Cover for No Agenda Show 1360: Magnetofection
July 1st, 2021 • 3h 9m

1360: Magnetofection


Every new episode of No Agenda is accompanied by a comprehensive list of shownotes curated by Adam while preparing for the show. Clips played by the hosts during the show can also be found here.

The Move
Tina saved us a whole day of moving costs
$18/hour plus tips
Vaccine Marketing
Airline Woes
Airlines and summer of problems real deal from Joe
I'm running a few episodes back, but since these problems are persisting I thought I'd add something to the discussion..
Southwest data issues
Their problem isn't micro-services architecture, it's their aged homegrown software systems that are straining and incapable of modern features. While they have replaced their homegrown reservations system with Amadeus (a common RES system), many of their backoffice systems, notably their homegrown ops systems are really old. For example, their ops system is so bad that for one hour per day (usually 4am to 5am Eastern) all planes in the Southwest system have to be on the grounded for the system to cycle to the next day. (Any plane still in the air due to delays or other emergencies has to be handled by hand without the use of the automated system.) This is why Southwest does not operate red-eyes. Southwest's dispatch, weight and balance, and probably weather data are tied into that system as well. Another basic thing that Southwest can't really do is sell in foreign currencies, which is why the airline only flies to destinations where almost all the customers are Americans. (Their new reservation system can sell foreign currencies on the non-stop international flight, but when passengers connect to domestic flights it needs to access a legacy accounting system and the sale fails, preventing most foreign currency sales). Southwest also had by far the largest fleet of 737MAX aircraft and they were reapproved in the middle of the pandemic. Because the pandemic was going on they didn't start hiring pilots to fly them and are now short crew. Southwest and others also can't get enough low paid baggage handlers with the labor shortage and are sending some aircraft with no bags because there are no employees to load them.
American and everybody else's issues
American's problems are labor related, labor-shortage related to be specific. AA has had labor problems since the merger with US Airways, but the problem this Summer is not specific to American. Essentially the airlines cheated the payroll support program, primarily American, Delta, and United. The airlines took $25 billion+ in payroll aid with the promise not to lay off employees, but instead they offered "voluntary separations", "voluntary leave", and "early retirement" and employees were pressured to take it. Delta alone had more than 40,000 employees on voluntary leave ( which is great, except this was huge double-dipping and went against the whole purpose of the payroll support program which was to make sure the airlines were ready to resume flying and kickstart the economy. Instead the airlines pocketed the payroll support for employees and still let go of probably 100,000 employees, many that became more than temporary leaves. Now they don't have enough employees to operate, can't hire more because of the labor shortage, and need to blame something else to cover their double-dipping.
I have a blog where I talk about airline routes and such at (Airline backwards) if you want to plug it!
Mastercard True Name is BS
Mastercard is full of shit. I have been using a name on my Amex that is my first and middle name
for almost a decade. At the time I changed it, I asked and was told that I could have it read any
way I wanted it.
Remember the old ads with celebrities, “not leaving home without it”? That wasn’t their real names
on the cards.That’s one of the cool things about Amex.
Reply-to pronouns
Please keep this anonymous, thanks
Wow, ever thought this would happen where I work but a ‘suggestion’ came from higher up (just don’t know how high up or if it was just the company intranet author) about how important it is to include your pronoun choices in your reply to address.
This is such bullshit, it’s not useful in email correspondence unless you’ll be meeting in person at some point. They also even mention how important it is (or imporant) to show that our company is inclusive, quoted from our company website.
I might have to reconsider working here after this crap.
Supply Chains
Starbucks supply chain
Hi Adam,
If you decide to share this on the podcast, please keep me anonymous. My source is a close relative and I wouldn’t want them to get in any trouble.
After hearing the report on Starbucks during the last outstanding episode, I went to ask my relative who works there. Before I was even done repeating the interview she was laughing and going “who is he trying to fool?”
Her store hasn’t had issues with the hot cups, but frequently run out of the large size cold drink cups and have to upgrade customers to an extra-large for free. They also switched their free water cups from one with a Starbucks logo to the same clear plastic ones anyone can get at a grocery store.
There have been times where they ran out of straws and sugar packets and had to run to a grocery store to get some. They will be getting in paper straws soon, but not out of any environmental thing, they just can’t get the plastic ones.
There are a few food products they can’t get either, for example there’s one flavoring syrup they’ve been out of for over two months.
The one thing they have no shortages in? Bakery.
One interesting note, I was told they do not put their entire menu up on the wall of the store. To see the full menu you have to look at the app. Just thought I’d toss that tip out there.
Thanks and 73,
Starbucks Flour
Hi Adam,
Just heard the segment on Starbucks shortages. I might have an explanation, from the wonderfull world of poffertjes (dutch pancakes). Friends of mine have a quite impressive company with foodtrucks and fietskarren selling poffertjes, and I've been working there few times (which is actually quite a cool live cooking job: looking at smiling people craving sugar, chocolate, strawberries and other toppings on display).
Josefine, the founder of JoJo's poffertjes, tries to find all the ingredients from local suppliers. That worked out well, unless for one ingredient: the flour. All the poffertjes flour (as well as most of the other wheat flour) is imported from China.
Met vriendelijke groet,
Condo Collapse / Infrastructure
Wouter explains the fixes needed for condo
The repair works would be to stop the incoming water from outside by repairing the concrete and reinforcement and thereafter sealing the surface with a bituminous membrane, so that it becomes water-tight.
Also the inside would have to be repaired area by area, making sure the bearing properties of columns, beams and walls were intact.
I think this was known to the owners and shown in the report which concluded a 15,5 mil. dollar repair plan.
It is important to realize that the concrete used 40 years ago was not of the same quality as is used today. Also in the northern part of Europe many concrete structures have been replaced well before their expected life span. Here the reason was mainly the salt used on the roads during wintertime.
Nowadays there is a lot more focus on the quality of the materials used in the building industry and the process of casting and compacting concrete. For example, the water-cement ratio of different types of concrete has been investigated extensively throughout the years. The same goes for the amount of reinforcement per m3 of concrete.
In structures with an extreme high concentration of chloride, like swimming pools, we nowadays also install copper wires to make sure the reinforcement can transfer electricity. In case corrosion is detected it is then possible to transfer a low voltage the stop the corrosion.
Therefore, the picture of the pool machine room is not so strange, even though it looks disastrous. Also the building foundations, as far as I can conclude, were not close to the pool, and the collapse started in the middle of the building and not in the pool area.
Climate Change
Thoughts on end of show convo about young people's attitudes towards success
ITM Adam & John!
I have written in a few times about my observations of my peers (my woke apartment) and have a few thoughts about the end of show conversation about younger people and their attitudes towards success, etc.
I graduated from large university, but a very small program of about 30 or so kids. I got a design degree in a very small and competitive field. No one in my class was motivated whatsoever and the professors had basically given up on the students long before we got there. I was the first person in my class to find a job, and exactly to John’s point…classmates were pissed.
There is an extreme problem among people my age (I am 24) to make constant comparisons of yourself to others, to the point where it seems people become paralyzed to try and achieve anything real at all. This is due largely in part to social media and the constant conscious/subconscious comparisons you make all day long as you stare blankly into your phone for hours on end. Over-socialization is a big part of that as well. People feel the need to constantly keep up a shallow appearance and praise the things they see that are acceptable by the woke culture, but not actually things that make any sort of real impact or make you think for yourself. (Can I get a yaaaas queen?!) I also think the sheer addiction to social media, as well as the excess and indulgence in entertainment with streaming, etc, has caused a lot of people my age to become generally unmotivated. I don’t meet many people my age that have interests outside of playing on their phone, so there’s not even anything to be achieved in their minds anyways.
There is a lot of jealousy in general among my peers and I think that has to do with the fact that social media can trick you to make you feel like you’re doing something or contributing somehow, and when you see someone actually do something in real life, you realize for a moment that you’re not doing anything at all. I don’t think they notice the time that slips away every time you open up tiktok for 2 hours. I recently have been pursuing a lot of creative hobbies, and started to make a bit of side money from it. It’s been very fun and fulfilling for a change. But just like getting a job or doing anything at all, it seems to really bother people. It's gotten really bad with the zombie-like addiction to social media and consuming content. And I only refer to people in people in their mid-twenties, I can't even imagine what younger people are like.
There is also a sub-set of my peers who view having success as selfish, and see working a high-paying job as privileged and contributing to the "capitalist hell" we live in. The propaganda that has been snuck in through social media that is anti-capatalist is frightening. People know nothing about history or current events, but they think they have all the answers because tiktok tells them.
P.S. Only one more month until I get the hell out of this woke apartment in Chicago and break the mold by renting a house in the suburbs. That's going to make them all really mad :)
You guys are the best, thanks for your courage!!
Taylor and GF coming out
Hi! I’m a first time donor - my smokin hot fiancé said to send a pic- see attached.
Listening to the show has opened my mind in so many ways- thank you guys for that! Only downside is feeling alienated from my friends who are all bought into the mainstream narrative and unwilling to hear anything that challenges that. I’m working up the courage to be fully honest with them about my views, my vaccine status, etc but I’m scared of losing them. But I went to the Tacoma meetup and it gave me hope that there are others out there who I can be real with. Thank you guys for being a beacon of truth in a sea of nonsense!
Feel free to read the note on the show but not necessary - just felt like sending an extended note. :)
In the morning!
- Taylor
Millennials Spitting
Your discussion on Sunday’s show about millennials having a thing for spitting on people made me think of this. In an earlier NBA playoff game, a Knicks fan spit on Trae Young. You can somewhat make it out from this video. Apparently the fan got banned from all future games.
As a millennial, I can’t say I’ve ever seen it in person, but I know usually what will happen is two people exchange heated words, then one person spits, then they start flailing at each other. That’s just from the videos I’ve seen though.
Koch ESG
FYI : Koch Industries is Blackrock’s largest Client and we are all about Sustainability…. The engine of Growth begins with Koch.
And my divisions newest engineering marvel to really nail down that ESG high score… The trash pulper code name: JUNO
ESG and Insurance
Keep me anon.
My research project for university is hugely based on ESG and investment.
It’s a complete shit-show. There are half a dozen ‘ratings’ agency, an there is no unified metric on which companies are better at ESG and which arnt. The big guys are MSCI, Bloomberg, Refinitiv, SPglobal and Sustainanlytics. Lots of mergers and acquisitions between these different companies over the past decade. Some have blackbox models, some are somewhat transparent. But its crazy.
One area you need to look at is ESG and INSURANCE.
Insurance companies now are refusing to insure companies with poor ESG scores. Getting insurance as a coal miner in Australia is close to IMPOSSIBLE. Further, if you even do work for a coal company, say you provide steelwork or engineering services, YOU wont get insured for the rest of your business.
I have a lot more on it, but I will send you my pre-print paper before I submit it to journals.
The Purge
Right-Wing Death Squad’: Active-Duty Marine Plotted to Bomb DNC, Murder Black People, Feds Say
VIDEO - Nearly 100 Tons of Lithium Batteries Involved in Large Morris Industrial Fire '' NBC Chicago
Thu, 01 Jul 2021 12:57
Nearly 100 tons of lithium batteries were involved in a large industrial fire in southwest suburban Morris Tuesday that led to emergency evacuations and a large-scale response as authorities warned of "highly poisonous" and "very deadly" fumes.
Fire officials initially responded to the blaze around noon in the 900 block of East Benton, where they quickly started fighting flames. But their efforts took a turn when they learned that inside the building on fire were between 80 and 100 tons of lithium batteries, according to Tracey Steffes, fire chief of the Morris Fire Protection & Ambulance District.
"We were advised that we're dealing with between 80 and 100 tons of lithium batteries, so around 180,000 pounds to 200,000 pounds of lithium batteries," Steffes said. "These batteries range in size from your cell phone to a little bigger than a car battery and as these batteries get wet, they short out and they ignite and explode. And that's the problem we're having. So we started our initial attack with water, and then we learned very quickly that that was not going to be a good avenue for extinguishment for this fire."
Video from NBC's Sky 5 chopper shows a large industrial fire burning in Morris, sparking evacuations in part of the southwest Chicago suburb.
Firefighters were forced to back away from the building and stop using water.
"The biggest hazard we're dealing with right now is the smoke or the fumes from this fire," Steffes said. "This gas is highly poisonous, it's very deadly."
Emergency evacuations were ordered in parts of Morris due to the dangerous fumes.
The Grundy County IL Emergency Management Agency ordered anyone who lives in the 900 blocks of Benton, Douglas or Armstrong streets as well as those who live on East Street to "please evacuate your residence now."
"There is an industrial fire to the south," the alert read.
Those in need of a place to go were urged to head to the Grundy County Administration building located at 1320 Union St.
No injuries had been reported in the incident, according to Steffes, who credited resources brought to Illinois due to a chemical plant fire in Rockton with helping in the latest situation.
"One good thing about the Rockton fire is there's been some resources very close to us, that would not have been here if the Rockton fire hadn't happened," Steffes said.
He noted, however, that the Morris incident is on a "much, much smaller scale" and "different" from the Rockton plant fire.
Check back for more on this developing story.
VIDEO - Psaki Blames GOP For Defunding Police, But She Can't Name 1 Republican Who Called For Defunding Police | The Daily Wire
Thu, 01 Jul 2021 12:22
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki continued to promote her outrageous claim that Republicans are the ones who pushed for defunding the police yet, when pushed by a reporter on Wednesday, she was unable to name a single Republican who has ever championed defunding the police.
Psaki's claim comes as Oakland, which is controlled by Democrats, voted this week to defund the police, and three Democratic lawmakers called for defunding the police this week.
''There are lots of examples of Democrats explicitly saying they want to defund the police,'' the reporter said. ''We've got Congresswoman Cori Bush, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar. Are there any examples of Republican members of Congress saying they want to defund the police?''
Psaki was unable to name a single Republican who has ever openly called for defunding the police.
Unreal gaslighting as White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki doubles down on the insane notion that it's Republicans and not Democrats who have and continue to want to defund the police.
Credit to Fox News's Peter Doocy for hanging tough and not backing down on Psaki's lies.
'-- Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) June 30, 2021
REPORTER: You mentioned, at the last briefing, that you think Republicans wanted to defund the police because they did not support the American Rescue Plan. Which Republican ever said that they did not like the American Rescue Plan because they wanted to defund the police?
JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Well, first, let me just note that the president ran and won the most votes of any candidate in history on a platform of boosting funding for law enforcement after Republicans spent decades trying to cut the COPS program '-- there's record of that; that doesn't require anyone having new comments '-- and then also stood in the way of crucial funding needed to prevent the laying off of police officers as crimes increased. That's a simple statement of fact.
REPORTER: I understand what you're saying there; however, there are lots of examples of Democrats explicitly saying they want to defund the police. We've got Congresswoman Cori Bush, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar. Are there any examples of Republican members of Congress saying they want to defund the police?
PSAKI: I think most people would argue that actions are more important than words, wouldn't you say?
REPORTER: Well, to that point '-- to your point there: At the time of the vote on the American Rescue Plan, you had the Republican leader in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, he said he just didn't like it because he thought it was a classic example of big-government Democratic overreach in the name of COVID relief. And then Kevin McCarthy said he thought Democrats were using coronavirus as an excuse to justify funding pet projects. Where is the '--
PSAKI: Well, here '--
REPORTER: ''We're going to vote against this because we want to defund the police''?
PSAKI: Again, I think actions speak louder than words, Peter. So if you oppose funding for the COPS program '-- something that was dramatically cut by the prior administration, and many Republicans supported '-- and then you vote against a bill that has funding for the COPS program, we can let other people evaluate what that means. It doesn't require them to speak to it or to shout it out; their actions speak for themselves.
The Daily Wire is one of America's fastest-growing conservative media companies and counter-cultural outlets for news, opinion, and entertainment. Get inside access to The Daily Wire by becoming a member .
VIDEO - Donald Rumsfeld announces 2.3 Trillion missing from the Pentagon on September 10th 2001 - YouTube
Thu, 01 Jul 2021 11:47
VIDEO - 3 Hops to Cernovich on Twitter: "Imagine a segment like this ever airing today '..." / Twitter
Thu, 01 Jul 2021 11:20
3 Hops to Cernovich : Imagine a segment like this ever airing today '...
Wed Jun 30 23:57:24 +0000 2021
VIDEO - Razorback1111 on Twitter: "@rohancct Is no one concerned that Dr Young just admitted that the test is flawed ?" / Twitter
Thu, 01 Jul 2021 11:18
Razorback1111 : @rohancct Is no one concerned that Dr Young just admitted that the test is flawed ?
Thu Jul 01 01:01:39 +0000 2021
VIDEO - Brock Williams on Twitter: "@CommunistBen Paging @adamcurry" / Twitter
Thu, 01 Jul 2021 11:15
Brock Williams : @CommunistBen Paging @adamcurry
Thu Jul 01 03:26:26 +0000 2021
VIDEO - deRedacteur ter Zee '›µðŸ‡µðŸ‡± ðŸ‡"🇱 on Twitter: "Kijk en tegen dit soort waanzin op basisscholen heeft Hongarije nou een wet gemaakt... waar half Europa over ging steigeren!" / Twitter
Thu, 01 Jul 2021 11:13
deRedacteur ter Zee '›µðŸ‡µðŸ‡± ðŸ‡"🇱 : Kijk en tegen dit soort waanzin op basisscholen heeft Hongarije nou een wet gemaakt... waar half Europa over ging s'...
Wed Jun 30 15:53:43 +0000 2021
Tweety : @DeRedacteur1984 "It's perfectly normal" heet dat boek ook nog. I beg to differ.
Thu Jul 01 10:40:27 +0000 2021
Forky80 : @DeRedacteur1984 Volgens Charlatans Rutte 🤥en Jonge ðŸ"gaan je opa en oma ook dood als je als kleinkind bij ze op bezoek gaat 🤮
Thu Jul 01 10:16:58 +0000 2021
Poffertje : @DeRedacteur1984 We worden geregeerd door pedo's ðŸ¤ðŸ¤®
Thu Jul 01 09:21:07 +0000 2021
VIDEO - Spectator arrested for causing massive Tour de France crash - ABC News
Thu, 01 Jul 2021 11:02
Three riders since withdrew from the race, according to the organizers.
July 1, 2021, 2:24 AM
' 4 min read
PARIS -- After a four-day search, a woman was arrested Wednesday as part of the investigation into a large crash at the Tour de France earlier in the week, according to the Brest prosecutor's office.
"A woman was arrested in the Finist¨re today and she is under custody as part of the investigation into the Tour de France incident," the prosecutor's office told ABC News in a statement. "No other information can be shared at the moment: more to come tomorrow."
Local police announced on Sunday they were opening an investigation for "manifestly deliberate violation of an obligation of safety or prudence" after a fan caused a large crash by holding a sign in front of cyclists in the opening stage of the competition on Saturday. The woman, who was facing away from the riders, appeared to cause the crash by accident.
Tony Martin, a member of top Tour contender Primoz Roglic's Jumbo Visma squad, hit the woman holding the sign on the right side of the road, causing a domino effect for riders inside the peloton.
The first fall, caused by the cardboard sign, was followed by another later in the stage, which injured four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome.
A spectator holding a sign, left, caused a massive crash during the first stage of the Tour de France on Saturday, June 26, 2021.
Riders briefly halted the race on Tuesday to protest against the danger caused by spectators who were too close to the road.
"Following the crashes during the third stage of the Tour de France, the riders have been discussing how they wish to proceed to show their dissatisfaction with safety measures in place and demand their concerns are taken seriously," the riders' union, the Cyclistes Professionnels Associ(C)s, said in a statement. "Their frustration about foreseeable and preventable action is enormous."
The woman that caused the crash by holding her sign out into the road left the scene before authorities arrived, according to the local police's Facebook page.
"She was wearing glasses and wearing blue jeans, a red and white striped sweater, a yellow jacket (waterproof kind). She is holding a sign bearing the inscription ALLEZ OPI-OMI," police said in a statement seeking information on the woman before her arrest.
Belgian rider Thomas De Gendt of the Lotto Soudal team, center, and the peloton stop at kilometer zero for a minute in protest of the safety measures on this year's Tour de France, during the 4th stage of the Tour de France 2021 from Redon to Fougeres, France, June 29, 2021.
The woman arrested on Wednesday as part of the investigation is being questioned by police.
After the crash, three riders withdrew from the race due to their injuries, according to the Tour's organizers, including German cyclist Jasha S¼tterlin of Team DSM.
"Following the crash, he was taken to hospital for examinations which revealed no broken bones, but a severe contusion to his right wrist that will require further examinations back at home," Team DSM said in a statement about S¼tterlin, who admitted he was "so disappointed."
VIDEO - SCUBA MIKE🤠on Twitter: "'š¸'š¸#BREAKING!ðŸðŸ The DNA home kits you used to find out your ancestry and sent your saliva in the mail... Ended up in CHINA! They keep copies! BGI is mapping American genome! P.S. BGI is China! https://t.c
Wed, 30 Jun 2021 19:08
SCUBA MIKE🤠: 'š¸'š¸#BREAKING!ðŸðŸThe DNA home kits you used to find out your ancestry and sent your saliva in the mail...Ended u'...
Tue Jun 29 20:55:53 +0000 2021
VIDEO - (86) Hey Bluetooth, What's New? : Oh, We Want to Chip You - YouTube
Wed, 30 Jun 2021 17:40
VIDEO - NFL Releases Powerful Video, 'Football Is Gay'
Wed, 30 Jun 2021 15:55
NFL Releases Powerful Video 'Football Is Gay' 6/28/2021 11:57 AM PT NFLThe NFL is making it clear it stands firmly with the LGBTQ+ community ... releasing a powerful video Monday that featured the message, "Football is gay."
The clip, which is 30 seconds in length, added, "Football is lesbian. Football is beautiful. Football is queer. Football is life."
The messages didn't stop there ... they even went on to say, "Football is transgender" and "Football is bisexual" -- before the video ended with, "Football is for everyone."
A league spokesperson confirmed to Outsports on Monday the video was a direct response to Las Vegas Raiders pass-rusher Carl Nassib announcing he's gay last week.
6/21/21 @carlnassib / Instagram"I am proud of the clear message this spot sends to the NFL's LGBTQ+ fans: This game is unquestionably for you," another rep for the league, NFL diversity director Sam Rapoport, added to Outsports.
"I will be playing its first line over and over in my head all season."
As part of the video message, the NFL once again encouraged people to donate to The Trevor Project -- an org. established to try to help prevent suicides in the LGBTQ+ community.
Nassib said last week he was donating $100K to the organization during his video announcement ... and the NFL quickly followed suit matching the donation hours later.
"NFL proudly supports The Trevor Project," the league said in Monday's video. "LGBTQ+ youth with at least one accepting adult have 40% lower risk of attempting suicide."
The video is just the latest positive response to Nassib's announcement ... you'll recall, players from all over the league have publicly voiced their support for the 28-year-old -- and even President Joe Biden praised the football player as well.
VIDEO - CNN Tries to Interview Man at Trump Rally, Gets TOLD OFF
Wed, 30 Jun 2021 15:24
5m31sTexas Supreme Court Rules: Facebook Can't Defend Their Facilitation of Sex TraffickingDinesh D'Souza
VIDEO - (86) Australia's leaders 'drastically misled us' while the world learned to 'live with the virus' - YouTube
Wed, 30 Jun 2021 15:17
VIDEO - (86) 33 - ''God Keeping His Promises'' - YouTube
Wed, 30 Jun 2021 14:54
VIDEO - (85) 'Suddenly You Can't Find Him': Jim Jordan Criticizes Fauci For Skipping GOP COVID-19 Origin Hearing - YouTube
Wed, 30 Jun 2021 14:19
VIDEO - $50 billion briefly deposited in Louisiana family's bank account
Wed, 30 Jun 2021 13:59
June 29, 2021 | 8:31am | Updated June 29, 2021 | 9:19am
Enlarge Image Darren James admits he flirted with the idea that it may have been a "rich uncle" who left them the cash. BRPROUD
A Louisiana family had $50 billion accidentally deposited in their bank account, making them the 25th-richest people on Earth '-- for less than four days.
Baton Rouge real estate agent Darren James, 47, told Fox how he came home earlier this month and his shocked wife held up her bank balance info on her phone, telling him, ''Look at this!''
''Open it up and we've got $50 billion in our account,'' James said Sunday of the previous weekend's apparent sudden riches.
''And all we were thinking was, 'Who's going to be knocking at our door?' Because we don't know anybody with that type of money,'' he said.
He admits that he flirted with the idea that it may have been a ''rich uncle'' who left them the cash, which '-- if genuine '-- would have put them just above Nike co-founder Phil Knight and his family in the Forbes billionaires list.
''It was a great feeling while it was there, to see that many zeros in your account. I mean, I'm part of the one-comma club, not the three-comma club,'' he laughed of usually having thousands, not billions.
James and his wife started calling Chase Bank as soon as they saw the cash there on Saturday, June 12, but the money remained there until some point on the following Tuesday.
''I was a billionaire for four days,'' he told Fox. ''It was a cool feeling, even though you couldn't do anything with it,'' he said.
''We knew it wasn't ours. We didn't earn it, so we couldn't do anything with it. We couldn't spend it '-- that would be theft,'' said James, who used to work in law enforcement.
James said he heard as many as 150 other people across the US had mystery deposits at the same time, saying it has concerned them about the security of their account.
A Florida woman, Julia Yonkowski, of Largo, recently revealed how she found nearly $1 billion in her Chase account when she went to withdraw just $20 from an ATM '-- then struggled to get hold of anyone to help her return the cash.
The issue with the James family's balance has since been resolved, Chase Bank told Fox. BRPROUDChase Bank told Fox that the issue with the Jameses' balance has since been resolved.
''We had a technical glitch over a week ago impacting a limited number of accounts,'' a company spokesperson told Fox in a statement.
''The issue has been resolved and those accounts are now showing accurate balances.''
VIDEO - Ron M. on Twitter: "Holy crap. This is insane. Rep Omar pretty much blaming Jews for injustice around the world. It's years of this with no pushback, infuriating." / Twitter
Wed, 30 Jun 2021 12:27
Ron M. : Holy crap. This is insane. Rep Omar pretty much blaming Jews for injustice around the world. It's years of this wit'...
Tue Jun 29 23:37:23 +0000 2021
JewOC : @Jewtastic @JeffMediaPro Leadership like @SpeakerPelosi have allowed this antisemitism to fester for too long.
Wed Jun 30 01:51:43 +0000 2021
Not a Cat : @Jewtastic Jake draws the line at those who question election results, but raving anti-semites are A-OK.
Wed Jun 30 01:11:28 +0000 2021
Patti Ann 🥠: @Jewtastic @jaketapper is a disgrace! Since he didn't challenge her, I consider him an antisemite as well. This REALLY pisses me off! 🤬
Wed Jun 30 00:57:41 +0000 2021
zengirl : @Jewtastic Was there a continuation to this? Did Jake just let it go? He's a member of the tribe. What about the pe'...
Wed Jun 30 00:49:05 +0000 2021
Chester Lemon : @Jewtastic What injustice has she dealt with? She was welcomed here and spits on our country. And What the hell doe'...
Wed Jun 30 00:40:51 +0000 2021
Billy Merican : @Jewtastic Watch this and please explain how you can still support the Democratic Party. @BnaiBrith @NCJW'...
Wed Jun 30 00:09:48 +0000 2021
aikiguy : @Jewtastic Disgusting
Wed Jun 30 00:00:22 +0000 2021
VIDEO - Outrage after CNN, Granholm suggest climate change could have role in Surfside building collapse: 'Ghoulish' | Fox News
Tue, 29 Jun 2021 21:40
Published June 29, 2021
Last Update 2 hrs ago
'There's nothing that can't be blamed on climate change'CNN and Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm were ripped by viewers on Tuesday for suggesting that climate change could have been a factor in the tragic building collapse in Surfside, Florida.
At least 11 people were killed and over 150 are missing in the aftermath of the collapse of the Surfside beachfront condo. Recent reports have revealed there were warning signs before the building fell as engineers reported several issues with the structure, but a local building official told board members that the building was in "very good shape." Despite the new intel, CNN asked Granholm what role a changing climate could have had on the destruction.
"Given what we know about the changing climate, given that you've seen an increase in so called extraordinary tides, and the impact that that can have in areas like south Florida, do you think that climate would have played a role in that building's collapse?" anchor Erica Hill asked. The segment was accompanied by the chyron, "Could Climate Crisis Have Contributed to Building Collapse?"
"Well, obviously we don't know fully," Granholm replied.
"We know that we're losing inches and inches of beach '' not just in Florida, but all around," Granholm said.
The secretary said she needed to wait to see the analysis of the current investigation into the building collapse, but said that we should "adapt" to and "protect ourselves" from the consequences of a changing climate. One possible solution, she suggested, was to pass President Biden's infrastructure bills.
Viewers fumed that CNN and their guest appeared to be using the Surfside tragedy for political purposes.
"Absolutely ghoulish" and "beyond parody" other critics responded.
Other media have been accused of playing politics and playing the blame game in the aftermath of the Florida tragedy. The Intercept, for instance, appeared to pin the horror on the shoulders of Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis over the weekend with a suggestive tweet that juxtaposed what he wrote about deregulation in January 2019 with a CNN headline about last week's disaster.
"These two things obviously have zero to do with each other, but people like Ken can't help but try to ghoulishly seize on every tragedy to try to score point on political opponents," conservative writer AG Hamilton said.
VIDEO - Documenting Bitcoin ðŸ' on Twitter: "U.S Senator @SenLummis, "I encourage people to save #bitcoin for their retirement, for their future."" / Twitter
Tue, 29 Jun 2021 21:17
Documenting Bitcoin ðŸ' : U.S Senator @SenLummis, "I encourage people to save #bitcoin for their retirement, for their future."
Tue Jun 29 19:31:21 +0000 2021
Vin G. : @DocumentingBTC @SenLummis @SenLummis How much money do you have in your bank account? If you don't want to say th'...
Tue Jun 29 21:17:30 +0000 2021
Ezeike ðŸŒðŸ‡¸ðŸ‡>>ðŸ‡"🇬 : @DocumentingBTC @SenLummis you smart
Tue Jun 29 21:14:18 +0000 2021
KJ 'š'š : @DocumentingBTC @SenLummis The "only 5" bit may be seen as a little tone deaf lol
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TOMMY X.D.S : @DocumentingBTC @SenLummis BULLISH
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VIDEO - LooktheOtherWray on Twitter: "@pepesgrandma @adamcurry" / Twitter
Tue, 29 Jun 2021 04:04
LooktheOtherWray : @pepesgrandma @adamcurry
Tue Jun 29 03:00:56 +0000 2021
VIDEO - Has McAfee's Dead Man's Switch Been Flipped? - YouTube
Sun, 27 Jun 2021 23:12
In Paraguay, students will soon be able to pay uni fees in Bitcoin
Thu, 01 Jul 2021 14:18
(C) gopixa / Paraguay's Universidad Americana will let students pay course fees in cryptocurrencies from August 1. As of August 1, the Universidad Americana in Paraguay will be accepting payment in cryptocurrencies. It's a first worldwide, as well as at national level, in a country where interest in cryptocurrencies is growing every day, and may well continue to spread though society.
Starting August 1, the 17,000 students at Universidad Americana in Paraguay will have the option to pay for their studies in cryptocurrencies. The four assets available for now look set to be Bitcoin, Ethereum, XRP and Dash. The institution's general director, Camilo Jimenez Ag¼ero, said that the university already has a wallet ready to receive payments, but does not want to activate this until the payment system has been fully integrated into the university site.
It is not yet known what conditions of acceptance will govern cryptocurrency payments, or which payment system or exchange platform will be used. In addition, the university has clarified that cryptocurrencies will not be converted instantly into other currencies, so the institution could build up a substantial reserve.
Paraguay, a crypto-friendly nation
But Universidad Americana isn't stopping there, since students will also be able to take a course program focusing on blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies. This could serve students well in the future, as Paraguay seems to be gearing up to pass laws in favor of cryptocurrencies.Congressman Carlos Rejala is indeed working on draft bills to potentially implement Bitcoin as a means of payment throughout the country, working with PayPal to make it all possible. The three drafts of the law he is working on will be presented July 14. While the lawmaker clearly does not have a majority (his party has just four seats in Congress out of a total 125), he regularly appears confident on Twitter. In fact, Carlos Rejala seems convinced that a good portion of legislators from other parties are interested, and would seriously consider approving his proposals. Like El Salvador, Paraguay is aiming to become a crypto-friendly country.
Axel Barre
Bitcoin Price Climbs After Mexican Billionaire Urges People to Buy - WSJ
Thu, 01 Jul 2021 14:16
Bitcoin's price rose after billionaire Ricardo Salinas Pliego said his bank was working toward becoming the first Mexican lender to accept the cryptocurrency.
The price of bitcoin climbed to $34,805.19 Monday, up 8% from where it stood at 5 p.m. ET Friday, according to CoinDesk. The digital currency has lost almost half its value since it hit an all-time high of over $63,381.20 in mid April, during a wave of speculation spurred on by celebrity advocates including Tesla Inc. Chief Executive Elon Musk.
Mr. Salinas Pliego tweeted over the weekend that he recommends the use of bitcoin. ''Me and my bank are working to be the first bank in Mexico to accept #Bitcoin,'' he added.
Some hours later, he tweeted again in Spanish to say the digital currency was a good way for investors to diversify their holdings. ''I think that any investor should start learning about cryptocurrencies and their future. At @BancoAzteca we are working to bring them to our clients,'' the post said.
Representatives for Banco Azteca SA didn't respond to a request for further details or comment.
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Mr. Salinas Pliego is chairman of Grupo Salinas, which groups his business interests ranging from retail and banking to broadcasting and telecommunications. He has a net worth of $15.8 billion, according to Forbes, and is close to Mexican President Andr(C)s Manuel L"pez Obrador.
The second Twitter post was accompanied by a graphic showing the price of a cup of coffee rising over time. ''The dollar has quietly robbed you of your purchasing power since 1913. Buy bitcoin!'' the image said.
In a tweet last November, Mr. Salinas Pliego said he had 10% of his liquid assets invested in bitcoin, which he said ''protects citizens from government expropriation.''
The Mexican central bank has been wary of cryptocurrencies, warning that they could be confusing for consumers. Bank of Mexico Gov. Alejandro D­az de Le"n said earlier this month that Mexican regulations call for keeping a ''healthy distance'' between virtual assets and the financial system.
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''Financial institutions aren't permitted to finance leveraged positions in crypto assets, receive them as collateral, or even directly offer a portfolio of these crypto assets,'' he said.
Cryptocurrencies have gained interest from mainstream financial firms and corporations globally. Mastercard Inc. has said it plans to support some cryptocurrencies on its network and Bank of New York Mellon Corp. has invested in a cryptocurrency startup.
But regulators have raised concerns about potential risks to financial stability stemming from the adoption of cryptocurrencies by banks. The Basel Committee for Banking Supervision, the top global standard setter for banking regulation, cited the volatility of digital currencies in proposing substantial buffers for banks dealing in them.
Mexico's central bank, finance ministry, and national banking and securities commission said in a statement Monday that cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin and others, aren't legal tender in Mexico, and that financial institutions aren't allowed to offer operations using them to clients.
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''Although they can be exchanged, they do not fulfill the function of money, as their acceptance as a form of payment is limited and they aren't a good reserve or value reference,'' they said.
Banco Azteca, launched in 2002, began as the consumer credit arm of the Elektra retail chain, which targets low-income customers. It is now Mexico's ninth-largest commercial bank by assets.
The prospect of greater regulatory oversight of crypto trading in the U.S., China and Europe has weighed on the price of bitcoin and other digital currencies in recent months.
China's central bank this month ordered the country's largest banks and payment processors to take a more active role in curbing cryptocurrency trading and related activities.
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In the latest crackdown, the U.K.'s lead financial regulator over the weekend told consumers that Binance Holdings Ltd.'s U.K. entity wasn't permitted to conduct operations related to regulated financial activities. The notice from the Financial Conduct Authority has no direct impact on the services provided on, a Binance spokesperson said by email.
Write to Joe Wallace at and Anthony Harrup at
Covid common in cats and dogs, study finds - BBC News
Thu, 01 Jul 2021 12:45
By Jim ReedHealth reporter
image copyright Getty Images
image caption Most infected pets tend to be asymptomatic or display mild Covid symptomsCovid is common in pet cats and dogs whose owners have the disease, research suggests.
Swabs were taken from 310 pets in 196 households where a human infection had been detected.
Six cats and seven dogs returned a positive PCR result, while 54 animals tested positive for virus antibodies.
"If you have Covid, you should avoid contact with your cat or dog, just as you would do with other people," Dr Els Broens, from Utrecht University, said.
"The main concern is not the animals' health but the potential risk that pets could act as a reservoir of the virus and reintroduce it into the human population."
The authors of the study said no evidence of pet-to-owner transmission had been recorded to date but it would be difficult to detect while the virus was still spreading easily between humans.
Most infected pets tend to be asymptomatic or display mild Covid symptoms.
image copyright University of Utrecht
image caption A mobile veterinary clinic from the Dutch Stray Cat Foundation was used for the researchResearchers from Utrecht University sent a mobile veterinary clinic to households in the Netherlands that had tested positive for Covid at some point in the past 200 days.
Swabs were taken from their pet cats and dogs to test for evidence of a current infection, while blood samples were also tested for antibodies suggesting a past exposure to Covid.
The results were presented at the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases:
4.2% showed evidence of a current infection 17.4% tested positive for antibodiesFollow-up tests showed all the PCR-positive (polymerase chain reaction) animals cleared the infection and went on to develop antibodies.
The researchers say the most likely route of virus transmission is from human to animal, rather than the other way round.
"We can't say there is a 0% risk of owners catching Covid from their pets," Veterinary Microbiological Diagnostic Centre Dr Broens said.
"At the moment, the pandemic is still being driven by human-to-human infections, so we just wouldn't detect it."
Vets in Russia have started vaccinating some animals against the disease.
But Dr Broens said: "I don't see the scientific evidence for that now.
"It seems unlikely that pets play a role in the pandemic."
A separate study run by the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada, found cats that slept on their owner's bed seemed to be at particular risk of infection.
A total of 48 cats and 54 dogs from 77 households were tested for Covid antibodies and their owners asked about their interaction with their pets.
About 67% of the owned cats and 43% of the owned dogs tested positive, compared with 9% of dogs and cats from an animal shelter and 3% of stray cats in the area.
A quarter of the pets displayed a symptom of the disease, from loss of appetite to difficulty breathing.
And although most cases were mild, three were severe.
The study's authors said cats' biology may make them more susceptible to Covid.
Cats are also more likely to sleep near their owner's face than dogs, increasing their exposure to any infection.
'Robustly conducted'
Cambridge University veterinary medicine department head Prof James Wood said the two studies added to other evidence suggesting a substantial proportion of cats and dogs may catch the virus from their owners.
"The Dutch study is robustly conducted and shows that around 20% of exposed pets may be infected and that they eventually clear the infection just as most humans do," he said.
"Most reports are that this infection appears to be asymptomatic.
"It also seems that the virus does not normally transmit from dogs and cats to either other animals or their owners."
'Another prediction bites the dust': NY Times' '25 years until'...' eco-catastrophe warning hasn't aged well ''
Thu, 01 Jul 2021 12:24
The list of failed eco-doomsday predictions is long, but there's always room for one more:
NYTimes whiffs on 1995 prediction of climate catastrophe:
"At the most likely rate of rise, some experts say, most of the beaches on the East Coast of the United States would be gone in 25 years.''
25 years was 2020.@JV3MRC
'-- Steve Milloy (@JunkScience) June 29, 2021
The climate doom-mongers at The @nytimes must now face the reality that their decades-old eco-Armageddon predictions were flat out wrong.
'-- MediaResearchCenter (@theMRC) June 29, 2021
We're shocked!
From Newsbusters:
The Times screeched in a 1995 story how ''some of the predicted effects of climate change may now be emerging for the first time or with increasing clarity.'' One of the predictions included a ''[a] continuing rise in average global sea level, which is likely to amount to more than a foot and a half by the year 2100.'' The Times then cautioned that an apocalypse for beach-goers would be a likely result: ''At the most likely rate of rise, some experts say, most of the beaches on the East Coast of the United States would be gone in 25 years.''
Twenty-five years from 1995 would mean the beaches would be gone by 2020. Newsflash: The East Coast beaches are still intact. U.S. News & World Report even ran a report in May 2020 headlined: ''16 Top East Coast Beaches to Visit.''
The Times' report contained the obligatory ''some experts say.'' And you know how the predictions of ''some experts'' usually pan out.
''Another prediction bites the dust, the failure list is a long one. #ClimateFraud
'-- ð'—'ð'—®ð'—°ð'—¸ (@politicalbones) June 30, 2021
Always wrong with fear mongering.
'-- Joe Casalino (@joelaxin2) June 30, 2021
These predictions are never, ever remotely right. Ever. And yet out comes a new global warming doomsday warning and the fear-addicted lemmings eat it up.
'-- Michael Hoff (@MichaelHoff) June 30, 2021
Hey @nytimes, did anyone ever tell you that your eco-Armageddon predictions stink?
'-- Joey Vazquez (@JV3MRC) June 30, 2021
Have they ever gotten ONE right?
'-- Stan Bartsch (@BartschStan) June 29, 2021
We're still waiting. It's all about spreading fear as a reason to redistribute wealth under the guise of ''saving the planet.''
LIVE | WHO waarschuwt voor nieuwe coronagolf in Europa | Binnenland |
Thu, 01 Jul 2021 12:10
Hugo de Jonge: 'Vanaf begin juli coronaprik voor gezonde tieners'Quarantainebeleid verre van waterdichtHoe voorkom je dat je kind losslaat na corona?Chaos rond coronapaspoort: vrees voor lange rijen bij balie13.38 - Meer dan 200 miljoen coronacertificaten afgegeven in EUBinnen de Europese Unie zijn al meer dan 200 miljoen coronacertificaten afgegeven, meldt de Europese Commissie. Sinds donderdag maken bijna alle EU-lidstaten gebruik van deze certificaten. Alleen Ierland is nog niet helemaal klaar als gevolg van een cyberaanval
Het certificaat, dat ook wel bekendstaat als het coronareisbewijs, laat zien dat iemand negatief is getest op het coronavirus, recent is hersteld na een besmetting of gevaccineerd is tegen Covid-19. Dit moet veilig reizen binnen de Europese Unie mogelijk maken.
Voor reizigers met deze certificaten gelden bij aankomst geen inreisbeperkingen. Zij hoeven niet in quarantaine, al kan een land in sommige gevallen wel besluiten om dit soort maatregelen in te voeren. Dat kan bijvoorbeeld als reizigers afkomstig zijn uit landen waar een nieuwe virusvariant gevaarlijk om zich heen grijpt.
12.23 - Dit weekend geen vertragingen bij Testen voor ToegangStichting Open Nederland verwacht voor komende uitgaansavonden geen problemen met het Testen voor Toegang. Vorig weekend ontstonden vertragingen, volgens de stichting door een hackpoging. Een woordvoerder kan nog geen informatie geven over wie er achter de actie zat. 'žWe hebben nog contact met de politie.''
Volgens hem verliepen de testafspraken van afgelopen dagen allemaal goed. Ook komende avonden, als het drukker is in de uitgaanswereld, kunnen mensen er volgens de stichting op rekenen dat ze hun testuitslag op tijd hebben.
Met Testen voor Toegang kunnen dansliefhebbers die nog niet zijn gevaccineerd en geen corona-infectie hebben doorgemaakt sinds vorig weekend weer naar nachtclubs. Daar hoeven ze dan geen 1,5 meter afstand te bewaren. De negatieve testuitslag wordt in de CoronaCheck-app omgezet in een QR-code, die aan de deur van de uitgaansgelegenheid wordt gecontroleerd.
Regionale media meldden vorige week dat bezoekers die eigenlijk nog geen geldige testuitslag hadden, toch een negatieve uitslag kregen aangeboden 'žter compensatie'' of 'žom er vanaf te zijn'' zonder dat bekend was wat de uitslag van de test was. De woordvoerder van Stichting Open Nederland kan donderdag maar (C)(C)n van die gevallen bevestigen. Het ging om iemand die vorige week vrijdag een test had laten afnemen op een locatie in Alkmaar. Toen ze zaterdag de uitslag nog niet had, ging ze terug naar de testlocatie. Daar bleek dat de test negatief was, maar bij het doorvoeren van de uitslag werd per ongeluk de datum van zaterdag ingevoerd. Daarmee had de vrouw in theorie langer dan de maximale 40 uur op pad gekund.
Andere versies van de verhalen kan de woordvoerder van de stichting 'žniet verifiren.'' Wel is volgens hem bij testaanbieders onder de aandacht gebracht dat all(C)(C)n een QR-code in de app of geprint toegang geeft tot een evenement. 'žAndere versies van bewijzen uitgeven heeft geen zin.'' Hij kan 'žniet uitsluiten'' dat er 'žergens'' misschien wel andere papieren met daarop testuitslagen zijn uitgegeven met de boodschap dat dit toegang geeft tot een evenement. 'žMaar je moet echt de officile testuitslag hebben.'' De stichting gaat niet over de controle van de testuitslagen aan de deur van clubs, benadrukt hij.
Vanaf deze week zijn de openingstijden van de testlocaties van Testen voor Toegang verruimd. Testen kan op zondag, maandag, dinsdag en woensdag van 8.00 uur 's ochtends tot 18.00 uur 's avonds. Op donderdag gaan de deuren al om 7.30 uur open en sluiten ze om 19.30 uur. Op zaterdag en zondag kunnen mensen van 7.00 tot 22.00 uur een test laten afnemen.
12.28 - Advies: vermijd kat of hond als je besmet bent met coronaHet is nog steeds niet helemaal uit te sluiten dat huisdieren het coronavirus verder brengen. Besmette huisdierenbezitters doen er daarom zeer verstandig aan hun kat of hond te mijden, net zoals ze met hun medemensen moeten doen, zegt Els Broens, hoofd van het Veterinair Microbiologisch Diagnostisch Centrum (VMDC) van de Faculteit Diergeneeskunde van de Universiteit Utrecht. Ze doet de oproep uit voorzorg, na nieuw onderzoek.
Broens en collega's onderzochten de testresultaten van 156 honden en 154 katten uit 196 huishoudens. Ze presenteerden de bevindingen op een Europees congres over microbiologie en besmettelijke ziekten. Zes katten en zeven honden testten positief op corona en 31 katten en 23 honden op antilichamen. Acht katten en honden die in dezelfde huizen woonden als de positief op corona geteste dieren, werden ook onderzocht en bleken negatief. Toch komt corona dus regelmatig voor bij dieren van mensen met de ziekte. En hoewel uit het onderzoek nog geen overdracht van huisdier op mens is gebleken en de rol van huisdieren bij de pandemie vooralsnog verwaarloosbaar lijkt, moet men volgens Broens het zekere voor het onzekere nemen.
Nu we de mens-op-mens-besmetting met redelijk succes te lijf gaan, moeten we volgens haar niets aan het toeval overlaten. 'žDus als je in isolatie gaat op zolder, laat de poes daar dan ook niet komen, maar laat het dier bij de andere huisgenoten elders in huis. Veel mensen behandelen hun huisdieren als gezinsleden, doe dat dan ook als je besmet bent.''
11.46 - Minder zicht op armoede door coronaDoor de coronacrisis hebben organisaties die armoede bestrijden minder hulp kunnen bieden dan nodig was. De hulpvraag is sinds het begin van de crisis juist toegenomen. Dat blijkt uit een landelijk onderzoek van Stichting Armoedefonds onder lokale hulporganisaties.
Van de ondervraagde organisaties zegt 39 procent dat sinds het begin van de crisis de vraag om hulp is toegenomen. Door de lockdown konden hulpverleners echter geen huisbezoeken afleggen en werden hulpvragen telefonisch en digitaal behandeld. Ook beperkten veel organisaties hun openingstijden. 24 procent zegt hierdoor bij zowel nieuwe als bekende clinten problemen te hebben gemist.
Twee derde van de organisaties verwacht dat de hulpbehoefte de komende tijd verder zal stijgen. Om aan deze vraag te voldoen hebben de organisaties volgens het Armoedefonds 9,7 tot 16,5 miljoen euro extra nodig, afhankelijk van hoelang de crisis duurt.
Het Armoedefonds schreef voor het onderzoek 1180 lokale hulporganisaties aan. Daarvan vulden 327 de vragenlijst in.
11.40 - WHO waarschuwt voor nieuwe coronagolf in EuropaAan de gunstige ontwikkeling van de coronacijfers in Europa is na ruim twee maanden een einde gekomen. Dat zegt de Europese tak van de Wereldgezondheidsorganisatie, die waarschuwt dat een nieuwe besmettingsgolf onvermijdelijk is als burgers en overheden geen discipline tonen.
Het aantal nieuwe coronabesmettingen vertoonde tien weken op rij een dalende lijn, maar inmiddels gaat het volgens de WHO toch weer de verkeerde kant op. 'žHet aantal gevallen steeg vorige week met 10 procent'', zei regionaal topman Hans Kluge van de gezondheidsorganisatie.
Kluge waarschuwde dat ondanks de 'ženorme inspanningen'' van landen nog steeds miljoenen mensen niet zijn gevaccineerd in de regio Europa van het WHO. Die bestaat onder meer uit EU-lidstaten als Nederland, maar ook uit landen als Kazachstan en Oezbekistan in Centraal-Azi.
De arts noemt meerdere oorzaken van de toename van het aantal besmettingen. Mensen spreken weer vaker met elkaar af, er wordt meer gereisd en er worden allerlei maatregelen geschrapt die verspreiding van het virus moesten voorkomen. Ondertussen grijpt de besmettelijker Delta-variant om zich heen.
11.17 - Ziekenhuizen moeten mogelijk honderdduizenden operaties inhalenNu de coronavleugels van ziekenhuizen leeglopen, staat artsen en verpleegkundigen een nieuwe klus te wachten. Ze moeten de operaties en behandelingen uitvoeren waar ze tijdens de coronadrukte niet aan toe zijn gekomen. Tussen maart 2020 en mei 2021 zijn ongeveer 320.000 operaties minder uitgevoerd dan normaal, en een groot deel daarvan moet de komende tijd worden ingehaald, aldus de Nederlandse Zorgautoriteit (NZa).
De 320.000 niet uitgevoerde operaties zijn volgens de toezichthouder 22 procent van het aantal operaties in een jaar. Vooral niet-dringende ingrepen zijn komen te vervallen. Het gaat bijvoorbeeld om het plaatsen van een nieuwe heup of knie, of een ingreep tegen staar. Niet al die vervallen operaties hoeven te worden ingehaald. Sommige patinten zijn op een andere manier behandeld en bij anderen 'žis de noodzaak tot opereren komen te vervallen.'' Maar de NZa voegt eraan toe dat 'žeen groot deel van deze 320.000 operaties nog wel zal moeten worden ingehaald.'' Tot aan december ging het om minstens 100.000 operaties, en dat is sindsdien 'žalleen maar meer geworden.''
Het aantal opgenomen coronapatinten daalt de laatste weken hard en daardoor krijgen de ziekenhuizen meer ruimte. Van alle operatiekamers is 87 procent weer beschikbaar. Een paar weken geleden was het 76 procent. Nog maar een paar ziekenhuizen hebben moeite om de zogeheten kritieke planbare zorg op tijd te leveren. Dat zijn de ingrepen die binnen zes weken moeten worden gedaan om gezondheidsschade te voorkomen. Een paar weken geleden was dit voor meer dan twintig ziekenhuizen een groot probleem.
Huisartsen verwijzen iets minder mensen door naar ziekenhuizen dan ze waarschijnlijk zouden hebben gedaan als er geen corona-uitbraak was geweest. Het aantal verwijzingen staat op 97 procent van het verwachte niveau. Dat is vergelijkbaar met voorgaande weken.
06.54 - Douaniers in hele EU weten raad met coronareiscertificaatNederlanders en andere EU-burgers kunnen vanaf donderdag op reis in de Europese Unie met een gerust hart hun coronacertificaat gebruiken. De Europese regels voor het certificaat, met een QR-code die aantoont dat een reiziger vermoedelijk niet besmettelijk is, gaan in.
Douaniers in flink wat EU-landen konden de QR-code de afgelopen weken al uitlezen. Maar met ingang van donderdag mogen reizigers daarop ook rekenen. Nagenoeg alle lidstaten kunnen nu vaststellen of ze een reiziger veilig toegang kunnen verlenen, omdat hij of zij volledig tegen het coronavirus is gevaccineerd, onlangs nog negatief is getest of beschermd is door het al eerder doormaken van de ziekte.
Ook Nederland en het laatste handvol andere resterende landen sluiten donderdag aan. Enkel Ierland is nog niet klaar om mee te doen. De lancering van het certificaat heeft daar vertraging opgelopen door een cyberaanval.
Nederlanders kunnen het certificaat sinds een week aanmaken in de CoronaCheck-app. Vanaf donderdag kan ook een herstelbewijs worden geladen, dat aantoont dat de drager het afgelopen halfjaar al eens besmet is geweest en daarvan genezen.
Met het certificaat ontkomen reizigers aan bijvoorbeeld quarantaine. Alleen als in het EU-land van vertrek bijvoorbeeld een nieuwe virusvariant gevaarlijk om zich heen grijpt, kan het aankomstland nog terugvallen op zulke maatregelen.
03.31 - Huisartsen en zorginstellingen kunnen vaccinatiebewijs regelenHuisartsen en zorginstellingen kunnen vanaf donderdag een vaccinatiebewijs regelen voor mensen van wie de prik niet in het centrale register van het RIVM staat. Daarmee kan de gevaccineerde een groen vinkje krijgen in de CoronaCheck-app.
Een gevaccineerde wiens prik wel in het centrale register van het RIVM staat, krijgt het groene vinkje automatisch. Als dat niet lukt, kan zij of hij contact opnemen met de huisarts, het ziekenhuis of ze instelling waar de prik is gezet. De zorgverlener kan dan via een speciaal webportaal alsnog een vaccinatiebewijs regelen. Mensen die bij de GGD zijn geprikt krijgen allemaal automatisch een groen vinkje in de app, want de GGD-systemen zijn gekoppeld aan de CoronaCheck-app.
De Landelijke Huisartsen Vereniging (LHV) riep mensen eerder deze week op om niet met de huisarts te bellen als je niet direct een vaccinatiebewijs nodig hebt. 'žAls mensen gaan bellen voor een vaccinatiebewijs, is dat een enorme belasting voor de praktijk. Dat gaat ten koste van bellers met spoedeisendere zorg'', aldus de LHV.
Vanaf donderdag kunnen mensen met een vaccinatiebewijs in de CoronaCheck-app naar EU-landen reizen. Vanaf vorige week donderdag kon een vaccinatiebewijs in de app al gebruikt worden voor toegang tot binnenlandse evenementen.
02.50 - Coronabestrijding Suriname weer opgestart na brandDe Surinaamse bestrijding van het coronavirus is woensdag weer opgepakt, na uren stil te hebben gelegen door de gevolgen van een brand in het gebouw van Bureau Openbare Gezondheidszorg (BOG). In de loop van de dag was de telefonische informatielijn over het coronavirus weer bereikbaar en kon er ook weer getest worden in het gebouw. Dat hebben de autoriteiten van het land bekendgemaakt.
Er zijn geen coronavaccins door de brand verloren gegaan, deze lagen niet opgeslagen in het BOG-gebouw dat fungeert als het commandocentrum van de coronabestrijding in Suriname. De brand is ontstaan in een zekeringkast, zo heeft de brandweer vastgesteld.
President Chan Santokhi kwam woensdag zelf poolshoogte nemen bij het gebouw, waar hij zijn wens uitsprak om een nieuw, modern gebouw voor het BOG neer te zetten met meer veiligheidsvoorzieningen. Het inmiddels deels afgebrande gebouw van BOG stond al in de planning om gerenoveerd te worden. Voor het moderniseren van het gebouw heeft Suriname zelf geen budget, daarvoor moet een investeerder worden gevonden.
Michigan starts COVID lottery; J&J vaccine on delta variant: Updates
Thu, 01 Jul 2021 11:59
A top U.S. official suggested Wednesday that people who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine likely are protected against the delta variant.
U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy told CNBC that data shows the Oxford-AstraZeneca shot '-- a "cousin" of the J&J '-- is highly effective against the variant first identified in India and currently surging across the nation.
''While we are still awaiting direct studies of Johnson & Johnson and the delta variant, we have reasons to be hopeful, because the J&J vaccine has proven to be quite effective against preventing hospitalizations and deaths, with all the variants that we've seen to date,'' Murthy said.
Murthy's comments come as other companies like Moderna announced that their vaccine is effective against all variants of COVID-19, including the delta variant, which is thought to be more contagious.
The World Health Organization recommended that even vaccinated people continue to wear masks in light of the delta variant spread in recent weeks, even as the Centers for Disease Control assures vaccinated Americans that they are safe from the variant and do not need to wear masks. Read more here.
Also in the news:
'–ºFifty-two Italian prison officers have been suspended for their alleged involvement in an assault on inmates who had protested the lack of face masks and virus tests during the peak of Italy's pandemic last year.
'–º77% of vaccinated adults have said everyone in their household is vaccinated, while 75% of unvaccinated adults have said no one they live with is vaccinated, according to a recent survey from Kaiser Family Foundation.
'–ºA Washington state lawmaker apologized Wednesday for wearing a yellow Star of David '-- a symbol forced on Jews by the Nazis during the Holocaust '-- at a speech over the weekend to protest restrictions implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic.
'–ºMore than 80 teens and adult staff have tested positive for COVID-19 after attending a summer camp in central Illinois that did not require masks indoors or vaccination status.
ðŸ' Today's numbers: The U.S. has more than 33.6 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and at least 604,700 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The global totals: More than 182.1 million cases and more than 3.94 million deaths. More than 154.8 million Americans have been fully vaccinated '-- nearly 46.7% of the population, according to the CDC.
ðŸ' What we're reading: As a diabetic, Joshua Garza had a chance to get the COVID-19 vaccine within the first month. In a decision that will forever haunt him, he passed; he thought the vaccine was still too new. Read more here.
Keep refreshing this page for the latest news. Want more? Sign up for our Coronavirus Watch newsletter for updates to your inbox and join our Facebook group.
Whitmer to announce Michigan COVID-19 vaccine sweepstakes, scholarshipsMichigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer plans to announce details Thursday of COVID-19 vaccine sweepstakes that will give vaccinated Michiganders a chance to win a combined total of more than $5 million in cash and nine college scholarships worth $55,000 apiece.
Called the "MI Shot to Win Sweepstakes," the lottery-style raffle will be operated by the state in conjunction with Meijer and the Michigan Association of United Ways as an incentive to encourage more residents to get vaccinated.
Any resident 18 or older who has gotten at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine is eligible for the sweepstakes. For teens and tweens ages 12-17, there'll be a chance to win one of nine Michigan Education Trust (MET) Charitable Tuition Program four-year contracts valued at $55,000. The scholarships can be used to pay for tuition and mandatory fees at a college or university in accordance with MET terms and conditions.
As of Wednesday, just over 5 million Michiganders ages 16 and up had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, which amounts to 61.8% of that population, according to the state's COVID-19 vaccine dashboard. The state in April endured a surge in cases related to the alpha variant.
- Kristen Jordan Shamus, Detroit Free Press
CureVac says shot is 48% effective overallGerman vaccine maker CureVac said Wednesday that its vaccine is 53% effective against COVID-19 of any severity in 18-to 60-year-olds. Overall, CurveVac says the shot is 48% effective, based on 83 cases in the vaccine group and 145 in the placebo group.
The World Health Organization has said vaccines with an efficacy above 50% are worth using, though many of those already approved have a far higher rate.
CureVac says it has sent the data to the European Medicines Agency, which is conducting a rolling review of the vaccine.
CureVac CEO Franz-Werner Haas says the vaccine fully protects 18-to 60-year-olds against hospitalization. He calls it ''an important contribution to help manage the COVID-19 pandemic and the dynamic variant spread.''
The company says it sequenced 204 case samples to identify the variant causing the infection but did not provide complete details on the variants found.
CDC director reaffirms face mask policyThe head of the CDC reaffirmed on various networks Wednesday that fully vaccinated Americans still don't need to wear COVID-19 face masks in most situations but acknowledged local officials may implement stricter policies.
"Here in the United States, we're fortunate. We have three vaccines that we know are safe and effective. We have two-thirds of the adult population that is fully vaccinated and really quite protected from the variants that we have circulating here," CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said Wednesday morning on NBC News' "Today."
Walensky's comments come after the World Health Organization this week recommended even vaccinated people continue to wear masks, and Los Angeles health officials recommended all people wear them indoors because of concerns about the delta coronavirus variant.
"We are still seeing an uptick of cases in areas of low vaccination, and in that situation we are suggesting that policies be made at the local level. And those masking policies are really intended to protect the unvaccinated. The vaccinated we believe still are safe," Walensky said on "Good Morning America."
The delta variant, which is believed to be more contagious, accounts for more than one in four COVID-19 cases in the U.S., according to CDC estimates.
- Grace Hauck
Contributing: The Associated Press
View | 132 Photos
Tour de France organisers withdraw lawsuit against spectator who caused mass crash | Cyclingnews
Thu, 01 Jul 2021 11:59
Tour de France organisers ASO have reportedly withdrawn their lawsuit against the woman who caused the mass crash on stage 1 of the race.The woman, who was arrested by police in Brittany on Wednesday, was stood in the road holding a cardboard sign towards the end of Saturday's opener from Brest to Landerneau.
With Jumbo-Visma rider Tony Martin unable to take avoiding action, the German piled into the woman, sparking a mass pile-up.Race deputy director Pierre-Yves Thouault stated after the stage that ASO would sue the woman, saying, "We are suing this woman who behaved so badly. We are doing this so that the tiny minority of people who do this don't spoil the show for everyone."
However, Reuters reported ahead of Thursday's stage 6 that ASO will not take legal action against the 30-year-old woman.She faces charges of 'involuntarily causing injury' and a '‚¬1,500 fine for her role in causing the crash, which saw DSM rider Jasha S¼tterlin abandon the race with a hand injury and Movistar's Marc Soler leave the race later on after suffering fractures to both elbows and a wrist. Eight other riders were seen by the race doctor and numerous others suffered minor injuries.Soler said on Wednesday that he was considering legal action against the woman."I don't know what to do. I'm thinking of taking the spectator to court because that's an entire Tour canned and I feel very angry," he told La Vanguardia newspaper.
James Franco to pay $2.2m in sexual misconduct case - BBC News
Thu, 01 Jul 2021 11:57
2 hours ago
Image source, Getty Images
Image caption, James Franco has starred in films such as 127 Hours and Milk
James Franco has agreed to pay $2.2m (£1.6m) to settle a legal case which accused the star of sexual misconduct.
Sarah Tither-Kaplan and Toni Gaal, who attended Franco's now-defunct Studio 4 acting school, sued him in Los Angeles in October 2019.
They alleged the actor engaged in "sexually-charged behaviour towards female students".
Franco's lawyers had previously described the claims as "false and inflammatory".
The class action lawsuit - a legal claim made by more than one person against a defendant - also alleged he abused his position and dangled opportunities for roles in his films.
In this case, students claimed they were victims of fraud for paying for the acting school while being sexually objectified and intimidated.
Image source, Getty Images
Image caption, James Franco (left) won a 2018 Golden Globe for The Disaster Artist in which his brother Dave Franco (right) also featured
In February it was reported that Franco, Ms Tither-Kaplan and Ms Gaal had reached a settlement, but the exact details were only released on Wednesday.
Court filings linked to the case state that the proposed settlement is now going to be put in front of a judge, who will decide whether to approve it.
If it is signed off, Ms Tither-Kaplan will receive $670,500 (£486,107) with $223,500 (£162,036) being deducted for lawyers' fees.
Ms Gaal will receive $223,500 (£162,036) with $74,500 (£54,013 paid to lawyers. The remaining $1.341m (£971,910) will be divided among other students that were involved with the case, minus further legal fees.
The deal also applies to Franco's production company, Rabbit Bandini, and his two business partners, Vince Jolivette and Jay Davis.
'Critical' focus on mistreatment
If a judge signs off on the settlement, all parties will release a joint statement in which Franco would continue to deny the allegations.
It would read: "The parties and their counsel are pleased to have resolved portions of this dispute and pending lawsuit.
"While defendants continue to deny the allegations in the complaint, they acknowledge that plaintiffs have raised important issues; and all parties strongly believe that now is a critical time to focus on addressing the mistreatment of women in Hollywood.
"All agree on the need to make sure that no-one in the entertainment industry - regardless of sex, race, religion, disability, ethnicity, background, gender or sexual orientation - faces discrimination, harassment or prejudice of any kind."
'Not accurate'
Studio 4 opened in 2014 and closed three years later.
Ms Tither-Kaplan and Ms Gaal said in their original filing in 2019 that Franco tried to "create a pipeline of young women who were subjected to his personal and professional sexual exploitation in the name of education".
He was accused of abusing his position by pushing female students into taking part in sex scenes and "dangling the opportunity for roles" in his films.
The actor denied the claims at the time, with his lawyers describing them as "ill-informed".
Ms Tither-Kaplan had previously come forward with allegations of sexual misconduct against the actor-director, shortly after he won a Golden Globe Award for his film The Disaster Artist in 2018.
Image source, Getty Images
Image caption, Seth Rogen [L] said in May he has "no plans" to work again with Franco, who he made several films with
When the allegations first surfaced, Franco said they were "not accurate".
Franco is particularly well known for his work with Seth Rogen, including on films such as Sausage Party, The Interview and This Is The End. Franco has also directed several films including The Disaster Artist, Sal and Zeroville, which also starred Rogen.
Franco was nominated for best actor at the Oscars in 2011, for his starring role in 127 Hours, which was directed by Danny Boyle.
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UNC trustees approve tenure for '1619 Project' journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones
Thu, 01 Jul 2021 11:53
NBCBLK Hannah-Jones, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, said the fight was about ensuring the freedom of Black academics.
June 30, 2021, 10:15 PM EDT
By Phil Helsel
In a 9-4 vote, the board of trustees at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on Wednesday approved tenure for Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones.
The vote Wednesday after a closed session comes after a controversy about why Hannah-Jones, a renowned journalist and winner of a MacArthur Fellowship, known as a ''Genius Grant," was not offered tenure in her appointment at the Hussman School of Journalism.
Hannah-Jones won the Pulitzer last year for her work on The New York Times Magazine's 1619 Project, which examines the consequences of slavery in the United States. That project has been assailed by some conservative critics and she has faced staunch criticism since releasing it 2019.
Board Vice Chair Gene Davis called Wednesday's vote to grant tenure "an important step in creating an even better university."
Hannah-Jones said in a statement that Wednesday's outcome was about more than her.
"This fight is about ensuring the journalistic and academic freedom of Black writers, researchers, teachers and students," she said. "We must ensure that our work is protected and able to proceed free from the risk of repercussions, and we are not there yet."
In the statement released by the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, the journalist also noted how difficult and taxing recent weeks have been.
"I need to take some time to process all that has occurred and determine what is the best way forward," she said.
The decision not to offer tenure initially to Hannah-Jones was not explained at Wednesday's special board meeting. Davis, the board vice chair, said the board has been subject to false claims in recent weeks.
"We remain committed to being a light shining brightly on the hill," Davis said. "We embrace and endorse academic freedom, open and rigorous debate, and scholarly inquiry, constructive disagreement '-- all of which are grounded in the virtue of listening to each other."
UNC announced in April that Hannah-Jones would join the university's Hussman School of Journalism and Media as the Knight Chair in Race and Investigative Journalism in July. Instead of tenure, which had been expected, the university offered her a five-year fixed term with eligibility for tenure review at the end.
RecommendedLast week, Hannah-Jones' legal team said she was repeatedly told that the position would come with a full tenured professorship, and she would not begin working until receiving the promised career-long appointment.
The tenure application was halted earlier this year after a trustee wanted more time to consider her qualifications. Several hundred students and faculty protested the failure to offer tenure on Friday.
Walter E. Hussman Jr., a major donor and newspaper publisher for whom the journalism school is named, wrote an email expressing concern in December to the school's dean and others. "I worry about the controversy of tying the UNC journalism school to the 1619 project," the news site The Assembly reported in May.
''The University has now voted to grant tenure to Ms. Nikole Hannah-Jones. I look forward to meeting her and discussing journalism,'' Hussman said in a text message to The Associated Press on Wednesday. ''Our plan is to continue to support the UNC Hussman School of Journalism and Media in advocating for the core values.''
UNC Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz at Wednesday's meeting called it "an important day" but said that the university still has more work to do but is committed to ensuring that all voices are heard.
"Ultimately, I am glad that the matter of tenure for Nikole Hannah-Jones has been resolved," Guskiewicz said. "Professor Hannah-Jones will add great value to our university. Our students are eager to learn from her, and we are ready to welcome her to the Carolina faculty as soon as possible."
The 1619 Project is named after the year in which a ship carrying 20 to 30 enslaved Africans arrived in the then-British colony of Virginia. It holds that America was truly founded in 1619, when the first enslaved people were brought to the Colonies, not in 1776.
Phil Helsel Phil Helsel is a reporter for NBC News.
The Associated Press contributed.
'Release The Doge!''--Elon Musk Gives The Dogecoin Price A Sudden Boost As Bitcoin And Ethereum Lead The Crypto Market Lower
Thu, 01 Jul 2021 11:51
Billy Bambrough Senior Contributor Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.
I write about how bitcoin, crypto and blockchain can change the world.
Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies prices have stalled this week after a late June resurgence petered out.
However, dogecoin, the meme-based cryptocurrency that's a favorite of Tesla billionaire Elon Musk, has suddenly shot higher'--jumping after Musk once again tweeted in support of doge.
Sign up now for CryptoCodex'--a free, daily newsletter that explains the world of bitcoin with brevity. Arriving in your inbox at 7am EDT every weekday
MORE FROM FORBES Is This The Surprise Solution To Tesla Billionaire Elon Musk's Bitcoin Nightmare? By Billy Bambrough dogecoin as his pet project, with Musk regularly boosting the dogecoin price even as the bitcoin price falls.
AFP/Getty Images
''Release the doge,'' Musk posted to Twitter alongside a meme depicting Marlon Brando as The Godfather. The dogecoin price jumped by 4% following the post. Musk has previously embraced the title of The Dogefather, something bestowed on him by the dogecoin community.
Musk, who was voted dogecoin CEO in a 2019 Twitter poll, has helped dogecoin this year, pushing dogecoin into the crypto top ten by value with a market capitalization of over $30 billion.
Earlier this week, Musk boosted the dogecoin price when he said it was ''important to support'' a dogecoin upgrade proposal to significantly reduce dogecoin transaction fees'--something Musk has previously said he wants to do in order to make dogecoin ''the currency of Earth''.
The dogecoin price is, however, down by more than 50% since its peak in early May, set just ahead of Musk's much-hyped appearance on the comedy sketch show Saturday Night Live.
Bitcoin, ethereum and other major cryptocurrencies have also fallen sharply in recent weeks as the early 2021 cryptocurrency market bubble begins to deflat.
CryptoCodex'--Helping you understand the world of bitcoin and crypto, every day
MORE FROM FORBES Elon Musk Reveals Surprise Support For A Radical Upgrade Proposal To 'Joke' Bitcoin Rival Dogecoin-Sending Its Price Sharply Higher By Billy Bambrough dogecoin price add around 4%. Meanwhile, bitcoin and other major cryptocurrencies have fallen.
While dogecoin has attracted criticism for its lack of development and high token concentration among a small group of accounts, its 10,000% price rally over the last 12 months has helped rejuvenate interest in the stagnating cryptocurrency.
Sam Bankman-Fried, the billionaire chief executive of crypto exchange FTX, named dogecoin as the ''asset of the year for 2020 and 2021'" and an ethereum cofounder who went onto create rival blockchain cardano, Charles Hoskinson, said he hopes Musk's support will help some ''real developers come in and start working on dogecoin'' to create some ''use and utility.''
Follow me on
Twitter. I am a journalist with significant experience covering technology, finance, economics, and business around the world. As the founding editor of I reported
'... Read More I am a journalist with significant experience covering technology, finance, economics, and business around the world. As the founding editor of I reported on how technology is changing business, political trends, and the latest culture and lifestyle. I have covered the rise of bitcoin and cryptocurrency since 2012 and have charted its emergence as a niche technology into the greatest threat to the established financial system the world has ever seen and the most important new technology since the internet itself. I have worked and written for CityAM, the Financial Times, and the New Statesman, amongst others. Follow me on Twitter @billybambrough or email me on I occasionally hold some small amount of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
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The Information No Longer Wants to Be Free: Sotheby's Sells the Source Code for the World Wide Web for $5.4 Million | Artnet News
Thu, 01 Jul 2021 11:43
''Information wants to be free'' has long been a mantra of internet culture. Turns out, in the age of NFTs this may no longer be the case, as Sotheby's just auctioned off the original source code for the World Wide Web for $5.4 million. The NFT-based lot was sold by ''inventor of the internet'' Tim Berners-Lee himself.
For the single-lot sale titled ''This Changed Everything,'' Berners-Lee offered the original time-stamped files containing the source code, a more than 30-minute animated visualization of the code itself, a letter Berners-Lee wrote reflecting on the process of creating the code and its impact, and a ''digital poster'' of the work featuring a graphic of Berners-Lee's signature.
Bidding for the work started at just $1,000. Two days ago, the high bid sat at $2.8 million. A few hours ago, tweets revealed that bidding had notched the price up to $3.5 million.
After a final total of 51 bids, the lot went for $5.4 million with fees just about 10 minutes before the sale closed. A portion of the proceeds will go to charities of Mr. Berners-Lee's choice.
The autographed poster by Sir Tim Berners-Lee, auctioned as part of the NFT sale. Courtesy of Sotheby's.
In press materials, the auction house compared the invention of the World Wide Web to Gutenberg's printing press and Einstein's Theory of Relativity. However, said Cassandra Hatton, global head of Sotheby's science and pop culture division, ''none has had the seismic impact on our daily lives as the creation of the World Wide Web.''
''We couldn't have sold this 10 years ago, but now NFTs have enabled us to do it,'' Hatton told the New York Times. ''Previously in the history of science you had manuscripts you could hold in your hand. As we move forward, more and more of these manuscripts are created in a digital format.''
The price tag for the source code places it firmly in the pantheon of the most expensive NFTs ever sold, tying for fourth place, fetching the same price as Edward Snowden's NFT artwork consisting of court documentation deciding that the National Security Agency's mass surveillance practice violated the law, overlaid with a portrait of Snowden by artist Platon.
Beeple, aka Mike Winklemann, holds the other top three place for most expensive NFTs, with Ocean Front, which sold for $6 million in March; Crossroads, which sold for $6.6 million in February; and of course, Everydays'--The First 5000 Days, which sold for a whopping $69 million in March at Christie's.
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Donald Rumsfeld dies, ex-Pentagon chief in Iraq, Afghanistan wars
Thu, 01 Jul 2021 11:43
Donald Rumsfeld served twice as Defense secretary, for Gerald Ford and George W. Bush.After the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, Rumsfeld let the Pentagon's attacks on al-Qaida in Afghanistan.In 2003, he and Vice President Dick Cheney shifted to Iraq's Saddam Hussein, whom the US ousted.The abuse of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison was among the controversies that dogged him.Donald Rumsfeld '' Republican power broker, controversial defense secretary and architect of the Iraq War '' died Tuesday, days before his 89th birthday, his family said Wednesday.
"It is with deep sadness that we share the news of the passing of Donald Rumsfeld, an American statesman and devoted husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather. At 88, he was surrounded by family in his beloved Taos, New Mexico," the family said in a statement released Wednesday. "History may remember him for his extraordinary accomplishments over six decades of public service, but for those who knew him best and whose lives were forever changed as a result, we will remember his unwavering love for his wife Joyce, his family and friends and the integrity he brought to a life dedicated to country."
The cause of Rumsfeld's death was multiple myeloma, according to his spokesman, Keith Urbahn.
President George W. Bush selected Rumsfeld for his second stint as Pentagon chief in 2001. Rumsfeld vowed to shake up the military bureaucracy, seeking to make it leaner and more agile.
The Sept. 11 terror attacks changed everything.
Rumsfeld oversaw the Pentagon's response and its initial attack on al-Qaida bases in Afghanistan. With stunning speed, U.S. commandos and airstrikes toppled the Taliban from power, and a democratically elected government was established.
By early 2002, Rumsfeld and Vice President Dick Cheney turned the Pentagon's attention to Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. Al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden, nearly captured in the mountains of eastern Afghanistan, slipped away into Pakistan, where he was killed in 2011.
In 2003, U.S. forces invaded Iraq to prevent Saddam from launching attacks with weapons of mass destruction. No such weapons were found, and the mismanaged American occupation led to a guerrilla war and sectarian violence.
Famous words:Donald Rumsfeld's most famous '' and infamous '' quotes
Bush fired Rumsfeld in 2006 as the United States was mired in grinding insurgencies that killed and maimed thousands of U.S. troops and thousands more combatants and civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan. About 2,000 troops remain in Iraq supporting a fragile government fighting Islamic insurgents, and the last U.S. combat troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, where the top commander warns of a brewing civil war.
There were a series of high-profile controversies during his tenure, including the abuse of Iraqi prisoners at the Abu Ghraib prison. The detention at the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, of combatants and others scooped up on battlefields in the Middle East continues to vex the United States. Most of the detainees have been released to host countries, but others await military trials.
From Princeton to PentagonBorn in Chicago in 1932, Rumsfeld graduated from Princeton University, where he was a collegiate wrestler and commissioned as a U.S. Navy aviator and flight instructor. He served on active duty from 1954-57.
He became a staffer on Capitol Hill and worked as an investment banker. In 1960, he won his first term as a Republican congressman from Illinois. He resigned in 1969 and took a post in the Nixon administration, according to his congressional biography.
In 1975, Rumsfeld was selected to serve as the 13th defense secretary '' the youngest person to hold that position in the country's history, according to the Department of Defense's historical website. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Gerald Ford.
After working in the private sector for 23 years, Rumsfeld returned to his formerly held position, assuming the role of the 21st secretary of defense in Bush's administration in January 2001.
War in IraqIn the spring of 2003, U.S. forces moved quickly to seize Baghdad. Iraqi troops faded away, but there were soon signs of civil unrest. Looting was rampant, and Rumsfeld dismissed news reports, predicting ''wonderful things'' for Iraqis.
''And does that mean you couldn't go in there and take a television camera or get a still photographer and take a picture of something that was imperfect, untidy?'' Rumsfeld said at the Pentagon. ''I could do that in any city in America. Think what's happened in our cities when we've had riots and problems and looting. Stuff happens!''
He upbraided reporters for inferring that Iraq teetered toward chaos.
''But in terms of what's going on in that country, it is a fundamental misunderstanding to see those images over and over and over again of some boy walking out with a vase and say, 'Oh, my goodness, you didn't have a plan.' That's nonsense,'' Rumsfeld said. ''They know what they're doing. And they're doing a terrific job. And it's untidy. And freedom's untidy. And free people are free to make mistakes and commit crimes and do bad things. They're also free to live their lives and do wonderful things. And that's what's going to happen here.''
The provisional government in Iraq, led by a U.S. diplomat, disbanded the Iraqi army. Many of those disaffected troops joined the insurgency. Rumsfeld's plan to withdraw most U.S. troops was abandoned. Instead, more troops were deployed in a wearying, bloody succession of skirmishes and battles.
By 2004, the insurgents' weapon of choice was the roadside bomb, known in the military as the improvised explosive device. It tore through poorly protected Humvees and became the No. 1 killer of U.S. troops.
Rumsfeld dismissed complaints from troops in combat that they were ill-prepared for the fight.
''As you know, you go to war with the army you have, not the army you might want or wish to have at a later time,'' Rumsfeld said in 2004. ''You can have all the armor in the world on a tank, and a tank can be blown up. And you can have an up-armored Humvee, and it can be blown up.''
Rumsfeld's Pentagon received urgent requests from commanders in the field for armored trucks known as Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles, or MRAPs. Those requests were shelved or delayed. Rumfeld's successor, Robert Gates, made MRAPs the Pentagon's top priority after reading a report in USA TODAY about their effectiveness.
By 2006, the wars and Rumsfeld's handling of them had become a political liability for Bush. He fired Rumsfeld shortly after the midterm elections and replaced him with Gates.
Trump lawyer says New York DA considering charges related to employee perks | TheHill
Thu, 01 Jul 2021 11:36
An attorney representing former President Trump Donald TrumpTrump Org, CFO indicted by New York grand jury: reports Black Caucus presses Democratic leaders to expedite action on voting rights Judge blocks Florida social media law MORE said Monday that Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr.'s office told him it is currently considering charges against the Trump Organization and individual employees over allegedly not paying taxes on company benefits '-- but not on hush money allegations or potential fraud regarding property valuations at this time.
Speaking to Politico, New York attorney Ronald Fischetti said Vance's team said in a meeting last week that it was not considering bringing charges against Trump himself when the first indictments are brought down.
''They just said, 'When this indictment comes down, he won't be charged. Our investigation is ongoing,''' Fischetti told Politico.
On Sunday it was reported by The Washington Post that New York prosecutors had given attorneys for the Trump Organization until Monday afternoon to provide an argument as to why the company should not face criminal charges.
Fischetti told Politico that he expects charges to come this week or next week.
"It's like the Shakespeare play 'Much Ado About Nothing,'" he said. "This is so small that I can't believe I'm going to have to try a case like this."
''We asked, 'Is there anything else?''' Fischetti added. ''They said, 'No.' It's crazy that that's all they had.''
Several high-ranking Trump Organization executives, including Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg Allen Howard WeisselbergTrump Org, CFO indicted by New York grand jury: reports On The Money: IRS faces 35 million unprocessed tax returns | Robinhood to pay record million settlement Anticipation of possible Trump Organization indictments builds MORE , are reportedly being investigated by Vance's office over allegations that they failed to pay taxes on company-provided perks. Last week, The Wall Street Journal reported that investigators were looking into Matthew Calamari, an executive at the company as well as Trump's former bodyguard.
Calamari and his son both live in Trump apartment buildings. A former employee of the Trump administration once described the apartment that Calamari's son lives in as a corporate unit for which rent does not have to be paid.
Vance is working on the investigation with New York Attorney General Letitia James (D), whose office announced last month that the probe had expanded to a "criminal capacity."
In addition to potential failures to pay taxes on company benefits, their teams are working to determine if the Trump Organization inflated or deflated the value of its properties to lenders, insurers and tax authorities. They are also examining alleged hush money payments made before Trump was elected president.
In a statement on Monday, Trump blasted what he called "a continuation of the greatest Witch Hunt of all time."
"After hundreds of subpoenas, over 3 million pages of documents, 4 years of searching, dozens and dozens of interviews, and millions of dollars of taxpayer funds wasted, they continue to be 'in search of a crime' and will do anything to frighten people into making up the stories or lies that they want, but have been totally unable to get," the former president said.
seaside condo repairs
Thu, 01 Jul 2021 11:35
One of the downsides of democracy:
'As recently as April, residents appeared divided over the repairs - with dozens signing a letter that questioned the details of the proposed spending and asked the board to consider a lower assessment. "We cannot afford an assessment that doubles the amount of the maintenance dues currently being paid," the group wrote.'
3 Principles Now Define the Pandemic - The Atlantic
Thu, 01 Jul 2021 11:30
The clash between the vaccines and the variants will determine the next stage of the COVID-19 crisis.
Fifteen months after the novel coronavirus shut down much of the world, the pandemic is still raging. Few experts guessed that by this point, the world would have not one vaccine but many, with 3 billion doses already delivered. At the same time, the coronavirus has evolved into super-transmissible variants that spread more easily. The clash between these variables will define the coming months and seasons. Here, then, are three simple principles to understand how they interact. Each has caveats and nuances, but together, they can serve as a guide to our near-term future.
1. The vaccines are still beating the variantsThe vaccines have always had to contend with variants: The Alpha variant (also known as B.1.1.7) was already spreading around the world when the first COVID-19 vaccination campaigns began. And in real-world tests, they have consistently lived up to their extraordinary promise. The vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna reduce the risk of symptomatic infections by more than 90 percent, as does the still-unauthorized one from Novavax. Better still, the available vaccines slash the odds that infected people will spread the virus onward by at least half and likely more. In the rare cases that the virus breaks through, infections are generally milder, shorter, and lower in viral load. As of June 21, the CDC reported just 3,907 hospitalizations among fully vaccinated people and just 750 deaths.
Could the Delta variant (also known as B.1.617.2) change that picture? Data from the U.K. suggest that it is 35 to 60 percent better at spreading than Alpha, which was already 43 to 90 percent more transmissible than the original virus. (It may also be deadlier, but that's still unclear.) It now causes 26 percent of new infections in the U.S. and will soon cause most of them.
But even against Delta, full vaccination'--with a heavy emphasis on full'--is effective. Two doses of Pfizer's vaccine are still 88 percent effective at preventing symptomatic Delta infections, according to a U.K. study, and 96 percent effective at preventing hospitalization. (A single dose, however, is only 33 percent effective at stopping symptomatic infection.) Israel, a highly vaccinated country, is experiencing a small Delta surge, but so far, none of the new cases has been severe. And while about 30 percent of those new cases have been in fully vaccinated people, this statistic reflects, in part, the country's success at vaccination. Because Israel has fully vaccinated about 85 percent of adults, you would expect many new infections to occur in that very large group. ''It does seem like the vaccines are holding their own against the variants,'' Emma Hodcroft, an epidemiologist at the University of Bern, told me. ''That's something we can take some comfort from.''
But the coronavirus can cause serious problems without triggering severe infections. Because people can develop long COVID without ending up in the hospital, could Delta still cause long-term symptoms even if vaccines blunt its sting? The anecdotal reports of long-haulers whose symptoms abated after vaccination might suggest otherwise, but ''we don't know enough to say,'' Bill Hanage, an epidemiologist at Harvard, told me.
Another crucial question that ''we really need to understand is the nature of transmission from breakthrough cases,'' Hanage said. Worryingly, a recent study documented several cases during India's spring surge in which health-care workers who were fully vaccinated with AstraZeneca's vaccine were infected by Delta and passed it on.
If other vaccines have similar vulnerabilities, vaccinated people might have to keep wearing masks indoors to avoid slingshotting the virus into unvaccinated communities, especially during periods of high community transmission. ''That is unfortunately the direction this is headed,'' says Ravindra Gupta, a clinical microbiologist at the University of Cambridge, who led the study. Israel has reimposed a mask mandate, while Los Angeles County and the World Health Organization have advised that vaccinated people should wear masks indoors. And such measures make sense because ...
2. The variants are pummeling unvaccinated peopleVaccinated people are safer than ever despite the variants. But unvaccinated people are in more danger than ever because of the variants. Even though they'll gain some protection from the immunity of others, they also tend to cluster socially and geographically, seeding outbreaks even within highly vaccinated communities.
The U.K., where half the population is fully vaccinated, ''can be a cautionary tale,'' Hanage told me. Since Delta's ascendancy, the country's cases have increased sixfold. Long-COVID cases will likely follow. Hospitalizations have almost doubled. That's not a sign that the vaccines are failing. It is a sign that even highly vaccinated countries host plenty of vulnerable people.
Delta's presence doesn't mean that unvaccinated people are doomed. When Alpha came to dominate continental Europe, many countries decided not to loosen their restrictions, and the variant didn't trigger a huge jump in cases. ''We do have agency,'' Hodcroft said. ''The variants make our lives harder, but they don't dictate everything.''
In the U.S., most states have already fully reopened. Delta is spreading more quickly in counties with lower vaccination rates, whose immunological vulnerability reflects social vulnerability. Black and Hispanic Americans are among the most likely groups to die of COVID-19 but the least likely to be vaccinated. Immunocompromised people may not benefit from the shots. Children under 12 are still ineligible. And unlike in many other wealthy countries, the pace of vaccinations in America is stalling because of lack of access, uncertainty, and distrust. To date, 15 states, most of which are in the South, have yet to fully vaccinate half their adults. ''Watch the South in the summer,'' Hanage said. ''That'll give us a flavor of what we're likely to see in the fall and winter.''
Globally, vaccine inequities are even starker. Of the 3 billion vaccine doses administered worldwide, about 70 percent have gone to just six countries; Delta has already been detected in at least 85. While America worries about the fate of states where around 40 percent of people are fully vaccinated, barely 10 percent of the world's population has achieved that status, including just 1 percent of Africa's. The coronavirus is now tearing through southern Africa, South America, and Central and Southeast Asia. The year is only half over, but more people have already been infected and killed by the coronavirus in 2021 than in 2020. And new variants are still emerging. Lambda, the latest to be recognized by the WHO, is dominant in Peru and spreading rapidly in South America.
Many nations that excelled at protecting their citizens are now facing a triple threat: They controlled COVID-19 so well that they have little natural immunity; they don't have access to vaccines; and they're besieged by Delta. At the start of this year, Vietnam had recorded just 1,500 COVID-19 cases'--fewer than many individual American prisons. But it is now facing a huge Delta-induced surge when just 0.19 percent of its people have been fully vaccinated. If even Vietnam, which so steadfastly held the line against COVID-19, is now buckling under the weight of Delta, ''it's a sign that the world may not have that much time,'' Dylan Morris, an evolutionary biologist at UCLA, told me.
With Delta and other variants spreading so quickly, ''my great fear is that in not very long, everyone globally will either have been vaccinated or infected,'' Morris said. He didn't want to pinpoint a time frame, but ''I don't want to bet that we have more than a year,'' he said. And richer nations would be wrong to think that the variants will spare them, because ...
3. The longer Principle No. 2 continues, the less likely No. 1 will holdWhenever a virus infects a new host, it makes copies of itself, with small genetic differences'--mutations'--that distinguish the new viruses from their parents. As an epidemic widens, so does the range of mutations, and viruses that carry advantageous ones that allow them to, for example, spread more easily or slip past the immune system to outcompete their standard predecessors. That's how we got super-transmissible variants like Alpha and Delta. And it's how we might eventually face variants that can truly infect even vaccinated people.
None of the scientists I talked with knows when that might occur, but they agree that the odds shorten as the pandemic lengthens. ''We have to assume that's going to happen,'' Gupta told me. ''The more infections are permitted, the more probable immune escape becomes.''
If that does happen, when would we know? This is the first pandemic in history in which scientists are sequencing the genes of a new virus, and tracking its evolution, in real time'--that's why we know about the variants at all. Genomic surveillance can tell which mutations are rising to the fore, and lab experiments can show how these mutations change the virus'--that's how we know which variants are concerning. But even with such work ''happening at incredible speed,'' Hodcroft told me, ''we can't test every variant that we see.''
Many countries lack sequencing facilities, and those that have them can be easily swamped. ''Again and again, we have seen variants pop up in places that are under extraordinary strain because those variants are causing large surges,'' Hanage said. Delta ripped its way through India, ''but we only understood it when it started causing infections in the U.K.'--a country that had plenty of scientists with sequencers and less to do.'' So the first sign of a vaccine-beating variant will likely be an uptick in disease. ''If vaccinated folks start getting sick and enter hospitals with symptoms, we'll have a pretty good picture of what's going on,'' Maia Majumder, an epidemiologist at Harvard Medical School and Boston Children's Hospital, told me.
We're unlikely to be as vulnerable as we were at the beginning of the pandemic. The vaccines induce a variety of protective antibodies and immune cells, so it's hard for a variant virus to evade them all. These defenses also vary from person to person, so even if a virus eludes one person's set, it might be stymied when it jumps into a new host. ''I don't think there'll suddenly be a variant that pops up and evades everything, and suddenly our vaccines are useless,'' Gupta told me. ''It'll be incremental: With every stepwise change in the virus, a chunk of protection is lost in individuals. And people on the edges'--the vulnerable who haven't mounted a full response'--will end up bearing the cost.''
If that happens, vaccinated people might need booster shots. Those should be possible: The mRNA vaccines produced by Moderna and Pfizer should be especially easy to revise against changing viruses. But ''if we need boosters, I worry that countries that are able to produce vaccines will do so for their own populations, and the division around the world will become even greater,'' Maria van Kerkhove, an infectious-disease epidemiologist at the WHO, told me.
The discussion about vaccine-beating variants echoes the early debates about whether SARS-CoV-2 would go pandemic. ''We don't think too well as a society about low-probability events that have far-reaching consequences,'' Majumder told me. ''We need to prepare for a future where we are doing vaccine rollout again, and we need to figure out how to do that better.'' In the meantime, even highly vaccinated nations should continue investing in other measures that can control COVID-19 but have been inadequately used'--improved ventilation, widespread rapid tests, smarter contact tracing, better masks, places in which sick people can isolate, and policies like paid sick leave. Such measures will also reduce the spread of the virus among unvaccinated communities, creating fewer opportunities for an immune-escape variant to arise. ''I find myself the broken record who always emphasizes all the other tools we have,'' van Kerkhove said. ''It's not vaccines only. We're not using what we have at hand.''
The WHO's decision to name variants after the Greek alphabet means that at some point, we'll probably be dealing with an Omega variant. Our decisions now will determine whether that sinister name is accompanied by equally sinister properties, or whether Omega will be just an unremarkable scene during the pandemic's closing act.
Microsoft exec: Targeting of Americans' records 'routine'
Thu, 01 Jul 2021 11:23
WASHINGTON (AP) '-- Federal law enforcement agencies secretly seek the data of Microsoft customers thousands of times a year, according to congressional testimony Wednesday by a senior executive at the technology company.
Tom Burt, Microsoft's corporate vice president for customer security and trust, told members of the House Judiciary Committee that federal law enforcement in recent years has been presenting the company with between 2,400 to 3,500 secrecy orders a year, or about seven to 10 a day.
''Most shocking is just how routine secrecy orders have become when law enforcement targets an American's email, text messages or other sensitive data stored in the cloud,'' said Burt, describing the widespread clandestine surveillance as a major shift from historical norms.
The relationship between law enforcement and Big Tech has attracted fresh scrutiny in recent weeks with the revelation that Trump-era Justice Department prosecutors obtained as part of leak investigations phone records belonging not only to journalists but also to members of Congress and their staffers. Microsoft, for instance, was among the companies that turned over records under a court order, and because of a gag order, had to then wait more than two years before disclosing it.
Since then, Brad Smith, Microsoft's president, called for an end to the overuse of secret gag orders, arguing in a Washington Post opinion piece that ''prosecutors too often are exploiting technology to abuse our fundamental freedoms.'' Attorney General Merrick Garland, meanwhile, has said the Justice Department will abandon its practice of seizing reporter records and will formalize that stance soon.
Burt is among the witnesses at a Judiciary Committee hearing about potential legislative solutions to intrusive leak investigations.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler said in opening remarks Wednesday that the Justice Department took advantage of outdated policies on digital data searches to target journalists and others in leak investigations. The New York Democrat said that reforms are needed now to guard against future overreach by federal prosecutors '-- an idea also expressed by Republicans on the committee.
''We cannot trust the department to police itself,'' Nadler said.
Burt said that while the revelation that federal prosecutors had sought data about journalists and political figures was shocking to many Americans, the scope of surveillance is much broader. He criticized prosecutors for reflexively seeking secrecy through boilerplate requests that ''enable law enforcement to just simply assert a conclusion that a secrecy order is necessary.''
Burt said that while Microsoft Corp. does cooperate with law enforcement on a broad range of criminal and national security investigations, it often challenges surveillance that it sees as unnecessary, resulting at times in advance notice to the account being targeted.
Among the organizations weighing in at the hearing was The Associated Press, which called on Congress to act to protect journalists' ability to promise confidentiality to their sources. Reporters must have prior notice and the ability to challenge a prosecutor's efforts to seize data, said a statement submitted by Karen Kaiser, AP's general counsel.
''It is essential that reporters be able to credibly promise confidentially to ensure the public has the information needed to hold its government accountable and to help government agencies and officials function more effectively and with integrity,'' Kaiser said.
As possible solutions, Burt said, the government should end indefinite secrecy orders and should also be required to notify the target of the data demand once the secrecy order has expired.
Just this week, he said, prosecutors sought a blanket gag order affecting the government of a major U.S. city for a Microsoft data request targeting a single employee there.
''Without reform, abuses will continue to occur and they will occur in the dark,'' Burt said.
Why the US isn't following the World Health Organization's mask guidance - ABC News
Thu, 01 Jul 2021 10:59
The difference is hundreds of millions of highly effective vaccines in the U.S.
July 1, 2021, 9:00 AM
' 12 min read
The World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are out of step in their COVID-19 mask guidance, prompting confusion.
In light of sky-rocketing cases of the COVID-19 Delta variant around the globe, last week the WHO called for all vaccinated people to continue to wear masks.
The CDC, however, has not followed suit. The U.S. agency still sticks by its guidance -- announced in May -- for vaccinated people to relinquish their masks in indoor and outdoor settings, so long as it's been two weeks after their last shot of the vaccine. Unvaccinated people are supposed to continue wearing their masks and social distancing.
Why is the WHO advising masks for vaccinated people?
At a press conference on Friday, the WHO said that the rise of new variants made it necessary to pull out all the stops against the virus, particularly in places that had let down their guard.
The WHO, which watches the pandemic with a global lens, was considering the large majority of the world that's unvaccinated or has less-effective vaccines. The organization also pointed out the disparities in vaccination statuses. In comparison, the U.S. has only been able to lift restrictions on businesses, reopen cities and discontinue mask mandates because of its access to hundreds of millions of vaccines.
People walk and take photos on Hollywood Boulevard, June 15, 2021, in Los Angeles.
Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director-general of the WHO, said it was now "even more urgent that we use all the tools at our disposal" in the global fight against the coronavirus.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden, described the rest of the world as "fundamentally an unvaccinated planet" in an interview with ABC News on Tuesday, when he was asked about the daylight between the two organization's guidance.
"There are some countries that are doing well, but many, many countries have very little vaccination," Fauci said.
That means that even vaccinated people are potentially surrounded by high levels of COVID-19, including the rapidly spreading variant, which could increase the chance of breakthrough cases, especially in countries where the vaccines are less effective.
But in the U.S., the two most common vaccines have shown to work fairly well against the variant.
Current studies have shown that the full dosage of the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines -- the Pfizer and Moderna shots -- are effective against the Delta variant. According to a recent study out of the U.K., while a single dose of the Pfizer vaccine provided 33% protection against symptomatic disease from the Delta variant, two doses offered 88% protection. More studies are being done on the efficacy of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine against the Delta variant, though it has showed a strong response against past variants it was tested on.
The U.S. has pledged to share 80 million vaccines with the rest of the world by the end of June, though it's currently behind on its timeline. So far, 24 million have gone out, according to a tally by the Associated Press.
What has the CDC said in response?
Vaccinated people in the U.S. are still safe to the point that masks are not needed, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said Wednesday on ABC's "Good Morning America."
"The vaccinated, we believe, still are safe," Walensky said.
But Walensky hedged that her recommendation was broad -- taking into account the entirety of the country, both where rates for fully vaccinated adults are above 70%, and where they're below 40% -- so she urged local public health departments to make their own decisions based on the variant spread in their own communities and the willingness of people to get the vaccine.
"We have always said that this virus is an opportunist and in areas where we still have rates of low vaccination, that is where the virus is likely to take hold," Walensky said. "We are still seeing uptick in cases in areas of low vaccination."
Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention testifies during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on the federal COVID-19 response, on March 18, 2021, in Washington, D.C.
That's exactly what Los Angeles did on Monday, when they announced a return to indoor masking for everyone, vaccinated or not, after discovering that cases of the Delta variant made up nearly half of all the cases sequenced in the county, or one in every five new infections.
About half of the county is fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.
The County of Los Angeles Public Health recommended masks for indoor shopping, movie theaters and workplaces -- any public location where "you don't know everyone's vaccination status" -- as an extra step to stop the spread, beyond vaccines.
"Until we better understand how and to who the Delta variant is spreading, everyone should focus on maximum protection with minimum interruption to routine as all businesses operate without other restrictions, like physical distancing and capacity limits," the department wrote in a press release.
Fauci, like Walensky, encouraged the decision to be made locally "if they feel that the level of spread of the Delta variant is really profound in their particular region," he said.
People can also think about their individual levels of comfort, particularly if they are elderly or immunocompromised, which can lessen the effectiveness of the vaccines and heighten the risk of COVID-19, he added.
If the data changes, the CDC will update its guidance, Fauci said.
"We know from good studies that the Delta variant is protected against by the vaccines that fundamentally are being used here. And that's the reason why the CDC feels at this point they should not change their recommendation," he said.
"But right now the recommendation remains the same. These are very, very effective vaccines. So if ever there was a clarion call of why one should get vaccinated, it's the threat of the Delta variant, because if you are unvaccinated, you clearly are at risk from a problematic virus that's spreading more rapidly," he added.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing to discuss the federal response to COVID-19, May 11, 2021, in Washington, D.C.
The vaccination rate nationwide has fallen by 20% in the last week. Currently, about 66% of all adults in the U.S. over 18 have received one shot and that rises to 88% for seniors over 65.
The states with the lowest vaccination rates are Mississippi, Louisiana, Wyoming and Alabama, where 50% or less of adults have gotten one shot of the vaccine, about 15% less than the nation as a whole.
That said, Walensky was still supportive of a celebratory Independence Day weekend, which she said was well-deserved after 16 months of fear and pain.
"I think we have a lot to be grateful for come July Fourth," she said.
"Vaccinated people can take off their masks and celebrate July 4th and feel safe in doing so, see each other and smile again. And then we will have to continue the hard work we're doing to get people vaccinated," she said.
Where exactly is the Delta variant spreading in the US?
Unfortunately, it's everywhere. The Delta variant has been found in all 50 states, as of Wednesday. Some places have more cases than others -- and it's very clear why: Low vaccination rates.
As of June 19, the highly transmissible variant accounts for 26.1% of new cases, up from approximately 3% of new cases just over a month ago.
But in regions of the country making up most of the West and Midwest, the proportion of Delta variant cases is estimated to be twice that, at above 50% of cases, according to a CDC estimate. Those regions include Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming.
All of these states have less than 50% of their total population fully vaccinated, with the exception Colorado, which recently surpassed the halfway mark.
Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of Brown University's School of Public Health, told the New York Times that he would be more careful if he were in some of those states that had low vaccination rates, despite being fully vaccinated.
"I would not be excited about going indoors without wearing a mask -- even though I'm vaccinated," he told the Times.
Jha, like many in public health, has used the impending threat of the Delta variant to push the fastest solution: vaccines for everyone who is eligible.
"Vaccines are a way out and I continue to be concerned at how many people are holding off on getting vaccinated when it is so much safer to be vaccinated now than not," he said on CNN.
ABC News' Arielle Mitropoulos and Sony Salzman contributed to this report.
Eric Adams' lead tightens in New York City Democratic mayoral primary after unofficial ranked-choice tally - CBS News
Thu, 01 Jul 2021 04:33
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams holds a slim lead in the New York City Democratic mayoral primary, with a two-point edge over former Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia in the latest round of incomplete and unofficial election results released Wednesday. It was the second time in two days that election officials tabulated the ballots and released the results of New York City's first citywide ranked-choice election.
Why'd they tally the votes twice?Wednesday's release came after a chaotic 24 hours when the New York City Board of Elections released results that had accidentally included tens of thousands of test ballots in the results and then, hours later, pulled those results from their website and said more results would be released Wednesday.
"Yesterday's ranked choice voting reporting error was unacceptable and we apologize to the voters and to the campaigns for the confusion," Board of Elections President Frederic Umane and Secretary Miguelina Camilo said in a statement. "Let us be clear: (ranked-choice voting) was not the problem, rather a human error that could have been avoided. We have implemented another layer of review and quality control before publishing information going forward."
"We can say with certainty that the election night vote counts were and are accurate and the RCV data put out today is correct as well," the statement added.
Are these all of the ballots?No.
The unofficial results released on Wednesday are ranked-choice voting tabulations from votes cast on primary day and during early in-person voting. They do not include approximately 125,000 absentee ballots. On July 6, the Board of Elections is expected to include those ballots and re-run the ranked-choice tabulations with those votes.
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What do the results show?The final standings from this tabulation show Adams with 14,750 votes more than Garcia, leading 51% to 49%, the same percentage margin separating the candidates in Tuesday's botched results. The unofficial tally shows that Adams' lead has narrowed since primary night. Initial results of first-choice votes cast on primary day and early voting had Adams ahead of the field by about 10 points with about 31% of the vote. Civil rights attorney Maya Wiley was in second and Garcia trailed Wiley by a couple of points.
"There are still absentee ballots to be counted that we believe favor Eric and we are confident we will be the final choice of New Yorkers when every vote is tallied," Adams' campaign said in a statement Wednesday.
In the results released Wednesday, Garcia made it into the final round by edging out Wiley by just 347 votes.
Garcia said in a statement, "Every candidate should respect the democratic process and be committed to supporting whomever the voters have selected to be the Democratic nominee for Mayor. "
That seems really close. So, has Wiley been eliminated?No. Even though the unofficial results say she's been eliminated, the ballots will be re-tabulated with the ranked-choice process next week.
Wiley says "this election is still wide open," and she's not wrong because of the large number of outstanding absentee ballots.
Veteran election lawyer Jerry Goldfeder told CBS News that it's common for candidates to file pre-emptive lawsuits as a protective measure "to protect their legal rights" because the deadline to file lawsuits is on Friday. Adams' campaign announced Wednesday that they filed a lawsuit "to preserve our right to a fair election process."
Has the Board of Elections had issues in the past?Tuesday's error is not the first blunder for the New York City Board of Elections. The board mistakenly purged about 200,000 voters from voter rolls ahead of the 2016 election and there were long lines during the 2018 midterms because of problems with voting equipment. In 2020, it took weeks to sort out a contentious Congressional primary because of issues counting mail-in ballots. Ahead of the 2020 general election, 100,000 voters were mistakenly sent incorrect return envelopes for mail-in ballots.
New York City's current mayor Bill de Blasio renewed calls for changes to the election agency. Those reforms will likely have to come from state lawmakers in Albany. De Blasio encouraged the state legislature to pass a bill that would professionalize the agency and said the state constitution should be amended to allow for a "new, professional board, removed of party affiliation."
New York Senate Majority Leader Andrea-Stewart Cousins said she plans to hold hearings about the situation in the coming weeks.
"The situation in New York City is a national embarrassment and must be dealt with promptly and properly," Stewart-Cousins said.
When will we know the final results?The Board of Elections has started processing the 125,000 absentee ballots. The city is expected to redo the ranked-choice voting tabulation with many of those ballots and release results on July 6. Voters have until July 9 to fix any issues with their absentee ballots, meaning final results may not be ready until the week of July 12.
Majority of Florida condo board quit in 2019 as squabbling residents dragged out plans for repairs - The Washington Post
Thu, 01 Jul 2021 04:32
The president of the board of the Florida condominium that collapsed last week resigned in 2019, partly in frustration over what she saw as the sluggish response to an engineer's report that identified major structural damage the previous year.
Anette Goldstein was among five members of the seven-member board to resign in two weeks that fall, according to minutes from an Oct. 3 meeting, at a time when the condo association in Surfside was consumed by contentious debate about the multimillion-dollar repairs.
''We work for months to go in one direction and at the very last minute objections are raised that should have been discussed and resolved right in the beginning,'' Goldstein wrote in a September 2019 resignation letter. ''This pattern has repeated itself over and over, ego battles, undermining the roles of fellow board members, circulation of gossip and mistruths. I am not presenting a very pretty picture of the functioning of our board and many before us, but it describes a board that works very hard but cannot for the reasons above accomplish the goals we set out to accomplish.''
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Debate over the cost and scope of the work, along with turnover on the volunteer board, dragged out preparations for the repairs for three years, according to previously unpublished correspondence, condo board minutes and other records kept by the homeowners association.
Concrete restoration work had not yet begun when the building partially collapsed June 24. Identifying the cause of the catastrophe is expected to take many months, and it is not clear whether the problems identified in 2018 played a role. At least 18 people were killed in the catastrophe, and 145 remain missing.
Despite increasingly dire warnings from the board, many condo owners balked at paying for the extensive improvements, which ballooned in price from about $9 million to more than $15 million over the past three years as the building continued to deteriorate, records show.
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''The question is, 'Why did it take three years to get this point?''‰'' Max Friedman, a former board member who left the board before the 2018 report, said in an interview with The Washington Post. ''It took a lot of time to get the ball rolling, and of course there was sticker shock. Nobody truly believed the building was in imminent danger.''
Goldstein and the other board members who resigned did not return messages seeking comment. The precise reasons for the resignations of the other four members are not clear in the documents examined by The Post. Goldstein and some of the others later returned to the board, one just three weeks after stepping down, documents indicate.
Efforts to reach virtually everyone who has served on the board since 2018 were unsuccessful; at least two of those members have been reported missing.
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A spokesperson for the condo association, Max Marcucci, declined to comment for this article.
Miami-Dade County requires buildings to be inspected and recertified as safe after 40 years. Real estate lawyers say the process often stretches out beyond that time. The condominium building, Champlain Towers South, was constructed in 1981.
The engineer, Frank P. Morabito, found ''major structural damage'' to a concrete slab below the pool deck, caused by a flaw that limited water drainage, according to the 2018 review that outlined the repairs needed for the 40-year recertification.
A resident told The Post that minutes before Champlain Towers South came down, she noticed that a section of the pool deck and a street-level parking area had collapsed into the parking garage below. Experts have said the collapse appeared to involve a failure at the lowest levels of the building or in the parking garage beneath it.
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By the time of the collapse, the board had rallied additional support for the repairs, some residents said. The building had 136 units and a diverse population of retired snowbirds, Northeastern transplants, Orthodox Jews and Latin Americans.
The board unanimously voted in favor of a $15 million special assessment to pay for the upgrades to the building on April 13.
As recently as April, residents appeared divided over the repairs '-- with dozens signing a letter that questioned the details of the proposed spending and asked the board to consider a lower assessment. ''We cannot afford an assessment that doubles the amount of the maintenance dues currently being paid,'' the group wrote.
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In a 2018 email to other town officials, Ross Prieto, then a Surfside building official, praised the condo board for getting a jump-start on the 40-year review. ''This particular building is not due to begin their forty year until 2021 but they have decided to start the process early which I wholeheartedly endorse and wish that this trend would catch on with other properties,'' Prieto wrote in the Nov. 15 email.
But what may have looked to Prieto like a running start soon became a slow walk.
''A lot of this work could have been done or planned for in years gone by. But this is where we are now,'' current board president Joan Wodnicki told condo owners in a letter on April 9, 2021, which warned damage to the structure's concrete support system was accelerating.
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In a follow-up note the next day, before a meeting about the $15 million in repair costs, Wodnicki wrote: ''As we approach next Tuesday's meeting on the Special Assessment, I ask everyone to try to remain calm. I know there is a lot of anxiety and there are many questions. It's a lot of information and a lot of money. We will continue to do our best to address everyone's concerns.''
Her warnings to homeowners about the urgent need for repairs had gone on for months. ''I want you to know that the numbers we are hearing so far are much higher than the original Morabito estimate,'' she wrote on Oct. 23, 2020. ''However, the project is also much larger .'‰.'‰. The concrete damage is more extensive than it was when first looked at in 2018, and prices have gone up.''
She added: ''I wish I could be giving easier news, but the reality is that we live in an aging oceanfront building that needs work. Our Maintenance will probably be going up, and the renovation will be very expensive. Within those boundaries, we can work on prioritizing, getting the lowest prices, getting the best loan terms, and other ways of containing costs. But our home needs attention, and this is not a surprise. We have known for several years now that this was coming.''
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Wodnicki did not respond to requests for comment from The Post.
The board held meetings on Zoom throughout much of 2020 and 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic. Some were attended only by a handful of people outside of the board, records show. Highly technical explanations of the building's maintenance needs and a complicated breakdown of the costs are available on an internal website.
The pandemic appeared to exacerbate tensions in the building. A March 2020 note to homeowners said the board had adopted a new rule: ''No Owner, resident or guest may be verbally or physically abusive or otherwise engage in conduct that is offensive, threatening or harassing to any other Owner, resident or guest.''
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Condo owner Adalberto Aguero told The Post that he and his wife were not aware of the 2018 inspection report when they purchased their one-bedroom unit in mid-2019 '-- a process that involved an interview with a board member. They did not attend condo board meetings but were aware of the resignation of one board president.
''There was a lot of fighting and bickering,'' said Aguero. From the correspondence the couple received, he said, ''you get the feeling that things were not right.''
Earlier this year, the couple received an assessment for $80,000 over more than a decade for their share of the pending repairs '-- a price Aguero said seemed steep. ''I thought it was a very high amount of money,'' he said. But they had renovated their place and loved the condo. ''We had no choice. What were we going to do?''
Aguero and his wife were not home at the time of the collapse.
In the spring of 2019, before the slew of resignations, a letter sent to condo owners on behalf of the board sought to dampen brewing opposition.
''This will be a challenging time for all of us at Champlain Tower South,'' it said. ''Our building has been neglected for some time and we have to begin preparing for our upcoming Recertification. The board is working very hard to find ways to meet the desperate needs of the building. It would be irresponsible to continue to ignore these needs.''
Alice Crites contributed to this report.
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Bill Cosby released after sexual assault conviction overturned by Pennsylvania Supreme Court
Wed, 30 Jun 2021 19:11
U.S. news A previous prosecutor had decided not to charge the legendary comic, and he relied on that move to speak freely and give incriminating statements.
June 30, 2021, 12:56 PM EDT / Updated June 30, 2021, 3:05 PM EDT
By David K. Li
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned the sexual assault conviction of Bill Cosby on Wednesday and ordered his release from prison after finding that he was denied protection against self-incrimination.
The court said that a prosecutor's decision not to charge Cosby, 83, opened the door for him to speak freely in a lawsuit against him and that testimony was key in his conviction years later by another prosecutor.
Cosby was convicted in 2018 of drugging and sexually assaulting a woman in 2004, and was serving a three- to 10-year sentence. He has served nearly three years of the sentence.
The state Supreme Court said Cosby cannot be retried on the same charges.
"When an unconditional charging decision is made publicly and with the intent to induce action and reliance by the defendant, and when the defendant does so to his detriment (and in some instances upon the advice of counsel), denying the defendant the benefit of that decision is an affront to fundamental fairness, particularly when it results in a criminal prosecution that was foregone for more than a decade," the high court ruled.
"For these reasons, Cosby's convictions and judgment of sentence are vacated, and he is discharged."
The prosecution of Cosby was one of the first major milestones of the #MeToo movement, as women came forward with their tales of unwanted sexual advances and harassment in the workplace.
Cosby's spokesman Andrew Wyatt thanked the comedian's legal team and the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, calling Wednesday's ruling a moment of justice for Black Americans.
"This is the justice Mr. Cosby has been fighting for," Wyatt said in a statement. "They saw the light. He waived his Fifth Amendment right and settled out of court. He was given a deal and he had immunity. He should have never been charged."
About two hours after the ruling was published on Wednesday, Cosby was released from the SCI Phoenix detention center about 35 miles northeast of Philadelphia, where he had been housed as inmate No. NN7687, a corrections official said.
Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele lamented Cosby's release and characterized the state high court's findings as a ''procedural issue.''
''He was found guilty by a jury and now goes free on a procedural issue that is irrelevant to the facts of the crime,'' Steele said in a statement.
''I want to commend Cosby's victim Andrea Constand for her bravery in coming forward and remaining steadfast throughout this long ordeal, as well as all of the other women who have shared similar experiences. My hope is that this decision will not dampen the reporting of sexual assaults by victims.''
The entertainer once dubbed ''America's Dad'' was sent to state prison following his 2018 conviction for drugging and sexually assaulting Constand.
She testified that Cosby assaulted her at his Pennsylvania home in 2004 after she came to him for career advice.
But Bruce Castor, the Montgomery district attorney at the time, declined to press charges against the comedian and actor, "thereby allowing Cosby to be forced to testify in a subsequent civil action," according to the high court.
"Unable to invoke any right not to testify in the civil proceedings, Cosby relied upon the district attorney's declination and proceeded to provide four sworn depositions. During those depositions, Cosby made several incriminating statements," according to the high court opinion.
"D.A. Castor's successors did not feel bound by his decision, and decided to prosecute Cosby notwithstanding that prior undertaking. The fruits of Cosby's reliance upon D.A. Castor's decision '-- Cosby's sworn inculpatory testimony '-- were then used by D.A. Castor's successors against Cosby at Cosby's criminal trial."
In a rare jailhouse interview in 2019, Cosby said he wouldn't offer any remorse for his actions '-- even if that would've affected a parole board's decision.
"When I come up for parole, they're not going to hear me say that I have remorse. I was there. I don't care what group of people come along and talk about this when they weren't there. They don't know," Cosby told the news outlet
This is a developing story, please refresh here for updates.
David K. Li David K. Li is a breaking news reporter for NBC News.
Alec Hernandez and Diana Dasrath contributed.
Juul to pay N.C. $40M and stop targeting kids after igniting vaping ''epidemic'' | Ars Technica
Wed, 30 Jun 2021 17:41
pay out '-- The settlement follows years of allegations that Juul egregiously targeted youth. Beth Mole - Jun 29, 2021 7:17 pm UTC
Enlarge / Juul went with a fashionable, "cool" marketing strategy.
Electronic cigarette maker Juul and the state of North Carolina have reached a settlement over the state's claims that Juul aggressively targeted its ''highly addictive'' products to youth, igniting a vaping epidemic.
While still denying any wrongdoing, Juul has agreed to pay North Carolina a total of $40 million over six years. Additionally, the company will adhere to a list of restrictions aimed at blocking any promotion and sales of its products to youths. According to the list, Juul won't use advertisements that may appeal to youth; it will avoid most social media advertising and the use of influencers; it won't sponsor sports and entertainment events, like concerts; and it won't use anyone under the age of 35 in its marketing.
The company also agreed to help enforce age restrictions by running a ''secret shopper'' program. Juul will send undercover representatives, ages 21 to 27, into at least 50 stores throughout the Tar-Heel State per month to check whether retailers verify buyers' ages.
The settlement comes after years of allegations and fiery criticism that Juul intentionally and egregiously targeted adolescents in its marketing campaigns and advertisements, which critics say were directly responsible for soaring levels of vaping among teens. According to a lawsuit filed last year by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, Juul's marketing campaigns in 2015 and 2016 included running ads on websites such as Cartoon Network's and Nickelodeon's sites and And congressional testimony in summer 2019 revealed that Juul representatives gave presentations to teens inside schools, without teachers present or parental consent.
Advertisement Wins and casesAccording to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the use of e-cigarettes among high schoolers jumped from 1.5 percent in 2011 to 27.5 percent in 2019'--meaning that more than one in four high school students reported using e-cigarettes within the previous 30 days at the time of the 2019 survey. That percentage fell just shy of 20 percent in 2020, following a crackdown in Juul advertising and sales of flavored products. The federal government also increased the vaping age restriction to 21.
North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein sees the settlement as another step in dragging down e-cigarette use among teens.
''For years, JUUL targeted young people, including teens, with its highly addictive e-cigarette. It lit the spark and fanned the flames of a vaping epidemic among our children''one that you can see in any high school in North Carolina,'' Stein said in a statement. ''This win will go a long way in keeping JUUL products out of kids' hands, keeping its chemical vapor out of their lungs, and keeping its nicotine from poisoning and addicting their brains.''
In its own statement, Juul said the settlement ''is consistent with our ongoing effort to reset our company and its relationship with our stakeholders, as we continue to combat underage usage and advance the opportunity for harm reduction for adult smokers... We seek to continue to earn trust through action.''
The resolution of the lawsuit with North Carolina is likely just the start of legal movement for Juul. Several other states, including Massachusetts, have filed lawsuits against the company. The Associated Press reports that 39 state attorneys general have also been working together since February 2020 to investigate the company's marketing and products. In addition, the company faces hundreds of personal injury lawsuits, which have been consolidated in a California federal case.
Amazon shares more info on Sidewalk, a new BLE-based mesh network system - The Verge
Wed, 30 Jun 2021 17:38
Amazon is preparing to launch an ambitious networking and location system later this year under the name Amazon Sidewalk. Sidewalk will link smart home devices and other Amazon products using Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), connecting beyond the range of a standard Wi-Fi network.
Meant to be operated at the scale of a neighborhood, Sidewalk would turn devices like smart floodlights and home assistants into network bridges, passing along security updates and commands from a central Wi-Fi hub. In addition to transmitting software, the signals allow Sidewalk to triangulate a device's approximate location based on its contacts with other Sidewalk-enabled devices.
The system will be built into the Echo, and Tile has also joined the project as the first third-party platform to support the system. Amazon plans to add Ring cameras to the network later, notifying device owners directly when Sidewalk is available to use. A full list of Sidewalk-compatible devices is available on the project landing page.
Similar to a mesh network, adding more devices will extend Sidewalk's range and functionality, so it's critical for Amazon to integrate Sidewalk into as many home devices as possible. As Amazon puts it on the landing page, ''when more neighbors participate, the network becomes even stronger.''
Amazon first unveiled plans for Sidewalk last year but revealed more detail in a blog post and white paper on Monday. According to the post, Sidewalk will be used ''to simplify new device setup, extend the low-bandwidth working range of devices and help devices stay online and up-to-date even if they are outside the range of home wifi.''
Still, location-tracking functions are likely to be central to Sidewalk's success, differentiating it from more conventional Wi-Fi mesh systems offered by Google and Eero. Amazon had previously demonstrated Sidewalk using Ring Fetch devices, which clip to a pet's collar to track them '-- essentially creating a geofence and alerting you when a pet strays outside the designated area.
Amazon also laid out a number of privacy features, meant to prevent unauthorized users from collecting data. If you have an Echo on the Sidewalk network, you won't know what other devices are pinging it, and a person using their Sidewalk-connected Tile (to locate their keys, for instance) won't know what device they've connected to. The signals themselves are also encrypted to prevent intermediaries from collecting data in transit.
Amazon is actively soliciting third-party device partners for the project. To demonstrate Sidewalk's usefulness, the company has also entered into a partnership with the American Red Cross to see if the system can be used to track blood collection supplies between distribution centers and donation sites.
CSR & sustainability info for Tesla Motors, Inc. | CSR Ratings
Wed, 30 Jun 2021 17:06
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Name Variants for Tesla Motors, Inc.
Brian J. on Twitter: "🚨🚨 THREAD ALERT 🚨🚨 Hi there. My name is Brian, and I think we're living through the greatest covert military operation in history. This is my theory. Spoiler Alert: it's good news!" / Twitter
Wed, 30 Jun 2021 16:59
Brian J. : 🚨🚨 THREAD ALERT 🚨🚨Hi there. My name is Brian, and I think we're living through the greatest covert military opera'...
Mon Jun 14 20:18:13 +0000 2021
Katje : @BJSee @threadreaderapp unroll
Wed Jun 30 16:06:32 +0000 2021
Silent Anger : @BJSee Will retweet this here in the Netherlands. Thx
Wed Jun 30 14:46:51 +0000 2021
fivehorizons on Twitter: "@ElonBachman @adamcurry more PCR nonsense" / Twitter
Wed, 30 Jun 2021 16:57
fivehorizons : @ElonBachman @adamcurry more PCR nonsense
Wed Jun 30 15:14:22 +0000 2021
Michael Tracey on Twitter: "Pundits at 5:30pm: It's some despicable "Donald Trump shit" for Eric Adams to question the veracity of these election results NYC Board of Elections at 10:30pm: Turns out we actually did add 135,000 fake votes
Wed, 30 Jun 2021 16:57
Michael Tracey : Pundits at 5:30pm: It's some despicable "Donald Trump shit" for Eric Adams to question the veracity of these electi'...
Wed Jun 30 02:40:12 +0000 2021
Rachel S : @mtracey Fake is the wrong word....and unless you are illiterate you know it is the wrong word, lying only weakens your point.
Wed Jun 30 16:38:17 +0000 2021
Raider Nation : @mtracey @kimKBaltimore Yes, Election fraud is possible.
Wed Jun 30 16:34:08 +0000 2021
After Chipotle, General Mills, More Sound Alarm on Food Supply Chain Issues, USDA Invests $4 Billion
Wed, 30 Jun 2021 16:26
Welcome to Thomas Insights '-- every day, we publish the latest news and analysis to keep our readers up to date on what's happening in industry. Sign up here to get the day's top stories delivered straight to your inbox.
Welcome to the Thomas Index Report for the week of June 28th.
We've talked over the last few weeks about the impact of recent supply chain disruptions on a range of industries, but the effects have been especially noticeable in the food supply chain. I'm sure you all still remember the empty shelves during the height of the pandemic last year, but even today we're still seeing lingering impacts of these disruptions, particularly in meat availability. Major food brands like General Mills and Campbell Soup, and even restaurant chains like Chipotle, are noting that these disruptions, combined with rising transportation costs and an increase in labor expenses, are driving prices up as product availability grows increasingly tight.
Recognizing these challenges, the USDA announced earlier this month that it's investing more than $4 billion to strengthen critical supply chains specifically related to food production and distribution. The Department also announced the creation of the Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force, which will aim to provide solutions to supply chain challenges nationwide as the country continues to reopen following the pandemic.
A spokesperson for the USDA said, "The food system didn't break, but it did break down and we must work to prevent that from happening again."
We're seeing these food sourcing trends clearly reflected in the recent activity on the platform. Sourcing for spices is up 224% year over year, while searches for herbs are up 390% over last quarter averages. Procurement professionals in the food and beverage sector are also looking for sauces, up 122% over last quarter, food contract manufacturing providers, up 159% over last quarter, and foodservice equipment, up 96% over last year.
I'm Tony Uphoff, and this is the Thomas Index Report.
Top 10 Categories Month Over MonthDegreasers: 11408%Medical Tubing: 6920%Rods: 6566%Machine Parts: 5350%CAD/CAM Software: 3343%Buckets: 2891%Sealants: 2891%Power Tools: 2554%Ball Valves: 2086%Foodservice Equipment: 1822%Check Out Other Recent Thomas Index Report Videos: Residual Impacts of Winter Storm Drive Spike in PVC Prices, DemandAfter Record-setting 2020 Storm Season, Meteorologists Urge Caution in 2021Reshoring Could Drive $443 Billion in U.S. Economic OpportunityBBQ Grill Sales Expected to Reach $2.8 Billion in 2021Would You Eat a 3D Printed Steak?Major Chicken Shortage Hits U.S., Posing Big Opportunity for Plant-based Meat ManufacturersWhy Are Fence Materials So Hard to Find and Installation Timelines Delayed?Why Is Lumber So Expensive Right Now?How Did Glass Jar Shortages Delay Burger King's New Chicken Sandwich Launch? Image Credit: Thomas Index Report
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Dozens of bodies, many of them buried Covid victims, are washed from banks of India's Ganges by seasonal floods & float downriver '-- RT World News
Wed, 30 Jun 2021 16:17
Seasonal flooding in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh has washed up dozens of bodies in the River Ganges that had been buried on the banks of the sacred waterway, amid the recent wave of Covid-19 infections.
Grim footage from the last few days shows wrapped corpses surfacing in the waters and being carried down the Ganges, a river Hindus honor as holy.
Many of the bodies laid to rest on the banks of the river are reported to be from poor families, whose relatives could not afford enough firewood for a traditional cremation.
Neeraj Kumar Singh, a municipal official in the northern Uttar Pradesh city of Allahabad (Prayagraj), said nearly 150 bodies needed to be cremated in the past three weeks after being found in or near the river.
"The area is spread over a kilometer and our guess is there are around 500-600 bodies buried," he was quoted by AFP as saying.
Also on India registers fewer than 1,000 coronavirus deaths for the first time amid second wave of Covid-19 "Every precaution is taken in dealing with the bodies while performing their final rites," he added.
The grim discoveries come after India became gripped by a devastating surge in Covid-19 infections between April and May, which caused some hospitals to run out of beds and oxygen supplies.
Some crematoriums in the country were forced to hold mass funeral pyres as the number of people dying from the virus increased.
More than 396,000 people have died from Covid-19 in India to date in the pandemic, according to the country's official death toll.
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Neeva is an ad-free search alternative from ex-Googlers
Wed, 30 Jun 2021 15:41
A new search engine? One that people have to pay to use?
At first blush, it may seem like a textbook example of a startup idea destined never to get anywhere. By definition, any new search engine competes with Google, whose 90 percent-plus market share leaves little oxygen for other players. And we've been accustomed to getting our search for free since well before there was a Google'--which might make paying for it sound like being expected to purchase a phone book.
But Neeva is indeed a new search engine, officially launching today, that carries a subscription fee. Though it's extremely similar to Google in many respects'--with a few twists of its own'--it dumps the web giant's venerable ad-based business model in the interest of avoiding distractions, privacy quandaries, and other compromises. It's free for three months'--long enough for users to grow accustomed to it without obligation'--and $4.95 a month thereafter. Apps for iPhones and iPads, and browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge, and Brave, are part of the deal.
Neeva may have a certain whiff of improbability about it, but its cofounders, Sridhar Ramaswamy and Vivek Raghunathan, are the furthest thing from na¯fs. Two long-time Google executives with more than a quarter-century of experience at the web giant between them, they have an insider's understanding of how it operates. Moreover, about 30 percent of the roughly 60-person staff they've assembled at Neeva consists of ex-Googlers, including Hall-of-Famers such as Udi Manber (a former head of Google search) and Darin Fisher (one of the inventors of Chrome). They've also secured $77.5 million in funding, including investments from venture-capital titans Greylock and Sequoia.
Sridhar Ramaswamy [Photo: courtesy of Neeva]At its highest level, Neeva represents a bet that the way Google monetizes search and other services through advertising'--as it's done for more than two decades to wildly profitable effect'--has hampered its user experience, thereby opening up an opportunity. ''I tell people that Neeva is as much a social experiment as it is a technological experiment,'' says Ramaswamy, the company's CEO. ''It's looking for the answer to the question, 'If there was a high-quality product that clearly benefits you in multiple ways, would you pay for it as opposed to having it be free, supported by ads?'''
Whatever the answer to that question, Neeva's creators understand what they're getting into. ''Sridhar and Vivek, with their depth of knowledge on everything from technology to what people actually need and do, are probably the only people in the world where I would go, 'Okay, I'll go on this journey with you, because you know how to go on this journey,''' says Greylock partner and LinkedIn cofounder Reid Hoffman.
(Which is not to say there aren't other ambitious privacy-centric search engines on journeys at least somewhat similar to Neeva's. DuckDuckGo has been on its own for 13 years; once a one-man operation, it now has 129 employees and $100 million in annual revenue from ads that don't involve tracking individual users. And Brave, the browser company founded by web pioneer Brendan Eich, is beta-testing its own privacy-first search engine and says free and for-pay versions will be available.)
Looming antitrust case aside, it's not that Google is all that obviously vulnerable. Over the years, unlike some products with monopolistic market share'--Microsoft's Internet Explorer comes to mind'--the search behemoth hasn't calcified through lack of competition. Instead, it remains the category's leading engine of innovation: Google says that it rolled out 4,500 improvements last year alone.
But some of the downsides of Google's dependence on ad revenues are right before our eyes. Once famously unobtrusive, the ads displayed with search results have gradually migrated from the right column to the top of search results, multiplied in number and size, and lost the shaded box that isolated them from organic results. Today, for many searches, ads all but crowd the organic results off the screen until you scroll downwards. For others, links to Google's own money-making services, such as Google Flights, get prime real estate.
At the dawn of Google search ads back in 2000, they stole little space from organic search results.Then there's the fact that Google builds profiles of its users based on their online activity, the better to precisely target them with advertising not only at its own sites but all the other ones across the web whose ads are powered by Google. With no ads to serve up, Neeva shouldn't leave privacy-conscious types feeling like they're being monitored for ulterior purposes. (By default, Neeva does hold onto your searches for 90 days to improve the quality of features such as autosuggestions, but you can erase this log or tell the service you don't want it to keep it in the first place.)
In another break from search-engine tradition, Neeva says that it will turn at least 20 percent of its top-line revenue over to publishing partners, including the first two it's announced, Quora and Medium. Though the details of where this could lead remain vague, it's another attempt to set Neeva apart from Google, which has often been accused of benefiting from media outlets' content without adequate compensation, a long-simmering dispute that has led to lawsuits and legislation. (After years of controversy, Google can at least point to the fact that it's spending $1 billion on programs involving giving money to news outlets.)
Every link ''above the fold'' in these Google results is an ad.Ramaswamy and Raghunathan tend to frame their discomfort about Google's business model in polite terms. One of Neeva's investors'--NYU professor, author, and entrepreneur Scott Galloway'--isn't so circumspect. As you might expect of someone who has called for the breakup of Google and other tech giants, he's withering in his analysis of Google and enthusiastic about the possibility of an upstart like Neeva chipping away at its pervasiveness.
The thing that gives you cancer, the tobacco, if you will, is the ad model.''
Neeva investor Scott Galloway''The addictive nature of search, of getting answers at your fingertips or connecting with people, that's sort of the nicotine,'' says Galloway. ''It's bad for you, it's addictive, but it doesn't give you cancer. The thing that gives you cancer, the tobacco, if you will, is the ad model. Because ultimately, over time, all you're focused on is gathering more data on the consumer so that you can further monetize him or her. And where it ends up is where you are now with Google, where Google no longer takes you to the best place based on your query, but to another place they can further monetize.''
Galloway emphasizes that he put money into Neeva mostly because he thinks it's a smart investment. At the same time, he adds, ''I want to be a small part of the effort to try and release the stranglehold that Google has on content discovery. I think it leads to very bad places.''
Even if you're nowhere near as agitated over Google's dominance and practices as Galloway is, you might find yourself rooting for what Neeva is trying to accomplish. Search ''is a phenomenal daily habit that has transformed how we live,'' says Neeva board member Margo Georgiadis, herself a former high-ranking Googler who ran the company's commercial and ad operations in the U.S., Canada, and Latin America. ''But there's an opportunity with how we've evolved the way we live our lives and use technology to make it much, much better if your business model is aligned 100 percent with the consumer.''
It's hard to bring up ad-subsidized services from big tech companies without someone helpfully reminding you that if you're not paying for the product, you are the product. With Neeva's subscription-based model, the product is unquestionably the product. It just needs to be a compelling one'--even though its team is small and the competition has a 23-year head start.
'A clean start was what I needed'In a way, the Neeva story begins in 2003. That's when Ramaswamy joined Google and was put to work on its still-nascent advertising team. Placing targeted text ads next to search results was already proving to be a powerful idea, but ''little did I, or most others, realize that this would be one of the largest businesses ever,'' he remembers. He devoted the next fifteen years to the engineering side of that growth, eventually overseeing 10,000 Googlers as senior VP of ads and commerce.
But by the latter part of that time, he was developing qualms about the whole proposition of monetizing eyeballs through targeted ads all around the web, as Google was doing. ''One of the things that I paid a lot of attention to is how data was separated between off-Google experiences and on-Google experiences,'' he explains. ''To me, keeping that data separate was an important part of the promise that Google implicitly made to its users.'' Increasingly, however, he found himself having to consent to compromises such as users' Google searches influencing the ads they saw on YouTube.
''We tried to be thoughtful about how information flowed around, but it was also very clear where things were pointed at,'' Ramaswamy says. Having had his fill of the dilemmas associated with the ad business, he explored the possibility of pivoting to a different role within Google. Ultimately, ''I decided that a clean start was what I needed,' he says.
After quitting Google in the fall of 2018, he thought he'd found that clean start as a venture capitalist at Greylock. The conflict between ad-based business models and serving users remained on his mind, though. Thinking about it took him down the path that would lead to Neeva.
Vivek Raghunathan [Photo: courtesy of Neeva]Soon, he was joined in this exploration by Raghunathan, who'd had an impressive Google career of his own. In the middle of it, he'd worked on Google Now, an initiative to make search more anticipatory that later evolved into the Google Assistant. He says that he found shaping the future of search to be exhilarating, but nonetheless then ''went over to the dark side, and I monetized YouTube.''
Like Ramaswamy, Raghunathan wrestled with the effect that business pressures had on user experiences. Marketers love to reinforce their messaging by exposing consumers to the same ad over and over and over. YouTube fans rankle at such repetition. Guess whose interests won out? ''We'd have these well-intentioned conversations around trading off users' happiness for customer value,'' Raghunathan recounts.
Still at Google, Raghunathan chatted with Ramaswamy about the startup idea the latter was formulating. ''I remember him telling me this insight, this string he was pulling on,'' says Raghunathan. ''That you could not reimagine search the product without reimagining the business model that underpins search.'' Eager to join that effort, Raghunathan left Google after almost 12 years to become Neeva's cofounder.
(Why the name ''Neeva?'' Raghunathan cheerfully admits that they chose it, then backfilled in a rationale: ''In hindsight, there is a story we can tell about Neeva, in Sanskrit, meaning 'fundamentals' or 'the basics.' It actually means something that is very core to our mission. But I'd be lying if I told you we knew that.'')
Bindu Pucha [Photo: courtesy of Neeva]As Ramaswamy and Raghunathan recruited a team, they found that other Googlers past and present were eager to take a fresh look at search, including some whom they hadn't known at their old company. ''The kind of ideas I heard from Sridhar and Vivek really excited me,'' says Bindu Pucha, who was once an IBM Research staffer, spent five years at Google, and now works on infrastructure technology for Neeva.
For Udi Manber, what Neeva was up to was compelling enough to lure him back into search, an area he'd left behind in 2015 to focus on health-related technologies at the National Institutes of Health and elsewhere. Earlier this year, he joined Neeva part-time, spending two or three days a week on research efforts.
A legendary computer scientist who held top jobs at Yahoo and Amazon as well as Google, Manber was another key Googler who had his frustrations with the dynamics of ad-subsidized search. ''I was one of the biggest advocates of privacy at Google, and I pushed for it a long time,'' he says. ''I won some fights. I lost many others.'' The fact that Neeva is tiny is liberating, he argues: ''Innovation is hard for every company, but I think small companies are better at it than large companies overall.''
'A weird tight rope'To say that Neeva is in a position to rethink search is not to suggest that it's trying to change everything. What it's launching is not the iPhone to Google's BlackBerry. Indeed, much of the user experience can fairly be described as ''Google-like.''
That's not a bad thing. ''The paradox and the challenge here is that it has to be different enough from what already exists to get attention and to be engaging, but not so radically different that it's disorienting to people,'' says Greg Sterling, a long-time observer of the search business and VP of market insights at location marketing company Uberall. ''There's a weird tight rope that I think they're trying to walk.''
Wherever we can build, we will build. Where we can license or buy, we will.''
Vivek Raghunathan, NeevaThey're not doing it alone. Neeva has indexed several billion web pages on its own but also credits Apple, Bing, and Yelp at the bottom of search results; other information providers include Intrinio,, and Xignite. Even Google is an ingredient, with Google Maps embedded in search results.
''Wherever we can build, we will build,'' declares Raghunathan. ''Where we can license or buy, we will. Users don't care. And so we will do what makes sense for users to build a maximally differentiated, maximally useful, maximally, delightful product.''
Nothing about the end result is likely to discombobulate the Googling masses. There's a search field that looks just like Google's search field'--except that it sports a rotating set of taglines such as ''No ads here'' and ''You are not the product.'' There are autosuggestions as you type, plus links to related searches and ''People Also Asked'' queries. Rows of videos and news items are interspersed throughout the results, and the right column often includes a block of facts on whatever you searched for based on sources such as Wikipedia.
Many aspects of Neeva are in no way a stark departure from Google.Dig into the same results on Neeva and Google, however, and you'll notice some differences. For instance, while both search engines respond to searches such as ''best laptops'' with tidy carousels summarizing expert reviews, they're more prominent on Neeva, while Google puts a similar-looking carousel of paid links at the top. You can also expand Neeva's summaries into more detailed previews without leaving the search results, a boon for comparison shopping. (The service takes a similar approach with recipes.)
The Google home page consists of a search field, ''Google Search'' and ''I'm Feeling Lucky'' buttons, and an expanse of white space'--remarkably unchanged from its original look back in 1998. Neeva, by contrast, fills its home page with personalizable widgets. They include ones for local weather, stock prices of your choice, and news. That last widget consists entirely of stories from name-brand media outlets'--from The Daily Beast to Fox News'--and you can customize it by specifying which sources you want to see more often or less often.
Still another distinguishing characteristic is Neeva's integrations with third-party services. You can hook the service up with information sources such as your Gmail or Outlook email and calendar, Google Drive or Dropbox storage, and/or Slack or Jira account. Neeva will then index them and intersperse material from them in your search results as well as presenting it in a dedicated ''Personal'' tab. Google has experimented with similar concepts in the past'--it once mashed up Google search and Gmail'--but seems to have moved on from the concept.
Instead of leaving a Google-style field of white space, Neeva fills its home page with customizable widgets.For all that's nice about Neeva'--starting with its organic results sitting at the top of the page rather than below a payload of advertising'--it hasn't done the impossible by reaching Google-like sophistication right out of the gate. Those product-oriented results for searches such as ''best laptops'' are well packaged, but the ones I checked out were thin on sources, with PC Mag dominating the review links to such an extent that I wondered if it was through some partnership deal. (It isn't.)
Neeva also doesn't do local information anywhere near as well as Google: It knows my Zip Code, but when I searched for a local pizza chain, it gave me a map for the branch 28 miles away, not the one within walking distance. It can answer questions such as ''What time is it in Rio?'' and ''How tall is Joe Biden?'' with facts that appear on the results page itself, but it doesn't do so for as dizzying an array of queries as Google does. When I used the pre-release site, I also encountered the occasional out-and-out glitch, like a thumbnail map of San Francisco that turned into Indianapolis when I clicked on it.
Neeva's news widget lets you upvote and downvote sources based on personal preference.Ramaswamy acknowledges that in its current state, Neeva is something of a rough draft: ''We have several large launches planned for next month, on the search quality side, after being publicly available,'' he says. It will be interesting to see where it gets by the fall, when the people now signing up conclude their three-month free trials and choose whether to become paying customers.
Where it could go after that is hard to say, but it's not like search has no remaining problems to solve. When I asked Manber about what he was working on, he wouldn't tell me: ''I learned a long time ago to talk about things only after I've done them, not when I'm just planning to do them.''
'The browser and search are just so intertwined'As I began working on this article and got pre-release access to Neeva, I wanted to use it all the time. To ensure that I didn't reflexively Google for anything, I went into Safari's settings to change my default search engine to Neeva. It was only then that I realized I couldn't. Most major browsers make you pick from a few pre-selected search engines, not (yet) including Neeva; only Chrome allows you to choose one that's not on its canned list.
That experience underlined that Neeva is entering a world that isn't exactly wired to give a new stand-alone search engine its best shot at success. To control its destiny, a search company really needs to write at least some of its own software; it's not a coincidence that everyone from Google to DuckDuckGo has come out with a browser. And now so has Neeva, with its iPhone and iPadOS browsers as well as extensions that embed similar functionality in other browsers.
Darin Fisher [Photo: courtesy of Neeva]''The browser and search are just so intertwined, right?'' says Neeva software engineer Darin Fisher. ''Search is such an important part of the UI of the browser.'' Fisher knows whereof he speaks: He's a 21-year veteran of the browser wars whose r(C)sum(C) includes Netscape and Firefox as well as Chrome from its inception until earlier this year.
According to Fisher, the symbiotic nature of browsing and searching can create design conundrums that put a browser/search engine company at odds with its users. For example, if you type the name of a site into the browser's address bar, will it send you right there? Or will it err on the side of directing you to a page of search results it can monetize through ads?
With no ads, Neeva can resist such temptations. ''When I think about Neeva and that simple business model that it has'--if people are happy, they're paying'--it opens the door to not having that tension,'' says Fisher.
For us, it is an ethical issue: I don't want to disrupt other people's ability to monetize.''
Sridhar Ramaswamy, NeevaAlong with putting the Neeva search engine front and center, the company's apps and extensions allow it to implement privacy-related features it couldn't implement purely as web services. While browsing a website, you can click on an icon near its address to get a summary of the trackers it contains that monitor your browsing for advertising and other purposes; you can also turn on a feature called Tracking Prevention, which blocks such surveillance and speeds up page rendering.
Neeva calls out the trackers embedded on web pages, and lets you block them.A few days before Neeva's official debut, as I used the pre-release browser, I found that it not only foiled trackers but also eliminated advertisements all over the web. It turned out that Neeva was also surprised by the sweeping ad deletion, an artifact of its browser's reliance on core technologies from Mozilla's Firefox. The Mozilla anti-tracking system nuked ads in a way that Neeva wasn't comfortable with'--especially given its goal of being a friend to web publishers'--and so it subsequently dialed back its aggressiveness.
''For us, it is an ethical issue: I don't want to disrupt other people's ability to monetize,'' says Ramaswamy. ''It is hard enough being a quality content creator.''
Sridhar Ramaswamy (foreground) with the Neeva team. [Photo: courtesy of Neeva]'If we're not good at it, we shut down'For Neeva, floating a little under the radar rather than immediately capturing the web's imagination might have its advantages: In the past, numerous search-engine startups were hailed as Google killers, and the heightened expectations consistently became an albatross. Cuil turned out to be terrible. Powerset was acquired by Microsoft and folded into what later became Bing. WolframAlpha is still with us'--and still quite useful'--but rather than killing Google, it seems to have presaged some of its new ideas.
All that happened long enough ago that it may not tell us much about Neeva's prospects. And if nothing else, the old conventional wisdom that nobody is willing to pay for anything on the internet is definitively dead. More than 200 million people pay for Netflix. One hundred fifty-eight million pay for Spotify. Almost 7 million pay for digital access to The New York Times; 700,000 pay for Medium. That's despite the fact that all of these services have plenty of free competition. ''Consumers are increasingly demonstrating the willingness to pay for relevant, more personalized experiences in their lives, and they do it across most areas of their lives,'' says Neeva board member Georgiadis, a former CEO of Ancestry, whose 3 million customers who pay $99 a year and up for its genealogy service.
In the end, Neeva's aspirations don't sound wholly fanciful. Even if it convinces only one or two percent of search-engine users to pay, Ramaswamy believes that it will punch above its weight. ''Subscription companies are valued at a multiple of revenue, while ad-supported companies are valued at a multiple of EBITDA,'' he says. In other words, each paying customer adds more to Neeva's valuation than a whole bunch of people looking at ads does to Google's.
The refreshing simplicity of Neeva's business model is one of the things that has drawn so much top talent to the startup. Engineer Asim Shankar'--yet another former Googler'--describes it as ''We provide a service, and if we're good at it, we get paid for it. If we're not good at it, we shut down.'' Now it's time to see if that also makes sense to the web searchers who will ultimately get to decide just how good Neeva is.
FBI ridiculed after 'another MAGA mama' arrested for walking into Capitol and snapping selfies '-- RT USA News
Wed, 30 Jun 2021 15:30
A 69-year-old woman has been arrested for briefly entering the US Capitol during the pro-Trump riot earlier this year. The FBI has been ridiculed on Twitter for getting ''this monster off the streets.''
Lois Lynn McNicoll, an employee of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Social Services, was arrested on Monday and released on a $10,000 bond, an FBI spokeswoman told the Los Angeles Daily News.
Her arrest came after a months-long information-gathering operation by the FBI, beginning when two co-workers identified her in video footage from the pro-Trump riot on Capitol Hill in January and snitched to the agency.
Her crimes, if they could be called that, included walking into the Capitol (while a Capitol Police officer held open a door for her), taking photos with her cell phone, and walking back outside when instructed to by an officer '' all detailed in court documents. Nevertheless, she has been charged with knowingly entering a restricted building, disrupting the orderly conduct of government business, and engaging in ''disorderly or disruptive conduct'' on Capitol grounds.
McNicoll spoke voluntarily to the FBI back in May, the court documents reveal. While McNicoll said that she saw the security barriers around the Capitol, ''she did not feel that she was doing anything wrong'' by entering the building.
As news of McNicoll's arrest and the charges against her broke, conservative commenters and pundits were in disbelief. ''Another MAGA mama arrested for Capitol selfies,'' one remarked, accusing the FBI of ''egregious political persecution.''
''I for one will sleep better tonight knowing this monster is off the streets,'' pundit Jesse Kelly sneered.
Dear @FBI Director Chris Wray:Your agents are now hunting down and (over-)charging this 68-year-old confused and misguided woman with obstruction felonies for, at best, non-violently trespassing into the Capitol.Are you kidding me?The FBI clearly has too many resources.
'-- 🇺🇸 Mike Davis 🇺🇸 (@mrddmia) June 29, 2021These are the people you're still being told on a daily basis were apart of an organized attempt to overthrow America.50 something your old women in dressed in rain slickers.
'-- Eric Newbury (@newbury_eric) June 29, 2021Stunning and Brave FBI takes down another MAGA grandma for the act of trespassing. Just don't ask them about the person who planted the "pipe bombs."
'-- Jordan Schachtel @ (@JordanSchachtel) June 28, 2021McNicoll is one of more than 500 people arrested for taking part in the Capitol riot, which Democrats and their allies in the media have dubbed an ''insurrection,'' ''domestic terrorism,'' and an ''attack on our democracy.'' Dozens are still being held in deplorable conditions in a Washington, DC jail, and the first woman sentenced for taking part in the riot '' a woman several years McNicoll's junior '' only got a lenient sentence because of her ''immense remorse,'' the Daily Beast reported last week.
Meanwhile, questions remain unanswered about the FBI's foreknowledge of and involvement in organizing the riot itself. Charging documents against militia members who took part in the riot reveal dozens of ''unindicted co-conspirators'' who have not been charged and whose names have been kept anonymous, suggesting that they were employees of, or informers for, the agency.
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PBR Created a 1,776-Can Pack of Beer | Food & Wine
Wed, 30 Jun 2021 15:25
If you can't get your hands on one, the 99-pack is back this summer.
Mike Pomranz
June 29, 2021
In 2019, PBR made headlines by releasing a 99-pack of beer. The beloved brand didn't invent the humorously lengthy cases (about seven feet long, actually): Texas-based Austin Beerworks lays claim to that first. But Pabst brought the 99-pack to the masses -- selling them in select stores across the U.S. Now, PBR is going even bigger -- nearly 18 times bigger -- with their new Independence Day-themed 1,776-pack. No, this case won't fit in the trunk of your car; it barely fits in the back of a pickup truck.
"This is the Original Past Blue Ribbon 1776 Pack," the massive package states on the front. "It can hold 1776 Pabst Blue Ribbon beers and infinite amounts of freedom. You're welcome, America."
Interestingly enough, though 1776 was chosen as the year of America's independence, it's also divisible by the number of cans in a standard case of beer: 24. And so this 1,776-pack is equal to an even 74 cases of beer. (Coincidence or were our Founding Fathers big drinkers? Probably both?) Need a bit more perspective? The 1,776-pack is also equal to over 10.5 kegs.
"We figured the best way to honor the year America claimed its independence was to make a box that held that many beers -- 1,776. It's the least we could do," Nick Reely, PBR's VP of marketing, joked in the announcement. "Actually 1,776 is the most we could do because 1,777 seemed excessive."
Unfortunately, however, the limited edition #1776Pack won't be available to the public. Instead, PBR has given one each to four different partners: the beer chilling specialists at Igloo Coolers, skateboarding podcast crew The Nine Club, comedian Ali Macofsky, and the Michigan emo band Hot Mulligan. PBR explains, "Each partner will provide content (and updates) through the Summer and into Labor Day. Follow along @pabstblueribbon and #1776pack."
That said, don't give up on your dreams of lugging around a ridiculously large case of beer quite yet. PBR's 99-pack of cans is still more beer than any sensible person would want in a single box, and PBR has announced that those 99-can cases are once again back in stores now. So much for your plans to only buy 98 beers this weekend.
COVID-19 Vaccines While Pregnant or Breastfeeding
Wed, 30 Jun 2021 15:22
Pregnant and recently pregnant people are more likely to get severely ill with COVID-19 compared with non-pregnant people. If you are pregnant, you can receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Getting a COVID-19 vaccine during pregnancy can protect you from severe illness from COVID-19. If you have questions about getting vaccinated, a conversation with your healthcare provider might help, but is not required for vaccination.
Pregnant and Recently Pregnant People Are at Increased Risk for Severe Illness from COVID-19Although the overall risk of severe illness is low, pregnant and recently pregnant people are at an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 when compared with non-pregnant people. Severe illness includes illness that requires hospitalization, intensive care, or a ventilator or special equipment to breathe, or illness that results in death. Additionally, pregnant people with COVID-19 are at increased risk of preterm birth and might be at increased risk of other adverse pregnancy outcomes compared with pregnant women without COVID-19.
If you are facing a decision about whether to receive a COVID-19 vaccine while pregnant, consider:
Your risk of exposure to COVID-19The risks of severe illnessThe known benefits of vaccinationThe limited but growing evidence about the safety of vaccinations during pregnancyLimited Data Are Available about the Safety of COVID-19 Vaccines for People Who Are PregnantBased on how these vaccines work in the body, experts believe they are unlikely to pose a risk for people who are pregnant. However, there are currently limited data on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines in pregnant people.
Clinical trials that study the safety of COVID-19 vaccines and how well they work in pregnant people are underway or planned. Vaccine manufacturers are also collecting and reviewing data from people in the completed clinical trials who received vaccine and became pregnant.Studies in animals receiving a Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech, or J&J/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine before or during pregnancy found no safety concerns in pregnant animals or their babies.The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) have safety monitoring systems in place to gather information about COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy and will closely monitor that information. Early data external icon from these systems are preliminary, but reassuring. These data did not identify any safety concerns for pregnant people who were vaccinated or for their babies. Most of the pregnancies reported in these systems are ongoing, so more follow-up data are needed for people vaccinated just before or early in pregnancy. We will continue to follow people vaccinated during all trimesters of pregnancy to understand effects on pregnancy and babies.
The Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines are mRNA vaccines that do not contain the live virus that causes COVID-19 and therefore, cannot give someone COVID-19. Additionally, mRNA vaccines do not interact with a person's DNA or cause genetic changes because the mRNA does not enter the nucleus of the cell, which is where our DNA is kept. Learn more about how COVID-19 mRNA vaccines work.
The J&J/Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine is a viral vector vaccine, meaning it uses a modified version of a different virus (the vector) to deliver important instructions to our cells. Vaccines that use the same viral vector have been given to pregnant people in all trimesters of pregnancy, including in a large-scale Ebola vaccination trial. No adverse pregnancy-related outcomes, including adverse outcomes that affected the infant, were associated with vaccination in these trials. Learn more about how viral vector vaccines work.
Johnson & Johnson's Janssen (J&J/Janssen) COVID-19 Vaccine: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommended that use of (J&J/Janssen) COVID-19 Vaccine resume in the United States, effective April 23, 2021. However, women younger than 50 years old should especially be aware of the rare risk of blood clots with low platelets after vaccination. There are other COVID-19 vaccines available for which this risk has not been seen. If you received a J&J/Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine, here is what you need to know. Read the CDC/FDA statement.
If you are pregnant and receive a COVID-19 vaccine, consider participating in the v-safe pregnancy registry
If you are pregnant and have received a COVID-19 vaccine, we encourage you to enroll in v-safe. V-safe is CDC's smartphone-based tool that uses text messaging and web surveys to provide personalized health check-ins after vaccination. A v-safe pregnancy registry has been established to gather information on the health of pregnant people who have received a COVID-19 vaccine. If people enrolled in v-safe report that they were pregnant at the time of vaccination or after vaccination, the registry staff might contact them to learn more. Participation is voluntary, and participants may opt out at any time.
Getting Vaccinated is a Personal ChoiceIf you are pregnant, you can receive a COVID-19 vaccine. You may want to have a conversation with your healthcare provider to help you decide whether to receive a vaccine that has been authorized for use under Emergency Use Authorization. While a conversation with your healthcare provider may be helpful, it is not required prior to vaccination.
Key considerations you can discuss with your healthcare provider include:
How likely you are to being exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19Risks of COVID-19 to you and the potential risks to your fetus or infantWhat is known about COVID-19 vaccines:How well they work to develop protection in the bodyKnown side effects of vaccinationLimited, but growing, information on the safety of COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancyHow vaccination might pass antibodies to the fetus. Recent reports have shown that people who have received COVID-19 mRNA vaccines during pregnancy (mostly during their third trimester) have passed antibodies to their fetuses, which could help protect them after birth.If you are pregnant and have questions about COVID-19 vaccine
If you would like to speak to someone about COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy, please contact MotherToBaby. MotherToBaby experts are available to answer questions in English or Spanish by phone or chat. The free and confidential service is available Monday''Friday 8am''5pm (local time). To reach MotherToBaby:
Call 1-866-626-6847Chat live or send an email MotherToBaby external icon Follow Recommendations to Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 after VaccinationIf you are pregnant and decide to get vaccinated:
After you are fully vaccinated, you can resume activities that you did prior to the pandemic. Learn more about what you can do when you have been fully vaccinated.
If you have a condition or are taking medications that weaken your immune system, you may NOT be fully protected even if you are fully vaccinated. Talk to your healthcare provider. Even after vaccination, you may need to continue taking all precautions.
Vaccine Side EffectsSide effects can occur after receiving any of the available COVID-19 vaccines, especially after the second dose for vaccines that require two doses. Pregnant people have not reported different side effects from non-pregnant people after vaccination with mRNA vaccines (Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines). If you experience fever following vaccination you should take acetaminophen (Tylenol®) because fever '--for any reason'-- has been associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes. Learn more at What to Expect after Getting a COVID-19 Vaccine.
Although rare, some people have had allergic reactions after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. Talk with your healthcare provider if you have a history of allergic reaction to any other vaccine or injectable therapy (intramuscular, intravenous, or subcutaneous).
Key considerations you can discuss with your healthcare provider include:
The unknown risks of developing a severe allergic reactionThe benefits of vaccinationIf you have an allergic reaction after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine during pregnancy, you can receive treatment for it.
People Who Are BreastfeedingClinical trials for the COVID-19 vaccines currently authorized for use under an Emergency Use Authorization in the United States did not include people who are breastfeeding. Because the vaccines have not been studied on lactating people, there are no data available on the:
Safety of COVID-19 vaccines in lactating peopleEffects of vaccination on the breastfed babyEffects on milk production or excretionBased on how these vaccines work in the body, COVID-19 vaccines are thought not to be a risk to lactating people or their breastfeeding babies. Therefore, lactating people can receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Recent reports have shown that breastfeeding people who have received COVID-19 mRNA vaccines have antibodies in their breastmilk, which could help protect their babies. More data are needed to determine what protection these antibodies may provide to the baby.
People Who Would Like to Have a BabyIf trying to get pregnant now or in the future, would-be parents can receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
There is currently no evidence that any vaccines, including COVID-19 vaccines, cause female or male fertility problems'--problems getting pregnant. CDC does not recommend routine pregnancy testing before COVID-19 vaccination. If you are trying to become pregnant, you do not need to avoid pregnancy after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. Like with all vaccines, scientists are studying COVID-19 vaccines carefully for side effects now and will report findings as they become available.
Woman sues company that fired her for "being white" after she called the police on a Black man - News Break
Wed, 30 Jun 2021 15:12
A white woman who became a worldwide example of the prejudice that Black people experience on a daily basis, is suing her former employer for firing her, claiming racial discrimination.
The woman makes the allegation in a lawsuit recently filed against the financial company where she worked, which fired her a year ago after a heated confrontation with a Black bird-watcher was recorded on video.
The woman the day of the incident. C. Cooper
The lawsuit is the latest repercussion of the incident that took place last year, which sparked a heated debate about the history of white individuals bringing false, and often life-threatening, allegations against Black people to police.
The incident started when the Black man, a bird-watcher, asked the woman to tether her dog as required by park regulations in the designated area of the park.
The woman refused to leash her dog and claimed the man would offer the dog treats to get the animal away from her.
The woman, holding her dog firmly, dialed 911 as the man was recording their conversation on his phone.
''I'm going to tell them there's an African American man threatening my life,'' she told the man as she called, her tone becoming more agitated as she repeated, twice, to the operator, ''African American.''
The man's video, which his sister posted on Twitter, had been watched more than 30 million times within a day.
The company where the woman worked as the firm's head of insurance portfolio management for nearly five years, first suspended her, before they decided to fire her.
Regardless of what the video reveals, the woman claims in her lawsuit that she was not motivated by racial animus when she called the cops on the man.
She claims in her lawsuit, filed in federal court, that she did not scream at the man or contact the police because she was a racist; according to her, she did these things because she was alone in the park and terrified to death.
She goes on to claim that the man chose her as a target and that he is overzealous.
In addition, the lawsuit claims that the company did not fully examine the issue because of the woman's own race and gender, essentially deciding to fire her because she is a white woman.
The lawsuit also recounts a previous encounter between the man and another person, who is also Black, and claims he approached him angrily over an off-leash dog.
The woman's lawyer said that her client's life was ruined without even hearing her side of the story.
The suit's portrayal of the man's conduct seemed to contradict a statement the woman put online the day after the incident, in which she apologized to him for her actions at their encounter in the park.
In the rest of her first statement, the woman said that she ''reacted emotionally and made false assumptions about his intentions,'' clarifying that it was her ''the one who was acting inappropriately.''
The man, who has said repeatedly that he does not think the woman's life should have been ruined as a result of her actions, has refused to comment on her suit.
In a statement, the company's spokesperson said the firm stood by its decision to dismiss the woman.
The company firmly affirms that they ''responded appropriately,'' according to their spokesperson. The firm also states that they ''will defend against these baseless claims.''
The woman was ultimately prosecuted for submitting a false complaint by the district attorney's office, making her one of the first white people in the United States to be legally charged for calling the police on a Black individual.
After the man declined to be part of the investigation, claiming that the woman had already paid a hefty price, prosecutors requested that she attend a series of therapy sessions before dropping the case.
According to the woman's therapist, the prosecutor in charge of the case, said in court after the charge was withdrawn that the woman learned a lot in the sessions and that they were a moving experience for her.
Do you think the woman is making the right decision?
Follow me to see more articles like this.
Search warrant with Garfield | Search Warrant | Special Agent
Wed, 30 Jun 2021 15:06
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6 views 29 pages AO 106 Rev. 04
) Application
a Search Warrant
for the Western District
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Smith Division
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In the Matter
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Case No.
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4490 Ozone, Arkansas
I , a federal law enforcement officer or an attorney for the government , request a search warrant and state under penalty
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perjury that I have reason to believe that
the following person
( id e nt ify th e p e r so n o r d esc rib e
o p e r ty to b e se arch e d an d g i ve it s l oca ti o n ) :
Premises located at 2310 County Road 4490, Ozone, Arkansas more particularly describ ed on Attachment A ,
located in the Western District
o f
Arkansas , there is
( id e nt ify th e p e r so n o r d esc r ibe
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See Attachme nt B .
basis for the search under
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. R. Crim. P.
c) is
h ec k o n e o r m o r
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a crime; contraband , fruits
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crime ,
other items illegally possessed ;
property designed for use, intended for use ,
used in committing a crime ;
a person to be arrested
a person
is unlawfully restrained .
search is related
a violation of:
o d
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18 U.S . C .
373 18 U.S.C .
875 c) 18 U . S . C. § 922 g) 18 U.S.C.
922 0) 18 U.S.C .
2332a The
application is based on t hese facts: Continued on the attached sheet.
e n se D e scription
to Commit
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Prohibited Person in Possession
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Firearm Illegal Possession
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, the basis
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presence. Date:
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City and state:
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A p p li cant ur e
Ryan Crump
Pri n ted na m e a n d t it l e Judge s s i gnature
E . Ford, United States Magistrate Judge
P r
name and title
Case 2:20-cm-00027-MEF Document 1 Filed 03/12/20 Page 1 of 29 PageID #: 1
I , Ryan Crump, a Special Agent
the Federal Bureau oflnvestigation ( FBI ) being duly sworn, depose and state :
1 . I am a federal law enforcement officer within the meaning
Federal Rule
Criminal Procedure 41(a)(2)(C), that is , a government agent engaged in enforcing the criminal laws an d duly authorized by the Attorney General to request a search warrant. I ha ve been employed with the FBI since August 2016 . I am currently assigned to the FBI Little Rock Field Office , Fort Smith Resident Agency where I am tasked with conducting national securit y investigations . During my career
a Special Agent , I have been involved in a variety
investigative matters , including international and domestic terrorism matters . During the course
these investigations , I have assisted with Title III wire intercept affidavits , participated in the execution
search and arrest warrants , conducted ph ys ical surveillance , participated in controlled meetings with confidential sources , and communicated with other local and federal law enforcement officers regarding the manner in which those engaged in domestic terror activities conduct their business .
T his affida v it is submitted in support
the application for a warrant
search the following premise in the Western District o f Arkansas , Fort Smith Division: 2310 County Road , 4490 Ozone , Arkansas
further described in Attachment A ,
include all the buildings , vehicles , curtilage and appurtenances located and attached thereto , in addition to the person
o f
any individual s and the vehicles located thereon at the time
the e x ecution
the warrant , for things described in Attachment
of 5
Case 2:20-cm-00027-MEF Document 1 Filed 03/12/20 Page 2 of 29 PageID #: 2
Affiant has reason to believ e that evidence
o f
U.S.C. § 373, Solicitation to Comm it a Crime
o f
Violence; Title
U.S.C. § 875(c), Interstate Communication
o f
a Threat; Title
922(g) , Prohibi ted Person in Possession
Firearms; Title
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922(0), Illegal Possession
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a Machine Gun; and Title
2332a, Use a Weapon
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Mass Destruction, will be found at
The information contained in this affidavit is based upon my personal observations, as well as information provided to me by fellow law enforcement officers
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the FBI, information provided b y witness statements, and my experience and ba ckground. Because this affidavit is being submitted for the limited purpose
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securing an application for a warrant to search, I have not included each a nd every f act known to me concerning th is investigation. I have set forth only those facts which I believe are necessary to establish probable cause that the residence location will contain evidence that Title
373, 875(c), 922(g), 922(0), and 2332a have been violated .
On August 31, 2019, the FBI received information regarding private ch at messages
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five Facebook User IDs engaged in violent rhetoric. As part
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this investigation, it is believed that the five Facebook accounts were used by three individuals, Jason
a/k/a Moon Man a/k/a Jugger Bugger (User IDs: 100039745848858, 100 040632669718, and 10003751309877 9), Travis OWENS (User ID : 100009372128338), and James WISDOM III (User ID : 10003141181867 1). Rhetoric in the private chat messages was consistent with racially motivated extremism ideology, to include aspirational violence against religious and racial minorities. Page
Case 2:20-cm-00027-MEF Document 1 Filed 03/12/20 Page 3 of 29 PageID #: 3
Now Sadiq Khan tells crime victims to collect their own evidence and send it to police | Daily Mail Online
Wed, 30 Jun 2021 14:52
Now Sadiq Khan tells crime victims to collect their own evidence and send it to police to save officers from having to visit the sceneLondon Mayor Sadiq Khan has agreed to implement the controversial schemeVictims upload evidence such as footage from doorbell cameras via the internetIt comes after police said it would save tens of thousands of man-hours per yearBy Jake Ryan Home Affairs Correspondent For The Mail On Sunday
Published: 17:00 EDT, 26 June 2021 | Updated: 17:21 EDT, 26 June 2021
Crime victims will be asked to collect their own evidence and send it to police to save officers from having to visit the scene, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan has agreed to implement the controversial scheme in which victims directly upload evidence such as footage from doorbell cameras, CCTV, phones or dashcams via the internet.
His decision comes after Scotland Yard said it would save tens of thousands of man-hours each year.
Police chiefs also cited social distancing rules as a reason why officers should not visit premises '' even though all restrictions are due to be lifted next month.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan has agreed to implement the controversial scheme in which victims directly upload evidence such as footage from doorbell cameras, CCTV, phones or dashcams via the internet
Campaigners fear the scheme will cause further trauma to householders and business owners, who will lose reassuring face-to-face support from officers.
The elderly and vulnerable may also find it difficult to use the technology.
Nevertheless, a report seen by this newspaper reveals that Mr Khan's administration has agreed to roll out the 'Axon Citizen' programme following a trial in North London.
Rebecca Brown, chief executive of victim support group ASB Help, said: 'This shouldn't be used as an alternative to officers visiting, speaking to victims and investigating fully.
'A victim's voice should be heard '' but how can it be heard if they are just uploading evidence?'
Caroline Abrahams, of Age UK, said: 'The majority of older people are not online so would be unable to engage with the police in this way.'
And Mark Shelford, the crime tsar for Avon and Somerset, said he opposed any plan to 'reduce the face-to-face time between officers and the public'.
The computer program, which was developed by US tech and weapons firm Axon Enterprise, is already being used by Cumbria Police.
The force, which has 1,000 officers compared to the 33,000 in the Met, uploaded 20,000 pieces of digital evidence last year.
Caroline Abrahams (pictured), of Age UK, said: 'The majority of older people are not online so would be unable to engage with the police in this way'
The London trial, in which victims receive a link via text or email to upload digital media to Axon's website, began last July and involved 3,500 pieces of evidence. Scotland Yard estimates the scheme will save 27,000 staff days each year as processing a single item of physical evidence can take an officer up to three hours.
It says expanding the scheme, at a cost of £847,000, will allow Met chiefs to shift its focus towards violent street crime or the '12,000 cases of domestic abuse reported every month'.
Some have welcomed the initiative. Chris Nelson, the Police and Crime Commissioner in Gloucestershire, said: 'It sounds exciting. You might have footage which you need to get into the police system so it can build the intelligence picture and I would hope this should mean more contact with victims.'
The Mail on Sunday revealed last year that forces were also developing a mobile app called MyPolice for victims to upload evidence.
Scotland Yard, the Mayor's office and Axon '' which also created the Taser '' declined to comment.
Lisbon court rules only 0.9% of 'verified cases' actually died of Covid - Expat Guide to Portugal | Expatica
Wed, 30 Jun 2021 14:40
Published on June 28, 2021
Following a citizen's petition, a Lisbon court was forced to provide verified Covid-19 mortality data. According to the ruling, the number of verified Covid-19 deaths from January 2020 to April 2021 is only 152, not the 17,000 as claimed by government ministries.
All the ''others'' died for various reasons, although their PCR test was positive.
''We live in a fraud of unprecedented dimensions,'' wrote Dias.
See full article, posted by Mordechai Sones, HERE.
Four Microsoft employees accuse Bill Gates of being an office 'bully' who pursued sexual affairs | Daily Mail Online
Wed, 30 Jun 2021 14:23
Four Microsoft employees have accused founder Bill Gates of being an office 'bully' whose catchphrase was 'that's the stupidest f*****g idea I've ever heard' and claimed he pursued sexual affairs with employees and journalists.
Gates' reputation as a hot-tempered boss began not long after he launched tech giant Microsoft with childhood friend Paul Allen in 1975, Insider reported Tuesday. A spokesperson for the billionaire has denied he mistreated employees.
Gates, 65, came under scrutiny after he and Melinda Gates announced their divorce in May and reports emerged of his alleged extramarital affairs and concerns over the nature of his relationship with convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein.
A former Microsoft executive who spoke on condition of anonymity told Insider that 'having a meeting with Bill was just an opportunity to get yelled at, so I tried to avoid that.'
Other sources who spoke to Insider described his catchphrase as 'That's the stupidest f**king idea I've ever heard' and said he was known for swearing at his employees.
Four Microsoft employees have accused founder Bill Gates of being an office 'bully' whose catchphrase was 'that's the stupidest f*****g idea I've ever heard' and claimed he pursued sexual affairs with employees and journalists. Gates is pictured in New York City in May
Bill Gates, left, is pictured with Jerrold Kaplan and Mitchell Kapor at an annual conference in Naples, Florida in 1988. Gates was allegedly often inebriated at tech events and after-parties and 'got drunk pretty easily'
Gates would allegedly track his employees by memorizing their license plates, according to the outlet.
Some Microsoft workers who spoke to the outlet, however, defended Gates with one saying he 'yelled at everyone the same' and that she appreciates his candor but conceded that his management style could intimidate some employees.
'He doesn't know how to joke really or how to connect with people,' said another former executive, who described solo meetings with Gates as awkward.
'If he told you he liked your hair, he wasn't trying to flirt with you. He just actually liked your hair.'
A current Microsoft employee told Insider: 'He's just an awkward human being as far as social interactions go.'
Maria Klawe, a former Microsoft board member from 2009 to 2015, said 'a person like Bill Gates thinks the usual rules of behavior don't apply to him' and accused him of being unreceptive to suggestions about improving diversity.
Klawe said that Gates behaved as if he was the 'smartest person in the room' and that diversity was not something Gates 'was interested in hearing about.'
She said that when female executives would suggest diversity initiatives, Gates would allegedly respond with: 'Are you trying to effing destroy the company?'
The spokesperson for Gates told Insider that Klawe's allegations are a 'gross mischaracterization.'
Gates' relationships and encounters with employees have long been a topic of discussion surrounding the billionaire, according to the outlet.
Maria Klawe, a former Microsoft board member from 2009 to 2015, right, said that 'a person like Bill Gates thinks the usual rules of behavior don't apply to him'
Klawe said that Gates behaved as if he was the 'smartest person in the room' and that diversity was not something Gates 'was interested in hearing about'
Melinda Gates herself was an employee at Microsoft, having been hired as a product manager in 1987, when the billionaire first asked her out months after flirting with her at a conference dinner.
In 2006, Bill Gates allegedly asked a female Microsoft employee out to dinner in an email after attending a presentation she had given, The New York Times reported.
'If this makes you uncomfortable, pretend it never happened,' Gates wrote in the email obtained by The New York Times.
A Gates Foundation employee told the outlet that the billionaire asked her on a date while they were at a cocktail party in New York.
'I want to see you. Will you have dinner with me?' Gates allegedly told the woman.
In the 1992 biography Hard Drive: Bill Gates and the Making of the Microsoft Empire, author James Wallace revealed Gates had an alleged affair with a married woman 13 years older than him when he was 27 years old.
Gates' alleged affair was with the wife of an Osborne Computer executive who lived abroad, according to the biography.
Melinda Gates herself, pictured, was an employee at Microsoft, having been hired as a product manager in 1987, when the billionaire first asked her out months after flirting with her
A photo shows Bill and Melinda Gates while they were dating before getting married
An Osborne Computer executive who knew about the alleged affair told Wallace that 'Bill had a real fondness for older women then.'
Adam Osborne, who developed the first commercially successful PC known as Osborne 1, allegedly demanded that Gates stop seeing the wife of his employee.
'Gates told Osborne to mind his own business,' Wallace wrote.
Gates himself told BBC that he would hack his school's scheduling software to ensure he would be the only boy in class.
'I was the one who benefited by being able to have the nice girls at least sit near me. It wasn't that I could talk to them or anything, but they were there,' Gates said.
Wallace told Insider that, while Gates attended Harvard University in 1973, he would allegedly visit strip clubs in an area of Boston once referred to as the Combat Zone because of its notorious strip clubs, porn theaters, and prostitution.
Gates had an alleged affair with a married woman 13 years older than him when he was 27 years old
Gates himself admitted to frequenting the area, centered on Washington Street between Boylston Street and Kneeland Street, in a 1994 interview he did with Playboy magazine.
'Just because I went there doesn't mean I engaged in everything that was going on,' Gates said.
'I ate pizza, read books and watched what was going on. I went to the diners.'
Wallace claimed to Insider that Gates' penchant for socializing with women remained even after he started dating Melinda Gates in 1987.
Gates was allegedly known to invite friends to swim naked at his bachelor pad in Laurelhurst where he 'rounded up' dancers from local all-nude nightclubs, Wallace said.
'I don't know if he physically transported them or if he just told them where to show up,' Wallace told the outlet.
Robert X. Cringely, who wrote a popular computer gossip column for InfoWorld, told Insider that Gates was allegedly often inebriated at tech events and after-parties and that he 'got drunk pretty easily.'
'All of us will have been at some affair where Bill was clearly impaired. He was happier' drunk, Cringely said.
Gates, then 33, took a helicopter to Les Arcs ski resort in the French Alps for an international sales meeting for Microsoft in the summer of 1988 where he was allegedly caught lying on top of a woman on the lawn.
The pair were 'just snuggling' after Gates joined his employees for drinks in a Swiss chalet and partied until the early morning, Dan Graves, a former Microsoft export manager, told Insider.
After he started dating Melinda, Gates allegedly struggled to commit to her and she was allegedly aware of his 'womanizing,' the outlet reported. The couple even broke up for at least a year early in their relationship.
'Bill wanted to be married, but he didn't know whether he could actually commit to it and have Microsoft,' Melinda said in an interview for the Netflix docuseries Inside Bill's Brain: Decoding Bill Gates.
Bill Gates is pictured in a 1977 police mugshot when he was arrested for bad careless driving in Albuqerque, New Mexico
Even after marrying Melinda, Gates told Time magazine in 1997 that he still went on annual vacations to the Outer Banks of North Carolina with his ex-girlfriend Ann Winblad, the software entrepreneur whom he had dated from 1984 to 1987.
Bill and Melinda Gates' personal affairs have been managed by Watermark Estate Management since at least 2001, which would allegedly arrange Gates' annual beach trips with Winblad.
Meanwhile, Gates is reported to have taken meetings with Epstein including a flight to Palm Beach on Epstein's private plane.
Gates' spokesperson told the outlet that Gates had 'absolutely no business partnership or personal friendship' with Epstein, and any meetings between the two were about philanthropy.
'It is extremely disappointing that there have been so many lies published about the cause, the circumstances and the timeline of Bill Gates's divorce,' the spokesperson said.
'The rumors and speculation surrounding Mr. Gates are becoming increasingly absurd and it's unfortunate that people who have little to no knowledge are being characterized as 'sources.''
Bill Gates, not pictured, still went on annual vacations to the Outer Banks of North Carolina with his ex-girlfriend Ann Winblad, pictured, the software entrepreneur whom he had dated from 1984 to 1987, even after marrying Melinda Gates
Bill Gates, and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, are pictured in 1987. Allen said in his memoir that Gates tried to dilute his equity in the company because he was 'unproductive' while dealing with his first bout of cancer
Gates' relationship with Epstein reportedly dates back to 2011, but it became a point of contention for the couple in September 2013, the Daily Beast reported.
Melinda Gates reportedly told friends she was furious about their alleged friendship and wanted nothing to do with Epstein but sources said Bill Gates allegedly visited Epstein's house numerous times.
Bill Gates even reportedly talked about his 'toxic' marriage to Epstein who allegedly gave Gates advice on ending his marriage, according to the Daily Beast.
Wallace claimed to Insider that 'there were some big-name journalists who knew about this behavior' over the years.
However, they 'never reported on it because they knew Microsoft would have taken away their access,' he said.
Gates allegedly even gained a reputation for hitting on female reporters who covered industry conferences such as Comdex, Wallace said.
'The journalists said that it was their understanding that they weren't the only ones either,' he added.
Stories about Gates have allegedly been kept quiet over the years but 'the halo broke' when Melinda divorced Gates, a Microsoft employee told Insider.
'Anyone who had stories could bring all those stories out,' the source said.
Los Angeles County recommends the vaccinated wear masks indoors because of delta variant - The Washington Post
Wed, 30 Jun 2021 12:57
Masked and unmasked people make their way through Grand Central Market in Los Angeles on June 29. (Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images)
Los Angeles County public health authorities are urging unvaccinated and vaccinated people alike to don masks again inside restaurants, stores and other public indoor spaces because of the growing threat posed by the more contagious delta variant of the novel coronavirus.
The high-profile move by the county of 10 million marks an abrupt shift in tone after states and localities have dropped most mask mandates and social distancing requirements in recent weeks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in mid-May rescinded almost all masking recommendations for fully vaccinated people.
But the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health cited a growing share of new cases linked to the delta variant, which was first detected during India's catastrophic surge of infections and has upended reopening plans across the globe, in ''strongly recommending'' a return to masking. Los Angeles dropped its mask mandate for vaccinated people with the rest of California on June 15, with limited exceptions for public transportation, hospitals and schools.
County health officials said 123 people were infected with the delta variant from June 4 to 18. Ten were fully vaccinated, and none of those people needed hospital care. Three people infected with delta were partially vaccinated, and 110 were not vaccinated; two people were hospitalized.
''Fully vaccinated people are well protected against serious illness and disease caused by variants of concern including the Delta variant,'' Barbara Ferrer, the county's public health director, said in a statement.
Los Angeles officials are also concerned by reports of some fully vaccinated people contracting cases of the delta variant in Israel and want to learn more about the variant and how it spreads.
''We want to make sure we understand that people who are fully vaccinated aren't getting infected in large portions or small portions in a way that allows them to unknowingly transmit to others,'' Los Angeles County Health Officer Muntu Davis said in an interview.
Coronavirus delta variant: What we know
The World Health Organization on Friday urged fully vaccinated people to continue wearing masks in light of delta's rapid spread. Israel on Sunday reinstated an indoor mask mandate, which had been lifted two weeks ago, in response to a spike in delta cases, but it declined to adopt more stringent restrictions because of its high vaccination rate.
The CDC does not plan to change its guidance that allows fully vaccinated people to take off their masks in most settings.
''We are fortunate to have highly effective vaccines in this country that are widely available for those aged 12 and up,'' Kristen Nordlund, a CDC spokeswoman, said in a statement to The Washington Post. ''People who are fully vaccinated are protected, including from the variants currently circulating in the country such as delta. That is not the case in every country where some of the vaccines they are using are not as effective as the ones we have here in the U.S.''
Los Angeles appears to be an outlier in its call to resume masking. Pennsylvania and King County, Wash., which includes Seattle, on Tuesday dropped their mask mandates for the vaccinated.
Tracking the coronavirus vaccine
Davis said Los Angeles County wanted to be especially careful because it has 4 million residents who are unvaccinated or too young to receive the shot. He stressed that officials are avoiding disruptions by not mandating masks or restoring restrictions on businesses.
''This is really, hopefully, a temporary recommendation as we learn more about what this virus is actually doing,'' Davis said. ''This is one of the easier things to do. It doesn't disrupt your daily routine, it doesn't disrupt business, and it doesn't disrupt the economy. It's just a mask, but it's very helpful.''
Los Angeles bears the scars of being the epicenter of the nation's devastating winter surge, eclipsing 200 deaths a day in January while ambulances and hospitals were forced to conserve oxygen.
A mass-casualty event every day
Cases have since plummeted, daily fatalities now number in the single digits and nearly 60 percent of eligible residents have been fully vaccinated. Officials worry the delta variant will rapidly spread through the unvaccinated, noting that it made up half of the variants sequenced in Los Angeles County in the week ending June 12.
''It's just a small inconvenience for those who have been vaccinated to try to be good citizens by wearing masks indoors,'' said Robert Kim-Farley, an epidemiologist and professor at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. ''Hopefully this can be a wake-up call for those who are still on the fence about getting vaccinated to become vaccinated so that we can all stop wearing masks.''
But some experts say public health authorities who don't differentiate between the vaccinated and unvaccinated may end up dissuading holdouts from getting shots.
''You just told the unvaccinated, 'Yeah, get vaccinated, it's so scary, but of course, you'll still have to mask because it's so scary,' '' said Monica Gandhi, professor of medicine at the University of California at San Francisco. ''If I were an unvaccinated person who was debating whether to get vaccinated, I would think, 'Oh wow, there's no point, looks like the delta variant would break through the vaccine anyway.' ''
In the D.C. region, public health authorities struggle to persuade vaccine holdouts
Evidence shows the opposite: Nearly all serious British cases have been among the unvaccinated or partially vaccinated as the delta variant dominates new infections. The CDC says a growing body of evidence shows people who have been fully vaccinated with a Pfizer or Moderna mRNA vaccine are less likely to have asymptomatic cases or transmit them to others.
The juxtaposition of these developments showing the vaccines' effectiveness against the delta variant and the new mask guidance left some Los Angeles residents confused.
Ashley Pavone, 25, recently started to feel comfortable going out barefaced even though she was among the first in line to get vaccinated in February as a restaurant worker.
''I thought we were moving forward with this, and that's why I've been vaccinated for so long, so it's upsetting to think we'd have to now move backward. I wonder if there's any facts behind this or if it's just another rule,'' Pavone said after a maskless trip to a Vons supermarket in the Echo Park neighborhood of Los Angeles. ''If masks are being used again, then people may not go out as much, and then we'd see our tips decrease.''
Steve Morales said he still wears a mask while working his shifts as a Vons clerk, even though he's vaccinated and his workplace doesn't require it, because he's uneasy about what customers have been exposed to. Still, he has no interest in tangling with customers about masks.
''I don't give people my opinion about it; it's up to them,'' said Morales, 64.
Rhea Boyd, a pediatrician who has advocated for improved vaccine access for communities of color, said Los Angeles should be commended for working to prevent its residents from letting their guard down and laying the groundwork to restore restrictions if necessary to quell an explosion in delta cases.
''Los Angeles County didn't reinstate a mask mandate, they put out a recommendation. It's to prepare people to see something is different about the delta variant,'' Boyd said. ''It may be hard to hear this because we all want to believe that what was such a traumatic year is all behind us, but the truth is, we are still very much confronting a pandemic.''
Lena H. Sun in Washington and Miranda C. Green in Los Angeles contributed to this report.
BOE botched NYC mayoral primary results by including 'test' run
Wed, 30 Jun 2021 12:50
By Jesse O'Neill and Nolan Hicks
June 29, 2021 | 11:02pm
The too-close-to-call Democratic primary race that will likely decide New York's next mayor was thrown into disarray after election officials admitted they accidentally included ''test'' results in the vote count, leading to 135,000 extra ballots.
The botching of the city's first ranked-choice election was first flagged by front-runner Eric Adams, who pointed out that preliminary results from the Board of Elections showed that 941,832 votes were cast for the Democratic mayoral nomination, a huge increase from the 799,827 that were counted on primary day last week.
The BOE clarified its screwup in a tweet Tuesday night.
''It has been determined that ballot images used for testing were not cleared from the Election Management System (EMS),'' the board said of the fiasco.
''When the cast votes were extracted for the first pull of RCV {ranked choice voting} results, it included both test and election night results, producing approximately 135,000 additional records,'' the mea culpa continued.
''The board apologizes for the error and has taken immediate measures to ensure the most accurate up to date results are reported.''
The Board of Elections announced it mixed ''test'' results into the final tally. Christopher SadowskiTuesday's unofficial results, after a total of 11 rounds of ranked-choice counting, had Adams narrowly leading former city Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia by 368,898 votes to 352,990 or 51.1 percent to 48.9 percent, with Maya Wiley and 10 other candidates eliminated.
''Today's mistake by the Board of Elections was unfortunate,'' Adams tweeted in response. ''It's critical that New Yorkers are confident in their electoral system, especially as we rank votes in a citywide election for the first time.''
A total of 219,944 ballots ''with no choices left'' were listed as ''inactive.'' But the city still has yet to count more than 124,000 absentee ballots sent by mail.
''New Yorkers want free and fair elections, which is why we overwhelmingly voted to enact ranked choice voting,'' Garcia said in a press release. ''The BOE's release of incorrect ranked choice votes is deeply troubling and requires a much more transparent and complete explanation.''
Wiley also blasted the BOE for its latest blunder in a Tuesday night statement.
''This error by the Board of Elections is not just failure to count votes properly today, it is the result of generations of failures that have gone unaddressed,'' Wiley said.
''Today, we have once again seen the mismanagement that has resulted in a lack of confidence in results, not because there is a flaw in our election laws, but because those who implement it have failed too many times.''
Government must have power to reverse crypto transactions, says co-chair of blockchain caucus - MarketWatch
Wed, 30 Jun 2021 04:33
Many in the cryptocurrency industry have long demanded that Congress provide ''regulatory clarity'' on how it will tax and regulate digital assets. But as powerful figures in Washington weigh in, it's doubtful crypto enthusiasts are liking what they hear.
Democratic Rep. Bill Foster of Illinois, co-chair of the House blockchain caucus, said Tuesday that laws must be passed to allow federal courts to identify digital-asset holders and then reverse transactions in bitcoin BTCUSD, -2.81% or other digital currencies, a policy that is anathema to many cryptocurrency investors.
''You have to be able to go to a court to unmask participants under some circumstances,'' Foster said during an Axios virtual event Tuesday, adding that cryptocurrencies must be ''pseudo anonymous, so the regulators can see'' if transactions on the network are fraudulent.
Different cryptocurrencies exist on a continuum of anonymity. Bitcoin, for instance, is largely anonymous even as every transaction on the network is public for anyone to investigate. However, there are methods of discovering someone's real-world identity by studying this transaction history and searching the internet for instances when a bitcoin user may have accidentally linked their bitcoin wallet address with personal information. It's possible, for example, for a user to send his wallet address along with an email signature that includes personal information like a name or phone number.
Foster suggested new laws should require a different form of pseudo-anonymity, wherein a court '-- that is, a third party '-- could learn the real-world identity of a cryptocurrency user through a ''very heavily guarded key.''
Foster argued such tools are necessary for the government is to protect itself, American businesses and individuals from ransomware attacks like the one used to extort millions of dollars from Colonial Pipeline, an incident that led to widespread gasoline shortages last month.
''I've just said about three things there that will drive the crypto purists berserk, like the trusted third party and so on. But in fact, there's not a technological alternative that I'm aware of,'' Foster said. ''For most people if they're going to have a big part of their net worth tied up in crypto assets, they're going to want to have that security blanket of a trusted third party that can solve the problem.''
Many in the cryptocurrency industry have argued that no government can actually prevent its citizens from buying and selling bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies that provide varying degrees of anonymity. For instance Changpeng Zhao, CEO of the world's largest crypto exchange Binance, said at the recent CoinDesk Consensus 2021 virtual conference that ''I don't think anyone can shut it down now, given that this technology, this concept, is in 500 million people's heads.''
Just a few weeks later, the United Kingdom restricted use of the exchange within its borders, but the impact of that move on crypto use in the U.K. remains to be seen.
Foster continued that cryptocurrencies must become compliant with federal regulations and laws for them to ever become mainstream instruments for conducting transactions.
''We're going to have to establish a law between the legal and illegal regimes here,'' Foster said. ''There's a significant sentiment, increasing sentiment, in Congress that if you're participating in an anonymous crypto transaction that you're a de-facto participant in a criminal conspiracy.''
Adams leads Garcia by razor-thin margin after NYC mayoral race ranked-choice round - New York Daily News
Tue, 29 Jun 2021 21:52
New York Daily News |
Jun 29, 2021 at 4:45 PM
It's all about the absentees.
Eric Adams' lead in the city's Democratic mayoral race shrunk drastically after ranked-choice tabulations were released Tuesday '-- with Kathryn Garcia trailing him by less than 16,000 votes, meaning the winner will be determined by scores of yet-to-be-counted absentee ballots.
After 11 rounds of ranked-choice counting, Adams, Brooklyn's borough president, held the lead with 51.1% of the vote over Garcia, the city's former sanitation commissioner, who clinched 48.9%, according to unofficial results released by the Board of Elections. Just 15,908 ballots separate the two candidates, the tabulations show.
Mayoral candidate and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams speaks to the media on June 24, in New York City. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Former de Blasio counsel Maya Wiley, the only other major contender left in the race, was eliminated in the 10th round.
Still, the results are not certified, and nearly 125,000 absentee ballots cast in the June 22 primary have yet to be counted, meaning the race could shake up again.
Absentee ballot results, meantime, are not expected until July 6 at the earliest, according to the Board of Elections.
Mayoral candidate Kathryn Garcia speaks to her supporters in Brooklyn, New York, Tuesday, June 22. (Shawn Inglima/for New York Daily News)
Garcia, who would become the first female mayor in New York history if elected, celebrated the updated results, but also pleaded for patience from New Yorkers.
''We are still waiting for more than 120,000 absentee ballots to be counted and we are confident about a path to victory,'' Garcia said. ''Once all the votes are counted, I know everyone will support the Democratic nominee and that's exactly what I intend to do. We look forward to the final results. Democracy is worth waiting for.''
Adams did not immediately react to Tuesday's ballot dump.
Ahead of Tuesday's ranked-choice rounds, Adams led the race decisively, having received 31.7% of top-ranked in-person votes, with Wiley, his then-closet challenger, capturing 22.3%.
Campaign Diaries Newsletter
The Daily News political team supplies the essential news and analysis on the critical 2021 elections in New York City that will define the city's future after coronavirus. Sent to your inbox every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
This month's elections are the first in city history to use the ranked-choice system, and the long wait for conclusive results are rubbing some political experts the wrong way.
Mayoral candidate Maya Wiley is pictured campaigning on Church and Utica Avenues in Brooklyn on June 21. (Luiz C. Ribeiro/for New York Daily News)
Sid Davidoff, who has worked in city politics since the 1960s and advised several mayors, was stunned that the Board of Elections dropped the first batch of ranked-choice results before counting absentees.
''This is crazy,'' Davidoff told the Daily News. ''I just don't understand why it was necessary to do this analysis without waiting for the absentee ballots. It really doesn't tell us anything other than Eric is still holding first place.''
After her ranked-choice elimination, Wiley's votes overwhelmingly went to Garcia, the tabulations show.
Andrew Yang, who dropped out of the race on Primary Night last week after coming in fourth in early results, also gave Garcia a major boost once his votes were dispersed across the field following his ranked-choice elimination in the 10th round.
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Pfizer, Moderna COVID vaccines produce 'long-lasting' immune response -- study | The Times of Israel
Tue, 29 Jun 2021 12:47
The Pfizer-BioNtech and Moderna coronavirus vaccines produce a continuing immune response, a study has found, indicating that they offer long-lasting protection against COVID-19.
The study, published Monday in the peer-reviewed journal Nature, found that the vaccines ''induce persistent'' production of antibodies ''enabling the generation of robust humoral immunity.''
In addition, the vaccines were found to produce high levels of antibodies against three known variants of the coronavirus, including the Beta variant first detected in South Africa. There was an even stronger antibody response to the variants among those who were vaccinated after already previously being infected with COVID-19.
Though researchers only studied those who received the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine, it uses the same mRNA technology to produce inoculation as the Moderna shots.
Whereas many existing vaccines use bits of virus or bacterial proteins to prompt an immune response, the mRNA-based coronavirus vaccines instruct the body to make and release so-called spike proteins, which then induce the immune response.
''The immune response to such vaccines is both strong and potentially long-lasting,'' according to a report Monday from the Washington University School of Medicine, whose scientists led the research.
Though other studies have tracked the levels of antibodies in the blood of vaccinated people over time, the new research took a closer look at how the immune response developed in the body.
Vials of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv, December 20, 2020. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
Researchers discovered that germinal centers in the lymph nodes of participants in the study were still very active four months after they received their first vaccine shot.
''Germinal centers are the key to a persistent, protective immune response,'' explained senior author Ali Ellebedy, associate professor of pathology and immunology, of medicine and of molecular microbiology. ''Germinal centers are where our immune memories are formed. And the longer we have a germinal center, the stronger and more durable our immunity will be because there's a fierce selection process happening there, and only the best immune cells survive.''
Forty-one people were examined for the study, eight of whom had previously been infected with COVID-19 and all of whom were given the standard two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
Germinal samples were taken from 14 of the people who received the vaccine, three weeks after their first dose and just before getting their second. Additional samples were taken at weeks 4, 5 and 7. In addition, ten of the participants gave samples 15 weeks after they first started the vaccine doses. None of those who gave germinal samples had previously caught COVID-19.
Screen capture from video of Ali Ellebedy, an immunologist at Washington University in St. Louis. (YouTube)
Researchers found that after three weeks, germinal centers, located in the armpits, were formed in all 14 participants and that at the end of the study period, eight of 10 participants tested still had ''detectable germinal centers containing B cells targeting the virus,'' according to the WUSM report.
Even 15 weeks after the first vaccine shot was given, the germinal centers were still producing immune cells.
''This is evidence of a really robust immune response,'' co-senior author Rachel Presti said. ''Your immune system uses germinal centers to perfect the antibodies so they can bind well and last as long as possible. The antibodies in the blood are the end result of the process, but the germinal center is where it is happening.''
The study examined blood samples from all 41 people who received the Pfizer vaccine.
Antibody levels were seen to rise slowly after the first dose in those who had not had prior exposure to the virus, but rose much more rapidly in those who had been infected with COVID-19.
Ellebedy told The New York Times that a vaccine booster shot for those who had never been infected with COVID-19 would probably produce the same effect.
''If you give them another chance to engage, they will have a massive response,'' he said, referring to the cells that target the virus.
Israel is using the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for its national inoculation drive, which has so far given both shots to over half the population. Though COVID-19 infections dropped from thousands a day to just a few dozen, the country has seen a recent resurgence of cases blamed on a Delta variant first detected in India.
Israel has already placed orders for millions more of the vaccines as it opened up inoculation to children aged 12-15 and in case a decision is made to issue booster shots to the entire population.
Miami-Area Condo Board President Warned of Need for Repairs in April Letter - WSJ
Tue, 29 Jun 2021 12:41
SURFSIDE, Fla.'--The president of the Champlain South Towers condo association told residents in April their building was in desperate disrepair and urged them to pay the $15 million in assessments needed to fix structural problems, in a letter reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.
The condo board president, Jean Wodnicki wrote that the concrete damage to the building would ''multiply exponentially over the years, and indeed the observable damage such as in the garage has gotten significantly worse over the years.''
The purpose of the letter, dated April 9, 2021, was to explain to residents the worthiness of the construction projects for the 40-year-old building ahead of the following week's meeting about a proposed special assessment of $15 million to be paid by residents.
Florida buildings are required to be recertified for electrical and structural safety after 40 years, and the building had begun that process.
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Ms. Wodnicki explained in the letter that an engineer, Frank Morabito, was hired in 2018 to do an inspection of the building and provide an estimate of what would be required for the 40-year inspection, which was due later this year. The initial inspection from 2018 wasn't enough to determine the full structural problems of the building, and they could be far worse, she wrote.
''It is impossible to know the extent of the damage to the underlying rebar until the concrete is opened up. Oftentimes the damage is more extensive than can be determined by inspection of the surface,'' she wrote.
''When you can visually see the concrete spalling (cracking), that means that the rebar holding it together is rusting and deteriorating beneath the surface,'' Ms. Wodnicki wrote. ''The concrete deterioration is accelerating. The roof situation got much worse, so extensive roof repairs had to be incorporated.''
Ms. Wodnicki didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.
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The letter states that Frank Morabito was newly rehired as the supervising engineer for the construction project.
Brett Marcy, the representative for Morabito Consultants, said the firm's 2018 report had said that some repairs needed to be made ''in the near future.'' Also, although the board voted to hire Mr. Morabito as the engineering consultant for the construction work in 2019, the long contracting process to get Mr. Morabito fully signed on delayed the roofing work until the end of 2020, he said.
An attorney for the condo association, Donna DiMaggio Berger, told the Journal Sunday that the 2018 engineer's report was fairly routine and didn't raise alarms. ''Concrete spalling, rebar deterioration'--these are not unusual events when you have buildings exposed to corrosive conditions,'' Ms. Berger said.
She wasn't immediately available for comment Monday.
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Officials said they are focusing on finding survivors, while simultaneously preserving evidence and preparing for an investigation into the cause of a structural collapse of historic proportions. It is rare because it doesn't appear to have been prompted by outside dynamics, such as a natural disaster, and potentially reflects the failure of multiple systems within the building all at once, engineers said.
The federal government has deployed investigators from the National Institute of Standards and Technology, part of the U.S. Department of Commerce that investigated the collapse of the twin towers following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center.
''A lot of this work could have been done or planned for in years gone by. But this is where we are now,'' added Ms. Wodnicki. ''We have discussed, debated, and argued for years now, and will continue to do so for years to come as different items come into play.''
Write to Deborah Acosta at
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Miami condo collapse prompts questions over role of climate change | Miami condo collapse | The Guardian
Tue, 29 Jun 2021 12:41
Show caption The disaster has highlighted the precarious situation of building and maintaining high-rise apartments in an area under increasing pressure from sea level rise. Photograph: Larry Marano/Rex/Shutterstock
Miami condo collapseExperts suggest vulnerability of south Florida to rising seas could lead to destabilization of further buildings
The shocking collapse of a 12-storey building in the Miami area last week has raised questions as to the role played by the climate crisis, and whether the severe vulnerability of south Florida to the rising seas may lead to the destabilization of further buildings in the future.
Miami condo collapse: death toll rises to 10 as search enters fifth day The exact cause of the disaster that befell the Champlain Towers South building in Surfside on Thursday has yet to be fully determined, although a 2018 engineering report on the structure warned of ''significant cracks and breaks in the concrete'' and that design flaws and deteriorating waterproofing could cause ''exponential damage'' via the expansion of these cracks.
At the time of the building's sudden collapse, repairs on its roof were taking place but the restoration of concrete had not started on the 40-year-old condo. A total of 10 people are confirmed dead due to the crumpled building, with 151 people unaccounted for.
The disaster has highlighted the precarious situation of building and maintaining high-rise apartments in an area under increasing pressure from sea-level rise. Experts say that while the role of the rising seas in this collapse is still unclear, the integrity of buildings will be threatened by the advance of salty water that pushes up from below to weaken foundations.
''When this building was designed 40 years ago the materials used would not have been as strong against salt water intrusion, which has the potential to corrode the concrete and steel of the foundations,'' said Zhong-Ren Peng, professor and director of the University of Florida's International Center for Adaptation Planning and Design. ''Cracks in the concrete allows more sea water to get in, which causes further reactions and the spreading of cracks. If you don't take care of it, that can cause a structure failure.''
The geography of the area can also prove challenging for construction.
Champlain Towers South was built near the coast of what is a narrow barrier island flanked by the Atlantic Ocean on one side and Biscayne Bay on the other. Such barrier islands naturally shift position over time due to the pounding ocean, requiring a certain amount of engineering to keep them fixed in place.
Most of south Florida is just a few feet above sea level at a time when the region is experiencing a rapid increase in sea level, due to the human-caused climate crisis. Compounding this problem, the region sits upon limestone, a porous rock that allows rising seawater to bubble up from below.
This scenario means that Miami residents have become used to flooded car garages and water seeping up from drains onto roads, even on sunny days. The city is planning to build a major new sea wall to keep the ocean at bay but there is no simple defense against water rising from underfoot, placing the foundations of buildings at risk of being gnawed away by seawater.
The land beneath Champlain Towers South is also, unusually for eastern Florida, subsiding, according to a study released last year that found the condo was subsiding into the ground at a rate of around 2mm a year throughout the 1990s. Shimon Wdowinski, a professor with Florida International University's Institute of Environment who conducted the research, said he was ''shocked'' to see the building collapse and didn't immediately connect it to his study.
''It's common that we see buildings with minor damage from subsidence, but not really this,'' he said. ''Things can go from stable and move slowly for a long period of time before suddenly accelerating to the point of collapse. It's not a linear process.''
Peng said that building code upgrades in the wake of Hurricane Andrew, a category five hurricane that crunched into Miami-Dade County in 1992, have made new structures more resilient against major storms.
''But older buildings are still at risk and in any case the new building codes may need to be re-examined because they don't address the issue of sea-level rise,'' he said. ''I think, at the very least, all new development should be required to come up with a study on the sea-level rise impact before building is done.''
The challenge for Miami, however, will continue to escalate.
The region abuts seas that are around eight inches higher than they were a century ago and this pace will quicken '' with another 17in of sea level expected by 2040. Depending on the melting of the vast ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica, south Florida could be assailed by a foot of extra sea level per decade in the second half of this century, according to Harold Wanless, a geographer at the University of Miami.
''It's going to be an enormous to impossible job everywhere to deal with that,'' Wanless said. ''The sea level rise is accelerating and will do so more dramatically than most people anticipate.
''Every sandy barrier island, every low-lying coast, from Miami to Mumbai, will become inundated and difficult to maintain functional infrastructure. You can put valves in sewers and put in sea walls but the problem is the water will keep coming up through the limestone. You're not going to stop this.''
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FAA Denies Boeing Permission To Move Forward In Certifying 777X Due To Serious Flight Test Incident | ZeroHedge
Mon, 28 Jun 2021 13:31
If it's not one Boeing jet malfunctioning, it's another.
With Boeing facing an uphill climb in restoring the public's confidence in its crash-prone 737MAX, the aerospace giant is facing fresh troubles, this time involving the updated version of the long-haul 777X jet which is facing additional testing because of what U.S. regulators called a serious test-flight incident and multiple other issues with software and inadequate data.
In a sternly worded letter dated May 13, which was reviewed by The Seattle Times, the FAA warned Boeing it may have to increase the number of test flights planned and that certification realistically is now more than two years out, probably in late 2023.
Two 777X flight-test planes are parked at Boeing Field on June 18.According to the report, the FAA cited a long list of concerns, including a serious flight control incident during a test flight on Dec. 8, 2020, when the plane experienced an "uncommanded pitch event" meaning the nose of the aircraft pitched abruptly up or down without input from the pilots. During the incident, flight-control software triggered the plane to move without pilots' input, similar to the malfunction responsible for the two 737MAX crashes.
Boeing has yet to satisfy the FAA that it has fully understood and corrected what went wrong that day.
An FAA official said the drag on 777X certification is now ''the subject of a lot of attention'' at high levels both within the agency and at Boeing.
''The FAA anticipates a significant impact to the level of regression testing, change impact analysis, and the potential to increase the number of certification flight tests that will need to take place,'' the letter said according to Bloomberg. It was written by Ian Won, the acting head of FAA's division overseeing Boeing.
The FAA said in the letter it now expected the certification wouldn't occur until mid to late 2023 and the work would take ''additional resources'' that could hamper other projects with the company. While the FAA doesn't set the timing of certification work, relying on companies for that, the letter suggests the program could face delays.
The latest delay will push the jet's entry into commercial service into early 2024, four years later than originally planned.
Separately, the FAA also issued a statement Sunday saying it ''will not approve any aircraft unless it meets our safety and certification standards.''
''Boeing remains fully focused on safety as our highest priority throughout 777X development,'' a spokesperson at the U.S. planemaker said in a statement in response to the letter. ''We are working through a rigorous development process to ensure we meet all applicable requirements.''
The harshly-worded letter by the FAA is the latest in what has been a deteriorating relationship between the giant planemaker and its U.S. regulator prompted by issues that arose during the grounding of Boeing's 737 Max after two fatal accidents. The FAA had previously begun using its own inspectors to approve newly built single-aisle planes and has taken multiple steps to increase oversight of the company.
The FAA highlighted several concerns on the 777X, including a flight-control incident during a test flight on Dec. 8, 2020, when the plane experienced an ''uncommanded pitch event.'' That meant the nose of the aircraft rose or fell as a result of the control system.
A similar issue triggered by a malfunction on the 737 Max pushed down that jet's nose repeatedly during the two crashes that killed 346 people, prompting a sweeping review of how pilots interact with increasingly computerized flight-control systems. The Max was grounded for 18 months while it was redesigned.
Bloomberg adds that the agency also told Boeing that a critical avionics system proposed for the airplane doesn't meet requirements and expressed concern about proposed modifications involving late changes to both software and hardware in the electronics of the jet's flight controls.
Worse, in a hint of broader troubles for the 777X, the FAA said that European regulators are uneasy over parts of the plane's design. ''The European Union Aviation Safety Agency has not yet agreed on a way forward on the Model 777-9,'' the FAA said in the letter. '‹Which, of course, is understandable for a European regulator that would be delighted with pushing out its own competitor Airbus planes.
'‹Boeing announcement in January that it was postponing the 777X's planned market entry to late 2023 was the latest in a string of delays for a jet originally slated to begin commercial service last year. Executives also disclosed that they were redesigning the jet's actuator-control electronics at the behest of European regulators.
"That's still the plan", Boeing's Chief Executive Officer Dave Calhoun indicated in a June 3 presentation, weeks after the FAA letter.
''That airplane, we are still confident will be certified in the fourth quarter of 2023,'' Calhoun told a virtual Bernstein conference. The planemaker reset its timeline based on the 20-month review of the 737 Max and ''architectural preferences'' of both the FAA and EASA, he said.
''So those are the important things with respect to how we do this,'' Calhoun said. ''We've given ourselves time to learn as we go through this.''
Emirates President Tim Clark has repeatedly slammed Boeing for delaying the 777X program and has raised concerns over the model's performance in desert conditions. Bloomberg reported in February that Clark's airline could swap as many as a third of its 115 commitments for the 777-9 to the smaller Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
What China's extensive coverage of the Miami condo collapse says about its own priorities - CNN
Mon, 28 Jun 2021 13:16
Hong KongEditor's note: CNN has launched the Meanwhile in China newsletter, a three-times-a-week update exploring what you need to know about the country's rise and how it impacts the world. Sign up here.
The partial collapse of a residential building in Surfside, Florida has garnered widespread attention in China, where images of rescue workers combing through the debris have featured prominently on state media and nightly news programs.
But amid the intense focus on the unfolding tragedy in the United States, many Chinese internet users have questioned why a deadly incident at home has received such
minimal media coverage and so little attention on social media.
In the early hours of Friday, a fire tore through a martial arts school in central Henan province, killing 18 students '-- mostly children '-- and injuring 16 others, according to a local government statement and state media reports.
Such loss of life would, under normal circumstances, be a major tragedy that both shocks and saddens the nation, dominating news headlines and social media for days.
But with the Communist Party's all-important centenary just days away, such harrowing news is the last thing the party's propaganda apparatus wants to highlight '-- at least not when it occurs inside of China.
On Weibo, China's heavily censored version of Twitter,
users left angry comments asking why the fire wasn't ranked in the top 50 trending topics of the day, with some accusing censors of suppressing discussion and preventing the news from gaining traction.
"Why didn't an incident with such a high number of casualties become a trending topic? Is it because the party's 100th anniversary doesn't allow negative news?" one user
On state media too, coverage of the fire was also limited, with most outlets sharing a few syndicated news stories that drew mostly from official statements provided by local authorities.
Many pointed out the
contrast with the extensive and highly emotive coverage of the condo collapse near Miami, which had been a top trending topic on Weibo for days.
The comparative silence surrounding the fire speaks to the intensive and widespread control exercised by government censors in the lead-up to the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party, which falls on July 1.
In the past, Chinese authorities have regularly doubled down on "stability maintenance" before major anniversaries, swiftly censoring voices and suppressing incidents that don't contribute to the "positive energy" ahead of celebrations.
But the level of caution for the centenary has reached new heights.
Two weeks before the anniversary, Chinese officials held a high-level meeting and vowed to "spare no effort to ensure production safety, firmly ward off accidents of various kinds, and create a safe and stable atmosphere for the celebration of the 100th anniversary" of the party's founding.
As a result, local authorities are on edge, with some going as far as temporarily halting risky industries.
In Hubei, all coal mining operations were reportedly suspended from June 15 to July 5 after a gas pipeline explosion killed 25 people on June 13. In neighboring Jiangxi province, five coal mines were closed from June 21 to July 4,
according to Bloomberg.
With harmony ensured at home, the disaster in Florida, on the other hand, gives China's propagandists an opportunity to double down on the image of a US in decline.
In a column headlined "After condo collapse in Miami, will US fix crumbling accountability of officials?" Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of the state-run Global Times,
said the disaster showed "the US' rescue capability with emergency situations is much worse than people think."
Around Asia
Indonesia and the United States have broken ground on a new $3.5 million maritime training center in the strategic area of Batam, in the Riau Islands, Indonesia's maritime security agency said.A Malaysian government task force have proposed amendments to sharia law that would allow action to be taken against social media users for insulting Islam and "promoting the LGBT lifestyle."Meanwhile in China, a cranium hidden at the bottom of a well for more than 80 years may belong to a new species of early human that researchers have called "dragon man," according to researchers.Tesla's big China recall marks yet another 'black cloud'
Tesla's bad run in China is getting a whole lot worse.
Elon Musk's electric carmaker on Saturday began recalling more than 285,000 vehicles in the country over a safety risk. Chinese regulators said that the cruise control system in some models can be activated when drivers try to shift gears or accidentally touch the gear selector, resulting in accidental acceleration.
Tesla apologized for the recall on Saturday, adding in a statement that it will "strictly follow national regulations and keep improving our safety protection."
But it's not a good look for the company, which was already grappling with a rough year in China. The company was recently the target of a protest at China's largest auto show in Shanghai by Tesla owners who complained about problems with their cars. Regulatory agencies have also questioned the quality of Tesla's Shanghai-made Model 3s, and there have been reports of tensions between China's military and the company.
Daniel Ives, a managing director of equity research at Wedbush Securities, called the incident a clear "black eye moment" for Tesla after all the negative publicity the company had recently faced.
But "we believe this situation overall is a bump in the road and does not derail the near-term or long-term bull thesis for Tesla China," he wrote in a note to clients Sunday. "However, going forward it needs to be a smoother road on autopilot safety, otherwise the PR black cloud will continue."
-- By Philip Wang and Michelle Toh
Forkast News: China Bets on the Blockchain - CoinDesk
Mon, 28 Jun 2021 02:03
By Alexander Zaitchik, Jeanhee Kim, Kelly Le and Angie Lau, Forkast.News. First in a series produced by Forkast.News with support from the Judith Neilson Institute's Asian Stories project.
There is no stage bigger than the Olympics, for the athletes and the host country. Modern China announced its arrival 13 years ago when 2,008 synchronized drummers performed at the Beijing Summer Olympics opening ceremonies. In February, China is expected to use the Beijing Winter Olympics to unveil a creation of intense international interest: the digital yuan, the first major central bank digital currency, or CBDC.
Consumers are unlikely to notice much difference shopping with e-CNY, as the currency is officially known. It will be worth the same as cash and will activate with a tap, swipe or QR code. But the questions this form of money raises are profound. As governments around the world move to phase out physical cash, what will become of financial privacy? How will state-sponsored digital money affect China's economy, its trading relationships and '-- most weighty of all '-- the future of the global financial system now dominated by the United States and the dollar?
''The question is not whether China's CBDC will upend the current rules of global trade and commerce,'' said Pauline Loong, director of Hong Kong-based research consultancy Asia-Analytica. ''The only question is how far-reaching the ramifications will be across issues related to who controls access to capital and its movements.''
But for all of the digital yuan's consequence, it is a toe peeking out from a giant red curtain. Behind is an ambitious and largely invisible infrastructure program to rewire the country and its economy with a distributed ledger technology known as blockchain. China has moved deliberately to secure first-mover advantage in what it believes is the future of the internet.
If the digital yuan is Beijing's tender for the digital frontier, its blockchain initiative is its bid to build the railroads.
A new money
The story of how China came to settle the technological frontier begins with the 2008 financial crisis. Just one month after the Summer Olympics, an underregulated U.S. financial sector tripped the world into recession. It was a vulnerability that China decided it was no longer willing to accept. As the crisis was unfolding, then-President Hu Jintao called upon like-minded nations at the G20 summit to ''steadily promote the diversification of the international monetary system.''
Receiving a muted response, China forged ahead in creating parallel institutions to those dominated by the U.S. In 2010, when Washington's sanctions effectively locked Iran out of the international financial system, China's focus on cross-border currency flows intensified.
By then, domestic concerns were spurring creative thinking around monetary policy. One was how to get 400 million ''underbanked'' Chinese out of poverty. E-commerce giant Alibaba introduced a mobile payment system in 2008, taking advantage of the country's high rates of smartphone adoption: by 2015, 800 million Chinese would be using smartphones, according to the Pew Research Center. But such private payment systems left the Bank of China on the sidelines and did little for rising Communist Party leader Xi Jinping's anti-corruption strategy, which required closer state monitoring of money.
Then, around 2012, regulators began to observe strange patterns in power grids across the country. From Xinjiang to Inner Mongolia, huge amounts of electricity were surging into warehouses packed with powerful computers and colossal servers. The processors were crunching numbers to produce '-- or ''mine'' '-- a new kind of money called Bi te bi in Mandarin. At their peak in the late-2010s, Chinese miners are thought to have produced 95% of the world's Bi te bi, or Bitcoin.
This money had no connection to a bank, or any centralized authority at all. It was entirely digital and uniquely secure. Every transaction was broadcast to every computer within a network for confirmation and recorded permanently in a long series of distributed ledger entries, or blocks.
Chinese officials grasped the implications of this unregulated activity immediately. In 2014, its Peoples' Bank of China (PBOC) began studying the possibility of a government version of Bitcoin. With each passing year, the disappearance of paper yuan from the economy made the idea more plausible. By 2019, PwC reported, 96% of Chinese regularly shopped online.
''Before many governments even knew the basics of Bitcoin, Chinese authorities started to take leadership in the security of the network on the mining side,'' said Ian Wittkopp, vice president at Beijing-based Sino Global Capital. ''This led to the development of a strong blockchain and crypto ecosystem.''
By October 2020, the digital yuan was ready for pilot testing among China's masses. All told, 750,000 people chosen by lottery were given 150 million e-CNY (US$23 million) to spend at roughly 70,000 brick-and-mortar businesses plus a slew of online retailers.
Six months later, new trials allowed open participation. This marked the first monitored release of the digital yuan into the wild. By June, nursing homes in Chengdu were teaching elderly residents how to use the new money.
Such care and expense are necessary to ensure the Olympics debut is as well-rehearsed as those 2,008 drummers, according to Peter Cai, who studies China's economy and trade policy at the Lowy Institute in Sydney. ''The cost of getting something wrong on this is tremendous,'' he said. ''Chinese officials are right to talk about the digital currency as if it's a new frontier. What are the full implications for financial, banking and payment systems, or the conduct of a monetary policy? I don't think anybody has a firm grip on that. And that includes China.''
The next internet
During two decades of historic economic growth, China has had a mixed record on high technologies. It has struggled to attain self-sufficiency '-- never mind dominance '-- in the production of semiconductors and chips. It was ahead of the curve on 5G broadband, but lags behind the West in fields of arguably greater strategic value, such as artificial intelligence.
When it comes to blockchain, China appears to have taken a lead in a technology of consequence. After President Xi in 2019 promised blockchain would ''lead the next wave of the digital transformation of China,'' thousands of companies reportedly initiated blockchain projects related to everything from retail banking to global shipping and supply chains. This profusion of activity continues apace. Said Wittkopp, ''It's a field of one. No other country is even close.''
These projects are transforming a digital ecosystem that was already among the world's most sophisticated, according to a recent McKinsey study. China has 850 million internet users and more than a quarter of the world's most successful startups. One of them is Hangzhou-based Ant Group. The financial services giant has over 50 blockchain-based decentralized apps, or dapps, in areas such as shipping, insurance claim processing and charitable donations. Internet search firm Baidu, the Google of China, has 20 dapps, including one that has handled 35 million pieces of electronic evidence for China's ''Internet Court.''
It's not just tech companies staking territory on the blockchain frontier. A division of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China has developed dapps for retail and corporate use. Insurance giant Ping An uses them to finance public-works projects. A dapp used by the China Construction Bank has helped local banks facilitate $134 billion in loans.
''Blockchain will make our tech and our society work better,'' said Yifan He, blockchain evangelist and CEO of engineering firm Red Date Technology. ''It can make all the IT systems in the world communicate like they are in one room.'' He predicts in 10 years all transactions that require more than two parties will be blockchain-based.
The state of blockchain today is like the internet of 1993, He said. Back then, most companies could not afford the entry costs of the nascent internet (which began as a public infrastructure project overseen by the Pentagon).
In April 2020, China formalized its bet on blockchain by creating the Blockchain-based Service Network, or BSN, managed by Red Date. It is an infrastructure platform that allows private entities, especially small and medium-sized businesses, to overcome the two biggest barriers to entry '-- interoperability and prohibitive costs.
''We built everything for you already; you just connect to it and work on your smart contract,'' said He, who claims the development cost of a simple dapp within the BSN could be as little as 1% of commercial blockchain.
By its first anniversary in April 2021 the BSN had attracted 20,000 users and more than 2,500 projects across 120 ''nodes'' throughout China plus Johannesburg, Northern California, Paris, S£o Paulo, Singapore, Sydney and Tokyo. S-Labs, a Beijing startup, has used it to develop applications that have helped over 5,000 SMEs find more than 500 million yuan in loans during the pandemic. S-Labs chief technology officer Li Ming said the BSN is easy to use because it meets Chinese government standards and helps them find customers. ''The biggest convenience of BSN is its brand effect.''
And if He has his way, today's youth will be the first blockchain-native generation. This fluency is already being developed in high schools where the BSN is exploring how to teach students, including by holding programming contests with cash prizes. ''Blockchain should be a basic skill,'' said He. ''The idea is to help more people become comfortable using the technology.''
In June, Red Date closed on US$30 million in Series A funding that was notable for its global reach. Major investors from Saudi Arabia, Switzerland and Thailand participated.
Part Two of this series will examine how China is deploying technology'--in particular the digital yuan'--to advance initiatives that intertwine economics and geopolitics, straddle concrete and virtual infrastructure, and span the hemispheres, from Cambodia to the Caribbean.
Statement by the Department of Defense > U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE > Release
Sun, 27 Jun 2021 23:11
(Attributable to Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby)
"At President Biden's direction, U.S. military forces earlier this evening conducted defensive precision airstrikes against facilities used by Iran-backed militia groups in the Iraq-Syria border region. The targets were selected because these facilities are utilized by Iran-backed militias that are engaged in unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) attacks against U.S. personnel and facilities in Iraq. Specifically, the U.S. strikes targeted operational and weapons storage facilities at two locations in Syria and one location in Iraq, both of which lie close to the border between those countries. Several Iran-backed militia groups, including Kata'ib Hezbollah (KH) and Kata'ib Sayyid al-Shuhada (KSS), used these facilities.
As demonstrated by this evening's strikes, President Biden has been clear that he will act to protect U.S. personnel. Given the ongoing series of attacks by Iran-backed groups targeting U.S. interests in Iraq, the President directed further military action to disrupt and deter such attacks. We are in Iraq at the invitation of the Government of Iraq for the sole purpose of assisting the Iraqi Security Forces in their efforts to defeat ISIS. The United States took necessary, appropriate, and deliberate action designed to limit the risk of escalation - but also to send a clear and unambiguous deterrent message.
As a matter of international law, the United States acted pursuant to its right of self-defense. The strikes were both necessary to address the threat and appropriately limited in scope. As a matter of domestic law, the President took this action pursuant to his Article II authority to protect U.S. personnel in Iraq."
Covid jabs 'should be given to pets' after human vaccine roll-out is over - Wales Online
Sun, 27 Jun 2021 20:18
Labour is calling on Ministers to look at giving the coronavirus vaccine to animals once the human population has been dealt with
Cats and dogs should be next in line for Covid jabs once all people have been vaccinated, Ministers have been told.
According to experts, vaccinating pets may help stop variants developing and spreading, reports the Mirror.
Labour's Sir Mark Hendrick said: ''Covid possibly started in bats. The priority is to vaccinate humans, but a year or so down the line we have to look at animal vaccines.''
And Kevin Tyler, editor of journal Virulence, added: ''Mutations could come back into humans looking quite different.
''A substantially different variant could be a problem in the future. The best way to deal with that might be vaccines.''
Although last July a cat tested positive in the UK after catching the virus from its owner, animal-to-human transmission is rare.
The British Veterinary Association recommends owners wash hands after touching pets in case the virus is on their fur.
Russia has developed the first animal-specific jab tested successfully on cats and dogs, and a US firm is also working on one.
Independent SAGE virologist Prof Deenan Pillay said: ''It may be the current vaccines would need a tweak for nonhuman species.''
Denmark culled its 17 million mink after finding a coronavirus mutant in fur farms, and ferrets have infected cats in lab tests.
A tiger in New York's Bronx Zoo and eight gorillas at San Diego Zoo are thought to have caught the virus from keepers.
Environment minister Victoria Prentis said there is no evidence of infected farm animals and no current plan for pet jabs.
But she added: ''If the biology changes such that companion animals become important in transmission, we'll reconsider.''
Sir Mark added: ''The more we exploit the world, the more likely it is to bite us back.''

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Biden ramble on jobs oTWO start.mp3
CBS 60 Minutes - anchor Scott Pelley - havana syndrome (1) intro (58sec).mp3
CBS 60 Minutes - anchor Scott Pelley - havana syndrome (2) mark lindsey describes attack (43sec).mp3
CBS 60 Minutes - anchor Scott Pelley - havana syndrome (3) catherine warner describes attack and symptoms (1min12sec).mp3
CBS 60 Minutes - anchor Scott Pelley - havana syndrome (4) same as US embassy in havana (10sec).mp3
CBS 60 Minutes - anchor Scott Pelley - havana syndrome (5) mark lindsey has a theory -clue NSA statement (47sec).mp3
CBS 60 Minutes - anchor Scott Pelley - havana syndrome (6) ending -cuba china russia -investigation -reasons unknown (40sec).mp3
COVID Brazil update DN.mp3
COVID Indonesia Cases Bed DN.mp3
COVID Pfizer plug DN.mp3
COVID wrong words.mp3
DOD Audit-Rumsfeld 2.3 trillion war on waste CBS report from 2006.mp3
Dr Frank on elect 3.mp3
Dr Frank on elect two.mp3
Dr Hotep Hotez - Delta variant is like NOTHING we've seen before - Get Vaccinated.mp3
Dr Jill BIden - They already had a pandemic ready to go gaffe.mp3
Dr Pierre Kory - Crypto Cougar - Lives Saved.mp4
Dr Robert Malone on long term and side effects of mRNA vaccines technology he invented.mp3
Dr, Frank on elections ONE.mp3
Dr. Pierre Kory - Crypto Cougar - Ivermectin.mp4
East Jeruselem issues DN.mp3
Erin Burnett with Energy Secretary Granholm - Condo Collapse Climate Change.mp3
Fauci with Lester Holt VERY LITTLE DOUBT.mp3
Happy Canada Day from Trudeau.mp3
Illinois - Nearly 100 Tons of Lithium Batteries Involved in Large Morris Industrial Fire.mp3
Indonesia CHina USA NTD.mp3
Itzly vs China NTD.mp3
Jen Psaki - 500 Charging Stations.mp4
JPMorgan is buying an ESG investing platform - CNBC Joe Kiernan and Andrew Ross Sorkin.mp3
LA County told to Mask Up Again.mp3
Louisiana governor how to get ready for a hurricane.mp3
Magnetofection in vaccines - Dr Jane Ruby - Spion.mp3
Mahr and Dan Carlin on Google medical censorship ivermectin.mp3
McDonalds now with a side of Pfizer - Why not get shot and force feed burger.mp3
Miss Nevada USA crowns trans woman for first time.mp3
more statues gone DN.mp3
NBC Nightly News - anchor Keir Simmons - china blocks investigation into wuhan lab (1min45sec).mp3
NBC Nightly News - anchor Keir Simmons - Hong Kong arrest 7th -apple news daily prints last paper (1min11sec).mp3
NBC Nightly News - anchor Lester Holt - Fauci regional surges for unvaccinated pockets (39sec).mp3
NBC Nightly News - anchor Miguel Almaguer - mask wearing for the vaccinated -mRNA booster for j&j -Gottlieb in clip (1min15sec).mp3
NBC Nightly News - anchor Richard Engel - syria airstrikes in response to militants using drones to dive bomb targets (33sec).mp3
NBC Nightly News - anchor Stephanie Ruhle - highest gas prices since 2014 (28sec).mp3
NBC Nightly News - anchor Steve Patterson - CA 5 Billion dollar renter bailout (1min19sec).mp3
Neeva CEO Sridhar Ramaswamy.mp3
Neil Patrick Harris BTC ATM commercial.mp3
NSA ns Tucker NTD.mp3
NYC Election corruption FN.mp3
Psaki 4 month red book AC disagrees.mp3
right wing operative DN.mp3
Russian Mil exercises.mp3
social worker police DN.mp3
Team Halo tiktok - Delta Variant - had covid - get vaccinated.mp3
Tik-Tok hit piece NTF.mp3
U.S Senator Lummis - I encourage people to save bitcoin for their retirement, for their future.mp3
WABC - anchor unknown - allison mack sentenced to 3 years NXIVM cult (32sec).mp3
West Coasts temps Climate DN.mp3
Wikileaks story DN.mp3
WV Govenor on vaccineincentives Wheel of Death.mp3
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