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Offline knarf

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Swiss propose house arrest, including for teenagers, to curb extremism
« Reply #12810 on: May 23, 2019, 06:35:39 AM »
ZURICH (Reuters) - The Swiss government on Wednesday proposed new laws aimed at preventing extremist violence and forcing people including children deemed a threat to be registered with authorities, with house arrest a last resort in some cases.

The measures, due now to be considered by Switzerland’s parliament, are part of an evolving national action plan against violent extremism introduced in 2017.

Though Switzerland has, so far, been spared deadly Islamist militant attacks that hit Germany, France and Belgium in recent years, it is wary and has been tracking hundreds of suspected extremist threats under a national jihad monitoring program.

Federal Police Director Nicoletta della Valle told a news conference in Bern she expects “a few dozen people” could be affected by the expanded measures, should they be enacted.

Such individuals, according to the legislation, could be made to report their whereabouts to police stations. Their passports could be confiscated, to prevent travel abroad, and they could be slapped with no-contact orders.

People slated for deportation who are deemed threats would be incarcerated, while Swiss police would get new powers to covertly track suspected threats via electronic media.

“House arrest is seen as a last resort and would require permission from the Swiss Federal Police as well as approval from the courts,” a cabinet statement said.

Such measures could last six months and be renewed.

Children as young as 12 could be required to register with authorities, placed under surveillance or have passports confiscated. Those as young as 15 could get house arrest, according to the legislation.

The 28-page legislative proposal stops short of allowing so-called “secure housing” for suspected extremists — something Swiss law enforcement agencies had wanted - “because it was determined to have violated the European Convention on Human Rights,” the cabinet said.

Switzerland has prosecuted several extremism-related cases in recent years, including three Iraq men jailed in 2016 for between 42 and 56 months for belonging to or supporting a terrorist organization.

In July, a trial is slated for a 48-year-old Kosovo native accused of breaking Swiss laws forbidding Islamic State and Al Qaeda.

Of 92 Swiss “jihad travelers” identified as having journeyed to the Middle East to participate in violent conflicts since 2001, 31 are dead. Another 16 have returned to Switzerland, the government has said.

“All this shows that while Switzerland is a safe country, there’s still a threat,” Interior Minister Karin Keller-Sutter said with respect to why the new measures are needed.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-swiss-security/swiss-propose-house-arrest-including-for-teenagers-to-curb-extremism-idUSKCN1SS24M?feedType=RSS&feedName=worldNews&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Reuters%2FworldNews+%28Reuters+World+News%29
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Testosterone is also known as “T” in the incel community. A coping mechanism is called “a cope.” Turning violent in the way of Elliot Rodger, a man who killed six people and then himself in California in 2014, is called “going ER.”

This list of terminology is part of the growing body of knowledge on incel ideology, an area of research now being funded in part by Public Safety Canada. In the year since a van attack in Toronto that left 10 people dead, allegedly committed by a self-described member of the incel community, the department has granted almost $2-million to organizations that study right-wing extremism, including links to misogynistic violence.

In its 2018 report on the terrorism threat to Canada, the department said the Toronto attack "alerted Canada to the dangers of the online incel movement.”

Alek Minassian, the man accused of carrying out the attack last April, was allegedly responsible for a Facebook post celebrating an “incel rebellion.”

Incels are an online community – predominantly men – who believe they cannot attract women. Incels self-identify as biologically inferior to other men – and see no solution to this condition except suicide or public violence.

Researchers have rarely touched the topic of incels – a portmanteau of “involuntary celibates” – whose online rants often seem incoherent and insincere.

But now they are taking the warped thoughts seriously in a bid to prevent harm.

To help men leave the toxic online community, researchers are considering partnering with forums such as Reddit to advertise and send direct messages about intervention services to incels, said an analyst at Moonshot CVE – Countering Violent Extremism, an organization that received $1.5-million from Public Safety Canada in 2018 to introduce an online method of countering radicalization. As a woman, the analyst requested anonymity to avoid being targeted by incels.

The most respected incels, the analyst said, are isolated and flawed, while any attractive quality – being tall, fit or employed – is condemned. They respect other incels who are “NEET” – “not in education, employment or training" – said the analyst. And if an incel tries to make a friend or find a job, this behaviour is criticized as a coping mechanism.

Researchers have an ethical duty to study incels, the analyst said, not just to protect the public but to protect incels themselves, who are often at a higher risk of suicide – which they refer to as “roping.” She said they tend to mistrust mental-health professionals and doctors, who may tell them that nothing is physically wrong with them despite their belief in their biological inferiority.

In Quebec, the Center for the Prevention of Radicalization Leading to Violence has also become interested in incels since the van attack. “The intervention team had seen in a few cases this incel discourse,” said Benjamin Ducol, the centre’s research manager. “We are paying much more attention when we have a case that is referred to us.”

Mary Lilly, who wrote her master’s thesis at the University of Ottawa about online anti-feminist communities, also plans to study incels this summer, partly to determine if they are present on private messaging apps such as WhatsApp and Telegram.

“I think a big one that we hear pretty often is ‘These are sad, lonely men. If only a woman had paid attention to them,'” Ms. Lilly said. “I think that sort of ignores the power of the ideology in this.”

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/article-public-safety-canada-investing-almost-2-million-in-organizations/
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Smarter people listen to instrumental music: study LOL
« Reply #12812 on: May 23, 2019, 07:58:01 AM »
f there seems to be an air of pretension among aficionados of jazz and classical music, psychological research is giving them good reason.

A new study published in Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences suggests that those who prefer instrumental music tend to be more intelligent.

Study author Elena Racevska, a PhD student at Oxford Brookes University, became interested in how musical preference is tied to personality traits as she learned about the Savanna-IQ Interaction Hypothesis, which presumes that more intelligent individuals seek more novel experiences compared to less intelligent people.

“After reading Kanazawa’s papers, one of which was on the relationship between intelligence and musical preferences, we decided to further test his hypothesis using a different set of predictors — namely, a different type of intelligence test (i.e. a nonverbal measure), and the uses of music questionnaire,” says Racevska. “We also measured a number of variables likely to have an effect in this relationship, such as taking part in extra-curricular music education, its type and duration.”

Racevska and her colleagues surveyed 467 Croatian high school students, and found that those with higher scores on the intelligence test were associated with a preference for genres such as jazz, classical, big band and ambient/electronica.

Researchers point out that gender, age, level of education, income and other factors also play into the results.

“Future studies could focus on untangling the relationship between complexity and novelty in shaping preferences — complexity of vocalisation is preferred by many species, which could mean that it is evolutionarily familiar,” says Recevska.

She suggests studies of how musical tastes “chance throughout developmental stages of human life,” and how “societal pressures and peer relationships” play a role. Revevksa adds, “A cross-cultural study could examine and control for influences of culturally specific ways of experiencing music, and other music-related behaviours.”

https://nypost.com/2019/05/22/smarter-people-listen-to-instrumental-music-study/
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Incels are an online community – predominantly men – who believe they cannot attract women. Incels self-identify as biologically inferior to other men – and see no solution to this condition except suicide or public violence.

Researchers have rarely touched the topic of incels – a portmanteau of “involuntary celibates” – whose online rants often seem incoherent and insincere.

But now they are taking the warped thoughts seriously in a bid to prevent harm.

To help men leave the toxic online community, researchers are considering partnering with forums such as Reddit to advertise and send direct messages about intervention services to incels, said an analyst at Moonshot CVE – Countering Violent Extremism, an organization that received $1.5-million from Public Safety Canada in 2018 to introduce an online method of countering radicalization. As a woman, the analyst requested anonymity to avoid being targeted by incels.

The most respected incels, the analyst said, are isolated and flawed, while any attractive quality – being tall, fit or employed – is condemned. They respect other incels who are “NEET” – “not in education, employment or training" – said the analyst. And if an incel tries to make a friend or find a job, this behaviour is criticized as a coping mechanism.

Am I the only person sho sees "incels" as people with too much time on their hands? "Coping behavior" is a crime? WTF?

Perhaps a good Jordan Peterson video will sort these people out. Bucko.
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Harvey Weinstein Is Said to Reach $44 Million Deal to Settle Lawsuits
« Reply #12814 on: May 24, 2019, 04:11:50 AM »

Harvey Weinstein, center, has been accused by dozens of women of sexual misconduct stretching back decades.

Harvey Weinstein and his former studio’s board members have reached a tentative $44 million deal to resolve lawsuits filed by women who accused him of sexual misconduct and by the New York State attorney general, according to three people briefed on the matter.

The outcome of the settlement talks will be especially notable because the lawsuits are one of the main avenues by which Mr. Weinstein could be held responsible for his alleged actions.

He is facing criminal charges in New York for allegations of sexual violence against two women. But more than 80 women have accused him of wrongdoing, and many of those complaints involve sexual harassment, which is a civil violation, not a criminal one. So the details of any settlement — such as whether it includes an admission of wrongdoing by Mr. Weinstein — would carry significant symbolism.

The proposed sum is less than half of what was initially discussed as a victims’ fund as part of conversations last year between an investor group that was interested in buying assets of the Weinstein Company and Eric T. Schneiderman, who was then New York’s attorney general. That proposed deal, which fell apart at the last minute, included a victims’ fund worth up to $90 million.

Under the proposed terms of the new deal, about $30 million would go to a pool of plaintiffs that includes alleged victims, creditors of Mr. Weinstein’s former studio and some former employees, according to the people briefed on the matter, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the agreement was private. The balance would go to legal fees for associates of Mr. Weinstein, including board members named as defendants in lawsuits.

Insurance policies would cover the $44 million if the current agreement is finalized.

Mr. Weinstein did not return calls for comment. A spokeswoman for the office of the New York State attorney general declined to comment. A lawyer for the plaintiffs did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The Wall Street Journal was first to report the tentative deal.

Mr. Weinstein was long one of Hollywood’s most powerful figures, known for backing boundary breaking films like “Pulp Fiction” and Oscar winners like “Shakespeare in Love.” But in October 2017, investigations by The New York Times and The New Yorker revealed allegations that he had sexually harassed or abused numerous current or former employees and other women over several decades.

The Weinstein Company, the Hollywood studio founded by Mr. Weinstein and his brother and business partner, Bob Weinstein, filed for bankruptcy in March 2018. The movie and television studio, once known for Oscar-winning films like “The King’s Speech” and “The Artist,” had less than $500,000 in cash at the time and was facing a mountain of debt and a swelling number of lawsuits, including the one by New York’s attorney general.

Lawyers for women who say they were victims of Mr. Weinstein have been in mediation since last year with representatives for the former studio mogul. Also involved in the talks were lawyers for the former board members and the New York attorney general’s office, which last year sued Mr. Weinstein and his brother for violating state and city laws barring gender discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual abuse and coercion. The goal was to reach a settlement that would cover all of the suits pending against the former Hollywood mogul, his now-defunct movie studio and associates.
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The Weinstein Company is seeking to liquidate. In a recent bankruptcy filing, lawyers for the studio said the efforts to resolve legal claims by some of the women had stalled in recent months, and put additional strain on its dwindling resources.

A separate bankruptcy filing on May 15 described the mediation process as “highly adversarial” and said that at least 11 separate sessions had been held over a year.

Harvey Weinstein, 67, has pleaded not guilty to the criminal charges in New York.

He was initially indicted in State Supreme Court in Manhattan on sex-crime charges involving three women, including one who said that Mr. Weinstein raped her inside a hotel room at a DoubleTree in Midtown Manhattan in March 2013. The woman has not been identified in court papers.

He was also charged with forcing two other women to engage in oral sex with him. Lucia Evans, a marketing executive, said she was assaulted in his TriBeCa office in 2004, and Mimi Haleyi, a production assistant, said Mr. Weinstein assaulted her at his apartment in 2006.

The judge, James Burke, dismissed the charge related to Ms. Evans after the Manhattan district attorney’s office acknowledged that the lead detective on the case, Nicholas DiGaudio, did not disclose information from a witness who said Ms. Evans had provided a conflicting account of the alleged assault. But Detective DiGaudio, who has since been reassigned, has maintained that he did inform prosecutors.

Mr. Weinstein has denied the allegations and has said the relationships were consensual.

Earlier this year, Mr. Weinstein also replaced his longtime defense lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, with a new “dream team” of lawyers who have a history of representing celebrity clients. His criminal trial is expected to begin Sept. 9.

Soon after Mr. Weinstein built his new defense team, one of his star lawyers, Ronald S. Sullivan Jr., a law professor and a faculty dean of an undergraduate house at Harvard University, came under fire by students there for representing the Hollywood producer. This month, Harvard decided to end Mr. Sullivan’s term as dean on June 30, following months of pressure from students. Later, Mr. Sullivan withdrew from Mr. Weinstein’s defense team.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/23/business/harvey-weinstein-settlement.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage
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U.S. Military to Trawl Through 350 Billion Social Media Messages
« Reply #12815 on: May 25, 2019, 04:40:55 AM »
The U.S. military plans to analyze 350 billion social-media posts from around the world to help it track how popular movements evolve.

A tender for the project, based at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, calls for screening messages from at least 200 million users from more than 100 countries in more than 60 languages to better understand “collective expression.” Messages, including user names, will be examined for comments, metadata, location and hometown identifiers.

While it’s part of an existing Department of Defense Analysis effort to harness big data for social research, “the scale and global reach of this program is striking,” Antoine Bousquet, a senior lecturer in international relations at Birkbeck, University of London, said by email.

The study’s purpose is to look at social-media messages posted publicly between July 2014 and December 2016 on a single platform, according to a solicitation request. No private communications will be included and individual users won’t be identified in the research, according to the Navy.
What Mobilizes People

Facebook Inc.’s primary platform has more than 1.2 billion daily active users and Twitter Inc. has more than 300 million monthly users. Printed on letter-size paper, 350 billion individual messages would make a stack about 10,000 miles high.

T. Camber Warren, the project’s principal researcher, said the data will be used for increased understanding of communication and how patterns of discourse change over time.

He previously studied internal conflicts in Africa, showing how mass media such as radio broadcasts can have a pacifying effect, while social media can inflame collective violence.

“Social media data allows us for the first time, to measure how colloquial expressions and slang evolve over time, across a diverse array of human societies, so that we can begin to understand how and why communities come to be formed around certain forms of discourse rather than others," Warren said by email.

The data can be used to train algorithms to understand “increasingly subtle shifts in cultural context,” he said.
Sowing Divisions

Such projects are important to help defend against adversaries seeking to undermine democracy and create divisions within western societies, said William A. Carter, deputy director for tech policy at the Center for Strategic & International Studies in Washington.

“We need to better understand how narratives are shaped and communities are formed online to defend ourselves against these campaigns,” he said.

Yet collecting and analyzing large tracts of publicly available data is open to abuse.

“There is a risk that as we learn to exploit this data to manage how people interact online, it will give governments and bad actors tools that they can use to manipulate our thoughts and behavior,” Carter said.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-05-25/u-s-military-to-trawl-through-350-billion-social-media-messages
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Last year, trespassing hit highest level since 1999 while vandalism occurred at highest rate since 1990


An anti-abortion activist offers reading material to a driver entering the Jackson Women’s Health Organization’s clinic in Jackson, Mississippi.

US abortion providers reported an “alarming escalation” in incidents of disruption and intimidation in 2018, according to new findings report by their professional association, the National Abortion Federation (NAF).

Trespassing reached the highest level since the NAF began recording such incidents in 1999, while incidents of obstruction of facilities grew 78% from 2017 to 2018. Providers also reported record levels of picketing (99,409 incidents) since recording began in 1977, and the highest number of incidents of vandalism (125) since 1990.

The group also recorded decreases in incidents of stalking, burglary, and assault and battery.

The report comes amid continuing fallout from the recent spate of anti-abortion legislation in statehouses across the country. On Friday, a federal judge in Mississippi blocked that state’s recently enacted ban on abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy; civil liberties and reproductive rights organizations filed a lawsuit challenging Alabama’s extreme new abortion ban; and Missouri’s governor, Mike Parson, signed a ban on abortions after eight weeks of pregnancy.

Anti-choice individuals and groups have been emboldened by the rhetoric of President Trump, Vice President Pence and other elected officials and we are seeing this play out in more instances of activities meant to intimidate abortion providers and disrupt patient services,” said Katherine Ragsdale, interim president and CEO of NAF, in a statement.

Trump and other politicians advocating for the restriction of access to abortion have frequently engaged in false and inflammatory rhetoric about the practice, using emotive and inaccurate language such as “infanticide” or “late-term abortion”.

In recent weeks, several state legislatures have enacted so-called “heartbeat” bills . These laws criminalize abortion after six weeks, when what anti-abortion activists call a “fetal heartbeat” is detected. At six weeks, a pregnancy involves an embryo, not a fetus, and while some tissue does throb, the embryo has not yet developed an actual heart.

“Demonizing health care providers and women who rely on them for abortion care has become one of the go-to tactics for anti-choice politicians,” added Ragsdale. “Those lies have consequences and it is not the anti-choice politicians who are facing those consequences; it is those who are denied abortion care and the providers targeted by threats, harassment, and violence who are.”

NAF began tracking violence and disruption against abortion providers in 1977, though the categories it tracks have changed over the years.

The new abortion bans in Alabama and Missouri are expected to be blocked by lower courts, just as the Mississippi law was. They are designed to be appealed to the US supreme court, which anti-abortion activists hope will reverse the precedent of Roe v Wade.

In his order granting a preliminary injunction against the Mississippi law, Judge Carlton Reeves appeared to express a certain amount of irritation with the tactic, writing: “Here we go again. Mississippi has passed another law banning abortions prior to viability … The parties have been here before.”

Reeves had previously ruled against a 15-week ban on abortion, he wrote, and the passage of “an even more restrictive bill” did not move him to reconsider.

“This Court previously found the 15-week ban to be an unconstitutional violation of substantive due process because the Supreme Court has repeatedly held that women have the right to choose an abortion prior to viability, and a fetus is not viable at 15 weeks lmp,” he wrote, using the initialism to denote weeks after a woman’s “last menstrual period”. “If a fetus is not viable at 15 weeks lmp, it is not viable at 6 weeks lmp.”

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/may/24/abortion-providers-disruption-intimidation-report
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Move comes after congress voted to end US support of Saudi military operation in Yemen

Donald Trump has asserted rarely used emergency powers to sidestep congressional objections, and give the green light to an arms deal involving Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

The US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, told the leaders of several congressional committees the president was claiming a national emergency existed because of a purported threat from Iran and was, as a result, giving permission for 22 arms deals with around $8bn (£6.3bn).

A number of members of congress, which had already voted for the US to terminate its support for Saudi’s military operation against Yemen – a resolution Mr Trump vetoed – fear the weapons could be used in those bombing operations, which have resulted in widespread civilian injuries.

Some legislators had warned earlier this week that Mr Trump, frustrated with congress holding up weapons sales like a major deal to sell Raytheon Co precision-guided munitions to Saudi Arabia, was considering using a loophole in arms control law to go ahead with the sale by declaring a national emergency.

“I am disappointed, but not surprised, that the Trump administration has failed once again to prioritise our long-term national security interests or stand up for human rights, and instead is granting favours to authoritarian countries like Saudi Arabia,” said senator Bob Menendez, the ranking Democrat on the Senate foreign relations committee.

Republican senator Jim Risch, chairman of the committee, said he had received formal notification of the administration’s intent to move forward with “a number of arms sales”.

“I am reviewing and analysing the legal justification for this action and the associated implications,” he said.

“President Trump is only using this loophole because he knows Congress would disapprove ... There is no new 'emergency' reason to sell bombs to the Saudis to drop in Yemen, and doing so only perpetuates the humanitarian crisis there,” said senator Chris Murphy.

The White House did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The state department responded to questions with Mr Pomeo’s memorandum to members of Congress. It failed to respond to a question as to what the US was doing to prevent civilian deaths in Yemen.

In his memorandum to Congress justifying the sale, Mr Pompeo listed years of alleged actions by Iran. “Iranian malign activity poses a fundamental threat to the stability of the Middle East and to American security at home and abroad,” he wrote.

However, Andrew Smith of Campaign Against Arms Trade, a a UK-based activist group, told The Independent: “This unprecedented move shows the terrible depths that Trump and his administration will sink to in order to continue arming and supporting the brutal Saudi regime.

“Saudi forces have inflicted a terrible humanitarian catastrophe on Yemen. It simply would not have been possible without US-made weapons. The arms sales that Trump is pushing today could be used to commit atrocities and abuses for years to come.”

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/trump-saudi-arabia-deal-bombs-uae-arms-trade-congress-yemen-a8929741.html?utm_source=reddit.com
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2 Texas men die trying to jump car over open drawbridge
« Reply #12818 on: May 25, 2019, 05:09:27 AM »
A witness said the car backed up at the open drawbridge, and then accelerated forward, trying to jump to the other side.


Louisiana State Police say two men from Texas are now dead after attempting to jump the ramp on the Black Bayou Bridge in Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana on May 24, 2019.

Two Texas men died Friday after they tried to jump over an open drawbridge with their car, authorities said.

Louisiana State Police responded to a single-car crash shortly after 2 a.m. at the Black Bayou Bridge about six miles south of Lake Charles. Investigators said the bridge was closed to traffic to let a boat pass.

A witness told police that the passenger got out of the car and pushed the gate arm up. The man then got back into the car as the driver drove toward the ramp at the end of the bridge, the police department said in a press release on its Facebook page.

The driver stopped briefly, reversed and then "accelerated forward in an attempt to 'jump' the ramp of the bridge." police said.

The car landed in the water and sank to the bottom. The driver was found inside the car, and the passenger was found outside the vehicle after first managing to escape, investigators said. The men, whose identities have not been revealed, were pronounced dead at the scene.

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/2-texas-men-die-trying-jump-car-over-open-drawbridge-n1010056
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Stocks rose on Friday, but notched weekly losses as investors worried the U.S.-China trade war is hurting economic growth.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended the day up 95.22 points at 25,585.69 while the S&P 500 climbed 0.1% to 2,826.06. The Nasdaq Composite rose 0.1% at 7,637.01. The indexes rebounded slightly from sharp losses on Thursday after President Donald Trump said Thursday afternoon the ongoing trade war could be over quickly.

“We still think the negotiators are going to reach a deal, but it’s clearly going to take a lot longer and be more difficult than investors thought a few weeks ago,” said Kate Warne, investment strategist at Edward Jones. “But any glimmer of hope that progress is being made will help stocks rebound.”

But Friday’s gains were not enough to offset this week’s losses. The Dow dropped 0.7% this week to post its fifth consecutive weekly decline, its longest streak since 2011. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq fell a third straight week of losses, their longest slide since December 2018. The weekly losses come at a time when investors are growing more convinced that the trade war will take longer than expected to conclude and could hurt the economy.

U.S. durable goods orders dropped 2.1% last month amid a slowdown in exports and a buildup in inventories. This is the latest economic data set showing cracks in the economy while the world’s largest economies engage in a trade war. IHS Markit said Thursday that U.S. manufacturing activity fell to a nine-year low.

Crude prices dropped 6.6% this week as trade worries spilled over to other markets. Investors also loaded up on Treasurys this week. On Thursday, the 10-year Treasury note yield fell to its lowest level since October 2017.

“It seems, for the moment, [trade] is the only thing investors are thinking about,” said Mike Bailey, director of research at FBB Capital Partners. “You’ve got this one narrow issue that’s basically spreading across the entire market.”

“Investors had been hoping for more certainty,” Bailey said. “Instead, they’re getting more uncertainty across the board.”

Energy and tech were the worst-performing sectors for the week. The energy sector fell 3.4% while tech — the largest S&P 500 sector by market weight — lost 2.8%.

Chipmakers led tech down this week as the VanEck Vectors Semiconductor ETF (SMH) dropped 5.6%. Qualcomm and Broadcom were the worst-performers in the ETF this week, dropping 18.8% and 11.7%, respectively.

Chip stocks have been under pressure as the U.S. increases pressure on Chinese telecom giant Huawei. Last week, the Trump administration made it harder for U.S. companies to do business with Huawei, before granting a temporary 90-day reprieve for the company.

Apple shares also contributed to the tech losses as several analysts raised concern over the company’s exposure to China. The stock ended the week down 5.3%.

“The growing worries around a US/China elongated trade battle and its implications on the tech space are heavily weighing on the minds of both investors and the companies themselves caught in the cross hairs,” Dan Ives, analyst at Wedbush Securities, wrote in a note to clients. “The ‘poster child’ for the US/China trade wars continue to be Apple with the stock under heavy pressure as many competitors are yelling fire in a crowded theater around the potential China impact to Cupertino if this situation worsens.”

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/05/24/stock-market-slight-rebound-after-trade-fears-roil-markets.html
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Heating or eating - the poor sometimes have to choose, UN rapporteur says



Picture a country where a fifth of the population lives in poverty. People have to choose between eating or heating their homes and children go to school hungry. Homelessness is rising. And basic services are in crisis, leaving many struggling to cope.

This is the damning indictment, delivered by a UN official, not of a developing economy or war-torn nation but of the UK – the world’s fifth biggest economy.

The UN’s Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Philip Alston, says the UK government’s austerity-driven policies in the years since the 2008 financial crash have created “a harsh and uncaring ethos” that has removed the social safety net and is driving up poverty.



His report, which the government called “barely believable”, comes after he visited the UK at the end of 2018 and spoke to many British people to assess the state of the country.





Cracks in the system

A fundamental overhaul of the benefits system and widespread cutbacks have placed increasing pressure on already stretched and underfunded services including the police and doctors, the report says. The “punitive, mean-spirited and often callous” approach taken by government to supporting society’s most in need has driven further inequalities.

Underlining the issues, the report points to:

    Significant increases in homlessness and rough sleeping in the years since 2010 – the charity Shelter estimates 320,000 people in Britain are now homeless and research by another charity, Crisis, suggests 24,000 people are sleeping rough, more than twice the government's estimate
    The shortfall in social housing being built – there were 1.2 million people waiting for social housing in 2017 but fewer than 6,000 homes built
    Over a tenth of the population experiencing fuel poverty
    Widespread use of food banks, with more than 2,000 in the UK today compared to just 29 at the height of the financial crisis.

A report by social mobility organisation the Joseph Rowntree Foundation found the UK spends around £78 million to combat poverty a year, with £1 in every £5 spent on public services going to alleviate the impact of poverty on people’s lives.





The UN report accuses the government of failing to acknowledge the seriousness of the plight caused by poverty in the UK, which it says it doesn’t monitor in a comprehensive way.

In response, the government pointed to the UN’s own data that the UK comes 15th on the list of the happiest places in the world to live.

"This is a barely believable documentation of Britain, based on a tiny period of time spent here. It paints a completely inaccurate picture of our approach to tackling poverty," a spokesman said.

"All the evidence shows that full-time work is the best way to boost your income and quality of life," he added.



Minsters criticised the report as poorly researched.

It is only the second time a poverty envoy has visited Western Europe since 2000, the other time being to Ireland. In that time, the US has been visited twice.

The report did highlight some positive developments in the UK, including the role of the minimum wage in reducing low pay, and changes to the benefits system which will lift 200,000 people out of poverty.

Divided and unequal

The UK’s growing social inequalities and struggles to deliver inclusive growth were highlighted in the World Economic Forum’s Inclusive Development Index 2018, which found the country lagging behind many of its peers.

It ranked 21st overall, falling near the bottom on many of the key indicators including healthy life expectancy and income inequality.

https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2019/05/the-un-went-to-one-of-the-worlds-richest-countries-to-report-on-poverty-this-is-what-it-found



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A "Harriet Tubman Stamp" aims to allow Americans to put Tubman's face on $20 bills, despite the Trump administration's announcement this week that the official bill's redesign will be delayed.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said during a congressional hearing Wednesday that a redesign of the $20 bill to feature Tubman – an abolitionist hero – would not be ready in time for a planned 2020 release. Mnuchin cited "counterfeiting issues" as a reason for a delay he projected to last eight years.

The news has brought new attention to a previously released product: An ink stamp that can replace Andrew Jackson's face on a $20 bill with Tubman's likeness. The single-color stamp is designed to place an outline of Tubman's face over the former president's.

In promoting the stamps on social media, the product's Instagram account referred to using the stamp as an act of "civil disobedience."

The product has attracted enough attention that its Etsy listing was sold out as of Friday morning. For those who live in New York City, the product's site says there are two businesses that serve as "stamping stations" in the city.

The stamp's creator – Dano Wall, 33 – has a goal of putting 5,000 stamps into circulation, Wall told the Washington Post. It's been a project in the making since 2017, the Post reports.

“My goal is to get 5,000 stamps out there,” Wall told the newspaper. “If there are 5,000 people consistently stamping currency, we could get a significant percent of circulating $20 bills (with the Tubman) stamp, at which point it would be impossible to ignore.”

The Tubman Stamp's website includes information for those interested in making their own stamps. It also shows video of stamped bills being accepted by automated machines.
Is the Harriet Tubman stamp legal?

The Tubman Stamp website says that using the stamp is legal, citing The Stampede, an effort to stamp bills with messages "to protest big money in politics."

Mnuchin: $20 bill redesign with Tubman on hold

March 2018: Rare photo of Harriet Tubman to be displayed at African American history museum

"Though anti-counterfeiting laws prohibit the willful destruction of, and stamping of advertisements upon, paper money, pursuant to I.I.18 U.S.C. § 333 of the United States Code, stamped currency is fit for circulation so long as its denomination remains legible," the stamp's site says.

Guidance from the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Bureau of Engraving and Printing addresses the defacement of currency, but does not directly address the stamping of Federal Reserve bills:

    Defacement of currency is a violation of Title 18, Section 333 of the United States Code. Under this provision, currency defacement is generally defined as follows: Whoever mutilates, cuts, disfigures, perforates, unites or cements together, or does any other thing to any bank bill, draft, note, or other evidence of debt issued by any national banking association, Federal Reserve Bank, or Federal Reserve System, with intent to render such item(s) unfit to be reissued, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than six months, or both.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2019/05/24/harriet-tubman-20-bill-stamp-puts-tubman-face-twenty/1219952001/

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PornHub Reveals the Top 20 Horniest Cities
« Reply #12822 on: May 25, 2019, 05:44:01 AM »
In figures released annually by popular Canadian, ahem, lifestyle website PornHub, how the world searches for its smut has been revealed, and the top 20 cities have some very differing habits.

The purveyors of porn are wont to reveal search trends and popular categories as they occur based on region, and, as the top 20 porn-loving places are ranked for all to see, so are their apparent kinks.

Coming (heh) in at number one, New York City boasts the highest number of porn consumers, followed closely by London and Paris. If population is anything to go by then there are hardly any surprises there. What is interesting is that Sydney and Melbourne come (another heh) in at seventh and eighth respectively, behind LA, Chicago and Osaka.

Brisbane scrapes onto the list too, taking out the 19th spot.

Demographically speaking, the trends tend to err towards the obvious, with cities in Japan preferring Japanese porn, Milanese folks searching for ‘Italian’ and Parisians preferring the French category (closely followed by Anal and Lesbian).

Some of the more interesting observations from this year include:

    The average time spent on the site across all 20 cities sits at around ten minutes.
    Both Sydney and Melbourne’s most popular category is Lesbian, followed by Japanese and MILF.
    Brisbane, at number 19, also loves Lesbian and MILF porn, but also has a proclivity for the Threesome category.
    Users in Brisbane are 19 per cent more likely to search for ‘Tattooed Women’, and 19 per cent more likely to search for ‘Fisting’ than the rest of the world.

To delve deeper into the weird, wide world of porn as it is consumed by different folks all over the globe, head to their insights page (SFW), if for no other reason than to have a good chuckle.

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Florida’s new governor brings a new approach to climate change
« Reply #12823 on: May 25, 2019, 08:26:03 AM »


Communities in Florida, one of the states most vulnerable to climate change, are grappling with erosion and loss of property. In a break from recent precedent, the state’s new governor, Ron DeSantis, is not only acknowledging climate change, but is willing to pay to help communities that are affected.

At Satellite Beach, situated on a barrier island between the Atlantic Ocean and 156-mile Indian River Lagoon, there are already plans to move the fire station and other public buildings to higher ground. City manager Courtney Barker says the community also would consider buying out vulnerable homeowners, but doesn’t have the money.

“Our yearly budget is $12 million, and so we’re just not in a financial position to be able to do that, and that’s why you need a state fund for those types of things,” she said.

Under former governor Rick Scott, Florida state employees said — and documents confirmed — there was a ban on using the term “climate change.” Instead of “sea level rise,” employees were instructed to say “nuisance flooding.”

DeSantis is not only is saying the term, he has persuaded the legislature to put $5.5 million toward helping local governments plan for sea level rise.

“This idea of, quote, ‘climate change’ has become politicized. My environmental policy is just to try to do things that benefit Floridians,” he said.

Since taking office in January, DeSantis has announced plans for a chief resiliency officer and an Office of Resiliency and Coastal Protection. Most environmental groups have welcomed his plan, although some say it does not go far enough. Frank Jackalone of the environmental organization the Sierra Club, for example, says the plan doesn’t deal with emissions.

“He [DeSantis] needs to get on the bandwagon for movement toward 100% clean energy that will stop pouring all of these millions of tons of carbon into our atmosphere,” he said.

https://www.marketplace.org/2019/05/24/florida-gov-ron-de-santis-climate-change/
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African American women graduate in record number from West Point
« Reply #12824 on: May 25, 2019, 04:37:25 PM »
Overall there were 110 African American graduates, double the number from six years ago, in 2013.

A record number of African American women graduated from West Point military academy in New York.

Among the more than 200 female cadets in the 2019 graduating class, 34 were black women, the largest number of African American female graduates in the academy's history.

U.S. Military Academy spokesman Francis DeMaro said last year's class had 27 African American female graduates.


African American women cadets celebrate at the conclusion of commencement ceremonies at West Point on Saturday.

Overall there were 110 African American graduates, double the number from six years ago, in 2013.

Tiffany Welch-Baker told NBC's "Nightly News" this week that in her journey to graduating from the military academy, she sometimes doubted herself.

“There are some moments here where you feel like, ‘Oh, am I worthy? Do I deserve to be here?’” she said.

Bria Erron said there were times at the school when she was the only woman of color, or woman of any race, in a class. Even with the increase, black women made up less than 4% of this year's graduating class.

A photo of the women dressed in uniform as they posed on the steps of the U.S. Military Academy went viral on social media last week, sparking a wave of congratulatory messages.

"Almost two years ago, West Point grad Simone Askew became the first Black woman leader of the Corps of Cadets. This month, West Point will graduate the largest class of Black women in their history. Don't let anyone tell you representation doesn't matter," Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J. tweeted.

"Congratulations on entering the next great chapter of your lives," Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif. posted. "I know you are just getting started."

Jabreal Arrington told "Nightly News" it was "overwhelming" to be a part of such a historic moment.

"To see all of our sisters, us just standing there in solidarity,” she said of the photo.

Vice President Mike Pence spoke at Saturday's ceremony, calling the more than 980 graduates "the best of the best."

Pence also told the class that as they accept "the mantle of leadership" their commander in chief, President Donald Trump, "will always have your back."

“My hope when young black girls see these photos is that they understand that regardless of what life presents you, you have the ability and fortitude to be a force to be reckoned with,” Welch-Baker told the outlet Because of Them We Can earlier this month.

The graduates will become U.S. Army second lieutenants.

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/african-american-women-graduate-record-number-west-point-n1010291
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