Category Archives: Money

Trump Decides To Keep Troops In Afghanistan 

By: Jeremy B White of The Independent 

Donald Trump vowed to maintain America’s military commitment in Afghanistan, sustaining America’s longest war and reversing his previously staunch resistance to the US engagement there.

In his first first nationally-televised prime-time address since January, the President laid out a vision short on concrete details, but strong on rhetoric – saying that US troops “will fight to win” in Afghanistan, as well as putting pressure on Pakistan to crack down on terrorist sanctuaries near its borders and calling for further help from India.  

While multiple reports earlier in the day that Mr Trump was ready to commit as many as 4,000 more troops to the country, the President pointedly declined to state specific details about troop totals. But he made it clear that he planned to keep troops in Afghanistan as a bulwark against violence, even as he said “the American people are weary of war without victory”.

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Hackers Target Phone Numbers To Steal Identity 

By: Nathaniel Popper

Hackers have discovered that one of the most central elements of online security — the mobile phone number — is also one of the easiest to steal.

In a growing number of online attacks, hackers have been calling up Verizon, T-Mobile U.S., Sprint and AT&T and asking them to transfer control of a victim’s phone number to a device under the control of the hackers.

Once they get control of the phone number, they can reset the passwords on every account that uses the phone number as a security backup — as services like Google, Twitter and Facebook suggest.

“My iPad restarted, my phone restarted and my computer restarted, and that’s when I got the cold sweat and was like, ‘O.K., this is really serious,’” said Chris Burniske, a virtual currency investor who lost control of his phone number late last year.

A wide array of people have complained about being successfully targeted by this sort of attack, including a Black Lives Matter activist and the chief technologist of the Federal Trade Commission. The commission’s own data shows that the number of so-called phone hijackings has been rising. In January 2013, there were 1,038 such incidents reported; by January 2016, that number had increased to 2,658.

But a particularly concentrated wave of attacks has hit those with the most obviously valuable online accounts: virtual currency fanatics like Mr. Burniske.

Within minutes of getting control of Mr. Burniske’s phone, his attackers had changed the password on his virtual currency wallet and drained the contents — some $150,000 at today’s values.

Most victims of these attacks in the virtual currency community have not wanted to acknowledge it publicly for fear of provoking their adversaries. But in interviews, dozens of prominent people in the industry acknowledged that they had been victimized in recent months.

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Catholic Church Refuses To Pay Victims Of Child Sex Abuse

By: Fiona Keating of The Independent 

The Catholic Church and British local authorities have been accused of using a legal loophole to avoid paying compensation to victims of child sex abuse.

The Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme, a government agency, has denied some children financial settlements because it said the victims had “consented” to the abuse, a group of charities has warned.

Lawyers representing victims have warned that this line of defence is becoming increasingly common.
One case that the charity Victim Support brought attention to involved a 12-year-old girl who was given alcohol, brought into woodland and then sexually assaulted by a 21-year-old male. The girl was denied compensation because she had “voluntarily” gone into the woods with the man.

“No child ever gives their ‘consent’ to being abused, and the increased use of this line of defence, although still quite rare, is worrying,” said Anne Longfield, the Children’s Commissioner for England. “I have contacted the Ministry of Justice previously and again recently about this issue and the Government should look urgently at what can be done to tackle it.”

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A 1%er For The People

Compliments of Change.org, Nick Hanauer petition 

My name is Nick Hanauer and I’m filthy rich. I’m not a 1%’er. I’m a 0.001%’er. If you read the business section of the paper, you’ve probably seen my name: I was one of the first investors in Amazon.com. I’ve sold other companies for billions of dollars, and now my friends and I own a bank. I’m a proud and unapologetic capitalist.
So you might be surprised to learn that I’m starting a petition to say that it would be criminally stupid for Congress to give rich guys like me another tax cut. 
In fact, I believe that not one penny in tax cuts should go to millionaires, billionaires and wealthy corporations. Everyone knows that the biggest lie in economics is that tax cuts for the rich create growth and jobs. When Republicans talk about tax reform, they’re really talking about trickle down nonsense. The truth is, taxes on the rich don’t need to be “reformed”—they need to be raised, because it’s investments in the middle class that make our economy grow.  
Our democracy and our economy are being ripped apart by growing inequality. Tax cuts for the rich masquerading as reform will only make it worse. I need you to help me fight for a tax code that puts working families back at the center of the economy. Another round of tax breaks for people like me will undermine our commitment to what really makes our country stronger—Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, public education, investments in infrastructure and R&D, and more—and make it impossible for the middle class to fulfill their function as the true job creators. 
Join me and pledge to oppose any effort to cut taxes for the wealthy and well-connected. Not one penny in tax cuts should go to millionaires, billionaires and wealthy corporations.

Link To Petition 

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New Zealand Authority Pushes To Ban Alcohol In Supermarkets 

By: Eleanor Ainge Roy of The Guardian

The New Zealand Medical Association has called for a ban on selling alcohol in supermarkets, saying that having it next to groceries and food normalises a dangerous drug.

Wine and beer have been widely available in most supermarkets around the country since 1990, although spirits can be bought only in bars and off-licences.

The New Zealand Medical Association (NZMA) said having alcohol in supermarkets normalised the drug, and made buying it cheap and easy – meaning people put a bottle of sauvignon blanc in their trolley alongside their bread, milk and toilet paper without a second thought.

According to the association well over half a million New Zealanders consume alcohol in a hazardous way, with many emergency rooms filled on Friday and Saturday nights with alcohol-related admissions.

The NZMA believes it is the government that is best placed to crack down on heavy consumption – a position supported by many health and social policy academics and Alcohol Healthwatch. 

Dr Kate Baddock, the chair of the association, said evidence suggested alcohol was worse than methamphetamine, marijuana and heroin, because it was a cheap, addictive, psychotropic drug.

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U.S Skinny Repeal Bill Denied 

By: Compliments of BBC 

At least three Republicans – John McCain, Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski – voted against the bill, which needed a simple majority to pass.

President Donald Trump said the three had “let the American people down”.

The so-called “skinny” repeal, which would have scaled back some of the more controversial provisions, is the third failed attempt to repeal Obamacare.

It would have resulted in 16 million people losing their health insurance by 2026, with insurance premiums increasing by 20%, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

What happened in the Senate?

The vote was delayed after Senate Republicans kept a procedural vote open before the actual Obamacare vote while they attempted to persuade their members to vote for the repeal.

Vice President Mike Pence was seen talking to Mr McCain for more than 20 minutes. But Mr McCain then approached a group of Democrats, who appeared happy to see him.

The bill was eventually voted down by 51 votes to 49 in the Republican-dominated Senate.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican, described the result as a “disappointing moment”.

Democrat Chuck Schumer said his party was relieved that millions of people would retain their healthcare.

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British Chief Strategist Resigns 

By: Tim Ross of Bloomberg 

Theresa May’s director of strategy has become the latest member of her senior team to quit, leaving the premier without the authors of her Brexit vision at a critical time in negotiations with the European Union. 

Chris Wilkins will leave his post inside May’s office in 10 Downing Street at the end of this week, he said by telephone on Wednesday. Since the election, May’s been hit by a string of resignations in policy, strategy and communications. As well as leaving the prime minister short of advisers that she knows and trusts at a vital moment, the departures suggest that staff see little future in the job.

“It’s not quite rats deserting a sinking ship, but it does indicate that people feel things can’t go on as they have been going,” said Tim Bale, professor of politics at Queen Mary, University of London. “There needs to be some kind of reinvigoration, but this does indicate that some people feel that can’t be done.”

The departure means that May has lost both her top strategists in the wake of last month’s general election. Nick Timothy, her co-chief of staff, quit the day after May’s Conservatives were stripped of their parliamentary majority in the poll. He and Wilkins wrote the Brexit speech in January in which she set out her plan to take the U.K. out of the single market and customs union.

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OJ Simpson Granted Parole After Nearly 9 Years In Jail 

By: Emily Shapiro of ABC

O.J. Simpson has been granted parole after nine years in prison for a Las Vegas robbery, a group of four Nevada commissioners decided today.

The imprisoned former NFL player could be released as early as Oct. 1.

Simpson, 70, delivered a rambling account of the case to the parole board earlier today, maintaining that he didn’t intend to steal but “wish this would have never happened.”

Simpson was at times jovial and combative with the members of the parole board, expressing his remorse and saying he’s humbled by his incarceration. Simpson was sentenced to prison following an arrest in 2007 during a botched robbery in Las Vegas, when he led a group of men into a hotel and casino to steal sports memorabilia at gunpoint. He contended the memorabilia and other personal items belonged to him.
Simpson said today, “I take full responsibility.”
Simpson appeared remotely via video conference from Lovelock Correctional Facility in Nevada, where he’s serving time for kidnapping and armed robbery. Simpson began by explaining what he said led to crime, telling the board how he learned that some “some guys” were trying to “fence” what he said were his personal mementos in Las Vegas.

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New Coding Language Kotlin Taking Silicon Valley By Storm 

By: Klint Finley of Wired

YOU’LL FIND MILLIONS of apps in the Google Play store, many of them written using the powerful, stable, workhorse programming language Java. If it were a car, Java would feature a fast, reliable engine but not antilock brakes, power steering, or cup holders. Totally drivable. Not exactly a joy ride.

In May Google gave Android developers another option when it announced it would start supporting a new programming language called Kotlin, which offers most of the same basic features as Java plus the coding equivalent of seat warmers and a killer sound system. This means programmers can write safer, more reliable code with less work. That’s good news for users because it should translate into apps with fewer bugs and crashes. But it’s even better news for programmers, because it means spending more time working on the interesting parts of code and less on more routine matters—the things that make programming a rewarding career or hobby. “Working with it just brings a smile to your face,” says Christina Lee, an Android developer at Pinterest and Kotlin enthusiast.

Companies like Pinterest, Basecamp, and Square had already been using it, but now that it has the official support of Google, you can expect to find Kotlin in more and more places. “Kotlin is what our development community has already asked for,” Android product manager Stephanie Saad Cuthbertson said during the announcement of Kotlin support at Google’s IO conference in May.

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9/11 Survivors Push Harder To Force Theresa May’s Hand In Releasing Supressed Saudi Arabia Terrorism Report 

By: Andrew Buncombe, Ashley Cowburn of The Independent 

Britain’s Labour Party has thrown its weight behind demands from US 9/11 survivors for Prime Minister Theresa May to release a suppressed report into the extent of Saudi Arabia’s financing of Islamic extremism within the UK.

The report was commissioned by David Cameron as part of a political deal to obtain political support for a parliamentary vote on UK airstrikes on Syria.

After Ms May’s Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, said last week the report would not be released “for national security reasons”, a group of survivors and relatives of those who died in the attacks on New York and Washington, wrote to Ms May urging her to change her mind and release the report.

“The UK now has the unique historic opportunity to stop the killing spree of Wahhabism-inspired terrorists by releasing the UK government’s report on terrorism financing in the UK which, according to media reports, places Saudi Arabia at its centre of culpability,” says the letter, signed by 15 people.

“The longer Saudi Arabia’s complicity is hidden from sunlight, the longer terrorism will continue. They must be stopped; but who will stop them? We submit that you are uniquely situated to shine the cleansing light of public consciousness.”

Sharon Premoli, one of the authors of the letter, was on the 80th floor of the North Tower of the World Trade Centre when the first Al-Qaeda plane struck, also sent the letter to Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott. 
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