A groom who went viral on TikTok for putting on the "wedding of the century" in Paris is now facing up to life in prison

The five-day wedding celebration became a hit on the video platform because of the jaw-dropping opulence on display. Serhii Sobolevskyi/Getty ImagesA groom who shared his extravagant wedding on TikTok could face prison time.The charges stem from a March incident where police say Jacob LaGrone shot at them. If convicted, he could face up to life in prison. A groom whose multimillion-dollar wedding in Paris captured the attention of millions on TikTok is facing life in prison for shooting at North Texas police officers, according to multiple reports.Dubbed "the wedding of the century," the five-day wedding celebration for groom Jacob LaGrone and his wife Madeline Brockway, the daughter of a car dealership tycoon, became a hit on the video platform because of the jaw-dropping opulence on display.The November 18 ceremony featured floral arrangements draped throughout the 18th century Château de Villette, a drone show above the 185-acre property with views of the Eiffel Tower in the background, and a performance from Maroon 5, multiple outlets, including Harpers Bazaar Arabia, reported.Behind the curtain of their lavish wedding were multiple charges stemming from a March 14 incident involving three police officers, WFAA reported. LaGrone was indicted in March after officers said they were shot at while responding to a report that a firearm was being discharged at a home, per WFAA. LaGrone was charged with three counts of aggravated assault on a public servant and could face up to a life sentence, per reports.LaGrone posted his $20,000 bail, The Washington Post reported.LaGrone had been offered a 25-year plea deal but did not take it, The Dallas Morning News reported. He attended a hearing in Tarrant County on Thursday but did not comment about the case to reporters from WFAA, who tried speaking to the groom in the Tarrant County courthouse.Representatives for LaGrone did not immediately respond to a request for comment sent outside regular business hours.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: NYT59 min. ago Related News

TEXIT Progress: Secession Question Expected To Appear on 2024 Texas Primary Ballot

TEXIT Progress: Secession Question Expected To Appear on 2024 Texas Primary Ballot.....»»

Category: personnelSource: NYT1 hr. 42 min. ago Related News

Kissinger: America"s Most Prolific War Criminal

Kissinger: America's Most Prolific War Criminal Authored by Techno Fog via The Reactionary, Henry Kissinger is dead at 100. He rose to power from humble beginnings. His middle-class Jewish family escaped Germany for the United States in 1938. After graduating high school and attending one year of college (studying accounting, of all things), Kissinger would enlist in the Army and serve in Germany until 1947. Upon his return to the States, and through the advice of a mentor, he would gain admission to Harvard, where he excelled as an undergraduate and graduate student. His academic career at Harvard, starting in 1951, was also the beginning of his professional trajectory. Kissinger would establish himself as an important foreign policy theorist and a “recognized expert on the role of nuclear weapons in American foreign policy.” At the same time, by way of his position at Harvard, he would forge relationships with prominent American and foreign political figures. Kissinger’s network, and really his scope of influence, would further grow after his 1955 appointment to the Council of Foreign Relations, where he was brought in contact with “many of the most powerful men in the nation” including the Rockefellers. Through the later 1950s and into the 1960s, Kissinger would cement himself as a best-selling author (Nuclear Weapons and Foreign Policy in 1957) and prolific writer. For all the talk of Kissinger’s genius (then and now), many of his ideas at that time were unoriginal, illogical, and near-delusional. For example, in Nuclear Weapons and Foreign Policy, Kissinger argued in favor of limited nuclear war (as opposed to all-out nuclear war). To avoid the escalation from limited nuclear war to all-out nuclear war – a very real and obvious danger – Kissinger proposed conditions by which such a war could take place, such as using “diplomacy to convey to our opponent what we understand by limited nuclear war, or at least what limitations we are willing to observe.” He argued that “a war which began as a limited nuclear war would have the advantage that its limitations could have been established” in advance of hostilities. These ideas were as ludicrous then as they are now, and were criticized as such after publication. As one writer more recently observed, “Kissinger’s limited nuclear war had to be conceived and waged as an Ivy League fencing match.” Kissinger would eventually obtain a tenured professorship at Harvard in 1962. Yet he was not destined for academia; his appetite was for high-stakes policymaking. He was the foreign policy advisor for Nelson Rockefeller’s failed presidential campaigns and in 1968, when Nixon won the Republican nomination, Kissinger made it clear that he wanted to be part of the potential Nixon Administration. (Kissinger was adept enough to leave open the possibility of a position in the Humphrey administration, had he defeated Nixon.) The lengths Kissinger might go to assist then-candidate Nixon – and thus ensure Kissinger’s ascent – were revealed in 1968, as President Lyndon B. Johnson sought to begin peace negotiations and bring about an end to the Vietnam War. This would undoubtedly benefit Democrat candidate Vice President Hubert Humphrey. Nixon learned of that peace effort via leaks from Kissinger, who was serving as an advisor to President Johnson and attended the Paris Peace talks with the North Vietnamese. Nixon then instructed his closest advisor, H.R. Haldeman, to “monkey wrench” the negotiations. The South Vietnamese were pressured to “hold firm” by Nixon’s allies. With the understanding that Nixon could deliver better terms, the South Vietnamese boycotted the talks. Nixon would win the election. Over 25,000 more Americans would die in Vietnam before the war eventually concluded. Kissinger’s duplicity was rewarded with his appointment of National Security Advisor after Nixon took office in 1969. Seizing on Nixon’s distrust of the State Department, Kissinger executed a “quiet coup” to exclude other agencies and officials from the foreign policy decision-making process (an idea Nixon liked), effectively guaranteeing his “position as the foreign policy czar.” This structure allowed for streamlined decisions, Executive control, a reduction in bureaucratic meddling, and secrecy. Beginning in the Spring of 1969 through 1973, the Nixon and Kissinger conducted a secret and illegal and extensive bombing operation (codenamed MENU) of purported North Vietnamese routes and alleged headquarters in Cambodia. The architect and overseer of this plan was Kissinger. In fact, Kissinger maneuvered to ensure Nixon’s approval of the plan after the Secretary of State objected. In the first 14 months of the operation (codenamed MENU), there would be a total of 3,630 flights dropping 110,000 tons of bombs. In total, U.S. planes “dropped 500,000 or more tons of munitions.” Gunships would rake children. The Nixon Administration and Kissinger conspired to keep the carpet bombings secret while Kissinger oversaw its execution and “approved each of the 3,875 Cambodia bombing raids” with “full knowledge of it effect on civilians.” Kissinger’s instructions for strikes (following Nixon’s demands) weren’t to hit military targets, but “anything that moves.” Many times, innocent Cambodian villages would be “hit with dozens of payloads over the course of several hours. The result was near-total destruction.” Sites bombed in Cambodia (source: Yale). Interviews of Cambodian victims by The Intercept reveal the first-person horror. One woman described what she experienced as a young girl, stating “At around 10 a.m., an airplane dropped a bomb on my home. My parents and four siblings were all killed.” Thousands of others had similar stories: “I lost my mother, father, sisters, brothers, everyone.” It is estimated that as many as 150,000 civilians were killed – all at the direction of Henry Kissinger.   Subscribers to The Reactionary can read the rest here... Tyler Durden Sat, 12/02/2023 - 23:20.....»»

Category: personnelSource: NYT1 hr. 42 min. ago Related News

Marlon Brando"s one-of-a-kind Rolex has been sold for more than $5 million — or has it?

A Rolex GMT-Master the actor wore during the filming of "Apocalypse Now" was sold at Christie's auction house for more than $5 million, but a lawsuit has put the sale on hold. Marlon Brando's Rolex GMT-Master engraved with the actor's name.Denis Balibouse/ReutersMarlon Brando's Rolex GMT-Master was recently sold at Christie's for more than $5 million.The sale was put on hold, however, after the owner of the watch filed a civil complaint.The Rolex has distinct customizations that were made while Brando was filming "Apocalypse Now."A rare Rolex GMT-Master worn by Marlon Brando in Francis Ford Coppola's iconic "Apocalypse Now" is one of more than 100 luxury watches in a civil lawsuit recently filed by the watches' latest owner.Brando's Rolex, which features unique customizations, was sold at Christie's auction house in November for more than $5 million.The watch came out of the collection of Mohammed Zaman, an Omani businessman who has been collecting watches for about 45 years, according to Christie's. On November 6, 113 watches from his collection, including the Rolex GMT-Master, were auctioned off for more than $42 million.But the transaction has been put on hold after Zaman filed a lawsuit in Geneva concerning the sale, Bloomberg reported. It's unclear what issue the collector has with the auction house, but the winning bidders have been told to withhold making any payments until the legal matter is resolved, according to the report.A spokesperson for Christie's and an attorney for Zaman did not respond to a request for comment sent during the weekend.Marlon Brando engraved his Rolex with his name using an electric engraver pen.Denis Balibouse/ReutersThe shocking price tag of Brando's watch — which his daughter Petra Brando Fischer sold at an auction in 2019 for $1.95 million — is in part due to the watch's distinct characteristics, namely the engraving of the actor's name on the back and the lack of a bezel.While filming "Apocalypse Now," Brando was told by a production crew member to remove the watch because "it would stand out," Brando Fischer said, explaining the watch's backstory.The lore goes that the actor protested against removing the watch, arguing, "If they're looking at my watch, then I'm not doing my job as an actor."In the 1979 film, Brando played the role of Col. Walter E. Kurtz, who goes rogue in a remote jungle during the Vietnam War. "Apocalypse Now" was nominated for eight Oscar Academy Awards, won Best Sound and Best Cinematography, and is widely considered one of the greatest films ever made.The production crew acquiesced, but Brando still wound up removing the watch's bezel. He also engraved the back of the watch with "M. Brando" using an electric engraver pen, The New York Times reported.The Rolex was long thought to be lost until 2019, when the actor's daughter put the watch up for sale at Phillips auction house.In 1995, Brando gifted the watch to his daughter Petra for her graduation from Brown University, the Times reported."This watch is like a tank. You can do anything you want to it and it will keep on going," Brando Fischer recalled her father telling her, according to the report. "I want you to have it as a reminder of how proud I am of you."Brando Fischer later gifted the watch to her husband as a wedding present, which would be hidden in their home for years until it was auctioned.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: NYT1 hr. 58 min. ago Related News

Megyn Kelly"s New Media Moment

Megyn Kelly's New Media Moment Authored by Philip Wegmann via RealClear Wire, Megyn Kelly was worried. And more recently, indignant. Righteously, of course. She craved another chance and felt confident, while watching from home, that she could deliver in a way that was a hell of a lot better than the competition, harboring the sort of personal ambition and professional jealousy that develop as a matter of course in all who have fought for survival in prime time. Talent and earned experience and the trust of a large audience. She has had all of it. The only thing she needed now was a television network. And so, she will borrow one. She is set to return as a debate moderator next week to referee the fourth Republican presidential debate, this one in Tuscaloosa, Ala., and this time on NewsNation as part of a partnership with that network, Sirius XM, and the Free Beacon. It is a noteworthy milestone; she had a front-row seat eight years ago to the rise of populism. It is also a test of the new media; she bridled a similar kind of populism to continue her career. And that’s why, for just a while, she worried. Independent journalists don’t often get to call marquee prize fights. But Megyn Kelly does. “Malpractice, absolute journalistic malpractice!” That’s how Kelly describes the most explosive exchange from the Miami debate moderated by NBC News anchors Lester Holt and Kristen Welker. Nikki Haley had called Vivek Ramaswamy “scum” after the businessman took a shot at her adult daughter. Reliving the moment in an interview with RealClearPolitics, Kelly was incredulous: “And the moderator did not stop to say, ‘Wait, did you just call him scum? Mr. Ramaswamy. Do you care to respond?’” “How did that not happen?” she asks before immediately offering an answer. “Because these moderators are too tied to their written questions. They’re not nimble. They are afraid to deviate from what their producers put in front of them. That isn’t good television!” “There’s a reason why they call it broadcast journalism. It’s not just about journalism. It’s also about seizing the moment,” she explains. “You feel the moment, go with the moment.” Kelly could have just as easily been describing her own career. A trial lawyer before entering journalism, Kelly jumped from the courtroom to cable news to network television over the last two decades. And then the wilderness. Veteran journalists who go it alone hardly ever regain prominence. Some decamp to college campuses. Others write books. Most generally fade. Kelly, instead, seized the digital moment. Three years ago, after an unsuccessful stint at NBC News, she launched “The Megyn Kelly Show,” a daily podcast that was later picked up on Sirius XM and that posts on YouTube, where her interviews regularly attract millions of viewers. Professional indifference, as much as independence, was an advertised feature of the new venture. The name of her production company: “Devil May Care Media.” “Fourth or fifth acts in broadcast media are rare,” explains Brian Stelter, “and she is pulling it off.” Hardly a conservative fanboy, the veteran media reporter and former host of CNN’s Reliable Sources occasionally tunes in to the show during his commute, programming he described as “a hard-right, anti-woke rage fest.” But Stelter admits the Kelly renaissance “is a pretty rare success story.”   A seat at the desk of a presidential debate, though, the crown jewel of any career in political journalism? Even Kelly felt that would be out of reach “this time around.” Those gigs traditionally go to legacy media, and for good reason. Deep pockets, not to mention a wealth of experience, are needed to pull off a prize fight in prime time. All the same, Kelly says she “wound up with three different offers to co-moderate a debate.” But even with NewsNation handling all the technical logistics, would the ordeal be worth the fuss? Former President Donald Trump has walked away from the stage, leaving his primary challengers to cannibalize each other as they trail by more than 45 points. “Does it matter at all?” she asked herself when deciding whether to moderate an undercard debate without the biggest name in politics. Sequels often fall flat, and her first debate had catapulted her to the journalism equivalent of superstardom. It has now been eight years since Trump and Kelly, then of Fox News, clashed at the first Republican presidential debate. A stampede of magazine writers followed. “Blowhards, Beware,” declared Vanity Fair in 2016, “Megyn Kelly Will Slay You Now.” And later Vogue dubbed her “Megyn Unbound” as she prepared to decamp Fox for NBC the next year, speculating that, once split from the conservative news juggernaut, she could finally be “a force for good.” Eventually, the names of the magazines that profiled her said as much about her career as the interviews: Variety, then Success, and finally More. The quotes changed. The formula for each glossy cover story stayed the same. An elegant photo shoot, a couple thousand words complete with anecdotes about unscripted off-air moments, deviations on one common theme. One gushing headline summed up the shared sentiment: “Megyn Kelly Always Wins.” She chuckles at that past coverage, and then the new queen of independent journalism returns to a no-brainer for anyone else with a byline. “In the end, I concluded, yes,” Kelly says of her reason for reprising her role as debate moderator, noting that “Trump is vulnerable in some unique ways” – from the frontrunner’s legal jeopardy to, “with all due respect,” the septuagenarian’s health. Between the Thanksgiving holiday and debate prep sessions, she insists “there are all sorts of reasons” for the GOP to consider “at least the next best option.” One of the candidates not named Trump “could pull an inside straight,” she muses. “It’s not likely,” Kelly concludes, “but who am I to rule it out?” Haley, Ramaswamy, and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis have qualified for that contest. None would likely appreciate her analysis of their chances. All of them know her already, however, and there is a level of comfort with Kelly inside party headquarters and among the grassroots. She may not be a dyed-in-the-wool conservative. She can at least speak their language. “This does get to an interesting tension point about the debates,” Stelter mused. “Who should be asking the questions: Should it be Hugh Hewitt and Megyn Kelly, or Lester Holt and Bret Baier?” In his estimation, since going independent, the woman once crowned “the First Lady of Fox,” someone who cultivated a brand as “unpredictable,” has become reliably “more Rush Limbaugh than Brit Hume.” It was Hume who first spotted Kelly and passed her demo tape along to Fox News brass, who eagerly recruited her to be a reporter. The rest is history, including a cautionary tale about cultivating talent. According to talk show host Erick Erickson, NBC drafted Kelly without an adequate plan to leverage her conservative celebrity. “They could have built a credible brand around Megyn,” he says, “but chose not to because she did not have enough of a left-wing orthodoxy.” Erickson, like many others on the right, was quick to celebrate her return to the moderator role. “She can speak the language of the people from whom she came,” he explains, “even though she’s been elevated into this New York world of the media.” Conservatives have long loved to hate the media, and moderators are no exception. Ramaswamy delighted the right with his modest proposal at the last debate that Joe Rogan, Elon Musk, and Tucker Carlson should be calling the contest. Kelly arguably has more mainstream appeal, less baggage, and better hair than all of them. And according to Erickson, a unique kind of credibility. “You don’t have to be a card-carrying member of the vast right-wing conspiracy to be taken seriously by conservatives,” he insisted. “You just have to be willing to treat them as humans with valid opinions.” Kelly won’t sign any party membership card. “I’m a registered independent,” she says to almost preempt her admission in the next breath that “my sensibilities are center-right.” And so, when she takes her seat behind the desk in Alabama and looks out over the field of candidates, she won’t bother with a view from nowhere. On the eve of that contest, Kelly advertises “complete fluency” in the ideological concerns of conservatives. And then she offers up a professional disclaimer directed at the politicians she will square up with: “I’m never going to share a jersey with these people.” “Am I willing to vote for a Democrat over a Republican at the presidential level these days? I'll be honest, probably not. I have voted for plenty of Democrats in the past, but the world is so insane right now, and I’ve become almost a single-issue voter on what we’re doing to children in the trans lane,” she admits. “But my point is even though I’m probably rooting for these guys over a Democrat, you won’t be able to tell that on debate night, and that’s all you can ask of a good moderator. They don’t have to have no politics. They don’t have to have no ideology. They have to be able to check it. They go out there such that both sides are satisfied that this person was tough but fair,” she continues. Each of the candidates who will walk on stage next week has sat for in-depth interviews with her already, and even Trump made peace with her. Of course, it was only temporary. That segment included a lengthy cross-examination about his handling of classified documents, and days after it aired, hostilities resumed. “She was pretty nasty,” the former president complained to an Iowa crowd, “didn’t you think?” Kelly could care less. She already got the interview. Now she’s about to get her debate, a contest she playfully likens to “a dinner party” where her role is that of the “bad host” who chooses chaos. “Instead of introducing fun topics on which guests might agree, you’re introducing the thorny ones,” Kelly says, laying out in broad strokes her plans for the evening. Should any of the candidates arrive low energy, she warns, well, “Maybe you take out the cattle prod.” She plans to invite arguments and doesn’t expect “a hug” from anyone on stage afterward. “As soon as you declare yourself a presidential candidate, we’re not friends,” Kelly explains. The biggest bully in politics helped solidify that fact in her mind: “The nature of the relationship becomes adversarial. And as much as Trump came after me and made my life unpleasant after the 2015 debate, he wasn’t wrong.” “I threw a punch at him that was considerable, and he threw many, many punches back. You could argue it was excessive. I certainly think it was. But my point is simply that part of it is accepting your role as someone who these guys are not going to like that much. If you’re doing it right, they shouldn’t,” she says, recalling her first big brush with the populist who went on to the presidency. She talks in calculated, almost cold-blooded, terms but her inviting tone never loses its warmth. Such is the duality of Megyn Kelly: She is as disarming and kind as any suburban mom anywhere, and yet she has a plan to end the career of any unprepared politician she meets. Scott Walker has tangled with Kelly before, and the former Wisconsin governor, who now serves as president of the Young America’s Foundation, has blunt advice for any 2024 candidates who might be tempted to underestimate the blonde brawler: Don’t. “Just because she articulates conservative views doesn’t mean any of the candidates will get a pass from her,” Walker cautions. “They’d better be bringing their A-game to the debate stage.” While her confrontation of Trump eight years ago dominates the memory of that contest, her questions to the rest of the field were no less aggressive. For instance, she didn’t lob a softball and invite Walker to explain why he opposed abortion. She threw high and inside. “Would you really let a mother die rather than have an abortion?” Kelly asked. The governor kept his balance, defended his position, and answered that his pro-life position was “in line with everyday America.” Others weren’t so lucky that night, as Kelly weaved right as quickly as she bobbed left. One moment, she asked former Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who had leaned on Scripture to justify his expansion of Medicaid, why conservative voters, “who generally want to shrink government” should “believe you won’t use your Saint Peter analogy to expand all government?” The next, she hit him with this question: “If you had a son or daughter who was gay or lesbian, how would you explain to them your opposition to same-sex marriage?” The left-right routine was enough to win Kelly praise from all corners. Greg Abbott, the Republican governor of Texas, declared Kelly “the toughest person on the debate stage,” while Chelsea Clinton, the daughter of the eventual Democratic nominee the next year, said the moderators had raised “the quality of the debate.” Campaigns are rewatching that debate and pulling clips from her show to prepare. “They should review my show,” she laughs. “It’s full of interesting content. They won’t find clues in there, though.” Kelly stubbornly refuses to talk outside of school. She says only that she and her co-moderators, Elizabeth Vargas of NewsNation and Eliana Johnson of the Washington Free Beacon, will be “unsparing.” The trio has binders full of “A+ level questions” designed to shove candidates off their talking points and into real moments of conflict. “If the three of us could shrink into obscurity that night, it would be a total win. If it’s just all about the three of them, or four of them, and not at all about the three of us, that would be great,” Kelly says. The four of them? “I know Trump loves Alabama. I do know this,” she says of a perhaps hoped-for surprise appearance. “He loves Alabama. So, there’s some possibility he’d decide to show up.” Should that happen, Kelly says the trio of moderators will be prepared. They’ve studied the candidates and the current moment. “This Republican Party is a far more dynamic, interesting, and complex one than what we had even six to eight years ago,” she reports, before suggesting “that’s probably actually good for the country” and then declaring, “that’s definitely good for a debate.” Take foreign policy, for instance, the foundation of the previous debate. Kelly cuts the party roughly into thirds for the sake of example. There is “the populist, Trump MAGA wing,” she says, and “then you still have the neoconservatives.” The remainder, in her quick estimation, are “the war-weary” who are skeptical of foreign intervention, “but who aren’t MAGA and certainly aren’t pro-Trump.” Pick a different issue. Slice, dice, and repeat. “There are a bunch of factions right now in the Republican Party,” she says, in between debate prep sessions, “which for me, as somebody who has a show, a journalist, and as a debate moderator, spells opportunity.” Familiarity will not lead to fondness, though. The only class Kelly seems to dislike more than politicians are members of the media. So much of her current rise is a reaction to their coverage, or perhaps an antidote. She complains that “the liberals who dominate the news” fail to account for their own biases, let alone check them in any meaningful way. “They’re cheerleaders,” Kelly says, “and that’s why independent media has exploded.” “The populist rising that we’ve seen in our politics has tilted over to media,” she replies when asked how she fits into that phenomenon. “My own coverage, I wouldn’t describe it as populist, but it is definitely anti-elite and anti-institution because they’ve earned that disdain. And people have had it. They’ve come to understand that these institutions are not rooting for them.” Next week may be the biggest opportunity yet for independent media when Megyn Kelly returns to live television. She predicts that some of her questions will be objectionable to one wing of the party and acceptable to another. “You have the chance to both please and displease a large constituency,” she says, “which is a win.”  “No one should be feeling super warm and fuzzy when the debate is over, like they just want to give the debate moderator a hug,” she adds. “They should be feeling like, ‘I loved this stuff. I hated that stuff. Overall, I found it very informative.’” More than anything, though, Kelly stresses that she and her co-moderators will go with the moment. “We are going to make this entertaining,” she promises. “Trust me when I tell you, we know how. It’ll be fun to watch.” Tyler Durden Sat, 12/02/2023 - 21:00.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: NYT4 hr. 26 min. ago Related News

Cryptos Soar After Largest Inflows In Two Years

Cryptos Soar After Largest Inflows In Two Years Anticipation of an eventual US spot Bitcoin ETF - which Bloomberg's analysts assign a 90% probability of being approved by the SEC in January... Okay, we're nearing in on deadline dates for 3 spot #Bitcoin ETF applications. I want to get ahead of it because there's a pretty good chance we'll see delay orders from the SEC. Delays WOULD NOT change anything about our views & 90% odds for 19b-4 approval by Jan 10, 2024 — James Seyffart (@JSeyff) November 14, 2023 ... as well as surging prices, have helped to spur inflows into digital-asset investment products for a ninth consecutive week, the largest run since the crypto bull market in late 2021. According to a recent report from CoinShares, these products which include trusts and exchange-traded products, saw inflows of $346 million last week, with Canada and Germany contributing to 87% of the total. Only $30 million came from the US, a sign of continued low participation from the country, the asset-management firm said. Of course, that will change as soon as investors start seeing double digit percentage weekly gains, and reallocating their money into crypto in droves, just like they did in 2020 and 2021. Since early October, the crypto market has surged as traditional asset managers like BlackRock prepared for spot Bitcoin ETFs, potentially bringing in many more investors into the asset and resulting in inflows of tens of billions in fresh capital. “The combination of price rises and inflows have now pushed up total assets under management to $45.3 billion, the highest in over one and half years,” the report said. Bitcoin products raked in $312 million last week, pushing inflows to over $1.5 billion since the start of the year. Ether products saw $34 million in inflows last week, almost negating outflows all of 2023. Amid the surging inflows, and amid expectations for imminent ETF approval by the SEC and a surge in March rate cuts odds, bitcoin and ethereum have continued their furious ascent, with the former now trading just shy of $40,   Tyler Durden Sat, 12/02/2023 - 21:35.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: NYT4 hr. 26 min. ago Related News

Congressional Commission Urges US To Expand Nuclear Arsenal Amid China, Russia Threat

Congressional Commission Urges US To Expand Nuclear Arsenal Amid China, Russia Threat Authored by Andre Thornebrooke via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours) U.S. Capitol building in Washington on Nov. 8, 2023. (Madalina Vasiliu/The Epoch Times) The United States must expand and modernize its nuclear arsenal beyond planned improvements to deter combined aggression from communist China and Russia, according to a new congressional report. Planned nuclear capacity “limits” the United States' ability to effectively prevent a war with China and Russia, says the report (pdf) by the Congressional Commission on the Strategic Posture of the United States. “Given current threat trajectories, our nation will soon encounter a fundamentally different global setting than it has ever experienced: we will face a world where two nations possess nuclear arsenals on par with our own,” the report says. “The size and composition of the nuclear force must account for the possibility of combined aggression from Russia and China.” The report emphasizes that a new conflict with either or both of the powers could realistically result in nuclear catastrophe and would need to be deterred. “There is a growing risk of confrontation with China, Russia, or both. This includes the risk of military conflict,” the report says. “Unlike World Wars I and II, a major power conflict in the 21st century has the potential to escalate into a large-scale nuclear war.” US Nuclear Forces ‘Not Sufficient’ for Deterrence In all, the report says that current plans for modernization of the nation’s nuclear forces are “necessary, but not sufficient,” given the increasing capability of China and Russia to jointly threaten the United States with their nuclear arsenals. “Deployed strategic nuclear force requirements will increase for the United States in such a threat environment,” the report says. Hudson Institute senior fellow Marshall Billingslea, who co-authored the report, said a key factor in the commission’s decision-making was the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) rapid expansion of its nuclear arsenal. “They’re on pace to either rival or perhaps surpass the number of fielded nuclear weapons that we ourselves possess,” Mr. Billingslea said during a Nov. 30 talk at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank. “Let’s be clear, when you have a China that has gone from, let’s say, around 250 nuclear weapons to … around 700 by 2027 … that’s a fundamental game changer.” Mr. Billingslea’s comments referred to the Pentagon’s most recent China Military Power Report, which found that the regime likely already has 500 deployed nuclear warheads and will have more than 1,000 by 2030. Moreover, because of China’s size and economic power, he said the nation cannot rely on coercive economic methods to bring China to the nonproliferation table. “When you’re talking about China, which has an economy nearly as large as ours … some of the tools that we traditionally have relied upon to deal with the Russias and the Irans and the Venezuelas and the North Koreas, are simply not available in a Chinese context.” As such, he said the commission recommended the United States increase the number of its “shorter and medium-range” missiles and invest in “hypersonics” to deploy both nuclear and conventional weapons. “The sheer increase in the number of targets implied by this Chinese buildup … [suggests] that the program of record that was foreseen back in 2010 is not sufficient,” he said. Similarly, Hudson Institute senior fellow Rebeccah Heinrichs, also a co-author of the report, said the new posture was necessary to counter a united China and Russia, which have entered an unprecedented comprehensive strategic partnership. “What the report finds is that the United States must be able to deter both Russia and China simultaneously,” Ms. Heinrichs said. “That’s obviously going to change the United States’ strategic posture.” Selling the idea of supplemental spending for nuclear weapons may not be an easy task. Concerns about war profiteering are growing amid unprecedented defense spending by the Biden administration. Additionally, the Hudson Institute’s close financial relationship with key defense corporations may diminish its credibility with some in Congress. According to the organization’s financials (pdf), defense contractors gave the think tank more than half a million dollars last year. Tyler Durden Sat, 12/02/2023 - 22:10.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: NYT4 hr. 26 min. ago Related News

Google has quietly pushed back the launch of next-gen AI model Gemini until next year, report says

Google, which aimed to have its conversational AI model Gemini launch in November, has quietly pushed back the much-anticipated debut to early 2024. Google, which aimed to have its conversational AI program Gemini launch in November, has quietly pushed its debut back to early 2024.SOPA Images/Getty ImagesThe launch of Google's anticipated AI model, Gemini, has been delayed, The Information reported.Gemini's debut was pushed to early 2024 over issues handling non-English prompts, per the outlet.The unreleased AI has been rumored to have unrivaled text and image generation capabilities.The world will have to wait a little longer before we can experience the launch of Google's most complex artificial intelligence model to date.Gemini has been described as the next generation of AI and multimodal, meaning it can process multiple types of data and is said to have the capacity to understand and generate text and images as well other types of content — like websites — based on a sketch or written description.The Information, citing two anonymous sources with knowledge of the decision, reported that previously unannounced launch events — originally scheduled to take place next week in New York, Washington, and California — have been quietly rescheduled for early 2024 over concerns the AI wasn't reliably up to snuff when responding to some non-English prompts and inquiries.Representatives for Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider.While it has yet to be released for public use, Gemini has been said to strongly outperform OpenAI's GPT-4 as it harnesses vastly more computing power than its competitor."I've seen some pretty amazing things," Business Insider previously reported Sissie Hsiao, Google's VP and manager of Bard and Google Assistant, has said about Gemini: "Like, I'm trying to bake a cake, draw me 3 pictures of the steps to how to ice a three-layer cake, and Gemini will actually create those images."Hsiao added: "These are completely novel pictures. These are not pictures from the internet. It's able to speak in imagery with humans now, not just text."Though already Google has its own generative AI model called Bard, ChatGPT has so far enjoyed stronger consumer awareness — but analysts argue that could change when Gemini finally launches.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: NYT4 hr. 58 min. ago Related News

Pickup Trucks Dominate US Auto Sales

Pickup Trucks Dominate US Auto Sales Celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, the Ford F-Series is no less than an American icon. Ford’s immensely popular line of pickup trucks has been the best-selling truck for 46 consecutive years and the country’s best-selling vehicle for the last 41 years. And since it’s very hard to overtake an F-Series truck, both literally and figuratively, the F-Series will once again be America’s number 1 vehicle this year. As Statista's Felix Richter reports, according to Car and Driver, Ford sold 573,370 units of its heavyweight truck in the first nine months of 2023, including 12,260 electric F-150 Lightning trucks. In a testament to America’s love of pickup trucks, the F-Series is trailed by the Chevy Silverado and the Ram Pickup in second and third place, before the Toyota RAV4 is the first non-heavy-duty vehicle in this year’s ranking of best-selling cars and trucks. You will find more infographics at Statista The enduring love affair between Americans and pickup trucks is deeply ingrained in the nation's automotive culture. Rooted in the early 20th century, when trucks were primarily tools of trade, their evolution over time saw them transition from workhorses to versatile, multipurpose vehicles catering to a diverse range of lifestyles. Capable of seamlessly transitioning from hauling heavy loads at a worksite to serving as a family vehicle for weekend adventures, the spacious cabins, towing capacity and off-road capabilities of modern pickup trucks cater to a wide spectrum of consumer needs. Moreover, the 'American Dream' narrative has often been intertwined with these trucks. The very essence of the pickup truck embodies the spirit of the country itself - bold, ambitious and unyielding. In recent years, the market for pickup trucks has expanded beyond traditional demographics. Their appeal now extends to urban dwellers, outdoor enthusiasts and even environmentally conscious consumers with the introduction of electric pickup trucks. Tesla’s Cybertruck is just the latest such example, and when looking at Tesla’s track record combined with America’s love of heavy-duty trucks, it looks like a surefire hit. Tyler Durden Sat, 12/02/2023 - 19:15.....»»

Category: personnelSource: NYT6 hr. 58 min. ago Related News

Trump Is Not Immune From Lawsuits Over Jan. 6: Federal Court

Trump Is Not Immune From Lawsuits Over Jan. 6: Federal Court Authored by Zachary Stieber via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours), Former President Donald Trump is not immune to lawsuits over the Jan. 6, 2021, breach of the U.S. Capitol, a federal appeals court ruled on Dec. 1. Former President Donald Trump speaks to a crowd of supporters at the Fort Dodge Senior High School in Fort Dodge, Iowa, on Nov. 18, 2023. (Jim Vondruska/Getty Images) President Trump has not proven that he has presidential immunity from suits regarding his actions leading up to and on Jan. 6, the court said. The ruling was largely based on the determination that President Trump's campaign for another term was not an official presidential act, so did not fall under presidential immunity. "In arguing that he is entitled to official-act immunity in the cases before us, President Trump does not dispute that he engaged in his alleged actions up to and on January 6 in his capacity as a candidate. But he thinks that does not matter. Rather, in his view, a president’s speech on matters of public concern is invariably an official function, and he was engaged in that function when he spoke at the January 6 rally and in the leadup to that day. We cannot accept that rationale," U.S. Circuit Judge Sri Srinivasan, appointed under former President Barack Obama, wrote in the ruling. "While presidents are often exercising official responsibilities when they speak on matters of public concern, that is not always the case. When a sitting president running for re-election speaks in a campaign ad or in accepting his political party’s nomination at the party convention, he typically speaks on matters of public concern. Yet he does so in an unofficial, private capacity as office-seeker, not an official capacity as office-holder. And actions taken in an unofficial capacity cannot qualify for official-act immunity," Judge Srinivasan added. Judge Gregory Katsas, appointed by President Trump, concurred, while Judge Judith Rogers, appointed under President Bill Clinton, concurred in part. The panel ruled on an appeal lodged by President Trump after U.S. District Court Judge Amit Mehta, appointed under President Obama, ruled in 2022 that President Trump was not protected by presidential immunity for his speech on Jan. 6. “To deny a president immunity from civil damages is no small step,” Judge Mehta wrote at the time. “The court well understands the gravity of its decision. But the alleged facts of this case are without precedent, and the court believes that its decision is consistent with the purposes behind such immunity.” The ruling is not final, Judge Srinivasan emphasized. The rejection of President Trump's appeal "is necessarily tied to the need to assume the truth of the plaintiffs’ factual allegations at this point in the proceedings," he wrote. "President Trump has not had a chance to counter those allegations with facts of his own. When these cases move forward in the district court, he must be afforded the opportunity to develop his own facts on the immunity question if he desires to show that he took the actions alleged in the complaints in his official capacity as President rather than in his unofficial capacity as a candidate. At the appropriate time, he can move for summary judgment on his claim of official-act immunity." The Dec. 1 decision "is not necessarily even the final word on the issue of presidential immunity," he added, so "we of course express no view on the ultimate merits of the claims against President Trump." Lawyers for President Trump and the other parties did not immediately respond to requests for comment. President Donald Trump speaks at the "Stop the Steal" rally in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021. (Jenny Jing/The Epoch Times) Positions The decision came nearly a year after the parties argued in front of the appeals court panel. The appeals court normally issues decisions in about a third of the time. The ruling came after President Trump was sued by Democrats and law enforcement officers over his actions on Jan. 6. Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives, for instance, accused President Trump of conspiring to prevent them from their duty in approving the 2020 electoral results because of his speech, in which the president called on supporters to march to the Capitol. President Trump, who is the Republican frontrunner for 2024, has argued that the speech consisted of "political statements and discourse by a sitting president during his term of office" and should thus be covered by presidential immunity. The immunity protects presidents from civil lawsuits over official acts, or acts taken with the "outer perimeter" of his official responsibilities, under a 1982 Supreme Court ruling. "In the run-up to January 6th and on the day itself, President Trump was acting well within the scope of ordinary presidential action when he engaged in open discussion and debate about the integrity of the 2020 election," lawyers for the former president wrote in one filing. Lawyers for the other parties had told the appeals court that Judge Mehta ruled correctly. President Trump "was acting far beyond the “outer perimeter” of his office when he conspired to use violence and intimidation to prevent members of Congress from carrying out their constitutional duty to count Electoral College votes and certify the results of the 2020 presidential election," they said. Tyler Durden Sat, 12/02/2023 - 19:50.....»»

Category: personnelSource: NYT6 hr. 58 min. ago Related News

"Disturbing Gibberish": New Trans Textbook For Psychiatrists Could Harm Millions Of Kids, Critics Say

'Disturbing Gibberish': New Trans Textbook For Psychiatrists Could Harm Millions Of Kids, Critics Say Authored by Darlene McCormick Sanchez via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours), A new "cutting-edge" textbook on transgenderism written with the help of activists will be used to train psychiatrists and could harm millions of children in the future, some experts have warned. (Illustration by The Epoch Times, Shutterstock) "Gender-Affirming Psychiatric Care," just released on Amazon at $58, is a textbook printed by American Psychiatric Association (APA) Publishing. The textbook signals early on that it's more subjective than objective, quoting a feminist studies professor saying, "Scientific neutrality is a fallacy." The content has prompted some critics to question the textbook's reliance on a mix of transgender-identifying professionals writing about their experiences, limited scientific studies, and neo-Marxist critical theories. "This is a huge issue; millions more kids will be harmed," said Dr. Lauren Schwartz, a psychiatrist in Oklahoma speaking out against the rush to "transition" children. The textbook's introduction says the book is based on an "evidence-informed approach" instead of an evidence-based approach, which is more scientific, she told The Epoch Times. The 26 chapters are written by 56 authors, 50 of whom are in the transgender community, according to the textbook's foreword. Chapters include affirming "two-spirit people," a term used to refer to someone who believes he or she is both sexes, and one about "double queer" people—or people who identify as transgender and have a mental disability. The book's editors are listed as an associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and investigator at the National LGBT Health Education Center; and a transgender-identifying psychiatry resident at the University of Pennsylvania, whose work is influenced by her background as a "non-binary/trans, queer, neurodivergent, chronically ill, Jewish person." Dr. Schwartz noted that the authors were chosen by "prioritizing lived experience, diversity of perspectives, and community impact of prior work over academic titles." 'Disturbing Gibberish' The problem is the textbook will be perceived as authoritative because it was printed by the APA's publishing arm, she said. "Anyone wanting to practice gender-affirming care, any attorney wanting to defend it, and any legislator who wants to protect it, now they have a new peer-reviewed textbook, not just 'evidence' in a journal or a study," she said. Alan Hopewell, a prescribing neuropsychologist in Texas who saw transgender-identifying patients decades ago, called the textbook "disturbing." "This is nonsensical gibberish which has no foundation whatsoever in science," he told The Epoch Times. Hospitals could demand doctors go by the textbook because the APA put it out, or it could even be used to remove the license of doctors who don't go along with it, he said. Abigail Martinez (R), the mother of a transgender teen who committed suicide, sheds tears as Erin Friday comforts her and transgender activists block TV cameras from capturing her story in Anaheim, Calif., on Oct. 8, 2022. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times) "This reminds me of brain-damaged hippies free-associating at a commune," Mr. Hopewell said. The book foreword says that most of the contributing authors recognize they are "obscenely privileged" as English-speaking doctors with access to elite schools. It asserts that the psychiatric field was built on "the work [and assumptions] of European, white, cisgender men, including their colonial, Anglo-centric, cis-heteropatriarchal worldview and pathologization of experiences that did not fit their own 'norm.'" "For millennia, outside of European colonial influences, gender diversity has flourished to varying degrees among hundreds of indigenous communities around the world," the foreword reads. The idea that Western countries were colonizing land stolen from indigenous people is part of critical race theory (CRT), which critics say is rooted in neo-Marxism. Straight White Bias CRT and gender theories see white people and heterosexuals in Western civilization as "oppressors" of minority identity groups, who are viewed as victims. Activists are encouraged to dismantle oppressive societies in order to right discrimination of the past, according to ideology architects such as Ibram X. Kendi, who wrote "How to Be an Antiracist." Detransition advocates meet outside of the annual Pediatric Endocrine Society conference held in San Diego, Calif., on May 6, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times) Proponents of CRT and gender theories contend that discrimination against identity groups such as white people and heterosexuals is needed to right the wrongs against racial and sexual minorities. "The entire document is predicated on an uncritical acceptance of queer theory, which is more accurately queer Marxism," conservative author James Lindsay told The Epoch Times. Queer theory is a gender ideology advocating the destruction of traditional sexual norms; some queer theorists support sexual acts such as pedophilia and bestiality that aren't accepted by society. The textbook describes heterosexuals as cisgender people who are part of a "cultural and systemic marginalization" of LGBT people who don't align with societal norms. To prove the point, the authors object to the idea that only women can have babies. "For example, naming an obstetrics and gynecology practice a women's health center is cis-normative because it assumes the practice will only serve patients with one gender," the foreword reads. Mr. Lindsay, author of "The Marxification of Education," said the idea of "treating" gender dysphoria with hormones or surgery is akin to performing lobotomies on the mentally ill decades ago. History teaches that communist theories applied to the real world have deadly results, he said. Mr. Lindsay pointed to the forced application of Trofim Lysenko's Soviet agriculture program based on pseudo-science as an example of a communist idea gone bad. The program caused millions of innocent people in the former Soviet Union to starve by forcing them to plant seeds close together in the belief that plants from the same class never compete with each other. The theory contributed to widespread famine. Read the rest here... Tyler Durden Sat, 12/02/2023 - 18:40.....»»

Category: worldSource: NYT7 hr. 42 min. ago Related News

Some air traffic controllers who"ve endured 6-day workweeks and unrelenting schedules have turned to alcohol and drugs to avoid seeking professional help, report says

The air traffic controller workforce has been severely stretched, with staffing shortages leading to strenuous workweeks and alcohol or drug abuse. Rafael Cordero/GettyAir traffic controllers, who have long endured staffing shortages, are facing increasingly strenuous schedules.The workloads have led some controllers to use alcohol, sleeping pills, and drugs to cope, per a Times report.Complaints to the FAA revealed problems among the workforce that could jeopardize air safety.There's a growing problem that's threatening the ability of air traffic controllers to effectively perform their jobs, which over time could weaken the safety of passengers in the skies: their strained workloads.The air traffic controller workforce in recent years has been stretched to the brink, with staffing shortages necessitating six-day workweeks and 10-hour workdays for many controllers, conditions which have exacerbated exhaustion and in some cases led to depression, according to The New York Times.In interviews and complaints sent to the Federal Aviation Administration, several controllers said they had not sought personal help to deal with physical and psychological issues because they were fearful of the FAA's rules governing medical clearances, per The Times.The rules regulating the clearances prohibit particular medications from being used by air traffic controllers — as they could cause drowsiness on the job — so some controllers have turned to alcohol and sleeping pills instead, per the report. Some controllers have forgone medications that they needed in order to comply with the clearances. And a few controllers have even turned to drugs, based on a Times review of complaints that were submitted to the FAA.The lengths that some air traffic controllers have gone through to maintain their jobs reflects the tediousness that the role demands, as they are the safeguards for the lives of millions upon millions of travelers. It is because of their work that passenger air travel in the US remains incredibly safe, a marvel of modern transportation.But a Times report from September revealed that close calls at US airports have occurred at a greater rate than previously known. An examination of internal FAA records by the newspaper revealed that in 2023 such incidents took place multiple times a week. And the Times report also noted that in May, 310 of the 313 air traffic control facilities in the country had fewer than the recommended number of certified controllers.The growing safety issues don't just extend to the well-being of controllers. The Washington Post in August reported that federal authorities have been investigating roughly 5,000 pilots who may have altered their medical records to withhold health issues that could jeopardize their ability to fly airplanes safely.When it comes to air traffic controllers, the coping mechanisms that some of them have sought to employ were further detailed in complaints to the FAA.Air controllers in one air traffic facility were reported for "using alcohol and illegal drugs while on position" as they were directing plane traffic, per a complaint examined by The Times. Another complaint listed the "strong odor of alcohol" that came from some controllers. Several controllers said that they witnessed some colleagues "showing extreme signs of mental problems."And according to one FAA complaint reviewed by The Times, a controller said that she ingested up to nine vodka drinks per night to combat sleeping issues and panic attacks that a physician indicated was partly brought on by the stress of her job.FAA spokeswoman Jeannie Shiffer in a statement to The Times said that the agency "maintains the safest, most complex and busiest airspace in the world.""The nation absolutely needs more air traffic controllers, and growing the work force will result in better working conditions and more flexibility," she added.Shiffer also said that the agency prioritized the health of its air traffic controllers, noting that it provided free counseling."When they have issues, we work with them to resolve it," she said in a statement.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: NYT8 hr. 26 min. ago Related News

2 filmmakers with an underwater drone accidentally found a 128-year-old shipwreck at the bottom of Lake Huron

Two filmmakers shooting a documentary about invasive mussels discovered a 128-year-old shipwreck that sunk in an 1895 snowstorm in Lake Huron. Filmmakers Yvonne Drebert and Zach Melnick discovered the wreck of the "Africa" in Lake Huron.Courtesy of Yvonne Drebert and Zach MelnickFilmmakers shooting footage of invasive mussels in Lake Huron found a shipwreck from 1895.The "Africa" had been carrying coal from Ohio to Ontario, and was carrying 11 sailors.The wreck is covered in invasive quagga mussels that are altering the Great Lakes' ecosystem.A pair of filmmakers who spent two years shooting footage for a documentary about invasive mussels in the Great Lakes accidentally discovered a 128-year-old shipwreck that vanished in 1895.The wreck is believed to be the "Africa," which was carrying coal — along with 11 doomed sailors — from Ohio to Ontario in October of 1895, before disappearing into Lake Huron amid an early season snowstorm, according to the filmmakers.Over a century later, Yvonne Drebert and Zach Melnick received a tip from scientists while they were working on their documentary."Scientists doing an offshore fish survey had noticed an anomaly on their sonar readout, basically an unusual bump on an otherwise flat lakebed," Melnick said in a press release. The couple, who specialize in underwater videography, grabbed their ultra-low-light, high-resolution camera system, and journeyed out to the site of the anomaly, expecting to find "a pile of rocks."Instead, when their remotely operated vehicle descended 85 meters, "a huge structure loomed up from the depths — it was a shipwreck. We couldn't believe it," Melnick said.The wreck was difficult to identify — images from the filmmakers show the ship is covered by the invasive quagga mussels that have been overhauling the ecosystem of the Great Lakes. Every inch of the "Africa" is covered with invasive quagga mussels, which have been plaguing the Great Lakes for years.Courtesy of Yvonne Drebert and Zach MelnickBut the filmmakers said that with the help of a local maritime historian and a marine archaeologist, the "Africa" emerged as the likeliest possibility. The vessel's measurements matched that of the "Africa," plus Melnick and Drebert saw coal scattered across the lake bottom near the wreck."There are so many quaggas filtering the Great Lakes, that the lakes are up to three times as clear as they were before the mussels," Drebert said in the press release. "The quaggas are the reason we're able to see the shipwreckin almost 300 feet of water without any additional lights. But they're also responsible for making wreck identification in the Great Lakes incredibly difficult." The couple's documentary, "All Too Clear: Beneath the Surface of the Great Lakes," will be released in early 2024.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: NYT8 hr. 26 min. ago Related News

Americans Couldn"t Care Less About Christmas Markets

Americans Couldn't Care Less About Christmas Markets Even though most Western and many other countries around the world observe Christmas as a public or religious holiday, the traditions differ wildly not only from region to region but also from country to country. Statista's Florian Zandt reports that their Consumer Insights Christmas Special shows that when it comes to Christmas markets, a long-held tradition in Western Europe, attitudes are divided by an ocean in the markets analyzed - literally and figuratively. You will find more infographics at Statista While 58 percent of German survey respondents say that Christmas markets are essential and almost half of those looking forward to the holiday season are excited about mulled wine and gathering around wooden huts in festive cheer, not as many participants in the United Kingdom share these sentiments. When looking at the United States, most respondents could probably do entirely without Christmas markets, with only 13 percent each seeing it as an important tradition and looking forward to it. For U.S. survey participants, having a Christmas tree (55 percent) listening to Christmas music, and watching Christmas movies (50 percent each) are the top 3 essentials for the holiday season. Tyler Durden Sat, 12/02/2023 - 16:55.....»»

Category: dealsSource: NYT8 hr. 42 min. ago Related News

House Passes Bill To "Permanently Freeze" $6BN In Iranian Funds

House Passes Bill To 'Permanently Freeze' $6BN In Iranian Funds Via The Cradle, On Thursday the US House of Representatives in a 307-119 vote passed a bill that would force the White House to permanently freeze $6 billion in Iranian funds released back in September as part of a successful prisoner exchange deal. "Giving Iran access to these funds for any purpose frees up money for its malign activities, including its support to proxies, like we saw on 7 October, like Hamas," Representative Michael McCaul – who introduced the bill – told reporters. House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Texas) speaks in support of the "No Funding For Iranian Terror Act". YouTube/House Foreign Affairs Committee Republicans House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Texas) speaks in support of the "No Funding For Iranian Terror Act" on the House floor on Nov. 30, 2023. Credit: YouTube/House Foreign Affairs Committee Republicans. The US Senate has introduced similar legislation to freeze the Iranian funds but has yet to pass it out of committee. Despite the accusations from western officials, Iranian authorities maintain they had no previous knowledge of the plans by Hamas to launch Operation Al-Aqsa Flood and have repeatedly stressed Tehran has no interest in seeing the hostilities expand into a regional war. In September, Tehran and Washington completed a landmark prisoner exchange deal brokered by Qatar that also saw the transfer of $6 billion in frozen Iranian funds seized by South Korea due to US sanctions. The billions were transferred by Seoul to the Qatari accounts of several Iranian banks using the SWIFT system, thanks to a sanctions waiver provided by Washington. Despite US officials claiming in the wake of the deal that they would police the use of the funds, Iranian authorities stressed these would be used to acquire "whatever the Iranian people need." At the time, Washington-based think tanks considered the deal a softball maneuver by the White House to publicly kickstart the easing of tensions with Tehran. This move was seen as a way to navigate around the resistance of congressional representatives and pressure from Israeli hawks against reviving the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).  The Neocon wing of the Republicans have long sought to block the Biden move to free up the $6BN, but Thursday's vote had bipartisan support... "We gave $6 billion in ransom to the Iranian regime to get 5 Americans home and there are now more than 5 Americans held by the Iranians today."@mikepompeo warns that the Biden administration's appeasement of Iran emboldens Hamas. — Hudson Institute (@HudsonInstitute) November 30, 2023 Nonetheless, days after the start of the Gaza-Israel war on 7 October, the White House announced Iran "would not be getting the money for the time being." At the time, State Secretary Anthony Blinken said Tehran had not "touched the money yet." Tyler Durden Sat, 12/02/2023 - 17:30.....»»

Category: dealsSource: NYT8 hr. 42 min. ago Related News

Recession Risk: Which Sectors Are Least Vulnerable?

Recession Risk: Which Sectors Are Least Vulnerable? If, and when, a recession ever occurs again in any of our lifetimes - certainly not in the golden age of Bidonomics, pain will be felt disproportionately as usual. Sectors which fare better will typically exhibit; Less cyclical exposure Lower rate sensitivity Higher cash levels Lower capital expenditures As such, Visual Capitalist's Dorothy Neufeld takes a look at the sectors most resilient to recession risk and rising costs, using data from Allianz Trade.  Recession Risk, by Sector As slower growth and rising rates put pressure on corporate margins and the cost of capital, we can see in the table below that this has impacted some sectors more than others in the last year: Generally speaking, the retail sector has been shielded from recession risk and higher prices. In 2023, accelerated consumer spending and a strong labor market has supported retail sales, which have trended higher since 2021. Consumer spending makes up roughly two-thirds of the U.S. economy. Sectors including chemicals and pharmaceuticals have traditionally been more resistant to market turbulence, but have fared worse than others more recently. In theory, sectors including construction, metals, and automotives are often rate-sensitive and have high capital expenditures. Yet, what we have seen in the last year is that many of these sectors have been able to withstand margin pressures fairly well in spite of tightening credit conditions as seen in the table above. What to Watch: Corporate Margins in Perspective One salient feature of the current market environment is that corporate profit margins have approached historic highs. As the above chart shows, after-tax profit margins for non-financial corporations hovered over 14% in 2022, the highest post-WWII. In fact, this trend has been increasing over the past two decades. According to a recent paper, firms have used their market power to increase prices. As a result, this offset margin pressures, even as sales volume declined. Overall, we can see that corporate profit margins are higher than pre-pandemic levels. Sectors focused on essential goods to the consumer were able to make price hikes as consumers purchased familiar brands and products. Adding to stronger margins were demand shocks that stemmed from supply chain disruptions. The auto sector, for example, saw companies raise prices without the fear of diminishing market share. All of these factors have likely built up a buffer to help reduce future recession risk. Sector Fundamentals Looking Ahead How are corporate metrics looking in 2023? In the first quarter of 2023, S&P 500 earnings fell almost 4%. It was the second consecutive quarter of declining earnings for the index. Despite slower growth, the S&P 500 is up roughly 15% from lows seen in October. Yet according to an April survey from the Bank of America, global fund managers are overwhelmingly bearish, highlighting contradictions in the market. For health care and utilities sectors, the vast majority of companies in the index are beating revenue estimates in 2023. Over the last 30 years, these defensive sectors have also tended to outperform other sectors during a downturn, along with consumer staples. Investors seek them out due to their strong balance sheets and profitability during market stress. Cyclical sectors, such as financials and industrials tend to perform worse. We can see this today with turmoil in the banking system, as bank stocks remain sensitive to interest rate hikes. Making matters worse, the spillover from rising rates may still take time to materialize. Defensive sectors like health care, staples, and utilities could be less vulnerable to recession risk. Lower correlation to economic cycles, lower rate-sensitivity, higher cash buffers, and lower capital expenditures are all key factors that support their resilience. Tyler Durden Sat, 12/02/2023 - 18:05.....»»

Category: dealsSource: NYT8 hr. 42 min. ago Related News

New CDC Director Defends Vaccine Mandates, School Closures

New CDC Director Defends Vaccine Mandates, School Closures Authored by Zachary Stieber via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours), The new director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Nov. 30 defended COVID-era policies like vaccine mandates in her first appearance before Congress. "I'm very proud of the work we did in North Carolina," Dr. Mandy Cohen, the new director, told Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.) after he asked if she regretted any of the policies put into place in North Carolina, such as school closures, when she was the state's health secretary. "I feel like we did that in a way that was very inclusive," she added. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Mandy Cohen testifies in Washington on Nov. 30, 2023. (Win McNamee/Getty Images) When Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-Ariz.) noted that Dr. Cohen supported harsh measures as health secretary, including vaccine mandates, Dr. Cohen said it was time to "look forward" and start a "new chapter." "You have to remember, at different moments in time, we needed different solutions," she said in response to how Americans would know whether the new director will support the same measures at the federal level. "The good news is that we're in a different place than we were before. We both have different tools and have different mechanisms to respond," she said to another question, about whether she'd shut down schools if a pandemic happened again. "I can't really address a hypothetical but I think we've learned a lot about how to approach things." Did closing schools harm students? "We always knew in-person instruction was incredibly beneficial," Dr. Cohen said. "You'd be great in the sales department," Rep. Gary Palmer (R-Ala.) said, prompting a rare smile from the new director. Dr. Cohen replaced Dr. Rochelle Walensky, President Joe Biden's first CDC director, over the summer. Dr. Walensky was an advocate for COVID-19 vaccines, masks, and school closures. Dr. Cohen also indicated she supports mask mandates, saying all masks, including cloth masks, worked as a "barrier" and protected against COVID-19. The CDC recommends wearing "well-fitting" masks for protection. Dr. Cohen's answers sparked frustration from lawmakers of both parties. "My neighbor would say, should I wear a cloth mask? I don't know from your answer what I should tell them," Rep. Scott Peters (D-Calif.) said. Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) said that Dr. Cohen was in the perfect place to help the CDC reestablish credibility. "If the CDC wants its credibility back, you've got to have a mea culpa moment. You're in the perfect position to do it, because you had nothing to do with their decisions at the time. So there's no reason to defend it," he said. "It's ok to say 'it didn't make any sense to shut down schools.' The data shows that now. 'It didn't make sense to do major lockdowns.' The data shows that now. 'It doesn't make sense to mask kids.' The data shows that now. It's okay to say it. And the public will reward you for it," he added later. But Dr. Cohen refused to say authorities in North Carolina or at the CDC did anything wrong, repeatedly steering the discussion back to the future, not the past. She did refer broadly several times to lessons learned during the pandemic, including being more transparent. Answers on Illness in China, Lab in California Dr. Cohen also answered questions about other topics, including a bout of illness in China. Dr. Cohen said that the CDC was in touch with counterparts in China, where the agency has an office, and that the surge in respiratory infections in China was not, based on current information, from "a new or novel pathogen." The World Health Organization and Chinese officials have also said the illnesses are from existing illnesses such as influenza. "The Chinese officials have shared with us that there are no novel pathogens, and we were able to corroborate that information across other sources from our European Union partners and others to make sure that we're getting a complete picture," Dr. Cohen said. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) said the situation in China "brings us back, sadly, to the early days of COVID-19" when there was a "lack of reliable information coming out of China." “We are hoping that you can put some pressure in an attempt to try to get China to not mislead the world as they did with COVID-19,” Rep. H. Morgan Griffith (R-Va.) said. Some lawmakers pressed Dr. Cohen on a laboratory in China that was operating without permission, after a House report said the CDC refused to speak for months to local officials who raised the alarm. Dr. Cohen said the CDC investigated quickly and found no indications the lab was experimenting with Ebola or other select agents. She echoed an earlier CDC statement that said the report "includes numerous inaccuracies, including both the charge that CDC did not respond to local requests for aid and the false implication that CDC had the authority to unilaterally investigate or seize samples from" the lab. The agency said it was actively engaged in the investigation into the facility. Tyler Durden Sat, 12/02/2023 - 16:20.....»»

Category: dealsSource: NYT9 hr. 42 min. ago Related News

Self-service security screening is coming to airports, but PreCheck passengers are getting priority

The Department of Homeland Security is testing out self-service screening options and has awarded contracts to three companies developing prototypes. Vanderlande's prototype, the PAX MX2.Courtesy of Vanderlande via DHS.A self-service TSA screening model may be making its way to an airport near you. A pilot program will roll out in January at the Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas.The programs are meant to expedite screening while improving safety, the DHS said in a press release.As officials at the Transportation Security Administration grapple with air travel resuming at pre-pandemic levels, the Department of Homeland Security is testing out self-service screening options.Of course, customers with TSA PreCheck get first dibs.In January, passengers traveling through Las Vegas, Nevada's Harry Reid International Airport will be the first to test out a pilot of the "Screening at Speed Program," the DHS announced in a press release."Like self-ordering kiosks at fast food and sit-down restaurants, self-service screening allows passengers in the Trusted Traveler Program to complete the security screening process on their own," John Fortune, the program's manager, said in the press release. "Travelers will use passenger and carry-on screening systems at individual consoles or screening lanes themselves, reducing the number of pat downs and bag inspections" for Transportation Security Officers.The program will allow passengers to move through the screening "at their own pace" while minimizing in-person contact between officers and passengers, Fortune said. The DHS has awarded contracts to three US companies that are developing prototypes and working with the TSA.Selected passengers traveling through the Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas in January will test out the PAX MX2 prototype by the company Vanderlande, according to the DHS press release.Similar to existing security equipment, passengers will place their bags on a conveyance system, but they will have the help of a video monitor with detailed instructions, as well as a help button to connect with a live security agent. Then they will go through a screening portal with automatic entry and exit doors, the latter of which will not open until the passenger has successfully cleared the screening. The entry doors will reopen so passengers can empty forgotten items from their pockets if needed."The airport security experience that we've all come to know could soon look and feel a lot different—in a very good way—for both passengers and TSOs," said Christina Peach, a branch manager for the TSA's Innovation Task Force.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: NYT10 hr. 14 min. ago Related News

US Navy says it will trial using AI to track Chinese submarines in the Pacific

The plans are part of Aukus Pillar II, a trilateral security arrangement that aims to "help sustain peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region." MARK SCHIEFELBEIN / GettyThe US, Australia, and the UK will use AI to counter China's growing military assertiveness in the Pacific.The move is part of the Aukus Pillar II alliance between the countries.The US has reported a spike in aggressive behavior by China in the region.The US, UK, and Australia have unveiled new plans to trial the use of AI to track Chinese submarines in the Pacific.Speaking on Friday at a joint meeting in Mountain View, California, defense leaders from each country announced two new plans under Aukus Pillar II, a trilateral security arrangement set up in 2021 that aims to "help sustain peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region."One of the new efforts announced was the use of advanced AI on patrol aircraft — including the US's P-8A Poseidon aircraft, which is equipped for anti-submarine warfare — to process information from underwater detection devices used by each country. Data processed by AI will enable the three countries to track Chinese submarines with more speed and accuracy."These joint advances will allow for timely high-volume data exploitation, improving our anti-submarine warfare capabilities," they said in a joint statement.The P-8A poseidon maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft will be equipped with AI-powered tools to help tackle rising Chinese aggression.MLADEN ANTONOV / GettyAI algorithms and machine learning will also be used to "enhance force protection, precision targeting, and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance."In addition to AI, the three countries said they were collaborating in other technological areas such as quantum technologies, electronic warfare, and hypersonic weapons.Speaking at the press conference, the Australian Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles said that China's rising aggression had increased the need for collaboration.Just weeks ago a team of Australian naval divers were injured by a Chinese warship's sonar weapon, despite making their presence known to the vessel's crew."This is unsafe and unprofessional conduct," Marles said about the incident, per The Guardian. "The safety and wellbeing of our [Australian Defence Force] personnel continues to be our utmost priority."Australia expects all countries, including China, to operate their militaries in a professional and safe manner," he added.The Pentagon's recent China Military Power Report noted a significant concern "of an operational incident or miscalculation spiraling into crisis or conflict." Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: NYT10 hr. 14 min. ago Related News

Woman says she "feels great" after using IVF to give birth to twins at 70 years old. Doctors say the birth was irresponsible.

A 70-year-old woman in Uganda gave birth to twins using IVF. Many doctors say IVF is not recommended after age 55 but the woman's doctor said she was "physically fit." A pregnant woman gave birth to twins at 70 years old.Getty ImagesA 70-year-old woman gave birth to twins in Uganda using IVF.The woman's babies are healthy and doing fine, her doctors say.Many doctors say IVF treatments are recommended only for women in their mid-50s or younger.A 70-year-old Ugandan woman says she is feeling great after giving birth to twins using IVF.Safina Namukwaya gave birth to a boy and a girl through cesarean section at Women's Hospital International and Fertility Center in Uganda on November 29, according to TODAY."I feel great," Namukwaya told the outlet through an interpreter. "Some might argue that 70 years is old, but God decided that I get to have twins at 70. There is no one that can put a limit on God's authority and power."The hospital described the event as "historic" in a Facebook post, adding that Namukwaya was in an "upbeat mood" before the operation.The American Society of Reproductive Medicine says that IFV treatment should be "generally discouraged" for women over 55 because of "concerns related to the high-risk nature of pregnancy."Brian Levine, practice director at New York City's CCRM fertility clinic, told TODAY that he thinks the decision to treat Nawakuma was "incredibly irresponsible."Edward Tamale Sali, Namukwaya's fertility doctor, however, told TODAY he didn't hesitate to treat her. "It's her human right. It's her body," he told TODAY. "She's physically fit."Namukwaya's babies were born prematurely at 31 weeks gestation, her doctor told the outlet. Sali said the twins were moved to the hospital's neonatal intensive care unit due to their premature birth but are doing "just fine."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: NYT10 hr. 14 min. ago Related News