End of Show Mixes: UKPMX - Gx2 -Oh My Bosh - Danny Loos-Secret Agent Paul-Stepford Wives-PlaceBoing- Dave Courbanou - Able Kirby - Jungle Jones - Chris Wilson - Tom Starkweather - Conan Salada - Future Trash - Phantomville Billy Bon3s
President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin talk during the family photo session at the APEC Summit in Danang, Vietnam, in 2017. (REUTERS/Jorge Silva/File Photo)
By the top of the second page of the first memo former FBI director James Comey wrote to memorialize his conversations with President Trump, prostitutes are mentioned. Sex workers are a running theme in the seven memos released on Thursday evening, a function of their prominent role in the dossier of unproven allegations involving the president's 2016 campaign and the president's apparent insistence on raising the subject on most of the occasions in which he and Comey spoke.
One particular discussion of the subject, though, is important for non-titillating reasons.
In a memo dated Feb. 8, 2017, written after an informal Oval Office meeting between Trump and himself, Comey writes:
''The President said 'the hookers thing' is nonsense but that [Russian President Vladimir] Putin had told him 'we have some of the most beautiful hookers in the world.' He did not say when Putin had told him this and I don't recall [REDACTED].''
As is often the case with redactions, the missing section in this quote raises a lot of possibilities. But the point on which we should focus is the point onto which Comey also latched: When, exactly, did Trump and Putin have this conversation about sex workers?
This is important because Trump's admitted communications with Putin were limited. While he at one point claimed to have had a number of interactions with the Russian president, when it became apparent during the campaign that clear links to Putin might cast doubt on his loyalties, Trump quickly '-- and believably '-- backed away from any claimed relationship. If Trump and Putin had more conversations than are known, it adds significant credibility to the idea that the Russian government and the Trump campaign might have had high-level, coordinated contacts.
We should start, of course, by noting that this is Comey's contemporaneous description of his conversation with Trump (assuming, as all available evidence suggests, that it was indeed written contemporaneously). Can we trust that Comey is conveying the conversation accurately? There's no reason to suggest that this particular detail was inaccurate in what it captured. (There's one possible exception, which we'll get to below.) The natural operating assumption is that Trump said that Putin said that his country was home to the most beautiful hookers in the world and that Comey that same day wrote down that detail.
Operating under that assumption, then, let's try to figure out when that conversation might have taken place.
When we know that Trump and Putin spoke. The first point at which Trump and Putin came into at least indirect contact was before the Miss Universe pageant held in Moscow in 2013. Trump partnered with the Moscow developer Aras Agalarov and his son to host the event; the Agalarovs were later the trigger for the June 2016 meeting in Trump Tower between Donald Trump Jr. and a Kremlin-linked attorney.
Before the pageant, Trump speculated publicly about building a relationship with Putin.
Do you think Putin will be going to The Miss Universe Pageant in November in Moscow - if so, will he become my new best friend?
'-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 19, 2013As the event neared, Trump told MSNBC's Thomas Roberts that he had an existing relationship with Putin, which doesn't seem to have been the case.
During the event, Trump's longtime aide Keith Schiller testified last November, an unidentified Russian offered to send five prostitutes to Trump's room at the Moscow Ritz Carlton '-- where the allegations outlined in the dossier of reports compiled by British intelligence officer Christopher Steele purportedly occurred. (In the Comey memos, the former FBI director writes that Trump twice denied having stayed the night in Moscow, which Schiller's testimony undercuts.)
Trump hoped Putin would attend the pageant, but the Russian president was a no-show. Afterward, journalists Michael Isikoff and David Corn reported in a recent book, Putin sent a present to Trump in New York by way of Agalarov's daughter: A black lacquered box containing a sealed letter. It's not known what the letter said. Trump bragged about receiving the letter a few months later.
During the campaign, Trump claimed to have gotten to ''know him very well,'' by virtue of having appeared together on the same episode of ''60 Minutes.'' That was unlikely, though: They appeared together in different segments, with Trump taped in New York and Putin in Moscow.
By mid-2016, he was backing off claims of knowing Putin.
''I never met Putin, I don't know who Putin is,'' he said in a news conference in July 2016 '-- his last of the campaign. This was the same news conference in which he called on the Russians to release emails stolen from Hillary Clinton.
He continued to argue that he didn't know Putin even through Feb. 7, 2017 '-- the day prior to the meeting in which Comey says that Putin told him about Russian hookers.
I don't know Putin, have no deals in Russia, and the haters are going crazy - yet Obama can make a deal with Iran, #1 in terror, no problem!
'-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 7, 2017We know, though, that there had been at least two contacts between Putin and the Trump White House prior to that meeting.
The first was a well-documented conversation between Trump and Putin on Jan. 28, 2017, the first conversation between the two as heads of state. This conversation occurred after the allegations in the dossier were made public when BuzzFeed published the entire document on Jan. 11. (Trump was first told about the allegations in a meeting at Trump Tower on Jan. 6.) This is the most natural point at which the subject of sex workers might have come up '-- though it seems odd that it would have been important to include in the first conversation between two world leaders.
The other contact between the Trump White House and Putin came earlier. It was also revealed in the Comey memos, during a moment when Trump told Comey that he questioned former national security adviser Michael Flynn's judgment. Flynn, it seems, knew of a call from Putin that he hadn't told Trump about until days later, frustrating the president. (The name of the world leader who'd made the call Flynn talked about was redacted in Comey's memo, but the Wall Street Journal subsequently reported that it was Putin.) This call, of course, didn't include Trump directly, but it's possible that Putin and Flynn discussed the subject of the dossier and its allegations and that Flynn passed that on to Trump.
The news conference. This raises the question of how we should interpret Comey's words. Did Trump say something like, ''Putin says that his prostitutes are the most beautiful in the world'' and Comey simply assumed that Trump had told him that directly? What if Putin told Flynn that and Flynn conveyed it to Trump?
Or what if Trump was pointing to a news conference that Putin held not long before Trump's conversation with Comey. In it, Putin addressed the allegations (knowing, of course, that the subject was embarrassing to the new American president).
''This is an adult and, moreover, a man who for many years has organized beauty contests,'' Putin said, according to the Telegraph. ''He socialized with the most beautiful women in the world. I can hardly imagine he rushed to the hotel to meet our girls of lower social responsibility '-- even though they are the best in the world, of course.''
Perhaps this became ''we have the most beautiful hookers in the world''?
The Maddow interview. Comey doesn't think so.
In an interview with MSNBC's Rachel Maddow that aired shortly after the memos were released on Thursday, she raised the subject.
''The president was conveying this to you at the White House,'' Maddow said.
''In the Oval Office,'' Comey confirmed.
''And he told you he'd had a personal conversation with President Putin about hookers?'' she asked.
''Yes,'' Comey replied.
''Did you believe him or did you think he was speaking hyperbolically?'' she continued.
''He didn't seem to be speaking hyperbolically,'' Comey said.
Comey noted that Putin and Trump had spoken once, in that call in late January.
''That would be an unusual first call between new heads of state,'' Maddow said. ''A congratulatory phone call, to be bragging about the relative value of each country's hookers would be an unusual '...''
''I think that's a fair statement,'' Comey agreed.
MSNBC hookers=Sex Workers
Producer on the engines
I work for a company that performs Nondestructive Testing
(NDT) on jet engine components. We actually have a project developing new tests
for the type of fan blade that failed.
This uncontained engine failure occurred for the same engine
and the same blade type as the uncontained failure from ~2 years ago. Please
Note that this is the first death on an aircraft in many years. Air travel is
still the safest mode of transportation.
A few points on jet engine design:
1) Blades are designed to fall forward or fall backward
depending on where they are in the engine to minimize damage to the engine.
2) FAA regulations require that an engine design is tested
to prove that the blades fall out of the engine (contained failure) and do not
penetrate through the side of the engine (uncontained failure).
A few points on engine inspection:
1) Engine manufacturers recommend inspection types and
intervals, aircraft manufacturers develop testing schedules, airlines must
follow the testing schedules put forth by the aircraft manufacturers as per FAA
2) All testing schedules are extremely conservative to
prevent failures. Aircraft failures are sensation news, cars crashes are
3) The vast majority of inspections are visual (i.e. they
just look at the part and see if anything is breaking the surface).
4) Damage can initiate inside the part and can be missed by
visual or eddy current inspection.
After the uncontained failure ~2 years ago, the blade
manufacturer recommended extra inspection using ultrasonics to detect small
cracks in the dove-tail section of the fan blade.The airlines did not do this
because it was required and it would cost a lot of money. The FAA will be
putting out an advisory and new inspection requirements for this engine in two
weeks. There is currently discussion from the airlines on grounding the entire
fleet and performing the very ultrasonic inspection that was recommended two
years ago. The inspection could take a few hours to a few days per engine.
Lame Cherry: American Gas Prices Up 75 Cents a Gallon under Donald Trump
American Gas Prices under Donald John Trump spiked 75 cents a GallonAs another Lame Cherry exclusive in matter anti matter.Rush Limbaugh has always pondered as he has become a Trump Clapper as to what exactly would cause Trump voters to stop supporting him. For me it was the reality that he lied about 2016 and has been screwing Americans over who voted for him every day since in not appointing them to the cabinet and in the worst of it, robbing them worse than Obama did.I detest propaganda that is so low brow that it judges people are too stupid to discern what a lie it is. The following is the worst of this in a mailer Donald John sends out weekly which is absolute garbage. The lie is that the US economy is roaring and that people are winning.I just talked to a clerk in a grocery store who just shook her head and said this week what a load of bullshit the good economy is, as her son in law is asking her to come live with them in Sidney Montana as soon as they can get a little cabin built for her on their property. REAL NEWS PRESIDENT TRUMP DOESN'T WANT YOU TO MISSPresident Trump: America's Economy Is Back and Roaring and Its People Are Winning - USA Today “We are changing Tax Day for Americans across the country,” President Donald J. Trump wrote in an op-ed this week. “This is the last year Americans will fill out outdated, complicated tax forms. In the years ahead, because I signed one of the largest tax cuts in history and the most sweeping tax reform in a generation, many Americans will complete their taxes on a simple, single sheet of paper.” This blog was the first to point out that there can NEVER be MAGA or a Trump recovery in the policies that Donald John has been making law. It was bemused that Zero Hedge this past week was pondering that perhaps the Trump Recovery would not happen because of record gas prices being raised.To that I say DUH!!!!!!!!!!! I posted here that the Cohn tax breaks for the rich, were already factored in that any pennies you think you will get, are already being robbed from you in a rising fuel bill. I must state this again that the cartel knows to the pennies in how much money is out there, and they will squeeze you to the last red cent to keep you in debt to keep siphoning your soul out of you, as if you are downcast and have no money you can not fund or start a political revolution.The map above is from Gas Buddy and it reveals that gas prices on the west coast are over 3.30 dollars a gallon. The rest of the United States is running 2. 60 to 2.70 a gallon, with Pennsylvania, New York and Michigan running 2.75 to 3.00 dollars a gallon.Now for the history lesson in this in what were gas prices under President George W. Bush?Gas prices under George W. Bush in November 2008 were $1.87 a gallon.So in other words, gas prices under Donald Trump rose 88 cents a gallon as do you know what gas prices were under the closing era of Birther Hussein in what Trump inherited?Gas prices were $1.99 a gallon under Obama, so real gas prices have risen 76 cents a gallon under Donald John Trump. Fuel Price Outlook 2016 - GasBuddy Media WebsiteFuel Price Outlook 2016 . ... the Labor Dept. placed the November Labor ... The U.S. average price of gas begins 2016 at $1.99 / gal. fuelinsights.gasbuddy.com /content/docs/2016forecast.pd So you get the real numbers in this as the first thing Donald Trump did was sign into law an exporting of your gasoline and natural gas to Eurasians which drove up the prices on Americans, the United States burns almost 400 million gallons of gasoline a day.How much gasoline does the United States consume? - FAQ - U.S ...How much gasoline does the United States consume? In 2017, about 143.85 billion gallons (or about 3.40 billion barrels 1) of finished motor gasoline were consumed 2 in the United States, a daily average of about 391.40 million gallons (or about 9.32 million barrels per day). 3 https://www.eia.gov /tools/faqs/faq.php?id=23&t=10 The above translates FROM YOU, $293.55 million dollars a day raped from the US economy. EVERY WEEK this loots 2.054.85 BILLION DOLLARS out of the US economy, concentrated into Big Oil in pure profit. That amounts to $106,852 BILLION DOLLARS out of the US economy.There are those who would say those numbers can not be that high, and yet 391 million gallons of gasoline a day, with the price spiked 75 cents a gallon, is 2 billion dollars a week, and 2 billion times 52 weeks is ONE HUNDRED SIX BILLION, EIGHT HUNDRED FIFTY TWO MILLION, TWO HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS, additionally raped from each of you, as Donald John has not gotten rid of Obamacare rapine of a trillion dollars more each year.America is still in the Obama Super Depression. Donald Trump is adding millions of more LEGAL Visa Vermin each year, as he diverts attention in rounding up a few hundred Obama illegals. What is taking place is what this blog stated in we are experiencing a Trump Recession in the midst of the Obama Super Depression. THERE CAN NOT BE A RECOVERY by what Donald John has initiated, so in this period the United States will transition to a double dip Trump Super Depression or as it will be known a WAR TIME ECONOMY.We have moved from Obama's Conglomerate Communism to Trumps Nazi Conglomerates, in the same rapine, but it is growing as Donald John's junta has a Department of Defense linked to oil revenues to protect the petro dollar, while financing Wall Street, while Obama was financing Wall Street with massive money dumps out of the Treasury while profiteering Big Oil in shorting supply.It is all the same criminal animal and I will remind you that this is YOUR OIL. It is under your feet in your states and it is ALL YOUR OIL, and you should be offered it at production prices with profits coming from foreigners, but Donald John like Obama gouges Americans to keep the political uprisings to a minimum offering.The US economy sucks. It is closing businesses yet, it is cutting people from work and it is hiring Trump Visa Vermin, all as Trumpflation is skyrocketing as the energy inflation is spiking all of your prices. There simply is not any money in the US economy as it is dry, and the foreigners are sending billions overseas to their vermin kindred in not spending it in America, so those resources end up in China trade too.I had respect for Lawrence Kudlow but all he is, is the Conservative face on this Super Depression now, as this nazi state economy rapes Americans of their "tax cuts" which were nothing to begin with. He knows better than this as Milton Friedman and Ronald Reagan generated real economic growth and real prosperity for Americans from the ground up. All Donald John is engaged in is more centralized wealth as this national socialist economy is designed to give with two fingers while it reaches in and robs you with both hands in price spikes by design.This is the reason I am weary of writing about this chit, as you ungrateful rich just hold your lucre tighter and refuse to donate. You should be ashamed as Mr. President should be ashamed, but all we got in Reverse Speech in 2017 was SORRY AMERICA, and the economic rape went forward.I will just repeat to you stone headed rich whores, you try going ahead in the darkness without this blog, as the fact is it took Zero Hedge almost a year to catch up and by then it was too late.Nuff SaidagtG
Electric scooters from Bird, Spin, and LimeBike are taking over California: Here's everything you need to know. '-- Quartz
Depending on who you ask, the electric, internet-connected scooters appearing all over California are either the future of transportation or a public nuisance on par with a biblical plague.
Over the past few weeks, scooters primarily from three startups'--Bird, LimeBike, and Spin'--have flooded the streets of greater Los Angeles and San Francisco. The companies, which have collectively raised $255 million from venture capitalists, believe scooters are the next step toward a multimodal future, in which the typical person doesn't own a car, but cobbles together shared rides, bikes, public transit, and, yes, scooters , to get around.
The main electric scooter players There are three main companies dumping scooters in California:
Bird's scooters. (Bird)Bird , based in Santa Monica, was founded in 2017 by Travis VanderZanden, a former chief operating officer at Lyft who left for Uber and was sued for allegedly stealing confidential information. Bird has raised $115 million from investors that include New York-based Tusk Ventures. The service launched in September in Santa Monica, just outside Los Angeles, and promptly ran afoul of local regulations. (VanderZanden reportedly alerted Santa Monica's mayor to the scooter deployment via LinkedIn message .) VanderZanden has compared Bird to revolutionary technologies such as electric cars, autonomous vehicles, and the jet engine.
LimeBike's Lime-S scooters. (LimeBike)LimeBike is a San Francisco-based dockless bike and scooter company. It started in July 2017 with 500 bicycles in Seattle and has since expanded to many other US cities. LimeBike has scooters in cities including San Francisco; San Diego; Washington DC; and Austin, Texas. Its three co-founders have backgrounds at Pepsi, Square, Facebook, and Tencent, and it signed on NFL star Marshawn Lynch as a sponsor. LimeBike has raised $132 million from investors that include Andreessen Horowitz. It has deployed more than 35,000 bikes and scooters across the US since June.
Spin's scooter. (Spin)Spin , like LimeBike, is a San Francisco-based dockless bike and scooter company. It was founded in 2016 and operates in dozens of cities and college campuses. Its three co-founders, who worked at Lyft and Y Combinator, have raised about $8 million.
How do the scooters work? Internet-connected scooters are managed through smartphone apps. With Bird, for example, you open the app to see a map of nearby available scooters, from which you can select one, scan a QR code on the scooter, tap ''unlock'' in the app, and start your ride. Once you've scooted to your destination'--Bird says most rides are less than 2 miles'--you lock the scooter up again. Some companies track their scooters' entire rides using built-in GPS trackers, while others use your phone's GPS to keep tabs on scooter pickup and drop-off locations.
Unlocking a Spin scooter. (Spin) Where are scooters available? San Francisco seems to be bearing the brunt of the scooter craze, but they're actually all over.
LimeBike launched in Seattle, but now has bikes or scooters in dozens of locations across the US, as well as in Germany and Switzerland. It also operates on about 20 college campuses, including the universities of Notre Dame, Georgetown, and Duke.
Spin's website says that it's in 18 US cities, an d provides a map showing bikes and scooters in California, Colorado, Arizona, Texas, Florida, and a few others. It too is on college campuses, including Duke, La Salle, the University of Washington, and Wesleyan.
Bird is predominantly in the San Francisco Bay Area, and doesn't list out where its bikes are located. But according to the company's Instagram, it has bikes in Los Angeles, San Diego, Austin, Texas, and Washington DC.
What are the rules? There are a lot of rules! Bird details them in its rental agreement and terms of service , which riders are required to agree to before being able to use the app. Of course, it's an open question whether users actually do read these agreements, which is why we've highlighted some of Bird's most specific rules of the road:
Be at least 18 years old Have a driver's license , though this is not stated explicitly in the rental agreement Wear a helmet as required by law Beware of weather conditions, ''including, without limitation, rain, fog, snow, hail, ice, heat or electrical storms,'' that may make it dangerous to operate a scooter Park in a legal parking spot Ride only in ''metropolitan areas'' Riders must not'...
Carry any ''briefcase, backpack, bag, or other item'' if it impedes safe operating of the scooter Drink and scoot ''Carry a second person or child on a vehicle'' Tamper with the locking mechanism on the scooter Use the scooter ''for racing, mountain vehicle riding, stunt or trick riding'' Operate the scooter ''on unpaved roads, through water (beyond normal urban riding), or in any location that is prohibited, illegal and/or a nuisance to others'' Weigh more'--including baggage!'--than 200 pounds How much do scooter rides cost? Most of the services cost $1 per half-hour ride, and then several cents (usually around $0.15) per mile or minute. Some offer monthly subscription rates.
Why would grown adults ride scooters, ever?A San Franciscan posing with some Bird scooters. (Quartz/Elijah Wolfson) Some people see scooters as a useful addition to cities struggling to meet the transit needs of their residents. Scooters can fill gaps in first- and last-mile transit, such as getting to a subway or bus stop, or from a parking lot to an office. Scooters can also traverse pretty much every urban terrain and are light enough to be picked up and carried, which can't be said of the typical bike in a bike-share program.
Critics say electric scooters are essentially overgrown children's toys, ridden solely by out-of-touch tech elites who carelessly dump the vehicles wherever they feel like after riding. They argue that scooters aren't actually improving deficiencies in public transit, but rather making it easier for men in Patagonia vests to get from their meeting at Blue Bottle Coffee to their meeting at Peet's Coffee
ControversiesPeople are leaving the scooters everywhere, creating a mess and nuisance in the process. The cities feel like the fault lies with the scooter companies, and the companies blame their users, insisting that they have made clear in their apps where riders are to park (reasonable, out-of-the-way spots). The struggle echoes similar issues in China, where dockless-bike riders frequently abandon their bikes in crowded streets.
Santa Monica filed a criminal complaint against Bird in December, alleging that the company began operations without city approval and failed to remove the vehicles from sidewalks. Bird pleaded no contest in February and agreed to pay more than $300,000 in fines.
This homeless person told me it only takes one snip to liberate a scooter. Also, a scooter co employee threatened him and others with ''federal prison for theft''. ð pic.twitter.com/R20tn9O9X8
'-- _ (@R27D) April 12, 2018
San Francisco's city attorney on April 16 sent cease-and-desist orders to Bird, LimeBike, and Spin, demanding they halt their businesses and take stronger steps to keep riders off of sidewalks and parked scooters from obstructing roads and pathways. A week earlier, San Francisco's Public Works department impounded 66 scooters in response to complaints.
Bird, meanwhile, has circulated rumors that San Francisco is ''considering banning its scooters and other electric vehicles, despite the local board of supervisors saying they have no plans to do so. ''Rushing through a moratorium on Birds and similar vehicles, without the input of San Franciscans and without careful deliberation, ignores the fact that thousands of city residents love using Birds to get around,'' the company wrote in a statement to local news outlets, before comparing the alleged ban to an assault on democracy.
Today's #scooterfail now scooter idiots are pissing off dogs too #scooteridiots getting in everyone's way including ð #parkingfail pic.twitter.com/8gSzUphq4T
'-- Scooter Idiots (@scooteridiots) April 11, 2018
Bird is also working on legislation in the California state assembly that would make it legal for people to ride scooters on sidewalks, and would only require minors to wear helmets.
The two-pronged strategy is similar to tactics Uber used, to great effect, to legitimize its ride-hailing model. Uber rallied riders to its cause when cities attempted to ban its service or enact stringent regulations, while also pushing legislation that made ride-hailing legal. That Bird is using a similar strategy with scooters isn't surprising; its CEO, and many other people at the company, used to work for Lyft and Uber.
A Spin scooter, propped up next to an out-of-service San Francisco bus. (Quartz/Elijah Wolfson) Are the scooters safe? Quartz uncovered that Bird and Spin use rebranded versions of the Chinese company Xiaomi's Mi electric scooter, and LimeBike uses a proprietary design that appears to be based on one copied by dozens of Asian companies.
It's not clear in every case whether the scooters have been through the sorts of rigorous tests that other motorized vehicles go through to be able to ride on US streets. There are images on the web of scooters that have broken, presumably through regular wear-and-tear.
As is often the case with tech trends, the scooter surge has outpaced potential regulation. Quartz asked all three companies what tests they've performed on their batteries'--remember exploding hoverboards?'--and only Spin confirmed that its scooters have been certified safe by UL, a lab for electronics safety standards.
There are also concerns about rider safety. None of the scooter companies provide helmets for each ride (although Bird does hand out free helmets to people who request them in the app). The scooters can travel around 15 mph, which would be enough to cause injury if a rider were to fall off, take a hill too fast, or get hit by a car.
Read this next: This rebranded Chinese scooter is taking over San Francisco
Electric Scooters Are Causing Havoc. This Man Is Shrugging It Off. - The New York Times
VENICE, Calif. '-- Travis VanderZanden, the chief executive of electric scooter company Bird Rides, surveyed the new indoor park at his office one morning this week.
While the space is still under construction, it will eventually have a winding path and a park scene, with benches and trees, he said.
Electric scooter start-ups have spread from Santa Monica, Calif. to several cities around the country. Not everyone is happy about that. Credit Coley Brown for The New York Times It will be made to take his little Bird scooters on scenic trips inside the confines of the 20,000-square-foot office situated near the Pacific Ocean and, more important to him, on Electric Avenue here in Venice, Calif.
''When you ride a Bird, it reminds you of being free,'' said the 39-year-old. ''It gives you freedom. Like you have wings.''
Mr. VanderZanden did not act like a man in the middle of a controversy. But he is here to disrupt '-- by any means necessary.
Electric scooters have arrived en masse in cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington, with companies competing to offer the dockless and rechargeable vehicles. Leading the pack is Mr. VanderZanden's Bird, with rivals including Spin and LimeBike. The start-ups are buoyed with more than $250 million in venture capital and a firm belief that electric scooters are the future of transportation, at least for a few speedy blocks.
''When you ride a Bird, it reminds you of being free,'' said Travis VanderZanden, chief executive of Bird. Credit Coley Brown for The New York Times The premise of the start-ups is simple: People can rent the electric scooters for about a $1, plus 10 cents to 15 cents a minute to use, for so-called last-mile transportation. To recharge the scooters, the companies have ''chargers,'' or people who roam the streets looking to plug in the scooters at night, for which they get paid $5 to $20 per scooter.
The problem is that cities have been shocked to discover that thousands of electric scooters have been dropped onto their sidewalks seemingly overnight. Often, the companies ignored all the usual avenues of getting city approval to set up shop. And since the scooters are dockless, riders can just grab one, go a few blocks and leave it wherever they want, causing a commotion on sidewalks and scenes of scooters strewn across wheelchair ramps and in doorways.
So officials in cities like San Francisco and Santa Monica, Calif., have been sending cease-and-desist notices and holding emergency meetings. Some even filed charges against the scooter companies.
''They just appeared,'' said Mohammed Nuru, director of the San Francisco Public Works, which has been confiscating the scooters. ''I don't know who comes up with these ideas or where these people come from.''
Dennis Herrera, the San Francisco city attorney who sent cease-and-desist letters to Bird and others, described the chaos as ''a free for all.''
Mr. VanderZanden said given how enormous a social shift he believes his scooters are, he was not surprised it ruffled some feathers. But people would eventually adjust, he said.
''Go back to the early 1900s, and people would have a similar reaction to cars because they were used to horses,'' he said. ''They had to figure out where to park all the dockless cars.''
Electric scooters are often strewn across city sidewalks, including outside a San Francisco train station. Credit Jason Henry for The New York Times People can rent the electric scooters for about a $1, plus 10 cents to 15 cents a minute to use. Credit Coley Brown for The New York Times City officials have been sending cease-and-desist notices, holding emergency meetings, and filing charges against the scooter companies. Credit Jason Henry for The New York Times If there is something familiar about these scooter companies' strategy of just showing up in cities without permission, that's because that has now become a tried-and-true playbook for many start-ups. In its early days, Uber, the ride-hailing giant, also barreled into towns overnight to launch its service and only asked for forgiveness later.
''Cities don't know what it is,'' Caen Contee, the head of marketing for LimeBike, said of the arrival of electric scooters. ''They don't know how to permit it until they've seen it.''
That has led to scenes like a crowded and contentious transportation committee meeting at San Francisco City Hall on Monday, where so many people wanted to speak about the scooters that everyone was limited to one minute each.
David Valladares, who works as a ''charger'' for Bird, said the work helped ''supplement my income due to the large cost of living in the Bay Area.''
He urged the city to concentrate on deadly cars instead, noting, ''I've never seen a scooter-on-scooter accident kill somebody.''
At a transportation committee meeting at San Francisco City Hall on Monday, people who wanted to speak about the scooters were limited to one minute each. Credit Jason Henry for The New York Times Advocates for the disabled said they would have trouble moving through the streets if the scooters were zooming around or left on sidewalks. Advocates for older people said rampaging scooters would also encourage them to seek the safety of their homes, becoming shut-ins.
''Somebody whizzing along at 15 miles an hour, that's a symbol of entitlement and arrogance,'' said Fran Taylor, a retired medical reporter. She called the scooters ''a plot of the young people to kill off all us old farts so they can have our rent-controlled apartments.''
Back in Venice, Mr. VanderZanden seated himself upstairs in a barren conference room with a view of the parking lot. He leaned back and kept his eyes on his open computer screen as he talked. He wore his blond hair slicked back.
He said efforts to regulate his Bird scooters differently than personally owned scooters was discrimination against the poor.
''Not everyone can afford their own electric scooter,'' he said. ''We shouldn't discriminate against people that are renting versus owning.''
Before launching Bird, Mr. VanderZanden had worked at tech companies and founded an on-demand carwash service called Cherry. Cherry was acquired by Lyft in 2013 and Mr. VanderZanden became chief operating officer at the ride-hailing company.
Dennis Herrera, the San Francisco city attorney, described the influx of electric scooters as ''a free for all.'' Credit Jason Henry for The New York Times He left Lyft in 2014 and joined Uber as vice president of growth that same year. Lyft sued him for breaching a confidentiality agreement and fiduciary duty. The litigation was eventually settled.
Of his time at Uber, which has since been exposed as having had a growth-at-all-costs environment, Mr. VanderZanden said: ''I learned some good things, and I learned some bad things.''
He left Uber in 2016 and moved to Southern California. Last year, he founded Bird to bring electric scooters, already popular in cities across China, to America. To date, Bird has raised $115 million from investors, including Craft Ventures and Index Ventures. Mr. VanderZanden now has a team of more than 100 people.
He likes wordplay. The scooters are called Birds. He calls a group of people riding on the scooters a flock. The areas where scooters are supposed to be generally kept are called nests. His mom's name is Robin.
''We might have taken the birds too far,'' Mr. VanderZanden said.
Bird initially rolled out its scooter-rental service in Santa Monica and now operates in seven cities. The company will not disclose how many scooters are in operation but said it has sent out 22,500 helmets to riders, as part of a compliance effort for cities that require riders to use helmets. Bird has also hit one million rides.
Mr. VanderZanden said greater Los Angeles, including Santa Monica, has been especially excited about Bird and that the area has become a transportation tech hub.
''The city's been very receptive,'' he said.
It actually has not.
Bird initially rolled out its scooter-rental service in Santa Monica and now operates in seven cities, including San Francisco. Credit Jason Henry for The New York Times In Santa Monica, the city attorney's office filed a nine-count misdemeanor criminal complaint against Bird and Mr. VanderZanden last year for operating a commercial scooter rental business without a mobile vending business license and for failing to comply with citations. The company pleaded no contest and paid a settlement of $300,000.
Those who work for Santa Monica's city government even went so far as to reach out to other towns to caution them about electric scooters.
''My brother and sister legislators from Santa Monica warned me that that phenomenon has hit their cities,'' said Aaron Peskin, who is on San Francisco's board of supervisors, the city's legislative branch. Referring to the scooter start-ups, he added, ''These people are out of their minds.''
Even other scooter companies don't seem to like each other much. When Mr. VanderZanden recently announced a pledge for scooter start-ups to sign that promised responsible growth and revenue sharing with cities, he did not get much of a response. ''We're still waiting for others to sign the pledge,'' he said.
Mr. VanderZanden also feigns ignorance about all the controversy he has caused.
''Anything any city's asked us to do, aside from shut down, we do,'' he said.
And even though Bird is handing out helmets, he said the requirement that scooter riders wear them is absurd unless all pedestrians have to wear helmets because cars are the real danger.
''We're not going to be happy till there are more Birds than cars,'' Mr. VanderZanden said.
Nellie Bowles covers tech and internet culture. Follow her on Twitter: @nelliebowles
David Streitfeld has written about technology and its effects for twenty years. In 2013, he was part of a team that won a Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Reporting.
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Instant payouts offer lifeline to Scotland's rough sleepers | UK news | The Guardian
Outreach workers in Scottish cities can make instant payouts of up to £200 for anything from haircuts to hotel rooms as part of a radical approach to entrenched rough sleeping.
The funding, directly from the Scottish government, is being made available to frontline staff working with the hard core of street homeless who refuse to engage with services or access any accommodation on offer.
They can now commit to on-the-spot spending to pay for clothing, copies of lost documents or even a night in a nearby hotel to help build trust with some of the hardest to reach members of the street community.
Hugh Hill, the director of services at the homelessness charity Simon Community Scotland, describes it as ''out of the box thinking to connect with people who won't connect with anything, regardless of how tough that life may be''.
Outreach workers for the Glasgow-based charity who have used the new fund in the city centre over the winter told the Guardian about the dramatic difference this instant flexibility has made to their work, both in terms of their ability to think creatively about people's needs and to build confidence that they can respond positively to their circumstances. Larger spends of up to £2,000 are discussed back at base with a senior manager.
This week, legislation has come into force imposing legal duties on English councils to prevent homelessness. But charities say it fails to address the factors '' including changes to the welfare system and council cuts '' driving the rise in rough sleeping, which has increased south of the border for seven consecutive years.
The Scottish and UK governments have committed to eradicating rough sleeping, with the Conservatives' 2017 election manifesto pledging to do so by 2027, and the SNP government experimenting with more flexible outreach options.
The personal budgets for outreach workers were put in place by the housing minister, Kevin Stewart, over the winter in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen as part of recommendations from the Scottish government's homelessness and rough sleeping action group chaired by Jon Sparkes, the chief executive of the homelessness charity Crisis.
''We've been using the fund daily, and it's made a big difference knowing it is there to fall back on'', said Megan Thomson, the chair of the Simon Community's interagency street network in Glasgow. The charity was given £250,000 to fund the personal budgets in Glasgow and Edinburgh, and estimates that about half was spent over the winter.
''There weren't as many big spends as we thought there would be,'' said Thomson, explaining that much of the funding has been spent on purchases that were ''a drop in the ocean'', while making a huge difference to the individuals concerned.
''Little things like a haircut or a shave are a big deal. We've spent £8 to get someone's clothes properly laundered. He was aggressive and threatening to everyone else but now he has a good relationship with the laundry staff. It's all about establishing trust.''
Thomson has many examples of relatively small outlays making a big difference: £10 for a copy of an old bank statement or a birth certificate, one of the many forms of identity essential to accessing basic support but repeatedly lost in the chaos of life on the streets; £160 for a television for a family fleeing violence who had two young children in need of entertainment in a strange city; some coins for the gas meter for a young woman tempted back on to the streets because her temporary flat was so cold.
Stewart describes the personal budgets as ''key to ensuring that frontline staff can employ maximum flexibility to meet immediate needs''. In addition to announcing extra funding to continue the scheme into the summer, he is working with the homelessness sector to develop a national model of flexible outreach, expected in early May.
The ability to make spending decisions on the spot has given outreach workers more confidence, said Jim Thompson, who spent time on the streets before working with the Simon Community. ''You know you have the power to make decisions there and then.''
''The guys we work with have really complex needs around drugs, alcohol addiction, begging, and you have to find out what the answer is to those needs. This helps us cut out the middle man and build trust with them '' and the results are amazing.''
He describes one young man, who had been living on the street for years and consistently refused to engage with services, despite his worsening health. ''Through this fund, we put him up in the Travelodge in Queen Street for a couple of nights, and then got him into hospital.
''If we hadn't had access to the fund we would have lost him. He'd been injecting into his groin and they found a tunnel of infection all down his leg. He needed intravenous antibiotics for six weeks. He began to trust us because we could get him that bed for the night. It's like heaven when you've not slept well for years.''
Claim: Awans Transferred Data To Pakistan | The Daily Caller
FAISALABAD, Pakistan '-- The father of Imran Awan '-- an IT aide to Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz who investigators concluded made ''unauthorized access'' to House servers '-- transferred a USB drive to a Pakistani senator and former head of a Pakistani intelligence agency, the father's ex-business partner, Rashid Minhas, alleged.
Minhas told The Daily Caller News Foundation that Imran Awan's father, Haji Ashraf Awan, was giving data to Pakistani official Rehman Malik, and that Imran bragged he had the power to ''change the U.S. president.''
Asked for how he knew this, he said that on one occasion in 2008 when a ''USB [was] given to Rehman Malik by Imran's father, my brother Abdul Razzaq was with his father.''
''After Imran's father deliver (sic) USB to Rehman Malik, four Pakistani [government intelligence] agents were with his father 24-hour on duty to protect him,'' he said. Minhas did not say what was on the USB.
TheDCNF traveled to Pakistan for this story and interviewed numerous residents who interacted with Imran, and they confirmed that he does travel that country with a contingent of armed Pakistani government officials and routinely brags about mysterious political power.
The House Office of Inspector General charged in Sept. 30, 2016 that data was being funneled off the House network by the Awans as recently as September 2016 '-- shortly before the presidential election.
Nearly Imran's entire immediate family was on the House payroll working as IT aides to one-fifth of House Democrats, and he began working for the House in 2004. The inspector general, Michael Ptasienski, testified this month that ''system administrators hold the 'keys to the kingdom' meaning they can create accounts, grant access, view, download, update, or delete almost any electronic information within an office. Because of this high-level access, a rogue system administrator could inflict considerable damage.''
Minhas said ''Imran Awan said to me directly these words: 'See how I control White House on my fingertip'...' He say he can fire the prime minister or change the U.S. president,'' Minhas said. ''Why the claiming big stuff, I [didn't] understand 'till now.''
''I was Imran father's partner in Pakistan,'' Minhas said, in two land deals in Pakistan so big that they are often referred to as ''towns.'' In 2009, both men were accused of fraud, and Haji was arrested but then released after Imran flew to Pakistan, ''allegedly'... exerting pressure on the local police through the ministry as well as the department concerned,'' according to local news. Minhas and multiple alleged victims in Pakistan also told TheDCNF Imran exerted political influence in Pakistan to extricate his father from the case.
Minhas is now in U.S. federal prison for additional fraud, and TheDCNF could not confirm whether Minhas' claims about the USBs are true. But Minhas said the DOJ or FBI never interviewed him about the Awans, an indicator the potential for espionage may not have been explored extensively. The probe involves money allegedly disappearing to Pakistan and Minhas was, prominently, their business partner there.
He is also one of many people with past relationships with the Awans who have said they believe they are aggressive opportunists who will do anything for money. And parts of Minhas's story correlate with observations elsewhere. Haji's wife, Samina Gilani '-- Imran's stepmother '-- said in court documents that Imran used his IT skills to wiretap her as a means of exerting pressure on her.
Haji would frequently boast that Imran's position gave him political leverage, numerous Pakistani residents told TheDCNF. ''My son own White House in D.C.,'' he would say, according to Minhas. ''I am kingmaker.''
Sen. Malik is a former intelligence agent who served as director of the Federal Investigation Agency from 1993 to 1996. From 2004 to 2007, he was chief of security for former prime minister Benazir Bhutto. In 2013, he became an adviser to Prime Minister Yousaf Gillani, and served as Interior Minister until 2013, a capacity in which he interfaced with then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. He now serves in the Pakistani Senate.
Sen. Malik denied any relationship with the parties allegedly involved, saying ''I am hearing their names for the first time. I am in public and people always do name-dropping.'' Chris Gowen, an attorney for Imran, said Minhas's contentions were ''completely and totally false.''
House Sergeant-At-Arms Paul Irving banned the Awans from the congressional network on Feb. 2, 2017 after the IG report alleged that the Awans were making ''unauthorized access'' to House servers. They logged in using members of Congress's personal usernames and logged into servers of members for whom they did not work, the IG report said. After some members fired them, they still kept accessing their data, an IG presentation charged.
The behavior mirrored a ''classic method for insiders to exfiltrate data from an organization,'' and ''steps are being taken [by the Awans] to conceal their activity,'' it said.
In the months before the election, the epicenter of the cyberbreach was the server of the House Democratic Caucus, a sister group of the Democratic National Committee (DNC). Authorities said they believe Imran secretly moved all the data of more than a dozen House members' offices onto the caucus server.
The server may have been ''used for nefarious purposes and elevated the risk that individuals could be reading and/or removing information,'' an IG presentation said. The Awans logged into it 27 times a day, far more than any other computer they administered.
Imran's most forceful advocate and longtime employer is Florida Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who led the DNC until she resigned following a hack that exposed committee emails. Wikileaks published those emails, and they show that DNC staff summoned Imran when they needed her password.
Democrats have blamed the DNC hack for former Clinton's loss in the 2016 presidential race.
Soon after the IG report, the entire House Democratic Caucus server was physically stolen, three government officials said, in what authorities took as evidence tampering. Then-Caucus Chairman Xavier Becerra has refused to discuss the incident except to say that he would cooperate with authorities.
The Awans began selling their assets during the same time period. In January 2017 they took out a loan intended for home improvement, falsely claimed a medical emergency in order to cash out their House retirement account, and wired $300,000 overseas, according to an FBI affidavit.
Imran was arrested at Dulles Airport in July 2017 trying to fly to Pakistan with a wiped cell phone and a resume that listed his address as Queens, New York, prosecutors said. Imran and his wife, Hina Alvi, were indicted in August on bank fraud charges, with prosecutors contending in court filings that shortly before moving the money, the couple had likely learned that authorities were closing in on them for their other activities.
Yet Imran and Hina have not been charged with unauthorized access to congressional data, despite an analysis of server logs by House investigators that determined that unauthorized access by Imran and Hina occurred. Three other suspects '' Abid Awan, Jamal Awan and Rao Abbas '' have faced no charges. Abid's wife, Ukraniane-born Nataliia Sova, was also on the payroll but left before the Awan family was banned.
The separation between the legislative and executive branch has complicated the prosecution. Congressmen have refused to publicly address the IG's findings, and Wasserman Schultz's brother is a prosecutor in the office of the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, which is handling the case.
Two months after the ban, Capitol Police found that Imran was in the building and left a laptop with username RepDWS in a phone booth along with a note that read ''attorney client privilege,'' according to a police report.
Wasserman Schultz hired a private lawyer to block prosecutors from looking at the computer. Imran's attorney then said the laptop should not be looked at unless he withdraws his claim of attorney-client privilege. Their next court date is May 4.
The suspects worked for foreign affairs committee members such as Ted Lieu of California and for intelligence committee members Joaquin Castro of Texas, Andre Carson of Indiana, and Jackie Speier of California. All have ignored repeated requests for comment.
Imran appeared to still have a backdoor into the congressional network as late as August 2017 through the email account [email protected], according to civil court filings. Instead of Imran's name, the email address was associated with the name Nathaniel Bennett, an intelligence specialist for Carson.
Minhas said ''Last time I seen Mr. devil Awan in Pakistan 2010 about him and his father commit fraud with me and other landlords in Faisalabad.'' Minhas and Haji Awan acquired a large tract of farmland from elderly farmers to turn into a housing development, but allegedly failed to pay them. When the farmers filed charges, Imran tried to have the elderly victims arrested by claiming they beat and ''tortured'' him, and used political influence to have police drop the charges against his father, according to a detailed 2009 article in Pakistani newspaper Dawn.
Minhas said that was Sen. Malik's influence. ''The way he used his resources through Congress to call U.S. Embassy in Islamabad and Pakistani officials, it was so bad,'' Minhas said. ''What the hell Rehman Malik was doing'' being involved in a local case?
The alleged scam Minhas and Haji ran was not the only one for either. Minhas is now in federal prison in Minnesota for swindling money from American Muslims.
Awan Town in Lahore, Pakistan, where Imran Awan's wife Hina Alvi lived / Wajid Al Sayed
According to court documents, Minhas stole $700,000 from American Muslims by using their faith against them. He set up travel agencies that sold cheap tickets to the Hajj, the obligatory trip to Mecca. But instead of providing the tickets, he sent buyers letters saying ''Allah didn't invite you. That's why you guys didn't go,'' as one victim recounted in court papers. ''So, he blamed the whole thing on God, not on his thing what he did to us.''
Prosecutors said ''he used the travel agency down in Falls Church, Va., as a stalking horse to make it appear to his customers that he was doing what he was supposed to be doing, knowing all along that he wouldn't get those visas.''
Minhas lived in Chicago at the time, while Imran ran a car dealership in Falls Church on top of his $165,000-a-year job in Congress. But no connection between Imran and the travel agency was apparent.
The Awans' car dealership business partner Nasir Khattek said in sworn testimony that the automobile business '-- called Cars International A, or CIA '-- used false bookkeeping and took $100,000 from Ali Al-Attar, an Iraqi government official who is wanted by the U.S. Department of Justice.
Minhas has been in prison since 2014. He said his brother, Abdul Razzaq, witnessed one handoff of a USB between the elder Awan and Malik in 2008. He said his brother has since died.
Sen. Joe Donnelly of Indiana, then a House member, inexplicably paid the elder Awan $116 in late 2007 to be his ''systems administrator,'' according to payroll records, even though he did not have any computer training and said on insurance documents that he worked as a religious figure.
Imran told Laurel Everly, a tenant of one of his family's numerous Virginia rental homes, that Imran sometimes performed his job administering congressional servers from Pakistan.
Several people, including Imran's stepmother Gilani, said Imran used his job as a congressional IT administrator to exert pressure, particularly among foreigners and immigrants.
Minhas said the Awans also defrauded him. ''My brothers brought all customers and investors. I stay in Pakistan March 2006 to August 2006 and sold about 79 percent town name Gulshan-e-Moin (sic), after sold that town end of 2006, we purchased another land and sold 40 percent land to Faisalabad Agriculture University staff.
''In 2007 Awan family showed me dirty blood in their body, and from 37 acres they only transfer 1000 square feet oh yes only 1000 square feet in my name, and I was third 34 percent partner.''
Even with Minhas out of the picture and the Awans in full control of the land business, multiple people said Imran and his family have continued to defraud them in Pakistan. The land was subdivided and a portion sold to the faculty of the Faisalabad Agriculture University to build a housing complex for professors.
Dr. Zafar Iqbal, a faculty member and the group's president, told TheDCNF in an interview on his front porch that the group paid Haji for the land, but he never turned over the deed, and they have been fighting him and Imran for it for years.
In January 2017, Haji died and Imran traveled to Pakistan, where the association members cornered him, Dr. Iqbal said. Imran cautioned them that he ''has got powerful political connections in Pakistan and in the U.S,'' Dr. Iqbal said, adding that he had seen the government agents protecting him. Imran promised to either refund their money or get them the deeds.
But Imran ''pulled another trick,'' Dr. Iqbal said. ''He's such type of person.''
Wajid Ali Syed reported from Faisalabad, Pakistan.
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Trump misidentifies former DNC chair in tweet about election lawsuit | TheHill
President Trump Donald John TrumpFlynn to campaign for Montana GOP Senate candidate Trump considering pardon for boxing legend after call from Sylvester Stallone Decline in EPA enforcement won't keep climate bill from coming MORE responded Friday to a lawsuit filed against his campaign by the Democratic Party, criticizing the lawsuit in a tweet that misidentified the party's former chairwoman, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz Deborah (Debbie) Wasserman SchultzTrump mocks DNC lawsuit: They are suing 'Republicans for winning' Democratic House IT scandal illustrates the hazards of reckless cybersecurity policy Social media mocks Trump for misidentifying former DNC chairwoman MORE (D-Fla.).
In the tweet, Trump referred to Wasserman Schultz as "Wendy Wasserman Schultz."
Trump corrected the tweet about 50 minutes later.
"Just heard the Campaign was sued by the Obstructionist Democrats. This can be good news in that we will now counter for the DNC Server that they refused to give to the FBI, the Wendy Wasserman Schultz Servers and Documents held by the Pakistani mystery man and Clinton Emails," Trump originally tweeted.
His follow-up tweet correctly identified Wasserman Schultz.
Just heard the Campaign was sued by the Obstructionist Democrats. This can be good news in that we will now counter for the DNC Server that they refused to give to the FBI, the Debbie Wasserman Schultz Servers and Documents held by the Pakistani mystery man and Clinton Emails.
'-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 20, 2018He also suggested the Trump campaign could seek to review the servers of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Hillary Diane Rodham ClintonGeorge HW Bush wears 'book socks' to Barbara Bush's funeral to honor her passion for literacy Obamas, Clintons to attend funeral of Barbara Bush Hillary Clinton to fundraise in DC for public charter high school MORE and Wasserman Schultz.
The president's tweet came hours after the DNC filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against the Russian government, the Trump campaign and the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks.
That lawsuit alleges that the defendants conspired to disrupt the 2016 presidential election and undermine Clinton's campaign by hacking the DNC's servers and disseminating stolen information.
From Producer on Dunkirk
My father joined the Royal Navy in 1940 as a stoker
(shovelling coal) on a minesweeper. His ship was part of the Dunkirk rescue
effort, making 12 trips to the French coast. He said the chain of command was
so poor that on one trip the crew were ordered to return to port without
picking up anyone. Churchill's heroic fleet of small, often unsuitable boats
ran foul of the navy ships (on a day of rain and thick fog), slowing things
down. As the tide turned, 100's of the soldiers who'd been waiting in the water
for hours were drowned (it's hard to swim if you have hypothermia). Thousands
more were captured and imprisoned by the German forces.
The World at War documentary series made in 1970s - but
still unsurpassed - includes footage and commentary on Dunkirk.
Keep up the good work!
Q Run Down
Avicii was reported to have died on April 20th, though it
may have happened on the 19th. "Fire sacrifice is required on April
This article is about the American actress. For the British actress, see
Allison Christin Mack (born July 29, 1982) is an American actress, known for her roles as Chloe Sullivan on the WB/CW series Smallville and as Amanda on the FX series Wilfred.
In 2018, Mack gained publicity as one of the top-ranking members of NXIVM, a group accused of engaging in blackmail, sex trafficking and forced labor, for which it has garnered accusations by some experts of being a cult. On April 20, 2018, Mack was arrested by the FBI on charges of sex trafficking, sex trafficking conspiracy and forced labor conspiracy.
Early life Allison Mack was born on July 29, 1982 in Preetz, West Germany, to Jonathan, an opera singer, and Mindy Mack, who were in Germany at the time of her birth because Jonathan was performing there. Mack also has a brother named Shannon and a sister named Robyn.
Career Early work Mack began her acting career at the age of four in commercials for "German Chocolate". Mack then went into modeling for a short period because her mother thought she "looked cute in clothes". She began studying at Young Actors Space in Los Angeles when she was seven.[citation needed ]
Her first major television role came in an episode of the WB series 7th Heaven, in which she gained attention playing a teenager who cut herself. In 2000, she co-starred in the short-lived series Opposite Sex. She also co-starred opposite her former Smallville castmate Sam Jones III in R. L. Stine's miniseries The Nightmare Room. Her film credits include roles in Eric Stoltz's directorial debut My Horrible Year!, as a girl having great difficulties in her life as she turns sixteen, in Camp Nowhere, and the Disney film Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves.
Smallville (2001''2011) In October 2001, Mack began starring as Chloe Sullivan, one of Clark Kent's best friends, in the WB/CW hit Superman series, Smallville, an original character created solely for the show. The character was eventually introduced into DC Comics in 2010. Mack earned several awards and nominations for her portrayal of Chloe, including the Teen Choice Award for Best Sidekick in 2006 and 2007. She appeared as a series regular for nine seasons, and returned for five episodes in the tenth and final season (credited in the main cast for the episodes she appeared in) including the two-part series finale. From 2003''2004 her character received her own mini series titled Smallville: Chloe Chronicles, and in 2006, Smallville: Vengeance Chronicles. In November 2008, Mack made her directorial debut in Smallville season 8 episode 13 titled "Power", which aired January 29, 2009.
In 2006, Mack voiced the sister of the main character in the Warner Bros. CG-animated movie The Ant Bully. That same year, she voiced Clea, a museum curator in an episode of The Batman. Adding to her Superman resume, she lent her voice for Power Girl in the Warner Premiere animated feature, Superman/Batman: Public Enemies, in September 2009. Since May 2009, Mack has been part of a project with the Iris Theatre Company.
After Smallville In March 2012, Mack was cast in a recurring role in the second season of the FX sitcom Wilfred. She played Amanda, the love interest of Elijah Wood's lead character Ryan. Mack returned to Wilfred for one episode of the fourth and final season. In 2014, Mack guest-starred as a policewoman named Hilary in an episode of the Fox thriller The Following. On March 21, 2015, Mack tweeted that she would be appearing in American Odyssey as Julia, who befriends Suzanne, the daughter of Anna Friel's lead character Sgt. Odelle Ballard.
Legal issues In 2010, Mack was reported to have been recruited to the Vancouver chapter of the alleged cult NXIVM along with her Smallville co-star Kristin Kreuk. In a 2003 article from Forbes, advocates of NXIVM portrayed it as an organization focused on inspirational executive coaching, "like a practical M.B.A.," while detractors accused the founder Keith Raniere of running "a cult-like program aimed at breaking down his subjects psychologically." The co-founder of the Vancouver chapter reported in a 2017 The New York Times expos(C) that she had been branded in an initiation ceremony under the supervision of a top NXIVM official.
Mack was arrested by the FBI in Brooklyn on April 20, 2018, on charges of sex trafficking, sex trafficking conspiracy and forced labor conspiracy. According to prosecutors, Mack, who ranked directly below Raniere in a pyramid scheme called DOS, recruited female slaves for him, and forced women to have sex with him under threat of having damaging information about them released, in exchange for what were described as "financial and other benefits". She faces 15 years-to-life in prison.
Filmography Awards and nominations References ^ Selvaraj, Chitra (27 March 2018). "Allison Mack expected to be arrested next". Artvoice. Buffalo, New York . Retrieved 28 March 2018 . ^ Barcella, Laura (28 March 2018). "NXIVM: What we know about alleged sex trafficking, forced labor". Rolling Stone. New York, New York . Retrieved 28 March 2018 . ^ Dienst, Jonathan (April 20, 2018). "Actress Allison Mack Arrested in Connection to Nxivm Sex Cult Case". WNBC. New York. ^ http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-43846243 ^ "Allison Mack Biography". Fandango. Archived from the original on April 6, 2018 . Retrieved April 6, 2018 . ^ a b "Allison Mack Biography (1982-)". Film Reference. Archived from the original on April 6, 2018 . Retrieved April 6, 2018 . ^ a b c "Allison Mack Biography". TV Guide. Archived from the original on April 6, 2018 . Retrieved April 6, 2018 . ^ "Smallville Cast Bios Allison Mack". The CW. Archived from the original on August 26, 2011 . Retrieved May 5, 2011 . ^ a b "2006 Teen Choice Award Winners". Fox. Archived from the original on October 12, 2007 . Retrieved April 20, 2018 . ^ a b "2007 Teen Choice Award Winners". Fox. Archived from the original on November 19, 2007 . Retrieved April 20, 2018 . ^ Transwell, Adam (September 2, 2009). "Allison Mack". Future Movies . Retrieved April 8, 2018 . ^ "Allison Mack". Behind the Voice Actors . Retrieved June 25, 2017 . ^ "Iris Theatre Company". Archived from the original on June 12, 2010. ^ Kaiser, Rowan (July 16, 2014). "Wilfred: 'Forward ' ". The A.V. Club . Retrieved June 25, 2017 . ^ Webb Mitovich, Matt (March 23, 2015). "Smallville Alum Allison Mack Gets Pulled Into NBC's American Odyssey". TVLine. ^ K¶hler, Nicholas (September 13, 2010). "How to Lose $100 Million". Maclean's . Retrieved 11 November 2017 . ^ Freedman, Michael (13 October 2003). "Cult of Personality". Forbes. New York . Retrieved 11 November 2017 . ^ Meier, Barry (October 17, 2017). "Inside a Secretive Group Where Women Are Branded". The New York Times. ^ "Smallville's Allison Mack Allegedly Forced 'Slaves' Into Sex Acts After Luring Women Into Controversial Group". people.com . Retrieved April 21, 2018 . External links
''Looks like Meat's Back on the Menu, Boys!'' #Hogghunting now tied to #TheStandardHotel #GunControl #2ndAmendment '' Neon Revolt
#DavidHogg tweeted out this #GunControl flyer on the 10th of March. Nothing too off about that, in and of itself, but look closer at that flyer.Right there, at the bottom'... ''Ring Your Rep is a public service provided by The Standard Hotel.''
I've talked about #TheStandardHotel previously, on the old FB page, but I'm going to be repeating myself quite a bit here, because, well, that page got the Zucc.
But the important question is'... How did David Hogg, who lives in Florida, get his hands on a flyer from The Standard Hotel '' that creepy den of debauchery '' out in California?
For those who don't know, The Standard Hotel is owned by Andre Balazs, and frequently features ''art'' by #SpiritCooking expert, Marina Abramovic. You can search for their names together, to see how many times they've appeared together.
The hotel has a reputation for a sort of ''anything goes'' atmosphere'... And it's no surprise that their public advertising has gotten a bit, well'... cheesy in the past:
Who used to date Andre Balazs? Why, it's none other than degenerate Chelsea Handler herself.
Chelsea likes to get involved with politics. A lot.
I'll remind you that #QAnon called Schiff a traitor, directly.
Q also asked what happened at the hotels that was worth 7.8 million dollars padding Schiff's bank account.
Well, namely a General Manager of the hotel died in a mysterious plane crash.
But why would someone want her dead? Did she know something?
Namely, big time democrat #EdBuck turned up with a dead, gay, black male hooker.
Granted, this took place at his home'... But #CDAN helps fill in the gaps here:
And who helped sweep it all away?
That's right, #LiddleAdamSchiff. No foul play. No criminal charges. Off without so much as a slap on the wrist.And who does Ed Buck tie right back in to?
Welcome to the world of #TheCabal.
There's a post-script to all this, but that will be in the next post.
''Wendy'' Nixon Digs. WE GOT YOUR NUMBER, #BHO. #GreatAwakening #QAnon #Pizzagate #Pedogate '' Neon Revolt
Q presented us with a crazy photo, and after talking about things like NXIVM and Allison Mack squealing about everything she knew (re: sex trafficking, #TheCabal, the elites, etc).
I think the implication of this photo was pretty clear, and its worth noting that the boards immediately started to lag under a massive DDOS attack almost as soon as the photo was posted.
Anons quickly made the association; this is Maggie ''Wendy'' Nixon, and uncovered a disturbing amount of evidence tying her to being abused in #SpiritCooking ceremonies by Barack Hussein Obama.
Oh, that's a perfectly normal, healthy thing for a teenage girl to be retweeting.
That page went down reallllllly quickly, but I managed to snag a cached text-only version:
But this is to get us asking about the other three people in the helicopter; not some insta-bimbo.
And this is what I tried to tell you guys a while back '' this is about the murder of Kimberly Watzman. Read! For God's sake, READ!
''Looks like Meat's Back on the Menu, Boys!'' #Hogghunting now tied to #TheStandardHotel #GunControl #2ndAmendment
And please! Pay special attention to the #CDAN article I highlighted in the link above!
Oh. one more thing. Pretty sure Wendy Nixon is related to Agnes Nixon'... who was a writer on As the World Turns.
THESE PEOPLE ARE SICK!
Q keeps dropping #BOOMS!
There must be more pics of them together. I'll keep looking and post when updated.
Q confirms that Hussein has been raping this child since she was 10.
This is the photo anon is referencing, btw:
It's from a Vogue article:
#CDAN has posted A LOT about #Franco, and how he's a serial abuser, with LOTS of underage girls:
More at CDAN on Franco: http://www.crazydaysandnights.net/search?q=Franco&max-results=8
But pet names! Be on the lookout, Legionaries, for anything that resembles a ''pet-name'' in regards to Obama and this girl.
Q KEEPS POSTING!!!
James Alefantis! Owner of #Pizzagate central '' Comet Ping Pong!
Remember that time he denied having a basement but then we found articles where he talked about storing sauce in the store's basement?
EDIT: Fake Snowden account. (Cut me some slack. Site was under major attack last night. Couldn't update the article). Q still responded to an anon pointing out this particular tweet, so the sentiment is the same).
Nxivm had all the hallmarks of a money-scamming cult '-- but the truth was far, far worse.
Devotees of the upstate self-help organization pay thousands of dollars for seminars, wear colored sashes denoting their ''rank,'' spout Scientology-like jargon, and literally bow before leader Keith Raniere '-- whom they call ''The Vanguard.''
Nxivm (pronounced ''Nexium'') has deep pockets, outposts around the world, and draws celebrity attendees, including British billionaire Richard Branson and actresses Allison Mack, Kristin Kreuk and Nicki Clyne, and even hosted the Dalai Lama at an event in 2009.
But behind the scenes, Raniere has been blackmailing his female followers into becoming sex slaves branded with his initials, while other women in the group were made to wear fake cow udders on their bare breasts in acts of ritual humiliation, federal prosecutors allege.
On Monday, Raniere's secret world came crashing down when authorities tracked him down in Mexico after a months-long manhunt and arrested him for sex trafficking and forced labor.
He was arraigned in Texas on Tuesday and will now be brought to Brooklyn to face justice after what prosecutors say has been a lifetime of scamming and abusing women.
Born in Brooklyn in 1960 to an advertising executive dad and former dance teacher mom, who raised him in the suburbs, Raniere claims to have been a child prodigy who achieved the 1989 Guinness World Record for ''Highest IQ'' and boasts of obtaining three degrees from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY.
In reality, investigators say, Raniere struggled to complete his courses and graduated with a 2.26 GPA '-- ''having failed or barely passed many of the upper-level math and science classes he bragged about taking,'' Brooklyn US Attorney Richard Donoghue wrote in court documents.
Whatever the truth, those who know Raniere frequently describe him as a deeply charismatic man who easily convinces others of his own brilliance.
As early as 1984, at age 24, he manipulated a 15-year-old girl into a four-month sexual relationship, the woman, Gina Melita, told the Albany Times Union.
He took her to video game arcades, where he was partial to an Atari shooter called ''Vanguard'' '-- the title he would later adopt as leader of Nxivm.
After working various gigs, including as an Amway salesman, Raniere made his first foray into multilevel marketing in 1990, with a buyers' club called Consumers' Buyline that soon boasted 200,000 members nationwide.
That year, he also allegedly molested the 12-year-old daughter of a Consumers' Buyline employee, after grooming her as her tutor, according to the victim.
''I was perfect picking '-- insecure at the time,'' the victim, who later reported Raniere to local police, told the Times Union. ''To have someone that mature and that well thought of to be interested in me, it was flattering. I was young, inexperienced, overwhelmed, out of my league.''
The girl's case was never prosecuted, but Consumers' Buyline quickly attracted the attention of authorities as a suspected pyramid scheme, and in 1996, Raniere settled a lawsuit with the New York state attorney general, agreeing to shutter the company and pay a $40,000 fine.
A year later, the smooth-talking salesman met a nurse named Nancy Salzman '-- a practitioner of hypnosis and neurolinguistic programming '-- rebranded himself as a self-help guru for business bigwigs, and together they formed a training center called Executive Success Programs, just outside Albany.
It was a hit.
Within five years, thousands of people had bought into Raniere's hype and taken his seminars at satellite centers across the countries, including high-profile figures like Branson, Black Entertainment Television co-founder Sheila Johnson, former US Surgeon General Antonia Novello and Emiliano Salinas, the son of former Mexican President Carlos Salinas de Gortari.
Clare and Sara BronfmanSisters Clare and Sara Bronfman, heiresses to the Seagram's liquor fortune, became devotees of the group, renamed Nxivm, in 2002 '-- bringing their large pocketbooks with them.
But the next year, people started asking questions when Forbes published a bombshell report revealing not only Raniere's past with Consumers' Buyline, but also the group's eyebrow-raising practices.
''I think it's a cult,'' Edgar Bronfman Sr. bluntly told the magazine, explaining that his daughters had donated millions and hadn't spoken to him in months.
Upon the article's release, actress Goldie Hawn pulled out of a scheduled speaking engagement at an Nxivm event.
But stunningly, the sashes, the bowing, the hero worship and the bizarre monikers masked far more disturbing things going on behind the scenes.
From the earliest days, Raniere parlayed his female followers' devotion into sexual relationships '-- keeping ''a rotating group of 15 to 20 women with whom he maintains sexual relationships,'' prosecutors wrote in their criminal complaint.
Many lived with him at his Clifton Park, NY, townhouse, while other followers moved nearby.
''I found it fascinating that these beautiful, smart women knew about each other and didn't seem upset to share Keith,'' said Christine Marie, who was hired by the company in 1998 and soon began a sexual relationship with Raniere.
''Still, it seemed like secret polygamy to me,'' she said.
Raniere's twisted sexual beliefs made their way into the Nxivm curriculum, too, with ''disturbing hypotheticals'' that challenged ''whether incest and rape are actually wrong,'' prosecutors charge.
Raniere ''physically assaulted at least two intimate partners'' and punished one 20-something Nxivm member who developed romantic feelings for someone else by keeping her confined for 18 months, according to court documents. And he created a spin-off ''men's movement'' where women were humiliated for their inherent ''weakness'' by being ''forced to wear fake cow udders over their breasts while people called them derogatory names,'' prosecutors allege.
Some of Raniere's sexual history, including with underage girls, was exposed in a 2012 series of articles in the Times Union.
Yet Nxivm continued to operate and prosper, thanks in part to the Bronfman sisters' ability to bankroll lawsuits against a growing number of critics, according to a 2010 Vanity Fair profile of what it called a ''multi-million-dollar, multi-front legal war.''
In 2015, things got even more disturbing.
That's the year Raniere formed a secret society within his secret society called ''The Vow'' '-- where ''women were recruited to be slaves under the false pretense of joining a women-only mentorship group.''
Female Nxivm members were told they ''had an opportunity to join an organization that would change [their] life,'' but had to provide ''collateral'' '-- like sexually explicit photos, or videos accusing friends and family of horrendous acts '-- to get in.
Sarah Edmondson WireImageAmong those who signed up were Canadian actress Sarah Edmondson and India Oxenberg, the daughter of ''Dynasty'' star Catherine Oxenberg.
Only once the women had handed over the collateral that were they told they were now a ''slave,'' subservient to another slave who was now their ''master,'' prosecutors say.
Many of the women say they were branded near their groins with Raniere's initials in a filmed ''ceremony,'' as other slaves held them down.
''It was like a bad horror movie. We even had these surgical masks on because the smell of flesh was so strong. I felt petrified. I felt '-- every part of my body was like: Get out of here. Run,'' Edmondson wrote in Vice.
The women were also ordered by their masters to have sex with Raniere, and endure torture, including sleep deprivation, ice-cold showers and extreme low-calorie diets, prosecutors say.
When the secret slave society was revealed in an October 2017 article in The New York Times, the FBI began probing Raniere and Nxivm '-- and he fled to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, with the help of Clare Bronfman's cash, according to court documents.
He attempted to go off the grid, using a bank account in ''one of his dead lover's names'' that was stocked with $8 million, as law enforcement closed in.
But even as Raniere was hauled away from the luxury villa where he was hiding out, his pull on female followers remained strong '-- they jumped in a car and tried to chase him down in a high-speed pursuit, according to Donoghue.
Additional reporting by Priscilla DeGregory
'Smallville' actress Allison Mack arrested for role in alleged sex cult | Page Six
''Smallville'' actress Allison Mack has been arrested for her alleged role in the notorious upstate sex slave cult Nxivm, federal prosecutors announced Friday.
She is expected to appear Friday in Brooklyn federal court on charges of sex trafficking and forced labor.
The bust comes less than a month after Nxivm leader Keith Raniere was collared on the same charges at a luxury villa in Mexico '-- where they had been hiding out since one of their ''slaves'' in October went public with her experience in the cult.
Mack, 35, was Raniere's direct ''slave'' and had a sexual relationship with him '-- but also acted as a ''master'' to other slaves, who were forced to have sex with Raniere and get his initials burned into their pubic region with a cauterizing pen, according to the criminal complaint.
As the women were being branded like cattle, Mack allegedly placed her hands on their chests and told them to ''feel the pain'' and to ''think of [their] master,'' prosecutors say.
The actress first lured the women into the secret society within Nxivm known as ''The Vow'' '-- and cajoled them into providing ''collateral'' like embarrassing photos and statements to use as blackmail, federal prosecutors allege.
She then allegedly groomed the slaves for sex with Raniere '-- ordering them to adhere to extremely restrictive diets, refrain from removing their pubic hair, and to stay celibate, according to court documents.
She also forced them to pose naked for photos '-- ''including on one occasion close-up pictures of their vaginas'' '-- which were given to Raniere and also used as collateral, the feds charge.
Mack and other slave ''masters'' allegedly made their slaves participate in ''readiness'' drills, requiring them to respond to requests at any time of the day or night so they were ''seriously sleep-deprived.''
One of her slaves became so thin and tired that she stopped getting periods.
Mack, who played Chloe Sullivan on the hit superhero show, was recruited to Nxivm by fellow ''Smallville'' star Kristin Kreuk in 2006 and rose up the ranks into Raniere's inner circle '-- while Kreuk ultimately left, the group's former publicist previously told The Post.
Mack was last seen chasing after Raniere in Mexico as cops hauled him away.
Both face at least 15 years behind bars and a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
Swedish king intervenes as Nobel board resignations grow amid sex scandal | CBC News
Another member of the Swedish Academy awarding the Nobel Prize in Literature said Thursday she is resigning, bringing the total number of board members who are quitting the prestigious institution to six.
Dagens Nyheter, one of Sweden's largest newspapers, said writer Lotta Lotass formally asked to leave the secretive 18-member board amid a scandal centring on sexual misconduct allegations against a man married to board member Katarina Frostenson.
Frostenson and the board's permanent secretary, Sara Danius, stepped down last week. Their departure came after three male members '-- Klas Ostergren, Kjell Espmark and Peter Englund '-- resigned because the board refused to heed their call to remove Frostenson.
Sweden's king '-- the academy's patron, who must approve any of its secret votes '-- said Wednesday he wants to change the academy's rules to cope with the resignation of its members, who are appointed for life. King Carl XVI Gustav said he has begun a consultation with the academy to discuss the issue.
Lotass said the monarch had made an "an urgent and wise intervention," according to Dagens Nyheter. "My faith in the academy as an institution is intact," Lotass told the daily.
Her departure came hours ahead of a demonstration outside the Swedish Academy in downtown Stockholm to demand that all board members resign.
The event, organized through social media, calls on women to wear blouses with pussy bow ties similar to those worn by Danius, the board's former chief.
Many in Sweden are outraged by what appears to be women paying the price for the alleged misbehaviour of Frostenson's husband, Jean-Claude Arnault, a leading cultural figure in Sweden. Eighteen women allege Arnault assaulted or raped them from 1996 to 2017 '-- claims Arnault denies. Allegations have also surfaced accusing Arnault of repeatedly leaking Nobel winners' names.
Sweden's king and the Nobel Foundation Board have said the scandal was threatening to tarnish the reputation of the Nobel Prize.
Thunder announcer suspended for 'cotton-pickin' Russell Westbrook line
SportsPulse: USA TODAY Sports' NBA experts break down the key story lines heading into the Western Conference playoffs. USA TODAY Sports
Thunder guard Russell Westbrook (Photo: Mark D. Smith, USA TODAY Sports)
The Oklahoma City Thunder have suspended play-by-play announcer Brian Davis for one game after he said guard Russell Westbrook was "out of his cotton-pickin' mind" during Wednesday night's broadcast.
In a statement to ESPN, Davis said he accepted the suspension and apologized for using the phrase, which he said was not intentionally derogatory but drew criticism on social media for its racial undertones.
"It is with great remorse and humility that I accept this suspension for the insensitive words I used during Wednesday's broadcast," Davis told ESPN on Friday afternoon. "While unintentional, I understand and acknowledge the gravity of the situation. I offer my sincere apology and realize that, while I committed a lapse in judgment, such mistakes come with consequences. This is an appropriate consequence for my actions."
Thunder vice president of broadcasting Dan Mahoney told The Norman Transcript on Thursday that the term was "offensive and inappropriate."
"Brian assures me that it was not meant in any derogatory way, and he apologizes," Mahoney told the newspaper. "But again, we feel strongly that it's inappropriate and offensive."
Davis, who is white, is in his 10th season as the Thunder's play-by-play broadcaster. He used the phrase in the second quarter of the team's 137-123 win over the Memphis Grizzlies after Westbrook impressively flipped the ball to Terrance Ferguson in the corner for an open three. Westbrook finished with six points, 20 rebounds and 19 assists.
The adjective "cotton-picking" has roots in the American South and has historically been used as a synonym for "damned."
Did he just say ''Westbrook is out of his cotton-picking mind''?..... pic.twitter.com/fvPZ5cTkjx
'-- Mark Robinson (@MarkyRobs) April 12, 2018Mahoney told The Norman Transcript that it would be up to Davis to decide when or if he addressed his use of the phrase during any future broadcasts. Matt Pinto, the team's radio voice, will fill in for Davis on the broadcast when the Thunder host the Utah Jazz in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series Sunday night, according to multiplemedia outlets.
Contact Tom Schad at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Tom_Schad.
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National Teacher's Union Cuts Ties With Wells Fargo Over Bank's Ties To NRA, Guns : The Two-Way : NPR
American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten, speaks at a news conference on American labor on Capitol Hill in Washington, Nov. 2017. Andrew Harnik/AP hide caption
toggle caption Andrew Harnik/AP American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten, speaks at a news conference on American labor on Capitol Hill in Washington, Nov. 2017.
Andrew Harnik/AP The American Federation of Teachers said Thursday that it is cutting its financial ties with Wells Fargo as a result of the banking giant's relationships with the National Rifle Association and gunmakers.
The AFT, a 1.7-million-member national union, is dropping the bank as a recommended mortgage lender, to which it currently channels more than 20,000 AFT mortgages.
The decision came after Wells Fargo dismissed the union's request to cut lending ties with or impose new restrictions on firearms business partners following the mass shooting Feb. 14 that killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.
After attempts were made by the teacher's union to meet with bank executives over the matter to no avail, AFT President Randi Weingarten said in a statement, obtained by reporter Charles Lane for NPR:
"Gun violence is an epidemic, but Tim Sloan [CEO of Wells Fargo] won't even engage in a conversation about mitigating it, much less take any real steps. We took him up on his offer to meet with us, then he went radio silent. So if Wells Fargo won't value children and teachers above guns, we won't do business with Wells Fargo."
Weingarten added that the national union has a responsibility to its members and their students who face potential gun violence every day.
In a statement from the bank, USA Today reports:
"Wells Fargo CEO Tim Sloan told AFT President Randi Weingarten in an April 3 letter ... that the best route to combating gun violence 'is through the political and legislative process.' Although Sloan suggested a meeting or conference call to discuss the matter, the sides never got together."
Not all banks agree with the stance Wells Fargo is taking. As Charles reported for NPR's Newscast, "Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup and others have limited their ties to the gun industry."
Wells Fargo's mortgage program had been a benefit promoted on the AFT website, and in 2017 roughly 1,600 union member families received mortgages from the bank.
While the San Francisco-based bank said it supports teachers and their families, in a statement obtained by NPR, it relinquishes responsibility to lawmakers:
"Wells Fargo wants schools and communities to be safe from gun violence, but changes to laws and regulations should be determined through a legislative process that gives the American public an opportunity to participate. We remain firm in our belief that the American public does not want banks to decide which legal products consumers can and cannot buy."
The national teacher's union has praised other companies including Bank of America, BlackRock and Vanguard for the steps they've taken in engaging in conversations and amending their affiliation with gun companies, which the AFT says Wells Fargo will not.
"It can be the bank for America's teachers, or it can be the bank for the NRA and gun manufacturers. But, given the NRA's refusal to even help mitigate gun violence, Wells Fargo can't be both," Weingarten said.
Heterosexual College Students Who Hookup with Same-Sex Partners. - PubMed - NCBI
AbstractIndividuals who identify as heterosexual but engage in same-sex sexual behavior fascinate both researchers and the media. We analyzed the Online College Social Life Survey dataset of over 24,000 undergraduate students to examine students whose last hookup was with a same-sex partner (N'='383 men and 312 women). The characteristics of a significant minority of these students (12% of men and 25% of women) who labelled their sexual orientation "heterosexual" differed from those who self-identified as "homosexual," "bisexual," or "uncertain." Differences among those who identified as heterosexual included more conservative attitudes, less prior homosexual and more prior heterosexual sexual experience, features of the hookups, and sentiments about the encounter after the fact. Latent class analysis revealed six distinctive "types" of heterosexually identified students whose last hookup was with a same-sex partner. Three types, comprising 60% of students, could be classified as mostly private sexual experimentation among those with little prior same-sex experience, including some who did not enjoy the encounter; the other two types in this group enjoyed the encounter, but differed on drunkenness and desire for a future relationship with their partner. Roughly, 12% could be classified as conforming to a "performative bisexuality" script of women publicly engaging in same-sex hookups at college parties, and the remaining 28% had strong religious practices and/or beliefs that may preclude a non-heterosexual identity, including 7% who exhibited "internalized heterosexism." Results indicate several distinctive motivations for a heterosexual identity among those who hooked up with same-sex partners; previous research focusing on selective "types" excludes many exhibiting this discordance.
Nokia Asha 210
Justice Department Probes U.S. Wireless Carriers' Work on SIM Card Alternative - WSJ
Updated April 20, 2018 8:11 p.m. ETThe U.S. Department of Justice is investigating whether U.S. wireless carriers and an industry trade group teamed up to make it harder for cellphone subscribers to switch providers, according to people familiar with the investigation.
The agency in February sent civil investigative demands to the four major U.S. wireless carriers and the GSMA, an international standards organization responsible for eSIM technology, the people said. The eSIM standard lets wireless subscribers move their phone number to a new carrier without...
The U.S. Department of Justice is investigating whether U.S. wireless carriers and an industry trade group teamed up to make it harder for cellphone subscribers to switch providers, according to people familiar with the investigation.
The agency in February sent civil investigative demands to the four major U.S. wireless carriers and the GSMA, an international standards organization responsible for eSIM technology, the people said. The eSIM standard lets wireless subscribers move their phone number to a new carrier without having to remove a physical SIM card.
The department for more than a year has had its eye on the issue of SIM cards and phone portability, with a focus on the two largest carriers, AT&T Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc., though the February subpoenas represent a new stage of the inquiry, the people said.
The department told the GSMA in an October 2016 letter that it was closing its investigation, according to a copy reviewed by the Journal. The letter warned the association that the government might reopen the probe.
Spokesmen for the Justice Department and the London-based GSMA declined to comment.
An AT&T spokesman said the company is aware of the investigation and provided information to the government. A Verizon spokesman said the company is cooperating with the probe.
''The reality is that we have a difference of opinion with a couple of phone equipment manufacturers regarding the development of e-SIM standards,'' Verizon spokesman Rich Young said. ''Nothing more.''
News of the recent probe was first reported by the New York Times.
Most mobile devices won't work without a SIM card'--subscriber identity module'--that contains a customer's account information. In the U.S., SIM cards tend to be usable only on the cellular network of the carrier that issued it.
An eSIM, or embedded SIM, is typically a chip inside a device that cannot be removed. It allows consumers to store multiple carrier profiles on the same device and switch between their networks, though only one can be used at a time.
The technology is already available on some consumer devices, such as the Apple Watch Series 3, Samsung Gear S2 smartwatch and Microsoft's Surface Pro LTE tablet.
One of the first smartphones released with embedded SIM technology is the Google Pixel 2, which the Alphabet Inc. unit started selling last year. It is testing the technology with its Project Fi wireless service.
Apple Inc. has helped advance efforts to replace the traditional SIM card. In 2014, it introduced an iPad with a built-in SIM card that allowed users to turn their cellular data plans on or off or switch between three of the four big U.S. providers. The iPad's ''soft SIM'' sparked speculation that it might put similar technology into its popular iPhones, but that has yet to happen.
''Apple's desperate for this technology to be there because they want to make the phone smaller and thinner,'' said Kyle Wiens, chief executive of iFixit, which tears down iPhones and writes an iPhone repair manual.
He said that eliminating the SIM would create more space for a larger battery or chips to boost performance. ''The ideal phone would have no buttons, no ports, nothing, so you know the SIM card has to drive them crazy from a design perspective.''
Apple declined to comment.
'--Tripp Mickle contributed to this article.
Write to Drew FitzGerald at email@example.com and Brent Kendall at firstname.lastname@example.org
e-SIMs could unlock door to fresh security risks, claims KPN
Features Remote SIM provisioning has been seen as an easy and cost-effective means of unlocking the Internet of Things for telcos, but a new KPN report says the technology could also open the door to fresh security risks.
The Dutch operator has just released its European Cyber Security Perspectives 2017 report, a weighty look at global threats that is supported by the likes of PWC, Kapersky Labs and the GSMA.
It is the latter's remote SIM provisioning standard that has caused concern at KPN.
Daan Planqu(C), from KPN's Cyber Security Academy, says it is a move away from the traditional SIM model, where a phone has an encrypted connection with the mobile network. Both the SIM and operator know a unique key that protects users from the likes of spoofing or fraudulent use.
If this key is compromised, then a new SIM card can be swapped into a phone, giving a user access to a new key and a new encrypted connection built from scratch.
He says because the new generation of eUICC SIMs, or e-SIMs, will be soldered onto a phone's motherboard or integrated into its processor, it raises the question of how will a phone know what the operator wants it connect to?
[Read more: eSIMs to approach one billion shipments by 2021, report claims]
Enter the GSMA's remote SIM provisioning standard, which is aimed at solving this problem.
Under this standard, the unique key will now be served on a remote server called Subscription Management Data Protection (SM-DP+).
When a device requests a profile, the SM-DP+ will ask an operator for approval and, if granted, a complete subscription profile will be sent to the SIM.
A separate root certificate authority will be responsible for confirming all parts of the "chain of trust", as Planqu(C) puts it, are legitimate.
Planqu(C) says the issue is with the SM-DP+, which is online and open to threats, namely the hacking of unique keys and ultimately all traffic between a device and a base station being decrypted.
He adds: "This would allow a criminal to clone a SIM card and call expensive phone numbers for ¬nancial gain or prevent you from connecting to the mobile network."
He says further safeguards need to be put in place to secure the root certificate authority. If compromised, it breaks the "circle of trust" and ability to verify the network from the remote SIM.
"The only solution then is to replace the processor or motherboard of the device," he adds, something that would be compounded by the volume of IoT devices connected by the e-SIM.
He stresses the ongoing nature of the standards being developed means he hopes the ultimate version of the e-SIM will be more secure.
He adds: "In the end, it comes down to the importance of taking security into account right from the start when designing a new system or standard. This goes, not only for the systems of vital importance to modern society, but also the smallest and least significant devices there are."
Elsewhere in the KPN report, Vito Rallo and Bram van Tiel from PWC warn the IoT's success hinges on trust. They write: "Trust is more than security. It is a concept in¬uenced by many properties in the IoT value system, tightly linked to security and inevitably related to privacy."
In order to succeed, they recommend IoT service providers and device manufacturers build trust deeply into their products. They add: "Humans must extend the trust circle to machines; that sounds scary, but again there's nothing new as we do it every day when driving our cars or submitting bank transactions on-line."
Even though it's a telco-led report, it's not just operators that should be worried. As Hans De Vries, Head of the Dutch National Cyber Security Centre, notes: "Incidents in other countries show us cyberattacks can cause great impact, for example when they are used to bring down power grids or when personal IoT devices are used to perform DDoS attacks on websites. Cyber threats are coming of age, affecting individuals, organisation and society."
Can Facebook be replaced? Let's invest $100,000 in seven teams and find out! '' Calacanis.com
I could write another long email filled with criticisms about Zuckerberg's horrific track record running Facebook, but instead, I thought I would seize the opportunity created by Mark's self-inflicted crisis and announce the ''Openbook Challenge.''
The '' Openbook Challenge ,'' a competition with seven, $100,000 investment prizes.
All community and social products on the internet have had their era, from AOL to MySpace, and typically they're not shut down by the government '-- they're slowly replaced by better products.
So, let's start the process of replacing Facebook.
LAUNCH is going to fund seven, purpose-driven teams that want to build a billion-user social network to replace Facebook.
We are hoping to invest in a social network that is actually good for society. This means the new social network would:
Respect and protect consumer's privacy Respect and protect our democracy from bad actors Respect and protect the truth, by stopping the spread of misinformation Not try and manipulate people by making them addicted to the service Protect freedom of speech, while curbing abuse (not easy!) We already have two dozen quality teams cranking on projects and we hope to get to 100.
The timeline and frequently asked questions are below.
How will the competition work?
This is not an idea or business plan competition. We're looking for teams that can actually build a better social network, and we'll be judging teams primarily based upon their ability to execute.
The competition will occur in three stages:
Apply to the competition with your video tour, MVP or full blown product with traction stats. We will pick 20 teams as finalists and communicate with them regularly for 90 days. At the end of 90 days, we will offer seven teams to join our incubator , invest $100,000 in each and host them for our 12 week incubator, which will start on October 12. What are you looking for?
We don't want to tell you what to build, we want you to come up with your own ideas. Keep in mind, that while ideas really matter, Zuckerberg has shown us, execution matters more.
'' ''Don't be too proud to copy.'' '-- Mark Zuckerberg
Is this a competition to see who can simply copy Facebook's current product or a competition to come up with a new, novel way to beat Facebook in the market?
No one knows exactly how Facebook will be replaced. In order to beat Facebook, many believe the winning team will have to not only build a base functionality that is familiar to users looking to switch, but also provide new experiences that will make users passionate about the new product. Other's believe it will be a completely new paradigm. The reason we want to fund seven teams, is because we think many different paths could lead to the promised land. It's not going to be easy, but startups never are.
Who will make the investment?
Angel investor Jason Calacanis will be making the investment from the LAUNCH Incubator Fund. We will also syndicate the best projects to JasonsSyndicate.com (2300+ members).
What will the terms of the investment be?
Our incubator terms are at the industry standard of $100,000 for six percent.
How will you pick the 20 finalists?
Ability to execute.
How will you pick the seven winners?
Ability to execute. (I would also add something like Founder alignment with core mission, values)
How can we stay up to date on the project?
You can email email@example.com anytime with your questions, join the email list at https://www.openbookchallenge.com/updates , and sign-up for the discussion group on'... Facebook!
Next 60 days (today through June 15) : Rolling review of submissions. The LAUNCH team will review submitted video tours and/or link to your full-blown product/MVP and give candid feedback.
July 1st: We will pick the top 20 projects and review them on a special episode of This Week in Startups with two social media experts.
September 30th: We offer the final seven startups, plus three alternates, the opportunity to join our incubator class starting in September.
October 12th-January 15th: Openbook Challenge, LAUNCH Incubator class runs for 12 weeks.
Cops used dead man's finger in attempt to access his phone. It's legal, but is it okay?
LARGO Most people agree what the Largo detectives did at the funeral home was legal.
What they diverge on is whether it was appropriate.
"I just felt so disrespected and violated," said Victoria Armstrong, whose fiance, Linus F. Phillip, was shot and killed by a Largo police officer last month.
Armstrong, 28, happened to be at Sylvan Abbey Funeral Home in Clearwater the day two detectives showed up with Phillip's phone, she said. They were taken to Phillip's corpse. Then, they tried to unlock the phone by holding the body's hands up to the phone's fingerprint sensor.
Lt. Randall Chaney said it was an unsuccessful attempt to access and preserve data on the phone to aid in the investigation into Phillip's death and a separate inquiry into drugs that involved Phillip, 30. While Chaney said detectives didn't think they'd need a warrant because there is no expectation of privacy after death an opinion several legal experts affirmed the actions didn't sit right with Phillip's family.
"While the deceased person doesn't have a vested interest in the remains of their body, the family sure does, so it really doesn't pass the smell test," said Charles Rose, professor and director of the Center for Excellence in Advocacy at Stetson University College of Law. "There's a ghoulish component to it that's troubling to most people."
Phillip was shot and killed March 23 at a Wawa gas station after police said he tried to drive away when an officer was about to search him. According to Chaney, there's a 48- to 72-hour window to access a phone using the fingerprint sensor. Police got the phone back within that window but after the body was released from state custody to the funeral home.
PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Family of man slain by Largo police officer speaks out.
Christopher Prouty, a funeral director at Sylvan Abbey, deferred to the facility's corporate office, which did not return a request for comment.
The account touches on issues ranging from the legal and ethical quandaries of data security in today's technology-saturated world to what protections remain when you die. Phone security via physical characteristics such as your fingerprint or your face has only been available to consumers for a few years, making it a new challenge for police, Chaney said.
"We can't remember having unlocked a phone in that fashion, either at the scene, the Medical Examiner's office, or the funeral home," he said. "That's just kind of how new this part of the technology is."
Several court rulings have weighed in on what privacy protections exist around phones as they've increasingly become mini-computers holding troves of confidential information.
A 2014 Supreme Court ruling established that warrantless search of a cellphone during an arrest is unconstitutional. Florida had its own run-in with the issue when an appeals court ruled a Martin County sheriff's deputy who took a phone from a bystander photographing and filming a car crash violated the bystander's Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable search and seizure.
When it comes to accessing a phone, the situation becomes more complicated.
You probably get into your phone one of two ways: entering a passcode or pressing your finger to a fingerprint sensor typically located below your screen.
Darrin Johnson, a criminal defense attorney based in New Port Richey, pointed to a case out of Virginia that drew a distinction between the methods based on the Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination.
A trial judge determined that being forced to disclose your passcode is a no-go because it would involve divulging knowledge from your mind. But requiring you to provide a fingerprint is fair game.
"A fingerprint is not the same as compelling an individual to convey information that they have," Johnson said.
But those cases all dealt with people who were living. The landscape changes after death.
PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Largo police release video as State Attorney clears officer in shooting.
A deceased person can't assert their Fourth Amendment protections because, well, you can't own property when you're dead, said Rose, the Stetson Law professor. If those rights do continue, they would apply to whoever inherits it.
But Phillip's case raises another concern, the "ghoulish component" Rose was talking about: the use of his corpse at the funeral home.
"This is one of those set of factors that walks on the edge of every issue," Rose said.
Florida law dictates who is legally authorized to decide how to dispose of a dead person's remains, said Anna Alexopoulos Farrar, communications director for the Florida Department of Financial Services, which regulates death care. It provides some details as to how remains can be handled by funeral and cemetery workers but doesn't otherwise govern access to them.
With nothing in statutory law, the situation goes to the courts, and they have not been kind to the dead, said Remigius Nwabueze, an associate professor of law at Southampton Law School who has written extensively about rights after death and bioethics.
He pointed to a Michigan ruling that said a county medical examiner was allowed to take a blood sample without consent from a man killed in a car crash.
"The law has been most cruel, really unforgiving to a dead person," Nwabueze said. "It provides no entitlement or legal rights after death to a deceased person."
Nwabueze argues that it should, calling the Largo detectives' actions "ethically unjustifiable," as does Greg Nojeim, director of the Freedom, Security and Technology Project at the Washington-base Center for Democracy and Technology.
"There should be some dignity in death," Nojeim said. "If I was writing the rules on this, it would be that the police would need a warrant in order to use a dead person's finger to open up a phone, and I'd require notice to the family."
That could have helped Armstrong, who was baffled at her encounter with detectives at the funeral home that day last month.
"Nobody even calling us from the facility to let us know detectives were coming there at all is very disturbing," she said. "I'm very skeptical of all funeral homes now."
Contact Kathryn Varn at [email protected] or (727) 893-8913. Follow @kathrynvarn.
Teen killed in crash remembered as "always smiling and laughing"WEEKI WACHEE Seth Leathers was on his way to play basketball at his church when he was killed Wednesday in a car crash on U.S. 19 in Spring Hill, according to family friend Laurie Pike.Leathers, 16, was the passenger in a car driven by his friend G...
New Port Richey Woman dies in single-car crash on SR 580A 49-year-old woman died early Saturday in a single-car crash on State Road 580.Kristin Carlin, of New Port Richey, was driving in the eastbound lanes of SR 580 when she failed to round a curve and veered off the road near Charles Avenue, a Clearwate...
Man with multiple gun arrests now accused of fatally shooting Durant High football playerThe first time deputies arrested Samuel Morrissey Jr., he faced charges of possession of marijuana and carrying a concealed firearm. He plead no contest in September, and the judge gave him a break by withholding adjudication. Ten days later, the 20-...
Man who attacked woman and stole her shorts arrested, deputies sayDeputies arrested a man they said tackled a woman in February and removed her shorts before fleeing.Robert Mark Hembree Jr., 31, was arrested late Friday. He faces charges of sexual battery and petit theft.PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Detectives seek man who a...
Dade City man killed in early morning hit-and-run, police sayA Pasco County man was struck and killed in an apparent hit-and-run early Saturday, police said.Thomas Michael Burdeshaw, 53, who lived on Sundance Drive in Dade City, was hit about 1:45 a.m. on the 36000 block of Blanton Road, police said.Witnesses ...
Police searching for person who shot a man to death in LargoCLEARWATER Police are looking for a person who shot and killed a man late Friday at the Melrose on the Bay apartments on Bolesta Road. Ricardo Guzman, 32, called 911 just before midnight and told the operator he had been shot, said Lt. Randall Chan...
Motorcyclist dies after crash on Memorial Highway TAMPA A motorcyclist driving north on Memorial Highway died after he crashed into a guard rail late Friday, police said."The man failed to negotiate a curve in the road and struck a guard rail," said Lt. Brett Owen. "No other vehicle was involved i...
Cops used dead man's finger in attempt to access his phone. It's legal, but is it okay?LARGO Most people agree what the Largo detectives did at the funeral home was legal.What they diverge on is whether it was appropriate."I just felt so disrespected and violated," said Victoria Armstrong, whose fiance, Linus F. Phillip, was shot and...
Deputies: Woman in road rage incident targeted ... a school bus?TAMPA Deputies are searching for a woman accused of blocking a special needs school bus with her car, getting out and banging and kicking on the bus door until she broke the glass.And there were four children inside, deputies said, as she shouted a...
St. Pete police search for missing 20-year-old womanST. PETERSBURG Officers are searching for a 20-year-old woman who they believe to be missing and who could be in danger.Kayla Brandi Boone was last seen at about 11 p.m. Thursday in the 2700 block of Fourth Street S, according to St. Petersburg pol...
2 To Da Head
Death of former Trump advisor's father labeled suspicious
PHILADELPHIA '-- Law enforcement and Pennsylvania Health Department officials are investigating the death of H.R. McMaster Sr., the father of President Donald Trump's former national security adviser, at a Philadelphia senior care facility.
The 84-year-old McMaster, a retired U.S. Army officer, died April 13 at Cathedral Village continuing care retirement facility. Local police and Pennsylvania Attorney General's office investigators are looking into it as a suspicious death. The Philadelphia Medical Examiner's office says McMaster died of ''blunt impact head trauma.''
Facility officials say they are cooperating with investigators. They also say they contacted the Health Department and launched an internal investigation.
H.R. McMaster Jr. served as Trump's national security adviser from February 2017 through March 22, when he resigned.
Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Health & Science
By Associated Press
April 19, 2018 at 11:08 AM
PHILADELPHIA '-- Law enforcement and Pennsylvania Health Department officials are investigating the death of H.R. McMaster Sr., the father of President Donald Trump's former national security adviser, at a Philadelphia senior care facility.
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Death of former Trump advisor HR McMaster's father labeled suspicious
Law enforcement and Pennsylvania Health Department officials are investigating the death of H.R. McMaster Sr., the father of President Donald Trump's former national security advisor, at a Philadelphia senior care facility.
The 84-year-old McMaster, a retired U.S. Army officer, died April 13 at Cathedral Village continuing care retirement facility. Local police and Pennsylvania Attorney General's office investigators are looking into it as a suspicious death. The Philadelphia Medical Examiner's office says McMaster died of "blunt impact head trauma."
Facility officials say they are cooperating with investigators. They also say they contacted the Health Department and launched an internal investigation.
H.R. McMaster Jr. served as Trump's national security advisor from February 2017 through March 22, when he resigned.
Shut Up Slave!
Bill Gates backs $1bn plan to cover Earth in 'Big Brother' satellites | Daily Mail Online
Microsoft's Bill Gates is backing a start-up that will provide 'live and unfiltered' high definition footage of every inch of Earth.
The startup, EarthNow, plans to launch 500 satellites to cover Earth's atmosphere in 'Big Brother' real-time video surveillance.
As well as Gates, SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son and aerospace giant Airbus are also backing the project.
The price of the project could run to $1 billion (£700m), although the value of the investment by the companies has not been disclosed.
Applications could including tracking illegal fishing, monitoring the weather and tracking natural migrations globally.
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Microsoft's Bill Gates is backing a start-up that will provide 'live and unfiltered' high definition footage of every inch of Earth. The startup, EarthNow, plans to launch 500 satellites to cover Earth's atmosphere in 'Big Brother' real-time video surveillance
EarthNow founder Russel Hannigan said: 'Our objective is simple; we want to connect you visually with Earth in real-time.'
'We believe the ability to see and understand the Earth live and unfiltered will help all of us better appreciate and ultimately care for our one and only home.'
The company is based in Bellevue, Washington and was founded in 2017.
It plans to use an army of orbiting satellites will weigh around 500 pounds (225 kg) each that will have their cameras trained on Earth 24 hours a day.
It will onboard analysis of the imagery, though to what extent isn't clear.
There is also currently no clear timeline, price-tag or technical details about the project.
This mock-up of one of the satellites could show what the programme will look like if it progresses from its current conceptual stage. An army of 500 orbiting satellites weighing around 500 pounds (225 kg) each will all have their cameras trained on Earth 24/7
EarthNow will offer its stream and intelligent vision services to a range of government and enterprise customers. At the same time, it expects to allow civilians to access the video from a smartphone or tablet
With ambitious plans to save the world, it has attracted billionaire backers in the form of the Microsoft founder and OneWeb executive chairman Greg Wyler. Gates will be investing his own personal wealth into the project, but companies Airbus and Softbank are also on-board
EarthNow's services will initially be aimed at 'high value enterprise and government customers.
However, the firm says it also expected to allow civilians to access the video from a smartphone or tablet.
'We are excited by the prospect of giving everyone a stunningly beautiful real-time window on your world from space,' Mr Hannigan said.
'With EarthNow, we will all become virtual astronauts.'
WHAT IS EARTHNOW? EarthNow is a start-up company based in Washington.
Founded in 2017, the firm hopes to put a small army of satellites into low-Earth orbit.
Weighing around 500 pounds and the size of a fridge, the satellies will have high-quality cameras fitted to them.
The purpose of the global network of small spacecrafts is to provide a constant stream of high-definition video of the Earth.
Showing every corner of the globe in real time, the footage will have a plethora of uses.
The 'live and unfiltered' video stream will act as the over-arching Big Brother and be used to monitor illegal fishing, detect natural disasters as they start and even watch whales migrate across the world.
Breaking the Web
We’re excited to announce that Flickr has agreed to be acquired
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We think you are going to
love Flickr under SmugMug ownership, but you can choose to not have your Flickr
account and data transferred to SmugMug until May 25, 2018. If you want to keep
your Flickr account and data from being transferred, you must go to your
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If you do not delete your
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Turkish ruling party official proposes licence to use internet | Ahval
An official belonging to Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has called for citizens to require an ''internet licence'' before they can connect to the internet, according to independent news website T24.
''Just as a licence is required when you go out into traffic, people who connect to the internet should at least have a basic ability and licence to connect to the internet,'' Taha Y¼cel, who represents the party on the board of government broadcasting watchdog RT'K, said at an event to mark the 25th anniversary of the internet coming to Turkey.
A law passed last month gives RT'K the power to require a licence from internet broadcasters and fine them or suspend their licences for content inappropriate for children or insulting to the president.
''We haven't talked about the details yet, but I have the concept of an internet licence,'' Y¼cel said.
''We need internet literacy, we need to create interactive education ... In short, for people who connect to the internet, it could be optional or we could think of making it compulsory.''
Exclusive: Chat is Google's next big fix for Android's messaging mess - The Verge
How the successor to SMS will take on iMessageA top-tier Android phone can cost upwards of a thousand dollars, and for that money, you'll get some amazing features. It will have a stellar screen, top-flight camera, gobs of storage, and an absolutely atrocious texting experience.
It's a problem. In fact, it's always been a problem. Google has spent nearly a decade trying '-- and failing '-- to fix it with an ever-rotating cast of poorly supported apps. While iPhone users have had the simplicity of iMessage built in, Android users have been left to fend for themselves.
Now, the company is doing something different. Instead of bringing a better app to the table, it's trying to change the rules of the texting game, on a global scale. Google has been quietly corralling every major cellphone carrier on the planet into adopting technology to replace SMS. It's going to be called ''Chat,'' and it's based on a standard called the ''Universal Profile for Rich Communication Services.'' SMS is the default that everybody has to fall back to, and so Google's goal is to make that default texting experience on an Android phone as good as other modern messaging apps.
As part of that effort, Google says it's ''pausing'' work on its most recent entry into the messaging space, Allo. It's the sort of ''pause'' that involves transferring almost the entire team off the project and putting all its resources into another app, Android Messages.
Google won't build the iMessage clone that Android fans have clamored for, but it seems to have cajoled the carriers into doing it for them. In order to have some kind of victory in messaging, Google first had to admit defeat.
Illustration by William Joel & Garret Beard What Chat will beChat is not a new texting app. Instead, think of it more like a new set of features inside the app already installed on most Android phones. ''Chat'' is the consumer-friendly name for Rich Communication Services (RCS), the new standard that's meant to supplant SMS, and it will automatically be turned on inside Android Messages, the OS's default app for texting.
When people begin using Chat, they'll get many features that are standard in any other texting app, including read receipts, typing indicators, full-resolution images and video, and group texts.
But remember, Chat is a carrier-based service, not a Google service. It's just ''Chat,'' not ''Google Chat.'' In a sign of its strategic importance to Google, the company has spearheaded development on the new standard, so that every carrier's Chat services will be interoperable. But, like SMS, Chat won't be end-to-end encrypted, and it will follow the same legal intercept standards. In other words: it won't be as secure as iMessage or Signal.
The new Chat services will be turned on for most people in the near future, though timing will be dictated by each carrier. Google is optimistic many carriers will flip the switch this year, but there could be some stragglers. Chat messages will be sent with your data plan instead of your SMS plan, so you'll likely only be charged for whatever (minimal) data it costs to send a message. Though, again, it will be up to the carriers.
If you are texting somebody who doesn't have Chat enabled or is not an Android user, your messages will revert back to SMS '-- much in the same way that an iMessage does. Nobody outside of Apple knows when (or if) the iPhone will support Chat.
Instead of continuing to push Allo '-- or creating yet another new chat app '-- Google is instead going to introduce new features into the default Android Messages app, like GIF search and Google Assistant. Android Messages will be the default on many (but not all) Android phones. Samsung phones will also support Chat using Samsung's app. You will still be able to download Google's app if you'd prefer to use it, though it seems unlikely that third-party developers will be able to create full RCS-enabled apps.
Anil Sabharwal.Photo by Vjeran Pavic / The Verge Reboot againGoogle has put a new executive in charge of the effort: Anil Sabharwal. He led the team that created the Google Photos apps, which are perhaps the most successful Google apps of the past few years. They're also a great example of how Google salvaged ideas originally built into Google+ and turned them into a great set of cross-platform apps.
So it makes perfect sense that CEO Sundar Pichai tasked Sabharwal with fixing one of the oldest and most vexing problems at Google. Sabharwal has to find a way to make the default texting experience on Android not just good, but part of a dominant global network that can actually compete with the likes of WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and iMessage. And he needs to do it without alienating any of the hundreds of powerful companies that have a stake in the smartphone market.
''I'm coming into this as a consumer product person,'' Sabharwal says. Six months ago, he took over the communications team and took inventory of Google's offerings and strategies. As a result of Google's ''try everything'' approach to messaging, the company currently has four major competing messaging apps: Hangouts, Allo, Duo, and Android Messages.
Let's go through them one by one. Hangouts is becoming an enterprise app to compete with Slack, called ''Hangouts Chat'' instead of being a consumer focused app. That transition is taking awhile and at some point, Google will need to clear up its messaging for consumers that are still using Hangouts for personal texting. Right now, the company's guidance is that ''the consumer version of Hangouts will be upgraded to Hangouts Chat ... but our focus for Hangouts still rests on enterprise/team communication and messaging.'' I wouldn't be surprised if a free version was made available to consumers someday, but, as with Allo, if might be time to start looking for alternatives.
And Duo, Google's new-ish video chat app, is actually surprisingly successful; a quarter of Duo calls are to or from an iPhone. But it's primarily a video chat app, which leaves Allo and Android Messages: two apps that, from a ''consumer product'' perspective, do essentially the same thing.
Android Messages has all the users. Even though Samsung phones don't use Android Messages as the default SMS app, most of the other major manufacturers do (outside of China, anyway). That adds up to 100 million monthly active users, according to Sabharwal. ''At the end of the day '... the native SMS app is where users are,'' he says. ''They're not interested in going to a different place to use SMS.''
People, even in 2018, tend to just use the default app. Though WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger each have over a billion installs, those users are still falling back to SMS when they have to. It's the universal, default option; every phone supports it, and it always works. Sabharwal estimates that 8 trillion SMS-based messages are sent every year.
''The native SMS app is where users are.'' Google Allo.Allo, though it's a perfectly capable and functional messaging app, has never managed to build a large user base. Sabharwal looked at Allo and saw ''a clearly great set of product features, a great set of capabilities.'' He looked at Android Messages and saw ''a product that has tremendous momentum.''
So the move was obvious: shift all that effort from Allo, which doesn't have a clear path to getting more users, and put it into migrating the app's features into the default, Android Messages. ''My first thing is I'm going to bring these things together,'' Sabharwal says. ''That's the first decision that we've made.''
Put more bluntly: Google is giving up on having its own consumer messaging app, a heads-up competitor to Facebook Messenger. ''There are a lot of great messaging products and experiences that are out there,'' says Sabharwal. ''Just because Google may want to be one of them is not a reason for us to invest or build products. We fundamentally build products because we believe we can deliver better, improved user experiences.''
Take a step back. It seems ridiculous that a company as large and powerful as Google would simply give up on directly competing in the messaging space, but here we are. The question, then, is how on earth did we get here?
Allo the apps that didn't work Google's plan this time around is much more complicated than just launching a new messaging app. To get it started, it has had to corral more than 50 carriers and nearly a dozen manufacturers into adopting a new standard. It had to ensure that Chat would work the same, everywhere, and that it would actually have a decent set of features. Oh, and all those companies are fierce competitors who distrust each other and Google.
It is as close to the hardest, most winding road that I can imagine for fixing the messaging mess on Android. It's also probably one of the only roads Google had left to try.
Google's most prominent messaging dead end was Hangouts. Launched almost exactly five years ago, it was Google's most ambitious attempt to compete with iMessage, WhatsApp, and Facebook Messenger. It had a huge, splashy launch befitting its scope, and it successfully managed to merge a bunch of disparate Google apps into a single, unified system.
Hangouts was undone by Google's often schizophrenic corporate priorities and, frankly, sometimes institutional inability to execute on consumer products. It began as a product that was deeply enmeshed in Google+, Google's failed social network. Extricating Hangouts from that fiasco took years.
Hangouts also became an integration point for other services like SMS, a live video streaming service, Google Voice, and Project Fi. That sounds good in theory, but in practice, it meant the app's overall purpose kept changing. One moment, it was an integrated SMS and chat app, and the next, it wasn't. All the while, the thing began to feel slow and lumbering on phones, and too basic on desktops.
Instead of spinning Hangouts down (it's honestly too enmeshed in Google's own internal work culture to do that), Google pivoted it. Hangouts is now an enterprise chat app designed to compete with Slack.
The next road Google took was more obvious: launch a new, mobile-first texting app and convince people to use it. That app was Allo, which launched two years ago.
Allo is a ''fine'' app, with all the features you'd expect along with integration with Google Assistant, which launched alongside Allo. ''The strategy behind Allo was 'let's build a really great consumer messaging product really from the ground up,''' Sabharwal says.
But in 2016 (to say nothing of 2018), simply making a good messaging app wasn't enough '-- not when it has to compete with established giants. Allo also likely suffered from Google messaging app fatigue. People worried it wouldn't be supported over the long term. (It turns out, they were right.)
If you're going to launch a messaging app, you need a good strategy for achieving growth. iMessage worked because it was built right into the iPhone. WhatsApp worked because it was tied to phone numbers and let users avoid paying SMS fees. (And it had the benefit of being the first popular app to take advantage of push notifications.) Facebook Messenger worked because it was built on Facebook.
''The product as a whole has not achieved the level of traction that we'd hoped for.''
Allo had no such strategy for acquiring users. The closest Google came was a scheme using Google's own services on Android. When you sent an Allo message to somebody who didn't have the app installed, they'd receive a Google push notification instead of an SMS. The notification encouraged them to install the app (though they could reply directly without it).
Two years later, fewer than 50 million Android users have installed Allo. Considering that WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger both clock in at over a billion installs, those numbers just aren't good enough. As Sabharwal gamely puts it, ''The product as a whole has not achieved the level of traction that we'd hoped for.''
That means that Google had to admit that the Allo experiment didn't work. As a result, Sabharwal says that Google is ''pausing investment'' in Allo. That doesn't mean that it's shutting down; Sabharwal says that Google is ''continuing to support the product.'' But if you're an Allo user, it's definitely time to start looking elsewhere. My guess is that it's a dead app walking (or, if you like, texting).
There's one other option that I and many others have always hoped Google would have the courage to try: just copy iMessage, but for Android.
Though Google won't say so, I think that road is fundamentally too dangerous for the company. One would think that Google has more than enough leverage to simply create something that the carriers would have to accept whether they like it or not. What are Verizon and Deutsche Telecom and all the rest going to do, switch to Tizen in protest? Please.
But the truth is that these carriers have points of leverage over Google that go beyond choosing to sell Android phones. Android is, after all, open source. And though Google can (and does) dictate some requirements in order to include Google services, it can't dictate them all. A carrier could set Bing as the default search, for example, or set up its own RCS client as the default texting app.
Perhaps Google could have gotten away with a proprietary, baked-in messaging protocol back in 2011 when iMessage launched. But in 2018, carriers aren't fond of iMessage, and they aren't going to take kindly to a similar service acting as the default, especially on Android, the globally dominant operating system. Even though it looks like they won't charge exorbitant SMS prices to consumers, RCS is still preferable to carriers as it will give them the opportunity to sell RCS services to businesses. The GSMA estimates that will be a $74 billion market by 2021.
In sum, Google tried damn near everything. Only two roads were left: one that would cause all its carrier partners to freak out and one that handed them the keys to a shiny new messaging platform they could call their own.
Sabharwal doesn't paint the decision to partner with carriers in those terms, of course. Instead, he points to Google's penchant for keeping Android not just open, but neutral. Instead of the nuclear option, Google wants to keep the platform at least nominally neutral. ''We believe that there's a fundamentally better experience we can deliver to users,'' Sabharwal says. He continues:
We can't do it without these [carrier and OEM] partners. We don't believe in taking the approach that Apple does. We are fundamentally an open ecosystem. We believe in working with partners. We believe in working with our OEMs to be able to deliver a great experience.
Android Messages web client preview.Image: Google The rolloutSMS is awful. It started as a kind of a hack on top of preexisting cellular systems, and it never really developed much. The Multimedia Messaging Service add-on came later and was equally crappy. These services aren't just antiquated; they're expensive. ''No one says 'Hey bud hit me up on MMS,''' Sabharwal quips. They say ''text me.'' And again, the default texting experience on Android is bad. This is a problem that needs fixing.
Since 2007, the fix was always supposed to be RCS, but RCS hasn't taken hold for completely predictable reasons. Different carriers developed incompatible versions of the ''standard,'' each trying to gain an edge. All the while, they were getting disrupted by tech companies who simply made over-the-top vertically integrated messaging products that just relied on data connections. Talk to nearly any analyst in the tech space, and you'll find they're dismissive that RCS could ever work. Here's Dean Bubley of Disruptive Analysis last year on RCS:
So ignore it. There are no customers, no use-cases, and no revenues associated with ''advanced messaging''. It's the same pointless RCS zombie-tech I've been accurately predicting would fail for the last decade. It's still dead, still shambling around and still trying to eat your brain. It's managed to bite Google and Samsung, and they'll probably try to infect you as well.
And yet, Google has spent the last couple of years trying to get consensus around something called the ''Universal Profile,'' a standardized way to make RCS work across carriers. Google's pitch to carriers is simple: SMS is going to be replaced one way or another. You can either be part of the replacement or continue to watch Apple and Facebook run away with text messaging.
Google has also been lining up businesses that want to replace SMS for communicating with customers. Instead of a text message with a short link, you can have your boarding pass or Subway sandwich order or whatever appear right in your texting app. Right now, the best options for businesses that want rich messaging opportunities for customers are iMessage and Facebook '-- neither of which are as universal as SMS.
Carriers have slowly been coming on board. Two big holdouts, AT&T and Verizon, quietly agreed to support the standard in the past few months. Given how fractious the history has been here, I'm sort of impressed that Google got everybody to call this feature ''Chat'' instead of ''AT&T super premium advanced messaging plus'' or whatever. As of this writing, 55 carriers, 11 OEMs, and two operating system providers have all pledged to either adopt or switch over to the system.
Android Messages Group Chat Preview.Image: Google The two operating system providers that have signed on to the Universal Profile: Google and, interestingly, Microsoft. That doesn't necessarily mean that you can expect a native Chat app in Windows 10, but it does mean it's possible. Microsoft's statement on RCS is noncommittal at best: ''RCS Universal Profile support for capabilities such as dialer and messaging functionality or other applications is considered on a device-by-device basis, where there is demand for those features.''
Unfortunately, we aren't likely to get one big, splashy moment when Chat ''just works.'' I press Sabharwal multiple times on this issue: when are carriers going to switch users over? ''I don't have a crystal ball,'' he demurs. ''I don't know exactly how long it's going to be, but we really feel that we are on the cusp of it right now.'' Later, he relents and says, ''Look, I can speculate, which I think is what you're asking me to do.''
''By the end of this year, we'll be in a really great state, and by mid-next year, we'll be in a place where a large percentage of users [will have] this experience.'' Though, he cautions that ''it will differ from country to country'' and from region to region. Europe and Latin America are likely to enable it before US carriers. Still, he stresses, ''This is not a three- to five-year play. Our goal is to get this level of quality messaging to our users on Android within the next couple of years.''
In the United States, Sprint supports Chat right now between compatible Android phones. T-Mobile has promised to do so in Q2 of this year. When I asked for comment, neither Verizon nor AT&T would give me a timeline for when they intend to flip the switch to support Chat.
The middle period is going to be annoying. If your carrier or your device doesn't support Chat, you'll get old-fashioned SMS and MMS messages '-- and vice versa. Importantly, that means that iPhone users won't be part of this ecosystem.
But I have a hunch that the pressure is on to get Apple to support Chat, not just from Google but from carriers and other businesses. Sources familiar with RCS say Google, along with multiple mobile operators, is in discussion with Apple about supporting RCS. Apple declined to comment.
Carrier controlIf you're still trying to wrap your head around the idea that Google won't have a standalone consumer chat app, well, so am I. ''The fundamental thesis behind the RCS protocol is it's a carrier service,'' Sabharwal says. That means that the carriers will be the final arbiters of what Chat can and can't do '-- and whether it will be successful. The good news is that Google appears to have herded all the carrier cats into a box where their Chat services will actually be interoperable.
Right now, the expectation is that carriers won't charge SMS-style rates for Chat messages. ''Messages will work just like any other IP-based messaging protocol. So, in that respect, it'll just be 'free' and part of your data plan,'' Sabharwal says. That's probably true, but it's definitely outside Google's control. Any communication standard that depends on the largess of wireless carriers is inherently at risk of getting messed up in dozens of ways, including price.
The companies that support the RCS Universal Profile as of April 2018.Image: GSMA The worse news is that carriers aren't fond of strong encryption and don't have a great history of pushing back against government demands for information.
''RCS continues to be a carrier-owned service, so legal intercept and other laws that exist that allow carriers to have access to the data continues to be the case,'' Sabharwal admits. And though Google isn't shutting down Allo, it's also not working to create a chat service that is as secure as iMessage, Signal, or even Telegram. ''At this point, the answer is no. We will not have that option,'' Sabharwal says. Allo offers an ''incognito'' mode that does support end-to-end encryption, but that's it.
For a company that has a reputation for rapaciously collecting user data and then turning that data into ads and services, it's surprising to hear that Google doesn't want an owned-and-operated chat app. Basically, it sounds like Sabharwal doesn't think it has to. And it may not have an alternative: the company hasn't been able to find a way to make an owned-and-operated chat app succeed in nearly a decade.
''I don't want to say that were 'ceding messaging' [to the carriers],'' Sabharwal says. Instead, Google believes that it can deliver Google services inside the Android Messages app. It won't control the transport of those messages, but it can improve the user experience by building the app itself.
Smart reply in Android Messages preview.Image: Google So expect a couple things to happen on the app front. First, Google will finally make a desktop web interface for texting. At least in the initial version, you'll authorize it with a QR code, much as you do with WhatsApp. That makes it essentially an extension of your phone, like the WhatsApp client, so the only message history it'll have is what is on your phone.
Second, expect the Android Messages app to rapidly acquire more features. With luck, its development won't stagnate like Hangouts did. It's worth keeping an eye on, because some features can be developed in the app itself and others may require coordinating work with all the carriers on the Chat standard itself.
Sabharwal can explain the nuances of RCS hubs, carrier negotiations, and Google's own (optional) Jibe RCS cloud services. But more than any of that, he's eager to talk about the features he wants to bring to Android Messages. Smart replies. Google Assistant. Integration with his other project, Google Photos. Clearer organization of messages. Better search. More ''expressiveness'' (read: GIFs and stickers).
At the end of the day, users care about those features. They care about having ''blue bubbles,'' those cultural indicators that you're having a conversation in a channel that isn't limited to 160-character messages hurled into the void. Google's path to getting those features to the 2 billion-plus Android users around the world has been rocky, to put it mildly.
The rollout of Chat could be equally rocky. Some carriers will hold out either through obstinacy or inability. Some Android phones may also be left out, depending on their manufacturer. There are risks that infighting between all the companies trying to work together could collapse the whole effort. And, especially in the US, nobody really knows if or when Apple will bow to pressure to support RCS. (Apple, as you're surely aware, isn't one to bow to pressure.)
After talking about all that, Sabharwal finally lets me take a look at a presentation showing an upcoming version of Android Messages. It has all the features he's hoping to deliver. The messages delivered over Chat happened to be blue. But that was just happenstance: one of the features of Android Messages is that you can pick a custom color for your chat messages, depending on whom you're speaking with. This is Android, after all, and Android is all about customization.
Customization is messy. Android is messy. So it makes sense that the ultimate fix for Android messaging wasn't to eliminate messiness, but to embrace it.
An auditor reviewing Facebook Inc.'s privacy practices gave the social-media company a clean bill of health in a report to federal authorities last year'--well after Facebook discovered that political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica improperly obtained millions of users' personal data.
''In our opinion, Facebook's privacy controls were operating with sufficient effectiveness to provide reasonable assurance to protect the privacy of covered information,'' the auditing firm, PricewaterhouseCoopers, said in the report to the Federal Trade Commission dated April 12, 2017. A heavily redacted version of the report is posted on the FTC's website.
The audit, which covers a two-year period ended in February 2017, was required as part of a settlement that Facebook reached with the FTC in 2011 to ensure the company was clearly informing users about the way their data was being used. But PwC's conclusions raise questions about the vigor of its vetting process at a time of mounting questions about Facebook's ability to protect user privacy.
During the time covered by the audit, Facebook discovered that an outside researcher broke its data-use rules by sharing user records with other companies, including data-analytics firm Cambridge Analytica, which worked with the Trump campaign in 2016. Facebook learned about 'the incident in late 2015 through media reports, but didn't 'notify affected users or publicly address the issue until this spring.
Included in the April 2017 audit was Facebook's assessment of its own work. It said its privacy program ''contains controls and procedures appropriate to its size and complexity, the nature and scope of its activities, and the sensitivity of the covered information.''
It isn't clear whether Facebook informed PwC or whether it was required to tell the firm about the incident with Cambridge Analytica.
''We remain strongly committed to protecting people's information. We appreciate the opportunity to answer questions the FTC may have,'' Rob Sherman, Facebook's deputy chief privacy officer, said in a written statement.
PwC didn't immediately return a request for comment. The FTC declined to comment. The agency has previously said it is investigating whether Facebook violated its consent decree. Facebook has said it didn't.
Since its disclosure last month, Facebook has struggled to calm a firestorm of criticism from users, advertisers, politicians and officials in the U.S. and Europe about its data-collection practices as well as its loose oversight of user information downloaded by scores of outside developers.
Data from about 87 million users could have been improperly shared with Cambridge Analytica, Facebook said earlier this month. The company also has said ''most people on Facebook'' could have had information scraped by marketers who used a now-defunct feature that distributed profile data connected to users' email addresses and phone numbers.
In back-to-back congressional hearings last week, Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg was repeatedly asked about how Facebook scoops up user data and about the controls it puts in place to secure users' records. Several lawmakers across the political spectrum expressed support for new regulation of Facebook and other internet platforms.
The FTC in 2011 charged Facebook with deceiving consumers by telling them they could keep their data private, but then repeatedly allowing the data to be shared and made public. A consent decree reached by the two sides in November 2011, and approved in 2012, requires Facebook to give consumers clear and prominent notice and obtain their express consent before sharing their information beyond their privacy settings, among other measures.
Whether Facebook violated its FTC settlement is now a matter of intense debate. If the FTC finds that Facebook violated the decree, the company could face millions of dollars in fines as well as harm to its reputation with users. Last month, 37 state attorneys general sent Facebook a letter demanding explanations for its practices.
Marc Rotenberg, president of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, said the FTC released the latest reports after the group requested it. EPIC was one of the groups that complained about Facebook originally to the FTC, leading to the 2011 settlement.
"Not clear why a company that has asked us to give up so much privacy should be allowed to maintain so much secrecy,'' Mr. Rotenberg said.
A flaw-by-flaw guide to Facebook's new GDPR privacy changes '' TechCrunch
Facebook is about to start pushing European users to speed through giving consent for its new GDPR privacy law compliance changes. It will ask people to review how Facebook applies data from the web to target them with ads, and surface the sensitive profile info they share. Facebook will also allow European and Canadian users to turn on facial recognition after six years of the feature being blocked there. But with a design that encourages rapidly hitting the ''Agree'' button, a lack of granular controls, a laughably cheatable parental consent request for teens and an aesthetic overhaul of Download Your Information that doesn't make it any easier to switch social networks, Facebook shows it's still hungry for your data.
The new privacy change and terms of service consent flow will appear starting this week to European users, though they'll be able to dismiss it for now '-- although the May 25th GDPR compliance deadline Facebook vowed to uphold in Europe is looming. Meanwhile, Facebook says it will roll out the changes and consent flow globally over the coming weeks and months with some slight regional differences. And finally, all teens worldwide that share sensitive info will have to go through the weak new parental consent flow.
Facebook brought a group of reporters to the new Building 23 at its Menlo Park headquarters to preview the changes today. But feedback was heavily critical as journalists grilled Facebook's deputy chief privacy officer Rob Sherman. Questions centered around how Facebook makes accepting the updates much easier than reviewing or changing them, but Sherman stuck to talking points about how important it was to give users choice and information.
''Trust is really important and it's clear that we have a lot of work to do to regain the trust of people on our service'' he said, giving us deja vu about Mark Zuckerberg's testimonies before congress. ''We know that people won't be comfortable using Facebook if they don't feel that their information is protected.''
Trouble at each step of Facebook's privacy consent flowThere are a ton of small changes, so we'll lay out each with our criticisms.
Facebook's consent flow starts well enough with the screen above offering a solid overview of why it's making changes for GDPR and what you'll be reviewing. But with just an ''X'' up top to back out, it's already training users to speed through by hitting that big blue button at the bottom.
Sensitive infoFirst up is control of your sensitive profile information, specifically your sexual preference, religious views and political views. As you'll see at each step, you can hit the pretty blue ''Accept And Continue'' button regardless of whether you've scrolled through the information. If you hit the ugly grey ''Manage Data Setting'' button, you have to go through an interstitial where Facebook makes its argument trying to deter you from removing the info before letting you make and save your choice. It feels obviously designed to get users to breeze through it by offering no resistance to continue, but friction if you want to make changes.
Facebook doesn't let advertisers target you based on this sensitive info, which is good. The only exception is that in the U.S., political views alongside political Pages and Events you interact with impact your overarching personality categories that can be targeted with ads. You can opt out of being targeted by those too. But your only option here is either to remove any info you've shared in these categories so friends can't see it, or allow Facebook to use it to personalize the site. There's no option to keep this stuff on your profile but not let Facebook use it.
Facial recognitionFacebook is bringing facial recognition back to Europe and Canada. The Irish Data Protection commissioner who oversees the EU banned it there in 2012. Users in these countries will get a chance to turn it on, which is the default if they speed through. It's a useful feature that can make sure people know about the photos of them floating around. But here the lack of granularity is concerning. Users might want to see warnings about possible impersonators using their face in their profile pics, but not be suggested as someone to tag in their friends' photos. Unfortunately, it's all or nothing. While Facebook is right to make it simple to turn on or off completely, granular controls that unfold for those that want them would be much more empowering.
[Update: This article has been updated to reflect that Facebook indeed can offer facial recognition in Europe and Canada.]
Data collection across the webA major concern that's arisen in the wake of Zuckerberg's testimonies is how Facebook uses data collected about you from around the web to target users with ads and optimize its service. While Sherman echoed Zuckerberg in saying that users tell the company they prefer relevant ads, and that this data can help thwart hackers and scrapers, many users are unsettled by the offsite collection practices. Here, Facebook lets you block it from targeting you with ads based on data about your browsing behavior on sites that show its Like and share buttons, conversion Pixel or Audience Network ads. The issue is that there's no way to stop Facebook from using that data from personalizing your News Feed or optimizing other parts of its service.
New terms of serviceFacebook recently rewrote its terms of service and data use policy to be more explicit and easy to read. It didn't make any significant changes other than noting the policy now applies to its subsidiaries like Instagram and Messenger. [Correction: But WhatsApp and Oculus have their own data policies.] That's all clearly explained here, which is nice.
But the fact that the button to reject the new Terms of Service isn't even a button, it's a tiny ''see your options'' hyperlink, shows how badly Facebook wants to avoid you closing your account. When Facebook's product designer for the GDPR flow was asked if she thought this hyperlink was the best way to present the alternative to the big ''I Accept'' button, she disingenuously said yes, eliciting scoffs from the room of reporters. It seems obvious that Facebook is trying to minimize the visibility of the path to account deletion rather than making it an obvious course of action if you don't agree to its terms.
I requested Facebook actually show us what was on the other side of that tiny ''see your options'' link and this is what we got. First, Facebook doesn't mention its temporary deactivation option, just the scary permanent delete option. Facebook recommends downloading your data before deleting your account, which you should. But the fact that you'll have to wait (often a few hours) before you can download your data could push users to delay deletion and perhaps never resume. And only if you keep scrolling do you get to another tiny ''I'm ready to delete my account'' hyperlink instead of a real button.
Parental consentGDPR also implements new regulations about how teens are treated, specifically users between the ages of 13 (the minimum age required to sign up for Facebook) and 15. If users in this age range have shared their religious views, political views or sexual preference, Facebook requires them to either remove it or get parental consent to keep it. They also need permission to be targeted with ads based on data from Facebook's partners. Without that permission, they'll see a less personalized version of Facebook. But the system for attaining and verifying that parental consent is a joke.
Users merely select one of their Facebook friends or enter an email address, and that person is asked to give consent for their ''child'' to share sensitive info. But Facebook blindly trusts that they've actually selected their parent or guardian, even though it has a feature for users to designate who their family is, and the kid could put anyone in the email field, including an alternate address they control. Sherman says Facebook is ''not seeking to collect additional information'' to verify parental consent, so it seems Facebook is happy to let teens easily bypass the checkup.
Privacy shortcutsTo keep all users abreast of their privacy settings, Facebook has redesigned its Privacy Shortcuts in a colorful format that sticks out from the rest of the site. No complaints here.
Download your informationFacebook has completely redesigned its Download Your Information tool after keeping it basically the same for the past eight years. You can now view your content and data in different categories without downloading it, which alongside the new privacy shortcuts is perhaps the only unequivocally positive and unproblematic change amidst today's announcements.
And Facebook now lets you select certain categories of data, date ranges, JSON or HTML format and image quality to download. That could make it quicker and easier if you just need a copy of a certain type of content but don't need to export all your photos and videos, for example. Thankfully, Facebook says you'll now be able to download your media in a higher resolution than the old tool allowed.
But the big problem here was the subject of my feature piece this week about Facebook's lack of data portability. The Download Your Information tool is supposed to let you take your data and go to a different social network. But it only exports your social graph, aka your friends, as a text list of names. There are no links, usernames or other unique identifiers unless friends opt into let you export their email or phone number (only 4 percent of my friends do), so good luck finding the right John Smith on another app. The new version of Download Your Information exports the same old list of names, rather than offering any interoperable format that would let you find your friends elsewhere.
A higher standardOverall, it seems like Facebook is complying with the letter of GDPR law, but with questionable spirit. Sure, privacy is boring to a lot of people. Too little info and they feel confused and scared. Too many choices and screens and they feel overwhelmed and annoyed. Facebook struck the right balance in some places here. But the subtly pushy designs seem intended to steer people away from changing their defaults in ways that could hamper Facebook's mission and business.
Making the choices equal in visible weight, rather than burying the ways to make changes in grayed-out buttons and tiny links, would have been more fair. And it would have shown that Facebook has faith in the value it provides, such that users would stick around and leave features enabled if they truly wanted to.
When questioned about this, Sherman pointed the finger at other tech companies, saying he thought Facebook was more upfront with users. Asked to clarify if he thought Facebook's approach was ''better,'' he said ''I think that's right.'' But Facebook isn't being judged by the industry standard, because it's not a standard company. It's built its purpose and its business on top of our private data, and touted itself as a boon to the world. But when asked to clear a higher bar for privacy, Facebook delved into design tricks to keep from losing our data.
Facebook Moves 1.5 Billion Users' Data Out Of Europe To Circumvent New Privacy Law | Zero Hedge
This doesn't bode well for Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and what remains of his tattered credibility.
After Zuck suggested (but stopping short of promising) during testimony before Congress last week that he would treat all Facebook users' data as if it fell under the European Union's new General Data Protection Regulation, Reuters and the Guardian are reporting that Facebook has quietly moved the data of more than 1.5 billion users out of reach of European privacy law by transferring it from the company's European headquarters in Ireland to its global headquarters in California.
Here's the Guardian:
In a tweak to its terms and conditions, Facebook is shifting the responsibility for all users outside the US, Canada and the EU from its international HQ in Ireland to its main offices in California. It means that those users will now be on a site governed by US law rather than Irish law.
The move is due to come into effect shortly before General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into force in Europe on 25 May. Facebook is liable under GDPR for fines of up to 4% of its global turnover '' around $1.6bn '' if it breaks the new data protection rules.
The shift highlights the cautious phrasing Facebook has applied to its promises around GDPR. When asked whether his company would promise GDPR protections to its users worldwide, Zuckerberg demurred. ''We're still nailing down details on this, but it should directionally be, in spirit, the whole thing,'' he said.
A week later, during his hearings in front of the US Congress, Zuckerberg was again asked if he would promise that GDPR's protections would apply to all Facebook users. His answer was affirmative '' but only referred to GDPR ''controls'', rather than ''protections''. Worldwide, Facebook has to let users exercise their rights under GDPR, such as downloading and deleting data, and the company's are similarly universal.
As Reuters explains, by moving the data, Facebook is creating an important buffer against legal penalties.
That removes a huge potential liability for Facebook, as the new EU law allows for fines of up to 4 percent of global annual revenue for infractions, which in Facebook's case could mean billions of dollars.
The change comes as Facebook is under scrutiny from regulators and lawmakers around the world since disclosing last month that the personal information of millions of users wrongly ended up in the hands of political consultancy Cambridge Analytica, setting off wider concerns about how it handles user data.
The change affects more than 70 percent of Facebook's 2 billion-plus members. As of December, Facebook had 239 million users in the United States and Canada, 370 million in Europe and 1.52 billion users elsewhere.
In separate statements to Reuters and the Guardian, Facebook essentially denied that the change would have any impact on how user data are treated, and that Facebook users would have "the same privacy protections everywhere."
Facebook told Reuters "we apply the same privacy protections everywhere, regardless of whether your agreement is with Facebook Inc or Facebook Ireland." It said the change was only carried out "because EU law requires specific language" in mandated privacy notices, which US law does not.
In a statement to the Guardian, it added: "We have been clear that we are offering everyone who uses Facebook the same privacy protections, controls and settings, no matter where they live. These updates do not change that."
However, a data privacy researcher who spoke with the Guardian said Facebook's statements are disingenuous (surprise, surprise).
Privacy researcher Lukasz Olejnik disagreed, noting that the change carried large ramifications for the affected users. "Moving around one and a half billion users into other jurisdictions is not a simple copy-and-paste exercise," he said.
"This is a major and unprecedented change in the data privacy landscape. The change will amount to the reduction of privacy guarantees and the rights of users, with a number of ramifications, notably for for consent requirements. Users will clearly lose some existing rights, as US standards are lower than those in Europe."
"Data protection authorities from the countries of the affected users, such as New Zealand and Australia, may want to reassess this situation and analyse the situation. Even if their data privacy regulators are less rapid than those in Europe, this event is giving them a chance to act. Although it is unclear how active they will choose to be, the global privacy regulation landscape is changing, with countries in the world refining their approach. Europe is clearly on the forefront of this competition, but we should expect other countries to eventually catch up."
In an interesting twist, Facebook disclosed that moving the data would not come with tax ramifications. This bifurcation means that Facebook will continue paying taxes on that business in Ireland, but the data will be based in the US, where it will be exempt from European privacy laws.
To be sure, if certain Democratic lawmakers have their druthers and pass a privacy law modeled after the GDPR, Facebook might need to find another domicile for its data. And assuming the outrage over the company's treatment of user data has a lasting impact, the company might need to repeat this process again and again, until there's nowhere left to hide.
In other Facebook news, an auditor reviewing the company's privacy practices gave the company "a clean bill of health" in a report to federal authorities last year - well after Facebook had discovered Cambridge Analytica's alleged deception. The audit was required as part of a settlement Facebook reached with the FTC in 2011, per the Wall Street Journal.
An auditor reviewing Facebook Inc.'s FB -0.67% privacy practices gave the social-media company a clean bill of health in a report to federal authorities last year'--well after Facebook discovered that political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica improperly obtained millions of users' personal data.
''In our opinion, Facebook's privacy controls were operating with sufficient effectiveness to provide reasonable assurance to protect the privacy of covered information,'' the auditing firm, PricewaterhouseCoopers, said in the report to the Federal Trade Commission dated April 12, 2017. A heavily redacted version of the report is posted on the FTC's website.
The audit, which covers a two-year period ended in February 2017, was required as part of a settlement that Facebook reached with the FTC in 2011 to ensure the company was clearly informing users about the way their data was being used. But PwC's conclusions raise questions about the vigor of its vetting process at a time of mounting questions about Facebook's ability to protect user privacy.
Back in 2011, the FTC accused Facebook of deceiving consumers by telling them they could keep their data private, but then repeatedly allowing the data to be shared and made public (sound familiar?). An agreement reached by the two sides required Facebook to give consumers "clear and prominent notice" and "obtain their express consent" before sharing their information in any way that wasn't explicitly laid out in their privacy settings.
The question of whether the company has violated its FTC settlement is now the subject of an intense debate. At stake are millions of dollars in fines.
Government accidentally sends file on "remote mind control" methods to journalist / Boing Boing
When journalist Curtis Waltman filed a Freedom of Information Act request with Washington State Fusion Center (which is partnered with Department of Homeland Security) to obtain information about Antifa and white supremacist groups, he got more than the information he was looking for '' he also accidentally received a mysterious file on "psycho-electric weapons" with the label ''EM effects on human body.zip.'' The file included methods of "remote mind control."
Creepy images like these were included:
So what gives?
Via the Daily Beast:
According to Muckrock, a nonprofit that publishes government information gathered through FOIA requests, the mind-control documents came from the Department of Homeland Security-linked agency in the form of a file called ''EM effects on human body.zip.'' The file reportedly contained various diagrams detailing the horrors of ''psycho-electronic weapon effects.''One diagram lists the various forms of torment supposedly made possible by using remote mind-control methods, from ''forced memory blanking'' and ''sudden violent itching inside eyelids'' to ''wild flailing'' followed by ''rigor mortis'' and a remotely induced ''forced orgasm.'' It was not immediately clear how the documents wound up in the agency's response to a standard FOIA request, but there was reportedly no indication the ''remote mind control'' files stemmed from any government program.
And according to Popular Mechanics:
The federal government has absolutely experimented with mind control in a variety of methods, but the documents here do not appear to be official.
Waltman had no idea why these documents were included in his request and isn't sure why the government is holding them. The WSFC did not respond to requests for more information.
As fun as conspiracy theories are, Muckrock doesn't believe the images are "government material."
One seems to come from a person named ''Supratik Saha,'' who is identified as a software engineer, the brain mapping slide has no sourcing, and the image of the body being assaulted by psychotronic weapons is sourced from raven1.net, who apparently didn't renew their domain.Muckrock put out a call to WSFC but hasn't yet heard back from them.
For more details, go to Muckrock.
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Alleged Parkland shooter 'vomited clear fluid' after he was identified
Alleged Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz heaved and ''vomited clear fluid'' as a witness was about to identify him moments after he was arrested for the mass killing, according to a report.
He struggled to stand and hyperventilated when the witness showed up to identify him as the suspect in the deadly attack at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, according to a report by Coconut Creek Police Officer Michael Leonard, who collared him.
Paramedics were summoned as a precaution, according to the Orlando Sentinel, which cited the newly released report.
Cruz, 19, who was arrested Feb. 14 about 80 minutes after he allegedly gunned down 34 people at the school, 17 fatally, has remained on suicide watch in the Broward Main Jail and faces the death penalty.
He ditched his AR-15 rifle in a stairwell at the school before blending in with fleeing students and stopped off at a nearby Walmart and McDonald's.
Leonard, meanwhile, canvassed the area with just a nominal description of the suspect to go on: a maroon polo shirt, black jeans and a ball cap.
At one point, the cop encountered a young man strolling along a sidewalk on a residential street a few miles from the school. He matched the description and also wore military-style boots and black-framed glasses.
His shirt was emblazoned with a JROTC logo and his cap featured a likeness of an NYPD patch.
When ordered to the ground at gunpoint, Cruz provided his name and lay down while cuffed, the paper reported.
''Given the magnitude of this crime and not knowing if the subject was still armed, I began to give the subject loud verbal commands,'' Leonard wrote, the Miami Herald reported.
Leonard called for backup as he kept his Glock aimed at the suspect. When a second officer arrived, they searched Cruz for weapons and found none.
After about 20 minutes, Cruz ''began to move his head and eyes, looking in all directions,'' the officer wrote in his report. He also stated that he was having trouble hearing '-- possibly a result of the shooting.
Leonard calmed him down, but when the witness showed up and the officer pulled Cruz up, he ''became weak and required help holding himself up.''
''Cruz also began to heave and vomit clear fluid,'' Leonard wrote. ''Cruz began to hyperventilate.''
The witness '-- whose identity was redacted in the report '-- confirmed that Cruz was, in fact, the shooter. The suspect was taken to a hospital before being hauled off to jail.
A plea of not guilty was entered in court for Cruz, who faces 17 charges of premeditated murder and 17 charges of attempted murder.
His public defender has said Cruz is willing to plead guilty if the death penalty is dropped.
CDC issues romaine lettuce warning in E. coli outbreak.
glasspix 1Thank you for your courage of speaking out about the horror story that Sweden has become. Although us who live in countries with free press have known about these realities, an article like the one above could be career ending in a socialist-feminist tyranny like Sweden. Although your country is now lost for good, please support the free nations' rising resistance against Islamisation and forced immigration with your excellent journalism.
Posted on 4/16/18 | 6:51 AM CEST
Gisela S¶derbergThere's so much wrong with this opinion piece, I don't know where to begin. First of all, the government didn't call Sweden ''a humanitarian super power'', and certainly not the opposition, during the spike of the refugee crisis in 2015. The people did. It was an aspiration, not a description. There was an unprecedented support for refugees from Syria then, among the people, not just among a few activists. In fact, it was the establishment, the politicians, that hit the brakes, because they thought that if Sweden stopped taking in refugees from Syria, other countries would step up. Of course, that never happened. Everybody in Sweden knows we're in no way a perfect country. It's people from the outside who hold simplistic views about Sweden. We're not an idea or a projection. We're a country with ten million people, and a long and diverse history. People on the left in other countries project an utopian image on Sweden, as an equal, social democratic society, because it's easy for them to do so. They don't actually care much about Sweden or know much. People on the right in other countries have actively hated Sweden for decades. ''Sweden bashing'' has been a concept since the late seventies. In recent years, because of the Syrian refugee crisis, and the fact that Sweden took in more Syrian refugees than other countries, Sweden has become the prime target of the international, and not least the American, far right on social media. Both views are simplistic and based on the people's ideological goals, not any knowledge of Sweden. There's also an enormous amount of Russian disinformation about Sweden on social media, that tries to portray the country as a failing state. Their aim is to strengthen internal disagreements in Sweden and the Russia-friendly, anti-immigration party ''Sverigedemokraterna'', and to generally undermine Sweden internationally. Also, the gang violence has nothing to do with refugees from, for example, Syria. In the last couple of years, a lot of weapons have come in to Sweden from former Yugoslavia, where they were left over from the civil war.
Posted on 4/16/18 | 6:56 AM CEST
EU doublestandardsIt's a nice try dear, but I'm afraid the cat is out of the bag. I've seen any number of YouTube videos by perfectly ordinary, decent Swedish citizens bemoaning the state of affairs in the country and blaming the government for effectively concentrating more on trying to cover the problems up and pretend they don't exist, instead of tackling them. The SDP just buries their heads in the sand and pretends everything is alright. It's not '' and unless you get tough with those causing the crime and stop being so squeamish about being perceived by the left as somehow being racist for doing so, then your problems are only going to get worse. A country of 60 million can cope to a certain extent with controlling disaffected youth who fail to integrate. A country of only a few million can't.
Posted on 4/16/18 | 9:33 AM CEST
Sean .It's so sad what has happened in Sweden. It is a lesson to us all in Europe.
Posted on 4/16/18 | 10:25 AM CEST
Henk CropA few months ago I watched a report on a immigrant a neighbourhood in Sweden.The Police did not dare to enter. So the mothers of the criminals, dressed with orange scarves, had began to patrol the streets.
In another report I read that Sweden has the second highest percentage of rapes per capita in the world. Just below African Togo.
That shows were leftist naivity can lead to. They have changed their country forever.
Posted on 4/16/18 | 10:50 AM CEST
f cSweden evidently badly needs someone like Viktor Orban.May be Sweden should hire him before it turns into 3rd world s**thole as Swedish politicians don't seem to be up to the task.
Posted on 4/16/18 | 10:56 AM CEST
peter lintner''Gang-related gun murders, now mainly a phenomenon among men with immigrant backgrounds in the country's parallel societies '...'... Sweden has gone from being a low-crime country to having homicide rates significantly above the Western European average.''
Cultural enrichment of Sweden is proceeding as planned. Germany next. And with open door migration policies, pretty soon the whole of Europe will be balkanized. Call it european integration.
Posted on 4/16/18 | 11:19 AM CEST
Perry Winkle@Sean .''It's so sad what has happened in Sweden. It is a lesson to us all in Europe.''If it were only Europe, friend. If only. Cheers.
Posted on 4/16/18 | 11:38 AM CEST
Irene RamonWhat is wrong with the reporter of these news? I am an expat from Spain, a country with much more violence in suburbs and even in the central parts of the biggest cities, with real no-go zones for police as much as for citizens.You're talking about a country that protects, or at least tries to, the totality of its citizens. A country where the national criticism is high, but only because there are reasons to believe that it can improve. A country so advanced in social politics that I, as an example, don't have to pay for university in opposition to the extreme fares that exist in public universities in my country of origin.I have lived in one of this supposed ''no-go zones'' you talk about, and have NEVER had any problem or fear. I fear more crossing the city centre of Barcelona at night than walking around Kista or Rinkeby.This article is not only biased, but shows a very little number of acts and maximises them to make them a ''real'' concern, when police spokesmen around the country have said repeated times that these no-go zones don't exist, that they don't stop them from making their job and that, even if conflicts are more registered there than anywhere else in the city, the number of times they happen cannot even be compared to what happens in other countries in Europe.I hope the people that read this article will have a bit of critical judgement and go look for the reality of Sweden, a country where socialism works and has proven to improve the situation of millions of people, no matter what background they come from. This article is just a mere excuse to justify the conservative ideas of an ''overpopulation'' of Sweden by immigrants (ironically enough, the country is one of the biggest in Europe in extension) and to create a sense of fear that only justifies the American vision of a demonised social democracy. Of course there are policies to be restrained or made in a better way, but the article gives a vision that is so far from reality that is even a bit embarrassing, being a journalist myself.Oh, and by the way, repeating the fact that ''shootings don't make the news anymore'' does not give, in any sense, any checked facts about these shootings. Bad journalism in so many senses.
Posted on 4/16/18 | 12:02 PM CEST
Bob RobI wonder if Swedes and Germans are not trying to rehabilitate their racist opa's by becoming these multicultural dystopias. Look everyone our opa's were right !
Posted on 4/16/18 | 12:09 PM CEST
Non SibiArticle is spot-on !
Sick of biased and ''ever-in-denial'' messages either from government, swedish newspapers or the many self-proclaimed experts on subject topic. Nowadays, after 8pm, we feel much safer in New York city than in good old Stockholm. Really, if you are not confused what is really happening around you in certain areas in Sweden then you simply don't understand or need a serious reality check.
Posted on 4/16/18 | 3:08 PM CEST
lib critSweden still 1000x safer than the UK. A bit of perspective would be helpful.
Posted on 4/16/18 | 4:15 PM CEST
S Sols>The topic of crime is sensitive, however, and debate about the issue in the consensus-oriented Scandinavian society is restricted by taboos.
No. The people who accurately describe the reason for the rise in crime are being censored, intimidated and arrested for their speech.
Posted on 4/16/18 | 4:16 PM CEST
Tom CullemAs the man said, ''Crazy is doing the same thing over and over but expecting a different result.''
For decades, Swedes and their government have watched as huge Third World immigration has turned their formerly peaceful, prosperous, coherent culture into something else far less desirable. For all that time, Swedish governments refused to admit the truth, refused to allow honest conversations about immigration, demographics and culture, demonised those who asked tough questions, and kept bringing in the immigrants.
Rather than admit they made a mistake for which Swedes are now paying heavily in the loss of their wonderful country, they are focusing their efforts on a PR campaign to deny the reality.
It was denying reality that got them into this mess in the first place. And yet, they persist.
I hope that Denmark, Norway, and Finland are paying close attention and reducing the levels of immigration from the same places, lest Oslo and Copenhagen turn into Malmo. As it is Aarhus in Denmark is now more like Malmo than Copenhagen.
Demographics ARE culture. Those who refuse to accept this, are doomed to lose their formerly successful cultures.
Posted on 4/16/18 | 5:11 PM CEST
J VGuys, send this article to Lili Bayer!
Posted on 4/16/18 | 6:14 PM CEST
Darius NaSo, Sweden's politicians, protected by walls, bunkers and massive security details lie, while the country descends into an orgy of violence and ''little'' people are raped and murdered.A grenade attack on a police station and a police car blown up? That's not violence out of control. Why, not a single politician was harmed.Large section of Swedish cities where ambulance or fire trucks won't go? That's not ''no-go'' zones; that's ''ethnic festivals''.Safe, secure, civilized Poland is just across the Baltic.
Posted on 4/16/18 | 8:30 PM CEST
edel .@Gisela S¶derberg and @Irene Ramon described best the Sweden I know and, better yet, got to visit several times a year for some 12 years so I could see the changes.It is a trouble the shootings it happens once in a while in Sweden but there are no such things as no-go zones or rampant crime as described here, at least not at the levels of Germany, France or Poland'... Among Scandinavian countries though, yes it is a bit worse in Sweden, but it always has been a bit spikier than Norway or Denmark, it was just no so evident.
What worries me far more than the shootings in Sweden is that people are becoming more polarized and intolerant of each others views; the press have something to do with this.
Posted on 4/16/18 | 8:59 PM CEST
Jane LeesWhat on earth is the matter with these people? Citizens in all the countries of Europe are watching, utterly horrified at not only what is going on there & in fact, all around them re. immigrant men abusing their host's hospitality with violent crimes, increasingly against young women, but also why it is being tolerated by governments, police & some sections of the public.Similar problems are happening wherever these young men are arriving '' Germany, Belgium, France etc, with both the behaviour & the responses of police & government just the same '' Keep quiet! Don't make a fuss! Take no notice! ???????????Sorry but get raped & take no notice? Why? No decent government & no decent police force, with half a brain, protects its citizens by silencing them & turning their backs on them.Just as bad, I read this week that Swedish police are now arresting & prosecuting Swedish pensioners for so-called 'hate crime'. Has the world gone mad? Please, for all our sakes, if you care about your children's future, national law must be adhered to, not religious law.
Posted on 4/16/18 | 9:21 PM CEST
Frederic Bastiatedel .As Poland? There are no-go zones in Poland? ROFTL ð
Poland 6th safiest country for woman: http://www.businessinsider.com/the-10-safest-countries-in-the-world-for-women-2018-1?IR=T (and it reliable, because it is based on stats for previous year
Sweden not listed.
The 10 safest countries for women in 2017 were:
1. Australia2. Malta3. Iceland4. New Zealand5. Canada6. Poland7. Monaco8. Israel9. USA10. South Korea
Sweden most dangerous country in Europe after Ukraine.
Read more at http://www.numbeo.com/crime/indices_explained.jsp
Next ranking, safety in Sweden worse than safety in Poland, Germany.
The lower the betterJapan: 0.31Poland 0.76Germany 0.85Sweden 1.15
Rape rate for 2010
(lower better)Sweden: 63.5Poland 4.1Germany 9.4
Posted on 4/16/18 | 10:34 PM CEST
Ghost of JB@lib crit
''Sweden still 1000x safer than the UK. A bit of perspective would be helpful.''
How is Sweden 1000x safer than the UK? Hand grenade attacks? Shootings? A murder rate above the European average?
Do you have ANYTHING to back up your statement? Or is it just more nonsense?
Your ridiculous hyperbole just makes your statements look absurd.
Posted on 4/17/18 | 12:14 AM CEST
Viliam Sinka''The topic of crime is sensitive, however, and debate about the issue in the consensus-oriented Scandinavian society is restricted by taboos.''Freedom of expression with self-censorship? So the Swedes have no right to criticize Hungary or Poland'...
Posted on 4/17/18 | 1:58 AM CEST
Patrick BashirSo tragic, and so avoidable.
You only have to look to Japan and South Korea as to how to avoid such desperation.
Two of the safest, wealthiest, and most technologically advanced countries on Earth '' and how and why do such densely populated countries stay so safe?
Consider this in Japan, a country with 12 times the population of Sweden, accepted just 28 refugees in 2016. Thousands tried, nearly all failed.
Even tourists have their fingerprints taken on arrival.
Likewise with South Korea, a country with around 5 times the population of Sweden, it received only 588, excluding thousands of North Koreans, between 1994 and 2016.
There is only one mosque in the entire country too.
For people who don't believe in the form of Swedish exceptionalism (which is actually just supremacism by another name), there might be a lesson to learn.
But we all know that the Swedish elite are too proud, too invested in their own racist superiority complex to learn from anyone else.
Posted on 4/17/18 | 2:26 AM CEST
FX PierotPsychologists of the future will use the relation of the progressive left with immigration in the period 1980-2020 as an archetypal example of the ''escalation of commitment'' psychological effect.Start with a correct minimization of small problems with immigration in the 80s, and, little step by little step, they end up by a voluntary blindness on major societal problems. Total dismissal of the most visible reality!
Posted on 4/17/18 | 2:55 PM CEST
edel .@Frederic Bastiat, those numbers are from very careful selected countries. That is not how it is done, social scientists do by comparing apples with apples.
First rape (a type of sexual crimes and usually confused) is unfortunately no comparable among countries. There are multiple reasons for these; people reports rape differently if they even do, officials classify rape very differently too. Sweden is known to have the among the broadest definition of what constitutes rape that is why it tops the international rankings for decades. It is also a value changes overtime (legislation in Sweden changed the definition recently) so it is not even easy to compare in the same country over time.There are studies though had made attempt to study these type of offences and while some like fraud and sexual ones has gone slightly up others like mugging and assault has gone slightly down. Overall we could say there has been a slight increase of reported crimes that, while worrisome, are nothing outrageous.
One thing is not so open to interpretation is intentional homicide. Thanks you for your list, but I see you spend some time customizing it to fit your point. The best is way is comparing Sweden's homicide rate with its neighbors (from the same source you provided).Norway 0.56Sweden 1.15Finland 1.6Estonia 3.2Latvia 4.11From here we get that seems to be a pattern that correlates more in getting closer to the East than refugees rate (Finland has far less than Sweden). As a reference France murder rate is 1.58, US 4.88 and Germany a surprisingly low 0.85. Again, authorities in Sweden should be in the addressing it but nothing alarming in the international arena.
Posted on 4/17/18 | 4:35 PM CEST
Irene DuymOK. So according to Politico, suddently Sweden has become hell'.....
Posted on 4/17/18 | 4:35 PM CEST
Irene Duym@f cJumping on the opportunity to display usual propaganda. Why don't you express your views in a ''free'' Hungarian media rather than spoiling this site?
Posted on 4/17/18 | 4:40 PM CEST
edel .@Patrick Bashir, comparing with Japan and South Korea is preposterous. There are large cultural differences. Yes, in those two countries homicide is very low, but people are highly unsatisfied with their life and suicide rates are too large, in South Korea doubling the rate of Sweden (Suicide affects 12 to 25 times more people than homicides so it should be more concerning to us all).If we want to talk about societies, whether you see it economically, happiness, sustainability, etc. Sweden is a far healthier country than either Japan and SK.
Now, let's go back and be serious.
Posted on 4/17/18 | 4:45 PM CEST
Joanna Motheroff-AngelsChiquitita, tell me what's wrongYou're enchained by your own sorrowIn your eyes there is no hope for tomorrowHow I hate to see you like thisThere is no way you can deny itI can see that you're oh so sad, so quiet(oh yeah)
Posted on 4/17/18 | 7:41 PM CEST
It seems to me that comparing Sweden to its neighbours is pointless other than to say that it isn't terrrible by others standards. What Sweden seems to be recognising is that there is an increase in these serious crimes. Data that shows historical levels in Sweden will confirm/refute this. After all, that's what the report states, certain serious crimes are on the increase not that it is the most dangerous place in Europe which it clearly isn't.
Posted on 4/18/18 | 10:03 AM CEST
Jim JonesThey are certainly right about one thing: the idea of a ''Swedish Model'' '-- that the country has much to teach the world. News from Sweden every day teaches us, and very well.
Posted on 4/18/18 | 12:39 PM CEST
peter lintnerSweden, just like most of western world, is paralysed with political correctness. Self-hatred and cultural suicide is the norm, admiration of other is the must. Europe is revisiting history again. We are back in 30s of 20th century. Appeasement is the official policy, now. And the reaction will be same as in 30s. Extremism breeds extremism. Political correctness is an extreme ideology, it will be replaced by other, but opposite, extreme ideology. Victor Orban will be considered mainstream 20 years from now.
Europe never learns '....
Posted on 4/18/18 | 12:40 PM CEST
peter lintner@ Jim Jones
'' They are certainly right about one thing: the idea of a ''Swedish Model'' '-- that the country has much to teach the world. News from Sweden every day teaches us, and very well. ''
Indeed, Swedes are teaching us of what NOT to do. At the cost of destroying their country and culture.
Posted on 4/18/18 | 1:02 PM CEST
James BarendsInteresting to finally see a piece that is straight up about the disastrous situation in Sweden. I have family on both coasts and Stockholm who I am in touch with on a regular basis. There is an anger with the entire political establishment building that eventually must be addressed or Sweden will change. The Elites coin phrases like ''humanitarian super power'' but they just paper over reality. The vast majority of the refugees are looking for a check and free meal plan. They refuse work on a regular basis and their demands are so rediculus on food and other accommodations it is twilight zone. One family member had a second home taken by the government and given to a refugee group of five men. After a week long rampage of rape and intimidation, the government moved them out. My family member found everything from the furniture to the interior walls was destroyed. No compensation was offered for the damage and no effort was made to charge any of the five with the crimes they committed. Another family member told me he is a member of a vigilante group that is going into ''no-go'' zones and dealing with islamic thugs. Police have explicit orders not to pursue thugs into the zones, so they pass on information to contacts and the vigilantes are starting to address the issues. Islamists aredisappearing'' but no one reports it. The other islamists are cashing the welfare checks and no one from the government is making any effort to see who is actually in the country. The entire Swedish elite is paralyzed over the refugees and simply hopes it will go away. What does disturb my family is the training the Swedish Army started to prepare to put down civil insurrection, not by mulims, but by Swedes. One of their sons competed the training last year. Sweden will never be able to go backwards and erase the impact of the refugees. The government is unable to move forward either to stop the violence and killings, but especially the raping which had hit a majority of women. The only thing they have offered is an attempt to re-define rape to reduce the reports. The Left across western culture puts Sweden at the top for its treatment of women and ignores the islamic campaign of rape.
Posted on 4/18/18 | 2:07 PM CEST
J VGisela S¶derberg, Irene Ramon, read this piece from the BBC, a totally friendly media towards migrants, minorities, and non mainstreams beliefs or behaviours, no bias whatsoever:http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-43667367
Posted on 4/18/18 | 2:17 PM CEST
RUSSELL AULTMANARE GUNS ILLEGAL IN SWEDEN? THEY MUST BE!
Posted on 4/18/18 | 2:47 PM CEST
Riley MichelThere are so many hilarious issues with this piece. In particular I love that you included links to sources that directly refute your claims, knowing full well that most of your readers will just assume the links confirm your claims without ever looking at them. First, Sweden has seen the same overall decrease in deadly crime as the rest of Europe, but seen an increase in gun deaths specifically. This is because of an increase in gang violence and in the availability of guns from other countries, none of which is related to refugees and immigrants from the Middle East. The recent crime wave you reference as being ''violent crimes'' is primarily an increase in sexual harassment and fraud, two decidedly non-violent crimes. Now, I can't stress enough: all of my statements are in the links provided in the article. The blatant disregard for honesty and truth represented in this piece is truly galling. But hey, good job perpetuating the misinformation that keeps your CEO and all his friends on the gravy train of a Republican tax system! Mission Accomplished!
Posted on 4/18/18 | 2:49 PM CEST
Riley MichelAlso, just for a little perspective, the annual gun homicide rate in Sweden is roughly 4 per 1 million. The United States gun homicide rate is roughly 130 per 1 million. Subtracting suicides, around 36 people are killed with guns everyday in the US. So, with roughly 30 times the population of Sweden, we have nearly as many gun homicides everyday as they have in a year. In one month we have the same gun homicide rate per capita as Sweden has in a year. If we're going to call Sweden violent hellscape like this piece wants us to, then what is the United States? The Eye of Satan's Butthole?
Posted on 4/18/18 | 3:35 PM CEST
mark state40 murders a year (actually it's about 100)? That would make a conservative city like Lubbock TX swoon. They have 1/36 the population of Sweden but manage to have 14-20 murders a year. 1436= on track for >500 murders a year. How can a country of 9.3 million be going down the tubes when it's rate is less than a nice family based community like Lubbock (run by republicans for years). Heck in a well managed city like NYC (8.5m people), there was 286 murders. That's among the best rates going when you consider large cities in the US. Go anywhere in the midwest and it's like sitting in a barrel. If Sweden is in a crisis over 100 murders a year, then imagine when you BEST cities have triple the number (and our worst have 10-20 times). Maybe it's time to view gun violence as out of control (as Paulina Neuding seems to think)'...if we apply her logic they should be grabbing guns in the US as fast as they can.
Posted on 4/18/18 | 4:30 PM CEST
mark state@Frederic Bastiat '' The numbers you post are a hoot. You have Australia listed as ranked safest for women, but the sources you quote show it has nearly double the rate of rape as Sweden?? How does that add up??? You quote multiple sources, but they all conflict. The numbers are also insanely inaccurate, and state it as such. India is amongst the lowest, yet if you researched it..you'd know that reported rates are very low due to cultural AND class issues. It also shows countries in war torn parts of africa with amazingly low rates, yet when those people come to sweden..suddenly there is an immigrant effect??? That would imply it's the white Swedes doing the raping, if the countries of origin have less rates for those immigrants.
Posted on 4/18/18 | 4:40 PM CEST
peter lintner@ mark state, Riley Michel
Why you compare Sweden to US? That´s comparing apples to bananas. Different culture, history, demography etc. Compare Sweden to Sweden. Sweden now to Sweden 50 years ago. Ask a 60-70 yeras old Swedish if he/she feels safer now then in his/her 20s. Actually, they cant even answer properly because there are areas where they dont dare to go. Was it so 50 years ago? Morever, it´s not just about crime, but also culture and identity and integration, or the lack of it.
Mass immigration from entirely different culture will lead to increased ghettoisation and balkanisation. Europe will increasingly resemble the old Holy Roman Empire, with hundreds if not thousands of small semi-independet kingdoms and principalities permanently at each other´s throats and with central power too weak, which everyone ignores. Or in short a semi-anarchy.
But who knows, maybe that´s the goal '' to weaken Europe '...
Posted on 4/18/18 | 5:01 PM CEST
Cary SpadoniSwedish Government = Baghdad Bob.
Posted on 4/19/18 | 12:32 AM CEST
Native JoIt's nice to see that this media outlet is actually paying attention. It's about time. I noticed the article failed to mention what happens to Swedes who dare mention migrant violence. It's criminal how they hide the truth. Sweden has serious problems in schools, in public places, and on public transportation due to these migrants. The cops arent allowed to make ethnicities part of crime reports in order to ''protect'' migrants who are not in danger. They have ruined that country.
Posted on 4/19/18 | 6:36 AM CEST
Erik AnderssonPaulina Neuding does not care to mention that the number of victims of murder and manslaughter was nearly the same in 2017 as in the early 1990s.Even though the population of Sweden has increased by almost one and a half million inhabitants during the period the number of victims of a violent death has not increased.
Murder and manslaughter has moved out on the street and is more visible than the traditional Swedish family violence, mainly aimed at women and children.There we have the difference between today's situation and 1990.
Why then was it so important for Paulina Neuding to write this misleading article?The answer is that Sweden for some in the international community stands as a symbol of multiculturalism, feminism and LGBT rights.For those who despise these activities and Paulina Neuding is such a person, it becomes important to try to make Sweden look as bad as possible.It is indeed a difficult task in view of how well the Swedish economy has developed under the past decades and the fact that crime in generally rather is decreasing than increasing.
If Sweden is such a economical and social success as statistical figures indicates then it could be argued that LBG rights, feminism and multiculturalism are profitable, both socially and economical.A horrid thought for many and also obviously for Paulina Neuding.
Posted on 4/19/18 | 8:35 PM CEST
peter lintner@ Erik Andersson
Swedish multiculturalism works so well, that Swedish prime minister is considering sending army in the streets to end violence.
'--Sweden To Deploy Army In No-Go Zones, Publishes Leaflets Preparing People For WarJanuary 18, 2018 2:26 pm by Andjela Radmilac
''Sweden will do whatever it takes'' to end a wave of gang violence that has swept throughout the country, Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said on Wednesday, according to Reuters.'...The idea of getting the military involved in resolving the issue of 'no-go' zones within Sweden's cities, where a large majority of migrants reside, was floated when Sweden's political leaders debated how to combat problems with gang crime in the country.'....''We're going to continue to combat the forming of a parallel society. Today we need rules to be tightened, increasing control to cut out economic criminality,'' he told the Riksdag, The Local reported.'...
Enjoy your multiculturalism while it lasts
Posted on 4/20/18 | 2:21 AM CEST
J VAcross Europe, our Western democracies and our historical modus vivendi have been weakened for some time now by the antisocial, proselyte behavior of a number of vocal minorities and pressure groups. The individualistic creed of some suggests that society is made up of individuals parachuted from everywhere and nowhere, and that they should live next to each other with no links between them, no roots, no past, no history or group identity, and that it works fine for everyone. Others on the contrary are a genuine copy-paste of communism, heralding its grand return through the back door: to these, the group is more important than the individual; as an end per se their beliefs, with their divine legitimacy to provide more weight and make more impact, do nothing else than crush the individual. Nevertheless, these two opposites have one major point in common, derived from totalitarian ideologies and regimes with gallons of blood on their hands: ''if you are not with us, you are against us''. In the middle, most of us are kept silent and inactive by media-relayed insidious tactics such as victimisation etc we are all too familiar with. However, there is one glimmer of hope left: communism lost in the end. Hopefully, these antisocial lobbies will not have the last word.
All China needs do now is move in the warships and combat jets.
The chief of US Fleet Forces Command has told US Congress that Beijing has built up enough military infrastructure in the South China Sea to completely control the disputed waterway.
''Once occupied, China will be able to extend its influence thousands of miles to the south and project power deep into Oceania,'' Admiral Philip S. Davidson wrote.
''The PLA will be able to use these bases to challenge US presence in the region, and any forces deployed to the islands would easily overwhelm the military forces of any other South China Sea-claimants.
''In short, China is now capable of controlling the South China Sea in all scenarios short of war with the United States.''
It emerged last Thursday that two Australian warships and their supporting tanker were reportedly confronted by the Chinese Navy a week ago as they moved through the region's vital sea lanes towards a goodwill visit toVietnam.
In the past, such visits to nations including the Philippines via the South China Sea have been routine.
EXPLORE MORE: Can China's military stand-up to the US?
What has changed is China's assertion '-- flying in the fact of a 2016 international arbitration court ruling '-- that it holds national sovereignty over the entire 3.5 million square kilometre waterway. The sea bounds the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam.
Beijing has established its claim as almost a fait accompli through illegally turning coral reefs and tidal rocky outcrops (the ownership of which is disputed) into enormous fortresses. It says that now these have artificially been turned into islands, they represent sovereign territory.
The international court of arbitration disagrees.
Admiral Davidson has been nominated to take over the United States' Pacific Command, responsible for co-ordinating army, navy and air force actions in that region.
He says only an armed conflict could now stop Beijing from closing the South China Sea's international sea lanes.
He told politicians this was why it was vital to recapture the technological advantage US forces held for five decades after World War II.
''In the future, hypersonic and directed energy weapons, resilient space, cyber and network-capabilities, and well-trained soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines and coastguardsmen will be crucial to our ability to fight and win,'' he said.
Admiral Davidson is using the standoff with China to assert the United States' Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missile limitation agreement (INF Treaty) with Russia is no longer valid.
China is not a signatory to the treaty. It has been rapidly building up an arsenal of missiles that fall within this category capable of striking US aircraft carrier formations deep at sea.
Admiral Davidson told Congress his forces cannot defend against new Chinese hypersonic weapons.
DELVE DEEPER: What we know about China's new stealth fighter
''In the Indo-Pacific, the absence of the INF treaty would provide additional options to counter China's existing missile capabilities, complicate adversary decision making, and impose costs by forcing adversaries to spend money on expensive missile defence systems,'' Admiral Davidson told US Congress.
''I believe the INF treaty today unfairly puts the United States at a disadvantage and places our forces at risk because China is not a signatory.''
China's rhetoric over Taiwan has also become increasingly bellicose.
It's state-run media has issued a stern warning of ''destruction'' if the US continues to develop ties with the last outpost of China to resist Communist rule.
''Taiwan concerns China's core interests, but Washington has been unbridled in infringing upon the one-China policy and emboldened the small group of separatists in Taiwan to turn more aggressive and arrogant in their secession attempts,'' the Global Times editorial reads.
''The PLA has an unshakeable determination to safeguard national reunification.
Whoever infringes upon the one-China policy and advocates Taiwan independence will invite destruction. And the US is no exception.''
Probing flights by Chinese bombers and fighters have become common place in recent months, with flights regularly circling Taiwan.
Following its recent participation in a South China Sea parade, a naval battle-group centered on the aircraft carrier Liaoning has passed between Japan and Taiwan to conduct exercises off its West Pacific shores.
''Although peaceful reunification with Taiwan is the optimal choice, in the mainland reunification by force is being seriously considered as an option,'' the state-approved editorial reads. ''It is up to Chinese people to eventually decide when and how Taiwan will be reunified.''
In language reminiscent to that coming from Kim Jong-un's state controlled North Korean media, the Global Times threatened: ''the more Washington supports Taiwan separatists, the earlier they will see their doomsday coming.''
Beijing political mouthpiece The Global Times has published an article attacking Australia for its ''hostile sentiment''.
''If Australia considers exchanges between countries as interference, it should lock itself up in the dark room,'' it quotes the Chinese foreign ministry as saying in response to the tense standoff between the two nations' warships.
''People who have such a mindset need to reflect'', foreign ministry spokesman Hua Chunying reportedly said.
''If there is no mutual trust, there's no room for co-operation. China hopes Australia takes practical action and corrects its prejudice against China''.
But trust is a two-way street.
Earlier this month China reversed its longstanding assertion that it held no intention to militarise the South China Sea artificial islands.
The claim has always been made in the face of mounting satellite evidence that it had installed hardened bunkers, military weapons systems and sensors, along with military grade runways.
Now, a spokesman from China's ministry of defence has declared China has a ''natural right as a sovereign nation'' to put troops and military equipment in the Spratly Islands.
The admission came shortly after it was reported military electronic jamming equipment had been installed at Mischief Reef in the Spratleys, alongside its enormous airfield and gun emplacements.
RELATED: Footage reveals China's South China Sea fortresses
Surveillance photographs published by the Philippines news service The Inquierer earlier this year appeared to show two troop transport ships and an amphibious assault platform docked at Mischief Reef, offloading troops and equipment. Last week, another photograph revealed Chinese air force combat transport aircraft on the island's tarmac.
''I think, from the very beginning, China, we knew, was militarising the area by reclaiming these areas and by using them as military bases,'' said Philippines presidential spokesman Harry Roque.
STRONG NAVY, SECURE CHINA
All indications out of Beijing are that stand-offs in what is regarded as the world's busiest waterway will only increase in size and frequency.
China's newly appointed president-for-life Xi Jinping attended a fleet review of more than 40 warships and submarines in the South China Sea on April 12 ''showcasing a new height of the People's Liberation Army Navy via its Liaoning carrier battle group and the new-generation nuclear submarine,'' the Global Times says. ''China's ability to defend world and regional peace has reached another milestone.''
In an address to the assembled sailors, President Xi said the need for a strong navy had never been more urgent.
''This is crucial to point out in today's international environment and his tone carried a robust sense of mission,'' the news service says. ''Xi has expressed in several key reports that China is closer than ever to achieving the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. However, history reminds us that the closer we are to accomplishing a glorious goal, the more the pressure and risk. Building a strong navy, as well as national defence, has never been more significant to China.''
China's second aircraft carrier, the first of which it has built itself, is due to set sail for the first time later this month.
''China must ignore the noise of the 'Chinese military threat' theory from some Western countries,'' the editorial reads. ''The theory is a misrepresentation of China's role as the world's second-largest economy and its role in securing global peace. The theory is also a discrimination to China's status as one of the world's major powers.''
Tax authorities in Finland matching Bitcoin transactions & bank transfers to collect tax on crypto trading profits | Metropolitan.fi
A vast majority of people who have made profits with cryptocurrency trading have not reported the wins to the tax authorities in the previous years. With the Bitcoin boom of late 2017 it is expected that Finns gained over ten times as much than in the previous year.
During 2017 the value of Bitcoin went from less than a thousand euros to around 15,000 euros. Since that the price has halved, but many finns managed to turn a profit from training Bitcoin or some other cryptocurrencies.
Capital gains made with cryptocurrency trading are taxed on the year they are traded for traditional currency like Euros or Dollars or real world goods. Profits are taxed as capital income, and the tax office in Finland has improved it's tracking of payments. The authorities are able to match money transfers and payments from anonymous Bitcoin-wallets.
All of the transaction data for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are stored in a public ledger known as Blockchains. The tax office has been admitted generous access to bank transfers and other data, which enables identifying people. By matching the transfers it is evident that in the past most citizens have not reported profits made with virtual currencies.
For tax year 2017 over 3,300 identified as obliged to fileTalking to Kauppalehti, a Finnish financial daily, inspector general Timo Puiro from the Finnish tax office states that they have identified over 3,300 finns that should pay tax for cryptocurrency trading. Taxes for 2017 should be filed latest by 15th of May, but for some the last date was set in April. Puiro says it is too early to calculate how much taxes were not paid.
The estimated gains by residents of Finland amounts to a hundred Million euros for 2017. Roughly 30 Million of this should be paid to the state in the form of capital tax. These numbers are ten times higher than they were in 2016.
Puiro hopes that citizens will report the taxes voluntarily. Those avoiding the taxes will need to pay them as back taxes, with possible raises. In addition if the sums are considerably high, unpaid cryptocurrency trading gains could be subject to criminal prosecution.
The Finnish tax authorities are in a leading position when it comes to cryptocurrency analytics worldwide. The Finnish tax authorities have provided consulting for organizations responsible for taxation in many countries. The old truth seems to stand: You can't avoid death or taxes.
Source: Verottaja odottaa j¤ttipottia bitcoin-voitoista - yli 3300 suomalaista tunnistettu
Written by Janita on Friday April 20, 2018 Permalink - Linnanm¤ki amusement park in Helsinki to open Europe's most intense roller coaster ride in 2019 -
Mannabase: Blockchain Platform for Universal Basic Income
A Russian entrepreneur has capitalized on the poisoning of a former Russian spy in Britain by releasing a brand of cooking oil named after the nerve agent that was allegedly used in the attempted assassination.
London blames Moscow for poisoning ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury last month with a Novichok-class nerve agent believed to have been developed in the Soviet Union. Russia denies responsibility and has accused Britain of whipping-up anti-Russian hysteria.
''I regularly watch the news,'' Ulyanovsk region-based farmer Alexei Yakushev said in explaining how he came up with the name for his new brand of sunflower oil.
''I liked this product very much and couldn't find it anywhere in stores, so I decided to make it myself,'' Yakushev said in a YouTube video posted on Thursday.
The Novichok oil will be marketed under the motto ''products for a long life,'' together with a logo bearing KGB insignia.
''We don't hide money offshore,'' the farm's About Us page reads in rhyme.
''Drupalgeddon2'' touches off arms race to mass-exploit powerful Web servers | Ars Technica
THE END IS NIGH '-- Bug patched in March is still being exploited to take full control of servers. Dan Goodin - Apr 20, 2018 7:41 pm UTC
Attackers are mass-exploiting a recently fixed vulnerability in the Drupal content management system that allows them to take complete control of powerful website servers, researchers from multiple security companies are warning.
At least three different attack groups are exploiting "Drupalgeddon2," the name given to an extremely critical vulnerability Drupal maintainers patched in late March, researchers with Netlab 360 said Friday. Formally indexed as CVE- 2018-7600, Drupalgeddon2 makes it easy for anyone on the Internet to take complete control of vulnerable servers simply by accessing a URL and injecting publicly available exploit code. Exploits allow attackers to run code of their choice without having to have an account of any type on a vulnerable website. The remote-code vulnerability harkens back to a 2014 Drupal vulnerability that also made it easy to commandeer vulnerable servers.
Drupalgeddon2 "is under active attack, and every Drupal site behind our network is being probed constantly from multiple IP addresses," Daniel Cid, CTO and founder of security firm Sucuri, told Ars. "Anyone that has not patched is hacked already at this point. Since the first public exploit was released, we are seeing this arms race between the criminals as they all try to hack as many sites as they can."
China-based Netlab 360, meanwhile, said at least three competing attack groups are exploiting the vulnerability. The most active group, Netlab 360 researchers said in a blog post published Friday, is using it to install multiple malicious payloads, including cryptocurrency miners and software for performing distributed denial-of-service attacks on other domains. The group, dubbed Muhstik after a keyword that pops up in its code, relies on 11 separate command-and-control domains and IP addresses, presumably for redundancy in the event one gets taken down.
Added punchNetlab 360 said that the IP addresses that deliver the malicious payloads are widely dispersed and mostly run Drupal, an indication of worm-like behavior that causes infected sites to attack vulnerable sites that have not yet been compromised. Worms are among the most powerful types of malware because their self-propagation gives them viral qualities.
Adding extra punch, Muhstik is exploiting previously patched vulnerabilities in other server applications in the event administrators have yet to install the fixes. Webdav, WebLogic, Webuzo, and WordPress are some of the other applications that the group is targeting.
Muhstik has ties to Tsunami, a strain of malware that has been active since 2011 and infected more than 10,000 Unix and Linux servers in 2014. Muhstik has adopted some of the infection techniques seen in recent Internet-of-things botnets. Propagation methods include scanning for vulnerable server apps and probing servers for weak secure-shell, or SSH, passwords.
The mass exploitation of Drupal servers harkens back to the epidemic of unpatched Windows servers a decade ago, which gave criminal hackers a toehold in millions of PCs. The attackers would then use their widely distributed perches to launch new intrusions. Because website servers typically have much more bandwidth and computing power than PCs, the new rash of server compromises poses a potentially much greater threat to the Internet.
Drupal maintainers have patched the critical vulnerability in both the 7.x and 8.x version families as well as the 6.x family, which maintainers stopped supporting in 2016. Administrators who have yet to install the patch should assume their systems are compromised and take immediate action to disinfect them.
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VIDEO - WikiLeaks on Twitter: "US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert yesterday: we "are very grateful for all the work the White Helmets continue to do.. on behalf of the US government and coalition forces.. I just exchanged emails with them the
InfoThe experience for women at Coachella is filled with stories of groping and unwanted touching. Could the festival be doing more to prevent seuxal harrassment?
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Coachella's second weekend kicks off tomorrow. All the staples will be there: Beyonce, overpriced beer, throngs of young people, and the likelihood of sexual harassment. Teen Vogue's editor spoke to more than 50 women at Coachella last weekend. Every one of them said they were sexually harassed.
Guests:Vera Papisova , Teen Vogue (@VeraPapisova)
More:Sexual Harassment Was Rampant at Coachella 2018
Father chases after his two daughters who decide to join ISIS 16 MIN, 57 SEC
Ayan, 19, and Leila, 16, are originally from Somalia, and grew up in Norway with refugee status. They emailed their father in 2013 saying, ''Muslims are under attack from all quarters, and we need to do something.'' They went to Syria and joined ISIS. Their dad wondered why they would do that, and tried to find them in war-torn Syria.
Guests: sne Seierstad , journalist and author of ''Two Sisters: A Father, His Daughters, and Their Journey into the Syrian Jihad'' (@AsneSeierstad)
Inside the film 'Godard Mon Amour' 13 MIN, 2 SEC
In 1967, the French film director Jean-Luc Godard married young actress Anne Wiazemsky, but their relationship didn't last long. In 1968, Godard supported violent student protests in Paris that called for a Marxist revolution, and started making Marxist movies. Wiazemsky wrote two books about their relationship, and one became the basis a new movie.
A scene from "Godard Mon Amour."
Director Michel Hazanavicius. Photos courtesy of Cohen Media Group.
Guests:Michel Hazanavicius , film writer and director
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Gingrich on DNC's Trump-Russia-WikiLeaks Lawsuit: Let FBI Look at Hacked Servers
Dan Bongino got into a heated argument with former Hillary Clinton senior adviser Philippe Reines Saturday over the Democratic National Committee's (DNC) lawsuit alleging a widespread conspiracy to tilt the 2016 election in Donald Trump's favor.
The suit against Trump campaign officials, the Russian government and WikiLeaks claims that Trump campaign officials worked in tandem with the Russians and its military spy agency to bring down Hillary Clinton by hacking into the computer networks of the DNC and spreading stolen material.
When Bongino said that the Russians tried to influence the election, through Clinton, Reines replied, "[Clinton is] is gone now, so what are we doing in 2018?"
Bongino then pressed Reines further, asking him why the DNC won't turn servers over to the FBI that it alleged to be hacked by Russians.
"If you're so sure the Russians hacked, why won't you turn them over?" he asked.
So funny, the Democrats have sued the Republicans for Winning. Now he R's counter and force them to turn over a treasure trove of material, including Servers and Emails!
'-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 21, 2018
President Trump named Schultz in a tweet on Friday criticizing the lawsuit.
Just heard the Campaign was sued by the Obstructionist Democrats. This can be good news in that we will now counter for the DNC Server that they refused to give to the FBI, the Debbie Wasserman Schultz Servers and Documents held by the Pakistani mystery man and Clinton Emails.
'-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 20, 2018
"You can't answer the question, you fraud!" Bongino said to Reines. "You know nothing!"
Reines called the lawsuit one of "last resort," when asked why it took the DNC over a year to file it.
Watch the fiery argument above.
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VIDEO - Dr. Georgia Ede - 'Our Descent into Madness: Modern Diets and the Global Mental Health Crisis' - YouTube
The Broward Sheriff's Office Deputies Association has scheduled a no-confidence vote for Sheriff Scott Israel over his behavior during the lead-up to and aftermath of the Parkland school shooting, union president Deputy Jeff Bell announced Friday.
The union is accusing Israel of ''many instances of suspected malfeasance, misfeasance, failure to maintain fiduciary responsibility by the sheriff, failure to properly investigate possible criminal conduct by members of his senior command staff and the lack of leadership that has crushed morale throughout the agency.''
PARKLAND, FL '' FEBRUARY 15: Broward County Sheriff, Scott Israel (C), Florida Governor Rick Scott,(R),and Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi,(L), speak to the media about the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School where 17 people were killed yesterday, on February 15, 2018 in Parkland, Florida. Police arrested the suspect after a short manhunt, and have identified him as 19 year old former student Nikolas Cruz. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Israel's stock skyrocketed in the initial aftermath of the shooting, highlighted by his appearance at CNN's town hall with students and family from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, yet as more information became public about his department's response, a clear pattern of at-the-least negligence on his part became clear. (RELATED: Broward County Sheriff Has A History Of Controversial Decisions)
The sheriff has resisted calls from nearly 100 Florida lawmakers to resign, and he refused to participate in a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the shooting in March. (RELATED: Florida Lawmakers Demand Israel's Resignation)
''He declined,'' Chairman Chuck Grassley flatly said of Israel's decision not to attend. ''I've seen that sheriff all over television discussing the shooting, so it's disappointing that he has refused to speak to the country through his testimony before this committee.''
This is a developing story. The Daily Caller will update with new information as it becomes available.
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VIDEO - Jol Valenzuela on using Dash for everyday purchases - CNN International - YouTube
Bernard Uhlfelder has operated this newsstand on Lexington Avenue and 86th Street since 1972.
Back then newspapers were piled high waiting to be sold. But now the papers and magazines are pretty much gone, and so is a lot of his business.
"The Internet has killed everything. Let's face it, who reads the paper now - you just pick it up on your phone and there it is," Uhlfelder said.
Uhlfelder says he now makes 20 percent less than he did in the 1980s, largely because of cratering newspaper sales. He says he would sell 600 copies of the Daily News every day - and just 40 today.
"Sunday Times was almost 1,000. Now almost 15," he noted.
Mike Patel knows the numbers all too well. Twelve hours a day he stands in his tiny newsstand on Chambers and Broadway.
He remembers selling 1,700 copies of The Post every day in the 1980s. Now, it's just 20.
"A lot different," Patel said.
If not for tourists buying water and soda and sales of lottery tickets, Patel and some other newsstand operators do not know if they would still be in business.
Like many operators, Patel emigrated from India and saw newsstands as a path to the middle class.
Patel and his wife, who once ran her own stand, were able to buy a home in New Jersey.
But Patel doesn't think he would have such success if he were starting out today.
"Before it was a different story. Now it's not that easy to make that kind of money," Patel said.
The business peaked in the 1950s with 1,500 street-level newsstands.
Now there are just 329 left, though the number has grown a bit since the Great Recession a decade ago.
Under city law newsstands cannot sell anything priced more than $10. Nor can they sell clothes, jewelry, handbags, hair-care accessories or food that's not packaged.
Newsstand advocates say the newsstand experience needs to change so operators can survive. One idea is to allow for the sale of food, such as coffee or donuts.
"The more things that we can quickly deliver to our fellow New Yorkers without the hassle of having to go into a brick-and-mortar store, the better. So I think the next step is food," explained Max Bookman, a lawyer for New York City Newsstand Operators Association.
But City Council approval appears unlikely because of opposition by traditional stores and street vendors who hold costly city permits.
Another idea facing opposition: Allowing the operators to share in the revenue from ads on the newest stands.
"Something has to be done to keep it alive or else there will be no reason for the newsstand to be on the street," Uhlfelder said.
VIDEO - Reporter: Trump lied to me for spot on Forbes 400 | TheHill
A former reporter for Forbes magazine claims that President Trump Donald John TrumpHouse Republicans push Mulvaney, Trump to rescind Gateway funds Pruitt spent K flying aides to Australia to prep for later-canceled visit: report Rosenstein told Trump he is not a target of Mueller probe: report MORE lied to him decades ago about his net worth to snatch a coveted spot on the Forbes 400 Richest list.
Jonathan Greenblatt wrote in an op-ed for The Washington Post that Trump was "telling a lie so cosmic that people believed that some kernel of it had to be real."
"The tactic landed him a place on the Forbes list he hadn't earned '-- and led to future accolades, press coverage and deals. It eventually paved a path toward the presidency," he added.
Greenblatt alleges that in 1984, Trump called him pretending to be "John Barron," which is considered a pseudonym that Trump has long used with reporters and others.
"No one could imagine the unimaginable, no one could imagine that someone would do something like this, call as their own PR person," Greenblatt told CNN on Friday. He also wrote that he believes Trump's intent to deceive released him from a "good-faith pledge" to keep the conversations off-the-record.
Greenblatt alleges that Trump wildly overstated his wealth to him during conversations about the Forbes 400 list, which Greenblatt describes the president as obsessed with since its 1981 creation.
Trump's net worth on the Forbes 400 list in 1984 was recorded at $400 million, with his father Fred Trump listed at $200 million. Greenblatt said he now believes those numbers were inaccurate, and said that Trump and his fixers followed up every subsequent year of the list to persuade the magazine with "misinformation" that Trump was richer than they thought.
Greenblatt said the Trump Organization and the White House did not respond to requests for comment on his article.
A view of the Internal Revenue Service's headquarters on March 24, 2016, in Washington, D.C. Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images hide caption
toggle caption Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images A view of the Internal Revenue Service's headquarters on March 24, 2016, in Washington, D.C.
Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images Tuesday's tax day computer glitch at the IRS prevented the agency from accepting millions of tax returns and forced the IRS to extend the filing deadline for another day.
We now have a better idea of what happened to cause the snafu.
According to an IRS official, the problem arose at 4 a.m. EDT Tuesday, which was the day tax returns were due and the busiest day of the tax year for the IRS.
According to the agency, a piece of hardware connected to the IRS's master file, the core processing system that holds all taxpayer information, went down.
The glitch meant other applications couldn't access the master file data, and the agency couldn't accept returns from online tax programs like TurboTax and TaxCut.
The issue was fixed about 11 hours later, the IRS says, and the agency was able to accept tax returns again.
The delay was an inconvenience for taxpayers and a high-profile embarrassment for the agency. But it didn't really come as a surprise to anyone familiar with IRS's decades-old computer system. Last October, Deputy Commissioner Jeffrey Tribiano testified before a House oversight subcommittee that the IRS was "concerned that the potential for a catastrophic system failure is increasing as our infrastructure continues to age."
Former IRS Commissioner John Koskinen says the computer glitch was the predictable consequence of years of congressional budget cuts which, in turn, led to significant staff cutbacks.
"The budget has been continually under pressure for the last eight years," he told NPR, "even though we have almost 20,000 fewer employees and 10 million more taxpayers, so sooner or later something's gonna give."
Republican lawmakers counter that incompetence at the agency was just as much to blame.
During a debate Wednesday on a measure to improve IT systems at the IRS, Rep. Jackie Walorski, R-Ind., pointed to a system the IRS tried to install called the return review program or RRP. She said it is years behind schedule and millions over budget. "I hear complaints about the IRS's budget and I think about the RRP. Senior leadership gave no direction," Walorski said. "No one knew how it would fit into the big picture and contractors were way out of the loop. Everyone essentially ran in circles until they ran out of money."
Believe it or not, at one time, the IRS's computing system was a state of the art marvel. In the early 1960s, people would make the trek to the IRS computing center in Martinsburg, W.Va., just to gawk, according to University of Georgia history professor Stephen Mihm.
"This huge mainframe facility that was truly state of the art, it was really cutting edge, so much so that people would go there almost as tourists to see this amazing display of computing power processing the nation's tax returns," he said.
But Mihm says being an early adopter ironically led to today's problems at the IRS. The agency still uses a computer language from that era called Assembly that few know anymore. "It's quite antiquated," he says. But Mihm says, with so much of the IRS' data encoded with Assembly, "it's very had to sort of start entirely from scratch and build an entirely new system."
It turns out the solution to Tuesday's glitch '-- which, by the way, occurred in that same West Virginia facility '-- was something too familiar to anyone who has a balky computer. According to the IRS, they simply rebooted the system, although former Commissioner Koskinen says it is a little more complex at the IRS than restarting your PC: "It's not a question of turning the power off and turning it back on, because all of the related systems have to be rebooted and you have to test to make sure that they've all come up appropriately, so a reboot will take several hours."
The IRS says its system was up and running again by 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday.
Congress approved more money for the IRS last month to help it rewrite the tax code to reflect the changes lawmakers made in last year's tax cut legislation. But Koskinen is skeptical its enough to fix whats been called the most antiquated computer system in the federal government.
VIDEO - Alpha males hurt alpha: Hedge fund managers with high testosterone lag
After years of underperformance, researchers may have discovered what's plaguing the hedge-fund industry: too much testosterone.
Hedge-fund managers with high testosterone underperform those with low testosterone by 5.8 percent each year, according to a study conducted by University of Central Florida and Singapore Management University.
The researchers used software to measure the facial width-to-height ratio '-- proven to be a proxy for testosterone levels '-- of more than 3,000 hedge-fund managers. After controlling for variables such as risk and market environment, the researchers found that not only do funds of higher-testosterone managers produce lower returns, but those managers also have a greater propensity to be terminated.
Gradyreese | Getty Images
High-testosterone managers "trade more frequently, have a stronger preference for lottery-like stocks and are more likely to succumb to the disposition effect," the report said, referring to the tendency of investors to sell assets at higher prices and holding onto those that have dropped in value.
The researchers also found that hedge-fund investors '-- specifically, hedge fund-of-funds '-- select managers based on their own testosterone levels. In other words, higher testosterone fund-of-hedge funds are more likely to invest in higher-testosterone managers, while the reverse is true for lower testosterone.
The results of the study may have implications for hedge-fund performance as well as hedge-fund culture, which tends to prize aggression, competitiveness and drive.
If this study is true, perhaps the prevalence of alpha males is what's eroding alpha.
Hedge funds have largely underperformed the S&P 500 during the current bull market. And they've continued to underperform even as the market has gotten more volatile. In aggregate, hedge funds have returned 0.14 percent this year, according to Hedge Fund Research. That compares with a 1.3 percent gain for the S&P 500.