Im here for Madrids first team – Vinicius

first_imgNew Real Madrid signing Vinicius Junior declares he is prepared to challenge for a first-team place at the club after signing from Flamengo.Madrid is ready to loan out the 18-year-old in order to help his first-team development, but the Brazilian insists this will not be necessary.“I have come to be a part of Madrid’s first team,” Vinicius told reporters on Friday via Football Espana.“I will play for the Castilla initially to adapt and then move as quickly as possible, I believe this move will help me become a much better player.“There will be a lot of pressure here of course but there was also plenty of pressure at Flamengo, so I must be able to adapt quickly and the aim is to win as much as possible.Sergio Ramos, Real MadridZidane reveals Sergio Ramos injury concern for Real Madrid Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Zinedine Zidane has put Sergio Ramos’ availability for Real Madrid’s trip to Sevilla next weekend in doubt after withdrawing him against Levante.“I will need to learn a lot here and also make many sacrifices, but these values have been instilled in me from my family.“Neymar is my idol, I follow him really closely, it is the same for everyone in Brazil, he is someone to look up to and someone who has led the nation for the past few years.“I do not know if I am similar to him or not, or if I have the potential to be better, that is up for you guys (the press) to say.“I have come to Real Madrid to work hard and become an important player for this club.”last_img read more

Gerrard will learn more about his team – Johnstone

first_imgFormer Rangers Football Club player Derek Johnstone insists the club’s manager Steven Gerrard will learn a lot about his players over their next three fixtures.Gerrard who was appointed as the club’s manager at the end of last season has enjoyed a very impressive start to life at the Ibrox, with his team yet to lose a game in all competitions after ten games.With two wins and a draw coming in domestic league and cup competitions, the former Liverpool captain couldn’t have asked for a better start.But with games against Motherwell, a second leg UEFA Europa League playoff tie against FC Ufa and the derby against Celtic, Johnstone insists Gerrard would learn more about his team during that three-game spell.“There is a huge difference in the team from last year and Rangers are undoubtedly more of a unit now and there is a higher calibre of player across the park.” Johnstone said, as quoted by Evening times.Steven Gerrard, Michael OwenOwen reveals why Liverpool didn’t offer Gerrard a new contract Manuel R. Medina – September 6, 2019 According to Owen, the Reds wanted to sell Gerrard two years before he left the club and that’s why they didn’t offer him a contract renewal.“Defensively, we are not giving as much away as we were last season but if Steven has one worry I think it will be in a creative sense. We are not getting enough in the final third at times and I am sure Steven will try and correct that.”“Overall, though, it has been a really impressive start and the win over Ufa on Thursday night has given Rangers a chance to get back into the group stage of a European competition.”“The clean sheet at Ibrox was important and if Rangers score over in Russia I think the tie is finished. It is a great opportunity.”“If we can get through in Russia next Thursday, what a lift that would give everyone ahead of the big one, the one that we have all been waiting for at Parkhead on Sunday.”“The only bonus going into the Old Firm is that Celtic will be playing – albeit at home – on the Thursday night as well so they have that to contend with.”last_img read more

Nuno declines talking about Wolves inconsistent form

first_imgNuno Espirito debut season with Wolves in the Premier League has been really inconsistent. Having great and low performances ever since this PL season.Wolve’s draws matches against champions Manchester City, Arsenal and Manchester United have been offset by defeats to Cardiff and Huddersfield before the Chelsea victory.And when asked to talk about the inconsistency in Wolves performance Nuno replied:“If only I had the answer to that.”Victor Wanyama, Tottenham Hotspur, Premier LeaguePochettino admits Wanyama remains in his Spurs plans Manuel R. Medina – September 14, 2019 Kenyan international, Victor Wanyama, was the protagonist of a summer transfer saga, but in the end, he is set to stay at Tottenham Hotspur.“No manager can have the right answer to it because you prepare the same way, go through all of the details, you build your own team, choose your game plan and decide how to play. And then there’s a game and an opponent, who have their own ideas.”“So there is conflict that exists in a game after which you cannot say what we should change.”“We’ve won games with less of the ball and lost games with more of the ball and more shots on goal. It’s a game, it doesn’t have anything to do with the top six teams.”last_img read more

Sampdoria director returns to work after health scare

first_imgWalter Sabatini has returned to his role at Sampdoria after being rushed to hospital in September with breathing problemsThe 63-year-old sustained some very serious respiratory problems, due to being a regular smoker, and was rushed into hospital in September.But Sabatini is now fully recovered and ready to get back into his role as director of football at Sampdoria after suspending his “relationship with cigarettes”.“The doctors have won, so, for now, I’ve suspended my relationship with cigarettes,” Sabatini told Il Secolo XIX.“I’m fine and the worst is behind me. I can’t express myself fully, but I feel good and I’m happy to be back.Sacchi explains Sarri, Conte, and Ancelotti Manuel R. Medina – September 14, 2019 Arrigo Sacchi talked about how Sarri has a tougher time at Juventus than Conte at Inter; while Ancelotti’s “blood is boiling” at Napoli.Arrigo Sacchi…“It’s been a tough few months for me, both in the hospital and at home, and I certainly missed working on the field.“For now don’t ask me about the transfer market. We’ll have the chance to talk about it in the next few days.”Sabatini formerly played as a midfielder during his playing days for the likes of Perugia, AS Roma and Parma.Meanwhile, Sampdoria will return to action from the winter break this Saturday against AC Milan in a Coppa Italia last-16 match.last_img read more

International School Student wins Primary School Bee

first_img Final Day of National Primary School Spelling Bee National Spelling Bee attracts 11 high schools Related Items:international school, jenna hatmin, spelling bee Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppProvidenciales, 16 Feb 2015 – National Primary Spelling Bee champion is Jenna Hatmin; a student of International School of the Turks and Caicos. Hatmin, with 46 points at the end of the rounds won a MacBook Air 13” with Core i5 and a wireless printer to sweeten the feel of her new title. The students were so sharp this year that they exhausted the seen words list and when into unseen words before a winner was named. Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Best Institute wins FortisTCI Primary Science Quiz; Science Fair today Recommended for youlast_img read more

The Regional Response to Childhood Obesity Intensifies

first_imgFacebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppBridgetown, Barbados, 9th February 2017 –  Childhood obesity continues to be a serious public health concern in the Region. Statistics show that more than 30% of our Caribbean adolescents are overweight or obese, and risk developing non-communicable diseases (NCDs), such as hypertension, diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular diseases later in life. The economic burden of diabetes and hypertension alone is estimated at between 1.4% and 8% of GDP in the Caribbean, thus creating a significant drain on Caribbean economies, and threatening development prospects.Recognizing the critical need for leadership and cross sectoral action to address this health issue, the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) in collaboration with the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO), and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), and with funding from CDB hosted a meeting to develop a road map to prevent childhood obesity through improved food and nutrition security.The opening ceremony took place earlier this week at the Barbados Yacht Club, and was marked by the presence of the Barbados Minister of Health, The Honourable John D. E. Boyce and other high level officials from regional institutions.In his welcome remarks, Dr C. James Hospedales, CARPHA Executive Director said “The meeting will look at how we can together accelerate action on the ground, in countries, in the food environment and nutrition area, especially for the most vulnerable – our children.  The meeting is historic as it gathers at least half of CARICOM Institutions to focus attention on a key development challenge through implementing a 6-point policy package for healthier less obesogenic food environments.”  He went on to say fiscal and trade measures, mandatory nutritional labeling to empower consumers and elimination of trans fats from food supplies are among the areas that must be addressed, buttressed by region wide and sustained information and communication.President of the Healthy Caribbean Coalition (HCC), Professor Trevor Hassell, congratulated CARPHA in hosting the meeting and stated that “HCC strongly supports this initiative since the issue at hand, namely childhood obesity and overweight and consequential epidemic of NCDs, present a significant health and development challenge for the people of the Region requiring as it does a multi-sectoral, whole of society response.  This requires active participation and engagement of the public sector, both health and non-health, civil society and the private sector working hand in hand and contributing in their respective areas of expertise and influence.”Ms Jessie Schutte Aine, PAHO Programme Coordinator for the Caribbean told the gathering there has been a dramatic rise in the number of children who are overweight or obese in the Region. She added that childhood obesity is a rapidly growing epidemic, putting children at risk of developing serious health problems including diabetes, heart disease and leading to premature death and disability later in life.  She stated available data indicates that in one generation, the Caribbean has moved from problems of 2 malnutrition and underweight children to the other extreme. According to Ms Schutt Aine over the last 35 years, there has been a major shift in diet moving away from staple foods that are indigenous to the Region, towards foods that are highly processed.“NCDs has long been identified as one of the three super priorities for Caribbean Cooperation in Health (CCH)”, stated Dr Rudolph Cummings in his opening remarks. The Programme Manager for Health Sector Reform at CARICOM stressed the need for a more genuine effort at harnessing the intersectoral energies that are required to make a difference in our NCDs problem and congratulated CARPHA on hosting the meeting.Through a virtual presentation, CARICOM Assistant Secretary-General for Trade and Economic Integration, Mr. Joseph Cox, also underscored the need for the Region to take decisive action, and stated that the “timing of this action cannot be overstated and the opportunity to develop a road map is welcomed in order to deal with the issue.” Mr Cox explained that a “strategic alliance between the private sector, public sector and civil society is necessary to affect change and move in concert.”“As a Caribbean Region, we have faltered in our response to the epidemic in childhood obesity with many countries in the Region reporting prevalence rates in excess of 30% in the pre-teen and teenage population. Collectively, we are well positioned to drive this important element of the health agenda within CARICOM,” stated Honourable John D. E. Boyce, Minister of Health, Barbados in his feature address.  Minister Boyce went on to say there is a need for greater enforcement of the policy of physical education in schools. He believes that more time should also be allotted for physical education sessions, even during the ‘exam’ term.In closing the Minister thanked CARPHA for its work in developing appropriate regimes to the childhood obesity epidemic, and its technical support to developing surveillance systems, health promotions strategies, and policies options for addressing childhood obesity.The Regional High Level Meeting to Develop a Road map on Multi-sectoral Action to Prevent Childhood Obesity through Improved Food and Nutrition Security takes place from 9th – 10th February 2017 at the CXC Headquarters. The focus of the meeting is to foster collaboration between regional economic and social sector institutions to support the implementation of a 6-point policy package developed by CARPHA as part of the Caribbean Cooperation in Health initiative (CCH-IV). #MagneticMediaNews #ChildhoodObesitycenter_img Related Items:#ChildhoodObesity, #magneticmedianewslast_img read more

Police search for missing 81yearold man with dementia

first_img KUSI Newsroom, KUSI Newsroom Police search for missing 81-year-old man with dementia May 2, 2018 SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — Police sought the public’s help Wednesday to find a missing 81-year-old man from San Diego who suffers from early-onset dementia and hasn’t been seen since walking away from Viejas Casino in Alpine.Abby Khouli was described as 5 feet 2 inches tall and 120 pounds. He was last seen Tuesday afternoon when he was wearing brown pants, a brown jacket and a black hat.Police said Khouli went missing once before, about one year ago, before being located in Los Angeles.Khouli can speak and understand English and Arabic.Anyone with information about Khouli was asked to call the San Diego Police Department at (619) 531-2000 Posted: May 2, 2018 Categories: Local San Diego News FacebookTwitterlast_img read more

Hyundai is working on a rearwheel drive electric scooter that docks in

first_img 2020 BMW M340i review: A dash of M makes everything better 9 Photos Hyundai i30 N Project C gets racier Post a comment 0 5:43 Tags Enlarge ImageThis lithium-ion-powered beauty has suspension and it’s rear-wheel drive. Hyundai Scooters are so hot right now that it seems everyone is trying to get in on them. First, we had companies like Bird and Lime, then Uber and Lyft, not to mention Segway and God knows who else, but the latest company to show up to the party is Hyundai, according to an announcement by the company on Tuesday.Yep, the South Korean car company that makes vehicles like the Veloster and the Palisade is considering producing a two-wheeled electric scooter, and here’s the kicker — it could be included with future Hyundai and Kia vehicles.If that sounds like an off-beat but cool idea, know that Hyundai didn’t think of it. Honda offered its tiny Honda City car with a foldable gasoline-powered scooter called the Motocompo in the mid-1980s, and it’s still one of the coolest things ever.Anyway, the Hyundai scooter prototype has a claimed range of 20 kilometers (that’s around 12.5 miles in old money), do approximately 12.5 mph, and unlike most of those lame rental scooters, this baby is rear-wheel drive. Do you know what that means? Wheelies, dude. Wheelies.It’ll be powered by a lithium-ion battery, and when the scooter is docked in a vehicle it’ll automatically recharge said battery. Other cool features include the addition of suspension to the scooter’s front wheel, so as you silently waft your way through a major city, you don’t rattle your fillings out because of dilapidated infrastructure.”This is the vehicle-mounted personal scooter [that] could be featured in future Hyundai Motor Group vehicles,” said DongJin Hyun, head of the Hyundai Motor Group Robotics team. “We want to make our customers’ lives as easy and enjoyable as possible. Our personal electric scooter makes first- and last-mile commuting a joy, while helping to reduce congestion and emissions in city centers.”Future developments could, according to Hyundai, include a regenerative braking system that would be able to recover up to 7% of the vehicle’s battery charge. Hyundai makes no mention of whether it’ll be able to do sick tail-whips at the skate park though. Hyundai Palisade is a surprisingly palatial three-row… Share your voice 2019 Chevy Malibu review: Swing and a miss Now playing: Watch this: 2020 Hyundai Palisade review: Posh enough to make Genesis jealous More From Roadshow Hyundai Roadshow Hyundailast_img read more

US urges Myanmar to help implement Annan Commission recommendations

first_imgUS State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert. Photo: ReutersThe USA has urged the Myanmar government to fulfil its commitment to work with UNHCR and UNDP to implement the recommendations of the Kofi Annan-led Advisory Commission on Rakhine State.”We welcome the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) by UNHCR, UNDP, and the Myanmar government to support the creation of conditions conducive to the voluntary, safe, dignified, and sustainable return of Rohingya refugees to Burma, whether to their places of origin or of their choosing,” US Department of State spokesperson Heather Nauert said on Thursday.Nauert said this is a positive step and they see this MoU as a confidence-building measure that, if effectively implemented, could allow much-needed humanitarian assistance to reach all the affected communities and assist Myanmar in creating the necessary conditions for voluntary return and to support recovery and resilience-based development for the benefit of all communities living in Rakhine State.last_img read more

US Company Turned Blind Eye To Wild Behavior On Iraq Base

first_img Share Associated PressThis undated photo obtained by the Associated Press shows an Iraqi bodyguard hired by Sallyport Global to protect VIPs. When a Toyota SUV was stolen from Balad air base, he became the chief suspect and was linked to a dangerous Iran-backed militia and was viewed by investigators as “a hard-core recruit to become a terrorist who poses a serious threat to all personnel on this base.”WASHINGTON (AP) — The two American investigators felt a sense of foreboding that Sunday as they headed to an emergency meeting with their boss on the Iraqi air base. But they didn’t expect to be surrounded by armed guards, disarmed, detained against their will — and fired without explanation.It was March 12 — less than two months ago. Robert Cole and Kristie King were in Iraq working as investigators for Sallyport Global, a U.S. company that was paid nearly $700 million in federal contracts to secure Balad Air Base, home to a squadron of F-16 fighter jets as part of the U.S.-led coalition to annihilate the Islamic State.Cole and King had spent more than a year together in Iraq investigating all manner of misconduct at Balad and beyond.They’d uncovered evidence that Sallyport employees were involved in sex trafficking, they said. Staff on base routinely flew in smuggled alcohol in such high volumes that a plane once seesawed on the tarmac under the weight. Rogue militia stole enormous generators off the base using flatbed trucks and a 60-foot crane, driving past Sallyport security guards.Managers repeatedly shut down Cole and King’s investigations and failed to report their findings to the U.S. government that was footing the bill, the investigators said.Right before they were fired, Cole and King had opened an investigation into allegations of timesheet fraud among Sallyport employees. In a call with Sallyport lawyers, they said, they were advised to keep two sets of books about potential crimes and contract violations.“One for the government to see and one for the government not to see,” King told The Associated Press.In a statement to the AP, Sallyport said it follows all contracting rules at the base, home to the F-16s that are a key to the fight against the Islamic State.“Sallyport has a strong record of providing security and life support services in challenging war zones like Iraq and plays a major but unheralded role in the war against ISIS,” Chief Operating Officer Matt Stuckart wrote. “The company takes any suggestion of wrongdoing at Balad very seriously.”More than 150 documents obtained by AP, as well as interviews with more than a half-dozen former or current Sallyport employees, show how a contractor ran amok after being hired for lucrative and essential combat support operations. The investigators and other witnesses describe grave security breaches and illegal schemes that went unreported until the government asked about them.The point behind requiring contractors to employ their own investigators was to limit the waste and corruption that has marred federal security contracting going back to the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks.The Pentagon’s own auditors, who were frequently on the base 50 miles north of Baghdad, were not told of the serious problems until early this year, a potential violation of law. The Pentagon auditors’ reports, obtained by the AP, detail dozens of more minor infractions. That gap illustrates the limits of U.S. oversight for billions of dollars in contracts run by companies that have cashed in on the fight to protect Americans from extremism.The Defense Department declined to comment.The morning of March 12, King had gone to church and was still carrying her Bible when she and Cole walked into the office foyer for the meeting with the boss. To their astonishment, they were immediately surrounded by armed security guards and forced to turn over the 9 mm pistols they both routinely carried on the job.The boss, David Saffold, informed them they were being fired but wouldn’t say why.“We knew too much,” King told AP in an interview at her home in Amarillo, Texas. “They want to cover it up and move on because it’s a huge amount of money.”____BODYGUARD OR TERRORIST?In 2004, Rob Cole was a retired California police officer and licensed private investigator when he decided to go to Iraq for a series of contracting jobs. Like many U.S. contractors working in hazardous regions, he went because the work paid a lot more than he could make back home.Americans have been at Balad on and off since 2003. Sallyport’s parent company, Michael Baker International, announced in 2014 its subsidiaries had been awarded $838 million for work on the base.Cole’s first job at Balad was cut short in June 2014, a month after he arrived, when the Islamic State group began sweeping across Iraq and Syria. The extremists ultimately made it to the gates of Balad, which was evacuated.When the Americans went back, they found a looted base largely under the control of Iranian-backed Shiite militias that were supporting the Iraqi government, according to former employees. A former senior manager told the AP that Sallyport reached an understanding with the militias that they would not enter the flight and residential areas. He declined to be named because he wasn’t authorized to discuss the matter and didn’t want to be blacklisted from future jobs.Cole, now 62, returned to Balad in May 2015, as Sallyport was preparing for the arrival of American F-16s sold to the Iraqi government. Sallyport’s mission, along with its parent company, was to keep the base operating smoothly, train the Iraqis, and most importantly maintain security on the base, where thousands of Iraqis and hundreds of contractors work.The federal contract required investigations into potential crimes and violations involving the company’s work at Balad. That was Cole and King’s assignment.“They wanted someone to be competent enough to process an investigation, if there was a crime, or if someone turned up dead,” King said. “The way it was put to me: If someone turned up with a knife in their back, who are you going to call?”From the start, it was clear that much was awry on the base. Despite the urgency of fighting IS, the delivery of the F-16s had been delayed by months amid security concerns. It would be catastrophic if IS seized the base and its multimillion-dollar jets.On July 13, 2015, four F-16s flew in from Arizona, the first of 36 fighter jets that the U.S. planned to deliver.Brett McGurk, then the U.S. deputy envoy for the international coalition against IS, hailed the arrival in a tweet .“After years of preparation & training in the U.S., Iraqi pilots today landed the 1st squadron of Iraqi F16s in #Iraq,” he wrote.The first security breach came in less than 24 hours: A long black skid mark on the tarmac was reported. It stopped about 45 yards from the nose of one of the fighter jets. A truck had plowed through a rope barrier in the “no-go” zone, where lethal force is authorized to protect the planes. For more than 10 minutes, no one even responded as the vehicle drove away, according to reports citing surveillance video.That turned out not to be a terrorist. But Cole says the out-of-control truck was a harbinger. He noted the lax protection for the F-16s in his report and forwarded it to the chief of security, Steve Asher. Under the requirements of the contract, Cole’s report should have then made its way to the Pentagon. But he says Asher kept a lid on the incident.Three months later, in October 2015, Cole reported another security breach, the theft of a Toyota SUV that Sallyport had assigned to bodyguards to drive VIPs around the base. Cole eventually uncovered a plot by three Iraqi Sallyport staff working with a dangerous Iran-backed militia, known as Kataib Imam Ali.The Shiite militia was an ongoing headache, politically connected and operating outside the law, with sidelines in theft and gunrunning. It has ties to the leader of the umbrella militia Popular Mobilization Forces, which is on the U.S. list of designated terrorists.To Cole’s astonishment, the prime suspect threatened to join the militia during his interrogation. He was a Sallyport bodyguard. In fact, the investigators later found a photo of him on his Facebook page, dressed in black militia garb and a patch indicating his allegiance to the group.He is “viewed by the Investigations Unit as a hard-core recruit to become a terrorist who poses a serious threat to all personnel on this base,” Cole wrote in another report.The Toyota was recovered within a few days, but Cole was ordered off the case. In an interview with AP, the former senior manager defended the company’s order, saying negotiations with the militias were highly sensitive and had to be handled with Iraqi cooperation. Still, the suspect was supposed to be banned from the base, and Cole later saw the man walking around freely.___GUMMY BEARS SOAKED IN VODKAThe longer Cole was on the base, the more he suspected that management was turning a blind eye to criminal activity.On the books, Balad is a dry base, where alcohol is restricted. But in reality the booze was everywhere and everyone knew it. Finding out how it got there led to more troubling questions.A Sallyport employee who worked in the air terminal reported in late 2015 that co-workers were involved in a smuggling scheme. They were bringing in cases and cases of water bottles filled with liquor that they’d sneaked onto planes flying in from Baghdad.According to investigative documents and people who watched the smuggling in action, three empty suitcases would routinely be loaded onto a flight to Baghdad. Each time, the bags came back with plastic water bottles filled with liquor. When they were unloaded, the bags were not searched but taken directly outside to be picked up — a serious security risk in a war zone.“You could be putting a bomb in there,” said one former employee who witnessed the smuggling. “You’ve got people just going rogue.” He spoke only on condition of anonymity because he didn’t want to imperil his new job with a different overseas contractor.Steve Anderson, who worked on flight logistics, says he was pressured to sign off on faked flight manifests that omitted passenger names and falsified the weight of cargo to cover for the alcohol smuggling and other infractions — a violation of international flight regulations. The planes were getting so weighed down he was worried about flight safety.“They were playing Russian roulette with the passengers’ lives — including mine,” Anderson said.Once, he watched a plane that was being unloaded tip nose-forward on its wheels onto the tarmac because it was so overloaded.“I could hear the people inside the aircraft yelling. I never seen anything like that in my entire life,” he recalled. “It was like a seesaw.”Then out came the telltale bags that he watched get shepherded around security.When Anderson aired his concerns to management and refused to sign the falsified manifests, his boss said he didn’t want to hear about any more problems.“He said, ‘If you don’t like the job that you’re doing maybe you ought to find somewhere else to work.’”Anderson went on a medical leave and was told his position had been filled when he sought to return.Rumors of the alcohol smuggling reached Cole and King separately. Informants told them that flight line staff, who directed airplanes on the runways and handled cargo, were showing up drunk. In one instance they had passed around a bowlful of gummy bears soaked in vodka .The investigators got a tip that the bootleggers were working out of two hotels in Baghdad.Thinking they were undercover, King and an Iraqi investigator on the team went to one of the hotels, the al-Burhan, five minutes from Baghdad’s airport. She said informants told them the smuggling was run by the hotel manager and a number of Sallyport employees.During their interviews, they discovered an even more alarming scheme.The hotel had been running a prostitution ring, and Sallyport employees were among the customers, informants said. Four Ethiopian women who had worked as prostitutes at the hotel were later hired in housekeeping by Sallyport, and were still sending money back to a pimp in the al Burhan.The evidence suggested, the investigators told the AP, that Sallyport managers had either knowingly or unwittingly abetted human trafficking involving vulnerable female immigrants in a war zone, a revelation the company would be required to report to the U.S. government under federal law.In the hotel’s courtyard, a prime smuggling suspect, who was a Sallyport employee, angrily confronted King and said that a senior manager at the headquarters in Virginia, Roy Hernandez, had tipped him off about the investigation.On Feb. 15, 2016, Cole and King were ordered by Sallyport’s Balad program manager, Kim Poole, to shut down the investigations into both the bootlegging and the prostitution on Hernandez’s instructions, according to the investigators.The following day, Sallyport sent out an email to staff warning that they might be audited over trafficking and noting that they were required to report violations.But Stuckart says the prostitution allegations were not substantiated.“It is absurd to suggest that the company would shut down an inquiry into a matter of such gravity,” he said.More than a year later, two of the Ethiopian women were still working on the base, Cole said, and the alcohol smuggling had started back up, according to a report obtained by AP dated May 28, 2016.___“IT WAS MIND-BLOWING”Late last year, it became clear that little had changed after the earlier security breaches. On Nov. 15, Cole got a report that three large generators had been stolen from the base for a total loss of $1 million.According to surveillance videos, just before 2 a.m., militia had driven two flatbed trucks and a crane onto the base, driving right past the security gate. Cole estimates the crane, when extended, was at least 60 feet tall. After successfully loading the three generators and partially covering them with burlap, the militia drove off the base unchallenged. The episode lasted three hours.Cole said they passed within about ten feet of the Sallyport security guard force. “Nobody reported anything. It was a disaster and it was covered up. That is absolutely covered up,” he said. “What if the intent was not to steal but to commit a terrorist act?”According to Sallyport’s Stuckart, the theft occurred when the Iraqi base commander “granted local militia members access to the base” and said the generators weren’t located in his company’s security zone. “Sallyport had no authority to keep these militia members from taking the generators.”It was after that incident that a Defense Department auditor, who normally concerned himself with bin tagging, trash collection and the accounting minutiae of base life, began asking questions.Cole and King had kept all their reports in an investigative log. They had also flagged the important cases to management and they had assumed that the company informed the government.It became clear from the auditor’s question that he knew nothing about it. “When we finally got the idea that they were hiding all of the stuff from the U.S. government, it was mind-blowing,” said King.By then, clouds were looming for Cole and King. They had begun yet another investigation into timesheet fraud after getting a tip that Sallyport employees were systematically collecting salaries but not working.They say the company stalled the investigation, ordered every step to be approved by its lawyers and finally told Cole and King in a conference call to keep two sets of books.The implication for Cole was that they should omit from the government’s copy anything that would “be controversial and would reveal any failure or embarrassing detail.” The lawyers explained that that information was covered under attorney-client privilege. The two investigators, sitting together on the other end of the call, looked at each other in disbelief and shook their heads“We realized right away that that’s fraud, probably a crime, and we weren’t going to be a part of it,” Cole said.Shortly after they notified Sallyport that they wanted to interview managers who were suspects, their boss, Saffold, asked them to come to his office. It was Sunday morning, and King left church early.At an interview in his family home in Georgia, Cole recalled the fine sand that stuck to his sweat as he walked across the base to the meeting. Saffold ordered armed guards to take their pistols and detain the two at their work stations. King burst into tears, and the guards apparently thought better of restraining her when she said she wanted to bring her Bible back to her quarters, the investigators say.Cole and King said their termination paperwork was signed by the human resources manager they were investigating as part of the timesheet fraud.In an interview in Amarillo, Texas, where King has returned to work as a sheriff’s deputy, she expressed regrets.“It hurts me that I had to leave and not correct issues that were occurring, and it hurts me that they want to cover them up,” she said. “It’s so painful to me, it makes me lose sleep at night. Something’s wrong and did not get right.”___Hinnant contributed from Paris. Susannah George in Baghdad and Jack Gillum in Washington contributed. Follow Butler on Twitter at https://twitter.com/desmondbutler and Hinnant at https://twitter.com/lhinnant .___Online: Read documents about Sallyport’s activities in Iraq at http://apne.ws/2p87fqZ .____Have a tip on government contracting? Contact the authors securely at https://www.ap.org/tipslast_img read more

Party Politics Texas Edition Ep 19 The Wager

first_img X Listen To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: 00:00 /16:50center_img Public DomainPostcard depiction of two popular Frisco Railroad passenger trains, The Meteor and The Texas Special. The Meteor is at left. Both trains were equipped with diesel locomotives and brand new line paint schemes in 1948.On this episode of Party Politics: Texas Edition, co-hosts Jay Aiyer and Brandon Rottinghaus break down these tumultuous topics in Texas political news:The passing of Gov. Mark WhiteTexas Education Agency may take over ISDs across the state for low performanceLt. Gov. Dan Patrick: Cities run by democrats are the problem!No democrats running for governor?Then the profs dig deep into – rhymes with “merry mecial mession” – this very special session. How many of  Gov. Abbott’s priority bills will get passed? Care to wager? By the way, don’t forget to check out our national episodes of Party Politics, too.Party Politics is produced by Dacia Clay, Edel Howlin and Laura Lucas. Our audio engineer is Todd Hulslander. This article is part of the Party Politics podcast Sharelast_img read more

Anelka strike helps Mumbai edge past Kerala in ISL

first_imgA stunning goal from Nicolas Anelka helped Mumbai City FC to pip Kerala Blasters 1-0, in their Hero Indian Super League (ISL) match at the D.Y. Patil stadium, here on Sunday.A foul from Ishfaq Ahmed on Jan Stohanzl earned the hosts a free kick in the 44th minute and Anelka was quick to capitalise. The former Chelsea star’s strike curled above the defensive wall to the left post with a helpless goalkeeper, Sandip Nandy, diving in a desperate attempt. Also Read – Khel Ratna for Deepa and Bajrang, Arjuna for JadejaAnelka, who had missed the first three matches due to suspension, showed his class and also earned the much needed three points for his side.The hosts looked like a new side in the second half, rejuvenated by their one goal lead. They attacked well, seemed eager to add a few more goals to their tally and came close to achieving it a few times.Mumbai had the chance to double the lead in the 58th minute when Stohanzl skied the shot and frittered away the golden opportunity. Also Read – Endeavour is to facilitate smooth transition: ShastriIndian forward Subash Singh was also guilty of missing a sitter in the 74th minute. Anelka did everything right to beat the three defenders and feed the ball to Singh who shot it over the cross bar.Anelka seemed desperate to make up for the lost matches and the French striker came close to adding to his tally by going solo in the 86th minute and the goalkeeper blocked it.Moritz found the ball on the rebound but couldn’t slot it home.The 35-year old had another opportunity a minute later but Moritz squandered the chance inside of the box and went wide.The hosts looked to increase their lead even in the dying moments of the game when Nadong Bhutia hit the top bar, a few seconds before the close of the match.last_img read more

Ahead of Panchayat polls Election Commissioner meets Governor

first_imgKolkata: State Election Commissioner A K Singh on Wednesday met Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi and briefed him about the preparations for the Panchayat elections scheduled on May 1, 3 and 5.”I briefed him about the security arrangement in place for filing of nominations and also informed him about the security measures that we are planning to put in place during the elections,” Singh told reporters while leaving Raj Bhavan after the meeting. Responding to a question on whether there were discussions about Central Force deployment, Singh only answered in the positive and did not elaborate. Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flightsThere have been reports of violence during filing of nominations for the Panchayat polls that had begun from Monday and will continue till April 9.Top brass of the state secretariat, including Chief Secretary Moloy De, met the Governor on Wednesday.BJP workers held a demonstration outside the State Election Commission office, demanding free and fair elections.Alleging that the SEC is “incapable” of holding peaceful elections, the BJP said it has decided to move the Supreme Court with a plea to make arrangements for free and fair polls. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Merc, 2 B’deshi bystanders killedTrinamool Congress has termed the allegations as “baseless”. The BJP has filed 1,147 nominations, while CPI-M has filed 351. But still they are alleging that they are being prevented from filing nominations,” said Partha Chatterjee, minister of Parliamentary Affairs. A Trinamool Congress delegation will meet the Governor on Thursday.CPI-M state secretary Suryakanta Misra on Wednesday advised workers of all the Opposition parties to go to file the nomination together and resist if there is any violence to stop them. He criticised the State Election Commission for holding poll on the International Workers’ Day, which falls on May 1.last_img read more

This woman used an Ikea hack to outsmart NYCs nobigdogsonsubway rule

first_imgThis woman used an Ikea hack to outsmart NYC’s no-big-dogs-on-subway rule Share Tuesday, June 4, 2019 NEW YORK CITY — Everyone’s got a favourite Ikea hack, whether it’s transforming a planter into a chandelier or turning a plain desk into a stylish bar cart. But one woman’s hack may have trumped them all after she was spotted on a New York City subway platform.To get around a pesky city policy that permits only dogs small enough to fit in a bag to travel on trains, the unidentified woman used an Ikea blue bag – yes, that Ikea blue bag – to get her dog onto the subway.But even though she could have carried her dog in the bag (everyone knows how roomy those blue bags are), the woman did one better – she cut out four leg holes in the bottom of the bag so that her dog could walk freely on their own.Genius!my favorite lifehack is NYC residents who follow the “your dog must fit in a bag to ride the subway” rule on the slimmest technicalities possible pic.twitter.com/O7ZTprwNWk— Christopher Sebela (@xtop) June 1, 2019Writer Christopher Sebela witnessed the woman’s stroke of genius and snapped a quick pic while waiting for the train. He then tweeted the photo and wrote: “My favourite lifehack is NYC residents who follow the “your dog must fit in a bag to ride the subway” rule on the slimmest technicalities possible.”More news:  Virgin Voyages de-activates Quebec accounts at FirstMates agent portalThe photo is reminiscent of another pic taken earlier this year of a man waiting for the subway with his shaggy dog casually slung over his shoulder in a big burlap sack. Despite his attempt at convincing the train conductor that the sack was, in fact, an extra-large tote bag, the conductor refused to let him board.No word as to whether the woman and her dog ended up making it on the train, but Ikea hacks very rarely let us down so the odds are good!Saw this guy arguing with an @MTA conductor about bringing his dog on the subway. Dude said the dog’s burlap sack was a bag; conductor said nope, wouldn’t let him on the train. @Gothamist @A_W_Gordon @2AvSagas #NYCSubway pic.twitter.com/qjgN5anKV3— Will Sabel Courtney (@WillSCourtney) April 7, 2019 Travelweek Group center_img Posted by Tags: Dogs, New York City << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Facebook has started to test live video streaming

first_imgFacebook has started to test live video streaming in the US, allowing users to broadcast from their phone in real-time.Facebook said it had rolled out the new feature to a “small percentage” of iPhone users based in the US, having first tested the feature with a handful of celebrities in the summer.To share a live video, users can tap on their Update Status and then select a new Live Video icon. They will be able to see which of their friends are tuned in and the video will be saved to their Facebook Timeline once they have finished broadcasting.“No matter where you are, Live lets you bring your friends and family right next to you to experience what’s happening together,” according to Facebook.The social network also announced a new collage feature that will let users grouping photos and videos that were taken together on their phone into “a scrolling, moving collage”.“As we were building Live we needed to reconsider the process of sharing from mobile devices. We are currently piloting a new design with a few people on iPhone and Android where they can now tap ‘What’s on your mind?’ at the top of News Feed to see a drop down menu of all the different options they can share. This will allow us to include new sharing features in the future,” said Facebook.In August, Facebook first said it would let site users connect and interact with public figures via live video, with celebrities like Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, Serena Williams and Michael Bublé signing up for these early trials.last_img read more

The Bluetooth Special Interest Group SIG has ann

first_imgThe Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) has announced that Bluetooth 5 will launch either in late 2016 or early 2017 and will include “significantly increased range, speed, and broadcast messaging capacity.”The SIG said that the extending range in Bluetooth 5 will deliver robust and reliable Internet of Things (IoT) connections that will make “full-home and building, and outdoor use-cases a reality”.It claimed that higher speeds will send data faster and optimise responsiveness, while increasing broadcast capacity will boost the next generation of ‘connectionless’ services like beacons and location-relevant information and navigation.“Bluetooth 5 will transform the way people experience the IoT by making it something that happens simply and seamlessly around them,” said Mark Powell, executive director of the BluetoothSIG.“Increasing operation range will enable connections to IoT devices that extend far beyond the walls of a typical home, while increasing speed supports faster data transfers and software updates for devices.”The SIG now has 30,000 members, with membership up 11% since the end of 2015. The group estimates there are 8.2 billion Bluetooth products in use today and that Bluetooth will be in more than one-third of all installed IoT devices by 2020.last_img read more

Canal group has signed a deal with local media gr

first_imgCanal+ group has signed a deal with local media group Forever to launch a pay TV service in Myanmar.Canal+ plans to launch the service this year, pending local regulatory approval, with a service accessible to a large part of the Myanmar market including local and international content dubbed into Burmese.Forever currently provides an bouquet of pay TV services distributed over the country’s digital-terrestrial network as well as via satellite in partnership with state broadcaster MRTV. The service offers a range of local and international services with a further range of international services available via satellite.In addition to MRTV and Forever’s platform, Shwe Than Lwin Media-owned Skynet provides a rival bouquet of services delivered via the Apstar satellite platform, with a hold on leading international sports rights.Canal+ said that it and Forever aimed to jointly create a major player in the Myanmar audiovisual market in the coming years, addressing a growing market with about 12 million homes identified as a possible target market.“This project forms part of a development strategy of Canal+ Group in Asia, where we are already present in partnership with Vietnamese public television. We are delighted to team up and combine our expertise with that of the Forever group, with which we share strong ambitions for Myanmar,” said Jacques du Puy, president of Canal+ Overseas.“To team up with Vivendi Group is for the Forever group a real opportunity to offer in Myanmar a new pay TV offering based on high-quality Myanma audiovisual productions and international programming that is accessible and comprehensible to the population. I and therefore delighted with this agreement and very confident of its success in Myanmar,” said Win Maw, CEO of Forever.Canal+ has banked on international expansion to compensate an ongoing decline in its domestic French subscriber base. International subscribers outnumbered French ones for the first time by the end of the first half of last year, with most of the growth coming from Africa. The group has about 800,000 subscribers in Vietnam.last_img read more

Drilling Intersects 102 Meters of 197 gpt Gold at

first_imgDrilling Intersects 102 Meters of 1.97 gpt Gold at Columbus Gold’s Paul Isnard Gold Project; Drilling Confirms Depth Extension of Gold MineralizationColumbus Gold Corporation (CGT: TSX-V) (“Columbus Gold”) is pleased to announce results of the initial five (5) core drill holes at its Paul Isnard gold project in French Guiana. The holes confirm depth extension of gold mineralization below shallow holes drilled on the 43-101 compliant 1.9 million ounce Montagne d’Or inferred gold deposit at Paul Isnard in the 1990’s and support the current program of resource expansion through offsetting open-ended gold mineralization indicated by the earlier holes.Robert Giustra, CEO of Columbus Gold, commented: “These drill results validate Columbus Gold’s approach to adding ounces with a lower-risk drilling program designed to infill and to extend the mineralized zones to 200 m vertical depth from surface; a depth amenable to open pit mining.”  Fourteen (14) holes have been completed (assays pending) by Columbus Gold in the current program and drilling is progressing at the rate of about 3,000 meters per month with one drill-rig on a 24 hour basis. Columbus Gold plans to accelerate the current program by engaging a second drill-rig as soon as one can be obtained. Please visit our website for more information about the project. Well, there’s no denying the fact that it was a pretty ugly day yesterday, regardless of whether it was free-market forces or ‘da boyz’.Gold sold off about seven dollars from the Far East open on their Thursday morning, right up until 12:40 p.m. in London…which was 7:40 a.m. in New York…forty minutes before the Comex open.At that point the dollar index began its 80 basis point rally…and the precious metals headed for the nether reaches of the earth.The gold price made a bit of a recovery once the London p.m. gold fix was in…but the engineered price decline began anew shortly before 11:00 a.m. Eastern time.  Gold hit its low price tick of the day [$1,563.30 spot] right at the 1:30 p.m. Comex close…and from there it basically traded ruler flat into the 5:15 p.m. electronic close.Gold closed at $1,565.20 spot…down a whopping $41.60 on the day.  For the second day in a row, net volume was immense at 207,000 contracts.It was pretty much an identical story in silver, as the price declined below the $28 spot mark shortly after trading began in the Far East on Thursday…and then bumped along that price ceiling right up until the same 12:40 p.m. London time as gold, before suffering the same fate as the gold price.  Up until that time, silver was only down about two bits.Silver’s absolute low price tick [26.77 spot] came a couple of minutes before the close of Comex trading.  The price recovered a bit from there, but then traded flat into the electronic close.  Silver’s intraday price move was $1.35…or 4.80%.Silver closed the Thursday trading session at $26.88 spot…down a whopping $1.24 on the day.  Net volume was pretty chunky as well…43,000 contracts, give or take.The dollar index opened around 81.53 on Thursday morning…and didn’t do much of anything until it hit its ‘low’ of the day at 81.50 about 7:20 a.m. in New York.  Then away it went to the upside, with the high of the day [82.36] coming about 3:15 p.m. Eastern time…and closed the day almost on that high at 82.30.  From top to bottom, the dollar index rally was 86 points…up 1.06%.There certainly was an amazing amount of carnage in the precious metals prices all things considered.  If you look at the almost 80 basis point decline that the dollar index had on Tuesday, there is no sign of that in the price of any of the precious metals on that day.  I pointed that abnormality out in this column on Wednesday…and you can read about it here.So, was the big dollar index rally yesterday the cause of the big decline in the precious metals.  Partly, I’m sure, but it was convenient cover for JPMorgan et al to really beat the living snot out of them one more time…especially silver.Here’s the 3-day dollar index chart so you can see the almost equally large decline on Tuesday…which had no effect on the gold price at all.The gold stocks got smoked.  They gapped down big…and continued to decline…finishing right on their lows of the day.  The HUI finished down 5.28%.The silver stocks got in the ear as well.  Nick Laird’s Silver Sentiment Index closed down a huge 6.81%.(Click on image to enlarge)The CME’s Daily Delivery Report showed that six gold and one lonely silver contract were posted for delivery on Monday.There were no reported changes in either GLD or SLV yesterday.But the U.S. Mint had a sales report.  They sold 7,000 ounces of gold eagles…1,000 one-ounce 24K gold buffaloes…and 275,000 silver eagles.  Month-to-date the mint has sold 32,500 ounces of gold eagles…6,000 one-ounce 24K gold buffaloes…and 1,975,000 silver eagles. So far this month, silver eagles are outselling gold eagles/buffaloes by a 51:1 ratio.Over at the Comex-approved depositories on Wednesday, they reported receiving 1,184,987 troy ounces of silver…and shipped 463,513 ounces of the stuff out the door.  The link to that action is here.Here’s a chart that Washington state reader S.A. stole from some story posted on the Zero Hedge website yesterday.  It shows the Spanish and US GDPs compared to the size of bailouts…if the US received a bailout in proportion to the Spanish bailout.(Click on image to enlarge)I have a lot fewer stories today, but if you read nothing else, the first story is a must read…and I’ll leave the final edit of the rest up to you.Not until all this debt is repudiated and the world has gotten the usurious banking system off its back, with its tentacles reaching deep into government everywhere, will the world be able to move forward again. Then at long last we will be able to hail the return of true capitalism and the free market. – Clive MaundWell, there’s no denying the fact that it was a pretty ugly day yesterday, regardless of whether it was free-market forces or ‘da boyz’.  I’m sure that a lot of the sales of precious metals shares were done into a pretty illiquid market, which would certainly compound the losses in a ‘forced sale’ situation for anyone stupid enough to be in this market on margin.In Far East trading during their Friday, the gold price spent all of its time in a ten dollar price range between $1,560 and $1,570 spot…and was at the lower end of that range during the first fifteen minutes of trading in London.  But as I hit the ‘send’ button at 5:00 a.m. Eastern time, gold has rallied to just above its Thursday closing price in New York.  Silver hung in just pennies under the $27 spot price until shortly after 1:00 p.m. Hong Kong time…and then slid from there…and was down about two bits just past the London open, but has now gained back all its losses as of 4:55 a.m. Eastern.  Volumes aren’t overly heavy…and the dollar index isn’t doing a thing.Today we get the Commitment of Traders Report for positions held at the close of Comex trading on Tuesday, June 19th.  Too bad Wednesday’s and Thursday’s trading data won’t be in it, as that would tell us a lot if it was.You have to wonder how much longer this pounding in the four precious metals will continue.  It will continue until JPMorgan et al have covered every possible short position they can.  Ted Butler mentioned that the technical funds had probably put on between 25-30,000 long contracts as gold broke through its 20 and 50-day moving averages to the upside since the June 10th low…and it’s a pretty good bet that all of those positions got taken out yesterday and Wednesday.The silver price has barely had a sniff of its 50-day moving average, so I doubt if there’s much in it for JPMorgan to continue engineering the price lower…but you just never know these things.  If the lows aren’t in for gold or silver, they must be pretty close…and all we can do is wait it out, plus use this opportunity to buy more bullion while JPMorgan et al have been thoughtful enough to put it on sale once again.With today being the last trading day of the week, it will be interesting to see if JPMorgan presses its advantage as the Friday trading day unfolds in London and New York.  As has been the case all week, the real price/volume action occurs during the Comex trading session and, without doubt, that will be the case again today.I hope your weekend goes well…and I’ll see you here tomorrow. 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Dear Investors Im a big fan of road trips Despi

first_imgDear Investors,I’m a big fan of road trips. Despite being the over-wired nerd type, I have always been drawn to those long trips, and not just for the disconnected time away from cell coverage or the philosophical discussions with my copilot which tend to rise from long hours together in close quarters. Rather, my favorite part is getting off the highway and seeing the sights… side trips to parts of the world I don’t typically deal with every day of my life.Stopping off at a fusion Korean-American gluten-free restaurant in an unexpected Albany neighborhood; getting stuck in rush-hour traffic on Route 1/9 in Elizabeth, NJ; or touring the mansions down the road in Mahwah, as I did on my most recent trip this past weekend, offers a fresh perspective that I simply cannot get from my usual perch in an idyllic Vermont ski town.As simple as those experiences might seem, just getting out of our comfort zones adds to our perspectives in an invaluable way. For example, if Bill Ackman had gotten off Park Avenue on occasion, then he might have learned a lot about his famed Herbalife short sale… or so says his nemesis, John Hempton.With that in mind, this week we’re going to take a side trip from the usual profit-centric bent of this column to look at some of the furthest destinations off the expressways of the Internet – the underground community that deals in drugs, weapons, and even illicit information. Places where the Wild West lifestyle prevails, largely beyond the eyes of the law. You might not find any stocks to buy here (though the most enterprising among you may in fact see ample opportunity for less-traditional investments), but understanding what is happening all around you will hopefully be an eye opening experience.Sincerely,Alex DaleyChief Technology Investment StrategistCasey ResearchA Random Walk Down the Internet’s Back AlleysBy Alex DaleyThe Internet is a force for good in society. It largely decouples the cost of distribution from the reach of information, opening up entirely new forms of communication and expression that never could have existed before… like open-source software developed by thousands of part-time volunteers, or individual bloggers read the world over by millions of people. China’s “Great Firewall” notwithstanding, the Internet enables access to a world of information, goods, and services, with little restriction.However free it might seem at first blush, it just isn’t enough for everyone. Whether it’s to find privacy from overreaching governments or to hide illicit activities, today there is another level to the Internet. It’s a deeper, darker back alley, where virtually anything goes – including black markets for everything from illegal drugs to contract killings – made possible by a new generation of security technology.Inherent to the Internet’s design – and doubly so for its most common application, the World Wide Web of hypertext documents – is what some see as a flaw: transparency.Because the net was built to make it easy to reach any point from any other one without any central traffic directors, all traffic carries with it lots of information on where it’s from and where it’s headed to. Traffic on the Internet isn’t like a road full of cars, where each traveler knows the way from A to Z.  Instead, it’s more like postal mail, where every package, no matter how big or small, carries a destination and return address to facilitate its movement. It’s all printed clearly on the front of the envelope and observable to any of the many hands it passes through on its way. The Internet is designed such that the removal of any one major exchange point won’t prevent delivery to the end, so long as there is another path. To achieve this, the data that travels it all has to be clearly barcoded.In other words, it’s pretty easy to see what you are up to on the web, and everyone from the government to advertisers is spying on you.Sure, there is encryption on the web. You can place an order on Amazon.com and be confident that your credit-card info and shipping address won’t be intercepted by a bad guy (assuming the computers on either end are secure, which isn’t always the case – but that’s an issue for another day). With the web’s ubiquitous “SSL” encryption, you are keeping your most critical information secure from prying eyes. And thanks to that, millions of transactions a day happen securely over the Internet. However, the fact that you are doing business with Amazon.com is still open for the world to see, scribbled on the outside of that virtual envelope. Anyone in the chain between you and Amazon can see that you were visiting that site… just not the exact information you exchanged.On top of that, SSL tends to be reserved for only the rare occasions of submitting personal information and credit-card numbers. The rest of your web traffic is sent across in the equivalent of resealable cellophane envelopes. Unless you go out of your way to ensure that you use secure services, virtually every web search you do, much of the email you’ve sent over the years, and other traffic across the Internet has been open for many eyes to see.  Providers like Google have been fighting back, trying to secure more and more of their communications with customers – largely for their benefit, not yours, as competitors learned they could mine the data to learn what Google is up to – but still much of the web remains unencrypted, and in many cases your destination says as much about your intent as the details would have.That’s all fine and dandy if you’re just buying a Roku 3, as I did all of 10 minutes ago (gadgets are an addiction for me). But what if you’re doing something you’d rather not have seen by prying eyes?Even if you aren’t up to something that in your location might be deemed illegal, there are plenty of reasons to want to safeguard your privacy on the web just a little more closely. For example, many Internet service providers (ISPs) around the world log all the websites you visit, then sell that data – sometimes right along with your name and address – to advertising data companies. These companies then build profiles of your interests and habits (good or bad) to sell to the highest bidders – from catalog companies to ad networks… even political campaigns.So if you spend the better part of your day surfing the websites of gardening companies, don’t be surprised when a Smith & Hawken coupon shows up in the mail a few weeks later. And if you spend the day on a slightly more provocative set of sites – even if the sites are encrypted and you set your browser to “incognito” mode – somewhere there is a clear trail of where you’ve been and for how long you were there.It’s for reasons like these that various groups of enterprising Internet users have begun to come up with more secure alternatives to the standard World Wide Web, and secure layers on top of the Internet’s underlying communication protocols… in other words, software that lets you browse the web, IM, call, and more without any monkey in the middle knowing what you are up to.There have been many attempts over the years to create secure ways to use the net’s many features. Services like Hushmail aim to create an anonymous way to send and receive email. The problem with Hushmail, of course, is that if you go there using a normal browser, your ISP, the government, telecom backbones, the Hushmail’s ISP on the far end, and hackers along the way all know you were there.  They cannot see exactly what you are doing without some serious hacking, but the paper electron trail is there.And the good folks at Hushmail – well, you have to trust them too, as they will know who you are by the IP address you came from, a piece of information normally traceable right back to your front door. That is a problem meant to be solved by connection brokers (proxies) like Cryptohippie. With these services, your traffic is encrypted and sent over to Cryptohippie, which then proxies your connection to the ultimate destination. Voilà – your ISP cannot see that you are headed to Hushmail versus any other service… just that you are connected to Crytohippie. Hushmail can only see that you came in from Crytohippie, not where you started.These spy-resistant networks let you surf the web pseudonymously. That’s not exactly anonymous, as then the other end couldn’t respond to you, a necessary component in communication. Instead, they both encrypt communications and pass them through complex networks of other machines, none of which know the complete path back to you. And – unlike with traditional end-to-end encryption solutions like SSL – even the other end cannot tell who you are or where you sent your information from. That way you can pass notes without anybody else knowing it… at least anybody but Cryptohippie.For most people worried about the profilers and casual spies, this is plenty of protection. However, there are big flaws in this approach that keep the most aggressive of users – including criminals – awake at night.First is the security of the organization that proxies your connection. While I am sure Cryptohippie does an amazing job managing the security of its systems, there is always the risk of holes. When you look at the sophisticated hacks of massive credit-processing companies, hospitals, power plants, even defense infrastructure, it’s not hard to imagine holes in the provider you choose. Plus, while they make attempts to keep data beyond the reach of any one jurisdiction, the owners/managers of the service are subject to arrest and coercion, after which point a network could be compromised without its users knowing it. A proxy service, however well-designed and run, is as techies describe it: a single point of failure.Second, while you are psuedonymized as an end user, your trading partner is not. The servers you visit are on what hackers call the “clear net,” and thus subject to the laws of the land in which they operate. With the modern age of global telecom companies and information-sharing agreements between governments, all the traffic in and out of those clear-net sites is subject to inspection.Thus, even if you are now pretty close to anonymous, chances are you won’t find someone on the other end who is. If you log in to a site that sells illegal drugs, for instance – like the common purveyors of little blue pills that fill the spam box on your email account – it is easy enough for the local government to find the owner, shut it down, and potentially raid its records to find you (assuming you made a purchase, rather than just browse the site).Or maybe you simply want to have a conversation over Internet Relay Chat (IRC) or a similar service – maybe about your forthcoming protest against the local politburo – and don’t want to worry about the security of the service hosting the chat.For those who really want to be beyond any prying eyes, the only answer is to create a separate network on top of the Internet that deals with those two big problems. A network out of the control of any single owner or manager, reducing the risks of hacking, internal tampering, and legal jurisdiction issues. Make the protocol self-managing and secure by default and you create such a place.Over the years, a number of laudable attempts were made to create such networks. One of the first to gain prominence was Freenet, a peer-to-peer network that in 2000 began offering an alternative to the web that provided double-end anonymity via a group-storage model. Everything hosted on Freenet is distributed among the peers in the network. So, instead of grabbing a web page from a central server, it is fetched in small pieces from dozens or hundreds of different hosts around the world, making censorship of the data at its source nearly impossible. Once something is on the Freenet, it cannot be easily removed. This works great for publishing or for file sharing, but makes transactions and commerce difficult, limiting its appeal.Freenet, like the Invisible IRC Project, was an additional feature to the Internet, but did not enable running all of the thousands of other services that run on top.From that need were born endeavors like Invisible Internet Project (I2P). I2P offers a secure protocol layered on top of the Internet to enable all sorts of individual services to run: web servers, alternative DNS servers (the centralized tools that turn friendly short names like www.ibm.com into routable addresses), IRC, email, file sharing, and much more.Within this network, “eepsites” which carry domains like www.site.i2p can be hosted anonymously. The network connection tools load up special cryptographic files that let them send data to and from these servers, all the while keeping the identity of both sides hidden from each other and from any spies in the middle.I2P has seen on-and-off development efforts for the past five years, and is host to some popular services like i2pmail.org, which lets you email to other I2P users and to the public Internet from one location, without giving up any privacy.But it has not seen anywhere near the success of Tor. Packaged as a single, simple installation for Mac/Windows/Linux, Tor is a combination of tools to make anonymous browsing possible.Tor includes a more secure version of the open-source Firefox web browser, which has all third-party plug-ins and many other features removed.  That browser can only connect through the secure Tor network – an anonymized network like I2P that was born out of the US Naval Research Lab. This handy graphic from its website shows how it works at a high level:Just like Cryptohippie, it provides an anonymous connection to the Internet via a randomized proxy – only that proxy is built dynamically from the other member computers. This technique, called “onion routing,” removes the need for any central control, so a Tor-enabled browser can pseudonymously surf the clear net with ease. And it can do it all for free, as there are no multi-jurisdiction data centers to maintain or ISPs to worry about.Plus, it is also home to so-called “hidden services” – sites and applications that can only be reached while on the Tor network, and whose providers are completely anonymous. The easy-to-use Tor browser bundle has brought countless of users to the network just for its proxy features. But this influx also means many more customers for its hidden services, which are now exploding in number and popularity.The most popular – or at least best known among the commerce sites thus far – is the aptly named Silk Road. This early-’90s-esque eBay/Craigslist hybrid is a marketplace for anything you won’t find on the aforementioned clear net inspirations, from the odd to the downright illegal.Why cash? On Silk Road and the many other sites like it, the currency of choice is the digital cash-equivalent known as Bitcoins. Exchangeable for dollars, euros, and virtually any other global currency, these controversial digital coins make it possible to take credit cards out of the online commerce equation, allowing the secure digital equivalent of mailing envelopes of cash to a PO Box. Just like cash, there’s no way to trace them, and no recourse if they are lost or stolen – but they are also just as anonymous and free from regulation (for now).As the darknet grows in popularity, more is sure to follow as well… but so is more attention from the mainstream media and law enforcement alike. There are already editorials all over the web calling for finding the operators of these sites and shutting them down (and, just as many in support of their rights to sell whatever they wish). However, thanks to the technology developed to keep the members of the darknet hidden, this will be a difficult genie to put back in the bottle.Bits & BytesMicro 3D Printer Creates Tiny Structures in Seconds (MIT Technology Review)We’ve written much on 3D printing in these pages, but they have generally focused on technologies that print structures that are measured in at least centimeters (and all the way up to several meters). In this article from February of last year, we did mention a technology known as “two-photon polymerization,” which is able to 3D-print structures measuring just 20 micrometers. The problem with two-photon polymerization and other 3D microprinting technologies, however, is that it is mind-numbingly slow. Not anymore. A company called Nanoscribe has developed a tabletop 3D microprinter that can create complicated microstructures 100 times faster than previously possible. According to Julia Greer, professor of materials science at Cal Tech, the smallest features that can be created using the new Nanoscribe printer measure about 30 nanometers. For context, a human hair measures about 50,000 nanometers in diameter. The advanced throughput of the new Nanoscribe printer has commercial potential for making things like heart stents, microneedles for painless shots, parts for microfluidics chips, and scaffolds for growing cells and tissue.Promising Brain-Boosting Technique Has Drawbacks (MIT Technology Review)People have always looked for ways to rev up their brains… from chewing coca leaves to drinking coffee to popping Adderall and beyond. (We even wrote an article on the subject back in March 2012.) But all of these brain boosters have one thing in common (other than that most have potentially unpleasant side effects, including the possibility of addiction): a chemical reaction inside the body. What if you could bypass all of that and go right to the source? What if you could amp up brain power by directly zapping the organ with electricity? Well, it turns out you can. It’s called “transcranial direct current stimulation” (tDCS). With it, researchers have found that they can more than double the rate at which people learn a wide range of tasks. The author of this article tried it out. Not only did it make her a better shooter (a goal she normally would not have chosen), but it enabled her to turn off her inner monologue and really focus her mind for what felt like the first time in her life. Needless to say, she loved it. But new research suggests (not surprisingly) that zapping your brain with electricity could come with a cost. Electrically stimulating the brain may enhance memory and certain abilities, but impede with a person’s ability to react without thinking.[Ed. Note: The type of brain boosting referred to in the article above is called transcranial electrical stimulation or TES, which is very similar to tDCS, but can be painful to the person receiving the stimulation – so it’s not used as frequently today.]Electronic Wearable Pain-Relief Patch (Gizmag)Sticking with the electricity to the body theme, Thimble Bioelectronics is working on a patch based on transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) that is designed to adhere to a problem area to alleviate certain types of pain. Think of it as a smaller version of the Icy Hot patch that Shaq wears – but instead of chemicals, it uses low-voltage electrical stimulation.last_img read more

A few years back I read an interesting article ab

first_imgA few years back, I read an interesting article about rich versus poor on the website Difference Between. The author cited the following as one major difference: “While rich believe they are in control of their lives, poor feel they are subject to vagaries of life and life controls events taking place in their lives. Rich are not concerned with depression or recession, and they are not tied with any special knowledge or professional degree either. On the other hand, poor believes it is his lack of degree or knowledge that keeps him poor. It is when you start to feel that life is happening to you instead of you creating your future, you will lose the right track and condemn remaining poor.” To me, much of the difference boils down to personal confidence and understanding how to deal with the financial situation you are in. At the same time, major events can take place which can either bolster or erode our confidence. Many of my peers went from the “rich” mindset described above to that described as “poor.” Yet for many, their net worth did not change. When one looks at the terms “golden years” or “retiring comfortably,” it is not hard to conjure up an image of retirees comfortable with their financial situation, not being too concerned about the economic events taking place around them. Instead, they are enjoying checking a lot of items off their bucket list. Many retirees in the generation before us fit that mold, yet they were not multimillionaires. How can that be? A recent Gallup article titled Pensions Are Top Income Source for Wealthier US Retirees presents poll results on sources of income, and presents the findings by annual household income. According to the poll, 55% of retirees earning annual incomes over $50,000 were doing so primarily with a pension. Gallup shared some interesting implications: “Pension plans seem to be a major factor relating to how financially well off U.S. retirees are. With Social Security by far the major source of retirement funding among U.S. retirees, those who can supplement that money with income from a pension plan or other source appear to be doing much better.” Things Are Changing Quickly So what does this mean? If you have a “guaranteed pension,” you know you have enough money coming in to live on, so you don’t sweat the markets anymore and can enjoy life. Not a bad thing. I can personally attest to this – that’s how we lived during the first six years of my retirement. We had the bulk of our nest egg in FDIC-insured CDs paying 6% interest. No worries there, as I knew how much interest income we had coming in, and the principal was backed by the federal government. We had enough to supplement our Social Security to cover our expenses and then some. That all changed in the fall of 2008, when the first Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) started, and the government flooded the banks with money. Our CDs were called in, and we lost the major source of “guaranteed” (as in not to having to worry about it) income. At the time, our CD interest was five times the size of our current Social Security check. Today the best five-year rate on a CD I can find is 1.2%, and even a ten-year Treasury pays only about 2%. With the current interest rates not even keeping up with inflation, I wouldn’t touch them. If I wanted to invest in those low yields anyway, the interest would be half of my current Social Security check. Now that is a major economic catastrophe. In effect, we may still have our capital intact; however, we now have to put our money at much higher risk in order to survive. While others may look at many of us seniors as rich, it is pure baloney. We are damn concerned about recession, depression, and our nest egg. We no longer meet the definition of “rich”; a lot of our confidence has eroded. Who Is Living Large? Who Is Taking a Step Backward? It looks to me like those working in the private sector – particularly those baby boomers who are trying to plan for retirement – have quite a challenge. In a recent Wall Street Journal article, Kelly Greene and Vipal Monga reported that pensions represent an increasingly smaller portion of Americans’ retirement savings. The authors wrote: “The portion of private-sector US workers covered only by so-called defined-benefit plans fell to 3% in 2011 from 28% in 1979, according to US Department of Labor data compiled by EBRI.” We are seeing a huge disparity between those in the public sector working for the government and those in the private sector. Most government agencies still have generous, guaranteed pension plans, and many include health care for their retirees. Concurrently, the vast majority of those in the private sector do not have guaranteed pensions, but rather have to save their own money through various IRAs and 401(k)s in order to be able to retire comfortably. We have many friends who have retired from various branches of the government with pensions which are 80% or more of what they earned while they were working. For example, consider this story from Illinois of teachers earning pensions over $100,000 per year. While those are the most extravagant pensions mentioned in the article, the rest aren’t too bad either. Whether it’s Illinois, California, or New Jersey, you’ll find the same story around the country. In fact, defined benefit state plans cover 20 million employees and 7 million retirees, about 90% of all state employees. So nearly everyone from the person at the Department of Motor Vehicles to the teachers are cashing in. Here’s an excerpt from the report: “Of those [Palatine-Schaumburg High School] District 211 retirees, 268 – or 42.5 percent – received pensions of $100,000 or more in 2012. Other suburban school districts aren’t far behind. At Stevenson High School District 125 in Lincolnshire, 39.1 percent of the 133 retired educators receiving pensions make more than $100,000 a year in retirement. District 125 retired educators drew pensions averaging $79,489 last year, according to TRS figures.” Honestly, I don’t begrudge any retired government workers a dime. They earned their money and played by the rules which were in place. But ironically, many of those same friends who have these nice government pensions look upon those of us in the private sector as the ones who are rich. Just how much capital would a person in the private sector have to accumulate in order to earn an income of $100,000 “guaranteed” by the government? Using the 2% ten-year Treasury rate, a person would have to invest $5,000,000 for “guaranteed” income of $100,000. Of course, there’s also a difference in how that money is saved. It’s what’s left over after living expenses, kids’ college tuition, and everything else that comes up in life. If you had a government pension, you never had to worry about saving for retirement – so it’s less worry before and during retirement. From this perspective, sure looks to me like those with guaranteed pensions – mostly retired government workers – are the ones who are living large and not worried about the ups and downs in the economy. Doug Casey and other pundits have predicted a collapse, and I agree that it is going to happen. It will not be too long before more folks in the private sector realize that those government employees with their “guarantees” are the ones who are living rich as the earlier definition outlined, while we constantly have to fret and monitor our money. With things like the Tea Party groups forming, there are already signs that people have had enough. Is it any surprise that some of those groups received greater scrutiny from the IRS? After all, they are a threat to stream of endless pensions to all government employees. When a full-blown tax revolt finally happens, I am sure their “guaranteed” pensions will be a big factor. This is one place where there’s a clear line between the haves and have nots. The retirees from the private sector have to constantly worry about their retirement, while government employees have not a care with their guaranteed incomes. I’m quite confident that the taxpayers won’t want to pay their pensions plus the trillions in shortfalls in those pension plans – especially in underfunded state plans around the country. Those of us in the private sector saw our “guaranteed” pensions disappear. We now have the option of saving our own money and putting it at risk, and we are certainly worried about the ups and downs in the economy and the market. How much longer are taxpayers going to stand for having to save money for our retirement with no “guarantees,” while we see our taxes continue to escalate to pay for cushy, guaranteed pension plans for others? In the meantime, do you want to retire comfortably and enjoy your golden years not having to worry about your finances? Work for the government for 40 years or so and get a cushy pension and free medical care. We have a lot of friends who did just that, and they are very happy enjoying their golden years. I wonder if IRS workers ever have their tax returns audited? Probably not, but if these sorts of retirement inequalities last much longer, antitax groups will likely come to audit their pensions soon. If you’re a retired Illinois District 211 teacher, we’ll answer your hate mail (surely coming our way) as soon possible. However, remember that mail to and from Hawaii takes a while, so please be patient. If you weren’t so lucky as to retire with a $100K annual government pension, let us help you figure out how to navigate retirement in a low-interest-rate world, whether it’s finding yield, learning about annuities, understanding reverse mortgages, or discovering cheap investment funds, and more. Try a risk-free, three-month trial of Miller’s Money Forever.last_img read more