU (nidoviral endoribonuclease, specific for U) RNase activity has been reported for a number of coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV, MHV and IBV. The activities were consistently reported to be significantly enhanced by Mn2+ ions and there was little activity in the presence of Mg2+ and Ca2+. NendoU cleaves at the 3'² side of uridylate residues in both single-stranded and double-stranded RNA. The biologically relevant substrate(s) of coronavirus NendoUs remains to be identified.
Nsp-16 has been predicted to mediate ribose-2'²-O-methyltransferase (2'²-O-MTase) activity and reverse-genetics experiments have shown that the 2'²-O-MTase domain is essential for viral RNA synthesis in HCoV-229E and SARS-CoV. The enzyme may be involved in the production of the cap 1 structures of coronavirus RNAs and it may also cooperate with NendoU and ExoN in other RNA processing pathways. 2'²-O-MTase might also methylate specific RNAs to protect them from NendoU-mediated cleavage.
The genomic and protein sequences for nsp-10, -14, -15 and -16 are provided as SEQ ID NO: 2-5 and 6-9, respectively.
Reduced Pathogenicity
The live, attenuated coronavirus of the present invention comprises a variant replicase gene which causes the virus to have reduced pathogenicity compared to a coronavirus expressing the corresponding wild-type gene.
The term ''attenuated'' as used herein, refers to a virus that exhibits said reduced pathogenicity and may be classified as non-virulent. A live, attenuated virus is a weakened replicating virus still capable of stimulating an immune response and producing immunity but not causing the actual illness.
The term ''pathogenicity'' is used herein according to its normal meaning to refer to the potential of the virus to cause disease in a subject. Typically the pathogenicity of a coronavirus is determined by assaying disease associated symptoms, for example sneezing, snicking and reduction in tracheal ciliary activity.
The term ''reduced pathogenicity'' is used to describe that the level of pathogenicity of a coronavirus is decreased, lessened or diminished compared to a corresponding, wild-type coronavirus.
In one embodiment, the coronavirus of the present invention has a reduced pathogenicity compared to the parental M41-CK virus from which it was derived or a control coronavirus. The control coronavirus may be a coronavirus with a known pathogenicity, for example a coronavirus expressing the wild-type replicase protein.
The pathogenicity of a coronavirus may be assessed utilising methods well-known in the art. Typically, pathogenicity is assessed by assaying clinical symptoms in a subject challenged with the virus, for example a chicken.
As an illustration, the chicken may be challenged at 8-24 days old by nasal or ocular inoculation. Clinical symptoms, associated with IBV infection, may be assessed 3-10 days post-infection. Clinical symptoms commonly assessed to determine the pathogenicity of a coronavirus, for example an IBV, include gasping, coughing, sneezing, snicking, depression, ruffled feathers and loss of tracheal ciliary activity.
The variant replicase of the present invention, when expressed in a coronavirus, may cause a reduced level of clinical symptoms compared to a coronavirus expressing a wild-type replicase.
For example a coronavirus expressing the variant replicase may cause a number of snicks per bird per minute which is less than 90%, less than 80%, less than 70%, less than 60%, less than 50%, less than 40%, less than 30%, less than 20% or less than 10% of the number of snicks caused by a virus expressing the wild type replicase.
A coronavirus expressing a variant replicase according to the present invention may cause wheezing in less than 70%, less than 60%, less than 50%, less than 40%, less than 30%, less than 20% or less than 10% of the number of birds in a flock infected with the a virus expressing the wild type replicase.
A coronavirus expressing a variant replicase according to the present invention may result in tracheal ciliary activity which is at least 60%, at least 70%, at least 80%, at least 90% or at least 95% of the level of tracheal ciliary activity in uninfected birds.
A coronavirus expressing a variant replicase according to the present invention may cause clinical symptoms, as defined in Table 2, at a lower level than a coronavirus expressing the wild type replicase.
TABLE 2 IBV severity limits based on clinical signs:
The variant replicase of the present invention, when expressed in a coronavirus, may cause the virus to replicate at non-pathogenic levels in ovo.
While developing vaccines to be administered in ovo to chicken embryos, attention must be paid to two points: the effect of maternal antibodies on the vaccines and the effect of the vaccines on the embryo. Maternal antibodies are known to interfere with active immunization. For example, vaccines with mild strains do not induce protective antibody levels when administered to broiler chickens with maternal antibodies as these strains are neutralized by the maternal antibody pool.
Thus a viral particle must be sufficiently efficient at replicating and propagating to ensure that it is not neutralized by the maternally-derived antibodies against the virus. Maternally-derived antibodies are a finite pool of effective antibodies, which decrease as the chicken ages, and neutralization of the virus in this manner does not equate to the establishment of long-term immunity for the embryo/chick. In order to develop long-term immunity against the virus, the embryo and hatched chicken must develop an appropriate protective immune response which is distinct to the effect of the maternally-derived antibodies.
To be useful for in ovo vaccination, the virus must also not replicate and propagate at a level which causes it to be pathogenic to the embryo.
Reduced pathogenicity in terms of the embryo may mean that the coronavirus causes less reduction in hatchability compared to a corresponding, wild-type control coronavirus. Thus the term ''without being pathogenic to the embryo'' in the context of the present invention may mean ''without causing reduced hatchability'' when compared to a control coronavirus.
A suitable variant replicase may be identified using methods which are known in the art. For example comparative challenge experiments following in ovo vaccination of embryos with or without maternally-derived antibodies may be performed (i.e. wherein the layer has or has not been vaccinated against IBV).
If the variant replicase enables the virus to propagate at a level which is too high, the embryo will not hatch or will not be viable following hatching (i.e. the virus is pathogenic to the embryo). A virus which is pathogenic to the embryo may kill the embryo.
If the variant replicase causes a reduction in viral replication and propagation which is too great, the virus will be neutralised by the maternally-derived antibodies. Subsequent challenge of the chick with IBV will therefore result in the development of clinical symptoms (for example wheezing, snicking, loss of ciliary activity) and the onset of disease in the challenged chick; as it will have failed to develop effective immunity against the virus.
As used herein, the term 'variant' is synonymous with 'mutant' and refers to a nucleic acid or amino acid sequence which differs in comparison to the corresponding wild-type sequence.
A variant/mutant sequence may arise naturally, or may be created artificially (for example by site-directed mutagenesis). The mutant may have at least 70, 80, 90, 95, 98 or 99% sequence identity with the corresponding portion of the wild type sequence. The mutant may have less than 20, 10, 5, 4, 3, 2 or 1 mutation(s) over the corresponding portion of the wild-type sequence.
The term ''wild type'' is used to mean a gene or protein having a nucleotide or amino acid sequence which is identical with the native gene or protein respectively (i.e. the viral gene or protein).
Identity comparisons can be conducted by eye, or more usually, with the aid of readily available sequence comparison programs. These commercially available computer programs can calculate % identity between two or more sequences. A suitable computer program for carrying out such an alignment is the GCG Wisconsin Bestfit package (University of Wisconsin, U.S.A.; Devereux et al., 1984, Nucleic Acids Research 12:387). Examples of other software that can perform sequence comparisons include, but are not limited to, the BLAST package (see Ausubel et al., 1999 ibid'--Chapter 18), FASTA (Atschul et al., 1990, J. Mol. Biol., 403-410) and the GENEWORKS suite of comparison tools, ClustalX (see Larkin et al. (2007) Clustal W and Clustal X version 2.0. Bioinformatics, 23:2947-2948). Both BLAST and FASTA are available for offline and online searching (see Ausubel et al., 1999 ibid, pages 7-58 to 7-60). However, for some applications, it is preferred to use the GCG Bestf it program. A new tool, called BLAST 2 Sequences is also available for comparing protein and nucleotide sequence (see FEMS Microbiol Lett 1999 174(2): 247-50; FEMS Microbiol Lett 1999 177(1): 187-8 and tatiana@ncbi.nlm.nih.gov).
The sequence may have one or more deletions, insertions or substitutions of amino acid residues which produce a silent change and result in a functionally equivalent molecule. Deliberate amino acid substitutions may be made on the basis of similarity in polarity, charge, solubility, hydrophobicity, hydrophilicity, and/or the amphipathic nature of the residues as long as the activity is retained. For example, negatively charged amino acids include aspartic acid and glutamic acid; positively charged amino acids include lysine and arginine; and amino acids with uncharged polar head groups having similar hydrophilicity values include leucine, isoleucine, valine, glycine, alanine, asparagine, glutamine, serine, threonine, phenylalanine, and tyrosine.
Conservative substitutions may be made, for example according to the Table below. Amino acids in the same block in the second column and preferably in the same line in the third column may be substituted for each other:
ALIPHATIC Non-polar G'ƒA'ƒP I'ƒL'ƒV Polar-'ƒuncharged C'ƒS'ƒT'ƒM N'ƒQ Polar-'ƒcharged D'ƒE K'ƒR AROMATIC H'ƒF'ƒW'ƒY
The coronavirus of the present invention may comprise a variant replicase gene which encodes a protein which comprises a mutation compared to any one of SEQ ID NO: 6, 7, 8 or 9 which, when expressed in a coronavirus, causes the virus to have reduced pathogenicity compared to a coronavirus expressing the corresponding wild-type replicase.
The variant replicase gene may encode a protein which comprises at least one or more amino acid mutations in any combination of nsp-10, nsp-14, nsp-15 and nsp-16.
The variant replicase gene of the coronavirus of the present invention may encode a protein comprising a mutation as defined in the M41 mod sequences presented in FIG. 10.
The variant replicase gene of the coronavirus of the present invention may encode a protein which comprises one or more amino acid mutations selected from the list of:
Pro to Leu at position 85 of SEQ ID NO: 6, Val to Leu at position 393 of SEQ ID NO: 7; Leu to Ile at position 183 of SEQ ID NO: 8; Val to Ile at position 209 of SEQ ID NO: 9. The variant replicase gene of the coronavirus of the present invention may encode a protein which does not comprise a mutation in nsp-2, nsp-3, nsp-6 or nsp-13.
The variant replicase gene of the coronavirus of the present invention may encode a protein which does not comprise a mutation in nsp10 which corresponds to the threonine to isoleucine mutation caused by a mutation at nucleotide position 12,008 in the gene reported by Ammayappan et al. (Arch Virol (2009) 154:495-499).
Ammayappan et al (as above) reports the identification of sequence changes responsible for the attenuation of IBV strain Arkansas DPI. The study identified 17 amino acid changes in a variety of IBV proteins following multiple passages, approx. 100, of the virus in embryonated eggs. It was not investigated whether the attenuated virus (Ark DPI 101) is capable of replicating in the presence of maternally-derived antibodies against the virus in ovo, without being pathogenic to the embryo. Given that this virus was produced by multiple passage in SPF embryonated eggs, similar methodology for classical IBV vaccines, it is likely that this virus is pathogenic for embryos. The virus may also be sensitive to maternally-derived antibodies if the hens were vaccinated with a similar serotype.
The variant replicase gene of the coronavirus of the present invention may encode a protein which comprises any combination of one or more amino acid mutations provided in the list above.
The variant replicase gene may encode a protein which comprises the amino acid mutation Pro to Leu at position 85 of SEQ ID NO: 6.
The variant replicase gene may encode a protein which comprises the amino acid mutation Val to Leu at position 393 of SEQ ID NO: 7.
The variant replicase gene may encode a protein which comprises the amino acid mutation Leu to Ile at position 183 of SEQ ID NO: 8.
The variant replicase gene may encode a protein which comprises the amino acid mutation Val to Ile at position 209 of SEQ ID NO: 9.
The variant replicase gene may encode a protein which comprises the amino acid mutations Pro to Leu at position 85 of SEQ ID NO: 6, and Val to Leu at position 393 of SEQ ID NO: 7.
The variant replicase gene may encode a protein which comprises the amino acid mutations Pro to Leu at position 85 of SEQ ID NO: 6 Leu to Ile at position 183 of SEQ ID NO: 8.
The variant replicase gene may encode a protein which comprises the amino acid mutations Pro to Leu at position 85 of SEQ ID NO: 6 and Val to Ile at position 209 of SEQ ID NO: 9.
The variant replicase gene may encode a protein which comprises the amino acid mutations Val to Leu at position 393 of SEQ ID NO: 7 and Leu to Ile at position 183 of SEQ ID NO: 8.
The variant replicase gene may encode a protein which comprises the amino acid mutations Val to Leu at position 393 of SEQ ID NO: 7 and Val to Ile at position 209 of SEQ ID NO: 9.
The variant replicase gene may encode a protein which comprises the amino acid mutations Leu to Ile at position 183 of SEQ ID NO: 8 and Val to Ile at position 209 of SEQ ID NO: 9.
The variant replicase gene may encode a protein which comprises the amino acid mutations Pro to Leu at position 85 of SEQ ID NO: 6, Val to Leu at position 393 of SEQ ID NO: 7 and Leu to Ile at position 183 of SEQ ID NO: 8.
The variant replicase gene may encode a protein which comprises the amino acid mutations Pro to Leu at position 85 of SEQ ID NO: 6 Leu to Ile at position 183 of SEQ ID NO: 8 and Val to Ile at position 209 of SEQ ID NO: 9.
The variant replicase gene may encode a protein which comprises the amino acid mutations Pro to Leu at position 85 of SEQ ID NO: 6, Val to Leu at position 393 of SEQ ID NO: 7 and Val to Ile at position 209 of SEQ ID NO: 9.
The variant replicase gene may encode a protein which comprises the amino acid mutations Val to Leu at position 393 of SEQ ID NO: 7, Leu to Ile at position 183 of SEQ ID NO: 8 and Val to Ile at position 209 of SEQ ID NO: 9.
The variant replicase gene may encode a protein which comprises the amino acid mutations Pro to Leu at position 85 of SEQ ID NO: 6, Val to Leu at position 393 of SEQ ID NO: 7, Leu to Ile at position 183 of SEQ ID NO: 8 and Val to Ile at position 209 of SEQ ID NO: 9.
The variant replicase gene may also be defined at the nucleotide level.
For example the nucleotide sequence of the variant replicase gene of the coronavirus of the present invention may comprise one or more nucleotide substitutions within the regions selected from the list of: 11884-12318, 16938-18500, 18501-19514 and 19515-20423 of SEQ ID NO:1.
For example the nucleotide sequence of the variant replicase gene of the coronavirus of the present invention may comprise one or more nucleotide substitutions selected from the list of:
C to Tat nucleotide position 12137; G to C at nucleotide position 18114; T to A at nucleotide position 19047; and G to A at nucleotide position 20139; compared to the sequence shown as SEQ ID NO: 1. As used herein, the term ''substitution'' is synonymous with the term mutation and means that the nucleotide at the identified position differs to that of the wild-type nucleotide sequence.
The nucleotide sequence may comprise any combination of the nucleotide substitutions selected from the list of:
C to Tat nucleotide position 12137; G to Cat nucleotide position 18114; T to A at nucleotide position 19047; and G to A at nucleotide position 20139; compared to the sequence shown as SEQ ID NO: 1. The nucleotide sequence may comprise the substitution C12137T.
The nucleotide sequence may comprise substitution G18114C.
The nucleotide sequence may comprise the substitution T19047A.
The nucleotide sequence may comprise the substitution G20139A.
The nucleotide sequence may comprise the substitutions C12137T and G18114C.
The nucleotide sequence may comprise the substitutions C12137T and T19047A.
The nucleotide sequence may comprise the substitutions C12137T and G20139A.
The nucleotide sequence may comprise the substitutions G18114C and T19047A.
The nucleotide sequence may comprise the substitutions G18114C and G20139A.
The nucleotide sequence may comprise the substitutions T19047A and G20139A.
The nucleotide sequence may comprise the substitutions C12137T, G18114C and T19047A.
The nucleotide sequence may comprise the substitutions C12137T, T19047A and G20139A.
The nucleotide sequence may comprise the substitutions C12137T, G18114C and G20139A.
The nucleotide sequence may comprise the substitutions G18114C, T19047A and G20139A.
The nucleotide sequence may comprise the substitutions C12137T, G18114C, T19047A and G20139A.
The nucleotide sequence may not comprise a substitution which corresponds to the C12008T substitution reported by Ammayappan et al. (as above).
The nucleotide sequence may be natural, synthetic or recombinant. It may be double or single stranded, it may be DNA or RNA or combinations thereof. It may, for example, be cDNA, PCR product, genomic sequence or mRNA.
The nucleotide sequence may be codon optimised for production in the host/host cell of choice.
It may be isolated, or as part of a plasmid, virus or host cell.
A plasmid is an extra-chromosomal DNA molecule separate from the chromosomal DNA which is capable of replicating independently of the chromosomal DNA. They are usually circular and double-stranded.
Plasmids, or vectors (as they are sometimes known), may be used to express a protein in a host cell. For example a bacterial host cell may be transfected with a plasmid capable of encoding a particular protein, in order to express that protein. The term also includes yeast artificial chromosomes and bacterial artificial chromosomes which are capable of accommodating longer portions of DNA.
The plasmid of the present invention comprises a nucleotide sequence capable of encoding a defined region of the replicase protein. It may also comprise one or more additional coronavirus nucleotide sequence(s), or nucleotide sequence(s) capable of encoding one or more other coronavirus proteins such as the S gene and/or gene 3.
The plasmid may also comprise a resistance marker, such as the guanine xanthine phosphoribosyltransferase gene (gpt) from Escherichia coli, which confers resistance to mycophenolic acid (MPA) in the presence of xanthine and hypoxanthine and is controlled by the vaccinia virus P7.5 early/late promoter.
Recombinant Vaccinia Virus
The present invention also relates to a recombinant vaccinia virus (rVV) comprising a variant replicase gene as defined herein.
The recombinant vaccinia virus (rVV) may be made using a vaccinia-virus based reverse genetics system.
In this respect, the present invention also provides a method for making a viral particle by:
(i) transfecting a plasmid as described in the previous section into a host cell; (ii) infecting the host cell with a recombining virus comprising the genome of a coronavirus strain with a replicase gene; (iii) allowing homologous recombination to occur between the replicase gene sequences in the plasmid and the corresponding sequences in the recombining virus genome to produce a modified replicase gene; (iv) selecting for recombining virus comprising the modified replicase gene. The term 'modified replicase gene' refers to a replicase gene which comprises a variant replicase gene as described in connection with the first aspect of the present invention. Specifically, the term refers to a gene which is derived from a wild-type replicase gene but comprises a nucleotide sequence which causes it to encode a variant replicase protein as defined herein.
The recombination may involve all or part of the replicase gene. For example the recombination may involve a nucleotide sequence encoding for any combination of nsp-10, nsp-14, nsp-15 and/or nsp-16. The recombination may involve a nucleotide sequence which encodes for an amino acid mutation or comprises a nucleotide substitution as defined above.
The genome of the coronavirus strain may lack the part of the replicase protein corresponding to the part provided by the plasmid, so that a modified protein is formed through insertion of the nucleotide sequence provided by the plasmid.
The recombining virus is one suitable to allow homologous recombination between its genome and the plasmid. The vaccinia virus is particularly suitable as homologous recombination is routinely used to insert and delete sequences for the vaccinia virus genome.
The above method optionally includes the step:
(v) recovery of recombinant coronavirus comprising the modified replicase gene from the DNA from the recombining virus from step (iv). Methods for recovering recombinant coronavirus, such as recombinant IBV, are known in the art (See Britton et al (2005) see page 24; and PCT/GB2010/001293).
For example, the DNA from the recombining virus from step (iv) may be inserted into a plasmid and used to transfect cells which express cytoplasmic T7 RNA polymerase. The cells may, for example be pre-infected with a fowlpox virus expressing T7 RNA polymerase. Recombinant coronavirus may then be isolated, for example, from the growth medium.
When the plasmid is inserted into the vaccinia virus genome, an unstable intermediate is formed. Recombinants comprising the plasmid may be selected for e.g. using a resistance marker on the plasmid.
Positive recombinants may then be verified to contain the modified replicase gene by, for example, PCR and sequencing.
Large stocks of the recombining virus including the modified replicase gene (e.g. recombinant vaccinia virus, (rVV) may be grown up and the DNA extracted in order to carry out step (v)).
Suitable reverse genetics systems are known in the art (Casais et al (2001) J. Virol 75:12359-12369; Casais et al (2003) J. Virol. 77:9084-9089; Britton et al (2005) J. Virological Methods 123:203-211; Armesto et al (2008) Methods in Molecular Biology 454:255-273).
The coronavirus may be used to infect a cell.
Coronavirus particles may be harvested, for example from the supernatant, by methods known in the art, and optionally purified.
The cell may be used to produce the coronavirus particle.
Thus the present invention also provides a method for producing a coronavirus which comprises the following steps:
(i) infection of a cell with a coronavirus according to the invention;
(ii) allowing the virus to replicate in the cell; and
(iii) harvesting the progeny virus.
The present invention also provides a cell capable of producing a coronavirus according to the invention using a reverse genetics system. For example, the cell may comprise a recombining virus genome comprising a nucleotide sequence capable of encoding the replicase gene of the present invention.
The cell may be able to produce recombinant recombining virus (e.g. vaccinia virus) containing the replicase gene.
Alternatively the cell may be capable of producing recombinant coronavirus by a reverse genetics system. The cell may express or be induced to express T7 polymerase in order to rescue the recombinant viral particle.
The coronavirus may be used to produce a vaccine. The vaccine may by a live attenuated form of the coronavirus of the present invention and may further comprise a pharmaceutically acceptable carrier. As defined herein, ''pharmaceutically acceptable carriers'' suitable for use in the invention are well known to those of skill in the art. Such carriers include, without limitation, water, saline, buffered saline, phosphate buffer, alcohol/aqueous solutions, emulsions or suspensions. Other conventionally employed diluents and excipients may be added in accordance with conventional techniques. Such carriers can include ethanol, polyols, and suitable mixtures thereof, vegetable oils, and injectable organic esters. Buffers and pH adjusting agents may also be employed. Buffers include, without limitation, salts prepared from an organic acid or base. Representative buffers include, without limitation, organic acid salts, such as salts of citric acid, e.g., citrates, ascorbic acid, gluconic acid, histidine-Hel, carbonic acid, tartaric acid, succinic acid, acetic acid, or phthalic acid, Iris, trimethanmine hydrochloride, or phosphate buffers. Parenteral carriers can include sodium chloride solution, Ringer's dextrose, dextrose, trehalose, sucrose, and sodium chloride, lactated Ringer's or fixed oils. Intravenous carriers can include fluid and nutrient replenishers, electrolyte replenishers, such as those based on Ringer's dextrose and the like. Preservatives and other additives such as, for example, antimicrobials, antioxidants, chelating agents (e.g., EDTA), inert gases and the like may also be provided in the pharmaceutical carriers. The present invention is not limited by the selection of the carrier. The preparation of these pharmaceutically acceptable compositions, from the above-described components, having appropriate pH isotonicity, stability and other conventional characteristics is within the skill of the art. See, e.g., texts such as Remington: The Science and Practice of Pharmacy, 20th ed, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, pub!., 2000; and The Handbook of Pharmaceutical Excipients, 4.sup.th edit., eds. R. C. Rowe et al, APhA Publications, 2003.
The vaccine of the invention will be administered in a ''therapeutically effective amount'', which refers to an amount of an active ingredient, e.g., an agent according to the invention, sufficient to effect beneficial or desired results when administered to a subject or patient. An effective amount can be administered in one or more administrations, applications or dosages. A therapeutically effective amount of a composition according to the invention may be readily determined by one of ordinary skill in the art. In the context of this invention, a ''therapeutically effective amount'' is one that produces an objectively measured change in one or more parameters associated Infectious Bronchitis condition sufficient to effect beneficial or desired results. An effective amount can be administered in one or more administrations. For purposes of this invention, an effective amount of drug, compound, or pharmaceutical composition is an amount sufficient to reduce the incidence of Infectious Bronchitis. As used herein, the term ''therapeutic'' encompasses the full spectrum of treatments for a disease, condition or disorder. A ''therapeutic'' agent of the invention may act in a manner that is prophylactic or preventive, including those that incorporate procedures designed to target animals that can be identified as being at risk (pharmacogenetics); or in a manner that is ameliorative or curative in nature; or may act to slow the rate or extent of the progression of at least one symptom of a disease or disorder being treated.
The present invention also relates to a method for producing such a vaccine which comprises the step of infecting cells, for example Vero cells, with a viral particle comprising a replicase protein as defined in connection with the first aspect of the invention.
Vaccination Method
The coronavirus of the present invention may be used to treat and/or prevent a disease.
To ''treat'' means to administer the vaccine to a subject having an existing disease in order to lessen, reduce or improve at least one symptom associated with the disease and/or to slow down, reduce or block the progression of the disease.
To ''prevent'' means to administer the vaccine to a subject who has not yet contracted the disease and/or who is not showing any symptoms of the disease to prevent or impair the cause of the disease (e.g. infection) or to reduce or prevent development of at least one symptom associated with the disease.
The disease may be any disease caused by a coronavirus, such as a respiratory disease and and/or gastroenteritis in humans and hepatitis, gastroenteritis, encephalitis, or a respiratory disease in other animals.
The disease may be infectious bronchitis (IB); Porcine epidemic diarrhoea; Transmissible gastroenteritis; Mouse hepatitis virus; Porcine haemagglutinating encephalomyelitis; Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS); or Bluecomb disease.
The disease may be infectious bronchitis.
The vaccine may be administered to hatched chicks or chickens, for example by eye drop or intranasal administration. Although accurate, these methods can be expensive e.g. for large broiler flocks. Alternatives include spray inoculation of administration to drinking water but it can be difficult to ensure uniform vaccine application using such methods.
The vaccine may be provided in a form suitable for its administration, such as an eye-dropper for intra-ocular use.
The vaccine may be administered by in ovo inoculation, for example by injection of embryonated eggs. In ovo vaccination has the advantage that it provides an early stage resistance to the disease. It also facilitates the administration of a uniform dose per subject, unlike spray inoculation and administration via drinking water.
The vaccine may be administered to any suitable compartment of the egg, including allantoic fluid, yolk sac, amnion, air cell or embryo. It may be administered below the shell (aircell) membrane and chorioallantoic membrane.
Usually the vaccine is injected into embryonated eggs during late stages of embryonic development, generally during the final quarter of the incubation period, such as 3-4 days prior to hatch. In chickens, the vaccine may be administered between day 15-19 of the 21-day incubation period, for example at day 17 or 18.
The process can be automated using a robotic injection process, such as those described in WO 2004/078203.
The vaccine may be administered together with one or more other vaccines, for example, vaccines for other diseases, such as Newcastle disease virus (NDV). The present invention also provides a vaccine composition comprising a vaccine according to the invention together with one or more other vaccine(s). The present invention also provides a kit comprising a vaccine according to the invention together with one or more other vaccine(s) for separate, sequential or simultaneous administration.
The vaccine or vaccine composition of the invention may be used to treat a human, animal or avian subject. For example, the subject may be a chick, chicken or mouse (such as a laboratory mouse, e.g. transgenic mouse).
Typically, a physician or veterinarian will determine the actual dosage which will be most suitable for an individual subject or group of subjects and it will vary with the age, weight and response of the particular subject(s).
The composition may optionally comprise a pharmaceutically acceptable carrier, diluent, excipient or adjuvant. The choice of pharmaceutical carrier, excipient or diluent can be selected with regard to the intended route of administration and standard pharmaceutical practice. The pharmaceutical compositions may comprise as (or in addition to) the carrier, excipient or diluent, any suitable binder(s), lubricant(s), suspending agent(s), coating agent(s), solubilising agent(s), and other carrier agents that may aid or increase the delivery or immunogenicity of the virus.
The invention will now be further described by way of Examples, which are meant to serve to assist one of ordinary skill in the art in carrying out the invention and are not intended in any way to limit the scope of the invention.
EXAMPLES Example 1'--Generation of an IBV Reverse Genetics System Based on M41-CKA M41-CK full-length cDNA was produced by replacement of the Beaudette cDNA in the Vaccinia virus reverse genetics system previously described in PCT/GB2010/001293 (herein incorporated by reference) with synthetic cDNA derived from the M41 consensus sequence.
The IBV cDNA within recombinant Vaccinia virus (rVV) rVV-BeauR-Rep-M41 structure described in Armesto, Cavanagh and Britton (2009). PLoS ONE 4(10): e7384. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0007384, which consisted of the replicase derived from IBV Beaudette strain and the structural and accessory genes and 3'² UTR from IBV M41-CK, was further modified by replacement of the Beaudette 5'² UTR-Nsp2-Nsp3 sequence with the corresponding sequence from IBV M41-CK. The resulting IBV cDNA consisted of 5'² UTR-Nsp2-Nsp3 from M41, Nsp4-Nsp16 from Beaudette and the structural and accessory genes and 3'² UTR from M41. This cDNA was further modified by the deletion of the Beaudette Nsp4-Nsp16 sequence. The resulting cDNA, lacking Nsp4-16, was modified in four further steps in which the deleted Nsps were sequentially replaced with the corresponding sequences from M41-CK, the replacement cDNAs represented M41-CK Nsp4-8, Nsp9-12, Nsp12-14 and finally Nsp15-16. Each replacement cDNA contained approx. 500 nucleotides at the 5'² end corresponding to the 3'² most M41 sequence previously inserted and approx. 500 nucleotides at the 3'² end corresponding to the M41 S gene sequence. This allowed insertion of the M41 cDNA sequence by homologous recombination and sequential addition of contiguous M41 replicase gene sequence. The synthetic cDNAs containing the M41-derived Nsp sequences were added by homologous recombination utilising the inventor's previous described transient dominant selection (IDS) system (see PCT/GB2010/001293). The M41-derived cDNAs containing sequence corresponding to the M41 Nsps-10, -14, -15 and -16 contained the modified amino acids at positions 85, 393, 183 and 209, respectively, as indicated in FIG. 10.
A full-length cDNA representing the genome of M41-CK was generated in Vaccinia virus representing the synthetic sequences. Two rIBVs, M41-R-6 and M41-R-12, were rescued and shown to grow in a similar manner as M41-CK (FIG. 1).
Example 2'--Determining the Pathogenicity of Rescued M41 VirusesThe viruses rescued in Example 1 were used to infect 8-day-old specific pathogen free (SPF) chicks by ocular and nasal inoculation to test them for pathogenicity, as observed by clinical signs on a daily basis 3-7 days post-infection and for ciliary activity days 4 and 6 post-infection. Loss of ciliary activity is a well-established method for determining the pathogenicity of IBV. The two M41-R viruses were found to be apathogenic when compared to M41-CK though they did show some clinical signs in comparison to uninfected control chicks (FIG. 2) and some but inconsistent loss in ciliary activity (FIG. 3).
Thus, the M41-R molecular clones of M41-CK were not pathogenic when compared to the parental virus M41-CK.
The inventors identified several nucleotide differences in the M41-R compared to the M41-CK sequences. The majority of these were synonymous mutations, as the nucleotide change did not affect the amino acid sequence of the protein associated with the sequence. However, four non-synonymous mutations were identified in the IBV replicase gene specific to Nsp-10, Nsp-14, Nsp-15 and Nsp-16 components of the replicase gene, these mutations resulted in amino acid changes (Table 3).
TABLE 3 Non-Synonymous mutations identified in the Nsps of M41-R full-length genome Region of Nucleotide Nucleotide Replicase position Mutation Amino Acid Change Nsp10 12137 C'†'T Pro'†'Leu Nsp14 18114 G'†'C Val'†'Leu Nsp15 19047 T'†'A Leu'†'Ile Nsp16 20139 G'†'A Val'†'Ile
Example 3'--Repair of M41-R rIBVsIn order to determine whether the identified mutations were responsible for the loss of pathogenicity associated with M41-R, the Nsp10 mutation was repaired and the mutations in Nsp-14, -15 & -16 were repaired and shown to grow in a similar manner as M41-CK (FIG. 9). The inventors thus generated the rIBVs, M41R-nsp10rep and M41R-nsp14, 15, 16rep, using synthetic cDNAs containing the correct nucleotides utilising the inventor's previous described (TDS) system (see PCT/GB2010/001293).
The rIBVs were assessed for pathogenicity in chicks as described previously. Both rIBVs showed increased pathogenicity when compared to M41-R but not to the level observed with M41-CK (FIGS. 4 and 5). M41R-nsp14, 15, 16rep gave more clinical signs and more reduction in ciliary activity than M41R-nsp10rep, overall these results indicated that the changes associated with the four Nsps appear to affect pathogenicity.
To determine the roles of the Nsps in pathogenicity the full-length cDNA corresponding to M41R-nsp10rep was used to repair the mutations in Nsps14, 15 & 16 using a synthetic cDNA containing the correct nucleotides utilising the TDS system.
The following rIBVs were produced:
M41R-nsp10, 15rep'--M41-R with the mutations in Nsp-10 and Nsp-15 repaired
M41R-nsp10, 14, 15rep'--M41-R with mutations in Nsp-10, -14 and -15 repaired
M41R-nsp10, 14, 16rep'--M41-R with mutations in Nsp-10, -14 and -16 repaired
M41R-nsp10, 15, 16rep'--M41-R with mutations in Nsp-10, -15 and -16 repaired
M41-K'--All four mutations, Nsp-10, -14, -15 & -16 repaired in M41-R
The rIBVs were shown to grow in a similar manner as M41-CK (FIG. 9) and assessed for pathogenicity as described previously. M41-K (in which all four mutations had been repaired) resulted in clinical signs and 100% loss of ciliary activity (complete ciliostasis) by 4 days post-infection (FIGS. 6, 7 & 8). The other rIBVs demonstrated varying levels of pathogenicity, apart from M41R-nsp10, 15, 16rep, which was essentially apathogenic. These results confirmed that repair of all four Nsps restored pathogenicity to M41-R; again supporting the previous evidence that the mutations described in the four Nsps are implicated in attenuating M41-CK.
The inventors also generated rIBV M41R-nsp 10, 14 rep (nsp 10 and 14 are repaired, nsp 15 and 16 contain mutations) and rIBV M41R-nsp 10, 16 rep (nsp 10 and 16 are repaired, nsp 14 and 15 contain mutations) and assessed the pathogenicity of these viruses.
rIBV M41R-nsp 10, 14 rep less pathogenic than M41-K but caused around 50% ciliostasis on days 4-6 post-infection. rIBV M41R-nsp 10, 16 rep was almost apathogenic and caused no ciliostasis (see FIG. 11a-c).
Thus the genome associated with M41-R is a potential backbone genome for a rationally attenuated IBV.
Example 4'--Vaccination/Challenge Study with M41-RCandidate vaccine viruses were tested in studies in which fertilized chicken eggs were vaccinated in ovo at 18 days embryonation and in which the hatchability of the inoculated eggs was determined. The clinical health of the chickens was investigated and the chickens were challenged at 21 days of age with a virulent IB M41 challenge virus at 103.65 EID50 per dose.
Clinical signs were investigated after challenge protection by the vaccine and a ciliostasis test was performed at 5 days after challenge to investigate the effect of the challenge viruses on movement of the cilia and protection by the vaccine against ciliostasis (inhibition of cilia movement).
In Ovo Vaccination in Commercial Broiler Eggs
The design of the experiment is given in Table 4 and the clinical results are given in Table 5. Hatchability of the eggs inoculated with IB M41-R was good and chickens were healthy. IB M41-R protected against clinical signs after challenge in the broilers (placebo: 19/19 affected, 1B M41-R: 3/18 affected and 1 dead). The results of the ciliostasis test are given in Table 6. IB M41-R generated protection against ciliostasis.
TABLE 4 Design of a hatchability, safety, efficacy study in commercial eggs EID501 Route Day(s) Day(s) End Nr. of Treatment per of of of of eggs per Treatment Description dose Admin Admin Challenge2 Study treatment T01 None NA NA NA NA NA 30 T02 IB M41-R 104 In ovo 18 days At 21 days At 26 30 NTX Saline NA In ovo embryo- of age, 20 days 30 nation chickens of age per group 1Dose volume 0.1 ml, NA, not applicable. 2103.65 EID50 per dose.
TABLE 5 Hatch percentages and clinical data before and after challenge in commercial chickens, for design see Table 1. Before After challenge challenge Hatch/ Vital/ Deaths/ Symptoms/ Deaths/ Symptoms/ Treatment total total total total total total None 28/30 Euthanized directly after hatch for blood collection IB M41-R 28/30 28/28 1/20 0/19 1/19 '‚3/181, 7 Saline 29/30 29/29 1/20 0/19 0/19 19/191, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 1Disturbed respiratory system 2Whizzing 3Change of voice 4Breathing difficult 5Swollen intra-orbital sinuses 6Uneven growth 7Weak
TABLE 6 Results of the ciliostasis test after challenge, for design see Table 1. Treatment Protected/total Percentage protection Saline 0/19 '‚0% IB M41R 5/18 28%
In Ovo Vaccination in Specific Pathogen-Free (SPF) Eggs
The design of the study in SPF eggs is given in Table 7 and is similar with the design of the studies with commercial broilers, but the vaccination dose for 1B M41-R was higher, (105 EID50 per dose).
The results (Table 8) show that the hatch percentage for IB M41-R hatch was low, and 19 of 40 hatched and the chicks were weak. Eight chicks died. The remaining 11 chickens were challenged and 11 of the chicks hatched from the eggs which had been inoculated with saline were challenged.
In the ciliostasis test after challenge it appeared that all chickens vaccinated in ovo with IB M41-R were protected, whereas none of the controls was protected, see Table 9.
TABLE 7 Design of a hatchability, safety, efficacy study in SPF eggs EID501 Route Day Day End Nr. of Treatment per of of of of eggs per Treatment Description dose Admin Admin Challenge2 Study treatment T01 IB M41-R 105 In ovo 18 days At 21 days At 26 40 embryo- of age days T04 Saline NA In ovo nation of age 40 NTX NA NA NA NA 10 1Dose volume 0.1 ml, NA, not applicable. 2Challenge dose 103.3 EID50 in 0.2 ml.
TABLE 8 Hatch percentages and clinical data before and after challenge in SPF chickens, for design see Table 7. Before After challenge challenge Hatch/ Vital/ Deaths/ Symptoms/ Deaths/ Symptoms/ Treatment total total total total total total IB M41-R 19/40 11/40 8/40 weak 0 0 Saline 30/40 30/40 0 '-- 0 0 NA '‚9/10 '‚9/10 0 '-- '-- '--
TABLE 9 Results of the ciliostasis test after challenge, for design see Table 7. Treatment Protected/total Percentage protection Saline '‚0/11 'ƒ0% IB M41R 11/11 100%
In conclusion, IB M41-R was safe in commercial eggs, generated protection against clinical signs and to an extent against ciliostasis.
In SPF eggs vaccinated with IB M41 R a relatively low number of chickens hatched. This may be due to the 105 EID50 per egg of 1B M41-R used. This was 10-fold higher than the dose used in earlier studies in which there was a higher level of hatchability. The lower hatch percentages may also be caused by a particularly high susceptibility of the batch of SPF eggs for viruses, as in other studies the level of embryo mortality was also higher that had previously been observed.
After challenge all surviving chickens after hatch were completely protected against ciliostasis. It is concluded that IB M41-R has great potential as vaccine to be administered in ovo.
All publications mentioned in the above specification are herein incorporated by reference. Various modifications and variations of the described methods and system of the invention will be apparent to those skilled in the art without departing from the scope and spirit of the invention. Although the invention has been described in connection with specific preferred embodiments, it should be understood that the invention as claimed should not be unduly limited to such specific embodiments. Indeed, various modifications of the described modes for carrying out the invention which are obvious to those skilled in molecular biology, virology or related fields are intended to be within the scope of the following claims.
25 for 45
Worst set in television history. #impeachment
Everyone complaining about long hours. Older senators can’t handle it
The evidence is overwhelming. But we need more evidence wand witnesses
Schumer kept referring to all the presidents men
Executive privilege - Wikipedia
Wed, 22 Jan 2020 18:04
Executive privilege is the right of the president of the United States and other members of the executive branch to maintain confidential communications under certain circumstances within the executive branch and to resist some subpoenas and other oversight by the legislative and judicial branches of government in pursuit of particular information or personnel relating to those confidential communications. The right comes into effect when revealing information would impair governmental functions. Neither executive privilege nor the oversight power of Congress is explicitly mentioned in the United States Constitution.[1] However, the Supreme Court of the United States has ruled that executive privilege and congressional oversight each are a consequence of the doctrine of the separation of powers, derived from the supremacy of each branch in its own area of Constitutional activity.[2]
The Supreme Court confirmed the legitimacy of this doctrine in United States v. Nixon in the context of a subpoena emanating from the judiciary, instead of emanating from Congress.[3] The Court held that there is a qualified privilege, which once invoked, creates a presumption of privilege, and the party seeking the documents must then make a "sufficient showing" that the "presidential material" is "essential to the justice of the case". Chief Justice Warren Burger further stated that executive privilege would most effectively apply when the oversight of the executive would impair that branch's national security concerns.[3] Regarding requests from Congress (instead of from the courts) for executive branch information, as of a 2014 study by the Congressional Research Service,[4] only two federal court cases had addressed the merits of executive privilege in such a context, and neither of those cases reached the Supreme Court.[5]
In addition to which branch of government is requesting the information, another characteristic of executive privilege is whether it involves a "presidential communications privilege" or instead a "deliberative process privilege" or some other type of privilege.[4] The deliberative process privilege is often considered to be rooted in common law, whereas the presidential communications privilege is often considered to be rooted in separation of powers, thus making the deliberative process privilege less difficult to overcome.[4][6] Generally speaking, presidents, congresses and courts have historically tended to sidestep open confrontations through compromise and mutual deference in view of previous practice and precedents regarding the exercise of executive privilege.[4]
Early precedents Edit Deliberative process privilege is a specific instance of the more general principle of executive privilege. It is usually considered to be based upon common law rather than separation of powers, and its history traces back to the English crown privilege (now known as public-interest immunity).[6] In contrast, the presidential communications privilege is another specific instance of executive privilege, usually considered as being based upon separation of powers, and for that reason it is more difficult to overcome than deliberative process privilege.[4] A significant requirement of the presidential communications privilege is that it can only protect communications sent or received by the president or his immediate advisors, whereas the deliberative process privilege may extend further down the chain of command.[4]
In the context of privilege assertions by United States presidents, law professor Michael Dorf has written: "In 1796, President George Washington refused to comply with a request by the House of Representatives for documents related to the negotiation of the then-recently adopted Jay Treaty with the Kingdom of Great Britain. The Senate alone plays a role in the ratification of treaties, Washington reasoned, and therefore the House had no legitimate claim to the material. Therefore, Washington provided the documents to the Senate but not the House."[7]
President Thomas Jefferson continued the precedent for this in the trial of Aaron Burr for treason in 1809. Burr asked the court to issue a subpoena duces tecum to compel Jefferson to testify or provide his private letters concerning Burr. Chief Justice John Marshall, a strong proponent of the powers of the federal government but also a political opponent of Jefferson, ruled that the Sixth Amendment to the Constitution, which allows for these sorts of court orders for criminal defendants, did not provide any exception for the president. As for Jefferson's claim that disclosure of the document would imperil public safety, Marshall held that the court, not the president, would be the judge of that. Jefferson refused to personally testify but provided selected letters.
In 1833, President Andrew Jackson cited executive privilege when Senator Henry Clay demanded he produce documents concerning statements the president made to his cabinet about the removal of federal deposits from the Second Bank of the United States during the Bank War.[8]
Cold War era Edit During the period of 1947''49, several major security cases became known to presidents. There followed a series of investigations, culminating in the famous Hiss-Chambers case of 1948. At that point, the Truman Administration issued a sweeping secrecy order blocking congressional efforts from FBI and other executive data on security problems.[citation needed ] Security files were moved to the White House and Administration officials were banned from testifying before Congress on security related matters. Investigation of the State Department and other cases was stymied and the matter left unresolved.
During the Army''McCarthy hearings in 1954, Eisenhower used the claim of executive privilege to forbid the "provision of any data about internal conversations, meetings, or written communication among staffers, with no exception to topics or people." Department of Defense employees were also instructed not to testify on any such conversations or produce any such documents or reproductions.[9] This was done to refuse the McCarthy Committee subpoenas of transcripts of monitored telephone calls from Army officials, as well as information on meetings between Eisenhower officials relating to the hearings. This was done in the form of a letter from Eisenhower to the Department of Defense and an accompanying memo from Eisenhower Justice. The reasoning behind the order was that there was a need for "candid" exchanges among executive employees in giving "advice" to one another. In the end, Eisenhower would invoke the claim 44 times between 1955 and 1960.
United States v. Nixon Edit The Supreme Court addressed executive privilege in United States v. Nixon, the 1974 case involving the demand by Watergate special prosecutor Archibald Cox that President Richard Nixon produce the audiotapes of conversations he and his colleagues had in the Oval Office of the White House in connection with criminal charges being brought against members of the Nixon Administration for breaking into the Watergate complex. Nixon invoked the privilege and refused to produce any records.
The Supreme Court did not reject the claim of privilege out of hand; it noted, in fact, "the valid need for protection of communications between high Government officials and those who advise and assist them in the performance of their manifold duties" and that "[h]uman experience teaches that those who expect public dissemination of their remarks may well temper candor with a concern for appearances and for their own interests to the detriment of the decisionmaking process." This is very similar to the logic that the Court had used in establishing an "executive immunity" defense for high office-holders charged with violating citizens' constitutional rights in the course of performing their duties. The Supreme Court stated: "To read the Article II powers of the president as providing an absolute privilege as against a subpoena essential to enforcement of criminal statutes on no more than a generalized claim of the public interest in confidentiality of nonmilitary and nondiplomatic discussions would upset the constitutional balance of 'a workable government' and gravely impair the role of the courts under Article III." Because Nixon had asserted only a generalized need for confidentiality, the Court held that the larger public interest in obtaining the truth in the context of a criminal prosecution took precedence.
Once executive privilege is asserted, coequal branches of the Government are set on a collision course. The Judiciary is forced into the difficult task of balancing the need for information in a judicial proceeding and the Executive's Article II prerogatives. This inquiry places courts in the awkward position of evaluating the Executive's claims of confidentiality and autonomy, and pushes to the fore difficult questions of separation of powers and checks and balances. These 'occasion[s] for constitutional confrontation between the two branches' are likely to be avoided whenever possible. United States v. Nixon, supra, at 692.[10]
Post-Watergate era Edit Reagan administration Edit In November 1982, President Ronald Reagan signed a directive regarding congressional requests for information. Reagan wrote that if Congress seeks information potentially subject to executive privilege, then executive branch officials should "request the congressional body to hold its request in abeyance" until the president decides whether to invoke the privilege.[11][12]
George H. W. Bush administration Edit Prior to becoming attorney general in 1991, Deputy Attorney General William P. Barr issued guidance in 1989 about responding to congressional requests for confidential executive branch information. He wrote: "Only when the accommodation process fails to resolve a dispute and a subpoena is issued does it become necessary for the president to consider asserting executive privilege".[13][11]
Clinton administration Edit The Clinton administration invoked executive privilege on fourteen occasions.
In 1998, President Bill Clinton became the first president since Nixon to assert executive privilege and lose in court, when a federal judge ruled that Clinton aides could be called to testify in the Lewinsky scandal.[14]
Later, Clinton exercised a form of negotiated executive privilege when he agreed to testify before the grand jury called by Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr only after negotiating the terms under which he would appear. Declaring that "absolutely no one is above the law", Starr said such a privilege "must give way" and evidence "must be turned over" to prosecutors if it is relevant to an investigation.
George W. Bush administration Edit The Bush administration invoked executive privilege on six occasions.
President George W. Bush first asserted executive privilege in December 2001 to deny disclosure of details regarding former attorney general Janet Reno,[15] the scandal involving Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) misuse of organized crime informants James J. Bulger and Stephen Flemmi, and Justice Department deliberations about President Bill Clinton's fundraising tactics.[16]
Bush invoked executive privilege "in substance" in refusing to disclose the details of Vice President Dick Cheney's meetings with energy executives, which was not appealed by the GAO. In a separate Supreme Court decision in 2004, however, Justice Anthony Kennedy noted "Executive privilege is an extraordinary assertion of power 'not to be lightly invoked.'" United States v. Reynolds, 345 U.S. 1, 7 (1953).
Further, on June 28, 2007, Bush invoked executive privilege in response to congressional subpoenas requesting documents from former presidential counsel Harriet Miers and former political director Sara Taylor,[17] citing that:
The reason for these distinctions rests upon a bedrock presidential prerogative: for the president to perform his constitutional duties, it is imperative that he receive candid and unfettered advice and that free and open discussions and deliberations occur among his advisors and between those advisors and others within and outside the Executive Branch.
On July 9, 2007, Bush again invoked executive privilege to block a congressional subpoena requiring the testimonies of Taylor and Miers. Furthermore, White House Counsel Fred F. Fielding refused to comply with a deadline set by the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee to explain its privilege claim, prove that the president personally invoked it, and provide logs of which documents were being withheld. On July 25, 2007, the House Judiciary Committee voted to cite Miers and White House Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten for contempt of Congress.[18][19]
On July 13, less than a week after claiming executive privilege for Miers and Taylor, Fielding effectively claimed the privilege again, this time in relation to documents related to the 2004 death of Army Ranger Pat Tillman. In a letter to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Fielding claimed certain papers relating to discussion of the friendly fire shooting "implicate Executive Branch confidentiality interests" and would therefore not be turned over to the committee.[20]
On August 1, 2007, Bush invoked the privilege for the fourth time in little over a month, this time rejecting a subpoena for Karl Rove. The subpoena would have required Rove to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee in a probe over fired federal prosecutors. In a letter to Senate Judiciary chairman Patrick Leahy, Fielding claimed that "Rove, as an immediate presidential advisor, is immune from compelled congressional testimony about matters that arose during his tenure and that relate to his official duties in that capacity."[21]
Leahy claimed that President Bush was not involved with the decision to terminate the service of U.S. attorneys. Furthermore, he asserted that the president's executive privilege claims protecting both Bolten and Rove were illegal. The senator demanded that Bolten, Rove, Sara Taylor, and J. Scott Jennings comply "immediately" with their subpoenas. This development paved the way for a Senate panel vote on whether to advance the citations to the full Senate. "It is obvious that the reasons given for these firings were contrived as part of a cover-up and that the stonewalling by the White House is part and parcel of that same effort", Leahy concluded.[22][23][24][25]
As of 17 July 2008[update], Rove still claimed executive privilege to avoid a congressional subpoena. Rove's lawyer wrote that his client is "constitutionally immune from compelled congressional testimony."[26]
Obama administration Edit On June 20, 2012, President Barack Obama asserted executive privilege in order to withhold certain Department of Justice documents related to the Operation Fast and Furious controversy ahead of a United States House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform vote to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for refusing to produce the documents.[27][28] Later the same day, the House Committee voted 23''17 along party lines to hold Holder in contempt of Congress over not releasing the documents.[29]
House investigation of the SEC Edit Leaders of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) testified on February 4, 2009 before the United States House Committee on Financial Services subcommittee. The subject of the hearings was why the SEC had failed to act when Harry Markopolos, a private fraud investigator from Boston, alerted the SEC, detailing his persistent and unsuccessful efforts to get the SEC to investigate Bernard Madoff beginning in 1999.[30] One official claimed executive privilege in declining to answer some questions.[31][32]
Trump administration Edit While investigating claims of Russian interference in the 2016 election, the Senate Intelligence Committee subpoenaed former FBI Director James Comey to testify. Comey was fired several weeks before being subpoenaed but had appeared before the committee once before in March while still serving as director. Less than a week before the scheduled hearing, it was reported that President Trump was considering invoking executive privilege to prevent Comey's testimony.[33][34] According to attorney Page Pate, it seemed unlikely that executive privilege would be applicable, as Trump had publicly spoken about the encounters in question multiple times.[35]
Sarah Huckabee Sanders, a White House spokesman, released a statement on June 5: "The president's power to assert executive privilege is very well-established. However, in order to facilitate a swift and thorough examination of the facts sought by the Senate Intelligence Committee, President Trump will not assert executive privilege regarding James Comey's scheduled testimony."[36]
On May 8, 2019, Trump asserted executive privilege regarding the full Mueller Report at the request of the attorney general. According to The New York Times, this was Trump's "first use of the secrecy powers as president".[37]
On June 12, 2019, Trump asserted executive privilege over documents related to the addition of a citizenship question on the 2020 census. This was in response to a subpoena from the House of Representatives leading up to their impending vote over whether to hold Wilbur Ross and Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress over the census question.[38]
See also Edit State secrets privilegeAttorney''client privilegeParliamentary privilegeReferences Edit ^ Cox, Archibald. "Executive Privilege", University of Pennsylvania Law Review, Volume 122, page 1384 (1974). ^ Chief Justice Burger, writing for the majority in US v. Nixon noted: "Whatever the nature of the privilege of confidentiality of Presidential communications in the exercise of Art. II powers, the privilege can be said to derive from the supremacy of each branch within its own assigned area of constitutional duties. Certain powers and privileges flow from the nature of enumerated powers; the protection of the confidentiality of Presidential communications has similar constitutional underpinnings. United States v. Nixon, 418 U.S. 683 (1974) (Supreme Court opinion at FindLaw) ^ a b United States v. Nixon, 418 U.S. 683 (1974) (Supreme Court opinion at FindLaw) ^ a b c d e f Garvey, Todd. Presidential Claims of Executive Privilege: History, Law, Practice, and Recent Developments, Congressional Research Service, p. 1 (2014). ^ Senate Select Comm. on Presidential Campaign Activities v. Nixon, 498 F.2d 725 (D.C. Cir. 1974); Comm. on the Judiciary v. Miers, 558 F. Supp. 2d 53 (D.D.C. 2008) ^ a b Narayan, S. "Proper Assertion of the Deliberative Process Principle". fordham.edu. p. 6 . Retrieved June 3, 2017 . ^ Dorf, Michael (February 6, 2002). "A Brief History Of Executive Privilege, From George Washington Through Dick Cheney". Findlaw . Retrieved November 19, 2019 . ^ David and Jeanne Heidler, Henry Clay: The Essential American (2010) p. 264 ^ Blacklisted by History p. 575 ^ Holding, Reynolds. Time, March 21, 2007. Holding, Reynolds (March 21, 2007). "The Executive Privilege Showdown". Time . Retrieved March 27, 2007 . ^ a b Savage, Charlie. "Explaining Executive Privilege and Sessions's Refusal to Answer Questions", The New York Times (June 15, 2017). ^ Reagan, Ronald. "Procedures Governing Responses to Congressional Requests for Information", The White House (November 4, 1982). ^ Barr, William. "Congressional Requests for Confidential Executive Branch Information", U.S. Department of Justice (June 19, 1989). ^ Baker, Peter; and Schmidt, Susan. "President is Denied Executive Privilege". The Washington Post. July 22, 1998 . Retrieved March 27, 2007 . The Washington Post, May 6, 1998. ^ Stolberg, Sheryl Gay (June 29, 2007). "Bush Asserts Executive Privilege on Subpoenas" . Retrieved June 3, 2017 '' via NYTimes.com. ^ Lewis, Neil A. (December 14, 2001). "Bush Claims Executive Privilege in Response to House Inquiry". The New York Times . Retrieved July 17, 2007 . [dead link ] ^ "White House refuses to answer subpoenas". NBC News. June 28, 2007 . Retrieved June 3, 2017 . ^ "House inches toward constitutional showdown with contempt vote". Politics. CNN. July 25, 2007 . Retrieved July 25, 2007 . ^ "House Judiciary Reports Contempt Citations to the House of Representatives" (Press release). U.S. House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary. July 25, 2007. Archived from the original on July 25, 2007 . Retrieved July 26, 2007 . ^ "White House Rebuffs Congress on Tillman Papers". Politics. The Seattle Times. August 1, 2007. Archived from the original on May 10, 2008 . Retrieved August 1, 2008 . ^ "Bush won't let aide Rove testify to Congress". Politics. Reuters. August 1, 2007 . Retrieved August 1, 2008 . ^ "Leahy: Bush not involved in firings". Yahoo! News . Retrieved November 30, 2008 . [dead link ] ^ "Leahy: Rove, others must comply with subpoenas". CNN. Archived from the original on December 1, 2007 . Retrieved November 30, 2008 . ^ "Leahy again orders Karl Rove to appear". Bennington Banner . Retrieved November 30, 2008 . ^ "Leahy again demands U.S. attorney info". Earth Times . Retrieved November 30, 2008 . ^ "Rove ignores committee's subpoena, refuses to testify". CNN. July 10, 2008 . Retrieved July 10, 2008 . ^ Jackson, David (June 20, 2012). "Obama team: 'Fast and Furious' documents are privileged". USA Today . Retrieved June 20, 2012 . ^ Savage, Charlie (June 8, 2012). "House Recommends Contempt for Holder". The New York Times . Retrieved June 6, 2017 . ^ Madhani and Davis, Aamer and Susan (June 20, 2012). "House panel votes to cite Holder for contempt of Congress". USA Today . Retrieved June 20, 2012 . ^ Henriques, Diana (February 4, 2009). "Anger and Drama at a House Hearing on Madoff". The New York Times. ^ Jamieson, Dan (February 4, 2009). "SEC officials dodge questions; one claims privilege". InvestmentNews. ^ Ahrens, Frank (February 5, 2009). "Lawmakers Sink Teeth Into the SEC: Agency Mocked for Not Catching Madoff". The Washington Post. pp. D01. ^ "Error". CNN . Retrieved June 3, 2017 . ^ "Trump Reviewing Whether to Block Comey Testimony to Senate". June 2, 2017 . Retrieved June 3, 2017 '' via Bloomberg.com. ^ Pate, Page (June 2, 2017). "Trump can't stop Comey with executive privilege". CNN . Retrieved June 3, 2017 . ^ "White House: Trump will not assert executive privilege to block Comey's testimony". POLITICO . Retrieved June 5, 2017 . ^ "House Panel Approves Contempt for Barr After Trump Claims Privilege Over Full Mueller Report". The New York Times. May 8, 2019. ^ "Ahead of contempt vote, Trump shields census documents from Congress". Reuters. June 12, 2019 . Retrieved June 12, 2019 . Further reading Edit Johnsen, Dawn E. (1999). "Executive Privilege Since United States v. Nixon: Issues of Motivation and Accommodation". Minnesota Law Review. 83 (5): 1127''1141. SSRN 3385755 . Rozell, Mark J. (2010). Executive Privilege : Presidential Power, Secrecy, and Accountability (3rd, rev. and updated ed.). Lawrence: University Press of Kansas. ISBN 978-0-7006-1712-8.
Bloomberg lures 2020 staff with fat paychecks, meals, iPhones
Thu, 23 Jan 2020 07:16
Billionaire presidential long shot Michael Bloomberg is trying to poach staff from other campaigns with outsized salaries and fancy perks like three catered meals a day, an iPhone 11 and a MacBook Pro, according to sources.
Bloomberg is paying state press secretaries $10,000 a month, compared to the average going rate of $4,500 for other candidates and state political directors are making $12,000 a month, more than some senior campaign advisers earn, sources said.
National political director Carlos Sanchez pulls in $360,000 a year. Kellyanne Conway, Trump's political director, made $240,000 in 2016.
Every Bloomberg staffer gets a MacBook Pro and an iPhone 11 on day one. They also enjoy three catered meals daily.
A communications staffer for another presidential contender was approached by a Bloomberg campaign employee within the last few weeks with an enticing offer.
''She let me know I was definitely going to get double digits per month,'' the communications aide told The Post.
But she decided to stay put, calling the offer ''aggressive and excessive.''
''Usually the process is you apply or someone approaches you because of a connection. This was very much how much they're offering, this is the going rate, do you want this or not?
She also turned down the job because she doesn't think Bloomberg can buy his way to victory.
''I think at the end of the day support is just not there and no matter how much money you have you can't manufacture enthusiasm and excitement,'' the communications aide said.
Experts say that Bloomberg, who is worth an estimated $50 billion, could spend as much as $1 billion on his 2020 run.
A second woman who interviewed with the Bloomberg campaign for an assistant level position that paid $70,000'' nearly double her current salary as a Democratic staffer'' said she was greeted with a ''hotel-style buffet'' at the interview.
''The salary would have been life-changing,'' the recent college grad gushed to The Post.
''I would have my student loans paid off within this calendar year, I would have paid off my credit card debt, the three meals a day'' it's not something you think will ever be an option to you if you're a young staffer,'' she said.
She ultimately turned the job down.
''I'm declining it because Bloomberg isn't my candidate at the end of the day. I'm an Elizabeth Warren supporter and really the reason I came so close to working for Bloomberg was the benefits and the salary and the perks that were evident from the moment you walk in,'' she said.
Sheila Krumholz, executive director for the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, said Bloomberg's tactics could be the death knell of some sputtering campaigns.
''It's nothing new '-- good and/or underpaid staffers are poached in every cycle '-- but Bloomberg's wealth puts this phenomenon on an entirely different level. Perks like these could pack an existential punch to struggling campaigns,'' Krumholz said.
Stu Loeser, a Bloomberg spokesman, defended the pay and perks.
''We've put together an amazingly strong team that every day is getting closer to beating Donald Trump, and we are happy to pay staff well to do that,'' Loeser said.
Reps for other presidential campaigns either declined to comment or did not return messages.
Appear in Arkansas court, explain, judge orders Hunter Biden
Thu, 23 Jan 2020 06:43
Hunter Biden must appear Jan. 29 in a Batesville courtroom and explain why he shouldn't be held in contempt for violating court orders to provide financial information in his Arkansas paternity case.
Independence County Circuit Judge Holly Meyer signed an "Order to Appear and Show Cause" on Monday, a day when Arkansas courts were closed to honor the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The judge's order was filed into the court record Tuesday.
The one-sentence order was prepared by Clinton and Jennifer Lancaster, attorneys for Lunden Alexis Roberts, the mother of Biden's 16-month-old child.
Biden, son of former Vice President Joe Biden, is being ordered to appear in the Arkansas courtroom days after President Donald Trump's impeachment trial began in the Senate. Hunter Biden has been mentioned as a possible witness in the impeachment proceedings.
Questions about Hunter Biden's finances, employment history and previous substance abuse have been raised by Republicans during the impeachment inquiry. Biden has defended his past business dealings, portraying criticism as politically motivated. His father, Joe Biden, is a contender for the Democratic presidential nomination.
Clinton Lancaster said the paternity case has nothing to do with the president's impeachment trial.
"My understanding is impeachment proceedings are ongoing," Lancaster said. "I have not received any subpoena. I don't believe we have any stake in the impeachment proceedings. We don't have any stake in it whatsoever. We need his income so we can determine child support."
Also filed into the Independence County Circuit Court record Tuesday was a "Second Motion for Contempt and for Order to Show Cause" from Lancaster.
Hunter Biden "continues to act as though he has no respect for this court, its orders, the legal process in this state, or the needs of his child for support," wrote Lancaster, arguing that Biden should be found in contempt.
Biden missed a Jan. 16 deadline to provide financial information for the past five years as ordered by the court, Lancaster wrote. The financial information would remain under seal, according to a court order.
Among the things Biden has failed to provide, Lancaster wrote, are addresses, telephone numbers, names of financial institutions, a list of all sources of income, a list of all companies in which he has an ownership interest, copies of deeds to properties he owns, copies of his 2017 and 2018 tax returns, and unredacted copies of his other tax returns.
Lancaster filed his original "Motion for Contempt and for Order to Show Cause" on Dec. 23, saying Biden had missed deadlines to provide financial information on Dec. 12 and Dec. 19.
As an exhibit, Lancaster attached a Dec. 6 letter from Independence County Circuit Judge Don McSpadden addressed to Hunter Biden in Los Angeles. In the letter, McSpadden told Biden that he must file an Affidavit of Financial Means, but that it would be under seal.
On Jan. 8, Brent Langdon, Biden's attorney, filed a response to Lancaster's Dec. 23 motion, saying written correspondence from McSpadden wasn't enforceable as contempt.
"Willful disobedience of a valid order of a court is contemptuous behavior," wrote Langdon, citing Arkansas case law.
"Plaintiff's apparent motivation by attaching the court's correspondence to defendant can only be concluded as an intentional disclosure to the media and political adversaries associated with the 'Where's Hunter?' campaign of his address," Langdon wrote. "Such intentional disclosure of the defendant's address has resulted in an onslaught of harassment of the defendant and his wife."
On Tuesday, Lancaster said Biden's street address was in an earlier court filing, so attaching the judge's letter didn't reveal something that wasn't already in the public court record.
Lancaster said Biden didn't have an attorney at that particular time, so McSpadden sent the Dec. 6 letter directly to Biden.
In his Jan. 8 response to Lancaster's initial Motion for Contempt, Langdon wrote that "to the extent possible [Biden] has complied with the court's orders" for the requested financial information. Langdon asked that the motion for contempt be dismissed, but it hasn't been, according to the court record.
The Jan. 29 hearing was already scheduled to address temporary child support and other matters, according to a Jan. 6 scheduling order from Meyer, who took over the case after McSpadden recused on New Year's Eve.
Lancaster emailed Meyer at 4:14 p.m. Monday saying he would file his attached Second Motion for Contempt with the court clerk on Tuesday. He also asked the judge if she was willing to sign an attached Order to Appear and Show Cause.
Langdon, who was copied in on the email, responded in an email at 5:29 p.m. Monday saying in reference to the Second Motion for Contempt: "I request that this filing be ordered filed under seal by the clerk in light of its reference to specific financial information, and in view of the protective order and the court's statements in our last hearing."
At 7:57 p.m. Monday, Lancaster responded in an email: "This pleading contains nothing about the content of any financial documents, only references what he has not provided. I don't think that this information is subject to being sealed."
Lancaster's Second Motion for Contempt hadn't been sealed as of late Tuesday.
Lancaster said he doesn't know why Biden doesn't just file the financial information, which will be kept under seal. Lancaster said Roberts has full custody of the child, and the court can't determine child support without knowing Biden's income.
"You would think the No. 1 thing he would want to do is shut up that annoying lawyer in Arkansas who keeps filing legal proceedings against him," Lancaster said.
In his Second Motion for Contempt, Lancaster wrote that Biden's evasiveness was "another example of the defendant's unnecessary actions to frustrate prompt adjudication of this matter and increase the plaintiff's litigation costs."
"The plaintiff is pretty exhausted financially and otherwise," Lancaster said Tuesday.
Langdon couldn't be reached by telephone or email Tuesday.
Roberts, 28, filed the paternity suit against Biden, 49, in May, seeking a determination of paternity as well as child support. A DNA test, conducted in November, showed "with near scientific certainty" that he is the father of the baby, Meyer declared in a Jan. 7 paternity order.
A graduate of Arkansas State University, Roberts later took courses at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. While in Washington, she met Biden, according to her attorney.
Roberts has asked the court to award her child support. But Biden told the court in a signed Nov. 27 affidavit that he is unemployed and hasn't had a monthly income since May.
Metro on 01/22/2020
Instagram which character are you face challenge
'Which Character Are You?' Instagram Filters Are Radically Dumb | WIRED
Wed, 22 Jan 2020 07:31
What is the internet if not a place for poor unfortunate souls to turn when they don't know who they are? Astrology memes have risen in popularity because people like it very much when someone boils down their entire being into highly specific, yet extremely broad, character traits. (The Co-Star app proves folks like their horoscopy a little bitchy, too.) Offer up a little bit of demographic information to BuzzFeed and you, too, can find out which How I Met Your Mother character you truly are. Need to know your Hogwarts House? The Wizarding World website has a Sorting Hat waiting. Now, a new form of online personality test has entered the fray: Instagram filters'--enough of them to give you a full Myers-Briggs Type analysis delivered via random pop culture comparisons.
I'm not exactly sure how this trend began, but on my own feed it started with Pok(C)mon. Friends of mine started posting selfie videos with the game's animated characters flipping above their heads like a Las Vegas slot machine. Some of them were people I knew liked Pok(C)mon, but more than a few were non-gamers who were simply curious enough to have an app tell them something they didn't really need to know. I can't tell a Metapod from a Geodude, but that didn't stop me from trying it myself and promptly forgetting the result. (It wasn't Pikachu, I know that much.)
Since then, I now expect'--and almost need'--to see the look of dead-eyed anticipation on my friends' faces when I tap on their little round avatars at the top of the app as they try new versions of the ''What Pok(C)mon Are You?'' filter. But the fun doesn't stop at Pocket Monsters. What kind of Disney character are you? Which Friends character are you? Which democratic presidential candidate are you? What MTA train line are you? What item on the Cheesecake Factory menu are you? That last one doesn't exist'--yet'--but it might as well. As long as folks are taking Instagram roulettes for a spin, why not make them as absurd as possible? After all, this pointless trend is, I hope we all agree, radically stupid. But at the same time, it's strangely comforting. There are no definitive answers here; one can simply hit the little button to restart the cycle if the first result wasn't what they were expecting. (There's no way that I'm a Monica Geller. Come on!) But the dopamine rush that comes with a little app pretending to scan my face and deciding that I resemble Quasimodo from the animated version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame? It's neither high art nor high comedy, but it'll do for a few seconds' worth of glee.
Our incessant need to generate content for others to see is at the heart of these popular filters, as evidenced by the extremely bored looks on everyone's faces as they wait for their fictional, often animated counterparts to be assigned to them. What does it mean that an app decided, based on nothing at all, that you're Hermione Granger? Am I supposed to share your disappointment, or your excitement, that you're more of an Elsa than any other Disney character in the Magic Kingdom? Or should I be paying attention to the things that any other selfie offers me, your humble follower: that your skin is clear, your hair looks nice, and you've figured out the best angle at which to photograph yourself? The idea that you're a Daenerys is otherwise inconsequential, but everyone seems to know that already.
These filters are like a digital Magic 8 Ball; with a few shakes, you'll get a fortune'--a completely random and unfounded answer to a question you have asked. There's an inherent laziness to it that's incredible; instead of exerting much energy at all, these apps require simply tapping and waiting. Even BuzzFeed quizzes demand some semblance of effort: A handful of questions await your honest answers to various inquiries about your interests and tastes that, in exchange for providing the website with valuable demographic information, result in a pseudo-scientific response that will either enthrall or infuriate you.
But just like there's no way the average millennial BuzzFeed writer actually knows if preferring apples over oranges makes one more of a Chandler than a Phoebe, the people developing these Instagram filters have no clue who you really are. The nice thing, though, is that they don't even bother with the fake expertise. Hit the button or not, care about the result or not. Who cares! The trend is a perfect visual representation of our collective apathy in the face of overstimulation and a glut of consumable content. The filters are even more basic than the quizzes that came before them, but at least they're not asking for any more of my personal information, which I'm already making rain across the internet like Usher in a strip club. Whether the next one results in a bemused grin or cross-eyed confusion, I welcome them all'--because I'm just one Instagram story behind you in my social media journey to discover my true self through my own unending boredom.
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French Intellectual Sentenced To 2 Months Jail After Calling Mass Immigration An "Invasion"
Wed, 22 Jan 2020 06:28
Authored by Paul Joseph Watson via Summit News,
French intellectual Renaud Camus has been given a 2 month suspended prison sentence for saying that mass immigration into Europe represents an ''invasion.''
Camus will only avoid jail by paying 1800 euros to two ''anti-racist'' organizations, SOS Racisme and the LICRA (International League against Racism and Anti-Semitism).
The writer, who is the author of Le Grand Remplacement (The Great Replacement), was charged with ''public incitement to hate or violence on the basis of origin, ethnicity, nationality, race or religion.''
The conviction stems from a November 2017 speech in Colombey-les-deux Eglises to the National Council of European Resistance in which Camus declared, ''Immigration has become an invasion.''
''The irreversible colonization is demographic colonization, by the replacement of the population,'' said the author, adding,
''The ethnic substitution, the great replacement, is the most important event in the history of our nation since it has existed; as with other people, if the story continues, it will not be that of France.''
Camus also called for a ''national consensus of resistance'' to oppose Islamization in ''the struggle for the salvation of our common civilization, Celtic, Slavic, Germanic, Greek-Latin, Judeo-Christian.''
The part of Camus' speech that specifically garnered the attention of judges was when he talked about European people being replaced.
Camus said mass immigration ''is the substitution, the tendency to substitute everything with its emulator, normalized, standardized, interchangeable: The original with its copy, the authentic with its imitation, the true with the false, the mothers with surrogate mothers, the culture with free time and entertainment.''
France suffers Islamic terror attacks on such a routine basis that it's barely even an important news story anymore. Many of those terrorists are radicalized by mosques that escape any police scrutiny, but Camus must be punished for his crime of opinion.
And there you have it. Free speech is now a crime in France.
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Police contradict claims spread online exaggerating arson's role in Australian bushfires | Bushfires | The Guardian
Wed, 22 Jan 2020 06:53
Show caption Misleading figures about the number of arson arrests during the bushfire crisis have been spread by US far-right websites and alt-right personalities. Photograph: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images
Bushfires Victoria police say there is no evidence any of the devastating bushfires in the state were caused by arson, contrary to the spread of global disinformation exaggerating arsonist arrests during the current crisis.
A misleading figure suggesting 183 arsonists have been arrested ''since the start of the bushfire season'' spread across the globe on Wednesday, after initial reports in News Corp were picked up by Donald Trump Jr, US far-right websites and popular alt-right personalities.
The figure included statistics from some states covering the entirety of 2019, rather than just the current bushfire season, which began in September.
In Victoria, 43 alleged arsonists were counted among the 183 arrested ''in the past few months'' and ''since the start of the bushfire season''. That Victorian figure was, in fact, the figure for the year ending September 2019, meaning it had no relation to the current bushfire season.
''There is currently no intelligence to indicate that the fires in East Gippsland and the North East have been caused by arson or any other suspicious behaviour,'' a Victoria police spokeswoman said.
Bots and trolls spread false arson claims in Australian fires 'disinformation campaign' The reported figure of 183 also includes 101 individuals from Queensland who were ''picked up for setting fires in the bush''. But a Queensland police spokeswoman said the figure included a broader range of offences than arson, including the breaching of total fire bans, and was not a total of arrests, but a total of ''police enforcement actions''.
''Enforcement action includes charging, restorative justice or cautioning,'' she said.
Queensland police said between 10 September and 8 January there had been 1,068 reported bushfires in the state, of which 114 had been deliberately or maliciously lit through human involvement and have been subject to police enforcement action.
The Australian subsequently updated its story to say the figure covered people ''arrested since the start of 2019''.
Victoria police said they were investigating a suspiciously lit fire in Euroa on 4 January, which burned through a large area of land but damaged no properties. Its cause remained unknown.
NSW police statistics show 24 individuals have been arrested for deliberately lighting bushfires during the current fire season.
But a Rural Fire Service spokesman told Sky News on Wednesday that the majority of the larger fires in the state were caused by lightning, and that arson was a relatively small source of ignition.
Arsonists have been responsible for some of the bushfires this season '' though specific numbers are not yet available. There is also no doubt that arson remains a serious problem in Australia, particularly during heightened periods of fire danger. Arsonists have been responsible for some of Australia's worst fires, including a fire that killed 10 people on Black Saturday in 2009.
Hazard reduction is not a 'panacea' for bushfire risk, RFS boss says But exaggerated claims about arson during the current crisis have also been used to undermine the link between climate change and the longer, more severe bushfire seasons currently being experienced in Australia.
Preliminary research from the Queensland University of Technology suggests bots and trolls are involved in spreading disinformation about arson on Twitter.
Regardless of the source of ignition, Australia's scientific agencies all state that climate change is creating longer, more severe fire seasons.
On Wednesday, the RFS commissioner, Shane Fitzsimmons, shot down another common argument blaming environmentalists for holding up hazard reduction work.
Fitzsimmons said the main obstruction to hazard reduction was weather conditions. Hazard reduction burns are particularly fraught at times of heightened fire risk.
''Hazard reduction burning is really challenging, and the single biggest impediment to hazard reduction burning is the weather,'' he said.
''And with longer fire seasons, earlier starts and later finishes to fire seasons like we've been experiencing in recent times, you get a shrinking window of opportunity for more favourable hazard reduction burning periods.''
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Wind farms paid up to £3 million per day to switch off turbines
Mon, 20 Jan 2020 13:58
W ind farms were paid up to £3 million per day to switch off their turbines and not produce electricity last week, The Telegraph can disclose.
Energy firms were handed more than £12 million in compensation following a fault with a major power line carrying electricity to England from turbines in Scotland.
The payouts, which will ultimately be added onto consumer bills, were between 25 per cent and 80 per cent more than the firms, which own giant wind farms in Scotland, would have received had they been producing electricity, according to an analysis of official figures.
The payments have prompted questions in Parliament, as one charity warned that consumers were having to fund the consequences of an "excessive" number of onshore wind farms, which can overwhelm the electricity grid.
In December an analysis by the Renewable Energy Foundation, a charity that monitors energy use, revealed that the operators of 86 wind farms in Britain were handed more than £136 million in so-called "constraint payments" last year - a new record.
REF has warned that consumers are left to foot the bill for wind farm operators having to reduce their output as a result of an "excessive" number of turbines in Scotland leaving the electricity grid unable to cope on occasions such as when there are strong winds.
T he Western Link, a 530-mile high-voltage cable running from the west coast of Scotland to the north coast of Wales, was built to help overcome the problem by providing more capacity to transport green energy from onshore wind farms in Scotland, to England and Wales.
But the line, which became fully operational in 2018, has been dogged by difficulties.
In the latest incident, it "tripped" on Jan 10, prompting a spike in the number of wind farms being asked to shut down temporarily because they were producing more energy than could be transported to consumers' homes.
On the following day - last Saturday - 50 wind farms were asked to stop producing electricity, and given a total of £2.5 million in compensation to do so. Last Wednesday, the figure was as high as £3.3 million, which was paid out to £3.3 million wind farms by National Grid's Electricity System Operator (ESO) arm.
This weekend the payments continued to be made as the power line remained out of use amid an investigation into the cause of the fault.
Dr John Constable, director of REF, which first exposed the scale of "constraint payments, said: "The Scottish Government has permitted excessive and environmentally damaging growth in wind power north of the border which has put the electricity system under great strain and burdened English and Welsh consumers not only with constraint payments but also with the additional expense of a £1 billion interconnector that is itself proving unreliable. The environment and the consumer have been betrayed over and over again.''
V iscount Ridley, the science writer and former businessman, has now put down a series of written questions in the House of Lords about the Western Link and its cost to taxpayers.
However a National Grid ESO spokesman insisted that the cost of managing the amount of electricity in the grid amounted to just £1 of the average annual household bill of £554."
"The alternative to constraint payments is building more electricity transmission assets which is more costly, meaning consumers' bills would rise,'' the spokesman added.
A National Grid spokesman confirmed that the link was "currently unavailable for service" while the cause of the outage was being investigated.
Luke Clark, director of strategic communications at RenewableUK, which represents green energy companies, said: ''Since the turn of the year, wind energy has been the UK's biggest source of electricity and would have provided more if the grid were operating at full power.
"Wind generators are compensated as being forced to stop generating because of grid failures means a significant loss of revenue. Bringing the Western Link fully back online as soon as possible is the best solution for renewable energy generators and consumers''.
This is what Telegraph readers said:@Nathan Betts:
"The problem is it's all about profit for shareholders. If everyone used much less electricity then energy company profits would decrease so they would then have to put prices up. Until national energy generation is nationalised with profit reinvested directly into innovation and improvements we will always be in this mess."
@J Fountain:
"The most relevant aspect about wind power (with some solar too) is that it will allow the UK to edge towards self-sufficiency in energy. This is a highly valued prize."
@Carolyn Brown:
"Wind farms are a huge waste of taxpayers money. Ugly and inefficient. A cash cow from the taxpayer to greedy businessmen. There are much better and more efficient ways of spending the money to generate the energy we need."
@Alberto Cova:
"If you want energy then you will damage the environment. We all want energy so the question is what is the least worst option? At the moment it is wind power."
@Albert Ellul:
"Wind turbines massacre birds of prey and other large birds, decimating populations of several bird species. WTs are not saving the planet but actually harming it."
Storm Gloria batters south of France - 'Most intense' winter storm to hit the region since 1982
Wed, 22 Jan 2020 06:05
Roads are closed, public transport disrupted, and power supplies cut in southern France after Storm Gloria, t
he most intense winter "Mediterranean weather episode" since 1982, hit France last night.
Heavy rain of up to 200mm, 1.5 metres of snow and ice, and strong winds of up to 110kph, hit last night in the Pyr(C)n(C)es-Orientales (Occitanie) area (Monday January 20).
Roads including the A9 motorway are closed today (Tuesday January 21), including between France and Spain from Perpignan-Nord. The RD914 between Cerb¨re and Banyuls is also shut, as is the RN 116.
Public transport, including commuting and school services, have also reported disruptions in Conflent, Haut Vallespir, Cerdagne and Capcir. Train company SNCF said services had been disrupted between Perpignan and Narbonne, and Perpignan and Cerb¨re.
More than 1,200 people are without power due to exceptionally-heavy snowfall, local news services said.
The region was on orange alert yesterday, with emergency services preparing to deal with the fallout of "very strong rain", according to forecaster M(C)t(C)o France. There were also alerts for as much as 1.5 metres of snow and ice at higher altitudes, as well as warnings of flash floods and potential avalanches.
Up to 120mm of rain was expected overnight, rising to 200mm in some areas. Snow was expected as low as 200 metres in some parts, rising to 400-600 metres, and up to 1,400-1,600 metres by the end of the day.
More than 390 firefighters were preparing for the storm, including 35 members of la s(C)curit(C) civile, 100 from other departments. There were also 40 gendarmes getting ready on the ground, and 140 extra personnel on pre-alert. Sea and mountain rescue teams were also on alert.
So far, no major damage has been reported in the area - except for some minor mudslides - the head of the fire service said, but firefighters have warned residents to be alert to "rising water levels" as rain continues to fall.
Colonel Jean-Pierre Salles-Mazou said: "People must be careful of the risk of 'aquaplaning' in their car, and avoid walking next to the sea or on the banks of a river. You must be alert to the rising water, even if it appears to be gradual."
Rain and snow is expected to continue across the region today and tomorrow, reaching the Languedoc area by Thursday January 23.
The Pyr(C)n(C)es-Orientales department remains on orange alert for snow and ice, M(C)t(C)o France shows.
Roland Mazurie, head of M(C)t(C)o France in Montpellier, said: "This is an intense depression, sinking over the east of Spain. There will be a lot of rain, and an abundance of snow on the Pyrenees mountain range."
Olivier Proust, forecaster at M(C)t(C)o France, told news source FranceInfo: "This is an intense Mediterranean episode, and this intensity is part of the climate of the Roussillon.
But what is remarkable, is that this is happening in winter. We have to go back to January 1982 to see something similar."
In Spain, three people are reported to have died due to the cold and strong winds, including two people succumbing to hypothermia, and one 71-year-old man having been hit by falling roof tiles after heavy snow.
Just in Time! Lenders Seek Congressional Approval for No Income Mortgages
Thu, 23 Jan 2020 07:04
At the peak of every boom comes one final act of repetitive stupidity. This may be it.
Please consider CFPB Moves to Eliminate Mortgage Debt-to-Income Rule for Borrowers.
In a letter CFPB Director Kathy Kraninger sent to Congress today, the CFPB asked to amend the Ability to Repay/Qualified Mortgage rule (ATR/QM rule) in order to remove DTI as a qualifying factor in mortgage underwriting.
This rule was created in response to the financial crisis of a decade ago as a way to prevent lending money to borrowers who might not be able to afford the loan.
The move by Kraninger is by request of a group of lenders and industry groups, including Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Quicken Loans, Caliber Home Loans, the Mortgage Bankers Association, the American Bankers Association, the National Fair Housing Alliance, and others.
The finance leaders want to remove the 43 percent DTI requirement on both prime and near-prime loans.
Specifically, current rules includes things like verification of income, credit history and DTI, among others. The only portion the CFPB is asking to amend is the DTI requirement.
One reason for the request is that GSEs Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are not subject to this rule, under a condition called the ''QM Patch.'' This patch allows loans sold to Fannie and Freddie to exceed the 43 percent DTI requirement, which some lenders say is unfair for those loans backed by private capital.
Hey, why not? More importantly, why stop there? Besides, if one claims no income, there is no income to verify. It's all nice and clean.
NINJA (no income, no job, no asset) loans worked out so well the last time we tried them, it's clearly time for a repeat performance.
Mike "Mish" Shedlock
Dogs are People Too
U.S. Plan Would Ban All Service Animals From Planes Except Dogs - The New York Times
Thu, 23 Jan 2020 06:57
The Department of Transportation is proposing new rules that would make it harder to fly with an emotional support animal.
A miniature horse on an airplane departing Chicago O'Hare international airport last year. A new proposal would narrow the definition of service animals allowed on flights to just dogs. Credit... Abrea Hensley, via Agence France-Presse '-- Getty Images The Department of Transportation is proposing an overhaul to the regulations around service animals on flights in the United States, banning all animals except dogs, and no longer forcing airlines to let animals accompany passengers who say they need them just for emotional support, officials said on Wednesday.
The proposed new rules will be open to the public for comments for 60 days, and then the department will analyze the results before it makes a final decision, it said in a media briefing.
In a statement, the department said it ''recognizes the integral role'' that service animals provide for people with disabilities, but added that the changes could help reduce the likelihood that passengers would be able to ''falsely claim their pets are service animals.''
Under the proposal, passengers with physical or psychological disabilities who want to bring a dog into the cabin as a service animal must fill out a federal form attesting that it has been trained to perform tasks that address the disability, the officials said.
An animal cannot just be brought aboard to make a passenger ''feel better,'' an official said.
If approved, the new rules would narrow the department's formal guidance from 2019 that made clear that three types of service animals should be prioritized for travel: cats, dogs and miniature horses (read more about why miniature horses made the cut here). At the time, questions were raised about how the animals could relieve themselves, and their ability to fit in confined spaces.
In further limiting the options to dogs, the department said its proposed definition aligned with one used by the Department of Justice and the Americans With Disabilities Act.
Passengers who want to travel with animals can still do so under a carrier's existing rules for bringing pets onboard. Under the proposal, it would be up to an airline to decide whether to allow an animal to fly for a passenger's emotional support, the department said.
Individual airlines, including Delta and Alaska Airlines, have tightened their rules for transporting service and support animals, and at least 22 states already have laws addressing the issue.
People have tried to take a wide variety of animals on airplanes, including birds, rabbits, monkeys, cats and miniature horses, saying the animals help them with their anxiety or execute needed jobs if they have physical or mental challenges.
The proposals would also require passengers to check in early, and have their animal be leashed, well behaved and fit in the owner's foot space. The rules would also limit the number of service animals for each passenger to two.
Fines and a possible jail term would be the consequence of knowingly lying on the federal form needed to attest to the animal's training.
Some organizations that work in passenger and disability advocacy said the proposed rules were misguided.
Douglas Kidd, the executive director at the National Association of Airline Passengers, a nonprofit organization that does advocacy work, said in a telephone interview that airplanes were already cramped. He added that airlines should accommodate animals in cabins by creating more space for passengers, and improve air filtration to reduce the possible effect of allergens.
''Saying they are just going to restrict it is not going to do it,'' Mr. Kidd said of the department's proposals. ''As airplanes get more and more full, there is hardly room for the people onboard the plane, much less an animal, especially when they have reduced the legroom.''
Curt Decker, the executive director of the National Disability Rights Network, said the proposals could make it harder for people with disabilities to travel because they restrict the size of the animals.
''This is entirely due to airlines reducing space between rows and squeezing passengers into smaller and smaller seats, so small that there is now no longer room for a service animal on some planes,'' he said in a statement. ''Cramped space on planes is a nuisance to all travelers, but it now prevents some people from traveling at all.''
But the Association of Flight Attendants, the trade union that represents nearly 50,000 flight attendants at 20 airlines, welcomed the proposals, saying that passengers claiming pets as emotional support animals have ''threatened the safety and health of passengers and crews in recent years while this practice skyrocketed.''
Flight attendants have been hurt and safety has been compromised by untrained animals loose in cabins, it said.
''Untrained pets should never roam free in the aircraft cabin,'' the association said. ''The days of Noah's Ark in the air are hopefully coming to an end.''
Kenneth Mendez, the president of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, said the proposed rules might help curb some of the abuses by people taking animals on airplanes and saying they were there for emotional support.
''But you also have to take into account those passengers with asthma and allergies, and there is a growing number of animals on airplanes,'' he said in a telephone interview.
Mona Ramouni, 39, who is blind, has relied heavily on her miniature horse Cali, who stands 29 inches to the top of the shoulders, for 11 years to help her with tasks such as crossing the street and finding buttons for elevators.
Ms. Ramouni, who lives outside Lansing, Mich., said there were solutions for some of the questions posed by the airlines. Before a 2013 flight, for instance, Ms. Ramouni said she tied a plastic bag sprinkled with baking soda on Cali like a diaper, for when the horse needed to relieve herself. On the flight, she said, Cali stood easily in the legroom area in front of Ms. Ramouni's bulkhead seat.
''When you have a ruling saying horses are no longer allowed, it makes it more difficult,'' Ms. Ramouni said. ''I won't be able to say the sky is the limit.''
U.S. Department of Transportation Seeks Comment on Proposed Amendments to Regulation of Service Animals on Flights | US Department of Transportation
Thu, 23 Jan 2020 06:58
You are hereWASHINGTON '' The U.S. Department of Transportation today announced that it is seeking public comment on proposed amendments to its Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) regulation on the transportation of service animals by air.
The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on Traveling by Air with Service Animals can be found HERE and provides the public with 60 days to comment on the proposed changes.
Today's NPRM is intended to ensure a safe and accessible air transportation system. It addresses concerns raised by individuals with disabilities, airlines, flight attendants, airports, other aviation transportation stakeholders, and other members of the public, regarding service animals on aircraft. The Department recognizes the integral role that service animals play in the lives of many individuals with disabilities and wants to ensure that individuals with disabilities can continue using their service animals while also reducing the likelihood that passengers wishing to travel with their pets on aircraft will be able to falsely claim their pets are service animals.
The NPRM proposes to:
Define a service animal as a dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability;No longer consider an emotional support animal to be a service animal;Consider a psychiatric service animal to be a service animal and require the same training and treatment of psychiatric service animals as other service animals;Allow airlines to require forms developed by DOT attesting to a service animal's good behavior, certifying the service animal's good health, and if taking a long flight attesting that the service animal has the ability to either not relieve itself, or can relieve itself in a sanitary manner;Allow airlines to require passengers with a disability who are traveling with a service animal to check-in at the airport one hour prior to the travel time required for the general public to ensure sufficient time to process the service animal documentation and observe the animal;Require airlines to promptly check-in passengers with service animals who are subject to an advanced check-in process;Allow airlines to limit the number of service animals traveling with a single passenger with a disability to two service animals;Allow airlines to require a service animal to fit within its handler's foot space on the aircraft;Continue to allow airlines to require that service animals be harnessed, leashed, tethered, or otherwise under the control of its handler;Continue to allow airlines to refuse transportation to service animals that exhibit aggressive behavior and that pose a direct threat to the health or safety of others; andContinue to prohibit airlines from refusing to transport a service animal solely on the basis of breed.Comments on the NPRM must be received within 60 days of the date the notice is published. The NPRM can be found at regulations.gov, docket number DOT-OST-2018-0068.
Updated: Wednesday, January 22, 2020
Petflix and chill: does your dog need a streaming service? | Life and style | The Guardian
Thu, 23 Jan 2020 06:44
The attention economy has turned its eye to a new audience: household pets
Is animal entertainment a good idea or a cynical ploy to get pet owners to spend more time and money on their devices?Photograph: Kei Uesugi/Getty ImagesHas it ever occurred to you that your dog might like to watch television? Or that maybe your cat could be into music?
Spotify has just announced that it will design a special playlist specifically for your dog, cat or hamster. You simply log in, answer a few questions about your pet's personality (whether they're relaxed or energetic; shy or friendly), upload a picture and wait while the app scans your existing music catalogue to curate a playlist.
When I request something bespoke for my dog, Bert, Spotify gives us a mellow line-up of Elbow, Laura Marling and Jose Gonzalez. As it plays, Bert simply goes to sleep, letting his thick pink tongue hang out one side of his mouth. This is either because he's lulled by the gentle pop, or because he is, as ever, extremely lazy. I know it's the latter, but I let the songs play, charmed by the idea that he might enjoy them, while recognising that I'm allowing Spotify to capitalise on my indefatigable love for my dog.
Meanwhile, Amazon Prime now offers TV shows made specifically for dogs, cats and other animals. If you type in ''TV for pets'', one of the first results to come up is a 28-minute film called Chipmunk Versus Corn Cob, which has mostly five-star reviews. It is simply footage of a chipmunk devouring his chosen yellow snack in the outdoors. There are other options: songbirds, squirrels, raccoons and a documentary called The Dog Rescuers starring comedian Alan Davies. When I play the trailer for Reality TV for Dogs, which is a series of portraits set to a cacophony of barking, my dog gets up, sprints to the front door and howls at the beasts he imagines are on the other side. He certainly doesn't understand that he's meant to sit down and watch the television '' which begs the question, does any dog?
Is animal entertainment actually a good idea? Or is it a cynical ploy to get pet owners to spend more time and money on their devices?
Dr Kate Mornement, an applied animal behaviourist from Pets Behaving Badly, confirms that some animals do like sound and moving images. ''Whether cats and dogs enjoy it or not often comes down to individual preference and personality. Many cats love to hunt and stalk the animals they see '' mice, fish '' on the screen. Conversely, some dogs become scared and anxious of animals they see on TV and may bark excessively when they see them.'' I can attest to this one: Bert is furious whenever he hears an animal on television. So really, the popularity of these new services in your household will depend very much on your pet's temperament.
''Playing classical music while you're away may help with mild separation anxiety in dogs by promoting relaxation,'' says Mornement. Her recommendation is in line with a 2012 study, which found playing classical music to kennelled dogs tended to result in more time spent sleeping. ''Leaving the TV on can also assist by providing some entertainment for dogs and cats who enjoy watching TV,'' Mornement adds.
If they don't, it could be actively disruptive. ''My advice would be to test and see if your pet enjoys music or the TV and only leave it playing if you've noticed a positive impact on your pet.''
Stephen Fenech, the editor of Tech Guide, says that Spotify and Amazon are tapping into a potentially lucrative niche. ''It's a clever move to get us to increase our spend on content. The pet industry is massive in Australia so it's no surprise tech companies try and take advantage of our love of pets by marketing products and services for cats and dogs. And many willing owners are happy to spend their money thinking it will benefit their pets.''
Bert's reviews are in: he's either indifferent or irate. That doesn't mean I won't play his personalised playlist sometimes, just in case.
Kate Leaver is the author of Good Dog, out through HarperCollins on 20 April.
UK Lords slam Brexit bill for not addressing child migrants
Wed, 22 Jan 2020 08:09
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson steps outside 10 Downing Street, in London, to welcome Egypt's President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi on Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020. A view inside the House of Lords as the European Withdrawal Agreement Bill is debated in London, Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020. Britain's House of Lords is considering the European Withdrawal Agreement Bill, which is due to pass through its final stages before returning to the House of Commons. A member holds a document inside the House of Lords as the European Withdrawal Agreement Bill is debated in London, Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020. Britain's House of Lords is considering the European Withdrawal Agreement Bill, which is due to pass through its final stages before returning to the House of Commons. The Lord Speaker Lord Fowler, front centre, listens inside the House of Lords as the European Withdrawal Agreement Bill is debated in London, Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020. Britain's House of Lords is considering the European Withdrawal Agreement Bill, which is due to pass through its final stages before returning to the House of Commons. January 21, 2020The promise was made in 2018 by former Prime Minister Theresa May but it was removed from the Brexit legislation after Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Conservatives won a big parliamentary majority in an election last month.
Alf Dubs, a Labour Party member of the Lords who came from Nazi-occupied Europe to Britain as a child refugee, said the government was sending a ''very negative'' signal. He implored it not to use migrant children as "bargaining chips" in the negotiations on future relations between the European Union and the U.K.
''If the government wants to disprove the accusation that it is mean and nasty, then surely the thing to do is to accept the amendment,'' Dubs said. The prime minister's office said the government would not accept any changes the House of Lords makes to the Withdrawal Agreement Bill, which sets out the terms of Britain's departure from the 28-nation bloc at the end of the month.
The government says it intends to continue resettling child migrants in Britain after the country leaves the EU but argues that the issue does not belong in the withdrawal bill. The legislation must be passed by both houses of Parliament before Jan. 31 if the U.K. is to leave the EU on schedule.
The vote was one of several defeats for the government over the bill in the House of Lords. The chamber's members, known as peers, voted Monday for amendments to bolster the rights of EU citizens in Britain and to protect the powers of U.K. courts. They also voted Tuesday to stress the need for approval from the governments of Scotland and Wales for any legal changes affecting those regions.
The defeats in the Lords '-- where the Conservatives don't have a majority '-- won't stop the bill becoming law because the House of Commons has already approved the legislation, and the elected lower chamber can overturn decisions by the non-elected Lords. But it means the bill must return to the Commons later this week rather than automatically becoming law once it's passed by the Lords.
The EU parliament also must approve the Brexit divorce deal with Britain before Jan. 31. A vote by the European Parliament is expected next week. The U.K. voted narrowly to leave the EU in a 2016 referendum, but after years of negotiations lawmakers repeatedly defeated attempts by both Johnson and predecessor May to secure backing for their Brexit plans.
That changed when Johnson's Conservatives won the Dec. 12 election, giving the government the ability to override the objections of opposition parties. Despite Johnson's repeated promise to ''get Brexit done'' on Jan. 31, the departure will only kick off the first stage of the country's EU exit. Britain and the EU must then head into negotiations on future ties, racing to strike the terms of their new relationship in trade, security and a host of other areas by the end of 2020.
Follow AP's full coverage of Brexit and British politics at https://www.apnews.com/Brexit
Human body temperature has decreased in United States'... '' GOVERNMENT SLAVES
Mon, 20 Jan 2020 11:14
Since the 19th century, the average human body temperature in the United States has dropped, according to researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.
''Our temperature's not what people think it is,'' said Julie Parsonnet, MD, professor of medicine and of health research and policy. ''What everybody grew up learning, which is that our normal temperature is 98.6, is wrong.''
That standard of 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit was made famous by German physician Carl Reinhold August Wunderlich, who published the figure in a book in 1868. Modern studies, however, have called that number into question, suggesting that it's too high. A recent study, for example, found the average temperature of 25,000 British patients to be 97.9 F.
In a study published today in eLife, Parsonnet and her colleagues explore body temperature trends and conclude that temperature changes since the time of Wunderlich reflect a true historical pattern, rather than measurement errors or biases. Parsonnet, who holds the George DeForest Barnett Professorship, is the senior author. Myroslava Protsiv, a former Stanford research scientist who is now at the Karolinska Institute, is the lead author.
The researchers propose that the decrease in body temperature is the result of changes in our environment over the past 200 years, which have in turn driven physiological changes.
Digging into the pastParsonnet and her colleagues analyzed temperatures from three datasets covering distinct historical periods. The earliest set, compiled from military service records, medical records and pension records from Union Army veterans of the Civil War, captures data between 1862 and 1930 and includes people born in the early 1800s. A set from the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey I contains data from 1971 to 1975. Finally, the Stanford Translational Research Integrated Database Environment comprises data from adult patients who visited Stanford Health Care between 2007 and 2017.
The researchers used the 677,423 temperature measurements from these datasets to develop a linear model that interpolated temperature over time. The model confirmed body temperature trends that were known from previous studies, including increased body temperature in younger people, in women, in larger bodies and at later times of the day.
The researchers determined that the body temperature of men born in the early to mid-1990s is on average 1.06 F lower than that of men born in the early 1800s. Similarly, they determined that the body temperature of women born in the early to mid-1990s is on average 0.58 F lower than that of women born in the 1890s. These calculations correspond to a decrease in body temperature of 0.05 F every decade.
As part of the study, the authors investigated the possibility that the decrease could simply reflect improvements in thermometer technology; thermometers used today are far more accurate than those used two centuries ago. ''In the 19thcentury, thermometry was just beginning,'' Parsonnet said.
To assess whether temperatures truly decreased, the researchers checked for body temperature trends within each dataset; for each historical group, they expected that measurements would be taken with similar thermometers. Within the veterans dataset, they observed a similar decrease for each decade, consistent with observations made using the combined data.
Vape Wars
Trump tells HHS Sec. Alex Azar he regrets taking action on vaping - Axios
Sun, 19 Jan 2020 09:27
President Trump told his health secretary yesterday that he regrets getting involved in the administration's policy on vaping, according to two sources familiar with the conversation. "I should never have done that f***ing vaping thing," Trump said during an impromptu call on speakerphone in an Oval Office meeting.
Why it matters: The administration's ban on flavored vapes is one of its most prominent health policy decisions, but trying to find a compromise between public health groups and the pro-vaping community caused massive political headaches.
Behind the scenes: Trump decided to call Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar during a campaign meeting, while discussing health care with his political team. He sometimes does that with cabinet secretaries, in an impromptu fashion, during meetings when their issues come up.
Azar got defensive after Trump expressed regret for the vaping policy, per a source familiar. Both sources familiar with the conversation said Trump wasn't expressing regret for the specific vaping policy outcome, which the team believes is the right one, but rather for personally wading into vaping and e-cigarette policy in the first place rather than leaving it up to the Food and Drug Administration.Trump campaign pollster Tony Fabrizio was talking during the meeting about health care as a 2020 issue, including the importance of protecting people with pre-existing conditions.
Trump also ribbed Azar over drug prices, per two sources familiar, asking him, "When are you gonna get these drug prices lower?" and pressing him to "hurry up" on rules that would let people import cheaper drugs from Canada.One source described Trump's tone as "play bantering." The New York Times' Maggie Haberman was the first to report the call between Azar and the president.What they're saying: "President Trump has said this Administration will protect people with pre-existing conditions, lower drug prices even further, end surprise medical bills, and make sure Americans get the highest quality of care they deserve," White House spokesman Judd Deere said.
"There's no daylight between the White House and HHS as we work to implement the President's policies and improve the American healthcare system for everyone, not just those in the individual market," he added.HHS declined to comment on the meeting.Reality check: The administration hasn't accomplished much on health care. Congress did not repeal the Affordable Care Act '-- Trump's top priority '-- and it did not address surprise medical bills, either. The administration has done very little on drug prices, and is urging the courts to throw out protections for pre-existing conditions.
Go deeper: Trump's smoke-and-mirrors 2020 health care strategy
Trump: 'I Should Never Have Done That F-cking Vaping Thing' - Rolling Stone
Sun, 19 Jan 2020 09:27
President Trump laid into Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar over decisions made by his administration regarding the ban on most flavored e-cigarettes.
According to Axios, citing two sources, the president called Azar during an Oval Office meeting with campaign advisers when the issue of health care came up and said, ''I should never have done that fucking vaping thing.'' The New York Times also reported about the president lashing out at Azar and using the expletive.
Axios goes on to report that Trump has not changed his mind on his administration's current vaping policy. The regret lies in the president weighing in on the matter at all and not leaving it to the Food and Drug Administration to deal with.
In September, Trump announced he would take ''very, very strong'' action to combat the rise in teenage vaping by banning all flavored e-cigarettes. But, under pressure from industry groups and his own supporters, some of whom threatened not to vote for him if he went through with a complete ban, federal officials announced a compromise: they would ban sales of flavored e-cigarette pods except for tobacco and menthol flavors. They also said there would be exceptions made for liquid nicotine for tank systems.
It appears the issue became more politically fraught than Trump had imagined, and with this reporting, he seems to regret his decision to take it on forcefully.
CDC Steps Back From Broad Recommendation to Refrain From E-Cigarettes - WSJ
Sun, 19 Jan 2020 09:43
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has moved away from a broad recommendation that people consider refraining from vaping altogether during the investigation into the outbreak of lung illnesses linked to the practice.
The agency removed from its website guidance that people should stop vaping if they were concerned about the illnesses. The agency first said people should end the use of vaping products in September, but later narrowed that recommendation, warning that people should stop using vaping products containing THC'--the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis'--but consider refraining from all vaping.
The new recommendation, posted on Thursday, no longer includes the broad reference to stopping vaping, though the agency still says youth, pregnant women and non-tobacco users shouldn't vape.
''Recommendations were refined to reflect the best available scientific evidence and to best protect public health,'' Brian King, the chief science officer for the CDC's vaping-related outbreak response, said in a statement.
Evidence has increasingly linked the sudden explosion of vaping-related illnesses to a substance called vitamin E acetate, an oil sometimes added to dilute THC products. THC oils and cannabis products are becoming legal in an increasing number of states across the country.
''The available science shows that Vitamin E acetate is strongly linked'' to the outbreak, Dr. King said.
The CDC on Friday also made a distinction between the outbreak of vaping-associated lung illnesses and the rise in teen vaping in a report in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Some public-health experts and those in the vaping industry have said those issues have been conflated.
''There's really a tale of two epidemics occurring,'' said Dr. King in an interview.
The outbreak of vaping-related illnesses started in 2019, health officials believe. Most patients had vaped THC-containing products obtained from unregulated sources, and 62% of the patients were young adults between the ages of 18 and 34 years old.
Youth vaping, however, has been on the rise among U.S. middle- and high-school students since 2011, with a surge in more recent years, and is largely associated with vaping nicotine.
The upswing in youth vaping has been driven by a number of factors, including advertising, the attraction of fruity flavors, and the availability of easily concealed devices that deliver higher levels of nicotine, the New England Journal of Medicine report said.
Dr. King also noted that vaping, whether of nicotine or THC, isn't harmless, especially for young people.
The CDC is maintaining its guidance that former smokers using nicotine e-cigarettes shouldn't go back to smoking, but should contact their health-care providers if they need help quitting tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, or if they are concerned about the illnesses, the CDC said.
There have been 2,668 hospitalized cases of the vaping-related illness as of Jan. 14, and at least 60 people have died, the CDC said. Hospitalizations have slowed since peaking in September, but new cases and deaths are still being reported.
The CDC said there isn't sufficient evidence to rule out chemicals in addition to vitamin E acetate as a cause of the illnesses. The agency also said illnesses in people who say they only vape nicotine warrant further investigation.
Roughly 82% of patients of the lung illnesses for whom substance-use data is available reported using THC-containing products, while roughly 14% have reported exclusive use of nicotine products, the CDC said.
The outbreak of injuries, coupled with the rise of teen vaping, has spawned regulation and public backlash across the country against vaping and e-cigarettes, often targeting flavored nicotine products that some public-health experts say attract kids.
Those efforts were met with resistance from the vaping industry, vapers and other public-health experts who say e-cigarettes are a useful tool to help adult smokers quit.
In September, President Trump said the U.S. planned to pull most vaping products from the market, as public pressure to curb youth vaping mounted.
However, the ban eventually released by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration earlier this month pulled back on those earlier claims, exempting tank systems typically found at vape shops from the ban on fruit-flavored products.
The action was largely seen as a compromise among officials who wanted to address teen vaping and those concerned about the impact on small businesses, such as vaping shops, and the potential political fallout.
The CDC also said it has transitioned from a collective emergency response back to having individual departments or people handling the outbreak based on their areas of expertise, a process that typically occurs toward the end of outbreak investigations.
The agency is going to continue collecting data from states, communicating with the public and investigating the outbreak, Dr. King said. He added, however, that the process would be more streamlined into people's day-to-day activities and would primarily take place in the tobacco-control and injury-prevention offices.
Write to Brianna Abbott at brianna.abbott@wsj.com
California lawmakers ask governor to posthumously pardon gay civil rights leader Bayard Rustin | TheHill
Thu, 23 Jan 2020 06:59
California lawmakers on Tuesday called on Gov. Gavin Newsom Gavin Christopher NewsomAnti-vaccine protester charged after allegedly throwing menstrual blood at California lawmakers California could become next no-kill state as governor puts budget funds toward ending euthanizing California governor proposes 2 billion budget MORE (D) to posthumously pardon Bayard Rustin, a confidant of Martin Luther King Jr. who helped organize the March on Washington, for his conviction in the 1950s under a state law frequently used to target gay men.
Rustin was arrested in 1953 on charges of ''lewd vagrancy'' after a police officer caught him having sex with a man in a parked car. He was sentenced to 60 days in jail and forced to register as a sex offender.
''There's a cloud hanging over him because of this unfair, discriminatory conviction, a conviction that never should have happened, a conviction that happened only because he was a gay man,'' Sen. Scott Wiener (D), chairman of the state's Legislative LGBTQ Caucus, told The Washington Post.
Weiner and California Assemblywoman Shirley Weber (D), chair of the Legislative Black Caucus, formally called on Newsom to pardon Rustin in a news conference Tuesday.
Newsom vowed to consider the matter in a statement, according to the Post.
''History is clear. In California and across the country, sodomy laws were used as legal tools of oppression," Newsom said in the statement. ''They were used to stigmatize and punish LGBTQ individuals and communities and warn others what harm could await them for living authentically. I thank those who are advocating for Mr. Bayard Rustin's pardon.''
The arrest was a major hindrance to Rustin's activism, forcing him out of the leadership of the pacifist Fellowship for Reconciliation. As he rose in the civil rights movement in the early 1960s, Rep. Adam Clayton Powell Jr. (D) pressured King to freeze him out of his inner circle due to his sexuality, and Rustin was largely pushed to the periphery of the movement before he was appointed as an organizer of the March on Washington.
The late Sen. Strom Thurmond (D-S.C.) used the arrest to assail the march on the Senate floor, accusing Rustin of ''sex perversion,'' but movement leaders, including King, backed Rustin, according to the Post.
''They really picked the wrong guy,'' Walter Naegle, who was Rustin's partner at the time of his death in 1987, told the Post. ''The thing that separated Bayard from many people was he wasn't going to be silenced.''
LPG cars
Insider Trading
Ex-US Rep. Collins gets prison for insider trading - Salem Statesman Journal
Wed, 22 Jan 2020 09:00
Ex-US Rep. Collins gets prison for insider trading
Larry Neumeister and Jim Mustian
NEW YORK '' The first member of Congress to endorse Donald Trump to be president was sentenced Friday to two years and two months in federal prison after admitting he helped his son and others dodge $800,000 in stock market losses when he learned that a drug trial by a small pharmaceutical company had failed.
Ex-Congressman Christopher Collins, 69, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Vernon S. Broderick in Manhattan after the Republican pleaded guilty in October to conspiracy to commit securities fraud and lying to law enforcement officials.
Collins broke down and apologized to his family and his former constituents and colleagues.
''I stand here today as a disgraced former member of Congress,'' he said. ''My life has been shattered.''
The sentence came even after Collins' lawyers argued he was sorry and should face no prison time in the insider trading case.
Prosecutors, however, argued he should go to prison for nearly five years. They said Collins and his son, Cameron, were worth a total of $35 million when they conspired to sell shares in a pharmaceutical company before the devastating news was made public.
The trading, prosecutors said, enabled Cameron Collins and friends to dodge $800,000 in losses.
Collins' attorneys requested leniency, citing his contrition, advanced age, charitable works and a low chance that he would commit any more crimes.
''This is a sad and tragic day for Chris and his family,'' defense attorney Jonathan Barr said. ''He stands before you humbled, penitent and remorseful.''
Collins had been a vocal Trump supporter, becoming the first member of Congress to endorse him as a presidential candidate. He also called for an end to special counsel Robert Mueller's probe into possible campaign collusion and blamed former President Barack Obama's administration for failing to push back on Russia.
He vehemently denied wrongdoing when he was charged in 2018, with a spokeswoman calling a House Ethics Committee inquiry into Collins a ''partisan witch hunt.''
When he spoke Friday, he fought back tears and displayed the Boy Scout's three-fingered sign, breaking down several times as he spoke about the scout code he violated, including a vow to be trustworthy, and his family.
''I violated my core values and there is no excuse, none whatsoever,'' he said, looking at media members seated in the jury box during much of his remarks.
''My life has been shattered. My reputation has been shattered. Worst, my family has been shattered,'' he said.
Collins had represented western New York since his election to the state's 27th Congressional District in 2012. He resigned when he decided to plead guilty to a conspiracy count, leaving the district's constituents without representation in Congress.
Broderick called it baffling that Collins would exercise such poor judgment when he and his son had the financial means to deal with any loss.
''It may sound like it, but this is not your obituary,'' the judge told him after announcing his sentence. ''You have your future ahead of you. Make some good come out of this bad situation.''
Former U.S. Rep. Chris Collins, R-N.Y., used the Scout's three-fingered sign in a plea for leniency at his sentencing Friday. SCOTT HEINS/GETTY IMAGES
It's going to be the Chiefs
They are bringing the Kansas City Chiefs to the forefront,
and letting them win a Super Bowl (or is it the "Superb Owl" as the
Bohemian Club insiders call it).
They want to bring awareness to racist team names.
My prediction is that the lead-up to the Super Bowl, along
with all the "Tomohawk" and "Tonto-esque" chants from the
KC crowd will be painted as derrogatory and racist, thus forcing those teams
like the "Redskins, Chiefs, Indians, etc" to change their names.
Adam Kenneth Campbell
War on Meat
Beyond Meat Barfs After Burger King Cuts Impossible Whopper Price On Slowing Sales | Zero Hedge
Thu, 23 Jan 2020 07:23
Beyond Meat hit a session low of $119, last down about 7% in the last hour of the session, after CNBC reported Burger King slashed the price of the Impossible Whopper following declining sales.
Shares of Beyond Meat have surged more than 80% since the start of the year, news of declining fake meat sales at Burger King has led to some of those gains being lost.
CNBC noted that Carrols Restaurant Group Inc., the largest Burger King franchisee in the U.S., said sales of the Impossible Whopper edged down from 32 to 28 per store. The franchisee has 1,000 stores across the U.S. and was selling vegan patties for a two-for-$6 discount '' compared with the $5.59 suggested price per sandwich.
Dominic Flis, a Burger King owner in Little Rock, Arkansas, said the hype for the Impossible Whoppers is over. Flis said when the vegan patties first came out, he was selling 30 per day '' now it's more like 20 per day. He said he's taking a loss on the fake meat.
Words Matter
'By and large' - meaning and origin.
Wed, 22 Jan 2020 08:43
What's the meaning of the phrase 'By and large'?On the whole; generally speaking; all things considered.
What's the origin of the phrase 'By and large'?Many phrases are wrongly ascribed a nautical origin just because they sound like mariners' lingo. This one really is and, like many such nautical phrases, it originated in the days of sail.
To get a sense of the original meaning of the phrase we need to understand the nautical terms 'by' and 'large'. 'Large' is easier, so we'll start there. When the wind is blowing from some compass point behind a ship's direction of travel then it is said to be 'large'. Sailors have used this term for centuries; for example, this piece from Richard Hakluyt's The Principall Navigations, Voiages, and Discoveries of the English Nation, 1591:
"When the wind came larger we waied anchor and set saile."
When the wind is in that favourable 'large' direction the largest square sails may be set and the ship is able to travel in whatever downwind direction the captain sees fit.
'By' is a rather more difficult concept for landlubbers like me. In simplified terms it means 'in the general direction of'. Sailors would say that to be 'by the wind' is to face into the wind or within six compass points of it.
The earliest known reference to 'by and large' in print is from Samuel Sturmy, in The Mariners Magazine, 1669:
"Thus you see the ship handled in fair weather and foul, by and learge."
To sail 'by and large' required the ability to sail not only as earlier square-rigged ships could do, that is, downwind, but also against the wind. At first sight, and for many non-sailors I'm sure second and third sight too, it seems impossible that a sailing ship could progress against the wind. They can though. The physics behind this is better left to others. Suffice it to say that it involves the use of triangular sails, which act like aeroplane wings and provide a force that drags the ship sideways against the wind; by this technique and by careful angling of the rudder the ship can make progress towards the wind.
The 19th century windjammers like Cutty Sark were able to maintain progress 'by and large' even in bad wind conditions by the use of many such aerodynamic triangular sails and large crews of able seamen.
Ousted CEO Deborah Dugan's fight with the Recording Academy, explained.
Wed, 22 Jan 2020 07:13
The Grammy Awards, the Recording Academy’s annual event honoring the music industry, are scheduled to kick off for the 62nd time on Sunday in Los Angeles. But with less than a week to go before the curtain rises, the academy has been waging a messy legal and public relations battle with its own CEO, Deborah Dugan, who was placed on administrative leave on Jan.16. On Tuesday, Dugan filed a charge of discrimination with the Los Angeles office of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleging that she was pushed out as retaliation for raising complaints about sexual harassment and cracking down on a culture of corruption and self-dealing. Her complaint also specifically alleges that Recording Academy general counsel Joel Katz harassed her, and further alleges that former CEO Neil Portnow was accused of raping an unnamed female artist after a concert at Carnegie Hall. Katz has categorically denied Dugan’s account. Here’s everything we know about what’s happening.
Who’s Deborah Dugan?
She’s the new CEO of the Recording Academy—the first woman to hold the post in the 63 years since the institution was founded—and the center of the current fracas. A former mergers & acquisitions lawyer, she was the president of Disney Publishing Worldwide before becoming CEO of (RED), a nonprofit founded by Bono and Bobby Shriver to fight HIV in Africa. Last May, the Recording Academy announced she would be their next president and CEO, a few months after departing president Neil Portnow oversaw his last Grammy Awards. She officially became president on Aug. 1 and was ousted less than six months later, on Jan. 16. Since then, Harvey Mason, Jr. has been serving as interim president and CEO.
Why was the Recording Academy looking for a new CEO in the first place?
The Recording Academy has never been known for being ahead of the times, but in 2018, its reputation suffered a one-two punch: Only one woman was presented with a solo Grammy during the entire telecast, and then-president Neil Portnow, asked backstage about the imbalance, suggested female artists needed to “step up” if they wanted to achieve gender parity at the Grammys. Women at every level of the music industry spoke up. In response to the backlash, the Academy took a number of actions to clean up its act, hiring Michelle Obama’s former chief of staff Tina Tchen to lead a task force on diversity and inclusion and adding new members in hopes of improving the academy’s demographics. (At the time Tchen’s appointment was announced, the voting members were only 21 percent women and 28 percent people of color.) Portnow announced in May 2018 that he would step down when his contract expired in July of last year.
So Dugan was supposed to be a new start for the Recording Academy.
That was the idea, yes.
What happened?
It depends who you ask. Since news of Dugan’s ouster broke, the Recording Academy and Dugan have been dueling in the courts and press alike, and their accounts of what happened are contradictory. Broadly speaking, Dugan says that the Recording Academy didn’t tell her what a mess she’d be inheriting, and that when she started trying to make changes, the Board of Trustees first sidelined her, then staged a coup, doing it in a way designed to trash her reputation. The Recording Academy says that Dugan created a hostile work environment for “a senior female member of the Recording Academy team,” understood to be Portnow’s executive assistant Claudine Little, and says it is conducting independent investigations of both Dugan’s allegations and Little’s.
What does Dugan say happened?
Her EEOC complaint is interesting reading, because to make the case that Dugan was discriminated against on the basis of her gender, her lawyers also outline the history of gender inequality in the Recording Academy, allege that Grammy nominations are manipulated by board members to help artists they work with, and accuse two high-ranking academy officials of sexual misconduct. The chronology Dugan outlines begins with her hiring process: she was offered less money than Portnow had been paid for the same job, and when she requested equal pay, she was told to be happy she was making more than she’d made working for Bono. But things really get going in May of 2019, when Dugan traveled to Laguna Niguel to attend a three-day board meeting at the Ritz-Carlton.
According to Dugan, the Academy’s general counsel, Joel Katz, invited her to dinner the night before the meeting, and engaged in “an obvious and unwelcome attempt to ‘woo’ Ms. Dugan” over “an outrageously expensive bottle of wine,” commenting on her appearance, referring to her as “baby,” bragging about his wealth and complaining about his marriage, and ultimately attempted to kiss her. Katz has categorically denied Dugan’s account of the dinner.
The remainder of the trip was apparently just as much of a disaster: Dugan says she was only invited to the first day of the meeting, but decided to “invite herself” to the second day in order to hear Tina Tchen talk about the progress she’d made so far with her diversity task force. Shortly before that talk, Dugan says she was taken into a conference room and informed “that a foreign recording artist (and member of the Academy) had accused Mr. Portnow of raping her following a performance that she gave at Carnegie Hall.” She says that was the first she heard of it—and the Board presented it to her as though they’d also just found out—but that in fact, they’d known about it when they hired her, and that the accusation was the “real reason” his contract was not renewed. Worse, she says they’d also known about it when they’d advised her to hire Portnow as a consultant (for $750,000, per her complaint; she didn’t hire him). Finally, the third day of the board meeting was supposed to include a vote on a bonus payment to Portnow—but the full board hadn’t been told about the rape allegations.
Things didn’t get better when Dugan officially started work. In her telling, she was given the opportunity to fire Claudine Little, Neil Portnow’s former Executive Assistant, but decided to let her stay on and work as her assistant. That didn’t work out—according to Dugan, because Little was incompetent; according to Little, because Dugan was a bully who created a toxic work environment—and at the end of October, Little took a leave of absence. Dugan’s filing doesn’t specify exactly why, but says it was “a leave that was being managed by HR.”
After Little left, Dugan gave a presentation at a board meeting in early November proposing ways to increase diversity that she thinks precipitated her ouster. Most of the recommendations listed in her filing seem pretty anodyne—a suggestion to “have diversity in our mission, vision, and values” doesn’t seem worth a boardroom spat—but she did propose doubling the number of women in the voting membership, and paying less to outside counsel. But whether the board was reacting to the Claudine Little situation, Dugan’s diversity initiatives, her cost-cutting measures, or simply her gender, by December things had gone from frosty to hostile.
On Dec. 9, according to Dugan, the board stripped her of most of her responsibilities, prohibiting her from hiring or firing anyone without board consent and blocking her from choosing outside counsel. Supposedly, this was because of the Little situation, but Dugan alleges it was an attempt to derail her diversity initiatives. On Dec. 16, Dugan responded to the board, asking that her responsibilities be restored. The very next day, Claudine Little sent a demand letter to the Recording Academy regarding the way she said Dugan had treated her. Dugan alleges that the board used Little “as an excuse to grasp control over the management of the Academy because they were unhappy with Ms. Dugan’s call for more diversity and transparency” and suggests that they were in touch with Little and encouraged her to file a baseless claim against Dugan so they could remove her.
On Dec. 22, Dugan sent Shonda Grant, the academy’s head of HR, an email laying out her allegations, which she included in her filing. “I am writing this note not for you to take any action at this time, but to have on record that the following events occurred, and that these events have given me serious pause for concern and in some instances made me feel uncomfortable and safe,” she wrote, before outlining her allegations of sexual harassment, plus rampant conflicts of interest, a corrupt Grammy nomination process, and the mismanagement of Claudine Little’s complaints. Two days later, Dugan’s attorney told the Academy she intended to pursue legal action. A month of negotiations followed, and Dugan says that she and the Academy had nearly reached a settlement when the Board abruptly backed out, offering her a much worse settlement with a 1-hour deadline. When she turned it down, she was put on administrative leave.
That’s when what had been a private conflict turned into an all-out brawl. Dugan says the Academy assured her of confidentiality, then immediately issued a statement to the press saying that she’d been put on leave because of “a formal allegation of misconduct by a senior female member of the Recording Academy team.” Then the press started up: On Jan. 19, Roger Friedman published a column scoffing at Dugan’s allegations and portraying her as a schemer. The next day, interim president Harvey Mason Jr. published his own account of what happened, which stops just short of accusing Dugan of extortion. The next day, Dugan filed her complaint.
What does the Academy say happened?
First of all, the Academy doesn’t say much about Dugan’s allegations of sexual harassment or self-dealing. In their telling, the story starts in November, when the board’s executive committee first found out about Little’s complaints. Mason’s timeline doesn’t contradict Dugan’s, but it is vaguer: He omits any mention of stripping Dugan of any duties in early December, saying only that Dugan’s Dec. 22 email alleging misconduct at the academy was sent “after we received the employee complaints against Ms. Dugan.” Mason also comes right up to the edge of accusing Dugan of blackmail, writing, “Ms. Dugan’s attorney then informed the Executive Committee that if Ms. Dugan were paid millions of dollars, she would ‘withdraw’ her allegations and resign from her role as CEO.”
Couldn’t you describe anyone seeking a legal settlement in those terms?
Sure! For instance, you could probably describe the Academy’s counter-offer like this, assuming it was more than $2 million: “The Recording Academy then informed Ms. Dugan that if she ‘withdrew’ her allegations and resigned from her role as CEO, they would pay her millions of dollars.”
So Dugan is alleging sexual harassment and says the Academy is a “boy’s club.” Are there any accusations of financial wrongdoing?
Yes. Dugan says the academy is overpaying for legal services via an arrangement where former Board member Joel Katz is paid an exorbitant retainer while his firm bills the Academy millions of dollars. Dugan also says that Chuck Ortner, formerly of Proskauer Rose, had a similar arrangement, and says that she was asked to approve a payment of a $250,000 consulting fee to Ortner in her first week on the job. She thinks her attempts to cut down on costs in this area—she wanted to hire an internal lawyer to cut down on the use of outside counsel, possibly upsetting Katz and Ortner’s applecart—is another reason she was ousted.
OK, but really what I want to know is whether or not the Grammys are rigged.
According to Dugan, absolutely. The Academy’s full membership votes for the nominations, and the top twenty nominees in each category are then reviewed by committees that narrow that list down to five or eight nominees. Dugan alleges that the members of those committees manipulate the nominations, pushing forward artists they work with regardless of their vote total, and even adding nominees who didn’t make the top twenty. Dugan specifically says that 30 of this year’s nominees were added by the committees despite not making the cut in Academy voting. She also says that one of this year’s nominees for Song of the Year was voted 18th in the category, but was able to parlay that into a nomination because he or she personally served on the Song of the Year nominating committee, despite being a contender.
Who was it?
No idea! It’s not clear if Dugan is talking about the performer or songwriter, and the committee members are secret. But the nominees are “Always Remember Us This Way,” performed by Lady Gaga, “Bad Guy,” performed by Billie Eilish, “Bring My Flowers Now,” performed by Tanya Tucker, “Hard Place,” performed by H.E.R., “Lover,” performed by Taylor Swift, “Norman fucking Rockwell,” performed by Lana Del Rey, “Someone You Loved,” performed by Lewis Capaldi, and “Truth Hurts,” performed by Lizzo.
What does this all mean for the Grammys?
They’re still happening Sunday, and they’re still Music’s Biggest Night!
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Grammys Chief Calls Her Removal Retaliation for Exposing 'Boys' Club' - The New York Times
Tue, 21 Jan 2020 23:07
Deborah Dugan, who was placed on leave, said that the Recording Academy's lawyer sexually harassed her and that she had complained about financial and voting irregularities.
Deborah Dugan filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission detailing a range of alleged misconduct at the organization behind the Grammys. Credit... Bethany Mollenkof for The New York Times Jan. 21, 2020Updated 11:32 p.m. ET
Deborah Dugan, the suspended chief of the Recording Academy, the organization behind the Grammy Awards, said in a complaint to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on Tuesday that she had been removed as retaliation for uncovering a range of misconduct at the academy, including sexual harassment, improper voting procedures and conflicts of interest among academy board members.
Ms. Dugan's 44-page complaint details her clash with a number of powerful men at the academy during her tenure of just five months. But her accusations also represent an indictment of the academy itself, which has struggled to reform its reputation after coming under harsh criticism for its poor record recognizing women and people of color in the major categories.
The document, filed with the E.E.O.C.'s Los Angeles office and technically called a charge of discrimination, alleges that Ms. Dugan's predecessor, Neil Portnow, had been accused of rape by an artist, and that the academy's board had been scheduled to vote for a bonus for him even though all of its members had not been told about the accusation. The complaint has little detail about the accusation, but said that a psychiatrist had said that the encounter was ''likely not consensual.''
It also says that Ms. Dugan herself had received unwanted sexual advances from Joel Katz, a powerful industry lawyer who represents the Grammys.
Mr. Portnow, who has not been charged with a crime, did not respond to a telephone message seeking comment on Tuesday, and Mr. Katz disputed Ms. Dugan's account.
The various forms of behavior, Ms. Dugan's complaint says, were ''all made possible by the 'boys' club' mentality and approach to governance at the Academy.''
In response, the academy said in a statement: ''It is curious that Ms. Dugan never raised these grave allegations until a week after legal claims were made against her personally by a female employee who alleged Ms. Dugan had created a 'toxic and intolerable' work environment and engaged in 'abusive and bullying conduct.'''
The academy said that investigations into Ms. Dugan's conduct and the allegations she raised were ongoing, and that she ''was placed on administrative leave only after offering to step down and demanding $22 million from the Academy, which is a not-for-profit organization.''
In her complaint, Ms. Dugan called the academy's claim that she had demanded a $22 million settlement ''flat out false.''
Ms. Dugan, 61, who took over as the chief executive of the academy in August after eight years with Red, the nonprofit co-founded by Bono of U2 that works to combat AIDS and other diseases in Africa, also says in her complaint the academy's voting procedures are rife with irregularities that seemed to steer nominations to artists affiliated with board members.
For many of its award categories, the academy convenes committees of experts, including artists, to review the nominations pool and whittle down the choices to meet the number of slots on the ballot.
According to the complaint, the nominating committee, when finalizing the ballot for the 2019 award for song of the year, for example, chose as one of its eight final nominees a song that had initially ranked 18 out of 20. The artist behind that song, the complaint alleges, was allowed to sit on the committee and was also represented by a board member.
The complaint also says that the committees can add artists to the ballot who had not first been chosen by the general voting pool. For this year's awards, it says, 30 such artists were ''added to the possible nomination list.''
Ms. Dugan's ouster last Thursday '-- just 10 days before the 62nd annual Grammy ceremony on Sunday '-- stunned the music industry in what is usually its glitziest moment in the national media spotlight. It also threatened the academy's carefully curated message of reform.
The academy placed Ms. Dugan on administrative leave after what it said was ''a formal allegation of misconduct by a senior female member of the Recording Academy team.''
That allegation, according to Ms. Dugan's complaint, was made by a former assistant to Mr. Portnow, who had remained attached to Ms. Dugan until she hired her own aide. After finding the work of this assistant unsatisfactory, Ms. Dugan offered her a new position, but she refused it and took a leave of absence, the complaint said. Eventually a lawyer for the assistant sent the academy a letter accusing Ms. Dugan of ''being a bully,'' as Ms. Dugan's complaint puts it.
By that point, Ms. Dugan's complaint says, the academy's board had begun to strip her of some of her powers. Harvey Mason Jr., a record producer who is the board chairman, sent Ms. Dugan a letter on Dec. 9, informing her that she was no longer permitted to terminate staff members without board approval, and could not assign any new initiatives or choose any outside counsel for the academy's legal work.
On Dec. 22, Ms. Dugan sent a memo to the academy's top human resources officer detailing her concerns, and two days later a lawyer representing her notified the academy that she ''intended to pursue legal claims,'' according to the complaint filed on Tuesday.
In an interview with The New York Times before Ms. Dugan's complaint was filed, Mr. Mason and Christine Albert, the academy's board emeritus, said they were committed to changing the organization but that Ms. Dugan had been moving too fast, had not taken the time to understand how the organization functioned, and disrespected the staff by not listening to their opinions.
''What we expected was change without chaos,'' Ms. Albert said.
Ms. Dugan's complaint argues that the assistant's complaint was a mere pretext for dismissing Ms. Dugan after she reported problems at the academy and challenged the close business ties between the organization and two law firms that perform the bulk of its legal work, yielding millions of dollars in fees each year.
In her complaint, Ms. Dugan said that these problems began even before she took her place at the academy.
Last May, the complaint says, after Ms. Dugan had been selected for the job and signed an employment contract, Mr. Katz invited her to a private dinner the night before a board meeting. At that dinner, as Ms. Dugan wrote in her memo to human resources, which was attached to her E.E.O.C. complaint as an exhibit, Mr. Katz ordered ''an outlandishly expensive bottle of wine,'' commented repeatedly on her appearance, called her ''baby,'' and invited her to travel with him on his private plane to his many homes.
She said she told him she was not interested but he attempted to kiss her anyway. ''Needless to say,'' she wrote, ''I found his behavior disconcerting and utterly inappropriate.''
At their dinner, Ms. Dugan wrote, she also pointed out to Mr. Katz that she wanted to hire an in-house lawyer to help bring its legal costs down.
The New York Times interviewed a colleague of Ms. Dugan's who said that Ms. Dugan had recounted the dinner in detail the next day and then continued to report further inappropriate behavior by Mr. Katz after that point.
In a statement, Howard Weitzman, a lawyer for Mr. Katz, said that ''Ms. Dugan's allegations of harassment'' and her description of their dinner ''are false and Mr. Katz categorically and emphatically denies her version of that evening.''
The complaint includes a brief response to Ms. Dugan's memo from the academy's human resources officer, which says that Ms. Dugan identified ''serious issues that need to be investigated.''
''Your conclusion that it is necessary to make these concerns known,'' wrote the human resources officer, Shonda Grant, ''is an accurate one and one that cannot be ignored.''
The E.E.O.C. has the power to investigate complaints and seek reforms or penalties if it concludes an employer has discriminated against an employee. If the commission finds no discrimination occurred or it declines to investigate, the employee can pursue her case by filing a lawsuit against the employer.
VIDEO - Bernie Sanders brushes off Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden criticism while campaigning in Iowa - YouTube
Thu, 23 Jan 2020 07:55
VIDEO - ''FEMINIST BOY'' Music Video-- Radical Cram School S2 E6 - YouTube
Thu, 23 Jan 2020 07:43
VIDEO - Joe Biden loses cool after reporter grills him about Sanders apology
Thu, 23 Jan 2020 07:15
January 22, 2020 | 2:51pm | Updated January 22, 2020 | 3:38pm
Democratic front-runner Joe Biden freaked out at a reporter Wednesday after a campaign event in Mason City, Iowa, after he was grilled about his ongoing feud with Bernie Sanders.
The former veep was leaving the event when CBS reporter Ed O'Keefe peppered him with questions about his ongoing criticism of the Vermont senator in an exchange caught on video.
''Yesterday, yesterday, you said you accepted Bernie's apology. Now you're attacking him. Why are you doing that? Why wasn't his apology enough, Mr. Vice President? Why attack Sanders?'' a tailing O'Keefe repeated, until Biden stopped in his tracks, whirled around and got in O'Keefe's face, eyes bulging.
''Why, why, why, why, why, why, why! You're getting nervous, man. Calm down! It's OK!'' he shouted, placing his palms on O'Keefe's chest as he then tried to explain.
''He apologized for saying that I was corrupt,'' a calmer Biden said.
''He didn't mention anything about whether or not I was telling the truth about Social Security,'' he added, as O'Keefe smiled nervously.
Biden then gave the reporter a gentle left-hand fist bump before turning and continuing on his way.
Biden earlier sought to ease tensions with Sanders after the two candidates exchanged several volleys over Social Security and other matters, noting that Sanders had apologized to him after one of his supporters wrote that the former veep has a ''corruption'' problem.
''Sometimes campaign staff gets a little ahead of the candidate,'' Biden said, later adding, ''I accept his apology, and I hope we can argue on the facts.''
But he still angrily disputed that he backed cutting Social Security.
VIDEO - Prince Charles praises 'remarkable' Greta Thunberg | Daily Mail Online
Thu, 23 Jan 2020 06:33
The Prince of Wales has backed Greta Thunberg, calling the teenage activist 'remarkable', before revealing that he doesn't want his grandchildren; Princes Archie, George, Louis and Princess Charlotte to accuse him of not doing enough to save the planet when they get older.
In a keynote address at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Charles urged government and business chiefs to help the private sector lead 'the world out of the approaching catastrophe', adding that 'we simply cannot waste any more time'.
The prince, who has long been known for his environmental campaigning, was pictured meeting and shaking hands with 17-year-old Greta following his passionate address.
In an interview with CNN, the heir to the throne praised the teenage campaigner: 'Well she's remarkable, she represents one of the main reasons why I've been trying to make all this effort all of these years, because, as I said, I didn't want my grandchildren to accuse me of not not doing something about this in time.
In an interview with CNN today, the Prince of Wales called the climate-conscious youngster 'remarkable' and said he didn't want his grandchildren to 'accuse me of not not doing something about this in time'
Prince Charles today met Greta Thunberg in Davos today, left, as President Donald Trump left the World Economic Forum after again clashing with the 17-year-old Swede. Right, Charles gave his first keynote speech at the summit for 30 years
'And of course there they are, all her generation, almost my grandchildren if you know what I mean, all desperate because not nearly enough has happened - we've left it so late.
'So, I've always worried about the fact so often, in terms of humanity, we leave everything so late - so you have to hit a brick wall and experience a catastrophe before anything happens.'
Greta said as they met in front of a mass of flashing cameras: 'I guess you're very used to this.'
The prince replied: 'This has taken many years to get used to.'
Greta added: 'I'm still not used to it.'
Charles' speech has split opinion with environmentalists praising him for speaking out on environmental matters - others said he was hypocritical for jetting in for one speech and was 'meddling' where royals should not
Prince Charles flew to Davos today on a chartered plane costing an estimated £15,000 - but will arrive at the World Economic Forum by electric Jaguar (pictured in St Gallen today)
Charles told leaders gathered at the Forum: 'Ladies and gentleman, you all have a seat at the table as this must be the year that we put ourselves on the right track.'
He added: 'Do we want to go down in history as the people who did nothing to bring the world back from the brink, in trying to restore the balance, when we could have done? I don't want to.
'Just think for a moment, what good is all the extra wealth in the world gained from business as usual if you can do nothing with it except watch it burn in catastrophic conditions.
'This is why I need your help, your ingenuity and your practical skills to ensure that the private sector leads the world out of the approaching catastrophe into which we have engineered ourselves.'
He added: 'We simply cannot waste any more time. The only limit is our willingness to act. The time to act is now.'
Charles travelled from St Gallen in Switzerland to Davos in a fully electric Jaguar I-Pace, rather than using a helicopter.
He warned the world is in the midst of a crisis that 'is now I hope well understood'.
Charles and Greta shook hands as Donald Trump left the World Economic Forum having avoided Miss Thunberg
He added: 'Global warning, climate change and the devastating loss of biodiversity are the greatest threats humanity has ever faced.'
He described his dedication to encouraging corporate, social and environmental responsibility as an 'uphill struggle'.
But he added: 'Now it is time to take it to the next level. In order to secure our future and to prosper we need to evolve our economic model.'
The prince used his speech to launch a new Sustainable Markets Initiative to help financial markets become more sustainable.
He outlined 10 practical actions to drive the approach, including identifying game-changers and barriers to transition and investing in Stem (science, technology, engineering, and maths) and innovation, adding this included 'AI, where that does not seek to challenge or replace unique human characteristics and intuition'.
Charles, on a positive note, said the world was 'further ahead than we might think' in achieving the goal of a profitable but sustainable future, citing developments such as plans for green engines for ships and opportunities to develop commercially viable, hydrogen-powered and electric aircraft within the decade.
The prince, who is facing his youngest son the Duke of Sussex quitting royal life, took the opportunity to praise his eldest, the Duke of Cambridge, for his environmental work.
'Critically, we must foster innovation - and here, if you will allow me, I would like to acknowledge the new Earthshot initiative of my son, the Duke of Cambridge, which seems to me to extol the sort of horizon-lifting approach we need in order to give us hope,' he said.
Donald Trump slammed climate change activists such as Greta saying he rejected their gloomy outlook for 'optimism'. He met Charles twice last year but is not believed to have seen the royal in Davos
Donald Trump slaps at Greta Thunberg AGAIN saying she should focus on 'other countries' Donald Trump took another hit at teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg during remarks Wednesday at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland
Donald Trump took another hit at Greta Thunberg during his second day at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland Wednesday, lamenting that the 17-year-old climate activist made the cover of Time Magazine at a younger age than he did.
During a press conference Wednesday afternoon from Switzerland, a reporter brought up that Trump has previously said Thunberg needed to work on her 'anger.'
'I didn't say anger, I said anger management,' Trump corrected.
'How old is she?' Trump questioned, ignoring the reporters question on if the U.S. could be doing more to combat climate change, like Thunberg has insisted.
'She's 17,' a bunch of press members shouted out.
'Oh, that's good. She beat me out on Time Magazine,' Trump said.
Thunberg graced the front of Time Magazine as it revealed its coveted 'Person of the Year' in December 2019.
Trump, however, told reporters in Switzerland Wednesday that he doesn't believe her criticism of the U.S. and other developed countries are valid. Instead, he blamed others and said Thunberg should focus on other countries, as well.
'No, I didn't actually,' Trump said regarding Thunberg's message. 'But, I would have loved to have seen her speak. I did not. No, not at all.'
'We want to have the cleanest water on earth, we want to have the cleanest air on earth,' Trump said in touting the U.S. environment. 'Our numbers, as you saw, we had record numbers come out very recently. Our numbers are very, very good. Our environmental numbers, our water numbers, our numbers on air are tremendous.'
'We have to do something about other continents, we have to do something about other countries,' he admitted. 'When we're clean and beautiful and everything's good, but you have another continent where the fumes are rising at levels that you can't believe.'
'I mean, I think Greta ought to focus on those places,' he continued.
'We have a beautiful ocean called the Pacific Ocean, with thousands and thousands of tons of garbage flows toward us '' and that's put there by other countries,' he said. 'So, I think Greta has to start working on those other countries.'
US President Donald Trump dodged the climate-conscious youngster for a second year, using his own speech yesterday to pointedly blast 'prophets of doom' on climate change and snubbed their 'predictions of the apocalypse' in favour of 'optimism'.
And today Mr Trump lashed out at Miss Thunberg again telling her not to focus on the United States, but other nations before saying demands made by activists like her are 'unrealistic to a point where you can't live your lives'.
Mr Trump met Charles twice on visits to Britain in 2019 - the first for a state visit last June and then for NATO talks in December.
In their first meeting at Clarence House over the summer the royal spent 75 minutes longer than expected with the leader of the free world, trying to convince him of the dangers of global warning. Trump is said to have called the US 'clean' and pointed the finger at other countries.
The President then told Piers Morgan ITV's Good Morning Britain the following day he had a 'great' meeting with Charles but said the Queen's eldest son 'did most of the talking'.
Greta Thunberg watched Trump's Davis speech yesterday and afterwards introduced a talk on 'Averting a Climate Apocalypse', in which she scolded the world's elites for not doing enough to deal with the climate crisis.
Today Prince Charles smiled as he shook her hand but while they will have discussed climate change, details of what they said has not yet been revealed.
Around an hour earlier Charles told leaders gathered at the Forum: 'Ladies and gentleman, you all have a seat at the table as this must be the year that we put ourselves on the right track.'
He added: 'Do we want to go down in history as the people who did nothing to bring the world back from the brink, in trying to restore the balance, when we could have done? I don't want to.
'Just think for a moment, what good is all the extra wealth in the world gained from business as usual if you can do nothing with it except watch it burn in catastrophic conditions.
'This is why I need your help, your ingenuity and your practical skills to ensure that the private sector leads the world out of the approaching catastrophe into which we have engineered ourselves.'
In his speech, the Prince of Wales suggested 10 practical steps to avert climate crisis, such as:
Invest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) to help make sure new technologies are able to make it to market.Re-thinking how we can put nature at the heart of how the world economy operates.Invest in sectors such as agriculture and forestry.Away from the turmoil caused by Harry and Meghan's emigration to Canada, Charles travelled from St Gallen to Davos in a fully electric Jaguar I-Pace, rather than using a helicopter - but did fly to Switzerland in a private jet, which will produces six tonnes of carbon per passenger compared to 0.19 tonnes on a commercial flight.
The London to Davos leg of the journey would cost around £15,000 [$20,000] by private plane alone - and will cost the same again as he heads to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories later.
Charles' usual ministerial jet Voyager is believed to be undergoing scheduled maintenance
Today he warned in his Davos speech that the world is in the midst of a crisis that 'is now I hope well understood'.
He added: 'Global warning, climate change and the devastating loss of biodiversity are the greatest threats humanity has ever faced.'
He described his dedication to encouraging corporate, social and environmental responsibility as an 'uphill struggle'.
But he added: 'Now it is time to take it to the next level. In order to secure our future and to prosper we need to evolve our economic model.'
The prince used his speech to launch a new Sustainable Markets Initiative to help financial markets become more sustainable.
He outlined 10 practical actions to drive the approach, including identifying game-changers and barriers to transition and investing in Stem (science, technology, engineering, and maths) and innovation, adding this included 'AI, where that does not seek to challenge or replace unique human characteristics and intuition'.
Charles met Greta Thunberg for the first time today - the Swedish teenager looked serious as she listened to Trump's speech yesterday
Charles, on a positive note, said the world was 'further ahead than we might think' in achieving the goal of a profitable but sustainable future, citing developments such as plans for green engines for ships and opportunities to develop commercially viable, hydrogen-powered and electric aircraft within the decade.
Prince Charles's 10 practical steps to avert climate crisis and make the world economy more sustainableThe Prince of Wales used his speech to launch a new Sustainable Markets Initiative to help financial markets become more sustainable.
He outlined 10 practical actions to drive the approach, these are:
1. Invest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) to help make sure new technologies are able to make it to market.
2. Invest in sectors such as agriculture and forestry.
3. Re-thinking how we can put nature at the heart of how the economy operates.
4. Looking at current industries and try and imagine how they could be transformed to become more sustainable.
5. Ensure that investing support sustainability.
6. Make sure consumers are able to better see the products that are better for the planet.
7. The prince also talked about identifying 'gamechangers' and barriers, such as regulations that might need to change to put in place his Sustainable Markets Initiative.
8. New governance standards to provide transparency to company's supply chains.
9. Remove subsidies that prevent the economy becoming more sustainable.
10. Create pathways to get to net zero.
The prince, who is facing his youngest son the Duke of Sussex quitting royal life, took the opportunity to praise his eldest, the Duke of Cambridge, for his environmental work.
'Critically, we must foster innovation - and here, if you will allow me, I would like to acknowledge the new Earthshot initiative of my son, the Duke of Cambridge, which seems to me to extol the sort of horizon-lifting approach we need in order to give us hope,' he said.
In his speech in the Swiss resort Charles said that being socially and environmentally responsible should be the cheapest option available to all.
'We cannot expect consumers to make sustainable choices if these choices are not clearly laid before them,' he said.
'As consumers increasingly demand sustainable products, they deserve to be told more about product lifecycles, supply chains and production methods.
'For a transition to take place, being socially and environmentally conscious cannot only be for those who can afford it.
'If all the true costs are taken into account, being socially and environmentally responsible should be the least expensive option because it leaves the smallest footprint behind.'
Charles has vowed to use his platform to get the message out.
'With 2020 being seen as the 'super year', kick-starting a decade of action for people and planet, I intend to do my utmost to ensure that the message of urgency, systemic change, collaboration and integration is heard,' he said.
The heir to the throne hopes his Sustainable Markets Council, which is supported by the World Economic Forum, will bring together leading individuals from the public and private sectors, charitable organisations and investors to identify ways to rapidly decarbonise the global economy and make the transition to sustainable markets.
Trump held his final WEF press conference at around the time Charles took to the stage to speak today
Donald Trump arrived at the Davos summit yesterday morning ahead of his keynote address where he said the US was doingb a good job on environmental issues
The President arrived at the annual gathering of the world's political and business elite sporting what appeared to be a rubber cover over his usual black brogues
Donald Trump's daughter Ivanka is also at Davos, pictured hugging Gianni Infantino, President of FIFA, on the sidelines of a press conference today
Over the past few months, Trump has made Thunberg a target on social media. Last month, Trump reacted to the teenager being named Time magazine's 2019 'Person of the Year' by mocking her serious demeanour.
Trump shared a congratulatory tweet about Thunberg's win from actress Roma Downey.
'So ridiculous,' the president responded. 'Greta must work on her Anger Management problem, then go to a good old fashioned movie with a friend! Chill Greta, Chill!'
Thunberg responded by briefly changing her Twitter bio to read: 'A teenager working on her anger management problem. Currently chilling and watching a good old fashioned movie with a friend.'
Charles gives climate change lecture... after heading to Davos on a private jet (but did do the final leg in an electric Jag)Charles took a private jet to Davos - which will produce 6 tonnes of carbon per passenger compared to 0.19 tonnes on a commercial flight - Charles jumped in an electric Jaguar at St Gallen airport to drive the two hours to the World Economic Forum, shunning a fuel-guzzling helicopter used by most VIPs.
The London to Davos leg of the journey would cost around £15,000 [$20,000] by private plane alone - and will cost the same again as he heads to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories later.
World leaders and leading business figures have faced criticism in the past for flying to Davos by private jet.
Scott Furssedonn-Wood, the prince's deputy private secretary, has said: 'We always look at a range of options, we take a number of factors into account when we decide how to travel, we weigh up things like cost of course with environmental impact as you'd expect, but also efficiency of time, size of delegation and crucially safety and security.'
He highlighted a number of trips including Charles's official visits to Japan and India where he flew by commercial airlines, but for this tour he said all of their considerations could not be satisfied by scheduled flights.
Trump had also weighed in September after Thunberg made a passionate plea to world leaders during the United Nations General Assembly to do something about the warming earth.
Greta Thunberg rose to national prominence after her fiery climate activism went viral.
Trump, however, told reporters in Switzerland today that he doesn't believe her criticism of the U.S. and other developed countries are valid. Instead, he blamed others and said Thunberg should focus on other countries, as well.
'No, I didn't actually,' Trump said regarding Thunberg's message. 'But, I would have loved to have seen her speak. I did not. No, not at all.'
'We want to have the cleanest water on earth, we want to have the cleanest air on earth,' Trump said in touting the U.S. environment. 'Our numbers, as you saw, we had record numbers come out very recently. Our numbers are very, very good. Our environmental numbers, our water numbers, our numbers on air are tremendous.'
'We have to do something about other continents, we have to do something about other countries,' he admitted. 'When we're clean and beautiful and everything's good, but you have another continent where the fumes are rising at levels that you can't believe.'
'I mean, I think Greta ought to focus on those places,' he continued.
'We have a beautiful ocean called the Pacific Ocean, with thousands and thousands of tons of garbage flows toward us '' and that's put there by other countries,' he said. 'So, I think Greta has to start working on those other countries.'
Trump called Thunberg 'very angry' in a new interview, after saying climate activists were out-of-touch 'alarmists' and 'heirs of yesterday's fortune tellers' during his appearance Tuesday morning at the World Economic Forum.
Davos has no airport so VIPs often land at one such as D¼bendorf or St Gallen in Switzerland and jump on a helicopter for the final part of the journey - but Charles will drive through the alps instead
Thunberg was featured on the cover of Time Magazine in December 2019 as it revealed she was named its 'Person of the Year'
Charles may use multi-million-pound legacy from George VI to fund Harry and Meghan Prince Charles may turn to his multi-million pound inheritances from King George VI and the Queen Mother to bankroll Harry and Meghan's Canadian adventure - but experts in royal finances fear taxpayers could still end up picking up the bill.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are worth up to £34million between them but have to pay back the £2.4million of public funds spent refurbishing Frogmore Cottage and are expected to buy or rent a gated mansion in Canada.
Charles has historically paid his son around £2.3million-a-year from his £1.2billion Duchy of Cornwall estate - which is considered a public asset because it has been gifted to the heir to the throne by every British monarch since 1337.
But critics fear the money will come indirectly from the public purse because most of Charles' wealth comes from the Duchy because he was 'taken to the cleaners' during his divorce from Harry's mother Diana, Princess of Wales.
Charles is understood to have inherited millions from his grandfather King George VI, who died in 1952, and a significant sum from the Queen Mother, who died in 2002.
David McClure, the author of Royal Legacy, told The Times 'The Duchy of Cornwall is a cash cow for Charles so he is likely to have been able to use some of that money to build up a private portfolio of shares. Historically there has been a blurring of what is official spending and what is private.'
Thunberg had been seated in the audience looking on, but Trump told the Wall Street Journal afterward that, 'I don't really know anything about her,' before calling her angry.
The prince's tour - the highest-level visit by the royal family to Israel and the Palestinian areas - will mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the former Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau.
The heir to the throne will deliver a speech at the World Holocaust Forum being staged at Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Centre in Jerusalem, on Thursday, joining around 40 world leaders and other dignitaries.
The prince has been invited to the major event by Israel's president, Reuven Rivlin, and will meet the statesman during his two-day visit and Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, who has invited Charles to visit the Occupied Palestinian Territories. While in the Middle East, the prince will also visit Bethlehem, the birthplace of Christ.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex's carbon footprint is also under scrutiny.
Harry, Meghan and Archie first flew the 4,700 miles from London to Vancouver together at the end of November for the start of their six-week Canadian holiday.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex returned to the UK in early January without their son, leaving him with his nanny and the Duchess' best friend Jessica Mulroney, before dropping the bombshell they were quitting as senior royals.
Hours later Meghan flew back to Canada from Britain - rumoured to be on a BA flight from Heathrow to Vancouver - and is back staying in the £10million waterfront mansion they stayed in over Christmas and New Year with plans to stay there for the foreseeable future.
Harry is now reunited with his wife and son after another flight to Canada on Monday night.
Charles' speech to the World Economic Forum in DavosLadies and Gentlemen, I am most touched that Professor Klaus Schwab should have invited me to be with you as we mark the 50th Anniversary of the World Economic Forum and its mission to 'improve the state of the world'. It is this mission, and the urgent need to shape the next fifty years, that has inspired me to be with you here today, after an absence of 30 years I hate to tell you.
We are in the midst of a crisis that is now, I hope, well understood. Global warming, climate change, and the devastating loss of biodiversity are the greatest threats humanity has ever faced '' and one largely of our own creation.
I have dedicated much of my life to the restoration of harmony between humanity, Nature and the environment, and to the encouragement of corporate social and environmental responsibility. Quite frankly, it has been a bit of an uphill struggle. But, now, it is time to take it to the next level.
In order to secure our future and to prosper, we need to evolve our economic model. Having been engaged in these issues since I suppose 1968, when I made my first speech on the environment, and having talked to countless experts across the globe over those decades, I have come to realize that it is not a lack of capital that is holding us back, but rather the way in which we deploy it. Therefore, to move forward, we need nothing short of a paradigm shift, one that inspires action at revolutionary levels and pace. With this in mind, I am delighted to be launching a Sustainable Markets Initiative, with the generous support of the World Economic Forum.
For me, Sustainable Markets offer a new systems-level framework which ground markets in a higher purpose mission '' in other words, putting people and planet at the heart of global value creation.
Sustainable markets generate long-term value through the balance of natural, social, human and financial capital. Systems-level change within sustainable markets is driven by consumer and investor demand, access to sustainable alternatives and an enhanced partnership between the public, private and philanthropic sectors. Sustainable markets can also inspire the technology, innovation and scale that we so urgently need.
The past decade has shown us just how quickly industry transformation can happen when you reimagine and re-engineer the business model - we need only look to mobile technology, electric vehicles, the space industry, e-commerce and online streaming for inspiration. Looking forward, new employment opportunities, entire new industries and markets rooted in sustainability are within our grasp, with the potential for unprecedented economic growth.
Changing our current trajectory will require bold and imaginative action, together with determination and decisive leadership. We all know the problem, and increasingly we agree on the direction. 2020 is the time for solutions and practical action. With our S.D.G. and Paris commitments in mind, - and the good news is that they are well within our reach if, Ladies and Gentlemen, we all pull together in a coordinated global initiative to tackle the greatest global threat - I would like to outline ten practical actions that will drive forward the sustainable markets approach.
First of all - shifting our default setting to 'sustainable'. For sustainable markets this means everyone in a leadership role putting genuine sustainability at the centre of our business models, our analysis, our decisions and our actions. In other words, put simply, we need to put Nature, and the protection of Nature's capital '' from which we draw an annual return '' at the heart of how we operate. It also means further defining and developing the discipline and framework of sustainable markets and sustainable industries.
Second - outlining responsible transition pathways to decarbonize and move to net zero. It is time for businesses, industries and countries alike to design and implement how they will decarbonize and transition to net zero. Moving together, with clear roadmaps, will create efficiencies and economies of scale that will allow us to leapfrog our collective progress and accelerate our transition. A little competition in this area could go a long way.
Third - reimagining industries through the lens of sustainable markets. Using a sustainable markets framework, we have an incredible opportunity to create entirely new sustainable industries, products, services and supply chains, based on a circular bioeconomy, while in parallel helping to transition our existing systems. To do this we must look at our markets using a business model approach to revenue generation and system operations.
Fourth - identifying game-changers and barriers to transition. We need to identify, showcase and invest in the game-changing technologies and solutions that are emerging around the world. To accelerate, we must also identify the barriers to progress, be it policy, regulation, infrastructure, investment or the wider enabling environment. Often, I have found, it is simply about bringing the right people together to help lift those roadblocks out of the way. This convening role is, I hope, at least one practical contribution my Sustainable Markets Initiative can make. Because it is only by seeking out these game-changers and barriers that we will be able to make tangible progress.
Fifth - reversing perverse subsidies and improving incentives for sustainable alternatives. To achieve scale within sustainable markets we must not be afraid to adapt our long-standing incentive structures if we are to reap the benefits afforded by a more sustainable world. Re-orientating economic subsidies, financial incentives and regulations can have a dramatic and transformative effect on our market systems. It is time to level the playing field and to think about how we properly deploy taxes, policies and regulation in a way that catalyses sustainable markets. For instance, for many years I have tried to encourage the adoption of the 'polluter pays' principle in order to provide the necessary incentives. Public policy, therefore, has a critical role to play.
Sixth - investing in STEM, innovation and R&D. Whether it is AI (where that does not seek to challenge or replace unique human characteristics and intuition), or indeed nuclear fusion, 3-D printing, energy storage, electric transportation, carbon capture, renewables or biotech'...we are on the verge of catalytic breakthroughs that will alter our view of what is possible '' and profitable '' within the framework of a sustainable future. To move forward, we must acknowledge that sustainability and profitability are no longer mutually exclusive. Effective solutions must ensure that sustainable technologies and alternatives are competitively priced.
Seventh - investing in Nature as the true engine of our economy. Beyond major innovations and technologies, we must also look to invest in Nature-based solutions in sectors like agriculture, forestry and fisheries '' indeed, for all the resources that we take from the Earth. Nature's contribution to the global economy is estimated to be worth more than $125 trillion annually '' greater than the entire world's annual G.D.P., estimated at $85.91 Trillion in 2018. Building conservation and nature-based solutions into our asset base and supply chains can, therefore, offer significant economic growth opportunities for countries and businesses alike '' including in areas such as the circular bioeconomy, ecotourism and green public infrastructure. If, Ladies and Gentlemen, we valued our natural capital properly (as I have been trying to say for quite a long time), our national and individual balance sheets might look very different indeed!
Eighth - adopting common metrics and standards. An increasing number of corporations are adopting E.S.G. methodologies and highlighting their S.D.G.-aligned investments. However, it is time to move to unified metrics and global standards. People want to trust that the goods and services they buy are socially, environmentally and ethically produced. Through new technologies we have the ability to tag, track and trace supply chains in unprecedented ways '' so it is time to make this level of supply chain transparency the norm.
Ninth - making the sustainable options the trusted and attainable options for consumers. With consumers controlling an estimated 60% of global G.D.P., people around the world have the power to drive the transformation to sustainable markets. Yet, we cannot expect consumers to make sustainable choices if these choices are not clearly laid before them. As consumers increasingly demand sustainable products, they deserve to be told more about product lifecycles, supply chains and production methods. For a transition to take place, being socially and environmentally conscious cannot only be for those who can afford it. If all the true costs are taken into account, being socially and environmentally responsible should be the least expensive option because it leaves the smallest footprint behind. We must communicate better with consumers about the sustainability of the goods, services and investments we offer.
Tenth - connecting investments to investables using platforms that can rapidly scale solutions. On every pressing issue we face, there are solutions that are not just available, but increasingly cost effective. At the same time there are trillions of dollars in sovereign wealth funds, pension funds, insurance, and asset portfolios looking for investible and sustainable projects with good long-term value and rates of return. It is time to align sustainable solutions with funding in a way that can transform the market place. This requires not only showcasing high potential investments, but that we reimagine financial analysis, structuring and models of return.
Now if we all accept that a profitable, yet sustainable, future is the desired end state '' the questions we must ask are: How quickly can we get there and who are the leaders who will drive us forward? I submit that we are, in fact, far further ahead than we might think, making it critical that we leverage the vital work already underway. I would therefore like to highlight just a few examples to demonstrate that in nearly every industry we are seeing progress that we can build on.
To start with, despite great efforts over the past 35 years, I have found that we could never convince financial and capital markets of the overwhelming need to invest in ways that truly benefit people and planet. Yet, in the last two or three years, we have seen a dramatic increase in sustainable investing. Investment managers frequently tell me that the demand for these investments far outstrip supply. At the same time, returns on sustainable investments are increasingly out-performing traditional portfolios.
In the financial sector, many central banks and financial institutions have committed to integrating climate risk into stress-testing, supervision and disclosure. With this progress there are now growing calls from financial institutions and companies alike to make disclosure mandatory. In aviation, there are opportunities to develop commercially viable, hydrogen-powered and electric aircraft within the decade. In the interim, many in the industry are ready to adopt Sustainable Aviation Fuel made from waste material that can reduce carbon emissions - starting today.
In shipping, the manufacturers of ship engines are proposing it may take two to three years to build engines that run on green ammonia and methanol made from solar and wind power. These ships could start operations in the middle of the decade and become the norm around 2030. This hasn't all been certified and tested, but if the industry and the regulators make a real effort, we can make it work '' creating a real tipping point.
In renewable energy, we are witnessing breakthroughs in the cost of solar that have the potential to revolutionize almost every industry. We are rapidly approaching a time when renewable energy will be an order of magnitude cheaper than fossil fuels. In carbon capture and storage, there are a growing number of initiatives that might just buy us vital time as we make our transition to sustainable markets and a net zero economy.
In forestry, Ladies and Gentlemen, we can now transform wood, the most versatile natural material on the planet, into a new generation of wood-based products capable of offering alternatives to plastics, chemicals, textiles, transport and construction. Increasingly, we are seeing that the bioeconomy has the potential to ignite new industries and fuel sustainable markets '' thus providing, at last, the economic incentive to value the vastly important eco-system services provided by the immense biodiversity and carbon-capture potential of restored and expanded forests, along with huge opportunities in integrated agro-forestry systems.
When the right sustainable goods and services are developed, proved and affordable, the choice to adopt them will become obvious. Truly to seize these opportunities, we need to visualize the future and have the confidence to invest in it. If there is one critical lesson we have to learn from this crisis it is that Nature, Ladies and Gentlemen, is not a separate asset class. Nature is, in fact, the life blood of our financial markets and, as such, we must '' rapidly '' re-align our own economy to mimic Nature's economy and work in harmony with it.
After nearly fifty years of trying to champion this cause, I cannot help but feel that, finally, we are ready to change our trajectory. For my part, I have made Sustainable Markets my priority for 2020 and actually beyond '' for however long it takes. I have instructed my teams and my organizations similarly to align with this effort '' and I expect them to contribute. With the stakes this high, I would challenge you to do the same. And, critically, we must foster innovation - and here, if you will allow me, I would like to acknowledge the new Earthshot initiative of my son, The Duke of Cambridge, which seems to me to extol the sort of horizon-lifting approach we need in order to give us hope.
Beginning here at Davos, and throughout the year '' and in order to identify game-changers, investments and barriers to transition - I will be convening a broad range of industry and issue roundtables including, but not limited to: aviation; water; carbon capture and storage; shipping; forestry; plastics; financing; digital technology; the bioeconomy; nature-based solutions; renewable energy; batteries, storage and electric vehicles; fisheries; integrated healthcare; cement; steel; traceability and labelling; and agriculture '' at the end of which I shall probably be dead. So Ladies and Gentlemen, as we look to design and create sustainable markets and industries, these roundtables will bring together system innovators, investors and decision-makers to start designing and charting the course.
I believe profoundly in the critical importance, at this juncture, of forming an unprecedented global alliance of investors which can genuinely mobilize the kind of trillions of dollars needed to put our economy on the correct path. This would be the most dramatic act of responsible leadership ever seen by the global private sector and would at once provide a catalytic incentive for the public sector to follow.
With 2020 being seen as the 'super year', kick-starting a decade of action for people and planet, there is also an opportunity to bring sustainable markets into focus in each of this year's major global meetings. While it will be a bit of a challenge for me to get to them all, I intend to do my utmost to ensure that the message of urgency, systemic change, collaboration and integration is heard.
After all, Ladies and Gentlemen, do we want to go down in history as the people who did nothing to bring the world back from the brink in time to restore the balance when we could have done? I don't want to. And just think for a moment '' what good is all the extra wealth in the world, gained from 'business as usual', if you can do nothing with it except watch it burn in catastrophic conditions? This is why I need your help, your ingenuity and your practical skills to ensure that the private sector leads the world out of the approaching catastrophe into which we have engineered ourselves.
It is my greatest possible hope that you will join me this year in accelerating the transition to sustainable markets and rapid decarbonisation '' Ladies and Gentlemen, you all have a seat at the table as this must be the year that we put ourselves on the right track. Everything I have tried to do, and urge, over the past fifty years has been done with our children and grandchildren in mind, because I did not want to be accused by them of doing nothing except prevaricate and deny the problem. Now of course, they are accusing us of exactly that. Put yourselves in their position, Ladies and Gentlemen. We simply cannot waste any more time '' the only limit is our willingness to act, and the time to act is now.
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VIDEO - (3) Praying Medic on Twitter: "POTUS: ''Nadler, I've known him a long time, he's a sleazebag, everyone knows that'' https://t.co/dJ2vB532Fd" / Twitter
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VIDEO - California Firemen Find Signatures of Directed Energy Weapons '' Forbidden Knowledge TV
Wed, 22 Jan 2020 08:56
The Camp Fire in Paradise, California began on November 8th of last year, destroying over 153,000 acres before finally being put out over a month later on December 14th. Over 13,000 homes and hundreds of businesses were destroyed, with more than half of this damage described as occurring within the first four hours.
The anomalies of the Camp Fire were ignored by the mainstream media and were only reported on a handful of independent websites, including ForbiddenKnowledgeTV.net.
Fires were observed burning at temperatures at least three times hotter than an average house fire; hot enough to melt aluminum and glass, reducing homes to pure ash yet leaving plastic trash cans beside them untouched.
Most of us are familiar with how microwave ovens heat and interact with foods and how this differs from the effects of thermal or convection ovens. We know that plastics are ''microwave safe'', whereas metals explode violently when subjected microwaves. The effects of the NorCal fires of the past couple of years have been widely observed to resemble the effects one might expect to see from directed microwave radiation or masers.
Maser is the acronym for ''microwave amplification by stimulated emission of radiation''. Likewise, laser is the acronym for ''light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation''. Both masers and lasers are forms of amplified, coherent, electromagnetic radiation and both frequency ranges are used in various Directed Energy Weapons (DEWs). DEWs are a newer class of weapons that are starting to come into wider use.
The SupposedlyShelly YouTube channel interviewed retired California firemen, John Lord and Matt (last name withheld) about the anomalies they've observed and both were left to conclude that DEWs were involved. The firemen reported that plastics attached to metal completely melted while plastics standing alone withstood what must have been extraordinary heat. Other investigators observed how guardrails caught fire at the points where the metal bolts connected to the wood. DEWs could produce these effects.
DEWs can:
be invisible and inaudible.be immune to gravity, wind and Coriolis forces.travel at light-speed and have near infinite range and thus be suitable for use in space warfare.be land-based, mounted on planes, drones, satellites or Boeing X-37s.have pinpoint accuracy.One disturbing effect mentioned by the firemen that I hadn't seen until I saw this video was the anomalous scarring along large swathes of forest, with the rest untouched.
The question of course is why the innocent populace of Paradise would be the target of a diabolical stealth attack using advanced weapons '' and by whom?
Rumors swirled about a high-speed railway and gold reserves discovered in the Paradise area but the most pervasive rumors involved the UN's Agenda 21 action plan and a Globalist plot to declare designated areas unfit for human habitation; to deny property rights, to undermine US sovereignty and to herd any survivors into megacities, with the goal of subjugating humanity to an ''eco-totalitarian'' regime.
While crazy-sounding and unbelievable, one cannot deny that mainstream media hosts were heard casually discussing whether people should be allowed to rebuild in Paradise.
Last Wednesday, the missing persons call center for those who were unaccounted for during the Camp Fire was closed down. Butte County officials were able to locate 3,200 people, with three individuals still considered missing, according to the sheriff's office. Four victims have not yet been named, deputies said. The Camp Fire was the deadliest fire in California's history, claiming 86 lives.
VIDEO - Wikileaks' newest expose might lead to OPCW's downfall - YouTube
Wed, 22 Jan 2020 08:47
VIDEO - What is 23andMe doing w/ your genetic data? - YouTube
Wed, 22 Jan 2020 08:42
VIDEO - VIRGINIA: NBC Reporter Fails to Recognize Pledge of Allegiance, Calls it 'Chants of We Will Not Comply' - National File
Wed, 22 Jan 2020 08:37
An NBC reporter tweeting on the controversial gun rally taking place in Virginia reported on chants of 'I will not comply,' but posted a video of a small group reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, which caused a small backlash, prompting social media users to correct the correspondent's initial tweet.New York based NBC reporter Gabe Gutierrez's tweet drew negative attention when he wrote: ''Chants of ''we will not comply'' from gun rights protesters in Richmond.''
The tweet, in fact, contained a crowd of Gadsden flag-waving attendees chanting the Pledge of Allegiance.
Chants of ''we will not comply'' from gun rights protesters in Richmond. pic.twitter.com/BjEfniwMKP
'-- Gabe Gutierrez (@gabegutierrez) January 20, 2020
Following the tweet, many tweeters took to the comments to correct the reporter.
You know we can also watch the video, right?
'-- Ian Miles Cheong (@stillgray) January 20, 2020
YouTuber, Styxhexenhammer, who has previously railed against the mainstream media, said the following at the tweet: ''Is there literally no boundary anymore for corporate sellouts like you? No standard at all in your mediocre reporting? To the point where you post things that are objectively contrary even to your own clips and images, without apparent reason?''
Is there literally no boundary anymore for corporate sellouts like you? No standard at all in your mediocre reporting? To the point where you post things that are objectively contrary even to your own clips and images, without apparent reason?
'-- Styxhexenhammer666 (@Styx666Official) January 20, 2020
Others quote-tweeted the mistake.
Crowd recites the Pledge of Allegiance.
NBC reporter tweets: "Chants of ''we will not comply'' from gun rights protesters in Richmond." https://t.co/1l70k83ug8
'-- Steve Guest (@SteveGuest) January 20, 2020
Uhhh that's the Pledge of Allegiance, Mr. NBC ''news'' reporter guy. https://t.co/4SQEAme2L1
'-- Pete D'Abrosca (@pdabrosca) January 20, 2020
Gutierrez quickly issued a correction, as some believed the reporter to have uploaded the incorrect file, by tweeting, ''Earlier posted video of Pledge of Allegiance. For those who've asked, here's the video of 'We will not comply,' Taken seconds apart.''
Earlier posted video of Pledge of Allegiance. For those who've asked, here's the video of ''We will not comply,.'' Taken seconds apart. pic.twitter.com/Egz4mqVhzo
'-- Gabe Gutierrez (@gabegutierrez) January 20, 2020
The correction, however, wasn't well received by social media users.
It should also be noted that it seems the ''We will not comply'' chant was much shorter, and chanted by a smaller number of attendees.
Some maintained their allegiance to the flag and will to refuse to comply.
I pledge allegiance to the Flag.
I will not comply.
Have a nice day.
Chris from Portsmouth, VA
'-- Christopher Stearns (@chris_stearns) January 20, 2020
Another pointed out a double standard, by tweeting ''imagine championing 'Resist' for 3 years and taking issue with 'we will not comply'''
imagine championing "Resist" for 3 years and taking issue with "we will not comply"
'-- Justin Houston (@houstonniner) January 20, 2020
You're too late, dude. The damage is done and it's gone viral. CNN may be hiring. They love these types of lies. But you did show twitter the patriotism of these peaceful protesters. Epic. Did your part to reflect Trump. Priceless
'-- Camille #17 (@cbrads17) January 20, 2020
On the reporter's initial tweet, conservative author and commentator, Pete D'Abrosca, told National File:
''NBC has a clear agenda for today's rally: to baselessly impugn supporters of the Second Amendment as violent radicals, when in fact they're legally and patriotically exercising their First and Second Amendment rights. Look no further than NBC 'reporter' Ben Collins' now-deleted Tweet from Sunday night for proof. He described Monday's events in Richmond as a 'white nationalist rally' before the event even began. As usual, the media are acting criminally in their blatant mischaracterizations of ordinary Americans.''
.'...@oneunderscore__'(C) appears to have deleted this Tweet.
What happened, Ben? pic.twitter.com/PulBqZPBlH
'-- Pete D'Abrosca (@pdabrosca) January 20, 2020
Another NBC reporter deleted a tweet advising his fellow journalists to take caution and to report factually to avoid helping the ''neo-Nazi'' cause.
VIDEO - AOC claims there were 'almost no police officers' at Virginia Second Amendment rally
Wed, 22 Jan 2020 08:14
| January 20, 2020 07:20 PM
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wondered why there were "almost no police officers" at a Second Amendment rally in Virginia that saw a heavy police presence.
Thousands of gun rights advocates demonstrated in Richmond, Virginia, on Monday in protest of a series of gun control bills proposed by Democrats. While speaking the same day at Blackout for Human Rights: MLK Now 2020 in Harlem's Riverside Church, the New York Democrat criticized the rally.
"There's this gun rights protest happening down in Richmond," she began as the event's host said, "On MLK day!"
"On MLK day!" Ocasio-Cortez said before contrasting the Richmond rally with the Baltimore, Maryland, riots following the 2015 death of Freddie Gray while he was in police custody.
"But here's the image that has struck with me the most about that. When we go out and march for the dignity and the recognition of the lives of people like Freddie Gray and Eric Garner, the whole place is surrounded by police in riot gear without a gun in sight. And here are all of these people flying Confederate flags, with semi-automatic weapons, and there's almost no police officers at that protest," she said.
She added, "Who or what are our institutions protecting from whom? That image conveys it all."
During the 2015 Baltimore riots, approximately 486 people were arrested, and over 100 police officers were injured. More than 280 businesses were damaged, and nearly 150 vehicles were set on fire, amounting to over $9 million in damages.
In an effort to avoid a repeat of the violence at the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, officers from the Virginia State Police, the Virginia Capitol police, and the Richmond police deployed on rooftops and patrolled on bicycles and in cars during the Richmond demonstration. The FBI additionally worked with local law enforcement to weed out "threats of violence" ahead of time.
Authorities reported one arrest at the rally, which was attended by over 20,000 people. The Washington Examiner reached out to local police about the number of officers present but did not receive an immediate response.
VIDEO - St. Paul High School Students Hold Mock Impeachment Vote - YouTube
Wed, 22 Jan 2020 08:10
VIDEO-Haggis_UK 🇬🇧 🇪🇺 on Twitter: "Sajid Javid - The UK plans to go ahead with our digital services tax in April. Steve Mnuchin (US treasury secretary) - "If people want to arbitrarily put taxes on our digital companies, we'll consider arbitra
Wed, 22 Jan 2020 08:05
Log in Sign up Haggis_UK 🇬🇧 🇪🇺 @ Haggis_UK Sajid Javid - The UK plans to go ahead with our digital services tax in April.Steve Mnuchin (US treasury secretary) - "If people want to arbitrarily put taxes on our digital companies, we'll consider arbitrarily putting taxes on car companies"
#WEF20 #PMQs pic.twitter.com/OI4x0Gc0ea 5:35 AM - 22 Jan 2020 Twitter by: Haggis_UK 🇬🇧 🇪🇺 @Haggis_UK Marek @ MarekmikaMarek
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@Haggis_UK @sajidjavid @sajidjavid How's it going knowing you're now an economic minnow and subject to bullying by the big boys
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VIDEO - Envelope - Apps on Google Play
Wed, 22 Jan 2020 08:00
Many people feel that they spend too much time on their phones and struggle to find a balance with technology.
Envelope is an app which temporarily transform your phone into a simpler, calmer device, helping you take a break away from your digital world.
Once you've printed and folded our special pdf into an envelope it will turn your phone into a very basic device which can only make and receive calls helping you focus on what's in front of you.
Printed buttons which subtly light up allow you to dial and take photographs, creating a calm but magical ''Envelope User Interface''.
Amazingly, touch screens still work through a layer of paper (you can try it right now!) because they sense the capacitance of your finger which is only slightly affected by the envelope. Existing functions such as fingerprint locking still function, and the user interface of the app is optimised for OLED displays, which means it won't drain your battery if it's on all day long.
The app is open source and all code is available on Github
We currently only support the Google Pixel 3a
VIDEO - What are societies of control? - YouTube
Wed, 22 Jan 2020 07:20
VIDEO-World needs to prepare for 'millions' of climate displaced: U.N. | Article [AMP] | Reuters
Wed, 22 Jan 2020 06:49
Wed Jan 22, 2020 / 5:34 AM EST
DAVOS, Switzerland DAVOS, Switzerland (Reuters) - The world needs to prepare for millions of people being driven from their homes by the impact of climate change, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said on Tuesday.
Speaking to Reuters at the World Economic Forum, Filippo Grandi said a U.N. ruling this week meant those fleeing as a result of climate change deserved international protection, and that it had broad implications for governments.
The U.N. Human Rights Committee made the landmark ruling on Monday in relation to Ioane Teitiota, from the Pacific nation of Kiribati, who brought a case against New Zealand after authorities denied his claim of asylum.
"The ruling says if you have an immediate threat to your life due to climate change, due to the climate emergency, and if you cross the border and go to another country, you should not be sent back, because you would be at risk of your life, just like in a war or in a situation of persecution," Grandi said.
"We must be prepared for a large surge of people moving against their will," he said. "I wouldn't venture to talk about specific numbers, it's too speculative, but certainly we're talking about millions here."
Potential drivers include wildfires like those seen in Australia, rising sea levels affecting low-lying islands, the destruction of crops and livestock in sub-Saharan Africa and floods worldwide, not least in parts of the developed world.
Whereas for most of its 70 years UNHCR, the UN's refugee agency, has worked to assist those fleeing poorer countries as a result of conflict, climate change is more indiscriminate.
"It is further proof that refugee movements and the broader issue of migration of populations ... is a global challenge that cannot be confined to a few countries," said Grandi.
Yet the convention relating to the status of refugees, signed in 1951, made no provision for climate change as a reason for people to flee their country and seek asylum elsewhere. As climate impacts grow, legal questions become more complicated.
UNHCR, whose budget has risen from $1 billion a year in the early 1990s to $8.6 billion in 2019 as conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria have forced civilians to flee, now assists more than 70 million forcibly displaced people.
Turkey is the largest recipient, with more than 4 million refugees and asylum seekers, the vast majority from Syria. That has strained Turkey's public finances and led President Tayyip Erdogan to demand more assistance from Europe.
Last November, Erdogan threatened to open the door for Syrian refugees to head to Europe unless the European Union stepped up, and he is now calling for the "resettlement" of up to 1 million Syrians in the north of their homeland.
Grandi said European governments needed to think hard about solutions to the migrant crisis, which has affected them since 2015, but also show more understanding of Turkey's situation.
"We must recognise that, for the past several years (Turkey)has been hosting the largest refugee population in the world," he said. "There's a lot of political talk. I concentrate on the substance of this, which is 'let's strengthen Turkey's ability to host refugees until they can go back safely, voluntarily to their countries'."
(Writing by Luke Baker; Editing by Alex Richardson and Kevin Liffey)
VIDEO-President Trump Remarks During Davos Dinner With Global Business Leaders '' Video and Transcript'... | The Last Refuge
Tue, 21 Jan 2020 23:49
President Trump and the U.S. delegation participate in a dinner during the Davos, World Economic Forum, with international business leaders. [ Video and Transcript ]
[Transcript] '' PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you very much, everybody. And a man who is highly respected and a great '-- formerly great athlete, at least '-- (laughter) '-- in my opinion, he's a great athlete. Johnny, please. Go ahead.
MR. INFANTINO: Thanks. Do I stand or do I sit?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Whoa, I like that. (Laughter.) (A soccer ball is presented.)
You can stand or sit.
MR. INFANTINO: I stand. I stand. I stand.
I brought this ball, dear President, ladies and gentlemen, just to remind everyone what the real priorities of life are '-- (laughter) '-- for certainly billions of people all around the world.
So, if I have a couple of minutes, you might wonder why the President of FIFA is introducing the President of the United States of America tonight. But, actually, it's not that far away. I've been told, President, by somebody of your staff '-- I don't say who '-- that today I am the second-most important man in Davos. (Laughter.) That's obviously not true. (Laughter.) You are all much more important, but it's nice to hear.
On the other side, there are at least three main reasons why it is the right thing that the President of FIFA tonight is introducing the President of the United States.
The first one is the power of football '-- or soccer, as you call it in North America. Soccer is much more than a game; you all know it. It's '-- 4 billion people watched the World Cup, the last World Cup. It's 1.2 billion people around the world who watched the last women's World Cup, won by the United States. Congratulations for that.
It is $200 billion generated all over the world in a year. It is 1.5 million jobs created in Russia for the last World Cup in 2018. It's much more than that, though, because it is more than just economy; it gives joy and it gives hope to millions and millions of people all over the world.
And that's what we have to do: We have to give joy and hope. We have to give optimism. And there is this good thing about football that when you win a game, you are in a good mood; when you lose a game, you're in a bad mood, but just for a little while. Then you concentrate on the next game that you want to win. And that's the first reason.
The second reason is the United States and soccer. And I have to inform you that the United States is on the verge of becoming the soccer power in the world. You don't know it yet, but it's coming faster than you think. We will organize the World Cup '-- the FIFA World Cup '-- in 2026, in North America. And President Trump has been in this venture from the very beginning. He wanted it to be organized, together with Canada and Mexico, in prelude of the great trade agreement that you just signed last week. So, soccer is in advance of trade as well.
And if '-- I don't know, in Italy, 250,000 jobs are created with soccer. In Spain, 185,000 jobs. In the U.S., President, in a view of the World Cup 2026, we have to create at least 1 million jobs for American citizens involved in soccer.
MR. INFANTINO: And the third reason, President, is yourself. President Trump is definitely a sportsman. I am lucky enough in my life to come across some of the most talented athletes in soccer. And President Trump is made of the same sort of fiber. He is a competitor. He wants to compete, he wants to win. He wants to show who is the best.
He says actually what many think, but more importantly, he does, then, what he says. And this brings '-- and you mentioned this morning, President '-- this brings the American Dream to reality. Now, the American Dream is something that not only Americans need to have. The American Dream is something that we all need to have '-- all those who love soccer, the 4 billion people around the world. We all need to dream this dream. And I'm sure that with your help, President, with your contribution and with the contribution of all of you here, we'll make sure the American Dream becomes a reality not only in America, as we have seen, but all over the world.
Ladies and gentlemen, the President of the United States of America. (Applause.)
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, thank you very much, Johnny. Thank you.
So, this is great, and we appreciate this. This is a very beautiful, good-looking ball. (Laughter.) (Inaudible.)
It's an honor to be involved with bringing the World Cup to the United States. I was involved as President-elect and even a little bit before that. But they called and they said, ''Could you help?'' And through yourself and your people, you chose the United States. And we're also bringing some games to Mexico and bringing some games to Canada. And that'll be tremendous. But I really appreciate it.
And I appreciate your steadfast movement. You just didn't stop. You wanted to have it there, and I wanted to have it there, and we really did it before we came to office. Before I got into office, we did that one. But it's going to be very exciting. You know, we have the Olympics coming '-- which I was very involved in '-- in '28. So between the World Cup and the Olympics, that's going to be very exciting. We have plenty of other good things.
But I want to thank you very much. You've been my great friend, and it's an honor.
MR. INFANTINO: Thank you.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Around the table tonight, we have the greatest businessmen in the world '-- names that I know very well but faces that I know very well, usually from looking at business publications for many years. And I thought what we'd do is just quickly go around the room, and you could introduce yourself and the name of your company. These people, we keep them down to a minimum. We could have had hundreds and hundreds, but we kept it down to a minimum, out of respect for you.
But I thought you may go down and just introduce yourselves and where you're from, a little bit about your company. Or, if you want to say something, this is a great time to promote what you want to promote. (Laughter.)
And you have been terrific. Congratulations. We'll start with you. Thank you, Patrice.
MR. MOTSEPE: Thank you. We do business in 50 countries. I had the honor of being one of the hundred greatest business minds, Forbes.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: That's right.
MR. MOTSEPE: And it's a great honor to be with you. And all I wanted to say is that Africa loves America. Africa loves you.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you very much. That's an honor. Thank you.
MR. MOTSEPE: And it's very, very important. We want America to do well. We want you to do well. And the success of America is a success of the rest of the world.
MR. MOTSEPE: We are in mining, financial services, property, real estate, technology. Very diversified. It's a great honor to be here. Thank you.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: You've done a great job. Thank you very much.
MR. MOTSEPE: Thank you, President.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Please. Please.
MR. PILLAY: Mr. President, thank you for the invitation. I'm Dilhan Pillay. I'm the CEO of Temasek International. It's owned by the Singapore government, but it's run independently. We have some $235 billion of assets. Our companies that we control have about $100 billion of revenue, and we operate all over the world. The United States has been the largest recipient of our capital in the last five years. Since we opened up an office in the U.S. '-- we now have three offices in the U.S. '-- and we will continue to be largest (inaudible) company, primarily in (inaudible) of innovation (inaudible) in U.S.
So we continue to look toward investing in the United States, primarily through (inaudible).
PRESIDENT TRUMP: And that's one of the reasons I'm here. Billions and billions of dollars is now coming back to the United States, and auto companies that made commitments that they'll be announcing. But billions of dollars is coming back to the United States. We appreciate that. Thank you.
Please. Larry? You know '-- we all know Larry. Larry Kudlow.
MR. KUDLOW: I'm Larry Kudlow, Director of the National Economic Council, and has the great honor to work for President Trump.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you, Larry. Great job. How's the economy going? Okay?
MR. KUDLOW: Pretty darn good, sir. (Laughter.)
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Okay. He gave us the right answer. Please.
MR. EKHOLM: So I'm B¶rje Ekholm, Ericsson. And it's all about 5G. And this is a 5G phone, with a commercial network in Switzerland with our equipment. So Swisscom is one of the first that launched globally. Of course, United States is our biggest market '--
MR. EKHOLM: '-- most important market. And what I would wish for is that the United States leads the development of 5G. That requires a couple of things.
So if I can bring that up, and '--
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Go ahead, please.
MR. EKHOLM: Spectrum '-- freeing up the C-Band really quickly; it's going to be critical. Permitting processes still takes two years. Networks running out of capacity '-- it happens globally; it happens here as well. It happens everywhere. And then, permitting process is a real restriction.
And the last one is actually the lack of power (inaudible). We need to really invest in building the capabilities to actually roll out the network.
When that happens, we will have '-- the United States will have a strong platform for innovation in 5G. And 5G, as the President well knows, is a consumer play, but it's also an enterprise platform.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: And a military play, too. Very important, militarily.
So, Ericsson has done a great job with 5G. And we're working with your company, as you know. We're bringing down the time periods. And spectrum, we're opening it up. We have Department of State, we have Commerce, and we have the military. So we're opening it all up. So we'll be '-- we're in very good shape.
I think we're far advanced, much further than people understand. We got off to a very late start before I got here. But once I got here, we've really caught up. So thank you very much. Congratulations. Great company.
MR. EKHOLM: Thank you.
MR. EKHOLM: We're opening the factory in Texas very shortly.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Oh, good. (Laughter.) I heard that. That's great. That's great.
MR. EKHOLM: (Inaudible.)
PRESIDENT TRUMP: We'll see you at the opening.
MR. AL MAHMOUD: Mr. President, my name is Mansoor Al Mahmoud, the CEO of QIA. We invest for the future generation, for a time beyond the hydrocarbon era. We have been investing in the U.S. Eighty percent of our pipeline goes to the U.S. market because the economy is doing very well.
MR. AL MAHMOUD: So we're hoping that we build a portfolio in a global basis.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: That's great. So you've made about 80 percent since I took office. So you happy to '-- (laughter) '-- you're very happy.
MR. AL MAHMOUD: Oh, yeah.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: He's invested here. And if he invested badly, he's about 80 percent up. That's if you've done badly, and I know you never do badly. (Laughter.) Okay, thank you.
MR. YOSHIDA: My name is Ken Yoshida, from Sony. This year is 60th anniversary where '-- after we started business in United States, and 50 years' anniversary of listing on New York Stock Exchange. So we have a quite a long history in the United States.
One more thing is, I've been the CEO of this company 21 months. And this month, I was scheduled to meet Prime Minister Abe. And that's going to be my first time. And I believe, Mr. President, you have met him face to face probably 15 times.
MR. YOSHIDA: So good (inaudible) are very important for us. Thank you very much.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, he is a great gentleman doing a great job. Thank you very much.
MR. SURI: Mr. President, good evening. I'm Rajeev Suri, CEO of Nokia. We're a 155-year-old company. We have about $25 billion in value. We also do 5G, and so U.S. is our strongest market. We have about 11,000 people there. That's one of our largest countries, by way of head count. We do a lot of research and development in California, in Chicago. And, of course, we have the famed Bell Labs '-- Nokia Bell Labs in New Jersey as well.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: And you're doing very well and advanced with 5G, so that's really great.
MR. SURI: Yes, absolutely. Yes.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: And we're giving you a lot of business.
MR. SURI: You are, indeed.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you very much. Thank you.
MR. LIDDELL: Sir, Chris Liddell. I have the honor to serve the President as Deputy Chief of Staff. Thank you.
AMBASSADOR MCMULLEN: I am Ed McMullen, and I have the great honor to be the President's Ambassador to Switzerland and to Liechtenstein.
DR. REINHARDT: Good evening, Mr. President. My name is Joerg Reinhardt. I'm the chairman of Novartis. We are active in more than 100 countries in the world, but our biggest footprint is in the U.S. We have around 15,000 people in the U.S. and a number of production plants.
We made, just recently, a number of acquisitions. And we are probably one of the more innovative companies in the pharmaceutical field. And we are happy to say that gene therapy and cell therapy '-- two really new technologies '-- were first approved in the U.S., and we are happy to continue to bring real innovation to American people.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: A lot of great progress being made, I know that. Thank you very much.
DR. REINHARDT: Thank you.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Keep those prices down, please. (Laughter.)
MR. BASTAKI: Good evening, Mr. President. My name is Farouk Bastaki. I'm the head of Kuwait Investment Authority. We started '-- we have the oldest sovereign wealth fund in the world; it started in 1953. And since then, we've been investing in the United States, and we've been doing very well. So thank you very much.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: No, thank you very much. And you know what they can do? They can bring out the dinner, we'll keep going, and if the press would like to have dinner, we'll serve you after we're finished. (Laughter.)
Yeah, bring out the dinner, please. Go ahead.
MR. VAN BEURDEN: Mr. President, Ben van Beurden, Royal Dutch Shell. We have been in your country for more than a century. We operate in every state of the country. At any one year, we invest, on average, $10 billion in your country. So we have a big thing going on all the time.
You visited our facility in Pennsylvania, the (inaudible) Petrochemicals Complex. And, very kindly, Mr. President, just after, Secretary Mnuchin helped out with some of the issues that we had to bring steel into the country, for which we are very grateful.
We are, of course, a player in the whole spectrum '-- in oil and gas, onshore, offshore, petrochemicals, but increasingly, also renewables, Mr. President '-- in solar, wind, and other technologies that we bring.
Maybe not well known, but we are probably the largest or definitely one of the largest (inaudible) that we bring from the United States.
[End Transcript]
VIDEO-January 21, 2020 First Impeachment Witness - Ukraine and Iran Nuke Smuggler, Leonid Vindman - YouTube
Tue, 21 Jan 2020 18:43
VIDEO-Courtney Holland 🇺🇸 on Twitter: "Mayor Pete begging the crowd in Iowa to clap https://t.co/sSkyRNZvrg" / Twitter
Tue, 21 Jan 2020 16:47
Crowd? That looks like someone's living room and they invited a few friends over to laugh at Pete
VIDEO-He's dead Jim, DEAD! Jay Sekulow just absolutely destroyed Adam Schiff and his little impeachment sham too (watch)
Tue, 21 Jan 2020 15:15
It's going to be a rough Impeachment Trial for Adam Schiff for Brains '... and it couldn't happen to a more deserving, bug-eyed little fella.
Damn, this was good.
Jay Sekulow, chief counsel for President Trump, criticizes lead House impeachment manager Adam Schiff and calls on senators to approve the impeachment resolution that sets up the rules for the Senate trial https://t.co/gSRupclymD pic.twitter.com/O8Dq2PUQFq
'-- ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) January 21, 2020
'Which is not the first time Mr. Schiff has put words into transcripts that didn't exist.'
The president was denied the right to cross-examine witnesses.The president to access evidence.The president was denied the right to have counsel at hearings.Dude, Sekulow came to PLAY.
Trump Attorney Jay Sekulow is destroying Adam Schiff.
'-- Kambree Kawahine Koa '' Text EMPOWER to 88022 (@KamVTV) January 21, 2020
Totally and completely destroyed him.
And it was effing SWEET.
Schiff isn't on his home field any longer. He's actually in another league.
'-- Joey 🇺🇸 (@JoJo_C11) January 21, 2020
He also doesn't get to make up the rules as he goes along anymore.
Oh wait'...Schiff finally stopped talking? Now and only now can I fast forward my paused tv!
'-- Vickie J¤rvinen ðŸ‡ðŸ‡®ðŸ‡ºðŸ‡¸ (@NordicFinn31) January 21, 2020
Destroying all of them using their own words from the past to sink them
'-- Johnnymac (@Johnnymce) January 21, 2020
Kicking his butt!
'-- Texas Gal (@pattihendrix4) January 21, 2020
That was awesome. And WAY past due.
'-- SouthernBelle ''¤''¤''¤ (@BoenShane) January 21, 2020
Hell yes, it was.
Sekulow got to say what SO MANY OF US have been dying to say to and about Schiff For Brains for months.
And it was PERFECT.
Thoughts and prayers ''> Journo Matt Laslo furious over #ImpeachmentTrial placement, claims reporters ARE NOT SHEEP (bahaha!)
Sheesh, calm DOWN Karen! Brian Stelter SUPER mad at Will Chamberlain for mocking his Reliable Sources promo
Gosh, wonder WHY? Adam Schiff REALLY REALLY REALLY doesn't want Hunter Biden's testimony to be 'permitted'
VIDEO - Here's What Happened at the Richmond, Virginia Gun-Rights Rally
Tue, 21 Jan 2020 15:12
VIDEO-Davos Bilat #1 '' President Trump Remarks With President Ursula von der Leyen of The European Commission '' Video and Transcript'... | The Last Refuge
Tue, 21 Jan 2020 15:08
Prior to Davos bilat #1 President Trump holds a media availability with President Ursula von der Leyen of the European Commission. [ Video and Transcript Below ]
[Transcript] '' PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, thank you very much. It's great to be with the President of the European Commission and a woman who's highly respected, I have to say, and I hear a very tough negotiator, which is bad news for us because we're going to talk about a big trade deal. And we've been talking about it for a while, and hopefully we can get something done.
But it's a great honor, and we will be discussing other things also. But I would say trade, right now, on a deal between ourselves and essentially Europe, is something that we all want to be able to make. So, thank you very much. A great honor. Thank you.
PRESIDENT VON DER LEYEN: Thank you very much.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you. If you would like to say '--
PRESIDENT VON DER LEYEN: Thank you very much for having me here.
PRESIDENT VON DER LEYEN: It's a pleasure to meet you for the first time here in Davos. And I think what we never should forget that we have a long history of a common foundation '--
PRESIDENT VON DER LEYEN: '-- of a lot of business contacts, friendship, youth exchange, science, culture, since way more than 70 years. So '--
PRESIDENT TRUMP: That's right.
PRESIDENT VON DER LEYEN: '-- the American people and the European people are good friends, and this is what we're going to build on. And, indeed, we have issues to discuss '--
PRESIDENT TRUMP: That's right.
PRESIDENT VON DER LEYEN: '-- and we will negotiate. But I'm looking forward to this relationship.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you very much.
PRESIDENT VON DER LEYEN: Thank you so much.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: It's very nice. Great honor. Thank you. Thank you all. Thank you very much, everybody. Thank you.
Q Mr. President, can you say whether you'll introduce a motion to dismiss when the Senate trial begins?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: That whole thing is a hoax. It goes nowhere because nothing happened. The only thing we've done is a great job. We have the strongest country in the world by far. It was going in the wrong direction. We have the greatest economy we've ever had in the history of our country.
And I'm in Europe today because we're bringing a lot of other companies into our country with thousands of jobs '-- millions of jobs, in many cases.
So that whole thing is a total hoax. So I'm sure it's going to work out fine. Thank you all very much.
Q How long will it last sir, do you think?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you very much.
[Transcript End]
VIDEO-GeneEverett on Twitter: "Holy 33 @adamcurry @nicktherat @NoAgendaShop @noagendaquotes @THErealDVORAK https://t.co/Gt63ugguWz" / Twitter
Tue, 21 Jan 2020 14:58
Enter a topic, @name, or fullname
VIDEO-WATCH LIVE: Gov. Cuomo outlines the 2021 NYS Budget
Tue, 21 Jan 2020 14:57
ALBANY, N.Y. (via NEWS10) '-- Governor Andrew Cuomo outlined his plan for the Fiscal Year 2021 New York State Budget on Tuesday.
Cuomo outlined an $826 million increase in school aid with the primary goal of creating equity in school funding throughout the state. The $826 million marks a three percent increase in school aid by the state, adding up to a total education budget of $28.5 billion.
Cuomo stressed that the focus of the education budget in fiscal year 2021 will not just be how much money is spent on education, but how that money is spent and which schools and districts receive the most state education aid.
According to the governor, a survey of 300 major school districts in the state found that wealthier schools spent $36,000 per student, compared to $16,000 per student at poorer schools. Cuomo said the state will begin making changes to the way the state distributes education funding in an attempt to close that gap.
The budget proposes a focus on Foundation Aid, rather than expense-based aid, with 85 percent of the budgeted Foundation Aid increase going to the highest-need schools. a previous focus on expense-based aid has resulted in wealthier schools getting more state funding simply because they were spending more money per student, Cuomo said. This only added to a gap in funding between wealthy and poorer schools.
Currently, state funding makes up just 40 percent of education funding in the states, but Cuomo proposed strategically distributing state funding aid to chip away at any disparities at the local or federal level.
Cuomo also announced a 3.4 percent, $257 million increase in higher education operating aid, making a total budget of $7.8 billion.
This increase will pay for a number of changes, including $1.5 billion in capital for SUNY/CUNY campuses and a proposal to raise the income eligibility cap for the Excelsior Scholarship to $150,000, a move which Cuomo said will allow an additional 230,000 students to go to college tuition-free.
His infrastructure plan adds $175 billion to a previously announced $100 billion, adding to a total investment of $275 billion, which Cuomo called the largest infrastructure program in the state's history and the largest in the nation.
The plan includes funding for many new and continuing infrastructure projects and improvements around the state, including a number in upstate New York.
The budget includes funding for:
$11.9 billion for a two-year DOT Capital Plan, including $5.8 billion for Upstate roads and bridgesA five-year $52 billion capital plan for the MTA$100 million for round 2 of Upstate Airport and Economic Development Initiative$300 million to re imagine the Erie CanalA $20 billion five-year investment in affordable housing, supportive housing and related services$355 million to complete the transition to all electronic tolling on the New York State Thruway by the end of 2020$900 million to fund capital rehabilitation and improvement of state parks and historic sites.An additional $500 million in funding to clean water projects, bringing the states total investment over five years to $3.5 billionCuomo says the infrastructure projects included in the budget will support the creation of 450,000 jobs.
Cuomo also announced a $33 billion five-year plan to fight climate change that he called the biggest commitment in the nation.
Five of the hottest years in history have occurred since 2015, Cuomo said, and the past decade was the hottest ever recorded.
''The clock is ticking,'' said Cuomo, D-New York. ''It is ticking faster and faster.''
The plan includes:
Restore Mother Nature Bond Act$3 BillionResiliency and Environmental Conservation$740 MillionOffshore Wind$9.1 BillionLand-based Renewables$6.6 BillionClean Energy Research$1.9 BillionGreen Bank$1.1 BillionElectric Transit Buses & Charging Stations$1.5 Billion
VIDEO - Hillary Clinton & Nanette Burstein on Trump, Sundance Documentary & More! | THR - YouTube
Tue, 21 Jan 2020 13:39
VIDEO-Biden speaks against racism, lumps Trump in with KKK during speech before black congregation | Fox News
Tue, 21 Jan 2020 10:27
Former Vice President Joe Biden delivered a speech before a mostly black congregation at the Bethlehem Baptist Church in Columbia, S.C., Sunday in which he spoke of race relations in terms befitting a biblical prophet warning of impending destruction.
Biden's brief address the weekend of Martin Luther King Jr. Day included tales of the Civil Rights Movement while expressing fear that the progress made during the 1960s was unraveling, at least in part due to President Trump.
''Folks, some mornings I wake up and I think it's more like what it must have been in 1920 than 2020,'' Biden said.
He went on to recall the efforts and success of the Civil Rights Movement, saying that at the time people ''thought we began to move and that civil rights was beginning to make some real progress.''
Biden forebodingly claimed that this progress was part of a movement that ''has not been able to be stopped until recently,'' warning that while ''I thought you could defeat hate '... hate only hides.''
The 2020 presidential hopeful then referenced the conflict that took place at the 2017 Unite the Right white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., in which a woman was killed during clashes between rally participants and counterprotesters.
Biden then mentioned President Trump's initial response to the Charlottesville incident, in which he referred to ''very fine people on both sides,'' drawing widespread criticism.
''What I realized is that hate just hides,'' Biden said after recalling this. ''And it when it comes out from under the rocks, when it gets a little bit of oxygen."
The former vice president then went even further in connecting Trump to racism.
''This president and his--the Ku Klux Klans and the rest of them, they think they've beaten us again but they have no idea. We're just coming back.''
Last April, Trump defended his 2017 comments after the violence in Charlottesville, claiming that when he was not calling neo-Nazis or white supremacists ''very fine people,'' but rather those who opposed the removal of Confederate statues. After Trump gave that explanation, Biden said it was ''nonsense.''
Biden then used the warning to rally the audience, telling them "we gotta stand up and we gotta fight," and recalling Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I have a dream" speech.
''Dr. King didn't give up on the dream," he said. "And I'm asking you all, don't give up on it. Don't give up now. We can defeat this moment of hate.''
VIDEO -9m30- Michael Bloomberg in Tulsa, OK - January 19, 2020 - YouTube
Tue, 21 Jan 2020 10:07
VIDEO - Joe Biden: I don't count drunk driving as a felony - YouTube
Tue, 21 Jan 2020 10:04
VIDEO-Stark Contrast '' Bernie Sanders Says He Will ''Look At'' Tearing Down Existing U.S/Mexico Border Wall'... | The Last Refuge
Tue, 21 Jan 2020 09:19
Stark Contrast '' Bernie Sanders Says He Will ''Look At'' Tearing Down Existing U.S/Mexico Border Wall'...Wow, this is quite a contrast. The number one policy initiative that helped President Trump win election in 2016 was his promise to build a southern border wall. Several hundred miles of the new border security barrier have been completed with several hundred more in various stages of construction.
During the VICE News Brown & Black Democrat Presidential Forum today, 2020 candidate Bernie Sanders said he would ''look at'' tearing it all down. WATCH:
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VIDEO-Davos 2020: Trump blasts 'prophets of doom' climate activists as Thunberg watches | World News | Sky News
Tue, 21 Jan 2020 09:06
Donald Trump has attacked climate activists in front of Greta Thunberg as he revealed the US is signing up to a project to plant one trillion trees
In a speech in Davos, Switzerland, the US president called those calling for more action on climate change "perennial prophets of doom" and the "heirs of yesterday's foolish fortune tellers".
Teenage activist Thunberg was among those watching Mr Trump at the event, having earlier warned that planting trees is "nowhere near enough".
Image: Greta Thunberg was in the audience to watch the US presidentIt comes after Mr Trump unilaterally pledged to withdraw the US from the Paris Climate Accord, which aimed to cut CO2 emissions to a rate that will limit global warming to 1.5C.
He made his comments at the World Economic Forum in Davos after its founder Klaus Schwab made climate change a key topic.
To applause, Mr Trump told the forum: "Today I'm pleased to announce the United States will join the one trillion trees initiative being launched here.
"And in doing so we will continue to show strong leadership in restoring, growing and better managing our trees and our forests.
"This is not a time for pessimism. This is a time for optimism. Fear and doubt is not a good thought process because this is a time for tremendous hope and joy, optimism and action.
"But to embrace the possibilities of tomorrow we must reject the perennial prophets of doom and their predictions of the apocalypse. They are the heirs of yesterday's foolish fortune tellers."
His words came in stark contrast to those of 17-year-old Thunberg, who spoke earlier on the first full day of the forum about the "crisis" she said was occurring.
The Swedish teenager told delegates: "Planting trees is good of course but it's nowhere near enough. It cannot replace mitigation."
Thunberg calls out 'empty words' at DavosShe accused leaders of "cheating and fiddling around with numbers" by talking about cutting emissions to net-zero and added that her calls for more action were based on science, not on irrational fears.
"My generation will not give up without a fight," she said.
Mr Schwab had earlier outlined his plans to launch a scheme to plant a trillion trees using public and private funds by the end of this decade.
The idea was not new and a number of organisations and activists have already been promoting the idea for some years.
Image: Thunberg spoke at a session during the World Economic ForumExperts say the number of trees on the planet has declined from its previous high of six trillion to its current three trillion, so replanting one trillion would go some way to offsetting the carbon emitted into the atmosphere by industrialised nations.
Mr Trump's pledge to join the project, however, was a deviation from the main theme of his speech in which he claimed US economic success since he came to office - something he said had been achieved as a result of deregulation.
While claiming to be a "big believer in the environment" and wanting "the cleanest water and the cleanest air", he spoke with pride about the expansion of US oil and gas production.
Most ecologists believe more controls on industry and a sharp reduction in oil and gas use are required if carbon emissions are to be cut to a level that will limit climate change.
Nobel prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz told Reuters afterwards he found Mr Trump's comments "astounding", adding it was "As if what we are seeing with our eyes are not there".
VIDEO-President Trump Speaks At The World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland - YouTube
Tue, 21 Jan 2020 08:15
VIDEO-Hillary Clinton in Full: A Fiery New Documentary, Trump Regrets and Harsh Words for Bernie | Hollywood Reporter
Tue, 21 Jan 2020 08:09
With four-part Hulu series 'Hillary' set to premiere at Sundance, one of America's most groundbreaking (and polarizing) figures opens up about Monica Lewinsky, her marriage, whether a woman can win the presidency and her not-so-fuzzy feelings about Bernie Sanders: "Nobody wants to work with him."In the fall of 2017, producer Howard T. Owens got a call from famed Washington power broker Robert Barnett. Barnett's longtime client, Hillary Clinton, was sitting on nearly 2,000 hours of campaign footage and planned to turn it into a documentary. Hulu was already on board to distribute it domestically, but would Owens consider producing and selling it abroad?
The son of a onetime Democratic state senator from Connecticut and himself the former head of National Geographic Channel, Owens was immediately interested. He'd have to meet and woo Secretary Clinton and her top aide, Huma Abedin, he was told, and then, with the streamer, begin compiling a list of potential filmmakers. The only requirement: that she be female.
Nanette Burstein, a political junkie whose r(C)sum(C) included the celebrated 2002 Robert Evans documentary The Kid Stays in the Picture, was Owens' top choice. After a meeting in February 2018, she'd be Clinton's, too. Burstein's pitch was for "something much bigger than the election," says the documentarian, who set out to explore how Clinton had become one of the country's most admired and vilified people, and what that status says about gender and culture. That Clinton was, for the first time in years, not in office or running for office meant that such an intimate portrait was within reach.
Still, Burstein would need ample access to Clinton and her husband, Bill, as well as complete editorial control. To her relief, she was granted both. "The Clintons have a reputation for being controlling, but from the moment we met Hillary, we saw zero of it," says Owens, who confirms that no subject was off-limits. Clinton would end up giving 35 hours of her time, recounting everything from her husband's affair as president with then-intern Monica Lewinsky to election night 2016, when her own presidency eluded her grasp.
The end result, simply titled Hillary, is a largely flattering portrayal, even as it delves into the many scandals and controversies that have ensnared its 72-year-old subject. Burstein has made peace with the inevitable flak it will catch from Clinton detractors who'll take issue with the doc's lack of conservative voices (save former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist). It's not, she and her producers insist, for lack of trying. Instead, they got one no after the next. "We were shocked," says Owens, who blames a toxic, polarized political culture for the near shutout. At one point, Burstein says, she managed to track down Newt Gingrich by cellphone, and was told he'd "rather stick needles in [his] eyes than do the interview."
While prominently featured, neither Lewinsky (who was contributing to an A&E docuseries on the subject at the time), Bernie Sanders nor Donald Trump was asked to participate. "I didn't want to re-litigate 2016," the director explains, "as much as just be able to show Hillary in this unobtrusive way." Forty-five others do, however, including her husband (who holds back tears as he, too, walks through the Lewinsky chapter) and daughter, childhood friends, aides and advisers, a litany of journalists and her onetime opponent turned boss, Barack Obama. "This is not an agenda piece," says Hulu's head of docs, Belisa Balaban. "It's an authored piece of work that looks at a very long slice of personal and political history."
The four-hour docuseries will premiere in its entirety March 6 on Hulu, against the backdrop of a contentious primary season where gender politics is once again a central theme. But before it does, Clinton and Burstein will trek to Park City, where the project will make its debut Jan. 25 at the Sundance Film Festival. It's there that Owens and his Propagate partner, Ben Silverman, will begin the overseas sales process, continuing a month later in Berlin. Per Owens, the global appetite is "incredible," thanks in part to the nearly 1 million miles Clinton logged as secretary of state.
With a team of Secret Service agents present, Clinton sat down on a mid-January afternoon in Pasadena to discuss her decision to open up her life to further examination, her damning assessments of both Sanders and Trump and her own thoughts on the electability of a woman.
Once you agreed to open yourself up for this docuseries, what was your biggest concern?
I don't know that I really understood what I was getting into. We ended up doing 35 hours of interviews, and it was both exhilarating and obviously painful at some points. It was probably made easier because of the rapport with [Burstein], and it gave me a chance to try to explain things and maybe to vent a bit.
In the doc, you're brutally honest on Sanders: "He was in Congress for years. He had one senator support him. Nobody likes him, nobody wants to work with him, he got nothing done. He was a career politician. It's all just baloney and I feel so bad that people got sucked into it." That assessment still hold?
Yes, it does.
If he gets the nomination, will you endorse and campaign for him?
I'm not going to go there yet. We're still in a very vigorous primary season. I will say, however, that it's not only him, it's the culture around him. It's his leadership team. It's his prominent supporters. It's his online Bernie Bros and their relentless attacks on lots of his competitors, particularly the women. And I really hope people are paying attention to that because it should be worrisome that he has permitted this culture '-- not only permitted, [he] seems to really be very much supporting it. And I don't think we want to go down that road again where you campaign by insult and attack and maybe you try to get some distance from it, but you either don't know what your campaign and supporters are doing or you're just giving them a wink and you want them to go after Kamala [Harris] or after Elizabeth [Warren]. I think that that's a pattern that people should take into account when they make their decisions.
Speaking of, he allegedly told Sen. Elizabeth Warren in 2018 that he didn't think a woman could win, a statement he vigorously denies. How did you digest that?
Well, number one, I think [that sentiment] is untrue, which we should all say loudly. I mean, I did get more votes both in the primary, by about 4 million, and in the general election, by about 3 million. I think that both the press and the public have to really hold everybody running accountable for what they say and what their campaign says and does. That's particularly true with what's going on right now with the Bernie campaign having gone after Elizabeth with a very personal attack on her. Then this argument about whether or not or when he did or didn't say that a woman couldn't be elected, it's part of a pattern. If it were a one-off, you might say, "OK, fine." But he said I was unqualified. I had a lot more experience than he did, and got a lot more done than he had, but that was his attack on me. I just think people need to pay attention because we want, hopefully, to elect a president who's going to try to bring us together, and not either turn a blind eye, or actually reward the kind of insulting, attacking, demeaning, degrading behavior that we've seen from this current administration.
Do you think the media's coverage of the 2020 campaign has improved from its coverage four years ago?
I don't. In the beginning I was hopeful that it had. I thought that with more than one woman running '-- at one point there were six, so a basketball team plus a spare '-- it'll get more normal [because] you have women on the stage. It's not just me standing alone up there. And in the very beginning there was reason for hope, but as the campaign has gone on, it does seem to me that people are reverting back to stereotypes, and many of those are highly genderized. And it's a shame.
Any advice to Warren or Sen. Amy Klobuchar if either wins the nomination?
I've talked to them.
What have you said?
I answer their questions, number one. I've talked to practically everybody who had run and is still running.
Assume Bernie's not part of that?
(Nods.) So, I can't say all of them. But I answer their questions. I always say [to the female candidates], "Look, you can run the best campaign, but you're going to have to be even better than your best campaign to overcome some of the unfairness that will be directed at you as a woman." Whoever gets the nomination, you've got to deal with the structural challenges that the Republicans and their allies have put in your way. So, that means you've got to deal with voter suppression, because they'll steal votes or they'll prevent votes from happening. They're now trying to purge voters so that they can try to limit the electorate. You've got to deal with the theft of your personal information, particularly your emails. I say to them, "If your emails haven't been stolen yet, they will be." Look what the Russians just did, hacking into that Ukrainian oil company to try to dig up something or make something up [about Joe Biden's son, Hunter]. Then you've got to worry about the propaganda, the fake news, the made-up stories. Now you have the additional worry of the deepfakes, and people putting words in your mouth. I've tried to tell all the candidates the same thing, but with the women, I say, "You're probably not going to be treated fairly, don't let it knock you off stride."
You've grappled with whether you should have fired back more aggressively at Trump when you had the chance. Can a woman win that way in 2020?
It's hard still. Very hard. I thought Elizabeth did a good job [at the Jan. 14 Democratic debate] with, "The only people on this stage who have won every one of their races are Amy and me." I thought that was clever. Some people loved it, some hated it.
That's the world we live in.It's really hard ever to score 100 when you're trying to navigate gender expectations and barriers. Sometimes you really do want to let loose, and then you think, "Oh, great, they'll say I can't take it, so I'm getting angry.'' Or they'll say that I'm mad, and that that's not a very attractive look. So, it's a constant evaluation about, how can I best convey who I am, what I believe, what I stand for and what I'm willing to fight for?
The end of the doc strikes a more hopeful tone, beginning with the women's marches. You talk about not attending '...
Yeah, I didn't want it to be about me. And I had to go to the inauguration. I felt my civic responsibility was to show up, and it was painful. But that next day [with the marches] was so empowering. I was texting with everybody and they were sending me pictures with people wearing my T-shirts and carrying posters of my quotes. I couldn't have been happier. That energy, the so-called resistance, which I consider myself a part of, was really important to keeping people focused and understanding that we couldn't just get disgusted and walk away. We had to fight back. A lot of the women who ran in '18, I supported them. They contacted me, they told me that volunteering for me or my election motivated them to run. Then Virginia just passed the [Equal Rights Amendment] with a resounding vote, because they took back both houses of the legislature. For the first time in Virginia history, a woman is now the speaker. So, you see the positive effects of this terrible loss. That's what I want people to grasp. I want people to understand it's not enough to criticize, no matter how legitimate your critique may be. If we don't turn out and vote, we can't take our country back.
It concludes with a former adviser saying, "I don't know if we're ever ready for the person who has to blaze the trail. We're ready for the people who come after them '... For [Hillary], she was at the tip of the spear." Does that get exhausting?
Of course. But it doesn't last for long. Look, I could have a perfectly wonderful life without ever poking my head into the public arena again. But that's not how I was raised, both with my faith and my family. I believe that part of the reason we're on this earth is to do what we can to make life better, fairer, juster. That motivates me. Does it get discouraging? Do you feel like you want to pull the covers over your head? Yes. But it's just not how I'm made, and it's not what I think this country that I love and I've tried to serve should stand for. So, I get back in the fray.
Is there any piece of you that has considered jumping into the race?
I have had so many people [urge me to]. Every day. And I'm grateful for people's confidence, but I did think it was right for me to step back. I'll do anything I can to defeat the current incumbent, and to reverse a lot of his damaging policies. Thankfully, I still have a voice and a following.
Trump has helped keep you in the news '...
There are some people who just can't give me up. I live rent-free in his head.
As president, is he better, worse or the same as you had anticipated?
He's worse.
How so?
When I lost, I was obviously stunned, disappointed, terribly upset. If I had lost to what I would call a "normal" Republican with whom I disagreed on many things, but who I thought cared about the country and put service over self, I would probably still speak out and say, "We don't agree about that." But this is abnormal, what we currently have. We should never allow it to be normalized. I thought for a brief moment between the election and the inauguration that he might be awed by the responsibility of the job, and really try to grow into it. As he had admitted, there were a lot of things he didn't know about the job. But then when he gave his inauguration [speech] and insisted on lying about the crowd size? I've been to every inauguration for 25 or so years; he did not have a very big crowd. And I said, "What's wrong with him? What's wrong with the people that he has around him who he's making go out on TV and say it was the biggest crowd?" It really bothered me because I thought, "That's delusional." It's one thing to have a set of policies that you disagree with, but to have someone following the kind of authoritarian playbook to disrupt reality, to try to force you to believe what he wants you to believe by distracting, diverting and continually lying? That's different. We haven't ever had to deal with that.
How can the left combat Fox News?
It's really a shame that all the people who support progressive politics and policies haven't understood that that's exactly the right question to ask. We do have some well-off people who support Democratic candidates, there's no doubt about that, but they've never bought a TV station. They've never gobbled up radio stations. They've never created newspapers in local communities to put out propaganda. That's all been done not just by Murdoch and Fox, but by Sinclair and by the Koch brothers and by so many others who have played a long game about how we really influence the thinking of Americans.
Any plans to use Hollywood as a means of influence as the Obamas have with their Netflix and Spotify deals?
We've explored it. We have not made any decisions.
So, you and Chelsea haven't launched a production company, as has been reported?
No. But we were talking to people who approached us. The Obamas are absolutely right that you've got to impact the culture and what people see and therefore what they believe if you're going to impact the politics and to preserve our democracy, not to be too dramatic about it. So, I think they made a very smart decision, and maybe someday we will, too.
You did team with Steven Spielberg to adapt The Woman's Hour, a project that ultimately landed at The CW. What did you learn about the entertainment business from that process?
That everything takes a lot longer than you think it will. That's one thing I've definitely learned.
Speaking of Hollywood, with his trial in the news right now, do you have regrets about your lengthy association with Harvey Weinstein?
How could we have known? He raised money for me, for the Obamas, for Democrats in general. And that at the time was something that everybody thought made sense. And of course, if all of us had known what we know now, it would have affected our behavior.
I want to turn back to the doc. It starts right in with this idea of people thinking they don't know you, which is something that's dogged you for a long time. How much did you view doing this as an opportunity to try to put that to bed once and for all?
I would hope that would be part of what people take away from this.
Of course, by agreeing to it, you also opened up some old wounds, including those in your marriage '...
Once I decided that the film would be about more than a behind-the-scenes look at the campaign, I had to accept the fact it was going to be about my life. That was a major part of my life, which obviously played out in public. Look, I'm not going to sugarcoat it. It's painful, but it's also revelatory because we've always loved each other and had each other's backs. Have we had ups and downs like every married couple I know? Absolutely. And maybe this film helps people think about that, that love and relationships and marriage are often colored in grays and beiges. We all suffer ups and downs in our lives.
One of the questions that Burstein wanted to explore was whether yours is a real marriage or more of an arrangement, as many have theorized over the years. Ultimately, she concluded it was a love story.
I hope it does [show that] because it's real and it's been around for a long time now '-- nearly 50 years, for heaven's sake. I would love for that to be conveyed because I'd love to have the reality of my life story better aligned with the press and the public understanding of it. That would be a big step forward.
At one point Bill says to camera, "I was so grateful that she thought we still had enough to stick it out. God knows the burden she's paid for that." What goes through your head hearing that?
First, I'm grateful that he understood that this was a really terrible time. I said [recently] in connection with a book that Chelsea and I wrote, The Book of Gutsy Women, when asked what was my gutsiest decision, I said, "Well, personally, staying in my marriage." And that kind of sums it up. But I also think in every marriage there's not just one side. So, I could say the same for him, that I'm not always the easiest person to live with. (Laughs.) I'm glad he stuck it out, too.
I was struck by a comment from your campaign media consultant Mandy Grunwald in the doc: "Women who judged Hillary for staying with Bill Clinton would have voted for Bill Clinton all over again if they had the chance. And kept saying so '... And yet they took it out on Hillary."
That's exactly right.
Why do you think that is?
I wish I understood it, I really do. And look, I lived through that, where women were judging me and then a little conversation would lead to the fact that they had a similar issue or their sister did or their friend did, and there was so much anxiety and even fear wrapped up in it. But it was also true that, as we saw in survey after survey, he could, if he ran today, get re-elected. What is it about this double standard, both double standard in public and double standard in private? I think the movie does a good job of raising that issue. Trying to answer it conclusively is impossible, but at least we should be asking ourselves that question.
I have to admit it was wild to see Matt Lauer questioning you about the sanctity of your marriage in the Today show clip from 1998. When news of Lauer's alleged sexual misconduct came out, how did you react?
I love this word "gobsmacked" because, yes, look, hypocrisy is everywhere. Look at the current occupant of the White House for Lesson A.
You've addressed your husband's relationship with Monica Lewinsky before as it relates to the learnings of the #MeToo movement. But I remain curious: Has the way you look upon that time changed as the climate has changed?
No. I do think the culture has changed, and mostly for the good, but I also think you still have to look at every situation on its own facts and merits to make a decision.
Who do you hope sees this film and how does it impact them?
I really hope young people watch it. Especially young women because I want young women to have some idea of the arc of what we've all gone through over the past 50, 60 years because they have to save [women's rights]. They have to defend them against constant attacks. Some of those attacks are subtle, but some of them are pretty blatant. I'd also love for young men to watch it and go, "Oh, I didn't know that. My God, they burned her in effigy because she wanted universal health care? Whoa." I'd love for some of that to penetrate so that people understand that making change is hard and it doesn't happen overnight with a snap of the finger. I'd love for that to spark a conversation that could really inform how people think about politics and tough policies and maybe even this election.
What did you learn about yourself as you watched the series?
The only thing that I have thought about is, could I have done a better job for all the people who say "I never really knew her" or "I never really got her"? Could I have done a better job conveying that than I did when I was front and center in the public eye?
What would that have looked like?
See, I don't know the answer. The woman factor is obviously there, but I have thought about what I could have done differently or better. But that's water under the dam, as they say.
Interview edited for length and clarity.
A version of this story first appeared in the Jan. 22 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.
VIDEO-Falling Walrus: Attenborough Tacitly Admits Netflix Deception - YouTube
Tue, 21 Jan 2020 07:57
VIDEO-Giuliani breaks his silence: Responds to accusations from Lev Parnas - YouTube
Tue, 21 Jan 2020 07:47
VIDEO-Paul Lovato on Twitter: "@vicenews @PeteButtigieg @bandbforum @MoeFactz @adamcurry" / Twitter
Mon, 20 Jan 2020 23:55
Enter a topic, @name, or fullname
VIDEO-Stephen Gutowski on Twitter: "Interview with one of today's rally attendees. https://t.co/l21jySGOAs" / Twitter
Mon, 20 Jan 2020 23:53
Stephen Gutowski @ StephenGutowski
14h I'll be posting some more interviews shortly. The crowd in Richmond today is huge, easily in the tens of thousands, and lively. There are recurring chants of "USA" as well as music playing while people hand out snacks and petitions to one another. It's a jovial atmosphere.
View conversation · Stephen Gutowski @ StephenGutowski
14h There have not been any violent incidents & I have not seen any racist signage or demonstrations. There are lots of gun-rights signs and a few people are open carrying outside of the fenced-off Capitol grounds area. Security is running smoothly. No disruptions or confrontations.
View conversation ·
VIDEO - Chinese Restaurant Syndrome | Why Use MSG
Mon, 20 Jan 2020 10:40
Let's set the record straight The CRS ProblemChinese Restaurant Syndrome isn't just scientifically false '-- it's xenophobic.
See what Eddie Huang, Jeannie Mai and a licensed doctor have to say when they read the actual definition for the first time.
Chinese Restaurant Syndrome noun: a group of symptoms (such as numbness of the neck, arms, and back with headache, dizziness, and palpitations) that is held to affect susceptible persons eating food and especially Chinese food heavily seasoned with monosodium glutamate.
Chinese Restaurant Syndrome noun: an outdated term that falsely blamed Chinese food containing MSG, or monosodium glutamate, for a group of symptoms (such as headaches, dizziness, and heart palpitations).
The #RedefineCRS Twitter feedThe Questionable History of Chinese Restaurant SyndromeIn 1968, a letter to the editor of a prestigious medical journal described the author's anecdotal account of generalized weakness, palpitations, and numbness in the arms after eating at a Chinese restaurant. He noted that any number of ingredients may have caused his symptoms '' salt, alcohol from Chinese cooking wine, MSG. However, the latter spawned the idea that MSG may be associated with such symptoms, which was coined ''Chinese Restaurant Syndrome.''
The term spread like wildfire, appearing in major newspapers, scientific journals, and even the dictionary. However, American scientists have independently and repeatedly verified that MSG is safe to consume using validated scientific methods.
To this day, the myth around MSG is ingrained in America's consciousness, with Asian food and culture still receiving unfair blame. Chinese Restaurant Syndrome isn't just scientifically false '-- it's xenophobic.
Common Questions About MSGMonosodium glutamate (MSG) is a seasoning that combines sodium (like that in table salt) with glutamate, one of 20 amino acids which are the building blocks of protein. Glutamate imparts a savory taste and is inherently present in foods, such as tomatoes, cheese, mushrooms, and even breast milk.
Yes. Health experts have endorsed its safety based on extensive scientific research and a long history of use around the world. MSG is not an allergen, and an international panel of headache experts removed MSG from a list of headache triggers in 2018 due to lack of scientific evidence.
MSG is the purest form of umami, one of the five known tastes alongside sweet, salty, sour and bitter. In addition to increasing the flavor of food, MSG can reduce the need for table salt, and thus lower the sodium amount in a dish by up to 40%.
VIDEO - Impeachment Manager Says Trump Attempted Bribery, Can't Explain Why It Isn't in the Articles
Mon, 20 Jan 2020 09:35
The difficult thing about Donald Trump's impeachment for Democrats is that he's not accused of any crime.
Scholars have said this isn't a prerequisite for impeachment and removal, especially given that impeachment is an inherently political act, but it helps when you're trying to convince a skeptical public (not to mention Republican senators) of your case when you can point to an actual felony the president has committed.
Democratic impeachment manager Rep. Jason Crow, however, insists that attempted bribery occurred during President Trump's dealings with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. The Colorado Democrat just can't explain why that wasn't in the articles of impeachment.
Crow was appearing on CNN's ''State of the Union'' on Sunday where he made the case yet again for the Senate calling witnesses (''He has said that his call was a perfect call, he has said that he has done nothing wrong, so let's have the people that are in the best position to confirm that come in and testify before the U.S. Senate'') and insisted, as a member of the House Democratic majority that ran the vulgarized, fast-track inquiry, that what they really wanted was fairness in the upper chamber (''The American people deserve a fair trial, so let's have that fair trial'').
So far, so repetitive. What really set Crow's appearance apart was his willingness to accuse the president of bribery with a total lack of explanation of why the accusation wasn't in the articles of impeachment.
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To be fair, Crow didn't bring it up unprompted. ''State of the Union'' host Brianna Keilar asked whether he thought the president had committed the offense.
''I think that the president did a lot of things that abused his power,'' Crow responded. When asked if it was bribery specifically, he responded affirmatively.
''Specifically, you know, he did attempt to bribe and coerce a foreign government official,'' Crow said. ''In this case, the president of Ukraine.''
''And why isn't that an article?'' Keilar asked.
Do you think the president should have been impeached for bribery?0% (0 Votes)
0% (0 Votes)
See if you can pick out anything about bribery in Crow's answer:
''We have to look at the entire context of what happened here. That is what this is about. It is about the abuse of power. It's about jeopardizing our national security, our troops. It is about undermining our free and fair elections. The broad context of the pattern of this president is what is really important, and that is why we proceeded with the impeachment.''
Keilar pushed the point, especially since Trump defense team member Alan Dershowitz, the constitutional scholar, was on earlier in the show arguing that the articles set forth by the Democrats '-- obstruction and abuse of power '-- didn't meet the criteria for impeachment set out in the Constitution. Bribery, however, is specifically mentioned as an impeachable offense.
Check out his answers here:
RELATED: Pelosi Uses Nearly Identical, Decades-Old Attack on Reagan/Bush, Says Proof Isn't What Matters in Impeachment
''You could have had bribery as an article and then abuse of power as an article, and, for instance, Alan Dershowitz is going to argue on the Senate floor, as he basically just stated, that bribery is in the Constitution when it comes to impeachment. He will argue, or will certainly feel, that you, Democrats, would have had a much better case to actually say bribery if you thought it was bribery,'' Keilar said, asking if Crow thought it would have been a better idea, given what Dershowitz was going to argue, to include bribery in the articles of impeachment.
Again, Crow didn't actually talk about bribery:
''Let's broaden back out here and talk about what is really going on here. The president's team is trying to say that the president can't be indicted, because it is DOJ policy that a standing president or sitting president can't be indicted.
''At the same time, they are also making arguments that the House of Representatives and Congress cannot subpoena documents or witnesses, and that we can't bring an impeachment case, that it has to be a crime. That high crimes and misdemeanors do not include abuse of power and abuse of the public trust,'' he said.
''So if all of the president's arguments are true, that a president cannot be indicted, that the abuse of power and abuse of the public trust does not constitute impeachable offense. If that is true, then no president can be held accountable, that the president truly is above the law,'' he said.
''So those arguments can't possibly be true. They can't stand because then our entire system of checks and balances would not hold.''
Right. Crow, like plenty of other Democrats, wants to say Trump is guilty of bribery. They can't. They had that opportunity, but they realized it would be difficult to make the point that, statutorily, what Trump did constituted bribery '-- even if they could prove a quid pro quo.
Federal statutes indicate that bribery occurs when an official ''directly or indirectly, corruptly demands, seeks, receives, accepts, or agrees to receive or accept anything of value personally '... in return for '... being influenced in the performance of any official act.''
Members of the Democratic majority in the House likely realized they couldn't prove there was a corrupt demand or that ''anything of value'' changed hands. So instead, their impeachment case hinges on something more nebulous '-- which means it's mostly just election-year posturing and making sure the scarlet ''I'' could finally be applied to the president.
And that's the important thing for Democrats. Just ask Nancy Pelosi: ''He has been impeached and you can never erase that,'' she said at the news conference where she announced the impeachment managers.
But impeached for what? Of the three presidential impeachment trials in the history of the country, this one easily starts with the weakest evidence against the accused. But, as GOP Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming pointed out, at least Democrats got the pens from the signing of the articles of impeachment:
Saying it doesn't make it so, @RepJasonCrow.
You impeached the President with no direct evidence in a totally partisan process where Dems set all the rules, picked all the witnesses, and denied due process.
And you still failed to prove your case.
But you got a cool pen. https://t.co/PvpIsxoJcz
'-- Liz Cheney (@Liz_Cheney) January 19, 2020
There was no chance of ever proving bribery and the Democrats knew it. They couldn't even get their own conference to agree to include it in the articles of impeachment, even when those articles were entirely cosmetic.
The time to talk about bribery has passed. Rep. Crow and the Democrats should have spoken then.
Now it's time for them to forever hold their peace, along with those precious pens.
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.
VIDEO-Dershowitz: 'I Kept My Underwear On' During Massage At Epstein's Mansion | Crooks and Liars
Mon, 20 Jan 2020 08:18
File this under "You can't make this up."
Alan Dershowitz is now in the middle of the firestorm after SDNY indicted his client on sex trafficking charges. All reports show Dershowitz vociferously defended Jeffrey Epstein during the now-infamous plea deal that Alex Acosta agreed to in 2008. It's safe to bet he spent a lot of time at Epstein's mansion, preparing that defense.
The Miami Herald's Julie K. Brown has uncovered the stories of at least 80 underage girls whom Epstein recruited to his house of horrors at one time or another for his and others' pleasure.
Yesterday, Axios' Jonathan Swan was just floored when Dershowitz told them he did get a massage at Epstein's residence but it was from a very "old, old Russian woman."
Swan had the same reaction that we all did which is "What the hell is going on?" It's insane.
Now Dershowitz is adding more details to his story and it's not doing him a lick of good. I can never un-watch this or rinse out my brain, and neither can you.
Epstein's butler testified under oath that Dershowitz was present when underage girls were around, according to court filings.
In an interview via Skype, Dershowitz insisted he never saw an underage girl at Epstein's house, but was worked on by an older lady. Huh?
"Were there young women in another part of the house giving massages when I wasn't around? I have no idea of that," he said.
"I kept my underwear on during the massage," Dershowitz went on to stammer. "I don't like massages particularly."
First of all, It's not the massage that's the issue but the sexual abuse and rape of underage girls that are at issue. Secondly, there's no way he's telling the truth. He's hemming and hawing like a kid caught red-handed with stolen candy.
Dershowitz is approaching Trump-level creepiness. He should stop talking about it altogether, the way he'd tell a client to do.
Hillary Clinton: Democrats Don't Have Enough Control Of Media
Thu, 23 Jan 2020 07:17
Hillary Clinton thinks Democrats lack power in media. She envies the right's alleged ''long game'' success at ''really influenc[ing] the thinking of Americans.'' This is a delusion far beyond what a public figure of her stature should be capable of conjuring.
Clinton's assertion comes to us a courtesy of a new Hollywood Reporter interview set to promote Hulu's forthcoming documentary, ''Hillary.'' Note that we've already encountered two ironies, in that Clinton is bemoaning the left's lack of influence in media to a liberal publication, while promoting a hagiography from a liberal streaming outlet. (The documentary will premiere at Sundance, by the way.)
''How can the left combat Fox News?'' wondered THR's editor. Clinton answered a much broader question in response. ''It's really a shame that all the people who support progressive politics and policies haven't understood that that's exactly the right question to ask,'' she began.
We do have some well-off people who support Democratic candidates, there's no doubt about that, but they've never bought a TV station. They've never gobbled up radio stations. They've never created newspapers in local communities to put out propaganda. That's all been done not just by Murdoch and Fox, but by Sinclair and by the Koch brothers and by so many others who have played a long game about how we really influence the thinking of Americans.
Fox News is powerful, no doubt, as is the Wall Street Journal. Conservatives (and genuine leftists) at scrappy new media outlets have had some real success undercutting the corporate media too.
But to really address Clinton's point'--which would be a waste of time had it not been made by a former secretary of state, first lady, and winner of the popular vote'--we can actually set the issue of ownership aside. Whether or not TV and radio stations and local newspapers are owned by partisan Democrats (often they are), those outlets overwhelmingly favor Democrats and any suggestion otherwise is unthinkably stupid.
It's especially stupid from a woman who won 57 of the top 100 newspapers' endorsements while her Republican opponent won two. Among those 57 endorsements were plenty of local papers, in addition to the powerful, national heavyweights.
As Hulu and THR themselves are proof, the left's support in media is not isolated to the political press. (See here, for just one example.) The media machine, operated largely by cultural progressives isolated in coastal enclaves, is liberal. That is a fact.
To be clear, the corporate media's cultural progressivism is an ideology that benefits most Democratic politicians and causes, but not all of them, all of the time. While the mainstream media is far kinder to Bernie Sanders than to Ted Cruz, it's less kind to Sanders than Clinton. (Or Elizabeth Warren, as CNN so capably demonstrated.) The corporate media machine promotes corporate interests. Kind of like Hillary Clinton.
Just one answer prior to Clinton's bizarre lament about the media, she called President Trump's exaggerations about the crowd size at his inauguration ''delusional.'' She also called them lies. And I think that's the difference between them at this point. Trump may not actually believe all of his hyperbole. Clinton, however, seems increasingly convinced her own strange worldview is reality.
It's sad, really, and something a person of her experience and intellect should be above. Advisors would be wise to remove sour grapes from Clinton's diet as quickly as possible to avoid further embarrassment.
FPL | Ways to Save | On Call
Thu, 23 Jan 2020 06:51
Lowering your electric bill is easy with On CallReceive a credit on your monthly bill when you participate in On Call. This program gives FPL the option to temporarily turn off the appliances you choose to enroll when energy demand is high. You could save up to $137 a year even if we never need to turn off your appliances.
How On Call works:
FPL will install a small energy-management device on equipment you select '' like your pool pump, water heater or air conditionerWe may occasionally switch ''off'' selected equipment remotely for short periods of time during extremely high electricity demand (most often summer afternoons)You will receive a monthly credit on your bill, even if we never switch off your equipment '' totaling up to $137 annually, depending on the equipment and program options you selectFind out if you are eligible for the On Call program Get started
Choose the option that works for youThere are two programs to choose from that will determine how much you'll save, the appliances you can enroll and how long enrolled appliances can be turned off.
1Central electric heaters are only eligible for program participation only when at least one of the other 3 appliances is also signed up for participation.
Frequently Asked Questions
We typically do not activate this program during nights, weekends or holidays. Historically, the program has been implemented a few times per year in early to late afternoons on weekdays.
An FPL-approved licensed electrical contractor will install the On Call device. Once you have spoken with an FPL representative about the appliances you'd like to enroll, the contractor in your area will call to schedule an installation appointment.
FPL-approved contractors:
Langer ElectricStrategic EnergyScope ServicesYes, someone over the age of 18 must be present at the time of installation.
Yes. The only exception is central heating. Your central heater must be enrolled in the same program option as your A/C if you choose to enroll both your central heater and A/C.
The On Call device is a small, rectangular box that is approximately 7'' x 3.5'' x 8"
You can enroll just one or all of the equipment listed under the Extended Option or the Cycle Option. The only exception is central heating. If you enroll your central heater, you must enroll at least one other piece of qualifying equipment.
When you enroll your A/C in On Call, you are required to enroll all of your home's central A/C units to participate. Similarly, if you have two or more water heaters, we ask that you enroll each of them to qualify.
It takes about 2-3 weeks after installation for the On Call device to be enrolled. At that time, your credits for the On Call program will begin.
If your appliance(s) have not been on the program for a full month or in the event of low premise energy consumption, an adjusted credit will appear on your bill.
Ready to start saving?Find out if you are eligible for the On Call program by entering your home address below*.(Example: 123 Anywhere St, 12345)
*Geographic restrictions apply to the On Call program. Not available in all areas. We'll call you to confirm your eligibility. Once enrolled, you can cancel enrollment at any time.
This program is subject to modification or cancellation at any time without notice. You may cancel at any time by just giving us a call. Customers that discontinue participating in the program must wait one year to re-enroll.Savings may vary depending on the options you choose. During system emergencies (e.g. extreme weather conditions and capacity shortages as determined by FPL), On Call may be activated for extended periods of time, which may exceed your enrollment agreement. When you enroll certain equipment, all equipment of its kind must be enrolled. For example, if you have more than one central A/C unit or more than one water heater, an energy-management device will be installed on both/all of those types of equipment at your home.
Officials: No One Allowed to Leave Wuhan, China, in Wake of Coronavirus Outbreak | The Weather Channel
Thu, 23 Jan 2020 06:49
An airport staff member uses a temperature gun to check people leaving Wuhan Tianhe International Airport in Wuhan, China, Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020. Heightened precautions were being taken in China and elsewhere Tuesday as governments strove to control the outbreak of a novel coronavirus that threatens to grow during the Lunar New Year travel rush.
(AP Photo/Dake Kang)
The World Health Organization convened an emergency meeting to discuss how to address the virus.The first U.S. case was confirmed in Snohomish County, Washington.More than 500 people have been infected since late last month.Five U.S. airports are scanning passengers from central China.The virus is from the same family as the SARS virus.Officials in Wuhan, China, are blocking residents from leaving the city, in an attempt to curb the coronavirus outbreak, which has rapidly spread to more than 500 people and killed at least 17, according to news reports.
The lockdown was reported Wednesday afternoon by People's Daily China, the official newspaper of the Communist Party in China.
Officials had already urged residents not to leave the city unless necessary and to avoid crowded places.
The World Health Organization convened an emergency meeting today in Geneva to decide whether to declare a global health crisis over the outbreak of the mysterious new virus. No decision was made and the group will reconvene for further discussions on Thursday. Similar emergencies have been declared in the past for the ongoing Ebola outbreak in Congo and the Zika virus in 2016.
Health officials on Tuesday confirmed the first U.S. case of coronavirus.
Officials also announced additional measures will be taken to screen for the illness at some U.S. airports.
The first U.S. person infected is a resident of Snohomish County, Washington, officials with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said during a conference call Tuesday afternoon.
The man, who is in his 30s, returned last week from a trip to the region around Wuhan, China, where the outbreak began. He did not have any symptoms when he arrived at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, officials said.
He arrived home before federal health officials began screening travelers from central China at three U.S. airports. He began feeling sick and contacted a local health care provider on Sunday. His infection with the coronavirus was confirmed on Monday afternoon.
He is in good condition at a hospital in Everett, Washington, outside Seattle.
Health officials said Tuesday that airports in Chicago and Atlanta would also begin screening passengers arriving from central China. Kennedy International in New York, Los Angeles International and San Francisco International were already conducting screens. Any passengers traveling from Wuhan will be funneled to one of these five airports, officials said.
The virus belongs to the same family of coronaviruses that caused the SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) epidemic. The pneumonia-like virus has been traced to a seafood market in Wuhan in central China.
On Monday, a team of Chinese experts announced it can be passed from person to person, raising fears that the illness could spread more quickly.
Previously, officials said the virus seemed capable of spreading only from animals to humans, according to the New York Times.
(MORE: How To Protect Yourself From Colds and the Flu While Traveling)
On Monday, Zhong Nanshan, a respiratory expert leading a Chinese government team, said two people in Guangdong province in southern China caught the virus from family members who had recently returned from Wuhan, China Daily reported.
"It was confirmed that two cases in Guangdong province arose from human-to-human transmission," Zhong said during a news conference.
Fifteen medical workers have also tested positive for the virus, the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission said.
With many people traveling this week for the Lunar New Year holiday, officials worry the virus could be spread to far more people in a much wider area.
The first signs of the virus were seen in Wuhan late last month, the AP reported. The total number of cases there has now reached at least 258.
Travelers wear face masks as they walk outside of the Beijing Railway Station in Beijing, Monday, Jan. 20, 2020.
(AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)
The virus is also turning up in other Chinese cities. More than 20 cases have been diagnosed in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangdong province in the south and Zhejiang in the east, the AP reported.
Cases have also been found in South Korea, Thailand, Japan and Taiwan. So far, they have all been among people who had been in Wuhan.
CDC officials said screeners at the five U.S. airports will take temperatures and ask about symptoms of passengers who traveled from Wuhan.
Dr. Martin Cetron, a leader in global health at the CDC, said the risk to the American public is deemed to be low.
"The earlier we detect a case, the better we can protect the public, and the more we can understand about this virus and its risk for spread," he said Friday in a call with reporters.
The World Health Organization said the virus is a coronavirus, the same family of viruses that cause the common cold and much more serious illnesses, like SARS.
Symptoms include fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.
There is no vaccine, and antibiotics aren't effective against viruses. The WHO recommends basic hand and respiratory hygiene and avoiding contact with people who show symptoms of the illnesses.
SARS emerged as a new coronavirus in 2002, spreading from southern China to more than two dozen countries. More than 700 people died and over 8,000 were sickened. No new cases have been reported since 2004.
The Weather Company's primary journalistic mission is to report on breaking weather news, the environment and the importance of science to our lives. This story does not necessarily represent the position of our parent company, IBM.
Humans likely got the deadly Chinese coronavirus from SNAKES | Daily Mail Online
Thu, 23 Jan 2020 06:39
Scientists now believe that the deadly virus spreading around the globe from China was passed to humans from snakes sold at the open-air market in Wuhan.
Researchers at Peking University believe that 2019-nCoV, the SARS-like coronavirus that's infected more than 500 people worldwide and killed 17, is made up of a combination of one that affects bats and another, totally unknown coronavirus.
They think genetic material from the two recombined, picked up a protein that lets viruses bind to certain host cells - including those of humans.
When they analyzed the genes of strains affecting various host animals, the team found that snakes were susceptible to the most similar version of the coronavirus, and likely provided a 'reservoir' for the viral strain to grow stronger and replicate.
Sold alongside a menagerie the included live live koalas, rats and wolf pups at the Huanan Seafood Market in central Wuhan - now thought to be the outbreak's epicenter - snakes likely then served as the jumping-off point for the virus to begin infecting humans.
Snakes sold at the Huanan Seafood Market (shown right, on the market's price list) in Wuhan, China, were the likely source of the coronavirus outbreak now spreading around the globe
Photo of a store at Wuhan Huanan Seafood Market selling wild animals including live wolf pups, koalas and civets
'Results derived from our evolutionary analysis suggest for the first time that snake is the most probable wildlife animal reservoir for the 2019-nCoV,' the authors wrote in the Journal of Medical Virology.
'New information obtained from our evolutionary analysis is highly significant for effective control of the outbreak caused by the 2019-nCoV-induced pneumonia.'
Most types of virus have many different strains, but no all of them occur in all places, and not every strain can infect every species.
For their new study, the Peking University team sequenced the genomes of 272 strains of coronavirus.
The new strain that's emerged from China is only the seventh version of a coronavirus known to infect humans.
Four are common causes of colds and generally don't lead to severe illnesses.
Deadlier coronaviruses include severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), first seen in China in 2003 and Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) which emerged in Saudi Arabia in 2013.
And now, the new mysterious Chinese coronavirus known - for now - as 2019-nCoV, which cropped up at the Huanan Seafood Market in December.
Live animal and game markets are not uncommon sources of new viral illnesses that afflict humans (although this in itself is an uncommon occurrence).
Where animals mix and mingle, so do the viruses the carry. And when viruses mix and mingle, they can exchange genetic material, mutating and become novel strains.
This seems to be the case with the current coronavirus outbreak.
According to the new study, the new coronavirus's genetic material - RNA, unlike some viruses that are composed of DNA - looks to be a cross-breed of a strain known to infect bats and one for which they couldn't pinpoint a known match.
What species a virus is able to infect depends on what proteins it has on the surfaces of its cells, and whether they can bind to the receptors on the surfaces of other animals' cells.
So somewhere along its evolutionary path, 2019-nCoV picked up a protein or protein keys that turned the lock to give it access to snakes.
From there proliferated and mutated in such a way that may have given it access to humans shopping the Huanan Seafood Market.
The market has since been closed and has been labelled 'ground zero' by local authorities.
The highly-contagious virus has killed 17 people and infected hundreds in China, South Korea, Japan, Thailand, Hong Kong and the US.
A list of prices for one of the businesses operating at the market showed a menagerie of animals available for sale including live foxes, crocodiles, wolf puppies, giant salamanders, snakes, rats, peacocks, porcupines, koalas and game meats.
The study authors believe their work likely narrows down the source of the virus from the list of 112 live animals and animal products that were sold at the market that's likely the outbreak's epicenter.
The highly-contagious virus has killed 17 people and infected hundreds in China, South Korea , Japan , Thailand , Hong Kong and the US
'Freshly slaughtered, frozen and delivered to your door,' said the price list for the vendor called Wild Game Animal Husbandry for the Masses.
Gao Fu, director of the Chinese centre for disease control and prevention, said in Beijing on Wednesday that authorities believe the virus likely came from 'wild animals at the seafood market' though the exact source remains undetermined.
10 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT CHINA'S CORONAVIRUS1. At least 17 people have been killed, all in the Chinese province of Hubei
2. At least 500 people in China's 18 provinces, autonomous regions, special administrative regions and municipalities have been infected
3. The vast majority of patients are related to Wuhan, the provincial capital of Hubei with a population of around 11 million
4. Thailand, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan and the United States have all reported confirmed cases
5. The virus can be passed between humans
6. It has certain ability to spread within a neighbourhood
7. The virus has mainly been passed through the human respiratory system
8. The source of the virus has been identified as the illegally sold wildlife meat
9. The virus can evolve
10. It is more difficult for children to contract the virus, the reason remains unknown
Source: China's National Health Commission, People's Daily
China bans the trafficking of a number of wild species or requires special licenses, but regulations are loose for some species if they are commercially farmed.
The Beijing News published a photo on Tuesday showing the same vendor's now-shuttered store front, as authorities in white hazmat suits milled about.
The paper also quoted other merchants as saying trade in wildlife took place up until the market was shuttered for disinfection shortly after the outbreak.
A number of the early sufferers of the coronavirus were employees of the market.
AFP tried unsuccessfully to contact the vendor.
Experts have warned it is 'possible' the virus will hit Australia.
Chief Medical Officer ­Brendan Murphy met with Prime Minister Scott Morrison at the Department of Health's National Incident Room in Canberra.
'We do have a lot of traffic from China and I think it's quite possible we will get some cases here but I'm very ­confident that we're well ­prepared to respond if we do,' Professor Murphy said.
'We currently have over 10 million masks even though we distributed 3.5 million during the bushfires, so we've got a good stockpile.'
Mr Morrison was adamant that the country was well-equipped.
'The states and Commonwealth are working together to stay ahead of this,' Mr Morrison said.
Wild animals ready to be sold at The Huanan Seafood Market in Wuhan in China
A photo of slaughtered animals hanging at the markets at the centre of the coronavirus outbreak
A Melbourne man was rushed to hospital for respiratory problems after a trip to China but was later cleared.
Another man in Brisbane was also suspected of contracting the disease but was cleared on Wednesday.
Australia will begin screening passengers that land from Wuhan where a new deadly virus was discovered last month.
The new screening efforts will only be in place at Sydney Airport where three direct flights from Wuhan land per week on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
When China Eastern Airlines flight MU749 lands on Thursday, passengers will be met by biosecurity staff from New South Wales Health and Border Force officials.
Huanan seafood market has been closed while Authorities carry out checks and cleaning
Passengers are expected to be screened for high temperatures with thermal imaging - but the method is not 100 per cent successful because people can harbor the coronavirus with no symptoms for days.
Anyone who does have a high temperature or is feeling unwell will be interviewed by officials.
It comes as US health authorities on Tuesday announced the first case of a person on American soil being diagnosed with the virus as millions of travelers prepare to take flights for Lunar New Year on Saturday.
Plane passengers in China are being screened after an outbreak of the deadly coronavirus
Bats are thought to have spawned SARS, which in 2002-03 killed hundreds of people in Asia, mostly China.
SARS was also found in civets in wildlife markets in China, with many scientists believing the bat virus infected the cat-like creatures and then humans who ate them.
Following SARS, China cracked down on consumption of civets and some other species, but conservationists say the trade continues.
China has so far won praise for its openness and handling of the current outbreak in stark contrast to SARS, when it was accused of stifling information and failing to cooperate with the rest of the world.
What do we know about the new kind of coronavirus? WHAT IS THE DISEASE?
Scientists have identified it as a new kind of coronavirus. There are many known types of coronaviruses. Some cause the common cold. Others found in bats, camels and other animals have evolved into more severe illnesses such as SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) or MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome).
Corona comes from Latin and refers to crowns or halos. Under a microscope, these viruses resemble crowns or halos.
The outbreak started late last month in the city of Wuhan in central China, apparently at Huanan Seafood Market.
About 300 cases have been identified. There are about 260 cases in Wuhan, according to Chinese officials. Cases in other Chinese cities, including Beijing and Shanghai, total around 30. They were reported with the onset of an annual travel rush for the Lunar New Year holiday. Many Chinese travel abroad for the holiday and a few cases have been confirmed outside the mainland - in South Korea, Japan, Thailand and Taiwan. That travel rush is expected to spread the disease more widely.
Common symptoms include a runny nose, headache, cough and fever. Shortness of breath, chills and body aches are associated with more dangerous kinds of coronavirus, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Many coronaviruses can spread through coughing or sneezing, or by touching an infected person. Initially, authorities in China said there was no evidence of human-to-human transmission in the present outbreak. But an expert panel has concluded there have been at least a few cases of people catching it from others, raising the possibility it could spread more widely.
So far, the virus appears less dangerous and infectious than SARS, which also started in China and killed about 800 people. As of Tuesday, six deaths had been reported, all in Wuhan. Viruses can mutate into more dangerous and contagious forms, and it's too early to say what will happen.
Soros-Linked Group Joins MSM To CENSOR And PURGE Climate Change Skeptics on YouTube
Thu, 23 Jan 2020 06:33
The censorship continues, as a George Soros-linked group has joined forces with the mainstream media to ensure climate skeptics are silenced on YouTube. The group Avaaz, left-leaning non-profit group, published a report on January 16th on its website that claims YouTube is ''profiting by broadcasting misinformation'' to millions of people by giving climate denial videos too much prominence.
Independent mainstream media outlets are engaging in a politically-motivated campaign to force YouTube to demonetize and hide any video that denies climate change. Regardless of the facts or scientific evidence revealed in the videos, if one doesn't submit to the religion of climate change, they will be silenced if Avaaz has anything to do about it.
The report is an undisguised intimidation campaign, as not only does it list major advertizers who are running ads on videos that question the legitimacy of the threat climate change poses for humanity, but it explicitly calls for them to put pressure on the platform as a means of putting an end to the so-called disinformation.
Despite the findings being published just yesterday, many mainstream sites had lengthy articles posted not long after that, which featured quotes from those who worked on the report. Timings that suggest select websites were given early access, making it clear what agenda is being pushed, more so as they all tout the same talking points. Vice, Time, Gizmodo, The Verge, and countless other news entities want YouTube to punish creators who don't toe the ''correct'' ideological line. The objective is to demonetize, and thus censor, such individuals as they'll be less inclined to work on the content that they won't be able to profit from. -RT
Nell Greenburg, a campaign director at Avaaz, claims the report isn't about removing content and censorship, however, that contradicts the report's own messaging. There is a clear attempt to have content hidden as the report calls into question the promotion of such videos in the ''up next'' box on the site. It's semantics at this point, but hiding videos would hurt creators and dissuade them from even trying to share their thoughts. It is an indirect way of removing ''wrongthink.'' The official narrative is the only narrative and when it comes to the domination of others, these people want to be at the top.
Basic human rights are under attack from all sorts of groups. And it is fairly safe to say that YouTube will give into the demands of this group, silencing and demonetizing anyone caught not parroting the Orwellian narrative the ruling class hands down.
This situation ultimately raises questions into why anyone, or anything, should have the power to dictate what others can create. Regardless of one's personal views on the matter, there's no denying that bold claims have been made about the climate that later were disproven. Little is, as yet, set in stone, and content that lands on any one side of the debate should be free to exist. If a creator is making videos people are watching, their hard work shouldn't be thrown in the bin simply because an activist group with ties to one of the world's richest people and his proxies says so. It is not the role of billionaires and their pet projects to play babysitter. ''Sophia Narwitz, writer for RT
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An Anonymous Oscar Voter Reveals '1917' and 'Joker' Will Win Big, Diversity Problems Overblown
Thu, 23 Jan 2020 06:29
T he acting winners for this year's Oscars, airing Feb. 9 on ABC, are going to be as predictable as the fact that the host won't make any offensive jokes. (There is no host.) But Best Picture is still up for grabs, and so is the fact that voters might still be carrying ill will toward Netflix for disrupting the way theaters used to be the most convenient way to catch a new film.
For a take on this and some other issues'--like whether J.Lo got snubbed for Hustlers, why Jojo Rabbit makes people uncomfortable, and who's to blame for the lack of diversity in some of the major categories'--I tracked down a very savvy Oscar voter, whom I'll keep anonymous so they can really spout off.
Hello, Oscar voter. Last year, the Oscars had no host, and they're continuing that pattern this time too. Doesn't that put someone out of a job?
I'm sure they have plenty other jobs and are not going to suffer. And I enjoy the idea of them having no host. I still believe that unless you get the perfect one, like a Billy Crystal or even a Whoopi Goldberg, they tend to bring their shtick to the performance. When they had a host-less show last year, it was a breath of fresh air and I'm glad they're continuing with that.
As for the awards themselves: There are nine movies battling it out for Best Picture. Will it be 1917, Parasite, Once Upon a Time'...In Hollywood, Joker, The Irishman?
Absolutely hands-down for me it's going to be 1917. I've seen it a couple times now and apart from the fact that it's such a compelling story, it's mind-boggling how they managed to do it the way they did it.
Where it looks like one continuous take?
Correct. And hearing director Sam Mendes speak about putting the audience into the footsteps of the characters, I thought it was an absolutely stunning success. For me, that is the frontrunner, but I do have a grievance against two of the nominees. Just like a couple of years ago, when I couldn't understand why Get Out got all the praise, I understand Parasite, liked it when I saw it, and loved his other films, but I just don't understand why it's sweeping all the different awards. And The Irishman is the same. I saw it and I thought, ''Oh, it doesn't seem like three-and-a-half hours long...''
It seems like four-and-a-half hours long.
[Laughs] Exactly. The more I thought about it, the more it fell apart for me. It seemed to be more of a platform for those actors. And in three and a half hours, they didn't bother dealing with why the Irishman is the way he was, which is apparently in the book. And I'm not happy with the fact that they said point-blank what happened to Jimmy Hoffa.
Speaking of The Irishman, which I actually admired in many ways, is there still resentment of Netflix? Roma didn't win Best Picture last year, possibly because it was Netflix.
Unfortunately, I do believe that rumor is probably true, but I don't think it's resentment, I think it's fear'--fear of the way they're changing the industry. But I wouldn't be unhappy if a Netflix film wins this year because the way movies are done is becoming more old school, and the new way of doing it, which is how Netflix is doing it, might be the wave of the future and might open doors for projects that might otherwise not be done.
What was left out of Best Picture?
I loved Bombshell and was upset that it was left out.
Maybe people had trouble empathizing with a woman who said Santa Claus is white?
[Laughs] It never occurred to me that there could be a backlash on that. The thing I loved about it is that when you go into Fox News' reputation, you find out how manufactured Fox News is. And it comes with victims. I thought that was a revelation.
'' When the #OscarsSoWhite backlash happened, we were all thrown under the bus by our own Academy for seemingly being biased. ''
Moving from Santa to people of color, there is only one black actor nominated: Cynthia Erivo for Harriet.
When the #OscarsSoWhite backlash happened, we were all thrown under the bus by our own Academy for seemingly being biased. So they added a lot more members, making sure it was diverse. But what also came out of that was an extra fringe benefit of youth. Suddenly an entire group of voters was plugged into social media in a way the older voters were not. So now comes this year, where the grumblings are happening again, but this time it's harder to throw the Academy members under the bus because we are more diverse now. I think it points to what the other issue was that got buried under the controversy, and that is the need to develop more projects that are richer in roles for actors of color and even stronger directing opportunities for women.
Much more boringly, the four acting categories seem like tighter locks than the ones on White House documents. Let's start with Best Actor'--Joaquin Phoenix is a slam-dunk for playing a sympathetic psycho in Joker, yes?
Correct. I loved Jonathan Pryce in Two Popes'--it surprised me completely'--but I'll probably vote for Joaquin. He throws himself physically into the role. With Joker, I thought, ''This is a little slow and really depressing,'' but then I realized how the pieces fit together and created a new origin story for both Batman and Joker. Joaquin created a character that is so familiar in so many ways with actors from Jack Nicholson to Heath Ledger and all of a sudden, Joaquin found a different take.
And he lost weight.
He lost 70 pounds, but Todd Phillips, the director, said in truth he needed to lose 20 anyway. I was hoping Eddie Murphy would get in there. I loved Dolemite Is My Name. Also, Taron Egerton for Rocketman because I thought he did a better performance playing Elton John than last year's winner, Rami Malek, did in playing Freddie Mercury. It should have been up for Best Picture too, but suffered in the nominations because of Rhapsody. And Adam Sandler did a nice breakout performance in Uncut Gems and I was hoping he'd get in. Another film that was completely overlooked was Gemini Man. I thought Will Smith did an amazing job.
Well, it could still be up for Golden Razzies. Will Joaquin give a crazy speech, I hope?
Oh, yes. I can't imagine he's going to behave himself.
Does Renee Zellweger have Best Actress all sewn up for Judy? The thing is, Judy Garland herself never won a competitive Oscar.
That would be the epitome of ironic, but I'm absolutely voting for her. It's always been a toss-up between Charlize Theron (for Bombshell) and Renee for me, even though I loved Scarlett Johansson in Marriage Story as well. Charlize really becomes a unique and individual character with a huge point of view, but Renee does what Joaquin did with Joker. She literally melted into that role. She's going to win. The one that's missing was Ana de Armas from Knives Out.
I thought she was bland, but I'm in the minority.
I thought she was great. She held that film together. I loved Knives Out. I thought it was going to be this year's Shape of Water. It was an unexpected, quirky, incredibly well-made, wonderfully acted film. It only got one nomination [Best Original Screenplay] and I was stunned.
As for Best Supporting Actor, it's finally the charming Brad Pitt's year (for Once Upon A Time'...In Hollywood).
I agree. I love Anthony Hopkins (Two Popes), but it's definitely Brad. There is nobody that can reimagine history better than Quentin Tarantino. He takes it just enough off the rails that you feel like you're getting a new take on an old story. Brad, I think, absolutely anchored that field of slightly-off-the-rails reality. More than Leonardo, he was the person the audience was dragged along with so they could understand this world.
And he's never won for acting before'--though they don't seem to care about that kind of thing anymore. Look at Glenn Close. So will Laura Dern win Best Supporting Actress for her divorce lawyer in Marriage Story?
I believe so. I've been avoiding watching Little Women [which Dern is also in] because I don't like that story. I saw a clip and it was exactly what I thought that film was gonna be'--syrupy'--but apparently it's not that bad. I'll catch up with it. In Marriage Story, holy crap, Laura plays a tough woman who's unbelievably manipulative and embodies why you should be terrified of lawyers. She's gonna win because she embraced that role. But Margot Robbie (Bombshell) was the one that really got me. I'd put Scarlett Johansson ahead of Laura as well because I'm a huge fan of Jojo Rabbit. Every friend of mine who's Jewish has a problem with it. I can't understand and I don't even dare because I feel like I'd be insulting something. I'm sure they're all huge fans of Mel Brooks and I don't think anyone complained about that, but with Jojo Rabbit, something struck a chord of distaste with every Jewish friend. It's not that they didn't like the film, they just wish it hadn't been made.
'' With 'Jojo Rabbit,' something struck a chord of distaste with every Jewish friend. It's not that they didn't like the film, they just wish it hadn't been made. ''
One difference is that it's set during the Holocaust, whereas The Producers isn't. It deals with neo-Nazis and other nuts.
The thing I love about Jojo is it takes a strong director to straddle that line of satire and reality. But Taika Waititi didn't get nominated. I wonder if part of it is the discomfort about the film. Scarlett was the perfect chord that brought this satire into reality. But Margot is the one I'm voting for.
As a composite lesbian.
Yes! I thought where Jojo straddled between satire and reality, Margot straddled between the artificial look that Fox News creates for their women and reality.
They made her pay the price of her ambition. Was J.Lo snubbed or just undeserving?
I did not like Hustlers and though I thought she did a good job, I don't think it really rose above the material. I think when you look at the ones who were selected, there was no room. It's not a personal thing against her. She was in a very lackadaisical film and she did admirable in it, but didn't really shine. The hype exceeded the actual performance.
But she spun around that pole like lightning!
Was that really her?
Moving on to Best Director. Will Bong Joon-ho (Parasite) get this, like a foreign director did last year (Alfonso Cuaron for Roma)?
I'm going to vote for Mendes. To conceive of 1917 and figure out how to do it and get actors that managed to pull this off was remarkable. I saw it on the big screen and the little screen, and it holds up on the latter. Mendes will win. He went above and beyond making a film that was astoundingly different, without the ability to juxtapose one scene with another for effect. My order would be Mendes, Tarantino, Phillips, Joon-ho, Scorsese.
Do you see it as an anti-war film?
I saw it more as a realization of how horrific WWI actually was. There have been so many films done on WWII and very few comparatively done on WWI, even though they say more people died in that war. To make 1917 as horrific as it was, with all the bodies that were treated like refuse, it was the first time it shone a light on how bad that war was. It made me understand even more about how horrific present war must be'--actually even more than Hurt Locker.
Harvey Weinstein allegedly injected erection drug before 2013 rape | Page Six
Thu, 23 Jan 2020 06:27
January 22, 2020 | 2:15pm
Harvey Weinstein injected himself with an erection drug before raping a woman in a Manhattan hotel room in 2013, a prosecutor alleged during opening statements at his sexual assault trial on Wednesday.
The incident occurred several months into Weinstein's relationship with the woman, an aspiring actress who met the Hollywood mogul at an industry party in Los Angeles, Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Meghan Hast said.
Weinstein allegedly became ''more demanding and violent'' during their encounters, leading to a March 18, 2013, incident at the DoubleTree hotel in Midtown East, where Hast said that ''the defendant decided he wanted more and forcibly took it.''
The woman, who was staying at the hotel, was planning to introduce a friend to Weinstein during a breakfast meeting when he unexpectedly called from the lobby and said he was checking in, Hast told jurors in Manhattan Supreme Court.
When she went to find out why he'd booked his room, Weinstein allegedly pulled her inside and wouldn't let her leave.
''He demanded that she take off her clothes. She refused. He became louder and more aggressive. He grabbed her and began to physically undress her,'' Hast said.
When the woman relented and disrobed, Weinstein ''ordered her onto the bed and disappeared for a moment into the bathroom,'' Hast said, then ''came back out, got on top of her and raped her.''
The woman, who Hast said was ''distraught, disgusted and horrified,'' ran into the bathroom and ''saw a needle in the garbage can.''
''She looked at the label of the wrapper and later Googled it,'' learning that it was for an erectile dysfunction drug, Hast said.
In 2018, a former Weinstein personal assistant, Sandeep Rehal, filed a federal sex discrimination and harassment suit against him that alleged she was forced to manage his stock of Caverject, a fast-acting medication in disposable syringes that's injected into the penis to produce an erection.
Rehal's suit was dismissed on a technicality, but Rehal reportedly is among more than 30 women who struck a tentative $25 million deal last month to settle claims against him and his bankrupt movie studio, The Weinstein Co.
Pregnant people could be denied tourist visas under new Trump plan - Vox
Thu, 23 Jan 2020 06:20
The State Department has told US embassies across the world to deny visas to people they suspect are coming to the US to give birth, according to diplomatic cables obtained by Vox '-- guidance that gives broad discretion to consular officers and could prove dangerous to pregnant people seeking medical care.
The cable, sent Wednesday afternoon and marked ''sensitive but unclassified,'' turns a suspicion among immigration restrictionists that people are trying to game America's visa system into official US policy, starting on Friday, January 24. The apparent goal is to clamp down on foreigners giving birth to children in the US who become, by birth, American citizens.
A draft of the State Department guidance was first reported on by BuzzFeed on Tuesday.
The guidance would create new barriers for pregnant people at consulates abroad applying for B visas, which are offered to short-term visitors, including tourists, business travelers, and people seeking urgent medical care.
The government does not track how many pregnant travelers come to the US on B visas, but 2017 data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that the new guidance would likely affect roughly 10,000 people annually.
According to one State Department official, pregnant people applying for these kinds of visas may not receive the kind of care they need in their home country or have the money to get better care in the US.
''People will die because of this,'' the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive matter, told Vox.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo signed off on the cable, drafted by a staffer who works on consular affairs. The State Department didn't immediately reply to a request for comment.
Pregnant people will face new scrutiny when applying for visasAccording to the cable, a US consular officer can't ask a visa applicant if they are pregnant or intend to become pregnant. However, ''if you have reason to believe the applicant will give birth during their stay in the United States, you are required to presume that giving birth for the purpose of obtaining U.S. citizenship is the applicant's primary purpose of travel,'' the cable reads.
An applicant can overcome that suspicion, according to the cable, if they demonstrate ''a different and permissible primary purpose of travel,'' including having already arranged for specialized medical treatment in the US. But even then, that might not be enough.
''The fact that an applicant has an arranged birth plan with a doctor or medical facility in the United States or simply expresses a preference to give birth in the United States over other locations is not sufficient to rebut the presumption that their primary purpose of travel is obtaining U.S. citizenship for the child,'' the cable states. ''One key factor you should consider is whether the applicant has access to reasonable medical care in or near the country where the applicant resides.''
The cable also says that a visa applicant ''seeking medical treatment in the United States must demonstrate to the consular officer's satisfaction that they have both the means and the intent to pay for all treatment-related costs.''
If someone can't show they have the funds '-- a judgment ultimately made by consular officers, who are not experts in the cost of health care '-- it's possible they will have their request rejected.
Subverting birthright citizenship '-- the constitutional guarantee to all children born in America, regardless of their parents' nationality '-- has long been a goal for some of the Trump administration's immigration hawks, including White House senior adviser Stephen Miller.
There are about 4.1 million children who are US citizens and have unauthorized immigrant parents living in the US, according to the Migration Policy Institute, a nonpartisan think tank. But in the vast majority of those cases, the pregnancies happened after the immigrants' arrival in the US: About 90 percent of noncitizen mothers with US-citizen children gave birth two years after coming to the country or later, according to a 2011 study by the Pew Research Center.
But rather than immediately try to tackle birthright citizenship head on, the State Department cable suggests, the Trump administration is trying to stop people who might give birth in the US from entering in the first place.
Dwight School - Wikipedia
Wed, 22 Jan 2020 14:05
Independent, college preparatory school in New York, New York, United States
Dwight School is an independent college preparatory school located on Manhattan's Upper West Side. Dwight offers the International Baccalaureate curriculum to students ages two through grade twelve. Approximately forty countries are represented among its student body.
History [ edit ] Founded in 1872 by Julius Sachs as part of the Sachs Collegiate Institute, Dwight School was first known as "The Sachs School," then The Franklin School. Originally located on West 34th Street and Broadway, it relocated several times as it grew, ultimately moving to 18 West 89th Street in 1912. Sachs, a noted educator and author (and scion of the Goldman''Sachs family) headed the school until 1901 when he was appointed Professor of Education at Teachers College, Columbia University.[2]
In 1880, the New York School of Languages was founded on 15 West 43rd Street as an academy of classical studies. Timothy Dwight, President of Yale University asked the school to pioneer a math and science program to replace traditional Greek and Latin as an entrance requirement. The New York School of Languages was later renamed Timothy Dwight School [3] in honor of that historic partnership.
Dwight School merged with the Bentley School in 1977, in order to add elementary and middle school programs to its curriculum.
In 1993, Dwight School merged with The Franklin School (which had adopted the International Baccalaureate (IB) Program in 1980). In 1996, Dwight School became the first school in North America to offer the full International Baccalaureate (IB) program from preschool through grade 12.[citation needed ]
With the opening in fall 2005 of Dwight's Early Childhood Division (formerly Woodside Preschool), the Dwight School' became the first school to offer the IB Primary Years Program for children ages three through five.[citation needed ]
Today, one-third of Dwight's students come from overseas.[4]
Institution [ edit ] Chancellor [ edit ] Stephen H. Spahn has been the School's Chancellor and Headmaster since 1967 and is the longest-serving head of an independent school in New York City.[citation needed ] Spahn serves on the Boards of the International Baccalaureate Fund and the Rubin Museum of Art. He was also a founding member of the Guild of International Baccalaureate Schools.[citation needed ] In 2011, Spahn was awarded the Lewis Hine Distinguished Service Award from the National Child Labor Committee.[5][6]
Divisions and houses [ edit ] There are four co-educational divisions at Dwight School: The Riverside Campus (preschool-kindergarten) occupies three buildings on Riverside Boulevard between 66th''68th Streets. The Lower School (grades 1''5) is located on the Main Campus and occupies a brownstone at 17 West 88th Street. The Middle School (grades 6''8) and the Upper School (grades 9''12), are also located on the Main Campus but primarily use the buildings at 18 West 89th Street and 291 Central Park West. In 2012, the school added additional classrooms and athletics space by expanding into the adjoining brownstone located at 22 West 89th Street.
Within divisions, the grades are further separated into houses: Timothy House (grades 1''5), Bentley House (grades 6''8), Franklin House (grades 9''10), and Anglo House (grades 11''12). A dean oversees each house. An Executive Team consisting of the Head of School, Head of Upper School, Head of Middle School, and Head of Lower School manage the academic and pastoral areas of the school. The Head of School works closely with the School's Chancellor and Vice-Chancellor, who also oversee Admissions and the Business office.
Admissions [ edit ] Admission to Dwight School is highly selective. Kindergarten, sixth grade, and ninth grade are Dwight's largest entry points, with forty students entering kindergarten, fifteen entering sixth grade and twenty-five entering ninth grade. Each year, a smaller number of students are accepted in other grades. Dwight offers rolling admissions for international families due to the wide range of academic calendars around the world.The admissions process at Dwight School is based on school reports, teacher recommendations, ERB/ISEE test results, and student/parent interviews.
Dwight Schools Global Network [ edit ] The Dwight Schools are an international network of campuses and programs, which include Dwight School in New York, Dwight Global Online School, Dwight School London in England, Dwight School Canada in Shawnigan Lake British Columbia (Later sold to an independent contractor), the Shanghai Qibao Dwight High School, in Shanghai, China, Dwight School Seoul, and Dwight School Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, which held its grand opening in September 2018.[7]
Opened in 2009, Dwight School Canada is one of five schools and programs in The Dwight Schools global network.
Dwight School's association with Dwight School London goes back over 40 years when Stephen Spahn, Chancellor of Dwight School New York opened the school. In 2008, what was known as Woodside Park International School was renamed as The North London International School (NLIS) and later renamed Dwight School London in 2012. Dwight London is now one of the leading International Baccalaureate (IB) World Schools in the UK officially recognised to run all three IB programmes. In 2010, Dwight London opened a partner school in London called The Holmewood School(THSL) which aims to provide special education for children of high cognitive ability with difficulties associated with autism. In 2009, Dwight entered into the first joint diploma program in China with the Capital Normal High School, attached to Capital Normal University, in Beijing.[8] Through this program, each student receives a joint Capital Normal/Dwight School diploma with strong emphasis on English as a Second Language.[9]
In 2009, Dwight opened Dwight School Canada, located in the community of Shawnigan Lake on Vancouver Island, Canada.[10] Dwight Canada serves as a boarding school for up to two hundred students in grades six through twelve and is the only school in North America that offers three diploma options- the IB Diploma Programme, the Ministry-approved BC curriculum. and the US High School Diploma. The first leadership academy, Dwight Global Leaders Academy, took place at Dwight Canada in 2010[11]
In 2010, Dwight was chosen from 180 foreign schools by the government of Seoul, Korea, to open Dwight School Seoul as a model IB School for five hundred forty students in grades K-12. Opened in fall 2012, the school is housed within a new multimillion-dollar media and culture complex, Seoul's Digital Media City.[7]
Academics '' International Baccalaureate Program [ edit ] In 1996, Dwight became the second school in North America to offer all three International Baccalaureate (IB) Programs: the IB Primary Years Program, for students ages 3 to 12; the IB Middle Years Program, for students in grades 6''10; and the IB Diploma Program, for students in grades 11-12. A Certificate Program is available to students who do not wish to pursue the full IB Diploma Program and instead take some elective courses. Approximately half the graduating seniors receive the full IB diploma.
Demographics [ edit ] The demographic breakdown of the 574 students enrolled for the 2013''2014 school year is as follows. There is no data for demographic breakdown by sex.:[1]
Asian '' 5.1%Black '' 3.8%Hispanic '' 3.1%White '' 59.2%Multiracial '' 28.8%Notable alumni [ edit ] Dana Barron, actress[12]Antonio Campos, film director, screenwriter and film producerTruman Capote, author[13][12]Julian Casablancas, musician, The Strokes[12]Addison O'Dea, documentary filmmakerJoseph Cullman, tobacco magnate[14]Damon Dash, entrepreneur, music producer and actor[15]Doug Davis, businessmanVin Diesel, actor[13][12]Harry L. Fisher, noted chemistLizzie Grubman, publicist, manager and socialite[16]Paris Hilton, Socialite, heiress, entrepreneur[17][18]Race Imboden, Olympic fencer[13]Kamara James, Olympic fencer[13]Casey Johnson, socialite[18]Robert Kalloch, Hollywood costume designer[19]Fiorello H. La Guardia, Mayor of New York[13][12][20]Serge Kovaleski, Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, The New York Times[13]Sam Lansky, journalist forTime and other publications[21]Herbert Henry Lehman, governor of New York state[14]Roy Lichtenstein, artist[13][12][20]Walter Lippmann, author[14]Fabrizio Moretti, musician, The Strokes[13]Henry Morgenthau, Jr., politician[20][14]Robert Moses, noted city planner[22][20]Harold Prince, producer[12]Keith Raywood, designerPaul J. Sachs, businessman and museum director[23]Alix Smith, photographer[12]Paul Strauss, US Senator[13]Vanessa Trump, Actress, ex-wife of Donald Trump Jr.[24]Nick Valensi, musician, The Strokes[12]Hans Zinsser, immunologist[14]Notes [ edit ] ^ a b "Search for Private Schools '' School Detail for Dwight School". ed.gov . Retrieved June 3, 2015 . ^ https://www.tcrecord.org/Signin.asp?cc=1&r=2 ^ "Dwight School: Igniting the spark of genius in every child". dwight.edu . Retrieved April 27, 2015 . ^ "International Private School in New York - Dwight School". dwight.edu. Archived from the original on July 21, 2011. ^ New York Post: http://www.nypost.com/p/pagesix/we_hear_Pxb7aJ9tTKmH1h4cAj8AZK ^ The National Child Labor Committee: http://www.nationalchildlabor.org/lha.html ^ a b Korea Herald: http://www.koreaherald.com/national/Detail.jsp?newsMLId=20110307000773 ^ "The Global Search for Education: How to Develop World Leaders". The Huffington Post. June 7, 2011 . Retrieved April 27, 2015 . ^ "International Private School in New York - Dwight School". dwight.edu. Archived from the original on July 7, 2011. ^ http://www.ibo.org/school/006561/ International Baccalaureate ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on June 13, 2011 . Retrieved June 19, 2011 . CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) Dwight International School ^ a b c d e f g h i "Dwight School London - History of Dwight". Dwight School London . Retrieved November 1, 2016 . ^ a b c d e f g h i "Dwight School New York - alumni". Dwight.edu. June 6, 2014 . Retrieved June 6, 2014 . ^ a b c d e "A Dwight History Lesson". dwight.edu . Retrieved November 1, 2016 . ^ "Why Damon Dash Hates Mondays". New York magazine . Retrieved March 25, 2018 . ^ "Reversal of Fortune". New York magazine . Retrieved March 25, 2018 . ^ "BIOGRAPHY: Paris Hilton Lifetime". www.lifetime.co.uk. Archived from the original on November 3, 2016 . Retrieved November 1, 2016 . ^ a b Andrews, Suzanna (September 2006). "Heiress vs. Heiress". vanityfair.com. p. 3 . Retrieved January 10, 2010 . ^ Jorgensen, Jay; Scoggins, Donald L. (2015). Creating the Illusion: A Fashionable History of Hollywood Costume Designers. Philadelphia: Running Press. pp. 181''182. ISBN 9780762456611. ^ a b c d DeRogatis, Jim. "Article by Jim DeRogatis". Penthouse (November 2001) . Retrieved November 1, 2016 . ^ CONNELLY, SHERRYL (January 14, 2016), "Time magazine culture editor Sam Lansky reveals his wild days in new memoir 'The Gilded Razor'". NEW YORK DAILY NEWS. Retrieved April 6, 2017. ^ Caro, Robert (1974). The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York. New York: Knopf. p. 35. ISBN 978-0-394-48076-3. OCLC 834874. ^ "Paul J. Sachs '' Dictionary of Art Historians". arthistorians.info. ^ "Unbecoming a Trump: The Vanessa Trump Divorce". External links [ edit ] Official website
Political Polls on Twitter: "#New CNN National Polll: Sanders 27% Biden 24% Warren 14% Buttigieg 11% Bloomberg 5% Klobucher 4% Yang 4% Steyer 2%. https://t.co/mjaeqW4AAc" / Twitter
Wed, 22 Jan 2020 10:06
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Tulsi Sues Hillary For Defamatory Statements
Wed, 22 Jan 2020 10:00
Presidential hopeful and Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard has filed a lawsuit against former Secretary of State and former presidential nominee Hillary Clinton on account of defamatory remarks.
NEWS: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has filed a defamation lawsuit against Hillary Clinton for alleging she's a ''Russian asset.''
'-- Geoff Bennett (@GeoffRBennett) January 22, 2020The suit is in regard to Clinton alleging Gabbard is a Russian plant:
"On October 17, 2019, she publicly stated in an interview that ''somebody who is currently in the Democratic primary '... [is a] favorite of the Russians'... Yeah, she's a Russian asset.'' The press extensively republished and disseminated these statements, which were interpreted widely as Clinton asserting that Gabbard is a Russian asset. The complaint seeks compensatory damages and an injunction prohibiting the further publication of Clinton's defamatory statements," Gabbard's press release says.
Gabbard is certainly an outsider in the Democratic primary, and holds some views that are unconventional of the Democratic Party. Although Gabbard is a vocal critic of the president, she has consistently been a voice calling for unity and bipartisanship when possible. Gabbard is undoubtedly different from establishment politicians such as Clinton.
The suit was filed in the United States District Court of the Southern District of New York. Gabbard is represented by Pierce Bainbridge Beck Price and Hecht LLP. The lawyers ripped Mrs. Clinton's defamatory and baseless remarks:
Full statement from @TulsiGabbard's attorneys at @PBBPHllp: pic.twitter.com/WXvgj29zvN
'-- Ed O'Keefe (@edokeefe) January 22, 2020Watch Hillary's full comments here, via CBS evening news:
Whistleblower Was Overheard in '17 Discussing With Ally How to Remove Trump | RealClearInvestigations
Wed, 22 Jan 2020 09:54
Eric Ciaramella, right. He and a colleague, Sean Misko, below -- both now central to impeachment -- were Obama administration holdovers (whitehouse.gov).By Paul Sperry, RealClearInvestigationsJanuary 22, 2019
Barely two weeks after Donald Trump took office, Eric Ciaramella '' the CIA analyst whose name was recently linked in a tweet by the president and mentioned by lawmakers as the anonymous ''whistleblower" who touched off Trump's impeachment '' was overheard in the White House discussing with another staffer how to remove the newly elected president from office, according to former colleagues.
Sean Misko: He spoke with Ciaramella about the need to "take out," or remove, President Trump. Later he went to work for Rep. Adam Schiff's committee.
Center for a New American Security
Sources told RealClearInvestigations the staffer with whom Ciaramella was speaking was Sean Misko. Both were Obama administration holdovers working in the Trump White House on foreign policy and national security issues. And both expressed anger over Trump's new ''America First'' foreign policy, a sea change from President Obama's approach to international affairs.
''Just days after he was sworn in they were already talking about trying to get rid of him,'' said a White House colleague who overheard their conversation.
''They weren't just bent on subverting his agenda,'' the former official added. ''They were plotting to actually have him removed from office.''
Misko left the White House last summer to join House impeachment manager Adam Schiff's committee, where sources say he offered ''guidance'' to the whistleblower, who has been officially identified only as an intelligence officer in a complaint against Trump filed under whistleblower laws. Misko then helped run the impeachment inquiry based on that complaint as a top investigator for congressional Democrats.
The probe culminated in Trump's impeachment last month on a party-line vote in the House of Representatives. Schiff and other House Democrats last week delivered the articles of impeachment to the Senate, and are now pressing the case for his removal during the trial, which began Tuesday.
The coordination between the official believed to be the whistleblower and a key Democratic staffer, details of which are disclosed here for the first time, undercuts the narrative that impeachment developed spontaneously out of the ''patriotism" of an ''apolitical civil servant."
Two former co-workers said they overheard Ciaramella and Misko, close friends and Democrats held over from the Obama administration, discussing how to ''take out,'' or remove, the new president from office within days of Trump's inauguration. These co-workers said the president's controversial Ukraine phone call in July 2019 provided the pretext they and their Democratic allies had been looking for.
''They didn't like his policies,'' another former White House official said. "They had a political vendetta against him from Day One.''
Impeachment manager Adam Schiff speaks during the impeachment trial of President Trump in the Senate on Tuesday.
(Senate Television via AP)
Their efforts were part of a larger pattern of coordination to build a case for impeachment, involving Democratic leaders as well as anti-Trump figures both inside and outside of government.
All unnamed sources for this article spoke only on condition that they not be further identified or described. Although strong evidence points to Ciaramella as the government employee who lodged the whistleblower complaint, he has not been officially identified as such. As a result, this article makes a distinction between public information released about the unnamed whistleblower/CIA analyst and specific information about Ciaramella.
Democrats based their impeachment case on the whistleblower complaint, which alleges that President Trump sought to help his re-election campaign by demanding that Ukraine's leader investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter in exchange for military aid. Yet Schiff, who heads the House Intelligence Committee, and other Democrats have insisted on keeping the identity of the whistleblower secret, citing concern for his safety, while arguing that his testimony no longer matters because other witnesses and documents have ''corroborated" what he alleged in his complaint about the Ukraine call.
Hunter and Joe Biden: Subjects of the Ukraine phone call at the center of Trump's impeachment.
AP Photo
Republicans have fought unsuccessfully to call him as a witness, arguing that his motivations and associations are relevant '' and that the president has the same due-process right to confront his accuser as any other American.
The whistleblower's candor is also being called into question. It turns out that the CIA operative failed to report his contacts with Schiff's office to the intelligence community's inspector general who fielded his whistleblower complaint. He withheld the information both in interviews with the inspector general, Michael Atkinson, and in writing, according to impeachment committee investigators. The whistleblower form he filled out required him to disclose whether he had ''contacted other entities'' -- including ''members of Congress.'' But he left that section blank on the disclosure form he signed.
The investigators say that details about how the whistleblower consulted with Schiff's staff and perhaps misled Atkinson about those interactions are contained in the transcript of a closed-door briefing Atkinson gave to the House Intelligence Committee last October. However, Schiff has sealed the transcript from public view. It is the only impeachment witness transcript out of 18 that he has not released.
Schiff has classified the document ''Secret,'' preventing Republicans who attended the Atkinson briefing from quoting from it. Even impeachment investigators cannot view it outside a highly secured room, known as a ''SCIF," in the basement of the Capitol. Members must first get permission from Schiff, and they are forbidden from bringing phones into the SCIF or from taking notes from the document.
Sen. Rand Paul: Among the few lawmakers who have publicly demanded that Ciaramella testify regarding the whistleblower's complaint.
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File
While the identity of the whistleblower remains unconfirmed, at least officially, Trump recently retweeted a message naming Ciaramella, while Republican Sen. Rand Paul and Rep. Louie Gohmert of the House Judiciary Committee have publicly demanded that Ciaramella testify about his role in the whistleblower complaint.
During last year's closed-door House depositions of impeachment witnesses, Ciaramella's name was invoked in heated discussions about the whistleblower, as RealClearInvestigations first reported Oct. 30, and has appeared in at least one testimony transcript. Congressional Republicans complain Schiff and his staff counsel have redacted his name from other documents.
Lawyers representing the whistleblower have neither confirmed nor denied that Ciaramella is their client. In November, after Donald Trump Jr. named Ciaramella and cited RCI's story in a series of tweets, however, they sent a ''cease and desist'' letter to the White House demanding Trump and his ''surrogates" stop ''attacking" him. And just as the whistleblower complaint was made public in September, Ciaramella's social media postings and profiles were scrubbed from the Internet.
'Take Out' the President
An Obama holdover and registered Democrat, Ciaramella in early 2017 expressed hostility toward the newly elected president during White House meetings, his co-workers said in interviews with RealClearInvestigations. They added that Ciaramella sought to have Trump removed from office long before the filing of the whistleblower complaint.
Michael Flynn: Ciaramella and Misko were alarmed by Trump's "America First" foreign policy, outlined by the president's first national security adviser.
AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta
At the time, the CIA operative worked on loan to the White House as a top Ukrainian analyst in the National Security Council, where he had previously served as an adviser on Ukraine to Vice President Biden. The whistleblower complaint cites Biden, alleging that Trump demanded Ukraine's newly elected leader investigate him and his son "to help the president's 2020 reelection bid.''
Two NSC co-workers told RCI that they overheard Ciaramella and Misko - who was also working at the NSC as an analyst - making anti-Trump remarks to each other while attending a staff-wide NSC meeting called by then-National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, where they sat together in the south auditorium of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, part of the White House complex.
The ''all hands'' meeting, held about two weeks into the new administration, was attended by hundreds of NSC employees.
''They were popping off about how they were going to remove Trump from office. No joke,'' said one ex-colleague, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive matters.
A military staffer detailed to the NSC, who was seated directly in front of Ciaramella and Misko during the meeting, confirmed hearing them talk about toppling Trump during their private conversation, which the source said lasted about one minute. The crowd was preparing to get up to leave the room at the time.
''After Flynn briefed [the staff] about what 'America first' foreign policy means, Ciaramella turned to Misko and commented, 'We need to take him out,' '' the staffer recalled. ''And Misko replied, 'Yeah, we need to do everything we can to take out the president.' ''
Added the military detailee, who spoke on condition of anonymity: ''By 'taking him out,' they meant removing him from office by any means necessary. They were triggered by Trump's and Flynn's vision for the world. This was the first 'all hands' [staff meeting] where they got to see Trump's national security team, and they were huffing and puffing throughout the briefing any time Flynn said something they didn't like about 'America First.' ''
He said he also overheard Ciaramella telling Misko, referring to Trump, 'We can't let him enact this foreign policy.' ''
Alarmed by their conversation, the military staffer immediately reported what he heard to his superiors.
''It was so shocking that they were so blatant and outspoken about their opinion,'' he recalled. ''They weren't shouting it, but they didn't seem to feel the need to hide it.''
The co-workers didn't think much more about the incident.
''We just thought they were wacky,'' the first source said. ''Little did we know.''
Neither Ciaramella nor Misko could be reached for comment.
Alexander Vindman: The National Security Council aide leaked to Ciaramella details of the July 25 Trump-Ukraine phone call. Like Ciaramella, Vindman expressed disdain for Trump, co-workers said.
AP Photo/Susan Walsh
A CIA alumnus, Misko had previously assisted Biden's top national security aide Jake Sullivan. Former NSC staffers said Misko was Ciaramella's closest and most trusted ally in the Trump White House.
''Eric and Sean were very tight and spent nearly two years together at the NSC,'' said a former supervisor who requested anonymity. ''Both of them were paranoid about Trump."
''They were thick as thieves,'' added the first NSC source. ''They sat next to each other and complained about Trump all the time. They were buddies. They weren't just colleagues. They were buddies outside the White House.''
The February 2017 incident wasn't the only time the pair exhibited open hostility toward the president. During the following months, both were accused internally of leaking negative information about Trump to the media.
But Trump's controversial call to the new president of Ukraine this past summer -- in which he asked the foreign leader for help with domestic investigations involving the Obama administration, including Biden -- gave them the opening they were looking for.
A mutual ally in the National Security Council who was one of the White House officials authorized to listen in on Trump's July 25 conversation with Ukraine's president leaked it to Ciaramella the next day '-- July 26 '-- according to former NSC co-workers and congressional sources. The friend, Ukraine-born Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, held Ciaramella's old position at the NSC as director for Ukraine. Although Ciaramella had left the White House to return to the CIA in mid-2017, the two officials continued to collaborate through interagency meetings.
Vindman leaked what he'd heard to Ciaramella by phone that afternoon, the sources said. In their conversation, which lasted a few minutes, he described Trump's call as ''crazy,'' and speculated he had ''committed a criminal act.'' Neither reviewed the transcript of the call before the White House released it months later.
NSC co-workers said that Vindman, like Ciaramella, openly expressed his disdain for Trump whose foreign policy was often at odds with the recommendations of "the interagency" '-- a network of agency working groups comprised of intelligence bureaucrats, experts and diplomats who regularly meet to craft and coordinate policy positions inside the federal government.
Before he was detailed to the White House, Vindman served in the U.S. Army, where he once received a reprimand from a superior officer for badmouthing and ridiculing America in front of Russian soldiers his unit was training with during a joint 2012 exercise in Germany.
His commanding officer, Army Lt. Col. Jim Hickman, complained that Vindman, then a major, ''was apologetic of American culture, laughed about Americans not being educated or worldly and really talked up Obama and globalism to the point of [It being] uncomfortable.''
''Vindman was a partisan Democrat at least as far back as 2012,'' Hickman, now retired, asserted. ''Do not let the uniform fool you. He is a political activist in uniform.''
Attempts to reach Vindman through his lawyer were unsuccessful.
Fred Fleitz: Former chief of staff to John Bolton says it was obvious the whistleblower had coaching in writing his complaint.
July 26 was also the day that Schiff hired Misko to head up the investigation of Trump, congressional employment records show. Misko, in turn, secretly huddled with the whistleblower prior to filing his Aug. 12 complaint, according to multiple congressional sources, and shared what he told him with Schiff, who initially denied the contacts before press accounts revealed them.
Schiff's office has also denied helping the whistleblower prepare his complaint, while rejecting a Republican subpoena for documents relating to it. But Capitol Hill veterans and federal whistleblower experts are suspicious of that account.
Fred Fleitz, who fielded a number of whistleblower complaints from the intelligence community as a former senior House Intelligence Committee staff member, said it was obvious that the CIA analyst had received coaching in writing the nine-page whistleblower report.
"From my experience, such an extremely polished whistleblowing complaint is unheard of,'' Fleitz, also a former CIA analyst, said. ''He appears to have collaborated in drafting his complaint with partisan House Intelligence Committee members and staff.''
Fleitz, who recently served as chief of staff to former National Security Adviser John Bolton, said the complaint appears to have been tailored to buttress an impeachment charge of soliciting the ''interference'' of a foreign government in the election.
And the whistleblower's unsupported allegation became the foundation for Democrats' first article of impeachment against the president. It even adopts the language used by the CIA analyst in his complaint, which Fleitz said reads more like ''a political document.''
Outside Help
After providing the outlines of his complaint to Schiff's staff, the CIA analyst was referred to whistleblower attorney Andrew Bakaj by a mutual friend "who is an attorney and expert in national security law,'' according to the Washington Post, which did not identify the go-between.
Andrew Bakaj: Whistleblower lawyer worked with Ciaramella at the CIA.
Compass Rose Legal Group
A former CIA officer, Bakaj had worked with Ciaramella at the spy agency. They have even more in common: like the 33-year-old Ciaramella, the 37-year-old Bakaj is a Connecticut native who has spent time in Ukraine. He's also contributed money to Biden's presidential campaign and once worked for former Sen. Hillary Clinton. He's also briefed the intelligence panel Schiff chairs.
Bakaj brought in another whistleblower lawyer, Mark Zaid, to help on the case. A Democratic donor and a politically active anti-Trump advocate, Zaid was willing to help represent the CIA analyst. On Jan. 30, 2017, around the same time former colleagues say they overheard Ciaramella and Misko conspiring to take Trump out, Zaid tweeted that a ''coup has started'' and that ''impeachment will follow ultimately.''
Neither Bakaj nor Zaid responded to requests for an interview.
Mark Zaid: This whistleblower lawyer tweeted that a ''coup has started'' around the same time former colleagues say they overheard Ciaramella and Misko conspiring to remove Trump.
Compass Rose Legal Group
It's not clear who the mutual friend and national security attorney was whom the analyst turned to for additional help after meeting with Schiff's staff. But people familiar with the matter say that former Justice Department national security lawyer David Laufman involved himself early on in the whistleblower case.
Also a former CIA officer, Laufman was promoted by the Obama administration to run counterintelligence cases, including the high-profile investigations of Clinton's classified emails and the Trump campaign's alleged ties to Russia. Laufman sat in on Clinton's July 2016 FBI interview. He also signed off on the wiretapping of a Trump campaign adviser, which the Department of Justice inspector general determined was conducted under false pretenses involving doctored emails, suppression of exculpatory evidence, and other malfeasance. Laufman's office was implicated in a report detailing the surveillance misconduct.
Laufman could not be reached for comment.
Laufman and Zaid are old friends who have worked together on legal matters in the past. ''I would not hesitate to join forces with him on complicated cases,'' Zaid said of Laufman in a recommendation posted on his LinkedIn page.
David Laufman: Fellow lawyer defended Mark Zaid on Twitter against attacks by President Trump.
Laufman recently defended Zaid on Twitter after Trump blasted Zaid for advocating a ''coup'' against him. ''These attacks on Mark Zaid's patriotism are baseless, irresponsible and dangerous,'' Laufman tweeted. ''Mark is an ardent advocate for his clients."
After the CIA analyst was coached on how to file a complaint under Intelligence Community whistleblower protections, he was steered to another Obama holdover -- former Justice Department attorney-turned-inspector general Michael Atkinson, who facilitated the processing of his complaint, despite numerous red flags raised by career Justice Department lawyers who reviewed it.
The department's Office of Legal Counsel that the complaint involved ''foreign diplomacy,'' not intelligence, contained ''hearsay'' evidence based on ''secondhand'' information, and did not meet the definition of an ''urgent concern'' that needed to be reported to Congress. Still, Atkinson worked closely with Schiff to pressure the White House to make the complaint public.
Fleitz said cloaking the CIA analyst in the whistleblower statute provided him cover from public scrutiny. By making him anonymous, he was able to hide his background and motives. Filing the complaint with the IC inspector general, moreover, gave him added protections against reprisals, while letting him disclose classified information. If he had filed directly with Congress, it could not have made the complaint public due to classified concerns. But a complaint referred by the IG to Congress gave it more latitude over what it could make public.
Omitted Contacts With Schiff
The whistleblower complaint was publicly released Sept. 26 after a barrage of letters and a subpoena from Schiff, along with a flood of leaks to the media.
Michael Atkinson: Was the intelligence community inspector general misled by the whistleblower? And was Atkinson "evasive" to congressional investigators?
AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana
However, the whistleblower did not disclose to Atkinson that he had briefed Schiff's office about his complaint before filing it with the inspector general. He was required on forms to list any other agencies he had contacted, including Congress. But he omitted those contacts and other material facts from his disclosure. He also appears to have misled Atkinson on Aug. 12, when on a separate form he stated: ''I reserve the option to exercise my legal right to contact the committees directly,'' when he had already contacted Schiff's committee weeks prior to making the statement.
''The whistleblower made statements to the inspector general under the penalty of perjury that were not true or correct,'' said Rep. John Ratcliffe, a Republican member of the House Intelligence Committee.
Ratcliffe said Atkinson appeared unconcerned after the New York Times revealed in early October that Schiff's office had privately consulted with the CIA analyst before he filed his complaint, contradicting Schiff's initial denials. Ratcliffe told RealClearInvestigations that in closed door testimony on Oct. 4, ''I asked IG Atkinson about his 'investigation' into the contacts between Schiff's staff and the person who later became the whistleblower." But he said Atkinson claimed that he had not investigated them because he had only just learned about them in the media.
On Oct. 8, after more media reports revealed the whistleblower and Schiff's staff had concealed their contacts with each other, the whistleblower called Atkinson's office to try to explain why he made false statements in writing and verbally, transgressions that could be punishable with a fine of up to $10,000, imprisonment for up five years, or both, according to the federal form he signed under penalty of perjury.
In his clarification to the inspector general, the whistleblower acknowledged for the first time reaching out to Schiff's staff before filing the complaint, according to an investigative report filed later that month by Atkinson.
''The whistleblower got caught,'' Ratcliffe said. "The whistleblower made false statements. The whistleblower got caught with Chairman Schiff.''
He says the truth about what happened is documented on pages 53-73 of the transcript of Atkinson's eight-hour testimony. Except that Schiff refuses to release it.
''The transcript is classified 'Secret' so Schiff can prevent you from seeing the answers to my questions,'' Ratcliffe told RCI.
Atkinson replaced Charles McCullough as the intelligence community's IG. McCullough is now a partner in the same law firm for which Bakaj and Zaid work. McCullough formerly reported directly to Obama's National Intelligence Director, James Clapper, one of Trump's biggest critics in the intelligence community and a regular agitator for his impeachment on CNN.
Hidden Political Agenda?
Atkinson also repeatedly refused to answer Senate Intelligence Committee questions about the political bias of the whistleblower. Republican members of the panel called his Sept. 26 testimony ''evasive.'' Senate investigators say they are seeking all records generated from Atkinson's ''preliminary review'' of the whistleblower's complaint, including evidence and ''indicia'' of the whistleblower's ''political bias'' in favor of Biden.
Mary McCord: The Justice Department official worked with inspector general Atkinson during the Trump-Russia probe. She pushed the White House to fire Michael Flynn.
AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File
Republicans point out that Atkinson was the top national security lawyer in the Obama Justice Department when it was investigating Trump campaign aides and Trump himself in 2016 and 2017. He worked closely with Laufman, the department's former counterintelligence section chief who's now aligned with the whistleblower's attorneys. Also, Atkinson served as senior counsel to Mary McCord, the senior Justice official appointed by Obama who helped oversee the FBI's Russia ''collusion'' probe, and who personally pressured the White House to fire then National Security Adviser Flynn. She and Atkinson worked together on the Russia case. Closing the circle tighter, McCord was Laufman's boss at Justice.
As it happens, all three are now involved in the whistleblower case or the impeachment process.
After leaving the department, McCord joined the stable of attorneys Democrats recruited last year to help impeach Trump. She is listed as a top outside counsel for the House in key legal battles tied to impeachment, including trying to convince federal judges to unblock White House witnesses and documents.
"Michael Atkinson is a key anti-Trump conspirator who played a central role in transforming the 'whistleblower' complaint into the current impeachment proceedings,'' said Bill Marshall, a senior investigator for Judicial Watch, the conservative government watchdog group that is suing the Justice Department for Atkinson's internal communications regarding impeachment.
Atkinson's office declined comment.
Another 'Co-Conspirator'?
During closed-door depositions taken in the impeachment inquiry, Ciaramella's confederate Misko was observed handing notes to Schiff's lead counsel for the impeachment inquiry, Daniel Goldman '' another Obama Justice attorney and a major Democratic donor '' as he asked questions of Trump administration witnesses, officials with direct knowledge of the proceedings told RealClearInvestigations. Misko also was observed sitting on the dais behind Democratic members during last month's publicly broadcast joint impeachment committee hearings.
Rep. Louie Gohmert: Publicly singled out Sean Misko and Abby Grace as Ciaramella's "co-conspirators."
AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, Pool
Another Schiff recruit believed to part of the clandestine political operation against Trump is Abby Grace, who also worked closely with Ciaramella at the NSC, both before and after Trump was elected. During the Obama administration, Grace was an assistant to Obama national security aide Ben Rhodes.
Last February, Schiff recruited this other White House friend of the whistleblower to work as an impeachment investigator. Grace is listed alongside Sean Misko as senior staffers in the House Intelligence Committee's ''The Trump-Ukraine Impeachment Inquiry Report'' published last month.
Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert, who served on one of the House impeachment panels, singled out Grace and Misko as Ciaramella's ''co-conspirators'' in a recent House floor speech arguing for their testimony.
''These people are at the heart of everything about this whole Ukrainian hoax,'' Gohmert said. ''We need to be able to talk to these people."
A Schiff spokesman dismissed Gohmert's allegation. ''These allegations about our dedicated and professional staff members are patently false and are based off false smears from a congressional staffer with a personal vendetta from a previous job,'' said Patrick Boland, spokesman for the House Intelligence Committee. ''It's shocking that members of Congress would repeat them and other false conspiracy theories, rather than focusing on the facts of the president's misconduct.''
Boland declined to identify "the congressional staffer with a personal vendetta."
Schiff has maintained in open hearings and interviews that he did not personally speak with the whistleblower and still does not even know his identity, which would mean the intelligence panel's senior staff has withheld his name from their chairman for almost six months. Still, he insists that he knows that the CIA analyst has "acted in good faith,'' as well as ''appropriately and lawfully.''
The CIA declined comment. But the agency reportedly has taken security measures to protect the analyst, who has continued to work on issues relating to Russia and Ukraine and participate in interagency meetings.
About NCTA | NCTA '-- The Internet & Television Association
Wed, 22 Jan 2020 09:34
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We are NCTA '-- The Internet & Television Association
We represent innovators and creators '' an industry building the world's most powerful technology platform and creating exciting content and services that entertain, inform and inspire consumers every day.
Just as technology is transforming media and connectivity is unleashing entertainment, NCTA must adapt to reflect the vibrancy, diversity and spirit of our members.
MISSIONTo bring together diverse perspectives to forge and promote consensus so all our members can continue to drive the industry forward: from policy, to content creation, to delivering compelling consumer experiences.
VISIONWe believe in a technology and entertainment future that will advance innovation, inspire creativity, unleash connectivity, and exceed consumer expectations for a wide range of high-quality services.
James M. Assey
Executive Vice President
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K. Dane Snowden
Chief Operating Officer
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William Check
Senior Vice President, Technology and Chief Technology Officer
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Rick Chessen
Senior Vice President, Legal and Regulatory Affairs and Chief Legal Officer
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Brian Dietz
Senior Vice President, Strategic Communications
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Mark Kulish
Senior Vice President, Finance and Administration and CFO
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Joanna McIntosh
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Rob Rubinovitz
Vice President, Research and Economic Analysis
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Jared Sher
Chief Counsel, Program Network Policy & Deputy General Counsel
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Rob Stoddard
Senior Vice President, Industry & Association Affairs
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Eleanor Winter
Senior Vice President, Special Projects
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Board of Directors
Board member
Patrick Esser
President, Cox Communications, Inc.
Dave Watson
President & CEO, Comcast Cable and Senior EVP, Comcast Corporation
Pat McAdaragh
President & CEO, Midco
Bob Bakish
President & CEO, Viacom, Inc.
Michael K. Powell
President & CEO, NCTA
Thomas M. Rutledge
Chairman & CEO, Charter Communications
Paul Buccieri
President, A+E Networks Group
Charlie Collier
CEO, Fox Entertainment
Frank M. Drendel
Chairman, CommScope Holding Company, Inc.
Ronald Duncan
CEO & Co-Founder, General Communication, Inc.
John D. Evans
Chairman & CEO, Evans Telecommunications Company
Sandra Howe
Executive Vice President & President, Americas Technetix, Inc.
Alfred Liggins, III
CEO, Urban One
David Nevins
Chairman and CEO, Showtime Networks & Chief Creative Officer, CBS Corp.
John Pascarelli
Executive Vice President, Operations, Mediacom Communications Corp
James Pitaro
Co-Chairman, Disney Media Networks & President, ESPN
Josh Sapan
President & CEO, AMC Networks
Richard Sjoberg
President & CEO, Sjoberg's, Inc.
John Stankey
CEO, WarnerMedia
David M. Zaslav
President & CEO, Discovery, Inc.
Cable System Membership
Representation on Capitol Hill, at the Federal Communications Commission and at other government agencies
Special Reports
Participation in the Election of Board Members
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Any person, firm or corporation engaged in the business of operating a franchised cable television system is eligible for membership in NCTA. '¨
SMATV (Satellite Master Antenna Television System), MMDS (Multiple Distribution System) and DBS (Direct Broadcast Satellite) systems are not eligible for Membership. System membership is not open to any incumbent local exchange carrier unless that company was a System member as of February 8, 1996. '¨
NCTA Bylaws require that a company bring into membership all cable systems that it owns or controls. "Owns or controls" is defined as having a 25% or greater interest in a cable system.
Membership dues are calculated based on total gross revenues derived from the provision of cable services, are charged annually and are paid on a quarterly basis. For details, please download a cable system membership application. For information about membership, please call NCTA's Industry & Association Affairs Department at (202) 222-2430, or email [email protected]
Cable Programmer Membership
Representation on Capitol Hill, at the Federal Communications Commission and at other government agencies
Special Reports
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Any person, firm or corporation that, by means other than broadcasting, provides or distributes programming for retransmission by cable systems qualifies for Programmer Membership in NCTA.
Program Network member dues payments to NCTA are calculated based on total gross revenues from direct and indirect U.S. cable sales and are charged on an annual basis. For details, please download a programmer membership application.
For information about membership, please call NCTA's Industry & Association Affairs Department at (202) 222-2430, or email [email protected]
Associate Membership
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Any person, firm or corporation engaged in the manufacture or distribution of hardware or software products, other than programming, used in cable television systems qualifies for Associate membership in NCTA.'¨
Associate member dues are based on total gross revenues from direct and indirect U.S. sales or distribution to the cable industry and are charged on an annual basis. For details, please download an associate membership application.'¨
For information about membership, please call NCTA's Industry & Association Affairs Department at (202) 222-2430, or email [email protected]
Affiliate Membership
Expertise of NCTA Staff
Any person, firm or corporation which provides a service to cable television systems, e.g., law firms, consulting firms, brokerage firms, banking institutions, etc., qualifies for Affiliate membership in NCTA.'¨
Dues are a flat fee charged on an annual basis. For details, please download an affiliate membership application.
For information about membership, please call NCTA's Industry & Association Affairs Department at (202) 222-2430, or email [email protected]
NCTA Member Companies
A+E NetworksAfrica ChannelAlticast, Inc.AMC Networks Inc.ARRIS Blonder-Tongue Labs, Inc.Bortz Media & Sports Group, Inc.Broken Bow TVCadent Technologies Carlsen Resources, Inc.Casa SystemsCastalia Communications Corp. CEA Associates, LLCCharter CommunicationsCim-Tel Cable, Inc.Clear Creek Mutual TelephoneColtontelComcast NBCUniversalCommScope, Inc.Conax AsConsolidated Cable SolutionsCox Communications, Inc.C-SPANDavis Wright Tremaine LLPDiscovery, Inc.Disney Media NetworksDuff & Phelps, LLCEagle CommunicationsEWTN Global Catholic NetworkFederated Wireless IncFox Networks GroupGCI Cable Inc.Hallmark Channel (Crown Media Holdings)Hood Canal CablevisionHorowitz Associates, Inc. ION Media NetworksJNR Adjustment Company, Inc.Mediacom Communications CorporationMegaBroadbandMidcoMintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky & Popeo, P.C.Mountain Zone TVNational Geographic Channel (NGC)Nelson County Cablevision Inc.Ovation TVRasenberger Media LLCRBC DanielsReelzChannelREVOLT Media & TVRIDE TVSand Cherry Associates Service Electric Cablevision Sherman & Howard L.L.C.Showtime NetworksSjoberg's, IncSonLife Broadcasting Network Sony Movie ChannelStifel Financial CorporationTechnetixTeleconTV OneUnivision Communications Inc.UPViacom Media NetworksViamediaVivicast Media, LLCVyve BroadbandWarnerMediaWomble Carlyle Sandridge & RiceXavient Information SystemsZodiac Interactive
Our Facilities
NCTA opens the doors of its Capitol Hill headquarters to showcase a wide array of cutting-edge technology and multimedia theater, providing its member companies and their affiliates with an exciting opportunity to develop and expand their Washington, D.C. presence.
Private EntranceNCTA's private entrance makes hosting events effortless as guests can find the location and enter easily.
LobbyNCTA has a large lobby area to greet visitors.
Innovation CenterThis 1,000 sq. ft. space showcases how internet and television providers are connecting, entertaining and enriching the lives of American consumers and businesses. You can experience everything from how powerful broadband networks are making immersive gaming and the Internet of Things a reality to how the world's best ''on demand'' entertainment can be viewed from your living room or a variety of connected devices.
Anteroom / Theater LobbyPrior to or following screenings, the Multimedia Theater Lobby is available to member companies for receptions and after-parties. The space can accommodate 40 guests for seated dining events and 100 guests for standing room receptions.
BoardroomMember companies may host meetings and/or reception events in our multimedia boardroom as well. The boardroom can accommodate 100 seated dining guests, 200 guests for a standing reception and 35 seated conference guests. Microphone, podium, digital projection capabilities and high-definition flat screen televisions are available for member use during such events.
Multimedia TheaterOne of Washington, DC's most technically advanced locations for premiers, screenings and other industry events, NCTA's two-story, 105 seat, theater features a multi-format high-definition video, 2K and 4K 3D high-frame-rate Dolby Digital Cinema. The theater represents the best audience experiences available including ButtKicker® technology that replicates the "feeling" range of many natural and human sounds and a Dolby Surround 7.1 cinema audio system complete with THX certification.
Multimedia TheaterOne of Washington, DC's most technically advanced locations for premiers, screenings and other industry events, NCTA's two-story, 105 seat, theater features a multi-format high-definition video, 2K and 4K 3D high-frame-rate Dolby Digital Cinema. The theater represents the best audience experiences available including ButtKicker® technology that replicates the "feeling" range of many natural and human sounds and a Dolby Surround 7.1 cinema audio system complete with THX certification.
Video StudioIn addition to theater and multimedia screening capabilities, we also offer members access to a small video studio with basic editing capabilities. Public Service Announcements and other short videos can be filmed with cable-provided HD cameras and edited on-site with Final Cut Pro editing suite. Mounted cameras, web streaming, video, general video capabilities and audio simulcasting are also offered for those looking to reserve the studio.
If you are interested in reserving the studio, contact Industry & Association Affairs at (202) 222-2441.
Floor PlanNCTA opens the doors of its Capitol Hill headquarters to showcase a wide array of cutting-edge technology, providing its member companies and their affiliates with an exciting opportunity to develop and expand their Washington, D.C. presence.
Kemps to close Rochester milk facility | Business | postbulletin.com
Wed, 22 Jan 2020 09:30
This summer, St. Paul-based Kemps is closing its Southeast Rochester site, where 125 people work.
The announcement came late Tuesday afternoon. The milk plant, which occupies half of the Associated Milk Producers Inc.-owned facility at 700 1st Ave. SE, is scheduled to close on June 30.
Kemps employs 125 people at the AMPI facility, where they produce and package fluid milk, cream, half-and-half and other fluid dairy products.
This closure will not affect the more than 200 Kemps employees who work at the ice cream production facility on North Broadway. The ice cream plant will remain in operation.
After more than 60 years of processing milk in the Med City, Kemps CEO and President Greg Kurr wrote that AMPI's own ending of operations and listing the complex for sale propelled this change.
''Business decisions that impact people's lives are difficult,'' Kurr wrote in a prepared statement. ''In evaluating our options, it became apparent ceasing operations is the best long-term strategy for our business. The employees at this facility have done an excellent job, and we greatly appreciate their hard work and dedication.''
AMPI's closure resulted in 75 lost jobs. This latest announcement will bring the tally of lost jobs to 200.
The Teamsters Local 120 represents about 350 Kemps employees in Rochester at the milk plant and the ice cream facility as well as the AMPI employees.
Kemps pledges to work with the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development to help its 125 employees through this transition.
Turkish, Syrian top spies meet in first official contact in years
Wed, 22 Jan 2020 09:06
ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkish and Syrian heads of intelligence met in Moscow on Monday, in the first official contact in years despite Ankara's long-standing hostility to President Bashar al-Assad, a senior Turkish official and Syrian news agency SANA said.
Both sides have said there have been intelligence contacts, but this is the first explicit acknowledgement of such a senior meeting.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan backs rebels who fought to topple Assad during Syria's eight-year civil war. Erdogan described Assad as a terrorist and called for him to be driven from power, which earlier in the war had appeared possible.
But Assad's allies Russia and Iran helped turn the conflict round, and with U.S. forces now withdrawing from northeast Syria, Assad's Russian-backed troops are sweeping back into the region just as Turkish troops move in from the north.
Turkey's intelligence chief, Hakan Fidan, and his Syrian counterpart discussed the ceasefire in Syria's Idlib, and possible coordination against the Kurdish presence in northern Syria.
The discussions included "the possibility of working together against YPG, the terrorist organisation PKK's Syrian component, in the East of the Euphrates river," a Turkish official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
SANA news agency said Syria's intelligence chief called on Turkey to fully adhere to the sovereignty of Syria, its independence and territorial integrity as well as the immediate and full withdrawal from the whole Syrian territory.
Last year, Turkey and Russia signed a deal, dubbed the Sochi agreement, under which Syrian and Russian forces deployed in northeast Syria to remove Kurdish YPG fighters and their weapons from the border with Turkey under a deal, which both Moscow and Ankara hailed as a triumph.
Despite backing opposing sides in Syria's conflict, Ankara and Moscow have grown closer, their ties strengthened by joint energy projects and Turkey's purchase of Russian air defences - to the anger of its NATO ally the United States.
Turkey and Russia have cooperated more closely on Syria since agreeing two years ago to work along with Assad's other main ally, Iran, to contain the fighting.
(Reporting by Orhan Coskun; Writing by Ece Toksabay; Editing by Leslie Adler)
STUNNING! YouTube Takes Down Judicial Watch and Right Side Broadcasting's Impeachment Feed -- Want to Drive Viewers to Liberal Media Feeds!
Wed, 22 Jan 2020 09:03
STUNNING! YouTube Takes Down Judicial Watch and Right Side Broadcasting's Impeachment Feed '-- Want to Drive Viewers to Liberal Media Feeds! by Jim Hoft January 21, 2020
The Democrats sent their elite brain trust to the Senate Floor on Tuesday to push their sham impeachment against President Donald Trump.
Tuesday's hearing lasted for hours as Democrats continued to push amendment after amendment begging Republicans to call witnesses they did not have the nerve to subpoena during their investigation in the US House.
Several Americans were viewing the hearing online and on YouTube.
That's when Google-YouTube stepped in and blocked two prominent conservative feeds!
Tom Fitton reported that YouTube took down the Judicial Watch feed.
.@YouTube just took down @JudicialWatch's live stream of the impeachment trial for violating "community standards"! What on Earth is going on over there! https://t.co/MqfsQhFldT
'-- Tom Fitton (@TomFitton) January 22, 2020
And the popular pro-Trump website Right Side Broadcasting Network had their feed taken down and labeled it ''inappropriate content.''It was the Impeachment Feed!!
Google Whistleblower Suggests Wife's Fatal Car Crash May Not Have Been Accidental | Zero Hedge
Wed, 22 Jan 2020 08:45
Authored by Paul Joseph Watson via Summit News,
Google whistleblower Dr. Robert Epstein has suggested that his wife's fatal car crash may not have been accidental.
Last month, Misti Dawn Vaughn's Ford Ranger spun out of control on a slippery road in California and veered into the path of a tractor trailer. She died from her injuries days later.
Police concluded that drugs or alcohol were not factors in the crash.
In a tweet posted last night, Epstein appeared to suggest that the crash was not accidental and Vaughn's vehicle could have been tampered with.
''Last year, after I briefed a group of state AGs about #Google's power to rig elections, one of them said, ''I think you're going to die in an accident in a few months,'' wrote Epstein.
Last year, after I briefed a group of state AGs about #Google's power to rig elections, one of them said, "I think you're going to die in an accident in a few months."A few months later, my beautiful wife #Misti died a violent death. Makes you wonder. https://t.co/D2lw4e7QPI pic.twitter.com/c7zT1nn4K0
'-- Dr. Robert Epstein (@DrREpstein) January 20, 2020''A few months later, my beautiful wife #Misti died a violent death. Makes you wonder,'' he added.
Through his exhaustive studies, Epstein has exposed how algorithm manipulation by Big Tech can shift millions of votes during elections.
After the 2016 presidential election, Epstein surmised that search engine bias shifted 2-3 million votes in Hillary Clinton's favor.
Epstein has also repeatedly savaged the idea that Big Tech platforms are just ''private companies'' and can therefore do what they like.
''Who on Earth gave these private companies the power to make decisions about what everyone in the world is going to see or not see?'' asked Epstein, adding, ''These companies shouldn't have that power, period.''
* * *
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Australian navy delivers 800 gallons of beer to town after wildfires cut supply lines - Pacific - Stripes
Wed, 22 Jan 2020 08:39
An Australian hotel received a shipment of nearly 800 gallons of beer on Friday as wildfires continue to rage across the country.
"The pub is at the heart of regional communities. And a pub with no beer is bad enough at the best of times. After what Mallacoota residents and (firefighters) have been through the least we could do is make sure they could enjoy a beer," Carlton & United Breweries CEO Peter Filipovic said in a statement sent to the Daily News.
Carlton & United Breweries confirmed to The News that the shipment was delivered to the HMAS Cerberus naval base Thursday. The Australian navy then took the beer on the nearly day-long trip, and it arrived in Mallacoota, Victoria late Friday.
"When we were told the Mallacoota Hotel needed beer and we could get it delivered by ship we were obviously really keen to help," Filipovic said.
A department of defense spokesperson confirmed to Agence France-Presse that the beer was not taking up space needed by supplies and rescue equipment.
"The beer is not occupying unnecessary space on HMAS Choules and essential supplies were not offloaded to accommodate the beer," the spokesperson told AFP.
Filipovic said he is uncertain if beer has ever been shipped by the Navy, but that "these fires are an extraordinary disaster."
The shipment included 3,000 liters -- equivalent to a little more than 792 gallons -- of Victoria Bitter and Carlton Draught beer.
Many users celebrated the news of the beer delivery in a community Facebook group.
"Fantastic news," one user wrote.
Another user said it was "Sorely Needed."
Carlton & United Breweries donated four of the kegs in the shipment, and is working to help with other disaster relief efforts across the country.
The breweries committed to raising more than $1 million for communities affected by the fires, including a $250,000 donation, according to a statement from the company.
In addition to giving the town a beer shipment, Carlton & United also donated 80,000 cans of drinking water to New South Wales.
(C)2020 New York Daily NewsVisit New York Daily News at www.nydailynews.comDistributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
US Officials Admit Covert Tech Program Is Fueling Iran Protests | Zero Hedge
Wed, 22 Jan 2020 08:32
After major protests hit multiple cities across Iran in November following a drastic government slash in gasoline subsidies which quickly turned anti-regime, broad internet outages were reported '-- some lasting as long as a week or more nationwide '-- following Tehran authorities ordering the blockage of external access.
And during smaller January protests over downed Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752, more widespread internet outages were reported recently, likely as Iranian security services fear protest "crackdown" videos would fuel outrage in western media, and after months ago Mike Pompeo expressly urged Iranians in the streets to send the State Department damning videos that would implicate Tehran's leaders and police.
But now Washington appears to have initiated the "Syria option" inside Iran: covertly fueling and driving "popular protests" to eventually create conditions for large-scale confrontation on the ground geared toward regime change.
Image source: Zuma Press/DW.comFinancial Times reports Washington's 'covert' efforts are now increasing, and are more out in the open:
US government-funded technology companies have recorded an increase in the use of circumvention software in Iran in recent weeks after boosting efforts to help Iranian anti-regime protesters thwart internet censorship and use secure mobile messaging.
The outreach is part of a US government program dedicated to internet freedom that supports dissident pressure inside Iran and complements America's policy of ''maximum pressure'' over the regime. A US state department official told the Financial Times that since protests in Iran in 2018 '-- at the time the largest in almost a decade '-- Washington had accelerated efforts to provide Iranians more options on how they communicate with each other and the outside world.
Similar efforts had long been in place with anti-Assad groups prior to the outbreak of conflict in Syria in 2011, WikiLeaks cables previously revealed.
The US State Department is now openly boasting it's enacted this program for Iran, which includes ''providing apps, servers and other technology to help people communicate, visit banned websites, install anti-tracking software and navigate data shutdowns,'' according to FT.
Confirmed: Drop in internet connectivity registered at #Sharif University, Tehran from 11:50 UTC where students are protesting for colleagues and alumni killed on flight #PS752; national connectivity remains stable despite sporadic disruptions on third day of #Iran protestsðŸ'‰ pic.twitter.com/LjaNNd4Ut2
'-- NetBlocks.org (@netblocks) January 13, 2020And dangerously, many Iranians may not even realize they could be in some instances relying on such US-funded countermeasures to circumvent domestic internet blockages:
''Many Iranians rely on virtual private networks (VPNs) that receive US funding or are beamed in with US support, not knowing they are relying on Washington-backed tools.''
Iran is on occasion known to round of citizen-journalists and accuse them of being CIA assets '-- thus the State Department's open boasting about its program, which is further connected to a broader $65.5 million "Internet Freedom program" in troubled spots throughout the world '-- could only serve to increase this trend.
''We work with technological companies to help free flow of information and provide circumvention tools that helped in [last week's] protest,'' one US state department official told the FT. ''We are able to sponsor VPNs '-- and that allows Iranians to use the internet.''
So there it is: US officials explicitly admitting they were actively assisting in organizing recent protests which followed Soleimani's killing and the Ukrainian airliner shoot down.
I have asked the Iranian protestors to send us their videos, photos, and information documenting the regime's crackdown on protestors. The U.S. will expose and sanction the abuses. https://t.co/korr5p0woA
'-- Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) November 21, 2019At least one circumvention software is actually identified in the report as being produced by Canada-based Psiphon, which receives American government funds. Of course the company sees its role more as facilitating "free flow of information" and less as essentially a willing asset in pursuing covert regime change in Tehran.
Interestingly, the revelation comes just as other US-funded propaganda campaigns related to Iran are coming to light:
One of the most viral videos about Iran last week '-- and a reason #IraniansDetestSoleimani was trending '-- was made by a lobbyist who had worked for a militia group in Libya https://t.co/fN7v6Vztyo
'-- BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) January 17, 2020All of this suggests neocons in Washington could be a big step closer to fulfilling their long-term dream of seeing US-sponsored regime change come to Iran '-- a policy plan which goes back to at least the 1990's and was given greater impetus and urgency under the Bush administration.
Davos Conference, Focused On Climate Change, Begs Attendees To Use 'Green' Fuel For Their Private Jets | The Daily Wire
Wed, 22 Jan 2020 08:27
The World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, is set to begin Tuesday, with a special focus on saving the Earth from the ravages of ''climate change.'' The conference, titled ''Stakeholders for a Cohesive and Sustainable World'' and attended by some of the world's most powerful people, will even feature a keynote address by teenaged climate activist Greta Thunberg.
''How to Save the Planet'' is one of the ''key themes'' of the event.
And this year, Davos organizers are begging the global elite, who travel to the gathering almost exclusively by private jet, to use ''green fuel'' as a way of offsetting their incredible, unparalleled, contributions to global warming. They're even providing the ''sustainable aviation fuel'' to private jet owners who use the Zurich airport.
The average American contributes about 20 metric tonnes of CO2 to the Earth's atmosphere per year, according to Science Daily. The global average, accounting for developing nations and farming communities, is about 4 metric tonnes of Co2 per person per year.
The Davos conference is expected to release an incredible 18,090 metric tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere.
That's largely because most attendees use private planes to get to the remote resort where the conference is held. And instead of enduring a 2-hour-long car drive to the center from the airport in Zurich, many charter helicopters.
The conference itself claims to be ''carbon neutral'' and organizers claim that the event uses ''locally-sourced food suppliers, introducing alternative sources of protein to reduce meat consumption, sourcing 100% renewable electricity, and reducing or eliminating the use of materials that cannot easily be recycled or re-used, such as carpets and introducing more electric vehicles,'' according to Business Insider.
According to Vice News, Davos is also taking efforts to curb the emissions from private jets, which are among the worst polluters. The rich and famous Davos attendees will have the option to do the ''bare minimum,'' Vice claims, by electing to fill their private jets' fuel tanks with ''sustainable aviation fuel,'' which reduces their carbon emissions by a paltry 18%.
''The World Economic Forum has actually become obsessed with fighting back against flight shaming using this idea that SAF can make flying more sustainable,'' Vice reports. ''We should, of course, move toward more sustainable fuels, but WEF seems to want to 'cultivate demand' for SAF by making the ultra-rich feel slightly better about their awful habits. WEF is promising to help the aviation industry reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.''
Those who don't agree to use the ''green'' fuel, conference coordinators say, can purchase ''carbon credits'' '-- a sort of ''carbon indulgence'' that pays for tree planting or other Earth-saving efforts so that the elite can maintain their expensive transportation '-- and the can get a special incentive to travel by train.
Greta Thunberg, who opened the conference, gave a variation of her ''world on fire'' speech from the United Nations, calling out aviation and air travel, specifically, as a contributor to climate change, and berating the Davos attendees for 'talking'' and ''doing nothing'' to combat what she calls a ''crisis.''
Despite her allegations, Davos attendees say they're not so sure she's done her homework on their contributions to global environmental stewardship. ''It's not just talk,'' one told the National Post, ''it's translating into billions of dollars in investments in the energy transition.''
YouTube Pulls Breitbart and WUSA9 Livestreams of Virginia Gun Rally '' NewsWars
Wed, 22 Jan 2020 08:25
YouTube has allegedly pulled livestream videos from a pro-gun rally in Richmond, Virginia, after claims of violence and controversy had surrounded the event.
Breitbart and WUSA9 both had livestreams removed from the channel according to a report.
Earlier today Brietbart had their livestream pulled, it just happened again to another news outlet WUSA9:https://t.co/l8nDgqy7mQ pic.twitter.com/fI0SMtmbBp
'-- Mister AntiBully (@MisterAntiBully) January 20, 2020
Ruptly appears to have had a stream taken down, but continues to stream the event on the platform.
Global News is currently streaming an aerial shot of the event which has been hyped up to shape into a potential re-run of the fatal Charlottesville event two-and-a-half years ago.
Livestreams on smaller channels were allegedly shut down, preventing ample coverage from what was promised to be an action-packed event.
As dozens of live streams have been shut down, The Range stays strong. Thank you Pete!! https://t.co/0FHU53q6EI
'-- ðŸ'' April Lynn ðŸ'' (@Webfroggin) January 20, 2020
One social media user said that they were in the middle of watching a livestream of the events unfurled. They said: ''I literally was just watching a livestream from a local news station in Virginia. @wusa9 was interviewing a protester and the feed was cut, all because he spoke the truth, wasn't a white nationalist, and went against the narrative of gun control.''
Many efforts have been exhausted at attempting to paint the pro-gun rally as a ''white supremacist'' or ''neo-Nazi'' event, in lockstep with outdated narratives surrounding staunch gun owners.
Despite the alarmism attached to the event, CNN surprisingly reported that the event had begun 'peacefully.'
CNN reported:
Gun-rights advocates descended on Richmond for ''Lobby Day'' to oppose legislation that would restrict access to firearms in the state. The commonwealth is bracing for the potential of extremist and white nationalist groups to disrupt the peaceful demonstrations with violence and riots, and the state's Democratic governor, Ralph Northam, declared a temporary state of emergency last week to ban open and concealed firearms and other weapons from the state capitol grounds.The crowd, however, was peaceful as of late Monday morning, with no immediate reports of arrests or violence.
Alex Jones reports live from the massive 2nd Amendment rally at the Virginia state capital.
Lockheed Martin to migrate F-35 logistics system to cloud by 2022 end | One America News Network
Wed, 22 Jan 2020 08:23
A Lockheed Martin F-35 aircraft is seen at the ILA Air Show in Berlin, Germany, April 25, 2018. REUTERS/Axel Schmidt
January 21, 2020
(Reuters) '' Lockheed Martin said on Tuesday that a cloud-based network will replace the computer-based logistics system in all its F-35 fighter jets by 2022 end.
The weapons maker said the Operational Data Integrated Network (ODIN) will reduce administrator workload on the jet and is designed to deliver data in near real time on aircraft.
The ODIN will replace the Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS), which was blamed for delaying aircraft maintenance, one of the very things it was meant to facilitate.
The system was made to underpin the F-35 fleet's daily operations, ranging from mission planning and flight scheduling to repairs and scheduled maintenance.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) had estimated that ALIS would have cost more than $16.7 billion over its multi-decade life cycle.
The F-35 Lightning II Joint Program Office will design the ODIN, which will be delivered to the fleet later this year, Lockheed said.
(Reporting by Sanjana Shivdas in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur)
Report: Federal Asset Ordered Terror Attack by Group Allegedly Conspiring to Storm Virginia Capitol - Big League Politics
Wed, 22 Jan 2020 08:17
One of the things focused on excessively by the fake news media during the build up to today's peaceful gun rally in Virginia has been the supposed plotting of neo-Nazis and armed militia groups to storm the Capitol.
Although none of those hysterical fears came to fruition, there were three men accused of being involved with the neo-nazi group The Base that were arrested last week. They were arrested on weapons' charges as well as the bizarre charge of harboring an illegal immigrant from Canada. It was claimed by authorities without any evidence being provided to the public that they were planning a violent display at the Capitol rally.
While this news has been used to demonize all gun owners, startling details have emerged showing that The Base may in fact be a group run by the feds. Another Base member Yousef O. Barasneh, 22, was arrested and charged on Friday with vandalizing a Racine, WI synagogue last year. Court records show that a federal informant had been giving orders to members of the hate group to commit acts of anti-Semitic terror.
Trending: Report: Federal Asset Ordered Terror Attack by Group Allegedly Conspiring to Storm Virginia Capitol
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported last week that a key leader within ''The Base'' was a federal informant responsible ordering anti-Semitic terror attacks:
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One of the group's ringleaders became an informant and gave investigators details over the past several months. The documents in Barasneh's case do not name the person but note he has been federally charged in another state for his role.
The man admitted he directed the group to vandalize minority-owned properties, calling it ''Operation Kristallnacht,'' a reference to Nazi Germany and the night Jewish homes, hospitals and other properties were ransacked and destroyed.
The man told investigators he said: ''If there's a window that wants to be broken, don't be shy.''
This would not be the first time that the federal government has infiltrated extremist right-wing groups and made domestic terrorists into intelligence assets. The FBI infamously paid off Ku Klux Klan leader George Dorsett of Greensboro, NC for years while he was still burning crosses and fomenting the hatred of minorities.
''So sure, he'd made some fiery speeches, there's no question about it. But if he hadn't, he would have been worthless,'' said FBI agent Dargan Frierson, who served as Dorsett's handler, essentially laughing off Dorsett's role in the terror group while working for the FBI.
Notorious hate monger Hal Turner was on the federal payroll as well while he issued terrorist threats on his radio show and blog page for many years:
A notorious New Jersey hate blogger charged in June with threatening to kill judges and lawmakers was secretly an FBI ''agent provocateur'' paid to disseminate right-wing rhetoric, his attorney said Wednesday'...
''Almost everything was at the behest of the Federal Bureau of Investigation,'' Orozco said in a 45-minute telephone interview from New Jersey. ''Their job was to pick up information on the responses of what he was saying and see where that led them. It was an interesting dynamic on what he was being asked to do.''
''He's a devoted American,'' added the lawyer, who claims Turner was paid ''tens of thousands of dollars'' for his service'...
The FBI approached Turner, now 47, in 2002, and he spewed rhetoric about politics, white supremacy, immigration, abortion and other hot-button issues for years in exchange for government cash.
Turner was arrested in June at his apartment in suburban New Jersey.
According to court documents, (.pdf) after a three-judge panel of the Chicago-based 7th U.S. Circuit of Appeals upheld a Chicago handgun ban, he blogged that the judges should be ''killed.''
''Let me be the first to say this plainly: These judges deserve to be killed. Their blood will replenish the tree of liberty. A small price to pay to assure freedom for millions,'' he wrote.
The deep state will stoop to any level to keep their unconstitutional power and demonize right-wing patriots who aim to clean up their corrupt operation. Their infiltration of The Base is just the latest dirty trick concocted by these disreputable federal spooks.
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Daily chart - The price of rhodium reaches an 11-year high | Graphic detail | The Economist
Wed, 22 Jan 2020 08:12
Used to curb emissions from car exhausts, the metal is six times pricier than gold
Jan 21st 2020WHEN ANNA SCOTT left her Honda Jazz in a commuters' car park outside Oxford on January 10th, she had little reason to think that criminals would take an interest in the 12-year-old car. Yet the next afternoon a group of shifty characters were spotted sawing off its catalytic converter. Such incidents have become increasingly frequent across Britain as prices for palladium and rhodium, precious metals contained in the devices, have rocketed. The price of rhodium has leapt by 55% in the first three weeks of January alone, to $9,850. There is no telling when it will fall back to earth.
Surging demand from carmakers is partly to blame. More than four-fifths of global demand for both rhodium and palladium comes from the automotive industry. The metals, together with platinum, help convert toxic gases in a vehicle's exhaust system (such as carbon monoxide) into less harmful substances before they exit the tailpipe. Facing stricter emissions regulations around the world, carmakers are taking even more of a shine to these metals. Although the price of palladium has reached a record high, that of platinum has stayed relatively stable. That contrast reflects a shift in production towards petrol and hybrid cars, which tend to use greater quantities of palladium in their converters, and away from diesel engines, which use more platinum.Rhodium is used in both petrol and diesel cars. That is because it is especially good at cleaning up nitrogen oxides, says Roger Breuer, an analyst at Arlington Group Asset Management, an investment firm. Another reason its price is sky-high is the tightness of supply. More than four out of every five ounces of rhodium are mined in South Africa, extracted in minuscule quantities alongside more abundant metals such as platinum, palladium and gold. According to an analysis by Stantec, an engineering firm, a mine in the Waterberg region of South Africa due to begin development this year will produce 63% palladium, 29% platinum, 6.5% gold and just 1.5% rhodium. The small size of the rhodium market (just 792,000 ounces last year, about 1% that of gold) makes it prone to huge price swings. In 2008, after mining in South Africa was interrupted by blackouts, prices climbed above $10,000 an ounce. But this time a lack of capital investment has also squeezed supply, according to Impala Platinum, the world's second-biggest platinum miner.
Rhodium is expected to remain in high demand this year. BASF, a German chemicals giant, reckons that Chinese carmakers' demand for rhodium will increase by 40% in 2020. But because electric vehicles do not use catalytic converters, demand in the longer term is far from assured. Rhodium could quickly lose its sheen.
Instagram Story Filters: How to Find Out Which Disney, Harry Potter and Pokemon Character You Are
Wed, 22 Jan 2020 07:34
Lovers of Disney, Pokemon, Harry Potter and Instagram Stories can now rejoice as new filters have been created and released to help people find out which character they are.
In January 2019, Instagram reported 500 million daily active Stories users worldwide, as part of Facebook's Q4 2018 Results. According to eMarketer, the platform will have 117.2 million U.S. users by 2021.
Created by Instagram users, the filters are available through the Instagram app, using the "Browse Effects" function in Stories. The Disney filter was created by user @arnopartissimo, the Pokemon character filter was created by @hughesp1 and the Harry Potter filter by @syilers.
The filters automatically shuffle through characters from the franchises on top of the user's head as they're recording their Instagram story.
Disney characters are included from films such as Frozen, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, the Lion King and many more.
The Harry Potter one includes characters such as The Boy Who Lived, Ron, Hermione, Dumbledore and others. The Pokemon filter seems to only include the 150 pokemon from the Indigo League series.
The generator is completely random, so no need to panic if you get stuck with the Beast or Voldemort. It will usually give you a different character each time you use it. To take a photo or video with the filters take the following steps:
Tap in the top left of the screen or swipe right from anywhere in feed.Swipe left at the bottom of the screen and select an effect; to see effects from independent creators, swipe all the way to the left and tap.Tap to take a photo or tap and hold to take a video. When using the front or back-facing camera, the effect you choose will automatically appear on the closest person's face.According to Instagram, 62 percent of people become more interested in a brand or product after seeing it in Stories, which shows how easy it is for a filter to become popular. The rise in augmented reality, user created filters, using companies such as Spark AR, has also seemingly exploded since the platform opened it up to all users in August 2019.
Users can get their hands on the filters by clicking on the filter link on their friend's stories or they can search using the Browse Effects menu. Filters can also be saved; users can choose to save it when they click on the filter link when selecting it from the menu.
Stock image: Instagram Stories is proving popular with Americans iStockInstagram Story Filters: How to Find Out Which Disney, Harry Potter and Pokemon Character You Are | U.S.
Saudi Leader's WhatsApp message reportedly led to ''massive exfiltration'' of data from Jeff Bezos' phone.
Wed, 22 Jan 2020 07:16
A year after murdering and dismembering journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul, Saudi Arabia’s charm offensive continues, according to multiple reports that Amazon founder—and Washington Post owner, where Khashoggi was a columnist—Jeff Bezos’s phone was hacked by malware embedded in a WhatsApp message from none other than the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman himself. That’s according to a forensic analysis of the tech mogul’s phone on Bezos’ behalf by FTI Consulting. The company reported that it had been able to determine with “medium to high confidence” that the breach was caused by the video file sent by a WhatsApp account belonging to MBS, after the Saudi leader exchanged numbers with Bezos in April 2018 at a dinner in Los Angeles.
MBS initiated a conversation via WhatsApp with Bezos following the dinner. Then, in May 2018, Bezos received an encrypted video file attachment from MBS’ account. The file had a preview image of Saudi and Swedish flags overlaid with Arabic text, according to the New York Times. It’s unclear whether Bezos opened the file, but within hours of receiving it “a massive and unauthorised exfiltration of data from Bezos’s phone began, continuing and escalating for months,” according to FTI Consulting.
The lack of Saudi subtlety is … perplexing? It would be like if Vladimir Putin had himself sent malware a file in 2016 to the DNC and Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman that led to the election-altering hack of Democratic emails. Like, if it literally came from vladimir.putin@gmail.ru or whatever. Is the Saudi leadership this brazen? This dumb? Both? Something else? In fairness, there can’t be a lot of sharpening of one’s wits in a country where the marketplace of ideas has only one stall—yours. A political vacuum that quashes dissent and enables the worst sycophantic impulses of the existentially spoiled royal family would certainly make it challenging to make informed decisions. The biggest problem appears to be that it leads to bad ideas—like committing international murders and hacking the wealthiest man in the world’s phone—seem a lot like good ideas.
But the bad ideas didn’t stop there, MBS’ WhatsApp then proceeded to follow up with Bezos intermittently with messages that very strongly hinted that it had access to Bezos’ private communications. “On Nov. 8, 2018, the report said, Mr. Bezos received a message from the account that included a single photo of a woman who strongly resembled Lauren Sanchez, with whom Mr. Bezos was having an affair that had not been made public. The photo was captioned, ‘Arguing with a woman is like reading the software license agreement. In the end you have to ignore everything and click I agree,’” according to the New York Times. “The second occasion, on Feb. 16 of last year, came two days after Mr. Bezos took part in phone conversations about the Saudis’ alleged online campaign against him. The message he received read, in part, that ‘there is nothing against you or Amazon from me or Saudi Arabia.’” To recap: That’s like robbing a bank, getting away with it, and then going back to open a savings account to deposit the loot.
The report fingering the Saudis also could resolve the question of how the National Enquirer, owned by Trump-friendly American Media Inc, came by personal messages and photos sent between Bezos and Sanchez. The tabloid published portions of the private and explicit material before, bizarrely, trying to extort Bezos using the threat of releasing more material unless Bezos publicly claimed that the National Enquirer wasn’t politically motivated in the trash it published in 2016, in particularly it hadn’t tried to boost Trump during the 2016 campaign. At the time, the thinking was Sanchez’s brother was the source of the leaked messages that found their way into the National Enquirer. Now, the most likely source of the information looks quite different.
Is this political espionage? Or corporate espionage? When it comes to Saudi, where the state and business apparatuses are thoroughly intertwined, it can get murky. The country’s sovereign wealth fund is invested in companies—like Uber—all over the world and Saudi Arabia was in talks with Amazon at the time of the hack about a billion-dollar deal to build three data centers. Saudi Arabia, for its part, denied the hacking allegation. “Saudi Arabia does not conduct illicit activities of this nature, nor does it condone them,” a Saudi official said. “We request the presentation of any supposed evidence and the disclosure of any company that examined any forensic evidence so that we can show it is demonstrably false.”
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Trump admin releases trove of documents on Ukrainian military aid | TheHill
Wed, 22 Jan 2020 07:10
The White House's Office of Management and Budget (OMB) late Tuesday released a cache of nearly 200 documents related to officials' efforts to withhold military aid to Ukraine.
The documents '-- which were released just before midnight in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by American Oversight, a watchdog group '-- featured a host of communications between senior White House official Michael Duffey and other OMB aides, including Mark Sandy and Paul Denaro. Emails from OMB Acting Director Russell Vought are also included in the documents.
The records, which are heavily redacted, include a flurry of emails between officials in late June after the Washington Examiner published a story about the Defense Department's plans to send $250 million in security aid to Ukraine.
Files also show that OMB officials shared a ''Ukraine Prep Memo'' on July 24 with Duffy, a political appointee who played a role in Trump's move to freeze the aid.
"We will be standing by to answer any questions that you have and are happy to schedule time to discuss if you like," OMB official Paul Denaro wrote to Duffey in email sent just a day ahead of Trump's phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelensky.
That phone call, in which Trump asked his Ukrainian counterpart to investigate unfounded 2016 election interference allegations, as well as former Vice President Joe Biden Joe BidenSanders joins Biden atop 2020 Democratic field: poll The Hill's Morning Report - Trump trial begins with clashes, concessions Trump says impeachment lawyers were 'really good' MORE and his son, Hunter, is at the center of the Democrats' impeachment efforts against Trump.
Emails appear to indicate that the general council's office had prepared a footnote for budget officials ahead of the July 25 phone call. Duffeyy asked Marky Sandy that day about the footnote, which is a device used to freeze funding.
Sandy shared what he called a ''revised footnote'' in response. Duffy's reply, while heavily redacted, concludes with: "Please copy me on the email to DOD."
CNN noted that the correspondence seemed to indicate that the next step was for officials to notify the Pentagon of the aid freeze. Emails show that Duffey also asked to meet with OMB general counsel Mark Paoletta to discuss the "Ukraine topic" the morning of the call.
American Oversight said that ''additional emails through the summer and early fall, when Pentagon official Elaine McCusker was raising concerns about the legality of the freeze, are heavily redacted.''
The release of records came the same day that Senate Republicans' repeatedly rejected Democrats' efforts to compel the Trump administration to hand over documents related to the delayed Ukraine aid during the impeachment trial. Democrats introduced four amendments to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Addison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTrump admin releases trove of documents on Ukrainian military aid The Hill's Morning Report - Trump trial begins with clashes, concessions What to watch for on Day 2 of Senate impeachment trial MORE 's (R-Ky.) resolution outlining the rules for the trial. They were all tabled in party-line, 53-47 votes.
The Trump administration has so far refused to turn over documents to the House, claiming that it is immune from subpoenas from Congress.
"Despite the Trump Administration's obstruction and the rhetoric at the trial, the public can now see even more evidence of the president's corrupt scheme as it unfolded in real-time," Austin Evers, executive director of American Oversight, said in a statement. "The volume of material released, and the volume of material still secreted away only highlights how much the administration has withheld from the House, the Senate, and the American public.''
The House in December voted to impeach Trump of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress following an investigation into his alleged dealings with Ukraine. Trump is accused of using nearly $400 million in military aid to Ukraine as a source of leverage in his push for investigations into his political rivals.
The Government Accountability Office said in a report released last week that the administration violated the law by withholding the release of congressionally approved funds. The independent watchdog concluded that the funds were withheld to advance the president's own agenda, thus making it a violation of the Impoundment Control Act.
Vought dismissed the findings, saying in a tweet last week that the administration "complied with the law at every step."
Multiple news reports and email disclosures in recent months have offered a more clear picture of the Trump administration's dealings with respect to Ukrainian military aid. A cache of records released in December showed that White House aides were tasked with freezing the aid shortly after Trump's call with Zelensky.
The New York Times also published a story later that month detailing some of the discussions White House aides had about the aid. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer Charles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerDemocratic senator blasts 'draconian' press restrictions during impeachment trial Feds seek 25-year sentence for Coast Guard officer accused of targeting lawmakers, justices Clinton: McConnell's rules like 'head juror colluding with the defendant to cover up a crime' MORE (D-N.Y.) has said that the revelations made the "strongest case yet for a Senate trial to include the witnesses and documents we have requested."
Schiff may have mischaracterized Parnas evidence, documents show
Wed, 22 Jan 2020 06:58
House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff appears to have mischaracterized a text message exchange between two players in the Ukraine saga, according to documents obtained by POLITICO '-- a possible error the GOP will likely criticize as another example of the Democrats' rushed effort to impeach President Donald Trump.
The issue arose when Schiff (D-Calif.) sent a letter to House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) last week summarizing a trove of evidence from Lev Parnas, an indicted former associate of Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani. In one section of the letter, Schiff claims that Parnas ''continued to try to arrange a meeting with President Zelensky,'' citing a specific text message exchange where Parnas tells Giuliani: ''trying to get us mr Z.'' The remainder of the exchange '-- which was attached to Schiff's letter '-- was redacted.
Story Continued Below
But an unredacted version of the exchange shows that several days later, Parnas sent Giuliani a word document that appears to show notes from an interview with Mykola Zlochevsky, the founder of Burisma, followed by a text message to Giuliani that states: ''mr Z answers my brother.'' That suggests Parnas was referring to Zlochevsky not Zelensky.
The word document contains a series of questions and answers, but doesn't identify who is doing the asking or answering. Yet the questions center on the hiring practices at Burisma, while the responses include statements such as "we wanted to build Burisma as [an] international company'' and "we also thought it would help in Ukraine to have strong international board figures,'' which seems to point to Zlochevsky '-- not the Ukrainian president '-- as the respondent.
The apparent mischaracterization, however, does not undercut Democrats' argument that Trump withheld critical military aid to Ukraine as a way to pressure Zelenksy into opening up investigations into the Bidens, including Joe Biden's son Hunter, who was once a board member on Burisma, a Ukrainian natural gas company.
A Democratic official working on the impeachment trial didn't dispute the suggestion that the initial interpretation was incorrect. But the official maintains that ''z'' was commonly used as short-hand for ''Zelensky'' by those involved in the Ukraine pressure campaign, and noted that the word document does not reveal its author or source.
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The official also pointed out that there is little question that Giuliani and Parnas sought ''high-level engagement with President Zelensky and his administration.''
''Beginning with Mr. Giuliani's May 10 letter to President Zelensky two months earlier and leading up to Mr. Giuliani's August 2 meeting with Mr. Zelensky's representatives in Spain, Mr. Giuliani and Mr. Parnas actively sought high-level engagement with President Zelensky and his administration to carry out the President's corrupt scheme,'' the official said. ''If Mr. Giuliani sought out dirt from other sources, that would be consistent with their overall effort.''
There are plenty of examples of Giuliani attempting to arrange a meeting with Zelensky, and he did in fact meet with top aides to the Ukrainian president '-- even though Parnas' role in the whole matter is still unclear. And Democrats have not predicated their impeachment trial arguments on Parnas' new allegations, making limited references to the former Giuliani associate in their brief.
But it appears that Democrats misjudged at least one instance where they thought they found an example of Parnas trying to arrange a meeting between Giuliani and Zelensky, according to the unredacted material. Democrats didn't receive the Parnas evidence from the courts until last week and were scrambling to sort through all the materials ahead of the Senate impeachment trial.
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A Republican aide said the assumption that ''mr Z'' is a reference to Zelensky is sloppy oversight work at best.
''The most charitable view of the situation is that [Schiff's] staff committed the equivalent of Congressional malpractice by not looking more than an inch deep to determine the facts before foisting this erroneous information on his colleagues and the American public,'' said one senior GOP aide.
''But given the selective redactions and contextual clues, it seems as though Chairman Schiff sought to portray an innocuous meeting with Ukrainian oligarch Mykola Zlochevsky as an insidious one with the President of Ukraine simply because both of their surnames start with the letter Z.''
Alex on Twitter: "Les agriculteurs sur l'autoroute #Greve22janvier https://t.co/f0EjKq1csA" / Twitter
Wed, 22 Jan 2020 06:50
Alex @ Phonk_road
4h Replying to
@Phonk_road Ils manifestent contre l'interdiction d'(C)pandage de pesticides pr¨s des habitations.
View conversation · Alexandre_RTFrance @ AMaceDubois
2h Replying to
@Phonk_road Bonjour ! Je suis producteur pour RT France, peut-on utiliser votre vid(C)o sur notre antenne en cr(C)ditant votre compte twitter ? Merci beaucoup par avance ! Alexandre
View conversation · Alex @ Phonk_road
2h Replying to
@AMaceDubois Oui aucun soucis.
View conversation · Sabrina_Metayer @ SabrinaMetayer1
3h Replying to
@Phonk_road Aujourd'hui ??
View conversation · Alex @ Phonk_road
3h Replying to
@SabrinaMetayer1 Oui il y a une heure peu pr¨s .
View conversation · Derek Bowler @ BowlerDerek
59m Replying to
@Phonk_road Bonjour, je m'appelle Derek. Je suis journaliste aupr¨s de l'UER. J'ai trouv(C) votre video en cherchant a illustrer cette histoire pour nos partenaires. L'avez vous tourn(C)? Peut on la partager en vous citant tel
news-exchange.ebu.ch/clearance-fr ?
View conversation · Alex @ Phonk_road
51m Replying to
@BowlerDerek Oui je l'ai tourn(C),vous pouvez l'utiliser.
View conversation · Olivier Lc @ olivier_l6
4h Replying to
@Phonk_road @nicoleodera Ils vont certainement se faire bloquer quelque part
View conversation · Nicole ODERA @ nicoleodera
4h Replying to
@olivier_l6 @Phonk_road @FNSEA Pas de souci pour les paysans, il ne se laisseront pas emm... par un blocage. Je ne les aime pas particuli¨rement, mais on peut leur reconna®tre une qualit(C), ils font tr¨s peur au pouvoir mªme si
@FNSEA est un syndicat collabo
View conversation · Jean-Pierre @ jpm59fr
4h Replying to
@Phonk_road @glenatandre Lesquels ? Les productivistes de la FNSEA, shoot(C)s aux pesticides ? Et bien s>>r 2 jours avant le grand mouvement national. Toujours aussi solidaires des autres travailleurs ce monde paysan.
View conversation ·
US threatens Iraq with turning off the financial tap
Wed, 22 Jan 2020 06:39
This is how the Trump administration does business. After invading Iraq on false pretenses, killing a million of its people, and reducing large swaths of the country to an uninhabitable wastelands, the US is now conducting a financial 'scorched earth' campaign aimed at forcing Iraq to comply with Washington's diktats. It is hard to see how the State Department can characterize this behavior as ''a force for good'' but perhaps they are being facetious. In any event, the danger to Iraq's fragile economy is quite real as can be seen in this article by the French News Agency AFP. Here's an excerpt:
''Iraqi officials fear economic ''collapse'' if Washington imposes threatened sanctions, including blocking access to a U.S.-based account where Baghdad keeps oil revenues that feed 90% of the national budget'....
The PMO (Prime Ministers Office) got a call threatening that if U.S. troops are kicked out, 'we' '' the U.S. ''will block your account at the Federal Reserve Bank in New York,'''....The Central Bank of Iraq's account at the Fed was established in 2003 following the U.S.-led invasion that toppled ex-dictator Saddam Hussein'...Under United Nations Security Council Resolution 1483, which lifted the crippling global sanctions and oil embargo imposed on Iraq after Saddam's invasion of Kuwait, all revenues from Iraqi oil sales would go to the account.
Iraq is OPEC's second-biggest crude producer and more than 90% of the state budget, which reached $112 billion in 2019, derives from oil revenues'... To this day, revenues are paid in dollars into the Fed account daily, with the balance now sitting at about $35 billion, Iraqi officials told AFP'.....Every month or so, Iraq flies in $1-$2 billion in cash from that account for official and commercial transactions.
''We're an oil-producing country. Those accounts are in dollars. Cutting off access means totally turning off the tap,'' the first Iraqi official said'... The second official said it would mean the government could not carry out daily functions or pay salaries and the Iraqi currency would plummet in value. ''It would mean collapse for Iraq,'' the official said.'' (''Iraq warns of 'collapse' if Trump blocks oil money'', Daily Sabah)
This article is key to understanding US policy in Iraq, so let's take a minute to summarize:
1'' Iraq's wealth is in the hands of the Fed
From the earliest days of the invasion (2003) the Federal Reserve has held the revenues from Iraq's oil proceeds. That money has never been directly under the control of the Iraqi people or their elected representatives.
2''The proceeds from Iraqi oil do not benefit the Iraqi people
Iraq is presently OPEC's second-biggest crude producer and more than 90% of the state budget, which reached $112 billion in 2019, derives from oil revenues. While this may sound like a significant amount of money, it's worth noting, that Iraq's petroleum contracts were drawn up under US supervision which means that Iraq is neither being adequately compensated for its oil nor are the revenues being fairly distributed among the Iraqi people.
3'' The Fed is a political actor that is deeply involved in the implementation of U.S. foreign policy
The Federal Reserve is a political actor that plays a essential roll in spreading neoliberalism. The Fed works with government agents to prevent countries like Iraq from controlling their own wealth or from establishing their own sovereign independence.
4'' The Iraqi government remains in Washington's death grip
Iraq currently has $35 billion in an account at the Fed that it does not control, does not have access to, and cannot be used to improve the lives of the Iraqi people. Instead, the Iraqi government must wait for its American overlords to release the money in dribs and drabs as it sees fit. Now that parliament has angered Uncle Sam with their demand that US troops leave the country, Washington is threatening to ''turn off the tap'' paving the way for an economic collapse followed by widespread social unrest.
5''Iraq must sell its oil in USD
Iraqi oil is solely denominated in US Dollars which strengthens the petrodollar system that recycles revenues into US debt. This, in turn, helps to maintain the dollar's dominance as the world's reserve currency which is a political tool Washington uses to impose its own development model on foreign countries.
This brief recap helps to illustrate that US policy in Iraq is a shameless extortion racket that only serves the interests of Washington and its ally, Israel. What these bullet-points do not cover, however, is the way that US policy has failed to address Iraq's battered and neglected infrastructure, its perennially-high unemployment, its largely-polluted drinking water or the grinding, demoralizing poverty faced by a large percentage of the population. (''23% of the Iraqi people live below the poverty line while more ''than half of the urban population lives in slum-like conditions.'' Electricity is only available for roughly 8 hours a day while summer temperatures frequently top 100 degrees Fahrenheit. 20% of households in Iraq use an unsafe drinking water source, while 65% must use public networks as a main source of drinking water. Unemployment stands at 13% while youth unemployment is soaring at 25%.)
So while the oil giants continue to rake in burgeoning profits on record oil extraction, millions of Iraqis are living hand-to-mouth in an increasingly hardscrabble and dystopian environment.
The media typically scapegoats the government for Iraq's problems, (''mismanagement, bureaucratic inefficiency, and corruption'') but the real source of the troubles is the US invasion. Before the invasion, Iraq was a relatively-secure, moderately-prosperous country. Now it is a broken, dysfunctional failed state that remains helplessly pinned beneath Washington's boot-heel. That is unlikely to change under the present administration which has already expressed its intention to extend the occupation into perpetuity.
The Iraq war is the greatest catastrophe of our time. Aside from a handful of fanatical Likudniks and behemoth oil companies, no one has benefited at all. A 5,000 year-old civilization was sadistically bombed into oblivion so Washington and its ally, Israel, could redraw the map of the Middle East and establish their hegemony over a strategically-critical region of the world.
Author Nir Rosen summed it up like this in an interview on Democracy Now 10 years ago. He said,
''We've destroyed Iraq and we've destroyed the region, and Americans need to know this.''
Note to readers: please click the share buttons above or below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.
Mike Whitney is a frequent contributor to Global Research.
Pompeo to Iraq: If You Kick Us Out, We Will Bury You
China Coronavirus Outbreak Rises to 440, With 9 Dead as First US Case Confirmed
Wed, 22 Jan 2020 06:29
China said on Jan. 22 that 440 people have now contracted a new virus that first appeared in Wuhan and has killed nine people, amid fears the respiratory disease could become a global epidemic.
Li Bin, vice minister of China's National Health Commission, told reporters the figures were accurate as of midnight Tuesday, and that all nine deaths from coronavirus had been in Hubei province, from where the World Health Organization (WHO) was first notified of the virus on Dec. 31, 2019.
A further 2,197 people who came into contact with those already infected were isolated, Li Bin said, and that 765 of those have been released from observation. China on Jan. 20 admitted that the disease could be transmitted human to human, raising concerns that the illness has already spread widely across the country.
It is estimated that the virus has already reached 20 mainland cities other than Wuhan, according to a study by the University of Hong Kong (HKU).
''Recently there has been a big change in the number of cases, which is related to our deepening understanding of the disease, improving diagnostic methods, and optimising the distribution of diagnostic kits,'' Li said.
He said the new strain of coronavirus is mainly spread through respiratory transmission, warning that China must now urgently work to prevent and control the spread of the disease.
''The virus may mutate, and there is a risk of further spread of the virus,'' he said, according to The Guardian.
His comments came as the WHO on Wednesday scheduled an emergency meeting to discuss the virus and whether to declare a public health emergency of international concern.
The surge in cases of coronavirus also followed news that the U.S. had become the fifth country outside of China'--and the first outside Asia'--to confirm a case of infection.
The patient, who is in his 30s, is understood to have travelled on Jan. 15 to Seattle from Wuhan, where the outbreak originated. He remains in isolation at Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett, Washington.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has since upgraded its precaution levels for traveling to China from level one to level two on a three-tier scale, warning travelers to exercise ''enhanced precautions.''
Li said Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan had also confirmed one case each of the virus and Thailand four. An Australian man has also been placed in isolation after returning from central China with flu-like symptoms.
Concerned about a global outbreak similar to SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome)'--another coronavirus that spread from China to more than a dozen countries in 2002-2003'--numerous nations have adopted screening measures for travelers from China, especially those arriving from Wuhan.
In this Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020, photo, travelers wearing face masks walk with their luggage at Hankou Railway Station in Wuhan in southern China's Hubei province. (Chinatopix via AP)Concerns have been heightened as millions of Chinese are expected to travel to their hometowns for the Lunar New Year holiday, which falls on Jan. 25 this year. Many return home for festivities or travel abroad for vacation, with official data showing that roughly 3 billion trips take place every year during the new year period. Wuhan has a population of 11 million people.
Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that cause respiratory disease ranging from the common cold to SARS.
The most common symptom of the virus is a high fever. However, other symptoms include breathlessness, a sore throat, and a cough. Severe cases of infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure, and even death, according to the WHO.
As the virus'--also known as 2019-nCoV'--has an incubation period of seven days, symptoms may not immediately be noticeable.
Chinese authorities believe the outbreak is linked to a fresh food market in Wuhan which sold seafood and wild animals. The market, which was linked to all SARS cases seen in Wuhan in 2003, has been closed since Jan. 1.
Gao Fu, the director of China's Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said that the virus likely originated from wild animals and mutated after it transferred to humans and became contagious among humans.
He added that Chinese officials are working on the assumption that the outbreak resulted from human exposure to wild animals that were being traded illegally in the Wuhan market.
The WHO has urged people to avoid ''unprotected'' contact with live animals and avoid close contact with those with cold or flu-like symptoms, as well as cook meat and eggs thoroughly.
Reuters and the Associated Press contributed to this report.
UK to tackle coronavirus with separate arrival area at Heathrow
Wed, 22 Jan 2020 06:27
FILE PHOTO: People disembark from an aircraft at Heathrow Airport in London, Britain January 8, 2019. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls/File Photo
LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's Heathrow Airport will introduce separate areas for passengers traveling from regions that have been affected by the new flu-like coronavirus in China, UK transport minister Grant Shapps said on Wednesday.
Heathrow is Europe's busiest airport and while the risk to the UK population still remains low, over 200,000 passengers pass through the UK hub each day, with 17 flights arriving from China at Heathrow on Wednesday.
The new measures for arrivals will only apply to flights from the Chinese city of Wuhan to London Heathrow, reported the BBC. There is one flight due from Wuhan at 1830 GMT on Wednesday according to Heathrow's website.
''This is to ensure that when flights come in directly to Heathrow there is a separate area for people to arrive in,'' Shapps said.
Wuhan is the epicenter of the outbreak of the virus which can pass between humans and has since spread to other Chinese cities as well as the United States, Thailand, South Korea, Japan and Taiwan.
It has claimed nine lives in China where officials say there are 440 confirmed cases.
Shapps told Sky News he was keeping a close eye on the virus, adding that health authority Public Health England would upgrade the risk to the UK population from very low to low.
Reporting by Sarah Young; editing by Kate Holton
China companies issue staff with masks, travel warnings as virus outbreak fears grow
Wed, 22 Jan 2020 05:45
SHANGHAI/HONG KONG (Reuters) - Companies across China are handing out masks and warning staff to avoid the central Chinese city of Wuhan amid fears that the new flu-like coronavirus will rapidly spread with much of population embarking on travel for Lunar New Year holidays.
FILE PHOTO: People wearing masks walk through an underground passage to the subway in Beijing, China January 21, 2020. REUTERS/Jason Lee/File Photo
Firms from Foxconn (2317.TW ) to Huawei Technologies [HWT.UL] and HSBC Holdings (HSBA.L ) have issued advisories, while the government has urged members of the public to be extra careful if showing symptoms of a fever or a cold and has asked travel and other companies to accommodate people who might be affected.
The death toll rose to nine on Wednesday with 440 confirmed cases, Chinese health officials said.
At Foxconn's Lunar New Year party on Wednesday, founder Terry Gou advised Taiwan-based employees not to visit mainland China during the week-long holiday period.
''Colleagues and their families who have come back from Wuhan are all in isolation at home. The infection is spreading very fast,'' Gou added.
Company workers in Wuhan, the center of the outbreak, have been wearing facemasks and getting their temperature checked, the Apple (AAPL.O ) supplier also said.
Huawei Technologies has asked staff to reduce travel to Wuhan and avoid contact with animals, adding that it had set up an outbreak prevention and control team in the city to carry out disinfecting activities, according to an internal note seen by Reuters.
Citic Securities (600030.SS ) and investment bank China International Capital Corp (3908.HK ) have asked employees to avoid trips to Wuhan and Hubei province, where the city is located, if they can, sources said, adding that if employees did travel there, they were required to report the trip.
Citic has also asked staff to voluntarily quarantine themselves if they do travel to Hubei.
Huawei and Citic Securities did not respond to requests for comment. A CICC representative declined to comment.
HSBC said it had advised employees that travel to Wuhan could continue but has asked them to be extra vigilant.
''We have stepped up cleaning measures at all our premises and all employees have been reminded to be more mindful of hygiene procedures and to stay at home or see a doctor if they feel unwell in any way,'' a spokeswoman said in an email.
Didi Chuxing, China's largest ride-hailing company, said this week it would issue masks and disinfectant to its drivers and would allow passengers and drivers in Wuhan to cancel trips for free in the days up to Jan. 31, adding that the company would bear the costs.
Travel booking platforms such as Trip.com (TCOM.O ) have said users can cancel travel plans to Wuhan for free, while Shanghai's Disneyland said it will waive rescheduling fees for entry and hotel ticket buyers within six months of the purchase date given that customers might be changing their travel plans.
Hong Kong's Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd (0293.HK ) said it will allow passengers to Wuhan to change or cancel flights without charge through Feb. 15 and permit cabin crew to wear masks on flights to the mainland.
Tencent Holdings (0700.HK ) also canceled an annual event in Shenzhen at which founder Pony Ma and other top executives hand employees Lunar New Year red envelopes containing cash. A spokesman for the tech giant declined to comment if it was due to the virus.
Reporting by Engen Tham and Scott Murdoch; Additional reporting by Yimou Lee in Taipei, Zoey Zhang in Shanghai, Kane Wu in Hong Kong, David Kirton in Shenzhen and Yilei Sun in Beijing; Writing by Brenda Goh; Editing by Edwina Gibbs
First Case of Deadly Coronavirus Detected in Hong Kong - Reports
Wed, 22 Jan 2020 05:41
Asia & Pacific13:48 22.01.2020Get short URL
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - China's special administrative region of Hong Kong has recorded the first case of the mysterious novel coronavirus, which was contracted by a man who visited the city of Wuhan '-- the epicenter of the disease outbreak, media reported on Wednesday, citing sources.
The passenger of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link arrived in Hong Kong with signs of fever on Tuesday and was subsequently sent to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital for checkups, the Hong Kong Free Press news website reported, citing a spokesperson for local transport company MTR Corporation.
The man told local health officials that he had visited Wuhan, while preliminary tests turned out to be positive for coronavirus, the media outlet added, citing a source.
Transport authorities reportedly ordered to disinfect a part of the terminal which the man visited and notified mainland China of the need to clean the train that the man took and that went back to China.
The epidemics of the new type of pneumonia broke out in Wuhan in late December. It has been confirmed by China and the World Health Organization that a new strain of coronavirus, called 2019-nCoV, is behind the outbreak. The virus can be transmitted from human to human.
According to the latest data, the death toll from the coronavirus in China increased to nine people on Wednesday, while confirmed cases of virus reportedly climbed to more than 440. Outside China, symptoms caused by the coronavirus have been detected in Thailand, Japan, South Korea and the United States.
Trump Threatens to Slap 25% Tariffs on European Cars if No US-EU Trade Deal
Wed, 22 Jan 2020 05:40
Business13:42 22.01.2020(updated 14:14 22.01.2020) Get short URL
The Trump administration has long accused the EU of unfair trade practices and has clashed with its trans-Atlantic allies over state subsidies to manufacturers and taxes on US tech companies.
Donald Trump on Wednesday renewed his threat to impose painful tariffs on EU-made cars if trade talks yield no progress.
''The European Union is tougher to deal with than anybody. They've taken advantage of our country for many years,'' he told Fox News on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in the Swiss ski resort of Davos. ''Ultimately, it will be very easy because if we can't make a deal, we'll have to put 25 percent tariffs on their cars.''
Earlier in the day, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin warned that Washington would slap levies on EU auto imports if Europeans pressed ahead with a proposed digital tax that mainly targets US tech giants such as Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon.
''If people want to arbitrarily put taxes on our digital companies we will consider putting taxes arbitrarily on car companies,'' Mnuchin said in Davos.
Trump met with Europeran Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen in Davos on Tuesday to discuss trade. Both expressed cautious optimism on the future of the talks.
The US trade deficit with the EU reached $109 billion in 2018 and was more than $100.8 billion as of July 2019, according to the most recent available data. Trump has long accused Europeans of gaining an unfair trade advantage and is seeking to narrow the trade gap by revising the existing trade arrangements.
Earlier this month, the US rewrote its trade rules with Canada and Mexico and entered phase 1 of a new agreement with China, following a bruising tariff battle.
BREAKING EXCLUSIVE: WE CAUGHT HIM! Rep. Adam Schiff Caught Leaking Classified Information from House Committee in Effort to Damage President Trump
Wed, 22 Jan 2020 05:11
by Joe Hoft January 21, 2020
Democrat Adam Schiff leaked sensitive and classified House Committee materials in his obsession to politically damage President Trump.In an exclusive report, we provide the evidence below.On July 12, 2018, Democrat Representative Adam Schiff sent John Szobocsan a letter on official letterhead requesting that Mr. Szobocsan participate in an interview in front of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI):
Mr. Szobocsan was an associate of Peter W. Smith who had tried to obtain Hillary Clinton's emails and who then reportedly committed suicide in May 2017, a year before Schiff's request. (Obviously, because Smith was attempting to find dirt on the Clintons, there were suspicions that his death may not have been a suicide.)
Schiff also requested that Szobocsan provide documents and information related to efforts to obtain Hillary Clinton's emails and any facts related to General Michael Flynn, Donald Trump and others:
Mr. Szobocsan claims he complied with Schiff's request and provided him a response by the date requested (July 26, 2018) along with a USB drive containing documents that satisfied the request. Within days, Mr. Szobocsan and a family member started to receive calls from Anthony Cormier, a reporter at Buzzfeed.
(Cormier is known for his reporting later in 2019 that Michael Cohen was asked by President Trump to lie in his testimony in front of Congress. This claim was later rebutted by the Mueller gang in their final report stating that this did not happen.)
Mr. Szobocsan also notes that about this same time that he was being contacted by Buzzfeed, Natalie Edwards was arrested and charged with leaking information to a reporter at Buzzfeed. The far-left New York Times reported on October 17, 2018:
The federal authorities arrested a Treasury Department official on Wednesday and charged her with illegally showing a journalist secret reports about suspicious wire transfers by President Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and others.
The Times also reported that Ms. Edwards was charged with leaking the information to Jason Leopold from Buzzfeed:
Prosecutors didn't name the journalist. Headlines and quotes in the court papers matched articles published by BuzzFeed News; each article had the byline of Jason Leopold, an investigative reporter. He and a BuzzFeed spokesman declined to comment.
(We've reported on Ms. Edwards and her leaking classified information before, and how her case is now being prosecuted by James Comey's daughter in the DOJ's Southern District of New York)
Mr. Szobocsan claims that the co-author of the August 10, 2018 article cited on page 6, viii, of the Edwards complaint noted as Reporter-1 in the complaint is Buzzfeed lead reporter Jason Leopold.
Here is the Buzzfeed headline co-authored by Cormier and Leopold:
The Edwards complaint, starting on page 11 through 12, develops a timeline for the exchange of information between Edwards and Reporter-1 starting on August 2, 2018. Ironically, the production of documents Szobocsan provided Schiff included an Excel spreadsheet outlining business transactions Smith had made in 2015 through 2017. The Edwards complaint, on page 12, notes that Edwards exchanged several messages with her supervisor, the Associate Director of FinCen, on July 31, 2018 through August 2, 2018.
After the Buzzfeed article was produced related to Smith, Wall Street Journal reporters Byron Tau, Shelby Holliday, and Dustin Volz started reporting on the story beginning on October 7, 2018. Those articles continued on the Smith funding theme and relied on a specious document found in the Schiff production.
Mr. Szobocsan claims that he was asked about this document during his last interview with the Special Counsel in early 2018, where he explained how he found the document. Szobocsan claims that with high probability, based on the WSJ description of how the document was formed and used, he can state it could only have come from the document production he provided to Schiff.
Of course, when this document and a handful of documents were turned over to the WSJ reporters, the Mueller Special Counsel was still an open investigation.
Based on the blatant misuse of this document and several highly erroneous claims made by the WSJ reporters, Szobocsan finally acquiesced to their demands for questions. He claims that i t was during that process, in early November, that Shelby Holliday from the WSJ admitted in a email that one of her as sociates was in contact with Rep. Adam Schiff.
Adam Schiff should in no way be leading an impeachment into President Trump. Schiff should be the one removed from office. He's a leaker and a liar.
Climate Change: CERN - The God Particle - Magnetic North; What Could Go Wrong? - Helena
Tue, 21 Jan 2020 23:56
Government owned media outlets are floundering, the BBC , Deutsche Welle, CNN, are collapsing under the weight of fake news, non-news, and a growing distrust of anything the say. Today, DW further proved their futile existence by splashing a front page article in which they pit President Trump against Greta Thunberg with respect to climate change, proving they have literally lost all integrity and sanity whatsoever.
The Davos Summit declared that climate change is '' once '' again '' the core topic. Of course, the various governments declare that the world is coming to an end unless we all live in hovels for eternity, reiterating the Armageddon scream by Greta as she points her finger demonizing everyone, except herself.
Indeed the climate IS changing. But the climate has changed often over the course of earth's entire history with or without civilization. Despite scientist's best efforts, they really haven't much of a definitive clue how or why. What they do have is a slew of differing 'opinions' and 'theories'.
Some theories follow astrology and the shifting alignment of the planets. Not sure there is a dang thing we can do about that'... Other theories speculate about the earths core, magma escaping into the ocean floor and shifting tectonic plates. Not sure there is a dang thing we can do about that'... Other theories point to the massive climate manipulation that has been perpetrated for decades by governments across the globe. And then there is little Chicken Little Greta who has absolutely no scientific knowledge, a dropout from 8th grade, purportedly having all the knowledge in the world and educating world leaders. The fact that her Facebook account was recently hacked and it was revealed that everything that comes out of her mouth is written by none other than her wannabe, failed actor father, seems of no consequence to the media.
Before Steven Hawking died, he warned of the Higgs Boson bubble that could wipe out the universe. The problem is no one knows what stage we are in of the bubble because measuring time is relatively impossible. While Hawking stipulated that the bubble would take 1+ 100 zeroes to activate and tear apart the universe, we could be at one or we could be at 999+99 zeroes.
Manipulation could accelerate that instability.
In 1952, 12 countries decided to build CERN, which translated means, European Council For Nuclear Research. A massive large electron-positron hadron collider, 27 kilometers long, was built underground in Switzerland with the function of experimenting with sub-atomic particle collisions. The proton beams are traveling at near the speed of light when they collide.
When the upgraded collider was completed in 2015, it produced 600 million collisions per second. They are called the God Particle, because the collisions are meant to replicate something akin to the Big Bang theory in the creation of the universe.
Hawking's concern was based on the theory that the Caldron was being utilized to create black holes for time travel, and given that scientists didn't understand what the potential ramifications could be, Hawking hypothesized that one black hole could swallow the universe.
Obviously the amount of instability generated with these experiments is massive, and could possibly account for the rapid increase of the earth's shifting of magnetic North. While the magnetic North has always moved, disrupting climate, the speed at which it is moving in the last five years has been much more rapid. The magnetic North's movement is relative to heat generation in earth's magma core, both the solid inner layer and the fluid layer as well as radioactive elements in the interior. Interactions between the magnetic core and its proximity to the sun during rotation can cause daily reactions. ''The main dipoles of CERN generate powerful 8.3 tesla magnetic fields '' more than 100,000 times more powerful than the Earth's magnetic field.''
This should be concerning!
While conspiracy theories have abounded, some idiotic, and others quite plausible, some years ago I met quite by accident two scientists who were working on the CERN experiments. Suffice it to say, they stipulated that what was happening with the experiments could be catastrophic given scientists were experimenting far beyond their knowledge of outcome. The most specific concern was that we would create something we could not uncreate, or as Hawking stated, suck our universe into the unknowns of a black hole.
What we do know is that CERN is generating magnetic fields 100,000 times more powerful than what is ordinary for Earth. And these magnetic fields are altering our stratosphere and our core. As the Magnetic North moves, jet streams are altered '' changing weather patterns.
The shifting magnetic North would explain why Africa was once more similar to a rain forest, or even Colorado. The equator also thus shifts with the movement of magnetic north. It would account for glaciers melting, and dramatic changes in climate. While CERN was thought to be an escape hatch '' it may very well be the calamitous acceleration of earth's changing orbit on its axis due to massive explosions of heat and energy within colliding atoms.
Over the past twenty years, the magnetic north has been shifting about 34 miles per year, more than science has calculated in history. '' which began mid 1800's. Its present course is away from Canada toward Siberia. While there are numerous photographs showing incredible energy fields projected over the Caldrone's site, scientists are bound to silence.
Still, given that climate has gone through countless ice ages and warming without automobiles '' it becomes more logical that these more spectacular energy field explosions produced by CERN could be much more the prophetic cause and still be called '' Human Induced.
Below are some pictures that were shot coming from CERN during various times of experimentation tests.
Buttigieg Says He Prefers Popeyes over Chick-fil-A at Voter Forum
Tue, 21 Jan 2020 22:51
Former Mayor Pete Buttigieg said Monday he preferred Popeyes fried chicken over Chick-fil-A during a forum for black voters in Des Moines, Iowa.
During a lightning round of short questions at the Black and Brown Presidential Forum hosted by Vice, Buttigieg paused and replied, ''Popeyes,'' when asked to choose between Popeyes and Chick-fil-A.
Buttigieg was criticized last year for defending Chick-fil-A's chicken.
''I do not approve of their politics, but I kind of approve of their chicken,'' Buttigieg said when asked about Chick-fil-A during an interview with The Breakfast Club radio show in March 2019.
The openly gay mayor suggested at the time he could broker a ''peace deal'' between the gay community and the fast food company, which donated money to Christian organizations.
''Maybe if nothing else, I can build that bridge,'' he joked. ''Maybe I'll be in a position to broker that peace deal.''
In a second interview in September, Buttigieg admitted he was ignorant of Popeyes introducing their own chicken sandwich, which some gay activists declared as the ''gay-friendly'' chicken sandwich.
''Did you have the Popeyes chicken sandwich?'' the interviewer, Charlamagne Tha God, asked.
''No, what is it?'' Buttigieg replied.
''You haven't seen it?'' a surprised Charlamagne replied. ''I'm sure your team has seen the Popeyes chicken sandwich!''
''Why wasn't I briefed on this?'' Buttigieg replied, looking at his staff.
Buttigieg was also ridiculed for asking Al Sharpton in April if it was okay to eat fried chicken with his hands.
Barr Once Contradicted Trump's Claim That Abuse of Power Is Not Impeachable - The New York Times
Tue, 21 Jan 2020 17:08
Politics | Barr Once Contradicted Trump's Claim That Abuse of Power Is Not ImpeachableIn a memo for the Trump team during the Russia investigation, the attorney general wrote that presidents who misuse their authority are subject to impeachment.
Attorney General William P. Barr is known for his maximalist interpretation of executive power. Credit... Calla Kessler/The New York Times Jan. 21, 2020, 5:16 p.m. ET WASHINGTON '-- Scholars have roundly rejected a central argument of President Trump's lawyers that abuse of power is not by itself an impeachable offense. But it turns out that another important legal figure has contradicted that idea: Mr. Trump's attorney general and close ally, William P. Barr.
In summer 2018, when he was still in private practice, Mr. Barr wrote a confidential memo for the Justice Department and Mr. Trump's legal team to help the president get out of a problem. The special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, was pressuring him to answer questions about whether he had illegally impeded the Russia investigation.
Mr. Trump should not talk to investigators about his actions as president, even under a subpoena, Mr. Barr wrote in his 19-page memo, which became public during his confirmation. Mr. Barr based his advice on a sweeping theory of executive power under which obstruction of justice laws do not apply to presidents, even if they misuse their authority over the Justice Department to block investigations into themselves or their associates for corrupt reasons.
But Mr. Barr tempered his theory with a reassurance. Even without the possibility of criminal penalties, he wrote, a check is in place on presidents who abuse their discretionary powers '-- impeachment.
The fact that the president ''is ultimately subject to the judgment of Congress through the impeachment process means that the president is not the judge in his own cause,'' he wrote.
He added, ''The remedy of impeachment demonstrates that the president remains accountable under law for his misdeeds in office,'' quoting from a 1982 Supreme Court case.
Mr. Barr has long embraced a maximalist philosophy of executive power. But in espousing the view that abuse of power can be an impeachable offense, he put himself squarely in the mainstream of legal thinking. Most constitutional scholars broadly agree that the constitutional term ''high crimes and misdemeanors'' for which an official may be impeached includes abuse of power.
But in a 110-page brief on Monday, Mr. Trump's impeachment team '-- led by Pat A. Cipollone, the White House counsel and a former aide to Mr. Barr in the first Bush administration, and Mr. Trump's personal lawyer Jay Sekulow '-- portrayed the article of impeachment claiming that Mr. Trump abused his power in the Ukraine affair as unconstitutional because he was not accused of an ordinary crime.
''House Democrats' novel conception of 'abuse of power' as a supposedly impeachable offense is constitutionally defective,'' they wrote. ''It supplants the framers' standard of 'high crimes and misdemeanors' with a made-up theory that the president can be impeached and removed from office under an amorphous and undefined standard of 'abuse of power.'''
Contrary to what Mr. Barr wrote 20 months ago, the Trump defense team also insisted that the framers did not want Congress to judge whether presidents abused their discretion and made decisions based on improper motives.
''House Democrats' conception of 'abuse of power' is especially dangerous because it rests on the even more radical claim that a president can be impeached and removed from office solely for doing something he is allowed to do, if he did it for the 'wrong' subjective reasons,'' the Trump team wrote.
A spokeswoman for Mr. Barr declined to comment. A spokesman for Mr. Trump's impeachment defense team did not respond to a request for comment about the tensions.
But Mr. Barr's view was no passing thought. His 2018 memo emphasized that presidents who misuse their authority by acting with an improper motive are politically accountable, not just in elections but also via impeachment.
Between elections, ''the people's representatives stand watch and have the tools to oversee, discipline, and, if they deem appropriate, remove the president from office,'' he wrote. ''Under the framers' plan, the determination whether the president is making decisions based on 'improper' motives or whether he is 'faithfully' discharging his responsibilities is left to the people, through the election process, and the Congress, through the impeachment process.''
The result of Mr. Barr's main argument in 2018 and the Trump team's theory in 2020 is identical: Both posited that facts were immaterial, both in a way that was convenient to counter the threat Mr. Trump faced at that moment.
If Mr. Barr's obstruction of justice theory is correct '-- and many legal scholars reject it '-- then Mr. Mueller had no basis to scrutinize Mr. Trump's actions that interfered with the Russia investigation.
Similarly, if the Trump impeachment team's theory is correct, the Senate has no basis to subpoena documents or call witnesses. The lawyers are implying that even if Mr. Trump did abuse his power to conduct foreign policy by trying to coerce Ukraine into announcing investigations that could help him in the 2020 election, the Senate should acquit Mr. Trump anyway.
Another member of Mr. Trump's legal team, Alan Dershowitz, a professor emeritus at Harvard Law School and criminal defense lawyer, is expected to make a presentation to the Senate trial this week laying out in detail the theory that abuses of power are not impeachable without an ordinary criminal violation.
Critics of Mr. Dershowitz's arguments have pointed to the seeming tension with comments he made in 1998, when he did not have a client facing impeachment for abuse of power: ''If you have somebody who completely corrupts the office of president and who abuses trust and who poses great danger to our liberty, you don't need a technical crime.''
In an interview this week, Mr. Dershowitz argued that his position now was not inconsistent with what he said in 1998, pointing to his use then of the phrase ''technical crime'' and saying that he is arguing today that impeachment requires ''crimelike'' conduct.
Mr. Dershowitz went further on Tuesday, saying on Twitter that he had not thoroughly researched the question in 1998 but recently has done so. ''To the extent therefore that my 1998 off-the-cuff interview statement suggested the opposite,'' he wrote, ''I retract it.''
Amazon boss Jeff Bezos's phone 'hacked by Saudi crown prince' | Technology | The Guardian
Tue, 21 Jan 2020 17:01
The Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos had his mobile phone ''hacked'' in 2018 after receiving a WhatsApp message that had apparently been sent from the personal account of the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, sources have told the Guardian.
The encrypted message from the number used by Mohammed bin Salman is believed to have included a malicious file that infiltrated the phone of the world's richest man, according to the results of a digital forensic analysis.
This analysis found it ''highly probable'' that the intrusion into the phone was triggered by an infected video file sent from the account of the Saudi heir to Bezos, the owner of the Washington Post.
The two men had been having a seemingly friendly WhatsApp exchange when, on 1 May of that year, the unsolicited file was sent, according to sources who spoke to the Guardian on the condition of anonymity.
Large amounts of data were exfiltrated from Bezos's phone within hours, according to a person familiar with the matter. The Guardian has no knowledge of what was taken from the phone or how it was used.
The extraordinary revelation that the future king of Saudi Arabia may have had a personal involvement in the targeting of the American founder of Amazon will send shockwaves from Wall Street to Silicon Valley.
It could also undermine efforts by ''MBS'' '' as the crown prince is known '' to lure more western investors to Saudi Arabia, where he has vowed to economically transform the kingdom even as he has overseen a crackdown on his critics and rivals.
The disclosure is likely to raise difficult questions for the kingdom about the circumstances around how US tabloid the National Enquirer came to publish intimate details about Bezos's private life '' including text messages '' nine months later.
It may also lead to renewed scrutiny about what the crown prince and his inner circle were doing in the months prior to the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, the Washington Post journalist who was killed in October 2018 '' five months after the alleged ''hack'' of the newspaper's owner.
Saudi Arabia has previously denied it targeted Bezos's phone, and has insisted the murder of Khashoggi was the result of a ''rogue operation''. In December, a Saudi court convicted eight people of involvement in the murder after a secret trial that was criticised as a sham by human rights experts.
Digital forensic experts started examining Bezos's phone following the publication last January by the National Enquirer of intimate details about his private life.
The story, which included his involvement in an extramarital relationship, set off a race by his security team to uncover how the CEO's private texts were obtained by the supermarket tabloid, which was owned by American Media Inc (AMI).
While AMI insisted it was tipped off about the affair by the estranged brother of Bezos's girlfriend, the investigation by the billionaire's own team found with ''high confidence'' that the Saudis had managed to ''access'' Bezos's phone and had ''gained private information'' about him.
Bezos's head of security, Gavin de Becker, wrote in the Daily Beast last March he had provided details of his investigation to law enforcement officials, but did not publicly reveal any information on how the Saudis accessed the phone.
He also described ''the close relationship'' the Saudi crown prince had developed with David Pecker, the chief executive of the company that owned the Enquirer, in the months before the Bezos story was published. De Becker did not respond to calls and messages from the Guardian.
The Guardian understands a forensic analysis of Bezos's phone, and the indications that the ''hack'' began within an infected file from the crown prince's account, has been reviewed by Agn¨s Callamard, the UN special rapporteur who investigates extrajudicial killings. It is understood that it is considered credible enough for investigators to be considering a formal approach to Saudi Arabia to ask for an explanation.
Callamard, whose own investigation into the murder of Khashoggi found ''credible evidence'' the crown prince and other senior Saudi officials were responsible for the killing, confirmed to the Guardian she was still pursuing ''several leads'' into the murder, but declined to comment on the alleged Bezos link.
When asked by the Guardian whether she would challenge Saudi Arabia about the new ''hacking'' allegation, Callamard said she followed all UN protocols that require investigators to alert governments about forthcoming public allegations.
Saudi experts '' dissidents and analysts '' told the Guardian they believed Bezos was probably targeted because of his ownership of the Post and its coverage of Saudi Arabia. Khashoggi's critical columns about Mohammed bin Salman and his campaign of repression against activists and intellectuals rankled the crown prince and his inner circle.
Andrew Miller, a Middle East expert who served on the national security council under President Obama, said if Bezos had been targeted by the crown prince, it reflected the ''personality-based'' environment in which the crown prince operates.
''He probably believed that if he got something on Bezos it could shape coverage of Saudi Arabia in the Post. It is clear that the Saudis have no real boundaries or limits in terms of what they are prepared to do in order to protect and advance MBS, whether it is going after the head of one of the largest companies in the world or a dissident who is on their own.''
The possibility that the head of one of America's leading companies was targeted by Saudi Arabia could pose a dilemma for the White House.
Trump and his son-in-law Jared Kushner have maintained close ties with the crown prince despite a US intelligence finding '' reportedly with a medium''to''high degree of certainty '' that Mohammed bin Salman ordered Khashoggi's murder.
Both Saudi Arabia and AMI have denied that the kingdom was involved in the publication of the Bezos story.
A lawyer for Bezos who was contacted by the Guardian said: ''I have no comment on this except to say that Mr Bezos is cooperating with investigations.''
The Guardian asked the Saudi embassy in Washington about the claims. It did not immediately return a request for comment.
Have you got new information about this story? You can message Guardian investigations using Signal or WhatsApp: +447584640566. For the most secure communications, use SecureDrop. You can also email: stephanie.kirchgaessner@theguardian.com.
Swiss police 'exposed Russian spies in Davos'
Tue, 21 Jan 2020 15:20
Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Security is tight at the high-profile annual gathering in the Alpine resort Police apprehended two suspected Russian intelligence agents in Davos last August, a Swiss newspaper reports.
Tages-Anzeiger says the men, who had diplomatic passports, may have been preparing a spying operation targeting the World Economic Forum (WEF).
It adds that the pair, one of whom was posing as a plumber, were subsequently released.
Swiss police confirmed to the BBC that two Russians were "checked" in August 2019.
The Russian embassy in Bern told the BBC that the newspaper was just trying to "whip out a scandal out of nothing".
The annual WEF gathering in Davos, which brings together leading politicians and business leaders from around the world, opened in the Swiss town earlier on Tuesday.
In a separate development, US-born financier Bill Browder, who is in Davos, told Reuters the Swiss security service had foiled a Russian operation that targeted him last year.
Mr Browder, a high-profile critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, said he had been told about this by the security service.
Mr Browder is widely credited with the creation of the Magnitsky Act - a 2012 range of sanctions from the United States on top Russian officials accused of corruption.
The act was named after his former lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky, who uncovered an alleged tax fraud in Moscow - and died in a Russian prison in 2009.
What did the Tages-Anzeiger say?In its report, the German-language newspaper said the two Russians were stopped and checked by police in August.
It said they were suspected of having "carried out preparatory work" for spying on the WEF.
The police in the Graub¼nden canton became suspicious when they learned that the two Russians had planned to stay for three weeks in the expensive Alpine resort.
Tages-Anzeiger did not name the two suspected agents, or specify what kind of spying operation they had reportedly been preparing.
What did the Graub¼nden police say?Graub¼nden police spokeswoman Anita Senti confirmed to the BBC that two Russian nationals were "checked" by police in August.
Ms Senti said they both had diplomatic passports.
She added that a number of people were being regularly checked for documents in the area, without providing any further details.
And what about the Russian embassy?Stanislav Smirnov, the press attach(C) of the Russian embassy in Bern, told the BBC that the diplomatic mission in the Swiss capital had only learned on Monday from the local media about the August incident.
Mr Smirnov said Tages-Anzeiger was trying "to whip out a scandal out of nothing" and wanted to catch "a popularity wave".
The diplomat added that he had no information about the two Russian nationals questioned in August.
In 2018, two Russian men were arrested on suspicion of spying on a Swiss laboratory investigating the poisoning in March earlier that year of Sergei Skripal, a newspaper investigation claimed.
The Swiss lab in Spiez, near Bern, analysed samples from the poisoning of the former Russian double agent and his daughter in the UK.
It has also dealt with evidence of suspected chemical weapons use from the war in Syria.
Russia made no comments on the issue at the time.
WHO Emergency Committee meet on Wednesday as China confirms sixth death of coronavirus
Tue, 21 Jan 2020 15:18
Asia steps up defences as China confirms sixth coronavirus deathNations increase fever checks at airports amid fears of a bigger outbreak of the virus that causes pneumonia.
Asian countries have ramped up measures to block the spread of a new virus as the death toll in China rose to six and the number of cases jumped to almost 300, raising concerns in the middle of a major holiday travel rush.
From Australia to Thailand and as far as Nepal, nations stepped up fever checks of passengers at airports to detect the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)-like coronavirus, which first emerged in the central Chinese city of Wuhan.
Zhou Xianwang, mayor of Wuhan, told state broadcaster CCTV on Tuesday that the death toll had risen from four to six.Fears of a bigger outbreak increased after a prominent expert from China's National Health Commission confirmed late on Monday that the virus can be passed between people.
Zhong Nanshan, head of the National Health Commission, said there was no danger of a repeat of 2002's SARS epidemic that killed nearly 800 people across the world, as long as precautions were taken.
"It took only two weeks to identify the novel coronavirus," state news agency Xinhua quoted Zhong as saying late on Monday.
Earlier, Zhong acknowledged patients may have contracted the new virus without having visited the central city of Wuhan where the infection is thought to have originated in a seafood market.
"Currently, it can be said it is affirmative that there is the phenomenon of human-to-human transmission," he said in an interview with state broadcaster CCTV.
China said it would attend a special World Health Organization (WHO) meeting on Wednesday which will determine whether to declare a rare global public health emergency over the disease, which was detected in Thailand, Japan and South Korea among four people who had visited Wuhan.
Outbreak spreads
Almost 80 new cases have been confirmed, bringing the total number of people hit by the virus in China to 291, with the vast majority in Hubei, the province where Wuhan lies, and others in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangdong, according to the National Health Commission.
State media said one case was found in Zhejiang province.
Australia on Tuesday said it would screen passengers on flights from Wuhan amid rising concerns that the virus will spread globally as Chinese travellers take flights abroad for the Lunar New Year holiday that starts this week.
A man showing symptoms of the new disease who had travelled to Wuhan was in isolation as health officials awaited test results, public broadcaster ABC reported on Tuesday
"The outbreak could perhaps not have come at a worse time," said Al Jazeera's Katrina Wu, who is in Beijing.
"This is the peak travel season in China. The government has always boasted that during the Lunar New Year you see two to three billion trips being made across the country and Wuhan is not a small city; it's about 11 million people who will be travelling not only in China, but overseas. It's a major transport hub."
Authorities around the globe, including in the United States and many Asian countries, have stepped up the screening of travellers from Wuhan.
Zhong, the head of the National Health Commission, said two people in Guangdong province in southern China caught the disease from family members who had visited Wuhan.
He added that 14 medical staff helping with coronavirus patients had also been infected.
The Wuhan virus causes a type of pneumonia and belongs to the same family of coronaviruses as SARS. Symptoms include fever and difficulty in breathing, which are similar to many other respiratory diseases and pose complications for screening efforts.
SARS originated in southern China in 2002 and spread to 26 countries across the world over the following months, infecting more than 8,000 people before it was brought under control, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
The WHO, which is due to hold an emergency meeting on the outbreak on Wednesday, has said an animal source appeared most likely to be the primary origin of the Wuhan outbreak
Enhanced screening
South Korea on Monday reported its first case of the new coronavirus - a 35-year-old woman who had flown in from Wuhan.
Thailand and Japan previously confirmed a total of three cases - all of whom had visited the Chinese city.
(C) Aly Song/Reuters The outbreak is spreading as China gears up for the Lunar New Year festival when hundreds of thousands of people visit family or take holidays
WHO has said the jump in new cases was the result of "increased searching and testing for [the virus] among people sick with respiratory illness".
Wuhan authorities said they have installed infrared thermometers at airports, and railway and coach stations across the city. Passengers with fever were being registered, given masks and taken to medical institutions.
Chinese state media moved to calm the mood as discussion swelled on social media about the coronavirus spreading to other Chinese cities.
Weighing in on the matter for the first time, China's President Xi Jinping said on Monday that safeguarding people's lives should be given "top priority" and that the spread of the epidemic "should be resolutely contained", according to CCTV.Xi said it was necessary to "release information on the epidemic in a timely manner and deepen international cooperation", and ensure people have a "stable and peaceful Spring Festival", the broadcaster said.
Superspreader infects 14 Healthcare Workers in Tongji Hospital, Wuhan - Hubei (2019-nCoV) - Recombinomics Inc.
Tue, 21 Jan 2020 15:02
According to Zhong, a top priority now should be for Wuhan '' a city of 11 million people in the central province of Hubei '' to curb the disease's spread, in part by banning people with symptoms from leaving the city.
He said that a number of the cases in Guangdong involved patients who had not travelled to Wuhan.
''At present, there is no special cure for this new coronavirus and [we are] conducting some tests with animals,'' Zhong said. ''We expect the number of infected cases will increase over the Lunar New Year travel period and we need to prevent the emergence of a super-spreader of the virus.''
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Zhong's warning came as Chinese President Xi Jinping called on officials to do everything they could to stop the disease.
State broadcaster CCTV quoted Xi as saying that the virus must be ''resolutely contained'' and ''the safety of people's lives and their physical health should be given top priority''.
Premier Li Keqiang also announced the creation of a national leading group to coordinate the fight against the disease.
The virus, which causes
as of Monday night, is thought to have
in a seafood and animal meat market in Wuhan.
Earlier on Monday, the World Health Organisation (WHO) also warned that human-to-human transmission might have been behind the infection cases in China but it did not change its earlier advice that it did not see grounds to restrict travel to or trade with China.
The WHO China office said a team of experts was meeting officials in Wuhan to discuss the outbreak.
''The mission is part of ongoing information sharing between the government of China and the WHO,'' a spokesman said.
In statements via Twitter earlier on Monday, the WHO said: ''An animal source seems the most likely primary source of this novel coronavirus outbreak, with some limited human-to-human transmission occurring between close contacts.''
Wuhan medical authorities said on Monday that a third patient had died from the infection at a hospital in the city, while also announcing a jump of more than 130 new cases alone over the weekend, taking Wuhan's total to 198.
China reports third death from Wuhan virus and new cases of the mystery illness in other cities
The number of new cases showed there was human-to-human transmission, Guan Yi, director of the State Key Laboratory of Emerging Infectious Diseases at the University of Hong Kong, Beijing-based news outlet Caixin reported on Monday.
''I admit that the virus did not pass from person to person in the early stage, but the situation has evolved for more than a month, and the number of new cases has risen. 'Human-to-human' is no longer a word game,'' Guan was quoted as saying.
Guan's work led to the identification of the Sars coronavirus, which killed more than 700 people around the world in a 2002-03 outbreak that originated in China, according to the university's website.
''The virus' ability to spread and adapt to the population, as well as its onset and pathogenicity, is similar to the way Sars developed in the early stage,'' Guan said in the Caixin report. ''I hope we can learn from the lessons of Sars and hope we don't approach prevention and control of the [current] situation in a similar way as Sars, otherwise it will negatively affect people and the world.''
University of Hong Kong microbiologist Ho Pak-leung said the transmission methods and origins of the new cases on the mainland had not been disclosed.
''That means it's likely that those cases were spread through limited human-to-human transmission, which has some connection with the movement of people,'' Ho said.
''Wuhan's top travel destinations are Bangkok, Hong Kong and Tokyo. With imported cases reported in two of those three cities, it is only a matter of time for Hong Kong to have a [confirmed] case.''
Ho also welcomed the new measures unveiled by the Hong Kong government on Monday, which include health declaration forms at the airport for visitors arriving on direct flights from Wuhan, and a requirement for local doctors to report suspected cases among people who have visited Hubei '' and not just Wuhan '' in the last 14 days.
China's National Health Commission said five people in Beijing had been confirmed as
, along with one in Shanghai and 14 in Guangdong, a province bordering Hong Kong. Another six people throughout the country were suspected as having the virus.
Meanwhile, Taiwanese health authorities said a one-year-old boy suspected of having the virus was being treated in a hospital isolation ward.
''Doctors have already sent the samples of the pathogen for testing, and the results will be known within days,'' a spokeswoman for the Taiwan Centres for Disease Control said.
Wuhan outbreak: Thailand confirms first case of virus outside China
Reports that the virus was spreading raised particular concern with hundreds of millions of people travelling across China this week for the Lunar New Year holiday. Wuhan itself has a population of about 11 million people '' more than New York or London '' and is one of the country's major rail hubs.
The Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention said on Saturday that the infection was ''preventable and controllable''. The virus was not Sars, the centre said on Saturday.
The WHO's comments about some limited human-to-human transmission in the Wuhan virus is a shift from previous statements in which the body and China's health authorities said they had found no evidence of human-to-human transmission but could not rule it out.
In a written response to the South China Morning Post early on Monday, the WHO China office said there was ''no clear evidence of sustained human-to-human transmission'' and it had no information on medical staff being infected by the virus.
''To date, Chinese authorities have reported no infections among health care workers, which is an indicator used to ascertain the transmissibility of a disease (or the degree to which a disease is contagious), as health care workers are among the more exposed groups,'' it said.
The WHO said China had reported 139 new cases of the coronavirus to the organisation over the previous two days.
The agency attributed the jump to ''increased searching and testing'' for the virus among people showing symptoms of respiratory illness.
Confirmation of infections in other cities in China came as several countries and regions in Asia reported finding the virus in visitors since the Wuhan medical authorities first raised the alert on December 30 about what was then a mystery illness.
South Korea confirmed on Monday that a woman who had arrived from Wuhan had the virus. Two Chinese tourists in Thailand and a Chinese man working in Japan had previously been confirmed as infected. Authorities in Singapore, Vietnam, Nepal, Hong Kong and Taiwan have said they are monitoring a number of suspected cases.
No deaths have been reported overseas among the infected.
China identifies new coronavirus behind Wuhan pneumonia outbreak
The US on Friday began
from Wuhan at airports in San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles.
''I think that this is a situation where we're going to see additional cases all around the world as people look for it more,'' Nancy Messonnier, director of the US' National Centre for Immunisation and Respiratory Diseases, a branch of the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said on Saturday.
''I think it's highly plausible that there will be at least a case in the United States, and that's the reason we're moving forward so quickly with this screening,'' she said, adding that the threat to the general public was ''low''.
In its statement, the WHO said it ''is proposing studies on the novel coronavirus that can be done in China and elsewhere to better understand transmission, risk factors and where the virus is''.
''These studies take time and resources'' it said, noting that some of these studies were already under way.
Messonnier, at the CDC, said: ''We don't have all the information at the level of detail that our scientists would prefer. You know CDC scientists, and we, want to see every titbit of data ourselves, and that's not the situation we're in right now. We are in more of a waiting mode, waiting to see what our colleagues from China are releasing.''
Wuhan's health authorities said the city's third death from the virus had occurred on Saturday, and reported 59 new infections on Saturday and 77 on Sunday.
The two infected people in Beijing had recently travelled to Wuhan, according to the Daxing district health committee. They were under quarantine in hospital and in a stable condition, The Beijing News reported.
People who had come into close contact with the two patients were under medical observation and had not had fever-like symptoms, the local health authority said.
The health authority for Shenzhen in the southern province of Guangdong said its first confirmed case was a 66-year-old man. He had visited relatives in Wuhan at the end of last month and developed fever and fatigue on January 3. He went to a doctor in Shenzhen the next day, then was admitted to hospital, where he was quarantined, on January 11.
His condition was stable and the authority was monitoring people who had been in close contact with him, the authority said.
The Zhejiang health authority said that the five patients it had reported as showing symptoms had recently visited Wuhan.
In Malaysia, authorities were on ''high alert'' for the disease, with response teams at all international arrival entry points.
Additional reporting by Lawrence Chung in Taipei and Victor Ting
China says infections spreading as it reports third death from Wuhan virus; WHO indicates human transmission likely | South China Morning Post
Tue, 21 Jan 2020 15:01
A man leaves the Wuhan Medical Treatment Centre, where some of the patients have been treated. Photo: AFP
Authorities find 136 new infections in Wuhan, confirm first cases in other cities '' one in Shenzhen and two in BeijingWorld Health Organisation says there could be some limited human-to-human infectionTopic | China coronavirus outbreak
SCMP Reporters Published: 8:58am, 20 Jan, 2020
Updated: 4:34pm, 20 Jan, 2020
Geen verklaring van de arts meer nodig bij verandering geslacht op geboorteakte | De Volkskrant
Tue, 21 Jan 2020 14:43
Beeld ANPDat staat in een wetsvoorstel dat minister Sander Dekker voor Rechtsbescherming dinsdag in internetconsultatie heeft gegeven. Voor de vereenvoudiging, die hij in april in een brief aan de Kamer aankondigde, is een aanpassing van de zogenoemde Transgenderwet uit 2014 nodig. Gemiddeld passen ruim 500 personen per jaar hun geslacht aan.
De nieuwe procedure gaat in twee etappes. De transgender maakt zijn voornemen in eerst instantie schriftelijk kenbaar bij de burgerlijke stand van zijn woonplaats. Dat hoeft niet zijn geboorteplaats te zijn. Na ten minste vier en maximaal twaalf weken bevestigt de aanvrager in persoon zijn wens bij de ambtenaar van de burgerlijke stand, die de identiteit van de betrokkene controleert en de geboorteakte aanpast. De aanvrager behoudt hetzelfde burgerservicenummer, wat identiteitsfraude moet voorkomen.
Tegen de deskundigenverklaring, die ongeveer 250 euro kost, waren in de praktijk bezwaren gerezen. Ze zou behalve duur ook onnodig zijn. De verklaring was in de wet opgenomen om te vermijden dat mensen in een opwelling hun geslacht zouden willen wijzigen. Ze conflicteert ook met het zelfbeschikkingsrecht.
RechterVoor jongeren onder de 16 jaar loopt het wijzigingsverzoek via de rechter, vanwege de extra zorgvuldigheid die nodig is bij deze groep. Wie spijt krijgt van een wijziging op de geboorteakte, kan deze eenmaal terug veranderen. Derde of volgende wijzigingen (die weinig voorkomen) moeten betrokkenen voorleggen aan de rechtbank. 'Het kabinet meent dat als iemand na tweemaal wisselen nogmaals het geslacht wenst te wijzigen, dat een reden is om alert en extra zorgvuldig te zijn', staat in de toelichting bij het wetsvoorstel. De rechter moet dan 'de innerlijke overtuiging' van de betrokkene toetsen.
De procedure voor wijziging van de geslachtsregistratie staat los van de eventuele medische procedure voor een lichamelijke geslachtswijziging. De vereenvoudiging is het gevolg van een evaluatie van de Transgenderwet, uitgevoerd door de Universiteit Utrecht in opdracht van het Wetenschappelijk Onderzoeks- en Documentatiecentrum van het ministerie van Justitie en Veiligheid.
LEES OOK:Twee jaar geleden publiceerde het Sociaal- en Cultureel Planbureau een rapport over de zorgelijke positie van transgenders. U kunt hier het artikel teruglezen dat de Volkskrant daarover schreef.
Historically racist housing policies exacerbating climate change effects in low-income Portland neighborhoods - oregonlive.com
Tue, 21 Jan 2020 10:49
As the climate warms, heat waves are predicted to increase in both frequency and intensity. But that heat, and the threats to public health that come with it, will not be distributed evenly.
In cities like Portland, some areas are referred to as ''heat islands,'' areas where development has exacerbated the effects of high temperatures. Now, a new study from Portland State University is showing, for the first time, that areas prone to excessive heat are disproportionately populated by low-income communities and people of color due to racist housing policies that stretch back more than a century.
Nearly every city included in the study saw higher temperatures in neighborhoods that were historically subject to discriminatory housing policies, with poorer areas seeing averages temperatures about five degrees higher than their wealthier counterparts. And, of the 108 urban areas analyzed, Portland came in with the worst temperature discrepancy between rich and poor, a difference of almost 13 degrees.
''The patterns of the lowest temperatures in specific neighborhoods of a city do not occur because of circumstance or coincidence,'' said Vivek Shandas, urban studies and planning professor at PSU and co-author of the study. ''They are a result of decades of intentional investment in parks, green spaces, trees, transportation and housing policies that provided 'cooling services,' which also coincide with being wealthier and whiter across the country.''
The study, one of the first to link historic housing policies to threats from climate change, shows what researchers have been saying for years: As extreme weather events like heat waves become more common, poor communities will face disproportionate risks.
Decades of racism in housing policy
As far back as the early 20th century, housing policies in Portland were explicitly racist. Exclusionary covenants, legal clauses written into property deeds, prohibited people of certain races, specifically African Americans and people of Asian descent, from purchasing homes. In 1919, the Portland Realty Board adopted a rule declaring it unethical to sell a home in a white neighborhood to an African American or Chinese person. The rules stayed in place until 1956.
In 1924, Portland voters approved the city's first zoning policies. More than a dozen upscale neighborhoods '-- including familiar names like Irvington, Eastmoreland and Laurelhurst '-- were zoned for single-family homes. The policy, pushed by homeowners under the guise of protecting their property values, kept apartment buildings and multi-family homes, housing options more attainable for low-income residents, in less-desirable areas.
After the passage of the National Housing Act in 1934, the federal government asked the Home Owners' Loan Corporation to create ''residential security maps'' for cities across the country, including Portland. These maps were intended to rate neighborhoods, with ''A'' areas being the most desirable and ''D'' being least desirable, for investment security purposes, but their effects were much more pernicious. Areas rated ''D'' were surrounded with red lines on the maps, and residents who lived there, often low-income minorities, were frequently denied mortgage loans and insurance. In the mid-20th century, Portland's African American communities '-- Albina, Alberta and other parts of Northeast and inner Southeast Portland '-- were all redlined.
On an individual level, the practice prevented residents from accessing home loans, denying them the opportunity to build intergenerational wealth by owning property. On a citywide level, redlining, along with zoning restrictions, maintained segregation and made redlined neighborhoods ripe for development of multi-unit buildings and industrial use.
By the 1950s, many of these neighborhoods were gutted by so-called ''urban renewal,'' as construction of Interstate 5, Emanuel Legacy Hospital and the Veterans Memorial Coliseum saw the forced displacement of entire communities in Northeast Portland.
Freeways sliced neighborhoods in half. Warehouses sprung up next to apartment buildings and parking lots. Residential lots were built to the edges, leaving little room for yards or trees. Redlined areas saw more concrete and asphalt but fewer green spaces and parks than their wealthier counterparts.
Then the climate began to change.
Urban heat islands
Shandas began studying areas of excessive heat, known as urban heat islands, more than a decade ago. In 2018, he published his first analysis of Portland temperatures, collecting more than 300,000 data points across the city.
He found Portland was home to a number of heat islands, among them: the 82nd Avenue corridor between Interstate 84 and Southeast Foster Road, the inner Southeast industrial area, and the inner Northeast along the I-5 corridor.
A map from Vivek Shandas' 2018 analysis shows temperature disparities in Portland.
Shandas' more recent analysis was simply a matter of taking two maps, of heat islands and of areas that were subject to discriminatory housing practices, and laying them on top of each other. The results were clear.
''We found that those urban neighborhoods that were denied municipal services and support for home ownership during the mid-20th century now contain the hottest areas in almost every one of the 108 cities we studied,'' Shandas said. ''Our concern is that this systemic pattern suggests a woefully negligent planning system that hyper-privileged richer and whiter communities. As climate change brings hotter, more frequent and longer heat waves, the same historically underserved neighborhoods '-- often where lower-income households and communities of color still live '-- will, as a result, face the greatest impact.''
A map from Vivek Shandas 2020 analysis shows temperature disparities in Portland, overlaid with areas that were subject to redlining, marked by red crosshatch.
A few extra degrees might not sound like much, but extreme heat-related illnesses kill more than 600 people every year across the country, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Researchers predict that, as the global climate warms, extreme heat events will increase in both frequency and intensity.
Jeremy Hoffman, chief scientist at the Science Museum of Virginia and co-author of the study, said the impacts on residents of these concentrated heat islands are wide-ranging.
''They are not only experiencing hotter heat waves with their associated health risks but also potentially suffering from higher energy bills, limited access to green spaces that alleviate stress and limited economic mobility at the same time,'' Hoffman said. ''Our study is just the first step in identifying a roadmap toward equitable climate resilience by addressing these systemic patterns in our cities.''
A green path forward
If Portland is going to find its way to a cooler future, the path to get there will need to be lined with trees. Curtailing carbon emissions is an essential part of mitigating the impacts of climate change, but the amount of carbon dioxide already in the atmosphere will make some amount of warming inevitable, Shandas said, and adapting to those warmer temperatures will be important, too.
Increasing foliage and green space is the best way to combat the pernicious heat islands, at least in the short term, Shandas said. Trees absorb more heat from the sun and create shade. Plants pull moisture from the ground, which in turn evaporates into the air, providing a cooling effect.
Portland is looking to make changes to increase greenery in some of the neighborhoods that saw the worst of the discriminatory housing policies, officials said.
In December, city councilors voted to adopt changes to city code that would require new development to allocate areas for greenery and put limitations on the size of parking lots. The city council is currently debating a plan that would allow apartments and multiplexes in neighborhoods previously zoned only for single-family homes.
''Portland is really trying to connect the dots when it comes to institutional racism and some of the outcomes and address these issues moving forward,'' said Bill Cunningham of the Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability. ''Urban heat islands are a legacy of those past planning decisions.''
Community groups have been active, too. Plans to widen I-5 in the Rose Quarter have been met with strident opposition from environmental and neighborhood groups. Some have criticized the freeway widening itself, others said plans to cap the freeway must be more extensive and allow for buildings atop them. The group Albina Vision Trust has called for a wholesale neighborhood revival and an expansion of green space in inner North and Northeast Portland.
Friends of Trees, a nonprofit that has operated in Oregon and Washington for the past 30 years, has used Shandas' heat maps to target areas needing more trees. The group has planted more than 800,000 in three decades, said interim Executive Director Whitney Dorer, and Friends' contract with the city requires 70 percent of those plantings go into Portland's low-income communities.
For years, researchers have warned that as the climate warms, extreme weather events like heat waves will become more common and poor communities will face bigger threats from these events than their wealthier peers. Shandas' findings are what those threats look like on the ground.
''By recognizing and centering the historical blunders of the planning profession over the past century, such as the exclusionary housing policies of 'redlining,' we stand a better chance for reducing the public health and infrastructure impacts from a warming planet,'' Shandas said. ''This is the first step. It's going to take a lot more work on development to undo what we've done in the past.''
-- Kale Williams
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Amazon Echo's Privacy Issues Go Way Beyond Voice Recordings
Tue, 21 Jan 2020 10:36
By Garfield Benjamin, Solent UniversityAmazon Echo and the Alexa voice assistant have had widely publicized issues with privacy. Whether it is the amount of data they collect or the fact that they reportedly pay employees and, at times, external contractors from all over the world to listen to recordings to improve accuracy, the potential is there for sensitive personal information to be leaked through these devices.
But the risks extend not just to our relationship with Amazon. Major privacy concerns are starting to emerge in the way Alexa devices interact with other services '' risking a dystopian spiral of increasing surveillance and control.
The setup of the Echo turns Amazon into an extra gateway that every online interaction has to pass through, collecting data on each one. Alexa knows what you are searching for, listening to or sending in your messages. Some smartphones do this already, particularly those made by Google and Apple who control the hardware, software and cloud services.
But the difference with an Echo is that it brings together the worst aspects of smartphones and smart homes. It is not a personal device but integrated into the home environment, always waiting to listen in. Alexa even tries to make light of this with the creepy ''Ask the Listeners'' function that makes comments about just how much the device is spying on you. Some Echo devices already have cameras, and if facial recognition capabilities were added we could enter a world of pervasive monitoring in our most private spaces, even tracked as we move between locations.
This technology gives Amazon a huge amount of control over your data, which has long been the aim of most of the tech giants. While Apple and Google '' who face their own privacy issues '' have similar voice assistants, they have at least made progress running the software directly on their devices so they won't need to transfer recordings of your voice commands to their servers. Amazon doesn't appear to be trying to do the same.
This is, in part, because of the firm's aggressive business model. Amazon's systems appear not just designed to collect as much data as they can but also to create ways of sharing it. So the potential issues run much deeper than Alexa listening in on private moments.
Sharing with law enforcementOne area of concern is the potential for putting the ears of law enforcement in our homes, schools and workplaces. Apple has a history of resisting FBI requests for user data, and Twitter is relatively transparent about reporting on how it responds to requests from governments.
But Ring, the internet-connected home-security camera company owned by Amazon, has a high-profile relationship with police that involves handing over user data. Even the way citizens and police communicate is increasingly monitored and controlled by Amazon.
This risks embedding a culture of state surveillance in Amazon's operations, which could have worrying consequences. We've seen numerous examples of law enforcement and other government bodies in democratic countries using personal data to spy on people, both in breach of the law and within it but for reasons that go far beyond the prevention of terrorism. This kind of mass surveillance also creates severe potential for discrimination, as it has been shown repeatedly to have a worse impact on women and other minorities.
If Amazon isn't willing to push back, it's not hard to imagine Alexa recordings being handed over to the requests of government employees and law enforcement officers who might be willing to violate the spirit or letter of the law. And given international intelligence-sharing agreements, even if you trust your own government, do you trust others?
In response to this issue, an Amazon spokesperson said: ''Ring customers decide whether to share footage in response to asks from local police investigating cases. Local police are not able to see any information related to which Ring users received a request and whether they declined to share or opt out of future requests.'' They added that although local police can access Ring's Neighbors app for reporting criminal and suspicious activity, they cannot see or access user account information.
Tracking health issuesHealth is another area where Amazon appears to be attempting a takeover. The UK's National Health Service (NHS) has signed a deal for medical advice to be provided via the Echo. At face value, this simply extends ways of accessing publicly available information like the NHS website or phone line 111 '' no official patient data is being shared.
But it creates the possibility that Amazon could start tracking what health information we ask for through Alexa, effectively building profiles of users' medical histories. This could be linked to online shopping suggestions, third-party ads for costly therapies, or even ads that are potentially traumatic (think women who've suffered miscarriages being shown baby products).
An Amazon spokesperson said:
Amazon does not build customer health profiles based on interactions with nhs.uk content or use such requests for marketing purposes. Alexa does not have access to any personal or private information from the NHS.
The crudeness and glitches of algorithmic advertising would violate the professional and moral standards that health services strive to maintain. Plus it would be highly invasive to treat the data in the same way many Echo recordings are. Would you want a random external contractor to know you were asking for sexual health advice?
TransparencyUnderlying these issues is a lack of real transparency. Amazon is disturbingly quiet, evasive and reluctant to act when it comes to tackling the privacy implications of their practices, many of which are buried deep within their terms and conditions or hard-to-find settings. Even tech-savvy users don't necessarily know the full extent of the privacy risks, and when privacy features are added, they often only make users aware after researchers or the press raise the issue. It is entirely unfair to place such a burden on users to find out and mitigate what these risks are.
So if you have an Echo in your home, what should you do? There are many tips available on how to make the device more private, such as setting voice recordings to automatically delete or limiting what data is shared with third parties. But smart tech is almost always surveillance tech, and the best piece of advice is not to bring one into your home.
In response to the main points of this article, an Amazon spokesperson told The Conversation:
At Amazon, customer trust is at the centre of everything we do and we take privacy and security very seriously. We have always believed that privacy has to be foundational and built in to every piece of hardware, software, and service that we create. From the beginning, we've put customers in control and always look for ways to make it even easier for customers to have transparency and control over their Alexa experience. We've introduced several privacy improvements including the option to have voice recordings automatically deleted after three or 18 months on an ongoing basis, the ability to ask Alexa to ''delete what I just said'' and ''delete what I said today,'' and the Alexa Privacy Hub, a resource available globally that is dedicated to helping customers learn more about our approach to privacy and the controls they have. We'll continue to invent more privacy features on behalf of customers.
Garfield Benjamin, Postdoctoral Researcher, School of Media Arts and Technology, Solent University
This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.
The Mad Geopolitics of Israel's EastMed Gas Pipeline
Tue, 21 Jan 2020 10:31
At just a time when the world holds its collective breath over risk of a World War over the US assassination of Iran's leading general and other provocations, Israel has chosen to sign a natural gas pipeline deal with Greece and Cyprus that is the equivalent of tossing a loaded hand grenade into the hyper-tense region .
Until some months ago it was doubtful whether Israel's long-touted EastMed gas pipeline deal with Cyprus and Greece would see the light of day. Despite being backed by the US and the EU as an alternative to Russian gas, the EastMed as it is known, is dubious on many grounds, not the least its high cost compared with alternatives. The January 2 signing by the governments of Israel, Greece and Cyprus is directly connected to provocative moves by Turkey's Erdogan to conspire with Libya to illegally declare almost all of the Eastern Mediterranean waters to be a Turkish and now Libyan Exclusive Economic Zone.
If Mideast tensions were not already at the breaking point, the Israeli move throws a huge monkey wrench into the region's troubled geopolitics.
As recently as December, 2019 the Israeli companies involved in their offshore Leviathan gas field were openly discussing further options for export of the gas following an export agreement with Egypt and Jordan. The EastMed pipeline was not mentioned in Israeli media.
What has changed the situation was the announcement by Turkey's President Erdogan that he was sending Turkish troops to defend the Tripoli UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli of Fayez al Sarraj, on their request, to counter the forces of General Khalifa Haftar's Libyan National Army (LNA).
Libya has the potential to become a major new explosion point in the rapidly-deteriorating Middle East terrain. Haftar is backed by Russia, Egypt, the UAE, Saudi Arabia and yes, France, and secretly since 2017 by Israel. Since April 2019 Haftar has been moving to take Tripoli from his stronghold in the oil-rich east. The GNA in Tripoli in turn is backed by Turkey, Qatar and Italy. The EU is desperately trying to mediate a truce between the GNA and Haftar after Putin failed some days ago.
The Mediterranean energy clashes
As Cyprus has discovered rich offshore fields of natural gas in addition to those of Israel at Leviathan, Turkey, who so far lacks its own major gas resources, began to aggressively interfere in Cyprus offshore waters. On January 1, 2020 Turkey and Russia opened the Black Sea Russian TurkStream with first deliveries of gas to EU member Bulgaria.
On December 11, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut ‡avuşoğlu hinted that Ankara could use its military to prevent gas drilling in waters off Cyprus that it now claims. ''No one can do this kind of work without our permission,'' he said. Since early 2019 Turkish ships have entered Cyprus exclusive waters claiming rights to drill. In December 2019, the Turkish navy intercepted Bat Galim, an Israeli ship in Cypriot waters and forced it to move out of the area. The ship was of the Israeli Oceanographic and Limnological Research Institution, doing research in Cyprus's territorial waters in coordination with Cypriot officials. The US State Department warned Turkey to back off and the EU imposed sanctions on Turkish persons, to little effect so far.
Turkey's recent interest in Libya is directly related to blocking Cyprus gas exploration and declaring vast Turkish offshore space legal for its drilling ships.
On November 27, 2019 Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan signed a bilateral agreement on maritime boundaries in the southeastern Mediterranean. It would redraw existing recognized sea boundaries to give Libya exclusive rights for some 39,000 square kilometers of maritime waters belonging to Greece. The new joint zone of Tripoli-Turkey runs directly between the both countries and completely ignores the fact it violates Greek waters off Crete. Conveniently, it would cut directly across the planned Israel-Cyprus-Greece EastMed pipeline route. Without Turkey's approval, Turkey has suggested the Greek EastMed pipeline would be a non-starter.
The ongoing war between Haftar and Tripoli's GNA becomes even more complex, as Israel is also backing Haftar who now controls Benghazi and much of Tobruk along the Mediterranean coastline. Since 2017 the Israeli military have secretly been supporting Haftar in his attempt to gain control of Libya.
The EastMed Project
The just signed agreement between Israel, Greece and Cyprus is more fantasy than reality at this point. It calls for a hugely expensive $7 billion 1,900 km (1,180 mile) subsea pipeline, ''the longest and deepest gas pipeline in the world,'' that should initially bring up to 10 billion cubic meters of gas a year from Israeli and Cypriot waters to Crete and then on to the Greek mainland and ultimately to Italy. That would amount to roughly 4% of total EU gas consumption, far less than Russia's present 39% share, let alone Gazprom's increased share once NordStream 2 and TurkStream are fully completed in the coming months. TurkStream, where the first of two pipelines opened on January 1, 2020, will supply a total of more than 31 bcm, with half available for the EU gas market and NordStream2 will add another 55 bcm annually to the EU gas market.
It has been ten years since gas was discovered at Israel's Leviathan. The first gas deliveries only began early this month to Egypt and to Jordan leaving 80% available for export following numerous delays. However prospects of finding finance for the huge project are grim at best. The EU, while greeting a rival to Russian gas, has made clear it has no money for the project. Greece financing is hardly possible after the 2010 Greek crisis and Cyprus is similarly depleted after its 2013 banking crisis. According to a statement from the Israeli Finance Ministry it will be financed by ''private companies and institutional lenders.'' To find private financing for such a politically risky undertaking at a time of growing risk aversion in finance is dubious. With a current glut of gas on the world market and the increasing availability of LNG sources it is not at all clear that a politically risky Israeli EastMed undersea pipeline makes economic sense.
Notably, Greek state television channel ERT refers to the EastMed project as a ''protective shield against Turkish provocations.'' That makes clear Greece sees it as a response to the recent rapprochement between Turkey and the government in Libya and Erdogan's announcement he is sending troops to support the GNA in Tripoli to make pressure against Haftar. Were Haftar to ultimately take Tripoli, clearly the Turkish-Libya bilateral agreement on maritime boundaries would be repealed.
As if the conflict was not already messy enough, the Greek government just announced that it is willing to send Greek troops in order to monitor the ceasefire between the Libyan National Army (LNA) and the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA). The offer was put forward after Greek Foreign Minister Dendias met with LNA leader General Khalifa Haftar. This potentially pits NATO member Greece against NATO member Turkey in the widening geopolitical power plays over control of Eastern Mediterranean and other gas flows to the EU. And the prospect of a revived Iran-Iraq-Syria gas pipeline has not even entered the calculus.
The EastMed gas pipeline of Israel, far from being a positive energy alternative, is rather a geopolitical intervention into an already conflicted region adding new levels of tension that only increase prospects for military escalation on all sides.
Image Credit: Adam Hegazy337259 - Map of the EastMed proposed pipeline - License: Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license with conditions https://bit.ly/2R8NCiY
F. William Engdahl is strategic risk consultant and lecturer, he holds a degree in politics from Princeton University and is a best-selling author on oil and geopolitics, exclusively for the online magazine ''New Eastern Outlook''PLEASE DISABLE AD BLOCKER TO VIEW DISQUS COMMENTSAd Blocking software disables some of the functionality of our website, including our comments section for some browsers.
Europe's new API rules lay groundwork for regulating open banking
Tue, 21 Jan 2020 10:31
The U.S. banking system risks being left behind by the European Union and the United Kingdom when it comes to open banking.
The EU and the U.K. have both passed laws that explicitly require their banks to create application programming interfaces and open those APIs to third-party developers. And banks in the U.S. should take notice.
These new laws are paving the way to standardization for open banking which could lead to rapid innovation and a competitive advantage for the European banking system.
These new laws are also more friendly to fintech companies as it streamlines access to a growing network of bank data. Fintechs within the U.S. must create individual data sharing agreements with each bank partner, and the negotiations for each partnership can be resource intensive.
However, in the EU a fintech can get access to all bank APIs through registering as an account information service provider (AISP) or payment initiation service provider (PISP). This could create a situation where the U.S. may lose out on technology investments and see innovative financial professionals leave the nation to work in the rapidly advancing open-banking environment within the EU.
The new European laws will also encourage investment and innovation outside the U.S. by creating standards and reducing uncertainty for smaller tech companies. The EU's second Payment Services Directive (PSD2) is compelling European banks to create best practices in APIs, vendor integration and data management.
For example, the European Banking Federation has made it clear that they believe the new PSD2 laws require banks to adopt APIs and move away from screen scraping. This interpretation favors companies that create bank APIs like Plaid, which recently said it would be acquired by Visa for over $5 billion.
Plaid has focused on creating a system of interfaces analogous to an open banking highway system by connecting developers and financial institutions using APIs to integrate banks with cutting-edge applications. However, this may put regional and community banks at a disadvantage as screen-scraping technologies are cheaper and have been in place for more than a decade.
The U.K.'s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) requires banks to allow authorized third parties access to customer account data. The CMA created the Open Banking Implementation Entity (OBIE) in 2016 to deliver open banking.
The OBIE has since created standards for APIs, security, messaging and processes for managing disputes. The OBIE has also created the Open Banking Directory to register and supervise third-party providers. These initiatives may reduce uncertainty through standardization and make it easier for fintechs to create financial solutions.
There are currently no such requirements in the U.S. that mandate banks adopt open-banking standards, but there are none that expressly prohibit it either. Certainly, all banks must continue to abide by existing regulation, including consumer protection laws, fair banking regulations and privacy laws.
Implementing existing laws within an open banking business model will require legal interpretation and regulatory innovation. Examiners in the U.S. may find themselves temporarily in catch-up mode to their European counterparts.
Also, U.S. banks that embrace open banking may face regulatory uncertainty. At the very least, domestic banks must ensure that third-party applications using their banking services provide the appropriate disclosures to comply with consumer protection laws, and abide by fair banking regulations.
New privacy laws, such as the California Consumer Privacy Act, require that banks with customers in California balance data protection with data sharing.
Each open bank will have to establish a robust data management strategy that enables open banking while complying with the evolving privacy landscape. For example, U.S. banks are currently required to collect and store data related to anti-money-laundering laws.
Complying with these regulations can be done through thoughtful onboarding, robust partner monitoring, flexible data management and creating compliance APIs for every open financial service. Banks that move toward open banking will have to create third-party monitoring that incorporates compliance with laws that impact data sharing, data retention and privacy.
The regulatory environments for open banking between the United States and Europe are vastly different. While the EU and U.K. are requiring banks to adopt open banking, the U.S. leaves the decision up to the private sector. Because of this, the standards being created by the EU and U.K. could become the de facto practices for the U.S.
Finally, innovative third-party developers may gravitate toward the European and U.K. markets due to the clear standards and regulatory certainty for open banking. These factors may force American banks to keep pace with their European counterparts.
Editor's note: This BankThink is the fourth in a four-part series on open banking. The first explained the process to becoming an open bank, the second looked at common pitfalls with third-party vendors and the third examined the most common risks.
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors, intended for informational purposes only, and should not be attributed to Regions Financial Corporation or any of its subsidiaries or affiliates, including Regions Bank. Any representation to the contrary is expressly disclaimed.
Jacob Kosoff Jacob Kosoff is the head of model risk management and validation at Regions Bank. He serves on the Alabama Commission on Artificial Intelligence and Associated Technologies.
Aaron Bridgers Aaron Bridgers is a senior vice president and the head of risk testing optimization at Regions Bank.
Henry Lee Henry Lee, Ph.D., is a senior risk and financial intelligence consultant at the SAS Institute.
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Exclusive: Apple dropped plan for encrypting backups after FBI complained - sources - Reuters
Tue, 21 Jan 2020 10:19
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Apple Inc (AAPL.O ) dropped plans to let iPhone users fully encrypt backups of their devices in the company's iCloud service after the FBI complained that the move would harm investigations, six sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.
FILE PHOTO: A woman uses her Apple iPhone and laptop in a cafe in lower Manhattan in New York City, U.S., May 8, 2019. REUTERS/Mike Segar/File Photo
The tech giant's reversal, about two years ago, has not previously been reported. It shows how much Apple has been willing to help U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies, despite taking a harder line in high-profile legal disputes with the government and casting itself as a defender of its customers' information.
The long-running tug of war between investigators' concerns about security and tech companies' desire for user privacy moved back into the public spotlight last week, as U.S. Attorney General William Barr took the rare step of publicly calling on Apple to unlock two iPhones used by a Saudi Air Force officer who shot dead three Americans at a Pensacola, Florida naval base last month.
U.S. President Donald Trump piled on, accusing Apple on Twitter of refusing to unlock phones used by ''killers, drug dealers and other violent criminal elements.'' Republican and Democratic senators sounded a similar theme in a December hearing, threatening legislation against end-to-end encryption, citing unrecoverable evidence of crimes against children.
Apple did in fact did turn over the shooter's iCloud backups in the Pensacola case, and said it rejected the characterization that it ''has not provided substantive assistance.''
Behind the scenes, Apple has provided the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation with more sweeping help, not related to any specific probe.
An Apple spokesman declined to comment on the company's handling of the encryption issue or any discussions it has had with the FBI. The FBI did not respond to requests for comment on any discussions with Apple.
More than two years ago, Apple told the FBI that it planned to offer users end-to-end encryption when storing their phone data on iCloud, according to one current and three former FBI officials and one current and one former Apple employee.
Under that plan, primarily designed to thwart hackers, Apple would no longer have a key to unlock the encrypted data, meaning it would not be able to turn material over to authorities in a readable form even under court order.
In private talks with Apple soon after, representatives of the FBI's cyber crime agents and its operational technology division objected to the plan, arguing it would deny them the most effective means for gaining evidence against iPhone-using suspects, the government sources said.
When Apple spoke privately to the FBI about its work on phone security the following year, the end-to-end encryption plan had been dropped, according to the six sources. Reuters could not determine why exactly Apple dropped the plan.
''Legal killed it, for reasons you can imagine,'' another former Apple employee said he was told, without any specific mention of why the plan was dropped or if the FBI was a factor in the decision.
That person told Reuters the company did not want to risk being attacked by public officials for protecting criminals, sued for moving previously accessible data out of reach of government agencies or used as an excuse for new legislation against encryption.
''They decided they weren't going to poke the bear anymore,'' the person said, referring to Apple's court battle with the FBI in 2016 over access to an iPhone used by one of the suspects in a mass shooting in San Bernardino, California.
Apple appealed a court order to break into that phone for the FBI. The government dropped the proceedings when it found a contractor that could break into the phone, a common occurrence in FBI investigations.
Two of the former FBI officials, who were not present in talks with Apple, told Reuters it appeared that the FBI's arguments that the backups provided vital evidence in thousands of cases had prevailed.
''It's because Apple was convinced,'' said one. ''Outside of that public spat over San Bernardino, Apple gets along with the federal government.''
However, a former Apple employee said it was possible the encryption project was dropped for other reasons, such as concern that more customers would find themselves locked out of their data more often.
Once the decision was made, the 10 or so experts on the Apple encryption project - variously code-named Plesio and KeyDrop - were told to stop working on the effort, three people familiar with the matter told Reuters.
APPLE SHIFTS FOCUS Apple's decision not to proceed with end-to-end encryption of iCloud backups made the FBI's job easier.
The agency relies on hacking software that exploits security flaws to break into a phone. But that method requires direct access to the phone which would ordinarily tip off the user, who is often the subject of the investigation.
Apple's iCloud, on the other hand, can be searched in secret. In the first half of last year, the period covered by Apple's most recent semiannual transparency report on requests for data it receives from government agencies, U.S. authorities armed with regular court papers asked for and obtained full device backups or other iCloud content in 1,568 cases, covering about 6,000 accounts.
The company said it turned over at least some data for 90% of the requests it received. It turns over data more often in response to secret U.S. intelligence court directives, topping 14,000 accounts in the second half of 2018. Because of gag orders, Apple has not given any such data for 2019.
Had it proceeded with its plan, Apple would not have been able to turn over any readable data belonging to users who opted for end-to-end encryption.
Instead of protecting all of iCloud with end-to-end encryption, Apple has shifted to focus on protecting some of the most sensitive user information, such as saved passwords and health data.
But backed-up contact information and texts from iMessage, WhatsApp and other encrypted services remain available to Apple employees and authorities.
Apple is not the only tech company to have removed its own access to customers' information.
FILE PHOTO: The Apple logo is shown atop an Apple store at a shopping mall in La Jolla, California, U.S., December 17, 2019. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File PhotoIn October 2018, Alphabet Inc's (GOOGL.O ) Google announced a similar system to Apple's dropped plan for secure backups. The maker of Android software, which runs on about three-quarters of the world's mobile devices, said users could back up their data to its own cloud without trusting the company with the key.
Two people familiar with the project said Google gave no advance notice to governments, and picked a time to announce it when encryption was not in the news.
The company continues to offer the service but declined to comment on how many users have taken up the option. The FBI did not respond to a request for comment on Google's service or the agency's approach to it.
Reporting by Joseph Menn in San Francisco; Editing by Bill Rigby
PHOTOS: Scenes from the gun-rights rally at Capitol Square in Richmond | Local News | richmond.com
Tue, 21 Jan 2020 10:12
gun rally The crowd at Capitol Square as seen from the Pocahontas Building around 10:45 a.m. on Monday.
ALEXA WELCH EDLUND gun rally Lawmakers on the south portico of the Virginia Capitol during a gun-rights rally on Monday.
ALEXA WELCH EDLUND 20200121_MET_GUNS_BB20 Part of the crowd at Monday's gun-rights rally on and around Capitol Square.
BOB BROWN pro-gun rally Virginia State Police work on security during a pro-gun rally at the State Capitol ground in Richmond, Va. in Richmond on Monday, Jan. 20, 2020.
DANIEL SANGJIB MIN/RTD 20200121_MET_GUNS_JM06 Outside the rally, a man carries a scoped sniper rifle prior to the rally at the state capitol on Gun Rights Lobby Day, Monday January 20, 2020
JOE MAHONEY 20200121_MET_GUNS_JW09 Rally attendees with assault-style rifles made their way through the crowd outside Capitol Square on Monday.
JAMES H. WALLACE/TIMES-DISPATCH 20200121_MET_GUNS_JW24 A Lobby Day rally at the State Capitol on Gun Rights drew several thousand participants from multiple states, Monday January 20, 2020. The annual Gun Rights Lobby Day, filled much of Capitol Square and the surrounding streets.
JAMES H. WALLACE/TIMES-DISPATCH 20200121_MET_GUNS_JW25 A Lobby Day rally at the State Capitol on Gun Rights drew several thousand participants from multiple states, Monday January 20, 2020. The annual Gun Rights Lobby Day, filled much of Capitol Square and the surrounding streets. Police blocked off Grace Street leading to Capitol Square.
JAMES H. WALLACE/TIMES-DISPATCH 20200121_MET_GUNS_JM19 Stephen Willeford, a Texas man who shot and killed a church shooter in 2017, pumps his fist as he speaks at the rally at the Capitol.
JOE MAHONEY/TIMES-DISPATCH 20200121_MET_GUNS_JW06 A Lobby Day rally at the State Capitol on Gun Rights drew several thousand participants from multiple states, Monday January 20, 2020. The annual Gun Rights Lobby Day, filled much of Capitol Square and the surrounding streets. Stephanie Liverman of Portsmough, VA, right, made a selfie with Ron Smelkinson who was dressed as a member of the Continental Army.
JAMES H. WALLACE/TIMES-DISPATCH 20200121_MET_GUNS_JW19 A Lobby Day rally at the State Capitol on Gun Rights drew several thousand participants from multiple states, Monday January 20, 2020. The annual Gun Rights Lobby Day, filled much of Capitol Square and the surrounding streets.
JAMES H. WALLACE/TIMES-DISPATCH gun rally The subway at the corner of 8th and Franklin is closed, but this coffee shop on 8th is open. Needless to say it's a long wait to get a cup
CHRIS SUAREZ 20200121_MET_GUNS_AWE15 On right, Leonard Harrison of Mebane, N.C. does a Facebook live interview with Aubrey "Japharii" Jones, who is with Black Lives Matter 757, during a gun-rights rally at the Virginia Capitol Monday, January 20, 2020.
ALEXA WELCH EDLUND 20200121_MET_GUNS_AWE16 Supporters of gun-rights rally at the Virginia Capitol Monday, January 20, 2020.
ALEXA WELCH EDLUND 20200121_MET_GUNS_JW32 A Lobby Day rally at the State Capitol on Gun Rights drew several thousand participants from multiple states, Monday January 20, 2020. The annual Gun Rights Lobby Day, filled much of Capitol Square and the surrounding streets. The city parked large trucks at intersections leading to Capitol Square to block traffic.
JAMES H. WALLACE/TIMES-DISPATCH 20200121_MET_GUNS_JW31 A Lobby Day rally at the State Capitol on Gun Rights drew several thousand participants from multiple states, Monday January 20, 2020. The annual Gun Rights Lobby Day, filled much of Capitol Square and the surrounding streets. Roxanne Christley of Roanoke, lead a rally outiside the Bank Street entrance to the Capitol.
JAMES H. WALLACE/TIMES-DISPATCH 20200121_MET_GUNS_JW30 A Lobby Day rally at the State Capitol on Gun Rights drew several thousand participants from multiple states, Monday January 20, 2020. The annual Gun Rights Lobby Day, filled much of Capitol Square and the surrounding streets. A rally participant with an assault rifle with a large capacity magazine stood beneath a 'Dont Tread on Me' sign waved by another participant.
JAMES H. WALLACE/TIMES-DISPATCH 20200121_MET_GUNS_JW29 A Lobby Day rally at the State Capitol on Gun Rights drew several thousand participants from multiple states, Monday January 20, 2020. The annual Gun Rights Lobby Day, filled much of Capitol Square and the surrounding streets. Police kept an eye on rally participants outside on Bank Street.
JAMES H. WALLACE/TIMES-DISPATCH 20200121_MET_GUNS_JW28 A Lobby Day rally at the State Capitol on Gun Rights drew several thousand participants from multiple states, Monday January 20, 2020. The annual Gun Rights Lobby Day, filled much of Capitol Square and the surrounding streets.
JAMES H. WALLACE/TIMES-DISPATCH 20200121_MET_GUNS_JW26 A Lobby Day rally at the State Capitol on Gun Rights drew several thousand participants from multiple states, Monday January 20, 2020. The annual Gun Rights Lobby Day, filled much of Capitol Square and the surrounding streets.
JAMES H. WALLACE/TIMES-DISPATCH 20200121_MET_GUNS_JW23 A Lobby Day rally at the State Capitol on Gun Rights drew several thousand participants from multiple states, Monday January 20, 2020. The annual Gun Rights Lobby Day, filled much of Capitol Square and the surrounding streets.
JAMES H. WALLACE/TIMES-DISPATCH 20200121_MET_GUNS_JW22 A Lobby Day rally at the State Capitol on Gun Rights drew several thousand participants from multiple states, Monday January 20, 2020. The annual Gun Rights Lobby Day, filled much of Capitol Square and the surrounding streets. Republican state Sen. Amanda Chase stopped to speak to the crowd gathered outside the Bank Street entrance to the Capitol.
JAMES H. WALLACE/TIMES-DISPATCH 20200121_MET_GUNS_JW20 A Lobby Day rally at the State Capitol on Gun Rights drew several thousand participants from multiple states, Monday January 20, 2020. The annual Gun Rights Lobby Day, filled much of Capitol Square and the surrounding streets.
JAMES H. WALLACE/TIMES-DISPATCH 20200121_MET_GUNS_JW21 A Lobby Day rally at the State Capitol on Gun Rights drew several thousand participants from multiple states, Monday January 20, 2020. The annual Gun Rights Lobby Day, filled much of Capitol Square and the surrounding streets.
JAMES H. WALLACE/TIMES-DISPATCH 20200121_MET_GUNS_JW18 A Lobby Day rally at the State Capitol on Gun Rights drew several thousand participants from multiple states, Monday January 20, 2020. The annual Gun Rights Lobby Day, filled much of Capitol Square and the surrounding streets.
JAMES H. WALLACE/TIMES-DISPATCH 20200121_MET_GUNS_JW17 A Lobby Day rally at the State Capitol on Gun Rights drew several thousand participants from multiple states, Monday January 20, 2020. The annual Gun Rights Lobby Day, filled much of Capitol Square and the surrounding streets.
JAMES H. WALLACE/TIMES-DISPATCH 20200121_MET_GUNS_JW16 A Lobby Day rally at the State Capitol on Gun Rights drew several thousand participants from multiple states, Monday January 20, 2020. The annual Gun Rights Lobby Day, filled much of Capitol Square and the surrounding streets. Rally participants at the Federal Building across from the Capitol on Bank Street.
JAMES H. WALLACE/TIMES-DISPATCH 20200121_MET_GUNS_JW15 A Lobby Day rally at the State Capitol on Gun Rights drew several thousand participants from multiple states, Monday January 20, 2020. The annual Gun Rights Lobby Day, filled much of Capitol Square and the surrounding streets. Paislie Nunnaly enjoyed as snack as her dad, Chris, right, made a video of the events on Bank Street.
JAMES H. WALLACE/TIMES-DISPATCH 20200121_MET_GUNS_JW14 A Lobby Day rally at the State Capitol on Gun Rights drew several thousand participants from multiple states, Monday January 20, 2020. The annual Gun Rights Lobby Day, filled much of Capitol Square and the surrounding streets.
JAMES H. WALLACE/TIMES-DISPATCH 20200121_MET_GUNS_JW13 A Lobby Day rally at the State Capitol on Gun Rights drew several thousand participants from multiple states, Monday January 20, 2020. The annual Gun Rights Lobby Day, filled much of Capitol Square and the surrounding streets. Grayson County Sheriff Richard Vaughan, right, and his staff showed up in support of gun rights.
JAMES H. WALLACE/TIMES-DISPATCH 20200121_MET_GUNS_JW12 A Lobby Day rally at the State Capitol on Gun Rights drew several thousand participants from multiple states, Monday January 20, 2020. The annual Gun Rights Lobby Day, filled much of Capitol Square and the surrounding streets. Dennis Petrocelli of Richmond adjusted his had with a message at the rally.
JAMES H. WALLACE/TIMES-DISPATCH 20200121_MET_GUNS_JW11 A Lobby Day rally at the State Capitol on Gun Rights drew several thousand participants from multiple states, Monday January 20, 2020. The annual Gun Rights Lobby Day, filled much of Capitol Square and the surrounding streets. Rally participants marched along Bank Street.
JAMES H. WALLACE/TIMES-DISPATCH 20200121_MET_GUNS_JW10 A Lobby Day rally at the State Capitol on Gun Rights drew several thousand participants from multiple states, Monday January 20, 2020. The annual Gun Rights Lobby Day, filled much of Capitol Square and the surrounding streets. Ribus Orion used a bullhorn to shout a message to rally participants outside Capitol Square.
JAMES H. WALLACE/TIMES-DISPATCH 20200121_MET_GUNS_JW08 A Lobby Day rally at the State Capitol on Gun Rights drew several thousand participants from multiple states, Monday January 20, 2020. The annual Gun Rights Lobby Day, filled much of Capitol Square and the surrounding streets. The crowd waved flags and chanted outside Capitol Square on Bank Street.
JAMES H. WALLACE/TIMES-DISPATCH 20200121_MET_GUNS_JW07 A Lobby Day rally at the State Capitol on Gun Rights drew several thousand participants from multiple states, Monday January 20, 2020. The annual Gun Rights Lobby Day, filled much of Capitol Square and the surrounding streets. The crowd waved flags and chanted outside Capitol Square on Bank Street.
JAMES H. WALLACE/TIMES-DISPATCH 20200121_MET_GUNS_JW05 A Lobby Day rally at the State Capitol on Gun Rights drew several thousand participants from multiple states, Monday January 20, 2020. The annual Gun Rights Lobby Day, filled much of Capitol Square and the surrounding streets.
JAMES H. WALLACE/TIMES-DISPATCH 20200121_MET_GUNS_JW04 A Lobby Day rally at the State Capitol on Gun Rights drew several thousand participants from multiple states, Monday January 20, 2020. The annual Gun Rights Lobby Day, filled much of Capitol Square and the surrounding streets. Jon Goble of Indianapolis, says he drove to the rally knowing he might not get into Capitol Square because he thought it was important to send a message to the Virginia legislature.
JAMES H. WALLACE/TIMES-DISPATCH 20200121_MET_GUNS_AWE14 Vendor Joe Tucker of Columbia, S.C., holds up one of the t-shirts he was selling during a gun-rights rally at the Virginia Capitol Monday, January 20, 2020.
ALEXA WELCH EDLUND 20200121_MET_GUNS_JW03 A Lobby Day rally at the State Capitol on Gun Rights drew several thousand participants from multiple states, Monday January 20, 2020. The annual Gun Rights Lobby Day, filled much of Capitol Square and the surrounding streets. Jared Moore of Midllothian, waved a flag and shouted outside Capitol Square.
JAMES H. WALLACE/TIMES-DISPATCH 20200121_MET_GUNS_JW02 A Lobby Day rally at the State Capitol on Gun Rights drew several thousand participants from multiple states, Monday January 20, 2020. The annual Gun Rights Lobby Day, filled much of Capitol Square and the surrounding streets. Members of the Silent Brigade outside Capitol Square.
JAMES H. WALLACE/TIMES-DISPATCH 20200121_MET_GUNS_JW01 A Lobby Day rally at the State Capitol on Gun Rights drew several thousand participants from multiple states, Monday January 20, 2020. The annual Gun Rights Lobby Day, filled much of Capitol Square and the surrounding streets. Members of the Silent Brigade outside Capitol Square.
JAMES H. WALLACE/TIMES-DISPATCH 20200121_MET_GUNS_AWE12 Supporters of gun-rights rally at the Virginia Capitol Monday, January 20, 2020.
ALEXA WELCH EDLUND 20200121_MET_GUNS_AWE11 Supporters (who did not want to give their names) hold signs during the gun-rights rally at the Virginia Capitol Monday, January 20, 2020.
ALEXA WELCH EDLUND 20200121_MET_GUNS_JM18 Sen. Amanda Chase speaks to the rally on Capitol Square, January 20, 2020 while Rebublican lawmakers look out over the crowd from the Capitol Steps at rear.
JOE MAHONEY/TIMES-DISPATCH 20200121_MET_GUNS_JM17 Philip VanCleave opens Rally at the state capitol on Gun Rights Lobby Day, Monday January 20, 2020.
JOE MAHONEY 20200121_MET_GUNS_JM15 Security for entrance to Capitol grounds.
JOE MAHONEY/TIMES-DISPATCH 20200121_MET_GUNS_JM16 Rally at the state capitol on Gun Rights Lobby Day, Monday January 20, 2020.
JOE MAHONEY 20200121_MET_GUNS_JM13 With Republican lawmakers looking on from the Capitol steps, Sen. Amanda Chase speaks at the rally at the state capitol on Gun Rights Lobby Day, Monday January 20, 2020
JOE MAHONEY 20200121_MET_GUNS_JM09 Rally at the state capitol on Gun Rights Lobby Day, Monday January 20, 2020.
JOE MAHONEY 20200121_MET_GUNS_JM08 VCDL leader Philip Van Cleave exhorts the crowd and thanks them for a peaceful assembly at the end of the capitol rally on Monday, Jan. 20, 2020.
JOE MAHONEY 20200121_MET_GUNS_JM07 Outside the rally, people carried weapons during the rally at the state capitol on Gun Rights Lobby Day, Monday January 20, 2020.
JOE MAHONEY 20200121_MET_GUNS_JM04 Rally at the state capitol on Gun Rights Lobby Day, Monday January 20, 2020.Rally at the state capitol on Gun Rights Lobby Day, Monday January 20, 2020.
JOE MAHONEY 20200121_MET_GUNS_JM05 Rally at the state capitol on Gun Rights Lobby Day, Monday January 20, 2020 spilled down 10th street next to the Pocaontas Building
JOE MAHONEY 20200121_MET_GUNS_JM01 Republican lawmakers,including former House Speaker Kirk Cox (Front, Center) came out on the Capitol steps to observe the rally at the state capitol on Gun Rights Lobby Day, Monday January 20, 2020.
JOE MAHONEY 20200121_MET_GUNS_JM02 Republican lawmakers,including former House Speaker Kirk Cox (Front, fourth from right) came out on the Capitol steps to observe the rally at the state capitol on Gun Rights Lobby Day, Monday January 20, 2020.Rally at the state capitol on Gun Rights Lobby Day, Monday January 20, 2020.Rally at the state capitol on Gun Rights Lobby Day, Monday January 20, 2020.Rally at the state capitol on Gun Rights Lobby Day, Monday January 20, 2020.
JOE MAHONEY 20200121_MET_GUNS_AWE06 Joe Puszakowski of Pittsburgh waves an American flag during a gun-rights rally at the Virginia Capitol Monday, January 20, 2020. He served in Iraq with the Marines in 2003.
ALEXA WELCH EDLUND pro-gun rally Gun right supporters warm up under sun during a pro-gun rally near the Virginia State Capitol in Richmond, Va. in Richmond on Monday, Jan. 20, 2020.
DANIEL SANGJIB MIN/RTD 20200121_MET_GUNS_AWE04 People go through security checks upon entering the Pocahontas Building on Lobby Day Monday, January 20, 2020.
ALEXA WELCH EDLUND pro-gun rally Gun right supporters attend a pro-gun rally near the Virginia State Capitol in Richmond, Va. in Richmond on Monday, Jan. 20, 2020.
DANIEL SANGJIB MIN/RTD pro-gun rally "Guns Save Lives," stickers are given away during a pro-gun rally near the State Capitol in Richmond, Va. in Richmond on Monday, Jan. 20, 2020.
DANIEL SANGJIB MIN/RTD pro-gun rally Gun right supporters with assault weapons and military uniforms parade during a pro-gun rally near the Virginia State Capitol in Richmond, Va. in Richmond on Monday, Jan. 20, 2020.
DANIEL SANGJIB MIN/RTD pro-gun rally Gun right supporters show up their assault weapons during a pro-gun rally outside of the Virginia State Capitol ground in Richmond, Va. in Richmond on Monday, Jan. 20, 2020.
DANIEL SANGJIB MIN/RTD pro-gun rally Del. Nick Freitas, R-Culpeper, speaks to participants during a pro-gun rally near the Virginia State Capitol in Richmond, Va. in Richmond on Monday, Jan. 20, 2020.
DANIEL SANGJIB MIN/RTD pro-gun rally Gun right supporters display a flag during a pro-gun rally near the State Capitol in Richmond, Va. in Richmond on Monday, Jan. 20, 2020.
DANIEL SANGJIB MIN/RTD pro-gun rally A gun right supporter holds a sign during a pro-gun rally near the State Capitol in Richmond, Va. in Richmond on Monday, Jan. 20, 2020.
DANIEL SANGJIB MIN/RTD pro-gun rally Gun right supporters wave flags during a pro-gun rally near the State Capitol in Richmond, Va. in Richmond on Monday, Jan. 20, 2020.
DANIEL SANGJIB MIN/RTD pro-gun rally Sen. Amanda Chase, R-Chesterfield, shakes hands with participants during a pro-gun rally near the State Capitol in Richmond, Va. in Richmond on Monday, Jan. 20, 2020.
DANIEL SANGJIB MIN/RTD pro-gun rally Virginia State Police work on security during a pro-gun rally near the State Capitol in Richmond, Va. in Richmond on Monday, Jan. 20, 2020.
DANIEL SANGJIB MIN/RTD 20200121_MET_GUNS_AWE02 Republican lawmakers step out on the south portico during the gun-rights rally at the Virginia Capitol Monday, January 20, 2020.
ALEXA WELCH EDLUND guns rally ALEXA EDLUND WELCH gun rally Micheal Mumford, of Richmond, was one of the protesters on Monday. ''It's important to let everyone know we're not a monolith.''
FRANK GREEN gun rally Grayson County sheriff Richard Vaughan traveled from rural western Virginia to show solidarity with gun-rights advocates.
JEFF SCHAPIRO 20200121_MET_GUNS_BB24 Sen. Joe Morrissey, D-Richmond, and his 4 & 1/2 year old son, Chase, look out the window of the Jefferson Room inside the State Capitol at the crowd at the pro-gun rally on and around Capitol Square in Richmond, VA Monday, Jan. 20, 2020.
BOB BROWN 20200121_MET_GUNS_BB23 Part of the crowd at the pro-gun rally on and around Capitol Square in Richmond, VA Monday, Jan. 20, 2020.
BOB BROWN 20200121_MET_GUNS_BB22 A number of different flags dotted the crowd at the pro-gun rally on and around Capitol Square in Richmond, VA Monday, Jan. 20, 2020.
BOB BROWN gun rally Culpeper County sheriff Scott Jenkins at the gun-rights rally in Richmond on Monday.
FRANK GREEN gun rally Participants peeling up fallen stickers from pavement in front of Capitol.
FRANK GREEN gun rally The large crowds start to disperse from Capitol Square around 12:30 p.m. Monday as the gun-rights rally winds down.
FRANK GREEN gun rally Scenes from Monday's gun rally in Richmond.
BILL LOHMANN gun rally Scenes from Monday's gun rally in Richmond.
BILL LOHMANN gun rights Scenes from Monday's gun rally in Richmond.
BILL LOHMANN gun rights Scenes from Monday's gun rally in Richmond.
BILL LOHMANN 20200121_MET_GUNS_BB21 Del. Nick Freitas, R-Culpeper, right, shakes hands with of the crowd at the pro-gun rally as he enters the State Capitol in Richmond, VA Monday, Jan. 20, 2020.
BOB BROWN gun rights Protesters wave a Trump 2020 banner during a gun-right rally in Richmond on Monday.
ALEXA WELCH EDLUND gun rights Trump and MAGA hats are sold at the gun-rights rally in Richmond on Monday.
ALEXA WELCH EDLUND gun rally The view from the Pocahontas Building around 11:30 a.m. on Monday.
ALEXA WELCH EDLUND 20200121_MET_GUNS_BB19 Part of the crowd at the pro-gun rally on and around Capitol Square in Richmond, VA Monday, Jan. 20, 2020.
BOB BROWN 20200121_MET_GUNS_BB18 Sen. Bill Stanley, R-Franklin, shakes hands with of the crowd at the pro-gun rally as he enters the State Capitol in Richmond, VA Monday, Jan. 20, 2020.
BOB BROWN 20200121_MET_GUNS_BB17 State Police watch part of the crowd at the pro-gun rally on and around Capitol Square in Richmond, VA Monday, Jan. 20, 2020.
BOB BROWN GUN RALLY View from Main Street looking toward Capitol Square.
PAIGE MUDD GUN RALLY Merch on sale at the gun rally in Richmond.
PAIGE MUDD gun rally Merch on sale at the gun rally in Richmond.
PAIGE MUDD Gun rally Merch on sale at the gun rally in Richmond.
PAIGE MUDD gun rights Philip Van Cleave, head of the Virginia Citizens Defense League, speaks during a gun-rights rally in Capitol Square in Richmond on Monday.
JOE MAHONEY 20200121_MET_GUNS_BB16 Part of the crowd at the pro-gun rally on and around Capitol Square in Richmond, VA Monday, Jan. 20, 2020.
BOB BROWN 20200121_MET_GUNS_BB15 Part of the crowd at the pro-gun rally on and around Capitol Square in Richmond, VA Monday, Jan. 20, 2020.
BOB BROWN 20200121_MET_GUNS_BB14 Part of the crowd at the pro-gun rally on and around Capitol Square in Richmond, VA Monday, Jan. 20, 2020.
BOB BROWN gun rally Crowd along 9th Street facing Capitol Square on Monday morning.
FRANK GREEN gun rally Crowds along Bank Street and in Capitol Square at 11 a.m. Monday.
ALEXA WELCH EDLUND GUN RALLY Crowds along Bank Street at 11 a.m. Monday.
ALEXA WELCH EDLUND GUN RALLY Crowds along Bank Street at 11 a.m. Monday.
ALEXA WELCH EDLUND GUN RALLY Crowds in Capitol Square at 11 a.m. Monday.
ALEXA WELCH EDLUND GUN RALLY Crowds along Bank Street at 11 a.m. Monday.
ALEXA WELCH EDLUND gun rally Brian Scholten, a 21-year-old Virgina Tech student from Strasburg, Va.
FRANK GREEN gun rally The crowd as seen from Main Street looking north toward Capitol Square.
DANIEL SANGJIB MIN gun rally Madison and Justin Graf drove from Lynchburg with their 2-year-old son and 5-month-old on Monday morning. Here they wait in line to get into Capitol Square. Justin Graf believes pending gun control measures are a step toward taking away firearms, which would take away control of government from the people.
FRANK GREEN gun rally ''Four more years'' chant breaks out after this vets for Trump flag comes out.
JUSTIN MATTINGLY gun rally At the intersection of 7th and Franklin, this truck just stopped to let a small band of armed protesters cross the street.
CHRIS SUAREZ gun rally Ed LeMond, a gun-rights supporter who drove 600 miles to Richmond from Jasper, Ind., wears his heart on his head. "I'm here to support the Second Amendment. If they take this, they'll be taking the First Amendment and everything else."
JEFF SCHAPIRO gun rally Miranda Smith holds a sign inside Capitol Square during a gun-rights protest on Monday.
JUSTIN MATTINGLY gun rally Crowds chant ''We will not comply'' and ''Northam's gotta go'' outside of Capitol Square on Monday morning.
MEL LEONOR gun rally The view of the Virginia General Assembly as seen from Bank Street outside of Capitol Square on Monday.
DANIEL SANGJIB MIN gun rally Crowd inside Capitol Square as seen from Bank Street at about 9:55 a.m. Monday.
DANIEL SANGJIB MIN gun rally Crowd inside Capitol Square at 9:55 a.m. on Monday.
JOE MAHONEY gun rally A protester waves the flag of Virginia at a gun-rights rally at Capitol Square in Richmond on Monday.
JAMES WALLACE gun rally Inside Capitol Square around 9:30 a.m. Monday morning before the gun-rights rally in Richmond.
JUSTIN MATTINGLY gun rally People continue to file into Capitol Square around 9:30 a.m. on Monday.
JUSTIN MATTINGLY gun rally Couple from the Northern Neck made this sign. Wife, Pam, has been carrying around a pocket Constitution lately for gun debates.
JUSTIN MATTINGLY gun rally Gun-rights protesters sign petitions on Monday morning near Capitol Square in Richmond.
FRANK GREEN gun rally Protesters march with flags near Capitol Square on Monday morning.
DANIEL SANGJIB MIN gun rally The crowd of the gun rally as scene on Franklin Street facing 9th Street.
PAIGE MUDD gun rally Dozens of people with ''guns save lives'' stickers walking through Carver toward downtown.
MARK ROBINSON gun rally The intersection of Main and 9th streets on Monday morning around 9:15 a.m.
FRANK GREEN gun rally Protesters march with flags up 8th Street.
FRANK GREEN gun rally Protesters march with flags up 8th Street.
FRANK GREEN 20200121_MET_GUNS_BB13 A State Police officer stands guard outside the State Capitol in Richmond, VA Monday, Jan. 20, 2020.
BOB BROWN 20200121_MET_GUNS_BB12 Ron Toney from Powhatan isw screened by a Capitol Police Officer at the entrance to the State Capitol in Richmond, VA Monday, Jan. 20, 2020.
BOB BROWN 20200121_MET_GUNS_BB11 The sun rises over metal detectors screeining anyone seeking entrance to the State Capitol in Richmond, VA Monday, Jan. 20, 2020.
BOB BROWN 20200121_MET_GUNS_BB10 The sun rises over metal detectors screeining anyone seeking entrance to the State Capitol in Richmond, VA Monday, Jan. 20, 2020.
BOB BROWN 20200121_MET_GUNS_BB09 A demonstrator on 9th St. near the entrance to the State Capitol in Richmond, VA Monday, Jan. 20, 2020.
BOB BROWN 20200121_MET_GUNS_BB08 Demonstrators gather on 9th St. near the entrance to the State Capitol in Richmond, VA Monday, Jan. 20, 2020.
BOB BROWN 20200121_MET_GUNS_BB07 Demonstrators gather in front of St. Paul's Church on 9th St. near the entrance to the State Capitol in Richmond, VA Monday, Jan. 20, 2020.
BOB BROWN 20200121_MET_GUNS_BB06 Demonstrators gather on 9th St. near the entrance to the State Capitol in Richmond, VA Monday, Jan. 20, 2020.
BOB BROWN 20200121_MET_GUNS_BB05 Demonstrators gather on 9th St. near the entrance to the State Capitol in Richmond, VA Monday, Jan. 20, 2020.
BOB BROWN 20200121_MET_GUNS_BB04 Demonstrators gather on 9th Street nearthe entrance to the State Capitol in Richmond, VA Monday, Jan. 20, 2020.
BOB BROWN 20200121_MET_GUNS_BB03 Demonstrators gather in front of St. Paul's Church at the corner of E. Grace and 9th Streets across from the entrance to the State Capitol in Richmond, VA Monday, Jan. 20, 2020.
BOB BROWN 20200121_MET_GUNS_BB02 Philip Van Cleave, head of the Virginia Citizens Defense League, organizers of the pro-gun rally, stands on Bank St. as crowds gather near the entrance to the State Capitol in Richmond, VA Monday, Jan. 20, 2020.
BOB BROWN gun rally Inside Capitol Square looking toward Bank Street around 9 a.m. on Monday.
ALEXA WELCH EDLUND gun rally Tammy Lampman, left, of Prince George County, and Amy Amos, of Dinwiddie County, outside Capitol Square in Richmond on Monday morning.
ALEXA WELCH EDLUND gun rally Austin Woods, of Charlottesville, holds an effigy and sign at the gun rights rally at Capitol Square in Richmond.
ALEXA WELCH EDLUND gun rally We asked Smiles Welch about his MLK sign. He said there's a link between the Second Amendment and Civil Rights movements.
KATY EVANS gun rally Lobbying in the Pocahontas building is busy, but not overwhelming on Monday morning. Groups, almost all wearing "Guns save lives" stickers, are waiting in lines outside of legislators' offices for a chance to sit down with them for a few minutes.
BRIDGET BALCH gun rally People in camo and carrying assault-style rifles in the crowd outside Capitol Square on Monday morning.
JAMES WALLACE gun rally Bank Street as seen from Capitol Square around 8:45 a.m. Monday morning.
JUSTIN MATTINGLY gun rally The line for Virginia Citizens Defense League shuttles to the state house wrapped around The Diamond parking for several hours Monday morning as protesters waited for rides downtown.
SAMUEL NORTHROP gun rally People waiting outside the Pocahontas Building near Capitol Square on Monday morning.
ALEXA WELCH EDLUND gun rally View from building at 9th and Main streets of the gun-right rally in Richmond around 8:30 a.m. on Monday.
ALEXA WELCH EDLUND guns rally The scene at 9th and Bank streets on Monday morning.
ALEXA WELCH EDLUND gun rally The line to get into Capitol Square on Monday morning.
JAMES WALLACE gun rally The crowd as seen from 9th Street looking west down Franklin Street on Monday morning.
FRANK GREEN IMG_0135.JPG Inside Capitol Square in Richmond around 8 a.m. Monday morning.
JOE MAHONEY IMG_0141.JPG Inside Capitol Square in Richmond around 8 a.m. Monday morning.
JOE MAHONEY IMG_0145.JPG Inside Capitol Square in Richmond around 8 a.m. Monday morning.
JOE MAHONEY gun rally The scene along Bank Street outside of Capitol Square around 8 a.m. on Monday morning.
KATY EVANS gun rally The line to get into the Pocahontas Building near Capitol Square at 7:50 a.m. on Monday.
BRIDGET BACLH gun rally Inside Capitol Square around 7:45 a.m. on Monday.
JUSTIN MATTINGLY gun rally A sign taped to security fencing near Capitol Square on Monday morning.
KATY EVANS gun rally View toward Capitol Square from 9th and Main streets.
CRAIG MERRITT gun rally Protesters on the streets outside Capitol Square in Richmond on Monday.
KATY EVANS gun rally Capitol Square around 4:30 a.m. Monday.
JUSTIN MATTINGLY gun rally Woman selling Tshirts along 9th street outside Capitol Square in Richmond on Monday morning.
JUSTIN MATTINGLY gun rally An RV covered in pro-Trump posters arrives at Capitol Square around 6:30 a.m. Monday.
JUSTIN MATTINGLY guns rally Protester outside Capitol Square on Monday morning.
JUSTIN MATTINGLY guns rally Franklin and Grace street early Monday.
FRANK GREEN guns rally Randy (left) and Monte arrived from Alexandria last night to protest.
FRANK GREEN 9th and grace People gather at 9th and Grace street around 7:10 a.m. Monday.
FRANK GREEN 20200121_MET_GUNS_BB01 Two men (no names given) with rifles and handguns stood at the corner of E. Grace and 9th Streets across from the entrance to the State Capitol in Richmond, VA around 6:30 am Monday, Jan. 20, 2020. They said they would remain outside the Capitol grounds where weapons are prohibited.
BOB BROWN IMG_3010.jpg Line outside Capitol Square at 6:40 a.m. Monday
FRANK GREEN IMG_3014.jpg Heavy police presence on Bank Street.
Fans give up Social Security numbers to hear Hillary Clinton speak
Tue, 21 Jan 2020 10:03
January 20, 2020 | 9:00am
Fans hoping to hear Hillary Clinton speak had to give their Social Security numbers to event organizers, Page Six is told.
Clinton was hawking her new Hulu docuseries ''Hillary'' with a speech at the Langham Huntington hotel in Pasadena, Calif., and we're told, ''Everyone had to give Social Security numbers to get in! It was the only way to get in.''
Added the spy, ''People staying at the hotel and lots of hotel staff were trying to hear what she was saying when the doors opened to the ballroom. I've never seen so many security guys. I was like, everyone knows she lost, right?''
Clinton attended with her former top aide Huma Abedin.
US pressured Dutch Safety Board to downplay tech faults in 2009 Boeing 737 crash
Tue, 21 Jan 2020 09:39
While investigating the Turkish Airlines plane crash near Schiphol in 2009, the Dutch Safety Board was pressured by Americans to downplay the role design errors in the Boeing 737 NG played in the crash, the New York Times reports based on its own research. According to the newspaper, there are many parallels between the 2009 crash and the recent crashes with Boeing 737 MAX planes, the successor of the Boeing 737 NG.
The crash in a field near the Polderbaan at Schiphol left nine people dead, including the three pilots. The Dutch Safety Board report mainly blamed the pilots for the crash, saying they realized too late that the plane was automatically reacting to incorrect information from a broken altimeter. And once the pilots did realize that the plane lost a lot of speed just before landing at Schiphol, they did not respond adequately, resulting in the crash, the report said.
According to the New York Times, comments from American parties - including Boeing and the American aviation authority FAA - resulted in the Dutch Safety Board largely omitting a study by professor Sidney Dekker from the official report. Dekker, a specialist in human actions in disasters and previously a part-time pilot on the Boeing 737, was asked by the Safety Board to investigate the human factors in the crash.
Dekker's study emphasized the design errors of the Boeing 737 NG and their catastrophic consequences. According to Dekker, the 2009 accident "represents such a sentinel event that was never taken seriously". In his study, Dekker accused Boeing of deflecting attention from its own "design shortcomings" and other mistakes with "hardly credible" statements that admonished pilots to be more vigilant, according to the newspaper. Only around one page of Dekker's 90-page long final report made it into the Dutch Safety Board's report.
Boeing and the FAA successfully pinned the blame largely on the Turkish Airlines pilots, Dekker and another anonymous source told The New York Times. The Dutch Safety board also added statements written by the Americans to its report, the newspaper wrote. These statements said that some pilot errors had not been "properly emphasized".
According to the New York Times, Boeing knew for years before the 2009 crash that the Boeing 737 NG had a malfunctioning sensor that could cause the autopilot to reduce speed incorrectly. But Boeing did not see this as a safety risk because pilots would be there to intervene - similar to what happened later with the 737 MAX, according to the newspaper. Dekker's study showed that important information about the possibly malfunctioning altimeters was not included in the pilot's manual.
In a written response to broadcaster NOS, the Dutch Safety Board said that investigations into aircraft accidents are done on the basis of international agreements and that involved parties being granted access to the investigation is part of this. "The parties' comments were weighed independently by the council at the time and where relevant processed in the final report."
Knowledge about these design errors could have made a world of difference when building the Boeing 737 MAX, according to the New York Times. Two of these planes crashed recently - in Indonesia in October 2018 and in Ethiopia in March 2019 - due to a design error that pushed the nose of the device automatically down. The pilots were unable to reverse that automatic movement. 346 people were killed in these accidents.
In a reaction, Boeing told The New York Times that the accidents with the Boeing 737 Max and the Turkish Airlines 737 NG cannot be compared. ''These accidents involved fundamentally different system inputs and phases of flight,'' the company said. Regarding its involvement in the Dutch Safety Board report, Boeing said it was "typical and critical to successful investigations for Boeing and other manufacturers to work collaboratively with the investigating authorities."
Mitch McConnell Presents Draft Senate Rules Resolution'...
Tue, 21 Jan 2020 09:17
Earlier today Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell presented a ''draft resolution'' for Senate impeachment rules to be debated and voted tomorrow on Day One of the impeachment trial. Day #1 will likely be filled as the Senate creates rules via resolution.
The draft resolution tracks closely with previous expectations: 24 hours of presentation by House Impeachment Managers; 24 hours of presentation by Defense team; 16 hours of Senate questioning; 4 hours of closing arguments; and then a Senate debate/vote on further motions to include witnesses.
As noted in the draft resolution it appears the Majority Leader will keep the Senate in 12 hour sessions to speed up the events. This would conclude the House case and the defense case within four days (24 hrs, or two days per side).
According to the draft, the legal teams for each side will decide who makes the verbal arguments over their two days of presentation. At the conclusion of the four days the Senators will ask questions for a total of 16 hours.
At the conclusion of the Senators questions the House Managers and White House defense will have two hours each to rebut and/or present additional (closing) arguments.
At the conclusion of the 4 hour final remarks the Senators will debate whether to call for witnesses. The outcome to that debate will be decided by a majority of 51 votes.
If there are going to be witnesses, they will first be deposed prior to testimony. No witness testimony will be permitted without first being deposed.
Again, this is a draft resolution. There will be a debate and amendment process tomorrow to create the final resolution. It will take 51 votes to create the rules.
Denver Post Columnist Fired After Arguing There Are Two Sexes - Washington Free Beacon
Tue, 21 Jan 2020 09:08
A Denver Post columnist says he was fired after disputing the idea that there are more than two sexes.
Jon Caldara, president of the libertarian Independence Institute, announced that he has been fired from the Post, chalking it up to "a difference in style" that his editors found "too insensitive."
"My column is not a soft voiced, sticky sweet NPR-styled piece which employs the language now mandated by the victim-centric, identity politics driven media," he said in a Facebook post. "What seemed to be the last straw for my column was my insistence that there are only two sexes and my frustration that to be inclusive of the transgendered (even that word isn't allowed) we must lose our right to free speech."
Caldara criticized an Associated Press directive saying that sex and gender are not binary. "There are only two sexes, identified by an XX or XY chromosome. That is the very definition of binary. The AP ruling it isn't so doesn't change science. It's a premeditative attempt to change culture and policy. It's activism," he wrote on Jan. 3. In a column two weeks later, Caldara also railed against a 2019 Colorado law that required elementary school children to be instructed in transgender ideology.
"Some parents weren't thrilled a couple of years back when during school their little ones in Boulder Valley School District were treated to videos staring [sic] a transgender teddy bear teaching the kids how to misuse pronouns or when Colorado's 'Trans Community Choir' sang to kids about a transgender raven," Caldara wrote. "What are the protections for a parent who feels transgender singing groups and teddy bears with gender dysphoria might be 'stigmatizing' for their kid?"
Caldara said that he was fired by the paper's editorial page editor, Megan Schrader, according to an interview with Westword published Monday.
"Megan told me I was the page's most-read columnist. But there's now a permanently and perpetually offended class, and in order to speak, you need to use their terminology. There's a whole lot of you-can't-say-that-ism going on right now."
In an email to the Washington Free Beacon, Schrader confirmed that she fired Caldara but declined to discuss the reason.
"I am writing a job description as we speak to fill his position," she said. "I hope that conservative Colorado writers will apply knowing that we value conservative voices on our pages and don't have a litmus test for their opinions."
Click here for the mobile version of this story (with comments)
Donald J. Trump on Twitter: "Heading to Davos, Switzerland, to meet with World and Business Leaders and bring Good Policy and additional Hundreds of Billions of Dollars back to the United States of America! We are now NUMBER ONE in the Universe, by FAR!!"
Mon, 20 Jan 2020 23:54
Log in Sign up Donald J. Trump @ realDonaldTrump Heading to Davos, Switzerland, to meet with World and Business Leaders and bring Good Policy and additional Hundreds of Billions of Dollars back to the United States of America! We are now NUMBER ONE in the Universe, by FAR!!
4:59 PM - 20 Jan 2020 Jeff Tiedrich @ itsJeffTiedrich
5h Replying to
@realDonaldTrump dementia and delusions of grandeur are a hell of a cocktail
View conversation · Eugene Gu, MD @ eugenegu
5h Replying to
@realDonaldTrump Number one in the universe sounds really corny because it seems perfectly fitted to game Twitter's algorithms to trend.
View conversation · Eugene Gu, MD @ eugenegu
5h Replying to
@realDonaldTrump So Trump is basically trying to manufacture fake outrage or even ridicule to get more attention for himself. Just like any typical narcissist.
View conversation · Lesley Abravanel🆠@ lesleyabravanel
5h Replying to
@realDonaldTrump The world leaders are looking forward to the impeached laughingstock to arrive so they can have calamitous cocktail fodder on your behalf. You are an international embarrassment. You're also demented. RESIGN!
View conversation · Cainethejust 🇨ðŸ‡...'''š› @ Cainethejust
5h Replying to
@lesleyabravanel @realDonaldTrump At this meeting he gets to embarrass himself in front of the leaders of every subject in the world!!!!
pic.twitter.com/jiEUOEfkB4 View conversation · '>>¸ðŸ‡ºðŸ‡¸ Christopher Zullo @ ChrisJZullo
5h Replying to
@realDonaldTrump Number One in the Universe 🤣🤣🤣
View conversation · Arthur Illsley @ aillsley3
5h Replying to
@ChrisJZullo @realDonaldTrump Is he talking about Space Force
pic.twitter.com/rouoZ4HjIX View conversation · Denise Wu @ denisewu
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@realDonaldTrump Hey Europeans, please remember to film humiliating interaction of Trump and Ivanka for the world to see. Thanks
View conversation · Marcus Olofzon @ olofzonmarcus
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@denisewu @realDonaldTrump Considering over 80% of Europeans loathe Trump, myself included, we will do our best!
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These Birds of Prey Are Deliberately Setting Forests on Fire
Mon, 20 Jan 2020 10:43
10 JAN 2018
It's pretty hot in Australia right now. A brutal heatwave that's incinerated temperature records threatens devastating bushfires '' and to make matters worse, authorities have to contend with an ancient breed of flying arsonists that may as well be miniature dragons.
A new study incorporating traditional Indigenous Australian ecological knowledge describes the largely unknown behaviour of so-called 'firehawk raptors' '' birds that intentionally spread fire by wielding burning sticks in their talons and beaks.
These flying firestarters are spread across at least three known species '' the Black Kite (Milvus migrans), Whistling Kite (Haliastur sphenurus), and Brown Falcon (Falco berigora) '' but while their hell-raising may be observed in Indigenous knowledge, that's not so elsewhere.
"Though Aboriginal rangers and others who deal with bushfires take into account the risks posed by raptors that cause controlled burns to jump across firebreaks, official skepticism about the reality of avian fire-spreading hampers effective planning for landscape management and restoration," the international team explains in their paper.
"Intentional Fire-Spreading by "Firehawk" Raptors in Northern Australia," Bonta et al. Journal of Ethnobiology, 37(4) (abstract): https://t.co/JJVomc5zDy #ethnobiology #ethnoornithology #birds #fire pic.twitter.com/Bv4oSA6BpC
'-- Bob Gosford (@bgosford) January 1, 2018While news of aerial arsonists fire-bombing the landscape may seem surprising or even shocking, the researchers are eager to emphasise that this destructive phenomenon has actually been witnessed for untold millennia.
"We're not discovering anything," one of the team, geographer Mark Bonta from Penn State Altoona, told National Geographic.
"Most of the data that we've worked with is collaborative with Aboriginal peoples'... They've known this for probably 40,000 years or more."
According to the team, firehawk raptors congregate in hundreds along burning fire fronts, where they will fly into active fires to pick up smouldering sticks, transporting them up to a kilometre (0.6 miles) away to regions the flames have not yet scorched.
"The imputed intent of raptors is to spread fire to unburned locations '' for example, the far side of a watercourse, road, or artificial break created by firefighters '' to flush out prey via flames or smoke," the researchers write.
This behaviour, documented in interviews with the team and observed first-hand by some of the researchers, sees prey driven toward the raptors by a wall of flame, enabling them to engage in a feeding frenzy upon fleeing or scorched land animals.
The inspiration for the study came from a passage in the 1964 autobiography of Indigenous doctor and activist, Phillip Waipuldanya Roberts.
"I have seen a hawk pick up a smouldering stick in its claws and drop it in a fresh patch of dry grass half a mile away," he said, "then wait with its mates for the mad exodus of scorched and frightened rodents and reptiles."
Of course, as any law student knows, crimes not only entail a physical component, but a mental one.
In this case, do the birds really know what they're doing, or are they only accidentally clutching at (burning) straws?
The researchers think the former is the case, saying accounts of multiple witnesses suggest this behaviour is not a fluke '' and even more scary, it looks to be coordinated like a pack hunt.
"It's not gratuitous," one of the team, Australian ethnobiologist and ornithologist Bob Gosford, told The Washington Post in 2016.
"There's a purpose. There's an intent to say, okay, there are several hundred of us there, we can all get a meal."
If the hypothesis is correct, it means we finally have confirmation of a new force in nature that can spread devastating wildfires - and local Indigenous people knew it all along.
"The birds aren't starting fires from scratch, but it's the next best thing," Bonta told The Washington Post.
"Fire is supposedly so uniquely human."
The findings are reported in the Journal of Ethnobiology.
'Offline chair' that blocks internet access promises to help smartphone addicts get back to reality | Daily Mail Online
Mon, 20 Jan 2020 10:41
Forget airplane mode, this is armchair mode: 'Offline chair' that blocks access to the internet promises to help smartphone addicts get back to realityPolish furniture designer Agata Nowak, 28, developed the so-called 'offline chair'The side of the seat has a pocket for devices that blocks WiFi and mobile signalsMeanwhile a soft grey covering fabric aims to cultivate a cosy but isolated spaceMs Nowak is currently seeking a producer to develop her chair commercially By Ian Randall For Mailonline
Published: 06:52 EST, 20 January 2020 | Updated: 07:44 EST, 20 January 2020
An 'offline chair' that can block a sitter's access to the internet has been designed to help smartphone addicts get back to reality and find a moment of relaxation.
The chair is the brainchild of 28-year-old Polish designer Agata Nowak, who hopes interest in the seat will increase as people grow more aware of internet addiction.
Upholstered in a soft, grey covering fabric, the chair provides a 'cosy, intimate, comfy and silent' space to isolate its occupants from the surrounding environment.
Its key feature is a so-called 'offline pocket', which blocks WiFi and mobile signals from reaching any device placed inside.
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An 'offline chair' that can block a sitter's access to the internet has been designed to help smartphone addicts get back to reality and find a moment of relaxation.
The chair's key feature is a so-called 'offline pocket', which blocks WiFi and mobile signals form reaching any device placed inside
'Studies show that an average user unlocks the phone 110 times per day, and record-breakers even 900!' said Ms Nowak, who began work on the offline chair in 2015, while studying Furniture Design at the University of Fine Arts in Poznan, Poland.
At this time, the average time that people spend on their phones was estimated at around 2 hours each day.
Less than five years later, however, and the average use is reported to have increased to around four hours each day '-- around a quarter of our waking lives.
'I observed people and their behaviour,' Ms Nowak told Central European News.
'Back then, it was likely you would see people stuck on their phones but now it has become ordinary.'
'We are over-stimulated. We are now turning to activities such as meditation and mindfulness as we need solutions to help us calm down, relax.'
The chair's key feature is a so-called 'offline pocket', which blocks WiFi and mobile signals form reaching any device placed inside
The chair is the brainchild of 28-year-old Polish designer Agata Nowak, pictured, who hopes interest in the seat will increase as people grow more aware of internet addiction
'Studies show that an average user unlocks the phone 110 times per day, and record-breakers even 900!' said Ms Nowak, who began work on the offline chair in 2015, while studying Furniture Design at the University of Fine Arts in Poznan, Poland
'We have apps that help us calm down before sleeping, but I still believe we feel better when we forget about our smartphones for a moment, not hear notifications, and just enjoy it,' Ms Nowak added.
'Putting this into practice is much harder though, because we are simply addicted to it.'
Ms Nowak is looking for a producer to help develop her chair commercially.
Upholstered in a soft, grey covering fabric, the chair provides a 'cosy, intimate, comfy and silent' space to isolate its occupants from the surrounding environment
'I observed people and their behaviour,' Ms Nowak told Central European News. 'Back then, it was likely you would see people stuck on their phones but now it has become ordinary'
HOW SEVERE IS SMARTPHONE ADDICTION?With the average age for a child to get their first phone now just 10, young people are becoming more and more reliant on their smartphones.
Worrying research from Korea University suggests that this dependence on the technology could even be affecting some teens' brains.
The findings reveals that teenagers who are addicted to their smartphones are more likely to suffer from mental disorders, including depression and anxiety.
Other studies have shown people are so dependent on their smartphone that they happily break social etiquette to use them.
Researchers from mobile connectivity firm iPass surveyed more than 1,700 people in the US and Europe about their connectivity habits, preferences and expectations.
The survey revealed some of the most inappropriate situations in which people have felt the need to check their phone '' during sex (seven per cent), on the toilet (72 per cent) and even during a funeral (11 per cent).
Nearly two thirds of people said they felt anxious when not connected to the Wi-Fi, with many saying they'd give up a range of items and activities in exchange for a connection.
Sixty-one per cent of respondents said that Wi-Fi was impossible to give up '' more than for sex (58 per cent), junk food (42 per cent), smoking (41 per cent), alcohol (33 per cent), or drugs (31 per cent).
A quarter of respondents even went so far as to say that they'd choose Wi-Fi over a bath or shower, and 19 per cent said they'd choose Wi-Fi over human contact.
About the Ajinomoto Group | Monosodium Glutamate & Umami | Why Use MSG
Mon, 20 Jan 2020 10:40
The Ajinomoto Group is a global food company with a mission to contribute to the well-being of people around the world through delicious and healthy foods, and to better lives for the future. Using cutting-edge bioscience and fermentation technologies, the Ajinomoto Group is a leader in the research and application of amino acids.
Ajinomoto Group ' Umami Global ' Ajinomoto Health & Nutrition North America, Inc.
Where To Buy MSG
MSG is sold under the brand name Ac'cent® in the United States, as well as AJI-NO-MOTO®, and can be purchased in the spice aisle of most major supermarkets, Asian grocery stores and online.
Ajinomoto Group By The Numbers
In 35 countries and around the world, the various employees of the Ajinomoto Group develop the business stemming from each local culture.
The Kawasaki Plant, which is the mother plant, celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2014. We are developing plants now in 22 countries and areas around the world. We deliver safe and reliable products to customers throughout the world.
AJI-NO-MOTO® was exported to Taiwan in 1910, which is the next year of the company's founding. The New York office was established in 1917. The number of countries and areas selling Ajinomoto Group products now exceeds 130.
The number of R&D workers of the Ajinomoto Group, which was approximately 100 in 1956, has increased to approximately 1000 with the growth of the business. This is why the Ajinomoto Group is said to be an unrivaled food company driven by technology.
Umami was first identified by Tokyo scientist Dr. Kikunae Ikeda in while enjoying a bowl of traditional Japanese seaweed broth called konbu dashi. He noticed the dashi's savory taste was distinct from the four basic tastes of sweet, sour, bitter, and salty, so he called it ''umami,'' which means ''essence of deliciousness'' in Japanese. After days of studying varied seaweed, he found that the taste of umami could be attributed to glutamate, a naturall-occurring amino acid which is also present in the human body and myriad foods such as tomatoes, mushrooms, aged cheeses, cured meats, onions and seafood.
To bring this umami taste to everyone in a convenient and affordable way, Dr. Ikeda combined naturally occurring glutamate with one-part sodium, resulting in monosodium glutamate (MSG). By 1909, MSG was patented and commercialized as AJI-NO-MOTO®, to become the world's first umami seasoning.
Fine food buyers in stockpiling frenzy before Trump tariffs start
Mon, 20 Jan 2020 10:38
These are not your average hoarders.
Purveyors of fine culinary goods are racing to stockpile European imports in anticipation of Trump administration tariffs that threaten to more than double the price of everything from French wines to Italian cheeses.
''We need to make sure we can get through the summer,'' explained Jeff Zacharia of the thousands of extra cases of imported wines he's purchasing for Zachys, a third-generation wine shop in Scarsdale, NY, since the tariffs were threatened last month.
Among the wines he's stockpiling is a Whispering Angel ros(C) from France that now costs $22 a bottle, but which could cost as much as $55 a bottle under the new tariffs, Zachery said. ''People's favorite ros(C)s, Chianti Classicos and Pinot Grigios could all go up 150 percent for the consumer,'' he explained.
If the 100-percent tariff increase hits, the days of affordable soft and creamy cheeses like Camembert and Brie may also be over, sources said. Instead, cheese lovers will be munching on hard cheeses because they can be bought in advance of the tariffs and stored for months.
''We started working with our distributors to stock up on cheeses with long shelf lives, like Parmesan and Manchego,'' said an executive of a well-known Manhattan cheese shop who did not want to be identified. ''We are stockpiling cheeses to build up our inventory.''
Purveyors of fine wines and cheeses, many of which come from Europe, have already been grappling with a 25 percent tax increase on $7.5 billion worth of goods that hit in October as payback for EU subsidies for Airbus that hurt Boeing. But the industry was thrown into a full-on panic in December thanks to the Trump administration's threat to ratchet the tax to 100 percent on $25 billion worth of EU goods, including wine, cheese, meat, pasta and olive oil.
The new tariffs won't just cost more, they could also eliminate loopholes that the industry has been relying on since October, such as no tariffs on Swiss and French cheeses '-- or on sparkling Italian wines.
James Coogan, chief buyer for Eli Zabar's restaurants, shops and markets, had already been buying more Swiss cheeses, like Gruy¨re, after the first round of tariffs hit. With the second round looming, he sees American cheeses as another potential escape hatch.
''I don't see myself with a tiny French cheese selection. I'll have to see what the market could bear. I have bought in where I could. There are also great American cheeses out there. We already have a strong selection of those, but expanding them is another alternative.''
Jeremy Wladis outside of the Harvest Kitchen Restaurant.
Wladis with some of the products that will become more expensive because of the tariffs.
Also turning more to American goods is Jeremy Wladis, president of The Restaurant Group, which has 10 restaurants, including Good Enough to Eat, Harvest Kitchen and Brad's Burgers & BBQ.
In the past few weeks, he's swapped out a popular French Sancerre wine from the Loire valley with a Chardonnay from Monterey, California, he said.
''The Sancerre was going up in price and it was hard to get, so we replaced it with a California Chardonnay from Monterey,'' Wladis explained.
In addition, Wladis' restaurants have swapped out an Italian Grana Padano cheese '-- a hard crumbly cheese that is similar to Parmigiano-Reggiano '-- for a domestic Parmesan after the price on the Italian stuff skyrocketed 30 percent.
Wladis said he's also considering a switch to California olive oil, depending on how the tariff war plays out. He currently buys his olive oil from Greece.
''We are also looking at shopping out European wines for domestic. But everything takes time, effort and money,'' Wladis said, adding that higher prices means that people will have less wine, and that will also affect his staff. ''It all makes a difference, impacting us and our teams' ability to make a living,'' he said.
It's one reason the tariffs threaten to change the landscape of the US for years to come '-- even after the tariff war is settled, explained Chris Czerwinski, director of international policy for ACG Analytics, a public policy advisory firm in DC.
''Consumer preferences will slowly shift as we are forced to drink more Napa cabs. Eventually you will lose the runway. If tariffs are extended for a long period of time, we will lose relationships with European producers and the supply chain could be forever changed. It will take a long time for relationships to be repaired,'' Czerwinski said.
Three alleged members of white supremacy group the Base arrested in Georgia for murder plot, officials say - The Washington Post
Mon, 20 Jan 2020 10:37
Authorities in Georgia on Friday charged three alleged members of a violent white supremacist group known as ''the Base'' with plotting to murder anti-fascist activists '-- one day after the FBI said it arrested three other alleged members in Maryland and Delaware on federal charges.
Police say the men wanted to kill a Georgia married couple who were ''high-ranking'' members of the far-left antifa movement in retaliation for exposing white supremacists online. The suspects recruited, strategized and engaged in paramilitary training as part of a group that seeks to overthrow the U.S. government, launch a ''race war'' and create a ''white ethno-state,'' according to authorities.
Luke Austin Lane, 21; Michael John Helterbrand, 25; and Jacob Kaderli, 19, were all charged with conspiracy to commit murder and being members of a criminal gang. Attorney information for the men was not immediately available in jail records.
The Base was founded in 2018 to plan a ''violent insurgency'' against the government and nonwhites, according to law enforcement. Members use encrypted chat rooms to discuss, among other things, violence toward groups like antifa and minorities including African Americans and Jewish Americans, an arrest affidavit states, explaining that operations are kept decentralized among local cells to minimize members' accountability.
Law enforcement officials have zeroed in on the Base, whose name is the English translation of ''al-Qaeda,'' ahead of an upcoming gun rights rally in Richmond. They fear armed extremists could unleash violence at the event, which is expected to draw thousands of militia members and gun advocates from around the country to protest a suite of gun-control measures being considered by the Virginia legislature.
Authorities say they have tracked a flurry of threatening language in online message boards and social media accounts related to the rally, though officials caution it is difficult to predict when rhetoric may turn into violent actions. Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) has banned firearms on the state capitol grounds during the protests, saying there was ''credible intelligence'' of a potential violent disruption.
Federal authorities on Thursday arrested three other alleged members of the Base on federal firearm and smuggling charges. Their timing was driven by fears that some would commit violence at Monday's rally, officials said.
FBI arrests 3 alleged members of white-supremacist group 'the Base' ahead of Virginia gun rally
The Georgia men's charges are ''unrelated'' to fears of violence in Richmond, said Jay Tabb, executive assistant director for the FBI's National Security Branch, at a Friday event.
There's a ''strong possibility'' of more charges and ''additional subjects,'' Tabb said. He said it's hard to put a number on the Base's membership.
The newest charges grew out of an undercover operation, according to an affidavit for the arrests.
An FBI agent worked to join the Base last summer, the affidavit says. Lane, a resident of Silver Creek, conducted the vetting interview with another Base leader, and the agent soon met him in person along with Dacula resident Kaderli, who went by the name ''Pestilence.''
The agent gained increasing access to the Base members' world over the following months, at one point participating in shooting drills led by Lane and Kaderli. Online conversations led law enforcement to believe the drills were preparation for the ''Boogalo'' '-- Base members' term for the ''collapse of the United States and subsequent race war,'' the affidavit states.
The agent also heard of Helterbrand's admiration for white supremacist Dylann Roof, the killer of nine black parishioners at a historic church in Charleston, S.C., who was convicted of federal hate crimes.
Let me know ''when it's time to go to church,'' Helterbrand reportedly told Lane.
The FBI also began to get details of an alleged murder plot. According to the affidavit, the undercover agent was with Lane and Kaderli last month as they surveyed their targets' home in Bartow County and then as they discussed tactics with Helterbrand, developing various codes to obscure the real nature of their ''camping trip.''
Lane also told the agent he wanted to kill other Base members because he was worried about word of the plot against the Bartow County couple spreading, the affidavit says. Lane said they were ''stupid'' and ''would likely talk about it."
Lane was arrested without incident Wednesday near his home and denied bond, Floyd County police said. Kaderli and Helterbrand, arrested in other unspecified locations, were also denied bond, according to jail records.
The FBI's Atlanta office handled most of the preliminary investigation and then helped local authorities, officials said.
Rachel Weiner contributed to this report.
Read more:
Prospect of gun control in Virginia draws threats, promise of armed protest
'The War of Races': How a hateful ideology echoes through American history
Why is the world so obsessed with the new pictures of Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston? | Film | The Guardian
Mon, 20 Jan 2020 09:39
The former first couple of the US looked delighted to see each other at the SAG awards on Sunday night '' prompting the internet to go out and buy itself a big hat
Is love in the air? Pitt and Aniston at the SAG awards.Photograph: Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for Turner N o one will remember anything from this year's film awards season. The winning movies will fade from memory, like so many before them. The winning actors will, within the next half-decade, become the subject of pub quiz questions. No one will remember anything, with one exception: the photo of Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston reuniting at last.
The photo was taken at the Screen Actors Guild awards on Sunday, and it is nothing but a joy to look at. The pair of them, formerly the first couple of the US, look genuinely thrilled to see each other. They are in a walkway brimming with officious strangers, but it is as though they are the only people in the room.
Look at it in the context of other photos taken that evening '' one shows Pitt, alone and rapt, watching Aniston's acceptance speech on a backstage monitor; another captures him holding on to Aniston's hand as she walks away '' and it becomes almost unbearably lovely. It is like a glimpse into a parallel universe where they never split up. They even have the same haircut. It is wonderful.
Who knows what life would be like now if Pitt and Aniston had never split up. We would have been spared a billion ''poor Jen'' magazine covers for certain, but maybe the ripple effect of their happiness would have spread outwards. Maybe the American mood would have been so buoyant that Trump would never have reached office. Maybe Brexit would not have happened. Maybe in this universe David Bowie is still alive. We will never know.
What makes this even more charming is that both Pitt and Aniston won SAG awards: Pitt for his study of detached cool in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Aniston for her career-best work on the Apple TV+ programme The Morning Show. At the time this photograph was taken, they were equals in every way. They are at the top of their game, and they reached that point at exactly the same time.
The question remains whether or not Pitt and Aniston will capitalise on this photograph and remarry. Because, from a public relations perspective, they absolutely should. If Pitt wins at the Oscars next month, his acceptance speech should consist of him getting down on bended knee in front of the world and saying: ''Jen, I've been a fool. Please take me back.'' Then Aniston would rush down the aisle, mascara streaked down her face, to accept. Then they would kiss and Aniston would become pregnant immediately and have a baby right there on stage '' and then we will finally be happy.
Alternatively, it is just a picture of two winners celebrating briefly at an awards show.
Virus spreads to more Chinese cities, President Xi says containment is priority
Mon, 20 Jan 2020 09:11
BEIJING (Reuters) - An outbreak of a new coronavirus has spread to more Chinese cities, including the capital Beijing and Shanghai, national and local authorities confirmed on Monday, and a fourth case has been reported beyond China's borders.
President Xi Jinping said curbing the outbreak and saving lives was a top priority as the number of patients more than tripled and a third person died.
Adding to the difficulties of containing the virus, hundreds of millions of Chinese will be traveling domestically and abroad during the Lunar New Year holiday that starts this week.
Authorities around the globe, including in the United States and many Asian countries, have stepped up screening of travelers from Wuhan, the central city where the virus was first discovered.
''Wuhan is a major hub and with travel being a huge part of the fast approaching Chinese New Year, the concern level must remain high. There is more to come from this outbreak,'' said Jeremy Farrar, a specialist in infectious disease epidemics and director of the Wellcome Trust global health charity.
Authorities confirmed a total of 217 new cases of the virus in China as of 6 p.m. local time (1000 GMT) on Monday, state television reported, 198 of which were in Wuhan.
Five new cases were confirmed in Beijing and 14 more in Guangdong province, the report said. Another statement confirmed a new case in Shanghai, bringing the number of known cases worldwide to 222.
''People's lives and health should be given top priority and the spread of the outbreak should be resolutely curbed,'' President Xi was quoted as saying by state television.
The virus belongs to the same family of coronaviruses as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which killed nearly 800 people globally during a 2002/03 outbreak that also started in China.
Its symptoms include fever and difficulty in breathing, which are similar to many other respiratory diseases and pose complications for screening efforts.
BEYOND BORDERS South Korea on Monday confirmed its first case, a 35-year-old Chinese national who had traveled from Wuhan, the fourth patient reported outside China.
Passengers wearing masks are seen at the waiting area for a train to Wuhan at the Beijing West Railway Station, ahead of the Chinese Lunar New Year, in Beijing, China January 20, 2020. REUTERS/StringerLast week, two cases were reported in Thailand and one in Japan. All three involved people from Wuhan or who recently visited the city.
A report by London Imperial College's MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis estimated that by Jan. 12 there were 1,723 cases in Wuhan City with onset of related symptoms. Chinese health authorities have not commented directly on the report.
''This outbreak is extremely concerning. Uncertainty and gaps remain, but it is now clear that there is person to person transmission,'' Farrar said.
The World Health Organization said on Monday ''an animal source'' appeared most likely to be the primary source of the outbreak and that some ''limited human-to-human transmission'' occurred between close contacts.
China's state council reiterated the government will step up prevention efforts and find the source of infection and transmission channels as soon as possible, state television said on Monday.
Shares in pharmaceutical firms and mask makers in China surged Monday because of the outbreak.
''Who knows how many people who have been to Wuhan may be unaware that they have already been infected?,'' said one commentator on Chinese social media platform Weibo
Slideshow (4 Images) The state-run Global Times newspaper said in an editorial the government needs to disclose all information and not repeat the mistakes made with SARS. Chinese officials covered up the SARS outbreak for weeks before a growing death toll and rumours forced it to reveal the epidemic.
''Concealment would be a serious blow to the government's credibility and might trigger greater social panic,'' the editorial said.
Reporting by Winni Zhou and Josh Horwitz in Shanghai, Roxanne Liu, Sophie Yu, Judy Hua and Colin Qian and Se Young Lee in Beijing, Joyce Lee in Seoul and Kate Kelland in London; Writing by Se Young Lee; Editing by Angus MacSwan
Reverse Engineering the BMW Connected Apps Protocol
Mon, 20 Jan 2020 08:52
In 2016, a BMW joined my household, and I had my first taste of IDrive and BMW Connected Apps. Through some magic Bluetooth protocol, Spotify on my phone would be added to the list of music sources in the dashboard. Clicking into this entry showed a rich user interface, offering browse options to select playlists and to start radio stations based on the current song, far more interactive than the basic Bluetooth music controls.
ExcitementThis immediately ignited excitement for the possibilities! Instead of being stuck with what apps are loaded on the car at time of manufacturer, the car can automatically be upgraded as support is added to the respective phone apps. Instead of needing to take my phone out of my pocket and stare down at the phone screen to switch music, I can use the tactile controller knob with the infotainment screen to safely control any app!
GlitchyHowever, as is normal with Bluetooth, the experience was not very smooth. Sometimes the additional Bluetooth Apps protocol wouldn't connect, and sometimes the individual apps themselves wouldn't be responsive. Cries for help on the Spotify forums were ignored, and the BMW Connected app has terrible reviews with no signs of fixing anything.
Other AppsAdditionally, BMW Connected for Android only shared a very limited selection of apps, compared to the available apps on iPhone: only Spotify and iHeartRadio, along with a basic Calendar app. Since I enjoy other music apps, I called up BMW Support and asked if I could get access to the BMW Ready SDK so I could build my own apps. They declined.
So, I decided to figure out this BMW Apps protocol and add my own music apps to the system, without their help.
Bluetooth SniffingHow hard could it be? Bluetooth is a standard protocol, I just have to learn what to say to the car and build up from there!
Oh hey look, Android has built-in Bluetooth Capture logging! I'll just record what the phone app is saying to the car and see what I find:
This SPP Protocol seemed to have lots of juicy information: I saw some X509 certificates, some XML data, some strings that look like song metadata, a ton of stuff!
BCL MultiplexingI started noticing a pattern in the first bytes of most packets: The 0th byte was 0, the 1st byte was 1 or 6, the 2nd byte was 0, the 3rd byte was usually very low, and the next bytes were almost always 0x0FA4. I figured out that the next 2 bytes were the length of the remaining data, and the next 4 bytes of data were almost always 0xDEADBEEF.
I began writing a Wireshark Lua plugin to help me understand the data, parsing the first bytes as 4 16-bit values named Val1, Val2, Val3, and Length, and then outputting the remaining bytes of data.
It seems that this protocol is used to multiplex connections into a single Bluetooth serial socket, with Val2 being different connection IDs. With this field being parsed out in Wireshark, I could use display filters to follow an individual communication flow.
Apache EtchAfter a little bit of research, I discovered an article explaining that BMW uses Apache Etch as "the fundamental communication protocol used for BMW Apps". A quick trip to the Apache Etch docs confirms that 0xDEADBEEF is the magic identifier at the start of every Etch RPC call. This means, then, that I just have to decode each BCL stream to Apache Etch packets, and Wireshark's built-in Etch parsing will take over!
Apache Etch Symbol NamesExcept, of course, that Apache Etch compiles each function name, and any other symbol names, into a 32-bit hash value. Wireshark can use an Etch debug artifact to replace the hash value with pretty names, but I first needed to figure out the names and hash them myself. The Etch hash algorithm is public, so I wrote a Rust implementation to help generate this debug name artifact manually, since I don't have the original Etch IDL.
But, where to get the names?
Turns out JVM bytecode (which Android apps are equivalently written in) is very easy to decompile. Variable names are obfuscated a bit, but the Etch generated classes contain an exact list of all the available Etch symbols:
Puerto Rico fires 2 more officials over supplies found in warehouse
Sun, 19 Jan 2020 23:18
Puerto Rico Governor Wanda Vzquez Garced fired two more government officials Sunday over the latest controversy involving unused emergency supplies discovered in a warehouse in the coastal city of Ponce. Some of the supplies '-- including water bottles, cots and baby food '-- date to when Hurricane Maria struck the island in 2017.
Housing Secretary Fernando Gil and Department of Family Secretary Glorimar Andºjar were let go one day after the governor fired Carlos Acevedo, the Puerto Rican commissioner of the National Emergency Management and Disaster Relief Agency.
A Facebook Live video showing the untouched supplies recently went viral, prompting an investigation which led to the firings. Some of the aid has allegedly been sitting in the warehouse since Maria pummeled Puerto Rico as a Category 4 hurricane two years ago. Following the publication of the video, some residents of the island raided the warehouse.
"There have been actions by government officials that have been completely unacceptable," Vzquez said Sunday. She had ordered an investigation into the warehouse of supplies and nominated Puerto Rican National Guard chief Major General Jos(C) J. Reyes to replace Acevedo.
Vzquez met earlier Sunday with members of her administration and they were unable to provide information she had requested about other collection and distribution centers, according to The Associated Press. She didn't elaborate on firing Gil and Andºjar, but said she had lost confidence in them.
"There are thousands of people who have made sacrifices to help those in the south, and it is unforgivable that resources were kept in the warehouse," Vzquez said in a statement Sunday.
(C) Provided by CBS News A woman carries boxes of baby diapers from warehouse filled with supplies, including thousands of cases of water, believed to have been from when Hurricane Maria struck the island in 2017 in Ponce, Puerto Rico, on January 18, 2020, after a powerful earthquake hit the island.
On Sunday, Ponce Mayor Mar­a Mel(C)ndez expressed her dismay at the situation.
"I spent several days requesting cots and water," Mel(C)ndez said. "They sent me to Cabo Rojo for the cots and to San Juan for the water. If I had known that those supplies were there, I would have demanded that they be taken out immediately."
When Vzquez was asked about not knowing the supplies were at the warehouse, she replied, "That's what the head of agencies are for ... to inform the governor."
CBS News interview with Major General Jos(C) J. Reyes CBS News correspondent David Begnaud interviewed Reyes, the head of the Puerto Rico national guard, on Sunday. Reyes revealed what's being done to distribute aid currently stored at warehouses across the island and information about the contracts that were signed. Reyes also addressed the hundreds of thousands of dollars that the U.S. government paid themselves essentially to store that aid in "secret."
"No citizen has been denied any of the items"Acevedo said on Saturday that it was "insane" to imply the aid was mishandled.
Acevedo said in a statement that after the earthquake, the warehouse had been inspected by a structural engineer who "recommended emptying it due to the damage suffered after the event." According to Acevedo, the Fire Department Bureau removed and distributed aid from the warehouse to those affected by the earthquakes.
"There are still pallets of food, water, diapers, and baby formula, cots and awnings in the warehouse. At no time has it been ordered to seize or destroy those items," reads his statement.
(C) Provided by CBS News A man removes diapers and baby wipes from a warehouse filled with supplies, believed to have been from when Hurricane Maria struck the island in 2017 in Ponce, Puerto Rico, on January 18, 2020, after a powerful earthquake hit the island. "It is of utmost importance to emphasize that no citizen has been denied any of the items stored at the warehouse," he said. "At the moment there is no shortage of any of these articles and they are being distributed to the people who need it, this may be corroborated in the shelters and base camps."
"The citizen who entered the property today, and shared the images on social networks, violated the security perimeter, which in turn, represented a risk for him. For this reason he was instructed to leave the area. Any personnel entering that structure, which is compromised, requires specific security measures to ensure their safety."
A 4.7 magnitude earthquake hit Puerto Rico on December 28, kicking off a series of seismic events on the island. More than 2,000 tremors have occurred since the original quake, leaving the island's three million people in fear, and wanting for aid.
Puerto Ricans were waiting to see if President Trump would sign a major disaster declaration to authorize the much needed aid. Nine days after Vzquez submitted the request, the president signed the declaration. One day prior, the Trump administration released