Category Archives: Global

Cord Cutting Explodes: Variety | Sep 14 2017

Cord-Cutting Explodes: 22 Million U.S. Adults Will Have Canceled Cable, Satellite TV by End of 2017

|| Variety

“Research firm eMarketer cuts TV ad-spending forecast on accelerating pay-TV declines

Winter is here for cable and satellite TV operators.

American consumers are cancelling traditional pay-TV service at a much faster rate than previously expected, according to research firm eMarketer.

In 2017, a total of 22.2 million U.S. adults will have cut the cord on cable, satellite or telco TV service to date — up 33% from 16.7 million in 2016 — the researcher now predicts. That’s significantly higher than eMarketer’s prior estimate of 15.4 million cord-cutters as of the end of this year. Meanwhile, the number of “cord-nevers” (consumers who have never subscribed to pay TV) will rise 5.8% this year, to 34.4 million.

“Younger audiences continue to switch to either exclusively watching [over-the-top] video or watching them in combination with free-TV options,” said Chris Bendtsen, senior forecasting analyst at eMarketer. “Last year, even the Olympics and [the U.S.] presidential election could not prevent younger audiences from abandoning pay TV.

Overall, 196.3 million U.S. adults will have traditional pay TV (cable, satellite or telco) this year, down 2.4% compared with 2016, eMarketer predicts. By 2021, that will drop to 181.7 million, a decline of nearly 10% from 2016. The number of pay-TV viewers 55 and older will continue to rise over the next four years, while for every other age cohort the subscriber tallies will decline.

By 2021, the number of cord-cutters will nearly equal the number of people who have never had pay TV — a total of 81 million U.S. adults. That means around 30% of American adults won’t have traditional pay TV at that point, per eMarketer’s revised forecast.”

…Continue reading more @ Variety

 

Gen. McMaster Sparked a Row With the Israeli Delegation at a White House Meeting on Hezbollah

|| PJ Media

“During the week of August 27, an Israeli delegation met with members of the National Security Council (NSC) at the White House to discuss the current threat to Israel by the terror group Hezbollah.

Israel believes this threat is currently dire. This meeting preceded a two-week long Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) exercise to rehearse for possible war with Hezbollah. The Jerusalem Post described this exercise, which commenced on September 4 and is ongoing, as the IDF’s largest in 20 years.

Hezbollah has been a U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization since 1997. However, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster reportedly brought NSC Senior Director on Counter-Terrorism Mustafa Javed Ali to the White House meeting with Israel. Ali, a McMaster appointee, is described by a senior administration source as being “opposed to Hezbollah’s designation as a terrorist organization.”

What then transpired at the meeting has been confirmed to PJ Media by several administration sources, by members of non-governmental organizations involved in national security, and by a source within the Israeli government.”

…Continue reading more @ PJ Media

 

‘KNOWN WOLF’ TERROR SCANDAL: CIA Knew About 9-11 Hijackers, Didn’t Provide Intel to FBI

|| PJ Media

“As I’ve recounted in more than 30 articles here at PJ Media over the past three years, virtually every Islamic terrorist who has conducted an attack in the West since 9/11 has already been known to authorities, which prompted me to coin the phrase “known wolf” terrorism.

Amidst the commemoration of the 16th anniversary of 9/11, it bears recalling that 9/11 itself was a “known wolf” attack, too.

The CIA had intelligence that two Saudi 9/11 hijackers were living in the United States, but they deliberately refused to share the information with the FBI. The FBI had authority to act on such information and possibly prevent the 9/11 attacks:

pic.twitter.com/YjkigMkkl1

— CIA (@CIA) September 11, 2017

In many respects, the 3,000 Americans killed on 9/11 were not only the victims of al-Qaeda terrorists, but also bureaucratic incompetence and inter-governmental turf wars. Who among those who sat on the information were punished? Well, none were.

The CIA sitting on critical intelligence until just days before the attack was couched in the larger excuse of “intelligence failures,” and swept under the rug.

Some of what we know about the CIA’s pre-9/11 intelligence about the hijackers comes from a joint congressional inquiry several years after the attacks. But the most revealing information has come from former FBI agent Mark Rossini, who — though an FBI agent — was assigned to the CIA and prevented from sharing the information with his colleagues.

Two years ago, Jeff Stein at Newsweek detailed Rossini’s story:

 

Rossini is well placed to do just that. He’s been at the center of one of the enduring mysteries of 9/11: Why the CIA refused to share information with the FBI (or any other agency) about the arrival of at least two well-known Al-Qaeda operatives in the United States in 2000, even though the spy agency had been tracking them closely for years.

That the CIA did block him and Doug Miller, a fellow FBI agent assigned to the “Alec Station,” the cover name for CIA’s Osama bin Laden unit, from notifying bureau headquarters about the terrorists has been told before, most notably in a 2009 Nova documentary on PBS, “The Spy Factory.” Rossini and Miller related how they learned earlier from the CIA that one of the terrorists (and future hijacker), Khalid al-Mihdhar, had multi-entry visas on a Saudi passport to enter the United States. When Miller drafted a report for FBI headquarters, a CIA manager in the top-secret unit told him to hold off. Incredulous, Miller and Rossini had to back down. The station’s rules prohibited them from talking to anyone outside their top-secret group.”

…Continue reading more @ PJ Media

Equifax Hack Raises Major Questions of Consumer Privacy | Sep 9 2017

Equifax finally responds to swirling concerns over consumers’ legal rights

|| Washington Post

Update: Equifax issued a statement Friday evening. “In response to consumer inquiries, we have made it clear that the arbitration clause and class action waiver included in the Equifax and TrustedID Premier terms of use does not apply to this cybersecurity incident,” the company said.

Sharp-eyed social media users have combed through the Equifax data breach site’s fine print — and found what they argue is a red flag.

Buried in the terms of service is language that appears to bar those who enroll in an Equifax credit monitoring program from participating in any class-action lawsuits that may arise from the incident. Here’s the relevant passage of the terms of service:

AGREEMENT TO RESOLVE ALL DISPUTES BY BINDING INDIVIDUAL ARBITRATION. PLEASE READ THIS ENTIRE SECTION CAREFULLY BECAUSE IT AFFECTS YOUR LEGAL RIGHTS BY REQUIRING ARBITRATION OF DISPUTES (EXCEPT AS SET FORTH BELOW) AND A WAIVER OF THE ABILITY TO BRING OR PARTICIPATE IN A CLASS ACTION, CLASS ARBITRATION, OR OTHER REPRESENTATIVE ACTION. ARBITRATION PROVIDES A QUICK AND COST EFFECTIVE MECHANISM FOR RESOLVING DISPUTES, BUT YOU SHOULD BE AWARE THAT IT ALSO LIMITS YOUR RIGHTS TO DISCOVERY AND APPEAL.

This language is commonly known in the industry as an “arbitration clause.” In theory, arbitration clauses are meant to streamline the amount of work that’s dumped onto the court system. But the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau concluded in the summer arbitration that clauses do more harm to consumers than good — and the agency put in place a rule to ban them.

“In practice, companies use these clauses to bar groups of consumers from joining to seek justice by vindicating their legal right,” Richard Cordray, the CFPB’s director, told reporters in July, according to my colleague Jonnelle Marte.

Here’s a further look into why the language raised concerns.

Why is arbitration a big deal?

There is already at least one class-action suit brewing against Equifax. Arbitration clauses make it hard if not impossible for consumers to join such suits. Arbitration is weaker than class-action suits, critics say, because it limits consumers’ ability to find facts to support their case, to appeal decisions or to present their case before a jury.

Friday afternoon, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman took aim at Equifax’s arbitration clause, tweeting his staff has contacted the company urging it to remove that part of the fine print.

“This language is unacceptable and unenforceable,” the state’s top lawyer said in his tweet. Minutes later, Schneiderman’s office announced a formal probe into the Equifax breach. In a release, the state attorney general’s office said Schneiderman had sent a letter to Equifax asking for more information. Among the questions were whether any consumer information has found its way to the “black market,” according to a person familiar with the investigation.

A spokesperson for Schneiderman declined to comment on whether officials were investigating the sale of company stock by Equifax executives before the discovery of the hack.

So should I register with the Equifax site, or not?

It’s up to you, but you should know going into the process what you’re signing up for. Equifax issued a statement Friday evening apologizing for consumers’ inconvenience and said the arbitration clause and class-action waiver “does not apply to this cybersecurity incident.”

…Continue reading more @ https://www.washingtonpost.com

 

Were You Hit By The Equifax Security Breach?

|| Refinery 29

“The three credit reporting agencies collect a vast array of personal data from consumers to calculate credit scores, which can determine an individual’s loan-worthiness or the terms of a loan. At a minimum, the accrued information includes Social Security numbers and credit card information that would be nerve-wracking to have stolen.

Yesterday, this information from as many as 143 million people in the U.S. — about 44% of the population — was leaked after a cybersecurity breach of Equifax’s database.
“The information accessed primarily includes names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some instances, driver’s license numbers. In addition, credit card numbers for approximately 209,000 U.S. consumers, and certain dispute documents with personal identifying information for approximately 182,000 U.S. consumers, were accessed,” the firm said in a statement. “As part of its investigation of this application vulnerability, Equifax also identified unauthorized access to limited personal information for certain U.K. and Canadian residents.”
Equifax says the breach occurred from mid-May through July 2017, and they urge consumers to “check potential impact” at a dedicated website, which you can do here. They’ve also opened a call center line (which will be open on weekends), and recommend that people with questions advises people who are worried about their information being exposed to consider placing a temporary fraud alert on their credit report for now.”
…Continue reading more @ Refinery29.com

North Korea’s Nuke blast followed by an earthquake 8 minutes later interpreted as a cave-in triggered by the explosion | Sep 06, 2017

North Korea’s nuclear test site at risk of imploding, Chinese scientist says

|| South China Morning Post

If mountain under which last five bombs were ‘almost certainly’ detonated crumbles, radiation would leak across region, expert warns

“The single mountain under which North Korea most likely conducted its five most recent nuclear bomb tests, including the latest and most powerful on Sunday, could be at risk of collapsing, a Chinese scientist said.

By measuring and analysing the shock waves caused by the blasts, and picked up by quake stations in China and neighbouring countries, researchers at the University of Science and Technology of China in Hefei, Anhui province, said they were confident that they were all carried out from under the same mountain at the Punggye-ri test site.

The team from the seismic and deep earth physics laboratory made the claim in a statement posted on their website on Monday. Its leader, geophysicist Wen Lianxing, said that based on data collected by more than 100 earthquake monitoring centres in China, the margin of error was no more than 100 metres.

Wang Naiyan, the former chairman of the China Nuclear Society and senior researcher on China’s nuclear weapons programme, said that if Wen’s findings were reliable, there was a risk of a major environmental disaster.

Another test might cause the whole mountain to cave in on itself, leaving only a hole from which radiation could escape and drift across the region, including China, he said.

“We call it ‘taking the roof off’. If the mountain collapses and the hole is exposed, it will let out many bad things.”

Sunday’s blast was followed by an earthquake eight minutes later, which China’s seismic authorities interpreted as a cave-in triggered by the explosion.”

….Continue reading more @ South China Morning Post

 

 

North Korea Claims they now have H-Bomb with latest Test | Sep 03, 2017

Earthquake detected in North Korea after claims of ‘super explosive’ Hydrogen bomb

|| NY Daily News

“A 6.3-magnitude earthquake that rocked North Korea on Sunday is presumed to be a weapons test after Kim Jong Un reportedly inspected a “super explosive” hydrogen bomb developed for its intercontinental ballistic missiles.

The U.S. Geological Survey detected a surface “explosion” around 12:30 p.m. local time and a second tremor clocking in at magnitude 4.1 at the same location.

Chinese seismologists suggested the second earthquake was due to a “cave in.”

Japan’s Foreign Ministry attributed the seismic activity to the North’s sixth nuclear test.

“It is absolutely unacceptable if North Korea did force another nuclear test, and we must protest strongly,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said sternly.

North Korea’s latest test is believed to have greatly surpassed its last detonation nearly a year ago on Sept. 9, which packed 15 to 25 kilotons — similar to the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki during World War II. The rumbling was felt along China’s border to North Korea and up the Russian coast.”

….Continue reading more @ NY Daily News

Note: Exactly how dangerous could an earthquake be right after a radioactive six kiloton explosion? Early radio reports indicate there may be some radioactive fallout headed across the border toward China. /CJ

 

North Korea has developed H-bomb missile warhead: state media

|| Agence France Presse

North Korea has developed a hydrogen bomb which can be loaded into the country’s new intercontinental ballistic missile, the official Korean Central News Agency claimed Sunday.

Questions remain over whether nuclear-armed Pyongyang has successfully miniaturised its weapons, and whether it has a working H-bomb, but KCNA said that leader Kim Jong-Un had inspected such a device at the Nuclear Weapons Institute.

It was a “thermonuclear weapon with super explosive power made by our own efforts and technology”, KCNA cited Kim as saying, and “all components of the H-bomb were 100 percent domestically made”.

Pictures showed Kim in black suit examining a metal casing with two bulges.

North Korea triggered a new escalation of tensions in July, when it carried out two successful tests of an ICBM, the Hwasong-14, which apparently brought much of the US mainland within range.

After its fourth nuclear test, in January 2016, it claimed that the device was a miniaturised H-bomb, which has the potential to be far more powerful than other nuclear devices.

But scientists said the six-kiloton yield achieved then was far too low for a thermonuclear device.

When it carried out its fifth test, in September 2016, it did not say it was a hydrogen bomb.

The North had “further upgraded its technical performance at a higher ultra-modern level on the basis of precious successes made in the first H-bomb test”, KCNA said, adding that Kim “set forth tasks to be fulfilled in the research into nukes”.

Actually mounting a warhead onto a missile would amount to a significant escalation on the North’s part, as it would create a risk that it was preparing an attack.”

….Continue reading more @ AFP

As much as 90% of the world’s heroin has come from Afghan opium | Aug 22, 2017

Despite 15 years of Western Occupation, Afghanistan’s Opium Production has only Gone up

|| Business Insider

“After 15 years of war in Afghanistan, the government there and its allies from the US and elsewhere have had little success staunching the flow of opium and heroin out of the South Asian country.

According to recent data from the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, opium-poppy cultivation in Afghanistan rose 10% in 2016, reaching an estimated 201,000 hectares, or about 496,000 acres.

number of factors have played into the uptick in cultivation, like widespread insecurity and ineffective government oversight.

And while production has remained high but steady in southern Afghanistan — a stronghold for the Afghan Taliban — the northern and eastern parts of the country have seen recent increases in cultivation as well.”

….Continue reading more @ BI

 

5 Elite American Families Who Made Their Fortunes in the Opium Trade

|| Alternet

 

“There’s a lot of money in the dope business, and there always has been. Prohibit something people want–sometimes very desperately–and someone will find a way to get it to them anyway–at a price. That’s a lesson in futility, as some American politicians seem to be finally figuring out with our current drug prohibition, and as China’s emperors found out when they attempted to ban the importation of opium into the Middle Kingdom in the early 19th Century.

Backed by their own governments, Western traders ignored Chinese concerns and demands, flooding the country with opium. When necessary, they enlisted their governments to back them up with military force, humiliating and humbling the empire, and getting rich in the process. Most of these traders were British, but a significant number were American, and the profits they made were the cornerstone of some of 19th Century America’s greatest fortunes.

Right now, other merchants are making fortunes in the same business. If they get caught, they lose everything. But if they don’t, there’s nothing like time and money to wash the dirt off their fortunes.

Here are five prominent American families that got rich in the Chinese opium trade:

1 .The Astor Family. America’s first multimillionaire, John Jacobs Astor, joined the opium smuggling trade in 1816 when his American Fur Company bought 10 tons of Turkish opium and smuggled it into Canton. Seeking other sources of profit while faced with woes in the fur trade, he became the first American known to have entered the contraband Chinese opium trade and made a nice profit before abruptly exiting the business three years later.

2. The Forbes Family. John Murray Forbes and Robert Bennet Forbes worked for Perkins & Co. in its China trade. While the former’s main job was to secure quality tea for export, that latter was more intimately involved in the importing size of the business and had more of a direct role in the opium trade. Their father, Ralph Forbes, had married into the Perkins family. It was the brothers’ activities in the 1830s and 1840s that led to the Forbes family’s accumulated wealth. The most notable family member on the contemporary scene is US Secretary of State John Forbes Kerry. The Forbes legacy in the China opium trade lived on in the Museum of the American China Trade in Milton, Massachusetts, which was housed in Robert Bennet Forbes’ 1883 Greek Revival-style home. That museum merged with the Peabody Essex Museum in 1984, leaving what is now known as the Captain Forbes House Museum.

3. The Russell Family. Samuel Wadsworth Russell started as an orphaned apprentice to a maritime trade merchant, made his initial investment capital on trading commissions while working for other traders, and eventually founded Russell and Co., the most powerful American merchant house in China for most of the second half of the 19th Century. He landed in Canton in 1819 and quickly amassed a fortune in the opium trade. His mansion, now known as the Samuel Wadsworth Russell House, still stands in Middletown, Connecticut. Russell’s cousin and fellow opium trader, William Huntington Russell, was a co-founder and funder of Yale University’s Skull and Bones Society.

4. The Delano Family.Warren Delano, Jr., the grandfather of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, was chief of operations for Russell & Co., another Boston trading firm which did big business in the China opium trade in Canton. He first went to China at age 24 and spent a decade dealing dope on the Pearl River before returning to New York as a newly wealthy and very eligible bachelor. He admitted in letters home that opium had an “unhappy effect” on its users, but argued that its sale was “fair, honorable, and legitimate,” akin to importing wine and spirits to America. Delano lost his fortune in the Great Panic of 1857, but returned to China and rebuilt it in part by supplying the US military with opium to treat Union soldiers in the Civil War. The Delanos don’t like to talk about the opium connection much. As FDR biographer Geoffrey C. Ward noted, “In a family fond of retelling and embellishing even the mildest sort of ancestral adventuresno stories seem to have been handed down concerning Warren Delano’s genuinely adventurous career in the opium business.”

5. The Perkins Family. Thomas Handasyd Perkins, a wealthy merchant and Boston Brahmin par excellance, made his bones as a young man trading slaves in Haiti, then peddled furs to China from the American Northwest before amassing a huge fortune smuggling Turkish opium into China. Although he got rich off the trade, he avoided mentioning it, and his official biography, written by his son-in-law, never mentions the word “opium.” Perkins assuaged himself through philanthropy, supporting the Boston Atheneum and the New England Institute for the Blind, which was renamed for him. The town of Belmont, Massachusetts, is named after the estate of nephew, John Perkins Cushing, who was active in the trade himself.”

….Continue reading more @ Alternet

 

 

The Human Dimension of the Barcelona Muslim Terrorist Attack | Aug 18, 2017

Family says California man is missing after Barcelona terror attack

|| New York Post

“A 43-year-old California man vacationing in Barcelona was reportedly missing after the deadly terror attack that killed 13 and wounded scores.

Jared Tucker was on vacation with his wife Heidi when they became separated in the chaos that unfolded in the streets on Thursday, according to San Francisco’s KGO-TV.

“They were walking through downtown when he stopped to use the restroom,” brother-in-law Kalani Kalanui told the network. “Moments later all hell broke loose and Heidi was swept up in the terrified crowd and she lost sight of Jared.”

The family has been trying to contact the US consulate for information about Jared.

The State Department said an American was injured but would not disclose a name.”

….Continue reading more @ NY Post

 

Tourists from around the globe killed in Barcelona terror attack

||  NY Post

“They came to Barcelona from around the world.

Citizens of Belgium, Poland and Germany were among the 13 people tragically killed when a terrorist drove through a crowd of pedestrians on the tourist-filled street Las Ramblas.

We unfortunately have to lament a Belgian victim in #Barcelona. I send my condolences to her family and her loved ones,” Belgium’s Deputy Prime Minister Didier Reynders tweeted Thursday afternoon in French and Dutch.

A Polish woman who died lived in Silesia, and her boyfriend is grieving, local media reported.

Three Germans also died in the attack, which left at least 100 others injured.

Photos of the massacre show battered pedestrians laying on the street in pools of blood — including an elderly couple whose bodies appeared limp on the side of the road.

An Australian woman from New South Wales is in the hospital in “serious but stable condition,” the nation’s foreign minister, Julie Bishop, said.

Two young men who hail from Melbourne had been “directly affected” but returned to their hotel rooms, she added.

A Greek woman was wounded, as well, but it’s unclear how severe her injuries were.

Fifteen of those injured in the terror attack remain in serious condition, authorities said.

Witnesses described the scene as “total chaos.”

“We were coming back from the beach and saw a scene of total chaos. People were screaming, there were a lot of wounded people,” Patrick Tuenter, 20, of the Netherlands, told The Guardian.

Several people were frantically searching for their loved ones on Twitter.

“Please help my brother was near the terrorist attack in #Barcelona and I can’t get in contact with him. Please RT so we can find him,” wrote one user.”

….Continue reading more @ NY Post

 

 

 

Deep State Operative Gives the Game Away? | Aug 16, 2017

CNN’s Phil Mud Declares Deep State Will Kill Trump | ‘Govt’s Gonna Kill this Guy’

|| dc Whispers

“Good Lord. Imagine the collective outcry if anything remotely similar had been said on air by a news organization against the former president. Add to this the heightened state of unhinged anti-Trumpism from the far left and what we have here is CNN actively participating in creating an environment that already contributed to Republican members of Congress getting shot by Democrat activists. (Congressman Steve Scalise is still fighting hard to recover from his wounds.)

Is this wishful thinking? Marching orders? Irresponsible hyperbole?

You decide:”

…More @ dcWhispers

Question: Certainly a salient question would be, if this gentleman has certain, specific knowledge and details of such a plot, isn’t it his duty to inform the government? Just asking. /CJ