The Associated Press today points to a remarkable footnote in a recent State Department inspector general report on the Hillary Clinton email scandal: The mail was managed from the vanity domain ''clintonemail.com.'' But here's a potentially more explosive finding: A review of the historic domain registration records indicates that whoever built the private email server for the Clintons also had the not-so-bright idea of connecting it to an Internet-based printer.
According to historic Internet address maps stored by San Mateo, Calif. based Farsight Security, among the handful of Internet addresses historically assigned to the domain ''clintonemail.com'' was the numeric address 22.214.171.124. The subdomain attached to that Internet address was'....wait for it'.... ''printer.clintonemail.com''.
Interestingly, that domain was first noticed by Farsight in March 2015, the same month the scandal broke that during her tenure as United States Secretary of State Mrs. Clinton exclusively used her family's private email server for official communications.
Farsight's record for 126.96.36.199, the Internet address which once mapped to ''printer.clintonemail.com''.
I should emphasize here that it's unclear whether an Internet-capable printer was ever connected to printer.clintonemail.com. Nevertheless, it appears someone set it up to work that way.
Ronald Guilmette, a private security researcher in California who prompted me to look up this information, said printing things to an Internet-based printer set up this way might have made the printer data vulnerable to eavesdropping.
''Whoever set up their home network like that was a security idiot, and it's a dumb thing to do,'' Guilmette said. ''Not just because any idiot on the Internet can just waste all your toner. Some of these printers have simple vulnerabilities that leave them easy to be hacked into.''
More importantly, any emails or other documents that the Clintons decided to print would be sent out over the Internet '-- however briefly '-- before going back to the printer. And that data may have been sniffable by other customers of the same ISP, Guilmette said.
''People are getting all upset saying hackers could have broken into her server, but what I'm saying is that people could have gotten confidential documents easily without breaking into anything,'' Guilmette said. ''So Mrs. Clinton is sitting there, tap-tap-tapping on her computer and decides to print something out. A clever Chinese hacker could have figured out, 'Hey, I should get my own Internet address on the same block as the Clinton's server and just sniff the local network traffic for printer files.'''
I should note that it's possible the Clintons were encrypting all of their private mail communications with a ''virtual private network'' (VPN). Other historical ''passive DNS'' records indicate there were additional, possibly interesting and related subdomains once directly adjacent to the aforementioned Internet address 188.8.131.52:
Tags: clinton email scandal, clintonemail.com, Farsight Security, printer.clintonemail.com, Ronald Guilmette
This entry was posted on Thursday, May 26th, 2016 at 5:50 pm and is filed under A Little Sunshine. You can follow any comments to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a comment. Pinging is currently not allowed.
Trump nixes proposed debate with Sanders | Fox News
Donald Trump announced late Friday that he no longer wants to debate Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, after saying earlier this week he'd be willing to do it.
In a written statement, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee cited the ''rigged'' Democratic process '' along with the fact that Sanders is almost certain to finish as their runner-up, and complaints about whether enough of the proceeds would go to charity '' in turning down the debate proposal.
''Based on the fact that the Democratic nominating process is totally rigged and Crooked Hillary Clinton and Deborah Wasserman Schultz will not allow Bernie Sanders to win, and now that I am the presumptive Republican nominee, it seems inappropriate that I would debate the second place finisher,'' Trump said.
''Likewise, the networks want to make a killing on these events and are not proving to be too generous to charitable causes, in this case, women's health issues. Therefore, as much as I want to debate Bernie Sanders -- and it would be an easy payday -- I will wait to debate the first place finisher in the Democratic Party, probably Crooked Hillary Clinton, or whoever it may be.''
Sanders teased Trump over the decision on the sidelines of a California campaign stop. He told reporters late Friday that the Republican comes across as a ''tough guy'' and asked, ''What are you afraid of?''
Sanders later issued a statement saying: "I hope that he changes his mind once again and comes on board."
Earlier in the day, the Sanders campaign said they had two offers from TV networks to host a Sanders-Trump debate '' both including a ''major contribution to charity'' '' and were ready to do it.
''We are prepared to accept one of those offers and look forward to working with the Trump campaign to develop a time, place and format that is mutually agreeable,'' Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver said. "Given that the California primary is on June 7, it is imperative that this all comes together as soon as possible.''
The feverish speculation about a Trump-Sanders showdown started when Trump said Wednesday on ABC's ''Jimmy Kimmel Live'' he'd be willing to do it '' if enough money went to charity.
Sanders immediately said he was up for the challenge. The Sanders camp was also eager to set up a debate after Clinton declined a Fox News invitation to a Democratic primary debate before the California contest.
Trump's proposal led to backchannel discussions about the possibility of a Trump-Sanders showdown. Trump as recently as Friday afternoon, at a campaign event in Fresno, Calif., said he wanted to face off against Sanders ''so badly.''
He also said he wanted to give over $10 million for women's charities but ''networks want to keep money for themselves.''
Water in California - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
California's interconnected water system serves over 30 million people and irrigates over 5,680,000 acres (2,300,000 ha) of farmland. As the world's largest, most productive, and most controversial water system,[page needed] it manages over 40,000,000 acre feet (49 km3) of water per year.
Water and water rights are among the state's divisive political issues. Lacking reliable dry season rainfall, water is limited in the most populous U.S. state. An ongoing debate is whether the state should increase the redistribution of water to its large agricultural and urban sectors, or increase conservation and preserve the natural ecosystems of the water sources.
California's limited water supply comes from two main sources: surface water, or water that travels or gathers on the ground, like rivers, streams, and lakes; and groundwater, which is water that is pumped out from the ground. California has also begun producing a small amount of desalinated water, water that was once sea water, but has been purified.
GroundwaterEditGroundwater is a critical element of the California water supply. During a normal year, 30% of the state's water supply comes from groundwater (underground water). In times of intense drought, groundwater consumption can rise to 60% or more. Over 850,000,000 acre feet (1,050 km3) of water is stored in California's 450 known groundwater reservoirs. However, not all the water is usable. Over half of the groundwater is unavailable due to poor quality and the high cost of pumping the water from the ground. While surface water is concentrated mostly in the northern part of the state, groundwater is more evenly distributed.
The largest groundwater reservoirs are found in the Central Valley. The majority of the supply there is in the form of runoff that seeps into the aquifer. The freshwater is usually found in deposits of gravel, silt, and sand. Below these deposits lies a layer of deep sediment, a relic of the era when the Pacific Ocean covered the area.
Though California has laws governing surface water usage and quality, there exist no statewide groundwater management laws. Each groundwater basin is individually adjudicated to determine water rights. Otherwise, for all practical purposes, land ownership implicitly carries the right to virtually unlimited groundwater pumping.
The large quantity of water beneath the surface has given rise to the misconception that groundwater is a sort of renewable resource that can be limitlessly tapped. Calculations assuming that groundwater usage is sustainable if the rate of removal equals the rate of recharge are often incorrect as a result of ignoring changes in water consumption and water renewal.
While the volume of groundwater in California is very large, aquifers can be over drafted when groundwater is removed more rapidly than it is replenished. In 1999, it was estimated that the average, annual overdrafting was around 2,200,000 acre feet (2.7 km3) across the state, with 800,000 acre feet (0.99 km3) in the Central Valley. Since then, overdrafting had significantly increased. Satellite measurements found that in just the combined Sacramento and San Joaquin River basins, including the Central Valley, overdrafting between 2011 and 2014 was 12,000,000 acre feet (15 km3) of water per year.
Surface waterEditCalifornia has ten major drainage basins defined for convenience of water management. These basins are divided from one another by the crests of mountains. From north to south the basins are: North Coast, Sacramento River, North Lahontan, San Francisco Bay, San Joaquin River, Central Coast, Tulare Lake, South Lahontan, South Coast, and Colorado River regions. Each region incorporates watersheds from many rivers of similar clime.
The Central Valley watershed, which incorporates the Sacramento River, San Joaquin River and Tulare Lake regions, is the largest in California, draining over a third of the state '' 60,000 square miles (160,000 km2) '' and producing nearly half the total runoff. The Sierra Nevadasnowpack feeds Central Valley river systems and is a critical source of water in the state's long dry season when little if any precipitation falls. Up to 30 percent of California's water supply is from snowpack. Much of California's extensive reservoir and aqueduct system is designed to store and capture runoff from the Central Valley watershed. The Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers converge at the Sacramento''San Joaquin River Delta, a large fresh-water estuary from where much of the state's water supply is withdrawn. The Central Valley watershed provides most of the water for Northern and Central California, as well as a significant chunk of Southern California's usage.
The North Coast watershed receives the highest annual precipitation of any California watershed. It incorporates many large river systems such as the Klamath, Smith and Eel, and produces over a third of the runoff in the state. With a few exceptions, the North Coast watersheds are relatively undeveloped and provides water only to local communities. The vast majority of water flows uncontrolled into the Pacific Ocean. There have been many proposals to divert water from North Coast rivers to increase water supplies in the rest of California, but these projects were never realized, both due to cost and potential environmental harm.
The Colorado River originates more than 1,000 miles (1,600 km) from California in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado and Wyoming and forms the state's southeastern border in the Mojave Desert. Unlike the other California watersheds, essentially all of the water flowing in the Colorado originates outside the state. The Colorado is a critical source of irrigation and urban water for southern California, providing between 55 and 65 percent of the total supply.
The Central and South Coast watersheds include the most populous regions of California '' the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles and San Diego '' but have relatively little natural runoff, requiring the importation of water from other parts of the state.
Rivers of the Lahontan watersheds in eastern California are part of the high desert Great Basin and do not drain to the Pacific. Most of the water is used locally in eastern California and western Nevada for irrigation. The Owens River of the South Lahontan region, however, is a principal source of water for Los Angeles.
Main California watershedsHydrologic regionAnnual precipitationAnnual runoffNorth Coast55,900,000 acre feet (69.0 km3)28,900,000 acre feet (35.6 km3)Sacramento River52,400,000 acre feet (64.6 km3)22,400,000 acre feet (27.6 km3)North Lahontan6,000,000 acre feet (7.4 km3)1,900,000 acre feet (2.3 km3)San Francisco Bay5,500,000 acre feet (6.8 km3)1,200,000 acre feet (1.5 km3)San Joaquin River21,800,000 acre feet (26.9 km3)7,900,000 acre feet (9.7 km3)Central Coast12,300,000 acre feet (15.2 km3)2,500,000 acre feet (3.1 km3)Tulare Lake13,900,000 acre feet (17.1 km3)3,300,000 acre feet (4.1 km3)South Lahontan9,300,000 acre feet (11.5 km3)1,300,000 acre feet (1.6 km3)South Coast10,800,000 acre feet (13.3 km3)1,200,000 acre feet (1.5 km3)Colorado River4,300,000 acre feet (5.3 km3)200,000 acre feet (0.25 km3)Rain and snowfallEditRain typically falls in California only during the winter and spring months, from October through May, with more rain falling on the northern half of the state than the southern. Approximately 75 percent of the total precipitation volume occurs north of Sacramento, while 75 percent of the total water demand is in the south. With very rare exceptions, summers are dry throughout the state. Precipitation falling as snow in the Sierra and other mountain ranges feeds the network of reservoirs and surface water sources that supply the state; a low rainfall or light snowfall year can result in drought.
Rivers in northern and coastal California are mainly rain fed, peaking from January to April and falling to very low levels between June and November. Snowmelt has a significant influence on the Sierra Nevada rivers from east of Sacramento to east of Bakersfield, which typically peak between April and July. Snowmelt is also the primary water source for the Colorado River which supplies southern California.
California precipitation and snowpack is measured by the state of California by "water year", which runs from October 1 to September 30.
Water use in California is divided into approximately 51% for environmental uses, 39% agricultural use and 11% urban uses, though that varies considerably between regions and between wet and dry years. Solely relying on these statewide volumes is controversial because they don't consider the fact that most of the volume of water used for environmental purposes includes flows down Wild and Scenic Rivers in the North Coast where there is no practical way to recover it for either agricultural or urban use because it lacks many connections to the statewide water supply system. It also doesn't factor in the amount of water required to keep salty water from the Pacific Ocean from intruding into the Delta beyond a certain small concentration. Otherwise, "reduced water quality resulting from large amounts of salt water drawn into the Delta could shut down the export pumps that supply fresh water to agriculture and cities." 
Around 75% of California's water supply comes from north of Sacramento, while 80% of the water demand occurs in the southern two-thirds of the state. The Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta Estuary located between San Francisco Bay and Sacramento receives about 40% of California's total precipitation and 50% of its total streamflow. It is a critical hub used by the federal Central Valley Project and CaliforniaState Water Project to connect water collected and stored in the north regions of the state with aqueducts and canals that transport it to users in the North Bay, South Bay, East Bay, and Greater Southern California. In a typical year, about 10.8 million acre-feet are exported from the Delta: 67% is delivered by the Central Valley Project, 26% by the State Water Project and the remainder to other federal water project users. Those flows are greatly reduced in drought years. About 16.5 million acre-feet of water entering the Delta in a typical year flows through the Delta into San Francisco Bay, including 6.3 million acre-feet in governmentally mandated environmental flows; 22.4 million acre-feet is used for other environmental purposes, and 1.6 million acre-feet supplies water to managed wetlands and wildlife preserves.
AgriculturalEditIn an average year, about 39% of California's water consumption, or 34.1 million acre-feet, is used for agricultural purposes. Of that total, 10.8%, or 8.9 million acre-feet is not consumed by the farms for crop production but is instead recycled and reused by other water users, including environmental use, urban use, and agricultural use, yielding net water consumption for food and fiber production equal to 28.2% of California's water consumption, or 25.2 million acre-feet. This water irrigates almost 29 million acres (120,000 km2), which grows 350 different crops. Agricultural water usage varies depending on the amount of rainfall each year.
Alfalfa uses about 18% of California irrigation water and produces 4% of California's farm-gate revenue, most of which is used as livestock feed. In 2015, California exported one-fourth of its total alfalfa production of roughly 2 million tons. About one-third of that, around 700,000 tons, went to China, Japan took about the same amount and Saudi Arabia bought 5,000 tons. Alfalfa farmers pay about $70 an acre-foot, in Los Angeles that same amount of water is worth $1000 per acre-foot. In 2012, California exported 575,000 tons of alfalfa to China, for $586 million. Other common crop water use, if using all irrigated water: fruits and nuts with 34% of water use and 45% of revenue, field crops with 14% of water and 4% of revenue, pasture forage with 11% of water use and 1% of revenue, rice with 8% of water use and 2% of revenue (despite its lack of water, California grows nearly 5 billion pounds of rice per year, and is the second largest rice-growing state ), and truck farming of vegetables and nursery crops with 4% of water use and 42% of revenue; head of broccoli: 5.4 gallons; one walnut: 4.9 gallons; head of lettuce: 3.5 gallons; one tomato: 3.3 gallons; one almond 1.1 gallon; one pistachio: 0.75 gallon; one strawberry 0.4 gallon; one grape: 0.3 gallon.
Horses, based on the amount of alfalfa they eat, use about 1.9 million acre feet of water'--about 7% of irrigated water in the state. There are 698,000 horses in California.
Cheap agricultural water paired with a mild climate has allowed farmers to produce widely in California. Jane Dye Gussow discusses California's agricultural water in her book This Organic Life. She argues the farms that use precious water in California produces food in an area that "was never intended to be a garden."  The Central Valley, or the breadbasket of California where the majority of this agricultural water is used, is the most threatened agricultural land in the nation. The current water crisis raises the question, should California's water be used on agriculture if certain crops can be grown elsewhere?[POV?'' discuss]
Urban/residentialEditUrban and industrial use of water consumes about 10.8%, or 8.9 million acre-feet, of total water consumption in an average year. A 2011 study of a sampling of 735 California homes across ten water districts found that the weighted average annual total water use of these homes was 132,000 US gallons (0.41 acre·ft) per year or 362 US gallons (0.00111 acre·ft) per household per day. To put that in perspective, the typical office water cooler holds 5 US gallons (1.510''5 acre·ft), or about 1.4% of the study's estimated daily average household use. The study found that about 53% of total average household water use, or more than 192 US gallons (0.00059 acre·ft) per household per day, was used for landscaping and other outdoor uses Meanwhile, indoor use accounted for more than 170 US gallons (0.00052 acre·ft) per household per day. The most in-home water consumption is toilet flushes, using 20% of the water. After toilets, 20% is used for showers and 18% goes to leaks inside homes.
In Sacramento, in 2012 before the severe drought started, residents were using 217 US gallons (0.00067 acre·ft) a day per-capita. Many homes in Sacramento didn't have water meters until recently. They now are gradually being installed after former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a 2004 law mandating meters statewide by 2025.
After Folsom, a city of 72,000 east of Sacramento, installed meters in 2011 and adopted tiered rates that charge more for people who consume the most water, per-capita use started falling steadily.
There are six main systems of aqueducts and infrastructure that redistribute and transport water in California: the State Water Project, the Central Valley Project, several Colorado River delivery systems, the Los Angeles Aqueduct, the Tuolumne River/Hetch Hetchy system, and the Mokelumne Aqueduct.
The State Water ProjectEditThe California State Water Project is the largest multipurpose, state-built water project in the United States. The SWP transports water from the Feather River watershed to agriculture, and some of the water goes to industrial and urban users. More than two-thirds of Californians receive some water from the SWP. The system was designed and contracted to deliver 4,200,000 acre feet (5.2 km3), but in an average year delivers only 2,300,000 acre feet (2.8 km3) because many of the original planned features were never built. Twenty-nine agencies hold contracts for SWP water. The contractors pay for SWP's major operating costs and have gradually reduced the $1.75 billion bond debt that supplied funds for initial construction. In the years since 1960, SWP has built 29 dams, 18 pumping plants, five hydroelectric power plants, and around 600 miles (970 km) of canals and pipelines.
The SWP system begins with reservoirs on upper tributaries of the Feather River. Oroville Dam creates the largest SWP reservoir. At 770 feet (230 m) above the riverbed, the dam is the tallest in the United States. The reservoir covers 15,000 acres (61 km2) and holds 3,500,000 acre feet (4.3 km3). Water travels from Lake Oroville to the Sacramento River. At Harvey O. Banks Delta Pumping Plant, which pulls SWP water into the Bethany Reservoir, around 2,200,000 acre feet (2.7 km3) are extracted from the Delta each year. Water that flows to the south end of the San Joaquin Valley must be pumped over the Tehachapi Mountains. Because of this, the SWP is California's largest energy consumer, and even though the hydroelectric plants of the SWP generate 5,900 GWh per year, that is only a fraction of the energy needed to lift water over the Tehachapis. Below the Tehachapis the California Aqueduct splits, with the west branch storing water in Castaic and Pyramid Lake, and the east branch storing water in the Silverwood Lake reservoir.
The Central Valley ProjectEditThe CVP's original purpose was to tame seasonal flooding and to direct water to the south to irrigate 3 million acres (12,000 km2) of farmland. The CVP is operated by the United States Bureau of Reclamation. As one of the largest water systems in the world it stores over 7,000,000 acre feet (8.6 km3) of water, or 17 percent of the state's developed water. The CVP dams and diverts five major rivers: the Trinity, the Sacramento, the American, the Stanislaus, and the San Joaquin. Friant Dam, on the San Joaquin, was completed in 1944, forming Millerton Lake. This was one of 20 reservoirs in the CVP. Shasta Dam, the largest CVP storage facility, was completed in 1945. At Sacramento, American River water stored by Folsom Dam is added. 2,500,000 acre feet (3.1 km3) are annually pumped from the Delta into the Delta-Mendota Canal. New Melones Dam on the Stanislaus River was finished in 1979, and the reservoir was filled in 1982.
The CVP has generated some controversy about environmental damage, prices charged to farmers, and lax enforcement of farm size limitations. Bureau of Reclamation water was supposed to be used for farms limited to 160 acres (see Homestead Act). Under Spanish and Mexicanland grants, however, there were only a few land owners, all of whom owned large tracts of land. A 1982 reform increased CVP area limits to 960 acres (3.9 km2). In 1992, the Central Valley Project Improvement Act made fish and wildlife protection and restoration an authorized purpose of the CVP on an equal footing with other authorized purposes. 800,000 acre feet (0.99 km3) of annual runoff were dedicated to environmental usage, which generated intense controversy.
Colorado River SystemsEditThe Colorado River is the source of 4,400,000 acre feet (5.4 km3) per year for California. Six other states along the river's watershed (Wyoming, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona) and Mexico, share allocated portions of river water. The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, or MWD, holds priority water rights on the Colorado. It sells water to 95 percent of the South Coast region. Lake Mead, formed by Hoover Dam, is the primary reservoir in the Colorado River basin. The Colorado River Aqueduct begins 155 miles (249 km) downstream from Hoover Dam, and can carry 1,200,000 acre feet (1.5 km3) annually.
An additional system diverts water from the Colorado River at the Imperial Diversion Dam provides waters to the Imperial and Coachella valleys as well as Yuma, Arizona, via the Alamo Canal, the Coachella Canal and the All-American Canal, which runs alongside the Mexican border. This system was also responsible for the accidental re-creation of the Salton Sea in 1905.
The Colorado is considered over-allocated, because apportionments were made on inaccurate measurements of annual runoff. Marc Reisner in Cadillac Desert noted that the Colorado is "unable to satisfy all the demands on it, so it is referred to as a 'deficit' river, as if the river were somehow at fault for its overuse". For years California took more than its share of the apportionment, because other states were not prepared to use their entire allotments. MWD became used to 800,000 acre feet (0.99 km3) excess of water. Pressure from other Colorado river states caused the Secretary of the Interior to order California to show progress towards decreasing its dependency on the excess 800,000 acre feet (0.99 km3), or face cuts. The Colorado River Water Use Plan called for Imperial and Coachella Valley agriculture to give up water in order to reallocate 800,000 acre feet (0.99 km3) within the state. The plan's proposals generated much controversy, and the deadline arrived with no agreement reached. The Department of the Interior reduced MWD's access by 415,000 acre feet (0.512 km3).
The Los Angeles AqueductEditThe Los Angeles Aqueduct carries water from the Eastern Sierra Nevada to Los Angeles. The construction of the aqueduct marked the first major water delivery project in California. The city purchased 300,000 acres (1,200 km2) of land in the Owens Valley in order to gain access to water rights. The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power transports 400,000 acre feet (0.49 km3) of Eastern Sierra Nevada water to the city each year. This growth clearly shows William Mulholland's observation that "Whoever brings the water, brings the people."
After four decades of diversion from the Mono Lake area, environmental damage created an environmental battle in the 1980s, with a victory for the Mono Lake proponents in 1994. Other problems arose when dust from the bed of Owens Lake (completely dried up by diversions) became a major source of air pollution in the southern Owens Valley. To restore Mono Lake, correct air-quality law violations, and rewater portions of the Owens River, Los Angeles has begun to reduce its dependence on Eastern Sierra Nevada water. This has mostly been achieved through water conservation. The city enacted a program offering free low-flow toilets to its customers.
Hetch Hetchy AqueductEditMain article: Hetch HetchyThe Hetch Hetchy Aqueduct carries water from the Tuolumne River to San Francisco and other Bay Area regions. The system starts in Hetch Hetchy Valley, inside Yosemite National Park. The system also generates electricity, which is a major source of revenue for San Francisco. After water leaves Hetch Hetchy, it passes through tunnels towards powerhouses. Three pipes then bring the water across the Central Valley. Concerns about the Hetch Hetchy Aqueduct's ability to withstand earthquakes led to a $1.7 billion bond, approved by voters in November 2002.
Mokelumne AqueductEditThe East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) serves 35 communities in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties, including Berkeley and Oakland. The Mokelumne River in the central Sierra Nevada is the source for almost all of EBMUD's water. EBMUD built the Pardee Dam across the Mokelumne in the foothills northeast of Stockton. South of Pardee is Camanche Reservoir, which regulates releases to serve downstream water rights holders. EBMUD holds almost 30,000 acres (120 km2) in the Mokulumne River watershed and 25,000 acres (100 km2) in other watersheds. EBMUD also has an American River water right that could be sent to the Mokelumne Aqueduct through the Folsom South Canal. The only time this has been done was during the drought years of 1977-78, when the water was actually pumped from the Delta. This generated controversy, as EBMUD preferred the cleaner water from the American River, but environmentalists and Sacramento had concerns about the impacts such a diversion would have on the river. The legal battle led to affirmation of EBMUD's water right, but modifications were also negotiated. The intake point was moved downstream, to maintain minimum flows in the American River before it merges with the Sacramento.
North BayEditThe North Bay Aqueduct of the California State Water Project delivers an annual average of 39,309 acre-feet of water to urban communities and agricultural users in Napa, Solano, Sonoma and Marin counties. That water is diverted from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta Estuary, a water hub that serves as the junction of south-, west, and north-flowing rivers draining the Cascade and Sierra Nevada mountain ranges.
Certain municipalities north of San Francisco Bay, including Santa Rosa and Petaluma, are served by the Sonoma County Water Agency. Their primary water source is the Russian River. However, it must be noted that the Russian River owes its summer flow in large part to the Eel, which is bled off via a tunnel into Potter Valley (via the Potter Valley Project) and flows to a reservoir near Ukiah, Lake Mendocino. PG&E now owns the rights to this delivery system, as well as the long controversial history. There are many[who?] along the Eel who would like their water back.
The cities of Vallejo, Fairfield, and Vacaville are served by the Solano County Water Agency, which transports water from Lake Berryessa and moves it south along the Putah South Canal. Marin County has the Marin Municipal Water District and the North Marin Water District.
Planning and managementEditThe planning and management of water in California is subject to a vast number of laws, regulations, management plans, and historic water rights.
The California state agency responsible for water planning is the California Department of Water Resources.
California water plansEditThere have been several documents known as the "California Water Plan", with the most recent being published in 2013. Before the state of California started drafting comprehensive plans for the management of water in the state, the earliest plan for water distribution in California was an 1873 report. This was followed by a 1919 report called "Irrigation of Twelve Million Acres in the Valley of California". The 1919 report is this first comprehensive plan, and is often called the "Marshall Plan", after its author Col. Robert Bradford Marshall. There have been many subsequent water plans and water plan updates, which were often issued as California Department of Water Resources bulletins. California Water Code provides guidance or the plan updates. Beginning in 1957, early Water Plan Updates were largely technical and focused on water supply development. Plans gradually became more comprehensive to address the state's growing conflicts over limited resources. Updates now present the status and trends of California's water-dependent natural resources; water supplies; and agricultural, urban, and environmental water demands for a range of plausible future scenarios. They also evaluate different combinations of regional and statewide resource management strategies to reduce water demand, increase water supply, reduce flood risk, improve water quality, and enhance environmental and resource stewardship. The evaluations and assessments performed for the updates help identify effective actions and policies for meeting California's resource management objectives in the near term and for several decades to come.
Since 2000, another major goal for each update has been to receive broad input and support from Californians. Preparation of these new millennial Water Plan updates has been widely viewed as exceptionally transparent and collaborative as the consensus seeking process is routinely cited by other agencies and states as a model for policy planning efforts. The approach involves: interest based dialog and exchange among teams, committees and the public to develop work products; multiple opportunities for review by different audiences; and integration and reconciliation of feedback from a variety of perspectives.
Update 2013 leverages the clear guidance Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. (Jerry Brown) forged with his California Water Action Plan. That five-year plan, released in January 2014, outlines a succinct set of actions that together bring reliability, restoration, and resilience to California water resources, even as the state's population is expected to grow from 38 million to 50 million by 2049.
Three related themes distinguish Update 2013 from Update 2009. The five year time span reinforced the value of integrated water management, and Update 2013 closely examines the practices and policies that allow water managers to combine flood management, environmental stewardship, and surface water and groundwater supply actions to deliver multiple benefits across a region. Fundamental to that integrated approach is better alignment in the management of data, planning, policy-making, and regulation across local, State, tribal, and federal governments.
With water within the state of California becoming a growing issue, new developments in desalination plants have been developed. In fact, according to San Diego County Water Authority, a major desalination plant is already underway to begin construction. The plant will help the county with its rapidly growing problem, and though the plant isn't enough to fix the problem as a whole, it's quite the start for the county. Also, the water agreement between San Diego County, and the private organization who is developing this plant, will be on a 30-year lease. After the 30 years have passed, the desalination plant will be available for the county to purchase for a very low price, which will make the water cleansing a local responsibility. This will give the federal government more funds and time to focus on other opportunities in finding a solution for the state's water depletion.
Water rightsEditOn more than one occasion, the California Supreme Court has noted that "the scope and technical complexity of issues concerning water resource management are unequaled by virtually any other type of activity presented to the courts." An example of this complexity is demonstrated in the case of National Audubon Society v. Superior Court.
Water rights are divided in multiple ways. Water rights to surface water and underground sources are separate. Also, California recognizes four distinct types of water rights to surface water in its statutory and common law: pueblo, riparian, prior appropriation, and water reserved by the USA. A fifth statutory right also provides area of origin watershed rights.
Pueblo water rightsEditCalifornia recognizes water rights granted to pueblos (settlements) under the Spanish and Mexican governments, prior to the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. Under the doctrine, pueblos organized under the laws of Mexico or Spain have a water right to the yield of all streams and rivers flowing through the city and the groundwater aquifers lying below. Pueblo water rights are superior to all riparian and appropriative rights and cannot be lost by a failure to assert an interest or use the water. In addition, the pueblo's claim expands with the needs of the city and may be used to supply the needs of areas that are later annexed to the city. Los Angeles and San Diego are the only original pueblos to exercise their pueblo water rights in the courts.
Pueblo water rights are controversial. Some modern scholars and courts argue that the pueblo water rights doctrine lacks a historical basis in Spanish or Mexican water law.
Riparian water rightsEditUnder the riparian doctrine, "the owner of land has the right to divert the water flowing by his land for use upon his land, without regard to the extent of such use or priority in time". "Riparians on a stream system are vested with a common ownership such that in times of water shortage all riparians must reduce their usage proportionately."
Riparian water rights were inherited from the common law of England. Under the doctrine, property owners have correlative rights to the reasonable use of the water passing through their land adjacent to the watercourse. The right is part and parcel with the land itself and, in California, only accompanies those tracts that have always directly touched the water.
The English focus on landownership differs sharply from the "first in time, first in right" approach 49ers, who were generally trespassing on federal land, developed to wash hills into rivers. In Lux v. Haggin (1886) the California Supreme Court resolved the conflict by finding that riparian water rights are superior even to older prior appropriations. When in 1926 the Court went so far as to find that riparian owners did not need to put their water to beneficial use, the People amended the California Constitution to reverse the decision, establishing that no water in the state may be wasted.
While riparian rights are superior to appropriative rights and may survive dormant and unused, in 1979 the California Supreme Court found that the California State Water Resources Control Board has the power to assign unused riparian rights lower priority than existing prior appropriations.
Water rights by prior appropriationEdit"The appropriation doctrine confers upon one who actually diverts and uses water the right to do so provided that the water is used for reasonable and beneficial uses," regardless of whether that person owns land contiguous to the watercourse. In addition, all appropriative rights are subordinate to riparians or earlier appropriators. In times of shortage riparians are entitled to fulfill their needs before appropriators are entitled to any use of the water. "And, as between appropriators, the rule of priority is 'first in time, first in right.'" Beginning in 1914, a statutory scheme has provided the exclusive method of acquiring appropriation rights through the California State Water Resources Control Board. The modern system of prior appropriation water rights followed by California is characterized by five principles:
Exclusive right is given to the original appropriator, and all following rights are conditional upon precedent rights.All rights are conditional upon beneficial use.Water may be used on riparian lands or non-riparian lands (i.e. water may be used on the land next to the water source, or on land removed from the water source)Diversion is permitted, regardless of the shrinkage of the river or stream.The right may be lost through non-use.Beneficial use is defined as agricultural, industrial, or urban use. Environmental uses, such as maintaining body of water and the wildlife that use it, were not initially regarded as beneficial uses in some states but have been accepted in some areas. Every water right is parameterized by an annual yield and an appropriation date. When a water right is sold, it maintains its original appropriation date.
Water reserved by the United StatesEditLands reserved by the United States government are accompanied by a corresponding reservation of water rights for as much water is needed to fulfill the purpose for which the reservation was made. Such reservations were made on behalf of Native American tribes, national parks, monuments and forests. Water rights reserved by the United States are defined by and controlled by federal law. And because reserved water rights are not riparian nor appropriative, they may conflict with state law.
Area of origin watershed rightsEditCalifornia provides communities and other water users within watersheds senior status over appropriative water rights in limited circumstances. California area of origin laws include The County of Origin Law (1931), The Water Protection Statute (1933), and The Delta Protection Act (1959).
Area of origin water rights parallel pueblo water rights. In both cases, water is reserved for future growth of the local community. In other words, appropriations may be subject to a water rights claim from people/government in the area of origin. That later claim would be senior despite its temporal disconnect. As a result of its pueblo rights, Los Angeles has rights to all or almost all water from the Los Angeles River.[which?] In the same way, communities along major water sources such as the Sacramento River theoretically have senior water rights to support growth despite a downstream user holding otherwise senior appropriative water rights.
Area of origin laws were passed in reaction to the controversies related to Los Angeles diverting water from the Owens Valley. Despite being on the books for generations, the area of origin statutes were not used until 2000. In addition, there currently are no court opinions regarding area of origin watershed rights.
AdjudicationEditSince under the law, landowners can extract as much groundwater from their property as they can put to beneficial use, adjudication was used to determine who had the right to pump how much and to audit such usage. The courts appoint water masters to audit usage and otherwise enforce water rights, who are often management boards, the federal United States Department of the Interior, the California Department of Water Resources, or an individual.
Disputes and controversiesEditThe California Water Wars, a struggle between Los Angeles and certain parties within the Owens Valley, for water rights is but one of examples of the alleged wrongdoings of municipalities and people in securing adequate water supplies. The city of Los Angeles bought 300,000 acres (1,200 km2) of land from residents of the Owens Valley and the water rights attached with them, for a fair price. The diverting of this water from the valley, it is alleged, transformed it from an agricultural valley into a dust bowl.
The electricity produced by the hydroelectric plants drawing their water from the Hetch Hetchy reservoir became the subject of controversy when it was reported by the San Francisco Bay Guardian that the city of San Francisco sold roughly 500 megawatts of power to the PG&E, supposedly in violation of the Raker Act, which specifies that because the source of water and power was on public land, no private profit could be gained from such sales. Whether or not the Raker Act is indeed being violated is still a matter of controversy.
The creation of so many dams in California in order to enact a pragmatic water supply program has been met with criticism from some environmentalists,[which?] who have decried the negative effects of dams on ecosystems, particularly on migratory fish populations.
Predicted need for increased water suppliesEditIt is projected that California's population will be almost 50 million people in the year 2020. If the prediction comes true and there is no action to increase the water supply, the difference between water demand and supply would be between 2,000,000 and 6,000,000 acre feet (7.4 km3) in the year 2020. Over the past five years California voters have approved $3 billion in bonds for water development and management. Many of these projects are incorporated in the CALFED Bay-Delta program, a federal-state program designed to reduce water supply conflicts. In August 2000 the state and federal governments approved the CALFED plan for water quality, water conservation and recycling, watershed administration, ecosystem re-establishment, delta levees, surface and groundwater storage, water transportation, and science. The plan has a thirty-year implementation period and designed to incorporate changes in conditions and knowledge about the effects of specific projects. Stage 1 was initiated in 2000 and was designed as a seven-year program. The cost is estimated to be $8.7 billion. Stage 1 water yield within the next seven to ten years is estimated to be 2,900,000 acre feet (3.6 km3) per year. As part of Stage 1, an Environmental Water Account was established through the purchase of 350,000 acre feet (0.43 km3) of water. The EWA is used to protect fish and other wildlife without reducing water allocations to farms and municipalities.
A $7.5 billion water bond was approved in November 2014 with a 2 to 1 ratio. The bond-financing has been contentiously debated by the legislature and Governor Jerry Brown for the past few years, was said to improve the water quality, supply and infrastructure, if passed by voters.
Natural disasters and California waterEditMajor droughts in California history since 1900Edit1917''211922''261928''371943''511959''621976''771987''922007''092012''15Archives relating to California waterEditThe California Water Documents collection in the Claremont Colleges Digital Library is a valuable online resource of archived materials related to California's water history. Topics encompassed in the collection include: water quality, flood control, water distribution, water conservation, water usage, drought, and geology. Additionally, the collection has digitized materials relating to the creation and operation of both the Central Valley Project and the California State Water Project as well as their component units. The items represented in the Claremont Colleges Digital Library are part of a larger collection entitled the Water Resources Collection in Special Collections at Claremont Colleges' Honnold/Mudd Library. The Water Resources Collection was started in the 1930s by Librarian Willis Holmes Kerr and Librarian and Claremont Colleges' Trustee John Treanor. These librarians' interest in California's water problem led them to start collecting a variety of documents related to water history and usage from around the state. It includes reports of engineers, annual reports and minute books of boards of directors of water companies, documents of federal and state governments, promotional pamphlets, and newspaper clippings. Most of the documents focus on the water history from the first half of the 20th century, but there are additional, more recent publications included, which have been donated by Claremont Graduate University Professor Merrill Goodall. The California Water Documents collection is currently a work in progress at the Claremont Colleges Digital Library.
The Water Resources Collections and Archives is located at the University of California, Riverside and features a comprehensive collection of water-resource related documents.
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Phillips, 5 Cal. 140, 147 (1855)).^United States v. State Water Res. Control Bd., 182 Cal.App.3d 82 (1986) (citing People v. Shirokow, 26 Cal.3d 301, 308 (1980))^Gopalakrishnan, Chennat (1973). "The Doctrine of Prior Appropriation and Its Impact on Water Development: A Critical Survey". American Journal of Economics and Sociology32 (1). pp. 61''72. ^Western States Water Laws Western States Instream Flow Summary.^ abcCappaert v. United States, 426 U.S. 128 (1976)^Winters v. United States, 207 U.S. 564 (1908)^Arizona v. California, 373 U.S. 546 (1963)^California Water Code 10505 (provides a general area of origin right); California Water Code 10505.5 (inserts general area of origin right into all appropriative water rights); California Water Code 11460-63 (provides area of origin protection from the Central Valley Project and State Water Project)^Wilson, Craig. "California's Area of Origin Laws"(PDF). Retrieved 24 February 2016. ^Byrne, Peter. Delusions of Power. San Francisco Weekly. 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Clinton apparently can only understand how to use a Blackberry, has no idea how to operate a desktop computer.
posted at 6:41 am on May 27, 2016 by Larry O'Connor
We're told that Hillary Clinton is the smartest, most qualified and most capable person to ever run for President. Ever.
Let's face it, we're lucky that she's even lowering herself to the demeaning process of having to earn votes in the presidential election. We should just give her the job by unanimous acclimation.
So what to make of this revelation, via Daily Caller?
As Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton never used a password to protect her computer emails, and she was clueless about how regular emails work on a conventional computer, according to a deposition of a foreign service officer at the State Department.
Fox News has the details on the sworn testimony of a State Department staffer charged with assisting Clinton with gaining access to her personal email address:
In a two-hour deposition with the conservative legal watchdog group Judicial Watch last week, Lewis Lukens also said he offered to set up a ''stand-alone'' computer for Clinton to check her personal email account, only to be told that she ''does not know how to use a computer to do email.''
Albert Einstein in a pants-suit doesn't know how to use a personal computer to ''do email.''
The question from Judicial Watch attorneys that brought about the revelation of Hillary's PC IQ issues was a pretty important one:
''The crux of the issue was that BlackBerrys and iPhones are not allowed in the secretary's office suite, so the question was: How is the secretary going to be able to check her e-mails if she's not able to have the BlackBerry at her desk with her?''
That's why Lukens offered to set up the stand-alone PC for Clinton to use. But she didn't have time to brush up on the basics from Email for Dummies so that idea was rejected.
How did the leader of America's State Department exchange 50,000 emails if she didn't know how to use a computer? According to the testimony, she circumvented the security protocols: (Bloomberg)
Hillary Clinton was so attached to her BlackBerry as secretary of state that she was sometimes spotted in the hallway outside her highly secure office using the device, according to a State Department official.
Also revealed in the Lukens sworn deposition to Tom Fitton's watchdog group was the appearance of subterfuge in the administration of Clinton's unorthodox email scheme:
Q What was your understanding of why former Secretary Clinton wanted to check her e-mail?
A: My understanding was for her to stay in touch with family and friends.
And later in the testimony:
Q: And so the standalone computer that you were proposing to allow her to check e-mail, was that for her to stay in touch with family and friends or for work purposes?
A: My understanding was family and friends.
Q: Did you have any reason to believe that the standalone computer would be used for any other purpose?
Summary: Clinton circumvented the secure offices at the State Department so she could check her private, unsecured emails on a non-secure, over-the-counter Blackberry. A staffer at Foggy Bottom was asked to install a stand-alone PC so his boss could access personal email with family and friends (or so he was told.) It turns out the email account was actually used for all of the Secretary's business, including classified communications. But, that plan didn't work because Hillary Rodham Clinton doesn't know how to use a computer.
Judge acknowledges Donald Trump's attacks, unseals files in Trump U suit - POLITICO
Donald Trump suggested Friday, as he has before, that he might move to recuse Judge Gonzalo Curiel from the suits. | Getty
A federal judge blasted by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump Friday has taken note of the fact that Trump isn't happy with the way the judge is handling lawsuits over alleged fraud by the Trump University real estate seminar program.
Just hours after Trump used a campaign speech at a San Diego convention center to unleash a remarkable verbal fusillade against U.S. District Court Judge Gonzalo Curiel, the judge '-- who also happens to be based in the same southern California city '-- acknowledged a much more measured fashion of the criticism Trump has aimed at the court.
"Defendant became the front-runner for the Republican nomination in the 2016 presidential race, and has placed the integrity of these court proceedings at issue," Curiel said in an order unsealing a series of internal Trump University documents that Trump's lawyers asked be kept from the public.
The judge's order didn't make reference to Trump's 12-minute tirade Friday afternoon in which the all-but-certain Republican nominee called Curiel a "hater" and again invoked his Latino heritage. However, the judge cited a series of news stories from earlier in the campaign, including an NBC story which noted Trump called Curiel "extremely unfair" and an Associated Press story titled, "Trump: Judge's ethnicity matters in Trump University suit."
''I have a judge who is a hater of Donald Trump, a hater. He's a hater. His name is Gonzalo Curiel ... I think Judge Curiel should be ashamed of himself,'' Mr. Trump said at Friday's rally, echoing many of the same points he made in speeches a few months ago. ''I'm telling you, this court system, judges in this court system, federal court, they ought to look into Judge Curiel. Because what Judge Curiel is doing is a total disgrace, OK?"
Curiel said in his order Friday that Trump's presidential campaign and his criticism of the court were reasons to overrule his objections to the release of so-called "Playbooks" describing Trump University's operations. The judge also noted that one version was published by POLITICO in March. "The entire 2010 Playbook has been posted online by Politico," Curiel wrote.
It's unclear whether the judge knew of Trump's latest volley of attacks when the judge issued the order Friday afternoon, but it seems possible. Curiously, the Republican candidate laid into the judge at about the same time the judge was holding a hearing less than a mile away on a motion by the Washington Post seeking unsealing of the Trump University-related files. The judge's order was released a couple hours after the hearing.
Trump suggested Friday, as he has before, that he might move to recuse Curiel from the suits. However, the real estate mogul's lawyers have never brought such a motion.
Josh Gerstein is a senior reporter for POLITICO.
Sanders Candidacy Devolving into an Arrogant Insufferable Self-serving Disaster
Many including me have consistently given Bernie Sanders the credit for fighting for what he believes in and suggesting he should decide on his own when to leave the race. We gave him credit for beginning his campaign with grace and purpose as I did in a recent column. Unfortunately he is choosing to end it as a boor more concerned with boosting his own ego than with moving forward the issues he espoused.
Presidential primaries are not new. Bernie Sanders knew all the rules when he asked to enter the Democratic Party primaries even though he never registered as a Democrat. The Party graciously invited him to do so. While many thought he wouldn't do as well as he has all credit for that goes to him and the issues he has talked about. His mantra of single-payer health care, bringing down Wall Street, and free college caught on with young people and they came out to his rallies by the thousands.
What he soon found out even with his big rallies is most people who vote in Democratic primaries want a candidate who is versed in a much broader spectrum of issues. They understand the President of the United States is also the leader of the free world and must speak to a broader audience here and around the world. Very left-leaning Democratic primary voters alone can't elect a candidate in the general election. Those who understood that voted for Hillary Clinton which is why she has over 3 million more votes than he does.
Bernie's campaign made many mistakes. The biggest being while he knew the rules he forgot to tell his supporters what they were. Instead of blaming himself he now blames the Democratic Party for his mistakes. His own senior advisor helped create the superdelegate system. He knew which primaries were 'open,' where anyone can vote; or 'closed' where only registered Democrats can vote. He didn't think it important to tell any of the people who came out to his rallies about that.
Then he had to have seen as he looked out at the people attending his rallies that they were nearly all 'white'. Any understanding of the demographics of the Democratic Party and the nation should have alerted him to the fact 'white' voters alone wouldn't elect him. Yet he apparently couldn't move to broaden his appeal because for 33 years as a politician he never before had to do that. He has no real record with the African American or Latino communities to fall back on. He was never a leader in the women's movement or the LGBT movement for equality. While he claimed he always supported those movements in all his years in politics he never introduced legislation to move the civil and human rights of those groups forward.
All these things came home to roost because he was running against a woman who had deep contacts with all those groups and who has spoken out around the nation and the world for all of them. Yes Hillary may have had more opportunity than Bernie to do that and to her credit she took every opportunity given her to make a difference for all people. Whether it was in a meeting with Nelson Mandela; supporting the United Farm Workers; speaking out in Beijing for women; or in Geneva for the LGBT community; Hillary was there on the front lines while Bernie was somewhere back in the crowd.
Bernie knows primaries are about collecting the number of delegates needed to be the nominee of the Party. So for his mistakes and for having fallen short he now wants to blame everyone but himself and his campaign. He can't afford to pay for TV in California so he plays into Donald Trump's hand agreeing to participate in a debate with Trump which can only be called a stunt and serves to help Trump. He fights the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and suggests there will be a messy Democratic convention because he can't accept or tell his supporters honestly he has lost.
It can only be hoped he has some close advisors who will help him face reality and say to him; "Bernie you LOST, it's over. That happens in elections and the time has come to show some class." He needs to be told "While you have achieved your fifteen minutes of fame and made a real difference in the discussion if you want to actually make a difference on the issues you care about you will gracefully leave the stage. Working with Hillary and not trying to tear her down is the way to make progress on the progressive issues you claim to care about. Any other scenario places you in the position to take the blame if Trump wins."
Bernie if Donald Trump wins and gets to appoint a Supreme Court Justice and negates all the progress Barack Obama has fought for in the past eight years, you become the 2016 Ralph Nader. The same Nader who now at age 84 walks around Dupont Circle in Washington, DC with his head down afraid people will recognize him and say "Thanks Ralph for electing George W. Bush." You don't want to be that person in a couple of years with people saying 'Thanks Bernie for electing Donald Trump. "
Latest Hillary Scandal: Lesbian Lovers >> Alex Jones' Infowars: There's a war on for your mind!
The National Enquirer is reporting Democrat presumptive Hillary Clinton used an unsecured phone on numerous occasions to contact lesbian lovers.''It is my understanding that Hillary was careless'--very careless,'' a Beltway insider told the gossip newspaper. ''What she wants to do in her own bedroom is her own business. But she didn't take the necessary steps to keep her romps with other women secret, and now it's going to explode in front of every American voter!''
In March, the newspaper reported emails on Clinton's private email server included missives detailing her lesbian lifestyle. The accusation was not confirmed.
Earlier this year Sally Miller, aka Sally Perdue, an ex-Miss America finalist, said Bill Clinton told her Hillary prefers females. Miller and Clinton had an affair when Clinton was the governor of Arkansas.
''Hillary is a lesbian,'' Miller told The Daily Mail in February. ''I take him at his word and he told me she liked females more than men. She was the child of a more progressive community. She was exposed to all the liberals, she was a flower child.''
Bill's former mistress Gennifer Flowers also says Hillary is bisexual. She said Hillary had more oral sex with women than her husband.
Rumors about Hillary Clinton's lesbianism have circulated for years.
In 2005, Edward Klein penned The Truth About Hillary: What She Knew, When She Knew It, And How Far She'll Go To Become President. Klein writes Clinton is obsessed with lesbianism, not as a sexual practice but a political statement. ''Hillary talked about it a lot, read lesbian literature, and embraced it as a revolutionary concept,'' according to Klein.
In 2013, the National Enquirer quoted a Clinton insider as saying the couple ''want lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people behind Hillary in the 2016 campaign. So Hillary's going to come clean for the votes. She'll admit that she's bisexual and has had lesbian relationships.''
''The bottom line is that if Hillary Clinton becomes president in 2016, she will not only be our first female president, she could be our first lesbian president,'' Bryan Fischer, the president of the American Family Association, claimed during a radio broadcast in September 2013.
Last June former Clinton insider Larry Nichols told the Alex Jones Show Hillary is worse than her husband when it comes to chasing women. Nichols said Clinton is ''AC/DC'' and ''it was hard enough to cover up the affairs of Bill, but it was extremely difficult to cover up for Hillary and her lesbian affairs'... she's a butch.''
Hillary Clinton Lesbian Lovers Secret Emails Named | National Enquirer
Hillary Clinton isn't just caught in a political scandal over her missing emails from her stint as secretary of state '' she's also terrified of personal revelations about a secret lesbian lifestyle!
Now a world-exclusive investigation by The National ENQUIRER reveals that some of the presidential candidate's famously ''deleted'' emails are packed full of lesbian references and her lovers' names.
''I don't think she's so concerned about emails referring to her as secretly gay,'' said a Clinton insider. ''That's been out for years '' her real fear is that the names of some of her lovers would be made public!''
The ENQUIRER learned the list of Hillary's lesbian lovers includes a beauty in her early 30s who has often traveled with Hillary; a popular TV and movie star; the daughter of a top government official; and a stunning model who got a career boost after allegedly sleeping with Hillary. Hillary made the huge mistake of mixing public and private messages while using her personalized email server '' before risking a massive scandal by refusing to make the documents public.
''That's clearly why she went to the extraordinary step of deleting everything,'' the high-ranking source told The ENQUIRER .
Hillary is particularly concerned about intimate emails to longtime aide Huma Abedin '' who married U.S. Representative Anthony Weiner in a ceremony that many ridiculed as a political arrangement. Anthony later resigned over extramarital sexting scandals, after porn star Sydney Leathers said that she believed he was in an open marriage.
''I think a lot of the time when we were speaking, Huma was probably with Hillary,'' she charged, at the time.
One exchange between the women had Hillary mistakenly responding to political correspondence with an email that seemed to be about decorating.
Added the insider: ''That makes you wonder if any sensitive information was sent to her romantic partners!''
The scandal unraveled in March, when Hillary revealed she deleted over 30,000 emails, insisting the messages were just ''things you typically find in inboxes.''
HR chiefs: President Trump won't cause government exodus
HR chiefs: President Trump won't cause government exodusBy Zach NobleMay 26, 2016Federal HR execs aren't worried about a Trump-induced stampede for the exits. (Photo credit: Joseph Sohm/Shutterstock.com)
After all the hyperbolic bombast, federal HR leaders are hopeful that things will return to normal when the next president takes office '' whomever wins the election.
The 2016 election cycle has been "emotionally charged for a lot of folks, and public servants are not immune to that," noted Ray Limon, deputy chief human capital officer for the Department of the Interior.
It's been so charged that when GovExec asked 688 feds for their thoughts on a Donald Trump presidency, 25 percent of respondents said they'd consider quitting their jobs if he were elected and 59 percent said they'd feel embarrassed about the new commander-in-chief.
But that could just be talk.
"I don't think that many of the people are thinking that they're going to leave government" based on election results, said David Tumblin, deputy chief human capital officer at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
"I don't see any particular mass exodus or people dialing down," Limon told FCW. "People are going to do their jobs."
For many career feds, those jobs will entail several months of guiding political appointees through the transition.
On the hiring side, "most managers are not aware of the variety of ways we can bring people into the government," said Kevin Mahoney, chief human capital officer for the Commerce Department. He noted that longtime feds will need to guide new agency leaders through special hiring authorities, especially for critical tech and cybersecurity hires.
And in the interim, there are the anxieties of rank-and-file employees to assuage. In the lead-up to the election, wild speculation can lead to "a lot of problems," Mahoney said, so leaders need to "shield [employees] from all of the background noise that goes on and keep them focused on their day-to-day jobs."
Once a new president is elected, he or she will likely be restrained by Congress and existing laws '' not to mention limited agency funding '' as he or she tries to push particular priorities, Limon noted.
And besides, even after a supercharged campaign, much of government's mission will stay the same.
"I don't know whether the [election] polarization is going to dramatically change the work that I need to be prepared for going forward," Limon told FCW. "Things will tamp down very quickly come inauguration time."
About the Author
Zach Noble is a staff writer covering digital citizen services, workforce issues and a range of civilian federal agencies.
Before joining FCW in 2015, Noble served as assistant editor at the viral news site TheBlaze, where he wrote a mix of business, political and breaking news stories and managed weekend news coverage. He has also written for online and print publications including The Washington Free Beacon, The Santa Barbara News-Press, The Federalist and Washington Technology.
Noble is a graduate of Saint Vincent College, where he studied English, economics and mathematics.
Click here for previous articles by Noble, or connect with him on Twitter: @thezachnoble.
OPERATION ANACONDA 2016-NATO vs. Putin sabre-rattling raises Cold War concerns: Brian Stewart - World - CBC News
An already tense security situation in eastern Europe is about to become even more strained as Poland and its NATO partners prepare to test their ability to mobilize both arms and political will to stand against any Russian provocation in the Baltic region.
Poland will look like a war zone June 7-17 as 31,000 ground troops and sailors from 24 NATO and partner countries stage enormous land, sea and air exercises to block a hypothetical Russian incursion from the east.
The land exercise alone, dubbed Anaconda 2016, will be 2 ½ times larger than any previous training in Poland in recent decades and will almost certainly provoke an angry reaction from Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Then just weeks later, on July 8, the leaders of NATO will meet in Warsaw for a two-day summit where they'll hear the escalating demands of Poland and other members near the Russian border who want their Western allies to do far more to back them up.
They mean to insist on a steady rotation of up to 5,000 rapid-reaction troops from the West, including the U.S., U.K., France, and Germany, into Poland and NATO's small Baltic trio of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. Canada too was pressed last week by visiting Polish President Andrzej Duda to join this tripwire force to help deter Russian "adventurism."
The momentum of military buildup has Western diplomats bracing for a stormy June as Russia reacts by launching new exercises of its own along its western border. Some expect a military provocation from Russia before the summit.
There's concern among some NATO members that Poland's hard line towards Russia contributes to the perception we could be approaching another Cold War.
Earlier this year Putin declared the growing military presence of NATO troops in eastern Europe a "threat to Russia's national security" and announced the creation of four new Russian divisions (roughly 50,000 new troops) to join already substantial forces in Russia's western regions.
When NATO expressed alarm over this further escalation of forces, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov dismissed it as sheer hypocrisy: "NATO military infrastructure is inching closer and closer to Russia's borders, but when Russia takes action to ensure its security, we are told that we are engaging in dangerous manoeuvres."
Moscow's view of the rising tension, however, is starkly different from NATO's. The alliance sees Russia acting increasingly aggressively since 2014, following its armed takeover of Crimea and its military backing of separatist rebels fighting in eastern Ukraine.
Not only does Russia have an enormous land force of highly mobile troops ready to confront NATO, their exercises have dwarfed those of the Western alliance in recent years.
While NATO exercises have been generally in the 6,000 to 14,000-troop range, six Russian exercises since 2013 have each involved 65,000 to 160,000 troops. Even more troubling for NATO than the size of Russia's forces is the speed with which it can launch so-called "Snap" exercises, with little or no warning to the alliance.
A Russian serviceman aboard an armoured personnel carrier salutes next to the blue-white-red tricolour flag of Crimea, during the Victory Day parade in Moscow's Red Square on May 9. (Grigory Dukor/Reuters)
This lack of clear communication between the East and West has worsened to the point where influential magazine The Economist warns the careful mechanisms American officers and their Soviet counterparts maintained during the Cold War to avoid military accidents have now "largely vanished."
The 10-day exercise in Poland represents not only a large increase in the size of NATO manoeuvres as a signal to Moscow that the Baltic flank will be defended, it will also test complex new command and control abilities against a broader range of possible Russian actions.
Polish officers on the ground will largely command 25,000 troops from 24 countries, including 14,000 U.S. soldiers and 1,000 British, while 105 aircraft and 49 NATO warships training in the Baltic will combine for an exercise to respond to theoretical crises.
The complex exercise is chiefly designed to counter an all-out Russian invasion of NATO's Baltic flank, as well as what many military experts call the new "hybrid war" favoured by Russia.
It describes the kind of conflict seen in Crimea and Ukraine in which Russian special forces link up with a paramilitary uprising of ethnic Russian minorities within a target nation to create armed brinkmanship just short of all-out war. NATO planners want to test so-called "pre-conflict procedures" to stabilize its border zones and pour in reinforcements to prevent such incursions or intimidation moves.
Poland's growing influence in NATO is evident in the size of the exercise and the importance of the summit. It boasts one of the largest militaries in NATO and plans to double its military spending in the coming years. It's also located in an important geo-strategic position between the East and West, which has made it a flashpoint for conflicts throughout European history.
NATO also has internal diplomatic problems to resolve. While Poland is the most stridently anti-Putin member of the alliance, its right-wing government is seen as increasingly oppressive at home and rough-toned abroad. Some in NATO worry Poland's hard line towards Russia contributes to the perception we could be approaching another Cold War.
Of even greater concern is the widespread conviction that neither the U.S., as NATO's leader, nor Russia have anything close to coherent strategies to handle the growing tensions.
Putin often appears to just push for gains against NATO where he sees opportunities, while President Barack Obama is widely viewed as only reacting to shifting crises, without much strategic planning.
Do Russia and the U.S. have coherent strategies to handle the growing tensions? Chuck Hagel, Obama's former defence secretary, isn't sure. (Reuters)
Chuck Hagel, Obama's former defence secretary, warned last week both NATO and Russia are pursuing armed buildups "that make no sense for either side."
"I'm not sure there's some real strategic thinking here," Hagel said when asked about possible NATO reinforcements for Poland. "Then we continue to build up the eastern flank of NATO, with more battalions, more exercises, and more ships, and the Russians will respond. I'm not sure where this takes you '... there's always going to be an increase."
The counter-argument within NATO is that a failure to show enough strength to deter Russian "adventurism" will make a bad situation even more dangerous.
Old veterans of the Cold War remember such arguments all too well. How much is enough deterrence? When does too much of it towards Russia become a provocation in itself?
The arguments were never quite settled during the Cold War. But the events planned in Poland this summer will likely raise them anew '-- and very starkly.
At a summit in Minsk on 11 February 2015, the leaders of Ukraine, Russia, France, and Germany agreed to a package of measures to alleviate the ongoing war in the Donbass region of Ukraine. The talks that led to the deal, overseen by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), were organised in response to the collapse of the Minsk Protocol ceasefire in January''February 2015. The new package of measures is intended to revive the Protocol, which had been agreed to on 5 September 2014.
Summit and draftingSuccessive attempts to resolve the ongoing war in the Donbass region of Ukraine had seen no result by the start of February 2015. While the Minsk Protocol of 5 September 2014 did significantly reduce fighting in the conflict zone for many months, minor skirmishes continued. At the start of January 2015, the separatist forces of the Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) and Lugansk People's Republic (LPR) began a new offensive on Ukrainian-controlled areas, resulting in the complete collapse of the Minsk Protocol ceasefire. After heavy fighting, DPR forces captured the symbolically important Donetsk International Airport on 21 January, the last part of the city of Donetsk that had been under Ukrainian control. Following this victory, separatist forces pressed their offensive on the important railway and road junction of Debaltseve in late January. This renewed heavy fighting caused significant concern in the international community. French president Fran§ois Hollande and German chancellor Angela Merkel put forth a new peace plan on 7 February. The Franco-German plan, drawn up after talks with Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko and Russian president Vladimir Putin, was seen as a revival of the Minsk Protocol. President Hollande said that the plan was the "last chance" for resolution of the conflict. The plan was put forth in response to American proposals to send armaments to the Ukrainian government, something that Chancellor Merkel said would only result in a worsening of the crisis.
A summit to discuss the implementation of the Franco-German diplomatic plan was scheduled for 11 February at Independence Palace in Minsk, the capital of Belarus. It was attended by Russian president Vladimir Putin, Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko, German chancellor Angela Merkel, French president Fran§ois Hollande, DPR leader Alexander Zakharchenko, and LPR leader Igor Plotnitsky. Negotiations went on overnight for sixteen hours, and were said to have been "very difficult" by the German foreign minister. Following the talks, it was announced on 12 February that the parties to the conflict had agreed to a new package of peacemaking measures. Some of the measures agreed to were an OSCE-observed unconditional ceasefire from 15 February, withdrawal of heavy weapons from the front line, release of prisoners of war, and constitutional reform in Ukraine.
ReactionsThe new package, commonly referred to as "Minsk II", was criticised for being "highly complicated" and "extremely fragile", and for being very similar to the failed Minsk Protocol.The New York Times reported that the plan "included some tripwires", such as not demarcating control over the city of Debaltseve, which was the site of the most fierce fighting at the time of the plan's drafting. Following the Minsk talks, Chancellor Merkel, President Hollande, and President Poroshenko attended a European Union (EU) summit in Brussels. At the summit, the Minsk participants briefed EU leaders about the talks. During the briefing, they said that President Putin had tried to delay the implementation of a ceasefire by ten days, so as to force Ukrainian troops in Debaltseve to surrender their positions. For his part, President Putin said that the Debaltseve defenders were encircled, and that the separatists expected them "to lay down their arms and cease resistance".Kommersant reporter Andrey Kolesnikov wrote that implementation of the ceasefire in Debaltseve hinged upon whether or not Ukrainian forces were truly encircled, "Above all, does it exist or not? Vladimir Putin insisted that it [the encirclement] exists and that if a cease-fire agreement is reached, it will be odd if it isn't violated: Those in the kettle will certainly try to get out of there; those who have boiled that kettle will try to collect the foam".
US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said on 13 February that the Russian Armed Forces had actively deployed around Debaltseve to assist the separatists in forcing out Ukrainian troops prior to the 15 February start of the ceasefire. Russia denied this, and Russian government spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Russia could not assist in the implementation of Minsk II because it was "not a participant" in the conflict.
Right Sector leader Dmytro Yarosh said that he reserved the right to continue fighting, and that Minsk II was unconstitutional. He said that his Ukrainian Volunteer Corps would continue fighting "until complete liberation of Ukrainian lands from Russian occupants", and promised "death to Russian terrorist-occupiers". DPR leader Alexander Zakharchenko said that the ceasefire did not apply to Debaltseve, and that fighting would continue there.
MeasuresThe full text of the agreement is as follows:
Immediate and full ceasefire in particular districts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts of Ukraine and its strict fulfilment as of 00:00 midnight EET on 15 February 2015.Pull-out of all heavy weapons by both sides to equal distance with the aim of creation of a security zone on minimum 50 kilometres (31 mi) apart for artillery of 100mm calibre or more, and a security zone of 70 kilometres (43 mi) for multiple rocket launchers (MRLS) and 140 kilometres (87 mi) for MLRS Tornado-S, Uragan, Smerch, and Tochka U tactical missile systems:for Ukrainian troops, from actual line of contact;for armed formations of particular districts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts of Ukraine, from the contact line in accordance with the Minsk Memorandum as of 19 September 2014The pullout of the above-mentioned heavy weapons must start no later than the second day after the start of the ceasefire and finish within 14 days.This process will be assisted by OSCE with the support of the Trilateral Contact Group.Effective monitoring and verification of ceasefire regime and pullout of heavy weapons by OSCE will be provided from the first day of pullout, using all necessary technical means such as satellites, drones, radio-location systems etc.On the first day after the pullout a dialogue is to start on modalities of conducting local elections in accordance with the Ukrainian legislation and the Law of Ukraine "On temporary Order of Local Self-Governance in Particular Districts of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts," and also about the future of these districts based on the above-mentioned law.Without delays, but no later than 30 days from the date of signing of this document, a resolution has to be approved by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, indicating the territory which falls under the special regime in accordance with the law "On temporary Order of Local Self-Governance in Particular Districts of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts," based in the line set up by the Minsk Memorandum as of 19 September 2014.Provide pardon and amnesty by way of enacting a law that forbids persecution and punishment of persons in relation to events that took place in particular districts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts of Ukraine.Provide release and exchange of all hostages and illegally held persons, based on the principle of "all for all". This process has to end '' at the latest '' on the fifth day after the pullout (of weapons).Provide safe access, delivery, storage and distribution of humanitarian aid to the needy, based on an international mechanism.Define the modalities of a full restoration of social and economic connections, including social transfers, such as payments of pensions and other payments (income and revenue, timely payment of communal bills, restoration of tax payments within the framework of Ukrainian legal field).With this aim, Ukraine will restore management over the segment of its banking system in the districts affected by the conflict, and possibly, an international mechanism will be established to ease such transactions.Restore control of the state border to the Ukrainian government in the whole conflict zone, which has to start on the first day after the local election and end after the full political regulation (local elections in particular districts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts based on the law of Ukraine and Constitutional reform) by the end of 2015, on the condition of fulfillment of Point 11 '' in consultations and in agreement with representatives of particular districts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts within the framework of the Trilateral Contact Group.Pullout of all foreign armed formations, military equipment, and also mercenaries from the territory of Ukraine under OSCE supervision. Disarmament of all illegal groups.Constitutional reform in Ukraine, with a new constitution to come into effect by the end of 2015, the key element of which is decentralisation (taking into account peculiarities of particular districts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, agreed with representatives of these districts), and also approval of permanent legislation on the special status of particular districts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts in accordance with the measures spelt out in the attached footnote,[note 1] by the end of 2015.Based on the Law of Ukraine "On temporary Order of Local Self-Governance in Particular Districts of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts", questions related to local elections will be discussed and agreed upon with representatives of particular districts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts in the framework of the Trilateral Contact Group. Elections will be held in accordance with relevant OSCE standards and monitored by OSCE/ODIHR.Intensify the work of the Trilateral Contact Group including through the establishment of working groups on the implementation of relevant aspects of the Minsk agreements. They will reflect the composition of the Trilateral Contact Group.Notes^The following measures are to be included in the Ukrainian law "On temporary Order of Local Self-Governance in Particular Districts of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts":Freedom from punishment, harassment, and discrimination of persons connected with the events that took place in particular districts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblastsRight of language self-determinationParticipation of local self-government in the appointment of the heads of prosecutors' offices and courts in the particular districts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblastsThe possibility for central executive bodies to conclude agreements with relevant local authorities on economic, social, and cultural development of particular districts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblastsThe state will provide support for the socio-economic development of particular districts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblastsAssistance from central executive bodies for cross-border cooperation by particular districts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts with regions of the Russian FederationThe freedom to create people's militia units by decision of local councils to maintain public order in particular districts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblastsThe powers of local council deputies and officials, elected in early elections, appointed by the Verkhovna Rada according to this law, cannot be prematurely terminatedSignatoriesThe document was signed by:
EfficacyThough fighting generally subsided after the ceasefire came into effect at 0:00 EET on 15 February, skirmishes and shelling continued in several parts of the conflict zone. Shelling and fighting at Debaltseve continued, as DPR leader Alexander Zakharchenko said that the ceasefire did not apply to that area. In the south of Donetsk Oblast, fighting between DPR forces and members of the Azov Battalion continued in villages near Mariupol. By 16 February, Minsk II seemed on the verge of collapse. Separatists continued a heavy assault on Debaltseve. Both sides said that they would not withdraw heavy weaponry as specified by the agreement whilst fighting in Debaltseve was ongoing.Reuters described the ceasefire as "stillborn" in Debaltseve. Ukrainian forces were forced to retreat from Debaltseve on 18 February, leaving separatist forces in control of the city.
In the week after the fall of Debaltseve to pro-Russian forces, fighting in the conflict zone abated. DPR and LPR forces began to withdraw artillery from the front lines as specified by Minsk II on 24 February, and Ukraine did so on 26 February. Ukraine reported that it had suffered no casualties during 24''26 February, something that had not occurred since early January 2015.
The parliament of Ukraine approved a law on "special status" for Donbass on 17 March, as specified by Minsk II. The law was immediately criticised by Ukrainian politicians, separatist leaders, and the Russian government. Radical Party leader Oleh Lyashko said that the law was "a vote for de-facto recognition of the Russian occupation in Donbass". Vice-parliamentary speaker Andriy Parubiy said that law was "not for Putin or the occupiers", but to show Europe that Ukraine was willing to adhere to Minsk II. Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said that the law was a "sharp departure from the Minsk agreements". Representatives of the LPR and DPR said that the law was a "one-sided" modification of Minsk II, and that the agreement had been rendered void by this modification. DPR leader Alexander Zakharchenko said that any change to Minsk II that had not been mutually agreed upon was "legally void", and that "nothing that had been agreed upon in Minsk has been carried out". He added that the DPR "must occupy all of the cities in which the referendum took place, and then politically cooperate [with Ukraine] as equal partners". Despite this, representatives of the DPR and LPR continued to forward peace proposals to the Trilateral Contact Group on Ukraine. Ukrainian defence minister Stepan Poltorak said on 8 June 2015 that over 100 soldiers and at least 50 civilians had been killed since Minsk II came into effect. According to him, pro-Russian forces had violated the truce more than 4,000 times. Contrary to the agreement, DPR representative Denis Pushilin and LPR representative Vladislav Deinego said on 10 June 2015 that their republics "would like to join the Russian Federation". In addition, they said that they consider Crimea, which was annexed by Russia in March 2014, to be part of Russia.
American Defence Department official Michael Carpenter said on 2 March 2016 that at least 430 Ukrainian soldiers had died since the signing of Minsk II, that Russia maintained "command-and-control links" over the DPR and LPR, and that Russia was "pouring heavy weapons" into the Donbass. Deputy head of the OSCE mission in Ukraine Alexander Hug said on 25 March 2016 that the OSCE had observed "armed people with Russian insignia" fighting in Donbass from the beginning of the conflict, that they had talked to prisoners who said they were Russian soldiers, and that they had seen "tire tracks, not the vehicles themselves, but the tracks of vehicles crossing the [Russo-Ukrainian] border".Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on 27 March 2016 that Russia was "not a party to the Minsk agreements", and that the agreements were "devoted to two conflicting sides".
Elections in the DPR and LPRWhile the 2015 Ukrainian local elections had been scheduled for 25 October, DPR leader Alexander Zakharchenko issued a decree on 2 July that ordered local DPR elections to be held on 18 October. He said that this action was "in accordance with the Minsk agreements". According to Zakharchenko, this move meant that the DPR had "independently started to implement the Minsk agreements". Zakharchenko said that the elections would "take place 'on the basis of Ukraine's law on temporary self-rule status of individual districts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions', in so far as they are not at variance with the constitution and laws of the DPR".
On the same day, President Petro Poroshenko responded that if DPR elections went forward in this unilateral manner, it would be "extremely irresponsible and will have devastating consequences for the process of deescalation of tension in certain areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions". In addition, the OSCE said that it would only will send observers to elections in the conflict zone if Ukraine invited it to do so. As specified in Minsk II, local elections in DPR and LPR-held territories must be observed by the OSCE to be deemed legitimate. LPR leader Igor Plotnitsky followed the DPR by scheduling elections in the territory that he controlled for 1 November 2015.
Amidst a great reduction in violence, following an agreement to restart the implementation of Minsk II that was agreed to on 1 September, the Normandy four held a meeting on 2 October. At the meeting, it was agreed that elections in the conflict zone would be held in accordance with Minsk II. In order to do this, French President Fran§ois Hollande said that the elections would need to be postponed until 2016, as three months were required to prepare for them. Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed to use his influence to prevent the DPR and LPR from holding early elections. Accordingly, the DPR and LPR announced on 6 October that their planned elections had been postponed until 21 February 2016.Local elections in the rest of Ukraine went ahead on 25 October 2015. Following the postponement, German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said that if OSCE observers verified that the planned elections to be held in the separatist areas were in accordance with Ukrainian law and Minsk II, the "law on special status" for these areas would come into immediate effect.
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Retrieved 17 March 2015. ^Ð--Ð'Ð Ð ÐÐ'Ð Ð¾ÑÐºÐ°Ð·Ð°Ð>>Ð¸ÑÑ ÐÑÐ¸Ð·Ð½Ð°ÑÑ Ð½Ðµ ÑÐ¾Ð"Ð>>Ð°ÑÐ¾Ð²Ð°Ð½Ð½ÑÐµ Ñ Ð½Ð¸Ð¼Ð¸ Ð¸Ð·Ð¼ÐµÐ½ÐµÐ½Ð¸Ñ Ð·Ð°ÐºÐ¾Ð½Ð° Ð¾Ð± Ð¾ÑÐ¾Ð±Ð¾Ð¼ ÑÑÐ°ÑÑÑÐµ [DPR and LPR refuse to recognise undiscussed changes to law on special status]. Interfax News Agency (in Russian). 17 March 2015. Retrieved 18 March 2015. ^ÐÐ°Ñ Ð°ÑÑÐµÐ½ÐºÐ¾ ÐÑÐ¸Ð·Ð²Ð°Ð>> Ð²Ð·ÑÑÑ ÐÐ¾Ð´ ÐºÐ¾Ð½ÑÑÐ¾Ð>>Ñ Ð²ÑÐµ Ð"Ð¾ÑÐ¾Ð´Ð°-ÑÑÐ°ÑÑÐ½Ð¸ÐºÐ¸ ÑÐµÑÐµÑÐµÐ½Ð´ÑÐ¼Ð° Ð¾ Ð½ÐµÐ·Ð°Ð²Ð¸ÑÐ¸Ð¼Ð¾ÑÑÐ¸ Ð--Ð'Ð [Zaharchenko says the DPR must take control of all cities that participated in the independence referendum]. Interfax News Agency (in Russian). 17 March 2015. Retrieved 18 March 2015. ^Donetsk, Luhansk republics say election proposals forwarded to Contact Group on Ukraine, Russian News Agency "TASS" (12 May 2015)^"Over 100 Ukrainian troops, 50 civilians killed during ceasefire: DM". Xinhua News Agency. 8 June 2015. Retrieved 22 July 2015. ^"Ð--Ð'Ð " ÑÐ° "ÐÐ'Ð " ÐÐµÑÐµÐ´ÑÐ¼Ð°Ð>>Ð¸ Ð¹ Ð²Ð¸Ð·Ð½Ð°Ð>>Ð¸ ÐÑÐ¸Ð¼ ÑÐ¾ÑÑÐ¹ÑÑÐºÐ¸Ð¼. BBC Ukrainian Service (in Ukrainian). 10 June 2015. Retrieved 22 July 2015. ^"Pentagon: Despite Minsk II, More Than 400 Ukraine Troops Killed". Voice of America. 2 March 2016. Retrieved 29 March 2016. ^"OSCE 'sees Russian soldiers, weapons in Ukraine for two years'". Kyiv Post. 26 March 2016. Retrieved 29 March 2016. ^"Russia accepts no claims on Savchenko in context of Minsk accords - Foreign Ministry". TASS. 27 March 2016. Retrieved 29 March 2016. ^Poroshenko says local elections in Ukraine will be held on Oct. 25, date on which they will be held in Donbas is hard to predict, Kyiv Post (11 June 2015)^ abcdLocal elections in DPR to take place on October 18 '' Zakharchenko, Interfax-Ukraine (2 July 2015)DPR, LPR attempts to hold separate elections in Donbas on Oct 18 to have destructive consequences '' Poroshenko, Interfax-Ukraine (2 July 2015)^(Ukrainian)OSCE send observers to elections in Donbass only with the agreement of Ukraine, Ukrayinska Pravda (3 July 2015)^LPR residents will elect the heads of cities and regions on November 1, Sputnik News (6 July 2015)^ abcUkraine crisis: Pro-Russian rebels 'delay disputed elections', BBC News (6 October 2015)Hollande: Elections In Eastern Ukraine Likely To Be Delayed, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (2 October 2015)Ukraine Is Being Told to Live With Putin, Bloomberg News (5 October 2015)^Pro-Russian rebels in Ukraine postpone disputed elections, Reuters (6 October 2015)Ukraine rebels to delay elections, Washington Post (6 October 2015)^"Steinmeier: Law on Donbas special status should enter into force on election day". Ukraine Today. 10 November 2015. Retrieved 10 November 2015.
Boots on the Ground
People's Protection Units - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The People's Protection Units (Kurdish: Yek®neyªn Parastina Gel',ÛÛÚ(C)ÛÙÛÚ(C)Ø§ÙÛ Ù¾Ø§Ø±Ø§Ø"ØªÙÛ Ú¯ÛÙ pronounced [jÉkin...jen pÉrÉstinÉ g...l]; YPG), also known as the People's Defense Units, is the main armed service of the Federation of Northern Syria '' Rojava. The YPG is primarily ethnic Kurdish, but it also recruits Arabs, Turks, and Westerners. There are Assyrian/Syriac Christian units integrated into its command structure (Sutoro and Syriac Military Council).
The YPG considers itself a democratic people's army and conducts internal elections as a method of appointing officers.
Military traditionAs a guerrilla combat force, the YPG relies on speed, stealth, and surprise. It can "deploy quickly to front lines and concentrate its forces before quickly redirecting the axis of its attack to outflank and ambush its enemy. The key to its success is autonomy. YPG brigades are inculcated with a high degree of freedom and can adapt to the changing battlefield."
The YPG relies heavily on snipers and backs them by suppressing enemy fire using mobile heavy machine guns. It also uses roadside bombs to prevent outflanking maneuvers, particularly at night. Its lines have yet to break when attacked by Islamic State (ISIL) forces, who have better equipment including helmets and body armor.
The YPG and HPG have also trained and equipped more than 1,000 Yazidis, who operate in the Mount Sinjar area as local defense units under their supervision.
Women's Protection UnitsThe Women's Protection Units (YPJ), also known as the Women's Defense Units, is the YPG's female brigade, which was set up in 2012. Kurdish media have said that YPJ troops became vital during the Siege of Koban®.
History of the YPGPKK and Cold WarThe Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) was founded in Turkey in 1978. As a leftist movement it found a safe harbor in Syria during and after the Cold War. This changed when in 1998 Turkey threatened to go to war over the PKK presence, a crisis that ended with the expulsion of Abdullah calan and the PKK from Syria.
2003: Foundation of the PYDThe Democratic Union Party (PYD) was founded in 2003 as one of many Kurdish opposition parties in the Syrian parliament. Turkish government officials have maintained that it was the political branch of the blacklisted PKK in Syria. The PYD distinguished itself as the only Kurdish party that fully supported the QamiÅlo uprising in 2004. As a result, it was brutally repressed in the years leading up to the Syrian Civil War, putting it in weak position at its outset.
2011: Syrian Civil WarIt is not known when YPG militias were first founded, but some sources have placed their origin as early as 2004, after the Syrian government quashed a rebellion in its largest Kurdish-majority city, QamiÅlo, killing 30 Kurds. It did not emerge as a significant force until the Syrian revolt erupted in 2011 but it is possible that militias had been organizing clandestinely during the interim.
PKK fighters that lived in exile in Iraq were of Syrian origin or had been trained there took the opportunity to return to Syria.
The YPG is considered the armed wing of the PYD. Other groups taking part in the YPG include the Kurdish Democratic Progressive Party in Syria (KDPP).
July 2012: Control of Kurdish areasIn July 2012, the YPG had a standoff with Syrian government forces in the Kurdish city of Koban® and the surrounding areas. After negotiations, government forces withdrew and the YPG took possession of Koban®, Amuda, and Afrin. By December 2012, it had expanded to eight brigades, which were formed in QamiÅlo, Koban®, and Ras al-Ayn (Serª Kaniyª) and in the districts of Afrin, Al-Malikiyah, and Al-Bab.
Late 2012: Islamist attacks make YPG dominantThe YPG did not initially take an offensive posture in the Syrian Civil War. Aiming mostly to defend Kurdish-majority areas, it avoided engaging forces of the Syrian government, which still controlled several enclaves in Kurdish territory. The YPG changed this policy when Ras al-Ayn was taken by the al-Qaeda affiliated Al-Nusra Front. At first the YPG conquered the surrounding government-controlled areas Al-Darbasiyah (Kurdish: Dirbªs®), Tel Tamer and of Al-Malikiyah (Kurdish: Dªrika Hemko) in order to prevent the FSA from gaining more power in the area. The subsequent Battle of Ras al-Ayn started in ernest when on 19 November 2012 Al-Nusra Front and a second al-Qaeda affiliate, Ghuraba al-Sham, attacked Kurdish positions in the town. The battle ended with a YPG victory in July 2013.
While many rebel groups clashed with the PYD, Jihadi and Salafi groups did so most consistently. The YPG proved to be the only Kurdish militia able to effectively resist the fundamentalists. While the YPG protected the Kurdish communities it was able to extract a price: it prevented the emergence of new, rival militias and forced existing ones to cooperate with or join the PYD forces on its terms. This was how the Islamist attacks enabled the YPG to unite the Kurds under its banner  and caused  it to become the de facto army of the Kurds in Syria.
2013: Kurdish control of Til Ko§erIn October 2013, YPG fighters took control of Til Ko§er in Syria following intense clashes with ISIL. The clashes lasted about three days, with the Til Ko§er border gate to Iraq being taken in a major offensive launched on the night of 24 October. PYD leader Saleh Muslim told Stªrk TV that this success created an alternative against efforts to hold the territory under embargo.
2014: Fight against ISILThe inter-rebel conflict during the Syrian Civil War led to open war between the Free Syrian Army and ISIL in January 2014. The YPG collaborated with the FSA to fight ISIL in Ar-Raqqah province; the group also formed an operations room with multiple FSA factions, called Euphrates Volcano. However, the general outcome of this fight were huge advances by ISIL that separated the eastern part of Rojava from the main FSA rebels. ISIL followed up on its success by attacking the Kurds in Koban® canton in March and fighting its way to the gates of Koban® in September.
The actual Siege of Koban® approximately coincided with the American-led intervention in Syria getting serious by starting bombardments on Syrian territory. With the world fearing another massacre in Koban®, the Americans started to give close air support to the YPG. While most observers expected ISIL to quickly crush the Kurds, the YPG put up a surprising and determined resistance. For months the western media covered a long and fanatical battle between an organization that had just committed genocide (ISIL) and an officially democratic organization (YPG) that employed female fighters and was isolated by Turkey. It was a fight that seemed epic and symbolic of a struggle between good and evil. While it lasted, the YPG was immune to criticism, and when it was over in March 2015 the U.S. and YPG had fought on the same side for half a year.
Meanwhile, the situation had been stable in Afrin and Aleppo. The fight between the FSA and ISIL had led to a normalization in the relations between FSA and YPG since ultimo 2013. In February 2015, the YPG signed a judicial agreement with the Levant Front in Aleppo.
Spring 2015: Offensive with American and Russian supportUnder other circumstances Turkish pressure might have stopped the cooperation between YPG and the U.S. after the Siege of Koban®. However, in spring 2015 ISIL was about to capture Ramadi. The YPG was the only group that was able and willing to offensively engage and put pressure on ISIL and had built up a track record as a reliable military partner. With American close air support, offensives near Hasakah and from Hasakah westward culminated in the conquest of Tell Abyad, linking up Koban® with Hasakah in July 2015.
With these offensives, the YPG had begun to make advances into areas that did not always have a Kurdish majority. When it entered the border town of Tell Abyad in June 2015 parts of the population fled the intense fighting. One can assume that these refugees included a significant number of ISIL collaborators, but that would not address the problem. It was obvious that if the YPG wanted to act outside of Rojava proper, it could only do this as part of a broader force that included Arab factions.
Fall 2015: Foundation of the SDFThe Syrian Democratic Forces was established in Hasakah on 11 October 2015. It has its origins in the YPG-FSA collaboration against ISIL, that led to the establishment of the Euphrates Volcano joint operations room in 2014. Many of the partners are the same, and even the logo / flag with the Blue Euphrates has common traits. The difference is that Euphrates Volcano was about coordinating between Kurds and Arabs, while the SDF is an organization of Kurds and Arabs.
The first success of the SDF was the liberation of the strategic ethnically Arab town of Al-Hawl from ISIS during the al-Hawl offensive in November 2015. This was followed in December by the Tishrin Dam offensive. The dam was captured on 26 December. Participating forces included the YPG, Jaysh al-Thuwwar (Army of Rebels), the tribal group Jaysh al-Sanadeed and an Assyrian Christian group. The coalition had heavy armor and was supported by intensive U.S.-led airstrikes. It seems the capture of this hydroelectric dam will have positive effects on the economy of Rojava.[relevant?'' discuss]
2016: Turkish shellingAfter the early 2016 successes of the Syrian Army in north Aleppo, YPG elements of the SDF moved into some FSA-held territories in the area. Turkish artillery then shelled the YPG and its allies near Menagh air base and at other positions.
Foreign volunteersEx''U.S. Army soldier Jordan Matson was among the first foreign volunteers of the YPG. Injured by an ISIL suicide bomb, he developed the "Lions of Rojava" recruitment campaign for foreign volunteers that was launched on 21 October 2014 as a Facebook page. Subsequently, as of 11 June 2015[update], more than 400 volunteers from North America, Australia, Europe and South America joined the YPG, including at least ten U.S. volunteers, three of which were U.S. Army veterans. Han Chinese from the United Kingdom and China have also joined.
One known Canadian was killed on November 4, 2015, who previously served with the Canadian Forces.
Dozens of non-Kurdish Turks (from both Turkey and the European diaspora) have also joined. The Turkish Marxist-Leninist Communist Party (MLKP) has been sending volunteers to fight in the YPG since 2012. At least four have been killed in battle as of February 2015'--one during the Battle of Ras al-Ayn and three during the Siege of Koban®. The party released a video in late January 2015 showing several Spanish- and German-speaking volunteers from Europe among its ranks in Jazira Canton; they were reorganized into the International Freedom Battalion on 10 June 2015.
Several Australians, including former trade unionist and politician Matthew Gardiner, have been involved with the YPG despite threats by Australia to prosecute any citizens involved in the Syrian Civil War. Under Australian law it is a criminal offence to fight with any side in a foreign conflict. On 26 February 2015, the death of the first foreign volunteer to be killed in action with the YPG was announced. Ashley Johnston, 28, of Canberra, with Kurdish nom-de-guerre Heval Bagok, had travelled to Syrian Kurdistan in October 2014, volunteered as a humanitarian aid worker, and later decided to serve as a front-line fighter with the YPG. The official command of YPG paid tribute after his death in action against ISIL.
EquipmentCompared to other factions engaged in the Syrian Civil war, the YPG has not received significant foreign assistance in the form of weapons and military equipment. According to the YPG, circumstances led to their capture of less equipment from the Syrian Army than other opposition groups did. The below are estimates only based on the balance sheet that the YPG regularly publishes of its activities.
Small armsAnti-tank weaponryMortarUnarmored vehiclesArmored vehiclesForeign aidBecause the YPG operates in a landlocked territory, rival opposition groups as well as the Turkish and Syrian government were able to physically prevent foreign aid from reaching it. The YPG's seizure of Til Ko§er in October 2013 (cf. above) created an overland connection to more or less friendly groups in Iraq, but could not change the even more fundamental problem that the YPG had no allies willing to provide equipment.
United StatesThe United States provided the YPG with air support during the Siege of Koban® and later on.
The YPG also received 27 bundles totaling 24 tons of small arms and ammunition and 10 tons of medical supplies from the United States and Iraqi Kurdistan during the Siege.
Even though the U.S. continued with providing effective close air support to the YPG, it also strictly adhered to a policy that sought to prevent the YPG from acquiring more independent military capabilities that could one day become dangerous to the U.S. ally, Turkey. The U.S. started to deviate from this policy towards the YPG at about the same time as the dramatic elimination of its proxy the New Syrian Forces in September 2015. This coincided with the start of the Russian military intervention in the Syrian Civil War, leading to Russian bombardments on the Syrian Opposition that same month.
On October 11, 2015, the U.S. began an operation to airdrop 120 tons of military supplies to the YPG and its local Arab and Turkmen allies to fight ISIL north of Raqqa. The first airdrop consisted of 112 pallets of ammunition and 'other items like hand grenades' totaling 50 tons. However, statements that the aid does not contain TOW's or Anti-Aircraft weapons make it clear that the U.S. continues to have serious regard for the interests of Turkey, who has warned against continued U.S. support for the YPG.
U.S. aid to the YPG continued in late October with a call for the deployment of up to 50 U.S. special forces and an enhanced air campaign to support the YPG and local militia groups in their fight against ISIS. Some of these special forces participated in the al-Shaddadi offensive (2016) and coordinated airstrikes against ISIL.
RussiaWith Russia's entrance into the war in late 2015 backing the Syrian government, some reports have alleged that the YPG coordinated with or received weapons from Russia, with rival opposition groups claiming that the timing and targeting of Russian airstrikes were suspiciously advantageous to the Kurdish militias.
Despite the YPG officials denied any coordination with Russia,
Diplomatic RelationsIt's relevant to note here that Russia's position towards the YPG is not clear, and the USA actively supports it, but that their diplomatic relations with the PYD are the opposite. In January 2016 Russia pushed for the inclusion of the PYD in the Geneva talks. In February 2016 the PYD opened a branch representative office in Moscow. In contrast to this the YPG denied any coordination with officials from the U.S. State Department. The YPG would like to open a representative branch in the USA, but in March 2016 interview its leader implied that it's not allowed to do so.
War crimes allegationsChild soldiersIn June 2015, a report by the United NationsSecretary General found that 24 children (minors under age of 18) had been recruited to fight with YPG.
In response, Kurdish security forces (YPG and Asayish) began receiving human rights training from Geneva Call and other international organizations. In October 2015 the YPG demobilized 21 children under the age of 18 from the military service in its ranks.
Ethnic cleansingIn June 2015 the Turkish government alleged that the YPG was carrying out an ethnic cleansing as part of a plan to join the Jazira and Koban® cantons into a single territory.Qasim al-Khatib, a Syrian National Council (SNC) member who headed a delegation from the SNC to investigate allegations about the displacement of Arab civilians, said there was no evidence of Arabs or Turkmen having been displaced.
Forced displacementIn October 2015, Amnesty International published a report  with claims that the YPG had driven at least 100 families from northern Syria and that in the villages of Asaylem and Husseiniya it had demolished resident homes. The report was made by Amnesty visiting the area contained in the report. It made local observations of destruction, and collected testimonies from former and actual residents of al-Hasakeh and ar-Raqqa governorates. It found cases of YPG fighters forcibly displacing residents and using fire and bulldozers to raze homes and other structures.
Forced displacement of civilians and destruction of civilian property is not a war crime per se. These acts only becomes a war crime when there is no 'imperative military necessity' for them. Amnesty International claims the report documents cases in which there was no such justification. It furthermore claims that the circumstances of some of these displacements suggested that they were carried out: in retaliation for people's perceived sympathies with, or family ties to, suspected members of ISIL or other armed groups, constituting: 'collective punishment, which is a violation of international humanitarian law'.
In interviews YPG spokespersons acknowledged that a number of families were in fact displaced. However, they placed the number at no more than 25, and claim military necessity. They stated that the family of the terrorists communicates with them and therefore had to be removed from dangerous areas, and that ISIL often uses civilians to plant car bombs or carry out other attacks on the YPG. By describing the events in Hammam al-Turkman before the village got evacuated the report itself inadvertently supports these claims of military necessity.
The U.S. State Department reacted by starting an inquiry into the allegations Its initial reaction to the report was quite sceptical, claiming it had to determine: any veracity to the claims, but showed concern by calling for any administrator in the area to rule with respect for all groups regardless of ethnicity. The fact that the report does not make any claim of the YPG targeting people based on ethnicity was probably one of the reasons why they didn't take it seriously, especially when there was dozens of similar reports, where the Syrian government, Al-Nusra Front and Free Syrian Army were accused of much worse war crimes.
See alsoReferences^"PYD announces surprise interim government in Syria's Kurdish regions". Rudaw. 13 November 2013. Retrieved 9 October 2014. ^Perry, Tom (15 August 2015). "Syrian Kurds now say they now control territory the size of Qatar and Kuwait combined". Business Insider. ^Ahmad, Rozh (6 August 2012). "A rare glimpse into Kurdish armed forces in Syrian Kurdistan". Rudaw (Erbil, Iraq). ^ abcStephens, Michael (11 September 2014). "Analysis: YPG '' The Islamic State's worst enemy". IHS Jane's 360. Retrieved 13 March 2016. ^"Kurdish women turning Kobani into a living 'hell' for Islamic State". teleSUR TV. Caracas, Venez. 14 October 2014. Retrieved 2 December 2014. ^Trieb, Erin (August 2014). "Meet the Kurdish Women Fighting ISIS in Syria". NBC News. Retrieved 19 March 2016. ^Gold, Danny (31 October 2012). "Meet the YPG, the Kurdish militia that doesn't want help from anyone". VICE. Retrieved 9 October 2014. A member of YPG's central command '... said that the YPG formed in 2004 shortly after the Qamishlo riots, when a number of Kurdish youth realized that they needed to be able to defend themselves more efficiently. They did not officially declare themselves until the revolution started in 2011. ^"A look at Turkey's friends and foes in the Syria conflict". AP. 18 February 2016. The Kurdish-dominated armed wing of the '... PYD. It was formed in 2004 as a militia to combat Syrian government forces'... After the war in Syria started, the YPG largely concentrated its efforts on fighting [IS], leading to charges from Turkey that it is allied with Syrian government. ^Hevian, Rodi (Fall 2013). "The resurrection of Syrian Kurdish politics"(PDF). Middle East Review of International Affairs (Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya, Isr.: Rubin Center) 17 (3): 48. Members of the Kurdish National Council: [4.] The Kurdish Democratic Progressive Party in Syria (KDPP)... It is also one of the few movements participating in the YPG... ^Ahmed, Hevidar (25 July 2012). "Liberated Kurdish cities in Syrian Kurdistan move into next phase". Rudaw (Erbil, Iraq). Retrieved 28 July 2012. ^"Kurds Give Ultimatum to Syrian Security Forces". Rudaw. 21 July 2012. Retrieved 9 October 2014. ^"The Kurdish Protection Units have formed a new brigade in the Al''Bab region". Scientia Humana. 4 December 2012. Archived from the original on 8 January 2013. Retrieved 18 December 2013. Kurdish Information Center ^"Kurds expel jihadists from flashpoint Syrian town: NGO". AFP. 17 July 2013. Retrieved 13 February 2015. ^International Crisis Group (8 May 2014). "Flight of Icarus? The PYD's Precarious Rise in Syria"(PDF). Retrieved 20 March 2016. While rebel groups from across the ideological spectrum have clashed with the PYD, jihadi and Salafi groups have done so most aggressively and consistently ^"YPG Commander: Kurds Are Bulwark Against Islamic Extremism in Syria". Rudaw. 22 July 2013. Retrieved 9 October 2014. ^International Crisis Group (8 May 2014). "Flight of Icarus? The PYD's Precarious Rise in Syria"(PDF). Retrieved 20 March 2016. The PYD's growing influence largely has come at the expense of other Kurdishgroups. In particular, it has prevented emergence of new, rival militias while forcing existing ones to cooperate with or join PYD forces on their terms ^International Crisis Group (8 May 2014). "Flight of Icarus? The PYD's Precarious Rise in Syria"(PDF). Retrieved 20 March 2016. Crisis Group interview, Erbil, 4 July 2013: Intensified Islamist attacks in Kurdish areas shifted Kurdish public opinion toward the PYD. A resident of Tell Tamr, a partly Kurdish town targeted by armed Islamist groups, said, ''in the aftermath of the battle of Ras al-Ayn, Islamists entered Tell Tamr. They began kidnapping and killing Kurds. I am not a YPG supporter, and I will never be. But if it weren't for the YPG, not a single Kurd would be left in the [al-] Jazeera region''. Crisis Group interview, Erbil, July 2013. A journalist working for a pro-KDP channel commented: ''I was the most critical person against the PYD. But at the moment, I have to admit that they are saving the people from the worst''. ^International Crisis Group (8 May 2014). "Flight of Icarus? The PYD's Precarious Rise in Syria"(PDF). Retrieved 20 March 2016. "At the same time, Ankara turned a blind eye to the Islamist fighters crossing from Turkey into Syria, viewing them '' in addition to helping bring down the Assad regime '' as potential counterweights to the PYD. The strategy backfired; the PYD not only gained territory, but also bolstered its appeal among Kurds as their only protector from jihadis. In September 2013, a Turkish official acknowledged: ''We made the PYD stronger by trying to undermine it'' ^N. Abboud, Samer. Syria. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 9780745698014. Retrieved 23 March 2016. ^"Kurdish Woman Leading Battle Against Islamic State in Kobane: Activists". Retrieved 23 March 2016. ^"Woman leads Kurds in battle against Islamic State in Kobane: activists". Retrieved 23 March 2016. ^"YPG: The Kurdish militia battling IS jihadists for Syria town". Retrieved 23 March 2016. ^"Kurdish woman leads fight against ISIS in Kobane". Retrieved 23 March 2016. ^ ab"YPG takes control of Til Ko§er". Firat News Agency. 27 October 2013. Archived from the original on 9 December 2013. ^"FSA and YPG cooperate against ISIL militants in Syria's Tel Abyad". ARA News. 12 May 2014. Retrieved 9 October 2014. ^"YPG and FSA form a joint military chamber to combat ISIS in Syria". ARA News. 12 September 2014. Retrieved 9 October 2014. ^"KURDISH YPG AND JABHAT AL-SHAMIYA AGREEMENT ON JUDICIARY COOPERATION IN ALEPPO". Syrian Rebellion Observatory. 5 February 2015. ^Pitarakis, Lefteris; Mroue, Bassem (14 June 2015). "Thousands of Syrians flee into Turkey amid intense fighting". AP. Thousands of Syrians cut through a border fence and crossed over into Turkey '... fleeing intense fighting '... between Kurdish fighters and jihadis. ^"U.S.-backed alliance captures key dam from Islamic State '' alliance spokesman". Reuters. 28 December 2015. Colonel Talal Selo ... said the rapid advance overnight by thousands of troops from the Democratic Forces of Syria had brought the dam ... under their control on Saturday.... Selo said ... the latest round of fighting ... involved several thousand fighters from the Democratic Forces of Syria with heavy armour. ^"Turkish forces shell Syrian air base captured by Kurds". Reuters. 13 February 2016. Retrieved 13 February 2016. ^Dearden, Lizzie (13 February 2016). "Turkey shells Kurdish fighters in Aleppo province as Bashar al-Assad's forces continue to advance on rebels". The Independent (London). Retrieved 14 February 2016. ^Jennifer Percy (30 September 2015). 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Retrieved 29 November 2015. ^Michael Safi, " Kurdish militia pays tribute to Ashley Johnston, killed fighting with its forces", The Guardian, 2 March 2015.^"British Chinese volunteer fighting alongside Kurds against ISIS in Syria becomes a weibo hero". South China Morning Post. 28 May 2015. Retrieved 9 July 2015. ^Volunteers from China, US and UK join Kurdish forces to fight ISIS (photos)^http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/mar/02/kurdish-militia-pays-tribute-to-ashley-johnston-killed-fighting-with-its-forces^"'Balance of the War Against Hostile Groups in Rojava, Northern Syria: Year 2015'". March 23, 2016. Archived from the original on 26 January 2016. Retrieved 23 March 2016. ^"On the Lonely Iraq-Syria Border, Snipers Battle for a Strategic Road". War is Boring. 1 October 2014. ^"YPG with IFV on T-55 chassis in Eastern Syria". Live UA Map. 6 March 2016. ^ ab"YPG Tank Taburu & D¼Åmanlar Korkun (Entry of 3*T-72 and 1*T-55 captured from Menagh in Afrin)". Afrin, Syria. 8 August 2013. Retrieved 28 March 2016. ^"Syria: Kurdish women fighters commandeer tank in battle over Menagh air base". IB Times. 11 February 2016. ^oryxspioenkop (29 March 2016). "By losing just one T-72 near Azaz today, the YPG lost 25% of its armour in the Afrin canton. 2 T-72s, 1 T-55 remain." (Tweet). ^"PUKmedia ÛÛÚ(C)ÛØªÛÛ ÙÛØ´ØªÙ Ø§ÙÛÛ Ú(C)ÙØ±Ø¯Ø"ØªØ§Ù". pukmedia.com. ^"'U.S. delivers 50 tons of ammunition to Syria rebel groups'". October 12, 2015. Retrieved 1 February 2016. ^Steele, Jonathan (3 December 2015). "The Syrian Kurds are winning!". New York Review of Books. Turkey had told ... the US that YPG forces would not be permitted to proceed beyond the Euphrates. In an apparent rebuke ... Kerry [said]: ''We're '... enhancing our air campaign in order to help drive Da'esh, which once dominated the Syria''Turkey border, out of the last seventy-mile stretch...'' Review of Out of Nowhere: The Kurds of Syria in Peace and War, by Michael M. Gunter.^"'Obama orders US special forces to 'assist' fight against Isis in Syria '". October 30, 2015. Retrieved 1 February 2016. ^"EXCLUSIVE: Interethnic coalition takes on the IS group in Syria". France 24 (Youtube). 22 April 2016. ^"Britain says uneasy after evidence of Kurdish coordination with Syria and Russia". Reuters UK. Retrieved 2016-03-19. ^"Kurdish fighters in Aleppo deny receiving Russian military support - ARA News". ARA News. Retrieved 2016-03-19. ^"Russia: Kurds should be included in Geneva talks". Rudaw. Retrieved 2016-03-20. ^https://www.rt.com/news/332077-kurdish-representative-office-moscow/^"Salih Muslim: Time Has Proved Us Right". The Kurdistan Tribune. Retrieved 2016-03-20. The West is fully aware that the Syrian Democratic Forces are an important and reliable active on the ground, hence the military support. Unfortunately, they have not yet approached us at a political level while they keep their ties with Saudi Arabia, Turkey'... However, we do hope political relations to materialize among us in the future. ^U.N. Security Council (5 June 2015). Report of the Secretary-General: Children and armed conflict (Report). para. 191. Actual numbers are expected to be higher.... A number of pro-Government groups, including Hizbullah, also reportedly recruited children in small numbers. ^Perry, Tom; Malla, Naline (10 September 2015). "Western states train Kurdish force in Syria, force's leader says". Reuters. Amnesty International this month faulted the Kurdish administration for arbitrary detentions and unfair trials.... [Ciwan] Ibrahim said ... efforts were underway to improve its human rights record.... The Geneva Call ... promotes good treatment of civilians in war zones... ^YPG demobilizes 21 children under the age of 18 from the military service in its ranks (Report). Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. 28 October 2015. Archived from the original on 2015-11-21. ^"Turkey accuses Kurdish forces of 'ethnic cleansing' in Syria". Agence France-Presse. 16 Jun 2015. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday said he was troubled by the advance of Kurdish forces, saying they could in the future create a structure to threaten Turkey. ^"'Kurds liberated Tel Abyad, no displacement against Arabs': Syrian opposition figure". ARANEWS. June 26, 2015. Retrieved 27 November 2015. ^"We had nowhere else to go, Forced displacement and demolition in northern Syria"(PDF). October 2015. In July and August 2015 Amnesty International investigated the forced displacement of residents from 10 villages and towns in areas under the control of the Autonomous Administration ^"Syria: US ally's razing of villages amounts to war crimes". Amnesty International. 13 October 2015. Retrieved 17 October 2015. ^"Syria Kurds 'razing villages seized from IS' - Amnesty". BBC News. 13 October 2015. Of 225 buildings visible [in Husseiniya] in June 2014, only 14 were still standing by June 2015. ^"We had nowhere else to go, Forced displacement and demolition in northern Syria"(PDF). October 2015. this report documents cases in which there was no such justification ^"We had nowhere else to go, Forced displacement and demolition in northern Syria"(PDF). October 2015. The circumstances of some of the instances of forced displacement documented in this report suggest that they were carried out in retaliation for people's perceived sympathies with, or family ties to, suspected members of IS or other armed groups. This would constitute collective punishment, which is a violation of international humanitarian law. ^Amnesty International (2015-10-13), "We had nowhere else to go": Forced displacement and demolitions in northern Syria, retrieved 2016-03-19 ^"We had nowhere else to go, Forced displacement and demolition in northern Syria"(PDF). October 2015. In some dangerous areas there are some specific cases that are very small, resulting from the terrorist threat, where families were sent away from the area'... Only 25 families were forced to leave across Rojava'... (They are told) 'Folks, remove your things please, and if you leave from this area until the war ends it will be a good thing'...' You have terrorists in al-Raqqa and their families '' the uncle, and brother, and sister '' are here, and they are in communication, giving them information. We were forced to distance these families. Not detain them. Distance them. Take them outside of the area. ^"We had nowhere else to go, Forced displacement and demolition in northern Syria"(PDF). October 2015. He added that IS was benefiting from the presence of civilians in these areas, and using them to plant car bombs or carry out other attacks on the YPG. ^"We had nowhere else to go, Forced displacement and demolition in northern Syria"(PDF). October 2015. After the YPG took the village, on 15 June, a car bomb killed three YPG fighters 4km from Hammam al-Turkman at a checkpoint in Damishli. The following day there were skirmishes between the YPG and IS in the village before IS was pushed back. A second car bomb went off at a YPG checkpoint at the health clinic in the village on 18 June killing a YPG fighter and injuring one civilian and three days later IS shot and killed a second YPG fighter near the clinic. It was after the death of this fighter that the residents were told by the YPG that they had to leave the village. ^Saeed, Yerevan (14 October 2015). "US voices concern over allegations of rights violations by YPG". Rudaw. Retrieved 20 October 2015. We'll look closely at all these accusations to determine whether there's any veracity to the claims... We call on those who actually are or will participate in administering these areas to do so inclusively and with respect for all groups regardless of ethnicity External links
Swedish police blame migrant sex attacks on 'Nordic alcohol culture' | Daily Mail Online
Swedish police have blamed the rise of migrant sex attacks on 'Nordic alcohol culture' and the 'non-traditional gender roles' of European women.
A new report says refugees struggle to 'handle the alcohol' and ignore the consequences for girls when they simply feel 'horny'.
It warns that girls are called 'whores' and are left in fear of walking the streets because migrants see it as a way of 'demonstrating their power over girls'.
Swedish police have blamed the rise of migrant sex attacks on 'Nordic alcohol culture' and the 'non-traditional gender roles' of European women. Pictured: Romany migrants gather in Sergels Torg square in Stockholm
The report, entitled The Current Situation of Sexual Molestation and Proposals for Action, says: 'Control is exercised over women through violence, thus shaping her according to the man's idealised vision of femininity.
'During the exercise of violence, men can feel they embody a typical "male".
'In other words, the violence makes possible what is considered masculine and can provide "benefits" for the perpetrator.'
It notes that Sweden has the worst rates of physical and sexual violence against women in the European Union, it was reported by Breitbart.
The report said: 'Sweden tops the new EU Statistics on physical and sexual violence against women, sexual harassment and stalking.
'The conclusion is that the results are a consequence of Nordic alcohol culture, but also of non-traditional gender roles.'
Swedish police check ID and question migrants in Stockholm Central Station. Sweden said it expected around 60,000 asylum seekers in 2016
Sweden said it expected around 60,000 asylum seekers in 2016.
However, this is fewer than the 100,000 forecast in February as border controls across Europe make it harder for migrants to reach the Scandinavian country.
Last year, Sweden received 163,000 asylum applications, making it one of the EU states with the highest proportion of asylum seekers per capita.
The influx to Sweden has plummeted since January 4, when Stockholm introduced systematic photo identification checks on train, bus and ferry passengers entering via Denmark.
At a peak in October, Sweden received around 10,000 asylum requests a week, compared to around 500 now.
The agency noted that while the acute strain on Sweden's capacities '' primarily overcrowded asylum housing centres '' had subsided since last autumn, 'municipalities, authorities and the rest of society face immense challenges ahead' to cope with asylum seekers.
Google Maps Now Shows You if Climate Change Will Put Your Home Underwater
On our hottest and coldest days, we joke and whine about climate change and the terrible weather. But in 2015, we're lucky that we don't have to see the true effects of what might be ahead of us after global temperatures rise. That's why this version of Google Maps is an eye-opener.
On Friday afternoon, Google Maps started showing what coastal L.A. would look like after a few feet of rising sea levels. The changes show up in neighborhoods like Malibu and Santa Monica.
This information comes on the same day as a worst-case scenario report showing that burning all of the Earth's fossil fuels could raise our sea level hundreds of feet, making the scenarios pictured on Google seem quaint in relative devastation.
You can view the results online and in the Google Maps mobile app.
Google hasn't made any announcements about whether or not this was intentional or whether there will be more cities added to the mix. Because it's not just L.A. that would be affected by rising global temperatures. It's all of us.
Google didn't include many major cities like New York, but there's a map for that too. The Surging Seas map, created by Climate Central, allows you to pull a slider and put various U.S. cities underwater, foot by foot. The map above shows what happens to New York City when the sea rises 10 feet: Water would destroy dozens of neighborhoods and displace millions of residents.
Source: Mic/Climate CentralTo achieve the reality above, global temperatures would have to increase only 2 degrees Celsius, a conservative estimate of what will occur if we can't slow our carbon emissions significantly or cut them off completely by 2050.
Low-elevation cities aren't the only ones who will hurt from climate change. Certain countries are much more (or much less) wasteful with carbon emissions, with a reckless industrial system and few regulations. Not every human being is at risk equally; people living in poverty or closer to sea level are more likely to be displaced or have reduced access to medical services.
The interactive Carbon Map, made by data journalism group Kiln, is adjustable by "responsibility" and "vulnerability," so you can check each of these factors individually. The map makes it much plainer why it's easy for Americans to ignore the effects of climate change when you see what's in store for Africa and Asia.
Update: Google has confirmed that the Maps display of L.A. underwater wasn't intentional, but the result of a glitch. The rest of the story remains factual.
MYTH BUSTED: Climate Change "Consensus of Scientists" Is Idiotic >> Louder With Crowder
Fun fact: lots of ''global warming'' charts only go back to the 1800s. But planet has been around longer than that'...
Whenever you hear ''a consensus of scientists agree'' on anything, raise your hand and call them out on their pungent bovine feces. Science isn't about polling, agreement, or popularity, it's about truth and facts. At one time, a consensus of scientists agreed the Earth was flat. Didn't make it flat. Later scientists agreed the Earth was the center of the universe. Didn't make the Earth the center of the universe. Now we have a consensus of leftists who say Bruce Jenner is a woman because he feels like a woman. See where I'm going with this?
Science: finding truth and facts, not making agreements about feelings and public policy and guys wearing dresses while having penises.
Which isn't to say consensus doesn't have its place in the scientific process, but it should be used as a starting off point, better known as a ''hypothesis,'' which is either proven or disproven. The consensus cannot be the result. Results are the results. As in a dude with a Y-chromosome is still a dude, regardless of his brand of makeup or choices in handbags. True story.
Also, this is kind of inconvenient, but needs to be said. The ''97% of Climate Scientists Agree'' meme all the climate-change robots harp on and on about is actually a load of pure organic manure, better left to grow your weed than fuel your global warming climate change passions.
In 2013, John Cook, an Australia-based blogger, and some of his friends reviewed abstracts of peer-reviewed papers published from 1991 to 2011. Mr. Cook reported that 97% of those who stated a position explicitly or implicitly suggest that human activity is responsible for some warming. His findings were published in Environmental Research Letters.
Mr. Cook's work was quickly debunked. In Science and Education in August 2013, for example, David R. Legates (a professor of geography at the University of Delaware and former director of its Center for Climatic Research) and three coauthors reviewed the same papers as did Mr. Cook and found ''only 41 papers'--0.3 percent of all 11,944 abstracts or 1.0 percent of the 4,014 expressing an opinion, and not 97.1 percent'--had been found to endorse'' the claim that human activity is causing most of the current warming. Elsewhere, climate scientists including Craig Idso, Nicola Scafetta, Nir J. Shaviv and Nils- Axel Morner, whose research questions the alleged consensus, protested that Mr. Cook ignored or misrepresented their work.
In other words:
''If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.'' ~ Joseph Goebbels (Adolf Hitler's Propagandist)
Put that in your hookah and smoke it. Remember that little tidbit when you insist unborn babies are not humans, especially when you refuse to look at any evidence. Tell me again about how much you respect science.
Also good to remember anytime somebody is pushing anything on you? Follow the money. 'Cause guess what, kids? There's a lot of money in saying the Earth is warming and it's totes our fault'...
FromThe National Review: In truth, the overwhelming majority of climate-research funding comes from the federal government and left-wing foundations. And while the energy industry funds both sides of the climate debate, the government/foundation monies go only toward research that advances the warming regulatory agenda. With a clear public-policy outcome in mind, the government/foundation gravy train is a much greater threat to scientific integrity.
In other words, if your hypothesis is ''Climate change is caused by man and SUVs and George W. Bush (either one) and cow farts'' you'll get fat stacks of cash. But if your hypothesis is ''Is man responsible for climate change, or does maybe the sun and naturally occurring fluctuating weather patterns or natural disasters like exploding volcanos have more do do with it?'' you'll be taken out back and beaten with hemp ropes and then body-shamed. Because science is about finding truth, not agendas. Got it?
Lastly, isn't it funny how climate-change believers will automatically accuse climate-change deniers of being supported by BigOil? Here they are, funded by BIG GOVERNMENT and people like George Soros, and then they accuse you of being supported by BigOil, whether or not it's true or as false as Bruce Jenner's eye-lashes. Though he she is beautiful and stunning. Lawsuit averted. Pretty sure there's an adage for that. Something about pots and kettles and black lives matter or something. Give me a minute, I'll think of it'...
'... Nope, I'm just a racist.
The truth is there is zero truth allowed in the climate change debate. Ask a question of a climate-change believer and they'll evade the question or repeat their mantras. Like this idiot of the Sierra Club when talking with Ted Cruz. Trigger warning: Cruz murders the man. It's cold, calculated and down right brilliant. They ought to lock him up for twenty-five to life. You'll love it.
Whenever debate is silenced, whenever someone with an opposing viewpoint is labeled as a ''denier,'' and whenever ''supporters'' call for the ''deniers'' imprisonment, you're not dealing with science. You're dealing with ideology, and a dangerous one at that.
Written by Courtney Kirchoff and Steven Crowder
Atlantic hurricane season expected to be 'near normal' - Nova Scotia - CBC News
A "near-normal" hurricane season is expected in the Atlantic Ocean this year, with between four to eight hurricanes predicted, though there's no way to know how many of them might affect Canada, meteorologists say.
The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says there's a 70-per cent likelihood of 10 to 16 named storms, of which four to eight could become hurricanes. Of those, one to four could be major with winds over 178 km/h.
"A near-normal prediction for this season suggests we could see more hurricane activity than we've seen in the last three years, which were below normal," Gerry Bell, lead seasonal hurricane forecaster, said in a NOAA news release.
Little impact on Canada last yearIn 2015, there were 11 named storms including four hurricanes, of which two were major. The long-term season averages are 12 named storms, with six hurricanes and three major ones.
Bob Robichaud, warning preparedness meteorologist with Environment and Climate Change Canada, said four of the 2015 storms entered the "Canadian response zone," though there was minimal impact except for some heavy rains and sea swells in Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia.
"It doesn't matter how many storms are out there. It only takes one to make it a really bad year."- Bob Robichaud, warning preparedness meteorologist
He noted that there's no way to know this far in advance what the tracks of any named storms might be, as it's dependent on the weather of the day.
Robichaud warned people to be vigilant no matter what the long-range predictions are, noting that 1992 was a very light hurricane season that nevertheless included hurricane Andrew, one of the costliest hurricanes ever.
"It doesn't matter how many storms are out there," he said. "It only takes one to make it a really bad year if that storm hits you or your family."
Robichaud pointed people to Public Safety Canada's website as the best place to find information on how to be ready.
Tricky predictionThe U.S. agency said in its forecast that this season is difficult to predict for a couple of reasons.
Waves crash on shore from high surf at Virginia Beach, Va. (Rich-Joseph Facun/Reuters)
First, Bell said, there is uncertainty over whether a high-activity era of Atlantic hurricanes that began in 1995 '-- caused in part by warmer Atlantic Ocean temperatures '-- is over.
The temperatures oscillate over periods of 25 to 40 years, and the last three years, they've been cooler.
Second, the NOAA is predicting a 70 per cent chance that there will be a La Ni±a during peak hurricane season. Normally that would favour more hurricanes due to reduced wind shear over the Atlantic, but "current model predictions show uncertainty as to how strong La Ni±a and its impacts will be."
Early hurricaneNOAA included hurricane Alex in its 2016 forecast. Alex was a pre-season storm that formed over the far eastern Atlantic in January.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center says an area of low pressure between Bermuda and the Bahamas had a high chance of brewing into something bigger Friday or Saturday.
Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to Nov. 30.
Rising sea levels are expected to increase the vulnerability of coastal communities to flooding from tropical systems. Recent research indicates climate change is likely to make hurricanes more intense in the future.
Fewer, more intense stormsImproved computer models show that warming atmospheric conditions may hinder tropical cyclone development worldwide, says David Nolan, a University of Miami professor of atmospheric sciences. But the hurricanes that do form could grow more intense because ocean temperatures will be higher, Nolan says. Warm ocean waters feed hurricanes like fuel in an engine. "The ones that do occur could be a little bit stronger," Nolan says. "But the changes over the next 10, 20, 30 years would be very small, almost undetectable."
With files from Reuters and The Associated PressReport Typo
World Heritage Centre - World Heritage and Tourism in a Changing Climate
This report provides an overview of the increasing vulnerability of World Heritage sites to climate change impacts and the potential implications for and of global tourism. It also examines the close relationship between World Heritage and tourism, and how climate change is likely to exacerbate problems caused by unplanned tourism development and uncontrolled or poorly managed visitor access, as well as other threats and stresses. Tourism can also play a positive role in helping to secure the future of many World Heritage sites in a changing climate.The report's goal is to provide up-to-date information and a basis for action on climate change, tourism and World Heritage in the follow-up to the adoption of the Paris Agreement by the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in December 2015 and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in October 2015. Using a series of case studies from World Heritage sites around the world, many of them iconic tourist destinations, the report shows how climate driven changes currently, or could in the future, threaten their outstanding universal value (OUV), integrity and authenticity, as well as the economies and communities that depend on tourism.
The case studies were chosen for their geographic representation, diversity of types of natural and cultural heritage and importance for tourism. Most importantly, they provide examples of a wide range of climate impacts, supported by robust scientific evidence. The 12 fully referenced case studies and 18 much briefer sketches provide examples from 31 World Heritage properties in 29 countries. An introductory section summarizes some of the common findings from the case studies and provides a situation report on the relationships between World Heritage, climate change and tourism.
The recommendations lay out a series of priorities for the international community, national governments, the tourism industry and site managers. The report was produced by UNESCO's World Heritage Centre, UNEP's Tourism and Environment Programme and the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), in close collaboration.
The Eagles of Death Metal have brought controversy down upon themselves after frontman Jesse Hughes alleged that the November Paris attacks on the Bataclan Theatre were planned and part of a 'Muslim conspiracy'.
'When I first got to the venue and walked in, I walked past the dude who was supposed to be the security guard for the backstage,' Hughes told Fox Business Network.
'He didn't even look at me. I immediately went to the promoter and said, 'Who's that guy? I want to put another dude on'.
'He says, 'Well, some of the other guards aren't here yet'. And eventually I found out that six or so wouldn't show up at all.
'Out of respect for the police still investigating, I won't make a definite statement, but it seems rather obvious that they had a reason not to show up.'
He has spoken further to Taki Magazine about this issue.
'There's no denying the terrorists were already inside, and they had to get in somehow,' he said. 'During the shooting I went outside, and the backstage door was propped open...'
The Bataclan has responded in releasing a statement denying in no uncertain terms Hughes' allegations against their staff.
'Jesse Hughes spread some very grave and defamatory accusations against the Bataclan teams,' it said.
French music festivals Rock en Seine in Paris and the Cabaret Vert festival in northern France have also reacted by cancelling any appearances by the Eagles of Death Metal, saying they were 'in total disagreement with Jesse Hughes' recent allegations'.
Hughes has said that political correctness is to blame for the negative French reaction.
'There's a whole group of white kids out there who are stupid and blind. It's like the bleating sheep from Animal Farm. You suggest anything that strays from the narrative and this chorus of bleats comes to drown you out.'
Press Announcements > FDA approves first buprenorphine implant for treatment of opioid dependence
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved Probuphine, the first buprenorphine implant for the maintenance treatment of opioid dependence. Probuphine is designed to provide a constant, low-level dose of buprenorphine for six months in patients who are already stable on low-to-moderate doses of other forms of buprenorphine, as part of a complete treatment program.
Until today, buprenorphine for the treatment of opioid dependence was only approved as a pill or a film placed under the tongue or on the inside of a person's cheek until it dissolved. While effective, a pill or film may be lost, forgotten or stolen. However, as an implant, Probuphine provides a new treatment option for people in recovery who may value the unique benefits of a six-month implant compared to other forms of buprenorphine, such as the possibility of improved patient convenience from not needing to take medication on a daily basis. An independent FDA advisory committee supported the approval of Probuphine in a meeting held earlier this year.
"Opioid abuse and addiction have taken a devastating toll on American families. We must do everything we can to make new, innovative treatment options available that can help patients regain control over their lives,'' said FDA Commissioner Robert M. Califf, M.D. ''Today's approval provides the first-ever implantable option to support patients' efforts to maintain treatment as part of their overall recovery program.''
Expanding the use and availability of medication-assisted treatment (MAT) options like buprenorphine is an important component of the FDA's opioid action plan and one of three top priorities for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Opioid Initiative aimed at reducing prescription opioid and heroin related overdose, death and dependence.
Opioid dependence is the diagnostic term used for the more common concept, ''addiction,'' in the Probuphine clinical trials. Addiction is defined as a cluster of behavioral, cognitive and physiological phenomena that may include a strong desire to take the drug, difficulties in controlling drug use, persisting in drug use despite harmful consequences, a higher priority given to drug use than to other activities and obligations, as well as the possibility of the development of tolerance or development of physical dependence. Physical dependence is not the same as addiction. Newer diagnostic terminology uses the term ''opioid use disorder,'' which includes both milder forms of problematic opioid use as well as addiction.
MAT is a comprehensive approach that combines approved medications (currently, methadone, buprenorphine or naltrexone) with counseling and other behavioral therapies to treat patients with opioid use disorder. Regular adherence to MAT with buprenorphine reduces opioid withdrawal symptoms and the desire to use, without causing the cycle of highs and lows associated with opioid misuse or abuse. At sufficient doses, it also decreases the pleasurable effects of other opioids, making continued opioid abuse less attractive. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, patients receiving MAT for their opioid use disorder cut their risk of death from all causes in half.
''Scientific evidence suggests that maintenance treatment with these medications in the context of behavioral treatment and recovery support are more effective in the treatment of opioid use disorder than short-term detoxification programs aimed at abstinence,'' said Nora Volkow, M.D., director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse at the National Institutes of Health. ''This product will expand the treatment alternatives available to people suffering from an opioid use disorder.''
Probuphine should be used as part of a complete treatment program that includes counseling and psychosocial support. Probuphine consists of four, one-inch-long rods that are implanted under the skin on the inside of the upper arm and provide treatment for six months. Administering Probuphine requires specific training because it must be surgically inserted and removed. Only a health care provider who has completed the training and become certified through a restricted program called the Probuphine Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) program should insert and remove the implants. If further treatment is needed, new implants may be inserted in the opposite arm for one additional course of treatment. The FDA is requiring postmarketing studies to establish the safety and feasibility of placing the Probuphine implants for additional courses of treatment.
The safety and efficacy of Probuphine were demonstrated in a randomized clinical trial of adults who met the clinical criteria for opioid dependence and were considered stable after prior buprenorphine treatment. A response to MAT was measured by urine screening and self-reporting of illicit opioid use during the six month treatment period. Sixty-three percent of Probuphine-treated patients had no evidence of illicit opioid use throughout the six months of treatment '' similar to the 64 percent of those who responded to sublingual (under the tongue) buprenorphine alone.
The most common side effects from treatment with Probuphine include implant-site pain, itching, and redness, as well as headache, depression, constipation, nausea, vomiting, back pain, toothache and oropharyngeal pain. The safety and efficacy of Probuphine have not been established in children or adolescents less than 16 years of age. Clinical studies of Probuphine did not include participants over the age of 65.
Probuphine has a boxed warning that provides important safety information for health care professionals, including a warning that insertion and removal of Probuphine are associated with the risk of implant migration, protrusion, expulsion and nerve damage resulting from the procedure. Probuphine must be prescribed and dispensed according to the Probuphine REMS program because of the risks of surgical complications and because of the risks of accidental overdose, misuse and abuse if an implant comes out or protrudes from the skin. As part of this program, Probuphine can only be prescribed and dispensed by health care providers who are certified with the REMS program and have completed live training, among other requirements.
Probuphine implants contain a significant amount of drug that can potentially be expelled or removed, resulting in the potential for accidental exposure or intentional misuse and abuse if the implant comes out of the skin. Patients should be seen during the first week after insertion and a visit schedule of no less than once-monthly is recommended for continued counseling and psychosocial support.
Probuphine is marketed by San Francisco-based Titan Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Braeburn Pharmaceuticals based in Princeton, New Jersey.
The FDA, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, protects the public health by assuring the safety, effectiveness, and security of human and veterinary drugs, vaccines and other biological products for human use, and medical devices. The agency also is responsible for the safety and security of our nation's food supply, cosmetics, dietary supplements, products that give off electronic radiation, and for regulating tobacco products.
Ministry of Truth
eBay founder backing Gawker's appeal of Hulk sex tape verdict | New York Post
Two Silicon Valley billionaires with a history of bad blood are squaring off over Gawker.
Pierre Omidyar, an eBay co-founder, is leading the charge to support Gawker in its appeal of a $140 million judgment awarded to Hulk Hogan, whose lawsuit was bankrolled by rival billionaire and PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, The Post has learned.
Omidyar's First Look Media, the online news venture that includes The Intercept, is reaching out to other media organizations to file friend-of-the-court briefs in support of Nick Denton's Gawker, which could be bankrupted by the Hogan judgment.
''First Look Media is looking into organizing amicus support for Gawker in its legal fight and appeal against Hulk Hogan,'' Lynn Oberlander, First Look's general counsel, exclusively told The Post.
By filing the amicus briefs in support of Gawker, First Look could effectively elevate the trial into a First Amendment rights case by pitting Thiel against dozens of media organizations '-- many of which are owned by other billionaires.
First Look has expressed support before for Gawker, but that was before Thiel's involvement in the case was revealed this week in a Forbes story. Now there is renewed interest on Omidyar's part, sources said.
The history between the two billionaires goes back more than a decade, when Omidyar's eBay first purchased PayPal, which Thiel co-founded with Elon Musk, the Tesla Motors entrepreneur.
Omidyar, worth about $7.7 billion, is a crusading liberal and philanthropist who doesn't see eye to eye with Thiel, a free-market libertarian who backs Donald Trump's bid for the presidency.
''So Thiel agrees with Trump's plan to muzzle press that criticizes government, obviously. That's why he supports him?'' Omidyar tweeted on Wednesday.
''Obviously there's bad blood between Omidyar and Thiel,'' one source told The Post.
Thiel, worth an estimated $2.7 billion, has provided about $10 million to fund the invasion-of-privacy suit filed by Hogan. A Florida jury sided with the wrestling legend in March.
Hogan, whose real name is Terry Bollea, sued Gawker for posting a video of him having sex with the wife of his best friend at the time. This week, Gawker lost a motion to get the verdict thrown out.
Gawker's lawyers have said the size of award '-- which was even more than Hogan asked for '-- could prove ''ruinous'' to the company.
The Post first reported on Thursday that Gawker founder Denton hired investment bank Houlihan Lokey to advise him on the valuation of the cash-hungry company in the event that he needs to sell it to pay damages to Hogan.
Mark Zuckerberg says that he believes in freedom of expression.
To prove it, he should ask Peter Thiel, who funded a legal campaign designed to drive Gawker Media out of business, to step down from Facebook's board of directors.
What Zuckerberg saidEarlier this month, an anonymous former Facebook employee accused Facebook of showing liberal bias in the story selection for its Trending news box.
The employee, a former journalist, told Gizmodo that stories about Mitt Romney, Rand Paul, and other conservative interests were kept out of that box, even though they were organically trending with readers.
Conservatives began to rumble about discrimination. It seemed a little disproportionate, as that Trending news box is in a tiny corner of the site '-- this wasn't about the News Feed that most Facebook users spend most of their time with.
But Facebook reacted quickly and aggressively.
It showed the world the guidelines that its human news curators were supposed to follow as they chose the stories to appear in that tiny box. It held a town hall with conservatives, during which they were encouraged to air their grievances. Glenn Beck, who attended, later criticized some at the meeting for acting as if they wanted "affirmative action for conservatives."
Zuckerberg, Facebook's CEO, defended the company in a Facebook post:
Facebook stands for giving everyone a voice. We believe the world is better when people from different backgrounds and with different ideas all have the power to share their thoughts and experiences ... The reason I care so much about this is that it gets to the core of everything Facebook is and everything I want it to be. Every tool we build is designed to give more people a voice and bring our global community together.
It's not the first time Zuckerberg has defended freedom of expression. After terrorists attacked the offices of France's Charlie Hebdo magazine for publishing parody cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, Zuckerberg wrote:
A few years ago, an extremist in Pakistan fought to have me sentenced to death because Facebook refused to ban content about Mohammed that offended him.
We stood up for this because different voices '-- even if they're sometimes offensive '-- can make the world a better and more interesting place.
What Thiel didThiel, the billionaire PayPal cofounder, acknowledged this week that he had spent about $10 million funding various legal campaigns against the media organization Gawker, including one brought by former pro wrestler Hulk Hogan. Hogan was upset because Gawker published footage from a video tape of his having sex with a friend's then-wife.
Thiel acknowledged this only after Forbes broke the story, even though Gawker founder Nick Denton '-- and others '-- had been speculating about Thiel's involvement for some time.
Thiel was partly upset about a 2007 article in Valleywag, a Gawker publication, about his being gay '-- the first article about his sexuality. He told The New York Times that similar articles about his friends and others that "ruined lives for no reason" inspired the suit.
Gawker, in its response on Thursday, also suggested that Thiel was upset about Valleywag's general attitude toward Silicon Valley and innovation, which skewed toward criticism '-- or at least skepticism '-- rather than cheerleading.
Whatever the reason, Thiel did what he did, and now Gawker is facing a $140 million verdict for violating Hogan's privacy.
Why it mattersThiel wasn't doing anything illegal. The law in the US is very favorable toward free speech, no matter who's funding that speech or how much money they're spending.
Gawker has written a lot of nasty, personal stories about people over the years. Denton acknowledged on Thursday in an open letter to Thiel that the publication had sometimes "overstepped the line" and swung into "snark." The courts are hearing numerous cases against Gawker, and it might lose one or more of them on appeal.
But spending years looking for people who have potential grievances against a publication, then secretly funding their lawsuits, is not consistent with the principles of free expression.
Either you're for free expression, or you're kind of for it. And if you're kind of for it, then you're not really for it at all.
Zuckerberg says he's for it. Now's the time to prove it.
UN Committee Denies Credentials to Press Freedom Group - ABC News
A United Nations committee voted Thursday to deny consultative status to the Committee to Protect Journalists, effectively keeping the press freedom group from accessing U.N. bodies and processes.
The committee voted 10-6 with three abstentions on Thursday to deny CPJ's application, which was first made in 2012.
South Africa, China and Russia were among the countries that voted against accreditation for the New York-based organization that seeks to protect press freedoms around the world and in conflict zones.
Consultative status gives non-governmental organizations the right to attend open meetings and conferences, especially the Human Rights Council in Geneva.
CPJ's application for consultative status had been deferred seven times for procedural reasons before coming up for a vote at the request of the United States.
Human rights groups and Western powers have criticized the U.N.'s NGO committee for increasingly rejecting organizations, especially those supporting human and gay rights.
In Thursday's session, however, South Africa questioned the group's finances, noting it was running a deficit and criticized it for not supporting punishment for hate speech.
In a statement, CPJ called the application process "Kafkaesque."
"It is sad that the U.N., which has taken up the issue of press freedom through Security Council and General Assembly resolutions and through the adoption of the U.N. Action Plan, has denied accreditation to CPJ, which has deep and useful knowledge that could inform decision making," CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon said in a statement.
"A small group of countries with poor press freedom records are using bureaucratic delaying tactics to sabotage and undermine any efforts that call their own abusive policies into high relief," he said.
Ambassador Samantha Power said the U.S. would appeal the committee's decision to the full 54-member Economic and Social Council of which the 19-member committee is a part.
"We are extremely disappointed by today's vote. It is increasingly clear that the NGO committee acts more and more like an anti -NGO committee," Power said.
Azerbaijan, Burundi, Cuba, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Sudan and Venezuela also voted against CPJ's application.
Earlier this month, major Western nations protested a move by 51 Muslim countries to block gay and transgender groups from attending a high-level U.N. conference on AIDS.
Board of Directors - About CPJ - Committee to Protect Journalists
Isaac Leeis president of news and digital for Univision and CEO of Fusion, a news, pop culture, and satire TV and digital network owned by Univision and Disney/ABC. Fusion champions a young, diverse, and inclusive America with a unique mix of original reporting, lifestyle, and comedic content that is smart and irreverent.
Lee is also the president of news for Univision Communications, Inc., the leading Spanish'language media company serving Hispanic America. He is responsible for leading news across the enterprise, which includes strategic and editorial oversight of programming and production across the Univision networks, Univision Radio, Univision Television Group, and the company's digital platforms.
Lee's focus and mission is to tell the stories that matter most to the rapidly growing U.S. Hispanic community. He has pushed his team to go beyond day'to'day reporting and pursue in'depth stories on the issues that most affect people's lives, always with the aim of fulfilling journalism's role of vigilance and service to the public. During Lee's tenure, Univision News has been recognized for its quality journalism and commitment to informing its audience, and has won Peabody, IRE, and National Headliner Awards for its investigative reporting, as well as a Cronkite Award for Excellence in Political Journalism, among other prestigious journalism, documentary, and investigative awards.
Under Lee's stewardship, Univision News established a landmark joint venture with ABC News to launch Fusion, a 24'hour English'language news network aimed at the growing Latino demographic with the idea of bringing together diverse cultures and giving Latinos a voice in the American conversation.
Lee has been leading journalistic teams for nearly 15 years at prominent publications, serving Spanish'speaking audiences in the U.S. and Latin America. He most recently founded the influential magazine PODER and served as its chairman and editor'in'chief. Lee currently serves on the board of The Associated Press. He is also a member of the Journalism Board of ProPublica. Follow him on Twitter here.
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Lara Logan was named a full-time correspondent for CBS News' "60 Minutes" in 2012. She has been a correspondent for CBS News and "60 Minutes" since 2002, and has reported as a foreign correspondent for more than 17 years.
Logan's reporting on Pakistan, Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has earned her multiple awards, including an Emmy, an Overseas Press Club Award, and an Edward R. Murrow Award, as well as five American Women in Radio and Television Gracie Awards. She has also reported from Mozambique during the floods there in 2008, the land invasions in Zimbabwe, the conflict in Northern Ireland, and the war in Kosovo, among other stories.
Born in South Africa, Logan began her journalism career there in the city of Durban. She graduated from the city's University of Natal in 1992 with a degree in commerce. She also holds a diploma in French language, culture, and history from the Universite de L'Alliance Francaise in Paris.
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Rebecca MacKinnon is co-founder of the citizen media organization Global Voices Online, a passionate advocate of free expression, a leading authority on Internet censorship in China and elsewhere, and an expert on the growing power of online and social media. She lives in Washington, D.C. where she is currently a Bernard L. Schwartz Senior Fellow at the New America Foundation. Her first book, Consent of the Networked, a treatise on the future of liberty in the Internet age, was published by Basic Books in 2012.
Fluent in Mandarin Chinese, MacKinnon worked for 12 years for CNN and held Bureau Chief jobs in both Beijing and Tokyo. Since leaving CNN in 2004, she has received fellowships from Princeton University's Center for Information Technology Policy, the Open Society Institute, Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet and Society, and the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy. From 2007 through 2009, she taught and conducted research at the University of Hong Kong's Journalism and Media Studies Centre. MacKinnon is a founding member of the Global Network Initiative, an organization composed of major technology companies and human rights organizations that have joined to protect and advance freedom of expression when faced with pressure from local governments.
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Born in Hungary, Kati Marton has combined a career as a reporter and writer with human rights advocacy. From 2003 to 2008, she chaired the International Women's Health Coalition, a global leader in promoting and protecting the health and human rights of women and girls. From 2001 to 2002, she was Chief Advocate for the Office of the Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict at the United Nations. Marton is a former CPJ board chairman. She also serves on the board of directors of the International Rescue Committee and the New America Foundation, a public policy think tank. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, PEN International, and the Author's Guild.
Since 1980, Marton has published seven books and contributed as a reporter to ABC News, Public Broadcasting Services, National Public Radio, The New Yorker, Atlantic Monthly, The Times of London, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Vanity Fair, and The New Republic. Her first book, Wallenberg, a biography of Raoul Wallenberg, was published by Random House in 1982. From 1983 until 1984, she was a columnist for the Sunday Times of London. She published her second book,An American Woman, in 1987; her third, an investigative history calledThe Polk Conspiracy: Murder and Cover-up in the Case of CBS News Correspondent George Polk, in 1992; and her fourth,A Death in Jerusalem: The Assassination by Extremists of the First Middle East Peacemaker, in 1994. Her book, Hidden Power: Presidential Marriages that Shaped History, was published in September 2001 and was a New York Times best seller. In 2006, Simon and Schuster released her book, The Great Escape: Nine Jews Who Fled Hitler and Changed the World. Her Cold War memoir, Enemies of the People: My Family's Journey to America, was published in 2009 and was a 2010 finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Prize. The New York Times called it "a powerful and absorbing narrative...[with] all the magnetism and yes, the excitement of the very best spy fiction."
From 1995 until 1997, Marton hosted NPR'sAmerica and the World, a weekly half-hour broadcast on international affairs. From 1977 until 1979, she was ABC Bureau Chief in Germany. While based there, she reported from Poland, Hungary, Italy, Holland, Northern Ireland, East Germany, and the Middle East. Marton was a news writer/reporter at WCAU-TV, the CBS-owned-and-operated affiliate in Philadelphia from 1973 until 1977. From 1972 until 1973, she was a reporter for NPR in Washington. In addition to diplomatic and political assignments, Marton was involved in the development of NPR's program,All Things Considered.
Kati Marton has been honored for her writing, reporting, and human rights advocacy, including a George Foster Peabody Award for a one-hour documentary on China. She was a Gannett Fellow at Columbia University's School of Journalism in 1988 and she received a Philadelphia Press Association Award for Best Television Feature Story and a PBS Award for reporting from China. In 1997, she received the Marc H. Tannenbaum Foundation Award for the Advancement of Interreligious Understanding and the Athens, Greece-based Kyriazis Foundation prize for the promotion of press freedom. In 2001, she was awarded the Rbekah Kohut Humanitarian Award by the National Council of Jewish Women. In 2002, she received a Matrix-Award for Women Who Change the World. In 2004, she was honored with the Citizen's Committee of New York's Marietta Tree Award for Public Service and also received the Edith Wharton Award for Journalism and the Woodhull Institute's Changemakers Award for Ethical Leadership in the Arts. The president of the Republic of Hungary awarded Marton the Commander's Cross of the Order of Merit of The Republic of Hungary. In 2007, the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research honored her with its Special Cultural Award. In 2008, she was presented the Leadership Award for Media by the Merage Foundation for the American Dream.
Marton attended Wells College in Aurora, New York, the Sorbonne, and the Institute des Etudes de Science Politiques in Paris. She earned a bachelor's in Romance languages and a master's in international relations from George Washington University. She received an honorary doctorate from Roger Williams University in Rhode Island in 2000 and another from Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York, in 2009.
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Michael Massing is the author of Now They Tell Us (2004), a collection of articles published in the New York Review of Books about press coverage of the war in Iraq. He is also author of The Fix, a critical study of the U.S. war on drugs that was named co-winner of the Washington Monthly's Political Book Award for 1998.
He is a former executive editor of the Columbia Journalism Review and remains a contributing editor at the publication. He has served as an adjunct professor at the Columbia School of Journalism and at the Columbia School for International and Public Affairs.
Massing is co-founder of CPJ and a member of PEN America and the New York Institute for the Humanities. He has a bachelor's degree from Harvard and a master's degree from the London School of Economics and Political Science. In 1989, he was awarded an Alicia Patterson Journalism Fellowship; in 1992, he was named a MacArthur Fellow. In 2005, he received the Mongerson Prize for Investigative Reporting on the News for his articles in the New York Review on the coverage of the Iraq war. In 2010, he was named a fellow at the Leon Levy Center for Biography at the CUNY Grad Center.
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Geraldine Fabrikant Metz is a contract writer for The New York Times. Previously, she was a senior writer for media and investing for the Times' Business Day section. Before joining the Times in 1985, she had been an editor and reporter for Business Week, Variety, and The Hollywood Reporter.
Fabrikant Metz won the Loeb Award for deadline reporting in 1996. In 1999, she was named a Knight-Bagehot Fellow in economics and business journalism by the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. A New York native, Fabrikant attended Brandeis University and graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1964.
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Victor Navasky has served as editor, publisher, and now publisher emeritus of The Nation, which he joined in 1978. He is also the George Delacorte Professor of Magazine Journalism at the Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism, where he directs the Delacorte Center of Magazines and chairs the Columbia Journalism Review. In the 1970s, he served as an editor on The New York Times Magazine. In the 1960s, he was founding editor and publisher of Monocle, a "leisurely quarterly of political satire" (that meant it came out twice a year). His books include Kennedy Justice; Naming Names, which won a National Book Award; and (with Christopher Cerf) The Experts Speak: The Definitive Compendium to Authoritative Misinformation. Navasky and Cerf also wrote Mission Accomplished! Or How We Won the War In Iraq. A Matter of Opinion, which won the 2005 George Polk Book Award and the 2006 Ann M. Sperber Prize, and of which The New York Times wrote, "Anybody who has ever dreamed of starting a magazine, or worried that the country is losing the ability to speak seriously to itself, should read A Matter of Opinion..." Navasky is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is a founding board member of CPJ.
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Clarence Page, the 1989 Pulitzer Prize winner for commentary, has been a Chicago Tribune columnist and member of its editorial board since July 1984. His column is syndicated nationally by Tribune Media Services to more than 180 newspapers. He is based in Washington, D.C.
Page has been a frequent panelist on "The McLaughlin Group," "Hardball with Chris Mathews," National Public Radio, and Black Entertainment Television. He was a regular contributor of essays to the "The News Hour with Jim Lehrer" on PBS and is a frequent guest on national news programs on all of the major networks.
Page was a reporter and later assistant city editor at the Chicago Tribune from 1969 to 1980, when he joined WBBM-TV in Chicago as director of community affairs and later as an on-air reporter.
His honors include a 1989 award for commentary from the National Association of Black Journalists; a 1980 Illinois UPI award for community service for an investigative series titled "The Black Tax"; and the Edward Scott Beck Award for overseas reporting for a 1976 series on the changing politics of Southern Africa. Page participated in a Chicago Tribune vote fraud investigation that won the 1972 Pulitzer Prize for public service. He has received awards from the Illinois and Wisconsin chapters of the American Civil Liberties Union for his columns on civil liberties and constitutional rights.
Page serves on the boards of directors of the Herb Block Foundation and the Fund for Investigative Journalism. In 1992, he was inducted into the Chicago Journalism Hall of Fame. He is the author of Showing My Color: Impolite Essays on Race and Identity.
An Ohio native, Page received a bachelor's degree in journalism from Ohio University in 1969.
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Ahmed Rashid is one of the world's foremost experts on Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the Taliban. Journalist Christopher Hitchens has called him "Pakistan's best and bravest reporter." He is the author of many influential books on the region, including the bestselling Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil and Fundamentalism in Central Asia. Published prior to the September 11, 2001, terror attacks, Taliban became a critical guide to understanding the Taliban in their wake. Rashid has three more books on the region: The Resurgence of Central Asia;Jihad: The Rise of Militant Islam in Central Asia; and Descent Into Chaos: The United States and the Failure of Nation Building in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Central Asia.
Rashid is a champion of local media development and donated a quarter of the profits from Taliban to create the Open Media Fund for Afghanistan. He also enlisted the Open Society Institute, AOL Time Warner Foundation, and Internews Network to provide financial support for local Afghan journalists. Until 2009, Rashid was the Afghanistan and Central Asia correspondent for the Far Eastern Economic Review. He frequently contributes to the U.S. and British media, including The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, The New York Review of Books, the Daily Telegraph, and the London Evening Standard. In 2009 and 2010, Foreign Policy magazine named him one of the world's most important 100 Global Thinkers.
Back to topDavid Remnick has been editor of The New Yorker since 1998 and a staff writer since 1992. He has written many pieces for the magazine, including reporting from Russia, the Middle East, and Europe, and profiles of Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Katharine Graham, Mike Tyson, Ralph Ellison, Philip Roth, and Benjamin Netanyahu.
Remnick began his reporting career as a staff writer at The Washington Post in 1982, where he covered stories for the Metro, Sports, and Style sections. In 1988, he started a four-year tenure as a Washington Post Moscow correspondent, an experience that formed the basis of his 1993 book on the former Soviet Union, Lenin's Tomb: The Last Days of the Soviet Empire. In 1994, the book received both the Pulitzer Prize for nonfiction and a George Polk Award for excellence in journalism.
Since Remnick became editor, The New Yorker has garnered 149 nominations for National Magazine Awards and has won 37. In 2001 and again in 2005, the magazine won an unprecedented five National Magazine Awards; in 2014, the magazine won four awards. In 2000, Remnick was named Advertising Age's Editor of the Year.
Remnick has written six books: Lenin's Tomb, Resurrection: The Struggle for a New Russia, King of the World (a biography of Muhammad Ali), The Bridge (a biography of U.S. President Barack Obama), and The Devil Problem and Reporting, which are collections of some of his pieces from the magazine. Remnick has edited many anthologies of New Yorker pieces, including Life Stories, Wonderful Town, The New Gilded Age, Fierce Pajamas, Secret Ingredients, and Disquiet, Please!.
Remnick has contributed to The New York Review of Books, Vanity Fair, Esquire, and The New Republic. He has been a visiting fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and has taught at Princeton, where he received his bachelor's in 1981, and Columbia. He lives in New York with his wife, Esther Fein; they have three children, Alex, Noah, and Natasha.
Back to topAlan Rusbridger has been the editor of the Guardian since 1995. He is editor-in-chief of Guardian News & Media, a member of the GNM and GMG Boards, and a member of the Scott Trust.
Born in Zambia, Rusbridger graduated from Cambridge University with a degree in English in 1976. His career began at the U.K.'s Cambridge Evening News, where he trained as a reporter before joining the Guardian in 1979 and working as a feature writer and diary columnist. In 1986, he left the paper to become a TV critic for the Observer and the next year he worked as the Washington correspondent of the London Daily News. In 1989, he returned to the Guardian as a feature writer and soon moved from writing to editing.
Rusbridger oversaw the integration of the paper and digital operations, and the Guardian is now the third largest English-language newspaper website in the world, with 100 million unique browsers every month.
The Guardian broke world exclusive stories by publishing NSA documents leaked by Edward Snowden and was recently awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service and the George Polk Award for National Security Reporting. In April 2014, the Guardian was named newspaper of the year and won the top digital prize at the British Press Awards. It has also been awarded the European Press Prize and the Ortega y Gasset Award for journalism.
During Rusbridger's editorship, the paper has fought a number of high-profile battles over libel and press freedom, including cases involving WikiLeaks, Neil Hamilton, Jonathan Aitken, the Police Federation, freedom of information, and Trafigura.
Rusbridger and reporter Nick Davies received the U.K.'s Media Society Award for their revelations and coverage of the phone hacking story in the Guardian. Rusbridger was awarded the Goldsmith Career Award for Excellence in Journalism by Harvard's Joan Shorenstein Centre.
In 2012, CPJ honored Rusbridger with the Burton Benjamin Memorial Award at the 22nd Annual International Press Freedom Awards.
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David Schlesinger is the founder and managing director of the Hong Kong-based media and China consultancy Tripod Advisors, a D.A. Schlesinger Limited company.
Before founding Tripod Advisors, Schlesinger was Chairman of Thomson Reuters China and was the global information services group's senior representative in the region. He was responsible for building relationships, providing thought leadership, and advising on strategy for operations across Thomson Reuters interests in financial markets, legal and regulatory databases, scientific information, and journalism.
Schlesinger was appointed to that role after four years as Editor-in-Chief of Reuters News, running all aspects of the 3,000-journalist strong international news service. Before that, Schlesinger was Global Managing Editor of Reuters News for three years, in charge of the worldwide operations and news editing
He joined Reuters Hong Kong bureau in 1987 as a correspondent. From 1989 to 1995, he ran Reuters editorial operations in Taiwan, China, and the Greater China region in a series of posts. He then transferred to New York to serve in turn as Financial Editor, Managing Editor for the Americas, and Executive Vice President and Editor of the Americas.
Schlesinger has served on the board of ChinaWeb, the parent company of Hexun.com, China's leading business/investing portal. He is active in the World Economic Forum, where he has served as a member of the International Media Council and the China Agenda Council. He is Honorary President of the International Network of Street Papers. In 2008, he was awarded an Emmy Lifetime Achievement Award for Business and Financial Reporting by the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences in the United States.
Schlesinger graduated from Oberlin College and has a masters degree from Harvard University, where he concentrated on Chinese politics in the Regional Studies East Asia program.
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Jacob Weisberg is chairman of The Slate Group, a unit of The Washington Post Company devoted to developing a family of Internet-based publications through start-ups and acquisitions. The Slate group's roster includes Slate, The Root, the video site Slate V, and ForeignPolicy.com, as well as the bimonthly print journal, Foreign Policy. His regular opinion column is published by Slate.
A native of Chicago, Weisberg attended Yale University and New College, Oxford. From 1989 until 1994, he worked as a writer and editor at The New Republic. Between 1994 and 1996, he covered politics for New York Magazine. In 1996, he joined the new Internet magazine Slate, where he covered the 1996 and 2000 presidential campaigns as chief political correspondent.
Weisberg served as editor of Slate from 2002 until 2008. He has also been a contributing writer for The New York Times Magazine, a contributing editor of Vanity Fair, a reporter for Newsweek in London and Washington, and editorial page columnist for the Financial Times.
Since 2010, he has served as a member of the board of directors of the Philadelphia Media Network, which publishes the Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News. Weisberg is also a past board member of the American Society of Magazine Editors and the Hudson Highlands Land Trust.
Weisberg is the author of several books, including The Bush Tragedy, which was a New York Times bestseller in 2008. With former Treasury Secretary Robert E. Rubin, he co-wrote In an Uncertain World, which was published in 2003. His first book, In Defense of Government, was published in 1996.Back to top
Matthew Winkleris editor-in-chief emeritus of Bloomberg News, a global news service he founded with Michael Bloomberg in 1990 when he joined the then eight-year-old financial information company Bloomberg LP. Bloomberg News, which has grown to 2,200 editors and reporters in print and broadcast media in 130 bureaus throughout North and South America, covers the economy, companies, governments, financial, and commodity markets as well the arts, sports, politics, and policy.
Winkler received the New York Financial Writers' Association 2003 Elliott V. Bell Award for making a "significant long-term contribution to the advancement of financial journalism." During the past decade, Bloomberg News has received more than 250 awards for the quality of its journalism, including the George Polk, Gerald Loeb, Overseas Press Club, Sidney Hillman, Investigative Reporters & Editors, Society of Professional Journalists (Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles and New York chapters), and Society of American Business Editors and Writers.
Winkler is co-author of Bloomberg by Bloomberg, published in 1997 by John Wiley & Son. Between 1991 and 1994 while editing Bloomberg News, he wrote the "Capital Markets" column for Forbes magazine. Between 1980 and 1990, Winkler was a reporter for The Wall Street Journal and news services of its parent, Dow Jones & Co. At the Journal, he was responsible for credit markets, corporate finance, and the securities industry from 1987 to 1990 in New York. He served as European financial correspondent for The Wall Street Journal Europe and The Wall Street Journal in London from 1982 to 1987. Winkler was a New York-based reporter and assistant editor at The Bond Buyer (1978-1980); a public relations specialist for Gehrung Associates in Keene, N.H. (1977-1978); and a reporter for the Ohio-based Mount Vernon News (1976-1977).
Winkler was born in New York City in 1955 and is a graduate of Kenyon College with a bachelor's degree in history. He is a trustee of Kenyon College and The Kenyon Review; chairman of the board of the Knight-Bagehot Fellowship Program at Columbia University; a member of the board of visitors of Columbia College of Columbia University; a trustee of the business journalism program of the City University of New York; a director of the International Center for Journalists, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Economic Club of New York. He and his wife, Lisa, an English teacher, have three children.
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Andrew Alexander is a Washington-based news media consultant and distinguished visiting professional at the Scripps College of Communication at Ohio University. He served as ombudsman at The Washington Post, a two-year position, from 2009 to 2011. Previously, Alexander was Washington bureau chief for Cox Newspapers, where he oversaw a staff of roughly 25 reporters and editors in the nation's capital as well as bureaus in Baghdad, Jerusalem, London, Beijing, Mexico City, the Caribbean, New York, and the West Coast.
Alexander began his career as a reporter for the Melbourne Herald in Australia, later joining the Dayton Journal-Herald, where he worked as an investigative reporter and political writer. He joined the Cox Washington Bureau in 1976 as the Journal-Herald's correspondent, moved to the national staff in 1984, and was named foreign editor in 1989. Alexander became deputy bureau chief in 1994 and was named bureau chief in 1997. He has reported from more than 50 countries and covered armed conflicts in Vietnam, Angola, Iran, and Iraq.
Alexander has won or shared in the Raymond Clapper Award for distinguished Washington correspondence, the Global Media Award, the Thomas L. Stokes Award for environmental reporting, the Ohio Associated Press Award for investigative reporting (twice), and the Ohio Associated Press Award for feature writing.
Born in Rochester, New York, and raised in the Ohio town of Urbana, Alexander graduated from Ohio University with a degree in journalism. He is the chairman of the Freedom of Information Committee of the American Society of Newspaper Editors and serves on the advisory board of the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism.
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Christiane Amanpouris CNN's chief international correspondent and anchor of the network's award-winning, flagship global affairs programme"Amanpour".
Her illustrious career in journalism spans three decades. When she became an international correspondent for CNN in 1990, her first major assignment was covering the Gulf War. She has since reported from the world's major hot spots, including Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Somalia, Israel, the Palestinian territories, Asia, Rwanda, the Balkans, and the U.S. during Hurricane Katrina. She has interviewed most of the top world leaders over the past two decades, including securing the only interview with Hosni Mubarak and an exclusive with Muammar Ghadafi during the Arab Spring.
Amanpour has received every major broadcast award, including an inaugural Television Academy Award, nine News and Documentary Emmys, four George Foster Peabody Awards, two George Polk Awards, three duPont-Columbia Awards, the Courage in Journalism Award, an Edward R. Murrow Award, and nine honorary degrees. In 2011, she received a Giants in Broadcasting award and was the 2011 recipient of the Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism from Arizona State University. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, and a Honorary Citizen of Sarajevo.
Amanpour was born in London and spent part of her childhood in Tehran, Iran. She graduated summa cum laude from the University of Rhode Island with a bachelor's in journalism.
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Tom Brokaw, one of the most trusted and respected figures in broadcast journalism, is a special correspondent for NBC News. In this role, he reports and produces long-form documentaries and provides expertise during election coverage and breaking news events for NBC News.
Most recently, Brokaw reported for USA Network's "Bridging the Divide," a documentary aimed at assessing America's progress combating prejudice and discrimination in the nearly 50 years since the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement. Prior to that project, Brokaw reported on the Baby Boomer generation for a documentary on CNBC, and before that he traveled across the country to report on the changing face of the nation in "American Character Along Highway 50" for NBC News and USA Network.
On December 1, 2004, Brokaw stepped down after 21 years as the anchor and managing editor of "NBC Nightly News." He has received numerous honors, including the Edward R. Murrow Lifetime Achievement Award, the Emmy Award for Lifetime Achievement, and he was inducted as a fellow into the prestigious American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In addition, Brokaw has received the Records of Achievement Award from the Foundation for the National Archives; the Association of the U.S. Army honored him with its highest award, the George Catlett Marshall Medal, first ever to a journalist; and he was the recipient of the West Point Sylvanus Thayer Award, in recognition of devoted service to bringing exclusive interviews and stories to public attention. His insight, ability, and integrity have earned him a dozen Emmys and two Peabody and duPont awards for his journalistic achievements. In 2003, "NBC Nightly News" was honored with the prestigious Edward R. Murrow Award for Best Newscast, representing the program's fourth consecutive win in this category.
From June 2008 until December 2008, Brokaw served as interim moderator of NBC's top-rated Sunday morning public affairs program, "Meet the Press," after the untimely death of Tim Russert.
Over the years at NBC, Brokaw has reported in more than 30 documentaries on subjects ranging from race, AIDS, the war on terror, health care, Los Angeles gangs, Bill Gates, literacy, immigration, and the evangelical movement. He has collaborated with NBC's Peacock Productions for Discovery's Emmy-winning documentary "Global Warming: What You Need to Know with Tom Brokaw," and History Channel's two-hour documentaries, "1968 with Tom Brokaw" and "KING."
In 2006, Brokaw reported on race and poverty in "Separate and Unequal," which was awarded an RTNDA/Unity Award. The documentary took an honest look at the progress that's been made, and the problems that persist, 40 years after the Civil Rights Movement. Later that year, he reported on illegal immigration in "In the Shadow of the American Dream," exploring the economic realities, the social consequences, and the political controversies surrounding one of the hottest topics dividing the country today.
In June 2005, Brokaw returned to primetime for the first time since leaving the anchor desk with "The Long War," an in-depth look at the war on terror. For the report, he traveled around the world--to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, France, and Washington D.C.--to interview world leaders, intelligence experts, and those personally affected by the events of September 11. "The Secret Man: The Story of Watergate's Deep Throat" quickly followed in July 2005, and in September 2005, Brokaw reported on the religious revolution sweeping the country in "In God they Trust." In December 2005, he received wide acclaim for his fourth documentary that year, "To War and Back," which took a comprehensive look at what happens when young men go to war, lose friends, get hurt, and come home.
Brokaw received his second Peabody in 2004 with the documentary, "Tom Brokaw Reports: A Question of Fairness." The report examined the issue of affirmative action through the controversy surrounding the University of Michigan and its affirmative action policy, which detailed the continuing struggle to deal with race, fairness, and higher education in America. In 2003, he won an Emmy for Outstanding Interview for "America Remembers: 9/11 Air Traffic Controllers."
Prior to stepping down as anchor of "Nightly News," Brokaw traveled to Iraq in June 2004 to cover the handover of power and reported for five days for all NBC News programs and MSNBC. In addition to interviewing a mix of newsmakers including Iraq's interim president Ghazi al-Yawer; General David Petraeus, the American general charged with rebuilding the Iraqi security forces; and securing an exclusive interview with General Ricardo Sanchez, the man in charge of the American forces in Iraq when Saddam Hussein was captured. Brokaw patrolled the dangerous Baghdad streets in a humvee convoy with the First Cavalry Division, and also reported on student life in Baghdad with the class of 2004.
Brokaw was the only network evening news anchor to report from Normandy, France, during the D-Day 60th Anniversary ceremonies in June 2004. He had exclusive interviews with French President Jacques Chirac in Paris and President George W. Bush at the American Cemetery Normandy Beach in Colleville-sur-Mer, France on June 6, the 60th anniversary of D-Day. In February 2004, Brokaw returned to the Asian subcontinent to report on the challenges Pakistan and Afghanistan face as they continued to fight the war on terror. In addition to securing exclusive interviews with Pakistan president Gen. Pervez Musharraf and Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Brokaw traveled with the Pakistani army to mountainous and barren terrain along the border with Afghanistan as they hunted for Al-Qaeda and also reported from southeastern Afghanistan, the base of the 10th Mountain Division, where U.S. soldiers were not only hunting for Al-Qaeda, but trying to win the hearts and minds of the people as well.
In 2003, as the international controversy escalated over the increasing likelihood of war with Iraq, Brokaw traveled overseas to the diplomatic and military hot spots throughout the Middle East and the Gulf. On March 19, 2003, Brokaw was the first American news anchor to report that the war with Iraq had begun, and in April 2003, he landed the first television interview with President Bush after the president declared the end of major combat. During the summer of 2003, Brokaw was the first evening news anchor to return to Baghdad to report for five nights for "NBC Nightly News" and "Dateline NBC" on post-war Iraq and the reconstruction efforts.
Brokaw has an impressive series of additional "firsts," including the first exclusive U.S. one-on-one interview with Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev, earning an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award. Brokaw was the first and only anchor to report from the scene the night the Berlin Wall fell, and was the first American anchor to travel to Tibet to report on human-rights abuses and to conduct an interview with the Dalai Lama.
Brokaw has also reported in documentaries of international importance, including "The Road to Baghdad" where he documented the path to possible war with Iraq through the eyes of half a dozen people at the center of the crisis, and "The Lost Boys," a story about how the ongoing war in Sudan forced the "lost boys" out of their villages in the 1980s, which won a National Press Club Award.
In 1997, Brokaw was awarded with another Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award for Excellence in Broadcast Journalism for "Why Can't We Live Together," a documentary that examined the hidden realities of racial separation in America's suburbs. His first Peabody Award in 1989 was for "To Be An American," a documentary about the American tapestry: who we are, how we got here, and what it means to become a new citizen.
The NBC News anchor also has a distinguished record as a political reporter. He has interviewed every president since Lyndon Baines Johnson and has covered every presidential election since 1968. Brokaw was NBC's White House correspondent during the national trauma of Watergate (1973-1976). From 1984 to 2004, he anchored all of NBC's political coverage, including primaries, national conventions, and election nights, and moderated nine primary and/or general election debates.
Complementing his distinguished broadcast journalism career, Brokaw has written articles, essays and commentary for several publications including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, Newsweek, Time, The New Yorker, Men's Journal, Sports Illustrated, Life, National Geographic, Outside, and Interview.
In 1998, Brokaw became a best-selling author with the publication of "The Greatest Generation." Inspired by the mountain of mail he received from his first book, Brokaw wrote "The Greatest Generation Speaks" in 1999. His third book, "An Album of Memories," was published in 2001. In November 2002, Brokaw's fourth best selling book "A Long Way from Home," a reflective look about growing up in the American Heartland, was released. In his fifth best-selling book, "BOOM! Voices of the Sixties," Brokaw shares a series of remembrances and reflections of the time based on his experiences and over 50 interviews with a wide variety of well-known artists, politicians, activists, business leaders, and journalists, as well as lesser known figures, including a daughter of a former Mississippi segregationist governor, Vietnam veterans, civil rights activists, health care pioneers, environmentalists, and war protesters.
Brokaw began his journalism career in 1962 at KMTV in Omaha, Nebraska. He anchored the late evening news on Atlanta's WSB-TV in 1965 before joining KNBC-TV in Los Angeles. Brokaw was hired by NBC News in 1966 and from 1976-1981 he anchored NBC News' "Today" program.
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James C. Goodale, a leading First Amendment and communications lawyer, served as CPJ's board chairman from 1989 to 1994. During his tenure, he built CPJ into a significant international force to release imprisoned journalists, enlisted powerful members to its board which included Tom Brokaw, Anthony Lewis, and Kati Marton, and increased its budget substantially.
From 1967 to 1980, he was General Counsel and Vice Chairman of The New York Times. He defended the Times in the Supreme Court case of the Pentagon Papers in 1971, and won a resounding victory. The case prevented the federal government from prior restraint (censorship). Another of his cases, the landmark reporter's privilege case to protect reporter's sources, Branzburg v. Hayes, went to the Supreme Court the following year. His article in Hastings Law Journal, January 1975, in its interpretation of Branzburg v. the U.S., spawned over 1,000 reported cases involving the recognition of such a privilege as well as the adoption by 39 states and D.C. of shield laws. He has accordingly been called the "Father of the Reporter's Privilege."
He drew the reporter's privilege and other First Amendment issues to the attention of lawyers and courts nationwide, by creating a "First Amendment Bar" through his chairmanship of a Communications Law Seminar at the Practising Law Institute in New York, which he ran for 40 years. The seminar became one of the largest of its kind in the U.S., coining the phrase "First Amendment lawyers."
He has taught First Amendment and communications law at Yale, New York University, and Fordham University law schools for over 30 years and has published approximately 200 articles on the First Amendment as well as two books: The New York Times v. The U.S. and All About Cable, a standard reference book which has been cited twice in the U.S. Supreme Court.
In 1980, Goodale joined the law firm of Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, where he founded two legal practice groups which were innovative for their time: "Corporate Media and Communications," and "First Amendment and Intellectual Property Litigation." He has represented scores of celebrities such as Tina Brown, Harry Evans, and George Plimpton and media companies including Cablevision, Time Inc., and Hearst.
From 1995 through 2010, he produced and hosted a television show in New York City called "Digital Age," about the influence of the revolution on media, society and politics. Guests have included Ben Bradlee, Arthur O. Sulzberger Jr., Henry Kissinger, Tom Brokaw, and Michael Bloomberg.
In 2001, the Columbia Journalism Review named Goodale one of the 200 leaders who shape the national media agenda. Born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Goodale is a graduate of Yale and the University of Chicago Law School.
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Gwen Ifillis the award-winning moderator and managing editor of "Washington Week," the longest-running public affairs program on public television, andco-anchor and managing editor for "PBS NewsHour." She has moderated national political debates, including the U.S. vice presidential debates in 2004 and 2008, and is the author of "The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama." (Doubleday, 2009)
Before joining PBS, Ifill served at NBC News for five years as chief congressional and political correspondent. While at NBC she covered national political stories for "NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw," "Today," and "Meet the Press."
Ifill worked for many years as a print journalist before becoming a fixture on broadcast news. She was a reporter at The New York Times, where she covered the White House and politics; The Washington Post, where her focus was national and local affairs; The Baltimore Evening Sun; and The Boston Herald American.
Ifill grew up in New York City and is a graduate of Simmons College in Boston. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, serves on the board of the News Literacy Project, and is a lifetime member of the National Association of Black Journalists.
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Steven L. Isenberg is a visiting professor of the humanities at the University of Texas at Austin. From 2009 until 2013, he was the executive director of the PEN American Center, the largest chapter of International PEN, the world's oldest international literary and human rights organization. He has held important posts in journalism, government, law, and academia. He was publisher of New York Newsday, The Stamford Advocate, and Greenwich Time, and the Executive Vice President of The Los Angeles Times. Since 2003, he has served on CPJ's board of directors and then became a CPJ senior advisor in February 2008. Isenberg is now Chairman of the Board Emeritus of Adelphi University on Long Island, New York, where he was President ad interim.
He taught for several years at the University of Texas at Austin as a visiting professor of the humanities in the liberal arts honors program; at Berkeley as a visiting professor of English and journalism; visiting lecturer at Yale; the James K. Batten Professor of Public Policy at Davidson College; and visiting scholar in media studies at the New School University and Polytechnic in New York. He holds an honorary doctorate from Adelphi University.
Prior to working in newspapers, Isenberg had been chief of staff to New York City Mayor John V. Lindsay and a litigator at the firm of Breed, Abbott and Morgan. He served as president of the executive advisory board of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of California at Berkeley.
Isenberg obtained his undergraduate degree in English literature from the University of California at Berkeley in 1962; a second bachelor's degree and a master's degree (also in English Literature) from Worcester College, Oxford University, England, in 1966; and a juris doctor from Yale Law School in 1975. He is also an honorary fellow of Worcester College, Oxford University, England.
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David Marashis a veteran broadcast journalist, turned teacher and trainer of young journalists. Marash's work has most recently appeared on PBS/AARP's "Inside E Street" and PBS's "WorldFocus." He was main Washington anchor for Al-Jazeera English from 2006 through 2008, and reported for ABC News "Nightline" from 1989 to 2005. His reporting of the wars in the former Yugoslavia earned an Emmy Award in 1994. Marash also received Emmys for his "Nightline" coverage of the Oklahoma City bombing, his coverage of the explosion of TWA Flight 800, and a 1980 ABC News "20/20" report on the Sandinistas in Nicaragua. Marash and "Nightline" producer Jay LaMonica's three-part Nightline series on AIDS in Zimbabwe received an Alfred I. duPont Award.
Marash filed numerous breaking news stories for "Nightline," including coverage of the eruption of the Soufriere Hills volcano on the island of Montserrat, the siege of Sarajevo, suicide bombings in Tel Aviv, Hurricane Mitch in Honduras, and the Rwandan genocide. He filed investigative reports on topics as diverse as the failure of the General Motors' minority dealership development program and the legal tactics of tobacco industry lawyers.
Before beginning work for "Nightline" in 1989, Marash spent more than a decade in local news in New York and Washington, D.C. From 1985 to 1989, he was a news anchor for WRC-TV, Washington. He was an investigative reporter for WNBC-TV in New York and a contributing reporter for NBC Weekend News and NBC Sports from 1983 to 1985. He anchored the news for WCBS-TV in New York in 1981 and 1982, and earlier, from 1973 through 1978.
Marash has published articles in The New York Times, The Christian Science Monitor, the Carnegie Foundation's Reporter, Washington Monthly, The Washington Journalism Review, Ms. magazine, and TV Guide.
He has won numerous broadcasting honors, including seven local Emmys in New York and Washington, New York and Long Island Press Club Awards, and an Overseas Press Club Award for his 1972 CBS Radio reports on the terrorist attack at the Munich Olympic Games. Marash graduated from Williams College in 1964, and did his first teaching there in 1971.
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Charles L. Overby is chairman and chief executive officer of the Freedom Forum, an independent, nonpartisan foundation dedicated to First Amendment and media issues, and the Diversity Institute, which is dedicated to recruiting, training, mentoring, and retaining a diverse newsroom workforce.
Overby is also chief executive officer of the Newseum, the interactive museum of news, which opened April 11, 2008, in Washington, D.C. The Freedom Forum funds the operations of the Newseum and the Diversity Institute. He was named president and chief executive officer of the Gannett Foundation in 1989. (The foundation was renamed the Freedom Forum in 1991.) In 1997, he became chairman as well as CEO, traveling to six continents to promote free press values.
Overby is a former editor of The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Mississippi. Under his leadership, the newspaper won the Pulitzer Prize Public Service Award for news and editorials on education reform in Mississippi in 1983. He worked for 16 years as reporter, editor, and corporate executive for Gannett Co., the nation's largest newspaper company. He was vice president for news and communications for Gannett and served on the management committees of Gannett and USA Today.
As a reporter, he covered the White House, presidential campaigns, Congress, and the U.S. Supreme Court. Overby serves on the board of the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans. He is a member of the foundation board of the University of Mississippi, his alma mater, and a former member of the Board of Regents at Baylor University.
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Norman Pearlstine was named the executive vice president and chief content officer of Time Inc. in October 2013, a newly established position. In this role, Pearlstine was charged with driving the development of new content experiences, consumer products, and lines of business across Time Inc. brands. He also oversees the company's editorial policies and standards. He previously served as Time Inc.'s editor-in-chief from 1995 through 2005.
Pearlstine returned to Time Inc. after a five-year stint at Bloomberg L.P., where as chief content officer, he was responsible for developing growth opportunities for Bloomberg's television, radio, magazine, and online products to make the most of the company's news operations. He assumed the additional positions of chairman, Bloomberg Businessweek, following the acquisition of the magazine in December 2009, and co-chairman, Bloomberg Government, a comprehensive source for government news, analysis and insights.
Pearlstine has spent nearly four decades working as a reporter and editor. He worked for The Wall Street Journal from 1968 to 1992, except for a two-year period, 1978 through 1980, when he was an executive editor of Forbes magazine. At the Journal, he served as a staff reporter in Dallas, Detroit, and Los Angeles; Tokyo bureau chief; founding managing editor of The Asian Wall Street Journal; national editor; founding editor and publisher of The Wall Street Journal/Europe; managing editor; and, ultimately, executive editor.
After leaving the Journal in 1992, Pearlstine spent a year launching Smart Money magazine for the Journal's parent, Dow Jones & Company, and for Hearst. He then spent a year as a general partner of Friday Holdings L.P., a multimedia investment company.
Pearlstine is the author of Off the Record: The Press, the Government, and the War over Anonymous Sources, which was published in June 2007. He has also received numerous awards over his career. In 2005, the American Society of Magazine Editors named Pearlstine the recipient of its Lifetime Achievement Award and inducted him into the Magazine Editors' Hall of Fame. He was honored with the Loeb Lifetime Achievement Award for Distinguished Business and Financial Journalism in 2000. He received the National Press Foundation's Editor of the Year Award in 1989.
Pearlstine received his bachelor's from Haverford College, his bachelor of laws from the University of Pennsylvania, and did postgraduate work at the law school of Southern Methodist University. He is a member of the Bar Association of the District of Columbia.
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Erwin Potts is a native of North Carolina and received a degree in journalism from the University of North Carolina in 1954. He began his career as a reporter in his hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina. He moved on to managerial positions with Knight-Ridder Newspapers, including city editor and assistant managing editor at The Miami Herald, general manager of the Tallahassee Democrat, and vice president and general manager of The Charlotte Observer and The Charlotte News.
Potts joined McClatchy Co. as director of newspaper operations in 1975. He became a vice president in 1979, executive vice president in 1985, president in 1987, chief executive officer in 1989, and chairman in 1995. With the unexpected death of C.K. McClatchy in 1989, Potts became the first non-family member to head the McClatchy Co., which was founded in 1857 by James McClatchy. He retired as chairman in 2002.
Potts has served on the Newspaper Association Board of Directors, Stanford University's John S. Knight Fellowship Board of Visitors, and the Sacramento Regional Foundation Board. Potts joined CPJ's board of directors in 1997 and became a senior advisor in November 2007.
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Dan Rather is a Hall of Fame television and radio correspondent and anchor, and one of the best known journalists in the world.
He currently leads his own media company, "News and Guts", and is anchor and managing editor for "Dan Rather Reports" on the HDNet cable and satellite network. The one hour weekly news program premiered in November 2006. It concentrates on investigative reports, international coverage, politics and on-scene field reporting.
Rather was anchor and managing editor of "The CBS Evening News" for a record 24 years before stepping away in 2005. In his 44 years with CBS News, he was also a veteran correspondent for "60 Minutes," among many other posts.
The war on terrorism and the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq have taken Rather to Iraq, Kuwait, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, and Israel in recent years. In April 2004, his all-media exclusive "60 Minutes II" investigative report revealing abuses at the U.S. military's Abu Ghraib prison drew worldwide attention and critical acclaim. In February 2003, Rather secured an exclusive one-on-one interview with Saddam Hussein in Baghdad--the first the Iraqi leader had conducted with a U.S. journalist since 1991 (when Rather had scored the first interview with Saddam Hussein after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait). Rather also reported from Kabul on the U.S. effort to oust the Taliban and from Jerusalem and the West Bank during the largest Israeli military action in two decades.
Rather joined CBS News in 1962 as chief of its Southwest bureau in Dallas. From November 22, 1963, when he reported on the assassination of John F. Kennedy in Dallas, Rather has covered most of the world's major news stories, from Beijing and Bosnia to Haiti and Hong Kong. He reported on the civil rights movement in the South; the White House; the wars in Vietnam, Afghanistan, the Persian Gulf and Yugoslavia; and the quest for peace in South Africa and the Middle East.
He has received numerous Emmy and Peabody Awards, and citations from scholarly, professional and charitable organizations. During his 44 years with CBS News, Rather held many prestigious positions, ranging from co-editor of "60 Minutes" to CBS News bureau chief in New Orleans, London and Saigon, and White House correspondent during the Johnson, Nixon and Ford administrations. He helped to create, anchored and reported for CBS News' "48 Hours" from its premiere in 1988, through September 2002. He has interviewed every U.S. president since Dwight D. Eisenhower and virtually every major international leader of the past 30 years.
Among his many assignments, Rather reported on the pope's visit to Cuba in January 1998; Hong Kong's turnover to Chinese rule in 1997; from the front lines in Bosnia in 1995; and from Jerusalem on the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. He was the only U.S. anchor at Rabin's funeral. As a correspondent for "60 Minutes II," Rather secured an exclusive interview with President Bill Clinton, the president's first sit-down interview following his impeachment by the House. Rather was the first U.S. anchor on the scene in Belgrade in the middle of NATO's bombing of Yugoslavia, reporting for several CBS News broadcasts.
Rather has also authored or co-authored seven books, four of which have become New York Times bestsellers.
Rather began his career in journalism in 1950 as an Associated Press reporter in Huntsville, Texas. Later, he was a reporter for United Press International (1950-52), KSAM Radio in Huntsville (1950-53), KTRH Radio in Houston and the Houston Chronicle (1954-55). He became news director of KTRH Radio in 1956 and, from 1960-63, he was news director at KHOU-TV, the CBS affiliate in Houston. His widely acclaimed coverage of "Hurricane Carla" for that station, some of which was broadcast nationwide, took him to CBS News.
He was born in Wharton, Texas, and received a bachelor's degree in journalism from Sam Houston State Teachers College.
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Gene Roberts has taught at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland since 1991, following 18 years as the executive editor of The Philadelphia Inquirer, which won 17 Pulitzer Prizes under his leadership.
He took a hiatus from his university work from 1994 to 1997 to serve as managing editor of The New York Times. In 1998, he returned to the college, where he teaches courses on writing the complex story, the press and the civil rights movement, and newsroom management.
Roberts is a former chairman of CPJ's board. He has served on the boards of the Pulitzer Prize, the World Press Freedom Committee, and the Center for Foreign Journalists. He has co-authored numerous books, including "Leaving Readers Behind: The Age of Corporate Newspaper, " "The Censors and the Schools," and the Pulitzer Prize-winning "The Race Beat." He was editor-in-chief of theAmerican Journalism Review's "State of the American Newspaper Project," published in 2000.
Roberts began his career as a farm reporter for The Goldsboro (N.C.) News-Argus. He later joined The New York Times where he led the paper's coverage of the 1960s civil rights movement in the South and served as chief war correspondent in Vietnam. Roberts received the National Press Club's Fourth Estate Award for Distinguished Contributions to Journalism in 1993.
Back to topPaul Steiger is president and editor-in-chief of ProPublica, a New York-based non-profit newsroom focused on investigative journalism, a position he assumed beginning January 2008. Steiger was previously editor-at-large at The Wall Street Journal, having stepped down in May 2007 from a 15-year stint as managing editor and vice president of Dow Jones & Company. Steiger joined the Journal in 1966 as a reporter in the San Francisco bureau. In 1968, he moved to the Los Angeles Times as a staff writer and in 1971 he transferred to that paper's Washington, D.C. bureau as an economic correspondent. He returned to Los Angeles in 1978 to serve as the Times' business editor.
In 1983, Steiger rejoined the Journal as an assistant managing editor in New York and became deputy managing editor in April 1985. He was appointed managing editor in June 1991 and became a vice president in May 1992. Under his leadership, The Wall Street Journal's reporters and editors won numerous Pulitzer Prizes. Editors and news staffs of the European and Asian Journals began reporting to him in July 2002.
Steiger was elected CPJ chairman in 2005. The same year, Steiger was honored with the "Decade of Excellence" award from the World Leadership Forum.
In November 2007, the National Press Club awarded Steiger the Fourth Estate Award, its highest honor, for "a lifetime of contributions to American journalism." In 2002, Steiger was selected as the first recipient of the American Society of Newspaper Editors' Leadership Award, honoring more than a decade of leadership at The Wall Street Journal. The John E. Anderson Graduate School of Management at UCLA honored him with the 2002 Gerald Loeb Award for lifetime achievement. Also in 2002, he was awarded the Columbia Journalism Award, given to honor a "singular journalistic performance in the public interest," and the highest honor awarded by the Columbia University School of Journalism. He was named a 2001-02 Poynter Fellow by Yale University.
The National Press Foundation awarded him the 2001 George Beveridge Editor of the Year Award for qualities that produce excellence in media. In March 1999, he was elected to the Pulitzer Prize Board. Steiger won three Gerald Loeb Awards and two John Hancock awards for his economics and business coverage. He is co-author of the book, The '70s Crash and How to Survive It, published in 1970.
Born in New York City, Steiger graduated from Yale University with a bachelor's degree in economics.
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Brian Williamswas the anchor and managing editor of "NBC Nightly News" from December 2004 to June 2015. His work covering Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath garnered numerous awards including an Emmy, a DuPont, four Edward R. Murrow Awards, and a Peabody. He is currentlyassigned to breaking news and special events coverage onMSNBC.
Williams has traveled extensively around the world to cover breaking news since joining NBC News in 1993. He is a veteran of political campaigns and elections and has reported numerous times from the Middle East, including several trips to Iraq to cover the war.
Beginning in 1996, he was anchor and managing editor of "The News with Brian Williams," a nightly news program broadcast on MSNBC and CNBC. Before becoming anchor of the weekday broadcast, Williams was anchor and managing editor of the Saturday edition of "NBC Nightly News" for six years.
Williams' start in broadcast journalism was at KOAM-TV in Pittsburg, Kan. in 1981. After serving as intern in the Carter administration, he worked for WTTG-TV in Washington, D.C. Before joining NBC, Williams was anchor and correspondent for CBS' Television Stations Division in Philadelphia and New York for seven years.
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CPJ calls for release of U.S. journalist held in Yemen - Committee to Protect Journalists
New York, December 4, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists calls for the immediate release of U.S. freelance journalist Luke Somers, who has been held hostage in Yemen for more than a year. Following a video released on Wednesday that showed the journalist pleading for his life, U.S. government officials issued press releases today publicly acknowledging that Somers was being held by Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. CPJ did not previously report the case at the request of the family, who today released a statement about the kidnapping.
"We call for the immediate release of Luke Somers, who went to Yemen to gather and report news about the country at a critical juncture in its history," said CPJ's Middle East and North Africa program coordinator, Sherif Mansour. "We hope that Luke, like Peter Theo Curtis who was released by Al-Qaeda's affiliate in Syria after prolonged captivity, will be able to return home safely to his family soon."
Somers was kidnapped on a busy street in the middle of Sana'a in September 2013, according to news reports. No group claimed responsibility, but Somers' colleagues told CPJ at the time that they feared he was taken by Al-Qaeda or would be sold to them.
Somers, who was born in U.K. and is an American citizen, moved to Yemen, where he soon began working as a freelance journalist, according to news reports. His coverage of the 2011 revolution in Yemen and its aftermath has been published by international and local outlets, including Al-Jazeera English, BBC, Foreign Policy, Inter Press Service, National Yemen, New York Times, and Yemen Times. At the time of his kidnapping, he was working in the media office as an English editor and translator for the National Dialogue Conference, a body formed as part of the reconciliation process after former President Ali Abdullah Saleh stepped down in 2012.
In a video released today, Somers' brother, Jordan, and mother, Paula, appealed for Somers' release and said they did not know why Somers was targeted or why he is still being held. "Luke is only a photojournalist, and he is not responsible for any actions the U.S. government has taken," his brother says in the video.
Late Wednesday, Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) released a three-minute video on YouTube publicly acknowledging for the first time that it is holding Somers captive. In the video, which was reviewed by CPJ before being removed from YouTube, Somers says he was kidnapped in Sana'a more than a year ago and says that his life is in danger. His statement is preceded by Nasser bin Ali al-Ansi, one of the leaders of the AQAP, saying that Somers "will meet his inevitable fate" unless the U.S. meets the group's unspecified demands.
Senior U.S. and Yemeni officials told ABC that they did not know what those demands were but speculated they may involve a prisoner exchange.
In the video, Al-Ansi also warns U.S. President Barack Obama from undertaking any more "stupidities" like the attempt last month to rescue Somers in a special forces raid. In a press release today, National Security Council Spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan said President Obama had authorized a rescue operation in coordination with Yemeni security forces to save Somers and other hostages after receiving reliable intelligence of their location but that Somers was not present when the forces arrived.
According to news reports citing Yemeni officials, eight hostages were freed after a gun battle with the militants but five other hostages, including Somers, were not rescued. The Associated Press, citing Yemeni security officials, reported that the body of another hostage held with Somers, Rashid al-Habshi, was found on Wednesday. The reports said the U.S. government had originally asked the media not to report on U.S. involvement in the raid for fear it would increase the danger that Somers faced.
CPJ documented at least seven other abductions of journalists in 2013, all but one of whom were local Yemeni journalists. Three months before Somers' kidnapping, Radio Netherlands Worldwide correspondent Judith Spiegel and her husband were kidnapped and held until December. The other six journalists were also eventually released. According to CPJ research, journalists in Yemen are often targeted for kidnapping for the work they published or in hope of getting a ransom or gaining leverage for economic and political concessions.
Earlier this year, Buzzfeed journalist Gregory Johnsen narrowly escaped a kidnapping attempt on the same street where Somers was taken, according to an article he wrote about the incident.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Sherif Mansour's comment in the second paragraph of this news alert has been corrected to reflect that the al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria released only one American journalist, Peter Theo Curtis, and not two as originally stated. Matt Schrier escaped captivity.
THESE days, in the thick of the American presidential primaries, it's easy to see how the 50 states continue to drive the political system. But increasingly, that's all they drive '-- socially and economically, America is reorganizing itself around regional infrastructure lines and metropolitan clusters that ignore state and even national borders. The problem is, the political system hasn't caught up.
America faces a two-part problem. It's no secret that the country has fallen behind on infrastructure spending. But it's not just a matter of how much is spent on catching up, but how and where it is spent. Advanced economies in Western Europe and Asia are reorienting themselves around robust urban clusters of advanced industry. Unfortunately, American policy making remains wedded to an antiquated political structure of 50 distinct states.
To an extent, America is already headed toward a metropolis-first arrangement. The states aren't about to go away, but economically and socially, the country is drifting toward looser metropolitan and regional formations, anchored by the great cities and urban archipelagos that already lead global economic circuits.
The Northeastern megalopolis, stretching from Boston to Washington, contains more than 50 million people and represents 20 percent of America's gross domestic product. Greater Los Angeles accounts for more than 10 percent of G.D.P. These city-states matter far more than most American states '-- and connectivity to these urban clusters determines Americans' long-term economic viability far more than which state they reside in.
This reshuffling has profound economic consequences. America is increasingly divided not between red states and blue states, but between connected hubs and disconnected backwaters. Bruce Katz of the Brookings Institution has pointed out that of America's 350 major metro areas, the cities with more than three million people have rebounded far better from the financial crisis. Meanwhile, smaller cities like Dayton, Ohio, already floundering, have been falling further behind, as have countless disconnected small towns across the country.
The problem is that while the economic reality goes one way, the 50-state model means that federal and state resources are concentrated in a state capital '-- often a small, isolated city itself '-- and allocated with little sense of the larger whole. Not only does this keep back our largest cities, but smaller American cities are increasingly cut off from the national agenda, destined to become low-cost immigrant and retirement colonies, or simply to be abandoned.
Congress was once a world leader in regional planning. The Louisiana Purchase, the Pacific Railroad Act (which financed railway expansion from Iowa to San Francisco with government bonds) and the Interstate System of highways are all examples of the federal government's thinking about economic development at continental scale. The Tennessee Valley Authority was an agent of post-Depression infrastructure renewal, job creation and industrial modernization cutting across six states.
What is needed, in some ways, is a return to this more flexible, broader way of thinking. Already, efforts to coordinate metropolitan and regional planning and investment are underway, whether they are quasi-government entities like the Western High Speed Rail Alliance, which aims to link Phoenix, Denver and Salt Lake City with next-generation trains, or industry-driven groups like CG/LA Inc., which promotes public-private investment in a new national infrastructure blueprint. Ironically, even some states are warming to the idea: Regional cooperation and planning is a top item at the National Governors Association.
These are the groups that are pushing America deeper into the global economy by rethinking how the national economy functions. But they have to go it alone, because Congress still thinks in terms of states. America needs a new map.
We don't have to create these regions; they already exist, on two levels. First, there are now seven distinct super-regions, defined by common economics and demographics, like the Pacific Coast and the Great Lakes. Within these, in addition to America's main metro hubs, we find new urban archipelagos, including the Arizona Sun Corridor, from Phoenix to Tucson; the Front Range, from Salt Lake City to Denver to Albuquerque; the Cascadia belt, from Vancouver to Seattle; and the Piedmont Atlantic cluster, from Atlanta to Charlotte, N.C.
Federal policy should refocus on helping these nascent archipelagos prosper, and helping others emerge, in places like Minneapolis and Memphis, collectively forming a lattice of productive metro-regions efficiently connected through better highways, railways and fiber-optic cables: a United City-States of America.
Similar shifts can be found around the world. Despite millenniums of cultivated cultural and linguistic provinces, China is transcending its traditional internal boundaries to become an empire of 26 megacity clusters with populations of up to 100 million each, centered around hubs such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chongqing-Chengdu. Over time these clusters, whose borders fluctuate based on population and economic growth, will be the cores around which the central government allocates subsidies, designs supply chains and builds connections to the rest of the world.
Western countries are following suit. As of 2015, Italy's most important political players are no longer its dozens of laconic provinces, but 14 ''Metropolitan Cities,'' like Rome, Turin, Milan and Florence, each of which has been legislatively merged with its surrounding municipalities into larger and more economically viable subregions.
Britain is also in the midst of an internal reorganization, with the government of Prime Minister David Cameron driving investment toward a new corridor stretching from Leeds to Liverpool known as the ''Northern Powerhouse'' that can become an additional economic anchor beyond London and Scotland.
What would this approach look like in America? It would start by focusing not on state lines but on existing lines of infrastructure, supply chains and telecommunications, routes that stay remarkably true to the borders of the emergent super-regions, and are most robust within the new urban archipelagos.
Connectivity isn't just about infrastructure; it's about strategy. It's not just about more roads, rail lines and telecommunications '-- as well as manufacturing plants and data centers '-- but where those are placed. Getting that right is critical to getting the most out of public investment. But too often, decisions about infrastructure investment are made at the state (or even county) level, and end at the state border.
Consider the Gulf Coast arc from Houston to Tampa, an area growing on the back of the shale energy industry and agricultural exports. The ports of Corpus Christi and Tampa both received federal foreign trade zone status in the early 1980s and have been raising bridges and expanding terminals to prepare for larger ships coming through the Panama Canal '-- and their modernization also means accelerated export of food, oil and cars from America's heartland. Their fates are more intertwined than Tampa's is with Tallahassee or Corpus Christi's is with Austin, even though they're in the same state '-- and yet building out their infrastructure depends largely on the political whims of their respective state capitals. As a result, the region's ports have built redundant facilities rather than strengthening those best suited to capitalize on new economic connections.
Nor is it just about federal policy. States need to work across borders, too. For example, instead of waging a 1980s Asian-style race to the bottom to attract low-wage auto jobs at Nissan, Honda or Toyota plants, Tennessee and Kentucky should join forces to become an advanced manufacturing hub for the global auto industry, with better cross-border infrastructure. They may end up with fewer plants, but they would be more competitive ones, especially if they could coordinate research and development through the states' public and private universities.
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Why the Bar Code Will Always Be the Mark of the Beast | WIRED
Joe Woodland invented the bar code '-- that collection of lines and numbers used to ring up your groceries every time you visit the supermarket '-- and after the longtime IBMer passed away earlier this month at the age of 91, the response from certain parts of the web was all too predictable.
''It's the mark of the beast!'' wrote one regular Wired commenter in response to our Joe Woodland tribute, pointing readers to the 16th verse of the 13th chapter of the Book of Revelation. Revelation is the final book of the Bible's New Testament, and among other things, it foretells an apocalypse in which a beast will rise from the earth, rain fire from the heavens, and lay his mark on all of humankind '-- a mark used to buy and sell.
''He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name,'' reads the 13th chapter. ''Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666.''
Presumably, that commenter was having a bit of fun '-- he calls himself ''Full Metal Pizza'' and his tagline is ''Soylent Green is STILL made out of people!!!'' '-- but ever since Woodland and his IBM colleagues introduced the Universal Product Code, they've been chased by claims that it's a step toward the apocalypse '-- and not all these claims were made in jest.
When the first UPC scanners arrived in the early 1970s, according to various IBMers who worked on the project, there were protests at grocery stores '-- even though the codes appeared on Coke cans and jars of applesauce, not right hands and foreheads. And in the years that followed, an urban legend arose, warning gullible types that the number 666 was hidden in each bar code. George Laurer '-- who designed the bar code as we know it today, expanding on Woodland's original idea '-- once received a letter via registered mail from someone who claimed to be Satan and asked Laurer how it felt to have carried out his orders.
'All of this is pure bunk and is no more important than the fact that my first, middle, and last name all have 6 letters.'''George Laurer
Laurer '-- who has clearly tired of answering questions about the UPC and its supposed connection to the Book of Revelation '-- calls all this ''ludicrous.'' But it's also rather amusing. Laurer has long told UPC watchers that the three longer ''guide bars'' in each code '-- one at the front, one in the middle, and one at the end '-- do not represent 6's, hoping to put that urban legend to rest. But you can't squash human nature. If someone wants to find proof that the apocalypse is upon us, they will find it.
When Joe Woodland dreamed up the bar code in the late 1940s, it looked like a bull's-eye '-- a series of concentric circles. But although Woodland went to work for IBM in the early '50s and helped Big Blue push the UPC into the market, he sold his original bull's eye patent to another company, and the code IBM settled on looked more like a rectangle '-- a series of short, parallel lines.
This code was designed by Laurer, and it's what you see on your groceries today. Basically, an optical scanner reads the distance between the edge of each line, and these distances correspond to numbers that can then be used to identify a product.
Laurer first realized the code could be construed as some sort of apocalyptic signpost while it was still under development in the early 1970s. His daughter happened to be studying the Book of Revelation, and he couldn't help but notice that the code harbored a few 6's '-- though not the 6's alleged by the urban legend that's still bouncing around the internet.
According to Laurer, the numerical values for each pattern of lines and spaces were assigned ''almost arbitrarily'' by the project's mathematician, David Savir, and this included a default value '-- or error value '-- that was used when the scanner had trouble reading a code. If the scanner read any two bars followed by an infinitely long space, it returned the number 6.
Ah, but those weren't the only the 6's.
In those days, IBM didn't really name its products as much as it numbered them. IBM's UPC scanning system '-- which included the scanners themselves, terminals, a kind of local area network, and a controller '-- was called the 3660. But the individual scanners were also tagged with their own number: 3666.
Bill Selmeier '-- an IBM executive who worked alongside Laurer and Woodland on the project inside the IBM Store Systems group in Raleigh, North Carolina '-- doesn't remember anyone in the group discussing the possibility of people protesting the scanners while they were still under development, but protest they did. When Selmeier showed up at a Ralph's grocery store in Los Angeles to see one of the first scanning systems in action, dressed in his pin-stripe suit and wing tips, a man approached and told him the code was the sign of the beast.
''I had no idea what he was talking about,'' Selmeier remembers. ''But then I went back to hotel room and opened '... Gideon's Bible.''
Contemporary news stories discussed the parallels with the Book of Revelation '-- and the complaints. The complaints were myriad '-- and they didn't always involve 6's. According to Laurer, early test films of the scanners were labeled with the letters F, G and H, and some saw this as proof that the code would wind up on more than just Coke cans, insisting the H stood for head and the F for forearm.
''All of this is pure bunk,'' says Laurer, ''and is no more important than the fact that my first, middle, and last name all have 6 letters.''
Of course, some people may find extreme importance in the number of letters that make up his name. That's just how people are.
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BBC's Last Whites Of The East End reveals effects of mass migration in Brtain | Daily Mail Online
'Everything this area stood for is being eradicated slowly but surely,' says this proud, sad fifth generation East Ender. 'In ten years' time, there'll be absolutely no trace of Cockney culture.'
Things used to be different, he says. 'I miss those days when everyone knew everyone.' Now his children are growing up with little knowledge of 'the British way of life'. These days, he says, some schools are more like 'Africa or Romania'.
He is not being particularly outspoken. In fact, it is hard to find anyone who was born and bred in these streets who would argue with him. No doubt, Shadow Europe Minister Pat Glass '-- who this week condemned an entire Derbyshire village after a 'horrible racist' voter dared to voice concerns about immigration '-- would like to have him carted off for re-education.
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Cockneys are becoming a minority in east London, (pictured) which is the UK's most multicultural borough, with 70,000 immigrants arriving over the past 15 years
But what is really astonishing is that these remarks come not from some Alf Garnett-style Cockney dinosaur wailing into his pint down at the Queen Vic.
They are the thoughts of Usmaan Hussain, a dad with a young family, who is every bit as proud of his East End roots as his Bangladeshi ancestry. He loves West Ham United and has just started up a Muslim prayer group.
And he is one of many Cockneys whose moving lament for a dying way of life is the subject of a powerful documentary next week on BBC1.
It will make extremely uncomfortable viewing for all the main political parties, not to mention the local council '-- which is already disputing some of its assertions. And it seems that there are some within the BBC who are worried about this film, too.
I am sure the channel will issue plenty of health warnings before the start of Last Whites Of The East End. And they won't be referring to the swearing. If you're the sort of delicate flower who feels threatened by Germaine Greer's views on gender change or a statue of Cecil Rhodes, then you should switch channels immediately.
Take the story of bus driver Tony Cunningham, 39. He is moving out of the East End, he says, because successive waves of immigration have changed it beyond recognition. 'White people are given a very, very bad time round here,' he says. And he is not prepared to raise his baby daughter there.
'The first thing I think about when I get up is how to get her out of this area,' explains this gentle giant of a man as he drives through the London Borough of Newham, where a typical primary school has to cope with 43 different languages.
White British 'East Enders' say immigration is killing off traditions that used to be commonplace in the area in the 1970s (pictured), according to new BBC documentary Last Whites of the East End
Residents of Morpeth Street in London's East End watching one of the entertainments put on to celebrate the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II on June 2, 1953
'Charlotte can't go to these schools. These schools will make her lose her identity.'
Respect has gone, he says, along with manners, Christmas cards and nativity plays. Christmas, he says, is 'just a holiday' these days.
We see Tony and his wife house-hunting out on the fringes of leafy Essex. The estate agent remarks how many people seem to be moving.
'We're running, mate!' he replies. 'We're not moving.'
Tony is a quintessential child of the East End, raised on pie and mash, West Ham and Nan's tales of the Blitz.
But much as Lefties might like to brush him aside as a moaning throwback from Ukip (or something more extreme), it won't wash. Because Tony knows all about that great liberal shibboleth, 'community cohesion'.
His mum was fourth-generation Cockney while his father arrived from Jamaica in the Sixties. 'We was called ''n*****'' when we was growing up,' he says matter of factly. 'I had to educate my Nan. She had a cat called the same thing. She didn't really get the gist of it.'
He has friends from every ethnic minority and is married to Vally, a Romanian who came to Britain in search of a better life in 2007. They met when she hopped on his bus one day.
In other words, Tony needs no lessons in multi-culturalism. But as far as he's concerned, it has been handled abysmally.
That's why he thinks the old East End is doomed and why he wants out.
Bus driver Tony Cunningham, 39, has chosen to raise his daughter away from Newham
This is a beautifully made film which neither patronises nor sensationalises its subjects. And it does not mince its words '-- which may explain why the BBC has put it in a late-night slot at 10.45pm and given it minimal pre-publicity.
No doubt, if it was about Tory cuts or the bedroom tax or the arts or was presented by the ubiquitous cross-dressing potter Grayson Perry, it would enjoy loud hurrahs on Newsnight or Radio 4. But I have yet to see a single trailer.
The BBC high-ups would probably prefer it to receive a minimum of fuss. After all, it leaves you realising that the East End we see on its flagship soap, EastEnders, is all wrong.
Albert Square is a fantasy land, a period drama, a time warp in which you might still find old geezers reminiscing about East End life under the Kray Twins. It bears little resemblance to the Newham of today.
Even one of the BBC's own drama chiefs has admitted that the soap is 'significantly white compared with the real East End'. Now, if the producers of ITV's Coronation Street filled it with pigeon-fanciers in flat caps with whippets and string round their trouser legs, there would be uproar across the North.
But it's fine to have a show full of Cockney stereotypes. After all, there aren't many Cockneys left to complain.
'Newham is home to a tight-knit white working-class community who have lived here for hundreds of years,' says the opening commentary.
'But over the past 15 years, something extraordinary has happened to this Cockney tribe. More than half of them have disappeared.'
'The life that we knew is finished,' says one elderly old lady at the East Ham Working Men's Club.
The manager goes further: 'People who haven't been back here for many years say: ''I can't believe what's happened here.''
'They come out of Upton Park station and [say]: ''I could be in Baghdad.'''
One old chap puts it another way: 'People who pass opinions about immigration and how wonderful it is for us '-- they should spend a day or two in Newham. If they think that's good for England, well I'm a Dutchman.'
We see the fifth-generation Oakman family reduced to tears, as daughter Leanne and her young family prepare to follow the well-worn route out of the East End and over the border into Essex where her children can grow up 'with their own people'.
We see Eileen Storey, newly widowed at 90, abandoning the only place she knows for Norfolk.
We meet Darren Loveday, 29, a local boxing champion who grew up here with mum and four siblings. Dad was in the clink and Darren learned to use his fists.
It served him well the day a gang told him: 'White boy, drop your phone and walk off.' He left them all on the floor, whereupon they accused him of racial assault.
The episode spurred him to leave for Essex, too. 'I hate this f****** area,' he says, though he still comes back for boxing matches.
Darren Loveday, pictured, has left Newham and said he was 'the only white kid' at his college growing up
Yet this film, made by Lambent Productions, throws up some important positives. The people in it have no problem with the immigrants themselves. It is the system which dismays them.
Eileen Storey talks lovingly of her Somalian neighbours. It is a very poignant moment as she gives them a hug before leaving for East Anglia. 'I hope my next neighbours are as nice as you are,' she tells them.
Darren, the angry boxer, doesn't blame the incomers but the supine authorities. 'Everyone's moving in,' he says. 'They're not taking over. We're letting them.' According to the film: 'Fifteen years of mass immigration and white flight have brought Newham to its tipping point. It now has the lowest white British population of anywhere in the UK.'
According to the latest census, Newham's white British population has dropped from 34 per cent to 17 per cent in just ten years.
However, Newham council says that this is misleading since the population has increased.
A spokesman points out that the actual number of white British has dropped by a third, not a half '-- from 82,000 to 52,000 out of a total 308,000.
N ewham's executive mayor, Sir Robin Wales, rejects the idea of an 'old white working class' being 'driven out'. 'This is London, things are always changing and people move. I have a German mother and a Scottish father.
'The main thing is that we get on and nearly 90 per cent of people here say they get on well together.'
But the fact remains that only just over half of the borough speak English as their main language.
And it is beyond dispute that the traditional Cockney now accounts for less than one in five of the population.
Leanne Oakham, left with mother Debbie, is leaving Newham for Essex, while Tony Cunningham, right, is also moving out to Hornchurch to find a better school for daughter Charlotte
On present trends, that could soon be less than one in ten. Would you Adam and Eve it? '-- as absolutely no one says round here. For I have followed the advice of the old boy in the working men's club.
I have come to spend a day or two in Newham. And I don't hear a single word of Cockney rhyming slang from anyone. No one talks about going down the 'frog and toad' for a pint at the 'rub a dub'. You might still come across this sort of banter in chi-chi media joints in fashionable parts of town where a spot of Mockney is good for one's credentials '-- 'Golly, I'm cream-crackered after my yoga class'. But it's as elusive as a Pearly King singing Roll Out The Barrel here at the Queen's Market on Green Street.
'No one uses rhyming slang any more '-- except in prison,' says Fahim Chaudhry, 25, who describes himself as 'a proper Cockney'. He is a great ambassador for East End multi-culturalism, too.
Born in the borough, he is from a Kashmiri family and runs a shop selling African-Caribbean beauty products. He says that life might have been hard for ethnic minorities some years ago when 'there was a bit of racism', but not any more.
'The whites are the minority now. It's ridiculously small. It's gone too far the other way,' he says.
What infuriates him most are immigrants who 'don't speak a word of English and don't bother to try'. So does he actually live round here? 'No, we moved to Wanstead [on the edge of Essex],' he says. 'It's the best thing we ever did.'
On the other side of the market, Ronnie Hoadley, 63, is the last of the old white fruit 'n' veg stallholders '-- and he hasn't lived round here for years. How many Cockneys does he serve each day? Blank looks. 'If I get ten in a week, I'd be amazed.'
NEWHAM AT A GLANCEThe London borough of Newham was officially formed in 1965 after the merger of East Ham and West Ham under the new Greater London region.
Traditionally it had a strong white working class population thanks to the Royal Group of Docks that were built between 1855 and 1921.
Named after Queen Victoria, Prince Albert and King George V, the docks became a core part of the local economy, even when they were damaged by German bombing raids during the Second World War.
But their decline started in the 1960s due to the increased use of container ships, and they eventually closing to commercial traffic only in 1981, causing widespread unemployment.
Many homes were destroyed in the area during the Blitz, leading to a huge development of tower blocks and an influx of immigrant workers to build them.
Now it is the most ethnically diverse borough in the UK, with white British making up just 16 per cent of the population in the 2011 census, dropping from 33.8 per cent 10 years earlier.
The 37.5 per cent drop was the largest of any local authority in England and Wales between the two censuses.
Newham was one of the six host boroughs for the 2012 London Olympic Games and was also home to West Ham United's Upton Park until the club left for Stratford's Olympic Stadium.
A few yards down the road, the Boleyn Ground, former home of West Ham United, dominates the landscape. This grand old stadium is somehow emblematic of the Cockney exodus. This month, the Hammers played their last game here, against Manchester United, ahead of next season's move to the shiny 2012 Olympic stadium.
For the locals, though, it was like losing a member of the family.
'Match days have always been very big for us and we have had the same loyal customers for years,' says Richard Nathan, fourth generation boss of Nathan's Pie and Mash restaurant just round the corner on Barking Road. 'Then just before the match, all the fans in here stood up and just started applauding us. It was very emotional.'
His pies are all homemade (and they are superb), the jellied eels are cooked on the premises and the place is immaculate.
It's a proud slice of old East End life which Richard runs with a loyal team including his mother, Chris, and Pam Baldock, who started working here 23 years ago. Without the football club, life is going to be harder for the Nathans.
The dwindling band of Cockneys and the long-established Caribbean community love his food. The Asians and Eastern Europeans, who make up more than half the local population, do not. But Richard, 44, hopes his regulars will keep on coming.
'One of our busiest days is the day before Mother's Day. Because you get all these Cockneys who've moved out coming back to see their mum or going to the cemetery.' It's no surprise to find out where Richard and his young family live. 'We've moved out to Essex,' he says. 'People do when they have kids.'
The loss of the football club is going to hit another Cockney staple '-- the boozer. Ron Bolwell, 78, runs two, the Denmark Arms and the Queen's. The latter, he says, used to take £12,000 on a West Ham match day. 'It was the cream which kept us going.'
West Ham United have now left Upton Park, pictured, which will have an 'awful' effect on the area, say locals
Without the football club, he says, he might pack up and go back to his native Wales. Migration has already hit business hard. 'Most Asians don't drink and a lot of the Eastern Europeans just drink in the street,' he says. He has recently taken to charging non-drinkers 20p to use the lavatory. 'Otherwise, they just walk in and pinch a toilet roll.'
Nearby, at the Boleyn Tavern, bar manager Nikita, 30, says that the old East End is long gone. 'You used to know everyone on your street and you could leave a key on a string.
'Now, a lot of people don't speak English and everyone else is terrified of being called a racist,' she says. Life is much more nuanced and complicated than the likes of Labour's Pat Glass might think.
'My family's all mixed '-- we've got blacks, Filipinos, Scottish,' says Nikita. 'But we just can't keep on letting more people in.'
Finally, just up from the old stadium, I meet Tony Cunningham, the bus driver in the programme. Since the film was made, he has completed the move to Essex. He couldn't be happier. 'My wife says I'm a changed man,' he says. 'My mum's still round here but, if it wasn't for her, I don't think I'd ever come back. It's just not the place I knew any more.'
Last Whites Of The East End, BBC1. Tuesday, 10.45pm.
#5-Five reasons why it's still worth a punt on Brexit
They think it's all over'...and to judge by the recent spate of pro-Remain polls on the EU Referendum question, it pretty much is now.
No-one wants to say it out aloud; a ruddy-cheeked David Cameron is still huffing and puffing his way round the factories and malls of Great Britain while Boris spins doughtnuts in his campaign hot-rod, but every knows the game is up.
The 'poll of polls' shows an 8-point lead for 'Remain'; the markets are calm, Sterling is on the up and Nigel Farage talks openly about how the Brexiteers will not accept defeat which '' as the bookmakers odds of 1-7 attest '' is now a racing certainty.
Well, maybe. But here's five good reasons why it still might be worth having a punt on Brexit '' current odds 4-1, since you ask.
1. The polls aren't nearly as clear-cut as you might think.Remain have always has an in-built advantage, but as Professor John Curtice, the polling guru from the University of Strathclyde told a meeting at Chatham House this week, a rigorous analysis of the polls shows only ''slight evidence'' of a tilt towards remain, which has always held a lead. Everyone else is trading the headlines.
Even allowing for that slight tilt, he added, Remain certainly was ''not obviously at a tipping point'', attributing much of current shift to a much higher proportion of polls conducted by phone in recent weeks. And for reasons the pollsters haven't fully explained, even to themselves, phone polls consistently favour 'remain'.
So, they simply could be wrong and the online polls '' which put 'Leave' much closer '' could in fact be right. It wouldn't be the first time. And when you then start to factor in ''likely voters'' the margins come down still further. In short, don't bet on the polls just yet.
2. It's all about the turnout.Most pollsters agree that if everyone could vote via smartphone without getting out of bed on June 23, Britain would indeed vote to 'remain' by a fairly comfortable margin; perhaps even as much as 60-40.
But as we all know, the referendum result will be decided by voters who actually do bother to get out of bed and go to the polls, rather sleeping off their hangover from the previous night's box office Euro 2016 fixture '' Italy v Ireland.
Research by the University of Kent's Matthew Goodwin has shown that a low turnout almost certainly favours a Brexit, since the pro-Leave camp supporters are much more motivated than remainers.
If turn out is 55 per cent or below, and the turnout among 'Leave' is five points higher than 'Remainers' then '' boom - Brexit.
3. There are good reasons to think turnout might be lowAs Prof Curtice observed, so far this EU referendum hasn't "cut through" in the way the Scottish independence referendum did '' people just aren't talking about membership of the European Union in the pubs and parks of England they way did over the future of the British Union.
As a measure of the lack of interest, the polling shows that voters have remained largely unmoved '' not by Barack Obama, or Christine Lagarde or the governor of the Bank of England or even, for that matter, the barnstorming Boris. Voters distrust both sides in almost equal measure.
The lack of engagement is could be the result of the "blue-on-blue" nature of the debate, which is to say to most ordinary people this campaign looks like the same old Tory squabble which has been going on for generations '' rather than a "once in a generation" decision.
Younger voters and progressive Labour voters favour remain, but their enthusiasm may be supressed by the idea of going out to vote in favour of a Tory prime minster. And the frankly hysterical nature of the campaign '' on both sides '' is proving a general turn-off to a large number of people.
General Election turnout last year was 66 per cent; local election turnout is often in the mid-30s per cent. It's not hard to see how the EU referendum turnout could be 55 per cent, and then'....well, see point, two, above.
4. The black swans all point to BrexitData shows that the British election tends not to switch on to an election campaign until around two weeks before polling day. That is a narrow window in which unforeseen ''black swan'' events could suddenly paddle into view and upset all the conventional wisdom of an easy win for 'remain'.
The obvious nightmare for 'remain' is a Paris-style terror attack involving jihadists who slipped into Europe during last year's migrant crisis.
But here are others - a sudden financial shock causing the Eurozone to wobble again, another dire showing from England at the Euro football championships, a migration surge in the Med or a major scandal in Brussels or Westminster that rocks the Cameron-Osborne campaign by further eroding confidence in the political establishment.
It is also a salutary thought for 'remain' that it is possible to think of a good number of black swans that could tip the balance suddenly towards Brexit - but virtually impossible to think of one that would suddenly influence the public towards 'remain'.
The risk, albeit a low risk, is all with the 'remain' side.
5. Complacency, sleep-walking to the exitIt is a paradox of the campaign that the further ahead 'remain' get in the polls, the more sanguine the markets appear, the more solid the position of Sterling against the Euro, the less likely that 'remain' voters '' already relatively tepid towards their cause - are to bother to turn out to vote.
Recall that it was a September 7 2014 Sunday Times poll showing Scots 51-49 in favour of independence that suddenly galvanised Gordon Brown and every other politician in Britain to pile up to Edinburgh to offer blandishments and beg the Scots not to vote 'out'.
Cameron's "project fear" suddenly felt real as the pound plunged to a 10-month low and the stocks of Scottish-based firms took a battering in the markets. One Deutsche Bank's foreign exchange specialist warned that an "out" could lead ''a destabilising crisis in the whole British banking system''.
And that's the problem for "remain". If the polls are perceived to remain overwhelmingly in their favour, they just won't get that judicious jolt of panic needed to prevent Britain to sleep-walking to the exit '' or a ''Brexident'', as the remain camp would call it.
So if the world awakes on June 24 to the shock news that we've voted to leave the European Union 50.8 to 49.2 on the back of a 52 per cent turnout, don't say you weren't warned.
Ebola / Zika / Vaccine$ / MRC
Long-Dreaded Superbug Found in Human and Animal in U.S. '' Phenomena: Germination
A gene conferring resistance to the last-ditch drug colistin has been found in E. coli in the United States.
Photograph by Ian Cuming, Alamy
The antibiotic resistance factor MCR, which protects bacteria against the final remaining drugs of last resort, has been found in the United States for the first time'--in a person, and separately, in a stored sample taken from a slaughtered pig.
Department of Defense researchers disclosed Thursday in a report placed online by the journal Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy that a 49-year-old woman who sought medical care at a military-associated clinic in Pennsylvania last month, with what seemed to be a urinary tract infection, was carrying a strain of E. coli resistant to a wide range of drugs. That turned out to be because the organism carried 15 different genes conferring antibiotic resistance, clustered on two ''mobile elements'' that can move easily among bacteria. One element included the new, dreaded gene mcr-1.
The discovery ''heralds the emergence of truly pan-drug resistant bacteria,'' the DOD personnel, Patrick McGann of the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research and Kurt Schaecher of the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, along with eight colleagues, write in the journal report.
Beth Bell, director of the National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said the CDC has begun working with the researchers and the Pennsylvania Department of Health to understand how the woman came to be carrying the highly resistant bacterium. (Later Thursday, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf confirmed the case, and the CDC joint investigation, in a statement.)
The DOD researchers who described her case, who did not immediately respond to a request for comment, provided no other information on her case, except to say that she had not traveled in the previous five months, suggesting she did not pick up the bacterium outside the U.S.
''It is extremely concerning; this is potentially a sentinel event,'' Bell said in a phone interview. ''There is a lot that needs to be done in terms of contact tracing and field investigation, to have a sense of who else might have been exposed or might be carrying this resistant bacterium.''
Bell disclosed that the U.S. Department of Agriculture will shortly announce the first identification of MCR in the United States in an animal. It was found in a stored sample of pig intestine that was collected as part of the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System, a shared project of the CDC, USDA and Food and Drug Administration that looks for resistant foodborne bacteria in people, animals, and meat.
''We have been intentionally looking for this since MCR was first announced,'' she said.
The Department of Health and Human Services subsequently confirmed the pig finding in a blog post Thursday afternoon.
The existence of MCR was reported for the first time just last November, in a report by British and Chinese researchers who said they had found the gene in people, animals, and meat in several areas of China. Subsequently it has been found in people, animals, or meat in at least 20 countries across the world.
MCR is so troubling because it confers protection against colistin, the last remaining antibiotic that works against a broad family of bacteria that have already acquired resistance to all the other antibiotics used against them. Colistin has worked up to this point because it is a toxic drug from the early days of the antibiotic era, seldom prescribed because of its side effects; because it was used so infrequently, bacteria had not adapted to it.
But because it is effective, agriculture adopted it instead, using it widely and legally for prevention of diseases in food animals. By the time the medical community discovered that it needed the drug back, resistance to colistin was already moving from agriculture into the human world.
Colistin is not actually used in animals in the United States, though it has been approved for use by the FDA. That makes the arrival of colistin resistance a mystery that will have to be plumbed through genetic sequencing.
Advocates who track antibiotic resistance, especially in agriculture, reacted to the news of U.S. colistin resistance by emphasizing the gravity this finding deserves.
''This shows that we are right on the verge of getting into the territory of routine bacterial infections being untreatable,'' Steven Roach, the food safety program director at the Food Animal Concerns Trust, said by phone. ''It underscores the failure of both the federal government and Congress, and the industry, to get a grasp of the problem. We can't continue to drag our feet on taking needed action.''
The Pennsylvania woman's diagnosis occurred thanks to a system set up within the DOD after MCR was discovered. Since last fall, any E. coli that was already resistant to a family of drugs known as ESBLs (extended-spectrum beta-lactams), as hers was, has been sent up the chain to Walter Reed, to be scrutinized for colistin resistance. That kind of systematic checking for antibiotic resistance, known as active surveillance, is rare in the United States. Most civilian surveillance systems are patchy; they focus only on foodborne illnesses, or rely on physicians or labs to report diagnoses, or draw from a few state health departments with already well-funded labs.
''This shows how much we need comprehensive surveillance, so that things are not discovered by accident,'' Bell said. The CDC recently received additional funding under the Obama Administration's national strategy for antibiotic resistance that will allow it to begin to set up regional lab networks. ''We'll be able to identify things systematically, identify clusters and begin contact investigations quickly,'' she said.
''The first known case of MCR-1 in a U.S. patient underscores the urgent need for better surveillance and stewardship programs to combat antibiotic resistance,'' agreed Dr. David Hyun, an infectious-disease specialist who is a senior officer in a long-running antibiotic resistance project at the Pew Charitable Trusts.
If there is any good news in the announcements of MCR's appearance in the United States, it is that it has not, as yet, combined with other resistance genes into a completely untreatable organism. Bacteria acquire resistance genes like gamblers amassing a hand of cards, but the way the ''cards'' arrive is not step-wise'--bad resistance, and then worse resistance, and then the worst'--but randomly. What that means, in this case, is that the Pennsylvania E. coli possesses ESBL resistance (bad) and colistin resistance (worst)'--but it remains susceptible to other intervening categories of drugs. (The stored pig sample has a yet different resistance pattern, colistin plus what is known as ASSuT, for the drug families represented by ampicillin, streptomycin, sulfas and tetracycline.)
But the random roulette of bacterial genetic recombination makes it more likely that an untreatable combination'--of, for instance, colistin resistance plus carbapenem resistance, which the CDC has previously called ''nightmare bacteria'''--might occur. In fact, it already has occurred in patients in China, where MCR was first identified.
''We're one step closer to carbapenem-resistant and colistin-resistant E. coli bumping into each other in someone's gut,'' Lance Price, a molecular biologist and the director of the Antibiotic Resistance Action Center at George Washington University, said by phone. ''It doesn't matter in which direction the transfer takes place'--if the carbapenem-resistant strain picks up colistin resistance, or if the colistin-resistant strain picks up carbapenem resistance. It's double jeopardy.''
Once bacteria begin to collect resistance to multiple families of antibiotics, the speed and direction of their spread becomes hard to predict, because using any of the antibiotics to which they are resistant allows them to increase in number. (Not because the drugs affect the resistant bugs'--they don't'--but because they kill susceptible organisms nearby, freeing up additional living space and food.) That makes it crucial to create surveillance systems that can identify them early.
The Department of Defense system that detected the Pennsylvania organism is a model for how surveillance ought to be carried out, Price said: ''We need active surveillance for multi-drug resistant or high-priority resistant organisms, in animals and people, throughout the U.S.''
Previous coverage on Phenomena:
Why the Virtual-Reality Hype is About to Come Crashing Down - WSJ
Makers of virtual-reality headsets think 2016 will be the year of VR. The experience ''is radically different than any computing experience you've had before,'' says Marc Metis, a vice president at HTC Corp., maker of the Vive headset.
Investigators raid Google Paris HQ in tax evasion inquiry
May 24, 2016, 12:35 PM EDTE-mailTweetFacebookLinkedinShare iconsBased on almost every metric that matters, Spotify is the most successful streaming music service in the world, with almost 90 million subscribers and close to $2 billion in annual revenues. Yet its recently-released financial results show that despite its massive success, it is still incapable of making a profit'--and because of the way the music business works, it may never make one.
Although Spotify doesn't have to submit financial reports to stock market regulators because it isn't publicly traded, its Luxembourg-based parent company filed results with that country's corporate registrar. The picture painted of Spotify's business gives new meaning to the question, ''Is the glass half full or is it half empty?''
On the upside, Spotify's revenues accelerated in 2015, growing by about 80% to 1.95 billion Euros or about $2.1 billion U.S. dollars. That was almost twice the growth rate that the company saw in 2014. At a time when Apple Music and other competitors have been pouring resources into expanding their reach, Spotify seems to have increased its lead. Its user base climbed almost 50% to 89 million, up from 60 million in 2014.
On the glass-half-empty side of the equation, however, Spotify's losses also expanded to $206 million, up from $184 million in 2014. Despite the larger losses, some observers cheered this news because the company's red ink didn't increase as quickly as its revenues did. But that silver lining disappears if you look more closely at the costs that really matter.
Spotify's single biggest expense are the payments it has to make to record labels and music publishers, as they are for every other streaming music service, whether it's Apple Music or Rdio or Deezer. In 2015, the amount that Spotify had to pay for royalties and distribution fees climbed by 85%, to about $1.8 billion. In other words, costs grew by more than revenues did.
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Everywhere you look in the online music industry, you see the same picture. Deezer postponed a planned public offering because its financial picture was so bleak. In some cases, contracts with record companies forced Deezer to pay more than it was making in revenue by streaming popular songs. Rdio filed for bankruptcy and was acquired by Pandora, a company whose investors are pressuring it to sell itself to the highest bidder. But who would want to buy it?
Even Spotify, which has been planning for a public share offering for some time, was forced to raise a $1 billion round of convertible debt financing earlier this year in order to fund its operations because equity investors weren't prepared to put in more money at the valuation the company wanted.
That's partly because the digital music business looks increasingly fragile, at least the way it is structured currently. Of every dollar that Spotify brings in the door in revenues, about 85 cents goes right back out the door again in the form of payments to the music industry. That number is climbing at a faster rate than the company's revenues are, and still there are complaints that streaming music services don't pay enough money to artists. Where does all of this ultimately lead?
In its filing with the Luxembourg regulator, Spotify said that it is hopeful that it will be able to turn a profit at some point soon. ''We believe our model supports profitability at scale,'' the company said. ''We believe that we will generate substantial revenues as our reach expands and that, at scale, our margins will improve.'' This is a brave statement, but how is it even remotely realistic? Are record labels going to suddenly cut more favorable deals than they have in the past?
Spotify is currently in negotiations to re-sign most of the deals it has with record industry, but there's no indication that it will be able to do so at historical rates. In fact, even though they own a small stake in the company, some labels may want to charge more because Spotify has become so dominant.
Meanwhile, the streaming music business is so terrible financially that Spotify recently announced that it is moving even further into video with plans to expand its current music video feature into a full-fledged streaming video service with original programming. Not only is this a business that everyone from Netflix and Amazon to Apple and Google are going after, but it also has extremely high costs'--higher even than the music business. Is that likely to save Spotify? It's difficult to see how.
Songwriter Would Need 288 Million Spins To Equal Average Spotify Employee Salary | The Trichordist
Spotify just posted their financials and Paul Resnikoff at Digital Music News was quick to point out that the average Spotify employee salary is $168, 747.
Contrast that to the plight of songwriters. There would be no music business without the fundamental efforts of songwriters. Yet, there is not a free market in songs. The federal government mandates that Spotify pay songwriters/publishers based on a percentage of revenue. Last I checked this rate was working out to about $0.00058 per spin. This includes both the public performance (BMI/ASCAP) and the streaming mechanical (IF they happen to pay it).
Best case scenario, if a songwriter retains all publishing rights to their song then a songwriter would need 288,104,634.15 spins to earn the average salary of a Spotify employee.
Major Pandora investor pressures company to sell - LA Times
An activist investor is putting pressure on Internet radio giant Pandora Media Inc. to sell the company, which is facing increasing competition in the growing streaming music industry.
Corvex Management, a hedge fund run by Keith Meister, on Monday wrote a letter to Pandora's board of directors encouraging the company to hire an independent investment bank to explore options including a sale.
In his note, included in a regulatory filing, Meister questioned recent decisions by the company, including the sudden appointment of founder Tim Westergren as chief executive, and the acquisition of online concert ticket merchant TicketFly.
Meister, a protege of billionaire Carl Icahn, suggested potential buyers could include Internet companies, mobile device makers and media conglomerates.
"Simply put, we believe Pandora can become an even more differentiated product and a more valuable business as a part of a larger enterprise," Meister said.
New York-based Corvex said in the filing that it owns 9.9% of Pandora's stock, or 22.7 million of the Oakland-based company's shares.
Pandora's stock jumped 7% to $10.69 a share in midday trading on Wall Street.
Pandora spokeswoman Stephanie Barnes did not comment directly on Meister's letter, but said in a statement that the company "is on the cusp of realizing an extraordinary vision."
"We are confidently investing to fully capture the massive opportunity ahead of us," Barnes said. "Our management team is in constant dialogue with shareholders about our business strategy and committed to delivering results and long-term value."
Founded in 2000, Pandora was one of the early leaders in streaming music, allowing users to create stations based on their own tastes. It counts roughly 80 million active users.
But the company has faced increasing competition from newer rivals, such as Spotify and Apple Music, that give users more control over which songs they want to hear.
In March, the company brought Westergren in as its chief executive, a job he first held from 2002 to 2004. Some had previously speculated that Pandora would pursue a sale, but Westergren's hiring appeared to quash those rumors.
Pandora has made a flurry of acquisitions to propel its growth and diversify its business by entering new segments such as live events and building on-demand features to better compete with others in the space.
It bought data firm Next Big Sound about a year ago, and paid $450 million for online concert ticket service Ticketfly in October. In November, it bought assets from now-defunct streaming rival Rdio to help it build more on-demand options. Pandora is also working to expand internationally, but needs licensing deals with record labels to do so.
Yet Meister questioned Pandora's growth strategy. The company's shares have fallen more than 45% in the last year.
"We have become increasingly concerned that the company may be pursuing a costly and uncertain business plan, without a thorough evaluation of all shareholder-value-maximizing alternatives," Meister said.
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Follow Ryan Faughnder on Twitter for more entertainment business coverage: @rfaughnder
Spotify financials raise questions about streaming economics
Spotify nearly doubled its revenues in 2015. Huzzah! But the company's financial results for last year should also be a spur for the music/tech world to have some hard conversations about the sustainability of pureplay music-streaming in its current form.
Spotify's revenues may have grown 79.8% year-on-year to '¬1.95bn in 2015, but the company still recorded a net loss of '¬173.1m '' up from '¬162.3m the year before.
Digging in to the key figures first: Spotify's cost of sales grew faster than its revenues '' up 85.3% to '¬1.62bn, accounting for 83.5% of Spotify's turnover.
The company's investment in R&D grew 18.4% to '¬143.3m and its general and administrative expenses rose 51.8% to '¬116.4m, while Spotify's sales and marketing costs grew by 42.5% to '¬246.5m.
The concerning thing here is the margins involved: sales and marketing costs alone sucked up more than three quarters of Spotify's '¬321.7m gross profit. In a market where Spotify's key rivals are now Apple, Google/YouTube and Amazon '' tech giants with hefty cash reserves and built-in marketing platforms to take advantage of '' Spotify's marketing costs are only going to increase.
Bright spots? Spotify's subscription income grew by 78% in 2015 to '¬1.74bn, as it ended the year with 28 million subscribers. Its advertising revenues grew faster though: up 98.2% to '¬195.8m, although ads remain just over 10% of Spotify's overall turnover compared to nearly 90% for subscriptions. That 10-90 ratio of ads-to-subscriptions hasn't changed since 2013.
Meanwhile, Spotify hailed 3bn streams from its Discover Weekly playlist in 2015: ''This is the future of music and you should expect to see a lot of progress in this area during the coming years,'' claimed the financials report.
But back to those hard questions, anticipated in the directors' notes to the financials. ''We believe our model supports profitability at scale,'' they claimed. ''We believe that we will generate substantial revenues as our reach expands and that, at scale, our margins will improve'... Subscription-only models have not yet proven scale and free user models, whilst scaling, have not proven a path to profitability. Spotify has the combined power of both.''
That combined power, though, has so far seen Spotify accumulate net losses of more than '¬566m since the start of 2009, arriving at a point in 2015 where cost-of-sales were 83.5% of its turnover; and where R&D, sales/marketing and general/administrative costs were 7.4%, 12.7% and 6% respectively.
In an increasingly-competitive market with wealthy 900lb gorillas as rivals, Spotify can't let up on its spending any time soon.
Yet any attempt to rework its margins '' something that a growing number of voices within the music/tech ecosystem are mooting, quietly '' risks further inflaming the artist community, and would meet resistance from rightsholders.
In 2016, publishers want a bigger share of streaming income, and labels want Spotify to match Apple Music's payout percentages. And this is the state of affairs that Spotify will be taking out to investors if and when its long-awaited IPO gets underway.
There are positives to be found in Spotify's financials but if, as PRS for music boss Robert Ashcroft recently told Music Ally, the health of the digital music ecosystem should be judged on how sustainable its pureplay services are, the figures present some harsh realities too.
Twitter moves away from 140 characters, ditches confusing and restrictive rules | TechCrunch
Partially confirming earlier reports, Twitter announced this morning plans that will begin to distance it from its strict adherence to the rule that tweets can only contain 140 characters. The company says that, among other changes designed to welcome new users to its service, it will no longer count media attachments and @names in replies toward your 140 allowed characters. However, links will still count '' a decision we understand has its roots in making Twitter's character counter more intuitive.
That is, characters you see in the composer interface should count, even if they are in links. But you won't see characters for things like pictures, videos, GIFs, polls and Quote Tweets, which is why they will not count.
Meanwhile, the change with @replies is designed to make it easier for users to have group conversations on the service.
When many users begin to chime in on a conversation thread, being able to reply to everyone has required that you limit your words. At some point, you simply have to drop people's names (their @username) from your tweet in order to fully express your thoughts. The update will change that, as the tweet no longer includes the leading @mentions '' they are displayed differently in the user interface.
Twitter has often struggled with being too confusing to new users, not only because its restrictions on how much you can type, but also because of its less than transparent rules around who can see your tweets. That has required savvier Twitter users to develop workarounds in order to make sure their tweets are seen by the widest audience.
Another change in the works will eliminate the need for one of these ''hacks'' '' placing a period before a reply that begins with the @ sign. (E.g., .@). This was necessary because Twitter has a rule that hides tweets that start with a username from reaching all your followers.
Originally, this rule was implemented to help keep Twitter's timeline clear from person-to-person conversations that could clutter up the experience with idle chitchat. But it was never an ideal rule to have in place. After all, Twitter is a great big, public conversational platform '' the fact that you could follow chats between other users you cared about was part of its draw.
In order to make sure your entire audience could see your replies, many Twitter users began placing a period in front of their response. This soon became a new '' if unofficial '' convention. But it also helped to create a sort of ''secret language'' on Twitter which newer users often felt was alienating.
Twitter is now trying to move away from a past where new and weird rules had to be explained, so new users can more intuitively understand how to use the service. This is more critical than ever, given Twitter's stalleduser growth.
''One of the biggest priorities for this year is to refine our product and make it simpler,'' said Jack Dorsey, Twitter CEO and co-founder, in a statement. ''We're focused on making Twitter a whole lot easier and faster. This is what Twitter is great at '' what's happening now, live conversation and the simplicity that we started the service with.''
The company also noted that other changes to improve its user-friendliness have been working out '' fewer than 2% opted out of Twitter now showing tweets that were missed while away, and a new, topic-focused onboarding flow increased follows by 48%, and mutual follows by 56% on average, on Twitter's mobile apps.
Twitter says that, following the changes, new tweets that begin with usernames will reach all your followers. The company also says you can retweet a reply to signal you want it to be viewed more broadly.
One final change involves being able to retweet and quote your own tweets '' something that wasn't possible before, and a bit of an annoyance to those who use Twitter as a platform for sharing their own content or links.
Because not everyone sees your initial tweet, many users wanted a way to later rebroadcast their same tweet again '' but Twitter prevented this. Of course, to some extent this helped to cut down on spammers who could overrun the timeline with the same reposted content. But it also limited users who wanted to make sure their good tweets were seen '' or, in the case of quoting tweets, wanted to comment on their original post without having to compose a new tweet.
To make this possible, Twitter will enable the Retweet button on your own tweets, so you can easily retweet or quote tweets.
Twitter is making the announcement about the changes today, in order to give developers time to prepare.
As this change will impact the hundreds of thousands of products built on top of Twitter's platform, Twitter is offering a grace period while developers transition their products. The changes will impact the public REST and Streaming APIs, Ads API, Gnip data products, and Display products like Twitter's Fabric Kit for embedded tweets and timelines displayed on web and mobile, the company noted in a blog post aimed at developers.
Twitter did not give an exact timeframe for when the changes would go live, beyond ''the coming months.''
Apple Opening Siri, Developing Echo Rival '-- The Information
Apple is upping its game in the field of intelligent assistants. After years of internal debate and discussion about how to do so, the company is preparing to open up Siri to apps made by others. And it is working on an Amazon Echo-like device with a speaker and microphone that people can use to turn on music, get news headlines or set a timer.
Opening up its Siri voice assistant to outside app developers is the more immediate step. Apple is preparing to release a software developer kit, or SDK, for app developers who want their apps to be accessible through Siri, according to a person with direct knowledge of the effort.
To read the full article:
Vice Media lays off 20 staff in restructuring plans | Media | The Guardian
Website of Vice Media, which recently rejected move by staff to gain recognition by National Union of Journalists. Photograph: Vice Media
Vice Media has laid off about 20 staff based in the US, London and in two foreign correspondent positions as part of restructuring plans.
It comes as Josh Tyrangiel, a former Bloomberg journalist who was hired last year to oversee the development of a nightly programme to be aired on HBO, is being promoted to oversee the company's news division.
The lay-offs came to public attention on Tuesday after a Vice News foreign correspondent, Harriet Salem, said on Twitter that she and another foreign correspondent were losing their jobs, as well as the London editorial team.
It is understood, however, that the bulk of the Vice News operation in the UK, which comprises 18 people working in video production and other roles, will remain intact. In addition to the two foreign correspondents, the cuts involve the departure of three staff in London and 15 staff members in the US.
Tyrangiel is in the process of implementing plans to ''unify'' all of Vice's various news divisions, according to a source familiar with the matter. They expected this to result in the hiring of new staff, alongside plans to open offices in Hong Kong and San Francisco in the coming months.
A senior figure to lead the UK team would be announced in the coming months, the same source confirmed.
The developments come after Vice's UK arm rejected a push for union recognition by a group of staff, bucking a growing trend that has seen unionisation at digital media businesses including at the outlet's main base in the US.
At a meeting in London last month, Vice UK staff were told that the National Union of Journalists would not be recognised but staff were offered the chance to set up an internal staff council.
A Vice UK worker, who was involved in the unionisation move, said: ''These redundancies are shocking and an insult to the multi-award winning workers who have put so much into making Vice News a success.
''The total lack of transparency and consultation also raises serious questions about the company's recent pretence at staff engagement, while failing to recognise the desire of many staff to unionise''
Speaking about the developments across the company on Tuesday, a Vice spokesperson said: ''The plan in place will expand Vice's news offerings across digital and TV, continue the recent of wave of newsroom hires, add additional foreign bureaus and marshal the company's existing news divisions into one cohesive powerhouse.''
In apparently unconnected comments, Vice Media's CEO, Shane Smith, last week spoke of what he described as a looming ''bloodbath in the next 12 months'' in the digital, mobile and terrestrial sectors.
Google Aims to Kill Passwords with Project Abacus | Threatpost | The first stop for security news
Google Updates Safe Browsing Alerts for Network AdminsApril 8, 2016 , 12:56 pm
According to Daniel Kaufman, head of Google's Advanced Technology and Projects, the way Project Abacus works is it monitors how individuals use their phone from keystroke speed, pattern of speech, location, rhythm of your walk, facial features, the way you swipe open your phone and anything else your phone can sense that can be used to create what's called a Trust Score to prove your identity.
If a stranger steals your phone, the idea is, the phone's sensors would identify unusual user behavior. Next, the dynamic Trust Score for phone would suddenly plunge and the phone would log out of any open accounts on the phone or just remained locked.
''We have these phones and these phones have all these sensors in them. Why couldn't it just know who I was, so I don't need a password?'' Kaufman said at last week's 2016 Google I/O conference. He said that over the past year Google has created a Trust API that will be rolled out in June to beta customers and if all goes well will be rolled out for all Android users before 2017.
Of course the quid quo pro is that Google gets to snarf-up even more data about you. But Google has said the sensor data used to generate the Trust Score would be locally processed and not sent to the Google cloud to be added to your digital dossier it has of you.
The project was originally introduced at last year's Google I/O conference. At that time Regina Dugan, a Google senior executive, said the Trust API would be used for locking and unlocking your phone as well as opening apps. She claimed the system is tenfold more secure then fingerprint sensors and 100x safer than 4 digit PIN codes.
The idea is not novel. Apple has its own password-killing tech with its TouchID and Microsoft has its Windows Hello biometric system introduced with the Windows 10 operating system. This is also not Google's first time at the password rodeo either.
Google officially launched Smart Lock at last year's Google I/O conference. Smart Lock is a password manager for Android and Chrome users that saves credentials on one devices for later use on all other supported devices and services.
According to Google, 70 percent of users forget their passwords once a month. Add that to another Google stat that estimates that on average it takes 2.4 attempts to guess a correct a password before we get it right.
Africa: Google to Train a Million Young Africans in Digital Skills
According to Google, there'll be half a billion internet users in Africa by 2020. It sees this as a great opportunity for African businesses and digital entrepreneurs, but they've identified a gap in digital skills.
"To help close this knowledge gap, Google is pledging to train 1 million young people in Africa in digital skills in the next year, as part of our contribution to growing Africa's digital economy," Bunmi Banjo, Google Africa marketer and digital education lead, writes on the company's blog.
Google is working with its partner, Livity Africa, in two training programmes: Digify Bytes, aimed at helping young people develop a digital career, and Digify Pro, a three-month immersion programme to develop digital specialists for jobs in companies or digital agencies.
In April, Google launched the Digify Africa portal - an online learning platform housing a range of digital skills tutorials and courses. "Available to anyone in Africa, it's been designed to be as 'light' as possible to help people manage data usage," Banjo says.
What is content, what is marketing? What is all of this to you? pic.twitter.com/sDQk7wexj4
'-- Digify Africa (@DigifyAfrica) May 7, 2016
When Chebet Mutai from Nairobi, Kenya attended Google's "Women, Technology and Entrepreneurship" event in 2012, it persuaded her to quit her day job at a bank and follow her dream of opening up a business in fashion.
Mutai used her own savings to buy two sewing machines, rent a workshop, and started her company called Wazawazi, an amalgamation of two Swahili words meaning "open-mindedness".
Today, Mutai has 12 employees, and exports her leather bags and accessories across the world.
See what else people gained from the course:
The best decision @SifisoBhengu_ made was joining #DigifyPRO. We had a chat w/him on his reflections on the course. https://t.co/gWDot5HKVY
'-- Digify Africa (@DigifyAfrica) May 18, 2016
It's happening now
Google said the internet is able to offer a huge platform to start new businesses or expand existing establishments. "We're committed to helping Africans make the most of the digital revolution.
"The internet is a growth engine, and it's for everyone. There's never been a better time to be an entrepreneur in Africa."
Source: Google Africa
7 of the oldest Federal IT systems still wheezing away
Announced by IBM on Nov. 16, 1976, the IBM Series/1 was a small, general purpose computing system.
There are some seriously old IT systems at work in the federal IT arsenal and some that are 56 years old have no real retirement date.
That was one observation from a report issued this week from the federal watchdogs at the Government Accountability Office.
''Agencies reported using several systems that have components that are, in some cases, at least 50 years old. For example, the Department of Defense uses 8-inch floppy disks in a legacy system that coordinates the operational functions of the nation's nuclear forces. In addition, the Department of the Treasury uses assembly language code'--a computer language initially used in the 1950s and typically tied to the hardware for which it was developed,'' the GAO stated.
The Office of Management and Budget has begun an initiative to modernize, retire, and replace the federal government's legacy IT systems. As part of this transition, OMB drafted guidance requiring agencies to identify, prioritize, and plan to modernize legacy systems. However, until this policy is finalized and fully executed, the government runs the risk of maintaining systems that have outlived their effectiveness, the GAO stated.
Here is a look at some of the oldest systems in the government's IT world.
Department of the Treasury
System: Individual Master FileAge: ~56Function: The authoritative data source for individual taxpayers where accounts are updated, taxes are assessed, and refunds are generated. This investment is written in assembly language code'--a low-level computer code that is difficult to write and maintain'--and operates on an IBM mainframe.Replacement coming?: No -The agency has general plans to replace this investment, but there is no firm date associated with the transition.Department of the Treasury
System: Business Master FileAge: ~56Function: Retains all tax data pertaining to individual business income taxpayers and reflects a continuously updated and current record of each taxpayer's account. This investment is also written in assembly language code and operates on an IBM mainframe.Replacement coming?: No -the agency has general plans to update this system, but there is no time frame established for this update.Department of Defense
System: Strategic Automated Command and Control SystemAge: 53Function: Coordinates the operational functions of the United States' nuclear forces, such as intercontinental ballistic missiles, nuclear bombers, and tanker support aircrafts. This system runs on an IBM Series/1 Computer'--a 1970s computing system'--and uses 8-inch floppy disks.Replacement coming?: Yes -The agency plans to update its data storage solutions, port expansion processors, portable terminals, and desktop terminals by the end of fiscal year 2017.Department of Veterans Affairs
System: Personnel and Accounting Integrated DataAge: 53Function: Automates time and attendance for employees, timekeepers, payroll, and supervisors.It is written in Common Business Oriented Language (COBOL)'--a programming language developed in the 1950s and 1960s'--and runs on IBM mainframes.Replacement coming?: Yes -The agency plans to replace it with a project called Human Resources Information System Shared Service Center in 2017.Department of Veterans Affairs
System: Benefits Delivery NetworkAge: 51Function: Tracks claims filed by veterans for benefits, eligibility, and dates of death. This system is a suite of COBOL mainframe applications.Replacement coming?: No -The agency has general plans to roll capabilities into another system, but there is no firm time frame associated with this transition.Department of Justice
System: SentryAge: 35Function: Provides information regarding security and custody levels, inmate program and work assignments, and other pertinent information about the inmate population. The system uses COBOL and Java programming languages.Replacement coming?: Yes -The agency plans to update the system through September 2016.Social Security Administration
System: Title II SystemsAge: 31Function: Determines retirement benefits eligibility and amounts. The investment is comprised of 162 subsystems, some of which are written in COBOL.Replacement coming?: Yes -The agency has ongoing modernization efforts, including one that is experiencing cost and schedule challenges due to the complexities of the legacy software.This story, "Not dead yet: 7 of the oldest federal IT systems still wheezing away " was originally published by Network World.
US govt spending billions on ancient systems - Software - iTnews
The US government spent US$61 billion (A$85 billion) of its US$80 billion 2015 IT budget maintaining decades-old systems at the expense of innovation, the country's national auditor has found.
In a report released yesterday [pdf], the Government Accountability Office (GAO) revealed the US government was wasting billions of dollars by refusing to upgrade from woefully outdated platforms.
The GAO cited the example of a nuclear weapons co-ordination platform used by the Department of Defense which runs on an IBM Series/1 computer. The 16-bit machine uses 8in floppy disks for storage and dates back to the 1970s.
Defense also joined the Commerce, Treasury, Health and Human Services, and Veterans Affairs departments to be outed as still using Windows 3.1
The watchdog similarly called out the Justice Department's use of a COBOL-based platform for monitoring its inmate population; the 40-year old platform used by the Transport Department to track incidents involving hazardous materials; and the use of Windows 2003 servers at Homeland Security.
Several agencies told the watchdog they planned to update some of the platforms: Defense's nuclear systems will be overhauled before the end of next year, Justice said it would begin upgrades this coming September, Transport promised its platforms would be modernised by 2018, and Homeland Security gave a tentative 2016 date, dependent on funding.
Despite the promised improvements, the GAO revealed the US government was actually likely to spend US$7 billion less on modernisation efforts next year than it did in 2010.
"Federal IT investments have too frequently failed or incurred cost overruns and schedule slippages while contributing little to mission-related outcomes," the report stated.
"The federal government has spent billions of dollars on failed and poorly performing IT investments which often suffered from ineffective management, such as project planning, requirements definition, and program oversight and governance.
"[It] runs the risk of continuing to maintain investments that have outlived their effectiveness and are consuming resources that outweigh their benefits."
The Obama administration has requested an 11 percent increase for its US$89 billion IT spend for the 2017 fiscal year.
Apple is Playing the Long Game with VR - And It May Work
A lot of VR fans may be focused on the big guns, like the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, and Playstation VR, but the real pioneer in marketing virtual and augmented reality to the masses is mobile VR, such as the Samsung Gear VR headset. That's where existing smartphones are attached to headsets to simulate a VR environment. It's cheaper, simpler and a lot easier to use. Apple recently got in on the game, but just barely.
The selection of virtual reality apps available in Apple's App Store is relatively small, with many of them already available in Google Play. For example, the App Store just got YouTube's 360's virtual reality app, even though Android users had the app for more than a year. And it wasn't until February that Apple even started selling virtual reality headsets in their stores, starting with View-Master VR. Apple may be trying, but it's already leagues behind the competition.
This month, Google announced Daydream, the new VR-compliant platform for Android devices. It promises a unique interface, basic motion controls and a number of possible content partnerships, including Electronic Arts and Ubisoft. Google is already the industry standard for mobile VR on the low end with Cardboard and Oculus occupies the high end powering the Gear VR. Apple isn't coming close. It doesn't even have its own headset.
Analysts think more than 2.5-million mobile VR headsets will be sold this year on a path toward mixed reality becoming a $150-billion industry by 2020. It seems like something every phone company would want to sink its teeth into. So why isn't Apple? Well, since Apple regularly sells hundreds of millions of iPhones, a market with only a few million current users may not be in their interest right now, but that doesn't mean it won't be sometime soon.
It seems like Apple could be playing the long game.
Apple hasn't confirmed it's investing in virtual reality, but rumors have circulated for months that Apple is working on its own VR or AR technology. During Apple's last quarterly report meeting, Apple CEO Tim Cook said virtual reality was ''really cool'' and that it had a lot of potential, opening up the door for even more speculation.
According to the Financial Times, Apple has recruited hundreds of employees with virtual reality experience over the past few years, although it's not known how many of them are specifically working on VR at Apple. Recent hires include Doug Bowman, a computer science professor who worked on 3D interface design, and Nick Thompson, who was a lead worker on Microsoft's HoloLens augmented-reality project.
Apple also acquired at least five different companies that specialize in technology related to VR and AR. These include one that specializes in indoor mapping, another for motion-capture graphics and one startup that can use facial recognition to read people's emotions. Apple even bought PrimeSense all the way back in 2013, the company that helped make Kinect's motion tracking a possibility.
You might think it's just a recent stint to try and compete with Oculus Rift and Google, but Apple has actually been dipping its feet in the VR technology pond for a very long time. In 1995, for example, Apple researchers produced a paper about ''Volumetric Hyper Reality,'' which looked at ''the issues related to integrating real and virtual objects in a virtual reality environment.'' The paper suggested that ''immersive virtual reality holds the promise of being a good holy grail,'' and discussed putting cameras over people's eyes to blend the real world and the digital one. In other words, augmented reality.
Apple may be an early adopter of virtual reality research, but it's definitely not the earliest. After all, the first patent for a virtual reality head-mounted display dates back to 1960, and the name ''virtual reality'' was coined in 1987. It's clear that people at Apple, just like the industry as a whole, have been thinking about VR for a very long time. Still, we still don't know anything about what Apple's VR or AR technology would look like, feel like or even if it actually exists. Still, if they're putting in the right amount of work, Apple could become the company that ushers in an unprecedented interest in virtual reality.
Apple is a leader in the mobile market, with the company selling more than 50-million iPhones in the last quarter alone, and that was a slow period. It would be in Apple's interest to get more directly involved with virtual reality. It's unknown whether Apple's still-rumored rig would be VR, AR or both, and it may not even be for the iPhone '' although I can't imagine why it wouldn't be.
If Apple is really preparing for a big jump into virtual reality, it could change the market, and it couldn't come at a better time. But we'll likely have to wait until not not only Apple themselves are ready to take the plunge, but until the technology itself is ready for Apple.
They'll likely get involved with VR once they know that VR is approachable enough for the everyday consumer to enjoy it easily.
Article contributed by Beth Elderkin. Beth is a freelance writer with work appearing in outlets such as Daily Dot, Kotaku, and GamesRadar. You can follow her on Twitter: @BethElderkin.
After the Theranos Mess, Can We Finally Quit Idolizing Entrepreneurs? - Fortune
May 27, 2016, 9:57 AM EDTE-mailTweetFacebookLinkedinShare iconsIDOLIZEverb: to worship as a god; to love or admire to excess
We have a tendency to idolize our heroes. That's nothing new. Whether it'sinpolitics, business, sports or entertainment, we hoist those we admire up on impossibly high pedestals, and when they fail to meet our lofty expectations, we don't hesitate to knock them right off.It's a long way down.
This wasn't a problem back in the days when stars were few and far between, but in the modern era of an insatiable 24/7 social media circus, we're obsessing over icons '' entrepreneurial ones, in particular '' at a frantic rate. And I'm not at all sure we can tell the genuine ones from the fake ones '' or that we even care anymore.
While the fanatical zeal with with which we build up and knock down the objects of our adulation may be a boon for the media,it doesn't benefit the rest of us one bit. Rather, this idol-worshipping culture is teaching a generation of up-and-comers that the prize of business is fleeting fame, not long-term success.
Take Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes. The Silicon Valley startupemerged from adecade in stealth mode with a whopping $9 billion valuation, a monster deal with pharmacy giant Walgreens, and bold claims of a breakthrough that could deliverclose toreal-time diagnostics from a few drops of blood.
Never mind that Theranos' technology had never been vetted bytheinvestors who ponied up $750 million orpublished inpeer-reviewed biomedical journals. Holmes had a way about her, a reality distortion field not unlike that ofacertain Apple co-founder,whichmade scrutiny seem superfluous. And she was hailed as an instant entrepreneurial icon by a gushing media.
Related: 5 Industries That Are Actually Ripe for Disruption
Holmes' stunning visage appeared on the cover ofForbesandFortune.Inc. flat out called her ''The next Steve Jobs.'' Theseductivestory of a 19-year-old Stanford dropout with the vision and passion to change the world appeared everywhere from theNew Yorkerto theNew York Times. She was interviewed by Charlie Rose, awarded an honorary doctorate from Pepperdine and named to the Harvard Medical School Board of Fellows.
Of course, you'd have to be living under a rock with no Wi-Fi to have missed what happened next. John Carreyrou, a two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter from theWall Street Journalburst Holmes' pristine bubble with a front page exposeand a series of damning reports that shredded Theranos' veil of secrecy.
Federal regulators descended on the company's labs and found serious issues with its methods, its personnel and the accuracy of its test results. Theranos has since voided two-years and tens of thousands of blood tests taken from its proprietary Edison tester. Its California lab may lose its federal license and Holmes faces a potential two-year ban from the industry.
Of course, the same publications that fawned all over Holmes and her marvelous unicorn two years ago have taken a decidedly different position now. One in particular caught my attention.
On Monday, theWashington Postran an op-ed called ''Theranos teaches Silicon Valley a hard lesson about accountability'' in which Yale professor Jeffrey Sonnenfeld and Stanford fellow Vivek Wadha skewer Theranos, Holmes, the company's board and Silicon Valley for chronic lapses in corporate governance:
'Silicon Valley often thinks that it can live by a different set of rules than corporate America '... Yes, we need to allow entrepreneurs to take risks and break some rules so that they can do their magic. But these rules cannot be ethical ones. The lines on ethics are usually clear as they were with Theranos and there can be no compromise.'
Thesenoble academicsthen sought to impart a lesson in how to avoid this sort of thing in the future. ''Question the over-hyped founders,'' they write. ''Theranos's CEO notoriously chased testimonial media appearances self-aggrandizing promotional materials and strutted before cheering and unquestioning audiences of wannabe disrupters at TED-talks.''
Related: Tesla and Theranos Are Pushing the Limits of Silicon Valley's Hype Machine
But here's the thing. Before all this nasty stuff came out about Theranos, among the myriad of fluff pieces from back in 2014 was aSan Jose Mercury Newsarticle called ''Meet Elizabeth Holmes, Silicon Valley's latest phenom,'' which included the following:
'She may be the female Mark Zuckerberg that Silicon Valley has been waiting for,' said Vivek Wadhwa, a professor and researcher at Stanford and Duke and a lecturer on entrepreneurship. 'She started when she was young, defied the odds and built a great technology, and is doing good for the world.'
Yes, that is the same Vivek Wadhwa who coauthored theWashington Postpiece. Not only do we aggrandize entrepreneurs who simply look and act the part and claim moral outrage when they fail to deliver the goods, some of us even have the stones to have it both ways. Hypocrisy at its best.
The point is this. Entrepreneurs deserve tons of credit for putting their bucks and their butts on the line, but idolizing them '' even the real ones '' is foolish. You can't copy and paste what makes them unique. It simply doesn't work that way. If you want to do great work, you have to be your own genuine self and create your own path. Real entrepreneurs don't follow. They lead.
The world doesn't need more ofthem. The world needs more ofyou.
Pentagon leads in IoT spendingBy Zach NobleMay 27, 2016What: "The Internet of Things: Sensors and Data Collectors," a report from Govini on a piece of the burgeoning federal IoT market.
Why: The Defense Department is currently driving the growth in federal IoT sensor purchasing, but contractors, academics and other agencies could collaborate to find ways to turn military sensors to civilian purposes.
Wireless devices, cloud storage and software are important elements of the growing IoT network, but sensors have started taking a bigger chunk of agencies' IoT attention. From fiscal 2011 to 2015, sensors rocketed from less than 10 percent of federal IoT spending ($578 million) to 18 percent ($1.6 billion), the report states.
Defense agencies drove 88 percent of IoT sensor spending from fiscal 2011 to fiscal 2015. Much of the growth has come from the Air Force's use of sensors on munitions and the Army's expansion of warfighter-supporting data collection systems.
Well-established contractors, including Raytheon and Lockheed Martin, dominate the market.
But Govini's report says deploying more civilian sensors will be a major opportunity for agencies, contractors and academics in the coming years. The General Services Administration has been pioneering sensor-laden smart buildings, and Govini's report notes that NASA and the Department of Homeland Security are expanding their own sensor procurements.
Verbatim: "As the lynchpin of IoT, sensor development will determine its future as pioneering DOD technology will be adopted for civilian use.... Continued R&D is critical to adapt defense technology to penetrate civilian agencies, creating opportunity for sensor applications to evolve to support prominent missions like health IT" at the departments of Veterans Affairs and Health and Human Services.
Click here to read the full report.
About the Author
Zach Noble is a staff writer covering digital citizen services, workforce issues and a range of civilian federal agencies.
Before joining FCW in 2015, Noble served as assistant editor at the viral news site TheBlaze, where he wrote a mix of business, political and breaking news stories and managed weekend news coverage. He has also written for online and print publications including The Washington Free Beacon, The Santa Barbara News-Press, The Federalist and Washington Technology.
Noble is a graduate of Saint Vincent College, where he studied English, economics and mathematics.
Click here for previous articles by Noble, or connect with him on Twitter: @thezachnoble.
Is Social Security concealing IT risk?By Zach NobleMay 26, 2016The Social Security Administration presents an inviting target for hackers. But IT officials maintain that so far at least, outsiders have not been able to find their way in.
As a precaution, SSA employs penetration testers -- outsiders who try to hack into agency systems -- and those efforts have identified some weaknesses that required mitigation. Marti Eckert, the agency's chief information security officer, told lawmakers during a May 26 hearing of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that an August 2015 test resulted in nine security recommendations that were addressed.
SSA Deputy Inspector General Gale Stallworth Stone said that when she was verbally briefed on those penetration tests in September 2015, she came away with the impression that the testers had not been able to access or exfiltrate personally identifiable information.
But just ahead of the May 26 hearing, House staffers alert her to the existence of a written report on the testing.
"Congress shouldn't be the one to tell the inspector general that there's a report," said Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah). "It just comes across as if you're hiding something from the inspector general."
Stone said she hadn't been able to take an extensive look at the report, but it seemed to paint a more serious picture than her oral briefing had.
Penetration testers "were able to exfiltrate personally identifiable information," Chaffetz said of the document's findings. "There is a problem."
Agency officials downplayed the danger to the information housed in SSA systems.
"No one has penetrated in and exfiltrated out" without help from SSA, CIO Robert Klopp said. He added that the penetration testers owed their success to SSA granting them some user account privileges, which they were then able to escalate
"We try to hack our own systems every day," SSA Acting Commissioner Carolyn Colvin said.
But as Chaffetz noted, SSA has 96,000 user accounts, each one a potential insider threat.
Compromised user credentials played a crucial role in the catastrophic Office of Personnel Management breach.
"Because our legacy systems are so old, we are at risk," Colvin acknowledged. "We need to make changes."
But she said any improvements are hampered by tight budgets and the need to keep money flowing through the agency's systems.
In 2015, SSA doled out some $930 billion to 67 million Americans, nearly all of it via electronic payments. For comparison, the entire federal IT budget in fiscal 2015 was around $80 billion.
Lawmakers hammered SSA leaders for failing to adequately protect the databases that house information -- more than 19 petabytes -- on every American citizen.
"This is the treasure trove, and it should be protected with the best tools," said Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas).
"We're very worried that the federal government is so vulnerable," agreed Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.).
He urged SSA leaders, who spent a chunk of the hearing engaged in debate over the definition of a "hack" versus "fraud," to be more forthright.
"It's not a sign of weakness to identify weakness," Connolly said. "It's a sign of weakness when you ignore the weakness."
About the Author
Zach Noble is a staff writer covering digital citizen services, workforce issues and a range of civilian federal agencies.
Before joining FCW in 2015, Noble served as assistant editor at the viral news site TheBlaze, where he wrote a mix of business, political and breaking news stories and managed weekend news coverage. He has also written for online and print publications including The Washington Free Beacon, The Santa Barbara News-Press, The Federalist and Washington Technology.
Noble is a graduate of Saint Vincent College, where he studied English, economics and mathematics.
Click here for previous articles by Noble, or connect with him on Twitter: @thezachnoble.
War on Men
Twitter abuse - '50% of misogynistic tweets from women' - BBC News
Image copyrightAPImage caption Twitter boss Jack Dorsey has pledged to tackle abuse on the platform Half of all misogynistic tweets posted on Twitter come from women, a study suggests.
Over a three-week period, think tank Demos counted the number of uses of two particular words as indicators of misogyny.
It found evidence of large-scale misogyny, with 6,500 unique users targeted by 10,000 abusive tweets in the UK alone.
Twitter boss Jack Dorsey has said that tackling abuse is a priority.
The research comes as UK MPs - Yvette Cooper, Maria Miller, Stella Creasy, Jess Philips - alongside former Liberal Democrat minister Jo Swinson, launch their Reclaim the Internet campaign, in response to growing public concern about the impact of hate speech and abuse on social media.
Image copyrightGetty ImagesImage caption Yvette Cooper is among five female MPs launching the Reclaim the Internet campaign The campaign has opened an online forum to discuss ways to make the internet less aggressive, sexist, racist and homophobic.
Launching the campaign, Ms Cooper told the BBC: "The truth is nobody knows what the best answers are. There is more when there is criminal abuse, for example rape threats, that the police should be doing but what is the responsibility of everyone else? What more should social media platforms be doing?"
She said that the campaign was an opportunity for the public to "put forward their proposals and demands for the changes we want to see".
In response to the survey, Twitter's head of trust and safety Kira O'Connor told the BBC: "Hateful conduct has no place on the Twitter platform and is a violation of our terms of service.
"In addition to our policies and user controls, such as block, mute and our new multiple tweet reporting functionality, we work with civil society leaders and academic experts to understand the challenge that exists."
The Demos study also looked at international tweets and found more than 200,000 aggressive tweets using the words, "slut" and "whore", were sent to 80,000 people over the same three weeks.
WHY IS ABUSE SO PREVALENT ONLINE?
Image copyrightThinkstockImage caption Online abuse can cause very real harm The commonsense approach to posting comments on social networks would be to never say anything online that you wouldn't say to someone's face but that simple rule seems to be regularly ignored.
Being able to post anonymously helps and, in many ways, social networks have become the modern day equivalent of a natter over the garden fence or a gathering on the village green - but on a global scale.
And just as in the old gossip circles of old, there will be people whose comments are meaner or more aggressive than the rest, so that is amplified online. And now the voices of the trolls can be heard and they can pick victims - generally people they don't know - pretty much at random.
Abuse on social networks is not new and neither is the revelation that women contribute to the problem.
A 2014 study from cosmetics firm Dove found that over five million negative tweets were posted about beauty and body image. Four out of five were sent by women.
The bigger question is what can be done about it?
We have seen in recent years the police take the issue much more seriously and trolls have faced lengthy prison sentences. Some have made public apologies to their victims.
Education will be key. Teaching youngsters who haven't yet joined social media platforms that politeness is not a dying art and that if you say hurtful things online, they could genuinely cause distress, may give the next generation pause for thought before they start typing.
Demos used algorithms to distinguish between tweets being used in explicitly aggressive ways and those that were more conversational in tone.
Researcher Alex Krasodomski-Jones said: "This study provides a birds-eye snapshot of what is ultimately a very personal and often traumatic experience for women.
"While we have focused on Twitter, who are considerably more generous in sharing their data with researchers like us, it's important to note that misogyny is prevalent across all social media, and we must make sure that the other big tech companies are also involved in discussions around education and developing solutions."
She added that it was not about "policing the internet" but was more "a stark reminder that we are frequently not as good citizens online as we are offline".
Thousands have responded to the hashtag #ReclaimtheInternet, with many congratulating the female MPs for starting the campaign.
Others though questioned how effective the campaign would be, with some questioning whether it would damage free speech.
War on Weed
Sheep may have munched on cannabis plants; official fears 'psychotic rampage' | Fox News
What is happening?600 migrants have been brought safely ashore in the port of Reggio Calabria.by an Italian naval vessel.
The ''Vega'' also brought ashore the bodies of 45 migrants who died when their boat capsized on Friday.
''700 dead''The UNHCR thinks up to 700 migrants may have died last week in sinkings off the coast of Libya.
''The situation is chaotic, we are not sure of the numbers, but we fear that up to 700 people could have drowned in the last week,'' UNHCR spokesperson Federico Fossi told reporters.
100 people are reported missing after a boat sank.
500 people reported missing after the boat they were packed into sank off the coast of Libya.
The survivors, who have been taken to the Italian ports of Taranto and Pozzallo, say dozens of children are among those lost.
A spokesperson for Save the Children in Sicily says it is impossible to verify the numbers involved.
However, survivors say 1,100 people set sail from Sabratha in Libya on Wednesday aboard a fishing boat and an inflatable launch.
''The first boat, which had around 500 people on board, was towing a second vessel which also carried around 500 people,'' said Giovanna Di Benedetto.
''However, the second boat began to capsize, some tried to swim to the other boat, others clung to the cable linking the two.''
The Italian navy recovers the bodies of 45 people from the sea.
It is feared the death toll will rise as dozens are feared to be missing.
What they are saying''We will never know the exact number, we will never know who they are, but the survivors say that more than 500 people are dead,'' '' Carlotta Sami, UNHCR spokesperson via Twitter.
VIDEO-Afghan and Sudanese migrants battle in Calais camp | euronews, world news
Violence has broken out between Afghan and Sudanese migrants at a makeshift refugee camp in Calais.Authorities say that forty people have been injured.
Around 300 people were involved in the fighting, which broke out around a food distribution point.During the disturbances tents and temporary structures were burned to the ground.Firefighters were called to battle the blaze.French authorities believe some 4,000 people live in the camp, but NGO's suggest the numbers are far higher.French police have launched an investigation.
VIDEO-The world according to Trump; unashamedly white, and right | euronews, world news
"Foreign bureaucrats are going to be controlling what we're using and what we're doing on our land in our country? No Way"
Until now Donald Trump has got to where he is, the Republican presidential nominee-in-waiting, with a mixture of bluster and boasts, a simplistic formula that chimes with Americans fed up with the established parties.
He has been notably policy-light, but with the nomination sewn up, Trump is now making policy pronouncements to send shivers down the spines of many.
America first is his credo, an America that is rich, and great again. He wants to run the country like a company; his critics say he will run America, and the rest of the world, into the ground.
Recently speaking to the AIPAC American Jewish gathering he announced a significant change in company policy were the White House to fall under Trump management.
''We will move the American embassy to the eternal capital of the Jewish people, Jerusalem,'' he promised, to huge applause.
He has declared admiration for President Vladimir Putin, and says he is ready to talk with North Korea's Kim jong Un, while he is already squaring up to take on China.
''I would speak to him, I would have no problem speaking to him. At the same time I would put a lot of pressure on China. We have tremendous power over China. China can solve that problem with one phone call,'' says Trump.
Trump's simplistic vision of the world continues into radical Islam and the war on it. While Washington and the checks and balances in the American system ensure much of this should be watered-down, on this evidence Trump could be a wrecking ball in terms of foreign policy.
On Thursday he delivered the cherry on the cake, promising to build a pipeline cancelled by President Obama on environmental grounds, and to ignore yet anotherinternational treaty.
''So foreign bureaucrats are going to be controlling what we're using and what we're doing on our land in our country? No Way. We're going to cancel the Paris climate agreement.''
Trump's populism and appeal seems undamaged as yet by polls indicating women loathe him for his sexism, and that latino voters loathe him for his racism.
Despite writing off these huge sections of the electorate, some of those same polls suggest he could beat Hillary Clinton. For the hitherto hostile Republican bigshots, this is all that matters now.
VIDEO-Search teams detect signal from crashed EgyptAir flight 804 | euronews, world news
Turkey has accused the United States of being two-faced for continuing to support the YPG, a Kurdish militia group fighting in Syria.Turkey regards the YPG as the Syrian arm of the PKK, considered a terrorist group by both the US and Ankara.To add further fuel to the fire US troops have been seen wearing YPG insignia.
The Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu vented his country's anger: ''Our suggestion to them is that they should also wear Daesh, al-Nusra and Al-Qaeda insignias during their operations in other regions of Syria. They can also wear the Boko Haram insignia when they go to Africa, but they don`t see YPG in the same way as the other terrorist groups.''The YPG is the most powerful Kurdish Syrian militia backed by the US, currently engaged in fighting ISIL close to the groups de-facto capital Raqqa.
VIDEO-Putin in Greece to talk trade and energy | euronews, world news
Russian President Vladimir Putin received full military honours and a warm welcome at Athens airport for his first visit to Greece in nine years.
It comes ahead of an important vote on EU sanctions which are due to expire in July. Greece and Hungary have already raised criticisms of the sanctions imposed over Russia's actions in Ukraine.
The sanctions hit banking, defence and energy sectors.
At a joint news conference with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Friday (May 27), Putin said Russian tourist numbers to Greece could jump threefold with improved visa arrangements.
Putin also reiterated his position on Crimea.
''As for Crimea '' that question we consider to be closed completely. It was a historical decision made by the people living in Crimea,'' said Putin. ''And Russia will not hold any discussions on this question with anyone.''
Putin made clear in an article published in Kathimerini on Thursday (May 26)that he was interested in tenders for Greek rail as well as the port of Thessaloniki. He also remarked that the EU sanctions were hurting Greece's agricultural sector.
According to Greek officials a deal between Russian oil giant Rosneft and Greek refiner Hellenic Petroleum might be signed as well as proposals for a southern gas pipeline through Greece.
On Saturday, Putin will take part in a special reception at Mount Athos in northern Greece, also known as the Holy Mountain. It is home to many monasteries and religious sites for Orthodox Christians. It will be part of celebrations commemorating the 1,000th anniversary of the Russian presence at the holy site.
VIDEO-France's fuel crisis better but not yet over | euronews, world news
"In some regions, the situation is almost back to normal. In other regions, we remain attentive and we cannot say that the crisis is over"
Ministers, oil industry meet in ParisSix of the country's eight refineries affectedStrike action prolonged until next weekWhat has France's transport minister said?The French transport minister has warned the country's fuel crisis is not yet over.
Following a meeting between the government and oil industry representatives, Transport Minister Alain Vidalies said the situation at fuel depots is improving.
[#Carburant] manuelvalls a re§u, ce matin Matignon, les acteurs du secteur p(C)trolier >> https://t.co/xM6pNtAjh4 pic.twitter.com/x1A2NDumrB
'-- Gouvernement (gouvernementFR)May 28, 2016
#Carburant > ''Lasituation s'am(C)liore vraiment'', a d(C)clar(C) AVidalies, l'issue d'une r(C)union Matignon https://t.co/kvBdHfR90g
'-- iTELE(itele)May 28, 2016
''In some regions, the situation is almost back to normal. In other regions, we remain attentive but we cannot say that the crisis is over,'' Vidalies said.
He added that action to clear blockades at fuel depots could be continued if necessary.
Valls '' ''ready to ride it out''Prime Minister Manuel Valls says he is ready to ride out the protests at ports and fuel depots by strikers opposed to plans to reform employment law.
Valls has taken a tough stance against the hardline CGT union which has spearheaded strikes that have shut down refineries and disrupted fuel supplies in the past two weeks.
In an interview with the French daily, ''Le Parisien'', Valls said he was determined to pass the reforms. He said he feels the protests will not escalate.
''When a text (of reform) has been discussed, when it has prompted a compromise with unions, when it has been adopted in the National Assembly, I consider it my responsibility to see this through.''
Valls said that while he respects trade unions, including the CGT, he will not withdraw the text of the reform. However, he said he finds blockading ports, fuel depots and refineries unacceptable, especially at a time when the economy is starting to recover.
What is the latest on the situation?The stand-off worsened this week.
France mobilised strategic oil stocks for the first time in six years.
Six of the country's eight refineries are blockaded or on a go-slow.
France grippedby escalatingprotestsover labour bill https://t.co/n6VDmNnWiK
'-- The Guardian (@guardian) May 28, 2016Strike action has been extended until the beginning of the week.
Employers are warning the strikes are starting to hurt the economy.
Why are the French unions so unhappy?The CGT says the reforms '' known as the ''Khomri Law'' after the minister who has proposed it, dismantles protective labour regulation.
Is employment reform really such an important issue for France?The government says it is.
Ministers say reform is needed to fight unemployment, which currently stands at more than 10% of the workforce.
Manuel Valls says the text, which has already been watered-down from its initial format, may be modified when it goes to the upper house of parliament for approval.
However, he insisted the government will not go back on core parts of the reform.
VIDEO-Zika virus: WHO rejects demands to move Rio Olympics | euronews, world news
With numerous polls now showing a virtual tie between presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton, the liberal media seems to be getting nervous. ABC's World News Tonight seemed to show the first signs of this fear Thursday. ''Our team also asking Clinton today, what some of her supporters have been asking,'' stated host David Muir, ''After Donald Trump's attacks, is Clinton fighting back hard enough?''
''Clinton now has her sights set on one man,'' reported ABC's Cecilia Vega in a not so subtle attempt to dismiss Clinton's Bernie Sanders problem. ''But tonight, questions about whether Clinton is ready to battle a rival like Trump,'' Vega continued.
ABC's Liz Kreutz contributed to the report by almost begging Clinton to step-up and fight harder against Trump in their interview:
Some of your supporters would say that you have to fight back a lot harder against Donald Trump. That his attacks against you and your husband are left unanswered.
VIDEO-Controversial UN Committee Kills Accreditation Application by Press Freedom Group | MRCTV
A key United Nations committee on Thursday voted to deny official status to a non-governmental organization focused on press freedom, prompting U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power to say that the "NGO Committee acts more and more like an 'anti-NGO Committee.'''
VIDEO-State Department Official: U.S.-Mexico Relations Not 'Gravely Affected' by Trump's Comments | MRCTV
A State Department official told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Thursday that GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump's comments on Mexico have not ''gravely affected'' Mexico's ability to do business with the United States. Read Full Story
VIDEO-Tempe man watches home burglary unfold live on his phone - ABC15 Arizona
TEMPE, AZ - A crook messed with the wrong home in Tempe. The house was equipped with sensors and a camera that alerted the homeowner, who watched the man ransacking his home. The victim was able to call police, who quickly took down the suspect.
A glove on one hand and a sock on the other, the man is seen in the video strolling around a Tempe home. Little did he know, the homeowner was alerted by sensors that there was movement
"I just want to turn on the camera and see if anything is going on," said the homeowner Ian, who did not want to give his last name.
Ian watched in horror as the man went through his things and even picked up his safe.
"That first moment you see the guy cross, man, my heart started beating really hard," said Ian. "I had butterfingers trying to call 911."
Ian was on the phone with the 911 dispatcher as Tempe police quickly surrounded the house.
Waiting outside in unmarked cars, the man is seen checking through the blinds, but decides to continue on with what he is doing. But then the siren tells him they're coming in.
The video shows the man making a break for it, heading to the side door, but changes his mind and runs out the front. Tempe police shared lapel camera video of the arrest only with ABC15.
Officers made sure no one else was inside. They sent in their police dog. Then they slowly came in, armed with a shield and had their guns drawn.
"It's like watching an episode of cops on television and you never expect it to happen in your own home," said Ian.
Emilio Garduno was arrested and booked on burglary charges.
Officers seemed pretty impressed by the camera, as they were seen pointing at it and talking about the technology.
"Thank God it ended well, but even still, I feel like the house isn't safe anymore," said Ian. "You want to amp up security and add more cameras."
VIDEO-US fighters caught on cam on ISIS frontline in Syria - YouTube
"Some Easter Island statues are at risk of being lost to the sea because of coastal erosion," said Adam Markham, deputy director of the Climate and Energy Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists and lead author of the report, which examined the potential damage climate change can have on 31 of the world's more than 1,000 heritage properties.
"Climate change is affecting World Heritage sites across the globe," Markham said.
The report, "World Heritage and Tourism in a Changing Climate," highlights the dangers of climate change to iconic sites including the canals of Venice, which are threatened by rising sea levels, and Yellowstone National Park, where shorter winters and reduced snowfall have affected the park's water supply.
The detailed research grew out of the Paris climate summit in December, where 195 countries agreed to reduce greenhouse gases to keep average global temperatures from rising by 2-degrees Celsius. Doing so will combat sea level rise, habitat loss and extreme weather events, experts say.Statue of Liberty at risk
Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty also are threatened by sea level rise, more intense storms and storm surges, according to the report. When Superstorm Sandy hit the East Coast in October 2012, three-quarters of Ellis Island flooded, causing more than $77 million dollars in damage.
The National Park Service said the Statue of Liberty itself is threatened by climate change and the cost of "future damage to this international symbol of freedom and democracy is incalculable."
The report calls for more resources to secure World Heritage properties threatened by climate change and highlights the losses to the tourism industry, should the sites fall victim to a warming planet.
VIDEO-Water Scientist Donald Trump on Fixing California's Drought: "Start Opening Up the Water"
At a rally in Fresno, California today, newfound irrigation expert Donald Trump finally revealed the solution to the drought that's been crippling California for the past five years: Turn the water back on, idiots.
The historic proposal appropriately took place amid a sea of ''Farmers for Trump'' signs, where Trump revealed that the reason California's water problem is ''so insane, so ridiculous'' is because ''they're taking the water and shoving it out to sea.''
Fortunately for California, when Donald Trump becomes president, he plans to ''start opening up the water so that you can have your farmers survive so that your job market will get better'''--a position that is genuinely hard to argue with, though not for the usual reasons.
On the one hand, according to Buzzfeed, Trump might have been referring to the water that gets allocated to rivers and wetlands for environmental uses. On the other, Donald Trump might actually be asking California to stop throwing its water in the ocean. In which case'--Californians, please, listen to Mr. Trump, and do NOT shove your water out to sea. The ocean already has plenty of water. It needs no extra.
Now, how is Trump going to make good on his promise of ''opening up the water?'' According to Trump, ''We're going to get it done, and we're going to get it done quick. Don't even think about it.''
"We make this call despite the widespread fatalism that the Rio 2016 Games are inevitable or 'too big to fail,' " the writers said in the letter addressed to WHO Director-General Margaret Chan. "Our greater concern is for global health. The Brazilian strain of Zika virus harms health in ways that science has not observed before."The letter shows a growing gap within the medical field on what to do about the Games. On Thursday, Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said, "There is no public health reason to cancel or delay the Olympics."
The CDC's current recommendation is that pregnant women should not travel to areas where the virus is spreading and that men with the virus who have pregnant partners should use condoms when having sex for the duration of the pregnancy.
"We're working closely with the USOC and Brazilian health authorities, and will update our guidance if needed," Frieden said in a statement in response to the new letter.
The WHO released a statement saying that based on its current assessment, "canceling or changing the location of the 2016 Olympics will not significantly alter the international spread of Zika virus."
The organization noted that Brazil is one of almost 60 countries that have reported continuing transmission of Zika by mosquitoes.
"People continue to travel between these countries and territories for a variety of reasons. The best way to reduce risk of disease is to follow public health travel advice," the WHO said.
The International Olympic Committee has said it has no plans to cancel or postpone the Games.
There have been calls in recent months for a delay or postponement of the Olympics, but what makes Friday's letter different is the scope and number of physicians, professors and bioethicists who signed it -- from Japan to South Africa, Norway to the United States.
The officials said the Zika virus has "more serious medical consequences than previously known" and has worsened in the Rio area despite widespread mosquito treatment programs.
"It is unethical to run the risk," the letter said. "It is therefore imperative that WHO conduct a fresh, evidence-based assessment of Zika and the Games, and its recommendations for travelers."
The Zika virus has been shown to cause microcephaly, a rare birth defect in which babies develop abnormally small heads and other neurological problems.
The Olympics are set to begin in just over two months, running from August 5 to August 21. More than 500,000 people are expected to travel to Brazil from around the world.
Olympic-related travel represents just 0.25% of the total 40 million travelers between the U.S. and countries where the Zika virus is circulating, according to the CDC.
Friday's letter was written by four prominent professors and had the backing of more than 100 well-known doctors and professors.
One of the letter's co-authors, Lee Igel, took issue with Frieden's comments that there is "no public health reason" to delay the Games.
"If you think that a mega-sports event in the midst of a major virus outbreak in a host city dealing with a turbulent economy, sitting on top of a turbulent political situation, sitting on top of a turbulent social condition, doesn't pose a significant public health issue, then, sure, 'On with Games,' " Igel wrote in an e-mail to CNN.
Igel, the co-director of New York University's Sports & Society program, said his biggest fear should the Games move forward is "how are human and financial resources going to be managed effectively given the reality of all things happening on the ground in Rio."
New York University bioethecist Art Caplan, another co-author, told CNN that there needs to be a two-day summit of independent experts to analyze the risks posed by keeping the Games in Brazil on the current time frame.
"Put it online and let the whole world watch," Caplan said. "What I don't like is when experts come out and say, 'There's not much reason to be worried. These Games should go on.'
"What I want to know: What are your arguments? What risks are we talking about? If something goes wrong, who's liable, and who's going to take the blame?"
Brazil has been at the epicenter of the Zika virus, with infectious disease experts descending on the hardest-hit areas to investigate why it's spreading and why it has resulted in babies being born with microcephaly. They are also looking into the link between the virus and neurological disorders in fetuses, newborns, infants and adults. This includes trying to quantify the risk for pregnant women and others.Igel said he and the others who signed onto the letter will continue "ringing the bell" about public health fears of the Games remaining in Brazil.
The U.S. Olympic Committee has told athletes to skip the Games if they're concerned about Zika.
See the latest news and share your comments with CNN Health on Facebook and Twitter.
Last week, USA Swimming announced the relocation of its pre-Olympic training camp from Puerto Rico to Atlanta because of concerns over the virus.
Dr. Ford Vox, a CNN contributor and physician who works in brain injury medicine with the Shepherd Center in Atlanta, said he signed the letter because he believes a delay or postponement is necessary.
"In my opinion, non-essential travel to Zika endemic areas should be deferred until the situation improves, and the Olympics are not essential," he said.
VIDEO-Postpone or move Olympics, doctors urge as Zika crisis grows | WGN-TV
RIO DE JANEIRO '-- The summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro should be postponed or moved ''in the name of public health'' due to the widening Zika outbreak in Brazil, more than 100 prominent doctors and professors said Friday in an open letter to the World Health Organization.
''We make this call despite the widespread fatalism that the Rio 2016 Games are inevitable or 'too big to fail,' '' the writers said in the letter addressed to WHO Director-General Margaret Chan. ''Our greater concern is for global health. The Brazilian strain of Zika virus harms health in ways that science has not observed before.''
The letter shows a growing gap within the medical field on what to do about the Games. On Thursday, Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said, ''There is no public health reason to cancel or delay the Olympics.''
The CDC's current recommendation is that pregnant women should not travel to areas where the virus is spreading and that men with the virus who have pregnant partners should use condoms when having sex for the duration of the pregnancy.
''We're working closely with the USOC and Brazilian health authorities, and will update our guidance if needed,'' Frieden said in a statement Friday in response to the new letter.
The WHO had no immediate reaction to Friday's letter. The International Olympic Committee has said it has no plans to cancel or postpone the Games.
There have been calls in recent months for a delay or postponement of the Olympics, but what makes Friday's letter different is the scope and number of physicians, professors and bioethicists who signed it '-- from Japan to South Africa, Norway to the United States.
The officials said the Zika virus has ''more serious medical consequences than previously known'' and has worsened in the Rio area despite widespread mosquito treatment programs.
''It is unethical to run the risk,'' the letter said. ''It is therefore imperative that WHO conduct a fresh, evidence-based assessment of Zika and the Games, and its recommendations for travelers.''
The Zika virus has been shown to cause microcephaly, a rare birth defect in which babies develop abnormally small heads and other neurological problems.
The Olympics are set to begin in just over two months, running from August 5 to August 21. More than 500,000 people are expected to travel to Brazil from around the world.
Olympic-related travel represents just 0.25% of the total 40 million travelers between the U.S. and countries where the Zika virus is circulating, according to the CDC.
Friday's letter was written by four prominent professors and had the backing of more than 100 well-known doctors and professors.
One of the letter's co-authors, Lee Igel, took issue with Frieden's comments that there is ''no public health reason'' to delay the Games.
''If you think that a mega-sports event in the midst of a major virus outbreak in a host city dealing with a turbulent economy, sitting on top of a turbulent political situation, sitting on top of a turbulent social condition, doesn't pose a significant public health issue, then, sure, 'On with Games,' '' Igel wrote in an e-mail to CNN.
Igel, the co-director of New York University's Sports & Society program, said his biggest fear should the Games move forward is ''how are human and financial resources going to be managed effectively given the reality of all things happening on the ground in Rio.''
New York University bioethecist Art Caplan, another co-author, told CNN that there needs to be a two-day summit of independent experts to analyze the risks posed by keeping the Games in Brazil on the current time frame.
''Put it online and let the whole world watch,'' Caplan said. ''What I don't like is when experts come out and say, 'There's not much reason to be worried. These Games should go on.'
''What I want to know: What are your arguments? What risks are we talking about? If something goes wrong, who's liable, and who's going to take the blame?''
Brazil has been at the epicenter of the Zika virus, with infectious disease experts descending on the hardest-hit areas to investigate why it's spreading and why it has resulted in babies being born with microcephaly. They are also looking into the link between the virus and neurological disorders in fetuses, newborns, infants and adults. This includes trying to quantify the risk for pregnant women and others.
Igel said he and the others who signed onto the letter will continue ''ringing the bell'' about public health fears of the Games remaining in Brazil.
The U.S. Olympic Committee has told athletes to skip the Games if they're concerned about Zika.
Last week, USA Swimming announced the relocation of its pre-Olympic training camp from Puerto Rico to Atlanta because of concerns over the virus.
Dr. Ford Vox, a CNN contributor and physician who works in brain injury medicine with the Shepherd Center in Atlanta, said he signed the letter because he believes a delay or postponement is necessary.
''In my opinion, non-essential travel to Zika endemic areas should be deferred until the situation improves, and the Olympics are not essential,'' he said.
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Things are looking good for Hillary Clinton. As if an FBI investigation weren't enough, a former mistress of Bill Clinton's has come forward with claims that could destroy Hillary's reputation once and for all.
Former Miss Arkansas Sally Miller claims that she had an affair with Bill back in 1983, while he was still government. During that time, he revealed some scandalous details about Hillary's sex life that she did not want to go public.
According to Q Political, Miller described Hillary as a cocaine addict who preferred sex with women to intercourse with men.
''The only time Hillary gets aroused or agrees to 'play sexy' is after she snorts coke,'' Bill allegedly told Miller. ''But even then, she's rigid and frigid. Hillary goes ape-shit crazy'--I mean screams, hits, and cusses. Sex is a waste of time to Hillary. When we were dating, she talked about making-out with her girlfriends in college because she knew it turned me on.''
''Hillary seemed worldly and more sexually-experienced than me and, at the time, I liked it,'' Bill reportedly concluded.
Miller claims that she was told that Hillary had an abortion without telling him, and was provided cocaine by Bill's own brother, Rodger.
Watch the claims below and tell us what you think.
VIDEO-Trump Demands Campaign Rally Must Open With The National Anthem - YouTube