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Protected: Writing to Pursue Value

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Category: blogSource: TheBigPictureOct 13th, 2021

Retellings are books that put a modern spin on classic novels - these are the 21 best titles

Retellings of classic books are fresh, modern takes on iconic stories, from "Pride and Prejudice" to "The Odyssey." When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more. Some of the best classic retellings include "Pride," "A Court of Thorns and Roses," and "Love in Color." Amazon; Rachel Mendelson/Insider From fairytales to ancient legends, classic stories have influenced new books for centuries. Retellings of classic books imagine our favorite characters and stories with a new, modern twist. We've rounded up some of the best retellings of classics, from "Don Quixote" to "Cinderella." Whether it's the magical tale of "Beauty and the Beast" or a well-loved Jane Austen novel like "Pride and Prejudice," classic stories whisk us away to magical lands and inspire a lifetime of reading. In contemporary retellings, authors reimagine our favorite legends and heroes in new and exciting stories. Each retelling on this list was influenced by an ancient myth, a magical fairytale, or a work of classic literature. To gather these recommendations, I looked at popular reads from lists on Audible, Goodreads, and Bookshop. Whether you're looking for a fresh perspective on an old fairytale or to discover an ancient legend in a new setting, retellings offer exciting reimaginations of our favorite stories. The 21 best retellings of classic books and stories: "To Kill a Kingdom" by Alexandra Christo Amazon Available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $9.89Princess Lira is a royal siren with an impressive record of 17 princes killed. When she disobeys her mother, the Sea Queen turns her into a human who must deliver Prince Elian's heart — a siren killer — or remain a human forever in this dark and vicious romantic fantasy. Retelling: "The Little Mermaid" by Hans Christian Andersen  "Anna K: A Love Story" by Jenny Lee Amazon Available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $10.11"Anna K" is a modern YA retelling of a classic romance, perfect for anyone who loved "Gossip Girl." Anna K. is a 17-year-old girl at the height of Manhattan society who has always managed to avoid the teenage drama and problems that plague her friends and family. When a new boy with a bad reputation comes into her life, Anna can't resist the gravity that seems to pull them together. Retelling: "Anna Karenina" by Leo Tolstoy "Pride" by Ibi Zoboi Amazon Available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $9.99In this retelling of a Jane Austen classic, Zuri Benitez is proud of her Afro-Latino family in Brooklyn and can't stand to see the neighborhood gentrifying around her. When the wealthy Darcy family moves in across the street, she's repulsed by Darius' arrogance — yet their initial dislike grows into a mutual understanding in this novel's exploration of race and class, illuminated by Ibi Zoboi's poetic writing style.Retelling: "Pride and Prejudice" by Jane Austen "Quichotte" by Salman Rushdie Bookshop Available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $9.29Sam DuChamp is an Indian writer living in America who has authored a series of unsuccessful spy thrillers. He eventually creates a character named Ismail Smile who falls in love with an unattainable television star and begins to send love letters under the pen name "Quichotte." As his character sets off on a cross-country journey to prove his worthiness of the star's love, Sam DuChamp's personal crises prove urgent in this playful and satirical retelling.Retelling: "Don Quixote" by Miguel De Cervantes "Cinder" by Marissa Meyer Amazon Available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $9.89The first in a series of new imaginings of fairy tales in a futuristic world, "Cinder" features a cyborg retelling of "Cinderella," set in New Beijing as a plague devastates the city. As the merciless Lunar people watch from space, Cinder's life intertwines with the prince's and she must dig into her mysterious past in the hopes of saving the planet. Retelling: "Cinderella" by Charles Perrault "Blanca & Roja "by Anna-Marie McLemore Bookshop Available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $9.99Blanca and Roja are sisters but (more importantly) bitter rivals, bound by a generations-old spell that will one day leave one of them a girl and the other trapped in the body of a swan. Woven with magical realism and spell-binding storytelling, this story is a gorgeous and diverse fairytale retelling as two local boys get entangled in the unpredictable magic within the woods. Retelling: "Snow-White and Rose-Red" by the Brothers Grimm "A Court of Thorns and Roses" by Sarah J. Maas Bookshop Available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $10.80"A Court of Thorns and Roses" is the first in a hugely popular five-book fantasy series about a huntress who is captured and stolen away to a magical land after killing a protected wolf on a hunt. As Feyre uncovers the truths about the beast who captured her, her resentment slowly shifts to burning passion. When a looming evil threatens the magical land, Feyre must decide where her loyalties truly lie. Retelling: "Beauty and the Beast" by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve  "Recipe for Persuasion" by Sonali Dev Bookshop Available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $14.71Chef Ashna Raje is struggling to keep her father's once-popular restaurant alive when an opportunity to win a huge grand prize on a reality cooking show offers the answers to all her problems.  When she's paired up with the worst possible partner, Rico Silva — a soccer star and Ashna's first love — the competition heats up and brings their past relationship to the forefront. Ashna and Rico must navigate both in this romantic comedy that also addresses more complex issues.Retelling: "Persuasion" by Jane Austen "Home Fire" by Kamila Shamsie Amazon Available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $14.49Separated into five sections that each reveal the experiences of a single character, "Home Fire" is an insightful but heartbreaking story about a British Muslim family who struggles between love and loyalty when a shadow of a terrorist threat looms over them. Isma spent most of her young life raising her younger twin siblings, Aneeka and Parvaiz, but is now off to America to pursue her own dreams. When Parvaiz disappears to explore the dark legacy of their father, his resurfacing brings Isma's worst fears to life. Retelling: "Antigone" by Sophocles "Meg & Jo" by Virginia Kantra Amazon Available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $10.85In this contemporary reimagination of a beloved classic, the March sisters are all grown up and have pursued their separate dreams. Meg is living the charming family life she thought always wanted while Jo is struggling in New York City after a painful end to her journalism career. When their mother falls ill, the sisters rush home for the holidays and find that family and sisterhood may be the key to truly understanding their dreams.Retelling: "Little Women" by Louisa May Alcott "If The Shoe Fits" by Julie Murphy Amazon Available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $11.28When Cindy, a recent college graduate with a degree in shoe design, starts working for her stepmother behind the scenes of a reality show, she's hoping it's just temporary until she can launch her fashion career. But when a spot on the show needs filling, Cindy volunteers and finds herself quickly becoming a plus-size icon for viewers everywhere. From the author of "Dumplin," this romance is a fun and fabulous retelling of a classic fairytale.  Retelling: "Cinderella" by Charles Perrault "Six Crimson Cranes" by Elizabeth Lim Amazon Available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $15.99This novel begins with a simple and elegant story and quickly builds to a mesmerizing and breathtaking fairytale retelling. Shiori is a princess who is usually able to conceal her secret, forbidden magic. But when her stepmother banishes her and turns her brothers into cranes, Shiori searches for them and uncovers an overwhelming conspiracy that only she can stop.Retelling: "The Wild Swans" by Hans Christian Andersen "Love in Color: Mythical Tales from Around the World," Retold by Bolu Babalola Bookshop Available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $17.29"Love in Color" is a collection of short stories about love that retell ancient myths and legends from an array of countries and cultures. Perfect for lovers of romance and happy endings, this anthology brings a vibrancy to classic tales with contemporary twists.Retelling: Various folktales and legends from West Africa, the Middle East, and Greece "Dorothy Must Die" by Danielle Paige Amazon Available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $7.99In this retelling exploring the darker side of Oz, Amy Gumm is another girl from Kansas who has been trained by the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked to kill Dorothy, the violent and unforgiving ruler of Oz. Amy must take the Tin Man's heart, the Scarecrow's brain, and the Lion's courage on her dark journey to restore Oz to the way it's supposed to be.Retelling: "The Wizard of Oz" by L. Frank Baum "Spinning Silver" by Naomi Novik Bookshop Available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $14.99In this award-winning fantasy retelling, Miryem sets out to save her family from her father's debts and quickly gains a reputation for being able to spin silver into gold. When Miryem's skills catch the attention of an evil creature, she's given an impossible task that sets her on a journey to save the kingdom — and herself. Retelling: "Rumpelstiltskin" by the Brothers Grimm "The Wrath and the Dawn" by Renée Ahdieh Amazon Available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $7.41"The Wrath and the Dawn" is an enchanting and magical story where Khalid, an 18-year-old king, takes a bride each night and kills them by morning, devastating families throughout the kingdom every day. When Shahrzad's friend falls victim to Khalid, Shahrzad hatches a plan for revenge and volunteers to be his next bride but is quickly entangled in a betrayal far more complex than she could have imagined. Retelling: "The Arabian Nights" "The Girl in Red" by Christina Henry Amazon Available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $12.94"The Girl in Red" is a suspenseful, post-apocalyptic retelling of "Little Red Riding Hood" where the population has been devastated by an epidemic and terrifying predators emerge from the woods at night. Alternating between the past and the present, Red must reach her grandmother's house and try to survive in this brutal and twisted dystopia.Retelling: "Little Red Riding Hood" by the Brothers Grimm "Legendborn" by Tracy Deonn Amazon Available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $15.19In this modern retelling of Arthurian legends, Bree Matthews escapes to a residential high school program for gifted students after her mother dies in a tragic accident. When Bree witnesses a magical attack on her first night, a secret society of magical students unveils an entire world of hidden memories and well-kept secrets, including Bree's own magical powers and the circumstances of her mother's death. Retelling: King Arthur legends "Ayesha at Last" by Uzma Jalaluddin Amazon Available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $8.59Ayesha is working to pay off her debts to her uncle while constantly being reminded that her younger cousin has received countless marriage proposals. Certain she doesn't want an arranged marriage, Ayesha meets Khalid and can't stand that she's attracted to him despite his judgemental attitude. When a surprise engagement between Khalid and Ayesha's cousin is announced, Ayesha must confront her family's gossip and her deeply personal discoveries about herself to find what she truly wants. Retelling: "Pride and Prejudice" by Jane Austen "A Study in Charlotte" by Brittany Cavallaro Amazon Available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $5.01When Jamie Watson and Charlotte Holmes, the great-great-great-granddaughters of the famous detective duo Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, meet at a prep school in Connecticut, it seems they might make better rivals than friends. But when a student dies under mysterious circumstances mirrored from an old Sherlock Holmes story, Jamie and Charlotte are framed as the culprits and must solve the mystery to clear their names.Retelling: "Sherlock Holmes" by Arthur Conan Doyle "An Orchestra of Minorities" by Chigozie Obioma Amazon Available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $12.49In this original and beautiful retelling of "The Odyssey," the life of a young farmer named Chinonso is changed after he stops a woman named Ndali from jumping off a bridge. They fall in love, but when Ndali's wealthy and educated family refuses their union, Chinonso sets off on a long and devastating journey to prove himself worthy. Retelling: "The Odyssey" by Homer Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 5th, 2021

I tried working in a never-ending Zoom call that"s like a "virtual WeWork," and it made my day more social while maintaining my productivity

Creator Cache Bunny started the Zoom call 18 months ago as a place for creatives to come watch each other work and stay productive. Zoom screen of Edit.PartyCache Bunny Edit.Party, a viral virtual work meeting, helped fill people's social need after COVID took it away. The zoom call hosts 50 people on average at a given time from 72 countries around the world. The "party" was not distracting — it actually helped me feel more productive at times. In the thrust of the COVID pandemic, many remote workers sat at home, configuring their homes into office spaces and struggling to recapture the feel of working in-person. As offices plan to reopen for in-person work, workers across industries have pushed to remain remote to stay "flexible." According to a report from BambooHR, one-in-three workers who are sent back to in-person work in August with highly-restrictive social settings feel worse than they did at the height of COVID quarantine. A survey from PwC in August showed that 41% of remote workers wouldn't want to go back to the office at all.I felt largely in the same boat as most remote workers, except with an eagerness to be social and work in-office. Recently, I stumbled across a Tik Tok showing a Zoom call titled, "Edit.Party," whose express goal was providing the social element of working in an office to remote workers.So I decided to try it out for a few days to see if this zoom gathering was a sustainable place to work. I've spent the last 4 months of my workdays working from home in Southern California for a company based in New York.Francis AgustinAs a sociable person, I found it hard adjusting to working in a room by myself. Sometimes, I would even long for team meetings just to inject my day with some social variety.For Cache Bunny, a Los Angeles video director and visual effects artist, COVID quarantine effectively killed the creative inspiration and human connection that came with working physically alongside other people.Cache BunnyCache Bunny originally started streaming her editing work on Twitch, but felt the five to eight hour streams were unsustainable.She found a way to repurpose Zoom, the video communications app, into a thriving co-working social community.Cache Bunny/Edit.Party"I realized I don't want to be showing my work necessarily. I don't want to be talking at all. I really just want to like be alongside people while they're also focused," Cache Bunny told Insider. "So then that's where I kind of came up with the idea for the format."Upon entering, Edit.Party looked like any other Zoom call. I went on grid-mode to fully take in the experience of seeing everyone, and it was definitely strange to be sharing my name, social handles, and face to dozens of strangers.Cache Bunny (center) welcomes me (top left) on the edit.party for the first time.Francis AgustinCache bunny said many of those on the call are from a range of professional backgrounds – from musicians, to video editors, coders, and analysts — and are not part of a particular company.Mics are silenced for all users to minimize potential distractions as a mix of EDM, Lo Fi, and indie tracks play in the background, but there is an ongoing chat on the sidebar so people can talk and interact.Francis AgustinPeople use the chat box to share more about themselves, their hobbies, interests, or what they're doing that day. Users immediately jumped in the chat to say hello to me.I even got to join what are called "Focused Sprint" sessions, where people completely mute their computers and concentrate on a project for a given time.Cache Bunny/edit.partyIt forced me to hold myself accountable for the time I was spending on work while having the support of others who were doing it too. It also got my creative juices flowing and I was able to do more writing, researching, making phone calls, sending emails, and organizing my schedule as a result.Edit.Party has evolved over the past year-and-a-half, developing its own sense of workplace culture and quirks.Much of the cultural characteristics of the zoom call are built around their artistic backgrounds, with members talking about or sharing their work with other members. Meanwhile, occasional glances at the screen showed people eating lunch, chatting with housemates, and wrangling their kids or pets.During the work day, one of the Edit.Party house creators, Collin O'Malley, showcased a drone flyby of the house for all of the zoom call attendees, getting to share his creative passions with his community.—francis agustin (@francisnagustin) November 22, 2021 O'Malley, an early user of Edit.Party who piloted the drone, quit his IT job and moved to LA to join Edit.Party members to pursue FPV drone piloting."It would be safe to say that edit.party has completely changed my life," O'Malley (left) told Insider.Cache Bunny/edit.partyHe told Insider he now runs part of the back-end of Edit.Party, finding an appreciation for the community.The relationships forged were so unique and unlike anything they had experienced, several Zoom attendees told Insider. A few original members would even move in together in a house in LA.Members met up for the first time since the pandemic began in Los Angeles, CA in July 2021.Cache Bunny/edit.party"I have all my friends with me and they're also being productive," Cache Bunny said. "So it just sort of turns something that was once the least social activity in the world into this fully social activity.""It felt so nice to be able come into a 24/7 open space full of amazing creators and just have people to edit with or hang out," said Jacob Rodier, a video content creator I met on the Zoom. "We even had a meetup recently where I met some of them in real life."New York Edit.Party members meet in October 2021Edit.PartyAccording to Cache Bunny, the call hosts users from over 72 countries around the world, who plan meetups in their respective countries, including Morocco, Colombia, and Belgium.Edit.Party members meet up in Antwerp, Belgium in November 2021.Edit.Party[This experiment] is absent any of the political intrigue of an organization and the kind of competition for resources that you typically find in organizational settings," said Stewart Friedman, a professor at University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business.A staff members sits at his work station in Facebook's office at the Potsdamer Platz in Berlin, Germany, 17 February 2016.Bernd von Jutrczenka/picture alliance via Getty Images"It creates a whole different template for the kinds of relationships people can develop that are among the many real benefits that people gain from the social affiliations that they have through work," Friedman added."Personalizing a virtual goodbye party to the individual will make the event will make it less awkward and more memorable.Morsa Images/Getty ImagesSome firms, like PayPal and Citrix, have recently tested virtual headquarters or workspaces for their employees in an attempt to meet those social needs.Workers using Facebook's Horizon Workrooms, an early version of a metaverse workplace.FacebookMeta, formerly Facebook, has also made big strides in the virtual space, redirecting focus and investment into building a "metaverse" workplace for employees to interact with each other.It might be tricky for the easily distracted, but the welcoming vibe and inherent kinship made for a stimulating work experience. It surprised me that this type of community existed out there.Francis AgustinEdit.Party is evidence of this unique overlap of people with a demand for a hybrid workspace — people who want to experience the camaraderie of the office from home. I remain uncertain on whether a forum like Edit.Party could be the future of the workplace, but from what I've gathered using it, it's proved to be an entertaining and productive place to spend my workday.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsider3 hr. 10 min. ago

South Africa Sees Cases Double As White House Extends Federal Mask Mandate

South Africa Sees Cases Double As White House Extends Federal Mask Mandate Update (1800ET): Now that the first case of the omicron variant has been confirmed in the US (even though Dr. Anthony Fauci insists that all of the case's close contacts have been identified and tested, and that there's no sign of additional cases - at least not right now), the Biden Administration has decided to extend a federal mask mandate through mid-March. The mandate requires travelers to wear masks on airplanes, trains and buses, and at airports and train stations. President Biden is expected to share his plans for imposing tighter travel restrictions on foreigners on Thursday. The CDC is reportedly already collecting names to give to local authorities so that their viral status can presumably be tracked. * * * As European countries from Germany, to Austria to the Netherlands tighten lockdown measures amid a surge in COVID cases (while deaths remain slightly elevated but more subdued), the continent's unelected bureaucrat in chief, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, asked during a speech on Wednesday that EU members consider adopting a vaccine mandate. All members should "think about" imposing mandates of their own in a coordinated fashion that's in keeping with the Continent's new approach. Source: Reuters Speaking during a news conference, the European Commission chief suggested that member states need mandates to help prevent the spread of cases and a further spike in infections due to the emergence of new variants, such as the omicron strain. "I think it is understandable and appropriate to lead this discussion now, how we can encourage and potentially think about mandatory vaccination within the European Union," von der Leyen stated, adding that fighting the pandemic requires a "common approach" across the bloc. Meanwhile, a former president of EU member Ireland published an editorial in Politico Europe Wednesday slamming the WTO's refusal to approve sharing of intellectual property that would allow emerging countries to produce their own vaccines. Epidemiologists warned us time and again that allowing the virus to spread around the world is a recipe for new mutations to develop and that they will indiscriminately harm us all. This waiver, which has now dominated WTO talks for over a year, is a necessary global solution to end the pandemic. Yet one powerful voice at the WTO has continued to undermine this effort — and that must change. Isn't it interesting how world leaders talk about vaccine mandates, while simultaneously ensuring that emerging countries will need to purchase their jabs from American pharmaceutical giants? But let's put a pin in that. South Africa has seen the number of new COVID cases doubled between Wednesday and Tuesday, according to official data released by the same people who issued the first warnings about the omicron variant. What's more, a top South African health official said the omicron variant would likely still be susceptible to the T-cell response caused by both natural and vaccine-induced causes. But that hasn't stopped the country from seeing a surge in infections and reinfections, which has been particularly notable among the older population, officials said. Back in Europe, outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel has proposed new nationwide restrictions on people who haven't been vaccinated. Coincidentally, the WHO said earlier that indications are that most omicron cases will be mild, not severe. Of course, that's true of delta and all the other strains as well. The organization later said that the world is still "in the midst" of the pandemic. But the point is - as even some of South Africa's top virology experts discussed earlier this week and over the weekend - that even if omicron does break through natural and vaccine-induced protections, infections will likely be mild in nearly all of these patients, and the body's T-cell response will leave most people protected. Confirmed cases of the omicron variant remained fewer than 300 (closer to 250 still by midday) while omicron cases were confirmed for the first time in South Korea (which has already imposed travel restrictions on southern African states), Saudi Arabia and Norway. More cases were found in new locations in the UK, Switzerland, Nigeria, Brazil and elsewhere. No cases have been confirmed in the US, but several have been identified in Canada. Source: Bloomberg Here are some other important stories regarding COVID and the omicron variant: Poland reported 29K new COVID cases, the highest in almost eight months, and 570 fatalities, on Wednesday. More alarming: the Health Ministry said 25% of the deaths were among vaccinated patients, mostly elderly people with comorbidities. Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki called on the nation to get boosters ahead of Christmas. The country has imposed new restrictions on travelers but hasn't confirmed a single case of omicron. WHO members voted to start drafting an international agreement to help avoid future pandemics as more cases amid the spread of the omicron variant. The WHO’s members approved a proposal Wednesday that set a deadline of 2024 to try to implement such a measure. They didn’t resolve the biggest disagreement, however: whether the accord should be a legally binding treaty. OECD chief economist Laurence Boone says it would cost $50 billion to vaccinate the world, a sum that pales in comparison to the $10 trillion G-20 countries have spent mitigating the impact of the pandemic. Too bad the US-controlled WTO won't share the recipe with the emerging world. The EU is preparing to recommend that member states review their travel rules daily. They should pursue a "coordinated approach" and be prepared to impose new controls if necessary. Finally, Israel’s coronavirus czar Salman Zarka said the country should look at mandatory vaccination now that the omicron variant has emerged. "Mandatory vaccination needs to be considered, whether through legislation or otherwise, especially given the fact that not only is the pandemic here, but I fear it will get worse," Zarka said on 103FM radio. He said he changed his mind following the appearance of omicron, which has been identified in several Israelis. The US is preparing to impose new travel restrictions while the CDC plans to tighten COVID screening and testing at airports around the country by requiring international travelers to have a negative COVID test result from the past 24 hours. WHO adds that vaccine makers shouldn't rush to rework their vaccines because they're not sure whether new vaccines are necessary. Austrian lawmakers extended a nationwide lockdown for a second 10-day period to suppress the latest wave of coronavirus infections before the Christmas holiday period. Nigeria, meanwhile, has detected a case of omicron from October, the latest piece of evidence to suggest that the variant has likely already spread around the world. The Netherlands says it has found a case of omicron from two weeks ago. Before this, the earliest known sample of the variant was collected on Nov. 9 in South Africa. Tyler Durden Wed, 12/01/2021 - 18:25.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytDec 1st, 2021

Merkel, EU Chief Call For Vaccine Mandates As South Africa Sees Cases Double In A Day

Merkel, EU Chief Call For Vaccine Mandates As South Africa Sees Cases Double In A Day As European countries from Germany, to Austria to the Netherlands tighten lockdown measures amid a surge in COVID cases (while deaths remain slightly elevated but more subdued), the continent's unelected bureaucrat in chief, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, asked during a speech on Wednesday that EU members consider adopting a vaccine mandate. All members should "think about" imposing mandates of their own in a coordinated fashion that's in keeping with the Continent's new approach. Source: Reuters Speaking during a news conference, the European Commission chief suggested that member states need mandates to help prevent the spread of cases and a further spike in infections due to the emergence of new variants, such as the omicron strain. "I think it is understandable and appropriate to lead this discussion now, how we can encourage and potentially think about mandatory vaccination within the European Union," von der Leyen stated, adding that fighting the pandemic requires a "common approach" across the bloc. Meanwhile, a former president of EU member Ireland published an editorial in Politico Europe Wednesday slamming the WTO's refusal to approve sharing of intellectual property that would allow emerging countries to produce their own vaccines. Epidemiologists warned us time and again that allowing the virus to spread around the world is a recipe for new mutations to develop and that they will indiscriminately harm us all. This waiver, which has now dominated WTO talks for over a year, is a necessary global solution to end the pandemic. Yet one powerful voice at the WTO has continued to undermine this effort — and that must change. Isn't it interesting how world leaders talk about vaccine mandates, while simultaneously ensuring that emerging countries will need to purchase their jabs from American pharmaceutical giants? But let's put a pin in that. South Africa has seen the number of new COVID cases doubled between Wednesday and Tuesday, according to official data released by the same people who issued the first warnings about the omicron variant. What's more, a top South African health official said the omicron variant would likely still be susceptible to the T-cell response caused by both natural and vaccine-induced causes. But that hasn't stopped the country from seeing a surge in infections and reinfections, which has been particularly notable among the older population, officials said. Back in Europe, outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel has proposed new nationwide restrictions on people who haven't been vaccinated. Coincidentally, the WHO said earlier that indications are that most omicron cases will be mild, not severe. Of course, that's true of delta and all the other strains as well. The organization later said that the world is still "in the midst" of the pandemic. But the point is - as even some of South Africa's top virology experts discussed earlier this week and over the weekend - that even if omicron does break through natural and vaccine-induced protections, infections will likely be mild in nearly all of these patients, and the body's T-cell response will leave most people protected. Confirmed cases of the omicron variant remained fewer than 300 (closer to 250 still by midday) while omicron cases were confirmed for the first time in South Korea (which has already imposed travel restrictions on southern African states), Saudi Arabia and Norway. More cases were found in new locations in the UK, Switzerland, Nigeria, Brazil and elsewhere. No cases have been confirmed in the US, but several have been identified in Canada. Source: Bloomberg Here are some other important stories regarding COVID and the omicron variant: Poland reported 29K new COVID cases, the highest in almost eight months, and 570 fatalities, on Wednesday. More alarming: the Health Ministry said 25% of the deaths were among vaccinated patients, mostly elderly people with comorbidities. Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki called on the nation to get boosters ahead of Christmas. The country has imposed new restrictions on travelers but hasn't confirmed a single case of omicron. WHO members voted to start drafting an international agreement to help avoid future pandemics as more cases amid the spread of the omicron variant. The WHO’s members approved a proposal Wednesday that set a deadline of 2024 to try to implement such a measure. They didn’t resolve the biggest disagreement, however: whether the accord should be a legally binding treaty. OECD chief economist Laurence Boone says it would cost $50 billion to vaccinate the world, a sum that pales in comparison to the $10 trillion G-20 countries have spent mitigating the impact of the pandemic. Too bad the US-controlled WTO won't share the recipe with the emerging world. The EU is preparing to recommend that member states review their travel rules daily. They should pursue a "coordinated approach" and be prepared to impose new controls if necessary. Finally, Israel’s coronavirus czar Salman Zarka said the country should look at mandatory vaccination now that the omicron variant has emerged. "Mandatory vaccination needs to be considered, whether through legislation or otherwise, especially given the fact that not only is the pandemic here, but I fear it will get worse," Zarka said on 103FM radio. He said he changed his mind following the appearance of omicron, which has been identified in several Israelis. The US is preparing to impose new travel restrictions while the CDC plans to tighten COVID screening and testing at airports around the country by requiring international travelers to have a negative COVID test result from the past 24 hours. WHO adds that vaccine makers shouldn't rush to rework their vaccines because they're not sure whether new vaccines are necessary. Austrian lawmakers extended a nationwide lockdown for a second 10-day period to suppress the latest wave of coronavirus infections before the Christmas holiday period. Nigeria, meanwhile, has detected a case of omicron from October, the latest piece of evidence to suggest that the variant has likely already spread around the world. The Netherlands says it has found a case of omicron from two weeks ago. Before this, the earliest known sample of the variant was collected on Nov. 9 in South Africa. Tyler Durden Wed, 12/01/2021 - 12:50.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytDec 1st, 2021

2021: The Legislative Year in Review

After throwing out the legislative playbook just weeks into 2020 due to the pandemic, it was back to full steam ahead for our advocacy goals this year. And 2021 was not for the weary in Washington. The year began with a sixth major COVID relief bill, the American Rescue Plan. The bill continued policies supported […] The post 2021: The Legislative Year in Review appeared first on RISMedia. After throwing out the legislative playbook just weeks into 2020 due to the pandemic, it was back to full steam ahead for our advocacy goals this year. And 2021 was not for the weary in Washington. The year began with a sixth major COVID relief bill, the American Rescue Plan. The bill continued policies supported by the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) that protected our members’ health and economic well-being, including benefits for sole proprietors, the self-employed, small business owners and independent contractors. The bill also included new measures like aid for state and local governments, expanded child tax credits and another $21 billion in rental assistance. Congress spent most of the year debating President Biden’s Build Back Better infrastructure plans. In November, a traditional public works bill became law, filled with longtime NAR priorities like investments in roads, bridges, ports, airports, roadways and a historic $65 billion for broadband. At the time of this writing, a second social spending infrastructure plan is advancing in Congress. Some of the earliest tax proposals to pay for this plan could have devastated the real estate sector, which makes up nearly one-fifth of the entire economy. We worked to educate lawmakers on these tax issues for more than a year. When House leaders finally unveiled the bill in October, it did not include the most-feared taxes and limits on real estate investment. It contained no 1031 like-kind exchange limits, no capital gains tax increases, no change in step-up in basis, no tax on unrealized capital gains, no increased estate tax, no carried interest provisions and no 199A deduction limits. But it did include SALT relief. Also included, a robust investment in affordable housing, which is critical to opening up homeownership for first-generation and first-time buyers. NAR CEO Bob Goldberg joined other housing leaders and members of Congress at the U.S. Capitol for a press conference in support of these affordable housing measures. While Bob headed to the Capitol, NAR President Charlie Oppler headed to the White House with other business leaders to meet with President Biden on the debt ceiling.  The very next day, Congress struck a deal to avoid a catastrophic default. Another major focus of our advocacy efforts has been addressing the housing supply shortage. Earlier this year, NAR released a landmark report that confirmed that the shortage of 6 million units is a crisis that will take a “once-in-a-generation” policy response. The media cited our report far and wide, garnering millions of impressions. And it also impressed lawmakers to act. Our policy recommendations began making appearances in infrastructure plans. It was also a standout year for NAR’s Community Outreach Programs, as 263 state and local REALTOR® associations received support for advocacy efforts in 2021. There are success stories nationwide. A Fair Housing Grant helped the Birmingham Association of REALTORS® highlight fair housing issues at a hybrid summit. The Fredericksburg Area Association of REALTORS® used a smart growth poll to create a regional growth and housing action plan. And in northern Idaho, a Placemaking Grant helped the Selkirk Association of REALTORS® support the development of an ADA-compliant trail. We have other regulatory and legislative accomplishments this year as well, like work protecting independent contractor status and progress on remote online notarization—too many to list in this space. There is no other trade association in Washington like NAR for one reason: our members. We don’t represent an industry; we represent 1.5 million individuals. They are thoughtful, engaged pillars of their communities. Our advocacy operation is successful because of them. It is bipartisan and issue focused. Our members played a vital role in the nation’s economic resilience this year and will help lead our economy in the years to come. Shannon McGahn is chief advocacy officer for the National Association of REALTORS®. The post 2021: The Legislative Year in Review appeared first on RISMedia......»»

Category: realestateSource: rismediaDec 1st, 2021

LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance Calls on NAR to Remove Member for Alleged Hate Speech

The LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance is asking the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), the Montana Association of REALTORS®, the Missoula Organization of REALTORS® and Windermere Real Estate to disassociate themselves from a Missoula REALTOR® based on what it says are discriminatory actions. According to reports, the incident took place this past June when Missoula, Montana-area […] The post LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance Calls on NAR to Remove Member for Alleged Hate Speech appeared first on RISMedia. The LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance is asking the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), the Montana Association of REALTORS®, the Missoula Organization of REALTORS® and Windermere Real Estate to disassociate themselves from a Missoula REALTOR® based on what it says are discriminatory actions. According to reports, the incident took place this past June when Missoula, Montana-area pastor and part-time real estate agent Brandon Huber withdrew his church from a food-assistance program that distributed fliers promoting PRIDE week and LGBTQ rights, saying it was contrary to the church’s biblical doctrine. A member of the public later filed a complaint against Huber to the Missoula Organization of REALTORS® citing a violation of the National Association of REALTORS® Code of Ethics. Since then, Huber, facing the ethics complaint for engaging in “hate speech,” has filed suit to void the REALTORS® ethics rule, saying it’s too vague to be enforced, and that it discriminates against Huber for exercising his religious beliefs. The lawsuit states Huber could be fined $5,000 by the REALTORS® group and barred from using its multiple listing service, making it virtually impossible for him to continue as an agent. The organization has ordered Huber to attend an ethics hearing, which is scheduled for Dec. 2. According to reports earlier this month, the organization was not commenting on the lawsuit. Regarding the complaint, Huber’s attorney, Matthew Monforton, stated, “The REALTORS®’ hate-speech rule is intended to purge Christians from the real estate business. If you are a Christian who believes the way that tens of millions of American Christians do that homosexuality is wrong, there is simply no way that you can participate as a REALTOR®, with the kind of hate-speech prohibition that exists.” He later told Billings-based radio station KBUL that “we need all hands on deck here. And…if we don’t stand up to this, the LGBT woke mafia is going to come after all of us.” In response, LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance Chief Executive Officer Ryan Weyandt and National President John Thorpe sent a letter on Nov. 17 to newly installed NAR President Leslie Rouda Smith regarding what it says is “Huber’s discriminatory actions and his attorney’s hateful comments against the LGBTQ+ community.” “While the LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance greatly appreciates the ongoing support from NAR, numerous state, regional and local REALTOR® associations and the industry’s increasing work to welcome diversity, equity and inclusion, moments like these demand action,” Weyandt said in a statement. “The LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance has an obligation to ensure that our community is protected from any forms of discrimination committed within the housing industry. It is our belief that Huber’s behavior, along with the comments from his attorney, should not be treated lightly and represent a clear violation of the Code of Ethics. They warrant Huber’s immediate removal as a REALTOR® and membership of all related REALTOR® groups. We have also encouraged Windermere Real Estate to end its affiliation with him.” Smith responded to Weyandt and Thorpe’s letter writing, in part: “The National Association of REALTORS® has a deep commitment to non-discrimination, and we take any alleged violation of the Code of Ethics very seriously. Article 10 in the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice of the National Association of REALTORS®, and specifically Standard of Practice 10-5, is designed to achieve this commitment. “As you know, to uphold our aims, we rely on the National Association’s longstanding and well-established governance process for handling such allegations when a complaint has been filed. The authority to enforce the Code is specifically delegated to local and state REALTOR® associations acting through their Grievance Committee and Hearing Panels, who thoroughly review all such matters. In this case, the local association’s grievance committee initiated a hearing process based on the allegations. All hearings are held in a manner which is fair to all parties, and care is taken to ensure that the rights and interests of all parties are protected.” Weyandt, Thorpe and Smith pointed to NAR’s Code of Ethics, which governs approximately 1.5 million REALTORS® and has several passages that prohibit discrimination including: “REALTORS® shall not deny equal professional services to any person for reasons of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation or gender identity. REALTORS® shall not be parties to any plan or agreement to discriminate against a person or persons on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation or gender identity.” “REALTORS® must not use harassing speech, hate speech, epithets or slurs” against members of those protected classes.” “We have obviously supported NAR’s mission to remove discrimination for our industry,” Weyandt said. “It is a tall order yet NAR, with more than 1.5 million members, has the size, scope and stature to make a difference in our society. When a REALTOR® chooses to openly and repeatedly express negative views on the LGBTQ+ community, or any other diverse sector, we do not believe they should have the right to be a member. It’s that simple.” LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance launched in June 2020 and has grown to become one of the largest LGBTQ+ and ally trade groups in the nation with nearly 2,000 members. Stay tuned to RISMedia for updates. This is a developing story. The post LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance Calls on NAR to Remove Member for Alleged Hate Speech appeared first on RISMedia......»»

Category: realestateSource: rismediaNov 30th, 2021

The Best Essay Writing Services: Top 5 Reviewed and Ranked

Any essay writer out there who does their job well can probably be proud of themselves because they are helping out students a lot. When a student decides to use one of the writing services available to them, they do it for a variety of reasons. It can help students get better grades, but it […] Any essay writer out there who does their job well can probably be proud of themselves because they are helping out students a lot. When a student decides to use one of the writing services available to them, they do it for a variety of reasons. It can help students get better grades, but it can also help them feel less anxious and give them more personal time. 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 Our Activist Investing Case Study! Get the entire 10-part series on our in-depth study on activist investing in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or print it out to read anywhere! Sign up below! (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 That being said, when choosing one of the best paper writing services, you have to understand that simply looking at the top essay writing services is not enough. You should also be able to understand which service is the right fit for you. Hence, here’s everything you should know about essay writing services and how to choose one for your needs. The Benefits of Using Top Essay Writing Services As mentioned above, there are many different reasons why students would want to turn to college paper writing services to do their assignments for them. But it’s also worth looking specifically at the benefits of using an essay writing service, whether you do it once or you decide to use it multiple times. Professional essay writers know what they are doing because of their knowledge of the field, relevant experience, and advanced skillset. This is why a professional essay writer could probably give you the best version of your assignment, something you might not be able to pull off. It’s the best way to start getting better grades. At the same time, having an essay writer do your assignments for you also means you can learn from these assignments. If you are too anxious about doing the assignment yourself, you can always rely on a specialist and then analyze their work to learn from it. This can be particularly helpful for students who are struggling with their studies and catch up or don’t have enough time for all the assignments they should complete. Top List of Every Best Paper Writing Service Best of the Best: GrabMyEssay.com Best Price/Quality: TrustMyPaper.com Best Writers: EssaySupply.com Best Price: TopEssayWriting.org Top Speed: BestEssaysEducation.com GrabMyEssay.com - Best Service All-Around This is by far the best paper writing service from all currently available. GrabMyEssay combines all of the best things a great essay writing service should have: affordable prices, high-quality papers, free plagiarism reports, complete confidentiality, and so much more. The service is easy to use. First, you submit instructions for your assignment. Second, you make a payment for your assignment. Third, you get a writer assigned to do the job. Last, you approve the assignment and download it. GrabMyEssay has a huge catalog of samples available for anyone to check out that range in topic, length, formatting style, etc. Customer reviews are also proudly displayed on the website to show why past clients favor this paper writing service. This service also offers a number of freebies that go along with the assignments, including revisions upon request, plagiarism reports, table of contents, title page, reference page, and 24/7 customer support. The main reasons to choose GrabMyEssay are: 93% satisfaction rate 3-hour delivery option Wide range of services Many years of writing experience TrustMyPaper.com - Best Price-to-Quality Ratio Another one of the best paper writing services is TrustMyPaper which has the best price-to-quality ratio. It doesn’t matter if it’s a college paper you need written or something else – this service will probably be able to get it done for you as there is a wide range of writing options. It’s easy to use the service. First, you provide instructions on your assignment. Second, you pay for the paper. Third, a writer is assigned to do the job. Fourth, you can communicate with your writer during the process. Last, you download your paper when it is complete. TrustMyPaper lets you check its samples to see what quality of writing you can expect from the service. They pride themselves on diligent quality control and always check for plagiarism which means you will never get a paper of poor quality. This service is particularly ideal for college paper writing as they cover all kinds of subject areas, including business, law, literature, history, music, IT, and more. The biggest reasons to choose TrustMyPaper are: 98% loyalty rate 36 thousand papers written annually Over 2000 qualified writers 85 different subject areas EssaySupply.com - Best Website to Find the Right Writer Though this is not an essay writing website, it will still be very useful to you. EssaySupply is a website for finding the right writer. It’s a platform for bidding on your project which is how you can find writers for your assignments. Here’s how it works. First, you provide details. Second, you choose a writer for your assignment. Third, you track the entire process. Last, you get amazing results. EssaySupply is known for the ultimate quality of its services as every essay writer here will get exactly what you need. In fact, you can even contact your writer anytime, but what truly sets it apart from all the other writing services is that you don’t have to pay upfront. Moreover, the prices on the platform start quite low and there is also a money-back guarantee provided. The top reasons to choose EssaySupply are: 9.6/10 average quality score 2500+ active writers 100% secure payments Wide range of writing services TopEssayWriting.org - Best Price As the name suggests, this is a top essay writing service with the best price on the market. Among other writing services, TopEssayWriting stands out as the one that is the most budget-friendly for students. The process is simple. First, you lay out your assignment requirements. Second, you complete the order form and pay. Third, you get a writer and work with them together through communication. Last, you download your order. TopEssayWriting has an easy price calculator on its website to easily get an idea of how much your assignment will cost. There are different discounts for returning clients and additional services offered (e.g. annotated bibliography, outline, formatting). You can also easily get in touch with customer support and check out testimonials on their website. Here’s why you would want to choose TopEssayWriting: 50+ subject areas Big writer database Money back guarantee 24/7 customer service BestEssaysEducation.com - Best Service for Speedy Assignments Yet another great essay writing service you might want to check out is BestEssayEducation. This service is the best one for when you need an assignment completed as fast as possible. Their essay writers will help you choose and research your assignment topic, create a basic layout for your paper, write your assignment, edit, and proofread it. In other words, they work through the complete cycle. When placing your order, you can specify any details for the assignment such as the formatting style (e.g. MLA, APA, Chicago, Harvard), word count, and so on. Once the paper is ready, you can request a revision if something isn’t right. If you don’t have much time for the assignment, BestEssayEducation is by far your best choice, but other reasons to choose it are: Paper and essay samples freely available Complete assignment writing cycle Professional and experienced team How to Choose the Best of Essay Writing Services So, how do you choose the right essay writing service for your needs? Not only is it important to consider your circumstances (e.g. you need an assignment done quickly), but it is also necessary to look at the reputation of the service itself. Here are the main things to pay attention to when choosing between the best essay writing services on the Internet: Plagiarism: Because you need an academic assignment done it is extremely important that the work you get from the writing service is plagiarism-free. To check what percentage of plagiarism you can expect, ask the service about the tool they use for checking plagiarism and the requirements they have for plagiarism percentage. You can try out the tool and then get an idea of what you can expect from the completed assignment you will receive. Money Back Guarantee: Most legitimate and respectable essay writing services will offer a money-back guarantee. When they do so, they are able to build trust in their clients which is often a top priority. Check the Terms of Service to see whether the service you want to use offers a money-back guarantee. Price: It’s true that most students have tight budgets and are usually looking for affordable options and bargains. This is why you might want to opt for a service that is cheaper. However, this doesn’t usually translate into quality. Good service usually has prices starting at a minimum of $11. Prices over $20 are usually an exaggeration. Reviews: Probably one of the best ways to check a service’s reputation is by looking at its reviews online. These can be displayed both on its website and on other platforms specifically designed for leaving reviews and rating such services. You can also ask around and see what other students are using, especially those you know or study with. Writing Quality: In case you want to get to know the service more, you can look at the writing quality its writers usually produce. To do this, find samples on the service’s website. If there are no samples on the website, you can get in touch with customer support and request samples. Most reputable services will readily and gladly provide them to you. Customer Service: Speaking of customer support, it’s also a good idea to pay attention to the quality of customer service you receive. Even if you haven’t had any interactions with the service yet, get in touch with them to ask some questions and see how they respond. Professionalism and the availability of the customer service team are good signs. Website Navigation: Every respected business nowadays has a well-functioning website – and the situation is no different for essay writing services. A good service will have a website that is easy to use and navigate even if it’s your first time seeing it. It should also be easy to place an order as UX is usually a priority. Payment Security: Something directly related to the point above is the security of your payments. Not only should you be able to place an order easily, but your banking details should also be protected. There is not much you can do to check these things yourself, but it’s a good idea to pay attention to the messages your browser is sending you. They are usually a good indicator of whether the website is safe and secure. Data Privacy: Just like protecting your banking data, your other personal details have to be protected too. However, you probably shouldn’t worry about data privacy too much because businesses usually rely on customer loyalty and know that they can only get it if customers trust them for handling their data correctly. If you use all of the points above to guide you in your choice of essay writing service, you can expect to find the best one for your needs. In addition to that, this service will be able to provide you with good customer service, secure shopping and data privacy, high-quality papers, and a good grade at school. Reviews of The Best Paper Writing Services Even when you have done extensive research, you might still be unable to choose the best paper writing service for your needs. This is when you should turn to BestWritersOnline.com which is an unbiased source of reviews about all kinds of paper writing services. The website features a comprehensive list of different writing services with their prices, quality, and delivery ratings. Users can leave reviews and ratings of their experiences using these services. Because there are so many reviews and ratings, you can easily get a good idea of which services are worth it and which ones should be avoided. Q&A Is it okay to use an essay writing service? Obviously, this question is highly individual and personal. It will often depend on what you find ethical and unethical, moral and immoral, acceptable and unacceptable. That being said, for many people, the answer will probably be, “It’s totally okay.” Indeed, an essay writing service can be the perfect solution in many cases. It can help you relieve anxiety, give you more personal time, and simply help you get better at your studies when you are confused about the assignment. And that’s exactly why you shouldn’t shy away from using an essay writing service when you truly need one. Besides, you might only decide to use it once or twice (or perhaps you decide to use it regularly which could also be beneficial to you). How to get the best essay possible? If you are writing the essay yourself, it can be very difficult to make things perfect. There are so many different things you need to consider and keep in mind while writing your essay, including proper citing, extensive research, grammar, and spelling, etc. On the other hand, if you chose to work with one of the best essay writing services on the web, you probably shouldn’t worry all that much. Essay writers know how to do their job correctly and will pay close attention to detail. Your responsibility is to provide enough details about the assignment and continue communicating with the writer to ensure that everything goes just the way you want it to. What is the best essay writing service? It’s difficult to say for sure what is the best essay writing service out there. However, the services listed in this article are a good starting point. Each of them has its own advantages, but all are the best of the best. For example, if you want to find one of the best paper writing services that offers affordable prices, you will likely want to choose TopEssayWriting. If you want an assignment done quickly, BestEssayEducation should be your top pick. But if you are still unsure, you can always use BestWritersOnline to compare different services and decide which one is the best for your needs. What kind of essay writing is available for purchase? There are all kinds of assignment writing services you can choose from, so you will probably find the right option for your needs. Truly, there is no need to worry about identifying the choice that is the right fit for you. For instance, most essay writing services cover a wide range of subjects which is why you can expect even an assignment on a niche topic to be done quickly and professionally. At the same time, many paper writing services offer to write different types of college assignments. From short essays to Bachelor papers to literature reviews – all of these are available, you just have to find the right service. What top essay writing service would you recommend? It depends on your personal needs and priorities. If you are looking for lower prices, you will likely prefer essay writing services that offer relatively affordable options, just like in the case of TopEssayWriting.org. But if you want something done quickly, you will find other services more helpful, BestEssaysEducation.com is the one. However, in both cases, you should look at other factors and consider how these indicators could impact the quality of the final paper you receive. That’s where the top of the list strikes in - GrabMyEssay.com and Trustmypaper.com are a prime choice. In other words, you should look at the service’s reputation as much as you do at your own priorities. Remember that the service you choose may be very good, but it ultimately comes down to the writer who works on your paper. A professional essay writer will always communicate with you and ensure the highest quality for the finished product. Updated on Nov 19, 2021, 3:17 pm (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 20th, 2021

TikTok may owe you money from its $92 million data privacy settlement

TikTok users who used the app prior to October 1 in the United States are eligible to receive part of the $92 million of TikTok's privacy settlement. TikTok users in the United States may be eligible for part of a $92 million settlement.Daniel Constante/Shutterstock US residents who used TikTok prior to October may be eligible for part of a $92 million settlement. The settlement follows a class-action data privacy lawsuit filed in Illinois. Eligible users must submit a claim before March 1, 2022 to possibly receive payment. If you were a TikTok user prior to October 1 and are a United States resident, you may be eligible to receive part of a $92 million payout as part of a class action settlement. TikTok notified users on Monday via an in-app notification that they may be eligible and directed them to visit a link to a website about a Data Privacy Settlement payment.The settlement follows a class-action lawsuit alleging that TikTok had collected personal data from users and shared it with third parties without users' consent. TikTok denied the allegations in the lawsuit but agreed to pay $92 million to settle. Here's what you need to know about the settlement, including how to submit a claim to receive a payout.The decision applies to roughly 89 million usersThe settlement, which applies to approximately 89 million TikTok users in the United States, is the result of 21 federal lawsuits that were filed primarily on behalf of minors, NPR reported in February. Some of those minors were as young as 6 years old.In court documents filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois and published by NPR, plaintiffs alleged that TikTok violated state and federal law by taking and transmitting "private legally protected data." The lawsuit also alleges that TikTok "extracts a broad array of private data" that the company uses to "track and profile TikTok users" for ad targeting. In an amended class action complaint, which was published by NPR, lawyers alleged that TikTok also collected information from users' unpublished draft videos. The lawsuit also specifically alleges that TikTok violated the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act, claiming that the company "maintains a competitive advantage over other social media apps and profits from its use of improperly obtained data, all while failing to comply with the minimum requirements for handling users' biometric data established by BIPA.""While we disagree with the assertions, we are pleased to have reached a settlement agreement that allows us to move forward and continue building a safe and joyful experience for the TikTok community," a TikTok spokesperson told Insider. As part of the settlement agreement, unless explicitly disclosed in its privacy policy, TikTok agreed to not use its app to collect or store biometric information on users and not collect geolocation data. The company also agreed to not use the app to transmit or store US users' data outside of the country. TikTok also agreed to delete all "pre-uploaded user-generated content" — drafts of posts that aren't uploaded — that it previously collected and not to collect such data in the future. How to submit a claim to receive part of the settlement payoutTo receive any money as part of the settlement, eligible users must submit a claim by March 1, 2022, and those eligible can choose if they want to receive payments via Mastercard, PayPal, or Venmo.Users also have the option to exclude themselves from the settlement by filling out an exclusion form and postmarking it by January 31, 2022. If you do so, you will receive no benefits from the settlement but retain the right to sue for the legal issues within the class action lawsuit, per the settlement notice.Those eligible may also object to the settlement by writing a letter to the court, which must be postmarked by January 31, 2022.  How much can I receive from the settlement?While the full settlement is $92 million, the amount that users receive will vary depending on how many people submit a claim. As NPR reported in February, the settlement applies to 89 million TikTok users in the United States. The settlement addresses two different classes: the nationwide class, which includes United States residents who used TikTok prior to October 1, and the Illinois subclass, which encapsulates Illinois residents who used TikTok to create videos prior to October 1. Parents are allowed to submit claims on behalf of their minor children who used the app.  The nationwide class is eligible for one share of the divided settlement payment, while those in the Illinois subclass are eligible for six shares. The settlement also covers attorney's fees, which can go up to a third of the payment.  NBC News reported that if every eligible person submits a claim, those in the nationwide class would receive up to $0.96, while those in the Illinois subclass would receive up to $5.75. Per the settlement agreement, the individual payout will vary depending on how many users submit a valid claim — if fewer people do, the individual payout could be more. The settlement is still pending final approval at a hearing scheduled for May 18 in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division. Read more stories from Insider's Digital Culture desk.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytNov 19th, 2021

European Army: Rhetoric Versus Reality

European Army: Rhetoric Versus Reality Authored by Soeren Kern via The Gatestone Institute, The call for a supranational army, part of a push for Europe to achieve "strategic autonomy" from the United States, is being spearheaded by French President Emmanuel Macron, who, as part of his reelection campaign, apparently hopes to replace outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel as the de facto leader of Europe. Many EU member states disagree with Macron. Eastern European countries, some of which face existential threats from Russia, know that neither the EU nor France can match the military capabilities offered by NATO and the United States. Other countries are concerned about a panoply of issues ranging from financial costs to national sovereignty. "If the EU Army undermines NATO, or results in the separation of the U.S. and Europe or produces a paper army, Europe will be committing the most enfeebling and dangerous act of self-harm since the rise of fascism in the 1930s. An EU Army will amount to European de-arming." — Bob Seely, Tory MP. "It will be hard to convince some member states that collective EU defense would bring the same security as NATO's U.S.-backed defense arrangement." — Richard Whitman, professor of politics and international relations at the University of Kent. "Few share France's willingness to splurge on defense, or its expeditionary military culture. (Germany, especially, does not.) Nobody agrees what 'strategic autonomy' actually means." — The Economist. "The EU is not a credible substitute for what NATO represents. You will not see any appetite for the European army amongst member states." — Kristjan Mäe, head of the Estonian defense ministry's NATO and EU department. "Even if national capitals wanted to lunge for a common army, there are so many technical, legal, and administrative differences between their militaries that it would take decades to produce a smoothly functioning force.... Conclusion: any talk of creating a fully-fledged common army, even within the next generation, is just that: jaw-jaw and not real-real." — Brooks Tigner, analyst, Atlantic Council. European federalists seeking to transform the 27-member European Union into a European superstate — a so-called United States of Europe — have revived a decades-old proposal to build a European army. The call for a supranational army, part of a push for Europe to achieve "strategic autonomy" from the United States, is being spearheaded by French President Emmanuel Macron, who, as part of his reelection campaign, apparently hopes to replace outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel as the de facto leader of Europe. Macron claims that Europe needs its own military because, according to him, the United States is no longer a reliable ally. He cites as examples: U.S. President Joe Biden's precipitous withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan; the growing pressure on Europe to take sides with the United States on China; and France's exclusion from a new security alliance in the Indo-Pacific region. Many EU member states disagree with Macron. Eastern European countries, some of which face existential threats from Russia, know that neither the EU nor France can match the military capabilities offered by NATO and the United States. Other countries are concerned about a panoply of issues ranging from financial costs to national sovereignty. Still others are opposed to creating a parallel structure to NATO that could undermine the transatlantic alliance. A common EU army appears to be a long way from becoming reality. A logical course of action would be for EU member states (which comprise 21 of the 30 members of NATO) to honor past pledges to increase defense spending as part of their contribution to the transatlantic alliance. That, however, would fly in the face of the folie de grandeur — the delusions of grandeur — of European federalists who want to transform the EU into a major geopolitical power. Pictured: Soldiers of the Franco-German brigade, a military unit founded in 1989, jointly consisting of units from the French Army and German Army. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images) Strategic Autonomy The term "strategic autonomy" in European discussions on defense has been in use since at least December 2013, when the European Council, the EU's governing body comprised of the leaders of the 27 EU member states, called for the EU to improve its defense industrial base. In June 2016, the term appeared in the EU's security strategy. The document — "A Global Strategy for the European Union's Foreign and Security Policy" — was said to "nurture the ambition of strategic autonomy" for the European Union. "An appropriate level of ambition and strategic autonomy," it stated, "is important for Europe's ability to promote peace and security within and beyond its borders." In recent years, the concept of "strategic autonomy" has taken on far broader significance: the idea now means that the EU should become a sovereign power that is militarily, economically, and technologically independent from the United States. EU observer Dave Keating noted: "The Brussels buzzword is now 'strategic autonomy,' an effort to wrestle the word 'sovereignty' away from nationalists and make the case that only a strong EU can make Europeans truly sovereign in relation to Russia, China, and the United States." European federalists increasingly have called for building an autonomous EU military force: March 8, 2015. In an interview with the German newspaper Welt am Sonntag, Jean-Claude Juncker, then the president of the European Commission, the EU's administrative arm, declared that the European Union needed its own army because it was not "taken entirely seriously" on the international stage. The proposal was flatly rejected by the British government, which at the time was still an EU member: "Our position is crystal clear that defense is a national — not an EU — responsibility and that there is no prospect of that position changing and no prospect of a European army." September 26, 2017. President Macron, in a major speech at Sorbonne University, called for a joint EU defense force as part of his vision for the future of the bloc: "Europe needs to establish a common intervention force, a common defense budget and a common doctrine for action." November 6, 2018. Macron, marking the centenary of the armistice that ended World War 1, warned that Europe cannot be protected without a "true, European army." He added: "We have to protect ourselves with respect to China, Russia and even the United States of America." November 13, 2018. German Chancellor Angela Merkel echoed Macron's calls for a European army: "The times when we could rely on others are over. This means nothing less than for us Europeans to take our destiny in our own hands if we want to survive as a Union.... We have to create a European intervention unit with which Europe can act on the ground where necessary. We have taken major steps in the field of military cooperation; this is good and largely supported in this house. But I also have to say, seeing the developments of the recent years, that we have to work on a vision to establish a real European army one day." September 10, 2019. During her first press conference as the new president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, who has long called for a "United States of Europe," said that she will lead a "geopolitical Commission" aimed at boosting the EU's role on the world stage. She did not offer many details other than a vaguely worded pledge that the European Union would "be the guardian of multilateralism." November 7, 2019. President Macron, in an interview with the London-based magazine, The Economist, declared that NATO was "brain dead" and warned that European countries can no longer rely on the United States for defense. Europe, he said, stands on "the edge of a precipice" and needs to start thinking of itself strategically as a geopolitical power and regain "military sovereignty" or otherwise "we will no longer be in control of our destiny." Macron criticized U.S. President Donald J. Trump because he "doesn't share our idea of the European project." Chancellor Merkel said Macron "used drastic words — that is not my view of co-operation in NATO." November 26, 2019. France and Germany announced the "Conference on the Future of Europe," a two-year post-Brexit soul-searching exercise aimed at reforming the EU to make it "more united and sovereign." June 17, 2020. The European Council tasked the EU's foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, with drafting a written "Strategic Compass." The document should have three main purposes: 1) to formulate the EU's first common threat analysis; 2) to strengthen the EU's security and defense role; and 3) to offer political guidance for future military planning processes. The Strategic Compass, aimed at harmonizing the perception of threats and risks within the EU, is to be presented in November 2021, debated by EU leaders in December 2021, and approved in March 2022. December 3, 2020. EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, in blog post, "Why European Strategic Autonomy Matters," wrote: "It is difficult to claim to be a 'political union' able to act as a 'global player' and as a 'geopolitical Commission' without being 'autonomous.'" He described "strategic autonomy" as a long-term process intended to ensure that Europeans "increasingly take charge of themselves." May 5, 2021. Fourteen EU countries — Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia and Spain — called for the creation of a so-called EU First Entry Force consisting of 5,000 troops with air, land and sea capabilities. August 29, 2021. In an interview with the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, Borrell, the EU's foreign policy chief, said that the moment had come to establish an EU expeditionary force — a "First Entry Force" — to compensate for U.S. "disengagement" from international affairs. A senior EU diplomat, speaking to the Guardian newspaper, asked: "We have been here before — which leader is going to allow their nationals to be killed in the name of the EU? What problem is this reaction force meant to solve? Does Borrell seriously entertain the idea the EU would be able to step into the void the US left?" September 15, 2021. In her annual State of the Union speech delivered to the European Parliament in Strasbourg, von der Leyen urged greater military independence from the United States. "Europe can — and clearly should — be able and willing to do more on its own," she said. She called for a "European Defense Union" but admitted the "lack of political will" to "build the foundation for collective decision-making." October 2, 2021. European Council President Charles Michel, speaking at an award ceremony of the International Charlemagne Prize, declared that "2022 will be the year of European defense." October 5-6, 2021. At an EU Summit in Slovenia, EU member states were so divided on the issue of strategic autonomy that the topic was not even included in the summit's final declaration. To create the illusion of consensus, Michel issued an "oral conclusion" of the summit: "To become more effective and assertive on the international stage, the European Union needs to increase its capacity to act autonomously." A History of Failure The debate over building a European army has been going on since the end of World War 2. In 1950, France proposed creating a common army to protect Western Europe from the Soviet Union without having to rearm Germany. A treaty creating the so-called European Defense Community was signed in 1952, but it was never ratified by the French Parliament due to concerns that France would lose its sovereignty to a multilateral decision-making body. In the late 1990s, after the EU and its member states failed to prevent a decade of bloodletting in the Yugoslav Wars, and after the United States intervened, European leaders called for the creation of a European Rapid Reaction Force capable of acting in future crises. In 2007, after years of debate, the EU established two so-called EU battlegroups consisting of 1,500 troops each to respond to crises, but due to intra-European disputes over financing and deployment, they have never been used. The European Union is now calling for the battlegroups to be rebranded as a "First Entry Force" comprised of 5,000 troops. It remains unclear why EU leaders think the latter will achieve what the former could not. In any event, a force that small is nowhere near enough to give the EU "strategic autonomy" from the United States. Over the decades, the European quest for "strategic autonomy" has resulted in dozens of summits, declarations, concept papers, reports, institutions, terms and acronyms, including: Petersberg Declaration; St. Malo Declaration; Berlin Plus Agreement; Franco-German Brigade; German-Netherlands Corps; Belgian-Dutch Naval Cooperation Accord; European Security and Defense Policy (ESDP); Common Security and Defense Policy (CSDP); Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO); European Capabilities Action Plan (ECAP); Headline Goals; EU Battlegroups; European Gendarmerie Force; European Rapid Operational Force (EUROFOR); European Maritime Force; Eurocorps; Combined Joint Expeditionary Force (CJEF); Entente frugale; European Defense Agency; European Security Strategy; European Intervention Initiative (EI2); EUFOR; European Command and Control (C2); European Union Military Committee (EUMC); European Union Military Staff (EUMS); Joint Support Coordination Cell (JSCC); Military Planning and Conduct Capability (MPCC); Political and Security Committee (PSC); Politico-Military Group (PMG); European Defense Fund; Coordinated Annual Review on Defense (CARD); and the EU's ongoing "Strategic Compass" process, among many others. German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, in a recent opinion article published by Politico, concluded that "illusions of European strategic autonomy must come to an end." She added: "Europeans will not be able to replace America's crucial role as a security provider. We have to acknowledge that, for the foreseeable future, we will remain dependent." Lack of Capabilities An important obstacle to building a European army is the reluctance of EU governments to invest in defense. At the 2014 Wales Summit of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, allies agreed to spend a minimum of 2% percent of their gross domestic product (GDP) to defense spending. In 2020, only nine of NATO's 21 European members honored their pledges, according to data supplied by NATO. Germany — the biggest economy in the EU and the fourth-biggest in the world — spent only 1.53% of GDP on defense in 2020. That represents an increase of less than 0.5% of GDP since 2015. France, the EU's second-biggest economy, spent 2.01% of GDP on defense in 2020, an increase of only 0.3% of GDP since 2015. Italy, the EU's third-biggest economy, spent 1.41% of GDP on defense in 2020, while Spain, the EU's fourth-biggest economy, spent a mere 1.02% of GDP on defense in 2020, according to NATO data. The numbers show that defense spending is not a priority in most European countries. The German armed forces (the Bundeswehr) are in an especially sad state of disrepair. A damning report published by the German Parliament in January 2019 found that critical equipment was scarce and that readiness and recruitment were at all-time lows. "No matter where you look, there's dysfunction," said a high-ranking German officer stationed at Bundeswehr headquarters in Berlin. A May 2018 report by the German magazine Der Spiegel revealed that only four of Germany's 128 Eurofighter jets were combat ready. Germany's obligation to NATO requires it to have at least 80 combat-ready jets for crisis situations. At the end of 2017, not one of the German Air Force's 14 large transport planes was available for deployment due to a lack of maintenance, according to the German Parliament. In October 2017, a spokesman for the German Navy said that all six of Germany's submarines were in the dock for repairs. In February 2015, Germany's defense ministry admitted that its forces were so under-equipped that they had to use broomsticks instead of machine guns during a NATO exercise in Norway. Much of the blame falls on German Chancellor Angela Merkel. During her 16 years in office, she has been content to free-ride on the U.S. defense umbrella. Also to blame is Ursula von der Leyen, who was German defense minister between 2014 and 2019, before she was promoted to lead the European Commission, and who now wants to build a European army. As German defense minister, von der Leyen was plagued by scandals and accused of cronyism, mismanagement and nepotism. EU affairs analyst Matthew Karnitschnig quipped: "With Merkel on her way out, fixing the Bundeswehr will likely be up to her successor. Until then, plans for a 'European Army' that includes Germany have about as much chance of getting off the ground as the German Air Force." France, which has just under 300,000 active-duty personnel, has the largest military in Europe. Still, it remains a regional power, not a global one. In September 2021, the RAND Corporation, in a major study — "A Strong Ally Stretched Thin: An Overview of France's Defense Capabilities from a Burdensharing Perspective" — concluded that the French military suffers many shortcomings that render as "limited" its capacity to sustain a high-end, conventional conflict. The French Army "faces a challenge with respect to readiness, owing to past budget cuts and austerity measures, a small number of weapon systems, and the burden of sustaining ongoing overseas operations," according to RAND. The French Air Force "suffers from limited capacity" and "severely lacks strategic airlift." The French Navy, which has only one aircraft carrier, like France's other services, "has issues with readiness, and munitions stocks reportedly are low," according to RAND. The report's takeaway is that the French military would require decades of preparation and massive budget increases to realistically form the basis for a European army. Poland, which is opposed to a European army because it would "weaken" the armies of NATO's member states, plans to double the size of its armed forces to 250,000 soldiers and 50,000 reserves. The expansion, announced on October 26, would make the Polish military the second-largest in Europe, ahead of that of the United Kingdom. In January 2020, Poland signed a contract worth $4.6 billion to purchase 32 F-35A fighter jets from the United States. In October 2018, Belgium signed a $4.5 billion deal to purchase 34 F-35A fighter jets from the United States. "The offer from the Americans was the best in all our seven evaluation criteria," Belgian Defense Minister Steven Vandeput wrote on Twitter. "The decision is a setback for Britain, Germany, Italy and Spain, who are behind the Eurofighter program, and also means the rejection of an informal French offer to sell Belgium the Rafale fighter built by Dassault Aviation," according to Reuters. This implies that in the future the Belgian and Polish militaries will be further integrated with the United States and NATO rather than with a hypothetical European army. Macron's Motives One of the most vocal champions of the idea of a European army is French President Emmanuel Macron. He must know that an independent EU military remains only a distant possibility, despite his describing the NATO alliance as "brain dead." As German Chancellor Angela Merkel is set to retire, it appears that much of Macron's posturing on European "strategic autonomy" is part of a French nationalist campaign strategy aimed at presenting France as a great power that dominates the European Union. Macron seems to be trying to appeal to French voters while carving out a role for himself to replace Merkel as the new leader of Europe. Macron, who has yet to declare his candidacy, faces reelection in April 2022. Currently he is the clear first-round front-runner at 24%, according to recent polls cited by Politico. His main rivals are two nationalists: Marine Le Pen of the right-leaning National Rally party, and Éric Zemmour, a French essayist and media personality. Macron has been calling for a European army for several years, but his professed aspiration for "strategic autonomy" shifted into high gear after U.S. President Donald J. Trump threatened to withdraw from NATO if European member states refused to pay their fair share. Trump's warning, which appears to have been more of a bluff than a real threat, prompted many European countries to increase their defense spending, even if most are still below the agreed-upon threshold of 2% of GDP. Macron subsequently was dealt a humiliating blow by the Biden administration. In September 2021, Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States announced a new tripartite strategic alliance aimed at countering China's growing assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific region. Notably, the so-called AUKUS agreement does not include any member state of the European Union, which was completely left in the dark about the new alliance. AUKUS was announced on September 15, just hours before the EU unveiled its much-hyped "Strategy for Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific." The EU had been hoping that its new plan would highlight its "strategic autonomy" from the United States in the Pacific region. Instead, the EU was eclipsed by AUKUS and exposed as a paper tiger. Adding insult to injury, Australia announced that as part of the AUKUS deal, it had cancelled a multi-billion-dollar submarine contract — once dubbed the "contract of the century" — under which France was to supply Australia with 12 diesel-powered submarines. Instead, Australia said that it would be buying nuclear submarines from the United States. France has reacted angrily to its change of fortunes. French Foreign Minister called AUKUS a "stab in the back." The French Ambassador to Australia, Jean-Pierre Thébault, said that Australia's decision to cancel the submarine deal was akin to "treason." The French government claimed that the Australian decision caught Paris by surprise, but the subsequent leak of a text message between Macron and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison revealed that Macron knew well in advance that Australia was planning to cancel the contract. The AUKUS humiliation set Macron into a rage and appears to be fueling his increasingly frenzied calls for "strategic autonomy." An advisor to Macron said: "We could turn a blind eye and act as if nothing had happened. We think that would be a mistake for all Europeans. There really is an opportunity here." So far, however, only Italy and Greece have come out in support of Macron's calls for an autonomous EU military force. In September 2021, France and Greece signed a new defense and security agreement in which France pledged to provide military assistance to Greece in the event of an attack by a third country, even if such a country, Turkey, is a member of NATO. Macron said the deal, worth $3 billion to France, was a "milestone" in European defense because it strengthened the EU's "strategic autonomy." Greek Prime Minister Mitsotakis described the Greek-French defense deal "a first step towards the strategic autonomy of Europe." But some in the EU were skeptical of the deal and are concerned it will only serve to inflame tensions between Greece and Turkey. "It is a bit bizarre to say the pact contributes to European sovereignty," an unnamed EU diplomat told Politico. "By all accounts, this is a traditional 19th-century defense pact between two European powers." Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, in an interview with the Danish newspaper Politiken, said that Macron was escalating his dispute with the United States way out of proportion: "I think it is important to say, in relation to the discussions that are taking place right now in Europe, that I experience U.S. President Joe Biden as being very loyal to the transatlantic alliance. "I think in general that one should refrain from lifting some specific challenges, which will always exist between allies, up to a level where they are not supposed to be. I really, really want to warn against this." Meanwhile, the British newspaper, The Telegraph, on September 22 reported that Macron had offered to put France's seat on the United Nations Security Council "at the disposal of the European Union" if its governments back Macron's plans for an EU army. The French Presidency later denied the report: "Contrary to the assertions reported this morning, no, France has not offered to leave its seat on the United Nations Security Council. It belongs to France, and it will remain so." France assumes the EU's six-month rotating presidency on January 1, 2022. During that time, Macron is sure to continue pushing for "strategic autonomy" from the United States, including at a "Summit on European Defense" scheduled for the first half of 2022. Select Commentary Analysts James Jay Carafano and Stefano Graziosi, in an essay, "Europe's Strategic Autonomy Fallacy," wrote: "Strategic autonomy might sound empowering, but it remains little more than a distraction and irritant to the transatlantic community and the real issues. European nations need more national defense capacity. Europe needs a strong, innovative, and productive defense industrial base, and Europeans need to take collective security and its role in a Europe whole, free, prosperous and at peace seriously. These problems can be better addressed by building the militaries the Europeans need than the fantasies Brussels wants." A senior Tory MP, Bob Seely, warned: "If the EU Army undermines NATO, or results in the separation of the U.S. and Europe or produces a paper army, Europe will be committing the most enfeebling and dangerous act of self-harm since the rise of fascism in the 1930s. An EU Army will amount to European de-arming." EU affairs expert Dave Keating noted: "The problem is that while leaders like Macron have tasked the Commission to make the EU more geopolitically strong, he and others still refuse to give the Commission the tools that would make it strong. For the last decade, the European Council has consistently opposed measures that would strengthen the Commission, because it would mean diluting the power of national governments.... "EU national leaders are all well aware of the need for Europe to speak with one voice if it ever wants to be taken seriously on the global stage. But their natural instinct to preserve their own power gets in the way of achieving this goal." In an interview with France 24, the French state-owned television network, Richard Whitman, a professor of politics and international relations at the University of Kent, said: "It will be hard to convince some member states that collective EU defense would bring the same security as NATO's U.S.-backed defense arrangement. Nobody in the EU has ever been able to come up with a decision-making arrangement that takes national divides into account while facilitating expeditious decision-making; it's either the lowest common denominator or grand rhetorical comments tied to absurd propositions. Military action is politically defensible only when taken by national leaders and parliaments — and it's difficult to see that being worked around." Writing for the Wall Street Journal, Walter Russell Mead noted that the entire premise of European leaders that the United States was "disengaging" from international affairs was based on a "significant misunderstanding." He wrote: "Many Europeans, including some seasoned observers of the trans-Atlantic scene, believe that if the U.S. sees the Indo-Pacific as the primary focus of its foreign policy, it must be writing off the rest of the world. These observers look at the American withdrawal from Afghanistan and imagine that this is the kind of headlong retreat they can expect from America in Europe and the Middle East. "This is unlikely. American interests are global, and American presidents, like it or not, can't confine their attention to a single world theater." Polish analyst Łukasz Maślanka tweeted that the French arguments for "strategic autonomy" from the United States are lacking in substance: "French reports from the European Council summit in Slovenia assess Macron's chances of convincing Europeans to EU defense. A critical tone prevails against the reluctant Balts and Poles who still stubbornly believe in NATO despite the U.S.'s allegedly inevitable withdrawal from Europe. "However, it is French observers who lack lucidity: the U.S. presence in Central Europe has been growing, not diminishing in recent years. It is many times greater not only than what France currently delivers, but what it could ever deliver. "Finally, if the U.S. really did intend to turn its back on Europe, the dismay in Paris would be no less than in Warsaw. It's harmful to drive something that can finally become a self-fulfilling prophecy." The London-based magazine, The Economist, wrote that Europeans feel "unnerved" by Macron's push for "strategic autonomy" from the United States: "Most of them, especially those near the Russian border, are happy to rely on America's security guarantee. Few share France's willingness to splurge on defense, or its expeditionary military culture. (Germany, especially, does not.) Nobody agrees what 'strategic autonomy' actually means. Low odds, however, seldom deter Mr. Macron. After the latest snub, the unhugged French president will doubtless conclude that he has little choice but to keep trying." John Krieger, writing for the UK-based The Spectator, noted: "Given that Emmanuel Macron has nailed his colors to the mast on driving European integration deeper, a refusal by European member states to follow suit would be embarrassing and not a good omen for his forthcoming presidency of the EU in January." Kristjan Mäe, head of the Estonian defense ministry's NATO and EU department said: "The EU is not a credible substitute for what NATO represents. You will not see any appetite for the European army amongst member states." Analyst Brooks Tigner, writing for the Atlantic Council, concluded: "Even if national capitals wanted to lunge for a common army, there are so many technical, legal, and administrative differences between their militaries that it would take decades to produce a smoothly functioning force. "Those differences boil down to some of the most mundane things such as soldiers' rights. Strong unions representing military personnel in rich Scandinavian countries, for instance, ensure that their soldiers enjoy levels of physical comfort, hardship pay, and access to medical care that their equivalents in poorer southern EU countries can only dream of for an exercise, much less an actual operation. Whose union rules would govern a common European army? And how would that be financed? "The differences are even sharper at the strategic level when it comes to intelligence. As a whole, the EU countries (and those of NATO as well) do not trust one another with sensitive information: it is parceled out very parsimoniously from one capital to a few trusted others. It would never work for a truly common army. Changing that alone via twenty-five-way trust for intelligence-sharing within PESCO would take years and years. Some deem it impossible. "Conclusion: any talk of creating a fully-fledged common army, even within the next generation, is just that: jaw-jaw and not real-real." Tyler Durden Sat, 11/13/2021 - 08:10.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 13th, 2021

New York AG Tish James is running for governor on her record of taking on Trump. But her role in the criminal probe of his company remains hazy.

What James has contributed to the Trump Organization criminal investigation is less clear than her record challenging the former president's policies. New York Attorney General and governor candidate Letitia James and former President Donald Trump. David Dee Delgado/Getty Images; Paul Hennessy/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images New York AG Letitia James has joined forces with the Manhattan DA for the Trump Organization investigation. She's also running for governor and touting her record of going after former President Donald Trump. Her office has scored wins against Trump on the policy front, but her exact role in the criminal investigation is unclear. When New York Attorney General Letitia James announced her run for the governor's mansion in October, she highlighted some of her biggest cases. And she put 76 of them in one category."I've sued the Trump administration 76 times," she said. "But who's counting?"James' challenges to former President Donald Trump fall into two categories, one of which went unmentioned in her announcement video.There are the cases she brought against the Trump administration, including lawsuits trying to halt policies that she alleged protected predatory lenders, relaxed environmental rules, and discriminated against LGBTQ people."Defending the rights and wellbeing of New Yorkers and fighting for the powerless have always been my top priorities as attorney general," James told Insider in a statement, once again touting her office's 76 lawsuits. "For two years, my office stood up and fought the Trump Administration every time it tried to trample on the rights of New Yorkers and Americans across the country."James also brought cases against Trump personally, including an investigation into the Trump Organization, which so far has produced a criminal indictment against the former president's company and its CFO, Allen Weisselberg.Two prosecutors from James' office were cross-designated to work with the Manhattan District Attorney's office, which is leading the Trump Organization probe. Since the investigation is ongoing - prosecutors impaneled a second grand jury for the case earlier this month - there's limited public information about the machinations behind the probe, including what work each office has contributed thus far.While James can't talk about the details because the investigation is ongoing, Daniel R. Alonso, a former top deputy for Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., pointed out the information James' office gathered for its civil cases against Trump could be a major asset."My best guess is that what the attorney general's office brought to the table is a hell of a lot of knowledge about the Trump Organization," Alonso told Insider. James has called out Trump from her perch as New York AGJames has approached her cases against the Trump administration with a special zeal. When he was in office, she used her position to get federal courts to halt policies she said trampled on civil rights issues."We filed 76 lawsuits against an administration that was hostile towards women, immigrants, people of color, members of the LGBTQ+ community, workers, and countless others; and we won over and over again," she told Insider. "Now, under the Biden-Harris Administration, we've seen decisive leadership that has protected young Dreamers, women, members of the LGBTQ+ community, and millions of others across New York and the rest of the United States."James also scored a big win with her office's investigation into the Trump Foundation, which was forced to dissolve in 2019, though the civil lawsuit began under the tenure of her predecessor, Barbara Underwood. Trump admitted to illegally using the nonprofit's money for personal profit and to advance his political career. Donald Trump attends the National Prayer Breakfast at a hotel in Washington, DC on February 8, 2018. MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images In an interview with ABC's "The View" in December 2020, when asked about Trump calling her investigations against him "harassment," James basically launched into a campaign speech.​​"With respect to the rant of the President of the United States since I've been in office these past two years - yes, my office has either led or joined 68 lawsuits against this administration. Protecting our environment, protecting immigrants, protecting the rights of women, protecting dreamers, protecting the Affordable Care Act, protecting the Postal Service and the list goes on," she said, adding: "It's important that the president of the United States understand that no one is above the law."The law came for the former president's business after Michael Cohen, the former Trump Organization executive and personal lawyer for Trump, testified before Congress in February 2019. He alleged the company kept two sets of books: one to receive favorable bank loan and insurance rates, the other to pay little in taxes.Both the Manhattan DA's office and the New York Attorney General's office were listening. The offices then opened investigations, on parallel tracks, to examine the company's finances. Court filings and public announcements suggested they were each looking at whether the Trump Organization broke state laws by making hush-money payments to people who said they had affairs with Trump, by misrepresenting its finances, and by offering untaxed benefits to top employees.James and the Manhattan DA joined forcesAs recently as fall 2020, both prosecutors' offices had separate teams working what appeared to be the same leads. In an interview with Insider , Jennifer Weisselberg, a cooperating witness for both investigations, said that investigators from each office asked her about the same issues in separate interviews.James' office distinguished itself in the following months with a series of announcements about the inquiries into the valuations of several Trump Organization properties as part of a civil investigation. Among them is 40 Wall Street, located just across the street from James' office in Manhattan. The Trump Organization's Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg, center, arrives for a courtroom appearance in New York, Monday, Sept. 20, 2021. AP Photo/Craig Ruttle) The properties also include the Seven Springs estate in upstate New York, which the Trump Organization said in tax filings was used as a nature conservatory. Eric and Donald Trump Jr. said in media interviews that they used the estate as a summer home, however, and James' office successfully forced Eric Trump, now a Trump Organization executive, to sit for an interview.Meanwhile, Vance's office put enormous resources into the case. It went to the Supreme Court twice to enforce a subpoena for the Trump Organization and obtain reams of tax documents. Solomon Shinerock - the prosecutor in the DA's office who has been doing almost all the talking at the two public court hearings so far - said in September that the office had about 6 million pages of evidence for the charges against Weisselberg and the company.Under state statute, the New York Attorney General's office has the ability to bring criminal cases under only a few areas of law. Otherwise, it needs a referral from the governor's office or state legislature to pursue a wide-ranging criminal investigation.The office can also "cross-designate" its attorneys with a district attorney's office, which is what happened for the Trump Organization investigation. Earlier this year, two prosecutors on James' team were basically loaned out to the Manhattan DA's office. The team-up saves work for everyone, Alonso said."If somebody's already gathered evidence, and they've already cataloged that they've already interviewed witnesses related to it - there's a value in accelerating that part of the investigation," Alonso said. "So it makes sense to team up." Cyrus Roberts Vance Jr. District Attorney of New York County and New York State Attorney General Letitia James arrive in court for the hearing of Allen Weisselberg in New York on July 1, 2021. Timothy A. Clary/AFP via Getty Images The DA and AG offices jointly led a criminal investigation, while the AG's office has also continued its civil probe. In July, the prosecutors on the criminal case filed a 15-count indictment against the Trump Organization and Weisselberg, accusing the executive of evading taxes on income and benefits like a free apartment. Vance and James walked side-by-side that day into court, where the company and Weisselberg pleaded not guilty to the charges."My office remains committed to enforcing the law and holding accountable those who abuse their authority - no matter how powerful," James said in the statement to Insider.Vance will retire on December 31 after three terms as DA, and on January 1, Alvin Bragg will take over. Bragg is a former top official in the New York State Attorney General's office himself, leaving two weeks before James took office. He's widely expected to keep the same tack as Vance."My approach to this case will be the same as mine to every case: follow the facts and deliver justice for New Yorkers," Bragg told Insider in June. "That's what we did in the Attorney General's office where I led the team that sued Trump and his administration more than 100 times, including successfully suing the Trump Foundation, removing the citizenship question from the census, and challenging the travel bans and other unlawful policies."Running for governor as a sitting AG is a tradition in New York politicsIn Albany, James has earned a reputation as a shrewd operator and a rising star in the Democratic Party. As the state's attorney general, she's in the process of suing the National Rifle Association into oblivion, and her office's investigations and litigation has shut down consumer scams and led to hundreds of gun buybacks. Nearly every day, her office issues a press release about cases against predatory lenders and opioid deaths.Now that the gubernatorial primary is open, lawmakers are weighing whom to support, or whether to stay out of the race altogether as Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul implements her agenda while trying to secure a full term.For Assemblyman Phil Steck, an Upstate Democrat from Schenectady who has yet to endorse a candidate, James' record on antitrust enforcement and opioids carries more weight than her challenges to Trump."I'm a fan of the attorney general for two reasons," Steck, who endorsed James' rival, Zephyr Teachout, in the 2018 AG primary, told Insider. In that primary, disgraced former Gov. Andrew Cuomo endorsed James. Attorney General of New York Letitia James and Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) take part in ceremonies before the Veteran's Day Parade in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., November 11, 2021. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri "First, since she's been attorney general, I think the office has done a lot of outstanding work in many areas that protect the public interest," Steck continued. "Two, she has a long history of progressive politics. So in comparison - while I know the current governor very well and like her - the reality is that the new administration is surrounding itself with a very similar aura to that which existed when Andrew Cuomo was governor."Changing how business is done in Albany could be a very powerful message for the James campaign following nearly three full terms of the Cuomo administration, Steck said. But he added that the AG's Trump investigations could play well in a primary atmosphere."I think from a strategic standpoint, what Tish James is doing is trying to show to Democrats that she was someone who was willing to take on Donald Trump," the assemblyman said.But did James's lawsuits against the Trump administration - often filed in concert with other Democratic state AGs - result in substantial change? One Democratic operative told Insider they didn't think so."Clearly Tish used Trump to raise her profile, and you see that in the announcement video," a longtime Democratic New York political operative, who plans on sitting out the 2022 gubernatorial primary campaign, told Insider."You know who's counting? The people who have seen zero results out of this," the operative continued. "To voters in New York and Democrats and donors across the country who were resting their hopes on Tish James, she's delivered bupkis." New York Attorney General Letitia James (L) and Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz take a look at some guns after a gun buyback event organized by the NYPD on June 12, 2021. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz Given that attorney general has been a well-trodden springboard for Empire State gubernatorial hopefuls - Cuomo ran on a "Clean Up Albany" slogan when he secured the top job - James' ability to showcase her record could make or break her campaign, according to the longtime state political operative."New York attorney general is one of the best perches for a push to run for office," the operative said. "Ask Elliot Spitzer. Ask Andrew Cuomo. Right? Elliot Spitzer, sheriff of Wall Street, took down titans in the financial industry - what did Tish do? She filed a few lawsuits against Donald Trump?"From the perspective of rival campaigns, the operative argued, there's an opening to to turn the primary electorate's anti-Trump fervor against James in a "boomerang" fashion."I do believe that you are going to see her Democratic opponents saying, 'Tish, where's the beef?'" the operative said, referencing the 1980s ad campaign from Wendy's. "So yeah, I think it's going to be a problem."Yet for a potential key Upstate endorsement like Steck, that decision won't hinge on James' Trump investigations."I'm just stressing the point that for me, when my decision as to who I might support for governor is announced, it's not going to be based on Donald Trump," Steck said.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 12th, 2021

Carl Icahn’s Open Letter To Southwest Gas Board Of Directors

Sunny Isles Beach, Florida, November 11, 2021 — Today, Carl C. Icahn released the following open letter to the board of directors of Southwest Gas Holdings Inc (NYSE:SWX). Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Open Letter To Southwest Gas Board Of Directors CARL C. ICAHN 16690 Collins Avenue, Suite PH-1 Sunny Isles Beach, […] Sunny Isles Beach, Florida, November 11, 2021 — Today, Carl C. Icahn released the following open letter to the board of directors of Southwest Gas Holdings Inc (NYSE:SWX). 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 Our Icahn eBook! Get our entire 10-part series on Carl Icahn and other famous investors in PDF for free! Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet or print it! Sign up below. NO SPAM EVER (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 Open Letter To Southwest Gas Board Of Directors CARL C. ICAHN 16690 Collins Avenue, Suite PH-1 Sunny Isles Beach, FL 33160 November 11, 2021 To the Board of Directors of SWX: We are writing in reference to the blatant disregard of fiduciary duties that has been signaled by your recent (in)actions and statements. We offered on October 25th to provide SWX with $75.00 per common share for the ∼$1 billion of equity financing the company stated it would seek to help pay for the ill-advised Questar acquisition. We also said we would be willing to consider providing this financing at a per share price higher than $75.00 if SWX should receive a bona-fide superior offer from any other stockholder or third party. And we would agree that if we did not increase our offer, we would support the higher bid. Additionally, we went even further and offered to forego voting rights with respect to all shares we might end up holding in excess of 20% of the voting power of the company as a result of this transaction. However, our generous – and unconditional – offer was met with deafening silence from you. Instead, you have enabled management to signal that the company might issue a huge block of stock at bargain-basement prices to one or more friendly parties that would presumably protect management from any and all accountability in the future. The board seems to have forgotten that it has fiduciary responsibilities to stockholders – not to management. Your shielding of this inept and self-serving management team – at your own legal peril, no less – is baffling to us, especially in light of management’s abject failure when compared with the management teams at the companies in SWX’s peer group. We would not be surprised to learn that your well-heeled investment banking and legal “defense” team has told you not to worry about your own personal liability. However, remember that it will not be them being forced to give depositions under oath to defend the board’s actions – but rather you. Do you really want to explain to a judge or jury why you thought it was a great idea to sell stock at less than $75 per share when you and your stockholders – as well as the world at large – knew you had an unconditional firm offer from us at $75? You will also have to explain why you allowed a large block of stock to be placed in “friendly hands” at a bargain price merely to protect inept management and keep them totally unaccountable to stockholders. We are writing to put all on notice that if SWX attempts to dilute existing stockholders by issuing a block of stock at less than $75 per share without first attempting to negotiate with us, we will pursue every avenue available to seek legal redress and to compel SWX directors to fully discharge the fiduciary duties they owe to ALL stockholders. Furthermore, depending on the circumstances, we may also consider bringing legal actions against any purchasers in such a “cheap stock” transaction for aiding and abetting the breach of fiduciary duties by the SWX board at the expense of SWX stockholders. To preempt any excuses this board might be preparing for not considering our unconditional good faith offer, we would point out the many, many companies we have helped over the years in a cooperative fashion to create literally many hundreds of billions of dollars of value for ALL stockholders of these companies. To name just a few recent ones – FirstEnergy, Caesars, Cheniere, Ebay/PayPal, Motorola, Herbalife, Manitowoc, Forest Laboratories, Cloudera, Hologic. Are we infallible? Of course not. But we believe the handful of “losers” in our record can largely be chalked up to secular changes and not to our actions. What excuse does the SWX management team have for doing so poorly in comparison to their peers and then getting rewarded for their less than mediocre record? But regardless of track records, it is undisputed that we are currently offering the highest price for this proposed stock issuance. In recent days, management has hinted at perhaps selling 19.9% of the equity of the company’s services subsidiary for $500 million. If that price can be achieved, we would support that sale. But we would not support the sale at a lower price. We also would support other value-maximizing ideas so long as they achieve the highest and best values for the company. Our point is simple – you have a fiduciary duty to try to maximize value for the company and its stockholders. If you do that, you will get our support. If you do not, we will hold you accountable – just as you should hold accountable the management of SWX. We stand ready to negotiate. We can act extremely quickly as we do not operate leisurely through committees. We can and will respond to any proposals within 24 hours. We have no need of financing or due diligence. We look forward to hearing from you. Sincerely yours, Carl C. Icahn Updated on Nov 12, 2021, 12:53 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkNov 12th, 2021

Get 75% off Udacity"s popular online courses in tech skills like data science and computer programming

Udacity has online Nanodegrees and free courses in topics such as AI, marketing, cybersecurity, data science, computer science, and more. Udacity has online Nanodegrees and free courses in topics such as AI, marketing, cybersecurity, data science, computer science, and more. Udacity; Alyssa Powell/Insider Udacity offers free online courses and Nanodegrees to build in-demand, technology-based skills. Courses are available in subjects like AI, programming, cybersecurity, data science, and business. Below, find answers to FAQ, sales, and information on the top 10 most popular Udacity Nanodegrees. What is Udacity?Udacity is an online learning platform that trains students for in-demand, technology-based careers. It offers both short online courses and Nanodegree programs in artificial intelligence, autonomous systems, business, cloud computing, cybersecurity, data science, and programming.What are Udacity Nanodegrees?Udacity Nanodegrees are online certificate programs that can typically last anywhere from 3-6 months, similar to edX MicroMasters or Coursera MasterTracks. They're flexible and meant to work with your schedule, so you can learn at your own pace. All the programs also come with projects for hands-on learning and technical mentors in case you get stuck. One unique benefit to Udacity Nanodegrees is the career development resources students receive at the end, including help with optimizing resumes, LinkedIn profiles, and Github portfolios after completing the program. Udacity How much does Udacity cost?Udacity's Nanodegree programs normally cost anywhere from $678 to $2,034 (without sale discounts applied), depending on the program and length of training. There are flexible payment options available, such as paying per month instead of all at once. Additionally, Udacity offers several scholarships for its online programs. You can browse all available scholarships here.Are there any Udacity sales right now?Right now through December 31, 2021, you can get 75%-off discounts on courses through December 31 if you use the code INSIDER2021 at checkout.You can also apply for a personalized discount of up to 75% off Udacity's tech courses if you answer a few questions about your employment status and income. Lastly, you can use the code UPSKILL21 at checkout to get 50% off Udacity's tech courses, also through the end of the year, saving you up to $200 per month if you pursue a Nanodegree program.Are there any free Udacity courses?Yes. There are a number of free courses on Udacity such as Intro to Data Science and Google's Front End Frameworks. You can browse all the free courses here. Udacity (Note: Free courses do not come with projects, mentor assistance, or career development resources).What are some of the Udacity Nanodegrees available?These are the 10 most popular beginner and intermediate certificate programs on Udacity now: Digital Marketing Nanodegree Udacity Estimated length: 3 monthsNormal cost: $1,017 total or $399 per month ($225 total or $100 per month with code INSIDER2021 at checkout)Learn everything from creating your own marketing content, using social media platforms to promote it, running fruitful Facebook ad campaigns, and using Google Analytics to measure and track your success.Digital Marketing Nanodegree (button) Product Manager Nanodegree Udacity Estimated length: 4 monthsNormal cost: $1,596 total or $399 per month ($399 total or $100 per month with code INSIDER2021 at checkout)To help you design successful products, this program walks you through incorporating market analysis into product strategy and KPIs, designing a product within various realistic constraints, building a timeline, and creating tests to enhance the product over time.Product Manager Nanodegree (button) Business Analytics Nanodegree Udacity Estimated length: 3 months Normal cost: $1,017 total or $399 per month ($225 total or $100 per month with code INSIDER2021 at checkout)Learn crucial data skills that can be applied to a range of careers and industries, such as building data models with Excel, queries with the programming language SQL, and data visualizations with Tableau.Business Analytics Nanodegree (button) Programming for Data Science with Python Nanodegree Udacity Estimated length: 3 monthsNormal cost: $1,017 total or $399 per month ($225 total or $100 per month with code INSIDER2021 at checkout)Learn the core programming basics for a data science career, including how to code in Python and SQL to solve difficult business problems and create data structures and libraries.Programming for Data Science with Python Nanodegree (button) Data Engineer Nanodegree Udacity Estimated length: 5 monthsNormal cost: $1,995 total or $399 per month ($424 total or $100 per month with code INSIDER2021 at checkout)In this program, you'll learn how to design and build data models, data warehouses, data lakes, and data pipelines, as well as understand huge and complex datasets. The program ends with the completion of your own capstone data engineering portfolio project.Data Engineering Nanodegree (button) Data Analyst Nanodegree Udacity Estimated length: 4 monthsNormal cost: $1,596 total or $399 per month ($399 total or $100 per month with code INSIDER2021 at checkout)For students with some background in Python and SQL, this program dives deeper into decoding challenging datasets, manipulating data for analysis, and creating data visualizations to tell a comprehensive story using data.Data Analyst Nanodegree (button) Intro to Programming Nanodegree Udacity Estimated length: 4 monthsNormal cost: $1,596 total or $399 per month ($399 total or $100 per month with code INSIDER2021 at checkout)Perfect for students with no coding experience, this program covers the fundamentals of HTML, CSS, and Python. By the end, you'll be introduced to several possible career paths for further learning.Intro to Programming Nanodegree (button) C++ Developer Nanodegree Udacity ​​Estimated length: 4 monthsNormal cost: $1,596 total or $399 per month ($399 total or $100 per month with code INSIDER2021 at checkout)Learn C++ through five hands-on projects, including building a route planner using OpenStreetMap data, writing a process monitor for your computer, implementing your own smart pointers, crafting a multithreaded traffic simulator, and coding your own C++ application.C++ Developer Nanodegree (button) Data Scientist Nanodegree Udacity Estimated length: 4 monthsNormal cost: $1,596 total or $399 per month ($399 total or $100 per month with code INSIDER2021 at checkout)Gain the necessary core skills to become a data scientist by working on projects designed by industry experts, running data pipelines, designing experiments, building recommendation systems, and deploying solutions to the cloud.Data Science Nanodegree (button) Self-Driving Car Engineer Nanodegree Udacity Estimated ​​length: 5 monthsNormal cost: $1,995 total or $399 per month ($424 total or $100 per month with code INSIDER2021 at checkout)Pursue a career in engineering self-driving cars by first learning the techniques that power them. Using Deep Learning with radar and lidar sensor fusion, you'll gain the knowledge to train the vehicle to detect and identify its surroundings to inform navigation.Self-Driving Car Engineer Nanodegree (button) Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytNov 11th, 2021

Nancy Pelosi privately criticized the billionaires" tax plan as a PR stunt, prompting pushback from the Senate"s top tax-writing Dem who argues it"s a "big mistake" to scrap it

Ron Wyden's billionaires' tax lasted less than 24 hours before Joe Manchin shot it down. Pelosi was skeptical of it behind closed doors. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) takes questions from reporters at her weekly news conference on Capitol Hill on Thursday, Nov. 4, 2021. Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images Pelosi privately criticized Ron Wyden's billionaires' tax as a measure that stood little chance of becoming an enduring law, per two people familiar. She was concerned about whether it would get 50 Senate Democratic votes and withstand legal challenges. Wyden, the Democrats' chief tax writer in the Senate, told Insider it'd be a 'big mistake' to not pursue it. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi assailed the idea of a billionaires' tax on late October call with senior Democratic lawmakers, saying it amounted to little more than a public relations stunt, per two people familiar with the matter.Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon, chair of the Senate Finance Committee, unveiled a plan last month to hit billionaires like Tesla CEO Elon Musk with a new tax on their growing pile of wealth. Only hours after it was rolled out, the measure crashed into resistance from Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, a conservative Democrat who viewed it as punitive towards business and corporate leaders.Many Democratic senators have treaded cautiously around the concept of a billionaires' tax, which Wyden has been working on since 2019. Yet the party turned to Wyden's idea after resistance from Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona to raising corporate and income tax rates forced them to shelve their other revenue-raising plans to pay for affordable childcare, expand Medicare so it covers hearing services, renew the child tax credit for an extra year, and more.Pelosi was sour on the Wyden legislation's prospects behind closed doors, The Washington Post was first to report.A senior Democratic aide familiar with the matter said Pelosi criticized the plan on the call because it lacked legislative text as the White House raced to finalize negotiations on their social spending bill. The California lawmaker was also concerned whether it could win the support of all 50 Senate Democrats - and withstand a Supreme Court challenge.Democrats want to finance all of President Joe Biden's economic agenda with tax hikes on the richest Americans and large corporations. But their narrow majorities in the House and Senate have prompted Democratic infighting on the scale of the tax increases. Manchin and Sinema have compelled the party to scale back their planned hikes.House Democrats recently advanced a $1.75 trillion social spending plan with a new 5% surtax on people with incomes above $10 million. That's dialed up to 8% for rich Americans with incomes higher than $25 million. Their package also includes a 15% domestic minimum tax. But it excluded the billionaire tax."The House had the courage and the determination to raise rates on the wealthy and build consensus that the Senate has been unable to achieve," the senior Democratic aide told Insider.Wyden said last week he would continue working with Manchin on other tax proposals aimed at billionaires. The Oregon Democrat has swiped at the House tax plan, arguing that focusing on rich people's income instead of wealth held in assets like stock allows "billionaires to literally skate to tax avoidance." The nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation recently projected the provision would raise $557 billion over a decade, making it the single-largest revenue raiser if it was included."In a package that's supposed to be about giving everybody a shot to get ahead, it would be a big mistake, from both a policy and political perspective, not to ensure billionaires pay any taxes at all," Wyden said in a statement to Insider. "This is about fairness and showing the American people taxes aren't mandatory for them and optional for the wealthiest people in the country."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytNov 11th, 2021

Elon Musk just lost $50 billion in 2 days, but he"s still the world"s richest person. Here"s how the Tesla and SpaceX CEO makes and spends his $288 billion fortune.

Elon Musk's net worth has soared since onset of the pandemic. And even when he loses billions, he's still significantly wealthier than Jeff Bezos. Patrick Pleul/picture alliance via Getty Images Elon Musk just lost $50 billion in just two days, but he's still the richest person in the world. A notorious workaholic, Musk doesn't spend his money on lavish vacations or expensive hobbies. Here's how Musk makes and spends his $288 billion fortune. Decades before becoming a father of six and amassing an $288 billion fortune, Musk taught himself to code as a child growing up in South Africa. By the time he was 12, he sold the source code for his first video game for $500. SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk works at his desk in 2008. OnInnovation/Flickr Source: MONEY Just before his 18th birthday, Musk moved to Canada and worked a series of hard labor jobs, including shoveling grain, cutting logs, and eventually cleaning out the boiler room in a lumber mill for $18 an hour - an impressive wage in 1989. OnInnovation/Flickr Sources: MONEY, Esquire - Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future Musk got a pay cut to $14 an hour when he started a summer internship alongside his brother, Kimbal, at the Bank of Nova Scotia after cold-calling - and impressing - a top executive there. Elon Musk, founder, CEO and lead designer at SpaceX and co-founder of Tesla, speaks at the International Space Station Research and Development Conference in Washington, U.S., July 19, 2017. Aaron P. Bernstein/Reuters Sources: MONEY, Esquire - Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future After he arrived for his freshman year at Queens University in 1990, Musk quickly picked up a side hustle selling computer parts and full PCs to other students. "I could build something to suit their needs like a tricked-out gaming machine or a simple word processor that cost less than what they could get in a store," Musk said. Elon Musk. Larry Busacca/Getty Images for The New York Times Sources: MONEY, Esquire - Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future Within two years, Musk transferred to the University of Pennsylvania on a partial scholarship. f11photo/Shutterstock Sources: MONEY, Esquire - Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future To cover the rest of his tuition, Musk and a buddy would turn their house into a speakeasy on the weekends, charging $5 at the door. "I was paying my own way through college and could make an entire month's rent in one night," Musk said. Tesla Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors, reacts to a reporter's question following the electric automaker’s initial public offering on Nasdaq, Tuesday, June, 29, 2010 in New York. AP Photo/Mark Lennihan Sources: MONEY, Esquire - Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future Musk graduated with a bachelor's degree in physics and an economics degree from the Wharton School and moved on to Stanford to pursue his PhD. REUTERS / Phil McCarten Source: MONEY He left the program within days to build an internet startup with his brother. They started Zip2, a city guide software for newspapers, with $28,000 in seed money from their father. Kimbal Musk, Elon's brother. Fred Prouser/Reuters Source: MONEY Four years later, in 1999, they sold Zip2 for $307 million, earning Musk $22 million. He invested more than half of his earnings to cofound X.com, an online banking service. Elon Musk at SpaceX Hyperloop Pod II competition in Hawthorne, California Reuters/Mike Blake Source: MONEY The company quickly merged with its rival and became PayPal, with Musk as the majority shareholder. In 2002, eBay bought PayPal and Musk walked away with $180 million. Paypal CEO Dan Schulman (C) celebrates with employees during the company's relisting on the Nasdaq in New York. Reuters/Lucas Jackson Source: MONEY Musk turned his attention to his new space exploration company, SpaceX, after leaving PayPal. A few years later he cofounded electric-car maker, Tesla, and then SolarCity, a solar power systems provider. The success of these companies eventually launched him into the billion-dollar club - but not before he went broke. Reuters Source: VentureBeat In late 2008, Musk divorced his first wife and it took a toll on his finances. A year later, Musk said he "ran out of cash" and had been living off loans from friends while trying to keep his companies afloat. Brendan McDermid/Reuters Sources: VentureBeat, Forbes, TechCrunch But when Tesla debuted on the stock market in 2010, Musk's fortune skyrocketed. By 2012, he appeared on Forbes' richest list for the first time with a net worth of $2 billion. Tesla Source: Forbes Nearly a decade later, Musk has amassed an $288 billion fortune - but it's not very liquid. Remarkably, Musk made his billions without ever taking a paycheck from Tesla, because the CEO refuses his minimum salary every year. By 2020, Tesla cut his paycheck down to zero. Getty/Kevork Djansezian Source: Bloomberg, Insider Musk's complicated salary structure means that he's awarded stock options when Tesla hits challenging performance metrics. When Tesla does well, Musk's wealth soars. Maja Hitij/Getty Images Source: Insider But Musk has said himself that he's cash-poor. "Some people think I have a lot of cash," Musk told investor Cathie Wood on a podcast last year. "I actually don't." Like a lot of other high-powered executives, Musk relies on mortgages and credit day-to-day. Elon Musk Pool Source: Insider Over the years, the CEO has purchased more than $100 million in residential property in California. He has since offloaded much of his real estate after vowing to sell it all and "own no house" last year. Google Maps Source: The Real Deal, Variety, Insider As the leader of one of the preeminent auto-makers, it's no surprise Musk has an affinity for cars. Back in 2013, he paid $920,000 at an auction for the Lotus Esprit submarine car used in a James Bond movie. AP Source: MONEY, CNBC In addition to driving Teslas, Musk has owned a few gas-powered cars including a Ford Model T, a Jaguar E-Type Series 1 Roadster, a McLaren F1 (which he later totaled), an Audi Q7, a Hamann BMW M5, and a Porsche 911. Not Elon Musk's Jaguar. DeFacto/Wikimedia Commons Source: Insider Despite having funds to spare, Musk isn't a fan of lavish vacations - or any vacations for that matter. In 2015, he said he'd only taken two weeks off since founding SpaceX about 12 years earlier. Yichuan Cao/NurPhoto via Getty Images Sources: Inc, Quartz Musk has five children with his first wife, Justine Musk. In a 2014 tweet, Musk said he takes the kids on an annual camping trip. "I'm a pretty good dad," he said. "I have the kids for slightly more than half the week and spend a fair bit of time with them. I also take them with me when I go out of town." Elon Musk with two of his sons and now ex-wife Talulah Riley. AP Photo/Mark Lennihan Sources: Twitter, Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future Musk and Canadian musician Grimes welcomed a baby boy in May 2020 named X Æ A-Xii Musk - they appear to call the baby "X" for short. (Musk and Grimes have since broken up.) Musk and Grimes. Jason Kempin/Getty Images Source: Insider, Insider At the end of the day, the multibillionaire says he enjoys inexpensive hobbies like listening to music, playing video games, and reading books. "Hang out with kids, see friends, normal stuff," he said. "Sometimes go crazy on Twitter. But usually it's work more." REUTERS/Stephen Lam Source: Quartz In August 2018, Musk told The New York Times that he had taken to working 120 hours a week. "There were times when I didn't leave the factory for three or four days - days when I didn't go outside," he told The Times. "This has really come at the expense of seeing my kids. And seeing friends." Engineer and tech entrepreneur Elon Musk of The Boring Company listens as Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel talks about constructing a high speed transit tunnel at Block 37 during a news conference on June 14, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. Getty Images/Joshua Lott Source: The New York Times Musk said on an earnings call in 2017 that he doesn't have a desk at the Tesla factory: "I always move my desk to wherever - I don't really have a desk actually - I move myself to wherever the biggest problem is in Tesla. I really believe that one should lead from the front lines, and that's why I'm here." Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider Sources: Insider, Fortune Musk admitted to spending "many late nights" at Tesla's Nevada Gigafactory re-writing software during a production sprint for the Model 3. Elon Musk showing YouTuber Marques Browne around the Gigafactory 1 Marques Browne/YouTube Source: Fortune For a story published in August 2018, Insider reporters spoke with 42 Tesla employees who said Musk is a visionary, but also unpredictably demanding. Tesla Motors Source: Insider Musk said in June 2019 that he even planned to spend his 48th birthday on June 28 at work, improving the company's "global logistics." Tesla CEO Elon Musk walks onto the stage to introduce the Model Y at the company's design studio Thursday, March 14, 2019, in Hawthorne, Calif. AP Source: Insider Musk told CBS' "60 Minutes" that he is, in fact, "somewhat impulsive" and doesn't "really want to try to adhere to some CEO template." Getty Source: Insider Not only does Musk spend a ton of time at Tesla, he also spends a lot of his money on the company. In the first six months of 2018, he bought more than $35 million worth of shares in Tesla. Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images Source: CNN Musk also invests a lot of time, energy, and resources into SpaceX. John Raoux / AP Images Source: Insider SpaceX has raised billions to develop, build, and launch Starlink - an effort to cover Earth in ultra-fast broadband internet - and build the prototype of Starship, a gargantuan reusable space vehicle designed to bring people to Mars. The company was valued at $100 billion as of October 2021. The Es'hail-2 mission launches toward space aboard one of SpaceX's Falcon 9 rockets on November 15, 2018. SpaceX/Flickr (public domain) Source: Insider, CNBC Musk also helms The Boring Company, which he founded in 2016 to develop and construct underground tunnels in an effort to mitigate traffic. The Boring Company's Hawthorne, California, Tunnel. Robyn Beck/Pool via REUTERS Source: Insider According to The New York Times, The Boring Company raised over $112 million in 2018 - and more than 90% of it came from Musk. In 2019, the company raised outside funding for the first time to the tune of around $120 million. The Boring Company Source: The New York Times, Insider In 2012, Musk signed The Giving Pledge, vowing to donate the majority of his wealth during his lifetime. Though he's already in the business of improving our environment and the future during his day job, Musk has made sizable donations to causes he cares about, including a $10 million gift to the Future of Life Institute to regulate artificial intelligence. jurvetson / Flickr Sources: Twitter, Insider Musk found himself in legal trouble with the SEC in 2018 after he tweeted that he had obtained the funding to take Tesla private, which moved the company's stock price. Musk reached a settlement with the SEC in April 2019 in which he and Tesla both agreed to pay a $20 million penalty. Spencer Platt/Getty Images Source: Insider Musk moved Tesla share price again in May 2020, sending it down 13% after tweeting "Tesla stock price is too high imo." FILE PHOTO: Tesla Inc CEO Elon Musk speaks at an opening ceremony for Tesla China-made Model Y program in Shanghai Reuters Source: Markets Insider Musk's Twitter habits once again got him into legal trouble in 2019 after he called the British cave diver who helped rescue a Thai soccer team a "pedo guy"; the diver sued Musk, claiming defamation, but a jury ruled in Musk's favor. A courtroom sketch of British cave diver Vernon Unsworth during his defamation suit against Elon Musk. REUTERS/Mona Shafer Edwards Source: Insider Musk's net worth soared in 2020 amid the pandemic, increasing by 197% between March and August, according to an analysis by the Institute for Policy Studies. By December 2020, Musk had become the world's second-richest person behind Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. Jeff Bezos, left, and Elon Musk. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts Source: Insider Only a few months later, Musk became the world's richest person and his net worth has only grown since: Just last month, Musk's wealth increased by $36 billion in a single day, the largest gain ever recorded by Bloomberg's Billionaires Index. Elon Musk. Steve Nesius/Reuters Source: Insider But after shares of Tesla plunged by 16%, Musk lost $50 billion in just two days. Tesla's share price dipped after a string of headlines, including a tweet from Musk asking if he should sell 10% of his Tesla stock. Still, Musk remains $82 billion richer than Bezos. Tesla CEO Elon Musk Britta Pedersen / POOL / AFP via Getty Images Source: InsiderTanza Loudenback and Taylor Nicole Rogers contributed to an earlier version of this story. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 10th, 2021

I"m a founder who needed to learn how to let my guard down. Here"s why I swapped my life coach for a therapist.

Sanctus founder James Routledge had an executive coach - but when he went to a therapist, he found the focus on him was more than just as a founder. James Routledge. Courtesy of James Routledge Entrepreneur James Routledge started seeing a therapist after working with an executive coach. He describes how the therapist told him to stop "presenting" and talk candidly about himself. "I very rarely talked about business ... My therapist knew that was easy for me." I went to see a therapist in October 2018. By the end of the introductory session my therapist closed the session with a reflective question; "I'm wondering who you'd be without your business?" to which I responded; "That, is exactly why I'm here."I was completely consumed by my startup, Sanctus, which I founded two years before. We were scaling and had just hit £1 million in annual revenue, we were growing our team and I was learning how to manage a business.I had a lot to think about. The total consumption, perpetual loneliness and constant anxiety were all part of the ride. I accepted those feelings as part of the job, until I couldn't any more.I'd had a life coach before and it'd been transformational, I'd explored my values, where I found purpose and meaning in my work. The coaching had helped me start the business in the first place. I found my coach through Sanctus, the business I was getting off the ground at the time.Yet I was repeating old patterns again, it's as if coaching had peeled back the curtain. I needed to go deeper.I'd spent years saying " when 'x' happens, I'll worry less", "when we hire 'X I'll worry less", "when we hit 'X' revenue it'll be different". Until it hit me, the problem was me, not my business. I was spending 60 hours a week analyzing business and figuring out what might be wrong with it. An hour a week to look at me, not work, made a lot of sense.Every Tuesday night for 18 months I went to therapy. That time was my time. It wasn't a chat about business or a "catch up." It took me a while to get used to that. At first, I found myself pitching my therapist, trying to persuade him everything was alright.My right leg would cock over my left as I sat back like I was on a panel at an event. It only took him to say "I feel like you're presenting to me" for me to realize how easy it was to keep my guard up and how hard it was to dissolve my founder self.At times I wondered why I was there, why I was talking about childhood, experiences at school, or past relationships. What did all of this have to do with work? I very rarely talked about business. I didn't talk about people problems or our monthly revenue.My therapist protected me from that. He knew that was easy for me, easy for me to talk about my startup. I felt comfortable doing that. It was my defence.Underneath my startup's branded t-shirt, I was at war with myself. I didn't like some parts of me, particularly some of my past. The over-working, the obsessive thinking, the consumption with business was covering up what I was avoiding - me.I hardly knew me. Underneath the surface layer of "a Founder" I was packed with deeply complex and interwoven stories, traumas and experiences that were driving my behaviours. I spent time getting to know myself. I reflected on my relationships with family, friends and what they really mean to me. I explored who I might be without being the founder of a business. I talked about writing, hiking, travelling and more.I delved into the past and how it impacted my present. I said sentences out loud that I'd only ever thought. I told stories I'd kept secret and I shared things I'd never even considered.I was able to heal some of the scars that I didn't know I had and I was able to let go of long-held beliefs that were irrelevant now.I mostly left therapy sessions feeling confused and raw, like I'd been punched. Over time, things started to come together, I started to come together. I'd pulled myself apart and I was putting myself back together again. I stopped going to therapy in March 2020, because I felt like I needed some time to let what had changed materialise in the real world. It's not like I felt "fixed", I just felt complete for now. I imagine I may go to therapy again in my life.Since then, I moved to a new part of London I adore, I got engaged, I stepped down as CEO of Sanctus, and I wrote a book.I can't attribute any of those events directly to therapy, yet I can't say therapy didn't impact all of them. I felt more able to let go, to trust people and to let my business grow up with me in a more peripheral role. I felt more separate from Sanctus in a healthy way, I wasn't leaning on the business as much, so it started leaning on me less too. Executive coaching is becoming more common for founders and I know its benefits. Yet it's often focused on the role of a founder.For me therapy was powerful because it didn't focus on me as a founder at all, it focused on all of me, founder part included, but no more so than anything of the other parts.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 8th, 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

Predators With Badges: The Sex Traffickers On America"s Police Forces

Predators With Badges: The Sex Traffickers On America's Police Forces Authored by John W. Whitehead & Nisha Whitehead via The Rutherford Institute, “Sexual predation by police officers happens far more often than people in the business are willing to admit.” - Former Seattle police chief Norm Stamper We are a nation on the brink of a nervous breakdown. Undeniably, the blowback from COVID-19 lockdowns and mandates continues to reverberate around the country, impacting the nation’s struggling workplaces, choking the economy and justifying all manner of authoritarian tyrannies being inflicted on the populace by state and federal governments. Yet while it is easy to be distracted by political theater, distressed by the COVID-19 pandemic, and divided over authoritarian lockdowns and mandates, there are still darker forces afoot that cannot—should not—must not be ignored. Here’s a news flash for you: there are sexual predators on America’s police forces. Indeed, when it comes to sex trafficking—the buying and selling of young girls, boys and women for sex—police have become both predators and pimps. As the Philadelphia Inquirer reports, “Hundreds of police officers across the country have turned from protectors to predators, using the power of their badge to extort sex.” Victims of sex trafficking report that police are among those “buying” young girls and women for sex. Incredibly, this COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in even greater numbers of children being preyed upon by sex traffickers. Unfortunately, rather than being part of the solution, America’s police forces—riddled with corruption, brutality, sexual misconduct and drug abuse—have largely become part of the problem. In New York, for instance, seven NYPD cops—three sergeants, two detectives and two officers—were accused of running brothels that sold 15-minute sexual encounters, raking in more than $2 million over the course of 13 months. In California, a police sergeant—a 16-year veteran of the police force—was arrested for raping a 16-year-old girl who was being held captive and sold for sex in a home in an upscale neighborhood. A week-long sting in Florida ended with 277 arrests of individuals accused of sex trafficking, including doctors, pharmacists and police officers. Sex trafficking victims in Hawaii described “cops asking for sexual favors to more coercive situations like I'll let you go if you do X, Y, or Z for me.” One study found that “over 14 percent of sex workers said that they had been threatened with arrest unless they had sex with a police officer.” In many states, it’s actually legal for police to have sex with prostitutes during the course of sting operations. While the problem of cops engaged in sex trafficking is part of the American police state’s seedy underbelly that doesn’t get addressed enough, equally alarming is the number of cops who commit sex crimes against those they encounter as part of their job duties, a largely underreported number given the “blue wall of silence” that shields police misconduct. Former Seattle police chief Norm Stamper describes cases in which cops fondled prisoners, made false traffic stops of attractive women, traded sexual favors for freedom, had sex with teenagers and raped children. Young girls are particularly vulnerable to these predators in blue. Former police officer Phil Stinson estimates that half of the victims of police sex crimes are minors under the age of eighteen. According to The Washington Post, a national study found that 40 percent of reported cases of police sexual misconduct involved teens. One young woman was assaulted during a "ride along" with an officer, who said in a taped confession: “The badge gets you the p---y and the p---y gets your badge, you know?” For example, a Pennsylvania police chief and his friend were arrested for allegedly raping a young girl hundreds of times—orally, vaginally, and anally several times a week—over the course of seven years, starting when she was 4 years old. In 2017, two NYPD cops were accused of arresting a teenager, handcuffing her, and driving her in an unmarked van to a nearby parking lot, where they raped her and forced her to perform oral sex on them, then dropped her off on a nearby street corner. The New York Times reports that “a sheriff’s deputy in San Antonio was charged with sexually assaulting the 4-year-old daughter of an undocumented Guatemalan woman and threatening to have her deported if she reported the abuse.” One young girl, J.E., was kidnapped by a Border Patrol agent when she was 14 years old, taken to his apartment and raped. “In the apartment, there were two beds on top of the other, children’s bunk beds, and ropes there, too. They were shoelaces. For my wrists and my feet. My mind was blank,” recalls J.E. “I was trying to understand everything. I didn’t know what to do. My feet were tied up. I would look at him and he had a gun. And that frightened me. I asked him why, and he answered me that he was doing this to me because I was the prettiest one of the three.” Two teenage girls accused a Customs and Border Protection officer of forcing them to strip, fondling them, then trying to get them to stop crying by offering chocolates, potato chips and a blanket. The government settled the case for $125,000. (Mind you, this is the same government that separated immigrant children from their parents and locked them up in detention centers, where they were easy prey for sexual predators. At one point, the government had received more than 4500 complaints about sexual abuse at those child detention facilities.) The police state’s sexual assaults of children are sickening enough, but when you add sex crimes against grown women into the mix, the picture becomes even more sordid. According to The Washington Post, “research on ‘police sexual misconduct’—a term used to describe actions from sexual harassment and extortion to forcible rape by officers—overwhelmingly concludes that it is a systemic problem.” Investigative journalist Andrea Ritchie has tracked national patterns of sexual violence by police officers during traffic stops, in addition to heightened risk from minor offenses, drug arrests and police interactions with teenagers. Victims of domestic abuse, women of color, transgender women, women who use drugs or alcohol, and women involved in the sex trade are particularly vulnerable to sexual assault by police. One Oklahoma City police officer allegedly sexually assaulted at least seven women while on duty over the course of four months, including a 57-year-old grandmother who says she was forced to give the cop oral sex after he pulled her over. A Philadelphia state trooper, eventually convicted of assaulting six women and teenagers, once visited the hospital bedside of a pregnant woman who had attempted suicide, and groped her breasts and masturbated. These aren’t isolated incidents. According to research from Bowling Green State University, police officers in the U.S. were charged with more than 400 rapes over a 9-year period. During that same time period, 600 police officers were arrested for forcible fondling; 219 were charged with forcible sodomy; 186 were arrested for statutory rape; 58 for sexual assault with an object; and 98 with indecent exposure. Sexual assault is believed to be the second-most reported form of misconduct against police officers after the use of excessive force, making up more than 9% of all complaints. Even so, these crimes are believed to be largely underreported so much so that sex crimes may in fact be the number one form of misconduct among police officers. So why are the numbers underreported? “The women are terrified. Who are they going to call? It's the police who are abusing them,” said Penny Harrington, the former police chief of Portland, Ore. One Philadelphia cop threatened to arrest a teenager for carjacking unless she had sex with him. “He had all the power. I had no choice,” testified the girl. “Who was I? He had his badge.” This is the danger of a police state that invests its henchmen with so much power that they don’t even need to use handcuffs or a gun to get what they want. Making matters worse, most police departments do little to identify the offenders, and even less to stop them. “Unlike other types of police misconduct, the abuse of police power to coerce sex is little addressed in training, and rarely tracked by police disciplinary systems,” conclude Nancy Phillips and Craig R. McCoy writing for the Philadelphia Inquirer. “This official neglect makes it easier for predators to escape punishment and find new victims.” Unfortunately, this is a problem that is hiding in plain sight, covered up by government agencies that are failing in their constitutional duties to serve and protect “we the people.” That thin blue line of knee-jerk adulation and absolute loyalty to police above and beyond what the law requires is creating a menace to society that cannot be ignored. As researcher Jonathan Blanks notes, “The system is rigged to protect police officers from outside accountability. The worst cops are going to get the most protection.” Hyped up on the power of the badge and their weaponry, protected from charges of wrongdoing by police unions and government agencies, and empowered by rapidly advancing tools—technological and otherwise—that make it all too easy to identify, track and take advantage of vulnerable members of society, predators on the nation’s police forces are growing in number. “It can start with a police officer punching a woman's license plate into a police computer - not to see whether a car is stolen, but to check out her picture,” warns investigative journalists Nancy Phillips and Craig R. McCoy. “If they are not caught, or left unpunished, the abusers tend to keep going, and get worse, experts say.” So where does this leave us? The courts, by allowing the government’s desire for unregulated, unaccountable, expansive power to trump justice and the rule of law, have turned away from this menace. Politicians, eager for the support of the powerful police unions, have turned away from this menace. Police unions, which have been at the forefront of the effort to shield sexual misconduct by cops, have exacerbated this menace. Yet for the sake of the most vulnerable among us, we as a nation must stop turning away from this menace in our midst. For starters, police should not be expected—or allowed—to police themselves. Misconduct by local police has become a national problem. Therefore, the response to this national problem must start at the local level. This is no longer a matter of a few bad apples. As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People and in its fictional counterpart The Erik Blair Diaries, the entire system has become corrupted and must be reformed. Greater oversight is needed, yes, but also greater accountability and more significant consequences for assaults. Andrea Ritchie’s piece in The Washington Post provides some practical suggestions for reform ranging from small steps to structural changes (greater surveillance of police movements, heightened scrutiny of police interactions and traffic stops, and more civilian oversight boards), but as she acknowledges, these efforts still don’t strike at the root of the problem: a criminal justice system that protects abusers and encourages abuse. It’s difficult to say whether modern-day policing with its deep-seated corruption, immunity from accountability, and authoritarian approach to law enforcement attracts this kind of deviant behavior or cultivates it, but empowering police to view themselves as the best, or even the only, solution to the public’s problems, while failing to hold them accountable for misconduct, will only deepen the policing crisis that grows deadlier and more menacing by the day. Tyler Durden Wed, 11/03/2021 - 23:40.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 3rd, 2021

We compared 13 popular online learning platforms for all ages, budgets, and interests - our favorites include Coursera for certificate courses and MasterClass for creative arts classes

Online courses can help advance your career or learn something new just for the fun of it. Here's a breakdown of 13 popular online learning platforms. When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more. We compared some of the top online learning platforms, like edX and Coursera, to help you find the best ones suited to your interests, career goals, budget, time commitment, and more. Coursera; edX; Gilbert Espinoza/Business Insider The rise of online learning is democratizing education by improving access to top-notch courses. We compared some of the platforms we cover the most to help you find the best ones for you. We looked at popular platforms like Coursera, edX, MasterClass, Skillshare, Duolingo, and more. As online learning continues to grow in popularity, so do the options available to you. Whether you want to take a popular free Ivy League class for fun, pursue part of an online master's degree, boost your career with some additional certifications, or just learn a new language at your own pace, there are many options out there for you.To help you decide which ones might work best with your schedule, budget, and goals, we compared 13 of the platforms we cover the most: edX, Coursera, FutureLearn, MasterClass, Skillshare, LinkedIn Learning, Udemy, Udacity, CreativeLive, Codecademy, Duolingo, Babbel, and Rosetta Stone.The best online learning platforms for accredited university courses and degreesThe best online learning platforms for career skills certificationsThe best online learning platforms for creative skills and hobbiesThe best online learning platforms for learning a new language The best online learning platforms for accredited university courses and degrees Rachel Mendelson/Insider Coursera, edX, and FutureLearn are three popular online learning platforms that offer courses, certificate programs, and even master's degrees from top universities as well as well-known companies and non-profit organizations.All three have courses you can audit for free, as well as options to pay for a certificate of completion. They also have multi-course programs you can exchange for real college credits from select schools, or apply to their full master's programs.The topics covered on each platform are incredibly diverse, covering everything from computer programming and finance to positive psychology and art history. They can be taken to advance your career or expand your knowledge in a subject for fun.Keep reading below to learn the differences between edX, Coursera, and FutureLearn: edX edX; Alyssa Powell/Business Insider Cost: Individual courses are usually free to audit for a limited amount of time; certificates and longer programs vary in price.Pros: You can most courses for free, including ones in longer programs (great for testing out a longer certificate program before committing to it); financial assistance is availableCons: Some courses are archived, meaning you can still access them but can't earn a certificate; Charges one lump sum for courses instead of a subscription feePopular online courses:CS50's Introduction to Computer Science (Harvard) The Science of Happiness (UC Berkeley) Python Basics for Data Science (IBM)You can browse all edX courses here. Coursera Coursera; Alyssa Powell/Business Insider Cost: Individual courses are usually free to audit; certificates and longer programs vary in price. You can also sign up for an annual Coursera Plus subscription ($399) and get access to 90% of Coursera's offerings.Pros: Many programs charge a monthly fee, so the faster you finish, the more money you save; financial assistance available; offers some free certification coursesCons: No financial assistance for Coursera MasterTracks; you can only audit one-off courses (you will have to pay for ones that are part of a Specialization)Popular courses:Machine Learning (Stanford)The Science of Well-Being (Yale)Learning How to Learn: Powerful Mental Tools to Help You Master Tough Subjects (Deep Learning Solutions)You can browse all Coursera courses here. FutureLearn FutureLearn; Insider Cost: Individual courses are usually free to audit; certificates and longer programs vary in price. You can also subscribe to FutureLearn Unlimited for $189.99 annually to get unlimited access to courses.Pros: UK-based, offers more international options; offers some free certification coursesCons: Not as many course options as edX and Coursera; you can only audit one-off courses (you will have to pay for ones that are part of an ExpertTrack)Popular courses:Start Writing Fiction (The Open University)Teaching English Online (Cambridge Assessment English)Introduction to Cyber Security (The Open University)You can browse all FutureLearn courses here. The best online learning platforms for career skill certifications Codecademy; iStock; Gilbert Espinoza/Insider What all of them have in commonLinkedIn Learning, Codecademy, Udemy, and Udacity all offer online courses, programs, and bootcamps that can advance your career, including in in-demand subjects like omputer programming that boast high job satisfaction.Unlike in-person or intensive bootcamp programs, these courses are self-paced and flexible, letting you practice and earn a certificate on your own time. They can be great for quickly picking up a new skill to boost your resume, testing out a potential job path before committing to a longer program, or gaining the qualifications you need to transition careers or move up in your role.Keep reading below to learn the differences between LinkedIn Learning, Codecademy, Udemy, and Udacity: LinkedIn Learning LinkedIn Learning; Alyssa Powell/Insider Cost: A LinkedIn Learning subscription is $19.99/month (annually) or $29.99/month (month-to-month).Pros: Short video classes broken down into digestible segments; certifications go right on your LinkedIn profile; LinkedIn occasionally makes popular career courses free for a limited timeCons: Less interactive; no way to submit homework assignments or reinforce what you've learnedPopular Courses:Delivering an Authentic Elevator PitchThe Six Morning Habits of High PerformersExcel: Advanced Formulas and FunctionsYou can browse all LinkedIn Learning courses here. Codecademy Codecademy; Alyssa Powell/Business Insider Cost: Codecademy Pro is $39.99/month (month-to-month) and $19.99/month annually. Pro Student offers 35% off to eligible current students. (Note: Codecademy is currently offering 40% off Pro and Pro Student memberships through October 22.Pros: Some free beginner options; a huge range of programming courses; Fun, hands-on projectsCons: Less interactive than traditional coding bootcampsPopular Courses:Learn JavaScriptLearn HTMLLearn Python 3You can browse all Codecademy courses here. Udemy Udemy; Alyssa Powell/Insider Cost: You can pay a one-time fee per course or subscribe to a Udemy Personal Plan for $29.99/month for unlimited access to all Udemy coursesPros: Easy to use on mobile; offers a huge range of course offerings; popular bootcamps are updated frequently so you're working with the latest information; frequent sales on coursesCons: Less interactive; harder to reinforce or test what you've learned; not all courses come with certificatesPopular Courses:Complete Python Bootcamp: Go from Zero to Hero in Python 3Machine Learning A to Z: Hands-On Python & R in Data ScienceMicrosoft Excel - Excel from Beginner to AdvancedYou can browse all Udemy courses here. Udacity Udacity; Alyssa Powell/Insider Cost: Nanodegrees can be paid for as you go, starting at $399/month or $1,017 totalPros: Offers some free courses; provides additional career resources and support to help you find a job after a NanodegreeCons: Nanodegrees can get pricey and involve a bigger time commitment if you want to finish faster to save moneyPopular Courses:Digital Marketing NanodegreeProduct Manager NanodegreeProgramming for Data Science with Python NanodegreeYou can browse all Udacity courses here. The best online learning platforms for creative skills and hobbies Alyssa Powell/Insider While platforms like edX and Coursera are great for taking university-accredited courses for fun, MasterClass, Skillshare, and CreativeLive all offer subscriptions to unlimited online courses and are particularly great for growing creative skills like writing, photography, art, design, and acting — though they all offer courses in other subjects like personal development.All three platforms offer courses from celebrities and experts at the top of their fields, from famous chefs and bestselling authors to well-known Stanford faculty members. They also offer courses in more niche creative subjects, from hand-lettering to bird photography.While they don't offer the same direct feedback on your work as in-person instruction, they can be a fun way to unwind and learn a new skill at your own pace.Keep reading below to learn the differences between MasterClass, Skillshare, and CreativeLive: MasterClass Alyssa Powell/Business Insider Cost: A MasterClass subscription is $180 annually (broken down to $15/month)Pros: Beautiful and engaging video quality; celebrity instructors; offers a broad range of topics; digestible format; online forum provides a sense of communityCons: No certifications; have to hold yourself more accountable to learnPopular Courses:Gordon Ramsay Teaches Cooking INatalie Portman Teaches ActingRon Finley Teaches GardeningYou can browse all MasterClass courses here. CreativeLive CreativeLive; Alyssa Powell/Insider Cost: You can pay a one-time fee per course or subscribe to a CreativeLive membership for $13/month.Pros: Lots of in-depth bootcamps; great selection of in-depth courses to expand your skillsetsCons: Less interactive; no direct feedbackPopular Courses:Fundamentals of PhotographyHow to Break the Habit of Self-Doubt and Build Real ConfidenceDesigning Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful LifeYou can browse all CreativeLive courses here. Skillshare Skillshare; Alyssa Powell/Insider Cost: A Skillshare Premium subscription is $32/month (month-to-month) or $15/month (annually)Pros: Nice video quality; some celebrity and expert instructors; great for very niche topicsCons: No certifications; mostly focused on art and designPopular Courses:Creative Writing: Crafting Personal Essays with Impact with Roxane GayLogo Design with Draplin: Secrets of Shape, Type, and Color with Aaron DraplinThe Staples of Branding: From Purpose to Product with Jeff StapleYou can browse all Skillshare courses here. The best online learning platforms for learning new languages Alyssa Powell/Business Insider Duolingo, Babbel, and Rosetta Stone are three language-learning platforms we cover a lot, and each has different strengths depending on which language you want to learn, your level of experience, and your time commitment. What they all have in common is flexibility — they can be great for brushing up on your high school Spanish or learning a few Japanese phrases before a trip.Keep reading to learn more about the differences between Duolingo, Babbel, and Rosetta Stone: Duolingo Duolingo; Insider Cost: Free; Duolingo Plus is $6.99/month for features like ad-free experience and unlimited triesPros: Great for learning new vocabulary; Fun, gamified experience; Easy to use on mobile; Lots of language options (including Yiddish)Cons: Not as much practice directly speaking with someone in conversationYou can browse all of Duolingo's language options here. Babbel Babbel; Insider Cost: $13.95 for 1 month; $9.95/month (3 months); $8.45/month (6 months); $6.95/month (1 year)Pros: Focused on teaching you realistic conversation topics, such as travel or career-focused phrases; Uses native speakers to demonstrate lessons; frequent sales offeredCons: Some language programs are not as strong as others; Not as many language options as other servicesYou can browse all of Babbel's language options here. Rosetta Stone Rosetta Stone; Insider Cost: $11.99/month (3 months); $7.99/month (1 year); $179 lifetime (unlimited languages)Pros: Fully immersive, mimicking real-life experience; Huge selection of languages to choose fromCons: More expensive, requires more of a time commitment You can browse all of Rosetta Stone's language options here. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 1st, 2021

"At 38,000 feet, we are all you have" - flight attendants are fed up with a growing number of violent in-flight encounters

Flight attendants told Insider that masks and alcohol are the biggest contributors to the majority of inflight disturbances. A flight attendant on an airplane. Matej Kastelic/500px/Getty Images There have been 4,837 incidents of disturbances on flights this year, according to the FAA. Criminal charges were brought up in only one incident. Flight attendants told Insider they're absolutely burnt out and don't know what to expect each day. Since the beginning of the pandemic, disturbances and violent incidents on planes have been on the rise... and flight attendants have had enough. The rise of incidents - and what some flight attendants described as a lack of accountability - has forced some to reconsider whether or not they want to remain in the industry. Mary, whose identity is known to Insider, but spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation, started as a flight attendant for an ultra-low-cost carrier in January 2020, right before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. She said the incidents have only gotten worse with each passing month since she started. "Every month we sit there and think 'Oh, okay. They can't get worse than this, the passengers.' Then something happens and they do and it's just really disheartening," Mary told Insider. "It's a job that you obviously get into cause you love it and you love being around people and helping people. It's just, we're all burnt out. Everybody I talk to is burnt out."As of October 26, there have been 4,941 unruly passenger reports sent to the Federal Aviation Administration this year. The FAA says it has opened 923 investigations.In 2019, FAA data says there were only 146 investigations. Flights without any disturbances are rare and a relief for the crew"It used to be really that every few weeks you'd have an incident or something and you have to file a report, but now it's like every single flight there is an incident. If you have a flight where nobody's yelling at you and you don't have to deal with people with a mask or anything then you just sit there afterward with the other flight attendants like 'Oh my God. I love passengers.' That's how rare it is," Mary said. However, Mary said between being overworked and exhausted, she's started to dread writing reports on her own time, especially because she feels they rarely get addressed. In one incident, she said a passenger told her "to go ahead and write a report" and he would have her "fired by the time she was done blowing the pilots." "I just was like, 'I can't even write a report about this. I can't deal with this anymore.' We don't get paid to write reports. We have to write them in our off time," she said, adding she sometimes spends entire layovers just filling them out.Mary is actively applying to switch to another airline but is unsure if the "grass is always greener on the other side."Alcohol is a main contributor to in-flight disturbancesHenry, whose real identity is known to Insider, but spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation, also works for an ultra-low-cost carrier and told Insider mask issues and alcohol seem to be the root of the problem. "We had to divert a few planes that I was on for violence. A lot of them were alcohol-induced and we were the only airline for most of the pandemic that actually served alcohol in coach," he said.Henry, who has spent seven years as a flight attendant, attributed the rise in incidents to low flight costs attracting "a crowd that usually doesn't fly that much, or seems like they don't get out of the house that often because they don't know how to behave in the airports or on the aircraft themselves."One incident he described involved a group of women who tried to help themselves to liquor locked up in the airplane galley and got physical with another flight attendant who told them to take their seats. Henry said he had to step in and restrain them. The plane then landed and the women were taken into custody by police, but he said it was unfortunate the flight had to divert course because of the incident. An epidemic problemA Flight Attendants Union survey from this summer found that 85% of 5,000 flight attendants surveyed said they dealt with unruly passengers, with about 20% also saying they've dealt with a physical incident this year. Mitra Amirzadeh, an Association of Flight Attendants member and flight attendant on a low-cost carrier told Insider while she's seen numerous incidents on flights, she's never personally experienced them and won't tolerate them. "Nothing about me says 'please let's try today,' and I exude it like tenfold. So for me, I don't have these encounters with people the way my coworkers do, unfortunately. If there's a problem on the plane, they actually come and get me because I'm the one that's going to most likely be able to diffuse it, because I just don't put up with that," Amirzadeh told Insider. She explained that in some cases, she's seen passengers randomly hit flight attendants. Last week, for example, an American Airlines flight attendant was admitted to the hospital with broken bones after a passenger she bumped into got up and punched her in the face. Following the incident, American Airlines CEO Doug Parker said the unruly behavior "has to stop."Amirzadeh said it might change her perspective if she was ever randomly assaulted, but for now, she says she's worked very hard to become a flight attendant and is hopeful this rise in incidents will subdue with time. Flight attendants understand the pandemic added stress to flyingAmirzadeh said she understands that traveling through the pandemic might have been rough on passengers and made some act in ways they normally wouldn't have. "They're annoyed. They are frustrated with all the things going on in their own personal life and traveling itself has always been difficult," she said. She added that for someone who may be traveling with kids to a funeral, for example, a flight attendant asking them to put on a mask may be the final straw, but she stressed that flight attendants still have to enforce those rules for safety. Henry and Mary also said masks have been a contentious issue between flight attendants and passengers. Mary said she'd file reports on masks "religiously" to her airline but it would only say it's looking into a report after every 10 to 15 instances. "We were the front line workers for the company and have to watch them not have our back pretty much at all. It's just been really discouraging," Mary said. Making the zero-tolerance policy permanent and fixing requirementsSara Nelson, president of AFA, told Insider the union is working to get the FAA to "continue the zero-tolerance policy and make it permanent," and is looking to the Department of Justice to criminally prosecute offenders. FAA Administrator Steve Dickson signed an order in January that allows for a stricter legal enforcement policy against passengers who are unruly on flights, which lets the agency pursue legal action against passengers who intimidate, threaten, or assault staff on flights. Insider previously reported that only one case of inflight violence has had criminal charges filed by the Department of Justice. Nelson said the current trajectory of cases could make 2021 the year with the largest number of incidents in the entire history of aviation. Henry said he'd actually like to see airlines remove mask requirements for passengers who show proof of vaccination because it takes the pressure and threat of violence off flight attendants who have to enforce that rule. Amirzadeh said the mask issue is really contentious when it comes to people eating and drinking. She said airlines allow passengers to remove their masks in these instances, but that doesn't mean they could leave their masks off as they slowly sip on a beverage and continue to talk with each other throughout the process. She said on a number of occasions she's had to tell groups of people to put their masks back on between drinks. Amizadeh said she wants passengers to understand flight attendants are their first line of defense in the sky, and if they're distracted dealing with unruly passengers, it makes it harder to attend to possible emergencies on a flight. "One of the things that the world is missing is that at 38,000 feet, we are all you have," she said."It feels like I spend the majority of my time managing grown-ups that are misbehaving or behaving poorly when I should be worried about making sure that everybody's safe." Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytOct 31st, 2021

Supreme Court Declines To Block Maine COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate For Health Workers

Supreme Court Declines To Block Maine COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate For Health Workers Authored by Mimi Nguyen Ly via The Epoch Times, The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday rejected an emergency request by health care workers seeking a religious exemption to the state of Maine’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate. The court’s decision not to grant the immediate relief for the health care workers until it decides to review the case, means the state’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate will take effect while litigation continues in lower courts. The Supreme Court did not explain its action—typical in emergency appeals. But three conservative-leaning justices provided a dissenting opinion saying they would have granted the emergency request. Maine is not offering a religious exemption to its COVID-19 mandate in hospital and nursing homes, which means if workers opt to not take the vaccine, they risk losing their jobs. The deadline for health care workers to be vaccinated in the state was by the start of October, but the state government said it would not enforce the mandate until Friday. “This case presents an important constitutional question, a serious error, and an irreparable injury. Where many other States have adopted religious exemptions, Maine has charted a different course,” Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote in a dissenting opinion (pdf), joined by Justice Clarence Thomas and Justice Samuel Alito. “There, health care workers who have served on the front line of a pandemic for the last 18 months are now being fired and their practices shuttered,” he added. “All for adhering to their constitutionally protected religious beliefs. Their plight is worthy of our attention.” Justice Amy Coney Barrett in a concurring opinion said that the court has “discretionary judgment” about whether to take up an emergency appeal, adding that she believes the case at hand, which is the first of its kind, would benefit from a full briefing. “Were the standard otherwise, applicants could use the emergency docket to force the Court to give a merits preview in cases that it would be unlikely to take—and to do so on a short fuse without benefit of full briefing and oral argument,” she wrote in an opinion joined by Justice Brett Kavanaugh. “In my view, this discretionary consideration counsels against a grant of extraordinary relief in this case, which is the first to address the questions presented.” Since 1989, Maine had required health care workers be vaccinated against various diseases. But state removed all non-medical exemptions, including religious exemptions, from mandated vaccines in 2019 because of falling vaccination rates. A referendum challenging the law in 2020 was rejected. Lawyers for the health care workers who challenged the vaccine mandate in Maine argued that having no religious exemption was a violation of their right to free exercise of religion under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. They said their objection was in part because the vaccine was developed with the involvement of “fetal cell lines that originated in elective abortions.” While published data of the composition of the Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines show no fetal cells, the companies used fetal cell lines in either the testing stages for production stages of their vaccines. The Liberty Counsel, which filed the lawsuit, says it is representing more than 2,000 Maine health care workers, some of whom were fired from their jobs Friday. There are nine unnamed plaintiffs in the suit. A federal judge had earlier rejected the bid for an exemption, and later, a three-judge panel of the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals earlier in October let the ruling stand. Apart from Maine, two other states—New York and Rhode Island—have vaccine mandates for healthcare workers that do not have religious exemptions. Liberty Counsel, in a statement, noted that the states’ executive orders banned employers “from even considering the sincere religious beliefs of employees.” The group said that Maine Governor Janet Mills “threatened to revoke the business license of any employer that granted an employee a religious exemption.” “Gov. Mills has ordered employers to disobey the federal law known as Title VII. However, states do not have the authority to order employers to disobey Title VII federal employment law that prohibits religious discrimination,” the group said Friday. Mills, a Democrat, said in a statement in August when announcing the vaccine mandate, “Health care workers perform a critical role in protecting the health of Maine people, and it is imperative that they take every precaution against this dangerous virus, especially given the threat of the highly transmissible Delta variant. “With this [COVID-19 vaccine] requirement, we are protecting health care workers, their patients, including our most vulnerable, and our health care capacity.” Gorsuch, in his dissent, challenged the state’s mandate, writing, “No one questions that protecting patients and health care workers from contracting COVID–19 is a laudable objective. But Maine does not suggest a worker who is unvaccinated for medical reasons is less likely to spread or contract the virus than someone who is unvaccinated for religious reasons. “Nor may any government blithely assume those claiming a medical exemption will be more willing to wear protective gear, submit to testing, or take other precautions than someone seeking a religious exemption.” Tyler Durden Sat, 10/30/2021 - 09:20.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 30th, 2021