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News Slideshows (12/03/2019 15 hours)


  • 1/80   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


    Taskmaster   David Harbour   Florence Pugh   Macron   Red Guardian   Happy Birthday Tony   PISA   Rachel Weisz   Hopper   Marvel Studios   Natasha Romanoff   Franklin Templeton   China Uses DNA to Map Faces   it just isn't working   Metal Gear Solid   civil war and infinity war   St. Francis Xavier   N'Sync   Red Sparrow   OxyContin   Final Fantasy IX   Joseph Conrad   
  • 2/80   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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  • 3/80   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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  • 4/80   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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  • 5/80   '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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  • 6/80   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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  • 7/80   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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  • 8/80   Live animal mascots: Cute or exploitative?
    SPORTS TOPIC NEWS

    Animal rights activists have repeatedly called for college sports teams to stop using real animals as their mascots. Are these complaints fair or an overreaction?

    Animal rights activists have repeatedly called for college sports teams to stop using real animals as their mascots. Are these complaints fair or an overreaction?


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  • 9/80   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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  • 10/80   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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  • 11/80   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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  • 12/80   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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  • 13/80   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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  • 14/80   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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  • 15/80   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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  • 16/80   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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  • 17/80   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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  • 18/80   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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  • 19/80   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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  • 20/80   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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  • 21/80   Huawei faces online storm in China over employee treatment
    TECHNOLOGY TOPIC NEWS

    Huawei Technologies is facing a public backlash in China after details of the dismissal and wrongful detention of a former employee went viral.  The treatment of Li Hongyuan, who had worked for the company for 13 years, has become one of the most discussed topics in recent days on China's Twitter-like Weibo platform.  'Huawei has lost love this time round,' Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of influential Chinese state tabloid Global Times, posted on Weibo.

    Huawei Technologies is facing a public backlash in China after details of the dismissal and wrongful detention of a former employee went viral. The treatment of Li Hongyuan, who had worked for the company for 13 years, has become one of the most discussed topics in recent days on China's Twitter-like Weibo platform. 'Huawei has lost love this time round,' Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of influential Chinese state tabloid Global Times, posted on Weibo.


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  • 22/80   Factbox: German SPD leaders' wish-list to save Merkel coalition
    TECHNOLOGY TOPIC NEWS

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel's coalition may collapse because of new demands put to her conservatives from a new leftist Social Democrat (SPD) leadership chosen by party members on Saturday.  The new SPD leaders have threatened to quit government if the conservatives don't agree to their demands, a move that could cause a snap election or a minority government.

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel's coalition may collapse because of new demands put to her conservatives from a new leftist Social Democrat (SPD) leadership chosen by party members on Saturday. The new SPD leaders have threatened to quit government if the conservatives don't agree to their demands, a move that could cause a snap election or a minority government.


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  • 23/80   AIRSYS Cooling Technologies Inc. Establishing Operations in Spartanburg County
    TECHNOLOGY TOPIC NEWS

    AIRSYS Cooling Technologies Inc., a global information, communication and technology (ICT) cooling solution provider, today announced plans to establish operations in Spartanburg County. The company's more than $5 million investment is projected to create 116 new jobs.

    AIRSYS Cooling Technologies Inc., a global information, communication and technology (ICT) cooling solution provider, today announced plans to establish operations in Spartanburg County. The company's more than $5 million investment is projected to create 116 new jobs.


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  • 24/80   Novolex Facilities Honored for Outstanding Safety Records
    TECHNOLOGY TOPIC NEWS

    Novolex™, a leader in packaging choice, sustainability and innovation, announced today that 15 of its facilities have each earned an important safety award from the Plastics Industry Association (PIA).

    Novolex™, a leader in packaging choice, sustainability and innovation, announced today that 15 of its facilities have each earned an important safety award from the Plastics Industry Association (PIA).


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  • 25/80   Perspecta Raises More Than $320,000 for the American Heart Association; Sets New Record
    TECHNOLOGY TOPIC NEWS

    Perspecta Inc. (NYSE: PRSP), a leading U.S. government services provider, announced today that it raised more than $320,000 for the American Heart Association's (AHA) 2019 Greater Washington Heart Walk. This fundraising achievement makes Perspecta the largest, single-year fundraising company in history for the Greater Washington Heart Walk, two years in row, breaking its previous record of $310,000.

    Perspecta Inc. (NYSE: PRSP), a leading U.S. government services provider, announced today that it raised more than $320,000 for the American Heart Association's (AHA) 2019 Greater Washington Heart Walk. This fundraising achievement makes Perspecta the largest, single-year fundraising company in history for the Greater Washington Heart Walk, two years in row, breaking its previous record of $310,000.


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  • 26/80   Eitan Group to Launch New Preventative Maintenance Servicing Solution at 2019 ASHP Midyear Clinical Meeting and Exhibition
    TECHNOLOGY TOPIC NEWS

    Eitan Group, a global innovation leader in advanced infusion therapy solutions across the care continuum, today announced that the company will launch its new preventative maintenance servicing tool at the 2019 ASHP Midyear Clinical Meeting and Exhibition. Eitan Group will offer demonstrations of the new service, built for its flagship Sapphire infusion devices.

    Eitan Group, a global innovation leader in advanced infusion therapy solutions across the care continuum, today announced that the company will launch its new preventative maintenance servicing tool at the 2019 ASHP Midyear Clinical Meeting and Exhibition. Eitan Group will offer demonstrations of the new service, built for its flagship Sapphire infusion devices.


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  • 27/80   Cisco and Green Sands Equity (GSE) Backed Video Artificial Intelligence (AI) Company, N3N, Prepares for Initial Public Offering (IPO)
    TECHNOLOGY TOPIC NEWS

    Video Artificial Intelligence (AI) based cloud company N3N, an internet of things (IoT) video giant in Korea made a big Silicon Valley splash thanks to strategic partnerships.

    Video Artificial Intelligence (AI) based cloud company N3N, an internet of things (IoT) video giant in Korea made a big Silicon Valley splash thanks to strategic partnerships.


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  • 28/80   Global Smart Electricity Meters Market 2019-2025: Second Wave of Rollouts will Change the Role of Metering and Deliver Greater Benefits to Stakeholders in the Value Chain
    TECHNOLOGY TOPIC NEWS

    The "Global Smart Electricity Meters Market, Forecast to 2025" report has been added to ResearchAndMarkets.com's offering.

    The "Global Smart Electricity Meters Market, Forecast to 2025" report has been added to ResearchAndMarkets.com's offering.


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  • 29/80   Atlas Holdings and Blue Wolf Capital Issue Letter to Verso Corporation Board of Directors
    TECHNOLOGY TOPIC NEWS

    Atlas Holdings LLC ("Atlas") and Blue Wolf Capital Advisors IV, LLC ("Blue Wolf") today issued the following letter to the Board of Directors of Verso Corporation (NYSE: VRS):

    Atlas Holdings LLC ("Atlas") and Blue Wolf Capital Advisors IV, LLC ("Blue Wolf") today issued the following letter to the Board of Directors of Verso Corporation (NYSE: VRS):


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  • 30/80   Elkin Recognized by Staffing Industry Analysts
    TECHNOLOGY TOPIC NEWS

    Janet Elkin, President and CEO of GHR Healthcare, has been named to the 2019 Global Power 150 and the 2019 Americas 100 lists by Staffing Industry Analysts, recognizing the top female leaders in the staffing industry. This is the fifth year the list has been compiled and her fifth time for being included.

    Janet Elkin, President and CEO of GHR Healthcare, has been named to the 2019 Global Power 150 and the 2019 Americas 100 lists by Staffing Industry Analysts, recognizing the top female leaders in the staffing industry. This is the fifth year the list has been compiled and her fifth time for being included.


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  • 31/80   Alibaba raises further $1.7 billion in over-allotted shares in HK listing
    TECHNOLOGY TOPIC NEWS

    The company said in a filing to the Hong Kong stock exchange it has received approval for the listing of 75 million over-allotment shares at HK$176 per share, the same price it offered under its secondary listing.  Alibaba had on Nov. 20 raised up to $12.9 billion in a landmark listing in Hong Kong, the largest share sale in the city in nine years and a world record for a cross-border secondary share sale.

    The company said in a filing to the Hong Kong stock exchange it has received approval for the listing of 75 million over-allotment shares at HK$176 per share, the same price it offered under its secondary listing. Alibaba had on Nov. 20 raised up to $12.9 billion in a landmark listing in Hong Kong, the largest share sale in the city in nine years and a world record for a cross-border secondary share sale.


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  • 32/80   Atlanta's Total Row Expands to North Carolina
    TECHNOLOGY TOPIC NEWS

    Total Row, Atlanta's premier rowing-centric fitness boutique, announced today it has sold rights for three new locations to open in Raleigh, North Carolina to a single franchisee. The new rowing boutiques are slated to open starting Q1 2020. The Atlanta-based brand is also on the verge of opening several new locations in the Atlanta metro area.

    Total Row, Atlanta's premier rowing-centric fitness boutique, announced today it has sold rights for three new locations to open in Raleigh, North Carolina to a single franchisee. The new rowing boutiques are slated to open starting Q1 2020. The Atlanta-based brand is also on the verge of opening several new locations in the Atlanta metro area.


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  • 33/80   CyberProof Announces Acquisition of Necsia Cybersecurity Division
    TECHNOLOGY TOPIC NEWS

    CyberProof Inc., a UST Global company, announced today the acquisition of Necsia Cybersecurity, a leading security provider in Spain and security division of Necsia Group, specializing in cybersecurity and digital transformation services. Barcelona-based Necsia Cybersecurity will merge into the CyberProof security services portfolio while continuing to serve current customers.

    CyberProof Inc., a UST Global company, announced today the acquisition of Necsia Cybersecurity, a leading security provider in Spain and security division of Necsia Group, specializing in cybersecurity and digital transformation services. Barcelona-based Necsia Cybersecurity will merge into the CyberProof security services portfolio while continuing to serve current customers.


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  • 34/80   Inference Solutions Wins Best in Biz Award for Most Innovative Product of the Year - SMB
    TECHNOLOGY TOPIC NEWS

    Inference Solutions, a global provider of Intelligent Virtual Agents (IVAs) for sales and service organizations, today announced that the Inference Studio platform has won a Best in Biz Award for Most Innovative Product of the Year – SMB. Best in Biz is an independent business awards program judged by prominent editors and reporters from top-tier publications in North America, including Associated Press, Barron's, eWeek and Wired.

    Inference Solutions, a global provider of Intelligent Virtual Agents (IVAs) for sales and service organizations, today announced that the Inference Studio platform has won a Best in Biz Award for Most Innovative Product of the Year – SMB. Best in Biz is an independent business awards program judged by prominent editors and reporters from top-tier publications in North America, including Associated Press, Barron's, eWeek and Wired.


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  • 35/80   CenturyLink Builds on Edge Investment with CenturyLink Network Storage
    TECHNOLOGY TOPIC NEWS

    Businesses are seeking a better way to access, store and process data closer to where it is being created and consumed, whether that is in a data center, branch location, cloud environment or at the edge where devices connect to the network. To meet this evolving need, CenturyLink, Inc. (NYSE: CTL) has introduced CenturyLink Network Storage, a managed solution that allows businesses to store and manage data anywhere the CenturyLink network can reach.

    Businesses are seeking a better way to access, store and process data closer to where it is being created and consumed, whether that is in a data center, branch location, cloud environment or at the edge where devices connect to the network. To meet this evolving need, CenturyLink, Inc. (NYSE: CTL) has introduced CenturyLink Network Storage, a managed solution that allows businesses to store and manage data anywhere the CenturyLink network can reach.


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  • 36/80   RSIP Vision Introduces AI-Based Multiplex IF Image Analysis Solution for Precise Results in Tissue Diagnosis
    TECHNOLOGY TOPIC NEWS

    RSIP Vision, a global leader in artificial intelligence (AI), computer vision, and image processing technology, announced today that they are introducing an AI-based multiplex IF image analysis solution for precise results in tissue diagnosis. The new solution is based on a custom deep learning technology, allowing hospitals, pharmaceutical companies and cancer centers to better analysis and develop more effective drugs and therapeutic interventions.

    RSIP Vision, a global leader in artificial intelligence (AI), computer vision, and image processing technology, announced today that they are introducing an AI-based multiplex IF image analysis solution for precise results in tissue diagnosis. The new solution is based on a custom deep learning technology, allowing hospitals, pharmaceutical companies and cancer centers to better analysis and develop more effective drugs and therapeutic interventions.


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  • 37/80   Bipartisan Lawmakers Introduce Amendment Emphasizing U.S. Commitment to Providing Military Aid to Israel
    TECHNOLOGY TOPIC NEWS

    A bipartisan group of lawmakers is seeking to bolster U.S. support for Israel against mounting criticism by introducing an amendment emphasizing America's continued commitment to providing military aid to its longtime ally.Two amendments to a resolution backing a two-state solution to the discord between Israel and Palestine affirm the U.S. commitment to providing Israel with $3.8 billion in foreign military financing as well as missile defense assistance. The amendments state the U.S. must “stand by its ironclad commitments” to assist Israel with military aid, as expressed by the 10-year security assistance "memorandum of understanding" the Obama administration reached with Israel in 2016.Representatives Josh Gottheimer (D., N.J.), Ted Deutch (D., Fla.) and Tom Reed (R., N.Y.) requested the amendments be approved by the Rules Committee for the non-binding resolution.The resolution has languished since April amid disagreements over the two-state solution.Meanwhile, deadly military conflicts between Israel and Palestinians continue in the disputed areas, and Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu in September announced plans to annex a large section of the occupied West Bank.The Trump administration has appeared amenable to the proposal and has tentatively supported Netanyahu’s plan.“Under certain circumstances,” U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said in June, “I think Israel has the right to retain some, but unlikely all, of the West Bank.”“We really don’t have a view until we understand how much, on what terms, why does it make sense, why is it good for Israel, why is it good for the region, why does it not create more problems than it solves,” Friedman said. “These are all things that we’d want to understand, and I don’t want to prejudge.”

    A bipartisan group of lawmakers is seeking to bolster U.S. support for Israel against mounting criticism by introducing an amendment emphasizing America's continued commitment to providing military aid to its longtime ally.Two amendments to a resolution backing a two-state solution to the discord between Israel and Palestine affirm the U.S. commitment to providing Israel with $3.8 billion in foreign military financing as well as missile defense assistance. The amendments state the U.S. must “stand by its ironclad commitments” to assist Israel with military aid, as expressed by the 10-year security assistance "memorandum of understanding" the Obama administration reached with Israel in 2016.Representatives Josh Gottheimer (D., N.J.), Ted Deutch (D., Fla.) and Tom Reed (R., N.Y.) requested the amendments be approved by the Rules Committee for the non-binding resolution.The resolution has languished since April amid disagreements over the two-state solution.Meanwhile, deadly military conflicts between Israel and Palestinians continue in the disputed areas, and Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu in September announced plans to annex a large section of the occupied West Bank.The Trump administration has appeared amenable to the proposal and has tentatively supported Netanyahu’s plan.“Under certain circumstances,” U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said in June, “I think Israel has the right to retain some, but unlikely all, of the West Bank.”“We really don’t have a view until we understand how much, on what terms, why does it make sense, why is it good for Israel, why is it good for the region, why does it not create more problems than it solves,” Friedman said. “These are all things that we’d want to understand, and I don’t want to prejudge.”


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  • 38/80   Blue Onyx Companies Launches New Website Showcasing Its Innovative Approach to Commercial Real Estate
    TECHNOLOGY TOPIC NEWS

    Blue Onyx Companies, an innovator in the commercial real estate industry based in New Jersey, has launched a new website today.

    Blue Onyx Companies, an innovator in the commercial real estate industry based in New Jersey, has launched a new website today.


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  • 39/80   The Stylist LA Taps CaaStle to Expand its Subscription Rental Service
    TECHNOLOGY TOPIC NEWS

    The Stylist LA has partnered with leading rental technology platform CaaStle to re-introduce and expand its rental subscription service – The Box by The Stylist LA.

    The Stylist LA has partnered with leading rental technology platform CaaStle to re-introduce and expand its rental subscription service – The Box by The Stylist LA.


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  • 40/80   Liver Health Experts Emphasize the Role of Nutrition and Recommend Amsety to Support Liver Health
    TECHNOLOGY TOPIC NEWS

    Liver Health Experts agree that Amsety Bars can grant better nutrition for Liver Health – one of the most pressing health topics currently in the US.

    Liver Health Experts agree that Amsety Bars can grant better nutrition for Liver Health – one of the most pressing health topics currently in the US.


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  • 41/80   Trump thanks GOP senator for pushing Russian disinformation
    POLITICS TOPIC NEWS

    President Trump praised Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., for pushing the theory that Ukrainian interference in the 2016 presidential election was equivalent to Russian efforts.

    President Trump praised Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., for pushing the theory that Ukrainian interference in the 2016 presidential election was equivalent to Russian efforts.


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  • 42/80   Mexican president meets with Mormon massacre victims' families
    POLITICS TOPIC NEWS

    Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador met Monday with relatives of nine Mormon women and children who were massacred in northern Mexico last month to discuss progress in the investigation.  The November 4 killing of three women and six children from a breakaway Mormon community with dual US-Mexican nationality, caused shock on both sides of the border, and increased pressure on Lopez Obrador's government to show it is acting against brutal violence by drug cartels.  'They presented the progress they're making in the investigation and the cooperation between Mexico and the United States on the case,' one relative who attended the closed-door meeting, Lenzo Widmar, told AFP.

    Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador met Monday with relatives of nine Mormon women and children who were massacred in northern Mexico last month to discuss progress in the investigation. The November 4 killing of three women and six children from a breakaway Mormon community with dual US-Mexican nationality, caused shock on both sides of the border, and increased pressure on Lopez Obrador's government to show it is acting against brutal violence by drug cartels. 'They presented the progress they're making in the investigation and the cooperation between Mexico and the United States on the case,' one relative who attended the closed-door meeting, Lenzo Widmar, told AFP.


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  • 43/80   London Bridge victim's father said his death shouldn't be used to justify 'draconian sentences,' as Conservatives call for tougher punishment
    POLITICS TOPIC NEWS

    Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab was questioned about Tory plans to toughen sentencing after David Merritt criticised "detaining people unnecessarily."

    Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab was questioned about Tory plans to toughen sentencing after David Merritt criticised "detaining people unnecessarily."


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  • 44/80   Palmerston, the Foreign Office cat, returns to work after six months off for stress
    POLITICS TOPIC NEWS

    Palmerston, the Foreign Office cat, has returned to work after six months recovering from stress caused by civil servants constantly picking him up and overfeeding him. Those working in the department have been warned not to touch the cat  unless approached, and to stop feeding him treats. In July, the cat was taken to the house of Sir Simon McDonald's Private Secretary in order to recover from stress; the mouser was overweight and had groomed all of the hair off his front legs. Sir Simon, a senior civil servant, is in charge of Palmerston's well-being and on Monday morning issued a strict letter to staff, warning them that if they do not change their behaviour towards the cat, he may be retired for good. Mystery has surrounded Palmerston's extended break, with some worrying the cat was gravely unwell and close to death. However, these rumours were unfounded and the animal is happy and back to full health. The letter reads: "He is happy, healthy and full of energy.  His pelt is glossy and mostly grown back (over grooming is, I’m told, a similar habit to human’s nail-biting; the habit can take a while to kick).  His diet is regulated and free of Dreamies.  We need now to keep him that way!" I am happy to announce that I will be returning to my Chief Mouser duties at the @foreignoffice this week! New guidance - the Palmerston Protocols - will govern my care in the FCO to make sure it’s working for me. (1/4) pic.twitter.com/j2AFKI0DGN— Palmerston (@DiploMog) December 2, 2019 Staff have been given four rules now the cat is back. Sir Simon wrote: "First, no-one (apart from his carers) should feed Palmerston.  No Dreamies.  No bowls of food under the desk for if he happens to drop by.  Nothing! "Second, everyone must help keep Palmerston in the 'Palmerston Zone'.  Cats are territorial.  They fret when their territory is bigger than they can manage.  They can cope with an ever smaller territory as they age.  Palmerston has been king of King Charles Street, roaming from basement to fourth floor (with quad, Downing Street and occasionally St James’s Park thrown in) for nearly four years.  We think he’s about six years old, ie entering feline middle age.   "With the vet’s help we have mapped a more manageable territory: the offices and area surrounding the Grand Staircase.  Heavy doors mark the limits, now with (discreet) stickers proclaiming, 'You are entering/leaving the Palmerston Zone'.  Please respect the Zone and return Palmerston if you find him straying further afield.  Bear in mind that he loves to sit beside the door and dart through, if given half a chance. "Third, everyone must respect Palmerston’s personal space.  Allow Palmerston to choose whether he wants to interact with you: offer your hand as if you were introducing yourself to a stranger, and allow Palmerston to make the first move.  Don’t wake him if he is sleeping.  He has full choice and control of who he deigns to greet or imperiously ignores. "Fourth, my staff office will serve as both my Outer Office and as Palmerston’s refuge: Palmerston HQ.  If he is in Palmerston HQ, he is not to be disturbed.  Palmerston is a friendly, outgoing cat, but we all need our privacy.  Like Greta Garbo, sometimes he wants to be alone."

    Palmerston, the Foreign Office cat, has returned to work after six months recovering from stress caused by civil servants constantly picking him up and overfeeding him. Those working in the department have been warned not to touch the cat  unless approached, and to stop feeding him treats. In July, the cat was taken to the house of Sir Simon McDonald's Private Secretary in order to recover from stress; the mouser was overweight and had groomed all of the hair off his front legs. Sir Simon, a senior civil servant, is in charge of Palmerston's well-being and on Monday morning issued a strict letter to staff, warning them that if they do not change their behaviour towards the cat, he may be retired for good. Mystery has surrounded Palmerston's extended break, with some worrying the cat was gravely unwell and close to death. However, these rumours were unfounded and the animal is happy and back to full health. The letter reads: "He is happy, healthy and full of energy.  His pelt is glossy and mostly grown back (over grooming is, I’m told, a similar habit to human’s nail-biting; the habit can take a while to kick).  His diet is regulated and free of Dreamies.  We need now to keep him that way!" I am happy to announce that I will be returning to my Chief Mouser duties at the @foreignoffice this week! New guidance - the Palmerston Protocols - will govern my care in the FCO to make sure it’s working for me. (1/4) pic.twitter.com/j2AFKI0DGN— Palmerston (@DiploMog) December 2, 2019 Staff have been given four rules now the cat is back. Sir Simon wrote: "First, no-one (apart from his carers) should feed Palmerston.  No Dreamies.  No bowls of food under the desk for if he happens to drop by.  Nothing! "Second, everyone must help keep Palmerston in the 'Palmerston Zone'.  Cats are territorial.  They fret when their territory is bigger than they can manage.  They can cope with an ever smaller territory as they age.  Palmerston has been king of King Charles Street, roaming from basement to fourth floor (with quad, Downing Street and occasionally St James’s Park thrown in) for nearly four years.  We think he’s about six years old, ie entering feline middle age.   "With the vet’s help we have mapped a more manageable territory: the offices and area surrounding the Grand Staircase.  Heavy doors mark the limits, now with (discreet) stickers proclaiming, 'You are entering/leaving the Palmerston Zone'.  Please respect the Zone and return Palmerston if you find him straying further afield.  Bear in mind that he loves to sit beside the door and dart through, if given half a chance. "Third, everyone must respect Palmerston’s personal space.  Allow Palmerston to choose whether he wants to interact with you: offer your hand as if you were introducing yourself to a stranger, and allow Palmerston to make the first move.  Don’t wake him if he is sleeping.  He has full choice and control of who he deigns to greet or imperiously ignores. "Fourth, my staff office will serve as both my Outer Office and as Palmerston’s refuge: Palmerston HQ.  If he is in Palmerston HQ, he is not to be disturbed.  Palmerston is a friendly, outgoing cat, but we all need our privacy.  Like Greta Garbo, sometimes he wants to be alone."


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  • 45/80   Turkey says new Russian missile deal to happen before too long: RIA
    POLITICS TOPIC NEWS

    Turkey's presidential administration has said that the purchase date for more S-400 missile systems from Russia is just a technicality and that it thinks a deal will happen before too long, the RIA news agency reported on Monday.  Moscow hopes to seal a deal to supply Turkey with more S-400 missile systems in the first half of next year, the head of Russian state arms exporter Rosoboronexport said last month.

    Turkey's presidential administration has said that the purchase date for more S-400 missile systems from Russia is just a technicality and that it thinks a deal will happen before too long, the RIA news agency reported on Monday. Moscow hopes to seal a deal to supply Turkey with more S-400 missile systems in the first half of next year, the head of Russian state arms exporter Rosoboronexport said last month.


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  • 46/80   Senate Confirms Energy’s No. 2 Official to Replace Rick Perry
    POLITICS TOPIC NEWS

    (Bloomberg) -- The Senate voted Monday to confirm Dan Brouillette to lead the Department of Energy, putting in place a former lobbyist before the agency to replace Rick Perry.Brouillette, who backed Perry’s efforts to help unprofitable coal and nuclear plants, is no stranger to the Energy Department, having served as Perry’s No. 2 official as well as working there during the George W. Bush administration. He was confirmed by a vote of 70 to 15.Perry had been grooming Brouillette, 57, to succeed him for months while planning his own departure. In recent months, Brouillette has more frequently served as the public face of the Energy Department both on missions abroad and at U.S. events, even sitting in at cabinet meetings when Perry was out of the country on travel.Like Perry, Brouillette is a supporter of efforts -- unsuccessful thus far -- to subsidize coal and nuclear plants that have been unprofitable in the face of competition from cheaper natural gas and renewables, which has forced operators to close down.Other aspects of Perry’s agenda, which include selling more U.S. natural gas abroad and protecting the electric grid from cyber attack, aren’t expected to change with Brouillette on the job.Perry, one of the administration’s original cabinet secretaries, resigned from the department Sunday amid mounting scrutiny in the House impeachment inquiry over his discussions with Ukraine, though he had been planning his departure well before the impeachment inquiry began.To contact the reporter on this story: Ari Natter in Washington at anatter5@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Jon Morgan at jmorgan97@bloomberg.net, Elizabeth Wasserman, Laura CurtisFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

    (Bloomberg) -- The Senate voted Monday to confirm Dan Brouillette to lead the Department of Energy, putting in place a former lobbyist before the agency to replace Rick Perry.Brouillette, who backed Perry’s efforts to help unprofitable coal and nuclear plants, is no stranger to the Energy Department, having served as Perry’s No. 2 official as well as working there during the George W. Bush administration. He was confirmed by a vote of 70 to 15.Perry had been grooming Brouillette, 57, to succeed him for months while planning his own departure. In recent months, Brouillette has more frequently served as the public face of the Energy Department both on missions abroad and at U.S. events, even sitting in at cabinet meetings when Perry was out of the country on travel.Like Perry, Brouillette is a supporter of efforts -- unsuccessful thus far -- to subsidize coal and nuclear plants that have been unprofitable in the face of competition from cheaper natural gas and renewables, which has forced operators to close down.Other aspects of Perry’s agenda, which include selling more U.S. natural gas abroad and protecting the electric grid from cyber attack, aren’t expected to change with Brouillette on the job.Perry, one of the administration’s original cabinet secretaries, resigned from the department Sunday amid mounting scrutiny in the House impeachment inquiry over his discussions with Ukraine, though he had been planning his departure well before the impeachment inquiry began.To contact the reporter on this story: Ari Natter in Washington at anatter5@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Jon Morgan at jmorgan97@bloomberg.net, Elizabeth Wasserman, Laura CurtisFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


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  • 47/80   How Good Is Taiwan's New Hypersonic Missile?
    POLITICS TOPIC NEWS

    A concern for China?

    A concern for China?


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  • 48/80   Wisconsin police officer shoots student who pulled gun, refused to drop it, officials say
    POLITICS TOPIC NEWS

    The student reportedly brought the gun to school. The suspect is in custody and the building is secure, according to the Waukesha Police Department.

    The student reportedly brought the gun to school. The suspect is in custody and the building is secure, according to the Waukesha Police Department.


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  • 49/80   Haitian schools reopen after months of unrest
    POLITICS TOPIC NEWS

    PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Protected by police patrols, thousands of Haitian children began to return to school Monday after months of violent unrest forced schools to shut around the country.  Some schools were about a quarter full in response to the Education Ministry’s call last week to reopen public and private schools.  Others had only a handful of students or didn’t open at all.

    PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Protected by police patrols, thousands of Haitian children began to return to school Monday after months of violent unrest forced schools to shut around the country. Some schools were about a quarter full in response to the Education Ministry’s call last week to reopen public and private schools. Others had only a handful of students or didn’t open at all.


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  • 50/80   Trump border wall $400 million contract handed to company owned by Republican donor who promoted firm on Fox News
    POLITICS TOPIC NEWS

    A construction company owned by a Republican donor has been given a $400m (£308.5m) contract to build sections of Donald Trump’s border wall.The Department of Defence has announced Fisher Sand and Gravel Co, from North Dakota, will build new barriers in Arizona following reports that Mr Trump repeatedly pushed for the company to be given the contract, despite concerns from engineering officials.

    A construction company owned by a Republican donor has been given a $400m (£308.5m) contract to build sections of Donald Trump’s border wall.The Department of Defence has announced Fisher Sand and Gravel Co, from North Dakota, will build new barriers in Arizona following reports that Mr Trump repeatedly pushed for the company to be given the contract, despite concerns from engineering officials.


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  • 51/80   Russian scientists present ancient puppy found in permafrost
    SCIENCE TOPIC NEWS

    Russian scientists on Monday showed off a prehistoric puppy, believed to be 18,000 years old, found in permafrost in the country’s Far East.  Discovered last year in a lump of frozen mud near the city of Yakutsk, the puppy is unusually well-preserved, with its hair, teeth, whiskers and eyelashes still intact.

    Russian scientists on Monday showed off a prehistoric puppy, believed to be 18,000 years old, found in permafrost in the country’s Far East. Discovered last year in a lump of frozen mud near the city of Yakutsk, the puppy is unusually well-preserved, with its hair, teeth, whiskers and eyelashes still intact.


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  • 52/80   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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  • 53/80   Spacewalking astronauts add new pumps to cosmic detector
    SCIENCE TOPIC NEWS

    Spacewalking astronauts installed new pumps on a cosmic ray detector outside the International Space Station on Monday in a bid to extend its scientific life.  It was the third spacewalk in nearly three weeks for Italy’s Luca Parmitano and NASA’s Andrew Morgan.  One more spacewalk remains before NASA can declare the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer successfully repaired.

    Spacewalking astronauts installed new pumps on a cosmic ray detector outside the International Space Station on Monday in a bid to extend its scientific life. It was the third spacewalk in nearly three weeks for Italy’s Luca Parmitano and NASA’s Andrew Morgan. One more spacewalk remains before NASA can declare the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer successfully repaired.


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  • 54/80   Could a Buried Ocean on Jupiter’s Moon Point to Life Beyond Earth?
    SCIENCE TOPIC NEWS

    GettyThere’s water on Europa, one of 79 moons orbiting Jupiter, NASA just confirmed. And where there’s water, there could be life, according to the space agency.The discovery, which NASA scientists announced in a November paper in the journal Nature, is the latest in a series of findings that point to some form of life possibly sharing the cosmos with Earth’s own beings.Scientists are increasingly convinced that our planet’s microbes, plants, insects, fish, birds, lizards and apes aren’t the only living things in the universe.But we won’t know for sure unless we investigate every potential sign of life. And that’s where NASA, Congress, and the Trump administration keep dropping the ball. It could be more than a decade before NASA launches a mission to travel the roughly 400 million miles to Europa and sample its water.Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei discovered Europa, by way of telescope, way back in 1610. A series of probes began visiting the moon starting in the 1970s. NASA’s Galileo probe orbited Jupiter between 1995 and 2003 and repeatedly scanned Europa with its sensors. In the 2000s scientists began pointing the Hubble space telescope at the smooth, brown-white moon. That’s when they first saw signs of “plumes”—watery geysers periodically jetting up from Europa’s icy crust. NASA revealed the plumes in 2013. Three years later, agency scientists began a yearlong survey of Europa using a telescope at the Keck Observatory in Hawaii.On April 26, 2016, they observed around 2,000 tons of water vapor in the sky over Europa. That’s not really a lot of H2O by galactic standards. Europa’s plumes could be “rare localized events,” the scientists conceded. But they still might point to life on the frigid moon.All the probes and scans since the 1970s “have amassed enough additional information about Europa to make it a high-priority target of investigation in NASA’s search for life,” the space agency stated on Nov. 18.“What makes this moon so alluring is the possibility that it may possess all of the ingredients necessary for life,” NASA continued. “Scientists have evidence that one of these ingredients, liquid water, is present under the icy surface and may sometimes erupt into space in huge geysers.”The problem is, the only mission to Europa that NASA is working on doesn’t include the best equipment for investigating the possibility of life. “If your job is to look for life beyond Earth, if your quest is to show that there’s life on worlds other than our own, this Europan spritz is a magnificent opportunity,” Seth Shostak, an astronomer with the California-based SETI Institute, told The Daily Beast. The SETI Institute searches for extraterrestrial life, primarily by listening for alien radio broadcasts. “All that may be required to find aliens—albeit, microscopic ones—is to launch a spacecraft towards Jupiter, swing around Europa and robotically grab some of the water vapor the moon shoots your way,” Shostak added. “By either bringing that frozen water back to Earth, or simply examining it with an on-board microscope, we might find some life within—just as we could find bacteria by carefully looking at the water droplets from a sneeze. It may be the quickest way to show that life is everywhere.”But NASA’s only new Europa probe, Clipper, is set to launch in 2025 without any ability to scoop up Europa’s water. For that, it would need a robotic lander that could actually descend to the moon’s surface, bottle up some samples then boost back into orbit. Without a lander, the $4-billion Clipper is limited to conducting remote scans.There once was a plan to outfit Clipper with a lander. But it was risky. “It is most challenging at Europa due to the temporal nature of the plumes and the high-radiation environment under which the samples have to be collected and the instruments have to gain information,” Dirk Schulze-Makuch, an astronomer at Technical University Berlin, told The Daily Beast.The lander scheme had just one champion in Congress, Houston-area Republican representative John Culberson. “He was somewhat single-handedly setting the congressional budget to have a Europa lander,” Matthew Siegler, an astronomer with the Planetary Science Institute in Arizona, told The Daily Beast.But Culberson, an 18-year veteran of the House of Representatives, lost his re-election bid in 2018. Funding for the lander dwindled in the 2019 budget. “The money clearly is not going to be there,” Siegler said. Spokespersons for the House science committee didn’t respond to The Daily Beast’s requests for comment.It’s unlikely NASA will make a hard push for more money for Clipper. “You could place the blame of that on the moon, where the current administration is advocating money be spent,” Siegler noted, referring to Earth’s own moon. The Trump administration is desperate to land astronauts on Earth’s moon by 2024, the final full year of a possible second term for Trump. The moon mission involves several new spacecraft and could end up costing $30 billion. NASA’s entire annual budget has been around $20 billion in recent years. A NASA spokesperson didn’t respond to a request for comment.  It’s possible that, once the Trump-inspired moon mania fades, NASA could mount a fresh mission to Europa—one with a water-collecting lander. Siegler guessed that could happen around 2035, at the soonest. Of course, by the 2030s, an additional Europa mission might be competing with manned missions to Mars. It might also run afoul of a possible mission to Enceladus, a moon of Saturn that also appears to be capable of supporting life.“It’s worth noting that Europa is, in some sense, in competition with Enceladus, which also has geysers from an underground ocean,” Shostak said. “Maybe even more than Europa.”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.

    GettyThere’s water on Europa, one of 79 moons orbiting Jupiter, NASA just confirmed. And where there’s water, there could be life, according to the space agency.The discovery, which NASA scientists announced in a November paper in the journal Nature, is the latest in a series of findings that point to some form of life possibly sharing the cosmos with Earth’s own beings.Scientists are increasingly convinced that our planet’s microbes, plants, insects, fish, birds, lizards and apes aren’t the only living things in the universe.But we won’t know for sure unless we investigate every potential sign of life. And that’s where NASA, Congress, and the Trump administration keep dropping the ball. It could be more than a decade before NASA launches a mission to travel the roughly 400 million miles to Europa and sample its water.Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei discovered Europa, by way of telescope, way back in 1610. A series of probes began visiting the moon starting in the 1970s. NASA’s Galileo probe orbited Jupiter between 1995 and 2003 and repeatedly scanned Europa with its sensors. In the 2000s scientists began pointing the Hubble space telescope at the smooth, brown-white moon. That’s when they first saw signs of “plumes”—watery geysers periodically jetting up from Europa’s icy crust. NASA revealed the plumes in 2013. Three years later, agency scientists began a yearlong survey of Europa using a telescope at the Keck Observatory in Hawaii.On April 26, 2016, they observed around 2,000 tons of water vapor in the sky over Europa. That’s not really a lot of H2O by galactic standards. Europa’s plumes could be “rare localized events,” the scientists conceded. But they still might point to life on the frigid moon.All the probes and scans since the 1970s “have amassed enough additional information about Europa to make it a high-priority target of investigation in NASA’s search for life,” the space agency stated on Nov. 18.“What makes this moon so alluring is the possibility that it may possess all of the ingredients necessary for life,” NASA continued. “Scientists have evidence that one of these ingredients, liquid water, is present under the icy surface and may sometimes erupt into space in huge geysers.”The problem is, the only mission to Europa that NASA is working on doesn’t include the best equipment for investigating the possibility of life. “If your job is to look for life beyond Earth, if your quest is to show that there’s life on worlds other than our own, this Europan spritz is a magnificent opportunity,” Seth Shostak, an astronomer with the California-based SETI Institute, told The Daily Beast. The SETI Institute searches for extraterrestrial life, primarily by listening for alien radio broadcasts. “All that may be required to find aliens—albeit, microscopic ones—is to launch a spacecraft towards Jupiter, swing around Europa and robotically grab some of the water vapor the moon shoots your way,” Shostak added. “By either bringing that frozen water back to Earth, or simply examining it with an on-board microscope, we might find some life within—just as we could find bacteria by carefully looking at the water droplets from a sneeze. It may be the quickest way to show that life is everywhere.”But NASA’s only new Europa probe, Clipper, is set to launch in 2025 without any ability to scoop up Europa’s water. For that, it would need a robotic lander that could actually descend to the moon’s surface, bottle up some samples then boost back into orbit. Without a lander, the $4-billion Clipper is limited to conducting remote scans.There once was a plan to outfit Clipper with a lander. But it was risky. “It is most challenging at Europa due to the temporal nature of the plumes and the high-radiation environment under which the samples have to be collected and the instruments have to gain information,” Dirk Schulze-Makuch, an astronomer at Technical University Berlin, told The Daily Beast.The lander scheme had just one champion in Congress, Houston-area Republican representative John Culberson. “He was somewhat single-handedly setting the congressional budget to have a Europa lander,” Matthew Siegler, an astronomer with the Planetary Science Institute in Arizona, told The Daily Beast.But Culberson, an 18-year veteran of the House of Representatives, lost his re-election bid in 2018. Funding for the lander dwindled in the 2019 budget. “The money clearly is not going to be there,” Siegler said. Spokespersons for the House science committee didn’t respond to The Daily Beast’s requests for comment.It’s unlikely NASA will make a hard push for more money for Clipper. “You could place the blame of that on the moon, where the current administration is advocating money be spent,” Siegler noted, referring to Earth’s own moon. The Trump administration is desperate to land astronauts on Earth’s moon by 2024, the final full year of a possible second term for Trump. The moon mission involves several new spacecraft and could end up costing $30 billion. NASA’s entire annual budget has been around $20 billion in recent years. A NASA spokesperson didn’t respond to a request for comment.  It’s possible that, once the Trump-inspired moon mania fades, NASA could mount a fresh mission to Europa—one with a water-collecting lander. Siegler guessed that could happen around 2035, at the soonest. Of course, by the 2030s, an additional Europa mission might be competing with manned missions to Mars. It might also run afoul of a possible mission to Enceladus, a moon of Saturn that also appears to be capable of supporting life.“It’s worth noting that Europa is, in some sense, in competition with Enceladus, which also has geysers from an underground ocean,” Shostak said. “Maybe even more than Europa.”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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  • 55/80   Are lab-grown diamonds the real deal?
    SCIENCE TOPIC NEWS

    Are lab-grown diamonds the real deal? originally appeared on goodmorningamerica.comShopping for a diamond for a special someone?Before you make your purchase, you may want to learn more about lab-grown diamonds.This option has grown in popularity and been seen on celebs such as Bindi Irwin.         View this post on Instagram           July 24th 2019 ?? On my birthday I said ‘yes’ and ‘forever’ to the love of my life. Chandler, close to 6 years ago I fell in love with you and every day since has been a whirlwind of adventure and true happiness. ...

    Are lab-grown diamonds the real deal? originally appeared on goodmorningamerica.comShopping for a diamond for a special someone?Before you make your purchase, you may want to learn more about lab-grown diamonds.This option has grown in popularity and been seen on celebs such as Bindi Irwin. View this post on Instagram July 24th 2019 ?? On my birthday I said ‘yes’ and ‘forever’ to the love of my life. Chandler, close to 6 years ago I fell in love with you and every day since has been a whirlwind of adventure and true happiness. ...


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  • 56/80   Chinese Labs Mine DNA to Map Faces With Help From the West
    SCIENCE TOPIC NEWS

    TUMXUK, China -- In a dusty city in the Xinjiang region on China's western frontier, the authorities are testing the rules of science.With 1 million or more ethnic Uighurs and others from predominantly Muslim minority groups swept up in detentions across Xinjiang, officials in Tumxuk have gathered blood samples from hundreds of Uighurs -- part of a mass DNA collection effort dogged by questions about consent and how the data will be used.In Tumxuk, at least, there is a partial answer: Chinese scientists are trying to find a way to use a DNA sample to create an image of a person's face.The technology, which is also being developed in the United States and elsewhere, is in the early stages of development and can produce rough pictures good enough only to narrow a manhunt or perhaps eliminate suspects. But given the crackdown in Xinjiang, experts on ethics in science worry that China is building a tool that could be used to justify and intensify racial profiling and other state discrimination against Uighurs.In the long term, experts say, it may even be possible for the Communist government to feed images produced from a DNA sample into the mass surveillance and facial recognition systems that it is building, tightening its grip on society by improving its ability to track dissidents and protesters as well as criminals.Some of this research is taking place in labs run by China's Ministry of Public Security, and at least two Chinese scientists working with the ministry on the technology have received funding from respected institutions in Europe. International scientific journals have published their findings without examining the origin of the DNA used in the studies or vetting the ethical questions raised by collecting such samples in Xinjiang.In papers, the Chinese scientists said they followed norms set by international associations of scientists, which would require that the men in Tumxuk (pronounced TUM-shook) gave their blood willingly. But in Xinjiang, many people have no choice. The government collects samples under the veneer of a mandatory health checkup program, according to Uighurs who have fled the country. Those placed in internment camps -- two of which are in Tumxuk -- also have little choice.Police prevented reporters from The New York Times from interviewing Tumxuk residents, making verifying consent impossible. Many residents had vanished in any case. On the road to one of the internment camps, an entire neighborhood had been bulldozed into rubble.Growing numbers of scientists and human rights activists say the Chinese government is exploiting the openness of the international scientific community to harness research into the human genome for questionable purposes.Already, China is exploring using facial recognition technology to sort people by ethnicity. It is also researching how to use DNA to tell if a person is a Uighur. Research on the genetics behind the faces of Tumxuk's men could help bridge the two.The Chinese government is building "essentially technologies used for hunting people," said Mark Munsterhjelm, an assistant professor at the University of Windsor in Ontario who tracks Chinese interest in the technology.In the world of science, Munsterhjelm said, "there's a kind of culture of complacency that has now given way to complicity."'Warning to Everybody'Sketching someone's face based solely on a DNA sample sounds like science fiction. It isn't.The process is called DNA phenotyping. Scientists use it to analyze genes for traits like skin color, eye color and ancestry. A handful of companies and scientists are trying to perfect the science to create facial images sharp and accurate enough to identify criminals and victims.Maryland police used it last year to identify a murder victim. In 2015, police in North Carolina arrested a man on two counts of murder after crime-scene DNA indicated the killer had fair skin, brown or hazel eyes, dark hair, and little evidence of freckling. The man pleaded guilty.Despite such examples, experts widely question phenotyping's effectiveness. Currently, it often produces facial images that are too smooth or indistinct to look like the face being replicated. DNA cannot indicate other factors that determine how people look, such as age or weight. DNA can reveal gender and ancestry, but the technology can be hit or miss when it comes to generating an image as specific as a face.Phenotyping also raises ethical issues, said Pilar Ossorio, a professor of law and bioethics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Police could use it to round up large numbers of people who resemble a suspect, or use it to target ethnic groups. And the technology raises fundamental issues of consent from those who never wanted to be in a database to begin with."What the Chinese government is doing should be a warning to everybody who kind of goes along happily thinking, 'How could anyone be worried about these technologies?'" Ossorio said.With the ability to reconstruct faces, Chinese police would have yet another genetic tool for social control. Authorities have already gathered millions of DNA samples in Xinjiang. They have also collected data from the hundreds of thousands of Uighurs and members of other minority groups locked up in detention camps in Xinjiang as part of a campaign to stop terrorism. Chinese officials have depicted the camps as benign facilities that offer vocational training, though documents describe prisonlike conditions, while testimonies from many who have been inside cite overcrowding and torture.Even beyond the Uighurs, China has the world's largest DNA database, with more than 80 million profiles as of July, according to Chinese news reports."If I were to find DNA at a crime scene, the first thing I would do is to find a match in the 80 million data set," said Peter Claes, an imaging specialist at the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium, who has studied DNA-based facial reconstruction for a decade. "But what do you do if you don't find a match?"Though the technology is far from accurate, he said, "DNA phenotyping can bring a solution."Ties to EuropeTo unlock the genetic mysteries behind the human face, police in China turned to Chinese scientists with connections to leading institutions in Europe.One of them was Tang Kun, a specialist in human genetic diversity at the Shanghai-based Partner Institute for Computational Biology, which was founded in part by the Max Planck Society, a top research group in Germany.The German organization also provided $22,000 a year in funding to Tang because he conducted research at an institute affiliated with it, said Christina Beck, a spokeswoman for the Max Planck Society. Tang said the grant had run out before he began working with the police, according to Beck.Another expert involved in the research was Liu Fan, a professor at the Beijing Institute of Genomics who is also an adjunct assistant professor at Erasmus University Medical Center in the Netherlands.Both were named as authors of a 2018 study on Uighur faces in the journal Hereditas (Beijing), published by the government-backed Chinese Academy of Sciences. They were also listed as authors of a study examining DNA samples taken last year from 612 Uighurs in Tumxuk that appeared in April in Human Genetics, a journal published by Springer Nature, which also publishes the influential journal Nature.Both papers named numerous other authors, including Li Caixia, chief forensic scientist at the Ministry of Public Security.In an interview, Tang said he did not know why he was named as an author of the April paper, though he said it might have been because his graduate students worked on it. He said he had ended his affiliation with Chinese police in 2017 because he felt their biological samples and research were subpar."To be frank, you overestimate how genius the Chinese police is," said Tang, who had recently shut down a business focused on DNA testing and ancestry.Like other geneticists, Tang has long been fascinated by Uighurs because their mix of European and East Asian features can help scientists identify genetic variants associated with physical traits. In his earlier studies, he said, he collected blood samples himself from willing subjects.Tang said the police approached him in 2016, offering access to DNA samples and funding. At the time, he was a professor at the Partner Institute for Computational Biology, which is run by the Chinese Academy of Sciences but was founded in 2005 in part with funding from the Max Planck Society and still receives some grants and recommendations for researchers from the German group.Beck, the Max Planck spokeswoman, said Tang had told the organization that he began working with the police in 2017, after it had stopped funding his research a year earlier.But an employment ad on a government website suggests the relationship began earlier. The Ministry of Public Security placed the ad in 2016 seeking a researcher to help explore the "DNA of physical appearance traits." It said the person would report to Tang and to Li, the ministry's chief forensic scientist.Tang did not respond to additional requests for comment. The Max Planck Society said Tang had not reported his work with the police as required while holding a position at the Partner Institute, which he did not leave until last year.The Max Planck Society "takes this issue very seriously" said will ask its ethics council to review the matter, Beck said.It is not clear when Liu, the assistant professor at Erasmus University Medical Center, began working with the Chinese police. Liu says in his online resume that he is a visiting professor at the Ministry of Public Security at a lab for "on-site traceability technology."In 2015, while holding a position with Erasmus, he also took a post at the Beijing Institute of Genomics. Two months later, the Beijing institute signed an agreement with the Chinese police to establish an innovation center to study cutting-edge technologies "urgently needed by the public security forces," according to the institute's website.Liu did not respond to requests for comment.Erasmus said that Liu remained employed by the university as a part-time researcher and that his position in China was "totally independent" of the one in the Netherlands. It added that Liu had not received any funding from the university for the research papers, though he listed his affiliation with Erasmus on the studies. Erasmus made inquiries about his research and determined there was no need for further action, according to a spokeswoman.Erasmus added that it could not be held responsible "for any research that has not taken place under the auspices of Erasmus" by Liu, even though it continued to employ him.Still, Liu's work suggests that sources of funding could be mingled.In September, he was one of seven authors of a paper on height in Europeans published in the journal Forensic Science International. The paper said it was backed by a grant from the European Union -- and by a grant from China's Ministry of Public Security.Tang said he was unaware of the origins of the DNA samples examined in the two papers, the 2018 paper in Hereditas (Beijing) and the Human Genetics paper published in April. The publishers of the papers said they were unaware, too.Hereditas (Beijing) did not respond to a request for comment. Human Genetics said it had to trust scientists who said they had received informed consent from donors. Local ethics committees are generally responsible for verifying that the rules were followed, it said.Springer Nature said on Monday that it had strengthened its guidelines on papers involving vulnerable groups of people and that it would add notes of concern to previously published papers.In the papers, the authors said their methods had been approved by the ethics committee of the Institute of Forensic Science of China. That organization is part of the Ministry of Public Security, China's police.On the Frontier With 161,000 residents, most of them Uighurs, the agricultural settlement of Tumxuk is governed by the powerful Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, a quasi-military organization formed by decommissioned soldiers sent to Xinjiang in the 1950s to develop the region.The state news media described Tumxuk, which is dotted with police checkpoints, as one of the "gateways and major battlefields for Xinjiang's security work."In January 2018, the town got a high-tech addition: a forensic DNA lab run by the Institute of Forensic Science of China, the same police research group responsible for the work on DNA phenotyping.Procurement documents showed the lab relied on software systems made by Thermo Fisher Scientific, a Massachusetts company, to work with genetic sequencers that analyze DNA fragments. Thermo Fisher announced in February that it would suspend sales to the region, saying in a statement that it had decided to do so after undertaking "fact-specific assessments."For the Human Genetics study, samples were processed by a higher-end sequencer made by an American firm, Illumina, according to the authors. It is not clear who owned the sequencer. Illumina did not respond to requests for comment.The police sought to prevent two Times reporters from conducting interviews in Tumxuk, stopping them upon arrival at the airport for interrogation. Government minders then tailed the reporters and later forced them to delete all photos, audio and video recordings taken on their phones in Tumxuk.Uighurs and human rights groups have said authorities collected DNA samples, images of irises and other personal data during mandatory health checks.In an interview, Zhou Fang, the head of the health commission in Tumxuk, said residents voluntarily accepted free health checks under a public health program known as Physicals for All and denied that DNA samples were collected."I've never heard of such a thing," he said.The questions angered Zhao Hai, the deputy head of Tumxuk's foreign affairs office. He called a Times reporter "shameless" for asking a question linking the health checks with the collection of DNA samples."Do you think America has the ability to do these free health checks?" he asked. "Only the Communist Party can do that!"This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2019 The New York Times Company

    TUMXUK, China -- In a dusty city in the Xinjiang region on China's western frontier, the authorities are testing the rules of science.With 1 million or more ethnic Uighurs and others from predominantly Muslim minority groups swept up in detentions across Xinjiang, officials in Tumxuk have gathered blood samples from hundreds of Uighurs -- part of a mass DNA collection effort dogged by questions about consent and how the data will be used.In Tumxuk, at least, there is a partial answer: Chinese scientists are trying to find a way to use a DNA sample to create an image of a person's face.The technology, which is also being developed in the United States and elsewhere, is in the early stages of development and can produce rough pictures good enough only to narrow a manhunt or perhaps eliminate suspects. But given the crackdown in Xinjiang, experts on ethics in science worry that China is building a tool that could be used to justify and intensify racial profiling and other state discrimination against Uighurs.In the long term, experts say, it may even be possible for the Communist government to feed images produced from a DNA sample into the mass surveillance and facial recognition systems that it is building, tightening its grip on society by improving its ability to track dissidents and protesters as well as criminals.Some of this research is taking place in labs run by China's Ministry of Public Security, and at least two Chinese scientists working with the ministry on the technology have received funding from respected institutions in Europe. International scientific journals have published their findings without examining the origin of the DNA used in the studies or vetting the ethical questions raised by collecting such samples in Xinjiang.In papers, the Chinese scientists said they followed norms set by international associations of scientists, which would require that the men in Tumxuk (pronounced TUM-shook) gave their blood willingly. But in Xinjiang, many people have no choice. The government collects samples under the veneer of a mandatory health checkup program, according to Uighurs who have fled the country. Those placed in internment camps -- two of which are in Tumxuk -- also have little choice.Police prevented reporters from The New York Times from interviewing Tumxuk residents, making verifying consent impossible. Many residents had vanished in any case. On the road to one of the internment camps, an entire neighborhood had been bulldozed into rubble.Growing numbers of scientists and human rights activists say the Chinese government is exploiting the openness of the international scientific community to harness research into the human genome for questionable purposes.Already, China is exploring using facial recognition technology to sort people by ethnicity. It is also researching how to use DNA to tell if a person is a Uighur. Research on the genetics behind the faces of Tumxuk's men could help bridge the two.The Chinese government is building "essentially technologies used for hunting people," said Mark Munsterhjelm, an assistant professor at the University of Windsor in Ontario who tracks Chinese interest in the technology.In the world of science, Munsterhjelm said, "there's a kind of culture of complacency that has now given way to complicity."'Warning to Everybody'Sketching someone's face based solely on a DNA sample sounds like science fiction. It isn't.The process is called DNA phenotyping. Scientists use it to analyze genes for traits like skin color, eye color and ancestry. A handful of companies and scientists are trying to perfect the science to create facial images sharp and accurate enough to identify criminals and victims.Maryland police used it last year to identify a murder victim. In 2015, police in North Carolina arrested a man on two counts of murder after crime-scene DNA indicated the killer had fair skin, brown or hazel eyes, dark hair, and little evidence of freckling. The man pleaded guilty.Despite such examples, experts widely question phenotyping's effectiveness. Currently, it often produces facial images that are too smooth or indistinct to look like the face being replicated. DNA cannot indicate other factors that determine how people look, such as age or weight. DNA can reveal gender and ancestry, but the technology can be hit or miss when it comes to generating an image as specific as a face.Phenotyping also raises ethical issues, said Pilar Ossorio, a professor of law and bioethics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Police could use it to round up large numbers of people who resemble a suspect, or use it to target ethnic groups. And the technology raises fundamental issues of consent from those who never wanted to be in a database to begin with."What the Chinese government is doing should be a warning to everybody who kind of goes along happily thinking, 'How could anyone be worried about these technologies?'" Ossorio said.With the ability to reconstruct faces, Chinese police would have yet another genetic tool for social control. Authorities have already gathered millions of DNA samples in Xinjiang. They have also collected data from the hundreds of thousands of Uighurs and members of other minority groups locked up in detention camps in Xinjiang as part of a campaign to stop terrorism. Chinese officials have depicted the camps as benign facilities that offer vocational training, though documents describe prisonlike conditions, while testimonies from many who have been inside cite overcrowding and torture.Even beyond the Uighurs, China has the world's largest DNA database, with more than 80 million profiles as of July, according to Chinese news reports."If I were to find DNA at a crime scene, the first thing I would do is to find a match in the 80 million data set," said Peter Claes, an imaging specialist at the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium, who has studied DNA-based facial reconstruction for a decade. "But what do you do if you don't find a match?"Though the technology is far from accurate, he said, "DNA phenotyping can bring a solution."Ties to EuropeTo unlock the genetic mysteries behind the human face, police in China turned to Chinese scientists with connections to leading institutions in Europe.One of them was Tang Kun, a specialist in human genetic diversity at the Shanghai-based Partner Institute for Computational Biology, which was founded in part by the Max Planck Society, a top research group in Germany.The German organization also provided $22,000 a year in funding to Tang because he conducted research at an institute affiliated with it, said Christina Beck, a spokeswoman for the Max Planck Society. Tang said the grant had run out before he began working with the police, according to Beck.Another expert involved in the research was Liu Fan, a professor at the Beijing Institute of Genomics who is also an adjunct assistant professor at Erasmus University Medical Center in the Netherlands.Both were named as authors of a 2018 study on Uighur faces in the journal Hereditas (Beijing), published by the government-backed Chinese Academy of Sciences. They were also listed as authors of a study examining DNA samples taken last year from 612 Uighurs in Tumxuk that appeared in April in Human Genetics, a journal published by Springer Nature, which also publishes the influential journal Nature.Both papers named numerous other authors, including Li Caixia, chief forensic scientist at the Ministry of Public Security.In an interview, Tang said he did not know why he was named as an author of the April paper, though he said it might have been because his graduate students worked on it. He said he had ended his affiliation with Chinese police in 2017 because he felt their biological samples and research were subpar."To be frank, you overestimate how genius the Chinese police is," said Tang, who had recently shut down a business focused on DNA testing and ancestry.Like other geneticists, Tang has long been fascinated by Uighurs because their mix of European and East Asian features can help scientists identify genetic variants associated with physical traits. In his earlier studies, he said, he collected blood samples himself from willing subjects.Tang said the police approached him in 2016, offering access to DNA samples and funding. At the time, he was a professor at the Partner Institute for Computational Biology, which is run by the Chinese Academy of Sciences but was founded in 2005 in part with funding from the Max Planck Society and still receives some grants and recommendations for researchers from the German group.Beck, the Max Planck spokeswoman, said Tang had told the organization that he began working with the police in 2017, after it had stopped funding his research a year earlier.But an employment ad on a government website suggests the relationship began earlier. The Ministry of Public Security placed the ad in 2016 seeking a researcher to help explore the "DNA of physical appearance traits." It said the person would report to Tang and to Li, the ministry's chief forensic scientist.Tang did not respond to additional requests for comment. The Max Planck Society said Tang had not reported his work with the police as required while holding a position at the Partner Institute, which he did not leave until last year.The Max Planck Society "takes this issue very seriously" said will ask its ethics council to review the matter, Beck said.It is not clear when Liu, the assistant professor at Erasmus University Medical Center, began working with the Chinese police. Liu says in his online resume that he is a visiting professor at the Ministry of Public Security at a lab for "on-site traceability technology."In 2015, while holding a position with Erasmus, he also took a post at the Beijing Institute of Genomics. Two months later, the Beijing institute signed an agreement with the Chinese police to establish an innovation center to study cutting-edge technologies "urgently needed by the public security forces," according to the institute's website.Liu did not respond to requests for comment.Erasmus said that Liu remained employed by the university as a part-time researcher and that his position in China was "totally independent" of the one in the Netherlands. It added that Liu had not received any funding from the university for the research papers, though he listed his affiliation with Erasmus on the studies. Erasmus made inquiries about his research and determined there was no need for further action, according to a spokeswoman.Erasmus added that it could not be held responsible "for any research that has not taken place under the auspices of Erasmus" by Liu, even though it continued to employ him.Still, Liu's work suggests that sources of funding could be mingled.In September, he was one of seven authors of a paper on height in Europeans published in the journal Forensic Science International. The paper said it was backed by a grant from the European Union -- and by a grant from China's Ministry of Public Security.Tang said he was unaware of the origins of the DNA samples examined in the two papers, the 2018 paper in Hereditas (Beijing) and the Human Genetics paper published in April. The publishers of the papers said they were unaware, too.Hereditas (Beijing) did not respond to a request for comment. Human Genetics said it had to trust scientists who said they had received informed consent from donors. Local ethics committees are generally responsible for verifying that the rules were followed, it said.Springer Nature said on Monday that it had strengthened its guidelines on papers involving vulnerable groups of people and that it would add notes of concern to previously published papers.In the papers, the authors said their methods had been approved by the ethics committee of the Institute of Forensic Science of China. That organization is part of the Ministry of Public Security, China's police.On the Frontier With 161,000 residents, most of them Uighurs, the agricultural settlement of Tumxuk is governed by the powerful Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, a quasi-military organization formed by decommissioned soldiers sent to Xinjiang in the 1950s to develop the region.The state news media described Tumxuk, which is dotted with police checkpoints, as one of the "gateways and major battlefields for Xinjiang's security work."In January 2018, the town got a high-tech addition: a forensic DNA lab run by the Institute of Forensic Science of China, the same police research group responsible for the work on DNA phenotyping.Procurement documents showed the lab relied on software systems made by Thermo Fisher Scientific, a Massachusetts company, to work with genetic sequencers that analyze DNA fragments. Thermo Fisher announced in February that it would suspend sales to the region, saying in a statement that it had decided to do so after undertaking "fact-specific assessments."For the Human Genetics study, samples were processed by a higher-end sequencer made by an American firm, Illumina, according to the authors. It is not clear who owned the sequencer. Illumina did not respond to requests for comment.The police sought to prevent two Times reporters from conducting interviews in Tumxuk, stopping them upon arrival at the airport for interrogation. Government minders then tailed the reporters and later forced them to delete all photos, audio and video recordings taken on their phones in Tumxuk.Uighurs and human rights groups have said authorities collected DNA samples, images of irises and other personal data during mandatory health checks.In an interview, Zhou Fang, the head of the health commission in Tumxuk, said residents voluntarily accepted free health checks under a public health program known as Physicals for All and denied that DNA samples were collected."I've never heard of such a thing," he said.The questions angered Zhao Hai, the deputy head of Tumxuk's foreign affairs office. He called a Times reporter "shameless" for asking a question linking the health checks with the collection of DNA samples."Do you think America has the ability to do these free health checks?" he asked. "Only the Communist Party can do that!"This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2019 The New York Times Company


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  • 57/80   Cyrus Biotechnology and CRISPR pioneers team up to boost gene-editing therapies
    SCIENCE TOPIC NEWS

    Seattle-based Cyrus Biotechnology says it'll collaborate with the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard on ways to optimize CRISPR gene-editing techniques for use in developing novel human therapeutics. CRISPR has revolutionized genetics by making it easier to modify the DNA coding in the genome, but more needs to be done to address safety concerns for human applications. Cyrus Biotech and the Broad Institute will work on ways to reduce the potential for the body to mount an immune response against CRISPR-based therapies. MIT biochemist Feng Zhang, one of the pioneers in the development of CRISPR, will be the principal investigator… Read More

    Seattle-based Cyrus Biotechnology says it'll collaborate with the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard on ways to optimize CRISPR gene-editing techniques for use in developing novel human therapeutics. CRISPR has revolutionized genetics by making it easier to modify the DNA coding in the genome, but more needs to be done to address safety concerns for human applications. Cyrus Biotech and the Broad Institute will work on ways to reduce the potential for the body to mount an immune response against CRISPR-based therapies. MIT biochemist Feng Zhang, one of the pioneers in the development of CRISPR, will be the principal investigator… Read More


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  • 58/80   Photos show how ants escaped a Soviet nuclear-weapons bunker after surviving on cannibalism for years
    SCIENCE TOPIC NEWS

    The ants' food source remained a mystery until researchers examined some of the 2 million ant corpses piled up around the bunker.

    The ants' food source remained a mystery until researchers examined some of the 2 million ant corpses piled up around the bunker.


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  • 59/80   Prime Mover: How Amazon Wove Itself Into the Life of an American City
    SCIENCE TOPIC NEWS

    BALTIMORE -- Another big Prime Air 767 takes off from Baltimore-Washington International Airport -- where Amazon's shipping last year eclipsed that of FedEx and UPS put together -- and wheels above the old industrial city. Below, the online giant seems to touch every niche of the economy, its ubiquity and range breathtaking.To the city's southeast stand two mammoth Amazon warehouses, built with heavy government subsidies, operating on the sites of shuttered General Motors and Bethlehem Steel plants. Computers monitor workers during grueling 10-hour shifts, identifying slow performers for firing. Those on the floor earn $15.40 to $18 an hour, less than half of what their unionized predecessors made. But in Baltimore's postindustrial economy, the jobs are in demand.Near the Inner Harbor are the side-by-side stadiums of the Ravens and the Orioles, where every move on the field is streamed to Amazon Web Services for analysis using artificial intelligence. Football players have a chip in each shoulder pad, and baseball players are tracked by radar, producing flashy graphics for television and arcane stats for coaches.Up in northwest Baltimore, a pastor has found funding to install Amazon Ring video cameras on homes in a high-crime neighborhood. Privacy advocates express alarm at proliferating surveillance; footage of suspects can be shared with police at a click. But the number of interested residents has already outstripped the number of cameras available.In City Hall downtown and at Johns Hopkins University a few miles away, procurement officers have begun buying from local suppliers via Amazon Business -- and even starred in a national marketing video for the company. Buyers said the convenience more than justifies interposing a Seattle-based corporation between their institutions and nearby businesses. Critics denounce the retail giant's incursion into long-established relationships. It is a very Amazon dispute.As federal regulators and Congress assess whether Amazon's market power should be curbed under antitrust laws -- and whether, as some politicians argue, the company should be broken up -- The New York Times has explored the company's impact in one U.S. community: greater Baltimore.Baltimore's pleading pitch last year to become an additional headquarters city for Amazon, promising a whopping $3.8 billion in subsidies, did not even make the second round of bidding. But Amazon's presence here shows how the many-armed titan may now reach into Americans' daily lives in more ways than any corporation in history. If antitrust investigators want to sample Amazon's impact on the ground, they could well take a look here.Anirban Basu, a Baltimore economist who has studied the region for years, is skeptical of apocalyptic claims about Amazon, saying Sears and Wal-Mart were both once seen as all-powerful. But he called Amazon a "profit-margin killer" and said it should be scrutinized, particularly because technological trends that include artificial intelligence, driverless trucks, drones and new payment systems all play to its advantage."All these things are a threat to other industries," Basu said. "But they're all good for Amazon. As powerful as it is, Amazon is set to be much more powerful."Ken Knight has felt Amazon's long reach. He plans to close his 152-year-old Baltimore houseware and hardware store, Stebbins Anderson, at the end of the year. He pins most of the blame on Amazon."It's put me out of business," said Knight, 70, who had hoped to pass the business to his son. Knight is especially aggrieved by government subsidies to the company in the name of job creation; he will be laying off 40 employees.Amazon insists, in an argument it is likely to use in antitrust proceedings, that its market power is nothing like what people imagine. Yes, it accounts for 40% to 50% of online retail in the United States -- but that is only 4% to 5% of total retail. (Wal-Mart's revenue is still twice that of Amazon, though Amazon's total value on the stock market is the fourth largest among U.S. companies, more than double Wal-Mart's.) And while Amazon may sell nearly half of cloud-computing services, it points out that the cloud makes up a small fraction of information technology spending."We welcome the scrutiny," said Jay Carney, Amazon's top Washington representative and a former White House press secretary for President Barack Obama. "We operate in huge competitive arenas in which there are thousands and thousands, if not millions, of competitors. It's hard to argue that if you're 4% of retail, you're not in competition."Baltimore offers in microcosm the contentious issues that Amazon's conduct has raised nationally. The erosion of brick-and-mortar retail. Modestly paid warehouse work and the looming job destroyer of automation. An aggressive foray into government and institutional procurement, driving local suppliers to partner with Amazon or face decline. A swift expansion in air cargo, challenging FedEx and UPS. The neighborhood spread of video and audio surveillance. And the steady conquest of the computing infrastructure that underlies commerce, government and communications, something like an electric utility -- except without the regulation imposed on utilities.Amy Webb, founder of the Future Today Institute, a strategy firm, who lives part time in Baltimore, said Amazon's impact only began with its retail platform."It's the invisible infrastructure that powers our everyday lives," said Webb, who examines Amazon in her book on the tech giants, "The Big Nine." "Most of us don't know 95% of what Amazon is doing."She called the contest for Amazon's second headquarters a "ridiculous parade, a beauty contest" in which communities nationwide offered up inducements while failing to make a clear-eyed assessment of costs and benefits. With its capabilities, market sway and long-term strategy, she said, Amazon now conducts itself like a "nation-state."A River Through Commerce and CultureNone of this was imaginable in 1994, when Jeff Bezos paged through a dictionary in search of a name for an online bookseller and stopped at "Amazon." Not only was it the largest river in the world by volume -- it was four times bigger than the runner-up, which appealed to Bezos' outsize ambitions. Books were just the start.Some 25 years later, fueled by customers' addiction to click-and-done convenience and speedy delivery, Amazon has quietly flowed into many areas of life, bringing to more and more arenas its tireless innovation, relentless focus on data, unforgiving employment practices and omnivorous competition. In many homes here, as across the country, it is the ultimate labor-saving device: supplier of electronics, clothes, groceries, books, movies, music, information and security. More than half of U.S. households now have an Amazon Prime membership, and most shopping searches begin on Amazon, not Google. Globally, Amazon, whose critics call it the "apex predator" of digital business, delivered 10 billion packages last year -- more than the number of people on the planet.Greater Baltimore accounts for 1% of Amazon's sales nationwide -- just about its share of the population, according to data prepared for The New York Times by Rakuten Intelligence, which tracks e-commerce.But as a transportation hub, with Interstate 95 and major rail lines converging near a busy port and airport, Baltimore punches above its weight -- originating 2.38% of Amazon's shipments in the United States, Rakuten said.Even with all that shipping and logistics, Amazon ranks just 14th among local employers, according to The Baltimore Business Journal. Yet like an online shopper who realizes one day that half his possessions came from Amazon, a Baltimorean who looks for the company's footprints can find them everywhere.On a midtown back alley, Todd Blatt, one of 18,000 Maryland sellers on Amazon Marketplace, uses a laser printer to turn out little models of the iconic bus stop benches that read "Baltimore: The Greatest City in America," peddling them online with an assortment of toys and bric-a-brac. He's battled counterfeits from competing sellers on Amazon but isn't really complaining: "I haven't had a real job since 2012," he said.When the Baltimore Behavioral Lab, a research organization, conducts consumer surveys, it posts them on Amazon's Mechanical Turk microtask site. Users earn tiny sums of money for participating.Amazon Smart Home is partnering in one Baltimore suburb with Lennar, the country's largest homebuilder, to install Amazon Echo devices, which use voice-activated Alexa to control Amazon Ring video cameras outside. In a tough city neighborhood where drug dealers intimidate neighbors, the Rev. Terrye Moore is organizing a subsidized video setup after hearing a radio promotion for Ring by NBA great Shaquille O'Neal.Public libraries are stocked with digital audiobooks from Amazon's Audible, and browsers can check reviews on Amazon's Goodreads. Down the road in Annapolis, Amazon Studios filmed scenes in the Jack Ryan television series.Amazon owns two Whole Foods grocery stores in Baltimore, is opening a third, and recently began free delivery to Prime members. In a dozen convenience stores, it operates Amazon Lockers, where customers can pick up purchases. It has enlisted Kohl's stores to handle returns. Its trucks and vans are everywhere.Experts at Baltimore's academic medical complexes are discussing whether Amazon is preparing to disrupt their industry, too. In just the past 18 months, the company joined the health care venture Haven and bought the e-medicine pioneer Health Navigator as well as Pillpack, now part of Amazon Pharmacy.Through Amazon Web Services, the biggest provider of cloud computing, the company is building the country's digital backbone. AWS employs a small staff of software engineers in Baltimore -- the company declined to say how many -- and provides the computing infrastructure for many institutions, from Johns Hopkins to the investment firm T. Rowe Price and the sportswear company Under Armour. Even the secretive National Security Agency, south of Baltimore at Fort Meade, acknowledged that it relied on AWS "for various administrative and mission needs."The arms of Amazon sometimes cross in unexpected ways. Although Under Armour uses AWS, the clothier has had to balance its own online sales with its Amazon.com "storefront." The Maryland Department of Human Services downtown partners with AWS in a cloud-computing effort called MD Think, designed to streamline social services. At the same time, the department said, it provides food stamps to nearly 600 local Amazon employees, largely part-time warehouse workers.Even as its omnipresence draws antitrust scrutiny, Amazon seems unlikely to pull back. In June, Bezos, by most accounts the world's richest person, trumpeted a new Amazon plan to launch 3,200 satellites to provide internet service around the world. He argued that Amazon's size meant it should take on huge new challenges."Amazon is a large enough company now that we need to be doing things that, if they work, can actually move the needle," Bezos said.Bezos, who is renovating a $23 million house in Washington, an hour south of Baltimore, has long pushed the mantra of "customer obsession," and it has paid off. In the Harris Poll on the popularity of major U.S. companies, Amazon has ranked No. 1 or 2 each year since 2012. By comparison, Google fell to 41 this year and Facebook to 94.But putting customers' convenience first, a key to Amazon's spectacular growth, can put a big squeeze on everyone in the company's long supply chains -- warehouse workers, independent sellers, delivery drivers, cargo pilots -- not to mention smaller competitors.A New Kind of Assembly LineShaquetta Taylor, who goes by Shaq, scanned an item -- a bag of glazed pecans. Her screen directed her to "Stow Item," and the digital clock started counting -- 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 -- as she found space for it in the robotic pod. Then there were cactus-shaped tea lights -- 17, 18, 19, 20 -- and a children's crafting kit and a magnetic door screen ("Actually, I have this myself," she remarked).Taylor -- 43, in glasses and a "Toy Story" T-shirt, mother of two sons and grandmother of a 3-year-old -- arrived four years ago at Amazon's warehouse awed by the company's cachet. "When I first came here, I thought, 'I'm not good enough for Amazon,'" she said, taking a brief break from Stow Station 3301.But after a year, she was asked to become an "ambassador," helping out newer colleagues at this Amazon Fulfillment Center, shorthand name BWI2, built where GM's Baltimore Assembly Plant operated for seven decades. Its scale is mammoth: 27 acres of floor space, 2,500 employees, 14 miles of speeding conveyor belts.If Taylor doesn't make her numbers, she can be fired. She's thrived because she's fast and accurate over a demanding 10-hour shift with two half-hour breaks, one of them paid.The warehouse is run by Preet Virdi, general manager and an Amazon true believer who moved from India to attend Georgia Tech 13 years ago. Virdi, 35, said his top priority was safety -- a whiteboard recently listed 40 head injuries and 109 foot injuries so far in 2019 -- and added that his next priority was "how we make the workplace more fun."The real boss is data, however, as it is everywhere in Amazonland. Everything that happens is timed and measured in a way that efficiency experts of earlier generations could only dream about. If the computers said Taylor or other "associates" are too slow or sloppy, they're out. And if Virdi doesn't make his numbers, he'll be out too.That is nothing new in industrial practice. But Amazon, with an unparalleled mastery of digital tools and the coolly calculating tone set by Bezos, has brought it to a rare extreme. The company's astonishing success has made it, in turn, a powerful influence on other companies.Some workers thrive despite the pace. "The day goes by quick," said Robert Taylor, 51, a leader in the warehouse chapter of Glamazon, for LGBT employees. "All these other people go to the gym. Amazon pays me to stay in shape."Some see a path to advancement. Samaira Johnson, 26, a high school graduate with a pet iguana at home, is already a leader among the employees trained to work with warehouse robots. Asked where she saw herself in 10 years, she replied, "Running an Amazon building like this one."Others falter. Sharon Black, 70, a veteran Baltimore activist who has held assembly-line jobs at GM and other plants, worked for a few months at BWI2 last year and found a striking difference: At Amazon, the computers ruled.That wasn't entirely negative, she said. In the application process, Amazon didn't care about age, gender or race -- only that a person could walk several miles a day and lift 50 pounds. "They're an equal opportunity exploiter, I'll tell you that," Black said. "You could come in with three arms and they wouldn't care."Black said she quit after two written warnings that she wasn't meeting productivity standards, knowing a third would get her fired."The machines determine so much," she said. "You're clocked from beginning to end. They grind through people."When an employee told the National Labor Relations Board that he had been fired for complaining about working conditions, the company said he had it wrong: He had been fired for working too slowly.In fact, an Amazon lawyer wrote to the NLRB that last year, it had fired "hundreds of other employees" at the Baltimore warehouse for failing to make their numbers. The letter, obtained by The Verge, listed more than 800 workers fired in the previous year, but the company now says the correct number was 309.Automated dismissals are a feature, the letter said, not a flaw. "Amazon's system," the lawyers wrote, "automatically generates any warnings or terminations regarding quality or productivity without input from supervisors." Amazon said termination decisions are ultimately made by managers.Workers at Amazon who run into that kind of trouble have no unions to represent them -- a shift from Baltimore's past. GM employees were represented by the United Automobile Workers. At the second warehouse, on the old Bethlehem Steel site, United Steelworkers held sway. At both plants, the pay was adequate to support a family.In the GM plant's final years, line workers made an average of $27 an hour, equivalent to more than $35 today. GM workers could make $80,000 annually with overtime, according to contemporary news reports, equal to $102,000 in 2019 dollars.The vehemently anti-union Amazon has raised its lowest hourly pay to $15.40, which is a little over double the federal minimum wage, the company points out. But even a veteran worker at its BWI2 warehouse would have to put in considerable overtime to get to $40,000 a year, less than half of what a GM worker could make in the past.Nor are the job numbers comparable. The GM plant employed 8,000 at its peak; Bethlehem Steel employed 30,000. Amazon has a total of 4,500 workers at the two warehouses.In a statement, the company called its jobs "safe and innovative," noting that the warehouses were built on "blighted property" that was vacant for years before Amazon "injected life (and jobs)" back into the East Baltimore brownfields.In a city that has shed most unionized industrial jobs, Amazon gets plenty of applicants. Its hourly pay is $2 or $3 higher than at many comparable employers, and benefits are also more generous: medical, dental and vision coverage and a 401(k) with a 50% match. The company will reimburse an employee up to $3,000 a year for further education or give a worker $10,000 to start a business delivering Amazon goods.Under the circumstances, government officials here are grateful for Amazon's presence. The company has gotten $65 million in tax incentives and loans to build the two big warehouses and related smaller facilities, according to the Maryland Department of Commerce.The company said it had spent about $1 billion on infrastructure in Maryland to date; hired about 7,000 full-time direct employees, nearly all at warehouses; and used contractors who hired another 2,100 people.But economists said online shopping has also erased thousands of retail jobs, and critics pointed to other costs, including traffic congestion and environmental effects, so assessing the company's net impact is difficult. Few of the Amazon jobs in Baltimore are the highly paid tech and management positions appearing in northern Virginia, which Amazon chose for its 25,000-strong second headquarters, called HQ2. (Amazon chose New York City for a similar hub but withdrew in the face of local opposition.)Such a boon might have been transformative for Baltimore, a struggling city surrounded by wealthier suburbs. But the city ended up on the company's long list of also-rans, 230 locales that turned over reams of valuable workforce and worksite data to Amazon in elaborate applications -- and got nothing in return.In a statement, Amazon said the top criterion for choosing a location was "the availability of tech talent." It added, "Nowhere did Amazon say HQ2 was a project designed to help communities in need."For Black, the former employee, one experience captured what she thought was the eerily inhuman warehouse culture. In November last year, two contract workers were killed when a tornado collapsed a wall of a smaller Amazon warehouse opposite BWI2.Black said she drove to work the next morning, steering around fallen trees, wondering how the company would handle the deaths at the brief standing meeting that began each shift."I thought they'd have two minutes of silence," she said. "Nope. We didn't pause." Instead, she said, there was the usual tribute to the "power picker" -- the outstanding performer in her unit, as measured by the computers. Michael Jackson music played, she said, and the supervisor shouted, "Let's have a better day than yesterday!"It was a reference to production levels, not to the overnight catastrophe.Rachael Lighty, an Amazon spokeswoman, said the company offered counseling and hosted the most affected employees for a meal. "We are committed to constantly improving how we communicate with and engage with our employees," she said.Despite the demanding nature of their jobs, many warehouse workers fear Amazon intends to replace them with robots, a worry shared by some experts and politicians like Andrew Yang, the presidential candidate who warns that automation will create mass unemployment. Amazon has begun testing machines that can pack boxes; and humans can be prone to injury, easily exhausted, eager to unionize and outspoken about gripes.The robots that silently cruise through the warehouses, each carrying up to 1,200 pounds of purchases, are none of these things.But Webb, the futurist and technology writer, said she believed Amazon had made a different discovery: that the job of moving products from bin to pod and pod to box is presently more cheaply performed by humans than by robots."It's not that the robots are taking over," Webb said. "It's that we've been relegated to robot status."Asked whether the Baltimore-area might automate further, Lighty, the Amazon spokeswoman, said there was no such plan."We have hundreds of robots here but thousands of people," she said. "And it's the people that make the Amazon magic happen."Buying Local, Via SeattleA marketing video released last spring appears designed to capture some of that magic right in Baltimore. Shots of the city's harbor and iconic row houses alternate with views of the busy Amazon warehouse. "We help Baltimore businesses buy from other Baltimore businesses," said Virdi, the warehouse manager, as packages raced past on conveyor belts.More surprising than Virdi's remarks are enthusiastic endorsements from City Hall and Johns Hopkins, whose chief purchasing officers laud Amazon in the video for helping them connect with local suppliers.It is a glimpse of Amazon's major push into territory it has not yet conquered: purchasing by government and other institutions that relies on competitive bids and fixed-price contracts. At the federal level, Amazon lobbied for legislation -- congressional staffers called it "the Amazon amendment" -- designed to help it win government sales. At the local level, it has fended off accusations of predatory competition by saying it can actually connect local buyers with local suppliers.Brian Smith, Johns Hopkins' purchasing officer and a subject of the video, said local businesses often found the big university hard to approach. But he met an Amazon representative at a convention, and now Johns Hopkins has a customized Amazon Business page that gets local vendors "in front of a lot of eyeballs here," he said. Erin Sher Smyth, Baltimore's chief procurement officer, noted that Amazon's website flagged such criteria as minority and female owners and made record keeping easy.But like many people who find Amazon both convenient and worrisome, Smyth admitted to a certain ambivalence about its impact."In my role as city purchasing agent, I'm trying to get the best product for the best price, efficiently, and Amazon lets me do that," she said. "In my personal life, I do worry about Main Street shops."Her anxiety is widely shared. As in other cities, many Baltimore shopping districts are anemic and pocked with vacancies. The waterfront Harborplace shopping pavilions, once a symbol of urban revival, are in receivership.The causes include mismanagement, shifting tastes and big-box competition, but Amazon's unstoppable growth is a factor. In Baltimore and its suburbs, the average Amazon shopper makes nearly 40 purchases a year totaling about $1,300 -- spending that is up more than 50% since 2016, according to Rakuten.Now, as it moves into institutional procurement, Amazon has sought to persuade civic-minded public officials that it can be a booster. Both the city and the university designated a particular company located about 15 miles southwest of Baltimore, AJ Stationers, as a preferred supplier of office products via Amazon, in part because the firm is owned by a minority woman, Angela Jeung.That has been a windfall for AJ Stationers, said Rusty Balazs, the sales manager, who estimated that annual sales to Johns Hopkins had climbed from $100,000 to $2 million. But AJ Stationers has shrunk from two stores and about 50 employees two decades ago to a website and a dozen employees today, he said.Mike Tucker, chief executive of the Baltimore-based independent office product dealers' association, said AJ was really a "poster boy" whose local deals, highlighted in the marketing video, were a public relations tactic intended to obscure Amazon's impact on small businesses already battered by Office Depot and Staples. (His association, which had 12,000 member businesses in the 1980s, now has 1,500.)"That Amazon convenience comes at a big price," said Tucker, noting that he welcomed the antitrust inquiries down the road in Washington. The price is paid, he said, not just by local dealers but by their myriad business connections, from cleaning services to gas stations, eroding local employment."It doesn't matter that the local business served you and helped you with your problems for years and years," he said. "Amazon does whatever it takes to crush the competition."Addressing such criticism, Amazon said it offered "best-value pricing for education and public-sector organizations" and helped small businesses thrive "because customers are able to discover suppliers."Tucker said he shared the Amazon marketing video with a local office products executive who had seen his Baltimore sales drop. When the executive realized Amazon had moved into his market, his "head exploded," Tucker said.But the executive declined to speak with the Times, Tucker said, for fear of angering Amazon. "He's afraid that they may have to make a deal with the devil to survive," Tucker said.Onward and UpwardAnyone who wants a glimpse of Amazon's expansive appetite might pay a visit to BWI Airport, where a new white warehouse seems to stretch on and on. Workers are putting the final touches on a $36 million, 200,000-square-foot building, financed with tax-exempt bonds, that will dwarf Amazon's current airport operations. There are bays for 93 tractor-trailers to load and unload at once.The growth at what Amazon Air calls its "gateway" -- one of 25 around the country -- has been rapid. In 2016, Amazon Air, a new division, did not operate through BWI. The following year, Amazon moved more freight through the airport than either FedEx or UPS, the industry leaders. And in 2018, it loaded and unloaded 9,300 metric tons of goods at BWI, more than FedEx and UPS combined, though globally their fleets remain far larger.Morgan Stanley warned a year ago that "the market is missing the risk Amazon Air poses" to FedEx and UPS, knocking down those companies' stocks. Other analysts are skeptical. But FedEx, worried that its longtime partner was becoming a competitor, announced last summer that it was ending air and ground delivery for Amazon.Until recently, the company's BWI expansion here was swathed in secrecy; environmental reports referred only to a "Midfield Cargo Operator," and Maryland's governor, Larry Hogan, spoke last year of welcoming to BWI "a very well-known e-commerce giant." Although its Boeing 767s are often painted with the Prime Air logo, Amazon contracts its flying to several lower-profile operators, including Atlas Air, ABX Air, Air Transport International and Southern Air.One reason for Amazon's reticence may be stormy negotiations between its biggest carriers and the Teamster units that represent pilots. Union records show that Atlas Air, the biggest Amazon flyer, pays pilots about one-third less than FedEx or UPS.Ed Nirel, a first officer for Atlas, said he had flown into Baltimore "at 3 a.m. and 3 p.m." and had watched the operation expand, with a half-dozen Amazon Air jets now sometimes jockeying for docking space. He said the pilot pay gap had led to staffing problems; he has worked as many as 17 days in a row for Atlas, he said, compared with a maximum of four days at his last job with ExpressJet."I'd love to stay at Atlas; it's a great group of pilots," Nirel said. "The Amazon airport operations are pretty cool to see. But if FedEx or UPS offers me a job, I'm going to go. My working life would be better, and it would be better for my family."Robert Kirchner, who recently retired as an Atlas pilot and now is a union negotiator, said Amazon's drive for speedy delivery was stretching the workforce to the breaking point."Atlas' fatigue complaints are through the roof," Kirchner said. "They're wearing the pilots out, and it's a completely unsafe situation." He said the union was closely tracking the still-unexplained crash of an Atlas 767 carrying Amazon cargo into a Texas swamp last February, killing three, to see if fatigue was a factor.Atlas, responding to questions from the Times, said its pilots got a "competitive total compensation package" and flew an average of 42 hours a month, compared with an industry average of 53. It said it was working with the National Transportation Safety Board to understand what went wrong in the Texas crash.Drive five minutes from Amazon's new air cargo hub, and you find a humbler scene: a package delivery station surrounded by Prime tractor-trailers, unmarked white vans used by Amazon contractors and the flex drivers who load their cars with packages for what the industry calls the "last mile." There are new SUVs, compacts with rooftop carriers and banged-up sedans. Drivers use the Amazon Flex app to sign up for "blocks" -- $54 for delivering a certain number of packages between 7 a.m. and 10 a.m. on one recent day, or $72 between 5:15 p.m. and 8:15 p.m.Amazon just opened a second Baltimore delivery station. Every such station Amazon opens, said Marc Wulfraat, a supply chain consultant, means that about 40,000 packages a day, previously delivered by the U.S. Postal Service and other carriers, shift to Amazon's own operation.One consequence is a steady shift of work from unionized Postal Service jobs to flex drivers, many of them struggling to get by. In August, the Postal Service explained a big third-quarter loss by saying in a filing that "certain major customers" were cutting back on package shipping. In Baltimore over the past two years, the Postal Service share of Amazon deliveries has dropped from about 60% to under 30%, according to Rakuten. Amazon's own share of its Baltimore deliveries has risen to 50% from 20% in 2017.On a private Facebook group for flex drivers working the Hanover, Maryland, station near BWI, the replacements for postal workers and FedEx truckers trade tips and grumble.Several said the station was so jammed they had to load packages outside in the rain. Whoever at Amazon designed the 25-mile route to Sykesville, Maryland, one driver groused, "needs to be drug-tested, like seriously." Another complained that a 28-package nighttime route listed at 2 1/2 hours took her more than four hours to complete, and "a dog came out on me on top of that because it was too dark to see."Net ProfitsBut the most profitable part of Amazon's operations has nothing to do with the clamor of warehouses, airports and trucks. All but invisible to the public, Amazon Web Services hums quietly in the background of a huge and growing slice of American life.Countless Baltimore-area businesses, nonprofits and government programs use AWS. When Baltimoreans stream a movie on Netflix instead of Amazon Prime, they are still using Amazon -- because Netflix relies on AWS' cloud computing. (The Times is also an AWS customer.)Many companies see AWS as the computing equivalent of Baltimore Gas & Electric, the local utility: They plug into the cloud -- the generic term for rented, off-site computer space -- and pay for what they use. Some fret about what will happen when Amazon's cloud crashes, as happens periodically with power companies. But AWS has proved quite reliable so far.Consider T. Rowe Price, the global investment firm headquartered on Baltimore's Inner Harbor, which has steadily replaced its own information infrastructure with Amazon's service.As it adds customers in Asia and Europe, said Nigel Faulkner, chief technology officer at T. Rowe Price, the traditional approach would be to build its own data servers in new markets."With Amazon we can rely on their servers in those places," he said. "That's cheaper." T. Rowe Price can increase or decrease its use of AWS services at any time, paying only for what it uses. And there are hundreds of applications built on AWS offering specialized services, from database management to artificial intelligence.The NFL also uses Amazon's software tools, crunching data from more than 200 metrics in every football game. Data streams to the AWS cloud from chips embedded not just in players' shoulder pads but in referees' jerseys, the football and even the chains used to measure first downs. Machine-learning tasks that used to take all night are completed in 20 minutes using the massive computing capacity of AWS."What we've really done is take a lot of the gut instinct some people have and quantified it," said Matt Swensson, the football league's vice president of emerging products and technology.When the Baltimore Ravens faced the Miami Dolphins, for example, NFL analysts could annotate the video with the time Lamar Jackson took to get a pass off (3.8 seconds), the precise distance of the throw (46.9 yards) and the odds that Marquise Brown would catch it: 32%. (For the record, he did catch it -- for a touchdown.)AWS, like its cloud competitors, is especially popular with tech startups, which can pay as they grow, said Chris Sachse, founder of Think|Stack, a Baltimore company that works closely with AWS and provides cybersecurity and infrastructure consulting.Sachse, whose grandfather and father sold trucks for a living and who serves on a state workforce development board, said he saw tech jobs as a potential path for Baltimoreans without higher education because they require expertise but not degrees."A college degree doesn't help you with AWS because it's all brand-new," he said. "A lot of people think the death of industry has made it impossible to have middle-class jobs. I think we have a path to those middle-class jobs."Sachse said he has advised Baltimore startups gratis, including one working to streamline philanthropy and another selling subscriptions to products like razors. He often asks AWS to provide free training and other services, and they usually step up."I'm sure they see the capitalist return on it," he said. "For them, it's, 'The more people we train to use AWS, the more business we'll have.' If these startups hit it big, so does AWS."The Giant and the 'Little Guy'Mike Subelsky, a Baltimore tech entrepreneur, once extolled AWS' virtues at the trendy South by Southwest festival, talking about his email startup while dressed as "Mr. Spam." A regular Amazon shopper, he said Amazon had saved him more than once, recalling its speedy delivery of a crucial Spanish-English dictionary for his middle-school daughter.Yet these days, he's ambivalent. He worries about Amazon's invasive data collection, the influence exercised by its algorithms, the heat generated by its enormous computer centers and the exploitation of its workers. "It's a U.S. company that's hyperdominant and rich and has incredible market power, and they're not in it for social good," he said.His mixed feelings echo those of many Americans about the emerging dark side of digital life."For my generation, the internet was the equivalent of landing on the moon. But the internet seems to have made some things so much worse," he said. "I'm not sure this is the world I want my kids to be growing up in."At Stebbins Anderson, the home products store dating to 1867, a 30% off closing sale is underway. Knight, the owner, recalls the beginning of his long battle with Amazon nearly 20 years ago, when customers would ask for a 6% discount to match the online retailer, which for many years collected no sales tax.Amazon started imposing sales tax after building warehouses in Maryland. By then, it was also receiving loans and tax credits from the state while drawing away more and more of Knight's patrons, he said. Even his own daughters, busy at their jobs, found online ordering irresistible."It would have been nice to get some of the benefits Amazon gets," he said. "But the little guy always ends up footing the bill."Across town, however, there's an unexpected development in the area where Amazon got its start: books. It decimated Borders and Barnes & Noble in Baltimore. But that made room for a small, hardy band of independent bookstores, led by the Ivy Bookshop, which opened a second bookstore-cafe called Bird in Hand in 2016.Like independents making a comeback around the country, the Ivy sells books at full price, making its success all the more striking. Customers will pay $30 for a book they might get with a click for $20 online, in part because they don't like the world they believe Amazon is building, said Emma Snyder, the shop's owner."There's much more consciousness of supporting a bookstore and specifically not using Amazon," Snyder said. "Part of what people don't like is that Amazon debases the value of things. We're commercial spaces, but we fundamentally exist to feed and nurture people's souls."This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2019 The New York Times Company

    BALTIMORE -- Another big Prime Air 767 takes off from Baltimore-Washington International Airport -- where Amazon's shipping last year eclipsed that of FedEx and UPS put together -- and wheels above the old industrial city. Below, the online giant seems to touch every niche of the economy, its ubiquity and range breathtaking.To the city's southeast stand two mammoth Amazon warehouses, built with heavy government subsidies, operating on the sites of shuttered General Motors and Bethlehem Steel plants. Computers monitor workers during grueling 10-hour shifts, identifying slow performers for firing. Those on the floor earn $15.40 to $18 an hour, less than half of what their unionized predecessors made. But in Baltimore's postindustrial economy, the jobs are in demand.Near the Inner Harbor are the side-by-side stadiums of the Ravens and the Orioles, where every move on the field is streamed to Amazon Web Services for analysis using artificial intelligence. Football players have a chip in each shoulder pad, and baseball players are tracked by radar, producing flashy graphics for television and arcane stats for coaches.Up in northwest Baltimore, a pastor has found funding to install Amazon Ring video cameras on homes in a high-crime neighborhood. Privacy advocates express alarm at proliferating surveillance; footage of suspects can be shared with police at a click. But the number of interested residents has already outstripped the number of cameras available.In City Hall downtown and at Johns Hopkins University a few miles away, procurement officers have begun buying from local suppliers via Amazon Business -- and even starred in a national marketing video for the company. Buyers said the convenience more than justifies interposing a Seattle-based corporation between their institutions and nearby businesses. Critics denounce the retail giant's incursion into long-established relationships. It is a very Amazon dispute.As federal regulators and Congress assess whether Amazon's market power should be curbed under antitrust laws -- and whether, as some politicians argue, the company should be broken up -- The New York Times has explored the company's impact in one U.S. community: greater Baltimore.Baltimore's pleading pitch last year to become an additional headquarters city for Amazon, promising a whopping $3.8 billion in subsidies, did not even make the second round of bidding. But Amazon's presence here shows how the many-armed titan may now reach into Americans' daily lives in more ways than any corporation in history. If antitrust investigators want to sample Amazon's impact on the ground, they could well take a look here.Anirban Basu, a Baltimore economist who has studied the region for years, is skeptical of apocalyptic claims about Amazon, saying Sears and Wal-Mart were both once seen as all-powerful. But he called Amazon a "profit-margin killer" and said it should be scrutinized, particularly because technological trends that include artificial intelligence, driverless trucks, drones and new payment systems all play to its advantage."All these things are a threat to other industries," Basu said. "But they're all good for Amazon. As powerful as it is, Amazon is set to be much more powerful."Ken Knight has felt Amazon's long reach. He plans to close his 152-year-old Baltimore houseware and hardware store, Stebbins Anderson, at the end of the year. He pins most of the blame on Amazon."It's put me out of business," said Knight, 70, who had hoped to pass the business to his son. Knight is especially aggrieved by government subsidies to the company in the name of job creation; he will be laying off 40 employees.Amazon insists, in an argument it is likely to use in antitrust proceedings, that its market power is nothing like what people imagine. Yes, it accounts for 40% to 50% of online retail in the United States -- but that is only 4% to 5% of total retail. (Wal-Mart's revenue is still twice that of Amazon, though Amazon's total value on the stock market is the fourth largest among U.S. companies, more than double Wal-Mart's.) And while Amazon may sell nearly half of cloud-computing services, it points out that the cloud makes up a small fraction of information technology spending."We welcome the scrutiny," said Jay Carney, Amazon's top Washington representative and a former White House press secretary for President Barack Obama. "We operate in huge competitive arenas in which there are thousands and thousands, if not millions, of competitors. It's hard to argue that if you're 4% of retail, you're not in competition."Baltimore offers in microcosm the contentious issues that Amazon's conduct has raised nationally. The erosion of brick-and-mortar retail. Modestly paid warehouse work and the looming job destroyer of automation. An aggressive foray into government and institutional procurement, driving local suppliers to partner with Amazon or face decline. A swift expansion in air cargo, challenging FedEx and UPS. The neighborhood spread of video and audio surveillance. And the steady conquest of the computing infrastructure that underlies commerce, government and communications, something like an electric utility -- except without the regulation imposed on utilities.Amy Webb, founder of the Future Today Institute, a strategy firm, who lives part time in Baltimore, said Amazon's impact only began with its retail platform."It's the invisible infrastructure that powers our everyday lives," said Webb, who examines Amazon in her book on the tech giants, "The Big Nine." "Most of us don't know 95% of what Amazon is doing."She called the contest for Amazon's second headquarters a "ridiculous parade, a beauty contest" in which communities nationwide offered up inducements while failing to make a clear-eyed assessment of costs and benefits. With its capabilities, market sway and long-term strategy, she said, Amazon now conducts itself like a "nation-state."A River Through Commerce and CultureNone of this was imaginable in 1994, when Jeff Bezos paged through a dictionary in search of a name for an online bookseller and stopped at "Amazon." Not only was it the largest river in the world by volume -- it was four times bigger than the runner-up, which appealed to Bezos' outsize ambitions. Books were just the start.Some 25 years later, fueled by customers' addiction to click-and-done convenience and speedy delivery, Amazon has quietly flowed into many areas of life, bringing to more and more arenas its tireless innovation, relentless focus on data, unforgiving employment practices and omnivorous competition. In many homes here, as across the country, it is the ultimate labor-saving device: supplier of electronics, clothes, groceries, books, movies, music, information and security. More than half of U.S. households now have an Amazon Prime membership, and most shopping searches begin on Amazon, not Google. Globally, Amazon, whose critics call it the "apex predator" of digital business, delivered 10 billion packages last year -- more than the number of people on the planet.Greater Baltimore accounts for 1% of Amazon's sales nationwide -- just about its share of the population, according to data prepared for The New York Times by Rakuten Intelligence, which tracks e-commerce.But as a transportation hub, with Interstate 95 and major rail lines converging near a busy port and airport, Baltimore punches above its weight -- originating 2.38% of Amazon's shipments in the United States, Rakuten said.Even with all that shipping and logistics, Amazon ranks just 14th among local employers, according to The Baltimore Business Journal. Yet like an online shopper who realizes one day that half his possessions came from Amazon, a Baltimorean who looks for the company's footprints can find them everywhere.On a midtown back alley, Todd Blatt, one of 18,000 Maryland sellers on Amazon Marketplace, uses a laser printer to turn out little models of the iconic bus stop benches that read "Baltimore: The Greatest City in America," peddling them online with an assortment of toys and bric-a-brac. He's battled counterfeits from competing sellers on Amazon but isn't really complaining: "I haven't had a real job since 2012," he said.When the Baltimore Behavioral Lab, a research organization, conducts consumer surveys, it posts them on Amazon's Mechanical Turk microtask site. Users earn tiny sums of money for participating.Amazon Smart Home is partnering in one Baltimore suburb with Lennar, the country's largest homebuilder, to install Amazon Echo devices, which use voice-activated Alexa to control Amazon Ring video cameras outside. In a tough city neighborhood where drug dealers intimidate neighbors, the Rev. Terrye Moore is organizing a subsidized video setup after hearing a radio promotion for Ring by NBA great Shaquille O'Neal.Public libraries are stocked with digital audiobooks from Amazon's Audible, and browsers can check reviews on Amazon's Goodreads. Down the road in Annapolis, Amazon Studios filmed scenes in the Jack Ryan television series.Amazon owns two Whole Foods grocery stores in Baltimore, is opening a third, and recently began free delivery to Prime members. In a dozen convenience stores, it operates Amazon Lockers, where customers can pick up purchases. It has enlisted Kohl's stores to handle returns. Its trucks and vans are everywhere.Experts at Baltimore's academic medical complexes are discussing whether Amazon is preparing to disrupt their industry, too. In just the past 18 months, the company joined the health care venture Haven and bought the e-medicine pioneer Health Navigator as well as Pillpack, now part of Amazon Pharmacy.Through Amazon Web Services, the biggest provider of cloud computing, the company is building the country's digital backbone. AWS employs a small staff of software engineers in Baltimore -- the company declined to say how many -- and provides the computing infrastructure for many institutions, from Johns Hopkins to the investment firm T. Rowe Price and the sportswear company Under Armour. Even the secretive National Security Agency, south of Baltimore at Fort Meade, acknowledged that it relied on AWS "for various administrative and mission needs."The arms of Amazon sometimes cross in unexpected ways. Although Under Armour uses AWS, the clothier has had to balance its own online sales with its Amazon.com "storefront." The Maryland Department of Human Services downtown partners with AWS in a cloud-computing effort called MD Think, designed to streamline social services. At the same time, the department said, it provides food stamps to nearly 600 local Amazon employees, largely part-time warehouse workers.Even as its omnipresence draws antitrust scrutiny, Amazon seems unlikely to pull back. In June, Bezos, by most accounts the world's richest person, trumpeted a new Amazon plan to launch 3,200 satellites to provide internet service around the world. He argued that Amazon's size meant it should take on huge new challenges."Amazon is a large enough company now that we need to be doing things that, if they work, can actually move the needle," Bezos said.Bezos, who is renovating a $23 million house in Washington, an hour south of Baltimore, has long pushed the mantra of "customer obsession," and it has paid off. In the Harris Poll on the popularity of major U.S. companies, Amazon has ranked No. 1 or 2 each year since 2012. By comparison, Google fell to 41 this year and Facebook to 94.But putting customers' convenience first, a key to Amazon's spectacular growth, can put a big squeeze on everyone in the company's long supply chains -- warehouse workers, independent sellers, delivery drivers, cargo pilots -- not to mention smaller competitors.A New Kind of Assembly LineShaquetta Taylor, who goes by Shaq, scanned an item -- a bag of glazed pecans. Her screen directed her to "Stow Item," and the digital clock started counting -- 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 -- as she found space for it in the robotic pod. Then there were cactus-shaped tea lights -- 17, 18, 19, 20 -- and a children's crafting kit and a magnetic door screen ("Actually, I have this myself," she remarked).Taylor -- 43, in glasses and a "Toy Story" T-shirt, mother of two sons and grandmother of a 3-year-old -- arrived four years ago at Amazon's warehouse awed by the company's cachet. "When I first came here, I thought, 'I'm not good enough for Amazon,'" she said, taking a brief break from Stow Station 3301.But after a year, she was asked to become an "ambassador," helping out newer colleagues at this Amazon Fulfillment Center, shorthand name BWI2, built where GM's Baltimore Assembly Plant operated for seven decades. Its scale is mammoth: 27 acres of floor space, 2,500 employees, 14 miles of speeding conveyor belts.If Taylor doesn't make her numbers, she can be fired. She's thrived because she's fast and accurate over a demanding 10-hour shift with two half-hour breaks, one of them paid.The warehouse is run by Preet Virdi, general manager and an Amazon true believer who moved from India to attend Georgia Tech 13 years ago. Virdi, 35, said his top priority was safety -- a whiteboard recently listed 40 head injuries and 109 foot injuries so far in 2019 -- and added that his next priority was "how we make the workplace more fun."The real boss is data, however, as it is everywhere in Amazonland. Everything that happens is timed and measured in a way that efficiency experts of earlier generations could only dream about. If the computers said Taylor or other "associates" are too slow or sloppy, they're out. And if Virdi doesn't make his numbers, he'll be out too.That is nothing new in industrial practice. But Amazon, with an unparalleled mastery of digital tools and the coolly calculating tone set by Bezos, has brought it to a rare extreme. The company's astonishing success has made it, in turn, a powerful influence on other companies.Some workers thrive despite the pace. "The day goes by quick," said Robert Taylor, 51, a leader in the warehouse chapter of Glamazon, for LGBT employees. "All these other people go to the gym. Amazon pays me to stay in shape."Some see a path to advancement. Samaira Johnson, 26, a high school graduate with a pet iguana at home, is already a leader among the employees trained to work with warehouse robots. Asked where she saw herself in 10 years, she replied, "Running an Amazon building like this one."Others falter. Sharon Black, 70, a veteran Baltimore activist who has held assembly-line jobs at GM and other plants, worked for a few months at BWI2 last year and found a striking difference: At Amazon, the computers ruled.That wasn't entirely negative, she said. In the application process, Amazon didn't care about age, gender or race -- only that a person could walk several miles a day and lift 50 pounds. "They're an equal opportunity exploiter, I'll tell you that," Black said. "You could come in with three arms and they wouldn't care."Black said she quit after two written warnings that she wasn't meeting productivity standards, knowing a third would get her fired."The machines determine so much," she said. "You're clocked from beginning to end. They grind through people."When an employee told the National Labor Relations Board that he had been fired for complaining about working conditions, the company said he had it wrong: He had been fired for working too slowly.In fact, an Amazon lawyer wrote to the NLRB that last year, it had fired "hundreds of other employees" at the Baltimore warehouse for failing to make their numbers. The letter, obtained by The Verge, listed more than 800 workers fired in the previous year, but the company now says the correct number was 309.Automated dismissals are a feature, the letter said, not a flaw. "Amazon's system," the lawyers wrote, "automatically generates any warnings or terminations regarding quality or productivity without input from supervisors." Amazon said termination decisions are ultimately made by managers.Workers at Amazon who run into that kind of trouble have no unions to represent them -- a shift from Baltimore's past. GM employees were represented by the United Automobile Workers. At the second warehouse, on the old Bethlehem Steel site, United Steelworkers held sway. At both plants, the pay was adequate to support a family.In the GM plant's final years, line workers made an average of $27 an hour, equivalent to more than $35 today. GM workers could make $80,000 annually with overtime, according to contemporary news reports, equal to $102,000 in 2019 dollars.The vehemently anti-union Amazon has raised its lowest hourly pay to $15.40, which is a little over double the federal minimum wage, the company points out. But even a veteran worker at its BWI2 warehouse would have to put in considerable overtime to get to $40,000 a year, less than half of what a GM worker could make in the past.Nor are the job numbers comparable. The GM plant employed 8,000 at its peak; Bethlehem Steel employed 30,000. Amazon has a total of 4,500 workers at the two warehouses.In a statement, the company called its jobs "safe and innovative," noting that the warehouses were built on "blighted property" that was vacant for years before Amazon "injected life (and jobs)" back into the East Baltimore brownfields.In a city that has shed most unionized industrial jobs, Amazon gets plenty of applicants. Its hourly pay is $2 or $3 higher than at many comparable employers, and benefits are also more generous: medical, dental and vision coverage and a 401(k) with a 50% match. The company will reimburse an employee up to $3,000 a year for further education or give a worker $10,000 to start a business delivering Amazon goods.Under the circumstances, government officials here are grateful for Amazon's presence. The company has gotten $65 million in tax incentives and loans to build the two big warehouses and related smaller facilities, according to the Maryland Department of Commerce.The company said it had spent about $1 billion on infrastructure in Maryland to date; hired about 7,000 full-time direct employees, nearly all at warehouses; and used contractors who hired another 2,100 people.But economists said online shopping has also erased thousands of retail jobs, and critics pointed to other costs, including traffic congestion and environmental effects, so assessing the company's net impact is difficult. Few of the Amazon jobs in Baltimore are the highly paid tech and management positions appearing in northern Virginia, which Amazon chose for its 25,000-strong second headquarters, called HQ2. (Amazon chose New York City for a similar hub but withdrew in the face of local opposition.)Such a boon might have been transformative for Baltimore, a struggling city surrounded by wealthier suburbs. But the city ended up on the company's long list of also-rans, 230 locales that turned over reams of valuable workforce and worksite data to Amazon in elaborate applications -- and got nothing in return.In a statement, Amazon said the top criterion for choosing a location was "the availability of tech talent." It added, "Nowhere did Amazon say HQ2 was a project designed to help communities in need."For Black, the former employee, one experience captured what she thought was the eerily inhuman warehouse culture. In November last year, two contract workers were killed when a tornado collapsed a wall of a smaller Amazon warehouse opposite BWI2.Black said she drove to work the next morning, steering around fallen trees, wondering how the company would handle the deaths at the brief standing meeting that began each shift."I thought they'd have two minutes of silence," she said. "Nope. We didn't pause." Instead, she said, there was the usual tribute to the "power picker" -- the outstanding performer in her unit, as measured by the computers. Michael Jackson music played, she said, and the supervisor shouted, "Let's have a better day than yesterday!"It was a reference to production levels, not to the overnight catastrophe.Rachael Lighty, an Amazon spokeswoman, said the company offered counseling and hosted the most affected employees for a meal. "We are committed to constantly improving how we communicate with and engage with our employees," she said.Despite the demanding nature of their jobs, many warehouse workers fear Amazon intends to replace them with robots, a worry shared by some experts and politicians like Andrew Yang, the presidential candidate who warns that automation will create mass unemployment. Amazon has begun testing machines that can pack boxes; and humans can be prone to injury, easily exhausted, eager to unionize and outspoken about gripes.The robots that silently cruise through the warehouses, each carrying up to 1,200 pounds of purchases, are none of these things.But Webb, the futurist and technology writer, said she believed Amazon had made a different discovery: that the job of moving products from bin to pod and pod to box is presently more cheaply performed by humans than by robots."It's not that the robots are taking over," Webb said. "It's that we've been relegated to robot status."Asked whether the Baltimore-area might automate further, Lighty, the Amazon spokeswoman, said there was no such plan."We have hundreds of robots here but thousands of people," she said. "And it's the people that make the Amazon magic happen."Buying Local, Via SeattleA marketing video released last spring appears designed to capture some of that magic right in Baltimore. Shots of the city's harbor and iconic row houses alternate with views of the busy Amazon warehouse. "We help Baltimore businesses buy from other Baltimore businesses," said Virdi, the warehouse manager, as packages raced past on conveyor belts.More surprising than Virdi's remarks are enthusiastic endorsements from City Hall and Johns Hopkins, whose chief purchasing officers laud Amazon in the video for helping them connect with local suppliers.It is a glimpse of Amazon's major push into territory it has not yet conquered: purchasing by government and other institutions that relies on competitive bids and fixed-price contracts. At the federal level, Amazon lobbied for legislation -- congressional staffers called it "the Amazon amendment" -- designed to help it win government sales. At the local level, it has fended off accusations of predatory competition by saying it can actually connect local buyers with local suppliers.Brian Smith, Johns Hopkins' purchasing officer and a subject of the video, said local businesses often found the big university hard to approach. But he met an Amazon representative at a convention, and now Johns Hopkins has a customized Amazon Business page that gets local vendors "in front of a lot of eyeballs here," he said. Erin Sher Smyth, Baltimore's chief procurement officer, noted that Amazon's website flagged such criteria as minority and female owners and made record keeping easy.But like many people who find Amazon both convenient and worrisome, Smyth admitted to a certain ambivalence about its impact."In my role as city purchasing agent, I'm trying to get the best product for the best price, efficiently, and Amazon lets me do that," she said. "In my personal life, I do worry about Main Street shops."Her anxiety is widely shared. As in other cities, many Baltimore shopping districts are anemic and pocked with vacancies. The waterfront Harborplace shopping pavilions, once a symbol of urban revival, are in receivership.The causes include mismanagement, shifting tastes and big-box competition, but Amazon's unstoppable growth is a factor. In Baltimore and its suburbs, the average Amazon shopper makes nearly 40 purchases a year totaling about $1,300 -- spending that is up more than 50% since 2016, according to Rakuten.Now, as it moves into institutional procurement, Amazon has sought to persuade civic-minded public officials that it can be a booster. Both the city and the university designated a particular company located about 15 miles southwest of Baltimore, AJ Stationers, as a preferred supplier of office products via Amazon, in part because the firm is owned by a minority woman, Angela Jeung.That has been a windfall for AJ Stationers, said Rusty Balazs, the sales manager, who estimated that annual sales to Johns Hopkins had climbed from $100,000 to $2 million. But AJ Stationers has shrunk from two stores and about 50 employees two decades ago to a website and a dozen employees today, he said.Mike Tucker, chief executive of the Baltimore-based independent office product dealers' association, said AJ was really a "poster boy" whose local deals, highlighted in the marketing video, were a public relations tactic intended to obscure Amazon's impact on small businesses already battered by Office Depot and Staples. (His association, which had 12,000 member businesses in the 1980s, now has 1,500.)"That Amazon convenience comes at a big price," said Tucker, noting that he welcomed the antitrust inquiries down the road in Washington. The price is paid, he said, not just by local dealers but by their myriad business connections, from cleaning services to gas stations, eroding local employment."It doesn't matter that the local business served you and helped you with your problems for years and years," he said. "Amazon does whatever it takes to crush the competition."Addressing such criticism, Amazon said it offered "best-value pricing for education and public-sector organizations" and helped small businesses thrive "because customers are able to discover suppliers."Tucker said he shared the Amazon marketing video with a local office products executive who had seen his Baltimore sales drop. When the executive realized Amazon had moved into his market, his "head exploded," Tucker said.But the executive declined to speak with the Times, Tucker said, for fear of angering Amazon. "He's afraid that they may have to make a deal with the devil to survive," Tucker said.Onward and UpwardAnyone who wants a glimpse of Amazon's expansive appetite might pay a visit to BWI Airport, where a new white warehouse seems to stretch on and on. Workers are putting the final touches on a $36 million, 200,000-square-foot building, financed with tax-exempt bonds, that will dwarf Amazon's current airport operations. There are bays for 93 tractor-trailers to load and unload at once.The growth at what Amazon Air calls its "gateway" -- one of 25 around the country -- has been rapid. In 2016, Amazon Air, a new division, did not operate through BWI. The following year, Amazon moved more freight through the airport than either FedEx or UPS, the industry leaders. And in 2018, it loaded and unloaded 9,300 metric tons of goods at BWI, more than FedEx and UPS combined, though globally their fleets remain far larger.Morgan Stanley warned a year ago that "the market is missing the risk Amazon Air poses" to FedEx and UPS, knocking down those companies' stocks. Other analysts are skeptical. But FedEx, worried that its longtime partner was becoming a competitor, announced last summer that it was ending air and ground delivery for Amazon.Until recently, the company's BWI expansion here was swathed in secrecy; environmental reports referred only to a "Midfield Cargo Operator," and Maryland's governor, Larry Hogan, spoke last year of welcoming to BWI "a very well-known e-commerce giant." Although its Boeing 767s are often painted with the Prime Air logo, Amazon contracts its flying to several lower-profile operators, including Atlas Air, ABX Air, Air Transport International and Southern Air.One reason for Amazon's reticence may be stormy negotiations between its biggest carriers and the Teamster units that represent pilots. Union records show that Atlas Air, the biggest Amazon flyer, pays pilots about one-third less than FedEx or UPS.Ed Nirel, a first officer for Atlas, said he had flown into Baltimore "at 3 a.m. and 3 p.m." and had watched the operation expand, with a half-dozen Amazon Air jets now sometimes jockeying for docking space. He said the pilot pay gap had led to staffing problems; he has worked as many as 17 days in a row for Atlas, he said, compared with a maximum of four days at his last job with ExpressJet."I'd love to stay at Atlas; it's a great group of pilots," Nirel said. "The Amazon airport operations are pretty cool to see. But if FedEx or UPS offers me a job, I'm going to go. My working life would be better, and it would be better for my family."Robert Kirchner, who recently retired as an Atlas pilot and now is a union negotiator, said Amazon's drive for speedy delivery was stretching the workforce to the breaking point."Atlas' fatigue complaints are through the roof," Kirchner said. "They're wearing the pilots out, and it's a completely unsafe situation." He said the union was closely tracking the still-unexplained crash of an Atlas 767 carrying Amazon cargo into a Texas swamp last February, killing three, to see if fatigue was a factor.Atlas, responding to questions from the Times, said its pilots got a "competitive total compensation package" and flew an average of 42 hours a month, compared with an industry average of 53. It said it was working with the National Transportation Safety Board to understand what went wrong in the Texas crash.Drive five minutes from Amazon's new air cargo hub, and you find a humbler scene: a package delivery station surrounded by Prime tractor-trailers, unmarked white vans used by Amazon contractors and the flex drivers who load their cars with packages for what the industry calls the "last mile." There are new SUVs, compacts with rooftop carriers and banged-up sedans. Drivers use the Amazon Flex app to sign up for "blocks" -- $54 for delivering a certain number of packages between 7 a.m. and 10 a.m. on one recent day, or $72 between 5:15 p.m. and 8:15 p.m.Amazon just opened a second Baltimore delivery station. Every such station Amazon opens, said Marc Wulfraat, a supply chain consultant, means that about 40,000 packages a day, previously delivered by the U.S. Postal Service and other carriers, shift to Amazon's own operation.One consequence is a steady shift of work from unionized Postal Service jobs to flex drivers, many of them struggling to get by. In August, the Postal Service explained a big third-quarter loss by saying in a filing that "certain major customers" were cutting back on package shipping. In Baltimore over the past two years, the Postal Service share of Amazon deliveries has dropped from about 60% to under 30%, according to Rakuten. Amazon's own share of its Baltimore deliveries has risen to 50% from 20% in 2017.On a private Facebook group for flex drivers working the Hanover, Maryland, station near BWI, the replacements for postal workers and FedEx truckers trade tips and grumble.Several said the station was so jammed they had to load packages outside in the rain. Whoever at Amazon designed the 25-mile route to Sykesville, Maryland, one driver groused, "needs to be drug-tested, like seriously." Another complained that a 28-package nighttime route listed at 2 1/2 hours took her more than four hours to complete, and "a dog came out on me on top of that because it was too dark to see."Net ProfitsBut the most profitable part of Amazon's operations has nothing to do with the clamor of warehouses, airports and trucks. All but invisible to the public, Amazon Web Services hums quietly in the background of a huge and growing slice of American life.Countless Baltimore-area businesses, nonprofits and government programs use AWS. When Baltimoreans stream a movie on Netflix instead of Amazon Prime, they are still using Amazon -- because Netflix relies on AWS' cloud computing. (The Times is also an AWS customer.)Many companies see AWS as the computing equivalent of Baltimore Gas & Electric, the local utility: They plug into the cloud -- the generic term for rented, off-site computer space -- and pay for what they use. Some fret about what will happen when Amazon's cloud crashes, as happens periodically with power companies. But AWS has proved quite reliable so far.Consider T. Rowe Price, the global investment firm headquartered on Baltimore's Inner Harbor, which has steadily replaced its own information infrastructure with Amazon's service.As it adds customers in Asia and Europe, said Nigel Faulkner, chief technology officer at T. Rowe Price, the traditional approach would be to build its own data servers in new markets."With Amazon we can rely on their servers in those places," he said. "That's cheaper." T. Rowe Price can increase or decrease its use of AWS services at any time, paying only for what it uses. And there are hundreds of applications built on AWS offering specialized services, from database management to artificial intelligence.The NFL also uses Amazon's software tools, crunching data from more than 200 metrics in every football game. Data streams to the AWS cloud from chips embedded not just in players' shoulder pads but in referees' jerseys, the football and even the chains used to measure first downs. Machine-learning tasks that used to take all night are completed in 20 minutes using the massive computing capacity of AWS."What we've really done is take a lot of the gut instinct some people have and quantified it," said Matt Swensson, the football league's vice president of emerging products and technology.When the Baltimore Ravens faced the Miami Dolphins, for example, NFL analysts could annotate the video with the time Lamar Jackson took to get a pass off (3.8 seconds), the precise distance of the throw (46.9 yards) and the odds that Marquise Brown would catch it: 32%. (For the record, he did catch it -- for a touchdown.)AWS, like its cloud competitors, is especially popular with tech startups, which can pay as they grow, said Chris Sachse, founder of Think|Stack, a Baltimore company that works closely with AWS and provides cybersecurity and infrastructure consulting.Sachse, whose grandfather and father sold trucks for a living and who serves on a state workforce development board, said he saw tech jobs as a potential path for Baltimoreans without higher education because they require expertise but not degrees."A college degree doesn't help you with AWS because it's all brand-new," he said. "A lot of people think the death of industry has made it impossible to have middle-class jobs. I think we have a path to those middle-class jobs."Sachse said he has advised Baltimore startups gratis, including one working to streamline philanthropy and another selling subscriptions to products like razors. He often asks AWS to provide free training and other services, and they usually step up."I'm sure they see the capitalist return on it," he said. "For them, it's, 'The more people we train to use AWS, the more business we'll have.' If these startups hit it big, so does AWS."The Giant and the 'Little Guy'Mike Subelsky, a Baltimore tech entrepreneur, once extolled AWS' virtues at the trendy South by Southwest festival, talking about his email startup while dressed as "Mr. Spam." A regular Amazon shopper, he said Amazon had saved him more than once, recalling its speedy delivery of a crucial Spanish-English dictionary for his middle-school daughter.Yet these days, he's ambivalent. He worries about Amazon's invasive data collection, the influence exercised by its algorithms, the heat generated by its enormous computer centers and the exploitation of its workers. "It's a U.S. company that's hyperdominant and rich and has incredible market power, and they're not in it for social good," he said.His mixed feelings echo those of many Americans about the emerging dark side of digital life."For my generation, the internet was the equivalent of landing on the moon. But the internet seems to have made some things so much worse," he said. "I'm not sure this is the world I want my kids to be growing up in."At Stebbins Anderson, the home products store dating to 1867, a 30% off closing sale is underway. Knight, the owner, recalls the beginning of his long battle with Amazon nearly 20 years ago, when customers would ask for a 6% discount to match the online retailer, which for many years collected no sales tax.Amazon started imposing sales tax after building warehouses in Maryland. By then, it was also receiving loans and tax credits from the state while drawing away more and more of Knight's patrons, he said. Even his own daughters, busy at their jobs, found online ordering irresistible."It would have been nice to get some of the benefits Amazon gets," he said. "But the little guy always ends up footing the bill."Across town, however, there's an unexpected development in the area where Amazon got its start: books. It decimated Borders and Barnes & Noble in Baltimore. But that made room for a small, hardy band of independent bookstores, led by the Ivy Bookshop, which opened a second bookstore-cafe called Bird in Hand in 2016.Like independents making a comeback around the country, the Ivy sells books at full price, making its success all the more striking. Customers will pay $30 for a book they might get with a click for $20 online, in part because they don't like the world they believe Amazon is building, said Emma Snyder, the shop's owner."There's much more consciousness of supporting a bookstore and specifically not using Amazon," Snyder said. "Part of what people don't like is that Amazon debases the value of things. We're commercial spaces, but we fundamentally exist to feed and nurture people's souls."This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2019 The New York Times Company


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  • 60/80   The Suburbs Are Kicking the Animals Out. Enter the Animal Rescue Squad.
    SCIENCE TOPIC NEWS

    ATLANTA -- In a small suburban park on a muggy morning a few months ago, a woman in elbow-length gloves was armed with a net, a loaf of bread and a tall cardboard box, all in hopes of catching an elusive goose.The goose, whose left leg was tightly wound in fishing line, walked with a pronounced hobble; as it swam, the leg dragged listlessly in the water. Yet despite its condition, animal instinct prevailed. The goose simply refused to be caught.Cindy Rooker, the would-be captor, hoped to retrieve the recalcitrant Canada goose, tuck it into the cardboard box she had brought, and drive it to a wildlife rehabilitation center a few hours away in South Carolina, where the bird would receive medical attention.But after several attempts, Rooker knew it was time to call it a day. Birds are easily stressed, and waterfowl have an inconvenient and frustrating knack for flying right into the center of a pond. Also, she didn't bring a kayak this time.A police officer who lives in Canton, Georgia, Rooker, 56, volunteers for the Wildlife Resources and Education Network (WREN). She started working with the organization at the beginning of the summer, and has since completed about 10 transports, crisscrossing the northern half of the state with the likes of orphaned baby opossums and injured hawks in the cab of her Nissan pickup truck.WREN connects people like Rooker -- committed animal lovers in the Southeast with spare time, spare gas money and an empty back seat -- with wildlife rehabbers and veterinary clinics that lack the resources to transport an animal on their own.In other words, Rooker and her fellow transporters are Mother Nature's unpaid Uber drivers.Robert Jones, an animal lover whose other pursuits include military history and small-business consulting, started WREN with Liz Crandall in 2016. The two met at the Southeastern Raptor Center at Auburn University, where Crandall worked and Jones volunteered and, later, interned.They formed WREN as a wildlife educational initiative, but with time, sharpened their focus largely on transportation after seeing the same challenge day after day: More people seemed to be stumbling upon injured wildlife every passing year, but few wanted to transport the animals to rehabbers themselves."It's a really large gap," said Jones, 34, who now lives in Jonesborough, Tennessee, and is the executive director of the Tilted Tavern Animal Sanctuary. Nonprofits like the raptor center don't always have the resources or staff to send someone out to fetch an animal, especially one that's hours away.That's where WREN -- and a handful of similar organizations, like the Connecticut Emergency Animal Response Service -- step in.When I first spoke with Crandall, 46, by phone, she had just finished up "a fawn call" (which, at least in this instance, is not a pun). Crandall, who is the assistant director of the Tilted Tavern Animal Sanctuary, said that she fields roughly a dozen calls a day and manages a handful of transports each week, often across state lines.That number is increasing each year, for reasons both dismal and hopeful: While humans are pushing into wildlife territory more and more, some of them are also becoming more aware of, and attuned to, the wildlife in their backyards."I think people are more conscientious," Crandall said. "They want to help more."WREN uses Slack to communicate to its volunteers and manage logistics, like making sure each transporter has an appropriate container for the animal (typically a cardboard box or a lidded Rubbermaid bin with holes for oxygen).Driving a captured animal requires total silence in the car -- no phone conversations, no podcasts or music -- sometimes for hours on end."It takes a lot for people to commit to something where they'll get a call maybe once a month, or maybe every day," Crandall said. Working with nature has inherent challenges and frustrations. It requires patience and flexibility, not to mention thick skin: Not every case has a happy ending.One of the organizations WREN works with is the Chattahoochee Nature Center, where Kathryn Dudeck works as wildlife director. Dudeck said that the center fields 400 to 500 phone calls a month, and takes in more than 650 animals for rehab each year.Those cases range from natural causes, like nestlings blown out of their nests in a hurricane, to injury explicitly at the hands of humans: an owl with buckshot in its wings, a red-tailed hawk hit by a car. "Needless to say, Mother Nature didn't invent the vehicle or the gun," Dudeck said. "So, we have a moral obligation to assist."David Crawford is the founder of Animal Help Now, a 911-like website and smartphone app that links people to wildlife rehabbers and transporters like WREN. App usage has increased every year since its inception in 2012, he said."As we expand and build new roads and build new suburbs, you have a lot more interaction with animals," he said. Then, he added, there is climate change: more destructive hurricanes will yield more injuries and habitat destruction; prolonged droughts, raging forest fires and searing heat waves will continue to push desperate animals further into human habitats."People are going to be interacting with wildlife a lot more than they are right now," said Crawford. He estimates that by the end of 2019, Animal Help Now will have been used in 40,000 wildlife emergencies across the country.A week after the first attempt, Rooker was back at Laurel Park. This time, there was a scrum of additional helpers, including Crandall, along with two kayaks. There were, however, no geese.Just before the group split off to search nearby ponds for the flock, Darcell Patterson, a sneaker-shod woman, intercepted the volunteers. Patterson, 66, has walked around the park every day for the last four years, she said, and brings dried food pellets with her to "establish rapport" with the resident ducks and geese.She matter-of-factly informed the group that the injured goose is named Gary, and that his leg has been wrapped in that line for a couple of years. Gary, it seems, can survive on his own, and has not yet been ostracized from his avian comrades.Crandall decided to let Gary be for now, knowing he was under Patterson's watchful eye. As long as the bird can still fly, walk and eat, Crandall explained, the stress of relocation isn't justifiable yet."Gary's got friends in high places," Patterson said.While it wasn't the Disney-worthy victory that the volunteers may have had in mind this go-round, it was still a victory by their standards."Sometimes letting wild be wild is the right thing to do," Jones said. "You teach people what situations need our intervention, and what situations don't."This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2019 The New York Times Company

    ATLANTA -- In a small suburban park on a muggy morning a few months ago, a woman in elbow-length gloves was armed with a net, a loaf of bread and a tall cardboard box, all in hopes of catching an elusive goose.The goose, whose left leg was tightly wound in fishing line, walked with a pronounced hobble; as it swam, the leg dragged listlessly in the water. Yet despite its condition, animal instinct prevailed. The goose simply refused to be caught.Cindy Rooker, the would-be captor, hoped to retrieve the recalcitrant Canada goose, tuck it into the cardboard box she had brought, and drive it to a wildlife rehabilitation center a few hours away in South Carolina, where the bird would receive medical attention.But after several attempts, Rooker knew it was time to call it a day. Birds are easily stressed, and waterfowl have an inconvenient and frustrating knack for flying right into the center of a pond. Also, she didn't bring a kayak this time.A police officer who lives in Canton, Georgia, Rooker, 56, volunteers for the Wildlife Resources and Education Network (WREN). She started working with the organization at the beginning of the summer, and has since completed about 10 transports, crisscrossing the northern half of the state with the likes of orphaned baby opossums and injured hawks in the cab of her Nissan pickup truck.WREN connects people like Rooker -- committed animal lovers in the Southeast with spare time, spare gas money and an empty back seat -- with wildlife rehabbers and veterinary clinics that lack the resources to transport an animal on their own.In other words, Rooker and her fellow transporters are Mother Nature's unpaid Uber drivers.Robert Jones, an animal lover whose other pursuits include military history and small-business consulting, started WREN with Liz Crandall in 2016. The two met at the Southeastern Raptor Center at Auburn University, where Crandall worked and Jones volunteered and, later, interned.They formed WREN as a wildlife educational initiative, but with time, sharpened their focus largely on transportation after seeing the same challenge day after day: More people seemed to be stumbling upon injured wildlife every passing year, but few wanted to transport the animals to rehabbers themselves."It's a really large gap," said Jones, 34, who now lives in Jonesborough, Tennessee, and is the executive director of the Tilted Tavern Animal Sanctuary. Nonprofits like the raptor center don't always have the resources or staff to send someone out to fetch an animal, especially one that's hours away.That's where WREN -- and a handful of similar organizations, like the Connecticut Emergency Animal Response Service -- step in.When I first spoke with Crandall, 46, by phone, she had just finished up "a fawn call" (which, at least in this instance, is not a pun). Crandall, who is the assistant director of the Tilted Tavern Animal Sanctuary, said that she fields roughly a dozen calls a day and manages a handful of transports each week, often across state lines.That number is increasing each year, for reasons both dismal and hopeful: While humans are pushing into wildlife territory more and more, some of them are also becoming more aware of, and attuned to, the wildlife in their backyards."I think people are more conscientious," Crandall said. "They want to help more."WREN uses Slack to communicate to its volunteers and manage logistics, like making sure each transporter has an appropriate container for the animal (typically a cardboard box or a lidded Rubbermaid bin with holes for oxygen).Driving a captured animal requires total silence in the car -- no phone conversations, no podcasts or music -- sometimes for hours on end."It takes a lot for people to commit to something where they'll get a call maybe once a month, or maybe every day," Crandall said. Working with nature has inherent challenges and frustrations. It requires patience and flexibility, not to mention thick skin: Not every case has a happy ending.One of the organizations WREN works with is the Chattahoochee Nature Center, where Kathryn Dudeck works as wildlife director. Dudeck said that the center fields 400 to 500 phone calls a month, and takes in more than 650 animals for rehab each year.Those cases range from natural causes, like nestlings blown out of their nests in a hurricane, to injury explicitly at the hands of humans: an owl with buckshot in its wings, a red-tailed hawk hit by a car. "Needless to say, Mother Nature didn't invent the vehicle or the gun," Dudeck said. "So, we have a moral obligation to assist."David Crawford is the founder of Animal Help Now, a 911-like website and smartphone app that links people to wildlife rehabbers and transporters like WREN. App usage has increased every year since its inception in 2012, he said."As we expand and build new roads and build new suburbs, you have a lot more interaction with animals," he said. Then, he added, there is climate change: more destructive hurricanes will yield more injuries and habitat destruction; prolonged droughts, raging forest fires and searing heat waves will continue to push desperate animals further into human habitats."People are going to be interacting with wildlife a lot more than they are right now," said Crawford. He estimates that by the end of 2019, Animal Help Now will have been used in 40,000 wildlife emergencies across the country.A week after the first attempt, Rooker was back at Laurel Park. This time, there was a scrum of additional helpers, including Crandall, along with two kayaks. There were, however, no geese.Just before the group split off to search nearby ponds for the flock, Darcell Patterson, a sneaker-shod woman, intercepted the volunteers. Patterson, 66, has walked around the park every day for the last four years, she said, and brings dried food pellets with her to "establish rapport" with the resident ducks and geese.She matter-of-factly informed the group that the injured goose is named Gary, and that his leg has been wrapped in that line for a couple of years. Gary, it seems, can survive on his own, and has not yet been ostracized from his avian comrades.Crandall decided to let Gary be for now, knowing he was under Patterson's watchful eye. As long as the bird can still fly, walk and eat, Crandall explained, the stress of relocation isn't justifiable yet."Gary's got friends in high places," Patterson said.While it wasn't the Disney-worthy victory that the volunteers may have had in mind this go-round, it was still a victory by their standards."Sometimes letting wild be wild is the right thing to do," Jones said. "You teach people what situations need our intervention, and what situations don't."This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2019 The New York Times Company


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  • 61/80   Fox News host Tucker Carlson: Putin does not hate America like liberals do
    WORLD TOPIC NEWS

    Public intellectual and TV anchor attacks ‘mindless public intellectuals and hair hats in the television anchor’s seat’Fox News host Tucker Carlson: ‘Putin, for all his faults, does not hate America as much as many of these people do.’ Photograph: Richard Drew/APRussia may be “a cold and vodka-soaked and only marginally relevant place”, according to Tucker Carlson, but the Fox News host seems determined to make controversial statements about it central to his primetime show.On Monday night, a week after making waves by saying he was “rooting” for Russia in its conflict with Ukraine – and then claiming to have been joking – the host blasted critics of the Trump administration employed by cable news, saying: “Putin, for all his faults, does not hate America as much as many of these people do.”Bemoaning with Spiro Agnew-esque verve the “sneering accusations of our mindless public intellectuals and hair hats in the television anchor’s seat”, the public intellectual and TV anchor began by taking aim at NBC Meet the Press host Chuck Todd, for his questioning of Louisiana Republican senator John Kennedy on Sunday.Todd and Kennedy engaged in a fiery exchange over the senator’s insistence that the theory Ukraine interfered in the 2016 election, rather than Russia, merits further investigation.Todd responded: “You realize the only other person selling this argument outside the United States is this man, Vladimir Putin!”> He’s a living metaphor, he’s the boogeyman! Step out of line and you’re a traitor in league with Vladimir Putin!The US intelligence community agrees it was Moscow not Kyiv which interfered in 2016, in the aim of helping Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton. Nonetheless, as Trump faces impeachment for his conduct regarding Ukraine, his supporters in Congress are pushing the Ukraine conspiracy theory.Carlson called Todd a “mouth-breather” who “went full Joe McCarthy” on Kennedy and claimed special counsel Robert Mueller, who investigated Russian interference in 2016, links between Trump and Moscow and possible obstruction of justice by the president, found nothing amiss.“It’s not really a story,” he insisted, “it never happened, there was no collusion, Russia didn’t hack our democracy. The whole thing was a ludicrous talking point invented by the Hillary Clinton campaign on or about 9 November 2016”, the day after the election.Mueller did not prove criminal conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Moscow. He also emphasised that “collusion” is not a term in US criminal law.But he did chart extensive contacts between the Trump campaign and Moscow and associates of the president including campaign chair Paul Manafort, national security adviser Michael Flynn, lawyer Michael Cohen and close aide Roger Stone have been convicted on charges arising from the inquiry. The special counsel also indicted 26 Russian nationals and three Russian companies and detailed extensive attempts by the president to obstruct the course of justice.Carlson continued, playing a montage of MSNBC pundits and hosts bemoaning attitudes to Russia within the Trump administration and the Republican party.“If you excluded debunked conspiracy theories,” Carlson said, “could any of these people actually tell you why Vladimir Putin is so bad? Why is he so bad? ‘He’s bad!’ Chuck Todd says. OK, speak slowly so I can understand.”Carlson continued: “For Chuck Todd and the rest of the dummies, Vladimir Putin isn’t a real person with actual ideas and priorities and a country and beliefs. No, he stopped being that long ago. He’s a metaphor, a living metaphor, he’s the boogeyman! Step out of line and you’re a traitor in league with Vladimir Putin!“The irony, of course, is that Putin, for all his faults, does not hate America as much as many of these people do. They really dislike our country. And they call other people traitors because they’re ‘mouthing the talking points of Putin’! These are people who don’t know anything about Russia, who don’t speak Russian!”In conclusion, Carlson said the US “ought to be in a relationship with Russia aligned against China, to the extent that we can”.

    Public intellectual and TV anchor attacks ‘mindless public intellectuals and hair hats in the television anchor’s seat’Fox News host Tucker Carlson: ‘Putin, for all his faults, does not hate America as much as many of these people do.’ Photograph: Richard Drew/APRussia may be “a cold and vodka-soaked and only marginally relevant place”, according to Tucker Carlson, but the Fox News host seems determined to make controversial statements about it central to his primetime show.On Monday night, a week after making waves by saying he was “rooting” for Russia in its conflict with Ukraine – and then claiming to have been joking – the host blasted critics of the Trump administration employed by cable news, saying: “Putin, for all his faults, does not hate America as much as many of these people do.”Bemoaning with Spiro Agnew-esque verve the “sneering accusations of our mindless public intellectuals and hair hats in the television anchor’s seat”, the public intellectual and TV anchor began by taking aim at NBC Meet the Press host Chuck Todd, for his questioning of Louisiana Republican senator John Kennedy on Sunday.Todd and Kennedy engaged in a fiery exchange over the senator’s insistence that the theory Ukraine interfered in the 2016 election, rather than Russia, merits further investigation.Todd responded: “You realize the only other person selling this argument outside the United States is this man, Vladimir Putin!”> He’s a living metaphor, he’s the boogeyman! Step out of line and you’re a traitor in league with Vladimir Putin!The US intelligence community agrees it was Moscow not Kyiv which interfered in 2016, in the aim of helping Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton. Nonetheless, as Trump faces impeachment for his conduct regarding Ukraine, his supporters in Congress are pushing the Ukraine conspiracy theory.Carlson called Todd a “mouth-breather” who “went full Joe McCarthy” on Kennedy and claimed special counsel Robert Mueller, who investigated Russian interference in 2016, links between Trump and Moscow and possible obstruction of justice by the president, found nothing amiss.“It’s not really a story,” he insisted, “it never happened, there was no collusion, Russia didn’t hack our democracy. The whole thing was a ludicrous talking point invented by the Hillary Clinton campaign on or about 9 November 2016”, the day after the election.Mueller did not prove criminal conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Moscow. He also emphasised that “collusion” is not a term in US criminal law.But he did chart extensive contacts between the Trump campaign and Moscow and associates of the president including campaign chair Paul Manafort, national security adviser Michael Flynn, lawyer Michael Cohen and close aide Roger Stone have been convicted on charges arising from the inquiry. The special counsel also indicted 26 Russian nationals and three Russian companies and detailed extensive attempts by the president to obstruct the course of justice.Carlson continued, playing a montage of MSNBC pundits and hosts bemoaning attitudes to Russia within the Trump administration and the Republican party.“If you excluded debunked conspiracy theories,” Carlson said, “could any of these people actually tell you why Vladimir Putin is so bad? Why is he so bad? ‘He’s bad!’ Chuck Todd says. OK, speak slowly so I can understand.”Carlson continued: “For Chuck Todd and the rest of the dummies, Vladimir Putin isn’t a real person with actual ideas and priorities and a country and beliefs. No, he stopped being that long ago. He’s a metaphor, a living metaphor, he’s the boogeyman! Step out of line and you’re a traitor in league with Vladimir Putin!“The irony, of course, is that Putin, for all his faults, does not hate America as much as many of these people do. They really dislike our country. And they call other people traitors because they’re ‘mouthing the talking points of Putin’! These are people who don’t know anything about Russia, who don’t speak Russian!”In conclusion, Carlson said the US “ought to be in a relationship with Russia aligned against China, to the extent that we can”.


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  • 62/80   Corbyn Says NHS Still at Risk Even as Trump Changes Tune
    WORLD TOPIC NEWS

    (Bloomberg) -- Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn stood by his election campaign claim that the U.K.’s beloved National Health Service would be under threat from a post-Brexit trade deal with the U.S., even as President Donald Trump said it wouldn’t be part of negotiations.Trump’s comment in June, that “everything is on the table” when discussing trade, opened the door to Corbyn’s main attack line against Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservatives in the run-up to the Dec. 12 vote.But speaking on Tuesday at a press conference in London ahead of the NATO summit, Trump struck a very different tone on the NHS: “I don’t even know where that rumor started,” he said. “We have absolutely nothing to do with it and we wouldn’t want to if you handed it to us on a silver platter.”Britain’s state-run NHS is always a key issue during election campaigns, yet the stakes are even higher this year as the U.K. prepares to leave the European Union. Johnson has made a free-trade deal with the U.S. a key goal for his government, and Corbyn has stoked voters’ fears that would mean increased privatization and greater access for U.S. drug companies in a way that would damage the free-to-use service.Corbyn even wrote to Trump on Monday, saying any increase in the cost of drugs would be an “unacceptable” outcome of trade talks. The Labour leader has also published a previously redacted dossier containing the minutes of early U.S.-U.K. trade negotiations to bolster his case.‘Bermuda Triangle’Johnson has repeatedly denied his government is negotiating with the U.S. over the NHS, and called Labour’s accusations “Bermuda Triangle stuff.” He repeated the same line during a campaign visit on Tuesday.Even so, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab admitted a trade deal could mean the U.S. would be able to raise the costs of drugs bought by the NHS. Asked in a Sky News interview if Washington could “jack up the prices” of key drugs, Raab replied: “The Americans will take their decisions... I think it’s hugely unlikely. Why would they do that?”The NHS row illustrates how risky Trump’s visit is to Johnson’s campaign, even after the U.S. president promised to “stay out of the election.” Trump has previously endorsed Johnson and further evidence of close ties between them has the potential to alienate some voters.The Tories Secretly Fear Trump Could Wreck Johnson’s ElectionCorbyn is showing no signs of backing down. In an interview with ITV on Tuesday morning, the Labour leader was pressed on reports his dossier may have been disseminated by a Russian-linked disinformation campaign. He responded that nobody in the government had questioned the documents’ accuracy or validity before the “new conspiracy theory.”Staying On?He also appeared to indicate he plans to stay on regardless of the election result next week. Asked if he would still be Labour leader at the end of the next parliamentary term even if he loses on Dec. 12, he replied: “I hope so, yes. I think I’m young enough, I still feel fit.”That comment is likely to disappoint those within Labour who believe the party cannot win an election while he is leader. Corbyn has fended off many challenges from his own MPs, including a leadership challenge by Owen Smith in 2016. He decided to continue as leader following the 2017 election after his party unexpectedly gained seats -- but not enough to form a government.Corbyn also personally apologized for the allegations of antisemitism that have dogged Labour under his leadership, something he had refused to do in the campaign so far. “Obviously I’m very sorry for anything that’s happened,” he said. “But I want to make this clear: I’m dealing with it, I dealt with it.”(Updates with Raab comment in seventh paragraph.)To contact the reporter on this story: Greg Ritchie in London at gritchie10@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Tim Ross at tross54@bloomberg.net, Stuart Biggs, Thomas PennyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

    (Bloomberg) -- Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn stood by his election campaign claim that the U.K.’s beloved National Health Service would be under threat from a post-Brexit trade deal with the U.S., even as President Donald Trump said it wouldn’t be part of negotiations.Trump’s comment in June, that “everything is on the table” when discussing trade, opened the door to Corbyn’s main attack line against Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservatives in the run-up to the Dec. 12 vote.But speaking on Tuesday at a press conference in London ahead of the NATO summit, Trump struck a very different tone on the NHS: “I don’t even know where that rumor started,” he said. “We have absolutely nothing to do with it and we wouldn’t want to if you handed it to us on a silver platter.”Britain’s state-run NHS is always a key issue during election campaigns, yet the stakes are even higher this year as the U.K. prepares to leave the European Union. Johnson has made a free-trade deal with the U.S. a key goal for his government, and Corbyn has stoked voters’ fears that would mean increased privatization and greater access for U.S. drug companies in a way that would damage the free-to-use service.Corbyn even wrote to Trump on Monday, saying any increase in the cost of drugs would be an “unacceptable” outcome of trade talks. The Labour leader has also published a previously redacted dossier containing the minutes of early U.S.-U.K. trade negotiations to bolster his case.‘Bermuda Triangle’Johnson has repeatedly denied his government is negotiating with the U.S. over the NHS, and called Labour’s accusations “Bermuda Triangle stuff.” He repeated the same line during a campaign visit on Tuesday.Even so, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab admitted a trade deal could mean the U.S. would be able to raise the costs of drugs bought by the NHS. Asked in a Sky News interview if Washington could “jack up the prices” of key drugs, Raab replied: “The Americans will take their decisions... I think it’s hugely unlikely. Why would they do that?”The NHS row illustrates how risky Trump’s visit is to Johnson’s campaign, even after the U.S. president promised to “stay out of the election.” Trump has previously endorsed Johnson and further evidence of close ties between them has the potential to alienate some voters.The Tories Secretly Fear Trump Could Wreck Johnson’s ElectionCorbyn is showing no signs of backing down. In an interview with ITV on Tuesday morning, the Labour leader was pressed on reports his dossier may have been disseminated by a Russian-linked disinformation campaign. He responded that nobody in the government had questioned the documents’ accuracy or validity before the “new conspiracy theory.”Staying On?He also appeared to indicate he plans to stay on regardless of the election result next week. Asked if he would still be Labour leader at the end of the next parliamentary term even if he loses on Dec. 12, he replied: “I hope so, yes. I think I’m young enough, I still feel fit.”That comment is likely to disappoint those within Labour who believe the party cannot win an election while he is leader. Corbyn has fended off many challenges from his own MPs, including a leadership challenge by Owen Smith in 2016. He decided to continue as leader following the 2017 election after his party unexpectedly gained seats -- but not enough to form a government.Corbyn also personally apologized for the allegations of antisemitism that have dogged Labour under his leadership, something he had refused to do in the campaign so far. “Obviously I’m very sorry for anything that’s happened,” he said. “But I want to make this clear: I’m dealing with it, I dealt with it.”(Updates with Raab comment in seventh paragraph.)To contact the reporter on this story: Greg Ritchie in London at gritchie10@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Tim Ross at tross54@bloomberg.net, Stuart Biggs, Thomas PennyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


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  • 63/80   UN says half of Zimbabwe’s people face severe hunger
    WORLD TOPIC NEWS

    The World Food Program said it plans to more than double the number of people it helps to more than 4 million.  A U.N. expert on the right to food last week said Zimbabwe is on the brink of man-made starvation and the number of people needing help is “shocking” for a country not in conflict.

    The World Food Program said it plans to more than double the number of people it helps to more than 4 million. A U.N. expert on the right to food last week said Zimbabwe is on the brink of man-made starvation and the number of people needing help is “shocking” for a country not in conflict.


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  • 64/80   Hughes JUPITER System Selected by Speedcast to Power Community Wi-Fi Hotspots across the Philippines
    WORLD TOPIC NEWS

    Hughes Network Systems, LLC (HUGHES), the global leader in broadband satellite networks and services, today announced that Speedcast, a trusted provider of remote communications and IT solutions, has chosen the Hughes JUPITER™ System to power Community Wi-Fi Hotspots across the Philippines. The operator will employ a JUPITER gateway and 3,000 satellite terminals to establish Internet access in public places across the island nation. The award is part of the Pipol Konek Free Public Internet Access Program implemented by the Department of Information and Communications (DICT) with support of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). Pipol Konek provides Wi-Fi in public places such as parks, plazas, libraries, government offices, schools, universities, hospitals, airports and health clinics.

    Hughes Network Systems, LLC (HUGHES), the global leader in broadband satellite networks and services, today announced that Speedcast, a trusted provider of remote communications and IT solutions, has chosen the Hughes JUPITER™ System to power Community Wi-Fi Hotspots across the Philippines. The operator will employ a JUPITER gateway and 3,000 satellite terminals to establish Internet access in public places across the island nation. The award is part of the Pipol Konek Free Public Internet Access Program implemented by the Department of Information and Communications (DICT) with support of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). Pipol Konek provides Wi-Fi in public places such as parks, plazas, libraries, government offices, schools, universities, hospitals, airports and health clinics.


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  • 65/80   Tucker Carlson Goes There Again: Backs Russian Invasion Of Ukraine
    WORLD TOPIC NEWS

    The Fox News personality attacked MSNBC's Chuck Todd, claiming Vladimir Putin doesn't "hate America as much as ... these people do."

    The Fox News personality attacked MSNBC's Chuck Todd, claiming Vladimir Putin doesn't "hate America as much as ... these people do."


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  • 66/80   Iran for First Time Acknowledges Protesters Were Shot Dead
    WORLD TOPIC NEWS

    (Bloomberg) -- Iran for the first time acknowledged that its security forces shot and killed protesters last month during one of the most violent crackdowns on dissent since the 1979 Islamic revolution.State television on Tuesday reported that “rioters” had been shot dead in several areas as they joined anti-government protests, including in Tehran, the capital, and Mahshahr in the country’s southwest. The latter has a sizable Arab population, and the report claimed security forces clashed with a separatist group there.The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps said on Saturday that it was investigating reports that its forces had targeted and shot protesters, the semi-official Iranian Labour News Agency reported, citing Brigadier General Mohammadreza Yazdi.Separately, official figures showed 300 protesters remain in custody in Tehran. Judiciary spokesman Gholam Hossein Esmaeili said most of those arrested during the unrest had been freed, and that the demonstrations have died down.Iran was rocked by protests in November after the government increased gasoline prices by as much as 300% and introduced rationing as the economy struggles under crippling U.S. sanctions meant to curtail Iranian influence in the Middle East and weaken its leadership.The International Monetary Fund expects Iran’s recession to deepen this year, with gross domestic product contracting 9.5%.The unrest soon took a broader anti-establishment turn and authorities responded with a swift crackdown, severing access to most of the internet in a move that made it difficult to track the demonstrations and the government response. On Tuesday, President Donald Trump, who reimposed the sweeping penalties on Iran’s crucial oil exports, urged the world to take a closer look at the security operation. “The word is that thousands of people are being killed that are protesting. Not just small numbers,” he said in London, where he’s attending a NATO summit. According to the London-based Amnesty International rights group at least 208 people have died. New York-based Human Rights Watch estimated that up to 7,000 people were arrested.Iranian officials have put the death toll much lower.(Updates with Trump comments in London)\--With assistance from Jordan Fabian.To contact the reporter on this story: Yasna Haghdoost in Beirut at yhaghdoost@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Lin Noueihed at lnoueihed@bloomberg.net, Mark Williams, Amy TeibelFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

    (Bloomberg) -- Iran for the first time acknowledged that its security forces shot and killed protesters last month during one of the most violent crackdowns on dissent since the 1979 Islamic revolution.State television on Tuesday reported that “rioters” had been shot dead in several areas as they joined anti-government protests, including in Tehran, the capital, and Mahshahr in the country’s southwest. The latter has a sizable Arab population, and the report claimed security forces clashed with a separatist group there.The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps said on Saturday that it was investigating reports that its forces had targeted and shot protesters, the semi-official Iranian Labour News Agency reported, citing Brigadier General Mohammadreza Yazdi.Separately, official figures showed 300 protesters remain in custody in Tehran. Judiciary spokesman Gholam Hossein Esmaeili said most of those arrested during the unrest had been freed, and that the demonstrations have died down.Iran was rocked by protests in November after the government increased gasoline prices by as much as 300% and introduced rationing as the economy struggles under crippling U.S. sanctions meant to curtail Iranian influence in the Middle East and weaken its leadership.The International Monetary Fund expects Iran’s recession to deepen this year, with gross domestic product contracting 9.5%.The unrest soon took a broader anti-establishment turn and authorities responded with a swift crackdown, severing access to most of the internet in a move that made it difficult to track the demonstrations and the government response. On Tuesday, President Donald Trump, who reimposed the sweeping penalties on Iran’s crucial oil exports, urged the world to take a closer look at the security operation. “The word is that thousands of people are being killed that are protesting. Not just small numbers,” he said in London, where he’s attending a NATO summit. According to the London-based Amnesty International rights group at least 208 people have died. New York-based Human Rights Watch estimated that up to 7,000 people were arrested.Iranian officials have put the death toll much lower.(Updates with Trump comments in London)\--With assistance from Jordan Fabian.To contact the reporter on this story: Yasna Haghdoost in Beirut at yhaghdoost@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Lin Noueihed at lnoueihed@bloomberg.net, Mark Williams, Amy TeibelFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


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  • 67/80   Trump says world 'has to be watching' the violence in Iran
    WORLD TOPIC NEWS

    Amnesty International said on Monday it believes at least 208 people were killed in the protests and the crackdown that followed.  Iranian state television on Tuesday acknowledged for the first time that security forces shot and killed what it described as “rioters” in multiple cities amid recent protests over the spike in government-set gasoline prices.  The protests are viewed as a reflection of widespread economic discontent gripping the country since Trump reimposed nuclear sanctions on Iran last year.

    Amnesty International said on Monday it believes at least 208 people were killed in the protests and the crackdown that followed. Iranian state television on Tuesday acknowledged for the first time that security forces shot and killed what it described as “rioters” in multiple cities amid recent protests over the spike in government-set gasoline prices. The protests are viewed as a reflection of widespread economic discontent gripping the country since Trump reimposed nuclear sanctions on Iran last year.


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  • 68/80   Nations Fiddle at Margins as Earth Heats Up
    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.While protesters demand immediate cuts to fossil fuel emissions and a radical overhaul of the world’s energy supplies, annual United Nations climate-change talks are focusing on an arcane corner of the global carbon market.Energy and environment ministers at the COP25 meeting in Madrid today are discussing market mechanisms that would prod nations and governments to rein in carbon dioxide emissions. They work by issuing credits for projects that reduce pollution or setting limits for polluters, who must pay if they emit more.The U.S. fought to include markets in the talks and will help design the system, even though President Donald Trump wants to quit the Paris climate-change accord. Still, it’s not the sort of agenda likely to quell the passions of protesters.The European Union, meanwhile, is gearing up for the world’s most ambitious policy against climate change that will require radically overhauling the economy. At a Brussels summit next week, leaders will commit to cutting net greenhouse-gas emissions to zero by 2050.Scientists say the need for action is increasingly urgent. Global temperatures are on track to rise 3 to 5 degrees Celsius by the end of the century, according to the World Meteorological Organization.That would mark the quickest shift in the climate since the last ice age ended.Global HeadlinesJust in: Trump suggested this morning it might be more advantageous to wait until after the 2020 election for a China-U.S. trade deal.Earlier, Chinese state media said the government will soon publish a list of “unreliable entities” that could lead to sanctions against U.S. companies. That shows how disputes over human rights in Hong Kong and China’s predominately Muslim region of Xinjiang are threatening trade talks.Talking Turkey | Trump says he’s willing to sit down at the NATO summit in London this week with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, even though their meeting last month on Syria touched off outrage in Washington. Trump isn’t due to have a formal sit-down with Erdogan, whose cultivation of ties to Russia and military offensive against Syrian Kurds has concerned alliance members. “I like Turkey,” he told reporters this morning, adding that Erdogan “is a good NATO member, or will be.”Trump is scheduled to hold meetings today with the leaders of France and Canada, before a Buckingham Palace reception tonight. Erdogan meets today with the leaders of France, the U.K. and Germany — where they will discuss the cost of Turkey housing Syrian refugees.Bet backfires | Trump’s plan to reinstate tariffs on steel and aluminum from Brazil is just the latest snub he’s given Jair Bolsonaro. As Samy Adghirni and David Wainer explain, the Brazilian president’s inability to get a clear diplomatic win from his effusive support of Trump opens him up to criticism at home for joining forces with an unreliable partner.Impeachment report | Republican lawmakers on the House Intelligence Committee said the Democratic-led investigation of Trump failed to establish any impeachable offenses. Instead, their just-released report paints a picture of “unelected bureaucrats” disagreeing with the president’s style, world view and foreign policy decisions. Democrats intend to release their findings before the Judiciary Committee’s first public hearing tomorrow.Arms race | On the lookout for buyers of American-made weapons, the U.S. president has found a customer in Thailand. But after years of chilled relations the Southeast Asian nation has drawn closer to another major arms exporter: China. The reset in Thai-U.S. ties means Bangkok finds itself at the center of a geostrategic tug-of-war between the two superpowers.What to WatchHong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam today pledged more relief measures for sectors badly affected by almost six months of protests after data showing the unrest had driven a record decline in retail sales. Malaysia’s former leader Najib Razak today began testimony to defend himself against allegations involving $10 million in bribes in a case involving a former unit of troubled state fund 1MDB.Tell us how we’re doing or what we’re missing at balancepower@bloomberg.net.And finally … Ho ho ho? North Korea says the “Christmas gift” it will give to the U.S. depends on how Trump responds to leader Kim Jong Un’s demands to ease the sanctions choking his economy. Kim has threatened to take “a new path” that could end his moratorium on testing nuclear weapons and missiles if Trump doesn’t offer a better deal by the end of the year. \--With assistance from Philip Heijmans, Brendan Scott, Jon Herskovitz and Rosalind Mathieson.To contact the author of this story: Reed Landberg in London at landberg@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Ruth Pollard at rpollard2@bloomberg.net, Anthony HalpinFor 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.While protesters demand immediate cuts to fossil fuel emissions and a radical overhaul of the world’s energy supplies, annual United Nations climate-change talks are focusing on an arcane corner of the global carbon market.Energy and environment ministers at the COP25 meeting in Madrid today are discussing market mechanisms that would prod nations and governments to rein in carbon dioxide emissions. They work by issuing credits for projects that reduce pollution or setting limits for polluters, who must pay if they emit more.The U.S. fought to include markets in the talks and will help design the system, even though President Donald Trump wants to quit the Paris climate-change accord. Still, it’s not the sort of agenda likely to quell the passions of protesters.The European Union, meanwhile, is gearing up for the world’s most ambitious policy against climate change that will require radically overhauling the economy. At a Brussels summit next week, leaders will commit to cutting net greenhouse-gas emissions to zero by 2050.Scientists say the need for action is increasingly urgent. Global temperatures are on track to rise 3 to 5 degrees Celsius by the end of the century, according to the World Meteorological Organization.That would mark the quickest shift in the climate since the last ice age ended.Global HeadlinesJust in: Trump suggested this morning it might be more advantageous to wait until after the 2020 election for a China-U.S. trade deal.Earlier, Chinese state media said the government will soon publish a list of “unreliable entities” that could lead to sanctions against U.S. companies. That shows how disputes over human rights in Hong Kong and China’s predominately Muslim region of Xinjiang are threatening trade talks.Talking Turkey | Trump says he’s willing to sit down at the NATO summit in London this week with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, even though their meeting last month on Syria touched off outrage in Washington. Trump isn’t due to have a formal sit-down with Erdogan, whose cultivation of ties to Russia and military offensive against Syrian Kurds has concerned alliance members. “I like Turkey,” he told reporters this morning, adding that Erdogan “is a good NATO member, or will be.”Trump is scheduled to hold meetings today with the leaders of France and Canada, before a Buckingham Palace reception tonight. Erdogan meets today with the leaders of France, the U.K. and Germany — where they will discuss the cost of Turkey housing Syrian refugees.Bet backfires | Trump’s plan to reinstate tariffs on steel and aluminum from Brazil is just the latest snub he’s given Jair Bolsonaro. As Samy Adghirni and David Wainer explain, the Brazilian president’s inability to get a clear diplomatic win from his effusive support of Trump opens him up to criticism at home for joining forces with an unreliable partner.Impeachment report | Republican lawmakers on the House Intelligence Committee said the Democratic-led investigation of Trump failed to establish any impeachable offenses. Instead, their just-released report paints a picture of “unelected bureaucrats” disagreeing with the president’s style, world view and foreign policy decisions. Democrats intend to release their findings before the Judiciary Committee’s first public hearing tomorrow.Arms race | On the lookout for buyers of American-made weapons, the U.S. president has found a customer in Thailand. But after years of chilled relations the Southeast Asian nation has drawn closer to another major arms exporter: China. The reset in Thai-U.S. ties means Bangkok finds itself at the center of a geostrategic tug-of-war between the two superpowers.What to WatchHong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam today pledged more relief measures for sectors badly affected by almost six months of protests after data showing the unrest had driven a record decline in retail sales. Malaysia’s former leader Najib Razak today began testimony to defend himself against allegations involving $10 million in bribes in a case involving a former unit of troubled state fund 1MDB.Tell us how we’re doing or what we’re missing at balancepower@bloomberg.net.And finally … Ho ho ho? North Korea says the “Christmas gift” it will give to the U.S. depends on how Trump responds to leader Kim Jong Un’s demands to ease the sanctions choking his economy. Kim has threatened to take “a new path” that could end his moratorium on testing nuclear weapons and missiles if Trump doesn’t offer a better deal by the end of the year. \--With assistance from Philip Heijmans, Brendan Scott, Jon Herskovitz and Rosalind Mathieson.To contact the author of this story: Reed Landberg in London at landberg@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Ruth Pollard at rpollard2@bloomberg.net, Anthony HalpinFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


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  • 69/80   2010s hottest decade in history, UN says as emissions rise again
    WORLD TOPIC NEWS

    This decade is set to be the hottest in history, the United Nations said Tuesday in an annual assessment outlining the ways in which climate change is outpacing humanity's ability to adapt to it.  The World Meterological Organization said global temperatures so far this year were 1.1 degrees Celsius (two degrees Farenheit) above the pre-industrial average between 1850-1900.  Man-made emissions from burning fossil fuels, building infrastructure, growing crops and transporting goods mean 2019 is set to break the record for atmospheric carbon concentrations, locking in further warming, the WMO said.

    This decade is set to be the hottest in history, the United Nations said Tuesday in an annual assessment outlining the ways in which climate change is outpacing humanity's ability to adapt to it. The World Meterological Organization said global temperatures so far this year were 1.1 degrees Celsius (two degrees Farenheit) above the pre-industrial average between 1850-1900. Man-made emissions from burning fossil fuels, building infrastructure, growing crops and transporting goods mean 2019 is set to break the record for atmospheric carbon concentrations, locking in further warming, the WMO said.


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  • 70/80   Fresh protests gather in Najaf, amid talks over new premier
    WORLD TOPIC NEWS

    Anti-government protesters have surrounded a key shrine in the southern city of Najaf on Tuesday amid concerns of a new outbreak of violence there following a rare day of calm after weeks of bloodshed across Iraq.  President Barham Salih is meeting with Iraq’s main political blocs as a 15-day constitutional deadline to name the next prime minister nears, two Iraqi officials said.  Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Madi announced his resignation on Friday.

    Anti-government protesters have surrounded a key shrine in the southern city of Najaf on Tuesday amid concerns of a new outbreak of violence there following a rare day of calm after weeks of bloodshed across Iraq. President Barham Salih is meeting with Iraq’s main political blocs as a 15-day constitutional deadline to name the next prime minister nears, two Iraqi officials said. Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Madi announced his resignation on Friday.


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  • 71/80   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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  • 72/80   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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  • 73/80   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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  • 74/80   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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  • 75/80   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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  • 76/80   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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  • 77/80   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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  • 78/80   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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  • 79/80   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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  • 80/80   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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