Tim Hortons parent RBI plans to expand all three brands globally to

first_img Email What you need to know about passing the family cottage to the next generation Restaurant Brands International Inc, the owner of Tim Hortons, Burger King and Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, is also aiming to boost its businesses by deploying various initiatives that range from app-based ordering to loyalty programs for its customers.Canadian Press Tim Hortons parent RBI plans to expand all three brands globally to 40,000 outlets That’s almost double the current restaurants Recommended For YouU.S. FDA approves Karyopharm Therapeutics’ blood cancer drugOntario Cannabis Store pulls affected CannTrust products amid Health Canada probeUPDATE 2-FDA approves expanded label for Regeneron/Sanofi’s DupixentTrump pick for Fed seat says doesn’t want to pull rug from under market -CNBCAP Explains: US sanctions on Huawei bite, but who gets hurt? Facebook Join the conversation → May 15, 20197:36 AM EDT Filed under News Retail & Marketing ← Previous Next → Featured Stories Reuters center_img Comment Restaurant Brands International Inc said on Wednesday it plans to expand the global presence of all three of its brands to more than 40,000 restaurants, from the current 26,000, over the next decade.The owner of Burger King, Tim Hortons and Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen is aiming to boost its businesses by deploying various initiatives that range from app-based ordering to loyalty programs for its customers.Restaurant Brands, which is scheduled to hold its investor day later in the day, expects its coffee, burger and chicken markets to grow between 5 per cent and 6 per cent per year over the next 5 years.The company, which has been affected by slowing growth at its three iconic brands, had brought in the head of its Burger King unit, Jose Cil, as its chief executive officer earlier this year.Last month, the company reported a 0.6 per cent drop in comparable sales at Tim Hortons for the quarter ended March 31, while same-store sales at Burger King grew 2.2 per cent, less than 3.8 per cent a year earlier. © Thomson Reuters 2019Related Stories:Redberry Group Remodels Another BURGER KING® Restaurant Twitter Share this storyTim Hortons parent RBI plans to expand all three brands globally to 40,000 outlets Tumblr Pinterest Google+ LinkedIn More advertisement Sponsored By: Reddit 0 Commentslast_img read more

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Senate votes to keep oil tanker ban alive as C69 heads to

first_img Share this storySenate votes to keep oil tanker ban alive, potentially ending defiant streak in upper chamber as C-69 heads to House Tumblr Pinterest Google+ LinkedIn Opponents of Bill C-69 rally outside a public hearing of the Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources in Calgary on April 9, 2019.Jeff McIntosh/CP More June 6, 20199:15 PM EDTLast UpdatedJune 7, 201910:33 AM EDT Filed underCanadian Politics Join the conversation → Facebook ← Previous Next → Observers say Conservative and some Independent senators are likely to propose new amendments to C-48 following the Thursday vote, but that those amendments are unlikely to be accepted before the moratorium becomes law.The votes come as a number of Independent senators have been meeting with officials in the office of Environment Minister Catherine McKenna, part of what some observers say are last-minute negotiations over which proposed changes may ultimately be accepted by the Trudeau government.Sen. Yuen Pau Woo, head representative for the Independent Senators Group and member of the energy committee studying Bill C-69, said he has had “technical briefings” with Environment officials about the legislation but denied discussing specific amendments.“I do not know what they will or will not accept, but we have crafted our amendments in such a way that we tried to make consistent with the objectives of the bill,” Woo said in an interview Tuesday.A government source said it is common for federal officials to meet with senators throughout the study of a bill. The person said Environment officials have spoken with a long list of senators in meetings facilitated by non-affiliated Sen. Grant Mitchell, the sponsor of Bill C-69, largely for technical briefings and sometimes to discuss the likelihood of some amendments being accepted.Two leading oil and gas lobby groups, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) and the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association (CEPA), proposed about 90 amendments to the bill, which were later put forward by Conservative senators in the final report of the bill.Sen. Woo criticized the nearly word-for-word adoption of the industry-inspired amendments, saying the committee should avoid acting as “stenographers” for corporate interests. Environment Canada also proposed amendments that were tabled through Sen. Mitchell.The industry amendments would amount to a deep restructuring of the bill. They would, among other things, limit the discretionary powers of the environment minister in approving or rejecting major projects, restrict the ability of special interest groups opposed to natural resource development to testify at public hearings, and effectively reverse a bid to sideline the national energy regulator in the decision-making process.In a written statement, McKenna said her office is “carefully considering” the proposed amendments to Bill C-69.“I’m happy that Bill C69 is now through the Senate, despite many delays caused by the Conservatives who wanted to kill the Bill, weaken protections, and limit public discussions,” she said. Meanwhile, the Senate committee’s final report on the C-48 oil tanker moratorium, written by Conservative chair David Tkachuk, said the bill would be “destructive” to Canadian federalism.The highly contentious bill has been criticized for unfairly targeting would-be pipeline projects that would ship oil out of ports along the northern B.C. coast. Environmental advocates and some coastal First Nations support the bill, while a number of other B.C. Indigenous communities have strongly opposed it, saying it restricts their right to develop natural resources on their traditional lands.Bill C-69 has been broadly supported by a number of industry associations, including the Mining Association of Canada, who also forwarded proposed amendments. Environmentalists have also supported the bill, but warn it doesn’t go far enough to protect sensitive ecological regions and account for wider greenhouse gas emissions.Industry groups and environmental advocates are largely in agreement that the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, passed in 2012 by the Harper government, was in need of an update, saying the bill restricted some aspects of Canada’s environmental assessment regime in a bid to get projects built.• Email: jsnyder@postmedia.com | Twitter: jesse_snyder Email Reddit Recommended For YouAlberta judge denies B.C.’s bid to block ‘Turn Off the Taps’ oil billLiberal environmental contradictions could pave way for Conservative winChristie Blatchford: Was Hamilton forensic pathology unit punished for testifying against provincial bosses?Indigenous nation in Washington State seeks meeting with feds on Trans MountainCanadian singer Grimes claims she removed blue light from her vision, leaving fans baffled advertisementcenter_img Sponsored By: The Apollo 11 moon landing was so boring it must be real If Americans were going to fake the moon landing, you’d better believe there would be some high drama and maybe even an explosion or two.… Senate votes to keep oil tanker ban alive, potentially ending defiant streak in upper chamber as C-69 heads to House Both votes put to rest a long saga in which senators have shown uncommon resistance to government legislation, raising concerns about an overzealous Senate Featured Stories Errol McGihon/Postmedia/File OTTAWA — Senators voted on Thursday to save Ottawa’s controversial oil tanker ban, potentially ending a prolonged pushback in the Senate against legislation that has been met with intense criticism by Western provinces and the energy industry.In a 53-38 vote, senators rejected the adoption of a report that would have effectively killed Bill C-48, the moratorium on oil tankers in northern B.C. waters. Also on Thursday, senators adopted a heavily-amended version of another contentious natural resources bill, C-69, which is now headed back to the House of Commons for review. The legislation would overhaul Canada’s environmental assessment process for major projects like oil pipelines and power lines.Both votes put to rest a long saga in which senators have shown uncommon resistance to government legislation, raising concerns about an overzealous Senate that has acted not just as a chamber of sober second thought, according to critics, but as an outright opposition to the House of Commons.Bill C-48 and Bill C-69 have drawn the ire of provincial governments in the oil-rich provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan, as well as industry lobby groups who argue they could delay the construction of major energy projects. Industry has been warning Ottawa about C-69 in particular, amid a failure by the oil and gas industry in recent years to build major pipeline projects like the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, now owned by the federal government.Industry groups and some senators blasted the decision to salvage the tanker moratorium on Thursday.“The vast majority of Trudeau-appointed Senators have decided it is more important to support a bad Liberal bill than to listen to concerns from provincial governments from across the country,” Conservative senate caucus leader Larry Smith said in a statement. The Canadian Chamber of Commerce said it was “deeply disappointed” in the vote and urged senators to find a common ground on the bill.Both bills have received intense scrutiny in the Senate in recent months. The Senate energy committee adopted 188 changes to Bill C-69 on Thursday, the most proposed by the upper house on government legislation in decades.On Bill C-48, meanwhile, the transport committee took the rare move of recommending that the government scrap the legislation altogether, after Independent Sen. Paula Simons voted alongside five Conservative senators to sway a decision in favour of nixing the tanker ban.Senator Paula Simons. 107 Comments Comment Jesse Snyder Twitterlast_img read more

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Chargepoint and EVBox launch partnership to offer roaming between electric car charging

Source: Charge Forward Chargepoint and EVBox, two of the world’s largest manufacturers and operators of electric vehicle charging networks, have launched a partnership to offer roaming services between their electric car charging networks in Europe and North America. more…The post Chargepoint and EVBox launch partnership to offer roaming between electric car charging networks appeared first on Electrek.

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Venturi Hands Reserve Role To F2 Race Winner Nato

first_img Formula E Will Run Gen 2 Car For 4 Seasons Formula E Has Secret Meeting To Bring Race Back To UK Nato will work alongside race drivers Edoardo Mortara and Felipe Massa, and simulator driver Simona de Silvestro.He will drive Venturi’s VFE-05 car at the in-season test that follows the race in Marrakech.More Formula E News Formula 2 race winner Norman Nato has joined the Venturi ABB FIA Formula E squad as its reserve driver for the 2018/19 championship. Source: Electric Vehicle Newscenter_img See How Formula E’s Mario Kart Attack Mode Works “Formula E has quickly established itself as a leading race series with many of the big constructors committing to participating,” said Nato.“Venturi is one of the historic teams in the field and the team has developed impressively over the last few months.“So the opportunity to drive for [Venturi president] Gildo Pastor and [team principal] Susie Wolff at this key time in the history of the team and the championship is a privilege I’m fully aware of.“The job that’s been entrusted to me is very important, as a Formula E meeting takes places over just one day, the team has to be prepared and in the best possible shape to make the most of the opportunities available in a short timeframe.“Driving Formula E cars demands a lot of finesse and technique.“I’ll be putting all of my energy into learning our new car and fine-tuning my driving so that we can perfect our race day performance and strategy.”Nato won the Baku F2 sprint race in 2017 after on the road winner Charles Leclerc was penalised for failing to slow for yellow flags.He also won twice in the F1 support series when it was known as GP2.In 2018, Nato helped Racing Engineering to second place in European Le Mans with teammates Paul Petit and Olivier Pla.He also tested the VFE-05 during its early stages of development.“Norman is a fantastic addition to the team, he’s settling in well as he takes on an important role in the simulator – a critical element for any Formula E team,” said Wolff.“His experience gained over a variety of disciplines will be an asset to the team.“As reserve driver, he will be attending some races, and I’m looking forward to seeing what he can do with the car in Marrakech.” Author Liberty Access TechnologiesPosted on December 10, 2018Categories Electric Vehicle Newslast_img read more

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Finland PlugIn Electric Cars Captured 47 Of New Car Market

first_imgSource: Electric Vehicle News In 2018, More Than 8% Of Cars Sold In Sweden Were Plug-Ins Plug-In Electric Car Market Share In Netherlands Hit 31% In December Almost 50% Of Passenger Cars Sold In Norway In 2018 Plugged In Finish drivers are increasingly choosing plug-in cars2018 was a very successful year for plug-in electric cars in Finland. The number of new registrations increased 86% year-over-year to a record 5,691 at a very high 4.7% market share.The market was driven mainly by PHEVs (86% of all), but since September, the growth of plug-in hybrids weakened due models eliminated by lack of WLTP-certification. All-electric models are in minority, but growth is above 50%.More sales reports The biggest player in Finland turns out to be Volvo (34% of plug-ins sold) with three out of four top places in the rank. The best-selling all-electric car is the Nissan LEAF.Source: EV Sales Blog Author Liberty Access TechnologiesPosted on January 17, 2019Categories Electric Vehicle Newslast_img read more

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Sleek allelectric Mustang with Teslainspired interior to debut in Goodwood

first_imgSource: Charge Forward The Ford Mustang is going electric and it’s not even Ford making it. A sleek-looking Mustang with a Tesla-inspired interior is going to debut in Goodwood next month. more…Subscribe to Electrek on YouTube for exclusive videos and subscribe to the podcast.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V1zk7Eb8r-s&list=PL_Qf0A10763mA7Byw9ncZqxjke6Gjz0MtThe post Sleek all-electric Mustang with Tesla-inspired interior to debut in Goodwood appeared first on Electrek.last_img

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New drug test scheme is a step too far says Taylor

first_imgShare on WhatsApp Share on Pinterest Topics Reuse this content First published on Tue 11 Nov 2008 21.06 EST Share via Email Dave Middleton Share on Twitter … we have a small favour to ask. The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.More people are reading and supporting The Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we have chosen an approach that allows us to keep our journalism accessible to all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford. But we need your ongoing support to keep working as we do.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism, to maintain our openness and to protect our precious independence. Every reader contribution, big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Share on LinkedIn Drugs in sport New drug test scheme is a ‘step too far’, says Taylor Share on Facebookcenter_img Shares00 Share on Twitter Share on Messenger Since you’re here… Share via Email Share on Facebook Drugs in sport Support The Guardian Premier League footballers are to fight the introduction of a new World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) drug-testing code to the sport amid fears that players could fall foul of administrative errors while the Professional Footballers’ Association has claimed the testing procedure could mark “an invasion of privacy”.Under the new Wada code, set to be introduced from July 1 next year, a pool of 30 elite players would have to make themselves available daily and would be selected for five random drug tests a year outside the usual requirements following matches. An automatic 12-month ban would be triggered if any player were to miss three tests in an 18-month period.The move would bring footballers into line with Olympic athletes, who must provide details of their location each day, including holidays. The nominated players would be required to make themselves available for testing for an hour each day. In other sports where this is already common practice many athletes opt to be available at breakfast and are tested in their home.The PFA chief executive, Gordon Taylor, said the players’ union opposed this particular part of the new regulations. “We feel that to invade the privacy of a player’s home would be a step too far.”If we complain about anything to do with drug-testing, then people think we might have something to hide but football’s record is extremely good and there has been a virtual absence of any performance-enhancing drugs and that goes back decades.”The “whereabouts” drug-testing policy may already have caught out some Premier League footballers, with it reported last night that some clubs had failed to report the movements of injured players, meaning some of them have been marked as having missed a test.Taylor said last night: “This just indicates the administrative problem that could take place.” He said he felt it was only a matter of time before a leading footballer innocent of taking performance-enhancing drugs would be banned for missing three tests.The regime is similar to that which saw Christine Ohuruogu banned for a year before she returned to win 400m gold at the Beijing Olympics this year. The Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand missed the Euro 2004 tournament and served an eight-month suspension after failing to show up for a drugs test at his club’s training ground.The FA has yet to finalise how the Wada protocol would be introduced to football but it intends to work with the PFA and UK Sport.”The introduction of a national testing pool in each country is a requirement of the Wada code but there are still discussions to be had between the FA and UK Sport on the size, composition and testing requirements for English football’s pool,” an FA spokesman said. “These details have not yet been defined and the FA will be guided by Fifa’s view.” PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor opposes the new regulations. Photograph: Tom Jenkins/Guardian Tue 11 Nov 2008 21.06 ESTlast_img read more

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Friday Roundup

first_imgScrutiny alerts and updates, civil litigation updates, SEC enforcement statistics, and for the reading stack.  It’s all here in the Friday roundup.Scrutiny Alerts and UpdatesMillicomThe telecom and media company headquartered in Luxembourg with shares traded over the counter (OTC) in the U.S. recently disclosed:“Millicom … announced that it has reported to law enforcement authorities in the United States and Sweden potential improper payments made on behalf of the company’s joint venture in Guatemala. A Special Committee of the Board of Directors made the decision in connection with an independent investigation being overseen by the Special Committee and conducted by international law firm Covington & Burling LLP, with the support of Millicom’s management team. Millicom is committed to fully cooperating with the authorities. It is not possible at this time to predict the matter’s likely duration or outcome. Millicom is committed to the highest ethical business standards and to full compliance with all applicable laws and regulations in every market in which the company operates.”AEISpeaking of FCPA scrutiny in Guatemala, according to this article in the Nation, Jaguar Energy Guatemala, a subsidiary of Houston-based AEI, “participated in an influence-trafficking scheme to obtain privileged information and favors from high-level Guatemalan officials. Among other things, the subsidiary is accused of paying to obtain meetings with the country’s former president Otto Pérez Molina.”Goldman SachsThe Wall Street Journal recently went in-depth regarding a Malaysian government investment fund,  1Malaysia Development Bhd., or 1MDB, and the role of Prime Minister Najib Razak. As noted in this article:“[T]he fund has become the center of a political scandal that has engulfed Malaysia’s government. The fund is mired in debts of over $11 billion. It is a subject of a raft of local and international investigations, including, in Malaysia, by the central bank, auditor general, anticorruption agency and a parliament committee. It has faced accusations that billions of dollars are missing and that money was misused for political purposes or siphoned off in corruption by individuals.”According to this article:“Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s role as adviser to a politically connected Malaysia development fund resulted in years of lucrative business. It also brought exposure to an expanding scandal. As part of a broad probe into allegations of money laundering and corruption investigators at the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Justice Department have begun examining Goldman Sachs’s role in a series of transactions at 1Malaysia Development Bhd., people familiar with the matter said. The inquiries are at the information-gathering stage, and there is no suggestion of wrongdoing by the bank, the people said. Investigators “have yet to determine if the matter will become a focus of any investigations into the 1MDB scandal,” a spokeswoman for the FBI said.”Bristol-MyersIt was fairly obvious to knowledgeable observers that when the SEC brought an FCPA enforcement action against Bristol-Myers earlier this month (see here for the prior post), but the DOJ did not, that this signaled that there would not be a DOJ enforcement action as such parallel actions are almost always brought on the same day. Should there be any doubt, the company recently disclosed: “The Company has also been advised by the Department of Justice that it has closed its inquiry into this matter.”Civil Litigation UpdatesAs highlighted in Foreign Corrupt Practices Act Ripples, settlement amounts in an actual FCPA enforcement action are often only a relatively minor component of the overall consequences that can result from FCPA scrutiny or enforcement. Among other things, FCPA scrutiny or enforcement often leads to private shareholder litigation as well as other civil claims such as wrongful termination by employees who allegedly “blew the whistle.”Two developments from the FCPA-related civil dockets.This recent post highlighted the civil lawsuit filed by Sanford Wadler, the former General Counsel and Secretary of Bio-Lab Laboratories, against the company and certain executive officers and board members in the aftermath of the company’s FCPA scrutiny and enforcement action. In his complaint, Wadler alleged various unfair employment practices. In this recent decision from the Northern District of California, the court largely denied the defendants’ motion to dismiss and allowed the bulk of Wadler’s claims to proceed.It did not take long for the Ninth Circuit to affirm a lower court order dismissing derivative claims against H-P directors for, among other things, alleged breach of fiduciary duty in connection with the company’s FCPA scrutiny.  The court’s 4 page order is here.SEC Enforcement StatisticsAlthough the SEC has a specialized FCPA Unit (one of only five specialized units at the SEC) and declared the FCPA to be a “vital part” of its overall enforcement program, the fact remains that FCPA enforcement is a relatively minor part of the SEC’s overall enforcement program.Indeed, as noted in this recent SEC release:“In the fiscal year that ended in September, the SEC filed 807 enforcement actions covering a wide range of misconduct, and obtained orders totaling approximately $4.2 billion in disgorgement and penalties.  Of the 807 enforcement actions filed in fiscal year 2015, a record 507 were independent actions for violations of the federal securities laws and 300 were either actions against issuers who were delinquent in making required filings with the SEC or administrative proceedings seeking bars against individuals based on criminal convictions, civil injunctions, or other orders.”In the SEC’s FY 2015, there were 13 FCPA enforcement actions.Nevertheless, the SEC’s release does mention:Combating Foreign Corrupt PracticesFiled significant actions under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) against Bio-Rad Laboratories Inc., Avon Products Inc., Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, BHP Billiton, andHitachi Ltd.Brought a first-ever action against a financial institution for violations of the FCPA and a first-ever action involving hiring practices against BNY Mellon.Charged individuals with FCPA violations, including two former employees in the Dubai office of FLIR Systems Inc., an officer of PBSJ Corporation, and a former officer of SAP SE.” Reading StackThe most recent FCPA Update by Debevoise & Plimpton is here.Miller & Chevalier’s Autumn FCPA Review is here.An informative read here from Professor Peter Henning at his White Collar Crime Watch column in the New York Times titled “Reforming the SEC’s Administrative Process.”*****A good weekend to all.last_img read more

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So Much For That Transparency Thing … DOJ Seeks To Block Release

first_img“Greater transparency benefits everyone.  The Criminal Division stands to benefit from being more transparent ..”Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell, April 15, 2015Yet, time and time again, when the DOJ has an opportunity to be more transparent when it comes to Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement, the DOJ circles the wagons and retreats behind speculative and specious legal arguments.The latest example concerns the DOJ’s continued efforts to block public release of the Siemens’ monitor report, a condition of settlement from the still record-setting $800 million FCPA enforcement action against Siemens in 2008. The DOJ’s resistance is all the remarkable given that Siemens’ post-enforcement action monitorship ended long ago and the case is no longer active.This post highlights the DOJ’s arguments in this recently filed brief in which the DOJ (along with Siemens and its monitor) is opposing public release of the Monitor reports.As highlighted in this recent post, in a similar (albeit not FCPA) setting,  U.S. District Court Judge John Gleeson (E.D.N.Y.) recently ordered the HSBC monitor report to be released.Let’s hope that U.S. District Judge Rudolph Contreras (D.D.C.) to whom the Siemens case is assigned, like Judge Gleeson, champions transparency and does not acquiesce in secret criminal law enforcement.Moreover, from a policy matter the DOJ should want the Siemens monitor report in the public domain as it would be a valuable educational resource for corporate counsel and compliance professionals on a variety of topics. This is particularly true because in its 2008 sentencing memorandum the DOJ complimented Siemens remedial measures and stated that the company “set a high standard for multi-national companies to follow.”It strains credibility for the DOJ to now want the specifics of this “high standard for multi-national companies to follow” shielded from public disclosure.In its brief, the DOJ states, in pertinent part as follows (internal citations omitted).“Disclosing [the information in the monitor’s report] would .. harm the DOJ’s ability to obtain similar information from other companies in the future and its ability to reduce recidivism of corporations that commit crimes. Companies like Siemens that have been convicted of crimes often need monitors to review their compliance programs and ensure that those programs are effective. If the information that a monitor gives the DOJ can be obtained through FOIA [the Freedom of Information Act], companies and their employees are not likely to be candid with monitors. This would harm the DOJ’s enforcement efforts because the DOJ would be less likely to receive reliable information from companies under monitorships. Consequently, the DOJ would have inadequate and insufficient information to determine whether companies had improved their compliance programs as required by agreements between the companies and the DOJ.FOIA also exempts from disclosure information that the DOJ received from the Monitor because the DOJ used that information in its internal deliberations when deciding whether Siemens had adequately enhanced its compliance program. Siemens had agreed to have a monitor evaluate Siemens’ compliance program and report to the DOJ about the effectiveness of its program. DOJ then used that information to determine whether Siemens had met its obligations under its agreement with DOJ. FOIA protects from disclosure information that is used in internal deliberations in order to promote candid discussions and optimum decision-making inside government agencies.”Another interesting aspect of the DOJ’s motion is how it describes a monitor as being a de facto government agent and how the DOJ, as a practical matter, outsources post-enforcement action law enforcement requirements to the monitor.“The DOJ relies on monitors because DOJ’s limited resources are focused on investigating and prosecuting corporate crime, not acting as monitors.”[…]The DOJ had internal discussions where its attorneys reviewed, considered, and deliberated on the information, recommendations, and opinions that the Monitor gave the DOJ. The DOJ had these discussions to evaluate whether the Monitor was carrying out his mandate and whether Siemens was complying with its obligations under the Plea Agreement. The Monitor’s work was crucial to this process. The DOJ’s deliberative process was driven largely by the information that the Monitor gave it, including the Monitor’s conclusion whether the company’s compliance program was effective. The DOJ relied on the information gathered by the Monitor and the Monitor’s input, such as his reporting, opinions, and recommendations, when suggesting changes to subsequent work plans and reviewing annual reports. The Monitor’s information directly impacted the DOJ’s analysis about whether Siemens had satisfied its obligations under the Plea Agreement and whether the monitorship should be continued for an additional year.”The most incredible of the DOJ’s arguments in the brief is the following.“Through his service, the Monitor provided an important benefit to the DOJ and the public by boosting confidence that Siemens was implementing an effective compliance program that significantly reduced the likelihood of recidivism.” (emphasis added).How is the public even capable of assessing this issue when the public is completely in the dark about what the monitor did and found?If the DOJ is all for boosting public confidence in law enforcement, there is something the DOJ can do.Advocate for the release of the Siemens monitor report.Yet the DOJ is doing the exact opposite and I have my own suspicion as to why and it has nothing to do with the issues discussed in the DOJ’s brief.last_img read more

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So You Want To Build Hotels in Africa …

first_imgReading the news with a pair of FCPA goggles is an occupational hazard and it was hard not to see the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act implications in this recent Wall Street Journal article titled “Global Hoteliers Take Spending Spree to Africa.As stated in the article:  “The world’s biggest names in hospitality are battling for a slice of one of the world’s fastest-growing markets for hotels: Africa. To be sure, many African markets are notorious for issues with land rights, slow construction progress and graft. “These hotels tend to take so much longer,” said Mark Martinovic, president and CEO of Hotel Spec International Inc., a South Africa-based hotel-development consulting firm. He also cited challenges in getting raw materials through customs in the continent’s ports, saying, “I call the [African hotel] pipeline the ‘pipe dreams.’” But many of the world’s biggest names in hospitality say that despite the enduring challenges for investors in Sub-Saharan Africa, the continent’s growth prospects are strong.”FCPA risk, as its most basic level, is all about having points of contact with foreign officials in the global marketplace and building buildings (whether hotels, manufacturing facilities, or stores) provides numerous points of contact with foreign officials from site approval and inspection, zoning issues, environmental clearances, permitting issues and the like.For instance, as highlighted in this prior post, to build a new manufacturing facility in Russia a company needed more than 240 certifications and inspections.Not surprisingly, as highlighted below several FCPA enforcement actions or instances of FCPA scrutiny have involved the process of building in foreign countries.For instance, the recent Cognizant Technology enforcement action involved “a total of approximately $3.6 million in bribes to Indian government officials to obtain government construction-related permits and operating licenses in connection with the construction and operation of commercial office buildings.”The Elbit Imaging enforcement action involved “millions of dollars of payments made by Elbit, and its then majority-owned indirect subsidiary Plaza Centers NV (“Plaza”) … to third-party offshore consultants and sales agents purportedly for their services related to a real estate development project in Romania and the sale of a large portfolio of real estate assets in the U.S.”The Mondelez International enforcement action involved the retention of an agent retained an agent “to interact with Indian government officials to obtain licenses and approvals for a chocolate factory in Baddi, Himachal Pradesh, India.”The Nortek enforcement action involved improper payments in China “to local officials from multiple different governmental departments, including customs, tax, fire, police, labor, health inspection, environmental protection, and telecommunications.”The PBSJ enforcement action involved, in part, a hotel resort development project in Morocco.The Saybolt enforcement action involved, in part, payments to “secure a more permanent facility for Saybolt Panama’s operations on highly coveted land near the Panama Canal.”Perhaps the most high-profile instance of an FCPA enforcement action involving building issues is forthcoming as Walmart’s long-standing FCPA scrutiny focuses, at least in part, on building issues in Mexico. As highlighted in this prior post, according to the NY Times article:“In the interviews, Mr. Cicero [an individual who spent decade in the Walmart – Mexico’s real estate department] recounted how he had helped organize years of payoffs. He described personally dispatching two trusted outside lawyers to deliver envelopes of cash to government officials. They targeted mayors and city council members, obscure urban planners, low-level bureaucrats who issued permits — anyone with the power to thwart Wal-Mart’s growth. The bribes, he said, bought zoning approvals, reductions in environmental impact fees and the allegiance of neighborhood leaders.”[…]“The idea, [Cicero] said, was to build hundreds of new stores so fast that competitors would not have time to react. Bribes, he explained, accelerated growth. They got zoning maps changed. They made environmental objections vanish. Permits that typically took months to process magically materialized in days.” Learn More & Register FCPA Institute – Boston (Oct. 3-4) A unique two-day learning experience ideal for a diverse group of professionals seeking to elevate their FCPA knowledge and practical skills through active learning. Learn more, spend less. CLE credit is available.last_img read more

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ALJ Penson Financial CEO Did Nothing Wrong in Texas Naked Short Sales

first_imgAn administrative law judge ruled Thursday that two Colleyville financial executives did little-to-nothing wrong in their leadership positions at Dallas-based Penson Financial, a now-defunct clearing service for U.S. brokerage houses dealing in stock trades. The case is a significant win for Haynes and Boone, which led the defense team and a major loss for the SEC, which lost only one of the 23 cases it filed with ALJs. By comparison, the agency lost one-third of the cases it brought in federal court during the same time period . . .You must be a subscriber to The Texas Lawbook to access this content. Lost your password? Password Not a subscriber? Sign up for The Texas Lawbook.center_img Remember me Usernamelast_img read more

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SEC Charges Texas Investment Firm CEO with Fraud

first_img Password Not a subscriber? Sign up for The Texas Lawbook. Remember me Katy-based Bryant United Capital Funding and its CEO are operating an illegal real estate mortgage investment scheme that defrauded more than 100 investors out of millions of dollars, according to SEC documents that were unsealed Friday in federal court in Sherman. The SEC accuses BUCF and its leader, Thurman Bryant III of Frisco, with securities fraud and making false statements to investors . . .You must be a subscriber to The Texas Lawbook to access this content.center_img Username Lost your password?last_img read more

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Leadingedge radiation therapy offered by Loyola Medicine to broad range of cancer

first_imgJul 31 2018Loyola Medicine is among the select centers that offer a broad range of cancer patients a leading-edge form of radiation therapy that is delivered during surgery.The treatment is called intraoperative radiation therapy (IORT). After the tumor is removed, a concentrated dose of radiation is delivered to the tumor bed to kill any microscopic cancer cells left behind, thereby reducing the chance the cancer will recur.Higher doses can be safely given because radiation is applied directly to the tumor site and doctors can move or shield healthy organs to protect them from the radiation, said Loyola Medicine radiation oncologist William Small, Jr., MD, chair of the department of radiation oncology, director of Loyola’s Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center and one of the nation’s leading IORT experts.Related StoriesSugary drinks linked to cancer finds studyLiving with advanced breast cancerNew research links “broken heart syndrome” to cancerLoyola is among the few centers that have the multidisciplinary expertise to use IORT on multiple cancers, including breast, gynecological, head and neck, pancreatic, colorectal, brain and bone cancers. In some patients, IORT is provided as a boost to standard radiation therapy that is given in sessions before or after surgery. In other cases, patients can receive all the radiation they need in one dose during surgery.Breast cancer patient Marie Bartolo has a busy life, so she elected to have IORT during her lumpectomy rather than undergo traditional radiation treatments five days a week for four to six weeks.The IORT was delivered by Dr. Small, working closely with breast surgeon Constantine Godellas, MD. “I got back my life really quickly,” Ms. Bartolo said. “I think intraoperative radiation therapy helps you heal mentally and physically much more quickly.”Loyola physicians are helping to advance cancer care by conducting clinical trials on IORT and other treatments at the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center. The nationally renowned cancer center is recognized as high-performing by U.S. News & World Report and accredited by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer. Source:https://www.loyolamedicine.orglast_img read more

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Areas with high density of alcohol outlets have more hospital admission rates

first_imgRavi Maheswaran, Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health at the University of Sheffield, said: “The strongest link was between pubs, bars and nightclubs and admissions for alcoholic liver disease.”We also observed an association between restaurants licensed to sell alcohol and hospital admissions, which we had not expected. This needs further investigation to establish if there is a causal link.”While convenience stores were clearly associated with hospital admissions, the association for supermarkets was modest, as we had expected. Supermarkets account for a significant proportion of alcohol sales, however they tend to serve large catchment areas whilst our study was set up to examine the effects of outlet density in small local areas.”Related StoriesStudy: One in five university students affected by problematic smartphone useBordeaux University Hospital uses 3D printing to improve kidney tumor removal surgeryUTHealth researchers investigate how to reduce stress-driven alcohol useOutlet density was measured as the number of alcohol retail outlets within a 1km radius of the center of every residential postcode in England. This was classified into four categories, ranging from lowest to highest and the analysis adjusted for other factors which could have influenced associations, including differences in age, socioeconomic deprivation and hospital admission policies in different areas.Professor Maheswaran added: “Although we have observed clear associations between alcohol outlet densities and hospital admissions, our study cannot confirm if these associations are causally linked.”However, there is emerging evidence from other studies suggesting that local licensing enforcement could reduce alcohol-related harms.”The research was funded by Alcohol Research UK, an independent charity working to reduce alcohol-related harm through ensuring policy and practice can be developed on the basis of reliable, research-based evidence.Dr James Nicholls, Director of Research and Policy Development at Alcohol Research UK said: “Understanding the relationship between outlet density and alcohol hospital admissions is essential to reducing harm. Local licensing authorities, in particular, need to factor this information into their decisions.”We often hear that no individual outlet can be held responsible for increased hospital admissions, and because of this licensing teams can’t plan on that basis. However, this study adds weight to the argument that licensing needs to also think about the overall level of availability in a given area.”As the evidence on the relationship between availability and harm becomes stronger, those tasked with regulating the market need to respond.”Previous work by the University of Sheffield researchers showed a vast increase in the number of off-trade outlets, such as convenience stores and supermarkets that sell alcohol. The amount of convenience stores selling alcohol more than doubled from 2003 to 2013, with an increase of 104 percent. The number of supermarkets selling alcohol also increased by 33 percent. Places with the highest density of restaurants licensed to sell alcohol had nine percent higher admission rates for acute conditions and nine percent higher admission rates for chronic conditions caused by alcohol. Areas with the highest density of other on-trade outlets (such as hotels, casinos and sports clubs) had 12 percent higher admission rates for acute conditions and 19 percent higher admission rates for chronic conditions caused by alcohol, compared with areas with the lowest density of other on-trade outlets. Places with the highest density of convenience stores had 10 percent higher admission rates for acute conditions and seven percent higher admission rates for chronic conditions compared with areas with the lowest density of convenience stores. Aug 20 2018Areas with a high density of alcohol outlets have higher drink-related hospital admission rates, a new study from the University of Sheffield has found.The study, conducted by researchers from the University’s School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR), revealed that the places in England with the most pubs, bars and nightclubs had a 13 percent higher admission rate for acute conditions caused by alcohol such as drunkenness and vomiting.These areas also had a 22 percent higher hospital admission rate for chronic conditions caused by alcohol – such as liver disease, compared with places with the lowest density of alcohol vendors.The research, funded by Alcohol Research UK, analyzed both on-trade outlets – where alcohol can be bought and consumed on the premises such as pubs, clubs and restaurants – as well as off-trade outlets – where alcohol is purchased to drink elsewhere, like supermarkets and convenience stores.The study, which is the largest of its kind worldwide, examined data on more than one million admissions wholly attributable to alcohol over 12 years. It included all 32,482 census areas in England.The results also showed:center_img Source:https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/last_img read more

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Researchers develop gene expression predictor for immunotherapy response in melanoma

first_img Source:https://www.cancer.gov/news-events/press-releases/2018/melanoma-immunotherapy-predictor Aug 20 2018In a new study, researchers developed a gene expression predictor that can indicate whether melanoma in a specific patient is likely to respond to treatment with immune checkpoint inhibitors, a novel type of immunotherapy. The predictor was developed by Noam Auslander, Ph.D., with other researchers in the Center for Cancer Research (CCR) at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health, and colleagues at Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.; the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia; and the University of Maryland, College Park. The study was published August 20, 2018 in Nature Medicine.”There is a critical need to be able to predict how cancer patients will respond to this type of immunotherapy,” said Eytan Ruppin, M.D., Ph.D., of NCI’s newly established Cancer Data Science Laboratory, who led the study. “Being able to predict who is highly likely to respond and who isn’t will enable us to more accurately and precisely guide patients’ treatment.”Treatment with checkpoint inhibitors is effective for some patients with late-stage melanoma and certain other types of cancer. However, not all patients with melanoma respond to this treatment, and it can have considerable side effects. Being able to predict which patients are likely to respond and which are not would be a major clinical advance. But developing a predictor of response has been challenging, partly because of the limited number of patients who have received this relatively new form of treatment.In this study, the investigators developed a predictor by first looking for clues in cases where the immune system appears to mount an unprompted, successful immune response to cancer, causing spontaneous tumor regression. They analyzed neuroblastoma, a type of cancer that frequently undergoes spontaneous regression in young children, and were able to define gene expression features that separated patients with non-regressing disease from those with regressing disease.Related StoriesScientists develop universal FACS-based approach to heterogenous cell sorting, propelling organoid researchNew research links “broken heart syndrome” to cancerTAU’s new Translational Medical Research Center acquires MILabs’ VECTor PET/SPECT/CTThese features enabled the researchers to compute what they called an IMmuno-PREdictive Score (IMPRES) for each patient sample. The higher the IMPRES score for a sample, the more likely it was to undergo spontaneous regression. To see if IMPRES could be used to predict melanoma patients’ responses to checkpoint inhibitors, the authors analyzed 297 samples from several studies. They found that the predictor could identify nearly all patients who responded to the inhibitors and more than half of those who did not, making it significantly superior to all other existing published predictors. Importantly, unlike other existing predictors, IMPRES was accurate across many different melanoma patient data sets.”We now know that immunotherapy works, but we do not understand well why a particular therapy will work for some patients but not others,” said Tom Misteli, Ph.D., director of CCR at NCI. “This study is a step forward in developing tools to address this challenge, which is of practical importance to patients.”Dr. Ruppin said that while the results obtained are encouraging, they will need to be carefully evaluated in additional patient datasets. The authors also wrote that further study of this kind of predictor is now warranted in other cancer types for which checkpoint inhibitors have been approved.last_img read more

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Some US coastal cities at higher risk of flooding than thought

first_imgOccasional combinations of storm surge and heavy rainfall place some major U.S. coastal cities at a higher risk of flooding than previously thought, a new study suggests. Scientists often estimate the risk of coastal flooding due to storm surge (waters blown on shore by strong winds) separately than that caused by heavy precipitation (runoff from nearby higher elevations that piles up in low areas before it can flow into the sea). But high winds and heavy rain often happen together, say the authors of the first-of-its-kind study, which looked at long-term tidal and precipitation data for the 17 U.S. port cities that have populations exceeding 1 million and then removed the effects of rising sea level. For New York City (which suffered the same flooding during Superstorm Sandy in late October 2012 as the coast in nearby New Jersey, shown), floods due to either a storm surge of 1.15 meters (enough to overtop Manhattan’s seawall) or a 1-day rainfall of 12 centimeters (4.7 inches) occurred, statistically, once every 245 years, the researchers found. But when both high storm surges and heavy rainfall are considered together, floods occur on average once every 105 years, the researchers report online today in Nature Climate Change. Similar trends were noted for several other locations the team studied. Not only that, the researchers say, in five of the 17 port cities the link between storm surge and heavy precipitation has grown stronger in recent decades. It’s possible that climate change has strengthened the correlation between storm surge and heavy rainfall, but further analyses will be needed to make that case, the team notes.last_img read more

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Outofsync brain waves may explain why we get forgetful as we age

first_img iStock.com/Syldavia Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country By Roni DenglerDec. 14, 2017 , 1:10 PM New research finds the timing of brain waves we make while sleeping may impact memory. Our brains don’t rest when we sleep. Electrical waves ripple through our noggins as our neurons talk to each other. Now, researchers have shown that when these waves don’t interact properly, we can lose our long-term memory. The work may help explain why older adults are so forgetful, and it could lead to new therapies to treat memory loss.To find out how sleep contributes to memory loss in old age, Randolph Helfrich, a neuroscientist at the University of California (UC), Berkeley, and his team gave healthy 70- and 20-year-olds a memory test. Participants were trained to match 120 common, short words—for example, “bird”—with nonsense words made of combinations of random syllables, like “jubu.” Once they learned the word-nonsense word combos, the volunteers played a version of the game “memory.” They had to match the word pairs twice: once about 10 minutes after they’d mastered the task, and again a few hours after waking from a full night’s rest. While they slept, researchers recorded the electrical activity in their brains.As expected, the older adults’ ability to remember the word pairs in the morning was worse than their young counterparts’. The electrical recordings revealed one reason. Two kinds of brain waves—slow oscillations, large undulations that promote restorative sleep, and sleep spindles, transient bursts of short waves—are tell-tale marks of deep, typically dreamless, non–rapid eye movement sleep. But these waves are out of sync in older people, the researchers report today in Neuron. This out-of-step activity, they say, interrupts communication between the parts of our brains that store short- and long-term memories. In effect, Helfrich says, the prefrontal cortex where long-term memories are stored needs to tell the hippocampus—the part of the brain where all memories go first—that it’s ready to receive information; if brain waves aren’t in sync, this communication gets lost. So do the memories.center_img Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Email Out-of-sync brain waves may explain why we get forgetful as we age To figure out what causes this asynchrony, the researchers looked at participant’s brains using structural magnetic resonance imaging, which uses radio waves to view internal organs. They found the part of the brain that makes slow oscillations—and long-term memories—was smaller in older participants, suggesting that older adults are more forgetful because this region atrophies over time. “That atrophy is enough to impair the mechanism to bring the brain waves together in time to really store memories overnight,” Helfrich says.Emery Brown, a neuroscientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, is skeptical. He calls it “a bit of a stretch” to draw such conclusions based on the brain scans. He’d like to see the results reproduced in other settings first.Still, Phyllis Zee, a neurologist and neuroscientist at Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois, says the research connects a lot of dots between sleep and memory. She’s curious whether the results will hold up in adults who are at risk for neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease.Elissaios Karageorgiou, a neurologist and neuroscientist at UC San Francisco, would have added another layer of analysis. For example, if researchers didn’t know whose memory results they were looking at, could they have predicted the unsynchronized brain waves? But he agrees that the findings could potentially lead to memory therapies. Optimizing the timing of these brain waves with electrical or magnetic stimulation, for example, could be one way to improve peoples’ memories.last_img read more

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This artificial intelligence teaches robots to walk—by creating custom obstacle courses

first_imgThis artificial intelligence teaches robots to walk—by creating custom obstacle courses Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country By Matthew HutsonJan. 22, 2019 , 8:00 AM The researchers say POET could one day help real-life robots solve many complex tasks, or even let autonomous cars learn to handle emergencies that programmers hadn’t thought to put in the lesson plan. In an open-ended fashion, POET might even create and solve entirely new problems, in fields from protein synthesis to poetry.center_img Email Before you run hurdles, you have to learn to crawl, and before you read William Shakespeare, you need to know the alphabet. Any educator knows the importance of a step-by-step lesson plan for mastering a task. Now, researchers at Uber AI Labs have designed an algorithm that comes up with its own curriculum for teaching simulated robots to cross difficult terrain, without falling flat on their faceless bodies. The algorithm might one day even help autonomous vehicles react in emergency situations.The new program, called Paired Open-Ended Trailblazer (POET) first comes up with a set of unique terrains, each inhabited by a computer-controlled character. Using only two legs and a laserlike rangefinder, the character must teach itself to walk. After a period of practice, the artificial intelligence changes the challenge—sometimes making it easier, and sometimes more difficult. It might make trenches wider, stumps taller, or the ground more uneven. Occasionally a different walker is swapped in, to see whether the skills learned on one terrain will help on another. This mutating and swapping of obstacle courses creates an unpredictable series of stepping stones on the path to agility.Using POET, the robot walkers could eventually cover difficult terrain that couldn’t be learned without the earlier courses, the researchers report in a paper posted to arXiv this month. What’s more, POET worked better than a program that simply increased the difficulty of terrain over time, without trying many indirect paths. POET’s circuitous routes of learning paid off again and again. In one example, a bot crouch-walked until it encountered a world with stumps and had to learn to walk upright; it later returned to a flatter world and kept walking upright, completing the course faster than before. Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*)last_img read more

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US shutdown begins Its disheartening discouraging deflating

first_img The U.S. government today began the process of partially shutting down after President Donald Trump and lawmakers in Congress could not agree on a short-term funding deal. At the center of the dispute is Trump’s demand for $5 billion to begin building a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, as he promised during his presidential campaign. Democrats and some Republicans in Congress oppose that demand, and the parties are trying to negotiate a resolution.The shutdown will not directly affect a number of major science agencies because they are already fully funded under spending bills signed by Trump. Those protected agencies include the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the departments of energy and defense.But the shutdown will scramble operations at a number of other agencies that fund or conduct research. That list includes the National Science Foundation (NSF), NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the U.S. Geological Survey, the Agricultural Research Service, the Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Forest Service. Overall, agencies will be forced to furlough about 380,000 employees under shutdown plans they have adopted. (An additional 420,000 “essential” employees involved in critical activities—such as air traffic control and military missions, or keeping spacecraft flying and laboratory animals alive—will be required to work without pay.) By Science News StaffDec. 22, 2018 , 9:45 AM BKL/Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0) Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) U.S. shutdown begins: ‘It’s disheartening, … discouraging, … deflating’ Emailcenter_img Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Dome of the U.S. Capitol at night Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Past shutdowns have proved costly and disruptive. (This is the third this year alone.) As a result, science groups are expressing alarm. “Any shutdown of the federal government can disrupt or delay research projects, lead to uncertainty over new research, and reduce researcher access to agency data and infrastructure,” Rush Holt, CEO of AAAS (which publishes ScienceInsider), said in a statement.Some lawmakers are also worried. “I want to point out that our federal science agencies have a long history of working hard on research and education programs that return huge payoffs to the American people. Those agencies are basically closed for business today,” said Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson (D–TX), who will become chair of the House of Representatives science panel next month. “As I’ve noted in previous shutdowns, as our competitors in other countries surge ahead in their R&D investments, we have basically shut down a large chunk of our federal science and technology enterprise. Shutting down the government is an embarrassment and the president should not be ‘proud’ of it.”It is not yet clear how long this shutdown might last, although Trump has said it could be a “very long time.” Agencies are preparing for the worst. Here’s a taste of what they might face:Smithsonian Institution: “It’s disheartening”The Smithsonian Institution will use remaining funds from budgets that Congress has already approved to keep operating through New Year’s Day, it said in a statement. Its popular public museums will be open, except for a traditional Christmas Day closure. And the institution’s broad array of research conducted by some 500 staff scientists—including studies in ecology, archeology, and paleontology—will have a week’s reprieve, too.After that, says Rick Potts, a paleoanthropologist who directs the Human Origins Project at the National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) in Washington, D.C., the shutdown will leave him “unable to lead writing and discussions of manuscripts involving several dozen co-authors across the U.S. and other countries. … We are not allowed to use our Smithsonian/government email accounts during a shutdown, which prevents communications that are at the heart of collaborative science.”Another NMNH scientist who asked not to be identified spent Friday afternoon scrambling to prepare for a long-planned scientific expedition abroad for which they might—or might not—be granted permission to leave as planned on 29 December.“It’s disheartening, it’s discouraging, it’s deflating. All those d-words,” they said as they surveyed the piles of satellite maps, sample bags, and notebooks they were planning to cart home yesterday, in case they got the go-ahead. This person also worries about early career colleagues who will be counting on their guidance during the expedition.“If I get on the plane next Saturday and am in my field area by the first of January and there’s a complete shutdown, I will have to come back. I will feel like I am not fulfilling my responsibility to the science that I am trying to do and especially to my colleagues.”  —Meredith WadmanNASA: High-profile mission could go darkPerhaps no agency will have a higher percentage of its workforce furloughed than NASA, where some 90% of its 17,586 workers would be sent home, according to a plan released last week. Exceptions are made for supporting missions in progress, such as the International Space Station and its astronauts, along with operations of, for example, essential satellite and robotic missions.If the shutdown lingers through the new year, it could complicate what was meant to be a highlight for the agency: the New Horizons spacecraft’s first flyby—on New Year’s Day—of an original resident of the Kuiper belt, the far-flung flotilla of planetary grist on the edge of the solar system. The New Horizons team, which is run by Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, will continue to work. So will the engineers behind NASA’s Deep Space Network, the massive radio antennas that enable communication with the space agency’s robotic fleet. But a shutdown could shutter NASA’s vaunted publicity machine. Twitter accounts could close. Press releases would remain drafts. Even the agency’s TV channel would go dark.Beyond the potential of such a media fumble, a shutdown that dragged into 2019 could start to cause serious delays for missions in development. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, is technically a NASA contractor, so work could likely continue on its $2.5 billion Mars 2020 rover, which must hit a narrow launch window. But should the mission hit a point where the approval or review of a NASA employee is needed, all work would then stop.A similar story could play out for the delayed James Webb Space Telescope, now in the hands of contractors for testing. And even NASA’s return to human spaceflight, via the “commercial crew” vehicles developed by Boeing and SpaceX, could be postponed, including an uncrewed launch of SpaceX’s Dragon planned for next month from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. —Paul VoosenNSF: “Disruption in the grantmaking process”“There will definitely be a disruption in the grantmaking process,” says Amanda Greenwell, head of NSF’s Office of Legislative and Public Affairs in Alexandria, Virginia. It also means scientists and university administrators won’t be able to talk with NSF program managers if any questions arise about NSF-funded research. But NSF has no in-house labs, Greenwell noted, and the contractors that run major NSF-funded facilities such as observatories and research vessels have enough money in their accounts to weather a short-term shutdown. —Jeffrey MervisUSDA: Skeleton crewsAccording to a shutdown plan posted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), most activities would halt at its Agricultural Research Service (ARS), the in-house research agency, and at the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), which houses the agency’s competitive grants program.And many agencies will have just skeleton crews because of furloughs. Just four of the 399 NIFA staff would continue to work, another USDA document indicates, and just about 18% of ARS’s staff of 6285 would be exempt from the shutdown—including “senior leaders” and those involved in “the protection of research property and data where significant damage could result if unattended for any period of time.” —Kelly ServickNIST: Empty labsWith campuses in Gaithersburg, Maryland, and Boulder, Colorado, NIST employs some 2900 scientists, engineers, administrators, and support staff. The agency runs six laboratories for advancing measurement science and standards to help U.S. companies. Most will be furloughed, but more than 500 staff members are expected to stay on part- or full-time to oversee proper shutdown of equipment ranging from a cold neutron source to nanofabrication facility, as well as ensure the safety of vital equipment and buildings. —​Robert ServiceNOAA: Port in a storm? The agency will continue to run a collection of essential long-term data about the oceans and atmosphere and other field data. Fortuitously, all the agency’s vessels are in port for scheduled winter maintenance, a NOAA official said. —​Jeffrey Brainardlast_img read more

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US government shutdown starts to take a bite out of science

first_img Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe *Update, 9 January, 1:30 p.m.: Shenandoah National Park today informed ecologist Jeff Atkins, featured below, that he will be allowed to enter the park for stream sampling despite the shutdown.Rattlesnakes, bears, hurricanes, and freezing weather haven’t stopped ecologist Jeff Atkins from taking weekly hikes into Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park for the past 8 years to collect water samples from remote streams. But Atkins is now facing an insurmountable obstacle: the partial shutdown of the U.S. government, in its third week.Park managers have barred Atkins from entering since 22 December 2018, when Congress and President Donald Trump failed to agree on a deal to fund about one-quarter of the federal government, including the National Park Service. That has shut down the sampling, part of a 40-year-old effort to monitor how the streams are recovering from the acid rain that poisoned them in past decades. Mark Wilson/Getty Images U.S. government shutdown starts to take a bite out of science “It’s very frustrating to have this needless disruption” in what is one of the park system’s longest continuous data sets, says Atkins, a postdoctoral researcher at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond. “This is the biggest [sampling] gap we’ve had. … Now, there is always going to be this hole.”Atkins is one of tens of thousands of U.S. scientists feeling the pain caused by the shutdown, which resulted after Congress refused to give Trump the $5.7 billion he wants for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. The impasse has all but halted work at more than a half-dozen agencies that fund or conduct research, including NASA, the National Science Foundation (NSF), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and parts of the Smithsonian Institution.Many of the scientists at those shuttered agencies have been furloughed without pay, barred from working at home, and prohibited from checking their government email. A travel ban has hurt attendance at several major conferences and caused organizers to cancel other events.The shutdown is also creating chaos for university researchers, private contractors, and others who collaborate with idled federal scientists, or depend on affected agencies for funding, facilities, and data. Besides doing lasting damage to some research projects, the standstill is threatening livelihoods. “In a moment’s notice, I went from believing I had secure income to not knowing when I would be paid,” says Marshall McMunn, an ecologist at the University of California (UC), Davis, on an NSF postdoctoral fellowship. He can’t even find out whether it’s OK to take a part-time job to help pay his bills. Email Congress has refused to give President Donald Trump the funding he wants for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country By David MalakoffJan. 7, 2019 , 6:00 PM Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Related U.S. shutdown begins: ‘It’s disheartening, … discouraging, … deflating’ Amy Freitag, a social scientist who does contract work for NOAA at the Cooperative Oxford Laboratory in Maryland, says the shutdown has “made it very hard to make progress on any research that involves my [NOAA] colleagues … or do any kind of planning.” Freitag has been able to continue working—from home and coffee shops—because her private employer is paid in advance. To stay on the job, however, she’ll need new assignments. But key NOAA managers have been furloughed.Atmospheric scientist Rachel Storer, who works at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, but is employed by Colorado State University in Fort Collins, says, “My paycheck isn’t in immediate danger.” But Storer has suspended work on building digital simulations of cloud formation because she can’t get access to NASA supercomputers. (JPL is open because it is operated by the California Institute of Technology, a contractor.) “I have other work to fill my time … but it’s a setback,” she says.The shutdown has also stung entomologist Rufus Isaacs of Michigan State University in East Lansing. Some endangered bumble bees he has collected are now “sitting in a fridge in my lab” and can’t be shipped to USDA laboratories until they reopen. He notes that a few months’ delay in agricultural research “can mean a whole year of progress is lost, because if we don’t have the answers from the recent experiments, we don’t know how to prepare for the coming growing season.”Marine biologist Mykle Hoban, a doctoral student at the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology in Kaneohe, was to begin a 10-week project on fish taxonomy this week at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. The museum is closed, and he can’t reach the researcher he’s supposed to work with, but Hoban still plans to take the trip “and hope for the best.”Even researchers funded by agencies not affected by the shutdown are feeling the pinch. Rita Hamad, a health policy researcher at UC San Francisco, is supported by the National Institutes of Health, which is open. But she relies on data handled by staffers at the U.S. Census Bureau, which is closed. The result, she says: “I can’t publish timely evidence on policies that I study.”Other scientists have been forced to cancel long-planned trips and meetings. USDA’s Forest Service pulled the plug on what would have been the 30th annual Interagency Forum on Invasive Species, scheduled for this week in Annapolis. “It’s just a very sad day for science,” says retired federal entomologist Michael McManus, who organized the forum and was expecting 200 attendees.The travel ban forced hundreds of federal scientists to drop trips to major meetings held by the American Meteorological Society and the American Astronomical Society—in Phoenix and Seattle, Washington, respectively—where they had planned to present work. U.S. scientists will also be absent from a technical meeting of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change scheduled for this week in Vancouver, Canada.On Twitter, astrophysicist Jane Rigby of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, mused about the implications of being furloughed. “Can’t work. Can’t travel for work. … Can’t use work laptop,” she wrote. “Can I think about the universe? Unclear.”With reporting by Daniel Clery, Kelly Servick, and Paul Voosen.last_img read more

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