Monday, February 29, 2016

Monday 02-29-16

Everyone else has rights except the Christian, oh a Christian is allowed to pay taxes and serve in the military, but they don't have equal rights with others. 


(Friday Church News Notes, February 26, 2016,,, 866-295-4143) - The following is from Charisma News, Jan. 15, 2016: “A New York court Thursday affirmed a Division of Human Rights ruling against an upstate couple for declining to coordinate a same-sex wedding ceremony in their own backyard. ... Robert and Cynthia Gifford live in a barn they built on their farm and have occasionally hosted weddings on the first floor and the surrounding backyard area. Cynthia serves as a wedding coordinator for those events and does everything but officiate the ceremony. After the agency ruled that the Giffords were guilty of ‘sexual orientation discrimination,’ it fined them $10,000, plus $3,000 in damages and ordered them to implement re-education training classes designed to contradict the couple's religious beliefs about marriage. The New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Third Department, upheld that order and the fines, finding that the government can punish the Giffords for declining to coordinate a ceremony that conflicts with their conscience. ... On Sept. 25, 2012, Melisa McCarthy called Cynthia Gifford, inquiring about the use of the farm for her upcoming same-sex ceremony. Because of her Christian faith’s teachings on marriage, Cynthia politely told McCarthy that she and her husband don’t host and coordinate same-sex ceremonies but left open an invitation to visit the farm to consider it as a potential reception site. Instead, McCarthy and her partner filed a complaint with the Division of Human Rights.”

A 7 dollar smart Phone

An Indian company has announced a new smartphone priced at $7. Ringing Bells’ Freedom 251 phone has 8GB storage and rear and front facing cameras. The smartphone age has brought every good and evil thing to people’s fingertips, including the fingertips of children. In Israel, 83% of children aged 8-15 are in possession of a smartphone; 93% use their mobile devices for at least four hours every day; half say they are online within 15 minutes after waking, connecting with friends via social networks like Facebook, Whatsapp, Instagram, and Snapchat. A typical teen exchanges 3,400 texts per month (116 texts per day). The smartphone and the Internet are simply tools, yet the moral and spiritual danger is great. In our new youth discipleship course, we show how that the home, the church, and young people can work together to protect God’s people from the pitfalls of the smartphone age.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Saturday 02-27-16

Apple’s Lawyer: If We Lose, It Will Lead To A ‘Police State’

PHILADELPHIA (CNN) — Apple’s attorney painted a scary picture if Apple loses its fight with the FBI.
In an interview with CNNMoney’s Laurie Segall on Friday, Ted Olson warned of a government with “limitless” powers that could “listen to your conversations.”

Olson said the demands would mount.

“You can imagine every different law enforcement official telling Apple we want a new product to get into something,” Olson said. “Even a state judge could order Apple to build something. There’s no stopping point. That would lead to a police state.”
The government is trying to force Apple to create new software allowing the FBI to break through the passcode of an iPhone used by the San Bernardino shooter. A magistrate Judge initially ruled in the government’s favor, but a final hearing will be held on March 22.

Apple says the software will create a back door that will potentially allow anyone to break into millions of iPhones around the world.
“Apple is being asked to put an Achilles heel on the iPhone,” Olson said. “The iPhone’s security is the reason why many, many people bought the phone.”
Olson said that Apple is “very sensitive” to national security and efforts by law enforcement to protect American citizens. He said that Apple has complied with every “legal” request by law enforcement for customers’ data.
But in the case against the FBI, Olson said the government overstepped its legal authority. He said Apple’s stance hasn’t changed — instead, it’s the government’s request that has changed and become more expansive than ever.
“It’s very easy to say ‘terrorism is involved’ and therefore you should do whatever the government wants to do,” he said. “But just because you’re using the word ‘terrorism,’ you don’t want to violate the civil liberties that all of us cherish.”
Though he declined to say how far Apple plans to go in its court battle — “we are a long, long way from that” — he said that this is the kind of precedent-setting case that could go to the Supreme Court.
If the Supreme Court rules against Apple, though, he said Apple would go along with the ruling.
Meanwhile, Olson noted that Apple continues to upgrade the security of its iPhones. CNNMoney has reported that Apple is working on developing an iPhone that even it can’t break into.

“Apple is constantly trying to improve its iPhones … so that people can’t hack in and find out where your children are or what your medical records are,” he said. “So if Apple continues to do that, it’s just a point at which the government just can’t get into your soul. We have got to have a stopping point.”

Deutsche Bank: It’s time to buy gold

Gold is still expensive, but rising economic risks and market turmoil mean investors should buy it for insurance, Deutsche Bank said Friday.
The recovery since the global and European financial crises had put the price of gold under some pressure. The yellow metal, which some analysts view as a safe haven or as a protection against rising inflation, typically underperforms during periods when the economy is growing or inflation is low. However, in a note issued Friday, the German Bank said economic signs are pointing in gold's favor.
"There are rising stresses in the global financial system; in particular the rising risk of a U.S. corporate default cycle and the risk of a sharp one-off renminbi devaluation due to the sharp increase in China's capital outflows," Deutsche Bank added."Buying some gold as 'insurance' is warranted."
However, even though gold has fallen from levels over $1,900 an ounce in 2011 to around $1,200 an ounce currently, Deutsche Bank said it still looks expensive, ranking as the most expensive commodity relative to its 15-year trading history.
"A bit like insurance, which is often a grudge purchase for many, some investors may balk at the current levels," it said. "We would, however, argue that given the plethora of negative deposit rates globally, the holding cost of gold is now negligible in many jurisdictions, and therefore gold deserves to be trading at elevated levels versus many other assets."

One of the arguments against investing in gold is that it is a zero-yielding asset. But with several central banks, including the European Central Bank, the Bank of Japan and Sweden's central bank, cutting interest rates into negative territory, that erodes some of the advantage of holding cash as opposed to gold, the bank said.
Slower economic growth may also ease some of the risks gold prices will fall further, the bank said.
"We think the (economic) risks are to the downside. Gold has tended to underperform in an environment of strong global growth, so whilst not an outright tailwind, slowing growth certainly eases the pressure on gold," it said in the note.
Deutsche Bank had previously expected gold would fall below the $1,000 an ounce level by the fourth quarter of this year as the U.S. Federal Reserve increased interest rates. But instead of three interest rate hikes this year, Deutsche Bank has since said it expects the Fed to be on hold for longer, anticipating only one rate increase in 2016 amid a contraction in the factory sector, which threatens to spill into the services sector.
It now expects that the fourth quarter of 2015 marked the lows for gold prices. In its note Friday, the bank said it raised its forecast for the fourth quarter of this year by 26 percent to $1,230 an ounce. Gold for March delivery was trading at $1,238.90 an ounce at 14:30 SIN/HK time.

But Deutsche Bank said buyers should be patient.
"Investors need to be tactical, as to the levels at which gold is bought," it said.
The precious metal has rallied 16 percent against the euro, 17.5 percent against the U.S. dollar and some 24 percent against sterling so far this year, according to data from BNY Mellon. Even against the resurgent Japanese yen, which has climbed since the Bank of Japan shifted to a negative interest rate policy in late January, gold is up 9 percent, making the precious metal's rally in the top percentile over the last three decades.
Deutsche Bank noted gold prices tend to be stronger during the first quarter of the year, but it expects some seasonal weakness, which means there will be better buying opportunities in the second and third quarters. Indeed, Bank of America-Merrill Lynch noted that buying of gold has been strong, with $5.8 billion of inflows over the past three weeks, the highest three-week inflow since June of 2009.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Friday 02-27-16

Obama Administration Set to Expand Sharing of Data That N.S.A. Intercepts

President Obama, meeting Thursday with his National Security Council, wants more intelligence experts to see information intercepted by the National Security Agency. Credit Zach Gibson/The New York Times

The change would relax longstanding restrictions on access to the contents of the phone calls and email the security agency vacuums up around the world, including bulk collection of satellite transmissions, communications between foreigners as they cross network switches in the United States, and messages acquired overseas or provided by allies.

The idea is to let more experts across American intelligence gain direct access to unprocessed information, increasing the chances that they will recognize any possible nuggets of value. That also means more officials will be looking at private messages — not only foreigners’ phone calls and emails that have not yet had irrelevant personal information screened out, but also communications to, from, or about Americans that the N.S.A.’s foreign intelligence programs swept in incidentally.
Civil liberties advocates criticized the change, arguing that it will weaken privacy protections. They said the government should disclose how much American content the N.S.A. collects incidentally — which agency officials have said is hard to measure — and let the public debate what the rules should be for handling that information.
“Before we allow them to spread that information further in the government, we need to have a serious conversation about how to protect Americans’ information,” said Alexander Abdo, an American Civil Liberties Union lawyer.
Robert S. Litt, the general counsel in the office of the Director of National Intelligence, said that the administration had developed and was fine-tuning what is now a 21-page draft set of procedures to permit the sharing.
The goal for the final rules, Brian P. Hale, a spokesman for the office, said in a statement, is “to ensure that they protect privacy, civil liberties and constitutional rights while enabling the sharing of information that is important to protect national security.”
Until now, National Security Agency analysts have filtered the surveillance information for the rest of the government. They search and evaluate the information and pass only the portions of phone calls or email that they decide is pertinent on to colleagues at the Central Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other agencies. And before doing so, the N.S.A. takes steps to mask the names and any irrelevant information about innocent Americans.
The new system would permit analysts at other intelligence agencies to obtain direct access to raw information from the N.S.A.’s surveillance to evaluate for themselves. If they pull out phone calls or email to use for their own agency’s work, they would apply the privacy protections masking innocent Americans’ information — a process known as “minimization” — at that stage, Mr. Litt said.
Executive branch officials have been developing the new framework and system for years. President George W. Bush set the change in motion through a little-noticed line in a 2008 executive order, and the Obama administration has been quietly developing a framework for how to carry it out since taking office in 2009.
The executive branch can change its own rules without going to Congress or a judge for permission because the data comes from surveillance methods that lawmakers did not include in the main law that governs national security wiretapping, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA.
FISA covers a narrow band of surveillance: the collection of domestic or international communications from a wire on American soil, leaving most of what the N.S.A. does uncovered. In the absence of statutory regulation, the agency’s other surveillance programs are governed by rules the White House sets under a Reagan-era directive called Executive Order 12333.
Mr. Litt declined to make available a copy of the current draft of the proposed procedures.
“Once these procedures are final and approved, they will be made public to the extent consistent with national security,” Mr. Hale said. “It would be premature to draw conclusions about what the procedures will provide or authorize until they are finalized.”
Among the things they would not address is what the draft rules say about searching the raw data using names or keywords intended to bring up Americans’ phone calls or email that the security agency gathered “incidentally” under the 12333 surveillance programs — including whether F.B.I. agents may do so when working on ordinary criminal investigations.
Under current rules for data gathered under a parallel program — the no-warrant surveillance program governed by the FISA Amendments Act — N.S.A. and C.I.A. officials may search for Americans’ information only if their purpose is to find foreign intelligence, but F.B.I. agents may conduct such a search for intelligence or law enforcement purposes. Some lawmakers have proposed requiring the government to obtain a warrant before conducting such a search.
In 2013, The Washington Post reported, based on documents leaked by the former intelligence contractor Edward J. Snowden, that the N.S.A. and its British counterpart, Government Communications Headquarters, had tapped into links connecting Google’s and Yahoo’s data centers overseas and that the American spy agency had collected millions of records a day from them. The companies have since taken steps to encrypt those links.
That collection occurred under 12333 rules, which had long prohibited the N.S.A. from sharing raw information gathered from the surveillance it governed with other members of the intelligence community before minimization. The same rule had also long applied to sharing information gathered with FISA wiretaps.
But after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the Bush administration began an effort to tear down barriers that impeded different parts of the government from working closely and sharing information, especially about terrorism.
In 2002, for example, it won permission, then secret, from the intelligence court permitting the C.I.A., the F.B.I. and the N.S.A. to share raw FISA wiretap information. The government did not disclose that change, which was first reported in a 2014 New York Times article based on documents disclosed by Mr. Snowden.
In August 2008, Mr. Bush change d 12333 to permit the N.S.A. to share unevaluated surveillance information with other intelligence agencies once procedures were developed.
Intelligence officials began working in 2009 on how the technical system and rules would work, Mr. Litt said, eventually consulting the Defense and Justice Departments. This month, the administration briefed the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, an independent five-member watchdog panel, seeking input. Before they go into effect, they must be approved by James R. Clapper, the intelligence director; Loretta E. Lynch, the attorney general; and Ashton B. Carter, the defense secretary.
“We would like it to be completed sooner rather than later,” Mr. Litt said. “Our expectation is months rather than weeks or years.”

Bill Would Require Reporting Of Non-Vaccinated Children

DENVER (CBS4)– A bill introduced in the state House would require the reporting of non-vaccinated students to the Colorado Department of Health and Environment. Currently those records are kept with the school.
“What this bill is not about is requiring more students to get vaccinations. It’s about who will keep charge of the records,” said Rep. Dan Pabon, a Democrat representing Denver.
A hearing at the state Capitol on Thursday was packed with parents who oppose the bill.
Christine Carter has four children and has had them vaccinated.

“I have the freedom to report what I’m going to do with my children or not,” said Carter. “I don’t think it’s the government’s business.”
Some of those who are opposed to vaccinations are fearful of the state obtaining the names of those who have opted out for fear it’s a step towards tracking them down.
Pam Long brought her son Josh to the hearing. She says he has a vaccine-induced brain injury.
“House Bill 1164 is designed to circumvent the law protecting privacy and bully people into every vaccine on the market,” said Long.
After Thursday’s marathon hearing the bill passed committee 7-6.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Thursday 02-25-16

45 percent of Americans pay no federal

Originally Published By:

Many Americans don’t have to worry about giving Uncle Sam part of their hard-earned cash for their income taxes this year.
An estimated 45.3 percent of American households — roughly 77.5 million — will pay no federal individual income tax, according to data for the 2015 tax year from the Tax Policy Center, a nonpartisan Washington-based research group. (Note that this does not necessarily mean they won’t owe their states income tax.)
Roughly half pay no federal income tax because they have no taxable income, and the other roughly half get enough tax breaks to erase their tax liability, explains Roberton Williams, a senior fellow at the Tax Policy Center.
Despite the fact that rich people paying little in the way of income taxes makes plenty of headlines, this is the exception to the rule: The top 1 percent of taxpayers pay a higher effective income tax rate than any other group (around 23 percent, according to a report released by the Tax Policy Center in 2014) — nearly seven times higher than those in the bottom 50 percent.
On average, those in the bottom 40 percent of the income spectrum end up getting money from the government. Meanwhile, the richest 20 percent of Americans, by far, pay the most in income taxes, forking over nearly 87 percent of all the income tax collected by Uncle Sam.
The top 1 percent of Americans, who have an average income of more than $2.1 million, pay 43.6 percent of all the federal individual income tax in the US; the top 0.1 percent — just 115,000 households, whose average income is more than $9.4 million — pay more than 20 percent of it.
When it comes to all federal taxes — individual income, payroll, excise, corporate income and estate taxes — the distributions of who pays what is more spread out. This is partially because nearly everyone pays excise taxes, which include taxes on gasoline, alcohol and cigarettes.


Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Wednesday 02-24-16

As predicted the justice department (shades of animal farm) was very dishonest (again) because now it is not just the one I phone they want to unlock is a dozen or more and they have nothing to do with terrorism, surprise surprise (at least for some).  This is one of the more or most corrupt we have seen in a long time, it seems to get worse every year.  It is a shame, we should be able to trust our government, it is sad we can not.

First it was only one, for terrorism and now it at least 9 more and I heard one report it was a dozen, them it will be every single small town police department wanting to do it for traffic stops.  It is just the tip of the iceberg.

Sea levels rose faster in 20th century than in previous 2,700 years, says study

Scientists have modeled a history of the planet's sea levels spanning back 3,000 years, and concluded that the rate of increase last century "was extremely likely faster than during any of the 27 previous centuries."

Bob Kopp, a climate scientist at Rutgers University who led the research, said in a statement on his website that he and his collaborators had determined with 95% probability that the rate of sea level increase in the 1900s was faster than during any century since at least 800 B.C.
It is not that seas rose faster before that date, he wrote -- but "simply that the reconstruction quality isn't good enough before then" to say so with the same level of confidence.
Moreover, the study found that without human-caused climate change, the global sea level would have "very likely" changed by between a 3 centimeter (1.18 inch) drop and a 7 centimeter (2.75 inch) rise over the 20th century -- rather than the 14 centimeter (5.512 inch) rise that was observed.
The study, conducted by a group of 10 climate scientists from universities around the world, was published Monday in the U.S.'s Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The authors said it was the first estimate, to their knowledge, of global sea level change over the past 3,000 years based on a "statistical synthesis of a global database of regional sea level reconstructions."

It used a new statistical framework to combine reconstructions of 1,300 geological sea level changes in 24 locations around the world, along with measurements from 66 "tide gauges."
The study says the global sea level rose at a rate of 1.4 millimeters (0.05 inches) a year during the 20th century. NASA's figures, which put the current rate of sea rise at 3.4 millimeters (0.13 inches) a year, suggest sea level rise is only accelerating
The report, created from the work of nearly 1,000 researchers worldwide and considered the benchmark study on global warming, projected a rise in global sea levels of 1 to 3 feet (about 30 to 90 centimeters).

But researchers last year suggested those predictions could be too conservative, with ice loss from massive melting ice sheets in Antarctica and Greenland being a major concern.
In December, ministers from 195 countries adopted a legally binding agreement in Paris to fight climate change. The goal of the deal is to help the world abandon fossil fuels this century and, specifically, stop global warming "well below" 2 degrees Celsius and, if possible, below 1.5 degrees.

Internet by light promises to leave Wi-Fi eating dust

Barcelona (AFP) - Connecting your smartphone to the web with just a lamp -- that is the promise of Li-Fi, featuring Internet access 100 times faster than Wi-Fi with revolutionary wireless technology.

French start-up Oledcomm demonstrated the technology at the Mobile World Congress, the world's biggest mobile fair, in Barcelona. As soon as a smartphone was placed under an office lamp, it started playing a video.
The big advantage of Li-Fi, short for "light fidelity", is its lightning speed.
Laboratory tests have shown theoretical speeds of over 200 Gbps -- fast enough to "download the equivalent of 23 DVDs in one second", the founder and head of Oledcomm, Suat Topsu, told AFP.
"Li-Fi allows speeds that are 100 times faster than Wi-Fi" which uses radio waves to transmit data, he added.
The technology uses the frequencies generated by LED bulbs -- which flicker on and off imperceptibly thousands of times a second -- to beam information through the air, leading it to be dubbed the "digital equivalent of Morse Code".
It started making its way out of laboratories in 2015 to be tested in everyday settings in France, a Li-Fi pioneer, such as a museums and shopping malls. It has also seen test runs in Belgium, Estonia and India.
Dutch medical equipment and lighting group Philips is reportedly interested in the technology and Apple may integrate it in its next smartphone, the iPhone7, due out at the end of the year, according to tech media.
With analysts predicting the number of objects that are connected to the Internet soaring to 50 million by 2020 and the spectrum for radio waves used by Wi-Fi in short supply, Li-Fi offers a viable alternative, according to its promoters.
"We are going to connect our coffee machine, our washing machine, our tooth brush. But you can't have more than ten objects connected in Bluetooth or Wi-Fi without interference," said Topsu.
Deepak Solanki, the founder and chief executive of Estonian firm Velmenni which tested Li-fi in an industrial space last year, told AFP he expected that "two years down the line the technology can be commercialised and people can see its use at different levels."
- 'Still laboratory technology' -
Analysts said it was still hard to say if Li-Fi will become the new Wi-Fi.
"It is still a laboratory technology," said Frederic Sarrat, an analyst and consultancy firm PwC.
Much will depend on how Wi-Fi evolves in the coming years, said Gartner chief analyst Jim Tully.
"Wi-Fi has shown a capability to continuously increase its communication speed with each successive generation of the technology," he told AFP.
Li-fi has its drawbacks -- it only works if a smartphone or other device is placed directly in the light and it cannot travel through walls.
This restricts its use to smaller spaces, but Tully said this could limit the risk of data theft.
"Unlike Wi-Fi, Li-Fi can potentially be directed and beamed at a particular user in order to enhance the privacy of transmissions," he said.
Backers of Li-Fi say it would also be ideal in places where Wi-Fi is restricted to some areas such as schools and hospitals.
"Li-fi has a place in hospitals because it does not create interference with medical materials," said Joel Denimal, head of French lighting manufacturer Coolight.
In supermarkets it could be used to give information about a product, or in museums about a painting, by using lamps placed nearby.
It could also be useful on aircraft, in underground garages and any place where lack of Internet connection is an issue.
But Li-Fi also requires that devices be equipped with additional technology such as a card reader, or dongle, to function. This gives it a "cost disadvantage", said Tully.;_ylt=AwrC1zEKZ8xWrAkAtqjQtDMD;_ylu=X3oDMTBydDI5cXVuBGNvbG8DYmYxBHBvcwM2BHZ0aWQDBHNlYwNzcg--

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Tuesday 02-23-16

Received an email from a friend, I did not see it in the news, they must be trying to keep it quite

Feb 20, 2016
The Saudis just made a shocking admission made in the international press. During an interview on RT Arabic, Dahham Al Anzi of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, discussed why the Arab world feel the need for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to be removed from power. He also reaffirmed the need for a ground invasion to accomplish that goal.

While outlining the weapons of war he confirmed that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia possess a Nuclear Bomb.

 China Is Buying Up American Companies Fast, and It’s Freaking People Out

Here’s a story you’ll be hearing about a lot this year.
Chinese companies have been buying up foreign businesses, including American ones, at a record rate, and it’s freaking lawmakers out.
There is General Electric’s sale of its appliance business to Qingdao-based Haier, Zoomlion’s bid for the heavy-lifting-equipment maker Terex Corp., and ChemChina’s record-breaking deal for the Swiss seeds and pesticides group Syngenta, valued at $48 billion.
Most recently, a unit of the Chinese conglomerate HNA Group said it would buy the technology distributor Ingram Micro for $6 billion.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Monday 02-22-16

They fall down, go boom! Obama economy killing businesses
The impact of the “Obama economy,” those ups and downs attributed to the tax-and-spend policies implemented by the president’s administration, is moving further into negative territory with the announcement that dozens of additional retail stores across America are being closed down sooner than planned.
WND had reported only a few days ago on the effective retail apocalypse that was leaving stores closed and, in some places, entire malls shuttered because of the downward spiral of the nation’s economy.
At that time, Michael Snyder, a University of Florida law-school graduate, former Washington, D.C., attorney and publisher of the Economic Collapse Blog, wrote on “The End of the American Dream” blog: “Major retailers in the United States are shutting down hundreds of stores, and shoppers are reporting alarmingly bare shelves in many retail locations that are still open all over the country.”
He warned the 2015 retail lag was only worsening in 2016.
“In impoverished urban centers all over the nation, it is not uncommon to find entire malls that have now been completely abandoned,” he said. “It has been estimated that there is about a billion square feet of retail space sitting empty in this country, and this crisis is only going to get worse as the retail apocalypse accelerates.”
Most recently, CNN reported Sears, which owns the Sears chain as well as the Kmart string of stores, said this week it was accelerating the closing of at least 50 locations that are unprofitable.
The ‘Stop Hillary’ campaign is on fire! Join the surging response to this theme: ‘Clinton for prosecution, not president’
The closures had been planned over coming months, but the company, which said it expects fourth quarter revenue of $7.3 billion, down from $8.1 billion a year ago, said it was hurrying those closures because of losses.
CNN said the company’s stock was more than $15 on Tuesday – down from nearly $45 a share in May 2015.
That was just part of the “retail apocalypse” that’s being monitored by analysts.
WND’s report cited plans for the coming weeks and months: Walmart is set to shutter 269 stores, 154 of which are located in the United States; J.C. Penney is closing 47 stores; Macy’s is due to shut down 36 stores and lay off 2,500 employees; and the Gap is in midst of shutting doors on 175 of its locations in North America. Sears had set a goal of shutting down 600 overall.
“But these store closings are only part of the story,” Snyder wrote. “All over the country, shoppers are noticing bare shelves and alarmingly low inventory levels. This is happening even at the largest and most prominent retailers.”
WND reported last May that major U.S. retailers announced the closing of more than 6,000 stores from coast to coast. The list included only those retailers that projected plans to close more than 10 outlets in 2015 and 2016.
For example, 1,784 Radio Shack stores were vanishing, 400 stores in the Office Depot/Office Max chain by 2016, and 340 Dollar Tree/Family Dollar stores.
The growing list of stores getting shuttered coincided with the decline in discretionary consumer spending in the first half of 2015.
“Expect to see more storefronts closed at malls across the country,” one retail watcher told WND. “It’s getting ugly out there.”
Early in 2015, WND revealed that online shopping, maxed out credit and other factors were creating a shadow for America’s retail climate.
“Killing Wealth, Freeing Wealth: How to Save America’s Economy and Your Own” probes the federal government’s reckless destruction of the great American entrepreneurial dream.
Retail industry expert Barbara Faran even compiled a massive list of the activity.

No im not a hindu, but the religion of peace is at it again.

Leading Hindu priest decapitated in Bangladesh

Dhaka (AFP) - A top Hindu priest was decapitated by attackers in northern Bangladesh Sunday and two worshippers wounded, police said, in the latest assault targeting minorities in the Muslim-majority nation.
Two assailants armed with pistols and cleavers attacked Jogeswar Roy, 45, the head priest of Sri Sri Sant Gourio Math, at his home in the temple on Sunday morning, officials said.
"The priest was preparing for morning prayers when they pounced on him and slit his head from the body at the verandah of his home inside the temple," said Shafiqul Islam, a government administrator in the sub-district Debiganj where the temple is located.
"We recovered a blood-stained cleaver from the spot," he said.
Two devotees were wounded in the attack including one who was shot as he tried to save the priest, he added.
The motive for the murder was not clear but police said Islamist militants were among those suspected as being behind the killing.
District police chief Gias Uddin Ahmed said police had launched a hunt for the attackers and security checkposts had been set up across the district.
"The Jamayetul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) is also in our list of suspects," Ahmed told AFP.
The banned group is believed to have been behind an attack on an Italian Catholic priest in the neighbouring district of Dinajpur late last year.
Bangladesh has seen an upsurge in attacks on minorities including Shiites, Sufis, Christians and Ahmadis by Islamist militant groups.
The government rejects the Islamic State's claims of responsibility for several recent attacks, including the shootings of two foreigners.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's secular government instead accuses the JMB, other local militant groups as well as the Islamist-allied political opposition of trying to destabilise the country.
Hindus, the country's largest minority, make up nearly 10 percent of Bangladesh's 160 million people.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Sunday 02-21-16

I was waiting for this to come out.  All of the manufactures of  these devices have to our government (the us) and China and others the backdoors in to Microsoft and Apple programing and devices, so don't fool your self.  If it were not so, the governments of the world would not allow it to sold in their country if they could control it.  Personally I wish none of them would do it, but it all about making the buck not what is right.

Apple plays digital privacy hardball with FBI, 'but not China'

Apple was hailed as a champion of digital privacy this week after refusing to help the FBI hack into an iPhone belonging to a suspect in the San Bernardino shooting. But the firm hasn’t always been so scrupulous about user data, especially in China.

The standoff between the FBI and Apple over the investigation into the San Bernardino shooting, which claimed the lives of 14 people in early December, has divided the United States. While some have argued that the company should, in this particular case, help investigators by bypassing the phone’s security system, others have insisted that doing so will set a dangerous precedent.
The controversy began on Tuesday after a judge ordered Apple to help the FBI “hack” an iPhone linked to the tragic shooting. The next day, the White House gave the investigation its full support, describing it as an “important national priority”.
Despite being a vocal critic of President Barack Obama, presidential candidate Donald Trump agreed with him on the issue, slamming Apple’s refusal to cooperate with law enforcement officials. “I agree 100 percent with the courts… Who do they think they are? No, we have to open it up,” he told Fox News on Thursday.
Chinese ‘security checks’
But others have backed Apple CEO Tim Cook’s refusal to bow to the FBI, including Google boss Sundar Pichai, as well as the heads of WhatsApp (part of Facebook) and Microsoft. Almost overnight, Cook became a bulwark against government efforts to access users’ personal information.
Apple’s new role as a champion of digital privacy must be making the Chinese government smile. According to an article by the US news website Quartz, Cook’s intransigence apparently depends on geography.

Citing reports by Chinese daily Beijing News and the state-run People's Daily, the article claimed that Cook agreed in January 2015 to allow authorities in China to carry out “security checks” on all iPhones sold in the country to make sure the US had not installed any spyware. But, Apple has never confirmed or responded to the allegations.
The article reported that analysts believe Apple likely handed over its operating system source code as part of the agreement. If true, this would mean that the Chinese government knows how Apple’s software works, including its security system.
User data stored in China
Apple also decided in February 2015 to store local users’ personal data in China. The move was a gesture of good will towards Beijing that other companies like Google, for example, have always rejected for “security reasons”. This is because it is easier for China to request access to personal information that is under its jurisdiction.
But Apple has never given Beijing the means to hack an iPhone, which is exactly what Cook has accused the United States of seeking in what he described as “an unprecedented step that threatens the security of our customers”.
But Apple’s alleged behaviour in China has demonstrated that the company may be capable of granting a government – even one known for Internet censorship – access to users’ personal information if it’s within the company's best commercial interests.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Friday 02-19-16

Few fiscal, monetary policy moves left to fight global growth slowdown, Moody's warns

Risks to global growth have increased since November and world leaders have little left in their fiscal and monetary arsenals to mitigate the threat, Moody's has warned.
In its quarterly Global Macro Outlook 2016-17 report released Thursday, the ratings agency said that growth prospects were being hammered by China's slowdown, a slump in commodity prices and tighter financing conditions in some emerging markets.
This pain would outweigh factors helpful to growth, such as the loose monetary policy in Europe, Japan and the U.S., Moody's said.
The credit rating firm said gross domestic product growth across the Group of 20 was expected to match the 2.6 percent rate reached in 2015, while only a slight tick up to 2.9 percent was seen for 2017. This average figure for 2016, however, masked the decline in Moody's forecast range, which dropped 50 basis points at both the top and bottom end to sit at 2-3 percent.
Central banks, meanwhile, have limited room to battle the risks looming over growth, the report said.
"Where government budgets are hit by lower commodity prices and depreciating currencies fuel inflation, room to mitigate the downside risks is limited," according to the report. "In Europe and Japan, elevated government debt continues to constrain fiscal policy while the efficacy of multiple rounds of quantitative easing is already being tested."
The European Central Bank has set its key interest rates in negative territory for some time, and the Bank of Japan joined the club on January 29, which was read as a sign that the chance of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's "three-arrowed" programsuccessfully stimulating the stagnant Japanese economy was running out.
Moody's said the BOJ's move would not be the hoped-for panacea for the country's struggle to achieve 2 percent inflation.The ratings agency called the underwhelming response of the Japanese economy and a tumbling yen "discouraging," and warned the central bank's ambitious inflation target would remain elusive.
As for the euro zone, the region's inability to inflate away debt will mean growth continued to be severely hampered by damaging leverage burdens, Moody's said.

Here's where the pain will be 

Moody's also cut its gross domestic product (GDP) growth forecasts for Saudi Arabia, Russia, Brazil and South Africa. Lower oil prices and fiscal tightening to contain government debt hit the Saudis and the Russians, while record-low business confidence levels were Brazil's weakness, Moody's said.
Capital outflows, reflecting a lack of confidence in President Jacob Zuma's government would hit South Africa's growth, the agency added.
"GDP will shrink again this year in Brazil and Russia, by 3 percent and 2.5 percent respectively, growth will fall to close to zero in South Africa and will be around 1.5 percent, the lowest in decades, in Saudi Arabia," Moody's said in a statement.
Russia and Saudi Arabia are suffering from the 70 percent drop in oil prices recorded over the past 18 months, so much so that this week the two major oil producers agreed to cooperate on freezing oil production, as long as other producers also took part.
If successful, it would be the first accord between OPEC and non-OPEC oil producers in 15 years, but the deal looks shaky given that deal needs the agreement of OPEC member Iran, which is reluctant to give up any share of the market just after U.S.-led sanctions were lifted in January.
Moody's forecasts 6.3 percent growth in China in 2016, down from 6.9 percent in 2015, but the 0.6 percentage point decline will feel worse that that on the rest of the world because the main slowdown will be in heavy industry sectors that were previously big importers, the agency warned.
China's growth fell to a 25-year low of 6.9 percent in 2015, according to official data. Some economists, however, are skeptical of Beijing's data, and say that the country's real growth rate was closer to 4 percent. Worries about China's economic slowdown has been one of the key drivers behind recent global stock market sell-offs.
Meanwhile, Indonesia would weather the commodity downturn relatively well, with Moody's forecasting GDP growth of just under 5 percent, powered by increases in real incomes and moderating inflation.
Marie Diron, senior vice president at Moody's Investor Service, told CNBC that "recent measures, aimed at really increasing investment, in particular, infrastructure, would really chime with that and give some room for the central bank to potentially ease monetary policy.
"So that really contrasts with other producers where policy space is much more constraint, and that's where the relatively favorable picture comes from."
Australia was another outlier, Moody's said, applauding the country's ability to offset mining job losses with a lift in employment in other sectors.
In the U.S., Moody's did not see interest rates approaching the much-discussed 2 percent level this year, given the lack of inflationary signals. The report predicts GDP for the country to be flat on 2015 at around 2.4 percent, hampered by weak capital expenditure and persistently low productivity growth.
And the gain that the euro area has enjoyed from lower commodities prices are being tempered by high debt in some sectors and the lack of clear outlook the European Central Bank's quantitative easing program, Moody's said.
The ratings agency cautioned that the main risk to its forecast included a "marked depreciation" in China's yuan, which would hit the profits of foreign companies that sold to China, cut the competitiveness of other emerging markets and fuel deflationary pressure in Japan and the euro zone.
The People's Bank of China (PBOC) shocked markets in August with a 2 percent devaluation in the currency and has since been accused of intermittently manipulating the yuan as it attempts an orderly decline in value.
Chinese officials have repeatedly said that it was unrealistic to expect a serious yuan depreciation but some big hedge fund managers have predicted a far heavier devaluation - and are betting on the drop - with Kyle Bass of Texas-based Hayman Capital forecasting 30 percent depreciation against the dollar.
Bass and others have also warned that China's banks cannot keep lending at their current pace because of looming bad debts; lending to government infrastructure programs has been key to propping up Chinese growth.
The PBOC, meanwhile, has been rebuked by the International Monetary Fund for its poor communication with markets on its yuan moves; the IMF had given China a show of support in November by agreeing to include the currency in its benchmark special drawing rights (SDR) currency basket, a move that required the yuan to be freely floating.
Other risks included rising geopolitical tensions that could increase risk-off sentiment and lead to volatility in financing, and the end to free movement of people within the European Union, the report said, which is a possible outcome of the area's migrant crisis.
Although some market players have claimed that the broad-based asset sell-off this year was divorced from healthy economic fundamentals, Moody's bleak global economic assessment follows the IMF's recent cuts to its global growth forecasts, as well as pessimistic comments from the Institute for International Finance and the Bank of International Settlements, among others.

Hungary Central Bank Stockpiles Guns, Bullets Citing Terror Risk

Hungary’s central bank, already facing criticism for a spending spree ranging from real estate to fine art, is now beefing up its security force, citing Europe’s migrant crisis and potential bomb threats among the reasons.
The National Bank of Hungary bought 200,000 rounds of live ammunition and 112 handguns for its security company, according to documents posted on a website for public procurements.
Additional protection is needed due to the rise of "international security risks" including bomb and terror threats and migration, central bank Governor Gyorgy Matolcsy said in a written response to a lawmaker who asked about the purchases, posted on Parliament’s website Feb. 17. The central bank’s assumption of the role of financial regulator and the related increase in the number of its properties also contributed to the need for further defenses, he said.
The security measures added to public scrutiny of the running of the bank, which under Matolcsy earmarked 200 billion forint ($718 million) to set up foundations to teach alternatives to what he called “outdated neoliberal” economics. Another $108 million fund used for buying fine art including a painting by Titian also drew criticism from opposition parties, as did a series of investments in office buildings and villas.
Matolcsy, an ally of Prime Minister Viktor Orban, has argued the central bank has the right to spend its profits, which have been boosted in recent years as the weaker forint increased the value of its foreign currency reserves. The central bank has traditionally paid its profit into the government budget, while taxpayers are required to cover any losses by the regulator.

See Something Suspicious Online? Homeland Security Wants to Know About It

The Department of Homeland Security wants an extra $1 million next year to develop a public-service campaign designed to increase awareness of online threats. The new initiative will be modeled on the “If You See Something, Say Something” effort rolled out after the Sept. 11 attacks.
The new cyber PSA “will look to raise public and private sector awareness of cybersecurity and to emphasize the importance of cyber awareness and information safekeeping,” according to an explanation of the project in fiscal 2017 budget documents released last week.
DHS will work with state and local governments, law enforcement agencies, academic institutions and private sector companies as part of the campaign, according to budget documents.
The original “See Something, Say Something” first debuted in the New York City in 2002 in the aftermath of the 9/11 terror attacks to raise awareness of suspicious activity that could be related to terrorist activity. In 2010, DHS took the campaign nationwide, blanketing airports, train stations and public transportation networks with ads and announcements.
The cyber-focused campaign would be small to start. DHS is seeking just $1 million and one full-time employee to administer the program out of Homeland Security’s Office of Partnership and Engagement.
The proposed staffer would earn an approximate salary of $94,000 a year at the GS-13 or GS-14 level. The remaining funds would be spent on distributing materials, ad buys and other efforts related to the campaign.
Since 2004, DHS has sponsored National Cybersecurity Awareness Month in October to educate the public about safe online behavior. DHS rolled out a cybersecurity-focused public awareness campaign -- “Stop. Think. Connect.” -- in 2010, although it’s unclear how deeply that campaign has penetrated public awareness.
A report last summer from market research firm IDC recommended the U.S. government to beef up public-awareness campaigns around cybersecurity.
"The United States lacks a cybersecurity-focused culture," the report concluded, contrasting U.S. readiness with that of Israel, which has a “cultural mindset that is suspicious of unsolicited emails” and “is consistently mindful of security.”
Last week, the Obama administration rolled out a new Cybersecurity National Action Plan, which establishes a new public commission on cybersecurity and proposes billions in new funding to upgrade hard-to-secure legacy IT systems in use at federal agencies, among several other steps.