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News Slideshows (11/30/2019 15 hours)


  • 1/79   News Photos Slideshows
    PEOPLE TOPIC NEWS

    News Photos Slideshows - Hot Trends - Click on the image to view in augmented reality or in stereo 3D

    News Photos Slideshows - Hot Trends - Click on the image to view in augmented reality or in stereo 3D


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    Press Review


    Dionysus   Chungha   BOY IN LUV   NO MORE DREAM   Mikrokosmos   Narwhal   txt roty   Kang Daniel   Heize   Record of the Year   THE HORSES   WHO THE HELL AM   MIN PD NIM   n.flying   bts is next   Jung Hoseok   Almiron   bts legends   Mendy   NEW RULES   Bangtan Sonyeondan   53% of Republicans   Tomorrow is December   Only BTS   BTS NEXT   
  • 2/79   Viola Davis’s message to white women: ‘Get to know me’
    PEOPLE TOPIC NEWS

    But Davis does see a path forward: empathy and becoming educated on one another’s experiences.

    But Davis does see a path forward: empathy and becoming educated on one another’s experiences.


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  • 3/79   Swizz Beatz, Alicia Keys’s husband, says hip-hop industry lacks compassion
    PEOPLE TOPIC NEWS

    Iconic hip-hop producer and Alicia Keys’s husband, Swizz Beatz, isn’t afraid to tell his guy friends he loves them.

    Iconic hip-hop producer and Alicia Keys’s husband, Swizz Beatz, isn’t afraid to tell his guy friends he loves them.


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  • 4/79   Mike 'The Situation' Sorrentino Is 'Having the Time of His Life' in Prison, Snooki Says
    PEOPLE TOPIC NEWS

    Mike 'The Situation' Sorrentino Is 'Having the Time of His Life' in Prison

    Mike 'The Situation' Sorrentino Is 'Having the Time of His Life' in Prison


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  • 5/79   'Avengers: Endgame' tops 'Star Wars,' breaks previous pre-sale record
    PEOPLE TOPIC NEWS

    'Avengers: Endgame' tops 'Star Wars,' breaks previous pre-sale record originally appeared on goodmorningamerica.com"Avengers: Endgame" tickets went on sale Tuesday and just like Thanos' famous snap, they were gone just like that. But way more than half.Fandango is reporting that "Endgame" has broken its pre-sale records, topping the previous holder, "Star Wars: The Force Awakens."(MORE: New 'Avengers: Endgame' trailer features Captain Marvel, the battle to beat Thanos)Guess the force is strong with Earth's mightiest heroes. ...

    'Avengers: Endgame' tops 'Star Wars,' breaks previous pre-sale record originally appeared on goodmorningamerica.com"Avengers: Endgame" tickets went on sale Tuesday and just like Thanos' famous snap, they were gone just like that. But way more than half.Fandango is reporting that "Endgame" has broken its pre-sale records, topping the previous holder, "Star Wars: The Force Awakens."(MORE: New 'Avengers: Endgame' trailer features Captain Marvel, the battle to beat Thanos)Guess the force is strong with Earth's mightiest heroes. ...


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  • 6/79   Selma Blair reveals she cried with relief at MS diagnosis after being 'not taken seriously' by doctors
    PEOPLE TOPIC NEWS

    The 46-year-old actress is now revealing the agony she went through before receiving a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis (MS) last August.'Ever since my son was born, I was in an MS flare-up and didn't know, and I was giving it everything to seem normal,' Blair told Robin Roberts in an interview that aired Tuesday on 'Good Morning America.' 'And I was self-medicating when he wasn't with me.  Blair recalled that she would get so fatigued prior to her diagnosis that she would need to pull over to take a nap after dropping her son, now 7, off at his school one mile away from their home.  During her interview with 'GMA' at her Los Angeles home, Blair was in an 'exacerbation' of MS, or an attack that causes new symptoms or the worsening of existing symptoms.

    The 46-year-old actress is now revealing the agony she went through before receiving a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis (MS) last August.'Ever since my son was born, I was in an MS flare-up and didn't know, and I was giving it everything to seem normal,' Blair told Robin Roberts in an interview that aired Tuesday on 'Good Morning America.' 'And I was self-medicating when he wasn't with me. Blair recalled that she would get so fatigued prior to her diagnosis that she would need to pull over to take a nap after dropping her son, now 7, off at his school one mile away from their home. During her interview with 'GMA' at her Los Angeles home, Blair was in an 'exacerbation' of MS, or an attack that causes new symptoms or the worsening of existing symptoms.


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  • 7/79   They won't be loved: Maroon 5 play it safe with dullest halftime show of all time
    PEOPLE TOPIC NEWS

    Maroon 5 could have silenced their many haters with a spectacular performance. But they didn’t do that.

    Maroon 5 could have silenced their many haters with a spectacular performance. But they didn’t do that.


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  • 8/79   Does U.S. women's soccer deserve equal pay?
    SPORTS TOPIC NEWS

    Has the U.S. women's soccer team done enough to warrant salaries that match their male counterparts? The 360 gives you all the angles on heavily-debated topics in the news.

    Has the U.S. women's soccer team done enough to warrant salaries that match their male counterparts? The 360 gives you all the angles on heavily-debated topics in the news.


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  • 9/79   After fighting for 9/11 victims, Jon Stewart turns to Warrior Games
    SPORTS TOPIC NEWS

    The former “Daily Show” host is serving as the host and emcee of this week’s 2019 Department of Defense Warrior Games in Tampa, where about 300 wounded, ill or injured active-duty and veteran military athletes are competing in 14 adaptive sports.

    The former “Daily Show” host is serving as the host and emcee of this week’s 2019 Department of Defense Warrior Games in Tampa, where about 300 wounded, ill or injured active-duty and veteran military athletes are competing in 14 adaptive sports.


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  • 10/79   Kevin Love talks anxiety, depression and the time he thought he was going to die mid-game
    SPORTS TOPIC NEWS

    “Dear Men” explores how men are navigating the evolution of manhood. NBA All-Star Kevin Love’s mental health journey began in a moment of anxiety on the basketball court during a November 2017 game against the Atlanta Hawks.

    “Dear Men” explores how men are navigating the evolution of manhood. NBA All-Star Kevin Love’s mental health journey began in a moment of anxiety on the basketball court during a November 2017 game against the Atlanta Hawks.


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  • 11/79   Is there a crisis with our boys? Expert says they need love, not discipline
    SPORTS TOPIC NEWS

    “Dear Men” explores how men are navigating the evolution of manhood. You can watch the current week's full episode of “Dear Men” every Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET on Roku. So why are young men struggling? So I don’t never hold back my tears when I'm feeling an emotional overload,” he said.

    “Dear Men” explores how men are navigating the evolution of manhood. You can watch the current week's full episode of “Dear Men” every Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET on Roku. So why are young men struggling? So I don’t never hold back my tears when I'm feeling an emotional overload,” he said.


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  • 12/79   Aly Raisman on Larry Nassar assault: Sometimes people forget I'm still coping with it
    SPORTS TOPIC NEWS

    It has been a year since former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison for abusing more than 150 girls. But Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman is still coming to terms with the sexual abuse she experienced as a teenager.

    It has been a year since former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison for abusing more than 150 girls. But Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman is still coming to terms with the sexual abuse she experienced as a teenager.


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  • 13/79   Aly Raisman on Larry Nassar assault: Sometimes people forget I’m still coping with it
    SPORTS TOPIC NEWS

    Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman tells the Yahoo News show “Through Her Eyes” that she sometimes finds it difficult to hear the graphic details in the sexual assault stories of others, as she is still coping with her own traumatic experience.

    Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman tells the Yahoo News show “Through Her Eyes” that she sometimes finds it difficult to hear the graphic details in the sexual assault stories of others, as she is still coping with her own traumatic experience.


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  • 14/79   For the love of the brain: One mother's fight for CTE awareness
    SPORTS TOPIC NEWS

    Karen Kinzle Zegel spends her days working on the Patrick Risha CTE Awareness Foundation website, fielding questions and giving out information on a disease she barely knew existed five years ago – until it took the life of her son, for whom the foundation is named.  Karen remembers, “We were a football family, his dad was a coach, I would cheer and yell and you know, do all the things the football mom does.  At the time, she was unaware of CTE – chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative brain disease caused by repeated blows to the head – and the role it was playing in Patrick’s life.

    Karen Kinzle Zegel spends her days working on the Patrick Risha CTE Awareness Foundation website, fielding questions and giving out information on a disease she barely knew existed five years ago – until it took the life of her son, for whom the foundation is named. Karen remembers, “We were a football family, his dad was a coach, I would cheer and yell and you know, do all the things the football mom does. At the time, she was unaware of CTE – chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative brain disease caused by repeated blows to the head – and the role it was playing in Patrick’s life.


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  • 15/79   PHOTOS: Fluorescent turtle embryo wins forty-fifth annual Nikon Small World Competition

    The winners of the 45th annual competition showcase a spectacular blend of science and artistry under the microscope.

    The winners of the 45th annual competition showcase a spectacular blend of science and artistry under the microscope.


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  • 16/79   7 tax scams to watch out for this year

    In case wringing your hands over the tax man weren’t enough, criminals are out there trying to swipe your hard-earned cash and personal information from right under your nose.

    In case wringing your hands over the tax man weren’t enough, criminals are out there trying to swipe your hard-earned cash and personal information from right under your nose.


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  • 17/79   Mother Angry After School's Robocall Keeps Mispronouncing Daughter's Name As A Racial Slur

    The daughter's name is Nicarri.

    The daughter's name is Nicarri.


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  • 18/79   Avowed Apple Fan Jeb Bush Realizes His Apple Watch Can Take Phone Calls

    Jeb Bush's love of Apple products has been widely documented, and the Republican presidential candidate continues to wear his Apple Watch on the campaign trail. Yesterday, in a meeting with The Des Moines Register editorial board documented by USA Today, Bush stumbled upon a feature he didn’t realize his smartwatch was capable of: taking phone calls. Somehow Bush managed to take a call without picking up his iPhone, and the sound of a person’s voice saying hello breaks through the meeting noise, to which Bush responds, “My watch can’t be talking.”

    Jeb Bush's love of Apple products has been widely documented, and the Republican presidential candidate continues to wear his Apple Watch on the campaign trail. Yesterday, in a meeting with The Des Moines Register editorial board documented by USA Today, Bush stumbled upon a feature he didn’t realize his smartwatch was capable of: taking phone calls. Somehow Bush managed to take a call without picking up his iPhone, and the sound of a person’s voice saying hello breaks through the meeting noise, to which Bush responds, “My watch can’t be talking.”


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  • 19/79   Social media welcomes Pope Francis to the United States

    Pope Francis gets the social media treatment upon arriving in the U.S. Tuesday.  As Pope Francis’s flight touched down in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, Twitter unveiled a new batch of emojis created for the highly anticipated papal visit.  Until his departure from the United States on Sunday, Twitter users chronicling the Catholic leader’s East Coast journey will be able to include a cartoon image of the Pope’s face in front of the American flag on all Pope-related tweets by using the hashtag #PopeinUS.

    Pope Francis gets the social media treatment upon arriving in the U.S. Tuesday. As Pope Francis’s flight touched down in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, Twitter unveiled a new batch of emojis created for the highly anticipated papal visit. Until his departure from the United States on Sunday, Twitter users chronicling the Catholic leader’s East Coast journey will be able to include a cartoon image of the Pope’s face in front of the American flag on all Pope-related tweets by using the hashtag #PopeinUS.


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  • 20/79   In ride-hail boom, New York livery cabs feel squeezed and forgotten
    TECHNOLOGY TOPIC NEWS

    As a livery cab driver in the Bronx for more than a decade, Orlando Lantigua knows some of his customers well.  In the outer boroughs and low-income New York neighborhoods — where yellow cabs rarely go and public transportation is sometimes sparse — residents who lack smart phones or credit cards have relied on livery cabs for generations.  More than 100 livery cab bases have closed their doors since 2015, when ride-hailing apps like Uber and Lyft began to provide a large number of trips, cutting into their business.

    As a livery cab driver in the Bronx for more than a decade, Orlando Lantigua knows some of his customers well. In the outer boroughs and low-income New York neighborhoods — where yellow cabs rarely go and public transportation is sometimes sparse — residents who lack smart phones or credit cards have relied on livery cabs for generations. More than 100 livery cab bases have closed their doors since 2015, when ride-hailing apps like Uber and Lyft began to provide a large number of trips, cutting into their business.


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  • 21/79   1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc. (NASDAQ:FLWS): Did It Outperform The Industry?
    TECHNOLOGY TOPIC NEWS

    After reading 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc.'s (NasdaqGS:FLWS) most recent earnings announcement (29 September 2019), I found...

    After reading 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc.'s (NasdaqGS:FLWS) most recent earnings announcement (29 September 2019), I found...


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  • 22/79   How Does ESCO Technologies Inc. (NYSE:ESE) Affect Your Portfolio Volatility?
    TECHNOLOGY TOPIC NEWS

    Anyone researching ESCO Technologies Inc. (NYSE:ESE) might want to consider the historical volatility of the share...

    Anyone researching ESCO Technologies Inc. (NYSE:ESE) might want to consider the historical volatility of the share...


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  • 23/79   Cautivo Mining (CNSX:CAI) Is Very Risky Based On Its Cash Burn
    TECHNOLOGY TOPIC NEWS

    We can readily understand why investors are attracted to unprofitable companies. For example, biotech and mining...

    We can readily understand why investors are attracted to unprofitable companies. For example, biotech and mining...


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  • 24/79   What Does DXC Technology Company's (NYSE:DXC) Share Price Indicate?
    TECHNOLOGY TOPIC NEWS

    DXC Technology Company (NYSE:DXC), which is in the it business, and is based in United States, saw a significant share...

    DXC Technology Company (NYSE:DXC), which is in the it business, and is based in United States, saw a significant share...


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  • 25/79   Will DermTech (NASDAQ:DMTK) Spend Its Cash Wisely?
    TECHNOLOGY TOPIC NEWS

    Just because a business does not make any money, does not mean that the stock will go down. For example, although...

    Just because a business does not make any money, does not mean that the stock will go down. For example, although...


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  • 26/79   Does Emclaire Financial Corp's (NASDAQ:EMCF) P/E Ratio Signal A Buying Opportunity?
    TECHNOLOGY TOPIC NEWS

    To the annoyance of some shareholders, Emclaire Financial (NASDAQ:EMCF) shares are down a considerable in the last...

    To the annoyance of some shareholders, Emclaire Financial (NASDAQ:EMCF) shares are down a considerable in the last...


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  • 27/79   How Does Investing In Delek US Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:DK) Impact The Volatility Of Your Portfolio?
    TECHNOLOGY TOPIC NEWS

    If you're interested in Delek US Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:DK), then you might want to consider its beta (a measure of...

    If you're interested in Delek US Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:DK), then you might want to consider its beta (a measure of...


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  • 28/79   Campaigners occupy German coal mines in climate protest
    TECHNOLOGY TOPIC NEWS

    Thousands of activists sought Saturday to occupy several opencast coal mines in eastern Germany, to put pressure on the government to phase out the fossil fuel -- a divisive issue in the country's rust belt.  Further north-east, another few hundred also arrived at Jaenschwalde Ost mine in the morning, seeking to run into the mine while another 450 blocked a railway connected to the site.  Meanwhile, MIBRAG which operates another mine -- the Vereinigtes Schleenhain site -- south of Leipzig also said about 1,200 protesters blocked a coal-excavator, forcing the group to halt operations.

    Thousands of activists sought Saturday to occupy several opencast coal mines in eastern Germany, to put pressure on the government to phase out the fossil fuel -- a divisive issue in the country's rust belt. Further north-east, another few hundred also arrived at Jaenschwalde Ost mine in the morning, seeking to run into the mine while another 450 blocked a railway connected to the site. Meanwhile, MIBRAG which operates another mine -- the Vereinigtes Schleenhain site -- south of Leipzig also said about 1,200 protesters blocked a coal-excavator, forcing the group to halt operations.


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  • 29/79   If You Like EPS Growth Then Check Out Ducommun (NYSE:DCO) Before It's Too Late
    TECHNOLOGY TOPIC NEWS

    For beginners, it can seem like a good idea (and an exciting prospect) to buy a company that tells a good story to...

    For beginners, it can seem like a good idea (and an exciting prospect) to buy a company that tells a good story to...


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  • 30/79   Update: ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP) Stock Gained 25% In The Last Three Years
    TECHNOLOGY TOPIC NEWS

    Low-cost index funds make it easy to achieve average market returns. But across the board there are plenty of stocks...

    Low-cost index funds make it easy to achieve average market returns. But across the board there are plenty of stocks...


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  • 31/79   U.S. Posts First Month in 70 Years as a Net Petroleum Exporter
    TECHNOLOGY TOPIC NEWS

    (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. solidified its status as an energy producer by posting the first full month as a net exporter of crude and petroleum products since government records began in 1949.The nation exported 89,000 barrels a day more than it imported in September, according to data from the Energy Information Administration Friday. While the U.S. has previously reported net exports on a weekly basis, today’s figures mark a key milestone that few would have predicted just a decade ago, before the onset of the shale boom.President Donald Trump has touted American energy independence, saying that the nation is moving away from relying on foreign oil. While the net exports show decreasing reliance on imports, the U.S. still continues to buy heavy crude oil from other nations to meet the needs of its refineries. It also buys refined products when they are available for a lower cost from foreign suppliers.“The U.S. return to being a net exporter serves to remind how the oil industry can deliver surprises -- in this case, the shale oil revolution - that upend global oil prices, production, and trade flows,” said Bob McNally, a former energy adviser to President George W. Bush and president of the consulting firm Rapidan Energy Group.Soaring output from shale deposits led by the Permian Basin of West Texas and New Mexico has been in main driver of the transition -- but America’s status as a net exporter may be fragile. Many Texas wildcatters are predicting a rapid decline in production growth next year, while some Democratic contenders for the White House have called for a ban on fracking -- the controversial drilling technique that unleashed the boom.“In the days of Jimmy Carter and even Ronald Reagan, we would have longed for this day,” said Jim Lucier, managing director of Washington, D.C.-based Capital Alpha Partners LLC. “Now we scarcely notice it at all.”In its Short-Term Energy Outlook earlier this month, the EIA flagged the turnaround and forecast total net exports of crude and products of 750,000 barrels a day in 2020, compared with average net imports of 520,000 barrels a day this year.Analysts at Rystad Energy said this week the U.S. is only months away from achieving energy independence, citing surging oil and gas output as well as the growth of renewables.“Going forward, the United States will be energy independent on a monthly basis, and by 2030 total primary energy production will outpace primary energy demand by about 30%,” said Sindre Knutsson, vice president of Rystad Energy’s gas markets team.To contact the reporter on this story: Stephen Cunningham in Washington at scunningha10@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: David Marino at dmarino4@bloomberg.net, Mike JeffersFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

    (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. solidified its status as an energy producer by posting the first full month as a net exporter of crude and petroleum products since government records began in 1949.The nation exported 89,000 barrels a day more than it imported in September, according to data from the Energy Information Administration Friday. While the U.S. has previously reported net exports on a weekly basis, today’s figures mark a key milestone that few would have predicted just a decade ago, before the onset of the shale boom.President Donald Trump has touted American energy independence, saying that the nation is moving away from relying on foreign oil. While the net exports show decreasing reliance on imports, the U.S. still continues to buy heavy crude oil from other nations to meet the needs of its refineries. It also buys refined products when they are available for a lower cost from foreign suppliers.“The U.S. return to being a net exporter serves to remind how the oil industry can deliver surprises -- in this case, the shale oil revolution - that upend global oil prices, production, and trade flows,” said Bob McNally, a former energy adviser to President George W. Bush and president of the consulting firm Rapidan Energy Group.Soaring output from shale deposits led by the Permian Basin of West Texas and New Mexico has been in main driver of the transition -- but America’s status as a net exporter may be fragile. Many Texas wildcatters are predicting a rapid decline in production growth next year, while some Democratic contenders for the White House have called for a ban on fracking -- the controversial drilling technique that unleashed the boom.“In the days of Jimmy Carter and even Ronald Reagan, we would have longed for this day,” said Jim Lucier, managing director of Washington, D.C.-based Capital Alpha Partners LLC. “Now we scarcely notice it at all.”In its Short-Term Energy Outlook earlier this month, the EIA flagged the turnaround and forecast total net exports of crude and products of 750,000 barrels a day in 2020, compared with average net imports of 520,000 barrels a day this year.Analysts at Rystad Energy said this week the U.S. is only months away from achieving energy independence, citing surging oil and gas output as well as the growth of renewables.“Going forward, the United States will be energy independent on a monthly basis, and by 2030 total primary energy production will outpace primary energy demand by about 30%,” said Sindre Knutsson, vice president of Rystad Energy’s gas markets team.To contact the reporter on this story: Stephen Cunningham in Washington at scunningha10@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: David Marino at dmarino4@bloomberg.net, Mike JeffersFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


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  • 32/79   In ride-hail boom, livery cabs feel squeezed and forgotten
    TECHNOLOGY TOPIC NEWS

    As a livery cab driver in the Bronx for more than a decade, Orlando Lantigua knows some of his customers well.  In the outer boroughs and low-income New York neighborhoods — where yellow cabs rarely go and public transportation is sometimes sparse — residents who lack smart phones or credit cards have relied on livery cabs for generations.  More than 100 livery cab bases have closed their doors since 2015, when ride-hailing apps like Uber and Lyft began to provide a large number of trips, cutting into their business.

    As a livery cab driver in the Bronx for more than a decade, Orlando Lantigua knows some of his customers well. In the outer boroughs and low-income New York neighborhoods — where yellow cabs rarely go and public transportation is sometimes sparse — residents who lack smart phones or credit cards have relied on livery cabs for generations. More than 100 livery cab bases have closed their doors since 2015, when ride-hailing apps like Uber and Lyft began to provide a large number of trips, cutting into their business.


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  • 33/79   Should Cantel Medical (NYSE:CMD) Be Disappointed With Their 77% Profit?
    TECHNOLOGY TOPIC NEWS

    It hasn't been the best quarter for Cantel Medical Corp. (NYSE:CMD) shareholders, since the share price has fallen 15...

    It hasn't been the best quarter for Cantel Medical Corp. (NYSE:CMD) shareholders, since the share price has fallen 15...


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  • 34/79   Does Mainstreet Equity Corp. (TSE:MEQ) Have A Good P/E Ratio?
    TECHNOLOGY TOPIC NEWS

    Mainstreet Equity (TSE:MEQ) shares have retraced a considerable in the last month. But plenty of shareholders will...

    Mainstreet Equity (TSE:MEQ) shares have retraced a considerable in the last month. But plenty of shareholders will...


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  • 35/79   Is There Now An Opportunity In Clarus Corporation (NASDAQ:CLAR)?
    TECHNOLOGY TOPIC NEWS

    Clarus Corporation (NASDAQ:CLAR), which is in the leisure business, and is based in United States, saw a decent share...

    Clarus Corporation (NASDAQ:CLAR), which is in the leisure business, and is based in United States, saw a decent share...


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  • 36/79   Announcing: Casey's General Stores (NASDAQ:CASY) Stock Increased An Energizing 113% In The Last Five Years
    TECHNOLOGY TOPIC NEWS

    The most you can lose on any stock (assuming you don't use leverage) is 100% of your money. But on a lighter note, a...

    The most you can lose on any stock (assuming you don't use leverage) is 100% of your money. But on a lighter note, a...


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  • 37/79   Are Dividend Investors Getting More Than They Bargained For With Halliburton Company's (NYSE:HAL) Dividend?
    TECHNOLOGY TOPIC NEWS

    Today we'll take a closer look at Halliburton Company (NYSE:HAL) from a dividend investor's perspective. Owning a...

    Today we'll take a closer look at Halliburton Company (NYSE:HAL) from a dividend investor's perspective. Owning a...


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  • 38/79   Can You Imagine How Chuffed Brown & Brown's (NYSE:BRO) Shareholders Feel About Its 131% Share Price Gain?
    TECHNOLOGY TOPIC NEWS

    When you buy a stock there is always a possibility that it could drop 100%. But on the bright side, if you buy shares...

    When you buy a stock there is always a possibility that it could drop 100%. But on the bright side, if you buy shares...


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  • 39/79   Does Big Lots, Inc. (NYSE:BIG) Create Value For Shareholders?
    TECHNOLOGY TOPIC NEWS

    Many investors are still learning about the various metrics that can be useful when analysing a stock. This article is...

    Many investors are still learning about the various metrics that can be useful when analysing a stock. This article is...


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  • 40/79   The Next Trump Bombshell To Drop: The Justice Department's 2016 Trump Campaign Report
    POLITICS TOPIC NEWS

    “Now what you’re going to see, I predict, will be perhaps the biggest scandal in the history of our country,” Trump said Friday of the pending report from the Justice Department’s inspector general.

    “Now what you’re going to see, I predict, will be perhaps the biggest scandal in the history of our country,” Trump said Friday of the pending report from the Justice Department’s inspector general.


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  • 41/79   DR Congo buries 27 massacre victims as anger mounts
    POLITICS TOPIC NEWS

    The Democratic Republic of Congo town of Oicha on Friday buried 27 victims of the latest massacre in the country's volatile east, with hundreds paying homage while lashing out at security forces for failing to stop attacks.  The vast majority of the killings have been carried out by the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a militia that has plagued the Democratic Republic of Congo's east since the 1990s.

    The Democratic Republic of Congo town of Oicha on Friday buried 27 victims of the latest massacre in the country's volatile east, with hundreds paying homage while lashing out at security forces for failing to stop attacks. The vast majority of the killings have been carried out by the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a militia that has plagued the Democratic Republic of Congo's east since the 1990s.


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  • 42/79   Millions Around The World Strike on Black Friday for Action on Climate Change
    POLITICS TOPIC NEWS

    The protests are meant to raise awareness of overconsumption and demand action at the U.N.'s COP25, which begins in Spain next week

    The protests are meant to raise awareness of overconsumption and demand action at the U.N.'s COP25, which begins in Spain next week


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  • 43/79   Inmate wanted by ICE released on bail. He was arrested weeks later for attempted murder
    POLITICS TOPIC NEWS

    A 2019 Colorado law bars law enforcement officials in the state from holding a person based only on a request from ICE.

    A 2019 Colorado law bars law enforcement officials in the state from holding a person based only on a request from ICE.


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  • 44/79   U.K. Police Shoot Man After Potential Terrorist Attack in London
    POLITICS TOPIC NEWS

    (Bloomberg) -- Armed police shot a man after a possible terrorist attack sent hundreds of people running for their lives in the heart of London.Several civilians were believed to have been injured in a stabbing just before 2 p.m. in the London Bridge area on the edge of the capital’s financial center, police said.Prime Minister Boris Johnson broke away from the general election campaign to rush back to his Downing Street offices where he will be briefed on the events.The streets around London Bridge were locked down and armed police cleared restaurants and shops in the area. Officers are treating the incident as terror-related “as a precaution,” although the circumstances are still unclear, the Metropolitan Police said in a statement.The U.K. is set to hold a general election on Dec. 12 and the last election campaign in 2017 was interrupted by attacks, including one that killed eight people in the same area of London.During the incident on Friday, armed officers burst into restaurants in the Borough Market area at London Bridge and urged diners to leave as fast as possible. They shouted “Out, out, out,” to people at the Black and Blue bar. Diners walked away with their hands on their heads. Nearby, police shouted to pedestrians to “run.”The Metropolitan Police said they’d been called to a stabbing and had detained a man at a premises near the bridge. Officers closed off the bridge and evacuated passers-by from the surrounding area.“We believe a number of people have been injured,” according to a statement posted on the Met’s Twitter feed. Sky reported five casualties in the incident, citing police sources.On the north bank of the River Thames, police officers shouted to pedestrians to move back from the bridge 100 meters, and then urged them to take shelter in any nearby building, shouting: “Move inside for your own safety.”The same area of London was the scene of a terrorist attack just a few days before the general election in June 2017 in which eight people were killed and 48 injured. Three Islamist terrorists drove a van at pedestrians on the bridge before arming themselves with knives and running into Borough Market, where they stabbed people in restaurants and pubs. Armed police responded and killed the attackers.Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was being kept updated on the incident, in a post on the the Twitter feed of his office.(Adds details from the scene from second paragraph.)To contact the reporters on this story: Erin Roman in London at eroman16@bloomberg.net;Kitty Donaldson in London at kdonaldson1@bloomberg.net;Greg Ritchie in London at gritchie10@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Sunil Kesur at skesur@bloomberg.net, Colin KeatingeFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

    (Bloomberg) -- Armed police shot a man after a possible terrorist attack sent hundreds of people running for their lives in the heart of London.Several civilians were believed to have been injured in a stabbing just before 2 p.m. in the London Bridge area on the edge of the capital’s financial center, police said.Prime Minister Boris Johnson broke away from the general election campaign to rush back to his Downing Street offices where he will be briefed on the events.The streets around London Bridge were locked down and armed police cleared restaurants and shops in the area. Officers are treating the incident as terror-related “as a precaution,” although the circumstances are still unclear, the Metropolitan Police said in a statement.The U.K. is set to hold a general election on Dec. 12 and the last election campaign in 2017 was interrupted by attacks, including one that killed eight people in the same area of London.During the incident on Friday, armed officers burst into restaurants in the Borough Market area at London Bridge and urged diners to leave as fast as possible. They shouted “Out, out, out,” to people at the Black and Blue bar. Diners walked away with their hands on their heads. Nearby, police shouted to pedestrians to “run.”The Metropolitan Police said they’d been called to a stabbing and had detained a man at a premises near the bridge. Officers closed off the bridge and evacuated passers-by from the surrounding area.“We believe a number of people have been injured,” according to a statement posted on the Met’s Twitter feed. Sky reported five casualties in the incident, citing police sources.On the north bank of the River Thames, police officers shouted to pedestrians to move back from the bridge 100 meters, and then urged them to take shelter in any nearby building, shouting: “Move inside for your own safety.”The same area of London was the scene of a terrorist attack just a few days before the general election in June 2017 in which eight people were killed and 48 injured. Three Islamist terrorists drove a van at pedestrians on the bridge before arming themselves with knives and running into Borough Market, where they stabbed people in restaurants and pubs. Armed police responded and killed the attackers.Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was being kept updated on the incident, in a post on the the Twitter feed of his office.(Adds details from the scene from second paragraph.)To contact the reporters on this story: Erin Roman in London at eroman16@bloomberg.net;Kitty Donaldson in London at kdonaldson1@bloomberg.net;Greg Ritchie in London at gritchie10@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Sunil Kesur at skesur@bloomberg.net, Colin KeatingeFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


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  • 45/79   Italy’s ‘Miss Hitler’ Among 19 Investigated for Starting New Nazi Party in Italy
    POLITICS TOPIC NEWS

    ROME–The tattoo of a Nazi eagle above a swastika that spans the back of Francesca Rizzi leaves no doubt about her political ideology. The 36-year-old winner of an online beauty pageant in which she was crowned “Miss Hitler” was one of 19 people across Italy put under formal investigation this week for illegally forming a Nazi political party. Her co-collaborators include a 50-year-old female civil servant named Antonella Pavin from Padua who dubbed herself “Hitler’s Sergeant Major,” and a former mobster from the Calabria ‘Ndrangheta mafia who was allegedly in charge of militant training.Italy’s anti-mafia and anti-terrorism forces spent two years investigating the group, which has ties to a number of other far-right clusters across Europe, including the U.K.’s Combat 18 and similar hate groups in Portugal, Spain and Greece.Armed special forces carried out the sting operation dubbed “Black Shadows” in 16 cities from Palermo to Milan Thursday morning after someone alerted “Miss Hitler” that police were monitoring the group. Fearful she and others involved might destroy or hide evidence, they swooped in. What they found was more than troubling. In 16 of the homes searched, they found similar caches of weapons including grenades and semi-automatic rifles and explosives. They also found Nazi and fascist memorabilia adorned with swastikas and the faces of Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler, alongside militant training texts designed to teach new members how to target Jewish people and gays. Their party motto, “Invisible, Silent and Lethal,” was scrawled on the material. Prosecutors who led the investigation from Caltanissetta, Sicily, said Thursday that the suspects were creating “an openly pro-Nazi, xenophobic, anti-Semitic group called the Italian National Socialist Workers’ Party.” Pavin posted a notice with the group’s logo on her Facebook page in July 2018, saying the group would start “military training” in August. Neo-Nazis’ Air-to-Air Missile: An Explosive New Clue to Salvini’s Intrigues With the RussiansForming a Fascist or Nazi party is against the law in Italy under post-World War II legislation passed in 1952, when Italy was recovering from the destruction caused by Mussolini’s decision to follow Hitler’s ideology. More than 7,500 Italian Jews died during the Holocaust. But the resurgence of such hate groups has become increasingly troubling in recent months. In November, 89-year-old Holocaust survivor and senator for life Liliana Segre, was put under armed police protection after receiving more than 200 anti-Semitic messages and death threats a day. Her name reportedly appeared in some of the hate messages found at the homes in Thursday’s raids. Last week, new street signs that had just been erected in Rome to honor persecuted Italian Jews were desecrated. Mussolini’s Last Laugh: How Fascist Architecture Still Dominates RomeLast summer, police found a cache of weapons including a French-made air-to-air missile in the hands of two Nazi sympathizers in the northern town of Turin. It is not clear if they were part of this particular group. In November, Segre called for a parliamentary committee to combat hate, which passed even though Italy’s far-right former Interior Minister Matteo Salvini’s Northern League party abstained from the vote. The arrests this week have uncovered an intricate network of hate across the country, with group members communicating on a closed group called “Militia” on the Russian social networking service VK. Among the messages were calls for the “mass castration and extinction” of Jews and gays. Police say they anticipate more arrests. Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.

    ROME–The tattoo of a Nazi eagle above a swastika that spans the back of Francesca Rizzi leaves no doubt about her political ideology. The 36-year-old winner of an online beauty pageant in which she was crowned “Miss Hitler” was one of 19 people across Italy put under formal investigation this week for illegally forming a Nazi political party. Her co-collaborators include a 50-year-old female civil servant named Antonella Pavin from Padua who dubbed herself “Hitler’s Sergeant Major,” and a former mobster from the Calabria ‘Ndrangheta mafia who was allegedly in charge of militant training.Italy’s anti-mafia and anti-terrorism forces spent two years investigating the group, which has ties to a number of other far-right clusters across Europe, including the U.K.’s Combat 18 and similar hate groups in Portugal, Spain and Greece.Armed special forces carried out the sting operation dubbed “Black Shadows” in 16 cities from Palermo to Milan Thursday morning after someone alerted “Miss Hitler” that police were monitoring the group. Fearful she and others involved might destroy or hide evidence, they swooped in. What they found was more than troubling. In 16 of the homes searched, they found similar caches of weapons including grenades and semi-automatic rifles and explosives. They also found Nazi and fascist memorabilia adorned with swastikas and the faces of Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler, alongside militant training texts designed to teach new members how to target Jewish people and gays. Their party motto, “Invisible, Silent and Lethal,” was scrawled on the material. Prosecutors who led the investigation from Caltanissetta, Sicily, said Thursday that the suspects were creating “an openly pro-Nazi, xenophobic, anti-Semitic group called the Italian National Socialist Workers’ Party.” Pavin posted a notice with the group’s logo on her Facebook page in July 2018, saying the group would start “military training” in August. Neo-Nazis’ Air-to-Air Missile: An Explosive New Clue to Salvini’s Intrigues With the RussiansForming a Fascist or Nazi party is against the law in Italy under post-World War II legislation passed in 1952, when Italy was recovering from the destruction caused by Mussolini’s decision to follow Hitler’s ideology. More than 7,500 Italian Jews died during the Holocaust. But the resurgence of such hate groups has become increasingly troubling in recent months. In November, 89-year-old Holocaust survivor and senator for life Liliana Segre, was put under armed police protection after receiving more than 200 anti-Semitic messages and death threats a day. Her name reportedly appeared in some of the hate messages found at the homes in Thursday’s raids. Last week, new street signs that had just been erected in Rome to honor persecuted Italian Jews were desecrated. Mussolini’s Last Laugh: How Fascist Architecture Still Dominates RomeLast summer, police found a cache of weapons including a French-made air-to-air missile in the hands of two Nazi sympathizers in the northern town of Turin. It is not clear if they were part of this particular group. In November, Segre called for a parliamentary committee to combat hate, which passed even though Italy’s far-right former Interior Minister Matteo Salvini’s Northern League party abstained from the vote. The arrests this week have uncovered an intricate network of hate across the country, with group members communicating on a closed group called “Militia” on the Russian social networking service VK. Among the messages were calls for the “mass castration and extinction” of Jews and gays. Police say they anticipate more arrests. Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.


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  • 46/79   Hong Kong elders, youths vow to keep up pro-democracy fight
    POLITICS TOPIC NEWS

    Hundreds of silver-haired activists joined young Hong Kong protesters for a unity rally Saturday, vowing that their monthslong movement will not fade away until there is greater democracy in the Chinese territory.  The rally at a park downtown was among several peaceful gatherings by protesters this week to keep up pressure on the government amid a lull in violence following a local election victory by the pro-democracy bloc and the gaining of U.S. support for their cause.  A local boys’ band belted out songs to tell protesters that “the whole Hong Kong is supporting you.” Speakers reminded the crowd that it wasn’t time to celebrate and that the fight for real autonomy must persist.

    Hundreds of silver-haired activists joined young Hong Kong protesters for a unity rally Saturday, vowing that their monthslong movement will not fade away until there is greater democracy in the Chinese territory. The rally at a park downtown was among several peaceful gatherings by protesters this week to keep up pressure on the government amid a lull in violence following a local election victory by the pro-democracy bloc and the gaining of U.S. support for their cause. A local boys’ band belted out songs to tell protesters that “the whole Hong Kong is supporting you.” Speakers reminded the crowd that it wasn’t time to celebrate and that the fight for real autonomy must persist.


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  • 47/79   Airlines are joining in on Black Friday with major flight sales — here's how you can save
    POLITICS TOPIC NEWS

    Delta, American Airlines, Southwest, Emirates, and more have posted Black Friday and Cyber Monday flight deals. We expect more sales, too.

    Delta, American Airlines, Southwest, Emirates, and more have posted Black Friday and Cyber Monday flight deals. We expect more sales, too.


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  • 48/79   The China Challenge Continues to Mount
    POLITICS TOPIC NEWS

    This is why the West must ensure the maintenance of peace, security of borders, and world trade.

    This is why the West must ensure the maintenance of peace, security of borders, and world trade.


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  • 49/79   Oil prices tumble ahead of OPEC meeting, global stocks fall
    POLITICS TOPIC NEWS

    New York (AFP) - Oil prices tumbled Friday on expectations OPEC next week won't take aggressive action to boost oil prices, while global equities pulled back on trade war worries.

    New York (AFP) - Oil prices tumbled Friday on expectations OPEC next week won't take aggressive action to boost oil prices, while global equities pulled back on trade war worries.


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  • 50/79   Massive black hole that 'should not even exist' has been discovered
    SCIENCE TOPIC NEWS

    A black hole with a mass 70 times greater than the Sun was discovered, leaving scientists stunned. "Black holes of such mass should not even exist in our Galaxy, according to most of the current models of stellar evolution," Professor Jifeng Liu, who led the team at the Chinese Academy of Sciences that made the discovery, said in a statement. Scientists previously believed that the mass of an individual stellar black hole could not be more than 20 times that of the Sun. These stellar black holes are different than so-called supermassive black holes, which are found at the center of galaxies and can be billions of times the mass of our Sun.

    A black hole with a mass 70 times greater than the Sun was discovered, leaving scientists stunned. "Black holes of such mass should not even exist in our Galaxy, according to most of the current models of stellar evolution," Professor Jifeng Liu, who led the team at the Chinese Academy of Sciences that made the discovery, said in a statement. Scientists previously believed that the mass of an individual stellar black hole could not be more than 20 times that of the Sun. These stellar black holes are different than so-called supermassive black holes, which are found at the center of galaxies and can be billions of times the mass of our Sun.


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  • 51/79   NASA's plans for the 2020s include landing humans on the Moon, detecting quakes on Mars, and defending Earth from deadly asteroids
    SCIENCE TOPIC NEWS

    One year ago, NASA announced it would send astronauts back to the moon. Since then, new spacecraft and telescopes have filled its plans for the 2020s.

    One year ago, NASA announced it would send astronauts back to the moon. Since then, new spacecraft and telescopes have filled its plans for the 2020s.


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  • 52/79   18-year-old with pilot's license is 'certified' for space. She wants to go to Mars
    SCIENCE TOPIC NEWS

    For Alyssa Carson, colonizing Mars is just the first step in saving the human race.

    For Alyssa Carson, colonizing Mars is just the first step in saving the human race.


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  • 53/79   A network of cables at the bottom of the ocean is helping scientists detect earthquakes
    SCIENCE TOPIC NEWS

    The cables detected a new fault system near the San Andreas Fault, which runs along the California coast.

    The cables detected a new fault system near the San Andreas Fault, which runs along the California coast.


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  • 54/79   18,000-year-old puppy discovered in Siberia could be missing link between dogs and wolves
    SCIENCE TOPIC NEWS

    An 18,000-year-old puppy unearthed in Siberia could prove to be the missing link between dogs and wolves, scientists believe.  The puppy was discovered perfectly preserved by permafrost near Yakutsk, eastern Siberia last summer and carbon dating has revealed it has been frozen for around 18,000 years.   Researchers at the Centre for Palaeogenetics in Stockholm, Sweden announced this week that extensive DNA tests have so far been unable to confirm whether the animal was a dog or a wolf.  The experts believe this may be because the canine comes from the period when dogs were domesticated and hope the creature will prove crucial to uncovering when exactly the evolution began.   "It's normally relatively easy to tell the difference between the two," researcher David Stanton told CNN. Dogor was so well-preserved because he was found in a tunnel that was dug into the permafrost "We have a lot of data from it already, and with that amount of data, you'd expect to tell if it was one or the other. The fact that we can't might suggest that it's from a population that was ancestral to both - to dogs and wolves". A 2017 study published in the journal Nature Communications suggested that modern dogs were domesticated from a single wolf population 20,000 to 40,000 years ago but tests on this specimen could offer further clues as to the precise period. "We don't know exactly when dogs were domesticated, but it may have been from about that time. We are interested in whether it is in fact a dog or a wolf, or perhaps it's something halfway between the two," Mr Stanton added. Scientists believe some modern dogs descended from just one wolf population that lived continuously in Europe for thousands of years.  If confirmed to be a dog, scientists believe it will be the earliest confirmed "It seems that dogs were domesticated from a lineage of wolves that went  extinct," said Mr Stanton. "So that's why it's such a difficult problem to work on to understand where and when dogs were domesticated." The researchers' genome analysis has revealed that the puppy was a male so the scientists, after discussing with their Russian colleagues, have named the puppy 'Dogor'. The name means "friend" in Yakutian - as well as referencing the question "dog or wolf?" The scientists hope that further genome data tests on the creature will reveal more about Dogor's origins. Photographs released by the Centre for Palaeogenetics show the puppy in an almost perfect condition, with its nose, whiskers and teeth remarkably intact. Dogor can be seen almost completely covered in fur except for an exposed rib cage.  Dogor was discovered in a remote part of north-east Siberia and is so well-preserved because it was found in a tunnel that was dug into the permafrost. He was later sent to Oxford University's Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit for dating, which revealed that the corpse dated back at least 18,000 years, meaning Dogor would have lived during the last Ice Age. He is being kept in Russia while, in Sweden, Mr Stanton and his colleague Love Dalen study his rib bone.

    An 18,000-year-old puppy unearthed in Siberia could prove to be the missing link between dogs and wolves, scientists believe.  The puppy was discovered perfectly preserved by permafrost near Yakutsk, eastern Siberia last summer and carbon dating has revealed it has been frozen for around 18,000 years.   Researchers at the Centre for Palaeogenetics in Stockholm, Sweden announced this week that extensive DNA tests have so far been unable to confirm whether the animal was a dog or a wolf.  The experts believe this may be because the canine comes from the period when dogs were domesticated and hope the creature will prove crucial to uncovering when exactly the evolution began.   "It's normally relatively easy to tell the difference between the two," researcher David Stanton told CNN. Dogor was so well-preserved because he was found in a tunnel that was dug into the permafrost "We have a lot of data from it already, and with that amount of data, you'd expect to tell if it was one or the other. The fact that we can't might suggest that it's from a population that was ancestral to both - to dogs and wolves". A 2017 study published in the journal Nature Communications suggested that modern dogs were domesticated from a single wolf population 20,000 to 40,000 years ago but tests on this specimen could offer further clues as to the precise period. "We don't know exactly when dogs were domesticated, but it may have been from about that time. We are interested in whether it is in fact a dog or a wolf, or perhaps it's something halfway between the two," Mr Stanton added. Scientists believe some modern dogs descended from just one wolf population that lived continuously in Europe for thousands of years.  If confirmed to be a dog, scientists believe it will be the earliest confirmed "It seems that dogs were domesticated from a lineage of wolves that went  extinct," said Mr Stanton. "So that's why it's such a difficult problem to work on to understand where and when dogs were domesticated." The researchers' genome analysis has revealed that the puppy was a male so the scientists, after discussing with their Russian colleagues, have named the puppy 'Dogor'. The name means "friend" in Yakutian - as well as referencing the question "dog or wolf?" The scientists hope that further genome data tests on the creature will reveal more about Dogor's origins. Photographs released by the Centre for Palaeogenetics show the puppy in an almost perfect condition, with its nose, whiskers and teeth remarkably intact. Dogor can be seen almost completely covered in fur except for an exposed rib cage.  Dogor was discovered in a remote part of north-east Siberia and is so well-preserved because it was found in a tunnel that was dug into the permafrost. He was later sent to Oxford University's Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit for dating, which revealed that the corpse dated back at least 18,000 years, meaning Dogor would have lived during the last Ice Age. He is being kept in Russia while, in Sweden, Mr Stanton and his colleague Love Dalen study his rib bone.


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  • 55/79   Blue Origin’s expansion plans rush ahead at its Seattle-area HQ — and in Los Angeles
    SCIENCE TOPIC NEWS

    KENT, Wash. — Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin space venture is rapidly expanding on several fronts, ranging from its headquarters facility south of Seattle to a new beachhead in the Los Angeles area — within the orbit of its main competitor, Elon Musk's SpaceX. Just three and a half years ago, Blue Origin's workforce amounted to 600 employees, and even then, Bezos said his company's 300,000-square-foot office and production facility in Kent was "busting out of the seams." Now the employee count is at around 2,500, heading toward 3,500 in the next year. That's according to a report from… Read More

    KENT, Wash. — Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin space venture is rapidly expanding on several fronts, ranging from its headquarters facility south of Seattle to a new beachhead in the Los Angeles area — within the orbit of its main competitor, Elon Musk's SpaceX. Just three and a half years ago, Blue Origin's workforce amounted to 600 employees, and even then, Bezos said his company's 300,000-square-foot office and production facility in Kent was "busting out of the seams." Now the employee count is at around 2,500, heading toward 3,500 in the next year. That's according to a report from… Read More


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  • 56/79   The human species will likely destroy itself long before the sun kills everyone on Earth, a Harvard scientists says
    SCIENCE TOPIC NEWS

    Scientist Avi Loeb wrote that we should colonize space to survive the sun's future expansion. But humanity might wipe itself out before then, he said.

    Scientist Avi Loeb wrote that we should colonize space to survive the sun's future expansion. But humanity might wipe itself out before then, he said.


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  • 57/79   NASA’s in the market for quick taxi rides to and from International Space Station
    SCIENCE TOPIC NEWS

    NASA already has committed billions of dollars to procuring regularly scheduled rides to and from the International Space Station from commercial space taxi operators — but now it says it's interested in buying short-term trips as well. The proposed arrangement, detailed on Tuesday, is aimed at giving a boost to the commercialization of space operations in low Earth orbit, as well as to NASA's drive to send astronauts to the moon by 2024. It also makes the line dividing government-funded and privately funded space efforts even fuzzier. SpaceX and Boeing are both building spacecraft to serve as taxis to the… Read More

    NASA already has committed billions of dollars to procuring regularly scheduled rides to and from the International Space Station from commercial space taxi operators — but now it says it's interested in buying short-term trips as well. The proposed arrangement, detailed on Tuesday, is aimed at giving a boost to the commercialization of space operations in low Earth orbit, as well as to NASA's drive to send astronauts to the moon by 2024. It also makes the line dividing government-funded and privately funded space efforts even fuzzier. SpaceX and Boeing are both building spacecraft to serve as taxis to the… Read More


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  • 58/79   A stunning animation by a planetary scientist shows how huge our solar system is — and why that makes it so hard to depict
    SCIENCE TOPIC NEWS

    The planets are so far apart, and the sun is so big, that you wouldn't be able to see anything in an accurate model of the solar system.

    The planets are so far apart, and the sun is so big, that you wouldn't be able to see anything in an accurate model of the solar system.


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  • 59/79   Expedition Titan uses mixed reality to turn Saturn’s mysterious moon into a thrill ride
    SCIENCE TOPIC NEWS

    It's doubtful anyone alive today will get to ride through the ice volcanoes of Saturn's largest moon — but you can do the next best thing at Seattle's Pacific Science Center, thanks to a mixed-reality experience called Expedition Titan. The walk-through production is the latest showcase for Hyperspace XR, a startup-in-residence that's pioneering the frontiers of mixed reality at the science center. That frontier is associated with other labels of immersive experiences, including virtual reality (MR), extended reality (XR) and augmented reality (AR). Hyperspace XR's brand of mixed reality involves creating a real-world environment — complete with walls, doorways and… Read More

    It's doubtful anyone alive today will get to ride through the ice volcanoes of Saturn's largest moon — but you can do the next best thing at Seattle's Pacific Science Center, thanks to a mixed-reality experience called Expedition Titan. The walk-through production is the latest showcase for Hyperspace XR, a startup-in-residence that's pioneering the frontiers of mixed reality at the science center. That frontier is associated with other labels of immersive experiences, including virtual reality (MR), extended reality (XR) and augmented reality (AR). Hyperspace XR's brand of mixed reality involves creating a real-world environment — complete with walls, doorways and… Read More


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  • 60/79   UN peacekeeping chief visits restive eastern DR Congo after protests
    WORLD TOPIC NEWS

    The United Nations peacekeeping chief arrived on Saturday in eastern DR Congo where anti-UN protests have erupted after militia attacks that have left more than 100 people dead since the start of the month.  The arrival of UN Under-Secretary General for Peace Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix in Beni came several days after an angry mob stormed a UN base in the town in protest over a perceived failure of peacekeepers to stop militia violence.

    The United Nations peacekeeping chief arrived on Saturday in eastern DR Congo where anti-UN protests have erupted after militia attacks that have left more than 100 people dead since the start of the month. The arrival of UN Under-Secretary General for Peace Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix in Beni came several days after an angry mob stormed a UN base in the town in protest over a perceived failure of peacekeepers to stop militia violence.


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  • 61/79   London Knife Attack Overshadows U.K. Election: Weekend Reads
    WORLD TOPIC NEWS

    (Bloomberg) -- Want to receive this post in your inbox every day? Sign up for the Balance of Power newsletter, and follow Bloomberg Politics on Twitter and Facebook for more.U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn agreed to pause their election activities in the capital after a man killed two people in a knife attack in the London Bridge area yesterday afternoon. Police shot dead the 28-year-old assailant, who’d been released from prison on parole a year ago after a 2012 terrorism conviction. The assault came as a hotly anticipated YouGov poll showed Johnson’s Conservatives are likely to win a comfortable majority in parliament in the Dec. 12 general election that will allow him to take the U.K. out of the European Union.  Elsewhere, the leaders of the world’s two biggest economies have been sparring again, with China warning it may retaliate against the U.S. after President Donald Trump signed bills backing Hong Kong’s protesters just as they’re close to reaching agreement on the first stage of a trade deal. Dig deeper into these and other topics and take a look at some of Bloomberg’s most compelling political photos from the past week. Terrorist Kills Two in London, Putting Vote Campaign on HoldA man previously jailed on terrorism charges killed two people in a knife attack in the heart of London yesterday, disrupting the U.K.’s general election campaign. Jessica Shankleman, Greg Ritchie and Kitty Donaldson report.The Big Question on Hong Kong: How Will China Hit Back at Trump?China is threatening to retaliate against the U.S. for supporting pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong. But its failure to flesh out the details despite having weeks to prepare shows the difficulties Beijing faces in hitting the U.S. without also hurting its own economy.  Personal Income Booms in States With Decisive Role in 2020 RacePersonal income growth has been surging in some U.S. political battlegrounds, including a third of the counties in Pennsylvania, which Donald Trump narrowly won in 2016. Alex Tanzi and Wei Lu explain that Trump’s re-election campaign will appeal to those who are seeing the benefits of growth. Rudy Giuliani Has Curious Links to a Jewish Village in UkraineIt doesn’t look like much: a muddy site roughly four football fields long with a dozen buildings on the grim outskirts of the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv. But as Stephanie Baker and Daryna Krasnolutska report, Anatevka has at least a walk-on role in the Trump impeachment drama. Chile’s Billionaire President’s Legacy Swept Away by UnrestChilean President Sebastian Pinera has watched his political agenda go up in smoke during the biggest street protests and riots since the return of democracy in 1990. Philip Sanders writes that his promises to expand the private pension system, cut taxes for the rich and clamp down on crime have been swept away.Europe’s Last Soviet Economy Approaches Its ‘Hour of Reckoning’Call it the Belarus exception. Almost 28 years since the collapse of the Soviet Union, this deeply cautious nation of 9.5 million has kept alive many of the industrial jobs and social ecosystems that centrally planned factory budgets once supported across the bloc. Marc Champion and Aliaksandr Kudrytski explain.China Avoids Calls for Bold Action as Climate Warnings EscalateAs the United Nations warns that countries must do more to stave off the worst impacts of climate change, the world’s biggest carbon emitter, China, has little to offer in the way of stronger action. The Man Stoking Nationalism in India Could Succeed Modi One DayAmit Shah has been a behind-the-scenes soldier for India’s Hindu right for more than three decades. Fresh from having helped Narendra Modi secure to a second landslide win in national elections, Bibhudatta Pradhan writes, Shah’s increasingly public profile has raised questions about whether he might one day look to succeed the prime minister. Erdogan Plots an Overhaul of Political Realm as Challenges MountWith his rivals running Turkey’s most important cities and ex-allies who helped build his political empire on the verge of becoming opponents, it’s time for a rethink for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. As Firat Kozok and Selcan Hacaoglu report, his party is planning a “grand congress” to rejuvenate decision-making by electing younger officials and women. And finally … Europe’s winemakers are facing major challenges from rising temperatures and extreme weather events associated with climate change, Stefan Nicola, Charles Penty and Megan Durisin report. “You have to reinvent yourself every year,” says Almudena Alberca, technical director at Spain’s Grupo Bodegas Palacios 1894. Some 15,000 diplomats and environmentalists are meeting in Madrid next week to discuss the threats posed by climate change at a United Nations conference.   To contact the author of this story: Karl Maier in Rome at kmaier2@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Winfrey at mwinfrey@bloomberg.netFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

    (Bloomberg) -- Want to receive this post in your inbox every day? Sign up for the Balance of Power newsletter, and follow Bloomberg Politics on Twitter and Facebook for more.U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn agreed to pause their election activities in the capital after a man killed two people in a knife attack in the London Bridge area yesterday afternoon. Police shot dead the 28-year-old assailant, who’d been released from prison on parole a year ago after a 2012 terrorism conviction. The assault came as a hotly anticipated YouGov poll showed Johnson’s Conservatives are likely to win a comfortable majority in parliament in the Dec. 12 general election that will allow him to take the U.K. out of the European Union.  Elsewhere, the leaders of the world’s two biggest economies have been sparring again, with China warning it may retaliate against the U.S. after President Donald Trump signed bills backing Hong Kong’s protesters just as they’re close to reaching agreement on the first stage of a trade deal. Dig deeper into these and other topics and take a look at some of Bloomberg’s most compelling political photos from the past week. Terrorist Kills Two in London, Putting Vote Campaign on HoldA man previously jailed on terrorism charges killed two people in a knife attack in the heart of London yesterday, disrupting the U.K.’s general election campaign. Jessica Shankleman, Greg Ritchie and Kitty Donaldson report.The Big Question on Hong Kong: How Will China Hit Back at Trump?China is threatening to retaliate against the U.S. for supporting pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong. But its failure to flesh out the details despite having weeks to prepare shows the difficulties Beijing faces in hitting the U.S. without also hurting its own economy.  Personal Income Booms in States With Decisive Role in 2020 RacePersonal income growth has been surging in some U.S. political battlegrounds, including a third of the counties in Pennsylvania, which Donald Trump narrowly won in 2016. Alex Tanzi and Wei Lu explain that Trump’s re-election campaign will appeal to those who are seeing the benefits of growth. Rudy Giuliani Has Curious Links to a Jewish Village in UkraineIt doesn’t look like much: a muddy site roughly four football fields long with a dozen buildings on the grim outskirts of the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv. But as Stephanie Baker and Daryna Krasnolutska report, Anatevka has at least a walk-on role in the Trump impeachment drama. Chile’s Billionaire President’s Legacy Swept Away by UnrestChilean President Sebastian Pinera has watched his political agenda go up in smoke during the biggest street protests and riots since the return of democracy in 1990. Philip Sanders writes that his promises to expand the private pension system, cut taxes for the rich and clamp down on crime have been swept away.Europe’s Last Soviet Economy Approaches Its ‘Hour of Reckoning’Call it the Belarus exception. Almost 28 years since the collapse of the Soviet Union, this deeply cautious nation of 9.5 million has kept alive many of the industrial jobs and social ecosystems that centrally planned factory budgets once supported across the bloc. Marc Champion and Aliaksandr Kudrytski explain.China Avoids Calls for Bold Action as Climate Warnings EscalateAs the United Nations warns that countries must do more to stave off the worst impacts of climate change, the world’s biggest carbon emitter, China, has little to offer in the way of stronger action. The Man Stoking Nationalism in India Could Succeed Modi One DayAmit Shah has been a behind-the-scenes soldier for India’s Hindu right for more than three decades. Fresh from having helped Narendra Modi secure to a second landslide win in national elections, Bibhudatta Pradhan writes, Shah’s increasingly public profile has raised questions about whether he might one day look to succeed the prime minister. Erdogan Plots an Overhaul of Political Realm as Challenges MountWith his rivals running Turkey’s most important cities and ex-allies who helped build his political empire on the verge of becoming opponents, it’s time for a rethink for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. As Firat Kozok and Selcan Hacaoglu report, his party is planning a “grand congress” to rejuvenate decision-making by electing younger officials and women. And finally … Europe’s winemakers are facing major challenges from rising temperatures and extreme weather events associated with climate change, Stefan Nicola, Charles Penty and Megan Durisin report. “You have to reinvent yourself every year,” says Almudena Alberca, technical director at Spain’s Grupo Bodegas Palacios 1894. Some 15,000 diplomats and environmentalists are meeting in Madrid next week to discuss the threats posed by climate change at a United Nations conference.   To contact the author of this story: Karl Maier in Rome at kmaier2@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Winfrey at mwinfrey@bloomberg.netFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


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  • 62/79   Iraqi officials: 2 protesters dead in more violence
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    Iraqi officials say two protesters have been shot dead and at least 26 wounded in Baghdad and southern Iraq in continued unrest after Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi announced he intended to resign.  Experts said parliament must approve Abdul Mahdi’s resignation for it to be valid.  Security and hospital officials say two protesters were killed and 15 wounded early Saturday by security forces who fired live rounds at them in the holy city of Najaf, in southern Iraq.

    Iraqi officials say two protesters have been shot dead and at least 26 wounded in Baghdad and southern Iraq in continued unrest after Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi announced he intended to resign. Experts said parliament must approve Abdul Mahdi’s resignation for it to be valid. Security and hospital officials say two protesters were killed and 15 wounded early Saturday by security forces who fired live rounds at them in the holy city of Najaf, in southern Iraq.


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  • 63/79   Relic thought to be from Jesus’ manger arrives in Bethlehem
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    A tiny wooden relic that some Christians believe to be part of Jesus' manger arrived Saturday in its permanent home in the biblical city of Bethlehem 1,400 years after it was sent to Rome as a gift to the pope.  Sheathed in an ornate case, cheerful crowds greeted the relic with much fanfare before it entered the Franciscan Church of St. Catherine next to the Church of the Nativity, the West Bank holy site where tradition says Jesus was born.  Troubled Bethlehem in the Israeli-occupied West Bank is bracing for the occasion, where pilgrims from around the world flock to the city.

    A tiny wooden relic that some Christians believe to be part of Jesus' manger arrived Saturday in its permanent home in the biblical city of Bethlehem 1,400 years after it was sent to Rome as a gift to the pope. Sheathed in an ornate case, cheerful crowds greeted the relic with much fanfare before it entered the Franciscan Church of St. Catherine next to the Church of the Nativity, the West Bank holy site where tradition says Jesus was born. Troubled Bethlehem in the Israeli-occupied West Bank is bracing for the occasion, where pilgrims from around the world flock to the city.


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  • 64/79   Syria Faces a New Foreign Invasion: Travel Bloggers
    WORLD TOPIC NEWS

    Niels van Gijn/GettyBarefoot, ecstatic, and in high definition, Eva zu Beck, a 28-year-old travel vlogger from Poland with an impressive social media following and sponsorship deal with Samsung, walks across a courtyard in one of the city’s most “iconic” spots. “People here are really kind and really, really generous,” she raves in a video now watched more than half a million times. She samples old-world delights at a hole-in-the-wall bakery, and tastes what looks to be pistachio ice cream at a bustling market, or “souk” as it’s known in Damascus. Curious young boys surround her, an attraction in her own right—a tourist in a country better known for producing refugees. “It’s too much,” she exclaims, a keffiyeh in the style of the Syrian flag draped around her neck.Eva, who graduated from Oxford before working as a social media professional at a media startup in London, wasn’t in Syria to do journalism, work for the United Nations, or—in a break from past visitors—express solidarity with Bashar al-Assad, whose regime responded to a mass uprising in 2011 by releasing terrorists, shooting civilians, and burning the country. No, she’s an oddity in a country still very much at war: a tourist, one of several adventure-seekers with a high-profile presence on YouTube and Instagram who have recently gone on excursions in this blood-soaked part of the Levant.“I have been to other places that, potentially, you could say have ‘viral potential’ or whatever you want to call it,” Eva told The Daily Beast. Iran. Iraqi Kurdistan. But, when going far off the beaten path, for a Western travel blogger, she said the motive isn’t money. “I went to Syria because I am personally interested in the country,” having met Syrians who told her about a homeland they themselves cannot visit, she said, “not because I was thinking about [YouTube] views or anything like that.”Such a trip would not be unusual in 2010, when 8.5 million tourists reportedly visited Syria. “Discover wonderful old Damascene houses, admire the mesmerizing gold mosaics of Umayyad Mosque, or savour the silence of the Palmyra ruins,” states a travel guide from Lonely Planet, last updated more than a decade ago. A lot has happened in that time. For one, there are now more ruins.At least 400,000 people had been killed as of April 2016, when the United Nations stopped counting; a month before, the international governing body accused the Syrian government of carrying out a policy of terror—of barrel bombs, sarin and chlorine gas—that amounts to the crime of “extermination.” Many of the 259,000 people who worked in tourism in 2010, according to the Syrian government, are dead or in exile; all had to find other work.Khaldoun Al-Alamy, 53, never left Damascus and is now in a position to benefit from the fact others are, slowly, coming back. From the start of the year until the end of August 2019, a spokesperson for the Syrian Ministry of Tourism said 1.5 million people visited the country, up 61 percent from the same period a year before. Al-Alamy runs a travel agency, Golden Target Tours, and he’s the one who arranged Eva’s trip. He told me he’s been fielding a slew of inquiries since she gave him a shout out, online.Hosn Castle, also known as Krak des Chevaliers.Mohamed AzakirOver the phone, he gave the same pitch he’s been desperately giving the last few years about Syria’s historical sites and friendly people, when his career became more a passion. “You can visit the biggest mosque in the area, the bazaar, the oldest church, old houses, everything,” he said. There’s an ancient Roman amphitheater, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, south of the capital in Bosra, and a medieval castle, Krak des Chevaliers, up north, near the border with Lebanon. His most popular tour, however, is for three nights in the capital. This, he said, has been his best year since war destroyed whatever business he had.“When you see the people coming and visiting and shopping, and the restaurants are all full,” he said between fits of coughing, “that gives you a really very nice, very positive feeling. You feel like life is returning. Life is normal. That there’s a future.”Tourists began returning in larger numbers after the Syrian regime crushed what was left of the armed resistance in Eastern Ghouta, a suburb of Damascus, and Daraa, a province just south of the capital and considered by many to be the seat of the revolution. In early 2011, schoolchildren there were arrested over anti-regime graffiti—for telling “the doctor,” their opthamologist turned dictator, that he would be next to fall in the Arab Spring. One was subsequently tortured to death, the return of their 13-year-old body causing the town to erupt in protest, believing a better world was possible. In Syria, at least, it wasn’t, the world watching as the doctor set the country ablaze.* * *Today’s visitors are different than those who came before the war, when Syria was repressed but enjoying a false peace. “Most of them are young people, educated,” al-Alamy told me. “This is very important, because those people will be our ambassadors, let’s say, outside,” he said. And most are happy to fill that role; to boast of their adventures in a place that’s been barrel-bombed off the map of most other travelers.In Damascus, what’s long been a police state has long since been militarized. “There’s a checkpoint on every corner,” Joan Townsend Torres, a 31-year-old Spaniard who visited in 2018 and has authored a guide for those who wish to follow in his footsteps. And there are other military installations, he recalled, that make traditional tourist activities, like snapping photos of everything, a bit more risky, especially in a locale that associates photography with journalism—with subversion.“I always walk around with my big camera hanging from my shoulder,” Joan told me. And he had a number of conversations with soldiers asking him what he was up to, and insisting on a review of his photos. Most people, he said, are just happy to learn he’s not a reporter; that he’s a tourist, instead, “means that the country’s changing.”Outside the country, Joan said, the response is different.“You receive a lot of emails and messages from people… [who] are really, really angry that [someone] went to Syria because it’s, like, supporting the government and it’s unethical,” Joan acknowledged. Still, “I don’t think there’s anything bad about it. I mean, I didn’t take selfies with destroyed buildings behind me.”The actual number of visitors cannot be independently verified, and one tour operator in Damascus, “Ayoub,” requesting anonymity as “the situation is very sensitive,” said the government’s figures are almost certainly inflated, counting anyone who crosses the border, for any reason, as a “tourist.” But more are in fact coming. Excluding Lebanon, Iraq and Jordan, just under 142,000 foreigners officially stepped foot in Syria during the first two-thirds of 2019, according to the Ministry of Tourism, up 17 percent from the year before.“We don’t have a lot of tourists,” the tour operator in Damascus noted. “But now we have more.”Before the conflict, it was, generally, history—those ancient ruins in Palmyra, since desecrated by ISIS—that brought the tour groups. And history, generally, attracts an older crowd. During the height of the war, when rebel mortars still threatened neighborhoods in Damascus, visitors still came, but in solidarity: fascists who see allies in Baathism; anti-imperialists who see the leading contributor to violence in Syria, Bashar al-Assad, as a victim of a failed international conspiracy to forcibly change his regime.A general view shows ruins in the historic city of Palmyra, Syria March 4, 2017.Omar Sanadiki“The main reason for tourism now, it’s just, like, to show off, you know?” the Damascus tour operator told me. It’s a younger, more online set, eager to “show off on the social media to get some followers [and] a lot of likes.”It’s not inherently evil, that. Who doesn’t want to be liked? Nor is it fair to say those who go to Syria have not grappled with the ethics of that decision; they have ultimately decided it is okay, of course, but they are not oblivious. The question is really whether Syria is exceptional — that is, while visitors insist they are not doing politics, is it possible not to? Or, as some maintain, is it really no different than visiting anywhere else in the world with a less than stellar head of state? There is a difference, of course: almost nowhere is as bad as Syria, a condemnation of its regime more than absolution for any other. And there are millions in a diaspora who cannot do what a white tourist can: step foot in their homeland. On an emotional level, the tourists I interviewed understood this, even if they ultimately rejected the logic for boycotting travel to Syria. It’s not lost on their tour operators, either.“Yeah, I know this,” the Damascus tour operator confessed, after a pregnant silence, when I asked if he could understand some Syrians’ anger toward the mostly European tourists who purchase his services. “I lost my home during the war,” he said, and “a lot of my friends” are now abroad, most in Germany. They cannot enter regime-held Syria, suspected of opposition sympathies or wanted for military service—or subject to arrest just for leaving the country without permission.Native-born Germans, on the other hand: “When they start seeing the refugees, they get more curious to go to that country to see where these people came from,” he said. “They meet a Syrian and they start talking and they [the Syrian] tell them, like, ‘I wish I could go back to my country.’” And so they, the Germans, visit on their behalf “and bring him something from the ground.”Others, on the “influencer” end of the spectrum, can sometimes be less admirable, treating the source of so much pain in this young and brutal 21st century as a playground—another stop on a social media tour, with an expectation that with Insta-fame comes generosity, toward them. One, the operator said, “chose to arrive here on Ramadan, because they give a lot of [free] meals. And she stayed on CouchSurfing with a Syrian girl. And so she traveled without spending any money.”He himself would like to travel to Italy someday, but that would cost something far beyond the means of most Syrians; they are lucky to make $100 a month these days, down from $1,000 before the war, or what most in government-controlled areas term “the conflict,” so as to not suggest parity between sides. And so this tour operator, in school to become the sort of licensed guide to this police state’s foreign visitors, has never been a tourist himself. “I grew up during the war,” he explained. “I didn’t have a chance.”Most refugees are destitute, and while some who stayed behind were able to do so thanks to their wealth and power, not fearing arbitrary arrest or worse, many others lacked the means to head somewhere not at war. And it’s too late now. In an age of militarized borders, where the hypocrisies of liberal internationalism have given way to the open malice of right-wing authoritarianism, where would they go? Doors are closing, and many of those who did make it out can never return in the absence of a change in regime. Those who can safely visit Syria are those with no public record of criticizing the government, or any demonstrable ties to those who have. A wrong bet—a mistaken faith in Damascus’ haphazard talk of reconciliation—can result in one disappearing in a torture chamber like Sednaya, a prison where “Syrian authorities have quietly and methodically organized the killing of thousands of people in their custody,” according to Amnesty International. A correct assessment of the risk, however, can also lead one to sip wine and post selfies to Instagram just outside that detention center, like Russian state propagandists and French fascists, such guests of honor spared the need for a regime minder.The contradiction between sight-seeing and immense human suffering is not lost on all who come. After the normalcy of Damascus, Eva visited Aleppo to see ruins that weren’t on any tourist’s agenda prior to 2011. Her tone, as she walks among the half of the city once occupied by rebels, and destroyed by the government, is markedly different: “This isn’t fun,” would be any viewer’s takeaway.“I just felt, frankly, quite saddened by the whole situation,” Eva told me later, speaking as she walked the streets of her latest stop, Mexico City. “And I think it is absolutely tragic that people who are from the country cannot come back.” She’s been to other politically fraught destinations, including Iran and Yemen. But her pre-war interest in Syria, she said, was renewed by a flight from Dubai. The man in the seat next to her was originally from Syria, and unable to return. “You can probably go as a foreigner,” she recalls him saying. “Just, if you go, can you please just kiss Aleppo for me?”“I think that Syria is a destination that you can only visit if you’re prepared to be uncomfortable,” Eva told me, “and potentially be in a situation that is not safe—and be prepared to be extremely sensitive,” said, “because this is not a beach in Thailand.”The Syrian government has, in its haphazard way, promoted the idea that it kind of is, though. On its YouTube channel, the Syrian Ministry of Tourism posts footage of young people in bikinis enjoying the emerald waters off the coast of Latakia; amid the 2016 siege of Aleppo, Syrian state media published video boasting of the “thriving nightlife” in the government-held Western half of the city.Tourists who visit tend to highlight the same things as the regime’s propagandists: the good, not the bad. This isn’t because most are shills for a government that is largely responsible for the worst bloodshed most of us have seen in our lifetime. It’s the limits of the genre: travel bloggers are not journalists, and travel blogging is not journalism.But isn’t it, really? Going to a foreign land and reporting back on what you saw is awfully close to what someone called a “reporter” would do. In this age of mass media layoffs, however, the role of the professional is increasingly filled by independent amateurs. That the Syrian state allows in the latter may not be an explicit propaganda strategy, but that some tourists are active and influential on social media—and uninterested in politicizing their experience or explaining who killed who, if they even know enough to speculate—is undoubtedly a service to the cause of normalizing a rogue, murderous state.Eva is no apologist for tyranny in Syria anymore than she, by visiting the United States, is a de facto supporter of Donald Trump. She is, again, a travel blogger eager to describe her excursions, which often take her to places with complex political realities on which she does not opine. Indeed, when it comes to politics and travel, “I don’t know [that] there’s a relation between those two things,” she told me.Perhaps it is unfair to expect sophisticated political analysis from a tourist on a short excursion; perhaps, in fact, it is better that they refrain and save us and them the embarrassment of a half-baked perspective, informed by taxi drivers and Wikipedia. But its absence speaks, too.I, for one, was initially unfair toward Eva, answering her video from Damascus with social media posts of my own, thinking her engaged in propaganda, conscious or not. How ghoulish, I maintained, to omit the war—to assert from the start that this elephant would not be discussed—while celebrating a capital, bloated by the internally displaced from wrecked suburbs, as a tourist destination like any other. But in her eyes, and in her approach, that is exactly what it was and remains: a place on Earth, unique, with beautiful sites, friendly people and messy politics.* * *Syria isn’t really like any other place, though. More than half its population has been displaced. Activists aren’t just spied on and harassed by police, but tortured and killed—just blocks away from where you, the useful traveler, may have raved about the dessert.If something is perceived as propaganda, does it matter then if that was not the intent? If it’s unthinking, that may just mean it’s more effective.“I mean, I don’t think it’s possible to be apolitical in this context!” said Yasmin Fedda, a filmmaker whose 2012 documentary, A Tale of Two Syrias, explored the lives of pre-war Damascenes, and the brutality and hardship that precipitated an uprising. “It’s very naive to think so and shows a lack of understanding.”Fedda is one of nearly 100 Syrian filmmakers who signed an October 14 open letter signed by decrying the “increasingly common” practice of regime-approved, foreign directors using unreconstructed war zones in their productions. “These devastated towns and cities [are] transformed into cinematic backdrops,” they wrote, the scene of war crimes and forced displacement “used as movie sets for regime-sponsored films.”Tourists may be subject to less intensive vetting, but they are welcomed for the same reason: to be, as the tour operator al-Alamy said, “ambassadors”—to promote a positive image of the country abroad; to do what travel bloggers do everywhere they go: present their experiences in a generally pleasant light that makes others want to do the same, and a touch jealous that they haven’t already.Kristyan Benedict, a campaigner at Amnesty International, thinks likewise. “Any organised tourism will almost certainly be controlled by the Assad regime, which will seek to profit from it financially while using it as a PR tool as part of its campaign to claim Syria is back to normal,” he told me. At the same time, “Tourists who venture into Syria should be aware of the very grave risks—including kidnapping and car bombs—and be prepared to massively self-censor or risk falling foul of Assad’s intelligence forces,” he told me. Going at all, he argued, is to lend credibility to a regime eager to use foreign visitors “as a PR tool in its campaign to claim Syria is back to normal.”But after eight years of war, that is also what many Syrians desire: a return, if not to “normal,” to the mundane, everyday repression of a hereditary dictatorship—less cruel, while perversely brutal, if only because it was more confident. A false peace is, at the end of a civil war, preferable to death.* * *Jamila, a 20-something who works as a translator in Damascus, has long been enchanted by the world outside of her own troubled slice of it. She’s never been beyond Lebanon, lacking the opportunity and the money to go any further, but some years back she joined Couchsurfing, a networking website for international travelers. Typically, as the name may suggest, it works like this: tourists find locals willing to put them up, and then they sleep on their couch. Damascus has almost 1,900 such “hosts,” according to the site, but hosting a foreigner in Syria is risky business: it’s not really legal.“I didn’t know it was dangerous,” Jamila told me over the phone. She signed up as a teenager, looking to meet people from abroad and practice her English. But she has never actually hosted a traveler; inviting a stranger into your home may be a typical act of Syrian hospitality, but letting them sleep there? Until the suburbs of Damascus were subdued, Jamila said military patrols would go door to door, demanding to see each household’s “family book”—a ledger of inhabitants registered with the state. Anyone not on the page, but inside the house, could be perceived as a draft dodger or a terrorist, which is to say a member of the opposition. So, instead of letting anyone surf her couch, Jamila has used the site as a social network, offering foreigners advice on what to see and do, and meeting up with them when they arrive.That can be dangerous too. Who are these people? Until recently, such visitors would be journalists who, if perceived as critical, would be subject to all the surveillance a police state can muster. And while paranoia has lessened somewhat, there are stories Jamila shared about such encounters that cannot be published without risking her liberty, even with the relative freedom of anonymity.You needn’t do anything wrong to end up in trouble with the Syrian authorities. Someone further up in the hierarchy of power could decide to haul you in for an interrogation, because that foreigner you spoke to could be perceived as a spy, or a journalist, or they just might need someone to blame for a screw up—someone being allowed into the country that shouldn’t have been, sometimes just in hindsight—who isn’t further up than them.Tour operators can’t take any chances; running afoul of the state could mean, at best, no more visas for your customers. For that reason they can’t just rely on the government’s background check when considering whether to admit a traveler; they scour social media, from LinkedIn to Instagram, to ensure that Western influencer isn’t actually a Western journalist. “I Google the name,” said Ayoub, the Damascus tour operator, “because if I discover that you work with international organizations, or journalists—especially the journalists—and they have not discovered this in the Department of Immigration, when trouble happens I’m going to be responsible.”It’s happened before. All the tour operators I spoke to, and most of the tourists, were familiar with a story from late 2018, which changed everything—or at least made explicit who would be blamed for a heavy-handed police state doing what heavy-handed police states do. A young German tourist, in some tellings a “journalist,” was taking photos on the outskirts of Damascus. While it might be okay to take photos of some damage, and impossible not to encounter it on one’s journey, entire suburbs have been decimated during the course of the war—and access to them highly curtailed, for propaganda purposes. “I was the tourist who encountered significant problems, and thought an explanation was in order,” Felix Mechnig-Giordano, posted to the private Facebook group, Every Passport Stamp. “While walking around Damascus I came across one of the destroyed suburbs and asked a soldier if it was possible for me to enter,” he wrote. “While no one was concerned at first, this ended up with me being blindfolded, handcuffed and thrown into a secret police van.” He spent the next five days in a military prison at the Mezze military base, where leaked photos from a regime defector show that thousands have been executed since 2011, just a few miles from bars and restaurants.“At some point, someone had accused me of being a spy,” Mechnig-Giordano wrote. The interrogation soon revealed that to be untrue, but that is not what saved him: his nationality did. “[I]t demonstrated how vulnerable foreign visitors remain to arbitrary detention, and that at basically any opportunity anyone can accuse [anyone] of pretty much anything, leading to arrest and worst.” And, he continued, “While my German passport protected me from any sort of physical harm, the same could not be said for the hundreds of Syrians I saw being held and tortured. As the secret police so loved reminding me, you are pretty much screwed and at their mercy with no possibility of consular assistance once you are detained.”His travel agent fled the country, which didn’t help appearances. After that incident, an unspoken rule became an explicit requirement that all Western tourists—shorthand for about everyone outside Syria’s immediate neighbors—be accompanied by a guide at all times. These are not government agents, but they serve a purpose: keeping an eye on the guests and steering them and their interlocutors away from the problematic.But the sanitized version of Syria on display in some content is not the product of state censorship nor of malice on the creator’s part. It’s the form; these are vacation highlights, accenting the virtues of a destination and its people. And there is an argument for not letting 18 million people be defined solely by their relationship to a hereditary war criminal.“When we hear ‘Syria,’ we tend to think of all the negative things we’ve been hearing in the news, on TV,” Stefan Gentsch says in one of his YouTube videos. A 33-year-old travel blogger who resides in Singapore, he visited Damascus for the first time in late 2018, his visa sponsored by an old friend. His experience, as presented online, is a rejoinder of sorts—to the idea that Syria is defined only by its war and its dictator. His videos showcase the Syrian people’s legendary hospitality (most people think he’s Russian), and in one he travels outside Damascus to a town called Maaraba, which is unlikely to be on anyone else’s itinerary. There he tours a bread factory and gets invited to a wedding where he is peer-pressured into dancing.“Being in Syria, being at this wedding, I witnessed something that even before my trip, I might not have imagined Syria to be like. People dancing and enjoying themselves… It’s such a contrast to what think of as Syria.”He had a good time, and there’s a powerful argument that human beings should not be divided by borders, or cede the inalienable right to cultural exchange because crossing a line on a map might be perceived as a political act.But it’s what Stefan told me over the phone about his trip to Maaraba that I found most interesting: an omission, not the product of malice, that might have altered the viewer’s perception of Syria, and bolstered the latter’s infamy as a bastion of arbitrary oppression. He was detained—by police or the military he isn’t sure. “I did get in a little bit of trouble,” he told me. His Syrian friend, and visa sponsor, walked into a shop in Maraaba, a town, held by rebels until early 2018, where tour operators I asked said no tourist should be (“Tourists go to the touristic sites. Why are you going to empty places?” an alarmed al-Alamy said. “You are putting yourself in a bad position.”). As his friend was shopping, Stefan was on the street, snapping photos of nothing in particular, as tourists do. That’s when a man in uniform approached him speaking Arabic, a language he did not understand. Still, he got the gist. “He didn’t like that I had taken a picture.” And so the officer took him to a station, where was detained for a couple hours. “I was just sitting there, smiling,” he said. “I was not concerned about ending up in prison. My concern, or my biggest concern, was that maybe my phone will be confiscated and I would lose all the pictures I had taken on the trip.” While it was what led to his detention, "there's nothing special about the photo, it's an ordinary photo on the street to Maaraba," said Gentsch.Stefan GentschThere is no video of the incident, which ended with a superior, upon concluding that he was not in fact a spy or a one-man ISIS splinter cell, saying he could take all the photos he wants (“You’re a tourist!”). Accordingly, it is not on YouTube, and the impression, thus, is one of a country not quite as totalitarian as it was in reality. It is not propaganda, by any means. Still, Stefan told me he’s noticed his content being exploited by partisans who comment on his videos. “They might say something like, ‘Oh, if a German tourist can go to Syria, then why do Syrian refugees have to be let into Europe?’” And supporters of the Syrian regime—there is some crossover—will say “Assad is the greatest, he made this beautiful country safe again.”There are Assad’s opponents, too. They’ll say, “How can you report about how beautiful your experience was in Damascus, when 100,000 people have died under Assad’s rule?” Stefan said. It is a question he thought about. “The conclusion that I always tend to reach whenever I think about is that I’m traveling as a tourist, I know I do, and I don’t have any political motivation,” he told me. “I’m simply there to walk onto the streets to talk to everyday people, and to see what life is like.” Some do, however, intend to challenge the prevailing narrative on Syria—not just by humanizing people typically relegated to the status of voiceless bystander, or by simply leaving out an unpleasant encounter. Some are more consciously political, even if they still lean more tourist than activist. “Sitting in Damascus, having a beer, you had jet flights flying over head, fighting in the suburbs,” said Christian Lindgren, a 31-year-old Norwegian who visited in 2017. “There were no tourists in the country whatsoever.” The next year, when he returned following the regime’s military conquest of the suburbs, “it was much, much calmer. Like being in a different country.”But it still has its rules, like any other. Christian noted what happened to Felix, whom he described as a friend he met through travel forums online. “Wrong place at the wrong time,” is how he described his friend’s detention. “When you go there, any war zone with a lot of military and police, there’s places you shouldn’t take pictures of. It’s that simple.”But you should still try to visit. “When you go there, you’ll never trust Western media again,” he insisted. Indeed, his blog on his latest trip insists “there’s far less destruction in Aleppo than what the media has been telling us.” And there is, despite the tight controls on where one can visit and what one can do there, a sort of freedom, if only perceived: “I was granted full access,” he maintained. “I was even allowed to visit a school that Desh (ISIS) and al Qaeda used as headquarters.” (ISIS and al Qaeda were bitter opponents, and the former did not have a significant presence in rebel-held Aleppo).When I asked how he could be so sure he was getting the straight news in one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist, he told me a rule he’s picked up in his travels. “Go to a bar, have a few drinks with the locals, and you’ll really get an honest answer,” he said. “In any country in the world, it’s the same.” “I’ve gone to so many places that seemed dangerous, in the media,” Christian explained, “and I’ve gotten so much criticism for it. But none of those people that gave criticisms have been to those places.”* * *Sarah Hunaidi has been to Syria. She lived there until 2014; like millions of others, she was forced to flee her home over the crime of opposing state-sanctioned murder. She does not necessarily oppose others doing what she cannot—set foot in the place she called home—but she does think that with privilege comes certain responsibilities.“Touring Syria and meeting Syrian people and buying goods to benefit them is one thing,” Hunaidi told me, “and taking vlogs and video and ‘reporting’ about ‘the truth’ is another.” The main difference between an ethical tourist and, frankly, an asshole, is conscientiousness—being aware of where, exactly, you are. “By existing in a war zone, you are part of the war,” she told me. And one can’t avoid politics when your being there, while journalists and refugees cannot, as approving of your presence was itself a political decision by those who started that war.Shiyam Ghalyon is a Syrian-American who works for the War Resisters League, an anti-imperialist organization in New York City. Her sin, in the eyes of Damascus, is being too consistent—opposing war crimes in Syria, no matter the party that carried them out. That means, primarily, condemning the leading perpetrator of violence since 2011: the government that stamps the passports. And that means, in turn, accepting that she cannot step foot in any territory that government controls.“I do not have a blanket opposition to go to Syria, but I do think it should be a requirement to be very purposeful and intentional,” Ghalyon said. “In general, one should be thoughtful of how they move between local communities—but especially when the local communities are experiencing severe and systemic government brutality.”Many travelers are thoughtful (some a good deal more than others) and do express a conscious familiarity with where they are from, the privilege that affords them, and where they have been: a devastated country full of traumatized people who could go to jail, or worse, if they were to provide a complete stranger, from abroad, a truly authentic experience in Syria. Self-censorship is not an allegation, but a fact of life, awareness of which is the prerequisite sought by many in the Syrian diaspora.“I never brought up the subject of politics,” said Joan, the Spanish travel blogger. He has a business relationship with a local tour operator, to whom he refers prospective visitors; he isn’t naive when it comes to where he’s sending them, and why the people there may offer a gentler-than-mainstream take on the head of their police state. “Usually, most people would say that they like Bashar al-Assad,” Joan recounted, “but I mean, there’s a very simple reason: the people who don’t like him are either dead or they escaped from the country.”In fact, he told me, Syria is a bit like Spain—“when we were under military dictatorship, led by Franco,” who, like Bashar’s father, ruled until death, after killing tens of thousands. In Franco’s Spain as in Assad’s Syria, it would be wrong to confuse post-war resignation with anything more than a desire to return to something approaching normal.“I mean, regardless of whether he’s a murderer or not, he brought now stability to the country, right? It was a civil war going on. And he won. And now, finally, he’s rolling,” Joan said.* * *There’s a thin line between exposure and exploitation. Traveling to a war-torn nation and posting footage of the destruction could raise awareness, or it could be an exercise in showcasing the traveler’s superior empathy—crass, superficial and gross. It’s a delicate balance that some avoid by omitting the war altogether. By focusing on the positive amid the rubble, though, one runs the risk of the same offense: failing to capture the gravity of the situation. Is it actually more perverse to carry on as if nothing is wrong?Xavier Raychell Blancharde, a British-Polish college student who visited Syria as an 18-year-old, stressed that when I asked about the upcoming tour he’s arranging. For $1,300, tourists can accompany him on a January 2020 trip to Damascus, Maaloula, Krak de Chevaliers and Bosra al Sham, a Roman amphitheater recently re-opened to tourism. “I’ve been to Syria twice now,” he told me. “While we will certainly not attempt to hide the tragedy that has taken place in the country, we will also not specifically be heading to destroyed neighborhoods as a tourist group, for I personally find this extremely disrespectful and immoral. It is not ‘war tourism.’”In a video on a recent trip to coastal Latakia—which comes with the disclaimer that it “is NOT intended to be political”—he too compared the nation to Spain. But, again, it wasn’t political, at least not overtly. “The landscape is really similar, I think, to some places I’ve been to in southern Spain. And I think very few people would actually imagine that this is Syria…. People have a stereotyped image of the place, and this just completely breaks down that stereotype,” he said.That Syria has beautiful places cannot be denied. Focusing on that may be a travel blogger’s purview, but it is also no doubt a coup for the regime whenever natural beauty, and not human-wrought destruction, is the focus of a Westerner’s piece of content.Jamila, the Syrian Couchsurfer, said most visitors don’t try to get into matters of death and punishment. “They all know that we cannot speak a lot about politics. They would just maybe comment, ‘We didn’t know people loved your president.’ These would be the comments. But they wouldn’t ask too much.”That many in the Syrian diaspora object to tourists taking selfies in Damascus (with rubble or otherwise) is understandable, to her, but she welcomes these visitors, and is happy more than just reporters are showing up these days. “I understand them completely,” she said. “They think of tourists coming back as funding the government and they are against the government. They would say you’re helping the government kill the Syrian people.”Still, she argued, “most Syrians who live in Syria want tourists, and most people who don’t live in Syria don’t want tourists” At the very least, it’s good for the economy. “Our life is not even the minimum life,” she told me. “We are like really, really poor. Everyone here is really poor. Tourism would benefit people who are living here.” And, she said, “Whether we like it or not, the government did win.”But most of those Syrians outside the country couldn’t come back, even if they didn’t already object to foreigners touring their former home. Syrians who left the country are inherently suspect. Why would you go? And according to the Syrian Association for Citizens’ Dignity, two-thirds of those who have returned, to live if not to visit, say either they or a relative are wanted for arrest by the regime, which remains hungry for conscripts to fight in a country very much at war. Most, overwhelmingly, regret their decision to return. Others could not be asked: since coming back they have disappeared. It’s the insensitive traveler who Jamila wishes would avoid her country. “I think there’s a type where they see us Syrians as aliens, as just like their little research project,” she told me. She had one white guy in mind. “He treats our misery as an experience. He treats our war, and the things we’ve been going through, as a thrilling experience.” And this type also believes a holiday can be a fact-finding mission. In truth, “We cannot speak a lot about politics, and if we spoke we’re not going to say everything we’re thinking about, because we’re not free to say whatever we want.”So don’t do that, if you go. Don’t expect your eyes and ears will always receive the truth; sometimes the ground can obstruct the senses. And know one thing: whatever your troubles, you are the lucky, privileged one in every interaction. Maybe that, more than any expose beyond the paygrade of the amateur or uninitiated, is what any traveler to Syria has a responsibility to convey. If you go, in other words, speak the truths that might prevent you from ever going back. Syrians could relate to that.“Syria is safe for foreigners, 100 percent, and yes, come please and support us because we need every single penny,” Jamila told me. “But,” she stressed, “it is not safe for Syrians.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.

    Niels van Gijn/GettyBarefoot, ecstatic, and in high definition, Eva zu Beck, a 28-year-old travel vlogger from Poland with an impressive social media following and sponsorship deal with Samsung, walks across a courtyard in one of the city’s most “iconic” spots. “People here are really kind and really, really generous,” she raves in a video now watched more than half a million times. She samples old-world delights at a hole-in-the-wall bakery, and tastes what looks to be pistachio ice cream at a bustling market, or “souk” as it’s known in Damascus. Curious young boys surround her, an attraction in her own right—a tourist in a country better known for producing refugees. “It’s too much,” she exclaims, a keffiyeh in the style of the Syrian flag draped around her neck.Eva, who graduated from Oxford before working as a social media professional at a media startup in London, wasn’t in Syria to do journalism, work for the United Nations, or—in a break from past visitors—express solidarity with Bashar al-Assad, whose regime responded to a mass uprising in 2011 by releasing terrorists, shooting civilians, and burning the country. No, she’s an oddity in a country still very much at war: a tourist, one of several adventure-seekers with a high-profile presence on YouTube and Instagram who have recently gone on excursions in this blood-soaked part of the Levant.“I have been to other places that, potentially, you could say have ‘viral potential’ or whatever you want to call it,” Eva told The Daily Beast. Iran. Iraqi Kurdistan. But, when going far off the beaten path, for a Western travel blogger, she said the motive isn’t money. “I went to Syria because I am personally interested in the country,” having met Syrians who told her about a homeland they themselves cannot visit, she said, “not because I was thinking about [YouTube] views or anything like that.”Such a trip would not be unusual in 2010, when 8.5 million tourists reportedly visited Syria. “Discover wonderful old Damascene houses, admire the mesmerizing gold mosaics of Umayyad Mosque, or savour the silence of the Palmyra ruins,” states a travel guide from Lonely Planet, last updated more than a decade ago. A lot has happened in that time. For one, there are now more ruins.At least 400,000 people had been killed as of April 2016, when the United Nations stopped counting; a month before, the international governing body accused the Syrian government of carrying out a policy of terror—of barrel bombs, sarin and chlorine gas—that amounts to the crime of “extermination.” Many of the 259,000 people who worked in tourism in 2010, according to the Syrian government, are dead or in exile; all had to find other work.Khaldoun Al-Alamy, 53, never left Damascus and is now in a position to benefit from the fact others are, slowly, coming back. From the start of the year until the end of August 2019, a spokesperson for the Syrian Ministry of Tourism said 1.5 million people visited the country, up 61 percent from the same period a year before. Al-Alamy runs a travel agency, Golden Target Tours, and he’s the one who arranged Eva’s trip. He told me he’s been fielding a slew of inquiries since she gave him a shout out, online.Hosn Castle, also known as Krak des Chevaliers.Mohamed AzakirOver the phone, he gave the same pitch he’s been desperately giving the last few years about Syria’s historical sites and friendly people, when his career became more a passion. “You can visit the biggest mosque in the area, the bazaar, the oldest church, old houses, everything,” he said. There’s an ancient Roman amphitheater, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, south of the capital in Bosra, and a medieval castle, Krak des Chevaliers, up north, near the border with Lebanon. His most popular tour, however, is for three nights in the capital. This, he said, has been his best year since war destroyed whatever business he had.“When you see the people coming and visiting and shopping, and the restaurants are all full,” he said between fits of coughing, “that gives you a really very nice, very positive feeling. You feel like life is returning. Life is normal. That there’s a future.”Tourists began returning in larger numbers after the Syrian regime crushed what was left of the armed resistance in Eastern Ghouta, a suburb of Damascus, and Daraa, a province just south of the capital and considered by many to be the seat of the revolution. In early 2011, schoolchildren there were arrested over anti-regime graffiti—for telling “the doctor,” their opthamologist turned dictator, that he would be next to fall in the Arab Spring. One was subsequently tortured to death, the return of their 13-year-old body causing the town to erupt in protest, believing a better world was possible. In Syria, at least, it wasn’t, the world watching as the doctor set the country ablaze.* * *Today’s visitors are different than those who came before the war, when Syria was repressed but enjoying a false peace. “Most of them are young people, educated,” al-Alamy told me. “This is very important, because those people will be our ambassadors, let’s say, outside,” he said. And most are happy to fill that role; to boast of their adventures in a place that’s been barrel-bombed off the map of most other travelers.In Damascus, what’s long been a police state has long since been militarized. “There’s a checkpoint on every corner,” Joan Townsend Torres, a 31-year-old Spaniard who visited in 2018 and has authored a guide for those who wish to follow in his footsteps. And there are other military installations, he recalled, that make traditional tourist activities, like snapping photos of everything, a bit more risky, especially in a locale that associates photography with journalism—with subversion.“I always walk around with my big camera hanging from my shoulder,” Joan told me. And he had a number of conversations with soldiers asking him what he was up to, and insisting on a review of his photos. Most people, he said, are just happy to learn he’s not a reporter; that he’s a tourist, instead, “means that the country’s changing.”Outside the country, Joan said, the response is different.“You receive a lot of emails and messages from people… [who] are really, really angry that [someone] went to Syria because it’s, like, supporting the government and it’s unethical,” Joan acknowledged. Still, “I don’t think there’s anything bad about it. I mean, I didn’t take selfies with destroyed buildings behind me.”The actual number of visitors cannot be independently verified, and one tour operator in Damascus, “Ayoub,” requesting anonymity as “the situation is very sensitive,” said the government’s figures are almost certainly inflated, counting anyone who crosses the border, for any reason, as a “tourist.” But more are in fact coming. Excluding Lebanon, Iraq and Jordan, just under 142,000 foreigners officially stepped foot in Syria during the first two-thirds of 2019, according to the Ministry of Tourism, up 17 percent from the year before.“We don’t have a lot of tourists,” the tour operator in Damascus noted. “But now we have more.”Before the conflict, it was, generally, history—those ancient ruins in Palmyra, since desecrated by ISIS—that brought the tour groups. And history, generally, attracts an older crowd. During the height of the war, when rebel mortars still threatened neighborhoods in Damascus, visitors still came, but in solidarity: fascists who see allies in Baathism; anti-imperialists who see the leading contributor to violence in Syria, Bashar al-Assad, as a victim of a failed international conspiracy to forcibly change his regime.A general view shows ruins in the historic city of Palmyra, Syria March 4, 2017.Omar Sanadiki“The main reason for tourism now, it’s just, like, to show off, you know?” the Damascus tour operator told me. It’s a younger, more online set, eager to “show off on the social media to get some followers [and] a lot of likes.”It’s not inherently evil, that. Who doesn’t want to be liked? Nor is it fair to say those who go to Syria have not grappled with the ethics of that decision; they have ultimately decided it is okay, of course, but they are not oblivious. The question is really whether Syria is exceptional — that is, while visitors insist they are not doing politics, is it possible not to? Or, as some maintain, is it really no different than visiting anywhere else in the world with a less than stellar head of state? There is a difference, of course: almost nowhere is as bad as Syria, a condemnation of its regime more than absolution for any other. And there are millions in a diaspora who cannot do what a white tourist can: step foot in their homeland. On an emotional level, the tourists I interviewed understood this, even if they ultimately rejected the logic for boycotting travel to Syria. It’s not lost on their tour operators, either.“Yeah, I know this,” the Damascus tour operator confessed, after a pregnant silence, when I asked if he could understand some Syrians’ anger toward the mostly European tourists who purchase his services. “I lost my home during the war,” he said, and “a lot of my friends” are now abroad, most in Germany. They cannot enter regime-held Syria, suspected of opposition sympathies or wanted for military service—or subject to arrest just for leaving the country without permission.Native-born Germans, on the other hand: “When they start seeing the refugees, they get more curious to go to that country to see where these people came from,” he said. “They meet a Syrian and they start talking and they [the Syrian] tell them, like, ‘I wish I could go back to my country.’” And so they, the Germans, visit on their behalf “and bring him something from the ground.”Others, on the “influencer” end of the spectrum, can sometimes be less admirable, treating the source of so much pain in this young and brutal 21st century as a playground—another stop on a social media tour, with an expectation that with Insta-fame comes generosity, toward them. One, the operator said, “chose to arrive here on Ramadan, because they give a lot of [free] meals. And she stayed on CouchSurfing with a Syrian girl. And so she traveled without spending any money.”He himself would like to travel to Italy someday, but that would cost something far beyond the means of most Syrians; they are lucky to make $100 a month these days, down from $1,000 before the war, or what most in government-controlled areas term “the conflict,” so as to not suggest parity between sides. And so this tour operator, in school to become the sort of licensed guide to this police state’s foreign visitors, has never been a tourist himself. “I grew up during the war,” he explained. “I didn’t have a chance.”Most refugees are destitute, and while some who stayed behind were able to do so thanks to their wealth and power, not fearing arbitrary arrest or worse, many others lacked the means to head somewhere not at war. And it’s too late now. In an age of militarized borders, where the hypocrisies of liberal internationalism have given way to the open malice of right-wing authoritarianism, where would they go? Doors are closing, and many of those who did make it out can never return in the absence of a change in regime. Those who can safely visit Syria are those with no public record of criticizing the government, or any demonstrable ties to those who have. A wrong bet—a mistaken faith in Damascus’ haphazard talk of reconciliation—can result in one disappearing in a torture chamber like Sednaya, a prison where “Syrian authorities have quietly and methodically organized the killing of thousands of people in their custody,” according to Amnesty International. A correct assessment of the risk, however, can also lead one to sip wine and post selfies to Instagram just outside that detention center, like Russian state propagandists and French fascists, such guests of honor spared the need for a regime minder.The contradiction between sight-seeing and immense human suffering is not lost on all who come. After the normalcy of Damascus, Eva visited Aleppo to see ruins that weren’t on any tourist’s agenda prior to 2011. Her tone, as she walks among the half of the city once occupied by rebels, and destroyed by the government, is markedly different: “This isn’t fun,” would be any viewer’s takeaway.“I just felt, frankly, quite saddened by the whole situation,” Eva told me later, speaking as she walked the streets of her latest stop, Mexico City. “And I think it is absolutely tragic that people who are from the country cannot come back.” She’s been to other politically fraught destinations, including Iran and Yemen. But her pre-war interest in Syria, she said, was renewed by a flight from Dubai. The man in the seat next to her was originally from Syria, and unable to return. “You can probably go as a foreigner,” she recalls him saying. “Just, if you go, can you please just kiss Aleppo for me?”“I think that Syria is a destination that you can only visit if you’re prepared to be uncomfortable,” Eva told me, “and potentially be in a situation that is not safe—and be prepared to be extremely sensitive,” said, “because this is not a beach in Thailand.”The Syrian government has, in its haphazard way, promoted the idea that it kind of is, though. On its YouTube channel, the Syrian Ministry of Tourism posts footage of young people in bikinis enjoying the emerald waters off the coast of Latakia; amid the 2016 siege of Aleppo, Syrian state media published video boasting of the “thriving nightlife” in the government-held Western half of the city.Tourists who visit tend to highlight the same things as the regime’s propagandists: the good, not the bad. This isn’t because most are shills for a government that is largely responsible for the worst bloodshed most of us have seen in our lifetime. It’s the limits of the genre: travel bloggers are not journalists, and travel blogging is not journalism.But isn’t it, really? Going to a foreign land and reporting back on what you saw is awfully close to what someone called a “reporter” would do. In this age of mass media layoffs, however, the role of the professional is increasingly filled by independent amateurs. That the Syrian state allows in the latter may not be an explicit propaganda strategy, but that some tourists are active and influential on social media—and uninterested in politicizing their experience or explaining who killed who, if they even know enough to speculate—is undoubtedly a service to the cause of normalizing a rogue, murderous state.Eva is no apologist for tyranny in Syria anymore than she, by visiting the United States, is a de facto supporter of Donald Trump. She is, again, a travel blogger eager to describe her excursions, which often take her to places with complex political realities on which she does not opine. Indeed, when it comes to politics and travel, “I don’t know [that] there’s a relation between those two things,” she told me.Perhaps it is unfair to expect sophisticated political analysis from a tourist on a short excursion; perhaps, in fact, it is better that they refrain and save us and them the embarrassment of a half-baked perspective, informed by taxi drivers and Wikipedia. But its absence speaks, too.I, for one, was initially unfair toward Eva, answering her video from Damascus with social media posts of my own, thinking her engaged in propaganda, conscious or not. How ghoulish, I maintained, to omit the war—to assert from the start that this elephant would not be discussed—while celebrating a capital, bloated by the internally displaced from wrecked suburbs, as a tourist destination like any other. But in her eyes, and in her approach, that is exactly what it was and remains: a place on Earth, unique, with beautiful sites, friendly people and messy politics.* * *Syria isn’t really like any other place, though. More than half its population has been displaced. Activists aren’t just spied on and harassed by police, but tortured and killed—just blocks away from where you, the useful traveler, may have raved about the dessert.If something is perceived as propaganda, does it matter then if that was not the intent? If it’s unthinking, that may just mean it’s more effective.“I mean, I don’t think it’s possible to be apolitical in this context!” said Yasmin Fedda, a filmmaker whose 2012 documentary, A Tale of Two Syrias, explored the lives of pre-war Damascenes, and the brutality and hardship that precipitated an uprising. “It’s very naive to think so and shows a lack of understanding.”Fedda is one of nearly 100 Syrian filmmakers who signed an October 14 open letter signed by decrying the “increasingly common” practice of regime-approved, foreign directors using unreconstructed war zones in their productions. “These devastated towns and cities [are] transformed into cinematic backdrops,” they wrote, the scene of war crimes and forced displacement “used as movie sets for regime-sponsored films.”Tourists may be subject to less intensive vetting, but they are welcomed for the same reason: to be, as the tour operator al-Alamy said, “ambassadors”—to promote a positive image of the country abroad; to do what travel bloggers do everywhere they go: present their experiences in a generally pleasant light that makes others want to do the same, and a touch jealous that they haven’t already.Kristyan Benedict, a campaigner at Amnesty International, thinks likewise. “Any organised tourism will almost certainly be controlled by the Assad regime, which will seek to profit from it financially while using it as a PR tool as part of its campaign to claim Syria is back to normal,” he told me. At the same time, “Tourists who venture into Syria should be aware of the very grave risks—including kidnapping and car bombs—and be prepared to massively self-censor or risk falling foul of Assad’s intelligence forces,” he told me. Going at all, he argued, is to lend credibility to a regime eager to use foreign visitors “as a PR tool in its campaign to claim Syria is back to normal.”But after eight years of war, that is also what many Syrians desire: a return, if not to “normal,” to the mundane, everyday repression of a hereditary dictatorship—less cruel, while perversely brutal, if only because it was more confident. A false peace is, at the end of a civil war, preferable to death.* * *Jamila, a 20-something who works as a translator in Damascus, has long been enchanted by the world outside of her own troubled slice of it. She’s never been beyond Lebanon, lacking the opportunity and the money to go any further, but some years back she joined Couchsurfing, a networking website for international travelers. Typically, as the name may suggest, it works like this: tourists find locals willing to put them up, and then they sleep on their couch. Damascus has almost 1,900 such “hosts,” according to the site, but hosting a foreigner in Syria is risky business: it’s not really legal.“I didn’t know it was dangerous,” Jamila told me over the phone. She signed up as a teenager, looking to meet people from abroad and practice her English. But she has never actually hosted a traveler; inviting a stranger into your home may be a typical act of Syrian hospitality, but letting them sleep there? Until the suburbs of Damascus were subdued, Jamila said military patrols would go door to door, demanding to see each household’s “family book”—a ledger of inhabitants registered with the state. Anyone not on the page, but inside the house, could be perceived as a draft dodger or a terrorist, which is to say a member of the opposition. So, instead of letting anyone surf her couch, Jamila has used the site as a social network, offering foreigners advice on what to see and do, and meeting up with them when they arrive.That can be dangerous too. Who are these people? Until recently, such visitors would be journalists who, if perceived as critical, would be subject to all the surveillance a police state can muster. And while paranoia has lessened somewhat, there are stories Jamila shared about such encounters that cannot be published without risking her liberty, even with the relative freedom of anonymity.You needn’t do anything wrong to end up in trouble with the Syrian authorities. Someone further up in the hierarchy of power could decide to haul you in for an interrogation, because that foreigner you spoke to could be perceived as a spy, or a journalist, or they just might need someone to blame for a screw up—someone being allowed into the country that shouldn’t have been, sometimes just in hindsight—who isn’t further up than them.Tour operators can’t take any chances; running afoul of the state could mean, at best, no more visas for your customers. For that reason they can’t just rely on the government’s background check when considering whether to admit a traveler; they scour social media, from LinkedIn to Instagram, to ensure that Western influencer isn’t actually a Western journalist. “I Google the name,” said Ayoub, the Damascus tour operator, “because if I discover that you work with international organizations, or journalists—especially the journalists—and they have not discovered this in the Department of Immigration, when trouble happens I’m going to be responsible.”It’s happened before. All the tour operators I spoke to, and most of the tourists, were familiar with a story from late 2018, which changed everything—or at least made explicit who would be blamed for a heavy-handed police state doing what heavy-handed police states do. A young German tourist, in some tellings a “journalist,” was taking photos on the outskirts of Damascus. While it might be okay to take photos of some damage, and impossible not to encounter it on one’s journey, entire suburbs have been decimated during the course of the war—and access to them highly curtailed, for propaganda purposes. “I was the tourist who encountered significant problems, and thought an explanation was in order,” Felix Mechnig-Giordano, posted to the private Facebook group, Every Passport Stamp. “While walking around Damascus I came across one of the destroyed suburbs and asked a soldier if it was possible for me to enter,” he wrote. “While no one was concerned at first, this ended up with me being blindfolded, handcuffed and thrown into a secret police van.” He spent the next five days in a military prison at the Mezze military base, where leaked photos from a regime defector show that thousands have been executed since 2011, just a few miles from bars and restaurants.“At some point, someone had accused me of being a spy,” Mechnig-Giordano wrote. The interrogation soon revealed that to be untrue, but that is not what saved him: his nationality did. “[I]t demonstrated how vulnerable foreign visitors remain to arbitrary detention, and that at basically any opportunity anyone can accuse [anyone] of pretty much anything, leading to arrest and worst.” And, he continued, “While my German passport protected me from any sort of physical harm, the same could not be said for the hundreds of Syrians I saw being held and tortured. As the secret police so loved reminding me, you are pretty much screwed and at their mercy with no possibility of consular assistance once you are detained.”His travel agent fled the country, which didn’t help appearances. After that incident, an unspoken rule became an explicit requirement that all Western tourists—shorthand for about everyone outside Syria’s immediate neighbors—be accompanied by a guide at all times. These are not government agents, but they serve a purpose: keeping an eye on the guests and steering them and their interlocutors away from the problematic.But the sanitized version of Syria on display in some content is not the product of state censorship nor of malice on the creator’s part. It’s the form; these are vacation highlights, accenting the virtues of a destination and its people. And there is an argument for not letting 18 million people be defined solely by their relationship to a hereditary war criminal.“When we hear ‘Syria,’ we tend to think of all the negative things we’ve been hearing in the news, on TV,” Stefan Gentsch says in one of his YouTube videos. A 33-year-old travel blogger who resides in Singapore, he visited Damascus for the first time in late 2018, his visa sponsored by an old friend. His experience, as presented online, is a rejoinder of sorts—to the idea that Syria is defined only by its war and its dictator. His videos showcase the Syrian people’s legendary hospitality (most people think he’s Russian), and in one he travels outside Damascus to a town called Maaraba, which is unlikely to be on anyone else’s itinerary. There he tours a bread factory and gets invited to a wedding where he is peer-pressured into dancing.“Being in Syria, being at this wedding, I witnessed something that even before my trip, I might not have imagined Syria to be like. People dancing and enjoying themselves… It’s such a contrast to what think of as Syria.”He had a good time, and there’s a powerful argument that human beings should not be divided by borders, or cede the inalienable right to cultural exchange because crossing a line on a map might be perceived as a political act.But it’s what Stefan told me over the phone about his trip to Maaraba that I found most interesting: an omission, not the product of malice, that might have altered the viewer’s perception of Syria, and bolstered the latter’s infamy as a bastion of arbitrary oppression. He was detained—by police or the military he isn’t sure. “I did get in a little bit of trouble,” he told me. His Syrian friend, and visa sponsor, walked into a shop in Maraaba, a town, held by rebels until early 2018, where tour operators I asked said no tourist should be (“Tourists go to the touristic sites. Why are you going to empty places?” an alarmed al-Alamy said. “You are putting yourself in a bad position.”). As his friend was shopping, Stefan was on the street, snapping photos of nothing in particular, as tourists do. That’s when a man in uniform approached him speaking Arabic, a language he did not understand. Still, he got the gist. “He didn’t like that I had taken a picture.” And so the officer took him to a station, where was detained for a couple hours. “I was just sitting there, smiling,” he said. “I was not concerned about ending up in prison. My concern, or my biggest concern, was that maybe my phone will be confiscated and I would lose all the pictures I had taken on the trip.” While it was what led to his detention, "there's nothing special about the photo, it's an ordinary photo on the street to Maaraba," said Gentsch.Stefan GentschThere is no video of the incident, which ended with a superior, upon concluding that he was not in fact a spy or a one-man ISIS splinter cell, saying he could take all the photos he wants (“You’re a tourist!”). Accordingly, it is not on YouTube, and the impression, thus, is one of a country not quite as totalitarian as it was in reality. It is not propaganda, by any means. Still, Stefan told me he’s noticed his content being exploited by partisans who comment on his videos. “They might say something like, ‘Oh, if a German tourist can go to Syria, then why do Syrian refugees have to be let into Europe?’” And supporters of the Syrian regime—there is some crossover—will say “Assad is the greatest, he made this beautiful country safe again.”There are Assad’s opponents, too. They’ll say, “How can you report about how beautiful your experience was in Damascus, when 100,000 people have died under Assad’s rule?” Stefan said. It is a question he thought about. “The conclusion that I always tend to reach whenever I think about is that I’m traveling as a tourist, I know I do, and I don’t have any political motivation,” he told me. “I’m simply there to walk onto the streets to talk to everyday people, and to see what life is like.” Some do, however, intend to challenge the prevailing narrative on Syria—not just by humanizing people typically relegated to the status of voiceless bystander, or by simply leaving out an unpleasant encounter. Some are more consciously political, even if they still lean more tourist than activist. “Sitting in Damascus, having a beer, you had jet flights flying over head, fighting in the suburbs,” said Christian Lindgren, a 31-year-old Norwegian who visited in 2017. “There were no tourists in the country whatsoever.” The next year, when he returned following the regime’s military conquest of the suburbs, “it was much, much calmer. Like being in a different country.”But it still has its rules, like any other. Christian noted what happened to Felix, whom he described as a friend he met through travel forums online. “Wrong place at the wrong time,” is how he described his friend’s detention. “When you go there, any war zone with a lot of military and police, there’s places you shouldn’t take pictures of. It’s that simple.”But you should still try to visit. “When you go there, you’ll never trust Western media again,” he insisted. Indeed, his blog on his latest trip insists “there’s far less destruction in Aleppo than what the media has been telling us.” And there is, despite the tight controls on where one can visit and what one can do there, a sort of freedom, if only perceived: “I was granted full access,” he maintained. “I was even allowed to visit a school that Desh (ISIS) and al Qaeda used as headquarters.” (ISIS and al Qaeda were bitter opponents, and the former did not have a significant presence in rebel-held Aleppo).When I asked how he could be so sure he was getting the straight news in one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist, he told me a rule he’s picked up in his travels. “Go to a bar, have a few drinks with the locals, and you’ll really get an honest answer,” he said. “In any country in the world, it’s the same.” “I’ve gone to so many places that seemed dangerous, in the media,” Christian explained, “and I’ve gotten so much criticism for it. But none of those people that gave criticisms have been to those places.”* * *Sarah Hunaidi has been to Syria. She lived there until 2014; like millions of others, she was forced to flee her home over the crime of opposing state-sanctioned murder. She does not necessarily oppose others doing what she cannot—set foot in the place she called home—but she does think that with privilege comes certain responsibilities.“Touring Syria and meeting Syrian people and buying goods to benefit them is one thing,” Hunaidi told me, “and taking vlogs and video and ‘reporting’ about ‘the truth’ is another.” The main difference between an ethical tourist and, frankly, an asshole, is conscientiousness—being aware of where, exactly, you are. “By existing in a war zone, you are part of the war,” she told me. And one can’t avoid politics when your being there, while journalists and refugees cannot, as approving of your presence was itself a political decision by those who started that war.Shiyam Ghalyon is a Syrian-American who works for the War Resisters League, an anti-imperialist organization in New York City. Her sin, in the eyes of Damascus, is being too consistent—opposing war crimes in Syria, no matter the party that carried them out. That means, primarily, condemning the leading perpetrator of violence since 2011: the government that stamps the passports. And that means, in turn, accepting that she cannot step foot in any territory that government controls.“I do not have a blanket opposition to go to Syria, but I do think it should be a requirement to be very purposeful and intentional,” Ghalyon said. “In general, one should be thoughtful of how they move between local communities—but especially when the local communities are experiencing severe and systemic government brutality.”Many travelers are thoughtful (some a good deal more than others) and do express a conscious familiarity with where they are from, the privilege that affords them, and where they have been: a devastated country full of traumatized people who could go to jail, or worse, if they were to provide a complete stranger, from abroad, a truly authentic experience in Syria. Self-censorship is not an allegation, but a fact of life, awareness of which is the prerequisite sought by many in the Syrian diaspora.“I never brought up the subject of politics,” said Joan, the Spanish travel blogger. He has a business relationship with a local tour operator, to whom he refers prospective visitors; he isn’t naive when it comes to where he’s sending them, and why the people there may offer a gentler-than-mainstream take on the head of their police state. “Usually, most people would say that they like Bashar al-Assad,” Joan recounted, “but I mean, there’s a very simple reason: the people who don’t like him are either dead or they escaped from the country.”In fact, he told me, Syria is a bit like Spain—“when we were under military dictatorship, led by Franco,” who, like Bashar’s father, ruled until death, after killing tens of thousands. In Franco’s Spain as in Assad’s Syria, it would be wrong to confuse post-war resignation with anything more than a desire to return to something approaching normal.“I mean, regardless of whether he’s a murderer or not, he brought now stability to the country, right? It was a civil war going on. And he won. And now, finally, he’s rolling,” Joan said.* * *There’s a thin line between exposure and exploitation. Traveling to a war-torn nation and posting footage of the destruction could raise awareness, or it could be an exercise in showcasing the traveler’s superior empathy—crass, superficial and gross. It’s a delicate balance that some avoid by omitting the war altogether. By focusing on the positive amid the rubble, though, one runs the risk of the same offense: failing to capture the gravity of the situation. Is it actually more perverse to carry on as if nothing is wrong?Xavier Raychell Blancharde, a British-Polish college student who visited Syria as an 18-year-old, stressed that when I asked about the upcoming tour he’s arranging. For $1,300, tourists can accompany him on a January 2020 trip to Damascus, Maaloula, Krak de Chevaliers and Bosra al Sham, a Roman amphitheater recently re-opened to tourism. “I’ve been to Syria twice now,” he told me. “While we will certainly not attempt to hide the tragedy that has taken place in the country, we will also not specifically be heading to destroyed neighborhoods as a tourist group, for I personally find this extremely disrespectful and immoral. It is not ‘war tourism.’”In a video on a recent trip to coastal Latakia—which comes with the disclaimer that it “is NOT intended to be political”—he too compared the nation to Spain. But, again, it wasn’t political, at least not overtly. “The landscape is really similar, I think, to some places I’ve been to in southern Spain. And I think very few people would actually imagine that this is Syria…. People have a stereotyped image of the place, and this just completely breaks down that stereotype,” he said.That Syria has beautiful places cannot be denied. Focusing on that may be a travel blogger’s purview, but it is also no doubt a coup for the regime whenever natural beauty, and not human-wrought destruction, is the focus of a Westerner’s piece of content.Jamila, the Syrian Couchsurfer, said most visitors don’t try to get into matters of death and punishment. “They all know that we cannot speak a lot about politics. They would just maybe comment, ‘We didn’t know people loved your president.’ These would be the comments. But they wouldn’t ask too much.”That many in the Syrian diaspora object to tourists taking selfies in Damascus (with rubble or otherwise) is understandable, to her, but she welcomes these visitors, and is happy more than just reporters are showing up these days. “I understand them completely,” she said. “They think of tourists coming back as funding the government and they are against the government. They would say you’re helping the government kill the Syrian people.”Still, she argued, “most Syrians who live in Syria want tourists, and most people who don’t live in Syria don’t want tourists” At the very least, it’s good for the economy. “Our life is not even the minimum life,” she told me. “We are like really, really poor. Everyone here is really poor. Tourism would benefit people who are living here.” And, she said, “Whether we like it or not, the government did win.”But most of those Syrians outside the country couldn’t come back, even if they didn’t already object to foreigners touring their former home. Syrians who left the country are inherently suspect. Why would you go? And according to the Syrian Association for Citizens’ Dignity, two-thirds of those who have returned, to live if not to visit, say either they or a relative are wanted for arrest by the regime, which remains hungry for conscripts to fight in a country very much at war. Most, overwhelmingly, regret their decision to return. Others could not be asked: since coming back they have disappeared. It’s the insensitive traveler who Jamila wishes would avoid her country. “I think there’s a type where they see us Syrians as aliens, as just like their little research project,” she told me. She had one white guy in mind. “He treats our misery as an experience. He treats our war, and the things we’ve been going through, as a thrilling experience.” And this type also believes a holiday can be a fact-finding mission. In truth, “We cannot speak a lot about politics, and if we spoke we’re not going to say everything we’re thinking about, because we’re not free to say whatever we want.”So don’t do that, if you go. Don’t expect your eyes and ears will always receive the truth; sometimes the ground can obstruct the senses. And know one thing: whatever your troubles, you are the lucky, privileged one in every interaction. Maybe that, more than any expose beyond the paygrade of the amateur or uninitiated, is what any traveler to Syria has a responsibility to convey. If you go, in other words, speak the truths that might prevent you from ever going back. Syrians could relate to that.“Syria is safe for foreigners, 100 percent, and yes, come please and support us because we need every single penny,” Jamila told me. “But,” she stressed, “it is not safe for Syrians.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.


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  • 65/79   Iran disputes 'exaggerated' protest death tolls
    WORLD TOPIC NEWS

    Iran on Saturday disputed death tolls issued abroad for bloodshed that erupted during protests in the country over fuel prices, after a rights group said over 160 demonstrators were killed.  The demonstrations flared in mid-November, after the price of petrol in the Islamic republic went up overnight by as much as 200 percent.  Officials in Iran have yet to say how many people died in the ensuing violence that saw banks, petrol pumps and police stations set on fire.

    Iran on Saturday disputed death tolls issued abroad for bloodshed that erupted during protests in the country over fuel prices, after a rights group said over 160 demonstrators were killed. The demonstrations flared in mid-November, after the price of petrol in the Islamic republic went up overnight by as much as 200 percent. Officials in Iran have yet to say how many people died in the ensuing violence that saw banks, petrol pumps and police stations set on fire.


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  • 66/79   Huawei's Meng Wanzhou fear cameras in Canadian court would trigger threats from Donald Trump
    WORLD TOPIC NEWS

    Lawyers for Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou are fighting an application to allow video broadcasting of her extradition battle in a Canadian court, saying it could draw the attention of Donald Trump and risk his making a "threatening and intimidating" intervention in her case.The argument came in response to a bid by a media consortium that includes the South China Morning Post to allow cameras into the British Columbia Supreme Court.Meng, who was arrested in Vancouver last December, is attempting to thwart a US bid for her extradition from Canada to face fraud charges related to Huawei's alleged breaching of US sanctions on Iran.The documents were released this week, as well as more details of how Meng plans to fight the extradition case by arguing that it fails the test of "double criminality".This approach requires that the alleged offences in an extradition case must be capable of amounting to a crime in Canada, and not just the requesting state.Meng is due to return to court on January 20, when her lawyers say they will argue that the US "cannot show double criminality", and is instead trying to "dress up ... a sanctions-breaking complaint as a case of fraud".The Post and 12 fellow media outlets, including the New York Times, CNN, Canada's Globe and Mail newspaper and others, have applied to allow cameras to cover those proceedings.Lawyer Daniel Coles, representing the consortium, said in a submission that allowing the broadcast would further the "open court principle" that using cameras in Canadian courts is a longstanding practice, and public interest in Meng's case is significant.The broadcast would be carried out by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, on behalf of the consortium.US President Donald Trump might try to make a "threatening and intimidating intervention" in Meng Wanzhou's extradition trial if it were broadcast, the Huawei CFO's lawyers have argued. Photo: AP alt=US President Donald Trump might try to make a "threatening and intimidating intervention" in Meng Wanzhou's extradition trial if it were broadcast, the Huawei CFO's lawyers have argued. Photo: APBut Meng's lawyers and those for the Canadian attorney general who seek Meng's extradition on behalf of the US are united in opposition to the request. Their arguments were released on Tuesday."If the Respondent's [Meng's] extradition hearing is broadcast, this will only increase the public scrutiny she faces and the attention her matter receives from officials in the United States," Meng's lawyers said.Such a broadcast "amplifies the risk that the President of the United States will once again intervene in the Respondent's case, or harbour resentments that are both threatening and intimidating," they added.That was a reference to US President Trump's previous comments, in which he suggested he might intervene in the case to help strike a trade deal with China.Meng's lawyers said he "politicised and sensationalised these proceedings by making public statements to the effect that the Respondent is merely a bargaining chip in geopolitical relations between the world's two superpowers, the United States and Canada".Lawyers for Canada's attorney general said in a submission that they shared Meng's concerns that a broadcast risked "distorting the proceedings and the serenity of the court process"."The Attorney General of Canada acknowledges that there is significant interest in this matter, but that alone does not justify the request for live broadcasting of the proceedings," they said.Meng, the chief financial officer of telecoms giant Huawei and the daughter of company founder Ren Zhengfei, was arrested at Vancouver's international airport on December 1 last year, at the US' request, triggering outrage from Beijing.Her detention, which came amid the ongoing trade war with the US, has thrown China-Canada relations into turmoil. Canadian ambassador John McCallum was fired last January after he told journalists that he thought Meng had a strong case and listed arguments she might make to thwart extradition.Meng remains under partial house arrest in Vancouver after she was detained last year at the behest of American authorities. Photo: AP alt=Meng remains under partial house arrest in Vancouver after she was detained last year at the behest of American authorities. Photo: APOne plank of Meng's case is the double criminality test. In a submission made on November 13 but only released on Thursday, her lawyers said the accusation of fraud against her would have represented no crime in Canada.Similar arguments have been sketched out in preliminary hearings.The US alleges that Meng lied to banking giant HSBC about Huawei's relationship with Iran-based affiliate Skycom, causing the bank to process transactions that it otherwise would have not, because of the risk of breaching US sanctions on Iran.But because Canada does not enforce sanctions on Iran, "under Canadian law [Meng's alleged actions] caused no risk of deprivation in Canada".Meng's lawyers said they only accept the US' claims about Meng's actions for the purpose of making the double criminality argument."[The] transactions processed by HSBC for Huawei were not illegal in Canada. The USA had unique sanctions laws against Iran that proscribed HSBC's transactions, but Canada did not," the lawyers said.The meeting with HSBC in which Meng discussed Skycom took place in Hong Kong. But had it occurred in Canada "HSBC would not face any potential liability under Canadian sanctions law", her lawyers said.Meng's extradition case is currently scheduled to continue until October 2020. She remains in Vancouver where she is living in her C$13 million (US$9.7 million) home under guard. She is allowed to travel around the city while wearing a GPS monitor on her ankle, but must comply with a curfew, and she is banned from going near the city's airport.This article originally appeared in the South China Morning Post (SCMP), the most authoritative voice reporting on China and Asia for more than a century. For more SCMP stories, please explore the SCMP app or visit the SCMP's Facebook and Twitter pages. Copyright © 2019 South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved. Copyright (c) 2019. South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.

    Lawyers for Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou are fighting an application to allow video broadcasting of her extradition battle in a Canadian court, saying it could draw the attention of Donald Trump and risk his making a "threatening and intimidating" intervention in her case.The argument came in response to a bid by a media consortium that includes the South China Morning Post to allow cameras into the British Columbia Supreme Court.Meng, who was arrested in Vancouver last December, is attempting to thwart a US bid for her extradition from Canada to face fraud charges related to Huawei's alleged breaching of US sanctions on Iran.The documents were released this week, as well as more details of how Meng plans to fight the extradition case by arguing that it fails the test of "double criminality".This approach requires that the alleged offences in an extradition case must be capable of amounting to a crime in Canada, and not just the requesting state.Meng is due to return to court on January 20, when her lawyers say they will argue that the US "cannot show double criminality", and is instead trying to "dress up ... a sanctions-breaking complaint as a case of fraud".The Post and 12 fellow media outlets, including the New York Times, CNN, Canada's Globe and Mail newspaper and others, have applied to allow cameras to cover those proceedings.Lawyer Daniel Coles, representing the consortium, said in a submission that allowing the broadcast would further the "open court principle" that using cameras in Canadian courts is a longstanding practice, and public interest in Meng's case is significant.The broadcast would be carried out by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, on behalf of the consortium.US President Donald Trump might try to make a "threatening and intimidating intervention" in Meng Wanzhou's extradition trial if it were broadcast, the Huawei CFO's lawyers have argued. Photo: AP alt=US President Donald Trump might try to make a "threatening and intimidating intervention" in Meng Wanzhou's extradition trial if it were broadcast, the Huawei CFO's lawyers have argued. Photo: APBut Meng's lawyers and those for the Canadian attorney general who seek Meng's extradition on behalf of the US are united in opposition to the request. Their arguments were released on Tuesday."If the Respondent's [Meng's] extradition hearing is broadcast, this will only increase the public scrutiny she faces and the attention her matter receives from officials in the United States," Meng's lawyers said.Such a broadcast "amplifies the risk that the President of the United States will once again intervene in the Respondent's case, or harbour resentments that are both threatening and intimidating," they added.That was a reference to US President Trump's previous comments, in which he suggested he might intervene in the case to help strike a trade deal with China.Meng's lawyers said he "politicised and sensationalised these proceedings by making public statements to the effect that the Respondent is merely a bargaining chip in geopolitical relations between the world's two superpowers, the United States and Canada".Lawyers for Canada's attorney general said in a submission that they shared Meng's concerns that a broadcast risked "distorting the proceedings and the serenity of the court process"."The Attorney General of Canada acknowledges that there is significant interest in this matter, but that alone does not justify the request for live broadcasting of the proceedings," they said.Meng, the chief financial officer of telecoms giant Huawei and the daughter of company founder Ren Zhengfei, was arrested at Vancouver's international airport on December 1 last year, at the US' request, triggering outrage from Beijing.Her detention, which came amid the ongoing trade war with the US, has thrown China-Canada relations into turmoil. Canadian ambassador John McCallum was fired last January after he told journalists that he thought Meng had a strong case and listed arguments she might make to thwart extradition.Meng remains under partial house arrest in Vancouver after she was detained last year at the behest of American authorities. Photo: AP alt=Meng remains under partial house arrest in Vancouver after she was detained last year at the behest of American authorities. Photo: APOne plank of Meng's case is the double criminality test. In a submission made on November 13 but only released on Thursday, her lawyers said the accusation of fraud against her would have represented no crime in Canada.Similar arguments have been sketched out in preliminary hearings.The US alleges that Meng lied to banking giant HSBC about Huawei's relationship with Iran-based affiliate Skycom, causing the bank to process transactions that it otherwise would have not, because of the risk of breaching US sanctions on Iran.But because Canada does not enforce sanctions on Iran, "under Canadian law [Meng's alleged actions] caused no risk of deprivation in Canada".Meng's lawyers said they only accept the US' claims about Meng's actions for the purpose of making the double criminality argument."[The] transactions processed by HSBC for Huawei were not illegal in Canada. The USA had unique sanctions laws against Iran that proscribed HSBC's transactions, but Canada did not," the lawyers said.The meeting with HSBC in which Meng discussed Skycom took place in Hong Kong. But had it occurred in Canada "HSBC would not face any potential liability under Canadian sanctions law", her lawyers said.Meng's extradition case is currently scheduled to continue until October 2020. She remains in Vancouver where she is living in her C$13 million (US$9.7 million) home under guard. She is allowed to travel around the city while wearing a GPS monitor on her ankle, but must comply with a curfew, and she is banned from going near the city's airport.This article originally appeared in the South China Morning Post (SCMP), the most authoritative voice reporting on China and Asia for more than a century. For more SCMP stories, please explore the SCMP app or visit the SCMP's Facebook and Twitter pages. Copyright © 2019 South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved. Copyright (c) 2019. South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.


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  • 67/79   Green Party manifesto 2019: A summary of key policies
    WORLD TOPIC NEWS

    The Green Party has revealed the details of its general election manifesto, titled If Not Now, When? The party has announced 10 new laws that would be ready to be implemented if co-leaders Sian Berry and Jonathan Bartley won an against-the-odds majority on Dec 12. Here is an at-a-glance look at what is in the 89-page manifesto. Environment The manifesto pledges a £100million-per-year investment plan to deliver a Green New Deal over the next 10 years. It would look to totally overhaul the use of fossil fuels by switching transport and industry to renewable energy sources, while upgrading household heating systems and planting 700 million trees within a decade. The party wants to use the measures to create a net-zero carbon economy by 2030. Brexit The pro-European Union party has re-committed itself to a second referendum and to campaign for Remain. It says staying in the bloc would help "lead the fight against the climate emergency". General Election 2019 | Key questions, answered Crime Restorative justice would be expanded to allow those affected by crimes to meet offenders as part of a bid to cut the prison population by 50%. Misogyny would be made a hate crime under a Green-led administration and the personal use of drugs, including some Class A substances, would be de-criminalised. Heroin would be available on prescription and cannabis clubs would be permitted, allowing marijuana to be grown and consumed by adults. Welfare The Greens would introduce a universal basic income, providing every UK citizen with £89 per week in state funding. It would provide a boost to those in work and leave no-one on benefits worse off, according to the manifesto. Health Party leaders have promised to increase funding for the NHS by at least £6 billion each year until 2030 - a 4.5% increase on the 2018/19 budget. Privatisation in the NHS would also be abolished, while mental health care would be put on an "equal footing" with physical care. Education The party pledges to boost education funding by at least £4 billion per year and to lay down a long-term aim of reducing classes to 20 pupils and below. Ofsted would be replaced with a "collaborative system of assessing" schools and a new law would put onus on teaching children about climate change. In higher education, tuition fees would be scrapped and those who paid £9,000 a year to study would have their debt wiped. General election 2019 | Manifestos

    The Green Party has revealed the details of its general election manifesto, titled If Not Now, When? The party has announced 10 new laws that would be ready to be implemented if co-leaders Sian Berry and Jonathan Bartley won an against-the-odds majority on Dec 12. Here is an at-a-glance look at what is in the 89-page manifesto. Environment The manifesto pledges a £100million-per-year investment plan to deliver a Green New Deal over the next 10 years. It would look to totally overhaul the use of fossil fuels by switching transport and industry to renewable energy sources, while upgrading household heating systems and planting 700 million trees within a decade. The party wants to use the measures to create a net-zero carbon economy by 2030. Brexit The pro-European Union party has re-committed itself to a second referendum and to campaign for Remain. It says staying in the bloc would help "lead the fight against the climate emergency". General Election 2019 | Key questions, answered Crime Restorative justice would be expanded to allow those affected by crimes to meet offenders as part of a bid to cut the prison population by 50%. Misogyny would be made a hate crime under a Green-led administration and the personal use of drugs, including some Class A substances, would be de-criminalised. Heroin would be available on prescription and cannabis clubs would be permitted, allowing marijuana to be grown and consumed by adults. Welfare The Greens would introduce a universal basic income, providing every UK citizen with £89 per week in state funding. It would provide a boost to those in work and leave no-one on benefits worse off, according to the manifesto. Health Party leaders have promised to increase funding for the NHS by at least £6 billion each year until 2030 - a 4.5% increase on the 2018/19 budget. Privatisation in the NHS would also be abolished, while mental health care would be put on an "equal footing" with physical care. Education The party pledges to boost education funding by at least £4 billion per year and to lay down a long-term aim of reducing classes to 20 pupils and below. Ofsted would be replaced with a "collaborative system of assessing" schools and a new law would put onus on teaching children about climate change. In higher education, tuition fees would be scrapped and those who paid £9,000 a year to study would have their debt wiped. General election 2019 | Manifestos


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  • 68/79   Nigerian justice struggles with rising number of sex abuse cases
    WORLD TOPIC NEWS

    A dozen officers are squeezed into the dimly lit Lagos State Police Gender Unit between worn desks and witnesses writing statements, as the force struggles to cope with an increasing number of reports of sex abuse in Nigeria.  Recent figures are scarce but according to the United Nations, one in four women in the country experiences sexual abuse before they turn 18.  Lagos is the only one of the 36 states in Africa's most populous nation with a force dedicated to tackling gender-based violence.

    A dozen officers are squeezed into the dimly lit Lagos State Police Gender Unit between worn desks and witnesses writing statements, as the force struggles to cope with an increasing number of reports of sex abuse in Nigeria. Recent figures are scarce but according to the United Nations, one in four women in the country experiences sexual abuse before they turn 18. Lagos is the only one of the 36 states in Africa's most populous nation with a force dedicated to tackling gender-based violence.


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  • 69/79   Iran's Coming Military Revolution
    WORLD TOPIC NEWS

    While others discuss competing against China's AI and systems development, Iran isn't far behind.

    While others discuss competing against China's AI and systems development, Iran isn't far behind.


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  • 70/79   Trump turns 'very routine' physical into attack on media
    HEALTH TOPIC NEWS

    President Trump lashed out at the media Tuesday over reporting about his sudden trip to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center last weekend.

    President Trump lashed out at the media Tuesday over reporting about his sudden trip to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center last weekend.


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  • 71/79   5 Turkey Cooking Tips Will Guarantee You Have the Perfect Bird This Holidays
    HEALTH TOPIC NEWS

    There's no need to wing it at Thanksgiving this year.

    There's no need to wing it at Thanksgiving this year.


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  • 72/79   9 Easy Ways to Make Your Jack-o'-Lanterns Last Longer
    HEALTH TOPIC NEWS

    A little bleach goes a long way.

    A little bleach goes a long way.


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  • 73/79   Is It Time for a Medication Reconciliation?
    HEALTH TOPIC NEWS

    More than half of adult Americans regularly take at least one prescription drug, according to a recent Consumer Reports nationally representative survey. And for those who take any medication on ...

    More than half of adult Americans regularly take at least one prescription drug, according to a recent Consumer Reports nationally representative survey. And for those who take any medication on ...


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  • 74/79   Brown-Bag Lunches for Kids With Food Allergies
    HEALTH TOPIC NEWS

    If your school-age child has food allergies, you know that preparing safe lunches that are also enticing can be a challenge. That's why we created this menu of lunchroom suggestions that addresse...

    If your school-age child has food allergies, you know that preparing safe lunches that are also enticing can be a challenge. That's why we created this menu of lunchroom suggestions that addresse...


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  • 75/79   What to Feed Your Family When the Power Goes Out
    HEALTH TOPIC NEWS

    If you won’t be able to leave your house for a few days or if the power is out for longer than a couple of hours, what to feed your family becomes a major concern. The food experts at Consumer Re...

    If you won’t be able to leave your house for a few days or if the power is out for longer than a couple of hours, what to feed your family becomes a major concern. The food experts at Consumer Re...


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  • 76/79   Try These Healthy Snack Ideas for Kids
    HEALTH TOPIC NEWS

    To fuel their growing bodies and provide the energy necessary to study and stay active, kids and teens need to eat every 3 to 4 hours, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. That’s ...

    To fuel their growing bodies and provide the energy necessary to study and stay active, kids and teens need to eat every 3 to 4 hours, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. That’s ...


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  • 77/79   The 9 Best Jobs for Teachers To Make Some Cash During the Summer Break
    HEALTH TOPIC NEWS

    Make the most of your skills with one of these jobs.

    Make the most of your skills with one of these jobs.


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  • 78/79   How to Spot and Avoid Algal Blooms
    HEALTH TOPIC NEWS

    With many U.S. waterways reaching their highest temperatures at this time of year, colonies of algae in lakes, ponds, and even the ocean can “bloom”—grow far more rapidly than normal. While most ...

    With many U.S. waterways reaching their highest temperatures at this time of year, colonies of algae in lakes, ponds, and even the ocean can “bloom”—grow far more rapidly than normal. While most ...


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  • 79/79   Get These 4 Vaccines for College
    HEALTH TOPIC NEWS

    If your child is a college student—or soon to be one—making sure he or she is fully vaccinated is critically important, especially for those who will be living in a dorm or other shared space. Th...

    If your child is a college student—or soon to be one—making sure he or she is fully vaccinated is critically important, especially for those who will be living in a dorm or other shared space. Th...


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