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News Slideshows (02/14/2020 15 hours)


  • 1/71   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


    Tink   Banksy   Amor y la Amistad   New Tame Impala   Ryan Hollins   Mason Rudolph   How to Make Love All Day   DTB 4   feliz día   marjory stoneman douglas   
  • 2/71   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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  • 3/71   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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  • 4/71   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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  • 5/71   '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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  • 6/71   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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  • 7/71   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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  • 8/71   Do star athletes make too much money?
    SPORTS TOPIC NEWS

    With athletes in America's biggest sports leagues raking in salaries worth $300 million and more, is it time to reign in the big spending or do superstars deserve the big bucks they make?

    With athletes in America's biggest sports leagues raking in salaries worth $300 million and more, is it time to reign in the big spending or do superstars deserve the big bucks they make?


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  • 9/71   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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  • 10/71   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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  • 11/71   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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  • 12/71   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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  • 13/71   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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  • 14/71   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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  • 15/71   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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  • 16/71   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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  • 17/71   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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  • 18/71   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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  • 19/71   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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  • 20/71   What the CIA thinks of your anti-virus program

    PARIS (AP) — Peppering the 8,000 pages of purported Central Intelligence Agency hacking data released Tuesday by WikiLeaks are reviews of some of the world's most popular anti-virus products.

    PARIS (AP) — Peppering the 8,000 pages of purported Central Intelligence Agency hacking data released Tuesday by WikiLeaks are reviews of some of the world's most popular anti-virus products.


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  • 21/71   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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  • 22/71   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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  • 23/71   FICO Partners with HUD and PERC on Rental Data Study
    TECHNOLOGY TOPIC NEWS

    Leading analytics software firm, FICO, partnered with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Policy and Economic Research Council (PERC) on a new study examining how reporting rental payments to consumer reporting agencies (CRAs) impact consumers with thin-to-no credit profiles or low credit scores.

    Leading analytics software firm, FICO, partnered with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Policy and Economic Research Council (PERC) on a new study examining how reporting rental payments to consumer reporting agencies (CRAs) impact consumers with thin-to-no credit profiles or low credit scores.


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  • 24/71   Media Advisory: Reciprocity to Demonstrate Advanced Information Security Governance, Risk and Compliance Capabilities of ZenGRC at the RSA Conference
    TECHNOLOGY TOPIC NEWS

    Reciprocity, the company behind ZenGRC, the industry-leading information security risk and compliance solution, will be participating in the RSA Conference in San Francisco February 24-28. The company will be demonstrating the advanced capabilities of its flagship solution ZenGRC to customers, prospects, and members of the media and analyst community attending the show.

    Reciprocity, the company behind ZenGRC, the industry-leading information security risk and compliance solution, will be participating in the RSA Conference in San Francisco February 24-28. The company will be demonstrating the advanced capabilities of its flagship solution ZenGRC to customers, prospects, and members of the media and analyst community attending the show.


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  • 25/71   Sales at U.S. Retailers Increase in Sign of Steady Consumer
    TECHNOLOGY TOPIC NEWS

    (Bloomberg) -- U.S. retail sales rose in January for a fourth straight month as cheaper prices at the gas pump encouraged Americans to spend on other goods, underscoring steady consumer spending.The value of overall sales climbed 0.3% after a downwardly revised 0.2% increase the prior month, Commerce Department figures showed Friday. Excluding receipts at filling stations, retail purchases increased 0.3%, the most in five months.One caveat in today’s data was the “control group” subset of sales, which was unchanged in January after a downwardly revised 0.2% December gain. The measure excludes food services, car dealers, building-materials stores and gasoline stations, providing a reading that’s tied better to underlying consumer demand. Treasury prices rose and equity futures ticked lower after the report.Steady demand at retailers indicates the consumer remains the economy’s key fuel source. Resilient hiring and wage growth are helping to boost both sentiment and spending. Economists forecast household outlays to increase in the first quarter at about the same pace as the end of 2019.Meanwhile, economic risks remain with sluggish export markets, weak business spending and any fallout from the coronavirus.The retail sales report showed nine of 13 major categories increased, including the largest gains at building materials outlets and non-store merchants since August. Receipts at general merchandise stores were the strongest in six months, while sales at furniture and home furnishing stores were the best in four.Other HighlightsFederal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said in congressional testimony this week that there’s no reason that a scenario of generally strong job growth and rising wages can’t go on. Central bankers have held rates steady to extend the record-long expansion.The Commerce Department’s report showed gas-station receipts declined 0.5% on lower fuel prices. Sales retreated at electronics outlets, clothing stores and personal care shops.Sales at car dealers rose 0.2% in January.Excluding automobiles and gasoline, retail sales advanced 0.4% after a 0.5% gain the previous month.A separate Labor Department report Friday showed the U.S. import price index was unchanged in January from the prior month and up 0.3% from a year earlier, indicating tame inflation.\--With assistance from Jordan Yadoo and Sophie Caronello.To contact the reporter on this story: Katia Dmitrieva in Washington at edmitrieva1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Scott Lanman at slanman@bloomberg.netFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

    (Bloomberg) -- U.S. retail sales rose in January for a fourth straight month as cheaper prices at the gas pump encouraged Americans to spend on other goods, underscoring steady consumer spending.The value of overall sales climbed 0.3% after a downwardly revised 0.2% increase the prior month, Commerce Department figures showed Friday. Excluding receipts at filling stations, retail purchases increased 0.3%, the most in five months.One caveat in today’s data was the “control group” subset of sales, which was unchanged in January after a downwardly revised 0.2% December gain. The measure excludes food services, car dealers, building-materials stores and gasoline stations, providing a reading that’s tied better to underlying consumer demand. Treasury prices rose and equity futures ticked lower after the report.Steady demand at retailers indicates the consumer remains the economy’s key fuel source. Resilient hiring and wage growth are helping to boost both sentiment and spending. Economists forecast household outlays to increase in the first quarter at about the same pace as the end of 2019.Meanwhile, economic risks remain with sluggish export markets, weak business spending and any fallout from the coronavirus.The retail sales report showed nine of 13 major categories increased, including the largest gains at building materials outlets and non-store merchants since August. Receipts at general merchandise stores were the strongest in six months, while sales at furniture and home furnishing stores were the best in four.Other HighlightsFederal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said in congressional testimony this week that there’s no reason that a scenario of generally strong job growth and rising wages can’t go on. Central bankers have held rates steady to extend the record-long expansion.The Commerce Department’s report showed gas-station receipts declined 0.5% on lower fuel prices. Sales retreated at electronics outlets, clothing stores and personal care shops.Sales at car dealers rose 0.2% in January.Excluding automobiles and gasoline, retail sales advanced 0.4% after a 0.5% gain the previous month.A separate Labor Department report Friday showed the U.S. import price index was unchanged in January from the prior month and up 0.3% from a year earlier, indicating tame inflation.\--With assistance from Jordan Yadoo and Sophie Caronello.To contact the reporter on this story: Katia Dmitrieva in Washington at edmitrieva1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Scott Lanman at slanman@bloomberg.netFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.


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  • 26/71   Stock Futures Erase Gains on Tepid Retail Sales: Markets Wrap
    TECHNOLOGY TOPIC NEWS

    (Bloomberg) -- U.S. equity futures erased gains after data showed steady but uninspiring data on retail sales and investors assessed contrasting data from China on how the coronavirus is spreading. Treasuries advanced.Futures on the S&P 500 Index were little changed after rising overnight. U.S. retail sales rose in January for a fourth straight month, though the prior month’s gain was revised lower. Chipmaker Nvidia Corp. and travel giant Expedia Group Inc. jumped after making strong forecasts. Tesla Inc. slipped after pricing a stock offering. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index rose, led by real estate and food shares.Major Asian equity markets climbed except for those in Tokyo and Mumbai. Oil continued its rebound, pushing above $52 a barrel in New York. The euro steadied near a 2017 low after data showed the region’s economy grew a scant 0.1% in the fourth quarter, matching forecasts. The dollar held its level versus a basket of peers after solid retail sales data. Copper futures slipped.While Beijing reported a smaller increase in virus cases in the epicenter of Hubei versus the previous day, they were still bigger than before the counting methodology was changed. That clouded the picture of how the pandemic is being curbed, in a week that’s been marred by Chinese airlines putting workers on leave and firms such as drugmaker AstraZeneca Plc warning of a tougher outlook because of the novel disease.Nonetheless, stocks globally are headed for a second successive week of gains as investors anticipate a possible V-shaped economic recovery from the virus, even as the effects continue to be felt. E-commerce giant Alibaba Group warned that the disease is having a fundamental impact on China’s economy, and nearly 86,000 domestic and international flights in and out of China were canceled Jan. 23-Feb. 11, or 34% of scheduled services.“The difficulty with trading these things is timing -- and right here, right now, we are not through the woods yet with the coronavirus,” said Kyle Rodda, market analyst at IG Markets Ltd. “You look for those signals to suggest that effectively we are looking at that kind of V-shaped recovery that is still potentially on the cards.”Hubei reported almost 5,000 new cases, a day after confirming nearly 15,000. The death toll in China was at 1,380, lowered by more than 100 to account for some double-counting. Earlier, the World Health Organization said a surge in diagnoses didn’t necessarily indicate a spike in infections, which had helped to lift risk appetite.Elsewhere, havens including gold and the yen were steady.These are the main moves in markets:StocksFutures on the S&P 500 were virtually unchanged as of 8:51 a.m. in New York.Nasdaq 100 Index futures rose 0.1%.The Stoxx Europe 600 Index increased 0.1%.The MSCI Asia Pacific Index declined 0.1%.The MSCI World Index was little changed.CurrenciesThe Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was little changed.The euro was unchanged at $1.0841.The Japanese yen was little changed at 109.84 per dollar.South Africa’s rand strengthened 0.6% to 14.8639 per dollar.BondsThe yield on 10-year Treasuries fell three basis points to 1.59%.Germany’s 10-year yield dipped one basis point to -0.40%.Britain’s 10-year yield fell four basis points to 0.613%.Japan’s 10-year yield climbed one basis point to -0.027%.CommoditiesWest Texas Intermediate crude rose 1.4% to $52.12 a barrel.Gold was little changed at $1,576.71 an ounce.LME aluminum declined 1% to $1,730 per metric ton.Iron ore dipped 0.4% to $85.69 per metric ton.\--With assistance from Adam Haigh.To contact the reporter on this story: Todd White in Madrid at twhite2@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Jeremy Herron at jherron8@bloomberg.netFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

    (Bloomberg) -- U.S. equity futures erased gains after data showed steady but uninspiring data on retail sales and investors assessed contrasting data from China on how the coronavirus is spreading. Treasuries advanced.Futures on the S&P 500 Index were little changed after rising overnight. U.S. retail sales rose in January for a fourth straight month, though the prior month’s gain was revised lower. Chipmaker Nvidia Corp. and travel giant Expedia Group Inc. jumped after making strong forecasts. Tesla Inc. slipped after pricing a stock offering. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index rose, led by real estate and food shares.Major Asian equity markets climbed except for those in Tokyo and Mumbai. Oil continued its rebound, pushing above $52 a barrel in New York. The euro steadied near a 2017 low after data showed the region’s economy grew a scant 0.1% in the fourth quarter, matching forecasts. The dollar held its level versus a basket of peers after solid retail sales data. Copper futures slipped.While Beijing reported a smaller increase in virus cases in the epicenter of Hubei versus the previous day, they were still bigger than before the counting methodology was changed. That clouded the picture of how the pandemic is being curbed, in a week that’s been marred by Chinese airlines putting workers on leave and firms such as drugmaker AstraZeneca Plc warning of a tougher outlook because of the novel disease.Nonetheless, stocks globally are headed for a second successive week of gains as investors anticipate a possible V-shaped economic recovery from the virus, even as the effects continue to be felt. E-commerce giant Alibaba Group warned that the disease is having a fundamental impact on China’s economy, and nearly 86,000 domestic and international flights in and out of China were canceled Jan. 23-Feb. 11, or 34% of scheduled services.“The difficulty with trading these things is timing -- and right here, right now, we are not through the woods yet with the coronavirus,” said Kyle Rodda, market analyst at IG Markets Ltd. “You look for those signals to suggest that effectively we are looking at that kind of V-shaped recovery that is still potentially on the cards.”Hubei reported almost 5,000 new cases, a day after confirming nearly 15,000. The death toll in China was at 1,380, lowered by more than 100 to account for some double-counting. Earlier, the World Health Organization said a surge in diagnoses didn’t necessarily indicate a spike in infections, which had helped to lift risk appetite.Elsewhere, havens including gold and the yen were steady.These are the main moves in markets:StocksFutures on the S&P 500 were virtually unchanged as of 8:51 a.m. in New York.Nasdaq 100 Index futures rose 0.1%.The Stoxx Europe 600 Index increased 0.1%.The MSCI Asia Pacific Index declined 0.1%.The MSCI World Index was little changed.CurrenciesThe Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was little changed.The euro was unchanged at $1.0841.The Japanese yen was little changed at 109.84 per dollar.South Africa’s rand strengthened 0.6% to 14.8639 per dollar.BondsThe yield on 10-year Treasuries fell three basis points to 1.59%.Germany’s 10-year yield dipped one basis point to -0.40%.Britain’s 10-year yield fell four basis points to 0.613%.Japan’s 10-year yield climbed one basis point to -0.027%.CommoditiesWest Texas Intermediate crude rose 1.4% to $52.12 a barrel.Gold was little changed at $1,576.71 an ounce.LME aluminum declined 1% to $1,730 per metric ton.Iron ore dipped 0.4% to $85.69 per metric ton.\--With assistance from Adam Haigh.To contact the reporter on this story: Todd White in Madrid at twhite2@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Jeremy Herron at jherron8@bloomberg.netFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.


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  • 27/71   AI algorithms intended to root out welfare fraud often end up punishing the poor instead
    TECHNOLOGY TOPIC NEWS

    President Donald Trump recently suggested there is “tremendous fraud” in government welfare programs. Although there’s very little evidence to back up his claim, he’s hardly the first politician – conservative or liberal – to vow to crack down on fraud and waste in America’s social safety net. States – which are charged with distributing and overseeing many federally funded benefits – are taking these fraud accusations seriously. They are increasingly turning to artificial intelligence and other automated systems to determine benefits eligibility and ferret out fraud in a variety of benefits programs, from food stamps and Medicaid to unemployment insurance. Of course, government agencies should ensure that taxpayer dollars are spent effectively. The problem is these automated decision-making systems are sometimes rife with errors and designed in ways that punish the poor for being poor, leading to tragic results. As a clinical law professor who has researched safety net programs and has represented low-income clients in public benefits cases for over 20 years, I believe it’s essential these systems are designed in ways that are fair, transparent and accountable to prevent hurting society’s most vulnerable.  Facts about fraudFirst, it’s important to make one thing clear: The evidence suggests incidents of user fraud in government welfare programs are rare. For instance, the food stamp program, formally called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, currently serves about 40 million people monthly at an annual cost of US$68 billion. Despite regular denigration of food stamp recipients, less than 1% of benefits go to ineligible households, according to the federal government. And, of those families, the majority of overpayments result from mistakes by recipients, state workers or computer programmers as they navigate complex regulatory requirements – not any intent to defraud the system.As for Medicaid, which provides health insurance for low-income people, research has shown that the bulk of fraudulent activity is committed by health care providers – not by the 64 million needy people that use the program.Within unemployment insurance, the “improper payment” rate for 2019 is 10.6%, which includes payments that should not have been made or that were made in an incorrect amount, but intentional fraud estimates are much lower.  When algorithms failNonetheless, many states seem to be adopting systems that assume criminal intent on the part of the needy. Many states have begun using “sophisticated data mining” techniques to identify fraud in the food stamp program, according to the General Accountability Office. Another report identified 20 states using AI tools in unemployment insurance. And the federal government is providing support to state Medicaid programs to upgrade their decades-old technology with more advanced software. These types of automated decision-making systems rely on algorithms, or mathematical instructions. Some algorithms use machine learning – a form of artificial intelligence – to replace decisions that would otherwise be made by humans. They analyze large sets of data to recognize patterns or make predictions. But officials should approach these systems with caution. The results for low-income families with little margin for error can be disastrous. For instance, in Michigan, a $47 million automated fraud detection system adopted in 2013 made roughly 48,000 fraud accusations against unemployment insurance recipients – a five-fold increase from the prior system. Without any human intervention, the state demanded repayments plus interest and civil penalties of four times the alleged amount owed.To collect the repayments – some as high as $187,000 – the state garnished wages, levied bank accounts and intercepted tax refunds. The financial stress on the accused resulted in evictions, divorces, destroyed credit scores, homelessness, bankruptcies and even suicide. As it turns out, a state review later determined that 93% of the fraud determinations were wrong. How could a computer system fail so badly? The computer was programmed to detect fraud when claimants’ information conflicted with other federal, state and employer records. However, it did not distinguish between fraud and innocent mistakes, it was fed incomplete data, and the computer-generated notices were designed to make people inadvertently admit to fraud. Michigan is not an outlier. Program-wide algorithmic errors have similarly plagued Medicaid eligibility determinations in states such as Indiana, Arkansas, Idaho and Oregon.And the issue isn’t just an American one. Many countries such as Australia and the U.K. are embracing these types of systems and encountering similar problems. The United Nations special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights issued a report in October that warned governments across the world to “avoid stumbling zombie-like into a digital welfare dystopia” as they automate their social welfare systems. In a closely watched decision, a court in the Netherlands recently halted a welfare fraud detection system, ruling that it violates human rights. The decision is likely to bring closer scrutiny to these systems worldwide, although Americans have fewer legal protections than their European counterparts.  Algorithms aren’t magicAI won’t magically root out what little fraud there is from the welfare rolls. Mistakes can happen when software developers translate complex regulatory requirements into code and when they make programming errors. The massive sets of data fed into automated systems inevitably will contain some inaccuracies and omissions. And algorithms can also replicate embedded societal biases and end up discriminating against marginalized groups.Without a human in the decision-making loop, these mistakes become compounded as they flow through multiple data-sharing systems.To avoid these problems, state and other governments should ensure the systems they install are transparent in how they function, are accountable for mistakes and don’t incentivize private contractors hired to design them to kick people off the rolls to make more money. States should also make sure representatives from all groups affected are involved in their creation and monitoring. In my research and legal work, I have found automated fraud detection is too often built on the assumptions that computers are magic and fraud among the poor is endemic. State officials should flip those assumptions and make computers work for the people rather than against them.[You’re too busy to read everything. We get it. That’s why we’ve got a weekly newsletter. Sign up for good Sunday reading. ]This article is republished from The Conversation, a nonprofit news site dedicated to sharing ideas from academic experts.Read more:    * From FDR’s food stamps to Trump’s harvest boxes: The history of helping the poor get enough to eat  * Restricting SNAP benefits could hurt millions of Americans – and local communitiesProfessor Gilman's law clinic has represented individuals affected by automated decision making in public benefits programs.

    President Donald Trump recently suggested there is “tremendous fraud” in government welfare programs. Although there’s very little evidence to back up his claim, he’s hardly the first politician – conservative or liberal – to vow to crack down on fraud and waste in America’s social safety net. States – which are charged with distributing and overseeing many federally funded benefits – are taking these fraud accusations seriously. They are increasingly turning to artificial intelligence and other automated systems to determine benefits eligibility and ferret out fraud in a variety of benefits programs, from food stamps and Medicaid to unemployment insurance. Of course, government agencies should ensure that taxpayer dollars are spent effectively. The problem is these automated decision-making systems are sometimes rife with errors and designed in ways that punish the poor for being poor, leading to tragic results. As a clinical law professor who has researched safety net programs and has represented low-income clients in public benefits cases for over 20 years, I believe it’s essential these systems are designed in ways that are fair, transparent and accountable to prevent hurting society’s most vulnerable. Facts about fraudFirst, it’s important to make one thing clear: The evidence suggests incidents of user fraud in government welfare programs are rare. For instance, the food stamp program, formally called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, currently serves about 40 million people monthly at an annual cost of US$68 billion. Despite regular denigration of food stamp recipients, less than 1% of benefits go to ineligible households, according to the federal government. And, of those families, the majority of overpayments result from mistakes by recipients, state workers or computer programmers as they navigate complex regulatory requirements – not any intent to defraud the system.As for Medicaid, which provides health insurance for low-income people, research has shown that the bulk of fraudulent activity is committed by health care providers – not by the 64 million needy people that use the program.Within unemployment insurance, the “improper payment” rate for 2019 is 10.6%, which includes payments that should not have been made or that were made in an incorrect amount, but intentional fraud estimates are much lower. When algorithms failNonetheless, many states seem to be adopting systems that assume criminal intent on the part of the needy. Many states have begun using “sophisticated data mining” techniques to identify fraud in the food stamp program, according to the General Accountability Office. Another report identified 20 states using AI tools in unemployment insurance. And the federal government is providing support to state Medicaid programs to upgrade their decades-old technology with more advanced software. These types of automated decision-making systems rely on algorithms, or mathematical instructions. Some algorithms use machine learning – a form of artificial intelligence – to replace decisions that would otherwise be made by humans. They analyze large sets of data to recognize patterns or make predictions. But officials should approach these systems with caution. The results for low-income families with little margin for error can be disastrous. For instance, in Michigan, a $47 million automated fraud detection system adopted in 2013 made roughly 48,000 fraud accusations against unemployment insurance recipients – a five-fold increase from the prior system. Without any human intervention, the state demanded repayments plus interest and civil penalties of four times the alleged amount owed.To collect the repayments – some as high as $187,000 – the state garnished wages, levied bank accounts and intercepted tax refunds. The financial stress on the accused resulted in evictions, divorces, destroyed credit scores, homelessness, bankruptcies and even suicide. As it turns out, a state review later determined that 93% of the fraud determinations were wrong. How could a computer system fail so badly? The computer was programmed to detect fraud when claimants’ information conflicted with other federal, state and employer records. However, it did not distinguish between fraud and innocent mistakes, it was fed incomplete data, and the computer-generated notices were designed to make people inadvertently admit to fraud. Michigan is not an outlier. Program-wide algorithmic errors have similarly plagued Medicaid eligibility determinations in states such as Indiana, Arkansas, Idaho and Oregon.And the issue isn’t just an American one. Many countries such as Australia and the U.K. are embracing these types of systems and encountering similar problems. The United Nations special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights issued a report in October that warned governments across the world to “avoid stumbling zombie-like into a digital welfare dystopia” as they automate their social welfare systems. In a closely watched decision, a court in the Netherlands recently halted a welfare fraud detection system, ruling that it violates human rights. The decision is likely to bring closer scrutiny to these systems worldwide, although Americans have fewer legal protections than their European counterparts. Algorithms aren’t magicAI won’t magically root out what little fraud there is from the welfare rolls. Mistakes can happen when software developers translate complex regulatory requirements into code and when they make programming errors. The massive sets of data fed into automated systems inevitably will contain some inaccuracies and omissions. And algorithms can also replicate embedded societal biases and end up discriminating against marginalized groups.Without a human in the decision-making loop, these mistakes become compounded as they flow through multiple data-sharing systems.To avoid these problems, state and other governments should ensure the systems they install are transparent in how they function, are accountable for mistakes and don’t incentivize private contractors hired to design them to kick people off the rolls to make more money. States should also make sure representatives from all groups affected are involved in their creation and monitoring. In my research and legal work, I have found automated fraud detection is too often built on the assumptions that computers are magic and fraud among the poor is endemic. State officials should flip those assumptions and make computers work for the people rather than against them.[You’re too busy to read everything. We get it. That’s why we’ve got a weekly newsletter. Sign up for good Sunday reading. ]This article is republished from The Conversation, a nonprofit news site dedicated to sharing ideas from academic experts.Read more: * From FDR’s food stamps to Trump’s harvest boxes: The history of helping the poor get enough to eat * Restricting SNAP benefits could hurt millions of Americans – and local communitiesProfessor Gilman's law clinic has represented individuals affected by automated decision making in public benefits programs.


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  • 28/71   MGM Growth Properties Reports Fourth Quarter And Full Year Financial Results
    TECHNOLOGY TOPIC NEWS

    MGM Growth Properties LLC ("MGP" or the "Company") (NYSE: MGP) today reported financial results for the quarter and year ended December 31, 2019. Net income attributable to MGP Class A shareholders for the quarter was $25.9 million, or $0.25 per dilutive share, and for the year ended December 31, 2019 was $90.3 million, or $0.97 per dilutive share.

    MGM Growth Properties LLC ("MGP" or the "Company") (NYSE: MGP) today reported financial results for the quarter and year ended December 31, 2019. Net income attributable to MGP Class A shareholders for the quarter was $25.9 million, or $0.25 per dilutive share, and for the year ended December 31, 2019 was $90.3 million, or $0.97 per dilutive share.


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  • 29/71   Electric Dryers Market Set to Reach $10.8 Billion by 2023 - Insights by Type of Dryer, Type of Vent, Distribution Channel, End-user and Geography
    TECHNOLOGY TOPIC NEWS

    The "Electric Dryers Global Market Report 2020" report has been added to ResearchAndMarkets.com's offering.

    The "Electric Dryers Global Market Report 2020" report has been added to ResearchAndMarkets.com's offering.


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  • 30/71   Gun, Sporting Arms and Custom Knife Buyers Set Sights on Las Vegas Antique Arms Show, Feb. 28-29, March 1
    TECHNOLOGY TOPIC NEWS

    The most important buying event of the year for antique firearms collectors – the Las Vegas Antique Arms Show, International Sporting Arms Show & Custom Knifemakers Show (LVAAS) – will take place on February 28, 29 and March 1 at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino. The spacious venue boasts more than 70,000 square feet of exhibitor space in the Antique Showroom and another 40,000 square feet for sporting arms, custom knifemakers and firearms engravers.

    The most important buying event of the year for antique firearms collectors – the Las Vegas Antique Arms Show, International Sporting Arms Show & Custom Knifemakers Show (LVAAS) – will take place on February 28, 29 and March 1 at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino. The spacious venue boasts more than 70,000 square feet of exhibitor space in the Antique Showroom and another 40,000 square feet for sporting arms, custom knifemakers and firearms engravers.


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  • 31/71   New Apartment Community, Enclave at Bluffton Park, Aims to Fill the Void of Luxury Rentals Walkable to Old Town Bluffton
    TECHNOLOGY TOPIC NEWS

    JMG Realty, Inc. (Atlanta) announced today that Enclave at Bluffton Park, a 110-unit luxury multifamily community under construction in Bluffton, South Carolina, will open its doors to the public March 2nd with move-ins expected shortly thereafter. The first building will include both one bedroom apartments and three bedroom townhomes, as well as the leasing office and amenities including a state of the art fitness center, internet café and coffee bar, conference room and a luxury lounging nook for residents. Construction is expected to be complete in mid-2020.

    JMG Realty, Inc. (Atlanta) announced today that Enclave at Bluffton Park, a 110-unit luxury multifamily community under construction in Bluffton, South Carolina, will open its doors to the public March 2nd with move-ins expected shortly thereafter. The first building will include both one bedroom apartments and three bedroom townhomes, as well as the leasing office and amenities including a state of the art fitness center, internet café and coffee bar, conference room and a luxury lounging nook for residents. Construction is expected to be complete in mid-2020.


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  • 32/71   Volvo Trucks VNR Electric First Drive Review | Hauling goods goes green
    TECHNOLOGY TOPIC NEWS






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  • 33/71   Noya Fields Family Provides End of 2019 Year Discussion of Activities
    TECHNOLOGY TOPIC NEWS

    With 2019 firmly behind us, Noya Fields Family Funds (www.noyafieldsfamily.org) provides its first annual discussion of activities and accomplishments from the previous year.

    With 2019 firmly behind us, Noya Fields Family Funds (www.noyafieldsfamily.org) provides its first annual discussion of activities and accomplishments from the previous year.


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  • 34/71   RKD Group Announces Formation of New Division, RKD Digital
    TECHNOLOGY TOPIC NEWS

    RKD Group, the leading provider of omnichannel fundraising and marketing solutions to nonprofit organizations, is proud to announce the formation of RKD Digital.

    RKD Group, the leading provider of omnichannel fundraising and marketing solutions to nonprofit organizations, is proud to announce the formation of RKD Digital.


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  • 35/71   Ranking House Armed Services Republican Claims Trump’s Use of Pentagon Funds for Border Wall is Unconstitutional
    TECHNOLOGY TOPIC NEWS

    Representative Marc Thornberry (R., Texas), ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, released a statement Thursday which called the Trump administration’s plans to reroute $3.8 billion in Pentagon funding to the construction of a border wall “contrary to Congress’s constitutional authority.”Thornberry — joining colleagues across the aisle in decrying the decision — warned that while border security was important, the diversion of funds “undermines the principle of civilian control of the military and is in violation of the separation of powers within the Constitution.”“To be clear, I continue to believe that the situation on our southern border represents a national security challenge for our country — one that has been exacerbated by partisan politics in Washington,” Thornberry said. “The wall should be funded, but the funding must come through the Department of Homeland Security rather than diverting critical military resources that are needed and in law."The administration told Congress Thursday of the plan to divert further funding away from the Department of Defense, after already siphoning $6.7 billion from other government departments for barrier construction, with another $7.2 billion planned for this fiscal year. Most of the funding affects orders for new drones, Humvees, planes — including F-35 fighter jets — and ships, as well as $1.3 billion in “unspecified National Guard and Reserve equipment.”With the DoD bearing much of the funding hit, Thornberry’s fellow Texan, Democratic Representative Marc Veasey —who co-chairs the Congressional Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Caucus — slammed the decision as one that endangers “the jobs of thousands of North Texans that work every day to keep our country safe.”Defense contractor Lockheed Martin is building the F-35 fighter in Fort Worth.Representative Kay Granger, the Republican who represents Fort Worth and Texas’s 12 Congressional District, released a statement praising the move.“Democrats have refused to work with us on border security, which has forced the President to redirect funds from other defense programs in the short term in order to secure the southern border,” Granger said. “. . . I have confidence that the platforms manufactured by the world-class workforce in and around Texas District 12 will be preserved and jobs will be protected.

    Representative Marc Thornberry (R., Texas), ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, released a statement Thursday which called the Trump administration’s plans to reroute $3.8 billion in Pentagon funding to the construction of a border wall “contrary to Congress’s constitutional authority.”Thornberry — joining colleagues across the aisle in decrying the decision — warned that while border security was important, the diversion of funds “undermines the principle of civilian control of the military and is in violation of the separation of powers within the Constitution.”“To be clear, I continue to believe that the situation on our southern border represents a national security challenge for our country — one that has been exacerbated by partisan politics in Washington,” Thornberry said. “The wall should be funded, but the funding must come through the Department of Homeland Security rather than diverting critical military resources that are needed and in law."The administration told Congress Thursday of the plan to divert further funding away from the Department of Defense, after already siphoning $6.7 billion from other government departments for barrier construction, with another $7.2 billion planned for this fiscal year. Most of the funding affects orders for new drones, Humvees, planes — including F-35 fighter jets — and ships, as well as $1.3 billion in “unspecified National Guard and Reserve equipment.”With the DoD bearing much of the funding hit, Thornberry’s fellow Texan, Democratic Representative Marc Veasey —who co-chairs the Congressional Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Caucus — slammed the decision as one that endangers “the jobs of thousands of North Texans that work every day to keep our country safe.”Defense contractor Lockheed Martin is building the F-35 fighter in Fort Worth.Representative Kay Granger, the Republican who represents Fort Worth and Texas’s 12 Congressional District, released a statement praising the move.“Democrats have refused to work with us on border security, which has forced the President to redirect funds from other defense programs in the short term in order to secure the southern border,” Granger said. “. . . I have confidence that the platforms manufactured by the world-class workforce in and around Texas District 12 will be preserved and jobs will be protected.


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  • 36/71   Bloomberg Tells Mostly Black Audience at Houston Rally He ‘Deeply Regrets’ Stop and Frisk
    TECHNOLOGY TOPIC NEWS

    Mike Bloomberg apologized Thursday at a campaign rally in Houston for his controversial stop-and-frisk policy which he promoted as New York city mayor, telling the predominantly black crowd that he “deeply regrets” the legacy and that he “should have acted sooner and faster to stop it.”“I am committed to using the power of the presidency to right the wrongs of institutional racism,” Bloomberg told the crowd at Houston’s Buffalo Soldiers National Museum, before then pivoting to promote his “Mike for Black America” plan, which is aimed at addressing economic inequality.Bloomberg was joined on stage by Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, as well as other black mayors who had endorsed him recently. A Quinnipiac University national poll released Monday showed that Bloomberg had gained 14 points among African Americans in a single month.Turner told the Houston Chronicle that while he saw Bloomberg’s record with stop and frisk as “insensitive” and “quite frankly wrong,” his “whole record” pushed him to endorse Bloomberg.“I think the sign of any good leader is recognizing the mistakes and then putting forth the path to go forward,” Turner said.Several clips of Bloomberg discussing and defending the policy, which disproportionally affected minority communities, emerged earlier this week. During a 2015 speech at the Aspen Institute, Bloomberg argued that maintaining a heavy and proactive police presence in minority neighborhoods was necessary to curb violent crime.“So one of the unintended consequences is people say, ‘Oh my God, you are arresting kids for marijuana that are all minorities.’ Yes, that’s true. Why? Because we put all the cops in minority neighborhoods,” Bloomberg says. “Yes, that’s true. Why do we do it? Because that’s where all the crime is. And the way you get the guns out of the kids’ hands is to throw them up against the wall and frisk them.”The former mayor apologized for the policy after beginning his campaign last November, calling it “overzealous,” but claimed that “nobody asked me about it until I started running for president.”

    Mike Bloomberg apologized Thursday at a campaign rally in Houston for his controversial stop-and-frisk policy which he promoted as New York city mayor, telling the predominantly black crowd that he “deeply regrets” the legacy and that he “should have acted sooner and faster to stop it.”“I am committed to using the power of the presidency to right the wrongs of institutional racism,” Bloomberg told the crowd at Houston’s Buffalo Soldiers National Museum, before then pivoting to promote his “Mike for Black America” plan, which is aimed at addressing economic inequality.Bloomberg was joined on stage by Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, as well as other black mayors who had endorsed him recently. A Quinnipiac University national poll released Monday showed that Bloomberg had gained 14 points among African Americans in a single month.Turner told the Houston Chronicle that while he saw Bloomberg’s record with stop and frisk as “insensitive” and “quite frankly wrong,” his “whole record” pushed him to endorse Bloomberg.“I think the sign of any good leader is recognizing the mistakes and then putting forth the path to go forward,” Turner said.Several clips of Bloomberg discussing and defending the policy, which disproportionally affected minority communities, emerged earlier this week. During a 2015 speech at the Aspen Institute, Bloomberg argued that maintaining a heavy and proactive police presence in minority neighborhoods was necessary to curb violent crime.“So one of the unintended consequences is people say, ‘Oh my God, you are arresting kids for marijuana that are all minorities.’ Yes, that’s true. Why? Because we put all the cops in minority neighborhoods,” Bloomberg says. “Yes, that’s true. Why do we do it? Because that’s where all the crime is. And the way you get the guns out of the kids’ hands is to throw them up against the wall and frisk them.”The former mayor apologized for the policy after beginning his campaign last November, calling it “overzealous,” but claimed that “nobody asked me about it until I started running for president.”


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  • 37/71   Nvidia shares surge on signs of machine learning boom
    TECHNOLOGY TOPIC NEWS

    Brokerage Cowen & Company was the most bullish, raising its target by $85 to $325, higher than Wall Street's median price target of $285.15 and Friday's pre-market price of around $287.  Analysts at Susquehanna said while they had expected the company to beat market consensus expectations thanks to the data center demand, they had never expected this kind of upside.  'Nvidia's dream-a-dream AI story is solidly back on track,' analysts from the brokerage said in a note to clients.

    Brokerage Cowen & Company was the most bullish, raising its target by $85 to $325, higher than Wall Street's median price target of $285.15 and Friday's pre-market price of around $287. Analysts at Susquehanna said while they had expected the company to beat market consensus expectations thanks to the data center demand, they had never expected this kind of upside. 'Nvidia's dream-a-dream AI story is solidly back on track,' analysts from the brokerage said in a note to clients.


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  • 38/71   Zuckerberg accepts that Facebook may have to pay more tax
    TECHNOLOGY TOPIC NEWS

    Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg plans to throw his support behind international reforms that would require Silicon Valley tech giants to pay more tax in Europe.  The billionaire social network founder is due to meet members of the European Union's executive Commission in Brussels and speak at the Munich Security Conference in Germany.  Zuckerberg is expected to tell the conference on Saturday that he's backing plans for digital tax reform on a global scale proposed by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

    Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg plans to throw his support behind international reforms that would require Silicon Valley tech giants to pay more tax in Europe. The billionaire social network founder is due to meet members of the European Union's executive Commission in Brussels and speak at the Munich Security Conference in Germany. Zuckerberg is expected to tell the conference on Saturday that he's backing plans for digital tax reform on a global scale proposed by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.


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  • 39/71   US retail sales up a modest 0.3% in January
    TECHNOLOGY TOPIC NEWS

    U.S. retail sales rose a modest 0.3% in January, a slight improvement over December, as unseasonably warm weather boosted sales at hardware stores and furniture stores.  Sales at general merchandise stores, a category which includes department stores and big retail chains such as Target and Walmart, rose a solid 0.5% in January, up from a 0.4% December increase.

    U.S. retail sales rose a modest 0.3% in January, a slight improvement over December, as unseasonably warm weather boosted sales at hardware stores and furniture stores. Sales at general merchandise stores, a category which includes department stores and big retail chains such as Target and Walmart, rose a solid 0.5% in January, up from a 0.4% December increase.


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  • 40/71   Live Investor Conference & Webinar: Growth Company CEOs Present February 20th
    TECHNOLOGY TOPIC NEWS

    Virtual Investor Conferences today announced the agenda for the upcoming Virtual lnvestor Conference, the leading proprietary investor conference series. Individual investors, institutional investors, advisors and analysts are invited to attend. The program opens at 9:15 AM ET on Thursday, February 20th with the first live webcast at 9:30 AM ET

    Virtual Investor Conferences today announced the agenda for the upcoming Virtual lnvestor Conference, the leading proprietary investor conference series. Individual investors, institutional investors, advisors and analysts are invited to attend. The program opens at 9:15 AM ET on Thursday, February 20th with the first live webcast at 9:30 AM ET


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  • 41/71   Facilio Releases CRE3.0 Report on Impact of Data-driven Building Operations in 2020
    TECHNOLOGY TOPIC NEWS

    Facilio Inc., an AI-driven enterprise platform for Building Operations and Maintenance platform for the real estate industry, recently released an insightful report titled '2020 State of CRE Operations 3.0.' Facilio has labeled the new era of data-driven operations & maintenance in commercial real estate as 'CRE 3.0,' marked by the 3-pronged industry focus on data extraction out of siloed building functions; data aggregation on a portfolio-central platform; as well as use of modular apps to perform data-driven operations acting on the insight-rich operational data to enable predictive portfolio operations.

    Facilio Inc., an AI-driven enterprise platform for Building Operations and Maintenance platform for the real estate industry, recently released an insightful report titled '2020 State of CRE Operations 3.0.' Facilio has labeled the new era of data-driven operations & maintenance in commercial real estate as 'CRE 3.0,' marked by the 3-pronged industry focus on data extraction out of siloed building functions; data aggregation on a portfolio-central platform; as well as use of modular apps to perform data-driven operations acting on the insight-rich operational data to enable predictive portfolio operations.


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  • 42/71   Former federal prosecutors describe the Roger Stone sentencing reversal as unprecedented
    POLITICS TOPIC NEWS

    Legal experts and former federal prosecutors say the Justice Department’s reversal of the sentencing recommendation for President Trump’s former campaign adviser is an extraordinary development that could have a long-term impact on public perception of federal law enforcement’s independence from political interference.

    Legal experts and former federal prosecutors say the Justice Department’s reversal of the sentencing recommendation for President Trump’s former campaign adviser is an extraordinary development that could have a long-term impact on public perception of federal law enforcement’s independence from political interference.


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  • 43/71   Trump is elevating judges who could gut the Voting Rights Act
    POLITICS TOPIC NEWS

    Fresh from handing President Trump a victory in his impeachment trial, the U.S. Senate has moved to install federal judges who have expressed disdain for the Voting Rights Act.

    Fresh from handing President Trump a victory in his impeachment trial, the U.S. Senate has moved to install federal judges who have expressed disdain for the Voting Rights Act.


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  • 44/71   Bernie Sanders’ New Hampshire Victory Is a Big Deal for Socialism in America. Here's What to Know About the History of the Idea
    POLITICS TOPIC NEWS

    As the 2020 election nears, candidates and constituents are grappling with socialism and its role in American governance.

    As the 2020 election nears, candidates and constituents are grappling with socialism and its role in American governance.


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  • 45/71   What is CHS? Marijuana advocates warn of a little-known condition affecting heavy users
    POLITICS TOPIC NEWS

    Cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome, or CHS, causes severe abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting among some heavy marijuana users — symptoms that, strangely, can be eased by taking very hot showers.

    Cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome, or CHS, causes severe abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting among some heavy marijuana users — symptoms that, strangely, can be eased by taking very hot showers.


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  • 46/71   YouTube Removes Clip of Rand Paul Speaking on Senate Floor, Citing Concern He Named Ukraine Whistleblower
    POLITICS TOPIC NEWS

    YouTube removed a clip of Senator Rand Paul (R., Ky.) speaking on the Senate floor, in which he asked why Chief Justice John Roberts had blocked a question of his, which some have speculated contained the name of the Ukraine whistleblower.Paul told Politico Playbook that the tech platform’s decision was “dangerous and politically biased,” and denied knowing who the whistleblower was. “Nowhere in my speech did I accuse anyone of being a whistleblower,” he stated.“It is a chilling and disturbing day in America when giant web companies such as YouTube decide to [censor] speech. Now, even protected speech, such as that of a senator on the Senate floor, can be blocked from getting to the American people,” Paul added.YouTube told Politico that the decision was part of a larger effort to purge the name from the platform, and said that the company had already deleted “hundreds of videos and over ten thousand comments that contained the name.”“Videos, comments, and other forms of content that mention the leaked whistleblower’s name violate YouTube’s Community Guidelines and will be removed from YouTube,” YouTube spokeswoman Ivy Choi said. She added that uploaders had “the option” to edit the name out of their footage and re-upload.After Roberts — who was tasked with reading aloud questions submitted by senators during the impeachment trial — refused to read Paul’s question on January 29, Paul submitted a second question the next day, and left the trial to hold an impromptu press conference after Roberts blocked the question a second time."It's very important whether or not a group of Democratic activists part of the Obama, Biden administration were working together for years looking for an opportunity to impeach the president,” Paul said, claiming his question had nothing to do with the whistleblower.> Sen. @RandPaul: "It's very important whether or not a group of Democratic activists part of the Obama, Biden administration were working together for years looking for an opportunity to impeach the president." https://t.co/e0kl6NUKFH pic.twitter.com/TAnetrmc40> > -- The Hill (@thehill) January 30, 2020“I’m the biggest defender of the whistleblower statutes,” Paul added, but argued that Democrats “shouldn’t be able to use statutes to somehow make a whole part of the discussion over this impeachment go away.”

    YouTube removed a clip of Senator Rand Paul (R., Ky.) speaking on the Senate floor, in which he asked why Chief Justice John Roberts had blocked a question of his, which some have speculated contained the name of the Ukraine whistleblower.Paul told Politico Playbook that the tech platform’s decision was “dangerous and politically biased,” and denied knowing who the whistleblower was. “Nowhere in my speech did I accuse anyone of being a whistleblower,” he stated.“It is a chilling and disturbing day in America when giant web companies such as YouTube decide to [censor] speech. Now, even protected speech, such as that of a senator on the Senate floor, can be blocked from getting to the American people,” Paul added.YouTube told Politico that the decision was part of a larger effort to purge the name from the platform, and said that the company had already deleted “hundreds of videos and over ten thousand comments that contained the name.”“Videos, comments, and other forms of content that mention the leaked whistleblower’s name violate YouTube’s Community Guidelines and will be removed from YouTube,” YouTube spokeswoman Ivy Choi said. She added that uploaders had “the option” to edit the name out of their footage and re-upload.After Roberts — who was tasked with reading aloud questions submitted by senators during the impeachment trial — refused to read Paul’s question on January 29, Paul submitted a second question the next day, and left the trial to hold an impromptu press conference after Roberts blocked the question a second time."It's very important whether or not a group of Democratic activists part of the Obama, Biden administration were working together for years looking for an opportunity to impeach the president,” Paul said, claiming his question had nothing to do with the whistleblower.> Sen. @RandPaul: "It's very important whether or not a group of Democratic activists part of the Obama, Biden administration were working together for years looking for an opportunity to impeach the president." https://t.co/e0kl6NUKFH pic.twitter.com/TAnetrmc40> > -- The Hill (@thehill) January 30, 2020“I’m the biggest defender of the whistleblower statutes,” Paul added, but argued that Democrats “shouldn’t be able to use statutes to somehow make a whole part of the discussion over this impeachment go away.”


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  • 47/71   AOC criticises Michael Bloomberg over ‘unconstitutional, devastating’ stop and frisk past
    POLITICS TOPIC NEWS

    Valerie Jarrett and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez aren’t impressed by presidential hopeful Michael Bloomberg’s apology over his role in New York’s racist “stop-and-frisk” policy.Ms Jarrett, a longtime adviser to former President Barack Obama, said that Mr Bloomberg “needs to do a lot more than just apologise” for the policy during a segment on CBS This Morning on Thursday.

    Valerie Jarrett and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez aren’t impressed by presidential hopeful Michael Bloomberg’s apology over his role in New York’s racist “stop-and-frisk” policy.Ms Jarrett, a longtime adviser to former President Barack Obama, said that Mr Bloomberg “needs to do a lot more than just apologise” for the policy during a segment on CBS This Morning on Thursday.


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  • 48/71   The coronavirus has reportedly spread to North Korea. Experts say the country isn't equipped to fight it.
    POLITICS TOPIC NEWS

    Reports say the novel coronavirus has spread to North Korea. But the isolated country's "crumbling" healthcare system may not be equipped to fight it.

    Reports say the novel coronavirus has spread to North Korea. But the isolated country's "crumbling" healthcare system may not be equipped to fight it.


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  • 49/71   Teacher allegedly told student who didn't stand for national anthem, 'go back to your country'
    POLITICS TOPIC NEWS

    A group of students held a sit-in at the Chicago high school in protest. The district said the alleged remark would "run counter to our beliefs and priorities."

    A group of students held a sit-in at the Chicago high school in protest. The district said the alleged remark would "run counter to our beliefs and priorities."


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  • 50/71   Prosecutors seek nearly 5 years for former Baltimore mayor
    POLITICS TOPIC NEWS

    Federal prosecutors want the disgraced former mayor of Baltimore to be sentenced to nearly five years in prison for the scheme involving sales of her self-published “Healthy Holly” children's books.  In a sentencing memorandum filed Thursday, prosecutors told a judge that a sentence of 57 months in prison would be an “adequate and just” punishment for Catherine Pugh's “longstanding pattern of criminal conduct” and would deter other politicians from breaking the public's trust.  Pugh pleaded guilty in November to federal conspiracy and tax evasion charges in a deal with prosecutors.

    Federal prosecutors want the disgraced former mayor of Baltimore to be sentenced to nearly five years in prison for the scheme involving sales of her self-published “Healthy Holly” children's books. In a sentencing memorandum filed Thursday, prosecutors told a judge that a sentence of 57 months in prison would be an “adequate and just” punishment for Catherine Pugh's “longstanding pattern of criminal conduct” and would deter other politicians from breaking the public's trust. Pugh pleaded guilty in November to federal conspiracy and tax evasion charges in a deal with prosecutors.


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  • 51/71   'We can't change the rules midstream': DNC Chair Tom Perez defends commitment to diversity despite lack of it in Iowa debate
    POLITICS TOPIC NEWS

    "I take a back seat to no one in my commitment to diversity and inclusion," said Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez.

    "I take a back seat to no one in my commitment to diversity and inclusion," said Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez.


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  • 52/71   Yemen's Huthis drop 'tax' threat that jeopardised aid
    WORLD TOPIC NEWS

    Yemen's Huthi rebels said Friday they have dropped a threat to impose a tax on aid, in a significant step towards resolving a crisis that has jeopardised the world's biggest humanitarian operation.  United Nations leaders and aid groups held crunch talks in Brussels on Thursday to consider scaling back or suspending the delivery of vital supplies to million of people at risk of starvation.  Humanitarian agencies have complained of a deteriorating situation in the Huthi-controlled north, with aid workers facing arrest and intimidation, as well as obstruction and bureaucracy that hampered their work.

    Yemen's Huthi rebels said Friday they have dropped a threat to impose a tax on aid, in a significant step towards resolving a crisis that has jeopardised the world's biggest humanitarian operation. United Nations leaders and aid groups held crunch talks in Brussels on Thursday to consider scaling back or suspending the delivery of vital supplies to million of people at risk of starvation. Humanitarian agencies have complained of a deteriorating situation in the Huthi-controlled north, with aid workers facing arrest and intimidation, as well as obstruction and bureaucracy that hampered their work.


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  • 53/71   Well, impeachment didn't work – how else can Congress keep President Trump in check?
    WORLD TOPIC NEWS

    Donald Trump’s removal of impeachment witness Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman from the White House and intervention in his friend Roger Stone’s sentencing have prompted concern that the president’s acquittal in his recent impeachment trial may embolden him to further expand executive power while avoiding accountability.But the conclusion of the trial in the Senate should by no means end congressional oversight of the executive branch. As a legal scholar and political scientist, I know that a healthy, stable democracy depends on people knowing what their government is doing so they can hold elected officials accountable through elections. Our constitutional system ensures transparency and accountability by authorizing legislative branch oversight of the executive.This is more important now in the aftermath of the first ever presidential impeachment trial to take place without witness testimony or a full investigation of the facts. Oversight is one way to ensure government transparency. The Constitution authorizes Congress to exercise oversight as part of the carefully crafted balance of powers among the three branches of government.Impeachment is an important check on presidential power. However, it is the most rarely used of the multiple tools Congress has to review, monitor and supervise the executive branch and its implementation of public policy.Congress can also exercise oversight through the power of the purse, which allows it to withhold or limit funding. And it can use its power to organize the executive branch, which it uses to create and abolish federal agencies.In addition, Congress makes laws, confirms officials and conducts investigations.  Shining a lightThe tool Congress is most likely to use – investigations – is also the most likely to be affected by the impeachment trial. Investigations can be an effective mechanism for ensuring governmental transparency because they publicize what government agencies have, or have not, been doing. Both the House and the Senate have broad investigative powers implied in the Constitution that have been used to probe the executive branch and private sector over the years. Each chamber has wide powers in setting out the parameters and expected outcomes of an inquiry. Either the House or the Senate can direct staff to obtain documents and interview potential witnesses. These efforts usually culminate in committee hearings and a report made available to the public. Congressional investigations have effectively shined light on questionable executive branch conduct in the past. They exposed the Reagan administration’s diversion of funds from sales of arms to Iran to aid the Nicaraguan Contras, George W. Bush administration’s misrepresentation of intelligence to justify the Iraq War, and President Nixon’s attempts to cover up the Watergate scandal.They have also revealed waste and abuse by federal agencies, including corruption related to the FBI’s use of confidential informants and mismanagement by leadership in the Department of Justice’s Environmental Crimes Program.In addition to fostering transparency and governmental accountability, investigations alert Congress to gaps in the law. For example, the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations’ inquiry into the 2008 financial crisis led to greater consumer protection and regulation of the banking sector in the Dodd-Frank Act. Existing oversight investigations into Trump’s policies and him personally will continue. The House Subcommittee on Oversight and Reform has at least two pending investigations. One is looking into the Department of Education’s policies on federal student loans, campus sexual harassment and protections for students at for-profit colleges. Another is investigating the Trump administration’s decision to add a citizenship question to the census. Meanwhile, investigations into Trump’s borrowing and banking practices prior to becoming president will continue. So will efforts to compel the Treasury Department to release Trump’s tax returns.  Impeachment’s shadow?But as the impeachment trial shows, the president can stonewall efforts to hand over information. Currently, federal courts are hearing multiple court cases in which House committees have sought information from or about the president.More disputes between Congress and the executive branch are likely. Recently, the House Committee on Oversight and Reform threatened to subpoena  Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos after she refused to attend a public hearing. And Attorney General William Barr agreed to testify before the House Judiciary Committee about the Department of Justice’s reversal of its sentencing recommendation for Roger Stone. Trump’s acquittal may embolden him to persist in his arguments for absolute immunity and reassert them if, for example, DeVos is subpoenaed or Barr testifies. But ultimately, the courts may have more impact on future oversight than the impeachment trial as they have the power to order disclosure of information.  Left in the darkCongress is not limited to investigations when it comes to holding the president accountable. Congress persists in its attempts to use its war powers to restrict Trump’s actions in Iran. The House recently passed a measure requiring congressional pre-approval before any money was spent on attacking Iran and voted to repeal the 17-year-old authorization for the Iraq War, which the Trump Administration used to justify the assassination of Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani. And the Senate passed a resolution to limit President Trump’s ability to use force against Iran.Congress has several other mechanisms for exercising oversight. It can defund, redirect, or even eliminate federal agencies and refuse to confirm presidential appointments. But it remains to be seen whether it will continue to pursue vigorous oversight. The impending election could distract or deter Democrats, who want to refocus their line of attack on Trump by disputing his record on the economy. Meanwhile Republicans, who fear electoral repercussions if they alienate the president’s base, are unlikely to seek more oversight.Without oversight, people are left in the dark about what their government is doing. And a misled or uninformed public weakens the only other mechanism available to hold the executive branch accountable: elections.[You’re smart and curious about the world. So are The Conversation’s authors and editors. You can get our highlights each weekend.]This article is republished from The Conversation, a nonprofit news site dedicated to sharing ideas from academic experts.Read more:    * After the trial of Donald Trump, impeachment has lost some of its gravitas  * This is how ancient Rome’s republic died – a classicist sees troubling parallels at Trump’s impeachment trialKirsten Carlson does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

    Donald Trump’s removal of impeachment witness Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman from the White House and intervention in his friend Roger Stone’s sentencing have prompted concern that the president’s acquittal in his recent impeachment trial may embolden him to further expand executive power while avoiding accountability.But the conclusion of the trial in the Senate should by no means end congressional oversight of the executive branch. As a legal scholar and political scientist, I know that a healthy, stable democracy depends on people knowing what their government is doing so they can hold elected officials accountable through elections. Our constitutional system ensures transparency and accountability by authorizing legislative branch oversight of the executive.This is more important now in the aftermath of the first ever presidential impeachment trial to take place without witness testimony or a full investigation of the facts. Oversight is one way to ensure government transparency. The Constitution authorizes Congress to exercise oversight as part of the carefully crafted balance of powers among the three branches of government.Impeachment is an important check on presidential power. However, it is the most rarely used of the multiple tools Congress has to review, monitor and supervise the executive branch and its implementation of public policy.Congress can also exercise oversight through the power of the purse, which allows it to withhold or limit funding. And it can use its power to organize the executive branch, which it uses to create and abolish federal agencies.In addition, Congress makes laws, confirms officials and conducts investigations. Shining a lightThe tool Congress is most likely to use – investigations – is also the most likely to be affected by the impeachment trial. Investigations can be an effective mechanism for ensuring governmental transparency because they publicize what government agencies have, or have not, been doing. Both the House and the Senate have broad investigative powers implied in the Constitution that have been used to probe the executive branch and private sector over the years. Each chamber has wide powers in setting out the parameters and expected outcomes of an inquiry. Either the House or the Senate can direct staff to obtain documents and interview potential witnesses. These efforts usually culminate in committee hearings and a report made available to the public. Congressional investigations have effectively shined light on questionable executive branch conduct in the past. They exposed the Reagan administration’s diversion of funds from sales of arms to Iran to aid the Nicaraguan Contras, George W. Bush administration’s misrepresentation of intelligence to justify the Iraq War, and President Nixon’s attempts to cover up the Watergate scandal.They have also revealed waste and abuse by federal agencies, including corruption related to the FBI’s use of confidential informants and mismanagement by leadership in the Department of Justice’s Environmental Crimes Program.In addition to fostering transparency and governmental accountability, investigations alert Congress to gaps in the law. For example, the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations’ inquiry into the 2008 financial crisis led to greater consumer protection and regulation of the banking sector in the Dodd-Frank Act. Existing oversight investigations into Trump’s policies and him personally will continue. The House Subcommittee on Oversight and Reform has at least two pending investigations. One is looking into the Department of Education’s policies on federal student loans, campus sexual harassment and protections for students at for-profit colleges. Another is investigating the Trump administration’s decision to add a citizenship question to the census. Meanwhile, investigations into Trump’s borrowing and banking practices prior to becoming president will continue. So will efforts to compel the Treasury Department to release Trump’s tax returns. Impeachment’s shadow?But as the impeachment trial shows, the president can stonewall efforts to hand over information. Currently, federal courts are hearing multiple court cases in which House committees have sought information from or about the president.More disputes between Congress and the executive branch are likely. Recently, the House Committee on Oversight and Reform threatened to subpoena Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos after she refused to attend a public hearing. And Attorney General William Barr agreed to testify before the House Judiciary Committee about the Department of Justice’s reversal of its sentencing recommendation for Roger Stone. Trump’s acquittal may embolden him to persist in his arguments for absolute immunity and reassert them if, for example, DeVos is subpoenaed or Barr testifies. But ultimately, the courts may have more impact on future oversight than the impeachment trial as they have the power to order disclosure of information. Left in the darkCongress is not limited to investigations when it comes to holding the president accountable. Congress persists in its attempts to use its war powers to restrict Trump’s actions in Iran. The House recently passed a measure requiring congressional pre-approval before any money was spent on attacking Iran and voted to repeal the 17-year-old authorization for the Iraq War, which the Trump Administration used to justify the assassination of Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani. And the Senate passed a resolution to limit President Trump’s ability to use force against Iran.Congress has several other mechanisms for exercising oversight. It can defund, redirect, or even eliminate federal agencies and refuse to confirm presidential appointments. But it remains to be seen whether it will continue to pursue vigorous oversight. The impending election could distract or deter Democrats, who want to refocus their line of attack on Trump by disputing his record on the economy. Meanwhile Republicans, who fear electoral repercussions if they alienate the president’s base, are unlikely to seek more oversight.Without oversight, people are left in the dark about what their government is doing. And a misled or uninformed public weakens the only other mechanism available to hold the executive branch accountable: elections.[You’re smart and curious about the world. So are The Conversation’s authors and editors. You can get our highlights each weekend.]This article is republished from The Conversation, a nonprofit news site dedicated to sharing ideas from academic experts.Read more: * After the trial of Donald Trump, impeachment has lost some of its gravitas * This is how ancient Rome’s republic died – a classicist sees troubling parallels at Trump’s impeachment trialKirsten Carlson does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.


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  • 54/71   Orphaned albino elephant recovers from poacher's snare
    WORLD TOPIC NEWS

    Khanysia did not see the trap set by a poacher in South Africa's Kruger National Park.  It was days before the four-month-old albino elephant was found badly dehydrated but alive, and taken to the Hoedspruit Elephant Rehabilitation and Development center, three hours away.  “She is a little albino elephant, so it is a bit different than your normal elephant just in caring, especially when the sun is kind of severe,” said Adine Roode, founder of the center, in the heart of Kapama game reserve.

    Khanysia did not see the trap set by a poacher in South Africa's Kruger National Park. It was days before the four-month-old albino elephant was found badly dehydrated but alive, and taken to the Hoedspruit Elephant Rehabilitation and Development center, three hours away. “She is a little albino elephant, so it is a bit different than your normal elephant just in caring, especially when the sun is kind of severe,” said Adine Roode, founder of the center, in the heart of Kapama game reserve.


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  • 55/71   How Months of Miscalculation Led the U.S. and Iran to the Brink of War
    WORLD TOPIC NEWS

    WASHINGTON -- In late September, a plane carrying senior Iranian officials touched down in Abu Dhabi, the gleaming capital of the United Arab Emirates.The Middle East had witnessed a summer of violence, and a meeting with the Iranians was part of a quiet strategy by Emirati leaders to defuse the tension. The small but powerful Persian Gulf nation wanted to broker a separate peace -- avoiding violence that could shatter its decades-long effort to present itself as a modern, stable oasis in a volatile region.But the meeting set off alarms inside the White House, where officials learned about it only after reading reports from U.S. spy agencies. The Emirati government, a stalwart ally that had long pushed for a hawkish American approach toward Iran, was in secret talks with Iranian officials. National Security Council officials met to discuss the implications: A united front against Iran -- carefully built by the Trump administration over more than two years -- seemed to be crumbling.The episode came in the midst of a nine-month period that shook up the United States' already combustible relationship with Iran -- beginning with the Trump administration's escalation of sanctions and culminating with the two powers in a direct military confrontation on the brink of wider and bloodier conflict.The chess match continues, with little evidence that either has a sense of the other's next move, but with the prospect of an American president newly constrained on Iran policy. The Senate passed a resolution Thursday requiring congressional sign-off for future military actions against Iran -- a move President Donald Trump has said he would veto.What happened over the past several months, based on interviews with officials from the United States, Iran and other Middle Eastern countries as well as outside analysts, is a story of miscalculations by both sides and of violence that spilled into nations across the Middle East -- from Syria to Saudi Arabia to Iraq.The Trump administration escalated a campaign of financial warfare -- so-called maximum pressure -- to suffocate Iran's economy in hopes of forcing its government back into negotiations over its nuclear program and its military operations throughout the region. Instead, Iran lashed out with brazen attacks on oil installations in the Saudi Arabian desert, tankers docked off the Emirati coast and American forces in Iraq.The decision by Trump to authorize the killing of Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, Iran's most powerful military commander, might ultimately deter future Iranian aggression. Yet a recent CIA analysis concluded that Iran, while struggling to continue funding its military activities under American sanctions, appears no closer to entering direct talks over its nuclear program, according to U.S. officials familiar with the assessment.Israeli intelligence officials have also determined that the escalating tensions have made Iran only more determined to gain a nuclear weapon, and to take concrete steps toward amassing enough nuclear fuel to build one.U.S. officials continue to defend the "maximum pressure" campaign, as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo did last month during a combative interview with NPR. He said that the United States had "raised the cost" for Iran's military actions around the Middle East."This is beginning to place real choices in front of the Iranian regime," he said.But the fissures in the American-led anti-Iran coalition, exemplified by the secretive Emirati-Iranian talks, have dimmed a vision of a realignment in the Middle East long advocated not only by Trump, but also by the leaders of the Arab states in the Persian Gulf and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel. In that vision, Israel and certain Sunni countries gain supremacy over Iran, the world's largest Shiite-majority state.Iranian officials also miscalculated, believing that after a series of escalatory military operations -- the tanker attacks, the shooting down of an American drone, the Saudi oil strikes, rocket attacks on bases in Iraq by Iranian-backed militias -- Trump would refrain from responding consequentially. Instead, he made the startling decision to authorize the killing of Soleimani."There were dueling perceptions both in Tehran and in Washington that the other side was a paper tiger," said Karim Sadjadpour, an Iran expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.A String of AttacksThe explosions happened in rapid succession.In the predawn darkness on May 12, mines placed by naval operatives suspected to be members of Iran's Revolutionary Guard blew holes in four oil tankers anchored in the Gulf of Oman, not far from the Strait of Hormuz, the narrow waterway through which 20% of the world's oil flows.Some Persian Gulf nations were hesitant to publicly finger Iran in the attacks, and Tehran denied playing a role, but the United States, Israel and European nations eventually said they had evidence proving Iran's culpability.The attacks came just days after the Trump administration implemented draconian new economic sanctions, which prohibited the five largest buyers of Iranian oil from future imports. When he announced the new sanctions, Pompeo said the goal was to choke off Iran's oil exports. "We're going to zero across the board," he said.Some inside the Trump administration pushed for even more punishing sanctions, even as the president's national security adviser at the time, John Bolton, remained firm in his view that nothing short of "regime change" in Iran was an adequate outcome for security in the region.Not long after, Israel's Mossad intelligence service delivered a stark warning to officials in Washington about potential attacks by Iran or Shia militia groups it supports, both on U.S. forces in Iraq and against Arab states hostile to Iran, namely Saudi Arabia and the Emirates. The aim of the latter attacks, according to one person familiar with the Israeli intelligence, was to hike up the price of oil to exert pressure on the United States to ease its economic sanctions on Iran.According to analysts and Western intelligence officials, Iran's attacks carried an unmistakable message: If we cannot export oil, then we will not let you do it either. Iran's response to the Trump administration's "maximum pressure" campaign was to enact a pressure campaign of its own.Another prong of the military campaign was an escalation of cyberattacks against the United States and its allies in the Middle East. Beginning in May -- just after the United States announced the new oil sanctions -- and continuing through the end of the year, Iran cyberattacks on American entities doubled in comparison to earlier in 2019, according to Lotem Finkelstein, head of cyberthreat intelligence at Check Point, an Israeli cybersecurity company.Iran had devised a strategy with two tracks, though it publicly acknowledged only one: a diplomatic outreach led by its foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, who had gained world attention as the lead Iranian negotiator in the 2015 nuclear deal. The second, led by Soleimani, used Iranian and proxy forces to foment violence across the Middle East and try to exact a cost on supporters of the Trump administration's Iran policy.The two men met once a week for breakfast to coordinate, Zarif said during a recent interview with Iranian state television. Before and after every trip to a capital of strategic importance like Moscow, Zarif said, he would meet with the general -- first to get advice, and later to debrief him."Iran's policy toward U.S. has been a combination of hardball military policy" mixed with a strategy of "softball through the foreign ministry," said Ahmad Dastmalchian, an Iranian diplomat who was the country's ambassador to Lebanon and Jordan.Other attacks followed, including a missile fired by Revolutionary Guard air force units downing an American spy drone patrolling the Strait of Hormuz in June. Trump's advisers pushed him to order a retaliatory strike which he did -- but then reversed himself just hours before the strike.Despite the attacks, Trump administration officials still believed that the sanctions were constraining the Iranian economy strongly enough to force a change of thinking in Tehran.Plummeting oil revenues appeared to be prompting Iranian leaders to dial back funding for military operations around the Middle East. Many inside the White House believed that the economic pain was so great that Iran would, by year's end, be willing to negotiate over its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.Some close U.S. allies disagreed, including the British government, which maintains an embassy in Iran and has long held that economic pressure alone would not bring Iran into negotiations over its nuclear program. Several times last year, Britain's ambassador to Iran, Robert Macaire -- a public critic of the American policy -- traveled to Washington to meet with U.S. intelligence officials and diplomats to give an assessment of the views of leaders in Iran.Even some former Trump administration officials said that the White House's position betrayed a misunderstanding of Iran's leadership -- born from a paucity of intelligence and direct contact with Tehran."We don't have a lot of knowledge of Iran's decision-making," said Kirsten Fontenrose, who worked on Middle East policy at the National Security Council at the beginning of the Trump administration. "The expectation that they would come to the table was not what people who actually talk to Iranians were saying."A Secret MeetingIn August, Eshaq Jahangiri, first vice president of Iran, gathered advisers in his office to discuss a new strategy for dealing with the Americans, according to one person who attended the meeting and another with knowledge of it.If Trump was seeking a more comprehensive deal than the nuclear agreement he left in May 2018, the Iranians concluded, they might consider entering discussions as long as Iran extracted a firm guarantee of sanctions relief from the United States.But even as Iran weighed renewed diplomacy, its military provocations persisted. In mid-September, Iran hit Saudi Arabia, a powerful U.S. ally, in a coordinated attack of drones and cruise missiles that set two oil-processing facilities ablaze. Both Iran's decision to attack Saudi Arabia -- and the military capabilities on display during the attack -- surprised Western intelligence officials."It's talking about talks but then stepping back and then putting pressures at different levels," said Ariane M. Tabatabai, an Iran expert at RAND Corp. "They are trying to get the U.S. to see the high cost of pressuring Iran, both economically and militarily."In the Saudi attacks, many experts saw a careful Iranian strategy of escalation based on a conclusion that Trump had no stomach for potentially deepening U.S. involvement in the Middle East.The strikes briefly sent oil prices skyrocketing, and once again Iran hard-liners in the White House urged Trump to retaliate militarily. Instead, he chose to deploy thousands more troops to Saudi Arabia and bolster the U.S. military presence elsewhere in the region.The moves were part of a pressure campaign "to deprive the Iranian regime of the money that it needs to destabilize the Middle East" and to "bring Iran to the negotiating table," Brian H. Hook, the State Department's special representative for Iran, said at the time.Wary AlliesSuch rhetoric was losing its impact in the Middle East, where several allies came to question the Trump administration's commitment to defending them against Iran.The Emiratis began their secret talks with Iran after concluding they could play a unique role lowering temperatures and that they had little confidence in the Trump administration's approach to Iran, according to American and other Western officials. They were also dismayed by the firing of Bolton, a longtime Iran hawk.The Saudis also explored a diplomatic breakthrough with Iran using Iraqi and Pakistani intermediaries. According to several Iranian diplomats and members of the Revolutionary Guard, Soleimani played a behind-the-scenes role setting up discussions in both gulf kingdoms.The anti-Iran alliance that the Trump administration had tried to build was faltering.During a trip to Israel in October, Pompeo went by motorcade to a fortress in north Tel Aviv, the headquarters of the Mossad. There, he received a briefing from Yossi Cohen, the Mossad chief, about the Israeli assessment of the Revolutionary Guard's recent military activities.Cohen said that Iran was achieving its primary goal: to break up the anti-Iran alliance, according to one intelligence official in the Middle East.By then, Israel had spent months escalating strikes against Iranian forces and their proxies throughout the Middle East and trying to keep the Trump administration from going wobbly on Iran.In an interview with The Times last year, Netanyahu defended the Israeli operations and expressed no regrets for pressing Trump to back the Israeli escalation."If it is possible to recruit the most powerful country in the world onto our side, why should we fight alone?" he asked. "If I can harness a world power against Iran -- which aims to annihilate us -- why not?"The Brink of WarThe new year brought a confrontational exchange on Twitter -- Trump's favorite way to communicate.Violence in Iraq had been building for days, leading to the death of an American contractor and fears that Iran-backed protesters would storm the U.S. embassy compound in Baghdad."Iran will be held fully responsible for lives lost, or damage incurred, at any of our facilities. They will pay a very BIG PRICE! This is not a Warning, it is a Threat," Trump tweeted on New Year's Eve. "Happy New Year!"Hours into 2020, Iran's supreme leader responded with a taunt."You can't do anything," Ayatollah Ali Khamenei wrote on his English-language Twitter account. He added: "If you were logical -- which you're not -- you'd see that your crimes in Iraq, Afghanistan … have made nations hate you."Two days later, Soleimani was dead -- killed in a drone strike ordered by Trump.Nine months of escalation, misjudgments and heated rhetoric had led to the president's decision, which stunned both his own military advisers as well as top officials in Tehran."It was clear that Iran didn't expect Trump to retaliate in any meaningful way," said Sadjadpour, the Iran expert.The killing prompted Iran to take a step it had long avoided: a direct and overt strike against the U.S. military. Four days after Soleimani was killed, Iran fired more than a dozen missiles at two American bases in Iraq. More than 100 U.S. soldiers were injured, but no one was killed, and Trump and his advisers believed the United States had gotten the better of the exchange.In the weeks since, they have insisted that their strategy is working, that the steady squeeze of "maximum pressure" will force Iran to yield to their demands. But, at least publicly, Iran remains defiant and wedded to brinkmanship tactics over its nuclear program and regional military influence.Hours after Iranian missiles landed on the U.S. bases in Iraq, Khamenei vowed that "harsh revenge" was just beginning. "The United States' corruptive presence in the region must come to an end," he told a large crowd in Iran's holy city of Qom, adding that Iran would not rest until it accomplished that goal.This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2020 The New York Times Company

    WASHINGTON -- In late September, a plane carrying senior Iranian officials touched down in Abu Dhabi, the gleaming capital of the United Arab Emirates.The Middle East had witnessed a summer of violence, and a meeting with the Iranians was part of a quiet strategy by Emirati leaders to defuse the tension. The small but powerful Persian Gulf nation wanted to broker a separate peace -- avoiding violence that could shatter its decades-long effort to present itself as a modern, stable oasis in a volatile region.But the meeting set off alarms inside the White House, where officials learned about it only after reading reports from U.S. spy agencies. The Emirati government, a stalwart ally that had long pushed for a hawkish American approach toward Iran, was in secret talks with Iranian officials. National Security Council officials met to discuss the implications: A united front against Iran -- carefully built by the Trump administration over more than two years -- seemed to be crumbling.The episode came in the midst of a nine-month period that shook up the United States' already combustible relationship with Iran -- beginning with the Trump administration's escalation of sanctions and culminating with the two powers in a direct military confrontation on the brink of wider and bloodier conflict.The chess match continues, with little evidence that either has a sense of the other's next move, but with the prospect of an American president newly constrained on Iran policy. The Senate passed a resolution Thursday requiring congressional sign-off for future military actions against Iran -- a move President Donald Trump has said he would veto.What happened over the past several months, based on interviews with officials from the United States, Iran and other Middle Eastern countries as well as outside analysts, is a story of miscalculations by both sides and of violence that spilled into nations across the Middle East -- from Syria to Saudi Arabia to Iraq.The Trump administration escalated a campaign of financial warfare -- so-called maximum pressure -- to suffocate Iran's economy in hopes of forcing its government back into negotiations over its nuclear program and its military operations throughout the region. Instead, Iran lashed out with brazen attacks on oil installations in the Saudi Arabian desert, tankers docked off the Emirati coast and American forces in Iraq.The decision by Trump to authorize the killing of Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, Iran's most powerful military commander, might ultimately deter future Iranian aggression. Yet a recent CIA analysis concluded that Iran, while struggling to continue funding its military activities under American sanctions, appears no closer to entering direct talks over its nuclear program, according to U.S. officials familiar with the assessment.Israeli intelligence officials have also determined that the escalating tensions have made Iran only more determined to gain a nuclear weapon, and to take concrete steps toward amassing enough nuclear fuel to build one.U.S. officials continue to defend the "maximum pressure" campaign, as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo did last month during a combative interview with NPR. He said that the United States had "raised the cost" for Iran's military actions around the Middle East."This is beginning to place real choices in front of the Iranian regime," he said.But the fissures in the American-led anti-Iran coalition, exemplified by the secretive Emirati-Iranian talks, have dimmed a vision of a realignment in the Middle East long advocated not only by Trump, but also by the leaders of the Arab states in the Persian Gulf and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel. In that vision, Israel and certain Sunni countries gain supremacy over Iran, the world's largest Shiite-majority state.Iranian officials also miscalculated, believing that after a series of escalatory military operations -- the tanker attacks, the shooting down of an American drone, the Saudi oil strikes, rocket attacks on bases in Iraq by Iranian-backed militias -- Trump would refrain from responding consequentially. Instead, he made the startling decision to authorize the killing of Soleimani."There were dueling perceptions both in Tehran and in Washington that the other side was a paper tiger," said Karim Sadjadpour, an Iran expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.A String of AttacksThe explosions happened in rapid succession.In the predawn darkness on May 12, mines placed by naval operatives suspected to be members of Iran's Revolutionary Guard blew holes in four oil tankers anchored in the Gulf of Oman, not far from the Strait of Hormuz, the narrow waterway through which 20% of the world's oil flows.Some Persian Gulf nations were hesitant to publicly finger Iran in the attacks, and Tehran denied playing a role, but the United States, Israel and European nations eventually said they had evidence proving Iran's culpability.The attacks came just days after the Trump administration implemented draconian new economic sanctions, which prohibited the five largest buyers of Iranian oil from future imports. When he announced the new sanctions, Pompeo said the goal was to choke off Iran's oil exports. "We're going to zero across the board," he said.Some inside the Trump administration pushed for even more punishing sanctions, even as the president's national security adviser at the time, John Bolton, remained firm in his view that nothing short of "regime change" in Iran was an adequate outcome for security in the region.Not long after, Israel's Mossad intelligence service delivered a stark warning to officials in Washington about potential attacks by Iran or Shia militia groups it supports, both on U.S. forces in Iraq and against Arab states hostile to Iran, namely Saudi Arabia and the Emirates. The aim of the latter attacks, according to one person familiar with the Israeli intelligence, was to hike up the price of oil to exert pressure on the United States to ease its economic sanctions on Iran.According to analysts and Western intelligence officials, Iran's attacks carried an unmistakable message: If we cannot export oil, then we will not let you do it either. Iran's response to the Trump administration's "maximum pressure" campaign was to enact a pressure campaign of its own.Another prong of the military campaign was an escalation of cyberattacks against the United States and its allies in the Middle East. Beginning in May -- just after the United States announced the new oil sanctions -- and continuing through the end of the year, Iran cyberattacks on American entities doubled in comparison to earlier in 2019, according to Lotem Finkelstein, head of cyberthreat intelligence at Check Point, an Israeli cybersecurity company.Iran had devised a strategy with two tracks, though it publicly acknowledged only one: a diplomatic outreach led by its foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, who had gained world attention as the lead Iranian negotiator in the 2015 nuclear deal. The second, led by Soleimani, used Iranian and proxy forces to foment violence across the Middle East and try to exact a cost on supporters of the Trump administration's Iran policy.The two men met once a week for breakfast to coordinate, Zarif said during a recent interview with Iranian state television. Before and after every trip to a capital of strategic importance like Moscow, Zarif said, he would meet with the general -- first to get advice, and later to debrief him."Iran's policy toward U.S. has been a combination of hardball military policy" mixed with a strategy of "softball through the foreign ministry," said Ahmad Dastmalchian, an Iranian diplomat who was the country's ambassador to Lebanon and Jordan.Other attacks followed, including a missile fired by Revolutionary Guard air force units downing an American spy drone patrolling the Strait of Hormuz in June. Trump's advisers pushed him to order a retaliatory strike which he did -- but then reversed himself just hours before the strike.Despite the attacks, Trump administration officials still believed that the sanctions were constraining the Iranian economy strongly enough to force a change of thinking in Tehran.Plummeting oil revenues appeared to be prompting Iranian leaders to dial back funding for military operations around the Middle East. Many inside the White House believed that the economic pain was so great that Iran would, by year's end, be willing to negotiate over its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.Some close U.S. allies disagreed, including the British government, which maintains an embassy in Iran and has long held that economic pressure alone would not bring Iran into negotiations over its nuclear program. Several times last year, Britain's ambassador to Iran, Robert Macaire -- a public critic of the American policy -- traveled to Washington to meet with U.S. intelligence officials and diplomats to give an assessment of the views of leaders in Iran.Even some former Trump administration officials said that the White House's position betrayed a misunderstanding of Iran's leadership -- born from a paucity of intelligence and direct contact with Tehran."We don't have a lot of knowledge of Iran's decision-making," said Kirsten Fontenrose, who worked on Middle East policy at the National Security Council at the beginning of the Trump administration. "The expectation that they would come to the table was not what people who actually talk to Iranians were saying."A Secret MeetingIn August, Eshaq Jahangiri, first vice president of Iran, gathered advisers in his office to discuss a new strategy for dealing with the Americans, according to one person who attended the meeting and another with knowledge of it.If Trump was seeking a more comprehensive deal than the nuclear agreement he left in May 2018, the Iranians concluded, they might consider entering discussions as long as Iran extracted a firm guarantee of sanctions relief from the United States.But even as Iran weighed renewed diplomacy, its military provocations persisted. In mid-September, Iran hit Saudi Arabia, a powerful U.S. ally, in a coordinated attack of drones and cruise missiles that set two oil-processing facilities ablaze. Both Iran's decision to attack Saudi Arabia -- and the military capabilities on display during the attack -- surprised Western intelligence officials."It's talking about talks but then stepping back and then putting pressures at different levels," said Ariane M. Tabatabai, an Iran expert at RAND Corp. "They are trying to get the U.S. to see the high cost of pressuring Iran, both economically and militarily."In the Saudi attacks, many experts saw a careful Iranian strategy of escalation based on a conclusion that Trump had no stomach for potentially deepening U.S. involvement in the Middle East.The strikes briefly sent oil prices skyrocketing, and once again Iran hard-liners in the White House urged Trump to retaliate militarily. Instead, he chose to deploy thousands more troops to Saudi Arabia and bolster the U.S. military presence elsewhere in the region.The moves were part of a pressure campaign "to deprive the Iranian regime of the money that it needs to destabilize the Middle East" and to "bring Iran to the negotiating table," Brian H. Hook, the State Department's special representative for Iran, said at the time.Wary AlliesSuch rhetoric was losing its impact in the Middle East, where several allies came to question the Trump administration's commitment to defending them against Iran.The Emiratis began their secret talks with Iran after concluding they could play a unique role lowering temperatures and that they had little confidence in the Trump administration's approach to Iran, according to American and other Western officials. They were also dismayed by the firing of Bolton, a longtime Iran hawk.The Saudis also explored a diplomatic breakthrough with Iran using Iraqi and Pakistani intermediaries. According to several Iranian diplomats and members of the Revolutionary Guard, Soleimani played a behind-the-scenes role setting up discussions in both gulf kingdoms.The anti-Iran alliance that the Trump administration had tried to build was faltering.During a trip to Israel in October, Pompeo went by motorcade to a fortress in north Tel Aviv, the headquarters of the Mossad. There, he received a briefing from Yossi Cohen, the Mossad chief, about the Israeli assessment of the Revolutionary Guard's recent military activities.Cohen said that Iran was achieving its primary goal: to break up the anti-Iran alliance, according to one intelligence official in the Middle East.By then, Israel had spent months escalating strikes against Iranian forces and their proxies throughout the Middle East and trying to keep the Trump administration from going wobbly on Iran.In an interview with The Times last year, Netanyahu defended the Israeli operations and expressed no regrets for pressing Trump to back the Israeli escalation."If it is possible to recruit the most powerful country in the world onto our side, why should we fight alone?" he asked. "If I can harness a world power against Iran -- which aims to annihilate us -- why not?"The Brink of WarThe new year brought a confrontational exchange on Twitter -- Trump's favorite way to communicate.Violence in Iraq had been building for days, leading to the death of an American contractor and fears that Iran-backed protesters would storm the U.S. embassy compound in Baghdad."Iran will be held fully responsible for lives lost, or damage incurred, at any of our facilities. They will pay a very BIG PRICE! This is not a Warning, it is a Threat," Trump tweeted on New Year's Eve. "Happy New Year!"Hours into 2020, Iran's supreme leader responded with a taunt."You can't do anything," Ayatollah Ali Khamenei wrote on his English-language Twitter account. He added: "If you were logical -- which you're not -- you'd see that your crimes in Iraq, Afghanistan … have made nations hate you."Two days later, Soleimani was dead -- killed in a drone strike ordered by Trump.Nine months of escalation, misjudgments and heated rhetoric had led to the president's decision, which stunned both his own military advisers as well as top officials in Tehran."It was clear that Iran didn't expect Trump to retaliate in any meaningful way," said Sadjadpour, the Iran expert.The killing prompted Iran to take a step it had long avoided: a direct and overt strike against the U.S. military. Four days after Soleimani was killed, Iran fired more than a dozen missiles at two American bases in Iraq. More than 100 U.S. soldiers were injured, but no one was killed, and Trump and his advisers believed the United States had gotten the better of the exchange.In the weeks since, they have insisted that their strategy is working, that the steady squeeze of "maximum pressure" will force Iran to yield to their demands. But, at least publicly, Iran remains defiant and wedded to brinkmanship tactics over its nuclear program and regional military influence.Hours after Iranian missiles landed on the U.S. bases in Iraq, Khamenei vowed that "harsh revenge" was just beginning. "The United States' corruptive presence in the region must come to an end," he told a large crowd in Iran's holy city of Qom, adding that Iran would not rest until it accomplished that goal.This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2020 The New York Times Company


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  • 56/71   Belarus Leader Decries Russia’s ‘Hints’ at Merger for Cheap Oil
    WORLD TOPIC NEWS

    (Bloomberg) -- Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko said Russia’s leaders are “hinting” that he should accept a merger of their two countries in return for getting cheaper oil and gas, amid a squeeze on energy supplies from his giant neighbor.Lukashenko said he’s certain neither Belarusians nor Russians “want to go this way,” during a visit to factory workers on Friday, according to his website. He described talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi last week as “peculiar.”While Putin has unveiled planned constitutional changes that may allow him to keep power in Russia beyond the end of his presidential term in 2024, when he must step down, he has also pressed Lukashenko to agree to a merger between the former Soviet republics, according to two Kremlin officials. Absorbing Belarus would offer Putin another option to sidestep term limits by becoming the head of a new “Union State.”Amid a dispute over the price of Russian oil supplies to Belarus, Lukashenko said Putin questioned why he would seek crude from other countries if it was more expensive. “So that we don’t have to be on our knees on Dec. 31 every year,” Lukashenko said he replied, in reference to annual contracts negotiated with Russia.The Kremlin didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. Lukashenko, who’s ruled since 1994 and faces re-election later this year, signed a treaty with Russia under then President Boris Yeltsin to establish a “Union State” in principle in 1999, but has resisted recent Kremlin pressure to bind the countries more tightly together.Russia, which used to meet almost all Belarus’s oil and gas requirements, cut supplies of crude by three-fourths in January over the pricing dispute. Officials in Moscow warned flows may stop completely if Belarus doesn’t agree to market prices. Lukashenko has retaliated by declaring he wants to reduce dependency on Russian oil to about 40% and get the rest from other countries.While there’s “nothing wrong” with working on greater integration with Russia, this will cover “purely economic” questions and won’t involve the creation of any supranational bodies, Lukashenko told the factory workers.To contact the reporter on this story: Aliaksandr Kudrytski in Minsk, Belarus at akudrytski@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Balazs Penz at bpenz@bloomberg.net, Tony Halpin, Michael WinfreyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

    (Bloomberg) -- Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko said Russia’s leaders are “hinting” that he should accept a merger of their two countries in return for getting cheaper oil and gas, amid a squeeze on energy supplies from his giant neighbor.Lukashenko said he’s certain neither Belarusians nor Russians “want to go this way,” during a visit to factory workers on Friday, according to his website. He described talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi last week as “peculiar.”While Putin has unveiled planned constitutional changes that may allow him to keep power in Russia beyond the end of his presidential term in 2024, when he must step down, he has also pressed Lukashenko to agree to a merger between the former Soviet republics, according to two Kremlin officials. Absorbing Belarus would offer Putin another option to sidestep term limits by becoming the head of a new “Union State.”Amid a dispute over the price of Russian oil supplies to Belarus, Lukashenko said Putin questioned why he would seek crude from other countries if it was more expensive. “So that we don’t have to be on our knees on Dec. 31 every year,” Lukashenko said he replied, in reference to annual contracts negotiated with Russia.The Kremlin didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. Lukashenko, who’s ruled since 1994 and faces re-election later this year, signed a treaty with Russia under then President Boris Yeltsin to establish a “Union State” in principle in 1999, but has resisted recent Kremlin pressure to bind the countries more tightly together.Russia, which used to meet almost all Belarus’s oil and gas requirements, cut supplies of crude by three-fourths in January over the pricing dispute. Officials in Moscow warned flows may stop completely if Belarus doesn’t agree to market prices. Lukashenko has retaliated by declaring he wants to reduce dependency on Russian oil to about 40% and get the rest from other countries.While there’s “nothing wrong” with working on greater integration with Russia, this will cover “purely economic” questions and won’t involve the creation of any supranational bodies, Lukashenko told the factory workers.To contact the reporter on this story: Aliaksandr Kudrytski in Minsk, Belarus at akudrytski@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Balazs Penz at bpenz@bloomberg.net, Tony Halpin, Michael WinfreyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.


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  • 57/71   An Unrestrained Trump May End Up Trapping Himself
    WORLD TOPIC NEWS

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- Get Jonathan Bernstein’s newsletter every morning in your inbox. Click here to subscribe.I’m not sure what the conventional wisdom is about the current health of Donald Trump’s presidency, but at least one version we’re hearing is a triumphant one: He has defeated impeachment and is now stronger than ever.Well … maybe not.Oh, Trump is certainly trying with some success to take revenge on various real or perceived enemies. And he absolutely has a go-ahead from Republicans in Congress to politicize the Justice Department. The odds seem higher than ever that the Democratic presidential nominee, whoever that turns out to be, will be the subject of a formal investigation, however little evidence of wrongdoing there might be. But beyond that?Just this week, the Senate gave Trump another black eye: Eight Republicans joined Democrats to support a war-powers resolution that would constrain the president’s options in Iran. Granted, that number is far short of what would be needed to override an expected veto. But it’s hardly a show of support: Eight senators who just last week voted to acquit him in the impeachment trial now voted to reduce his ability to do whatever he wants in foreign policy — something that Trump’s lawyers argued was an inherent power of the presidency. Meanwhile, it appears likely that yet another Trump nominee for the Federal Reserve Board is going to be defeated. Judy Shelton is facing more than a little skepticism from Senate Republicans in addition to solid opposition from Democrats. The president has had a series of Fed nominees or potential nominees spiked because they couldn’t get confirmed. Yes, President Barack Obama had Fed nominees defeated, but only by Republican filibuster. (This was back when executive-branch nominations could be defeated that way; now they only need a simple majority to be confirmed.)And in the House, the Democratic majority has only just begun to exploit Trump’s unending scandals, such as how much his private businesses have been pocketing in taxpayer money. It’s not just Congress that presents a challenge to the president. He’s so worried about people in the executive branch — within the White House — who are out to get him that he’s systematically undermining his own ability to do his job.Consider foreign policy and national security. Trump was already stripping his National Security Council of expert staff. Now, as Justin Sink of Bloomberg News reports, he’s considering banning the standard practice of having professional staff monitor his calls to foreign leaders.This is an excellent plan if he’s planning to commit crimes in future calls, and not a terrible idea if he embarrasses himself and doesn’t want it to be known within the government or leaked to the media. But if he wants to use those calls to actually govern, it’s a disaster.Not only will it make it easy for foreign nations to invent their own version of what was said without fear of being corrected; it will also make it almost impossible for the U.S. to follow through on Trump’s decisions. After all, in many cases the people who have to carry out the policies won’t know what commitments the president has made. He may think that he speaks and things happen all by themselves, but that’s not how the U.S. government works.There are numerous signs already of failed policy coordination, most recently the possibility that the Philippines may scrap the Philippines-U.S. Visiting Forces Agreement. The more Trump rids himself of staff he doesn’t trust and tries to govern with a handful of family and loyalists, the more the government will be an unwieldy, uncoordinated mess of fiefs run by those skilled at flattering Trump and then going off and doing what they want. So far this hasn’t derailed the economy or provoked any foreign-policy disasters significant enough to affect public opinion. But it’s no way to run a government — or to maintain a functioning democracy.1\. Norm Ornstein on waiting to get the election count right. Good to see several people pounding on this point publicly. Now, we need more folks on TV to repeat it.2\. Seth Masket has his latest survey of Democratic early-state activists.3\. Lauren Wright at the Monkey Cage on celebrity politicians.4\. Megan Messerly on how Nevada Democrats are planning to report caucus results. Remember: The national Democratic Party changed a lot about how to conduct caucuses for this election cycle; that’s why Iowa Democrats came up with new procedures, which, of course, failed miserably. We’ll see how Nevada Democrats do — they haven’t always smoothly administered these caucuses. 5\. Dean Baker on Pete Buttigieg and the deficit.6\. Alex Ward on Buttigieg and foreign-policy questions.7\. And my Bloomberg Opinion colleague Conor Sen is bullish on economic growth.Get Early Returns every morning in your inbox. Click here to subscribe. Also subscribe to Bloomberg All Access and get much, much more. You’ll receive our unmatched global news coverage and two in-depth daily newsletters, the Bloomberg Open and the Bloomberg Close.To contact the author of this story: Jonathan Bernstein at jbernstein62@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Katy Roberts at kroberts29@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Jonathan Bernstein is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering politics and policy. He taught political science at the University of Texas at San Antonio and DePauw University and wrote A Plain Blog About Politics.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- Get Jonathan Bernstein’s newsletter every morning in your inbox. Click here to subscribe.I’m not sure what the conventional wisdom is about the current health of Donald Trump’s presidency, but at least one version we’re hearing is a triumphant one: He has defeated impeachment and is now stronger than ever.Well … maybe not.Oh, Trump is certainly trying with some success to take revenge on various real or perceived enemies. And he absolutely has a go-ahead from Republicans in Congress to politicize the Justice Department. The odds seem higher than ever that the Democratic presidential nominee, whoever that turns out to be, will be the subject of a formal investigation, however little evidence of wrongdoing there might be. But beyond that?Just this week, the Senate gave Trump another black eye: Eight Republicans joined Democrats to support a war-powers resolution that would constrain the president’s options in Iran. Granted, that number is far short of what would be needed to override an expected veto. But it’s hardly a show of support: Eight senators who just last week voted to acquit him in the impeachment trial now voted to reduce his ability to do whatever he wants in foreign policy — something that Trump’s lawyers argued was an inherent power of the presidency. Meanwhile, it appears likely that yet another Trump nominee for the Federal Reserve Board is going to be defeated. Judy Shelton is facing more than a little skepticism from Senate Republicans in addition to solid opposition from Democrats. The president has had a series of Fed nominees or potential nominees spiked because they couldn’t get confirmed. Yes, President Barack Obama had Fed nominees defeated, but only by Republican filibuster. (This was back when executive-branch nominations could be defeated that way; now they only need a simple majority to be confirmed.)And in the House, the Democratic majority has only just begun to exploit Trump’s unending scandals, such as how much his private businesses have been pocketing in taxpayer money. It’s not just Congress that presents a challenge to the president. He’s so worried about people in the executive branch — within the White House — who are out to get him that he’s systematically undermining his own ability to do his job.Consider foreign policy and national security. Trump was already stripping his National Security Council of expert staff. Now, as Justin Sink of Bloomberg News reports, he’s considering banning the standard practice of having professional staff monitor his calls to foreign leaders.This is an excellent plan if he’s planning to commit crimes in future calls, and not a terrible idea if he embarrasses himself and doesn’t want it to be known within the government or leaked to the media. But if he wants to use those calls to actually govern, it’s a disaster.Not only will it make it easy for foreign nations to invent their own version of what was said without fear of being corrected; it will also make it almost impossible for the U.S. to follow through on Trump’s decisions. After all, in many cases the people who have to carry out the policies won’t know what commitments the president has made. He may think that he speaks and things happen all by themselves, but that’s not how the U.S. government works.There are numerous signs already of failed policy coordination, most recently the possibility that the Philippines may scrap the Philippines-U.S. Visiting Forces Agreement. The more Trump rids himself of staff he doesn’t trust and tries to govern with a handful of family and loyalists, the more the government will be an unwieldy, uncoordinated mess of fiefs run by those skilled at flattering Trump and then going off and doing what they want. So far this hasn’t derailed the economy or provoked any foreign-policy disasters significant enough to affect public opinion. But it’s no way to run a government — or to maintain a functioning democracy.1\. Norm Ornstein on waiting to get the election count right. Good to see several people pounding on this point publicly. Now, we need more folks on TV to repeat it.2\. Seth Masket has his latest survey of Democratic early-state activists.3\. Lauren Wright at the Monkey Cage on celebrity politicians.4\. Megan Messerly on how Nevada Democrats are planning to report caucus results. Remember: The national Democratic Party changed a lot about how to conduct caucuses for this election cycle; that’s why Iowa Democrats came up with new procedures, which, of course, failed miserably. We’ll see how Nevada Democrats do — they haven’t always smoothly administered these caucuses. 5\. Dean Baker on Pete Buttigieg and the deficit.6\. Alex Ward on Buttigieg and foreign-policy questions.7\. And my Bloomberg Opinion colleague Conor Sen is bullish on economic growth.Get Early Returns every morning in your inbox. Click here to subscribe. Also subscribe to Bloomberg All Access and get much, much more. You’ll receive our unmatched global news coverage and two in-depth daily newsletters, the Bloomberg Open and the Bloomberg Close.To contact the author of this story: Jonathan Bernstein at jbernstein62@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Katy Roberts at kroberts29@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Jonathan Bernstein is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering politics and policy. He taught political science at the University of Texas at San Antonio and DePauw University and wrote A Plain Blog About Politics.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.


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  • 58/71   EU officials push for bloc to enforce Libya arms embargo
    WORLD TOPIC NEWS

    European Union officials are seeking support from member states to have naval ships enforce the U.N. arms embargo against Libya, according to a confidential memo obtained Friday by The Associated Press.  The memo, circulated ahead of a meeting Monday of EU foreign ministers on Libya, urges member states to agree on whether gathering information on, and upholding, the U.N. embargo should become the naval mission's “core task.” Monitoring people smuggling would be relegated to a “supporting task” carried out from the air.

    European Union officials are seeking support from member states to have naval ships enforce the U.N. arms embargo against Libya, according to a confidential memo obtained Friday by The Associated Press. The memo, circulated ahead of a meeting Monday of EU foreign ministers on Libya, urges member states to agree on whether gathering information on, and upholding, the U.N. embargo should become the naval mission's “core task.” Monitoring people smuggling would be relegated to a “supporting task” carried out from the air.


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  • 59/71   Cleaning Up the Wreckage Left by Innovation
    WORLD TOPIC NEWS

    (Bloomberg) -- Sign up to receive the Green Daily newsletter in your inbox every weekday.Humanity has a long history of engaging—both knowingly and unknowingly—in self-destructive behavior. The history of trying to undo said behavior is decidedly shorter. And while we’re pretty good at inventing new ways to simultaneously advance and endanger our society and ourselves (chemicals, the combustion engine, nuclear fission), we’re not particularly good at reversing the downsides of technology. On the small end of this sliding scale, we find our modern food system. It is, of course, an unalloyed good that most on the planet have enough to eat thanks to the wonders of modern agriculture and food processing. The unintended consequence, however, has been a soaring level of environmentally devastating food waste. A full 10% of developed nations’ greenhouse gas emissions are derived from its disposal, according to the United Nations. A new analysis this week found the problem may be more than twice as bad as previously thought. And you may find it shocking that the wealthy are the worst offenders. On the big end of our aforementioned scale, we come to BP, which first began drilling for oil in Persia in 1901. Today, it is Europe’s second-biggest oil company. The energy giant admitted this week that it’s expanding the team working on carbon capture and storage projects as part of its goal to zero out net greenhouse-gas emissions by 2050.Now, this isn’t the first time that the oil company largely responsible for the Deepwater Horizon disaster a decade ago (which was 30% bigger than advertised) has made a splashy announcement about green technology aimed at washing away its carbon sins. In the early 2000s, BP lost as much as $50 million studying the feasibility of the world’s first natural-gas power plant with carbon capture technology. Moreover, critics point out the London-based company has no intention of shutting down its oil and gas business, and has been vague about the scale and timeline of its investment in renewables.The U.K. government, meanwhile, keeps advancing its deadline for banning the sale of new fossil-fueled vehicles. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government this week announced a new goal of 2032, three years earlier than the target he announced last week, and eight years earlier than the goal set two-and-a-half years ago.  No such exuberance exists in the U.S., though. Ambitious climate plans there remain firmly in unicorns-and-rainbows territory. House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy barely finished presenting his party’s plan (one trillion trees!) to stave off the worst of climate change before coming under withering fire from the Big Oil lobby and others on the right. The blowback illustrates the challenges facing those trying to slowly shed the Republican Party’s central role in promoting climate science denial. And finally, a longtime employee of Yale’s endowment fund, Dean Takahashi, moved into a new role at the university, heading up its Carbon Containment Lab. The long-term goal is to offset at least 1 billion tons of carbon dioxide emissions by the end of the century. For now, it aims to create solutions capable of balancing out more than 10 million tons of emissions by 2030.Josh Petri writes the Week in Green newsletter recapping the best reads and key news in climate change and green solutions. Sign up to receive the Green Daily newsletter in your inbox every weekday.To contact the author of this story: Josh Petri in Portland at jpetri4@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: David Rovella at drovella@bloomberg.netFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

    (Bloomberg) -- Sign up to receive the Green Daily newsletter in your inbox every weekday.Humanity has a long history of engaging—both knowingly and unknowingly—in self-destructive behavior. The history of trying to undo said behavior is decidedly shorter. And while we’re pretty good at inventing new ways to simultaneously advance and endanger our society and ourselves (chemicals, the combustion engine, nuclear fission), we’re not particularly good at reversing the downsides of technology. On the small end of this sliding scale, we find our modern food system. It is, of course, an unalloyed good that most on the planet have enough to eat thanks to the wonders of modern agriculture and food processing. The unintended consequence, however, has been a soaring level of environmentally devastating food waste. A full 10% of developed nations’ greenhouse gas emissions are derived from its disposal, according to the United Nations. A new analysis this week found the problem may be more than twice as bad as previously thought. And you may find it shocking that the wealthy are the worst offenders. On the big end of our aforementioned scale, we come to BP, which first began drilling for oil in Persia in 1901. Today, it is Europe’s second-biggest oil company. The energy giant admitted this week that it’s expanding the team working on carbon capture and storage projects as part of its goal to zero out net greenhouse-gas emissions by 2050.Now, this isn’t the first time that the oil company largely responsible for the Deepwater Horizon disaster a decade ago (which was 30% bigger than advertised) has made a splashy announcement about green technology aimed at washing away its carbon sins. In the early 2000s, BP lost as much as $50 million studying the feasibility of the world’s first natural-gas power plant with carbon capture technology. Moreover, critics point out the London-based company has no intention of shutting down its oil and gas business, and has been vague about the scale and timeline of its investment in renewables.The U.K. government, meanwhile, keeps advancing its deadline for banning the sale of new fossil-fueled vehicles. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government this week announced a new goal of 2032, three years earlier than the target he announced last week, and eight years earlier than the goal set two-and-a-half years ago.  No such exuberance exists in the U.S., though. Ambitious climate plans there remain firmly in unicorns-and-rainbows territory. House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy barely finished presenting his party’s plan (one trillion trees!) to stave off the worst of climate change before coming under withering fire from the Big Oil lobby and others on the right. The blowback illustrates the challenges facing those trying to slowly shed the Republican Party’s central role in promoting climate science denial. And finally, a longtime employee of Yale’s endowment fund, Dean Takahashi, moved into a new role at the university, heading up its Carbon Containment Lab. The long-term goal is to offset at least 1 billion tons of carbon dioxide emissions by the end of the century. For now, it aims to create solutions capable of balancing out more than 10 million tons of emissions by 2030.Josh Petri writes the Week in Green newsletter recapping the best reads and key news in climate change and green solutions. Sign up to receive the Green Daily newsletter in your inbox every weekday.To contact the author of this story: Josh Petri in Portland at jpetri4@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: David Rovella at drovella@bloomberg.netFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.


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  • 60/71   U.S.-China Bickering Threatens to Hobble World’s Virus Fight
    WORLD TOPIC NEWS

    (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. says China won’t let its health workers help fight the virus. Beijing says they’re welcome to come. The World Health Organization says nothing has been decided.The confusion surrounding a planned WHO mission of experts to China shows how lingering mistrust between the world’s biggest economies could hamper efforts to combat a pathogen quickly spreading across the globe. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the world’s preeminent public health agency, has often played a key role coordinating and funding global efforts to contain past outbreaks, including of Ebola.U.S. epidemiologists, virologists and medical doctors could assist China in measuring the effectiveness of their response, said Yanzhong Huang, a senior fellow for global health at the New York-based Council on Foreign Relations. They could also help prepare for a broader outbreak, provide technical advice, improve the bio-safety of Chinese labs and even improve treatment protocols and medicine combinations for patients, he said.“My hunch is that all of this is politicized,” said Huang, who also directs the Seton Hall University’s Center for Global Health Studies. “That’s made pure public health cooperation difficult.”The failure to cooperate on a pressing global health issue that has killed almost 1,400 people and infected more than 64,000 others shows just how much the relationship between the U.S. and China has deteriorated over the past few years. While President Donald Trump often touts his relationship with China’s Xi Jinping, the strategic competition between the countries has only deepened since they signed their “phase-one” trade deal last month.The U.S. this week charged members of China’s military over one of the biggest data thefts in American history. On Thursday, Washington also increased the charges against Huawei Technologies Co. Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou -- who is currently fighting extradition to the U.S. from Canada -- to include racketeering conspiracy charges, which claim the Chinese company engaged in decades of intellectual property theft.Members of the Trump administration also hit out at China over its response to the virus, even while the president himself has offered praise.“We thought there was going to be more transparency, but we’re a bit disappointed,” Larry Kudlow, director of the U.S. National Economic Council, said Thursday. “We’re more than willing to work with the UN WHO on this, and they won’t let us. I don’t know what their motives are. I do know that apparently more and more people are suffering over there, and that’s not a good thing.”On Friday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said China had worked with the international community in “an open, transparent and highly responsible manner.” He added that Chinese officials have been in regular contact with American counterparts to exchange information about the epidemic.“We welcome foreign experts’ participation in the China-WHO Joint Mission, including those from the U.S.,” Geng said in Beijing.Still, the WHO said Friday that nothing had been resolved. “We are still awaiting confirmation on the composition and program for the joint mission of experts,” Teena Nery, a representative for the WHO in China, said by email.After initial praise for China’s efforts, evidence that provincial officials censored early reports of the outbreak -- allowing the virus to spread unchecked -- fueled criticism around the world, as well as within China. Authorities in Beijing are now also trying to balance containment measures with efforts to maintain political stability and minimize the economic fallout.“Beijing remains deeply concerned about the potential for foreign criticism of its containment efforts,” said Carl Minzner, a law professor at Fordham Law School, who wrote a recent book on how China’s authoritarianism is undermining its rise. “They fear that negative analysis by authoritative foreign experts -- whether justified or not -- might feed domestic popular distrust or discontent with how Chinese officials have handled the epidemic.”Part of the worry is economic: Vice Premier Hu Chunhua has “called for all-out efforts to ensure stable employment amid the novel coronavirus outbreak,” according to the official Xinhua News Agency. Chinese officials have repeatedly slammed the U.S. for imposing harsh travel restrictions, while praising traditional developing country allies in Asia -- including Pakistan and Cambodia -- for expressing support, keeping flights routes open and even declining to evacuate their citizens.Battling against the global coronavirus outbreak together could’ve been an opportunity to forge closer U.S.-China ties, according to Susan Shirk, a former deputy assistant secretary of state responsible for U.S. policy toward China, Taiwan and Mongolia.“The epidemic is a lost opportunity to rebuild some goodwill between China and America and other countries,” said Shirk, who is now a professor and chair of the 21st Century China Center at the University of California, San Diego.She said China hasn’t provided any channel or outlet for people around the world who want to help, and has undermined foreign and local non-government organizations that typically provide relief during disasters. But she added that part of the blame lies with U.S. political leaders, who have not expressed much sympathy for Chinese citizens “enduring a terrifying experience in quarantines.”In the U.S., the Congressional Executive Commission on China -- a group headed by U.S. lawmakers to monitor human rights -- has blasted Beijing for silencing Li Wenliang, the doctor who raised the alarm about the virus and later died from it, and for detaining citizen journalists documenting the response.“Transparency is key to addressing a global health crisis, not censorship or repression,” the commission said on Twitter.‘Totally Wrong’Secretary of State Michael Pompeo further irked China with a speech this week in which he warned U.S. state governors that their pension funds could be investing in companies that help China’s military and repress Muslims in its western Xinjiang region, which China’s ambassador to the U.S., Cui Tiankai, said was “totally wrong.”“Competition with China is happening inside of your state and it affects our capacity to perform America’s vital national-security functions,” Pompeo told the governors. “Competition with China is not just a federal issue.”On Friday, China’s Geng spent about as much time criticizing Pompeo as addressing concerns about the virus response.“A sound and stable bilateral relationship serves the interests of both countries and is what the international community wants to see,” Geng said. “We advise certain people in the U.S. step out of their Cold War mindset and ideological stereotypes, stop discrediting China’s political system, and stop undermining bilateral exchange and cooperation.”To contact the reporters on this story: Iain Marlow in Hong Kong at imarlow1@bloomberg.net;Dandan Li in Beijing at dli395@bloomberg.net;Peter Martin in Beijing at pmartin138@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Brendan Scott at bscott66@bloomberg.net, Daniel Ten KateFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

    (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. says China won’t let its health workers help fight the virus. Beijing says they’re welcome to come. The World Health Organization says nothing has been decided.The confusion surrounding a planned WHO mission of experts to China shows how lingering mistrust between the world’s biggest economies could hamper efforts to combat a pathogen quickly spreading across the globe. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the world’s preeminent public health agency, has often played a key role coordinating and funding global efforts to contain past outbreaks, including of Ebola.U.S. epidemiologists, virologists and medical doctors could assist China in measuring the effectiveness of their response, said Yanzhong Huang, a senior fellow for global health at the New York-based Council on Foreign Relations. They could also help prepare for a broader outbreak, provide technical advice, improve the bio-safety of Chinese labs and even improve treatment protocols and medicine combinations for patients, he said.“My hunch is that all of this is politicized,” said Huang, who also directs the Seton Hall University’s Center for Global Health Studies. “That’s made pure public health cooperation difficult.”The failure to cooperate on a pressing global health issue that has killed almost 1,400 people and infected more than 64,000 others shows just how much the relationship between the U.S. and China has deteriorated over the past few years. While President Donald Trump often touts his relationship with China’s Xi Jinping, the strategic competition between the countries has only deepened since they signed their “phase-one” trade deal last month.The U.S. this week charged members of China’s military over one of the biggest data thefts in American history. On Thursday, Washington also increased the charges against Huawei Technologies Co. Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou -- who is currently fighting extradition to the U.S. from Canada -- to include racketeering conspiracy charges, which claim the Chinese company engaged in decades of intellectual property theft.Members of the Trump administration also hit out at China over its response to the virus, even while the president himself has offered praise.“We thought there was going to be more transparency, but we’re a bit disappointed,” Larry Kudlow, director of the U.S. National Economic Council, said Thursday. “We’re more than willing to work with the UN WHO on this, and they won’t let us. I don’t know what their motives are. I do know that apparently more and more people are suffering over there, and that’s not a good thing.”On Friday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said China had worked with the international community in “an open, transparent and highly responsible manner.” He added that Chinese officials have been in regular contact with American counterparts to exchange information about the epidemic.“We welcome foreign experts’ participation in the China-WHO Joint Mission, including those from the U.S.,” Geng said in Beijing.Still, the WHO said Friday that nothing had been resolved. “We are still awaiting confirmation on the composition and program for the joint mission of experts,” Teena Nery, a representative for the WHO in China, said by email.After initial praise for China’s efforts, evidence that provincial officials censored early reports of the outbreak -- allowing the virus to spread unchecked -- fueled criticism around the world, as well as within China. Authorities in Beijing are now also trying to balance containment measures with efforts to maintain political stability and minimize the economic fallout.“Beijing remains deeply concerned about the potential for foreign criticism of its containment efforts,” said Carl Minzner, a law professor at Fordham Law School, who wrote a recent book on how China’s authoritarianism is undermining its rise. “They fear that negative analysis by authoritative foreign experts -- whether justified or not -- might feed domestic popular distrust or discontent with how Chinese officials have handled the epidemic.”Part of the worry is economic: Vice Premier Hu Chunhua has “called for all-out efforts to ensure stable employment amid the novel coronavirus outbreak,” according to the official Xinhua News Agency. Chinese officials have repeatedly slammed the U.S. for imposing harsh travel restrictions, while praising traditional developing country allies in Asia -- including Pakistan and Cambodia -- for expressing support, keeping flights routes open and even declining to evacuate their citizens.Battling against the global coronavirus outbreak together could’ve been an opportunity to forge closer U.S.-China ties, according to Susan Shirk, a former deputy assistant secretary of state responsible for U.S. policy toward China, Taiwan and Mongolia.“The epidemic is a lost opportunity to rebuild some goodwill between China and America and other countries,” said Shirk, who is now a professor and chair of the 21st Century China Center at the University of California, San Diego.She said China hasn’t provided any channel or outlet for people around the world who want to help, and has undermined foreign and local non-government organizations that typically provide relief during disasters. But she added that part of the blame lies with U.S. political leaders, who have not expressed much sympathy for Chinese citizens “enduring a terrifying experience in quarantines.”In the U.S., the Congressional Executive Commission on China -- a group headed by U.S. lawmakers to monitor human rights -- has blasted Beijing for silencing Li Wenliang, the doctor who raised the alarm about the virus and later died from it, and for detaining citizen journalists documenting the response.“Transparency is key to addressing a global health crisis, not censorship or repression,” the commission said on Twitter.‘Totally Wrong’Secretary of State Michael Pompeo further irked China with a speech this week in which he warned U.S. state governors that their pension funds could be investing in companies that help China’s military and repress Muslims in its western Xinjiang region, which China’s ambassador to the U.S., Cui Tiankai, said was “totally wrong.”“Competition with China is happening inside of your state and it affects our capacity to perform America’s vital national-security functions,” Pompeo told the governors. “Competition with China is not just a federal issue.”On Friday, China’s Geng spent about as much time criticizing Pompeo as addressing concerns about the virus response.“A sound and stable bilateral relationship serves the interests of both countries and is what the international community wants to see,” Geng said. “We advise certain people in the U.S. step out of their Cold War mindset and ideological stereotypes, stop discrediting China’s political system, and stop undermining bilateral exchange and cooperation.”To contact the reporters on this story: Iain Marlow in Hong Kong at imarlow1@bloomberg.net;Dandan Li in Beijing at dli395@bloomberg.net;Peter Martin in Beijing at pmartin138@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Brendan Scott at bscott66@bloomberg.net, Daniel Ten KateFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.


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  • 61/71   Pipeline protests go mainline as support for Wet'suwet'en battle widens
    WORLD TOPIC NEWS

    Justin Trudeau under increasing pressure even as some politicians decry ‘hard-left ideology’As armed Canadian police officers advanced through snow towards their camp, the group of Indigenous women was absorbed in a drumming ceremony to honour the spirits of missing and murdered Indigenous women across the country.Rows of red dresses hung from a fishing line slung across the road, and from pine and spruce trees in the surrounding forest – each one a memorial to the thousands of Indigenous women killed or disappeared in recent years.A pair of helicopters buzzed overhead, but on the ground, the women’s voices and drums drowned out the officers as they warned them to leave or face arrest.“We remained in ceremony – even as the tactical officers surrounded us and began pick off individuals,” said one of the women, Dr Karla Tait.Set amid dense evergreen forests near the bank of the Wedzin Kwah, or Morice River, the remote cabins at Unist’ot’en camp have become a place of healing for Indigenous youth, who take lessons on trapping and traditional medicines.But the camp in north-western British Columbia is also the last line of defence in the Wet’suwet’en nation’s fight against a controversial natural gas pipeline.The long-simmering conflict came to a head this week, as Canada’s national police force deployed helicopters, armed officers and dogs to enforce a court injunction and clear Indigenous activists who had been blocking work crews from the route of the C$6.6bn (US$5bn) Coastal GasLink project..Twenty-eight people were arrested by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, including three Wet’suwet’en matriarchs – Tait, Freda Huson and Brenda Michell.“I felt overwhelmed with sadness, and pain over the fact that we were being removed from our territory,” said Tait, remembering the moment she was escorted past the fluttering red dresses towards a police vehicle. She made sure to touch each dress as she left.But she and the other “land defenders” remain defiant. Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs, who oversee 22,000 sq km of territory, have stubbornly opposed the project and remain locked in a battle with the courts, the pipeline company – and the government of Justin Trudeau.And in recent days, their fight has been taken up by other groups across the country.For more than a week, members of the Tyendinaga Mohawk have blocked freight and commuter rail traffic in Ontario, in support of the Wet’suwet’en. Elsewhere, protestors have blocked roads, barricaded access to shipping ports and occupied the offices of elected officials in a wave of dissent.Late on Thursday, Canadian National Railway, the country’s largest freight operator, said it was shutting down its operations in the east of the country due to the continuing blockade, and warned of temporary layoffs. Soon after, Via Rail, which operates much of Canada’s passenger rail service, said its entire service would be suspended until further notice.Climate action groups have also taken up the cause of the Wet’suwet’en, seeing their fight as part of a broader one against resource extraction projects in the country.The demonstrations have piled pressure on Canada’s prime minister, who has vaunted his commitment to diversity and tackling the deep-rooted inequities facing Indigenous peoples.“Trudeau has gone to the United Nations to shed tears about the history of Canada’s relationship with indigenous people,” said Tait. “And on the other hand, he’s essentially authorizing the use of force against our unarmed people for upholding our rights.”This week, Trudeau has expressed his support for peaceful protest – but also criticised the rail blockades.Amid pleas from business leaders for a swift end to the crisis, other politicians have been even more outspoken in their condemnation.In Alberta – a province whose economy relies on oil and gas – the conservative premier, Jason Kenney, has warned that the current unrest is a “dress rehearsal” for future opposition to fossil-fuel based projects.“This is not about Indigenous people. It’s not about carbon emissions. It’s about a hard-left ideology that is, frankly, opposed to the entire modern industrial economy,” said Kenney. “It’s about time that our police services demonstrated that this is a country that respects the rule of law.”And after protesters barricaded the entrance to British Columbia’s legislative assembly, the province’s premier, John Horgan, called the demonstrations a “shift from traditional protest – to something quite different”.Molly Wickham, a spokesperson for the Wet’suwet’en who also has the hereditary name Sleydo’, agreed. “Indigenous people see what’s happening to us and see what’s happening to our territory and our pristine waters – and to our people on the ground, having semiautomatic weapons aimed at us,” she said. “People are responding to that in appropriate ways.”More than just a row over a pipeline, the Wet’suwet’en protests also reflect Canada’s often fraught relationship with First Nations.“Ever since colonization, the aim has been to dispossess our people from our lands. To impoverish us. To assimilate us. To eliminate us,” said Tait. “We know that our self-determination, our sovereignty, our very identity, is based on us having control over our lands.”In November, British Columbia became the first province in Canada to pass legislation promising to uphold the United Nations declaration on the rights of Indigenous peoples. But such promises seem empty in the wake of recent police actions, said Wickham.“There were tactical teams walking around with semi-automatic weapons in my territory. Industry was allowed to come and go freely. White settlers were allowed to come and go freely,” she said. “But if you were a Wet’suwet’en person, you are not permitted on your own territory.”Controversy around the Coastal GasLink project has been compounded by questions over who has the right to speak for the Wet’suwet’en.Coastal GasLink has signed benefit agreements with the 20 elected First Nations councils along the route, including five of the six elected band councils in the Wet’suwet’en nation. But Wet’suwet’en chiefs say the authority of these groups only applies to reservations – not traditional territory where the pipeline is proposed.The Wet’suwet’en nation have lived on their territories in what is now British Columbia for thousands of years. They have never signed treaties or sold their land to Canada. With a population of about 5,000, the Wet’suwet’en are composed of five clans (Gilseyhu, Likhts’amisyu, Laksilyu, Tsayu and Gidimt’en), which are further divided into 13 house groups, each with its own distinct territories.  The Unist’ot’en, the People of the Headwaters, belong to the Gilseyhu clan. Hereditary chiefs are responsible for the health and sustainability of their house group territories, and Wet’suwet’en law prohibits trespass on the territory of other the house groups. Wet’suwet’en people have retained their legal traditions and continue to govern themselves through the Bahtlats (feast hall), where decisions are ratified and clan business is conducted.Unlike in much of Canada – where relationships between First Nations and the state are governed by treaties – few aboriginal nations in British Columbia ever signed deals with colonial authorities, meaning the federal government still operates in a vacuum of authority on their lands.In 1997, the Wet’suwet’en and Gitxsan nations won a landmark case in which the supreme court ruled that their aboriginal title had not been extinguished when Canada became a country. But the case did not establish the boundaries of that title and the court suggested subsequent cases would be needed to settle the issue.“Aboriginal title claims of the Wet’suwet’en people have yet to be resolved either by negotiation or litigation,” wrote the justice Marguerite Church in her decision to grant Coastal GasLink the injunction. “While Wet’suwet’en customary laws clearly exist on their own independent footing, they are not recognized as being an effectual part of Canadian law.”Legal experts believe the Wet’suwet’en would probably have a strong case to establish title to the land in the courts, enabling them to better fight the project. But such cases can take decades to adjudicate and cost millions of dollars, a prospect Tait called “insufficient” given the pipeline’s imminent construction.For those on the front lines of the fight, the nationwide support is a vindication that the long-simmering frustrations over land claims and a fraught Indigenous relationship with the state are facing a long-overdue reckoning.“This is far from over,” said Wickham. “We’ve had day after day of invasion and we’re still here. We’re still not giving up.”

    Justin Trudeau under increasing pressure even as some politicians decry ‘hard-left ideology’As armed Canadian police officers advanced through snow towards their camp, the group of Indigenous women was absorbed in a drumming ceremony to honour the spirits of missing and murdered Indigenous women across the country.Rows of red dresses hung from a fishing line slung across the road, and from pine and spruce trees in the surrounding forest – each one a memorial to the thousands of Indigenous women killed or disappeared in recent years.A pair of helicopters buzzed overhead, but on the ground, the women’s voices and drums drowned out the officers as they warned them to leave or face arrest.“We remained in ceremony – even as the tactical officers surrounded us and began pick off individuals,” said one of the women, Dr Karla Tait.Set amid dense evergreen forests near the bank of the Wedzin Kwah, or Morice River, the remote cabins at Unist’ot’en camp have become a place of healing for Indigenous youth, who take lessons on trapping and traditional medicines.But the camp in north-western British Columbia is also the last line of defence in the Wet’suwet’en nation’s fight against a controversial natural gas pipeline.The long-simmering conflict came to a head this week, as Canada’s national police force deployed helicopters, armed officers and dogs to enforce a court injunction and clear Indigenous activists who had been blocking work crews from the route of the C$6.6bn (US$5bn) Coastal GasLink project..Twenty-eight people were arrested by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, including three Wet’suwet’en matriarchs – Tait, Freda Huson and Brenda Michell.“I felt overwhelmed with sadness, and pain over the fact that we were being removed from our territory,” said Tait, remembering the moment she was escorted past the fluttering red dresses towards a police vehicle. She made sure to touch each dress as she left.But she and the other “land defenders” remain defiant. Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs, who oversee 22,000 sq km of territory, have stubbornly opposed the project and remain locked in a battle with the courts, the pipeline company – and the government of Justin Trudeau.And in recent days, their fight has been taken up by other groups across the country.For more than a week, members of the Tyendinaga Mohawk have blocked freight and commuter rail traffic in Ontario, in support of the Wet’suwet’en. Elsewhere, protestors have blocked roads, barricaded access to shipping ports and occupied the offices of elected officials in a wave of dissent.Late on Thursday, Canadian National Railway, the country’s largest freight operator, said it was shutting down its operations in the east of the country due to the continuing blockade, and warned of temporary layoffs. Soon after, Via Rail, which operates much of Canada’s passenger rail service, said its entire service would be suspended until further notice.Climate action groups have also taken up the cause of the Wet’suwet’en, seeing their fight as part of a broader one against resource extraction projects in the country.The demonstrations have piled pressure on Canada’s prime minister, who has vaunted his commitment to diversity and tackling the deep-rooted inequities facing Indigenous peoples.“Trudeau has gone to the United Nations to shed tears about the history of Canada’s relationship with indigenous people,” said Tait. “And on the other hand, he’s essentially authorizing the use of force against our unarmed people for upholding our rights.”This week, Trudeau has expressed his support for peaceful protest – but also criticised the rail blockades.Amid pleas from business leaders for a swift end to the crisis, other politicians have been even more outspoken in their condemnation.In Alberta – a province whose economy relies on oil and gas – the conservative premier, Jason Kenney, has warned that the current unrest is a “dress rehearsal” for future opposition to fossil-fuel based projects.“This is not about Indigenous people. It’s not about carbon emissions. It’s about a hard-left ideology that is, frankly, opposed to the entire modern industrial economy,” said Kenney. “It’s about time that our police services demonstrated that this is a country that respects the rule of law.”And after protesters barricaded the entrance to British Columbia’s legislative assembly, the province’s premier, John Horgan, called the demonstrations a “shift from traditional protest – to something quite different”.Molly Wickham, a spokesperson for the Wet’suwet’en who also has the hereditary name Sleydo’, agreed. “Indigenous people see what’s happening to us and see what’s happening to our territory and our pristine waters – and to our people on the ground, having semiautomatic weapons aimed at us,” she said. “People are responding to that in appropriate ways.”More than just a row over a pipeline, the Wet’suwet’en protests also reflect Canada’s often fraught relationship with First Nations.“Ever since colonization, the aim has been to dispossess our people from our lands. To impoverish us. To assimilate us. To eliminate us,” said Tait. “We know that our self-determination, our sovereignty, our very identity, is based on us having control over our lands.”In November, British Columbia became the first province in Canada to pass legislation promising to uphold the United Nations declaration on the rights of Indigenous peoples. But such promises seem empty in the wake of recent police actions, said Wickham.“There were tactical teams walking around with semi-automatic weapons in my territory. Industry was allowed to come and go freely. White settlers were allowed to come and go freely,” she said. “But if you were a Wet’suwet’en person, you are not permitted on your own territory.”Controversy around the Coastal GasLink project has been compounded by questions over who has the right to speak for the Wet’suwet’en.Coastal GasLink has signed benefit agreements with the 20 elected First Nations councils along the route, including five of the six elected band councils in the Wet’suwet’en nation. But Wet’suwet’en chiefs say the authority of these groups only applies to reservations – not traditional territory where the pipeline is proposed.The Wet’suwet’en nation have lived on their territories in what is now British Columbia for thousands of years. They have never signed treaties or sold their land to Canada. With a population of about 5,000, the Wet’suwet’en are composed of five clans (Gilseyhu, Likhts’amisyu, Laksilyu, Tsayu and Gidimt’en), which are further divided into 13 house groups, each with its own distinct territories.  The Unist’ot’en, the People of the Headwaters, belong to the Gilseyhu clan. Hereditary chiefs are responsible for the health and sustainability of their house group territories, and Wet’suwet’en law prohibits trespass on the territory of other the house groups. Wet’suwet’en people have retained their legal traditions and continue to govern themselves through the Bahtlats (feast hall), where decisions are ratified and clan business is conducted.Unlike in much of Canada – where relationships between First Nations and the state are governed by treaties – few aboriginal nations in British Columbia ever signed deals with colonial authorities, meaning the federal government still operates in a vacuum of authority on their lands.In 1997, the Wet’suwet’en and Gitxsan nations won a landmark case in which the supreme court ruled that their aboriginal title had not been extinguished when Canada became a country. But the case did not establish the boundaries of that title and the court suggested subsequent cases would be needed to settle the issue.“Aboriginal title claims of the Wet’suwet’en people have yet to be resolved either by negotiation or litigation,” wrote the justice Marguerite Church in her decision to grant Coastal GasLink the injunction. “While Wet’suwet’en customary laws clearly exist on their own independent footing, they are not recognized as being an effectual part of Canadian law.”Legal experts believe the Wet’suwet’en would probably have a strong case to establish title to the land in the courts, enabling them to better fight the project. But such cases can take decades to adjudicate and cost millions of dollars, a prospect Tait called “insufficient” given the pipeline’s imminent construction.For those on the front lines of the fight, the nationwide support is a vindication that the long-simmering frustrations over land claims and a fraught Indigenous relationship with the state are facing a long-overdue reckoning.“This is far from over,” said Wickham. “We’ve had day after day of invasion and we’re still here. We’re still not giving up.”


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  • 62/71   The US has confirmed 15 coronavirus cases across 7 states. Here's what we know about all the US patients.
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    The US has confirmed 15 cases of the virus: eight in California, two in Illinois, and one in Arizona, Massachusetts, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin.


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  • 63/71   The outbreaks of both the Wuhan coronavirus and SARS likely started in Chinese wet markets. Photos show what the markets look like.
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    The Wuhan coronavirus outbreak likely started in a Chinese wet market, where meat and poultry are sold alongside live animals.

    The Wuhan coronavirus outbreak likely started in a Chinese wet market, where meat and poultry are sold alongside live animals.


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  • 64/71   What You Need to Know About the Wuhan Coronavirus
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    There are 15 cases in the U.S. Thirteen of those people had traveled to China. The State Department says travelers should not go to China. The World Health Organization has declared an internatio...


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  • 65/71   Chinese doctor punished for warning people about coronavirus now has the illness
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    Li Wenliang, a doctor from Wuhan, China, was one of the first to recognize the public health threat of coronavirus. He now has the disease himself.

    Li Wenliang, a doctor from Wuhan, China, was one of the first to recognize the public health threat of coronavirus. He now has the disease himself.


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  • 66/71   China put 46 million people on lockdown to contain the Wuhan coronavirus, and now the US is prepared to quarantine people, too. But quarantines throughout history have been riddled with mishaps.
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    Quarantines have been used to contain diseases for hundreds of years. The first formal system was established in Venice during the 14th Century.

    Quarantines have been used to contain diseases for hundreds of years. The first formal system was established in Venice during the 14th Century.


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  • 67/71   7th and 8th U.S. coronavirus cases confirmed in Massachusetts and California
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    The confirmed cases in California and Massachusetts conclude eight in the country so far.


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  • 68/71   75,000 in Wuhan infected with coronavirus: study estimates
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    More than 75,000 people -- ten times the official tally of confirmed cases -- have been infected with the coronavirus in Wuhan, ground zero of a global health emergency, according to research published Friday. "We estimate that 75,815 individuals have been infected in Wuhan as of January 25, 2020," a team led by Gabriel Leung from the University of Hong Kong reported in The Lancet. As of January 31, the Chinese government said the number of confirmed cases had risen above 9,700 for all of China, including 213 deaths.


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  • 69/71   Don't Forget These Vaccines When You Travel
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  • 70/71   Trump turns 'very routine' physical into attack on media
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    President Trump lashed out at the media Tuesday over reporting about his sudden trip to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center last weekend.

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


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