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: Man in North Korean sentenced to death after smuggling in banned copies of Netflix series ‘Squid Game’

A law enforcement source in North Hamgyong province — which shares a border with China — told RFA Monday a high school student watched “Squid Game” in a classroom with one of his friends. That set off a hunt for other storage devices......»»

Category: topSource: marketwatchNov 25th, 2021

: Man in North Korean sentenced to death after smuggling in banned copies of Netflix series ‘Squid Game’

A law enforcement source in North Hamgyong province — which shares a border with China — told RFA Monday a high school student watched “Squid Game” in a classroom with one of his friends. That set off a hunt for other storage devices......»»

Category: topSource: marketwatchNov 25th, 2021

A North Korean man who smuggled "Squid Game" into the country is to be executed by firing squad and a high-school student who bought a USB drive with the show will be jailed for life, report says

Six other students who watched "Squid Game" were sentenced to hard labor and their teachers may be sent to remote mines, Radio Free Asia reported. The character Kang Sae-byeok, a North Korean defector, in "Squid Game."Youngkyu Park North Korea appears to have come down hard on people who distribute or watch "Squid Game." Citing unnamed sources, Radio Free Asia said a man there was sentenced to death for smuggling it. Seven high-school students received harsh sentences for watching the show, RFA reported. North Korea appears to have come down hard on people who distribute or watch Netflix's hit show "Squid Game."A report by Radio Free Asia cited unnamed sources inside North Korea as saying a man who smuggled and sold the dystopian drama had been sentenced to death by firing squad and a high schooler who bought a USB drive containing the show was sentenced to life in prison.Another six high schoolers who watched the show were said to be sentenced to five years of hard labor, RFA reported. Their supervisors were also said to be punished, with teachers and school administrators fired, possibly to be banished to work in remote mines, RFA said.RFA is a US government-funded nonprofit news service that serves audiences in Asia. It says its aim is to "provide accurate and timely news and information to Asian countries whose governments prohibit access to a free press."The South Korean television series "Squid Game" tells the story of 456 debt-laden people competing for 45.6 billion won, or $38.3 million, of prize money in brutal survival games.A law-enforcement source in North Korea's North Hamgyong province told RFA's Korean service: "This all started last week when a high-school student secretly bought a USB flash drive containing the South Korean drama 'Squid Game' and watched it with one of his best friends in class. The friend told several other students, who became interested, and they shared the flash drive with them." The students were caught by government censors after a tip-off, the source told RFA.It's the first time the North Korean government has punished minors under a law that penalizes the distribution, watching, or keeping of media from capitalist countries like South Korea and the US, RFA said."The government is taking this incident very seriously, saying that the students' education was being neglected," RFA's source said.A source told the outlet that one of the students got off the hook because they had rich parents who paid a $3,000 bribe.Last month, a state-run North Korean propaganda website said the Netflix drama highlighted how South Korea was a place where "corruption and immoral scoundrels are commonplace." One of the show's characters was a North Korean defector whose story highlighted her arduous escape from the country.Despite the threat of retribution, smuggled, illegal copies of "Squid Game" have been making their way into North Korea.A previous article from Radio Free Asia noted that North Koreans found the financial struggles of the show's characters "relatable."Netflix has said the massive hit had the highest first-month viewership of any of its originals.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 25th, 2021

A North Korean man who smuggled "Squid Game" into the country is to be executed by firing squad, and a highschool student who bought a USB drive with the show will be jailed for life, report says

Six other highschoolers who watched Squid Game were sentenced to hard labor and their teachers may be sent to remote mines, Radio Free Asia reported. North Korean defector Kang Sae-byeok (Player 067) in Squid Game.Youngkyu Park North Korea appears to have come down hard on people who distribute or watch "Squid Game." Citing unnamed sources, Radio Free Asia said a North Korean man was sentenced to death for smuggling the show. Seven high school students received harsh sentences for watching the show, RFA reported. North Korea appears to have come down hard on people who distribute or watch Netflix's hit show "Squid Game."According to a report by Radio Free Asia (RFA) citing unnamed sources inside North Korea, a man who smuggled and sold the dystopian drama has been sentenced to death by firing squad, while a highschooler who bought a USB drive containing the show was sentenced to life in jail.Another six high-schoolers who watched the show were sentenced to five years of hard labor, RFA reported. Their supervisors were also punished, with teachers and school administrators fired, possibly to be banished to work in remote mines, RFA said.RFA is a US government-funded non-profit news service that serves audiences in Asia. It says its aim is to "provide accurate and timely news and information to Asian countries whose governments prohibit access to a free press."The South Korean television series Squid Game tells the story of 456 debt-laden people competing for 45.6 billion won ($38.3 million) of prize money in brutal survival games.A law enforcement source in North Hamgyong province told RFA's Korean service: "This all started last week when a high school student secretly bought a USB flash drive containing the South Korean drama Squid Game and watched it with one of his best friends in class. The friend told several other students, who became interested, and they shared the flash drive with them." The students were caught by government censors after a tip-off, the source told RFA.It's the first time the North Korean government has punished minors under a law that penalizes the distribution, watching, or keeping of media from capitalist countries like South Korea and the US, RFA said."The government is taking this incident very seriously, saying that the students' education was being neglected," RFA's source said.One of the students got off the hook because they had rich parents who paid a $3,000 bribe, the outlet reported. Last month, a state-run North Korean propaganda website said the Netflix drama highlighted how South Korea is where "corruption and immoral scoundrels are commonplace." The show also featured a North Korean defector whose story highlighted her arduous escape from the country. Despite the threat of retribution, smuggled, illegal copies of "Squid Game" have been making their way into North Korea.A previous article from Radio Free Asia noted that North Koreans found the financial struggles of the show's characters "relatable."The massive hit is Netflix's most-watched show ever.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 25th, 2021

A North Korean man who smuggled "Squid Game" into the country is to be executed by firing squad, while a highschooler student who bought a USB drive with the show will be jailed for life, report says

Six other highschoolers who watched the show have been sentenced to hard labor. Their teachers have been fired and may be sent to work in remote mines. North Korean defector Kang Sae-byeok (Player 067) in Squid Game.Youngkyu Park A North Korean high school student watched "Squid Game" with his best friend who shared it with others. They were caught by censors after a tip-off, according to a report from Radio Free Asia. One of them got off the hook thanks to rich parents who paid a $3,000 bribe, the outlet reported North Korea is coming down hard on those who distribute or watch Netflix's hit show "Squid Game."The reclusive country has sentenced a man who smuggled and sold the dystopian drama to death by firing squad, while a high-schooler who bought a drive containing the show received a life sentence, according to Radio Free Asia (RFA,) citing sources within the country.Another six high-schoolers who watch the series have also been sentenced to five years of hard labor, reported the RFA. Their supervisors have also been punished, with teachers and school administrators fired. They may be banished to work in remote mines, the media outlet added.The South Korean series tells the story of 456 debt-laden people competing for 45.6 billion won ($38.3 million) of prize money in brutal survival games."This all started last week when a high school student secretly bought a USB flash drive containing the South Korean drama Squid Game and watched it with one of his best friends in class," a law enforcement source in North Hamgyong province told RFA's Korean service. "The friend told several other students, who became interested, and they shared the flash drive with them."The students were caught by government censors after a tip-off, the source told RFA. It's the first time the North Korean government is punishing minors under a law that penalizes the distribution, watching, or keeping of media from capitalist countries like South Korea and the US, the RFA added."The government is taking this incident very seriously, saying that the students' education was being neglected," RFA's source said.One of the students got off the hook thanks to rich parents who paid a $3,000 bribe, the outlet reported. Last month, a state-run North Korean propaganda website said the Netflix drama highlighted how South Korea is where "corruption and immoral scoundrels are commonplace." The show also featured a North Korean defector whose story highlighted her arduous escape from the north. Despite the threat of retribution, smuggled, illegal copies of "Squid Game" have been making their way into North Korea.A previous article from Radio Free Asia noted that North Koreans found the financial struggles of the show's characters "relatable."The massive hit is Netflix's most-watched show ever.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 25th, 2021

The curious afterlife of the Lord of the Skies

Conspiracy theories about the death of Amado Carrillo Fuentes, Lord of the Skies, have lingered for years, most recently among fans of Narcos: Mexico. The casket with Amado Carrillo Fuentes' remains at his mother's ranch in northwestern Mexico on July 11, 1997. Reuters When Mexico's most powerful drug lord died an unbelievable death, a team of federal agents raced against the clock to identify his body. Conspiracy theories about his demise have lingered for years, even getting a wink in Netflix's Narcos: Mexico. Speaking publicly for the first time, DEA agents who helped confirm his death give the full story behind one of the strangest chapters in the annals of Mexico's drug war. The departed smiled up at the ceiling, his lips pulled back to reveal a row of bright white teeth.The skin on the man's hideously distended hands shone a sickening gray-green color of rot, and his long, puffy face was heavily bruised, with deep, dark circles ringing his eyes and nostrils. Mottled patches of discoloration spread up his high forehead and across his cheeks.Under the harsh glare and buzz of fluorescent lights, the body of one of Mexico's most powerful men lay in state, nestled within the plush white confines of a metal casket. The body was clad in a dark suit and a blue-and-red polka dot tie, his deformed hands deliberately forced together at his waist to mimic a state of repose, a hideous parody of an open-casket funeral.In the place of mourners, photojournalists pressed up to the edge of the casket, inches away from a man who just days before could have, with a wave of his hand, ordered unspeakable violence against anyone insane enough to have treated him with such disrespect.Along one wall, a row of men, some in white lab coats, others in drab, police-issue suits, stood with grim discomfort written across their faces as shutters clicked.This ghastly wake in a government building in Mexico City on July 8, 1997 was the first glimpse of a man whose name much of the country knew but few dared to utter. Amado Carrillo Fuentes, the Lord of the Skies, the boss of Ciudad Juárez, and arguably the most powerful criminal kingpin in the nation's history was dead and his rotting corpse was displayed for all to see. Amado's body was displayed on July 8, 1997, at the Judicial Police morgue in Mexico City. A group of police pathologists look on. Reuters It was perhaps one of the most macabre press scrums in history, and a bitterly ironic fate for a man who had so carefully seen to it that so few photos of his likeness existed.News of Amado's death had begun to filter out days before. According to the Mexican Attorney General's office - known by its Spanish acronym as the PGR - Amado had died on the operating table while undergoing plastic surgery, to alter his appearance, and liposuction.Amado's family soon confirmed the story, lipo and all, telling reporters that he'd suffered a heart attack while under anesthesia. But for many Mexicans, the story was almost too bizarre to believe. The PGR had invited reporters to see the body in hopes of dispelling any rumors or suspicion about Amado's fate. It didn't work. The idea of Amado faking his death and vanishing into retirement flourished in Mexico's bustling rumor mills. One doubter, a barber cutting the hair of a Los Angeles Times reporter, insisted that the key to the coverup lay in the corpse's decaying limbs."Those aren't his hands," the barber said. "Those are the hands of a classical pianist.""Some poor unfortunate person"In the nearly quarter-century that has elapsed, a host of rumors and conspiracy theories have, unlike Amado, stubbornly refused to die - even in the archives of the wire service Agence Press Press, which listed a photo of Amado's "alleged" body.In 2015, the idea found new life thanks to an article published on the English-language site of the Venezuelan state-sponsored news network Telesur. According to the report, which relied mostly on the extremely dubious word of a supposed cousin of Amado, Sergio Carrillo, the drug lord was doing just fine."He is alive," Carrillo said, according to Telesur. "He had surgery and also had surgery practiced on some poor unfortunate person to make everybody believe it was him, including the authorities."This claim would be easily dismissed were it not for the larger constellation of conspiracies surrounding Amado's death. Instead, it's taken on a life of its own in a string of tabloid stories that have repeated Sergio Carrillo's claim.(Attempts by Insider to verify Carrillo's existence or reach him for comment were unsuccessful.)The persistence of such stories has also been helped along thanks to the popularity of the Netflix series Narcos: Mexico, which stars a heavily fictionalized - and rather sympathetic - version of Amado. In the third and final season, which became available on Friday, Amado takes center stage as the show follows a greatest-hits summary of his empire building and eventual fall from grace. Eduardo Gonzalez Matta, a general director of the Mexican Attorney General's office, points to evidence charts at a July 10, 1997 press conference aimed at convincing the public of Amado's death. OMAR TORRES/AFP via Getty Images In one of the final scenes, a moody Amado is shown prowling around the empty operating room prior to his surgery, and the narrator says outright that Amado has died. But then the show slyly drops an easter egg to superfans in the form of a final post-credits scene: As Amado's girlfriend wanders about in a seaside mansion, the camera cuts to a shot of a toy airplane that her lover had given her.The myth has resonated for a reason in Mexico, where a toxic mix of authoritarian governance, pervasive corruption, a powerful criminal underground protected by the state and shrouded in lies and half truths has fueled a highly justified skepticism of any official narrative.Here, for the first time, is the most complete account of one of the strangest chapters in the annals of Mexico's drug war. Speaking publicly about the episode in detail for the first time, agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration who helped identify the body and confirm his death have laid out the full story behind one of the strangest incidents in the annals of the war on drugs.Lord of the SkiesLike virtually every major drug trafficker of his generation - Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán Loera, Benjamín and Ramón Arellano-Félix, Ismael "El Mayo" Zambada García - Amado was a native of the northwestern state of Sinaloa, that long, thin state in Mexico's northwest whose western borders greet the waves of the Gulf of Cortez and whose eastern borders end in the highlands of the Sierra Madre Occidental.It's a rugged, hardscrabble region populated by ranchers with weather-beaten faces and farmers who for the better part of a century represented the bottom rung of the marijuana and opium trade in the Western Hemisphere. Amado and his 10 siblings grew up in a tiny settlement in the scrubland just north of Navalato, a tough little bread-basket town surrounded by fields of sugarcane, maize, and wheat.Also like many of his fellow future kingpins, Amado's family had been involved in the drug business in one way or another since who-knows-when. It was a more humble business back then, small-time farmers selling opium and weed to small-time traffickers who brought the stuff north to the border. But thanks to the booming demand for marijuana in the late 1960s, and the shutdown in 1972 of the main pipeline for Turkish heroin from Europe to New York, Sinaloa's illicit economy became turbocharged. An undated photo of Amado Carrillo Fuentes. Reuters So it helped that Amado's uncle was one of those traffickers. A murderous brute of a man, Ernesto Fonseca Carrillo, better known as Don Neto, was by the 1980s a key partner in the trafficking network often referred to as the Guadalajara Cartel.It was the advent of the cocaine boom, when Mexican traffickers began to branch out from weed and dope and made use of their existing smuggling routes to move Colombian cocaine, and the cash flowing back south twisted and perverted every facet of society.Amado was an innovator in his own right, and is often credited as a pioneer of moving drugs by airplane, overseeing ever larger fleets of ever larger planes groaning under the weight of ever larger shipments of Colombian coke. This vocation earned him the nickname "el señor de los cielos," or the Lord of the Skies, and made him fantastically wealthy, with money to buy as many cops, judges, generals, and politicians as he needed to stay on the right side of things.As the criminal landscape in Mexico shifted in the late 1980s following the breakup of the old guard in Guadalajara, Amado had relocated to Ciudad Juárez, a sprawling desert city just across the Río Grande from El Paso, Texas.With its bustling border crossing that sees billions of dollars in cargo cross each way every year - an economic engine that leapt into overdrive with the passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement - Juárez was the crown jewel in the constellation of smuggling routes into the United States.The local capos who controlled the Juárez smuggling route, or "plaza," soon began to display a curious habit of dying, one after another. Amado, for his part, showed a talent for stepping out from the wings to claim their turf. Vehicles crossing from Ciudad Juarez towards El Paso, Texas. Ivan Pierre Aguirre/AP Photo Amado was a skilled smuggler. He was also a brilliant manager with a head for politics, and he built a vast network of street enforcers, informants in every agency of Mexican law enforcement and military, and connections to powerful friends capable of easily quashing the political will to arrest him.While other traffickers fought bloody turf battles and moved coke, weed, and heroin across remote border crossings in the desert, Amado was consolidating power and largely keeping the peace in Juárez, where he proved a reliable colleague to corrupt officials turned off by the ostentatious violence of his competitors. In a few short years, he had become the most influential drug trafficker in Mexico.But even for a guy with the political savvy that Amado had in spades, remaining atop the tangled web of shifting alliances and competing priorities that dictate the status quo in Mexico was a deadly game, and any number of brand-name narcos who came before him had enjoyed that sweet spot for a time before they attracted too much attention and with it their own expiration date.By the mid-1990s, Amado had become the most powerful drug lord in the country."A guy of absolute, unquestioned integrity"Early in 1997, the balance that Amado had so skillfully maintained was thrown into a tailspin with the arrest of General Jesús Héctor Gutierrez Rebollo, Mexico's top drug warrior. He had worked closely with agents of the DEA to pursue trafficking networks and had the endorsement of many in Washington.President Ernesto Zedillo had appointed the general to lead the fight against drugs as part of an effort to cut out the notoriously corrupt alphabet soup of police agencies in favor of the military, which despite its own legacy of corruption and human-rights abuses enjoyed a level of trust and respect that most other branches of the government had long ago squandered. Washington had enthusiastically supported the appointment, and General Barry McCaffrey, President Bill Clinton's drug czar, had praised the general as "a guy of absolute, unquestioned integrity" as recently as in December of 1996.So the DEA and their higher ups in D.C. were shocked when, on Feb. 17, 1997, the general was suddenly dismissed, and even more so a day later when Mexican officials announced that Gutierrez Rebollo had been arrested for receiving payoffs from one Amado Carrillo Fuentes. Amado (L) is seen at a party in an undated photo. Reuters As winter turned into spring, Guttierez Rebollo was sitting in irons, and Washington was sporting a deeply embarrassing black eye. At a hearing in March, DEA chief Thomas A. Constantine mused that major traffickers in Mexico "seem to be operating with impunity," and a congressional subcommittee convened soon thereafter to discuss slamming shut the faucet of foreign aid to Mexico.The Mexican government has never reacted well to its frenemies in the drug trade catching the undivided attention of the U.S. government, as a long line of Amado's former compatriots found out the hard way.And now the high-beams were focused on Amado. As one of the key public faces of drug trafficking in Mexico - and as the man whose bribes were the stated reason for the general's arrest - Amado found himself suddenly, dangerously exposed, and desperate to disappear, according to Ralph Villaruel, a retired DEA agent who was stationed in Guadalajara at the time."We were hearing he was in Russia, that he was in Chile," Villaruel told me in an interview. "We heard that he wanted to pay [the government] to be left alone, that he didn't want nothing to do with drug trafficking no more."Amado was a wreck. Overweight and reportedly strung out on his own personal stash carved off the tens of thousands of kilos his men continued to smuggle north, he seems to have opted for a radical solution: he would alter his appearance with plastic surgery.So on July 3, 1997, he used a false name to check into a hospital in a ritzy neighborhood of Mexico, and, in a heavily guarded operating room, the lord of the skies succumbed to a lethal dose of anesthesia and sedatives."We think Amado Carrillo Fuentes is dead"Mauricio Fernandez wasn't getting much sleep in those days.Fernandez, newly married, had been working at the Mexico City office of the DEA for about a year. He'd joined the agency in 1991 after serving in the Marines, and threw himself into his new vocation with a zeal inspired in part by the ravages of drug addiction he'd witnessed back home growing up in the Bronx.A dedicated posting to the resident office in Mexico City should have brought a bit of stability to his life after having spent the past few years working in an elite unit with special-forces training, bushwhacking coca fields in the high Andes of Bolivia, raiding drug labs in the lush mountain valleys of Peru, and chasing down a Colombian rival of Pablo Escobar whose brilliance earned him the nickname "the Chessmaster." A gun that once belonged to Amado Carrillo Fuentes is displayed in the Drugs Museum at the headquarters of the Ministry of Defense in Mexico City. Henry Romero/Reuters But when he arrived in Mexico City, he was soon stunned by the level to which drug traffickers were entangled with the state at every level, from local cops on up to judges, military officers, and members of the political and business elite. It was hard to know who to trust. He was getting death threats."The deception was more sophisticated in Mexico," he told me in an interview. "The level of deception was so embedded that even for people you thought were vetted, even them you could not trust. There was no such thing as safe partnership."Cooperation between the U.S. and Mexico on anti-drug policy was then and is now deeply fraught, riven with well-earned mutual distrust. But Fernandez and his fellow DEA agents had worked hard to build relationships with a few key members of Mexican anti-drug units, and it was starting to pay dividends. Through a contact in the Attorney General's office, or PGR, Fernandez and his partner had extensive access to sensitive information, and did their best to share intel with their counterparts. Fernandez and his partner were the lead case agents on investigations into some of Mexico's most notorious drug traffickers, and they routinely pulled 80-hour weeks, living and breathing their work, sleeping at the office. They were investigating a handful of different drug-trafficking networks, but one man stood above the rest: Amado Carrillo Fuentes. A photograph that includes this caption: "Mexico City, Mexico. Hospital Santa Monica, where ''drug lord'' Amado Carrillo Fuentes died whilst having plastic surgery to change his identity to help him evade police." Getty Images Most roads led to Amado in some way or another, or they led as close as the DEA could get anyway. Any time they thought they might be getting close, witnesses had a way of turning up dead, warning had a way of finding itself to their query, and Amado cruised along as always.As he played the delicate game of political maneuvering necessary to survive in the underworld of Mexican organized crime, Amado was building a business empire of global proportions.Even now, decades later, Fernandez still speaks of Amado with the grudging respect of a guy who knows the folly of underestimating one's enemies."It was a slap in the face to say that Amado was simply a drug trafficker," Fernandez told me. "His span was incredible. He touched Asia, he touched Europe, all parts of the world, and that's when you start to understand the vastness of his enterprise."With a query like that, no, Fernandez wasn't sleeping much.So when July 4, 1997 rolled around, Fernandez was looking forward to a bit of R&R, a chance to spend some time with his wife and shoot the shit with his colleagues and their families at the annual Independence Day bash at the ambassador's residence in Lomas de Chapultepec, a lavish neighborhood of rolling hills and the gated mansions of the Mexican elite.But work found him anyway, as it often did, in the form of a call from a high-ranking Mexican law-enforcement official. It was one of the men with whom he'd spent the past year building up a cautious but increasingly strong rapport. The ramifications of the news that came through the phone are still playing out today."We think Amado Carrillo Fuentes is dead," the official told him."All kinds of rumors are going to spring up"The details were sketchy, no one knew for sure what to believe, but Fernandez' source told him what he could: the Lord of the Skies had the day before slunk into a private clinic in Mexico City for some kind of operation, maybe liposuction, maybe plastic surgery, and had died on the operating table. Whether it was negligence or homicidal intent was unclear. ut word was, Amado was dead.Those words hit Fernandez like a thunderclap. After hanging up, he sidled over to his boss and his boss's boss, who were standing about chatting and soaking up the unique glory of a Mexico City summer day. Fernandez pulled the two more senior agents aside and told him what he had just heard.Before long, the news rippled out through the crowd and the DEA agents in attendance huddled up to figure out what do do next.In the middle of that scrum was Larry Villalobos, a DEA intelligence analyst who'd arrived in Mexico the year prior after a stint in El Paso building dossiers on the major drug traffickers operating in Mexico. He knew everybody. To this day, Villalobos has the uncanny ability to summon up the names of men long dead and recall the bit-part roles they played in the larger action. Mexican special forces police guard the morgue in Mexico City where the remains of Amado Carrillo Fuentes were held after his death. Reuters At the ambassador's residence the party continued. But for Fernandez, Villalobos, and the rest of the DEA crew in attendance that day, there was work to do. They had a window in which they could confirm that Amado was dead and that window was already closing rapidly, Villalobos recalled."We knew from working in Mexico that if you wait any goddamn longer than that all kinds of rumors are going to spring up," Villalobos told me.A fingerprint matchAs they hustled away from the ambassador's residence, Fernandez, Villalobos, and the other DEA agents knew that the first thing they had to do was find the body.According to the law-enforcement source Fernandez, by the time the DEA agents hightailed it away from their aborted Fourth of July party, the body was already on a plane en route to Sinaloa. But by the time it landed, a team of agents with the Attorney General's office were waiting.They seized the casket and immediately put it on a plane back to Mexico City. According to an Associated Press report a few days later, the agents had to forcibly part Amado's mother from the casket that she clearly believed held the remains of her son. Amado's mother, Aurora Fuentes (L), arrived at the morgue to collect the body of her son on July 10, 1997. Reuters Some of the field agents began to press all their sources for information. But for Villalobos, who had worked as a fingerprint technician with the FBI before joining the DEA, it all came down to the body. And suddenly, he recalled an astonishing fact: the U.S. was in possession of Amado's fingerprints, taken by Border Patrol agents in Presidio, Texas way back in 1985 and later unearthed from the files of the Immigration and Naturalization service.He got on the phone with his old intelligence office in El Paso, and had them overnight a set of the prints to Mexico City while a Mexican technician did his best to harvest a set from the corpse, which had long since gone stiff with rigor mortis. As the body decomposes after death, the quality of the available prints start to degrade, but after comparing the prints on file with those taken from the corpse, Villalobos was certain.His boss wanted to know how certain he was that this was, in fact, Amado Carrillo Fuentes. Ever precise, Villalobos clarified the issue."I didn't say that it was Amado. What I said was that the fingerprints that were taken from a young man who resembles the Amado that we all know, and was fingerprinted as an illegal alien 20 years ago, is the same person as this corpse," Villalobos recalled telling the senior DEA attache in Mexico City. Amado's sister, Alicia Carrillo Fuentes (L), and other family members mourn Amado's death at the home of his mother. Huge wreaths were delivered, including some by other alleged drug barons. Reuters "Whether it's Amado or not, that's a different matter, but it would have had to been some type of conspiracy over 20 years that some guy was gonna die and they were gonna substitute the body of the guy who was in Presidio, Texas 20 years ago."In other words, it was Amado.The positive ID on the fingerprints that Villalobos made came no more than 72 hours after Amado died in surgery, but already speculation was buzzing about the possible death of the kingpin of Juárez.While Villalobos had been doing his thing, other agents like Mauricio Fernandez had been working their sources and keeping in constant contact with trusted Mexican officials doing the same, and they were starting to get indications from the underworld that the big guy really was gone.Meanwhile, in Mexico City, a forensics expert from Mexico's Attorney General's office held a press conference where he presented the fingerprint evidence."It would have made for a wonderful story"After the confirmation from DEA, after the confirmation from the Mexican government, after the body was returned to Amado's family and buried in his hometown of Guamuchilito, Sinaloa, the myth of Amado's survival began to grow, and it has never really gone away. Even now, Fernandez said he understands why the myth of Amado has clung on for so long."There was a lot of folklore around Amado and who he was, and I think for a lot of people, they wanted to keep that thought alive," Fernandez said. "It would have made for a wonderful story, but the fact is that that wasn't the case. It just was not the case." Chilean authorities identified this home as one of the eleven houses that Amado Carrillo Fuentes bought in Santiago several months before his death. Reuters Regardless of where one stands on the fact that Amado Carrillo Fuentes died in July 1997, no one disputes the fact that his death was a turning point, one of the periodic tectonic shifts throughout the history of the war on drugs in Mexico. Amado's younger brother Vicente took the reins, but he didn't have it in him, and people didn't respect him the way they had Amado. The alliances that Amado held together soon started to fray, and that breakdown helped contribute to the staggering wave of violence that washed over Mexico a decade later and has yet to truly recede.This dynamic within Amado's network may have played a part in the myths that sprung up so soon after his death. With a weak leader like Vicente running the ship and its increasingly mutinous crew aground, the idea of a vengeful Amado out there, maybe coming back some day, might have been useful for keeping people in line, according to Jesús Esquivel, a veteran Mexican journalist who was one of the first reporters to break the news of Amado's death. Amado Carrillo Fuentes's home in the Alvaro Obregon municipality of Mexico City. It was raffled off by Mexico's National Lottery in September 2021. XAVIER MARTINEZ/AFP via Getty Images "Vicente was weak, and the local criminals knew, and they said 'this is our time,'" Esquivel told me. "So they were playing with Amado's shadow."Larry Villalobos, for his part, still hears the old conspiracy theories from time to time, occasionally from unlikely sources."I had an FBI agent come up to me less than 10 years ago and he says to me 'what if I told you Amado was still alive?'" Villalobos told Insider. "I was like 'get the fuck outta here, I don't wanna hear that shit. I saw the fingerprints, I made the identification, what are you talking about?"According to Villalobos, the FBI agent was insistent, telling him that a trusted source had recently claimed to have spotted Amado in his old stomping grounds of Ojinga, just over the border from Texas. Even better, the source claimed to know where exactly they could find him.Villalobos was not moved."I hope the FBI didn't pay too much for that tip," Villalobos said.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 6th, 2021

NBA Player, Activist To Change Name To Enes Kanter Freedom, Become US Citizen

NBA Player, Activist To Change Name To Enes Kanter Freedom, Become US Citizen Authored by Aldgra Fredly via The Epoch Times, Boston Celtics center Enes Kanter is set to become a United States citizen and legally change his name to Enes Kanter Freedom on Monday, according to media reports. The 29-year-old NBA player is to make his name change official after completing his citizenship oath ceremony, Kanter’s manager Hank Fetic told The Associated Press. Going forward, Kanter will be his middle name, and Freedom will be his new last name. The news was first reported by sports news website The Athletic. Kanter is a native of Turkey but has been banned from traveling to his home country by the administration of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan due to his political views. Turkey revoked his passport in 2017. In recent months, Kanter has been vocal about human rights issues in China and criticized the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) treatment of the Uyghur people. Rights groups, researchers, former residents, and some Western lawmakers say that Xinjiang authorities have facilitated forced labor by arbitrarily detaining around one million Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities in a network of camps in the northwestern region. Kanter also called China’s leader Xi Jinping a “brutal dictator”, leading to Celtics games being pulled from Chinese media. Detail of the shoes worn by Enes Kanter #13 of the Boston Celtics with the wording “Free Tibet” during the first half against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden in New York City, N.Y., on Oct. 20, 2021. (Sarah Stier/Getty Images) He has also spoken up for the Tibetan people. “I’m here to add my voice and speak about what is happening in Tibet under the Chinese government’s brutal rule. Tibetan people’s basic rights are nonexistent,” Kanter said in a nearly three-minute video clip posted to his personal social media accounts on Nov. 20. Chinese communists forcibly took control of Tibet in 1951 and over the years, the regime has intensified its control over the local population, forcing monks and nuns to resume secular life and promoting Mandarin Chinese over the Tibetan language. Kanter has also worn shoes emblazoned with the words “Free Tibet” to an NBA game against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 20, which has led Chinese video-streaming platform Tencent to cut its broadcast. On Nov. 16 he slammed Beijing for its industrial-scale killing of prisoners of conscience for their organs, doubling down on his social media crusade against the regime over its wide-ranging human rights abuses. “Stop murdering for organs. It’s a crime against humanity,” the Turkish player wrote in a post that appeared on his Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. The Chinese Government engages in forced organ harvesting. Ethnic & religious groups, Tibetans,Uyghurs in death camps, Christians,Falun Gong are all targeted Liver Kidney Heart Stop murdering for organs. It’s a crime against humanity End forced organ harvesting in China, NOW! pic.twitter.com/jYfepCopIb — Enes Kanter FREEDOM (@EnesFreedom) November 16, 2021 On Nov. 19, he called out NBA superstar LeBron James in a tweet over his ties with Nike, slamming James for taking a “Money over Morals” approach on Nike’s alleged use of slave labor in China to produce its goods. “Sad & disgusting how these athletes pretend they care about social justice. They really do ‘shut up & dribble’ when Big Boss [China] says so,” Kanter said on Twitter. James responded to his tweet by saying that he will not waste his energy on Kanter, accusing him of trying to use his name for himself. Separately on Nov. 23, Kanter called for a boycott of the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games in protest of human rights abuses in the country. “The genocidal Chinese government and the insecure tyrant behind it all Xi Jinping must not be allowed to host the upcoming Winter Olympics. Say NO to @Beijing2022!” Kanter tweeted, along with a series of pictures of some shoes emblazoned with messages targeting China. He has also voiced his support for Taiwan, prompting Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen to thank him directly. Tyler Durden Mon, 11/29/2021 - 13:04.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytNov 29th, 2021

"Squid Game" Smuggler To Die By Firing Squad In North Korea: Report

'Squid Game' Smuggler To Die By Firing Squad In North Korea: Report Authored by Isabel von Brugen via The Epoch Times, A North Korean man has reportedly been sentenced to death by authorities after he was caught distributing copies of the Netflix series “Squid Game,” which Pyongyang says reflects South Korea’s “beastly” society. According to Radio Free Asia (RFA), the individual smuggled in copies of the Korean-language Netflix hit via USB flash drives and sold them in North Korea. He was sentenced to death by firing squad after authorities found seven high school students watching the nine-part thriller series in class. A North Korean propaganda website last month said that the show exposes the reality of South Korean capitalist culture where “corruption and immoral scoundrels are commonplace” and an “unequal society where moneyless people are treated like chess pieces for the rich.” “It is said that it makes people realize the sad reality of the beastly South Korean society in which human beings are driven into extreme competition and their humanity is being wiped out,” North Korea’s Arirang Meari site said. A student who purchased a USB flash drive containing the series was handed a life sentence, while six other students have been issued a sentence of five years hard labor, RFA reported, citing sources in North Korea. “This all started last week when a high school student secretly bought a USB flash drive containing the South Korean drama ‘Squid Game’ and watched it with one of his best friends in class,” an unnamed law enforcement source in North Korea’s North Hamgyong province told RFA’s Korean Service on Monday. “The friend told several other students, who became interested, and they shared the flash drive with them. They were caught by the censors in 109 Sangmu, who had received a tipoff,” the source added. RFA reported that North Korea has a government strike force, named Surveillance Bureau Group 109, which targets individuals watching videos that are prohibited in the country. North Korea has been imposing stiff fines or prison for anyone caught enjoying South Korean entertainment or copying the way South Koreans speak as leader Kim Jong Un steps up a war on outside influences and calls for better homegrown entertainment. A sweeping new “anti-reactionary thought” law was imposed late last year, and carries a maximum penalty of death for watching, obtaining, or distributing media from counties including South Korea and the United States. Yeonmi Park, a North Korean defector, described Netflix’s most-watched show as presenting a “very accurate portrayal of North Koreans’ plight in South Korea, and the journey they go through to become free.” However, she expressed concern over the show’s apparent demonization of inequality. “Inequality is a sign of opportunity,” she said in a video on her YouTube channel in October. “When I was in North Korea, everybody was dirt poor. When I came to South Korea and America, I heard that there are trillionaires, billionaires, and these are people who founded companies such as Tesla, SpaceX, and invented new things.” “In North Korea everyone is poor because nobody is allowed to invent, and there’s so much demonization and animosity toward wealth. I keep saying to people, inequality doesn’t mean poverty, poverty is something that we need to fight against,” Park continued. “In the United States there is opportunity, you earn honest money, feed your children, and get an education, while in North Korea, you cannot do that,” she added. “That’s why I now have concern with the media focusing on inequality, portraying the main [‘Squid Game’] character who isn’t disciplined, is a bad father … as a hero.” The director of “Squid Game” has said the popular show is likely to return for a second season. “We are in the talks for Season Two,” writer-director Hwang Dong-hyuk said in an interview on Nov. 8. “It’s all in my head. I have the basic storyline, the broad plan, so we’re in the brainstorming stages. “I’m going to go ahead and say there will be a second season, but as for when, I cannot tell you now,” Hwang added. Tyler Durden Thu, 11/25/2021 - 19:15.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 25th, 2021

"Squid Game" Crypto-Scam Exposed, COIN Crashes 100% After Explosive Gains

'Squid Game' Crypto-Scam Exposed, COIN Crashes 100% After Explosive Gains Update: Following up on what we detailed yesterday, CoinMarketCap issued an even firmer warning: "We have received multiple reports that the website and socials are no longer functional & the users are not able to sell this token in Pancakeswap. Please do your own due diligence and exercise extreme caution. This project, while clearly inspired by the Netflix show of the same name, is not affiliated with the official IP. " The Squid Game token rocketed in price from around 1 cent on Tuesday to trade around $38 late Sunday, according to CoinMarketCap data. It then stepped up to around $90 early Monday, then spiked to just above $2,861 before falling to $0.003467 at 10 a.m. ET. "The scam has completed its cycle, and the price has just dropped significantly," Bobby Ong, co-founder at CoinGecko, told Insider. "Website and social media accounts being deleted is a very obvious sign that it is a scam." CoinMarketCap reports that SQUID’s inflexible tokenomics has caused many investors to lose a lot of money. Describing Monday’s brutal crash, one SQUID holder told CoinMarketCap: “The price was multiplying at an abnormal level. And as I was staring at my computer screen, I watched SQUID fall down in a matter of minutes. There was no way to withdraw my funds intact.” They said they were drawn in by news outlets that gave attention to SQUID — and that this additional marketing made them feel that the project was genuine: “I guess this will serve as a valuable lesson for me to not just jump into meme coins … I am not blaming anyone except myself, but I think there must be some mechanism to avoid this in the future, and for news outlets to stop giving attention to these scammer type tokens.” Others describe how their $57 investment surged to $14,000 — and their frustration at being unable to sell their token. Another victim told CoinMarketCap “I lost all of what I have in this project.” He had bought 5,000 SQUID at $1 apiece. “I don’t trust in them anymore,” he added. Crypto investors are regularly encouraged to scrutinize a project’s website to see whether information about the founders is prominently displayed. Squid Game’s website did this — naming David Kanny as CEO. He was described as a University of California Irvine alum who had five years’ experience at Netflix, but no LinkedIn profile exists. Searches for other named executives — Mabel Jah, Kevin Sam, Christian Abbigail, Daniel Jolia and Lawrence Dan — also drew blanks on Google. In the Netflix show, Squid Game depicts characters who are willing to put their lives on the line for a better financial future. But for those who put their money on the line by investing in SQUID, any hope of a better financial future has now been lost in the blink of an eye. *  *  * The hit Netflix series "Squid Game" has inspired a new cryptocurrency, which saw its value skyrocket by 40,000% this week in just a handful of trading days. As of 0745 ET Friday, the “Squid Game” token, aka "SQUID", stood at $5.41, up from $0.01235 when it started trading on Tuesday, according to data from Coin Market Cap. The relatively obscure crypto is up more than 200% in the past 24 hours and it now commands a market capitalization of more than $419 million. While the rapid spike in price may tempt more traders into the coin, CoinMarketCap warned on its site that some people appear to not be able to sell the coin once they buy it. "We have received multiple reports that the users are not able to sell this token in Pancakeswap. Please exercise caution while trading!" CoinMarketCap warns. Pancakeswap is a popular decentralized cryptocurrency exchange. The inability to sell the coins could be tied to an "anti-dumping mechanism" that the creators of the coin described in a white paper associated with the cryptocurrency. Like the South Korean show "Squid Game" in which 456 deeply indebted people compete in deadly children’s games for a grand prize of more than $38MM, the Squid token was launched as a way to buy into the Squid Game project, a crypto play-to-earn platform that will culminate with an online in a squid-game-esque tournament next month. The online tournament will mimic the six rounds of games featured in the hit series, but, as the white paper says, “we do not provide deadly consequences.” “Your experience will only reflect on the joy of winning rewards and sorrow of losing money when the game failed,” the white paper says. Another difference is that the online tournament will not cap the reward money for winning nor will there be a maximum number of players. Contestants will have to fork over a preset amount of the SQUID token in order to compete in each round of the tournament. At the crypto’s current price, the fee for the final round of the tournament, for example, stands at roughly $81,000. Entry fees from each of the rounds are split between developers, who said they’ll take 10%, and the reward pool, where the remaining 90% of the coins will be deposited. At the crypto’s current price, the fee for the final round of the tournament, for example, stands at roughly $81,000. And throughout the tournament, players will have the opportunity to earn non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, by winning rounds. The NFTs also appear to be for sale on the behind the token’s website, and they can be traded among contestants. Throughout the game, users will also earn Marbles Tokens, which is another reference to the show. Those tokens will allow users to eventually sell their SQUID coins and cash in, according to the white paper. Of course, while the international crypto community has embraced the game, the NYC school system sees the trend as a liability, and has banned all students from dressing up s characters from the show for halloweem Tyler Durden Mon, 11/01/2021 - 13:33.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytNov 1st, 2021

"Squid Game" Cryptocurrency Soars 40,000% In A Week

'Squid Game' Cryptocurrency Soars 40,000% In A Week The hit Netflix series "Squid Game" has inspired a new cryptocurrency, which saw its value skyrocket by 40,000% this week in just a handful of trading days. As of 0745 ET Friday, the “Squid Game” token, aka "SQUID", stood at $5.41, up from $0.01235 when it started trading on Tuesday, according to data from Coin Market Cap. The relatively obscure crypto is up more than 200% in the past 24 hours and it now commands a market capitalization of more than $419 million. While the rapid spike in price may tempt more traders into the coin, CoinMarketCap warned on its site that some people appear to not be able to sell the coin once they buy it. "We have received multiple reports that the users are not able to sell this token in Pancakeswap. Please exercise caution while trading!" CoinMarketCap warns. Pancakeswap is a popular decentralized cryptocurrency exchange. The inability to sell the coins could be tied to an "anti-dumping mechanism" that the creators of the coin described in a white paper associated with the cryptocurrency. Like the South Korean show "Squid Game" in which 456 deeply indebted people compete in deadly children’s games for a grand prize of more than $38MM, the Squid token was launched as a way to buy into the Squid Game project, a crypto play-to-earn platform that will culminate with an online in a squid-game-esque tournament next month. The online tournament will mimic the six rounds of games featured in the hit series, but, as the white paper says, “we do not provide deadly consequences.” “Your experience will only reflect on the joy of winning rewards and sorrow of losing money when the game failed,” the white paper says. Another difference is that the online tournament will not cap the reward money for winning nor will there be a maximum number of players. Contestants will have to fork over a preset amount of the SQUID token in order to compete in each round of the tournament. At the crypto’s current price, the fee for the final round of the tournament, for example, stands at roughly $81,000. Entry fees from each of the rounds are split between developers, who said they’ll take 10%, and the reward pool, where the remaining 90% of the coins will be deposited. t the crypto’s current price, the fee for the final round of the tournament, for example, stands at roughly $81,000. And throughout the tournament, players will have the opportunity to earn non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, by winning rounds. The NFTs also appear to be for sale on the behind the token’s website, and they can be traded among contestants. Throughout the game, users will also earn Marbles Tokens, which is another reference to the show. Those tokens will allow users to eventually sell their SQUID coins and cash in, according to the white paper. Of course, while the international crypto community has embraced the game, the NYC school system sees the trend as a liability, and ha banned all students from dressing up s characters from the show for halloweem Tyler Durden Sat, 10/30/2021 - 17:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 30th, 2021

The maker of the dalgona candies for "Squid Game" was so swamped with customers that he didn"t go home for a week

Interest in dalgona candies, a popular Korean sugary toffee snack, spiked after it was featured in a deadly challenge on Netflix's 'Squid Game.' Players had to carve out shapes etched into the dalgona candies in "Squid Game." Netflix The candy seller who made dalgona for "Squid Game" saw a resurgence in customers after the show aired. In "Squid Game," debt-laden contestants competed in lethal children's games for a cash prize. In the show, players had to carve out designs etched into the candy and were shot if the candy cracked. The candy seller who made dalgona, a sugary toffee candy, for Netflix's "Squid Game" was so swamped with customers after a resurgence in interest that he didn't go home for a full week to keep up with the demand, Reuters reported.In the hit dystopian thriller "Squid Game," debt-strapped contestants must compete in a series of deadly children's games for the chance at winning a $38 million cash prize. In a game on the third episode of the show, contestants must try to carve out a shape etched into the brittle candy with a needle and are shot by guards if the candy cracks. In the show, the candies came in the shapes of an umbrella, a star, a circle, and a triangle. An Yong-hui, the dalgona maker for "Squid Game," said he sold 200 candies a day before the show debuted on Sept. 17. Now, he sells over 500 a day for about $1.68 each, with a buy-one-get-one deal if customers don't crack the first candy, according to Reuters. The candy is a classic Korean snack sold by street vendors, and is made by melting sugar and pouring in baking soda. Cutting out the shapes stamped in the candies with needles or toothpicks in the hopes of getting a second candy is a popular children's game.As the popularity of "Squid Game" grows, tutorials for how to make the sugary treat have proliferated through the internet and accumulated tens of thousands of views on Youtube. On TikTok, #dalgonachallenge has millions of views, with users posting videos of themselves making the snack and attempting to carve out a perfect shape."I wanted to see if I would survive this round in 'Squid Game,'" one TikTok user said. "When I was watching the show, I was thinking, 'How hard can this be?' Like it's already pre-cut, right?" @wrongeats If your name isnt HoYeon Jung keep scrolling. #fyp #korean #squidgame #netflix #dalgona ♬ Squid Game - Green Light Red Light - Yovinca Prafika The video ends with the user accidentally snapping off the tip of a star shape they were supposed to cut out and a clip of a red guard from the show shooting a gun.While the candies are relatively easy to make, you can also get dalgona-making kits and the candies themselves on Amazon."Squid Game" is one of the most-watched TV shows on Netflix, and the company predicts it will become one of the streaming service's most popular shows of all time. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytOct 8th, 2021

The most popular Netflix movies of all time, including "Red Notice" and "Bird Box"

"Red Notice" is now Netflix's biggest original movie of all time, with 328 million hours watched since it debuted. (L-R) Dwayne Johnson, Gal Gadot, and Ryan Reynolds in "Red Notice."Netflix "Red Notice" is now Netflix's biggest original movie ever, with 328 million hours watched since it debuted in early November. It beat "Bird Box" to claim the top spot. Netflix previously reported viewership based on the number of accounts that watched at least two minutes of a title. Its new metric of hours viewed in the first 28 days gives a boost to longer movies like the three-and-a-half-hour "Irishman." 10. "The Old Guard" (2020) — 186 million hoursCharlize Theron in "The Old Guard."NetflixDescription: "Four undying warriors who've secretly protected humanity for centuries become targeted for their mysterious powers just as they discover a new immortal."Rotten Tomatoes critics score: 80%What critics said: "Given a team of highly regarded actors in Charlize Theron, Chiwetel Ejiofor and KiKi Layne, Prince-Bythewood delivers both satisfying, high-octane fights and a proper storyline to stitch them together." — The Undefeated9. "Army of the Dead" (2021) — 187 million hoursNetflixDescription: "After a zombie outbreak in Las Vegas, a group of mercenaries takes the ultimate gamble by venturing into the quarantine zone for the greatest heist ever."Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 67%What critics said: "Zack Snyder lives for excessive storytelling by stuffing as many insignificant details into his stories as possible." — io98. "Enola Holmes" (2020) — 190 million hours"Enola Holmes."NetflixDescription: "While searching for her missing mother, intrepid teen Enola Holmes uses her sleuthing skills to outsmart big brother Sherlock and help a runaway lord."Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 91%What critics said: "While the mystery might be elementary (my dear, notably absent, Watson), the storytelling is winkingly subversive, proclaiming that a new and welcome game is afoot." — Entertainment Weekly7. "Spenser Confidential" (2020) — 197 million hoursNetflixDescription: "Spenser, an ex-cop and ex-con, teams up with aspiring fighter Hawk to uncover a sinister conspiracy tied to the deaths of two Boston police officers."Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 37%What critics said: "It's an action-comedy-mystery-thriller that manages to spectacularly fail at all the above, an algorithmic abomination that's as coldly constructed as it is clumsily made." — Guardian6. "6 Underground" (2019) — 205 million hoursNetflixDescription: "After faking his death, a tech billionaire recruits a team of international operatives for a bold and bloody mission to take down a brutal dictator."Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 36%What critics said: "Bay's clumsy but visually impressive movie should partly sate anyone waiting for the superior thrills and spills of the next Fast & Furious outing." — NME5. "The Kissing Booth 2" (2020) — 209 million hours"The Kissing Booth 2"NetflixDescription: "With college decisions looming, Elle juggles her long-distance romance with Noah, changing relationship with bestie Lee and feelings for a new classmate."Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 27%What critics said: "You can soak in the movie's basic premise and overacting just as long as you know this pool's shallow." — RogerEbert.com4. "The Irishman" (2019) — 215 million hoursNetflixDescription: "Hit man Frank Sheeran looks back at the secrets he kept as a loyal member of the Bufalino crime family in this acclaimed film from Martin Scorsese."Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 95%What critics said: "While 'The Irishman' is like many mob movies about violence and betrayal, it's a work of a filmmaker who has earned the right to sum up this genre." — NPR3. "Extraction" (2020) — 231 million hoursNetflixDescription: "A hardened mercenary's mission becomes a soul-searching race to survive when he's sent into Bangladesh to rescue a drug lord's kidnapped son."Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 67%What critics said: "The one big weapon it has — Hemsworth's ability to juxtapose his brawn with approachable charm — is one it never pulls from its holster." — Polygon 2. "Bird Box" (2018) — 282 million hours"Bird Box"NetflixDescription: "Five years after an ominous unseen presence drives most of society to suicide, a survivor and her two children make a desperate bid to reach safety."Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 64%What critics said: "Unfortunately, Bird Box puts these performers through familiar paces, in roles of such tight typecasting that they seem like recurring characters in an extended TV series." — New Yorker1. "Red Notice" (2021) — 328 million hoursDwayne Johnson in "Red Notice."NetflixDescription: "An FBI profiler pursuing the world's most wanted art thief becomes his reluctant partner in crime to catch an elusive crook who's always one step ahead."Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 35%What critics said: "Red Notice is limp and dull, and does more to showcase the shortcomings of each of its marquee idols than it does to highlight their bankable charisma." — Vanity FairRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytDec 1st, 2021

BTFDers Unleashed: Futures, Yields, Oil Jump As Omicron Panic Eases

BTFDers Unleashed: Futures, Yields, Oil Jump As Omicron Panic Eases As expected over the weekend, and as we first noted shortly after electronic markets reopened for trading on Sunday, S&P futures have maintained their overnight gains and have rebounded 0.7% while Nasdaq contracts jumped as much as 1.3% after risk sentiment stabilized following Friday’s carnage and as investors settled in for a few weeks of uncertainty on whether the Omicron variant would derail economic recoveries and the tightening plans of some central banks. Japan led declines in the Asian equity session (which was catching down to Friday's US losses) after the government shut borders to visitors. The region’s reopening stocks such as restaurants, department stores, train operators and travel shares also suffered some losses.  Oil prices bounced $3 a barrel to recoup some of Friday's rout, while the safe haven yen, Swiss franc and 10Y Treasury took a breather after its run higher. Moderna shares jumped as much as 12% in pre-market trading after Chief Medical Officer Paul Burton said he suspects the new omicron coronavirus variant may elude current vaccines, and if so, a reformulated shot could be available early in the new year. Which he would obviously say as his company makes money from making vaccines, even if they are not very efficient. Here are some of the other notable premarket movers today: BioNTech (BNTX US) advanced 5% after it said it’s starting with the first steps of developing a new adapted vaccine, according to statement sent by text. Merck & Co. (MRK US) declined 1.6% after it was downgraded to neutral from buy at Citi, which also opens a negative catalyst watch, with “high probability” the drugmaker will abandon development of its HIV treatment. A selection of small biotechs rise again in U.S. premarket trading amid discussion of the companies in StockTwits and after these names outperformed during Friday’s market rout. Palatin Tech (PTN US) +37%, Biofrontera (BFRI US) +22%, 180 Life Sciences (ATNF US) +19%. Bonds gave back some of their gains, with Treasury futures were down 11 ticks. Like other safe havens, the market had rallied sharply as investors priced in the risk of a slower start to rate hikes from the U.S. Federal Reserve, and less tightening by some other central banks. Needless to say, Omicron is all anyone can talk about: on one hand, authorities have already orchestrated a lot of global panic: Britain called an urgent meeting of G7 health ministers on Monday to discuss developments on the virus, even though the South African doctor who discovered the strain and treated cases said symptoms of Omicron were so far mild. The new variant of concern was found as far afield as Canada and Australia as more countries such as Japan imposed travel restriction to try to seal themselves off. Summarizing the fearmongering dynamic observed, overnight South African health experts - including those who discovered the Omicron variant, said it appears to cause mild symptoms, while the Chinese lapdog organization, WHO, said the variant’s risk is “extremely high”. Investors are trying to work out if the omicron flareup will a relatively brief scare that markets rebound from, or a bigger blow to the global economic recovery. Much remains unanswered about the new strain: South African scientists suggested it’s presenting with mild symptoms so far, though it appears to be more transmissible, but the World Health Organization warned it could fuel future surges of Covid-19 with severe consequences. "There is a lot we don't know about Omicron, but markets have been forced to reassess the global growth outlook until we know more," said Rodrigo Catril, a market strategist at NAB. "Pfizer expects to know within two weeks if Omicron is resistant to its current vaccine, others suggest it may take several weeks. Until then markets are likely to remain jittery." "Despite the irresistible pull of buying-the-dip on tenuous early information on omicron, we are just one negative omicron headline away from going back to where we started,” Jeffrey Halley, a senior market analyst at Oanda, wrote in a note. “Expect plenty of headline-driven whipsaw price action this week.” The emergence of the omicron strain is also complicating monetary policy. Traders have already pushed back the expected timing of a first 25-basis-point rate hike by the Federal Reserve to July from June. Fed Bank of Atlanta President Raphael Bostic played down economic risks from a new variant, saying he’s open to a quicker paring of asset purchases to curb inflation. Fed Chair Jerome Powell and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen speak before Congress on Tuesday and Wednesday. “We know that central banks can quickly switch to dovish if they need to,” Mahjabeen Zaman, Citigroup senior investment specialist, said on Bloomberg Television. “The liquidity playbook that we have in play right now will continue to support the market.” European stocks rallied their worst drop in more than a year on Friday, with travel and energy stocks leading the advance. The Stoxx 600 rose 0.9% while FTSE 100 futures gain more than 1%, aided by a report that Reliance may bid for BT Group which jumped as much as 9.5% following a report that India’s Reliance Industries may offer to buy U.K. phone company, though it pared the gain after Reliance denied it’s considering a bid. European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde put a brave face on the latest virus scare, saying the euro zone was better equipped to face the economic impact of a new wave of COVID-19 infections or the Omicron variant Japanese shares lead Asian indexes lower after Premier Kishida announces entry ban of all new foreign visitors. Hong Kong’s benchmark Hang Seng Index closed down 0.9% at the lowest level since October 2020, led by Galaxy Entertainment and Meituan. The index followed regional peers lower amid worries about the new Covid variant Omicron. Amid the big movers, Galaxy Entertainment was down 5.4% after police arrested Macau’s junket king, while Meituan falls 7.1% after reporting earnings. In FX, currency markets are stabilizing as the week kicks off yet investors are betting on the possibility of further volatility. The South African rand climbed against the greenback though most emerging-market peers declined along with developing-nation stocks. Turkey’s lira slumped more than 2% after a report at the weekend that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan ordered a probe into foreign currency trades. The Swiss franc, euro and yen retreat while loonie and Aussie top G-10 leaderboard after WTI crude futures rally more than 4%. The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index hovered after Friday’s drop, and the greenback traded mixed against its Group-of-10 peers; commodity currencies led gains. The euro slipped back below $1.13 and Bunds sold off, yet outperformed Treasuries. The pound was steady against the dollar and rallied against the euro. Australian sovereign bonds pared an opening jump as Treasuries trimmed Friday’s spike amid continuing uncertainty over the fallout from the omicron variant. The Aussie rallied with oil and iron ore. The yen erased an earlier decline as a government announcement on planned border closures starting Tuesday spurred a drop in local equities. The rand strengthens as South African health experts call omicron variant “mild.” In rates, Treasuries were cheaper by 4bp-7bp across the curve in belly-led losses, reversing a portion of Friday’s sharp safe-haven rally as potential economic impact of omicron coronavirus strain continues to be assessed. The Treasury curve bear- steepened and the benchmark 10-year Treasury yield jumped as much as 7 basis points to 1.54%; that unwound some of Friday’s 16 basis-point plunge -- the steepest since March 2020.  Focal points include month-end on Tuesday, November jobs report Friday, and Fed Chair Powell is scheduled to speak Monday afternoon. Treasuries broadly steady since yields gapped higher when Asia session began, leaving 10-year around 1.54%, cheaper by almost 7bp on the day; front-end outperformance steepens 2s10s by ~3bp. Long-end may draw support from potential for month-end buying; Bloomberg Treasury index rebalancing was projected to extend duration by 0.11yr as of Nov. 22 In commodities, oil prices bounced after suffering their largest one-day drop since April 2020 on Friday. "The move all but guarantees the OPEC+ alliance will suspend its scheduled increase for January at its meeting on 2 December," wrote analyst at ANZ in a note. "Such headwinds are the reason it's been only gradually raising output in recent months, despite demand rebounding strongly." Brent rebounded 3.9% to $75.57 a barrel, while U.S. crude rose 4.5% to $71.24. Gold has so far found little in the way of safe haven demand, leaving it stuck at $1,791 an ounce . SGX iron ore rises almost 8% to recoup Friday’s losses. Bitcoin rallied after falling below $54,000 on Friday. Looking at today's calendar, we get October pending home sales, and November Dallas Fed manufacturing activity. We also get a bunch of Fed speakers including Williams, Powell making remarks at the New York Fed innovation event, Fed’s Hassan moderating a panel and Fed’s Bowman discussing central bank and indigenous economies. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures up 0.6% to 4,625.00 MXAP down 0.9% to 191.79 MXAPJ down 0.4% to 625.06 Nikkei down 1.6% to 28,283.92 Topix down 1.8% to 1,948.48 Hang Seng Index down 0.9% to 23,852.24 Shanghai Composite little changed at 3,562.70 Sensex up 0.4% to 57,307.46 Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.5% to 7,239.82 Kospi down 0.9% to 2,909.32 STOXX Europe 600 up 0.7% to 467.47 German 10Y yield little changed at -0.31% Euro down 0.3% to $1.1283 Brent Futures up 3.8% to $75.49/bbl Gold spot up 0.3% to $1,797.11 U.S. Dollar Index up 0.13% to 96.22 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg The omicron variant of Covid-19, first identified in South Africa, has been detected in locations from Australia to the U.K. and Canada, showing the difficulties of curtailing new strains While health experts in South Africa, where omicron was first detected, said it appeared to cause only mild symptoms, the Geneva-based WHO assessed the variant’s risk as “extremely high” and called on member states to test widely. Understanding the new strain will take several days or weeks, the agency said All travelers arriving in the U.K. starting at 4 a.m. on Nov. 30 must take a PCR coronavirus test on or before the second day of their stay and isolate until they receive a negative result. Face coverings will again be mandatory in shops and other indoor settings and on public transport. Booster shots may also be approved for more age groups within days, according to Health Secretary Sajid Javid The economic effects of the successive waves of the Covid pandemic have been less and less damaging, Bank of France Governor Francois Villeroy de Galhau says Italian bonds advance for a third day, as investors shrug off new coronavirus developments over the weekend and stock futures advance, while bunds are little changed ahead of German inflation numbers and a raft of ECB speakers including President Christine Lagarde A European Commission sentiment index fell to 117.5 in November from 118.6 the previous month, data released Monday showed Spanish inflation accelerated to the fastest in nearly three decades in November on rising food prices, underscoring the lingering consequences of supply-chain bottlenecks across Europe. Consumer prices jumped 5.6% Energy prices in Europe surged on Monday after weather forecasts showed colder temperatures for the next two weeks that will lift demand for heating ECB Executive Board member Isabel Schnabel took to the airwaves to reassure her fellow Germans that inflation will slow again, hours before data set to show the fastest pace of price increases since the early 1990s Russia’s ambassador to Washington said more than 50 diplomats and their family members will have to leave the U.S. by mid-2022, in the latest sign of tensions between the former Cold War enemies China sent the biggest sortie of warplanes toward Taiwan in more than seven weeks after a U.S. lawmaker defied a Chinese demand that she abandon a trip to the island A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asia-Pac stocks traded cautiously and US equity futures rebounded from Friday’s hefty selling (S&P 500 -2.3%) as all focus remained on the Omicron variant after several countries announced restrictions and their first cases of the new variant, although markets took solace from reports that all cases so far from South Africa have been mild. Furthermore, NIH Director Collins was optimistic that current vaccines are likely to protect against the Omicron variant but also noted it was too early to know the answers, while Goldman Sachs doesn’t think the new variant is a sufficient reason to adjust its portfolio citing comments from South Africa’s NICD that the mutation is unlikely to be more malicious and existing vaccines will most likely remain effective at preventing hospitalizations and deaths. ASX 200 (-0.5%) is subdued after Australia registered its first cases of the Omicron variant which involved two people that arrived in Sydney from southern Africa and with the government reviewing its border reopening plans. Nikkei 225 (-1.6%) whipsawed whereby it initially slumped at the open due to the virus fears and currency-related headwinds but then recouped its losses and briefly returned flat as the mood gradually improved, before succumbing to a bout of late selling, and with mixed Retail Sales data adding to the indecision. Hang Seng (-1.0%) and Shanghai Comp. (Unch) weakened with Meituan the worst performer in Hong Kong after posting a quarterly loss and with casino names pressured by a crackdown in which police detained Suncity Group CEO and others after admitting to accusations including illegal cross border gambling. However, the losses in the mainland were cushioned after firm Industrial Profits data over the weekend and with local press noting expectations for China to adopt a more proactive macro policy next year. Finally, 10yr JGBs shrugged off the pullback seen in T-note and Bund futures, with price action kept afloat amid the cautious mood in stocks and the BoJ’s presence in the market for over JPY 900bln of JGBs mostly concentrated in 3yr-10yr maturities. Top Asian News Hong Kong Stocks Slide to 13-Month Low on Fresh Virus Woes Li Auto Loss Narrows as EV Maker Rides Out Supply-Chain Snarls Singapore Adds to Its Gold Pile for the First Time in Decades China Growth Stocks Look Like Havens as Markets Confront Omicron Bourses in Europe are experiencing a mild broad-based rebound (Euro Stoxx 50 +1.0%; Stoxx 600 +0.9%) following Friday's hefty COVID-induced losses. Desks over the weekend have been framing Friday's losses as somewhat overstretched in holiday-thinned liquidity, given how little is known about the Omicron variant itself. The strain will likely remain the market theme as scientists and policymakers factor in this new variant, whilst data from this point forth – including Friday's US labour market report - will likely be passed off as somewhat stale, and headline risk will likely be abundant. Thus far, symptoms from Omicron are seemingly milder than some of its predecessors, although governments and central banks will likely continue to express caution in this period of uncertainty. Back to price action, the momentum of the rebound has lost steam; US equity futures have also been drifting lower since the European cash open – with the RTY (+0.9%) was the laggard in early European trade vs the ES (+0.8%), NQ (+1.0%) and YM (+0.7%). European cash bourses have also been waning off best levels but remain in positive territory. Sectors are mostly in the green, but the breadth of the market has narrowed since the cash open. Travel & Leisure retains the top spot in what seems to be more a reversal of Friday's exaggerated underperformance as opposed to a fundamentally driven rebound – with more nations announcing travel restrictions to stem the spread of the variant. Oil & Gas has also trimmed some of Friday's losses as oil prices see a modest rebound relative to Friday's slump. On the other end of the spectrum, Healthcare sees mild losses as COVID-related names take a mild breather, although Moderna (+9.1% pre-market) gains ahead of the US open after its Chief Medical Officer suggested a new vaccine for the variant could be ready early next year. Meanwhile, Autos & Parts reside as the current laggard amid several bearish updates, including a Y/Y drop in German car exports - due to the chip shortage and supply bottlenecks – factors which the Daimler Truck CEO suggested will lead to billions of Euros in losses. Furthermore, auto supbt.aplier provider Faurecia (-5.9%) trades at the foot of the Stoxx 600 after slashing guidance – again a function of the chip shortage. In terms of Monday M&A, BT (+4.7%) shares opened higher by almost 10% following source reports in Indian press suggesting Reliance Industries is gearing up for a takeover approach of BT – reports that were subsequently rebuffed. Top European News U.K. Mortgage Approvals Fall to 67,199 in Oct. Vs. Est. 70,000 Johnson Matthey Rises on Report of Battery Talks With Tata Gazprom Reports Record Third-Quarter Profit Amid Gas Surge Omicron’s Spread Fuels Search for Answers as WHO Sounds Warning In FX, the Buck has bounced from Friday’s pullback lows on a mixture of short covering, consolidation and a somewhat more hopeful prognosis of SA’s new coronavirus strand compared to very early perceptions prompted by reports that the latest mutation would be even worse than the Delta variant. In DXY terms, a base above 96.000 is forming within a 93.366-144 band amidst a rebound in US Treasury yields and re-steepening along the curve following comments from Fed’s Bostic indicating a willingness to back faster QE tapering. Ahead, pending home sales and Dallas Fed business manufacturing along with more Fed rhetoric from Williams and chair Powell on the eve of month end. AUD/CAD/NZD - No surprise to see the high beta and risk sensitive currencies take advantage of the somewhat calmer conditions plus a recovery in crude and other commodities that were decimated by the prospect of depressed demand due to the aforementioned Omicron outbreak. The Aussie is back over 0.7150 vs its US counterpart, the Loonie has pared back losses from sub-1.2750 with assistance from WTI’s recovery to top Usd 72/brl vs a Usd 67.40 trough on November 26 and the Kiwi is hovering above 0.6800 even though RBNZ chief economist Ha has warned that a pause in OCR tightening could occur if the fresh COVID-19 wave proves to be a ‘game-changer’. JPY/EUR - The major laggards as sentiment stabilses, with the Yen midway between 112.99-113.88 parameters and hardly helped by mixed Japanese retail sales data, while the Euro has retreated below 1.1300 where 1.7 bn option expiry interest resides and a key Fib level just under the round number irrespective of strong German state inflation reports and encouraging pan Eurozone sentiment indicators, as more nations batten down the hatches to stem the spread of SA’s virus that has shown up in parts of the bloc. GBP/CHF - Both narrowly divergent vs the Dollar, as Cable retains 1.3300+ status against the backdrop of retreating Gilt and Short Sterling futures even though UK consumer credit, mortgage lending and approvals are rather conflicting, while the Franc pivots 0.9250 and meanders from 1.0426 to 1.0453 against the Euro after the latest weekly update on Swiss bank sight deposits showing no sign of official intervention. However, Usd/Chf may veer towards 1.1 bn option expiries at the 0.9275 strike if risk appetite continues to improve ahead of KoF on Tuesday and monthly reserves data. SCANDI/EM - Although Brent has bounced to the benefit of the Nok, Sek outperformance has ensued in wake of an upgrade to final Swedish Q3 GDP, while the Cnh and Cny are deriving support via a rise in Chinese industrial profits on a y/y basis and the Zar is breathing a sigh of relief on the aforementioned ‘better’ virus updates/assessments from SA on balance. Conversely, the Try is back under pressure post-a deterioration in Turkish economic sentiment vs smaller trade deficit as investors look forward to CPI at the end of the week. Meanwhile, Turkish President Erdogan provides no reprieve for the Lira as he once again defending his unorthodox view that higher interest rates lead to higher inflation. In commodities, WTI and Brent front-month futures consolidate following an overnight rebound – with WTI Jan back on a USD 71/bbl handle and Brent Feb just under USD 75/bbl – albeit still some way off from Friday's best levels which saw the former's high above USD 78/bbl and the latter's best north of USD 81/bbl. The week is packed with risks to the oil complex, including the resumption of Iranian nuclear talks (slated at 13:00GMT/08:00EST today) and the OPEC+ monthly confab. In terms of the former, little is expected in terms of progress unless the US agrees to adhere to Tehran's demand – which at this point seems unlikely. Tehran continues to seek the removal of US sanctions alongside assurances that the US will not withdraw from the deal. "The assertion that the US must 'change its approach if it wants progress' sets a challenging tone", Citi's analysts said, and the bank also expects parties to demand full access to Iranian nuclear facilities for verification of compliance. Further, the IAEA Chief met with Iranian officials last week; although concrete progress was sparse, the overall tone of the meeting was one of progress. "We remain of the opinion that additional Iranian supplies are unlikely to reach the market before the second half of 2022 at the earliest," Citi said. Meanwhile, reports suggested the US and allies have been debating a "Plan B" if talks were to collapse. NBC News – citing European diplomats, former US officials and experts – suggested that options included: 1) a skinny nuclear deal, 2) ramp up sanctions, 3) Launching operations to sabotage Iranian nuclear advances, 4) Military strikes, 5) persuading China to halt Iranian oil imports, albeit Iran and China recently signed a 25yr deal. Over to OPEC+, a rescheduling (in light of the Omicron variant) sees the OPEC and JTC meeting now on the 1st December, followed by the JMMC and OPEC+ on the 2nd. Sources on Friday suggested that members are leaning towards a pause in the planned monthly output, although Russian Deputy PM Novak hit the wires today and suggested there is no need for urgent measures in the oil market. Markets will likely be tested, and expectations massaged with several sources heading into the meeting later this week. Elsewhere, spot gold trades sideways just under the USD 1,800/oz and above a cluster of DMAs, including the 50 (1,790.60/oz), 200 (1,791.30/oz) and 100 (1,792.80/oz) awaiting the next catalyst. Over to base metals, LME copper recoups some of Friday's lost ground, with traders also citing the underlying demand emanating from the EV revolution. US Event Calendar 10am: Oct. Pending Home Sales YoY, prior -7.2% 10am: Oct. Pending Home Sales (MoM), est. 0.8%, prior -2.3% 10:30am: Nov. Dallas Fed Manf. Activity, est. 17.0, prior 14.6 Central Bank speakers: 3pm: Fed’s Williams gives opening remarks at NY Innovation Center 3:05pm: Powell Makes Opening Remarks at New York Fed Innovation Event 3:15pm: Fed’s Hassan moderates panel introducing NY Innovation Center 5:05pm: Fed’s Bowman Discusses Central bank and Indigenous Economies DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap Last night Henry in my team put out a Q&A looking at what we know about Omicron (link here) as many risk assets put in their worst performance of the year on Friday after it exploded into view. The main reason for the widespread concern is the incredibly high number of mutations, with 32 on the spike protein specifically, which is the part of the virus that allows it to enter human cells. That’s much more than we’ve seen for previous variants, and raises the prospect it could be a more transmissible version of the virus, although scientists are still assessing this. South Africa is clearly where it has been discovered (not necessarily originated from) and where it has been spreading most. The fact that’s it’s become the dominant strain there in just two weeks hints at its higher level of contagiousness. However the read through to elsewhere is tough as the country has only fully vaccinated 24% of its population, relative to at least 68% in most of the larger developed countries bar the US which languishes at 58%. It could still prove less deadly (as virus variants over time mostly are) but if it is more contagious that could offset this and it could still cause similar healthcare issues, especially if vaccines are less protective. On the other hand the South African doctor who first alerted authorities to the unusual symptoms that have now been found to have been caused by Omicron, was on numerous media platforms over the weekend suggesting that the patients she has seen with it were exhausted but generally had mild symptoms. However she also said her patients were from a healthy cohort so we can’t relax too much on this. However as South African cases rise we will get a lot of clues from hospitalisation data even if only 6% of the country is over 65s. My personal view is that we’ll get a lot of information quite quickly around how bad this variant is. The reports over the weekend that numerous cases of Omicron have already been discovered around the world, suggests it’s probably more widespread than people think already. So we will likely soon learn whether these patients present with more severe illness and we’ll also learn of their vaccination status before any official study is out. The only caveat would be that until elderly patients have been exposed in enough scale we won’t be able to rule out the more negative scenarios. Before all that the level of restrictions have been significantly ramped up over the weekend in many countries. Henry discusses this in his note but one very significant one is that ALL travellers coming into (or back to) the UK will have to self isolate until they get a negative PCR test. This sort of thing will dramatically reduce travel, especially short business trips. Overnight Japan have effectively banned ALL foreign visitors. I appreciate its dangerous to be positive on covid at the moment but you only have to look at the UK for signs that boosters are doing a great job. Cases in the elderly population continue to collapse as the roll out progresses well and overall deaths have dropped nearly 20% over the last week to 121 (7-day average) - a tenth of where they were at the peak even though cases have recently been 80-90% of their peak levels. If Europe are just lagging the UK on boosters rather than anything more structural, most countries should be able to control the current wave all things being equal. However Omicron could make things less equal but it would be a huge surprise if vaccines made no impact. Stocks in Asia are trading cautiously but remember that the US and Europe sold off more aggressively after Asia closed on Friday. So the lack of major damage is insightful. The Nikkei (-0.02%), Shanghai Composite (-0.14%), CSI (-0.22%), KOSPI (-0.47%) and Hang Seng (-0.68%) are only slightly lower. Treasury yields, oil, and equity futures are all rising in Asia. US treasury yields are up 4-6bps across the curve, Oil is c.+4.5% higher, while the ZAR is +1.31%. Equity futures are trading higher with the S&P 500 (+0.71%) and DAX (+0.84%) futures in the green. In terms of looking ahead, we may be heading into December this week but there’s still an incredibly eventful period ahead on the market calendar even outside of Omicron. We have payrolls on Friday which could still have a big impact on what the Fed do at their important December 15 FOMC and especially on whether they accelerate the taper. Wednesday (Manufacturing) and Friday (Services) see the latest global PMIs which will as ever be closely watched even if people will suggest that the latest virus surge and now Omicron variant may make it backward looking. Elsewhere in the Euro Area, we’ll get the flash CPI estimate for November tomorrow (France and Italy on the same day with Germany today), and we’ll hear from Fed Chair Powell as he testifies (with Mrs Yellen) before congressional committees tomorrow and Wednesday. There’s lots of other Fed speakers this week (ahead of their blackout from this coming weekend) and last week there was a definite shift towards a faster taper bias, even amongst the doves on the committee with Daly being the most important potential convert. Fed speakers this week might though have to balance the emergence of the new variant with the obvious point that without it the Fed is a fair bit behind the curve. Importantly but lurking in the background, Friday is also the US funding deadline before another government shutdown. History would suggest a tense last minute deal but it’s tough to predict. Recapping last week now and the emergence of the new variant reshaped the whole week even if ahead of this, continued case growth across Europe prompted renewed lockdown measures and travel bans across the continent. Risk sentiment clearly plummeted on Friday. The S&P 500 fell -2.27%, the biggest drop since October 2020, while the Stoxx 600 fell -3.67%, the biggest one-day decline since the original Covid-induced risk off in March 2020. The S&P 500 was -2.20% lower last week, while the Stoxx 600 was down -4.53% on the week. 10yr treasury, bund, and gilt yields declined -16.1bps, -8.7bps, and -14.5bps, undoing the inflation and policy response-driven selloff from earlier in the week. The drop in 10yr treasury and gilt yields were the biggest one-day declines since the original Covid-driven rally in March 2020, while the drop in bund yields was the largest since April 2020. 10yr treasury, bund, and gilt yields ended the week -7.3bps lower, +0.7bps higher, and -5.4bps lower, respectively. Measures of inflation compensation declined due to the anticipated hit to global demand, with 10yr breakevens in the US and Germany -6.8bps and -8.8bps lower Friday, along with Brent and WTI futures declining -11.55% and -13.06%, respectively. Investors pushed back the anticipated timing of rate hikes. As it stands, the first full Fed hike is just about priced for July, and 2 hikes are priced for 2022. This follows a hawkish tone from even the most dovish FOMC members and the November FOMC minutes last week. The prevailing sentiment was the FOMC was preparing to accelerate their asset purchase taper at the December meeting to enable inflation-fighting rate hikes earlier in 2022. Understanding the impact of the new variant will be crucial for interpreting the Fed’s reaction function, though. The impact may not be so obvious; while a new variant would certainly hurt global demand and portend more policy accommodation, it will also likely prompt more virus-avoiding behaviour in the labour market, preventing workers from returning to pre-Covid levels. Whether the Fed decides to accommodate these sidelined workers for longer, or to re-think what constitutes full employment in a Covid world should inform your view on whether they accelerate tapering in December. It feels like a lifetime ago but last week also saw President Biden nominate Chair Powell to head the Fed for another term, and for Governor Brainard to serve as Vice Chair. The announcement led to a selloff in rates as the more dovish Brainard did not land the head job. In Germany, the center-left SPD, Greens, and liberal FDP agreed to a full coalition deal. The traffic-light coalition agreed to restore the debt break in 2023, after being suspended during the pandemic, and to raise the minimum wage to €12 per hour. The SPD’s Olaf Scholz will assume the Chancellorship. The US, China, India, Japan, South Korea, and UK announced releases of strategic petroleum reserves. Oil prices were higher following the announcement, in part because releases were smaller than anticipated but, as mentioned, prices dropped precipitously on Friday on the global demand impact of the new Covid variant. The ECB released the minutes of the October Governing Council meeting, where officials stressed the need to maintain optionality in their policy setting. They acknowledged growing upside risks to inflation but stressed the importance of not overreacting in setting policy as they see how inflation scenarios might unfold. Tyler Durden Mon, 11/29/2021 - 08:01.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytNov 29th, 2021

James Comey"s daughter is a lead prosecutor in Ghislaine Maxwell"s child sex trafficking case. Here"s what we know about her.

Maurene Comey, the daughter of former FBI chief James Comey, also helped lead the case against Jeffrey Epstein before he killed himself. Maurene Comey (left) and Ghislaine Maxwell (right).REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton; Laura Cavanaugh/Getty Images Maurene Comey is one of the lead prosecutors in the criminal case against Ghislaine Maxwell. The daughter of former FBI director James Comey also worked on the sex crimes case against Jeffrey Epstein. She also prosecuted ex-gynecologist Robert Hadden and Treasury Department whistleblower Natalie Edwards. Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell have brought plenty of familiar faces along with them into the spotlight, including Prince Andrew and former Presidents Donald Trump and Bill Clinton.But one newcomer is 32-year-old Maurene Comey.The daughter of former FBI director James Comey, Maurene Comey is one of the three lead prosecutors on the case against Ghislaine Maxwell, whose child sex-trafficking trial is scheduled to begin Monday.Despite her father's history of dominating the news cycle, Maurene Comey has largely stayed out of the spotlight, instead maintaining a low-profile presence.But she's taken on major cases before Maxwell's trial, including the prosecution of Natalie Edwards, a self-proclaimed Treasury Department whistleblower; and Robert Hadden, a gynecologist accused of sexually abusing dozens of young women.She was also one of the lead prosecutors in the case against Jeffrey Epstein before he killed himself in August 2019 while awaiting trial.Here's what we know about the first daughter of law and order.Maurene Comey has worked on multiple Epstein and Maxwell-related casesComey is currently an assistant US attorney in the Southern District of New York — one of the most prestigious federal prosecutors' offices nationwide.The district covers Manhattan and the surrounding area, making it the center of prosecutions for financial crimes and other high-profile cases.Maurene Comey joined the office in 2015, and is listed as one of three lead prosecutors handling the case against Maxwell, along with Assistant US Attorneys Alex Rossmiller and Alison Gainfort Moe.The three of them also handled the case against Epstein, who was indicted in July 2019 for numerous sex crimes. For the case against Maxwell, they're joined by Assistant US Attorneys Andrew Rohrbach and Lara Elizabeth Pomerantz.The prosecutors have accused Maxwell of trafficking teenage girls for sex and sexually abusing them herself along with Jeffrey Epstein. Maxwell has pleaded not guilty to the charges and has denied all misconduct.Maurene Comey, center assistant U.S. attorney in the Southern District of New York, arrives at the Manhattan Federal Court for the arraignment of Jeffrey Epstein on July 8, 2019.REUTERS/Andrew KellyJames Comey was the head of the SDNY between 2002 and 2003 before former President George W. Bush named him deputy attorney general. He worked in the private sector from 2005 until former President Barack Obama named him FBI director in 2013.Prior to joining the SDNY office herself in 2015, Maurene Comey worked for a year as a clerk for Loretta Preska, who at the time was the chief judge at the US District Court for the Southern District of New York.Preska oversees a long-running defamation case that Virginia Giuffre filed against Maxwell. Giuffre has accused both Maxwell and Epstein of sexual misconduct, and the civil lawsuit has led to numerous unsealed documents related to Epstein's and Maxwell's conduct.Maurene Comey is a lead attorney on the team prosecuting Jeffrey Epstein.(AP Photo/Richard Drew)Two of the current criminal charges against Maxwell allege she perjured herself by lying in a deposition taken for Giuffre's case, but those charges are set to be tried in a separate trial.Comey has also worked on another Epstein-related case: Nicholas Tartaglione. The former police officer was arrested in 2016, accused of killing four men as part of a drug crime conspiracy. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty, and he's been jailed for the past five years — often getting into arguments with correctional officials, court records show — as his case has been delayed.Tartaglione was briefly roommates with Epstein at Manhattan's Metropolitan Correctional Center in 2019, and was living with him when Epstein made his first suicide attempt in jail, on July 23. Tartaglione claimed to have helped Epstein after finding him unconscious. The jail was shut down earlier this year after numerous scandals.Comey has taken on several other high-profile cases in the past couple of yearsEarly in Comey's career, court records show, she handled mostly drug and gun smuggling cases.She worked on a case against the treasurer of a volunteer fire department who embezzled over $5 million and was sentenced to over 6 years in prison; and prosecuted a gang member who pleaded guilty for killing someone at a Valentine's Day party; and other gang-related cases.She also worked on other cases that involved alleged sex crimes against minors. In 2016, she led a case against an 18-year-old who prosecutors accused of coercing a middle-school-aged girl to send him nude photographs over the app Kik, threatening to post other pictures of the girl. According to a DOJ press release, prosecutors originally sought to convict the man of sexual exploitation of a minor, which carries a minimum 13-year-sentence.In 2018, the man plead guilty to the lesser charge of receipt of child pornography and was sentenced to 7 years in prison and 5 years supervised release, according to court documents reviewed by Insider.Maurene Comey, assistant U.S. attorney in the Southern District of New York, exits the Manhattan Federal Court after the arraignment of Jeffrey Epstein on July 8, 2019.REUTERS/Andrew KellyIn more recent years, she's taken on bigger sex crime cases. In addition to the Maxwell trial, she's on the prosecutorial team for Robert Hadden, the former Columbia University gynecologist. Dozens of women have accused him of sexual misconduct over the decades. In September 2020, the SDNY US Attorney's office filed charges against him, alleging misconduct in connection with six accusers. His trial has been pushed back to 2022, and Comey is still on the case.Comey was also part of the prosecutorial team who brought charges against Natalie Mayflower Sours Edwards, a former Treasury Department official. Edwards was sentenced to prison earlier this year after pleading guilty in January 2020 to illegally leaking documents to a member of the media.Those documents, which included bank reports of suspicious financial activity, were connected to former Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation as well as the FinCEN files, which exposed potential corruption in the global banking system and led several counties to reform their financial laws.Comey withdrew from the case on June 5, 2020, a few weeks before a grand jury brought the indictment against Maxwell.Comey attended Harvard Law School and briefly worked for a large law firm before becoming a prosecutorPrior to working with the US attorney's office, Comey worked at the large law firm Debevoise & Plimpton for a year.The extent of her work at the firm isn't clear, but an archived yearly report from the company listed her as working on a case where the firm argued for the Connecticut Coalition for Justice that the quality of education that the state provided to public school students violated the Constitution.Debevoise was successful, and a Connecticut Superior Court judge ordered the state to propose remedies within half a year, according to Yale Law School, which also worked on the case.James Comey, nominee for FBI Director in 2013, shares a laugh during his conformation hearing before the a Senate Judiciary Committee in Dirksen Building as his daughters Kate, left, and Maureen, look on.Tom Williams/CQ Roll CallComey's only political donations were $233 to Hilary Clinton's presidential campaign in 2015, according to campaign finance transparency site OpenSecrets.org. Her father said in an ABC interview that his wife and daughters "marched in the Women's March the day after President Trump's inauguration," and that he was "pretty sure" they all "wanted Hillary Clinton to be the first woman president."Comey graduated from Harvard Law School in 2013, according to LinkedIn, and was on the Harvard Law Review board of editors between 2011 and 2013, according to the publication's website.In 2012, Comey was listed as a research assistant for legal scholar and Harvard professor Daniel Meltzer on his article in The Duke Law Journal titled "Executive Defense of Congressional Acts."The article disputed the constitutionality of the now-defunct Don't Ask, Don't Tell and DOMA laws, which discriminated against gay people, but argued for their theoretical enforcement by the executive branch. Meltzer would go on to serve as deputy counsel in the Obama administration for a little over a year before returning to Harvard.Comey is also a pretty good singerBefore her legal career began, Comey attended the College of William and Mary, where she studied history and music. Even before college she was a notably good singer, as exhibited in her performance of "Going to Heaven," and by her participation in The Virginia Music Educators Association honors choir in 2005, according to the Washington Post.Another video shows her performing Whitney Houston while in college.She's great at hitting those high notes!Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytNov 26th, 2021

Inside Frances Haugen’s Decision to Take on Facebook

Blowing the whistle against a multibillion-dollar tech company is no small feat Frances Haugen is in the back of a Paris taxi, waving a piece of sushi in the air. The cab is on the way to a Hilton hotel, where this November afternoon she is due to meet with the French digital economy minister. The Eiffel Tower appears briefly through the window, piercing a late-fall haze. Haugen is wolfing down lunch on the go, while recalling an episode from her childhood. The teacher of her gifted and talented class used to play a game where she would read to the other children the first letter of a word from the dictionary and its definition. Haugen and her classmates would compete, in teams, to guess the word. “At some point, my classmates convinced the teacher that it was unfair to put me on either team, because whichever team had me was going to win and so I should have to compete against the whole class,” she says. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] Did she win? “I did win,” she says with a level of satisfaction that quickly fades to indignation. “And so imagine! That makes kids hate you!” She pops an edamame into her mouth with a flourish. “I look back and I’m like, That was a bad idea.” She tells the story not to draw attention to her precociousness—although it does do that—but to share the lesson it taught her. “This shows you how badly some educators understand psychology,” she says. While some have described the Facebook whistle-blower as an activist, Haugen says she sees herself as an educator. To her mind, an important part of her mission is driving home a message in a way that resonates with people, a skill she has spent years honing. Photograph by Christopher Anderson—Magnum Photos for TIME It is the penultimate day of a grueling three-week tour of Europe, during which Haugen has cast herself in the role of educator in front of the U.K. and E.U. Parliaments, regulators and one tech conference crowd. Haugen says she wanted to cross the Atlantic to offer her advice to lawmakers putting the final touches on new regulations that take aim at the outsize influence of large social media companies. The new U.K. and E.U. laws have the potential to force Facebook and its competitors to open up their algorithms to public scrutiny, and face large fines if they fail to address problematic impacts of their platforms. European lawmakers and regulators “have been on this journey a little longer” than their U.S. counterparts, Haugen says diplomatically. “My goal was to support lawmakers as they think through these issues.” Beginning in late summer, Haugen, 37, disclosed tens of thousands of pages of internal Facebook documents to Congress and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The documents were the basis of a series of articles in the Wall Street Journal that sparked a reckoning in September over what the company knew about how it contributed to harms ranging from its impact on teens’ mental health and the extent of misinformation on its platforms, to human traffickers’ open use of its services. The documents paint a picture of a company that is often aware of the harms to which it contributes—but is either unwilling or unable to act against them. Haugen’s disclosures set Facebook stock on a downward trajectory, formed the basis for eight new whistle-blower complaints to the SEC and have prompted lawmakers around the world to intensify their calls for regulation of the company. Facundo Arrizabalaga—EPA/EFE/ShutterstockHaugen leaves the Houses of Parliament in London on Oct. 25 after giving evidence to U.K. lawmakers. Facebook has rejected Haugen’s claims that it puts profits before safety, and says it spends $5 billion per year on keeping its platforms safe. “As a company, we have every commercial and moral incentive to give the maximum number of people as much of a positive experience as possible on our apps,” a spokesperson said in a statement. Although many insiders have blown the whistle on Facebook before, nobody has left the company with the breadth of material that Haugen shared. And among legions of critics in politics, academia and media, no single person has been as effective as Haugen in bringing public attention to Facebook’s negative impacts. When Haugen decided to blow the whistle against Facebook late last year, the company employed more than 58,000 people. Many had access to the documents that she would eventually pass to authorities. Why did it take so long for somebody to do what she did? Read More: How Facebook Forced a Reckoning by Shutting Down the Team That Put People Ahead of Profits One answer is that blowing the whistle against a multibillion-dollar tech company requires a particular combination of skills, personality traits and circumstances. In Haugen’s case, it took one near-death experience, a lost friend, several crushed hopes, a cryptocurrency bet that came good and months in counsel with a priest who also happens to be her mother. Haugen’s atypical personality, glittering academic background, strong moral convictions, robust support networks and self-confidence also helped. Hers is the story of how all these factors came together—some by chance, some by design—to create a watershed moment in corporate responsibility, human communication and democracy. When debate coach Scott Wunn first met a 16-year-old Haugen at Iowa City West High School, she had already been on the team for two years, after finishing junior high a year early. He was an English teacher who had been headhunted to be the debate team’s new coach. The school took this kind of extracurricular activity seriously, and so did the young girl with the blond hair. In their first exchange, Wunn remembers Haugen grilling him about whether he would take coaching as seriously as his other duties. “I could tell from that moment she was very serious about debate,” says Wunn, who is now the executive director of the National Speech and Debate Association. “When we ran tournaments, she was the student who stayed the latest, who made sure that all of the students on the team were organized. Everything that you can imagine, Frances would do.” Haugen specialized in a form of debate that specifically asked students to weigh the morality of every issue, and by her senior year, she had become one of the top 25 debaters in the country in her field. “Frances was a math whiz, and she loved political science,” Wunn says. In competitive debate, you don’t get to decide which side of the issue you argue for. But Haugen had a strong moral compass, and when she was put in a position where she had to argue for something she disagreed with, she didn’t lean back on “flash in the pan” theatrics, her former coach remembers. Instead, she would dig deeper to find evidence for an argument she could make that wouldn’t compromise her values. “Her moral convictions were strong enough, even at that age, that she wouldn’t try to manipulate the evidence such that it would go against her morality,” Wunn says. When Haugen got to college, she realized she needed to master another form of communication. “Because my parents were both professors, I was used to having dinner-table conversations where, like, someone would have read an interesting article that day, and would basically do a five-minute presentation,” she says. “And so I got to college, and I had no idea how to make small talk.” Today, Haugen is talkative and relaxed. She’s in a good mood because she got to “sleep in” until 8:30 a.m.—later than most other days on her European tour, she says. At one point, she asks if I’ve seen the TV series Archer and momentarily breaks into a song from the animated sitcom. After graduating from Olin College of Engineering—where, beyond the art of conversation, she studied the science of computer engineering—Haugen moved to Silicon Valley. During a stint at Google, she helped write the code for Secret Agent Cupid, the precursor to popular dating app Hinge. She took time off to undertake an M.B.A. at Harvard, a rarity for software engineers in Silicon Valley and something she would later credit with helping her diagnose some of the organizational flaws within Facebook. But in 2014, while back at Google, Haugen’s trajectory was knocked off course. Haugen has celiac disease, a condition that means her immune system attacks her own tissues if she eats gluten. (Hence the sushi.) She “did not take it seriously enough” in her 20s, she says. After repeated trips to the hospital, doctors eventually realized she had a blood clot in her leg that had been there for anywhere between 18 months and two years. Her leg turned purple, and she ended up in the hospital for over a month. There she had an allergic reaction to a drug and nearly bled to death. She suffered nerve damage in her hands and feet, a condition known as neuropathy, from which she still suffers today. “I think it really changes your priorities when you’ve almost died,” Haugen says. “Everything that I had defined myself [by] before, I basically lost.” She was used to being the wunderkind who could achieve anything. Now, she needed help cooking her meals. “My recovery made me feel much more powerful, because I rebuilt my body,” she says. “I think the part that informed my journey was: You have to accept when you whistle-blow like this that you could lose everything. You could lose your money, you could lose your freedom, you could alienate everyone who cares about you. There’s all these things that could happen to you. Once you overcome your fear of death, anything is possible. I think it gave me the freedom to say: Do I want to follow my conscience?” Once Haugen was out of the hospital, she moved back into her apartment but struggled with daily tasks. She hired a friend to assist her part time. “I became really close friends with him because he was so committed to my getting better,” she says. But over the course of six months, in the run-up to the 2016 U.S. presidential election, she says, “I just lost him” to online misinformation. He seemed to believe conspiracy theories, like the idea that George Soros runs the world economy. “At some point, I realized I couldn’t reach him,” she says. Soon Haugen was physically recovering, and she began to consider re-entering the workforce. She spent stints at Yelp and Pinterest as a successful product manager working on algorithms. Then, in 2018, a Facebook recruiter contacted her. She told him that she would take the job only if she could work on tackling misinformation in Facebook’s “integrity” operation, the arm of the company focused on keeping the platform and its users safe. “I took that job because losing my friend was just incredibly painful, and I didn’t want anyone else to feel that pain,” she says. Her optimism that she could make a change from inside lasted about two months. Haugen’s first assignment involved helping manage a project to tackle misinformation in places where the company didn’t have any third-party fact-checkers. Everybody on her team was a new hire, and she didn’t have the data scientists she needed. “I went to the engineering manager, and I said, ‘This is the inappropriate team to work on this,’” she recalls. “He said, ‘You shouldn’t be so negative.’” The pattern repeated itself, she says. “I raised a lot of concerns in the first three months, and my concerns were always discounted by my manager and other people who had been at the company for longer.” Before long, her entire team was shifted away from working on international misinformation in some of Facebook’s most vulnerable markets to working on the 2020 U.S. election, she says. The documents Haugen would later disclose to authorities showed that in 2020, Facebook spent 3.2 million hours tackling misinformation, although just 13% of that time was spent on content from outside the U.S., the Journal reported. Facebook’s spokesperson said in a statement that the company has “dedicated teams with expertise in human rights, hate speech and misinformation” working in at-risk countries. “We dedicate resources to these countries, including those without fact-checking programs, and have been since before, during and after the 2020 U.S. elections, and this work continues today.” Read More: Why Some People See More Disturbing Content on Facebook Than Others, According to Leaked Documents Haugen said that her time working on misinformation in foreign countries made her deeply concerned about the impact of Facebook abroad. “I became concerned with India even in the first two weeks I was in the company,” she says. Many people who were accessing the Internet for the first time in places like India, Haugen realized after reading research on the topic, did not even consider the possibility that something they had read online might be false or misleading. “From that moment on, I was like, Oh, there is a huge sleeping dragon at Facebook,” she says. “We are advancing the Internet to other countries far faster than it happened in, say, the U.S.,” she says, noting that people in the U.S. have had time to build up a “cultural muscle” of skepticism toward online content. “And I worry about the gap [until] that information immune system forms.” In February 2020, Haugen sent a text message to her parents asking if she could come and live with them in Iowa when the pandemic hit. Her mother Alice Haugen recalls wondering what pandemic she was talking about, but agreed. “She had made a spreadsheet with a simple exponential growth model that tried to guess when San Francisco would be shut down,” Alice says. A little later, Frances asked if she could send some food ahead of her. Soon, large Costco boxes started arriving at the house. “She was trying to bring in six months of food for five people, because she was afraid that the supply lines might break down,” Alice says. “Our living room became a small grocery store.” After quarantining for 10 days upon arrival, the younger Haugen settled into lockdown life with her parents, continuing her work for Facebook remotely. “We shared meals, and every day we would have conversations,” Alice says. She recalled her daughter voicing specific concerns about Facebook’s impact in Ethiopia, where ethnic violence was playing out on—and in some cases being amplified by—Facebook’s platforms. On Nov. 9, Facebook said it had been investing in safety measures in Ethiopia for more than two years, including activating algorithms to down-rank potentially inflammatory content in several languages in response to escalating violence there. Haugen acknowledges the work, saying she wants to give “credit where credit is due,” but claims the social network was too late to intervene with safety measures in Ethiopia and other parts of the world. “The idea that they don’t even turn those knobs on until people are getting shot is completely unacceptable,” she says. “The reality right now is that Facebook is not willing to invest the level of resources that would allow it to intervene sooner.” A Facebook spokesperson defended the prioritization system in its statement, saying that the company has long-term strategies to “mitigate the impacts of harmful offline events in the countries we deem most at risk … while still protecting freedom of expression and other human rights principles.” What Haugen saw was happening in nations like Ethiopia and India would clarify her opinions about “engagement-based ranking”—the system within Facebook more commonly known as “the algorithm”—that chooses which posts, out of thousands of options, to rank at the top of users’ feeds. Haugen’s central argument is that human nature means this system is doomed to amplify the worst in us. “One of the things that has been well documented in psychology research is that the more times a human is exposed to something, the more they like it, and the more they believe it’s true,” she says. “One of the most dangerous things about engagement-based ranking is that it is much easier to inspire someone to hate than it is to compassion or empathy. Given that you have a system that hyperamplifies the most extreme content, you’re going to see people who get exposed over and over again to the idea that [for example] it’s O.K. to be violent to Muslims. And that destabilizes societies.” In the run-up to the 2020 U.S. election, according to media reports, some initiatives proposed by Facebook’s integrity teams to tackle misinformation and other problems were killed or watered down by executives on the policy side of the company, who are responsible both for setting the platform’s rules and lobbying governments on Facebook’s behalf. Facebook spokespeople have said in response that the interventions were part of the company’s commitment to nuanced policymaking that balanced freedom of speech with safety. Haugen’s time at business school taught her to view the problem differently: Facebook was a company that prioritized growth over the safety of its users. “Organizational structure is a wonky topic, but it matters,” Haugen says. Inside the company, she says, she observed the effect of these repeated interventions on the integrity team. “People make decisions on what projects to work on, or advance, or give more resources to, based on what they believe is the chance for success,” she says. “I think there were many projects that could be content-neutral—that didn’t involve us choosing what are good or bad ideas, but instead are about making the platform safe—that never got greenlit, because if you’ve seen other things like that fail, you don’t even try them.” Being with her parents, particularly her mother, who left a career as a professor to become an Episcopal priest, helped Haugen become comfortable with the idea she might one day have to go public. “I was learning all these horrific things about Facebook, and it was really tearing me up inside,” she says. “The thing that really hurts most whistle-blowers is: whistle-blowers live with secrets that impact the lives of other people. And they feel like they have no way of resolving them. And so instead of being destroyed by learning these things, I got to talk to my mother … If you’re having a crisis of conscience, where you’re trying to figure out a path that you can live with, having someone you can agonize to, over and over again, is the ultimate amenity.” Haugen didn’t decide to blow the whistle until December 2020, by which point she was back in San Francisco. The final straw came when Facebook dissolved Haugen’s former team, civic integrity, whose leader had asked employees to take an oath to put the public good before Facebook’s private interest. (Facebook denies that it dissolved the team, saying instead that members were spread out across the company to amplify its influence.) Haugen and many of her former colleagues felt betrayed. But her mother’s counsel had mentally prepared her. “It meant that when that moment happened, I was actually in a pretty good place,” Haugen says. “I wasn’t in a place of crisis like many whistle-blowers are.” Read More: Why Facebook Employees ‘Deprioritized’ a Misinformation Fix In March, Haugen moved to Puerto Rico, in part for the warm weather, which she says helps with her neuropathy pain. Another factor was the island’s cryptocurrency community, which has burgeoned because of the U.S. territory’s lack of capital gains taxes. In October, she told the New York Times that she had bought into crypto “at the right time,” implying that she had a financial buffer that allowed her to whistle-blow comfortably. Haugen’s detractors have pointed to the irony of her calling for tech companies to do their social duty, while living in a U.S. territory with a high rate of poverty that is increasingly being used as a tax haven. Some have also pointed out that Haugen is not entirely independent: she has received support from Luminate, a philanthropic organization pushing for progressive Big Tech reform in Europe and the U.S., and which is backed by the billionaire founder of eBay, Pierre Omidyar. Luminate paid Haugen’s expenses on her trip to Europe and helped organize meetings with senior officials. Omidyar has also donated to Whistleblower Aid, the nonprofit legal organization that is now representing Haugen pro bono. Luminate says it entered into a relationship with Haugen only after she went public with her disclosures. Haugen resigned from Facebook in May this year, after being told by the human-resources team that she could not work remotely from a U.S. territory. The news accelerated the secret project that she had decided to begin after seeing her old team disbanded. To collect the documents she would later disclose, Haugen trawled Facebook’s internal employee forum, Workplace. She traced the careers of integrity colleagues she admired—many of whom had left the company in frustration—gathering slide decks, research briefs and policy proposals they had worked on, as well as other documents she came across. Read more: Facebook Will Not Fix Itself While collecting the documents, she had flashbacks to her teenage years preparing folders of evidence for debates. “I was like, Wow, this is just like debate camp!” she recalls. “When I was 16 and doing that, I had no idea that it would be useful in this way in the future.” Jabin Botsford—Getty ImagesHaugen testifies on Oct. 5 before the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. In her Senate testimony in early October, Haugen suggested a federal agency should be set up to oversee social media algorithms so that “someone like me could do a tour of duty” after working at a company like Facebook. But moving to Washington, D.C., to serve at such an agency has no appeal, she says. “I am happy to be one of the people consulted by that agency,” she says. “But I have a life I really like in Puerto Rico.” Now that her tour of Europe is over, Haugen has had a chance to think about what comes next. Over an encrypted phone call from Puerto Rico a few days after we met in Paris, she says she would like to help build a grassroots movement to help young people push back against the harms caused by social media companies. In this new task, as seems to be the case with everything in Haugen’s life, she wants to try to leverage the power of education. “I am fully aware that a 19-year-old talking to a 16-year-old will be more effective than me talking to that 16-year-old,” she tells me. “There is a real opportunity for young people to flex their political muscles and demand accountability.” I ask if she has a message to send to young people reading this. “Hmm,” she says, followed by a long pause. “In every era, humans invent technologies that run away from themselves,” she says. “It’s very easy to look at some of these tech platforms and feel like they are too big, too abstract and too amorphous to influence in any way. But the reality is there are lots of things we can do. And the reason they haven’t done them is because it makes the companies less profitable. Not unprofitable, just less profitable. And no company has the right to subsidize their profits with your health. Ironically, Haugen gives partial credit to one of her managers at Facebook for inspiring her thought process around blowing the whistle. After struggling with a problem for a week without asking for help, she missed a deadline. When she explained why, the manager told her he was disappointed that she had hidden that she was having difficulty, she says. “He said, ‘We solve problems together; we don’t solve them alone,’” she says. Never one to miss a teaching opportunity, she continues, “Part of why I came forward is I believe Facebook has been struggling alone. They’ve been hiding how much they’re struggling. And the reality is, we solve problems together, we don’t solve them alone.” ShutterstockFacebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently announced the company was rebranding as Meta. It’s a philosophy that Haugen sees as the basis for how social media platforms should deal with societal issues going forward. In late October, Facebook Inc. (which owns Facebook, Whats App and Instagram) changed its name to Meta, a nod to its ambition to build the next generation of online experiences. In a late-October speech, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he believed the “Metaverse”—its new proposal to build a virtual universe—would fundamentally reshape how humans interact with technology. Haugen says she is concerned the Metaverse will isolate people rather than bring them together: “I believe any tech with that much influence deserves public oversight.” But hers is also a belief system that allows for a path toward redemption. That friend she lost to misinformation? His story has a happy ending. “I learned later that he met a nice girl and he had gone back to church,” Haugen says, adding that he no longer believes in conspiracy theories. “It gives me a lot of hope that we can recover as individuals and as a society. But it involves us connecting with people.” —With reporting by Leslie Dickstein and Nik Popli.....»»

Category: topSource: timeNov 22nd, 2021

A Brief History Of West African Slavery

A Brief History Of West African Slavery Submitted by ICE-9 via The Burning Platform Slave [sleyv] from Middle English, from Old French sclave, from Medieval Latin sclāvus (“slave”), from Late Latin Sclāvus (“Slavic Person”), from Byzantine Greek Σκλάβος (Sklábos), from Proto-Slavic slověninъ … The seminal image many 50+ year old Americans have regarding the West African slave trade’s operating model can be traced back to the 1977 television miniseries Roots.  Some of you may recall sitting in front of your CRT television screen unknowingly watching the roots of a future social justice movement unfold before your eyes as a gang of European men magically appear deep within the Heart of Darkness wielding nets, superior numbers, and incredible brutality and snatch up a young and happy Kunta Kinte from his ancestral homeland. Like me, I bet the knot in your gut got tighter at each stage as Kunta Kinte was first shipped off in chains to a slave depot, sold at auctioned, and finally sent to America where his foot got cut off and he was renamed Toby.  The miniseries was a monumental success at implanting those first seeds of suburban white guilt into what had previously been infertile terrain.  Afterwards, many Americans could never innocently watch OJ Simpson run through airports in quite the same way. Roots was the initial vector that dug its pernicious roots into the formerly oblivious white collective consciousness.  It succeeded where back in the 1960s continuous years of three minute lead story action clips on the Six O’clock Evening News showing groups of helpless southern Negroes getting pummeled by police truncheons and slammed with water cannons had failed.  Thus those January nights back in 1977 unleashed the power of humanized myth that unequivocally proved superior to the old ways of cold impersonal facts.  It was through this new found power of myth and the visceral emotions it conjured that a primordial wokeness was spawned. Today, when discussing even the most oblique references to slavery in America, the emotions ignite, misguided passions reign supreme, facts equate to racism, and the phenomenology of history devolves into one where history becomes but a construct derived to aid and abet a white supremacist patriarchy.  Case in point – according to current woke orthodoxy, evil cis-male Europeans just up and sailed 3,500 miles south to forgotten lands like Zenaga, trekked hundreds of miles inland without roads, maps, or logistic support, and – according to some extraordinary unverified estimates – kidnapped up to six million innocent Africans. But was this the reality on the ground in West Africa circa 1619, or did Europeans instead rely on intermediaries to conduct their dangerous, high opex dirty work and if so, who were these intermediaries?  Do Americans have an accurate understanding of the West African slavery supply chain, or have they instead meekly decided to go along to get along and ingest without question a toxic narrative that is an antipathy encumbered product tainted by a combination of pop culture and political agenda?  And last, did slavery in West Africa materialize out of thin air with the first appearance of Europeans, or did it exist long before their arrival? The answer to this last question is both morally and legally significant, as it could nullify any and all claims to both tangible and ethical debts of reparation borne by ancestral liability.  For if Caucasian Americans are collectively guilty – including those who immigrated here after the Civil War – as a result of their ancestors’ theoretical participation in the West African slave trade, would not a basis be equally established to extend slavery’s collective culpability to African Americans if it were shown that their ancestors too participated to an equal degree in the West African slave trade?  Would not equal culpability on both ancestral sides of the Atlantic nullify any and all claims by one party against the other?  Further still, if slavery in West Africa was shown to be prevalent long before the arrival of Europeans, based on the premise of hereditary culpability, then slavery in America could no longer exist as some kind of alleged “Original Sin”. The forthwith exposition can be considered a template for countering the unreasonable and fanciful woke dogma surrounding the realities of West African slavery and specifically, the false claims regarding Europe’s and America’s sole complicity in this industry.  It is an attempt – described here in broken wokespeak – to deconstruct the prevailing narrative derived to aid and abet a People of Color aligned, non-binary, trans-supremacist heterarchy.  Let us begin our journey of enlightenment. The Songhai Empire as Gateway to Europe’s Appetite for African Slaves Between the 4th and early 16th centuries AD, through a succession of kingdoms that included Wagadou (Ghana), Mali, and Songhai, the West African Sahel was among the wealthiest regions on earth during a period when most of Europe wallowed in medieval feudalism.  Prior to the discovery of the Americas, West Africa was the world’s largest source of gold – so much gold in fact that when the Malian king Mansa Musa visited Mecca during his 14th century hajj, his 60,000 strong retinue (including 12,000 slaves) distributed so much gold that he crashed its value and created a decade of economic chaos on the Arabian peninsula. The Niger River during this time possessed six times more arable land than the Nile.  In the adjacent Sahara to the north, Africans operated extensive salt mining operations.  With the arrival of the Arabs in the 8th century AD, a prodigious iron smelting and blacksmithing industries occupied entire villages from one end of the Sahel to the other.  The West African political economy was such that no king ever enforced strict ownership over the entirety of his realm, so after the millet harvest an African peasant could earn good extra income panning for alluvial gold, mining iron ore, harvesting trees to make charcoal fuel for iron smelting, or travelling north to labor in the salt mines. The Sahel during this period was awash in food and gold and large prosperous cities like Gao grew into architectural wonders.  So what happened that would drain not only the wealth of an established long-standing power center yet leave nothing behind but piles of dirt from what were formerly majestic structures of timber and adobe brick?  The short answer is that it all fell to pieces due to horses. In the 9th and 10th centuries AD, trade caravans from what are today Morocco and Algeria began regularly making their way south through the Sahara desert during the winter months. These caravans initially brought with them manufactured goods and luxury items to exchange for gold, ivory, specialty woods, animal skins, and salt.  But during the 13th century these caravans started supplying a vital military component to the various competing rulers of the Sahel – Barb horses.  Ownership of horses gave each ruler a cavalry, and ownership of large herds could facilitate military superiority over rivals. The Malian, Hausa, Mossi, Bornu, Kanem and Songhai cavalries regularly battled each other for over three hundred years to what could be considered an equilibrium sometimes punctuated with transient victories and an occasional ebb or flow of juxtaposed borders.  Continuous combat was made possible only by a steady supply of Barb horses from the Maghreb, a market that traders were happy to oblige as the supply of gold from the Sahel appeared endless. But with its monsoonal climate and tropical diseases like trypanosomiasis, the Sahel Africans found it difficult to breed horses – the local Dongola sub-breed had a short life expectancy – and thus a steady flow of imported Barb horses were required to both replenish the high equine mortality rates and maintain at least military parity with the surrounding kingdoms. These imported horses were expensive and were initially paid for with alluvial gold, which was starting to go into productive decline during the 15th century at about the same time the Songhai king Sonni Ali Ber led a successful campaign to defeat his enemy Mali and consolidate rule over the Sahel from Lake Chad to the Cap-Vert peninsula.  So the height of Songhai power coincided with maximum operating costs to retain that power just as alluvial gold production from the Niger River went into decline. Saddled with the mounting expense of maintaining many cavalry regiments stretching across an 1,800 mile expanse, the Songhai lords began to launch slave raids upon the various Sahel peoples.  So as the 15th and 16th centuries progressed, slaves rather than gold became more and more the medium of exchange between the Songhai lords and the horse traders of the Maghreb.  As these traders brought more and more slaves to the Mediterranean coast of North Africa, most were purchased by Arabs but many were sold on to Europeans where they were employed as domestic servant in wealthy cities like London and Antwerp and were considered a high status symbol – the “negars and blackmoores” of 16th century Elizabethan England.  So it was not the Europeans that first procured slavery in West Africa, but the Songhai themselves that introduced Europe to African slaves via Arab and Berber intermediaries.  Europeans at this time were a minor end customer, where the primary slave demand was provided by Arabs. As the 16th century ground out successive years, the gold really began to play out.  Continuous and devastating slave raids depopulated the Niger River goldfield regions – crashing not only gold but also food production – and drove its inhabitants onto marginal lands that had been earlier deforested to manufacture charcoal for the formerly prodigious iron smelting industry.  Over a period of 200 years the once prosperous Sahel was transformed into a land inhabited by subsistence food scavengers and all powerful cavalry lords where the incessant demand for horses laid economic waste to this once prosperous region. With Songhai power in the late 16th century at its nadir as a result of internecine strife and succession wars among the dead king Askia Daoud’s many sons, the Sultan of Morocco, Ahmad al-Mansur, took advantage of the ensuing political instability and sent a military expedition across the Sahara and in 1591 these 4,000 Moroccans and their cannons defeated the Songhai at the battle of Tondibi. Thus with the defeat of the powerful Songhai Empire the coast of West Africa south of the Arab stronghold Nouakchott was left wide open to European maritime exploitation.  By 1625 the Dutch had established a permanent settlement at Gorée and the Portuguese likewise at Portudal, both located in modern day Senegal.  These initial European forays onto West African soil provided the vital resupply anchorage that enabled further permanent settlements along the entirety of the Gulf of Guinea and as far south as Namibia.  And it is at this point where the Kunta Kinte mythology begins with the permanent settlement of Europeans on African soil who allegedly trekked hundreds of miles inland into dangerous areas they did not control to randomly kidnap happy Africans into slavery.  Was this the reality on the ground in Africa back in 1619?  The Angolan experience provides the answers. The Angolan Model of Contracted Slave Procurement The gradual encroachment of European settlements down the Atlantic coast of West Africa did not lead to immediate mass colonization as malaria and tsetse flies kept out all but the hardiest and most rapacious adventurers.  But how did these Europeans procure so many slaves to service the burgeoning and incredibly profitable sugar and tobacco charters of the Caribbean?  The Kunta Kinte procurement model would have eventually led to depopulation of the local areas as the traditionally semi-mobile Africans would have just up and moved out of reach like they did to avoid the Songhai lords, and Africans were beginning to adopt European weapons in their defense.  So – how did so many Africans end up as slaves in the Americas despite their overwhelming numbers back in Africa? The answer lies in the Angolan model which was by no means confined to this region alone.  During the first half of the 16th century the Portuguese established a permanent trading station at the port of Soyo, a province within the Kingdom of Kongo on the south bank at the mouth of the Congo River.  The significance of Soyo was it established the first European occupation in West Africa outside the provenance of the tsetse fly, and with trypanosomiasis absent, colonists could settle and import European livestock for the first time on the African Atlantic coast.  Entire families of Portuguese colonists began to arrive and by 1575 the city of Luanda was founded, followed by Benguela in 1587.  With Angola’s drier, more temperate climate, these early European colonists got to the business of building homes, clearing land, farming, fishing, and raising their livestock.  But one thing they did not do was get to the business of travelling hundreds of miles inland to hunt down and capture slaves.  They left that to others – and these others weren’t Europeans. Soon after the Portuguese planted their flag at Soyo, they granted a trade monopoly to the Kingdom of Kongo which ruled over what is now northwestern Angola.  But as Portugal established colonies to the south of Soyo, these new colonies were located in lands claimed by Kongo but occupied by Ambundu peoples of the N’Dongo and Kisama states within the Kwanza River valley.  Because of the trade monopoly specifics granted to Kongo, the Bakongo could sweep through the Kwanza River valley and capture the local Ambundu and sell them into slavery to the Portuguese, but the Ambundu could not capture these Bakongo raiders and sell them into slavery to the same customer.  This egregious injustice incensed the N’Dongo king to the point of declaring war on – not the Portuguese – but the Bakongo in an attempt to break the discriminatory trade monopoly.  The Ambundu were successful and in 1556 they defeated the Bakongo in a war fought not to end the enslavement of their fellow Africans, but to extend to themselves the right to capture, enslave, and sell their Bakongo neighbors to the Portuguese. Despite the N’Dongo victory and elimination of Kongo influence in the Kwanza River valley, the Portuguese insisted on upholding their original trade agreement, so the Kongo trade monopoly remained in place with the Ambundu still cut out of all commercial activity with the Portuguese.  Realizing they had prosecuted a war for nothing, the N’Dongo spent the next several decades threatening colonists and harassing Portuguese interests up and down the Kwanza River valley without any penetration into the colonial economy.  In 1590 N’Dongo had had enough of the commercial status quo so it allied itself with its eastern Ambundu neighbor Matamba and together they declared war on all Portuguese interests across Angola. This war led the Portuguese to construct a network of fortalezas up and down the Angolan coastline and after years of protracted violence the Portugal finally defeated the N’Dongo in 1614.  Portugal’s first act after victory was to invite their old trading partner – the Bakongo – to commence mop-up operations across the Kwanza River valley in order to clear out the defeated Ambundu and bring them in chains to the new network of fortalezas, which not only served as troop garrisons and acropoli for the local inhabitants, but also as slave depots that accommodated the swelling numbers of captured Ambundu before being auctioned off and sent to Brazil. With the defeat of the Ambundu the N’Dongo matriarchal dynasty fled east to their ally Matamba.  There, a royal refugee named N’Zinga M’Bandi betrayed the hospitality shown her by Matamba and began secret negotiations with Luanda for a return of the Ambundu to the Kwanza River valley.  N’Zinga M’Bandi secured agreements that not only deposed the sitting Matamban queen – handing her the crown by subterfuge – but also convinced the Portuguese to nullify their long standing trade monopoly granted to the Kingdom of Kongo which, in effect, established the Ambundu peoples in the slave procurement business. The new Matamban queen made haste regarding her political and business affairs and quickly consolidated N’Dongo and the neighboring Kasanje states under her rule.  By 1619, Queen N’Zinga had grown her realm into the most powerful African state in the region using the wealth generated from her industrial scale slave procurement undertaking.  Within a few decade of Queen N’Zinga’s ascension, the regions surrounding central Angola were depopulated of not only the rival Bakongo peoples, but of its Ovimbundu, Ganguela, and Chokwe peoples too. The lucrative Angolan slave trade not only flourished under female African leadership, but grew scientific and efficient and continued unabated until the Portuguese crown outlawed the colonial slave trade in 1869.  However, avarice and ingenuity always prevail so after this slavery prohibition a vibrant slave black market continued unabated as abolition only served to drive up the price of slaves and therefore the incentive to procure them in the field.  These lucrative smuggling operations from Angola lasted up until the day its primary customer Brazil abolished slavery in 1888. Today the dominance of the Ambundu peoples in the business, political, and military affairs of modern day Angola is directly traced to the business acumen, organizational skills, and operational efficiency that the Ambundu peoples’ developed during their 269 year monopoly over slave procurement in Angola.  From the tens of thousands of their fellow African “brothers” and “sisters” that the Ambundu sold into slavery, they accumulated incredible wealth that enabled them to occupy a position of respect, influence, and near equality in colonial Angola unparalleled anywhere in colonial Africa.  They became, in a sense, the “Master Ethnicity” of the region. Twilight of the Woke Idols The irony behind the etymology for the word slave, lost upon the woke and the allies of Critical Race Insanity, is that slave derives from ancient words describing Caucasian Slavic peoples.  If slavery were at the core of the “American Experience”, America long ago would have adopted a word for slave that describe African peoples just as the Romans employed Sclāvus to describe a Slav.  But in the 402 years since 1619, Americans have not made this linguistic transition because there is an older and deeper collective history of slavery that can be traced back millennia to Eastern Europeans who constitute a large proportion of the American population. Yet somehow this deeper history has not affected Caucasians of eastern European descent – even the generational poor – in the same way it has tormented the collective psyche of African Americans.  Maybe these demons are not so much the product that African Americans were once slaves, but instead a manifestation of the incessant bombarded of acerbic messages from the Academia-Media-Technocracy Complex demanding that African Americans play the role of perpetual victims and that they deserve some abstract redress from those who themselves have never benefitted from systemic anything. Or is there a deeper pathological diagnosis, a sepsis of personal ontology whereby the current woke narrative is a desperate attempt at mass cognitive dissonance to blot out the humiliating reality that one’s ancestors were traded in bulk by one’s own kind for the likes of a horse? Africans were one of many peoples in a long line of slaves procured by Europeans but they are the last group before the prohibitions of the Utilitarian campaigns of universal human rights put an end to the practice. Thus it is this ‘Last In, First Out” queuing that gives African Americans claim to their title of “systemic victims” without regard to the broader history of European slavery during the preceding two millennia – including Medieval feudalism.  The reality on the ground for centuries in Europe was that slave relations were between Caucasian Master and Caucasian slave. And with the advent and maturing scientific efficiency of institutions such as central banking, nation states, denominational religions, non-governmental organizations, together with the application of mass psychology, one finds upon further scrutiny that this predominant relationship between Master and slave has changed little over the millennia.  We Americans are, in a sense, all slaves – caught in a systemic nexus of control with few options of escape.  Therefore, claims of “systemic injustice” and demands for redress are nothing more than demands to be promoted from field hand to domestic slave unless the true, invisible system of enslavement is abolished for all Americans. Slavery existed for millennia throughout the entirety of the Bantu populated African continent prior to the arrival of Europeans.  African slaves were captured, worked hard in the millet fields, scolded, beaten, sold multiple times, raped, and murdered well before the first European footprint was impressed on a West African beach.  Slavery was the natural African social condition, it continued as Europeans colonized the continent, and in some places it continues today after most Europeans have left.  Thus any conception of an “Original Sin” borne by Americans through ancestry lies not with Caucasians, but with those of African ancestry as Africans themselves were the origination point for the West African slavery supply chain where they occupied the roles of contractor, planner, procurer, and transporter to distribution hubs. The indigenous Africans were, in modern terms, the Chief Operating Officers of the West African slave trade.  Europeans played the roles of wholesale customer, clearing house, and retail distributor of a product offered to them by brazen and entrepreneurial local rulers who amassed great wealth from their endeavors and whose ancestors today are the beneficiaries of an “ethnic privilege” derived from this wealth and societal status as former Masters. The truth is that this seminal enduring image created with Kunta Kinte’s abduction is a fraud and was fabricated to not only impugn the Caucasian audience and henceforth brand them evil and complicit through ancestry, but was also consciously constructed to expiate the guilt surrounding the ugly and brutal truth that Africans themselves were the culpable party.  Had indigenous Africans not captured and sold so many of their brethren into slavery, there would likely be very few African Americans today. Epilogue The woke will never mention the 800 years of an East African slave trade conducted by Arab merchants up and down the Indian Ocean coast.  The woke won’t utter a word regarding present day slavery across the Sahel countries of Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Chad, and Sudan.  One hears only silence from the woke when one mentions the “Systemic Ethniscism” that permeates every Bantu nation where wealth and power are concentrated into the hands of a dominant ethnic group. The woke ignore the 3,000+ freed African slaves who show up in the ante bellum US census who were granted manumission, inherited plantations from their former owners, and kept the slaves.  No woke person ever admits that American Indians owned African slaves nor will they / them accept that slavery permeated Nahuatl culture even as they / them espouse the virtues of Greater Aztlán.  And the woke will never accept that it was Europeans who eventually stamped out slavery within the Bantu cultural world despite it being the natural human condition there for centuries. And, most importantly, the woke will never acknowledge that all Americans are trapped in a nexus of corporate, bureaucratic, technological, and psychological control where the true “American Experience” has devolved into one where everyone is a slave serving invisible Masters. Until these Masters’ hands are removed from every lever of power and influence in our nation – by any means necessary – abstractions like “equality” and “equity” are nothing more than job promotions on the American plantation.  The woke will never become unwoke because they love their servitude, it has opened the door for them to serve an irresponsible existence free of rationality, logic, true meaning in their existence.  Through their wokeness, they have essentially been freed from Freedom – they can place no hope in death, and their blind lives are so abject that they are envious of every other fate.  The world should let no fame of theirs endure; both true Justice and Compassion must disdain them. One final comment about those 4,000 Moroccans at the Battle of Tondibi.  The invading Moroccan army was commanded by a one Judar Pasha, but he was not always known by this name.  Judar was born Diego de Guevara, an inhabitant of the Spanish region of Andalusia who as a boy was captured by Arab slave raiders, packed off in chains to Morocco, and sold into slavery to the Moroccan Sultan.  And just like Kunta Kinte, Diego’s name got changed, but where Kunta Kinte had his foot cut off, Judar was castrated and forced to serve this foreign Sultan as a eunuch.  But we will never see a TV miniseries where an Arab slave wrangler hangs one Diego de Guevara upside down by his ankles, thrashes him with a bull whip, and screams repeatedly, “Your name is not Diego, your name is Judar!” Tyler Durden Fri, 11/19/2021 - 23:40.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 20th, 2021

The 22 most popular books readers are sharing on TikTok, from historical fiction to YA romance novels

From tearjerkers like "They Both Die at the End" to fantasy romances like "A Court of Thorns and Roses," these are the most popular books on TikTok. From tearjerkers like "They Both Die at the End" to fantasy romances like "A Court of Thorns and Roses," these are the most popular books on TikTok.Amazon; TikTok; Rachel Mendelson/InsiderWhen you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more. On TikTok, readers share their favorite buzzworthy book recommendations under #BookTok. Here are some of the most popular book recommendations from TikTokers. For more book recs, check out our review of the TikTok-famous YA novel "All the Bright Places." You can find just about everything on TikTok nowadays, from 15-second dances to unsolicited legal advice. Unsurprisingly, it can also be a great place to find your next read. Under the hashtags #BookTok, #BookRecommendations, or simply #Books, users share in-depth review videos, quick lists of favorites, and aesthetically pleasing bookshelf tours to share their favorite book recommendations.   To gather the titles on this list, we watched countless BookTok videos and collected the indisputable favorites from readers on TikTok. Most of the titles that circulate BookTok are gripping and exciting reads that almost any reader would love, from nail-biting thrillers to action-packed fantasy novels. The 22 most popular books on TikTok: 'They Both Die At The End' by Adam SilveraAmaozn"They Both Die At The End" by Adam Silvera, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $8.37TikTokers regularly challenge readers to read "They Both Die At The End" from cover to cover in a single sitting — a feat that's easier than it sounds as soon as you start the book. This heartbreaking young adult novel takes place in a dystopia where people receive a phone call just after midnight on the last day of their lives. When Mateo's phone rings with the dreaded message, he searches for someone with whom he can spend his final hour and meets Rufus.'It Ends With Us' by Colleen HooverAmazon"It Ends With Us" by Colleen Hoover, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $9.47Colleen Hoover is known for her absolutely captivating psychological thrillers like "It Ends With Us" and "Verity," which are both hugely popular on TikTok. "It Ends With Us" follows Lily, who meets a handsome neurosurgeon named Ryle. Though Ryle has an aversion to relationships, he is willing to make an exception for Lily. When questions begin to arise about their relationship as a man from the past emerges, this book becomes unputdownable.'Legend' by Marie LuAmazon"Legend" by Marie Lu, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $7.68June is a 15-year-old prodigy being groomed as a warrior by the Republic's military, unlikely to cross paths with Day (the country's most wanted criminal) until he becomes a prime suspect for the murder of June's brother. While June seeks revenge, Day is in his own race for his family's survival when the two discover the shocking truth behind the events that brought them together.'The Midnight Library' by Matt HaigAmazon"The Midnight Library" by Matt Haig, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $13.29When Nora feels stuck in life with nowhere to turn, she finds herself in a dreamlike library, where each book on the infinite shelves can transport her to a parallel version of her life, had she made other choices. This fascinating sci-fi/fantasy read has spurred countless discussions on TikTok about whether its message is more inspirational or existential.'The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo' by Taylor Jenkins ReidAmazon"The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo" by Taylor Jenkins Reid, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $9.42"The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo" is an incredible historical fiction novel that reads like a dramatic celebrity interview. Years after her retirement, Hollywood megastar Evelyn Hugo is ready to tell all the details of her crazy life story to one little-known reporter. Known for her seven husbands, Evelyn finally tells the true stories of each marriage and her true love — the story the tabloids never found.'The Song of Achilles' by Madeline MillerAmazon"The Song of Achilles" by Madeline Miller, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $10.35In this mythical retelling set during the Trojan War, Patroclus is exiled to Phthia after a terrible misunderstanding and meets the prince Achilles. As their friendship turns romantic, Achilles is called to fight in the war against Troy with a terrible prophecy ahead of him.'Such A Fun Age' by Kiley ReidAmazon"Such a Fun Age" by Kiley Reid, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $10.36One night, when someone calls security on Emira Tucker in a grocery store, they accuse the young Black woman of kidnapping the white toddler she's babysitting. Though the child's mother, Alix Chamberlain, is determined to make things right, an old video brings up someone from her past, setting Alix and Emira on a journey to discover more about themselves and each other than they could have ever known.'From Blood and Ash' by Jennifer L. ArmentroutAmazon"From Blood and Ash" by Jennifer L. Armentrout, available at Amazon, $18.32"From Blood and Ash" is a sexy, action-packed fantasy about Poppy, a Maiden who must live under strict rules until the day of her Ascension. When she sneaks out to meet with a Royal Guard named Hawke, they quickly fall for each other as Poppy begins to unravel the shocking secrets of her kingdom in this novel that ends with a cliffhanger so jarring, readers can't help but immediately reach for the sequel. 'A Little Life' by Hanya YanagiharaAmazon"A Little Life" by Hanya Yanagihara, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $14.99Cherished amongst TikTokers for its emotional and poetic prose, "A Little Life" is an award-winning novel about four friends who move to New York from a small Massachusetts town. As the decades pass, their friendships grow and change yet all seem to be centered around their friend June, still haunted by his traumatic past.'Shatter Me' by Tehereh MafiAmazon"Shatter Me" by Tehereh Mafi, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $8.48Juliette is a 17-year-old with a fatal touch, jailed for murder 264 days ago when she last accidentally touched and killed someone. In this dystopia, people are dying and beginning to rise against the governing Reestablishment, who decides Juliette might be the perfect weapon to fight a rising rebellion.'A Court of Thorns And Roses' by Sarah J. MaasAmazon"A Court of Thorns and Roses" by Sarah J. Maas, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $10.80TikTok readers cannot stop talking about this steamy fantasy series that began as a "Beauty and the Beast" retelling. When Feyre accidentally kills a faerie, she's dragged to a magical kingdom by a masked captor. Closely guarded, secrets of the faerie lands begin to emerge as Feyre's resentment towards her captor melts from anger to romantic passion.'The Unhoneymooners' by Christina LaurenAmazon"The Unhoneymooners" by Christina Lauren, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $8.44When everyone at Ami's wedding falls ill with food poisoning except maid-of-honor Olive and best man Ethan, the offer to take the newlywed's all-expense-paid honeymoon seems amazing — if Olive and Ethan didn't despise each other. Agreeing to avoid each other, the two run into Olive's new boss on the island and fall into an elaborate lie that might just bring them closer together.'Red, White, and Royal Blue' by Casey McQuistonAmazon"Red, White, and Royal Blue" by Casey McQuiston, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $9.97First Son Alex Diaz has a sworn enemy: Prince Henry of Britain. When the tabloids catch the two teens in an argument, their PR teams decide the best course of action is to stage a fake friendship, which slowly turns into a real one with romantic feelings. When Alex's mom decides to run for re-election, Alex knows that his relationship could ruin her campaign and the boys must decide how much they're willing to risk to be together. 'Shadow and Bone' by Leigh BardugoAmazon"Shadow and Bone" by Leigh Bardugo, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $7.82"Shadow and Bone" is the first book in not only its own magical trilogy, but the first book in the Grishaverse created by Leigh Bardugo, a hugely popular fantasy universe amongst readers on TikTok. Loved for its unpredictable characters and heightened audiobook experience, this book follows Alina Starkov, a teenage orphan in Ravka, who harnesses a previously unknown power to save her best friend and unwittingly makes herself a target.'The Invisible Life of Addie La Rue' by V.E. SchwabAmazon"The Invisible Life of Addie La Rue" by V.E. Schwab, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $14In 1714, Addie LaRue was a teenager about to be married off to a man she did not love when she struck a cursed deal to live forever yet be forgotten by everyone she met. In this genre-bending novel, Addie's story spans centuries and continents until the day she finally meets someone who remembers her.'We Were Liars' by E. LockhartAmazon"We Were Liars" by E. Lockhart, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $5.98This is a quick, young adult thriller that uses a fragmented narration to build suspense. Cadence and her family spend their summers on a private island where the cousins regularly go on troublesome adventures — until two summers ago, when something tragic happened and changed everything for their family forever.'The Hating Game' by Sally ThorneAmazon"The Hating Game" by Sally Thorne, available at Amazon, $14.39In their shared office space, Lucy Hutton and Joshua Templeman are caught in a series of tense games of one-upmanship, now intensified as they're both up for a promotion. When the tension turns steamy and the two share a kiss in the elevator, Lucy begins to wonder if she's ever hated Joshua after all.'The Inheritance Games' by Jennifer Lynn BarnesAmazon"The Inheritance Games" by Jennifer Lynn Barnes, available at Amazon, $9.89Avery Grambs is just trying to graduate high school when she's mysteriously bestowed an inheritance from billionaire Tobias Hawthorne, a puzzle-loving man she's never even heard of. The catch is Avery must move into his secret passage-filled mansion with Tobias' family: A puzzle to be solved, and a game she'll have to survive.'The House in the Cerulean Sea' by T.J. KluneAmazon"The House in the Cerulean Sea" by T.J. Klune, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $15.06Linus Baker is a caseworker at the Department in Charge of Magical Youth, overseeing extraordinary children who live in government-sanctioned orphanages. When Linus is sent on a highly classified mission to check on a home with six dangerous children, he meets the most fascinating and wonderful group of magical kids, cared for by a charming gentleman with more burning secrets than Linus could imagine.'The Cruel Prince' by Holly BlackAmazon"The Cruel Prince" by Holly Black, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $10.9910 years ago, Jude and her sisters were stolen away to the High Court of Faerie, detested as humans in a magical faerie land. Desperate to be accepted, Jude must defy the Prince for a chance to win a place at the Court and soon finds herself deeply entangled in a web of violence and deception.'Red Queen' by Victoria AveyardAmazon"Red Queen" by Victoria Aveyard, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $6.98In the "Red Queen" literary universe, the world is divided into Red and Silver: commoners and the magical elite. When Mare Barrow escaped her impoverished Red home to work in the Silver Palace, she and the Silvers discover she has a powerful magical ability of her own, hiding her in plain sight and declaring her a long-lost Silver princess. As she quietly works to help the Red Guard bring down the Silver elite, Mare knows one misstep could easily mean her death.'All The Bright Places' by Jennifer NivenAmazon"All The Bright Places" by Jennifer Niven, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $7.48Theodore Finch and Violet Markey are each looking for an escape when they meet on the ledge of their school's bell tower. Paired together for a school project, the duo set to discover the natural wonders of their state and instead discover the escape they'd been searching for in each other's company. You can check out a more detailed review of "All The Bright Places" here. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 17th, 2021

The 22 most popular books on TikTok, from historical fiction to YA romance novels

From tearjerkers like "They Both Die at the End" to fantasy romances like "A Court of Thorns and Roses," these are the most popular books on TikTok. From tearjerkers like "They Both Die at the End" to fantasy romances like "A Court of Thorns and Roses," these are the most popular books on TikTok.Amazon; TikTok; Rachel Mendelson/InsiderWhen you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more. On TikTok, readers share their favorite buzzworthy book recommendations under #BookTok. Here are some of the most popular book recommendations from TikTokers. For more book recs, check out our review of the TikTok-famous YA novel "All the Bright Places." You can find just about everything on TikTok nowadays, from 15-second dances to unsolicited legal advice. Unsurprisingly, it can also be a great place to find your next read. Under the hashtags #BookTok, #BookRecommendations, or simply #Books, users share in-depth review videos, quick lists of favorites, and aesthetically pleasing bookshelf tours to share their favorite book recommendations.   To gather the titles on this list, we watched countless BookTok videos and collected the indisputable favorites from readers on TikTok. Most of the titles that circulate BookTok are gripping and exciting reads that almost any reader would love, from nail-biting thrillers to action-packed fantasy novels. The 22 most popular books on TikTok: 'They Both Die At The End' by Adam SilveraAmaozn"They Both Die At The End" by Adam Silvera, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $8.37TikTokers regularly challenge readers to read "They Both Die At The End" from cover to cover in a single sitting — a feat that's easier than it sounds as soon as you start the book. This heartbreaking young adult novel takes place in a dystopia where people receive a phone call just after midnight on the last day of their lives. When Mateo's phone rings with the dreaded message, he searches for someone with whom he can spend his final hour and meets Rufus.'It Ends With Us' by Colleen HooverAmazon"It Ends With Us" by Colleen Hoover, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $9.47Colleen Hoover is known for her absolutely captivating psychological thrillers like "It Ends With Us" and "Verity," which are both hugely popular on TikTok. "It Ends With Us" follows Lily, who meets a handsome neurosurgeon named Ryle. Though Ryle has an aversion to relationships, he is willing to make an exception for Lily. When questions begin to arise about their relationship as a man from the past emerges, this book becomes unputdownable.'Legend' by Marie LuAmazon"Legend" by Marie Lu, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $7.68June is a 15-year-old prodigy being groomed as a warrior by the Republic's military, unlikely to cross paths with Day (the country's most wanted criminal) until he becomes a prime suspect for the murder of June's brother. While June seeks revenge, Day is in his own race for his family's survival when the two discover the shocking truth behind the events that brought them together.'The Midnight Library' by Matt HaigAmazon"The Midnight Library" by Matt Haig, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $13.29When Nora feels stuck in life with nowhere to turn, she finds herself in a dreamlike library, where each book on the infinite shelves can transport her to a parallel version of her life, had she made other choices. This fascinating sci-fi/fantasy read has spurred countless discussions on TikTok about whether its message is more inspirational or existential.'The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo' by Taylor Jenkins ReidAmazon"The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo" by Taylor Jenkins Reid, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $9.42"The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo" is an incredible historical fiction novel that reads like a dramatic celebrity interview. Years after her retirement, Hollywood megastar Evelyn Hugo is ready to tell all the details of her crazy life story to one little-known reporter. Known for her seven husbands, Evelyn finally tells the true stories of each marriage and her true love — the story the tabloids never found.'The Song of Achilles' by Madeline MillerAmazon"The Song of Achilles" by Madeline Miller, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $10.35In this mythical retelling set during the Trojan War, Patroclus is exiled to Phthia after a terrible misunderstanding and meets the prince Achilles. As their friendship turns romantic, Achilles is called to fight in the war against Troy with a terrible prophecy ahead of him.'Such A Fun Age' by Kiley ReidAmazon"Such a Fun Age" by Kiley Reid, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $10.36One night, when someone calls security on Emira Tucker in a grocery store, they accuse the young Black woman of kidnapping the white toddler she's babysitting. Though the child's mother, Alix Chamberlain, is determined to make things right, an old video brings up someone from her past, setting Alix and Emira on a journey to discover more about themselves and each other than they could have ever known.'From Blood and Ash' by Jennifer L. ArmentroutAmazon"From Blood and Ash" by Jennifer L. Armentrout, available at Amazon, $18.32"From Blood and Ash" is a sexy, action-packed fantasy about Poppy, a Maiden who must live under strict rules until the day of her Ascension. When she sneaks out to meet with a Royal Guard named Hawke, they quickly fall for each other as Poppy begins to unravel the shocking secrets of her kingdom in this novel that ends with a cliffhanger so jarring, readers can't help but immediately reach for the sequel. 'A Little Life' by Hanya YanagiharaAmazon"A Little Life" by Hanya Yanagihara, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $14.99Cherished amongst TikTokers for its emotional and poetic prose, "A Little Life" is an award-winning novel about four friends who move to New York from a small Massachusetts town. As the decades pass, their friendships grow and change yet all seem to be centered around their friend June, still haunted by his traumatic past.'Shatter Me' by Tehereh MafiAmazon"Shatter Me" by Tehereh Mafi, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $8.48Juliette is a 17-year-old with a fatal touch, jailed for murder 264 days ago when she last accidentally touched and killed someone. In this dystopia, people are dying and beginning to rise against the governing Reestablishment, who decides Juliette might be the perfect weapon to fight a rising rebellion.'A Court of Thorns And Roses' by Sarah J. MaasAmazon"A Court of Thorns and Roses" by Sarah J. Maas, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $10.80TikTok readers cannot stop talking about this steamy fantasy series that began as a "Beauty and the Beast" retelling. When Feyre accidentally kills a faerie, she's dragged to a magical kingdom by a masked captor. Closely guarded, secrets of the faerie lands begin to emerge as Feyre's resentment towards her captor melts from anger to romantic passion.'The Unhoneymooners' by Christina LaurenAmazon"The Unhoneymooners" by Christina Lauren, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $8.44When everyone at Ami's wedding falls ill with food poisoning except maid-of-honor Olive and best man Ethan, the offer to take the newlywed's all-expense-paid honeymoon seems amazing — if Olive and Ethan didn't despise each other. Agreeing to avoid each other, the two run into Olive's new boss on the island and fall into an elaborate lie that might just bring them closer together.'Red, White, and Royal Blue' by Casey McQuistonAmazon"Red, White, and Royal Blue" by Casey McQuiston, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $9.97First Son Alex Diaz has a sworn enemy: Prince Henry of Britain. When the tabloids catch the two teens in an argument, their PR teams decide the best course of action is to stage a fake friendship, which slowly turns into a real one with romantic feelings. When Alex's mom decides to run for re-election, Alex knows that his relationship could ruin her campaign and the boys must decide how much they're willing to risk to be together. 'Shadow and Bone' by Leigh BardugoAmazon"Shadow and Bone" by Leigh Bardugo, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $7.82"Shadow and Bone" is the first book in not only its own magical trilogy, but the first book in the Grishaverse created by Leigh Bardugo, a hugely popular fantasy universe amongst readers on TikTok. Loved for its unpredictable characters and heightened audiobook experience, this book follows Alina Starkov, a teenage orphan in Ravka, who harnesses a previously unknown power to save her best friend and unwittingly makes herself a target.'The Invisible Life of Addie La Rue' by V.E. SchwabAmazon"The Invisible Life of Addie La Rue" by V.E. Schwab, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $14In 1714, Addie LaRue was a teenager about to be married off to a man she did not love when she struck a cursed deal to live forever yet be forgotten by everyone she met. In this genre-bending novel, Addie's story spans centuries and continents until the day she finally meets someone who remembers her.'We Were Liars' by E. LockhartAmazon"We Were Liars" by E. Lockhart, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $5.98This is a quick, young adult thriller that uses a fragmented narration to build suspense. Cadence and her family spend their summers on a private island where the cousins regularly go on troublesome adventures — until two summers ago, when something tragic happened and changed everything for their family forever.'The Hating Game' by Sally ThorneAmazon"The Hating Game" by Sally Thorne, available at Amazon, $14.39In their shared office space, Lucy Hutton and Joshua Templeman are caught in a series of tense games of one-upmanship, now intensified as they're both up for a promotion. When the tension turns steamy and the two share a kiss in the elevator, Lucy begins to wonder if she's ever hated Joshua after all.'The Inheritance Games' by Jennifer Lynn BarnesAmazon"The Inheritance Games" by Jennifer Lynn Barnes, available at Amazon, $9.89Avery Grambs is just trying to graduate high school when she's mysteriously bestowed an inheritance from billionaire Tobias Hawthorne, a puzzle-loving man she's never even heard of. The catch is Avery must move into his secret passage-filled mansion with Tobias' family: A puzzle to be solved, and a game she'll have to survive.'The House in the Cerulean Sea' by T.J. KluneAmazon"The House in the Cerulean Sea" by T.J. Klune, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $15.06Linus Baker is a caseworker at the Department in Charge of Magical Youth, overseeing extraordinary children who live in government-sanctioned orphanages. When Linus is sent on a highly classified mission to check on a home with six dangerous children, he meets the most fascinating and wonderful group of magical kids, cared for by a charming gentleman with more burning secrets than Linus could imagine.'The Cruel Prince' by Holly BlackAmazon"The Cruel Prince" by Holly Black, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $10.9910 years ago, Jude and her sisters were stolen away to the High Court of Faerie, detested as humans in a magical faerie land. Desperate to be accepted, Jude must defy the Prince for a chance to win a place at the Court and soon finds herself deeply entangled in a web of violence and deception.'Red Queen' by Victoria AveyardAmazon"Red Queen" by Victoria Aveyard, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $6.98In the "Red Queen" literary universe, the world is divided into Red and Silver: commoners and the magical elite. When Mare Barrow escaped her impoverished Red home to work in the Silver Palace, she and the Silvers discover she has a powerful magical ability of her own, hiding her in plain sight and declaring her a long-lost Silver princess. As she quietly works to help the Red Guard bring down the Silver elite, Mare knows one misstep could easily mean her death.'All The Bright Places' by Jennifer NivenAmazon"All The Bright Places" by Jennifer Niven, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $7.48Theodore Finch and Violet Markey are each looking for an escape when they meet on the ledge of their school's bell tower. Paired together for a school project, the duo set to discover the natural wonders of their state and instead discover the escape they'd been searching for in each other's company. You can check out a more detailed review of "All The Bright Places" here. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 17th, 2021

Biden Admin Plans "Imminent" Booster Expansion; Orders 10M Courses Of "Pfizermectin"

Biden Admin Plans 'Imminent' Booster Expansion; Orders 10M Courses Of 'Pfizermectin' As governments worldwide continue to ratchet up authoritarian punishments for the unvaccinated and undervaccinated... Austrian police hunt for The Unvaccinated, who have been confined to their homes and face fines of $1660 for being in public (except when working). And the human rights industry, the EU, US and much of the int’l left are silent, if not quietly approving. pic.twitter.com/Wc26Eh09EC — Max Blumenthal (@MaxBlumenthal) November 16, 2021  ...health officials are once again moving the goalposts when it comes to the definition of 'fully vaxxed.' To that end, the Biden administration is expected to 'begin the process of expanding the booster authorization to all adults' as early as this week, according to Axios. The decision comes amid data which makes clear that vaccine efficacy wanes over time, requiring a booster three-shot course in order to protect against infection and infecting others reduce the < 1% risk of death in most adults under the age of 50, while marginally reducing transmission until it wears off again in 90 days.  More via Axios: Despite disagreement among experts about who needs a booster, there's broad consensus that older people and at least some with underlying health conditions should get an additional dose around six months after their first series. But only 36% of Americans 65 and older have received a booster shot, according to the CDC. "As every month goes by, the immunity wanes more and more. So as time goes by, you’re going to see more vaccinated people" becoming more vulnerable to the virus, NIAID director Anthony Fauci told Axios. The vast majority of breakthrough cases — particularly among younger people — aren't severe. But "as is always the case, the elderly are more vulnerable, because they're more likely to have waning of protection over time," Fauci said. Pfizermectin Meanwhile, the Biden administration has also ordered 10 million courses of Pfizer's new Covid-19 antiviral pill - which immediately triggered the highly conflicted fact checker industrial complex at the mere mention that it's anything like Ivermectin - despite doing the exact same thing (inhibiting protease). On Tuesday, Pfizer announced its plan to ask the US FDA to authorize its emergency use. U.S. officials see this antiviral pill, and another by Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, as potential game-changers to help restore a broader sense of normalcy and are eager to add them to a small arsenal of treatments for Americans who contract the coronavirus. With breakthrough cases rising and 30 percent of American adults not fully vaccinated, health officials believe the pills will help tame the pandemic because of their ability to thwart the virus’s most pernicious effects. Pfizer announced earlier this month that its experimental pill, which will be sold under the brand name Paxlovid, reduced the risk of hospitalization and death by 89 percent in high-risk people when taken within three days of the onset of symptoms. The company said it planned shortly to file an application for emergency use authorization with federal regulators. -Washington Post Being the altruistic types, Pfizer has also allowed generic drug companies to start cranking out their new antiviral in what couldn't possibly be an effort to unseat Ivermectin as the world's go-to early treatment option. If one is interested in an in-depth analysis of the similarities between Pfizer's new "game-changer" and Ivermectin, watch below: We can't wait for more fact checks that benefit big pharma! Tyler Durden Tue, 11/16/2021 - 15:00.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytNov 16th, 2021

Spotlight Turns On Crypto Scammers As International Fraud Awareness Week Looms

Fraud awareness week begins on Sunday 14th November. Between the start of 2021 and mid-October, more than £146 million had been lost to cryptocurrency fraud. The  average loss per victim was just over £20,500. Over half (52%) of crypto fraud victims were aged 18 – 45 years old. Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and […] Fraud awareness week begins on Sunday 14th November. Between the start of 2021 and mid-October, more than £146 million had been lost to cryptocurrency fraud. The  average loss per victim was just over £20,500. Over half (52%) of crypto fraud victims were aged 18 – 45 years old. .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Ray Dalio Series in PDF Get the entire 10-part series on Ray Dalio in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Susannah Streeter, senior investment and markets analyst, Hargreaves Lansdown Crypto Scammers Are Luring Younger People With Promises Of High Returns "Crypto scammers are spinning a complex web of deceit and an increasing number of younger people are being lured in with promises of high returns. The fear of missing out on the huge gains we’ve seen in crypto assets over the pandemic, means more people are dropping their guard and being seduced with claims the latest coin or tokens is the next big thing. Action Fraud fund has found that between the start of 2021 and mid-October, £146,222,332 had been lost to cryptocurrency fraud. It’s just one eye watering statistic under the spotlight as International fraud awareness week approaches.This headline number is particularly shocking given that it’s 30% more than was fraudulently taken in crypto scams during the whole of 2020, an indication that scammers are stepping up their malevolent work. The sums involved aren’t small and are potentially life changing. Action Fraud has received 7,118 reports of cryptocurrency fraud, with an average loss per victim of just over £20,500. As crypto chat runs rife on social media, and speculation about coins and tokens replaces gossip about house prices around middle class dinner tables and at the school gates, younger people are becoming increasingly susceptible to scams. Over half (52%) of crypto fraud victims were aged 18 – 45 years old, with 18 to 35 year olds accounting for the highest percentage of reports (11%). Squid Game Token Scam The squid game token was one of the highest profile scams in recent months, snaring speculators who had poured money in with the promise it could unlock an exciting new online game. Unlike the desperate characters in the hit show, the token purported to represent, investors didn’t risk their lives, but some are likely to have risked piles of savings, to spin the crypto wheel of fortune. The writing was on the wall that the token had the hallmarks of a scam, given that buyers couldn’t sell once they’d bought in. Within hours of the token reaching heady heights, having soared thousands of per cent in less than a week, the rug was pulled, the website closed, and it lost all value. These pump and dump schemes are far from unusual, with many crypto fans desperate to catch a ride upwards on a rapid growth trajectory, with the hope of raking in short term profits. A very common tactic of fraudsters is using online adverts, emails and websites featuring fake celebrity endorsements to attract vulnerable investors’ money. So far this year 558 investment frauds reported related to bogus celebrity endorsement, and 79% of them were crypto scams. People Have Gotten Into Debt To Hold Crypto What is particularly worrying the Financial Conduct Authority, the financial watchdog, is that 14% of people who hold crypto assets have got into debt to do so. It’s highly likely that some people who have been scammed, may have lost borrowed money, plunging them even deeper into debt. Most firms advertising and selling investments in the crypto wild west are not regulated which mean that if you invest in certain crypto assets you will not have access to the Financial Services Compensation Scheme if things go wrong. If you are tempted to dabble in crypto assets you should only do so with money you are prepared to lose. As well as suspicious celebrity endorsements, there are there are other warning signs to look out for to try and avoid fraudsters. Be aware of heavy marketing and promotional offers that could be designed to lure in people fast and make sure you are not rushed into making any investment. It pays to do your research and check out the team behind the coin or token. If there are unnamed or non-existent team members it could be a warning sign. Other suspicious ploys include offering unusual ways to invest in assets like weekly or monthly investments. It’s also very important to check out reviews of crypto trading platforms or brokers to try and spot any signs of past fraudulent behaviour." About Hargreaves Lansdown Over 1.67 million clients trust us with £138.0 billion (as at 30 September 2021), making us the UK’s number one platform for private investors. More than 98% of client activity is done through our digital channels and over 600,000 access our mobile app each month. Updated on Nov 12, 2021, 9:52 am (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkNov 12th, 2021

World"s Most Bearish Hedge Fund Shuts Down: Here Is Russell Clark"s Farewell Letter

World's Most Bearish Hedge Fund Shuts Down: Here Is Russell Clark's Farewell Letter It was about four or five years ago that we dubbed Russell Clark (formerly of Horseman Global and more recently of Russell Clark Investment Management) the world's most bearish hedge fund, and for a good reason: roughly a decade ago, Clark decided to take his fund net short - an unheard of event in an industry where despite the name, the average net exposure is well north of 100% - and while his market bias ebbed and flowed, it remained short for much of the past ten years. What is more remarkable is that despite his extremely bearish positioning, Clark managed to eek out consistent monthly gains and with the exception of 2016 he was profitable virtually every year in the past decade... and then 2019 happened and things started falling apart when his hedge fund lost a staggering 35%. He never really recovered. This was the beginning of the end for Clark - sensing what was coming, two years ago we wrote that the "World's Most Bearish Hedge Fund" Loses 75% Of Its Assets After Worst Year On Record." Back then we wrote the following: Every trader has heard the age-old saying "don't fight the Fed". Everyone, perhaps with one exception: Horseman Global's CIO, and recently owner, Russell Clark, who has been upping his bearish bets in the face of a relentless liquidity onslaught by the Fed, ECB and PBOC, which now also includes the Fed's "NOT QE." In fact, in his ambition to on up the central banks, Clark may have overdone it, because according to his latest investor letter, the fund's equity net short position is now the highest it has been in history, at a whopping -110.87%, offset by a 60.59% net long in bonds. Alas, while we admire Clark's courage, we have less empathy for the fund's performance, which has seen better days, and after slumping 6% in October, and losing money on 4 of the past 5 months, is now on pace for its worst year on record, down 27.05% YTD, surpassing the -24.72% return posted in 2009, and reversing all the goodwill the fund created with its 7.5% return last year when most of its peers lost money alongside the S&P500. In light of the above, we have been fascinated how long Horseman can remain solvent as the Fed remains irrationally bullish and liquid, and unfortunately for Clark - who recently put his personal money where his mouth is and bought a controlling interest in Horseman where he was the main portfolio manager for years - the answer appears to be "not much longer" - as the fund reports, as of October 31, the AUM for the Horseman Global Fund was down to just $150 million... Two years later, despite the crash in early 2020 which helped boost the fund's fortune for a few months, the slow and steady death by a thousand redemption letters continued, and this morning our prediction has finally come true: the man who for the past decade valiantly fought the Fed, and all other central banks, has finally thrown in the towel. And with capital in his core RCIM Global Fund dropping to just $119 million from as much as $1.7 billion in 2015, Clark writes in what is his last letter to investors that "after a couple of years of turbulent markets and the increasing influence of politics rather than economics on the markets, I have come to the decision that the best way forward is for the Fund Directors to wind up the fund and return capital." The fund shuts down after dropping 5.3% for the month of October and down 2.6% in 2021. While Clark touches on various things in his last letter, what is most notable is the justification for his shutdown. To regular readers of Zero Hedge, nothing he says will be a surprise: the Fed has taken over the "market" which has now become a political tool to shape and mold public opinion, while the core role of markets - discounting the future and price discovery - no longer exists, to wit: This is why I am returning capital. Markets have now become a political choice. US markets are essentially a bet on the Fed unable to raise rates, and congress unable to regulate big tech or raise corporate tax rates. Commodity markets have now become a bet on Chinese policy objectives, and currencies have become a bet on what Chinese policy objectives are too. Give me an economic problem, then I can properly gauge risk. Give me a Chinese political problem – I am taking a guess as much as the next person. Did I think Alibaba was going to fall 50% this year? No, not until the Chinese government told me to think that way. Is Alibaba a good short now? I have no idea, and like everyone else will have to wait to see what the Chinese government says. So, I think it time to step back, have a think about where we are going, and then come back when I can see an opportunity for my skill set. Perhaps that’s never, but I doubt it. The only constant in life is change. As always, we admire Clark's honesty and courage to say it how it is, even if it means we may not hear from him ever again. Meanwhile, in a fitting epitaph for his fund, Bloomberg writes that "the closure marks an end to yet another bearish hedge fund manager’s fund as stocks continue to march ahead. Clark, who uses macro economic analysis to bet on stocks, is among a series of long-short equity hedge fund managers who have fallen way behind surging markets and have suffered investors exodus." The end of Clark’s fund is a contrasting echo to how his investing career began more than two decades ago. As a graduate trainee at UBS Group AG in Sydney, he followed friends getting rich by day-trading tech stocks in 2000 and spent his first few paychecks on five dot-com shares. Four crashed to zero, and the fifth lost half its value as the tech bubble burst. This time, a short wager on tech stocks was his latest contrarian bet. Clark told clients earlier this year that he was betting against technology shares as regulators from the U.S. to China crack down on the industry. Tech stocks as measured by NASDAQ Composite Index have been on a tear ever since. Clark had been net short equities for the vast majority of the last nine years. He has faced a difficult period of performance and capital raising, and his firm -- previously named Horseman Capital Management -- shuttered two funds. Born and raised in Canberra, Australia, Clark bought the controlling interest in Horseman in 2019. He had joined Horseman in 2006 and started running the firm’s flagship fund in 2010 when John Horseman, a highly successful global stock fund manager in the 1990s, retired. Clark, who runs his investment firm from his office inside a small house in a quiet mews near Buckingham Palace Gardens in London, had said in 2019 that he was convinced that a stock market crash was near. Or, he told Bloomberg in rare public remarks, “this could be my farewell interview.” Ironically, he was right: the March 2020 crash - the biggest market crisis since the Great Depression - indeed happened just a few months later but in turn it produced the biggest and most coordinated market bailout by central banks and "helicopter money" in history. And that, for the world's most bearish hedge fund, was the final straw. Clark's final message to investors is below: The fund lost 5.30% this month, mainly from the short book. After a couple of years of turbulent markets and the increasing influence of politics rather than economics on the markets, I have come to the decision that the best way forward is for the Fund Directors to wind up the fund and return capital. The success I enjoyed from 2011 through to beginning of 2016 largely stemmed from asking the question that no one seemed to ask – why does the Yen and Japanese Government Bonds rally whenever there is a crisis? The obvious answer was capital flows from Japan would create a bull market in the area they flowed to, and then when the Japanese pulled capital back, it would create a bear market, often with significant currency volatility. Armed with that observation, and combined with analysis of the commodity markets, we build a portfolio that was largely short emerging market and long bonds. Since 2016, using the same analysis as above, Japanese capital flows have almost exclusively been to the US, and are an order of magnitude larger than anything seen before. And yet, US equities still power ahead, Yen remains weak, and currency volatility has been consigned to the history books. Of course, I asked myself why this is. Why did a model that worked so well, for the best part of 25 years, stop working? The obvious answer is that central banks led Quantitative Easing (QE). But that answer alone seems insufficient to me. Japan has had low interest rates for years and was still racked by bouts of extreme equity and currency volatility. The other problem with that answer is that the big inflation spike seen this year should then lead to greater volatility in equities, especially as central banks dial back QE programs. The answer for me comes from China. China wants a strong currency, and to keep consumption strong. It seems to me that the Chinese government uses it extraordinary control of the economy to control activity and the currency through the commodity markets. To elaborate, I expected China to post a weak trade surplus in October, and for currency devaluation fears to spike (particularly after the recent Evergrande selloff). Chinese trade surplus was actually very strong. And it was strong because Chinese imports of oil and iron ore were down significantly. Chinese steel production was down a stunning 20% year on year, a number you would typically only see in a bad recession. China has effectively taken control of key commodities, and now adjusts volumes to suit its own needs. Taking all this volatility through physical markets, has essentially collapsed financial market volatility, and also led to commodity currencies being significantly weaker than commodity prices – which has been a problem for me this year. Now I understand this, non-obvious trades at the beginning of the year such as long oil, short iron ore now seem obvious. The surprising weakness of gold and other precious metals can make sense in this analysis. It also explains why the extraordinary fiscal and monetary policies of the US have not been met with greater commodity or bond turbulence. It is very hard for me to get bearish US treasuries when I see Chinese steel production down 20% year on year. The big question then is whether this Chinese policy of absorbing financial risk in the physical economy sustainable? History suggests not, as most countries prefer to devalue than slow economic growth. However, I can see reasons why China may continue with this policy. The most powerful is that with US policymakers seemingly unable to raise interest rates, or balance budgets there is a gap in the market for a credible currency. Is China making a play for reserve currency status? And this is why I am returning capital. Markets have now become a political choice. US markets are essentially a bet on the Fed unable to raise rates, and congress unable to regulate big tech or raise corporate tax rates. Commodity markets have now become a bet on Chinese policy objectives, and currencies have become a bet on what Chinese policy objectives are too. Give me an economic problem, then I can properly gauge risk. Give me a Chinese political problem – I am taking a guess as much as the next person. Did I think Alibaba was going to fall 50% this year? No, not until the Chinese government told me to think that way. Is Alibaba a good short now? I have no idea, and like everyone else will have to wait to see what the Chinese government says. So, I think it time to step back, have a think about where we are going, and then come back when I can see an opportunity for my skill set. Perhaps that’s never, but I doubt it. The only constant in life is change. This will be my final newsletter and it just leaves me to thank you for your support and wish you all the success in the future. From a personal perspective I plan to keep producing research, so keep an eye out for my future notes. Russell. As usual, the full letter is available to professional subs in the usual place. Tyler Durden Thu, 11/11/2021 - 10:34.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 11th, 2021