Comment on Contact by DC office furniture installation    

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I have not checked in here for some time because I thought it was getting boring, but the last several posts are good quality so I guess I'll add you back to my everyday bloglist. You deserve it my friend :)
          

Ron Johnson gushes Conspiracy Theories, doesn't Trust FBI and CIA, before and now after.    

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Ron Johnson became Wisconsin's Senator because he didn't understand the Affordable Care Act, and hated a program offering more people access to affordable health insurance. He even said...


And it only got worse from there. In Washington, Johnson's blathering idiocy became the talk of the town:

And then he got reelected...true!

Johnson plays Trump as Victim, says he's "...never seen a president, administration, be sabotaged from the day after the election: Amazing. Let's remind our clueless Dumb Ron Johnson why that's not true either:
1. Here’s John Boehner offering his plans for Obama’s agenda: “We're going to do everything — and I mean everything we can do — to kill it, stop it, slow it down, whatever we can.”

2. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell summed up his plan to National Journal: “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.”

3. Mike Pence, underscored the point with a clip from Patton, showing the general rallying his troops for war against their Nazi enemy: “We’re going to kick the hell out of him all the time! We’re going to go through him like crap through a goose!”

4. Even though the economy was in free fall, not one House Republican had voted for the effort to revive it, prompting a wave of punditry about a failed party refusing to help clean up its own mess and dooming itself to irrelevance.

5. Have we forgotten that right when President Obama took office in 2009, the Republican leadership in Congress planned a no-honeymoon strategy of all-out resistance to Obama, even though the country was in an economic meltdown? Then-Sen. George Voinovich (R-Ohio) said that “if [Obama] was for it, we had to be against it.”
So it's mind-bending to hear Dumb Ron Johnson whine about the supposed "attacks" on the grifting Trump family presidency:
Johnson: "I have never in my lifetime seen a president after being elected, not having some measure of well wishes from his opponents; I've never seen a president, administration, be sabotaged from the day after the election; I've never seen no measure of a honeymoon what-so-ever." 
Johnson, chairman of the Senate's Homeland Security committee, rambled from one conspiracy theory to another (just like every Trump cultist), and admitted he doesn't trust the CIA or the FBI.
Johnson: "No, I don't — absolutely not. No, and I didn't trust them back then."


So, Nothing like this ever happened under Obama? Trump Investigations plays into GOP Victim-Hood: Here's just a quick reminder below. Note: Remember Trump's own attempts to seek out Obama's birth certificate to prove he was not a U.S. citizen and a secret Muslin:
MSNBC: Republicans made aggressive use of their investigative powers ... matters involving Hillary Clinton, her use of email as secretary of state, her conduct of foreign policy and the Clinton Foundation ... House Republicans unleashed a barrage of subpoenas ... a half dozen GOP-led House committees conducted protracted investigations of the 2012 attacks on U.S. diplomats in Benghazi, Libya ... investigations of the 2009-2011 Operation Fast and Furious episode – a botched initiative against drug cartels that ended up putting guns in the hands of murderers ... investigations into the IRS's treatment of conservatives, and his administration’s loan guarantee to the failed solar-panel startup, Solyndra. And much more.
Who can forget Johnson's imagined "secret society?" 


Or this Johnson gem:


Ron Johnson now has his eye on the governorship in Wisconsin. Just a little advice to anyone thinking about moving to a state who's economy is held hostage by the gerrymandered Republican Party determined to not change a thing because after 8 years of control, everything is perfect now; DON'T. 



          

Suspect arrested on drug charges   

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The Nash County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Unit teamed up with the Wilson Police Department Narcotics Unit and Port Team to arrest a Bailey man Wednesday on drug charges.
          

Feds indict nine on gun, drug charges   

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The U.S. Attorney's Office on Thursday said a federal grand jury has handed down indictments against nine people from Rocky Mount on charges including firearms-related, illegal-drug-related and robbery offenses.
          

Regulatory Action Center Review - October 7, 2019   

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Welcome to FreedomWorks Foundation’s nineteenth regulatory review of 2019! Our Regulatory Action Center proudly updates you with our favorite tidbits from the swamp. We want to smash barriers between bureaucracy and the American people by delivering regulatory news straight to FreedomWorks activists. Check back in two weeks for the next edition.

1) Video of the Week: Unsurprisingly, the United States is not the first country to experience ballooning budgets and astronomical deficits. In the mid-1990’s, Canada’s debt grew to as high as 70% of GDP, similar to our current debt situation. In this weeks video, John Stossell sits down with Canadian economist David Henderson to discuss how Canada managed to tackle their debt problem by cutting government spending and reducing waste.

2) Why Is the CDC Still Fostering Potentially Deadly Confusion About Vaping and Lung Disease?: “Media outlets, following the lead of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), continue to blame recent cases of severe respiratory illnesses among vapers on "vaping" and "e-cigarettes" in general, falsely implying a link to legal nicotine products. This misinformation is fostering public confusion that may lead to more disease and death, both from smoking and from the black-market products that have been implicated in the lung disease cases.” https://reason.com/2019/09/24/why-is-the-cdc-still-fostering-potentially-deadly-confusion-about-vaping-and-lung-disease/

3) FBI using Facebook ads to gather Russian intelligence: report: “The FBI is reportedly using Facebook ads to gather intelligence on Russia, specifically targeting those who may be or know Russian spies. The FBI is running ads in the Washington, D.C., area, CNN reported on Wednesday, that direct to the FBI field office's website that describes its counterintelligence team and encourages visitors to meet "in person." https://thehill.com/policy/national-security/fbi/464069-fbi-using-facebook-ads-to-gather-russian-intelligence-report

4) Federal Court Upholds FCC Decision to Roll Back Obama-Era Net Neutrality Rules: “Today, by a 2-1 vote, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit sided largely with the FCC, upholding the primary regulatory rollback as a valid exercise of its authority. In the nearly 200 page opinion, which is heavy on technical detail, the court wrote that while the challengers raised "numerous objections" aiming to show that the FCC's reclassification is "unreasonable," the judges found them "unconvincing." https://reason.com/2019/10/01/federal-court-upholds-fcc-decision-to-roll-back-obama-era-net-neutrality-rules/

5) Trump to issue executive order ‘protecting’ Americans from ‘Medicare for All’ campaign proposals pushed by Democrats: “The executive order, which he is scheduled to discuss at a speech in Florida later Thursday, is intended to bolster Medicare Advantage, private Medicare insurance for seniors that currently covers 22 million people, senior administration officials said on a call with reporters. The plan would also offer more affordable plan options, increase use of telehealth services and bring payments in Medicare fee-for-service program in line with payments for Medicare Advantage, officials said.” https://www.cnbc.com/2019/10/03/trump-to-issue-executive-order-protecting-americans-from-medicare-for-all.html

6) Treasury to create tool to help people redeem billions in unclaimed savings bonds: “Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) on Wednesday said that the Treasury Department will create an online tool to help people redeem billions of dollars in savings bonds. About $26 billion in matured savings bonds are in the U.S. Treasury and have yet to be redeemed. Using the department's forthcoming tool, people will be able to verify against Treasury Department records if they have any savings bonds dated after 1974 that can be redeemed, Kennedy's office said in a news release.” https://thehill.com/policy/finance/464057-senator-treasury-will-create-tool-to-help-people-redeem-billions-of-dollars-in

7) Trump takes heat from right over vaping crackdown: “The Trump administration is under fire from conservative groups and some GOP lawmakers, who are pushing back over its planned crackdown on e-cigarette flavors. They say the administration is overreaching, and the flavor ban will harm small businesses, a violation of core Republican free market principles.” https://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/464470-trump-takes-heat-from-right-over-vaping-crackdown


          

FreedomWorks Activists Visit Rep. Ralph Norman’s Rock Hill District Office and Urge Him to Say No to Drug Price Controls   

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WASHINGTON, D.C. -- FreedomWorks grassroots activists visited Rep. Ralph Norman’s (R-S.C.) Rock Hill district office today and made their case for why Congress must oppose socialized healthcare and in particular, price controls on prescription drugs. FreedomWorks grassroots activists from South Carolina’s fifth congressional district were in attendance and spoke with Rep. Norman’s district staff.

Allen Page, FreedomWorks’ Southeast Regional Director, commented:

“Government goes to those who show up, and that’s exactly why FreedomWorks’ outstanding grassroots activists are here and involved. Nancy Pelosi’s health care plan, which includes price controls on prescription drugs, would put us on the path to socialized medicine. Instead of lowering costs, price controls on prescription drugs will lead to shortages and the development of fewer lifesaving cures. FreedomWorks activists are proud to continue the fight against government involvement in American’s health care, and we hope that Rep. Norman will do the same and oppose price controls back in Washington.”


          

Bellissima for Genesis 2 Female(s)   

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This blouse with frilly sleeves, a tight pencil skirt and a flirty scarf for Genesis 2 Female(s) is perfect for any render. Whether you're working at the office or picnicking at the park Bellissima will have you looking your best.

Included in this set are a blouse, skirt and scarf each with 3 unique textures for maximum versatility.

Start summer off right with Bellissima.

Price: $19.95 Special Price: $9.98


          

Robo Priests?   

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In this episode, Lindsay and Caroline reflect on the idea of robot priests; get excited about the SpaceX Starship announcement and the possibility of Mars travel; talk about Office 365 as a productivity enhancer; and consider the Amazon Echo as a baby monitor.

The post Robo Priests? appeared first on SQPN.com.


          

Now-Crowd Billboards - Office Life   

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Time to go to work and make a living! The new Now-Crowd Billboards - Office Life will make your office renders look like the hot new startup or the stodgy old executive office! Paint your offices, conference rooms, and hallwaysFULL of people walking, talking, computing, and planning in high quality, flexible and easy to use billboards... perfect as a backdrop for the main action that you add!

Billboards are a fantastically quick and resource easy way to add background crowds to your scenes. These pre-rendered elements are great to play the background characters in your scene. The Now-Crowd Billboards improves on standard billboards by providing 72 different views for every billboard figure. Change a billboard figure to 12 different horizontal angles and 6 different vertical angles. When your camera moves, the Now-Crowd Billboards can be changed to match!

There are also great scripts to make these billboards easy to use! There is one script to turn the billboards to face the camera and another script to change billboard figure angle based on horizontal and vertical orientation. Finally, there is a script that pushes your billboard directly away from your camera view or pulls it towards you.

For Iray and 3Delight

No figures are included with this product.

No other products are needed to use the Now-Crowd Billboards - Office Life.

Note that Now-Crowd Billboard products are large (10GB) because of the many textures (72 images per figure x number of figures) and can take a while to download.

Price: $29.95 Special Price: $14.98


          

Work Day Outfit for Genesis 8 Female(s)   

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Three piece office outfit for Genesis 8 Female(s)

Price: $21.95 Special Price: $10.98


          

What Was Being in HR Like in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria?   

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Being in HR can be very rewarding and very challenging. Meet Teresita Quinones, Talent Manager North Latin America Operations, Kimberly-Clark. She knows all about the challenges of HR. From having to deliver layoffs to helping keep her Puerto Rican office together in the wake of Hurricane Maria, she has seen it all. How has being […]

The post What Was Being in HR Like in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria? appeared first on HR Daily Advisor.


          

Chronicle AM: NV Gets First Pot Lounge, British Police Force to Provide Free Heroin to Hardcore Addicts, More... (10/7/19)   

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Nevada sees its first "cannabis tasting room," a New York poll finds continuing support for marijuana legalization amidst the vaping scare, British drug policy upheavals, and more.

[image:1 align:right caption:true]Marijuana Policy

Nevada's First Marijuana Lounge is Now Open. The state's first marijuana tasting room opened this weekend in Las Vegas. The Las Vegas Pauite Tribe is operating the NuWu Cannabis Marketplace on tribal land, which gives it a leg up on potential competitors. Under a state law signed in June, local governments are barred from licensing marijuana consumption lounges until 2021, but tribal lands are not subject to the law.

New York Sienna Poll Has Continuing Support for Legalization, Even as Vaping Fears Grow. A new Sienna poll has support for marijuana legalization in the Empire State at 56%, even as nearly as many respondents (52%) support banning all e-cigarettes and vaping devices from sale. An even higher number, 61%, support Gov. Andrew Cuomo's emergency executive order banning the sale of flavored e-cigarettes. Half, 52 percent, have used marijuana and 21 percent currently do.

Medical Marijuana

Missouri Patients Won't Lose Welfare Over Medical Marijuana Use. After patients complained that their medical marijuana use put them at odds with a state law that requires welfare recipients to be screened for drug use, the state has revamped its policy. Department of Social Services spokeswoman Rebecca Woelfel said that the agency now exempts recipients with medical marijuana cards.

International

British Drug Advisory Panel Member Quits, Cites Political Interference. Professor Alex Stevens, a senior member of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD), has resigned over the alleged "political vetting" of panel members by the government. The move comes after then crime minister Victoria Atkins blocked the appointment of Niamh Eastwood, the executive director of the drug policy nonprofit Release, after finding that she had previously criticized the Home Office and called for drug policy reform. Stevens said there was at least one other case of people being denied a place on the ACMD because of criticizing government drug policy. "I have resigned because of my concerns over the political vetting of potential members of the ACMD," Stevens said. "The political vetting fundamentally undermines the independence of the council," Stevens added. "It is supposed to be protected by the working protocol between the home secretary and the ACMD. This does not seem compatible if ministers exclude those who disagree with them."

British Government Replaces Minister Responsible for Drug Policy. Victoria Atkins, who had been responsible for drug policy for the Conservative Party, was quietly replaced in that position over the summer. She was replaced as minister of state for policing, crime, and fire services by Kit Malthouse, but it had been believed Atkins kept the drug portfolio. But on Monday, Malthouse's office confirmed he was now responsible for drug policy. He has recently been speaking for the government on drug policy issues and laying out a hard line against opening safe injection sites.

British Police Force to Begin Giving Free Heroin to Select Addicts. The police force in Cleveland, North Wales, will begin a program to provide free heroin to a small group of hardcore addicts. They will be provided with injectable pharmaceutical grade heroin at a National Health Service clinic three times a day. The idea is to reduce crimes committed by people seeking money to pay for their medications. Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner Barry Coppinger said the program would be available for heroin users "for whom all other treatment has failed and who are known to be the most active criminals in the town as they look to finance their addiction."


          

Chronicle AM: Marijuana Arrests Increased Last Year, CA Psilocybin Decrim Init Filed, More... (10/1/19)   

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Marijuana arrests nationwide increased last year despite spreading legalization, a California psilocbyn decriminalization initiative has been filed, and more.

[image:1 align:right caption:true]Marijuana Policy

Marijuana Arrests Increased Again Last Year Despite More States Legalizing, FBI Data Shows. According to the FBI's annual Uniform Crime Reports released Monday, the number of marijuana arrests in the US last year was 663,367, a slight increase over the 659,700 pot arrests tallied in 2017 and the 653,249 tallied in 2016. This despite the fact marijuana is now legal for adults in 11 eleven states and medical marijuana is legal in 33 states. Before 2016, marijuana arrests had been declining for roughly a decade.

Psychedelics

California Psilocybin Decriminalization Initiative Filed. A group of activists calling itself Decriminalize California has filed a psilocybin decriminalization initiative with state officials. The group has submitted ballot language to the attorney general's office and is now awaiting approval for an official title and summary. Once that is completed, activists will have 180 days to come up with 625,000 valid voter signatures to qualify for the November 2020 ballot. The initiative would decriminalize "personal possession, storage, use, cultivation, manufacturing, distribution in personal possession amounts without profit, transport, and consumption of psilocybin mushrooms" by individuals 18 and older.

International

ONDCP Releases Data on Coca Cultivation and Production in Peru. On Tuesday, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) released the results of the annual US Government estimates measuring coca cultivation and potential cocaine production for the Republic of Peru. The estimates found that cultivation "remained elevated" at more than 125,000 acres, up slightly from 2016 and 2017, but still below the recent record of about 180,000 acres in 2013. "The ongoing coca cultivation in Peru and across the Andean Region of South America remains a significant threat to the United States. As part of the Trump Administration's whole-of-government approach to the addiction crisis, we will continue to support our partners in Peru to curb cultivation and production in critical growing regions. We are committed to bringing those who profit off the international drug trade to justice to help accomplish our goal of saving lives," ONDCP Director Jim Carroll said.


          

New Development Peterborough   

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Please visit our Sales office at Academics, Western Avenue, Peterborough, PE1 4HG.Located in the thriving city of Peterborough, you will find our exciting new development designed for modern living. With a fantastic choice of contemporary homes,...
new development
Sat, 17 Nov 2018 17:07:15 +0100
          

12-Year-Old Boy Escapes Armed, Attempted Kidnapper in Stockton   

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STOCKTON — Investigators say a boy was able to escape after he was forced into a car in Stockton Friday by an armed man. Just before 3 p.m., the 12-year-old boy was walking south on Alexandria Place from West Benjamin Holt Drive when a man with a black, semi-automatic handgun ordered him into a car, according to the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office. The sheriff’s office says the man had driven the boy to the area of North Pershing Avenue […]
          

Investigators: Airsoft Gun Found on Herald Man Fatally Shot by Deputy   

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HERALD — In a press release sent Monday, the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office confirmed the suspect who was shot and killed by a deputy in Herald was not carrying a handgun but instead an airsoft gun. Multiple Herald neighbors called the sheriff’s office Sunday about the suspicious man, who has only been identified as a 55-year-old Herald resident. “The callers indicated that the subject is known to the area and also known to carry weapons,” said Sacramento County Sheriff’s Sgt. […]
          

Actress Jameela Jamil on Her "I Weigh" Movement and Protecting Yourself on Social Media   

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Jameela Jamil didn't want to start a social movement on Instagram specifically - "I was never much of a pictures girl," she told POPSUGAR ahead of a conversation at New York City's 92Y with writer Ashley C. Ford. What began as a single post about her weight in worth, not in numbers, quickly became an account for every type of person to contribute to this idea that we're more than what the scale says. With 870,000 Instagram followers, a community that's turning into a multimedia platform, and a push to fight for human rights, environmental justice, and mental health awareness, I Weigh has exceeded all of Jameela's expectations.

"I was very surprised that it turned into this whole movement around the world, but it's become about so much more than bodies now," she said. "We are able to mobilize young activists around climate change and ageism and gender discrimination and racial discrimination and trans discrimination. This has become an activist platform where we are going to leverage my privilege and my finances to try and help young activists worldwide who don't have access to that, to get the much-needed word out, because I can't be the spokesperson for everyone. I shouldn't be the spokesperson for everyone." The 33-year-old who plays Tahani Al-Jamil on The Good Place said that she's so invested in the movement that she's taking a break from her first-ever acting gig (the series finished filming and will come to a close after its fourth season). She'll be shifting her focus toward the launched of I Weigh into a full-blown activism platform. She's the investor and will be in the office with her team of women every day, hard at work.

Jameela first got the idea for I Weigh while scrolling through Instagram and seeing a post of the Kardashians with their weights written across their bodies. She said she's been campaigning for eating disorder awareness since she was 19 years old - she had her own experience with an eating disorder as a teen and says her life was "so messed up" - and the post immediately triggered emotions. Jameela explained, "I saw a post of women who deserve to be treated with more respect than any numbers written across their body that aren't even their net worth, it's their body weight. A photo like that of a man just wouldn't exist, nevermind a group of businessmen who are worth upwards of a billion or two billion dollars, and so that just made me so angry. That's why I decided to post what I weigh, which is actually my contribution to society, my financial independence, my relationships."

Once I Weigh started in March 2018, Jameela also began advocating for a safer space on Instagram. The social media platform, she stated, is full of unrealistic imagery, toxic messages, and diet and detox products endorsed by celebrities promising impossible transformations without clear side effects listed. Instagram itself wanted to have a meeting with Jameela - "I think they really supported I Weigh, and they'd been trying to clean up Instagram and turn it into a safe space for young people. It wasn't ever supposed to be what it became," she told us - so, before the meeting, she decided to act. Jameela started a petition called "Stop celebrities promoting toxic diet products on social media." In just three days, it got 250,000 signatures.

"We're just clearing the rubbish out of Instagram."
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Instagram listened. On Sept. 18, it announced a new policy that will block users they know to be under 18 from viewing posts that include price tags with the intent of selling weight-loss products or cosmetic procedures, according to a press release sent to POPSUGAR. It will also ban any posts that make a "miraculous claim" about these products and link to a "commercial offer such as a discount code," and people will be able to eventually report a post that they think violates the policy. Elle UK spoke to the actress about Instagram's new policy last month, so you can read her initial comments there. "We're just clearing the rubbish out of Instagram," Jameela told POPSUGAR.

"I don't really wish Instagram for anyone under the age of 18 currently where it's at," she said, adding that it has the capacity to be a great place "that a lot of amazing activism is taking place on." She pointed out, for instance, that the Me Too and Time's Up movements wouldn't have existed without social media, so these spaces do have tremendous power. "We just need to do more to legislate it and police it and make sure that young people are safe," she said.

Start Applying This Positive Change to Your Own Instagram Feed

Though some of what you see on Instagram isn't in your control, much of it is. Jameela gave us some tips for trying to cultivate this safety factor online. For one, she suggested, delete or mute accounts that make you feel lesser than. "I think anyone who makes you feel bad about your life or your clothes or your weight or your skin color . . . any of those people . . . you just delete them," she said. "Why would you ever purposefully show yourself upsetting images? It's not going to get you more money, it's not going to make you thinner, and it's not going to make you happier. It's just going to make you sad and take up your valuable time."

Also, you should get rid of the idea that you need to follow certain people to stay up to date on pop culture, she stated. If it stresses you out, if such people promote negativity or post photoshopped photos, you can curate your own social media space and check in on those accounts when you ever need to. (Jameela, in fact, gave me this advice when I told her that working in media makes me feel like I need to follow people to stay up to date. "They still exist," she assured me, "and when you need to find them, check on them.")

"Protect yourself. You deserve that."

Jameela continued, "I unfollowed all the supermodels, and I followed Ashley Ford and Roxanne Gay and these wonderful people. They're the influencers I'm interested in, people who can make my mind expand and people who are making me feel seen and who pushed me to learn." My favorite hack of Jameela's? To avoid upsetting images on her Explore page, click the "Animals" category on the top bar. Because of that, she's rarely seen a diet product - "Or ass!" she noted - on that page in years. Jameela doesn't let herself scroll aimlessly; cute animal pictures, after all, are better. "Protect yourself," she encouraged. "You deserve that."


          

Estilo arquitectónico vanguardista em Braga   

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Habitação Unifamiliar Isolada T4 - o Tempo e a Sensação: Casas  por Office of Feeling Architecture, Lda,Moderno

A arquitectura para si é uma paixão? Está na hora de finalmente dar forma aos seus sonhos tantas vezes adiados de ter uma casa diferente, na vanguarda dos conceitos arquitectónicos?

Então este artigo e para si! Seja para planear uma casa única ou apenas para se deleitar com o génio dos profissionais portugueses, hoje queremos apresentar-lhe o trabalho do gabinete OFFICE OF FEELING ARCHITECTURE, LDA. Esta empresa de Braga tem trabalhos impressionantes, arrojados e tecnicamente irrepreensíveis, em arquitectura convencional ou em arquitectura de interiores, que tem mesmo de conhecer!

Já sabe que homify não o vai desiludir, por isso, venha connosco nesta viagem pelo maravilhoso mundo da arquitectura topo de gama.


          

SEJARAH DI BALIK LEGENDA VAMPIR   

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KOMPAS.com — Di mana-mana muncul vampir. Seminggu terakhir ini, film terbaru dari seri Twilight Saga, yaitu bagian kedua dari empat yang berjudul New Moon, mulai diputar di Jakarta. Film ini telah memecahkan rekor box office dengan meraup lebih dari 70 juta dollar AS dan kemungkinan akan menjadi laba pembukaan terbesar sepanjang sejarah.




Sebenarnya seri Twilight Saga bukan cerita vampir pertama yang diangkat ke layar lebar. Selama berpuluh-puluh tahun sudah banyak film-film terkenal yang bertemakan vampir.

Kehausan publik untuk vampir sepertinya mirip dengan haus darahnya vampir di legenda itu sendiri.

Para penulis fiksi masa kini yang pernah mengangkat tema vampir, seperti Stephenie Meyer (Twilight Saga), Anne Rice (Interview with the Vampire), dan Stephen King (Salem's Lot), memiliki "tambang" legenda yang tak habis-habisnya untuk digali. Namun sebenarnya apa yang membentuk pandangan kita sekarang tentang vampir? Jawabannya ada di daerah abu-abu sekitar mitos dan kebenaran.

Menombak korban

Beberapa sumber keliru melacak asal-usul vampir pada seorang pangeran Romania, Vlad Tepes (1431-1476), yang berjuang untuk kemerdekaan dari Kekaisaran Ottoman. Walau bisa dibilang caranya sangat brutal dan sadis (contohnya ia membunuh musuh-musuhnya dengan menusukkan tombak sedikit demi sedikit, menarik keluar isi perut mereka, memotong-motong badan mereka, membakar mereka, dan lainnya), hal-hal tersebut memang lazim semasa perang di zaman itu.

Teknik-teknik yang sama juga dipakai oleh Gereja Katolik dan para penguasa lainnya di abad pertengahan untuk menyiksa dan membunuh musuh.

Bram Stoker (Dracula) juga telah memasukkan aspek-aspek dari Vlad Tepes ke dalam tokoh Dracula dalam karyanya.

Walau Tepes memang juga memengaruhi gambaran fiksi dari vampir masa kini, akar vampir sesungguhnya memiliki asal yang berbeda. Dari segi kebudayaan, vampir adalah suatu fenomena yang muncul di seluruh dunia.

Menurut pakar antropologi Paul Barber yang merupakan pengarang buku Vampire, Burial, and Death (vampir, pemakaman, dan kematian), hampir semua kultur memiliki cerita versi lokal yang mirip legenda vampir, dan semuanya "memiliki kemiripan yang mengejutkan pada vampir ala Eropa," katanya.

Kepercayaan akan adanya vampir berasal dari takhayul dan asumsi yang keliru tentang pembusukan setelah kematian.

Catatan penemuan pertama tentang vampir tersebar di Eropa pada abad pertengahan. Cerita-cerita itu semua mengikuti pola yang sama: suatu kenaasan menimpa seseorang, suatu keluarga, atau suatu kota, mungkin karena paceklik yang merusak panen, atau tersebarnya wabah.

Di masa itu, ilmu pengetahuan belum bisa menjelaskan pola cuaca dan teori kuman. Jadi, kesialan apa pun yang tak jelas penyebabnya bisa disalahkan pada vampir. Vampir merupakan jawaban mudah untuk menjelaskan mengapa dari dulu hal buruk bisa terjadi pada orang yang baik.

Mati tetapi belum membusuk

Para penduduk desa menggabungkan keyakinan mereka bahwa ada kutukan yang tengah terjadi di antara mereka dan ketakutan mereka terhadap kematian dan orang mati. Dengan begitu, mereka berkesimpulan bahwa mungkin orang-orang yang baru dikuburlah yang bertanggung jawab karena mereka telah bangkit dari kubur untuk berbuat jahat.

Maka dari itu, makam-makam digali, dan para penduduk desa sering kali dikagetkan oleh proses pembusukan yang normal, dan mengira itu fenomena yang supernatural.

Contohnya, walau orang lazimnya berasumsi bahwa mayat akan membusuk segera, bila peti tertutup rapat dan dikubur pada musim dingin, maka pembusukan bisa tertunda beberapa minggu atau bahkan beberapa bulan. Pembusukan usus bisa menyebabkan penggembungan yang mendorong darah ke mulut sehingga mayat itu terlihat seperti baru saja menghisap darah.

Proses ini dipahami betul oleh para dokter dan pengurus pemakaman zaman sekarang. Namun, pada abad pertengahan di Eropa, semua ini merupakan pertanda yang tak bisa disangkal bahwa vampir itu nyata dan menghantui mereka.

Walau vampir "sesungguhnya" telah tidak ada, legenda-legendanya terus memikat dunia. Sepertinya, baik ilmu pengetahuan ataupun tonggak perak tak mempan membunuh mitos vampir.


http://sains.kompas.com/read/2009/12/01/18035174/Inilah.Sejarah.di.Balik.Legenda.Vampir

          

10 Ways to Make Friends   

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They say it takes a village to raise a child. Well, it also takes a village — at best a supportive community, and at the least a few very good friends — to keep a person sane and happy. All of us need companionship, which is exactly why teenagers are texting their friends in the middle of dinner (TMI, BFF, OMG …), and why people who didn’t own a personal computer last year now have profiles on Facebook, MySpace, and other social networking sites.



Maybe the first trick to finding friends is to befriend ourselves, and to become comfortable with silence, because no one has the power to make us feel okay with ourselves but us. But, lest we stay quiet for too long, here are 10 techniques to meet new friends, which I think everyone can benefit from, because, as I learned in Girl Scouts a few hundred years ago (where I didn’t make any friends…), some are silver and the others are old, I mean gold.


1. Join a book club.
Most of my friends are in book clubs, and, I have to admit, I’m a little envious of the discussions that happen in these groups. If your neighborhood doesn’t have a book club, you can usually join one as part of the local library, the recreational or community center, the community college, or online, of course.

2. Volunteer.
That one seems like a no-brainer, but, seriously, have you ever considered the many charities to which you could give your time? Your local civic association is always in need of volunteers for projects like “let’s clean up the park before a hundred dogs crap on it again” and Toys-for-Tots, Christmas in April, and so on. Don’t forget about all your local politicians who need help with their campaigns. If one impresses you, offer to knock on a few doors for her or him. Host a cheese and cracker party for the community to get to know the candidate.

3. Find a support group.
There’s more to the support group universe than AA. Have you ever looked through all the local listings of meetings in your area? There’s even ACOMP (Adult Cousins of Mean People) … not really.



4. Take a night class.
That’s where you can supposedly meet men (or women) if you find yourself single in your late 30s or 40s or 50s. If you take a class in something that you are interested in, you’re very likely to find potential friends with similar hobbies.

5. Get a dog.
I’m not talking about using the dog as a companion (because we know a dog is a man’s best friend). I just mean that dogs are people magnets–and usually nice-people magnets. Here in Annapolis, we have dog cults. If you walk your mutt in certain neighborhoods, you will meet approximately five to ten friends per mile. Double that if you’re walking a Golden Retriever. Triple it if you head to the “dog park,” designed specifically for doggy play, or proper socialization for dogs.

6. Steal friends.
I realize this technique was frowned upon in the fifth grade. You would surely earn a reputation as a friend-stealer if you tried this too many times. But many (NOT ALL) people in their 30s, 40s, 50s, etc. have loosened up a bit. I have found this to be a very efficient method of making friends, because someone has already done your dirty work–the interview process–and weeded out the toxic folks. It’s like Facebook in real life.



7. Knock on doors.
Yep. That’s what I did six years ago when I was stuck home with a fussy baby and going absolutely crazy. I walked around the neighborhood knocking on every porch that held a stroller. “You in there. I know you have kids. You want to be my friend?” I might have been a tad more subtle than that, but not much.

8. Carpool to work.
Hey, it works for elementary school kids. Many 6-year-olds meet their best buddies on the bus because 1) they live in their neighborhood (what could be more convenient?), 2) they are on the same schedule, and 3) they know the same people (“Susie has cooties”).

9. Connect with your alumni association.
I used to be much better at this before kids came along, but even today, I still pay my dues. Alumni associations are gold mines for potential friends. You already have a major experience in common: you can rehash old times as a conversation starter if you need one. Plus many associations sponsor community service events, workshops, or trips abroad that you can take advantage of even if you aren’t looking for friends.


10. Talk to strangers.
I know this goes against what you were taught in elementary school. But, yes, the way to meet friends is to strike up a conversation with absolutely anyone. This means becoming the annoying lady everyone dodges on the plane: “So … what are you reading? … Oh, ‘Left Behind.’ … Have you gotten to the part where everyone except a handful of people burn in hell?… No? … I hope I didn’t ruin it for you.” If you put yourself out there, yes, you will get rejected many times, and that hurts a little (sometimes a lot). But you will also find your best friends. Everyday life is full of potential friendship moments: waiting rooms, church, trains, planes, automobiles, office meetings, support groups, or coffee shops.



http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2009/02/26/10-ways-to-make-friends/

          

Social Media and Medicine: A HIPAA Primer   

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Businesses live and die by Social Media in today’s economy, and Medical Practices are not immune from bad reviews. Businesses have options regarding bad reviews: they can ignore them, fight them or respond, especially if the comment is especially grievous. However, due to HIPAA, Medical Offices cannot respond to any complaint other than the boilerplate:

We at ABC Medicine take all comments regarding our practice very seriously. We request that if you have an issue, please contact the office.”

Medical Professionals, being human, at times want to respond to a complaint. Elite Dental Associates, located in Dallas Texas, found out the hard way that this is a HIPAA violation: 

Responding to online patient reviews just cost a dental practice $10,000 after it was accused of disclosing a patients' health information in social media posts. 

Elite Dental Associates ran into trouble after a patient filed a complaint with the OCR in June 2016 alleging the practice responded to a social media review posted on Yelp, an online business review forum, by disclosing the patient’s last name and details of her treatment plan, insurance and cost information.” 

There is a thought that if a patient posts about their medical treatment, giving details, that it is now permissible for the Medical Office to respond. This is not true:

Experts on social media say that whenever doctors or healthcare professionals post on social media sites they need to be aware of HIPAA regulations and protect the confidentiality of patients.” 

As an Administrator, I once had to take down a facebook site because patients were posting pictures of themselves in the exam area, thus violating HIPAA privacy.

In medical facilities now, you may see signs posted requesting 'No Video or Pictures during the appointment.' This is because HIPAA clearly states that personal health information cannot be posted in any public area, including Social Media.


          

Kurds Have Been Preparing for Trump’s Syria Betrayal—With a Vengeance   

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Kurds Have Been Preparing for Trump’s Syria Betrayal—With a VengeanceDelil Souleiman/GettyLate Sunday night in Washington, the White House announced it was pulling U.S. troops out of northeast Syria to clear the way for a Turkish invasion. The Kurds there who led the fight on the ground that defeated the so-called Islamic State had seen President Donald Trump’s betrayal coming. But still they hoped it could be avoided. “Don’t let the Turks disrupt my wedding,” our translator texted in September prior to our arrival in the region. For more than a year, we have been visiting almost monthly to interview captured ISIS cadres held by the Kurdish and Arab troops of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) as part of a project for the International Center for the Study of Violent Extremism. Trump’s Crazy Syria Move Will Wipe Out America’s Allies and Set Up a Big ISIS ComebackIn September, we saw the Turkish threat to invade at any moment was held off by tense U.S. negotiations in which the SDF made considerable concessions, allowing Turkey to patrol jointly a large swath of territory while agreeing to remove checkpoints and military positions farther back from the Turkish border.“They should put their patrols inside Turkish territory, and not enter Syria,” SDF leaders told us at the time, as they reluctantly acquiesced to U.S. demands.* * *BITTER FRIENDS* * *Many current and former White House advisors counseled against the kind of announcement made Sunday night. Defense Secretary James Mattis resigned last year over Trump’s threat to remove the few thousand U.S. troops in Syria, who not only served as advisors in the fight against ISIS, but as deterrence against Turkish operations east of the Euphrates River. In a particularly bitter post on Twitter, Bret McGurk, who served as the special U.S. presidential envoy for the fight against ISIS from 2015 to 2018, wrote, “Donald Trump is not a Commander-in-Chief. He makes impulsive decisions with no knowledge or deliberation. He sends military personnel into harm’s way with no backing. He blusters and then leaves our allies exposed when adversaries call his bluff or he confronts a hard phone call.”The U.S. military learned about the withdrawal plan only after Trump decided on it following his Sunday phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. It has pulled out of two small observation posts in the security-mechanism zone near the Syria-Turkey border so far. But no further withdrawals are imminent, according to a knowledgeable source. The military, remembering Trump’s December order out of Syria and subsequent reversal, is waiting to learn if Trump will follow through with withdrawal this time.A recently departed senior Pentagon official considered the pullout a “blatant betrayal” of the U.S.’ Kurdish partners that gives “carte blanche to Erdogan” for a widely forecast bloodletting. “It’s going to be a massacre, that’s clear,” the ex-official told The Daily Beast. “It’s fundamentally wrong. They destroyed the Caliphate.”But the Kurds are not entirely defenseless. Military leaders of the dominant group, known as the YPG or People’s Protection Units (and their female YPJ partners), already were in overdrive in September, preparing for what they had long anticipated—a possible betrayal by their closest ally, the United States.* * *DIGGING IN* * *Alongside every major highway and criss-crossing the entire Northern Syria area, in fields, cities and towns, we saw digging for an extensive system of tunnels. “We’re ready either way,” the Kurdish leaders told us when we asked if they trusted the Americans to keep the Turks at bay.Kurds don’t have much, but their spirit of freedom and their desire to protect their hard-won territory and what they see as their incipient democracy was evident everywhere in September as the YPG troops prepared for battle with a much better equipped foe—the Turkish armed forces, the second biggest military in NATO. But nobody who fought ISIS in Syria in one vicious battle after another has forgotten that the huge Turkish army stood by and did nothing against the Islamic State as its killers carried out genocidal campaigns against Yazidis and Shiites, while abducting, torturing, ransoming or beheading Americans, Europeans, and Japanese, among others. Through all that, NATO ally Turkey was not interested in intervention. Far from it.That was until the White House statement Sunday night, up to which the U.S. military denied Turkey the ability to operate in airspace over SDF controlled territory, effectively making it more difficult to enter Northern Syria to conduct the “terrorist cleansing operation” that Turks insist upon. They already carried out one such operation in Afrin, west of the Euphrates, in January 2018, displacing Kurds and effectively taking over the area, using what Kurds claim are former ISIS cadres to fight for them.Turks view the Northern Syria area of Rojava, and the YPG dominated SDF, as controlled by Kurdish PKK terrorists operating under another name—wolves in sheep’s clothing. Indeed, in times past—until 1998—PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan, lived freely in Syria and the father of the current Assad allowed him to train and equip his highly disciplined terrorist group for attacks into Turkey. It’s also true that over time, the various governing parties of Syria, Iraq and Iran have made use of PKK assaults on Turks as a way to exert pressure on Turkish politics. Turkey has suffered greatly from PKK terrorist attacks both inside Turkey and globally, and the PKK is clearly designated on the U.S. and EU’s list of terrorist organizations. In recent concessions to Turkey’s alarm over the SDF, a group they view as being in the hands of the PKK, the U.S. recently added additional individuals involved in the PKK to the U.S. State Department’s specially designated terrorist list. Turkey has also developed drones that fly over the Qandil mountains, in northern Iraq, making it easier to spot PKK movements and routinely send fighter jets to bomb them.  In the case of northern Syria however, until President Trump’s announcement late Sunday night Washington time, the U.S. policy was to deny the Turks military incursions into territory where U.S. troops patrol and the U.S. military controls the airspace and claims by Turkey that the SDF is PKK have also been hotly disputed.While Turkey sees the SDF as dominated and led by a terrorist organization, the U.S. has a completely different perspective, viewing the YPG and SDF as valued allies in the fight against ISIS. Indeed, YPG and YPJ (Women’s People’s Protection Units) fighters lost over 1,000 lives fighting ISIS and it is common to see Kurdish men and women in Rojava on crutches, in wheelchairs and otherwise suffering from serious and lifelong injuries sustained in the battle to retake ISIS dominated areas, including Raqqa. While the rest of the world was silent, the YPG and YPJ can also take credit for going to the rescue of the Yazidis on Sinjar mountain in 2014, fighting to stop ISIS from carrying out a massive genocidal campaign in which ISIS cadres captured and enslaved countless Yazidi women, boys, and girls. The men were killed by ISIS, the boys killed or indoctrinated. The women and girls subsequently were raped and treated as chattel. But thousands were able to escape with YPG help.* * *THE PRISONERS* * *At present the SDF houses thousands of captured ISIS prisoners, holding the men in repurposed schools and prisons overflowing with former fighters and in camps similarly run at overcapacity for ISIS women and children. According to a March 2019 UN report, a total of 8,000 Islamic State fighters currently are held in SDF custody. In our recent visits to north and east Syria from May through August, relying on our primary intelligence sources, we were told that approximately 2,000 of these Islamic State prisoners were considered “foreign terrorist fighters” from North Africa, Europe, and the Americas.The same data was also corroborated in an August 2019 press release by the Office of the Spokesperson, Special Envoy of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, Ambassador James Jeffrey. Just under a 1,000 of the prisoners are believed to be Europeans. ICSVE has interviewed approximately five percent of those detained. Most appear to have become totally disillusioned, are exhausted from battle and prison and say they want to lay down arms. While there is no specific deradicalization or rehabilitation program applied to them at present and we have been requested by the SDF and also agreed to build one, it’s safe to say the majority are spontaneously deradicalizing and simply want to return home to their former lives after facing a judicial process.The SDF prisons are overcrowded and the SDF leadership repeatedly has expressed a need to ICSVE researchers for technical assistance in dealing with terrorist prisoners and for financial assistance to build at least five prisons. Riots and attempted jail breaks have occurred in SDF prisons holding foreign fighters. Likewise, recent news reporting shows over-capacity has prisoners sleeping next to each other on their sides to be able to fit into small and overcrowded rooms. Three detention centers holding ISIS women and children also are administered by the SDF: Camps Hol, Ain Issa and Roj. According to a UN Report as of April 2019 an estimated 75,000 women and children were being held. Our data suggests that at least 60,000 are Syrians and Iraqis. At least 8,000 children and 4,000 wives of foreign fighters remain in the camp.Women and children live in tents in these camps which are hot in the summer, freezing cold during winter, and leak cold rainwater as well.  Dust blows around the camps causing breathing difficulties for some. Women and children have died of typhus, tent fires, and other dangers in the camps. Recently vaccinations have been offered, but many mothers don’t trust the program and refrain from having their children vaccinated. The women cook for themselves and complain that the food provided them lacks nutritious fruits and vegetables. Schools are lacking as well.All of the camps housing women have suffered from ISIS enforcers still dedicated to the group who require the other women to continue to cover themselves and punish those who speak out against them. These women have attacked other women, set their tents on fire, stolen their possessions, attacked, bitten, beaten and stabbed guards and have murdered other women creating a sense of chaos, constant danger and oppression in the camps. Recently a gun fight broke out in Camp Hol, with one woman killed and seven wounded.Foreign fighters from about 60 countries remain in SDF custody. We have interviewed foreign fighters who are nationals of the United States, Canada, Australia, Trinidad and Tobago, the UK, Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Pakistan, Dagestan, Turkey, Denmark, Russia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Albania, Bosnia, Indonesia, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Libya, Switzerland, Egypt, and Germany. * * *A TRIBUNAL?* * *While the SDF has struggled to contain the overflow of captured ISIS fighters, they have been frustrated by Turkish politics and threats to their very existence. In recent years with the Syrian uprising and rise of ISIS in Iraq and Syria, the Turks saw it to be to their advantage to fund, train and equip Islamist rebels that they believed could keep the Kurdish independence movements in Syria in a weakened state or altogether destroyed. The Kurds, meanwhile, fought back in 2015 when ISIS invaded the city of Kobani on the Turkish border and rose up as a valiant on-the-ground force to repel the terrorists. The U.S. led coalition began arming and supplying the YPG and YPJ, and providing air cover, infusing the Kurds with a powerful sense of valor and military might that ultimately led to the complete territorial defeat of an Islamic State “Caliphate” that had taken as its motto “remain and expand.”ISIS is hardly a defeated foe however, with weekly sleeper cell attacks occurring in both Syria and Iraq and the likes of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi still making video and audio appeals to supporters around the world to reinstate the Caliphate, starting with breaking the ISIS prisoners out of captivity.The subject of ISIS captives is one of great importance to President Trump who repeatedly has threatened to release the roughly 12,000 ISIS foreign men, women and children prisoners held by the SDF in prisons and camps.  Trump’s view is that each country has to take its citizens back, even countries like Sweden that lack a terrorism law under which to prosecute returnees, and countries like France, which already has a serious militant jihadi prison problem and fears any more potential ISIS cadres inside its penitentiaries. These countries have continued to tell the SDF that an international tribunal can be established in its territory to try ISIS prisoners in place. But the UN Counter Terrorism Directorate and U.S. State Department strongly disagree with this proposal and President Trump continues to tweet that he is simply going to release the prisoners to European countries refusing to repatriate them—even though it is the SDF, not Washington, that has them in custody.In a series of tweets on Monday, Trump claimed erroneously that most of the ISIS prisoners are foreigner terrorist fighters and seemed to ignore that ISIS, even when based far away in Syria, is a very real threat to U.S. citizens and interests. It is “time for us to get out of these ridiculous Endless Wars, many of them tribal, and bring our soldiers home. WE WILL FIGHT WHERE IT IS TO OUR BENEFIT, AND ONLY FIGHT TO WIN. Turkey, Europe, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Russia and the Kurds will now have to … figure the situation out, and what they want to do with the captured ISIS fighters in their “neighborhood.” They all hate ISIS, have been enemies for years. We are 7000 miles away and will crush ISIS again if they come anywhere near us!”While arguments of who should be responsible to prosecute and hold ISIS prisoners can be made on both sides, in many ways Europe, Jordan and many other countries effectively did “flush the toilet” of their militant jihadi problem by allowing them to freely exit their countries to go fight in Syria, most of them ultimately joining ISIS. The U.S. at present repatriates all of its ISIS fighters bringing them to swift and sound justice at home.* * *ISIS AMBASSADOR TO TURKEY* * *Turkey also has a responsibility in the rise of ISIS, having allowed over 40,000 foreign fighters to cross over its border into Syria, many unabashedly on their way to join the Islamic State. Many prisoners tell us of Turkish complicity with their journey into ISIS-land and being wished well by border guards who winked as they crossed into Syria.Abu Mansour, a 36-year-old Moroccan ISIS emir interviewed by ICSVE in February 2019 in Iraqi prison, told us that he basically functioned as the ISIS ambassador to Turkey, negotiating border issues, the transfer of ISIS wounded into Turkey for treatment, the flow of foreign fighters across the Turkish border into ISIS territory, and other logistics. “The subject of Turkey is a very big one,” he said, “and the mutual interests include the obvious and the hidden.”“Their benefit was that it was a border area and we have a border strip with them,” Abu Mansour continued. “Security is one of them, and they wanted to control north of Syria.”  The Turks wanted to control the entire border region in Syria and even into Iraq as far as Mosul, according to Abu Mansour, but they wanted to do it through a proxy force. “So, they wanted to find organizations that would do this favor for them, including terminating the presence of the Kurdish Workers Party [the PKK], without a direct interference from Turkey. At the same time, especially since they were part of NATO, they don’t want to anger NATO, because they need NATO.”By the same token, Turkish President Erdogan’s background as a committed Islamist created a certain sympathy, as did his ambition to revive in modern form the old Ottoman empire, Abu Mansour claimed. “The pretext of [controlling the] Kurdistan Workers’ Party [PKK] is a strong pretext for Turkey, but they have ambitions, as they have entered regions that don’t have PKK in them.” Abu Mansour explained the Turkish and ISIS relationship through his own experiences. In 2013, he said, he was assigned to receive the ISIS volunteers arriving in Turkey, but later, “I supervised the country entry operations, registration as a whole.”  Then in 2015, he said, “I worked on external relations, relations with the Turkish intelligence. It started when I was at the borders.” First there was an agreement about passing the wounded from Syria into Turkey, about the border crossing and security arrangements. “Ambulances, especially in critical and serious situations, could go straight to the [border] gate,” said Abu Mansour. “Then a Turkish ambulance takes the case to the Turkish hospitals, and it is followed up inside Turkey. There was a hotline with intelligence who are located at the borders. Most places were available, [including] hospitals in Turkey [and] there was a technical staff of doctors who follow up the case in Turkey. The [Turkish] state was paying for certain operations performed in private hospitals, but most cases referred by the public hospitals were for free.”Abu Mansour said he had “face-to-face meetings with Turkish delegations. Sometimes they represented the intelligence services, sometimes the Turkish army, depending on the issue. “Most meetings were in Turkey on the border strip, but there were also meetings in Ankara and Gaziantep, depending on the issue,” said Abu Mansour. He would travel with a delegation of two or three ISIS people.”Referencing the easy relationship, as he saw it, between ISIS and the Turkish intelligence and military, Abu Mansour claimed, an ISIS emir could “go to Ankara without a problem.  They always sent a car, or a bodyguard. At one point, we met weekly, depending on the issue and its importance to Turkey and to us, according to the demand.”The situation described by Abu Mansour raises a question: did the ultimate defeat of ISIS in fact deprive the Turks of the proxy buffer zone they wanted—which they are now invading Syria to establish?Abu Mansour recalled, “Turkey asked on many occasions for a safe zone.” This would be a demilitarized zone where it would provide ISIS with whatever it wanted, but only inside Syrian territories. According to Abu Mansour, , ISIS refused to grant it, and relations started to fall apart. Eventually, Turkey grew sick of the back and forth, and there was also a split in ISIS leadership, with one faction deciding it would take the terror war into Turkey with a 2016 bombing at Istanbul airport. At the time, Abu Mansour was in Gaziantep, Turkey, and the Turkish authorities told him they thought this was an orchestrated act to pressure Ankara. But he says that was not the case. The external security services of ISIS had started setting their own agenda, “carrying out operations everywhere,” Abu Mansour told us. “We reached a state in which they couldn’t care less about politics, and they worked like gangs, [and would] strike anywhere.”While Turkey continues to claim that the SDF, our strongest ally in fighting ISIS, is a terrorist dominated group, many questions remain about Turkey’s own complicity with ISIS. Given that during a bitterly fought war with ISIS, in which many Kurdish lives were lost, that the SDF managed to take control of the area, institute a functioning political system that included granting an impressive array of minority rights and rights to women, the SDF deserves our respect and protection.But U.S. President Donald Trump has put a price on all this. “The Kurds fought with us,” he tweeted, “but were paid massive amounts of money and equipment to do so.” That they saved countless lives in the process, including American lives, does not seem to have been a factor.Spencer Ackerman also contributed reporting to this article.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.



          

Trump left isolated as Republican allies revolt over US withdrawal from Syria   

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Trump left isolated as Republican allies revolt over US withdrawal from SyriaMitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham lead condemnation of foreign policy move that could prove ‘disaster in the making’Donald Trump with Mark Milley, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, in the Cabinet Room on Monday. Lindsey Graham said abandoning the Kurds would be ‘a stain on America’s honour’. Photograph: Carolyn Kaster/APDonald Trump was dangerously isolated on Monday as, in a rare rebuke, some of his most loyal allies revolted against his decision to withdraw US troops from north-eastern Syria.Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell led a chorus of Republicans who, having defended the president on almost every other issue – including over impeachment – decided to draw a line in the sand.“A precipitous withdrawal of US forces from Syria would only benefit Russia, Iran, and the Assad regime,” McConnell said. “And it would increase the risk that Isis and other terrorist groups regroup.”He added: “As we learned the hard way during the Obama administration, American interests are best served by American leadership, not by retreat or withdrawal.”The criticism was significant because McConnell is usually at pains not to cross Trump even at his most capricious. Last week the Kentucky senator released a Facebook video promising to stop Democratic-led impeachment in its tracks.Article 1 of the United States constitution gives the House of Representatives the sole power to initiate impeachment and the Senate the sole power to try impeachments of the president. A president can be impeached if they are judged to have committed "treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors" – although the constitution does not specify what “high crimes and misdemeanors” are.The process starts with the House of Representatives passing articles of impeachment. A simple majority of members need to vote in favour of impeachment for it to pass to the next stage. Democrats currently control the house, with 235 representatives.The chief justice of the US supreme court then presides over the proceedings in the Senate, where the president is tried, with senators acting as the jury. For the president to be found guilty two-thirds of senators must vote to convict. Republicans currently control the Senate, with 53 of the 100 senators.Two presidents have previously been impeached, Bill Clinton in 1998, and Andrew Johnson in 1868, though neither was removed from office as a result. Richard Nixon resigned in 1974 before there was a formal vote to impeach him.Martin BelamThe unusual fracture emerged on Sunday night when, shortly after a phone conversation between Trump and Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the White House announced removal of US troops from the Syria-Turkey border area. “Turkey will soon be moving forward with its long-planned operation into Northern Syria,” it added.Critics of all political stripes have long feared that the move could open the way for a Turkish strike on Kurdish-led fighters in the area. Kurdish groups have fought alongside a small US presence in Syria to drive Islamic State militants from the region.The Republican backlash was rapid and potentially unnerving for a president whose fate is tethered to the party and the assumption that it will acquit him in the Senate if, as widely expected, the Democratic-led House of Representatives votes for impeachment.Lindsey Graham, chairman of the Senate judiciary committee, who has become an outspoken defender (and frequent golf partner) of Trump, did not acquiesce this time. Abandonment of the Kurds would be “a disaster in the making”, he said, and “a stain on America’s honour”.Graham told Fox News: “I hope I’m making myself clear how short-sighted and irresponsible this decision is. I like President Trump. I’ve tried to help him. This, to me, is just unnerving to its core.”Graham wrote on Twitter that if the plan goes ahead, he will introduce a Senate resolution opposing it and seeking reversal of the decision. He added: “We will introduce bipartisan sanctions against Turkey if they invade Syria and will call for their suspension from NATO if they attack Kurdish forces who assisted the US in the destruction of the ISIS Caliphate.”Kevin McCarthy, the top Republican in the House, whose attempts to defend Trump’s phone call with Ukraine’s president have provoked mockery, said: “If you make a commitment and somebody is fighting with you, America should keep their word.”Michael McCaul of Texas, the lead Republican on the House foreign affairs committee, also urged the president to reconsider. “The United States should not step aside and allow a Turkish military operation in north-east Syria,” he said. “This move will undermine our ongoing campaign to prevent an Isis resurgence and will ultimately threaten our homeland.“Additionally, the United States needs to stay engaged to prevent further destructive involvement in the region from our adversaries like the Assad regime, Putin and Iran.”Notably, senator Marco Rubio of Florida, reluctant to criticise Trump even when the president suggested that China investigate former vice president and 2020 election rival Joe Biden, was clear , describing the retreat as “a grave mistake that will have implications far beyond Syria”And Nikki Haley, Trump’s former UN ambassador, admonished Trump without mentioning his name. “We must always have the backs of our allies, if we expect them to have our back,” she tweeted. “The Kurds were instrumental in our successful fight against ISIS in Syria. Leaving them to die is a big mistake. TurkeyIsNotOurFriend”Ominously for Trump, even conservative Fox News aired dissent. Host Brian Kilmeade described the pullout as “a disaster”, telling viewers of Fox & Friends: “Abandon our allies? That’s a campaign promise? Abandon the people that got the caliphate destroyed?”Republicans who have contradicted Trump before did so forcefully again. Utah senator Mitt Romney described Trump’s announcement as “a betrayal”, adding: “It says that America is an unreliable ally; it facilitates ISIS resurgence; and it presages another humanitarian disaster.”Romney and Democratic senator Chris Murphy issued a joint statement insisting Trump’s administration “explain to the American people how betraying an ally and ceding influence to terrorists and adversaries is not disastrous for our national security interests”.Democrats also piled in but there was a lone voice of support for the president on Capitol Hill. Republican senator Rand Paul, long a critic of foreign intervention, said: “So many neocons want us to stay in wars all over the Middle East forever. [Trump] is absolutely right to end those wars and bring the troops home.”Trump himself was undeterred by the blowback. Speaking at the White House on Monday, he said he has “great respect” for the prominent Republican critics. And added: “People are extremely thrilled because they say it’s time to bring our people back home. We’re not a police force. They’re policing the area. We’re not a police force. The UK was very thrilled at this decision … many people agree with it very strongly.”



          

U.S., Japan Sign Limited Deal on Farming, Digital Trade Deals   

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U.S., Japan Sign Limited Deal on Farming, Digital Trade Deals(Bloomberg) -- The U.S. and Japan signed a limited trade deal intended to boost markets for American farmers and give Tokyo assurances, for now, that President Donald Trump won’t impose tariffs on auto imports.The accords on agriculture and digital trade cover about $55 billion worth of commerce between the world’s largest- and third-biggest economies, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said at a ceremony in the Oval Office alongside Trump.The accord is a “game changer for our farmers” and ranchers, Trump said at the event.The goal is for the accord to take effect Jan. 1.Trump, who faces re-election next year, was eager to make a deal with Japan to appease U.S. farmers who have been largely shut out of the Chinese market as a result of his trade war with Beijing. American agricultural producers, also reeling from bad weather and low commodity prices, are a core component of Trump’s political base.Under the deal, Japan will lower or reduce tariffs on some $7.2 billion of American-grown farming products, including beef and pork.Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s priority was to win a pledge that the U.S. won’t slap tariffs on Japanese automobile exports, a sector valued at about $50 billion a year and a cornerstone of the country’s economy.Read more: Click here for the most recent research from Bloomberg EconomicsThe written text of the deal doesn’t explicitly cover auto tariffs, but Abe has said he received assurances that Japan would be spared from them.The proposed pact won’t lower the barriers protecting Japan’s rice farmers -- a powerful group supporting Abe’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party. This could help the prime minster smooth the deal’s course through parliament, where it must be ratified before coming into effect.The U.S. has said this agreement -- which was signed in principle on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly last month -- is just the first phase of a broader agreement.To contact the reporters on this story: Justin Sink in Washington at jsink1@bloomberg.net;Jennifer A. Dlouhy in Washington at jdlouhy1@bloomberg.net;Brendan Murray in London at brmurray@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Margaret Collins at mcollins45@bloomberg.net, Sarah McGregor, Robert JamesonFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.



          

Philippine Leader Rodrigo Duterte Says He Has Neuromuscular Disease   

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Philippine Leader Rodrigo Duterte Says He Has Neuromuscular DiseaseMANILA, Philippines -- President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines has revealed that he has a neuromuscular disease that has led to a slew of medical problems, including making his eye droop.Duterte, who was in Russia for a state visit, told the Filipino community there Saturday night that he has myasthenia gravis, a chronic autoimmune disease that leads to skeletal muscle weakness. He said the disease ran in his family.The revelation came amid continued public speculation about his health. There have been periods when the famously bombastic president has been out of the public eye for days, prompting headlines guessing about his whereabouts and even rumors of his death.But his communications officers have said that Duterte, 74, like any other older person, needs his own personal time.The president revealed the ailment after he apparently made a joke about not being able to look straight at a woman with whom he had danced a duet during the event in Moscow."I have a talent," Duterte said, according to official transcripts provided by his office afterward. "When I look at you, my other eye droops. Do you see? The other eye is smaller. It goes where it wants."He added: "Actually, that's myasthenia gravis. It's a nerve malfunction."Duterte said his grandfather had also had the disease, adding, "So I believe, really, in genetics."The disease often affects the muscles that control the eyes, facial expression, speaking and swallowing, according to the Philippine Medical Association.Duterte came to power in 2016 vowing to rid the country of drug dealers and to wipe out other crimes. Since then, the Philippines' war on drugs has led to thousands of killings allegedly by police and vigilantes, which rights groups have denounced as an atrocity.This year, the United Nations' Human Rights Council voted to examine the thousands of killings linked to Duterte's campaign.Over the years, his public outbursts have included insults against women, the United States and God.In May, the president dropped out of sight for a week, prompting concerns on social media. His aides later tried to quell the rumors by releasing photographs of Duterte having breakfast.One image showed him with the latest issue of a newspaper, suggesting an effort to prove that the picture had been taken on the same day.Last year, Duterte revealed that he had undergone an endoscopy and colonoscopy and that doctors had found he had, he said, "a bad case of Barrett."He was referring to Barrett's esophagus, a complication of gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, in which the contents of the stomach flow backward into the esophagus.The president has also said he has Buerger's disease, which leads to constriction of blood vessels in the arms and legs.This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2019 The New York Times Company



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