Wuhan from Intel Analyst
From a well placed source with direct ties to mainland
China, here are some facts regarding the virus. He really got into minutiae of
genetic medicine and health risks and traits based on very specific genes and
gene sequences. Naturally, when then Coronavirus hit he went to work
researching genetics and papers on the disease. He attended Johns Hopkins
a Univ in Nanjing China for his MA, and as alum still has a logon to their
libraries, where he drew much of his research from.
The short version:
- Those most susceptible to nCoV the highest ACE2 gene structures.
- People who contract nCoV never recover from it. The virus becomes
recessive after incubation and initial flare. Many of those who had an
initial infection with fever and cough, but without Cytokine storm, had showed
a compromised immune system and recurrence of the virus.
- In several cases the third or fourth recurrence, in the reduced immune
response, the Cytokine storm developed. Those people died.
- Because the virus is immuno-compromising, any recurrences further weakens the
immune system. The Chinese are using the term “Airborne AIDS” in describing the
approach to it.
- The patient in Seattle who was given an experimental anti-Retroviral after
his first post infection flare, fully recovered on the drug. He was
declared cured. When he stopped the drug, the virus flare recurred
(described in January 22nd NYT article). He’s back in the hospital.
The basic prevention is to quarantine and avoid people in
the ACE2 gene sequence, as shown below. Those people will have the
highest viral load and be “super spreaders”.
Yes, this is much less deadly currently than the flu virus,
however it has the potential to grow undetected and at a much higher rate. It
also has already had an impact on the global economy that has already surpassed
anything the flu virus has ever done.
Coronavirus: French Asians hit back at racism with 'I'm not a virus' - BBC News
Thu, 30 Jan 2020 21:54
Image copyright EPA Image caption One Franco-Chinese writer referred to the hostility sparked by the coronavirus as "China-bashing" French Asians have taken to social media to complain of a backlash against them in response to the Chinese coronavirus outbreak.
China has already seen almost 6,000 cases and 132 deaths, and France has had four cases confirmed.
Anti-Asian racism has been reported in the UK and elsewhere, and now French Asians have complained of abuse on public transport and social media.
They have been using the hashtag JeNeSuisPasUnVirus (I'm not a virus).
There was an outcry when local newspaper Le Courier Picard used the inflammatory headlines "Alerte jaune" (Yellow alert) and "Le p(C)ril jaune?" (Yellow peril?), complete with an image of a Chinese woman wearing a protective mask.
The paper quickly apologised, saying it had not meant to use some of the "worst Asian stereotypes".
St(C)phane Nivet, head of Licra (the International League against racism and anti-Semitism), said no newspaper would have dared use the headline "Black alert" so it was clear there was a problem.
As the hashtag spread, one woman, Cathy Tran, described hearing two men on her way to work in the eastern town of Colmar saying; "Watch out, a Chinese girl is coming our way."
"On my way home from work, a man on a scooter passed me by, telling me to put on a mask," Ms Tran told the BBC.
Another hashtag user complained: "Stop asking if we're dangerous if we cough while all the people around us are doing so."
France is planning to send a plane to Wuhan on Thursday to evacuate about 250 people, including non-French EU citizens. The fourth case in France is said to be an elderly Chinese tourist on holiday in Paris.
Lou Chengwang appealed on Twitter: "I'm Chinese, but I'm not a virus! I know everyone's scared of the virus but no prejudice, please."
Many noted that it was not just French Chinese who were being stigmatised.
Shana Cheng, a 17-year-old Parisian of Vietnamese and Cambodian origin, told the BBC that she had faced humiliating comments on a bus in the city on Sunday from both young and old.
"There's a Chinese woman, she is going to contaminate us, she needs to go home," she heard one passenger say. People looked at her "in a disgusted way, as if I was the virus".
No-one stood up for her, she said, so she decided to ignore the comments and listen to her music. But she did cough and sniff "so as to play on their fears", she added.
Cathy Tran said she was not surprised by people's reactions and saw the coronavirus as an excuse for people to be racist. The difference this time was the degree of racism, which she had never experienced before.
"We rarely hear Asians speak about racism, because we are known to suffer in silence, but here we are all in the same basket and it's too much," she said.
Franco-Chinese writer-director Grace Ly describes the hostility as "China-bashing" and incitement to anti-Asian hatred. "Is it so hilarious with these towns in quarantine, people isolated and deaths?" she wrote.
Chinese-Canadians also fear stigma In Canada, there are concerns among the Chinese-Canadian community that what happened during the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) in Toronto could happen again.
Sars, which is caused by a coronavirus, killed 774 of the 8,098 people infected in an outbreak that started in China in 2002.
In Canada alone there were 438 suspected Sars cases - most in the city of Toronto - and 44 people died over the spring and summer of 2003.
City councillors and Chinese community leaders in Toronto urged residents, at a news conference on Wednesday, not to cast blame or discriminate against residents of Asian descent amid fears of the spread of the coronavirus.
The Sars outbreak hit Toronto financially, as tourism dropped and people stayed home. But Chinese-owned and Chinatown businesses were hit especially hard, and saw a loss of income estimated at between 40% to 80%.
"The harm was serious," Justin Kong, executive director of the Toronto chapter of the Chinese Canadian National Council, told the BBC.
"A loss of income, a loss of jobs, people losing their livelihood, losing their homes. Facing stigma at school, at the workplace."
Near the height of the outbreak, former Canadian prime minister Jean Chr(C)tien made a point of stopping for lunch in Toronto's Chinatown, to show there was no reason to shun Asian businesses.
Canada currently has two confirmed cases of the coronavirus, and Mr Kong says people are still trying to understand what the impact might be.
But he says there is "fear within the community about the disease and fear of the impact of discrimination in our day-to-day lives; the impact it will have on industries, workers, and small businesses and the community at large".
Learn more about the new virus Image copyright Getty Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media caption What are viruses? And how do they spread?
Africa mobilises against coronavirus as fears mount
Sun, 02 Feb 2020 07:23
1 / 2
Passengers from an international flight being screened at Juba International Airport in South Sudan (AFP Photo/Alex McBride)
African countries are scrambling to avert an outbreak of the rapidly spreading coronavirus strain, as health officials warn that the poorest countries are ill-equipped to combat the deadly disease.
Across the continent, governments have stationed nurses at airports to check for feverish passengers and have suspended Chinese entry visas, while ordinary people grow increasingly nervous.
There have been no verified infections in Africa to date, but deep trade links with China and often overstretched healthcare systems are raising concerns about the capacity to respond to an outbreak.
The World Health Organization (WHO) on Thursday declared a global emergency as coronavirus infections spread, after initially downplaying the threat.
"Our greatest concern is the potential for the virus to spread to countries with weaker health systems," WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.
J. Stephen Morrison, director of the Global Health Policy Center at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, said the disease risked taking root if it reaches certain African countries.
He warned that such a scenario could usher in a "global pandemic".
Several poor African states have recently suffered disastrous viral outbreaks -- and they're keenly aware of the threat.
On Saturday, the Democratic Republic of Congo became the latest African nation to ask citizens to avoid travel to China "until further notice".
The government is also "studying the possibility of repatriating citizens presently in China," government spokesman David-Jolino Diwampovesa Makelele said.
The Ebola virus raged through Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea in 2014-2016, killing about 11,300 people.
Mosoka Fallah, the head of Liberia's public health institute, told lawmakers this week that the rapid spread of the new coronavirus was "catastrophic".
"Steps must be taken as early as possible to prevent it from entering here," he said, adding that the government had ramped up airport checks.
Anciao Fabiao Paulo, an Angolan student, told AFP that "it's over" if coronavirus reaches his country.
"Our health system is vulnerable and there are no good specialists. With malaria, people are already dropping like flies," he said.
Coronavirus has killed more than 200 people in China -- where it emerged in the central city of Wuhan -- and infected thousands more.
- Screenings at airports -
At Senegal's Blaise Diagne International Airport, health officials peer into a small thermal camera before the passport check.
"The first sign of these communicable diseases is a fever," said Barnabe Gning, in charge of sanitary control in the West African country's airports.
However, Gning cautioned that thermal cameras are not foolproof.
Similar thermal cameras which detect feverish passengers are now going up across African capitals.
These allow people with a high temperature to be identified -- the camera screen shows their body heat -- and then quarantined pending a lab test confirming a coronavirus infection.
Egypt, Morocco, Ethiopia, Kenya, South Africa, Rwanda and Mauritius are expected to "enhance screening" because of frequent traffic with China, he said.
- 'Avoid Chinese shops' -
Elsewhere, governments have enacted travel bans or urged people to remain indoors, adding to a sense of alarm.
Fears of an outbreak were rife in Nigeria this week, when authorities shut a Chinese supermarket in the capital Abuja. But they did so to remove expired products.
The southern African country of Botswana announced a suspected case on Friday, also sparking fears.
"The first thing is to avoid going to Chinese shops as much as possible," said Mqondisi Dube, a journalist in the capital Gabarone.
And in the West African archipelago of Cape Verde, locals are rushing to buy fennel because of false claims it heals coronavirus.
In a sign of extreme caution, some governments are also asking Chinese nationals to remain indoors.
Nigeria has urged any person arriving from China to "self-isolate" for at least two weeks, even if they are not ill.
The Chinese embassy in Mauritania has similarly asked its recent arrivals in the West African country to remain indoors for two weeks.
In Mozambique, the government has suspended visas for Chinese citizens and forbidden its citizens from travelling there.
South African authorities are checking passengers' temperatures at airports and have listed 11 hospitals that will deal with emergencies if they arise.
- Suspected cases rising -
Though Africa is one of the few continents not to have confirmed coronavirus cases, the number of suspected cases is increasing.
Several countries, including Ethiopia, Kenya, Angola, Botswana and Ivory Coast, have signalled possible infections.
But confirming coronavirus can take time, as health authorities lacking expertise have to send samples to labs in countries such as South Africa.
"It is very possible that there are cases that are going on the continent that have not been recognised," John Nkengasong, the director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, told reporters this week.
Coronavirus Case Suspected in Djibouti, Where US and China Base Troops
Fri, 31 Jan 2020 22:05
The commander of U.S. forces in Africa said Thursday that a suspected coronavirus case has turned up in the tiny East African state of Djibouti, where the U.S. and China maintain bases about seven miles apart.
Army Gen. Stephen Townsend, head of U.S. Africa Command, said he is not aware of any confirmed cases of coronavirus spreading from China to the continent, but "there are some suspected cases."
"The first reported suspected case I've heard of is in Djibouti, which you would imagine [has a] significant Chinese presence" with the Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN)'s first overseas base, he said. The Doraleh port facility is also operated by the Chinese.
During testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Townsend did not elaborate on whether the suspected case was at China's naval base or at the port facility.
Related: California Base to House US Evacuees from China for Coronavirus Quarantine
He also was not questioned on whether precautions are being taken at Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti, the primary base of operations for AFRICOM on the Horn of Africa.
The potential for the spread of coronavirus to Africa is a grave concern, Townsend said.
Suspected cases have also been reported in Ivory Coast and Kenya, and "the capacity of African nations to deal with this problem varies widely," he said.
At the same hearing, Adm. Craig Faller, head of U.S. Southern Command, said he "would be extremely concerned" about the potential spread of coronavirus to Latin America.
More than five million refugees have fled the dictatorship in Venezuela to neighboring countries and have already strained local health and social services beyond their capacities, Faller said.
Both Faller and Townsend were responding to questions from Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Arkansas, who said the coronavirus is on the verge of becoming a global pandemic. He said that China has been "lying" about the extent of the threat "and they've been lying about it from the beginning."
Defense Secretary Mark Esper said a directive would be going out to troops worldwide "advising forces about precautions they should take -- how to recognize the signs and symptoms" of coronavirus. "We want to make sure we stay in front of this."
At a Pentagon news conference Thursday, Esper also said that the Defense Department is working with interagency partners "as we monitor the situation and protect our service members and their families, which is my highest priority."
He noted that the DoD is providing housing support for about 210 U.S. citizens evacuated from Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, who arrived on a charter flight Wednesday at March Air Reserve Base in southern California.
The evacuees are expected to stay voluntarily for at least three days in base housing while they are monitored, but health officials stressed that they are not under quarantine.
Military personnel will not be in contact with the evacuees, who will be under the supervision of the Department of Health & Human Services, according to Pentagon officials.
Reports Thursday from China's official media said that 38 more deaths from coronavirus had been recorded, bringing the total in that country to 170.
The World Health Organization in Geneva said Thursday that another 1,844 cases of infection had been reported worldwide over the last 24 hours, bringing the global total to 7,818. The vast majority are in China, with 82 cases reported in 18 other countries.
In announcing the new numbers, the WHO for the first time declared the coronavirus outbreak a "Public Health Emergency of International Concern," signaling to all members of the United Nations the need to take precautions.
In the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control gave a troubling announcement on the first person-to-person spread of coronavirus in the U.S., in which a woman being treated for the illness passed it to her husband.
"We understand that this may be concerning, but based on what we know now, our assessment remains that the immediate risk to the American public is low," Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the CDC, said in a conference call with reporters.
Six people have been diagnosed with the coronavirus in the U.S. -- two each in Illinois and California, and one each in Arizona and Washington state.
-- Richard Sisk can be reached at Richard.Sisk@Military.com.
Read more: These Next-Gen Woobies Can Hide a Soldier's Heat Signature from the Enemy
Show Full Article (C) Copyright 2020 Military.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Restaurant owners latest to demand border closure - RTHK
Thu, 30 Jan 2020 23:47
2020-01-31 HKT 13:22
Restaurant owners and catering sector representatives say closing the border is essential for making people feel safe to go out to eat and drink. Photo: RTHK
Representatives of the catering sector on Friday added their voices to growing calls for Hong Kong to shut its border with the mainland over the Wuhan virus outbreak, saying people are becoming too scared to go out to eat. Catering sector leaders and restaurant owners complain that business conditions are now even poorer than they were during the worst periods of the city's ongoing social unrest.They cited increases in operational costs, and said many restaurants have seen a drop in business by at least 50 percent since the Lunar New Year holiday, compared to the same period last year.There were also warnings that many outlets could soon have to close if customers don't return.Gordon Lam, the convenor of a restaurant federation, said closing the border is essential to restoring people's confidence in going out to eat, as well as protecting people's health."I don't see any affect on our food supply. Also, I think it's not only for our industry. The government did not help any Hong Kong people in this situation. Our industry is not our main concern. Our main concern is Hong Kong people's health," Lam said.The government closed six of Hong Kong's border checkpoints from midnight on Thursday, as well as the high-speed rail and Guangzhou train service. But eight other crossings remain open, including the two that are linked to the MTR's East Rail Line. Medical workers have been particularly vocal in demanding all borders be closed, with some threatening strike action if this doesn't happen.Chief Executive Carrie Lam said on Tuesday that such a move would be "unwarranted".
CTV parts ways with journalist after coronavirus joke - The Post Millennial
Fri, 31 Jan 2020 00:03
Concerns that passengers on board a cruise ship may have contracted coronavirus caused around 6,000 people to be held on the ship until further notice.
The cruise ship is called the Costa Smeralda and is being held in Civitavecchia, Italy. Nobody is able to get off the ship until health officials are able to investigate after worries that two passengers on the ship could have the virus.
According to the Costa Crociere cruise company's spokesperson, the two passengers on the ship are a Chinese couple who had reported symptoms similar to that of the virus. The couple came aboard the ship on Jan. 25 in Savona, Italy.
The main person of concern is a 54-year-old woman from Macau. She has been moved to isolation and her husband is being examined by health officials but has not shown symptoms so far.
While travelling around Europe the ship has stopped in France, Marseilles and Spain. On Thursday the ship made its stop in Italy.
The spokesperson noted that it would probably take ''a few hours'' before everything is figured out.
It was determined after several hours there was no coronavirus on board.
Some passengers were mad that they were not receiving enough information while they waited. One passenger named Marina Guerrero tweeted ''We are people!'' from the cruise ship on Thursday.
Guerrero attached a video displaying passengers waiting anxiously on the ship.
Costa Crociere is a part of Carnival Cruises which is one of the world's largest cruise companies.
The Costa Smeralda has the ability to hold 6,600 passengers and over 1,000 crew members on top of that.
On Wednesday, three trips were canceled by Royal Caribbean Cruises as fear of an outbreak of the virus spreading to sea rises.
The coronavirus has killed over 170 people in China so far and has spread to Canada and other countries around the world including the U.S. and Australia.
Good move: President Trump forms task force, makes coronavirus a matter of national security
Fri, 31 Jan 2020 09:33
The coronavirus is almost certainly much worse in China than the media is reporting. Considering the incubation period of up to two weeks and the fact that someone can be contagious for a week before showing symptoms, it may be worse in the United States than we know. This is why it's important that President Trump formed a task force that combines healthcare experts and national security leaders.
This is potential epidemic must be taken seriously, as yesterday's press release indicates:
Today, President Donald J. Trump announced the formation of the President's Coronavirus Task Force. Members of the Task Force have been meeting on a daily basis since Monday. At today's meeting, which the President chaired, he charged the Task Force with leading the United States Government response to the novel 2019 coronavirus and with keeping him apprised of developments.
The Task Force is led by Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar, and is coordinated through the National Security Council. It is composed of subject matter experts from the White House and several United States Government agencies, and it includes some of the Nation's foremost experts on infectious diseases.
The Task Force will lead the Administration's efforts to monitor, contain, and mitigate the spread of the virus, while ensuring that the American people have the most accurate and up-to-date health and travel information.
The President's top priority is the health and welfare of the American people. That is why, in 2018, President Trump signed the National Biodefense Strategy, which improves speed of action in situations such as this. The Administration, led by the President's Task Force, will continue to work to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus.
The risk of infection for Americans remains low, and all agencies are working aggressively to monitor this continuously evolving situation and to keep the public informed. For more information, please visit CDC.gov.
Members of the President's Coronavirus Task Force:Secretary Alex Azar, Department of Health and Human Services
Robert O'Brien, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs
Dr. Robert Redfield, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health
Deputy Secretary Stephen Biegun, Department of State
Ken Cuccinelli, Acting Deputy Secretary, Department of Homeland Security
Joel Szabat, Acting Under Secretary for Policy, Department of Transportation
Matthew Pottinger, Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor
Rob Blair, Assistant to the President and Senior Advisor to the Chief of Staff
Joseph Grogan, Assistant to the President and Director of the Domestic Policy Council
Christopher Liddell, Assistant to the President and Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy Coordination
Derek Kan, Executive Associate Director, Office of Management and Budget
What we know about the coronavirus is terrifying enough, but it's even worse when we consider there are many things we still don't know about it. American must be diligent, take proper precautions, and do what we can to keep it from spreading.
American Conservative MovementJoin fellow patriots as we form a grassroots movement to advance the cause of conservatism. We have two priorities until election day: Stopping Democrats and supporting strong conservative candidates. We currently have 7500+ patriots with us in a very short time. If you are interested, please join us to receive updates.
Coronavirus: What changes now the outbreak has been declared a global health emergency?
Fri, 31 Jan 2020 10:00
Coronavirus has been declared a global health emergency after the outbreak spread from China to more than a dozen countries.
The World Health Organization's (WHO) announcement on Thursday came as the number of cases spiked more than tenfold in a week. China counted 9,692 confirmed cases with a death toll of 213, including 43 new fatalities.
WHO defines an international emergency as an ''extraordinary event'' that constitutes a risk to other countries and requires a coordinated international response.
But what will the declaration change concretely? Euronews spoke to medical and legal experts to find out.
Warning systemsDevi Sridhar, a professor of global public health at the University of Edinburgh, told Euronews that WHO's move was "quite important for a number reasons".
And one of those reasons is that it will help governments to move their warning systems up, the expert said.
For instance, in the UK, authorities raised the risk level of the coronavirus from low to moderate as a result of the WHO's declaration, Sridhar noted.
The announcement also imposes more disease reporting requirements on countries.
ResourcesA declaration of a global health emergency typically brings greater money and resources.
"My hope is that the declaration will help trigger more resources going to poor countries," Sridhar told Euronews.
China, in this regard, is not the main worry, as noted by WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
''``The main reason for this declaration is not because of what is happening in China but because of what is happening in other countries,``'' he said on Thursday.
''Our greatest concern is the potential for this virus to spread to countries with weaker health systems which are ill-prepared to deal with it.''
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has already given $10 million ('¬9 million) in aid to fight the coronavirus outbreak, not just in China but in Africa.
The question now is whether institutional donors - including the World Bank and western nations - will also put some money up.
Trade and travelBut a declaration of a global emergency may also prompt nervous governments to restrict travel and trade to affected countries.
In the wake of numerous airlines cancelling flights to China and businesses including Starbucks and McDonald's temporarily closing hundreds of shops, Tedros said WHO was not recommending limiting travel or trade to China.
``''There is no reason for measures that unnecessarily interfere with international travel and trade,'' he said.
In a written exchange with Euronews, Mark Eccleston-Turner, a lecturer in International Law at Keele University, said it was crucial that states ``"do not impose any unnecessary and potentially unlawful restrictions on trade and travel to the affected area.`"
``"Doing so, would potentially be a breach of international law, and only serves to undermine the International Health Regulations, and be counterproductive to the global response," he added.
"We need facts, no fears," Sridhar told Euronews, noting that it was essential to counter sensationalism and fake news with science.
Political will?Ultimately, experts note that WHO recommendations are non-binding and their effectiveness, therefore, relies heavily on the political will of countries.
``''Declaring a global health emergency can act as a clarion call to galvanise high-level political and financial support, but that is dependant on political will,'' Eccleston-Turner told Euronews.
``''What is crucial now, is how governments and aid agencies respond to this declaration '' WHO needs to be given the tools to bring this outbreak under control. This will certainly involve a large increase in financial assistance from member states, as well as collaborating with other UN agencies,'' the legal expert said.
But experience shows that countries can sometimes disregard WHO guidance, even in the case of a global health emergency.
During the ebola outbreak in 2014, for instance, many countries imposed travel restrictions even as the UN health body recommended not to.
Coronavirus live updates: Trump issues mandatory quarantine, declares emergency
Fri, 31 Jan 2020 15:16
This is a live blog. Please check back for updates.
All times below are in Eastern time.
3:50 pm: Trump issues mandatory quarantine, denies foreign nationals entryThe Trump administration is issuing a mandatory quarantine for U.S. citizens who've visited Hubei province in the last 14 days and denying entry to foreign nationals who "pose a risk of transmitting" the virus in the U.S., administration officials said in declaring the coronavirus a public health emergency. "Any US citizen returning to the United States who has been in the Hubei province in the previous 14 days will be subject to up to 14 days of mandatory quarantine to ensure they're provided proper medical care and health screening," Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said.
3:30 pm: White House coronavirus task force to hold news briefingThe White House is expected to address the widening outbreak of the coronavirus. The briefing will involve members of President Donald Trump's coronavirus task force, which includes national security advisor Robert O'Brien, Health Secretary Alex Azar and other leading officials. The briefing comes hours after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention quarantined 195 Americans evacuated from Wuhan, China, which has become the epicenter for the spread of the virus. Watch the live briefing here.
2:31 pm: The slow race to make a coronavirus vaccine is onU.S. and international health officials are speeding work to create a vaccine for the deadly coronavirus spreading throughout Asia, which has already outpaced the 2003 SARS epidemic and killed at least 213 people in China. Hopes to get a vaccine to market are high, but doctors want to set expectations for how quickly that can happen low. Developing, testing and reviewing any potential vaccine is a long, complex and expensive endeavor that could take months or even years, global health experts say.
1:15 pm: The CDC quarantines 195 Americans evacuated from WuhanU.S. health officials have quarantined 195 Americans evacuated from Wuhan, China, taking the rare step of issuing a mandatory order for the first time in more than 50 years to help contain an outbreak of a new coronavirus that's spread to roughly 10,000 people across the globe. "While we recognize this is an unprecedented action, we are facing an unprecedented public health threat," Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said on a conference call with reporters Friday.
11:34 am: Pentagon issues travel guidelines to troopsThe Pentagon issued guidance to U.S. troops and civilian personnel serving abroad on how to respond to the coronavirus as a growing number of countries evacuate their citizens and diplomats from parts of China. "We're aware of the concerns. The safety of our service members, civilian employees, and our citizens both here and abroad is of the utmost concern," Army Lt. Col. Dave Eastburn wrote in an emailed statement to CNBC.
10:30 am: Swedish health authority confirms first caseSweden's Public Health Agency said a woman tested positive for coronavirus and was being kept isolated at a hospital in southern Sweden, the country's first confirmed case. The woman visited Wuhan and experienced symptoms after her return to Sweden, the agency said.
10:15 am: Delta, American will suspend all China flights starting Feb. 6Delta Air Lines and American Airlines are planning to suspend their already reduced service to China as the rapid spread of coronavirus hurts demand to the country for airlines around the world. Delta said its China service suspension will begin Feb. 6 and last through April 30, but it will continue to operate the service until then to "ensure customers looking to exit China have options to do so." Dozens of carriers including United, Cathay Pacific, British Airways and others have slashed or suspended service to China because of the outbreak. Delta was the first in the U.S. to suspend service altogether.
10 am: Italy declares coronavirus emergencyItaly declared a six-month state of emergency after two Chinese tourists in the country tested positive for the coronavirus in the first cases detected in the country. The move will enable authorities to make rapid decisions if needed. Italy has already banned all flights to and from China. The two patients came from Wuhan, the epicenter of the virus, and fell ill during their trip to Italy.
7:30 am: China says confirmed cases of coronavirus climbs to nearly 10,000The number of confirmed coronavirus cases has risen to 9,782 in mainland China, according to Chinese authorities. The new cases in China bring the global total to nearly 10,000 cases with at least 213 deaths. British health officials confirmed the first two cases of the coronavirus in the U.K., less than 24 hours after the World Health Organization declared the outbreak a global emergency.
6:50 am: Singapore, Mongolia ban Chinese travelersSingapore's health ministry banned entry to all Chinese visitors and foreigners with a recent history of travel to China. The move, which effectively shuts out the island's largest group of visitors, takes effect Saturday. It is the first Southeast Asian country to implement a travel ban for China travelers to contain the outbreak. The announcement came after the U.S. State Department raised its travel advisory on Thursday for China from Level 3 to Level 4. Mongolia also said it's closing all ports of entry to and from China, giving citizens until Feb. 6 to get home.
6:46 am: Chinese movie to premiere online after virus outbreakThe film "Enter the Fat Dragon" will premiere via video streaming on Saturday, makers China iQiyi Inc said, after plans for the film's premiere in theaters were affected by the outbreak. It will be the second film to debut online because of the outbreak following Huanxi Media Group's decision to premiere "Lost in Russia" on Bytedance's online platforms.
Read CNBC's coverage from our Asia-Pacific team overnight: China says coronavirus death toll hits 213 as Britain, Russia report first cases
'-- Reuters and CNBC's Sam Meredith contributed this report.
Correction: An earlier version reported an incorrect figure for mainland China. As of 7:30 a.m. ET, 9,782 cases were reported there, bringing the worldwide total to almost 10,000.
$1M cash bond set in case of Harvard professor accused of concealing China ties
Fri, 31 Jan 2020 15:59
Harvard University Chemistry Department chairman Dr. Charles Lieber is being required to post $1 million cash bond after he was accused of lying to federal authorities about his ties to China.Lieber, 60, was arrested Tuesday, hours before U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling hosted a press conference discussing three similar, but unrelated cases in which scientists affiliated with Boston-area institutions are accused of trying to provide clandestine scientific aid to the People's Republic of China.Lieber was led into a federal courtroom Thursday afternoon with his hands cuffed behind his back. His wife was seated in the first row of the gallery. The judge required Lieber to post bond in cash and ruled that the value of his Lexington home could not be accepted because the university owns a portion of the property. Additionally, the judge required Lieber and his wife to surrender their passports. Lieber may be released from custody Thursday and in that case he would have one week to post the bond money or else be rearrested.According to a criminal complaint, Lieber did not disclose that he was being paid a salary of up to $50,000 per month and up to $158,000 per year in living expenses by China's Thousand Talents Plan and the Wuhan University of Technology. Federal investigators also determined that Lieber was awarded more than $1.5 million to establish a nanotechnology research lab at WUT."China's Thousand Talents Plan, according to the complaint (is) a Chinese government-run program designed to entice scientists and researchers in the United States to share their research expertise with China," said Lelling.Lieber is accused of making false statements about his connections to China on National Institutes of Health grant applications. Lelling said those programs required Lieber to disclose if he was working with any foreign power.''The charges brought by the U.S. government against Prof. Lieber are extremely serious. Harvard is cooperating with federal authorities, including the National Institutes of Health, and is conducting its own review of the alleged misconduct," a Harvard spokesperson said Tuesday. "Professor Lieber has been placed on indefinite administrative leave.''Lieber could face up to five years in prison if he is convicted.
BOSTON '--Harvard University Chemistry Department chairman Dr. Charles Lieber is being required to post $1 million cash bond after he was accused of lying to federal authorities about his ties to China.
Lieber, 60, was arrested Tuesday, hours before U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling hosted a press conference discussing three similar, but unrelated cases in which scientists affiliated with Boston-area institutions are accused of trying to provide clandestine scientific aid to the People's Republic of China.
Lieber was led into a federal courtroom Thursday afternoon with his hands cuffed behind his back. His wife was seated in the first row of the gallery.
The judge required Lieber to post bond in cash and ruled that the value of his Lexington home could not be accepted because the university owns a portion of the property. Additionally, the judge required Lieber and his wife to surrender their passports.
The judge is requiring Dr. Charles Lieber to post $1 million cash bond. She will not accept the value of his home in Lexington because Harvard owns a third of the house. Lieber and his wife must both surrender their passports. #WCVB
'-- Jennifer Eagan (@Jennifer_Eagan) January 30, 2020Lieber may be released from custody Thursday and in that case he would have one week to post the bond money or else be rearrested.
According to a criminal complaint, Lieber did not disclose that he was being paid a salary of up to $50,000 per month and up to $158,000 per year in living expenses by China's Thousand Talents Plan and the Wuhan University of Technology. Federal investigators also determined that Lieber was awarded more than $1.5 million to establish a nanotechnology research lab at WUT.
"China's Thousand Talents Plan, according to the complaint (is) a Chinese government-run program designed to entice scientists and researchers in the United States to share their research expertise with China," said Lelling.
Lieber is accused of making false statements about his connections to China on National Institutes of Health grant applications. Lelling said those programs required Lieber to disclose if he was working with any foreign power.
''The charges brought by the U.S. government against Prof. Lieber are extremely serious. Harvard is cooperating with federal authorities, including the National Institutes of Health, and is conducting its own review of the alleged misconduct," a Harvard spokesperson said Tuesday. "Professor Lieber has been placed on indefinite administrative leave.''
Lieber could face up to five years in prison if he is convicted.
Your Smart Vehicle is Recording Your Every Move
Fri, 31 Jan 2020 08:56
| Jan 30, 2020 at 12:27 am.Smart vehicles are monitoring drivers and there are little legal protections for consumers.
(TMU) '-- Recent reports indicate that data gathered by automakers and tech companies could be the next front in the battle over digital privacy.
In early January, companies at the CES 2020 displayed their plans for making use of the surprising amounts of data gathered by newer model vehicles. Amazon, Intel, Qualcomm, and Blackberry were among the companies seeking partnerships with automakers who are also searching for methods to monetize the data gathered by their vehicles.
Bloomberg reports that ''modern cars roll out of factories packed with cellular connections, powerful processors and growing suite of sensors, including cameras, radar and microphones. That's turning them into the next information goldmine, rivaling the data-creating capabilities of smartphones.''
Bloomberg also notes that Intel announced a new stage of its Mobileye technology which allows for driver-assistance and Intel to gather data from cameras, chips, and sensors within the vehicle. Intel says this anonymous information is used to create detailed maps to enhance vehicle navigation systems. Intel has estimated that data gathered by vehicles will be worth as much as $3.5 billion by 2030. Bloomberg reports that consulting firm McKinsey & Co. estimates that '' up to $750 billion of value would created from car-related data by 2030.''
As the financial incentive for automotive data increases more companies will seek to enter this emerging marketplace. However, there are already serious privacy concerns related to the data being gathered by the vehicles. In December 2019 the Washington Post investigated how much information is gathered by one single computer in a 2017 Chevy Volt. The Post writes:
Get the latest from The Mind Unleashed in your inbox. Sign up right here.''In the 2020 model year, most new cars sold in the United States will come with built-in Internet connections, including 100 percent of Fords, GMs and BMWs and all but one model Toyota and Volkswagen. (This independent cellular service is often included free or sold as an add-on.) Cars are becoming smartphones on wheels, sending and receiving data from apps, insurance firms and pretty much wherever their makers want. Some brands even reserve the right to use the data to track you down if you don't pay your bills.''
To determine just how much data was being collected, the Post worked with automotive technology expert Jim Mason to catch a glimpse of what vehicle manufacturers are capable of seeing. The Post and their expert learned that the vehicle was collecting a wide range of data including vehicle location and phone call records. Mason noted that any time you plug a smart phone into a vehicle the vehicle will likely copy personal data.
''Among the trove of data points were unique identifiers for my and Doug's phones, and a detailed log of phone calls from the previous week. There was a long list of contacts, right down to people's address, emails and even photos,'' the Post reported. The vehicle also collected information on ''acceleration and braking style, beaming back reports to its maker General Motors over an always-on Internet connection,'' the Post added. ''Coming next: face data, used to personalize the vehicle and track driver attention.''
Chevrolet does not currently have a policy of informing drivers about the data being recorded and the owner's manual does not mention data collection. A spokesman for Chevrolet owner General Motors declined to offer specific details on data collection. However, the spokesman did note that data gathered by GM falls into three categories: vehicle location, vehicle performance, and driver behavior.
Unsurprisingly, the Post notes that with the coming 5G cellular network that promises to link cars to the internet, wireless connections will get cheaper, data more valuable, and ''anything the car knows about you is fair game.''
Data collection by smart vehicles is only one of a myriad of privacy concerns related to the coming 5G Smart Grid where cities, vehicles, phones, streetlights, and clothes are fitted with sensors as part of the Internet of Things. It's important to become educated about the threats posed by these emerging ''smart devices.''
Only by actively fighting for and defending privacy can we hope to maintain any semblance of it.
By Derrick Broze | Creative Commons | TheMindUnleashed.com
TRENDING NOW:STAY INFORMED: GOING VIRAL:
Google Docs went down and everyone panicked
Mon, 27 Jan 2020 14:42
Welp, hope you weren't planning on getting work done today.
Google Drive, Docs, Sheets, and Slides all briefly went down Monday due to an unknown issue, which appeared to affect both the consumer and business versions of Google's productivity apps.
The source of the issue wasn't immediately clear. A Google spokesperson referred to the company's G Suite Dashboard, which indicated Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Classroom were all experiencing a "service disruption" as of 10:30 a.m. PT.
"We're investigating reports of an issue with Google Docs," the site says. "We will provide more information shortly. The affected users are unable to access Google Docs."
By 10:46 a.m. PT, the dashboard was updated to say that the issue "should be resolved," and that "system reliability is a top priority at Google."
While Google's productivity apps didn't seem to be universally down '-- some users reported that the apps were still functioning during the reported down time '-- the outage seemed to be widespread. An outage map on downdetector.com, which tracks service disruptions, showed that much of the U.S. experienced issues. (Disclaimer: Downdetector.com is owned by ZiffDavis, which also owns Mashable.)
Meanwhile, on Twitter, frustrated office workers were doing what they do best in these situations, as Google Docs and Google Drive quickly started to trend.
Ring Doorbell App Packed with Third-Party Trackers | Electronic Frontier Foundation
Tue, 28 Jan 2020 18:27
Ring isn't just a product that allows users to surveil their neighbors. The company also uses it to surveil its customers.
An investigation by EFF of the Ring doorbell app for Android found it to be packed with third-party trackers sending out a plethora of customers' personally identifiable information (PII). Four main analytics and marketing companies were discovered to be receiving information such as the names, private IP addresses, mobile network carriers, persistent identifiers, and sensor data on the devices of paying customers.
The danger in sending even small bits of information is that analytics and tracking companies are able to combine these bits together to form a unique picture of the user's device. This cohesive whole represents a fingerprint that follows the user as they interact with other apps and use their device, in essence providing trackers the ability to spy on what a user is doing in their digital lives and when they are doing it. All this takes place without meaningful user notification or consent and, in most cases, no way to mitigate the damage done. Even when this information is not misused and employed for precisely its stated purpose (in most cases marketing), this can lead to a whole host of social ills .
Ring has exhibited a pattern of behavior that attempts to mitigate exposure to criticism and scrutiny while benefiting from the wide array of customer data available to them. It has been able to do so by leveraging an image of the secure home, while profiting from a surveillance network which facilitates police departments' unprecedented access into the private lives of citizens, as we have previously covered . For consumers, this image has cultivated a sense of trust in Ring that should be shaken by the reality of how the app functions: not only does Ring mismanage consumer data, but it also intentionally hands over that data to trackers and data miners.
Our testing, using Ring for Android version 3.21.1, revealed PII delivery to branch.io, mixpanel.com, appsflyer.com and facebook.com. Facebook, via its Graph API , is alerted when the app is opened and upon device actions such as app deactivation after screen lock due to inactivity. Information delivered to Facebook (even if you don't have a Facebook account) includes time zone, device model, language preferences, screen resolution, and a unique identifier (anon_id), which persists even when you reset the OS-level advertiser ID.
Branch, which describes itself as a ''deep linking'' platform, receives a number of unique identifiers (device_fingerprint_id, hardware_id, identity_id) as well as your device's local IP address, model, screen resolution, and DPI.
AppsFlyer , a big data company focused on the mobile platform, is given a wide array of information upon app launch as well as certain user actions, such as interacting with the ''Neighbors'' section of the app. This information includes your mobile carrier, when Ring was installed and first launched, a number of unique identifiers, the app you installed from, and whether AppsFlyer tracking came preinstalled on the device. This last bit of information is presumably to determine whether AppsFlyer tracking was included as bloatware on a low-end Android device. Manufacturers often offset the costs of device production by selling consumer data, a practice that disproportionately affects low-income earners and was the subject of a recent petition to Google initiated by Privacy International and co-signed by EFF.
Most alarmingly, AppsFlyer also receives the sensors installed on your device (on our test device, this included the magnetometer, gyroscope, and accelerometer) and current calibration settings.
Ring gives MixPanel the most information by far. Users' full names, email addresses, device information such as OS version and model, whether bluetooth is enabled, and app settings such as the number of locations a user has Ring devices installed in, are all collected and reported to MixPanel. MixPanel is briefly mentioned in Ring's list of third party services , but the extent of their data collection is not. None of the other trackers listed in this post are mentioned at all on this page.
Ring also sends information to the Google-owned crash logging service Crashalytics . The exact extent of data sharing with this service is yet to be determined.
Data delivered to api.branch.io
Data delivered to api.mixpanel.com
Data delivered to graph.facebook.com
Data delivered to t.appsflyer.com
All traffic we observed on the app was being sent using encrypted HTTPS. What's more, the encrypted information was delivered in a way that eludes analysis, making it more difficult (but not impossible) for security researchers to learn of and report these serious privacy breaches.
Our dynamic analysis was performed using mitmproxy running on an access point to intercept and analyze HTTPS flows from an Android test device. To remove noise generated from other apps, we installed the AFWall+ firewall app and only allowed network traffic from Ring. mitmproxy generates a root x509 certificate which is to be installed in the OS-level certificate store in Android, allowing active interception to take place on otherwise secured traffic. This led us to the initial discovery that the root certificate was not being accepted as valid, and that some form of certificate pinning was being employed by the app.
App-level certificate pinning is when an app validates the certificates of a remote server against a record of that certificate stored within the app, rather than validating against the list of root certificates within the OS. This is often used as a security measure, to ensure that misissuance of certificates or mismanagement along the chain of trust in PKI does not compromise the integrity, confidentiality, or authenticity of HTTPS traffic. Unfortunately, it can also prevent security researchers and users from seeing exactly what information these devices are sending, and to whom. In the case of Ring, we initially observed all intercepted traffic upon launch being rejected, and were not able to observe any communications.
mitmproxy screen displaying results of certificate pinning
It was only through the powerful dynamic analysis framework Frida that we were able to inject code into Ring at runtime, which ensured that the certificate provided by our mitmproxy instance would be accepted as valid. This allowed us to inspect all HTTPS traffic sent through the app.
Ring claims to prioritize the security and privacy of its customers, yet time and again we've seen these claims not only fall short, but harm the customers and community members who engage with Ring's surveillance system. In the past, we've illuminated the mismanagement of user information which has led to data breaches, and the attempt to place the blame for such blunders at the customers' feet.
This goes a step beyond that, by simply delivering sensitive data to third parties not accountable to Ring or bound by the trust placed in the customer-vendor relationship. As we've mentioned, this includes information about your device and carrier, unique identifiers that allow these companies to track you across apps, real-time interaction data with the app, and information about your home network. In the case of MixPanel, it even includes your name and email address. This data is given to parties either only mentioned briefly, buried on an internal page users are unlikely to ever see, or not listed at all.
mitmproxy flow files:
Ring app is handing over user data to Facebook, Google and other third-parties, report finds | Daily Mail Online
Tue, 28 Jan 2020 18:26
Amazon's Ring is under fire yet again.
Security experts discovered that the Android app is sending customers' personally identifiable information to Facebook, Google and other third-parties without permission.
The names, private IP addresses, mobile network carriers, persistent identifiers and sensor data were discovered in the exchange.
The report also found that some Ring users whose identify was shared with Facebook do not have an account with the social media network.
The findings were uncovered by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a non-profit organizations that defends civil liberties in the digital world, which noted the information was encrypted in a way that it would go undetected by security researchers.
Scroll down for video
Ring's Android app was found to be 'packed' with third-party tracking, which it uses to send customers' personally identifiable information to Facebook, Google and other third-parties
While examining Ring's updated Android app, the organization discovered four unlisted trackers lurking in the shadows that were sending user data back and forth to websites including branch.io, mixpanel.com, appsflyer.com and facebook.com.
Ring also sends information to the Google-owned crash logging service.
'All traffic we observed on the app was being sent using encrypted HTTPS,' EFF shared in the report.
'What's more, the encrypted information was delivered in a way that eludes analysis, making it more difficult (but not impossible) for security researchers to learn of and report these serious privacy breaches.'
'The service providers that administer these services use automated technologies to collect data (such as email and IP addresses) to evaluate use of our websites and mobile apps,' it reads.
However, the company behind the device also notes that it will identify which third-party services specifically are used by the company.
While examining Ring's updated Android app, the organization discovered four unlisted trackers lurking in the shadows that were sending user data back and forth to websites including branch.io, mixpanel.com, appsflyer.com and facebook.com. Ring also sends information to the Google-owned crash logging service
Out of the companies being fed data only MixPanel is mentioned in Ring's privacy notice, along with Google Analytics, HotJar and Optimizely. '' but does not include Facebook.
'The danger in sending even small bits of information is that analytics and tracking companies are able to combine these bits together to form a unique picture of the user's device,' EFF said.
According to Gizmodo, a ring spokerperson told them that 'that Ring takes steps to ensure its service providers' use of customer data is 'contractually limited to appropriate purposes such as performing these services on our behalf and not for other purposes.'
However, EFF is not sold on these claims.
'Ring claims to prioritize the security and privacy of its customers, yet time and again we've seen these claims not only fall short, but harm the customers and community members who engage with Ring's surveillance system,' it wrote in the report.
'As we've mentioned, this includes information about your device and carrier, unique identifiers that allow these companies to track you across apps, real-time interaction data with the app, and information about your home network.'
'In the case of MixPanel, it even includes your name and email address. This data is given to parties either only mentioned briefly, buried on an internal page users are unlikely to ever see, or not listed at all.'
Ring and Amazon found themselves in hot water last December when they were hit with a lawsuit, accusing them of failing to protect their customers from hackers.
The complaint, filed in US District Court for the Central District of California on Thursday, claims that Ring and Jeff Bezos' Amazon, which bought the company last year, were negligent by not putting in place 'robust' security measures.
According to the lawsuit, first reported by TMZ, there have been at least six other instances involving Ring security systems getting hacked across the US in recent years.
WHAT IS RING AND WHY DID AMAZON BUY IT?Amazon acquired home security startup Ring for a reported £700 million ($1 billion).
The home security startup sells doorbells that capture video and audio.
Clips can be streamed on smartphones and other devices, while the doorbell even allows homeowners to remotely chat to those standing at their door.
Ring sells doorbells (left) that capture video and audio. Clips can be streamed on smartphones and other devices, while the doorbell even allows homeowners to remotely chat to those standing at their door
Ring promotes its gadgets as a way to catch package thieves, a nuisance that Amazon has been looking to remedy.
Amazon late last year unveiled its own smart lock and camera combination called Amazon Key in a move into home security.
Key is designed to provide a secure and trackable way for packages to be delivered inside homes when people aren't there.
Amazon has bought home security startup Ring for a reported £700 million ($1 billion)
Ring's doorbell could work well with Amazon Key, which lets delivery personnel put packages inside a home to avoid theft or, in the case of fresh food, spoiling.
California-based Ring first caught the spotlight with a failed quest for funding about five years ago on reality television show Shark Tank.
Ring went on to win backing from the likes of billionaire Richard Branson and Amazon's Alexa Fund.
Amazon engineer says Ring should be 'shut down immediately' - Business Insider
Tue, 28 Jan 2020 15:44
An Amazon software engineer named Max Eliaser said the home-security company Ring should be "shut down immediately.""The privacy issues are not fixable with regulation and there is no balance that can be struck," Eliaser said.Eliaser's comments were part of a post in which hundreds of Amazon employees shared their views on various company policies and products.Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.An Amazon engineer criticized the home-security camera company Ring, saying it should be "shut down immediately."
"The deployment of connected home security cameras that allow footage to be queried centrally are simply not compatible with a free society," Max Eliaser, an Amazon software-development engineer, said in a post published on Medium on Sunday. "The privacy issues are not fixable with regulation and there is no balance that can be struck. Ring should be shut down immediately and not brought back."
Eliaser's comments are striking because Ring is owned by Amazon, whose corporate employees rarely speak out against the company. (Amazon bars employees from speaking about the company without prior approval.)
Amazon and Ring did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Amazon acquired Ring, which makes video doorbells and home security cameras, in 2018. The camera company has recently faced scrutiny over privacy issues, mostly around its agreements with law-enforcement agencies and problems with hackers accessing the devices.
Some of Ring's own employees have also abused access to customer feeds, the company told lawmakers recently.
The Medium post quoting Eliaser included critical comments from hundreds of Amazon employees about various Amazon policies and products. It was published Sunday by the advocacy group Amazon Employees for Climate Justice and meant to protest the company's external-communications policy.
Health-Records Company Pushed Opioids to Doctors in Secret Deal With Drugmaker
Thu, 30 Jan 2020 06:19
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Health-Records Company Pushed Opioids to Doctors in Secret Deal - Bloomberg
Thu, 30 Jan 2020 06:18
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Placer.ai raises $12 million to keep tabs on foot traffic in real time | VentureBeat
Mon, 27 Jan 2020 11:34
Measuring foot traffic in real time is the pursuit of countless businesses seeking greater insight into buyer behavior. Startups like PlaceIQ, Factual, GroundTruth, Skyhook, and others have risen up to meet the need '-- they occupy a market that's estimated to be worth $22.8 billion by 2024. A somewhat newer entrant is Placer.ai, which was cofounded in 2016 by Noam Ben-Zvi, Oded Fossfeld, Ofir Lemel, and Zohar Bar-Yehuda. It might not rival location data giants like FourSquare and ThinkNear, but it managed to nab $12 million this week in a funding round led by BV Capital with participation from Aleph, Reciprocal Ventures, OCA Ventures, existing investors, and an undisclosed group of new strategic investors.
According to CEO Ben-Zvi, the fresh capital '-- which brings Tel Aviv- and Los Altos, California-based Placer's total raised to over $16 million '-- will bolster operations and product development. ''Placer lifts the fog and empowers all professionals with actionable insights into any location, enabling better, faster decisions,'' he said in a statement. ''This results in smarter growth, more sustainable businesses, and allows newer players to enter the market.''
Placer's eponymous platform provides foot traffic counts and dwell times, as well as ''true trade areas'' '-- where people live and work '-- drawn from well over 100 popular third-party smartphone apps. Its customers, which include JLL, Regency, SRS, Brixmor, Verizon, and Caesars Entertainment, can filter by time or day of the week, and segment to pinpoint folks of a certain gender or income level. Alternatively, courtesy of AI and machine learning algorithms, they can benchmark their businesses' performance against that of competitors and conduct analyses to reveal emerging brands and trends by category and region.
Above: Canvassing trade areas in Placer.ai.
Image Credit: Placer.ai
Using Placer's API, developers can build dashboards with industry-specific visualizations or feed Placer's data into existing apps and services. Its location data set supports the creation of any number of reports, such as chain and store performance and visitor demographics, and it can be used to identify trends and build predictive models.
The platform's scope and granularity is admittedly disquieting '-- Placer says it can track the movements of over 60% and 40% of of Android and iOS users in the U.S., respectively '-- but the company claims it's committed to keeping personal information away from prying eyes. To this end, every app partner it works with must obtain consent to gather location data, and Placer says it never collects personally identifiable information or attempts to re-identify users.
Above: The portfolio view provided by Placer.ai.
Image Credit: Placer.ai
''Placer's rapid growth has been amazing to witness,'' said JBV Capital general partner Jeffrey Bazar. ''Noam and his team have done a remarkable job simplifying and standardizing how companies of all sizes support these business-critical use cases. As a result, they have built the new clear software leader in the industry, which represents an incredibly large market that can't adopt Placer's solution fast enough.''
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Police are about to deploy 'privacy destroying' facial recognition cameras across London | ZDNet
Mon, 27 Jan 2020 08:43
Facial recognition tech needs immediate regulation, says privacy watchdog UK's Information Commissioner's Office challenges the interpretation of a court ruling that gave the green light for using facial recognition on the public. Facial recognition cameras are set to be deployed across London for the first time, the Metropolitan Police has announced.
The roll out of the live facial recognition technology is expected to begin within a month and is designed to help the police tackle serious crime by locating and arresting wanted suspects '' but privacy groups have already criticised the decision.
The technology will be deployed in what's described as 'intelligence-led' specific locations around London and will be used to scan the faces of people passing through the area, with the aim of identifying wanted individuals.
"This is an important development for the Met and one which is vital in assisting us in bearing down on violence. As a modern police force, I believe that we have a duty to use new technologies to keep people safe in London," said Metropolitan Police assistant commissioner Nick Ephgrave.
SEE: Cybersecurity in an IoT and mobile world (ZDNet special report) | Download the report as a PDF (TechRepublic)
The Met Police say that the cameras will be focused on small, targeted areas and will be clearly signposted to members of the general public. The force also says that the technology will be separate to other imaging systems such as CCTV and cameras worn by police officers.
However, the decision to roll out facial recognition technology across London has not been welcomed by privacy and civil liberties groups.
"This is a dangerous, oppressive and completely unjustified move by the Met. Facial recognition technology gives the state unprecedented power to track and monitor any one of us, destroying our privacy and our free expression," said Clare Collier, advocacy director at human rights advocacy group Liberty.
"Rolling out a mass surveillance tool that has been rejected by democracies and embraced by oppressive regimes is a dangerous and sinister step. It pushes us towards a surveillance state in which our freedom to live our lives free from state interference no longer exists," she added.
"This decision represents an enormous expansion of the surveillance state and a serious threat to civil liberties in the UK," said Silkie Carlo, director of Big Brother Watch, a privacy campaign group.
"This move instantly stains the new Government's human rights record and we urge an immediate reconsideration," she added.
SEE: How surveillance changes us
Prior to the technology being rolled out, the Met says it will engaging with communities at a local level.
"We all want to live and work in a city which is safe: the public rightly expect us to use widely available technology to stop criminals," said Ephgrave."Equally I have to be sure that we have the right safeguards and transparency in place to ensure that we protect people's privacy and human rights. I believe our careful and considered deployment of live facial recognition strikes that balance," he concluded.
The deployment in London follows trials of facial recognition across the UK, with one of the most recent by South Wales Police in Cardiff on the day of Cardiff City v Swansea City football derby.
Just last week, the European Union suggested it could ban facial recognition technology in public spaces.
MORE ON PRIVACYFacial recognition could be most invasive policing technology ever, warns watchdogFacial recognition: Convenient or creepy?UK watchdog to investigate King's Cross facial recognition tech used to spy on public
UK police stars using facial recognition tech to catch criminals, prompting mass surveillance fears - Business Insider
Tue, 28 Jan 2020 08:54
UK police will now use facial recognition technology to scan the faces of passersby on the street to see if they are criminals.London's Metropolitan Police said on Friday that it would deploy standalone facial recognition cameras through parts of the capital to tackle knife and gun violence, terrorism, and other major crimes.The force said the cameras would be signposted, and officers close by would hand out leaflets about the system. Civil liberties campaign group Big Brother Watch vowed to fight the implementation of facial recognition and slammed it as "an enormous expansion of the surveillance state and a serious threat to civil liberties in the UK."Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.The UK's largest police force will use facial recognition cameras to scan the faces of passersby to see if they are criminals, in a move that critics slammed as a massive expansion of surveillance.
In a statement on its website published Friday, London's Metropolitan Police said the system would involve using cameras to focus on "a small, targeted area to scan passers-by."
The force said cameras would be signposted, and offices involved in the operation would hand out leaflets about the activity.
The Metropolitan Police hasn't specified where in London the technology will go live, but said it would place cameras in areas where it could locate "serious offenders."
The goal is to tackle serious crime, including serious violence, gun and knife crime, child sexual exploitation. It's also intended to help with the protection of vulnerable people.
But the rollout of the technology, which is being supplied by Japanese technology firm NEC, is likely to prompt serious concerns about government surveillance and civil liberties.
Police constables Ben Sinclair and Karen Spencer pose for a photograph wearing their Metropolitan Police beat uniforms, in London, October 9, 2014. Paul Hackett/Reuters
When UK police previously trialled facial recognition tech, they fined people for covering their facesWhen the Metropolitan Police first trialled facial recognition technology in January 2019, a man was reported as having been controversially fined £90 ($117) after refusing to show his face.
However, a Met Police spokesman told Business Insider that the man was not fined for refusing to show his face, but was fined for "disorder" caused at the scene.
The spokesman also confirmed that people who refuse to show their faces in areas where the tech is in operation will not be fined for doing so.
Civil liberties campaign groups have reacted angrily to the Met's decision, however.
Silkie Carlo, director of civil liberties campaign group Big Brother Watch, told Business Insider: "This decision represents an enormous expansion of the surveillance state and a serious threat to civil liberties in the UK."
She added that the Met police's earlier trial was "81% inaccurate", citing findings by an independent report.
She added: "This is a breath-taking assault on our rights and we will challenge it including by urgently considering next steps in our ongoing legal claim against the Met and the Home Secretary.
"This move instantly stains the new Government's human rights record and we urge an immediate reconsideration."
Speaking about the decision, the Met's assistant commissioner Nick Ephgrave, said: "This is an important development for the Met and one which is vital in assisting us in bearing down on violence. As a modern police force, I believe that we have a duty to use new technologies to keep people safe in London."
Amazon Employees Share Our Views on Company Business
Tue, 28 Jan 2020 15:42
363 Amazon employees gave one or more quotes below. For more context, click here.
''Amazon participates in the global economy, where it has a substantial impact on many issues. Expecting its employees to maintain silence on these issues, and Amazon's impact on them, is really a reprehensible overreach, and I am proud to take this opportunity to demonstrate my unwillingness to comply. I was heartened to hear about Amazon's commitment to invest in an electric delivery fleet and can't see the harm in saying so. I can't support a policy that would silence commentary, both pro and anti.''
'-- Michael Sokolov, Principal Engineer
''As an industry leader, Amazon is in a unique position to effect change in technology, transportation and other areas. I'm proud to work for a company that co-founded the Climate Pledge, indeed aggressive actions by industry leaders is one of our best hopes for mitigating the impacts of climate change in time to make a difference. I beseech our leadership to continue on this path, and to react with compassion to the myriad reactions to this existential crisis, including the strong emotions it evokes.''
'-- Bradley Music, Principal Product Manager
''The science on climate change is clear. It is unconscionable for Amazon to continue helping the oil and gas industry extract fossil fuels while trying to silence employees who speak out.''
'-- Amelia Graham-McCann, Senior Business Analyst
''Every day at Amazon I work with incredible people on great projects, but I am weighed down by the knowledge that Amazon partners with the oil and gas industry despite its Climate Pledge. We must be climate leaders, not delayers.''
'-- Justin Wang, SDE II
''The most customer-centric thing we can do is to be a force for social and climate justice. Amazon already knows we are nothing without our customers '-- let's do all we can to ensure there will still be people around to be our customers in 10, 20, 50, and 100 years.''
'-- Brian Colella, Copy Editor
''We live in a time of record breaking temperatures, scorching fires ravaging my home state of California, as well as the whole continent of Australia. The demolition of entire animal species, on such a mind-boggling scale, is what keeps me up at night. We cannot rely solely on consumers making the requisite changes '-- companies across the globe must lead the charge. I'm proud of my work at Amazon, and I know that we have the ability to affect great change. Let's commit to fixing our mess. Hell, if Microsoft can do it (go carbon negative), why can't we?''
'-- Austin Dworaczyk Wiltshire, Senior Software Development Engineer
''AWS Oil and Gas contracts jeopardize the objective of Amazon's own Climate Pledge, which requires companies to commit to reaching Paris Agreement goals 10 years early. The Paris Agreement established a global carbon budget that allows for burning less than one fifth of current oil and gas reserves. If AWS continues to help fossil fuel companies, like BP and Shell, discover and extract fossil fuel, it will guarantee we will NEVER meet the Paris Agreement, let alone ahead of schedule.''
'-- Justin Campbell, Data Engineer
''Amazon's main principle is Customer Obsession, it is time to broaden it and get obsessed with Humanity. Collaborating all together we can save our Planet. With great power comes great responsibility '-- Amazon should make drastic changes in the way it operates, shift company goals and values to be an example for other corporations. Amazon's order of 100,000 electric vans is the right move for our supply chain's future and is also a step in the right direction that sends a signal to the market to help the transition to clean technology. Well done! At the same time, Amazon should end its contracts with oil and gas companies. Our AI and ML are being used for 'finding oil,' 'producing oil,' and 'optimizing production' (source: AWS Oil & Gas public website).''
'-- Mila Rahman, DSP Payments Lead
''The only reason these workers have been singled out for violating communication policies is for speaking truth to power. It is vital for us as Amazon employees to not be intimidated by this action, and to continue pushing and speaking out against the problems in society that our company exacerbates. Contributing to climate change, supporting ICE, and brutal labor conditions in the warehouses are great for the bottom line but awful for society. And we cannot remain silent on these issues.''
'-- Jacob Hinton, Software Engineer
''Amazon has an opportunity to be a leader and use the skills and influence we have all worked to build to help create a livable climate both now and into the future. Climate policies should center the needs and dignity of all of the communities we work in and be based on pragmatic risk modeling and the best recommendations of scientists. I don't think this is controversial. It is wrong to use company policy to muzzle leaders who are proactively asking us to meet the necessary standard for our customers and planet.''
'-- Kevin Imrie, Lead Recruiter
''We have a responsibility to protect our climate and future generations, and this includes looking back critically on our contributions to the Climate Crisis. One of our leadership principles is to insist on the highest standards, and there is no reason why we should not apply this to how we treat our planet and our children.''
'-- Griffin Ham, Account Manager
''Amazon's shipment zero goal to deliver half of all packages net zero by 2030 is not consistent with the IPCC SR15 report which sets out the need for a 45% reduction in absolute emissions by 2030 to limit warming to 1.5C.''
'-- Martin Robertson, Senior Software Engineer
''Being a leader in technology has always been a staple of what makes Amazon a great company. Setting the precedent for appropriate action toward climate change can be one of the biggest early footprints for an entire world to change. If there was any company that could do it better than anyone, it is Amazon.''
'-- Nick Caskey, IT Support Tech
''Microsoft plans to be carbon negative (by 2030) sooner than we want to be carbon neutral (by 2040). How can Amazon claim to be ''thinking big''?''
'-- Duncan Scott, Software Engineer
''Amazon should internally look into policies that generates tons of garbage. The office is filled with disposable cheap plastic stuffs may it be cutlery, stationary or kitchen items. I believe we as a large organization have a moral responsibility and every employee plays a part in keeping our world and oceans clean.''
'-- Narasimha G, Manager, Quality Assurance
''I believe that we need to take immediate action to address climate change. Climate change threatens the livelihoods of not just the people we interact with daily, but many individuals across the world. We need to shift our mindsets and pivot towards creating a safe and sustainable future '-- future generations shouldn't have to carry the burden from the mistakes of today.''
'-- Samir Rahman, SDE
''If Amazon really wants to put the customer first, they'll obsess over saving the planet and reducing their carbon footprint, and take ownership as the global leader they are, putting pressure on other corporations to do likewise. We need to insist on the highest standards for this. Anything less is thinking small, a Day 2 mindset, poor earns trust, and willfully ignoring data.''
'-- William Schrag, SDE I
''Jeff Bezos said ''The outside world can push you into Day 2 if you won't or can't embrace powerful trends quickly. If you fight them, you're probably fighting the future.'' So why is Amazon is actively fighting the future by prioritizing profits from accelerating oil and gas production over embracing the powerful trend that is human caused climate change?''
'-- David Mick, Program Manager
''Amazon has the scale to be a bold leader in the move toward clean energy, or a significant contributor to climate change. We know we'll have to deal with this eventually, so why wait?''
'-- Amanda Seyfer, Software Development Engineer
''Companies across the world follow standards set by Amazon. We have done a great job of blazing the trail on customer obsession and we now have a unique opportunity to lead the world and set a high standard on taking care of all our employees, and the environment that our customers, employees, and partners live in.''
'-- Dharmik Mehta, Sr. Program Manager
''I think it is dangerous for any company of any size to silence the words of the employees who are looking for the welfare of everyone.''
'-- Vivek Koppuru, Software Development Engineer
''Amazon's outsized impact on the world requires an outsized commitment to our community, and we're not living up to that responsibility. When we attempt to dismiss, discredit, or silence people who ask us to do better '-- workers who have been injured keeping up with fulfillment center quotas, independent researchers who have called out bias in our facial recognition software, open source developers who have expressed concerns about AWS's impact on the tech community, or engineers and designers who have spoken out to push Amazon to increase its commitment to addressing the climate crisis '-- we blow opportunities to earn trust with our customers and cut ourselves off from valuable, actionable feedback. In defending the indefensible to our employees '-- our contracts with Palantir, our marketing outreach to government agencies who let children die of preventable diseases in for-profit detention centers, our lobbying and PAC contributions to climate-denying, anti-LGBT, anti-refugee politicians whose agendas fundamentally contradict the values we claim to uphold as a company '-- we show that we're only interested in ''diverse perspectives'' when they don't threaten our bottom line. I love my job, and I want to be as proud to work at Amazon the company as I am to work with the dedicated, thoughtful, and creative people I interact with every day, but being ''Earth's Most Customer-Centric Company'' isn't all that special if ''customers'' is just a euphemism for shareholders. Let's be leaders instead of digging in our heels in the name of business as usual.''
'-- Cate Nestor, Senior Software Engineer
''If it's really Day One, then Amazon needs to step up and lead. Corporate social responsibility isn't a window-dressing silo '-- it's a way of doing business. No more collaborating with ICE or with oil and gas. No more abusing warehouse employees with inhumane quotas. Amazon is in a position to turn the tide, and the time is now. Let's make history.''
'-- Hilda Marshall, Data Linguist
''I am thankful Amazon is committed to net-zero emissions by 2040, but we simply do not have the time. For a company like Amazon, we need to be net-zero by 2030 at the latest. Amazon needs to be willing to follow its core principles and take ownership; by cutting ties with big oil we can show that we truly are committed to the future and not short term profits. You simply cannot be for the earth and still be turning a profit from fossil fuel.''
'-- Amanda King, Queue Management Analyst
''Amazon should work towards reduction of its packaging footprint across all services.''
'-- Juan Garca, Software Development Engineer
''Amazon should end punitive PTO, benefits, and wage policies tied to an employee level system designed to define lower and elite classes of workers and what accommodations, pay, and livelihoods a trillion dollar company believes they deserve. 750,000 workers deserve a democratic voice; power given to them not determined by some made-up ''level''.''
'-- Ben Karpelman, Technical Customer Service Specialist (UnAuth)
''Amazon can be great even while it is not harming the environment. The organization's attempts to be Eco friendly is what is making it better than it was. At this point it should not turn a blind eye to practices that are harming the environment. Flaws are not be covered, but to be acknowledged and improved upon.''
'-- Harveer Kaur, TS-II
''The deployment of connected home security cameras that allow footage to be queried centrally are simply not compatible with a free society. The privacy issues are not fixable with regulation and there is no balance that can be struck. Ring should be shut down immediately and not brought back.''
'-- Max Eliaser, SDE II
''There is no better way to innovate on behalf of our customers than protecting our planet.''
'-- Pablo Ganga, Software Development Manager
''True long term thinking is considering what will happen fifty to one hundred years from now, not a year or two in the future. Amazon and AWS are failing at truly thinking long term by refusing to do the right thing and continuing to aid industry in destroying the planet for short term profits. AWS may not be able to, nor should they, police every line of code that's run on their hardware, but at the very least, they can stop pursuing and providing advantages to companies that profit from worsening climate change or violating human rights.''
'-- Eric Lobdell, AWS Customer Service
''Leadership needs to ''think bigger'' than next quarter's stock price and instead focus on the future of our planet. Just stop with the big oil stuff.''
'-- Lukas Hruska, Software Development Engineer
''Here's the thing: At Amazon, we talk incessantly about delighting customers and working backwards from the customer. This is a lovely idea, if taken holistically. But currently we assume every customer cares only about getting one-day delivery, regardless of the ripple effects. This is simply not reality. There is a large, money-spending demographic of customers world-wide in search of responsible companies who don't sacrifice people (and planets) for profits. In not being that company, despite huge profit margins, Amazon is not only not raising the bar, we are catering to the lowest common denominator. And there will be '-- already are '-- consequences, faced by the most vulnerable. While I understand that overall change happens slowly, Amazon is capable of moving fast. I appreciate the Climate Pledge and the promise of a more fuel-efficient fleet, but more needs to be done. A lot more. History is watching.''
'-- JR Maxwell, Program Specialist
''The international scientific community agrees that the climate crisis is an existential one for human civilization: it implicates us all, not only as tech employees, but as citizens and human beings. Amazon's order of 100,000 electric vans is the right move for our supply chain's future and is also a step in the right direction that sends a signal to the market to help the transition to clean technology. Well done! But more needs to be done. Amazon's climate initiatives should prioritize the well being of vulnerable communities who are disproportionately killed and harmed by the climate crisis: Indigenous people, communities of color, and those in the Global South. Amazon's supply chain should not be built at the expense of warehouse workers who work at a pace that causes higher-than-industry-average injury rates. It's not humane to have people scared to go to the bathroom. Amazon should end our contracts with oil and gas companies. Our AI and machine learning are being used for 'finding oil,' 'producing oil,' and 'optimizing production''' (source: AWS Oil & Gas public website). I disagree with AWS enabling Palantir and ICE to surveil and separate children from their parents at the border.''
'-- Rachel Babin, Sr. Product Marketing Manager, Alexa Voice Services
''Amazon, the Earth is our only home. Spend more money on fighting Climate Change than on space exploration!''
'-- Virginie Muzereau, Data Linguist
''I believe Amazon's policy prohibiting employees from discussing known aspects of Amazon's business policies does not align with the company's internal values which encourage constructive criticism. The same process that helps employees and our products improve should apply to the company overall. As a customer of any business I will always have more faith in a company that permits and encourages public debate on how it can do things better.''
'-- I±aki Serraller Vizcaino, Software Development Engineer
''I'm encouraged by our commitment to reducing our carbon footprint and confident that Amazon will exceed our 2040 carbon neutrality goal. Still, there are thousands of Amazonians who believe that we can and should do more. I'm disappointed that Amazon is responding by attempting to prohibit the discussion of public company information.''
'-- Kevin Albert, Software Development Engineer
''Amazon has a huge amount of power in the world today. This can be abused or treated with great responsibility. I want to be proud to work for Amazon, not ashamed. Amazon should be leading the fight in climate change and taking goals on it even more aggressively than for the otherwise biggest initiatives. That would make me proud to work at Amazon.''
'-- Craig Maas, Software Development Manager
''Since its inception, Amazon has been dedicated to raising the bar. Let's become leaders in fighting climate change.''
'-- Emma Ramos, Product Marketing Manager
''I am proud to work for a company as innovative and far-reaching as Amazon. I think we should be more innovative and reach further if we want to be a force for good, especially when it comes to the many threats of climate change, some of which we're already seeing, and the worst may be yet to come. I won't see the worst of it. You won't. Company leadership won't. But future generations will. It's for them that we must act.''
'-- Ben Hanowell, Data Scientist
''Amazon announced a pledge to increase climate transparency, yet is taking action to silence their own employees who wish to hold them accountable to their commitments and actions.''
'-- Brianna Harvey, Program Manager
''I'm a proud Amazonian, surrounded by great talent and game-changing technology. It's fun to see the impact we have as a global company, shaping entire industries as well as ways people live. As a nature-lover and human with a ''green'' heart, I applauded Jeff when he announced Amazon's Climate Pledge in September 2019, even though I felt we would be able to stretch the Pledge for an even higher impact. Now, the real pioneer moment went to Microsoft when they announced their plan to go carbon negative by 2030, capturing ALL carbon from the air they released EVER and putting it back into the ground where it belongs. I´m applauding this announcement even more and I hope Bill Gates scratched Jeff´s competition-nerve. I'd love to see Amazon to respond with something even bigger and more effective. I truly believe Amazon has the right talent on board to lead the way into a livable green future for other Tech Companies to follow, and for the sake of effectively combating Climate Change, I hope we will be great pioneers once more.''
'-- Annett Stapf, Escalation Program Manager
''I believe that Amazon can find the strength and courage to do what's right for our children.''
'-- Michael Muldoon, Software Development Engineer
''Amazon's Leadership Principles state: ''Leaders are obligated to respectfully challenge decisions when they disagree, even when doing so is uncomfortable or exhausting. Leaders have conviction and are tenacious. They do not compromise for the sake of social cohesion.'' I support my fellow Amazonians who are fighting for their convictions. I too believe Amazon has the responsibility to do better for our workers, the environment, and refugees trapped in America's concentration camps.''
'-- Brian Laframboise, Senior Software Development Engineer
''Censoring employees is no better than any Orwellian or Huxleyan future we've seen in the books. How can we truly encourage people to grow if we don't allow them to speak out? How can we truly be Customer Obsessive when we lie to them, or tell them we're silencing the people?''
'-- Mike Flowers, PQA
''We can all do better in terms of climate impact and Amazon is no exception. Change is only coming from awareness, so its most important to start talking about it.''
'-- Oliver Becher, Software development engineer
''Amazon's role in the climate crisis is staggering and alarming. While the company has publicly announced measures to reduce emissions and impacts in the coming years, it does not add up with its ongoing support to oil and gas industries and its efforts to silence employees who speak out. I stand with fellow employees who prioritize sustainability over profits.''
'-- Scott Ogle Queue, Management Analyst
''As an engineer at AWS and previously in retail I am disappointment with the lack of action on social issues and climate change. We seem to be doing the bare minimum, instead of boldly taking the lead and creating the necessary. I am especially disappointed with the way Amazon now utilizes communication policies as a silencing mechanism.''
'-- Marek Ventur, Software Development Engineer
''Amazon's commitment to both renewable energy and selling technology to enhance oil production shows that Amazon isn't fully dedicated to solving climate change. It even goes against our own Leadership Principle's, ''Once a decision is determined, they commit wholly.'' Myself and others are not seeing that commitment. As a major player in the global space Amazon can and needs to do better.''
'-- Matthew Kahler, Learning Technologist
''Amazon's last-mile delivery network should be designed to deliver packages safely first, and in a timely manner second. Today's system incentivizes unsafe driving, and appears to be designed to insulate Amazon from liability, rather than to promote ownership and accountability.''
'-- Michael Berman, Sr. Software Dev Engineer
''Amazon should use its global influence to shift the world toward a brighter, more sustainable future. We can and should be leaders in research and implementation of sustainable living.''
'-- Luke Neville, Software Development Engineer
''Amazon hires smart people and encourages them all to act as owners and think long term and act on behalf of the entire company. Those employees standing out and pushing for change around climate change are doing exactly that.''
'-- Jo Hamilton, Watson Sr. User Research
''Amazon threatens its innovation Backbone and customer Trust by stifling employee speech with Day-2 type of overly broad reactionary policies. Amazon's decade long brand and reputation must evolve lest it slouch towards Walmart and Oracle stagnancy. These defensive retaliatory decisions only add to coworkers bound with Amazon for years that do not feel safe to speak up out of fear jeopardizing their visa status, and falling into demoralized ''that's-somebody-else's-problem'' attitudes of follower-vassals instead of leader-owners.''
'-- Alex Buell, SDE
''Amazon's recent initiatives on climate change are far from being sufficient. Amazon should not encourage unsustainable overconsumption the way it does. The products it sells are jeopardizing entire ecosystems and, eventually, our society as a whole.''
'-- Martin Habfast Mass, Account Management '-- Amazon Pay
''Amazon has a limited time to realize that once it loses customer trust, there will be no going back. Let us advocate for our customers by speaking up about climate change without prior written approval.''
'-- Kateryna Sitner, Sr UX Designer
''Solidarity to the workers facing retaliation for standing up!''
'-- Charlie LaBarge, Software engineer
''Nations around the world are finally declaring climate warming the emergency it has been for at least a decade. Amazon's climate initiatives are a step in the right direction, but Amazonians are customer-obsessed bar-raisers. We can't claim success, and we cannot rest on this issue, until we are certain our work is helping and not harming the most vulnerable, most impacted people on Earth. We have to do more, and we have to accept criticism wherever it comes from.''
'-- Marcus Collins, Senior Applied Scientist
''Big Tech has the opportunity to not only change the world but change the planet. We have to do our part in protecting the customers we hold so dear.''
'-- Rabecca Rocha, Content Test Specialist
''I want Amazon to continue its vision to be Earth's most customer-centric company. By ending our contracts with oil and gas companies, we can show the world we put people over profits and be a leader against climate change.''
'-- Melissa Reeder, Senior UX Designer
''Amazon has made impressive commitments to improve the sustainability of its operations and mitigate its contribution to climate change. Shipment Zero, the Climate Pledge, and pivoting to electric delivery vehicles are all steps in the right direction. However, Amazon can and should do more. We should end our contracts with oil and gas companies that are using our services to locate, drill for, and extract fossil fuels that continue to exacerbate man made climate change.''
'-- Nolan Woodle, Associate Contracts Manager
''To deny people their human right is to challenge their very humanity.''
'-- Chaithra BH, Senior associate CPEX sustainability
''Amazon was on the right track to create the Climate Pledge. Amazon's decision to continue offering AI services to oil and gas is against its own Climate Pledge.''
'-- Yoshi Ludwig, Data Associate
''The Climate Pledge is a step in the right direction, but Amazon needs to invest in innovative carbon emissions reduction across all organizations '-- not just focus on net zero carbon '-- to become a true leader.''
'-- Sarah Tracy, Software Development Engineer
''The fossil fuel industry has mislead the public for years and continues to increase production of oil & gas, making the climate crisis even worse. Amazon cannot afford to be associated with such a dangerous industry '-- we should stop selling technology that boosts fossil fuel extraction.''
'-- Weston Fribley, Software Engineer
''Amazon should apply its leadership principles of Ownership, Invent and Simply, Think Big, and Bias for Action toward the rapid reduction in the carbon footprints of its own operations and of all companies with whom it does business.''
'-- Brian Keare, Software Development Engineer
''Amazon needs to think big about implementing solutions to reduce our emissions and address the inequities throughout the company. We must be relentless in our response to the global climate crisis!''
'-- John Beatty, Sr. Product Manager
''I think it is dangerous for any company of any size to silence the words of the employees who are looking for the welfare of everyone.''
'-- Vivek Koppuru, Software Development Engineer
''It is very disappointing to hear about threats being made to workers who have the boldness to speak up about how Amazon can improve on climate action, at a time of worldwide crisis.''
'-- Brian Ballantyne, Senior Program Manager
''As a huge and incredibly successful company, Amazon is in a position to make a massive impact on the market by shifting the focus to sustainable and energy-efficient business practices. The methods we employ to package and ship items, for example, could be vastly updated to be less wasteful and more energy efficient. Some steps have been taken, which I commend, but the conversation could be louder and Amazon's power could be a lot more effective if we completely divested from fossil fuel.''
'-- Tamar MacCallan-Finkelman, ML Data Linguist-I
''Amazon's sustainability efforts like renewable energy projects, electric vehicles, and recyclable packaging are not only practical steps toward meeting climate goals, they're important symbols of leadership, and messages to the world about Amazon's position on the importance this issue. What message does it send that our AI and machine learning products are marketed directly to the oil and gas industry for finding and producing oil and gas?
 '-- https://aws.amazon.com/about-aws/sustainability/#progress
 '-- https://twitter.com/davehclark/status/1174697626685661186
 '-- https://twitter.com/JeffBezos/status/1219093283265138688
 '-- https://blog.aboutamazon.com/sustainability/the-big-ideas-and-tiny-details-behind-amazons-new-recyclable-mailer
 '-- https://aws.amazon.com/oil-and-gas/''
'-- Tim Schmelter, Senior Software Development Engineer
''I condemn over a million dollars from Amazon going to conservative candidates for the Seattle city council just weeks before the 2019 elections. Seattle residents have the exclusive right to vote for their council members, and to influence those elections with massive amounts of money is shameful.''
'-- Bob Danek, Systems Engineer
''Amazon: Do you want to continue to be known as 'the top in customer service and innovation at the expense of moral principles'? Leaders do what is right: respect your employees, protect our Earth, stand for human rights!''
'-- Guadalupe Miramontes, Program Manager, Alexa Speech
''Concerned citizens regarding climate change should be asking the companies they frequent as customers and the companies they work for to transition to clean technologies. I applaud the Climate Pledge commitment to meet the Paris Agreement 10 years early and challenge all companies, including Amazon, to be doing more to address this global crisis.''
'-- Sonja Weaver-Madsen, Manager, Amazon Advertising
''Amazon is a bold and innovative leader across the physical and digital economy. We have a clear moral responsibility to lead in transitioning to a carbon-free future and addressing the climate crisis. While Amazon's current climate initiatives are a first step, we can and must do more.''
'-- Alex Ford, Applied Scientist
''At one point in time, Amazon had a leadership principle that encouraged its employees to be ''Vocally Self Critical''. Amazon recognized that we don't grow and improve by pretending that our ''body odor smells of perfume'', but by listening to the dissenting opinions and constructive criticism around us. Those of us who object to Amazon's policies and actions regarding climate change, the oil industry, or surveillance do so because we care about Amazon, because we know that it has a great responsibility as a world leader in these areas, and that it has the vision to be a guiding force toward a better world. Rather than threatening us with termination, Amazon should listen to what we have to say, even when the only way for us to make our voices heard is by saying it in public.''
'-- Peter Davoust, Software Engineer
''I work on the The Climate Pledge and I am really excited for all the hard work the team is doing to get Amazon to carbon neutral. I work hard every day to make sure we can band together as a committed community to work on this important issue. I am proud to work at Amazon and to be working on such an important topic. I feel supported by our company and by our leadership to make this our top priority.''
'-- Kimberly Pousman, Engagement Manager, The Climate Pledge
''The climate crisis is a humanitarian emergency and not an isolated work issue. We need to openly talk about this. Amazon communication policies should never require employees to be silent on public issues of such moral gravity.''
'-- Emily Cunningham, User Experience Designer
''Corporations cannot own the conversation that threatens our very existence. We can't be silent about issues that harm our children, communities, and planet.''
'-- Maren Costa, Principal UX Designer
''I love working at Amazon. One of the things I like most is our leadership principle to ''Have backbone, disagree and commit.'' In this moment in our country's political and corporate history, I think it's more important than ever for employees to have freedom of speech to speak publicly about their employer's actions.''
'-- Mark Hiew, Senior Marketing Manager
''Amazon's order of 100 electric vehicles is a great start. But punishing employees for commenting on Amazon's publicly known business keeps us from encouraging our company to raise the bar on climate initiatives.''
'-- Vanessa Au, Program manager
''I want to be able to speak to the media about all the innovative things we ARE doing to protect Alexa customer privacy. I work every day to improve our protections of customer data, and it's disappointing when the media spins the truth because the people who speak up are the ones with nothing to lose.''
'-- Emily Greene, Software Engineer
''The only way the world or our company makes progress and innovates is by fostering a healthy communication of the good and the bad. If employees cannot be a part of this conversation inside and outside of the workplace we are reducing their ability to drive progress and harming our company and the world. We should have the same permissions commenting on public information and praising our electric vehicle purchase and sustainability team as we do in articulating our fears in our partnership with oil and gas, or ICE, or a genocide. Morality should be encouraged- not silenced and when we can be morally vocal we are the best people and employees which enables Amazon to be the best company. Therefore I have no qualms publicly stating I am proud of our sustainability team driving the purchase of 100k electric vehicles, but I want to see us show big tech and the world what a fossil free future looks like by breaking aws oil and gas contracts.''
'-- Rebecca Sheppard, Senior Product Manager Technical
''Amazon's climate initiatives should prioritize the well being of vulnerable communities who are disproportionately killed and harmed by the climate crisis: Indigenous people, communities of color, and those in the Global South.''
'-- Tamar MacCallan-Finkelman, ML Data Linguist-I; Tommy Hinman, Sr. SDE; Parsisa Hosseinzadeh, Consultant; Brad Donahue, Format Leader; Hillary Clayton, CSA; Karthik Ramanathan, Software Development Engineer; Jose Galaviz, SDE; Trista Do, Custom Pricing Analyst; Sandra Hube, Sr. Marketing Manager; Minh Nguyen, QAE; Athanasios Kinalis, Sr. SDE; Sam Dickson, Software Engineer; Ashley Small, PA; Stephanie Potratz, Program Manager; Zachariah Kahn, Sr. Packaging Designer; Kannan Nambiar Mavila, Software Development Engineer; Owen Royall-Kahin, Software Development Engineer; Igor Mendon§a, IT Support Associate II; Kristin Anthony, Learning Experience Designer; Houssam Nassif, Senior applied scientist; Manali Palwankar, System Support Engineer; Lokesh Taneja , BIE; Jessica Claus, Account Executive; Alex Waz, Software Engineer; Benjamin Miller, Recruiting Coordinator; Jen Hsieh, Sr. PM; Bethany Berkowitz, Software Engineer; David Ellison, Software Development Engineer II; Sarah Piper-Goldberg, Senior UX Designer; Mikey Tom, Startup Marketing Manager; Katie Bann, Compliance Training Specialist; Jennifer Drossart, ASM; Iain Logan, Software Development Engineer; Hamid Ali, Software Dev Engineer; Francesco Berni, System Development Engineer II; Sebastian Mikuska, New Key Accounts Manager; Rabecca Rocha, Content Test Specialist; Marie Kilg, Program Manager; Faiz Kazi, Software Development Engineer; Diego Calderara, Student worker at Audible Italy; Corey Salzer, AWS Solution's' Architect; Piper Horscroft, Software Development Engineer; Kenneth Calder"n Suazo, SPS Associate, Vendor Support; Mel Balasinski, Financial Analyst; Jade Fine, Central Operations; Ben Karpelman, Technical Customer Service Specialist (UnAuth); Jackson Sharma, QAM; Christine Lawton, UX Designer; Hasan Manzour, Research Scientist; Garrett Griffin, Software Development Engineer II; Devon Anderson, Sourcing Recruiter; Alex Webster, Software Development Engineer; Catherine Graham, ISAM; Igli Dhima, Support Engineer; Eric Lobdell, AWS Customer Service; Ken Sharma, AWS FC Tours Program Manager; Stephen Watson, Software Engineer; Emily Eberle-Levine, Sr. Product Manager, Technical; Ruben Garcia, Account Executive; Fiona Nelis, Catering Coordinator; Joshua Brightwell, TPM; Bobby Martin, Software Development Engineer in Test; Simone Rondelli, Software Development Engineer; Kyri Vanderpoel, Systems Development Engineer; Virginie Muzereau, Data Linguist; Jordan Browning, Software Development Engineer; Emma Ramos, Product Marketing Manager; Nadine Levin, Tech Ops Manager; Ang Huang, Product Marketing Manager; Alexander Chao, Software Development Engineer; Camille Nibungco, Software Development Engineer; Derek Petersen, SDE; Kassidy Zwaagstra, Marketing Manager; Navid Oskouipour, Software Development Manager; Kamlesh Nanda, Sr. Manager; Candace Spencer, Process Assistant; Eliza Schreibman, Software Development Engineer; Isaac Benioff, SDE I; Matt Smith, Program Manager, Process Improvement; Dani Cifelli, AMZL ACES SME; Thena Seer, Software Development Engineer; Caasi Adejo, Process Guide; Chris Hayes, Sr. Software Dev Engineer; Apostolos Dimitromanolakis, Software Development Engineer II; Alissa Likavec, Web Development Engineer; Laust Deleuran, Web Development Engineer; Pranav Varia, Engineering Manager; Gustavo Alkmim, Software Developer Engineer; John Luo, Software Engineer; Ben Hanowell, Data Scientist; Ali Haq, Software Engineer; Grush Khalsa, Data Scientist; Isaac Haseley, Software Engineer; Michael Shaver, SDE; Lea Caen, PM; Allie Novoa, Recruiting Coordinator; Michael Burns, Learning Experience Designer; Lorena Mendoza-Flores, Account Representative; Abbie DiLullo, Account Executive; Godwin, Web Development Engineer; Rita Cheng, SDE; Pamela Hayter, PM; Michele Trickey, Sr. Product Manager; Steffen Wilhelm, Producer Original Content; Brian Laframboise, Senior Software Development Engineer; Elaine Kuo, Program Manager; Tommy Markley, Software Development Engineer; Hana Thier, Sr. Software Engineer; Sheila Porter, Software Development Engineer; Mike Flowers, PQA; Henry Fox, Retail Associate; Denes Marton, Marketing Manager; Michael Kale, Sr Software Development Engineer; Laura Salish, Administrative Assistant; Jarvie Peyser, Account Executive; Marek Ventur, Software Development Engineer; Harold Schaut, ASK ID - Data Specialist II; Erika Green, Executive Assistant; Katie Dunwell, Digital Marketing Manager; Mahtab Sabet, Software Development Engineer; Ann Brady, Sr. DevOps Consultant; Michael Katica, Associate Consultant; Brian Rogers, Senior Design Technologist; Michael Berman, Sr. Software Dev Engineer; Alethea Mundy-Haywood, Principal Product Manager; Valentin Wattel, Instock Manager; John Ellis, Software Development Engineer; Leonardo Passini, Brand Specialist; Sasha Verma, Software Development Engineer; Okan Koc, Applied Scientist; Iordache Daniel, Sr Catalog Associate; Corey McClain, Sr. Technical Account Manager; Aliz Sramko, Sales Coordinator; Carbonara Giuseppe Matteo, Fraud Investigation Specialist; Eliav Kahan, Sr. Product Manager, Technical; Alaina Dyrness, Editor; Mairieth Valenciano, Content Developer; Rodney Gingerich, VLT Supply Chain Associate; Sarah Grabarczyk, Investigation Specialist; Luke Neville, Software Development Engineer; Ben Nimmons, UX Designer; Rebecca Price, Senior Program Manager; Alejandra Castro, CSCA Sr Assoc Audible; Nicolas Smith, QAE; Michael Chatzopoulos, Securtiy Transfrom Consultant; Alex Buell, SDE; Yoshi Ludwig, Senior Data Associate; Nick Andrews, Program Manager; Marcus Collins, Senior Applied Scientist; Irina Tolstova, Product designer; Zachary Diaz, Digital Content Acquisitions Management; Nari Benson, Senior Marketing Manager; Cody Rank, Software Development Engineer II; Luke Sun, Software Development Engineer; Patrick Michaelsen, Software Development Engineer; Jacob McCarthy, Software development engineer; David Adam Edelstein, UX Manager; Karthik Ramanathan, Software Development Engineer; Franziska Seeger, Research Scientist; Greg Pryzby Sr. Solutions Architect
''Amazon's order of 100,000 electric vans is the right move for our supply chain's future and is also a step in the right direction that sends a signal to the market to help the transition to clean technology. Well done!''
'-- Tamar MacCallan-Finkelman, ML Data Linguist-I; Tommy Hinman, Sr. SDE; Brad Donahue, Format Leader; Hillary Clayton, CSA; Karthik Ramanathan, Software Development Engineer; Jose Galaviz, SDE; Chris Allison, Sr. UX Researcher; Trista Do, Custom Pricing Analyst; Philip Geijer, AM; Ramon Pallaske, Program Manager; Dan Haugseng, Sr Software Engineer; Athanasios Kinalis, Sr. SDE; Nick Caskey, IT Support Tech; Claudia Martin Leon, AWS CES EMEA; Lydon Carter, Cloud Support Engineer; Houssam Nassif, Senior applied scientist; Carter Crouch, BIE; Ramon Lopez, SDM; Kannan Nambiar Mavila, Software Development Engineer; Manali Palwankar, System Support Engineer; Dharmik Mehta, Sr. Program Manager; Benjamin Miller, Recruiting Coordinator; Roshni Naidu, Senior Technical Product Manager; Kenny He, SDE; Shanay Jhaveri, Software Development Engineer; William Cline, Senior Software Engineer; Sarah Piper-Goldberg, Senior UX Designer; Alicia Jaffee, Sr Technical Program Manager; Iain Logan, Software Development Engineer; Francesco Berni, System Development Engineer II; Jose Angel Rodriguez Rodrigo, Systems Development Engineer; Petr Sedlacek, System Development Engineer I; Sebastian Mikuska, New Key Accounts Manager; Faiz Kazi, Software Development Engineer; Adrian Hernando, Software Development Engineer; Alexandra Dorohoi, Catalogue associate; Corey Salzer, AWS Solution's Architect; Mel Balasinski, Financial Analyst; Jade Fine, Central Operations; Ben Karpelman, Technical Customer Service Specialist (UnAuth); Christine Lawton, UX Designer; Hasan Manzour, Research Scientist; Devon Anderson, Sourcing Recruiter; Alex Webster, Software Development Engineer; Sai Badey, SDE; Igli Dhima, Support Engineer; Daniel Torok, Software Development Engineer; Fangyi Zhu, Software Engineer; Fiona Nelis, Catering Coordinator; Jason McCue, Principal Product Manager; Simone Rondelli, Software Development Engineer; Kyri Vanderpoel, Systems Development Engineer; Dana Zhu, Senior Program Manager; Emma Ramos, Product Marketing Manager; Ang Huang, Product Marketing Manager; Patrick Thien, SDE; Camille Nibungco, Software Development Engineer; Derek Petersen, SDE; Navreen Grewal, UX Designer II; Robert Laks, Software Development Engineer 2; Sean Maloney, Software Development Manager; Isaac Benioff, SDE I; Matt Smith, Program Manager, Process Improvement; Stephanie Stone, Principal Product Manager '-- Tech; Dani Cifelli, AMZL ACES SME; Caasi Adejo, Process Guide; Alissa Likavec, Web Development Engineer; Zachary Segall, Software Development Engineer; Naomi Simpson, Account Manager; Gustavo Alkmim, Software Developer Engineer; John Luo, Software Engineer; Ben Hanowell, Data Scientist; Bradley Music, Principal Product Manager; Isaac Haseley, Software Engineer; Ouadie Boussaid, SDE; Michael Shaver, SDE; Lauren Appelbaum, Technical Writer; Allie Novoa, Recruiting Coordinator; Laura Lawrence-Mobbs, L&D; Michael Burns, Learning Experience Designer; Eric Webster, Software Development Engineer; Abbie DiLullo, Account Executive; Adrian Janssen, SDE II; Pamela Hayter, PM; Ashley Baker, Business Analyst; Fanny Hoang, Procurement; Godwin, Web Development Engineer; Steffen Wilhelm, Producer Original Content; Brian Laframboise, Senior Software Development Engineer; Griffin Ham, Account Manager; Elaine Kuo, Program Manager; Joel Flank, Sr Business Intelligence Engineer; Tommy Markley, Software Development Engineer; Adam Barker, Software Development Engineer; Henry Fox, Retail Associate; Denes Marton, Marketing Manager; Oliver Becher, Software Development Engineer; Kaushik Shankar, Senior Software Development Engineer; Christina Wiley, Design Quality Manager; Matthew Kahler, Learning Technologist; Ann Brady, Sr. DevOps Consultant; Michael Katica, Associate Consultant; Ryan Ladd, Head of S3 Expansion; Mike Rapin, Front-End Engineer; Juan Olivares, SDE; Alethea Mundy-Haywood, Principal Product Manager; Swapna Palaniswamy Otte, Product Manager; Rahul Aalugadda, BI Support Manager; Elia Ruberti, Business Intelligence Engineer; Can Uysal, Resolution Specialist [A]; Eliav Kahan, Sr. Product Manager '-- Technical; Alaina Dyrness, Editor; Rodney Gingerich, VLT Supply Chain Associate; Luca Lovagnini, SDE; Hanna Herbst, Vendor Manager; Luke Neville, Software Development Engineer; Maxime Hellings, Product Manager; Ben Nimmons, UX Designer; Jo Hamilton Watson, Sr. User Research; Rebecca Price, Senior Program Manager; Nicolas Smith, QAE; Michelle Li, Marketing Manager; Alex Buell, SDE; Marcus Collins, Senior Applied Scientist; Irina Tolstova, Product designer; Amelia Graham-McCann, Senior Business Analyst; Erika Wright, Manager, Digital Advertising; Justin Wang, SDE II; Danilo Quilaton, Senior Product Designer; Evan Pulgino, Software Development Engineer II; Victor Chen, SDE; Cody Rank, Software Development Engineer II; Patrick Michaelsen, Software Development Engineer; Bobby Gordon, Finance Manager; Sen Connolly, Systems Engineer; Bob Danek, Systems Engineer; Shamel Johnson, Supply Chain Manager; Desiree Kabel, Retail Store Associate II; Greg Pryzby, Sr. Solutions Architect; Jose Alvarez, Business Development Manager; Patryk Mastela, Software Development Engineer; Edwin Howard, Hardware Engineer; David Gregory, Research Scientist; Andrew Buchanan, Software Development Engineer; Orion Stanger, SDE II
''Amazon should end our contracts with oil and gas companies. Our AI and machine learning are being used for 'finding oil,' 'producing oil,' and 'optimizing production'.'' (source: AWS Oil & Gas public website)
'-- Haley Mateen, Event Planner; Tommy Hinman, Sr. SDE; Brad Donahue, Format Leader; Hillary Clayton, CSA; Karthik Ramanathan, Software Development Engineer; Chris Allison, Sr. UX Researcher; Trista Do, Custom Pricing Analyst; Sandra Hube, Sr. Marketing Manager; Ramon Pallaske, Program Manager; Minh Nguyen, QAE; Andrew Zunt, Software Development Engineer; Kavita Sthanumurthy, Software Development engineer; Zachariah Kahn, Sr. Packaging Designer; Isaac Reilly, Software Development Engineer; Claudia Martin, Leon AWS CES EMEA; Carter Crouch, BIE; Manali Palwankar, System Support Engineer; Jess Otaguro, Business Intelligence Engineer; Benjamin Miller, Recruiting Coordinator; Shanay Jhaveri, Software Development Engineer; Bethany Berkowitz, Software Engineer; David Ellison, Software Development Engineer II; William Cline, Senior Software Engineer; Sarah Piper-Goldberg, Senior UX Designer; Eric Shields, Web Development Engineer; Jennifer Drossart, ASM; Iain Logan, Software Development Engineer; Francesco Berni, System Development Engineer II; Petr Sedlacek, System Development Engineer I; Sebastian Mikuska, New Key Accounts Manager; Amanda King, Queue Management Analyst; Faiz Kazi, Software Development Engineer; Adrian Hernando, Software Development Engineer; Piper Horscroft, Software Development Engineer; Jade Fine, Central Operations; Ben Karpelman, Technical Customer Service Specialist (UnAuth); Jackson Sharma, QAM; Garrett Griffin, Software Development Engineer II; Alex Webster, Software Development Engineer; Sai Badey, SDE; Eric Lobdell, AWS Customer Service; Daniel Torok, Software Development Engineer; Ken Sharma, AWS FC Tours Program Manager; Fangyi Zhu, Software Engineer; Stephen Watson, Software Engineer; Ruben Garcia, Account Executive; Fiona Nelis, Catering Coordinator; Ming Luo, Software Development Engineer II; Bobby Martin, Software Development Engineer in Test; Kyri Vanderpoel, Systems Development Engineer; Virginie Muzereau, Data Linguist; Francois Gergaud, Software Development Engineer; Simon Maspero, SDE II; MacKenna Strange, Product Marketing Manager; Patrick Thien, SDE; Alexander Chao, Software Development Engineer; Camille Nibungco, Software Development Engineer; Navreen Grewal, UX Designer II; Navid Oskouipour, Software Development Manager; Robert Laks, Software Development Engineer 2; Eliza Schreibman, Software Development Engineer; Isaac Benioff, SDE I; Dani Cifelli, AMZL ACES SME; Thena Seer, Software Development Engineer; Chris Hayes, Sr. Software Dev Engineer; Caasi Adejo, Process Guide; Antoine Lafouasse, Software Development Engineer; Alissa Likavec, Web Development Engineer; Laust Deleuran, Web Development Engineer; Emma Kilfoyle, Software Development Engineer; Zachary Segall, Software Development Engineer; Eric Regina, Robotics Software Engineer; Grush Khalsa, Data Scientist; Bradley Music, Principal Product Manager; Isaac Haseley, Software Engineer; Michael Shaver, SDE; Allie Novoa, Recruiting Coordinator; Michael Burns, Learning Experience Designer; Eric Webster, Software Development Engineer; Abbie DiLullo, Account Executive; Pamela Hayter, PM; Danilo Pavkov, Software Developer Engineer; Steffen Wilhelm, Producer Original Content; Brian Laframboise, Senior Software Development Engineer; Joel Flank, Sr Business Intelligence Engineer; Tommy Markley, Software Development Engineer; Mike Flowers, PQA Henry Fox Retail Associate; Denes Marton, Marketing Manager; Michael Kale, Sr Software Development Engineer; Jarvie Peyser, Account Executive; Scott Ogle, Queue Management Analyst; Marek Ventur, Software Development Engineer; Katie Dunwell, Digital Marketing Manager; Marta Callava, Sr Technical Writer; Camila de la Parra, Data Linguist; Mahtab Sabet, Software Development Engineer; Matthew Kahler, Learning Technologist; Mike Rapin, Front-End Engineer; Godwin, Web Development Engineer; Brian Rogers, Senior Design Technologist; Alethea Mundy-Haywood, Principal Product Manager; Hector Lorenzo Pons, Senior Front-end Engineer; Lucas Pedroza, SDE; Spencer Gagnon, Software Engineer; Okan Koc, Applied Scientist; Iordache Daniel, Sr Catalog Associate; Leah Nicolich-Henkin, Machine Learning Scientist; Rahul Aalugadda, BI Support Manager; Thea Pedroza, Software Development Engineer; Aliz Sramko, Sales Coordinator; Louise Fairclough, Team Manager; Emily Gary, Business Analyst; Alaina Dyrness, Editor; Keylor Suarez, VCDM Execution Specialist; Rodney Gingerich, VLT Supply Chain Associate; Hanna Herbst, Vendor Manager; Luke Neville, Software Development Engineer; Ben Nimmons, UX Designer; Juliette Courlet, Software development engineer; Rebecca Price, Senior Program Manager; Alejandra Castro, CSCA Sr Assoc Audible; Cary Small, Software Development Engineer; Nicolas Smith, QAE; Yoshi Ludwig, Senior Data Associate; Martin Habfast, Mass Account Management '-- Amazon Pay; Marcus Collins, Senior Applied Scientist; Melissa Reeder, Senior UX Designer; Zachary Diaz, Digital Content Acquisitions Management; Justin Wang, SDE II; Evan Pulgino, Software Development Engineer II; Victor Chen, SDE; Cody Rank, Software Development Engineer II; Patrick Michaelsen, Software Development Engineer; Sen Connolly, Systems Engineer; Bob Danek, Systems Engineer; Shamel Johnson, Supply Chain Manager; Davide Tommasi, WHS Manager; Greg Pryzby, Sr. Solutions Architect; Elisabeth Grigoryeva, Receptionist; Patryk Mastela, Software Development Engineer; David Gregory, Research Scientist
''Amazon's supply chain should not be built at the expense of warehouse workers who work at a pace that causes higher-than-industry-average injury rates. It's not humane to have people scared to go to the bathroom.''
'-- Tamar MacCallan-Finkelman, ML Data Linguist-I; Tommy Hinman, Sr. SDE; Parsisa Hosseinzadeh, Consultant; Hillary Clayton, CSA; Karthik Ramanathan, Software Development Engineer; Jose Galaviz, SDE; Minh Nguyen, QAE; Dan Haugseng, Sr Software Engineer; Athanasios Kinalis, Sr. SDE; Sam Dickson, Software Engineer; Stephanie Potratz, Program Manager; Zachariah Kahn, Sr. Packaging Designer; Anne-Sophie Luisada, Brand Specialist; Owen Royall-Kahin, Software Development Engineer; Igor Mendon§a, IT Support Associate II; Claudia Martin Leon, AWS CES EMEA; Houssam Nassif, Senior applied scientist; Brandy Russum, UX Designer; Ramon Lopez, SDM; Manali Palwankar, System Support Engineer; Byron Kam, Senior Product Manager; Dharmik Mehta, Sr. Program Manager; Benjamin Miller, Recruiting Coordinator; Catherine Buck, Sr Technical Writer; Kyle Zagar, Salesforce Project Manager; Kenny He, SDE; Jen Hsieh, Sr. PM; Bethany Berkowitz, Software Engineer; Sarah Piper-Goldberg, Senior UX Designer; Mikey Tom, Startup Marketing Manager; Jennifer Drossart, ASM; Iain Logan, Software Development Engineer; Francesco Berni, System Development Engineer II; Jose Angel Rodriguez Rodrigo, Systems Development Engineer; Sebastian Mikuska, New Key Accounts Manager; Faiz Kazi, Software Development Engineer; Alexandra Dorohoi, Catalogue associate; Corey Salzer, AWS Solution's Architect; Piper Horscroft, Software Development Engineer; Kenneth Calder"n Suazo, SPS Associate, Vendor Support; Jade Fine, Central Operations; Ben Karpelman, Technical Customer Service Specialist (UnAuth); Hamid Ali, Software Dev Engineer; Max Eliaser, SDE II; Christine Lawton, UX Designer; Brian Tanabe, Software Dev Manager; Hasan Manzour, Research Scientist; Garrett Griffin, Software Development Engineer II; Alex Webster, Software Development Engineer; Igli Dhima, Support Engineer; Eric Lobdell, AWS Customer Service; Ken Sharma, AWS FC Tours Program Manager; Fangyi Zhu, Software Engineer; Stephen Watson, Software Engineer; Ruben Garcia, Account Executive; Fiona Nelis, Catering Coordinator; Ming Luo, Software Development Engineer II; Bobby Martin, Software Development Engineer in Test; Caitlin Thompson, Customer Service Representative; Simone Rondelli, Software Development Engineer; Kannan Nambiar Mavila, Software Development Engineer; Godwin, Web Development Engineer; Kyri Vanderpoel, Systems Development Engineer; Alexander Chao, Software Development Engineer; Camille Nibungco, Software Development Engineer; Derek Petersen, SDE; Navid Oskouipour, Software Development Manager; Kamlesh Nanda, Sr. Manager; Eliza Schreibman, Software Development Engineer; Isaac Benioff, SDE I; Matt Smith, Program Manager, Process Improvement; Matt Martin, Software Developer Engineer; Chris Hayes, Sr. Software Dev Engineer; Caasi Adejo, Process Guide; Antoine Lafouasse, Software Development Engineer; Alissa Likavec, Web Development Engineer; Laust Deleuran, Web Development Engineer; Gustavo Alkmim, Software Developer Engineer; Grush Khalsa, Data Scientist; Isaac Haseley, Software Engineer; Ouadie Boussaid, SDE; Michael Shaver, SDE; Allie Novoa, Recruiting Coordinator; Sean Stahl, Sr. Game Designer; Jason Unger, Business Analyst; Michael Burns, Learning Experience Designer; Lorena Mendoza-Flores, Account Representative; Abbie DiLullo, Account Executive; Jen Baker, Procurement Analyst; Pamela Hayter, PM; Fanny Hoang, Procurement; Steffen Wilhelm, Producer Original Content; Brian Laframboise, Senior Software Development Engineer; Tommy Markley, Software Development Engineer; Sheila Porter, Software Development Engineer; Mike Flowers, PQA; Julia Gimpel, Program Manager, AMDS NEXT ES; Henry Fox, Retail Associate; Denes Marton, Marketing Manager; Laura Salish, Administrative Assistant; Jarvie Peyser, Account Executive; Marek Ventur, Software Development Engineer; Mahtab Sabet, Software Development Engineer; Matthew Kahler, Learning Technologist; Ann Brady, Sr. DevOps Consultant; Mike Rapin, Front-End Engineer; Brian Rogers, Senior Design Technologist; Michael Berman, Sr. Software Dev Engineer; Juan Olivares, SDE; John Ellis, Software Development Engineer; Eszter Herendi, Marketing Project Manager; Sasha Verma, Software Development Engineer; Iordache Daniel, Sr Catalog Associate; Rahul Aalugadda, BI Support Manager; Corey McClain, Sr. Technical Account Manager; Alaina Dyrness, Editor; Rodney Gingerich, VLT Supply Chain Associate; Sarah Grabarczyk, Investigation Specialist; Jon Faust, Transportation Specialist; Nathalie Hasson, New Account Manager; Rachel Perry, Senior Financial Analyst; Ben Nimmons, UX Designer; Rebecca Price, Senior Program Manager; Alejandra Castro, CSCA Sr Assoc Audible; Nicolas Smith, QAE; Alex Buell, SDE; Yoshi Ludwig, Senior Data Associate; Oliver Hoidn, Applied Scientist; Marcus Collins, Senior Applied Scientist; Zachary Diaz, Digital Content Acquisitions Management; Danilo Quilaton, Senior Product Designer; Evan Pulgino, Software Development Engineer II; Cody Rank, Software Development Engineer II; Bobby Gordon, Finance Manager; Sen Connolly, Systems Engineer; Bob Danek, Systems Engineer; Shamel Johnson, Supply Chain Manager; Andrew Buchanan, Software Development Engineer
''I disagree with AWS enabling Palantir and ICE to surveil and separate children from their parents at the border.''
'-- Tommy Hinman, Sr. SDE; Karthik Ramanathan, Software Development Engineer; Hillary Clayton, CSA; Godwin, Web Development Engineer; Jose Galaviz, SDE; Ramon Pallaske, Program Manager; Jason Lunn, Software Delivery Manager; Minh Nguyen, QAE; Mani Movva, Jr. SDE; Kavita Sthanumurthy, Software Development engineer; Stephanie Potratz, Program Manager; Ben Lindsey, Technical Account Manager, Books; Zachariah Kahn, Sr. Packaging Designer; Hamid Ali, Software Dev Engineer; Igor Mendon§a, IT Support Associate II; Claudia Martin Leon, AWS CES EMEA; Houssam Nassif, Senior applied scientist; Ramon Lopez, SDM; Manali Palwankar, System Support Engineer; Benjamin Miller, Recruiting Coordinator; Rueben Marquez, System Support Engineer; Jen Hsieh, Sr. PM; Bethany Berkowitz, Software Engineer; Sarah Piper-Goldberg, Senior UX Designer; Mikey Tom, Startup Marketing Manager; Godwin, Web Development Engineer; Katie Bann, Compliance Training Specialist; Iain Logan, Software Development Engineer; Francesco Berni, System Development Engineer II; Sebastian Mikuska, New Key Accounts Manager; Faiz Kazi, Software Development Engineer; Adrian Hernando, Software Development Engineer; Piper Horscroft, Software Development Engineer; Kenneth Calder"n Suazo, SPS Associate, Vendor Support; Jade Fine, Central Operations; Ben Karpelman, Technical Customer Service Specialist (UnAuth); Max Eliaser, SDE II; Christine Lawton, UX Designer; Hasan Manzour, Research Scientist; Garrett Griffin, Software Development Engineer II; Devon Anderson, Sourcing Recruiter; Alan Fluder, Writer; Alex Webster, Software Development Engineer; Sai Badey, SDE; Benjamin Jones, Sr. Software Development Engineer; Eric Lobdell, AWS Customer Service; Stephen Watson, Software Engineer; Fiona Nelis, Catering Coordinator; Cem Kadioglu, SDE I; Bobby Martin Software Development Engineer in Test; Kyri Vanderpoel, Systems Development Engineer; Mike Shandrow, System Development Engineer; Francois Gergaud, Software Development Engineer; Simon Maspero, SDE II; MacKenna Strange, Product Marketing Manager; Alexander Chao, Software Development Engineer; Camille Nibungco, Software Development Engineer; Derek Petersen, SDE; Jarrett Bato, Sr. UX Designer; Navreen Grewal, UX Designer II; Steven Wilkins, Sr SDET; Yann Oehl, Sr. UX Designer; Navid Oskouipour, Software Development Manager; Sean Maloney, Software Development Manager; Eliza Schreibman, Software Development Engineer; Isaac Benioff, SDE I; Thena Seer, Software Development Engineer; Chris Hayes, Sr. Software Dev Engineer; Caasi Adejo, Process Guide; Antoine Lafouasse, Software Development Engineer; Alissa Likavec, Web Development Engineer; Rabecca Rocha, Content Test Specialist; Laust Deleuran, Web Development Engineer; Gustavo Alkmim, Software Developer Engineer; Eric Regina, Robotics Software Engineer; Grush Khalsa, Data Scientist; Isaac Haseley, Software Engineer; Michael Shaver, SDE; Lauren Appelbaum, Technical Writer; Allie Novoa, Recruiting Coordinator; Michael Burns, Learning Experience Designer; Eric Webster, Software Development Engineer; Abbie DiLullo, Account Executive; Whitney-Rose Levis, Device Associate; Pamela Hayter, PM; Danilo Pavkov, Software Developer Engineer; Brian Laframboise, Senior Software Development Engineer; Joel Flank, Sr Business Intelligence Engineer; Mike Flowers, PQA; Adam Barker, Software Development Engineer; Julia Gimpel, Program Manager, AMDS NEXT ES; Henry Fox, Retail Associate; Denes Marton, Marketing Manager; Michael Kale, Sr Software Development Engineer; Laura Salish, Administrative Assistant; Jarvie Peyser, Account Executive; Marek Ventur, Software Development Engineer; Erika Green, Executive Assistant; Christina Wiley, Design Quality Manager; Camila de la Parra, Data Linguist; Mahtab Sabet, Software Development Engineer; Matthew Kahler, Learning Technologist; Mike Rapin, Front-End Engineer; Brian Rogers, Senior Design Technologist; Alethea Mundy-Haywood, Principal Product Manager; John Ellis, Software Development Engineer; Eszter Herendi, Marketing Project Manager; Spencer Gagnon, Software Engineer; Gustavo Frigo, BIE; Sasha Verma, Software Development Engineer; Iordache Daniel, Sr Catalog Associate; Rahul Aalugadda, BI Support Manager; Corey McClain, Sr. Technical Account Manager; Alaina Dyrness, Editor; Rodney Gingerich, VLT Supply Chain Associate; Sarah Grabarczyk, Investigation Specialist; Jon Faust, Transportation Specialist; Ben Nimmons, UX Designer; Rebecca Price, Senior Program Manager; Alejandra Castro, CSCA Sr Assoc Audible; Nicolas Smith, QAE; Michael Chatzopoulos, Securtiy Transfrom Consultant; Alex Buell, SDE; Yoshi Ludwig, Senior Data Associate; Tegan Mulholland, Software Development Engineer; Charlie LaBarge, Software engineer; Marcus Collins, Senior Applied Scientist; Zachary Diaz, Digital Content Acquisitions Management; Justin Wang, SDE II; Danilo Quilaton, Senior Product Designer; Evan Pulgino, Software Development Engineer II; Cody Rank, Software Development Engineer II; Amy Mrquez, UX Design Manager; Sen Connolly, Systems Engineer; Bob Danek, Systems Engineer; Justin Roll, Software Development Engineer; Jacob McCarthy, Software development engineer; Shamel Johnson, Supply Chain Manager; Greg Pryzby, Sr. Solutions Architect; Jose Alvarez, Business Development Manager; Andrew Buchanan Software Development Engineer
''Amazon and the world are not on track to meet targets that will keep us within safe limits of warming. I agree with the workers being threatened with termination that Amazon must do more about its climate impact.''
'-- Matthew McKay, Software Engineer; Jordan Handler, Sr. Program Manager; Evan Pulgino, Software Development Engineer II; Francesca Romano, Ops Excellence Expert; Stephen McMurtry, Software Development Engineerr; Shamir Tanna, Senior Product Manager; Sen Connolly, Systems Engineer; Sherry Li, Program Manager II; Victoria Liang, Software Development Engineer; Shamel Johnson, Supply Chain Manager; Karthik Ramanathan, Software Development Engineer
Philadelphia judge rules against Uber's arbitration clause in car crash case
Tue, 28 Jan 2020 08:25
When you download Uber's app, you agree that you're older than 18, that you're not using a stolen credit card to pay your driver, and '-- if you're like one Philadelphia woman and fracture your spine in a Center City car crash '-- that you won't seek a jury trial against the ride-share giant.
But, a Philadelphia Common Pleas Court judge has ruled that, because Uber can't prove that Jillian Kemenosh actually read the company's terms and conditions before she signed up or rode in the car that ran a red light, she can't be forced to settle her claims behind closed doors.
Sitting in the back seat of an Uber in March 2018, Kemenosh was more than halfway home on a four-mile trip from Columbus Boulevard to her Center City apartment when the driver of the 2010 Toyota Highlander ran a red light at 16th and Vine Streets, crashing into another vehicle.
Suffering a fracture to her spine, concussion, and traumatic brain injury, Kemenosh sued Uber, its local subsidiaries, and the driver, requesting a jury to determine her payout.
But, Uber argues in court documents, by approving the ride-share's ''terms and conditions'' when she downloaded the app in 2013, Kemenosh had already forfeited her right to a jury, agreeing instead to resolve any legal disputes only through binding arbitration, which forces users to waive their rights to sue and settle matters privately.
Proponents of arbitration say that it's faster and cheaper than court. But critics say it revokes a consumer's right to publicly take action against a company.
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''Our entire judicial system is founded on a trial by jury,'' said Kemenosh's lawyer, Joseph L. Messa Jr.
In a 19-page opinion this month, Philadelphia Common Pleas Judge Abbe F. Fletman sided with Kemenosh, determining that because the app makes it possible to register for Uber's services without clicking on a hyperlink to review the company's terms of service, ''the registration process did not properly communicate an offer to arbitrate under Pennsylvania law.''
Uber and a lawyer for the company did not return requests for comment. Uber has until Feb. 3 to appeal Fletman's ruling.
Had Kemenosh been required to click a link, check a box confirming she read and agreed to Uber's terms and conditions, or received email notice of the company's policies, Uber's arbitration-only rule would perhaps be valid, the judge wrote.
''In this matter, however, Uber took none of these steps,'' Fletman's opinion said.
This isn't the first time a question over Uber's arbitration clause has appeared before a court.
Also that year, a federal appeals court refused to endorse Uber's arbitration argument in a lawsuit brought by Boston-area riders who accused the company of overcharging for rides to the airport. The panel determined that Uber's policy section ''failed to grab the user's attention.''
But in 2017, a federal judge bemoaned but backed the company's contract, sending a Connecticut man's suit over illegal price surging into arbitration, writing: ''This being the law, this judge must enforce it '' even if it is based on nothing but factual and legal fictions."
When it comes to requiring customers to approve a ''terms and conditions'' contract with an arbitration clause, Uber is ''not unusual,'' said Charles B. Casper, a Philadelphia-based consumer and class-action defense lawyer who is not involved in the Uber case. The clause is typical of many cell phone, cable television, and rental car contracts, Casper said.
But whether Uber gives customers notice that they're forfeiting their right to a jury is a fair question, Casper said.
Customers agreeing to a company's terms and conditions can generally find an arbitration clause in a contract written ''conspicuously'' in bold-face type or all-capital letters.
For Messa, the question is one of transparency.
''You have e-commerce companies here that want to financially benefit from customers but limit their rights from liability,'' Messa said. ''The constitutional rights of citizens here shouldn't be taken lightly.''
*Correction: An earlier version of this post incorrectly said Charles B. Casper is an attorney based in Montgomery County. He is an attorney with the Montgomery McCracken firm, based in Philadelphia. The post has been updated.
Leaked Documents Expose the Secretive Market for Your Web Browsing Data - VICE
Wed, 29 Jan 2020 07:18
An antivirus program used by hundreds of millions of people around the world is selling highly sensitive web browsing data to many of the world's biggest companies, a joint investigation by Motherboard and PCMag has found. Our report relies on leaked user data, contracts, and other company documents that show the sale of this data is both highly sensitive and is in many cases supposed to remain confidential between the company selling the data and the clients purchasing it.
The documents, from a subsidiary of the antivirus giant Avast called Jumpshot, shine new light on the secretive sale and supply chain of peoples' internet browsing histories. They show that the Avast antivirus program installed on a person's computer collects data, and that Jumpshot repackages it into various different products that are then sold to many of the largest companies in the world. Some past, present, and potential clients include Google, Yelp, Microsoft, McKinsey, Pepsi, Home Depot, Cond(C) Nast, Intuit, and many others. Some clients paid millions of dollars for products that include a so-called "All Clicks Feed," which can track user behavior, clicks, and movement across websites in highly precise detail.
Avast claims to have more than 435 million active users per month, and Jumpshot says it has data from 100 million devices. Avast collects data from users that opt-in and then provides that to Jumpshot, but multiple Avast users told Motherboard they were not aware Avast sold browsing data, raising questions about how informed that consent is.
The data obtained by Motherboard and PCMag includes Google searches, lookups of locations and GPS coordinates on Google Maps, people visiting companies' LinkedIn pages, particular YouTube videos, and people visiting porn websites. It is possible to determine from the collected data what date and time the anonymized user visited YouPorn and PornHub, and in some cases what search term they entered into the porn site and which specific video they watched.
Do you know about any other companies selling data? We'd love to hear from you. Using a non-work phone or computer, you can contact Joseph Cox securely on Signal on +44 20 8133 5190, Wickr on josephcox, OTR chat on email@example.com, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Although the data does not include personal information such as users' names, it still contains a wealth of specific browsing data, and experts say it could be possible to deanonymize certain users.
In a press release from July, Jumpshot claims to be "the only company that unlocks walled garden data" and seeks to "provide marketers with deeper visibility into the entire online customer journey." Jumpshot has previously discussed some of its clients publicly. But other companies mentioned in Jumpshot documents include Expedia, IBM, Intuit, which makes TurboTax, Loreal, and Home Depot. Employees are instructed not to talk publicly about Jumpshot's relationships with these companies.
"It's very granular, and it's great data for these companies, because it's down to the device level with a timestamp," the source said, referring to the specificity and sensitivity of the data being sold. Motherboard granted the source anonymity to speak more candidly about Jumpshot's processes.
Until recently, Avast was collecting the browsing data of its customers who had installed the company's browser plugin, which is designed to warn users of suspicious websites. Security researcher and AdBlock Plus creator Wladimir Palant published a blog post in October showing that Avast harvest user data with that plugin. Shortly after, browser makers Mozilla, Opera, and Google removed Avast's and subsidiary AVG's extensions from their respective browser extension stores. Avast had previously explained this data collection and sharing in a blog and forum post in 2015. Avast has since stopped sending browsing data collected by these extensions to Jumpshot, Avast said in a statement to Motherboard and PCMag.
An infographic showing the supply chain of browsing data from Avast through to Jumpshot's clients. Image: Motherboard
However, the data collection is ongoing, the source and documents indicate. Instead of harvesting information through software attached to the browser, Avast is doing it through the anti-virus software itself. Last week, months after it was spotted using its browser extensions to send data to Jumpshot, Avast began asking its existing free antivirus consumers to opt-in to data collection, according to an internal document.
"If they opt-in, that device becomes part of the Jumpshot Panel and all browser-based internet activity will be reported to Jumpshot," an internal product handbook reads. "What URLs did these devices visit, in what order and when?" it adds, summarising what questions the product may be able to answer.
Senator Ron Wyden, who in December asked Avast why it was selling users' browsing data, said in a statement, "It is encouraging that Avast has ended some of its most troubling practices after engaging constructively with my office. However I'm concerned that Avast has not yet committed to deleting user data that was collected and shared without the opt-in consent of its users, or to end the sale of sensitive internet browsing data. The only responsible course of action is to be fully transparent with customers going forward, and to purge data that was collected under suspect conditions in the past."
Despite Avast currently asking users to opt back into the data collection via a pop-up in the antivirus software, multiple Avast users said they did not know that Avast was selling browsing data.
"I was not aware of this," Keith, a user of the free Avast antivirus product who only provided their first name, told Motherboard. "That sounds scary. I usually say no to data tracking," they said, adding that they haven't yet seen the new opt-in pop-up from Avast.
"Did not know that they did that :(," another free Avast antivirus user said in a Twitter direct message.
Motherboard and PCMag contacted over two dozen companies mentioned in internal documents. Only a handful responded to questions asking what they do with data based on the browsing history of Avast users.
"We sometimes use information from third-party providers to help improve our business, products and services. We require these providers to have the appropriate rights to share this information with us. In this case, we receive anonymized audience data, which cannot be used to identify individual customers," a Home Depot spokesperson wrote in an emailed statement.
Microsoft declined to comment on the specifics of why it purchased products from Jumpshot, but said that it doesn't have a current relationship with the company. A Yelp spokesperson wrote in an email, "In 2018, as part of a request for information by antitrust authorities, Yelp's policy team was asked to estimate the impact of Google's anticompetitive behavior on the local search marketplace. Jumpshot was engaged on a one-time basis to generate a report of anonymized, high-level trend data which validated other estimates of Google's siphoning of traffic from the web. No PII was requested or accessed."
"Every search. Every click. Every buy. On every site."
Southwest Airlines said it had discussions with Jumpshot but didn't reach an agreement with the company. IBM said it did not have a record of being a client, and Altria said it is not working with Jumpshot, although didn't specify if it did so previously. Sephora said it has not worked with Jumpshot. Google did not respond to a request for comment.
On its website and in press releases, Jumpshot names Pepsi, and consulting giants Bain & Company and McKinsey as clients.
As well as Expedia, Intuit, and Loreal, other companies which are not already mentioned in public Jumpshot announcements include coffee company Keurig, YouTube promotion service vidIQ, and consumer insights firm Hitwise. None of those companies responded to a request for comment.
On its website, Jumpshot lists some previous case studies for using its browsing data. Magazine and digital media giant Cond(C) Nast, for example, used Jumpshot's products to see whether the media company's advertisements resulted in more purchases on Amazon and elsewhere. Cond(C) Nast did not respond to a request for comment.
ALL THE CLICKS
Jumpshot sells a variety of different products based on data collected by Avast's antivirus software installed on users' computers. Clients in the institutional finance sector often buy a feed of the top 10,000 domains that Avast users are visiting to try and spot trends, the product handbook reads.
Another Jumpshot product is the company's so-called "All Click Feed." It allows a client to buy information on all of the clicks Jumpshot has seen on a particular domain, like Amazon.com, Walmart.com, Target.com, BestBuy.com, or Ebay.com.
In a tweet sent last month intended to entice new clients, Jumpshot noted that it collects "Every search. Every click. Every buy. On every site" [emphasis Jumpshot's.]
Jumpshot's data could show how someone with Avast antivirus installed on their computer searched for a product on Google, clicked on a link that went to Amazon, and then maybe added an item to their cart on a different website, before finally buying a product, the source who provided the documents explained.
One company that purchased the All Clicks Feed is New York-based marketing firm Omnicom Media Group, according to a copy of its contract with Jumpshot. Omnicom paid Jumpshot $2,075,000 for access to data in 2019, the contract shows. It also included another product called "Insight Feed" for 20 different domains. The fee for data in 2020 and then 2021 is listed as $2,225,000 and $2,275,000 respectively, the document adds.
A section of an internal Jumpshot document obtained by Motherboard and PCMag. Motherboard has reconstructed the document rather than provide a direct screenshot.
Jumpshot gave Omnicom access to all click feeds from 14 different countries around the world, including the U.S., England, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. The product also includes the inferred gender of users "based on browsing behavior," their inferred age, and "the entire URL string" but with personally identifiable information (PII) removed, the contract adds.
Omnicom did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
According to the Omnicom contract, the "device ID" of each user is hashed, meaning the company buying the data should not be able to identify who exactly is behind each piece of browsing activity. Instead, Jumpshot's products are supposed to give insights to companies who may want to see what products are particularly popular, or how effective an ad campaign is working.
"What we don't do is report on the Jumpshot Device ID that executed the clicks to protect against the triangulation of PII," one internal Jumpshot document reads.
But Jumpshot's data may not be totally anonymous. The internal product handbook says that device IDs do not change for each user, "unless a user completely uninstalls and reinstalls the security software." Numerous articles and academic studies have shown how it is possible to unmask people using so-called anonymized data. In 2006, New York Times reporters were able to identify a specific person from a cache of supposedly anonymous search data that AOL publicly released. Although the tested data was more focused on social media links, which Jumpshot redacts somewhat, a 2017 study from Stanford University found it was possible to identify people from anonymous web browsing data.
"De-identification has shown to be a very failure-prone process. There are so many ways it can go wrong," G¼nes Acar, who studies large-scale internet tracking at the Computer Security and Industrial Cryptography research group at the Department of Electrical Engineering of the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, said.
A section of an internal Jumpshot document obtained by Motherboard and PCMag. Motherboard has reconstructed the document rather than provide a direct screenshot.
De-anonymization becomes a greater concern when considering how the eventual end-users of Jumpshot's data could combine it with their own data.
"Most of the threats posed by de-anonymization'--where you are identifying people'--comes from the ability to merge the information with other data," Acar said. A set of Jumpshot data obtained by Motherboard and PCMag shows how each visited URL comes with a precise timestamp down to the millisecond, which could allow a company with its own bank of customer data to see one user visiting their own site, and then follow them across other sites in the Jumpshot data.
"It's almost impossible to de-identify data," Eric Goldman, a professor at the Santa Clara University School of Law, said. "When they promise to de-identify the data, I don't believe it."
Motherboard and PCMag asked Avast a series of detailed questions about how it protects user anonymity as well as details on some of the company's contracts. Avast did not answer most of the questions but wrote in a statement, "Because of our approach, we ensure that Jumpshot does not acquire personal identification information, including name, email address or contact details, from people using our popular free antivirus software."
"Users have always had the ability to opt out of sharing data with Jumpshot. As of July 2019, we had already begun implementing an explicit opt-in choice for all new downloads of our AV, and we are now also prompting our existing free users to make an explicit choice, a process which will be completed in February 2020," it said, adding that the company complies with the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and Europe's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) across its entire global user base.
"We have a long track record of protecting users' devices and data against malware, and we understand and take seriously the responsibility to balance user privacy with the necessary use of data," the statement added.
"It's almost impossible to de-identify data."
When PCMag installed Avast's antivirus product for the first time this month, the software did ask if they wanted to opt-in to data collection.
"If you allow it, we'll provide our subsidiary Jumpshot Inc. with a stripped and de-identified data set derived from your browsing history for the purpose of enabling Jumpshot to analyze markets and business trends and gather other valuable insights," the opt-in message read. The pop-up did not go into detail on how Jumpshot then uses this browsing data, however.
"The data is fully de-identified and aggregated and cannot be used to personally identify or target you. Jumpshot may share aggregated insights with its customers," the pop-up added.
Just a few days ago, the Twitter account for Avast subsidiary AVG tweeted, "Do you remember the last time you cleaned your #browser history? Storing your browsing history for a long time can take up memory on your device and can put your private info at risk."
Update: This piece has been updated to include a response from Sephora.
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Twitter suspends independent news outlet Zero Hedge - The Post Millennial
Sun, 02 Feb 2020 07:12
GamerGate may have happened four years ago, but it continues to be a subject of conversation'--at least among the journalists who owe any amount of social relevance to the event.
As I detailed extensively on Human Events, GamerGate galvanized the gaming community against censorship, corrupt journalism, and efforts to marginalize the core audience of video games. The event, which is described one-sidedly by journalists as a supposed attack on ''women, POC, and LGBTQ'' within the gaming industry, is once again being talked about after a left-leaning YouTuber supporter, Peter Coffin, observed how GamerGate impacted the two factions propped up by the six-year-old event.
He talked about how the anti-GamerGate faction is using the event to denigrate supporters of Bernie Sanders. Posting on Twitter, he wrote: ''The anti-Gamergate people who have remained liberal and are mobilizing against Bernie Sanders effectively demonstrates how the overall effect of GG was the cementing divisions between conservatives and liberals.''
''Gamergaters justifiably felt alienated by the neoliberal fetishization of feminism and the reductionism of politics to identity teams '' and powerful people with supremacy ideologies have worked a long time to subsume this alienation,'' he continued.
While Coffin's language is unnecessarily academic, it can be translated thusly: Supporters of GamerGate were alienated from their own space by activists. Described as ''misogynists,'' and ''bigots,'' these gamers were disenfranchised by social justice activists and game journalists who occupy mainstream platforms, who used the event to virtue signal and marginalize anyone who disagreed with them. Opportunistic figures from ''supremacy ideologies'' (i.e. the Alt-Right and the Red Pill/manosphere community) saw it as an opportunity to court marginalized individuals and convert them into their own ideologies, using GamerGate as a means to ''redpill'' them.
If you were anti-GamerGate, you were a ''progressive.'' If you supported it, you were knocked into the conservative camp regardless of your political beliefs. You were a harasser, a bigot, and a ''deplorable'' person. The divisions became further entrenched with the election of Donald Trump and the mainstream media's attempts to disenfranchise conservative voters. This remains true.
Even though those who supported GamerGate no longer talk about the subject and have long since abandoned the gaming press as anything but corrupt, game journalists continue to cling to relevance by bringing it up, and are now taking Coffin to task for daring to share his observations.
Sady Doyle, a vocal opponent of GamerGate and Salon writer, dismissed Coffin's points, to claim: ''TFW you neoliberally fetishize the idea that hordes of men not call you up late at night and threaten to murder you just because you put a lady in a video game.''
There's no evidence that anyone ever received late-night calls from ''hordes of men,'' but the narrative has already been set. GamerGate supporters, one and all, are bigoted white supremacist men who live in their grandma's basements who make harassing phone calls to female game developers because they hate seeing women in video games.
This is also the plot to the Law & Order SVU episode, Intimidation Game. It never happened in real life.
Doyle was joined by other journalists, including Leena Van Deventer, who claims ''Gamergate happened because a jilted f*ckwit wanted to outsource domestic violence on his ex. Sympathisers jumped on because they didn't want women to think they could do whatever they want.''
YouTuber Jack Saint described GamerGate as ''a group of mostly middle-class white dudes built an identity around 'geek culture' and didn't like feeling their hobbies were infiltrated by women/PoC/The Gays. it was the result of a culture that told people they could find identities via consumption.''
Fellow left-wing YouTuber Alexander Mixter, who now goes by ''they/them'' condemned Coffin's claims. He wrote: ''Rewriting goobergate as a white male class awakening has the dual function of rehabing GGrs outside right-wing crankery, & gives a more believable backstory, covering the unbelievable truth that it was all because a abusive dick set a mob of angry fash nerds to destroy his ex gf.''
New Republic journalist Libby C. Watson managed to drag the Washington Post's suspension of Felicia Sonmez following her comments Kobe Bryant's death as a ''gamergate style campaign from right-wing psychos'''--as if most of Kobe's fans are unhinged conservatives who also play video games.
Without proper context, it's possible to see GamerGate as a kneejerk reaction to everything feminine or ''diverse'' in the game industry'--and the presence of actual misogynists and racists who piggybacked onto the movement and used it as a label for their own hateful ideologies lends credence to this belief. But GamerGate was, by and large, a response to the corporate pinkwashing of feminism, virtue signalling by developers intending to court woke game journalists and the corruption of journalists who provide undue amounts of coverage for their friends' products (which just so happen to carry woke messaging) without proper disclosure.
Efforts by game journalists to protect individuals like game developer Zoe Quinn, who is accused of pocketing over $75,000 from Kickstarter backers for a game that never materialized, further entrenched GamerGate supporters' understanding that game journalists and their friends in the game industry are corrupt, and boldly so. The same thing can very easily be observed among the rest of the entertainment media, which took to condemning Joker as a movie about ''angry white males,'' sparking fears of an ''incel uprising'' following the movie's release in theaters. With so much information available at our fingertips, we needn't buy into the official narrative put forth by game journalists when the truth itself is as plain as day.
CFPB head tells Supreme Court agency is unconstitutional
Sun, 02 Feb 2020 07:11
Signage is displayed inside the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) headquarters in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Monday, March 4, 2019.
Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images
The head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau now believes that the financial regulator she leads is unconstitutionally structured.
CFPB Director Kathleen Kraninger notified senior lawmakers on Tuesday that the bureau had determined that the law that established the agency in the wake of the financial crisis gave her too much independence. That brings her position in line with the one adopted by the Department of Justice in March 2017.
"Mindful of the Bureau's role as an Executive agency within the Executive Branch [...] I have decided that the Bureau should adopt the Department of Justice's view," Kraninger wrote in letters to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.
She noted that the Department of Justice, on behalf of the bureau, had formally filed a brief with the Supreme Court including her new position.
While the Justice Department had earlier said the CFPB was unconstitutional, the bureau had continued to defend itself against court challenges. In the Supreme Court brief, Solicitor General Noel Francisco said, "the Director has reconsidered that position."
Kraninger assumed leadership of the CFPB in late 2018 after facing heavy scrutiny from consumer advocates including Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Democratic presidential contender. Kraninger said during her nomination process that she believed "the ultimate question of the constitutionality of the Bureau's structure is one for Congress or the courts to resolve."
The case the brief was filed in connection with is Seila Law v. CFPB. Seila Law, a California law firm, is challenging the single-director structure of the bureau. Unlike the heads of some other agencies, the director of the CFPB can be removed by the president only for cause.
In its brief with the Supreme Court, the Justice Department urged the justices to take up the case and find the structure of the agency unconstitutional. But, it said, it would be possible to limit the power of the agency's director without scrapping it altogether.
Kraninger wrote in her letter to lawmakers that even if the court finds that the structure of the agency is unconstitutional, it should remain "fully operative."
"My determination that the for-cause removal provision is unconstitutional does not affect my commitment to fulfilling the Bureau's statutory responsibilities," she added.
Though the Justice Department had previously said it determined the CFPB to be unconstitutional, this is the first time it has asked the top court to review the matter in a particular case.
The CFPB regulates financial companies such as banks and credit unions. As of 2017, the bureau said it had returned $12 billion in financial relief to consumers. Its enforcement actions have been curtailed under President Donald Trump.
Warren, who originally proposed the CFPB, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
' Chart: The U.S. Cities With The Most Homeless People | Statista
Sun, 02 Feb 2020 06:57
Homelessness The U.S. Cities With The Most Homeless People Over half a million Americans are currently homeless. After a period of progress and decline, the U.S. homeless population has increased slightly by three percent according to a report from the Department of Housing and Urban Development. It now stands at 567,715 with 63 percent of that total living in sheltered accommodation. The national increase is primarily due to a leap in homelessness in California where it grew 16.4 percent between 2018 and 2019.
More than half of all unsheltered homeless people in the U.S. - some 53 percent - are in California. That's nearly nine times as many as the state with the second-highest total of unsheltered homeless which is Florida. Homelessness is primarily an urban issue and more than half of the homeless population is scattered across the country's 50 biggest cities. Nearly a quarter of them live in just two cities - New York and Los Angeles. Despite its considerable homeless population, New York can at least claim that the vast majority of its rough sleepers are given sheltered accommodation with only 4.4 percent estimated to be living on the streets. The same cannot be said of the state of California where 71.7 percent of all homeless people are unsheltered.
The following infographic shows the top-10 worst cities for homelessness across the U.S. with New York in first place with 78,604. It's important to mention that in this comparison, the data is broken down by CoC - those are Continuums of Care that are local planning bodies coordinating responses to the issue. Los Angeles is in second place with over 56,000 while Seattle/King County comes third with 11,199.
Description This chart shows CoCs with the largest numbers of people experiencing homelessness in 2019.
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California Is Building Lots To Contain "Thousands" Living In Their Cars Across The State | Zero Hedge
Sun, 02 Feb 2020 06:56
Today in "news you won't hear from liberal American news organizations", it was reported this week that "thousands" of homeless California residents are being forced to live in their cars, amidst a growing housing crisis in the state.
California accounts for nearly half of the country's homeless population. Ah, the sweet success of high taxes and liberal policies.
Even better is the solution that some California cities are implementing to try and deal with the issue. According to a report by France 24 news, several cities are now encouraging the practice, setting up parking lots where homeless people can "more securely" spend the night.
France 24 news interviewed several people in one lot, including a deliveryman who doesn't make enough money to rent his own apartment. "Each car represents someone's home," the report notes about this lot outside of San Diego.
One former homeless man, George Harris, actually turned the idea into a business, accruing 13 minivans which he has parked in various areas around Venice Beach, that he rents each for $300 per month. Each van comes with its own mattress, he told a reporter proudly.
The vans have to be moved every 3 days to avoid getting towed and Harris is actually fighting the city ordinance that requires this in order to try and get permission to keep people living in vans throughout the city. Residents throughout the city seem unamused by the practice.
"I called the police on one of his clients because the guy was defecating and urinating," one resident said about a van parked outside of her home.
"Totally false," Harris interrupted during the middle of her interview. "They make up stories about the van people."
You can watch the full report here:
Climate change poses threat to future Super Bowls in Miami - MarketWatch
Sun, 02 Feb 2020 06:33
The forecast for the Super Bowl in Miami is grim.
Clear skies and temperature in the 60s are expected when the game kicks off, so weather won't be a problem.
But climate change likely will be, sooner or later. The sea and temperature are rising, posing a threat to South Floridians' way of life, including their customary spot in the NFL's Super Bowl rotation.
The game will be played Sunday in Miami for the 11th time, the most of any city. Given the changing climate, how much longer will the region be a place where the NFL wants to bring its big party?
Read: Pass the cocktail wieners: This map shows the most-Googled Super Bowl food in every state
''In 10 years maybe we'll still be functioning normally,'' said Harold Wanless, a leading expert on sea level rise in South Florida. ''Twenty years? I think that could be a problem.''
The Miami Dolphins' stadium, the site of the Super Bowl this year for the sixth time, stands 10 feet above sea level. That will change, although projections vary widely.
Miami first hosted a Super Bowl 52 years ago. What will Miami be doing 52 years from now?
''We just don't know how fast the water is going to rise,'' said South Miami Mayor Philip Stoddard, who has long been sounding the alarm about climate change.
At some point, the time for games will end. Wanless, director of the University of Miami's geological sciences department (elevation 13 feet), and other scientists have warned the sea in South Florida could rise by up to 30 feet by the end of the century.
Read: Super Bowl 2020 tickets now cost an average of $10,000
That's a first down's worth of water, an amount so difficult to fathom that Wanless prefers to emphasize a more conservative projection of 8.4 to 13.7 feet by 2100.
And long before seawater begins lapping at the base of Dan Marino's statue near the Dolphins' stadium entrance, life in Miami could become less than super.
With a sea level rise of 2 feet '-- which Wanless considers possible before 2040 '-- failing sewage treatment plants and flooded septic systems could become a serious problem. Street flooding would disrupt transportation, and the area would be at increased risk of catastrophe from hurricanes.
Obstacles to future Super Bowls in Miami might surface first not at the stadium, but in Biscayne Bay.
''Creep of fecal matter into the bay is going to make the area inhospitable, because you can't swim in the water. That is already happening now,'' said Albert Gomez, co-founder of the Miami Climate Alliance, a grassroots group focused on policy. ''Would you want to go to Miami when the bays are full of fecal matter? Are you going to want to have a Super Bowl if you don't have that under control?''
Even if sewage and septic tanks don't spoil fun in the South Florida sun, a rising sea will alter the landscape.
Read: James Murdoch slams Fox and News Corp over climate-change coverage
''Are people going to want to come to a beach if there is no beach?'' Wanless said. ''Which will happen. At least the beach won't be where you want it.''
Another harbinger could be frequent flooding in low-lying areas. High tide in Miami Beach already causes problems.
''The issue will be if the hotel districts and transportation are compromised,'' Stoddard said. ''That's my big concern.''
Read: 10 ads to watch for on Super Bowl Sunday
Rising temperatures are a lesser worry, although Gomez said extreme heat might someday make South Florida unsuitable for football. He pointed to a projection of 200 days above 95 degrees annually 50 years from now.
For the NFL, climate change won't be just a Miami problem. The Jacksonville Jaguars' stadium sits on the banks of the St. Johns River at an elevation of 3 feet. The New Orleans Superdome is also at 3 feet. The Jets and Giants play home games 7 feet above sea level in New Jersey.
South Florida is built on porous limestone, which makes adaptation to a higher ocean especially difficult. And because the topography is so flat, challenges will be widespread. With a rise of 12 feet, high tide would cover 97 percent of Miami-Dade County, Wanless said.
The Miami Beach Convention Center (elevation 7 feet) is the site of this year's Super Bowl Experience interactive theme park. The city, built on barrier islands between Biscayne Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, is already spending millions of dollars to raise streets, upgrade storm drainage and otherwise adapt to the changing climate.
''We're at the tip of the spear,'' Mayor Dan Gelber said. ''We're going to feel it before others.''
But Gelber, a Democrat, is optimistic Miami Beach can continue to host Super Bowl events half a century from now.
''In 50 years our roads may be a little higher and our pump system may be engineered differently, but we will be dry and happy,'' he said. ''All of this is very surmountable. We're a man-made island to begin with. You can adapt to these new challenges, but you have to adapt. You don't want to wait until you're under water.''
Also sanguine is Ben Kirtman, professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Miami. He said state and local governments increasingly acknowledge the need to reduce emissions and adapt to a rising sea.
Read: These are the favorite charitable causes of the world's wealthiest families '-- and climate change is NOT one of them
Kirtman said the NFL could play a role with its big bullhorn.
''This is an existential threat to much of Miami,'' he said. ''If the NFL shined a little light on that, that would be extremely helpful in shifting attitudes.''
NFL Green has promoted environmentally friendly Super Bowl initiatives for 26 years. Projects this year included urban gardens and recycling, and the league teamed in Miami with Ocean Conservancy to raise awareness about ocean issues.
The Dolphins have virtually eliminated single-use plastics at their stadium.
''More and more, climate change is on the NFL's radar,'' said Susan Groh, who works for the league's environmental program as a consultant. ''Any new projects we've suggested, they've always been supportive.''
When asked how concerned the NFL was about climate change making Miami a less appealing Super Bowl site, league spokesman Brian McCarthy said: ''We will work with the Dolphins as they focus on working on local issues.''
The Miami Super Bowl Host Committee, however, has yet to address the challenges a changing climate will present when the group tries to bring future games to South Florida.
''We've had no discussion of that,'' committee chairman Rodney Barreto said. ''It has not been on our radar at this point.''
But for the Super Bowl in Miami, the clock is running, and no one knows how much time is left.
Stoneman Douglas players take part in Super Bowl rehearsal
Sun, 02 Feb 2020 06:26
Updated: Sat 4:08 PM, Feb 01, 2020
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) - The football players from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland, Florida got to play starring roles in the dress rehearsal for the Super Bowl at Hard Rock Stadium.
Stoneman Douglas is the school where 17 people were killed by a gunman on Feb. 14, 2018.
The players took the field to run plays so Fox television crews could check camera angles, and even filled in during a dry run of the coin toss.
Some also got the chance to meet anthem singer Demi Lovato.
Copyright 2020 Associated Press. All rights reserved.
Clucking hell! New outbreak of BIRD FLU sees thousands of chickens culled in coronavirus-stricken China '-- RT World News
Sun, 02 Feb 2020 06:22
As China grapples with the rampant Wuhan coronavirus, another sickness has broken out in the country: the deadly H5N1 bird flu.
The outbreak took place at a farm near Shaoyang city, in China's central Hunan province, the country's Ministry of Agriculture announced on Saturday. 4,500 of the farm's 7,850 chickens have died from the illness, and local authorities have culled nearly 20,000 birds to contain its spread.
H5N1 is an avian flu virus that causes severe respiratory disease in birds, and is contagious to humans. No human victims have yet been reported, but the World Health Organization (WHO) states that more than 350 people have died from the virus since it first spread to humans in Hong Kong in the late 1990s.
Also on rt.com Russia stops processing Chinese work visas & scraps visa-free travel amid coronavirus epidemic H5N1 is a far deadlier virus to those who contract it. Nearly 60 percent of H5N1 patients die after contracting the sickness, compared to two percent of Wuhan coronavirus (2019 nCoV) patients thus far.
Hunan province is bordered to the north by Hubei province, whose capital city, Wuhan, is the epicenter of the current coronavirus epidemic. Believed to have jumped from animals to humans at a market in the city last month, the coronavirus has since since spread to every region of China and to more than 25 other countries worldwide. 250 patients have been confirmed dead and nearly 12,000 more infected in China. So far, no patients abroad have died.
The outbreak has prompted multiple countries '' including the United States, Australia, and Vietnam '' to restrict entry to travelers from China, and a number of international airlines to suspend flights to and from the country. Russia has temporarily shut the Far Eastern border with its neighbor, halted visa-free travel for tourist groups and stopped processing Chinese work visas.
Also on rt.com 'Virus control beyond standards': China warns countries against spreading havoc as more borders shut & flights canceled worldwide A number of multinational corporations '' including Toyota, Apple, Google and Starbucks '' have shuttered their operations in China due to the virus.
In addition to the human cost of the outbreak, the coronavirus has hammered world stock markets, and could cost the Chinese economy $60 billion this quarter, according to some estimates.
Ecuador's Moreno backpedals after suggesting women only report harassment by 'UGLY people' '-- RT World News
Sun, 02 Feb 2020 06:16
Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno has been targeted by Twitter's warriors after claiming that women only report harassment from unattractive men. His defenders suggested that those furious apparently totally lack sense of humor.
Speaking at a conference in Ecuador's second-largest city, Guayaquil, Moreno told attendees that women have subjective criteria when it comes to reporting alleged harassment.
"That is to say, it is 'harassment' when it comes from an ugly person," he said. "But if the person is good looking... they usually do not think it is harassment."
He also suggested that men are constantly at risk of being falsely accused of harassment by women.
Also on rt.com Surrendering to the 'woke army'? Hallmark apologizes after pulling ad featuring same-sex wedding His comments sparked a predictable avalanche of outrage on social media, with Twitter users queuing to fire verbal volleys at the Ecuadorian leader.
Ecuadorians accused their president of trivializing sexual harassment and violence against women, with some even imploring Moreno to leave office before he damages their country further.
The backlash prompted an apology from the president, who wrote that he "did not intend to minimize an issue as serious as violence or abuse," and apologized if his comments were "understood that way."
However, some people argued that the mini-scandal was overblown. Several women responded to his comments by arguing that the president was clearly joking, and that there was no need to politicize something so trivial.
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Iowa Will Have 4 Sets of Results. Here's How The Times Will Declare a Winner. - The New York Times
Sun, 02 Feb 2020 06:00
Updated Feb. 1, 2020
The Latest As the primary season kicks off, a Democratic race that began as a contest of ideas and ideologies has given way to a fixation on electability. We analyzed the stump speeches the 2020 Democrats are giving in Iowa. Here's a breakdown of their final pitches before the caucuses. State of the Race Bernie Sanders has gained substantial ground recently, overtaking Joe Biden in Iowa and nipping at his national lead. Here's our polling tracker. Meet the Candidates Learn more about the top-polling Democratic presidential contenders. Joe Biden Michael R. Bloomberg Pete Buttigieg Tulsi Gabbard Amy Klobuchar Bernie Sanders Tom Steyer Elizabeth Warren Andrew Yang Keep Up With Our Coverage Get an email recapping the day's news Download our mobile app on iOS and Android and turn on Breaking News and Politics alerts
The Final Scramble Before the Iowa Caucuses
Sun, 02 Feb 2020 05:49
Senator Amy Klobuchar spoke at the Cedar Falls Women's Club on Saturday. Credit... Pete Marovich for The New York Times DES MOINES '-- Less than 48 hours from now, hundreds of thousands of Iowans will gather in schools and churches and libraries and gymnasiums, from the Mississippi River to the Missouri, and participate in the first nominating contest of the 2020 election.
At that point, all the candidates will be able to do is wait: for the verdict and, they hope, for one of those elusive ''tickets out of Iowa.''
But for now, they are trying to make the most of the few hours in which their Iowa fates are still, sort of, in their hands.
A highly anticipated poll of Iowa Democrats, set to be released two days before the presidential caucuses, was shelved on Saturday night after complaints about irregularities in the methodology.
The concerns, raised by aides to former Mayor Pete Buttigieg, prompted CNN to cancel an hourlong special organized to release the results of the survey, conducted with the Des Moines Register.
David Chalian, CNN's political director, said on-air that CNN and The Register had decided ''out of an abundance of caution'' not to release the poll after the network learned of a potential problem with the way the survey was conducted.
The survey is considered the gold standard for polling in the notoriously hard-to-predict state and is carefully watched as an early indicator of strength in the caucuses.
Senator Bernie Sanders held his final rally of the day in Cedar Rapids. Credit... Hilary Swift for The New York Times CEDAR RAPIDS '-- Bernie Sanders closed out his night with a huge concert in Cedar Rapids, featuring Vampire Weekend.
The arena was packed, with fog machines creating a delicate haze.
Mr. Sanders delivered his familiar stump speech, touching on ''Medicare for all,'' a $15 minimum wage, tuition-free public college and other progressive policies he has championed.
''People have been demanding an agenda that works for workers, not just the 1 percent,'' he said. ''That's what this campaign is about.''
But if his remarks were routine, the atmosphere was not. The crowd was electric, cheering his every proposal. It has become a clich(C) to describe his voice as booming, but it reverberated around the arena.
His was a campaign with energy on Saturday night. But not everyone who came to the event was there to see him.
''I'm here for the music and here for the party,'' said Doug Uridil, 48, a heating and air conditioning contractor from Cedar Rapids.
WATERLOO '-- Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. lamented the actions of Senate Republicans who ensured that Mr. Trump would be acquitted in his Senate trial at his final event of the day.
Mr. Biden, who represented Delaware in the Senate for decades, said that he ''was proud to serve in that organization. One of the greatest honors of my life. But folks, it's not the Congress I know. Not the Senate I know.''
He referenced Republicans who have expressed concerns about Mr. Trump's actions that led to his impeachment, but have, in Mr. Biden's view, excused him anyway.
''I find that kind of fascinating,'' he said.
Still, as he often does, Mr. Biden insisted that consensus was still possible.
The former vice president also went on a riff about American exceptionalism, praising the country's diversity and saying that in contrast to other nations that may be defined by religion or ethnicity, America is defined by an ''idea.''
And he revived a clash over health care, implicitly suggesting that Senator Bernie Sanders's far-reaching policy proposals '-- and what Mr. Biden characterized as a lack of specificity around them '-- amount to an electoral liability.
''Good people on our team had these incredibly good ideas,'' he said. ''I wonder why they don't know how much it's going to cost with 'Medicare for all.' How much it's going to cost to forgive all student debt.''
Health care, in particular, has been a major flashpoint between Mr. Sanders, who champions ''Medicare for all,'' and Mr. Biden, who wants to add a public option to the health care system and to build on Obamacare.
"We have to beat Donald Trump,'' he said. ''And the one thing we can't do is end up not being straight with the American people. He'll eat you alive. Eat us alive. Tell it straight. Tell the people what it's going to cost. Why it's important.''
Pete Buttigieg in Waterloo on Saturday. Credit... Todd Heisler/The New York Times DES MOINES '-- CNN abruptly canceled a special Saturday night broadcast of the results of a new Des Moines Register poll of Iowa caucusgoers, according to a network official, after complaints from Pete Buttigieg's campaign that his name was not included in at least one of their telephone calls for its poll this week.
It was not immediately clear whether the results of the highly anticipated poll would be released.
The Register and CNN were expected to announce the results of the highly anticipated poll around 9 p.m. Eastern Saturday as part of a special broadcast on the cable channel. Shortly before 9 p.m., the CNN chyrons promoting the special were taken down, creating uncertainty about the poll's release.
According to a senior official on Mr. Buttigieg's campaign, an Iowa supporter of Mr. Buttigieg received a poll phone call from an operator working for Ann Selzer, who runs the Register's famed Iowa Poll, but the name of the former mayor of South Bend, Ind., was not listed on the menu of candidate options.
This supporter then relayed what had happened to Mr. Buttigieg's campaign, which contacted Ms. Selzer about it. But the Buttigieg aide, who requested anonymity to discuss a private conversation, said the pollster offered little information about how many surveys the former mayor and one-time Iowa front-runner was left off.
Ms. Selzer did not immediately respond to an email regarding whether she still planned to release the survey.
Early Saturday evening, a researcher who works on the poll at Selzer & Company, the pollster, had said the poll was still going to be released and that there were no issues with the results.
CEDAR RAPIDS '-- At Pete Buttigieg's campaign stops, the hard sell is an unsubtle reminder of another Midwesterner with an interesting name who won the hearts of Iowa Democrats.
The former mayor of South Bend, Ind., rarely mentions Barack Obama by name, but he doesn't have to. Like early adopters of a band that later became big, Iowa Democrats remain immensely proud, 12 years after Mr. Obama won an upset victory in the 2008 caucuses that propelled him to the White House.
Now Mr. Buttigieg and his key surrogates are laying it on thick, describing his candidacy as the second coming of Mr. Obama, needing only a victory in Monday's caucuses as the final piece before he's embraced by the rest of the country.
''The great thing about Iowa is you have a knack for changing what people think is possible about presidential politics,'' he says at the close of his events. Iowa, he says, gave the rest of the country ''permission'' to believe that Mr. Obama could really win the presidency, and would do the same for him if he wins too.
Representative Dave Loebsack of Iowa, Mr. Buttigieg's highest profile endorser in the state, told the Saturday night crowd at a hotel on the fast-growing outskirts of Cedar Rapids that Iowans could feel the same pride in picking Mr. Buttigieg as they do for Mr. Obama.
''In December 2007 I decided to go with a pretty young guy who had a pretty funny name and he turned out pretty well as president,'' Mr. Loebsack said. ''Once I could stand in front of audiences and say, 'Pete Buttigieg,' that's when I decided to go with him.''
Senator Amy Klobuchar spoke at the Cedar Falls Women's Club on Saturday. Credit... Pete Marovich for The New York Times CEDAR FALLS '-- Speaking at her third event of the day roughly 90 minutes from the Iowa-Minnesota border, Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota boasted of her victories in the southern part of her state as an argument for her potential in the Iowa caucuses.
''One issue that unites everyone is winning,'' she said in a crowded hall at the Women's Club here. ''This is my last pitch for you: I've won every race, every place, every time.''
She continued to list those places: ''the most rural districts, including the one bordering Iowa, by big margins.'' She pointed to carrying northern regions of the state currently represented by Republicans.
''I even have won in Michele Bachmann's district,'' she proclaimed, much to the delight of the crowd.
Although, as she spoke of being a uniquely qualified Midwestern unifier '-- ''I'm the only candidate on that debate stage that asked to be on the Agriculture Committee'' '-- she may have alienated a smaller segment of the voting population: sports marketers.
As she argued for reimagining education to meet jobs her administration would create, like nurses or electricians, Ms. Klobuchar added, ''We are not going to have a shortage of sports marketing degrees.'' She paused. ''I know that somebody here probably has one or has a kid that has one, so I've lost your vote,'' she said. ''I'm sorry.''
Vampire Weekend performed a short acoustic set at a coffee shop in Iowa City, during a campaign stop for Senator Bernie Sanders. Credit... Hilary Swift for The New York Times DES MOINES '-- Amid the campaigning and the schmoozing, the baby-kissing and hand-shaking, the political world prepared for a big arrival in Iowa on Saturday night.
No, it's not another candidate jumping into the race. Or even a major surrogate (ahem, President Barack Obama).
Highly anticipated by campaigns, reporters and operatives, the final Des Moines Register/CNN survey is an annual rite of passage in the first-in-the-nation caucus state.
Iowans typically finalize their choices late in the campaign, often deciding whom to support in the days before the caucuses occur.
The late-breaking nature of the state's political culture lends the poll outsized influence, with the power to fuel a last minute surge in the state or can be an early dirge for candidates who are struggling.
Last month's release showed Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont edging ahead of his Democratic rivals, with 20 percent, Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts at 17 percent, former Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., at 16 percent, and former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. at 15 percent.
Many will be looking to see whether Mr. Sanders, who seems to have momentum heading into Monday evening's caucuses, has expanded his lead.
The poll, conducted by respected Iowa-based pollster J. Ann Selzer, is renowned for its ability to predict the notoriously unpredictable caucuses.
Her final poll in 2008 showed Barack Obama leading Hillary Clinton and then-Senator John Edwards, correctly anticipating a turnout surge that caught Ms. Clinton's campaign by surprise.
This year, CNN is devoting an hour of breathless coverage to the poll's release.
Joseph R. Biden Jr. held a campaign event at Roosevelt Middle School in Cedar Rapids. Credit... Jordan Gale for The New York Times CEDAR RAPIDS '-- As Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. neared the end of the rope line at his afternoon event here, shaking hands and taking pictures, he encountered Jaimee Warbasse, a hairstylist from Cedar Rapids who was still undecided.
Ms. Warbasse had been excited for Mr. Biden to enter the race and told him so, she recalled in an interview. She also told him that she hadn't made up her mind, and asked what he would say to sway voters like her.
''If I haven't swayed you today, then I can't sway you,'' Mr. Biden said.
''Look, I never say anything I can't do,'' he added. ''Everything I say, I've done, and everything I talk about is authentic. Now, if you don't like what I'm talking about, I understand. You can be for somebody else. But ask yourself, who is going to be able to unite the country? How can Pete do that? How can Bernie do that? And so ask yourself that question.''
Mr. Biden said that he trusted Ms. Warbasse's judgment and encouraged her to pick ''whoever you feel in your heart and in your head.''
He also took an implicit swipe at Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, suggesting that he exaggerates about how to pay for expansive policy proposals.
''I do what I say and I don't lie,'' he said. ''I don't mislead. And I tell the truth about how much things are going to cost, and I tell you who's going to pay for it. And so if that's important, take a look at me. I'd like to earn your vote.''
It didn't work.
''He 100 percent could have swayed me, and I was hoping that he would and he did not,'' Ms. Warbasse said after.
She had started the campaign skeptical of Mr. Sanders '-- ''oh my God, he is too old,'' she said of her view at the time. But she said she found Mr. Biden's campaign message ''very generic.''
She was also once interested in Senator Elizabeth Warren, but her exchange with Mr. Sanders on the debate stage last month over who was being truthful regarding a private conversation ''put a stain in my mouth.''
''If she can't handle that, I know she can't handle Trump,'' Ms. Warbasse said.
And so, after the Biden event here ended, she concluded that if she were caucusing today, it would probably be for Mr. Sanders.
A billboard for Representative Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii near Davenport. She has not held events in Iowa for her presidential campaign in recent weeks, focusing instead on New Hampshire. Credit... Pete Marovich for The New York Times DES MOINES '-- If you're expecting a clear-cut result on Monday night '-- this candidate won, this candidate was second, this one third '-- you might want to adjust those expectations.
In past years, the Iowa Democratic Party reported only one set of numbers: how many delegates each candidate had won, a measure technically called state delegate equivalents, or S.D.E.s. But this year, they will report S.D.E.s alongside two other numbers: the first alignment (raw supporter totals at the beginning of the caucuses) and the final alignment (totals after nonviable candidates are eliminated and their supporters move to their second choices).
Technically, the delegates are still what counts. But campaigns will be able to use the first and final alignments to spin the results if they think those numbers make them look stronger, which means more than one candidate could leave Iowa claiming victory.
Most news organizations, including The New York Times, will use state delegate equivalents to declare a winner, and so will several campaigns. But representatives for two candidates '-- Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and the former hedge fund executive Tom Steyer '-- told us they considered the first alignment the most important measure.
People stood on chairs to catch a glimpse of Pete Buttigieg during his rally in Waterloo. Credit... Todd Heisler/The New York Times While most of the Democratic field barnstormed Iowa on Saturday, former Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of New York, who is not competing in the state, released a tax plan from afar.
His plan would raise roughly $5 trillion in new revenue from corporations and wealthy Americans, including by taxing an extra 5 percent on income over $5 million and increasing capital gains taxes for millionaires. But it is significantly less aggressive than many other candidates' plans.
In particular, Mr. Bloomberg is not calling for a wealth tax, which Senator Bernie Sanders, Senator Elizabeth Warren and the former hedge fund executive Tom Steyer have all endorsed.
And while he called for repealing the 2017 Republican-backed tax cuts for wealthy Americans, he would only partly repeal the cuts given to corporations.
Mr. Bloomberg is not campaigning in the four early-voting states but he is polling as high as 10 percent nationally.
Supporters of Senator Bernie Sanders listened to him speak in Grinnell. Credit... Hilary Swift for The New York Times GRINNELL '-- During a quick stop with supporters at a coffee shop, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont again emphasized his ability to beat President Trump in November '-- but he did so lightheartedly.
''There is a lot of discussion, as you know, about electability '-- which candidate stands the best chance to defeat Donald Trump,'' he said. ''Let's do a scientific poll.''
He urged those in attendance to raise their hands if they thought he was the strongest candidate.
After surveying the room, he declared himself the winner ''based on a deep analysis and investigation of the American electorate.''
DUBUQUE '-- The former mayor of South Bend, Ind., opened his remarks at Loras College on Saturday with a paean to his hosts, calling Dubuque ''a river city that reminds me of my own home.''
Last summer during a stop in Mason City, he said his conversation with the mayor there had touched on job growth strategies. ''It's something that reminds me of home,'' he said.
And in July, he called Waterloo ''a community that very much reminds me of my home, a river town that's been up against a lot but is finding ways to grow in the 21st century.''
Even in Allendale, S.C., when taking a question from a voter in December about how to bring jobs back to an economically depressed county that is 73 percent black, Mr. Buttigieg said, ''it reminds me of our community in a way,'' recalling what had happened in South Bend after the Studebaker auto company left town.
A young girl watched as Senator Elizabeth Warren spoke in Cedar Rapids. Credit... Ruth Fremson/The New York Times CEDAR RAPIDS '-- Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., who had been delivering an animated version of his stump speech, was briefly knocked off course when someone needed medical attention.
After, he took a few minutes to get back into his rhythm, looking repeatedly at his notes. But he moved back into a more fiery mode as he sought to contrast President Trump's vision for the nation with his.
''I don't believe we're a nation that bows down to Vladimir Putin because I sure in hell '-- heck '-- will not,'' he declared.
He earned some of his loudest applause when he talked about taking on the National Rifle Association.
Throughout his speech, Mr. Biden pitched himself as the most experienced candidate in the race, emphasizing his record on matters including health care, climate change and guns.
''It's not enough to make promises,'' he said, drawing an implicit contrast with several of his rivals. ''You've got to keep them, but you also have to have a record to demonstrate you're able to get things done.''
Mr. Biden drew a fired-up crowd to Cedar Rapids. But not everyone in the room was from Iowa. As has been the case at many campaign events across Iowa in recent days, attendees have come from outside the state to see the political show up close.
In addition to the Delaware delegation Mr. Biden introduced toward the start of the event, former Secretary of State John Kerry, who represented Massachusetts in the Senate, noted that there was a group present from his state.
Mr. Kerry also said that since his New England Patriots were not competing in the Super Bowl, he would be rooting for the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, a remark that got a mixed reception from the crowd.
BOONE '-- A couple of hundred people packed a Mexican restaurant for Andrew Yang, who was running late.
Even though Mr. Yang may have difficulty reaching the 15 percent threshold required to earn delegates in many caucuses, his supporters seemed not to have settled on a second choice candidate to realign with in that scenario.
''I'm going to make up my mind on Monday,'' said A.J. Sorenson, who works in organic farming. He said the Yang campaign had not given its precinct leaders any guidance on this issue.
Logan Hull, a graduate student, said, ''I haven't given that much thought.'' When pressed, he named Pete Buttigieg. ''His military experience caught my eye. I have friends in the military who have the same kind of analysis he did after the death of General Suleimani,'' he added, discussing the aftermath of the American drone strike that killed the Iranian security and intelligence commander in early January.
But Ann Bacon, who runs a nonprofit group, did quickly name a second choice: ''Bernie.''
After Mr. Yang's signature universal basic income, she said her top issue was student debt. At 56, she was still in debt from her undergraduate degree.
''That's what did it," she said. ''I was a single mom as an undergrad, so student loans are what I lived on.''
When Mr. Yang took the stage, he expressed pleasure at the size of the crowd, asking how many people there were. ''I'm going to give a Trumpian answer,'' he said. ''There are at least 800 people.''
At the end of the appearance, Mr. Hull rose and said he had been a Republican in 2016 but since seeing Mr. Yang, he had flipped. ''I've never donated to a Democratic candidate before. I have $35 in my wallet. Can I give that to you now?''
DES MOINES '-- The Democratic National Committee released its latest debate qualification criteria on Friday, and as is tradition, some candidates think they're unfair.
But this time, it's for a different reason than usual: not because many candidates could be kept off the stage (though that's certainly true), but because one candidate in particular could be on it.
To make the debate in Nevada on Feb. 19, candidates can do one of two things: They can win one or more delegates in Iowa or New Hampshire, or they can meet a polling threshold (12 percent in two Nevada or South Carolina polls, or 10 percent in four national, Nevada or South Carolina polls). The longstanding requirement that candidates have a minimum number of donors is gone, which means for the first time, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of New York '-- who is neither fund-raising nor fighting for delegates in the first four states '-- could qualify.
Several candidates '-- including former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and the entrepreneur Andrew Yang '-- accused the D.N.C. of changing the rules midstream to benefit Mr. Bloomberg. They noted that the party had refused to do the same when it was candidates like Cory Booker and Julin Castro who were falling short.
Mr. Biden's response to the change: He doesn't even go here!
''They removed it so he could be in the next debate,'' Michael Moore, a surrogate for Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, declared at an event in Clive, Iowa, on Friday. ''He doesn't have to show he has any support among the American people.''
The D.N.C. argues that the polling requirement is sufficient to demonstrate support, and 10 percent in four recent national, Nevada or South Carolina polls is a pretty high bar in this race. Only Mr. Biden, Mr. Sanders and Ms. Warren have met it so far, and only two other candidates '-- former Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., and, yes, Mr. Bloomberg '-- have even one qualifying poll.
CEDAR RAPIDS '-- Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. began his second event of the day by introducing the Delaware crew that had turned out to support him here in the Iowa homestretch, including Senators Tom Carper and Chris Coons and Representative Lisa Blunt Rochester.
Spotting another friend in the crowd, he appeared so overjoyed as he interrupted himself to greet the man, that he acknowledged that he had lost his train of thought.
A member of the audience reminded him that he had just been praising Representative Abby Finkenauer, the Iowa Democrat who had introduced him.
His remarks came at a crowded, relatively small gym here and featured representation from the firefighters' union, which has backed Mr. Biden and includes some of his most vocal supporters.
Mr. Biden tends to respond to a crowd's energy '-- high or low '-- and he was fired up on Saturday afternoon.
Senator Bernie Sanders spoke during a town hall event in Indianola. Credit... Hilary Swift for The New York Times INDIANOLA '-- On the final weekend before the Iowa caucuses, Bernie Sanders made his most forceful case yet that he was the most electable candidate, saying that he would defeat President Trump in the general election because he could excite voters, speak to the working class and expose Mr. Trump's populist ''hypocrisy.''
''I believe very strongly '-- and no disrespect to my Democratic colleagues who are competing for the nomination, they are friends of mine '-- but I believe that we are the strongest campaign to defeat Trump, and I'll tell you why,'' he said, vowing to express himself ''bluntly.''
To beat Mr. Trump, he said, ''We need to have the largest voter turnout in American history.''
''If it is a low-turnout election, Trump will win,'' he said. ''And I believe that our campaign is the campaign of energy, is the campaign of excitement, is the campaign that can bring millions of people into the political process who normally do not vote.''
He said his campaign was reaching out in particular to working-class people ''to bring them into the political process'' and young people '-- two groups of people who typically have lower voter turnout. He said he could beat Mr. Trump ''because we are developing the strongest grass roots movement,'' stating as proof that his campaign had knocked on hundreds of thousands of doors in the final weeks of the Iowa campaign.
And, he said, he could beat Mr. Trump because he would show working-class people that Mr. Trump was not lifting them up as he had promised in his 2016 campaign, but keeping them down.
''I know we are going to defeat Trump because we have the agenda that speaks to the needs of working families,'' he said.
For much of his 2020 campaign, Mr. Sanders has been making a broad argument that he is the candidate who is best positioned to oust Mr. Trump. He went on a ''Bernie Beats Trump'' tour in Iowa in September, and his campaign frequently highlights polls showing him defeating Mr. Trump in a head-to-head match-up.
Mr. Trump, for his part, has increasingly targeted Mr. Sanders, and Republicans have attacked his self-described democratic socialism. But Mr. Sanders's remarks on Saturday represented his most direct appeal yet.
Iowans have been extraordinarily focused on selecting a candidate who can win in November, and many remain undecided because they are wary of making a mistake that could elevate an ultimately weak nominee.
Mr. Sanders's address cut to the core of this uncertainty, here in Iowa and elsewhere.
Senator Elizabeth Warren hugged Representative Ayanna S. Pressley during a rally in Cedar Rapids. Credit... Ruth Fremson/The New York Times CEDAR RAPIDS '-- Senator Elizabeth Warren kicked off her final blitz of campaign events Saturday afternoon, pitching herself as a candidate who can unite the Democratic Party's moderate and progressive factions.
At a house party Saturday, Ms. Warren's campaign debuted signs that read ''UNITE THE PARTY,'' a subtle suggestion that the campaigns of Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., who are leading in recent polls of Iowa Democrats, represent figures of the past.
Though Ms. Warren has fallen in those polls, her aides have touted their early investment in organizers in the state, who have created deep relationships that they hope pay dividends on caucus night.
The focus on unity was clear at her larger rally Saturday afternoon, which also featured Representative Ayanna S. Pressley of Massachusetts, one of her campaign co-chairs. In a rare diversion from her traditional stump speech, Ms. Warren started by thanking other candidates who were in the race, and the supporters who have talked with her throughout the campaign.
''I've heard from you,'' Ms. Warren said. ''You've pressed notes in my hand. You've told me about your lives and your issues. You've made me a better candidate.''
''We will '-- we must '-- come together as a party and defeat Donald Trump,'' Ms. Warren said. ''And I've got a plan for that.''
In another sign of Ms. Warren's urgency in the final days, her campaign diverted from the tried-and-true picture line she has held at every event. Instead, Ms. Warren jetted to her next event in Iowa City, and her golden retriever stayed for pictures.
''He's been working on his smile, he's ready '-- he's ready,'' Ms. Warren said of her dog, Bailey.
Ms. Warren is set to end her day with an event in Davenport, an Iowa town in the eastern portion of the state. Ms. Warren's campaign also announced new events on Sunday, including a rally in Ames.
Ms. Warren also ended her event with a plea for Democrats to unite. She referenced the candidates who have dropped out the race, and said she was proud many on their campaign staffs had joined her campaign.
''I've been building a campaign from the beginning,'' she said. ''That's not a campaign that says us, nobody else. It's a campaign that says, come on in.''
Joseph R. Biden Jr. at a community event in North Liberty on Saturday. Credit... Jordan Gale for The New York Times DES MOINES '-- The Biden campaign sent its top donors a private memo on Friday touting that January had been the campaign's ''strongest month of fund-raising since launch.'' There were no numbers revealed in the memo.
But that one fact, combined with a fresh batch of fund-raising figures filed with the Federal Election Commission on Friday, provides a road map to estimate about how much Mr. Biden raised in the crucial last month before the Iowa caucuses.
Mr. Biden's best month of fund-raising came when he entered the race in April 2019, according to an analysis of Federal Election Commission records from the Biden campaign and ActBlue, a main online donation processing platform for Democrats. He raised approximately $9.7 million that month.
But a Biden campaign official clarified that the ''best month'' figure was not including that first month. Since then, Mr. Biden's best month was October 2019, when he raised approximately $7.9 million.
So the math: Mr. Biden raised somewhere between $8 million and $9.7 million in January 2020.
Mr. Biden had entered January at a financial disadvantage to his leading rivals, with $8.9 million cash on hand '-- less than half of the $18.2 million that Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont had in the bank, even as Mr. Sanders had spent more than twice as much as Mr. Biden, $50.1 million, in the previous three months, according to reports filed on Friday.
Only one candidate has voluntarily disclosed his or her January fund-raising so far: the businessman Andrew Yang, who raised $6.7 million.
The memo also listed some new members of Mr. Biden's national finance committee: Penny Pritzker, Jane Hartley, Marc Lasry, Mark Gallogly, Blair Effron, Alex Heckler and Rufus Gifford.
DES MOINES '-- If you're on Twitter and paying attention to the presidential campaign, chances are you know of Iowa Starting Line. It's less than five years old, with six staff members, but its bare-bones operation now rivals The Des Moines Register in influence.
''If I want to know what's happening on the ground in Iowa, I'm clicking on The Register or Iowa Starting Line, and not necessarily in that order,'' Tim Alberta, Politico's chief political correspondent, said.
Iowa Starting Line's Twitter feed, which has more than 27,000 followers, is a constant stream of video clips and quotes from campaign events '-- and scoops. Read more about it below.
NORTH LIBERTY '-- In a private memo circulated to donors on Friday, the Biden campaign announced that it had hired Dave Huynh as the campaign's delegate adviser.
Mr. Huynh, known as ''Delegate Dave'' in political circles for his expertise in delegate math, previously worked for Senator Kamala Harris's presidential campaign as well as for Hillary Clinton.
The hire signals the extent to which the campaign is preparing for a drawn-out contest.
''The VP remains in a strong position to perform well in the first four states and on Super Tuesday, but we're also planning for an extended process into the summer,'' wrote Greg Schultz, Mr. Biden's campaign manager, projecting a ''tight race'' in Iowa and New Hampshire.
For months the campaign downplayed Mr. Biden's chances here in Iowa, but it has invested heavily in the state more recently.
Mr. Schultz went on to predict that Mr. Biden would be ''competitive'' in Iowa and argue that he ''outperforms the field in the states that are more reflective of the diversity of the overall Democratic primary electorate than Iowa and New Hampshire.'' Mr. Schultz cited polling in Nevada and South Carolina and opportunities the campaign sees on Super Tuesday, when a slate of states with sizable African-American populations will vote.
Mr. Biden has landed endorsements from a number of prominent leaders in key Super Tuesday states, but some of his allies are privately anxious about a possible threat from former Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of New York, who is heavily focused on those contests.
''Monday's contest begins the process,'' Mr. Schultz wrote. ''It doesn't end it.''
DES MOINES '-- The candidates give them every day, often multiple times a day, and in some cases so consistently that the reporters who follow them from event to event can practically recite them from memory. Yes, we're talking about stump speeches.
The Times annotated six of them to give you a better sense of how the candidates have tried to appeal to Iowans in the final days and weeks before the caucuses.
OELWEIN '-- The quadrennial invasion of Iowa by out-of-state college students, busloads of tour groups and the foreign press is in full effect and Pete Buttigieg is happy to oblige.
Already this week he's taken questions about Pacific Rim defense policies from an Australian reporter, on climate change from students from Appalachian State University and, on Saturday morning in Waterloo, a question about how he'd win from a French television journalist.
''En fran§ais,'' the reporter interjected during an otherwise English-only gaggle with reporters.
This reporter's high school French was not adequate enough to translate the rest of his question. But Mr. Buttigieg responded just slowly enough to be understood.
''In the recent history of my party,'' Mr. Buttigieg said in French, ''we have won when we have a candidate with a new vision.''
A few minutes later, when asked by an American reporter why he thinks it would be a risk for Democrats to nominate former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., Mr. Buttigieg said pretty much the same thing.
''In looking at the lessons of history, our party wins when we have a nominee who is looking to the future,'' Mr. Buttigieg said in English. ''That's been almost an iron law of presidential elections across the last half century. I recognize that this may be a unique election, but I certainly think we should remember those lessons in an election that we absolutely cannot afford to lose.''
Andrew Yang after an event in Iowa City on Wednesday. Credit... Tom Brenner/Getty Images DES MOINES '-- Andrew Yang, the former tech entrepreneur, raised more than $6.7 million in January, his campaign said on Saturday, becoming the first candidate to reveal his fund-raising haul for the month. Of that amount, he raised $1.2 million on Jan. 31.
The sum comes atop the $16.5 million Mr. Yang raised in the fourth quarter that vaulted him closer to the race's leaders in terms of fund-raising. Despite those funds, Mr. Yang fell short of qualifying for the debate in January in Iowa, where he is wrapping up a 17-day bus trip ahead of Monday's caucuses.
''We've carried our momentum from the previous quarter into the new year as we head into the Iowa caucuses, and now we're in a prime position to compete on the ground and over the airwaves,'' Nick Ryan, the campaign chief, said in a statement.
Mr. Yang has already qualified for the next debate in New Hampshire and his support from online donors '-- whom he calls the Yang Gang '-- has not slowed. His campaign said more than 70 percent of the money he raised came from online donations of less than $200.
In Federal Election Commission filings on Friday, Mr. Yang entered 2020 with the least cash on hand of the candidates who have qualified for the next debate: $3.7 million.
John Kerry spoke at a community event for Joseph R. Biden Jr. in North Liberty on Saturday. Credit... Jordan Gale for The New York Times NORTH LIBERTY '-- John Kerry, the former secretary of state and presidential nominee, had just ticked through Joseph R. Biden Jr.'s record and his character as he urged Iowans to caucus for his longtime Senate colleague. Then he closed with a rhyme of sorts about Mr. Biden's ability to defeat President Trump.
''He's going to slice him and dice him,'' he said. ''He's going to whack him and smack him. He's going to mush him and crush him. He is going to beat him like a drum until this nightmare is done.''
NORTH LIBERTY '-- Mr. Biden has been leaning heavily on a stable of surrogates to boost his message in the final weeks before the Iowa caucuses. In attendance at his first event of the day here: Representative Abby Finkenauer, Democrat of Iowa, who helped kick off the event, and former Secretary of State John Kerry, the 2004 Democratic nominee who won the Iowa caucuses.
''We have got to do everything we can to make sure Joe Biden is the top of that ticket,'' Ms. Finkenauer said Saturday morning as she introduced the former vice president.
Ms. Finkenauer represents a battleground district here in Iowa, and Mr. Biden has been pitching himself as the candidate best-positioned to aid candidates running in tough races further down the ballot.
Mr. Kerry, who spoke after Mr. Biden '-- an unusual set-up for a surrogate to serve as the closer, but one Mr. Biden has employed nonetheless '-- also urged the crowd to support ''a candidate who has coattails.'' He also colorfully defended Mr. Biden's age, observing, ''Nancy Pelosi is 79.''
''Seventy is the new 50s!'' Mr. Kerry claimed. Mr. Biden is 77 and one of the biggest reservations voters raise about his campaign is his age.
INDIANOLA '-- In the crowd at Bernie Sanders's first event of his final swing through Iowa at a college here in Indianola, there were some unlikely attendees: More than two dozen Australians.
The Iowa caucuses typically attract international interest, and this year has been no different. Leading up to Feb. 3, members of the foreign press descend on the state alongside national reporters. But civilians from other countries want to see the action, too, drawn to the American electoral process and the opportunity to see presidential candidates.
Some of the Australian contingency was part of a program run through the University of Adelaide. Several said they couldn't believe how transparent and public the presidential campaign was, especially compared to their own elections.
''Back home, selecting leaders happens behind closed doors,'' said David Cannon, who was helping to lead the trip.
There were other non-Iowans in the audience, too. Carl Nelson, 35, said he was from Seattle and had come to Iowa to volunteer for Mr. Sanders. He estimated he had knocked on 120 doors since he arrived a few days ago.
BETTENDORF '-- Senator Amy Klobuchar again called for any new evidence to be released in a 2002 murder case that was prosecuted while she was a county attorney, as civil rights activists and black community leaders in Minneapolis continued to call for her to suspend her campaign after a report raised questions about whether a black teenager was wrongly convicted.
''We did a D.N.A. review of all of our cases, this wasn't one that involved D.N.A.,'' Ms. Klobuchar told reporters after her campaign event here.
''But we looked back because you always want to make sure that you do the job right. So that's going to mean if there's new evidence in this case, it's got to come out.''
Ms. Klobuchar's handling of the case involving the teenager, Myon Burrell, has come under renewed scrutiny after The Associated Press published an investigation this week detailing what it said were numerous flaws.
It was a case Ms. Klobuchar often pointed to during her campaign, as evidence of both being tough on crime and seeking justice for minority communities rocked by gun violence. But the A.P. report found that one of Mr. Burrell's co-defendants had said he was the one responsible for the murder.
My colleague Matt Stevens has more here.
NORTH LIBERTY '-- A heckler interrupted former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. at his event here, comparing him to Hillary Clinton and urging the crowd, ''don't settle for Joe.''
In response, Mr. Biden suggested that the protester was one of the dozens of pro-Trump Republican surrogates who had deployed to Iowa this weekend.
''I'll tell ya what, man,'' he said. ''I thought they were exaggerating when they said that, Republicans said that they were sending out 80 people to participate in the Democratic caucus.''
''Hey by the way,'' he added, ''give us back your Joe shirt.''
Pete Buttigieg arrived for a campaign event in Waterloo on Saturday. Credit... Todd Heisler/The New York Times DES MOINES '-- Top strategists for Pete Buttigieg said they needed a top finish in Iowa on Monday and in New Hampshire the following week, but that first place was not a make-or-break deal for the campaign.
''We're going to have to do well, there's no question about that,'' said Hari Sevugan, Mr. Buttigieg's deputy campaign manager, speaking at a press breakfast with other senior campaign advisers.
''But that does not necessarily mean we have to win.'' He and the others '-- Lis Smith, Mr. Buttigieg's communications adviser; Michael Halle, a senior strategist; and Mike Schmuhl, the campaign manager '-- said that Mr. Buttigieg's ongoing viability would depend on the order of finishers and the spread between candidates.
Mr. Buttigieg, for his part, answered a similar question in Waterloo. ''We need to do very well in Iowa '-- we're in it to win it and believe that we will have a result that will propel us forward,'' he said.
The strategists explained that they saw the race through Super Tuesday as a series of contests not in states, but in congressional districts, which determine how delegates to the national convention are awarded.
In recent days, Mr. Buttigieg has compared his race and his candidacy to that of Barack Obama's in 2008, arguing that a top finish in Iowa (which Mr. Obama won) would give ''everyone else permission that we can do this.''
The inference especially is that black voters, who currently demonstrate little support for Mr. Buttigieg in polling, would follow the lead of Iowa caucusgoers and rally around him.
The Obama 2008 analogy is flawed, however, as my colleague Astead Herndon recently reported: Mr. Obama led Hillary Clinton in South Carolina with black voters well before the Iowa caucuses.
Mr. Sevugan said the top issue for communities of color was beating President Trump.
''Once we do well here in Iowa and in New Hampshire,'' he insisted, ''that sends a powerful signal across the country, including to communities of color, that this is the guy who can beat Donald Trump.''
Property for sale in Anita. Credit... Ruth Fremson/The New York Times DES MOINES '-- Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont remains a financial powerhouse, and the two billionaires in the Democratic primary race are spending enormous amounts of money on their candidacies, according to new filings with the Federal Election Commission.
By Friday night, presidential candidates were required to report their fund-raising and spending for the fourth quarter of 2019. The filings provided a snapshot of the campaigns' financial resources at the start of 2020 and offered a detailed look at how they have been spending their money.
Among the top candidates, Mr. Sanders raised the most money ($34.4 million), spent the most ($50.1 million) and entered January with the most cash on hand ($18.2 million). Former Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., had $14.5 million on hand, while Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts had $13.7 million and former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. had $8.9 million.
The biggest spender in the quarter, by far, was one of the two billionaires in the primary race, former Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of New York, who spent $188.4 million. The other billionaire in the race, the former hedge fund manager Tom Steyer, spent $153.7 million.
John Cecil brought his daughter, Calliope, 6, to a concert supporting Senator Bernie Sanders featuring the artist Bon Iver in Clive on Friday. Credit... Hilary Swift for The New York Times Image
Senator Amy Klobuchar spoke at a campaign event in Bettendorf on Saturday. Credit... Pete Marovich for The New York Times BETTENDORF '-- In her first event back in Iowa after spending most of the week tethered to Washington for the impeachment trial, Senator Amy Klobuchar summed up her final pitch with a geographic appeal: the path to a Democratic victory in 2020 is through the Midwest.
And, it so happens, as Ms. Klobuchar more than occasionally reminds crowds, she is from the Midwest: a senator from Minnesota who travels to her neighboring states often.
''I went on this long tour of the states that we should have won in 2016 that we did in the states like Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, of course Iowa, and then Minnesota, which Hillary won, but with the lowest percentage of votes that she had in any state that she won,'' Ms. Klobuchar said.
''So when I went on that tour I decided, first of all, that we are going to build a beautiful blue wall of Democratic votes around those states and we're going to make Donald Trump pay for it.''
Speaking to a crowd of 500 crammed into a local brewery, with an overflow crowd spilling into the bike shop next door, Ms. Klobuchar mixed her Midwest bona fides with her pitch to a more centrist view of the country.
She said she wanted to ''build on the Affordable Care Act, I don't think we should blow it up,'' an indirect contrast to her progressive rivals' plans for ''Medicare for all.''
She said that the 2019 Democratic wins in the Kentucky and Louisiana governors' races were powered by a fired up Democratic base, but ''also independents and moderate Republicans.''
And she remembered fondly Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, who died in 2018.
''I miss him very much,'' she said, referencing the impeachment trial. ''I often wondered as I often wondered as I sat there, hour after hour this week, how different things might have been if John McCain was still sitting in the Senate.''
Jamie Margolin, center, co-founder of Zero Hour, at the Youth Climate March in Washington in July 2018. Credit... Erin Schaff for The New York Times DES MOINES '-- Zero Hour, the youth-led coalition that organized huge global climate marches in 2018, endorsed Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont on Saturday morning, citing ''his radical and motivating plan to address the climate crisis and his support for the Green New Deal.''
Mr. Sanders already had the support of another powerful youth climate group, the Sunrise Movement, which endorsed him in January. The new endorsement is one more sign of progressive activists coalescing around his campaign.
Zero Hour also announced on Saturday that it was creating a 501(c)(4) branch, Zero Hour Movement, to participate directly in political campaigns; it was that branch that endorsed Mr. Sanders.
''People our age should vote for Bernie Sanders because we are the first generation to feel the effects of the climate crisis and also, unfortunately, the last generation to do anything about it,'' Kaylah Brathwaite, director of operations and logistics at Zero Hour Movement, said in a Sanders campaign video.
Polls have shown that climate change is a top issue for Democrats, and especially for young voters.
Pete Buttigieg spoke at an event in Waterloo on Saturday. Credit... Todd Heisler/The New York Times WATERLOO '-- On the penultimate day of his Iowa caucus campaign, former Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., distilled his campaign message to a plea to Democrats: Let's get over the fights that divided the party in 2016.
Mr. Buttigieg, as he's been doing since Thursday, drew a gentle contrast with the Iowa front-runners, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.
But his invocation of the bitter 2016 fight between Mr. Sanders and Hillary Clinton was a warning to not let a binary Biden-Sanders battle to overwhelm the party's broader goal of removing President Trump from office.
''We've all seen some of the tensions that are emerging from some of those who share the same values,'' Mr. Buttigieg said. ''The less 2020 resembles 2016 in our party and our country, the better. It's time to do something different.''
Mr. Buttigieg elaborated later in response to questions from reporters. ''I think no matter which side of the fighting in 2016 you were on, there was a tremendous amount of frustration about what it led to and where we are and a sense of awareness that at the end of the day we've got to be united, not only around what we're against but what we're for,'' he said.
''The vision, not just the philosophical vision, but really the policy vision of the different folks competing in this campaign is much more aligned than you would think based on the tone that in particular the online political space has taken,'' he added.
At the National Cattle Congress Electric Park Ballroom, a classic Iowa venue where Buddy Holly once played before his fatal plane crash just west of here in Clear Lake, Mr. Buttigieg and his surrogates argued that the 38-year-old was both a change agent with ''new ideas'' and a throwback to a time when politicians of opposing parties worked together.
''Those were times when people got along they listened to each other, things weren't so polarized,'' Bill Dotzler, an Iowa state senator, said of Mr. Holly's time. ''Mayor Pete is a person who can bring us back because he listens to everyone.''
Representatives Rashida Tlaib, left, and Ilhan Omar at a rally for Senator Bernie Sanders in Clive on Friday. Credit... Hilary Swift for The New York Times DES MOINES '-- Representative Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, a prominent supporter of the Bernie Sanders campaign, apologized on Saturday for urging a crowd the night before to boo Hillary Clinton.
''I am so incredibly in love with the movement that our campaign of #NotMeUs has created. This makes me protective over it and frustrated by attempts to dismiss the strength and diversity of our movement,'' Ms. Tlaib said in a series of tweets. ''However, I know what is at stake if we don't unify over one candidate to beat Trump, and I intend to do everything possible to ensure that Trump does not win in 2020.''
She added: ''In this instance, I allowed my disappointment with Secretary Clinton's latest comments about Senator Sanders and his supporters to get the best of me. You all, my sisters-in-service on stage, and our movement deserve better. I will continue to strive to come from a place of love and not react in the same way of those who are against what we are building in this country.''
The incident happened Friday evening at an event in Clive, Iowa, after the moderator, Dionna Langford, brought up Mrs. Clinton's recent assertion that ''nobody likes'' Mr. Sanders. When some people in the audience booed, Ms. Langford tried to quiet them: ''No, we're not going to boo,'' she said. ''We're classy here.''
Ms. Tlaib then cut in, saying: ''No, I'll boo. Boo! You all know I can't be quiet. No, we're going to boo. That's our right. The haters will shut up on Monday when we win.''
BETTENDORF '-- An overflow crowd in a bike shop greeted Senator Amy Klobuchar Saturday morning on the first day of her jetsetting trip around Iowa, powered by a chartered plane to get to the four corners of the state.
The senator diverted from her small stage in the brewery to separately address the overflow room, giving a (very) condensed version of her stump speech. But part of her pitch to Iowans was a look ahead, past the caucuses.
''I've got the endorsement of every single major newspaper in New Hampshire that has put out an endorsement,'' she told the crowd, while also proclaiming that this January was the best fund-raising month of her entire campaign.
Taking note of the surroundings, with dozens of bikes hanging from the ceiling and bike racks offering a place to lean for the waiting crowd, Ms. Klobuchar spoke of an old hobby.
''I used to be a big cyclist,'' she said from a set of stairs leading to a second floor showroom.
She spoke of one bike trip that she took from Minnesota to Wyoming. But the nostalgia quickly turned to a pitch to voters.
''That just shows you the grit I bring to this stage,'' Ms. Klobuchar said.
Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. spoke to press outside an event in Mount Pleasant on Friday. Credit... Jordan Gale for The New York Times NORTH LIBERTY '-- Last fall, Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.'s campaign aides insisted that he didn't need to win the leadoff caucus state. Amid a major winter press here, Mr. Biden told reporters, ''I'm running to win.'' And on Saturday morning, in the final push before the caucuses, Mr. Biden's campaign aimed to set a fresh set of expectations: He'll be ''competitive,'' and he's not going anywhere, whatever happens in Iowa.
''The VP remains in a strong position to perform well in the first four states and on Super Tuesday, but we're also planning for an extended process into the summer,'' read a fund-raising email. ''As we've said for several weeks, we see a tight race in Iowa and New Hampshire. With a small number of delegates awarded in those contests, it's highly possible there will be a small delegate differential among the top candidates on February 4 and February 12.''
The note went on to stress Mr. Biden's strengths in the diverse later-voting primary contests, including South Carolina and states with significant African-American populations '-- a core part of Mr. Biden's base '-- that vote on Super Tuesday. Yet privately, some of Mr. Biden's allies have acknowledged the threat that former Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of New York could pose in Super Tuesday states, where he is concentrating his campaign with virtually unlimited resources.
On Friday night, as he campaigned in Mount Pleasant, Iowa, Mr. Biden acknowledged to a CNN reporter that the margins here will matter, as he competes in an uncertain and fluid race.
''Let's say everybody comes out of here with, you know, 19, 20, 21 and 22 percent,'' he said. ''Well, it's essentially a tie. And so everybody goes to the next stop. If you come out here, somebody's 25 and you're at 12, you know, well then you're done '-- in terms of Iowa.''
Then he laid out his own view of his path, saying that he has a ''great firewall in South Carolina. I think we're in a position where I think we'll do very well in Nevada, I think it's gonna be a real uphill race as it always is for a non-New Englander in New Hampshire. And I think it's gonna be just a toss-up here.''
Privately, his team had been more upbeat in the first weeks of January here than they had been for much of the fall. Yet on the ground, Mr. Biden still appears to face organizational challenges and smaller crowds than many of his rivals, even as he has led some polls here in the final weeks, setting up a highly uncertain final stretch for his campaign.
Senator Elizabeth Warren at Peace Tree Brewing Company in Des Moines on Friday. Credit... Ruth Fremson/The New York Times DES MOINES '-- Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts rallied supporters at a local Des Moines brewery late Friday night, in a surprise visit only possible after she arrived late from Washington and the Senate impeachment trial.
Ms. Warren's campaign schedule had been upended by the impeachment proceedings, and she could not attend an event earlier that evening. Instead, her husband announced at the event that Ms. Warren would take pictures with rallygoers across the street at a local bar, if supporters were inclined to wait. Hundreds packed the brewery in anticipation.
When Ms. Warren arrived, she addressed the crowd in short remarks, before holding the selfie line that has become a staple of all of her events.
''Over this year, you've made me a better candidate and you'll make me a better president,'' she said.
Ms. Warren thanked her campaign co-chairs, Representatives Deb Haaland of New Mexico, Ayanna S. Pressley of Massachusetts, and Katie Porter of California.
The women have been among Ms. Warren's chief surrogates as she's been stuck in Washington, and they headlined the event earlier in the evening, which took place across the street.
''They prove kickass women win,'' Ms. Warren said to cheers.
Pete Buttigieg spoke at a campaign event in Clinton on Friday. Credit... Joe Raedle/Getty Images CLINTON '-- Every so often, Pete Buttigieg gets an out-of-left field question from an Iowa Democrat that's not about how he'd beat President Trump or what he'd do to improve people's health care.
On Friday afternoon at the Clinton Masonic Center, at the third of his four town hall events of the day, a man stood up and asked the former mayor of South Bend, Ind., to look inside himself and reveal ''a moment that you felt vulnerable or you felt exceptionally human.''
''Well, it's a really profound question,'' Mr. Buttigieg replied. ''The funny thing about being a candidate is it can really inflate your ego and cut you down to size, sometimes in the very same day.''
He then told a story that began, he said, about 10 months ago when he was first transforming from an also-ran to a first-tier candidate in the crowded Democratic presidential contest.
''People started to come up to me in airports and on the street,'' he said. ''I was on a flight, heading for somewhere in New Hampshire, and a lady standing next to me waiting to get on the plane looked at me.''
The woman, Mr. Buttigieg said, said she recognized him from somewhere. He wanted to help her remember, he said, but stopped himself.
''Then she said, 'I know, you work for CNN!''' he said, to much laughter from the Clinton crowd of about 300 people.
Mr. Buttigieg said he replied: ''I said, 'Well, not quite. I'm running for president.''
The woman from the story, Mr. Buttigieg said, came to one of his New Hampshire events a few months later and is now a devoted supporter of his campaign.
Senator Amy Klobuchar's bus en route to an event in Bettendorf on Saturday. Credit... Pete Marovich for The New York Times DES MOINES '-- The Iowa caucuses are only two days away, and with the Senate impeachment trial adjourned for the weekend, the top candidates are all on the ground, sprinting to the finish line.
Here is a sampling of the events the candidates have planned:
Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. will be holding ''community events'' in North Liberty, Cedar Rapids and Waterloo.
Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont will be holding a rally in Indianola and a concert in Cedar Rapids.
Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts has rallies scheduled in Cedar Rapids, Iowa City and Davenport. Two top surrogates '-- Representative Ayanna Pressley and the former presidential candidate Julin Castro '-- will join her for part of the day.
Former Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., has rallies in Waterloo, Oelwein, Dubuque, Anamosa and Cedar Rapids.
Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota is holding ''get out the caucus'' events in Bettendorf, Sioux City, Cedar Falls and Des Moines.
The entrepreneur Andrew Yang has town hall-style events in Fort Dodge, Carroll and Boone, a couple of canvass launches, and an evening rally in Des Moines.
The Times has reporters and photographers at most of these events. Check back here throughout the day for updates from the trail and other developments in the race.
How the Kansas City Chiefs got their name, and why it's so contr
Sat, 01 Feb 2020 23:04
By Leah Asmelash, CNNOn an average NFL Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, one is bound to see some tomahawk chops. Maybe some Native American headdresses.
The stadium is the home of the NFL's Kansas City Chiefs, one of several American sports teams that copy Native American imagery and traditions. Now that the Chiefs will take the field for Super Bowl LIV, their customs and costumes are on full display.
How did the team, founded in 1959, come to have such a loaded name? And why does the practice of such cultural appropriation still endure?
How the Kansas City Chiefs got their nameWhat makes all of this so intriguing is that the Chiefs' are named after a white man who impersonated Native American culture.
Vincent Schilling, a Mohawk journalist who has covered sports and writes on Native American culture, says it started with, of all things, the Boy Scouts.
The Tribe of Mic-O-Say is part of the Boy Scouts of America program, which was created by Harold Roe Bartle in 1925.
Bartle was not a Native American, but claimed he was "inducted into a local tribute of the Arapaho people," according to Schilling's research. Bartle was called "Lone Bear," and went by the name Chief Lone Bear in his Mic-O-Say organization.
Almost 40 years after the founding of Mic-O-Say, Bartle became the mayor of Kansas City, Missouri for two terms. Colloquially known as "chief," Bartle helped convince Lamar Hunt, owner of the Dallas Texans football team, to bring the team to Kansas City.
In name-the-team competitions, "Chiefs" kept popping up as an option in connection to Bartle.
So, they went with it.
Why it's an issue It seems like an innocent original story. But, Schilling said, it's what's connected to the Chiefs' name that concerns him and many others -- things like the tomahawk chop or the headdresses fans regularly wear to games. The Chiefs open each game with a cheerleader riding a horse named Warpaint, while hitting a giant, native-style drum embellished with the team's logo.
Some have told Schilling these things are done in honor of Native Americans, but he doesn't buy that. He tells CNN such excuses remind him of his grandmother, a Mohawk woman who was stolen away to a boarding school as a child and never spoke a word of Mohawk afterward, out of sheer terror.
"My grandma couldn't even share what she was really, but they can do a stereotype of it and tell me to be honored by it?" Schilling says. "I'm sorry folks, I'm just not going to be."
Of course, the Chiefs aren't the only popular sports team to trade in characterizations of Native American culture. Major League Baseball has the Atlanta Braves and Cleveland Indians. In college and pro football, there's the Florida State Seminoles and Washington Redskins. The Braves, the Seminoles and the Chiefs all use the tomahawk chop during games and as an enduring part of their fan cultures. The chop consists of a motion and a chant that activists have criticized for its stereotypical representation of Native culture.
The Redskins have been the subject of lawsuits and sharp criticism for decades regarding their name, which some Native populations, like the National Congress of American Indians, consider so offensive they won't even say it out loud. Unlike the Chiefs, which don't have any literal portrayals of native people on their team gear, the Redskins' mascot is literally a Native American man's face. The Seminoles have a similar logo. The Cleveland Indians are represented by a cartoonish "Chief Wahoo" logo.
Mascots dehumanize Native people, says one groupImages of Natives Americans as mascots began in the golden age of film, Schilling told CNN. Stereotypes of Native Americans as "savages," stories about killing settlers, and so on '-- those depictions became popular and made money. So, they kept getting made.
"And we learn most from television," he said.
Native American characters get scant representation in the entertainment we consume. At most, only about 0.4% of characters depicted on prime-time TV and popular movies are Native American, according to IllumiNative, a nonprofit dedicated to increasing the visibility of native people in society. When people are presented with such limited perceptions, racist and stereotypical depictions are all some Americans may know about their native neighbors.
Crystal Echo Hawk, executive director of IllumiNative, told CNN that many schools don't teach about Native Americans past 1900.
This lack of representation -- in pop culture, in education and in the general American consciousness -- can lead to an erasure of Native American people and experiences.
Americans tend to think of Native Americans as people living in a bygone era, Echo Hawk told CNN. Many don't have a real sense of the complexity of native people in the 21st century.
"It serves to dehumanize native people," she said. "They cannot see us as fully-formed, multidimensional human beings."
Imagine if fans supported their team while in blackface, Echo Hawk pointed out. There would be outrage. Yet many look past redface or the wearing of headdresses.
This cultural blindness can do lasting damage. In 2005, the American Psychological Association published a resolution calling for the retirement of mascots featuring Natives.
"These mascots are teaching stereotypical, misleading and too often, insulting images of American Indians," former APA president Ronald F. Levant in a statement. "These negative lessons are not just affecting American Indian students; they are sending the wrong message to all students."
The National Congress of American Indians published a 29-page report in 2013 calling for the end of racism in sports and native sports mascots. The report discussed, in no uncertain terms, the negative impacts native caricatures have.
"Widely consumed images of Native American stereotypes in commercial and educational environments slander, defame, and vilify Native peoples, Native cultures, and tribal nations, and continue a legacy of racist and prejudiced attitudes," the report states.
"In particular, the 'savage' and 'clownish' caricatures used by sports teams with 'Indian' mascots contribute to the 'savage' image of Native peoples and the myth that Native peoples are an ethnic group 'frozen in history."
What teams are doing about it This kind of cultural change can be slow to enact. Professional sports teams make billions of dollars and have millions of ardent fans who are loathe to give up their team's icons and traditions, no matter how problematic.
However, change does come, often in small, halting increments. During the 2019 MLB postseason, the Atlanta Braves altered the way they featured the famous Tomahawk Chop after a player on an opposing team complained. In 2018, the Cleveland Indians announced they would remove all depictions of their cartoonish "Chief Wahoo" logo from official team uniforms (the caricature still appears on fan gear and other items).
College sports has been ahead of the curve on this issue. NCAA, which governs college athletics, instituted a policy in 2005 prohibiting schools from displaying "hostile and abusive racial/ethnic/national origin mascots, nicknames or imagery" at NCAA championships. The association specifically named schools using Native American imagery and references.
Yet despite the research and the dissents from many Native people, these customs -- the racist names, the fan behaviors -- persist.
And on Sunday, when millions of people tune in to watch the Super Bowl and 65,000 people pack into Miami's Hard Rock Stadium, it will all be on display: the tomahawk chops, the regalia, the headdresses, the face paint.
Vincent Schilling says he respects Chiefs fans and supports their right to support their team. As for the message it will send on football's biggest stage, well, he's not so confident.
"I really, really have a big apprehension for how this is going to look," he said.
333 days remaining
Sat, 01 Feb 2020 22:59
@ adam Here's some date numerology for Sunday's show: Feb 2 is the 33rd day of the year, and since 2020 is a leap year that leaves 333 days remaining. Also, the full date 02/02/2020 is a palindrome
5 Sites That Show How Much Lower Manhattan Has Changed - The New York Times
Sat, 01 Feb 2020 22:56
One hundred years ago, newspapers, radios and fishmongers ruled the oldest neighborhood in New York.
The Wall Street Bombing of 1920 was, up until that point, the deadliest terrorist attack in American history. Credit... via Library of Congress It's no secret that Lower Manhattan has completely remade itself. Again. Over the past decade or so, the global financial center, which used to become a ghost town on evenings and weekends after business hours, has developed into a 24/7 neighborhood teeming with hotels, restaurants and young parents pushing strollers.
A new book, ''A Century Downtown,'' out Feb. 4, reminds us that the area has always been in flux.
Fulton Fish Market
Wall Street Bombing
23 Wall St.
The author, Matt Kapp, a film producer, found himself with a surplus of archival materials and a newfound curiosity about the city's oldest neighborhood after wrapping a documentary film on rebuilding the World Trade Center following Sept. 11. He decided to document the district's many phases over the last 100 years in a book filled with vintage photographs.
The result is a visual time capsule that starts around 1920. Many of the book's pictures feature iconic buildings that are still standing today, while other locations are virtually unrecognizable.
The Wall Street Bombing23 Wall Street
Craters the size of golf balls pockmark the marble facade of the former J.P. Morgan & Company headquarters. They are scars from a midday explosion on Sept. 16, 1920 that killed 30 people instantly and injured many more.
It was, up until that point, the deadliest terrorist attack in American history.
The perpetrator drove a horse-drawn cart loaded with 100 pounds of dynamite and cast-iron sash-window weights, all hidden under a tarp, right up to the Wall Street side of the bank building, then disappeared into the crowd. He was never apprehended.
Some historians believe the culprit was the Italian anarchist Mario Buda, an associate of the anarchists Sacco and Vanzetti, who were arrested for murder earlier that year. Soon after the blast, Mr. Buda returned to Italy.
Radio RowCortlandt Street
Blan the Radio Man and Cantor the Cabinet King were among the more than 300 mom-and-pop shops selling radios and electronic parts on and around Cortlandt Street beginning in the 1920s.
In Mr. Kapp's telling, it was a raucous place, with loudspeakers above store entrances blaring Big Band tunes and proprietors prone to shouting at customers.
The construction of the Twin Towers did the district in, requiring the demolition of 13 blocks, over protests by shop owners.
Little Syria103-109 Washington StreetWhat became known as Little Syria was home to immigrants from a vast swath of the Middle East known as greater Syria, consisting of today's Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian territories.
Beginning in the 1880s they crammed themselves into tenements on lower Washington Street and opened restaurants, bakeries and newsstands selling Arabic-language publications. Here was the place to buy Oriental rugs, smoke hookah or sample melt-in-your-mouth halvah.
Much of the community was demolished in the 1940s to make way for the entrance ramps to the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel.
Today three buildings remain. But only one of them '-- St. George's Syrian Catholic Church, at 103 Washington Street '-- has landmark status. The church currently has no congregation, however; it is occupied by restaurants and residential tenants.
The nonprofit Washington Street Advocacy Group and others have sought landmark status for the church's neighbors: the Downtown Community House building at 105-7 Washington, which at one point became a Buddhist temple but is currently vacant, and a tenement building at 109 Washington, which is next to a lot where buildings have been demolished.
Absent any protections, the buildings are at risk for redevelopment.
Newspaper RowPark RowIn the late 19th Century, the city's mightiest newspapers stood shoulder to shoulder across from City Hall, their proximity an implicit promise to hold that building's occupants accountable.
The first to go up, in 1858, was The New York Times Building at 41 Park Row. It started out a mere five stories, but later bulked up to the Romanesque granite-and-limestone tower it is today. To ensure that there was no interruption in covering the news, the bigger building was erected around the smaller one. At the end of the construction, the old building's exterior walls were removed.
Next to the Times was the Tribune Building, and then came the New York World Building, presided over by publisher Joseph Pulitzer, whose office was in its copper-domed top. The district, sometimes called Printing House Square, also included other publications.
Only the Times Building, which became a city landmark in 1999, remains (though the paper itself decamped to Midtown long ago). The tower is owned by Pace University, which recently renovated the lower floors into light-filled spaces that include an art gallery.
The basement, however, looks much like it did when the newspaper's printing presses still rumbled.
Fulton Fish MarketFulton StreetThe South Street Seaport was once the busiest port in the world, and its fish market on Fulton Street, around which its buildings were clustered, also flourished. As did crime, prompting repeated campaigns to clean up the place.
On the heels of one such effort, the New Market Building was erected. It was designed to promote a different sort of cleanup: a safer, more sanitary handling of fish. Bordering the East River, between Beekman Street and Peck Slip, the building was dedicated by Mayor Fiorello La Guardia in 1939.
But in 2005, the fish market relocated to Hunts Point in the Bronx, and the New Market Building languished. Members of the community, preservationists and elected officials helped defeat a proposed tower on the site, and over the years many have called for the building to be saved. The New York City Economic Development Corporation, which has jurisdiction over the Seaport, is planning to tear it down.
Meanwhile, the landmark 1907 Tin Building, which occupies Pier 17 '-- once home to burly fishmongers '-- is being reincarnated as an upscale food hall and market overseen by the celebrity chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten.
The neoclassical building was dismantled temporarily while its supporting structure was rebuilt. Now it is being reassembled, complete with its original columns, beams and trusses.
When the Tin Building reopens next year, seafood will be among the options available.
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Sat, 01 Feb 2020 22:53
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''Unpopular opinion - black lives only kind of matter.''
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''It's taking so much effort not to fall asleep at work rn. Someone send cocaine
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''white people can't say the n word, but at least we can say we know our dads and that police don't target us''
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Gematria Club on Twitter: "Bernie Sanders Set-Up for a Stroke ð'-- #PredictiveProgramming ' ¸ #Gematria VERMONT =133 THE STROKES =133 BERNIE SANDERS =133 BERNIE =53 ð"¸ #BernieBros =53 #FeelTheBern =53 Get Out The Vote =53 CANCEL THE CONCERT = SAVE
Sat, 01 Feb 2020 22:49
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The Biden Purpose is Finished '' Watch How Fast He Plummets'... | The Last Refuge
Sat, 01 Feb 2020 17:29
The Crossfire Hurricane hand-off to Weissmann using Mueller was the hoax known generally as Trump-Russia, or Coup 1.0. If you stand back and look at the totality of the 'big picture' behind the Trump-Ukraine impeachment coup it's clear to see a 2.0 version.
The Trump-Russia hoax (coup 1.0) was dependent on a 'Special Counsel' because the coup plotters held no other avenue to eliminate Donald Trump. In 2017 and 2018 both the House and Senate were republican. Coup 1.0 relied upon a created structure of oversight, an insurance policy of sorts, within the framework of government.
However, after the 2018 mid-terms, when Democrats won the House, impeachment was possible. In the month following the Nov '18 election Pelosi and the resistance group (assembled from current and former DOJ officials, ie. The Lawfare group), mapped out the impeachment plan and created new House rules to facilitate it. Pelosi hired Doug Letter as Chief House Counsel and contracted with a host of lawyers to assist.
The Weissmann special counsel group, using Robert Mueller as a figurehead, failed to deliver because the Trump-Russia narrative was always a hoax. Without the 'there' there the only damage they could deploy was political speculation, innuendo and weaponized narratives. They tried hard, but were only able to create a tenuous 'obstruction' case.
When Mueller eventually testified about his investigation the world saw he was merely a figurehead, a visible prop to represent a team he barely understood; and with that testimony the impeachment usefulness collapsed. Imagine Mueller being cross examined about his two year investigation; imagine the deposition that would have been needed; yeah, the insurance policy was immediately worthless.
But the House crew Pelosi, Schiff, Nadler and Cummings, together with their dozen Lawfare contractors, had the impeachment architecture already built; the rules were already established to use it. The preparation came forth when they initiated the Trump-Ukraine hoax. Essentially, impeachment 2.0.
Look at the timelines. Rule changes, personnel placement, headline stories about Ukraine activity in the 2016 election'... consider the DNC knowing how Ukraine was used and how various elements were deployed for the targeted weaponization of the apparatus in 2016.
Ukraine in general was an operational issue, an operational risk, and also an opportunity. Look at the timelines. Graft and scheme; a background investigative story starting to blossom; and then a 2019 Ukraine election. Biden steps into the race immediately after that outcome'... while a non-endorsing Barack Obama says ''you don't have to do this Joe''.
I contend that Impeachment 2.0 was contingent upon Joe Biden running for office. Why? Because without Biden as a ''candidate'' the entire premise of the impeachment narrative: ''president Donald Trump investigating his political opponent'', doesn't exist.
Impeachment 2.0 was centered around a predictable Trump administration Ukraine investigation; much of which was likely being stirred by the coup plotters themselves; and was dependent on a political opponent. Hence, Joe Biden running for office was needed.
''You don't have to do this Joe'''.... Indeed.
The crew creating impeachment hoax 2.0 needed Biden, much in a similar way the same crew needed Robert Mueller for impeachment hoax 1.0.
Factually, ironically, and perhaps purposefully, both of the figureheads have some similarity. Two old men; past their cognitive prime; doing something neither fully understood in the background; but both loyal to the overall ''RESIST'' ideology. I digress.
Why rush the process? Biden was never a viable candidate, but the effort needed Biden presented as the top viable candidate for the scheme to work. In essence, Biden was always a ruse for rubes.
And now that Biden usefulness and purpose is over; just like it was on the day Mueller testified. Watch, without the astroturf support, which includes participatory narrative engineering by the media, Biden is going to drop like a rock.
You might say ''poof'''...
Former President Obama is reported to have told Biden in 2019: ''You don't have to do this Joe'''....Joe should have listened.
No-one cares about Joe.
While you are watching football tomorrow, this same crew will be plotting their next steps'... It will never cease, in part because Bill Barr is allowing all of the evidence against them to remain hidden from public view.
Maybe Barr cares about Joe the same way he cares about Rod.
Palestinian Authority cuts ties with Israel and U.S.
Sat, 01 Feb 2020 10:18
CAIRO (Reuters) - The Palestinian Authority has cut all ties with the United States and Israel, including those relating to security, after rejecting a Middle East peace plan presented by U.S. President Donald Trump, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said on Saturday.
FILE PHOTO: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas gestures as he speaks during a ceremony marking the 15th anniversary of the death of his predecessor Yasser Arafat, in Ramallah in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, November 11, 2019. REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman
Abbas was in Cairo to address the Arab League, which backed the Palestinians in their opposition to Trump's plan.
The blueprint, endorsed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, calls for the creation of a demilitarized Palestinian state that excludes Jewish settlements built in occupied territory and is under near-total Israeli security control.
''We've informed the Israeli side ... that there will be no relations at all with them and the United States including security ties,'' Abbas told the one-day emergency meeting, called to discuss Trump's plan.
Israeli officials had no immediate comment on his remarks.
Israel and the Palestinian Authority's security forces have long cooperated in policing areas of the occupied West Bank that are under Palestinian control. The PA also has intelligence cooperation agreements with the CIA, which continued even after the Palestinians began boycotting the Trump administration's peace efforts in 2017.
Abbas also said he had refused to discuss the plan by with Trump by phone, or to receive even a copy of it to study it:
''Trump asked that I speak to him by phone but I said 'no', and that he wants to send me a letter ... but I refused it.''
Abbas said he did not want Trump to be able to say that he, Abbas, had been consulted.
He reiterated his ''complete'' rejection of the Trump plan, presented on Tuesday.
PALESTINIAN RIGHTS The blueprint also proposes U.S. recognition of Israeli settlements on occupied West Bank land and of Jerusalem as Israel's indivisible capital.
The Arab League foreign ministers meeting in Cairo said the plan would not lead to a comprehensive and just peace, and that the League would not cooperate with the United States in implementing it.
The ministers affirmed Palestinian rights to create a future state based on the land captured and occupied by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war, with East Jerusalem as capital, the final communique said.
Foreign ministers from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, among others, said there could be no peace without recognizing Palestinian rights and a comprehensive solution.
After Trump unveiled his plan, some Arab powers had appeared, despite historic support for the Palestinians, to prioritize close ties with the United States and a shared hostility toward Iran over traditional Arab alliances.
Three Gulf Arab states - Oman, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates - attended the White House gathering where Trump announced his plan alongside Netanyahu.
On Tuesday, Netanyahu said he would ask his cabinet this week to approve the application of Israeli law to Jewish settlements in the West Bank.
Such a move could be a first step toward formal annexation of the settlements and the Jordan Valley - territory Israel has kept under military occupation since its capture in 1967.
Most countries consider Israeli settlements on land captured in war to be a violation of international law. Trump has changed U.S. policy to withdraw such objections.
Reporting by Omar Fahmy, Ulf Laessing, Rami Ayyub, Nidal al-Mughrabi and Dan Williams; Editing by Frances Kerry and Kevin Liffey
Democrats demand YouTube censor "climate misinformation" videos -- Puppet Masters -- Sott.net
Sat, 01 Feb 2020 10:14
Paul Joseph Watson
Summit NewsFri, 31 Jan 2020 00:01 UTC
A Democrat Congressional committee is demanding YouTube censor videos that contain "climate misinformation" as part of a new purge that would basically eliminate skepticism about man-made global warming from the platform.
In a letter sent to Google CEO Sundar Pichai, the U.S. House of Representatives Select Committee on the Climate Crisis claims that YouTube has "been driving millions of viewers to climate misinformation videos every single day."
It demands the following list of action items which would in essentially purge the video platform of most content that dared express skepticism towards the official global warming mantra.
Stop promoting climate denial and climate disinformation videos by removing them immediately from the platform's recommendation algorithm;Add 'climate misinformation' to the platform's list of borderline contentStop monetising videos that promote harmful misinformation and falsehoods about the causes and effects of the climate crisis.Take steps to correct the record for millions of users who have been exposed to the climate misinformation on YouTube.The Google-owned video giant already slaps an information box on every video related to climate change that tells the viewer man-made global warming is definitely happening.
This is yet another example of how the slippery slope of censorship can turn into a sheer cliff drop.
From hate speech, to "cyberbullying and harassment," to videos that merely contain insults, Silicon Valley giants are now moving towards applying the ban hammer to the expression of political views about current events.
2020 Democrats Went on a Spending Spree in the Final Months of 2019 - The New York Times
Sat, 01 Feb 2020 09:54
Here's a look at how much the candidates raised and spent in each quarter of 2019.Bernie Sanders
Joseph R. Biden Jr.
Note: Amounts raised are from individual contributions and exclude transfers from previous campaigns. Mr. Biden entered the race after the first quarter. Candidates who are largely or entirely self-funding their campaigns are not shown.
The best-funded Democratic presidential candidates spent prolifically in the final quarter of 2019, pouring millions into advertising and payroll as the first nominating contests approached, according to filings with the Federal Election Commission on Friday. While the candidates competed for support among Democratic voters, President Trump continued stockpiling cash for his re-election bid.
Among the leading candidates in the Democratic primary race, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont led the way by spending $50 million in the quarter. That amount is by far the most that he has spent in a single quarter in the 2020 race, and it exceeded what he spent in the fourth quarter of 2015 during his last presidential bid.
[See who led the money race in the first, second and third quarters of 2019.]
Former Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., and Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts each spent about $34 million, and former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. spent $23 million.
Two billionaires who are tapping into their fortunes each spent more than Mr. Sanders, Mr. Buttigieg, Ms. Warren and Mr. Biden put together. Former Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of New York spent a staggering $188 million, while the former hedge fund manager Tom Steyer spent $154 million.
For the second quarter in a row, Sanders raised the most money from individual donors.Mr. Sanders's presidential bid is powered by a huge group of grass-roots donors around the country. He received more than 1.8 million individual donations in the quarter, according to his campaign.
Amount Raised From Individual Contributions (in millions) 1 Bernie Sanders Senator from Vermont $ 34.4 $ 95.9 2 Pete Buttigieg Former mayor of South Bend, Ind. 24.776.2 3 Joseph R. Biden Jr. Former vice president 23.260.8 4 Elizabeth Warren Senator from Massachusetts 21.371.1 5 Andrew Yang Entrepreneur 16.531.6 6 Amy Klobuchar Senator from Minnesota 11.425.3 7 Tulsi Gabbard Congresswoman from Hawaii 3.510.0 8 Deval Patrick Former governor of Massachusetts 1.91.9 9 Michael Bennet Senator from Colorado 1.26.1 10 Tom Steyer Former hedge fund manager 0.92.9 11 Michael R. Bloomberg Former mayor of New York City '--'--+ Show all candidates Note: Fourth-quarter numbers are from Oct. 1 to Dec. 31. Cycle totals include all activity in the 2020 election cycle. Mr. Bloomberg is running a self-funded campaign and is not accepting contributions from donors.
Among top candidates, Biden had the least cash on hand.The leading candidates are hardly on a level playing field when it comes to the resources they have available to fund their campaigns in the coming weeks.
These figures are now a month out of date, but they show that Mr. Sanders held a significant cash advantage heading into 2020. At the start of January, he had twice as much cash as Mr. Biden.
Cash on Hand (in millions) 1 Bernie Sanders Senator from Vermont $ 18.2 2 Pete Buttigieg Former mayor of South Bend, Ind. 14.5 3 Elizabeth Warren Senator from Massachusetts 13.7 4 Joseph R. Biden Jr. Former vice president 8.9 5 Amy Klobuchar Senator from Minnesota 5.0 6 Andrew Yang Entrepreneur 3.7 7 Tulsi Gabbard Congresswoman from Hawaii 2.8 8 Deval Patrick Former governor of Massachusetts 1.4 9 Michael Bennet Senator from Colorado 0.5+ Show all candidates Note: Figures are as of Dec. 31. Candidates who are largely or entirely self-funding their campaigns are excluded.
As Democrats pour money into Iowa and elsewhere, Trump continues to stockpile cash.Mr. Trump ended last year with more than twice as much cash on hand as Mr. Sanders, Mr. Buttigieg and Ms. Warren put together. He had more money on hand than President Barack Obama had at the same time during his re-election campaign.
Cash on Hand for Trump and Top Democrats (in millions) $ 102.8 Bernie Sanders Senator from Vermont 18.2 Pete Buttigieg Former mayor of South Bend, Ind. 14.5 Elizabeth Warren Senator from Massachusetts 13.7 Joseph R. Biden Jr. Former vice president 8.9 Note: Figures are as of Dec. 31.
Five candidates spent more money than they collected in donations.Candidates who are burning through cash particularly quickly run the risk of running out of money as the primary calendar advances.
Burn Rate 1 Michael Bennet Senator from Colorado 208.7 % 2 Elizabeth Warren Senator from Massachusetts 157.3 % 3 Bernie Sanders Senator from Vermont 144.4 % 4 Pete Buttigieg Former mayor of South Bend, Ind. 136.4 % 5 Andrew Yang Entrepreneur 115.1 % 6 Joseph R. Biden Jr. Former vice president 98.4 % 7 Amy Klobuchar Senator from Minnesota 88.1 % 8 Tulsi Gabbard Congresswoman from Hawaii 82.2 % 9 Deval Patrick Former governor of Massachusetts 46.4 % + Show all candidates Note: The burn rate shown is a candidate's spending in the fourth quarter relative to individual contributions he or she received. Contribution refunds are excluded from the spending figures. The burn rate is greater than 100 percent if a candidate spent more than he or she raised. Candidates who are largely or entirely self-funding their campaigns are excluded.
Bloomberg is in a class of his own when it comes to spending.The Bloomberg campaign said it spent $132 million on television advertising, $8.2 million on digital advertising and $3.3 million on polling. It also spent about $650,000 on private plane travel. After Mr. Bloomberg, Mr. Steyer was the biggest spender in the Democratic field.
Amount Spent (in millions) 1 Michael R. Bloomberg Former mayor of New York City $ 188.4 $ 188.4 2 Tom Steyer Former hedge fund manager 153.7200.9 3 Bernie Sanders Senator from Vermont 50.190.7 4 Pete Buttigieg Former mayor of South Bend, Ind. 34.162.3 5 Elizabeth Warren Senator from Massachusetts 33.768.3 6 Joseph R. Biden Jr. Former vice president 23.352.1 7 Andrew Yang Entrepreneur 19.227.5 8 Amy Klobuchar Senator from Minnesota 10.124.0 9 Tulsi Gabbard Congresswoman from Hawaii 2.99.9 10 Michael Bennet Senator from Colorado 2.66.3 11 Deval Patrick Former governor of Massachusetts 0.90.9+ Show all candidates Note: Fourth-quarter numbers are from Oct. 1 to Dec. 31. Totals include all activity in the 2020 election cycle.
Here's a full look at how the Democratic candidates compare. Individual Contributions, Total Spent and Cash on Hand (in millions) 1 Bernie Sanders Senator from Vermont $ 34.4 $ 50.1 $ 18.2 2 Pete Buttigieg Former mayor of South Bend, Ind. 24.734.114.5 3 Joseph R. Biden Jr. Former vice president 126.96.36.199 4 Elizabeth Warren Senator from Massachusetts 21.333.713.7 5 Andrew Yang Entrepreneur 16.519.23.7 6 Amy Klobuchar Senator from Minnesota 11.410.15.0 7 Tulsi Gabbard Congresswoman from Hawaii 188.8.131.52 8 Deval Patrick Former governor of Massachusetts 184.108.40.206 9 Michael Bennet Senator from Colorado 220.127.116.11 10 Tom Steyer Former hedge fund manager 0.9153.75.4 11 Michael R. Bloomberg Former mayor of New York City '--188.412.0 Note: Cash on hand is the total amount of money the campaign had available on Dec. 31. Individual contribution and spending data are from Oct. 1 to Dec. 31. Mr. Bloomberg is running a self-funded campaign and is not accepting contributions from donors.
Zerohedge Suspended On Twitter | Zero Hedge
Sat, 01 Feb 2020 08:11
First it was Facebook, then all of New Zealand; now Twitter has decided to suspend Zero Hedge.
Just as in the prior bans, which were eventually overturned, so in this case it is unclear what prompted Twitter's abrupt censorship: the only notification we received from twitter was the following:
It is news to us that this website has (ever) "engaged in the targeted harassment of someone."
What appears to have happened is that twitter received a complaint from the website best known for publishing the discredited Steele dossier when no other media outlet would touch it, and making cat slideshows of course, Buzzfeed, in which someone called Ryan Broderick writes that Zero Hedge "has released the personal information of a scientist from Wuhan, China, falsely accusing them of creating the coronavirus as a bioweapon, in a plot it said is the real-life version of the video game Resident Evil."
I've reached out to Twitter for clarity on this but it looks like ZeroHedge may have been suspended following my piece about them doxing a Chinese scientist and accusing him of weaponizing the #coronavirus https://t.co/B3XXRCjJpQ pic.twitter.com/RLCR3Eg6q0
'-- Ryan Broderick (@broderick) January 31, 2020A few points: the article referenced by Buzz Feed, "Is This The Man Behind The Global Coronavirus Pandemic?", is as the title implies, a question, and one which considering the huge significance and life or death import of the Coronavirus pandemic, has to be answered, especially since even the establishment's Foreign Policy magazine writes bat soup, which is widely being cited and circulated by the mainstream press as the cause of the coronavirus breakout, is not the cause of the Wuhan virus. The widely read website Health.com also chimes in: "No, Coronavirus Was Not Caused by 'Bat Soup'". Meanwhile, Business Insider writes "Experts think the Wuhan coronavirus jumped from bats to snakes to people. Bats have been the source of at least 4 pandemics."
So considering that Peng Zhou, who currently works at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, is the Leader of the Bat Virus Infection and Immunization Group at the Institute, the question certainly is a reasonable one and, in a normal world, would demand an answer from the established media (assuming it wasn't afraid of risking lucrative Chinese funding) instead of leaving it to "fringe" websites.
The impetus to ask the question if the disease originated at the Wuhan Institute of Virology is especially relevant in light of social media reports such as this one which claims to "have evidence here that the outbreak originated from Wuhan P4 Research Institute. You need to find a truly patriotic journalist to publish it to the public. You can personally trust me to provide a complete chain of evidence. Thank you."
'-- ä¸åä¸çª (@BD6Fs6zVVAK4z6F) January 30, 2020So did we have a right to ask the question if there is an alternative version for the emergence of the Coronavirus pandemic, especially with hundreds if not thousands of lives at stake? Absolutely.
Meanwhile, those who wonder if Dr. Zhou has any link to the possible emergence of the Coronavirus following years of experimenting with bats, we urge you to read our full article instead of relying on the hearsay of ideologically biased journalists.
Second, and contrary to the claims presented by Buzzfeed, we did not release any "personal information": Peng Zhou (å¨é¹) is a public figure, and all the contact information that we presented was pulled from his publicly posted bio found on a website at the Wuhan Institute of Virology which anyone with access to the internet can pull from the following URL: http://sourcedb.whiov.cas.cn/zw/rck/201705/t20170505_4783973.html, which is also the information we used.
So about Buzzfeed's allegation, which was adopted by Twitter, that somehow we incited "targeted abuse", here is what we said:
Something tells us, if anyone wants to find out what really caused the coronavirus pandemic that has infected thousands of people in China and around the globe, they should probably pay Dr. Peng a visit.
To which we then added the information obtained from his own bio page on the Institute's website:
"Or at least start with an email: Dr Peng can be reached at email@example.com, and his phone# is 87197311"
Are we then to understand that we have now reached a point the mere gathering of information, which our colleagues in the media may want to eventually do as thousands of people are afflicted daily by the Coronavirus, is now synonymous with "abuse and harassment"? According to Twitter, and certainly our competitors in the media, the answer is yes.
In any case, we have emailed Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, who incidentally happens to follow zerohedge...
... for the answer. If we get one, we will promptly share it with our readers. We aren't holding our breath, however, as we realize how important it is to today's media giants not to ruffle too many Chinese feathers or lack losing access to the Chinese market. After all, who can forget the following report from the New York Times about another of our media competitors that several years ago was itself engaged in "doxing" us (yet oddly wasn't suspended by Twitter):
The chairman of Bloomberg L.P. said in a speech here on Thursday that the company should have reconsidered articles that deviated from its core of coverage of business news, because they jeopardized the huge sales potential for its products in the Chinese market.
The comments by the chairman, Peter T. Grauer, represented the starkest acknowledgment yet by a senior Bloomberg executive that the ambitions of the news division should be assessed in the context of the business operation, which provides the bulk of the company's revenue. They also signaled which of those considerations might get priority.
Acknowledging the vast size of the Chinese economy, the world's second-biggest after that of the United States, Mr. Grauer, said, ''We have to be there.''
''We have about 50 journalists in the market, primarily writing stories about the local business and economic environment,'' Mr. Grauer said in response to questions after a speech at the Asia Society. ''You're all aware that every once in a while we wander a little bit away from that and write stories that we probably may have kind of rethought '-- should have rethought.''
Bloomberg, the financial data and news company, relies on sales of its terminals, which are ubiquitous on bankers' desks around the world, for about 82 percent of its $8.5 billion in revenue. But sales of those terminals in China declined after the company published an article in June 2012 on the family wealth of Xi Jinping, at that time the incoming Communist Party chief. After its publication, officials ordered state enterprises not to subscribe to the service. Mr. Grauer did not specifically mention the article about Mr. Xi or any other articles.
''Being in China is very much a part of our long-term strategy and will continue to be so going forward,'' Mr. Grauer said. ''It occupies a lot of our thinking '-- Dan Doctoroff, our C.E.O.; me; Mike; and other members of our senior team.''
Some current and former Bloomberg journalists, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said they had hoped the controversy surrounding Bloomberg's China reporting would prompt the company to reaffirm its support for investigative efforts. Mr. Grauer's comments were met with dismay, particularly because he is regarded as close to Mr. Bloomberg and would be unlikely to voice views that were not broadly accepted at the top of the company.
Unlike Bloomberg, or anyone else in the mainstream media, we don't plan on "rethinking" any of our articles just to curry favor with the powerful and we certainly will continue our own "investigative efforts", even if it means we lose some of our inbound traffic.
How prepared is Africa for an outbreak of deadly coronavirus? | News | Al Jazeera
Sat, 01 Feb 2020 07:49
Countries across Africa are ramping up measures to prevent an outbreak of a new coronavirus that has killed more than 250 in China and spread to several Asian countries, and as far afield as the United States, Europe and Australia.
As scientists race to find a vaccine, the World Health Organization (WHO) on Thursday declared a public health emergency of international concern amid rising fears the virus could reach countries with weak healthcare systems.
Coronavirus: All you need to know about the symptoms and risksHow does coronavirus spread and how can you protect yourself?Coronavirus: Which countries have confirmed new cases?In Africa, where past viral outbreaks have stretched already-strained healthcare systems in a number of countries, there have been no confirmed cases to date - but several countries have reported suspected cases of the rapidly spreading disease that originated in the central Chinese city of Wuhan late last year.
Amid the mounting concerns, medical experts appear certain that the deadly virus will also infect people on the continent, pointing to the deepening trade and travel ties between China and Africa that has seen many countries on the continent become popular tourist, business and investment destinations for the Chinese.
"We can be very certain that coronavirus will be exported to Africa," said Ngozi Erondu, associate fellow of the Global Health Programme at Chatham House.
"There is a large amount of travel between China and Africa; hubs such as Addis Ababa, Cairo and Nairobi are at particular risks due to the large amount of Chinese travellers that pass through these airports."
Measures takenSpeaking at the African Union headquarters on Tuesday, John Nkengasong, director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), said the institution was working closely with their Chinese counterparts, adding that, "We in Africa are watching the situation and also preparing ourselves to deal with any outbreak or cases."
Three days later, the WHO announced it would be scaling up preparedness in Africa, particularly in 13 top priority countries: Algeria, Angola, Ivory Coast, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) , Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.
Authorities in most of these countries have set up active screening at airports, it said, calling on governments to "step up their readiness".
"The quicker countries can detect cases, the faster they will be able to contain an outbreak and ensure the novel coronavirus does not overwhelm health systems," said Matshidiso Moeti, WHO regional director for Africa.
Africa's most populous nation, Nigeria, is among the countries that have issued a travel advisory telling citizens to delay travel to China unless "extremely essential".
Chikwe Ihekweazu, director general of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) , said lessons had been learned from the Ebola outbreak that swept through Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea in 2014-16, killing about 11,300 people in West Africa.
"Over the last three years, we have invested resources in improving infectious disease surveillance and response capacity. Our National Reference Laboratory has the capacity for molecular diagnosis of pathogens and we are receiving guidance from WHO on the primers and reagents that will be used to test suspected coronavirus cases."
Elsewhere, Ugandan physician Sabrina Kitaka also cited the Ebola response as an example of how the country has successfully managed previous infectious and said authorities were taking all precautions at border entries to deal with the new coronavirus, officially known as "2019-nCoV".
"This is a new virus with very scanty information on the virulence and transmission dynamics," said Kyeng Mercy Tetuh, a Cameroonian public health expert and epidemiologist.
In the case of Cameroon, Tetuh said while health authorities have stressed the country's preparedness, this may not be the case in areas affected by insecurity such as the Anglophone regions.
"A challenge in containing Ebola in the DRC has been insecurity," she said, referring to an ongoing outbreak of the deadly disease that has seen medical teams came under attack from armed militias in eastern DRC.
For its part, Mauritius announced that all passengers coming from Wuhan are being quarantined, while others from China would be monitored by healthcare workers.
Mozambique said it was suspending visas for visitors from China and blocking travel to the country, while in neighbouring South Africa, Minister of Health Zweli Mkhize said temperature screenings using non-invasive thermometers would be conducted at 12 port of entries and health officials would go on board international aircraft to determine any sick travellers.
Ivory Coast, where the continent's first suspected case was reported, has also installed thermal imaging cameras at airports.
Major challengesYet, Tanzanian clinician Joachim Mabula said airport screenings may not be sufficient.
"The screening process involves looking for symptoms; people can have a disease yet not show symptoms," he said.
He added that many African countries do not have the required laboratory capacity to respond to an infectious disease like the new coronavirus, an issue also highlighted by Erondu.
"Unfortunately, many disease surveillance systems throughout'¯African countries are weak and most of the continent lack diagnostic capability, for example, laboratory capacity, so identifying cases and controlling the outbreak could be difficult, especially in resource-constrained countries," Erondu said, even as she pointed out that the continent is home today to "stronger" and "more experienced" institutions such as Africa CDC, the NCDC and the Ethiopian Public Health Institute.
In Mabula's opinion, African countries should cancel flights to and from China - so far, African carriers that have taken such a step include RwandAir, Kenya Airways, Royal Air Maroc, EgyptAir, Air Madagascar and Air Mauritius, while Air Tanzania has postponed its maiden flight to China.
An official at the DRC's Ministry of Health, who chose to remain anonymous, supported such a move: "In the DRC, Ebola and measles have claimed thousands of lives; an outbreak of coronavirus is the last thing we need, thus cancelling flights is sensible."
The official added, "Screening and healthcare systems vary in strength from country to country, therefore if the virus reaches one African country from China, it may be difficult to stop it spreading to others."
In the official's opinion, another concern is the spreading of fake news: "This leads to mass panic. African governments need to be transparent with all information."
Suzana da Lomba, a teacher based in Angola's capital, Luanda, said fake news was already having an impact.
"The hysteria and lack of information globally means friends are warning each other to not go to Chinese-owned shops and restaurants."
An oligarch has bought his way into the 2020 race. Why is no one talking about this? | Democrats | The Guardian
Sat, 01 Feb 2020 07:30
Show caption Michael Bloomberg: 'It's a galling failure of our democracy that Bloomberg's wealth can be deployed to such ends.' Photograph: Mark Wilson/Getty Images
OpinionMichael Bloomberg has already spent more of his own money than Trump or Tom Steyer. He's making a joke of our democracy '' and Democrats should be appalled
With an estimated worth of $3bn, Donald Trump is just barely a member of the billionaires' club.
Michael Bloomberg, on the other hand, boasts a reported net worth of $60bn. While the president of the United States plays a monstrously wealthy oligarch on TV, Bloomberg is the genuine artifact '' and he's already spent more than $250m on a presidential bid that has, through the power of money alone, catapulted him to the edge of contention. On Sunday he'll be airing a $10m Super Bowl ad.
Sanders faces mounting attacks from anxious moderates as Iowa vote nears This is not one of those columns that will argue Bloomberg can seize the Democratic nomination. With a national polling average still below 10%, he has daunting odds as long as some combination of Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren remain in the race. Democratic voters will always favor a liberal stalwart over a former Republican who aggressively boosted George W Bush's re-election bid, unleashed a militarized police force on black and brown New Yorkers, and once mocked the idea of raising taxes on the rich.
But Bloomberg has bought himself a ticket outside the basement of the primary, and this should alarm far more professional Democrats and progressives than it has so far. Even Tom Steyer, a fellow billionaire, is a pale imitation; he's reportedly spent less than half of what Bloomberg has, despite entering the race earlier.
This should not be normalized. Bloomberg is unleashing an unprecedented, inordinate amount of personal wealth on an advertising blitz that demonstrates just how frail our democratic institutions really are.
If the Democratic party is serious about standing up to oligarchy, it should shun Bloomberg But his shamelessness seems to be working. Some Democrats, convinced they could use a useful foil to boost their own bids, are inviting him on the debate stage. Amy Klobuchar, the Minnesota senator, wants Bloomberg in the debates so he can ''go back and forth'' with candidates and voters can ''evaluate'' him. There is a belief, among certain Democrats, that the notoriously wooden Bloomberg will be undercut in a televised debate. Letting him on stage, in theory, makes him more accountable to voters.
Instead, allowing Bloomberg there will only further elevate and legitimize his candidacy, which exists chiefly as a gusher of 30-second TV and radio hits. Putting him on stage will send a message: this man deserves to be there. Through sheer amounts of wealth none of us will fathom, he can break democracy and walk into the arena.
We don't know Trump's net worth because he won't release his tax returns. We can guess; Trump pumped roughly $66m of his own money into his 2016 campaign '' which is significantly less than what Bloomberg spent to win a third term as mayor of New York. Trump rode a tsunami of free advertising to the presidency '' CNN couldn't look away '' and proved, in his own way, to be a durable fundraiser. Bloomberg has already tripled Trump's 2016 spending, with no end in sight.
Unlike other nations, America cannot restrict outside spending as long as Citizens United remains the law of the land. And even if it gets overturned, there will still be loopholes that allow billionaires to operate outside the campaign finance system, vastly outspending campaigns that tirelessly seek their money from ordinary people. American law would, ideally, institute hard spending caps on all political races and limit the times of year advertising can barrage voters.
Bernie Sanders' real obstacle is not Trump. It's the Democratic establishment | Hamilton Nolan In the meantime, if the Democratic party is serious about standing up to oligarchy, it should shun Bloomberg. Candidates should unite, as one, to denounce not just this concentration of wealth in one person's hands, but how it is deployed. They should make the type of statement the media can't ignore. They should make clear, with the collective power they possess to shape the discourse, that it's a galling failure of our democracy that Bloomberg's wealth can be deployed to such ends.
Bloomberg can't be ignored any longer. Even if he fails to win a significant chunk of delegates, he will have shown his fellow billionaires what's possible if they only keep spending on themselves. For enough money, it turns out, you can just buy political contention.
Trump, through his blatant corruption, makes a mockery of our democratic norms. Now the more outwardly respectable Bloomberg is doing the same, just in another form. He cannot be bought; he simply buys others.
Ross Barkan is a writer and journalist in New York City
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AG Barr Is Wrong On Encryption. Introducing Gab Chat: An Open Source Encrypted Messaging Platform '' Gab News
Sat, 01 Feb 2020 07:05
Today Gab is pleased to announce the release of the beta version of our encrypted messaging service: Gab Chat.Gab Chat is comprised of both public interest-based chatrooms and private encrypted chatrooms. Encrypted rooms cannot be read by anyone outside of the members in the chatroom, not even Gab.
Gab Chat is also not dependent on any App Stores and therefore does not need to censor on behalf of Apple and Google like Telegram does for example.
Gab Chat is free to use and puts privacy and free speech first above all else.
You can sign up and login to Gab Chat here. We are cognizant we do so amid a ferocious debate in Washington and across the country about the use of end-to-end encryption in communications.
Gab's mission is to empower everyone to speak freely. We do this by developing open source code which anyone in the world can use '' free of charge '' to develop and host their own social networks, their own encrypted chat servers, and more, free from woke left-wing Silicon Valley morality policing. Once our code is open source, as many cryptosystems are, anyone, anywhere will be able to use that code, with or without our permission.
They will also be able to use our services, provided that they follow our rules. Put simply, we essentially ask our users to follow one simple rule: don't use our platform to exceed the boundaries of the First Amendment.
We cannot control what people do on their servers with our code. On our own servers, all legal political speech is permitted. We operate a strict policy that no obscene pornography or criminal activity of any kind is permitted. Violations are aggressively policed by ourselves and our users. We cooperate promptly and fully with US and international law enforcement to the extent we are able to ensure our platform is not used for the commission of serious crime.
Attorney General Bob Barr is an opponent of strong cryptography such as that used by Gab Chat. He wants tech companies to backdoor, or compromise, our services so law enforcement can access the content of encrypted communications data. The issue, of course, is that the only encryption worth placing on private communications is that which tech companies themselves cannot break, as we do.
We do this to protect their users from third party attackers, including ourselves, but also including cybercriminals and hostile foreign actors like the Russian or Chinese governments.
Encryption does not render law enforcement totally blind. Encryption doesn't cause a user to simply disappear. It doesn't prevent a service provider from seeing who is using its service or when that person is using the service. It does, however, prevent a service provider from seeing what a user is saying.
Encryption creates a digital version of a private space for conversation that humans have had for millennia, much as a walk through the park would have been one hundred years ago, or a shredded letter or unrecorded phone call would have been fifty years ago.
Privacy is an important aspect of free speech and one that is protected by the First, Fourth, Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the US Constitution. We consider it part of our mission to expand privacy rights around the world.
As drafted, the Barr-backed proposal '' known as the EARN IT Act '' would destroy privacy online by making Section 230 conditional on adhering to the governance recommendations of a federal commission. This would force tech companies to make a very uncomfortable, nearly impossible, choice: either compromise the security of all our users by denying them the encryption they need to stay safe online, or get crushed into oblivion by vexatious lawsuits filed by every person who doesn't like something someone else said online using our platforms.
Apart from being an unconstitutional infringement of the First Amendment rights of tech companies and their users, this proposed law will destroy the US tech industry, or drive it offshore, if passed. The bill should therefore be scrapped, and Americans' rights should be respected.
As the EARN IT Act is specifically designed to address corporate policies regarding child exploitation online, we have received several press inquiries asking about our view of the use of online platforms by minors.
From our point of view, we comply fully with our requirements under the Communications Decency Act and the mandatory reporting provisions of 18 U.S. Code § 2258A.
As a matter of policy Gab aggressively polices illegal conduct. Gab also does not, per our terms of service, permit use of our platform by minors, nor do we market our platform to them, unlike Snapchat, Tiktok, Facebook, Instagram, and more. As a result, we see very low levels of criminal behavior on the platform, and what behavior we do detect results in immediate and permanent account bans.
Other companies have put their growth ahead of safety. Based on open source reports, companies like Facebook appear to be where the bulk of online child predators congregate, seeing as of the 18.4 million reports of child sexual abuse worldwide in 2018, a reported 12 million traced back to Facebook Messenger.
Facebook Messenger is not encrypted by default; neither is Snapchat, Twitter DMs, etc. Widespread, unsupervised access to the internet, and the immoral distribution of obscene pornography to young people by internet smut peddlers, is the larger issue.
Encryption is not the problem here. Forcing technology providers to throw out the Constitution and render the entirety of the U.S. population vulnerable to Chinese and Russian cybercriminals and spies is accordingly not the solution.
Click here to get started with Gab Chat and reclaim your privacy.
Harvey Weinstein accuser says he shouted 'You owe me!' before alleged rape | US News | Sky News
Sat, 01 Feb 2020 07:01
A former aspiring actress who has accused Harvey Weinstein of raping her twice has said he once shouted "You owe me!" before one of the alleged attacks.
Jessica Mann, 34, told the disgraced movie mogul's trial that she was in an "extremely degrading" relationship with Weinstein between 2012 and 2013.
She likened Weinstein to "Jekyll and Hyde," saying he could be charming in public but often showed frightening anger when they were alone.
"If he heard the word 'no,' it was like a trigger for him," she said.
Ms Mann told jurors the first rape happened in a New York hotel room in March 2013 after Weinstein demanded she undress, saying he "stood over me until I was completely naked".
Then he went into another room, emerged naked and raped her, she testified.
Afterwards in the hotel bathroom, she found a needle in a trash can, she said, and believed, after some research, that he had injected himself with an erection-inducing drug.
She also said she noticed "extreme scarring", adding that she thought he had the characteristics of both male and female genitalia.
Ms Mann kept in touch with Weinstein after the attack and sent him flattering emails because his "ego was so fragile", the jury heard.
She told the court it "made me feel safe, worshipping him in this sense. I wanted to be perceived as innocent and naive".
Ms Mann said that eight months later, while she was working at a hairdresser at a Los Angeles hotel, she told Weinstein she was in a relationship with an actor.
She said Weinstein screamed at her "You owe me one more time!" before dragging her into a bedroom and raping her a second time.
Ms Mann said she crawled into the bathroom afterwards with her eyes red and swollen from tears, and was worried Weinstein would get angry if he knew she was crying.
She told the court he then told her "OK, now go have you relationship", adding "I just find you so attractive, I couldn't resist".
Image: Harvey Weinstein has denied the sexual assault allegations against him Ms Mann's testimony is a pivotal moment in the rape case against the once-powerful movie producer.
Weinstein is charged in New York with the rape in March 2013 and also sexually assaulting Mimi Haleyi, a former Project Runway production assistant in 2006.
A conviction could put him behind bars for the rest of his life.
Weinstein, 67, has insisted that any sexual encounters were consensual.
During cross-examination, Donna Rotunno, one of Weinstein's lawyers, questioned Ms Mann's account and repeatedly suggested she chose to have sex with Weinstein to advance her career.
"You were manipulating Mr Weinstein so you'd get invited to fancy parties, correct?" she asked.
"I was not manipulating him," Ms Mann answered.
Rose McGowan's message to WeinsteinMs Rotunno asked Ms Mann whether, in 2013, she thought Weinstein might cast her in a movie, and Ms Mann said she did.
"You were going to continue to do whatever you had to do to make that happen?" Ms Rotunno asked.
"I wouldn't put it that way," Ms Mann said.
Ms Mann told the court she met Weinstein at a party after she moved from Washington state to Los Angeles to pursue acting.
The producer behind such Oscar-winning films as Shakespeare In Love and Pulp Fiction offered to help her, she said, asking her to meet him at a bookstore to learn about movie-business history.
She said: "I thought it was a blessing."
The trial is set to resume on Monday.
Europese elite heeft geen besef van eigen falen - NRC
Sat, 01 Feb 2020 06:23
'Hebben ze geen brood? Laat ze dan taart eten!'' Zo reageerde Marie Antoinette toen ze hoorde dat het Franse volk honger leed. Hoewel historici twijfelen of ze dit echt heeft gezegd, is het citaat toch juist. Want het vat de wereldvreemdheid van de Franse adel goed samen. Zelfs aan de vooravond van de Revolutie had ze geen besef van wat er speelde in de samenleving. Stekeblind was ze. Door de eigen elitaire, volgevreten arrogantie.
'Als u zich niet aan de regels houdt, wordt u afgekapt! Meneer Farage, stop die Britse vlag weg. Ga zitten. U gaat straks weg. Neem uw vlag lekker mee!''. Aldus de voorzitter van het Europees Parlement afgelopen woensdag tegen Brexit-bons Nigel Farage. Haar toon kon op applaus rekenen van de rest van de Europarlementarirs.
Farage had zojuist een vurige afscheidsspeech gegeven, over hoe het zover kon komen, wat de achterliggende oorzaken van de Brexit zijn, welke fouten van de EU hebben geleid tot steeds minder draagvlak voor diezelfde EU.
Bijvoorbeeld het Europese referendum uit 2005. De bevolking stemde toen tegen een Grondwet. En wat deed de EU? Twee jaar later voerde ze die Grondwet alsnog in via de achterdeur van het verdrag van Lissabon. 'Dit gaat over globalisme versus populisme'', zei Farage erachteraan, 'u mag neerkijken op populisme, maar ik zal u wat verklappen: populisme wordt steeds populairder''. De speech van Farage was eigenlijk een gratis kanarie in de kolenmijn. Maar die kanarie werd volledig genegeerd door de rest van de aanwezigen. Leedvermaak was hun enige reflex: een smalend achterover leunende Guy Verhofstadt klapte het hardst voor de neerbuigende woorden van de voorzitter.
Net als Marie Antoinette zijn wij onwetend van het feit dat we ons aan de vooravond van een mogelijke implosie van het hele systeem bevinden. Zijn we blind voor het feit dat Brexit een uiterst precaire fase in de Europese geschiedenis inluidt. Want we moeten niet vergeten wat de grootste hobby van Europeanen in de laatste duizend jaar was: elkaar systematisch een kopje kleiner maken. De decennia na de Tweede Wereldoorlog zijn uniek in de geschiedenis. De vrede, stabiliteit en welvaart die Europese samenwerking heeft gebracht, is van onschatbare waarde.
Des te kwalijker is de ontwikkeling van de Europese Unie in de afgelopen twintig jaar. Engeland was verstandig genoeg om zijn munt te houden, maar de landen binnen de eurozone kunnen tijdens een crisis geen valuta meer devalueren om de export te stimuleren. Tel daar het radicale Dijsselbloemiaanse bezuinigingsbeleid na de crisis van 2008 bij op. Dat beleid was z" extreem dat zelfs het IMF tevergeefs aan de bel trok.
Wat zijn de gevolgen? Dat mensen in Europa steeds meer een afkeer krijgen van de EU. Omdat ze voelen dat het niet meer uitmaakt waar ze in hun land op stemmen. Omdat ze begrijpen dat de ongekozen neoliberale bureaucraten van instellingen als de Europese Commissie uiteindelijk toch het beleid dicteren. Het koppige gebrek aan zelfreflectie over al deze zaken bij de EU-top opent de deur voor rechtspopulisten als Nigel Farage.
Praat mee met NRCOnderaan dit artikelkunnen abonnees reageren.Hier leest u meer over reageren op NRC.nl.In een wereld met een onbetrouwbare Atlantische partner en een steeds machtiger wordend China is het belang van een sterke EU groter dan ooit. Maar een sterke EU kan niet zonder een sociaal EU.
De opstanden in Frankrijk hadden een legitieme reden. De opkomst van Nexit-sentimenten in Nederland is er niet voor niks. Komt het tot een Frexit of Nexit, dan is het einde zoek. De Europese elites moeten daarom heel snel hun koers veranderen. Ze moeten hun ogen openen voor het feit dat het neoliberalisme in alle opzichten een doodlopende weg is.
Maar waar Marie Antoinette nog begreep dat het volk honger leed '' ook al had ze een wereldvreemde 'oplossing' '' blijft de EU stekeblind voor de legitieme woede achter de Brexit. Het leedvermaak tijdens de afscheidsspeech van Farage was de ultieme kristallisatie van een elite die geen besef heeft van haar eigen falen. En zo langzaam maar zeker Europa naar de spreekwoordelijke guillotine brengt.
Zihni zdil is historicus.
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On the Origins of the 2019-nCoV Virus, Wuhan, China '' jameslyonsweiler.com
Sat, 01 Feb 2020 06:19
James Lyons-Weiler, PhD '' 1/30/2020
RECOMBINATION technology has been in use in molecular virology since the 1980's. The structure of the 2019-NCoV virus genome provides a very strong clue on the likely origin of the virus.
Unlike other related coronaviruses, the 2019-nCoV virus has a unique sequence about 1,378 bp (nucleotide base pairs) long that is not found in related coronaviruses.
Looking at the phylogenetic tree recently published derived using all the full genome sequence, we see the 2019-nCoV virus does not have clear monophyletic support given the bootstrap value of 75 (Fig 1).
Close-up on Bootstrap value of 75 for available 2019-nCoV from Lu et al., 2020 The Lancet article [Full Text]There is no doubt that there is a novel sequence in 2019-nCoV; we confirmed this via sequence alignment. Here's the DOT plot:
The gap in the line shows a lack of sequence homology beween the most similar bat coronavirus and 2019-nCoV. The inserted sequence, which should not be there is here:
A database search by the first team to study and publish the whole genome sequence for the origins of the inserted sequence turned up no hits (Ji et al., 2020). They conducted a codon-bias analysis which led them to speculate that perhaps there had been a recombination event between a coronavirus in snakes with a coronavirus from bats (Ji et al., 2020). [Full Text]
This led to criticism on Wired(3) with quote dismissing the snake origin hypothesis as lacking evidence. There is, however, clear evidence that the novel sequence, which I will refer to henceforth as INS1378, is from a laboratory-induced recombination event. Specifically,
(1) The sequence similarity to other coronavirus sequences is lower to its most similar sequences in any coronavirus than the rest of the genome (IPAK finding)
(2) The high sequence similarity of INS1378 to a SARS spike protein (2; IPAK Confirmed).
(3) We also found significant sequence similarity of INS1378 to a pShuttle-SN vector that was in use in the 1980's in China to create a more immunogenic coronavirus (IPAK finding, details below, Option 4).
Here, I review four Option on the origins of the 2019-nCoV Coronavirus isolated from human patients from Wuhan, China.
Option 1. Natural coronavirus related to bat coronaviruses, Not a Recombined Virus.
Evidence for: Phylogenetic clustering with Bat coronaviruses.
Evidence against: Low bootstrap support (N=75) and presence of a INS1378.
Status: Falsified hypothesis.
Test: Survey coronviruses in animals in the wild.
Option 2. A recombined virus that naturally picked up a SARS-like spike protein in it N-terminus (3'² end) of the viral genome.
Evidence for: The INS1378 codon bias similar to snakes ($)
Evidence against: Insufficient match in database search to other known CoV spike proteins (Ji et al., 2020)
Status: Speculative hypothesis. Unlikely.
Test: Find an isolate that matches 2019-nCoV in the wild and reproducibly independently isolate the virus from a wild animal (a match will confirm).
Option 3. A recombined virus made in a laboratory for the purpose of creating a bioweapon.
Both China and the US hinted at the other side's potential liability in playing a role in bringing about a novel coronavirus in the lab specifically for the purpose of being used as a bioweapon. To add to the intrigue, a Chinese Scientist was released from BSL-4 laboratory in Manitoba, Canada for violating protocols, allegedly sending samples of deadly viruses to mainland China.
On January 26, The Washington Times published this article citing an Israeli defense expert claiming that China has likely proceeded with a bioweapons program, but ending the article with a quote to London's Daily Mail from a US scientist Rutgers University microbiologist Richard Ebright that ''at this point there's no reason to harbor suspicions'' that the lab may be linked to the virus outbreak.
The same person was quoted in a Feb 2017 Nature article stating that SARS had escaped the Wuhan facility ''multiple times''.
Evidence for: Presence of BSL-4 laboratory 20 miles from the Wuhan seafood market
Evidence against: Published opinion.
Status: Rumor. But see below.
Option 4. A recombined virus made in a laboratory for the purpose of creating a vaccine.
IPAK researchers found a sequence similarity between a pShuttle-SN recombination vector sequence and INS1378. Here's a shot of the alignment and the DOT Plot.
Here's the nucleotide sequence at NCBI's Nucleotide database. Here's a patent for its use in recombination virology.
The pShuttle-SN vector was among many described in a 1998 paper by Bert Vogelstein et al; here is a company where one can purchase the pShuttle-SN vector:
It turns out that the sequence from pShuttle is most closely related to the Spike protein from SARS coronavirus.
This particular technology was used in 2008 to attempt to develop a more immunogenic vaccine against coronavirus. Here's a Chinese patent for that technique and product intended for use in a vaccine.
The patent summary reads:
SARS vaccine of adenovirus vector and preparation method, application of coronavirus S geneAbstract(translated from Chinese)The present invention belongs to the field of genetic engineering, particularly relates to adenoviral vector SARS vaccines, their preparation and coronavirus S genes in SARS (SARS) on vaccines for the prophylaxis. By means of biological engineering, the coronavirus S gene in combination with deficient recombinant adenovirus, the protective immunogen protein or polypeptide expressed therein, through expansion culture, purification, and formulation to prepare a mucosal immunogenicity can cause the gene vaccine, respiratory mucosal immune response induced by the body to produce antibodies against the virus infection. Specific conditions of the present invention, compared with conventional inactivated virus particle vaccine, safe, easy to use, without limitation intramuscular, have broad clinical applications.
In 2015, The US called for an end to research creating new viruses in the lab that have increased threat (higher transmissibility, higher pathogenicity, higher lethalithy) (3)
The very researchers conducting studies on SARS vaccines have cautioned repeatedly against human trials;
''An early concern for application of a SARS-CoV vaccine was the experience with other coronavirus infections which induced enhanced disease and immunopathology in animals when challenged with infectious virus , a concern reinforced by the report that animals given an alum adjuvanted SARS vaccine and subsequently challenged with SARS-CoV exhibited an immunopathologic lung reaction reminiscent of that described for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) in infants and in animal models given RSV vaccine and challenged naturally (infants) or artificially (animals) with RSV , . We and others described a similar immunopathologic reaction in mice vaccinated with a SARS-CoV vaccine and subsequently challenged with SARS-CoV , , , . It has been proposed that the nucleocapsid protein of SARS-CoV is the antigen to which the immunopathologic reaction is directed , . Thus, concern for proceeding to humans with candidate SARS-CoV vaccines emerged from these various observations.'' '' Tseng et al.,
The disease progression in of 2019-nCoV is consistent with those seen in animals and humans vaccinated against SARS and then challenged with re-infection. Thus, the hypothesis that 2019-nCoV is an experimental vaccine type must be seriously considered.
Evidence for: Sequence homology between INS1378 to pShuttle Coronavirus vaccine; presence of a SARS-like Spike protein in bat coronavirus, otherwise most similar to bat coronaviruses; low bootstrap value.
Evidence against: Low sequence homology (but highly signifiant). NB these viruses are RNA viruses and they can evolve quickly, even under laboratory conditions.
Status: Most likely.
Test: Determine the nucleotide sequence all laboratory types of coronavirus being studied in China (a match will confirm). Find an isolate that matches 2019-nCoV in the wild and reproducibly independently isolate the virus from a wild animal (a match will falsify).
The available evidence most strongly supports that the 2019-NCoV virus is a vaccine strain of coronavirus either accidentally released from a laboratory accident, perhaps a laboratory researcher becoming infected with the virus while conducting animal experiments, or the Chinese were performing clinical studies of a Coronavirus vaccine in humans.
Dr. Dale Brown brought to my attention the studies that have reported serious immunopathology in animals '' rats, ferrets, and monkeys '' in which animals vaccinated against coronoviruses tended to have extremely high rates of respiratory failure upon subsequent exposure in the study when challenged with the wild-type coronavirus.
''Caution in proceeding to application of a SARS-CoV vaccine in humans is indicated''- Te et al., 2012 [Full Text]Yasui et al., (2012) reported severe pneumonia in mice who were vaccinated against SARS who were subsequently infected with SARS.
Another study of a double-inactived SARS vaccine found increased eosinophilic proinflammatory responses in vaccinated mice, especially older mice, writing:
''Importantly, aged animals displayed increased eosinophilic immune pathology in the lungs and were not protected against significant virus replication.''
If the Chinese government has been conducting human trials against SARS. MERS, or other coronviruses using recombined viruses, they may have made their citizens far more susceptible to acute respiratory distress syndrome upon infection with 2019-nCoV coronavirus.
The implications are clear: if China sensitized their population via a SARS vaccine, and this escaped from a lab, the rest of world has a serious humanitarian urgency to help China, but may not expect as serious an epidemic as might otherwise be expected.
In the worst-case scenario, if the vaccination strain is more highly contagious and lethal, 2019-nCoV could become the worst example of vaccine-derived contagious disease in human history. With an uncharacteristic aysmptomatic prodromal period of 5-7 days, individuals returning from China to other countries must be forthright and cooperative in their now-prescribed 2-week quarantine.
Lu, R et al., 2020. Genomic characterisation and epidemiology of 2019 novel coronavirus: implications for virus origins and receptor binding The Lancet. https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736%2820%2930251-8/fulltext
Tseng et al., 2012. Double-Inactivated Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus Vaccine Provides Incomplete Protection in Mice and Induces Increased Eosinophilic Proinflammatory Pulmonary Response Upon Challenge https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3209347/
Te et al., 2012. Immunization with SARS coronavirus vaccines leads to pulmonary immunopathology on challenge with the SARS virus. PLoS One 7(4) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22536382
Yasui et al., Prior immunization with severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)-associated coronavirus (SARS-CoV) nucleocapsid protein causes severe pneumonia in mice infected with SARS-CoV. J Immunol. 181:6337-48 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18941225 https://www.jimmunol.org/content/181/9/6337.long
U.S. sees Chinese communist party as 'central threat of our times,' Pompeo says - Reuters
Fri, 31 Jan 2020 23:40
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Britain's Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab visit Epic Games Lab in London, Britain, January 30, 2020. Stefan Rousseau/Pool via REUTERS
LONDON (Reuters) - China is the central threat of our times and the United States and its allies must ensure they have the military and technological power to ensure that this century is governed by Western principles, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said.
''While we still have to be enormously vigilant about terror ... the Chinese Communist Party presents the central threat of our times,'' Pompeo said on Thursday.
Reporting by William James and Costas Pitas; writing by Guy Faulconbridge; editing by Stephen Addison
Emily Tisch Sussman
Fri, 31 Jan 2020 23:04
Emily Tisch Sussman has been at the forefront of executing strategy for the progressive movement in the United States for more than a decade. She is a leading democratic political strategist who appears regularly on FOX News, CNN, HLN, and MSNBC and whose views are frequently featured in national news outlets including The New York Times, Newsweek, and Politico.
Hillary Clinton Slams Bernie Sanders for Not Working to Unite Democrats in 2016 - The New York Times
Fri, 31 Jan 2020 23:02
DES MOINES '-- Hillary Clinton said on Friday in a podcast interview that Senator Bernie Sanders and his supporters did not do enough to unify the Democratic Party after the prolonged 2016 primary, calling the behavior of his supporters ''distressing'' and saying it affected the general election.
''All the way up until the end, a lot of people highly identified with his campaign were urging people to vote third party, urging people not to vote,'' Mrs. Clinton said in an interview with Emily Tisch Sussman for her podcast ''Your Primary Playlist.'' ''It had an impact.''
Mrs. Clinton also drew a sharp distinction between her efforts in 2008 to bring the party together after her bruising primary battle with Barack Obama and the efforts by Mr. Sanders in 2016: ''Night and day,'' she said.
And she warned against party disunity when facing off against an incumbent President Trump in 2020.
''That cannot happen again,'' she said. ''I don't care who the nominee is. I don't care. As long as it's somebody who can win, and as long as it's somebody who understands politics is the art of addition, not subtraction.''
Be prepared for Iowa caucus night. Subscribe to ''On Politics,'' and we'll send you a link to our live coverage.
Mrs. Clinton already caused a stir last week when footage from an upcoming documentary revealed her saying of Mr. Sanders, ''Nobody likes him, nobody wants to work with him, he got nothing done.'' When promoting the film, she initially declined to tell The Hollywood Reporter whether she would endorse or campaign for Mr. Sanders if he were the nominee; hours later, she clarified on Twitter that ''I will do whatever I can to support our nominee.''
In Friday's podcast, Mrs. Clinton minimized her earlier remarks about Mr. Sanders as ''15 seconds in a four-hour documentary.'' At the same time, she went on to speak about Mr. Sanders at length.
In the half-hour podcast interview with Ms. Tisch Sussman, Mrs. Clinton also sounded off on the Iowa caucuses '-- which will be held on Monday and which Mr. Sanders leads in some polls '-- as ''undemocratic,'' because the voting is limited to a single winter evening, making them hard to attend for people with night shifts at work, like nurses, or parents who need child care. (The Iowa Democratic Party has added several dozen ''satellite'' caucuses this year, at locations like hospitals and nursing homes, in an effort to expand accessibility.)
''It is a very undemocratic way of picking a nominee,'' Mrs. Clinton said, adding, ''it just makes no sense.''
Mrs. Clinton lost Iowa in 2008 to Mr. Obama but won the caucuses narrowly over Mr. Sanders in 2016. ''I'll be happy to see the primaries start rolling around because that's a much easier way for people to participate and for the outcomes to be much clearer,'' she said.
Some of her most notable remarks in the podcast interview were about the aftermath of the 2016 primary. At one point, Ms. Tisch Sussman asked Mrs. Clinton of Mr. Sanders, ''What do you think that he can do '-- whether he's the nominee or not the nominee '-- to help get to that point of unifying people against Trump?''
''Well, he can do it, for one,'' Mrs. Clinton said with a big laugh. ''That's not our experience from 2016.''
She said that she had ''very honest, very open'' conversations with Mr. Obama in 2008 and that she fully embraced his bid for the White House.
''So fast forward. I mean, you had, unfortunately, a very different outcome in the 2016 primary, where I won by four million votes. I won overwhelmingly in delegates,'' Mrs. Clinton said. ''There was no question about who was going to be the nominee. But unfortunately, you know, his campaign and his principal supporters were just very difficult and really, constantly not just attacking me, but my supporters.''
''We get to the convention,'' she continued. ''They're booing Michelle Obama, John Lewis. It was very distressing and such a contrast between what we did to unite in '08.''
Still, she was looking ahead to the 2020 race and drawing on her 2016 experience about the challenge ahead.
''I think people need to have to really think hard about who can beat Trump. And it's not the popular vote, as I learned to my own grave disappointment,'' she said. Noting the key Electoral College battlegrounds, she added, ''Those are going to be tough states to win. So I just want us to be really focused on winning. That's all I care about.''
Pelosi: Trump's expanded travel ban is 'outrageous, un-American' and threatens 'rule of law' | TheHill
Fri, 31 Jan 2020 23:00
Speaker Nancy Pelosi Nancy PelosiTrump insists he isn't worried about impeachment: 'This is a happy period' On The Money: Economy grows 2.3 percent in 2019, slowest year under Trump | How coronavirus could impact the US economy | Farm bankruptcies jump | Pelosi not ready to back UK trade deal Chris Christie says he could 'definitely' see Trump targeting GOP senators who vote for additional witnesses MORE (D-Calif.) ripped President Trump Donald John TrumpThe Memo: Trump tries to steal Democrats' thunder in Iowa Democrats make closing arguments to Iowa voters Alexander to vote no on witnesses, bringing trial close to end MORE 's expanded travel ban after he included six other countries to the list of those that will face increased travel restrictions.
''The Trump Administration's expansion of its outrageous, un-American travel ban threatens our security, our values and the rule of law. The sweeping rule, barring more than 350 million individuals from predominantly African nations from traveling to the United States, is discrimination disguised as policy,'' Pelosi said in a statement.
''With this latest callous decision, the President has doubled down on his cruelty and further undermined our global leadership, our Constitution and our proud heritage as a nation of immigrants,'' she added.
The statement comes after the Trump administration announced it would restrict the ability of immigrants from Nigeria, Myanmar, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Sudan and Tanzania to get certain immigration visas. The new policy does not amount to a blanket travel ban.
Friday's proclamation will suspend immigrant visas for nationals of Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Eritrea, Nigeria. The restriction only applies to those seeking to live in the U.S. permanently rather than temporary residence. It will also restrict diversity visas for nationals of Sudan and Tanzania.
"Because we have higher confidence that these six countries will be able to make improvements in their system in a reasonable period of time, we did not feel it would be proportionate to impose restrictions on all immigrant and non-immigration visas," a DHS official said, citing national security concerns as the reason for the restrictions.
Trump implemented the first version of the travel ban just over three years ago against several Muslim-majority nations. A revised version of that ban was later upheld by the Supreme Court, and travel from Iran, Libya, Syria, Somalia and Yemen is still restricted.
The administration separately curtailed travel from North Korea and Venezuela.
The first iteration of the ban sparked chaos at national airports and protests across the country, with protesters calling the policy racist.
White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham Stephanie GrishamRoss suggests coronavirus 'will help to accelerate the return of jobs' to US White House announces task force to monitor coronavirus Trump asks why Bolton didn't complain earlier MORE defended the existing policy Friday in a statement announcing the new restrictions.
"President Trump's security and travel proclamations have immeasurably improved our national security, substantially raised the global standard for information-sharing, and dramatically strengthened the integrity of the United States' immigration system," she said. "The orders have been a tremendous and vital success."
Pelosi said Democrats would oppose the new policy in court and introduce the NO BAN Act to ''prohibit religious discrimination in our immigration system and limit the President's ability to impose such biased and bigoted restrictions.''
''In the Congress and in the Courts, House Democrats will continue to oppose the Administration's dangerous anti-immigrant agenda,'' she said. ''We will never allow hatred or bigotry to define our nation or destroy our values.''
The proclamation signed by the president will go into effect Feb. 22.
Trump Administration Restricts Entry Into U.S. From China - The New York Times
Fri, 31 Jan 2020 22:56
The travel disruption sent shocks through the stock market and rattled industries that depend on the flow of goods and people between the world's two largest economies.
The United States will begin funneling all flights from China to just a few airports, including Kennedy International in New York. Credit... Johnny Milano for The New York Times Jan. 31, 2020Updated 10:49 p.m. ET
Moving to counter the spreading coronavirus outbreak, the Trump administration said Friday that it would bar entry by most foreign nationals who had recently visited China and put some American travelers under a quarantine as it declared a rare public health emergency.
The temporary restrictions followed announcements by American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines that they would suspend air service between the United States and China for several months.
The travel disruption sent shocks through the stock market and rattled industries that depend on the flow of goods and people between the world's two largest economies. Planning was upended for companies across a vast global supply chain, from Apple to John Deere, the tractor company.
The S&P 500 suffered its worst loss since October, falling 1.8 percent, as the spread of the virus '-- and the increasingly urgent efforts by companies and governments to contain it '-- fanned fears of an economic slowdown.
The government travel restrictions, which will take effect on Sunday evening, were announced by Alex Azar, the secretary of health and human services, who declared that the coronavirus posed ''a public health emergency in the United States.''
The administration's action will restrict all foreign nationals who have been to China in the past 14 days from entering the United States. The restriction does not include immediate family members of American citizens and permanent residents. Nearly three million Chinese residents traveled to the United States in 2018, according to federal data based on travel records.
The travel restrictions and the airline's announcements showed how rapidly concerns about the virus have escalated into a grave test of the global economy, for which there is no recent precedent. Three weeks after the first virus-related death was reported, China has found itself increasingly cut off from its biggest trading partner, the United States, and many other nations.
Chinese officials said on Saturday that there had been an additional 46 deaths in the country, the most so far in a 24-hour period, raising the death toll to 259. It said confirmed infections had grown to nearly 12,000, from 1,300 a week earlier.
About 100 cases have been confirmed across 21 other countries, including seven reported cases in the United States. Russia, Italy and Britain each reported their first infections on Friday, two from each country. The four patients in Italy and Russia were Chinese citizens, the authorities there said; Britain did not release any details.
To address the outbreak, China has extended the Lunar New Year holiday, which was to have ended Thursday, into next week. In cities across the country, including those far from the center of the outbreak, there were eerie scenes Friday of all-but-empty streets and highways, closed shops, trains without passengers and nearly deserted public spaces that are normally packed.
The slowdown in activity has raised fears that essential supplies, including food, will run short, which the government insists it will not allow to happen.
And it is unclear when China's economic engine '-- a huge producer of both consumer goods and industrial components '-- might return to anything resembling normal.
Many companies said they were relatively well positioned for the disruption, thanks in part to the recent easing of the trade tensions between China and the United States. Faced with the threat of tariffs, many companies '-- particularly retailers '-- had stocked up on imports from China, or found suppliers in other parts of Asia.
But if the restrictions in China are kept in place for many months and the virus keeps spreading, profits will suffer.
Forsake, a footwear company based in Boston, has most of its supply chain and production facility in Zhongshan in southeastern China. The company received its spring orders before the annual holiday closing and is stocked through July. After that, said Sam Barstow, the president and chief operating officer, who knows?
''We don't really know what we're planning for,'' Mr. Barstow said.
Tim Cook, Apple's chief executive, said on an earnings call this week that many of its suppliers' factories in China would remain closed until Feb. 10.
Apple had closed one retail store in China, and said traffic into its stores across China had decreased in recent days. Apple is frequently ''deep cleaning'' its stores and regularly checking the temperature of its employees there, Mr. Cook said.
The airlines are also braced for prolonged turmoil. American said all of its flights between the United States and mainland China were being suspended immediately, through March 27.
United and Delta said their flights on those routes would be suspended by next Thursday. United said it expected to resume operations on March 28, while Delta said its suspension would last through April 30. The three airlines accounted for more than a third of all travel between China and the United States in 2018.
In 2018, more than 8.5 million passengers traveled between the United States and China, according to data from the United States Transportation Department. Most flew on a handful of Chinese airlines, none of which immediately responded to requests for comment Friday on any plans to halt or modify service.
The coronavirus has already sickened more people than the outbreak of the SARS virus did in the eight-month outbreak of 2002 and 2003.
The SARS outbreak coincided with a relatively brief slowdown of global growth in early 2003, which was followed by a sharp rebound.
SARS, however, is an imperfect comparison because at the time China represented just 5 percent of the global economy. In 2019, China accounted for about 18 percent, according to JPMorgan Chase economists.
''The much larger role of China in the global economy versus 2003 implies much greater global spillover risks,'' the bank wrote in a research note on Friday.
On Wednesday, the JPMorgan Chase economists cut their forecast for Chinese economic growth sharply for the first quarter to incorporate the impact of the virus. They now expect that the Chinese economy will grow at an annualized rate of 4.9 percent in the first quarter, down from the 6.3 percent pace they previously predicted.
The new forecasts reflect the expectation of sharp decelerations in retail sales, industrial production and business investment. But the forecast also calls for a strong rebound in economic activity in the second quarter, as the impact of the outbreak dissipates.
Concerns about global growth have pushed the benchmark American oil price below $52 a barrel, from more than $60 at the start of the year, and have sent the shares of energy companies lower. Tech stocks have also suffered, with particular weakness in the semiconductor sector, which is closely linked to supply chains based in and around China.
On Thursday, the State Department raised its travel advisory to Level 4 '-- ''Do not travel'' '-- a rating reserved for situations in which the government expects to have very limited ability to help citizens abroad. The World Health Organization declared a global health emergency because of the spreading virus, though it opposed restrictions on travel or trade with China.
Mr. Azar, the United States health secretary, and other members of a Trump administration task force emphasized on Friday that the current risk to the American public from the coronavirus was low.
But the drastic travel restriction suggested that the risks in the United States could grow quickly and unpredictably.
Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said at a Washington briefing that the actions were being taken because there were ''a lot of unknowns'' surrounding the virus and its transmission path. Unlike influenza, which is fairly predictable in terms of infection and mortality, Dr. Fauci said there was not the same certainty about the rate and path of the coronavirus transmission.
''The number of cases have steeply inclined with every day,'' Dr. Fauci said.
In addition to the restrictions on foreign nationals traveling from China, the United States will begin funneling all flights from China to just a few airports, including Kennedy International in New York, O'Hare in Chicago and San Francisco International.
Officials said any American citizen returning to the United States from the Hubei Province in China, where the outbreak is centered, would be subject to up to 14 days of mandatory quarantine. Any American returning to the country who has visited the rest of mainland China within the last 14 days will undergo proactive health screening at selective ports of entry.
The government also imposed a two-week quarantine on 195 people who were evacuated on Wednesday from Wuhan, China, to a California military base.
Some public health and policy experts said the restrictions announced Friday, weeks after the virus was discovered in China, might not do as much officials hoped in containing the contagion.
At this point, sharply curtailing air travel to and from China is more of an emotional or political reaction, said Dr. Michael T. Osterholm, an epidemiologist and director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota.
''The cow's already out of the barn,'' he said, ''and we're now talking about shutting the barn door.''
Reporting was contributed by Matt Phillips, Patricia Cohen, Niraj Chokshi, Jack Nicas, Knvul Sheikh, Russell Goldman, Chris Buckley, Elaine Yu, Richard C. Paddock, Richard Perez-Pe±a, Elisabetta Povoledo and Jason Horowitz.
Executive Order on Combating Human Trafficking and Online Child Exploitation in the United States | The White House
Fri, 31 Jan 2020 17:09
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, 22 U.S.C. 7101 et seq., it is hereby ordered as follows:
Section 1. Policy. Human trafficking is a form of modern slavery. Throughout the United States and around the world, human trafficking tears apart communities, fuels criminal activity, and threatens the national security of the United States. It is estimated that millions of individuals are trafficked around the world each year '-- including into and within the United States. As the United States continues to lead the global fight against human trafficking, we must remain relentless in resolving to eradicate it in our cities, suburbs, rural communities, tribal lands, and on our transportation networks. Human trafficking in the United States takes many forms and can involve exploitation of both adults and children for labor and sex.
Twenty-first century technology and the proliferation of the internet and mobile devices have helped facilitate the crime of child sex trafficking and other forms of child exploitation. Consequently, the number of reports to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children of online photos and videos of children being sexually abused is at record levels.
The Federal Government is committed to preventing human trafficking and the online sexual exploitation of children. Effectively combating these crimes requires a comprehensive and coordinated response to prosecute human traffickers and individuals who sexually exploit children online, to protect and support victims of human trafficking and child exploitation, and to provide prevention education to raise awareness and help lower the incidence of human trafficking and child exploitation into, from, and within the United States.
To this end, it shall be the policy of the executive branch to prioritize its resources to vigorously prosecute offenders, to assist victims, and to provide prevention education to combat human trafficking and online sexual exploitation of children.
Sec. 2. Strengthening Federal Responsiveness to Human Trafficking. (a) The Domestic Policy Council shall commit one employee position to work on issues related to combating human trafficking occurring into, from, and within the United States and to coordinate with personnel in other components of the Executive Office of the President, including the Office of Economic Initiatives and the National Security Council, on such efforts. This position shall be filled by an employee of the executive branch detailed from the Department of Justice, the Department of Labor, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Transportation, or the Department of Homeland Security.
(b) The Secretary of State, on behalf of the President's Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, shall make available, online, a list of the Federal Government's resources to combat human trafficking, including resources to identify and report instances of human trafficking, to protect and support the victims of trafficking, and to provide public outreach and training.
(c) The Secretary of State, the Attorney General, the Secretary of Labor, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, and the Secretary of Homeland Security shall, in coordination and consistent with applicable law:
(i) improve methodologies of estimating the prevalence of human trafficking, including in specific sectors or regions, and monitoring the impact of anti trafficking efforts and publish such methodologies as appropriate; and
(ii) establish estimates of the prevalence of human trafficking in the United States.
Sec. 3. Prosecuting Human Traffickers and Individuals Who Exploit Children Online. (a) The Attorney General, through the Federal Enforcement Working Group, in collaboration with the Secretary of Labor and the Secretary of Homeland Security, shall:
(i) improve interagency coordination with respect to targeting traffickers, determining threat assessments, and sharing law enforcement intelligence to build on the Administration's commitment to the continued success of ongoing anti trafficking enforcement initiatives, such as the Anti-Trafficking Coordination Team and the U.S.-Mexico Bilateral Human Trafficking Enforcement Initiatives; and
(ii) coordinate activities, as appropriate, with the Task Force on Missing and Murdered American Indians and Alaska Natives as established by Executive Order 13898 of November 26, 2019 (Establishing the Task Force on Missing and Murdered American Indians and Alaska Natives).
(b) The Attorney General and the Secretary of Homeland Security, and other heads of executive departments and agencies as appropriate, shall, within 180 days of the date of this order, propose to the President, through the Director of the Domestic Policy Council, legislative and executive actions that would overcome information-sharing challenges and improve law enforcement's capabilities to detect in real-time the sharing of child sexual abuse material on the internet, including material referred to in Federal law as ''child pornography.'' Overcoming these challenges would allow law enforcement officials to more efficiently identify, protect, and rescue victims of online child sexual exploitation; investigate and prosecute alleged offenders; and eliminate the child sexual abuse material online.
Sec. 4. Protecting Victims of Human Trafficking and Child Exploitation. (a) The Attorney General, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, and the Secretary of Homeland Security, and other heads of executive departments and agencies as appropriate, shall work together to enhance capabilities to locate children who are missing, including those who have run away from foster care and those previously in Federal custody, and are vulnerable to human trafficking and child exploitation. In doing so, such heads of executive departments and agencies, shall, as appropriate, engage social media companies; the technology industry; State, local, tribal and territorial child welfare agencies; the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children; and law enforcement at all levels.
(b) The Secretary of Health and Human Services, in consultation with the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, shall establish an internal working group to develop and incorporate practical strategies for State, local, and tribal governments, child welfare agencies, and faith-based and other community organizations to expand housing options for victims of human trafficking.
Sec. 5. Preventing Human Trafficking and Child Exploitation Through Education Partnerships. The Attorney General and the Secretary of Homeland Security, in coordination with the Secretary of Education, shall partner with State, local, and tribal law enforcement entities to fund human trafficking and child exploitation prevention programs for our Nation's youth in schools, consistent with applicable law and available appropriations.
Sec. 6. General Provisions. (a) Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:
(i) the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or the head thereof; or
(ii) the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.
(b) This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.
(c) This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.
DONALD J. TRUMP
THE WHITE HOUSE,January 31, 2020.
Trump to sign executive order combating human trafficking | TheHill
Fri, 31 Jan 2020 17:07
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DNC scraps donor threshold for Nevada debate, opening door for Bloomberg to qualify
Fri, 31 Jan 2020 16:54
The Democratic National Committee has eliminated the individual donor threshold to qualify for the primary debate being held in Las Vegas on Feb. 19, opening the door for former New York City mayor Mike Bloomberg to face off against his competitors for the first time in a national debate since he entered the race.
Running an unconventional campaign by focusing on delegate-rich states that vote after the four early voting states, billionaire Bloomberg has been self-funding, refusing to take donations from supporters and essentially barring himself from qualifying for a Democratic primary debate -- which have up until this point required candidates to attain a specific number of unique donors in order to participate.
"If they would have changed the rules, I'd love to debate ... Sure, why not?" Bloomberg said in an interview on "The Tonight Show" on Tuesday. "It's a good chance to show the public that you can take the grief as well as give it out. And I think I have good answers to the kind of questions that reporters would ask you, and some cute remarks for those that come from the other candidates."
Now, Bloomberg may get his chance to face some of his competition, including three front-runners who have already qualified for this debate, according to an ABC News analysis: former Vice President Joe Biden, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg addresses a news conference in Norfolk, Va., Nov. 25, 2019.
"We are thrilled that voters could soon have the chance to see Mike Bloomberg on the debate stage, hear his vision for the country, and see why he is the strongest candidate to defeat Donald Trump and bring our country together," Kevin Sheekey, Bloomberg's campaign manager, said in a statement, responding to the change.
In order to qualify for the ninth debate, hosted by NBC and MSNBC in partnership with The Nevada Independent, candidates have to either meet a polling threshold or acquire at least one pledged delegate out of the Iowa caucuses or New Hampshire primary.
Candidates have two ways to meet the polling threshold: Get at least 10% support in four national polls and/or polls conducted in Nevada or South Carolina -- referred to as the four-poll threshold -- or get at least 12% support in two polls conducted in Nevada and/or South Carolina, referred to as the early state polling threshold.
In order for polls to count toward the four-poll threshold, they must be sponsored by different organizations, or if sponsored by the same organization, be covering different geographical areas. However, polls can be conducted by the same organization and/or covering the same region to count toward the early state polling threshold.
All qualifying polls must be released between Jan. 15 and 11:59 p.m. on Feb. 18 -- the day before the debate.
According to the DNC's guidelines, polls must be sponsored by one of the following entities or pairs of entities: Associated Press; ABC News/Washington Post; CBS News/YouGov; CNN; Fox News; Monmouth University; National Public Radio; NBC News/Wall Street Journal; NBC News/Marist; New York Times; Nevada Independent/Mellman Group; Quinnipiac University; USA Today/Suffolk University or Winthrop University.
Bloomberg already has one poll toward the four-poll threshold, as does former South Bend, Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg, according to ABC News' analysis. No other candidates have any polls toward either threshold.
Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks at a New Year's Eve campaign event in Des Moines, Iowa, Dec. 31, 2019.
A senior adviser to the Sanders campaign, Jeff Weaver, blasted the DNC for changing the rules at this point in the primary.
"To now change the rules in the middle of the game to accommodate Mike Bloomberg, who is trying to buy his way into the Democratic nomination, is wrong," Weaver said. "That's the definition of a rigged system."
The other billionaire in the race, businessman Tom Steyer, also hit the DNC, saying it's "just plain wrong" that the party changed the rules now, but didn't "in the past to ensure a more diverse debate stage."
"Back in December, I called on the DNC to open up the debate requirements so that more candidates, including candidates of color, would be able to participate," Steyer said in a statement. "The Democratic Party should be doing everything possible to ensure a diverse field of candidates."
He added, "Instead, they are changing the rules for a candidate who is ignoring early states voters and grassroots donors."
On Wednesday, businessman Andrew Yang said the DNC shouldn't change its debate qualifying rules.
"I don't think it's on the DNC to change their criteria because Mike is essentially saying, 'I don't care about the debates. I don't care about meeting these thresholds,' because we all know he could," Yang said this week at a Bloomberg News event in Des Moines, Iowa. "It would take him, I would say, probably two weeks if he just put the resources in place."
Democratic presidential candidate and Sen. Amy Klobuchar speaks at a campaign town hall meeting in Mason, Iowa, Jan. 20, 2020.
Based on ABC News' analyses, both Yang and Steyer have yet to qualify for the Feb. 19 debate, but have qualified for the Feb. 7 debate in New Hampshire, which ABC News is hosting in partnership with ABC-affiliate WMUR-TV and Apple News.
Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar took a different stance, indicating that she'd like to see Bloomberg in the debates.
"I'd be fine with him on the debate stage, because I think that instead of just putting your money out there, he's actually got to be on the stage, and be able to go back and forth so that voters can evaluate him in that way," Klobuchar said on MSNBC Tuesday.
According to ABC News' analysis, Klobuchar has qualified for the New Hampshire debate, but not the Nevada debate.
ABC News' Averi Harper and Sasha Pezenik contributed to this report.