End of Show Mixes: - UKPMX - Gx2 -Oh My Bosh - Danny Loos-Secret Agent Paul-Stepford Wives-PlaceBoing- Dave Courbanou - Able Kirby - Jungle Jones - Chris Wilson - Tom Starkweather - Conan Salada - Future Trash - Phantomville Billy Bon3s
Editor's note: The authors are the lead organizers of US Youth Climate Strike, part of a global student movement inspired by 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg's weekly school strikes in Sweden and other European countries.
We, the youth of America, are fed up with decades of inaction on climate change. On Friday, March 15, young people like us across the United States will strike from school. We strike to bring attention to the millions of our generation who will most suffer the consequences of increased global temperatures, rising seas, and extreme weather. But this isn't a message only to America. It's a message from the world, to the world, as students in dozens of countries on every continent will be striking together for the first time.
For decades, the fossil fuel industry has pumped greenhouse gas emissions into our atmosphere. Thirty years ago, climate scientist James Hansen warned Congress about climate change. Now, according to the most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report on global temperature rise, we have only 11 years to prevent even worse effects of climate change. And that is why we strike.
We strike to support the Green New Deal. Outrage has swept across the United States over the proposed legislation. Some balk at the cost of transitioning the country to renewable energy, while others recognize its far greater benefit to society as a whole. The Green New Deal is an investment in our future'--and the future of generations beyond us'--that will provide jobs, critical new infrastructure and most importantly, the drastic reduction in greenhouse gas emissions essential to limit global warming. And that is why we strike.
To many people, the Green New Deal seems like a radical, dangerous idea. That same sentiment was felt in 1933, when Franklin D. Roosevelt proposed the New Deal'--a drastic piece of legislation credited with ending the Great Depression that threatened (and cost) many lives in this country. Robber-barons, ordinary citizens, and many in between were enraged by the policies enacted by the New Deal. But looking back at how it changed the United States, it's impossible to ignore that the New Deal brought an end to the worst economic disaster in history by creating fundamental programs like Social Security and establishing new regulatory agencies such as the Securities and Exchange Commission. The Works Progress Administration mobilized workers across the nation to build important infrastructure'--including thousands of schools'--that has improved Americans' everyday life for generations.
Change is always difficult, but it shouldn't be feared or shied away from. Even for its detractors, Roosevelt's New Deal ended up working out quite well. The United States led the world's economy throughout the many decades since. The changes proposed in the Green New Deal will help ensure our entire species has the opportunity to thrive in the decades (and centuries) to come. As the original New Deal was to the declining US economy, the Green New Deal is to our changing climate. And that is why we strike.
The popular arguments against the Green New Deal include preposterous claims that it will ban airplanes, burgers, and cow flatulence'--claims that are spread even by some of the most powerful leaders in our nation like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Although these outlandish claims are clearly false, they reveal a larger truth apparent in the American, and world, populations: Instead of taking action on the imminent threat of climate change, our leaders play political games. Because adults won't take our future seriously, we, the youth, are forced to. And that is why we strike.
The alarming symptoms of Climate Denialism'--a serious condition affecting both the hallways of government and the general population'--mark our current historical crossroads of make-it-or-break-it action on climate change. Although there are many reasons for this affliction'--such as difficulty grasping the abstract concept of a globally changed climate, or paralysis in the face of overwhelming environmental catastrophe'--the primary mode of Climate Denialism contagion involves lies spouted by politicians, large corporations, and interest groups. People in power, like Senator McConnell and the Koch brothers, have used money and power to strategically shift the narrative on climate change and spread lies that allow themselves and other fossil fuel industry beneficiaries to keep the fortunes they've built on burning fossil fuels and degrading the environment.
The current US president is a rabid climate change denier himself. President Trump pulled out of the historic Paris Agreement and repeatedly tweets about weather phenomena that he claims somehow disprove the existence of climate change'--despite the fact that his own administration has reported the facts of climate change and its impact on the United States.
We are also concerned that top Democrats demonstrate their own lack of urgency about the existential threat of climate change. California senator Dianne Feinstein's recent dismissal of a group of schoolchildren visiting her office to beg her support for the Green New Deal was very disturbing for us young people. Feinstein will not have to face the consequences of her inaction on climate change. She suggested that the children one day run for the Senate themselves if they wish to pass aggressive climate legislation. Sadly, that may not be an option for us, if she and other Democrats, like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, continue to dismiss the pleas of our generation. Faced with politicians on both sides of the aisle who belittle and ignore us, we're forced to take a stand, and we're doing it together on a global scale. And that is why we strike.
We strike because our world leaders haven't acknowledged, prioritized, or properly addressed the climate crisis. We strike because marginalized communities across our nation'--especially communities of color and low income communities'--are already disproportionately impacted by climate change. We strike because if the societal order is disrupted by our refusal to attend school, then influential adults will be forced to take note, face the urgency of the climate crisis, and enact change. With our future at stake, we call for radical legislative action'--now'--to combat climate change and its countless detrimental effects on the American people. We strike for the Green New Deal, for a fair and just transition to a 100 percent renewable economy, and to stop creation of new fossil fuel infrastructure. We strike because we believe the climate crisis should be called what it really is: A national emergency, because we are running out of time.
Peer-Reviewed Survey Finds Majority Of Scientists Skeptical Of Global Warming Crisis
It is becoming clear that not only do many scientists dispute the asserted global warming crisis, but these skeptical scientists may indeed form a scientific consensus.
Don't look now, but maybe a scientific consensus exists concerning global warming after all. Only 36 percent of geoscientists and engineers believe that humans are creating a global warming crisis, according to a survey reported in the peer-reviewed Organization Studies. By contrast, a strong majority of the 1,077 respondents believe that nature is the primary cause of recent global warming and/or that future global warming will not be a very serious problem.
The survey results show geoscientists (also known as earth scientists) and engineers hold similar views as meteorologists. Two recent surveys of meteorologists (summarized here and here) revealed similar skepticism of alarmist global warming claims.
According to the newly published survey of geoscientists and engineers, merely 36 percent of respondents fit the ''Comply with Kyoto'' model. The scientists in this group ''express the strong belief that climate change is happening, that it is not a normal cycle of nature, and humans are the main or central cause.''
The authors of the survey report, however, note that the overwhelming majority of scientists fall within four other models, each of which is skeptical of alarmist global warming claims.
The survey finds that 24 percent of the scientist respondents fit the ''Nature Is Overwhelming'' model. "In their diagnostic framing, they believe that changes to the climate are natural, normal cycles of the Earth.'' Moreover, ''they strongly disagree that climate change poses any significant public risk and see no impact on their personal lives.''
Another group of scientists fit the ''Fatalists'' model. These scientists, comprising 17 percent of the respondents, ''diagnose climate change as both human- and naturally caused. 'Fatalists' consider climate change to be a smaller public risk with little impact on their personal life. They are skeptical that the scientific debate is settled regarding the IPCC modeling.'' These scientists are likely to ask, ''How can anyone take action if research is biased?''
The next largest group of scientists, comprising 10 percent of respondents, fit the ''Economic Responsibility'' model. These scientists ''diagnose climate change as being natural or human caused. More than any other group, they underscore that the 'real' cause of climate change is unknown as nature is forever changing and uncontrollable. Similar to the 'nature is overwhelming' adherents, they disagree that climate change poses any significant public risk and see no impact on their personal life. They are also less likely to believe that the scientific debate is settled and that the IPCC modeling is accurate. In their prognostic framing, they point to the harm the Kyoto Protocol and all regulation will do to the economy.''
The final group of scientists, comprising 5 percent of the respondents, fit the ''Regulation Activists'' model. These scientists ''diagnose climate change as being both human- and naturally caused, posing a moderate public risk, with only slight impact on their personal life.'' Moreover, ''They are also skeptical with regard to the scientific debate being settled and are the most indecisive whether IPCC modeling is accurate.''
Taken together, these four skeptical groups numerically blow away the 36 percent of scientists who believe global warming is human caused and a serious concern.
One interesting aspect of this new survey is the unmistakably alarmist bent of the survey takers. They frequently use terms such as ''denier'' to describe scientists who are skeptical of an asserted global warming crisis, and they refer to skeptical scientists as ''speaking against climate science'' rather than ''speaking against asserted climate projections.'' Accordingly, alarmists will have a hard time arguing the survey is biased or somehow connected to the 'vast right-wing climate denial machine.'
Another interesting aspect of this new survey is that it reports on the beliefs of scientists themselves rather than bureaucrats who often publish alarmist statements without polling their member scientists. We now have meteorologists, geoscientists and engineers all reporting that they are skeptics of an asserted global warming crisis, yet the bureaucrats of these organizations frequently suck up to the media and suck up to government grant providers by trying to tell us the opposite of what their scientist members actually believe.
People who look behind the self-serving statements by global warming alarmists about an alleged ''consensus'' have always known that no such alarmist consensus exists among scientists. Now that we have access to hard surveys of scientists themselves, it is becoming clear that not only do many scientists dispute the asserted global warming crisis, but these skeptical scientists may indeed form a scientific consensus.
Amazon.com Inc. abruptly stopped buying products over the last two weeks from many of its wholesale vendors, encouraging them to instead sell their products directly to consumers on Amazon's marketplace.
It's the company's latest move to boost profits at its core e-commerce business, even if that means disrupting relationships with longtime suppliers and potentially limiting customers' choices. Thousands of vendors are affected, according to estimates from consultants who help clients sell on Amazon.
Pushing suppliers onto the marketplace '-- rather than selling their products itself '-- lets Amazon offload the risk and costs of buying, storing and shipping the merchandise. Instead, the company can charge suppliers for these services and take a commission on each transaction, which is much less risky. The strategy is part of a larger effort to reduce overhead by getting more suppliers to use an automated self-service system that requires no input from Amazon managers.
''We regularly review our selling partner relationships and may make changes when we see an opportunity to provide customers with improved selection, value and convenience,'' Amazon said in an emailed statement, declining to answer specific questions about the move.
The abrupt cancellation of orders was a big topic of conversation this week at the ShopTalk retail conference, which drew more than 8,000 retailers, brands and consultants to Las Vegas. Some attendees said Amazon stopped submitting routine orders last week for a variety of products, often without explanation. The drought continued this week, affecting more vendors and leaving them frustrated about the lack of communication from Amazon.
One vendor who has been selling products to Amazon for five years said he got a canned response when he inquired why his routine weekly purchase order never came through. The response gave him no clarity about his standing as a vendor, he said.
Because many suppliers source products from manufacturers months in advance, they'll have to quickly shift their sales tactics if the expected Amazon orders don't come in.
''If you're heavily reliant on Amazon, which a lot of these vendors are, you're in a lot of trouble,'' said Dan Brownsher, chief executive of Channel Key, a Las Vegas e-commerce consulting business with more than 50 clients that sell more than $100 million of goods on Amazon annually. ''If this goes on, it can put people out of business.''
Brownsher and other consultants said Amazon's move has affected thousands of vendors.
In recent years, Amazon has increasingly prioritized its marketplace. More than half of the products sold on the website in 2018 came from marketplace merchants, and revenue-providing services to those merchants is growing at twice the pace of revenue from the online store. Based on the target valuation of Amazon, the marketplace business is worth about $250 billion, according to Evercore ISI analyst Anthony DiClemente '-- more than double the value of the online retail business.
Online marketplaces can offer greater selection than even the biggest of stores. Walmart Inc., Target Corp. and Best Buy Co. are all copying Amazon's marketplace model to increase online sales. Amazon will generate e-commerce revenue of $317 billion this year, representing 52.4% of all online sales in the United States, according to EMarketer Inc.
''If you're already drawing eyeballs to your website, you want to have all of the products your customers are looking for,'' said Frank Poore, chief executive of CommerceHub, which sells online marketplace software. ''You have to have a bigger assortment online than you do in the store.''
Now more Amazon vendors will have to sell on the marketplace or risk getting stuck with unsold inventory, said Will Land, CEO of Marketplace Valet, an e-commerce logistics provider and consulting firm in Riverside.
''When you get used to those big checks,'' he said, ''it's hard to pull away.''
It's been 10 years since we launched Foursquare at SXSW in 2009. We say ''launch'' but back in those days it was really just ''hey, let's show our friends what we've been working on''. In those 10 years, we've seen the notion of location-based services explode, and along with it, an explosion in legitimate concerns around privacy and ethics. In those 10 years, we've invested heavily in both the delights and the concerns of the technology we've been building. As it's our 10 year anniversary, we want to show off something we've been working on that reflects our commitment. Wanna see?
Say hello to Hypertrending '' the latest project to come out of Foursquare Labs, our internal R&D team.
Hypertrending is a top-down view of all the places and phones that Foursquare knows about in Austin. The ''Map'' view gives you a real-time look at how people are spread throughout the city '' each dot represents a different place, the size of each dot corresponds to the number of people at each place, and each color represents a different type of place. If you see it on the map, you're seeing it live. The ''Top 100'' view charts places and events as they trend up or down in busy-ness (based on the number of phones inside those places) while the up/down arrows represent whether that place or event has become more or less busy in the past 30 minutes.
The Hypertrending demo is baked into our Foursquare City Guide app and Swarm check-in app '' download and open either app and shake your phone to access it. We secretly hope people use Hypertrending to decide where (and when) to go next '' e.g. a futuristic version of what David Carr described during SXSW 2010. We expect Hypertrending to foreshadow the type of tools we'll use in the future to help us navigate cities and the world around us.
Hypertrending is powered by Foursquare's ''Pilgrim'' technology (something we've been working on over the last 5+ years) which is what allows us to understand how phones move in and out of more than 100 million places around the world. The data you see in Hypertrending comes from our ''first-party panel'' '' a mix of data from our own apps and other apps that use our technology. All the data in this panel is anonymized and aggregated. Said another way: Hypertrending lets you see the movement of the panel population as a whole, without showing you anything about any of the individuals in the panel.
You can think of Hypertrending as a place-based version of Amazon's ''Most Read'' books list (which is based on Kindle data) or Spotify's ''Top 200'' songs (based on streaming data). And while Foursquare has always had ''Trending This Week'' lists (foot traffic + newness), we've never done anything quite like this with *real-time* location data.
(If you're Old School Foursquare, you might remember our ''Trending Now'' view and the 10 different variations of the ''Swarm'' badge. The important distinction is that ''Trending'' and ''Swarming'' were always based on how many people pressed the ''check-in'' button. These days, and 10 years into Foursquare, we don't need a button tap to understand where millions of phones are across 100+ million places around the world. We've long talked about making ''a check-in button you never had to press'' '' Hypertrending is part of that vision realized, spread across multiple apps and services.)
We realize location data is different than data about books and music '' location data is some of the most sensitive data there is. And we're aware that Hypertrending walks a fine line between being ''creepy'' and ''cool''. That's why we decided to make the Hypertrending demo available only in Austin, only during SXSW, and we currently have no plans to launch it to a larger audience after SXSW. We are limiting access to it because *we know* it's provocative. It's also our belief that before something like our Hypertrending demo changes the game, we should try to give everyone a chance to get their head around the rules. So we are looking to get your thoughts and feedback on Hypertrending as it relates to the larger conversation around the need for transparency, thoughtful leadership, and ethical behavior from technology companies.
Why is it important that we get your feedback? Because after 10 years, it's clear that we (Foursquare!) are going to play a role in influencing how contextual-aware technologies shape the future '' whether that's apps that react to where you are and where you've been, smarter virtual assistants (e.g Alexa, Siri, Marsbot) that understand how you move through cities, or AR objects that need to appear at just the right time in just the right spot.
We want to build a version of the future that we're proud of, and we want your input as we get to work building it.(I don't want this to come across as one of those ''we're changing the world'' founder clich(C)s, but my belief is, if your company has the privilege of making it this far, it becomes your duty to make sure your company is doing its part to push the industry in the right direction. We've always prided ourselves on our ability to help ''invent the future'', but we've also asked ourselves what's the point of trying to invent the future if you're irresponsibly helping to create a version of the future that people hate?)
We made Hypertrending to show people how Foursquare's panel works in terms of what it can do (and what it will not do), as well as to show people how we as a company think about navigating this space. We feel the general trend with internet and technology companies these days has been to keep giving users a more and more personalized (albeit opaquely personalized) view of the world, while the companies that create these feeds keep the broad ''God View'' to themselves. Hypertrending is one example of how we can take Foursquare's aggregate view of the world and make it available to the users who make it what it is. This is what we mean when we talk about ''transparency'' '' we want to be honest, in public, about what our technology can do, how it works, and the specific design decisions we made in creating it.
With that said, Foursquare's approach to analytics focuses on visits (not location trails), and aggregated and anonymized data (not individuals' location data). We use clear opt-ins and we use simple language in our consent screens. What you see in Hypertrending is similar to what customers of our advertising and analytics products see in their dashboards. (Sidenote: I am super interested in this idea of ''enterprise analytics designed for consumers to use.'') Hypertrending only sees phones that are stopped at a specific place (e.g. the convention center, the bar at the Driskill Hotel, Lamberts BBQ), so the map won't show people walking, driving, or otherwise in-between places. We've also filtered out stops at ''sensitive'' categories like homes or apartments, religious centers, divorce lawyers' offices, etc... which means you'll never see these types of places in Hypertrending. (For more on our approach to privacy in general, listen to our CEO Jeff Glueck's recent podcast on The Verge.)
As a company, we spend a lot of time being very thoughtful about products '' which means products for people, products for developers, and products for advertisers and marketers. We have always been very thoughtful about the data we collect, the reasons we collect it, the way we use this data in our products, and the controls we give users over their data.
As one of the founders of the company, it has been personally important for me to be super transparent with those who use our products about what we do and why we do it. Ten years in, this is more important, not less.This is especially true as Foursquare is a platform that other developers build upon. Sometimes the most rewarding part of being a platform company is seeing what people build on top of the tools you give them. Therefore, we want to make sure we're empowering developers with tools and technologies that we've pre-vetted as thoughtful and ethical, and that we put safeguards in place to make our tech easy to use in an appropriate way.
We're showing off Hypertrending this week not just because we want to show everyone the amazing tech and data we have as a company, but also to show you all the explicit decisions and thoughtfulness that went into designing it. Our hope is that the demo piques the interest of developers and entrepreneurs and inspires them to build things we can't even imagine using our tools, technology, and data platform. Building city guides and data viz comes naturally to us '' but we want to see what the urban planners, the game developers, the folks innovating with AR, etc. would do with a Hypertrending-esque data set. If you made it this far in this blog post, there's a good chance you're one of the ''invent the future'' types '' let's find a way to work together and make amazing stuff.
To those developers, our massive community of fans, users, Superusers, and to all our partners and friends we've made along the way '' thank you for 10 years of Foursquare. Ten years ago we thought people were going to laugh at us for our little Foursquare app with its silly badges and mayorships. Back then we were pushing on the boundaries of a space that barely existed. Ten years later and we're still pushing the boundaries of what's possible, only now with contextual-aware location technology across millions of mobile phones around the world.
If you'll be at SXSW, I'll be giving a talk on Saturday morning about Foursquare and Hypertrending, our journey to get here, and our thoughts on creating an ethical tech company. If you're curious about the way we think about the world, the industry, the future, or anything in between, please swing by and say hi '' it'll be good to see you all again!
(ps: Huge shoutout to everyone at Team Foursquare who worked to push Hypertrending into the world '' Nate, Emma, Avneesh, Jack, DavidW, Andrew, Jay, Shashank, BenM, Saumya, Christy, Sarah & the Comms Team, Jose and the Support Team. Proud and thankful to get to work with y'all day in and day out!)
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Special report: Inside the mass invasion of your privacy - Axios
Stories Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
The grand bargain of the digital age, in which consumers have traded their data for free services, is coming apart. And it may be too late to regain control of the personal data that's been bought, sold and leaked all over the web for the past three decades.
Why it matters: If information is power, our lackadaisical approach to safeguarding details about our lives has made a handful of companies more powerful than we ever expected, and it's made consumers more vulnerable than ever.
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SOCIAL MEDIA AUDITS-As residents flee New York's high taxes, state uses intrusive audits to get cash from defectors | Fox News
New York state goes to extraordinary lengths to catch wealthy residents who try to flee its burdensome taxes, leaving a gaping hole in the state's treasury.
The aggressive approach by state tax collectors comes as the Empire State faces a $2.3 billion budget deficit that even Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo called ''as serious as a heart attack.''
Cuomo, a vocal critic of President Trump, blamed congressional Republicans for passing tax reforms that reduced the state and local tax deduction Americans can take on their annual income tax forms -- meaning residents of high-tax blue states like New York have been feeling the pinch, sparking their exodus.
''This is the flip side. Tax the rich, tax the rich, tax the rich,'' Cuomo said last month. ''We did. Now, God forbid, the rich leave.''
''Tax the rich, tax the rich, tax the rich. We did. Now, God forbid, the rich leave.''
'-- Gov. Andrew Cuomo
CUOMO BLAMES FEDERAL TAX LAW FOR $2.3 BILLION NEW YORK BUDGET DEFICIT
But New York state auditors are doing their best to ensure that those fleeing the state's high taxes will face difficulties, including being subjected to an audit -- likely to be followed by a massive tax bill.
New York conducted 3,000 ''nonresidency'' audits between 2010 and 2017, recouping around $1 billion from the practice, CNBC reported.
Between 2015 and 2017, the auditors on average collected $144,270 per audit, with more than half of those who were audited losing their cases.
New York's success rate on audits can be attributed not only to the traditional methods of investigation like going through an individual's credit card bills, but also to new high-tech tools that include tracking phone records, social media, and even veterinary and dentist records, according to the outlet.
Data show that between July 2017 and July 2018, the high-tax and Democrat-controlled states of New York and Illinois lost the most residents, with New York losing more than 48,000 residents, while Illinois' population declined by more than 45,000, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
It remains unclear how many top-tax-paying residents were part of the people who fled the states, but the data show that low-tax red states like Florida and Texas gained new residents.
''If you're a high earner in New York and you move to Florida, your chances of a residency audit are 100 percent,'' Barry Horowitz, a partner at the WithumSmith+Brown accounting firm, told CNBC. ''New York has always been aggressive. But it's getting worse.''
OCASIO-CORTEZ'S MOM LEFT NEW YORK CITY OVER PROPERTY TAXES: REPORT
New York is also working extensively to catch those high-worth individuals who fake their move to Florida in a bid to avoid paying steep taxes in New York.
Unlike in New York, where punitive tax rates apply to fund its burgeoning public sector and welfare state, Florida's residents aren't subjected to any income or estate tax.
Even Blanca Ocasio-Cortez, mother of pro-tax Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, touted Florida's low-tax system after fleeing the Big Apple.
''I was paying $10,000 a year in real estate taxes up north. I'm paying $600 a year in Florida. It's stress-free down here.''
'-- Blanca Ocasio-Cortez
''I was paying $10,000 a year in real estate taxes up north. I'm paying $600 a year in Florida. It's stress-free down here,'' she told the Daily Mail from her home in Eustis.
Yet New York's get-tough approach toward its former residents may pose some dangers in the long-term. While recouping unpaid money works for the state's treasury in the short-term, such practices create a hostile environment for the wealthy that threatens to accelerate their exodus.
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And with the top 1 percent paying nearly half of the income taxes in the state, New York can't afford any more departures.
''Even if a small number of taxpayers leave, it has a dramatic effect on this tax space,'' Cuomo said last month.
GPS Flaw: Security Expert Says He Won't Fly April 6
Don't look now, but there's another Y2K-like computer-calendar problem on the way, and this one arrives in just one month: April 6, 2019.
Credit: Andrey Armyagov/Shutterstock That's the day millions of GPS receivers will literally run out of time, rolling over their time counters back to zero, thanks to limitations in timekeeping for older GPS devices. Many navigation systems may be affected, such as on ships or older aircraft, although your smartphone will be fine.
But because GPS satellites are also crucial to digital timekeeping used by websites, electrical grids, financial markets, data centers and computer networks, the effect of April 6 may be even more wide-ranging.
"I'm not going to be flying on April 6," said one information-security expert during a presentation at the RSA 2019 security conference in San Francisco this week.
MORE: 25 Things You Didn't Know Could Be Hacked
To be fair, this has happened once before, on Aug. 21, 1999, and planes didn't start crashing then. But today, we're much more dependent on GPS to time everything that happens on Earth down to the last nanosecond.
"The effects would be more widespread [today] because so many more systems have integrated GPS into their operations," said Bill Malik, the Trend Micro vice president who said he wouldn't fly April 6, in a private conversation with Tom's Guide.
"Ports load and unload containers automatically, using GPS to guide the cranes," Malik said. "Public-safety systems incorporate GPS systems, as do traffic-monitoring systems for bridges. Twenty years ago these links were primitive. Now they are embedded. So any impact now will be substantially greater."
Getting ready without making a fussGovernments and GPS device makers do know about this and have quietly been trying to get everything patched. The Department of Homeland Security issued a memorandum in April 2018 warning "federal, state, local, and private sector organizations" to check with the manufacturers of their GPS devices and/or to update the firmware of their GPS devices before April 6. The European Union Aviation Safety Agency has issued a similar memo.
FalTech GPS, a British company that makes GPS signal repeaters for indoor use, said in a blog post that "some GPS receivers, or other systems that utilize the date and time function, may not be able to cope."
"Financial markets, power generating companies, emergency services and industrial control systems may be affected, as well as fixed-line and cellular communications networks," the post continues. But it adds that "since this is the second time a GPS week rollover will occur, many manufacturers will have been aware of it in advance and newer receivers will continue through and beyond the rollover date without issue."
We reached out to Greg Milner, author of "Pinpoint: How GPS Is Changing Technology, Culture and Our Minds" (2017), which examines the history of GPS and its impact on society. (Disclosure: Milner is a longtime friend of this correspondent.)
"The last time this happened (1,024 weeks ago), there was very little disruption, so although many of the receivers in use today weren't around then, there shouldn't be many problems," Milner told us. "That includes aviation-grade receivers."
"This comes from talking to a few of the GPS security people I know, including real alarmists when it comes to GPS spoofing," he added.
The latest navigational systems for commercial passenger aircraft in North America are not vulnerable to this GPS bug. But older flight-management systems that use GPS, such as those used by older passenger planes, private aircraft and cargo planes, may well be.
Errors in GPS can tell aircraft (or cars or ships) that they're miles from where they actually are, or even that they're in the Gulf of Guinea off the coast of Nigeria, the "zero point" for GPS systems. (Most aircraft can also navigate using radio beacons from the ground, but that's hard to do over large stretches of open water.)
The heart of the problemThe problem lies in the way GPS devices and satellites calculate time. Starting with the date of January 6, 1980, GPS devices count weeks, and the counting was originally contained in a 10-bit number field in the GPS device software. Two to the tenth power is 1,024, meaning that all GPS devices can count up to about 19.7 years -- Aug. 21, 1999 when calculated from January 1980.
On that date, most GPS devices flipped the odometer and started counting from zero. But it's been another 19.7 years since August 1999, and it's time to start over again.
The U.S. Naval Observatory, which manages the Universal Time Code (UTC) for the U.S. government, has a brief PowerPoint presentation online warning that "UTC timing displayed and/or time tags of receiver data containing PNT [positioning, navigation and timing] information could jump by 19.7 years."
"Any month/year conversion could also fail," the Naval Observatory presentation added. "Navigation solution should be OK, but associated time tags could be incorrect thus still corrupting navigation data at the system level."
There's a bit more to worry about. Over the past 20 years, many individual GPS device and receiving-system manufacturers have restarted the clock on their own, usually to compensate for a device-specific error, and they could encounter time-rollover problems at any given in the next 20 years.
"The failure is not limited to April 6/7 2019," the U.S. Naval Observatory presentation says. "A common fix for week-number ambiguity [in some GPS devices and receivers] was to hard-code [a] new pivot date, which shifts [the April 6 rollover] event to [an] unknown date/time in future."
So that this doesn't happen again any time soon, GPS devices made in the past decade use 13 bits for the week counter, yielding a total of 8,192 weeks or 157 years. Those devices will not have to restart time until 2137, by which time our descendants will have created a whole new set of technological problems.
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The GPS/GNSS system behind finance, telecommunications and transportation networks is vulnerable to terrorist jamming and criminal spoofing '-- Quartz
There is an enormous, invisible clock that keeps ultra-precise time, can be checked from anywhere on earth, and is free for everyone to use. This technological gift to mankind was built by the US government. It is called the Global Positioning System (GPS), it lives in space, and you use it every time you check the map on your phone.
What you may not know is that you rely on it far more often than that. Cell towers use it to route your phone calls, ATMs and cash registers use it for your transactions, electrical grids use it to send power to your house, and stock exchanges use it to regulate the trades that go into your stock portfolio or investment fund. And it is far more vulnerable to attack and disruption than most people know or are willing to admit.
''When we talk about economic infrastructure, I don't think the general public realizes the extent to which the Global Positioning System's timing signal is critical for these ATM transactions and every other point-of-sale transaction conducted in the United States and throughout most of the world,'' Michael Griffin, a former NASA administrator, told US space policymakers in early October. ''To what extent do we believe that we have defended ourselves if an adversary can bring our economic system near collapse?''
ClockersTime, as it turns out, is money, in a very literal sense. Since digital money moves faster than humans can think, banks and regulators alike rely on time stamps to monitor transactions, catch fraud, and make sure the right people get paid. When you pull cash from an ATM or swipe your card at the coffee shop, the machine needs to determine the precise time that the transaction occurs to, for example, prevent it from being over-drawn.
Putting a little clock in the credit-card machines wouldn't work, because over time, even the most precise clocks start to differ from one another. That doesn't matter when you're meeting me for lunch at noon, but if you're timing transactions down to the microsecond standard now used in many electronic networks, tiny differences can screw up your whole operation.
What makes the Global Positioning System so crucial, then, isn't in fact the ''positioning'' part; it's the ability to make machines all over the planet agree on exactly what time it is.
Developed and launched by the US military in the 1980s, GPS became fully operational in 1993. Today it consists of 31 satellites. Each satellite contains an atomic clock, which is synced regularly with high-precision timing devices at the US Naval Observatory. Phones, ATMs and other devices can pick up the timing signals from three or four satellites, and use the knowledge of exactly when each signal was sent to triangulate their position on earth.
Besides providing the military with better way-finding, the ubiquitous timing signal became a public good used by numerous private industries. ''Why wouldn't you use it?'' Dana Goward, the president of the Resilient Navigation and Timing Foundation, says. ''It's really, really good, you don't have to pay a license fee, and it's global.''
While the US GPS constellation is the preeminent source of this data, other nations have launched similar constellations: Russia's GLONASS, China's BeiDou and Europe's Galileo, along with smaller regional services, offer a similar signal under the rubric of ''GNSS'''--Global Navigation Satellite System.
Time's usesIt's hard to find important digital infrastructure that doesn't rely on GNSS. Because radio spectrum for mobile communications is limited, cellular phones and towers can't just broadcast directly to each other; there'd be a data pile-up. Instead, these networks use the space efficiently by precisely timing bursts of communication back and forth, introducing intervals too short for people to notice. Even wired networks need to agree on precise timing to operate at full capacity.
The New York Stock Exchange relies on a set of GNSS antennae on the roof of its New Jersey server farm to time financial transactions, including those performed automatically by computers. Investors have spent millions improving their algorithms and communications systems to execute trades a few microseconds faster than their competitors, but all that would be for nought if they couldn't agree on precisely what time each trade happened.
Even the modern electrical grid relies on ultra-precise synchronization to deliver power to high-demand areas at just the right time to prevent a blackouts without causing a dangerous power surge. And all that is before we get into the more obvious uses of GNSS technology to guide transportation of all kinds, from cars and delivery trucks to airplanes and container ships.
The driver dilemmaSome of the earliest clues to the vulnerability of GNSS came from rebellion against The Man. As drivers began using GNSS to plot their routes through traffic, their employers realized they had an easy way to keep an eye on workers and company cars'--ensuring, for instance, that they weren't taking a nap in a parking lot when they should be putting packages on doorsteps. Employees did not exactly like entering this panopticon, and the tech savvy among them discovered something interesting: It's relatively easy to jam a GNSS signal.
The GPS satellites orbit more than 12,000 miles (19,000 km) above the earth, and rely on their own solar panels for power. This makes them, Goward says, the equivalent of ''a 40-watt light bulb that was turned on in New York and viewed from California.'' They are actually less powerful than the space background radiation known as the ''cosmic hum.'' Though it is illegal, it takes only a little tech savvy to build a device that broadcasts powerfully enough on the GNSS frequency to drown it out, and almost none to purchase an (illegal) jammer online for a few hundred dollars.
In 2008, Newark International Airport in the US began using GPS to help its air traffic controllers guide jets. Almost immediately, they noticed interference from passing vehicles on the nearby Interstate 95, a major highway. In 2012, following interference complaints, an FCC investigator discovered a contractor with a GPS jammer was working on airport property. The contractor was fined $32,000. That same year, the London Stock Exchange noticed that it was losing access to timing data for about 10 minutes a day, likely because of a driver using a jammer.
These accidental interferences didn't cause disaster because the home-built jammers have limited range. But there are more pernicious outcomes. In the UK, criminals have been found stealing luxury cars and using jammers to disrupt tracking systems.
And for more sophisticated entities, it's possible to go beyond GNSS jamming to GNSS spoofing'--not blocking the signal, but manipulating it to create different results. This is something that governments, particularly Russia's and North Korea's, do in warfare. In 2011, Iran captured a US drone that strayed into its airspace from Afghanistan, saying it used spoofing to lure the unmanned aircraft across the border. While the US government denied this, independent experts say it is quite possible.
Criminals could also take advantage of spoofing. The US Department of Homeland Security has reported drug cartels doing it to divert surveillance drones along the US-Mexican border. And Todd Humphreys, an engineering professor at the University of Texas, believes that spoofing GPS signals (pdf) used by stock exchanges could create opportunities for ill-gotten gains and disruptions like the 2010 ''flash crash.''
''It could be happening subtly in financial markets even as we speak,'' Goward told me. ''The idea behind spoofing is to not let people know they're doing it.''
You'll note that none of the threats to GNSS we've mentioned are actually up in space with the satellites themselves. This isn't because the satellites are entirely safe. They are vulnerable to space debris and to space weather'--a large solar flare could be disastrous not just for GNSS but for much of earth's electrical infrastructure. Warding off these threats is a largely a matter of mitigation, planning and keeping your fingers crossed.
The US military also frets about Chinese and Russian anti-satellite weapons, but it has the ability to spot these threats and strike back against them. ''Kinetic attacks against the GPS constellation would be extremely bad, but are very unlikely,'' Brian Weeden, a space expert at the Secure World Foundation, says. ''It's far easier to jam or interfere with the signals than it is to physically destroy the satellites.'' If it gets to where major powers are shooting each other's satellites out of the sky, we will all have bigger problems than dropped calls and broken ATMs.
Solving the problemA year ago the Resilient Navigation and Timing Foundation published an analysis of the biggest threats to GPS (pdf), ranking them by vulnerability, potential damage, and the intent and capacity to carry them out. The top three threats were on-going ''accidental'' jamming like the truck at Newark airport and the potential use of powerful jamming devices by either a rival military or terrorist groups.
Intentional or unintentional jamming could cause millions, even billions of dollars in damage; it could also lead to the loss of life.
''The first thing that happens when GPS is disrupted, every mode of transportation slows down, becomes more dangerous,'' Goward tells me. ''Then the clocks in the different networks in the affected area begin to desynchronize. Because they are all such a different quality, it's impossible to say which networks are going to degrade where and in what order, but we know after some period of time, cell phone networks will start to fall apart, IT, financial'--stock exchanges will have to shut down because they can't reconcile the trades, ATMs won't work because the banks can't verify the money is there, eventually even the electrical grid. Lord knows how quickly this will unfold.''
To prepare for such threats, experts urge laws that would require toughening up critical infrastructure so it would be able to maintain its own high-quality timing for at least thirty days if GNSS vanishes.
But the more important idea is simply to create a terrestrial back-up: Let's build another invisible clock, down here on earth. There's even a model to build it on: Loran, or Long range navigation, a network of radio towers broadcasting a low-frequency signal that can be used for navigation and synchronization. Created in World War II, variations of the system were critical for navigation until the advent of GNSS, by which time the infrastructure was outmoded and largely abandoned.
In 2004, president George W. Bush ordered the creation of a GPS back-up. Updating Loran to something called eLoran was the answer found. As well as offering a similar service to GPS, eLoran's signal is much stronger and located at the other end of the radio spectrum, which would make jamming both systems at once more difficult. But budget cuts prompted the Obama administration to cancel the eLoran upgrade in 2008.
Putting it in place now could cost as much as $500 million. It's a lot of money, but it's a little less than the $547 million total cost of one of the latest generation of GPS satellites. (The current constellation includes many that are well past their theoretical expiry dates.)
It's also possible US taxpayers wouldn't have to foot the bill. Goward argues that if the government simply told the private sector it would pay an annual fee for an eLoran signal, private companies would build the system and reap that fee plus the revenues from add-on services. There are already companies that sell high-precision timing services, which would be a natural fit for the job.
One obstacle to action is simply ignorance. ''This is a hidden utility, because nothing really bad has happened. People either don't know, or know about it and haven't taken any action,'' Goward says. ''We need to get over the normal human, 'well, it's not a problem now so I'm not going to deal with it,' and be a little bit proactive, before a solar flare or terrorist jamming or a system error comes along.''
The other obstacle is that the companies that depend most on this technology are reluctant to advertise their Achilles' heel by lobbying for a more resilient system. Goward, whose job is drumming up industry support for these changes, says ''the response almost universally has been, we're not really interested in disclosing vulnerabilities of our products and services.''
That means we may not see a solution to these vital timing needs until the day that invisible, super-accurate clock in the sky stops ticking, and every important piece of technology you use starts slowing, then stuttering, then juddering to a halt.
The Hill on Twitter: "Beto O'Rourke attends screening of HBO's "Running with Beto" at #SXSW in Austin, Texas. #SXSW2019 https://t.co/k9Vmv4p1Vl'... https://t.co/okivTSINeo"
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) '-- A big chunk of the 2020 Democratic field began making Texas an unlikely early-state stop Saturday and pushed back on big tech in front of young, social-media savvy crowds in a city where companies including Google and Apple have big footprints.
Texas is an early primary state, but the real draw of the South by Southwest Festival in Austin for Democrats is face time with the party's ascendant young and liberal wing. The festival has grown from obscure roots into a weeklong juggernaut of tech, politics and entertainment.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts defended her new call to break up tech giants to an audience dotted with employees of some of those very companies. Her appearance began with her interviewer asking tech employees in the crowd to stand up. Warren scanned the room as several people got on the feet.
"There are parts about big tech that are frankly just like railroads of the Teddy Roosevelt era," she said. "What's new is old. When someone gets market dominance, how then they start to destroy competition."
Warren was also asked whether Sen. Bernie Sanders discouraged from her entering the race. She wouldn't divulge details, calling it a private dinner.
Other highlights of Saturday campaigning:
The Minnesota senator kicked off SXSW with promises to reign in tech companies and saying that she has spoken to former President Barack Obama about her own presidential ambitions.
Klobuchar wouldn't go as far as Warren when asked whether Google or Facebook should be broken up.
"I would want to have it investigated. That is how I do things," she said. If anti-competitive problems are discovered, Klobuchar said, "then you come up with a plan to break up or to move something out if there is a piece of it that is anti-competitive."
Klobuchar criticized the tech industry for not protecting privacy and floated the idea of taxing social media companies when they sell personal data, but she did not give specifics.
The California senator said she's committed to shoring up rural communities, a message the Democratic presidential hopeful shared with voters in some of the most sparsely populated parts of the early voting state of South Carolina.
Harris told a crowd of several hundred gathered in tiny St. George that a national infrastructure of crumbling roads and bridges makes it difficult for people in communities like this one to get to their jobs, which may be miles and miles away.
Harris also said she wants to make changes to rural hospital funding, tweaks that she hopes will lead fewer health care facilities in such areas to close.
In remarks to a small-business summit in North Charleston, Harris pledged to help build back America's image abroad, which she said has been damaged by President Donald Trump.
"What we have seen recently is a president who is conducting foreign affairs by tweet. On Day One, I would make it very clear that I value the importance of diplomacy. I value relationships. And that doesn't take any strength from us, any power from us '-- it gives us power," she said.
Speaking with reporters, Harris said that she wanted more information about the investigation into former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort to be made available to the public.
Sanders told a packed house in Des Moines that as president his power to reform industries and institutions would be limited, but he'd still fulfill his campaign promises with their support.
The Vermont senator said "no president, not the best-intentioned in the world, can take on those extraordinarily powerful forces." He went on to say: "But we have something they don't have '-- we have the people."
The crowd packed into the Animal Learning Center on the Iowa State Fairgrounds roared their approval of Sanders, who is making another run for the Democratic nomination. Many were decked out in his 2016 campaign gear or waved "IA loves Bernie" signs.
About 50 volunteers showed up to support Sanders at the final stop of his three-day swing through the state, part of an Iowa volunteer force that he said already totals 7,000.
"We need you to add to that number," he said, to roars from the crowd.
Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper said during his first trip to Iowa as a candidate that it would be "crazy" to drive out everyone who's in the U.S. illegally.
Hickenlooper launched his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination this week and is positioning himself as a uniter who can get things done. On immigration, Hickenlooper said both sides need to sit down and that hardliners must accept some realities.
"To think we're ever in this country, that was founded and defined by immigrants, to expel 10 million to 11 million people is crazy," Hickenlooper said.
O'Rourke swung by the trendy and techie SXSW, too, but still didn't announce whether he will embark on a White House run.
Officially, O'Rourke wasn't part of the lineup at SXSW. The former Texas congressman attended a documentary about his longshot U.S. Senate campaign that may or may not become the springboard to a White House run.
Associated Press Writers Meg Kinnard in St. George, South Carolina; Alexandra Jaffe in Des Moines, Iowa; Nicholas Riccardi in Dubuque, Iowa; and Will Weissert in Austin contributed to this report.
Cisgender ? TransgenderCisgender basically means that you identify with the gender on your birth certificate. The word exists to serve as an opposite to transgender.
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Scroll to the top to see your intersectional score!
Why sliders? We believe that people fit along a spectrum of identities. For example, you might be slightly bisexual, somewhat poor, Jewish but rarely wear a yarmulke, and native born but travel frequently abroad. By having the option to be 'somewhere in the middle', this gives a more accurate assessment of your intersectionality score.
How can I improve my score? Unfortunately, you are born with most of your intersectional factors. However, you can make some improvement to your score by getting more involved with Islam or Judaism, donate all excess wealth to charity, or explore the wild side of your sexuality. The easiest way to improve your score, however, is to champion the intersectionality of your more-marginalized friends. You may award yourself up to 5 points depending on the level of your activism.
Why include religion?Some have commented that the religious sliders are anti-Semitic, Islamophobic, atheistophobic or possibly even Christianophobic. They are included to show that a complete intersectionality score embraces the diversity of religious thought if they are of a minority groups.
Can I be accused of being oppressive even if I have a high score?Yes, having a high intersectionality score doesn't completely immunize you from being called an oppressor. You may be vulnerable to "weakest link" attacks - that is, being called an oppressor on any of the intersectionality factors by those disadvantaged in that factor. For example, a gay black man could still be accused of being a misogynist by women or a poor, immigrant woman could be called transphobic by a transperson. Again, we suggest you publicly show your support for more oppressed groups.
What about peanut allergies?We know that 100s of other factors such political affiliation, height, attractiveness, weight and even peanut allergies can impact your personal intersectionality score. Hopefully, we will be able to address these factors in the future.
What's the goal here?We hope that this calculator will help fight ableism, ageism, anti-Semitism, biphobia, cissexism, classism, homophobia, Islamophobia, racism, sexism, transphobia, ethnocentrism, xenophobia and discrimination (even prejudice) of all forms regardless of your race, country of origin, sexual orientation (e.g., bisexual, nonbinary, intersex, lesbian, queer, trangender, or asexual). We are for social justice and equity!
Iranian-backed hackers stole data from major U.S. government contractor
Breaking News EmailsGet breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
March 8, 2019, 5:41 PM GMT
By Dan De Luce and Courtney Kube
Iranian-backed hackers have stolen vast amounts of data from a major software company that handles sensitive computer projects for the White House communications agency, the U.S. military, the FBI and many American corporations, a cybersecurity firm told NBC News.
Citrix Systems Inc. came under attack twice, once in December and again Monday, according to Resecurity, which notified the firm and law enforcement authorities.
Employing brute force attacks that guess passwords, the assault was carried out by the Iranian-linked hacking group known as Iridium, which was also behind recent cyberattacks against numerous government agencies, oil and gas companies and other targets, Charles Yoo, Resecurity's president, said.
The hackers extracted at least six terabytes of data and possibly up to 10 terabytes in the assault on Citrix, Yoo said. The attackers gained access to Citrix through several compromised employee accounts, he said.
"So it's a pretty deep intrusion, with multiple employee compromises and remote access to internal resources," he said.
While there is no evidence the attacks directly penetrated U.S. government networks, the breach carries a potential risk that the hackers could eventually find their way into sensitive government networks, experts said.
Citrix issued a statement Friday saying the FBI had informed the company Wednesday that it had come under attack from "international cybercriminals" and that it was taking action "to contain this incident."
"While our investigation is ongoing, based on what we know to date, it appears that the hackers may have accessed and downloaded business documents," it said.
"At this time, there is no indication that the security of any Citrix product or service was compromised."
The company did not specify over what time period it had come under the cyberattack, how many employee accounts may have been compromised or other details. Citrix's statement came in response to an NBC News request for comment late Thursday.
"Citrix deeply regrets the impact this incident may have on affected customers," it said.
The FBI declined comment.
Resecurity informed Citrix executives of the first cyberattack in a Dec. 28 email, Yoo said.
An analysis of the cyberattack indicated the hackers were focused in particular on FBI-related projects, NASA and aerospace contracts and work with Saudi Aramco, Saudi Arabia's state oil company, according to Yoo.
Yoo said his firm, which has been tracking the Iranian-linked group for years, has reason to believe that Iridium broke its way into Citrix's network about 10 years ago, and has been lurking inside the company's system ever since.
"Once an attacker goes into an environment and compromises one account, that's just the first stage. And what we uncovered and through our own analysis is a very sophisticated campaign," he said.
Citrix sells workplace software to government agencies and corporations around the world that allow employees to work remotely from their own desktops or mobile devices off a centralized data center.
Suzanne Spaulding, a former senior official at the Department of Homeland Security, said hacking government contractors provides a potential attack pathway into U.S. government files. She cited the 2015 cyber attack on the federal Office of Personnel Management in which private records on millions of individuals were compromised.
''Government contractors often hold sensitive information. Remember that the 'OPM breach' included breaches of contractors who were conducting background investigations for OPM and were holding very sensitive information about individuals seeking or holding clearances,'' she said.
In the case of Citrix, even if the hack did not gain access to company operations, it's possible that adversaries could gain insights into the company's network configuration and the defenses of the government agencies, Spaulding said. And that would make hacking those government agencies easier, she said.
The breach of Citrix's computer network gave the hackers access to private communication with government agencies about various sensitive information technology projects involving the FBI, the Missile Defense Agency, the Defense Logistics Agency, the White House communications agency, the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) and others, Yoo said.
DISA provides technical and communications support to the president, the vice president, the secretary of defense and top commanders. The White House communications agency is assigned the task of providing secure communications for the president and is manned by U.S. military personnel.
Iridium targeted Citrix to get at the company's government clients, Resecurity experts said. "It's an ideal scenario to attack customers in various verticals including the government and military," Yoo said.
The goal is to hack into sensitive U.S. government systems, he said. "We do believe that they are being targeted."
Resecurity says the Iranian-backed Iridium is the same group that stole personal data on Australian lawmakers and attacked the British Parliament in 2017, as NBC News reported previously.
Last month, federal prosecutors charged former U.S. Air Force counterintelligence agent Monica Elfriede Witt with espionage on behalf of Iran. Prosecutors said Witt had access to highly classified information in her work in counterintelligence and defected to Iran in 2013. U.S. authorities also charged four Iranians '-- Behzad Mesri, Mojtaba Masoumpour, Hossein Parva and Mohamad Paryar '-- with allegedly using information she had provided to help them target her former colleagues and conduct other cyberespionage.
Resecurity experts also said an Iranian-linked group with ties to Iridium was suspected in an attempted hack into Israel's missile alert system more than a year ago.
Israel Defense Forces' cyberdefense division successfully repelled the cyberassault on the system, which provides early warning for incoming rockets and missiles, an IDF commander told Israel Hayom's weekend magazine.
Dan De Luce
Dan De Luce is a reporter for the NBC News Investigative Unit.
Courtney Kube is a national security and military reporter for NBC News.
Sour grapes? Italian authorities uncover scandalous production of fake balsamic vinegar | Euronews
A huge food fraud scandal has been uncovered in Italy, involving million of euros worth of grapes used to make fraudulent balsamic vinegar.
Balsamic vinegar of Modena is a location-protected food item under EU regulations, which means in order to bear the name, the grapes used in production must be sourced from several very specific places in Italy.
But Italian authorities discovered recently that "table grapes" were in fact being sold to some companies producing traditional balsamic vinegar.
Launching an investigation, dubbed Operation Global Wine, authorities eventually seized more than 9,000 tonnes of grape must and wine products, worth around '¬15 million.
"Copius commercial documentation" was also recovered as evidence.
Italian Agriculture Minister Gian Marco Centinaio thanked investigators in a statement for "defending the good name of our products and guarantee the safety and quality of our Made in Italy excellences."
While balsamic vinegar can be brought for cheap prices in most local supermarkets, some traditional and authentic vinegars can reach into the hundreds of euros.
Italy is no stranger to dealing with cases of food fraud. In the first half of 2018, the EU found that Italy had by far the largest number of reports on fraudulent food cases.
Yellow vests protest for 17th consecutive week as Macron's 'grand debate' reaches its final weeks | Euronews
The yellow vest movement remained steadfast on Saturday as thousands of people took to the streets across France for a 17th consecutive weekend of demonstrations.
In Paris, protesters wearing pink were spotted among the usual sea of neon yellow, having turned out to denounce unemployment reforms for child-care workers.
Videos posted to social media showed demonstrators clashing with police in the French capital, where water cannons and tear gas were also deployed to disperse the crowd.
Demonstrations were also held in several other French cities, including Bordeaux, Lyon and Toulouse.
Around 28,600 people took part in Saturday's protest, which was a drop of more than 10,000 from the week before, according to interior ministry estimates quoted by Reuters.
While attendance figures in recent weeks have significantly dropped in comparison to the movement's peak of 300,000 protesters back in November, the demonstrations are still big enough to place continued pressure on French President Emmanuel Macron.
Macron's attempt to appease the movement, a three-month series of nationwide town hall-style events dubbed the "grand debate," are set to end this month.
READ MORE: Macron's Great National Debate -- What is it and how does it work? | Euronews Answers
US citizens traveling to Europe will require a visa from 2021 | Daily Mail Online
US citizens traveling to Europe will require a visa from 2021 following a dispute over the status of five EU member countriesAmerican travelers can currently visit any of the 26 Schengen Area European countries for 90 days without a visa, but that will change in 2021With the US still imposing visa requirements for five EU member nations, the European Commission will now be imposing new visa rules on the USThe European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) in place to 'improve' EU security will allow US citizens to apply for a three year visaByMichael Nam For Dailymail.com
Published: 09:20 EDT, 9 March 2019 | Updated: 10:54 EDT, 9 March 2019
American travelers will have a new requirement to consider before taking a trip to Europe in 2021.
US citizens will have to get a new type of visa through the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) to visit the European Schengen Area, according to the European Union's announcement on Friday.
The US had been in a disagreement with the European Parliament and European Commission, CNN reports, over visa requirements it has for citizens from five EU member nations: Bulgaria, Croatia, Poland, Romania and Cyprus.
The European Commission called for the US to reciprocate visa-free status to those five countries as it does for the other 23 EU nations part of the Schengen Area, the EU's visa-free travel zone, in a 2016 report.
American travelers can currently travel to Europe with a passport for up to 90 days, but in 2021, they will be expected to apply for a new type of visa
The 26 European countries that make up the Schengen Area allow visa free travel within. Citizens of Bulgaria, Cyprus, Croatia, Poland and Romania are required to have a visa to travel to the US, an issue disputed by the EU since at least 2016
The report also stated the European Commission wanted 'push for full visa reciprocity' after President Trump took office, but in June of last year, the European Parliament voted in favor of imposing visas on US citizens.
Member states are required to be treated equally according to EU rules, and American citizens can travel to the Schengen Area without a visa for up to 90 days currently.
According to the ETIAS website, the EU imposed the rules to 'improve their security level' over issues of 'illegal migration and terrorism.'
'We need to know who is crossing our borders,' the website quotes President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, in his 2016 State of the Union. 'This way we will know who is travelling to Europe before they even get here.'
US travelers to Europe starting in 2021 will need a valid passport, email and a credit or debit card to apply to the ETIAS
The 'simple to use' ETIAS will then check for risk factors and travel eligibility of the applicant before providing a visa that will potentially be valid up to three years
President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker is quoted on the ETIAS website to emphasize the system as a way to improve EU security
'All in all, the ETIAS authorization will make travelling to the EU less of a hassle and a much safer experience,' the website claims.
American travelers will need a valid passport, an email account and a credit or debit card to apply for the 'simple to use' ETIAS, according to the EU.
They will have to fill out an online application and provide a small fee of almost $8. Children under the age of 18 are exempted from the fee.
After eligibility and risk factors are checked by the system, the applicant can have a travel visa authorized potentially up to three years.
The ETIAS website lays out the rationale for the new electronica visa system as a method of improving both efficiency and safety
S*** got real! Cops pelted with FECAL BOMBS during Yellow Vest protests in Marseille (PHOTO) '-- RT World News
The Yellow Vest protesters have apparently adopted an unconventional weapon against the French law enforcement '' fecal bombs. At least three policemen have been already affected by them during the most recent protest.
The criminal police (BAC) officers came under the excrement attack in the city of Marseille on Saturday, getting heavily stained by fecal matter. One of the officers has reportedly received injury to insult, sustaining physical damage to his elbow.
The incident was acknowledged by the police, with the head of a local police union Rudy Manna revealing the details of the crappy encounter to the La Provence newspaper.
''[The police officers] had it in their hair, on their shoes, they had to dump their clothes. They've told me they've never been that humiliated,'' Manna said. ''And since it was truly sh*tty afternoon, the showers did not work at the North Station, they had to clean themselves with cold water in the garage.''
Also on rt.com Wheelchair-bound Yellow Vest protester doused with pepper spray by police in horrifying VIDEO The perpetrators have not been identified yet, as they hid among other protesters, the union leader added.
The murky projectiles are dubbed 'Cacatov' '' after trusty Molotov cocktail fire bombs '' just filled with fecal matter instead of pricey gasoline. A 'lighter' version of the dung bomb is known as 'Pipitov' and comes filled with the number one compound.
Apart from Marseille, the Cacatovs were reportedly deployed by the Yellow Vests in Montpellier. The excrement bombs have been deployed in Paris as early as February 23, with a police union sounding alarm over ''premeditated and disgusting'' acts of the protesters.
Also on rt.com Dramatic VIDEO shows man being shot in face during Yellow Vest rallies in Paris Ahead of the Act 16 protests, certain individuals have been spotted promoting the fecal bombs online, sharing tips on how to cook them properly. The waste is watered '' or p*ssed '' down to a liquid state and then poured into tight plastic containers, balloons, etc. which easily fracture on impact.
One of the Yellow Vest protesters has even released quite a lengthy video, highlighting the benefits of such weaponry. He lauded the psychological effect the Cacatovs allegedly have on the law enforcement, who would see it as an ultimate insult. According to the protester, the idea originates in Venezuela, where the anti-government demonstrators deployed the poop bombs as early as in 2017. The idea to throw feces at one's opponent, however, appears to be a little bit more ancient than that and surely dates back to prehistoric times.
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Congress is now three times as Jewish as the US is | The Times of Israel
JTA '-- More than 6 percent of the new Congress is Jewish, with 34 Jews among the total of 535 lawmakers in the US House of Representatives and Senate.
Jews make up 2% of the US population, so Congress as a whole is more than thrice as Jewish as the country in general, according to a new study by the Pew Research Center on religion in the new Congress, which was inaugurated Thursday.
The number is even larger in the Senate, where eight, or 8%, of the 100 members are Jewish.
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This Congress has four more Jews than its predecessor, which had 30 Jewish members. But it's far from the most Jewish Congress ever. That was the 1993 Congress, which boasted 51 Jews '-- nearly 10% of the total.
All of the Jews in the Senate are Democrats, as are all but two in the House. The Republican exceptions are Reps. Lee Zeldin and David Kustoff, from New York and Tennessee, respectively. They are the only non-Christian Republicans in the Congress, according to Pew.
Congress as a whole is overwhelmingly Christian '-- even more so than the country. Seventy-one percent of Americans identify as Christian, compared to 88 percent of Congress. Both Protestants and Catholics are overrepresented on Capitol Hill.
The most underrepresented group is unaffiliated Americans. Twenty-three percent of Americans don't identify with a religion, but that's true of just a sole member of Congress '-- new Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema.
Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus and Unitarians are also represented in Congress.
More than a dozen documents and books '-- including the US Constitution, Eastern Orthodox Bible and Quran '-- were used to swear in officials of various ethnic and religious backgrounds https://t.co/GRj9KzeZ6d pic.twitter.com/GN50gajzw5
'-- CNN (@CNN) January 4, 2019
'There's no lung left': Man told he's going to die by doctor on robot video - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
Ernest Quintana's family knew he was dying of chronic lung disease when he was taken by ambulance to a hospital, unable to breathe.
Key points:The family says the news should have been delivered face to face and not by a machineThe hospital defended the use of the robot, saying it did not replace in-person conversationsMr Quintana died two days later from chronic lung diseaseGranddaughter Annalisia Wilharm was alone with 78-year-old Mr Quintana when a nurse at Kaiser Permanente Medical Centre emergency department in Fremont, California, popped in to say a doctor would be making his rounds.
A robot then rolled in and a doctor appeared on the video screen.
Ms Wilharm, 33, figured the visit was routine. She was astonished when the doctor told Mr Quintana he would likely die within days.
"This guy cannot breathe, and he's got this robot trying to talk to him," she said.
"Meanwhile, this guy (the doctor) is telling him, 'So we've got your results back, and there's no lung left. There's no lung to work with'."
Ms Wilharm said she had to repeat what the doctor said to her grandfather, because he was hard of hearing in his right ear and the machine could not get to the other side of the bed.
"So he's saying that maybe your next step is going to hospice at home," Ms Wilharm is heard saying in a video she recorded of the visit. "Right?"
"You know, I don't know if he's going to get home," the doctor said.
"If you're coming to tell us normal news, that's fine, but if you're coming to tell us there's no lung left and we want to put you on a morphine drip until you die, it should be done by a human being and not a machine," his daughter Catherine Quintana said.
Mr Quintana died on Tuesday, two days after being taken to the hospital.
Hospital defends use of robotMichelle Gaskill-Hames, senior vice-president of Kaiser Permanente Greater Southern Alameda County, called the situation highly unusual and said officials "regret falling short" of the patient's expectations.
But the hospital also defended its use of the robot and said its policy is to have a nurse or doctor in the room at the time of remote consultations.
"The evening video tele-visit was a follow-up to earlier physician visits," Ms Gaskill-Hames said in a written response.
"It did not replace previous conversations with patient and family members and was not used in the delivery of the initial diagnosis."
Steve Pantilat, chief of the palliative medicine division at University of California, San Francisco, said he did not know the details in the case, but that robot technology had done wonders for patients and their families, some of whom were too far away for in-person visits.
The video meetings were warm and intimate, he said, adding that not all in-person discussions have empathy and compassion.
"No matter how well we deliver very difficult news, it's sad and it's hard to hear," he said.
Ms Wilharm said her grandfather, a family man who kept every childhood drawing he ever gave her, deserved better.
She said after the visit, he gave her instructions on who should get what and made her promise to look after her grandmother.
"He was such a sweet guy," she said.
A friend of the family, Julianne Spangler, posted an image of the video call to Facebook.
Ms Spangler said she wanted the media to get involved in the situation after Kaiser Permanente said it would "take note" of the family's complaints.
"This is not the way to show value and compassion to a patient '... shame on you Kaiser," she wrote.
One evening this fall at a house in West Hollywood, the Australian editor and writer Claire Lehmann had dinner with the neuroscientist Sam Harris and Eric Weinstein, the managing director of tech entrepreneur Peter Thiel's investment firm. Joe Rogan, the podcast host, joined later on, when the group decamped to a comedy club.
You could think of the gathering as a board meeting of sorts for the ''intellectual dark web,'' or IDW, a loose cadre of academics, journalists and tech entrepreneurs who view themselves as standing up to the knee-jerk left-leaning politics of academia and the media. Over the past year, the IDW has arisen as a puzzling political force, made up of thinkers who support ''Enlightenment values'' and accuse the left of setting dangerously illiberal limits on acceptable thought. The IDW has defined itself mainly by diving into third-rail topics like the genetics of gender and racial difference'--territory that seems even more fraught in the era of #MeToo and the Trump resistance. But part of the attraction of the IDW is the sense that many more people agree with its principles than can come forward publicly: The dinner host on this night, Lehmann says, was a famous person she would prefer not to name.
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Over steaks, Lehmann recalls, the conversation revolved around a brewing academic scandal, a prank engineered by friends of hers. They had successfully placed seven nonsensical research papers in various academic journals devoted to what they characterized as ''grievance studies.'' One of the papers included a lengthy passage from Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf, rewritten to focus on feminism and intersectionality. Another was about rape culture in dog parks. Absurd as the papers were, they had been accepted by expert editors and published as serious research. For those in attendance, it was a ringing confirmation of just how politicized academia had become, and how blindly devoted to fashionable moralities.
It was also a big story for Quillette, the online magazine Lehmann runs and the unofficial digest of the IDW. Lehmann had known about the prank before the Wall Street Journal broke the news, and she had some time to formulate a response that would fan the flames. ''I wanted the public to be aware that there are many people within the academy who are fed up with grievance studies scholarship,'' says Lehmann, who went on to publish responses from five like-minded academics'--one of whom called the incident ''a Cultural Revolution in our own backyard.''
For readers and thinkers who regard themselves as intellectually curious but feel alienated from the lock-step politics of universities and the broader left, Quillette has become a haven for stories like this'--and topics treated as taboo elsewhere. At times, it has drawn intense social media backlash, with contributors labeled everything from ''clowns'' to ''cryptofascists'' on Twitter. But fans of the site include pop psychologist Jordan Peterson, evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, psychology professors Steven Pinker of Harvard and Jonathan Haidt of New York University, and columnists like David Brooks, Meghan Daum and Andrew Sullivan. ''I continue to be impressed that Quillette publishes heterodox but intellectually serious and non-inflammatory pieces [about] ideas that have become near-taboo in academic and intellectual discourse,'' Pinker wrote to me in an email, ''including ones connected to heritability, sex and sex differences, race, culture, Islam, free speech and violence.'' Haidt, co-author of the recent book The Coddling of the American Mind, called Quillette in an email ''a gathering place for people who love to play with ideas and hate being told that there are ideas they are not supposed to play with.''
This kind of prominence hardly seemed inevitable when Lehmann, now 33, founded Quillette in 2015. She was pregnant and had recently decided against finishing her master's degree in forensic psychology. The site, with the tagline ''a platform for free thought,'' began as a repository for psychologists, particularly evolutionary ones, to write in an accessible way about topics relating to human nature. Contributors often shared Lehmann's interest in debunking the ''blank slate'' theory of human development, which postulates that individuals are largely products of nurture, not nature. But, Lehmann told me, it quickly grew beyond that topic. In ''setting up a space where we could critique the blank slate orthodoxy,'' she says, Quillette ''has naturally evolved into a place where people critique other aspects of what they see as left-wing orthodoxy.''
Quillette now publishes roughly seven to 10 articles each week. The suppression of free speech on campus is a big theme, as is the reality of sex difference and the revisiting of post-colonial relations'--all in their own way denunciations of what Lehmann describes as the left's ''purity politics.'' The list of the site's all-time Top 10 most-read articles includes ''The Psychology of Progressive Hostility,'' ''I Was the Mob Until the Mob Came for Me'' and ''Why Women Don't Code.'' (Short answer: Because they don't want to.) Quillette's rapid-fire response in support of James Damore, the writer of the notorious ''Google memo'' that criticized attempts to promote women and minorities within the organization, was so popular that the site crashed. (Lehmann's tech support team told her it could have been a successful denial-of-service attack.) And when the writer Stephen Elliott wanted to protest his inclusion on the widely circulated ''Shitty Media Men'' list, he turned to Quillette, which published his essay, ''How an Anonymous Accusation Derailed My Life,'' this fall. (Shortly after the article ran, Elliott sued the creator of the list, Moira Donegan, for $1.5 million in damages.) But Quillette's editorial mix is more unpredictable than these greatest hits might suggest; recently, a treatise against thank-you notes led the site for a few days.
Over a 30-day period this fall, Quillette received north of 2 million page views'--more than the New York Review of Books, and more than Harper's and Tablet combined, according to data Lehmann provided from the analytics service Alexa. Twitter, the forum of choice for contrarians, is the site's biggest driver of traffic. Lehmann herself has more than 100,000 followers, and giants like Peterson and Pinker regularly tweet links to Quillette articles. In June, Peterson, who has encouraged his followers to donate to the site, tweeted, ''Quillette gives me hope for the future of journalism.''
The suppression of free speech on campus is a big theme, as is the reality of sex difference and the revisiting of post-colonial relations.
Lehmann, though, doesn't think of herself as a journalist. When I spoke with her by phone from her home in Sydney, she said she's not even very interested in politics. And as a woman and an Australian, she is an unusual gatekeeper for a group that is mostly male and almost entirely American. (They're also mostly, though not all, white, as is Lehmann.) ''I'm an outsider to the debate,'' Lehmann concedes. ''I think that helps.'' Whether you think the magazine is a ''safe space for academics and others with novel ideas who feel stifled by oppressive social and speech norms,'' as Lehmann herself does, or a ''hub for reactionary thought,'' per the website the Outline, Quillette keeps appearing in roiling controversies about speech and identity, so much so that what started as a niche destination for evolutionary psychologists is now on the front lines of the culture wars. Yet, with its increased popularity comes greater scrutiny of Quillette's controversial ideas'--as well as the risk that its mostly dry, academic discussion could become flash points for extremists. Just how far will Quillette go in its devotion to iconoclasm?
Long before she launched Quillette, Lehmann says, she had found herself out of step with her peer group in the academic world. At the University of Adelaide, she started out as an English major but recoiled from the emphasis on post-structuralist theory, which she believed to be a set of ''bad and faulty'' ideas. (''I read Foucault and thought it was bullshit,'' she says.) She wound up graduating in 2010 with a psychology degree and worked for a year in Australia's capital city of Canberra at the Department of Health. ''My first week, I was tasked with writing letters, and I was immediately told I was completing the task too quickly,'' Lehmann says. ''It was like a Kafka novel.'' The daughter of an artist and a child-care worker, she had grown up comfortably ensconced in Adelaide's urban left. On seeing the inefficiencies and waste of public funds firsthand, she turned away from the politics of her upbringing.
Mark Metcalfe for Politico Magazine
Lehmann, who talks slowly and carefully, with a scientific precision, describes herself as ''centrist.'' But like many of Quillette's ilk, her views are not easy to locate on the political spectrum. Although she calls herself a feminist'--she cites maternity leave and other ''policies that focus on women's role as carers'' as issues important to her'--she is very much out of the feminist mainstream, as her first forays into opinion writing demonstrated.
Quillette's Fan Club Quillette, superb online magazine, stands up for the oppressed minority who value clarity, logic and objective truth https://t.co/B5XUZ7giyv
'-- Richard Dawkins (@RichardDawkins) July 25, 2017Try this instead of Meet the Press on a Sunday morning. Another example of Quillette's eclectic content. https://t.co/3Zbv2Ils0e
'-- Charles Murray (@charlesmurray) November 12, 2017So good https://t.co/RrwqU54T5v
'-- Andrew Sullivan (@sullydish) May 14, 2018Quillette gives me hope for the future of journalism. Consider supporting them on Patreon https://t.co/BSNnEKKq8D https://t.co/UoTy8cPxiQ
'-- Jordan B Peterson (@jordanbpeterson) June 12, 2018I have trouble keeping track of all the intellectual ezines that have blossomed in the past decade, but Quillette is particularly innovative and interesting. https://t.co/jp21ekZbK2 via @QuilletteM
'-- Steven Pinker (@sapinker) July 13, 2018.@QuilletteM is an island of sanity. I read it every day. Finally ponied up and became a patron. Thank you, @clairlemon, @j4mi3p and the rest of the crew. Please keep it up.
'-- Bari Weiss (@bariweiss) August 2, 2018Quillette is a miracle. Here is a cogent, fair-minded review of intersectionality's (shaky) foundational ideas. By Christian Alejandro Gonzalez '...'...@xchrisgonz'(C) '...@QuilletteM'(C) https://t.co/UvypMn4hNy
'-- Christina Sommers (@CHSommers) August 16, 2018Ch. 5 of The Coddling shows how "retraction is the new rebuttal." Here is a new case, with details of how a published math paper got "disappeared." The culture problem on campus damages scholarship, as well as education.https://t.co/GWBgFJG5Tz
'-- Jonathan Haidt (@JonHaidt) September 8, 2018With you on Spiked, unfortunately. Re Quillette, I can say from personal knowledge that they welcome other POVs (and I think they have run pieces that run counter to their general drift, no?). I've been invited to write a critique of anti-immigration POVs for them myself.
'-- Cathy Young (@CathyYoung63) September 17, 2018''Progressive public commentators do not like to admit that marriage is actually good for women and children, or that a happy marriage is associated with better well-being, longevity and lifetime health,'' went Lehmann's first op-ed, in the Sydney Morning Herald, in 2013. She also argued that ''having a male breadwinner around actually makes life a great deal easier'' for women and children. Lehmann had by that time left Canberra for Sydney, where she was pursuing her graduate psychology degree and was also about to marry her now-husband, who runs his own real estate startup.
A longtime Herald columnist, Paul Sheehan, had approached her about writing for the newspaper after discovering her on Twitter. ''What Paul said to me was I was one of the only young people he noticed who weren't full of cynicism,'' Lehmann says. ''I was expressing earnest opinions.'' Although she never imagined herself a columnist and the feedback to her initial piece, she told me, was ''incredibly nasty,'' Lehmann enjoyed the writing process and wanted to do more. Sheehan, a controversial conservative who over a 30-year career at the Herald decried, among other things, multiculturalism, Muslim culture and overstep in sexual assault cases, wrote to me in an email that he was ''immediately struck by the elegance of her posts. ... She did not follow the herd.''
It is worth noting that the herd in Australia, a nation of about 25 million people, is pretty small. Rupert Murdoch owns more than 60 percent of the daily newspapers sold in the country, so there are not all that many platforms. As Lehmann tells it, she was eager to keep writing for the paper but was shut out by a feminist clique of editors. On YouTube, there is a 2017 interview with Lehmann by Ezra Levant, an excitable Canadian who runs the right-wing website Rebel Media. As the two stand beside the steps of the Sydney Opera House, squinting into the sun, Lehmann says, ''I particularly wanted to criticize feminism, and I couldn't get published in the Australian media if I was critical of feminism. ... I was blacklisted.''
Whether or not Lehmann was indeed blacklisted from what is arguably Australia's most respected newspaper, which in turn led her to start her own publication, remains relevant. Cries of victimhood, or of being silenced for voicing unpopular viewpoints, are common grievances among her site's contributors. Free-speech activists often depict themselves as embattled defenders of reason, even when they speak from positions of power. Lehmann mentioned to me that one editor in particular was determined to shut her out from the Herald and had even tried to ban her. But when I asked that editor, Sarah Oakes, who at the time led the women's vertical Daily Life, she disputed Lehmann's account and said she had to google the name to jog her memory. ''I never thought it was a good fit,'' Oakes wrote in an email. ''I certainly never 'banned' her and in my recollection I never spoke to her directly.'' (Full disclosure: I am a contributing writer to the Herald's weekend magazine and have written for Oakes before, though not while she was at the Herald.)
I particularly wanted to criticize feminism, and I couldn't get published in the Australian media if I was critical of feminism. '... I was blacklisted.''
Everyone agrees, at least, on the awesome rapidity of what happened next, which is that Lehmann set up her own website in less than two weeks. Her provocative columns could have found a home at Murdoch's conservative broadsheet the Australian, perhaps, but by then Lehmann had fallen in with an international crowd of psychologists on Twitter, and had set her sights on a bigger stage. Besides, the Australian, she says, was ''partisan and narrow,'' and she wanted to do something ''fresh and interesting.'' Peter Thiel's Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future, which she was reading at the time, ''gave me the inspiration to do my own venture,'' she says. As Sheehan puts it: ''She created Quillette in her living room, with no staff, while having a second baby, and teaching herself coding, and catching the train to a part-time job.''
Quillette, which has three other editors who work remotely, operates without advertising, but, according to Lehmann, it is turning a profit. Patreon, a crowdfunding platform, is Quillette's primary source of revenue, which is steadily growing; in September, Patreon donations brought in $19,000. In addition, Lehmann says the site has ''a few supporters'' in California who send some money every quarter. Although all the editors are paid, only Lehmann and one other work full time on the site. Writers have been paid from the start. About half the stories are commissioned, at a rate of 400 Australian dollars per article (less than $300 U.S.), and the rest are unsolicited manuscripts, for which Quillette pays less. Lehmann says she is not ''living in luxury,'' but, ''I'm making a living off the site now.''
Today, Lehmann admits Quillette has become something different from what she first envisioned. ''I thought we would be more oriented towards scientific discussions,'' she says, but it is the site's heterodox articles about politics, culture and the academy that have attracted broader attention.
... And Quillette's Critics Sorry...was it because I quoted the Quillette article? I should be more explanatory when I quote-tweet stuff from silly publications...
'-- Noah Smith (@Noahpinion) May 10, 2018The latest from Quillette, the magazine for free thinkers: The Civil War did not happen. Riveting stuff. https://t.co/obH27tky3X pic.twitter.com/NscmFZPHdx
'-- Osita Nwanevu (@OsitaNwanevu) July 19, 2018Nope. 2 simple reasons Quillette is bad: 1) often poorly argued & unaware of the range of pertinent evidence; 2) extremely tribalist but in constant denial of this, to the extent that denial of its tribalism is in fact its brand. https://t.co/SQJVAfx13e
'-- Aaron Hanlon (@AaronRHanlon) July 22, 2018The reason publications like Quillette exist and find audiences is that not everyone with a higher education is smart.
'-- Only using this platform for BOO-ms (@DavidKlion) August 17, 2018Bari Weiss, Katie Herzog, Peterson, Quillette... these people are in the ''validating old-white-refusal-to-grow'' business. it's not an honest or dignified business, but DAMN is it lucrative pic.twitter.com/ODBv13QnRn
'-- Owen Ellickson (@onlxn) October 2, 2018Sorry Quillette trolls, and supporters of "real science", I have to do some pseudo science now, so I can't play with you anymore.But your fav mag has some great reads for you, such as mocking sexism or, for truly masculine troll, call for military intervention in Venezuela pic.twitter.com/nb0CffG24v
'-- Cas Mudde '' (@CasMudde) October 5, 2018Take a well-read piece published in September, ''Academic Activists Send a Published Paper Down the Memory Hole,'' written by Ted Hill, an emeritus professor of math at Georgia Tech. In it, Hill says that a mathematical paper he wrote about the possible evolutionary underpinnings of gender differences was pulled from two separate journals after an intimidation campaign by academic activists. I'm not a mathematician and am not able to adjudicate the validity of Hill's research, which Lehmann tells me underwent two weeks of fact-checking by one of her editors. But Andrew Gelman, a statistician at Columbia University, wrote a post on his personal blog saying that Hill had ''no direct evidence'' that the paper had been discarded based on politics, rather than merit. ''The most unfortunate part of the story,'' Gelman wrote, ''is the amplification of Hill's post throughout Twitter, Quillette, 4chan, etc., abetted by thought leaders on Twitter, leading to noxious hatred spewed at Amie Wilkinson.'' (Wilkinson is a math professor Hill had blamed for suppressing his work.)
''Noxious hatred,'' and in particular misogyny, is rife in the comments on Hill's article; the phrase ''vaginal privilege'' makes an appearance, as do predictable tirades against ''whiny'' feminists. Lehmann says she regrets not moderating those comments but that she isn't worried about reasonable arguments on Quillette's website being hijacked by unreasonable people. ''We've become a place where people who don't fit perfectly into a little box or a label can feel at home and not under pressure to identify with one tribe or another,'' she says. I was curious, though, if there were certain political positions Lehmann would disavow, either personally or as an editor. Lehmann says that because she is an atheist, she feels alienated from the Christian right. ''I would identify with the left if they were a little more old-school in their advocacy for workers,'' she allowed, ''but I'm not too bothered to be aligned with a political movement.''
But, I pressed, is she worried about extremists using Quillette articles about inflammatory matters like race and gender to validate their views? ''We don't want to be considered provocateurs,'' she said. ''We never publish anything about Milo Yiannopoulos'''--the British polemicist formerly of Breitbart'--''and we never defended him even though I would agree with him on free speech issues. We never respected his methods of causing outrage for the sake of it.'' She did say that she wouldn't want Quillette to be associated with ''anything like ethno-nationalism'' or ''racist, bigoted viewpoints.'' Ultimately, Lehmann says she can't take responsibility for how posts will be interpreted. ''If we are constantly inhibiting ourselves because we're worried about people misusing our work,'' she says, ''that presents its own ethical problem and leads to a corrosion of honesty.''
Is Lehmann worried about extremists using Quillette articles to validate their views? ''We don't want to be considered provocateurs,'' she says.
Ben Winegard, an assistant professor of psychology at Hillsdale College, a small Christian school in Michigan, isn't as sanguine as Lehmann. In 2016, he co-authored an article for Quillette titled ''On the Reality of Race and the Abhorrence of Racism,'' arguing that race exists and corresponds to genetic differences, and that denying this fact ''leaves a vacuum for extremists to exploit.'' It's not something Winegard, who identifies as a ''New Deal Democrat,'' would write today. ''I have had to stop writing about race because it's just so toxic and not even responsible to do,'' he told me. Winegard remains an avid Quillette reader and says the work it does is ''important.'' But there are risks inherent in a research forum raising difficult questions about gender, race and intelligence, he says: Young people might glom on with a wrongheaded view of the data. He also worries that the site, ironically, is becoming an echo chamber in the name of radical openness. ''There's a risk,'' he says, ''that it does just become an outlet for a lot of people who feel grievances about identity politics and political correctness.''
It's not as though Lehmann wants an echo chamber, either. ''I want to give more of a platform for people on the left who are in support of liberal values,'' she says. ''We want to get more conservatives who feel disillusioned with whatever conservative bubble they're in.'' Winegard told me with admiration that he didn't know what Lehmann's own politics are, exactly, and she told me she doesn't agree with everything she publishes.
''Sometimes there are misrepresentations, and people assume that my politics is far more right-wing than it actually is,'' she says. ''I think because I'm Australian, and I take so many things for granted like universal health care, access to abortion, and we don't have guns everywhere.''
This is a theme to which Lehmann returns: From outside the United States, she is not ''emotionally invested'' in American politics and so can better diagnose that country's pathology. ''Everyone in the U.S. is lost in the weeds. They're focusing on the minutiae of what's happening to Trump,'' she says, or ''getting upset over Nike sponsoring that NFL player. ... We don't feel the need to constantly follow what's in the news.'' Lehmann has consciously hired Canadian and British editors, and one thing that is generally absent on the site is coverage of Donald Trump. ''You've got to inevitably choose a side in America. You can't just sit in the middle,'' says Mark Carnegie, an Australian venture capitalist and a backer of the site. Quillette is powerful, he says, because it's ''an independent media voice.''
Lehmann has two children now, ages 5 and 2, and she is happy to have built herself a self-sustaining, family-friendly career. Her plans for Quillette are to keep doing what it does, at scale. She recently announced a new slate of columnists and launched a Quillette podcast she is co-hosting, featuring interviews with contributors. It's all part of the site's efforts to ''broaden the Overton window,'' Lehmann says'--referring to a term that originated in the late 1990s as a synonym for reasonable political discourse but more recently has been hijacked by the alt-right in an attempt to normalize extreme rhetoric. For Quillette to avoid the same fate will require vigilance. ''It will never be a completely mainstream publication,'' Lehmann says. ''We just want to capture the highly educated but open-minded, curious, heterodox audience wherever they are.''
'Electrical war': saboteurs blamed as massive power cut in Venezuela leaves millions in the dark | South China Morning Post
A man looks at his mobile phone during the blackout in Caracas, Venezuela. Photo: Reuters
Commuters in the country's crumbling capital, Caracas, were forced to walk home from work after the metro service was paralysed by the outageState-owned electricity operator Corpoelec blamed the outage on act of 'sabotage' at the Guri DamTopic | Venezuelan crisis
A Florida Massage Parlor Owner Has Been Selling Chinese Execs Access to Trump at Mar-a-Lago '' Mother Jones
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The latest Trump political donor to draw controversy is Li Yang, a 45-year-old Florida entrepreneur from China who founded a chain of spas and massage parlors that included the one where New England Patriots owner Bob Kraft was recently busted for soliciting prostitution. She made the news this week when the Miami Herald reported that last month she had attended a Super Bowl viewing party at Donald Trump's West Palm Beach golf club and had snapped a selfie with the president during the event. Though Yang no longer owns the spa Kraft allegedly visited, the newspaper noted that other massage parlors her family runs have ''gained a reputation for offering sexual services.'' (She told the newspaper she has never violated the law.) Beyond this sordid tale, there is another angle to the strange story of Yang: She runs an investment business that has offered to sell Chinese clients access to Trump and his family. And a website for the business'--which includes numerous photos of Yang and her purported clients hobnobbing at Mar-a-Lago, Trump's private club in Palm Beach'--suggests she had some success in doing so.
Yang, who goes by Cindy, and her husband, Zubin Gong, started GY US Investments LLC in 2017. The company describes itself on its website, which is mostly in Chinese, as an ''international business consulting firm that provides public relations services to assist businesses in America to establish and expand their brand image in the modern Chinese marketplace.'' But the firm notes that its services also address clients looking to make high-level connections in the United States. On a page displaying a photo of Mar-a-Lago, Yang's company says its ''activities for clients'' have included providing them ''the opportunity to interact with the president, the [American] Minister of Commerce and other political figures.'' The company boasts it has ''arranged taking photos with the President'' and suggests it can set up a ''White House and Capitol Hill Dinner.'' (The same day the Herald story about Yang broke, the website stopped functioning.)
The short bio of Yang on the website, identifying her as the founder and CEO of GY US Investments, shows her in a photo with Trump bearing his signature. It says she has been ''settled in the United States for more than 20 years'' and is a member of the ''Presidential Fundraising Committee.'' According to the Herald, Yang is a registered Republican, and since 2017 she and her relatives have donated more than $42,000 to a Trump political action committee and more than $16,000 to Trump's campaign. Her Facebook page, which was taken offline on Friday, was loaded with photos of her posing with GOP notables: Donald Trump Jr., Rep. Matt Gaetz or Florida, Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, among others.
On a page displaying a photo of Mar-a-Lago, Yang's company says its ''activities for clients'' have included providing them ''the opportunity to interact with the president, the [American] Minister of Commerce and other political figures.''The GY US Investments website lists upcoming events at Mar-a-Lago at which Yang's clients presumably can mingle with Trump or members of his family. This includes something called the International Leaders Elite Forum, where Trump's sister, Elizabeth Trump Grau, will supposedly be the featured speaker. Attendees, the site says, will include ''Chinese elites from various countries, including the US states, as well as elite leaders from Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, Australia, Europe and other countries and regions.'' Another event for which Yang's firm says it can provide access is Trump's annual New Year's celebration at Mar-a-Lago. Elsewhere on the website, the firm boasts that ''GY Company arranged a number of guests to attend the 2019 New Year's Eve dinner. All the guests took photos with'' members of Trump's family. This page displays photos of Chinese executives and a Chinese movie star with Donald Trump Jr., suggesting that these pics were arranged by the company, and also includes a photo of Yang with Elizabeth Trump Grau.
A flier posted on GY US Investments' website publicizing an upcoming event at Mar-A-Lago featuring the president's sister, Elizabeth Trump Grau.
Among the Chinese executives who attended that New Year's event was Huachu Tang, the owner of an electric car company. Tang told Yahoo Finance that he flew 17 hours from Xi'an, China, with his family and an assistant in hopes of meeting with Trump at the party. Though he reportedly speaks almost no English, Tang said he hoped to use a Trump connection to build up his company's brand before eventually taking it public on the New York Stock Exchange. Trump, however, canceled his trip to Mar-a-Lago due to the government shutdown. Tang and his wife managed to pose for pictures with Trump Jr., Eric Trump, and Trump Grau. Tang told Yahoo that he received admission to the New Year's party through a package offered by a public relations agency'--perhaps Yang's firm. According to Yahoo, the company Tang used declined to reveal the price of the package, citing the confidentiality of the contract.
The GY US Investments website also posted photos of Yang at a White House celebration of the ''Asian New Year'' in 2018 and at a Chinese New Year dinner celebration that purportedly included Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Transportation Secretary Chao. The firm says it invited 10 guests to the Chinese New Year event and the website shows several of them posing with Chao.
According to the website, the company has offices in Miami; Washington, DC; and Wuhan, China, and is preparing to open an office in Beijing. But the address of its office in the Washington area matches the location of a UPS store.
Yang and her business partners listed on the GY US Investments' website could not be reached for comment. No one responded to messages left at the number for GY US Investments. A man who answered a phone number listed for Yang hung up. A man who picked up the phone at a number listed for the company's Washington-area office said, ''My English isn't good,'' and hung up. White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders and Trump Grau did not respond to requests for comment.
The overall message conveyed by the GY US Investments website seems clear: hire Yang's company and she can get you close to Trump and his government'--at Mar-a-Lago and in Washington. If the posted photos are authentic, she has been able to get Chinese clients at least into the Trump circle for a quick pic. They are a sign that this Chinese immigrant and Trump donor has used her contacts to go from massaging clients to massaging influence.
Update: Yang has been active in Asian American Republican groups. Since 2017, she has participated in the Broward County, Florida Chapter of the Asian GOP, a national Republican group. The chapter's web page touts the Mar-a-Lago ''Safari Night'' promoted by Yang's company '' with Trump Grau listed as the host. Yang also visited the White House last year as part of the Asian American and Pacific Islander Initiative, an advisory group Trump formed by executive order.
Cindy Yang, Community Outreach Director, Asian GOP FL (left); Sue Snowden, Palm Beach County Chair at Donald Trump for President Campaign (middle); Xiaoqi Wang (right).
War on Cash
Philadelphia becomes the first city in the US to ban 'discriminatory' cashless stores | Daily Mail Online
Philadelphia becomes the first city in the US to BAN 'discriminatory' cashless stores and restaurants - to be more inclusive to the EIGHT MILLION Americans without bank accountsPhiladelphia passed a new law last week forbidding the practice of cashless businesses in a the hope of being more inclusiveAs of July 1, any store or restaurant that refuses to accept legal tender will face hefty fines of up to $2,000Councillors say Amazon issued threats of withdrawing plans to implement an Amazon Go store in the center of the city if the bill passedNew York, New Jersey, San Francisco and Chicago are all considering similar laws to be more inclusive to the 8 million Americans without bank accounts ByLuke Kenton For Dailymail.com
Published: 21:42 EDT, 8 March 2019 | Updated: 03:11 EDT, 9 March 2019
Philadelphia has become the first US city to ban cashless stores and restaurants, amid backlash from critics that legal tender-free shopping is discriminatory.
Retailers who've adopted the practice may argue that eradicating cash makes for more convenient shopping, but many believe the policy actually discriminates against those without bank accounts or credit cards.
Siding with the critics, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney signed a motion last week banning stores in the city from enacting a cashless service.
As of July 1, any businesses failing to comply with the law will face fines of up to $2,000.
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney signed a motion last week banning stores in the city from enacting a cashless service
Critics say the cashless policy actually discriminates against those without bank accounts, credit cards or those who just prefer using cash
There are exemptions to the statue, with parking lots, garages, and businesses who sell goods through a membership model - such as gyms - able to continue operations as normal.
Cashless policies are increasing in popularity in cities across America, as business owners say the switch from tangible cash to digital payment deters theft and increases efficiency.
But with more than eight million households without bank accounts in the US, opposition to the practice believe it's prejudicial.
Mayor Kenney (above) signed the motion to protect the interests of every day Philadelphians
Philadelphia councilman Bill Greenlee, who co-sponsored the bill, believes the new law will help re-level the playing field.
'I can go into a coffee shop across from City Hall that's cashless and get my coffee and muffin, but the person behind me that has United States currency can't get the same cup of coffee. It's a fairness issue; it creates an us-and-them kind of situation,' he said to CBS.
'We are not asking them to do something they don't know how to do. They accepted cash before,' Greenlee added.
According to the New York Times, New Jersey, New York, San Francisco and Chicago are all considering adopting similar laws.
In Philadelphia, Councilman Allan Domb said Amazon issued a warning that they would re-consider implementing an Amazon Go store in the city if the bill passed.
The Bezos-owned company plans to open up 3,000 cashless stores across the country by 2021. Amazon Go stores have no cashiers and only accept digital forms of payment.
Jeff Bezos' Amazon issued Philadelphia a warning for if the bill passed. They allegedly threatened to withdraw plans for an Amazon Go store in the city
City spokesman Mike Dunn confirmed Amazon told the city the legislation would 'impede' plans for a Go store.
Other stores likely to be affected by the shift include the likes of Sweetgreen. Currently a card-only store, the salad-chain will be forced to re-calibrate if they want to continue business in the area.
In 2018, Shakeshack announced plans to go cashless across the country.
But after a short-lived trial period, the fast-food chain about-turned on the idea after customer backlash.
The city of Philadelphia says it's open to work with businesses concerned by the new law to bring about amicable resolutions. However, their main concern remains protecting the people of Philadelphia.
'Our priority has to be the folks who live here now, who were paying taxes,' Councilman Greenlee said.
Michael Jackson 'innocent' campaign adverts cover London buses | Daily Star
Jackson's family and supporters are waging a guerilla PR campaign after two men made damning sex abuse allegations against him in bombshell documentary Leaving Neverland. The accusers, Wade Robson and James Safechuck, allege that the King of Pop groomed and sexually abused them as children in the documentary, which aired on Channel 4 this week.
A campaign to salvage Jackson's reputation has gathered pace this week as the documentary divided opinion about the Thriller singer and his legacy.
''Michael Jackson: singer, dancer, humanitarian... Yes. But a Paedophile?'' a website set up to support the campaign asks.
The website, thought to be funded by Jackson's nephew Taj, claims to set the record straight by highlighting the ''many inconsistencies, contradictions and outright lies'' told about Jackson.
PR BLITZ: Adverts proclaiming Jackson's 'innocence' have appeared on London buses (Pic: TWITTER/GETTY)
A GoFundMe page set up to finance the adverts has raised more than £14,000.
As part of the campaign, adverts proclaiming Jackson's innocence have appeared on the side of buses across London this week. The adverts feature a black-and-white photo of Jackson, who died aged 50 in 2009, with his mouth covered with the word ''innocent'' above a link to the website.
Taj, the son of Tito Jackson, seemed pleased with the adverts, tweeting: ''The pride of seeing my words on a London bus, next to my uncle Michael's image'... Facts don't lie, people do.''
Transport for London (TfL) has approved the ''MJ Innocent'' campaign adverts featuring the provocative slogan: ''Facts don't lie, people do.''
ALLOWED: TfL said the ads do not breach advertising policy (Pic: MJ INNOCENT)
Related Articles 'I feel sick' Viewers unable to stomach Michael Jackson documentary '' Leaving Neverland Michael Jackson told '14-year-old boy to throw away bloodied underwear after sex attempt' Paris Jackson tweets about 'injustice' after explosive Leaving Neverland documentary
ALLEGATIONS: Wade Robson claims Jackson told him he would go to jail if he spoke out (Pic: CHANNEL 4)
''Facts don't lie, people do''
Taj Jackson An advert may not meet the required standards ''if it is likely to cause widespread or serious offence to reasonable members of the public'' or ''it could reasonably be seen as distasteful'', according to TfL guidelines.
A TfL spokesperson told Daily Star Online: ''This advertising campaign is compliant with our advertising policy.''
The ad campaign, visible to children across the capital, has provoked a furious backlash.
PRIDE: Taj Jackson is thought to be behind the 'MJ Innocent' campaign (Pic: GETTY)
KING OF POP: Michael Jackson had a glittering career in pop music (Pic: GETTY)
Channel 4's head of news, Dorothy Byrne, said: ''The documentary details the memories of two men who when they were children experienced serious sexual abuse.''We are surprised that TfL have chosen to run adverts that defend a man who has had serious allegations of sexual abuse made against him. We are not clear how TfL think parents will explain these adverts to their children.''
Retired civil servant Saleem Patel said: ''It's outrageous that they are doing this on the buses, because children will see them and people say they were his victims.
''And why are they saying he's innocent now. It's too late. He's dead. He had people like Elizabeth Taylor supporting him and that was a long time ago.''
COUNTER-CLAIMS: The campaign claims 'lies' have been told about Jackson (Pic: MJ INNOCENT)
FACTS DON'T LIE: The adverts have appeared on the side of London buses this week (Pic: MJ INNOCENT)
Jackson's family has reacted angrily to Leaving Neverland, questioning the authenticity of the claims made by Robson and Safechuck."This is the 10-year anniversary of my uncle's death. We should be mourning, but instead we are being bombarded with lies," Taj said.
The documentary features a series of interviews in which Wade and James explain how they were beguiled by Jackson after he befriended them and their families.
Related articles Michael Jackson told '14-year-old boy to throw away bloodied underwear after sex attempt' Paris Jackson tweets about 'injustice' after explosive Leaving Neverland documentary Michael Jackson MOMO WARNING: Police respond to CHLLING King of Pop video
VIDEO - Florida school bus aide pulled MAGA hat off teenager's head, surveillance video shows
MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. '-- Surveillance video on a Martin County school bus shows a bus aide yelling at a student to take off a "Make America Great Again" cap, then grabbing it off of his head.
Now, the Martin County Sheriff's Office is investigating whether the bus aide committed a crime.
According to Gunnar Johansson, 14, students were allowed to wear a hat to school this week if they made a donation to March of Dimes.
He decided to wear a Make America Great Again hat in support of President Donald Trump and ''to show my pride in Trump America,'' Johansson said.
Within seconds of boarding a bus to Hidden Oaks Middle School, a bus aide told him to remove the hat and put it in his backpack..
''Boy, if you don't that hat off this bus'... take it off,'' an unidentified bus aide said, according to surveillance video.
''I was really confused, I was like 'I can't wear this?' ''Johansson said. ''She, like, threatened me with a referral and threatened to turn the bus around. I said 'write me up, I didn't do anything wrong', and then she yanked my hat off. It was crazy.''
He continued the bus ride without wearing his hat, though other students wearing hats were allowed to keep wearing them.
Johansson's mother, Jackie Putt, said she received text messages from Johansson's brother and other students about the incident.
''I immediately went to the school,'' Putt said. ''I needed to know what my son just went through and what she did to my son.''
Putt says she feels the bus aide's actions were politically motivated.
Putt spoke with the principal, and had her son write down everything he remembered about the incident.
She said she decided to file a police report after learning she would not be able to see the video of her son until the investigation by the school district is closed.
''The district is aware of the family's allegations. We're taking it very seriously. We're in the process of gathering all the facts right now,'' said Frank Frangella, Director of Safety and Security for the Martin County School District.
Martin County Lieutenant Ryan Grimsdale will be reviewing the video and interviewing everyone involved.
''The crux of our investigation will be the interaction directly, physically with the child and how that panned out,'' Grimsdale said.
The school board does not have a policy that prevents students from wearing political attire. Johansson said other students were wearing MAGA hats during the day, and he was allowed to wear it at school.
Putt said she is proud of how her son handled the incident.
''We all have a right to who we want to vote for, this is America,'' Putt said.
''Standup for what you believe in,'' Johansson said.
Grimsdale expects to know by the middle of next week if any charges will be filed.
The school district has not confirmed the status of the aide, but Johansson said she has not been on the school bus since the incident.
Copyright 2019 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
VIDEO - Finland's cabinet quits over failure to deliver healthcare reform | Reuters
HELSINKI (Reuters) - Finland's coalition government resigned on Friday a month ahead of a general election, saying it could not deliver on a healthcare reform package that is widely seen as crucial to securing long-term government finances.
Healthcare systems across much of the developed world have come under increasing stress in recent years as treatment costs soar and people live longer, meaning fewer workers are supporting more pensioners.
Nordic countries, where comprehensive welfare is the cornerstone of the social model, have been among the most affected. But reform has been controversial and, in Finland, plans to cut costs and boost efficiency have stalled for years.
''The picture I've got over the last few days from parliament forces me to draw conclusions. There is no way ahead. I am hugely disappointed,'' Centre Party Prime Minister Juha Sipila told reporters at a news conference.
''We need reforms, there is no other way for Finland to succeed.''
Parliament's constitutional committee said the reform package was unconstitutional and required significant changes the government did not have time to implement before the scheduled elections.
President Sauli Niinisto accepted Sipila's resignation but asked his government of his Centre party and the National Coalition Party to continue in a caretaker capacity until a new cabinet has been appointed.
''My government works on a 'result or out' principle... one has to carry responsibility in politics,'' Sipila said, adding it was his personal decision to resign.
The government had aimed to dramatically slow the increase in healthcare spending over the next decade, reducing the budget to 18.3 billion euros in 2029 against an estimate of 21.3 billion.
NORDIC PROBLEM The reforms expected to generate savings by creating 18 new regions to organize healthcare services instead of the 200 entities that are currently responsible. Critics said the scale of the projected savings was unrealistic.
Other Nordic countries have also grappled with the need to cut costs. Sweden is to gradually raise its retirement age and has opened up parts of the healthcare system to the private sector in a bid to boost efficiency.
Finnish Prime Minister Juha Sipila announces his government's resignation at a news conference at his official residence, Kesaranta, in Helsinki, Finland March 8, 2019. Lehtikuva/Seppo Samuli via REUTERS Denmark will gradually increase the retirement age to 73 - the highest in the world - while cutting taxes and unemployment benefits to encourage people to work more.
The problem has been particularly acute in Finland where the financial crisis of 2008-9 magnified the effects of demographic changes such as a rapidly declining birth rate.
Several Finnish governments have tried to push through healthcare reform in different forms over the past 12 years '-- all have failed.
Sipila had previously said he would dissolve his centre-right coalition government if it failed to push through its healthcare and local government reform.
With election so close, analysts said the effect of Sipila's resignation would be minor.
''Since elections were already set for 14 April, the resignation of the government is not a big deal at all at this point. Still, it does create some ugly headlines,'' Nordea's chief analyst Jan von Gerich wrote on Twitter.
The latest poll by national broadcaster YLE puts the Social Democrats on 21.3 percent ahead of the National Coalition Party on 16.2 percent and the Centre on 14.1 percent.
Slideshow (6 Images) In the 2015 general election Sipila's Centre party topped the poll with 21.2 percent of the vote.
At 9.5 percent of GDP, Finland ranked ninth among EU countries in terms of how much it spent on healthcare in 2016, relative to the size of its economy, according to Eurostat figures. Spending has declined over recent years as a result of sluggish growth.
France topped the rankings at 11.5 percent of GDP with Germany second and Sweden third. Denmark was fifth. Non-EU member Norway would rank fourth.
Reporting by Anne Kauranen, Tarmo Virki in Tallinn, Terje Solsvik in Oslo; writing by Stine Jacobsen and Simon Johnson; editing by Larry King and Jon Boyle
VIDEO - Klimataktivisten Greta Thunberg utsedd till rets kvinna
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine during a NASA town hall event at NASA Headquarters in Washington. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls) On December 14, 1972, as Apollo 17 astronaut Eugene Cernan prepared to board the lunar module, he gave one last dispatch from the lunar surface.
''And as I take man's last steps from the surface, back home, for some time to come, but we believe not too long into the future. I'd like to just list what I believe history will record, that America's challenge of today has forged man's destiny of tomorrow. And, as we leave the Moon at Taurus '' Littrow, we leave as we came and, God willing, as we shall return, with peace and hope for all mankind.''
And yet, 47 years later, humankind has not set another foot on the lunar surface. But now, NASA's ready to return, with the Moon to Mars program. NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine joins Ira in this segment to talk about the agency's ambitions beyond Planet Earth, the role of commercial space companies in getting us there, and why he thinks plant science is ''critical'' to NASA.
Plus, we want to hear from you! Do you have a question for Jim Bridenstine? Ask away in the comments, or via Twitter or Facebook.
Further ReadingRead an opinion piece by Jim Bridenstine about the Mars to Moon program.Learn more about Bridenstine's interest in commercial space flight, and his relationship with tech entrepreneur Elon Musk.Check out NASA's potential lunar flights in 2019. Brush up on Bridenstine's background as a congressman from Oklahoma.
Segment GuestsJim Bridenstine
Jim Bridenstine is the administrator of NASA, based in Washington, D.C..
Meet the ProducerAbout Christopher Intagliata @ cintagliataChristopher Intagliata is Science Friday's senior producer. He once served as a prop in an optical illusion and speaks passable Ira Flatowese.
VIDEO - Grand jury charges Jussie Smollett with SIXTEEN felony counts of filing a false police report | Daily Mail Online
Jussie Smollett is facing up to 48 YEARS behind bars after being hit with 16 charges over claims that he staged a homophobic and racist attack to help him get a pay riseA grand jury hit Smollett with 15 additional felony disorderly conduct charges on Thursday The Empire actor now faces a maximum of 48 years behind bars if convicted He was facing three years behind bars and a $25,000 fine for a Class 4 felony of disorderly conduct Smollett denies the charges and will return to court in Chicago next week He will return to court on March 14 to face the charges ByJennifer Smith For Dailymail.com
Published: 16:58 EDT, 8 March 2019 | Updated: 01:48 EDT, 9 March 2019
Jussie Smollett now faces 16 counts of felony disorderly conduct which carry a maximum prison sentence of 48 years
Jussie Smollett has been hit with an additional 15 counts of filing a false police report by a grand jury and is now facing up to 48 years behind bars.
The Empire actor was initially charged with one Class 4 Felony charge of disorderly conduct last month but a grand jury has applied that charge 15 times over in an 36-page indictment that was returned on Thursday.
Now, he is facing a maximum sentence of 48 years behind bars and fines of up to $400,000.
He is expected to cut a plea deal with authorities, according to experts cited by ABC.
Neither Smollett's legal team nor Cook County prosecutors have commented on the new indictment which was first reported by CWB.
DailyMail.com obtained a copy of it this afternoon. It divides the 15 new charges into two sets.
Counts one to seven apply to the comments he made to police officer Muhammed Baig, who first responded to his apartment when his friend called 911 on January 29.
The second set applies to Detective Kim Murray who interviewed him later that day.
Jussie Smollett reported that one of his attackers was a male white, in dark clothing
She is who Smollett told, according to the indictment, that one of his attackers was a 'white male'.
He told Baig that he had been attacked by two 'unknown males' who were dressed in black.
One was wearing a ski mask and they called him 'racial and homophobic slurs', he said.
Smollett told Baig they hit him 'about the face' with their hands and poured an 'unknown chemical substance' onto them.
Later, in his interview with Kim Murray that he 'fought back'. The indictment reads: 'Jussie Smollett reported that one of his attackers was a male white, in dark clothing.'
Nigerian brothers, Ola (right) and Abel Osundairo (left) told police Smollett paid them to attack him
The actor has not been charged for allegedly sending himself a threatening letter days before the attack, as police have alleged.
Smollett is accused of hiring brothers Abel and Ola Osundairo to beat him up outside his apartment on January 29 in what he later described to police as a racist and homophobic attack.
Jussie Smollett is shown in the hospital with the scratches police say he gave himself after the 'attack'
The brothers say he paid them $3500 to do it and that he promised them an additional $500 which they would get when they came home from a trip to Nigeria.
They say Smollett's motive was that he wanted a higher salary on Empire.
The actor went on Good Morning America before he was arrested where he cried and insisted he was telling the truth amid a swelling tide of public cynicism.
Fox has said it is 'considering its options' in light of Smollett's arrest.
He will not appear in the final two episodes of Empire that are to be shown later this year.
On Friday, after the indictment was returned, the network declined to comment.
The actor's lawyers say he has been the victim of police and prosecutorial misconduct.
They say his presumption of innocence was 'trampled' and that the entire investigation into the attack has been flawed.
VIDEO - Ethiopian Airlines plane crash: No survivors among 157 on board | News | Al Jazeera
None of the 157 people on board an Ethiopian Airlines flight that crashed on Sunday morning en route from Addis Ababa to Nairobi have survived, the airline said.
Ethiopian Airlines Group CEO Tewolde GebreMariam "deeply regrets the fatal accident," the airline said on its Twitter account.
The group CEO, who had travelled to the scene of the crash, expressed his "profound sympathy and condolences" to the families of all victims, the statement read.
The tweet by Ethiopian Airlines was accompanied by a picture of GebreMariam lifting what appeared to be a piece debris at the bottom of a large crater in an empty field.
Little of the plane can be seen in the freshly churned earth.
Accident Bulletin no. 2 Issued on march 10, 2019 at 01:46 PM pic.twitter.com/KFKX6h2mxJ
'-- Ethiopian Airlines (@flyethiopian) March 10, 2019Thirty-three nationalities were on board flight ET 302, which crashed near the town of Bishoftu, about 50km southeast of the Ethiopian capital, Ethiopia's state broadcaster reported.
Thirty-two Kenyans, 18 Canadians, nine Ethiopians, eight Chinese, eight Americans, and seven British citizens are among the dead, according to Ethiopian Airlines. Four of the victims held United Nations passports.
32 Kenyan 18 Canadian 9 Ethiopian 8 Chin's 8 Americans 4 UN passport 3 Russian 2Spanish 2 isreal 1 Yemen 1 Togo 1somalian 1 Irish among others aboard #ET302
'-- Catherine Wambua- Soi (@C_SOI) March 10, 2019The plane took off at 8:38am (06:38 GMT) from Bole International Airport and "lost contact" six minutes later near Bishoftu.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's office tweeted it "would like to express its deepest condolences to the families of those that have lost their loved ones on Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 on regular scheduled flight to Nairobi, Kenya this morning."
The Office of the PM, on behalf of the Government and people of Ethiopia, would like to express it's deepest condolences to the families of those that have lost their loved ones on Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 on regular scheduled flight to Nairobi, Kenya this morning.
'-- Office of the Prime Minister - Ethiopia (@PMEthiopia) March 10, 2019Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta offered prayers for the family members and loved-ones of those on the plane.
"We are saddened by the news of an Ethiopian Airlines passenger aircraft that is reported to have crashed 6 minutes after takeoff en route to Kenya. My prayers go to all the families and associates of those on board," Kenyatta said in Twitter.
Ethiopian Airlines said it would send staff to the accident scene to "do everything possible to assist the emergency services".
Relatives gathered at Nairobi airport waiting for details [Baz Ratner/Reuters]Al Jazeera's Catherine Soi, reporting from Nairobi airport, said an "information and service desk has been set up for the relatives looking for information".
"Some of them [passengers onboard] could have been Kenyans and diplomats perhaps coming for a very important UN conference here in Nairobi that's supposed to start tomorrow," she said.
The Boeing 737-800MAX is the same type of plane as the Indonesian Lion Air jet that crashed last October, 13 minutes after takeoff from Jakarta, killing all 189 people on board.
The last major accident involving an Ethiopian Airlines passenger plane was a Boeing 737-800 that exploded after taking off from Lebanon in 2010, killing 83 passengers and seven crew.
'Brand new aircraft'US aerospace giant Boeing said it was "deeply saddened" about the accident and would provide technical assistance to find out why its aircraft crashed.
"A Boeing technical team is prepared to provide technical assistance at the request and under the direction of the US National Transportation Safety Board."
Speaking to Al Jazeera from Malaga, Spain, aviation analyst Alex Macheras explained that the 737 MAX is the brand new updated version of the Boeing 737.
"The MAX is in service all around the world. Airlines such as the Ethiopian Airlines are using this aircraft, as it is the latest, the most fuel-efficient, short-range Boeing aircraft on the market.
Ethiopian Airlines flight #ET302 dropped from radar 6 minutes after departure from Addis Ababa The jet is a brand new Boeing 737 MAX 8 - delivered to the airline just four months ago. pic.twitter.com/o01HDgEI16
'-- Alex Macheras (@AlexInAir) March 10, 2019"The aircraft that has been involved in the accident today is less than four months old. It was delivered to Ethiopia in mid-November, when it flew from the US, made a fuel stop in Ireland, and was delivered to Addis Ababa, which is the hub of Ethiopian Airlines," he added.
Macheras said new aircraft "do have their hiccups" but that is not to say they are unsafe or more prone to being involved in accidents.
"There are certain advisories for lots of new aircrafts and that's perfectly normal as they enter the market place," he added.
The Boeing 737 MAX was initiated in response to Airbus's A320 Neo. Both planes feature modifications to make the aircraft more fuel-efficient.
"It's a very safe aircraft," Macheras said, "but of course this accident will send jitters across the industry."
VIDEO - French yellow vest movement shows signs of weakening - YouTube
Experts believe an in-house buzzer system- used to alert pharmacy customers when their prescriptions are ready- is to blame for jamming electric car keys at a Perth shopping centre.
More than a hundred drivers with keyless entry cars have been locked out of their vehicles at Lakeside Joondalup in the past week.
The problem has been isolated to a small area of the centre's carpark near Chemist Warehouse.
Experts from the Australian Communications and Media Authority have been investigating why the key frequency has jammed, pinpointing the problem to a device within the pharmacy.
Nine news has been told it appears the pharmacy's buzzer system is causing the interference, because it operates on the same frequency as keyless entry car keys.
Further tests have been carried out to confirm if the buzzer system is to blame.
The affected area in the shopping centre will be closed while tests are completed.
Police have ruled out any foul play or deliberate sabotage.
(C) Nine Digital Pty Ltd 2019
VIDEO - TechHelp on Twitter: "@adamcurry watch/listen to Zainab Salbi state that 1/3 of Trump supporters in "Trump Country" are Neo Nazis on Morning Joe and not one person objects to her statement. #noagenda'... https://t.co/iVfMXCRLiz"
Update2: Following days of infighting over the rebuke of Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) for criticizing pro-Israel politicians, the House overwhelmingly passed a bipartisan resolution on Thursday to condemn all forms of bigotry.
The final vote tally was 407-23-1.
The bill - crafted shortly after Omar's second such remark in recent weeks, was originally aimed at anti-Semitism. It began to face pushback after several prominent progressives threw their support behind the freshman Rep. from Somalia.
On Wednesday, three Democratic presidential candidates stood behind Omar; Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).
"Anti-Semitism is a hateful and dangerous ideology which must be vigorously opposed in the United States and around the world, said Sanders - adding "We must not, however, equate anti-Semitism with legitimate criticism of the right-wing, Netanyahu government in Israel."
Harris said that she was "concerned that the spotlight being put on Congresswoman Omar may put her at risk."
And Warren said on Wednesday, "Branding criticism of Israel as automatically anti-Semitic has a chilling effect on our public discourse."
Meanwhile, Democrats were sharply divided during a Wednesday night closed-door showdown between Pelosi and her anti-Semitism version of the bill, and progressive Democrats - particularly members of the Congressional Black Caucus. As a result, a revamped version of the bill now includes Muslims, Latinos, African Americans, Native Americans, and several other minority groups.
We wonder if it covers cultural appropriation, of say, Native American heritage in order to advance one's career?
In any event, it appears Rep. Omar won the day. Perhaps that's why David Duke mysteriously came out in support of her? He also came out for 2020 Democratic contender Tulsi Gabbard just one month ago, right as she was slamming "neocon" and "neolib" war mongers amid a smear campaign by Democratic operatives to paint her as a Kremlin stooge.
Update: The latest version of the resolution condemns bigotry and hatred - invoking Martin Luther King Jr., while knocking "white supremacists" - such as those at Charlottesville. The measure somehow fails to include raging anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan, who refers to Jews at "termites" and is frequently pictured with Democrats.
After a contentious closed-door session on Wednesday among House Democrats who are deeply divided over a resolution to indirectly condemn Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) over anti-Israel comments, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) almost got whiplash from pivoting 180-degrees; excusing Omar, while dramatically altering resolution's language from condemning anti-Semitism, to Democratic talking points commonly used against Trump supporters.
When asked if Omar should apologize for saying that supporters of Israel have an "allegiance to a foreign country," Pelosi gave a pass to the freshman Rep, telling reporters: "I do not believe she understood the full weight" of her words, adding that Omar's comments "were not based on any anti-Semitic attitude."
Nancy Pelosi refuses to say if Ilhan Omar should apologize for her anti-Semitism: "She may need to explain that she did not, it's up to her to explain. But I do not believe that she understood the full weight of the words""Her words were not based on any anti-Semitic attitude" pic.twitter.com/qD8wbsI9cI
'-- Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) March 7, 2019If true, some have suggested that Omar is tone-deaf and not fit to serve on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, which has jurisdiction of the relationship between the United States and Israel.
She has no business serving on House Foreign Affairs if she doesn't understand the full weight of those words. This is congress; not an internship. https://t.co/bPZo0V48At
'-- Arthur Schwartz (@ArthurSchwartz) March 7, 2019Meanwhile, House Majority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) said that the House hopes to vote on Thursday on a resolution condemning all forms of hate, saying the message would be "we are against bigotry, we are against prejudice and against hate." - which just happens to echo commonly used Democrat talking points about conservatives.
STUNNING. So the House will turn the actions of one congresswoman into an indictment of Trump supporters.GOT IT. https://t.co/IFi91hbqDL
'-- thebradfordfile' (@thebradfordfile) March 7, 2019Generic anti-hate resolution that definitely wasn't prompted by a specific type of hate expressed by one specific person.
'-- neontaster (@neontaster) March 7, 2019***
As we noted on Wednesday, Pelosi's 180 comes after chaos broke out Wednesday during a closed-door meeting of House Democrats.
Inside the meeting, according to multiple people present, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) tried to keep her caucus focused on a planned Friday vote on a sweeping campaign and elections reform bill. She acknowledged ''internal issues,'' according to notes taken by a Democratic aide present, and urged members not to ''question the motivations of our colleagues.''
But moments later, multiple House members stood up to challenge the decision '-- endorsed by Pelosi and the rest of the House Democratic leadership '-- to move forward with a resolution condemning religious hatred. Initially the measure targeted only anti-Semitism, with some Democrats pushing for a direct rebuke of Omar, but by Tuesday night '-- facing backlash from members not on board with the plan '-- leaders decided to expand it to include anti-Muslim bias. -Washington Post
Several Democrats those who took issue with the measure were members of the Congressional Black Caucus, who opposed even an indirect rebuke of Rep. Omar when they should be focusing on how to attack President Trump.
"I think there's a big rise in anti-Semitism and racism, and that's a bigger conversation we need to be having." said Rep. Cedric L. Richmond (D-LA). "But it starts at 1600 Pennsylvania. It doesn't start with one member out of 435 members of Congress."
"Why are we doing this?" asked Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ), who said that a resolution would be "redundant and unnecessary," likely referring to the January 11 rebuke of Omar after she accused the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) of contributing to pro-Israel politicians.
In the end, Rep. Omar seems to have won the day.
Ilhan Omar is such a naive baby that she just outmaneuvered the head of her party.
'-- neontaster (@neontaster) March 7, 2019
VIDEO - Bill shielding mass shootings media from public record moves forward
TALLAHASSEE Fla. (WCJB) - A bill that could shield video and pictures of mass shooting incidents from the public record passed its final Senate committee Wednesday morning.
The bill leaves exceptions to the public records exemption for victims families.
Senators expressed some concerns that blocking the records could prevent media from holding government accountable for poor responses to mass shooting incidents.
Sponsor Senator Tom Lee says the legislation comes from a place of legitimate concern.
''The experiences that certain members have had touring the crime scene down in Parkland I think is what led to us trying to take something like this up,'' said Lee. ''There are some groups out there that are using this information for just some really nefarious purposes.''
Under the current bill, citizens could petition a court to gain access to the records, but Senator Lee suggested major changes to the legislation are likely before it comes to a floor vote.
VIDEO - Liveleak.com - AOC Humiliated By Her Own Witness Over Trump's Border Wall Emergency