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An Airbus A320 jet crash landed on the Hudson River with no fatalities 13 years ago. Now the plane is a part of a museum in Charlotte.

Captain Sullenberger's heroic life-or-death decision has become world-famous, with the accident dubbed the "Miracle on the Hudson." Miracle on the Hudson A320.Daniel Barry/Getty Images Exactly 13 years have passed since an Airbus A320 miraculously crash-landed on the Hudson River with no fatalities. Pilots Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger and Jeffrey Skiles ditched the powerless plane on the river after a bird strike. The damaged aircraft sat on display in Charlotte, North Carolina before moving to storage, but will be back in 2022. It has been 13 years since captain Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger and first officer Jeffrey Skiles maneuvered a fully loaded Airbus A320 jet onto the Hudson River after the plane suffered total engine failure from a bird strike.Miracle on the Hudson A320.John Roca/NY Daily News via Getty ImagesSource: BritannicaThe damaged US Airways aircraft crash-landed on the water, but, there were zero fatalities. Sullenberger's heroic life-or-death decision has become world-famous, with the accident dubbed the "Miracle on the Hudson."Sully presented with keys to the city.Timothy Fadek/Corbis via Getty ImagesSource: Britannica150 passengers were on board the plane, who evacuated after the crash at the direction of flight attendants Donna Dent, Doreen Welsh, and Sheila Dale.Flight attendants presented with keys to the city.Michael Nagle/Getty ImagesSource: Britannica, CN TravelerThe passengers were forced to stand on the wings and sit in rafts in freezing temperatures as the aircraft slowly sunk, anxiously waiting for rescue boats to arrive.Miracle on the Hudson A320.ReutersSource: Britannica, WCNC14 boats and dozens of emergency first responders and ferry crews saved the passengers within minutes of the accident. Many of the passengers had been exposed to harsh 30-degree waters.Passengers being rescued from the raft.ReutersSource: Britannica, Hudson ReporterIn an interview with WCNC in 2019, passenger Barry Leonard, who was first to exit the plane, explained the harrowing situation. "I didn't know what to do," he said. "The flight attendant said jump. So I jumped." He was in the water for about four minutes before being pulled onto a raft.Passengers stand on the wings of the ditched plane.ReutersSource: WCNCThe "miracle" grabbed the attention of people across the world and even inspired the movie Sully, where Tom Hanks played the skilled pilot.Sully, Tom Hanks, and director Clint Eastwood.ReutersSource: IMDbMoreover, the National Transportation Safety Board described the flight as "the most successful ditching in aviation history."NTSB.Ramin Talaie/Getty ImagesSource: Honeywell AerospaceAfter the NTSB determined the cause of the crash, it was clear the historic plane needed a permanent home. So, the A320 was put up for auction by insurance firm Chartis but, unfortunately, had no buyers.Miracle on the Hudson A320.Daniel Barry/Getty ImagesSource: Simple FlyingHowever, the plane was not going to be scraped. Instead, it was donated to the Carolinas Aviation Museum in Charlotte, North Carolina by the American International Group. The plane was transported via highway to its new home.Miracle on the Hudson A320.Tim Shaffer/ReutersSource: TimeSully spoke at the museum in June 2011 for the plane's arrival and was accompanied by many of the passengers and other crewmembers.Sully speaking at the museum.ReutersSource: TimeSurvivors also donated personal belongings to be on display in the museum. Moreover, several artifacts from the crash, like life vests, seat cushions, and emergency doors, are also part of the exhibit.Sully inside the Miracle on the Hudson A320.Todd Sumlin/Charlotte Observer/Tribune News Service via Getty ImagesSource: TimeThe A320 became the museum's centerpiece, complete with the damage it suffered during the crash. Visitors got the opportunity to witness the dents and breaks to the engines...Miracle on the Hudson engine.Taylor Rains/Insider...nose...Miracle on the Hudson nose.Taylor Rains/Insider...wings...Miracle on the Hudson wing.Taylor Rains/Insider...and tail.Miracle on the Hudson tail.Taylor Rains/InsiderAccording to the museum, the aircraft was a "game-changer" for revenue, with guests coming from all over to see the famous plane. What was once a niche site with mostly unknown aircraft quickly became a place of national and historic significance.Insider's Taylor Rains at the Miracle on the Hudson exhibit.Taylor Rains/InsiderSource: Charlotte ObserverNot only could visitors see the plane up close, but they could also hear from the survivors of the accident. Passengers regularly spoke at the museum, sharing their stories from that dramatic day.Insider's Taylor Rains with a Miracle on the Hudson survivor.Taylor Rains/Insider"What's amazing is there's 155 different stories from that day and I like hearing everybody else's stories, and it just makes it so miraculous," Laurie Crane told WCNC in 2019. "Some people thought we were going to die on the plane, then we thought we were going to die on the river. That we all were saved, it's just a godsend."Miracle on the Hudson passengers.Mike Coppola/FilmMagic via Getty ImagesSource: WCNCThe plane was the museum's centerpiece until 2019 when it was moved to storage after the site temporarily closed while it finds a new hangar to store its aviation collection. However, the A320 will not be gone forever.Flight 1549 items in the museum's gift-shop lobby.John Bordsen/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty ImagesSource: WCNCAccording to the museum, the aircraft will find a new home in 2022 where it will once again be on display for public viewings.Miracle on the Hudson fuselage.Taylor Rains/InsiderSource: WCNCRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytJan 15th, 2022

This A-10 pilot repeatedly drew fire away from rescue helicopters during an intense firefight 10 years ago. He finally received an award for it.

His heroic actions were part of what one Air Force officer called "one of the most intense combat rescue missions of the Afghanistan war." A U.S. Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II flies over the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility.US Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Duncan C. Bevan An A-10 pilot received the Distinguished Flying Cross recently for heroism during a fight 10 years ago. His actions were part of what one official called "one of the most intense combat rescue missions of the Afghanistan war." The pilot not only coordinated 21 aircraft over 37 communications frequencies, but he put himself in harm's way to draw fire. A US Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II attack aircraft pilot received a prestigious award recently for his role in a dangerous rescue mission 10 years ago in Afghanistan, the Air Force said in a statement.Lt. Col. Mike "Vago" Hilkert, a pilot with the 303rd Fighter Squadron, was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross last month for heroism during what has been described as "one of the most intense combat rescue missions of the Afghanistan war."During that six-hour fight on April 23, 2011, Hilkert not only coordinated the warfighting efforts of 21 aircraft over dozens of frequencies, but he also intentionally put himself and his plane in harm's way repeatedly to draw enemy fire away from rescue helicopters.The 442nd Fighter Wing said Hilkert also helped save the lives of more than 30 people.In the early hours of the day, when it was still dark, two Air Force HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopters carrying pararescuemen were sent out to respond to a downed Army helicopter.One helicopter, call sign Pedro 83, dropped three pararescuemen onto a ridge several hundred feet from the crash site, where they found one of the Army helicopter pilots alive. The other Pave Hawk, Pedro 84, dropped two PJs closer to the crash site. The other pilot was dead when they arrived.The PJs and their helicopters began taking heavy fire almost immediately.Pedro 84 took heavy fire, and the flight engineer was shot in the leg, forcing the helicopter to return to base to get the airman medical attention and to grab another engineer. The two PJs, Staff Sgts. Zachary Kline and Bill Cenna, were left at the crash site.Pedro 83 tried to get the three PJs and the surviving pilot out but had to cut the hoist, instead lowering the helicopter down into what the Air Force described as "a daring one-wheel hover" to get them back.Supported by AH-64 Apache helicopters flying overwatch, Kline and Cenna took cover in a rock outcropping, but they were forced to abandon that position and relocate as enemy fire set off the munitions on the downed Army helicopter.An Air Force A-10 flies a mission over AfghanistanUS Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. Corey HookHilkert, then a captain with the 74th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron, was supporting ground forces in his A-10 when the call for help came in over the Guard frequency."You need to understand that in a combat zone using Guard is sacred — a last resort," Lt. Col. Rick Mitchell, the 442d Operations Group deputy commander who presented Hilkert with the DFC, said in a statement, calling it "a true sign that things are bad, and someone needs help."Hilkert, fueled in part by Rip-It energy drinks and flying Hawg 73, joined forces with Capt. Rustin "Trombone" Traynham and Lt. Col. David "Seymour" Haworth in Hawg 71 and 74 respectively, forming Sandy 1, a force of three A-10s.They fired rockets into the valley while Hilkert established airspace restriction and communications relays for coordinating the fight.The rockets gave Kline and Cenna a short reprieve before they soon found themselves taking heavy machine gun fire at close range.Hilkert managed to identify the threat and relay targeting information to the other two A-10s while refueling, which is no easy task, and the two other pilots opened fire with their 30 mm cannons, "saving Kline's and Cenna's lives," the Air Force said.Two groups of 16 Army quick reaction force soldiers landed at two different locations later that morning, immediately coming under fire. One soldier was killed, and a number of others were wounded.Hilkert tracked one group with his binoculars while monitoring the other with his targeting pod. He also coordinated the efforts of the attack helicopters, tanker, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets, and the other attack aircraft to shield ground forces from friendly fire while tracking enemy positions.Two rescue helicopters supported by two Apaches and two A-10s flown by Hilkert and Haworth flew in to evacuate a wounded soldier, but the helicopters kept having to fall back amid heavy incoming fire.To draw the fire away from the helicopters trying to carry out a rescue mission, Hilkert repeatedly flew his aircraft into harm's way. The Apaches then hammered the enemy positions with Hellfire missiles.Another rescue helicopter flew in and got Kline and Cenna, who also managed to get the fallen Army pilot out as well.Though the Air Force praised Hilkert, saying that his "skill and vigilance led to the securing of two landing zones, rescuing the two Guardian Angels, and recovering the downed pilot and evacuation of the 32 soldiers in the QRF team," he said the experience was "bittersweet.""I'm honored to be amongst a group of heroes that did their best with a bad situation," he said in a statement. "Several people lost their lives during this mission, so it wasn't all high fives when we got home. We flew back to Kandahar in silence."Hilkert is the fourth Air Force pilot who participated in that mission to earn the Distinguished Flying Cross. Additionally, two pararescue airmen received Silver Stars, as did two helicopter pilots.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 16th, 2021

The A-10 Warthog a pilot won an award for crash landing has been put back together after 3 years in the shop

A pilot belly-landed the aircraft after a gun misfire caused an explosion that damaged the landing gear and blew his cockpit canopy off. Capt. Brett DeVries and his wingman, Maj. Shannon Vickers, both A-10 Thunderbolt II pilots, made an emergency landing at the Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center after the A-10 DeVries was flying experienced a malfunction, July 20, US Air Force/Terry Atwell In 2017, an A-10 Warthog pilot belly-landed his attack aircraft with landing gear up and no cockpit canopy. The next year, it was delivered to a maintenance team in pieces. After three years of work, the plane has been put back together and is once again airworthy. The A-10 Warthog a pilot won an award for crash landing has been put back together after 3 years in the shopThe US Air Force managed to put an A-10 attack aircraft back together after a pilot crash-landed the plane with inoperable landing gear and no cockpit canopy. It took the service over three years to get it airworthy again.On June 20, 2017, Brett DeVries, then a captain, successfully pulled off what a former secretary of the Air Force called an "extraordinary" feat of flying.During a training exercise above Grayling Air Gunnery Range, the pilot with the "Red Devils" of the Michigan Air National Guard ran into trouble when the powerful GAU-8/A Avenger cannon on his aircraft failed, triggering an explosion that blew the cockpit canopy and aircraft paneling off.Flying at roughly 375 mph, the wind slammed DeVries into his seat. "It was like someone sucker punched me," he said in a past retelling of the incident.After pulling up from 150 feet to a safer altitude, he began checking his equipment, only to discover that part of his landing gear was damaged and would not come down."Landing a plane with the gear down is good. Landing with it up is not ideal," an official account of DeVries' experiences said. "Landing with some of it up and some of it down, well, those stories seldom end well."He opted for a belly landing with all landing gear up, something the A-10 is built to handle but is still risky. He put the plane on the ground and walked away unharmed, becoming the first to belly land an A-10 with no cockpit canopy.For his flying, which not only saved himself but also the aircraft, the Air Force awarded Maj. Brett DeVries the Distinguished Flying Cross last fall.Putting it back togetherDeVries' A-10, tail number 80-0264, was delivered to the 309th Aircraft Maintenance Group at Hill Air Foce Base in pieces in 2018, the Air Force said in a recent statement on efforts to repair the plane. The maintenance team was asked to try to bring the aircraft back to life.Daniel Wise, the 571st Aircraft Maintenance Squadron A-10 planning chief, said "we knew we could do it, but it would take a long time."He explained that the damage from the cannon malfunction and resulting explosion, which was much more severe than the damage from the belly landing, required the maintenance personnel to basically rebuild the entire front of the plane."There's a main nose bean right next to the gun that blew up, so the inside of the entire gun cavity had to be rebuilt," Scott Oster, the 571st AMXS lead A-10 planner, explained. "It was just a whole lot of structural work, like 90 percent."Many of the necessary parts for the 40-year-old aircraft were unavailable though, which meant they had to manufacture the parts themselves.As Task & Purpose noted in its reporting, Air Force efforts to retire the A-10, which have faced congressional pushback, have put a strain on the ability to procure the parts for the aging close-air support aircraft that was first introduced in the 1970s.Oster said that "with any of the other weapons systems, if they have a bad part, they order it through supply and replace it. On the A-10s, we're kind of in a different world."But, after three years of work on the damaged attack aircraft, the team got the plane put back together again."We're all pretty passionate about keeping the A-10 alive and in the air," Wise said. "It's America's number-one choice for close-air support and getting 264 ready to fly back home is really something to be proud of."DeVries' A-10 was expected to fly back to its home station with the Michigan Air National Guard last week, but that has been delayed, a Guard spokesperson told Insider.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 3rd, 2021

How a US government program advocated using nuclear explosions for construction, farming radioactive crops, and blasting holes in the moon

In the 50s and 60s, the US dreamed up ways to bring nuclear tech into everyday life - like building dams with bombs or growing radioactive crops. Atoms for Peace. U.S. Department of Energy; Los Alamos National Laboratory; U.S. Department of Energy/National Nuclear Security Administration; Atomic Energy Commission; Samantha Lee/Insider A 50s US campaign called "Atoms for Peace" sought to bolster the reputation of nuclear weapons. It lasted for decades and encompassed schemes to use nukes to excavate highways and frack for gas. One expert called the campaign "propaganda" to cover up US nuclear proliferation. In 1963, nuclear experts had an idea for the US Department of Energy: to use 520 nuclear bombs to blast a second Suez canal through Israel's Negev desert.The US decided not to do that. But the plan, which seems outlandish now, was one of main considered in a concerted push to rehabilitate nuclear weapons by exploring their civilian uses.So-called peaceful nuclear blasts were the focus of intense political will, championed by the White House and given ample funding - and nuclear fuel - in the hope of making atomic blasts a part of everyday life. A crater created by the Sedan explosion in Nevada. Its scope dwarfs the construction vehicles seen on the left-hand side. U.S. Department of Energy Office of Scientific and Technical Information Despite its idealistic talk of harnessing destructive technology for good, in the years since these efforts have come to be seen as a ploy to provide cover for US nuclear research as its weapons stockpile ballooned."The idea was to offer some new vision for the world to make the US seem like a peace-loving country when it was planning to do this major upscaling of its military arsenal," historian Jacob Hamblin told Insider.(Hamblin is the author of the book "The Wretched Atom: America's Global Gamble with Peaceful Nuclear Technology.")Plans reviewed by Insider show the ideas circulating in the 1950s and 1960s to widen the use of nuclear materials. A diagram from an Atomic Energy Commission pamphlet describing how two nuclear blasts could be used to dam a river. US department of energy. Most focused on the potential for nuclear explosions to quickly excavate areas for construction projects at lower costs than conventional explosives.Some sought to harness radiation too, including purposefully mutating food crops with radiation in the hope of improving their quality.Relatively little attention was paid to the downsides, particularly the radioactive material such blasts would leave behind. President Dwight D. Eisenhower delivering the Atoms for Peace speech at the United Nations. IAEA Imagebank/United Nations/New York In December 1953, President Dwight D. Eisenhower gave an address at the UN which became known as the "Atoms for Peace" speech, in which he foresaw a world of peaceful nuclear devices.The problem was that, in 1953, all he really had was bombs."At that point, ninety-something percent of all atomic energy was military-related, said Alex Wellerstein, historian and author of "Restricted Data: the History of Nuclear Secrecy in the US.""There was a little bit of stuff with medical isotopes. These are just so tiny and insignificant compared to the bomb research."In an isotopic gardenThe answer was the US Atomic Energy Commission, a federal agency created to find peaceful uses for nukes."I don't think of it as 'big hammer, small nails.' I think of it as: 'I'm a hammer, I'm looking for nails,'" said Hamblin. One idea, atomic gardening, aimed to solve the world's food crisis.The principle is simple, if optimistic: different crops were arranged in a circle around a source of radioactive material, in the hope that the radiation would encourage random mutations that would improve the plants. An example of an atomic garden run by the Institute of Radiation Breeding in Hitachiomiya, Japan. Google Earth Many of these gardens didn't yield the superhero crops that were hoped for. But the technology did create some interesting breeds.The Star Ruby grapefruit, a widely-farmed variety that is recognizable because of its dark pink flesh and strong flavor, is said to have been bred from atomic gardening.Fly the radioactive skiesUS officials also hoped nuclear energy could be used for transportation. Newly-developed nuclear reactors worked a charm in submarines. But scientists had also developed plans for a nuclear-powered plane - which was touted to be able to fly one or more times around the world without having to land, per The Atlantic. They dreamed, too, of nuclear-powered rockets flying into space.Neither of these materialized and it's probably for the best, said Hamblin."All you really need is one crash and you've got a nuclear reactor that has fallen out of the sky," he said. A schematic of NASA's proposed Nuclear Engine for Rocket Vehicle Application (NERVA) program of the 1960s. NASA In space, nobody can hear you detonate a bombAnother close call was Project A119. A perfect example of the Atoms for Peace mindset, it suggested nuking the surface of the moon for the benign purpose of learning more about how craters are formed.Decades later, Dr Leonard Reiffel, a government physicist who fronted the project, said that its true purpose was to intimidate the Soviet Union, which had recently embarrassed the US by launching its Sputnik V satellite."The Air Force wanted a mushroom cloud so large it would be visible on earth," he said in 2000. A woman dancing in front of a mushroom cloud during Operation Upshot-Knothole, April 1953. U.S. Department of Energy/National Nuclear Security Administration, Nevada Site Office, UK-53-093. Big bombs made cheapAs the US made more bombs, each one become cheaper - heralding the possibility that nuclear explosives could supplant conventional ones like TNT in excavation work.This table, from an AEC document, gives prices for excavation by different methods, making the case that the best choice economically were very large nukes: A table compares the estimated cost of energy production by source from the "Understanding the atoms" information booklet US Department of Energy "By the 50s, the US is no longer in a place of nuclear scarcity, but it's in a world of nuclear plenty. They have more nukes than they need militarily. They can produce them much cheaper than they used to," said Wellerstein.The AEC's Project Chariot aimed to use four buried 100-kiloton nuclear bombs to create an artificial fishing harbor in Alaska's Cape Thompson.Its opponents did worry that fallout from the explosions could harm the environment, but AEC director Edward Teller was adamant that such risks were "greatly exaggerated," as he told Popular Mechanics magazine in 1960.The project was vehemently opposed by locals, including the Inupiaq people, who eventually stopped the project from going ahead, per The New York Times.By road or by riverAnother bold infrastructure plan was Project Carryall.The scheme called for 22 nuclear blasts, of between 20 and 200 kilotons, to blast a path through inconveniently-placed mountains in California's Mojave desert, through which a new highway and railroad could be built. A schematic shows the profile and nuclear explosive location for Project Carryall. US Department of Energy As well as blasting a canal through Israel, the US also considered using nuclear explosives to create an alternative to the Panama canal.Nicknamed the "pan-atomic canal," nuclear explosions would have carved a sea-level waterway through Nicaragua, Panama, or Colombia, per Forbes. A map shows proposed alternate routes to the Panama Canal. US Department of Energy US scientists boasted that any such canal would make the Panama route obsolete, as nuclear technology could blast a far deeper channel and connect the Atlantic and Pacific directly, rather than using the series of locks seen in the existing route.Blasting for gasA series of nuclear tests were also carried out to assess whether subterranean atomic blasts could help free natural gas from under the ground - essentially using bombs for a type of fracking.Five detonations took place to test the principle:Gasbuggy: a 29 kiloton explosion near Farmington, New Mexico in 1967.Rulison: one 40 kiloton detonation near Rulison, Colorado in 1969.Rio Blanco: three 30 kilotons explosions near Rifle, Colorado in 1973. The plan did work, but the gas that was collected was contaminated with radiation, which prevented its use.All of these projects were gradually suspended and scrapped, to Teller's frustration.He went to his grave convinced that the ideas would have worked but for the "unjustified fear of radiation," he said shortly before dying in 2003. A few people are gathered at the Atoms For Peace bus, a mobile exhibit from the Atomic Energy Commission circa 1947-1972. CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images Nuclear electric power is probably the most successful application, which was envied around the world."Everybody wanted that electricity generation because it was kind of a symbol of modernity," said Hamblin.Nuclear power helped the US gain political traction around the world.For instance, in 1967, the US supplied Iran - then a US ally with a secular leader - with a 5-megawatt nuclear research reactor and highly enriched uranium to fuel it."Basically the US was saying: Hey, guess what? We are going to help you with a nuclear program. We will give you nuclear reactors, we're going to help you staff it," said Wellerstein. The idea is "if you have a dinky reactor program for peace, you probably don't have a proper reactor for war [and] I'm going to know exactly what you have exactly what you're capable of," he said. People look into the crater from the Project Sedan nuclear explosion near Mercury, Nevada, USA (undated). Corbis via Getty Images For Hamblin, the concept of "peaceful nuclear explosions" fell out of favor in the mid-70s. By then, the Cuba missile crisis and the Vietnam war had soured the country's relationship with atomic bombs. During the Atoms for Peace era, the US carried out 27 peaceful nuclear explosions on US soil - four in Colorado and New Mexico, the rest in Nevada - and several aboard, including 67 tests carried out in the Marshall Islands. 150-megaton thermonuclear explosion, Bikini Atoll, 1 March 1954. Ann Ronan Pictures/Print Collector/Getty Images Its legacy has been hotly disputed, said Wellerstein."Some of what came out of that project I think is pretty good. I think nuclear medicine is unambiguously good, right? Nuclear power I think is, on balance, good," he said.But it is clear that there had been little consideration for the long-term consequences, he said."Literally, the plan was: yeah, yeah, we'll figure that out at some point in the future," Wellerstein said. What is sure is that the tests left behind victims.Some Marshall islanders are still unsure whether they can safely go back to live on the islands. Navajo uranium miners and their families, who were exposed to toxic heavy metals for years, were left with serious health issues like cancers, respiratory illnesses, and Navajo neuropathy, a neurological disorder that affects children.Nuclear waste also accumulated without much of a plan for disposal.According to Hamblin, the "Atoms for Peace" campaign also inspired some of the arms-control problems that most frustrate the US today."Countries use it to bolster the peaceful side of what they're doing when intelligence organizations would say: they're building a nuclear bomb," he said. "They will join [nuclear watchdog] the IAEA and say: "Well, actually, no, we're just doing Atoms for Peace stuff, all these technologies that are supposed to help in our development.""That is the rhetoric that the US has been supplying them for decades."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 26th, 2021

Jeff Bezos turns 58 today. Here are 14 things you might not know about the Amazon founder.

Bezos, who celebrates his birthday on January 12, started his first business when he was in high school. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.MARK RALSTON/AFP via Getty Images You might not know that Jeff Bezos almost named Amazon "Cadabra." He survived a helicopter crash in Texas in 2003. In August 2020, he became the first person to accumulate a fortune of over $200 billion. His mother, Jacklyn Bezos, gave birth to him when she was a teenager.Jeff Bezos in 1997.Paul Souders/Getty ImagesAccording to CNBC, Bezos, then Jacklyn Gise Jorgensen, was barely 17 years old and a junior in high school when she gave birth to her son in 1964. At the time, her high school administrators told her she would not be permitted to finish her education there. After she was allowed to return under strict conditions, Jacklyn Bezos graduated and later divorced from Jeff Bezos' biological father, Ted Jorgensen, after less than a year of marriage. Jeff Bezos was just over a year old at the time. She struggled to make ends meet while working as a secretary and, at one point, didn't even have enough income to afford a phone, CNBC reported.Determined to make life better for her and her son, Bezos enrolled in college classes with professors who permitted her to bring her infant along. It was there she met her future husband, Mike Bezos, a Cuban immigrant who would give Jeff Bezos his last name and step in as his father.Bezos' biological father was once a circus performer.A circus performer on a unicycle.giulia186/Getty ImagesAccording to the 2013 biography of Jeff Bezos by Brad Stone, "The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon," the now-billionaire's biological father was a unicyclist and circus performer.When Stone tracked down Jorgensen to interview him for his biography, he had reportedly not seen his son in decades and hadn't realized he was his biological father. Jorgensen reached out to his son and the two made amends, with Bezos telling him "he harbored no ill will towards Jorgensen at all," according to Stone.Ted Jorgensen died March 16, 2015, at the age of 71.Bezos was interested in how things work and engineering even as a child.Jeff Bezos.Chris Carroll/Corbis/Getty ImagesWhen Bezos was a toddler, he reportedly felt he was "too old" to sleep in a crib and managed to take it apart with a screwdriver by himself. By the time he entered high school, Bezos had transformed his home garage into a laboratory for his own inventions, Harvard Business School wrote, citing Angela Duckworth's "Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance."He started his first business when he was in high school.Jeff Bezos.Chris Carroll/Corbis/Getty ImagesWhile he was in high school, Bezos launched his very first business, an educational summer camp for fourth, fifth, and sixth graders called the Dream Institute. According to Insider, Bezos and his girlfriend at the time both worked on the camp and charged its six attendees $600 per person.Prior to starting the camp, Bezos also worked at McDonald's for a summer.Bezos worked on Wall Street in the early 1990s.Wall Street.Matteo Colombo/Getty ImagesAfter graduating from Princeton University with a degree in computer science and electrical engineering, Bezos worked at several financial firms on Wall Street in New York City, including Fitel and investment firm D.E. Shaw, Insider previously reported.Bezos worked his way up to become D.E. Shaw's youngest vice president in 1990 but left four years later to launch an online bookstore.Bezos founded Amazon in his garage.Jeff Bezos' home where he started Amazon.Nikki Kahn/The Washington Post/Getty ImagesAfter launching a prototype of the Amazon website and asking 300 friends to beta test it, Bezos and a few early employees began developing software for the site in Bezos' garage. The space was so small that Bezos was forced to hold meetings at a local Barnes & Noble, according to Insider. The small team later expanded its operations and began working out of a two-bedroom house.Jeff Bezos' former wife, MacKenzie Bezos, also played a large role in the founding of Amazon during the company's early years. After the couple divorced in 2019 after 25 years of marriage, MacKenzie Bezos received 25% of the couple's stock in Amazon, which was worth about $38 billion at the time.Jeff Bezos almost named his company "Cadabra" instead of Amazon.An Amazon logistics center.Pascal Rossignol/ReutersJeff Bezos originally wanted to give his company the more magical-sounding name but was warned against doing so by Amazon's first lawyer, Todd Tarbert, according to a previous article by Insider.Tarbert explained that the name "Cadabra" sounded a little too similar to "cadaver," especially over the phone. In the end, the founder and future billionaire went with Amazon, named after the largest river in the world because he was building the largest bookstore in the world.Bezos was a passenger in a helicopter crash in 2003.Jeff Bezos speaks at an event in Washington.REUTERS/Joshua RobertsWhile onboard an Aérospatiale Gazelle helicopter with his attorney, guide Ty Holland, and pilot Charles Bella, Bezos was involved in a serious helicopter crash in west Texas after wind blew the helicopter off course.According to Insider, the helicopter landed upside-down in a creek and partially filled with water. Bella, Bezos, and Holland all escaped the wreck with only minor injuries. However, Bezos' attorney, Elizabeth Korrell, suffered a broken vertebra from the accident."Avoid helicopters whenever possible," Bezos told Fast Company in 2004. "They're not as reliable as fixed-wing aircraft."Bezos had a cameo role in "Star Trek Beyond."Jeff Bezos attends the premiere of "Star Trek Beyond" in 2016.Kevin Winter/Getty ImagesBezos played an alien in the 2016 movie reboot, and he reportedly made quite an impression on set, with movie star Chris Pine saying Bezos arrived to set with three limousines and accompanied by nine bodyguards. "For years, I have been begging Paramount, which is owned by Viacom, to let me be in a 'Star Trek' movie. I was very persistent, and you can imagine the poor director who got the call, you know, 'You have to let Bezos be in your "Star Trek" movie,'" Bezos said at the 2016 Pathfinder Awards at Seattle's Museum of Flight. "It was super fun for me. It was a bucket list item."Bezos is the owner of the Washington Post.The Washington Post headquarters.ERIC BARADAT/AFP/Getty ImagesBezos purchased the newspaper company in 2013 for $250 million. At the time, Bezos' net worth was estimated to be over $25 billion. Immediately following the purchase, The Post Company shares rose 5.5% in after-hours trading. Under Bezos' ownership, the once-struggling newspaper turned a profit in 2016, 2017, and 2018, according to CNN.The billionaire also runs his own privately funded rocket ship company, Blue Origin.Jeff Bezos at a Blue Origin presentation.Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty ImagesThe aerospace manufacturer and sub-orbital spaceflight services company was founded in 2000 and is headquartered in Kent, Washington, which is also Bezos' home state. "Blue Origin believes that in order to preserve Earth, our home, for our grandchildren's grandchildren, we must go to space to tap its unlimited resources and energy," the company's mission statement reads.On June 20, 2021, Bezos and three companions successfully journeyed to the edge of space before returning back to Earth just minutes later.He became a self-made billionaire in 1999 at 35 years old.Jeff Bezos appears on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" in 1999.NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal/Getty ImagesThe same year that Bezos first registered on the Forbes Billionaires list, Amazon's headquarters was on the same street as a pawn shop and an adult film store, according to CNBC.Since, Bezos' net worth has drastically grown ...In August 2020, Bezos became the first person in modern history to accumulate a fortune of over $200 billion.Kim Kardashian West, Kylie Jenner, Kendall Jenner, and Jeff Bezos attend the 2019 Met Gala.Kevin Mazur/MG19/Getty ImagesIn February 2021, at the time Amazon announced he would be stepping down as CEO, Bezos was worth $196.2 billion.He is now worth $191.5 billion, according to Forbes.Also that year, he bought a massive Beverly Hills compound for $165 million, in what was the most expensive home sale in California history at the time.A Google Maps satellite view of the Jack Warner Estate.Google MapsIn February 2020, Bezos broke a California record when he bought the Warner estate, which had belonged to billionaire David Geffen. The $165 million sale was the most expensive home sale in state history, Business Insider reported at the time.The estate, which was built by Warner Bros. co-founder Jack Warner in 1937, spans 8 acres and has an eight-bedroom, 13,600-square-foot Georgian-style mansion, as well as two guest houses.The purchase came after Bezos and his girlfriend, Lauren Sanchez, had reportedly been house hunting in Los Angeles for a few weeks.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJan 13th, 2022

We Analyzed the Emissions 4 Families Generated in a Week. Here’s What We Learned About Living Greener

If 2021 was one of our last, best, chances to save the planet, it was also the year that we bought lots and lots of stuff, cooped up at home and frustrated with the pandemic. That shopping acted counter to the goal of reducing our carbon footprint; consumption drives about 60% of greenhouse gas emissions… If 2021 was one of our last, best, chances to save the planet, it was also the year that we bought lots and lots of stuff, cooped up at home and frustrated with the pandemic. That shopping acted counter to the goal of reducing our carbon footprint; consumption drives about 60% of greenhouse gas emissions globally, as the factories that make our stuff and the ships and trucks that bring it to us generate emissions, not to mention the emissions caused by mining for raw materials and farming the food we eat. Amazon alone reported in June that its emissions went up 19% in 2020 because of the boom in shopping during the pandemic. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] Still, it can be hard, as an individual or a family, to care enough to change habits. Buying things has become one of the few sources of joy for many people since COVID-19 began sweeping the globe—and shopping online has become necessary for people trying to stay at home and avoid potential exposure. But goods are so cheap and easily available online that it feels harmless to add one more thing to your shopping cart. Convincing yourself to be environmentally conscious in your shopping habits feels a bit like convincing yourself to vote—obviously you should do it, but do the actions of one person really matter? As I kept buying things that I thought I needed while cooped up at home, I wondered: how much was my shopping, individually, contributing to climate change? Those pairs of extra-soft sweatpants, those reams of high density rubber foam that I use to baby-proof my apartment, those disposable yogurt bins and takeout food containers, all made from plastic and paper and other raw materials; was I—and other U.S. families spending so much money on stuff—making it that much harder to reach the COP26 goal of preventing warming from going beyond 1.5°C? Read more: Our Shopping Obsession is Causing a Literal Stink In order to estimate the carbon footprint of the shopping habits of families like mine, I asked four families in four cities—Denver, Colo., Atlanta, Ga., San Francisco, Calif., and Salem, Mass.—to track their spending the week beginning on Cyber Monday, Nov. 29, so I could try to determine what parts of their holiday spending were most harmful to the environment. I chose to calculate their carbon footprint rather than other impacts like the amount of water used to make the products they bought because scientists agree on the urgency of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to protect the planet’s future.   Courtesy photoThe baby in the Salem family opens a holiday gift. Measuring one’s carbon footprint is difficult, especially because much of the environmental impact from spending is upstream, at the factories that burn fossil fuels to make cars, for example, and at the farms that raise cows for our consumption and release methane. So I asked for help from David Allaway, a senior policy analyst at the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, who has been working for years to calculate the carbon footprint that comes from consumer spending. To figure out how much the consumption habits of Oregonians contribute to climate change, and what the state should be doing to remedy this, Allaway commissioned the Stockholm Environment Institute to produce the first state-level analysis of the environmental footprint of Oregon’s consumer spending in 2011. This analysis, called consumption-based emissions accounting, roughly estimates the emissions that come from consumer purchases in 536 different categories, including things as specific as beef cattle, books, and full-service restaurants. It counts the emissions of all purchases by consumers, regardless of where those emissions were created—in Mexico, picking, packing, and shipping bananas; in Saudi Arabia, drilling for and refining petroleum. Allaway has refined the analysis since then and completed it again in 2015. Allaway agreed to use the model he has honed to calculate the carbon footprint of these four families, based on how much money they spent in each category. The families sent me their expenses, excluding housing, and I entered them into the categories in Allaway’s model. This is, of course, an inexact model: The families only tracked one week of spending, and their spending was self-reported, so it’s possible they missed an expense or two. Still, the estimates give a good overview of the emissions driven by the behavior of different families. They only tracked one week of spending, and I prorated their electricity and power costs, so this is still an inexact calculator. A family might spend a lot one week and not much the following week. Still, the estimates give a good overview of just how much of a difference individuals can make in reducing their carbon footprint, and they shed light on exactly how our spending drives emissions. Although many consumers have a lot of guilt about disposing of things once they’re done with them, whether it be plastic packaging or a shirt that they’ve worn a few times and then stained, we just looked at consumption. That’s because the emissions from the disposal of goods is tiny compared to the emissions created from producing something in the first place. “By the time you purchase something, 99% of the damage has already been done,” Allaway told me. This means that the “reduce” part of “reduce, reuse, recycle,” is the most important. Read more: How American Consumers Broke the Supply Chain Buying less stuff is a piece of reducing emissions, but families can most reduce their carbon footprints through their eating and travel habits. The Denver family, which is vegetarian and has solar panels on their roof, had a significantly smaller footprint than the others. The families that ate beef and dairy and that bought plane tickets were responsible for the most emissions. There’s a reason the Swedish have a word “flygskam,” or “flight shame”: one flight can cancel out the most tightfisted family’s progress for a week. In general, spending on services and experiences, like concert tickets or museum subscriptions, is more environmentally friendly than spending on goods, because part of what you are paying for is labor. Allaway estimates that every $100 spent on materials accounts for about three times more emissions than $100 spent on services. Of course, there are exceptions—spending $100 on a steak dinner for two could have higher emissions than spending $100 on groceries to make a vegan meal at home. A few more quick caveats: these are all families with annual incomes of more than $100,000, and I sourced them from friends of friends and social media. They are all white, which is the group that is responsible for the highest levels of consumption in the U.S., and as a result, the most emissions. TIME agreed to use only their initials and the cities in which they live in order to encourage them to openly share their consumption habits without fear of being shamed for their purchases. The results varied widely, from a family in San Francisco that had a weekly carbon footprint of 1,267 kg of carbon dioxide equivalent—about the same as driving from New York to San Francisco in a gas-powered car—to the family in Denver whose weekly carbon footprint was just 360 kgCO2, the equivalent of driving from Denver to Tucson. Here are their detailed weekly breakdowns. The Family That Spends a Lot Online A.S. + W.H. Location: Salem, Mass. Children: 1-year-old Combined household income: about $200,000 Total emissions: 819 kgCO2e   This family spent about $2,800 for the week and had a carbon footprint of 819 kgCO2e, the equivalent of a passenger car driving 2,058 miles, according to the EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator. That’s the same as they would have emitted from driving from Salem, Mass. to Charleston, S.C., and back. A.S and W.H. own their home in the coastal community of Salem, Mass. and have a baby daughter. Before becoming parents, the couple was used to buying things and using them for years. But they’re finding that as their daughter grows, their pace of shopping has sped up. “One of the things that makes having a baby so wasteful is that you need something, and when you need it, you need it urgently,” A.S. told me. “You need it for three weeks, and then you don’t need it anymore.” Online shopping has been a source of contention for the couple; W.H. buys almost everything online, which his spouse thinks creates needless waste. The two have asked their extended family to cut back on buying goods and to gift them experiences or services instead, but relatives have been resistant to change. Their biggest single source of consumption-based emissions from the week, 138 kgCO2e, came from buying stuff online. They spent $298.99 for gifts for two family friends: two subscription boxes from Little Passports, which will send the recipients crafts, puzzles and books about different locations around the world for a year. This falls into the “dolls, toys, and games” category, which means the emissions-per-dollar would have been calculated the same regardless of what dolls, toys, and games they bought. Most of the emissions in this category come from the factories that make this stuff, rather than the materials mined or produced to create them, Allaway said, so it wouldn’t really matter environmentally whether they bought these toys at Amazon, Walmart or at a local toy store. They also bought a $269.20 wall sconce, a purchase that created 105 kgCO2e. Aside from those purchases, their biggest emissions came from the food they ate—specifically beef and dairy products. A.S. and W.H. had a pizza dinner with family during the week and a few snacks and coffees at local restaurants; all meals out, whether sit-down or take-out, are categorized as services. But they did buy around $40 worth of ice cream, yogurt and cheese, and they participated in a food share that provided them with around $28 of red meat (the protein changes every week.) Dairy and beef cause a lot more emissions than vegetables; the family spent roughly the same amount on vegetables and on dairy products, but the dairy was responsible for more than double the emissions as their veggies. The couple told me that they’ve been trying to cut back on dairy but have had a hard time finding an environmentally-responsible alternative; almond milk uses up crucial water, for example, and coconut milk requires a lot of emissions-heavy transport to get from where coconuts are grown to New England. They also wonder whether cutting back on things they enjoy is worth the sacrifice. Spending $30 on beef produces about 47 kgCO2e, which is the same as driving about 120 miles. Why should they stop buying cheese if their neighbor is driving that far to commute to and from work every week? “That’s one of the big pieces of friction between me and my husband,” A.S. told me. “I think he sees this as too big of a problem for any individual behavior to change.” The Family That Eats Out a Lot M.C. and N.A. Location: Atlanta, Ga. Children: 14 months and 3 ½ years old Combined household income: $100k-$200k Total emissions: 757 kgCO2e   This family spent about $1,361 for the week and had consumption-based emissions of 757 kg CO2e, the same as if they’d driven a car 1,902 miles, according to the EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator. That’s the distance from Atlanta to Las Vegas. The Atlanta family’s emissions came in slightly lower than the Salem family’s. M.C. told me that this week was atypical for them because they usually buy diapers and fill up on gas, and they didn’t do either this week. They did eat out a lot—they were surprised by how much, once they started counting, but because of the way Allaway’s model works, restaurants are a lower-emissions way to spend money than buying a lot of goods. (The model doesn’t account for what you eat at a restaurant, but since so much of a restaurant’s bill is for service, rather than a tangible product, the spending often creates lower emissions.) M.C. told me that because they’re in their car so much, they often stop by quick-service restaurants like Chick-Fil-A to get a fast dinner if they don’t have time to prepare something at home. The pandemic has made them feel guilty about the environmental repercussions of eating out so much, because even sit-down restaurants serve food on disposable plates, with plastic utensils. But their biggest source of emissions for the week was something out of their control—electricity generation. Their electricity bill is about $200 a month but can be as high as $500 in the summer and winter, the family told me. I prorated that to $50 a week, which led to 254 kg CO2e, one of the highest single weekly sources of emissions for any family. (That’s the equivalent of a car driving from New York to Detroit.) The Atlanta and Denver households had higher emissions from their electricity and natural gas bills than the other two families in part because these regions are more reliant on coal-fired power plants, Allaway said. N.A., who works in finance, takes public transit to work, and the family has been trying to move away from spending money on things and toward spending on experiences. But something like cutting back on red meat or being more conscious about the products they buy can be hard, M.C. said. She has enough going on already. “With two little kids, I don’t think about it,” she said. The Family That Travels A.A. and M.T. Location: San Francisco Children: 18 months Combined household Income: more than $300,000 Total emissions: 1,267 kg CO2e   The wealthiest families create the most emissions, and that was certainly true with the San Francisco family, which was the highest-earning of the four families and which generated the highest emissions: the equivalent of driving from San Francisco to Miami. A.A. told me she thought the family had been buying way too much stuff online, and they did buy more stuff online than any of the other families —$60 on clothes from Target, $23 for a baby float on Amazon, $48 for diapers on Amazon, $21 for baby wipes. They also shopped at brick and mortar stores—$26 at a local bookstore, $37 at CVS for razors and snacks, $18 at a local hardware store. And they spent a lot on restaurants—about $300 in total. But none of those purchases drove the bulk of their emissions. Instead, that came from a $400 purchase of two round-trip airline tickets from San Francisco to Los Angeles, which created 436 kg CO2e, the single largest emissions from any purchase of the four families for the week. Because prices were discounted when they bought the tickets, that’s probably a low estimate of the emissions from their flight; the emissions calculator run by myclimate, an international nonprofit, estimates that a roundtrip flight for two between those two cities would generate 614 kg of CO2e, more than the 333 kg the family would have created by driving. (Taking a train would have lowered their emissions further, but also would have taken 12 hours one way.) They also spent $400 on hotel reservations, leading to 123 kg CO2e. This is intuitive—we all know that flying creates a lot of emissions. But it was illuminating to see just how much more it creates than other things do. That one trip to LA bumped the family’s emissions from 708 kg in the week to 1,276. A.A. told me they haven’t flown much since the pandemic started and bought the tickets to attend a close friend’s wedding. In the last two years, they’ve flown far less than they did before the pandemic and before having children. Instead, they’ve stayed home and explored San Francisco, or driven to destinations within an hour or two. They say they feel lucky to be able to do that where they live and will think twice before buying plane tickets on a whim going forward, but that unless costs go up, it may be hard to resist a getaway. The Family That Buys Used M.C. and N.A. Location: Denver Children: 9, 7, and 4 years old Combined household income: More than $200,000 Total emissions: 360 kg CO2e The Denver family has been trying to be more environmentally-conscious for years, and they had the lowest emissions, despite having the most family members (although they were the only family without a kid in diapers.) Their emissions were far lower than those of the other three families, adding up to the equivalent of a drive from Denver to Tucson. They do just about everything they can do to reduce emissions: M.C. doesn’t eat meat or cook it at home; her husband and children only eat meat if it’s served at a friend’s house. The family tries to avoid dairy products (one of the items they bought this week was vegan “egg”nog); they buy used clothes from ThredUp; their home has solar panels. M.C. said the family has always been conscious about reducing waste but became more serious about it a few years ago; when all their friends were moving to the suburbs, they moved to a more urban area of Denver, where N.A. could walk to work. “The driving we were doing was more impactful than the plastic wrap on a bag of pasta,” M.C. said. The couple knew they would have to make some sacrifices when they had children, but they didn’t want to give up on their environmental goals. They decided to wrest control over what their life looked like. “We realized that we could make some more intentional choices, set up our life in a way that not only decreased environmental impact, but also made our life happier,” she said. They enjoy being able to walk to so many places. M.C. has really never liked meat; she would occasionally cook it for her kids but stopped doing so three years ago. They’ll treat themselves to real cheese or real eggnog occasionally, but usually they go vegan. Their biggest emissions came from their use of natural gas—they spend about $44 a month on natural gas, despite their solar panels. Because solar power is so variable—it may be sunny one day, and then cloudy for a week—most systems that run on renewables like solar also use some natural gas. Still, the Denver family avoided a lot of emissions in places where other families didn’t. They spent $156 on clothes, but all from ThredUp, a used clothing site, which generated only 17 kg CO2e, according to Allaway’s estimates. The San Francisco family, by contrast, spent $61 on new clothes, which resulted in 26 kg CO2e. (Allaway’s model treats used goods as having a very low carbon footprint because it assigns the carbon footprint to the previous user, who bought them new; but buying used clothes does have some carbon footprint since the clothes are transported from the warehouses where they’re stored.) M.C. said she knows her kids might resist wearing used clothes as they get older and that there may be a day when they don’t want Christmas gifts from the thrift store. But they’re trying to teach their children not to be consumed by materialism, she said. She wants them to find happiness from something other than new things. When I asked M.C. if she thought her sacrifices were worth it, she said yes. Her family’s choices allow the couple and their children to focus on relationships, she said. She hopes she has motivated some friends and family to change their behavior, too. But ultimately, it’s about being aware of the urgency of environmental awareness, she said. “By trying to reduce my own emissions, that helps me stay in touch with the broader issues and think about the ways I can be an advocate for change in the areas that really will have an impact,” she said. What Your Family Can Do Of course, the emissions that the Denver family saved compared to the San Francisco family would be wiped out by one individual taking an hourlong flight on a private jet. It can be hard to rationalize making dramatic behavioral changes when reducing individual emissions can feel fruitless. Even the annual emissions of the San Francisco family—around 66 metric tons of CO2—pale in comparison to the electricity use of just one U.S. supermarket over the course of a year: 1,383 metric tons of CO2. But changing your behavior is not fruitless, Allaway says. Individuals by themselves might not be able to make enough of a difference to prevent the worst effects of climate change, but collective action—lots of individuals working together—might. Still, many of our preconceived notions about what to buy can be wrong. In the winter, Oregon consumers who buy tomatoes from nearby British Columbia have a bigger carbon footprint than those who buy tomatoes from faraway Mexico, because the Canadian tomatoes are grown in power-hungry greenhouses, Allaway has found. Out-of-season apples from New Zealand may have less of a carbon footprint than local apples that have been put in cold storage for months. Coffee beans delivered in a fully recyclable steel container have a higher climate impact than beans delivered in non-recyclable plastic because of the steel container’s weight. There are behavioral changes you can make that will almost certainly lower your emissions. You can reduce your driving and flying. You can switch to renewable energy. You can buy lighter goods, which use less materials than heavyweight goods, and buy things that have to travel a smaller distance to get to your home (although that in itself is hard to parse out, because a “locally-made” toy may have been created from materials imported from China, which negates the benefits of buying something local). You can buy things that are made from plants rather than animals, and buy used goods whenever possible. (Of course, there’s a caveat there, too—buying a used car that is a gas guzzler would be worse than buying a new electric vehicle.) But if you’re trying to choose individual products that were created with lower emissions, you’ll have a tough task ahead of you. Right now, one of the only ways to know which products have the lowest carbon footprint is to read their life cycle assessment, which is a document that measures their environmental impact from cradle to grave. In Europe, many companies also offer Environmental Product Declarations, which are abbreviated versions of life-cycle assessments, says Sarah Cashman, director of Life Cycle Services at ERG, an environmental consulting group. These documents are hard to decipher, dotted with words like “eutrophication potential,” (the nutrient runoff from farming or manufacturing). EPD InternationalA chart in a 49-page diaper environmental product declaration document There is no report card that lets customers easily see which products are made, transported, and sold with lower emissions than others. Amazon has tried to start labeling some products as “climate-pledge friendly” so that shoppers can choose green products that have received a third-party sustainability certification from a qualifying organization. But even that puts a lot of burden on a consumer to read every label on every item that they buy. So much responsibility for creating less waste has already fallen onto the consumer that asking them to take one more step, as the families above said, is too much. There is a solution, though. Consumers can demand more from companies, who can take on the responsibility of lowering emissions for the products they make every step of the way. The supply chains of eight global industries account for more than 50% of greenhouse gas emissions, according to the Boston Consulting Group. There are companies that already have a head start. Patagonia says that 86% of its emissions come from the raw materials it uses and their supply chains, and through its Supply Chain Environmental Responsibility Program, it is aiming to use only renewable or recycled materials to make its products by 2025. Most companies won’t do this unprompted, but if consumers start shopping at places that are reducing emissions in their supply chain, companies will start looking at their supply chains in order to stay in business. A database of companies that are legitimately working on this would be a good first step. It may feel like there’s nothing you can do as an individual or as a family, but collective action could look like millions of families preferring to shop at places that are working to dramatically reduce emissions in their supply chain. Buying less may not be an option for many families, but Americans have proved, if nothing else, that they know how to shop smart.  .....»»

Category: topSource: timeJan 6th, 2022

How Russia"s "Blackjack" bomber survived the Cold War and has remained on the frontlines all over the world

Russia has doubled-down on the "White Swan," rebuilding and upgrading its fleet of Tu-160s for global operations. A Russian Tu-160 bomber during a military parade in Minsk for Belarus Independence Day, July 3, 2019.Reuters Introduced in the 1980s, the Tu-160 bomber remains the largest and fastest supersonic bomber in service. The Blackjack's most important mission was and remains to approach North America and launch its missiles. In recent years, Moscow has rebuilt its dilapidated Tu-160 force and sent it on missions around the world. Tu-160: a history — As tensions escalate between Russia and Ukraine, the latter is ironically at risk of being bombarded by aircraft and missiles it sold back to Russia 22 years ago at a bargain price.Among modern military aircraft, few are as majestic yet utterly destructive in purpose as Russia's Tupolev Tu-160 strategic bomber, dubbed the White Swan ("Belyj Lebeď") and codenamed Blackjack by NATO.Capable of ranging far across the globe and unleashing a dozen nuclear weapons from standoff range, the Tu-160 remains by far the largest and fastest supersonic bomber in service. Moscow claims it will build dozens more even as China and the US develop stealth bombers instead.The Tu-160 was in its origins a reflexive product of the Cold War arms race. Though by the 1960s the Kremlin decided intercontinental ballistic missiles were more practical nuclear delivery systems than heavy bombers, it nonetheless began the development of a supersonic strategic bomber to match the US's huge, Mach 3-capable XB-70 Valkyrie.Though the Valkyrie was canceled and replaced by the less ambitious B-1, the Soviets nonetheless tapped Tupolev to build a Soviet counter in 1972. Tupolev drafted several designs before settling in 1977 on the Project 160M design informed by the Tu-22M Backfire swing-wing supersonic bomber.A Russian Tu-160 bomber during the first day of the MAKS-2005 international air show outside Moscow, August 16, 2005.Viktor Korotayev/REUTERSThe Tu-160 made its first flight in December 1981 and entered operational service in 1987. The behemoth bomber, weighing in at 129 tons empty, mounted four extremely powerful Kuznetsov NK-32 afterburning turbojet engines — the largest on any combat aircraft! — onto an airframe with gigantic wings spanning more than half a football field (54 meters) from wingtip to wingtip.Moreover, those massive wings could swing between three positions: fully extended at 20 degrees to maximize lift, then swept back to 35 degrees to reduce drag for subsonic cruising, and tucked fully back to 65 degrees when sprinting at the maximum speed of Mach 2.05 using afterburners.The airframe's aerodynamically unstable characteristics were automatically compensated for by a quadruple-redundant fly-by-wire system.The Tu-160 could carry enough fuel to fly 7,500 miles with a 50% missile payload, and its retractable refueling probe enabled even greater ranges if desired. A crew of four operates the bomber on its long-distance missions — pilot and co-pilot seated side by side in the front, and two navigators individually sub-specialized in weapons and self-defense systems.Entering service the same year as the US supersonic B-1B Lancer bomber, which it resembled in some respects, the Tu-160 was much larger and had a 70% faster maximum speed. However, the Lancer had a slighter radar signature and would evolve to employ a wider range of weapons, though it was stripped of nuclear weapons capability in the 2010s.A Russian Tu-160 during an intercept by Belgian F-16s.NATO/ Belgian Air ForceThough capable of conventional attacks, the Blackjack's most important mission was, and remains, to approach close enough to North America to release up to a dozen cruise missiles each with nuclear warheads 17 times the yield of the Fat Man bomb dropped on Hiroshima.The most promising approach vector for the Tu-160 was via the Arctic, but that still entailed evading detection and interception by US and Canadian land-based radars, interceptors and AWACS airborne early-warning aircraft. And just getting there would take many hours, as the Blackjack cruised at 600 mph, the speed of a 747 airliner.To stave off crew burnout, Tu-160 designers thoughtfully included massage-rollers in the crew's zero-altitude ejection seats, a galley kitchen and a toilet in the aft crew compartment.Though Tupolev designers made some efforts to reduce Radar Cross-Section, at 10-15 square meters the Tu-160's signature remains comparable to an F-15 fighter. Thus, Tu-160 crew would approach at low altitude to minimize detection range, using its Sopka terrain-following radar to avoid ground collision.Passive warning receivers would inform the crew once they were detected, at which point they could employ a self-defense radar jammer and light up the afterburners to surge to Mach 2 to evade interceptors.A Tu-160 Blackjack bomber over the Red Square during the Victory Day parade in Moscow, May 9, 2015.REUTERS/Host Photo Agency/RIA NovostiThe Tu-160's raison d'etre were the weapons in its two 11-meter-long weapon bays: up to 12 turbofan-powered Kh-55 cruise missiles in rotary launchers with 250-kiloton warheads. Indeed, the bomber's iconic white paint scheme is designed to reflect thermal radiation from a nuclear blast.The Kh-55s would skim at 300 feet above the surface, navigating toward a programmed target up to 2,500 kilometers (1,553 miles) away using inertial and terrain-contour-matching navigation systems. Tu-160s could also launch the conventional-warhead Kh-555 variant, and the Kh-55SM with range extended to 3,000 kilometers (1,864 miles).Blackjacks could also be tasked with attacking US carrier strike groups across the globe using an alternate payload of up to 24 Kh-15 air-launched ballistic missiles with a range of 186 miles. These dual nuclear/conventional-capable weapons arc high after launch before plummeting down on maritime or land targets at over five times the speed of sound, guided by either by radar or a radar-homing seeker.There were also unrealized plans to create a Tu-161 long-range interceptor for hunting NATO maritime patrol planes, a Tu-160PP electronic warfare jet, a Tu-160R reconnaissance plane, and even Blackjacks modified to carry supersonic drones or Burlak air-launched satellite deployment vehicles.From Soviet Union to Ukraine to RussiaA Russian Tu-160 bomber, known as the White Swan, lands at Engels Air Base near Saratov.Misha Japaridze/APJust two Tu-160s squadrons were operational when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991 — and of the 36 Tu-160s built (including several prototypes), 19 were in the 184th Guards Heavy Bomber Aviation Regiment based at Pryluky Airbase in Ukraine, and thus grandfathered into the new Ukrainian Air Force. Four more airframes remained unassembled.The heavy bombers proved too expensive for cash-strapped Ukraine to regularly fly or even maintain.After NATO-Russia tensions flared in 1999 due to the Kosovo war, the Kremlin sought to buy Tu-160s and their missiles back from Ukraine to flesh out its own impractically small fleet. But Moscow was also short on money and couldn't meet Kiev's $3 billion asking price.In the end, Russia acquired eight of the huge bombers and 575 cruise missiles from Ukraine in exchange for cancellation of $285 million in natural gas debt owed to Moscow. Ukraine scrapped the rest, save for one on display at the Poltava Museum of Heavy Bomber Aviation.White Swan, nuclear troll, Syrian scattershotA Tu-160 strategic bomber.Alexei Panov, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via APMoscow subsequently strove to rebuild its dilapidated Tu-160 force by refurbishing aircraft and building unassembled airframes, funding permitting — though one Tu-160 and its crew were lost in a 2003 crash.By 2021 Russia officially had 16 or 17 operational Tu-160s, though no more than 11 have been seen deployed at one time, grouped into the 121st Guards Heavy Bomber Aviation Regiment based at Engels airbase in Saratov, Russia. Most are named after famous Russian historical or fictional personages.When Putin announced the resumption of strategic bomber patrols in 2006, the small Blackjack force and more numerous Tu-95 Bear bombers were at the forefront of Moscow's campaign to remind everybody it could still dispatch nuclear-armed bombers to buzz by a country's airspace.Blackjacks could tweak Washington for example with layovers in Venezuela and Nicaragua (on one occasion violating Colombian airspace) or be deployed near Alaska. Some of these patrols, aided by in-flight refueling, set new records for endurance, with Tu-160s staying airborne 23 hours in 2010, and then 25 hours in 2020 while traversing over 12,400 miles.Blackjacks were finally combat-tested in 2015, launching dozens of new Kh-101 conventional stealth cruise missiles to strikes anti-Assad insurgents in Syria in November 2015 and again in 2016. The 2015 missile attacks tended to fall wildly off-target, though it's unknown how many misses came from Kh-101s rather than Kh-555 missiles launched by Tu-95s.In theory, however, the Kh-101 conventional and Kh-102 nuclear missiles constitute a major upgrade, extending range to 4,000 kilometers (2,485 miles), and boasting greater stealth, re-targetability after launch and improved precision.Second act for the White SwanRussian Tu-160 bombers during a Kazakh-Russian military exercise west of Almaty, October 3, 2008.Thomson ReutersUnlike the US Air Force, which seems skeptical its B-1B bombers bring enough added value over B-52s, the Kremlin is doubling down on the Tu-160.First of all, Russia is modernizing Tu-160s to the Tu-160M2 model, installing more fuel-efficient NK-32-02 engines expected to increase range by over 600 miles, GLONASS satellite-navigation systems, a digitized glass cockpit, and new AESA radar.It also includes the application of radar-absorbent materials to the canopy which may modestly reduce the bomber's radar signature, new defensive countermeasures. Finally, there's the integration of the Kh-101/102 missiles and possibly air-launched Kinzhal hypersonic weapon, giving the Tu-160 more effective and survivable weaponry.Russia's Defense Ministry has also ordered production of 10 new Tu-160Ms at the Kazan factory out of an eventual planned 50 more of the Soviet-era jet bombers for 900 billion rubles, with production ostensibly to peak at three per year.Russian Tu-160 bomber over the Baltic Sea, April 29, 2020.ReutersThis is in part due to delays developing the PAK-DA stealth bomber. However, given the high cost of new Tu-160 production (ostensibly 16 billion rubles or $218 million per aircraft) and the arthritic state of Russian defense financing, observers are skeptical Moscow can sustain such an expensive and ambitious program, especially once the supply of unassembled or un-refurbished Tu-160 airframes is exhausted.After all, that funds could go to the PAK-DA or more expendable stealth combat drones. However, the money and effort already devoted to the Tu-160 suggest Russia's Blackjack fleet is likely to continue ticking upward in the 2020s.Still, Moscow seemingly values the conspicuous global power projection the large bomber flights provide.Moreover, attempts to renew procurement seemingly reflect faith that the White Swan and its modernized standoff-range cruise missiles have acceptable odds of penetrating US air defenses, even if some Russian critics harbor doubts.Sébastien Roblin writes on the technical, historical and political aspects of international security and conflict for publications including the 19FortyFive, The National Interest, NBC News, Forbes.com and War is Boring. He holds a naster's degree from Georgetown University and served with the Peace Corps in China. You can follow his articles on Twitter.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJan 3rd, 2022

Airbus has a $260 million wide-body jet that it just can"t sell. See inside the A330-800neo that"s proving to be a commercial flop.

Airbus has only landed 15 orders for the aircraft since its 2014 debut, putting it on track to be one of the worst-selling aircraft in Airbus history. A Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo.Thomas Pallini/Insider Airbus has only sold 15 of its A330-800neo aircraft, the next-generation variant of the popular A330-200. Uganda Airlines, Air Greenland, Kuwait Airlines, and Garuda Indonesia are the only four airlines to purchase the aircraft. One expert says that airlines don't want to pay for a smaller plane compared to the larger A330-900neo since the two have comparable per-seat costs.  Airbus doesn't usually have a problem selling airplanes.A Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo.Thomas Pallini/InsiderAs of October 2021, more than 20,000 orders have been placed for Airbus aircraft. The European aircraft manufacturers’ wide-body planes, specifically, can be found flying all over the world and are the backbone of numerous global airlines.An Airbus A350-900 XWB at Dubai Airshow.Thomas Pallini/InsiderSource: AirbusBut one aircraft just hasn't resonated with customers, the A330-800neo. Only 15 aircraft have been sold as of October 2021 since the A330neo program launched in 2014 to counter the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.A Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo.Thomas Pallini/InsiderSource: AirbusAirbus designed the aircraft to be a more efficient version of the A330-200 as part of an upgrade for the popular A330 family of aircraft. The A330-200, a commercial success, earned 662 orders over its life and 598 of the 647 aircraft that were delivered to customers are still flying.An Airbus A330-200.aviation images.com/Universal Images Group/GettySource: AirbusPowering the A330neo family is the Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 that Airbus says helps reduce fuel consumption and emissions by "25% compared to its previous-generation aircraft." Also aiding in its efficiency are new wings with composite winglets.A Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo.Thomas Pallini/InsiderSource: AirbusAs a newer variant with more efficient engines, the A330-800neo had a good chance of riding on the success of its predecessor. But only four airlines have placed orders for the A330-800neo including Kuwait Airways, Uganda Airlines, Air Greenland, and Gaurda Indonesia, making the aircraft among Airbus' worst-selling aircraft in its history.A Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo.Thomas Pallini/InsiderInsider got a look at the A330-800neo at the Dubai Airshow 2021 when Airbus and Uganda Airlines teamed up to show off the jet. Here's what it's like onboard.A Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo.Thomas Pallini/InsiderThe average Airbus A330-800neo can seat between 220 and 260 passengers in a three-class configuration, according to Airbus.Onboard a Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo.Thomas Pallini/InsiderSource: AirbusThe total number of seats in Uganda Airlines' configuration is 258 seats across economy class, premium economy class, and business class cabins.Onboard a Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo.Thomas Pallini/InsiderIn business class, a total of 20 seats are offered in a 1-2-1 configuration. Each seat offers direct aisle access and fully lie-flat capabilities that are ideal for long-haul flights.Onboard a Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo.Thomas Pallini/InsiderSeats along the edges of the cabin are the most private and ideal for solo travelers.Onboard a Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo.Thomas Pallini/InsiderCenter-aisle seats are alternatively ideal for couples traveling together or travelers with companions. But for those seated in one of the paired "honeymoon" seats, as they're known, a partition helps maintain privacy.Onboard a Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo.Thomas Pallini/InsiderOther center-aisle seats are positioned along the aisle for a greater degree of privacy without the need for a partition.Onboard a Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo.Thomas Pallini/InsiderThe staggered configuration of the business class cabin means that some of the seats along the sides of the cabin are closer to the window while others are on the aisle.Onboard a Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo.Thomas Pallini/InsiderTrue window seats offer additional privacy as they're situated away from the aisle, and also have the benefit of unobstructed window views.Onboard a Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo.Thomas Pallini/InsiderAirlines can increase the capacity of the business class cabin by expanding it past the second boarding door or install paired seats instead of individual seats. But the industry is moving away from paired seats as travelers want privacy and aisle access.Onboard a Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo.Thomas Pallini/InsiderAnd for airlines that want to maximize space with a three-cabin aircraft, keeping business class in between the first two boarding doors is typically the preferred option.Onboard a Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo.Thomas Pallini/InsiderEach seat offers standard business class seat amenities including a seat-back entertainment screen, personal reading lamp, adjustable headrest, and bounds of storage space.Onboard a Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo.Thomas Pallini/InsiderBehind business class, Uganda Airlines opted for a premium economy class consisting of 28 recliner seats.Onboard a Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo.Thomas Pallini/InsiderSeats are configured in a 2-3-2 configuration with greater amounts of pitch and width at each.Onboard a Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo.Thomas Pallini/InsiderEach seat features a seat-back entertainment screen as well as USB charging ports, water bottle holders, footrests, coat hooks, and a tethered entertainment remote.Onboard a Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo.Thomas Pallini/InsiderA solid tray table is also stored in the armrest, with a small drink counter in between seats.Onboard a Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo.Thomas Pallini/InsiderPremium economy is a hybrid product offering some of the glamour of a business class seat with a price just slightly above an economy class seat.Onboard a Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo.Thomas Pallini/InsiderThe remaining 210 seats are the domain of economy class across two sections.Onboard a Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo.Thomas Pallini/InsiderStandard for the A330 family, seats are arranged in a 2-4-2 configuration.Onboard a Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo.Thomas Pallini/InsiderSeats along the cabin wall are ideal for couples and solo travelers as there are no middle seats.Onboard a Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo.Thomas Pallini/InsiderTravelers with a preference for window seats can also benefit from the side seats as there are fewer seats to climb over when trying to access the aisle.Onboard a Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo.Thomas Pallini/InsiderCenter aisle seats are ideal for groups traveling together with as many as four travelers able to share a row.Onboard a Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo.Thomas Pallini/InsiderEconomy class seats feature standard amenities such as a seat-back entertainment system, USB charging port, and adjustable headrest.Onboard a Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo.Thomas Pallini/InsiderIn another standard for the A330 family, the curvature of the fuselage reduces the last few rows to three seats in the center aisle section.Onboard a Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo.Thomas Pallini/InsiderAll A330neo aircraft come standard with the "Airspace by Airbus" cabin that includes mood lighting illuminating the cabin and greater overhead bin space for carry-on baggage.Onboard a Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo.Thomas Pallini/InsiderAs far as where the aircraft will fly, there are not many places the A330-800neo can't go with a top range of 8,150 nautical miles. Uganda Airlines can fly all the way to the US West Coast and the east coast of Australia from Entebbe, Uganda.Onboard a Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo.Thomas Pallini/InsiderSource: AirbusDubai is the furthest destination the aircraft flies to from Entebbe. And one limiting factor in the aircraft's range, though, is the lack of a crew rest area in Uganda Airlines' configuration.Onboard a Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo.Thomas Pallini/InsiderRather than a dedicated space for flight attendants, seats in both the economy class and business class cabins have been dedicated for crew rest.Onboard a Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo.Thomas Pallini/InsiderCrew rest seats can be identified in both cabins by a curtain surrounding the seat.Onboard a Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo.Thomas Pallini/InsiderBut such a capable aircraft begs the question: why aren't more airlines adding the A330-800neo to their fleets?A Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo.Thomas Pallini/Insider"It's a fairly simple story: the Dash 200 was always at a bit of a disadvantage because it's a shrink [of the A330-300,]" Richard Aboulafia, vice president of analysis at Teal Group, told Insider. And the same applies to the A330-800neo.Onboard a Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo.Thomas Pallini/Insider"All shrinks are a bit heavier on a per-seat basis because they're carrying around the same structures and systems and engines as the bigger planes but with fewer seats," Aboulafia said.Onboard a Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo.Thomas Pallini/InsiderAirlines might not want to pay similar operating costs for a plane with fewer seats, even if it means spending less to acquire the smaller model.Onboard a Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo.Thomas Pallini/InsiderThe A330-900neo offers around 30 additional seats in a three-class configuration, in a cabin around 17 feet longer than the A330-800neo. That 17 feet can house a lot more business class seats to earn the airline additional premium revenue.Onboard a Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo.Thomas Pallini/InsiderThe A330-800neo also has no shortage of competition, whether it be from the Boeing 787 Dreamliner or even smaller aircraft in the Airbus lineup. Narrow-body aircraft, including the A321neoLR, offer range capabilities that allow them to fly upwards of nine hours.Onboard a Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo.Thomas Pallini/InsiderUganda Airlines' Airbus A330-800neo flight from Entebbe, Uganda to Dubai could very easily be operated by a smaller Airbus A321neoLR with only a slightly smaller passenger load.Onboard a Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo.Thomas Pallini/InsiderAnd the airlines that want the extended range capabilities of the A330neo compared to a narrow-body are finding it more cost advantageous to buy up the A330-900neo.Onboard a Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo.Thomas Pallini/InsiderAzul Brazilian Airlines, for example, chose the A330-900neo over the A330-800neo despite only having the A330-200 in its wide-body fleet prior to the purchase.An Azul Brazilian Airlines Airbus A330-900neo.SamuelVSilva / Shutterstock.comDelta Air Lines and TAP Air Portugal, two other A330-200 operators, have also opted to only purchase the A330-900neo.A TAP Air Portugal Airbus A330-900neo.Matheus Obst/Shutterstock.comAirbus still has time to sell the A330-800neo before writing the program off completely, according to Aboulafia. The A330-900neo has a sizeable backlog that will keep production on the aircraft family open for years to come.Onboard a Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo.Thomas Pallini/InsiderNo further orders were announced for the A330-800neo were announced at the Dubai Airshow while Air Lease Corporation did place an order for four A330neos at the show.Onboard a Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo.Thomas Pallini/InsiderBut potential airline customers did get to take a look at the aircraft and it's possible some will reexamine the A330-800neo now after seeing it up close.Onboard a Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo.Thomas Pallini/InsiderRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 26th, 2021

Silver Looks Sexy

Silver Looks Sexy Submitted by QTR's Fringe Finance My readers know that recently, the main commodity I have been harping on has been uranium, which looks like it could be very close to a renaissance. I am still long uranium via numerous names like Cameco (CCJ) and the Global X Uranium ETF (URA). I am also long numerous other commodities and, in addition to owning one or two value stocks I like, I own several names that have exposure to commodities, as I continue to believe they represent an inflation hedge and are entering a “super cycle” that will end in consolidation in both hards and softs at meaningfully higher prices in 2022. But this week, my attention turned back to another commodity I hadn’t looked at in a while: silver. I added some exposure to silver yesterday by purchasing call options on the iShares Silver Trust (SLV) and may add to already existing positions in either the Sprott Physical Silver Trust (PSLV) or any of a host of miners, including Pan American Silver Corp. (PAAS) if the price of silver moves meaningfully lower and/or dislocates from the price of gold further. My reasoning for the purchase was twofold: Monetary policy is a plane that is headed directly into a mountain, as confirmed by Fed chair Powell yesterday. We’ll discuss. The gold/silver ratio, which has traditionally indicated when silver is cheap relative to gold, is back over 80:1, indicating a large dislocation from historical norms. As a quick overture, I’d like to state that, in general, I like the climate for both gold and silver here - both are unloved for reasons I will discuss in moments - but I think silver represents the better opportunity, at least for the time being. It was confirmed yesterday that the Fed is still at least considering speeding up and following through with a taper. Jerome Powell postured on Wednesday that tapering and rate hikes would be well on their way throughout 2022 and into 2023. Surprisingly, Powell’s comments yesterday were seen by the market as dovish despite the accelerated rate with which the Fed announced it would taper. Indexes screamed higher after a quick initial selloff. I believe yesterday’s rally was unjustified and, as I wrote a couple days ago, still believe that the taper will eventually crash the markets if the Fed tries to follow through with it. I also don’t happen to believe that the Fed is going to follow through with their announced plans, however, because the first second the market starts to crash, we can look for an easing of language from them. This, in turn, will send a signal to the precious metals market that the taper isn’t quite as serious as Powell has postured, which will likely send gold into the 2000s next year, in my opinion. Silver, with the gold the silver ratio now out of proportion, would likely have a disproportionately larger move higher if gold were to make such a move heading into the new year. This is part of the reason I wanted to have more exposure to silver than I have had over the last few months, as sentiment around the precious metals has been absolutely terrible. But again, this terrible sentiment has only been a result of the fact that the market believes that the Fed will actually follow through with tapering . I simply don’t believe that this is possible or will be the case. In other words, I’m calling the Fed’s bluff with my increased exposure to silver. The precious metals have been unloved and even bulls like Peter Schiff have admitted recently that they could continue to be unloved until the reality of the Fed’s true plan of action comes to light. We won’t know whether or not we can call the Fed’s bluff until early next year. Until then, precious metal investors may have to endure a little more pain, which I will see as as opportunities to add further. But, with the gold to silver ratio once again over 80:1,  it looks like silver may be the precious metal worth considering in this instance. As was pointed out in an excellent writeup by Peter Schiff and Zero Hedge, the gold/silver ratio is now back near historical highs. Chart: Zero Hedge“To put that into perspective, the average in the modern era has been between 40:1 and 50:1,” they write. “In simple terms, historically, silver is extremely underpriced compared to gold. At some point, you should expect that gap to close.” I concur. Their writeup also does an excellent job offering detailed historical perspectives on the ratio, and is free to read here. I’ll just note that in the months following the ratio hitting going over 80 back on September 22, 2021, silver rallied for about 5 straight months afterward. Additionally, bulls like Andy Schectman continue to believe that demand for silver is eventually going to completely overwhelm supply. In an interview with Schectman a couple months ago, he told me: More silver is being consumed than is being mined each year.  Last year, approximately 850 million ounces were mined globally, with a demand of over one billion ounces. The industrial demand for silver is surging in an increasingly digital world, with new applications every day in green energy and battery powered vehicles. At the same time annual global mine supply is declining and industrial demand is increasing, a global renaissance in monetary demand is upon us.  This is happening while a handful of large Wall Street bullion banks have manipulated the price of monetary metals for decades,  allowing some of the biggest money in the world to accumulate massive amounts of physical gold and silver at subsidized prices. The physical demand filters down from the top. Over 300 million ounces of silver were removed from the Comex market in 2020 by some of the most sophisticated and well healed investors in the world.  Settlements on the Comex are usually mostly in dollars.  The Comex was not set up to be a source of physical delivery.  This is no small development.  In years past, this amount would represent roughly a decade’s worth of silver deliveries.  In addition, Comex deliveries in 2021 are now on pace to better the 2020’s delivery numbers.   When all of this is added to record global retail physical demand in coins and bars - physical demand at some point and probably sooner rather than later, will completely overwhelm supply. Silver remains just one piece of the puzzle for me, as I work like most traders to try and distort reason and behavioral incentives enough to barely understand our FUBAR markets as they exist today. As I wrote about at length a couple days ago, I believe the Fed has cornered itself and has no choice but to raise rates and that a taper is simply "bad news" with no upside, despite the market's rally this week. Days ago, I also asserted that the market was moving more on Powell's posturing than on fears of the Omicron variant of Covid. On a recent podcast, I expounded on my thinking. I also supported my thesis that Cathie Wood's ARKK remains dangerous territory, as the only string it is holding on by is Tesla - and some weird shit is starting to happen with Elon Musk (stock sales, cryptic Tweets about quitting, etc.) This week, I also released two names that, despite the market crash, I would look at as potential buyout candidates.  -- This has been a free preview of paid subscriber content. If you enjoy, as always, Zerohedge readers get a 20% discount to my blog at any time, that lasts forever, by clicking here: Get 20% off forever Disclaimer: I own SLV calls, PSLV equity, PAAS and have numerous other equities and types of exposures to mining, gold and silver in various accounts. I may add any name mentioned in this article and sell any name mentioned in this piece at any time. None of this is a solicitation to buy or sell securities. These positions can change immediately as soon as I publish this, with or without notice. You are on your own. Do not make decisions based on my blog. I exist on the fringe. The publisher does not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information provided in this page. These are not the opinions of any of my employers, partners, or associates. I get shit wrong a lot.  Tyler Durden Fri, 12/17/2021 - 12:05.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeDec 17th, 2021

Our Shopping Obsession Is Causing a Literal Stink

Box factories are enjoying a revival since the pandemic spurred more online shopping, but neighborhoods downwind of box makers say the smell is making life miserable The world is on a spending spree, and no matter what you’re buying, it’s probably going to have been in a box at some point along its route to you. That means companies are rushing to build pulp mills and box factories to meet demand, and many of them are in the United States. About 40 billion boxes—equal to 407 billion square feet, which is roughly the size of Switzerland —were shipped in the U.S. in 2020, surpassing the previous record from 1999 set amidst a hot economy and burgeoning e-commerce. This year is likely to beat that record; in the first nine months of 2021, box shipments were up 3.9% from 2020, according to the Fibre Box Association. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] But making paper products is a smelly operation, and as more box factories expand into U.S. neighborhoods, there’s come a pushback from people who don’t want to be downwind of an American manufacturing revival. In South Carolina, three groups of plaintiffs filed lawsuits this summer against New-Indy, a company that converted a paper mill to make containerboard, saying the conversion has made the air dangerous and unhealthy; the state received more than 17,000 complaints of noxious odors from citizens near the New-Indy plant in the first half of this year, which it calls “an unprecedented number.” New York state fined a Niagara Falls paper mill $375,000 in September for “intolerable odors” that it said impacted the health of the surrounding neighborhood, especially in the summer; the mill, Cascades Containerboard Packaging, agreed to spend millions of dollars in equipment upgrades. The mill says the smell comes from sludge created when the plant processes recycled paper into cardboard, and this recycled sludge was generated at higher rates this year to meet higher demand for boxes. David Goldman—APThe Midwest Paper Group mill in Combined Locks, Wis., is seen from across the the river in Little Chute, Wis., on Aug. 18, 2020. The mill is one of many that switched its focus from producing paper to cardboard for boxes as online shopping soared. And in Kalamazoo, Mich., residents filed a lawsuit against paperboard maker Graphic Packaging International after they say the company started production on a machine that would increase output by 500,000 tons a year; the residents say the mill has “discharged discrete and offensive noxious odors, air particulates, and fugitive dust” into the air. Adding to the tensions: many of these odor-emitting factories are in communities of color, which by virtue of zoning laws find themselves tucked against industrial zones. People of color account for the bulk of exposure to industrial pollutants in the United States, according to a study published in April in ScienceAdvances. How the pandemic changed shopping The complaints about the box factories coincide with the reversal of a long-term trend in the U.S. that saw mills shutting down as demand for printer paper and newspapers waned. Now, shuttered mills that once printed newspapers and magazines in places like Old Town, Maine and Port Angeles, Wash., are reopening to make pulp and containerboard—the liner and brown paper used to make a cardboard box. There are even new mills opening in places like Green Bay, Wisc. and Wapakoneta, Ohio, and new mills planned in places like Henderson, Ky. Though e-commerce has long driven an increase in the boxes passing through the average American’s home, until now it had not led to a huge uptick in box production; the boxes being sent to people’s homes were merely in lieu of the boxes carrying goods to brick and mortar stores. The pandemic changed that. Read more: I Tried Buying Only Used Holiday Gifts. It Changed How I Think About Shopping “There was this extraordinary shift from spending on services to spending on goods,” says Adam Josephson, a paper and packaging analyst at KeyBanc Capital Markets. “Higher purchases of goods leads to higher use of boxes.” Now, people are buying so much stuff—a record $16.3 trillion in October in the U.S. alone—that there’s more demand for boxes than ever before. E-commerce and mail order use seven times more corrugated cardboard per dollar of sales than traditional retail does, according to Fastmarkets RISI, which tracks the industry. The new and updated mills in the U.S.—30 since 2017 by the count of the Northeast Recycling Council—are a boon to efforts to jumpstart American manufacturing and create new jobs in a long dwindling industry. But the manufacturing process can create hydrogen sulfide and other substances that smell like rotten eggs. In some places where mills have come on line or increased production, residents say that the problem goes beyond stench and that the operations, running at full capacity, are polluting the air and water. The downside of ‘Made in America’ For decades, Americans have bought things made from minerals extracted elsewhere, assembled in faraway factories where the stench and pollution impacted someone else. Now that more boxes are being made in the United States, some residents are confronting one of the pitfalls to making things in America again. “It started as rotten eggs but recently it’s been a sweet port-a-potty, urinal cake smell,” says Kerri Bishop, 34, who runs a Facebook group for people trying to do something about the smell in Catawba, S.C., where the New-Indy mill is located. “I don’t really leave my house—it’s worse when I go outside, and I never know when it’s going to hit,” she says. Bishop, who moved her family to South Carolina from Rochester, N.Y., in 2016, says that before the conversion, the mill would make the air smell like rotten eggs a few times a year, but it didn’t bother her. Then, New-Indy Containerboard, a joint venture part-owned by the Kraft Group, bought the mill in 2018 and converted it to making brown paper for containerboard. The mill began high-volume production in February of 2021, and people working within a 30-mile radius started complaining of strong odors and physical reactions, according to the lawsuit. As Robert Kraft, the owner of the New England Patriots and New-Indy Containerboard, headed to his plane, he drove by me, photojournalist Chelsea Pomales, and our big @wcnc sign. We hope Mr. Kraft will follow through and call us. pic.twitter.com/ntV39RZQPn — Brandon Goldner (@BrandonWCNC) November 7, 2021 In order to start making brown paper at the mill, New-Indy had to apply for a new permit; the permit application estimated that hydrogen sulfide emissions would not significantly increase because of the conversion, according to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, or DHEC. The state began receiving thousands of complaints about foul odors in the vicinity in February 2021; when it investigated, it found the odors were coming from the mill. When it asked for information about current sludge management at the facility, the state says, New-Indy provided documents from 2014 and 2017, before the conversion. “It started as rotten eggs, but recently it’s been a sweet port-a-potty, urinal cake smell.” In May 2021, the EPA issued an emergency order under the Clean Air Act requiring the company to reduce hydrogen sulfide emissions and install air quality monitors on its fence line. But for Bishop and other residents, that’s not enough; the company was only required to install a few monitors, and air quality has not improved since May, she says. She and other residents blame the odor on something called a steam-stripper, which treats foul condensate; they say that because of the increased volume at the plant, the steam-stripper can’t handle all the waste the company is producing. Bishop has a cranial nerve disorder, which means the smells hit her even harder, making her physically ill; she gets dizzy and starts seeing spots, she says. Her youngest son developed a rash on his face. She and others say that the environmental agencies are monitoring for the wrong chemicals and that the wastewater the mill is sending into surrounding lagoons is contaminating the groundwater. They say that the problem isn’t just the smell, but that the mill is polluting the air, causing nausea, rashes, and other health problems. Other residents say they can’t take their dogs outside when the smell hits, that they can’t sleep at night; one woman says she keeps a gas mask by her bed to wear when the air seems particularly dirty. New-Indy declined to comment for this story. Paul Hennessy—NurPhoto/Getty ImagesBoaters pass near the Georgia-Pacific pulp and paper mill on Dec. 14, 2020 in Brunswick, Georgia. The China connection There’s another reason that there’s a boom in paper mills in the U.S. In 2018, China stopped accepting most types of recycled material from the U.S., including paper and cardboard. That created an opportunity for paper mills that previously couldn’t compete with China on cost. There was cardboard available to recycle, so mills just had to be retrofitted to turn that cardboard into more cardboard. “The Chinese import restrictions changed the recycling equation and spurred a revitalization of the U.S. mill industry,” says Colin Staub, senior reporter at Resource Recycling, who compiled a map of more than two dozen conversions and new mills announced across the U.S. “We’re certainly seeing more interest in buying and opening paper mills.” China consumes 107 million tons of paper per year, but it has fewer trees to use for pulp and less of a recycling infrastructure than the U.S. Its import restrictions mean that it can primarily import pulp, not cardboard, so some Chinese companies are funding new mills in the U.S. to make pulp that can then be sent overseas. A Chinese company, Nine Dragons, reopened the shuttered mill in Old Town, Maine to make pulp to export to China for boxes. (The mill spilled more than 30,700 gallons of chemicals into the Penobscot River in 2020, violating state and federal laws, causing a rise in the river’s PH level and prompting the Penobscot Nation to advocate for greater stewardship of the river.) Of course, the pulp mills and containerboard factories opening now are much more sustainable than the mills of the past. These mills are an important part of the circular economy in which nothing is thrown away and everything is reused; without mills to recycle cardboard, it would be going to a landfill. Jon Cherry—Getty Images Amanda Eversole, a UPS employee and package handler, watches boxes rush past after clearing a chute jam on Dec. 6, 2021 in Louisville, Kentucky. But the communities hosting these mills often don’t want to have to bear the brunt of our obsession with shopping. “They’re causing pollution that’s never going to leave; they’re turning their own community into a superfund site,” says Jackie Lane, a marine biologist who lives near an International Paper mill in Cantonment, Fla., that she and others say has long polluted Perdido Bay. International Paper failed to meet its wastewater treatment plant permit limits for toxicity on 19 documented occasions from 2015 to 2019, according to a final consent order executed by the state in May. The consent order fines International Paper $190,000 in penalties and requires it to pay a $10,000 fine every time it fails certain water quality tests, an order Lane says is a slap on the wrist. International Paper said in a statement that its monitoring, done in coordination with the state, has shown that the wetlands are “biologically rich and diverse” and that it works closely with the state to preserve the wetlands. International Paper employs more than 500 Alabama and Florida residents, the company said. ‘Environmental racism’ Most of the new and improved paper mills are on sites that have long held paper mills—it’s much easier to get the permits and infrastructure on an existing site than to build a new factory. But that’s meant that because of historical zoning practices that located polluting plants near Black neighborhoods, it’s minority neighborhoods who are subject to much of this pollution. Earlier this year, a former resident filed a complaint against the city of Kalamazoo with the Michigan Department of Civil Rights, alleging that leaders discriminated against Black residents by approving a tax break that allowed Graphic Packaging to expand in a predominantly Black neighborhood. The city also agreed to cut down 721 trees for the company, according to the complaint. George Rose—Getty ImagesHoliday shopping contributes to a backlog of boxes outside a U.S. Post Office in Solvang, Calif., on Nov. 27, 2021. Brandi Crawford-Johnson, the plaintiff, also filed a complaint against Michigan’s Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy, alleging that it discriminated against a predominantly Black neighborhood when it approved changes to an air permit allowing Graphic Packaging to expand in November of 2020. In November, the EPA’s Civil Rights Compliance Office said that it would investigate this complaint. “It’s environmental racism,” says Crawford-Johnson, who after moving to the neighborhood was shocked to learn how many of her neighbors had asthma and other health problems. Graphic Packaging said in a statement that the expansion is not yet fully operational and that it has taken several steps over the years to mitigate potential odors. Though it does not comment on pending litigation, the company that there are several other local manufacturers and a city wastewater treatment plant near its operations, and the odors are caused by “a number of complex factors.” And in Brunswick, Georgia, which is 55% Black, residents have long been accustomed to the smell of rotten eggs from a nearby Georgia-Pacific pulp mill. But starting in December of 2020, residents started having such severe health reactions to the smell that some called 911 because they couldn’t breathe in their homes, says Rachael Thompson, the executive director of the Glynn Environmental Coalition. “I feel like if this were a Caucasian neighborhood and community, more would be done about it,” one resident who called 911, Spanline Dixon, told The Current, a news site covering coastal Georgia. Brunswick is home to four Superfund sites, but the University of Georgia worked with the Glynn Environmental Coalition to analyze weather reports and track what was upstream from the odor complaints. The study showed definitively a direct correlation between the mill and the odors, Thompson says. Her group has received 130 complaints since last year; the only time it did not receive any complaints was during a month the mill was temporarily closed. A Georgia-Pacific spokesman said, in an email, that the company is aware of the odor complaints and shares the community’s concern. The company is working with the state environmental regulatory agency and other stakeholders to identify and mitigate the potential sources of the odor, the spokesman said. More from TIME Read more: How American Shoppers Broke the Supply Chain Tensions between growing demand for paper and the environmental problems that causes aren’t limited to the U.S. In Indonesia, more than 30 community groups sent a letter to Asia Pulp & Paper in August arguing that the mill’s plan to triple pulp production will risk the respiratory health of millions of people. And a community in Nova Scotia is divided after a paper company is taking legal action to reopen a mill that was shut in 2020 after community concerns about its wastewater discharge. One thing’s for sure, says Joshua Martin, director of the Environmental Paper Network—these conflicts are likely to mount as the world consumes more packaging. The problem isn’t just that mills create bad odors; despite high cardboard recycling rates, trees are still cut down to make packaging—around 3 billion a year, according to EPN. Although cardboard is easier to recycle than other products like plastic, it can only be recycled about 5-7 times before it can’t be used any more. Recycled cardboard is often mixed with virgin pulp to make boxes. The U.S. drives that demand—it consumes 202 kg of paper and paperboard per capita, compared to Africa’s 6 kg per capita, Latin America’s 44 kg per capita, and Asia’s 44 kg per capita, according to the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations. “If the entire world used the amount of paper as America currently does, it would be completely unsustainable,” he says. The only way to reverse this trend, he says, is to change the way we buy things to have less dependence on paper and packaging. Consumers can send messages to companies by patronizing businesses that use packaging certified by the Forest Stewardship Council; they can try brands like Loop that deliver groceries in reusable packaging, which Loop then collects. Perhaps the easiest solution, though, is to buy less stuff that you’re going to toss soon—disposable coffee cups or takeout packaging or multiple e-commerce orders. “It’s this culture of disposability and single-use, no matter what the product is made from, that needs to change,” he says. It’s something Kerri Bishop, the South Carolina resident, is taking to heart. Bishop spent her career working in manufacturing and says she didn’t join the class-action lawsuit and didn’t even want the mill to shut down at first. She just hoped they would upgrade their equipment. Now, though, she’s worried she moved to a state that values manufacturing and jobs more than the quality of life and health of its residents. She’s considering getting a home air filtration system. Once a frequent Amazon shopper, she tired of ordering a few different things and having them arrive in many different boxes, even if she tried to get them to all come the same day. She’d heard from a local politician that the New-Indy boxes were being used by Amazon, so she started boycotting the online retailer. She lifted the boycott for the holidays, as higher prices and supply chain problems made it hard to buy things elsewhere, but Bishop says she plans to stop shopping at Amazon again in January.    .....»»

Category: topSource: timeDec 17th, 2021

Our Shopping Obsession Is a Boon to Box Makers, But Not to Their Neighbors

Box factories smell, and the neighborhoods near them say ramped-up production to meet online shopping needs is making life miserable The world is on a spending spree, and no matter what you’re buying, it’s probably going to have been in a box at some point along its route to you. That means companies are rushing to build pulp mills and box factories to meet demand, and many of them are in the United States. About 40 billion boxes—equal to 407 billion square feet, which is roughly the size of Switzerland —were shipped in the U.S. in 2020, surpassing the previous record from 1999 set amidst a hot economy and burgeoning e-commerce. This year is likely to beat that record; in the first nine months of 2021, box shipments were up 3.9% from 2020, according to the Fibre Box Association. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] But making paper products is a smelly operation, and as more box factories expand into U.S. neighborhoods, there’s come a pushback from people who don’t want to be downwind of an American manufacturing revival. In South Carolina, three groups of plaintiffs filed lawsuits this summer against New-Indy, a company that converted a paper mill to make containerboard, saying the conversion has made the air dangerous and unhealthy; the state received more than 17,000 complaints of noxious odors from citizens near the New-Indy plant in the first half of this year, which it calls “an unprecedented number.” New York state fined a Niagara Falls paper mill $375,000 in September for “intolerable odors” that it said impacted the health of the surrounding neighborhood, especially in the summer; the mill, Cascades Containerboard Packaging, agreed to spend millions of dollars in equipment upgrades. The mill says the smell comes from sludge created when the plant processes recycled paper into cardboard, and this recycled sludge was generated at higher rates this year to meet higher demand for boxes. David Goldman—APThe Midwest Paper Group mill in Combined Locks, Wis., is seen from across the the river in Little Chute, Wis., on Aug. 18, 2020. The mill is one of many that switched its focus from producing paper to cardboard for boxes as online shopping soared. And in Kalamazoo, Mich., residents filed a lawsuit against paperboard maker Graphic Packaging International after they say the company started production on a machine that would increase output by 500,000 tons a year; the residents say the mill has “discharged discrete and offensive noxious odors, air particulates, and fugitive dust” into the air. Adding to the tensions: many of these odor-emitting factories are in communities of color, which by virtue of zoning laws find themselves tucked against industrial zones. People of color account for the bulk of exposure to industrial pollutants in the United States, according to a study published in April in ScienceAdvances. How the pandemic changed shopping The complaints about the box factories coincide with the reversal of a long-term trend in the U.S. that saw mills shutting down as demand for printer paper and newspapers waned. Now, shuttered mills that once printed newspapers and magazines in places like Old Town, Maine and Port Angeles, Wash., are reopening to make pulp and containerboard—the liner and brown paper used to make a cardboard box. There are even new mills opening in places like Green Bay, Wisc. and Wapakoneta, Ohio, and new mills planned in places like Henderson, Ky. Though e-commerce has long driven an increase in the boxes passing through the average American’s home, until now it had not led to a huge uptick in box production; the boxes being sent to people’s homes were merely in lieu of the boxes carrying goods to brick and mortar stores. The pandemic changed that. Read more: I Tried Buying Only Used Holiday Gifts. It Changed How I Think About Shopping “There was this extraordinary shift from spending on services to spending on goods,” says Adam Josephson, a paper and packaging analyst at KeyBanc Capital Markets. “Higher purchases of goods leads to higher use of boxes.” Now, people are buying so much stuff—a record $16.3 trillion in October in the U.S. alone—that there’s more demand for boxes than ever before. E-commerce and mail order use seven times more corrugated cardboard per dollar of sales than traditional retail does, according to Fastmarkets RISI, which tracks the industry. The new and updated mills in the U.S.—30 since 2017 by the count of the Northeast Recycling Council—are a boon to efforts to jumpstart American manufacturing and create new jobs in a long dwindling industry. But the manufacturing process can create hydrogen sulfide and other substances that smell like rotten eggs. In some places where mills have come on line or increased production, residents say that the problem goes beyond stench and that the operations, running at full capacity, are polluting the air and water. The downside of ‘Made in America’ For decades, Americans have bought things made from minerals extracted elsewhere, assembled in faraway factories where the stench and pollution impacted someone else. Now that more boxes are being made in the United States, some residents are confronting one of the pitfalls to making things in America again. “It started as rotten eggs but recently it’s been a sweet port-a-potty, urinal cake smell,” says Kerri Bishop, 34, who runs a Facebook group for people trying to do something about the smell in Catawba, S.C., where the New-Indy mill is located. “I don’t really leave my house—it’s worse when I go outside, and I never know when it’s going to hit,” she says. Bishop, who moved her family to South Carolina from Rochester, N.Y., in 2016, says that before the conversion, the mill would make the air smell like rotten eggs a few times a year, but it didn’t bother her. Then, New-Indy Containerboard, a joint venture part-owned by the Kraft Group, bought the mill in 2018 and converted it to making brown paper for containerboard. The mill began high-volume production in February of 2021, and people working within a 30-mile radius started complaining of strong odors and physical reactions, according to the lawsuit. As Robert Kraft, the owner of the New England Patriots and New-Indy Containerboard, headed to his plane, he drove by me, photojournalist Chelsea Pomales, and our big @wcnc sign. We hope Mr. Kraft will follow through and call us. pic.twitter.com/ntV39RZQPn — Brandon Goldner (@BrandonWCNC) November 7, 2021 In order to start making brown paper at the mill, New-Indy had to apply for a new permit; the permit application estimated that hydrogen sulfide emissions would not significantly increase because of the conversion, according to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, or DHEC. The state began receiving thousands of complaints about foul odors in the vicinity in February 2021; when it investigated, it found the odors were coming from the mill. When it asked for information about current sludge management at the facility, the state says, New-Indy provided documents from 2014 and 2017, before the conversion. “It started as rotten eggs, but recently it’s been a sweet port-a-potty, urinal cake smell.” In May 2021, the EPA issued an emergency order under the Clean Air Act requiring the company to reduce hydrogen sulfide emissions and install air quality monitors on its fence line. But for Bishop and other residents, that’s not enough; the company was only required to install a few monitors, and air quality has not improved since May, she says. She and other residents blame the odor on something called a steam-stripper, which treats foul condensate; they say that because of the increased volume at the plant, the steam-stripper can’t handle all the waste the company is producing. Bishop has a cranial nerve disorder, which means the smells hit her even harder, making her physically ill; she gets dizzy and starts seeing spots, she says. Her youngest son developed a rash on his face. She and others say that the environmental agencies are monitoring for the wrong chemicals and that the wastewater the mill is sending into surrounding lagoons is contaminating the groundwater. They say that the problem isn’t just the smell, but that the mill is polluting the air, causing nausea, rashes, and other health problems. Other residents say they can’t take their dogs outside when the smell hits, that they can’t sleep at night; one woman says she keeps a gas mask by her bed to wear when the air seems particularly dirty. New-Indy declined to comment for this story. Paul Hennessy—NurPhoto/Getty ImagesBoaters pass near the Georgia-Pacific pulp and paper mill on Dec. 14, 2020 in Brunswick, Georgia. The China connection There’s another reason that there’s a boom in paper mills in the U.S. In 2018, China stopped accepting most types of recycled material from the U.S., including paper and cardboard. That created an opportunity for paper mills that previously couldn’t compete with China on cost. There was cardboard available to recycle, so mills just had to be retrofitted to turn that cardboard into more cardboard. “The Chinese import restrictions changed the recycling equation and spurred a revitalization of the U.S. mill industry,” says Colin Staub, senior reporter at Resource Recycling, who compiled a map of more than two dozen conversions and new mills announced across the U.S. “We’re certainly seeing more interest in buying and opening paper mills.” China consumes 107 million tons of paper per year, but it has fewer trees to use for pulp and less of a recycling infrastructure than the U.S. Its import restrictions mean that it can primarily import pulp, not cardboard, so some Chinese companies are funding new mills in the U.S. to make pulp that can then be sent overseas. A Chinese company, Nine Dragons, reopened the shuttered mill in Old Town, Maine to make pulp to export to China for boxes. (The mill spilled more than 30,700 gallons of chemicals into the Penobscot River in 2020, violating state and federal laws, causing a rise in the river’s PH level and prompting the Penobscot Nation to advocate for greater stewardship of the river.) Of course, the pulp mills and containerboard factories opening now are much more sustainable than the mills of the past. These mills are an important part of the circular economy in which nothing is thrown away and everything is reused; without mills to recycle cardboard, it would be going to a landfill. Jon Cherry—Getty Images Amanda Eversole, a UPS employee and package handler, watches boxes rush past after clearing a chute jam on Dec. 6, 2021 in Louisville, Kentucky. But the communities hosting these mills often don’t want to have to bear the brunt of our obsession with shopping. “They’re causing pollution that’s never going to leave; they’re turning their own community into a superfund site,” says Jackie Lane, a marine biologist who lives near an International Paper mill in Cantonment, Fla., that she and others say has long polluted Perdido Bay. International Paper failed to meet its wastewater treatment plant permit limits for toxicity on 19 documented occasions from 2015 to 2019, according to a final consent order executed by the state in May. The consent order fines International Paper $190,000 in penalties and requires it to pay a $10,000 fine every time it fails certain water quality tests, an order Lane says is a slap on the wrist. International Paper said in a statement that its monitoring, done in coordination with the state, has shown that the wetlands are “biologically rich and diverse” and that it works closely with the state to preserve the wetlands. International Paper employs more than 500 Alabama and Florida residents, the company said. ‘Environmental racism’ Most of the new and improved paper mills are on sites that have long held paper mills—it’s much easier to get the permits and infrastructure on an existing site than to build a new factory. But that’s meant that because of historical zoning practices that located polluting plants near Black neighborhoods, it’s minority neighborhoods who are subject to much of this pollution. Earlier this year, a former resident filed a complaint against the city of Kalamazoo with the Michigan Department of Civil Rights, alleging that leaders discriminated against Black residents by approving a tax break that allowed Graphic Packaging to expand in a predominantly Black neighborhood. The city also agreed to cut down 721 trees for the company, according to the complaint. George Rose—Getty ImagesHoliday shopping contributes to a backlog of boxes outside a U.S. Post Office in Solvang, Calif., on Nov. 27, 2021. Brandi Crawford-Johnson, the plaintiff, also filed a complaint against Michigan’s Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy, alleging that it discriminated against a predominantly Black neighborhood when it approved changes to an air permit allowing Graphic Packaging to expand in November of 2020. In November, the EPA’s Civil Rights Compliance Office said that it would investigate this complaint. “It’s environmental racism,” says Crawford-Johnson, who after moving to the neighborhood was shocked to learn how many of her neighbors had asthma and other health problems. Graphic Packaging said in a statement that the expansion is not yet fully operational and that it has taken several steps over the years to mitigate potential odors. Though it does not comment on pending litigation, the company that there are several other local manufacturers and a city wastewater treatment plant near its operations, and the odors are caused by “a number of complex factors.” And in Brunswick, Georgia, which is 55% Black, residents have long been accustomed to the smell of rotten eggs from a nearby Georgia-Pacific pulp mill. But starting in December of 2020, residents started having such severe health reactions to the smell that some called 911 because they couldn’t breathe in their homes, says Rachael Thompson, the executive director of the Glynn Environmental Coalition. “I feel like if this were a Caucasian neighborhood and community, more would be done about it,” one resident who called 911, Spanline Dixon, told The Current, a news site covering coastal Georgia. Brunswick is home to four Superfund sites, but the University of Georgia worked with the Glynn Environmental Coalition to analyze weather reports and track what was upstream from the odor complaints. The study showed definitively a direct correlation between the mill and the odors, Thompson says. Her group has received 130 complaints since last year; the only time it did not receive any complaints was during a month the mill was temporarily closed. A Georgia-Pacific spokesman said, in an email, that the company is aware of the odor complaints and shares the community’s concern. The company is working with the state environmental regulatory agency and other stakeholders to identify and mitigate the potential sources of the odor, the spokesman said. Read more: How American Shoppers Broke the Supply Chain Tensions between growing demand for paper and the environmental problems that causes aren’t limited to the U.S. In Indonesia, more than 30 community groups sent a letter to Asia Pulp & Paper in August arguing that the mill’s plan to triple pulp production will risk the respiratory health of millions of people. And a community in Nova Scotia is divided after a paper company is taking legal action to reopen a mill that was shut in 2020 after community concerns about its wastewater discharge. One thing’s for sure, says Joshua Martin, director of the Environmental Paper Network—these conflicts are likely to mount as the world consumes more packaging. The problem isn’t just that mills create bad odors; despite high cardboard recycling rates, trees are still cut down to make packaging—around 3 billion a year, according to EPN. Although cardboard is easier to recycle than other products like plastic, it can only be recycled about 5-7 times before it can’t be used any more. Recycled cardboard is often mixed with virgin pulp to make boxes. The U.S. drives that demand—it consumes 202 kg of paper and paperboard per capita, compared to Africa’s 6 kg per capita, Latin America’s 44 kg per capita, and Asia’s 44 kg per capita, according to the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations. “If the entire world used the amount of paper as America currently does, it would be completely unsustainable,” he says. The only way to reverse this trend, he says, is to change the way we buy things to have less dependence on paper and packaging. Consumers can send messages to companies by patronizing businesses that use packaging certified by the Forest Stewardship Council; they can try brands like Loop that deliver groceries in reusable packaging, which Loop then collects. Perhaps the easiest solution, though, is to buy less stuff that you’re going to toss soon—disposable coffee cups or takeout packaging or multiple e-commerce orders. “It’s this culture of disposability and single-use, no matter what the product is made from, that needs to change,” he says. It’s something Kerri Bishop, the South Carolina resident, is taking to heart. Bishop spent her career working in manufacturing and says she didn’t join the class-action lawsuit and didn’t even want the mill to shut down at first. She just hoped they would upgrade their equipment. Now, though, she’s worried she moved to a state that values manufacturing and jobs more than the quality of life and health of its residents. She’s considering getting a home air filtration system. Once a frequent Amazon shopper, she tired of ordering a few different things and having them arrive in many different boxes, even if she tried to get them to all come the same day. She’d heard from a local politician that the New-Indy boxes were being used by Amazon, so she started boycotting the online retailer. She lifted the boycott for the holidays, as higher prices and supply chain problems made it hard to buy things elsewhere, but Bishop says she plans to stop shopping at Amazon again in January.    .....»»

Category: topSource: timeDec 15th, 2021

Countries around the world have sunk aircraft like the Boeing 747 to boost diving tourism — here are 6 intentionally submerged planes

The first-ever artificial plane wreck in North America is a Boeing 737-200 that was submerged off the coast of Canada. Boeing 737 sunken off the coast of Canada.Sea Proof TV Some countries have intentionally sunken aircraft to promote diving tourism and create coral reefs.  Among the sunken planes are a handful of airliners, like the Boeing 747 and the smaller Convair 240. Aircraft are submerged with an OK by local authorities so all harmful pieces are removed beforehand. Scuba diving is one of the fastest-growing recreational activities in the world, having become a multibillion-dollar industry since its development in 1967.Thompson family scuba diving near Nabucco Island in Borneo, IndonesiaCourtesy of Don ThompsonSource: Future Market InsightsAccording to data from Future Market Insights, diving tourism sales have grown over 6% since 2015 and are expected to rise another 5% in the coming decade.Max Altman scuba diving on reefs effected by climate changeMax AltmanSource: Future Market InsightsScuba enthusiasts will travel thousands of miles to experience the most unique and thrilling dives out there. One type of dive site that has become increasingly popular is sunken aircraft.Snorkler looking at old wrecked airplane near Norman's Cay in the Bahamas.Onne van der Wal/Getty ImagesThere are several crashed airplanes that have been located and used as scuba sites, like a WWII-era Japanese Navy seaplane off the coast of Palau in Micronesia...An Aichi E13A Japanese "Jake" seaplane sitting on a reef in Palau.Eric Lemar/ShutterstockSource: Scuba Diver LifeAnd a Corsair aircraft off the coast of Hawaii.WW-II era Corsair plane off the coast of Hawaii.Mr. James KelleySource: Scuba Diver LifeHowever, there are a handful of large jets that have been intentionally sunk to create artificial coral reefs and give divers a unique experience exploring an aircraft underwater, including airliners and military planes.Scuba divers near the corroded jet engine of an underwater plane wreck.Richard Whitcombe/ShutterstockIn June 2016, one of the largest underwater planes was sunk — an Airbus A300. The aircraft was submerged by the Turkish government off the Aegean coast in Kuşadası and is 177 feet long with an impressive 144-foot wingspan.Airbus A300 being prepared to sink.Anadolu Agency/Getty ImagesSource: The GuardianThe huge jet took two and a half hours to sink and was done to draw more diving tourism to the country. At 75-feet deep, the A300 is easily reachable by experienced divers.Airbus A300 being prepared to sink.Anadolu Agency/Getty ImagesSource: The Guardian"Our goal is to make Kuşadası a centre of diving tourism," Özlem Çerçioğlu, mayor of Aydin province, said in a video. "Our goal is to protect the underwater life. And with these goals in mind, we have witnessed one of the biggest wrecks in the world."Divers at the A300 dive site.Anadolu Agency/Getty ImagesSource: The GuardianThe first-ever artificial plane wreck in North America is a Boeing 737-200 that was submerged off the coast of Canada by Artificial Coral Reefs. The jet was featured on Discovery's Megabuilders series.Boeing 737 sunken off the coast of Canada.Sea Proof TVSource: Artificial Reef Society BCThe plane was donated by Air Canada in 2002 and was placed 90 feet deep at the bottom of the Georgia Strait off Chemainus in 2006, which is a community on Southern Vancouver Island in British Columbia.Boeing 737 donated by Air Canada that was sunk off the coast of Canada.Artificial Reef Society BCSource: Artificial Reef Society BCArtificial Coral Reefs President Howard Robins told Insider that the plane did not come with landing gear, and he explained he did not want to put the belly on the seafloor, so the team had to get creative.Boeing 737 sunk off the coast of Canada.Artificial Reef Society BCSource: Artificial Reef Society BCAs a solution, Robins explained the organization designed a unique cradle system mounted on 11-foot stands built with marine-friendly aluminum material. The system was attached to the aircraft and sunk as one unit.Special stands and cradle system used to mount the plane.Artificial Reef Society BCSource: Artificial Reef Society BCThe organization used a specially engineered contraption that it calls a "placement" that involves a barge and a crane."Placement" contraption specially-designed to sink the jet.Artificial Reef Society BCSource: Artificial Reef Society BCAs far as environmental concerns, Robins told Insider that all coatings and parts on the vessel that were considered harmful to the ocean were stripped, and what was left was the bare metal and the overhead bins.Boeing 737 sunken off the coast of Canada.Artificial Reef Society BCSource: Artificial Reef Society BC"This is recycling and repurposing, and those are key words," Robins told Insider. "This is not ocean-dumping or disposal, this is a thoughtful, carefully planned out game plan that requires marine stewardship, permitting, and approvals."Boeing 737 sunken off the coast of Canada.Artificial Reef Society BCSource: Artificial Reef Society BCTwo other notable Boeing aircraft were sunk in the past decade, including a mammoth Boeing 747 jumbo jet off the coast of Bahrain intended to attract divers from around the world.Boeing 747 submerged off the coast of Bahrain.Dive BahrainSource: Dive BahrainThe 747 aircraft is the largest aircraft to be used as an artificial reef and was sunk by Falcon Aircraft Recycling in 2019. The company specially modified the structure of the aircraft, notably the wings, for the project.Falcon Aircraft Recycling specially modified the structure of the plane.Falcon Aircraft RecyclingSource: Dive BahrainToday, it is managed by Dive Bahrain and is part of the company's "underwater theme park," which will span 100,000 meters and include ships and other structures when complete.Boeing 747 sunken off the coast of Bahrain.Dive BahrainSince its debut, the 747 has attracted professional divers from over 50 countries.Boeing 747 sunken off the coast of Bahrain.Dive BahrainSource: Dive Bahrain, The National NewsAnother impressive sunken Boeing aircraft is a 727 submerged in Mermet Springs in Illinois. The plane is a piece of Hollywood memorabilia from 1997's "US Marshals."Mermet Springs Boeing 727 sunken plane.Mermet SpringsSource: Mermet SpringsIn the movie, the 727 "crashed" with actor Wesley Snipes inside and rolled into the Ohio River outside Bay City, Illinois, though Snipes' character got away. After filming, Mermet Springs owner Glen Faith purchased the jet for $1 and moved it 12 miles west to its new home in 1998.Robert Downey Jr in 1997's US Marshalls after the plane crash.Warner Bros.Source: Mermet SpringsThe 22-ton plane is submerged in the hazel-green waters using a barge, two cranes, two low-boys, and two police escorts. The nose sits 50-feet deep while the tail sits at just 15.Boeing 727 sunken in Mermet Springs.Mermet SpringsSource: Mermet SpringsAccording to the company, the plane was cut in half for transport and then resewn before it was submerged. The 120-foot fuselage is hollowed out for divers who can see "charred cockpit controls, missing wings and open hatches throughout."Boeing 727 sunken in Mermet Springs.Mermet SpringsSource: Mermet SpringsSmall airliners have also been internationally sunk to become a reef, including a Convair 240 off the coast of Aruba. The 40-seater plane was sunk to 45 feet but has moved down to 80 feet after being disrupted by Hurricane Lenny in 1999.Convair 240 off the coast of Aruba.ChrisDagSource: Leisure ProThe hurricane also broke the plane into two pieces, but it is still easy to navigate and can be explored by divers.Convair 240 off the coast of Aruba.ChrisDagSource: Leisure ProIn addition to airliners, a WWII-era plane was intentionally sunk in 2009 for diving tourism. The Dakota DC-3 was a former transporter for parachutists in the Turkish air force and was donated after its retirement.Plane wreck of a Douglas DC-3 Dakota in the Mediterranean Sea, Kas, Turkey.Andrey Nekrasov/Getty ImagesSource: Diver AdvisorToday, the aircraft sits on its belly on the seafloor at a depth of 55 feet off the coast of Turkey and acts as an artificial reef and dive site.Dakota DC3 plane wreck in Kas, Turkey.Andrey Nekrasov/Getty ImagesSource: Diver AdvisorAccording to the company, the engines, wings, cockpit, rudder, and landing gear are all intact, and the large door used to jump provides an entrance inside.Dakota DC3 plane wreck in Kas, Turkey.Andrey Nekrasov/Getty ImagesSource: Diver AdvisorInside the main cabin is pretty bare, but the cockpit shows the workspace of the pilot who manned the plane over 85 years ago.Plane wreck of a Douglas DC-3 Dakota in the Mediterranean Sea, Kas, Turkey.Andrey Nekrasov/Getty ImagesSource: Diver AdvisorRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytDec 7th, 2021

Moderna CEO: Could Take Weeks For More Clarity On Omicron Covid Variant

Following is the unofficial transcript of a CNBC interview with Moderna Inc (NASDAQ:MRNA) CEO Stephane Bancel on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” (M-F, 6AM-9AM ET) today, Monday, November 29th. Following is a link to video on CNBC.com: Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel: Could Take Weeks For More Clarity On Omicron […] Following is the unofficial transcript of a CNBC interview with Moderna Inc (NASDAQ:MRNA) CEO Stephane Bancel on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” (M-F, 6AM-9AM ET) today, Monday, November 29th. Following is a link to video on CNBC.com: if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .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 Walter Schloss Series in PDF Get the entire 10-part series on Walter Schloss 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 Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel: Could Take Weeks For More Clarity On Omicron Covid Variant MEG TIRRELL: Hey Joe, Stephane Bancel joins us now. Stephane, thanks for being with us this morning. I think the whole world wants to hear from you and what you're doing on Omicron. But let's start first with the level of alarm or concern that you feel about this variant given what we know about it right now. STEPHANE BANCEL: Good morning, Meg. Thank you so much for having us. So, let me maybe start to tell you what I think we know about the virus. Clearly, it has been reported a lot of mutations, mutation in the spike protein, the one that is important for the vaccine. Just to remind people, there were very few mutations on the spike of the Beta or the Delta virus variants and I think it was a big surprise to the science community. I don't believe many people could have predicted such a big jump in evolution in one variant. What we also know is that it's taking over Delta in South Africa very quickly. It took around four months for Delta to take over Beta. It seems that in just a couple of weeks for this new variant to take over Delta so that's something to keep in mind. And we also know that it's in many countries already. What I think we should move on is what do we believe? We believe this virus is highly infectious. We need to get more data to confirm this, but it seems to be much more infectious than Delta which of course is problematic. And we also believe that it's only present in most countries. I think what happened with the planes coming from South Africa to Poland over the weekend is a good example. I believe that most countries that have direct flights from South Africa in the last seven to 10 days have already cases in that country that they might not be aware of. And then the last piece is what we not know yet, but we don't know. There are two key things that we don't know yet and we're gonna find out in the coming weeks. One is vaccine efficacy, what is the impact all these new variants on the vaccine efficacy, and we should know that in around two weeks. Given the large number of mutation, it is highly possible that the efficacy of the vaccine, all of them, is going down but we need to wait for the data to know if this is true and how much is it going down. The second piece that we don't know that we need to keep probably an open mind is the virulence of the virus, how much disease of the people. I believe this will take two to six weeks to really know and I think we need to be cautious that it could be more virulent, it could be as virulent, or it could be less virulent and I think today it's really impossible to know. I think the piece we should be cautious is I don't believe that what's going to happen in the coming week or two in South Africa will be predicting the true virulence of the variant and I think that's because if you think about it in South Africa, you have less than 5% of population over 60 years of age, and you don't have a lot of comorbidity and so it's not because it's going to look not very virulent in South Africa, that it will not be virulent in Europe or in America or in the north. TIRRELL: Well, going back to that question of course about the vaccines. You know, what we saw from the Beta variant which also arose in South Africa is that there was in what Dr. Fauci likes to call a diminution of the protection from the vaccines, but it still seemed like the vaccines could provide protection against severe disease. What's your expectation for that dynamic with Omicron? What diminution we might see based on the mutations that are understood and the effect that there will still be on severe disease from the vaccines? BANCEL: Yes, I think this really is the big question, Meg, is if you look at the new virus it does with Delta mutation, it does with Beta mutation, and many more on the spike up to 32 mutations. So we anticipate that there will be a loss of vaccine efficacy to prevent disease. What is important for people to remember is that unlike an antibody treatment, the vaccines provide you not one or two antibodies, but a soup of antibodies and so some antibodies will still be protective neutralizing antibodies even if you have a mutation and that's a piece that’s really hard to handicap what we did in the last few days to analyze the virus, you know, on computers and doing, you know, 3D modeling and so on. It’s tough to know how we going to lose no 5x, are we going to lose 8x of the antibody levels. These grids will be patient and see the data scientists have been working since middle of next week before Thanksgiving weekend and working through the whole weekend. Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, nonstop because we know it really matters. What is important I think to know is that Moderna we have a free line of defense strategy and I'm not aware of any company that has so many tools to help and respond if vaccine efficacy drops and the virulence is, is higher or same. One is as we know, we've lowered the dose of a booster of our current vaccine and so we have a lot of safety data showing that we could go back to 100 microgram dose and to double the dose of the current vaccine, which should provide better protection than the third dose booster of 50 micrograms. So that's first line of defense actionable right away. The second line of defense— JOE KERNEN: Yeah, sorry, we've been just kicking around a couple of the things that maybe you can clear up for us. When you're designing your messenger RNA vaccine it, are surface proteins the only target you could use the spike protein because they do seem to mutate a lot. Is there any way you could use messenger RNA to I don't know to code for some other part of the virus, something that's more conserved, or does it have to be something that that the antibody sees right on the surface of the virus right away? Is that the only target you can use for a messenger RNA vaccine? BANCEL: It’s a great question, Joe. In the past, we looked at several targets on the, on the surface of the virus and really the spike is the one that has always given us the best response in terms of efficacy of a vaccine and protection against disease. It is true that it is mutating but we really believe it is still the best target to provide protection. KERNEN: Is the, the other question that I had was in terms of safety. You get these small changes random it appears in the spike protein and maybe it makes it more infectious, maybe it doesn't, I don't know. But is there a risk in just assuming that since we've been through the safety trials for the original messenger RNA vaccine, if there's slight changes in the base pairs that that you're talking about in the spike protein, could it make it much more dangerous to the immune system in terms of long-term side effects, or can we assume from the safety studies that we already did that you change a few things to adapt to these new variants and it's going to be the same or do we have to go all the way back through all those safety regimen again? BANCEL: So, I think there's two sides to your question, what we believe from a science standpoint and what the regulator needs to see. From a science standpoint, we believe that changing a few builds won't change the safety of a product, we use the same chemical to bond, the same liquid around it, in the same machine. So, it'd be very comfortable having my loved ones getting a vaccine modified by just changing a few base builds in the spike in clinical studies. That's what I believe. Now, what a regulator will require in terms of change or not, I think we depend on what's happening in the community and the risk. I could see a world where if a virulence is less, the regulator asked us to do a full study of a new construct. But if the virulence is very bad, it's a massive public health from a risk benefit trader, the regulator might be comfortable allowing us to go straight to when you construct. BECKY QUICK: Stephane, very quickly, I just wanna go back to something you said. You said that you think countries that have had flights that came from South Africa and I'm guessing you mean any of those eight countries in South Africa, not the official South Africa country, that you think any country having flights coming from the last seven to 10 days from those countries very likely already has this new variant there, even if they haven't detected it yet. If that's the case, how effective are these lockdowns or these potential moves at this point to try and stop it? BANCEL: Yeah, so exactly Becky, I believe that any country that had direct flights from South Africa in the last seven to 10 days, you're now quickly that new variant to cover locally from the data we have seen, as that case exported to that country or imported of the virus. I think the, the measures that are being taken in a lot of countries can slow down the progress of the virus when we figure out the efficacy of the vaccine impact, when we figure out virulence and I think those actions can save a lot of lives down the road. ANDREW ROSS SORKIN: Hey Stephane, I’m— QUICK: So just a follow up real quickly, Andrew I'm sorry, I'll get out of the way in just a second. But just a follow up if you have a lockdown, you've got Israel and Japan that are doing total lockdown, other countries that are saying you can't come unless you're a citizen of that country. Does it matter? Does COVID check your passport to see if you're a citizen of that country? BANCEL: Of course it does not. So, I think the piece is testing, testing, testing. I think what Holland did by testing all the people who landed on that plane was the right thing to do. And as you can see, between people who took the plane with a negative COVID test and people who’ve arrived, you had around 10% of the plane that was COVID positive and that's happening everywhere on most flights. That’s why we need to be very cautious. SORKIN: Stephane, as you know, one of the, the great critiques of the world of pharmaceuticals right now and those making vaccines is that, is that we're not getting enough of them to folks as quickly as we should. Part of the issue in South Africa was there wasn't enough uptake. But I wanted to understand from you if you were king for the day, and you had unlimited funds, if the US government were to say we will, we will send you a check for $100 billion right this second, how quickly if a new version of the vaccine needs to be produced, manufactured and distributed, how you would do it and how you would do it differently? BANCEL: So, the challenge is that the manufacturing capacity is what takes times to change drastically. I think today if you look at just the two amounted players, we are on track together to make around 7 billion doses of vaccine for 2022. We could of course increase that if required but if you look at just the number of people who don't want the vaccine around the planet, I think with 7 billion doses, we covering most people who want a vaccine with, with a single dose booster. In terms of timelines, I think as we've said there are 60 to 90 days to get a new virus vaccines already made and actually approved by the regulators. The question is how quickly can manufacturing and when do you decide to switch because today we're making the current vaccine because many countries still want it because that's the only protection available and when do you make that decision so we are getting ready to make the decision as soon as we have the data in the next week or two. TIRRELL: And Stephane, just going back to all the different things that you're looking at as potential solutions for Omicron. I mean, you mentioned looking at the 100-microgram dose booster, that's the full dose rather than the half, seeing if that potentially provides enough protection on its own and then presumably, you've got that ready to go. You also have multi variant booster candidates that target parts of Beta and Delta that you say may potentially work and then you're also working that Omicron specific potential update to the vaccine. When do you think you'll know which one of those is the right solution? Are you working on all of them in parallel? When will we know what the right way to treat this is? BANCEL: So first Meg, yes, we are working on the three solutions at the same time because those have different timelines of when they could be actionable. The higher dose could be done right away but it will be months before the Omicron specific variant is ready to ship in massive quantities. And I think the big pivot is going to be the vaccine efficacy impact when we learn that in a week or two, depending on how much it drop, we might decide on the one hand to start getting a higher dose of a current vaccine around the world to better protect people, maybe people at very high risk the elderly, immunocompromised should need a fourth dose, question mark. And then in the meantime, rolling them into balance. So, I think those are just different timelines and just depending how bad the vaccine efficacy is impacted, we'll have to use one or the other strategy or maybe the three of them because they might just come one after the other. KERNEN: Hey Stephane, I wonder what your thinking is on, on people that have seen the entire virus. In other words, people that had COVID and so they got their antibodies were generated, the antigen was the entire virus itself, not just the spike protein. Would they have an advantage in terms of Omicron? Or because it's a different spike protein, would it be like that like their bodies seeing something entirely new as well and then they'd be defenseless, not defenseless, but maybe that the Omicron can get around the, the natural immunity a person had from, from getting COVID the first time around? Do you know? BANCEL: We don't know. I think it's a really interesting question, Joe. I think the question depends on when were they infected naturally because what we've seen so far is people who get vaccinated get higher level of antibody than people who get naturally infected. But as you say, people who get naturally infected get a much broader repertoire of antibodies, and that tradeoff between diminishing antibodies and the breadth of the antibodies is really hard to not even if it's a new variant, but it's highly possible but we don't know. TIRRELL: And Stephane, just thinking about the, the solutions to this, this issue. There have been calls from scientists in South Africa for, you know, if vaccines are needed to be updated or we need a higher booster dose or any of those solutions, there've been calls to prioritize that region of the world to try to stem the problem at its source. Is that possible to do? And of course, we've heard from Dr. Scott Gottlieb yesterday on “Face the Nation” saying that there is a resistance to accepting more vaccines in some of those countries because it's difficult to distribute them. The uptake in some places is, is low. What issues are you seeing there? BANCEL: Well actually, it’s exactly the same issues that Dr. Scott Gottlieb described. We have right now between 50 and 70 million doses of a vaccine in our warehouse unfortunately, ready to ship that are either custom issues or people in some countries have too many vaccines right now, and not enough people who want to get vaccinated or not enough medical workers to inject those. So, I think the world has changed drastically from what it was at three months ago, where there was not enough vaccine. Now already believe there is there's too much vaccine, which is a good thing for a planet but the issue is really the last mile. TIRRELL: Stephane Bancel, we really appreciate you being with us to help us understand how you're thinking through all of this and we hope to stay in touch with you as you learn more. Thanks again. BANCEL: Thank you. Updated on Nov 29, 2021, 11:57 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 29th, 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

"I really tried": Huma Abedin on her relationship with Anthony Weiner, her personal life, and how Hillary Clinton saved her

In an interview, Abedin shares her faith and therapy helped her through her ex-husband's sexting scandal. Huma Abedin poses for a portrait at a park in New York to promote her memoir "Both/And: A Life in Many Worlds" on Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2021. Christopher Smith/Invision/AP Huma Abedin, longtime aide to Hillary Clinton, spoke with Insider about her new memoir. The book details her decades-long career serving Clinton and her marriage to former New York congressman Anthony Weiner. "I don't think I have any regrets," Abedin told Insider. In her new memoir, Huma Abedin writes that her longtime boss Hillary Clinton declared "without hesitation" that she'll never run for president again after she lost the 2008 Democratic primaries.Clinton did run, of course, in 2016, making history as the first female candidate to win a major party's nomination, before narrowly losing to her Republican rival Donald Trump.But Abedin told Insider in a new interview that she doesn't believe Clinton will launch another bid for the White House."There's nobody more than Hillary Clinton who knows how hard it is for a woman to be an executive in this country, forget the highest office in the land," Abedin, 45, said.Abedin pointed to the female Democratic candidates (an all-time record of six) who ran in 2020 but fell short. "It showed we're not ready for a woman executive," she said. "It's really hard. Actually, it's just proven how extraordinary my boss was."Her admiration for Clinton is on full display in her first book, "Both/And: A Life in Many Worlds," released Tuesday. Abedin spoke with Insider about her new memoir, in which she details everything from her decades-long career with Clinton to her marriage with disgraced former New York congressman Anthony Weiner.'I really tried' with WeinerAbedin landed her first gig at the White House as an intern for then-first lady Clinton in 1996, a year after fellow intern Monica Lewinsky got her job.When President Bill Clinton's affair with Lewinsky went public, Abedin witnessed the toll the scandal took on her boss, who ultimately decided to remain loyal to her husband."Everything I saw on TV as it related to impeachment, it felt like an alternative universe. That what I was doing was hard work, this horrible news breaks, and my goal was to protect her," Abedin said of Clinton. Former Congressman Anthony Weiner and longtime Clinton aide Huma Abedin. John Moore/Getty Images Fast forward to 2011 and Abedin's husband Weiner, then-a rising Democratic New York representative, created national headlines for sending explicit photos to multiple women. Abedin chose to stay with him and was met with public scrutiny."To me, it's total apples and oranges," Abedin said about comparisons between Clinton's marriage and hers. "When it happens to you, it's different.""I was deeply in love with my husband, not only did we have a great life, I thought we had a perfect life, and I was carrying his child," she continued.After the scandal ended his congressional career, Weiner started therapy and returned to politics with a New York City mayoral bid in 2013. But that soon crumbled when more sexually explicit photos, sent under his alias "Carlos Danger," surfaced.Abedin was criticized yet again for sticking by Weiner. This time, she thought her decision might have cost her her job and her social circle. "I'm not sure I've actually written this, but I've shared in other instances that, to some extent, both Hillary Clinton and Anna Wintour kind of saved me," Abedin said."If I had been let go in 2013, it would have been enormously difficult for me to rebalance myself, to figure out how I was going to pick up the pieces and move on professionally," Abedin said. "[Clinton] knew that. It was one of the reasons she did not let me go."While Abedin lost some friends in the fallout, she credits Wintour for introducing her to a "whole new community of people" who would go on to have her back. Wintour, the top Vogue editor, honored the pair's longtime friendship in a book party hosted at her home this week. In this Oct. 28, 2016 file photo, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks with senior aide Huma Abedin aboard her campaign plane at Westchester County Airport in White Plains. AP Photo/Andrew Harnik The firestorm reignited in September 2016, when the FBI launched an investigation into Weiner after a Daily Mail report claimed he had sexted a minor. As part of its probe, the FBI seized Weiner's laptop, and found emails exchanged between Abedin and Clinton.The discovery triggered FBI Director James Comey to reopen an investigation into Clinton's emails just 11 days before the election. Comey closed the emails investigation right before Election Day, concluding that Clinton hadn't broken any laws. Abedin initially blamed herself and Weiner for Clinton's defeat, but she writes in her book that the fault rests with Comey. Weiner admitted and pleaded guilty in 2017 to sending explicit material to a 15-year-old. He was sentenced to 21 months in prison."I know many people have judgments, and certainly, many women have judgments. But I don't think anyone will have judgment on the fact that I tried. I really tried," Abedin told Insider.Weiner was released from federal custody in 2019, and though they aren't together, he is "always going to be the father of my child," Abedin said. "So we're always going to have a partnership."'One of the most difficult' periods of her lifeThe lingering trauma from her marriage, coupled with the 2016 election loss, plunged Abedin into a dark period, which she describes in her book as "one of the most difficult" of her life. For a brief instance in 2019, she contemplated "stepping off a subway platform."The fleeting suicidal thought startled Abedin, who sought therapy and turned to her Muslim faith for strength."'Wait, I need help,'" Abedin said she told herself at the time. "It was a combination of faith, but more than that, I got professional mental help." Huma Abedin, a senior aide for former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton walks to Clinton's campaign plane at Westchester County Airport in White Plains, N.Y., Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2016. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke An unwanted kiss from a senator that she kept secret from everyone, including ClintonOne bombshell Abedin dropped in her book takes place about 15 years ago, when a male senator invited her to his home and gave her an unwanted kiss.She kept the story secret for years, even from her own boss. The memory was "erased" from her mind until in 2018, when news hit about a professor named Christine Blasey Ford who was accused of "conveniently" remembering that then-Judge Brett Kavanaugh allegedly assaulted her decades ago, Abedin writes in her book.Abedin revealed to Insider that Clinton only learned of the incident when she read "the early version" of her book.Abedin and the senator, who she doesn't name, managed to "rebalance" their relationship, and there were no further inappropriate encounters, she said.When asked if she has a response to current lawmakers who say he should be held accountable, Abedin did not comment."The main reason I shared the story is I chose to tell my full truth in this book and I have done that," Abedin said.'I don't think I have any regrets'Abedin calls herself a workaholic in the book, regularly choosing her career over her personal life. When her uncle died, for example, no one in her family thought to tell her, Abedin said."I always picked work," she said. "I had to learn the lesson the hard way.""I don't think I have any regrets," Abedin added, "but I do think balance is important and I'm much better about it now." Senior aide Huma Abedin, right, stands nearby as Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, left, speaks to members of the media after a rally at the Zembo Shrine in Harrisburg, Pa., Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016. AP Photo/Andrew Harnik But one moment from a couple years ago has stayed with her. An "attractive" and "very high-profile" man asked her out several times, but she rejected him, partly because he was famous and because she was still recovering from her past marriage, Abedin told Insider."I was still in such trauma. I was like, 'I can't. I can't. All I want is for the photographers to go,'" she said. "Normally, I would have said yes right away. And I said no.""Can I tell you, I really regret it. Now in 2021, I wish the 2019 version of me had said: 'Yes, you deserve this. You deserve a successful, brilliant, handsome, smart man,'" she said, adding that this man is now "very off the market."Abedin, who says she's "old-fashioned" in her dating life, told Insider she's not seeing anyone right now. "I really am that person who waits for somebody else to ask them," she said.But Abedin is marking a new chapter of her life, which she calls "my year of saying yes.""I stole this from Shonda Rhimes," Abedin said. "I'm open to new ideas and opportunities. What those are, are not clear to me yet."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 4th, 2021

10 Things in Politics: GOP shocks Dems in Virginia

And the CDC gives the OK to COVID-19 vaccination for kids ages 5 to 11. Welcome back to 10 Things in Politics. Sign up here to receive this newsletter. Plus, download Insider's app for news on the go - click here for iOS and here for Android. Send tips to bgriffiths@insider.com.Here's what we're talking about:Glenn Youngkin defeats Democrat Terry McAuliffe in high-stakes Virginia governor's election'Judge Judy' was plagued by sexual-harassment claims, drinking on the job, and racism, former employees sayCDC gives the OK to COVID-19 vaccine for kids The Republican Glenn Youngkin addressed supporters after he was projected to win in Virginia's gubernatorial election. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images 1. ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL: Republicans are ready for the midterms. Glenn Youngkin's projected victory in the Virginia governor's race is the main data point, but it's far from the only one on a night that has buoyed the spirits of a party that just nine months ago found itself locked out of power in Washington. In a sign of just how good things are for Republicans, the New Jersey governor's race remains too close to call.Here are the key takeaways from a big "off-year" election night:Republicans stormed back to power in Virginia: Youngkin, a first-time candidate, is projected to have ended a GOP gubernatorial losing streak in the state dating back to 2009. But that was just the beginning. Decision Desk HQ projects that Republicans will sweep statewide offices, with Winsome Sears, a former state delegate, winning the lieutenant governor's race and Jason Miyares ousting the two-term Attorney General Mark Herring.The GOP sweep made history: Sears is the first Black woman elected to statewide office in Virginia. Miyares is set to be the commonwealth's first Latino attorney general.More on the results: Insider Youngkin was able to thread the Trump needle: "Youngkin was able to appeal to Trump's base by voicing support for the former president and calling for election integrity. But Youngkin also drew moderate and independent voters by talking about the economy and parental involvement in schools," The Washington Post reports.Still, Donald Trump quickly swooped in to claim credit: "​​I would like to thank my BASE for coming out in force and voting for Glenn Youngkin. Without you, he would not have been close to winning," Trump said in a statement. Youngkin avoided directly criticizing the president, but he also did not campaign with him.Other major results:Democrats are anxiously awaiting results in New Jersey: Gov. Phil Murphy was expected to easily win in a state that Joe Biden carried by roughly 16 points. But the state has also not reelected a Democratic governor in more than 40 years.How you know it's bad for Democrats: The New Jersey Senate president, Steve Sweeney, the longest-serving legislative leader in state history, is in a close contest against an essentially no-name Republican opponent, per multiple reports.Here's where things stood earlier this morning: Insider History made in Boston: Michelle Wu was elected Boston's first female and nonwhite mayor, a major moment in a city whose politics have long been dominated by white men.Eric Adams to lead New York: Adams, as expected, easily dispatched the Republican Curtis Sliwa in the New York City mayoral election. Sliwa spent part of Election Day trying to get his cat into the polling place with him.The last word from The Cook Political Report's Dave Wasserman: Dave Wasserman/Twitter 2. CDC OKs vaccine for kids: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has given the green light to recommend the lower-dose Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for kids ages 5 to 11, making nearly all school-age children eligible to get vaccinated in the US. Pediatricians could begin administering shots as soon as today. Doctors and nurses advising the CDC stressed that parents shouldn't wait to vaccinate their kids.3. Minneapolis voters defeat proposal to replace city's police department: Voters opposed the proposal by a 12-percentage-point margin, the Star Tribune reports. Advocates and some liberal city councilors had pushed for a dramatic overhaul of Minneapolis' police department after the murder of George Floyd. Instead, voters appear poised to reelect Mayor Jacob Frey, one of the proposal's most outspoken opponents. More on the closely watched ballot question in Minnesota. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema on October 6. Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images 4. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema announces support for drug-pricing deal: Lower costs on prescription drugs are back in Democrats' social-spending framework - and the key centrist Sen. Kyrsten Sinema has thrown her support behind it. Speaker Nancy Pelosi, per NBC, said the deal would establish a $2,000 out-of-pocket limit for seniors' expenses in Medicare Part D, reduce out-of-pocket co-pays, and lower some drug prices. Sinema's support of the deal is most likely a good sign of where she stands as Biden tries to push his agenda across the finish line.5. Biden calls out Russian and Chinese leaders for skipping climate summit: Biden criticized Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin for skipping the UN climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland, as well as the recent G20 summit in Rome, questioning their commitment to addressing the climate crisis as other world leaders have sought consensus. "The single most important thing that's caught the attention of the world is climate," Biden told reporters. More on Biden's remarks targeting two of the world's biggest polluters.6. Zillow is shutting down its homebuying business and laying off 25% of its employees: Zillow paused Zillow Offers last month after the company said it had a backlog of homes that required renovations. But an Insider analysis revealed other issues with the company's iBuying strategy. Of the hundreds of homes Zillow recently listed for sale in its five biggest markets, 64% were being marketed for less than the company paid for them. More on Zillow's problems. Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty Images; Donaldson Collection/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images; Samantha Lee/Insider 7. "Judge Judy" plagued by abuse, racism, insiders say: An Insider investigation involving interviews with 16 former "Judge Judy" employees, as well as a review of thousands of pages of court records, found that Judith Sheindlin's long-standing executive producer and director Randy Douthit had repeatedly been accused of sexually harassing employees, making inappropriate sexual comments to female staff members, offering preferential treatment to staffers he found attractive, and ordering junior producers to bring fewer Black litigants on the show. In a statement, Sheindlin, who has a new show out, defended her stewardship of "Judge Judy" but did not address the accusations against Douthit. Read more from Insider's investigation into one of TV's biggest icons.8. Kyle Rittenhouse's trial opens: "Jurors heard starkly different portrayals of Kyle Rittenhouse - instigator or victim - in opening statements at his trial on charges of shooting three people on the streets of Kenosha during a turbulent protest against racial injustice," the Associated Press reports. More on the trial.9. Hundreds of QAnon supporters gather in Dallas to witness "the return of JFK and JFK Jr.": Many believed they would witness the return of the assassinated president and his son who died in a plane crash in 1999, The Daily Beast reports. They were disappointed to see their prediction didn't come true. But rather than grappling with why the reappearances didn't happen, many just pivoted to a new prediction.10. Braves win the World Series: The Atlanta Braves blasted the Houston Astros, 7-0, in Game 6 and clinched the championship with a 4-2 series win. This is the Braves' first World Series title since 1995.Today's trivia question: How many US presidents were born in Virginia? Email your answer and a suggested question to me at bgriffiths@insider.com.Yesterday's answer: President Harry Truman famously held up the Chicago Tribune's front page that incorrectly led with a headline saying he had lost the 1948 presidential election.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytNov 3rd, 2021

90-year-old William Shatner had less than 2 hours of sleep and went horse riding with Jeff Bezos before Blue Origin spaceflight, his wingman says

Jeff Bezos and William Shatner "became really good buddies," the Star Trek actor's wingman told Insider. Actor William Shatner (left) and Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos (right). AP Photo/Steven Senne/Tony Gutierrez/AP William Shatner rode horses with Jeff Bezos the day before his Blue Origin launch, his wingman said. Don DiCostanzo, CEO of Pedego Bikes, spent a week with Shatner before and after his spaceflight. Shatner, 90, had two hours of sleep before launch and kept going until the evening, per DiCostanzo. William Shatner, the oldest person to blast into space, got hardly any sleep before his Blue Origin spaceflight and went horse riding with Jeff Bezos 24 hours before takeoff, according to Don DiCostanzo, who accompanied him on the whole journey.Shatner, who is famous for his role as Captain Kirk in "Star Trek," blasted into space on October 13 with three other passengers, onboard a New Shepard rocket made by Blue Origin, Bezos' space exploration company.DiCostanzo, CEO and founder of Pedego Electric Bikes, spent seven days as Shatner's wingman, traveling with the 90-year-old from New York to Van Horn, where Blue Origin is based.Shatner is the spokesperson for Pedego and agreed for DiCostanzo to be his wingman and help him charter a private jet to Texas, DiConstanzo said. William Shatner with his wingman Don DiCostanzo Don DiCostanzo DiCostanzo said he's known Shatner for eight years and that they're good friends.The launch was supposed to happen on October 12 but it got pushed back a day due to high winds. According to DiCostanzo, Shatner spent the day horseback riding with Bezos on the billionaire's ranch.DiCostanzo said: "They became really good buddies from what I could tell."Shatner has the energy of a 20-year-old, DiCostanzo told Insider."On launch day, I understand that he had less than two hours of sleep," DiCostanzo said. "He got up early in the morning at 6 a.m. to get ready to go on the launch, and he went out on that fabulous rocket ship ride at 8 a.m."After returning back to Earth, Shatner spent an hour with friends and family, took part in press interviews for two hours, and posed in pictures by New Shepard rocket, DiCostanzo said.When DiCostanzo met Shatner back in Blue Origin's Astronaut Village, where the astronauts stay, in the afternoon, the TV star told him to "hurry up and grab a sandwich because we've got a flight to catch." William Shatner sat next to wingman Don DiCostanzo on a plane. Don DiCostanzo Shatner chatted for the whole two-hour flight to Los Angeles on Bezos' private jet, DiCostanzo said. When they got off the flight, DiCostanzo said Shatner "bounced off the plane talking about where he was going to go for dinner.""I had four hours of sleep and I was dragging, and I'm 30 years younger than he is!" DiCostanzo added.Shatner wanted to go for a bike ride the night before the launch, but Blue Origin staff members told him it was out of charge. According to DiCostanzo, that wasn't true. "They didn't want him to crash the night before," he said. Shatner also took a Pedego bike to Blue Origin's Astronaut Village, which rode around the site, according to DiCostanzo. Pedego's YouTube video about the Blue Origin launch shows Shatner riding the electric bike after he got off a private jet. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 24th, 2021

Free Webinar Breaks Down How to Enter the Luxury Home Market

It’s no secret that the real estate market has been soaring over the past few years, particularly when it comes to luxury or high-end homes. In fact, according to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), the percentage of new homes sold above $750K increased 40% in just one year. Suffice it to say, it is […] The post Free Webinar Breaks Down How to Enter the Luxury Home Market appeared first on RISMedia. It’s no secret that the real estate market has been soaring over the past few years, particularly when it comes to luxury or high-end homes. In fact, according to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), the percentage of new homes sold above $750K increased 40% in just one year. Suffice it to say, it is a great time to be a luxury real estate agent or broker. Want to know how you can get in on the action? McKissock Learning, along with sister school The Institute for Luxury Home Marketing, is holding a free webinar that explores that very question. Our panel of experts, who are renowned for their achievements in the high-end real estate market, will outline the ins and outs of how to break into the highly-coveted luxury home market. Space is extremely limited, so reserve your spot today! Join this free webinar on Oct. 26, 1 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. EST. Meet the Panel John Wenner Wenner’s 25-year real estate career has presented him with opportunities to experience numerous markets, gaining priceless wisdom and education instrumental in serving a variety of buyers and sellers. Seeing markets soar and crash encouraged and inspired his passion for this business, thus, developing his skill set as a professional REALTOR® for selling, managing, teaching and mentoring. Wenner is one of only two holders of the DREI (Distinguished Real Estate Instructor) in Arizona, a member of the “Program on Negotiation” at Harvard Law School, and has negotiated a project which landed his signature on the planet Mars on July 4, 1997. Tami Simms Simms is a real estate marketing expert and accomplished trainer. Her background in advertising and as a concierge at a luxury resort provides her with real insights on reaching and serving the luxury consumer. Committed to community involvement, Simms has more than twenty years of non-profit board experience and ensures that volunteerism and good corporate citizenship are integral parts of her personal and professional life. She serves on numerous civic, municipal and non-profit boards and committees in her local community and statewide. Dusty Baker With consistent sales in Montecito, Hope Ranch, Upper East, Riviera, Mesa and more, Dusty Baker Group is backed by an impeccable track record of success in the area’s most desirable neighborhoods, and in 2020 the team successfully closed more than $110,000,000 in real estate sales. Baker has been featured regularly as a speaker at various industry-related events, and the group and their listings are frequently highlighted in publications such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, CA Home & Design, Haute Living and The Close. Bob Lucido Lucido began his real estate career in 1977 at the age of 18 and was one of the youngest people in Maryland to receive his real estate license. Lucido has represented and worked with some of the area’s most successful Builders and Developers, developing winning sales and marketing strategies. In April of 1991, Lucido created Builder’s 1st Choice and in seven short years grew the company to include 300 full-time employees and annual new home sales in excess of $275 million dollars, including a banner year of 3,000 sales in 2006, where sales reached almost $1 billion dollars. Lucido has been involved in the sale of over 30,000 homes and 4,000 lots; more than any other known agent in this region. McKissock Learning is the nation’s premier online real estate school, providing continuing education courses and professional development to hundreds of thousands of real estate agents across the country. As part of the Colibri Real Estate family of premier education brands, McKissock Learning, along with its sister schools Real Estate Express, Superior School of Real Estate, Allied Schools, The Institute for Luxury Home Marketing, Gold Coast Schools, The Rockwell Institute and Hondros Education Group, helps real estate professionals achieve sustainable success throughout each stage of their real estate career. Learn more at mckissock.com/real-estate. The post Free Webinar Breaks Down How to Enter the Luxury Home Market appeared first on RISMedia......»»

Category: realestateSource: rismediaOct 18th, 2021

Washington State Trooper Gives "Final Sign Off" After Refusing To Take Vaccine; Tells Governor To Kiss His A**

Washington State Trooper Gives 'Final Sign Off' After Refusing To Take Vaccine; Tells Governor To Kiss His A** A Washington state trooper released a video of his 'final sign off' after more than 22 years on the Yakima County force, after he was forced out of his job for refusing to take the Covid-19 vaccine by Oct. 18. "This is my final sign-off after 22 years serving the citizens of the state of Washington, I've been asked to leave because I am dirty," said the unnamed officer. "Numerous fatalities, injuries, I've worked sick, I've played sick, buried lots of friends over these years," he continued. "I'd like to thank you guys, as well as the citizens of Yakima County as well as my fellow officers within the valley. Without you guys I wouldn't have been very successful." "So State 1034 this is the last time you'll hear me in a state patrol car... And [governor] Jay Inslee can kiss my ass," he concluded. WASHINGTON STATE TROOPER SIGNS OFF AFTER BEING FIRED FOR NOT TAKING THE JABpic.twitter.com/ELjD2L3T6R — The_Real_Fly (@The_Real_Fly) October 17, 2021 In response, a dispatcher thanked him for his years of service. "Thank you for your 22 years and five months of service to the citizens of Washington state," she said. "You’ve taken on many roles in your time with the patrol. In your first year, you delivered a baby while on patrol. You’ve been a theory instructor and part of the chaplaincy board." "You’ve been a great role model and a mentor for all the young troopers serving in the area by sharing your knowledge and experience throughout the years," she continued, adding: "Thank you for your service." Governor Jay Inslee issued a sweeping order in August mandating that state government workers must "Show proof of vaccination on or before October 18 or lose your job." According to the Seattle Times, more than 90% of state govt. employees were fully vaccinated as of Saturday. Last Monday we noted that up to 40% of Seattle PD may lose their job over the mandate. As of Oct. 6, 292 sworn personnel had yet to provide proof of a COVID-19 vaccination per the report, down from 354 on Tuesday. An additional 111 officers are awaiting the results of exemption requests, meaning the total number of potentially fired Seattle cops is as high as 403. That said, the President of the Seattle Police Officers Guild, Mike Solan, said on Friday that officers who choose not to get vaccinated will not be terminated immediately on the Oct. 18 deadline - and will instead be given notice for a "Loudermill hearing" where they will be able to plead their case. Meanwhile in Chicago, a Judge issued a temporary restraining order late Friday against the Chicago police union president prohibiting him from making public statements which encourage members not to report their Covid-19 vaccination status to authorities. Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s high-stakes standoff with the police union over the city’s vaccine mandate landed in court Friday, with a judge doing what the mayor could not — temporarily silencing Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzara. Circuit Judge Cecilia Horan granted the city’s request for an injunction but only to the extent that Catanzara be precluded — at least until the next hearing Oct. 25 — from making any further YouTube videos or otherwise using social media platforms to encourage his members to defy the city’s mandate to enter their vaccine status on the city’s data portal. Catanzara soon took to the union’s YouTube channel where he said the courts were attempting to muzzle him. He said he would comply and urged his members to “do what’s in their hearts and minds.” -Chicago Sun Times "Enough is enough..." Tyler Durden Sun, 10/17/2021 - 22:40.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytOct 17th, 2021

Former Boeing pilot accused of deceiving the FAA about the 737 Max"s design flaws before they killed 346 people in 2 crashes

The DOJ said Mark Forkner didn't tell the FAA the entire truth about MCAS, a software responsible for the 2018 and 2019 crashes. A Boeing 737 Max sits outside the hangar at Boeing's Renton, Washington, plant. Thomson Reuters Faulty software caused two Boeing 737 Max planes to crash in 2018 and 2019, killing 346 people. A Thursday DOJ statement said Mark Forkner allegedly deceived the FAA during its assessment of the plane. 737 Max pilots were not sufficiently aware of the software as a result, the statement said. A former senior Boeing pilot was charged with fraud for allegedly deceiving the Federal Aviation Authority during its assessment of the 737 Max aircraft, whose faulty software led to two deadly crashes, the Justice Department said in a Thursday statement.A total of 346 people died when two 737 Max planes crashed in October 2018 and March 2019. At the time, Boeing said the cause of the tragedies was a faulty software known as the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System.MCAS was designed to automatically push the plane's nose down to keep it stable if it detects a stall, but investigators found that it could misfire because of faulty data from a sensor, forcing the plane into an unstoppable dive.On Thursday, Mark Forkner, Boeing's 737 Max's chief technical pilot, was charged with two counts of fraud and four counts of wire fraud, the DOJ statement said. This is the first criminal prosecution in the two Boeing crashes."In and around November 2016, Forkner discovered information about an important change to MCAS," the US Attorney's Office in the northern district of Texas wrote."Rather than sharing information about this change with the FAA AEG [Aircraft Evaluation Group] Forkner allegedly intentionally withheld this information and deceived the FAA AEG about MCAS."The indictment went on to say that Forkner, who was allegedly trying to save Boeing money, didn't sufficiently inform the FAA about MCAS, and the software was therefore not sufficiently addressed in pilot-training materials."Forkner allegedly abused his position of trust by intentionally withholding critical information about MCAS during the FAA evaluation and certification of the 737 MAX," assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr. said."He deprived airlines and pilots from knowing crucial information about an important part of the airplane's flight controls."If Forkner is convicted, he faces a maximum 20 years in prison on each count of wire fraud and 10 years in prison on each count of fraud, the DOJ statement said.Boeing did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.In October 2018, a Boeing 737 Max operated by the Indonesian airline Lion Air crashed into the Java Sea, killing all 189 people on board. Five months later, a further 157 people died when a 737 Max operated by Ethiopian Airlines crashed in Bishoftu, Ethiopia, six minutes after taking off.Boeing CEO Denis Muilenburg apologized in a video about a month after the Ethiopian Airlines crash, and dozens of airlines grounded their Boeing 737 Max planes worldwide as a result.Boeing scrambled to salvage the plane's reputation in the aftermath, and both Boeing and the FAA were served with a number of lawsuits in following months, from victims' families, pilots, and shareholders.A lawyer representing more than 70 families affected by the Lion Air crash told Insider's Sinéad Baker earlier this year that the families' cases against Boeing were running "at least a year behind" due to the pandemic.The 737 Max began flying again in 2021.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 15th, 2021

DoJ Indicts Former Boeing 737 MAX Chief Technical Pilot For Fraud

DoJ Indicts Former Boeing 737 MAX Chief Technical Pilot For Fraud A federal grand jury in the Northern District of Texas returned an indictment today charging a former Chief Technical Pilot for Boeing with deceiving the Federal Aviation Administration in connection with their evaluation of Boeing’s 737 MAX airplane following two deadly crashes. Mark Forkner, who was Boeing's 737 MAX chief technical pilot during the aircraft's development, served as the plane maker's lead contact with the FAA for how airline pilots should be trained to fly the new jet, is charged with scheming to defraud Boeing’s U.S. based airline customers to obtain tens of millions of dollars for Boeing. Mr. Forkner persuaded regulators to approve excluding details of a new flight-control system known as Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) from the 737 MAX’s pilot manuals, according to a U.S. House investigation, and, as alleged in the indictment, provided the agency with materially false, inaccurate, and incomplete information about MCAS “In an attempt to save Boeing money, Forkner allegedly withheld critical information from regulators,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Chad E. Meacham for the Northern District of Texas. “His callous choice to mislead the FAA hampered the agency’s ability to protect the flying public and left pilots in the lurch, lacking information about certain 737 MAX flight controls. The Department of Justice will not tolerate fraud – especially in industries where the stakes are so high." Forkner is charged with two counts of fraud involving aircraft parts in interstate commerce and four counts of wire fraud. He is expected to make his initial court appearance on Friday in Fort Worth, Texas. The question from here is simple - will Forkner throw the Boeing C-Suite under the bus for acting on orders or was a 'lone wolf' trying to save Boeing millions of dollars for the good of his heart? *  *  * Full Justice Department Statement: (emphasis ours) A federal grand jury in the Northern District of Texas returned an indictment today charging a former Chief Technical Pilot for Boeing with deceiving the Federal Aviation Administration’s Aircraft Evaluation Group in connection with their evaluation of Boeing’s 737 MAX airplane, and scheming to defraud Boeing’s U.S. based airline customers to obtain tens of millions of dollars for Boeing. According to court documents, Mark A. Forkner, 49, formerly of Washington State and currently of Keller, Texas, allegedly deceived the FAA AEG during the agency’s evaluation and certification of Boeing’s 737 MAX airplane. As alleged in the indictment, Forkner provided the agency with materially false, inaccurate, and incomplete information about a new part of the flight controls for the Boeing 737 MAX called the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS). Because of his alleged deception, a key document published by the FAA AEG lacked any reference to MCAS. In turn, airplane manuals and pilot-training materials for U.S.-based airlines lacked any reference to MCAS — and Boeing’s U.S.-based airline customers were deprived of important information when making and finalizing their decisions to pay Boeing tens of millions of dollars for 737 MAX airplanes.  “Forkner allegedly abused his position of trust by intentionally withholding critical information about MCAS during the FAA evaluation and certification of the 737 MAX and from Boeing’s U.S.‑based airline customers,” said Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “In doing so, he deprived airlines and pilots from knowing crucial information about an important part of the airplane’s flight controls. Regulators like the FAA serve a vital function to ensure the safety of the flying public. To anyone contemplating criminally impeding a regulator’s function, this indictment makes clear that the Justice Department will pursue the facts and hold you accountable.”      “In an attempt to save Boeing money, Forkner allegedly withheld critical information from regulators,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Chad E. Meacham for the Northern District of Texas. “His callous choice to mislead the FAA hampered the agency’s ability to protect the flying public and left pilots in the lurch, lacking information about certain 737 MAX flight controls. The Department of Justice will not tolerate fraud – especially in industries where the stakes are so high." Forkner allegedly withheld cruical inforamtion about the Boeing 737 Max and deceived the FAA, showign blatant disregard for his responsibilities and teh safety of airline customers and crews," said Assistant Director Calvin Shivers of teh FBI. "The FBI will continue to hold individuals like Forker accountable for their fraudulent acts which undermine public safety."  “There is no excusing those who deceive safety regulators for the sake of personal gain or commercial expediency,” said Inspector General Eric J. Soskin of the U.S. Department of Transportation. “Our office works continuously to help keep the skies safe for flying and protect the traveling public from needless danger. Today’s charges demonstrate our unwavering commitment to working with our law enforcement and prosecutorial partners to hold responsible those who put lives at risk.” According to court documents, Boeing began developing and marketing the 737 MAX in and around June 2011. The FAA AEG was responsible for determining the minimum level of pilot training required for a pilot to fly the 737 MAX for a U.S.-based airline, based on the nature and extent of the differences between the 737 MAX and the prior version of Boeing’s 737 airplane, the 737 Next Generation (NG). At the conclusion of this evaluation, the FAA AEG published the 737 MAX Flight Standardization Board Report (FSB Report), which included, among other things, the FAA AEG’s differences-training determination for the 737 MAX, as well as information about differences between the 737 MAX and the 737 NG. All U.S.-based airlines were required to use the information in the 737 MAX FSB Report as the basis for training their pilots to fly the airplane. As Boeing’s 737 MAX Chief Technical Pilot, Forkner led the 737 MAX Flight Technical Team and was responsible for providing the FAA AEG with true, accurate, and complete information about differences between the 737 MAX and the 737 NG for the FAA AEG’s evaluation, preparation, and publication of the 737 MAX FSB Report. In and around November 2016, Forkner discovered information about an important change to MCAS. Rather than sharing information about this change with the FAA AEG, Forkner allegedly intentionally withheld this information and deceived the FAA AEG about MCAS. Because of his alleged deceit, the FAA AEG deleted all reference to MCAS from the final version of the 737 MAX FSB Report published in July 2017. As a result, pilots flying the 737 MAX for Boeing’s U.S.‑based airline customers were not provided any information about MCAS in their manuals and training materials. Forkner sent copies of the 737 MAX FSB Report to Boeing’s U.S.-based 737 MAX airline customers, but withheld from these customers important information about MCAS and the 737 MAX FSB Report evaluation process. On or about Oct. 29, 2018, after the FAA AEG learned that Lion Air Flight 610 — a 737 MAX — had crashed near Jakarta, Indonesia, shortly after takeoff and that MCAS was operating in the moments before the crash, the FAA AEG discovered the information about the important change to MCAS that Forkner had withheld. Having discovered this information, the FAA AEG began reviewing and evaluating MCAS.  On or about March 10, 2019, while the FAA AEG was still reviewing MCAS, the FAA AEG learned that Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 — a 737 MAX — had crashed near Ejere, Ethiopia, shortly after takeoff and that MCAS was operating in the moments before the crash. Shortly after that crash, all 737 MAX airplanes were grounded in the United States. Forkner is charged with two counts of fraud involving aircraft parts in interstate commerce and four counts of wire fraud. He is expected to make his initial court appearance on Friday in Fort Worth, Texas, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeffrey L. Cureton of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison on each count of wire fraud and 10 years in prison on each count of fraud involving aircraft parts in interstate commerce. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. An indictment is merely an allegation, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. The Chicago field offices of the FBI and DOT-OIG are investigating the case, with the assistance of other FBI and DOT-OIG field offices. Trial Attorney Cory E. Jacobs, Assistant Chief Michael T. O’Neill, and Trial Attorney Scott Armstrong of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Alex Lewis of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Texas are prosecuting the case. Tyler Durden Thu, 10/14/2021 - 18:40.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytOct 14th, 2021