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Why Is China Buying Up Europe’s Ports?

State-owned port operators are the aggressive leading edge of Beijing’s massive Belt and Road project. VISIT THE SOURCE ARTICLE Author: Keith Johnson


This massive grocery chain is denying HIV prevention coverage to its employees | LIBERAL.GUIDE

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Publix, a massive grocery store chain across the southern U.S., is refusing to provide its employees coverage for the HIV-prevention medicine known as PrEP. According to a new report from, a Publix employee filed multiple appeals to have his PrEP prescription covered, but the company repeatedly refused, and the insurance company indicated it was because Publix did not want the medication covered.


PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) is a daily pill that people who are HIV-negative can take that reduces the risk of contracting HIV by more than 90 percent. It has massive potential to help reduce infection rates. Last year, for example, clinics in London reported noticing a significant drop in new HIV infections among gay men, speculating that it was because many were taking PrEP. In the U.S., PrEP use has increased significantly in major cities, but less so in other parts of the country — particularly the South, where Publix operates. North Carolina, Georgia, and Florida (where Publix is based) ranked in the top ten states with the highest number of HIV diagnoses in 2016.

Publix’s refusal to cover PrEP was first reported back in 2016, but to this day, the company refuses to publicly explain why it denies coverage. It offered a brief statement describing its health plans as providing “generous medical and prescription coverage” and noting that “there are numerous medications covered by the plan used in the treatment of HIV.”

With no explanation available, many advocates are speculating that the company is imposing its moral authority, not unlike Hobby Lobby refusing to cover contraception for its employees. Cost doesn’t make sense as an explanation, because it would cost Publix far less to cover PrEP than it would the medications necessary if someone were to contract HIV.

The company is known for its conservative values. Its political action committee donates significantly more to Republican candidates than Democratic candidates, and CEO Randall Jones likewise favors Republicans with his donations.

Publix refuses to participate in the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index, which scores businesses on how they treat their LGBTQ employees and customers. It is conspicuously one of the only companies in the Fortune 1000 not to participate. In 2013, a company spokesperson reportedly claimed, “We are inundated with survey requests… and actually participate in very few due to the volume.” There have been, however, multiple reports of anti-LGBTQ discrimination at Publix stores.

Publix has 1,169 stores across seven states, employing some 188,000 workers.

Author: Zack Ford

Questions remain one month after death of auto parts worker in Western Michigan | LIBERAL.GUIDE

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56-year-old Scott Teusink died last month after he was hit by a massive steel coil at Challenge Manufacturing in the city of Holland, Michigan.


Tournament of Power Ending *REVEALED* in Dragon Ball Z!?! (Potentially Massive Spoilers) | DRAGONBALL.TODAY

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Tournament of Power Ending *REVEALED* in Dragon Ball Z!?! (Potentially Massive Spoilers)

Tournament of Power Ending *REVEALED* in Dragon Ball Z!?! (Potentially Massive Spoilers)

Dragon Ball Super, could this be the ending?

Author: administrator

Darknet Dealers Caught for Shipping 500,000 Pills | NETWORKFIGHTS.COM

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In December, authorities arrested two California men for their participation in a massive opioid trafficking conspiracy that spanned the United States. The defendants, Andrew Tablack, a 26-year-old from Beverly Hills, California, and Stephan Durham, a 43-year-old from Altadena, California, allegedly shipped cyclopropyl fentanyl pills across the United States. Authorities claimed that the men operated a darknet market vendor account and shipped pills to their customers.

The men shipped one package to an address in Monmouth County, New Jersey, in September that contained 226,520 cyclopropyl fentanyl pills. According to the Office of the U.S. Attorney in New Jersey, the men shipped a total of 500,000 pills to the New Jersey address. They appeared in Los Angeles federal court on conspiracy to distribute cyclopropyl fentanyl and possession with intent to distribute at least 400 grams of cyclopropyl fentanyl.

Prosecutors accused the men of owning and operating a pill production facility in a California warehouse. Investigators uncovered shipping records proving that Tablack had ordered nine pill presses to an industrial building in California. Records revealed that a business owned by Durham leased the industrial building where the partners operated the pill presses.

Prosecutors said that during the summer, the California traffickers mailed a package of 300,000 cyclopropyl fentanyl pills to a Monmouth County address. The DEA seized the package during a raid on the Monmouth County residence. One month later, the dealers allegedly mailed a second package. The second shipment contained fewer pills (226,520 cyclopropyl fentanyl pills), but weighing 44 pounds. This time, likely with assistance from the United States Postal Inspection Service, the DEA intercepted the package prior to the package’s arrival. The dealers had shipped it to the same address.

During the investigation into the California duo, authorities managed to intercept several incriminating packages that belonged to Tablack or Durham. They intercepted fentanyl disguised as food and beauty products. They also seized various parts needed for pill production, such as die casts, dyes, and powders.

In November, a spokesperson from the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office said police officers had seized blue carfentanil and cyclopropyl fentanyl pills while conducting an investigation at Holmdel and Long Branch. The pills looked like oxycodone pills, the officers said. A spokesperson confirmed the pills matched those from the California dealers, but did not go into further detail. Tablack and Durham allegedly sold on the darknet and conducted transactions with Bitcoin, but the quantity of the pills shipped indicated that they may have been participating in a drug trafficking organization much larger than two guys and some small-scale resellers.

No further arrests have been made at this time.

Author: C. Aliens

MARK-TO-MARKET: 2018: Bitcoin: Hackers remain part of digital currencies | NETWORKFIGHTS.COM

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By now, holders of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are accustomed to their massive price swings. In December, a two-week 81 percent surge in the price of a single Bitcoin was immediately followed by a five-day decline of 36 percent. Bitcoin’s meteoric rise in price, from a few cents a unit at its inception in 2009 to more than $19,000 in December 2017, has made its share of millionaires and billionaires.

But the realm of cryptocurrencies, digital forms of currency that exist only in electronic form, continues to face a significant threat – theft by hackers.

Of the 1,324 cryptocurrencies in existence, none are owned or regulated by any single government. Each is truly a global currency. The industry is largely unregulated, as governments, law makers, financial institutions and legal systems struggle to keep pace. Often, the structure and integrity of the marketplace is dependent on the individual exchanges where the cryptocurrencies are traded.

With more than 150 cryptocurrency exchanges across 48 countries, exchanges serve a number of key roles. First, they broker the transactions between buyer and seller, ensuring payment and receipt is made to each client account. Second, they often serve as custodian for client cash and cryptocurrency assets, maintaining holdings on their own infrastructure and servers. Finally, they seek to provide security and integrity to the marketplace and the encrypted identification used to safeguard client assets.

But the security of these exchanges has been called into serious question. Constantly besieged by hackers, thieves and fraud, the industry’s lack of common regulations or standards for cybersecurity has its repercussions. It is estimated that more than 980,000 Bitcoins, with a current value of more than $13 billion, have been stolen from cryptocurrency exchanges, primarily from hackers. Little of this has been recovered.

On Dec. 19, South Korea-based exchange Youbit was forced into bankruptcy after hackers stole nearly one-fifth of all client cryptocurrency holdings. This followed an April 22 attack, where hackers stole 3,831 Bitcoins, then valued at $5.3 million, representing 37 percent of all client assets.

In August, Hong Kong-based Bitfinex, then the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, had 119,756 Bitcoins stolen by hackers. This loss, representing 36 percent of all client cryptocurrency holdings, was valued at more than $72 million and was the second largest hack of all time. Bitfinex is still in operation.

The hacks of Youbit and Bitfinex serve to highlight the challenges customers face. In the world of cryptocurrencies, you’re on your own. Courts and rule of law over cryptocurrencies can be murky at best. For both Youbit and Bitfinex, the exchanges spread out the losses among all customers, regardless of whether their account was hacked or not. To cover customer losses, the exchanges provided IOUs, to be paid off from the exchange’s future revenues.

But the largest hack is the now infamous Mt. Gox incident. Based in Japan, Mt. Gox was the world’s largest Bitcoin exchange, handling more than 70 percent of all global Bitcoin transactions. In February 2014, Mt. Gox was forced into bankruptcy after roughly 850,000 Bitcoins went missing, presumably stolen by hackers, over a two-plus year period. At the time, the loss was valued at $450 million. At today’s prices, the stolen Bitcoins are worth more than $11.4 billion. The theft impacted more than 24,000 customers around the world.

To date, 650,000 of the Mt. Gox Bitcoins remain missing and unaccounted for. So far, customers have not recovered a single penny as the failed exchange remains mired in endless litigation from customers, creditors, business partners and its own bankruptcy proceedings.

Government regulation and oversight are typically reactionary, rather than proactive. Implementation of new laws tends to move at a glacial pace. In the U.S., the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Internal Revenue Service, the Department of Treasury, the Commodity Futures and Trading Commission and state and federal lawmakers are playing catch-up to the regulatory and legal challenges of cryptocurrencies.

Overseas, in light of the recent collapse of Seoul-based Youbit, South Korea is considering a ban on all cryptocurrency exchanges within its country. In September, China announced its ban on exchanges and made it illegal for citizens to engage in cryptocurrency transactions within its borders. In October, Russia banned all exchanges in its country and access to websites that offer them.

The world is still in the learning curve phase of cryptocurrency law. There are legitimate concerns: money laundering, terrorist financing, tax evasion, fraud and security, among others. Some users of cryptocurrencies may decry attempts to regulate this last bastion of unregulated currency, commerce and trade. But a lack of regulation has a cost, in theft, fraud and price manipulation. Despite efforts by some countries to ban them, cryptocurrencies are here to stay. And so too, is increased government oversight. The challenge, of course, is finding the right balance.

Now drones hit pest, weeds in crops in Punjab | DRONEPETS.ORG

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Now drones hit pest, weeds in crops in Punjab

MULTAN: Massive financial losses by crop weeds and pest attacks are possible to avoid now after the Punjab government has first time across the country granted using Unmanned Air Vehicle drone technology in agriculture sector for the application of pesticides on crops, monitoring weeds, pests and nutritional deficiencies.

Currently, the UAV drones are being used elimination of terrorism networks in tribal areas bordering Afghanistan; now drone will kill crop pests and monitor weeds’ growth at massive level in almost all the agriculture districts of Punjab.

Agriculture officials say that farmers would have to arrange or purchase their own drones for agriculture purposes. The farmers have been required to submit an application with respective district Deputy Director Agriculture Extension and he would forward the application to District Implementation Committee comprising of Deputy Commissioner and District Police Officer of concerned district where the drone is required for agriculture purposes.

The DIC would issue No-Objection Certificate after deeply studying all cases. The NOC would carry all information about drone utilization including time scale, place where the drone is required.

The DIC would be responsible for the security and safety of sensitive places located across the agriculture field where the drones are required.

Talking to The News, Muhammad Nawaz Sharif University of Agriculture vice chancellor Prof Dr Asif Ali says the recent decision of Punjab government to introduce drones in agriculture sector is appreciable in this regard. Drones equipped with hyper spectral, multispectral, or thermal sensors can identify any part of field, and will be major breakthrough in Pakistani agriculture in areas of crop and weed mapping, monitoring soil and field survey, predictive modeling, pest scouting, pesticide application, and irrigation management etc.

Moreover, drones will also be helpful in managing natural disasters like storms, floods and earth quacks without risking human lives.

The advent of such new technologies in era of computers and electronics will revolutionize the contemporary agriculture in Pakistan.

Growers say the drone technology also helps to capture the differentiation in fruiting, color, growth of the plant – about what’s going wrong and then the farmers are issued proper advisories by the scientists – whether it’s about less watering, fertilizers, more or less chemicals etc. This is quite a next generation assessment of crops.

Mango Growers Association President Syed Zahid Hussein Gardezi says that according to a research, the norms set by the scientists, the crop is expected to exhibit certain standard characteristics after a specific timeframe after the sowing period.

For example, the age of the crop, if it is a thirty-day crop or a forty-day crop; what should be the height, the color configuration or the fruiting level of the crop? Drones can help us identify if the crop is not fruiting as per the norms, if it’s over fruiting or if it’s mellowing down in color configuration. The drones can be configured to navigate in a 30 meter by 30-meter plot to assess the damage, he says.

“Farmers want to have accurate and up-to-date information on crops health and land fertility status. In this context, drones are very effective tools to get all these information. Moreover, drones can help in generation of accurate 3-D maps for early soil analysis in order to optimize planting patterns, irrigation scheduling and nutrients management and crop spraying”, Zahid Gardezi adds.

Agriculture officials say the drone technology would safe crops from destruction after technical monitoring of weeds and pest attack at large scales.

“The 100pc failure of all crops is possible due to weeds and pest attack and it reduces crop production size from 15pc to 42pc. The drone technology would remove the present defective spray techniques. The failure in curbing weeds and pest attack means saving all crops including cotton, wheat, sugarcane, mangoes and other crops from large scale damage A UAV (Unmanned Air Vehicle) drone consist of a small-unmanned aircraft and after the success of this technology, it is ready to astound the agricultural sector”, Multan Agriculture Information Assistant Director Naveed Asmat Kahloon says.

Farmers say the drone technology permission is a revolutionary step leading to enhancement of per acre production and yield size in agriculture districts facing serious challenges from uncontrolled weeds growth and pest attacks.

“A faint dream to expect high crop yield potential with taking weeds management through drones has come true. The drone technology would reduce environmental hazards and management constraints, reckon the weeds as the prime threat to the crops, and yield potential across the province”, Multan district Kisan Committee President Malik Iqbal says.

Muhammad Nawaz Sahrif University of Agriculture Prof Dr Amar Matloob says that due to diverse agro-climatic conditions of Pakistan, 267 weed species have been identified that cause monetary loss worth 3 billion US$ annually. Out of these, approximately 160 have been reported as weeds in Punjab; of which 50 are serious weeds causing major economic losses in major field crops.

Farm experts say that weeds are the plants with specific features helping them to infest and invade in the crops and to succeed under a wide range of environmental and climatic conditions. Weeds act differently in different habitats. Weeds also provide shelter to the insects and diseases causing pests, resultantly lowering the quality of produced and sometimes cause complete failure of crop.

Available statistics say the cash crop cotton hit by severe pest attack received in August last in eleven districts of southern Punjab when the Agriculture Department discovered hot spots in cotton growing districts. The sucking pests’ whitefly, jassid, mealy bug, big bollworm, armyworm and heliothis badly destroyed cotton crop this year.

The hard hit areas by pest attack include Rahimyar Khan, Bahawalpur, Bahawalnagar, Multan, Sahiwal and Pakpatan districts remained hard hit districts in pest attack.


Erica Garner is on life support, but her tireless pursuit of justice for police murder lives on | LIBERAL.GUIDE

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Erica Garner is on life support after suffering massive brain damage due to oxygen deprivation during a severe heart attack, her family said Thursday.

Garner, 27, has been a dogged advocate for change in the systems that allow police to systematically deprive black Americans of their rights, dignity, and even lives. Her father, Eric, was killed by New York Police Department (NYPD) officers in 2014 after they determined his agitation at being harassed for selling untaxed cigarettes on the street required a forceful, violent police response. The elder Garner’s dying words — “I can’t breathe” — became a powerful mantra for the reform advocates and street protesters who organized under the banner of “Black Lives Matter.”

In the years since her father was killed, Garner struck a potent and sometimes contrasting figure within the movement. Women like Sybrina Fulton, Geneva Reed-Veal, Maria Hamilton, Lucy McBath, and Garner’s own grandmother Gwen Carr were dubbed the Mothers of the Movement, and embraced by mainline Democratic Party officials and events. That position made them hugely influential to a mass audience, but imposed some trade-offs with regard to the tone of their speech (though not the content of their critiques).

Garner chose a different path for wielding the unwanted fame and influence her father’s killing afforded her — establishing a vituperative edge that arguably expanded society’s definition of what a black woman who loses family to police abuse is allowed to be, how she is allowed to process her pain and anger.

To call Garner “unafraid” would be both backhanded cruelty to those survivors of black pain who make different choices, and damnably faint praise of her own style. A better word, perhaps, is “brusque.” Her unvarnished public mode suggests a woman living in conscious defiance of American life’s crushing tendency to bottle up women of color. When she’s decided something needs to be said, and that she ought to be the one to say it, the contents-under-pressure reality of that societal bottling is often on immediate display.

“Just cause you love black pussy don’t mean you love black lives,” Garner once said to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) on Twitter.

De Blasio, whose wife Chirlane McCray is African-American, had for years stymied the release of police disciplinary records on Officer Daniel Pantaleo, the cop who applied a choke hold to Garner’s father as he was being interrogated for selling loose cigarettes.

The hold and subsequent violence triggered a sequence of medical crises that killed the elder Garner while Pantaleo and fellow officers looked on. Civilian Complaint Review Board records showing Pantaleo had been kept on the street despite residing in the top 5 percent of NYPD disciplinary complaints for years were later obtained and published by ThinkProgress.

Both city and federal investigations into the killing of Garner’s father stretched on for years without producing clarity or accountability to either the family or the general public. After meeting with Department of Justice officials earlier this year, Garner said Trump administration officials told her they had made more progress on her dad’s case in six months than the Obama administration had in nearly three years.

As is her general habit, Garner grappled with that news openly, for anyone to see. “I dont understand how #obama and #lynch could hold my dads case for 2.5 years and not make it a priority … Dog, I hope this is fake news,” she wrote in one tweet.

In others, she said Trump officials were threatening to charge her with a crime if she released a recording of the staffers’ claims to have outdone the Obama team in pursuing justice for the Garner family — an outlandish thing to hear coming from employees of a man who has repeatedly encouraged police to seek revenge against critics, slandered black America, and thrown his lot in with the right-wing backlash against the Black Lives Matter movement to which Garner was such a crucial icon. (Obama told Garner face to face that he wanted to avoid appearing to politicize the investigation, something Trump would likely be less averse to.)

Garner has been no less pugnacious and direct on matters further afield from the investigations into her own father’s killing.

“If our lives really mattered, we’d have equal access to decent jobs, good schools and affordable housing. If our lives mattered in this country, we’d have equal access to clean air, clean water and real investment in black neighborhoods,” Garner wrote in a Washington Post op-ed urging people to choose Bernie Sanders over Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Democratic primary.

Noting that activists had forced almost everyone in the country to at least know names like Tamir Rice and Rekia Boyd, Garner blasted political exploitation of the Black Lives Matter movement.

“I resent politicians who speak their names without confronting the underlying problem,” she wrote. “I trusted establishment Democrats who claimed to represent me, only to later watch them ignore and explain away the injustice of my father’s death.”

Though doctors have declared Garner brain dead, she remains on life support. If this is to be her way of passing, it will add another tragic underscore to the causes and ideas she advocated so radically in recent years.

There is ample and clear evidence that merely trying to exist as part of America’s vast underclass causes quantifiable psychological harm. Beyond the well-understood reality that underfed children will struggle to reach their intellectual and social potential, there is now evidence that the stress of living in poverty — even apart from nutritional issues — imposes roughly the same mental health costs as pulling an all-nighter every night, forever.

Black Americans of all economic classes suffer a special, separate socio-psychic pricetag. Suspicious white citizens, wary store clerks, and trigger-happy cops make day-to-day life additionally stressful — whether you’re a man like Eric Garner trying to make ends meet on a Staten Island street corner, or an Ivy League professor like Henry Louis Gates getting cuffed on your own front porch because a nosy neighbor assumed you didn’t belong in such a ritzy neighborhood.

Dubbed “racial battle fatigue” by the academic William Smith more than a decade ago, this pattern of low-lying anxieties and traumas actively damage the mental and even physical health of men and women who look like Eric and Erica Garner. Though the American Heart Association may assert that you can always control your blood pressure, the research Smith and others have conducted indicates that’s not quite true if your mere presence prompts people to clutch their purses tighter, lock their car doors, or punch “9-1-” into the phone and then wait with their finger on the keypad.

The kind of massive coronary that put Garner on life support days before Christmas can have any number of physical causes. But to be black in America is to live with higher stress levels, higher blood pressure, worse overall health outcomes, and greater risk of premature death. It also, as researchers like Smith have demonstrated, means a much higher risk of living with “generalized anxiety disorder” — an acute but prolonged set of harmful mental stressors that have serious physical repercussions.

After multiple news outlets reported that Garner has no chance to recover from her condition, representatives for her family rejected that prognosis and began retweeting prayers from her Twitter account. They asked her fans and supporters not to contribute financially to any fundraising efforts in her name for the time being.

On the day of her heart attack, Garner reminded her audience of the long legacy of racist exploitation in American politics with tweets about GOP strategist Lee Atwater and the ugly “southern strategy” he crafted alongside Fox News founder Roger Ailes when the two worked on George H. W. Bush’s successful 1990 presidential campaign.

Garner outlived both Ailes and Atwater, but never let anyone forget that America still lives in their shadow.

Author: Alan Pyke