1452: Toxic Stew

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

3h 35m
May 19th, 2022
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Executive Producers: Sir Boiled Peanut, Black Knight Sir Big Loaf, Lee Rhodes, Gunter Weber, Anonymous, Matthew Schock, Chris "Sully" Sullivan, Sir Jake, Knight of the Deep Blue Sea, The Feral Housewife, casey hamre, Douwe Andela, Joe Spry, Anonymous, Sir Paul of the Command Line, Ecuador Eric, Tim Osborn, Evan Downs, Ryan Kilgo, kristen gottula, Evan & Sarah Ellen Lacke, Sir Rogue of the Taverns, Baron of the Cowichan valley

Associate Executive Producers: Anonymous Rancher, Joshua Gribben, Sean Fincham, Alan Dix, Anonymous, Jonathan Keegan, Baronet Sir Cycle Path, David Medus & Leila, Jessie Hrynkiw, Andrew Baker, Sir William Lee, Justin Spry

Cover Artist: Capitalist Agenda


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Supply Chains
HVAC supply chains
also HVAC
There are articles everywhere about the air conditioning not working when it got hot last week
one example
There is such a parts shortage. I spend more than half my week looking for parts or equipment. These are commercial building systems so, pumps and pump parts 14 to 16 weeks out. There almost no VFD’s (variable frequency drives) the speed control for large motors due to the chip shortage and now hearing about a fan belt shortage coming
something needs to change or its going to be a bad winter when your system goes down in the cold and actually causes freeze damage to something
Ministry of Truthiness
Nina Jankowicz & the Integrity Initiative (FTSN)
A good article on the NATO / MIC disinfo network in Europe. The 'Integrity Initiative' think tank was hacked and some of their strategic documents released. They were behind a pressure campaign in Spain against a specific politician perceived to be anti-NATO.
Busted: Biden’s “Minster of Truth” Nina Jankowicz Participated in Secret NATO-Funded Cabal to Subvert Western Democracies Using Disinformation as Cover
"First, we note the sinister irony that the NATO-funded Integrity Initiative, whose ostensible purpose is to “Defend Democracy Against Disinformation,” was caught red-handed conducting a secretive influence operation to meddle in the internal politics of Spain, a democratic NATO member.
Second, we note how crucial — indeed, indispensable — the social media platform Twitter was to the influence operations in question. It is precisely the importance of Twitter as a theater for U.S., U.K., and NATO backed psychological influence operations that informed our analysis of Elon Musk’s attempt to purchase the platform. We weren’t exaggerating when we described Elon’s threat to allow free speech and transparency on Twitter as a “declaration of war” against the Regime. As the Integrity Initiative’s use of the platform shows, Twitter’s value to U.S.-aligned intelligence agencies as a friendly ground for influence operations far exceeds its nominal value as a technology company."
"The Integrity Initiative’s leaked handbook identified Ben Nimmo’s DFR Lab, along with Buzzfeed and a handful of other organizations, as friendly outlets to rely upon when conducting its influence operations."
"What is Ben Nimmo’s current position? If you guessed that Ben Nimmo now works at Facebook and helps to lead Facebook’s global threat intelligence strategy against influence operations, you’d be correct."
"The Integrity Initiative was a secret, government-funded influence operation that engaged secret “clusters” of journalists and academics to coordinate in order to meddle in the political process of Western democracies under the guise of combating “disinformation” and “defending democracy.” "
Biden Crime Family
Great Reset
Sri Lanka To Run Out Of Oil Today As Streets Break Out Into Chaos – David Icke
“We have run out of petrol … At the moment, we only have petrol stocks for a single day,” said newly elected Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.
On Twitter, Wickremesinghe warned his fellow Sri Lankans that they would face the “most difficult” time of their lives.
“The next couple of months will be the most difficult ones of our lives. I have no desire to hide the truth and to lie to the public. Although these facts are unpleasant and terrifying, this is the true situation,” wrote Wickremesinghe.
U.S. Eyeing Russian Energy Sanctions Over Ukraine War, Officials Say - The New York Times
The Biden administration is developing plans to further choke Russia’s oil revenues with the long-term goal of destroying the country’s central role in the global energy economy, current and former U.S. officials say, a major escalatory step that could put the United States in political conflict with China, India, Turkey and other nations that buy Russian oil.
The proposed measures include imposing a price cap on Russian oil, backed by so-called secondary sanctions, which would punish foreign buyers that do not comply with U.S. restrictions by blocking them from doing business with American companies and those of partner nations.
As President Vladimir V. Putin wages war in Ukraine, the United States and its allies have imposed sanctions on Russia that have battered its economy. But the nearly $20 billion per month that Russia continues to reap from oil sales could sustain the sort of grinding conflict underway in eastern Ukraine and finance any future aggressions, according to officials and experts.
U.S. Eyeing Russian Energy Sanctions Over Ukraine War, Officials Say - The New York Times
The Biden administration is developing plans to further choke Russia’s oil revenues with the long-term goal of destroying the country’s central role in the global energy economy, current and former U.S. officials say, a major escalatory step that could put the United States in political conflict with China, India, Turkey and other nations that buy Russian oil.
The proposed measures include imposing a price cap on Russian oil, backed by so-called secondary sanctions, which would punish foreign buyers that do not comply with U.S. restrictions by blocking them from doing business with American companies and those of partner nations.
As President Vladimir V. Putin wages war in Ukraine, the United States and its allies have imposed sanctions on Russia that have battered its economy. But the nearly $20 billion per month that Russia continues to reap from oil sales could sustain the sort of grinding conflict underway in eastern Ukraine and finance any future aggressions, according to officials and experts.
-----------------------------FOOD INTELLIGENCE---------------------------------------
Bugs in Benelux
Hey Adam,
I hope you receive this mail…
ITM! From the boots on the ground in the head quarter of the biggest wholesale food distributor of food in the BeNeLux: the mother company will invest heavenly on promotions of consuming bugs being the new normal. This company is influencing chefs of restaurants and catering companies, and are delivering food to almost all restaurants in the BeNeLux. Soon master classes (cook sessions, updating menus, how to persuade customers to eat bugs) will be given for free to promote the consumption of bugs. All for a better climate and what not!
Example of the current edition of the magazine here below. And soon at your restaurant around the corner (in the BeNeLux).
The Purge
Ukraine Russia
CSB Issue with News letter
This sentence from Dvorak’s newsletter is a lie:
“ NATO is making moves to get Sweden and Finland to join the alliance”
because it was and is 100% push by Finland and Sweden and not pull by NATO.
Ukraine is not innocent - some small alt right groups and huge corruption (millions in donations from Poland to Ukraine are stolen by higher ranks) - but come on, Dvorak is too one-sided.
I will not email him as it’s pointless: you are co-host who could question his dubious claims, I’m just a listener. If I would email him or send him toot or tweet he would ban me. The message would be: DVORAK, stop spreading obvious lies and being blindly pro-Russian just because Kaspersky bribed you with junkets. DVORAK, your polish citizenship holding mom, would not approve your blindly pro Russian lies and one sided coverage. Bottom line: there was zero pull from NATO on Finland and Sweden and DVORAK spreads obvious lie. It’s just one example, me emailing him would not help. You as his co host can try to balance out, ask him where is specific proof that NATO pulled them and they didn’t push etc…
Russian toilets
My Smoking Hot Ukrainian Wife has informed me the Russian soldiers believe indoor pluming is disgusting and backwards. She has sent me a recording of a Russian soldier calling home. The guy told his wife about the toilets inside and they both laughed and said it was disgusting. Seems indoor plumbing hasn’t reached parts of Russian.
Asset Forfeiture = Russian Oligarch Yachts
Climate Change ESG
Why Tesla was kicked out of the S&P 500's ESG index
Changes to the index took effect on May 2, and a spokesperson for the index explained why they were made in a blog post published Wednesday.
It said that Tesla’s “lack of a low-carbon strategy” and “codes of business conduct,” along with racism and poor working conditions reported at Tesla’s factory in Fremont, California, affected the score. Tesla’s handling of an investigation by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration also weighed on its score.
“Current environmental, social and governance (ESG) reporting does not measure the scope of positive impact on the world. Instead, it focuses on measuring the dollar value of risk / return. Individual investors — who entrust their money to ESG funds of large investment institutions — are perhaps unaware that their money can be used to buy shares of companies that make climate change worse, not better.”
In that report, Tesla contended that other automakers could achieve higher ESG ratings even if they barely reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and continue manufacturing internal combustion engine vehicles.
U.S. Eyeing Russian Energy Sanctions Over Ukraine War, Officials Say - The New York Times
The Biden administration is developing plans to further choke Russia’s oil revenues with the long-term goal of destroying the country’s central role in the global energy economy, current and former U.S. officials say, a major escalatory step that could put the United States in political conflict with China, India, Turkey and other nations that buy Russian oil.
The proposed measures include imposing a price cap on Russian oil, backed by so-called secondary sanctions, which would punish foreign buyers that do not comply with U.S. restrictions by blocking them from doing business with American companies and those of partner nations.
As President Vladimir V. Putin wages war in Ukraine, the United States and its allies have imposed sanctions on Russia that have battered its economy. But the nearly $20 billion per month that Russia continues to reap from oil sales could sustain the sort of grinding conflict underway in eastern Ukraine and finance any future aggressions, according to officials and experts.
U.S. Eyeing Russian Energy Sanctions Over Ukraine War, Officials Say - The New York Times
The Biden administration is developing plans to further choke Russia’s oil revenues with the long-term goal of destroying the country’s central role in the global energy economy, current and former U.S. officials say, a major escalatory step that could put the United States in political conflict with China, India, Turkey and other nations that buy Russian oil.
The proposed measures include imposing a price cap on Russian oil, backed by so-called secondary sanctions, which would punish foreign buyers that do not comply with U.S. restrictions by blocking them from doing business with American companies and those of partner nations.
As President Vladimir V. Putin wages war in Ukraine, the United States and its allies have imposed sanctions on Russia that have battered its economy. But the nearly $20 billion per month that Russia continues to reap from oil sales could sustain the sort of grinding conflict underway in eastern Ukraine and finance any future aggressions, according to officials and experts.
Big Pharma
Pfizer’s Grip on Paxlovid Thwarts Research on Covid Treatment
(Bloomberg) --
05/18/2022 05:30:00 [BN] Bloomberg News
Pfizer’s Grip on Paxlovid Thwarts Research on Covid Treatment
Resistance to solo therapy a ‘matter of time,’ chemist says
Drug giant rebuffs outside requests for supplies for trials
By Robert Langreth, Madison Muller and Riley Griffin
Pfizer Inc. is resisting requests for study supplies of its Covid-19 pill, Paxlovid, disappointing
researchers who say combining the $22 billion therapy with other drugs might stave off resistance.
Pfizer hasn’t started any combination trials in people, and a review of the clinicaltrials.gov database shows no
outpatient studies combining Paxlovid, the mainstay US Covid therapy, with other antiviral drugs or antibodies.
Some academic researchers and advocacy groups say they can’t get Paxlovid for human studies that could maintain
or improve its effectiveness and expand use.
Pfizer scientists have said one of their goals in developing Covid treatments has been minimizing the chances of
resistance, which occurs when viruses mutate to overcome a drug’s effects. While there are no signs of Paxlovid
encountering resistance so far, it’s a constant threat to antivirals of all kinds, including treatments for HIV and
hepatitis C. Covid’s frequent mutations have already rendered several monoclonal therapies useless and have
begun evading powerful mRNA vaccines, including the one made by Pfizer and partner BioNTech SE.
1970's Redux
Mandates & Boosters
Natural gas to be classed as 'green' investment to boost North Sea
Thu, 19 May 2022 17:19
Natural gas is to be classed as a ''green'' investment by Kwasi Kwarteng as the Government scrambles to increase North Sea production in a move that risks inflaming tensions with climate campaigners.
Mr Kwarteng, the Business Secretary, is understood to be keen that drilling for the fossil fuel is listed as ''environmentally sustainable'' in a new classification of activities being drawn up by his department and the Treasury to guide investors.
It comes amid concerns that banks and pension funds are ditching natural gas projects because of the implications for climate change.
Producing and burning natural gas for power production and heating is a vast source of carbon dioxide emissions.
However, gas is touted by many experts as a ''transition fuel'' towards lower carbon economies as it emits less than coal and oil which it can replace.
The European Union classed certain natural gas projects as green investments last year on that basis, despite strong opposition from critics concerned about climate goals.
A Whitehall source said: ''Kwasi considers natural gas a transition fuel, and he accepts the reality of the situation which is that we will need gas for decades to come and we need more developments in the North Sea.
''A lot of investors with ESG [environmental, social and governance] targets are divesting from fossil fuels - we don't want that to be done at the detriment of natural gas.''
Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor, announced in November 2020 that the Government will establish a ''Green Taxonomy'', to establish which sectors are contributing to the UK's climate goals so that investors who want to invest in the green shift can spend accordingly.
Britain has mostly switched away from coal-fired power plants, with gas providing almost 40pc of annual electricity compared to less than 2pc from coal, and almost a quarter coming from wind turbines.
The UK has strict carbon emission reduction targets but natural gas is likely to have an ongoing role in electricity production when coupled with technology to strip out carbon emissions.
Gas-fired boilers that heat most UK homes are on course to be replaced, either with hydrogen - which can itself be produced from natural gas - or with heat pumps, which require electricity.
A global shortage of natural gas as countries re-opened from the pandemic last year helped push wholesale prices to record highs even before Russia's war on Ukraine further disrupted markets.
The surge has already triggered a 54pc rise in the energy price cap, pushing up average British household energy bills to £1,971, with a further rise likely in October when the price cap is reset.
Plans for the new ''green taxonomy'' are expected to be finalised in autumn, with the exact criteria for natural gas projects still being discussed. Nuclear power developers are also pushing for inclusion, with the Government relying on greater investment in nuclear power as a key part of its energy security strategy.
The Government has introduced a new financing mechanism for nuclear power plants which it is hoped will encourage investment and bring down financing costs by allowing investors to recoup money earlier from consumer bills.
The Government said this may add less than £1 per month on average during the full construction phase of the project.
EBU statement regarding voting patterns during 2022 shows - Eurovision Song Contest
Thu, 19 May 2022 17:19
Media Centre
Press releases15 May 2022 at 00:09 CESTIn the analysis of jury voting by the European Broadcasting Union's (EBU) pan-European voting partner after the Second Dress Rehearsal of the Second Semi-Final of the 2022 Eurovision Song Contest, certain irregular voting patterns were identified in the results of six countries.
In order to comply with the Contest's Voting Instructions, the EBU worked with its voting partner to calculate a substitute aggregated result for each country concerned for both the Second-Semi Final and the Grand Final (calculated based on the results of other countries with similar voting records).
This process was acknowledged by the Independent Voting Monitor.
The EBU takes any suspected attempts to manipulate the voting at the Eurovision Song Contest extremely seriously and has the right to remove such votes in accordance with the Official Voting Instructions, irrespective of whether or not such votes are likely to influence the results and/or outcome of the voting.
S14 (Ukrainian group) - Wikipedia
Thu, 19 May 2022 17:18
Ukrainian far-right organization
S14, also known as C14 or Sich[1] (Ukrainian: Ðіч , romanized: Ð14 ), is a neo-Nazi,[2][3][4] Ukrainian nationalist group founded in 2010.[5] In 2018, it gained notoriety for its involvement in violent attacks on Romani camps.[6][7][8] S14 stated that it is only involved in removing illegal Romani camps using "compelling legitimate arguments".[9]
History [ edit ] S14 was founded in 2010 as the youth wing of the ultranationalist political party Svoboda.[1] S14 was one of the far-right groups active during the Euromaidan movement (November 2013 '' February 2014).[1][10][11] They were involved with skirmishes with the violent pro-government supporters known as titushky.[1] In November 2017, the group was added to the political violence database of Terrorism Research & Analysis Consortium.[1][5] In 2018, alongside the Azov Battalion's National Corps party, S14 was recognized by the United States Department of State's Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor as a nationalist hate group.[12][13][14] S14 shares the Azov Battalion's and Social-National Assembly's neo-Nazi aims.[14][nb 1] In OpenDemocracy, Denys Gorbach commented that "C14 combine generic 'healthy patriotic' message with subtler hints which can be easily deciphered by members of the subculture (such as the symbolic date of the Roma pogrom on Hitler's birthday or indeed the very name of the organisation)".[14][15]
In 2017, S14 was accused by anti-war,[16][17] left-wing activist Stas Serhiyenko of having been involved in his stabbing.[18][19][20] The day after the attack, S14 leader Yevhen Karas [uk] accused Serhiyenko of having supported the 2014 pro-Russian unrest in Kharkiv Oblast and annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation, and stated that the attack was "far from the first, but not the last, attack on the bacilli of terrorism, hidden in the midst of peaceful Ukrainian streets".[21] In November 2017, S14 was accused by former member Dmytro Riznychenko [uk] to have cooperated with the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU),[22] and Karas openly boasted about it.[2][23]
In January 2018, S14 counter-protested the annual demonstration commemorating Anastasia Baburova and Stanislav Markelov, two murdered Russian anti-fascists, by shouting the demonstrators down and attacking them with eggs and snowballs;[24] the demonstration has been an annual target of the far right.[15][25] In March 2018, the Holosiivskyi District of Kyiv signed an agreement allowing to establish a municipal guard headed by a S14 representative to patrol the capital city's streets.[18] This decision was criticized by human rights groups commenting that "Ukraine is sinking into a chaos of uncontrolled violence posed by radical groups and their total impunity. Practically no one in the country can feel safe under these conditions."[2] As in some cases the police arrested peaceful demonstrators rather than the violent perpetrators, such as the January 2018 violence and March 2018 far-right attacks against the International Women's Day marchers, they said that far-right groups, among them S14, were acting under "a veneer of patriotism" and "traditional values", and were allowed by the police and the state to operate under an "atmosphere of near total impunity that cannot but embolden these groups to commit more attacks".[2][26][27]
In June 2018, S14 gained international notoriety after reports it was being involved in violent attacks on Romani camps.[6][8][28] After one such alleged attack in May 2018, Kyiv Police released a statement it had not received complaints from Roma for beatings or violence.[29] The day after the attack, Karas posted a blog entry entitled "Separatist Safari", taking responsibility for the assault. He made threats "on the germs of terrorists hiding in the peaceful Ukrainian streets".[30] Amnesty International, Freedom House, Front Line Defenders, and Human Rights Watch signed a "Joint Letter to Ukraine's Minister of Interior Affairs and Prosecutor General Concerning Radical Groups" citing S14, alongside Karpatska Sich, Right Sector, Traditsii i Poryadok, and others, to "have carried out at least two dozen violent attacks, threats, or instances of intimidation in Kyiv, Vinnitsa, Uzhgorod, Lviv, Chernivtsi, Ivano-Frankivsk and other Ukrainian cities".[2][31] On 14 June 2018, Hromadske Radio reported that Ukraine's Ministry of Youth and Sports was funding S14 to promote "national patriotic education projects", for which the group was awarded almost $17,000.[32] S14 also awarded funds to far-right linked Educational Assembly and Holosiyiv Hideout.[2]
In October 2018, Serhiy Bondar, a young organizer with S14, spoke at an event focused on community safety at the America House Kyiv, which later stated that the invitation was not arranged with them. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFERL) correspondent Christopher Miller described it as "disturbing".[33] On 19 November 2018, S14 and fellow far-right Ukrainian nationalist political organizations, among them the Congress of Ukrainian Nationalists, the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists, and Right Sector, endorsed Ruslan Koshulynskyi in the 2019 Ukrainian presidential election.[34] where he received 1.6% of the votes.[35] In March 2019, a cooperation between S14 and the SBU was announced; the SBU instructed S14 to perform certain tasks that the SBU could not perform for legal reasons.[36] In March 2021, S14 members were elected to the Public Council at the country's Ministry for Veterans Affairs,[37][38] with whom the group, alongside Azov, has partnered since November 2019; far-right groups and leaders were involved in shaping the ministry, which was formed in November 2018.[39]
On 17 October 2019, an event was arranged by far-right figure Andriy Medvedko [uk] , who chairs an organization for veterans of the war in Donbass linked to S14 and is a suspect in the murder of journalist Oles Buzina; the event, a concert attended by, among others, neo-Nazi and Holocaust-denying band Sokyra Peruna [uk] , was also attended by then-government ministers, among them Prime Minister Oleksiy Honcharuk and minister Oksana Koliada.[40][41][42] Following harsh criticism, Honcharuk justified his presence stating that many different bands had attended the event and that he had visited the place following an invitation from a veteran group, not because he is a fan of Sokyra Peruna.[43]
Image [ edit ] S14 (as spelled in the Ukrainian alphabet) says it resembles Sich (Ukrainian: Ðіч ), the name given to the administrative and military centres for Cossacks in the 16''18th century.[1][44] Experts and the Terrorism Research & Analysis Consortium have reported that the number 14 in the group's name has been seen as a reference to the Fourteen Words slogan coined by David Lane,[45][nb 2] an American white supremacist.[1][5][18] Academic Anton Shekhovtsov has defined the organization as a "neo-Nazi movement",[46] while sociologist Volodymyr Ishchenko [uk] described it as "a neo-Nazi terror group ... whose major activity is harassing and terrorizing opposition journalists, bloggers, and citizens".[47]
S14 leader Yevhen Karas [uk] has defended himself from attacks calling him a Nazi and his group being neo-Nazi.[1][48][49] According to Karas, his confrontations were mainly with non-Ukrainian ethnic groups that he said controlled the country's political and economic forces, whom he identified as Jews, Poles, and Russians.[1] He stated: "We don't consider ourselves a neo-Nazi organization, we're clearly Ukrainian nationalists."[1] In 2018, former member Dmytro Riznychenko [uk] told Radio Svoboda: "C14 are all neo-Nazis. It's quite an appropriate definition."[45] In May 2018, Hromadske wrote: "Most of C14's actions do seem to be directed at Russia, or those sympathetic towards Russia."[1] Political scientist Andreas Umland said that S14 "could qualify as neo-Nazi",[1] as did Vyacheslav Likhachev [uk] ,[50] author of the 2018 Freedom House report on the far right in Ukraine,[45] and other far-right researchers or political scientists like Chris Kaspar De Ploeg,[51] Anna Hrytsenko [uk] ,[52] Ivan Katchanovski,[53][54] and Branislav Radelic.[55] Likhachev said that S14 members decorated the captured Kyiv City State Administration's building during the Euromaidan with neo-Nazi symbolism and flags, which they continue to use.[49] In June 2018, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported that members of the group had openly expressed neo-Nazi views.[6] After one member updated his Facebook image to that of him speaking at America House Kyiv, Halya Coynash wrote an article titled "Neo-Nazi C14 vigilantes appear to work with Kyiv police in latest 'purge' of Roma in Ukraine".[33][52]
On 6 August 2019, the Commercial Court of Kyiv ruled in favour of S14 after a 4 May 2018 tweet from Hromadske, which appealed,[56] referred to the group as neo-Nazi.[45] After the ruling, Hromadske published "The Neo-Nazis Who Don't Want to Be Called Neo-Nazis", reporting: "The court noted that the information circulated by Hromadske back in May 2018 ' harms the reputation ' of C14 and ordered Hromadske to refute the information and pay 3,500 hryvnia ($136) in court fees to C14. Hromadske maintains that it has the right to use such terminology."[45][57] The ruling was criticized by human rights groups, journalists, and both national and international observers,[58] with the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe's Office of the Representative on Freedom of the Media expressing concern because it "goes against #mediafreedom and could discourage journalistic work" in Ukraine.[45] International news outlets like Al Jazeera,[59] Bellingcat,[42] La Croix,[60] The Economist,[11] The Guardian,[61] Haaretz,[62][63] The Nation,[64] Reuters,[65] Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty,[66] and The Washington Post,[67] as well as the Parliament of the United Kingdom,[68] and human rights organizations like the European Roma Rights Centre,[69] Hope not Hate,[70] the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group,[52][71][72] PEN Ukraine,[73] ROMEA [cs] ,[74] and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum,[75] among others, have referred to S14 as a neo-Nazi group.[45][76] The ruling of the Commercial Court of Kyiv was upheld on 7 November 2019. The day prior, Matthew Schaaf, the director of Freedom House in Ukraine, said that the ruling "could seriously damage media coverage of important events in Ukraine in conditions where many media and journalists already apply self-censorship".[77] After the ruling, critics argued that it was not sufficient that neo-Nazi is offensive, it must also be false, which the court did not establish because it ignored the views of experts.[78] On 21 January 2020, the Supreme Court of Ukraine rejected Hromadske's appeal, and the case was taken to the European Court of Human Rights.[79]
Notes [ edit ] ^ "Its aims are stated in one of their online publications:'to prepare Ukraine for further expansion and to struggle for the liberation of the entire White Race from the domination of the internationalist speculative capital';'to punish severely sexual perversions and any interracial contacts that lead to the extinction of the white man'. This, according to experts, is a typical neo-Nazi narrative. C-14 holds roughly the same view ... ."[14] ^ Lane coined the 14-word slogan, which reads: "We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children."[5] References [ edit ] ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "A Fine Line: Defining Nationalism and Neo-Nazism in Ukraine". Hromadske. 10 May 2018. Archived from the original on 29 June 2018 . Retrieved 4 March 2022 . ^ a b c d e f Cohen, Josh (20 June 2018). "Ukraine's Got a Real Problem with Far-Right Violence (And No, RT Didn't Write This Headline)". Atlantic Council . Retrieved 26 February 2022 . ^ Coynash, Halya (25 October 2018). "Neo-Nazi C14 vigilantes appear to work with Kyiv police in latest 'purge' of Roma". Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group . Retrieved 5 March 2022 . C14 members object to being called 'neo-Nazi', however researchers following far-right groups, like Anna Hrytsenko, Anton Shekhovtsov and Vyacheslav Likhachev are clear that the group fits this description because of their hate crimes and the neo-Nazi symbols they use. ^ "Yes, It's (Still) OK To Call Ukraine's C14 'Neo-Nazi' ". Bellingcat. 9 August 2019 . Retrieved 26 February 2022 . The Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group, in an article published the day after the ruling, points out that C14 is 'considered by most experts to be neo-Nazi.' The Group points out that a number of experts and observers of the far-right in Ukraine frequently have referred to C14 as 'neo-Nazi.' These experts and observers include Vyacheslav Likhachev, the author of a 2018 Freedom House report on the far-right in Ukraine, as well as academics Anton Shekhovtsov and Andreas Umland. ^ a b c d "C14 aka Sich '' Ukraine". Terrorism Research & Analysis Consortium. November 2017 . Retrieved 4 March 2022 . ^ a b c Miller, Christopher (14 June 2018). "Ukrainian Militia Behind Brutal Romany Attacks Getting State Funds". Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty . Retrieved 4 March 2022 . ^ "SBU opens case against C14 nationalists for detention of Brazilian mercenary '' lawyer". Ukrainian Independent Information Agency. 18 June 2018 . Retrieved 4 March 2022 . ^ a b "Ukraine Roma camp attack leaves one dead". BBC. 24 June 2018 . Retrieved 4 March 2022 . ^ "Na Lysiy hori v Kyyevi natsionalisty rozibraly i spalyly tabir romiv" Ð'а Лисій Ð"оÑі в КиÑ--ві націонаÐ>>істи ÑозібÑаÐ>>и і сÐаÐ>>иÐ>>и Ñ‚Ð°Ð±Ñ–Ñ Ñомів [On the hill of Lysa Hora in Kiev, the nationalists dismantled and burnt a Roma camp] (in Ukrainian). 112 Ukraine. 22 April 2018. Archived from the original on 16 June 2018 . Retrieved 4 March 2022 . ^ Shekhovtsov, Anton (3 December 2013). "Provoking the Euromaidan". OpenDemocracy . Retrieved 6 March 2022 . ^ a b "Maidan on my mind". The Economist. 15 February 2014. ISSN 0013-0613 . Retrieved 6 March 2022 . ^ Gerasimova, Tanya (14 March 2019). "U.S. Considers C14 And National Corps Nationalist Hate Groups". Ukrainian News Agency . Retrieved 27 February 2022 . ^ "Ukraine court orders Hromadske TV to pay costs in case over C14 tweet". Committee to Protect Journalists. 8 August 2019 . Retrieved 27 February 2022 . ^ a b c d Engel, Valery (30 November 2019). "Zelensky Struggles To Contain Ukraine's Neo-Nazi Problem". Centre for Analysis of the Radical Right . Retrieved 27 February 2022 . See also its PDF version at Civic-Nation. ^ a b Gorbach, Denys (16 October 2018). "Entrepreneurs of political violence: the varied interests and strategies of the far-right in Ukraine". OpenDemocracy . Retrieved 27 February 2022 . ^ "Volonter rasskazal ob odnom iz 'levykh' studentov, brosivshikh tortom v zamministra finansov" Ð'оÐ>>Ð¾Ð½Ñ‚ÐµÑ ÑассказаÐ>> об одном из 'Ð>>евых' студентов, бÑосивÑих тоÑтом в замминистÑа Ñинансов [The volunteer told about one of the 'left' students who threw the cake to the deputy finance minister] (in Ukrainian). Ukrainian Independent Information Agency. 31 August 2016 . Retrieved 4 March 2022 . ^ "Zayava Platforma 'Start' pro stypendiyi, naklep ta rosiys'kyy imperializm (zayava)" Заява ПÐ>>атÑоÑма 'ÐтаÑт' ÐÑо стиÐендії, накÐ>>еРта Ñосійський імÐеÑіаÐ>>ізм (заява) [Statement by the Start Platform on scholarships, slander and Russian imperialism (statement)] (in Ukrainian). Sotsialnyy Rukh. 7 September 2016 . Retrieved 4 March 2022 . ^ a b c Cohen, Josh (20 March 2018). "Commentary: Ukraine's neo-Nazi problem". Reuters . Retrieved 4 March 2022 . ^ "V Kiyeve napali na uchastnika 'aktsii s tortom' protiv otmeny stipendiy" Ð' Киеве наÐаÐ>>и на участника 'акции с тоÑтом' ÐÑотив отмены стиÐендий [In Kiev, a participant of a 'cake action' against the abolition of scholarships was attacked]. Strana.ua (in Ukrainian). 23 April 2017. Archived from the original on 30 June 2017 . Retrieved 4 March 2022 . ^ "Interview: Leading Ukrainian Human Rights Activist Volodymyr Chemerys". Ukraine Solidarity Campaign. 5 February 2018 . Retrieved 27 February 2022 . ^ Karas, Yevhen (21 April 2017). "Cherhove safari na separiv" ЧеÑÐ"ове саÑаÑі на сеÐаÑів [Another safari on separatists]. Censor.net [uk] (in Ukrainian) . Retrieved 4 March 2022 . ^ "Lidera radikal'nykh natsionalistov iz S14 obvinili v sotrudnichestve s SBU" ЛидеÑа ÑадикаÐ>>ьных национаÐ>>истов из Ð14 обвиниÐ>>и в сотÑудничестве с ÐБУ [The leader of radical nationalists from C14 was accused of collaborating with the SBU]. Kapital (in Russian). 2 November 2017 . Retrieved 9 March 2022 . ^ "S14. Kto oni i pochemu im pozvoleno bit' lyudey" Ð14. Кто они и Ðочему им ÐозвоÐ>>ено бить Ð>>юдей [C14. Who they are and why they are allowed to hit people]. LIGA.net [uk] (in Russian). 15 November 2017 . Retrieved 15 March 2022 . ^ Hreys, Yevheniya (19 January 2018). "Chleny S14 namahalysya zirvaty aktsiyu pam'yati pravozakhysnykiv Markelova i Baburovoyi" ЧÐ>>ени Ð14 намаÐ"аÐ>>ися зіÑвати акцію Ðам'яті ÐÑавозахисників Ð'аÑкеÐ>>ова і БабуÑової [C14 members tried to disrupt a rally in memory of human rights activists Markelov and Baburova] (in Ukrainian). Hromadske . Retrieved 4 March 2022 . ^ Gorbach, Denis; Petik, Oles (15 February 2016). "The rise of Azov". OpenDemocracy . Retrieved 27 February 2022 . ^ Coynash, Halya (22 January 2018). "Ukrainian police disturbingly passive during far-right attack on Kyiv gathering in memory of Markelov & Baburova". Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group . Retrieved 15 March 2022 . ^ "Ukraine: Authorities Should Respond to Attacks Targeting Peaceful Demonstrations". Freedom House. 13 March 2018 . Retrieved 15 March 2022 . ^ "Joint Letter to Ukraine's Minister of Interior Affairs and Prosecutor General Concerning Radical Groups". Human Rights Watch. 14 June 2018 . Retrieved 7 March 2022 . On April 20, about five members of C14, a radical group that promotes hatred and discrimination, acting in their capacity as municipal patrols of the Holoseevsky City District, attacked a Roma settlement in Kyiv. A widely circulated video shows how the masked attackers chased women and small children with rocks and pepper spray after burning down their tents. Two criminal investigations have been launched, but we are not aware of any results. ^ "Kryshchenko: Na Lysiy hori pid chas subotnyka spalyly smittya, a ne tabir romiv" КÑищенко: Ð'а Лисій Ð"оÑі Ðід час суботника сÐаÐ>>иÐ>>и сміття, а не Ñ‚Ð°Ð±Ñ–Ñ Ñомів [Kryshchenko: On the hill of Lysa Hora, garbage was burned during the volunteer clean-up, and not the Roma camp] (in Ukrainian). 112 Ukraine. 24 May 2018. Archived from the original on 23 June 2018 . Retrieved 4 March 2022 . ^ Khokhlovich, Mikhail; Liasheva, Alona (21 May 2017). "Good Cop, Bad Cop". Jacobin . Retrieved 6 March 2022 . ^ "Joint Letter to Ukraine's Minister of Interior Affairs and Prosecutor General Concerning Radical Groups". Human Rights Watch. 14 June 2018 . Retrieved 7 March 2022 . ^ "Far-Right Group C14 Wins Funding From Ukrainian Government". Hromadske. 14 June 2018 . Retrieved 26 February 2022 . ^ a b Romelsj¶, Anders (10 November 2018). "V¥ldsam nazist jagar romer och framtr¤der hos regeringsorgan f¶r USA i Kiev" [Violent Nazis chase Roma and appear before US government agencies in Kyiv]. Global Politics (in Swedish) . Retrieved 6 March 2022 . ^ "Natsionalisty vyznachylys' z kandydatom u prezydenty" Ð'аціонаÐ>>істи визначиÐ>>ись з кандидатом у ÐÑезиденти [The nationalists have been identified with a presidential candidate]. Ukrayinska Pravda (in Ukrainian). 19 November 2018 . Retrieved 4 March 2022 . ^ Nelles, Mattia (4 April 2019). "Zelenskiy wins first round but that's not the surprise". Atlantic Council . Retrieved 27 February 2022 . ^ Yegoshin, Valery (21 March 2019). "Sylovyky dlya kandydativ: yak naperedodni vyboriv Poroshenko ta Tymoshenko zaruchylys' pidtrymkoyu SBU, HPU ta MVS" ÐиÐ>>овики дÐ>>я кандидатів: як наÐеÑедодні вибоÑів ПоÑоÑенко та ÐимоÑенко заÑучиÐ>>ись ÐідтÑимкою ÐБУ, Ð'ПУ та Ð'Ð'Ð [Security forces for candidates: how on the eve of the election Poroshenko and Tymoshenko enlisted the support of the SBU, GPU and Interior Ministry] (in Ukrainian). Radio Free Europe/Free Liberty . Retrieved 9 March 2022 . ^ Proskuryakov, Samuil (23 March 2021). "Pravoradykaly potrapyly do Hromads'koyi rady pry Ministerstvi veteraniv Ukrayiny. Zaborona rozpovidaye, khto same, ta chomu tse problema" ПÑавоÑадикаÐ>>и ÐотÑаÐиÐ>>и до Ð'Ñомадської Ñади ÐÑи Ð'іністеÑстві ветеÑанів УкÑаїни. ЗабоÑона ÑозÐовідаÑ--, хто саме, та чому це ÐÑобÐ>>ема [Right-wing radicals entered the Public Council at the Ministry of Veterans of Ukraine. Zaborona tells who it is and why it is a problem]. Zaborona (in Ukrainian) . Retrieved 6 March 2022 . ^ "Andrii Medvedko - Prominent C14 member and former Svoboda party official". Reporting Radicalism. Freedom House . Retrieved 6 March 2022 . ^ "Ukraine's Ministry of Veterans Affairs Embraced the Far Right - With Consequences to the U.S." Bellingcat. 11 November 2019 . Retrieved 9 March 2022 . ^ "Goncharuk o kontserte s uchastiyem 'Sokiry Peruna': Ni o kakikh pravo- ili levoradikal'nykh vzglyadakh rech' ne idet" Ð'ончаÑук о концеÑте с участием 'ÐокиÑы ПеÑуна': Ð'и о каких ÐÑаво- иÐ>>и Ð>>евоÑадикаÐ>>ьных взÐ"Ð>>ядах Ñечь не идет [Goncharuk about the Sokyra Peruna concert he attended: 'There were no far-right or far-left views expressed'] (in Russian). Interfax. 16 October 2020 . Retrieved 12 March 2022 . ^ Sokol, Sam (27 October 2019). "Ukrainian PM, minister attended neo-Nazi concert in Kyiv". The Times of Israel . Retrieved 12 March 2022 . ^ a b "How to Mainstream Neo-Nazis: A Lesson from Ukraine's New Government". Bellingcat. 21 October 2019 . Retrieved 12 March 2022 . ^ Kent, Elina (16 October 2019). "Honcharuk addresses appearance at neo-Nazi event in cabinet briefing". Kyiv Post. ^ Shramovich, Vyacheslav (26 October 2017). " 'Mozhe, v nashiy krayini tak dopustymo '' bez lyapasa po pytsi khtos' mozhe ne zrozumity' - Karas' " 'Ð'оже, в наÑій кÑаїні так доÐустимо '' без Ð>>яÐаса Ðо Ðиці хтось може не зÑозуміти' - КаÑась ['Maybe in our country it is so permissible - without a slap in the face, someone may not understand' - Crucian carp] (in Ukrainian). Hromadske Radio . Retrieved 6 March 2022 . ^ a b c d e f g "Yes, It's (Still) OK To Call Ukraine's C14 'Neo-Nazi' ". Bellingcat. 9 August 2019 . Retrieved 26 February 2022 . ^ Shekhovtsov, Anton (5 March 2014). "From electoral success to revolutionary failure". Eurozine . Retrieved 4 March 2022 . See also its PDF version at Academia.edu. ^ Plommer, Joe (22 February 2019). "Ukraine on the Brink". Jacobin . Retrieved 6 March 2022 . ^ Shramovich, Vyacheslav (4 July 2017). "Hrupa S14: khulihany, yaki lovlyat' separatystiv" Ð'ÑуÐа Ð14: хуÐ>>іÐ"ани, які Ð>>овÐ>>ять сеÐаÑатистів [Group C14: hooligans who catch separatists] (in Ukrainian). BBC . Retrieved 6 March 2022 . ^ a b Shtogrin, Irina (19 March 2018). " 'S14'. Natsionalisty-radykaly chy neonatsysty?" 'Ð14'. Ð'аціонаÐ>>істи-ÑадикаÐ>>и чи неонацисти? ['C14'. Radical nationalists or neo-Nazis?]. Radio Slovoba (in Ukrainian). Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty . Retrieved 6 March 2022 . ^ Likhachev, Vyacheslav (2014). " 'Pravyy sektor' i drugiye: natsional-radikaly i ukrainskiy politicheskiy krizis kontsa 2013 g. '' nachala 2014 g." 'ПÑавый сектоÑ' и дÑуÐ"ие: национаÐ>>-ÑадикаÐ>>ы и укÑаинский ÐоÐ>>итический кÑизис конца 2013 Ð". '' начаÐ>>а 2014 Ð". ['Right Sector' and Others: National Radicals and Ukrainian Political Crisis in Late 2013 '' Early 2014] (in Russian). 11 (2/22). Recent Eastern European History and Culture Forum: 93. doi:10.1111/wusa.12457. S2CID 213672444. See also its PDF version at the Catholic University of Eichst¤tt-Ingolstadt. ^ De Ploeg, Chris Kaspar (2017). Ukraine in the Crossfire (illustrated ed.). Atlanta, Georgia: Clarity Press. pp. 38, 62. ISBN 9780997287080 . Retrieved 6 March 2022 '' via Google Books. See also its PDF version at Shron1.chtyvo.org.ua. ^ a b c Coynash, Halya (25 October 2018). "Neo-Nazi C14 vigilantes appear to work with Kyiv police in latest 'purge' of Roma". Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group . Retrieved 5 March 2022 . ^ Katchanovski, Ivan (December 2019). "The Maidan Massacre in Ukraine: Revelations from Trials and Investigations". Journal of Labor and Society. Brill. 23 (1): 5''29. doi:10.1111/wusa.12457. S2CID 213672444 . Retrieved 9 March 2022 '' via Jordan Center for the Advanced Study of Russia at New York University. ^ Katchanovski, Ivan (12 December 2021). "The Maidan Massacre in Ukraine: Revelations from Trials and Investigations". Jordan Center at New York University. p. 42. SSRN 3735661 . Retrieved 6 March 2022 . See also its PDF version at Academia.edu. ^ Radelic, Branislav (2021). The Unwanted Europeanness?: Understanding Division and Inclusion in Contemporary Europe (illustrated ed.). Berlin: De Gruyter. p. 132. ISBN 9783110684216 . Retrieved 6 March 2022 '' via Google Books. ^ "Kyiv Court Rules In Favor of Far Right C14 Group in Case Against Hromadske". Hromadske. 6 August 2019 . Retrieved 26 February 2022 . ^ "The Neo-Nazis Who Don't Want to Be Called Neo-Nazis". Hromadske. 6 August 2019 . Retrieved 26 February 2022 . ^ "Ukraine: Press freedom violations August 2019". Index on Censorship. 11 September 2019 . Retrieved 11 March 2022 . ^ Ellis, Glenn; Kolchyna, Viktoryia (23 November 2018). "Attacked and abandoned: Ukraine's forgotten Roma". Al Jazeera . Retrieved 6 March 2022 . ^ Deprez, Fabrice (23 May 2018). "L'extrªme droite s'agite en Ukraine" [The far right is agitating in Ukraine]. La Croix (in French). ISSN 0242-6056 . Retrieved 6 March 2022 . ^ Sturrock, Alex; Summers, Hannah (27 August 2018). " 'They wanted to kill us': masked neo-fascists strike fear into Ukraine's Roma". The Guardian . Retrieved 6 March 2022 . ^ Brayman, Lolita (28 February 2014). "Ukrainian Nationalists Strive to Shake Off Allegations of anti-Semitism". Haaretz . Retrieved 6 March 2022 . Updated 10 April 2018 {{cite news}}: CS1 maint: postscript (link) ^ Colborne, Michael (4 February 2019). "Ukraine's Far Right Is Growing Increasingly Violent '' Why Aren't Local Jews Concerned?". Haaretz . Retrieved 26 February 2022 . ^ Golinkin, Lev (22 February 2019). "Neo-Nazis and the Far Right Are On the March in Ukraine". The Nation. ISSN 0027-8378 . Retrieved 6 March 2022 . ^ Cohen, Josh (20 June 2017). "Commentary: How Trump can show he's tough on anti-Semitism". Reuters . Retrieved 26 February 2022 . ^ "Ukrainian Nationalists Seize Brazilian Man Who Fought For Separatists". Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. 4 May 2018 . Retrieved 6 March 2022 . ^ Cohen, Joshua (15 June 2017). "Ukraine's ultra-right militias are challenging the government to a showdown". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286 . Retrieved 26 February 2022 . ^ "Reporting of Ukraine by the BBC". Parliament of the United Kingdom. 30 October 2017 . Retrieved 5 March 2022 . That this House is deeply concerned by the reporting by the BBC of the Kiev-based organisation C14, a far right organisation with neo-Nazi origins; considers the reporting of C14 activities fails to uphold BBC editorial values; is further concerned that the BBC has afforded a degree of legitimacy to C14, allowing it to disguise itself as a nationalist organisation engaged in reasonable activities designed to defend Ukrainian sovereignty; believes that the BBC has failed to apply due rigour in failing to report on the known history of violence by C14, including attacks on the LGBT community, violence against ethnic minorities, journalists and trade unionists and an attack on a police officer using a grenade during Kiev Pride; expresses deep concern at reporting of C14 activities as educational conversation and petty hooliganism; and calls on the BBC to uphold the values and standards expected by licence fee payers in the reporting on Ukraine. ^ Rorke, Bernard (12 June 2018). "Anti-Roma pogroms in Ukraine: on C14 and tolerating terror". European Roma Rights Centre . Retrieved 6 March 2022 . ^ Lee, Jonathan (2 April 2020). "Ukrainian Government Minister accompanies C14 neo-Nazis inspecting Kyiv Railway Station for Roma". Hope not Hate . Retrieved 6 March 2022 . ^ Coynash, Halya (13 March 2018). "Ukrainian 'C14' Neo-Nazis openly offer to act as thugs for money". Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group . Retrieved 6 March 2022 . ^ Coynash, Halya (23 April 2018). "Ukrainian neo-Nazi C14 vigilantes drive out Roma families, burn their camp". Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group . Retrieved 6 March 2022 . ^ Coynash, Halya (23 April 2018). "Ukrainian neo-Nazi C14 vigilantes drive out Roma families, burn their camp". PEN Ukraine . Retrieved 6 March 2022 . ^ Albert, Gwendolyn (26 April 2018). "Ukraine: Video of pogrom against Roma shows neo-Nazis chasing children, throwing rocks at them and using tear gas". ROMEA . Retrieved 6 March 2022 . ^ "US Holocaust Memorial Museum Expresses Deep Concern About Anti-Romani Violence and Antisemitism in Ukraine". United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. 14 May 2019 . Retrieved 6 March 2022 . ^ Miller, Christopher (6 August 2019). "Ukrainian Court Rules Against News Outlet That Called Violent Far-Right Group 'Neo-Nazi' ". Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty . Retrieved 11 March 2022 . ^ Schaff, Matthew (6 November 2019). "Chomu apelyatsiynyy sud maye vidkhylyty pozov 'S14' proty 'Hromads'koho' " Чому аÐеÐ>>яційний суд маÑ-- відхиÐ>>ити Ðозов 'Ð14' ÐÑоти 'Ð'ÑомадськоÐ"о' [Why the appellate court should reject the lawsuit 'C14' against 'Hromadske']. Ukrayinska Pravda (in Ukrainian) . Retrieved 11 March 2022 . ^ Coynash, Halya (8 November 2019). "Ukrainian 'C14' Neo-Nazis openly offer to act as thugs for money". Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group . Retrieved 6 March 2022 . ^ "Sprava hromadske proty S14: Verkhovnyy sud ukhvalyv rishennya na koryst' pravoradykaliv" ÐÐÑава hromadske ÐÑоти Ð14: Ð'еÑховний суд ухваÐ>>ив ÑіÑення на коÑисть ÐÑавоÑадикаÐ>>ів [Case Hromadske v. C14: The Supreme Court ruled in favour of right-wing radicals] (in Ukrainian). Hromadske. 21 January 2020 . Retrieved 12 March 2022 . Further reading [ edit ] "C14 '' Pravoradykal'na hrupa z molodizhnymy taboramy, paramilitarnym krylom ta istoriyeyu nasyl'stva" C14 '' ПÑавоÑадикаÐ>>ьна Ð"ÑуÐа з моÐ>>одіжними табоÑами, ÐаÑаміÐ>>ітаÑним кÑиÐ>>ом та істоÑіÑ--ю насиÐ>>ьства [C14 '' Right-wing radical group with youth camps, paramilitary wing and history of violence]. Reporting Radicalism (in Ukrainian). Freedom House . Retrieved 12 March 2022 . Opryshko, Lyudmila (19 October 2019). "Analiz rishennya Hospodars'koho sudu m. Kyyeva vid 06.08.2019 u spravi '– 910/10429/18 za pozovom Hromads'koyi orhanizatsiyi 'Sich-S14' do Hromads'koyi orhanizatsiyi 'Hromads'ke telebachennya' pro vyznannya informatsiyi nedostovirnoyu ta zobov'yazannya vchynyty di" АнаÐ>>із ÑіÑення Ð'осÐодаÑськоÐ"о суду м. КиÑ--ва від 06.08.2019 у сÐÑаві '– 910/10429/18 за Ðозовом Ð'Ñомадської оÑÐ"анізації 'ÐІЧ-Ð14' до Ð'Ñомадської оÑÐ"анізації 'Ð'Ñомадське теÐ>>ебачення' ÐÑо визнання інÑоÑмації недостовіÑною та зобов'язання вчинити ді [Case Hromadske v. C14: The Supreme Court ruled in favour of right-wing radicals] (in Ukrainian). Human Rights Platform . Retrieved 12 March 2022 . External links [ edit ] "Motion for a Resolution to Wind Up the Debate on the Statements by the Council and the Commission Pursuant to Rule 123(2) of the Rules of Procedure on the Rise in Neo-Fascist Violence in Europe (2018/2869(RSP))" (PDF) . European Parliament. 17 October 2018 . Retrieved 6 March 2022 . ... whereas on 4 September 2018 the Ukrainian Parliament's speaker, Andrey Parubiy, stated on TV that Adolf Hitler was 'a great person who practised direct democracy'; whereas since the beginning of 2018 C14 and other far-right groups in Ukraine such as the Azov-affiliated National Militia, Right Sector, Karpatska Sich and others have attacked Roma groups several times, as well as anti-fascist demonstrations, city council meetings, an event hosted by Amnesty International, art exhibitions, LGBTQI events, and environmental activists; whereas Ukraine's Ministry of Youth and Sports is funding the neo-Nazi group C14 to promote 'national patriotic education projects' in the country; whereas Amnesty International has warned that 'Ukraine is sinking into a chaos of uncontrolled violence posed by radical groups and their total impunity. Practically no one in the country can feel safe under these conditions.' ... . "European Parliament resolution of 25 October 2018 on the rise of neo-fascist violence in Europe (2018/2869(RSP))". European Parliament. 25 October 2018 . Retrieved 6 March 2022 . AD. whereas since the beginning of 2018 C14 and other far-right groups in Ukraine such as the Azov-affiliated National Militia, Right Sector, Karpatska Sich and others have attacked Roma groups several times, as well as anti-fascist demonstrations, city council meetings, an event hosted by Amnesty International, art exhibitions, LGBTQI events, women's rights and environmental activists; ... . "The Ukrainian C14 group". European Parliament. 7 November 2019 . Retrieved 8 March 2022 . According to information that I have received, the Ð14 group is a paramilitary right-wing radical group that has close relations with the nationalist Ukrainian 'Svoboda' party. There is a reasonable suspicion that C14, founded in 2010, takes its name from the 14-word slogan of the American Nazi David Lane: 'We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children'. However, the group spokesman explains the name as follows: 'The name C14 comes from a transcription of Cyrillic and Latin scripts, but certainly not from a racist slogan'. October 14 is the date on which the organisation was founded and a public holiday, called the Defender of Ukraine Day. C14 is a civil society organisation that is officially and legally registered with the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine. Yevhen Karas, also known as' Vortex', is a member of the C14 Group. According to current sources, C14 recruited members from among football fans of Dynamo Kyiv, Metalist Kharkiv and Shakhtar Donetsk, etc. However, C14 members have also been charged with hate crimes, including dissemination of racist material and attacks.
Sri Lankan Prime Minister's special statement
Thu, 19 May 2022 17:18
Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe's special statement addressing the nation commenced a short while ago.
The Prime Minister explained how he proposes to confront the current economic crisis.
At this moment, Sri Lanka's economy is at a very dangerous position, the Prime Minister said.
He said Sri Lanka's foreign exchange reserves were USD 7.5 billion in November 2019, however today the treasury is unable to find even one million US dollars.
Last Thursday, I accepted office as the Prime Minister. I did not request this position. In face of the challenging situation facing the country, the President invited me to take up this position. I assumed this duty not only as a political leader, but also as national leader who has benefited from free education at the Faculty of Law of the University of Colombo.
At present, the Sri Lankan economy is extremely precarious. Although the former government's budget projected a revenue of SLR 2.3 trillion, SLR 1.6 trillion is the realistic projection of this year's revenue.
The estimated government expenditure for this year is SLR 3.3 trillion. However, due to the increase in interest rates and additional expenditure of the former government, the total government expenditure is SLR 4 trillion. The budget deficit for the year is SLR 2.4 trillion. This amount equals 13% of the GDP.
The approved debt ceiling is SLR 3200 billion. By the second week of May, we had spent 1950 billion. Therefore, the remainder is SLR 1250 billion. Yesterday, a cabinet decision was made to present a proposal to parliament to increase the approved limit for issuing treasury bills from 3000 billion to 4000 billion.
In November 2019, our foreign exchange reserves were at USD 7.5 billion. However, today, it is a challenge for the treasury to find USD 1 million. The Ministry of finance is finding it difficult to raise USD 5 million required to import gas.
Amidst all these issues we are faced with several grave concerns. To ease the queues, we must obtain approximately USD 75 million within the next couple of days. At the moment, we only have petrol stocks for a single day. Due to the diesel shipment that arrived yesterday, the diesel lack of diesel will be resolved to some extent. Under the Indian credit line, two more diesel shipments are due to arrive on the 18th May and 1st June. In addition, two petrol shipments are expected on 18th and 29th May. For over 40 days 3 ships with crude oil and furnace oil have been anchored within the maritime zone of Sri Lanka. We are working to obtain dollars in the open market to pay for these shipments.
A quarter of electricity is generated through oil. Therefore, there is a possibility that the daily power outages will increase to 15 hours a day. However, we have already obtained money to avert this crisis. We must also immediately obtain USD 20 million to provide gas to consumers. The situation of kerosene and furnace oil is even more urgent. At present, the Central Bank, local state and private banks, and foreign banks functioning in Sri Lanka are all facing a dollar shortage. As you are already aware, we possess a very low amount of US dollars. Nevertheless, we succeeded in bringing in a diesel shipment yesterday despite these adverse circumstances with Indian assistance. Therefore, you can obtain that diesel from today onwards. We will also work towards making a payment for the gas shipment that arrived on Tuesday. Therefore, you will have some respite from the gas shortage.
Another grave concern is the lack of medicine. There is a severe shortage of a number of medicines including medicine required for heart disease as well as surgical equipment. Payments have not been made for four months to suppliers of medicine, medical equipment, and food for patients. The payment owed to them amounts to SLR 34 billion. In addition, payments have not been made for four months for medicine imported by the State Pharmaceuticals Corporation. As a result, pharmaceutical companies are taking steps to blacklist the SPC. Unfortunately, our Medical Supplies Division is unable to provide even two critical items of the 14 essential medicines that we currently need. These two are a medicine used in treating heart disease and the anti-rabies vaccine. The latter has no alternative treatment.
We have planned to present a new alternative budget to the development budget proposed for 2022. Intend to present it as a concessionary budget.
I further propose to privatise Sri Lankan Airlines which is incurring extensive losses. The loss for the year 2020-2021 alone amounts to SLR 45 billion. By 31st March 2021, the total loss was at 372 billion. Even if we privatise Sri Lankan Airlines, this is a loss that we must bear. You must be aware that this is a loss that must be borne even by the poor people of this country who have never stepped on an airplane.
In the short term we will have to face an even more difficult time period. There is a possibility that inflation will increase further.
At present, the government incurs a loss of SLR 84.38 per liter of 92 octane petrol, 71.19 per liter of 95 octane petrol, 131.55 per liter of diesel, 136.31 per liter of super diesel, and 294.50 per liter of kerosene oil. The Petroleum Corporation can no longer bear this loss. Similarly, although the Electricity Board charges SLR 17 per unit of electricity the cost of production is at around SLR 48 amounting to a loss of about SLR 30 per unit. This is also a serious problem.
Against my own wishes, I am compelled to permit printing money in order to pay state-sector employees and to pay for essential goods and services. However, we must remember that printing money leads to the depreciation of the rupee. Under the current circumstances, even the Petroleum Corporation and the Electricity Board are unable to obtain rupees.
The next couple of months will be the most difficult ones of our lives. We must prepare ourselves to make some sacrifices and face the challenges of this period.
I have no desire to hide the truth and to lie to the public. Although these facts are unpleasant and terrifying, this is the true situation. For a short period, our future will be even more difficult than the tough times that we have passed. We will face considerable challenges and adversity. However, this period will not be long. In the coming months, our foreign allies will assist us. They have already pledged their support. Therefore, we will have to patiently bear the next couple of months. However, we can overcome this situation. Doing so will require taking a new path.
I thank the opposition leader and the leaders of the political parties who replied to the letters that I sent them informing them of the current situation.
We must immediately establish a national assembly or political body with the participation of all political parties to find solutions for the present crisis. This will enable us to discuss with all parties and to arrive at decisions for short-, medium-, and long-term action plans that will enable us to rebuild our nation within a specified time frame.
We will build a nation without queues for kerosene, gas, and fuel; a nation free of power outages, a nation with plentiful resources where agriculture can freely flourish; a nation where the future of the youth is secure; a nation where people's labour need not be wasted in queues and in struggles; a nation where everyone can lead their lives freely with three square meals a day.
I am undertaking a dangerous challenge. In the Caucasian Chalk Circle, Grusha crossed the broken rope bridge carrying a child that was not her own. This is an even more difficult undertaking. The precipice is deep and its bottom cannot be seen. The bridge is made of thin glass and there is no handrail. I am wearing shoes with sharp nails that cannot be removed. My task is to safely take the child to the other side. I am accepting this challenge for our nation. My goal and dedication is not to save an individual, a family, or a party. My objective is to save all the people of this country and the future of our younger generation. I will undertake this task willingly risking my life if needed and will overcome the challenges facing us. I ask you to extend your support to me in this endeavour.
I will fulfill my duty towards our nation.
That is my promise to you.
The 'great replacement' conspiracy theory has gone from fringe to mainstream : NPR
Thu, 19 May 2022 17:18
Hundreds of white nationalists, neo-Nazis and members of the "alt-right" march down East Market Street toward Emancipation Park during the "Unite the Right" rally August 12, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images hide caption
toggle caption Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images Hundreds of white nationalists, neo-Nazis and members of the "alt-right" march down East Market Street toward Emancipation Park during the "Unite the Right" rally August 12, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images A 180-page online screed attributed to the white man accused of killing 10 people at a Tops Friendly Market in Buffalo on Saturday has brought a once-fringe white extremist conspiracy theory into the spotlight. But the underpinnings of the "great replacement" conspiracy theory, which has been iterated on over time to appeal to wider audiences, has penetrated a much more mainstream portion of American society. A recent poll, conducted by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, found that one in three American adults now believes in a version of replacement theory.
The speed with which this false narrative has tipped into American discourse since a French ethnonationalist first coined the term roughly a decade ago has stunned even extremism experts who have tracked the spread of hate-filled ideologies. They cite the failure of major social media platforms to effectively moderate such content, the role of Fox News hosts in amplifying these ideas, and the uptake of the conspiracy's language by some elected Republican officials.
Demographic changeBetween 2010 and 2020, the percentage of Americans who identified as "white only" declined by more than 10 percent, from 72 to 62 percent. During that same decade, several Western European countries saw record influxes of migrants from Muslim nations. It is against the backdrop of this demographic change that replacement rhetoric has accelerated in recent years.
"In the U.S., [it's] often called 'white genocide.' In Europe, [it's] called 'Eurabia,' " said Cynthia Miller-Idriss, professor and director of the Polarization and Extremism Research and Innovation Lab at American University.
The baseless theories claim that these population shifts are orchestrated by elite power holders. In the U.S., Miller-Idriss said white nationalists ascribe the plot to Jews who they believe are bringing in immigrants and promoting interracial marriage to suppress whites. In Europe, the false narrative blames elite politicians for a growing Muslim population. Miller-Idriss said the coining of the term "great replacement" in France marked a key moment in the growth of these beliefs.
"It has unified and really spread [the conspiracies] online in memes and videos and in a lot of propaganda," she said. "It capitalized on a moment when you're not just reading written propaganda or sharing it in a newsletter or in a small group in a backwoods militia. But it's circulating in these dark online spaces where this [alleged] Buffalo shooter writes he was exposed and radicalized."
From there, the conspiracy theories migrated toward progressively less fringe conservative media platforms, said Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO and national director of the Anti-Defamation League.
"We have literally watched as ideas that originate on white supremacist message boards, or like the dark web '' the places that are very difficult to get to '' move," said Greenblatt. "They literally jump to [internet message boards like] 4chan and 8chan, which are much more accessible, [then] they jump to web sites like The Daily Caller or Breitbart, and then they jump to Tucker Carlson's talking points or Laura Ingraham's talking points, or other AM radio DJs' talking points. And then you have theoretically mainstream Republican politicians repeating some of this stuff."
Carlson and Ingraham are Fox News hosts.
"Sanitizing" the messageAlthough the roots of the "great replacement" are firmly planted in the organized white supremacist movement, a version of the baseless conspiracy has spread among a wider swath of Americans with some minor tweaking of language. Matthew Gertz, a senior fellow at Media Matters for America, said that Carlson has framed the issue around voter replacement.
"What he says is that the Democrats are importing immigrants and that they are replacing Americans," said Gertz. "But no one should really be confused by what he is trying to do. The specific cases that he's talking about are Central American immigrants, they are immigrants from Africa, they are immigrants from the Middle East."
Tucker Carlson speaks at a convention in Esztergom, Hungary on August 7, 2021. Janos Kummer/Getty Images hide caption
toggle caption Janos Kummer/Getty Images Tucker Carlson speaks at a convention in Esztergom, Hungary on August 7, 2021.
Janos Kummer/Getty Images Greenblatt, whose organization has repeatedly called on Fox News to fire Carlson, said figures such as Carlson have sought language that might be palatable to more Americans. In moving away from white nationalist terms like "white genocide" and "Jewish cabal," they have repackaged the conspiracy as one driven by political partisanship.
"It has been an intentional effort ... to take these ideas and to try to sanitize them ... so they could bring their ideas into the mainstream," said Greenblatt.
Fox News declined to comment in response to questions from NPR about the role that critics say Carlson and Ingraham have played in stoking fears over replacement.
Greenblatt, Gertz and Miller-Idriss say claims of an orchestrated "immigrant invasion" have gained legitimacy through the endorsement of some elected Republicans, most notably former President Donald Trump. But they note that the messaging has continued after Trump left office.
"Elise Stefanik has pushed the same thing," said Gertz, referring to the third-highest ranking Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives. "This is moving steadily into mainstream Republican politics."
How to fight a pervasive conspiracy theory?The document believed to have been written by the suspected gunman in the Buffalo attack does not ascribe his radicalization to Fox News or rhetoric of politicians. Rather, he describes it as taking place on the same internet chat boards that were early to adopt the language of the racist "great replacement" conspiracy theory, such as 4chan.
"[Those are] still, I think, the spaces and places we should be most worried about," said Miller-Idriss.
Still, Miller-Idriss and other extremism experts say the mainstreaming of "replacement" theory remains alarming. Greenblatt said it isn't enough to condemn the violence, because speech that dehumanizes other people '' whether Blacks, immigrants or Jews '' can inspire violence.
"What I would suggest is that people in positions of authority, who have platforms, should use those platforms responsibly and call out this kind of ugliness and cease the incitement immediately because it's too dangerous to do otherwise," he said.
In the wake of the tragedy, much attention is focusing on whether stricter gun laws might have prevented it, the role of social media, whether the suspected gunman had a history of mental health problems, and whether law enforcement authorities missed early red flags.
"But all of that really doesn't make a difference if [individuals] in the end don't have a basic understanding of the legacy of racism, of structural racism [and of] systemic racism in this country," said Miller-Idriss.
She said that many young people observe the racial disparities in American society and will seek out answers to them. The document believed to be linked to the suspect pulls data from dubious online sources to support spurious claims of biological racism and crime rates.
"They may not be talking about it from good academic sources or good learning sources," Miller-Idriss said, "but they're going to be hearing about it in dark online spaces instead."
Biden sends US troops back to Somalia '-- RT World News
Thu, 19 May 2022 17:16
An administration official said Trump's decision was reversed due to a ''heightened threat'' from insurgents
US President Joe Biden has agreed to send several hundred troops back to Somalia, reversing a move made in late 2020 by his predecessor, Donald Trump, an administration official told reporters during a conference call on Monday.
Before Trump ordered a withdrawal of the troops, roughly 700 US military personnel helped Somali authorities fight against an Al-Shabaab insurgent group that has links to Al-Qaeda. According to the Biden administration official, the White House has seen ''clear evidence'' that Al-Shabaab fighters have the ''intent and capability to target Americans in the region,'' and have already killed more than a dozen US citizens in east Africa.
Therefore, he explained, the president, following advice from Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, has ordered to reestablish a ''persistent US military presence in Somalia to enable a more effective fight against Al-Shabaab, which has increased in strength and poses a heightened threat.''
The official did not specify the exact number of troops to be stationed in Somalia but said that it would not exceed 500. He also specified that they would be repositioned from other parts of Africa rather than sent directly from the United States.
The official also criticized the former president's decision to withdraw the troops, saying it was ''against the senior advice of the US military leadership.''
Somalia collapsed into civil war in 1991, as clans that overthrew the military government of General Mohamed Siad Barre fell out with each other. The initial US intervention aiming to protect UN peacekeepers resulted in a clash with one of the warring factions and the Battle of Mogadishu in October 1993. The US left Somalia in March 1995, only to return a decade later as part of the 'war on terror'.
Al-Shabaab, which aims to remove the government and to impose Sharia rule on the country, frequently carries out bombings across the country.
Buffalo shooter targeted Black neighborhood, officials say | AP News
Thu, 19 May 2022 17:14
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) '-- The white 18-year-old who fatally shot 10 people at a Buffalo supermarket researched the local demographics and arrived a day in advance to conduct reconnaissance with the intent of killing as many Black people as possible, officials said Sunday.
The racially motivated attack came a year after the gunman was taken to a hospital by State Police after making threats involving his high school, according to authorities.
He wasn't charged with a crime and was out of the hospital within a day and a half, police said, but the revelation raised questions about his access to weapons and whether he could have been under closer supervision by law enforcement.
The Buffalo attack prompted grief and anger in the predominantly Black neighborhood around Tops Friendly Market. A group of people gathered there Sunday afternoon to lead chants of ''Black lives matter'' and mourn victims that included an 86-year-old woman who had just visited her husband in a nursing home and a supermarket security guard, both of whom were Black.
''Somebody filled his heart so full of hate that he would destroy and devastate our community,'' the Rev. Denise Walden-Glenn said.
Speaking at the National Peace Officers' Memorial service at the U.S. Capitol, President Joe Biden said, ''We must all work together to address the hate that remains a stain on the soul of America.'' The White House later announced that the president and first lady would travel to Buffalo on Tuesday to ''grieve with the community.''
The Buffalo attack was the deadliest of multiple shootings across the country in recent days. Officials in Milwaukee imposed a curfew after 21 people were injured in three separate shootings near an entertainment district where thousands gathered Friday for an NBA playoff game. Three other shootings over the weekend in the Midwest city left three people dead.
On Sunday, two shootings '-- one at a Houston flea market and another at a California church '-- left three people dead and others wounded.
As the country reeled from the Buffalo attack, new details emerged about the gunman's past and Saturday's rampage, which the shooter livestreamed on Twitch. New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, a Buffalo native, demanded technology companies tell her whether they've done ''everything humanly possible'' to make sure they're monitoring violent content as soon as it appears.
''If not, then I'm going to hold you responsible,'' she said.
Twitch said in a statement that it ended the transmission ''less than two minutes after the violence started.''
New York State Police said troopers were called early last June to the high school then attended by the alleged gunman, Payton Gendron, for a report that a 17-year-old student had made threatening statements.
Gendron threatened to carry out a shooting at Susquehanna Valley High School, in Conklin, New York, around the time of graduation, a law enforcement official who spoke on condition of anonymity said. The official was not authorized to speak publicly on the investigation.
Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said Gendron had no further contact with law enforcement after his release from the hospital.
''Nobody called in,'' he said. ''Nobody called any complaints,'' Gramaglia said.
Federal law bars people from owning a gun if a judge has determined they have a ''mental defect'' or they have been forced into a mental institution '-- but an evaluation alone would not trigger the prohibition.
Federal authorities were still working to confirm the authenticity of a racist 180-page document, purportedly written by Gendron, that detailed his plans for the attack and reasons for carrying it out.
A preliminary investigation found Gendron had repeatedly visited sites espousing white supremacist ideologies and race-based conspiracy theories and extensively researched the 2019 mosque shootings in Christchurch, New Zealand, and the man who killed dozens at a summer camp in Norway in 2011, the law enforcement official told AP.
Federal agents served multiple search warrants and interviewed Gendron's parents, who were cooperating with investigators, the law enforcement official said.
Portions of the Twitch video circulating online showed the gunman firing volley after volley of shots in less than a minute as he raced through the parking lot and then the store, pausing for just a moment to reload. At one point, he trains his weapon on a white person cowering behind a checkout counter, but says ''Sorry!'' and doesn't shoot.
Screenshots purporting to be from the broadcast appear to show a racial slur targeting Black people scrawled on his rifle, as well as the number 14 '-- likely referencing a white supremacist slogan.
Authorities said he shot, in total, 11 Black people and two white people Saturday.
''This individual came here with the express purpose of taking as many Black lives as he possibly could,'' Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said at a news conference Sunday.
The lengthy statement attributed to Gendron outlined a racist ideology rooted in a belief that the United States should belong only to white people. All others, the document said, were ''replacers'' who should be eliminated by force or terror. The attack was intended to intimidate all non-white, non-Christian people and get them to leave the country, it said.
The document said Gendron researched demographics to select his target, and picked a neighborhood in Buffalo because it had a high ratio of Black residents.
Gendron traveled about 200 miles (320 kilometers) from his home in Conklin, New York, to Buffalo to commit the attack, police said.
He conducted reconnaissance on the store and the area on Friday, a day before the shooting, Gramaglia said.
Gendron surrendered to police who confronted him in the supermarket's vestibule and convinced him to drop the rifle he had put to his neck. He was arraigned later Saturday on a murder charge, appearing before a judge in a paper gown.
The Buffalo attack was just the latest act of mass violence in a country unsettled by racial tensions, gun violence and a recent spate of hate crimes. It came a month after a shooting on a Brooklyn subway wounded 10, and just over a year after 10 were killed in a shooting at a Colorado supermarket.
''It's just too much. I'm trying to bear witness but it's just too much. You can't even go to the damn store in peace,'' Buffalo resident Yvonne Woodard told the AP. ''It's just crazy.''
Associated Press reporters Robert Bumsted in Buffalo, Michael Hill in Albany, New York, Travis Loller in Nashville and Jake Bleiberg in Dallas contributed reporting. Balsamo reported from Washington.
UK inflation jumps to 40-year high of 9% as food and energy prices spiral
Thu, 19 May 2022 17:14
The U.K.'s Office for National Statistics said its estimates suggest that inflation would have last been higher "sometime around 1982."
Justin Tallis | Afp | Getty Images
LONDON '-- U.K. inflation soared to a 40-year high of 9% in April as food and energy prices spiraled, official figures revealed Wednesday, escalating the country's cost-of-living crisis.
Consumer prices rose by 2.5% month-on-month, fractionally below expectations for a 2.6% climb in a Reuters poll of economists, which had also projected a 9.1% annual increase.
The 9% rise in the consumer price index is the highest since records began in their current form in 1989, outstripping the 8.4% annual rise posted in March 1992 and well ahead of the 7% seen in March of this year. The U.K.'s Office for National Statistics also said its estimates suggest that inflation would have last been higher "sometime around 1982."
From April 1, the U.K. energy regulator increased the household energy price cap by 54% following a surge in wholesale energy prices, including a record rise in global gas prices. The regulator, Ofgem, has not ruled out further increases to the cap at its periodic reviews this year.
Bank of England pressureThe Bank of England has hiked interest rates at four consecutive meetings, raising the cost of borrowing from its historic pandemic-era low of 0.1% to a 13-year high of 1%, as it looks to rein in runaway inflation without stomping out economic growth.
A recent survey showed that a quarter of Britons have resorted to skipping meals as inflationary pressures and a food crisis conflate in what Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey has dubbed an "apocalyptic" outlook for consumers.
Wednesday's mammoth inflation print delivers another "hammer blow" to households already worried about the cost of living, and there are warnings that the worst is yet to come.
"Unlike in the U.S., U.K. inflation continues to rise for the time being, stoking further fears around the cost of living," said Richard Carter, head of fixed interest research at Quilter Cheviot, in a research note.
"It will also add to the pressure on the Bank of England to increase interest rates and get to grips with soaring prices even if, as they admit themselves, many of the factors driving inflation are beyond their control."
Carter suggested that further pressure is likely to mount on the British government to pull fiscal levers and look to "alleviate the pain on households come the Autumn."
While the Bank may ordinarily prefer to look through the supply shock driving up energy and commodity prices, robust labor market data makes the current predicament especially difficult to shrug off.
"For the first time since records began, there are fewer people unemployed than there are job vacancies and the unemployment rate now sits at a nearly 50-year low, and workers are capitalizing on their increased bargaining power to ask employers to raise pay to cope with higher living costs, with wage growth now running at 7%," noted Ambrose Crofton, global market strategist at JPMorgan Asset Management.
"The risk is that should [the Bank of England] raise interest rates too quickly at a time when consumers are already feeling the pinch, then this could crimp demand and push the economy into recession. Doing too little, however, risks entrenching inflation expectations and driving a more persistent wage-price feedback loop."
JPMorgan strategists therefore believe the Bank will attempt to strike a balance by cautiously raising interest rates one meeting at a time, while watching economic data closely for signs of moderating labor market or wage pressures.
'Unprecedented' damageThe British Chambers of Commerce warned following Wednesday's announcement that the "eye-watering" inflation rate and cost-of-living crisis facing households is damaging firms' ability to invest and operate at full capacity.
"The scale at which inflation is damaging key drivers of U.K. output, including consumer spending and business investment, is unprecedented and means there is a real chance the U.K. will be in recession by the third quarter of the year," said Suren Thiru, head of economics at the BCC, in a note.
"While inflation may moderate a little over the summer, April's inflationary surge is likely be surpassed in October as the expected energy price cap rise in the month lifts inflation above 10%."
The BCC called on the British government to help consumers and businesses through the crisis by reversing its recent increase to National Insurance '-- a tax on income '-- and cutting VAT (value added tax) on business energy bills.
Biden Laptop Emails
Thu, 19 May 2022 17:13
FROM: hbiden@rosemontseneca.com Filter to only include emails where FROM field contains 'hbiden@rosemontseneca.com'. TO: rhb@rspdc.com Filter to only include emails where TO field contains 'rhb@rspdc.com'. CC: rhb@rspdc.com Filter to only include emails where CC field contains 'rhb@rspdc.com'. BCC: hbiden@rosemontseneca.com Filter to only include emails where BCC field contains 'hbiden@rosemontseneca.com'. SUBJECT: You sent money with Zelle Filter to only include emails where SUBJECT contains words "You sent money with Zelle". DATE: 2018-03-05 to 2018-03-06 Filter emails where DATE range is from '2018-03-05' to '2018-03-06'.
Law Restricting Rap Lyrics in Criminal Cases Passes New York Senate '' Billboard
Thu, 19 May 2022 17:12
New York's state Senate passed legislation Tuesday that would restrict when prosecutors can cite rap lyrics as evidence during criminal cases, just a week after a high-profile indictment against Young Thug relied heavily on the controversial practice.
By a 38-23 vote, lawmakers voted in favor of Senate Bill S7527, known as ''Rap Music on Trial,'' which would sharply limit the admissibility of someone's music as evidence against them in a criminal trial. The bill must still pass the state assembly before it can be enacted into law.
The bill, the first of its kind in the nation, aims to rein in a practice that critics say offers little insight into an actual crime and can unfairly sway juries, with a disproportionate impact on Black men. Sponsored by Sens. Jamaal Bailey and Brad Hoylman, it was championed by Jay-Z and Meek Mill, among other stars.
Erik Nielson, a professor who wrote a book on the subject and has long pushed such reforms, said in a statement Tuesday that the proposed New York law would ''provide long overdue protections for rap artists, whose lyrics are unjustly used against them in courts across the country.''
The passage of S7527 came just a week after prosecutors in Atlanta unveiled a sweeping new case against Young Thug and Gunna that relied heavily on their music, citing lyrics like ''I killed his man in front of his momma.'' Both stars have already sharply criticized the use of their lyrics against them: ''To weaponize these words by charging overt acts to support a supposed conspiracy is unconscionable and unconstitutional,'' an attorney for Young Thug wrote in a response last week. Gunna's lawyers called it ''intensely problematic.''
In technical terms, S7527 would limit the circumstances in which any form of ''creative expression'' can be shown as evidence of a crime to a jury. It would not ban the practice, but prosecutors could only present such material to jurors if they can show that an expressive work is ''literal, rather than figurative or fictional.''
Such use of rap lyrics in criminal cases is controversial for a few reasons. For starters, critics say it unfairly treats rap '' and rap alone '' as a literal statement of fact rather than a work of creative expression, potentially violating the First Amendment by punishing a particular genre of music. But more seriously, critics say lyrics can have a prejudicial effect on jurors, tapping into existing biases toward young Black men and helping prosecutors win convictions where real evidence is lacking.
''Criminal cases should be tried on factual evidence not the creative expression of an artist, but unfortunately hip hop has been held to a very different standard in the criminal justice system within the last three decades,'' said Mac Phipps, a Louisiana rapper convicted of manslaughter in 2001 after prosecutors heavily cited his lyrics, in a statement Tuesday. ''The passage of the New York bill gives me hope that situations like the one that I faced will be prevented from happening to other artists in the future.''
The bill was helped along toward passage by the support of some of music's biggest stars, including not just Jay-Z and Meek Mill but also Killer Mike, Fat Joe, Robin Thicke and a slew of others. In a January letter, they told New York lawmakers that the bill's reforms were ''urgently needed.''
''This tactic effectively denies rap music the status of art and, in the process, gives prosecutors a dangerous advantage in the courtroom: by presenting rap lyrics as rhymed confessions of illegal behavior, they are often able to obtain convictions even when other evidence is lacking,'' the stars wrote.
A companion bill in the New York Assembly, sponsored by Assembly Member Catalina Cruz, is pending before a committee and awaiting a vote. After that, it would need to be passed by the full Assembly. Any differences between the two bills would need to be ironed out before the law went to the governor for enactment.
US Women's Soccer Announces Equal Pay Deal
Thu, 19 May 2022 17:11
The U.S. women's national soccer team has notched another huge win.
U.S. Soccer, along with the unions for the men's and women's national teams, has announced it has reached a new collective bargaining agreement, in which every man and woman who plays will receive equal pay, TODAY reported exclusively on Wednesday. The squads will also divide World Cup prize money, the first soccer federation to do that.
''I am feeling extreme pride. And to be able to say finally, equal pay for equal work feels very, very good,'' women's soccer player Becky Sauerbrunn told TODAY.
Megan Rapinoe is one of the players who have been fighting for equal pay. Elsa / Getty Images''It's equalization of World Cup prize money, identical financial terms, including identical game payments, identical revenue sharing for both teams, so identical in every aspect on that front,'' U.S. Soccer President Cindy Parlow Cone told TODAY.
The players will also divide equally any money U.S. Soccer generates commercially and at events.
Sauerbrunn says the move is long overdue.
''It's tough to get so, so excited about something that we really should have had all along,'' she said.
Sauerbrunn joined four teammates in filing a federal wage complaint in 2016.
''The pay disparity between the men and women is just too large,'' star Carli Lloyd told TODAY at the time.
The movement picked up steam in 2019 when 28 players sued U.S. Soccer before settling earlier this year with the women receiving $22 million in back pay.
''I'm just so proud of the way we stuck together and really just kind of put our foot down. This is a huge win for us,'' Megan Rapinoe told TODAY after that news was announced in February.
This new agreement marks a landmark moment in the sport. World Cup prize money will be pooled between the men's and women's teams, with players receiving an equal share, making the U.S. the first soccer federation to do that.
To put it into perspective, the men's World Cup winner in 2018, France, received $38 million, while the U.S. squad got $4 million when the women won the World Cup in 2019. The women's squad has been one of the most successful in the world for years, winning a total of four World Cups.
U.S. Soccer tweeted the historic news on Wednesday morning, announcing that the new collective bargaining agreement ''will run through 2028 and achieve true equal pay.''
Cone said the men's players should also be acknowledged for helping to make this new pay structure happen.
''And I think we need to give the men a lot of credit,'' she said. ''They came to the table and were very collaborative and worked together with the women's team first and then came together with U.S. Soccer.''
''I think this is going to have international ramifications in sport in general and hopefully into the business world, as well,'' she added.
Drew Weisholtz is a reporter for TODAY Digital, focusing on pop culture, nostalgia and trending stories. He has seen every episode of ''Saved by the Bell'' at least 50 times, longs to perfect the crane kick from ''The Karate Kid'' and performs stand-up comedy, while also cheering on the New York Yankees and New York Giants. A graduate of Rutgers University, he is the married father of two kids who believe he is ridiculous.
AP Exclusive: Black Lives Matter has $42 million in assets | AP News
Thu, 19 May 2022 17:11
NEW YORK (AP) '-- The foundation started by organizers of the Black Lives Matter movement is still worth tens of millions of dollars, after spending more than $37 million on grants, real estate, consultants, and other expenses, according to tax documents filed with the IRS.
In a new, 63-page Form 990 shared exclusively with The Associated Press, the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation Inc. reports that it invested $32 million in stocks from the $90 million it received as donations amid racial justice protests in 2020. That investment is expected to become an endowment to ensure the foundation's work continues in the future, organizers say.
It ended its last fiscal year '' from July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021 '' with nearly $42 million in net assets. The foundation had an operating budget of about $4 million, according to a board member.
The tax filing shows that nearly $6 million was spent on a Los Angeles-area compound. The Studio City property, which includes a home with six bedrooms and bathrooms, a swimming pool, a soundstage and office space, was intended as a campus for a Black artists fellowship and is currently used for that purpose, the board member said.
This is the BLM foundation's first public accounting of its finances since incorporating in 2017. As a fledgling nonprofit, it had been under the fiscal sponsorship of a well-established charity, and wasn't required to publicly disclose its financials until it became an independent, 501(c)(3) nonprofit in December 2020.
The tax filing suggests the organization is still finding its footing: It currently has no executive director or in-house staff. Nonprofit experts tell the AP that the BLM foundation seems to be operating like a scrappy organization with far fewer resources, although some say Black-led charities face unfair scrutiny in an overwhelmingly white and wealthy philanthropic landscape.
Still, its governance structure makes it difficult to disprove allegations of impropriety, financial mismanagement and deviation from mission that have dogged the BLM foundation for years, one expert said.
''It comes across as an early startup nonprofit, without substantial governance structure in place, that got a huge windfall,'' said Brian Mittendorf, a professor of accounting at Ohio State University who focuses on nonprofit organizations and their financial statements.
''People are going to be quick to assume that mismatch reflects intent,'' he added. ''Whether there's anything improper here, that is another question. But whether they set themselves up for being criticized, I think that certainly is the case because they didn't plug a bunch of those gaps.''
The BLM movement first emerged in 2013, after the acquittal of George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch volunteer who killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Florida. But it was the 2014 death of Michael Brown at the hands of police in Ferguson, Missouri, that made the slogan ''Black lives matter'' a rallying cry for progressives and a favorite target of derision for conservatives.
BLM co-founders Patrisse Cullors, Alicia Garza and Ayá>> Tometi had pledged to build a decentralized organization governed by the consensus of BLM chapters. But just three years into existence, Cullors was the only movement founder involved in the organization.
And in 2020, a tidal wave of contributions in the aftermath of protests over George Floyd's murder by Minneapolis police meant the BLM organization needed much more infrastructure.
When Cullors revealed the windfall of donations last year, local chapter organizers and families of police brutality victims reacted angrily. Until then, the foundation had not been transparent with the most devoted BLM organizers, many of whom accused Cullors of shutting them out of decisions about how financial resources would be allocated.
YahN(C) Ndgo, an activist and former organizer with the BLM chapter in Philadelphia, said Cullors reneged on a promise to hand over control of the foundation's resources to grassroots organizers.
''When resources came in, when opportunities came in, (the foundation) alone would be the ones to decide who was going to take advantage of them, without having to take any consideration of the other organizers whose work was giving them the access to these resources and opportunities in the first place,'' said Ndgo, who organized a group of chapters that confronted the foundation over issues of transparency and accountability.
In 2020, the foundation did spin off its network of chapters as a sister collective called BLM Grassroots. It has a fiscal sponsor managing money granted by the foundation. Melina Abdullah, cofounder of BLM's first chapter in Los Angeles, also directs the grassroots collective and said its organizers continue to have direct impact in communities across the country.
''We'll never stop doing that,'' Abdullah said. ''That's the work we were born out of.''
In a recent interview with the AP, Cullors acknowledged the foundation was ill-prepared to handle the moment. The tax filing lists Cullors as an uncompensated founder and executive director. She resigned last year. The foundation also paid nearly $140,000 in severance to a former managing director who had been at odds with local BLM chapter organizers, prior to Cullors's tenure as director.
The filing shows Cullors reimbursed the organization $73,523 for a charter flight for foundation-related travel, which the organization says she took in 2021 out of concern for COVID-19 and security threats. She also paid the foundation $390 over her uses of the Studio City property for two private events.
During the last fiscal year, Cullors was the foundation board's sole voting director and held no board meetings, according to the filing. Although that is permissible under Delaware law, where the foundation is incorporated, that governance structure gives the appearance that Cullors alone decided who to hire and how to spend donations. That was never the truth, current board members said.
For all the questions raised about its oversight, the BLM foundation's tax filing shows its stewards haven't squandered donations. Instead, it granted tens of millions of dollars to BLM chapters, Black-led grassroots organizations and families of police brutality victims, whose names rallied the larger movement.
''This 990 reveals that (the BLM foundation) is the largest Black abolitionist nonprofit organization that has ever existed in the nation's history. What we're doing has never been done before,'' said Shalomyah Bowers, who serves as the foundation's board secretary.
''We needed to get dollars out to grassroots organizations doing the work of abolition, doing the work that would shift the moral tide of this world towards one that does not have or believe in police, prisons, jails or violence,'' he said.
Earlier this month, the foundation announced Bowers as one of three members of its board of directors. He serves with board chair Cicley Gay, a communications professional with more than 20 years of experience in nonprofit and philanthropic organizations, and D'Zhane Parker, a member of BLM's Los Angeles chapter whose work focuses on the impact of mass incarceration on families.
''We are decolonizing philanthropy,'' Gay said. ''We, as a board, are charged with disrupting traditional standards of what grant making in philanthropy looks like. It means investing in Black communities, trusting them with their dollars.''
The foundation will launch a ''transparency and accountability center'' on its website to make its financial documents available for public inspection, Bowers said.
To get here, the foundation has relied on a small grouping of consultants, some of whom have close ties to founders and other BLM organizers. For example, the tax filing shows the foundation paid nearly $970,000 to Trap Heals LLC, a company founded by Damon Turner, who fathered a child with Cullors. The company was hired to produce live events and provide other creative services, Bowers said.
The foundation paid more than $840,000 to Cullors Protection LLC, a security firm run by Paul Cullors, Patrisse's brother, according to the tax filing. Because the BLM movement is known for vehemently protesting law enforcement organizations, the foundation felt its protection could not be entrusted to former police professionals who typically run security firms, said Bowers, adding the foundation sought bids for other security contractors.
Bowers, who has previously served as deputy executive director, is founder and president of a firm that received the lion's share of money spent on consultants in the last fiscal year. Bowers Consulting provided much of the foundation's operational support, including staffing, fundraising and other key services and was paid more than $2.1 million, according to the tax filing.
The foundation's reliance on consultants is not unusual for newer nonprofits, said Mittendorf, the Ohio State accounting professor. But having clear policies around business transactions could reduce any appearance of impropriety, he said.
''It's a best practice not to engage in business transactions with people who have influence inside the organization or with companies affiliated with people who have influence inside the organization,'' Mittendorf said. ''Make sure you have conflict of interest policies and other controls in place, so that those transactions are all being done to benefit the organization and not to benefit the individuals.''
The tax filing indicates the foundation has a conflict-of-interest policy. And Bowers said the last BLM board approved the contract with his firm when he was not a board member.
''Our firm stepped in when Black Lives Matter had no structure and no staff,'' he said. ''We filled the gap, when nothing else existed. But let me be crystal clear, there was no conflict of interest.''
Controversy surrounding the organization's finances has elicited probes by at least two state attorneys general. Board members said they are cooperating with civil investigations in Indiana and Ohio, and they have turned over relevant documents to those authorities.
Isabelle Leighton, interim executive director of the Donors of Color Network, an organization that promotes racial equity in philanthropy, said discrimination in the nonprofit sector leaves little room for Black-led progressive movement organizations to publicly make mistakes. Such organizations are typically receiving much less financial and operational support than wealthy, white-led nonprofits, but receive much more criticism, she said.
''It's tapping into a deep narrative that people of color do not deserve to have the same resources that those who have already made it get,'' Leighton said. ''It's intended for people to start to doubt and create their own new echo chamber of criticizing who deserves to receive resources.''
The foundation's tax filing rebuts claims that the BLM foundation ignored the larger movement. Nearly $26 million, or 70% of its expenses, were grants to organizations and families in the last fiscal year.
Twelve BLM chapters, including those in Boulder, Colorado; Boston; Washington, D.C.; Detroit; Los Angeles; Gary, Indiana; and Philadelphia, received pledges for grants of up to $500,000. The family foundations created in honor of Floyd and others killed by police and vigilantes '-- Trayvon Martin and Oscar Grant '-- each received contributions of $200,000.
Jacari Harris, executive director of the George Floyd Memorial Foundation, said in a statement the organization was ''incredibly grateful'' for the grant, ''the largest one-time contribution we have received to date within the U.S.'' Harris said the funds will help provide college scholarships, mental health support to the Black community and educate ''about the dangers of police brutality around the world.''
The Michael O.D. Brown: We Love Our Sons & Daughters Foundation, run by Michael Brown Jr.'s mother, Lezley McSpadden, was approved for a larger multi-year grant of $1.4 million. A representative of the Brown foundation told the AP that an initial $500,000 had been received in 2021.
McSpadden is happy to have the BLM foundation's support, the representative said.
Among its larger grants are $2.3 million to the Living Through Giving Foundation, a nonprofit charity platform that encourages giving at the local level; and $1.5 million to Team Blackbird, LLC, a rapid response communications and movement strategy project that increases the visibility of movement organizations.
The tax filing does not reveal the foundation's largest donors.
''Transparency and accountability is so important to us, but so is trust,'' said Gay, the BLM foundation chair. ''Presenting (donor) names after the fact, at this point, would likely be a betrayal of that trust.''
Morrison writes about race and justice for the AP's Race and Ethnicity team. Follow him on Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/aaronlmorrison.
Ukraine, Russia production critical to restoring global food security, UN chief says | Reuters
Thu, 19 May 2022 17:09
United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres speaks during a courtesy visit to Borno State Governor Babagana Zulum in Maiduguri, Nigeria, May 3, 2022. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde/File Photo
Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.comABUJA, May 4 (Reuters) - U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Wednesday the problem of global food security could not be solved without restoring Ukrainian agricultural production and Russian food and fertilizer output to the world market.
Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February has added to volatility in financial markets, sending commodity prices higher and affecting logistics, potentially derailing the economic recovery from COVID-19 in many countries including Nigeria.
"Our analysis indicates that the war in Ukraine is only making things worse, setting in motion a three-dimensional crisis that is devastating global food, energy and financial systems for developing countries," Guterres told reporters during a maiden visit to Abuja, Nigeria's capital.
Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com"There is really no true solution to the problem of global food security without bringing back the agriculture production of Ukraine and the food and fertilizer production of Russia and Belarus into world markets despite the war," he said.
Guterres said he was determined to facilitate dialogue to help achieve those goals.
He said the United Nations had called for an extra $351 million as part of the overall $1.1 billion for the humanitarian response plan for Nigeria. President Muhammadu Buhari said the continent was concerned that the attention on Russia and Ukraine could crowd out other issues.
Nigeria had to buy emergency supplies of Canadian potash in April after it was unable to import the key fertilizer from Russia due to the impact of Western sanctions, the head of Nigerian sovereign investment authority NSIA said. read more
Last month, the International Monetary Fund said the Russian invasion of Ukraine had delivered a further "huge negative shock" to sub-Saharan Africa, driving food and energy prices higher and putting the most vulnerable people at risk of hunger.
The extra pressure comes as many countries are still reeling from the protracted COVID-19 pandemic.
"We need to ensure a steady flow in food and energies through open markets by lifting all unnecessary export restrictions, directing surpluses and reserves to those in need and keeping a lead on food prices to curb market volatility," Guterres said.
Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.comWriting by Chijioke Ohuocha; Editing by William Maclean and Leslie Adler
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
Supermarket Sweep: Cancelled for Good? ABC Game Show Not Returning for 2022-23 Season - canceled + renewed TV shows - TV Series Finale
Thu, 19 May 2022 17:04
by Trevor Kimball, May 18, 2022
(Photo: ABC/Christopher Willard)
If you see Leslie Jones in the grocery store, it probably won't be connected to an ABC television show. The network has reportedly opted to stop producing the Supermarket Sweep TV show.
A game show, the Supermarket Sweep TV series is hosted by Jones and is the latest iteration of the competition series that debuted in 1965. A fast-paced competition, the show follows teams of two friends or relations. Clad in iconic colorful sweatshirts, the teams compete against one another in back-to-back games using their grocery shopping skills and knowledge of food store merchandise. Teams compete for the chance to play in the ''Super Sweep,'' a race against the clock to find five products in order to win a big cash prize.
Airing on Sunday nights, the second season of Supermarket Sweep averaged a 0.39 rating in the 18-49 demographic and 2.32 million viewers in the live+same day ratings. Compared to season one, that's down by 45% in the demo and down by 27% in viewership in the live+same day ratings (including DVR playback through 3:00 AM). In the live+7 day ratings, season two averaged a 0.60 demo with 2.78 million viewers.
Supermarket Sweep was not part of ABC's announcement about the upcoming 2022-23 broadcast television season and Deadline reports that the network has indefinitely shelved the game show. It could return at some point (in its current incarnation or some other) but, there are no plans to do so.
What do you think? Have you been tuning in for the Supermarket Sweep TV series on ABC? Are you glad to sorry to hear that the series has ended and that there are no plans for a third season?
Check out our
ABC status sheet to track the alphabet network's new series pickups, renewals, and cancellations. You can find lists of cancelled shows
Fentanyl test strips are illegal in Texas, and it's getting national attention | KXAN Austin
Thu, 19 May 2022 17:03
by: Grace Reader
Posted: May 18, 2022 / 03:42 PM CDT
Updated: May 18, 2022 / 03:50 PM CDT
AUSTIN (KXAN) '-- National harm reduction groups are turning their attention to Texas as news about the breadth of our state's overdose problem has grabbed headlines.
On Tuesday, the National Harm Reduction Coalition posted an article done in conjunction with State of Reform, a group that hosts conferences around the country surrounding health policy and political reform, addressing the fact that fentanyl testing strips are still illegal in Texas despite the jump in overdoses and overdose deaths.
How we got here: KXAN's previous reporting on fentanyl testing stripsTravis County wants to give out fentanyl testing strips. The problem? They're illegal in TexasFentanyl tests are illegal in Texas, this group is sending them anywaysTexas lawmakers failed to legalize fentanyl testing strips last year, but there's still a push for accessTravis County expected to declare a public health crisis as drug overdose deaths increaseFentanyl testing strips can be used to test drugs, powders and pills for the presence of fentanyl, which is often more potent than other drugs and can be fatal. The strips allow people to take extra steps to protect themselves or to not take the drugs altogether.
But under the Texas Controlled Substances Act, drug testing equipment is classified as drug paraphernalia, which makes it illegal for people to recreationally test.
Despite that, some groups are still shipping the tests to Texas and they're readily available on sites like Amazon.
In the national report, State of Reform specifically pointed to Travis County and a recent medical examiner's report which found in 2021, drug overdoses were the leading cause of accidental death.
Travis County Judge Andy Brown told KXAN after that report was released that he's talked with state legislators about the possibility of bringing the legality of testing strips forward during the next legislative session.
''I don't think this is a partisan issue at all, nobody wants to see people dying in their community because of this,'' Brown said. ''I'll be reaching out to Democrats and Republicans to see if they would help sponsor this next session in January.''
That's something the National Harm Reduction Coalition said needs to happen '-- an overarching compliance with national strategies.
''It's very traumatic and difficult to do the work [of] taking care of patients when policymakers make it very difficult for me to provide that care,'' said Dr. Kimberly Sue, Assistant Professor at Yale University School of Medicine and Medical Director at the National Harm Reduction Coalition, in the State of Reform article.
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California Church Shooting Suspect Was Upset About China-Taiwan Relations - WSJ
Thu, 19 May 2022 16:36
One person killed, five wounded in possible 'politically motivated hate incident,' law-enforcement officials say
A gunman accused of killing one person and wounding five others inside a Southern California church over the weekend was upset about the state of relations between China and Taiwan, law-enforcement officials said Monday.
The deadly assault happened around 1:30 p.m. Sunday and is being investigated as a possible ''politically motivated hate incident,'' Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes said at a press conference.
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A gunman accused of killing one person and wounding five others inside a Southern California church over the weekend was upset about the state of relations between China and Taiwan, law-enforcement officials said Monday.
The deadly assault happened around 1:30 p.m. Sunday and is being investigated as a possible ''politically motivated hate incident,'' Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes said at a press conference.
Dr. John Cheng, 52 years old, a husband and father to two children, was killed in the shooting, Mr. Barnes said.
Dr. Cheng and the five people wounded in the attack were attending a lunch banquet held by the Irvine Taiwanese Presbyterian Church. That church worships in the Geneva Presbyterian Church in the Laguna Woods neighborhood, a hilltop retirement community popular with Asian-Americans.
When the suspect began shooting, Dr. Cheng ran at him and a pastor threw a chair at him, Mr. Barnes said. The other parishioners managed to restrain the suspect and tie him up with electrical cords before police arrived, he said.
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''Dr. Cheng is a hero,'' said Sheriff Barnes. ''Without the actions of Dr. Cheng, there is no doubt there would have been numerous other victims in this crime.''
The five wounded parishioners are Asian-American, the sheriff said. They range in age from 66 to 92 years old.
The California shooting came a day after a gunman wearing combat gear opened fire at a supermarket in Buffalo, N.Y., killing 10 people and wounding three others. Police said the suspect was targeting Black people.
The Orange County sheriff's office identified the suspected gunman as David Chou, 68 years old, of Las Vegas. He has been booked on one felony count of murder and five felony counts of attempted murder, according to authorities.
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The Federal Bureau of Investigation is also investigating the assault as a possible hate crime, authorities said.
The suspected gunman, a Taiwan-born U.S. citizen, was acting on a grievance he had against the Taiwanese community, according to the Orange County sheriff's office. Mr. Barnes said the suspect had previously lived in Taiwan, where his wife is now, and wasn't well received while there.
''It is believed the suspect involved was upset about political tensions between China and Taiwan,'' Mr. Barnes said.
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The state of relations between China and Taiwan is a politically charged issue. The self-ruled island of 24 million people is led by a democratically elected government but Beijing claims sovereignty over Taiwan.
The Taiwan government's Overseas Community Affairs Council issued a statement on Sunday expressing its condolences and offering its assistance.
Cross-strait tensions have grown under Chinese President Xi Jinping, whose military regularly tests airspace defenses around the island and whose government has kept Taiwan shut out of organizations like the World Health Organization.
China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs regularly criticizes U.S. gun control policy, including on Monday in response to questions at a regular press conference about the shooting in Buffalo.
''One cannot help but wonder: Why are more and more Americans buying, carrying and using guns?'' asked Ministry spokesman
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Zhao Lijian at Monday's press conference in Beijing.
Mr. Zhao went on to cite industry statistics that showed a 43% increase in gun purchases by ethnic Asians in the U.S. during 2020 and added, ''Is the prevalence of gun violence in the U.S. related to the rising sense of insecurity caused by racial discrimination among minorities?''
China's government condemns violence and expresses condolences for the victims, according to a spokesman for China's embassy in Washington, Liu Pengyu. Mr. Liu said, ''We hope that relevant parties will not make speculation before the final investigation result is announced.''
The shooting suspect had entered the church during the banquet, chained the doors shut and tried to disable its locks, authorities said, while adding that he also placed four Molotov cocktail-like devices inside the church.
Roughly 50 people were at the lunch, the sheriff said. '‹ Two handguns were found at the scene. Authorities also located several bags inside the church holding additional ammunition, Sheriff Barnes said.
The suspect had two 9mm semiautomatic pistols, both of which were purchased legally in Nevada in 2015 and 2017, authorities said.
Mr. Chou traveled by himself to Laguna Woods, officials said, adding that he wasn't a regular member of Irvine Taiwanese Presbyterian Church.
Write to Ginger Adams Otis at Ginger.AdamsOtis@wsj.com and James T. Areddy at James.Areddy@wsj.com
Corrections & AmplificationsThe suspected gunman in a church shooting in Laguna Woods, Calif., on May 15 is a Taiwan-born U.S. citizen. An earlier version of this article incorrectly said he was born in China. (Corrected on May 17)
Treasury Secretary Yellen Looks to Get Global Tax Deal Back on Track - The New York Times
Thu, 19 May 2022 16:35
The Treasury secretary is traveling to Warsaw, Brussels and Bonn, Germany, this week at an uncertain time for the global economy.
Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen is expected to press Poland to adopt a global tax deal that was agreed to last year by more than 130 countries looking to end corporate tax havens. Credit... Sarahbeth Maney/The New York Times May 16, 2022
WARSAW '-- Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen arrived in Europe this week to join U.S. allies in confronting multiple threats to the world economy: Russia's war in Ukraine, soaring inflation and food shortages.
But one of Ms. Yellen's first orders of business during a stop in Poland will be trying to get the global tax deal that she brokered last year back on track after months of fledgling deliberations about how to enact it. The two-pronged pact among more than 130 countries that was reached last October aimed to eliminate corporate tax havens by enacting a 15 percent global minimum tax. It would also shift taxing rights among countries so that corporations pay taxes based on where their goods and services are sold rather than where their headquarters are.
Turning the agreement into a reality is proving to be a steep challenge.
The European Union has already delayed its timeline for putting the tax changes in place by a year and progress has been halted over objections by Poland, which last month vetoed a plan to enact the new tax rate by the end of next year. Despite initially signing on to the deal, Poland has voiced reservations, including whether the minimum tax will actually prevent big tech companies from seeking out lower-tax jurisdictions. Polish officials have also expressed concern that the two parts of the tax agreement are moving ahead at different paces, as well as trepidation about the impact that raising its tax rate will have on its economy at a time when the country is absorbing waves of Ukrainian refugees.
In meetings in Warsaw on Monday, Ms. Yellen pressed top Polish officials to let the process move ahead, making clear that the tax deal continues to be a priority of the United States. She met with Poland's prime minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, and the finance minister, Magdalena Rzeczkowska.
Ms. Yellen, speaking after the meetings, described the conversations as ''frank'' and said she told her counterparts that the United States believes that the tax agreement is in Poland's economic interests.
''We strongly believe it's in the interest of Poland to be part of this,'' Ms. Yellen said, explaining that there continue to be technical differences that need to be worked out. ''We're hopeful that they will come on board and be able to see their way clear in the not too distant future with the deal.''
She added: ''Certainly there's interest and they're thinking very hard about it.''
The meetings come at the beginning of a weeklong trip that also includes stops in Brussels and Bonn, Germany, which is hosting the Group of 7 finance ministers' summit. Ms. Yellen will be focusing on coordinating sanctions against Russia with European allies and addressing growing concerns about how disruptions to energy and food supplies could affect the global economy.
Image Poland's finance minister, Magdalena Rzeczkowska, former head of the country's tax agency. Her country has raised concerns over potential loopholes and the impact of the global tax plan. Credit... Radek Pietruszka/EPA, via Shutterstock The tax agreement has been one of Ms. Yellen's top priories as Treasury secretary. Gaining Poland's support is critical because the European Union requires consensus among its member states to enact the tax changes.
''I think the reality of turning a political commitment into binding domestic legislation is a lot more complex,'' said Manal Corwin, a Treasury official in the Obama administration who now heads the Washington national tax practice at KPMG. ''The E.U. has moved and gotten over most of the objections, but they still have Poland and it's not clear whether they're going to be able to get the last vote.''
With President Emmanuel Macron of France heading the European Union's rotating presidency until June, his administration was eager to get a deal implemented. But at a meeting of European finance ministers in early April, Poland became the sole holdout, saying there were no ironclad guarantees that big multinational companies wouldn't still be able to take advantage of low-tax jurisdictions if the two parts of the agreement did not move ahead in tandem, undercutting the global effort to avoid a race to the bottom when it comes to corporate taxation.
Poland's stance was sharply criticized by European officials, particularly France, whose finance minister, Bruno Le Maire, suggested that Warsaw was instead holding up a final accord in retaliation for a Europe-wide political dispute. Poland has threatened to veto measures requiring unanimous E.U. votes because of an earlier decision by Brussels to block pandemic recovery funds for Poland.
The European Union had refused to disburse billions in aid to Poland since late last year, citing separate concerns over Warsaw's interference with the independence of its judicial system. Last week, on the eve of Ms. Yellen's visit to Poland, the European Commission came up with an 11th-hour deal unlocking 36 billion euros in pandemic recovery funds for Poland, which pledged to meet certain milestones such as judiciary and economic reforms, in return for the money.
Negotiators from around the world have been working for months to resolve technical details of the agreement, such as what kinds of income would be subject to the new taxes and how the deal would be enforced. Failure to finalize the agreement would likely mean the further proliferation of the digital services taxes that European countries have imposed on American technology giants, much to the dismay of those firms and the Biden administration, which has threatened to impose tariffs on nations that adopt their own levies.
''It's fluid, it's moving, it's a moving target,'' Pascal Saint-Amans, the director of the center for tax policy and administration at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, said of the negotiations at the D.C. Bar's annual tax conference this month. ''There is an extremely ambitious timeline.''
Countries like Ireland, with a historically low corporate tax rate, have been wary of increasing their rates if others do not follow suit, so it has been important to ensure that there is a common understanding of the new tax rules to avoid opening the door to new loopholes.
''The idea of having multiple countries put the same rules in place is a new concept in tax,'' said Barbara Angus, the global tax policy leader at Ernst & Young and a former chief tax counsel on the House Ways and Means Committee. She added that it was important to have a multilateral forum so countries could agree on how to interpret and apply the levies.
Yet, while Ms. Yellen is pushing foreign nations to adopt the tax agreement, it remains unclear whether the United States will be able to pass its own legislation to come into compliance.
An earlier effort by House Democrats to adopt a tax plan that would satisfy terms of the agreement fell apart in the Senate, where Democrats continue to disagree over the scope and cost of a tax and spending bill that President Biden has proposed.
Image Rep. Kevin Brady of Texas, the ranking member on the House Ways and Means Committee, has led Republican opposition to an international tax agreement, saying it makes the United States ''less competitive.'' Credit... Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images Republicans in Congress have made clear that they are unlikely to support any agreement that the Biden administration has brokered and called on the Treasury Department to consult with them before trying to move ahead.
''As it is, there's very little chance of a global minimum tax agreement '-- there is already resistance to approval at the E.U., which should be the easiest part of these discussions, and it will only get harder going forward,'' said Representative Kevin Brady of Texas, the top Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee. ''Meanwhile, here in the U.S., there's little political support for an agreement that makes the U.S. less competitive and takes a big bite out of our tax base.''
Ms. Yellen is expected to convey to her counterparts this week that the agreement is still a priority for the Biden administration and that she hopes that the United States can make the tax changes needed to comply with the agreement in a small spending package later this year, according to a person familiar with the negotiations.
Claw machines are rigged '-- here's why it's so hard to grab that stuffed animal - Vox
Thu, 19 May 2022 16:33
At some point or another you've probably played one of these claw machines, hoping to score the plush toy of your dreams. But despite your skill at perfectly positioning the claw over the prize and activating it, you've found that the pincers just don't grab tightly enough to pick up a stuffed animal.
It's not your imagination. Those claw machines are rigged. But they're rigged in a surprisingly clever way '-- and not the way most people suspect.
The claw is programmed to grab tightly only part of the timeSome people think the claw machine is so hard to win because the stuffed animals are packed so tightly together. But the bigger reason is more insidious than that: the claw machine is programmed to have a strong grip only part of the time.
This isn't a closely kept secret. It's publicly available information, pulled straight from the instruction guides for the biggest claw games out there. Open the manual for Black Tie Toys' Advanced Crane Machine. Look at page eight, section subheading "Claw Strength":
Instruction manual page showing claw strength. (BMI Gaming)
The machine's owner can fine-tune the strength of the claw beforehand so that it only has a strong grip a fraction of the time that people play.
The owner can manually adjust the "dropping skill," as well. That means that on a given number of tries, the claw will drop a prize that it's grabbed before it delivers it to you.
The machines also allow the owner to select a desired level of profit and then automatically adjust the claw strength to make sure that players are only winning a limited number of times:
A claw machine profit table. (BMI Gaming)
This isn't isolated to one claw machine or one company '-- this is standard practice industry-wide.
Want to win a prize from the Bling King? The machine's instruction manual shows you'll likely have to play dozens of times. The owner can program beforehand how often the claw's grip is strong or weak (based on the voltage sent to the claw):
A claw machine strength table. (BMI Gaming)
The big decision for machine owners is how fair or unfair they want to make the game. They could adjust the machine so that the claw only operates on full power one out of every 23 times. That would, in theory, create a profit of around 50 percent. (The machine also has ways to ensure this '-- if a player wins with a "weak claw," the machine can wait even longer before sending full power to the claw.)
But owners also have to be careful, since no one wants to play a machine that never seems to work. So they might want to accept less profit in the short term by allowing the claw to be stronger more often, thereby giving the machine a better reputation.
For the player, however, there's no way to know in advance how strong or weak a machine is.
States do regulate claw machines '-- but they typically focus on prize sizeStates regulate slot machines to make sure they're not rigged too unfairly against players. But they rarely do the same thing for claw machines.
Instead, state regulations typically focus on keeping the value of the prizes in claw machines relatively low. Lawmakers seem to think that larger prizes would make claw machines more akin to gambling, whereas smaller prizes keep them safe for kids.
By contrast, there are fewer regulations on how strong the claw should be. If machine operators want to make the claw wildly unfair against the players, there's little stopping them '-- in most cases, the only check is the machine's reputation.
Even though it's rigged, people are still tempted by the clawIf the claw is so badly rigged, then why do people keep playing this game? Starting in 1951, the machines were regulated as gambling devices, but in 1974, those regulations were relaxed. A claw boom began. Today, they're ubiquitous in grocery stores, malls, and anywhere else with lots of foot traffic.
One possibility for their enduring popularity today: social media has made it easy for people to record their victories playing claw machines, and each victorious post or video about a successful claw machine attempt only serves as a commercial for the games. (By contrast, few people broadcast their claw failures.) That might give the impression that the game is way more winnable than it actually is:
Research has consistently shown that social media can inspire a fear of missing out on key relationships and experiences, and a claw victory is alluring. It's easy to see a Facebook post about a claw machine victory and want to capture that glory yourself.
What's surprising, meanwhile, is that claw devotees don't use social media to better identify which claw machines are badly rigged and which aren't. The fan site Be the Claw does some of this work, but it's far from comprehensive. By the same token, it's difficult to find claw machines on consumer ratings sites like Yelp. (A Yelp spokesperson says businesses must fall in certain categories to be classified on the site: an entire arcade can get rated, but a single claw machine usually can't.)
For now, there's only one sure-fire way to beat the claw machine: don't play.
Update: Since this article was first published in April, a few notable things happened:
BMI Gaming took down the PDFs of their instruction manuals, which used to be publicly available. A response to the article, published at Vending Times, provides more detail about how some claw machine operators are responding to charges of rigged machines. However, the article confirms what one source told me: confusing state regulations make it hard to know what each area's law is, and self-policing remains the primary method of regulation. Finally, more than one person told me that they'd had more luck with Sugarloaf claw machines at Wal-Mart than they had with other claw machines. However, there's no easy way to verify this claim, so claw operator beware.
What Gen Z and millennials want from employers amid Great Resignation
Thu, 19 May 2022 16:25
Luis Alvarez | Digitalvision | Getty Images
Gen Z and millennials, like millions of other Americans, are looking for a new way to work.
Stressed and burned out, many have walked away from their jobs. Others still plan to do so, according the Deloitte Global 2022 Gen Z and millennial survey.
Some 40% of Gen Zers and 24% of millennials would like to leave their jobs within two years. About a third would quit without another job lined up, the global survey found. More than 14,000 Gen Z members and over 7,400 millennials from 46 countries were polled between November and January.
Pay was the No. 1 reason younger people left their jobs in the last two years, followed by feeling the workplace was detrimental to their mental health and burnout. Some 46% of Gen Zers and 45% of millennials reported feeling burned out due to their work environment.
When choosing a new employer, good work-life balance and learning and development opportunities were the top priorities. About three-quarters would prefer a hybrid or remote work situation.
They are also willing to turn down job offers that don't align with their values. In addition, those who are satisfied with their employers' environmental and societal impact, as well as their efforts to create an inclusive culture, are more likely to stay with their employer for five years or more.
"The expectations of business to drive societal change [and] environmental change has never been higher," said Michele Parmelee, Deloitte Global deputy CEO and chief people and purpose officer.
Older generations may not have expected organizations to take a stand on social topics, but younger generations now do, she added.
"They are more empowered to ask for things," Parmelee said. "They have always demonstrated they are willing to leave '... and they expect more."
More from Invest in You:85% of those who negotiated a job offer succeeded. How to do itGreat Resignation workplace changes are here to stay
Companies are betting perks will help them in 'Great Reshuffle'
Climate change ranks high as a concern among Gen Z and millennials, with about three-quarters agreeing the world is at a tipping point in responding to climate change. Only 15% of Gen Zers and 14% of millennials believe large companies are taking substantive actions to combat the issue, the survey found.
A year into the Great Resignation, also known as the Great Reshuffle, employers are responding to what they're hearing from workers and job seekers. Millions of Americans have quit their jobs, with a record 4.5 million walking away in March alone.
Companies are looking to add flexibility around hours worked and location. Some 43% of companies are offering hybrid models, PWC's Pulse Survey of C-suite executives found. Benefits focusing on financial and mental wellness are becoming more popular, and other perks like four-day workweeks, sabbaticals and work-from-anywhere are popping up.
In order to stay competitive, especially when it comes to attracting and retaining the younger generations, employers should implement those hybrid work strategies, Parmelee said.
They should also prioritize climate action, and empower their employees to help fight climate change, as well as support better workplace mental health, Deloitte's survey suggested.
That can entail being transparent about the decisions the company is making, being clear about mental health benefits and having a plan to combat burnout, Parmelee said. For instance, Deloitte has "disconnect days," where the entire company is given the day off.
"It's also creativity around certain benefits that really drive to the heart of what the concerns are today," she said.
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Cash-Rich Companies Urged to Push Banks to Act on Climate - WSJ
Thu, 19 May 2022 16:24
Advocacy groups say tech giants and other companies with big cash reserves should use leverage with lenders to raise their environmental ambitions
Corporate cash reserves could be a powerful lever for reducing carbon emissions, according to a new report that calls on companies to push banks to move faster on climate change.
While many companies are seeking to cut their own emissions and encouraging suppliers to follow suit, they generally overlook the climate impact of their banking relationships, three advocacy groups said in a report Tuesday.
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Corporate cash reserves could be a powerful lever for reducing carbon emissions, according to a new report that calls on companies to push banks to move faster on climate change.
While many companies are seeking to cut their own emissions and encouraging suppliers to follow suit, they generally overlook the climate impact of their banking relationships, three advocacy groups said in a report Tuesday.
The Climate Safe Lending Network, the Outdoor Policy Outfit and BankFWD argued that the cash and investments on companies' balance sheets enable the banks looking after that money to lend more'--including financing for fossil-fuel production.
The report focused on technology companies with sizable cash reserves that have publicized efforts to cut emissions. Working with climate services company South Pole, the advocacy groups estimated that cash and investments would be the biggest source of emissions for Alphabet Inc., Meta Platforms Inc. and Microsoft Corp. if they included them in their latest carbon accounts. Apple Inc.'s emissions would be 64% higher with these emissions included, while Amazon.com Inc., which with its delivery business generates more greenhouse gases directly, would have had an 11% larger carbon footprint, according to the researchers' estimates.
Between them, those companies had nearly $120 billion in cash and cash equivalents at the end of the first quarter of this year, not including other investments.
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''Companies' climate accomplishments are being undermined by a misaligned financial system that is channeling hundreds of billions of corporate U.S. dollars into the carbon-intensive sectors driving the climate crisis,'' the report says. ''Companies have the power to significantly shift this trajectory and proactively engage with the financial sector to help steer the world toward a path of rapid climate progress.''
A representative of Alphabet's Google said the company would scrutinize the report's methodology as part of efforts to determine how it could bring down emissions from its value chain. Meta , Amazon, Microsoft and Apple didn't comment.
The researchers laid out ways in which cash-rich companies could put pressure on banks, such as helping them develop climate-benefiting financial products or even committing to move their business to rivals that are phasing out fossil-fuel lending.
The risk of losing an important source of business would be a spur to action for financial institutions, said James Vaccaro,
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executive director of the Climate Safe Lending Network. For a bank, ''you're going to have to listen to those customers,'' he said. At the same time, he argued that banks that move quickly to cater to climate-conscious companies could profit. ''There's a huge bonus for them if they can align with these companies,'' he said.
Many companies are already nudging suppliers and customers to shrink their carbon footprints. Expanding that to their financial arrangements could leave banks facing choices about which sectors to serve at a time when energy companies are enjoying bumper profits and attracting investor attention.
Many banks say they want to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, but they are largely maintaining support for oil and gas. The 60 largest global banks provided $741.8 billion of fossil-fuel financing last year, down just over 1% from 2020, according to the nonprofit Rainforest Action Network.
Mr. Vaccaro said the climate impact of big companies' cash ''has been hiding in plain sight,'' partly because there hasn't been an established way of calculating it.
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Companies don't disclose all the details of their banking relationships, and most banks don't publish comprehensive calculations of the carbon footprint of their financing. Consequently, instead of doing a ground-up calculation based on companies' specific arrangements, the researchers relied on estimates of the carbon intensity of different financial-market activities, looking at how financing breaks down by factors such as sector and geography. They built on a technique used by two other nonprofit groups, the Sierra Club and the Center for American Progress, to estimate U.S. lenders' emissions last year.
Patrick Flynn, sustainability chief of software company Salesforce Inc., said the reliance on industry-average emissions data is a drawback of this approach. But he added that ''in that shortcoming there's power,'' because a bank that is moving faster than its peers on climate would have an incentive to refine its own data.
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The report estimated that the $10.5 billion of cash and marketable securities on Salesforce's balance sheet as of January 2022 generated emissions equivalent to 993,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide, or 91% of its reported emissions. Mr. Flynn said Salesforce would review the findings and consider the implications for the way emissions are disclosed.
The Greenhouse Gas Protocol, a coalition of environmental groups and businesses that sets guidelines for emissions accounting, lists investments as a reporting category in its guidance for Scope 3 emissions but says the category is ''primarily for private financial institutions.'' The group, which is reviewing the standard, plans to update that part so it clearly encompasses nonfinancial companies whose cash makes a material emissions impact, according to Pankaj Bhatia, director of GHG Protocol at the World Resources Institute. He said the guidance will lay out how these emissions could be calculated but didn't comment on the methodology of the Climate Safe Lending Network and its partners.
The guidelines ''should be more explicit,'' Mr. Bhatia said. ''There are many companies that are not in the financial sector that have a huge amount of cash.''
Write to Ed Ballard at ed.ballard@wsj.com
'The Real Love Boat' dating show to sail on CBS' fall lineup
Thu, 19 May 2022 16:23
Updated 5/18/2022 6:07 PM
NEW YORK -- Network TV's fondness for reality fare and reboots combine in 'Å'The Real Love Boat,'¯½ a sea-going dating show that's part of the CBS fall schedule announced Wednesday.
Described as a 'Å'romance adventure competition,'¯½ the series credits as its inspiration the popular and kitschy comedy-drama 'Å'The Love Boat,'¯½ which aired from 1977-86 on ABC. 'Å'The Real Love Boat'¯½ will follow returning shows 'Å'Survivor'¯½ and 'Å'The Amazing Race'¯½ on Wednesday, a rare all-reality night for CBS.
With so much programming available to viewers, 'Å'flow is important, lead-ins are important, compatible programming is important,'¯½ said Kelly Kahl, CBS Entertainment president. 'Å'This looked like a real good bet to us. It also looks like a real competitive kind of counter-programming move.'¯½
By contrast, network rivals NBC and ABC have stocked their Wednesday lineups with comedies and dramas. There's more to guard against than just other broadcasters, given the rise of streaming services with splashy shows and on-demand convenience.
That's prompted growing broadcast reliance on fare known to viewers, including spinoffs and reboots. But CBS, which leans on the scripted 'Å'NCIS'¯½ and 'Å'FBI'¯½ franchises, is also placing bets on a trio of unpedigreed new dramas this fall.
'Å'East New York'¯½ stars Amanda Warren as the newly promoted head of a police precinct in the working-class neighborhood where she has roots. Jimmy Smits co-stars. 'Å'Fire Country'¯½ follows young convict (Max Thieriot, 'Å'Seal Team'¯½) who joins a California prison-release firefighting program for a second chance.
The other scripted addition, 'Å'So Help Me Todd,'¯½ is described as a 'Å'humorous legal drama.'¯½ Oscar-winner Marcia Gay Harden ("Pollock") stars as a successful attorney who hires her less-driven son, a private detective played by Skylar Astin, to work for her law firm.
The shows canceled by CBS are 'Å'Magnum P.I.'¯½; 'Å'United States of Al'¯½; 'Å'B Positive'¯½; 'Å'Good Sam'¯½ and 'Å'How We Roll.'¯½
The network and its Paramount Global siblings, including Paramount+, presented their wares to advertisers in New York on Wednesday. The streaming service announced that 'Å'Tulsa King,'¯½ starring Sylvester Stallone as a mobster exiled to Oklahoma, will debut Nov. 13.
Media Writer David Bauder reported from New York and Television Writer Lynn Elber reported from Los Angeles.
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Why Tesla was kicked out of the S&P 500's ESG index
Thu, 19 May 2022 16:20
An aerial view of the Tesla Fremont Factory on May 13, 2020 in Fremont, California.
Justin Sullivan | Getty Images
The S&P 500 booted electric vehicle maker Tesla from its ESG Index as part of an annual update to the list. Meanwhile, Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and even oil and gas multinational Exxon Mobil were still included on the list.
The S&P 500 ESG Index uses environmental, social and governance data to rank and effectively recommend companies to investors. Its criteria include hundreds of data points per company that pertain to the way businesses affect the planet and treat stakeholders beyond shareholders '-- including customers, employees, vendors, partners and neighbors.
Changes to the index took effect on May 2, and a spokesperson for the index explained why they were made in a blog post published Wednesday.
It said that Tesla's "lack of a low-carbon strategy" and "codes of business conduct," along with racism and poor working conditions reported at Tesla's factory in Fremont, California, affected the score. Tesla's handling of an investigation by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration also weighed on its score.
While Tesla's stated mission is to accelerate the world's transition to sustainable energy, in February this year it settled with the Environmental Protection Agency after years of Clean Air Act violations and neglecting to track its own emissions. Tesla ranked 22nd on last year's Toxic 100 Air Polluters Index, compiled annually by U-Mass Amherst Political Economy Research Institute '-- worse than Exxon Mobil, which came in 26th. (The index uses data from 2019, the most recently available.)
In Tesla's first-quarter filing the company also disclosed it is being investigated for its handling of waste in the state of California, and that it had to pay a fine in Germany for failures to meet "take back" obligations in the country for spent batteries.
Read more about electric vehicles from CNBC ProMeanwhile, California's Department of Fair Employment and Housing sued Tesla over anti-Black harassment and discrimination in its Fremont car plant. The agency says it found evidence that Tesla routinely kept Black workers in low-level roles at the company, gave them more physically demanding and dangerous assignments and retaliated against them when they complained about racist slurs.
Last year, the National Labor Relations Board said Tesla had engaged in unfair labor practices, as well.
"While Tesla may be playing its part in taking fuel-powered cars off the road, it has fallen behind its peers when examined through a wider ESG lens," the S&P spokesperson wrote.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk griped about the index on Wednesday morning on Twitter, where he boasts more than 90 million followers, saying S&P Global Ratings has "lost their integrity."
In an earlier tweet on Musk wrote: "I am increasingly convinced that corporate ESG is the Devil Incarnate."
In a company impact report that followed, Tesla wrote:
"Current environmental, social and governance (ESG) reporting does not measure the scope of positive impact on the world. Instead, it focuses on measuring the dollar value of risk / return. Individual investors '-- who entrust their money to ESG funds of large investment institutions '-- are perhaps unaware that their money can be used to buy shares of companies that make climate change worse, not better."
In that report, Tesla contended that other automakers could achieve higher ESG ratings even if they barely reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and continue manufacturing internal combustion engine vehicles.
Tesla shares closed down more than 6% Wednesday amid a broad market sell-off. The company's stock is down more than 30% this year.
Spy agencies urged to fix open secret: a lack of diversity
Thu, 19 May 2022 15:50
WASHINGTON -- The peril National Security Agency staff wanted to discuss with their director didn't involve terrorists or enemy nations. It was something closer to home: the racism and cultural misunderstandings inside America's largest intelligence service.
The NSA and other intelligence agencies held calls for their staff shortly after the death of George Floyd. As Gen. Paul Nakasone listened, one person described how they would try to speak up in meetings only to have the rest of the group keep talking over them. Another person, a Black man, spoke about how he had been counseled that his voice was too loud and intimidated co-workers. A third described how a co-worker addressed them with a racist slur.
The national reckoning over racial inequality sparked by Floyd's murder two years ago has gone on behind closed doors inside America's intelligence agencies. Publicly available data, published studies of its diversity programs, and interviews with retired officers indicate spy agencies have not lived up to years of commitments made by their top leaders, who often say diversity is a national security imperative.
People of color remain underrepresented across the intelligence community and are less likely to be promoted. Retired officers who spoke to The Associated Press described examples of explicit and implicit bias. People who had served on promotion boards noted non-native English speakers applying for new jobs would sometimes be criticized for being hard to understand - what one person called the 'Å'accent card.'¯½ Some say they believe minorities are funneled into working on countries or regions based on their ethnicity.
Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines, the first woman to serve in her role, has appointed diversity officials who say they need to collect better data to study longstanding questions, from whether the process for obtaining a security clearance disadvantages people of color to the reasons for disparities in advancement. Agencies are also implementing reforms they say will promote diversity.
'Å'It's going to be incremental,'¯½ said Stephanie La Rue, who was appointed this year to lead the intelligence community's efforts on diversity, equity and inclusion. 'Å'We're not going to see immediate change overnight. It's going to take us a while to get to where we need to go.'¯½
The NSA call following Floyd's death was described by a participant who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the private discussion. The person credited Nakasone for listening to employees and making public and private commitments to diversity. But the person and other former officials said they sometimes felt that their identities as people of color were discounted or not fully appreciated by their employers.
The NSA declined to comment on the call. It said in a statement that agency officials 'Å'regularly examine the outcomes of our personnel systems to assess their fairness.'¯½
'Å'Beyond the mission imperative, NSA cultivates diversity and promotes inclusion because we care about our people and know it is the right way to proceed,'¯½ the statement said.
A former NSA contractor alleged this year that racist and misogynistic comments often circulate on classified chatrooms intended for intelligence work. The contractor, Dan Gilmore, wrote in a blog post that he was fired for reporting his complaints to higher-ups. A spokeswoman for Haines, Nicole de Haay, declined to comment on Gilmore's allegations but said employees who 'Å'engage in inappropriate conduct are subject to a variety of accountability mechanisms, including disciplinary action.'¯½
The U.S. intelligence community has evolved over decades from being almost exclusively run by white men - following a stereotype that Rep. Jim Himes, a Connecticut Democrat, referred to in a hearing on diversity last year as 'Å'pale, male, Yale.'¯½ Intelligence agencies that once denied security clearances to people suspected of being gay now have active resource groups for people of different races and sexual orientation.
Testifying at the same hearing as Himes, CIA Director William Burns said, 'Å'Simply put, we can't be effective and we're not being true to our nation's ideals if everyone looks like me, talks like me, and thinks like me.'¯½
But annual charts published by the Office of Director of National Intelligence show a consistent trend: At rising levels of rank, minority representation goes down.
Latinos make up about 18% of the American population but just 7% of the roughly 100,000-person intelligence community and 3.5% of senior officers. Black officers comprise 12% of the community - the same as the U.S. population - but 6.5% at the most senior level. And while minorities comprise 27% of the total intelligence workforce, just 15% of senior executives are people of color.
A 2015 report commissioned by the CIA said the 'Å'underrepresentation of racial/ethnic minority officers and officers with a disability at the senior ranks is not a recent problem and speaks to unresolved cultural, organizational, and unconscious bias issues.'¯½ Among the report's findings: Progress made between 1984 and 2004 in promoting Black officers to senior roles had been lost in the following decade and recruitment efforts at historically Black colleges and universities 'Å'have not been effective.'¯½
'Å'Since its founding, the Agency has been unmistakably weak in promoting diverse role models to the executive level,'¯½ the report said.
Lenora Peters Gant, a former senior human capital officer for the CIA and Office of the Director of National Intelligence, wrote last year that the intelligence community constantly imposes barriers on minorities, women and people with disabilities. Gant, now an adviser at Howard University, called on agencies to release some of their classified data on hiring and retention.
'Å'The bottom line is the decision making leadership levels are void of credible minority participation,'¯½ Gant said.
ODNI is starting an investigation of the slowest 10% of security clearance applications, reviewing delays in the cases for any possible examples of bias. It also intends to review whether polygraph examiners need additional race and ethnicity training.
The intelligence community currently doesn't report delays in getting a security clearance - required for most agency jobs - based on race, ethnicity or gender. The months or years a clearance can take can push away applicants who can't wait that long.
The office is implementing annual grant monitoring and assigning additional staff to work with universities in the intelligence community's Centers for Academic Excellence program, intended to recruit college students from underrepresented groups. A 2019 audit said it was impossible to judge the program due to poor planning and a lack of clear goals.
The program also got a new logo after ODNI officials heard that the previous 'Å'IC CAE'¯½ insignia appeared to spell out 'Å'ICE,'¯½ an unintended reference to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Additional quiet changes are taking place across the agencies. Officials say the changes were in process before Floyd's death, though conversations held with employees brought new urgency to diversity issues.
The NSA stopped requiring applicants for internal promotions to disclose the date they were last promoted to the boards considering their application. Officials familiar with the change say it was intended to benefit applicants who take longer to move up the agency ladder, often including working parents or people from underrepresented communities.
The CIA two years ago formally tied yearly bonuses for its senior executives to their performance on diversity goals, measured next to factors such as leadership and intelligence tradecraft. Last year's class of new senior executives was the most diverse in the agency's history.
Said CIA spokesperson Tammy Thorp: 'Å'We are proud of the Agency's progress in ensuring our hiring, assignment, and promotion processes do not create barriers to advancement.'¯½
La Rue, the chief diversity officer for the intelligence community, has hired several data analysts and plans for her office to issue annual report cards on diversity for each intelligence agency. She acknowledges advocates have to break through enduring skepticism inside and outside government that diversity goals undermine the intelligence mission or require lower standards.
'Å'The narrative that we have to sacrifice excellence for diversity, or that we are somehow compromising national security to achieve our diversity goals, is ridiculous,'¯½ she said.
US case of monkeypox reported in Massachusetts man
Thu, 19 May 2022 15:50
Cynthia S. Goldsmith, Russell Regner/AP
This 2003 electron microscope image made available by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows a monkeypox virion, obtained from a sample associated with the 2003 prairie dog outbreak. On Wednesday, May 18, 2022, Massachusetts has reported a rare case of monkeypox in a man who recently had traveled to Canada, and investigators are looking into whether it is connected to recent cases in Europe. (Cynthia S. Goldsmith, Russell Regner/CDC via AP)
By: The Associated Press & Scripps National
Posted at 7:00 PM, May 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-18 19:00:36-04
Massachusetts has reported a case of monkeypox in a man who recently traveled to Canada.
Health officials said on Wednesday they are looking into whether the case is connected to small outbreaks in Europe. Monkeypox is typically limited to Africa and the rare cases in the U.S. and elsewhere are usually linked to travel there.
A small number of confirmed or suspected monkeypox cases have been reported this month in the United Kingdom, Portugal and Spain. Health officials said the U.S. case poses no risk to the public. The Massachusetts resident is hospitalized but in good condition. Last year, Texas and Maryland each reported a case in people who traveled to Nigeria.
Monkeypox comes from the same family of viruses as smallpox. Most people recover from monkeypox within weeks, but the disease is fatal for up to 1 in 10 people, according to the World Health Organization.
Copyright 2022 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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U.S. Eyeing Russian Energy Sanctions Over Ukraine War, Officials Say - The New York Times
Thu, 19 May 2022 15:49
BERLIN '-- The Biden administration is developing plans to further choke Russia's oil revenues with the long-term goal of destroying the country's central role in the global energy economy, current and former U.S. officials say, a major escalatory step that could put the United States in political conflict with China, India, Turkey and other nations that buy Russian oil.
The proposed measures include imposing a price cap on Russian oil, backed by so-called secondary sanctions, which would punish foreign buyers that do not comply with U.S. restrictions by blocking them from doing business with American companies and those of partner nations.
As President Vladimir V. Putin wages war in Ukraine, the United States and its allies have imposed sanctions on Russia that have battered its economy. But the nearly $20 billion per month that Russia continues to reap from oil sales could sustain the sort of grinding conflict underway in eastern Ukraine and finance any future aggressions, according to officials and experts.
U.S. officials say the main question now is how to starve Moscow of that money while ensuring that global oil supplies do not drop, which could lead to a rise in prices that benefits Mr. Putin and worsens inflation in the United States and elsewhere. As U.S. elections loom, President Biden has said a top priority is dealing with inflation.
While U.S. officials say they do not want to immediately take large amounts of Russian oil off the market, they are trying to push countries to wean themselves off those imports in the coming months. A U.S. ban on sales of critical technologies to Russia is partly aimed at crippling its oil companies over many years. U.S. officials say the market will eventually adjust as the Russian industry fades.
Russia's oil industry is already under pressure. The United States banned Russian oil imports in March, and the European Union hopes to announce a similar measure soon. Its foreign ministers discussed a potential embargo in Brussels on Monday. The Group of 7 industrialized nations, which includes Britain, Japan and Canada, agreed this month to gradually phase out Russian oil imports and their finance ministers are meeting in Bonn, Germany, this week to discuss details.
''We very much support the efforts that Europe, the European Union, is making to wean itself off of Russian energy, whether that's oil or ultimately gas,'' Antony J. Blinken, the secretary of state, said in Berlin on Sunday when asked about future energy sanctions at a news conference of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. ''It's not going to end overnight, but Europe is clearly on track to move decisively in that direction.''
''As this is happening, the United States has taken a number of steps to help,'' he added.
But Russian oil exports increased in April, and soaring prices mean that Russia has earned 50 percent more in revenues this year compared to the same period in 2021, according to a new report from the International Energy Agency in Paris. India and Turkey, a NATO member, have increased their purchases. South Korea is buying less but remains a major customer, as does China, which criticizes U.S. sanctions. The result is a Russian war machine still powered by petrodollars.
American officials are looking at ''what can be done in the more immediate term to reduce the revenues that the Kremlin is generating from selling oil, and make sure countries outside the sanctions coalition, like China and India, don't undercut the sanctions by just buying more oil,'' said Edward Fishman, who oversaw sanctions policy at the State Department after Russia annexed Crimea in 2014.
Image As President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia wages war in Ukraine, the United States and its allies have imposed a range of sanctions that have battered the Russian economy. Credit... David Guttenfelder for The New York Times The Biden administration is looking at various types of secondary sanctions and has yet to settle on a definite course of action, according to the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss policies still under internal consideration. The United States imposed secondary sanctions to cut off Iran's exports in an effort to curtail its nuclear program.
Large foreign companies generally comply with U.S. regulations to avoid sanctions if they engage in commerce with American companies or partner nations.
''If we're talking about Rubicons to cross, I think the biggest one is the secondary sanctions piece,'' said Richard Nephew, a scholar at Columbia University who was a senior official on sanctions in the Obama and Biden administrations. ''That means we tell other countries: If you do business with Russia, you can't do business with the U.S.''
But sanctions have a mixed record. Severe economic isolation has done little to change the behavior of governments from Iran to North Korea to Cuba and Venezuela.
One measure American officials are discussing would require foreign companies to pay a below-market price for Russian oil '-- or suffer U.S. sanctions. Washington would assign a price for Russian oil that is well under the global market value, which is currently more than $100 per barrel. Russia's last budget set a break-even price for its oil above $40. A price cap would reduce Russia's profits without increasing global energy costs.
The U.S. government could also cut off most Russian access to payments for oil. Washington would do this by issuing a regulation that requires foreign banks dealing in payments to put the money in an escrow account if they want to avoid sanctions. Russia would be able to access the money only to purchase essential goods like food and medicine.
And as those mechanisms are put in place, U.S. officials would press nations to gradually decrease their purchases of Russian oil, as they did with Iranian oil.
''There wouldn't be a ban on Russian oil and gas per se,'' said Maria Snegovaya, a visiting scholar at George Washington University who has studied sanctions on Russia. ''Partly this is because that would send the price skyrocketing. Russia can benefit from a skyrocketing price.''
But enforcing escrow payments or price caps globally could be difficult. Under the new measures, the United States would have to confront nations that are not part of the existing sanctions coalition and, like India and China, want to maintain good relations with Russia.
In 2020, the Trump administration imposed sanctions on companies in China, Vietnam and the United Arab Emirates for their roles in the purchase or transport of Iranian oil.
Image A U.S.-led assault on Russia's oil revenues would widen America's role in the conflict. Credit... Alexey Malgavko/Reuters Experts say the measures could be announced in response to a new Russian provocation, such as a chemical weapons attack, or to give Kyiv more leverage if Ukraine starts serious negotiations with Moscow.
Russia-Ukraine War: Key Developments Card 1 of 3In Mariupol. Hundreds more Ukrainian fighters that had been in a steel plant in Mariupol surrendered to Russia. Ukrainian officials have said the fighters will be exchanged for Russian prisoners of war, but they have provided no details about the agreement.
U.S. officials want to ensure that European and Asian partners remain united with Washington on any new sanctions. But some European officials say certain measures, such as a price cap or tariffs on Russian oil, would be ineffective or too complicated to enact.
''We continue to look at those things,'' Janet Yellen, the U.S. treasury secretary, said in Bonn on Wednesday. ''You know, this is important for Europe to decide what they think is best.''
American officials say they have crunched numbers to see to what extent Russia would be starved of revenues if major buyers paid only a fraction of the market price for oil.
If the European Union decides to impose a price cap on their purchases rather than an outright embargo, Asian and Middle Eastern buyers of Russian oil might insist on paying the same low price, a U.S. official said.
''The advantage of a straight price cap is you go to the Chinese or the Indians and you say, we're going to force you to save money!'' said Daniel Fried, a retired diplomat who has served as the State Department's coordinator for sanctions policy.
The toughest sanction imposed by the United States and European Union on Russia so far has blocked the Russian central bank's access to foreign currency reserves in global accounts. That led to a plummet in the value of the ruble. But the bank has amassed foreign currency from Russian companies that are paid in dollars and euros for commodities, including energy.
U.S. and European officials have focused discussions on oil sanctions, leaving out the thornier question of Russian natural gas exports. European nations rely on Russian gas to heat homes and power businesses, and it cannot be easily replaced.
There are signs that large Chinese state-owned oil companies are holding back on signing new oil contracts with Russia, given the uncertainty over sanctions. American officials say that while China has given diplomatic and rhetorical support to Mr. Putin, Chinese companies and the government have not sent economic or military aid to Russia.
Chinese companies might be waiting until Russian commodity prices fall further before signing new contracts. And they also want to avoid secondary sanctions, said Alexander Gabuev, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Chinese companies are not well versed in sanctions compliance, he added, so the executives tend to err on the side of caution.
The Biden administration is also discussing another way to inflict pain on Russia: legally seizing the Russian central bank assets that were frozen in accounts overseas during the war, as well as those of Russian tycoons, and giving them to Ukraine for reconstruction, U.S. officials say.
As with the proposed energy sanctions, the United States is exploring the idea with European nations and members of the Group of 7.
Edward Wong reported from Berlin, Paris and Washington, and Michael Crowley from Washington. Matina Stevis-Gridneff contributed reporting from Brussels.
Elon Musk says he'll vote Republican, bashes Democrats
Thu, 19 May 2022 15:43
Trump advisor Steve Bannon (L) watches as President Donald Trump greets Elon Musk, SpaceX and Tesla CEO, before a policy and strategy forum with executives in the State Dining Room of the White House February 3, 2017 in Washington, DC.
Brendan Smialowski | AFP | Getty Images
Elon Musk said twice this week that he plans to vote for Republicans in upcoming elections, even though he says he previously voted for Democrats such as former President Barack Obama.
Musk's stated political leanings will not surprise people who follow the celebrity CEO's interactions and proclamations on Twitter and elsewhere.
Behind the scenes, Musk and his biggest companies, SpaceX and Tesla, have worked to influence the U.S. political landscape for years through lobbying and political donations. Combined, SpaceX and Tesla spent over $2 million on lobbying in 2021. They tend to spend on both sides of the aisle.
But Musk has been historically anti-union, opposed to a billionaire's tax and is a vocal critic of President Joe Biden.
Meanwhile, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, said in a September interview with CNBC that Musk approved of his red-state social policies, which have included severe abortion restrictions, book bans that called for LGBTQ memoirs to be removed from school curriculum or libraries, and abuse investigations into families pursuing gender-affirming care for transgender children.
On Wednesday, Musk wrote on Twitter:
"In the past I voted Democrat, because they were (mostly) the kindness party. But they have become the party of division & hate, so I can no longer support them and will vote Republican. Now, watch their dirty tricks campaign against me unfold..." adding a movie popcorn emoji for emphasis.
The tweet followed earlier statements at the All In Summit in Miami on Monday, where Elon Musk accused Twitter of having a strong left-wing bias, saying during a podcast recording, "I would classify myself as a moderate, neither Republican or Democrat. In fact, I have voted overwhelmingly for Democrats historically. Overwhelmingly. I might never have voted Republican. Now, this election? I will."
Musk has characterized his pending $44 billion acquisition of Twitter a "moderate takeover" of the platform, not a right-wing takeover. But he then proceeded to bash the Democratic Party.
Spurred by podcast and event host Jason Calacanis, who is raising funds to help Musk acquire Twitter, the Tesla CEO said, "The Democratic party is overly controlled by the unions and the trial lawyers, particularly the class-action lawyers."
On the social platform, Musk has frequently insulted and scrapped with elected Democrats, including Biden, Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Ron Wyden, and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
By contrast, he tends to engage in a friendly and nonconfrontational manner with right-wing elected officials like GOP Rep. Lauren Boebert and far-right personalities including Steven Crowder, Dinesh D'Souza and others.
Crowder, a podcast host who bills himself as a comedian, was once suspended from YouTube for violating the platform's hate speech policy after he made comments against trans people. He was also denounced by the Asian American Journalists Association after he made remarks about a broadcast journalist at San Francisco's KPIX which they deemed racist and sexist.
D'Souza, a conservative commentator, has produced videos and books containing hyperbolic criticism of Democratic leaders for years. He pleaded guilty in 2014 to breaking campaign finance laws, and was later pardoned by President Donald Trump. D'Souza was uninvited from the annual conservative CPAC conference in 2018 after he ridiculed survivors of the Parkland, Florida school shooting.
Musk also has said that he would reinstate Trump on Twitter.
Twitter permanently suspended the former president from the platform in January 2021 following an attack by his supporters on the U.S. Capitol. The company said it made the decision following the Jan. 6 riot "due to the risk of further incitement of violence."
Microsoft Is Censoring Searches in U.S. for Politically Sensitive Chinese Names, Researchers Say - WSJ
Thu, 19 May 2022 15:42
Bing's autofill feature failed to make suggestions for terms that could be deemed controversial in Beijing, according to a cybersecurity and surveillance group
A Microsoft Corp. search engine has made it harder in North America to look up people who are politically sensitive for China, according to a cybersecurity and surveillance group report.
Bing's autofill system, which offers guesses on what users are searching for after a few keystrokes, often fell silent in connection to names the Chinese government deems sensitive, Citizen Lab said in the report Thursday.
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A Microsoft Corp. search engine has made it harder in North America to look up people who are politically sensitive for China, according to a cybersecurity and surveillance group report.
Bing's autofill system, which offers guesses on what users are searching for after a few keystrokes, often fell silent in connection to names the Chinese government deems sensitive, Citizen Lab said in the report Thursday.
Last year Microsoft suspended the autofill feature in China to comply with Chinese laws. The new report provides evidence that censorship in China could influence search results for users in the U.S. and Canada.
Citizen Lab found that in tests late last year, Bing wouldn't surface autofill suggestions for search terms of the names of Chinese political dissidents and party leaders. Names'--including those of Chinese President Xi Jinping and the deceased human-rights activist Liu Xiaobo'--wouldn't appear in the autofill system in English or Chinese.
''We consistently found that Bing censors politically sensitive Chinese names,'' the report said.
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Microsoft said it had already addressed the issue, which was caused by what it called a technical error.
''A small number of users may have experienced a misconfiguration that prevented surfacing some valid autosuggest terms, and we thank Citizen Lab for bringing this to our attention,'' a Microsoft spokeswoman said.
The autofill suggestions are driven largely by user behavior, and not seeing results doesn't mean those results have been blocked, she said.
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Citizen Lab said its findings were the result of testing nearly 100,000 names using English and thousands of names using Chinese characters in December to see if politically sensitive names were treated the same as other names.
Autofill suggestions can be a quick way to find new information about a topic. People beginning to type ''Xi Jinping'' into a Google search might be shown search suggestions for topics including ''Xi Jinping net worth'' or ''Xi Jinping president for life.''
Microsoft has previously had to contend with Chinese censorship. Last year, on the anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre, U.S.-based searches on Bing for images and videos of ''Tank Man'''--a man who stood in front of a column of tanks following the massacre'--didn't show any results. Microsoft blamed it on human error.
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Over the years, Microsoft's LinkedIn has blocked some China-focused human-rights activists, academics and journalists in the China version of the professional social network. LinkedIn said last year that it would shut down its social-media service in China as the country's Communist Party ratcheted up its control over large tech platforms.
Jeffrey Knockel, senior research associate at Citizen Lab, who worked on the report, said censorship rules seeping from one part of the world into another is a danger when internet platforms have a global user base.
''If Microsoft had never engaged in Chinese censorship operations in the first place, there would be no way for them to spill into other regions,'' he said.
Microsoft has long been a presence in China, having first established an office there in 1992. It launched a heavily censored version of Bing in China in 2009. In 2020, Microsoft President Brad Smith said the country represented only 1.8% of its overall sales.
Alphabet Inc.'s Google dominates the search market. It accounts for more than 90% of the overall search traffic globally, while Microsoft is a distant second with 3%, according to Statcounter. In China, the domestic search champion,
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Baidu Inc., has a nearly 80% share, and Microsoft is second with nearly 9%, according to Statcounter.
While Bing accounts for a small portion of the overall market, search advertising still generated around $8.5 billion in sales for Microsoft in the year that ended in June 2021. It also powers a number of other search engines, such as DuckDuckGo, which advertises itself as the more privacy-centric search engine.
Write to Aaron Tilley at aaron.tilley@wsj.com
China Eastern crash probe looks into crew actions, sources say | Reuters
Thu, 19 May 2022 14:29
WASHINGTON, May 17 (Reuters) - Investigators looking into the crash of a China Eastern Airlines (600115.SS) jet are examining the actions of the crew on the flight deck, with no evidence found of a technical malfunction, two people briefed on the matter said.
In mainland China's deadliest aviation disaster for 28 years, the Boeing 737-800 crashed in the mountains of southern Guangxi on March 21, after a sudden plunge from cruising altitude, killing all 123 passengers and nine crew. read more
The pilots did not respond to repeated calls from air traffic controllers and nearby planes during the rapid descent, authorities have said.
Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.comOn Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal said flight data from one of the black boxes indicated that someone in the cockpit intentionally crashed the plane, citing people familiar with the preliminary assessment of U.S. officials.
One source told Reuters that investigators were looking at whether the crash was a "voluntary" act involving crew inputs to the controls, though that does not necessarily mean the dive was intentional.
The cockpit voice recorder was damaged during the crash and it is unclear whether investigators have been able to retrieve any information from it.
Boeing Co (BA.N), the maker of the jet, and the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) declined to comment and referred questions to Chinese regulators.
The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), which is leading the investigation, did not respond immediately to a request for comment.
Screenshots of the Wall Street Journal story appeared to have been censored both on China's Weibo social media platform and the Wechat messaging app on Wednesday.
The hashtag topics "China Eastern" and "China Eastern black boxes" are banned on Weibo, which cited a breach of laws, and users are unable to share posts on the incident in Wechat groups.
In an April 11 response to internet rumors of a deliberate crash, the CAAC said the speculation had "gravely misled the public" and "interfered with the accident investigation work".
On Wednesday, a woman who had lost her husband in the crash, asked to be identified only by her surname, Wen, said she had not seen the Wall Street Journal report but hoped the results of the investigation would be released soon.
Wen added that she and other members of victims' families had signed an agreement with China Eastern that included a clause on compensation, but declined to say how much was offered.
China Eastern did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Rescue workers work at the site where a China Eastern Airlines Boeing 737-800 plane flying from Kunming to Guangzhou crashed, in Wuzhou, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, China March 24, 2022. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins/File Photo
The Wall Street Journal said the airline had said in a statement that no evidence had emerged that could determine if there were any problems with the aircraft.
NO TECHNICAL RECOMMENDATIONSThe 737-800 is a widely flown predecessor to Boeing's 737 MAX but lacks the systems linked to fatal 737-MAX crashes in 2018 and 2019 that brought a lengthy grounding of the MAX.
China Eastern grounded its entire fleet of 737-800 planes after the crash but resumed flights in mid-April, a decision widely seen at the time as ruling out any immediate new safety concerns over Boeing's most widely used model.
In a summary of an unpublished preliminary crash report last month, Chinese investigators did not point to any technical recommendations for the 737-800, which has been in service since 1997 with a strong safety record, according to experts.
In a May 10 interview with Reuters, NTSB Chair Jennifer Homendy said board investigators and Boeing had traveled to China to assist the Chinese investigation, which had not found any safety issues requiring urgent action.
Homendy said if the board had any safety concerns it would "issue urgent safety recommendations."
The NTSB assisted Chinese investigators with the review of black boxes at its U.S. laboratory in Washington at China's request, despite political tension between the countries.
CAAC said the NTSB confirmed that it did not release information about the China Eastern crash to media, the state-owned Global Times said.
Shares of Boeing closed up 6.5%.
A final report into the causes of the crash could take two years or more to compile, Chinese officials have said. Analysts blame most crashes on a cocktail of human and technical factors.
Deliberate crashes are exceptionally rare globally.
In March 2015, a Germanwings co-pilot deliberately flew an Airbus A320 into a French mountainside, killing all 150 on board.
French investigators found the 27-year-old was suffering from a suspected "psychotic depressive episode," concealed from his employer. They later called for better mental health guidelines and stronger peer support groups for pilots.
Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.comReporting by David Shepardson in Washington, Tim Hepher in Paris and Abhijith Ganapavaram in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Stella Qiu and Martin Quin Pollard in Beijing and Jamie Freed in Sydney; Editing by Gerry Doyle and Clarence Fernandez
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
Key NIH Research Executive Received 70 Secret Royalty Payments; Colleague Got 7 | ZeroHedge
Thu, 19 May 2022 14:16
Authored by Mark Tapscott via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),
Two key National Institutes for Health (NIH) executives in positions of influence on decisions about who gets grants from the agency received a total of 77 previously undisclosed royalty payments from outside firms between 2010 and 2014.
NIAID director, Dr. Anthony Fauci, pauses during a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington on May 26, 2021. (Stefani Reynolds/Pool/Getty Images)The secret royalty payments, which were first reported by The Epoch Times, are among thousands estimated to total at least $350 million paid between 2010 and 2020. Long-time NIH Director Francis Collins received 14 payments, Anthony Fauci, who heads NIH's National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), received 23, and Clifford Lane, Fauci's chief deputy, got eight payments.
Acting NIH Director Lawrence Tabak conceded during questioning last week by Rep. John Moolenaar (R-Mich.) that the undisclosed royalties have the ''appearance of a conflict of interest,'' but he insisted that the agency has sufficient internal safeguards to prevent such problems. Federal law and ethics regulations bar federal employees from activities that present either the appearance or an actual conflict of interest.
Dr. Michael Gottesman has been the NIH's deputy director for intramural research (DDIR) since 1994. According to his official resume on the NIH website, Gottesman ''coordinates activities and facilitates cooperation among the 24 Institute- and Center-based Scientific Directors to achieve the scientific, training, and public health missions of the NIH Intramural Research Program.
''He provides guidance for the entire intramural program and reports to [Acting NIH Director Lawrence Tabak]. He oversees and ultimately approves the hiring of all NIH principal investigators, and he is the institutional official responsible for human subjects research protections, research integrity, technology transfer, and animal care and use at the NIH.
''During his tenure as DDIR, Dr. Gottesman has created the post-baccalaureate training program, the Graduate Partnerships Program (which permits graduate students to conduct thesis research at NIH); implemented loan repayment programs; institutionalized an intramural tenure track and new career tracks for clinical investigators; created the NIH Intramural Database (providing online information about all researchers and research at NIH); and spearheaded multiple other programs in the realm of diversity, equity, research integrity, and leadership.''
Gottesman announced in July 2021 his resignation from the DDIR position, pending the selection of his successor. He plans to remain as Chief of the Laboratory of Cell Biology in the NIH's National Cancer Institute after his DDIR successor is chosen.
Gottesman received 70 royalty payments during the five-year period from 2010 to 2014, according to documents recently obtained by the non-profit government watchdog Open the Books (OTB) as a result of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for extensive data on all payments from 2o10 to the present.
Open the Books is a Chicago-based nonprofit government watchdog that uses the federal and state freedom of information laws to obtain and then post on the internet trillions of dollars in spending at all levels of government.
The NIH initially ignored the OTB request until the non-profit filed a FOIA lawsuit in federal court. At that point, the NIH agreed to begin producing the requested documents in a series of monthly tranches.
But who paid the 70 royalties to Gottesman, the amounts of the payments, and for what purpose the payments were made cannot be known as the NIH is redacting payment amounts and the identities of the payers from the documents the agency is providing to OTB as a result of the FOIA.
The Epoch Times has requested from NIH the names of the payers of the 70 payments to Gottesman, the amounts of each payment, and the purpose for which the payment was made. No response has been received from NIH.
An additional seven royalty payments of unknown amounts and identities were made to Roger Glass, the NIH's Associate Director for International Research. Glass was appointed to the post in 2006.
Congressional Democrats, including Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Chairwoman Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), were silent when asked last week by The Epoch Times about the secret royalty payments.
Republicans on Capitol Hill, however, ripped the payments as an obvious conflict of interest and called for full disclosure of all the facts.
''NIH receives tens of billions of taxpayer dollars and is entrusted with making unbiased scientific assessments and recommendations,'' Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) told The Epoch Times. ''Their top officials, like any public officials, need to be held to the highest standards of transparency and accountability to prevent conflicts of interest and ensure the American people's health and safety remains the agency's top priority. The NIH must be held accountable to the American people.''
Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) called the NIH ''a dark money pit. They covered up grants for gain-of-function research in Wuhan, so it is no surprise that they are now refusing to release critical data regarding allegations of millions in royalty fees paid to in-house scientists like Fauci. If the NIH wants to keep spending taxpayer dollars, they have a responsibility to provide transparency.''
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said, ''This report is disturbing and if it is true that some of our country's top scientists have conflict of interest problems, the American people deserve to have all the answers.''
Rep. Greg Steube (R-Fla.) called for an investigation, noting, ''Of course it's a direct conflict of interest for scientists like Anthony Fauci to rake in $350 million in royalties from third parties who benefit from federal taxpayer-funded grants.
''Anthony Fauci is a millionaire that has gotten rich off taxpayer dollars. He is a prime example of the bloated federal bureaucracy. This royalty system should be examined to ensure it isn't making matters worse.''
Bombshell: NIH Hid Fauci & Other's $350 Million In "Royalty" Payments From Big Pharma - The Washington Standard
Thu, 19 May 2022 14:11
The conflict of interest alone should have been enough to remove Dr. Anthony Fauci and others from positions inside the National Institutes for Health, the Food and Drug Administration and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Yet, here we are as a bombshell has been dropped unmasking that not only did Fauci and other bigwigs receive $350 million ''royalty'' payments from Big Pharma, but the NIH tried to hide those numbers.
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Last year, the National Institutes of Health '' Anthony Fauci's employer '' doled out $30 billion in government grants to roughly 56,000 recipients. That largess of taxpayer money buys a lot of favor and clout within the scientific, research, and healthcare industries.
However, in our breaking investigation, we found hundreds of millions of dollars in payments also flow the other way. These are royalty payments from third-party payers (think pharmaceutical companies) back to the NIH and individual NIH scientists.
We estimate that between fiscal years 2010 and 2020, more than $350 million in royalties were paid by third-parties to the agency and NIH scientists '' who are credited as co-inventors.
Because those payments enrich the agency and its scientists, each and every royalty payment could be a potential conflict of interest and needs disclosure.
Keep in mind that the NIH unconstitutionally hands out $30 billion in grants to Big Pharma companies, research centers and university labs. In turn, the drug companies will pay a ''royalty'' to executives and scientists who are already paid by taxpayers.
Additionally, just last year, Fauci won a $1 million prize from the Dan David Foundation for ''speaking truth to power.''
A Decade Ago, The Same Players Of Today Used The Same Tactics & The Same Script As The CONvid-1984 '' But They Failed '' Let's Make Them Fail, Again! (Video)Dr. Bryan Ardis Rips Into Dr. Fauci & Adds ''Remdesivir had 50%+ death rate in Africa trials'' (Video)Pre-CONvid-1984: Remember When Dr. Fauci Blurted Out The Truth In His Confusion About The ''Most Potent Vaccination''? (Video)Dr. Anthony Fauci Owns A Patent On SARS-CoV-2 GP120 HIV InsertionLeaked Fauci Financials Expose How Millionaire Doctor Profited From PlandemicRobert F, Kennedy Jr.: Fauci ''Routinely Falsified Science, Deceived The Public & Physicians, & Lied About Safety & Efficacy'' Throughout His CareerFor More Than 4 Decades, The CDC, Big Pharma & Corrupt Politicians Have Been Playing Us '' Here's The Video & Documented EvidenceAndrzejewski added:
Since the NIH documents are heavily redacted, we can only see how many payments each scientist received, and, separately, the aggregate dollars per NIH agency. This is a gatekeeping at odds with the spirit and perhaps the letter of open-records laws.
We found agency leadership and top scientists at NIH receiving royalty payments. Well-known scientists receiving payments during the period included:
Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and the highest-paid federal bureaucrat, received 23 royalty payments. (Fauci's 2021 taxpayer-funded salary: $456,028).Francis Collins, NIH director from 2009-2021, received 14 payments. (Collins' 2021 taxpayer-funded salary: $203,500)Clifford Lane, Fauci's deputy at NIAID, received 8 payments. (Lane's 2021 taxpayer-funded salary: $325,287)In the above examples, although we know the number of payments to each scientist, we still don't know how much money was paid '' because the dollar figure was deleted (redacted) from the disclosures.
It's been a struggle to get any useful information out of the agency on its royalty payments. NIH is acting like royalty payments are a state secret. (They're not, or shouldn't be!)
Consider how NIH is using taxpayer money to try and keep taxpayers ignorant and in the dark:
1. NIH defied the federal Freedom of Information Act law and refused to even acknowledge our open records request for the royalty payments. We filed our FOIA last September.
2. NIH used expensive taxpayer-funded litigation to slow-walk royalty disclosures (releasing the oldest royalties first). Although the agency admits to holding 3,000 pages, it will take ten months to produce them (300 pages per month). With Judicial Watch as our lawyers, we sued NIH in federal court last October.
3. NIH is heavily redacting key information on the royalty payments. For example, the agency erased 1. the payment amount, and, 2. who paid it! This makes the court-mandated production virtually worthless, despite our use of the latest forensic auditing tools.
NIH is essentially telling you, the taxpayer, to pay up and shut up. They'll run things. They have forgotten that they work on behalf of the American people.
Not only is Fauci and others multimillionaires, but if you listened to The Sons of Liberty, you would have discovered that Fauci was Jesuit trained and educated.
The Disciples Of Ra: The Deception Of ''Medicine'', Viruses & Vaccines (Video)He has received not only the largest salary from the American people as an unelected bureaucrat that lies through his teeth and used deadly chemicals and ''vaccines'' to enrich himself and his buddies at Big Pharma for decades.
It's time Fauci was arrested, prosecuted and, if found guilty, put to death for his crimes against the people.
Article posted with permission from Sons of Liberty Media
Thu, 19 May 2022 14:09
It is with great pleasure that I rise to speak in support of the Agriculture Legislation Amendment Bill 2022. The bill makes amendments to 11 separate acts to deliver improvements across biodiversity and food safety, veterinary practice, agricultural chemical use, the hemp industry, catchment and land protection, rural assistance and farm debt mediation schemes. Agriculture is and will continue to be a cornerstone of our economy. Victoria is a powerhouse when it comes to agriculture, and we continue to punch well about our weight. Despite our small size, Victoria is the nation's largest agriculture exporter, accounting for a massive 27 per cent of national food and fibre exports.
While the bulk of our agricultural industries are located in rural and regional Victoria, as the member for Northcote it would be remiss of me not to point out the significance of Melbourne's food bowl to our food security in this state. Across the metropolitan area of greater Melbourne, across the city's urban fringe and out to the peri-urban ring, there are highly productive agricultural areas, including the Yarra Valley and the Mornington Peninsula, Koo Wee Rup and Werribee, and Bacchus Marsh and Baw Baw shire. Collectively Melbourne's food bowl produces a wide variety of fresh foods, particularly fresh fruit and vegetables but also eggs and chicken meat and some beef, lamb, pork and dairy. According to a report by the Foodprint Melbourne project, Melbourne's food bowl represents just 2 per cent of Victoria's agricultural land but produces around 47 per cent of the vegetables grown in Victoria and around 8 per cent of fruit. Highly perishable foods, such as leaf greens and berries, are typically grown in the inner food bowl close to the city. That includes 96 per cent of berry fruits, 94 per cent of asparagus, 92 per cent of cauliflowers, 88 per cent of mushrooms and 93 per cent of herbs.
In my own electorate of Northcote and across the inner north we have excellent examples of urban farming which are shortening supply chains and putting sustainability at the heart of their work. Both CERES, along the Merri Creek, and the Melbourne Food Hub, along the Darebin Creek, are leaders in their missions to demonstrate how urban agriculture and food waste recovery can work. And with gorgeous farmers markets every weekend, they are giving locals access to delicious, fresh, local produce. I highly recommend visiting these sites to get a sense of how much can be achieved on a small footprint and the innovative methods they are using to lower emissions, lower water usage and recycle their waste.
To help back our farmers and primary industries the Andrews Labor government has developed a transformative 10-year agriculture strategy which will ensure they are best placed to meet the challenges of the future and play to our strengths. Before I turn to some of the key amendments contained in the bill, I just want to say a few words on the strategy itself, in particular the way sustainability and climate action have been embedded in our plan to support Victorian farmers. We know that agriculture is Victoria's fourth-largest source of emissions, accounting for 15 per cent of total emissions. But changes to our climate also have a direct impact on the success and future of our primary industries. With decreasing rainfall, rising temperatures and increased frequency of extreme weather events, it is our farmers who often feel the brunt of this. Since 2001 our farmers have seen a 7.7 per cent on average drop in cropping productivity due to climate change. It is not in the interests of our agriculture and primary industries to ignore or delay climate action. The dithering and neglect we have seen from the Liberals and Nationals has been nothing short of reckless over the past decade. On the other side of the pendulum, it does not work to vilify our primary industries, as some of those in the Greens political party have been known to do. Instead we are getting on with the job of changing things for the better. We are investing in our primary industries, in developing the research, technologies and skills that will deliver our ambitious target of 50 per cent emissions reduction by 2030 and zero net emissions by 2050.
There are already a number of important actions underway, including $92 million for land restoration and carbon farming initiatives, almost $20 million to support the agriculture sector to respond to a changing climate, $10 million to be invested in a pilot program to deliver up to 250 on-farm action plans, an expanded agriculture energy investment plan to support farmers to improve on-farm energy generation and efficiency, and accelerating two trials of methane-inhibiting feed additives at Victoria's Ellinbank SmartFarm research centre. The 231-hectare, 500-cow farm is Australia's leading dairy innovation facility and is on track to become the world's first carbon-neutral dairy farm by 2026. There is no doubt that there is still work to do in this space. What is clear is that only Labor has the vision and the commitment to make it happen.
Turning to the details of the bill itself, I know one element my community will be particularly interested in is the improvements to controls and stronger enforcement powers to better regulate the risk of noxious weeds and pest animals. As a community bordered by a number of sensitive waterways, we are very sensitive to the detrimental impacts that noxious weeds and pests can have on habitat and biodiversity. The spread of weeds from one location to another is a significant issue. Once established in an area, the window of opportunity to eradicate weeds is small and much more expensive than prevention.
Locally we have got some incredible groups, like the Merri Creek Management Committee, the Darebin Creek Management Committee, Friends of Merri Creek and countless volunteers who give up their time to help protect and restore these environments. Litter is one of the biggest problems that we face, but it is not the only one. Weeds and pests like prickly pear are a real concern. These groups do an incredible job of organising activities like weedathons, educating locals and hosting native planning days, and I am actually pleased to be joining the Friends of Merri Park this weekend for a planting day to restore native herbs and grasses. The Victorian government has been an ongoing supporter of these local groups through funding programs and grants like our Landcare grants, but what was really exciting two weeks ago was seeing a federal Labor commitment of $1 million to support restoration and protection activities along the Merri and Darebin creeks in my electorate. This bill creates new offences and imposes new requirements to address the risk of introduction or spread of noxious weeds and pest animals as well as improving consistency between the treatment of weeds and pests'--a welcome change for my community.
Turning now to improvements to animal welfare, one of the things the bill does is ensure veterinary practices can rapidly respond to animal health and welfare needs during an emergency like a bushfire. During the Black Summer bushfires residents contacted me concerned about the welfare of wildlife and domestic animals impacted by this tragedy, and they welcomed the deployment of wildlife triage units, food drops and grants provided by the Victorian government to shelters and foster carers to help look after and rehabilitate wildlife. But these fires did highlight key issues that delayed or prevented the urgent provision of vet supplies and medicines for the treatment of livestock, companion animals and wildlife caught up in the disaster. The current legislation is not flexible enough, and the changes in this bill will make improvements to that.
The bill also acts to support our wonderful community of vets, who have faced a couple of challenging years'--facing first bushfires and then the pressures of the pandemic. There are improvements to information-sharing provisions, additional investigation and enforcement options for complaints and allowances for more flexibility in registrations. This past Saturday was Word Veterinary Day, and I want to take this opportunity to thank each and every vet across my community who cares for our much-loved household pets and wildlife.
These amendments build on other important reforms in animal welfare that this government has done, including establishing a pet exchange register. We have delivered Australia's first animal welfare action plan, we have established Animal Welfare Victoria and we are underway to developing a new animal welfare act, which will for the first time in our state's history recognise the sentience of animals. This is a hugely significant change, but personally I know that there is more work to do as we look to lead a culture change in the way that we think about and respect the place of animals in our society.
There are a number of other amendments in this bill which reduce red tape and costs for our primary industries, but as I am running out of time I will just say that I am very pleased with the changes that support our emerging low-THC hemp industry, which is an excellent food and fibre crop and an environmentally sustainable material for the building industry as well.
Victorians benefit from a strong and growing agricultural sector, the jobs that it supports as well as the skills, expertise and innovation the industry brings to issues like climate change. That is why we are supporting our agriculture and primary industries, backing them in with a plan for the future, and that is why I commend this bill to the house.
UMI - VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA prohibits people from growing their own food.
Thu, 19 May 2022 14:07
VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA: Premier Dan Andrews is passing a bill that prohibits people from growing their own food.
The Agriculture Legislation Amendment Bill 2022 has had its second reading in parliament. Biosecurity is stated as the reason for changes.
New Zealand Government sending letters to unvaxxed people - telling them that if they are not vaxed by the 1st June 2022, or they will face $15,000 fine or 6 months in prison
Busted: Biden's "Minster of Truth" Nina Jankowicz Participated in Secret NATO-Funded Cabal to Subvert Western Democracies Using Disinformation as Cover - Revolver
Thu, 19 May 2022 14:05
Busted: Biden's ''Minster of Truth'' Nina Jankowicz Participated in Secret NATO-Funded Cabal to Subvert Western Democracies Using Disinformation as Cover
Ditch the ads on Revolver and Subscribe to ad-free'... just $5 per month or $49 per year'...
As Revolver and others have covered, Nina ''Moaning Myrtle'' Jankowicz is a joke. The Harry Potter superfan-turned-propagandrix is now the Biden Administration's chosen head for the ''Disinformation Governance Board.'' Among many other embarrassing videos in circulation is the following clip of Nina Jankowicz bizarrely and emphatically dismissing the notion of the so-called ''deep state.''
There is no deep state. Nina says so. pic.twitter.com/WY7h7SKhWW
'-- Maze (@mazemoore) May 2, 2022
For those who can't stand uptalk, here's what she said in the video:
Talking about the deep state and things like that which is a thread among conspiracy communities here in the United States, that there is this secret cabal here in Washington working to undermine the American people couldn't be further from the truth, as someone who works with and around these public servants every day.
Whatever one thinks of the precise term ''deep state,'' Nina badly wants everyone to dismiss the very concept of secret groups operating within Washington. She works ''with and around'' them after all, and she says such a cabal or network of cabals does not exist.
In fact, Nina does know the truth, and it's the opposite of what she claims above. Nina's name appeared in one of the most explosive and aggressively censored national security leaks of the century. The leak in question exposed the ''Integrity Initiative,'' a dark government-funded NGO that appears to have engaged in political meddling and covert influence operations in Western countries under the guise of fighting ''disinformation.''
Founded in mid-2015 under the auspices of the U.K. government-funded NGO ''Institute for Statecraft,'' the Integrity Initiative boasted a precociously fashionable motto: ''Defending Democracy Against Disinformation.''
The Integrity Initiative ''defended democracy'' by recruiting secretive ''clusters'' of academics, national security bureaucrats, journalists, think tankers, and lobbyists in multiple European countries. These clusters would then be engaged in various ways to address nation-specific threats of so-called ''Russian disinformation.''
In its organization, funding, operation, structure, and rhetoric the Integrity Initiative is the single best template for understanding how the entire hornets' nest of NGOs, journalists, and ''national security'' bureaucrats work secretly and in concert to wage psychological warfare against citizens of the West. One cannot understand how the Disinformation Industry functions without understanding the little-known (and now defunct) Integrity Initiative.
Thankfully, before its demise, hackers leaked a huge swath of internal documents from the Integrity Initiative. More on that leak in a moment, but for now, here is an official description of the ''clusters'' from one of those leaked documents:
Full text transcribed here for readability (emphasis ours):
The network of networks:
The Integrity Initiative was set up in autumn 2015 by the Institute for Statecraft in cooperation with the Free University of Brussels (VUB) to bring to the attention of politicians, policy-makers, opinion leaders and other interested parties the threat posed by Russia to democratic institutions in the United Kingdom, across Europe and North America
The Integrity Initiative Aims to unite people who understand the threat, in order to provide a coordinated Western response to Russian disinformation and other elements of hybrid warfare.
The nature of this response needs to render counter productive the Russian tactic of dividing countries internally and from one another. This will be the case if each Russian information and influence attack provokes the country targeted into sharing analysis of the attack with other countries in the network on a governmental basis, thereby increasing collaboration and Alliance cohesion. NATO's political Committee can play an important role here.
An effective network is best achieved by forming in each European country a cluster of well-informed people from the political, military, academic, journalistic and think-tank spheres, who will track and analyze examples of disinformation in their country and inform decision-makers and other interested parties about what is happening.
Nina Jankowicz's name appears in a 2018 leak as a member of the ''inner core'' of the Integrity Initiative's U.K. Cluster, specifically in the sub-group dedicated to Russia.
Another name that appears alongside Nina Jankowicz's in the leaked documents as a member of the ''inner core'' of the U.K. cluster dealing with Russia is Anne Applebaum. Revolver briefly touched upon Applebaum's apparent involvement in the Integrity Initiative in an earlier piece.
Read More: Dark New Dem Bill Uses ''Counter American Intelligence'' To Wage War on MAGA
Applebaum was last seen refusing to comment on the coordinated cover-up of Hunter Biden's laptop. Applebaum's apparent fellow ''inner core'' cluster wingman Nina Jankowicz repeatedly amplified the U.S. intelligence community's discredited claim that the Hunter Biden laptop was a Russian disinformation operation:
Back on the "laptop from hell," apparently- Biden notes 50 former natsec officials and 5 former CIA heads that believe the laptop is a Russian influence op.
Trump says "Russia, Russia, Russia."
'-- Nina Jankowicz 🇺ðŸ‡...🇺🇸 (@wiczipedia) October 23, 2020
From the Integrity Initiative's formal description of ''clusters'' above it is somewhat difficult to infer what sort of activity Nina Jankowicz may have been involved in. But as luck would have it, the leaks included documents describing the activity of the Integrity Initiative's Spanish cluster.
In 2018, Spain's ruling party attempted to appoint Pedro Ba±os as head of the country's national security department. The Integrity Initiative's Spanish cluster as well as several U.K. associates immediately leapt into action to sabotage the appointment of this allegedly ''pro-Kremlin'' official. The following document from the leaks details their efforts:
Transcript (emphasis ours):
Midday: (II) Integrity Initiative Spanish cluster hear that a well known pro-Kremlin voice Pedro Ba±os is to be appointed as Director of the National Security Department, which works closely with the Spanish PMs office (La Moncloa) and is very influential in shaping policy
14:00: Spanish cluster leader alerts other cluster members and prepares a dossier to inform the main Spanish media. The cluster starts a campaign on Twitter to try to prevent the appointment.
15:45: Spanish cluster leader alerts Integrity Initiative UK Team which activates the Integrity Initiative network to generate international support for the Twitter campaign
UK team creates a WhatsApp group to coordinate the Twitter response, get contacts on Twitter to spread awareness and get people retweeting the material. Publishes opinion piece by Nico de Pedro on StopFake's Spanish website, which was also retweeted by key influencers.
Cluster send material to El Pais and El Mundo to publish and alert contacts at UK and French Embassies.
By 19:45 Spanish Cluster assesses that the campaign has generated significant noise on Twitter. Contacts in the Socialist Party confirm that the PM has received the message. Some Spanish diplomats also express concerns
The result of the Integrity Initiative's campaign was swift and decisive. After a week of lobbying, then-Spanish prime minister Pedro Sanchez named a different man to the post.
Despite ostensibly ''defending democracy against disinformation,'' the Integrity Initiative's clusters operated in the shadows to interfere with yet another political event in Spain. Consider the following from a leaked Integrity Initiative ''Progress Report:
Integrity Spain
Our first cluster, set up in January 2017, is headed by an academic currently at CIDOB, a Barcelona-based think tank. The inaugural seminar was co-sponsored by HQ NATO and addressed Russian malign influence in Eastern Europe and North Africa. A second inaugural session was held soon thereafter at the ECFR think tank in Madrid to ensure a balanced national coverage. This clusters draws it participants from academia, the media, civil servants and military and several political parties. Its main means of influence is through academic papers and especially through articles, written by independent journalists in newspapers like El Pais, based on material provided anonymously by the cluster. This cluster produced a major study on Russian influence in the Catalan referendum process which was circulated privately to key influencers in Spain, including the PM's office, and throughout Europe on the Integrity Initiative network.
[Integrity Initiative]
Just like with the Ba±os incident, the government-backed Integrity Initiative injected itself into a political matter '-- this time the Catalan independence movement.
A couple things are especially noteworthy about the operations described above.
First, we note the sinister irony that the NATO-funded Integrity Initiative, whose ostensible purpose is to ''Defend Democracy Against Disinformation,'' was caught red-handed conducting a secretive influence operation to meddle in the internal politics of Spain, a democratic NATO member.
Second, we note how crucial '-- indeed, indispensable '-- the social media platform Twitter was to the influence operations in question. It is precisely the importance of Twitter as a theater for U.S., U.K., and NATO backed psychological influence operations that informed our analysis of Elon Musk's attempt to purchase the platform. We weren't exaggerating when we described Elon's threat to allow free speech and transparency on Twitter as a ''declaration of war'' against the Regime. As the Integrity Initiative's use of the platform shows, Twitter's value to U.S.-aligned intelligence agencies as a friendly ground for influence operations far exceeds its nominal value as a technology company.
Read More: The Battle of the Century: Here's What Happens if Elon Musk Buys Twitter
Throughout this article so far, we have repeatedly referred to the Integrity Initiative as ''state-funded.'' This isn't idle speculation. The Integrity Initiative took pains to mask the nature of its operations. Its listed address was in Scotland, despite actually operating in London. The Integrity Initiative's funding came from a Scotland-based non-profit, the Institute for Statecraft, of which it operated under as a subsidiary. The Institute for Statecraft presents itself as an independent organization with a wide array of backers, but in reality the vast majority of its funding comes from the U.K. government. In its 2018-2019 fiscal year (running March 2018-March 2019), the Institute reported 2.2 million pounds in income.
How much money did the Institute for Statecraft receive from the British Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) in that time? 2.2 million pounds! By the way, at the same time, the FCO oversaw both the GCHQ (Britain's equivalent of the NSA) and MI6 (its equivalent of the CIA).
As venture capitalist Marc Andreessen once asked:
Who pays for the Disinformation-Industrial Complex?
'-- Marc Andreessen (@pmarca) April 30, 2022
The answer, it turns out, is you, the American taxpayer. Besides receiving funds from the British FCO, the Integrity Initiative also received funds directly from NATO, aka the U.S. taxpayer, in addition to funds from the United States State Department.
Funding wasn't exclusively government-based, though, because in a fitting symbol of the growing tether between Big Tech and the security state, the Institute did receive a small chunk of money from Facebook, as the above document shows.
Perhaps more ominous than the fact that Facebook funded the Integrity Initiative is the fact that the name Ben Nimmo appears as an apparent member of the Integrity Initiative's UK Cluster, right there with Nina Jankowicz (see Ben's name the third from the top in the UK Inner Core Russia cluster).
At the time of the leak, Ben Nimmo worked for a group called the Digital Forensic Research Lab (DFRLab). The DFRLab is a subsidiary of the Atlantic Council, an NGO which is also funded by the British Foreign & Commonwealth Office, NATO, and the State Department. The group brags that it has ''operationalized the study of disinformation by exposing falsehoods and fake news.'' You know what that means: Nimmo and DFR have become notorious for accusing all sorts of journalists and even random civilians of being ''Russian bots.''
The Integrity Initiative's leaked handbook identified Ben Nimmo's DFR Lab, along with Buzzfeed and a handful of other organizations, as friendly outlets to rely upon when conducting its influence operations.
What is Ben Nimmo's current position? If you guessed that Ben Nimmo now works at Facebook and helps to lead Facebook's global threat intelligence strategy against influence operations, you'd be correct.
Next week, I'm starting at Facebook, where I'll be helping to lead global threat intelligence strategy against influence operations.
I'm very excited to join one of the best IO teams in the world to study, catch and get ahead of the known players and emerging threats.
'-- Ben Nimmo (@benimmo) February 5, 2021
You simply can't make this stuff up!
Ben Nimmo, ''Disinformation Expert''
Nimmo is no stranger to Revolver, and we encourage readers to consult our previous work on Nimmo, the Integrity Initiative, and the disinformation industry here:
Read More: NYT Hit Piece On ''Vaccine Cartoon'' Backfires and Reveals Plot For New ''Russia Disinformation'' Scam
The picture that emerges so far is as disturbing as it is undeniable. The Integrity Initiative was a secret, government-funded influence operation that engaged secret ''clusters'' of journalists and academics to coordinate in order to meddle in the political process of Western democracies under the guise of combating ''disinformation'' and ''defending democracy.''
Not only was the Integrity Initiative funded by national security bureaucracies, it conducted itself in precisely the same surreptitious manner one would typically associate with the world of spooks and espionage. One leaked document advises its reader on how to go about recruiting people for a cluster. It reads far more like an intelligence document than a journalism-related one.
''Be absolutely sure'... we can trust them before we talk to them'' is a baffling line for a group whose only purpose is to correct ''disinformation.'' Politifact and Snopes may or may not produce good ''fact check'' reporting, but we highly doubt they fret about being able to ''trust'' whomever they share their work with.
But this obsession with trust is quite understandable for a group whose actual purpose is manipulating the public, rather than informing them.
Even more telling are the lines about funding. ''Always be firmly vague and helpfully uninformative'' about funneling money to cluster members. On the other hand, ''be very clear'' about the ''multiple sources'' of funding for the Integrity Initiative, which just happen to include the British government and ''international organizations.''
This sense that one is reading an intelligence report also permeates the group's progress reports. Read the quotes below and ask yourself: Does this sound like a journalism operation, or an intelligence one?
Integrity Italy
The newly-formed Italian cluster is headed by an Italian professor who is also linked to the Italian Atlantic Committee. He and his colleagues have recently produced a study on Russian influence in and around the recent elections in Italy and are currently working on a study to explain the vulnerability of Italy to Russian influence. The main means of dissemination of information is through individuals in academic positions and through a series of Atlantic clubs '' International affairs discussion groups in several cities across Italy. The sensitivities of the political situation in Italy, and the extent of Russian influence in political parties, means that the cluster must develop cautiously, feeling its way and seeking the best means of having a positive impact.
Integrity Greece
Greece is an especially sensitive country in which to operate, given its current political and economic challenges.
The Athens group is comprised of journalists who operate very discreetly and whose main means of dissemination is articles and a website.
Following the popular, quiet ''revolution'' in Armenia, we are exploring how we might safely establish an Integrity Armenia. One of the Institute's Associates who is of Armenian origin is acting as informal adviser to the new PM, MFA and NSA. He is investigating the possibilities, including a journalist friend as a likely cluster leader. The delicate political situation requires that this be done with the utmost caution.
Czech Republic
As the Czech Republic is well served by the European Values think tank, we have not so far seen the need to establish a cluster there, but have found it more cost-effective to link with this organisation and support its activities. However, given the recent political trajectory of Czech politics, it may become necessary to review this decision in due course.
The ''political trajectory'' in the Czech Republic, by the way, is the 2018 re-election of anti-immigration president Milos Zeman, who sometimes praised Vladimir Putin, supported Donald Trump's rise in the U.S., and shared Trump's aversion to journalists. Far from simply worrying about specific Russian lies reaching the West, the Integrity Initiative is really just worried about wider political developments it vaguely classifies as ''pro-Russian.'' What this amounts to is meddling domestically in Western democracy's politics under the guise of combatting disinformation.
If there were any doubt as to the ulterior and disingenuous use of the term ''disinformation'' for political purposes, we need to look no further than the Integrity Initiative's own ''Guide to Countering Russian Disinformation.'' The guide shrieks about the ''lies'' of the Trump Administration in a tone scarcely different from the most deranged New York Times article. Before saying anything about Russian disinformation at all, the handbook introduces the concept of disinformation with reference to two petty pseudo-fact checks in relation to Donald Trump.
The Integrity Initiative becomes even more suspicious when one looks at how its organizers reacted when hackers brought attention to their work. The Integrity Initiative leaks began on November 5, 2018 and were published on an Anonymous-linked hacker site called Cyberguerilla. The original Cyberguerilla website is now defunct, and our reporting has cross-referenced all documents to downloadable versions of the original leaks available on the archived version of the Cyberguerilla website.
Before the 2018 document leaks, the Institute for Statecraft ''think tank'' kept a bland website, hosting a handful of sponsored papers and similar work. But shortly after the Anonymous documents leaked, the Institute took down everything, leaving up only a placeholder with a contact form and a notice that it was ''temporarily'' removing its information ''pending an investigation.'' And so it has remained for the past three years.
Visitors are invited to visit the Institute's Facebook (defunct) and its Twitter page (inactive since 2019, with all pre-2019 tweets deleted). Yet despite all appearance of being defunct, it isn't, as it continues to provide information to Scotland's charity ministry. Despite supposedly being wholly innocent and aboveboard, both the Integrity Initiative and the Institute for Statecraft have, for all intents and purposes, closed up shop ever since hackers brought attention to their work and Western governments' support for it.
We at Revolver were struck by how relatively inaccessible the Integrity Initiative documents were, and equally struck with the near total absence of mainstream reporting on what should be the equivalent of the Snowden leaks for the age of ''disinformation.'' Depressingly, the right seems to have almost totally ignored the story. Instead, coverage of the Integrity Initiative has been largely confined to marginalized (though often high-quality) outlets like The Grayzone, which do great work critiquing the national security state from a left-leaning perspective. We encourage readers to consult existing outside coverage of the Integrity Initiative leaks here and here.
Very little of this, you'll notice, has dealt with whatever Nina Jankowicz actually did for the Integrity Initiative. This demonstrates an important point: Nina Jankowicz is in fact neither remarkable nor particularly important. She is simply one small cog in a vast machine.
The man in charge of the Institute for Statecraft, and by extension the Integrity Initiative, actually wrote an entire paper suggesting how this machine operates. Before founding the Institute for Statecraft, Chris Donnelly spent 12 years as an advisor to four consecutive NATO secretary generals. In a private memo, written for members of the British foreign office and leaked along with other Integrity Initiative materials, Donnelly describes how in a post-Brexit world the British government might consider privatizing its influence efforts.
In the above document, Donnelly recognizes the notion that a great degree of government work could be contracted to the private sector, which is allegedly more adaptable to the ''speed of global change'' '-- and, more importantly, lacks the full range of ''accountability'' attached to public servants. It is particularly important for government operatives to avoid accountability when it comes to free speech and censorship issues. An early 2020 article from the Atlantic noted in particular how constitutional constraints like the First Amendment have caused most of America's censorship apparatus to be outsourced to the private sector (empashis ours):
As surprising as it may sound, digital surveillance and speech control in the United States already show many similarities to what one finds in authoritarian states such as China. Constitutional and cultural differences mean that the private sector, rather than the federal and state governments, currently takes the lead in these practices, which further values and address threats different from those in China. But the trend toward greater surveillance and speech control here, and toward the growing involvement of government, is undeniable and likely inexorable.
[The Atlantic]
As the leaks above show, organizations like the Integrity Initiative are not exactly ''private sector'' either, at least in the traditional understanding of the term. As state funded organizations accomplishing state funded ''national security'' goals, groups like the Integrity Initiative are better thought of as extensions of the security state that have evolved to operate with less accountability. Nina Jankowicz' own evolution as an apparent member of the Integrity Initiative to the head of a ''Disinformation Governance Board'' within the Department of Homeland Security attests to the emergence of a public-private revolving door for faithful members of the Disinformation Industry.
In any case, the Integrity Initiative represents the the nature of the modern influence operation. Censorship is far more than just woke employees at Big Tech companies deciding whom to ban and which topics become ''trending.'' Quietly but also constantly, censorship and narrative control are flowing from the state, taking the form of cutout civil society groups, NGOs, and ''networks'' that control domestic information under the pretext of preserving national security and fighting ''disinformation.'' An entire industry'' the Disinformation Industry '-- has emerged to facilitate this process.
Disinformation is part of the Integrity Initiative's motto for a very good reason. ''Disinformation'' is the skeleton key of modern domestic propaganda. The regime can now target political movements and specific politicians on the grounds that they are influenced by or in thrall to foreign ''disinformation.'' Previously purely political questions, like the Brexit movement or Catalan independence or Donald Trump's reelection, are now assessed as ''serving Putin's agenda.'' And now, critically, the coordination of academics, journalists, and public intellectuals to secretly push a regime-backed political line is now justified as the needed counterbalance to ''disinformation'' narratives.
The Integrity Initiative may be gone, but the Disinformation Industry it helped to birth remains. If Americans want to fight back against censorship and the broader domestic war on terror conducted by their own state security apparatus, it is imperative to understand this Disinformation Industry in full. Strap in '-- we're just getting started.
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First solar roadway in France turned out to be a 'total disaster' - Big Think
Thu, 19 May 2022 13:43
Turns out that solar power highways aren't all they're cracked up to be. In 2016, France put forth an audacious plan to build 620 miles (1,000 kilometers) of solar highways composed of photovoltaic panels. They believed that the completed roadway would be able to one day power up to 5 million homes. The French government invested '‚¬5 million to test out the concept.
It's now been nearly three years since their first trial run with a paved 0.6 mile solar stretch in rural Normandy. Engineers and government officials estimated that this first solar road could power up to 5,000 homes. That wasn't the case.
So far the ''Wattway'' initiative has been a disappointing failure.
France's failed solar roadway The Wattway in France consists of 2,800 photovoltaic panels, running the length of one kilometer (0.62 miles) stretching from the small town of Tourouvre-au-Perche. The construction group responsible for the building, Colas, said that the solar panels were covered with a special resin that contained silicon, which protected the cells from 18-wheeler traffic.
The project seemed to be doomed from the start. This region in Normandy, France is not known for its abundance of sunshine. Usually, a city in Normandy only has 44 days of strong sunlight.
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Since the opening of the road, panels have routinely come loose or broken into pieces. In May 2018, 90 meters (300 feet) of the roadway had to be destroyed. It was quickly apparent that the solar panels couldn't withstand the wear and tear of sustained traffic or the forces of nature.
In a report from the Global Construction Review, it was found that engineers didn't take into account the damage that would be caused by thunderstorms, leaf mold, and huge tractors that would be using the road. In the first few months, the highest amount of energy generated from the roadway hit only half their stated goal at around 150,000kWh before falling to 78,000 in 2018 and finally 38,000 in early 2019.
The vice president of the Network for Energy Transition, Marc Jedliczka, stated: ''The technical and economic elements of the project were not sufficiently understood. It is a total absurdity to innovate at the expense of solutions that already exist and are much more profitable, such as photovoltaics on roofs.''
The idea for solar roadways has been met with a great deal of skepticism from many experts in the renewable field. They've routinely been found to be too expensive and inefficient.
Moving forward with other solar projectsTwo local roofers, Pascal and Eric, were interviewed by the French newspaper Le Monde concerning the project. ''The engineers of this project surely did not think about the tractors that would roll over,'' they stated.
While the resin coating was able to stop the panels from being crushed, it created so much extra noise that the locals had to lower the speed limit to 70 km/h (43 mph). The roadway has been described as degraded, and ''pale with its ragged joints. . . solar panels that peel off the road and the many splinters that enamel resin protecting photovoltaic cells.''
The first large scale solar roadway has turned out to be completely bunk. It's unlikely that this idea will be feasible in the near future. Colas Wattway has admitted as much. Managing director Etienne Guadin told Le Monde that this roadway wouldn't be going to market.
''The Tourouvre model is not the one that we are going to market. Our system is not mature on long distance traffic. . . We are now focusing on small modules of 3, 6 or 9 sq. m '-- enough to provide enough electricity for a CCTV camera, bus shelter lighting or an electric bicycle charging station.''
Sri Lanka To Run Out Of Oil Today As Streets Break Out Into Chaos '' David Icke
Thu, 19 May 2022 13:12
Posted by Richard Willet - Memes and headline comments by David Icke Posted on 18 May 2022
''We have run out of petrol '... At the moment, we only have petrol stocks for a single day,'' said newly elected Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.
On Twitter, Wickremesinghe warned his fellow Sri Lankans that they would face the ''most difficult'' time of their lives.
''The next couple of months will be the most difficult ones of our lives. I have no desire to hide the truth and to lie to the public. Although these facts are unpleasant and terrifying, this is the true situation,'' wrote Wickremesinghe.
1. The next couple of months will be the most difficult ones of our lives. I have no desire to hide the truth and to lie to the public. Although these facts are unpleasant and terrifying, this is the true situation. #SriLankaEconomicCrisis
'-- Ranil Wickremesinghe (@RW_UNP) May 16, 2022
Read More: Sri Lanka To Run Out Of Oil Today As Streets Break Out Into Chaos
Bank of England warns of 'apocalyptic' global food shortage
Thu, 19 May 2022 13:10
The Governor of the Bank of England has warned of ''apocalyptic'' global food price rises and said he is "helpless" in the face of surging inflation as the economy is battered by the war in Ukraine.
Andrew Bailey said he has ''run out of horsemen'' when counting the shocks facing Britain, with runaway energy and food costs driven by global market forces beyond his control.
Prices are rising at the fastest rate in 30 years, creating a "very big income shock" that is expected to intensify in coming months with a risk of double-digit inflation before the end of the year.
Mr Bailey told MPs on the Treasury Select Committee that he is increasingly concerned about a further surge in food costs if Ukraine, a major crop grower, is unable to ship wheat and cooking oils from its warehouses because of a Russian blockade.
The Governor said that he had spoken to Ukraine's finance minister and added: ''The [risk] I'm going to sound rather apocalyptic about I guess is food.
''Ukraine does have food in store but it can't get it out at the moment. While [the finance minister] was optimistic about crop planting, he said at the moment we have no way of shipping it out as things stand, and it is getting worse.
''That is a major worry. It is not just a major worry for this country, it is a major worry for the developing world.
''I am by no stretch of the imagination a military strategist, but whatever can be done to help Ukraine get its food out would be a huge contribution.''
The comments from Mr Bailey are likely to increase pressure on the Bank from Conservative MPs who are increasingly exasperated that he failed to act sooner.
Many experts believe the institution acted too slowly in increasing interest rates as prices took off last year, and it has also been criticised for failing to reduce its quantitative easing money-printing programme over the past decade.
The bleak assessment will also likely add to pressure on the Treasury to hold an emergency Budget to tackle the cost of living crisis, after Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor, chose to raise taxes at the same times as incomes were being squeezed.
Food prices are already surging because of fears about the disruption. Ukraine supplies large parts of the Middle East with grain, and there is a risk that families will be unable to afford to eat unless a solution is found. Wheat prices rose as much as 6pc on Monday.
The Governor also admitted that the Bank has little hope of bringing inflation back to its 2pc target, with prices already climbing by 7pc and a further surge expected in the coming months.
Asked by MPs on the Treasury Select Committee if he felt ''helpless'' to control inflation, Mr Bailey said: ''Yes.''
He said: ''It is a very very, more than uncomfortable - I am trying to think of a word that is even more severe than that - it is a very very difficult place to be.
''To forecast 10pc inflation and to say there is not a lot we can do about 80pc of it, I can tell you it is an extremely difficult place to be. We have to recognise the reality of the situation we face.''
Traditional policy requires the Bank to raise interest rates to combat high inflation, which works by raising borrowing costs and slowing the domestic economy. But most price rises currently are coming from global markets, so this would have little effect in the short run.
Instead the Bank has only increased rates from 0.1pc in December to 1pc now in the hope of stopping these cost increases feeding into the wider economy.
Once the energy price shock has passed it hopes inflation will fall back to 2pc.
So far the biggest impact on the UK has come through soaring gas bills and higher petrol prices, which could worsen depending on the supply of fossil fuels from Russia.
The series of shocks to inflation are so severe that a Cabinet minister criticised the Bank over the weekend for failing in its ''one job - to keep inflation at around 2pc''.
Another cabinet minister told The Telegraph that Government figures are ''now questioning its independence''.
Mr Bailey hit back that the Bank's independence and the trust placed in it to bring inflation back down are vital at a time of rampant price rises.
He said: ''This is the biggest test of the monetary policy framework that we have had in its 25 years.
''What I would say to these people is, this is when the independence of the Bank and the target framework and the nominal anchor matter more than ever - more than in the easy times.''
He implied that he would be prepared to raise rates to control inflation even if that led to a recession, saying: ''We have to get [inflation] back to target. And that is clear.''
Mr Bailey suggested that he does not expect higher rates to trigger a house price crash, arguing that growth is likely to cool as the crisis bites but a ''structural" shortage of properties will prevent a plunge.
Sir Dave Ramsden, a deputy governor at the Bank, said that it was hard to disentangle the impact that a post-Brexit labour shortage has had on inflation, given that data suggests the European Union and US are both dealing with similar price surges and many countries are suffering more than the UK. Mr Bailey added that he still believes Brexit will have a negative impact on trade over the longer term.
Meanwhile, the Confederation of British Industry called on the Chancellor to step in with extra help for poor households and for struggling companies.
Tony Danker, the business group's director general said it is crucial ''to help people facing real hardship now; it's the moral underpinning of our economy and society''.
''Putting pounds in the pockets of people struggling the most should not be delayed,'' he said, adding that it is also vital to ''start stimulating business investment now'', potentially by extending the Recovery Loan Scheme to help businesses get back on track after the pandemic and now the energy price shock.
EXPLAINER: How mailed ballots slow results in Pennsylvania | AP News
Thu, 19 May 2022 13:08
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) '-- Counting of mailed ballots in Pennsylvania is drawing renewed scrutiny amid a too-close-to-call U.S. Senate primary between Republicans David McCormick and Dr. Mehmet Oz.
Former President Donald Trump blasted the state's elections procedures on social media Wednesday even though there are no indications of any wrongdoing with those ballots other than a printing error that was slowing the tally in one county. He has relentlessly criticized the state's voting procedures since his loss in Pennsylvania two years ago, when it took several days to tally the results from all mailed ballots.
The head of the state association of county commissioners, the local officials who oversee the nuts-and-bolts of Pennsylvania voting, described Tuesday's primary as ''a very smooth election day'' but acknowledged that the state's 2019 law expanding the use of mailed ballots could be improved.
Until 2019, Pennsylvania allowed only limited voting using mailed ballots. Voters could receive an absentee ballot only if they could show a medical problem, planned travel or some other complication that would prevent them from voting in-person on Election Day.
A legislative deal that year put an end to straight-ticket voting, a priority of Republicans, in exchange for allowing anyone to request a ballot in the mail, a change sought by Democrats.
The mailed ballot expansion left in place the longstanding procedures for absentee ballots. But the pandemic brought much wider use of mailed ballots than anyone had anticipated, as voters sought alternatives to casting a ballot inside crowded precincts.
The state Supreme Court in 2020 allowed more ballot collection boxes and extended the period when mailed ballots would be accepted to three days after the election as long as they were mailed by Election Day. Those changes, which were temporary, fueled Trump's claim that mailed ballots provided an opening for widespread fraud, but there is no evidence that occurred.
County officials throughout the state have been calling for changes to the 2019 law. One major problem is that it does not allow counties to begin processing mailed ballots before Election Day. Getting a head-start would allow local election workers to identify errors ahead of time and get the properly marked ballots ready to be tallied.
Not allowing that early processing creates a huge backlog of ballots to process just as local election officials have to turn their attention to Election Day voting. That creates a delay of several days '-- or longer '-- for counting mailed ballots.
Both parties generally agree the law should be amended to allow early processing of those ballots. That hasn't happened, in part because of disagreements between the Republican-controlled Legislature and Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat. How much time should be allowed to receive ballots and how to address issues such as signature verification and drop boxes are among the contested changes.
Republican lawmakers have proposed linking early canvassing to a host of other election law revisions they want, including tougher voter ID requirements, changes Democrats do not support.
Trump, who endorsed Oz, posted on his Truth Social platform Wednesday that Oz ''should declare victory,'' arguing that ''makes it much harder for them to cheat with the ballots that they 'just happened to find.'''
Oz has not taken that advice and made no public statements on Wednesday.
In another post, Trump said, ''Here we go again! In Pennsylvania they are unable to count the Mail-In Ballots. It is a BIG MESS. Our Country should go to paper ballots, with same day voting.''
He was likely referring to a problem in Lancaster County, a GOP stronghold in the heart of Amish country. County elections officials said a company that printed its mailed ballots included the wrong ID code, which prevented scanning machines from being able to read them. The issue involved at least 21,000 mailed ballots, of which only a third were scanning properly. The slow but painstakingly detailed process of transferring the votes to fresh ballots that can be scanned is underway.
Trump takes a heightened interest in Pennsylvania because it's one of the most important presidential battlegrounds and voters are split fairly evenly between Democrats and Republicans.
Eight states allow all elections to be conducted entirely by mail. This includes Republican-led Utah, where all-mail election have been in place statewide since 2019 and no major problems have been reported.
In those states and others, numerous safeguards are in place to ensure that people casting mailed ballots are who they say they are and vote just once. Pennsylvania counties have successfully counted mailed ballots during every election in which they have been used.
There has been no evidence of any widespread fraud or conspiracy to steal the 2020 presidential election despite claims pushed by Trump and his allies. Numerous judges, including Trump appointees, dismissed lawsuits filed over the November 2020 election.
A group of federal and state election officials issued a statement calling the 2020 election the ''most secure'' in U.S. history. And an exhaustive review by The Associated Press of every potential instance of fraud in the six states disputed by Trump, including Pennsylvania, found nowhere near enough cases to affect the outcome.
There is nothing suspicious about this. Tallies reported by election officials on election night are unofficial results. Those totals will change over time, particularly as mailed ballots are verified and counted. Local election offices have stringent procedures to ensure that every valid vote is counted.
It can take weeks to certify an election -- the point at which all results are final. In states that allow election officials to pre-process and even pre-scan mailed ballots, results can come quickly.
Some states allow mailed ballots to be accepted if they arrive a few days after the election, as long as they are postmarked by Election Day.
Several states also allow for a period after the election for voters to correct technical mistakes with their mail ballot, such as forgetting to sign it. Once these are fixed, the ballot is counted and added to the totals.
Cassidy reported from Atlanta.
Half of Joe Biden's Twitter Followers Are Fake, Audit Reveals
Thu, 19 May 2022 12:55
(C) Stefani Reynolds / AFP/Getty Images US President Joe Biden delivers remarks during the National Peace Officers Memorial Service at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on May 15, 2022. An audit has found that almost half of Biden's followers on Twitter are fake. Almost half of President Joe Biden's current 22.2 million followers on Twitter are fake accounts, according to an audit tool provided by software company SparkToro.
SparkToro's tool found that 49.3 percent of accounts following the official @POTUS Twitter account are "fake followers" based on analysis of a number of factors, including location issues, default profile images and new users.
Elon Musk Pauses Twitter Deal: Everything To Know
Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who is currently trying to buy Twitter, has expressed concerns about the number of fake accounts and a potential crack down could see users such as Biden lose a huge number of followers.
Musk said early on Tuesday that his $44-billion deal to purchase the social media company could not go ahead until issues with fake accounts were resolved and he appeared to criticize Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal.
Musk, the world's richest man, claimed that 20 percent of Twitter accounts were "fake/spam accounts" and that figure was "4 times what Twitter claims, could be *much* higher."
"My offer was based on Twitter's SEC filings being accurate," Musk wrote. "Yesterday, Twitter's CEO publicly refused to show proof of
It is not clear how Musk arrived at the 20 percent figure. He and Agrawal exchanged a series of tweets about the issue of fake accounts on Monday.
"We suspend over half a million spam accounts every day, usually before any of you even see them on Twitter. We also lock millions of accounts each week that we suspect may be spam, if they can't pass human verification challenges (captchas, phone verification, etc)," Agrawal wrote.
The Twitter CEO also said the company has estimated "every quarter" that less than five percent of monetizable daily active users (mDAU) were spam accounts.
Musk initially responded to Agrawal's 13-tweet thread with a poop emoji and later wrote: "So how do advertisers know what they're getting for their money? This is fundamental to the financial health of Twitter."
There has been speculation that Musk may be using the fake accounts issue to negotiate a better deal for Twitter. Twitter's stock price is now $36.80 per share, significantly less than the $54.20 per share that Musk has offered.
SparkToro defines fake followers as "accounts that are unreachable and will not see the account's tweets (either because they're spam, bots, propaganda, etc. or because they're no longer active on Twitter)."
The software company's tool also found that Biden's account has more fake followers than most.
Musk's account has more than 93.3 million followers and SparkToro's tool found that 70.2 percent of those accounts are fake.
Musk announced on Twitter on Friday that the deal to buy the company was "temporarily on hold pending details supporting calculation that spam/fake accounts do indeed represent less than 5% of users."
Twitter has been reporting that five percent estimate since 2019 and it has been mentioned in the company's last 11 quarterly reports.
Musk's decision to put the deal on hold knocked 15 percent off Twitter's share price in pre-market trading on Friday.
Newsweek has asked the White House and Twitter for comment.
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Culture Production company claimed its staff received threats and abuse.
ThisEgg via FacebookA production called 'The Family Sex Show' aimed at children aged 5 and over that was described by the theatre company responsible as ''an alternative to porn'' has been cancelled after thousands of people signed a petition opposing it.
The company invited parents to bring their kids to the show, advertising that there would be full nudity and discussion of topics completely unsuitable for children.
The show was due to be performed at Bristol's Tobacco Factory next month but that venue has become the second to bow out after a backlash.
Typically, the company is claiming the deluge of criticism they received included ''unprecedented threats and abuse'' from ''extremists'' and that this is why the event was called off.
A theater in the UK is advertising a ''Family Sex Show.'' They want parents to come with their little kids to learn all about sex, porn, masturbation, etc. They also advertise there will be full nudity. This is absolutely disgusting. pic.twitter.com/cC3bNToBV9
'-- Libs of TikTok (@libsoftiktok) April 8, 2022
A petition signed by over 38,000 people stated, ''Children should not be de-desensitised to the sight of naked adult bodies or introduced to topics surrounding adult sexual pleasure which this production promotes and celebrates.''
''This is nothing more than a blatant and extremely concerning attempt to sexualise children prematurely and is abusive.''
The explicit show was funded by the Arts Council, which is in turn funded by the taxpayer.
The company claimed they had liased with ''child safeguarding experts,'' however, the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children had apparently never heard of it.
"The Family Sex Show repeatedly claimed that they had taken advice from child safeguarding experts, however the show contravened NSPCC guidelines. After they were contacted, the NSPCC also said that not only had they never heard of it, they also had no input into devising it."
'-- Sin Kumar 🇬🇧🇺ðŸ‡... (@Sian_Kumar) April 19, 2022
Susan Glaholm, a social worker in mental health and child protection, expressed her concerns about the show, noting, ''I am compelled to say there is something seriously wrong in our society and culture if we accept that this is appropriate for young children to experience.''
No doubt the same leftists who assert that ''cancel culture doesn't exist'' will uphold this as an example of it.
''It's not OK when you do it!''
Groomers take the L.
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Culture ''And you all are selling hope?''
Joe Raedle via Getty ImagesA mask off Jack Dorsey went after CNN in a series of tweets in which the Twitter founder accused the legacy media network of deliberately creating division in society.
The controversy started when CNN's Brian Stelter tweeted an article accusing Fox News host Tucker Carlson of ''always selling the same thing'...selling doubt.''
''And you all are selling hope?'' Dorsey responded.
and you all are selling hope?
'-- jack'š¸ (@jack) April 19, 2022
''They're selling truth, which is hope-agnostic,'' Democrat pollster Spiers tweeted. ''It's supposed to inform you, not make you feel some kind of way.''
However, Dorsey wasn't having any of it and quickly shot back, ''I know this from being on the streets of Ferguson during the protests and watching them try to create conflict and film it causing the protestors to chant ''fuck CNN.''
I know this from being on the streets of Ferguson during the protests and watching them try to create conflict and film it causing the protestors to chant ''fuck CNN''
'-- jack'š¸ (@jack) April 19, 2022
When Dorsey was accused of ''defending Tucker Carlson'' (oh no, the horror), the Twitter founder responded that he was ''not defending a thing'' and simply ''holding up a mirror.''
not defending a thing. holding up a mirror
'-- jack'š¸ (@jack) April 19, 2022
Dorsey has been more vocal than ever before in recent days following the Twitter board, which he is about to step down from, desperately attempting to stop Elon Musk buying the platform.
On Saturday, Dorsey said the board's attempt to block the takeover is typical of tactics that have ''consistently been the dysfunction of the company.''
It's very apparent that Dorsey has had a moral awakening in recent years in which he realizes how the regime has fully seized control of Twitter and weaponized it to monopolize truth and silence dissenting voices.
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Culture ''It is we ourselves who voluntarily erase our culture.''
Jorg Greuel via Getty ImagesIn another sign of national identity being erased, the city of Cologne in Germany is set to remove the symbol of its iconic cathedral tower from official material because it is too ''old-fashioned.''
Yes, really.
Cologne Cathedral, a designated World Heritage Site, is Germany's most visited landmark and is the largest Gothic cathedral in Northern Europe.
But that hasn't protected it from the ravages of progressivism.
City officials paid a consultancy firm to commission a ''market analysis'' into the logo, which found it to be ''old-fashioned, bulky and emotionless.''
The city argued that the old design ''does not do justice to the character of a livable, highly attractive metropolis in comparison to other European metropolises.''
The decision to ditch the logo from official letterheads, work clothes and other official signage has prompted a substantial outcry.
#Koeln u B¼rgermeisterin Eine-Arml¤nge-Abstand-Reker streicht K¶lner Dom aus dem Stadt-Logo weil 'žaltbacken''. Niemand erobert unser Land. Wir selbst sind es, die unsere Kultur freiwillig ausradieren. Wir produzieren ein Vakuum, das andere dann gerne f¼llen. 🇹🇷 🇸ðŸ‡... #Schande pic.twitter.com/ucuisKAcFF
'-- Beatrix von Storch (@Beatrix_vStorch) March 28, 2022
''The mayor removes the Cologne Cathedral from the city logo because it is 'old-fashioned.' Nobody conquers our country. It is we ourselves who voluntarily erase our culture. We create a vacuum that others are happy to fill,'' tweeted Alternative for Germany's Beatrix von Storch, the deputy parliamentary leader of the party.
The president of the German-Hungarian Society, Gerhard Papke, compared the erasure of the cathedral to the treatment of Muslims in Cologne, who were recently given permission to broadcast the call to prayer.
''The decision in Cologne to remove the cathedral from the city's logo should not come as a surprise, since mosques were recently expressly allowed to call the muezzin,'' he tweeted.
Many feel the removal of the logo is part of the process of Germany becoming ''culturally enriched'' and feeling ashamed of its own heritage.
As we highlighted earlier this year, Germany's CDU political party is considering dropping the word 'Christian' from its name in order to appeal to a more diverse demographic.
Last year, then German Chancellor Angela Merkel was forced to admit that her 2015 decision to allow a million migrants to enter the country had led to some ''dreadful incidents, like what happened on New Year's Eve in Cologne,'' a reference to when North African migrants sexually molested and raped around a thousand German women in one night.
Notoriously, feminists in Cologne reacted to the incident by handing out flowers a few days later to migrants at the local refugee center.
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VIDEO - (22) critical mix theory î¨ on Twitter: "This woman has dead eyes...almost soulless and robotic" / Twitter
Thu, 19 May 2022 17:08
critical mix theory î¨ : This woman has dead eyes...almost soulless and robotic https://t.co/X9JWjSwxTU
Wed May 18 20:22:04 +0000 2022
VIDEO - U.S. pilot shortage forces airlines to cut flights, scramble for solutions
Thu, 19 May 2022 16:44
Airline pilots walk through the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport on December 27, 2021 in Arlington, Virginia.
Anna Moneymaker | Getty Images
The United States is facing its worst pilot shortage in recent memory, forcing airlines to cut flights just as travelers are returning after more than two years of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The crisis has the industry scrambling for solutions.
At least one lawmaker is said to be considering legislation that could raise the federally-mandated retirement age for airline pilots from 65 to 67 or higher to extend aviators' time in the skies.
A regional airline proposed reducing flight-hour requirements before joining a U.S. carrier, and airlines are rethinking training programs to lower the barrier to entry. Earlier this year, Delta Air Lines joined other big carriers in dropping a four-year degree from its pilot hiring requirements.
Several U.S. airlines, including Frontier, are recruiting some pilots from Australia. American Airlines is selling bus tickets for some short routes.
But some airline executives warn the shortage could take years to solve.
"The pilot shortage for the industry is real, and most airlines are simply not going to be able to realize their capacity plans because there simply aren't enough pilots, at least not for the next five-plus years," United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby said on a quarterly earnings call in April.
Kirby estimated the regional airlines United works with currently have about 150 airplanes grounded because of the pilot shortage.
Roots of the crisisThe Covid pandemic halted pilot hiring as training and licensing slowed. Airlines handed out early retirement packages to thousands of pilots and other employees aimed to cut labor bills when travel demand cratered during the depths of crisis.
"I feel like I walked away at the pinnacle," said one former captain for a major U.S. airline who took an early retirement package in 2020.
Now airlines are desperate to hire and train pilots, but the rush may take too long to avoid flight cuts.
Major U.S. airlines are trying to hire more than 12,000 pilots combined this year alone, more than double the previous record in annual hiring, according to Kit Darby, a pilot pay consultant and a retired United captain.
The shortage is particularly acute at regional carriers that feed major airlines' hubs from smaller cities. While hiring and retention bonuses have returned at those airlines, pay is lower there than at majors, and they are recruiting aggressively from those smaller carriers.
Phoenix-based Mesa Air Group, which flies for American and United, lost nearly $43 million in the last quarter as flight cuts mounted.
"We never fathomed attrition levels like this," said Mesa CEO Jonathan Ornstein. "If we don't fly our airplanes we lose money. You saw our quarterly numbers."
It takes Mesa an estimated 120 days to replace a pilot who gives two weeks' notice to go to another airline, according to Ornstein.
"We could use 200 pilots right now," he said.
Some carriers like Frontier and regional airline SkyWest are recruiting pilots from Australia under a special visa to help ease the shortfall, but the numbers are small compared with their overall ranks and hiring goals.
Regional carrier Republic Airways, which flies for American, Delta and United, last month petitioned the U.S. government to allow pilots to fly for the airline with 750 hours, half of the 1,500 currently required, if they go through the carrier's training program. There are already exemptions to the 1,500-hour rule, such as for U.S.-military trained pilots and those who attend two- and four-year programs that include flight training.
The proposal has received pushback from family members of victims of 2009's Colgan Air 3407 crash, the last fatal U.S. passenger commercial airline crash. The tragedy killed all 49 people on board and one on the ground, and ushered in the so-called 1,500-hour rule, aimed at ensuring pilot experience.
The Federal Aviation Administration cast doubt on whether the proposal would be approved.
"While anyone can request an exemption, it does not mean it will be granted," the FAA said in a statement to CNBC on Monday. "The FAA fully understands the intent of Congress when it established the 1,500-hour requirement and supports the safety goal it set out to achieve."
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., is considering introducing congressional legislation that could raise the mandatory airline pilot retirement age to at least 67 from the current age of 65, according to people familiar with Graham's plans.
About a third of the airline-qualified pilots in the U.S. are between the ages of 51 and 59, and 13% of the country's airline pilots will reach retirement age within the five years, according to the Regional Airline Association.
Graham's office did not respond to requests for comment.
Growth curtailedPilot and other worker shortages have forced airlines to rethink their growth plans. JetBlue Airways and Alaska Airlines are among carriers that have recently trimmed capacity.
SkyWest, for its part, told the Transportation Department it plans to drop service to 29 smaller cities that the government subsidizes through the Essential Air Service.
Service reductions could isolate smaller U.S. cities but Darby, the pilot pay consultant, said it could mean an opening for smaller competitors that don't rely on regional airlines as much as major network airlines.
"If they don't fly it, maybe a smaller airline will," he said.
One of the biggest hurdles to bringing in new pilots is the cost of schooling. While salaries for widebody captains at major airlines can exceed $350,000 a year, getting qualified takes years.
At ATP Flight School, the largest in the country, it costs close to $92,000 for a seven-month, full-time program to get initial licenses. It can then take about 18 months or longer for pilots to build up enough hours to fly, often by instructing student pilots or sometimes by flying banners near beaches.
"It's not a car wash," Darby said. "You can't just get someone to come in from the street."
In December, United started teaching the first students at its own flight school, the United Aviate Academy, in Goodyear, Arizona, with a goal of training 5,000 pilots there by 2030. United says it aims for half of that number to be women or people of color. The company covers the cost of pilots' training up to the point of receiving their private pilots' license, which it estimates to be around $17,000 per student.
Other carriers have turned to low-interest loans or other initiatives to ease the financial burden on students.
"There's no quick fix," Darby said.
VIDEO - Echo interactions shape the ads we see
Thu, 19 May 2022 16:27
More people are using digital assistants like the Amazon Echo or Alexa.
By one estimate, there are more than 110 million devices in this category in the U.S.
Our interactions with those devices can shape the advertising we see elsewhere.
According to a study published in April, Amazon Echo interactions were used to help target ads on Amazon Prime, Amazon.com, and several other platforms.
"Imagine you are tracking your pregnancy on a health skill, and you ask questions about it. There is a chance that those interactions might be used for targeted advertising related to pregnancy," according to Umar Iqbal, a postdoctoral scholar at the University of Washington who is one of the co-authors of the study.
The researchers created a series of personas based on certain interest profiles, like fitness, religion or politics.
Each persona interacted with an Echo device.
Over time, researchers found the advertising became more tailored to the persona.
"I'm not literally or explicitly saying that I'm interested in fashion," said Pouneh Nikkhah Bahrami, a researcher at the University of California, Davis and a co-author on the study. "But my questions are related to fashion. So the device can process the data and then extract my interests. It figures out that this person is interested in smart devices or fashion styles or a car."
In an emailed statement, an Amazon spokesperson said it's true that some interactions are used for ad targeting.
"For example, if you ask Alexa to order paper towels or to play a particular song on Amazon Music, the record of that purchase or song play may inform relevant ads shown on Amazon or other sites where Amazon places ads," an Amazon spokesperson said in a written statement. "This is not an atypical practice."
However, the company spokesperson clarified that Amazon does not "sell customers' personal information" and does not "share Alexa requests with advertising networks."
"Customers can opt out of interest-based ads from Amazon at any time on our Advertising Preferences page," the spokesperson said. "This includes ads that Amazon serves on our devices and services like Alexa."
Researchers say the company can do more to ensure transparency among third-party skills for its smart speakers.
"Analysis shows that only two percent of sampled skills are clear about data collection practices in their privacy policies," said Bahrami. "Amazon mentioned on their website that all of its skills have a privacy policy. We did not see those."
Copyright 2022 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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VIDEO - Dave Walsh on American Energy and Ag: The Policies Make No Sense
Thu, 19 May 2022 16:18
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VIDEO - (26) Deadline White House on Twitter: ""We keep hearing about freedom of speech, freedom of speech, we can't do anything, woe is me, freedom of speech. Freedom of speech does not mean freedom from responsibility. That's what it's turned into" - @F
Thu, 19 May 2022 16:07
Deadline White House : "We keep hearing about freedom of speech, freedom of speech, we can't do anything, woe is me, freedom of speech. Fr'... https://t.co/wIG7RKvUDb
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VIDEO - (1301) Ep. 113: WHO Treaty; Israel-Palestine; Dominion; Mules AND MORE! Viva & Barnes LIVE! - YouTube
Thu, 19 May 2022 16:01
VIDEO - President Xi Jinping's 'deadly brain aneurysm', Chinese coup | Sky News Australia
Thu, 19 May 2022 15:39
OpinionRita PanahiPresident Xi Jinping's 'deadly brain aneurysm', Chinese coup
May 17, 2022 - 4:45PM
Sky News host Rita Panahi says Chinese President Xi Jinping is reportedly suffering from a ''deadly brain aneurysm'' and faces a coup over the nation's lockdowns.
''The Chinese president reportedly wanted to be treated with traditional medicine, rather than undergo major surgery, after he was rushed to hospital,'' she said.
Read More
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Fri May 13 11:04:06 +0000 2022


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Audio Clips

President Xi Jinping’s deadly brain aneurysm, Chinese coup.mp3
Dave Walsh former president Mitsubishi power systems explains ERCOT.mp3
A severe pilot shortage in the US - Shep Smith.mp3
clarence thomas on court.mp3
Demand investigation AA CBS.mp3
election primaries NPR.mp3
Hillary on abortion.mp3
hournalists at work Buffal2o.mp3
hournalists at work Buffalo.mp3
NY clamps dpown on guns Hochel NPR.mp3
Palestianian budget scam.mp3
Progressives Democrats Raskin fixing things NPR.mp3
Progressives during election.mp3
progressives during electionOpen.mp3
stonehenge pits.mp3
Sweden Finloand update 1 NPR.mp3
Sweden Finloand update 2 NPR.mp3
Sweden Finloand update3 NPR.mp3
Sweden Finloand update4 NPR.mp3
Turkey NATO and SInswe.mp3
abortion rallies.mp3
Afghaniistn, terrorism, famine.mp3
Chuck toxic stew.mp3
Nina Jankowicz does a fake news news report.mp3
Tucker - Karine Abdul Jean-Pierre RACIST supercut.mp3
Doucy grills Karine Abdul Jean-Pierre on inflation and corporate taxes.mp3
Amazon Echo interactions shape the ads we see, study finds.mp3
REP. JOHNSON -What is the principal distinction between the human being that is 2-years-old, or 9-months-old.mp3
2019 - Contributor Frank Figliuzzi Discovers Hidden Nazi Message In White House Statement.mp3
Retired FBI Assistant Director Frank Figliuzzi Buffalo Shooter SOICAL MEDIA- msnbc Freedom of Speech.mp3
Calacanis Conf with Elon - Will the deal get closed MAC Clause.mp3
Christine Anderson EU Parliment on WHO treaty.mp3
Viva Frei with Robert Barnes on legality of WHO treaty.mp3
  • 0:00
    Huh, she's done the hard work and read it. Adam curry, John C.
  • 0:05
  • 0:06
    It's Thursday, May 19 2022. This is your award winning keep on
  • 0:09
    Asian media assassination episode 1452. This is no agenda,
  • 0:15
    celebrating three out of seven and broadcasting live from the
  • 0:18
    heart of the Texas hill country here in FEMA Region number six
  • 0:21
    in the morning, everybody. I'm Adam curry, and from
  • 0:24
    Northern Silicon Valley where the nearby Oakland terminal is
  • 0:29
    dumping tons of Chinese products in our lap. I'm John Cedarburg,
  • 0:35
  • 0:37
    Oh, really? Oh, really? Now you guys get all the Chinese crap
  • 0:42
    it's just pouring in I'm watching the train go by that's
  • 0:46
    been started some time way before we started talking before
  • 0:50
    we began the show still going
  • 0:52
    and what can you tell what's on it? Or is it just boxcars of
  • 0:55
    Chinese whether these cargo containers they're just
  • 0:59
    different vendors? The last one just went by I went to Taiwan
  • 1:03
  • 1:03
    wonder what they had. I wonder what they carry junk? We need
  • 1:09
    chips man. Are they sending chips? That's what we use some
  • 1:12
    chips in there. I doubt there's any chips in there. undoubted
  • 1:16
    there's no chips. Well, it was three years ago today, John that
  • 1:20
    we saw each other for the last time in person that we were in
  • 1:23
    the same room at the same time. Where was this at my wedding?
  • 1:28
    Ah, today is a year anniversary. Yes. Today's
  • 1:32
    is the keeper Korean the keepers three year anniversary. That's
  • 1:35
    right. And we never had a fight.
  • 1:39
    Night but I believe that's true. Exactly. You're always so lovey
  • 1:43
    dovey, you
  • 1:43
    know, aren't we the worst?
  • 1:46
    Disgusting time?
  • 1:49
    Well, we had a lovey dovey little trip to Charleston, South
  • 1:52
    Carolina, which was quite nice. Ah,
  • 1:55
    yes, give us a report.
  • 1:57
    Wow, man, I unfortunately everyone agrees that you
  • 2:01
    probably won't like most of the report. Who and
  • 2:07
    why would that be? Why would I not like or dislike or not like
  • 2:12
    a report like this?
  • 2:13
    Because travel went smoothly? Oh no, good. That's what I that's
  • 2:23
    exactly what everybody said. Oh man. Jonelle hate that. You
  • 2:27
    know, it was so nice. We went to San Antonio, who flew out of San
  • 2:30
    Antonio which is a little under an hour from from where we live.
  • 2:35
    Boom went to Nashville Varane the next flight within 35
  • 2:39
    minutes boom arrived. Perfect. Southwest Thank you. Well, you
  • 2:44
    know, Southwest, they had invested a lot of money in in
  • 2:48
    new routes. And they had to make some changes with the, with the
  • 2:51
    crew, but mainly the pilot shortage by and some bullshit
  • 2:55
    weather problems that everyone seems to have. But they fixed
  • 2:59
    it. So you know, they have dropped I think 10 or 12% of
  • 3:02
    their routes and so everything they're doing is smooth. And
  • 3:06
    that was that was nice.
  • 3:08
    Anyway, it was one of the best run airlines in the world.
  • 3:11
    I agree. Every single to end the spread. I just love the boarding
  • 3:15
    process. I can't help myself. I love it. It's like the number
  • 3:18
    one thing everyone sits in the same class. But you can you can
  • 3:21
    for 15 bucks you can board sooner and makes you feel good.
  • 3:25
    Well 15 Not always 15
  • 3:29
    Yeah, the early board the early bird special you can you can get
  • 3:32
    your earlier in line.
  • 3:33
    It doesn't isn't that business or used to I've seen business
  • 3:36
    that's that's business select. Yeah, that's different. Yeah,
  • 3:38
    you're guaranteed a friend.
  • 3:40
    And and if business select is handy if your airport has a
  • 3:45
    premium traveler line through TSA because the Southwest
  • 3:50
    business select qualifies for that. But it's significantly
  • 3:54
    more expensive. So we just had the early bird, the early bird
  • 3:57
    special, which was fantastic. So have you you've been to
  • 4:02
    Charleston, I'm guessing in your life.
  • 4:05
    I went through it once.
  • 4:07
    How do you just go through it? Where were we on your way to
  • 4:10
    was on my way?
  • 4:12
    Somewhere else somewhere else? That I know I'd been there on
  • 4:16
    the Hot Pockets to where we're probably not further as the
  • 4:18
    campground because we were you know, had the this was 24 2011
  • 4:24
    and I not sure I actually saw much of of Charleston itself but
  • 4:28
    wow, what a nice little city
  • 4:31
    is considered the best prettiest city in the country. No doubt
  • 4:34
    about it. So we had the me Savannah comes close to being
  • 4:38
    better as a distant second.
  • 4:41
    It was really quite quite. Yeah, just really enjoyable. I'll give
  • 4:46
    you a little rundown of the trip and the meet up if that's okay,
  • 4:49
    just to get everyone up to speed
  • 4:54
    that Austin's all gay, you know,
  • 4:56
    there's no I was very little gay in Charleston. You know, we did
  • 5:01
    see a lot of Ukraine Flags over Charleston,
  • 5:05
    very Ukrainian
  • 5:07
    actually I learned why or part of its of course, virtue
  • 5:11
    signaling. But Charleston, you know, the Civil War started
  • 5:17
    there. They wouldn't even call it the Civil War. But they're
  • 5:20
    they're all about rebels and resistance.
  • 5:23
    Most Civil War actually started Fort Sumter. Correct?
  • 5:28
    Right. That's the you can see it from Charleston. Yeah, yeah. And
  • 5:34
    the same still shooting over and and the fans of the fort will
  • 5:38
    fly different flags. Any rebel flag like you know, Northern
  • 5:42
    Ireland, they'll fly any flag so they are flying the Ukrainian
  • 5:47
    flag from time to time and I think that that goes this is
  • 5:49
    what I was. We had a great tour.
  • 5:51
    Have you ever flown the North Korean flag that's kind of rebel
  • 5:54
    might be I'll ask. So we got a let me run it down. And then
  • 6:00
    I'll and I'll tell you how we got to that note, first of all
  • 6:03
    Dame Jennifer organized with with Tina, Tina organizing the
  • 6:08
    the away crew from from Texas Dame Jennifer did a phenomenal
  • 6:13
    job. And she and of course Patrick Coble, Duke of the South
  • 6:18
    Metis at the hotel, and we got like a full blown Rockstar
  • 6:21
    treatment. It was almost embarrassing. Charleston place
  • 6:25
    beautiful hotel. And one of Dame Jennifer's friends Margo, I
  • 6:30
    think she's manager where she managed she a manager at the
  • 6:34
    hotel. And so she pulled all kinds of cool strings for us. He
  • 6:37
    had a great room. And it was just, again, rock star
  • 6:41
    treatment. Fantastic. We got in had a little time to just turn
  • 6:45
    around, freshen up. Then we went to lunch, which I think was at a
  • 6:49
    place called the cotton. I'm not quite sure if that's what it
  • 6:52
    was. And this was a small exclusive lunch. John with pre
  • 6:55
    selected people who could be there. This was very nice. Let
  • 7:00
    me tell you he was at the table. We got of course Dame Jennifer
  • 7:03
    we have Sir Patrick. Roger roundy with DC girl. We had
  • 7:11
    Jimmy gouttes and his wife Pete You know, Jimmy is the hollow
  • 7:14
    book. Hollow Book Guy.
  • 7:17
    NUS bound and DC girls seem to be hanging around a lot.
  • 7:21
    They seem to be quite committed to each other. Yeah, that's all
  • 7:27
    I know. Yes, they they hang out a lot together. It was nice to
  • 7:31
    meet roundy is is a fun guy. Have you met him?
  • 7:35
    No, I've talked to him. I've never met him. I will. I've met
  • 7:37
    him by talking to him. I've never know. So he
  • 7:41
    he he made some beautiful T shirts actually some mo facts T
  • 7:45
    shirts that he brought for me. Dan keybox around with with his
  • 7:51
    Dame Jennifer had everywhere printed signs printed menus for
  • 7:55
    the lunch beautiful badges for everybody. It was calligraphy. I
  • 7:59
    think roundy might have even designed you know, some of the
  • 8:02
    some of the signage. It was it was just mind blowing how good
  • 8:07
    this was. And Roger roundy his badge he had a QR code. He's
  • 8:11
    like, Hey, if you want some T shirts scan this code. He's He's
  • 8:16
    a commercial artists which was fun to see. So Nussbaum was
  • 8:19
    there. Councilwoman McKenzie Kelly from Austin came out with
  • 8:24
    with Brian Skelton. Also, Tom Blomqvist was there. Tom
  • 8:30
    Blomqvist, the guy who wrote my swampthing episode and was the
  • 8:34
    showrunner. So we we got some I got to bitched at him about that
  • 8:37
    blato statement. If you recall the law remember it now it's the
  • 8:42
    line we're Oh man. I'm sorry. I was totally blocked. Oh, I
  • 8:45
    remember arguing was you said
  • 8:46
    blood blood lotto movie. Yeah, that's because the kids say
  • 8:51
    Yeah, exactly. And that's what he reiterated. So then we went
  • 8:57
    to the event and the event was at at the thing was called the
  • 9:04
    American. I see the royal American. So you know, thanks to
  • 9:10
    John Kenny, the owner, Joe West. GM took good care of everybody.
  • 9:15
    We had our own area. John with a velvet rope. This is how good
  • 9:20
    this was. Tina and I arrived, we get the velvet rope opens we go
  • 9:25
    past you know there's there's drinks in this just you know,
  • 9:29
    and people just start streaming in Dame Jennifer has no stops
  • 9:33
    everyone at the velvet rope. Donations, write it down. She
  • 9:36
    had forms for people to fill out. Everything was managed
  • 9:42
    perfectly. And, you know, this. This was a little different. I
  • 9:47
    know Tina didn't have the same. Well, she would know the
  • 9:51
    experience that I have. But maybe you'll understand when I
  • 9:54
    say that this meetup had kind of a startup vibe to it. You know
  • 9:59
    when you have your own Start up and you're like 25 or 50 people
  • 10:02
    now this was well over 100. But
  • 10:05
    I know exactly what you mean. Kind of a douche bag quality.
  • 10:10
    Oh, that's not what I mean. That's not exactly what a
  • 10:13
    startup was. I know it. No, no. Yeah, no. Yeah. Very young group
  • 10:19
    it all Jack no
  • 10:21
    the wild there Jack because it was, first of all, it's not a
  • 10:24
    very young group. It was as diverse as you can imagine. old,
  • 10:28
    young, gay, straight black brown, invalid, valid. different
  • 10:36
    nationalities. Everything you can imagine was that people came
  • 10:39
    from quite far Pennsylvania. Bill came from North Carolina.
  • 10:44
    Oh my goodness. We had a spook an actual spook. Who was he had
  • 10:48
    admitted spoke. Yes. Well, he, I forget his name. Well, it's
  • 10:52
    probably better. I don't tell you his name. And he had his MIT
  • 10:54
    t shirt on and someone said this guy is actually a spook and I
  • 10:57
    said, Oh, MIT Of course. Yep. I'm the spook. So we identified
  • 11:01
    the spook, I'm sure there are about 10 more. Most people there
  • 11:04
    have some coming from Virginia in particular
  • 11:06
    if you're in Virginia yet if for every 20 members of the meetup
  • 11:10
    you have at least one books Yeah, he had three at least Yeah
  • 11:13
    At least someone with with with clearance,
  • 11:17
    or was clearance a spook wannabes grip clearance.
  • 11:22
    But what I mean by the startup vibe is it was very people very
  • 11:25
    excited. Like we were building something new. Like we're doing
  • 11:28
    something together. It was it was just it had something a
  • 11:31
    little bit different than other meetups. So that was just it's
  • 11:35
    hard to explain it's also has to do with Dame Jennifer because
  • 11:38
    you know when you when you have a startup you have always have a
  • 11:41
    couple of people in the organization who really make it
  • 11:44
    all work and bring it all together. And that's what she
  • 11:48
    was doing
  • 11:48
    this otherwise used to get fired first.
  • 11:51
    So just a couple people who were there of note phone boy and
  • 11:55
    Phoenix DJ power boy, a lot of colorful people. I'll tell you
  • 11:59
    many, many colorful people. Couple of you know Tina, she
  • 12:04
    ain't she DMS on Instagram with all kinds of dudes. So I've met
  • 12:08
    one of them Salvador. Very intelligent funny people.
  • 12:13
    Fall back guys.
  • 12:15
    Fall back guys. Meet us and Leila from Fun Fact Friday,
  • 12:19
    we're there. My goodness, who else do we have? So many so many
  • 12:29
    to think of anyway, we'll even get the some of those in the
  • 12:32
    donations now the next day. We decided to stay an extra day.
  • 12:38
    Because it was Dame Jennifer's birthday on the 17th. And we had
  • 12:41
    a dinner in her honor that evening. But she had arranged a
  • 12:44
    tour with David Gwen Vaughn, who is married to Margot from the
  • 12:48
    restaurant. You see how it works in the small towns. And he has
  • 12:51
    something called 1670 tours.com. And he took us on a two and a
  • 12:56
    half hour walking tour of Charleston. And the weather was
  • 12:59
    perfectly 80 degrees. i There's I learned a lot of stuff. First
  • 13:04
    of all, Dame Jennifer is a celebrity and Charlson there's
  • 13:07
    no doubt about that, everyone. Oh, Jennifer. Oh, yeah.
  • 13:10
    Jennifer. Just the architecture is just phenomenal. It's really
  • 13:17
    interesting to see how many of these you have to kind of be
  • 13:25
    there to understand how just how beautiful it really is. I
  • 13:28
    learned something that was unexpected. You know, this is
  • 13:31
    where the AME Church shooting was that Obama went to if you
  • 13:37
    recall, that was was that 2015 2016 This is the this is
  • 13:44
    when Obama sang Amazing Grace. Yes, which of course we
  • 13:49
    ridiculed a lot.
  • 13:51
    But he can sing Dawn well what I learned was
  • 13:56
    that so the community the AME Church when when this shooting
  • 14:01
    went down they said you know what? Keep Sharpton out, we
  • 14:05
    don't want Jesse Jackson, we're gonna we're gonna solve it. And
  • 14:08
    when you when you walk around Charleston, it's a very small
  • 14:11
    community, because we're going to solve this ourselves within