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Express. Home of the Daily and Sunday Express. PRINCESS Diana has connections to the missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who is thought to have been murdered by Saudi Arabia, through her lover Dodi Fayed. PUBLISHED: PUBLISHED: 05:50, Fri, Oct 19, 2018
On 2 OCT 2018, Washington Post journalist and middle eastern political activist Jamal Khashoggi went missing after entering the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. Some in the course of the last news cycle has alleged this to be a much deeper incident than it appears on the surface; a vanished journalist, murder, international intrigue, a Saudi administration in conflict with Turkey; both jockeying for power in a region bound for widespread war in the coming years. Over a year post-living in exile after being banned from the Kingdom of al Saud, Khashoggi returned to the assumed security of the nation of his familial ancestry while continuing a career of revolutionary praxis through media in the mideast region. Needing a legal certificate of divorce from the Saudi government, Khashoggi felt safe approaching the embassy- in and out, no harm, no foul.
How wrong he was.
Embassies and consulates are nerve centers for declared spooks of a nation. Formal intelligence officers working in a nation must be declared. Journalists, on the other hand, can get placed into positions of unique access and are often conduits for sensitive information. In any country where intelligence operations are being run (and that's all of them) a nation's embassy serves as the hot spot for intelligence and in turn, counterintelligence. With Khashoggi, we find an example of split loyalty divided between revolutionary Marxism and a convenient ally found in the politics of revolutionary Islam. Possibly best examining this juxtaposition is his quote from a WaPo piece in late August:
The United States' aversion to the Muslim Brotherhood, which is more apparent in the current Trump administration, is the root of a predicament across the entire Arab world. The eradication of the Muslim Brotherhood is nothing less than an abolition of democracy and a guarantee that Arabs will continue living under authoritarian and corrupt regimes. In turn, this will mean the continuation of the causes behind revolution, extremism and refugees '-- all of which have affected the security of Europe and the rest of the world. Terrorism and the refugee crisis have changed the political mood in the West and brought the extreme right to prominence there.
He goes on:
There can be no political reform and democracy in any Arab country without accepting that political Islam is a part of it. A significant number of citizens in any given Arab country will give their vote to Islamic political parties if some form of democracy is allowed. It seems clear then that the only way to prevent political Islam from playing a role in Arab politics is to abolish democracy, which essentially deprives citizens of their basic right to choose their political representatives.
'...There are efforts here in Washington, encouraged by some Arab states that do not support freedom and democracy, to persuade Congress to designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization. If they succeed, the designation will weaken the fragile steps toward democracy and political reform that have already been curbed in the Arab world.
The point made by that last paragraph is critical. ''Freedom and Democracy'' is a common phrase touted by Marxian-inspired revolutionaries. And Islamist revolutionaries are exactly that. Thriving in the swamp of Washington DC, Khashoggi no doubt not only found himself among willing peers but cheerleaders among the Deep State apparatchik, with those ties neither recent nor random. His tale is one of deep alliances with what we now know of as the Deep State, made of the Marxist-inspired and academia-groomed bureaucracies of the Washington elite. The Muslim Brotherhood to which he refers is the revolutionary party of Egypt, spearheading the so-called ''Arab Spring'' which plunged the stable nation into chaos and directly endangered the control of the Suez Canal, keeping fuel prices affordable, in the hands of Islamists. Mohammed Morsi, the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, found a quite inviting home in the White House and among the leftist administration of Barack Hussein Obama. Wasting no time eliminating political rivals and religious minorities, most notably Coptic Christians, the Egyptian Army stepped in to remove the leftist cancer that had been installed as a proxy of the Obama administration.
Tracing the roots of the Muslim Brotherhood, the organization gets its guiding philosophy from Sayyid Qutb, a Western-educated Islamic cleric who came to seek strict reformation and removal of Western influence from the Islamic world. It is from Qutb that many early Islamic movements sprang and later ones would thrive; al Qaeda being most notable. And Khashoggi would find himself comfy bedfellows with al Qaeda's revolutionary leader and fellow Saudi, Osama bin Laden. Traveling to Afghanistan to support bin Laden in the 80s, the New York Times notes:
'...the war's failure to put Afghanistan on sound footing haunted Mr. Khashoggi, as did Bin Laden's later turn to terrorism.
''He was disappointed that after all that struggle, the Afghans never got together,'' said a Saudi friend of Mr. Khashoggi's who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals.
Mr. Khashoggi's trips to Afghanistan and his relationship with Prince Turki al-Faisal, who headed Saudi intelligence, made some of Mr. Khashoggi's friends suspect he was also spying for the Saudi government.
His connections with not only the Saudi intelligence apparatus but the larger revolutionary movements of the region becomes clear when examined further:
The friendship endured with Jamal Khashoggi following Osama bin Laden to Afghanistan. Khashoggi credited Adel Batterjee, listed at one time as one of ''the world's foremost terrorist financiers'' by the Treasury Department, with bringing him to Afghanistan to report on the fighting.
The media calls Khashoggi a journalist, but his writings from 80s Afghanistan read as Jihadist propaganda with titles like, ''Arab Mujahadeen in Afghanistan II: Exemplifies the Unity of Islamic Ummah''.
And when Osama bin Laden set up Al Qaeda, he called Khashoggi with the details.
After Afghanistan, Jamal Khashoggi went to work as a media adviser for former Saudi intel boss, Prince Turki bin Faisal, alleged to have links to Al Qaeda. Those allegations came from, among others, Zacarias Moussaoui, the alleged twentieth hijacker.
When the other 19 hijackers perpetrated the attacks of September 11, Khashoggi wrote that the Saudis would not ''give in'' to American ''demands'' for ''unconditional condemnation'' and ''total cooperation''.
''Saudis tend to link the ugliness of what happened in New York and Washington with what has happened and continues to happen in Palestine. It is time that the United States comes to understand the effect of its foreign policy and the consequences of that policy,'' he declared.
''A Muslim cannot be happy with the suffering of others. Even if this suffering is that of Americans who neglected the suffering of Palestinians for half a century.''
The suspicion of him being a spy was likely true. The espionage of Khashoggi would be one of convenience and serving multiple masters however; living and working for that same revolutionary praxis, diverging only where he saw fit all the while running afoul of the established order of his nationsake. For Saudi Crown Prince bin Salman, his activities had not only grown counterproductive but a direct threat to the Kingdom- once there was a changing of the guard in Washington. As recently as 2016, Khashoggi was criticized for his close ties to both the Saudi intelligence apparatus and that of the Turkish government, with Bahraini media commenting on the issues in Cyprus noting,
Khashoggi seizes every opportunity to confirm his complete support for the Turkish role in the region. He is one of the public opinion makers having close ties with the ruling family in Saudi Arabia, who vigorously worked, through the media, on narrowing the Saudi-Turkish difference following the overthrow of the Muslim Brotherhood rule in Egypt, as well as promoting a partnership between the two countries based on leading the Sunni Muslims and supporting ''Islamist Jihadists'' in Syria. He is almost a frequent visitor of Turkey and his personal Twitter account is full of news about his meetings with Turkish Justice and Development Party officials and statements praising them and their policies in the region.
Post Saudi anti-corruption purge of 2018, Khashoggi likely had too many friends running counter to the intent of the Kingdom and thus became persona non grata. His troubles however surfaced early in the newly-minted regime of bin Salman's father. After directly criticizing then President-elect Trump, Khashoggi was effectively muzzled before departing the nation in 2017, all the while not diverting from his revolutionary path and defaulting to his Deep State allies in the West and in Turkey. Suspected of being an agent for the failed Saudi 'Arab Spring', such a destabilization could not be tolerated.
This begs the question of just who would benefit from chaos in Saudi Arabia. Iran would for one, exploiting the blood feud between Shia and Sunni Islam while simultaneously uniting under one banner of Sharia; a prerequisite goal satisfying Tawhid, or unity under Allah before the Islamic Day of Return. Khashoggi did not share common ancestry nor ideology with the Persians however; he was at home with the restorationist Ottomans of Erdogan and the Turkish government. Vowing he is ''he is personally ''chasing'' the investigation'', Turkish President Erdogan has taken personal issue with a matter among Saudi nationals. Turkey, seeking to expand their sphere of influence away from the Whabbism of the House of al Saud, would benefit most from destabilization of the Saudi Kingdom and thus explains their complicit support of many elements of Barrack Hussein Obama, Hillary Clinton, John Brennan and John Kerry's failures in regime change.
What is to be assured is that Khashoggi was a man deeply embedded in the global apparatus currently known as the Deep State. His death may be a carnie call to the stay-behinds still actively undermining US policy. Leftist in both origin and ideology, Khashoggi's role was change in the middle east assured by the hubris of aligned media outlets; a common home for burned spies with too much baggage. He was not protected as he so thought, he was not untouchable, and his story should not be the October surprise that drives a wedge between Trump and an otherwise strong economy through a rise in gas prices. Rogue operation or not, Khashoggi was an agent of the worst actors of the West and perished by the idiotic game he played. He should neither be mourned nor exalted as a martyr- he was nothing more than a pawn to those playing in the affairs of other nations. What is likely however may be a different issue altogether, signaling a larger power struggle throughout the Middle East. Erdogan is on the rise and seeking to expand his influence not only in the middle east but in Europe; he will no doubt use this to his advantage as the Turkish government already has done. Taking into account his strategic point into Europe and the Middle East, uneasy times are following.
Keep your powder dry and seek training. Rough times are ahead both globally and at home.
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Are Saudi Arabia Blackmailing Trump Over Donald Jr and Jared Kushner? '' patribotics
Why is Donald Trump so soft on terrorism? Is it because he's being blackmailed over criminal acts with Saudi Arabia committed by his son, Donald J Trump Jr, his son in law, Jared Kushner, and his ally and 'backchannel' to Russia, Erik Prince?
Saudi Arabia's crown prince, Mohammed Bin Salman, ordered that a US person be lured into a Saudi consulate and chopped up alive. Per reporting, the United States has proof of this in the form of a recording. This is straight terrorism; Khashoggi was tortured before he was killed.
''Radical Islamic Terror'' was a keystone of Donald Trump's attacks on Hillary Clinton. He said it over and over again. He accused Saudi Arabia of funding ISIS, and demanded she return every penny her charitable foundation had accepted from them.
So, for Trump, this should be easy. This should be red meat to Trump's Republican base. Here is a cut and dried opportunity to prove he's tough on radical Islamic terror.
Instead, Americans are treated to the shameful sight of Mike Pompeo glad-handing the playboy prince who spat in Trump's face when he ordered Khashoggi slaughtered. And people want to know why, exactly, Trump is acting like such a gutless coward before the Saudi terrorists. Did they pay him off? Or did they pay his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, off?
Patribotics is grateful for the readers who make our reporting possible. Your support helps us break stories and analyze all the key events on Trump and Russia. Please consider a donation hereKushner is the administration's so-called Middle East expert, a job for which Trump granted a basic security clearance after Chief of Staff John Kelly had it downgraded from TS/SCI to 'Secret'.
(The White House reviewed the background investigation by the FBI on Kushner and then granted 'Top Secret' clearance, which it has the right to do whatever the FBI report says; but the CIA prevented Kushner from regaining the TS/SCI clearance that Kelly effectively stripped from him. The stripping followed accusations that Kushner had given names of MBS opponents taken from the Presidential Daily Briefing to MBS in Saudi Arabia, which resulted in the Prince's torture purge of his opponents, discussed below.).
''Jared Kushner is in my Pocket''Mohammed Bin Salman, the terrorist and murderer of the Washington Post journalist, reportedly boasted that Jared Kushner was ''in his pocket''. But why should he be?
Kushner sought funding from Qatar, Saudi Arabia's regional rivals, for his personal property, the tower at 666 5th Avenue, shortly after Trump won the election, in spring of 2017. They turned him down. Kushner also sought funding from the Saudis, and in contrast, they agreed.
On May 9th, Trump fired James Comey, who was investigating his campaign for its links to Russia.
Trump then headed off to Saudi Arabia on May 19th, with Ivanka and Kushner in tow.
Ivanka and Jared in Saudi Arabia after Trump fires James Comey. Betsy deVos, sister of Erik Prince, was also there.Weeks after this visit, with Jared Kushner's approval, according to reports, the United States changed decades of foreign policy and allowed Saudi Arabia to blockade Qatar.
But that's not all. In doing so, Kushner and Trump allowed the Saudis to literally cut off a major United States military base. Al Udeid Air Base, in Doha, Qatar, is the forward headquarters of the United States Central Command.
There was an outcry. Donald Trump tweeted his support for the blockade,
outraging commentators in America and throughout the world. Rex Tillerson, the Secretary of State, was aghast.
Yet in the end, the Qataris did pay up. They had to. Using their company Brookfield, a beneficiary of their sovereign wealth fund, Qatar invested in Kushner's abominably run company.
But the blockade is still in effect. And Kushner had his security clearance downgraded in Feb 2018. It went from TS/SCI to merely 'Secret'. It has only been restored to 'Top Secret'.
Did Jared Kushner actually solicit a bribe from either Qatar or Saudi Arabia, and then change US foreign policy to reflect the results, even allowing the blocking of US Central Command's main forward base? If there is any proof that he did so, that is not merely 'emoluments'. That is treason.
And Mohammed Bin Salman, MBS, would think himself untouchable. If he has a recording of Jared agreeing to take a bribe, or discussing what he would do to Qatar for failing to pay up, then he has Kushner's liberty, and possibly life, in his hands. He can do whatever he likes, including cutting up US persons with bone saws. He can blackmail the President of the United States.
Was Erik Prince Involved in the Death of Khashoggi?Reviewing the published materials, it is easy, looking at Kushner, to forget the reporting on Erik Prince and the Saudis. The UK tabloid the Daily Mail claimed that American mercenaries were torturing Saudis that were enemies of Bin Salman.
The Mail said that a 'source in the country' reported that Erik Prince's company Academi, formerly Blackwater, was involved in this torture.
arrests have been followed by 'interrogations' which a source said were being carried out by 'American mercenaries' brought in to work for the 32-year-old crown prince'...
'They are beating them, torturing them..' the source told DailyMail.com.
'Blackwater' has been named by DailyMail.com's source as the firm involved'...it strongly denies even being in Saudi Arabia and says it does not engage in torture, which it is illegal for any U.S. citizen to commit anywhere in the world.
The article cited a deleted tweet by the President of Lebanon, which appeared to back up their source:
'Lebanese authorities have unconfirmed information that the Blackwater firm is guarding Hariri and his family '' not official Saudi security forces,' Michel Aoun, the President of Lebanon, tweeted last Wednesday.
A popular Saudi whistleblowing Twitter account also made this accusation in November. Ahdjadid tweet read:
The first group of Blackwater mercenaries arrived in Saudi Arabia one week after the coup on Bin Nayef, about 150 fighters; Bin Salman [MBS] sent some of them to guard Bin Nayef where he was detained, and kept another group to protect himself.
It took me a little time to find President Aoun's statement confirmed by a more reputable news source, but the tweet was indeed covered by the BBC's Arabic service. The relevant quote attribute to Aoun reads:
''The Lebanese authorities have unconfirmed information that those guarding Hariri are Blackwater, not Saudi official security.''
It is indeed surprising that this deleted accusation, coming from Lebanon's President, was not more widely covered in the West, but the BBC are absolutely accurate and trustworthy as a source. So if MBS routinely detains and tortures his enemies, and Academi/Erik Prince are thought, by Middle Eastern heads of state no less, to be part of that, is it not likely that Erik Prince would have had something to do with MBS trained thugs who murdered Khashoggi?
And if Erik Prince helped carry this torture out, did Jared Kushner help identify the targets by leaking MBS classified US intelligence?
The Washington Post reported that, before this purge, Jared Kushner flew secretly to Saudi Arabia and stayed up all night with his bromance MBS:
The two princes are said to have stayed up until nearly 4 a.m. several nights, swapping stories and planning strategy
Donald Trump Jr Met With Erik Prince About Saudi Help to Get Trump Elected Using Fake NewsAmong the dizzying web of connections between Trump, the Saudis and the Russians, Mr. Prince looms large. That he was setting up a private contractor army for MBS is not itself in dispute. The New York Times reported:
Mr. Nader was also in discussions with Mr. Prince, the former head of Blackwater, about a plan to get the Saudis to pay $2 billion to set up a private army
On August 3rd 2016, the pedophile George Nader, representing the UAE, and, as we see here, also a connection directly to the Saudis and MBS, met with Donald Trump Jr and Stephen Miller in Trump Tower, as did Joel Zamel of Psy Group. Zamel was to help Trump get elected by running fake bots and personae on Facebook:
Mr. Zamel had been working on a proposal for a covert multimillion-dollar online manipulation campaign to help elect Mr. Trump'...using thousands of fake social media accounts to promote Mr. Trump's candidacy on platforms like Facebook.
The Trump campaign apparently thought Zamel's work was effective. The Times reported he met with Jared Kushner and Steve Bannon many times in the final weeks of the campaign and the transition.
In the hectic final weeks of the campaign and during the presidential transition, several of Mr. Trump's advisers drew Mr. Nader close. He met often with Mr. Kushner, Mr. Flynn and Stephen K. Bannon
Was Zamel doing for Trump what he'd done for the Russians? He'd run similar fake botnets for Oleg Deripaska and Dimitry Rybolovev, whose plane met Trump's frequently in the campaign. Furthermore the pedophile Nader paid him $2m after the campaign after going to Moscow.
Reports just out indicate that Jared Kushner is urging Trump to ''stand by'' terrorist Mohammed Bin Salman '' and he is citing the kidnapping of the Lebanese Prime Minister ''blowing over'' as one reason for that. That's the very same kidnapping that Erik Prince was involved in, according to the Lebanese President.
So, as insane as it may seem, is Mohammed Bin Salman right? Does he have Jared Kushner, and Erik Prince, in his pocket for taking his money to do illegal acts? Does he have Donald J Trump Jr in his pocket for accepting his illegal election help at Trump Tower? Because if so, it will be very easy for MBS to blackmail the President of the United States.
And, going back to this noxious, yet probably accurate, phrase, why did MBS reportedly say Kushner was ''In his pocket'' in the first place? He was not referring to Saudi Arabia's bribe over the Qatar blockade, he was referring to Erik Prince's mercenaries helping to detain and torture his enemies '' with some of those names being leaked to him, by Kushner, from the Presidential Daily Brief. That's the incident Kushner is referring to, right now, telling Trump that it ''blew over'' '' and so will the murder of Khashoggi.
Mr. Kushner has argued that the crown prince can survive the outrage just as he has weathered past criticism.
Yet Trump should watch out. All the reporting indicates Mueller is well aware of Saudi-Russian money washed through Nader and Zamel, that he has seized Zamel's computers, and that he is preparing to announce the collusion in his forthcoming report. As John Schindler reports in the Observer, Donald Trump knew, through official US intelligence channels, that the Saudis planned to harm Khashoggi:
I can confirm that the National Security Agency, America's big ear, indeed intercepted Saudi communications that indicated Riyadh had something unpleasant in store for Khashoggi. Listening in on foreign governments, after all, is NSA's main job, and that includes frenemies like Saudi Arabia as well as hostile regimes. At least a day before Khashoggi appeared at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, an NSA official told me, the agency had Top Secret information that Riyadh was planning something nefarious'--though exactly what was not clear from the intercepts. This was deemed important because Khashoggi is a legal resident of the United States, and is therefore entitled to protection. According to the NSA official, this threat warning was communicated to the White House through official intelligence channels.
Trump did not legally have to do anything. But if the reason that he did not act was that Donald J Trump Jr and Jared Kushner committed crimes with Saudi Arabia, and that his ally Erik Prince's mercenaries were involved, then every day that Trump delays answering Mohammed Bin Salman's act of terror against a US person will be merely another mark against him on the criminal scoresheet that Mueller and the FBI are building.
If you enjoy our reporting, please consider a donation. Patribotics takes no advertising, and is totally reader-supported. Thank you for keeping us going!Exclusive: Sources: General Flynn 'Wept' As He Asked FBI to Spare Mike Flynn JrWikileaks is Connected to Russia '' Despite Their ClaimsPlanespotting: Michael Cohen's Amazing Journey
Khashoggi Disappearance May Disrupt Trump Administration's Plans to Squeeze Iran - The New York Times
Image Currency exchange rates in Tehran. The Trump administration is counting on Saudi Arabia to help impose tough sanctions on Iran next month. Credit Credit Ebrahim Noroozi/Associated Press White House officials are worried that the apparent killing of the dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and Saudi Arabia's changing account of his fate, could derail a showdown with Iran and jeopardize plans to enlist Saudi help to avoid disrupting the oil market.
Officials said the dilemma comes at a fraught moment for the Trump administration, which is expected to reimpose harsh sanctions against Iran on Nov. 5, with the intent of cutting off all Iranian oil exports.
But to make the strategy work, the administration is counting on its relationship with the Saudis to keep global oil flowing without spiking prices, and to work together on a new policy to contain Iran in the Persian Gulf.
If that carefully coordinated plan moves forward, the Saudis would likely see a significant increase in oil revenue at exactly the moment Congress is talking about penalizing the kingdom over the Khashoggi case. It is one reason that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was sent, with a few hours' notice, to see King Salman of Saudi Arabia and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Tuesday.
Part of the problem is optics, officials said: Saudi Arabia looks like a brutal ally, including by leading a deadly military campaign in Yemen, just as President Trump and Mr. Pompeo have been casting Iran as the region's bully.
''It's a neat trick if you can both sanction a country and partner with them at the same time,'' said Richard N. Haass, the president of the Council on Foreign Relations, who worked for several Republican presidents. ''And it's not easy to keep the focus on Iran's behavior when the Saudis are doing terrible things to journalists and dissidents, and bombing children in Yemen.''
After a phone call with Prince Mohammed on Tuesday, Mr. Trump said the kingdom's rulers had again ''totally denied any knowledge'' of Mr. Khashoggi's fate. He said the crown prince, who was with Mr. Pompeo during the call, would expand an investigation into Mr. Khashoggi's disappearance and suspected killing two weeks ago.
Mr. Khashoggi, a columnist for The Washington Post, has not been seen since he entered the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2. Turkish officials have asserted that Mr. Khashoggi was murdered and his body dismembered; Saudi officials denied any wrongdoing.
While Mr. Khashoggi's disappearance has heightened tensions between Saudi Arabia and both Turkey and the United States, the White House has been measuring the damage to its Iran strategy.
In interviews this week, Trump administration officials and outside experts said that possible repercussions on an elaborate plan to squeeze the Iranians have dominated internal discussions about the fallout over what happened to Mr. Khashoggi.
By comparison, they said, the issue of limiting American arms sales to Saudi Arabia, which Mr. Trump has said would threaten American jobs, pales in importance. The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity to publicly discuss internal conversations.
On Nov. 5, the administration is expected to announce that any company that does business with Iran '-- buying oil, financing projects or investing in the country '-- will be prohibited from doing business in the United States, including clearing transactions in dollars. It would present a common front with the Saudis, and cast Iran as the source of almost all instability in the Middle East.
That argument, officials have acknowledged, is now in jeopardy.
Mr. Pompeo's message, officials said, was that a credible investigation and a Saudi explanation of what happened had to be conducted rapidly, before it imperiled the rest of the agenda that Mr. Trump and his lieutenants have devised with the kingdom.
Other administration officials recently have been circulating through Riyadh, the Saudi capital, seeking the kingdom's help on familiar problems, be it Iraq, Afghanistan or the Islamic State. But it is the containment of Iran that has captivated the administration and its Saudi allies.
Norman T. Roule, who oversaw Iran assessments for decades before he left the C.I.A. last year, said in an interview from Riyadh that ''the Saudis need to quickly and transparently deal with this.''
Image Secretary of State Mike Pompeo meeting with Adel al-Jubeir, the Saudi foreign minister, in Riyadh on Tuesday. Credit Pool photo by Leah Millis ''But then we and the Saudis need to get back to the business of restoring stability, confronting Iran and building a better Middle East,'' Mr. Roule said.
That view is not shared by many in Congress, or among human rights groups, which believe that the Trump administration is so focused on Iran that it is willing to forgive Saudi actions that would be denounced as intolerable if they were committed by Iran.
With international attention focused on the current discussions between Mr. Pompeo and the Saudi royals, the Trump administration announced on Tuesday a limited package of new sanctions '-- against Iran.
It was part of an orchestrated effort by the administration to repeatedly denounce Iran and warn European businesses to sever all commercial ties with the country before Nov. 5.
The penalties were issued against the Basij Resistance Force, an Iranian militia used to intimidate protesters. Officials who briefed journalists about the sanctions largely refused to answer questions about Mr. Khashoggi, despite a drumbeat of queries about Saudi Arabia, which one official termed a ''like-minded'' ally.
Middle East experts said the goal for Mr. Trump and the Saudis was clear: Get the Saudi role in Mr. Khashoggi's disappearance out of the headlines and focus anew on the Iranians.
''I think they have a very strong incentive to cook up some story that will get us out of this fix,'' said Gary Samore, the director of the Crown Center for Middle East Studies at Brandeis University, and a former top White House aide on nuclear issues for President Barack Obama.
''They can't go with the story that M.B.S. ordered a rendition of Khashoggi,'' said Mr. Samore, using the initials for the crown prince. ''So they have to find another credible story, and a rendition-gone-bad, or a rogue operation, might be it.''
But the key issue motivating the administration, he noted, is the close coordination needed with the Saudis as the crackdown on Iran unfolds. The result is that just as Congress talks about economic or military sanctions against the Saudi government, the country's oil revenue may actually rise, as it picks up business previously filled by Iran.
Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina and formerly a strong advocate of Saudi Arabia, has been among the most outspoken critics of the crown prince over the Khashoggi disappearance.
''He had this guy murdered in the consulate in Turkey,'' Mr. Graham said Tuesday on the ''Fox & Friends'' news program.
''I'm not going back to Saudi Arabia as long as this guy's in charge,'' Mr. Graham said, suggesting the king remove the crown prince from power. ''This guy is a wrecking ball.''
To penalize what the Saudis care about most '-- oil revenue '-- would be to undercut the Iran policy and send the price of gasoline and heating oil significantly higher, just as winter approaches.
The White House's focus on Iran is evident from a coming article in ''Foreign Affairs,'' which Mr. Pompeo wrote before Mr. Khashoggi's disappearance. It is titled ''Confronting Iran,'' and depicts Iran '-- along with North Korea '-- as the two major threats that Mr. Trump is committed to defanging.
''Iran's leaders '-- especially those at the top of the I.R.G.C., such as Qasem Soleimani, the head of the Quds Force '-- must be made to feel the painful consequences of their violence and corruption,'' Mr. Pompeo wrote, referring to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. ''Given that the regime is controlled by a desire for self-enrichment and a revolutionary ideology from which it will not easily depart, sanctions must be severe if they are to change entrenched habits.''
He continued: ''That's why the Trump administration is reimposing U.S. sanctions that were lifted or waived as part of the nuclear deal; the first of these went back into effect on Aug. 7, with the remainder coming back on Nov. 5. We intend to get global imports of Iranian crude oil as close to zero as possible by Nov. 4.''
The article makes only one reference to Saudi Arabia '-- as a country that is the target of Iranian-made missiles.
Correction:An earlier version of this article misstated the date that the United States will reimpose sanctions on Iranian oil exports. It is Nov. 5, not Nov. 4.
Gardiner Harris and Emily Cochrane contributed reporting.
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'Mohammad bin Salman Must Go', but US-Saudi Ties Are Here to Stay
Mohammad bin Salman is fully aware of the Western elite's understanding of its own values. While he may be given a pass to bomb Yemen and kill thousands of innocent civilians, he should know better than to dare touch a Washington Post columnist '' ''one of ours'', as one MSNBC host said. Did he not realize there would be consequences?
As more information came out, many analysts began to confront the most obvious question. Was it possible that Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) was so arrogant that he could not imagine the consequences of such a heinous crime? How could MBS betray Trump this way, not anticipating that the Democrats and the mainstream media would jump all over Trump's friendship with him? Could he be so foolish as to place in jeopardy foreign investments planned at the Davos in the Desert conference on October 23? The answer to that question is apparently: yes, he could.
The only rational explanation for this behavior is that MBS thought he could get away with it. Remember that we are talking about someone who had Saad Hariri, the prime minister of Lebanon, kidnapped and carried off to the Kingdom, with his whereabouts unknown for days but with very little reaction from the mainstream media or Western politicians. It is possible that in this instance, MBS simply misjudged the level of Khashoggi's popularity amongst neoliberals of the Washington establishment, provoking an unexpected response. Furthermore, the thesis that the Saudis understood that they had some kind of green light from Trump is not to be totally dismissed. Such a backlash is what you get from having a big mouth, praise your friends too much, and tweet all the time.
The rapidity with which the US media, and especially dozens of Republican and Democratic senators, attacked Saudi Arabia, blaming it for the atrocious crime, is rather unusual. After all, the Saudi elites have been inclined to behave in such a manner over the last 40 years. But it also highlights the ongoing inconsistency and double standards: nothing is said about Yemen, but the Kingdom is currently under the strongest censure for allegedly offing a journalist.
As I had already pointed out in my previous article, Khashoggi was clearly part of a faction opposed to the current ruling royal family in Saudi Arabia, headed by MBS. To understand this Saudi golden boy of the US mainstream media as well as military-industrial-spying complex, we have to go back to Mohammed bin Nayef. Bin Nayef has been under house arrest for almost two years, immediately purged by MBS as soon as he assumed power as crown prince. Bin Nayef has for decades been the CIA's go-to man in Riyadh, helping the CIA & Co. pretend to ''fight'' al Qaeda in the Kingdom while using al Qaeda as a tool to inflict damage on US geopolitical adversaries.
The removal of bin Nayef by MBS was greeted with anger by a part of the US establishment close to Washington think tanks and the CIA and was never fully digested. MBS and his father, King Salman, needed to consolidate power around the throne at the time, and bin Nayef was certainly part of the faction opposing MBS, as was Khashoggi.
Naturally, these antipathies were set aside by the CIA, think tanks and neoliberals in the media due to to the importance of the relationship between Saudi Arabia and the US, especially vis-a-vis the US Petrodollar. MBS even undertook a tour in the US to help smooth the relationship with the West, being hailed as a new reformer, if you can believe that.
Nowadays,the relationship between Riyadh, Tel Aviv and Washington is based on the strong friendship between Trump and MBS and Trump and Netanyahu. Furthermore, the strengthened link between Trump and MBS, facilitated by son-in-law Jared Kushner, who is close to Israel, served to create a new alliance, perhaps even hinting at the possibility of an Arab NATO. Israel is eager to see more Saudi and US engagement against Iran in the region, and the Saudis similarly praise Israel and the US for being engaged in a fight against Iranian influence in the region. In this way, Trump can please his Israeli friends and see Saudi money pour in as investments.
These agreements have led to a series of disasters in the Middle East that go against the interests of Israel, Saudi Arabia and the US. Israel's recklessness has led to the deployment of a wide range of Russian state-of-the-art weapons to Syria, preventing Israel and the US from acting as freely as before. The disastrous Saudi war in Yemen, the almost diplomatic break with Canada, the kidnapping of the prime minister of Lebanon, and now the Khashoggi affair, have further weakened and isolated Saudi Arabia, MBS, and therefore Trump. The US is no longer able to influence events on the ground in Syria, and so the initial plans of Israel and Saudi Arabia have foundered, after having devoted hundreds of millions of dollars to arm and train terrorists to overthrow Assad.
The Khashoggi affair plays into this situation, exacerbating the war between elites in the US as their strategies in the Middle East continue to fail. The neoliberal mainstream media immediately used the Khashoggi story to pressure Trump into taking a firm stance against one of his last friends and financiers, trying to further isolate him as the midterms approach. Many in the US deep state are convinced '' as they were convinced that Clinton would win the presidency '' that the House and Senate will end up in Democratic hands in the November elections, paving the way for Trump's impeachment and for Mike Pence to become president. Pence, a prominent figure of the evangelical right, would be the perfect president for Israel, placing Tel Aviv in the driving seat of US foreign policy as never before. In this scenario, it would certainly be preferable for certain parts of the elite to have a different figure at the helm in Saudi Arabia, seeing as MBS appears to be an unstable leader. Possibly they would prefer someone tied to the US secret services '' someone like Mohammed bin Nayef. For these reasons, Democrats, some Republicans and the mainstream media have gone all out against MBS and Trump.
Turkey seems to be using the situation to further widen the fracture between Saudi Arabia and the rest of the world. Since Doha is paying the bills for Erdogan these days, with the Turkish lira at a low, it is essentially the Al Thani family running the PR show in the Turkish media. It looks like the Qatari media are paying back with interests all the negative media they received from the Saudis over the past year. Despite this, neither Ankara nor Riyadh is intent on any kind escalation, both knowing that any suffering on their part is a boon for their enemies.
An interesting aspect related to the Khashoggi affair concerns the sources of the news about the investigation, all anonymous and coming from Turkish police or from people linked to the top echelons of the Turkish state. Knowing the odd state of relations between Ankara and Riyadh, and especially between Turkish ally Qatar and Saudi Arabia, all this news coming from one source should at least be taken with a grain of salt. What is certain is that the Turks had immediate knowledge of the matter regarding who, what, where, when and why. This means that they must have bugged the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, allowing the MIT, Turkey's intelligence service, to know in real time what was happening to Khashoggi. The story concerning the Apple watch appears to be an attempt by the Turks to thrown off the scent Saudis who may be scratching their heads wondering how the Turks came to have such intimate knowledge of what transpired in their consulate.
For Turkey, the Khashoggi affair could be the occasion for a rapprochement with the US, following a deterioration in relations in the last two years. Turkey has few friends left, and after being cornered by Russia and Iran in Astana with regards to Syria, it also has to deal with the tensions between Riyadh and Qatar as well as balance its relations with Iran and Israel. Erdogan would like to exploit this event as much as possible, and the release of Pastor Brunson seems to indicate Ankara's willingness to extend an olive branch to Washington.
Russia, Syria and Iran have everything to benefit from this ongoing internal quarrel between elements within Saudi Arabia, Israel, Turkey, Qatar and the US. Whatever the outcome of the Khashoggi affair, Moscow, Tehran and Damascus can only benefit from any deterioration of relations between these countries.
PressTV-Iran, Europe 'finalizing mechanism for cooperation'
Iran has been doing copious work with Europe to devise a mechanism to guarantee continued bilateral trade despite attempts by the United States to obstruct such cooperation, says an Iranian official, declaring that US sabotage is "certain" to fail as a result of ongoing Iranian-European diplomatic engagement.
"After much negotiation over a clear mechanism with Europe, we have neared certain understandings; and for sure, US sabotage in that regard will fail," said Bahram Qassemi, spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry, during a press briefing on Monday.
Qassemi referred to the US unilateral pullout from a multilateral deal with Iran, Europe, Russia, and China on May 8, and said Tehran has since been negotiating with the remaining parties to work out a mechanism to beat the US financial reach in European countries that would hinder their continued cooperation with Iran.
Iran struck the deal with originally six world powers and the European Union (EU) back in 2015, agreeing to curb its nuclear program in return for mainly lifting restrictions on its oil sales.
When US President Donald Trump unilaterally pulled America out in May, he reintroduced the previous sanctions and imposed new ones on the Islamic Republic. He also introduced punitive measures '-- known as secondary sanctions '-- against third countries doing business with Iran.
Iran has stayed in the deal but has stressed that the other parties to the agreement have to work to offset the negative impacts of the US pullout for Iran if they wanted Tehran to continue to remain in it.
Europe has been taking a range of measures to meet the Iranian demand for practical guarantees.
'Details to remain undisclosed'
On September 24, Iran and its five partners released a joint statement announcing the setting up of a "Special Purpose Vehicle" to facilitate continued trade with Iran, bypass the US's financial system, and avoid any impact of America's secondary sanctions.
That statement did not provide details. And EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said technical talks would ensue.
Qassemi said details would remain undisclosed to protect national interests and to preempt potential attempts to undermine Iran's work with its partners.
But he did say "the mechanism for cooperation" was being finalized.
The Iranian spokesperson also said Iran would ultimately decide whether its demands have been met in practice.
"If, ultimately, and for whatever reason, the European Union and [our] other partners fail to provide the necessary guarantees to us, that can influence Iran's decision, and the Islamic Republic will follow the path that is expedient for the country," he said.
While attempting to throw a wrench in the works, the Trump administration has simultaneously been sending Iran requests for new negotiations. Tehran has ruled out any talks with the Trump White House because of its unlawful exit from the deal '-- which was turned into effective international law via United Nations Resolution 2231 back in 2015 '-- and has said Washington must return to the deal before any talk of negotiations.
'Inaction on Israeli military activities unsustainable'
Asked about the Israeli regime and its covert military nuclear program, Qassemi said Tel Aviv's nuclear issue was not a concern for Tehran alone.
He reaffirmed a statement made by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif that it was time for Israel to "open its illegal nuclear weapons program to international inspectors."
No arts & craft show will ever obfuscate that Israel is only regime in our region with a *secret* and *undeclared* nuclear weapons program - including an *actual atomic arsenal*. Time for Israel to fess up and open its illegal nuclear weapons program to international inspectors.
'-- Javad Zarif (@JZarif) September 27, 2018Qassemi said international inspections of the Israeli nuclear program had to be put on the global agenda and that the current inaction on the matter was not sustainable.
'Hitting terrorists in Syria had a message'
In the briefing, the Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman also said that Monday's missile strikes on the positions of terrorists in Syria carried the message that Iran was firm in conducting "an unrelenting, fundamental, and serious fight against centers that cultivate and train terrorists."
The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) targeted terrorist positions to the east of the river Euphrates, near Albu Kamal Town on Syria's eastern border with Iraq in response to a terrorist attack during a military parade in the southwestern city of Ahvaz on September 22 '-- which killed 25 people and injured 69 others.
Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram QassemiOn Basra: 'US known for making anti-Iran accusations'
Qassemi also dismissed remarks by US officials blaming Iran for violence in the southern Iraqi city of Basra, where the US closed its consulate on Friday.
"America's goal in that recent move was to cause new problems for the Iraqi government in this particular period of time," he said. "And ultimately, putting blames and making accusations are obvious US policies toward Iran."
Iraq is in the process of setting up a new government after the parliamentary elections in May.
Basra has recently been beset by violent protests. Iran's own Consulate there was attacked in early September.
"Iran was in fact the victim of activities by violent and mercenary groups, which took orders from their enablers hostile to Iran, for the attack on the Iranian Consulate [in Basra]," Qassemi said.
Thanks Minister Lavrov, but no!
Asked about recent reported remarks by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov about Russia's readiness to "mediate" between Iran and Israel, the spokesman said that it was gracious of Minister Lavrov to make that offer, but that Iran's position on the matter was crystal clear.
"It is kind of him, but everyone knows our stance toward the Zionist regime (Israel) and its being illegitimate," Qassemi said.
Iran does not recognize the Israeli regime, which is in occupation of Palestinian lands.
'Iran hopes Germany would exonerate, return Iranian diplomat'
Qassemi also said Iran was seriously following the case of an Iranian diplomat '-- originally posted to Vienna, Austria '-- who has been detained in Germany and accused of being linked to a terror plot in Paris, France.
Iran has already rejected the accusation.
Nevertheless, a local German court on Monday approved the diplomat's extradition to Belgium, whose police demanded the extradition of the Iranian diplomat and another individual. That latter person, Belgian police say, is linked to another pair of suspects whom Brussels says were in possession of explosives on Belgian territory.
The superior regional court in Bamberg said, "The wanted man cannot cite diplomatic immunity because he was on a several day holiday trip outside his host state Austria and not traveling between his host country and the state that dispatched him."
Qassemi said the Foreign Ministry soon took up the matter via the Iranian Embassy in Berlin.
"We hope that the German government would reach a comprehensive understanding of the matter based on realities... and that our diplomat would be exonerated and returned to Iran," he said.
He said all efforts had been made toward that end and, "given the gravity of the issue, we will pursue the matter until a final conclusion."
Evening Standard pre-printed signs
ok, The Evening Standard. i have friends who marched. i
pointed out that we all marched against the Iraq war and that was a million of
us and that did sweet F A so why would this be any different? i asked a few of
my old London friends why they would rather have Brussels determine their
future, all said the same thing, “well this lot aren’t doing a very good job so
i’d rather have them”. mind blowing...
'Theresa May is in the killing zone': PM is warned she has 72 hours to save her job | Daily Mail Online
The Prime Minister (pictured today in Maidenhead) has been urged to confront disgruntled backbenchers at a crisis meeting on Wednesday
Theresa May was warned she is in the 'killing zone' today and could have just 72 hours to save her job.
The Prime Minister faces demands she attend a 'show trial' on her Brexit concessions and the state of the Government on Wednesday night.
Conservative MPs are attacking the PM from multiple fronts, with Brexiteers furious at the state of play in Brussels and backbenchers demanding an agenda away from the EU talks.
Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab laughed off the latest offensive against the PM but a possible contender to replace Mrs May believes there is 'assassination in the air', the Sunday Times reported.
Reports today suggest as many as 46 letters of no confidence in Mrs May have already been submitted to the powerful Conservative 1922 Committee, which controls leadership contests.
This is just two short of the 48 required to call a full no confidence vote. Mrs May would be forced out of 158 MPs vote against her.
Rank-and-file MPs last night told the Mail on Sunday Mrs May that she was in the 'last chance saloon' and called on her to face them at their 1922 Committee meeting on Wednesday.
She was given the chilling warning that she should 'bring her own noose' to the showdown as rivals step up their campaigns to succeed her in No 10.
A Cabinet minister told the Sunday Times the PM was 'endangering her own government' by refusing to take a different approach to Brexit.
They said: 'This is the first time I've thought it could fall over. She's not listening. That's kamikaze.'
Brexit Secretary Mr Raab dismissed the threat to Mrs May's position, insisting the claims have been made many times before during the Brexit talks.
He quipped she was hanging by a 'pretty strong thread' and insisted the PM was close to a good deal that would ease pressure on her.
Mr Raab said the threats are 'made every week' and told the BBC's Andrew Marr: 'We are at the end stage of the negotiation. It is understandable there are jitters on all sides of this debate.
'We need to hold our nerve. There is an end in sight in terms of a good deal.'
The lurid claims about Mrs May's fate come just over two years after MP Jo Cox was assassinated on the streets of her Batley and Spen constituency and amid growing alarm at violent rhetoric in politics.
Party sources claim that more than 100 Tory MPs, including some members of the Cabinet, would fail to back Mrs May in that subsequent ballot '' short of the total required to automatically trigger a leadership contest, but enough, they argue, to deal a fatal blow.
MPs last night told Mrs May (pictured today at church in Maidenhead) that she was in the 'last chance saloon' and called on her to face them at their 1922 Committee meeting
Brexit Secretary Dominic Raabn dismissed the threat to Mrs May's position, insisting the claims have been made many times before during the Brexit talks
Former Brexit Secretary David Davis today cements his status as the early frontrunner to succeed Mrs May by publishing in The Mail on Sunday what will be seen as his manifesto for No 10.
Rising star MP Johnny Mercer renewed his own attack on the Government today, writing in the Sunday Times he 'cannot continue to support an administration that cannot function' on issues from Brexit to the Grenfell Tower disaster and the Windrush scandal.
Brexit Minister Suella Braverman denied Mrs May had lost control of the party and played down the violent imagery, telling Sky News: 'Colleagues are free to express themselves in the way they wish.'
But former minister Robert Halfon warned the Conservatives had a 'serious image problem' and warned that voters think the party is just about austerity or Brexit.
On Sky News he called for a 'workers' budget' that makes the Tories the 'cutting-the-cost-of-living' party.
He said Labour was in a 'very powerful position' but insisted there was 'all to play for' if Mrs May changed the Tory party message.
Former Brexit Secretary David Davis has cemented his status as the early frontrunner to succeed Mrs May by publishing what will be seen as his manifesto for No 10
Brexit Minister Suella Braverman (pictured on Sky News today) denied Mrs May had lost control of the party and played down the violent imagery
Mr Davis' rallying cry over Brexit includes a thinly veiled threat to ban European airliners from British airspace in the case of a 'no deal' exit from the EU.
Amid an increasingly febrile atmosphere at Westminster:
No 10 aides were this weekend ringing Cabinet Ministers in a fresh attempt to 'sell' the idea of a longer post-Brexit transition period.Allies of Mr Davis said that discussions had started with his main rival, Boris Johnson, about whether to go head-to-head in a contest or negotiate a joint ticket. Members of the 1922 Committee privately discussed shortening any leadership contest from three months to just four weeks to limit the impact on Brexit negotiations.Mrs May's former deputy, Damian Green, said he was 'filled with foreboding' about the Tory plots.Brexiteers accused Speaker John Bercow of 'plotting to foil Brexit' during tennis matches with Labour MP Chris Leslie, an arch-Remainer.Up to 700,000 protesters calling for a public vote on the final Brexit deal marched in London, as civil servants started to 'war game' a second referendum.Ordinary citizens were warned to start making their own preparations for a no-deal Brexit.Rising star MP Johnny Mercer (pictured in Dorchester on Friday) renewed his own attack on the Government today, writing he 'cannot continue to support an administration that cannot function'
Mrs May caused dismay across her party last week by proposing to extend the Brexit transition period by a year, with even arch-Remainers condemning the plan.
Bring your own noose to your show trial: can political abuse sink any lower? By Glen Owen
Today's warning that Theresa May should 'bring her own noose' to her 'show trial' before the 1922 Committee highlights the level of visceral aggression which Brexit has brought to political discourse.
The 2016 EU referendum split the Tory tribe in two, and led to exile for David Cameron and George Osborne as Mrs May moved into Downing Street. Osborne's bitterness came out in his vengeful line about not resting until Mrs May was 'chopped up in bags in my freezer'.
Mrs May's catastrophic General Election campaign heightened the frustration of the Brexiteer wing, as No 10 was forced to negotiate with Brussels without a Commons majority. It might explain Boris Johnson's angry complaint in The Mail on Sunday that Mrs May had 'wrapped a suicide vest around the British constitution '' and handed the detonator to [EU negotiator] Michel Barnier'.
Its not just the Tories of course: Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell spoke about 'lynching' Cabinet Minister Esther McVey, while his colleague Clive Lewis told an audience member at a party event to 'get on your knees, bitch'.
Here are some of the most vicious comments to come from MPs in recent times...
'You realise it's a s***show'
Johnny Mercer on the current Government
'They were arguing 'Why are we sacking her? Why aren't we lynching the bastard?' '
John McDonnell recalling a public meeting demonstrating against Esther McVey
'[I won't rest until she] is chopped up in bags in my freezer'
George Osborne on Theresa May
'We have wrapped a suicide vest around the British constitution '' and handed the detonator to Michel Barnier'
Boris Johnson on Theresa May's Brexit plan
'I always think he looks like somebody has put their finger up his bottom and he rather likes it'
Anna Soubry on Nigel Farage
'A stupid, sanctimonious dwarf'
Simon Burns to Commons Speaker John Bercow
'Boris? Well, he's the life and soul of the party but he's not the man you want driving you home at the end of the evening'
Amber Rudd on the former Foreign Secretary during a heated TV debate
'I am not blind'
David Davis, asked if he had tried to embrace Diane Abbott
' Get on your knees, bitch'
Clive Lewis to an audience member at a Momentum event
'[Prince] Harry can't actually fly a helicopter... He just sits there going 'vroom vroom' '
Slur from Kensington Labour MP Emma Dent Coad
'Calm down, dear'
David Cameron to Angela Eagle in the Commons chamber
Critics claimed the 'betrayal' has triggered a fresh wave of Tory MPs sending no-confidence letters to 1922 Committee chairman Sir Graham Brady.
Downing Street held conference calls with Cabinet Ministers yesterday, making what one source described as 'another attempt to explain why we should sign up to an extended transition'.
The source said: 'It is another Olly Robbins idea [the Prime Minister's civil service Brexit adviser] which doesn't fly. People are not happy. It raises more questions than it answers.'
Even some May loyalists are now desperately worried that a leadership contest will be triggered. Opponents believe that, if she flops at the 1922 Committee 'show trial', or fails to turn up, her fate will be sealed.
One senior Brexiteer said: 'She should bring her own noose to the '22. Short of an uncharacteristically powerful, persuasive and coherent performance, then I think her time will be up.'
Last night, Downing Street refused to confirm whether or not Mrs May would appear at the crunch meeting, saying that she would have 'plenty of chances to answer questions in the Commons next week'.
Another Tory MP, a former Cabinet Minister, likened Mrs May to a 'lame cockroach' who 'keeps going' in an 'irradiated' environment.
Meanwhile, in his MoS article, Mr Davis says that Brexit is being treated as a problem when it is really a 'golden opportunity'.
Pro-Brexit Cabinet Ministers, led by Commons Leader Andrea Leadsom, pulled back from resigning after meeting at a so-called 'pizza summit' last week, but continue to harbour concerns that the Government is being boxed into a 'soft' deal by Mr Robbins.
Last night, Tory MP Andrea Jenkyns, who believes that Mrs May should stand aside, said: 'This is a moment for action, the right time to select a brave leader. How bad does it get before we act?
'Betraying Leave voters will have catastrophic consequences for our party and democracy, handing power to Jeremy Corbyn. Voters will not forgive us'. And fellow May critic Andrew Bridgen said: 'This week Theresa May will find that she is drinking in the last chance saloon and the bad news for her is that the bar is already dry.
'If she doesn't turn up to the '22 that will only make the letters go in even faster'.
Separately, Tory Brexiteers accused Commons Speaker John Bercow '' who has admitted voting Remain in the referendum '' of secretly plotting with anti-Brexit MPs to thwart the process.
The Speaker will potentially play a key role in the crucial Commons debate on whether to accept a final Brexit deal, with critics fearing he will allow Remain MPs to vote to force Mrs May back to the negotiating table '' or even postpone Brexit all together.
Tory MPs have accused keen tennis player Mr Bercow of plotting the moves during matches with former Labour Minister Chris Leslie.
Mr Leslie was unavailable for comment last night but friends denied he had been conspiring with the Speaker.
Mr Bercow also denied any plot with Mr Leslie.
A spokesman said: 'The Speaker has an open door to MPs from all parties and all sides of the Brexit divide. He remains scrupulously fair and even-handed in all Commons debates.'
Mrs May's former deputy, Damian Green, said he was 'filled with foreboding' about the Tory plots
Former Brexit secretary David Davis launches the 'Battle of Britain' as he threatens No Fly Zone for EU planes in UK airspace
BY GLEN OWEN POLITICAL EDITOR FOR THE MAIL ON SUNDAY
David Davis today steals a march on Tory leadership rival Boris Johnson by setting out what will be seen as his manifesto for Downing Street '' including adopting a much more militant attitude towards Brussels.
With both former Cabinet Ministers on high alert this weekend for the sudden triggering of a no-confidence vote in Theresa May, the former Brexit Secretary uses a trenchant article in today's Mail on Sunday '' below '' to slam the Prime Minister for proposing to extend the transition period for withdrawing from the EU by a year.
Arguing that Mrs May has 'managed to anger not just Leavers but ardent Remainers as well', Mr Davis calls for a change in tactics to a more uncompromising approach.
Our tongue-in-cheek portrayal of David Davis as a Battle of Britain ace
And he uses fears that a no-deal exit from the EU could lead to planes being grounded as ammunition for his case.
In his article Mr Davis argues: 'European flights would still need our airspace in order to fly to the USA. That should be enough to focus minds on a sensible outcome'.
Mr Davis also says that the temporary economic disruption of a no-deal withdrawal could be offset by fiscal policies, such as encouraging UK companies to spend a chunk of their £613 billion cash pile.
His intervention comes as he and Mr Johnson jockey for position, three months after they both resigned from the Cabinet over Mrs May's Chequers plan to keep the UK close to Brussels' rules on goods.
Supporters of Mr Johnson have been irritated by the surge in Mr Davis's activity, arguing that his time as Brexit Secretary makes him complicit in the current crisis and that he would be 'painfully out of his depth' as Prime Minister.
But allies of Mr Davis are attempting a more conciliatory approach, suggesting that Mr Johnson could run as Mr Davis's deputy on a joint ticket.
Both men signed an open letter last week saying that Mrs May would not be forgiven by the British people if Brexit was reduced to a 'choreographed show of resistance followed by surrender'.
Former Brexit Secretary David Davies speaks to journalist Sophy Ridge of Sky News during the annual Conservative Party Conference
But when asked about the joint ticket idea yesterday, one pro-Boris MP said sarcastically: 'How kind of them.'
Speculation about how close rebels are to triggering a no-confidence motion in Mrs May has been growing since the Prime Minister signalled she was prepared to extend the transition period of Britain's withdrawal from the EU.
Under current rules, 15 per cent of Tory MPs must write to the chairman of the backbench 1922 Committee, Graham Brady, to trigger the vote. That means 48 of the current 315 Tory MPs must take action.
One well placed Brexiteer, who has been keeping a list of who has written letters, put the figure in the early 40s at the start of last week. Two more letters were submitted on Thursday. A source close to the 1922 Committee said: 'At this rate it won't be long.'
If the 48 letters are received, Sir Graham would inform No 10 before ordering a secret ballot on whether Mrs May should stay as leader.
The Prime Minister could theoretically stay on if she won a simple majority, but realistically, if more than 100 Tory MPs failed to back her, then she would be under intense pressure to step down.
There would then be a leadership contest with candidates nominated and seconded by fellow MPs. If more than two contenders emerge, a series of ballots of MPs is then held, with the politician with the least votes removed at each stage.
When only two names remain, they are put to a vote among the wider party membership.
The contest usually takes three months, but members of the 1922 executive are understood to be looking at reducing it to under four weeks if it is called before Brexit, to allow the victor to take charge of the negotiations.
Tory MP Andrea Jenkyns, who has sent a letter to Sir Graham, said yesterday: 'It could all be done within two or three weeks by having digital hustings and fast-tracking the process'.
Brexit negotiations remain deadlocked over the problem of Northern Ireland. The Prime Minister explained to European leaders last week why she could not accept EU proposals for the Irish border, and they cancelled a planned summit for next month as 'not enough progress had been achieved' in the talks.
The former Brexit Secretary uses a trenchant article in today's Mail on Sunday to slam the Prime Minister for proposing to extend the transition period for withdrawing from the EU by a year
Cabinet Ministers are also growing increasingly alarmed about whether the country is prepared for a no-deal Brexit, and have said that ordinary citizens needed to make their own preparations, too. One Cabinet source cited the example of haulage drivers, who will have to start applying now for special ECMT permits if they want to drive on the continent after March. 'They need to apply for them now '' and there is a limited number of them.'
Labour MP Ian Murray, from the Best for Britain 'soft' Brexit group, said: 'This is yet another burden facing truckers and businesses. The Government is creating a nightmare of red tape and extra burdens. They are writing a lot of reports and then not doing the practical things needed.
'They are kicking the can down the road and we are running out of tarmac.'
An ally of Mr Davis said last night: 'This is not a crisis of David's making, but he is the right man to step into the breach and steer Britain through Brexit.'
CHAOS COMING-What Time Is It in Europe? Soon, the Answer Might Be Really Confusing - WSJ
BRUSSELS'--When Europeans set their clocks back next Sunday, it could be one of the last times 500 million people simultaneously get an extra hour of sleep.
After four decades of synchronized time change, the European Union's 28 countries are debating whether to go their separate ways, risking a temporal Tower of Babel over which clocks where are springing forward or falling back.
Moving clocks back and forth from daylight-saving time every six months is a nuisance, but leaving the decision to each country strikes some as chaos.
The EU has three time zones, but most people live on Central European Time. A post-synchronized EU raises such questions as: Who sets local time? How will it affect shipping times? What time does my plane land? And, from Daniel Dalton, a British Conservative lawmaker in the European Parliament, who asked: ''The system isn't broken, so why fix it?''
With barely 1% of the EU's population, Finland, it seems, has lobbed a time bomb into the bloc with its push for free-choice clocks. For the Finns and others in the far north, getting the authority to keep standard time, or winter time, all year would provide extra morning light in winter.
Another argument is that the twice-a-year ritual is a chore.
Italian lawmaker Angelo Ciocca scoffed at that. Earlier this year, he held up a wall clock in the European Parliament and showed how easily his finger could push the hour hand. ''Here we are crazily talking about a pointless issue that doesn't interest anyone,'' he said, ''certainly not Italian citizens.''
Portugal and Greece have already said they wanted to keep the practice of setting clocks an hour ahead in spring and back an hour in fall.
Others have trotted out the dairy cows. Irish studies showed that milk output drops for a month after the seasonal clock changes, because cows are most productive when milked at 12-hour intervals.
Violeta Bulc, the EU's transport commissioner, acknowledged the problem sounds funny'--but, ''for cows, it's hard to understand that they need to be milked one hour earlier or later,'' she said.
Last month, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker proposed ending mandatory shifts to and from daylight-saving time. EU transport ministers, who will decide what appears a long-shot change, begin talks on Monday.
Politics has framed the debate as a race against the clock. European Union officials want to show they aren't the power-mad bureaucrats that some allege. Europe's establishment leaders fear a sweep by nationalist, antiestablishment candidates in elections for the European Parliament in May.
''We are out of time,'' Mr. Juncker said, urging governments to agree to ceding EU clock control.
Even if governments miraculously agree, no changes can be expected before 2020. Airlines and logistics companies would need at least 18 months to adjust schedules.
Countries have struggled with time zones since steam trains made coordination across distances necessary more than a century ago. China and India solved the issue by each adopting one nationwide time zone.
It's not perfect. India sets clocks 30 minutes from most other countries, and neighboring Nepal has a 15-minute time difference from India.
Turkey and about a dozen other countries abandoned seasonal time changes in recent years. Russia, which spans 11 time zones, adopted permanent summer time in 2011, giving more evening light. In 2014, it swung to permanent winter time.
The EU debate is marked largely by geography. At the equator, days and nights remain roughly 12 hours long. For southern Europeans, the day is only about five hours longer in June than in December. In Arctic Europe, the swing is roughly 20 hours, leaving plenty of nighttime to stew about it.
People in the north of Europe overwhelmingly prefer to stay on winter time, according to a European Commission survey that drew nearly five million responses. Southern Europeans liked summer time better.
''I have the feeling in winter that life ends when it gets dark,'' said one German in the survey who favored permanent summer time. A Finnish respondent argued in favor of permanent winter time, saying it is ''impossible for old people to change the clock on the microwave two times a year.''
''This is something we'll argue about for a long time,'' a Dutch diplomat said.
One European diplomat called ending synchronization ''total nonsense,'' and clocks risked becoming weaponized. If France and Germany were to feud, the diplomat said, they could threaten to adopt different time zones.
Brexit-watchers fear the island of Ireland could get two zones if the Republic of Ireland, an EU member, and the U.K., which includes Northern Ireland, adopt different settings after the U.K. leaves the EU next year.
Clocks have already marked time in geopolitics this year. North Korea displayed its diplomatic thaw by re-synchronizing clocks with South Korea. For nearly three years, clocks in the two countries had been set a half-hour apart.
Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel felt he needed to reassure his country, which is already culturally divided between the Dutch-speaking north and the French-speaking south.
''It would be absurd if there were different choices within the Benelux countries,'' he said, referring to neighboring Luxembourg and the Netherlands.
Finland recently polled its citizens on which time they preferred. The result: A slim majority, 52%, opted for winter time; 48% for summer time. ''People just prefer summertime as a word,'' Finnish Transport Minister Anne Berner said.
Till Roenneberg, a professor of chronobiology at Munich University's Institute for Medical Psychology, said those who opt for summer time may not realize it means darker mornings.
Sticking with perpetual summer time, he said, could increase the risk of depression, diabetes, sleep problems and learning difficulties: ''This means we Europeans will become fatter, dumber and grumpier.''
Corrections & Amplifications The seasonal clock change in Europe is scheduled for next Sunday, Oct. 28. An earlier version of this article said Sunday. Northern Ireland is in the U.K. An earlier version incorrectly stated it was in Great Britain. (Oct. 18, 2018)
Write to Valentina Pop at firstname.lastname@example.org
Dogs are People Too
John and Adam, I am a Subaru Car salesmen listening to
episode 1075, a little behind but I believe I have standing in this area. Been
selling cars for over 2 years. People are buying SUVs, in my experience, for
one because of dogs you are absolutely correct. But, people also tell me all
the time that they just "feel safer" sitting up higher. The Compact
SUV market is taking off, i.e. Subaru Crosstrek, Toyota CHR, Honda HRV, Ford
Ecosport, etc... Subaru even has a string of commercials with "The
Barkleys" a family of Golden Retrievers driving Subarus. People often
bring their dogs to our dealership, we encourage it by putting out water bowls
We don't know if this is true or not, but we're supposed to believe survivors, right? It certainly made for an interesting Twitter Moment on Saturday '-- we're curious if we'll hear from Booker next week.
In short, we have an anonymous Twitter user going by @TheeDeepThroat posting a lengthy piece to Google Docs accusing Booker of assault.
#CoryBooker Sexually Assaulted Meand why it won't matter to the #metoo movement. https://t.co/8VQuMGY8bj pic.twitter.com/D5DWnFmfzd
'-- Deep Throat (@TheeDeepThroat) October 20, 2018
Brief follow-up to some concerns that have been raised: pic.twitter.com/6zjDu0vaIS
'-- Deep Throat (@TheeDeepThroat) October 20, 2018
Interesting addendum: ''I am not a woman. I am a man. So I am not holding my breath in thinking that this will be anything but largely ignored on the left.''
Here's the highly condensed version:
A gay man compliments @CoryBooker. Booker allegedly follows him to the bathroom, aggressively approaching him for oral sex'-- in a stall. The man declines and escapes. He also claims to have more proof than accusers like Christine Blasey Ford.
I think we should listen to him.
'-- Richard Armande Mills (RAM) (@RAMRANTS) October 20, 2018
re: Cory Booker gay accuser
Every ''victim'' should not necessarily be believed, but they most certainly should AT LEAST be heard.
'-- Richard Armande Mills (RAM) (@RAMRANTS) October 20, 2018
I love how no one's talking about what the accuser said about @RonanFarrow. While Farrow was perfectly OK marring his own credibility over the flimsy allegations of Deborah Ramirez, he allegedly ignored a gay man who claims a US Senator tried to coerce him into oral sex. #HimToo?
'-- Richard Armande Mills (RAM) (@RAMRANTS) October 20, 2018
The man says he contacted Ronan Farrow but got the runaround:
So on October 7th, I contacted Mr. Farrow, albeit anonymously, providing him with some of the details of my story and with a number of follow up questions. 4 days later he responded asking for a phone conversation. I replied the following day with a way to contact me and an open schedule. Between October 12th through the 15th, I emailed him 2 additional times with the final email stating that I would move onto trying to contact another journalist and wished him well. It wasn't until this morning, 8 days after his initial response that he contacted me again with an email, a voicemail and text message. This put me in an awkward position of re-evaluating his intentions and I have yet to respond to him. The second journalist I contacted following my interaction with Mr. Farrow has not responded to me either.
'-- David Reaboi (@davereaboi) October 20, 2018
#WeThePeople want an immediate FBI investigation and for Corey to step down now! https://t.co/RlflZXPYw4
'-- Stacey Dash (@staceydash) October 20, 2018
Here's a bit of the very long piece by TheeDeepThroat, who claims to be a liberal gay man who considered Booker a hero:
Here is a description of the incident as I described it to a lawyer: I stopped to use one of the building's single-occupancy restrooms. Upon washing my hands prior to leaving, I heard knocking on the door. When it comes to these restrooms it is customary to knock first in case someone is using it, even though there is an inner lock. When I opened the door, Mr. Booker was there. He smiled and very gregariously said ''Hey!'' We engaged in some brief idle chitchat in the entryway and then he asked me to speak in private. What happened next, happened so fast that it was hard for me to comprehend what was going on. It was one of those surreal moments where what was happening was such a deviation and such a perversion of one's natural daily routine that I hardly knew how to react. He pulled me into the restroom, albeit not too forcefully and slowly pushed me against the restroom wall. He said that ''Being a hero was a serious turn-on''. He continued, ''The Senate appreciates fine citizens like you. Especially this Senator.'' He then put his left hand on my groin, over my jeans and began to rub. I seem to remember saying something like ''What is happening?'' It was a bit like having vertigo. He then used his other hand to grab my left hand with his right and pulled it over to touch him. At the same time, he disengaged from rubbing me and used his left hand to push me to my knees from my shoulder for what was clearly a move to have me perform oral sex on him. At that point, I pulled away quite violently and told him I had to go. I did not see him again before he left.
Well, do we give the accuser the benefit of the doubt '... again?
Under the new rules, Corey must demand an FBI investigation of himself. If he doesn't he is guilty and should resign immediately.
'-- Madlaw (@madlaw1071) October 20, 2018
It won't amount to anything because he's the right kind of politician according to the media
'-- D.OB (@DOB65510914) October 20, 2018
'-- Quantified Dave (@QuantifiedDave) October 20, 2018
Guilty until proven innocent! Just saying'...
'-- Jeremy Anderson (@jdandro) October 20, 2018
Why would this man lie? What does he have to gain?He sounds very credible. If you don't believe him you're sexist. Cory should resign. Cory is guilty and needs to prove his innocence.
I believe him.
'-- ROME ã (@romanmestas) October 20, 2018
Surely the Sunday shows will be all over this '... right @jaketapper @chucktodd ?
'-- FFFFFFlaming Globes of Sigmund (@CapCube) October 20, 2018
Does #TBone know about this?
'-- jon w (@jonwins) October 20, 2018
I would say please, tell us more'....This doesn't surprise me in the least. Accusers must believed, right?? Booker should be treated just as he would have and DID do to Judge Kavanaugh. What's fair for on is fair for all.
'-- MartyDavin (@MartinCDavin) October 20, 2018
Let's see the proof. Innocent until proven guilty. We shouldn't stoop to the same levels of ignorance of and disregard for the rule of law that they are willing to stoop to. But if proof exists, oh boy, here we come Spartacus!
'-- Thoughtful Conservative (@ThConservative) October 20, 2018
He should be investigated by the FBI 7 times and mocked on national tv now. It's the new liberal rules.
'-- Devante buford (@buford_devante) October 20, 2018
Yeah, but it's fiction. Trying to make a point about journalism and credibility. But it's just bait. Don't bite.
'-- @wittier (@wittier) October 20, 2018
Maybe it's 4Chan trying to put one over on the national media; it's possible. But if it's fiction, Ronan Farrow ought to be able to straighten that out right away be saying he never received any such emails.
There doesn't seem to be any response from either of Booker's two Twitter accounts, so expect this to go nowhere unless one of the mainstream outlets picks it up, or Ronan Farrow follows up on the case.
In other words, expect this to go nowhere.
THIS is how FREAKISHLY EASY it is to accuse someone of sexual assault and get NBC News to report on it https://t.co/SvBx2ZRKFb
'-- Twitchy Team (@TwitchyTeam) September 27, 2018
How to become a member of the tribe
Great show on Thursday. I recently (within the last 3 years) got all my
indian "papers". I avoided it till 35yrs old because I knew the pain
would be. Here is how it goes -
1. Spend a month figuring out where to send your paperwork and what they
2. Apply for your CDIB card within your region by submitting a full
family tree back to the full blood indian on the roles. For me this was
my grandma (so i am 1/4th) = This is the 'willie wonka' card. It proves
your indian so you can get free health care, etc. This IS NOT membership
in a tribe. This is needed to get the cool bennies you get with the
obamacare special exclusions, scholarships, oh and to prove you are a
3. After you have your CDIB card you can then apply to your tribe. This
varies tribe by tribe. Again, had to submit about 20 more papers along
with my full family tree. For a tribe it is way more selective than the
In the end the CDIB proves you are indian. The tribal enrollment proves
you are REALLY indian with a tribe. For example, anyone with 1/256th
blood quantum can get a CDIB but good luck getting into a tribe. Most
stop at 1/16th.
Hope this helps,
Elizabeth Warren's ex-husband founded DNA testing company
S en. Elizabeth Warren's ex-husband co-founded a DNA testing company and wrote one of the first computer codes for making genetic comparisons.
Jim Warren's career involved him in the kinds of genetic testing that Elizabeth Warren controversially invoked this month to prove that she had Native American ancestry.
One of the two other co-founders of his testing company, FamilyTreeDNA, has worked with Carlos Bustamante, the Stanford University geneticist who administered a DNA test at Elizabeth Warren's request.
Bustamante, a Stanford University geneticist, conducted the test, which Elizabeth Warren used to respond to President Trump's "Pocahontas" taunt and his mockery of her previous claim to be a Native American while a professor at Harvard Law School in the 1990s. Warren's roll-out of the test results was widely seen as a sign that she is running for president in 2020.
Rather than using a commercial service to conduct her DNA test, Warren hired Bustamante, 43, who appears in the video explaining the test and in a scene in which the Massachusetts senator telephones his office and asks to speak with him. Warren received considerable criticism for the test, which found that her Native American heritage stretch back six to 10 generations, making her between 1/64th and 1/1024th Native American.
[Opinion: Elizabeth Warren's DNA test shows she isn't Native American, makes her the butt of jokes once again]
Elizabeth Warren's previously unreported connection to the family heritage industry is remote and dates back decades but is nevertheless a strand of a controversy that is unlikely to have been put to rest by the Bustamante test.
The Massachusetts senator, now 69, married Jim Warren when she was just 19. They met when she was in high school in Norman, Okla. They had two children, Amelia Warren Tyagi, now 47, and Alexander Warren, now 42, but divorced in 1978 after 10 years of marriage.
Elizabeth Warren began dating Harvard Law professor Bruce Mann before her first marriage had ended and she remarried six months after her divorce. Jim Warren remarried in 1989 and died in 2006. One person who was close to Jim Warren said that after the marriage ended "there was no love lost between the two."
Jim Warren co-founded FamilyTreeDNA in 2000. Today, it is one of the major vendors of genetic testing kits, along with 23andMe, the Genographic Project, and Ancestry.
A person who knew and worked for some two decades with Jim Warren, a mathematical wizard who worked at IBM for 25 years and became a NASA engineer, told the Washington Examiner he was brought on to design a code using algorithms the company developed to make its first genetic comparisons.
The code, known in the company as the "Warren Project," was specifically for Y-DNA testing, which tests for patrilineal ancestry '-- which therefore could not have been used in Elizabeth Warren's test administered by Bustamante. FamilyTreeDNA declined to respond to inquiries about whether the project was named for Jim Warren.
Jim Warren is publicly listed as one of FamilyTreeDNA's co-founders, along with Bennett Greenspan and Max Blankfeld, who still work together for the company.
Greenspan told ABC News this week he had worked with Carlos Bustamante. Greenspan explained that it can be difficult to test for Native American ancestry because Native Americans "have historically been unwilling and uninterested in participating in this game of identification."
Bustamante is on the scientific board of Ancestry and has consulted on other projects. FamilyTreeDNA declined to answer questions about the company.
Bustamante has given no media interviews since the Elizabeth Warren test results were released. There was no response from his office to questions, but the Washington Examiner inquired about his relationship with Greenspan and whether or not he consulted Greenspan about Warren's test.
Warren's office did not respond to questions.
The show last week breaking down the Kanye visit to the WH
Just in case you haven’t already heard, someone on the QAnon
board noticed that NPC = 33 (N = 14, P = 16, C = 3).
That would explain a lot actually amirite?
Keep rockin’ bro and TYFYC!
Construction of shredder video is BS. Soldering iron grabbed on shaft --Robert Gusek
Shut Up Slave!
Want a Higher Credit Score? Soon Your Cash Could Help - WSJ
Credit scores for decades have been based mostly on borrowers' payment histories. That is about to change.
Fair Isaac Corp. , creator of the widely used FICO credit score, plans to roll out a new scoring system in early 2019 that factors in how consumers manage the cash in their checking, savings and money-market accounts.
The UltraFICO Score, as it's called, isn't meant to weed out applicants. Rather, it is designed to boost the number approvals for credit cards, personal loans and other debt by taking into account a borrower's history of cash transactions, which could indicate how likely they are to repay.
The new score, in the works for years, is FICO's latest answer to lenders who have been clamoring for a way to boost loan approvals. It is among the biggest shifts ever for credit-reporting and the FICO scoring system, the bedrock of most consumer-lending decisions in the U.S. since the 1990s.
Borrowers currently have little control over what's in their credit reports, save for the ability to contest information they believe is inaccurate. Lenders, collections firms and other parties feed payment-history data to the major credit-reporting firms, Experian PLC, Equifax Inc. and TransUnion, and that information determines consumers' FICO scores. Lenders, in turn, use FICO scores to help make most of their lending decisions.
The UltraFICO score will function as an appeal of sorts. If an applicant's traditional FICO score falls short, a lender can offer to have the score recalculated to reflect banking activity. Would-be borrowers with at least several hundred dollars in their accounts, who have had them for a while and who transact frequently and don't overdraw are likely to see their scores rise, FICO said. Applicants will be able to choose which accounts they want considered when the score is recalculated.
FICO said it is in discussions with a handful of lenders, including banks and fintechs, that have expressed interest in using the new score in a pilot. One of those is Pentagon Federal Credit Union, the third-largest U.S. credit union by assets.
A decade after the subprime mortgage binge nearly brought down the U.S. financial system, consumer lenders remain wary of borrowers with low credit scores.
Banks have spent much of the past 10 years chasing ultra-creditworthy borrowers. Yet that slice of the market, which has grown as the economy has improved, is largely tapped out. Loan losses increased when lenders bumped up subprime lending in recent years.
As a result, lenders have been asking credit-reporting firms and FICO to figure out a way to help them boost lending without taking on significantly more risk. And regulators have expressed interest in exploring ways to increase access to affordable lending for consumers who have no or low credit scores.
Of U.S. consumers with credit scores, a record 58.2% had a score of 700 or higher on a scale that tops out at 850. The average FICO score is at a record 704. Lenders may have different cutoffs, but Experian considers scores under 670 subprime.
FICO said around seven million applicants who have low credit scores as a result of thin borrowing histories would likely see their scores improve under the new system. Separately, some 26 million subprime borrowers will end up with higher credit scores, FICO said, with nearly four million seeing an increase of at least 20 points.
Consumers with an average balance of at least $400 who haven't overdrawn in the prior three months would likely get a boost, FICO said.
Of course, there's a risk that the new scores could make some iffy borrowers look more creditworthy than they are.
David Shellenberger, FICO's senior director of scoring and predictive analytics, said the new score is better able to predict which applicants are likely to make payments and which are likely to default, while reflecting positive financial behavior that was previously invisible.
FICO is ''very focused'' on its ''ability to separate future good borrowers from bad borrowers,'' Mr. Shellenberger said.
Some scores could decrease when the new information is taken into account, he said.
Experian will compile consumers' banking information with help from financial-technology firm Finicity and will distribute the new score to lenders. Experian also will send lenders a report that includes a summary of the consumer's bank accounts.
Experian will keep the potentially valuable cache of sought-after account information. The company said it would use the data to address consumer disputes about accuracy. FICO won't have access to personalized account information.
The additional financial data gives lenders ''a more complete picture to lend to consumers more responsibly," said Greg Wright, chief product officer at Experian.
UltraFICO is the latest in a recent series of changes by credit-reporting and scoring firms that are helping boost consumers' credit scores.
Equifax, Experian and TransUnion last year began deleting most tax-lien and civil judgment information from credit reports. They also have been removing certain accounts in collections, following settlements with state attorneys general dating back to 2015 over how they manage errors and certain negative information on credit reports.
Eight million consumers who had collections accounts completely removed from their credit reports in the 12 months ended in June experienced a credit score increase of 14 points on average, according to a recent Federal Reserve Bank of New York report.
FICO updated its scores in 2014 to put less weight on medical bills that are in collections and to exclude accounts that consumers paid or settled with a collection agency.
Write to AnnaMaria Andriotis at email@example.com
Did the British Collude to Steal the Election for Hillary? '' American Greatness
T o borrow a Shakespearean expression turned colloquialism, ''there's something rotten in the state of Denmark.''
Great Britain has reportedly applied diplomatic pressure against releasing the unredacted Carter Page FISA documents. Why? Is it that British spy agencies were hot on the trail of Russian collusion and they do not want to have their sources compromised?
Or, more likely, was MI6 spying on an American political campaign with a Russian pretext and it does not want to be embarrassed?
A formal alliance permits intelligence agencies from the United Kingdom and the United States to engage in common spying to stop enemies from doing things like running jets into skyscrapers. Called ''Five Eyes,'' the alliance also includes Australia, Canada and New Zealand.
At the behest of the FBI, minor members of the Trump campaign, including Carter Page and George Papadopoulos, were invited to London to talk to Cambridge professor Stefan Halper about Trump and Russia.
Unless U.S. intelligence agencies were freestyling in England, MI6 was spying on the Trump campaign.
At the time, Donald Trump was making an unlikely and inexplicable run at the Republican nomination on what has been understood as a nationalist platform.
The Brits were dealing with their own unlikely and inexplicable political event. Tens of millions of working-class voters were angling to do the unthinkable: reject rule by their intellectual betters at the EU.
It was the run-up to the Brexit vote and a wave of nationalism was sweeping the UK. Just like their American liberal counterparts, British elites cannot psychologically process rejection on the merits.
If the common man was turning down their benevolent band of bureaucrats, someone had to be controlling their minds. How else would they act against their own interest?
As I wrote here in August:
The British aristocracy has a condescending view of the hoi polloi who voted for Brexit, regarding them as easily manipulated Pygmalion-like by smarter people. They assumed Vladimir Putin was somehow playing Professor Henry Higgins to the flower girls who voted to reject the EU, because that's how they see the world. Among the Cambridge class, this simple prejudice renders Russian collusion a first principle with no need for supporting evidence.
Whatever their motivation, it is indisputable that British intelligence agencies were imagining Putin under mattresses in 2016.
If that extreme paranoia influenced behavior, Russian collusion to steal the election is void ab initio. It was instead British collusion under a false Russian pretext. Proof of British collusion can be found in the number of British spies and the absence of anyone Russian in the sordid tale.
Halper is inferentially a British spy. The alternative is that he was an American spy conducting rogue operations from England.
Then there is Joseph Mifsud, who walks, quacks and acts like a British spy. The alternative is that he somehow showed up in the middle of a British sting operation against George Papadopoulos as a real Russian spy to play the part of a Russian spy.
More, Mifsud has documented connections to British spy agencies. He traveled to the United States in early February 2017 as a guest of the State Department, an accommodation not ordinarily made to Russian operatives who just stole an election.
Finally, there is the ubiquitous Christopher Steele, author of the dossier. His connections to MI6 cannot be denied. He is a British spy emeritus, who had most recently been employed to find out why England lost its World Cup bid to Russia.
His answer? Putin did it. When you need a retired British spy to find Putin under a mattress, he's your guy.
Steele was hired by the Clinton campaign but also used as an FBI asset because they were in the Russian collusion business together.
The joint British-U.S.-Clinton effort to fabricate a Russian canard to thwart Trump had a huge effect on the election and its aftermath.
In March, Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman had fallen for a ridiculous phishing scheme, releasing his confidential emails to an unknown source.
This has been called ''hacking,'' but it was not. The DNC's emails were not hacked until July. The official DNC talking points conflate the phishing with the later hack, which is sometimes confusing.
Even if duplicates of John Podesta's emails were lost during the July hack, however, expert analysis performed at the behest of the progressive publication The Nation reveals conclusively (until someone can say differently) that it could not have been sourced in Russia, based on the unimpeachable science of download speeds.
For more complete and incisive analysis of the hack that wasn't, please read Michael Thau's series here at American Greatness.
The Clinton campaign was able to avoid press scrutiny for the embarrassing contents of the Podesta emails by blaming Trump and Putin under the false Russian flag. More, Trump was caricatured in the crucial last days of the election as Putin's stooge.
That was the most significant piece of fake news in the election cycle. It necessarily cost Trump votes and could have cost him the election.
In the aftermath of the election, phony Russian collusion disrupted first the transition and then the presidency.
Thanks to the tireless efforts of Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) and the House Intelligence Committee, as well as some enterprising reporting by journalists such as Lee Smith, Sara Carter, Andrew McCarthy, John Solomon, Sharyl Attkisson, and Julie Kelly, the facts are coming out.
Maybe the Tea Party needs to reconvene to expel the Crown for meddling in American politics.
Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry arch of the North Church tower as a signal light: One if by land, two if by sea, and three if by coordination with American intelligence services and a political campaign.
TV data provider Sorenson Media filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Thursday, seeking to extricate itself from a costly deal with Sinclair Broadcasting.
Sorenson provides technology so local affiliate networks owned by Sinclair or Hearst can dynamically insert targeted ads at the household level. It has a similar relationship with Samsung Ads.
Sorenson's Chapter 11 filings show that the company signed a contract with the broadcast giant on the premise Sorenson would provide data for addressable TV advertising on Sinclair stations and sell ad impressions. However, in exchange for selling Sinclair impressions through its addressable ad platform, Sorenson must make minimum guaranteed payments to Sinclair '' an amount unspecified in the filings.
''However, the impressions provided through the Sinclair Agreement can only provide a fraction of the revenue needed to meet the minimum payments specified creating a significant drain on the Debtor's business '' in excess of $100 million over the life of the Sinclair Agreement,'' the filing states.
Because of this contract, Sorenson argues that it cannot raise the funds it needs to continue operating and therefore must rid itself of the Sinclair contract.
orenson has between $10 million to $50 million in assets and $100 million to $500 million in liabilities. Both Sinclair and Samsung are named as creditors in the court documents, owed $22.5 million and $10.5 million, respectively. Both are among Sorenson's top three creditors. Vizio, another creditor, is owed about $735,000.
''With such a large broadcast network, Sinclair would be a natural customer for the services and technologies developed by [Sorenson],'' one of the documents reads. ''But unfortunately, [Sorenson's] business has not commercialized as originally anticipated, and thus the Sinclair Agreement is burdensome and rejection is appropriate.''
Chapter 11 works like a Band-Aid for bankrupt companies. It allows the debtor to reorganize its assets and liabilities without falling apart. By declaring bankruptcy, Sorenson gets a reprieve '' but is not totally excused '' from paying its debt.
An attorney for Sorenson Media did not immediately return AdExchanger's request for comment.
Why the media are furious over Facebook's bad video metrics
In April, 2016 Mark Zuckerberg said the following: ''We're entering this new golden age of video . . . I wouldn't be surprised if you fast-forward five years and most of the content that people see on Facebook and are sharing on a day-to-day basis is video.'' A little over a month later, according to a lawsuit, the company would follow up on complaints that it knew about about issues with its video metrics since 2015. Months after that, Facebook finally, very quietly, admitted that it misreported key metrics.
'-- Jason Kint (@jason_kint) October 17, 2018
Now advertisers are suing over the company allegedly cooking the books and not disclosing this miscalculation. And media people are fuming about this development. Rightfully so: The media industry over the last two-plus years has been punctuated by an awful euphemism known as the ''pivot to video.'' With traditional digital advertising revenue flatlining, Facebook managed to convince online publishers that video would be the next media goldmine. The company jumped headfirst into the medium''changing its algorithm to favor moving images, while convincing both advertisers and publishers alike that a long-term, video-first strategy would be the answer to their revenue woes.
For advertisers, video was simply another way to reach eyeballs. For publishers, this was something different: Media executives overhauled entire budgets to embrace the new trend and hired new teams to make quick, consumable videos that would theoretically get them more ad revenue. Writer and editor positions were cut, and layoffs ensued. For over a year, new headlines abound about media brands diverting resources into platform-first content. No one really knew what was working in the pivot to video, but they were assured that if they followed the instructions, things would pay off.
Facebook should be in jail, obviously, but let's not forget about all the smooth-brained media execs who bought into the pivot to video when literally every person who works on the ground in media, or even just uses the internet every day, knew it was complete bullshit.
'-- Barry Petchesky (@barry) October 17, 2018
All this, it turns out, was allegedly predicated on a miscalculation''inflated metrics that Facebook knew about long before the problem got fixed. The company, according to the lawsuit, adopted a '''no PR' strategy'' to avoid admitting to this screw-up.
If you missed it: today it was confirmed that Facebook massively & knowingly inflated its video-view statistics, which had the DIRECT consequence of 90% of media orgs firing writers in favor of expensive video producers, who also got fired when it turned out video was worthless https://t.co/WqdAUBIe6L
'-- Chris Conroy (@dyfl) October 17, 2018
Facebook, for its part, denies that it ever knowingly reported false metrics. I reached out to the company for further comment and will update this post if I hear back.
In 2015, John Herrman wrote for the Awl about various editorial projects that platforms were playing around with, in an attempt to better control centralize the media ecosystem. The idea was to create apps and projects that would blur the line between platform and publisher. Though the move to video was only a whisper then, it was clear that a big change was on the horizon. He wrote:
Publications large and small but especially large spent the last few years in a sort of para-economy, watching their audiences and sometimes revenues explode as the result of informal partnerships with social platforms, which were happy to let these outsiders hustle to adapt all manner of writing and imagery and video to their new contexts. The self-pitying/aggrandizing explanation for the platforms' annexation of media attention would be that the last few years represent a sort of free-booting period during which media gave Facebook no-strings content in exchange for attention, which was converted into revenue in a system of advertising Facebook was simultaneously intent on destroying.
And indeed Facebook did destroy it. What followed was media companies trying to regain their footing by following the platform's lead.
It's news like today's that highlights the real-world impact of large tech platforms and their dominance over content distribution. While it's true that the advertising ecosystem was shifting, it's also true that hundreds of people lost their jobs, and it's looking more and more like that was due to a business-model whim predicated on faulty metrics.
Advertisers are banding together now''trying to get monetary justice for the alleged damage Facebook caused''but what about those on the publishers' side? Will they get their jobs back?
Introduced in 1983 by Stimutech. It was a device that could flash subliminal messages on your TV screen as you watched TV. The maker emphasized the ways this could be put to use for self-help (weight-loss, stop smoking, stop drinking, etc.). But they did sell a "Sexual Invitation" program that surreptitiously flashed messages of seduction: "Sex is OK, Let us make love, I am OK, We share sexually, Let us kiss, Let us caress, Let us be naked, We explore bodies, Let us be together.''
John Dvorak, InfoWorld - Dec 26, 1983
Lansing State Journal - Dec 4, 1983
It's not creepy at all. It doesn't suggest images of Uncle Pedo inviting his target niece "to watch a little TV". That's just your perverted mind.
Posted by Yudith on 10/20/18 at 11:02 AM
Someone clearly had
heard of these new-fangled magic home computer thingies, and may even, at one point, have seen a demonstration, but had never actually used one.
Posted by Richard Bos in The Netherlands on 10/20/18 at 12:44 PM
Why New York Has So Many Empty Storefronts - The Atlantic
New York's empty storefronts are a dark omen for the future of cities.
Oct 15, 2018 Staff writer at The Atlantic
These days, walking through parts of Manhattan feels like occupying two worlds at the same time. In a theoretical universe, you are standing in the nation's capital of business, commerce, and culture. In the physical universe, the stores are closed, the lights are off, and the windows are plastered with for-lease signs. Long stretches of famous thoroughfares'--like Bleecker Street in the West Village and Fifth Avenue in the East 40s'--are filled with vacant storefronts. Their dark windows serve as daytime mirrors for rich pedestrians. It's like the actualization of a Yogi Berra joke: Nobody shops there anymore'--it's too desirable.
A rich ghost town sounds like a capitalist paradox. So what the heck is going on? Behind the darkened windows, there's a deeper story about money and land, with implications for the future of cities and the rest of the United States.
Let's start with the data. Separate surveys by Douglas Elliman, a real-estate company, and Morgan Stanley determined that at least 20 percent of Manhattan's street retail is vacant or about to become vacant. (The city government's estimate is lower.) The number of retail workers in Manhattan has fallen for three straight years by more than 10,000. That sector has lost more jobs since 2014, during a period of strong and steady economic growth, than during the Great Recession.
Read: How basic economics could solve Manhattan's traffic problems
There are at least three interlinked causes. First, the rent, as you may have heard, is too damn high. It's no coincidence that retail vacancies are highest in some of the most expensive parts of the city, like the West Village and near Times Square. From 2010 to 2014, commercial rents in the most-trafficked Manhattan shopping corridors soared by 89 percent, according to CBRE Group, a large real-estate and investment firm. But retail sales rose by just 32 percent. In other words, commercial rents have ascended to an altitude where small businesses cannot breathe. Some of the city's richest zip codes have become victims of their own affluence.
Second, the pain of soaring rents is exacerbated by the growth of online shopping. It's typically simplistic to point at a problem in the U.S. and say, ''Well, because Amazon.'' But it is no coincidence that New York storefront vacancy is climbing just as warehousing vacancy in the U.S. has officially reached an all-century low: A lot of goods are moving from storefronts to warehouses, where they are placed in little brown boxes rather than big brown bags.
Walking around the Upper East Side, where I live, I find it striking how many of the establishments still standing among the many darkened windows are hair salons, nail salons, facial salons, eyebrow places, and restaurants. What's the one thing they have in common? You won't find their services on Amazon. The internet won't cut my hair, and not even the most homesick midwesterner goes online to order a deep dish to be delivered from Chicago to New York. Online shopping has digitized a particular kind of business'--mostly durable, nonperishable, and tradable goods'--that one used to seek out in department stores or similar establishments. Their disappearance has opened up huge swaths of real estate.
One might expect that new companies would fill the vacuum, particularly given the evidence that e-commerce companies can boost online sales by opening physical locations. But that brings us to the third problem: Many landlords don't want to offer short-term leases to pop-up stores if they think a richer, longer-term deal is forthcoming from a national brand with money to burn, like a bank branch or retail chain. The upshot is a stubborn market imbalance: The fastest-growing online retailers are looking to experiment with short-term leases, but the landlords are holding out for long-term tenants.
Read: Cats are no match for New York City rats
New York's problems today are an omen for the future of cities. Most people don't live downtown because they love drifting off to the endearing sounds of honking cars and hollering investment bankers. Rather, they want access to urban activity, diversity, and charm'--the quirky bars, the curious antique shops, the family restaurant that's been there for generations'--and the best way to buy that access is to own a bedroom in the heart of the city.
What happens when cities become too expensive to afford any semblance of that boisterous diversity? The author E. B. White called New York an assembly of ''tiny neighborhood units.'' But the 2018 landlord waiting game is denuding New York of its particularity and turning the city into a high-density simulacrum of the American suburb. The West Village landlords hoping to lease their spaces to national chains are turning one of America's most famous neighborhoods into a labyrinthine strip mall. Their strategy bodes the disappearance of those quirky restaurants, curious antique shops, and any coffee shops that aren't publicly traded on the NYSE.
In Jane Jacobs's famous vision of New York, the city ideally served as a playful laboratory, which nursed new firms and ideas and exported its blessedly strange culture to the world. Today's New York is the opposite: a net importer of the un-weird, so desperate to bring in national chains to pay exorbitant leases that landlords are willing to sit on barren blocks.
Economics assures us that, in the long run, prices and strategies move toward an equilibrium; macroeconomics abhors a vacuum even more than physics (but apparently less than Fifth Avenue landlords). As vacancies pile up, one would think that desperate property owners would lower the rent to make room for a new generation of unique shops. In this vision, today's vacancies are a necessary torment, the grassland fire whose ashes will nourish new native species and bring forth a better ecosystem. And, jeez, how many Wells Fargos and Duane Reades can one city block take?
Read: The awful decline of the New York City subway system
But in the past five years, the problem of rising vacancies and monotony has actually gotten worse. It would be one thing if New York were simply trading eccentricity for accessibility'--that is, knocking down fusty establishments to build new apartments with affordable housing. But the median home value in Manhattan is still over $1 million. For both middle-class families and emerging companies looking for a foothold in the city, it's the same dispiriting picture: rising returns to incumbent businesses and legacy wealth, with fewer chances for the upstarts, the strivers, the rest.
''America has only three cities,'' Tennessee Williams purportedly said. ''New York, San Francisco, and New Orleans. Everywhere else is Cleveland.'' That may have been true once. But New York's evolution suggests that the future of cities is an experiment in mass commodification'--the Clevelandification of urban America, where the city becomes the very uniform species that Williams abhorred. Paying seven figures to buy a place in Manhattan or San Francisco might have always been dubious. But what's the point of paying New York prices to live in a neighborhood that's just biding its time to become ''everywhere else''?
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Derek Thompson is a staff writer at
The Atlantic, where he writes about economics, labor markets, and the media. He is the author of
VIDEO - Lindsey Graham on "destroying" his phone, Donald Trump - YouTube
Affirmative Action is on trial. Harvard goes to court to defend itself against charges it discriminates against Asian-American applicants. We'll have the debate.
Max Larkin, multimedia reporter for Edify, WBUR's education vertical, who has been covering the Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. (SFFA) v. Harvard trial. (@jmlarkin)
Peter Wood, President of the National Association of Scholars (@NASorg), a nonprofit advocacy network of scholars and citizens that focuses on education, and has opposed racial preferences in admissions policies since its founding in 1988. Former provost of The King's College in New York City. Author of "Diversity: The Invention of a Concept."
Nicole Gon Ochi, supervising attorney at Asian Americans Advancing Justice (@AAAJ_AAJC) Los Angeles's Impact Litigation unit. Her law firm is representing students who are testifying in support of Harvard's admissions policy.
From The Reading List
NPR: "What To Know About Affirmative Action As The Harvard Trial Begins" '-- "Does Harvard University discriminate against Asian-Americans in its admissions process?
"That's the question on trial in a Boston federal courtroom this week. At issue is whether Harvard unfairly discriminated against an Asian-American applicant who says the Ivy League school held him to higher standards than applicants of other races. This trial will also dissect a contentious political issue in higher education: affirmative action.
"But what exactly is affirmative action, and how did it become such a controversial issue?"
WBUR: "On First Day Of Trial, Harvard Dean Of Admissions Defends Process" '-- "
"Harvard University's longtime dean of admissions defended the school in federal court on Monday as a contentious trial over racial considerations in the admissions process began.
"Students for Fair Admissions, the plaintiff in the case, is arguing that there's no explanation for the racial makeup of Harvard's first-year classes, except for racial balancing, which the Supreme Court has said is unlawful.
"Lawyers laid out their key arguments in opening statements."
New Yorker: "The Underlying Attack in the Harvard Admissions Lawsuit" '-- "A lawsuit claiming that Asian-American students were victims of illegal discrimination in the Harvard College admissions process goes to trial in Boston this week. The plaintiffs assert that Harvard uses what amounts to an unlawful quota system, which results in qualified Asian-Americans being denied admission, in violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. But, at its core, the lawsuit reflects the American conservative movement's legal and political assault on people of color, which has been endorsed and abetted by President Trump. The Trump Administration has sought to limit voting rights, backing voter-suppression efforts; it has demonized immigrants; the President himself has repeatedly targeted prominent African-Americans for abuse. The Trump Administration is also supporting the Harvard lawsuit."
Chronicle of Higher Education: "Harvard Admissions Trial Opens With Arguments Focused on Diversity" '-- "Harvard University defended its race-conscious admissions policy in a crowded courtroom in Boston on Monday, pushing back against claims that it discriminates against Asian-American applicants. It was the first day of a trial that has come to represent that latest front in the country's fight over affirmative action in college admissions.
"The university was accused of balancing its undergraduate classes to ensure that it had admitted its desired share of students of each race and ethnicity. Adam Mortara, a lawyer representing Students for Fair Admissions, the plaintiff, also said Harvard penalized Asian-American applicants by systematically giving them lower scores on a metric admissions officers use to measure personality."
This program aired on October 17, 2018.
VIDEO - Harvard Student Discusses Why She Opposes The University's Admissions Process : NPR
NPR's Ari Shapiro speaks with Harvard University junior Kelley Babphavong about her opposition to the university's affirmative action admissions process.
ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:
Harvard is defending its admissions policy in a Boston courtroom this week. The question is whether the school discriminates against Asian-American applicants. The case could go to the Supreme Court, with broad implications for affirmative action in schools. Yesterday we spoke with an Asian-American student who believes Harvard should consider factors including race. Kelley Babphavong has the opposite view. She is also the daughter of Asian immigrants, and she is a junior at Harvard. Welcome to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED.
KELLEY BABPHAVONG: Great. Thanks for having me.
SHAPIRO: Why do you believe Harvard's admissions policy needs to change?
BABPHAVONG: I think race merely creates an illusion of diversity. And I'd love to see admissions policies change not to have race in it.
SHAPIRO: Now, Harvard says that when they do consider race, it's one of many factors, and that they consider its complicated role in student's life experiences. Would you like to see race just totally omitted from the list of factors that Harvard is considering when it assesses a student's qualifications?
BABPHAVONG: Yeah, I think so because when it comes down to it, race is sort of something that is becoming not just merely a factor but oftentimes the factor that a decision is based on. I think Harvard is saying that they don't do that. But what Students For Fair Admissions has been showing in - for the past few days and has really brought to light is that oftentimes it is the single race factor that comes down to someone's rejection. And I think it's...
SHAPIRO: Students For Fair Admissions is the group that brought this lawsuit, we should say.
BABPHAVONG: Yes. Yep. And I think it's scary to see this repeating in history because, back in the 1920s, Harvard sort of did this with Jewish applicants as well and sort of used a personal rating to artificially keep their numbers lower, although they were scoring higher on everything else, similar to what's happening with Asian-Americans right now.
SHAPIRO: Some supporters of Harvard in this case have alleged that the group that brought this suit is using Asian-Americans almost as a front trying to drive a wedge among minority groups and that, at the end of the day, this lawsuit, if it goes to the Supreme Court and is successful, is really likely to help white people more than any other racial group. What do you think of that argument?
BABPHAVONG: I don't think that that's true at all. Clearly affirmative action has failed in its goal right now. It's instead discriminated against Asian-Americans under the guise of diversity. And I think this is a critical time to re-evaluate how affirmative action policies are impacting different communities.
SHAPIRO: I'd like you to respond to something that Harvard senior Sally Chen said to us on the program yesterday. She plans to testify for Harvard at the trial. Here was part of our conversation.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED BROADCAST)
SALLY CHEN: Merit means nothing without context. The kinds of barriers that people face and the kinds of - the ways that they overcome and work despite these barriers - I think - is really important to how we're thinking about the ways in which people can succeed and can lead.
SHAPIRO: Merit means nothing without context. What do you think of that idea?
BABPHAVONG: So I think that a lot of admissions processes should be based on just merit. But I come from an inner-city public high school background, and I do recognize that merit does need to be put in context sometimes. What resources and opportunities people have available to them is really important. But I think that when we look at it, we shouldn't just be looking at merit in the context of race. But again, like I said, merit in the context of economic status or something that speaks more to someone's opportunities and resources is really important.
SHAPIRO: It sounds like you both agree that there are things about a person's application that cannot be quantified in grades and test scores. You just disagree about whether that list of things includes race or not.
BABPHAVONG: Yeah, I would agree with that. I would say that all of us sort of have the same goal of diversity on a college campus, whatever the sort of benefits of it are. But we just don't believe that we have to resort to racializing admissions and instead focus on something like poverty. Because when we focus on something like race, I think it creates a sort of division and sort of diversity for the sake of diversity. And I think Chief Justice John Roberts said it best when he said the only way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.
SHAPIRO: Well, Kelley Babphavong, thank you so much for talking with us today.
BABPHAVONG: Thanks so much for having me.
SHAPIRO: She is a junior at Harvard.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio record.
VIDEO - Transparency And Drug Prices: Will The New U.S. Mandate On TV Ads Drive Costs Down? | On Point
FILE- In this July 10, 2018, file photo bottles of medicine ride on a belt at the Express Scripts mail-in pharmacy warehouse in Florence, N.J. On Monday, Oct. 15, the industry's largest trade group announced that dozens of drugmakers will start disclosing the prices for U.S. prescription drugs advertised on TV. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)With Meghna Chakrabarti
The Trump Administration wants pharma companies to list drug prices on ads for all prescriptions paid for by Medicare and Medicaid. Could it drive down costs?
Sarah Karlin-Smith, health care reporter for Politico covering the policy and politics of the drug industry. (@SarahKarlin)
Gail Wilensky, economist and senior fellow at the health foundation Project HOPE. Directed Medicare and Medicaid programs during the George H.W. Bush administration. Adviser to Sen. John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign and was a contributor to the McCain health care plan.
David Mitchell, president and founder of Patients for Affordable Drugs. In 2010 he was diagnosed with multiple myeloma '' an incurable but treatable blood cancer. (@DavidP4AD)
Dr. Michael Ybarra, vice president of medical affairs at PhRMA and emergency room physician.
From The Reading List
Politico: "Trump issues rule to require drug prices in TV ads, rejecting industry plan" '-- "The Trump administration on Monday moved to require drugmakers to disclose prices in consumer ads, just hours after branding a pharmaceutical industry transparency plan as inadequate.
"HHS said its proposed rule fulfilled another prong of the president's blueprint to address pharmaceutical costs and would help Americans make more informed decisions that could lower out-of-pocket costs and those of government health programs like Medicare and Medicaid. The move came with polls showing significant voter outrage about drug costs, which also are comprising an ever larger share of the federal budget."
Wall Street Journal: "Pharma Industry Pushes Back Against Required Listing of Drug Prices in TV Ads" '-- "The pharmaceutical industry is signaling resistance to a Trump administration plan to require that the list price be included for most drugs in television ads, setting the stage for a protracted fight over a proposal with broad bipartisan support.
"The standoff escalated Monday when the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America'--the pharmaceutical industry's main trade group, or PhRMA'--announced that major drugmakers would voluntarily include price-related information in television ads by directing consumers to websites where they can find information on list prices and costs.
"That action falls short of a rule, also formally proposed Monday by the Department Health and Human Services, to mandate the disclosure of list prices in television ads, rather than referring consumers elsewhere for information."
STAT: "Trump wants drug commercials to include prices. These five companies have the most at stake" '-- "President Trump wants to force drug companies to disclose their prices in TV ads '-- and that's going to hit five companies much harder than any others: Pfizer, AbbVie, Eli Lilly, Amgen, and Allergan.
"Just a few dozen drug companies run any TV ads at all, and those five companies alone were responsible for more than half of the drug ads customers saw on TV in the last 12 months, according to a STAT analysis of data provided by analytics company iSpot.tv. Pfizer, for example, ran 37 unique ads in the last 12 months '-- racking up an advertising bill of over $600 million, according to iSpot's estimate.
"The list sheds light on the ultimate impact of the proposed policy, which Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar unveiled Monday and which would affect any drug covered by Medicare or Medicaid that cost more than $35 per month."
This program aired on October 18, 2018.
VIDEO - Moby & The Void Pacific Choir - Are You Lost In The World Like Me? (Official Video) - YouTube
Turkey's Role In The Khashoggi Case NPR's Michel Martin talks to Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies about Turkey's role in the Khashoggi affair.
Turkey's Role In The Khashoggi Case October 20, 2018 5:26 PM ET
NPR's Michel Martin talks to Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies about Turkey's role in the Khashoggi affair.
MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:
Despite last night's revelations, there are still many, many questions about this whole episode, including what possible goal the Saudis could have had and Turkey's role in all of this. Turkey has been a key source of both leaked and public information. But, as our next guest points out, that country's human rights record is no better than Saudi Arabia's. We wanted to hear more about all of this, so we called Anthony Cordesman. He's with the Center for Strategic and International Studies. He's written widely and consulted with both the State Department and the Defense Department, and he's with us now from Washington, D.C.
Mr. Cordesman, thanks so much for talking with us.
ANTHONY CORDESMAN: A pleasure.
MARTIN: You pointed out that Turkey's human rights record is no different - or no better, really - than Saudi Arabia's when it comes to suppressing dissent, suppressing media criticism. So, first of all, is it fair to assume that the details that we've been getting so far from the Turkish media and other sources came with the approval of the Turkish government? If that's the case, what's Turkey's role in this? What's their agenda in this?
CORDESMAN: Well, I think it's hard to be precise. But Turkey is actively competing with Saudi Arabia for influence in the Middle East, in the Arab world. So what we're looking at is a country that has every reason to try to sort of reduce the Saudi profile and influence in the region, and that includes ties to the United States because Turkey's relations with the U.S. have become increasingly bad because of the authoritarian shift under Erdogan.
In the State Department Country Reports on Human Rights, they're discouraging for the whole region. You have three countries with something approaching a decent record - Jordan in particular, but Morocco and Tunisia as well. What Saudi Arabia has been found, I think, to have been doing is almost standard operating procedure for virtually every country in the area. And certainly, if you look at the numbers for Turkey, it's arrested, detained and disappeared far more people in the last two years than Saudi Arabia.
MARTIN: So what are some of the priorities that you think that the media and the public should be thinking about as this story continues to unfold?
CORDESMAN: One of the key messages here is that the United States really has to stand for human rights. That doesn't mean breaking relations, ending economic ties, ignoring our security interests. But I think it does mean that both the media and analysts and governments in the United States and the West really need to pick up on this incident and make it clear to everyone in the area that this kind of operation is going to get a government and the officials involved into very deep international trouble.
MARTIN: Do you see any indication that this administration or leaders in Congress are inclined to send that message?
CORDESMAN: I think that one has to be very careful. Right now, relations are so bad in some ways on the partisan level that people have ignored what President Trump has said and that he has identified this as an unacceptable incident. I think it's certainly clear already that members of Congress from both parties have singled this out as a key issue, one where arms transfers, ties to Saudi Arabia could be seriously affected. And it's clear that there might be some kind of actual limits to arms transfers to Saudi Arabia.
But I think the problem here is that there is a reason why we're showing restraint. This is the largest oil exporter in the world. It affects the security, stability and growth of the global economy. It is a key power in terms of dealing with Iran. And the problem is not to sever relations. It is to reshape them in ways where it is clear on both sides that the expectations that I think are normal in the international community have to be applied in Saudi Arabia as well.
MARTIN: That's Anthony Cordesman. He's with the Center for Strategic and International Studies. He's a former national security assistant to Senator John McCain. He's written many, many books about the Middle East, and he's consulted with both the State Department and the Defense Department.
Mr. Cordesman, thank you so much for talking to us once again.
CORDESMAN: A pleasure.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio record.
VIDEO - OPUS 88 RAW Plz listen 2 me Putin - YouTube
San Juan, Puerto Rico, Mayor Carmen Yuln Cruz, attends a House Democratic Leaders news conference with Democratic Caucus Chairman Rep. Joe Crowley, D-N.Y., on Capitol Hill in Washington, on Nov. 1, 2017. (Photo: Manuel Balce Ceneta, AP)
FBI agents raided municipal offices in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on Tuesday, seizing documents and digital records as part of an investigation into fraud allegations related to the city government.
Special agent in charge Douglas Leff said federal investigators are also looking into potential obstruction of the investigation. According to Leff, agents believe documents tied to the reported irregularities in the city's purchasing procedures might have been taken from the building or falsified.
At least 20 agents, mostly unarmed, entered the building carrying briefcases, cameras, electronic equipment and coffee, Puerto Rican news agency El Nuevo Da reported. The raid was focused on the offices of San Juan's Purchasing Division.
When asked if San Juan Mayor Carmen Yuln Cruz was implicated in the investigation, Leff said, "We have no information about that, but we are going to follow the investigation where it leads us."
The mayor's office is in San Juan City Hall, in a separate location from the building raided by the FBI.
Cruz tweeted Tuesday morning that she instructed city officials to cooperate with federal authorities.
"If someone has done something wrong, they should undergo due process and face the consequences of their actions," Cruz said.
Si alguien ha hecho algo incorrecto debe de ser sometido a un debido proceso y enfrentar las consecuencias de sus actos. 3/3
'-- Carmen Yuln Cruz (@CarmenYulinCruz) October 16, 2018Cruz often sparred with President Donald Trump after Hurricane Maria devastated the U.S. territory last year. Their feud was recently rekindled after Trump expressed doubt about research that indicated the hurricane was responsible for nearly 3,000 deaths, a dramatic increase from the previous official death toll of 64.
Trump has blamed the slow response to the damage caused by Maria on inefficiencies in the Puerto Rican government. Last month, Trump sent a tweet quoting conservative Fox Business host Lou Dobbs, who said Puerto Rico is run by "one of the most corrupt governments in our country."
''The story of Puerto Rico is the rebuilding that has occurred. The President has done an extraordinary job of cleanup, rebuilding electrical stuff and everything else.'' @EdRollins ''The people of Puerto Rico have one of the most corrupt governments in our country.'' @LouDobbs
'-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 15, 2018The fraud investigation was sparked by an anonymous tip to the comptroller's office of favoritism in how the mayor's office rewarded contracts, according to El Nuevo Da,
The allegation was centered on a $4.7 million contract awarded to construction company BR Solutions. The company is owned by businessman Leonel Pereira O'Neill, who has made political donations to a number of Puerto Rican politicians, including Cruz, El Nuevo Da reported.
The FBI has not identified any suspects in the case, but Leff told reporters that a conviction for the type of fraud alleged would likely carry a maximum sentence of five years.
Decenas de agentes del FBI ocupan el 15to piso de la Torre Municipal. Asi llegaron esta ma±ana los federales. pic.twitter.com/z3h1CObwLp
'-- Luis Guardiola (@GuardiolaTwitt) October 16, 2018Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2018/10/17/san-juan-municipal-government-fbi-raid/1668745002/
VIDEO - Disturbing New details Emerge From the Las Vegas Mass Shooting - Wow Video | eBaum's World
wow After one year, the biggest mass shooting of American history that took place on Oct. 1 2017. Killing 59 people and injuring 851, new details and unanswered questions are popping up.
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Login to Comment Related Videos Police Release Body Cam Footage from the Las Vegas Shooter's Hotel Room Previously Unreleased Footage of Vegas Gunman Before Attack Paints an Eerie Picture Chilling Police Audio From Sunday Night's Shooting in Las Vegas Terrifying Footage Of People Ducking For Cover As Automatic Gunfire Rings Out in Las Vegas Top 5 Today 7 Days 30 Days It's Always Sunny Recreated a Scene From Seinfeld Shot-For-Shot And It's Amazing 37 Extra-Random Pics That'll Scramble Your Head 32 Memes For The Weekend That'll Brighten Your Day 21 Mind Melting Optical Illusions to Open Your Third Eye The Big Butt Craze Has Driven Up the Prices of Black Market Butt Injections Get our free newsletterAmazing new updates!
VIDEO - ON CONTACT: Popular opinion, 'MadMen' & the Power Elites - YouTube
Risks and challengesDeveloping new hardware products requires a healthy dose of humility. There are always risks along the journey from design to manufacturing. Knowing this, we have built a team of experienced developers and designers who understand the complexity of manufacturing. To further mitigate risk, we consciously partnered with proven - and scalable - manufacturers in order to make sure our goals are feasible, manufacturable, and deliverable.
It was important to us not to approach the Kickstarter community with a half baked idea. So we waited, iterated, and validated all components of the product - all while in stealth mode over the past 3 years - to make sure that when the time was right, we would be able to deliver.
Because our leadership team has an engineering background, there is a deliberately scientific process to our development. Each design phase includes several rounds of validation with our partner manufacturers - always with eyes wide open to issues. For example, during our usability study with our beta community comprised of 20 U.S. households, we had an internal team solely dedicated to addressing any bugs or glitches in the prototypes.
One example of an external risk on the horizon: We've been working with the Alexa voice services team for a year and a half, but we still need to get final certification for our Alexa built-in technology. As a registered Alexa developer, we are confident we will, but it is not yet finalized.
We still have many challenges ahead of us. When we encounter them, we promise to enlist our tenacity, grit, and start-up mindset to overcome them - all while maintaining a level of transparency that we know the Kickstarter community deserves.
Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
VIDEO - Saudi Arabia Relations, Jun 7 2002 | Video | C-SPAN.org
June 7, 2002 2002-06-09T04:33:17-04:00 https://images.c-span.org/defaults/capitol.jpg Mr. Khashoggi discussed how Saudi Arabia views the United States, and he also spoke about differences between the two countries. Mr. Kaiser mediated the forum. After Mr. Kashoggi spoke, he answered some questions from the audience.Mr. Khashoggi discussed how Saudi Arabia views the United States, and he also spoke about differences between the two countries. Mr. Kaiser mediated the forum. After Mr. Kashoggi spoke, he answered some questions from the audience.
Music News Published on October 20th, 2018 | by Alan Cross
''Shout'' was one of massive singles from Tears for Fears' 1985 album, Songs from the Big Chair. This can't be the first-ever version of the song, can it? Whatever the case, props to Versus Me for this version.
Tags: Cover Version, Tears for Fears, Versus Me
About the Author Alan Cross is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He's also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.
VIDEO - Democratic Rep. Joaquin Castro Backs Away From Claim Kushner Orchestrated Khashoggi Killing
Without evidence, Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX), a member of the House intelligence committee, said Jared Kushner might have passed a ''hit list'' to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman resulting in the apparent brutal slaying of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Castro, during a CNN appearance Friday morning, cited unspecified ''reporting that Jared Kushner may have, with U.S. intelligence, delivered a hit list, an enemies list, to the crown prince, to MBS, in Saudi Arabia and that the prince may have acted on that, and one of the people he took action against is Mr. Khashoggi.''
When CNN's Poppy Harlow interjected that she was unfamiliar with such reporting and the network had not reported that, Castro reiterated that ''I've seen reporting to that effect'... that needs to be investigated.'' While Kushner, President Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, is close with the Saudi crown prince, no one has accused Kushner of any involvement, let alone orchestration, in the Khashoggi killing.
After The Daily Beast published this story, Castro said in a statement that he ''did not intend to accuse Jared Kushner of orchestrating the killing of Jamal Khashoggi.'' He tweet-stormed several pieces of reporting on Kushner's extensive ties to MBS, including a March dispatch from the Intercept reporting that Kushner passed on material from the CIA-compiled President's Daily Brief containing names of anti-MBS Saudi royals to the crown prince '' though Khashoggi was not royalty. Castro clarified that he wants Congress to investigate whether Kushner ''or any other administration official shared any U.S. intelligence with the Saudis that led to any political persecution, including the killing of Jamal Khashoggi.''
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders called Castro's comments an ''outrageous slanderous lie without a shred of proof'' on Twitter.
VIDEO - LIVE: Brexit march 'to be biggest rally in a decade'
Susan Walsh / Associated PressHouse Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) told a gathering at the 92nd Street Y in New York on Sunday that there may have to be ''collateral damage'' to those Americans who do not agree with the Democratic Party agenda.Pelosi was being interviewed onstage by Paul Krugman, the left-wing New York Times columnist and Nobel economic laureate who predicted, the day Donald Trump won the presidency, that Trump would trigger ''a global recession, with no end in sight.''
In a long, rambling monologue, during which she stumbled on her words and appeared to lose her train of thought, Pelosi said:
We have to have total clarity about what we do, when it comes to everything '-- a woman's right to choose, gay marriage '... whether it's about immigration, whether it's about gun safety, whether it's about climate '... I think that we owe the American people to be there for them, for their financial security, respecting the dignity and worth of every person in our country, and if there's some collateral damage for some others who do not share our view, well, so be it, but it shouldn't be our original purpose.
It is not clear what Pelosi meant by ''collateral damage,'' though Democrats have advocated ostracizing and even prosecuting those who do not share their views on climate change.
Democrats like Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), have also targeted Trump administration officials for harassment, and Republicans around the country have complained of intimidation and assault on the campaign trail in the run-up to the midterm elections.
On Monday, Pelosi told an audience at Harvard that Democrats would win the election, and the only question was whether it would be a ''wave'' or a ''tsunami.''
Pelosi would likely return as speaker of the House if her party wins a majority.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.
San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz visits a market after Hurricane Maria hit the island, in San Juan, Puerto Rico November 20, 2017. (REUTERS/Alvin Baez)
FBI agents this week raided the municipal offices in San Juan, Puerto Rico '' rooting through documents and seizing digital records as part of a widespread investigation into fraud and obstruction of justice charges tied to the city government.
San Juan's purchasing division was the target of the raid. And while FBI special agent Douglas Leff did not implicate Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz in the raid, he did tell local media that ''we are going to follow the investigation where it leads us.''
Cruz tweeted Tuesday that she has instructed city officials to cooperate with federal authorities and said, ''If someone has done something wrong, they should undergo due process and face the consequences of their actions.''
On Tuesday, more than two dozen agents entered the city's Municipal Tower carrying briefcases, cameras and electronic equipment, Puerto Rican news agency El Nuevo Dia first reported.
Federal agents raided the third, fourth, 14th and 15th floors of the building, looking for documents related to corruption inside San Juan's purchasing and contracting departments.
The raid was sparked by an anonymous tip called into the comptroller's office over how the mayor's office awards government contracts '' specifically, a $4.7 million deal with construction company BR Solutions.
El Nuevo Dia claims the company is owned by a businessman who has made questionable political donations to several Puerto Rican politicians.
The raid comes a month after President Trump hinted at corruption in the U.S. territory and caused an uproar after questioning the number of people who died as a result of Hurricane Maria.
The bad blood between the two leaders often plays out on social media. Trump has called out Cruz's management style while Cruz has hammered Trump on his response after Maria.
Earlier this year, local news outlets reported Cruz's administration was being investigated for allegedly obstructing critical supplies from reaching victims of Hurricane Maria- a category-4 storm that leveled much of the tiny U.S. territory more than a year ago.
The FBI reportedly launched the investigation following a February lawsuit filed by Yadira Molina, the former director of procurement. Molina claims she was retaliated against for reporting ''alleged irregular acts'' to the local comptroller.
The report says Molina claims she was punished for reporting on the allegedly rigged system and that she was blocked from her right ''to report wrongdoing in her capacity as a private citizen, not as a public employee.''
Shortly after Cruz became mayor, Molina claims a supply company was granted ''preferred supplier'' status which paid them more than three times what regular suppliers made. She also alleges that other city officials engaged in a corrupt scheme to steer business the preferred supplier's way.
Concerns about Cruz are not new. There has been a growing backlash from frustrated residents who say they feel forgotten and charge the mayor's personal political ambitions are coming at the expense of the very people she's supposed to be representing.
''On February 21, Molina sued the city council after reporting alleged acts of corruption in the shopping division in the town hall under the administration of Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz Soto,'' according to El Vocero de Puerto Rico.
Multiple calls to the Department of Justice's San Juan field office were not returned.
Safety concerns raised as electric scooters arrive in New Zealand | Stuff.co.nz
Electric scooters have been labelled a "menace on footpaths" by a walking group concerned about their safety.
On Monday, California-based company Lime launched 600 electric scooters (e-scooters) in Auckland and 400 in Christchurch. Cameron Swanson from Lime's new market development department, said the app took the number one download spot on the New Zealand App Store in under 24 hours.
They can travel at speeds of up to 27kmh and have a maximum range of 48km - a worry for Living Streets Aotearoa, an organisation that promotes walking-friendly communities.
Lime e-scooters launched in Auckland and Christchurch on Monday.
Living Streets Aotearoa executive member Gay Richards said having e-scooters on footpaths was dangerous for pedestrians - especially the elderly. Transport organisations in the city said they would monitor their use.READ MORE: * Lime scooters launch in New Zealand's two largest cities * Lime scooters to hit the streets of Christchurch and Auckland * Christchurch map for Lime scooters revealed * 700 shared electric scooters to be let loose on Christchurch
"If they're hit, it's the fact that they'll really be hurt," Richards said.
Even minor injuries such as cuts and bruises could be life-changing and head injuries could become very serious, she said.
An electric scooter user on Colombo St in Christchurch.
Richards added they could also cause extra congestion when used on busy footpaths such as in Queen St in Auckland city centre.
E-scooters were "unpredictable" and the safety conditions applied to users were "ambiguous at best and does not provide any comfort to those confronted with speedsters", she said.
"It is too much to expect a child or frail older person, or any pedestrian, to have to stick up for themselves with the all too frequent inconsiderate footpath vehicle user."
Living Streets Aotearoa says having e-scooters on footpaths are dangerous but a Lime spokesman says the safety level is on par with walking.
"We just don't want them on footpaths, cluttering footpaths," Richards said.
"It just seems silly e-scooters can't be used on cycle lanes."
A New Zealand Transport Agency spokesman said e-scooters had been allowed in New Zealand since 2004 and there was no evidence to suggest people should be concerned about their use.
"The NZ Transport Agency is closely monitoring their usage and uptake," the spokesman said.
"The main guidance for e-scooter riders is to be as safe as possible and be aware that cyclists, other road users and pedestrians may not hear them approaching.
"Good behaviour remains the priority when people ride e-scooters and anyone riding dangerously on the footpath or road may be subject to police enforcement."
Auckland Transport's manager of walking, cycling and road safety, Kathryn King, said Auckland Transport and Auckland Council were working closely "to ensure the number of scooters or bikes available under any licensed scheme is appropriate for the area".
"Licences are granted on a trial basis and we agree on the number of scooters or bikes to be introduced before a service begins, and this number can be reviewed at any point if there are too many scooters or bikes operating," King said.
"We want to ensure that the number is enough for people to use, as well as making sure the footpath is not cluttered for people walking."
At the Auckland launch of Lime's e-scooters on Monday, New Zealand Lime spokesman Hank Rowe said "scooter share has proven itself to be a global phenomenon and we expect to see the same here".
"On the drive here, every Lime [scooter] we saw was either being unlocked or ridden," Rowe said.
"We do recommend wearing a helmet - the NZTA states we don't require helmets to ride these scooters, however if it's raining or if you do intend on riding on the road for a long period we do recommend wearing a helmet."
However, on shorter distances around the city and on footpaths, the safety level was on par with walking, he said.
Blasey Ford Wrote Paper On Hypnosis Used To 'Create Artificial Situations'
An academic study authored in part by Christine Blasey Ford which discusses ''creating artificial situations'' via memories and hypnosis has been uncovered. Margot Cleveland of The Federalist posted the document which discloses Ford's theory on ''memory retrieval'' on her Twitter account this afternoon.
Ford's paper was titled ''Meditation With Yoga, Group Therapy With Hypnosis, and Psychoeducation for Long-Term Depressed Mood: A Randomized Pilot Trial.''
''One of Christine Ford Blasey's research articles in 2008 included a study in which participants were TAUGHT SELF-HYPNOSIS & noted hypnosis is used to retrieve important memories ''AND CREATE ARTIFICAL [sic] SITUATIONS,''
BREAKING: This is HUGE (waiting for permission to h/t): One of Christine Ford Blasey's research articles in 2008 included a study in which participants were TAUGHT SELF-HYPNOSIS & noted hypnosis is used to retrieve important memories ''AND CREATE ARTIFICAL SITUATIONS.'' pic.twitter.com/11n1JVnArM
'-- Margot Cleveland (@ProfMJCleveland) October 1, 2018
Prior to the now infamous Kavanaugh hearing, Ford's Internet history was seemingly scrubbed. Cleveland's discovery of the document is groundbreaking.
Ford's maiden name was used for authorship on the paper.
Here's the cover.
Beyond that, we have some meat and potatoes whereas the study teaches a version of ''self-hypnosis.''
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Following this, the paper concluded that artificial situations could be created through the assistance via ''the retrieval of important memories, and create artificial situations that would permit the client to express ego-dystonic emotions in a safe manner.''
The obvious takeaway is that a woman tasked with retrieving decade-old memories was also associated with a memory and hypnosis project. Clearly, there is a lot that feels wrong in this situation, the addition of creepy memory retrieval and artificial situation creation most certainly adds to the extensive menu.
The consequences of #metoo lynch mobs could have robot companions replacing women in the very near future.
Author: Cory Wayne PrepForThat's Editor and lead writer for political, survival, and weather categories.
Material flow study of sand and gravel in Sweden by Elisabeth Bergstedt, Irene Linder Statistics Sweden, Environment Statistics January 1999
2 Foreword Statistics Sweden has developed physical environmental accounts since 1993. To begin with, the focus has been on developing the environmental accounts for energy and certain emissions. This report is a result of developmental work on incorporating descriptions of material flows into the Swedish environmental accounts. Within this project, the possibilities to carry out material flow studies for the construction minerals; sand, gravel and crushed stone have been examined. These materials are of special importance in the construction industry, where they are the largest (in weight) materials used. The study focus on the input in and output from the economy, but also on the input and output between sectors within the economy. The result is both an account of the material flow and a description of data sources. The report is prepared on commission from EUROSTAT, who supports and co-ordinates development of environmental accounts in the EU member states. The European commission (DG XVI) has contributed financially to the project. Elisabeth Bergstedt and Irene Linder have contributed in preparing this report.
3 Contents 1 Introduction __________________________________________________________________ 4 1.1 Material flow analyses in Sweden _____________________________________________________ 4 1.2 Definition of included materials ______________________________________________________ 5 2 Inventory of data on construction minerals in Sweden _______________________________ 6 2.1 Extraction and primary use __________________________________________________________ 7 2.2 Production of concrete _____________________________________________________________ 10 2.3 The construction industry___________________________________________________________ 12 2.4 Import and export _________________________________________________________________ 14 2.5 Residuals _______________________________________________________________________ 14 3 Results _____________________________________________________________________ 16 3.1 Input and output of sand, gravel and crushed stone _______________________________________ 16 3.2 Direct material input in and output from the society ______________________________________ 18 3.3 Accumulation in society ____________________________________________________________ 20 4 Conclusions and future work ___________________________________________________ 22 Lists of references ______________________________________________________________ 23 Appendices: 1 Assumptions 2 The input- and output tables - sources and calculations 3 The input- and output tables
4 1 Introduction Gravel (including crushed stone) and sand are two large material flows in Sweden as well as in other countries. These materials are of special importance in the construction and demolition industry, where they are two of the largest (in weight) materials used. Furthermore, the construction and demolition industry is a large industry, both concerning material use, energy use, other environmental factors and economic importance. Within this project, the possibilities to carry out material flow studies for sand and gravel has been examined. The basis for the project has been information about extraction, construction and demolition activities. The project also includes aspects of natural resource accounting, such as depletion of the stock of natural gravel. The flow of sand and gravel is described, from extraction to use and disposal. Statistics from the Geological Survey of Sweden has been a major source of information for this study. Data from Swedish official statistics about building activities, production, foreign trade and waste is also used. The report contains a data inventory, description of the method used to calculate the data, as well as tables and figures of flow statistics with accumulation in society and depletion of natural resources. 1.1 Material flow analyses in Sweden Material flow analyses belong to a rather new family of methods for environmental assessment, which is reflected in the many different types of statistics or investigations that can be included. In Sweden, statistics on energy, as well as statistics on the mining and production of metals and other natural resources, such as wood, have been collected for a long time. However, they are not labelled as material flow data. This kind of data have however been used for making material flow studies by researchers, as e.g. the doctoral thesis ''Industrial metabolism. The emerging landscape of heavy metal immission in Sweden'', by Bo Bergback, from 1992. The thesis outlines the material flows of chromium, lead and cadmium in Sweden during the 20th century and is largely based on statistics of import and export. Another national study based on official statistics is ''Chromium and nickel in Sweden'' by Palm et. al., 1995. Similar types of material flow studies for smaller regions have also been performed by a number of people, but here we will focus on the national perspective. The work on presenting material flow data in a condensed way and with a coupling to environmental pressure data has only recently begun. This material flow statistics work is closely connected to Statistics Sweden's project to create a physical Environmental Accounting system. It is planned to be used to connect the economy's outflow data on emissions and money with the inflow data of resources and energy, by creating indicators for efficiency. The connection between material flows and the environmentally important areas of energy use, waste production and diffuse emissions is of special interest. In some cases, the scarcity of the material is also of concern, notably for sand and gravel from glacial deposits, which also serve as important ''cleaning agents'' for the ground water.
5 Until now, three material flow pilot studies have been published within the environmental accounting system: Firstly, an elaborate study on the mass flow of wood1, with input-output analyses and some thoughts about what statistics are possible to produce with today's data. Then, a study on the flows of iron and steel2 in Sweden, which has been published in English for Eurostat. However, the iron and steel study did suffer from lack of data. A third report investigated possibilities to single out material flows that are of special interest to issues on energy efficiency3. Another related study within the Environmental Accounts is the Forest Accounts, where the stocks and services of the forests are calculated. Other surveys that have connection to the material flow area are statistics of water use, that are performed regularly. Also, product based waste statistics such as the recycling of batteries, drinking bottles, tyres etc. are produced. An overview of work with material Accounting in each Nordic country is presented as a part of a joint Nordic project on Natural resource and Environmental Accounting4. The report covers studies of e.g. wood, solvents and lead. Statistics on the use of chemicals are regularly produced at the Chemicals Inspectorate. An example of a study based on these data can be seen in the Eurostat report mentioned above. 1.2 Definition of included materials Industrial minerals and rocks are defined by the Geological Survey of Sweden as minerals and rocks extracted for other purposes than for using the contents of metals or energy. According to this definition, sand, gravel and crushed stone (aggregates) as well as unhewn stone belong to industrial minerals. Other industrial minerals are usually called qualified industrial minerals. To simplify this, the three clusters are called aggregates, unhewn stone and industrial minerals. This report focus on aggregates, even though the other groups are mentioned for explanatory reasons and sometimes for reasons of comprehensiveness. Delimitation of what should be included in the study has been difficult. We have included the large amounts of aggregates used in the construction industry for housing and infrastructure. This includes also the products concrete and asphalt, which contain aggregates and are used in the construction sector. Some amounts of the same type of material that have been used for other purposes (filter sand for water cleaning, sand against slipperiness, sandpaper etc.) have also been included in the data on input in the society, due to the design of the data. These amounts are small compared to the use in constructions. We have not included the minerals in cement (mainly limestone) and also not construction stone. The aggregates sand, gravel and crushed stone are in some parts of the study named ''sgs'' for practical reasons. 1 Carbon Flow Analysis in Sweden, 1996, Statistics Sweden. 2 Material flow studies at Statistics Sweden and the National Chemicals Inspectorate, 1996, the National Chemical Inspectorate and Statistics Sweden. 3 Reduced emissions of carbon dioxide through changed use of materials, to be published in 1999, Statistics Sweden. 4 Nordiska naturresurs- och milj¶r¤kenskaper - delrapport II (Nordic environmental- and natural-resource account - part II), 1997, Nordic Council of Ministers.
6 2 Inventory of data on construction minerals in Sweden It is necessary to begin an analysis of a material flow with identifying the materials presence in society - from extraction to final use. For the construction minerals sand, gravel and crushed stone this is done in the chart below. The boxes are activities producing and/or using gravel etc. The arrows are the flow. In the boxes, existing input and output is specified. This is both primary input in the society and the continuous input, for example from one economic sector to another. The flow is a rough outline to catch the large tonnage and are not totally complete (see comments in chapter 3.1 on possibly missing parts in the flow). The flow chart is possible to translate into input and output tables (see annex 3). The activities - the boxes - become column headings in the tables, the goods/materials in the boxes are the rows and the arrows are the statistics in the tables. If the flow chart covers a longer time period, the stock will be built up in the boxes. For example: buildings ''stay'' in the construction box until they are demolished after several years - then they goes to the demolition box and further on to use or disposal of residues. --- = uncertain/no statistics Extraction Input: Output: - Gravel and sand - Crushed stones- Other Manufacturing of concrete Input: - Gravel, sand etc. Output: - Concrete - Waste Other manufacturing Input: - Gravel, sand etc. Output: - ? - Waste Construction Input: - Gravel, sand etc. - Concrete - Residues Output: - Buildings - Roads, infrastructure - Waste Demolition Input: - Buildings - Roads, infrastructure Output: - Waste/Residues Filling Input: - Gravel, sand etc. - Residues for filling Output: - ''Filled areas'' ? Material used as substitute for extracted gravel etc. Waste Waste Waste To landfills Rest of the world Input (export): - Gravel, sand etc. Output (import): - Gravel, sand etc.
7 In chapter 2.1 to 2.5 below, the different parts of society shown in the flow chart above are briefly described. Description of data sources is also included. 2.1 Extraction and primary use The industry for extraction of aggregates is necessary for the development of housing and infrastructure. It supplies material for construction of buildings, roads, railways etc. and for manufacturing of concrete and asphalt. Since deposits of sand and gravel are often important reservoirs for groundwater, there can be conflicts about how to use the resource. Should the gravel ridge be used as gravel pit or be preserved to supply water in the future? Extraction of gravel change the conditions for generation and storage of groundwater. There is also a risk that the aquifers become polluted. Both the quantity and the quality of groundwater can be influenced. This question is not further discussed in this report but is discussed for example in Report 4570 from the Swedish Environment Protection Agency1. Sand and gravel from natural deposits are limited. Regional inventories have been performed since 1983. Remaining, detachable volumes of sand and gravel have been estimated to more than seven thousand millions m3 in those two third of the surface of Sweden that has been covered until now. All of this is not available for extraction, as shown in the chart below. Except that sand and gravel are limited, there are many reasons that gravel ridges cannot be extracted. Below the chain from total volume to practically detachable net volume is shown. Nature reserve Valuable nature, classified Common roads Buildings Not detachable volume because of geological and technical facts Water protection Care of culture Relic of antiquity Other interests of ground Practical detachable volume '-----------------------------------------Total volume-----------------------------------'' '----------------- Theoretical volume-------------------------'' '---Geological volume----------------'' '-Net volume---'' At the beginning of the inventory of assets there was a focus on sand and gravel, but then crushed stone, and to some extent moraine, were also taken into account. The information is collected in a database, ''The archive for gravel data'', at the Geological Survey of Sweden. The database includes 14 000 gravel, 600 moraine and 1 500 stone deposits. The quantities and quality of the gravel varies across Sweden and large volumes are situated far away from the urban areas where the demand is high. Usually there is a lack of coarse-grained material, while sand and fine sand are less scarce. Lack of sand and gravel from natural deposits, problems with quality and a will to economise with limited natural resources are reasons to use crushed stone and moraine at many places. Moraine consists of varying quantities of boulders, stones, sand, fine sand, silt and clay. The most common type of moraine is sand - fine sand with moderate frequency of boulders. 1 Grust¤kters inverkan p¥ grundvattnet (The influence of gravel pits on the groundwater).
8 In Sweden it is necessary to have a licence to open a pit. Below you can see the number of licensed pits according to the Geological Survey of Sweden. Type of pit 1993 1995 1997 Gravel/sand 4 146 3 785 3 323 Crushed stone 399 487 585 Industrial mineral 173 203 211 Total 4 718 4 475 4 119 In 1995 there were 4 475 licensed pits of gravel, sand, crushed stone and industrial mineral covering an area of 16 600 hectares according to the report ''Land use in Sweden'' (Statistics Sweden 1998). The pits can be resting, i.e. they do not have to produce anything during the year. In 1995 the number of producing pits was 2 660 and in 1997 the number was 2 205. In 1997 33 percent of the pits produce between 1 - 2 500 tons, 27.6 percent produce 2 501 - 10 000 tons and 39.4 percent produce more than 10 000 tons. Every year those who have gravel pits and quarries report data on production to the county administrative board. This data is collected and reported by the Geological Survey of Sweden. According to the statistic from the Geological Survey of Sweden about 87 millions tons were produced 1995. Two sources for extracted aggregates have been found. Statistics from the Geological Survey of Sweden and Industrial statistics from Statistics Sweden. Most of the pits are small with few employees per establishment. In the industrial statistics there are data on the level that is needed (for each type of material/good) only from industrial companies with at least 10 employees and at least 5 employees per establishment. According to the business statistics at Statistics Sweden there were 534 establishments in 1997 for sand, gravel and crushed stone (SNI 14210). Of these, 477 establishments (89 percent) had fewer than 10 employees and 393 (74 percentage) had fewer than 5 employees. This means that a great deal of the quantity data is not included in the industrial statistics. In the industrial statistics goods are distributed according to HS-code: The item 251710 - Small stones, gravel and crushed stone - has a total sum of about 25 millions tons for the year 1995. This is a lot less than the sum reported from the Geological Survey of Sweden, since so many establishments are not included. The industrial statistics from Statistics Sweden have not been used in this study. The statistics about deliveries of aggregates reported by the Geological Survey of Sweden are shown below. Sand is not separately reported in the statistics from the Geological Survey of Sweden, but as sand and gravel. Sand is reported in some of the production permits, but not in such a way that it is possible to say how much sand that has been produced. ''Other'' mostly consists of stone from separate crushing plants and building work. Produced aggregates 1990 - 1997, tons 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997Sand and grav el69 800 000 63 300 000 53 100 000 51 894 719 43 491 820 44 554 125 33 348 664 26 269 964Crushed bedrock25 100 000 24 900 000 22 600 000 25 962 197 28 591 786 32 347 777 30 714 438 28 987 805Moraine2 040 830 3 189 112 2 635 486 1 653 060 2 625 084Other5 100 000 4 500 000 5 900 000 5 779 020 7 614 163 7 647 720 4 669 437 3 676 805(Surrounded data can not be singled out) Source: Geological Survey of Sweden
9 10 203040 50 60708090 1001990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997MilliontonnesSand and gravelCrushed bedrockMoraine and otherTotalProduced aggregates Source: Geological Survey of Sweden The Swedish market for aggregates has lately decreased in consequence of a low activity of building and construction. An increase has been noticed for the year 1998 and there is a tendency of change from sand and gravel to crushed stone. During 1997 there was an extraction of 62 million tons of aggregates and about 9 million tons qualified industrial minerals (of which 7 million tons were limestone and dolomite). The market value of the deliveries of aggregates is calculated to about three thousand millions SEK. In general crushed stone is more expensive than sand and gravel from natural deposits. The price is usually in the interval 30 - 80 SEK per ton. There is a tax of 5 SEK per ton for sand and gravel from natural deposits, but not for crushed stone. There is also a cost for the transport. Transports of sand and gravel are usually done with lorries and are excepted to be about half of the total transported goods by lorries in the country. Aggregates are used in a lot of different areas. Building and maintenance of roads and railways, concrete and filling are some examples. Other areas of use are filter sand for water cleaning, sanding against slipperiness, sandpaper etc. The producers of material from pits are asked to estimate how the deliveries are distributed on main areas of use (roads, concrete, filling and other uses). The year 1997 answers were received from 86 percent of the extraction companies. Assuming the received answers are representative, the consumption can be described as in the table below. The total deliveries distributed as percentages on consumption areas, percent Area of use 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997Roads 52 51 53 61 60 61 57 51Concrete 15 16 14 10 10 11 12 11Filling 17 17 18 14 16 14 15 15Other uses 16 16 15 15 14 14 16 24 In ''other uses'' industrial minerals are included Source: Geological Survey of Sweden In 1997 the delivery to roads etc. was estimated to 51 percentage of the total delivery. The delivery of concrete, 11 percent, and to filling (ground, levelling etc.) about 15 percent. ''Other uses'' was 24 percent and include industrial minerals (among other things to the lime industry at Gotland). It is difficult for the producers to estimate where the deliveries are used so the data should be interpreted with caution.
10 In the table below, industrial mineral has been excluded. The table shows the use of the aggregates sand, gravel and crushed stone. Distribution of aggregates on areas of use, million tons (uncertain data) 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997Roads 57 52 48 57 56 59 46 35Concrete 16 16 13 9 9 11 10 8Filling 19 17 16 13 15 14 12 10Other uses 87563329 ''Other uses'' excluding industrial minerals Source: Geological Survey of Sweden 2.2 Production of concrete One of the areas of use for sand, gravel and crushed stone is in the production of concrete. Concrete consists of about 75 percent of the these materials1. The information on quantity of concrete produced in Sweden differs between different sources. In the table and the text below, four different sources are presented. Production of concrete an average year in the beginning of the nineties according to different sources (Calculations and sources: see annex 2 - production of concrete) Source Production of concrete, tons ...gives amount of sgs, tons 1 Geological Survey of Sweden (recalculated) 16 400 000 12 300 000 2 Jacobson & W idmark 8 800 000 6 500 000 3 Swedish Ready-mixed Concrete Association (recalculated), Swedish Pre-cast Federation / SEPA1) 9 700 000 7 300 000 4 Statistics on production of cement (recalculated) 1) 11 690 000 8 770 000 1) Swedish Environmental protection Agency According to the Geological Survey of Sweden, about 10 - 15 million tons of sand, gravel and crushed stone were used to produce concrete every year 1990 - 1995. To produce one ton of concrete, 750 kg sgs is needed. An average of 12.3 million tons sgs for production of concrete per year gives an average production of concrete at 16.4 million tons. In a study on material in the construction sector by the consultant firm ''Jacobson & Widmark''2, the use of concrete in the construction of buildings, roads etc. an average year3 is estimated to be 8 450 000 tons (and the use of ''light''-concrete; 338 000 tons). If we convert this into quantity of used sand, gravel and crushed stone, we will get the result 6.5 million tons. The year 1993 about 6 million tons ready-mixed concrete (concrete delivered in flowing form to the working site for casting in moulds) and about 2 million tons pre cast concrete products were produced, according to the Swedish Ready-mixed Concrete Association and the Swedish Pre-cast Federation. Together this gives a production of 8 million tons. We have information on ready-mixed concrete for each year 1989 - 1998. If we use this information for 1990 - 1995 and assume that the 1 See ''Assumptions''. 2 Kartl¤ggning av materialfl¶den - inom bygg- och anl¤ggningssektorn (Material flows in the construction sector), SEPA Report 4659, Jacobson & Widmark, 1996. 3 Average year: see section 2.3 about ''The construction industry''.
11 production of pre cast are constant on 2 million tons (information on other years than 1993 have not been available), we will get an average production of concrete of about 9 700 000 tons. Production of ready-mixed concrete Year m3 tons (assumed density: 2.4 tons/m3)1) 1989 4 800 000 11 500 000 1990 5 000 000 12 000 000 1991 4 200 000 10 100 000 1992 3 300 000 7 900 000 1993 2 300 000 5 500 000 1994 2 100 000 5 000 000 1995 2 300 000 5 500 000 1996 1 800 000 4 300 000 1997 2 000 000 4 800 000 1998 2 200 000 5 300 000 1) Different kinds of aggregates gives different weight, but the average is about 2,4 tons per m3 concrete. (Personal communication, Sandahl) Source: Swedish Ready-mixed Concrete Association If we use information on production and import of cement (se table below), we can calculate how much concrete that should have been produced if all the cement were used for concrete. (In the production of concrete, 15 percent of the weight is cement.) If we calculate an average for 1990-1995, we will get an average production of concrete of about 11 690 000 tons. Production and import of cement, thousand tons 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 Production of cement 2 260 1 980 1 586 1 325 1 289 1 375 1 262 1 149 1 328 Import of cement 119 110 120 120 120 120 142 148 130 Cement total 2 379 2 090 1 706 1 445 1 409 1 495 1 404 1 297 1 458 ...gives the production of concrete 15 860 13 933 11 373 9 633 9 393 9 967 9 360 8 647 9 720 Source: Viktiga materialfl¶den (Important material flows), Rapport 4384, SEPA The differences between the information from the different sources have not been further analysed in this study. The Geological Survey of Sweden have announced that the information on use of the material is uncertain and this could be one explanation. In the input and output tables in annex 3, we have, to be consistent on the input side, chosen to use the information from the Geological Survey of Sweden. (Other input information is from the Geological Survey of Sweden.) On the output side, the result from Jacobson & Widmark is used. Using this data we will get a data gap on almost 6 million tons between the amount of gravel etc. that are delivered to production of concrete and the amount of concrete produced. If we had used the same information both on the input and output side concerning production of concrete, the gap would had occurred some where else in the tables. Another source that we tried to use is the official statistics of production at Statistics Sweden. However, this statistics is difficult to use when we want to look at the production of concrete. In the classification of goods, concrete, cement etc. are aggregated, and the production of concrete is not possible to single out. The information in physical terms is also incomplete.
12 Below some statistics for production in 1995 are shown. The total for concrete in section 38 according to HS-nomenclature (chemical products) is about 3.1 million tons (here some other products, cement etc., are included). In section 68 (goods of concrete etc.) it is not possible to single out the goods of concrete from other goods included in the same group. The total are about 2.6 million tons. Production 1995 HS1 Good ton 381600 Cement, fire resistant masonry mortar, fire resistant concrete and similar fire resistant manufactures (excluding products on the basis of graphite or other kind of carbon ) 42 282 382300 (502) Concrete mixes 3 093 408 681011 Blocks and bricks for buildings, of cement, concrete or artificial stone, also reinforced 313 294 681019 Tiles for roof, floor, walls, garden and such goods of cement, concrete or artificial stone, also reinforced (excluding blocks and bricks for buildings) 504 823 681091 Prefabricated elements for buildings or constructions of cement, concrete or artificial stone, also reinforced 1 587 572 681099 Goods of cement, concrete or artificial stone, also reinforced (excluding prefabricated elements for buildings or constructions and tiles, bricks and the like) 209 901 Source: Statistics Sweden 2.3 The construction industry The construction sector is one of the largest industries, concerning several aspects - economy, employment and use of material. In 1995 the construction activities represented six percent of the GNP in Sweden and the same percentage of the employment (measured in hours)2. Several materials are used in construction of buildings and other infrastructure, for example minerals, wood and plastic. The largest materials, in weight, are the aggregates gravel, sand and crushed stone. The large amounts of different materials used causes impact on the environment as energy is needed for transportation and production, non-renewable natural resources are used and hazardous material are spread. Gravel is a limited resource of importance for the supply of water in Sweden (see ''Extraction and primary use''). To reduce the extraction of gravel, a larger amount of construction mineral could be recycled. An example is the possibility to use crushed concrete in production of new concrete or to use more residues as filling material. Today some recycling exists, but the use of residues could probably increase. To stimulate recycling and use of substitute materials, a tax on natural gravel exist in Sweden. The use of material is correlated with the development in construction activities. The construction, on its part, follows the fluctuations in economy. In the last decades there have been large changes in the dimensions of the construction sector, partly due to changes in the economy. The chart below shows construction of housing in Sweden 1975-1997. The fluctuations are significant. 1 Customs Tariffs with a Statistical Commodity List, based upon the HS Nomenclature (Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System). 2 Environmental accounts, Statistics Sweden.
13 0 5000 10000 15000 2000025000 30000 35000 40000 45000 500001975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000Year NumberConstructionof housing inmulti-dwellingbuildings inSwedenConstructionof housing inone- or two-dwellingbuildings inSwedenConstruction of housing in multi- and one- or two-dwelling buildings in Sweden 1975-1997 Source: Statistics Sweden In the table below we can see the stock of real-estates measured in square meters in 1996. The total area is 653 000 000 m2. The stock of real-estates in Sweden, 1000 m2 Type of building 1996 Multi-dwelling buildings 155 000 One- or two-dwelling buildings 227 000 Offices, shops, hotels etc. 72 000 Public administration 85 000 Industry 114 000 Total 653 000 Source: Statistics Sweden The stock of real-estates plus other infrastructure (roads, rail-ways etc.) consists of a large amount of material, of which a large part is sand, gravel and stone. Every year more material is added to the stock and some is released from the stock, mainly as waste. There is no statistics on this today. Statistics on how much that is built (number of apartments, m3 etc.), how large the investments are etc. exists, but to translate this into tons of different materials used is difficult. Today, statistics on construction waste is lacking (the release from stock) (see ''Residuals''). To some extent, the amounts are possible (but difficult) to estimate with the existing statistics on demolition as a base. In a well performed study on these matters by the consultant-firm Jacobson & Widmark1, made for the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, some estimations have been made. From construction statistics and expert knowledge, statistics is recalculated into flows of material within the construction sector. We have used results from this study, because it is, as far as we can see, the best attempt done in Sweden. Much more work has to bee done in this area to get more certain information about input in and waste from the construction sector. In the study from Jacobson & Widmark, they have divided the information into different material groups. Of interest for this study on sand, gravel and crushed stone is their material groups: aggregates (sand/stones etc.), concrete and asphalt. They have studied housing and other 1 Kartl¤ggning av materialfl¶den - inom bygg- och anl¤ggningssektorn (Material flows in the construction sector), SEPA Report 4659, Jacobson & Widmark, 1996.
14 infrastructure, including roads and railways but excluding for example military buildings, maintenance of houses. They have measured what they call a standard year (or as we call it further on; an average year). This is an average of five years in the beginning of the nineties (different years for different types of buildings etc. due to the existing statistics - within a seven year-period, statistics for five years is used). The construction statistics used as a base in their study is the official building statistics from Statistics Sweden. Building statistics is used to follow up housing construction, for making forecasts of housing investments, and for market assessments. Different parties in the construction sector and building market use the Construction Index and Real Estate Price Index to regulate agreements and contracts. 2.4 Import and export The information on import and export comes from the official foreign trade statistics at Statistics Sweden. The foreign trade statistics contains import and export of goods, accounted for in standard classification. With EU membership in 1995 the foreign trade statistics changed. Earlier it was produced with the use of tariff documents. All export and import was registered. Today, without the same custom procedures inside the European Union, the foreign trade statistics is produced by questionnaires to a sample of companies. The statistics has so far not been of sufficient quality. In this study however, only statistics until 1995 has been used. Only statistics for import and export of aggregates (sand, etc.) has been included (HS-code 25.17.100). Some goods containing sand, gravel and crushed stone have probably been exported or imported, but statistics for these kind of goods are presented together with other goods containing other materials1, and is therefore not possible to use in the study. Export and import 1990-1995 Export of ''sand, gravel and crushed stone'': (HS: 25.17.100) 1990: 1 282 740 tons 1991: 1 653 062 '' 1992: 1 405 734 '' 1993: 1 423 487 '' 1994: 2 048 630 '' 1995: 1 980 093 '' Import of ''sand, gravel and crushed stone'': (HS: 25.17.100) 1990: 64 500 tons 1991: 79 601 '' 1992: 129 536 '' 1993: 564 388 '' 1994: 85 560 '' 1995: 42 520 '' Source: Foreign trade statistics, Statistics Sweden 2.5 Residuals Large amounts of construction and demolition waste are generated in the construction sector. Today no complete statistics for this exist. In a study of waste handled by municipalities 1994, construction waste was measured2. Waste from construction, demolition, rebuilding and excavated material were included. The total amount was 1 460 000 tons. As this only includes the waste handled by municipals, it only represents a part of the total construction waste. 1 Compare with the same problem in chapter 2.2 ''Production of concrete''. 2 Waste and recovery in municipalities in Sweden 1994, Na 28 SM 9502, Statistics Sweden.
15 The data used in the input and output tables in annex 3 is from the study on material flows in the construction sector mentioned earlier1. The waste amounts are estimated from knowledge of the industry used together with statistics on housing. The total amount of waste an average year in the early nineties is estimated to 6 000 000 tons. 43 percent are reused and 40 percent goes to ''filling''. Several tons of the reused material and the material to filling probably never pass the municipal waste handling, and this can explain the differences in the result from the two sources. In the input and output tables in annex 3, the amounts from the total waste (6 million tons) that consists of sand, gravel and crushed stone are estimated to be 3 940 000 tons. Waste from the construction sector, 1 000 tons Total of which to Source Landfill Filling Incineration with energy recovery Recycling2) Study on material flows in the construction sector (statistics on housing used as base) 1 460 900 1) 100 440 Survey on construction waste handled by municipalities in 1994 6 000 300 2 400 300 3 000 1) No information on filling. It is possible that responders (municipalities) has considered filling as either landfilling or recycling. 2) Including reuse and material recovery. The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, that are responsible for the official waste statistics, is planning to, in a couple of years, produce statistics on waste from the construction sector. The statistics will probably be compiled by a combination of questionnaires and estimations with statistics on housing as base. To make such estimations accurate, more information on the relation between the size of construction and demolition activities and the waste arising is needed. Waste from other sectors; mining, manufacturing of concrete, other manufacturing; and imported and exported waste may also consist of sand etc. By looking at the waste statistics from 1993 we have not been able to find any waste types of this kind from the mining industry and the industry for manufacturing of concrete. Some recycling of concrete (crushed concrete used to make new concrete) probably exist, but we have no information on the size of this activity. 1 Kartl¤ggning av materialfl¶den - inom bygg- och anl¤ggningssektorn (Material flows in the construction sector), SEPA Report 4659, Jacobson & Widmark, 1996.
16 3 Results In this chapter results are presented. Data on input in and output from the economy is included as well as input and output between sectors within the economy. The data used is described in chapter 2 and in annex 2. We want to point out that some existing flows have not been included, either due to lack of data or that no information on the activity has been available. We also want to make clear that some of the used data is uncertain, which is also described in chapter 2. 3.1 Input and output of sand, gravel and crushed stone Information on input and output of material is usually received from industrial input and production statistics. In this case, when the construction industry is such a large user of the material in question, data is often taken from the construction statistics. As described above, in ''Extraction and primary use'', the industry statistics on production or extraction of the natural resources in this area are incomplete. There are a large number of small businesses with few employees, not included in the statistics, but producing a large amount. Therefore statistics from the Geological Survey of Sweden is used instead to describe the input of material in the economy. In annex 3, input and output tables are presented. The sources are described in annex 2 and the results are commented below. The statistics are calculated to show an average year between 1990 and 1995. This is done for several reasons; the information for the construction sector (input and output) collected from the study from Jacobson & Widmark is only available in this form and an average for several years will also reduce the impact of possible errors in statistics for a specific year. The matrixes could be used for different types of analyses, for example resource or destination analyses1. In this study the main use of the input and output is: ' identify data gaps and shortcomings in the existing statistics - a discussion-base for continuous work in the area ' to study the direct material input and output in society (see below) ' to estimate the increase in the stock. The data in the input and output tables is collected from several different statistics. The sources are mentioned in annex 2 and described in chapter 2. The data is in some part not sufficient and in several cases calculations have been made from assumptions. For some areas no data has been found, even thought there probably exist production or use. Never the less, we assume that we have been able to compile data for the large flows. To identify missing or inaccurate data and to work on collecting or improving this is a task for the future. 1 Carbon Flow Analysis in Sweden, Statistics Sweden, 1996.
17 In the scheme below the input and output tables are commented upon: Total input and output of sand/gravel/crushed stone (sgs) in the different sectors Input, ton Output, ton Comment Extraction 0 88 400 000 There is a large extraction of sand, gravel and crushed stone. Manufacturing of concrete 12 300 000 6 500 000 The input of sgs is larger than the output. This is a data gap due to difference in statistics from different sources (see more under ''Production of concrete'' (2.2)). There should probably also be a small input of waste (i.e. crushed concrete), but no data on this has been found. Other manufacturing 4 400 000 0 No output of goods containing sgs has been included (due to lack of data), which probably is incorrect and should be similar to the input. Construction of buildings and roads etc. 64 380 000 68 600 000 A small (expressed in percent) difference between the input and output. The output is larger, more is produced than used. This could be a consequence of different data sources or a real difference, if material for example has been stored. There also, probably, should be output of waste from construction (waste from re-building are included in demolition), but no separate data on this has been found. A study made in Sweden in 1994, of one construction project, shows that 18 % (in weight) of the waste are ''cement and stone material''1. Demolition (and rebuilding) of buildings etc. 920 000 920 000 The input and output are the same because of the same source. The data is uncertain due to difficulties in estimation. Construction statistics are used as a base for estimations. Demolition (and rebuilding) of roads etc. 3 020 000 3 020 000 The input and output are the same because of the same source. The data is uncertain due to difficulties in estimation. Construction statistics are used as a base for estimations. Filling 17 410 000 0 A large input directly from extraction of sgs plus residues from demolition. It is difficult to separate filling from some activities in construction. No output has been accounted for. If ''extraction'' from filled areas exist, this could been seen as inaccurate. Landfilling 60 000 0 Input of waste in landfills and no output. The amount to landfill from demolition is uncertain due to the methods to estimate the data. Import - 160 000 According to the trade statistics. Export 1 630 000 - An export larger than the import. Total (104 120 000) (167 600 000) The total does not give any information, it contains double counting. For total input in and output from society - see below. 1 Bygg- och rivningsavfall - inventering av avfallet fr¥n tv¥ byggarbetsplatser (Construction and demolition waste - inventory of waste from two construction sites), 1994, Lotta Sigfrid.
18 3.2 Direct material input in and output from the society It is important to get an overview of the primary input in and output from society. This gives possibility to study the extraction of a natural resource and connect this to the stock building and to the output from society. From this, a discussion about substitutes for the natural resource or reuse of the resource could be initiated. We will by this approach see the increase in the stock of buildings for the time period the flow refers to. It would also be of interest to cover hidden flows1, material never entering the economy, in the overview. This however is not included in this study. In the chart on the next page, the input in and output from the society (Sweden) for an average year in the beginning of the nineties is presented. The data is from the input and output tables in the appendix. We have considered residues to filling as output from the economy, but material directly from extraction to filling as input in the economy. As mentioned above, the data on output is very uncertain. 1 See: Resource Flows - The material basis of industrial economies, Wuppertal Institute, 1997.
19 Gravel and sand 54 400 000 tonnes Additional stock 82 990 000 tonnes Crushed stones 26 600 000 tonnes Other aggregates 7 400 000 tonnesRecycling2 170 000 tonnesAbroadMaterial inputEconomy Export-1 630 000 tonnes Filling-1 710 000 tonnesDisposal/Landfill60 000 tonnes Import160 000 tonnesMaterial outputInput in and output from the Swedish economy, of sand, gravel and crushed stone, an average year in the beginning of the nineties
20 3.3 Accumulation in society The accumulation in society, i.e. the increase in stock, of sand, gravel and crushed stone in buildings, roads etc. is growing every year. The size of the existing stock in infrastructure in Sweden can be discussed. An accurate measure is difficult to get. We have used an estimate from the study used in other parts of our presentation (Jacobson & Widmark, 1996). According to this estimation, the total accumulation of material in buildings were 2.5 thousand million tons in 1995. The sand, gravel and crushed stones part is almost 80 percent (see table below). Accumulation in society (measured in tons of sand, gavel and crushed stone) up to and including 1995 In houses In roads etc. Total Concrete 391 500 000 22 500 000 414 000 000 ''Light''- concrete 15 317 000 - 15 317 000 Asphalt - 245 904 000 245 904 000 Sand etc. 260 000 000 1 020 000 000 1 280 000 000 Total 666 817 000 1 288 404 000 1 955 221 000 Source: Jacobson & W idmark, 1996 - modified (see assumptions) If we estimate the increase in stock from the statistics in the input and output tables, we will get an increase on about 500 million tons 1990-1995. Period Tons 1. Stock until 19951 1 955 000 000 2. Increase/year 1990-19952 82 990 000 3. Increase 1990-1995 497 940 000 4. Stock until 1990 (row 1 minus row 3) 1 457 060 000 1 according to ''Jacobson & W idmark'' (recalculated) 2 see 3.2 Inc reas e in s toc k 1990-1995500 000 000 tonnesAccumulated to 19901 460 000 000 tonnesStock of sand, gravel and crushed stone in the Swedish society up to and including 1995 (according to estimations and calculations) According to the estimations above, the increase in stock is very large expressed in percent. If these estimates are right we will soon have doubled the accumulated material (gravel, sand and crushed stone) in Sweden from 1990. For future discussions about the accuracy in suggested size of the accumulation in society, we have put together two examples below.
21 ' According to the estimate above there are 666 817 000 tons sand, gravel etc. in buildings (1995). From the construction statistics we know that the area of buildings in Sweden is 653 000 000 m2 (1996). This means that there should be about one ton per square meter. ' The length of roads in Sweden is 430 000 km1. This should mean that there are about 3 000 tons of sand, gravel etc. in one km road if we use the total amount in roads presented above (1 288 404 000 tons). According to the National Swedish Sand, Gravel and Crushed Stone Association, there are 30 000 tons sand, gravel etc. in one km road. The amount of course depends on which type of road that is studied. The types of roads in Sweden are: - 15 000 km European highways and national highways - 83 000 km county roads - 330 000 km other roads and streets including forest roads If we only include the two first types of roads above, one km would contain 13 000 tons. 1Markanv¤ndningen i Sverige (Land-use in Sweden), 1998, Statistics Sweden.
22 4 Conclusions and future work This study is a first attempt at Statistics Sweden to put together material flow statistics on construction minerals. Several data sources has turned out to be useful, but a lot of improvement could still be done. To identify missing or inaccurate data and to continue the work on collecting or improving this data is an important future work. Below some examples of problems encountered and possible future work are described. Statistics on production of aggregates can be collected from two different sources: the industrial statistics at Statistics Sweden and statistics from the Geological Survey of Sweden. The statistics from Statistics Sweden have not been used because production is only reported for industrial companies with at least 10 employees and establishments with at least 5 employees. Most of the pits for sand, gravel and crushed stone have few employees and the production accounted for in the official industrial statistics will not be the total production. From summer 1999 it is possible that statistics from the tax authority can be used instead. Also small companies are reporting in the tax-return forms. At present, Statistics Sweden investigates the quality of this data. The statistics about production from the Geological Survey of Sweden, reported to the county administrative board from the producers, are rather good as a total for Sweden. The data collected from the producers is complemented with calculated volumes for pits that have not left information about the produced volume. Nowadays most of the counties have a discrepancy of less than one percent. Although the statistics are rather good, it could be better if all the producers reported their production volumes. The use of the aggregates (sand, gravel and crushed stone) is more difficult to get accurate data on. The producers estimate to what purpose the aggregates are delivered. They distribute their deliveries between, in percent, road construction, concrete, filling and other uses. The Swedish Ready-mixed Concrete Association has statistics about the yearly production of ready-mixed concrete, but these figures are different from the estimate made by the producers of aggregates. Concerning concrete, different data from different sources also exists. This difference in data is needed to be further analysed. Statistics on the use of material in the construction industry and the releases from the stock, i.e. the waste generated, could be much better. The information used in this study is from one study made in this area. It is important to, in the future, get better knowledge on the waste streams from demolition, as well as from building and re-building. This could be made as direct statistics (for example by questionnaires to the construction firms) or by estimations from the size of the construction activities. If this is to be done, much better information on the relation between construction and demolition and the waste arising is needed. A general point of view, working with material flow statistics for one particular material, is that more information on material contents in goods is needed. This has also been the case in this study. The classification of goods sometimes includes a group of several types of goods, which makes it difficult to estimate the quantity of the good or material in question. Also when one type of good corresponds to one code in the classification, difficulties exist of knowing the contents of the material in question. Another general opinion is that better physical information is needed for production of goods and input in manufacturing industries.
23 Lists of references ' Aggregates and industrial minerals, Year 1990 - 1996, Geological Survey of Sweden ' Aggregates, Year 1997, Geological Survey of Sweden ' Bygg- och rivningsavfall - inventering av avfallet fr¥n tv¥ byggarbetsplatser (Construction and demolition waste - inventory of waste from two construction sites), 1994, Lotta Sigfrid ' Carbon Flow Analysis in Sweden, 1996, Bj¶rn Andersson, Statistics Sweden ' Chromium and nickel in Sweden, 1995, Viveka Palm et. al. ' Environmental accounts, Statistics Sweden ' Foreign trade statistics, Statistics Sweden ' Grus och Makadamf¶reningen (National Swedish Sand, Gravel and Crushed Stone Association), Information material ' Grust¤kters inverkan p¥ grundvattnet (The influence of gravel pits on the groundwater), Report 4570, Swedish Environment Protection Agency ' Industrial metabolism. The emerging landscape of heavy metal immission in Sweden, Bo Bergback, 1992 ' Industriella mineral och bergarter - en branschutredning, 1998, Geological Survey of Sweden ' Kartl¤ggning av materialfl¶den - inom bygg- och anl¤ggningssektorn (Material flows in the construction sector), SEPA Report 4659, Jacobson & Widmark, 1996 ' Markanv¤ndningen i Sverige (Land use in Sweden), 1998, Statistics Sweden ' Material flow studies at Statistics Sweden and the National Chemicals Inspectorate, 1996, Margareta stman, the National Chemical Inspectorate, Elisabeth Bergstedt, Statistics Sweden ' Naturgrus och alternativa material (Gravel and alternative materials), 1997, Rapport 4831 Swedish Environmental Protection Agency ' Nordiska naturresurs- och milj¶r¤kenskaper - delrapport II (Nordic environmental- and natural-resource account - part II), 1997, Nordic Council of Ministers ' Reduced emissions of carbon dioxide through changed use of materials, to be published in 1999, Statistics Sweden ' Resource Flows '' The material basis of industrial economies, Wuppertal Institute, 1997 ' Waste and recovery in municipalities in Sweden 1994, Na 28 SM 9502, Statistics Sweden ' Waste and renewable raw material from the industry 1993, Na 28 SM 9501, Statistics Sweden ' Verksamheten 1997/98, Swedish Ready-mixed Concrete Association ' Viktiga materialfl¶den (Important material flows), Rapport 4384, Swedish Environmental Protection Agency
24 Annex 1 Assumptions The assumptions below have been used in the study: _____________________________ Concrete consists of (% of weight): Aggregates (sand etc.) 77 % Cement 15 % Water 8 % Source: ''Milj¶balans- Betongens positiva och negativa effekter'', Cementa AB 1993 Used: Concrete contains approximately 75 % ''sand, gravel, crushed stone'' _____________________________ ''Light''-concrete: Content: standard-cement, limestone, gypsum, sand/sandstone and water The percentage (weight) of sand and sandstone are 45-60 %. Source: Ytong (Swedish company) The conversion factor for amount of sand and stone in ''light''-concrete used in this study is 53 %. _____________________________ Asphalt consists of (weight-%): Stone material (crushed stones) 94 % Bitumen 6 % Source: F¶reningen f¶r Asfaltbel¤ggningar i Sverige - Swedish Asphalt Pavement Association Used: Asphalt contain 94 % ''sand, gravel crushed stone'' _____________________________
25 Annex 2 The input- and output tables - sources and calculations (For description of sources - see chapter 2) (Calculation factors and other assumptions - see ''Assumptions'') Output-table A 1 Extraction of gravel Source: Geological Survey of Sweden 1990: 69 800 000 tons 1991: 63 300 000 '' 1992: 53 100 000 '' 1993: 51 900 000 '' 1994: 43 500 000 '' 1995: 44 600 000 '' Average 1990-1995: 54 400 000 tons B 1 Production of crushed stones Source: Geological Survey of Sweden 1990: 25 100 000 tons 1991: 24 900 000 '' 1992: 22 600 000 '' 1993: 26 000 000 '' 1994: 28 600 000 '' 1995: 32 300 000 '' Average 1990-1995: 26 600 000 tons C 1 Production of other aggregates Source: Geological Survey of Sweden 1990: 5 100 000 tons 1991: 4 500 000 '' 1992: 5 900 000 '' 1993: 7 800 000 '' 1994: 10 800 000 '' 1995: 10 300 000 '' Average 1990-1995: 7 400 000 tons D 2 Production of concrete For used alternative - see in the text ''Production of concrete'' Alternative 1: Source: Geological Survey of Sweden (estimated and recalculated) 1990: 16 000 000 tons sgs used in concrete '' (/0,75) = 21 300 000 tons concrete prod.1991: 16 000 000 '' 21 300 000 tons concrete produced 1992: 13 000 000 '' 17 300 000 '' 1993: 9 000 000 '' 12 000 000 '' 1994: 9 000 000 '' 12 000 000 '' 1995: 11 000 000 '' 14 700 000 '' Average 1990-1995: 12 300 000 tons sgs used in 16 400 000 tons concrete Alternative 2: Source: Jacobson & Widmark, 1996 (a study on material in the construction industry)Used in buildings etc. an average year: Concrete: 5 340 000 tons (x 0,75) = 4 005 000 tons sgs''Light''-concrete: 338 000 tons (x 0,53) = 179 140 tons sgs Used in roads etc. an average year: Concrete: 3 110 000 tons (x 0,75) = 2 332 500 tons sgs '' a total of about 6 500 000 tons sgs are used in 8 800 000 tons concrete an average year. Alternative 3: Sources: - Viktiga materialfl¶den (Important material flows), Rapport 4384,
26 SEPA, 1994 / Swedish pre-cast federation - Swedish ready-mixed association, 1997/98 The year 1993 - about 6 million tons ready-mixed concrete (concrete delivered in flowing form to the working site for casting in moulds) and about 2 million tons pre cast concrete products were produced. Together this is a production of 8 million tons. The same year 75 000 tons pre cast concrete were imported and 125 000 tons were exported. If we assume a constant production of 2 million tons pre cast and production of ready-mixed as below, we will get an average production of concrete on 9.7 million tons which corresponds to 7.3 million tons sand, gravel and crushed stone. 1990: 12 000 000 tons ready-mixed concrete '' 9 000 000 tons sgs 1991: 10 100 000 tons ready-mixed concrete '' 7 575 000 tons 1992: 7 900 000 tons ready-mixed concrete '' 5 925 000 tons 1993: 5 500 000 tons ready-mixed concrete '' 4 125 000 tons 1994: 5 000 000 tons ready-mixed concrete '' 3 750 000 tons 1995: 5 500 000 tons ready-mixed concrete '' 4 125 000 tons1993: 2 000 000 tons pre cast concrete '' 1 500 000 tonsAverage: 9 700 000 tons concrete '' 7 300 000 tons F 4 Production of buildings Source: Jacobson & Widmark, 1996 Concrete: 5 340 000 tons (x 0,75) = 4 005 000 tons sgs ''Light''-concrete: 338 000 tons (x 0,53) = 179 140 tons sgs Sand/Stones: 916 000 tons = sgs Total: 5 100 140 tons (rounded: 5 100 000 tons) average year G 5 Production of roads etc. (incl. asphalt) Source: Jacobson & Widmark, 1996 Concrete: 3 110 000 tons (x 0,75) = 2 332 500 tons sgs Asphalt: 7 660 000 tons (x 0,94) = 7 200 400 tons sgs Sand/Stones: 53 924 000 tons = sgs Total: 63 456 900 tons (rounded: 63 500 000 tons) average year H-K 1 W aste from extraction From the waste statistics made in Sweden, we have not been able to find any indications that waste consisting of the materials in question should arise. H-K 2 W aste from production of concrete From the waste statistics made in Sweden, we have not been able to find any indications that waste consisting of the materials in question should arise. H-K 4-5 W aste from construction of buildings and roads etc. W e have not been able to find any information on waste (of the material in question) from construction of new objects. A study made in Sweden in 1994, of one construction project, shows that 18 % (in weight) of the waste are ''cement- and stone material''1. H 6 To reuse from demolition of houses Source: Jacobson & Widmark, 1996Sand/Stones: 144 000 tons = sgs (rounded: 140 000 tons) average year I 6 To material recovery from demolition of houses Source: Jacobson & Widmark, 1996 Concrete: 192 000 tons (x 0,75) = 144 000 tons sgs ''Light''-concrete: 9 000 tons (x 0,53) = 4 770 tons sgs Total: 148 770 tons (rounded: 150 000 tons) average year J 6 To ''filling'' from demolition of houses Source: Jacobson & Widmark, 1996 Concrete: 720 000 tons (x 0,75) = 540 000 tons sgs ''Light''-concrete: 54 000 tons (x 0,53) = 28 620 tons sgs Sand/Stones: 16 000 tons = sgs Total: 584 620 tons (rounded: 580 000 tons) average year K 6 To landfills from demolition of houses Source: Jacobson & Widmark, 1996 Concrete: 48 000 tons (x 0,75) = 36 000 tons sgs ''Light''-concrete: 27 000 tons (x 0,53) = 14 310 tons sgs Total: 50 310 tons (rounded: 50 000 tons) average year 1 Bygg- och rivningsavfall - inventering av avfallet fr¥n tv¥ byggarbetsplatser (Construction and demolition waste - inventory of waste from two construction sites), 1994, Lotta Sigfrid.
27 H 7 To reuse from demolition of roads etc. Source: Jacobson & Widmark, 1996Asphalt: 1 620 000 tons (x 0,94) = 1 522 800 tons sgs Sand/Stones: 340 000 tons = sgs Total: 1 862 800 tons (rounded: 1 860 000 tons) average year I 7 To material recovery from demolition of roads etc. Source: Jacobson & Widmark, 1996 Concrete: 6 250 tons (x 0,75) = 4 700 tons sgs Sand/Stones: 20 000 tons = sgs Total: 24 700 tons (rounded: 20 000 tons) average year J 7 To ''filling'' from demolition of roads etc. Source: Jacobson & Widmark, 1996 Concrete: 100 000 tons (x 0,75) = 75 000 tons sgs Asphalt: 1 080 000 tons (x 0,94) = 1 015 200 tons sgs Sand/Stones: 40 000 tons = sgs Total: 1 130 200 tons (rounded: 1 130 000 tons) average year K 7 To landfills from demolition of roads etc. Source: Jacobson & Widmark, 1996 Concrete: 18 750 tons (x 0,75) = 14 050 tons sgs (rounded: 10 000 tons) average year A-C 10 Import of stones, gravel and sand Source: Statistics Sweden (HS: 25.17) 1990: 64 500 tons 1991: 79 601 '' 1992: 129 536 '' 1993: 564 388 '' 1994: 85 560 '' 1995: 42 520 '' Average 1990-1995: 161 017 tons (rounded: 160 000)
28 Input-table Cell Information Source and calculations Year A-C 2 Use of Sand/ Gravel/Stones in concrete Source: Geological Survey of Sweden 1990: 16 000 000 tons 1991: 16 000 000 '' 1992: 13 000 000 '' 1993: 9 000 000 '' 1994: 9 000 000 '' 1995: 11 000 000 '' Average 1990-1995: 12 300 000 tons (see also ''output-table'' and chapter 2.2 ''Production of concrete'') A-C 3 Use of Sand/ Gravel/Stones in ''other'' Source: Geological Survey of Sweden 1990: 8 000 000 tons 1991: 7 000 000 '' 1992: 5 000 000 '' 1993: 6 000 000 '' 1994: 3 000 000 '' 1995: 3 000 000 '' Average 1990-1995: 5 300 000 tons W e assume that 900 000 tons of ''other'' goes directly to construction of buildings etc. (according to A-C 4 below) and the rest goes to other manufacturing. '' ''to other excluding to buildings etc.'': 4 400 000 tons A-C 4 Use of Sand/ Gravel/Stones in buildings etc. Source: Jacobson & Widmark, 1996 Sand/Stones: 916 000 tons = sgs (rounded: 900 000 tons) average year A-C 5 Use of Sand/ Gravel/Stones in roads etc. (incl. in asphalt) Alternative 1: Source: Jacobson & Widmark, 1996 Sand/Stones: 53 924 000 tons = sgs Asphalt: 7 660 000 tons (x 0,94) = 7 200 400 tons sgs Total: 61 124 400 tons (rounded: 61 120 000 tons) Alternative 2: Source: Geological Survey of Sweden 1990: 57 000 000 tons 1991: 52 000 000 '' 1992: 48 000 000 '' 1993: 57 000 000 '' 1994: 56 000 000 '' 1995: 59 000 000 '' Average 1990-1995: 54 800 000 tons '' Figure used: 54 800 000 tons (alt 2) W e use alt. 2, but we can see that the difference between the two alternatives are relatively small (about 1 percent) average year A-C 8 Use of Sand/ Gravel/Stones as filling material Source: Geological Survey of Sweden 1990: 19 000 000 tons 1991: 17 000 000 '' 1992: 16 000 000 '' 1993: 13 000 000 '' 1994: 15 000 000 '' 1995: 14 000 000 '' Average 1990-1995: 15 700 000 tons D 4 Use of concrete in buildings Source: Jacobson & Widmark, 1996 Concrete: 5 340 000 tons (x 0,75) = 4 005 000 tons sgs''Light''-concrete: 338 000 tons (x 0,53) = 179 140 tons sgs Total: 4 184 140 tons (rounded: 4 180 000 tons) average year D 5 Use of concrete in roads etc. Source: Jacobson & Widmark, 1996 Concrete: 3 110 000 tons (x 0,75) = 2 332 500 tons sgs (rounded: 2 330 000 tons) average year F 6 Input of buildings in the demolition sector Source: Jacobson & Widmark, 1996 H 6+I 6+J 6+K 6 (output table) = 920 000 tons sgs average year
29 G 7 Input of roads in the demolition sector Source: Jacobson & Widmark, 1996 H 7+I 7+J 7+K 7 (output table) = 3 020 000 tons sgs average year H 2-3 Use of waste in production of concrete Crushed concrete could be used to produce new concrete, but this is not yet done to any large extent. W e have not been able to find any statistics on this. H-I 4-5 Use of waste in buildings, roads etc. Found information so far: From different sources we know that recycled waste from concrete is often used in roads. Asphalt-waste is also used in roads. Crushed concrete could be used to produce new concrete, but this is not yet done to any large extent. But these data is not sufficient. W e have to assume that the main part of residues from construction is used in the same sector. W e put together the sectors for construction of buildings and roads and add the data in H6-H7 and I6-I7 from the output table. average year J 8 Residuals for/to filling = Total output K 9 Residuals for/to landfill = Total output A-C 10 Export of stones, gravel and sand Source: Statistics Sweden (HS: 25.17.100) 1990: 1 282 740 tons 1991: 1 653 062 '' 1992: 1 405 734 '' 1993: 1 423 487 '' 1994: 2 048 630 '' 1995: 1 980 093 '' Average 1990-1995: 1 632 291 tons (rounded: 1 630 000)
Output of sand/gravel/crushed stone an average year in the beginning of \the nineties, ton1234567891011NACE 10-14 NACE 26NACE 15-37 (excl. 26) NACE 452 a1NACE 452 b2NACE 45110 a NACE 45110 b Filling LandfillingImportTotalGood (mesured in sgs) Extraction Manufacturing of concrete etc. Other manufacturing Construction of buildings etc. Construction of roads etc. (incl. asphalt)Demolition/re- building of buildings etc. 3Demolition/re-building of roads etc. 3A Gravel and sand454 400 000 - - - - - - - - 160 000 88 560 000B Cruched stones426 600 000 - - - - - - - -COther aggregates47 400 000 - - - - - - - -D Concrete - 6 500 000 - - - - - - - -6 500 000F Buildings etc. - - - 5 100 000 - - - - - - 5 100 000G Roads etc. (incl. asphalt) - - - - 63 500 000 - - - - - 63 500 000H Residuales for reuse - - -??140 000 1 860 000 - - - 2 000 000I Residuales for recykling - - -??150 000 20 000 - - - 170 000J Residuales for filling - - -??580 000 1 130 000 - - - 1 710 000K Residuales for landfilling - - -??50 000 10 000 - - - 60 000L Total 88 400 000 6 500 000 - 5 100 000 63 500 000 920 000 3 020 000 - - 160000 167 600 000Input of sand/gravel/crushed stone an average year in the beginning of t\he nineties, ton 1234567891011NACE 10-14 NACE 26 NACE 15-37 (excl. 26) NACE 452 a1NACE 452 b2NACE 45110 a NACE 45110 b Filling LandfillingExportTotalGood (mesured in sgs) Extraction Manufacturing of concrete etc. Other manufacturing Construction of buildings etc. Construction of roads etc. (incl. asphalt)Demolition/re- building of buildings etc. 3Demolition/re-building of roads etc. 3A Gravel and sand4 - 12 300 000 4 400 000 900 000 54 800 000 - - 15 700 000 - 1 630 000 89 730 000B Cruched stones4 - - - -COther aggregates4 - - - -D Concrete - - - 4 180 000 2 330 000 - - - - - 6 510 000F Buildings etc. - - - - - 920 000 - - - - 920 000G Roads etc. (incl. asphalt) - - - - - - 3 020 000 - - - 3 020 000H Residuales for reuse -??2 000 000 - - - - - 2 000 000I Residuales for recykling - - - 170 000 - - - - - 170 000J Residuales for filling - - - - - - - 1 710 000 - - 1 710 000K Residuales for landfilling - - - - - - - - 60 000 - 60 000L Total - 12 300 000 4 400 000 64 380 000 920 000 3 020 000 17 410 000 60 000 1 630 000 104 120 0001 Construction of buidings, part of NACE 4522 Construction of roads and other infrastructure3 Realise from stock4 Primary output, not processed? = No data found (re-building are included in demolision) = data includes all the surrounded cellsAnnex 3-The input-output tables
Report: Israeli spyware helping dictatorships track dissidents, minorities | The Times of Israel
Israel has become one of the world's main exporters of spyware and other kinds of offensive cyber technologies. According to a Friday expos(C) in the Haaretz daily, while Israeli companies offer the products as tools for counterterrorism or to combat organized crime, in many cases, it has also been used by dictatorships to spy on dissidents.
Products by the Israeli firm Verint, for example, have helped authorities in Mozambique combat a spate of kidnappings, and in Botswana fight against illegal poaching. But according to former employees at several companies who spoke with the newspaper, in countries like Indonesia the tracking tools also helped the government piece together criminal cases against gays and religious minorities who then faced charges for homosexuality and heresy, considered crimes by local authorities.
Some of the products, such as Herzliya Pituach-based NSO's Trojan-horse software Pegasus, are well-known. Pegasus allows governments to hack into their citizens' cellphones, to listen to calls and even simply to conversations taking place near the phones. It has been implicated in Mexico's tracking of government critics in recent years.
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The investigation, based on 100 sources in 15 countries, including many current and former employees of the Israeli companies producing the cyber products, concluded that the Israeli regulatory bodies that are supposed to ensure that exports aren't used for illegal or immoral purposes by the client governments are not stopping the sales even when there is clear evidence of abuse.
Some studies of the spread of Israeli spyware suggest the products are now deployed by state agencies in as many as 130 countries, including some that have no diplomatic relations with the Jewish state, like Gulf Arab nations Qatar, Bahrain and UAE, as well as nations with poor human rights records like Swaziland, South Sudan or Angola.
Verint offices in Herzliya, Israel, July 28, 2016. (AP Photo/Dan Balilty)
''I can't limit the actions of the client,'' said one employee, quoted with the pseudonym ''Roi'' to keep his identity secret. ''I can't sell someone a Mercedes and then tell him to only drive 100 kph [62 mph]. The truth is that the Israeli companies don't know how their system will be used once they are sold.''
Another former employee, ''Tal,'' related how a theoretical question in a training exercise turned out to have immoral real-world consequences.
''I was training [clients on the use of Verint software] in Azerbaijan,'' related Tal. ''One day, the pupils came to me during a break and asked how they could [use the software to] determine someone's sexual preference on Facebook. It was only later, when I read about the issue, that I discovered the country is notorious for persecuting the [LGBT] community. Suddenly things came together.''
Israeli software is famous among Persian Gulf governments, one source said. ''They know that the best technologies come from Israel.''
Israel's technological prowess is no accident. The burst of the high-tech bubble in 2000 was accompanied by the start of the Second Intifada, leading to a simultaneous crisis in the private tech industry alongside a boost in Israeli defense spending. That combination channeled top programmers toward the defense industries, and helped build today's world-leading Israeli offensive and defensive cyber industries.
It's not clear whether Israeli regulators could stop the flow if they wished. Many Israeli tech firms have opened European subsidiaries to sell the sensitive technologies in countries like Cyprus and Bulgaria.
Did Michael Flynn Have a Campaign Back Channel to Hackers?
Donald Trump and national security adviser Michael Flynn during the 2016 campaign. Photo: David Hume Kennerly/Getty Images
The alliance between the Trump campaign and Russia had many nodes of contact. One of the least known, but potentially most significant, is the work that ran through Republican operative Peter W. Smith. Much of the reporting on Smith has been broken by The Wall Street Journal, and its accumulated reports are building an incriminating story.
Smith is a Chicago-based operative with a taste for the political dark arts, who set out in 2016 to obtain Hillary Clinton's State Department emails, which he believed had been stolen by Russian hackers. Smith died under somewhat odd circumstances last year '-- he committed an apparent suicide days after being contacted by a reporter, citing an expiring life-insurance policy, but seemed to be in good spirits just hours before his death.
But the most important mystery involving Smith is how important his work was to the campaign, and where it led. When he met with a cybersecurity expert in 2016, Smith represented himself as working on behalf of Michael Flynn, Trump's chief national security adviser during the campaign. Flynn, of course, had ties to Russia and was forced to resign very shortly after starting as national security adviser for lying about his contacts with Russia.
But Smith, unlike Flynn, was not a famous figure, and initially some people assumed that he might have been working on his own. The Journal has fleshed out Smith's role, and every new report has suggested that his work was significant. An October 7 report found that Smith raised at least $100,000, from at least four donors, for his work on the emails. An October 10 follow-up confirmed that Smith and Flynn were in regular, close contact.
Today's report is more explosive still. Investigators have evidence that Smith ''may have had advance knowledge of details about the release of emails from a top Hillary Clinton campaign official by WikiLeaks,'' according to the Journal.
If true, this would mean that Smith wasn't merely attempting to get ahold of stolen Clinton emails. He got through to WikiLeaks and was, in some form, a channel of collusion between the hackers and the Trump campaign.
Flynn long ago started cooperating with Robert Mueller. So if Flynn discussed any of this information with Trump during the campaign, the special counsel probably knows about it.
Did Michael Flynn Have a Campaign Back Channel to Hackers?
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Botox cuts women's chances of orgasm by making it harder for them to communicate enjoyment of sex | Daily Mail Online
It's news that could well have women furrowing their brows '' if they still can.
Researchers have found that those who have Botox treatment to smooth out facial wrinkles are less likely to achieve orgasms.
Injections of the toxic substance paralyse nerves, making it difficult to produce the full range of facial expressions.
Psychologists at Cardiff University have discovered that, as a result, women find it harder to communicate to lovers that they are enjoying sex.
Researchers have found that those who have Botox treatment to smooth out facial wrinkles are less likely to achieve orgasms
This, the researchers say, affects performance between the sheets and blunts the woman's feeling of physical enjoyment.
Dr Michael Lewis, who led the research, explained that just as people find it difficult to feel ecstatically happy without actually smiling, so people struggle to reach orgasm without having full control of the muscles in their face.
He said: 'Facial expressions associated with orgasm utilise the same muscles targeted in typical botulinum toxin cosmetic treatments.
The predicted consequence of having treatment is that women may feel an orgasm to a lesser extent and may find it harder to reach climax.
'Analysis from our study suggests that's what is happening.'
The study involved 36 women, 24 of whom had been treated with botulinum toxin, measuring their Female Sexual Function Index Orgasm Satisfaction Score.
Injections of the toxic substance paralyse nerves, making it difficult to produce the full range of facial expressions
Those whose frown lines had been injected reported a notable drop in their satisfaction score.
Writing in the journal Scientific Reports, Dr Lewis said: 'Reduction of mobility of these muscles may interfere with the expression and feedback of excitement during sexual activity.
The current research provides support for this hypothesis in that participants reported that, following BTX treatment, there was a decrease in sexual function: in particular, orgasms were harder to achieve and less satisfying.'
He added: 'The results suggest that the facial expressions do not occur simply to communicate pleasure.
'They are an integral part of the feeling of pleasure and are important in the process of achieving orgasm. This demonstrates an important role for facial feedback within sexual intercourse and it is potentially a significant negative impact from BTX treatment.'
One Thursday afternoon last month, dozens of fires and explosions rocked three towns along the Merrimack River in Massachusetts. By the end of the day 131 buildings were damaged or destroyed, one person was killed, and more than 20 were injured. Suspicion focused immediately on the natural gas system. It looked like a pressure surge in the pipelines had driven gas into homes where stoves, heaters, and other appliances were not equipped to handle the excess pressure. Earlier this week the National Transportation Safety Board released a brief preliminary report supporting that hypothesis.
A house in Lawrence, Mass., burned on September 13, 2018, as a result of a natural gas pressure surge. (Image from the NTSB report.)
I had believed such a catastrophe was all but impossible. The natural gas industry has many troubles, including chronic leaks that release millions of tons of methane into the atmosphere, but I had thought that pressure regulation was a solved problem. Even if someone turned the wrong valve, failsafe mechanisms would protect the public. Evidently not. (I am not an expert on natural gas. While working on my book Infrastructure, I did some research on the industry and the technology, toured a pipeline terminal, and spent a day with a utility crew installing new gas mains in my own neighborhood. The pages of the book that discuss natural gas are online here.)
The hazards of gas service were already well known in the 19th century, when many cities built their first gas distribution systems. Gas in those days was not ''natural'' gas; it was a product manufactured by roasting coal, or sometimes the tarry residue of petroleum refining, in an atmosphere depleted of oxygen. The result was a mixture of gases, including methane and other hydrocarbons but also a significant amount of carbon monoxide. Because of the CO content, leaks could be deadly even if the gas didn't catch fire.
Every city needed its own gasworks, because there were no long-distance pipelines. The output of the plant was accumulated in a gasholder, a gigantic tank that confined the gas at low pressure'--less than one pound per square inch above atmospheric pressure (a unit of measure known as pounds per square inch gauge, or psig). The gas was gently wafted through pipes laid under the street to reach homes at a pressure of 1/4 or 1/2 psig. Overpressure accidents were unlikely because the entire system worked at the same modest pressure. As a matter of fact, the greater risk was underpressure. If the flow of gas was interrupted even briefly, thousands of pilot lights would go out; then, when the flow resumed, unburned toxic gas would seep into homes. Utility companies worked hard to ensure that would never happen.
Gasholders looming over a neighborhood in Genoa, Italy, once held manufactured gas for use at a steelmill. The photograph was made in 2001; Google Maps shows the tanks have since been demolished.
Gas technology has evolved a great deal since the gaslight era. Long-distance pipelines carry natural gas across continents at pressures of 1,000 psig or more. At the destination, the gas is stored in underground cavities or as a cryogenic liquid. It enters the distribution network at pressures in the neighborhood of 100 psig. The higher pressures allow smaller diameter pipes to serve larger territories. But the pressure must still be reduced to less than 1 psig before the gas is delivered to the customer. Having multiple pressure levels complicates the distribution system and requires new safeguards against the risk of high-pressure gas going where it doesn't belong. Apparently those safeguards didn't work last month in the Merrimack valley.
Cryogenic storage tanks in Everett, Mass., near Boston, hold liquified natural gas that supplies utilities in surrounding communities.
The gas system in that part of Massachusetts is operated by Columbia Gas, a subsidiary of a company called NiSource, with headquarters in Indiana. At the time of the conflagration, contractors for Columbia were upgrading distribution lines in the city of Lawrence and in two neighboring towns, Andover and North Andover. The two-tier system had older low-pressure mains'--including some cast-iron pipes dating back to the early 1900s'--fed by a network of newer lines operating at 75 psig. Fourteen regulator stations handled the transfer of gas between systems, maintaining a pressure of 1/2 psig on the low side.
The NTSB preliminary report gives this account of what happened around 4 p.m. on September 13:
The contracted crew was working on a tie-in project of a new plastic distribution main and the abandonment of a cast-iron distribution main. The distribution main that was abandoned still had the regulator sensing lines that were used to detect pressure in the distribution system and provide input to the regulators to control the system pressure. Once the contractor crews disconnected the distribution main that was going to be abandoned, the section containing the sensing lines began losing pressure.
As the pressure in the abandoned distribution main dropped about 0.25 inches of water column (about 0.01 psig), the regulators responded by opening further, increasing pressure in the distribution system. Since the regulators no longer sensed system pressure they fully opened allowing the full flow of high-pressure gas to be released into the distribution system supplying the neighborhood, exceeding the maximum allowable pressure.
When I read those words, I groaned. The cause of the accident was not a leak or an equipment failure or a design flaw or a worker turning the wrong valve. The pressure didn't just creep up beyond safe limits while no one was paying attention; the pressure was driven up by the automatic control system meant to keep it in bounds. The pressure regulators were ''trying'' to do the right thing. Sensor readings told them the pressure was falling, and so the controllers took corrective action to keep the gas flowing to customers. But the feedback loop the regulators relied on was not in fact a loop. They were measuring pressure in one pipe and pumping gas into another.
The conjectured cause of the fires and explosions in Lawrence and nearby towns is a misconfigured pressure-control system, according to the NTSB preliminary report. Service was switched to a new low-pressure gas main, but the pressure regulator continued to monitor sensors attached to the old pipeline, now abandoned and empty.
The NTSB's preliminary report offers no conclusions or recommendations, but it does note that the contractor in Lawrence was following a ''work package'' prepared by Columbia Gas, which did not mention moving or replacing the pressure sensors. Thus if you're looking for someone to blame, there's a hint about where to point your finger. The clue is less useful, however, if you're hoping to understand the disaster and prevent a recurrence. ''Make sure all the parts are connected'' is doubtless a good idea, but better still is building a failsafe system that will not burn the city down when somebody goofs.
Suppose you're taking a shower, and the water feels too warm. You nudge the mixing valve toward cold, but the water gets hotter still. When you twist the valve a little further in the same direction, the temperature rises again, and the room fills with steam. In this situation, you would surely not continue turning the knob until you were scalded. At some point you would get out of the shower, shut off the water, and investigate. Maybe the controls are mislabeled. Maybe the plumber transposed the pipes.
Since you do so well controlling the shower, let's put you in charge of regulating the municipal gas service. You sit in a small, windowless room, with your eyes on a pressure gauge and your hand on a valve. The gauge has a pointer indicating the measured pressure in the system, and a red dot (called a bug) showing the desired pressure, or set point. If the pointer falls below the bug, you open the valve a little to let in more gas; if the pointer drifts up too high, you close the valve to reduce the flow. (Of course there's more to it than just open and close. For a given deviation from the set point, how far should you twist the valve handle? Control theory answers this question.)
It's worth noting that you could do this job without any knowledge of what's going on outside the windowless room. You needn't give a thought to the nature of the ''plant,'' the system under control. What you're controlling is the position of the needle on the gauge; the whole gas distribution network is just an elaborate mechanism for linking the valve you turn with the gauge you watch. Many automatic control system operate in exactly this mindless mode. And they work fine'--until they don't.
As a sentient being, you do in fact have a mental model of what's happening outside. Just as the control law tells you how to respond to changes in the state of the plant, your model of the world tells you how the plant should respond to your control actions. For example, when you open the valve to increase the inflow of gas, you expect the pressure to increase. (Or, in some circumstances, to decrease more slowly. In any event, the sign of the second derivative should be positive.) If that doesn't happen, the control law would call for making an even stronger correction, opening the valve further and forcing still more gas into the pipeline. But you, in your wisdom, might pause to consider the possible causes of this anomaly. Perhaps pressure is falling because a backhoe just ruptured a gas main. Or, as in Lawrence last month, maybe the pressure isn't actually falling at all; you're looking at sensors plugged into the wrong pipes. Opening the valve further could make matters worse.
Could we build an automatic control system with this kind of situational awareness? Control theory offers many options beyond the simple feedback loop. We might add a supervisory loop that essentially controls the controller and sets the set point. And there is an extensive literature on predictive control, where the controller has a built-in mathematical model of the plant, and uses it to find the best trajectory from the current state to the desired state. But neither of these techniques is commonly used for the kind of last-ditch safety measures that might have saved those homes in the Merrimack Valley. More often, when events get too weird, the controller is designed to give up, bail out, and leave it to the humans. That's what happened in Lawrence.
Minutes before the fires and explosions occurred, the Columbia Gas monitoring center in Columbus, Ohio [probably a windowless room], received two high-pressure alarms for the South Lawrence gas pressure system: one at 4:04 p.m. and the other at 4:05 p.m. The monitoring center had no control capability to close or open valves; its only capability was to monitor pressures on the distribution system and advise field technicians accordingly. Following company protocol, at 4:06 p.m., the Columbia Gas controller reported the high-pressure event to the Meters and Regulations group in Lawrence. A local resident made the first 9-1-1 call to Lawrence emergency services at 4:11 p.m.
Columbia Gas shut down the regulator at issue by about 4:30 p.m.
I admit to a morbid fascination with stories of technological disaster. I read NTSB accident reports the way some people consume murder mysteries. The narratives belong to the genre of tragedy. In using that word I don't mean just that the loss of life and property is very sad. These are stories of people with the best intentions and with great skill and courage, who are nonetheless overcome by forces they cannot master. The special pathos of technological tragedies is that the engines of our destruction are machines that we ourselves design and build.
Looking on the sunnier side, I suspect that technological tragedies are more likely than Oedipus Rex or Hamlet to suggest a practical lesson that might guide our future plans. Let me add two more examples that seem to have plot elements in common with the Lawrence gas disaster.
First, the meltdown at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant in 1979. In that event, a maintenance mishap was detected by the automatic control system, which promptly shut down the reactor, just as it was supposed to do, and started emergency pumps to keep the uranium fuel rods covered with cooling water. But in the following minutes and hours, confusion reigned in the control room. Because of misleading sensor readings, the crowd of operators and engineers believed the water level in the reactor was too high, and they struggled mightily to lower it. Later they realized the reactor had been running dry all along.
Second, the crash of Air France 447, an overnight flight from Rio de Janeiro to Paris, in 2009. In this case the trouble began when ice at high altitude clogged pitot tubes, the sensors that measure airspeed. With inconsistent and implausible speed inputs, the autopilot and flight-management systems disengaged and sounded an alarm, basically telling the pilots ''You're on your own here.'' Unfortunately, the pilots also found the instrument data confusing, and formed the erroneous opinion that they needed to pull the nose up and climb steeply. The aircraft entered an aerodynamic stall and fell tail-first into the ocean with the loss of all on board.
In these events no mechanical or physical fault made an accident inevitable. In Lawrence the pipes and valves functioned normally, as far as I can tell from press reports and the NTSB report. Even the sensors were working; they were just in the wrong place. At Three Mile Island there were multiple violations of safety codes and operating protocols; nevertheless, if either the automatic or the human controllers had correctly diagnosed the problem, the reactor would have survived. And the Air France aircraft over the Atlantic was airworthy to the end. It could have flown on to Paris if only there had been the means to level the wings and point it in the right direction.
All of these events feel like unnecessary disasters'--if we were just a little smarter, we could have avoided them'--but the fires in Lawrence are particularly tormenting in this respect. With an aircraft 35,000 feet over the ocean, you can't simply press Pause when things don't go right. Likewise a nuclear reactor has no safe-harbor state; even after you shut down the fission chain reaction, the core of the reactor generates enough heat to destroy itself. But Columbia Gas faced no such constraints in Lawrence. Even if the pressure-regulating system is not quite as simple as I have imagined it, there is always an escape route available when parameters refuse to respond to control inputs. You can just shut it all down. Safeguards built into the automatic control system could do that a lot more quickly than phone calls from Ohio. The service interruption would be costly for the company and inconvenient for the customers, but no one would lose their home or their life.
Control theory and control engineering are now embarking on their greatest adventure ever: the design of self-driving cars and trucks. Next year we may see the first models without a steering wheel or a brake pedal'--there goes the option of asking the driver (passenger?) to take over. I am rooting for this bold undertaking to succeed. I am also reminded of a term that turns up frequently in discussions of Athenian tragedy: hubris.
Errata Security: Election interference from Uber and Lyft
Almost nothing can escape the taint of election interference. A good example is the
announcements by Uber and Lyft that they'll provide free rides to the polls on election day. This well-meaning gesture nonetheless calls into question how this might influence the election.
"Free rides" to the polls is a common thing. Taxi companies have long offered such services for people in general. Political groups have long offered such services for their constituencies in particular. Political groups target retirement communities to get them to the polls, black churches have long had their "Souls to the Polls" program across the 37 states that allow early voting on Sundays.
But with Uber and Lyft getting into this we now have concerns about "big data", "algorithms", and "hacking".
As the various Facebook controversies have taught us, these companies have a lot of data on us that can reliably predict how we are going to vote. If their leaders wanted to, these companies could use this information in order to get those on one side of an issue to the polls. On hotly contested elections, it wouldn't take much to swing the result to one side.
Even if they don't do this consciously, their various algorithms (often based on machine learning and AI) may do so accidentally. As is frequently demonstrated, unconscious biases can lead to real world consequences, like facial recognition systems being unable to read Asian faces.
Lastly, it makes these companies prime targets for Russian hackers, who may take all these into account when trying to muck with elections. Or indeed, to simply claim that they did in order to call the results into question. Though to be fair, Russian hackers have so many other targets of opportunity. Messing with the traffic lights of a few cities would be enough to swing a presidential election, specifically targeting areas with certain voters with traffic jams making it difficult for them to get to the polls.
Even if it's not "hackers" as such, many will want to game the system. For example, politically motivated drivers may choose to loiter in neighborhoods strongly on one side or the other, helping the right sorts of people vote at the expense of not helping the wrong people. Likewise, drivers might skew the numbers by deliberately hailing rides out of opposing neighborhoods and taking them them out of town, or to the right sorts of neighborhoods.
I'm trying to figure out which Party this benefits the most. Let's take a look at rider demographics to start with, such as this post. It appears that income levels and gender are roughly evenly distributed.
Ridership is skewed urban, with riders being 46% urban, 48% suburban, and 6% rural. In contrast, US population is 31% urban, 55% suburban, and 15% rural. Giving the increasing polarization among rural and urban voters, this strongly skews results in favor of Democrats.
Likewise, the above numbers show that Uber ridership is strongly skewed to the younger generation, with 55% of the riders 34 and younger. This again strongly skews "free rides" by Uber and Lyft toward the Democrats. Though to be fair, the "over 65" crowd has long had an advantage as the parties have fallen over themselves to bus people from retirement communities to the polls (and that older people can get free time on weekdays to vote).
Even if you are on the side that appears to benefit, this should still concern you. Our allegiance should first be to a robust and fair voting system, and to our Party second. I mention this because the increased polarization of our politics seems to favor those (from both sides) who don't mind watching the entire system burn as long as their Party wins.
Right now, such programs are probably going to have a small impact. But the future is trending toward fewer individually owned cars and more dependence on services like Uber and Lyft. In a few years, big-data, machine learning algorithms, and hackers may be able to strongly influence elections.
Iggy BDr. Pieczenik, I'm very interested in hearing your thoughts about the Migrant Caravan that just ''broke through'' the border of Mexico-Guatemala.
Why is this happening now '' just before the US Elections?
Whoever is backing it must know it is going to boost Trump and Republicans given the optics we're seeing today.
They must be counting on Graphic Bloodshed in the near future'.... images of violence and dead bodies they can stream non-stop around the world in the coming days'....
If the Money behind the Dems in the US are part of backing this, maybe they are counting on Graphic Bloodshed to change the hearts and minds of Average Americans '--- something along the lines of the violence brought into American Homes by Walter Cronkite and others when Marchers led by MLK and others were attacked in the 50s and 60s during the Civil Rights Era'....
I can't imagine another reason why the Money behind the Dems would be supporting this caravan just before an Election.
Or is this being backed by Outsides alone '' without any concrete support from within America'...?
It could be perceived as in the interest of any number of influential nations who would be in favor of Damaging Trump. Even the UK, if declassification of FISA and other documents will implicate 5 Eyes Nations in the conspiracy to thwart Trump's campaign and then his presidency, could be hoping to damage Trump and cause turmoil within the US to weaken Trump's effort against the Globalist Agenda'....
China or Russia '-- Germany '-- France '--- any one or more of the Globalist Nations could perceive a benefit in disrupting the US like this right now'....
What's really going on'....?
The Geopolitical Implications of the Khashoggi Murder | StormCloudsGathering
Is Washington bluffing, or is the geopolitical equation in the Middle East about to be upended?
This week Donald Trump threatened Saudi Arabia with ''very severe'' consequences in response to the alleged murder and dismemberment of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Vice president Mike Pence reinforced this threat, and senator Linsey Graham took it a step farther by directly calling for the removal of crown prince Mohammed bin Salman (aka M.B.S.). For anyone with even a rudimentary understanding of the geopolitical dynamics in the Middle East, these developments are astounding. Even if Washington is bluffing, the implications cannot be overstated.
In spite of Saudi Arabia's long history of human rights abuses, its support of Wahhabi terrorism, and its ongoing genocidal war in Yemen, the kingdom has always gotten a free pass (and lots of weapons) from Washington and its allies. Even when a U.S. supplied bomb was used to strike a school bus in Yemen killing 40 children this past August, no one batted an eye. Up to this point the relationship with the Saudis was considered too important to risk. Now for some reason the Khashoggi murder is being treated as a line crossed.
The first question here is whether this newfound moral outrage represents a fundamental shift in U.S. foreign policy, or is the tough talk merely a smokescreen, with business as usual resuming after stern words and a slap on the wrist.
The second question is whether the Saudis will take a submissive posture to placate the West, or whether they would make due on their threats to retaliate.
Included among the threatened avenues of retaliation were the weaponization of oil prices, a mass dumping of U.S. treasuries, and the establishment of a Russian military base in the Kingdom. In short a total geopolitical realignment.
These threats have been interpreted by western ''experts'' as bluster. Saudi Arabia, they say, no longer has the leverage it once had in oil markets, and is no position to play hardball with Uncle Sam.
For example Eurasia Group founder and CFR member Ian Bremmer was quoted by Bloomberg as saying:
''With the U.S. as the world's largest oil producer, the relationship is even more imbalanced than it was before,'' ''There's not much the Americans need from the Saudis. The reverse is not true.''Essentially the U.S. foreign policy establishment seems confident that they can punish the Saudis without serious consequence. They assume that the royal family will either weigh their options and depose M.B.S. preemptively, or accept a slap on the wrist, apologize and watch their step moving forward. But what if they're wrong? What happens if the crown prince refuses to bow?
Saudi Arabia is a central pillar of the global oil market, and the most influential member of the OPEC cartel. It has also been a key U.S. ally in conflicts throughout the Middle East (notably in the efforts to topple the Syrian government, and crush Shiite rebels in Yemen). The Saudis also happen to be the lynchpin of the Petrodollar system. Mohammed bin Salman has the power to crash the U.S. economy, tip the regional balance of power in favor of Russia, and unseat the dollar from its reserve currency status in one fell swoop. To assume that he wouldn't use that power if cornered is a bit naive.
Even if the U.S. is merely posturing, it might not matter at this point. Whether or not the Saudis acquiesce this time around, they will most certainly remember the humiliation, and it will affect their calculous. Expect Russia to take full advantage of this.
2 convicted Democrats seek political office while behind bars | Fox News
Ron Reynolds, a sitting Texas state representative running for another term behind bars, is expected to be re-elected since nobody is opposing him. (Ron Reynolds)
Two Democrats are running for a political office despite being behind bars, with one of them expected to win in Texas and celebrate in jail.
Ron Reynolds, a sitting Texas state representative, is running for another term. He is expected to win because nobody is opposing him.
He's a disbarred Missouri City personal injury lawyer convicted in 2015 on multiple misdemeanor charges for illegally soliciting people to his law practice, KPRC-TV reported.
He was sentenced to a year in jail but later released on an appellate bond. But last month, the appeal was rejected and Reynolds had to return to jail.
Texas State rep. Ron Reynolds
The Texas state law doesn't prohibit individuals with misdemeanor convictions to run for office.
The convicted Texas lawmaker boasts of being supported by Democratic Senate Hopeful Beto O'Rourke, who's trying to unseat Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. He even appeared in a campaign ad with O'Rourke, KPRC-TV reported. O'Rourke's campaign didn't distance from the lawmaker and said they trust the electorate.
Reynolds denies that being in jail would interfere with his day-to-day job as a lawmaker, despite expecting to be detained when the state Congress commences in January.
''Rep. Reynolds has full confidence that his experienced staff will be able to handle any immediate needs of his constituents, during his 4-6 month absence,'' read the statement from Reynolds, the Texas Tribune reported last month.
A photo from the Whitfield County Sheriff's Office shows Steven Lamar Foster, Democratic candidate for Congress in Georgia's 14th District. (Whitfield County Sheriff's Office)
Steve Foster is a Georgia Democrat running for U.S. Congress, but he may not be what the party regards as part of the ''blue wave'' of Democratic candidates.
The former doctor was arrested last year for driving under influence and shouted ''I hate this country'' during the arrest, WSB-TV reported. He was sentenced last summer and is spending six months in county jail.
Foster seeks to unseat Republican Rep. Tom Graves, a popular lawmaker in Georgia's 14th District who won with 75 percent of the vote in 2012.
But that doesn't discourage Foster from continuing to run the campaign. ''Look, I'm not withdrawing,'' he recently told the Associated Press.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
A scientist who predicted a grim 'Hothouse Earth' says the world's billionaires need to give up their money to save us
(C) Kristi McCluer/Reuters There's a lot of doom and gloom about the state of the planet.
Earlier this month, the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a report suggesting that by 2040, the world will be 1.5 degrees Celsius warmer than it was before we started burning fossil fuels like coal and gas for energy.
Other scientists have suggested the world could hit a tipping point that triggers a "hothouse" state, in which the Earth would shift from a self-cooling biosphere into a self-warming mode. That could make our planet 4, 5, or even 6 degrees Celsius warmer than it is today, triggering unprecedented natural disasters.
But scientists still harbor some hope.
This week, one of authors of that bleak "hothouse" report has co-authored a new one that models how the world and its people may fare in the coming decades. In brief, ecologist Johan Rockstr¶m, who directs the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Stockholm, thinks there might be a way to cut global emissions while eliminating poverty and hunger and keeping the world cool enough to sustain future generations.
"This is actually quite uplifting," Rockstr¶m recently told a crowd at the TED Conference New York Headquarters, before the report came out.
But the plan requires enormous shifts in the way we do everything, from how we distribute money to the ways we grow our food.
Here's the five-part formula:
1. Cut global greenhouse-gas emissions in half every decade, starting in 2020
These emissions come from burning fossil fuels that power our cars, planes, buildings, and food supply; they're the reason the atmosphere is trapping more of the sun's heat than it used to. Rockstr¶m's proposal to slash emissions rates in half every decade is a steeper target than the Paris climate deal called for - countries who signed that agreement vowed to cut emissions 40% by 2030 (or at least try to). President Donald Trump has promised to pull the US out of that deal; on Wednesday, the Environmental Protection Agency announced that the US reduced its emissions by just 2.7% last year.
2. Increase food chain system efficiency, from soil to table, by 1% every year
A massive shift in the way we produce, harvest, and consume food would apply to every piece of land and sea across the world. As the authors write, "at least 1% extra resource use improvement per year is required in the whole food chain, from soil to table." This would be crucial, since droughts and extreme weather threaten crops as diverse as coffee, rice, wine grapes, and barley for beer.
3. Fundamentally shift the way we create new wealth and prosperity
"We're quite clever at short-term lifting people out of poverty," Rockstr¶m told Business Insider. But there's a hidden cost in our current models of economic development: "the wealth that we've created in countries like the US, or my own home country Sweden, has occurred at the expense of the climate system," he said.
As economies grow and people get richer, rising production and consumption mean that more coal, oil, and gas get burned. That activity emits more carbon dioxide.
"It occurs by eroding the resilience of the Earth system," Rockstr¶m said. "That's not only the climate system, that is losing biodiversity, it's ruining the oceans, it's deforestation, it's risking the stability of the whole planet."
Rockstr¶m proposes looking to some new development models that focus on community-level development and the use of local resources. These kinds of approaches are already in use in places like Ethiopia and Costa Rica.
4. Ensure the richest 10% of people on Earth don't hold on to more than 40% of its wealth
Rockstr¶m's plan also demands a dramatic reshuffling of the world's cash. More taxes on top earners could pay for better infrastructure, while improvements in wages would be a welcome bump for middle class workers, many of whom haven't seen their pay go up much since the 1970s. Some of that shared money would also get used for healthcare, while other funds could go to education and investments in more sustainable buildings and cities around the world.
Currently, the top 1% of people own nearly half of the world's household wealth. According to Credit Suisse's 2018 global wealth report, "the richest decile (top 10% of adults) owns 85% of global wealth, and the top percentile alone accounts for almost half of all household wealth (47%)." This is especially true in the US, which has more members of the 1% than any other country. Credit Suisse defines membership in the top 10% as having $93,170 or more in net assets, while the top 1% has $871,320.
5. Investing more in education, health, and family planning
In addition to improving people's lives, this would help control population growth, as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation often points out. Letting more girls continue their education and receive wanted contraception would change the global demand for energy, food, travel, buildings, and all other resources on the planet.
It's an aggressive solution, but it's the only one the researchers think will kept the planet and its people healthy in the long run
The computer modeling system that these climate and welfare projections were based on is called Earth3. It's a projection tool that factors in social and economic data from the past 40 years and couples that information with what we know about how the planet's atmosphere, oceans, and land will likely react to greenhouse gas emissions.
This ambitious five-step global transformation wasn't the first plan Rockstr¶m and his team of scientists tried out in Earth3.
Initially, they charted three other scenarios. First, they analyzed what would happen to the Earth's climate and its people if we change nothing about the way we do business. Second, they calculated what would happen if we accelerate economic growth. And third, they looked at how the world would fare if that economic growth were coupled with efforts to fund more education, clean water, food, and jobs.
But none of those more traditional trajectories worked out in the long run - they all made the Earth too hot. So Rockstr¶m and his colleagues landed on this model, which is more ambitious and far less tested.
They also discovered that the costs of this plan to society would be relatively small: by 2050, according to their estimate, GDP would be just one year behind where it would be if we continue on a business-as-usual path. And we'd probably make up for that loss in the long-term, they said, since we'd keep the planet from becoming a "hothouse."
As the authors of the report argued, "most rational analysts" would agree that in the long run "the Earth's life-supporting systems are worth it."
Good afternoon. I am honored to join you today. My thanks to Jim Foster for inviting me to be a part of this well-respected series.
In recent weeks, we have watched the Toronto terrorism investigation unfold. To date, 17 suspects have been arrested in an alleged terrorist plot to bomb several prominent buildings in Toronto and Ottawa and to behead the prime minister.
These men did not merely talk of taking action; they tried to purchase three tons of ammonium nitrate fertilizer. That is three times the amount used in the Oklahoma City bombing.
Although the Canadian authorities uncovered this plot before these men harmed anyone, we face the sobering fact that yet another group of extremists planned a terrorist attack and took steps to execute that attack.
Like the terrorists responsible for both the London and the Madrid bombings, the Toronto suspects lived in the area they intended to attack. They were not sleeper operatives sent on suicide missions; they were students and business people and members of the community. They were persons who, for whatever reason, came to view their home country as the enemy.
I want to talk today about the changing shape of terrorism and, in particular, the threat of homegrown terrorism. I want to talk about the radicalization process'--how an extremist becomes a terrorist'--and what we in the FBI are doing to address this new threat.
For more than a decade, al Qaeda has been the driving force of terrorism'--moving thousands of people through training camps in Afghanistan and providing the motivation, the money, and the management for worldwide attacks.
In the past five years, with our military, law enforcement and intelligence partners around the world, we have disrupted al Qaeda's central operations. We have captured or killed many key leaders, including the mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, as well as al-Zarqawi and many of his associates in Iraq.
We have destroyed their training camps, and disrupted both their funding and their means of communication. Through these efforts, we have transformed al Qaeda from a strong hierarchy that plans and executes attacks to being a decentralized and amorphous group.
Unfortunately, while al Qaeda may be weakened, it is not dead. We continue to face threats from al Qaeda and its offshoots in Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and East Africa. Their plots have included blowing up a Columbus area shopping mall in 2004, as well as the recently reported plot to release cyanide gas in the New York City subway system in 2003.
We also face threats from organizations affiliated with al Qaeda, like Ansar al-Sunnah in Africa and Jemmah Islamiya in southeast Asia. These groups continue to train, recruit, and plan attacks, but their chains of command are fractured and they are not as stable as they were five years ago.
While we have made great strides in disabling traditional terrorist models like al Qaeda, the convergence of globalization and technology has created a new brand of terrorism. Today, terrorist threats may come from smaller, more loosely-defined individuals and cells who are not affiliated with al Qaeda, but who are inspired by a violent jihadist message. These homegrown terrorists may prove to be as dangerous as groups like al Qaeda, if not more so.
We have already seen this new face of terrorism on a global scale in Madrid, London, and Toronto. We have also witnessed this so-called "self-radicalization" here at home.
In Torrance, California, for example, four men were indicted last year, charged with plotting to attack U.S. military recruiting facilities and synagogues in the Los Angeles area.
In Toledo, three men were recently charged with conspiring to provide money, training, communications equipment, and computers to extremists in the Middle East. As alleged in the indictment, these men taught themselves how to make and use explosives. They conducted their own training exercises. And they did it all here in Ohio.
Just this morning, the FBI and the Department of Justice announced the indictment of seven individuals involved in what appears to be another homegrown terrorist cell. The leader of this cell is a U.S. citizen living in Miami. He and six others are alleged to have plotted to attack the Sears Tower in Chicago and key federal buildings in Miami-Dade County.
These extremists are self-recruited, self-trained, and self-executing. They may not have any connection to al Qaeda or to other terrorist groups. They share ideas and information in the shadows of the Internet. They gain inspiration from radical websites that call for violence.
They raise money by committing low-level crimes that do not generate much attention. They answer not to a particular leader, but to an ideology. In short, they operate under the radar. And that makes their detection that much more difficult for all of us.
To detect homegrown terrorists, it helps to understand the radicalization process. How does an individual become a radical extremist? And how does an extremist then become a terrorist? We have found that radicalization is fluid; it does not follow a set formula or timetable.
Radicalization often starts with individuals who are frustrated with their lives or with the politics of their home governments. They may be U.S.-born, or, as we saw in London, second-generation citizens.
Some may be lonely or dissatisfied with their role in society. Others may have friends or mentors who encourage membership for social reasons.
Once a person has joined an extremist group, he or she may start to identify with an ideology'--one that encourages violence against a government and its citizens. They may become increasingly isolated from their old lives, drift away from family and friends, and spend more time with other members of the extremist group.
As they become more and more involved in the group, they may decide to take action to support the cause'--actions such as selecting targets, conducting surveillance, raising money, and procuring materials. As talk moves to action, an extremist can become a terrorist.
The evolution from extremism to terrorism can take place anywhere, from academic settings, mosques, prisons, and community centers to the Internet.
Schools and universities, for example, are both open as well as isolated. Many students are at an impressionable age, and are seeking ways to establish their own unique identities.
Prisons are also fertile ground for extremists. Inmates may be drawn to an extreme form of Islam because it may help justify their violent tendencies. These persons represent a heightened threat because of their criminal histories, their propensity for violence, and their contacts with fellow criminals.
The four suspected terrorists arrested last year in Torrance, California were recruited by one Kevin James, the founder of a radical group called J.I.S. James founded J.I.S from his cell in Folsom Prison in California. He recruited fellow inmates and radicals outside prison to join his mission, which was to kill those he saw as "infidels."
We are working with prison officials and academic leaders across the country to identify these potential recruiting venues. But we must also identify the recruiters themselves '--who sometimes act as the leaders of these homegrown cells.
In recent cases, we have seen one key person, such as Kevin James, who brought the Torrance group together. These are not always spiritual leaders; they can be mentors or friends. Regardless of their role, they can transform their followers from radicals to terrorists.
Radical fundamentalists are particularly difficult to pinpoint in cyberspace. There are between 5,000 to 6,000 extremist websites on the Internet, encouraging extremists to initiate their own radicalization and to cultivate relationships with other like-minded persons.
Although we have destroyed many terrorist training camps in the past five years, extremists increasingly turn to the Internet for virtual instruction. Of course, not every extremist will become a terrorist. But the radicalization process has become more rapid, more widespread, and anonymous in this Internet age, making detection that much more difficult.
Whether we are talking about al Qaeda's operations overseas, sleeper operatives who have been in place for years, or the emergence of homegrown terrorists, our greatest challenge is in mapping these underground networks. This can be tedious, intricate work, but it is absolutely essential to the safety of this country. We need to see how certain individuals fit into the big picture. We need to know where to set the trip wires to identify the line between the extremist and the operational. To meet that mission, we are relying on three things: firstly, intelligence; secondly, technology; and thirdly, partnerships.
Intelligence is the key to preventing terrorist attacks. We must be able to transform bits and pieces of information into actionable intelligence and then disseminate that intelligence to the people who need it'--all within an exceptionally tight time frame.
In the past five years, we have doubled the number of intelligence analysts in the FBI and placed Field Intelligence Groups in every one of our offices. Together, agents, analysts, linguists, and surveillance specialists collect and analyze vital intelligence and share it with our partners in the law enforcement and in the intelligence communities.
As part of this effort, agents and analysts in each of our field offices are taking a good, hard look at their communities. Here in Cleveland, for instance, we have learned more about the mass transit system, the ports on Lake Erie, and the many airports, airstrips, and heliports in the area. We have increased our knowledge of Ohio's agricultural base and its key industries, academic institutions, and people.
We call it "knowing your domain." We need to know the risk factors and the potential targets for criminal and terrorist activity. With this information, we can find and stop homegrown terrorists before they strike.
Intelligence provides the information we need, but technology enables us to find patterns and connections in that intelligence. Using searchable databases, we can track suspected terrorists through biographical information, travel histories, and criminal and financial records.
Using our Investigative Data Warehouse, agents, analysts, and law enforcement officers on Joint Terrorism Task Forces across the country can search more than 50 databases, with more than 500 million terrorism-related documents. In 2005 alone, users ran more than 10 million inquiries, with an average response time of under eight seconds.
Our Terrorist Screening Center provides federal, state, and local officials with real-time connectivity to the terrorist watch list. We maintain a database of more than 200,000 known or suspected terrorists. When a police officer encounters a suspicious person, the officer can access the screening center on the spot for further information and direction.
But we are not the only ones making ready use of emerging technology. Terrorists are doing it as well. To keep pace, we must be able to identify the links between extremists and their activities. Technology provides the means to make those connections.
With the emergence of homegrown terrorism, the role of our partners in state and local law enforcement becomes that much more important. They are the feet on the street '' the first to see new trends in crime and terrorism.
The FBI is a relatively small organization with but 12,000 agents, compared to 800,000 law enforcement officers across the United States. That is why partnerships like our Joint Terrorism Task Forces are so vital. Police officers and others from the federal government'--including the CIA, the Secret Service, and the Department of Homeland Security, just to name a few'--work side-by-side with FBI agents and analysts, cooperating on investigations and sharing information with their own departments and agencies.
In the Torrance investigation, the police officers who arrested two of the suspects in what looked like a routine gas station robbery discovered evidence that they were planning a terrorist attack. The officers passed that information on to the local Joint Terrorism Task Force. Together, they traced the steps of these terrorists and exposed the entire cell.
Without the initial information from the Torrance Police Department, and the work of the Los Angeles Sheriff's and Police departments, we might not have made the connection between the terrorists' criminal activities and their plans for attack.
These partnerships also extend overseas. The ongoing Toronto terrorism investigation is an outstanding example of high-level coordination'--coordination between international law enforcement and intelligence agencies in Canada, America, Denmark, Britain, Bosnia, Bangladesh and other countries.
We have come together to share information and to address the terrorist threat. We are investigating possible ties between the Toronto suspects and terrorist cells around the world. We must continue to work together. We cannot stop global terrorism without global cooperation.
Our partnerships with those of you in the private sector are equally important. Countering the spread of global terrorism will take more than just the capture of terrorist leaders. We are doubling our efforts to reach out to communities across the country.
In recent months, we have hosted town meetings from Los Angeles to New York. We are also meeting with community leaders and minority groups to demystify the work we're doing. It's an important step in strengthening bonds between the FBI and the citizens we protect.
There are those who view the FBI with suspicion, and we must bridge that gap. We must build confidence in one another and forge lasting relationships. We want to improve our understanding of our communities by creating an open dialogue. We need to reach the point where you are willing to come forward and say, "I have seen or heard something that you need to know."
We must also build relationships within the Muslim community to counter the spread of extremist ideology. Increasingly, mainstream Muslim leaders are challenging the extremist message of hatred and violence. The radicalization cycle can only be broken if we stand together against terrorism.
Just yesterday, representatives from the Muslim community met with FBI leaders at Headquarters and in the field to talk about sharing information and working together to prevent terrorism and fight crime.
It has been nearly five years since the last terrorist attack on America. Yet there is no room for complacency. As we have seen in recent months, our enemies are adaptive and evasive. They are taking full advantage of technology. They are combining their resources and their expertise to great effect. We must do the same.
Our greatest weapon against terrorism is unity. That unity is built on information sharing and coordination among our partners in the law enforcement and the intelligence communities. It is built on partnerships with the private sector and effective outreach to the public as our eyes and ears. It is built on the idea that, together, we are smarter and stronger than we are standing alone.
No one person, no one agency, no one police department, and no one country has all the answers. We may not always know where and when terrorists will attempt to strike. But we do know they will try again. And we must combine our intelligence, our technology, and our resources to stop them.
We face many challenges today, both from overseas and from those living in our midst. But we must not let terrorism change our way of life.
James Thurber, one of Ohio's native sons and one of the best-known writers and cartoonists of the 20th century, once wrote, "Let us not look back in anger, nor forward in fear, but around in awareness."
We cannot look back in anger. Nor should we look forward in fear. Terrorism is designed to incite both fear and anger. Its very purpose is to make us afraid'--afraid of what may happen, afraid of each other.
Instead, let us look around in awareness . . . of our citizens and our communities, and of the dangers we face. Most importantly, let us look around in awareness of the strength of our democracy, the strength of our unity, and the strength of our resolve. Armed with these strengths, we cannot and we will not fail.
Thank you and God Bless.
Former USA Gymnastics President Arrested, Accused Of Tampering With Nassar Evidence
Steve Penny, the former president of USA Gymnastics who has been accused of covering up sexual abuse by sports doctor Larry Nassar, was arrested Wednesday over allegations that he tampered with evidence related to a Nassar investigation.
If convicted, Penny could receive two to 10 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.
He was arrested in Gatlinburg, Tenn., after a Texas indictment dated Sept. 28 called for his arrest.
It is the first arrest of an alleged Nassar enabler. USA Gymnastics' leadership has faced previous allegations of both ignoring reports of Nassar's extensive sexual abuse and actively working to hide it.
The indictment by Texas authorities alleges that Penny ordered the removal of documents from the Karolyi Ranch where USA Gymnastics athletes trained in Walker County, Texas, that were related to Nassar's activities at the ranch after learning an investigation was underway.
The documents were allegedly delivered to Penny at the USA Gymnastics headquarters in Indianapolis, where he either destroyed or hid them. They have not been recovered. The Texas Rangers and the Walker County Sheriff's Office said in the indictment that the documents are "material" to their investigation of Nassar and would have aided an investigation of other offenses at the ranch.
Nassar '-- who served as the doctor for the U.S. National Women's Gymnastics Team, U.S. Olympic team and Michigan State University for two decades '-- pleaded guilty earlier this year to federal child pornography charges and 10 counts of criminal sexual conduct in Michigan state courts.
He was sentenced to 60 years in prison on federal child pornography charges and 300 years in prison on the state charges. More than 250 women and girls have accused Nassar of sexual abuse.
Earlier this year, Penny was dismissed from a hearing before a U.S. Senate subcommittee investigating Nassar's sexual abuse after he refused to answer questions from lawmakers, repeatedly invoking his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.
USA Gymnastics reported the abuse to the FBI five weeks after a coach voiced concernto its leadership.
However, emails submitted to the subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, Insurance and Data Security appear to show that one week before the FBI was notified, Penny ordered USA Gymnastics officials not to disclose reports of abuse.
Penny resigned from USA Gymnastics in March 2017 after initial reports alleged that the organization ignored the abuse allegations.
In the past, Penny has denied all accusations of a cover-up.
"Our clients are grateful to the Walker County DA that finally, after 3 years of waiting, Nassar's USAG and USOC enablers are finally being held to account," John Manly, an attorney who represents over 180 alleged victims of Nassar, told NPR in a statement. "Mr. Penny is currently where he belongs for his enabling a pedophile."
Penny is being held in Gatlinburg, awaiting extradition to Walker County, Texas.
Read More...Related Articles:USA Gymnastics officials agreed to provide what Larry Nassar's attorney called "false excuses" for his absence from major gymnastics events in 2015, rather than disclose to parents and gymnasts that Nassar was under investigation for child sexual abuse.
A $500 million settlement has been agreed between Michigan State University and the sexual abuse victims of former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar, though several further lawsuits remain pending. Michigan State University has agreed to pay out the biggest settlement in sports history to the more than 300 women and girls who were assaulted by sports doctor Nassar, the university announced on Wednesday.
The US Olympic Committee is embroiled in a fresh misconduct controversy as a new lawsuit alleges that it knowingly allowed the sex trafficking and abuse of Taekwondo athletes for more than 20 years. Four female athletes and 44 women, whose identities have been withheld, are accusing the USOC and USA Taekwondo of allowing more than two decades of sexual abuse, exploitation and trafficking of its athletes.
Former USA Gymnastics doctor and convicted sex offender Larry Nassar has been sentenced to an additional 40 to 125 years in prison, following on from his earlier sentence of up to 175 years. Nassar appeared in a Michigan courtroom on Monday, his third and final sentencing, for sexually abusing young female gymnasts. He is also serving a 60-year federal sentence for child pornography convictions.
Larry Nassar was sentenced today to 175 years imprisonment, Justice Rosemarie Aquilina telling him "I've just signed your death warrant." 163 of his victims'--many of them young women athletes all but ordered to tolerate his abuse by sporting authorities who held the power to end their careers'--gave accounts of assault at his sentencing.
Nearly 100 women will read victim impact statements this week, sharing their accounts of the horrific sexual assault they endured when they were young girls, at the hands of Larry Nassar'--and in doing so, they are also revealing that USA Gymnastics enabled the predator. ''You failed all of us, and for that, I see you in the same category of criminal as I do the criminal standing before us today,'' Olivia Cowan said in court on Tuesday, addressing the roles of USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University in allowing Nassar's abuse to continue for decades.
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Pentagon to Young Techies: We Want You (To Come Work for Government)
Like many federal agencies, the Defense Department struggles to attract, recruit and retain young, technically talented employees. Data from the Office of Personnel Management indicates the Defense Department has approximately 6.6 IT professionals over the age of 60 for every one under the age of 30.
Those numbers compound the Pentagon's lengthy list of national security challenges topped by keeping pace with China and Russia and remaining at the forefront of global information dominance. Reversing the trend won't happen by accident, and the Pentagon's top tech official, Chief Information Officer Dana Deasy, is addressing the challenge directly.
''Our biggest challenges inside the [Defense Department], they are complex. They are mind-boggling, and we need the creative people who want to work on the complex and the mind-boggling,'' Deasy said Monday at the Imagine Nation conference in Philadelphia.
For starters, the Pentagon is beginning to target young tech talent in ways that more closely resemble how universities recruit elite athletes than government's traditional hands-off hiring method.
Big-time college football coaches don't issue press releases, draft job descriptions to the university equivalent of USAJOBS.gov and cross their fingers. Rather, Deasy said, they invite the best high school players to campus, show them around and have them meet former players who have made it to the big leagues.
Over the summer, Deasy said he hosted college students from the University of Virginia in a cybersecurity-specific career day. The students spent the day touring the National Security Agency, CIA, Secret Service and the Pentagon in what Deasy said amounted to ''real-time recruiting.''
''They were engaged, and most importantly, they were asking us how it is they could get started in a career in government,'' Deasy said.
While college students typically learn a lot about working in Silicon Valley and start ups, they're less often exposed to information about government careers, Deasy said.
Pay is considered the main problem government agencies have in competing for tech talent with the private sector. In certain fields, like cybersecurity, talented professionals can earn two or three times more money working for a contractor than they can for a federal agency. Yet study after studyindicates millennials'--those born between 1981 and 1996'--value other factors including management culture and an organization's mission in addition to pay.
Successful tech companies like Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google market themselves to young people as cool, innovative places to work where they can make a difference. These kinds of companies pay well, but they are also known quantities to the vast majority of young people with even a passive interest in tech, Deasy said.
Some government agencies, like the Peace Corps, have figured out how to market themselves well to young people. The Peace Corps engages with high school and university students in person and through social media and is a successful recruiter despite offering very low pay. The Peace Corps' Twitter page, followed by 1.5 million accounts, is loaded with several thousand pictures of recruits making a difference around the world.
Few government agencies market themselves with such mastery, but Deasy said the Pentagon is taking small steps in that direction.
The Pentagon released a video earlier this year on Defense.gov providing a cursory overview of the U.S. military. Rather than raw war footage or shots of troops overseas, the two-minute animated video succinctly educates young people about the military and opportunities it provides in a format they are accustomed to, Deasy said. Produced by the Defense Department, Deasy said the video has accrued 200,000 clicks and bumped traffic to the Pentagon's website by 30 percent.
''We're trying to do something different to get engagement to occur in a much different way,'' Deasy said. ''We're trying to think outside the box. I'd like to think it's a step in the right direction.''
These sorts of recruiting efforts may be imperative for the Defense Department as it seeks to maintain its dominance around the globe in an evolving technological landscape. Deasy said fewer than 1 percent of Americans serve in the military today, and only 15 percent of young adults have a parent who has served, a substantial decrease from 1995.
''Service seems to be passed down from generation to generation,'' Deasy said, but with fewer people serving, the military's tried and true method of filling its gaps will not work. Instead, the Defense Department has to find new ways to engage.
''We won't win the hearts and minds [of young people] when it comes to wallets,'' Deasy said. ''However, we can win the hearts and minds on the complexity, the challenges, the very calling [of public service].''
Opinion | Hillary Clinton's Master Class in Distraction - The New York Times
Oct. 17, 2018 Image Credit Nicolas Ortega Hillary Clinton has been on a bit of a media tear the past few weeks, holding forth on both the personal and the political '-- and making clear that someone needs to perform an intervention before she further complicates life for her fellow Democrats.
In these furious, final days before the midterms, Democratic candidates need to be laser focused on their message to voters. They need to be talking health care and jobs and other issues of intense, personal concern to their electorate. They do not need to be talking about impeachment, or about the results of Senator Elizabeth Warren's DNA testing. And they definitely do not need to get distracted by unnecessary drama generated by comments from one of the party's most iconic, and most controversial, figures.
And yet, there was Mrs. Clinton, in an Oct. 9 interview with CNN, sharing her take on the need for Democrats to '-- as Michelle Obama might have put it '-- go low with today's Republicans. As Mrs. Clinton sees it, ''You cannot be civil with a political party that wants to destroy what you stand for, what you care about.''
She is hardly alone in this assessment. It's safe to say that a vast majority of Democrats feel that President Trump and his congressional accomplices need to be reined in '-- and preferably hogtied '-- to halt their flagrant assault on democratic norms and institutions.
But there are also plenty of Americans, including many of the independents and swing voters the Democrats are working so hard to woo in this cycle, who feel queasy about the depths to which public discourse has sunk and are not eager for an arms race of unpleasantness. Having Mrs. Clinton proclaim political civility dead until her team wins again is unlikely to prove an inspirational message for these voters.
It is, however, extremely likely to electrify the Republican base, in whose collective lizard brain Mrs. Clinton still looms large '-- the ultimate boogeyman to be invoked whenever a Republican politician is having trouble exciting his constituents, or when a Supreme Court hopeful needs to shore up his endangered nomination. For a G.O.P. desperate to get its voters to the polls on Nov. 6, what could be more welcome than ''Crooked Hillary'' jumping in to inflame partisan passions?
Unfortunately, it took Mrs. Clinton less than a week to come up with an even juicier midterm gift for Trump & Company. In a sit-down with ''CBS Sunday Morning,'' she was asked several pointed questions about her husband's Oval Office dalliance with Monica Lewinsky.
To be fair, she was asked the questions. But her reaction was to point out that Ms. Lewinsky had been an adult at the time of the affair '-- as though that technical legality, when the president of the United States was getting busy with an intern who was young enough to be his daughter, was all that mattered. Mrs. Clinton then pivoted to demand why no one was investigating the myriad accusations of sexual harassment and assault against the current occupant of the White House.
President Trump being a pig and an alleged sexual predator in no way excuses Bill Clinton from being a pig and an alleged sexual predator. In fact, by declining to re-examine her own husband's acts, Mrs. Clinton only makes it easier for Mr. Trump's defenders to ignore the current president's. (Juanita Broaddrick's accusation that she was raped by Mr. Clinton in 1978 can be revisited in a recent episode of the Slate podcast ''Slow Burn.'')
But Mrs. Clinton went further. She smacked down the notion that her husband should have resigned over the whole sordid mess '-- ''Absolutely not'' '-- or that it constituted an abuse of power. Which it absolutely did '-- and would have been even if Mr. Clinton had been the president of a small business rather than of the United States.
She also insisted that she had no regrets about how she had handled her ''personal life'' in the 1990s: ''I did what I thought was right, and I feel very good about that.'' And she rejected the suggestion that having ''not contended fully'' with her husband's accusers makes it harder for her to be an effective supporter of the #MeToo movement. ''Well, no,'' she said, ''because there was the most intense, comprehensive investigation,'' which she believes ''came out in the right place.''
It's one thing for a wife to stand by her spouse, especially when both have long been the targets of partisan warriors dead-set on destroying them. But it is no secret that Mr. Clinton's response to sexual scandal was to try to trash the reputations of the women involved. And while the degree to which Mrs. Clinton joined in such efforts may remain in dispute '-- in the CBS interview, she denies having played any role '-- her fundamental complicity is beyond reasonable doubt.
This is the sort of moral arrogance and self-justification that has long troubled even many Democrats about Mrs. Clinton. The former first lady, turned senator, turned secretary of state may have been one of the most qualified nominees ever to run for president. But widespread ambivalence about her among not only swing voters but also her own base set the stage for her to lose the presidency to arguably the least qualified individual ever to hold that office.
Two years since that loss, Mrs. Clinton remains broadly unpopular. As of late September, her favorability rating still hovered at 36 percent, down several points from where it was at the time of the election.
Mrs. Clinton remains a singular obsession of Mr. Trump and his followers. The higher her profile, the more Republican leaders can use her as a rallying point for their voters. Months ago, a spokesman for the Republican National Committee boasted of his party's plan to hang her around Democrats' neck in the midterms: ''We're going to make them own her.''
Hillary Clinton is a woman of extraordinary achievement who has earned the right to share her views on whatever topic she sees fit. But this close to Election Day, discussing hot-button issues in national interviews is nothing but problematic for her party '-- and, ultimately, her own legacy. She and Mr. Clinton are set to begin a series of joint speaking appearances soon after the elections. Perhaps she could save her more incendiary observations for then.
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Facebook's War Room Is Definitely Managing at Least One Crisis
Image: GizmodoSomewhere in the heart of Facebook HQ, a shadowy team toils behind the closed doors of what would appear to be an average conference room. This is Facebook's War Room, and it's the thin line standing between us and chaos.
Gizmodo did not visit the War Room, but early Thursday morning, almost simultaneously, bleary-eyed journalists hit publish on multiple pieces describing this crisis center. What they saw was astonishing:
DEEP IN THE bowels of Facebook's serpentine campus in Menlo Park, California is a room about 25-feet-square that may have a lot to do with how the world thinks about the company in the coming months. It looks like a Wall Street trading floor, with screens on every wall and every desk. And 20 hours a day'--soon to be 24 hours a day'--it's jammed with about two dozen geeks, spooks, hackers, and lawyers trying to spot and quash the next bad thing to happen on the company's networks.
Inside a bland conference room'--equipped with video screens, a whiteboard, and an American flag'--a small squad of Facebook employees is trying to prevent disinformation campaigns from tilting the upcoming midterm elections.
In an otherwise innocuous part of Facebook's expansive Silicon Valley campus, a locked door bears a taped-on sign that reads ''War Room.'' Behind the door lies a nerve center the social network has set up to combat fake accounts and bogus news stories ahead of upcoming elections.
On one hand, the war room is just one of many conference rooms in MPK 20, the company's Menlo Park, CA headquarters. But it's larger than average, and has been stuffed with people and electronics equipment. There are desks for 24 people, and the room is ringed with 17 screens, each of which highlights a different stream of information Facebook is monitoring.
From the outside, Facebook's ''war room'' looks like a typical conference room on the tech firm's Menlo Park, California, campus. But on the inside, the open space, flags, clocks, TV screens, posters and blue and white labels next to computer screens signal that it isn't your average meeting room.
Beneath an American flag, 20 people packed tight into a beige conference room are Facebook's, and so too the Internet's, first line of defence for democracy. This is Facebook election security war room.
There are flags, there are posters, there are maps and screens. But what's happening in this room?
Inside the room are dozens of employees staring intently at their monitors while data streams across giant dashboards.
Engineers, data scientists, threat investigators and other Facebook experts from 20 teams recently began collaborating inside the so-called ''war room'', a term that political campaigns typically use to describe operation centers.
All told, representatives from 20 teams have people in the war room, representing 20,000 global employees working on safety and security. The teams include threat intelligence, data science, engineering, research, operations, legal, policy, communications, and representatives from Facebook-owned WhatsApp and Instagram.
The facility resembled a conventional office room, with young employees working side-by-side, some situated in front of standing desks adorned with multiple screens. One would be mistaken that the employees were coding away on typical software projects if it weren't for the printed-out labels attached to some of the monitors with descriptions like ''Elections Software Engineer,'' ''Integrity Software Engineer,'' and ''Research Brazil.''
Why are all these people staring at screens? What's happening here? What's this War Room for?
The company has been under intense scrutiny from Congress, federal investigators, and the media, after it emerged that Russian government-linked operatives manipulated its platform to target Americans in 2016.
There's a lot at stake not only for democracy, but for Facebook, which has seen Russians, Iranians and even Americans exploit the social network to spread hoaxes and sow discord.
During the U.S. presidential election, Russian government trolls and profit-driven fake news outlets polluted the social network with polarizing propaganda. Now Facebook hopes to avoid a repeat in the upcoming US midterms as well as elections across the globe. And to win the hearts, minds, and trust of the public, it's being more transparent about its strategy.
This demonstration of Facebook's internal efforts comes after a long string of security breaches and privacy hacks, going back to Russian manipulation of the 2016 presidential elections. Since the revelation of the Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal in March, Facebook shares have fallen 14 percent. Now, the social-media giant is pulling out all the stops to prevent another debacle and more negative headlines.
Ah, I see. So, Facebook's stock price is falling, it's smothered by scandal, it really fucked up that last election, it wants to avoid more bad headlines, and it's doing all this to be more transparent. Did this gaggle of reporters learn anything specific about War Room operations?
The press briefing provided minimal new information about Facebook's specific strategies and impacts when it comes to combatting foreign interference and false news.
When pressed by reporters, Facebook execs didn't have a satisfying answer on how it would try to combat the flow of fake news and misinformation, instead pointing to minor cosmetic changes like the addition of a ''Forwarded'' indicator next to messages that have been forwarded, to show when a message didn't originate with the sender.
The War Room may or may not be doing its job, but the Facebook PR team is killing it.
Putin touts downfall of US as a global leader: 'It's almost done'
Putin used his annual public address to celebrate America's fading global influence under the Trump administration.
In his annual public address before the nation, Russian President Vladimir Putin proclaimed that America's global influence has come to end '-- a development he attributed in large part to Trump's presidency.
Speaking about the position of the U.S. on the global stage, Putin celebrated the waning influence of what he described as America's ''monopoly'' on power, saying it would give Russia the ability to exert more influence in the world.
''Empires often think they can make some little mistakes. Because they're so powerful,'' Putin said, according to the Financial Times.'''But when the number of these mistakes keeps growing, it reaches a level they cannot sustain.''
He admonished the U.S. for having a ''sense of impunity,'' saying, ''This is the result of the monopoly from a unipolar world.''
''Luckily this monopoly is disappearing,'' he added. ''It's almost done.''
And Russia's time has come, he said, claiming that America's downfall meant that Russia had an opportunity to establish itself as a major player on the global stage.
As the Financial Times described, ''Putin continually returned to the idea that US hegemony was the cause of many global ills '-- but that its twilight offered opportunities for Russia and its friends.''
Putin also noted that since Trump took office, punitive actions in response to Russian aggression in Ukraine and Syria had lessened in severity and were no longer having the impact they once did.
He hit back at media reports describing his relationship with Trump as poor, noting that Trump listens to what he says, and that he wants a better relationship with Russia.
While Putin's remarks were clearly designed to bolster Russia's national image, much of what he said is, unfortunately, true.
Under Trump's leadership, global opinions of the U.S. have soured and ratings of America have plummeted around the world. Within a year of Trump taking office, global approval of U.S. leadership had already plunged 18 points, with more people approving of China's leadership than America's.
It's not hard to see why, either. Trump has consistently failed to stand up for American values, choosing instead to take positions that are more in line with dictatorships and rogue nations than democracies. At the same time, he has made a habit of cozying up to actual dictators like Putin, Kim Jong Un, and most recently, the brutally oppressive Saudi royal family.
No one could happier about all of this Putin, and it's never been clearer than it is now.
Published with permission of The American Independent.
Amazon has brought back the job of the doorman '-- with changes - Axios
For 21 years, Edgar Rodriguez has worked as the doorman at 115 Central Park West, a job requiring subtle courtesy and dapper dress. But in the last decade, his duties have been wholly upended.
Why it matters: The rise of Amazon has shaken up the U.S. and global economy. But it's done so in sometimes odd ways, all-but killing some centuries-old trades, like bookselling, while giving others '-- like the doorman '-- surprising second lives.
Once a summoner of taxis, watcher of small children, and keen vetter of visitors, Rodriguez now mostly spends his time on a single task '-- managing the safekeeping of a daily avalanche of Amazon deliveries.The big picture: The Amazon effect on jobs has been two-sided. The e-commerce giant has added nearly 600,000 jobs in the U.S. alone, but a whopping 12 million retail jobs are in jeopardy because of its rapid ascent, per MarketWatch. Amazon has also faced sharp criticism for the wages and working conditions of its tens of thousands of warehouse employees and truckers.
And those are just the employees on Amazon's payroll. The company is unleashing tectonic shifts across the working world:
Amazon has transformed the job of retail sales clerk. Thrown out of work by the shrinkage of Sears, Macy's, J.C. Penney and other retailers, thousands of salespeople have found jobs at Amazon and other e-commerce warehouses. It has changed the job of shipper, who in the old days sent a truckload or two of inventory to a store once a week. Amazon Prime has made buyers expect their purchase delivered to their home '-- now.The e-commerce giant has also been part of a wholesale change in retirement. Thousands of financially strapped older Americans have re-entered the workforce and become a transient workforce that travels the country, laboring a few weeks or months in one Amazon warehouse, a few weeks in another, and so on. As Amazon grows larger and larger, "we don't quite know what the consequences are going to be, and it's going to touch things that we don't predict," said Joe Parilla of Brookings. "It's changing these corners of the labor market."
On a typical day, Rodriguez's 215-unit building, which employs a team of 10 doormen and a mail clerk, receives 160 packages.
In the month between Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Eve, that jumps to 300 per day, he said. "It's really, really out of control."The building put custom technology in place to scan and record the flood of packages that come in, said Rodriguez. Before, the doormen used to write out serial numbers by hand in a log book. "That alone took three hours."Across New York, doormen juggle deliveries that pile up astoundingly high.
On the Upper East Side, at 72nd Street and 3rd Avenue, the 855-unit Wellesley apartment building had to hire two doormen specifically to direct a never-ending stream of delivery guys.Waddit Cruz has been at 25 East 68th Street, a much smaller building of 75 units, for 10 years. He said he has to deal with some 60 packages a day.As I was talking to Ian Vasquez, a doorman at 170 Amsterdam Avenue, he scanned through the 100th package of the day '-- at 3:30pm. "Some of the carriers haven't come yet," he said.The other side: City-dwellers who live in converted townhouses or buildings without doormen order just as many packages '-- but they don't have someone to run the lobby-warehouse. That leads to some frustration.
A colleague who lives in a D.C. apartment without a doorman says that some days, the package buildup outside his door prevents him from leaving the building. He uses the side door to get out.New York and D.C. colleagues told me that they've had packages stolen off the stoop of their homes.The long view: The rise of new technologies has often shifted the burden of work, Jared Bernstein, a former economic adviser to Vice President Joe Biden, told Axios. Consider the ATM machine, which, after its invention in 1969, prompted us to withdraw our own cash, thus changing the job of teller.
Amazon is doing something similar, Bernstein said. "It's shifting work toward consumers, or, in the case of doormen, toward the people who work for consumers."
Is Robert Mueller Investigating the Seth Rich Murder?
I can't answer that question with certainty, but here's an email that I sent this afternoon to an assistant U.S. attorney in Brooklyn:
pertaining to Aaron Rich, brother of Seth Rich.
The special counsel apparently was/is investigating whether Wikileaks made payment to Aaron in exchange for Seth leaking Democratic National Committee emails to Wikileaks. Obviously, that could be relevant to the motive for Seth Rich's murder. It might also explain Aaron's statement in his lawsuit that he was working with ''state and federal law enforcement officials'' as opposed to DC law enforcement alone.
Any such subpoenas almost certainly would have been served by the FBI agents assigned to work for the special counsel. I would therefore like to know whether the FBI's search for records included records related to the foregoing subpoenas. Thank you in advance for your assistance.
There are some obvious reasons why Mueller would be interested in Aaron Rich's financial records. I can't divulge all of my sources, but Matt Couch and others have openly alleged that Wikileaks directed payment to the Rich brothers via eBay and PayPal, further claiming that they received the tip from Julian Assange. Mueller, meanwhile, is charged with determining whether the Trump campaign ''colluded'' with the Russians, which would include determining whether the Russians hacked the DNC. Any competent investigator would want to determine whether the DNC emails were hacked by the Russians versus hacked or leaked by someone else, e.g., Seth Rich.
That begs a question: If Mueller knows whether Wikileaks directed payment to Aaron, then why hasn't he said anything one way or another? Perhaps because the answer might undermine the very basis for his investigation. After all, there's not much need for a special counsel if the Russians were not responsible for the hacking / leaking.
Of course, it's also possible that Mueller obtained Aaron's financial records and found no evidence of a payment from Wikileaks, but I find that increasingly unlikely. As time passes, it looks all the more like Aaron and his lawyers are trying to hide all evidence pertaining to Wikileaks. Consider the headline of my June 11, 2018 post: ''Why won't Seth Rich's brother authorize Wikileaks to tell what it knows?'' Three months later, the crickets are still chirping.
NOTHING TO SEE HERE. MOVE ALONG.
In an August 20, 2018 email to Meryl Governski, one of Aaron's attorneys, I asked whether Aaron was referring to the FBI when describing ''federal law enforcement officials'' in his lawsuit. She never answered. I also sent another email to her on August 20:
Per the article below, the Democratic National Committee served its lawsuit on Wikileaks via Twitter. I'm wondering why your client has not tried to subpoena Wikileaks via Twitter. I'm also wondering why your client has not served subpoenas on eBay for payments into the accounts of companies controlled by Mr. Rich. [my client] would have issued his own subpoenas by now, but he does not wish to consent to the jurisdiction of the D.C. court.
The response came from her boss, Michael Gottlieb. Here's our email exchange that evening:
Gottlieb: You have sent two emails today (one copied below) purporting to ask us questions regarding the lawsuit our client Aaron Rich filed against the Washington Times, [my client], Mr. Couch, and America First Media in the District of Columbia, Case No. 1:18-cv-00681-RJL. Do you currently represent any party in that action? If so, which party do you represent? Do you contend that you are authorized to continue acting on behalf of a party in this litigation notwithstanding that you are not admitted to practice in D.C. and you withdrew your motion to appear pro hac vice? Or perhaps you are now authorized to practice law in D.C. If that is the case, please let us know.
Clevenger: I still serve as [my client]'s personal attorney, and I am involved directly or indirectly in all of his cases. I'm not sure why any of that matters. The first question pertained to a case in NY, not DC. The other question, frankly, was for purposes of my blog. If you and your client were serious about getting answers, you wouldn't be dragging your feet and making excuses. Your bluff has been called, and I think you know it.
Gottlieb: Thank you for confirming in writing that you continue to practice law in D.C. without authorization to do so.
Clevenger: Yeah, go ahead and file that complaint against me. We've already established that you like to talk tough'... and then do nothing. By the way, coordinating my client's representation in multiple jurisdictions is not ''practicing law'' in DC. And when your client's case craters (like the related cases in NY did), I'll probably be handling the malicious prosecution claims against you and your firm.
A little background: After I first questioned why Aaron had not authorized Wikileaks to tell what it knows, his lawyers claimed that they were going to get to the bottom of things by issuing their own subpoena for Wikileaks. They never did, instead offering excuses about the difficulty of serving Wikileaks overseas. That's why I asked them about serving the subpoena via Twitter, as the DNC had done. (Of course, if Aaron had just authorized Wikileaks to reveal what it knows, as I suggested in the first place, then no subpoena would have been necessary.)
If the DNC lawyers were so gung ho to serve Wikileaks via Twitter, you may be wondering why Aaron's lawyers are so reluctant. The DNC lawyers knew that Wikileaks would ignore their lawsuit because no U.S. court could reach Wikileaks or its assets. In other words, serving the lawsuit was an empty gesture to make it appear that the DNC was serious when it was not. In marked contrast, a subpoena from Aaron would have some very real consequences: it would waive all confidentiality agreements between him and Wikileaks, allowing Julian Assange to do what he has wanted to do all along, i.e., tell what he knows.
If Aaron is really interested in revealing the truth, he should have authorized Wikileaks, eBay, and PayPal to reveal what they know a long time ago. As I explained in my June 11, 2018 post, however, Aaron's lawyers seem to have a different objective in mind, and I think it's part of a larger litigation strategy being coordinated by the DNC. Specifically, I believe the DNC has been coordinating a stream of frivolous lawsuits designed to (1) keep the ''Russian collusion'' narrative alive at least through the mid-term elections, and (2) intimidate or discredit anyone who dares to question that narrative. (If you doubt that there is a desire to silence people, take a look at this June 1, 2018 piece in the left-wing publication Salon: ''Can lawsuits slow the tide of right-wing conspiracy theory?'')
The smoke-and-mirrors strategy follow a pattern: a high-profile Democratic law firm files a lawsuit making bold claims, the media hypes the lawsuit, the Democratic lawyers act as if they are prosecuting the case aggressively'... and then they allow the case to stagnate or die. In Aaron's case, for example, his lawyers initially insisted that they wanted to begin discovery as soon as possible, and they immediately subpoenaed the private Twitter communications of my client and me in an apparent attempt to intimidate us, yet they could never get around to subpoenaing Wikileaks, eBay, or PayPal about the alleged payoff. We struck back hard, and they've been quiet ever since.
Similarly, Joel and Mary Rich (parents of Aaron and Seth) generated great fanfare by suing my client, Fox News, and a Fox producer in New York for intentional infliction of emotional distress. The lawsuit claimed that my client and the other defendants knowingly peddled a false story, i.e., that Seth and Aaron were responsible for leaking emails from the DNC. On August 2, 2018, U.S. District Judge George Daniels (a Clinton appointee) dismissed the case for failure to state a claim. The Riches did not appeal, probably because their lawyers knew the case was frivolous, and my client plans malicious prosecution lawsuits against the lawyers in the near future.
In late May, Brad Bauman, a self-described spokesman for the Rich family, sued my client and several other defendantsin D.C., claiming that my client defamed him by stating that Bauman had been ''assigned'' by the DNC to represent the Rich family. Thus far Bauman, who describes himself as a Democratic ''political communications consultant,'' has not been able to explain how he was defamed the statement that he was ''assigned'' by the DNC. (My client says Joel Rich was the person who told him that Bauman was assigned by the DNC). I suspect my client will soon be dismissed from that case as well.
Or consider the DNC lawsuit itself, which was filed in April. President Trump mocked the lawsuit from the outset, noting that his lawyers would finally have an opportunity to examine the email server that the DNC famously refused to share with the FBI, and that case really does look like a Kamikaze attack. Why would the DNC want President Trump's lawyers digging through all of its records?
I checked the docket this evening, and nothing substantive has happened in that case since it was filed. I suspect the DNC will try to dismiss it some time after the November elections.
After my June 11 blog post, Aaron's lawyers were beside themselves. They accused me of anti-Semitism in court papers because I had used the term ''oily shysters'' in my blog post to describe some of their dirty and unethical tactics. I say if the shoe fits, wear it.
There is absolutely nothing anti-Semitic about the term ''shyster,'' and I think Aaron's lawyers already knew that. For a good laugh and a good explanation, look at ''Shyster, Shyster, Shyster'' by Jonah Goldberg, a (Jewish) writer for National Review. The term arose in New York in the 1800s, but its Germanic origin had nothing to do with Jews. As best I can tell, accusations of anti-Semitism arise when unscrupulous left-wing shysters are trying to deflect attention from their shysterly ( or is it ''shysterious''?) behavior.
Gottlieb, et al. originally had not objected to my application to appear pro hac vice in the D.C. federal court. After the ''oily shyster'' blog post, however, they changed course and filed an opposition to my motion. I filed a blistering response, but given my history with the ''dirtiest federal courthouse in America,'' I opted to withdraw my pro hac motion.
As if things weren't weird enough, Aaron's lawyers then insisted that my response be stricken from the court record, apparently because they were embarrassed by it. I've never even heard of a request like that. Fortunately, my client rejected their request, and my response is still part of the court record. In the interest of documenting shysterly behavior, and for the amusement of my readers, I have uploaded a copy of my response.
Evidence suggests crown prince ordered Khashoggi killing, says ex-MI6 chief | World news | The Guardian
A former head of MI6 has said all the evidence suggests Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was behind the death of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and that the theory that rogue elements in the Saudi military were responsible was ''blatant fiction''.
Sir John Sawers told the BBC his assessment was based on conversations with senior Whitehall sources and his knowledge of the Turkish intelligence services.
The comments came after Donald Trump said he presumed Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist, was dead and that the consequences for Saudi Arabia would be ''very severe'' if its leaders were found to have ordered the dissident journalist's killing.
Sawers, who was head of the British secret intelligence service until 2014, also claimed that the crown prince would only have acted if he believed he had licence from the White House to behave as he wished.
''I think President Trump and his ministerial team are waking up to just how dangerous it is to have people acting with a sense that they have impunity in their relationship with the United States,'' Sawers said.
''If it is proven, and it looks very likely to be the case, that [Prince Mohammed] ordered the killing of the journalist it is a step too far '' one that the UK, the EU and the US are going to have to respond to.''
He said the ''rogue elements'' theory of Khashoggi's death ''simply doesn't hold water'' and that it''further undermines respect for America when it panders to such a blatant fiction''.
Donald Trump: It 'certainly looks like' Jamal Khashoggi is dead '' videoSawers said he respected the thoroughness and professionalism of the Turkish intelligence services: ''The level of detail that is coming out from Turkish security sources is so clear that some form of tape must exist.''
He suggested the tensions between Turkey and Saudi Arabia over the past decade would mean Turkey ''will be monitoring very closely what goes on inside Saudi offices. They may well have had the consulate general bugged in some way, or there may have been other devices carried out by the squad that carried out the assassination that they were able to intercept.
''The level of detail is very damning of the hit squad, and [their reported identities] show how close are they are to the crown prince''.
Sawers' remarks are likely to be treated as incendiary in Washington.
He predicted that members of the Saudi royal family, business community and conservative religious clerics will take advantage of the crown prince's involvement to undermine him. ''There will be a reaction inside Saudi Arabia to this dreadful killing and there will be some correction.''
Reports in Turkey say Khashoggi was brutally murdered and dismembered inside the consulate by members of an assassination squad with ties to the crown prince. The Saudis have dismissed those reports as baseless but have yet to explain what happened to Khashoggi, a contributing columnist for the Washington Post who wrote critically of Prince Mohammed's rise to power.
According to British sources Saudi Arabia may take as long as week to receive and respond to a Turkish government report expected to detail how Khashoggi was killed by a 15-strong Saudi hit squad.
Turkey is trying to use the intelligence it has gathered, possibly by bugging, to gather other evidence it is more able to share with the world to prove its theory. A search is under way in woods on the outskirts of Istanbul and to another Turkish city near the Sea of Mamara, 56 miles (90km) south of Istanbul.
Turkey has been leaking details of Khashoggi's gruesome death based on intelligence reports, but the country's foreign minister, Mevl¼t avuÅoÄlu, said the raw intelligence including any audio recordings has not been given to any foreign power, such as Mike Pompeo, the US secretary of state.
The UK foreign secretary, Jeremy Hunt, told LBC there would be ''very, very serious consequences'' for UK-Saudi relations if reports of Khashoggi's murder were true, but appeared to steer away from ending arms sales, pointing out that Saudi Arabia was a strategic partner in the battle to constrain Iran.
Hunt said the scale of the British response would depend on how Saudi Arabia responded to the Turkish findings, but it is hard to know if definitive evidence will be published showing Prince Mohammed's complicity.
It is thought that Turkey may possess as-yet unreported intelligence that could go further in revealing the individuals responsible for ordering a gang of senior officials to travel to Istanbul to murder Khashoggi. There have been rumours that the crown prince would be required to step aside as the price for restoring confidence of overseas investors, but the US has been told Saudis were preparing to pin the blame on Major General Ahmed al-Assiri for either over-stepping or misunderstanding orders given by Prince Mohammed.
The senior army officer has been a frequent visitor to London in order to explain the rationale behind the Saudi war to save the UN recognised government from Houthi rebels.
The UK Foreign Office confirmed that the UK trade commissioner for the Middle East, Simon Penney, and the UK ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Simon Collis, would both attend the controversial Riyadh investment conference next week. A host of politicians, bankers, and media chiefs have withdrawn from the event.
Liam Fox, the UK trade secretary, pulled out on Thursday in light of the Khashoggi case. The continued attendance of Penney and Collis, underlining the UK's reluctance to damage its entire relationship with Saudi Arabia, was confirmed in a written answer to the Plaid Cymru MP Jonathan Edwards.
Edwards said: ''Spinelessly sending the British ambassador to this 'Davos in the desert' shows just how desperate the Westminster government is to appease despots. Agents of the British state '' be they ministers or diplomats '' should not be affording the rogue Saudi regime the legitimacy of their presence.
Saudi Royal Family Considering Replacement For Crown Prince bin Salman: Report | Zero Hedge
The major French daily Le Figaro on Thursday published a bombshell story which reports the Saudi royal family is actively considering a replacement to crown prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS) as next in line to succeed his father King Salman as the kingdom finds itself under the greatest international pressure and scrutiny it's faced in its modern history over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi '-- widely believed to have been killed on orders of MbS himself.
The Li Figaro report's unnamed diplomatic source says the Allegiance Council, which is historically the body responsible for approving the order of succession to the throne, is currently meeting in secret (translation from the French):
For several days, the Allegiance Council for the ruling Saudi family is meeting in the utmost discretion, says a diplomatic source to Le Figaro in Paris. The information has been confirmed by a Saudi Arabian contacted in Riyadh. Composed of a delegate representing each of the clans '-- at least seven '-- of the royal family, this body, responsible for inheritance problems, examines the situation created by the disappearance, still unresolved, more than a fortnight ago, of the journalist dissident Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
The report in France's oldest top three national newspapers further suggests the ruling family is seeking to replace the 33-year old MbS with his much less ambitious and more predictable brother, Prince Khalid bin Salman.
Image source: AP file photo The council was already seen as having broken the customary rules of succession last year when it appointed MbS as the new crown prince over next-in-line to the throne Mohammed bin Nayef; however, the council's authority has tended to be seen as a rubber stamp on already decided succession by the most powerful figures within the ruling family.
The Le Figaro report further cited a Saudi source who explained the transition wouldn't necessarily be immediate, but that Khalid would gradually replace his brother.
Khalid, who's even younger than MbS at 28, is said to be popular both at home and abroad, and is generally seen as someone who can improve the kingdom's image in the West.
Saudi Ambassador to the U.S. Prince Khalid bin Salman. He was recalled last week after Jamal Khashoggi's disappearance. He's been Saudi ambassador to the United States since taking the post in April 2017 but was recalled last week, according to The New York Times. He flew directly back to Riyadh where he was present for Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's high pressure but brief visit with King Salman and MbS to discuss to Khashoggi disappearance.
Newsweek summarizes his political career as follows:
Before becoming an ambassador, the prince was an adviser at Saudi Arabia's embassy in Washington as well as at the Ministry of Defense in Riyadh, according to his bio on the embassy's website. Prior to that, he served as a pilot in the kingdom's air force, flying F-15s and taking parting in more than 50 combat missions in Syria and Yemen.
When he took his post in Washington, Marcelle M. Wahba, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Arab Emirates and president of the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington, told Saudi Arabia's English-language newspaper Arab News that Prince Khalid's biggest challenge would be improving and broadening the kingdom's image.
If the ruling family is pushing to replace MbS, it's likely to be announced fast (or at least "leaks" of the news will continue) in order to relieve the continued pressure on Riyadh.
Currently a public campaign is mounting for lobbying and media companies to pull out of Saudi events, especially the Saudi Future Investment Initiative summit set for this month '-- which as of Thursday US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he would not be attending, adding his name to a host of other officials.
As Khashoggi crisis grows, Saudi king asserts authority, checks son's power: sources | Reuters
DUBAI (Reuters) - So grave is the fallout from the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi that King Salman has felt compelled to intervene, five sources with links to the Saudi royal family said.
Last Thursday, Oct. 11, the king dispatched his most trusted aide, Prince Khaled al-Faisal, governor of Mecca, to Istanbul to try to defuse the crisis.
World leaders were demanding an explanation and concern was growing in parts of the royal court that the king's son Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, to whom he has delegated vast powers, was struggling to contain the fallout, the sources said.
During Prince Khaled's visit, Turkey and Saudi Arabia agreed to form a joint working group to investigate Khashoggi's disappearance. The king subsequently ordered the Saudi public prosecutor to open an inquiry based on its findings.
''The selection of Khaled, a senior royal with high status, is telling as he is the king's personal adviser, his right hand man and has had very strong ties and a friendship with (Turkish President) Erdogan,'' said a Saudi source with links to government circles.
Since the meeting between Prince Khaled and Erdogan, King Salman has been ''asserting himself'' in managing the affair, according to a different source, a Saudi businessman who lives abroad but is close to royal circles.
Saudi officials did not immediately respond to Reuters questions about the king's involvement in helping to supervise the crisis. A spokesman for Prince Khaled referred Reuters to government representatives in Riyadh.
Khashoggi, a U.S. resident and leading critic of Prince Mohammed, vanished after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2. Turkish officials say they believe the Saudi journalist was murdered there and his body removed, allegations which Saudi Arabia has strongly denied.
Initially the king, who has handed the day-to-day running of Saudi Arabia to his son, commonly known as MbS, was unaware of the extent of the crisis, according to two of the sources with knowledge of the Saudi royal court. That was partly because MbS aides had been directing the king to glowing news about the country on Saudi TV channels, the sources said.
That changed as the crisis grew.
''Even if MbS wanted to keep this away from the king he couldn't because the story about Khashoggi's disappearance was on all the Arab and Saudi TV channels watched by the king,'' one of the five sources said.
''The king started asking aides and MbS about it. MbS had to tell him and asked him to intervene when Khashoggi's case became a global crisis,'' this source said.
Since he acceded to the throne in January 2015, the king has given MbS, his favorite son, increasing authority to run Saudi Arabia. But the king's latest intervention reflects growing disquiet among some members of the royal court about MbS's fitness to govern, the five sources said.
MbS, 33, has implemented a series of high-profile social and economic reforms since his father's accession, including ending a ban on women driving and opening cinemas in the conservative kingdom.
But he has also marginalized senior members of the royal family and consolidated control over Saudi's security and intelligence agencies.
His reforms have been accompanied by a crackdown on dissent, a purge of top royals and businessmen on corruption charges, and a costly war in Yemen.
Khashoggi's disappearance has further tarnished the crown prince's reputation, deepening questions among Western allies and some Saudis about his leadership.
''Even if he is his favorite son, the king needs to have a comprehensive view for his survival and the survival of the royal family,'' said a fourth Saudi source with links to the royal court.
''In the end it will snowball on all of them.''
Saudi officials did not immediately respond to Reuters requests for comment.
MISCALCULATION Saudi Arabia has repeatedly denied any role in Khashoggi's disappearance. But the sources familiar with the royal court said the reaction from the United States, an ally for decades, had contributed to the king's intervention.
''When the situation got out of control and there was an uproar in the United States, MbS informed his father that there was a problem and that they have to face it,'' another source with knowledge of the royal court said.
The crown prince and his aides had initially thought the crisis would pass but they ''miscalculated its repercussions'', this source said.
Turkish officials have made clear they believe Khashoggi was killed inside the consulate, and two Turkish sources have told Reuters police have audio recordings to back up that assertion.
U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican close to President Donald Trump, on Tuesday accused MbS of ordering Khashoggi's murder and called him a ''wrecking ball'' who is jeopardizing relations with the United States. He did not say what evidence he was basing the allegation on.
Trump said on Thursday he presumed Khashoggi was dead but that he still wanted to get to the bottom of what exactly happened. Asked what would be the consequences for Saudi Arabia, Trump said: ''Well, it'll have to be very severe. I mean, it's bad, bad stuff. But we'll see what happens.''
Trump has previously said ''rogue killers'' may have been responsible and has ruled out cancelling arms deals worth tens of billions of dollars. On Tuesday, Trump said he had spoken with MbS and that the crown prince told him he did not know what had happened in the consulate where Khashoggi went missing.
The case poses a dilemma for the United States, as well as Britain and other Western nations. Saudi Arabia is the world's top oil exporter, spends lavishly on Western arms and is an ally in efforts to contain the influence of Iran.
FILE PHOTO: Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud is seen during a meeting with U.N Secretary-General Antonio Guterres at the United Nations headquarters in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S. March 27, 2018. To match Insight SAUDI-POLITICS/KING REUTERS/Amir Levy/File PhotoBut in a sign of the damage, a succession of international banking and business chiefs, including IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde, JP Morgan Chief Executive Jamie Dimon and Ford Chairman Bill Ford, have pulled out of a high-profile investment conference in Saudi Arabia this month.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Thursday also abandoned plans to attend, as did Britain's trade minister and the French and Dutch finance ministers, putting the event in question.
Saudi officials have said they plan to move forward with the conference, scheduled for Oct. 23-25, despite the wave of cancellations.
Neither JP Morgan nor Ford would elaborate on the reasons for the decision not to attend and did not comment on whether concerns about the disappearance of Khashoggi were a factor.
Lagarde had previously said she was ''horrified'' by media reports about Khashoggi's disappearance. An IMF spokesperson did not give a reason for her deferring her trip to the Middle East.
TAKING CONTROL Before the king's intervention, Saudi authorities had been striking a defiant tone, threatening on Sunday to retaliate with greater action against the U.S. and others if sanctions are imposed over Khashoggi's disappearance. A Saudi-owned media outlet warned the result would be disruption in Saudi oil production and a sharp rise in world oil prices.
''Reaction and threats to the possible sanctions of the last 24 hours were still (coming) from the crown prince,'' the businessman close to royal circles said on Monday. ''The king is now holding the file personally ... and the tone is very different.''
The king has spoken directly with Erdogan and Trump in recent days. Both the king and his son met U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo when he visited Riyadh on Tuesday.
King Salman, 82, spent decades as part of the inner circle of the Al Saud dynasty, which long ruled by consensus. In four decades as governor of Riyadh, he earned a reputation as a royal enforcer who punished princes who were out of line.
Whether he is willing or able to resume that role in this crisis remains unclear, palace insiders say. One source with links to the royal court said the king was ''captivated'' by MbS and ultimately would protect him.
Still, there is precedent for the king's intervention.
He stepped in this year to shelve the planned listing of national oil company Saudi Aramco, the brainchild of MbS and a cornerstone of his economic reforms, three sources with ties to government insiders told Reuters in August. Saudi officials have said the government remains committed to the plans.
And when MbS gave the impression last year that Riyadh endorsed the Trump administration's still nebulous Middle East peace plan, including U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, the king made a public correction, reaffirming Riyadh's commitment to the Arab and Muslim identity of the city.
Despite these rare instances of pushback, several of the sources close to the royal family said that King Salman had grown increasingly detached from decisions taken by MbS.
''He has been living in an artificially-created bubble,'' said one of the sources. Lately, though, the king's advisers have grown frustrated and begun warning him of the risks of leaving the crown prince's power unchecked.
''The people around him are starting to tell him to wake up to what's happening,'' the source said.
Reporting by Reuters correspondents; Editing by Nick Tattersall
Supreme Court case could decide FB, Twitter power to regulate speech
The Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case that could determine whether users can challenge social media companies on free speech grounds.
The case, Manhattan Community Access Corp. v. Halleck, No. 17-702, centers on whether a private operator of a public access television network is considered a state actor, which can be sued for First Amendment violations.
The case could have broader implications for social media and other media outlets. In particular, a broad ruling from the high court could open the country's largest technology companies up to First Amendment lawsuits.
That could shape the ability of companies like Facebook, Twitter and Alphabet's Google to control the content on their platforms as lawmakers clamor for more regulation and activists on the left and right spar over issues related to censorship and harassment.
The Supreme Court accepted the case on Friday. It is the first case taken by a reconstituted high court after Justice Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation earlier this month.
On its face, the case has nothing to do with social media at all. Rather, the facts of the case concern public access television, and two producers who claim they were punished for expressing their political views. The producers, DeeDee Halleck and Jesus Melendez, say that Manhattan Neighborhood Network suspended them for expressing views that were critical of the network.
In making the argument to the justices that the case was worthy of review, attorneys for MNN said the court could use the case to resolve a lingering dispute over the power of social media companies to regulate the content on their platforms.
While the First Amendment is meant to protect citizens against government attempts to limit speech, there are certain situations in which private companies can be subject to First Amendment liability. Attorneys for MNN have made the case that social media companies are clearly not government actors. But in raising the question, they have provided the Supreme Court an opportunity to weigh in.
"We stand at a moment when the very issue at the heart of this case'--the interplay between private entities, nontraditional media, and the First Amendment'--has been playing out in the courts, in other branches of government, and in the media itself," attorneys for MNN wrote in their final plea to the justices to take up the case.
A ruling against MNN on the broad question it has asked the court to consider could open social media companies to First Amendment suits, which would force them to limit the actions they take to control the content on their platforms.
The court could also rule more narrowly against MNN in a way that does not impact the companies.
The case is likely to get extra attention as it moves forward given Republican lawmakers' increasing attacks against social media companies for perceived partisanship. Those attacks have raised the specter that the court, which has served as a bulwark for conservative expression, could step in.
Some observers have expressed caution, saying that the justices are unlikely to rule in a way that could substantially impact social media companies.
Michael Pachter, a former tax attorney who covers Twitter as an analyst at Wedbush Securities, said he thought it was "extremely unlikely" that the court will issue a ruling that hamstrings social media companies, particularly given the court's deference to business interests.
If the court does place serious limits on how the companies can restrict the speech on their platforms, he said, it would make the networks more hostile, alienating their users and advertisers.
"[Twitter] is an uncivil place as it is," Pachter said. "But it will become less civil."
Courts in California and New Jersey have weighed in on the issue, finding that social media companies don't constitute state actors subject to First Amendment liability. A federal judge in New York ruled in May that the First Amendment protected users interacting with parts of Twitter, including the president's feed. But that ruling did not apply to Twitter as a whole.
The Supreme Court addressed a related issue in June 2017. In Packingham v. North Carolina, No. 15-1194, the court struck down a state law that prohibited sex offenders from accessing social media sites. In his opinion for the court, Justice Anthony Kennedy, who retired over the summer, referred to social media sites as a "modern public square." But the court's decision left important questions about what exactly that meant up in the air.
Conservatives allege censorshipWhile the justices tend to describe themselves as being apolitical, the court of Chief Justice John Roberts has shown a distinct preference for speech cases that concern conservative ideology, according to an empirical analysis conducted by researchers affiliated with Washington University in St. Louis and the University of Michigan.
The analysis found that the justices on the court appointed by Republican presidents sided with conservative speech nearly 70 percent of the time.
"More than any other modern Court, the Roberts Court has trained its sights on speech promoting conservative values," the authors found.
Polls show that both Democrats and Republicans believe that social media companies censor their users, however, the issue swings heavily conservative. Eighty-five percent of Republicans believe that social media companies censor speech the companies find objectionable, compared with 62 percent of Democrats, according to a June survey conducted by the Pew Research Center.
The survey also found that 4 in 10 Americans believe that the companies favor liberal speech, versus just 1 in 10 who believes the companies favor conservative speech.
In August, President Donald Trump blasted Google for allegedly suppressing conservative speech. In a post on Twitter, Trump wrote that "they are controlling what we can & cannot see. This is a very serious situation-will be addressed!"
Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., the conservative chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, in July accused Twitter of censorship and threatened legal action against the company.
Perhaps most dramatically, Facebook, YouTube, Apple and the music platform Spotify removed content from right-wing conspiracy theorist and provocateur Alex Jones in August, accusing the talk show host of violating their terms of service. Indeed, MNN cited Jones's removal in a legal brief, saying it was an example of the heightened attention to the issue of First Amendment rights online.
The major social media companies, which either did not respond or declined to comment to CNBC, have said they do not censor speech based on political ideology.
In August, as the uproar from conservatives reached a fever pitch, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey called into the radio show hosted by conservative commentator Sean Hannity.
"We do not shadow ban according to political ideology or viewpoint or content. Period," Dorsey said at the time.
For its part, Google released a statement saying that its search feature "is not used to set a political agenda and we don't bias our results toward any political ideology."
During an April hearing before the Senate's Commerce and Judiciary Committees, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was grilled by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, about whether Facebook considered itself a "neutral public forum."
"There are a great many Americans who I think are deeply concerned that that Facebook and other tech companies are engaged in a pervasive pattern of bias and political censorship," Cruz said.
In response, Zuckerberg said that Facebook is a "platform for all ideas."
-- CNBC's Sara Salinas contributed to this report.
UN Says Climate Genocide Coming. But It's Worse Than That.
You now have permission to freak out. Photo: George Rose/Getty Images
Just two years ago, amid global fanfare, the Paris climate accords were signed '-- initiating what seemed, for a brief moment, like the beginning of a planet-saving movement. But almost immediately, the international goal it established of limiting global warming to two degrees Celsius began to seem, to many of the world's most vulnerable, dramatically inadequate; the Marshall Islands' representative gave it a blunter name, calling two degrees of warming ''genocide.''
The alarming new report you may have read about this week from the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change '-- which examines just how much better 1.5 degrees of warming would be than 2 '-- echoes the charge. ''Amplifies'' may be the better term. Hundreds of millions of lives are at stake, the report declares, should the world warm more than 1.5 degrees Celsius, which it will do as soon as 2040, if current trends continue. Nearly all coral reefs would die out, wildfires and heat waves would sweep across the planet annually, and the interplay between drought and flooding and temperature would mean that the world's food supply would become dramatically less secure. Avoiding that scale of suffering, the report says, requires such a thorough transformation of the world's economy, agriculture, and culture that ''there is no documented historical precedent.'' The New York Times declared that the report showed a ''strong risk'' of climate crisis in the coming decades; in Grist, Eric Holthaus wrote that ''civilization is at stake.''
If you are alarmed by those sentences, you should be '-- they are horrifying. But it is, actually, worse than that '-- considerably worse. That is because the new report's worst-case scenario is, actually, a best case. In fact, it is a beyond-best-case scenario. What has been called a genocidal level of warming is already our inevitable future. The question is how much worse than that it will get.
Barring the arrival of dramatic new carbon-sucking technologies, which are so far from scalability at present that they are best described as fantasies of industrial absolution, it will not be possible to keep warming below two degrees Celsius '-- the level the new report describes as a climate catastrophe. As a planet, we are coursing along a trajectory that brings us north of four degrees by the end of the century. The IPCC is right that two degrees marks a world of climate catastrophe. Four degrees is twice as bad as that. And that is where we are headed, at present '-- a climate hell twice as hellish as the one the IPCC says, rightly, we must avoid at all costs. But the real meaning of the report is not ''climate change is much worse than you think,'' because anyone who knows the state of the research will find nothing surprising in it. The real meaning is, ''you now have permission to freak out.''
As recently as a year ago, when I published a magazine cover story exploring worst-case scenarios for climate change, alarmism of this kind was considered anathema to many scientists, who believed that storytelling that focused on the scary possibilities was just as damaging to public engagement as denial. There have been a few scary developments in climate research over the past year '-- more methane from Arctic lakes and permafrost than expected, which could accelerate warming; an unprecedented heat wave, arctic wildfires, and hurricanes rolling through both of the world's major oceans this past summer. But by and large the consensus is the same: We are on track for four degrees of warming, more than twice as much as most scientists believe is possible to endure without inflicting climate suffering on hundreds of millions or threatening at least parts of the social and political infrastructure we call, grandly, ''civilization.'' The only thing that changed, this week, is that the scientists, finally, have hit the panic button.
Because the numbers are so small, we tend to trivialize the differences between one degree and two, two degrees and four. Human experience and memory offers no good analogy for how we should think about those thresholds, but with degrees of warming, as with world wars or recurrences of cancer, you don't want to see even one.
At two degrees, the melting of ice sheets will pass a tipping point of collapse, flooding dozens of the world's major cities this century. At that amount of warming, it is estimated, global GDP, per capita, will be cut by 13 percent. Four hundred million more people will suffer from water scarcity, and even in the northern latitudes heat waves will kill thousands each summer. It will be worse in the planet's equatorial band. In India, where many cities now numbering in the many millions would become unliveably hot, there would be 32 times as many extreme heat waves, each lasting five times as long and exposing, in total, 93 times more people. This is two degrees '-- practically speaking, our absolute best-case climate scenario.
At three degrees, southern Europe will be in permanent drought. The average drought in Central America would last 19 months and in the Caribbean 21 months. In northern Africa, the figure is 60 months '-- five years. The areas burned each year by wildfires would double in the Mediterranean and sextuple in the United States. Beyond the sea-level rise, which will already be swallowing cities from Miami Beach to Jakarta, damages just from river flooding will grow 30-fold in Bangladesh, 20-fold in India, and as much as 60-fold in the U.K. This is three degrees '-- better than we'd do if all the nations of the world honored their Paris commitments, which none of them are. Practically speaking, barring those dramatic tech deus ex machinas, this seems to me about as positive a realistic outcome as it is rational to expect.
At four degrees, there would be eight million cases of dengue fever each year in Latin America alone. Global grain yields could fall by as much as 50 percent, producing annual or close-to-annual food crises. The global economy would be more than 30 percent smaller than it would be without climate change, and we would see at least half again as much conflict and warfare as we do today. Possibly more. Our current trajectory, remember, takes us higher still, and while there are many reasons to think we will bend that curve soon '-- the plummeting cost of renewable energy, the growing global consensus about phasing out coal '-- it is worth remembering that, whatever you may have heard about the green revolution and the price of solar, at present, global carbon emissions are still growing.
None of the above is news '-- most of that data is drawn from this single, conventional-wisdom fact sheet. In fact, nothing in the IPCC report is news, either; not to the scientific community or to climate activists or even to anyone who's been a close reader of new research about warming over the last few years. That is what the IPCC does: It does not introduce new findings or even new perspectives, but rather corrals the messy mass of existing, pedigreed scientific research into consensus assessments designed to deliver to the policymakers of the world an absolutely unquestionable account of the state of knowledge. Almost since the panel was convened, in 1988, it has been criticized for being too cautious in its assessment of the problem '-- a large body of temperamentally cautious scientists zeroing on those predictions they can all agree on (and which, they may have hoped, policymakers might find workable). The panel's Wikipedia page has separate subsections for ''Outdatedness of reports'' and ''Conservative nature of IPCC reports.''
Which is why it is so remarkable that the tone of this report is so alarmist '-- it's not that the news about climate has changed, but that the scientific community is finally discarding caution in describing the implications of its own finding.
They have also, thankfully, offered a practical suggestion, proposing the imposition of a carbon tax many, many times higher than those currently in use or being considered '-- they propose raising the cost of a ton of carbon possibly as high $5,000 by 2030, a price they suggest may have to grow to $27,000 per ton by 2100. Today, the average price of carbon across 42 major economies is just $8 per ton. The new Nobel laureate in economics, William Nordhaus, made his name by almost inventing the economic study of climate change, and his preferred carbon tax is $40 per ton '-- which would probably land us at about 3.5 degrees of warming. He considers that grotesque level ''optimal.''
But a carbon tax is only a spark to action, not action itself. And the action needed is at a scale and a speed almost unimaginable to most of us. The IPCC report called it unprecedented. Other activists often see one precedent, in all of human history, citing the model of how the United States prepared for World War II, and calling for a global mobilization of that kind '-- all of the world's rivalrous societies and nationalistic governments and self-interested industries organized around the common pursuit of a stable and comfortable climate as though warming was an existential threat.
It is. And the World War II mobilization metaphor is not hyperbole. To avoid warming of the kind the IPCC now calls catastrophic requires a complete rebuilding of the entire energy infrastructure of the world, a thorough reworking of agricultural practices and diet to entirely eliminate carbon emissions from farming, and a battery of cultural changes to the way those of us in the wealthy West, at least, conduct our lives. And we need to do all of that in two, or possibly three, decades. As a comparison, simply the last phase of the recent three-stop extension of New York City's Second Avenue subway line took 12 years. All told, from the first groundbreaking, the project took 45 years.
That is not to say it's over or we're doomed. Stalling warming below four degrees is better than surpassing it, keeping temperatures below three is better still, and the closer we get to two degrees the more miraculous. That is because climate change isn't binary, and doesn't just kick in, full force, at any particular temperature level; it's a function that gets worse over time as long as we produce greenhouse gases. How long we continue to is, really, up to us, which is to say it will be determined in the province of politics, which is to say public panic like that produced by the IPCC report can be a very productive form of policy pressure.
There are also those far-fetched alternatives I mentioned '-- carbon capture and solar geoengineering '-- but each is far from workable at the moment and, even in theory, come with really scary drawbacks. But even if the technology becomes dramatically cheaper and more efficient over the next few years, you would need to build them out across the globe, as well '-- whole plantations sucking carbon almost everywhere on the planet. It will take quite a long time to build those, in other words, even if they worked, and we simply don't have that many years left to act.
A few weeks ago, as the IPCC report loomed, I had lunch with a prominent climate scientist who'd been involved in earlier reports and has done considerable work on local preparedness as well. I asked if he thought New York would eventually build a sea wall or surge barrier to protect the city from sea-level rise and flooding. Yes, he said, Manhattan will be protected, at any cost. But major infrastructure projects like these take decades '-- typically about 30 years. Even if we began building today, he said, the barrier would not be finished in time to save Howard Beach and other parts of southern Queens and Brooklyn. Soon enough, he said, you'll see the city adjust accordingly '-- halting new infrastructure projects there, eventually pulling back from even quotidian maintenance like sewer repairs and generally signaling to current residents that they will not be able to leave behind their homes, when they die, to their children. And of course a sea wall to protect New York only encloses the narrows of New York Harbor, leaving all of Long Island exposed.
This is just the threat from sea level, and just one (very rich) metropolitan area. The world is much bigger than that, but so is climate change. It is also very fast, with more than half the carbon humanity has ever emitted into the atmosphere having come in just the last 25 years, since Al Gore published his first book on climate change. Monday's IPCC may seem like a dramatic departure, and it is. But there is going to be much more like it coming. So long as we continue to squander what little time we have, the news will only get worse from here.
UN Says Climate Genocide Coming. But It's Worse Than That.
Bankruptcy judge hits Michael Avenatti's firm with restraining order to freeze legal fees in 54 cases - Los Angeles Times
A federal bankruptcy judge issued a restraining order late Wednesday to block the firm of Michael Avenatti, the lawyer for porn star Stormy Daniels, from spending any fees it collects while it owes more than $10 million in unpaid debts and back taxes.
The move by Judge Catherine Bauer of U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Santa Ana was a severe blow to Avenatti, whose personal financial troubles have deepened as his star has risen on cable news.
''I don't want him going out and buying a new house,'' Bauer said at a court hearing a few hours before she signed the restraining order.
Bauer's order covers fees from 54 court cases, including the suit that Daniels filed against President Trump to void the nondisclosure pact that bars her from talking about their alleged 2006 sexual encounter.
Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, has set up a crowdfunding account to cover her legal bills and other costs stemming from the Trump case. It's unclear whether Avenatti has received any of the $582,000 in donations that she has collected.
His Newport Beach firm, Eagan Avenatti, emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in March after reaching agreements to pay its creditors.
But Avenatti soon broke his promise that the firm would meet a May deadline to pay the Internal Revenue Service $440,291 in back taxes, penalties and interest. The firm also missed a $2-million payment, personally guaranteed by Avenatti, to Jason Frank, a lawyer who used to work there. As a result, Frank won a $10-million judgment against Eagan Avenatti.
Jason Frank at U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Santa Ana on May 22. (Michael Finnegan / Los Angeles Times)
Frank says the firm cheated him out of more than $15 million in pay. Avenatti denies the charge.
Hamid Rafatjoo, an attorney for Avenatti, urged Bauer on Wednesday to deny Frank's request for the restraining order.
''Yes, he has not been paid, but a secured creditor has ways of getting paid that are short of destroying'' Avenatti's firm, Rafatjoo said. ''There is ways of doing things that are proper for recovering your money, and then there is personal vendettas and taking actions that are frankly just unnecessary.''
Rafatjoo also asked the judge to reject Frank's request that all legal fees collected by the firm in the 54 cases be automatically transferred to Frank until the full $10-million judgment is paid.
Bauer declined to order any automatic transfers to Frank.
''We fully support the order,'' Avenatti said in an email, ''and are pleased the court agreed with us as opposed to Mr. Frank. This is what we wanted.''
Frank's lawyer, Sara Chenetz, told the judge that Avenatti would find ways to dodge paying Eagan Avenatti's creditors in the absence of a restraining order. The day after the bankruptcy case was settled, Chenetz told the judge, he started practicing law under the name Avenatti and Associates rather than Eagan Avenatti.
Avenatti and Associates, owned entirely by Avenatti, holds 75% of the equity in Eagan Avenatti; the remaining share belongs to San Francisco lawyer Michael Eagan.
At the hearing, Bauer voiced concerns that Avenatti would find ways to collect legal fees without moving the money through Eagan Avenatti, thus evading obligations to the firm's creditors. ''Maybe he's tried to make it complex on purpose for years,'' she said.
The restraining order requires the firm to notify the IRS, Frank and other creditors every time legal fees are received in any of the 54 court cases, regardless of whether the payments are made to Eagan Avenatti, Avenatti and Associates, Avenatti or Eagan personally, or any entity under their control.
Frank lawyer Eric George said the order would ''enable us to keep track of every dollar Michael Avenatti and his firm receives in the future so we will be able to fully collect our $10-million judgment.''
11:55 p.m.: This article was updated to add the judge's rejection of Jason Frank's request for automatic diversion of Eagen Avenatti's legal fees, along with clarification on the restraining order.
This article was originally published at 8:10 p.m.
The new documentary ''Take Your Pills'' dives into the Adderall crisis in this country. From college students to business professionals, this drug is being abused to keep up with our hyper-competitive society. The Doctors discuss this issue with the film's executive producers, Maria Shriver and her daughter, Christina Schwarzenegger.
Plastic surgeon Dr. Andrew Ordon asks Christina what she believes has led to this dramatic increase in the abuse of Adderall-type drugs.
Christina feels there are a few things. She says that people are getting diagnosed that probably wouldn't have been in the past. She says we also live in a society where we are expected to be plugged in 24/7. If you don't take the drug, you feel like others are taking it and then you are falling behind.
Maria adds that this is an American phenomenon; everyone is trying to keep up and are comparing their lives to others, especially because of social media. She adds that parents and psychiatrist are part of the problem. ''Are we willing to put our kids on stimulants at a very young age just to keep up?''
(C) Getty Christina shares that after college, she decided to get off Adderall. She found out that some enzymes in her liver were out of whack. She thought about life after college and she made it a goal to get off of it. She says its addictive qualities creep up on you. She didn't realize until later that she was pretty dependent on it.
She also says it took her 6 '' 7 months to get back to who she was. She started doing art again, a hobby of her's from high school, and really worked on tapping back into who she was pre-Adderall.
Psychiatrist Dr. Ish Major agrees with them and says in his experience Adderall is probably the single most over-prescribed drug in America and ADHD is the most misdiagnosed disease in psychiatry. He says it starts so young, there are 2nd graders getting sent home with notes from their teachers saying they need to be put on medication.
Maria says that is part of why they created the film. They hope to ignite the conversation in homes, education places, and with doctors where we access what we're doing and maybe start questioning it. They want to let parents with young kids know there is ammunition to push back.
Dermatologist Dr. Sonia Batra says that in 2012 there were 16 million Adderall prescriptions written which is a threefold increase since 2008! She adds that the drug is known as a smart drug which helps you focus, sleep less, and suppresses your appetite, so people are often using it for the wrong reasons.
Texas Democrats ask noncitizens to register to vote - Washington Times
The Texas Democratic Party asked non-citizens to register to vote, sending out applications to immigrants with the box citizenship already checked ''Yes,'' according to new complaints filed Thursday asking prosecutors to see what laws may have been broken.
The Public Interest Legal Foundation alerted district attorneys and the federal Justice Department to the pre-checked applications, and also included a signed affidavit from a man who said some of his relatives, who aren't citizens, received the mailing.
''This is how the Texas Democratic Party is inviting foreign influence in an election in a federal election cycle,'' said Logan Churchwell, spokesman for the PILF, a group that's made its mark policing states' voter registration practices.
The Texas secretary of state's office said it, too, had gotten complaints both from immigrants and from relatives of dead people who said they got mailings asking them to register.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott vowed to investigate.
''If true there will be serious consequences,'' he said.
The PILF publicly released complaints it sent to Hidalgo and Starr counties asking for an investigation. The organization also provided copies of pre-marked voter applications and the affidavit from the man who said his non-citizen relatives received the mailing.
The applications were pre-addressed to elections officials, which is likely what left many voters to believe they were receiving an official communication from the state.
But the return address was from the State Democratic Executive Committee, and listed an address in Austin that matches the state Democratic Party's headquarters.
The letter is emblazoned with ''Urgent! Your voter registration deadline is October 9.'' It continues: ''Your voter registration application is inside. Complete, sign and return it today!''
On the application, boxes affirming the applicant is both 18 and a U.S. citizen are already checked with an ''X'' in the Yes field.
The mailing also urges those who are unsure if they're registered to ''Mail it in.''
A person answering phones at the state party declined to connect The Washington Times with any officials there, insisting that a reporter email questions. That email went unanswered.
Sam Taylor, spokesman for Texas's secretary of state, said they heard from people whose relatives were receiving mail despite having passed away 10 years ago or longer. One woman said her child, who'd been dead 19 years, got a mailing asking to register.
''It looks like a case of really bad information they are using to send out these mailers,'' Mr. Taylor said.
He said some of the non-citizens who called wondered whether there had been some change that made them now legally able to vote despite not being citizens.
Mr. Taylor said there is a state law against encouraging someone to falsify a voter application, but it would be up to investigators to decide if pre-checking a box rose to that level.
PILF has been pushing state election officials in recent years to be wary of non-citizens who manage to register and, in many cases, to actually cast ballots. The organization has found thousands of people who later admitted they weren't citizens, but who managed to register or vote in New Jersey, Virginia, North Carolina and Pennsylvania
The organization is also embroiled in a legal battle with Harris County, Texas, which has declined to provide PILF with similar voter data.
PILF says usually the origin of non-citizens voting is motor vehicle bureaus, where people are pressed to register '-- and often ignore or miss the admonition that they must be citizens.
In this case, though, the invitations were sent directly by a political party.
The data from North Carolina suggests that non-citizens who vote skew decidedly Democratic, based on their pattern of voting in Democratic primaries.
The affidavit PILF provided to prosecutors Thursday is from David C. Kifuri Jr.
He said ''several relatives'' of his who are legal permanent residents but not citizens got the mailing, and were confused. He said in his affidavit he told them to report the mailing to local authorities and not to fill it out any further.
The Hidalgo County election office said it forwards all applications that arrive to the state for processing. Officials can't tell whether something was pre-checked or not when it got to the applicant.
A county elections spokeswoman couldn't say whether pre-checking the citizenship box was legal.
Mr. Churchwell, though, said it crosses lines because prosecutors looking into whether someone illegally registered to vote need to be able to see the intent of the applicant, and a pre-checked box defeats that.
Mr. Churchwell said the party was putting immigrants in a tough position, as evidenced by the number of them who were calling state officials wondering if there's been some change allowing them to vote.
''The victims will actually be the non-citizens,'' he said.
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Kamala Harris bill could give many Americans $500 a month | The Sacramento Bee
American families making less than $100,000 a year could be eligible for a monthly tax credit of up to $500, or $6,000 a year, under new legislation announced Thursday by Democratic U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris of California.
Individuals making less than $50,000 would be eligible for up to $250 a month, $3,000 a year.
''Americans are working harder than ever but stagnant wages mean they can't keep up with cost of living increases,'' Harris, a likely presidential candidate in 2020, said in a statement.
Harris' office cited a 2017 survey from the website Bankrate.com that found more than half of Americans cannot afford a $500 unexpected expense, such as a rent increase, medical bill or child care.
According to Harris' office, recipients could receive the money in either monthly payments or annually.
''The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy estimates the (bill) would impact one in every two workers and two out of every three children in America,'' according to Harris' office, in addition to approximately 1 million Pell Grant-eligible college students.
Harris' announcement also included endorsements from several elected officials and organizations, including Alice Huffman, president of the California NAACP, Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg, Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs and the mayors of Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oakland and Long Beach.
Tubbs, has drawn national attention for a ''basic income'' program that begins next year for city residents. It, too, will offer $500 a month to residents who meet income requirements.
However, the bill faces long odds of passing any time soon.
''There's no real chance that this will become law in the next couple of years,'' said Jack Pitney, professor of government at Claremont McKenna College.
In part, that's because it's unlikely that Democrats will win enough seats to gain a majority in the U.S. Senate in 2018; political polling website FiveThirtyEight gives Democrats just a 21 percent chance of turning the Senate blue.
''Even if it did, (the bill) would need 60 votes to overcome a certain filibuster,'' Pitney said.
So why introduce a bill that's unlikely to become law?
''It appeals to the Democratic base, it appeals to low-income voters, it's a very clever tactic to turn the tax issue against the Republicans,'' Pitney said. ''Republicans were hoping their tax cut would be a political bonanza but it backfired on them. People don't like it and this is an effort to ride that sentiment.''
The professor said introducing the bill is yet another sign that Harris is strongly weighing a presidential bid.
But if the bill were to become law?
''As policy, it would be problematic,'' Pitney said.
That's because reversing it would mean undoing tax cuts that would have been in place for years by the time the bill became law.
''But as politics right now, it's probably going to give her quite a boost,'' Pitney said.
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Facebook's election 'war room' takes aim at fake information
MENLO PARK, Calif. (AP) '-- In an otherwise innocuous part of Facebook's expansive Silicon Valley campus, a locked door bears a taped-on sign that reads ''War Room.'' Behind the door lies a nerve center the social network has set up to combat fake accounts and bogus news stories ahead of upcoming elections.
Inside the room are dozens of employees staring intently at their monitors while data streams across giant dashboards. On the walls are posters of the sort Facebook frequently uses to caution or exhort its employees. One reads, ''Nothing at Facebook is somebody else's problem.''
That motto might strike some as ironic, given that the war room was created to counter threats that almost no one at the company, least of all CEO Mark Zuckerberg, took seriously just two years ago '-- and which the company's critics now believe pose a threat to democracy.
Days after President Donald Trump's surprise victory, Zuckerberg brushed off assertions that the outcome had been influenced by fictional news stories on Facebook, calling the idea ''pretty crazy .''
Facebook has unveiled its new election war room designed to assist employees with finding and deleting fake news and bogus accounts aimed at interfering with elections. (Oct. 18)
But Facebook's blase attitude shifted as criticism of the company mounted in Congress and elsewhere. Later that year, it acknowledged having run thousands of ads promoting false information placed by Russian agents. Zuckerberg eventually made fixing Facebook his personal challenge for 2018.
The war room is a major part of Facebook's ongoing repairs. Its technology draws upon the artificial intelligence system Facebook has been using to help identify ''inauthentic'' posts and user behavior. Facebook provided a tightly controlled glimpse at its war room to The Associated Press and other media ahead of the second round of presidential elections in Brazil on Oct. 28 and the U.S. midterm elections on Nov. 6.
''There is no substitute for physical, real-world interaction,'' said Samidh Chakrabarti, Facebook's director of elections and civic engagement. ''The primary thing we have learned is just how effective it is to have people in the same room all together.''
More than 20 different teams now coordinate the efforts of more than 20,000 people '-- mostly contractors '-- devoted to blocking fake accounts and fictional news and stopping other abuses on Facebook and its other services. As part of the crackdown, Facebook also has hired fact checkers, including The Associated Press, to vet news stories posted on its social network.
Facebook credits its war room and other stepped-up patrolling efforts for booting 1.3 billion fake accounts over the past year and jettisoning hundreds of pages set up by foreign governments and other agents looking to create mischief.
But it remains unclear whether Facebook is doing enough, said Angelo Carusone, president of Media Matters For America, a liberal group that monitors misinformation. He noted that the sensational themes distributed in fictional news stories can be highly effective at keeping people ''engaged'' on Facebook '-- which in turn makes it possible to sell more of the ads that generate most of Facebook's revenue.
''What they are doing so far seems to be more about trying to prevent another public relations disaster and less so about putting in meaningful solutions to the problem,'' Carusone said. ''On balance, I would say they that are still way off.''
The election war room and its inner workings remain too opaque to determine whether it's helping Facebook do a better job of keeping garbage off its service or if it's just a ''temporary conference room with a bunch of computer monitors in it,'' said Molly McKew, a self-described ''information warfare'' researcher for New Media Frontier, which studies the flow of content on social media.
McKew believes Facebook is conflicted about blocking some content it already knows is suspect ''because they keep people on their platform by sparking an emotional response, so they like they like the controversial stuff. There will always be this toeing of the line about pulling down radical, crazy content because that's what people engage on, and that's what they want.''
Facebook defends its war room as an effective weapon against misinformation, although its efforts are still a work in progress. Chakrabarti, for instance, acknowledged that some ''bugs'' prevented Facebook from taking some unspecified actions to prevent manipulation efforts in the first round of Brazil's presidential election earlier this month. He declined to elaborate.
The war room is currently focused on Brazil's next round of elections and upcoming U.S. midterms. Large U.S. and Brazilian flags hang on opposing walls and clocks show the time in both countries.
Facebook declined to let the media scrutinize the computer screens in front of the employees, and required reporters to refrain from mentioning some of the equipment inside the war room, calling it ''proprietary information.'' While on duty, war-room workers are only allowed to leave the room for short bathroom breaks or to grab food to eat at their desks.
Although no final decisions have been made, the war room is likely to become a permanent fixture at Facebook, said Katie Harbath, Facebook's director of global politics and government outreach.
''It is a constant arms race,'' she said. ''This is our new normal.''
Cemal Kelly about the murder of images and voice recording, Flash development
T¼rk g¼venlik kaynaklarÄ±, Cemal KaÅÄ±k§Ä±'nÄ±n infaz edilmesine iliÅkin ABD tarafÄ± ile hen¼z ses kaydÄ± ve g¶r¼nt¼ paylaÅÄ±lmayacaÄÄ±nÄ± a§Ä±kladÄ±.
Yeni Åafak, Suudi Arabistan'Ä±n Ä°stanbul BaÅkonsolosluÄu'ndaki vahÅi cinayetin ses kaydÄ±na ulaÅmÄ±ÅtÄ±. KonsolosluÄa belge i§in gelen Cemal KaÅÄ±k§Ä±'ya korkun§ iÅkenceler yapÄ±ldÄ±ÄÄ± belirlenmiÅti.
KaÅÄ±k§Ä± vahÅi§e katledildi
Yeni Åafak'Ä±n ulaÅtÄ±ÄÄ± ses kaydÄ±nda, Cemal KaÅÄ±k§Ä±'nÄ±n sorgu sÄ±rasÄ±nda ¶nce parmaklarÄ± koparÄ±ldÄ± ardÄ±ndan kafasÄ± kesilerek ¶ld¼r¼ld¼. KayÄ±tlarÄ±n birinde apar topar Riyad'a ka§an BaÅkonsolos Muhammed Uteybi, ''Bu olayÄ± dÄ±ÅarÄ±da yapÄ±n. Benim baÅÄ±mÄ± belaya sokacaksÄ±nÄ±z'' diyor. Cevap ''YaÅamak istiyorsan sus!'' oluyor.
Washington Post: Pompeo ses kaydÄ±nÄ± dinlemedi
Washington Post gazetesi, sabah saatlerinde T¼rkiye'yi ziyaret eden ABD DÄ±ÅiÅleri BakanÄ± Pompeo'nun ses kayÄ±tlarÄ±nÄ± dinlemediÄini yazdÄ±.
Trump: KapsamlÄ± bir rapor alacaÄÄ±m
Trump, "T¼rkiye h¼k¼meti ses ve g¶r¼nt¼ bilgileri olduÄunu s¶yl¼yor" Åeklindeki bir soruya, "EÄer varsa (bu bilgileri) biz talep ettik" diye karÅÄ±lÄ±k verdi.
''Ses ve g¶r¼nt¼ kayÄ±tlarÄ± varsa ÅaÅÄ±rÄ±r mÄ±sÄ±nÄ±z?'' y¶n¼ndeki baÅka bir soruya ise, ''HayÄ±r. Emin deÄilim olup olmadÄ±ÄÄ±na ama muhtemelen var. Mike Pompeo geri d¶nd¼Ä¼ zaman kendisinden kapsamlÄ± bir rapor alacaÄÄ±m'' diye konuÅtu.
Trump, ABD DÄ±ÅiÅleri BakanÄ± Mike Pompeo'yu, olayÄ±n ¼zerinden yaklaÅÄ±k 2 hafta ge§mesinin ardÄ±ndan Suudi Arabistan'a yollamÄ±ÅtÄ±. Pompeo, Riyad'da yaptÄ±ÄÄ± ¼st d¼zey g¶r¼Åmelerin ardÄ±ndan Ankara'ya ge§erek CumhurbaÅkanÄ± Recep Tayyip ErdoÄan ve DÄ±ÅiÅleri BakanÄ± Mevl¼t avuÅoÄlu ile g¶r¼Åm¼Åt¼.
How many media sectors have seen their revenues, driven primarily by advertising, rise nearly ten-fold in the previous four years? And how many expect their revenues to nearly quadruple from their current level by 2022? At least one. According to the latest PwC's Global Entertainment & Media Outlook 2018-2022, podcasting is poised to grow into a nine-figure component of the global media landscape.
Podcasts have been around for more than a decade. But it is only in recent years that the financial and logistical infrastructure that supports podcasting as a business has been erected. Now, as a result, revenues are projected to grow at a nearly 30 percent annual rate between 2018 and 2022 (see ''Revenue Stream''). Even as some observers warn of a bubble in podcasting production and distribution, it is clear that a revenue boom is underway.
Podcasting began, like so many media sectors, as a low-concept cottage industry. Audio files that can be downloaded on demand started out as repackaged talk-radio shows, recorded comedy routines, and technology ''nerdcasts.'' Listeners accessed them on PCs, then iPods, and eventually smartphones, smart speakers, and other mobile devices. A few early advertisers took a flyer on the burgeoning sector, with global podcasting ad sales totaling a mere US$45 million in 2013 (compared with $40.2 billion for total radio revenues).
The industry got a jolt in 2014, when Serial, an investigative journalism series, attracted unprecedented millions of listeners. In the years since, listenership and podcast production have risen exponentially. As is typically the case with new media segments, however, advertisers follow users' attention slowly with their dollars.
''Serial was the moment at which that young media buyer, who was trying to put a podcast ad on a plan but ran into resistance from her boss, suddenly got some receptivity,'' says Erik Diehn, CEO of Stitcher, a podcast content, distribution, and advertising network owned by E.W. Scripps. ''All of a sudden, ad agencies had people focused on podcasts.''
Numerous factors have contributed to the emergence of podcasts as an increasingly attractive medium for marketers deploying digital advertising. First, the audience has attained critical mass. The number of podcast listeners '-- defined as those who have listened to at least one podcast in the past month '-- surged to 78 million by the end of 2017, up from 23 million in 2013, according to the E&M Outlook'. Simultaneously, the podcast universe has exploded to more than 500,000 shows, and the quality of the content and production values have gone up, as well.
The self-reinforcing growth of audience and content has generated a corresponding rise in ad revenues, albeit on a time delay. There is always a significant lag between where audience attention flows and where ad dollars follow. ''Remember what happened in cable television,'' says Hernan Lopez, founder and CEO of podcast producer Wondery, recalling the slow migration of first viewers and then marketers from broadcast television. ''Better content attracted more viewers, which attracted more [advertising] revenue.''
PwC's Global CEO Survey: Providing unique insight into the thinking of corporate leaders around the world, PwC's annual Global CEO Survey covers issues such as the prospects for economic growth, the challenges in building a workforce, the threats facing companies today, and the impact of AI. www.ceosurvey.pwc
Podcasting still has a long way to go if it is to have a similar impact on terrestrial radio. U.S. podcast advertising captured $314 million in revenue in 2017, a gain of 86 percent over $169 million in 2016, according to the most recent IAB/PwC Podcast Advertising Revenue Study, released in June by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB). On a global basis, podcasting advertising revenues will total $650 million in 2018, compared with $45.2 billion total revenues for the global radio industry. Put another way, podcasting ad revenues are 1.4 percent of total radio revenues. And both industries are projected to grow in the coming years. The E&M Outlook projects global podcasting revenues will grow at a 29.7 percent compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) through 2022, while radio revenues are projected to grow at a modest 1.9 percent CAGR in the same period. By 2022, radio revenues of $48.6 billion will still dwarf the $1.6 billion in podcast revenues.
Still, if there's comparatively little evidence that podcasting is taking money away from radio, there is some evidence that consumers are switching to podcasts from other audio formats. The E&M Outlook mentions a 2017 study by podcast distributor Audioboom, which found that 68 percent of podcast listeners had reduced the time they spent listening to broadcast radio in favor of podcasts.
Although they're not abandoning radio by any means, marketers are dialing in to podcasting because of the appealing demographics associated with its audience. According to the 2018 Infinite Dial survey from Edison Research and Triton Digital, nearly 180 million Americans, or 64 percent of the potential listening population, are familiar with the term podcasting, 44 percent have listened to at least one, and 17 percent listen weekly. Consumers aged 18''34 are most likely to be monthly podcast listeners, and among those, 16 percent have an annual household income of $150,000 or more and 27 percent have a four-year college degree.
While not abandoning radio by any means, marketers are dialing in to podcasting because of the appealing demographics associated with its audience.
The nature of podcasting '-- engaging hosts who build a trustful rapport with loyal listeners '-- has influenced the types of ads they attract. Borrowing a successful format popularized by radio broadcaster Paul Harvey in the 1950s, podcasters often deploy host-read ads. These ads, in which hosts tacitly or explicitly endorse products or services, comprised more than two-thirds of podcast campaigns last year, followed by brand-awareness ads (29 percent), according to the IAB/PwC study. Direct-response ads transacted on a cost-per-thousand (CPM) basis, most accompanied by a promo code or web address, accounted for the majority of the buys. It's little wonder, then, that direct-to-consumer disruptors '-- so-called challenger brands seeking to establish relationships with young consumers, such as Casper, Blue Apron, Dollar Shave Club, and Warby Parker '-- have moved aggressively into podcasting advertising.
Now there are signs that established brands want a piece of the podcast pie, too, so names like Gillette, Mattress Firm, Ford, and IBM are showing up. Last December, Big Blue advertised on five different podcasts, and in April, in conjunction with its ''Let's Put Smart to Work'' campaign, IBM ads appeared on shows including Science Friday and Freakonomics Radio. Stuff Media, which in September 2018 was purchased by iHeartMedia for $55 million, has run ads on its popular HowStuffWorks podcasts from such major brands as Gillette, Dell, Lowe's, NBC, and Pitney Bowes.
More big brands are being drawn in not solely by the burgeoning audiences, but by the development of a more mature infrastructure surrounding the serving and measurement of podcasting ads.
Until recently, podcasters reported their audience sizes by simply counting downloads. But that practice doesn't provide enough of the rich data and analytics that digital advertisers require from other media. Apple, whose iTunes store and iOS podcast app have made it predominant in the genre, introduced a long-awaited analytics service in January 2018. It offers podcasters the ability to track unique devices and playback metrics for their podcasts, including when listeners drop off during a show and whether they skip through ads. ''It proved right away what we already believed, that most audiences listen to at least 85 to 90 percent of the episode for most podcasts,'' says Trevr Smithlin, CEO of AdvertiseCast, a podcast ad agency. ''This is additional data to support the fact that podcast listeners are highly engaged and audiences are actually hearing the ads.''
In December 2017, IAB released an even more robust, stricter set of measurement guidelines (pdf), agreed to across the industry. The new standards have stripped out duplication and false downloads to get closer to the actual number of ears consuming the content, Smithlin explains, ''so the IAB metrics ensure that everyone is using the same set of rules and guidelines when reporting downloads.''
The new IAB guidelines are critical, ''because they're going to bring big, branded advertisers into the space,'' adds Marshall Williams, CEO of Ad Results Media, an agency specializing in audio advertising. ''If we're going to bring in cars, financial services, airlines, beer, and liquor advertisers, we need a mutually agreed-to set of standards.''
Another momentum-building tool is so-called dynamically inserted advertising (pdf), a technology that programmatically inserts ads at the point of download rather than baking them in at the time of production '-- the method used for host-read ads. Dynamically inserted ads are placed within the podcast on demand, enabling precise scheduling, targeting, and delivery reporting. They can be served across a range of podcasts, and targeted to a particular audience, time period, or reach and frequency objective.
David Silverman, a PwC US partner in assurance services and the firm's leader in the IAB/PwC studies, foresees continued growth in podcast advertising. ''With advertising in mobile, Internet, and video, in each instance the audience was there before the marketing dollars, and over time the gap closed,'' he says. ''Similarly, the key in podcasting is continued growth of the audience, so the overall pie grows.''
Author Profile:Bob Woods is a writer based in Madison, Conn., who specializes in sports, entertainment, and media business topics.
NTT Docomo to launch world's 'thinnest and lightest' phone in November | The Japan Times
For years, electronics giants have been developing smartphones with increasingly larger screens. Bucking the trend for phones to be bigger and flashier is a handset set to debut next month from NTT Docomo Inc. that can fit in your business card case.
Docomo, the country's largest mobile phone carrier in terms of subscribers, announced Wednesday that it will launch the ultralight phone in November.
With many people choosing to watch videos and play games on their smartphones, makers have increasingly made devices with bigger screens. But there are people who want simpler handsets that are easy to carry around, NTT Docomo President Kazuhiro Yoshizawa said during a news conference to unveil Docomo's winter and spring products.
That's why the telecommunications firm has come up with a model that is ''focused on being simple and small.''
Indeed, the phone is super minimal, as it is designed for those who only need to make calls, check short text messages and occasionally browse the web.
The phone has a 2.8-inch screen and doesn't have a camera or headphone jack. Made by Kyocera Corp., it weighs only 47 grams and is 5.3 millimeters-thin '-- the firm claims it is the world's thinnest and lightest phone. The iPhone XS, by comparison, weighs 177 grams.
Electronic-paper technology is used for its display, so it looks similar to e-book readers like Amazon's Kindle. Users are not able to download and install apps.