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It took more than 3 million person-hours to remove a capsized cargo ship off the coast of Georgia

The Golden Ray cargo ship was carrying about 4,000 cars when it capsized and caught fire in St. Simons Sound in September 2019. Firefighters spray water into the cut away mid-section of the cargo vessel Golden Ray, Friday, May 14, 2021, Brunswick, Ga. Stephen B. Morton/AP Photo A cargo ship carrying over 4,000 cars capsized in September 2019 off the coast of Georgia. Crews removed the last piece of the ship from the wreck site on Monday, the Coast Guard said. It took over 3 million person-hours to clean up, the largest wreck removal in US history. The removal of the Golden Ray cargo ship that capsized off the coast of Georgia was the largest wreck removal in US history requiring over three million person-hours, US Coast Guard Southeast said at a press conference on Tuesday. "Even with all the obstacles we had to face, we completed the wreck removal in a timely manner," Coast Guard Commander Efren Lopez, the federal on-scene coordinator at St. Simons Sound Incident Response said.In September 2019, the 56-foot vehicle carrier was carrying about 4,000 cars when it capsized and caught fire in St. Simons Sound off the coast of Brunswick, Georgia. There were 24 people on the ship when it capsized. All 24 were safely rescued. At the conference, Incident Commander Chris Graff of Gallagher Marine Systems said 8,000 pounds of ship-related debris and 9,500 pounds of non-ship-related trash were recovered from marshes and the shore. "The beaches and the marshes are probably as clean as they have been in many years," Graff said.The final section of the cargo ship was removed on Monday, USCGS said.In a report last month, The National Transportation Safety Board said the capsizing was caused by an "incorrect determination of the vessel's stability." Additionally, the ship was able to flood afterward because two watertight doors were left open. NTSB said the combined losses from the wreck were more than $204 million.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytOct 27th, 2021

It took more than 300 million person-hours to remove a capsized cargo ship off the coast of Georgia

The Golden Ray cargo ship was carrying about 4,000 cars when it capsized and caught fire in St. Simons Sound in September 2019. Firefighters spray water into the cut away mid-section of the cargo vessel Golden Ray, Friday, May 14, 2021, Brunswick, Ga. Stephen B. Morton/AP Photo A cargo ship carrying over 4,000 cars capsized in September 2019 off the coast of Georgia. Crews removed the last piece of the ship from the wreck site on Monday, the Coast Guard said. It took over 3 million person-hours to clean up, the largest wreck removal in US history. The removal of the Golden Ray cargo ship that capsized off the coast of Georgia was the largest wreck removal in US history requiring over three million person-hours, US Coast Guard Southeast said at a press conference on Tuesday. "Even with all the obstacles we had to face, we completed the wreck removal in a timely manner," Coast Guard Commander Efren Lopez, the federal on-scene coordinator at St. Simons Sound Incident Response said.In September 2019, the 56-foot vehicle carrier was carrying about 4,000 cars when it capsized and caught fire in St. Simons Sound off the coast of Brunswick, Georgia. There were 24 people on the ship when it capsized. All 24 were safely rescued. At the conference, Incident Commander Chris Graff of Gallagher Marine Systems said 8,000 pounds of ship-related debris and 9,500 pounds of non-ship-related trash were recovered from marshes and the shore. "The beaches and the marshes are probably as clean as they have been in many years," Graff said.The final section of the cargo ship was removed on Monday, USCGS said.In a report last month, The National Transportation Safety Board said the capsizing was caused by an "incorrect determination of the vessel's stability." Additionally, the ship was able to flood afterward because two watertight doors were left open. NTSB said the combined losses from the wreck were more than $204 million.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytOct 26th, 2021

See a birds-eye view of the traffic jam in Southern California ports

Aerial footage of the backlogs shows the "fine orchestra" that helps move over 40% of US imports as over 100 ships flood the ports. Courtesy of Nearmap Nearmap captured aerial footage of the nation's largest ports. The pictures show how the ports unload and organize hundreds of thousands of shipping containers. On Wednesday, the ports broke another record as 179 ships were recorded at the locations. Aerial footage of the largest ports in the US highlights the enormity of the traffic jam off the coast of California.The backlogs at the twin ports in Los Angeles and Long Beach have quickly become a symbol of the supply-chain chaos that has spawned shortages and price hikes. In a flight over the ports on September 11, aerial imagery company Nearmap took several snapshots of the major port bottlenecks. At the time, over 140 ships were at the ports, 86 of which were waiting off the coast to dock.Since, the ports have added over 30 more ships to their backlog. On Wednesday, the port broke several new records as 179 ships were recorded at the location, 114 of which were waiting to dock. Before the pandemic started, the ports hadn't seen a backlog greater than 17 ships. A birds-eye view of the ships waiting at the Port of Long Beach captures the magnitude of the situation. The ships look like specs from thousands of feet above, but in reality they are some of the largest vessels the world has ever seen, turning the coast into a type of parking lot for freighters that can be worth over $100 million and weigh over 200,000 tons.Courtesy of NearmapSome of the ships have been waiting to dock in the port since the beginning of September. Even after a ship docks it takes several days to unload thousands of 20-foot to 45-foot containers from the ships.Longshoremen work in crane gangs, or groups of about four to five people, to discharge the containers as quickly as possible. Crane operators carefully lift the heavy container from the ship and deposit them on land — these workers move dozens of containers an hour.Each colored rectangle on the image below represents a different shipping container — showing just how massive these vessels can be. Four cranes, each three-stories high, loom over the ship fast at work.Courtesy of NearmapZoomed-out footage of the docks shows how the containers are carefully organized by destination after they are pulled off the ships.Courtesy of NearmapAs more ships enter the port, the backlog has also created a series of traffic jams on land.A glut of containers have made it difficult for the ports to keep the cargo organized. Last month, the locations announced they would begin fining shippers $100 per day for leaving their cargo in the port terminals for over six to 9 days as nearly 60,000 containers lingered at the port for weeks.It has also become more difficult to pick up the containers. Insider previously reported that some truckers have waited outside the port for up to 8 hours. Courtesy of NearmapIndustry executives have warned that there is no end in sight for the shipping crisis, as consumer demand surges at the same time that trucking companies and warehouses struggle to find workers.Dock workers previously told Insider that even as the ports operate at break-neck speed, it's not sustainable."It's a fine orchestra," said a crane operator who worked at the Port of Los Angeles for over 40 years. "From the cranes you can see how everything has to move perfectly for things to get done. There's no room for human error, a malfunctioning machine, or a scheduling error. If just one person isn't where they're supposed to be, it wreaks havoc on the entire area." Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 17th, 2021

I Tried Buying Only Used Holiday Gifts. It Changed How I Think About Shopping

Pre-owned or vintage gifts are often better for the environment, and won't run into the supply chain issues facing new goods made overseas. I love the double dopamine hit that comes from buying something new—the rush when you click “purchase,” and the second one when it arrives at your door and you tear open the box. And there are plenty of real benefits to our incredibly efficient online shopping network: grocery shipping is shrinking food deserts, rural communities with few store options can quickly and easily get items they otherwise couldn’t have, and the time we used to spend driving to stores and searching for things that may have been out of stock we can now spend more productively. But over the last few years, I’ve had a front-row seat to all the problems created by Americans’ obsession with shopping. I’ve seen cargo ships idling off the coast of Long Beach because the ports are so backlogged, containers stacked high as apartment buildings, the horizon a smoggy cloud of emissions. I’ve talked to truckers who spend weeks living out of their vehicles, prohibited from using the bathrooms at the warehouses where they’re waiting for hours to unload goods, all to get paid barely minimum wage. I’ve interviewed Amazon workers about the physical demands of packing goods in the fast-moving warehouses that provide much of the stuff we buy, and I’ve even undertaken the stressful toll of delivering Amazon packages myself. I’ve tried to look away as we devour resources like trees, water, and rare earth minerals in the pursuit of making more, more, more. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] This year, I was feeling too guilty to buy my family new holiday gifts from Amazon. COP26 reminded me that nearly half—45%—of greenhouse gas emissions come from the way we make and use products and food, meaning that this consumption that drives our economy is also choking the planet. And even as scientists try to capture our attention about the urgency of reducing emissions, we’re consuming more and more. U.S. shoppers spent a record $638 billion in October at stores and restaurants, up 22% from October 2019. Forecasters are predicting even more spending in a holiday season where some families may be seeing each other for the first time in two years. Read More: How American Shoppers Broke the Supply Chain Was there a way, I wondered, to keep getting that nice little feeling I get when I buy something without also ruining the planet? Advocates talk of a Circular Economy where, instead of buying things, using them, and throwing them away, we reduce what we buy and reuse a lot more stuff. Even big companies are eyeing the practice; Apple announced last week that it would allow customers to repair their own iPhones, a giant shift in how they approach devices. ThredUp, an online resale company was valued at $1.3 billion in its IPO in March, after GlobalData projected the market for secondhand goods would double to $64 billion by 2024. ThredUp says that if everyone bought one used item instead of a new one this holiday season, we’d save 4.5 billion pounds of carbon, the equivalent of planting 66 million trees, and 25 billion gallons of water. I’ve long tried to buy used clothes and acquire toys and other household items from sites like NextDoor, Craigslist, and Buy Nothing, a Facebook group where members of your community post things they no longer need and anyone can claim them. (Buy Nothing recently launched an app, too.) But gifting used is a whole new arena. Still, the U.S. drives the world’s largest share of consumption-related emissions, and many of the things we buy are purchased for the sake of giving a gift and will sit languishing in a closet, unused. Maybe it was time to expand the circular economy to gifting, too. Jeremy M. Lange for TIMENovember 20, 2021. Carrboro, North Carolina. Sarah Urquhart browses the aisles at CommunityWorx Thrift Shop. Sarah tries to avoid buying new items and typically shops for herself and friends at thrift stores throughout the area. The rise of pre-owned I’m not the only person thinking this way. TheRealReal, a luxury resale site, saw a 60% increase in orders with gift boxes from 2019 to 2020. Poshmark, a secondhand clothing site, has seen a 31% increase in vintage sales in men’s clothing from last year. ThredUp has seen orders increase 28% from the third quarter in 2020 to the same period this year. And eBay reported $19.5 billion in sales in the last quarter, up 9% compared to the same period in 2019. This is all happening at the same time that younger generations are embracing “vintage” and “pre-owned” and buying clothes on online resale sites like Depop, which was acquired by Etsy for $1.6 billon earlier this year. Buy Nothing groups now have 4.3 million participants across the country, having grown by about 2 million people during the pandemic. Stress about the supply chain has also contributed to this turn toward used stuff, says Jordan Sweetnam, eBay’s general manager of the North Americas market. “People who may have been on the fence about shopping pre-owned are going to go to a traditional retailer and just see empty shelves,” he says. Already, on eBay, sales of certified refurbished products are up 25% since June, he says. Baby Boomers may still balk at the idea of using someone’s old blender, he says, but Generation Z has no qualms buying used goods, whether it be clothes or electronics. Read More: Why Is Everything More Expensive Right Now? Let This Stuffed Giraffe Explain Supply chain bottlenecks coupled with a growing disgust with rampant consumerism motivated Maria Patterson to accelerate her practice of not buying anything new for the holidays. Patterson, a 29-year-old mom in Austin, Tex., usually makes a craft like hot sauce or recipe books or beeswax wraps and gives them to many of the people on her gift list. She used to buy some new items around the holidays, but this year, she’s trying to not buy anything at all. It’s easy to bake treats or give a friend a sweater of yours they’ve always admired, she says, or just give less stuff overall. “The world cannot continue with the level of consumption that it currently has,” she says. I don’t mind receiving used gifts: for my November birthday, I asked my parents to gift me a used hiking Deuter backpack in mint condition from Craigslist, saving hundreds of dollars in the process. I’m always scouring the “finds” section of NextDoor for free kid stuff that’s being given away so I don’t have to buy clothes that my son will outgrow in a matter of months; I got a giant Fisher Price Jumperoo on Buy Nothing that my son loved until we couldn’t tolerate the space it took up, and we gave it to the next family. But giving used stuff to other people seems different. Spending less money on a used gift somehow feels like indicating the receiver is less valuable to you, which of course is not the intent. People who grew up wearing used clothes for financial reasons say they don’t want to revisit the stigma of having old stuff. Plus I’ve gotten accustomed to the ease of buying something on Amazon, not having to pay for shipping, and knowing it will arrive in time for a birthday or special event. A few gifts were easy to find used. I got my brother a Red Sox collectible Monopoly set from eBay because he loves sports and playing board games. From Facebook Marketplace, I found a used bamboo balance board for a standing desk for my husband, who has been half-jokingly asking for a treadmill under his home standing desk. I found a toy wooden dinosaur at a neighbor’s “free store”—they put out stuff to give away daily—and resolved to wrap it for my son in an old Amazon box, which he would probably enjoy as much as the toy. Read More: Price Hikes Will Likely Continue Through the End of 2021, Fed Signals But when I started looking for specific items, shopping used started to get a lot harder. My dad’s sweaters are always getting holes, but buying a used sweater would probably just mean they’d get holes even more quickly. My husband needed new sleepwear, but even I felt a little weird about getting him used pajamas. My mom likes painting, but I didn’t think there was such a thing as used paint. My son needed some shoes because he had outgrown the old ones, but kids’ shoes take such a beating I wondered if I’d be able to find any used that weren’t falling apart. Besides, after years of shopping on Amazon, where items are listed with multiple pictures, from many angles, and now even include videos, the presentation on sites like ThredUp and eBay left me feeling a little cold. On ThredUp, sweaters are poised on white headless mannequin torsos, and bizarrely, the site doesn’t seem to have a Men’s section. I know free shipping is bad for the environment, since it incentivizes people to buy, buy, buy, but I couldn’t help but balk at the shipping rates on some items. One eBay seller wanted me to pay $21.15 for shipping alone, which probably accurately reflects the environmental cost, but was more than the item itself. I settled with what seemed to me like a compromise—I found some RockDove Memory Foam slippers for my husband, whose old ones came from Amazon and are currently in shreds—on eBay, but they were in new condition, according to the seller, with the tags still on. I bought them for less than they cost on Amazon, paid $2.99 for shipping, and tried not to think about whether they had fallen off the back of a truck. Jeremy M. Lange for TIMESarah Urquhart browses the aisles at CommunityWorx Thrift Shop. Sarah tries to avoid buying new items and typically shops for herself and friends at thrift stores throughout the area. What will happen to the U.S. economy? Of course, if Americans stop buying so much new stuff, the economy could crater, which is exactly what happened at the beginning of the pandemic when people hunkered down and didn’t go out. GDP growth fell 31% in the second quarter of 2020, as Americans stopped spending. Millions of people lost their jobs as economists wondered how bad things could get. If Americans stopped buying so much new stuff, a very similar situation could unfold, says William Emmons, the lead economist in the division of Supervision, Credit, and Learning at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. Consumer spending drives nearly 70% of economic growth in the U.S., and while much of that is spending on services like meals out or massages, a big chunk of it is also all the stuff we buy for our homes and loved ones. With less consumer spending, there would be fewer jobs; Amazon alone employed 1.3 million people at the end of 2020. There would be less money created in the economy, and since so many government programs like the recent infrastructure bill are funded by taxing earnings, there might be less money for those programs, too. There’s a reason that federal policy in recessions has often been to give people stimulus money to spend—the government knows that increasing consumer spending will jumpstart the economy. Read More: 6 Things to Know (About Yourself) to Have a Successful Black Friday “The big rise in consumer spending we’re talking about may not be the best from its environmental consequences, and it is exacerbating distributional questions,” says William Emmons, the lead economist in the division of Supervision, Credit, and Learning at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. “But it may be the most feasible way to keep the motor running.” Sweetnam, of eBay, argues that if people started buying more used goods, other businesses would spring up to create value for the economy. There could be new businesses that sell used goods, that refurbish old clothes, that collect old products to make them new again. There are already companies that have succeeded in embracing the circular economy—Lehigh Technologies in Atlanta takes old tires and rubber waste and turns it into a type of rubber powder that can be used in construction. But economists say that just switching to a circular economy outright could be catastrophic in the short term because so much of economic growth right now depends on people buying lots and lots of new stuff. They say the best way to get people to stop buying so much wasteful stuff is to levy a carbon tax, which would make goods that have larger carbon footprints more expensive. Read More: ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ Apps Are Taking Over Holiday Shopping Season. Here’s What to Know About the Risks Right now, says Mark Zandi, an economist at Moody’s Analytics, we’re not paying the true cost of the products we’re consuming. Since it is often cheaper to buy a new toy made from virgin materials in China and then shipped across the ocean than it is to buy a high-quality used toy from a stranger, that’s become the default way to shop, he says. A carbon tax could change that equation, by making people pay not just for the cost of the toy, but for the environmental cost of all the carbon its production generated. People will think twice about buying flights if they cost $600 instead of $300, he says, and the planet will benefit if the money raised is invested in new technology. A carbon tax would also save shoppers like me the headache of trying to figure out what gifts are more and less environmentally friendly. Buying your kid a used car might be worse for the planet than buying a new one, because older cars tend to have higher carbon emissions. “We just have to price carbon and if you do, the cost of things we spend money on that have a high carbon footprint will cost more, we will buy less of it,” Zandi says. “That’s the magic of our system: prices work.” Changing the way we shop Apple may be changing its approach by allowing customers to reuse and repair its devices, but there still isn’t a huge economy for buying high-quality used stuff. I felt guilty that I couldn’t find much used stuff that I felt comfortable gifting, but a nanny named Sarah Urquhart helped me realize that until companies fully embrace the circular economy, I would have to change how I bought gifts. Urquhart wasn’t always a nanny. She used to work at an Amazon call center. Saddened by the amount of waste she saw—of people endlessly buying things and returning them—she decided to change the way she shops. American affluence has meant most of us go into the holiday season in November and start thinking about what specific things our family members want and how to acquire them. It’s always been easy to make a list, and then tick the items off one by one, and online shopping has made it even easier. “It was just a culture I didn’t want to be a part of anymore,” Urquhart says. This year, she’s holding what she calls “Merry Thriftmas.” Buying used, she says, won’t work if you start shopping with specific gifts in mind. “If you’re only looking for that thing, you’re not going to be successful,” she says. Instead, she keeps an eye out year-round for used stuff that might appeal to a friend or family member, and then she sets it aside until the holidays. She doesn’t shop with a list of things her family members need; she keeps an open mind for things that might make her family laugh, or smile, or might make their life easier. Jeremy M. Lange for TIME. Urquhart bought a coffee mug that she says looks like her father in law. Sheet music that Ms. Urquhart collects to make wrapping paper with. She’s found some good gifts recently. There was a mug that looks exactly like her father-in-law, and a like-new Buzz Lightyear doll for the kids she nannies. She sanitized the doll, she says, “and it was the happiest kid I’d ever seen.” Her mother-in-law plays the piano, so she found some old sheet music to wrap her gift in—Urquhart hasn’t yet thrifted the right gift, though. Urquhart, who is also a member of her local Buy Nothing groups, says that giving used gifts can be much more satisfying than buying new. When she gives away and picks up things from Buy Nothing, she makes a connection to her neighbors that has much more longevity than her connection to a random box that arrives at her doorstep. She can now point to the houses where she’s picked something up or dropped something off. Finding the just the right unique used gift gives her even more of a dopamine hit than buying something new, she says. So does giving away something on Buy Nothing and learning that the person you gave it to really loves it. The day I talked to Urquhart, I gave away an agility ladder on my local Buy Nothing group that my husband bought to get in shape before our wedding, but had been sitting in our closet for a year. I dropped it through a gate on the way to pick up my son from daycare, and I got a message from the recipient telling me she works at a nursing home and was going to use it to help residents relearn how to step over things for fall prevention. Now, every time I pick up my son from daycare, I imagine elderly people gingerly stepping through my old bright yellow agility ladder—improving their fitness and unknowingly reducing carbon emissions all at once. It still makes me smile, which, you could argue, is the point of the holiday season.    .....»»

Category: topSource: timeNov 24th, 2021

Empty Containers Continue Stacking Up At Ports

Empty Containers Continue Stacking Up At Ports Authored by Jill McLaughlin via The Epoch Times, Los Angeles and Long Beach ports and surrounding neighborhoods continued to struggle with empty shipping container pileups. Officials at the ports reported some progress clearing containers at the terminals but local police and neighborhoods continued to see trailers dumped into their streets. Long Beach Police officers have cited unattached trailers loaded with containers parked along city streets over the past several months, according to Bandon Fahey, the department’s public information officer. These trailers are parked especially along the west side of Long Beach in and around the industrial areas, Fahey said. “We have noticed an increase of unattached trailers loaded with shipping containers being stored on city streets,” Fahey told The Epoch Times in an email. “The shipping containers and/or trailers are generally being stored on the street due to lack of space in company facilities and the inability to return them to the shipping terminals.” Shipping containers wait to be transferred from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach on Oct. 14, 2021. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times) Valerie Contreras, former chair of the Wilmington Neighborhood Council—a small community adjacent to the Port of Long Beach—said last month her city has been overrun by shipping containers and trucks. Neighborhoods in Wilmington have become clogged with trailers carrying shipping containers lately as drivers attempt to find anywhere to drop off the trailers from the terminals, she said. “What’s happening is, since they have a shortage of drivers, they’ll send a driver over to the port or the terminal, and they take it away from the terminal and they have to take it somewhere, and they have to take it somewhere close. We happen to be somewhere very close to the port. So they come here and sometimes they just drop it in the middle of the street,” Contreras said. “It’s even to the point where they are backing up in a line all the way down in the middle of the street at all hours of the night and people cannot get in and out of their own driveway.” The Port of Long Beach has so far seen nearly one-fourth of its containers cleared from its terminals last week since implementing a new fine targeting carriers that allow cargo to linger too long. The ports will charge $100 a day for each container left for more than nine days if the container will be moved by truck. Rail carriers will be charged after six days. Both ports plan to begin charging carriers no earlier than Nov. 15. “Thanks to the collective and coordinated efforts of our ocean carriers, terminal operators, railroads, and motor carriers, we are pushing long-dwelling inbound containers out and creating capacity in the terminals,” said Deputy Executive Director of the Port of Long Beach Noel Hacegaba. The port is looking for solutions to ship out empty containers, including dispatching what’s known as “sweeper ships.” “As we continue the task of pushing long-dwelling inbound containers out of our terminals, we are also looking for every possible way to evacuate empties,” Hacegaba said. Sal Mercogliano, an instructor of maritime history, security and industry policy at Campbell University in North Carolina, and a former merchant mariner, agreed that the twin ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach should do more to clear the port areas of empty containers. “They say they have no control over them and that’s completely untrue,” Mercogliano said in his video podcast Nov. 5. “The water here is a national asset. Why is LA not mandating sweeper vessels? These are vessels that come in and remove the empty containers, which are a big problem in the yards right now. They can’t get the empties out. You can’t tell me they can’t do that, because they can.” The Port of Long Beach has suspended its regulation that only allowed a maximum of two empty containers outside the terminals following a tweet by a freight-forwarding operation called Flexport. Flexport CEO Ryan Peterson caught the attention of the mayor of Long Beach, who has temporarily allowed containers to be stacked up to four-high at some storage areas around the port. The busy ports are also reportedly bracing for thousands of additional empty containers en route from the East Coast and Gulf Coast ports, according to the trade magazine American Shipper. The ports of Charleston, South Carolina, Savannah, Georgia, New Orleans, and Houston have shipped 2,000 empty containers to the Port of Los Angeles to be loaded onto cargo ships. “We are trying to free up chassis, but we can’t because we are competing with these additional empties contracted by the ocean carriers,” Matt Schrap, Harbor Trucking Association CEO, told American Shipper. “This is not helpful for the supply chain.” The Los Angeles Port has seen a reduction of 10 percent of containers from its port since last week, port spokesman Phillip Sanfield told The Epoch Times in an email. “This is a reflection of all nodes of the supply chain from the shipping lines to the marine terminals, to the truckers, and cargo owners working in sync,” Sanfield said. Port authorities at the Port of Los Angeles expect about 70,000 empty containers to be stored at the terminals next week. That number will increase to 88,000 the next week and drop again to 61,000 the following week. The number changes every day, Sanfield said. The number of outbound empty containers has jumped 41 percent from last year at the Port of Los Angeles, according to the port statistics. At the same time, the number of incoming containers has increased 24 percent and the number of returning containers loaded with goods has dropped 2 percent. U.S. exporters started seeing difficulties with the container shortages earlier this year. “It’s actually gotten worse, some carriers are currently shipping over 75 [percent] of their containers empty back to Asia to make sure they get there faster,” Flexport Vice President of Ocean Freight Nerijus Poskus told the industry magazine Supply Chain Dive in February. Container problems and exporting to China and Hong Kong has changed recently, especially for businesses involved in recycling. Recycling broker Greg Barker of Secured Fibres, Inc. and Pro West Logistics, LLC, of Las Vegas, said shipping recyclables out of the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports has dropped to almost zero following China’s implementation of a new policy not to accept “dirty” recycling waste. China announced it would no longer accept paper or cardboard loads at the end of December 2020, Barker told The Epoch Times in an email. “So it has gone down to virtually nothing compared to what it had been when China handled the majority of the world’s recyclables,” Barker said. “I know China has a serious shortage of empty containers and it has created major logistics problems in its shipping of all the export that they provide,” he said. “We shipped 12 to 15 truckloads/containerloads to Long Beach every day for many years. It became increasingly hard to get truckers/trucking companies to go into California because of stricter regulations on the trucks.” Barker continued to ship recycling materials to wood mills in the United States but fuel prices and other factors made the trips unfeasible, he said. Activists with the Basel Action Network (BAN) in Seattle started a campaign last year to stop plastic waste exports from reaching China, Mexico, Malaysia, India, and Indonesia. So far, Moller-Maersk, the world’s largest shipping firm, Hapag-Lloyd, CMA, and others have announced they would no longer ship waste shipments to China and Hong Kong. The US produced almost 40 million tons of plastic waste in 2018, of which it was only able to recycle 2.2 percent, according to the independent Swiss research group Global Initiative Against Transnational Crime. The group said they project the U.S. domestic capacity could be reduced to zero this year. Tyler Durden Tue, 11/09/2021 - 15:25.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 9th, 2021

How Colombian drug smugglers almost got their hands on a Soviet submarine

For Colombian traffickers, flush with cash, Soviet submarines were appealing ways to move multi-ton loads of drugs. A Coast Guardsman from the cutter Munro introducing himself to the crew a narco sub in the Pacific Ocean, June 18, 2019. US Coast Guard After the collapse of the Soviet Union, a wide array of military hardware hit the black market. For Colombian traffickers, flush with cash, Soviet submarines were appealing ways to move multi-ton loads of drugs. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, a shady effort to acquire such a sub unfolded, drawing in smugglers, Russian mobsters, and Soviet officials. In 2019, footage of a US Coast Guard interdiction of a homemade drug smuggling submarine took the world by storm, and for good reason.As we watched one of the baddest dudes we're ever apt to see anywhere outside of a movie pounding on the hatch of the mostly submerged sub, many of us were shocked to learn that drug cartels actually have their own submarines.What may surprise you more is that these amateur submarines were really a consolation prize for drug smugglers out of Colombia.Their first choice? An actual Soviet Foxtrot-class submarine. What's even crazier, however, is that the Russians seemed to be more than happy to sell them one.The Soviet legacy of desperationThe Cold War that erupted between the United States and Soviet Union immediately after World War II came to an end prompted a massive build-up of military hardware in both nations. The Soviets, championing their communist political and economic model, secured a number of early PR victories over the capitalist US, being the first nation to send a satellite, a dog, and a person into earth's orbit.This early lead created what some have taken to calling the "Sputnik Crises" in America and its Western allies. The Soviets weren't just matching the technological might of the world's first nuclear power. They were exceeding it and showing the world just how effective their governmental model could be.For the United States and its allies, dead set on preventing the spread of communism around the globe, these technological successes were seen as a clear and present danger to the American way of life.Those early Soviet wins led directly to the establishment of NASA, and the re-orienting of famed-former Nazi scientist Wernher von Braun away from the Redstone missiles he was tasked with building and toward the heavens. Von Braun's work led to the development of the Saturn V rocket-a platform that took America to the moon and still remains the most powerful spacecraft ever constructed. Russian diesel-electric submarine B-143 Foxtrot Type 641 at the Seafront Maritime Theme Park in Zeebrugge, Belgium. Arterra/Universal Images Group via Getty Images America's eventual victory in the Space Race can be seen as indicative of America's broad approach to battling the Soviets on technological and financial grounds. In fact, many credit President Ronald Reagan with effectively spending the Soviets into ruin, fielding increasingly capable military platforms and weapons, which forced the Soviets to respond in kind, despite their struggling economy.Of course, the fall of the Soviet Union can really be attributed to a number of factors, including the will of its populous, but it's tough to discount the dire financial straights the former superpower found itself in by 1991-the year the Soviet Union ceased to exist, and a new Russian government took its place.It was during this transitional time that the former Soviet Union gained a reputation for offloading military hardware to the highest bidder. The new Russian state lacked the funds needed to operate or maintain its massive military apparatus, or even to sufficiently pay large swaths of its personnel. As a result, military officials participated in the sale of military assets as a means of survival amid the nation's economic collapse.In one instance, the Russian government themselves even traded the American soft drink company Pepsi a fleet of warships and submarines in exchange for a new shipment of soda. In another, members of the Russian Navy actually conspired to sell a diesel-electric submarine directly to drug cartels in Colombia for the purposes of smuggling as much as 40 tons worth of cocaine into the US with each trip.Tarzan, Vanilla Ice, and Pablo Escobar? Sebastian Marroquin/Sins of my Father In 1980, a Russian man named Ludwig Fainberg arrived in Miami with his sights set on the American dream. He quickly found work as an enforcer for the Gambino crime family, doing the sort of work we've come to expect from Russians with mob connections - beating money out of people.Fainberg, who went by the name "Tarzan," eventually made enough money to open his own strip club near the Miami airport that he dubbed "Porky's!" after the sexploitation flick of the same name, which reportedly filmed in the same building. It wasn't long before the strip club owned by a Russian with mob ties became the hangout of choice for members of Russia's own organized-crime community who were operating within the opulence of 1980s Miami.Tarzan's crime-connections and booming business helped him meet a number of powerful or influential figures on both sides of the law. '90s rapper Vanilla Ice was one such friend - and it was actually Mr. Ice himself who first introduced Tarzan to the man who would become his partner-in-crime: Juan Almeida.Almeida was a prominent businessman and crook who dealt in high-end boats and exotic cars. Before long, Tarzan and Almeida were in business together, flying in and out of post-collapse Russia, and purchasing everything from motorcycles to helicopters for pennies on the American dollar, which they would then sell to customers for a tidy profit.Before long, the exploits of Tazan and Almeida would lead them into a business-based friendship with a man who would go on to be the star of his own episode of "America's Most Wanted," Nelson "Tony" Yester.Yester had strong ties to the Medellín drug cartel run by none other than Pablo Escobar. By all accounts, Yester was a serious criminal - more serious than the somewhat jovial (and notably less-murderous) Tarzan and Almeida.Nonetheless, Tarzan and his new drug contact became fast friends. That friendship turned highly profitable when Tarzan and Almeida brokered a deal with Escobar's cartel through Yester to purchase two heavy-payload Russian Kamov helicopters intended to transport drugs throughout Colombia.That deal led to even deeper ties with Yester as a connection to Escobar, as the Russian mafia weren't going to allow the helicopters to leave without getting a cut of the deal. In a turn of events that sounds like a movie, Almeida flew back to Moscow pretending to be Escobar and managed to broker another deal for cocaine distribution in newly minted Russia.Do you want your drug submarine with missiles or without? INS Kursura, a Russian-built Foxtrot-class submarine, on display in Visakhapatnam, India, July 25, 2009. NOAH SEELAM/AFP via Getty Images Having proven their value to the cartel, Tarzan and Almeida became the go-between of choice for sourcing Russian hardware. But the next request sounded crazy, even to the two men who had managed to charter a military cargo aircraft to smuggle their ill-gotten helicopters to Colombia.A part of Escobar's cartel known as the Cali Cartel had split from his organization and quickly became a significant player in the drug business. They wanted a better way to smuggle drugs into the United States, so they approached Yester to see if his new friends could purchase a working Soviet Navy submarine for the job.Yester, shooting from the hip, told them it would cost him $50 million - a figure that gave the Cali Cartel pause, that is until Yester told them he could ship $40 million worth of cocaine with it in each trip. For the cartel, it seemed like an investment that was worth the risk.Once he was given the green light from his sources within the Cali Cartel, Yester contacted Tarzan to have him reach out to his connections in Russia. According to Tarzan's own statements, he reached out to inquire, but was told it would take a few days to find out for sure. Two days later, Tarzan got the call."Do you want the submarine with missiles or without?" Tarzan recalls his contact saying in a 2018 documentary about the ordeal called "Operation Odessa." Just like that, the ball was rolling to equip Escobar's former drug cartel with their own military submarine.Diesel-electric subs are easier to spot than the nuclear variety employed by the United States while on the surface, thanks to their loud engines and the need to vent their exhaust. However, the submarines themselves don't actually run off of diesel. The props that give the submarines their propulsion are run with electric motors that are recharged by diesel engines.As a result, even diesel subs are incredibly tough to spot when submerged. In fact, in a series of war games held in 2005, the massive USS Ronald Reagan, a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier, was "sunk" repeatedly by a Swedish diesel-electric submarine that managed to sneak past the carrier strike group's defenses.The Russian sub in question was a Foxtrot-class, which had been in service since the 1950s. At 300 feet long, the sub had space to spare for all the drugs the Cali Cartel could want … as well as 10 torpedo tubes, in case things got dicey under the sea.It goes without saying that a vessel of this sort would come in particularly handy for a drug cartel looking for a way to transport large amounts of cocaine into Miami - which is a well-known distribution hub for drugs smuggled in from South and Central America.Instead of buying a sub, Yester ripped off the cartel US Coast Guardsmen sit on a narco sub in the Pacific Ocean in early September 2016. US Coast Guard Tarzan and Almeida flew to Russia, where to their surprise, they were able to meet directly with a number of high-ranking members of the Russian Navy who took them to one of their secret submarine installations to tour a sub similar to the one they were offering to sell.While the facility was a secret and the pending purchase would have been seen as highly illegal by just about every nation on the planet, Tarzan and Almeida felt they wouldn't be able to secure the funds without proof that there really was a submarine on the other end of the deal. They asked if they could take pictures with the subs as proof, but the Russians refused to permit it for obvious reasons.Undeterred, Tarzan offered one of the Russians $200 American, which was a significant sum in mid-'90s Russia. Money in hand, the Russian officer changed his tune and even posed in pictures with the duo. Tarzan and Almeida had done their job, now they just needed Yester and his cartel connections to do theirs.According to Tarzan and Yester, the Russian's even offered to sell them a nuclear weapon.Warning: This video contains graphic language.Of course, things weren't actually moving as smoothly as they may have seemed. Unbeknownst to Tarzan, he had been under federal surveillance for months. They had even managed to introduce a mole into Tarzan's circle of friends and co-conspirators - and it was that mole who first spotted the pictures of Tarzan posing in front of a Russian sub, left out carelessly on his desk.That same mole even gifted Tarzan a phone he claimed had been jailbroken to allow for free international calls, so Tarzan wouldn't have a paper trail reflecting his frequent contacts with Russian sources. Of course, the phone wasn't jailbroken … it was bugged, resulting in thousands of hours of conversation for law enforcement to pour through.That betrayal of Tarzan's trust, however, wasn't to be the last. Yester, who had told the Cali Cartel that they should pay for the submarine in bi-weekly payments of $10 million, also had plans of his own. US Coast Guard Cutter Munro crew members inspect a self-propelled semi-submersible in the Eastern Pacific, June 19, 2019. US Coast Guard photo When the first shipment of money arrived in Europe for Yester to funnel to Moscow … he simply didn't. Instead, he hid the $10 million in a friend's home and paid that friend $10,000 to make himself scarce.Soon, the Cali Cartel was in Miami - looking for Yester and their money. Of course, Tarzan and Almeida had no idea. Their side of the deal was done and besides, Yester had a habit of uprooting frequently, never living in any one country for too long at a time.Ultimately, Tarzan, Almeida, and Yester all managed to avoid doing any hard time for the drug submarine deal, though both Tarzan and Yester would ultimately find their ways into prison for other crimes down the road.Almeida was convicted of charges stemming from his dealings with the Cartel and Russians, based largely on Tarzan's own testimony. However, Tarzan later recanted that testimony, resulting in Almeida going free.Two years ago, Showtime premiered a documentary about the whole ordeal titled "Operation Odessa." You can now watch it streaming on Netflix.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 12th, 2021

Nearly half a million shipping containers are stuck off the coast of Southern California as the ports operate below capacity

The ports currently have 19 mega-container ships and approximately 12 million tons of goods waiting to dock and unload for as long as a month. Ships sit off the coast of Seal Beach, CA, on Tuesday, January 26, 2021. Cargo ships enduring one of the worst U.S. port bottlenecks in more than a decade faced down another obstacle as they waited to offload near the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach Brittany Murray/MediaNews Group/Long Beach Press-Telegram via Getty Images Key US ports in Southern California are facing near-record backlogs of cargo ships. The Port of Long Beach has moved to increase operating hours, which may not be enough to fix the issue. Shortages of workers, equipment, and a lack of coordination across the transportation industry created a ripple effect. See more stories on Insider's business page. The largest port in the US faces a near-record backlog of cargo ships, and there's no end in sight.On Tuesday, Los Angeles had nearly half a million 20-foot shipping containers - or about 12 million metric tons of goods - waiting in drift areas and at anchor for spots to open up along the port to dock and unload, according to data pulled from the Marine Exchange of Southern California's master queuing list. The port has 19 mega-container ships waiting to dock, the largest of which is carrying 16,022 20-foot shipping containers."Part of the problem is the ships are double or triple the size of the ships we were seeing 10 or 15 years ago," Kip Louttit, the executive director of the Marine Exchange of Southern California, told Insider earlier this year. "They take longer to unload. You need more trucks, more trains, more warehouses to put the cargo."The ports had 90 container ships in the port, 63 of which were waiting off the shore on Tuesday - a number far above the ports pre-pandemic average of zero to one ships at anchor. Due to the volume of ships waiting along the shore, some ships are floating further than 20 miles off the shore in order to keep shipping lanes clear, according to Louttit.Today, ships at the port can wait in these positions for as long as a month, Marine Exchange data shows. As of Tuesday, a vessel from Asia has been waiting off the coast since September 5 - an issue that experts warn will cause goods to miss the holiday shopping season.Despite the backlog, ports are operating at lower capacitiesThe ports are only operating at 60% to 70% capacity, Uffe Ostergaard, president of the North America region for German ship operator Hapag Lloyd told The Wall Street Journal."That's a huge operational disadvantage," Ostergaard said, pointing to the fact that the two ports are closed for several hours most days, as well as on Sundays - making it more difficult to keep pace with the ports in Asia and Europe that are sending the goods on a 24/7 schedule. A container ship docked next to cranes at the port of Mombasa, Kenya, in October 2019. Baz Ratner/Reuters In September, the Port of Long Beach moved to increase their hours of operation to 24-hours on Monday through Thursday. The Port of Los Angeles did not follow suit, choosing instead to maintain its existing hours. The traditional routine at the ports includes two shifts for longshore workers: 8 a. to 4 pm and 6 pm to 3 am. The ports are closed on Sundays. Overnight shifts and Saturdays are more expensive and rarely used, The Journal reported. Longer hours may not be enough.Gene Seroka, executive director of Port Los Angeles, said longer hours do little to address the backlog when truckers and warehouse operators have not similarly extended their hours. It's not optimal for truckers to pick up loads at night, especially when they'd have to find alternative places to store the goods when the warehouses are not open at night.What's more, many warehouses near the West Coast don't have space for the goods. About 98% of warehouses in Southern California's logistics-heavy Inland Empire region are fully occupied, while the entire Western U.S. has a 3.6% vacancy rate, according to The Journal."It has been nearly impossible to get everyone on the same page towards 24/7 operations," Seroka said.Shortages of workers and equipment exacerbate delaysA struggle to hire enough workers has had a tremendous impact on the transportation industry nationwide, causing headaches at ports, warehouses, railways, and trucking. Many companies have fewer workers than before the pandemic but face significantly more work due to the boom in demand for goods since the pandemic started.The shipping delays have made it more difficult for truckers to meet their deadlines and stay on schedule when it comes to picking up goods at ports. The backlog has also caused a shortage of containers and the chassis needed to haul them. Containers wait for extended periods in ports, and it takes about twice as much time for operators to return the chassis, the Journal said. Associated Press Some cargo companies have even taken to storing their goods in the containers due to the lack of space at warehouses - as shipping containers represent a cheaper option than renting storage space. Last week, Flexport said shipments between Asia and North America were facing "critical undercapacity" when it came to available equipment.The U.S. is not the only country struggling to keep up with a build-up of cargo ships. On Sunday, Bloomberg reported that COVID-19 shutdowns had created a ripple effect, pushing the prices of goods across the globe higher.The supply chain snarls are expected to create major issues for holiday shoppers. Executives have warned the shipping crisis will continue into 2023.Do you work at the ports in Los Angeles and Long Beach? Reach out to the reporter from a non-work email at gkay@insider.comRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 6th, 2021

California ports aren"t the only ones facing record backlogs of cargo ships - 3 other US ports have hit historic highs

While Southern California ports have over 60 cargo ships waiting to dock, smaller ports are also feeling the pinch as they hit new records. AP Photo/Ben Margot Ports in New Jersey and New York, as well as in Texas and Georgia, have seen record pileups. Turnaround time for container ships has increased across the country. Southern California ports face the greatest delays as they handle nearly half of all US imports. See more stories on Insider's business page. Shipping delays are piling up across the country as multiple US ports hit record backlogs.As the largest source of imports in the US - responsible for nearly half of all incoming goods - Southern California ports have received widespread attention. The ports have over 60 hulking cargo ships line up along the shore waiting to dock and unload. But, several smaller ports are also feeling the pinch.In the Port of Savannah - the fourth largest US port - over 20 container ships are waiting to dock. The port has hit multiple records this year for the number of container ships that have passed through the location. In July, Associated Press reported that the port moved 5.3 million 20-foot containers in a fiscal year - the most the location has ever encountered in a single year.Georgia Ports Authority did not respond to a request for comment from Insider, but Executive Director of the Georgia Ports Authority Griff Lynch told The Wall Street Journal that the boom in e-commerce has contributed to the backlog of cargo ships."Because of all this extra freight being imported, it's creating a backlog from the ship side to the dock side to warehouses and across the whole supply chain," Lynch told The Journal. Shipping containers near a shipyard. Getty Images Earlier this week, Georgia Ports Authority approved a $34 million plan to help solve the port delays by adding space to include another 1.6 million 20-foot shipping containers.Rising cargo volumes moving through smaller ports show how diverting traffic from Southern California is not a viable optionIn August, Port Houston set a new record for the number of shipping containers that went through the port over the course of the month as over 320,000 20-foot containers passed through the location - a number 29% higher than the same time the year before, when shipping levels were already spiking. A Port Houston spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment, but the group addressed the new record in a press release earlier this month."We expect elevated levels in the supply chain to continue well into 2022 and will continue to explore opportunities including accelerating an already aggressive capital investment strategy for our terminals to stay in front of the demand," said Roger Guenther, executive director at Port Houston.The Port of New Jersey and New York, which handles the majority of imports to the East Coast, hit a record number of cargo for its 13th consecutive month in August. Over 780,000 shipping containers passed through the port that month, according to a press release. Earlier this week, the Port of New York and New Jersey had 9 cargo ships at anchor, but a port spokesperson told Insider all of the ships were expected to dock within 48 hours."There are no labor shortages or significant shipping backlogs. The majority of the ships anchored off the coast of the Port of New York and New Jersey are oil tankers that do not call at Port Authority of New York and New Jersey facilities," the spokesperson told Insider. "During September, and throughout the pandemic, the port has performed extraordinarily well in keeping the supply chain moving throughout the region, as well as cargo bound for the Midwest via rail." Despite record-breaking levels in smaller ports, Southern California ports still face the greatest backlogsA report from the RBC Capital Markets and Orbital Insight that analyzed the top 22 most influential ports in the world found that 77% of the locations had produced above average wait times this year. It found that the ports in Southern California had the most inefficient wait times of any other top port in the world. The turnaround time for a container in the ports nearly doubled in 2021 as compared to averages seen in 2017 through 2019. Milos Bicanski/Getty Images The time it takes for a ship to enter the port and unload increased from 3.6 days to 6.4 days in the Southern California ports - nearly five days longer than several ports in Asia which operate 24/7. What's more, wait times at the port have recently exploded, with some boats waiting as long as three weeks before they can dock.In contrast, levels at East Coast ports have been more stable as New York and New Jersey, as well as Port Houston ports, only saw an average increase equivalent to a quarter of a day. The study did not take the Port of Savannah into consideration.The study identified the greatest difficulty at Long Beach and Los Angeles ports as the lack of foot traffic which remains 28% below pre-pandemic levels. "We were able to quantify the degree of the worker shortage that takes place by measuring foot traffic," Mike Tran, managing director of global energy strategy and digital intelligence strategy at RBC Capital Markets, told Insider. "Container ships are carrying about 30% more goods, which means more to unload, but now they have to do it with 28% less people."Tran told Insider that the only way he sees the supply-chain crisis resolving itself would be if people limited the amount of goods they purchased - an unlikely outcome considering the impending holiday shopping season paired with many companies' need to restore depleted inventory levels.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytOct 2nd, 2021

The director of one of the largest ports in the US warns the shipping industry is in "crisis mode" as 66 cargo ships float off the California shore

A historic backlog of cargo ships stuck off the California coast has spurred shortages and price hikes across the country. Courtesy of Marine Exchange of Southern California Executive director of the Port of Long Beach Mario Cordero said the industry is in a "crisis mode." In September, backlogs at ports in Los Angeles and Long Beach broke multiple records. The Port of Long Beach is working toward 24/7 operation hours, but it might not be enough to combat the issue. See more stories on Insider's business page. A historic backlog of cargo ships in Southern California has left the supply chain and shipping industry in a crisis, Mario Cordero, the executive director of the Port of Long Beach, warned this week. Cordero, who oversees one of the busiest ports in the country, advised people to start holiday shopping as soon as possible due to the disruptions in the supply chain. The port will move about 20 million containers this year, more than ever before, Cordero told Fox Business. Consumers will definitely feel the pinch, as companies across the board - from raw materials to durable goods, electronics, furniture, and auto parts - have been hit with shortages and delays."The supply chain is definitely disrupted and has been for some time," Cordero told the outlet. "The situation is in a crisis mode." Earlier this month, ports in Los Angeles and Long Beach broke multiple records for the number of ships in the locations, as well as the number of cargo ships waiting to dock. Since, the number of vessels has slightly trended downwards, but the ports maintain unprecedented levels of congestion. On Tuesday, the ports housed 144 ships - including 66 container ships waiting off the shore at anchor or in drift areas, according to data from the Marine Exchange of Southern California. Before the pandemic, the ports typically saw an average of zero to one ship waiting to dock, but now the ships wait weeks to unload.The cargo on the ships currently at anchor in the California ports - which handle nearly half of all US imports - will likely not be seen till the end of October or November, Brian Whitlock, a senior director analyst for Gartner, said on LinkedIn. Associated Press To address the record delays, the Port of Long Beach moved this month to increase their hours of operation to 24-hours on Monday through Thursday. While the two ports in LA and Long Beach are often counted as one port due to their proximity, the slightly larger Port of Los Angeles did not follow suit, choosing instead to maintain its existing hours that do not include a round-the-clock work. Cordero said Long Beach plans to use its extended hours as a pilot program towards 24/7 operations - much like many ports in Asia and Europe - but has been unable to do so thus far due to a shortage of workers across the industry from dock workers to truckers and warehouse workers.The executive director of the Port of Los Angeles, Gene Seroka, told CNBC's Squawk Box on Tuesday that extending the port's hours of operation will do little to fix the issue. He said about 30% of truck appointments go unused every day because the port needs full coordination with trucking companies and warehouses."We've had longshore workers on the job six days a week since the pandemic started, but it's truck drivers and warehouse workers that we need to bolster," Seroka said.The supply chain snarls have already created shortages and price hikes across the country. On Sunday, Nike said it doesn't have enough sneakers to sell for the holidays. Last week, Costco announced a limit on the amount of toilet paper and packages of water shoppers could purchase.Cordero told Fox Business he does not see consumer demand tapering till late next year as holiday demand, as well as companies' efforts to replenish inventory continue to strain the global supply chain at a time when it is still combating COVID-19 shutdowns in Asia.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderSep 29th, 2021

"Damn You To Hell, You Will Not Destroy America" - Here Is The "Spartacus COVID Letter" That"s Gone Viral

"Damn You To Hell, You Will Not Destroy America" - Here Is The 'Spartacus COVID Letter' That's Gone Viral Via The Automatic Earth blog, This is an anonymously posted document by someone who calls themselves Spartacus. Because it’s anonymous, I can’t contact them to ask for permission to publish. So I hesitated for a while, but it’s simply the best document I’ve seen on Covid, vaccines, etc. Whoever Spartacus is, they have a very elaborate knowledge in “the field”. If you want to know a lot more about the no. 1 issue in the world today, read it. And don’t worry if you don’t understand every single word, neither do I. But I learned a lot. The original PDF doc is here: Covid19 – The Spartacus Letter Hello, My name is Spartacus, and I’ve had enough. We have been forced to watch America and the Free World spin into inexorable decline due to a biowarfare attack. We, along with countless others, have been victimized and gaslit by propaganda and psychological warfare operations being conducted by an unelected, unaccountable Elite against the American people and our allies. Our mental and physical health have suffered immensely over the course of the past year and a half. We have felt the sting of isolation, lockdown, masking, quarantines, and other completely nonsensical acts of healthcare theater that have done absolutely nothing to protect the health or wellbeing of the public from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Now, we are watching the medical establishment inject literal poison into millions of our fellow Americans without so much as a fight. We have been told that we will be fired and denied our livelihoods if we refuse to vaccinate. This was the last straw. We have spent thousands of hours analyzing leaked footage from Wuhan, scientific papers from primary sources, as well as the paper trails left by the medical establishment. What we have discovered would shock anyone to their core. First, we will summarize our findings, and then, we will explain them in detail. References will be placed at the end. Summary: COVID-19 is a blood and blood vessel disease. SARS-CoV-2 infects the lining of human blood vessels, causing them to leak into the lungs. Current treatment protocols (e.g. invasive ventilation) are actively harmful to patients, accelerating oxidative stress and causing severe VILI (ventilator-induced lung injuries). The continued use of ventilators in the absence of any proven medical benefit constitutes mass murder. Existing countermeasures are inadequate to slow the spread of what is an aerosolized and potentially wastewater-borne virus, and constitute a form of medical theater. Various non-vaccine interventions have been suppressed by both the media and the medical establishment in favor of vaccines and expensive patented drugs. The authorities have denied the usefulness of natural immunity against COVID-19, despite the fact that natural immunity confers protection against all of the virus’s proteins, and not just one. Vaccines will do more harm than good. The antigen that these vaccines are based on, SARS-CoV- 2 Spike, is a toxic protein. SARS-CoV-2 may have ADE, or antibody-dependent enhancement; current antibodies may not neutralize future strains, but instead help them infect immune cells. Also, vaccinating during a pandemic with a leaky vaccine removes the evolutionary pressure for a virus to become less lethal. There is a vast and appalling criminal conspiracy that directly links both Anthony Fauci and Moderna to the Wuhan Institute of Virology. COVID-19 vaccine researchers are directly linked to scientists involved in brain-computer interface (“neural lace”) tech, one of whom was indicted for taking grant money from China. Independent researchers have discovered mysterious nanoparticles inside the vaccines that are not supposed to be present. The entire pandemic is being used as an excuse for a vast political and economic transformation of Western society that will enrich the already rich and turn the rest of us into serfs and untouchables. COVID-19 Pathophysiology and Treatments: COVID-19 is not a viral pneumonia. It is a viral vascular endotheliitis and attacks the lining of blood vessels, particularly the small pulmonary alveolar capillaries, leading to endothelial cell activation and sloughing, coagulopathy, sepsis, pulmonary edema, and ARDS-like symptoms. This is a disease of the blood and blood vessels. The circulatory system. Any pneumonia that it causes is secondary to that. In severe cases, this leads to sepsis, blood clots, and multiple organ failure, including hypoxic and inflammatory damage to various vital organs, such as the brain, heart, liver, pancreas, kidneys, and intestines. Some of the most common laboratory findings in COVID-19 are elevated D-dimer, elevated prothrombin time, elevated C-reactive protein, neutrophilia, lymphopenia, hypocalcemia, and hyperferritinemia, essentially matching a profile of coagulopathy and immune system hyperactivation/immune cell exhaustion. COVID-19 can present as almost anything, due to the wide tropism of SARS-CoV-2 for various tissues in the body’s vital organs. While its most common initial presentation is respiratory illness and flu-like symptoms, it can present as brain inflammation, gastrointestinal disease, or even heart attack or pulmonary embolism. COVID-19 is more severe in those with specific comorbidities, such as obesity, diabetes, and hypertension. This is because these conditions involve endothelial dysfunction, which renders the circulatory system more susceptible to infection and injury by this particular virus. The vast majority of COVID-19 cases are mild and do not cause significant disease. In known cases, there is something known as the 80/20 rule, where 80% of cases are mild and 20% are severe or critical. However, this ratio is only correct for known cases, not all infections. The number of actual infections is much, much higher. Consequently, the mortality and morbidity rate is lower. However, COVID-19 spreads very quickly, meaning that there are a significant number of severely-ill and critically-ill patients appearing in a short time frame. In those who have critical COVID-19-induced sepsis, hypoxia, coagulopathy, and ARDS, the most common treatments are intubation, injected corticosteroids, and blood thinners. This is not the correct treatment for COVID-19. In severe hypoxia, cellular metabolic shifts cause ATP to break down into hypoxanthine, which, upon the reintroduction of oxygen, causes xanthine oxidase to produce tons of highly damaging radicals that attack tissue. This is called ischemia-reperfusion injury, and it’s why the majority of people who go on a ventilator are dying. In the mitochondria, succinate buildup due to sepsis does the same exact thing; when oxygen is reintroduced, it makes superoxide radicals. Make no mistake, intubation will kill people who have COVID-19. The end-stage of COVID-19 is severe lipid peroxidation, where fats in the body start to “rust” due to damage by oxidative stress. This drives autoimmunity. Oxidized lipids appear as foreign objects to the immune system, which recognizes and forms antibodies against OSEs, or oxidation-specific epitopes. Also, oxidized lipids feed directly into pattern recognition receptors, triggering even more inflammation and summoning even more cells of the innate immune system that release even more destructive enzymes. This is similar to the pathophysiology of Lupus. COVID-19’s pathology is dominated by extreme oxidative stress and neutrophil respiratory burst, to the point where hemoglobin becomes incapable of carrying oxygen due to heme iron being stripped out of heme by hypochlorous acid. No amount of supplemental oxygen can oxygenate blood that chemically refuses to bind O2. The breakdown of the pathology is as follows: SARS-CoV-2 Spike binds to ACE2. Angiotensin Converting Enzyme 2 is an enzyme that is part of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system, or RAAS. The RAAS is a hormone control system that moderates fluid volume in the body and in the bloodstream (i.e. osmolarity) by controlling salt retention and excretion. This protein, ACE2, is ubiquitous in every part of the body that interfaces with the circulatory system, particularly in vascular endothelial cells and pericytes, brain astrocytes, renal tubules and podocytes, pancreatic islet cells, bile duct and intestinal epithelial cells, and the seminiferous ducts of the testis, all of which SARS-CoV-2 can infect, not just the lungs. SARS-CoV-2 infects a cell as follows: SARS-CoV-2 Spike undergoes a conformational change where the S1 trimers flip up and extend, locking onto ACE2 bound to the surface of a cell. TMPRSS2, or transmembrane protease serine 2, comes along and cuts off the heads of the Spike, exposing the S2 stalk-shaped subunit inside. The remainder of the Spike undergoes a conformational change that causes it to unfold like an extension ladder, embedding itself in the cell membrane. Then, it folds back upon itself, pulling the viral membrane and the cell membrane together. The two membranes fuse, with the virus’s proteins migrating out onto the surface of the cell. The SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid enters the cell, disgorging its genetic material and beginning the viral replication process, hijacking the cell’s own structures to produce more virus. SARS-CoV-2 Spike proteins embedded in a cell can actually cause human cells to fuse together, forming syncytia/MGCs (multinuclear giant cells). They also have other pathogenic, harmful effects. SARS-CoV- 2’s viroporins, such as its Envelope protein, act as calcium ion channels, introducing calcium into infected cells. The virus suppresses the natural interferon response, resulting in delayed inflammation. SARS-CoV-2 N protein can also directly activate the NLRP3 inflammasome. Also, it suppresses the Nrf2 antioxidant pathway. The suppression of ACE2 by binding with Spike causes a buildup of bradykinin that would otherwise be broken down by ACE2. This constant calcium influx into the cells results in (or is accompanied by) noticeable hypocalcemia, or low blood calcium, especially in people with Vitamin D deficiencies and pre-existing endothelial dysfunction. Bradykinin upregulates cAMP, cGMP, COX, and Phospholipase C activity. This results in prostaglandin release and vastly increased intracellular calcium signaling, which promotes highly aggressive ROS release and ATP depletion. NADPH oxidase releases superoxide into the extracellular space. Superoxide radicals react with nitric oxide to form peroxynitrite. Peroxynitrite reacts with the tetrahydrobiopterin cofactor needed by endothelial nitric oxide synthase, destroying it and “uncoupling” the enzymes, causing nitric oxide synthase to synthesize more superoxide instead. This proceeds in a positive feedback loop until nitric oxide bioavailability in the circulatory system is depleted. Dissolved nitric oxide gas produced constantly by eNOS serves many important functions, but it is also antiviral against SARS-like coronaviruses, preventing the palmitoylation of the viral Spike protein and making it harder for it to bind to host receptors. The loss of NO allows the virus to begin replicating with impunity in the body. Those with endothelial dysfunction (i.e. hypertension, diabetes, obesity, old age, African-American race) have redox equilibrium issues to begin with, giving the virus an advantage. Due to the extreme cytokine release triggered by these processes, the body summons a great deal of neutrophils and monocyte-derived alveolar macrophages to the lungs. Cells of the innate immune system are the first-line defenders against pathogens. They work by engulfing invaders and trying to attack them with enzymes that produce powerful oxidants, like SOD and MPO. Superoxide dismutase takes superoxide and makes hydrogen peroxide, and myeloperoxidase takes hydrogen peroxide and chlorine ions and makes hypochlorous acid, which is many, many times more reactive than sodium hypochlorite bleach. Neutrophils have a nasty trick. They can also eject these enzymes into the extracellular space, where they will continuously spit out peroxide and bleach into the bloodstream. This is called neutrophil extracellular trap formation, or, when it becomes pathogenic and counterproductive, NETosis. In severe and critical COVID-19, there is actually rather severe NETosis. Hypochlorous acid building up in the bloodstream begins to bleach the iron out of heme and compete for O2 binding sites. Red blood cells lose the ability to transport oxygen, causing the sufferer to turn blue in the face. Unliganded iron, hydrogen peroxide, and superoxide in the bloodstream undergo the Haber- Weiss and Fenton reactions, producing extremely reactive hydroxyl radicals that violently strip electrons from surrounding fats and DNA, oxidizing them severely. This condition is not unknown to medical science. The actual name for all of this is acute sepsis. We know this is happening in COVID-19 because people who have died of the disease have noticeable ferroptosis signatures in their tissues, as well as various other oxidative stress markers such as nitrotyrosine, 4-HNE, and malondialdehyde. When you intubate someone with this condition, you are setting off a free radical bomb by supplying the cells with O2. It’s a catch-22, because we need oxygen to make Adenosine Triphosphate (that is, to live), but O2 is also the precursor of all these damaging radicals that lead to lipid peroxidation. The correct treatment for severe COVID-19 related sepsis is non-invasive ventilation, steroids, and antioxidant infusions. Most of the drugs repurposed for COVID-19 that show any benefit whatsoever in rescuing critically-ill COVID-19 patients are antioxidants. N-acetylcysteine, melatonin, fluvoxamine, budesonide, famotidine, cimetidine, and ranitidine are all antioxidants. Indomethacin prevents iron- driven oxidation of arachidonic acid to isoprostanes. There are powerful antioxidants such as apocynin that have not even been tested on COVID-19 patients yet which could defang neutrophils, prevent lipid peroxidation, restore endothelial health, and restore oxygenation to the tissues. Scientists who know anything about pulmonary neutrophilia, ARDS, and redox biology have known or surmised much of this since March 2020. In April 2020, Swiss scientists confirmed that COVID-19 was a vascular endotheliitis. By late 2020, experts had already concluded that COVID-19 causes a form of viral sepsis. They also know that sepsis can be effectively treated with antioxidants. None of this information is particularly new, and yet, for the most part, it has not been acted upon. Doctors continue to use damaging intubation techniques with high PEEP settings despite high lung compliance and poor oxygenation, killing an untold number of critically ill patients with medical malpractice. Because of the way they are constructed, Randomized Control Trials will never show any benefit for any antiviral against COVID-19. Not Remdesivir, not Kaletra, not HCQ, and not Ivermectin. The reason for this is simple; for the patients that they have recruited for these studies, such as Oxford’s ludicrous RECOVERY study, the intervention is too late to have any positive effect. The clinical course of COVID-19 is such that by the time most people seek medical attention for hypoxia, their viral load has already tapered off to almost nothing. If someone is about 10 days post-exposure and has already been symptomatic for five days, there is hardly any virus left in their bodies, only cellular damage and derangement that has initiated a hyperinflammatory response. It is from this group that the clinical trials for antivirals have recruited, pretty much exclusively. In these trials, they give antivirals to severely ill patients who have no virus in their bodies, only a delayed hyperinflammatory response, and then absurdly claim that antivirals have no utility in treating or preventing COVID-19. These clinical trials do not recruit people who are pre-symptomatic. They do not test pre-exposure or post-exposure prophylaxis. This is like using a defibrillator to shock only flatline, and then absurdly claiming that defibrillators have no medical utility whatsoever when the patients refuse to rise from the dead. The intervention is too late. These trials for antivirals show systematic, egregious selection bias. They are providing a treatment that is futile to the specific cohort they are enrolling. India went against the instructions of the WHO and mandated the prophylactic usage of Ivermectin. They have almost completely eradicated COVID-19. The Indian Bar Association of Mumbai has brought criminal charges against WHO Chief Scientist Dr. Soumya Swaminathan for recommending against the use of Ivermectin. Ivermectin is not “horse dewormer”. Yes, it is sold in veterinary paste form as a dewormer for animals. It has also been available in pill form for humans for decades, as an antiparasitic drug. The media have disingenuously claimed that because Ivermectin is an antiparasitic drug, it has no utility as an antivirus. This is incorrect. Ivermectin has utility as an antiviral. It blocks importin, preventing nuclear import, effectively inhibiting viral access to cell nuclei. Many drugs currently on the market have multiple modes of action. Ivermectin is one such drug. It is both antiparasitic and antiviral. In Bangladesh, Ivermectin costs $1.80 for an entire 5-day course. Remdesivir, which is toxic to the liver, costs $3,120 for a 5-day course of the drug. Billions of dollars of utterly useless Remdesivir were sold to our governments on the taxpayer’s dime, and it ended up being totally useless for treating hyperinflammatory COVID-19. The media has hardly even covered this at all. The opposition to the use of generic Ivermectin is not based in science. It is purely financially and politically-motivated. An effective non-vaccine intervention would jeopardize the rushed FDA approval of patented vaccines and medicines for which the pharmaceutical industry stands to rake in billions upon billions of dollars in sales on an ongoing basis. The majority of the public are scientifically illiterate and cannot grasp what any of this even means, thanks to a pathetic educational system that has miseducated them. You would be lucky to find 1 in 100 people who have even the faintest clue what any of this actually means. COVID-19 Transmission: COVID-19 is airborne. The WHO carried water for China by claiming that the virus was only droplet- borne. Our own CDC absurdly claimed that it was mostly transmitted by fomite-to-face contact, which, given its rapid spread from Wuhan to the rest of the world, would have been physically impossible. The ridiculous belief in fomite-to-face being a primary mode of transmission led to the use of surface disinfection protocols that wasted time, energy, productivity, and disinfectant. The 6-foot guidelines are absolutely useless. The minimum safe distance to protect oneself from an aerosolized virus is to be 15+ feet away from an infected person, no closer. Realistically, no public transit is safe. Surgical masks do not protect you from aerosols. The virus is too small and the filter media has too large of gaps to filter it out. They may catch respiratory droplets and keep the virus from being expelled by someone who is sick, but they do not filter a cloud of infectious aerosols if someone were to walk into said cloud. The minimum level of protection against this virus is quite literally a P100 respirator, a PAPR/CAPR, or a 40mm NATO CBRN respirator, ideally paired with a full-body tyvek or tychem suit, gloves, and booties, with all the holes and gaps taped. Live SARS-CoV-2 may potentially be detected in sewage outflows, and there may be oral-fecal transmission. During the SARS outbreak in 2003, in the Amoy Gardens incident, hundreds of people were infected by aerosolized fecal matter rising from floor drains in their apartments. COVID-19 Vaccine Dangers: The vaccines for COVID-19 are not sterilizing and do not prevent infection or transmission. They are “leaky” vaccines. This means they remove the evolutionary pressure on the virus to become less lethal. It also means that the vaccinated are perfect carriers. In other words, those who are vaccinated are a threat to the unvaccinated, not the other way around. All of the COVID-19 vaccines currently in use have undergone minimal testing, with highly accelerated clinical trials. Though they appear to limit severe illness, the long-term safety profile of these vaccines remains unknown. Some of these so-called “vaccines” utilize an untested new technology that has never been used in vaccines before. Traditional vaccines use weakened or killed virus to stimulate an immune response. The Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines do not. They are purported to consist of an intramuscular shot containing a suspension of lipid nanoparticles filled with messenger RNA. The way they generate an immune response is by fusing with cells in a vaccine recipient’s shoulder, undergoing endocytosis, releasing their mRNA cargo into those cells, and then utilizing the ribosomes in those cells to synthesize modified SARS-CoV-2 Spike proteins in-situ. These modified Spike proteins then migrate to the surface of the cell, where they are anchored in place by a transmembrane domain. The adaptive immune system detects the non-human viral protein being expressed by these cells, and then forms antibodies against that protein. This is purported to confer protection against the virus, by training the adaptive immune system to recognize and produce antibodies against the Spike on the actual virus. The J&J and AstraZeneca vaccines do something similar, but use an adenovirus vector for genetic material delivery instead of a lipid nanoparticle. These vaccines were produced or validated with the aid of fetal cell lines HEK-293 and PER.C6, which people with certain religious convictions may object strongly to. SARS-CoV-2 Spike is a highly pathogenic protein on its own. It is impossible to overstate the danger presented by introducing this protein into the human body. It is claimed by vaccine manufacturers that the vaccine remains in cells in the shoulder, and that SARS- CoV-2 Spike produced and expressed by these cells from the vaccine’s genetic material is harmless and inert, thanks to the insertion of prolines in the Spike sequence to stabilize it in the prefusion conformation, preventing the Spike from becoming active and fusing with other cells. However, a pharmacokinetic study from Japan showed that the lipid nanoparticles and mRNA from the Pfizer vaccine did not stay in the shoulder, and in fact bioaccumulated in many different organs, including the reproductive organs and adrenal glands, meaning that modified Spike is being expressed quite literally all over the place. These lipid nanoparticles may trigger anaphylaxis in an unlucky few, but far more concerning is the unregulated expression of Spike in various somatic cell lines far from the injection site and the unknown consequences of that. Messenger RNA is normally consumed right after it is produced in the body, being translated into a protein by a ribosome. COVID-19 vaccine mRNA is produced outside the body, long before a ribosome translates it. In the meantime, it could accumulate damage if inadequately preserved. When a ribosome attempts to translate a damaged strand of mRNA, it can become stalled. When this happens, the ribosome becomes useless for translating proteins because it now has a piece of mRNA stuck in it, like a lace card in an old punch card reader. The whole thing has to be cleaned up and new ribosomes synthesized to replace it. In cells with low ribosome turnover, like nerve cells, this can lead to reduced protein synthesis, cytopathic effects, and neuropathies. Certain proteins, including SARS-CoV-2 Spike, have proteolytic cleavage sites that are basically like little dotted lines that say “cut here”, which attract a living organism’s own proteases (essentially, molecular scissors) to cut them. There is a possibility that S1 may be proteolytically cleaved from S2, causing active S1 to float away into the bloodstream while leaving the S2 “stalk” embedded in the membrane of the cell that expressed the protein. SARS-CoV-2 Spike has a Superantigenic region (SAg), which may promote extreme inflammation. Anti-Spike antibodies were found in one study to function as autoantibodies and attack the body’s own cells. Those who have been immunized with COVID-19 vaccines have developed blood clots, myocarditis, Guillain-Barre Syndrome, Bell’s Palsy, and multiple sclerosis flares, indicating that the vaccine promotes autoimmune reactions against healthy tissue. SARS-CoV-2 Spike does not only bind to ACE2. It was suspected to have regions that bind to basigin, integrins, neuropilin-1, and bacterial lipopolysaccharides as well. SARS-CoV-2 Spike, on its own, can potentially bind any of these things and act as a ligand for them, triggering unspecified and likely highly inflammatory cellular activity. SARS-CoV-2 Spike contains an unusual PRRA insert that forms a furin cleavage site. Furin is a ubiquitous human protease, making this an ideal property for the Spike to have, giving it a high degree of cell tropism. No wild-type SARS-like coronaviruses related to SARS-CoV-2 possess this feature, making it highly suspicious, and perhaps a sign of human tampering. SARS-CoV-2 Spike has a prion-like domain that enhances its infectiousness. The Spike S1 RBD may bind to heparin-binding proteins and promote amyloid aggregation. In humans, this could lead to Parkinson’s, Lewy Body Dementia, premature Alzheimer’s, or various other neurodegenerative diseases. This is very concerning because SARS-CoV-2 S1 is capable of injuring and penetrating the blood-brain barrier and entering the brain. It is also capable of increasing the permeability of the blood-brain barrier to other molecules. SARS-CoV-2, like other betacoronaviruses, may have Dengue-like ADE, or antibody-dependent enhancement of disease. For those who aren’t aware, some viruses, including betacoronaviruses, have a feature called ADE. There is also something called Original Antigenic Sin, which is the observation that the body prefers to produce antibodies based on previously-encountered strains of a virus over newly- encountered ones. In ADE, antibodies from a previous infection become non-neutralizing due to mutations in the virus’s proteins. These non-neutralizing antibodies then act as trojan horses, allowing live, active virus to be pulled into macrophages through their Fc receptor pathways, allowing the virus to infect immune cells that it would not have been able to infect before. This has been known to happen with Dengue Fever; when someone gets sick with Dengue, recovers, and then contracts a different strain, they can get very, very ill. If someone is vaccinated with mRNA based on the Spike from the initial Wuhan strain of SARS-CoV-2, and then they become infected with a future, mutated strain of the virus, they may become severely ill. In other words, it is possible for vaccines to sensitize someone to disease. There is a precedent for this in recent history. Sanofi’s Dengvaxia vaccine for Dengue failed because it caused immune sensitization in people whose immune systems were Dengue-naive. In mice immunized against SARS-CoV and challenged with the virus, a close relative of SARS-CoV-2, they developed immune sensitization, Th2 immunopathology, and eosinophil infiltration in their lungs. We have been told that SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccines cannot be integrated into the human genome, because messenger RNA cannot be turned back into DNA. This is false. There are elements in human cells called LINE-1 retrotransposons, which can indeed integrate mRNA into a human genome by endogenous reverse transcription. Because the mRNA used in the vaccines is stabilized, it hangs around in cells longer, increasing the chances for this to happen. If the gene for SARS-CoV-2 Spike is integrated into a portion of the genome that is not silent and actually expresses a protein, it is possible that people who take this vaccine may continuously express SARS-CoV-2 Spike from their somatic cells for the rest of their lives. By inoculating people with a vaccine that causes their bodies to produce Spike in-situ, they are being inoculated with a pathogenic protein. A toxin that may cause long-term inflammation, heart problems, and a raised risk of cancers. In the long-term, it may also potentially lead to premature neurodegenerative disease. Absolutely nobody should be compelled to take this vaccine under any circumstances, and in actual fact, the vaccination campaign must be stopped immediately. COVID-19 Criminal Conspiracy: The vaccine and the virus were made by the same people. In 2014, there was a moratorium on SARS gain-of-function research that lasted until 2017. This research was not halted. Instead, it was outsourced, with the federal grants being laundered through NGOs. Ralph Baric is a virologist and SARS expert at UNC Chapel Hill in North Carolina. This is who Anthony Fauci was referring to when he insisted, before Congress, that if any gain-of-function research was being conducted, it was being conducted in North Carolina. This was a lie. Anthony Fauci lied before Congress. A felony. Ralph Baric and Shi Zhengli are colleagues and have co-written papers together. Ralph Baric mentored Shi Zhengli in his gain-of-function manipulation techniques, particularly serial passage, which results in a virus that appears as if it originated naturally. In other words, deniable bioweapons. Serial passage in humanized hACE2 mice may have produced something like SARS-CoV-2. The funding for the gain-of-function research being conducted at the Wuhan Institute of Virology came from Peter Daszak. Peter Daszak runs an NGO called EcoHealth Alliance. EcoHealth Alliance received millions of dollars in grant money from the National Institutes of Health/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (that is, Anthony Fauci), the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (part of the US Department of Defense), and the United States Agency for International Development. NIH/NIAID contributed a few million dollars, and DTRA and USAID each contributed tens of millions of dollars towards this research. Altogether, it was over a hundred million dollars. EcoHealth Alliance subcontracted these grants to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, a lab in China with a very questionable safety record and poorly trained staff, so that they could conduct gain-of-function research, not in their fancy P4 lab, but in a level-2 lab where technicians wore nothing more sophisticated than perhaps a hairnet, latex gloves, and a surgical mask, instead of the bubble suits used when working with dangerous viruses. Chinese scientists in Wuhan reported being routinely bitten and urinated on by laboratory animals. Why anyone would outsource this dangerous and delicate work to the People’s Republic of China, a country infamous for industrial accidents and massive explosions that have claimed hundreds of lives, is completely beyond me, unless the aim was to start a pandemic on purpose. In November of 2019, three technicians at the Wuhan Institute of Virology developed symptoms consistent with a flu-like illness. Anthony Fauci, Peter Daszak, and Ralph Baric knew at once what had happened, because back channels exist between this laboratory and our scientists and officials. December 12th, 2019, Ralph Baric signed a Material Transfer Agreement (essentially, an NDA) to receive Coronavirus mRNA vaccine-related materials co-owned by Moderna and NIH. It wasn’t until a whole month later, on January 11th, 2020, that China allegedly sent us the sequence to what would become known as SARS-CoV-2. Moderna claims, rather absurdly, that they developed a working vaccine from this sequence in under 48 hours. Stephane Bancel, the current CEO of Moderna, was formerly the CEO of bioMerieux, a French multinational corporation specializing in medical diagnostic tech, founded by one Alain Merieux. Alain Merieux was one of the individuals who was instrumental in the construction of the Wuhan Institute of Virology’s P4 lab. The sequence given as the closest relative to SARS-CoV-2, RaTG13, is not a real virus. It is a forgery. It was made by entering a gene sequence by hand into a database, to create a cover story for the existence of SARS-CoV-2, which is very likely a gain-of-function chimera produced at the Wuhan Institute of Virology and was either leaked by accident or intentionally released. The animal reservoir of SARS-CoV-2 has never been found. This is not a conspiracy “theory”. It is an actual criminal conspiracy, in which people connected to the development of Moderna’s mRNA-1273 are directly connected to the Wuhan Institute of Virology and their gain-of-function research by very few degrees of separation, if any. The paper trail is well- established. The lab-leak theory has been suppressed because pulling that thread leads one to inevitably conclude that there is enough circumstantial evidence to link Moderna, the NIH, the WIV, and both the vaccine and the virus’s creation together. In a sane country, this would have immediately led to the world’s biggest RICO and mass murder case. Anthony Fauci, Peter Daszak, Ralph Baric, Shi Zhengli, and Stephane Bancel, and their accomplices, would have been indicted and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Instead, billions of our tax dollars were awarded to the perpetrators. The FBI raided Allure Medical in Shelby Township north of Detroit for billing insurance for “fraudulent COVID-19 cures”. The treatment they were using? Intravenous Vitamin C. An antioxidant. Which, as described above, is an entirely valid treatment for COVID-19-induced sepsis, and indeed, is now part of the MATH+ protocol advanced by Dr. Paul E. Marik. The FDA banned ranitidine (Zantac) due to supposed NDMA (N-nitrosodimethylamine) contamination. Ranitidine is not only an H2 blocker used as antacid, but also has a powerful antioxidant effect, scavenging hydroxyl radicals. This gives it utility in treating COVID-19. The FDA also attempted to take N-acetylcysteine, a harmless amino acid supplement and antioxidant, off the shelves, compelling Amazon to remove it from their online storefront. This leaves us with a chilling question: did the FDA knowingly suppress antioxidants useful for treating COVID-19 sepsis as part of a criminal conspiracy against the American public? The establishment is cooperating with, and facilitating, the worst criminals in human history, and are actively suppressing non-vaccine treatments and therapies in order to compel us to inject these criminals’ products into our bodies. This is absolutely unacceptable. COVID-19 Vaccine Development and Links to Transhumanism: This section deals with some more speculative aspects of the pandemic and the medical and scientific establishment’s reaction to it, as well as the disturbing links between scientists involved in vaccine research and scientists whose work involved merging nanotechnology with living cells. On June 9th, 2020, Charles Lieber, a Harvard nanotechnology researcher with decades of experience, was indicted by the DOJ for fraud. Charles Lieber received millions of dollars in grant money from the US Department of Defense, specifically the military think tanks DARPA, AFOSR, and ONR, as well as NIH and MITRE. His specialty is the use of silicon nanowires in lieu of patch clamp electrodes to monitor and modulate intracellular activity, something he has been working on at Harvard for the past twenty years. He was claimed to have been working on silicon nanowire batteries in China, but none of his colleagues can recall him ever having worked on battery technology in his life; all of his research deals with bionanotechnology, or the blending of nanotech with living cells. The indictment was over his collaboration with the Wuhan University of Technology. He had double- dipped, against the terms of his DOD grants, and taken money from the PRC’s Thousand Talents plan, a program which the Chinese government uses to bribe Western scientists into sharing proprietary R&D information that can be exploited by the PLA for strategic advantage. Charles Lieber’s own papers describe the use of silicon nanowires for brain-computer interfaces, or “neural lace” technology. His papers describe how neurons can endocytose whole silicon nanowires or parts of them, monitoring and even modulating neuronal activity. Charles Lieber was a colleague of Robert Langer. Together, along with Daniel S. Kohane, they worked on a paper describing artificial tissue scaffolds that could be implanted in a human heart to monitor its activity remotely. Robert Langer, an MIT alumnus and expert in nanotech drug delivery, is one of the co-founders of Moderna. His net worth is now $5.1 billion USD thanks to Moderna’s mRNA-1273 vaccine sales. Both Charles Lieber and Robert Langer’s bibliographies describe, essentially, techniques for human enhancement, i.e. transhumanism. Klaus Schwab, the founder of the World Economic Forum and the architect behind the so-called “Great Reset”, has long spoken of the “blending of biology and machinery” in his books. Since these revelations, it has come to the attention of independent researchers that the COVID-19 vaccines may contain reduced graphene oxide nanoparticles. Japanese researchers have also found unexplained contaminants in COVID-19 vaccines. Graphene oxide is an anxiolytic. It has been shown to reduce the anxiety of laboratory mice when injected into their brains. Indeed, given SARS-CoV-2 Spike’s propensity to compromise the blood-brain barrier and increase its permeability, it is the perfect protein for preparing brain tissue for extravasation of nanoparticles from the bloodstream and into the brain. Graphene is also highly conductive and, in some circumstances, paramagnetic. In 2013, under the Obama administration, DARPA launched the BRAIN Initiative; BRAIN is an acronym for Brain Research Through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies®. This program involves the development of brain-computer interface technologies for the military, particularly non-invasive, injectable systems that cause minimal damage to brain tissue when removed. Supposedly, this technology would be used for healing wounded soldiers with traumatic brain injuries, the direct brain control of prosthetic limbs, and even new abilities such as controlling drones with one’s mind. Various methods have been proposed for achieving this, including optogenetics, magnetogenetics, ultrasound, implanted electrodes, and transcranial electromagnetic stimulation. In all instances, the goal is to obtain read or read-write capability over neurons, either by stimulating and probing them, or by rendering them especially sensitive to stimulation and probing. However, the notion of the widespread use of BCI technology, such as Elon Musk’s Neuralink device, raises many concerns over privacy and personal autonomy. Reading from neurons is problematic enough on its own. Wireless brain-computer interfaces may interact with current or future wireless GSM infrastructure, creating neurological data security concerns. A hacker or other malicious actor may compromise such networks to obtain people’s brain data, and then exploit it for nefarious purposes. However, a device capable of writing to human neurons, not just reading from them, presents another, even more serious set of ethical concerns. A BCI that is capable of altering the contents of one’s mind for innocuous purposes, such as projecting a heads-up display onto their brain’s visual center or sending audio into one’s auditory cortex, would also theoretically be capable of altering mood and personality, or perhaps even subjugating someone’s very will, rendering them utterly obedient to authority. This technology would be a tyrant’s wet dream. Imagine soldiers who would shoot their own countrymen without hesitation, or helpless serfs who are satisfied to live in literal dog kennels. BCIs could be used to unscrupulously alter perceptions of basic things such as emotions and values, changing people’s thresholds of satiety, happiness, anger, disgust, and so forth. This is not inconsequential. Someone’s entire regime of behaviors could be altered by a BCI, including such things as suppressing their appetite or desire for virtually anything on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Anything is possible when you have direct access to someone’s brain and its contents. Someone who is obese could be made to feel disgust at the sight of food. Someone who is involuntarily celibate could have their libido disabled so they don’t even desire sex to begin with. Someone who is racist could be forced to feel delight over cohabiting with people of other races. Someone who is violent could be forced to be meek and submissive. These things might sound good to you if you are a tyrant, but to normal people, the idea of personal autonomy being overridden to such a degree is appalling. For the wealthy, neural laces would be an unequaled boon, giving them the opportunity to enhance their intelligence with neuroprosthetics (i.e. an “exocortex”), and to deliver irresistible commands directly into the minds of their BCI-augmented servants, even physically or sexually abusive commands that they would normally refuse. If the vaccine is a method to surreptitiously introduce an injectable BCI into millions of people without their knowledge or consent, then what we are witnessing is the rise of a tyrannical regime unlike anything ever seen before on the face of this planet, one that fully intends to strip every man, woman, and child of our free will. Our flaws are what make us human. A utopia arrived at by removing people’s free will is not a utopia at all. It is a monomaniacal nightmare. Furthermore, the people who rule over us are Dark Triad types who cannot be trusted with such power. Imagine being beaten and sexually assaulted by a wealthy and powerful psychopath and being forced to smile and laugh over it because your neural lace gives you no choice but to obey your master. The Elites are forging ahead with this technology without giving people any room to question the social or ethical ramifications, or to establish regulatory frameworks that ensure that our personal agency and autonomy will not be overridden by these devices. They do this because they secretly dream of a future where they can treat you worse than an animal and you cannot even fight back. If this evil plan is allowed to continue, it will spell the end of humanity as we know it. Conclusions: The current pandemic was produced and perpetuated by the establishment, through the use of a virus engineered in a PLA-connected Chinese biowarfare laboratory, with the aid of American taxpayer dollars and French expertise. This research was conducted under the absolutely ridiculous euphemism of “gain-of-function” research, which is supposedly carried out in order to determine which viruses have the highest potential for zoonotic spillover and preemptively vaccinate or guard against them. Gain-of-function/gain-of-threat research, a.k.a. “Dual-Use Research of Concern”, or DURC, is bioweapon research by another, friendlier-sounding name, simply to avoid the taboo of calling it what it actually is. It has always been bioweapon research. The people who are conducting this research fully understand that they are taking wild pathogens that are not infectious in humans and making them more infectious, often taking grants from military think tanks encouraging them to do so. These virologists conducting this type of research are enemies of their fellow man, like pyromaniac firefighters. GOF research has never protected anyone from any pandemic. In fact, it has now started one, meaning its utility for preventing pandemics is actually negative. It should have been banned globally, and the lunatics performing it should have been put in straitjackets long ago. Either through a leak or an intentional release from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, a deadly SARS strain is now endemic across the globe, after the WHO and CDC and public officials first downplayed the risks, and then intentionally incited a panic and lockdowns that jeopardized people’s health and their livelihoods. This was then used by the utterly depraved and psychopathic aristocratic class who rule over us as an excuse to coerce people into accepting an injected poison which may be a depopulation agent, a mind control/pacification agent in the form of injectable “smart dust”, or both in one. They believe they can get away with this by weaponizing the social stigma of vaccine refusal. They are incorrect. Their motives are clear and obvious to anyone who has been paying attention. These megalomaniacs have raided the pension funds of the free world. Wall Street is insolvent and has had an ongoing liquidity crisis since the end of 2019. The aim now is to exert total, full-spectrum physical, mental, and financial control over humanity before we realize just how badly we’ve been extorted by these maniacs. The pandemic and its response served multiple purposes for the Elite: Concealing a depression brought on by the usurious plunder of our economies conducted by rentier-capitalists and absentee owners who produce absolutely nothing of any value to society whatsoever. Instead of us having a very predictable Occupy Wall Street Part II, the Elites and their stooges got to stand up on television and paint themselves as wise and all-powerful saviors instead of the marauding cabal of despicable land pirates that they are. Destroying small businesses and eroding the middle class. Transferring trillions of dollars of wealth from the American public and into the pockets of billionaires and special interests. Engaging in insider trading, buying stock in biotech companies and shorting brick-and-mortar businesses and travel companies, with the aim of collapsing face-to-face commerce and tourism and replacing it with e-commerce and servitization. Creating a casus belli for war with China, encouraging us to attack them, wasting American lives and treasure and driving us to the brink of nuclear armageddon. Establishing technological and biosecurity frameworks for population control and technocratic- socialist “smart cities” where everyone’s movements are despotically tracked, all in anticipation of widespread automation, joblessness, and food shortages, by using the false guise of a vaccine to compel cooperation. Any one of these things would constitute a vicious rape of Western society. Taken together, they beggar belief; they are a complete inversion of our most treasured values. What is the purpose of all of this? One can only speculate as to the perpetrators’ motives, however, we have some theories. The Elites are trying to pull up the ladder, erase upward mobility for large segments of the population, cull political opponents and other “undesirables”, and put the remainder of humanity on a tight leash, rationing our access to certain goods and services that they have deemed “high-impact”, such as automobile use, tourism, meat consumption, and so on. Naturally, they will continue to have their own luxuries, as part of a strict caste system akin to feudalism. Why are they doing this? Simple. The Elites are Neo-Malthusians and believe that we are overpopulated and that resource depletion will collapse civilization in a matter of a few short decades. They are not necessarily incorrect in this belief. We are overpopulated, and we are consuming too many resources. However, orchestrating such a gruesome and murderous power grab in response to a looming crisis demonstrates that they have nothing but the utmost contempt for their fellow man. To those who are participating in this disgusting farce without any understanding of what they are doing, we have one word for you. Stop. You are causing irreparable harm to your country and to your fellow citizens. To those who may be reading this warning and have full knowledge and understanding of what they are doing and how it will unjustly harm millions of innocent people, we have a few more words. Damn you to hell. You will not destroy America and the Free World, and you will not have your New World Order. We will make certain of that. *  *  * This PDF document contains 14 pages, followed by another 17 pages of references. For those, please visit the original PDF file at Covid19 – The Spartacus Letter. *  *  * We try to run the Automatic Earth on donations. Since ad revenue has collapsed, you are now not just a reader, but an integral part of the process that builds this site. Thank you for your support. Support the Automatic Earth in virustime. Donate with Paypal, Bitcoin and Patreon. Tyler Durden Mon, 09/27/2021 - 00:00.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytSep 27th, 2021

Victim Hopes For Justice In Ghislaine Maxwell Trial

Victim Hopes For Justice In Ghislaine Maxwell Trial Authored by Charlotte Cuthbertson via The Epoch Times, Jeffrey Epstein molested her and she didn’t tell a soul for 17 years. Teresa Helm was 22, and she had already patched her life back together after being sexually abused by a close family member, starting at age 8. “I really suffered in silence,” Helm told The Epoch Times’ “Insight” magazine. As a child, she had told her mother about the abuse in the hope that she’d make it stop. Instead, her mother told her not to tell anyone, and it continued for 3 1/2 years. “I just didn’t get help, even though I kept asking for it. And so after what happened with Jeffrey, I suffered in silence, just like I had always kind of done,” she said. In 2002, Helm had moved to California from Ohio and was attending a massage therapy school, positive of a bright future. It became even more exciting when a fellow student, a year ahead of her, approached her about an opportunity for a traveling massage therapist job. Helm was interested and was connected with another young woman, whom she subsequently met at Santa Monica to discuss the potential job. “We looked similar, we were at a similar age, so I connected with her,” Helm said. “I never felt like anything she was saying to me wasn’t legitimate, or I never felt fearful.” Teresa Helm at age 21. (Courtesy of Teresa Helm) Helm said the woman painted a phenomenal picture of what life would be like as “Miss Maxwell’s” personal traveling massage therapist—private jets, top chefs, access to the best education all over the world. “So I’d say that she did her job very well. Because in an hour or so of walking around the boardwalk, I was like, ‘Wow. This is really great. I’m so lucky, this is meant to be.'” Wanting to grasp the incredible opportunity, Helm told the woman she was interested, and was informed that she’d need to fly to New York City and meet Maxwell for the final interview. Two weeks later, Helm’s travel to New York City had been arranged—flights, driver, an Upper East Side apartment to stay in, a gift basket waiting. “I go meet with Miss Maxwell. I was expecting to give a massage because that’s what the interview was pertaining to. And everything with Ghislaine Maxwell was legitimate and pleasant, and she was very polite. Her home was stunning,” Helm said. “I was super impressed with her because she’s this very well-spoken woman, and she’s clearly successful because of her beautiful home, and she has photos on the wall of ex-president Bill Clinton. And I’m thinking: ‘Wow, she’s really something special, she’s worked hard. She’s accomplished a lot in her life.'” Helm spent a couple of hours in the home before Maxwell told her she was next going to meet up with Maxwell’s partner, Jeffrey. It was the first time Helm had heard of a partner, but nothing had indicated she should feel alarmed or that she was in any kind of danger. Any red flags, she realized in hindsight, had been easily normalized and explained away. Even when Maxwell told her to “give Jeffrey whatever he wants” during his massage because he “always gets what he wants,” Helm thought Maxwell clearly must mean, “Do a good job, because he’s had a lot of professional massages.” “Because of my trust with [Maxwell]—she was able to create that trusting bond within me in a matter of hours—I literally walked myself to the man of the house who was going to assault me,” Helm said. “I took myself there, because those three women did their job perfectly well and I didn’t suspect a darn thing. When I look back at the fact that three women set me up to be assaulted, it’s just disgusting. It’s a different level of betrayal.” Helm said Epstein sexually assaulted her in his office during the interview and threatened her as she ran out of the house, her world shaking and head spinning. Shocked to the core and full of shame, Helm returned to California the following day. (Photo and illustration by The Epoch Times) “The shame was overwhelming, it was paralyzing,” she recalled. “I was just so ashamed to say anything.” Her life spiraled down, and three months later she broke her lease, dropped out of school, and returned to Ohio. For the next five years, Helm fell into a destructive pattern. But just weeks before her 28th birthday, she found out she was pregnant, and life shifted again—this time toward the positive. “That’s what really saved my life and turned my life around,” she said. “It was the first time I really valued myself. It was like that sense of purpose. And knowing that I was going to protect my child the way that I was never protected. “Then after having him, I was so honored to be his mom. And then it really actually dug up, it was like, almost hatred toward my mom and Jeffrey. That first year of my son’s life was a lot of emotional processing for me. And I just wanted to kind of remove myself from the world and just be a mom. And that’s what I did.” Helm’s son has just turned 14, and she also has a daughter who is 7. She is the full-time caregiver for both. ‘The World Shifted’ Helm, who had moved to Florida, was folding laundry one Thursday evening in July 2019 when she went online and saw a headline about Epstein after he’d been arrested for sex trafficking. She clicked the link to open the article and came face-to-face with her abuser. In that instant, she realized “Jeffrey” was Epstein. Stunned, she sat down and googled Ghislaine Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein. “It was life changing, just in that moment. It was like retraumatization, No. 1. No. 2, it was like the world shifted and changed all over again. It’s been different ever since that moment, like the world changed yet again, in that moment and it has not gone back. Nor will it,” Helm said. “Because I didn’t know there were others. I didn’t know that this was this huge thing with these people.” The following day, after a regular yoga class, Helm sat in her car and sobbed as the emotions swirled. She decided it was time to break her silence. The opportunity to speak out presented itself quickly. Epstein was found dead in his cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center on Aug. 10, 2019, one month after his arrest. A medical examiner ruled it a suicide by hanging nine days later. The New York judge, Richard Berman, would be forced to dismiss the charges against Epstein—which included the sex trafficking of dozens of minors from as early as 1995—but not before he allowed survivors to speak. Twenty-three women spoke in the courthouse on Aug. 27 about being sexually abused by Epstein, either in person or through a lawyer. “I’m coming forward because it is time to bring light to that darkness, and it’s time to replace that darkness with light,” Helm said that day. She had only decided that morning to speak out and use her name publicly. Another survivor, “Jane Doe 9,” said she was 15 when she met Epstein, in 2004. “I flew on Jeffrey Epstein’s plane to Zorro Ranch, where I was sexually molested by him for many hours.” she said through a lawyer. “What I remember most vividly was him explaining to me how beneficial the experience was for me and how much he was helping me to grow. Yikes.” Epstein’s Zorro Ranch is in New Mexico. He also owned multimillion dollar properties in New York, Florida, and France, and his own islands in the Caribbean, Little St. James Island and Great St. James Island. Epstein has been linked with a veritable who’s who of the fashion and political worlds. Attorney Gloria Allred (R) and her client Teala Davies, who claims to have been a victim of sexual abuse by Jeffrey Epstein when she was a minor, at a press conference to announce a lawsuit against Epstein’s estate, in New York on Nov. 21, 2019. (TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images) Chauntae Davies also spoke in the courtroom. She said she was recruited by Maxwell while doing a massage apprenticeship. “Upon my first meeting her, I wouldn’t know I had been recruited until many years later, when I would read it in a headline,” Davies said. She said Maxwell and Epstein took her in, sent her to school, and gave her a job. “They flew me around the world, introduced me to a world I had only dreamt of and made me feel as though I had become a part of their family—another thing I was desperately searching for,” Davies said. “But on my third or fourth time meeting them, they brought me to Jeffrey’s island for the first time.” Davies said a knock on her door late at night indicated that Epstein was ready for another massage, so she hesitantly went to his villa. As Epstein began his assault on her, Davies said she told him, “No, please stop.” “But that just seemed to excite him more. He continued to rape me, and when he was finished, he hopped off and went to the shower.” Davies said she ran out of the villa, cried herself to sleep, and then spent two weeks in a Los Angeles hospital throwing up from a neurological disorder that manifests into violent vomiting attacks, largely triggered by stress. “Jeffrey’s abuse would continue for the next three years, and I allowed it to continue because I had been taken advantage of my entire life and had been conditioned to just accept it.” A protestor holds up a sign of Jeffrey Epstein in front of the federal courthouse in New York City on July 8, 2019. (Stephanie Keith/Getty Images) Maxwell on Trial Helm had finally broken her silence, and it was a watershed moment. She didn’t get to see Epstein face his charges, but she’s eager to be in court to see Maxwell face hers. FBI agents arrested Maxwell at her New Hampshire estate on July 2, 2020. She has been in a Brooklyn jail since. Bail has been denied several times, with Judge Alison Nathan ruling that she is a flight risk. The trial was originally set for July, but was delayed until Nov. 29 and is expected to last six weeks. Jury selection began on Nov. 16. Maxwell is charged with sex trafficking children, perjury, and the enticement of minors while she was a close associate of Epstein, according to a superseding indictment filed in the Southern District of New York on March 29. “In particular, from at least in or about 1994, up to and including at least in or about 2004, Maxwell assisted, facilitated, and contributed to Jeffrey Epstein’s abuse of minor girls by, among other things, helping Epstein to recruit, groom, and ultimately abuse victims known to Maxwell and Epstein to be under the age of 18,” the indictment alleges. “Moreover, in an effort to conceal her crimes, Maxwell repeatedly lied when questioned about her conduct, including in relation to some of the minor victims described herein, when providing testimony under oath in 2016.” Virginia Giuffre (formerly Virginia Roberts), one of Epstein’s most well-known accusers, claimed in a 2016 deposition that she was directed by Maxwell to have sex with a number of rich and powerful men, including “foreign presidents,” a “well-known” prime minister, and “other world leaders.” None of the men Giuffre named in the documents have been charged, and all have denied the claims. A court officer stands outside a Manhattan courthouse where media have gathered for the arraignment hearing of Ghislaine Maxwell in New York City on July 14, 2020. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images) Maxwell, often described as a British socialite, maintains her innocence on all charges and in a 2016 deposition claimed she had no idea Epstein abused young girls. During the deposition, Maxwell was asked: “Did Jeffrey Epstein have a scheme to recruit underage girls for sexual massages? If you know.” She replied: “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” according to the transcript. “I never saw any inappropriate underage activities with Jeffrey ever.” Maxwell acknowledged that former President Bill Clinton traveled on Epstein’s plane, but denied introducing Britain’s Prince Andrew to underage sex partners. “I’m ready for this trial to start,” Helm said. “I really aim to be there and look at her right in her face, and equally as important is for her to see me.” Helm isn’t named in the indictment and won’t be testifying, but that doesn’t matter. “I’m hopeful that there will be justice in this, that she will finally be held accountable and finally be sentenced for crimes that she has committed and for the lives that she has just willingly stepped in and ruined. This is a woman that changed the entire trajectory of my life and not for the better.” Helm said she hopes Maxwell is found guilty on all charges and receives the maximum penalties. “I don’t think for a moment that she deserves to be on the outside of a jail cell,” she said. “I and other girls, we’re on the outside of these bars, and yet we haven’t fully regained our freedom back. So I hope she gets the maximum sentence. She doesn’t deserve any less than that.” Helm said she often gets asked if she thinks Epstein’s death means Maxwell is now a scapegoat and is being punished for his crimes. “No, I do not. She knew what she was doing. She didn’t think twice about doing it. She did it countless times. She did it … very masterfully, very successfully,” she said. “You don’t help facilitate and run and orchestrate one of the largest sex trafficking rings on this globe, on this earth, without knowing what you’re doing and intentionally doing it.” An exterior view of the Metropolitan Detention Center in New York City on July 14, 2020. (Arturo Holmes/Getty Images) The indictment alleges that Maxwell befriended some of Epstein’s minor victims prior to their abuse, including by asking the victims about their lives, their schools, and their families. Other times, Maxwell and Epstein would take the victim shopping or to the movies, or pay travel or education expenses. “Having developed a rapport with a victim, Maxwell would try to normalize sexual abuse for a minor victim by, among other things, discussing sexual topics, undressing in front of the victim, being present when a minor victim was undressed, and/or being present for sex acts involving the minor victim and Epstein,” the court document states. The indictment goes on to say that in order to “maintain and increase his supply of victims,” Epstein, Maxwell, and other Epstein employees also paid certain victims to recruit additional girls to be similarly abused by Epstein. Helm said she has tried to understand what would cause a woman such as Ghislaine to intentionally set girls up to be forever traumatized. She said she has read how Ghislaine lost her father, whom she was very close to, and met Epstein not long afterwards. Helm said she lost her own father unexpectedly almost seven years ago. “I still to this very day miss him incredibly, and I am not out there hurting people,” she said. “There’s no grievance, or there’s no tragedy that justifies you turning around becoming literally a monster.” Maxwell’s lawyers didn’t respond to a request for comment by Insight. Epstein avoided criminal charges for years, raising questions about being protected by the rich and powerful. In September 2007, he entered into a nonprosecution agreement that gave him immunity against prosecution for numerous federal sex crimes in the Southern District of Florida. As part of the deal, in 2008, Epstein ultimately pled guilty to state charges of procuring a minor for prostitution and was registered as a sex offender. He spent 13 months in jail but was granted work release for 12 hours a day, six days a week. The Grooming Process Grooming and recruitment are critical steps in the sex trafficking industry. “If you don’t have a successful grooming process, you don’t have the abuse, because it just doesn’t make it that far,” Helm said. Jennifer Hill, assistant executive director of the Children’s Assessment Center in Houston, said her organization sees 5,000 children a year who’ve been sexually abused, both by family members or through trafficking. And that’s just the children who have spoken up. “I think most people never, ever tell. And that’s what’s tragic,” she said. Hill said it’s hard to discern how many children don’t report abuse, but statistics show that 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually abused before they’re 18. Common events—the divorce of parents, a breakup, bullying, or the death of a family member—can all make a child vulnerable. Many trafficked children come from the foster care system. But sexual abuse is the most common source of vulnerability for sex-trafficked children—70 to 90 percent of these children have a history of sexual abuse, according to anti-trafficking organization Path2Freedom. Hill said the grooming and recruitment process takes different forms, but involves getting access to the intended victim and gaining their trust so that eventually they’ll be willing to listen to that person, and that person has some control over their behavior. For children, it can include buying gifts, listening to their problems, or helping them in some way. These days, a lot of grooming occurs online through messaging apps or social media and gaming platforms. Post-abuse, children can be threatened to stay silent. Hill said she hopes the Maxwell trial will spur other victims of trafficking and sexual abuse to come forward. As a former prosecutor of child sex abuse cases, she said a lot of abusers are teachers or trusted adults in the community, which can be intimidating for victims. Her organization conducts awareness trainings for law enforcement, medical professionals, mental health professionals, teachers, and the community on recognizing and reporting trafficking. Helm said so many lessons can be taken from the Maxwell case, “like the fact that it can be a woman.” “That woman groomed me precisely well, beautifully. And that grooming process is so crucial for parents to identify that this is what’s happening to their children. Or for a child to think I think this might be happening to me. Because that grooming process is such a transfer of power [and] a gatekeeper to the abuse.” During 2019, the National Human Trafficking hotline received reports of 11,500 human trafficking cases, representing more than 22,000 victims. California, Texas, and Florida are identified as the worst three states for human trafficking. In Texas alone, more than 79,000 children are being trafficked for sex, according to a study by the University of Texas at Austin. “There’s not one single zip code in this nation, not one that is exempt from trafficking,” Helm said. “It happens in the wealthiest of the wealthiest, to the most impoverished, and everything in between. It has exploded online.” A residence belonging to Jeffrey Epstein on East 71st St. on the Upper East Side of Manhattan in New York City on July 8, 2019. (Kevin Hagen/Getty Images) The Threat Online Fifty-five percent of domestic sex-trafficking survivors who entered the life in 2015 or later met their trafficker for the first time using a mobile app, website, or text, said Tammy Toney-Butler, an anti-human trafficking consultant for Path2Freedom. Predators ramped up their sexual enticement of minors and the posting of child sexual abuse material as schools closed and kids worked online from home in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). The number of reports of online child sexual abuse materials reported to the NCMEC during the first six months of 2020 surged 90 percent to more than 12 million, the center reported. Reports of predators enticing minors went up 93 percent to more than 13,200. Facebook was used for most (59 percent) of the online recruitment in active sex trafficking cases in 2020, according to the Human Trafficking Institute’s annual trafficking report. That makes Facebook “by far the most frequently referenced website or app in public sources connected with these prosecutions, which was also true in 2019,” the report found. In June, the Texas Supreme Court ruled that Facebook could be held liable if sex traffickers use the platform to prey on children, arguing the social media website isn’t a “lawless no-man’s-land.” The ruling was made following three Houston-area lawsuits involving teenage trafficking victims who alleged that they met their abusers through Facebook’s messaging service. Prosecutors also said that Facebook was negligent by not doing more to block sex traffickers from using the site. The court said the victims can move forward with their lawsuits against Facebook. They claimed that the company violated the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code, which was approved in 2009. Toney-Butler said the income traffickers can make from one victim can be close to $400,000 a year, and survivors have reported being forced to have sex more than 20 times a day while being six to seven months pregnant. And once a woman is over 18, she’s often seen by society as “a drug-addicted prostitute” rather than a victim of sex trafficking, she said. A child, after being pulled into sex trafficking, “only lives for seven years before they succumb to the environment,” Toney-Butler said. Suicide, drug overdose, and violence are often the killers. Teresa Helm (R) with three other sex-trafficking survivors, (L–R) Cathy Hoffman, Sabrina Lopez, and Nissi Hamilton, in Houston on April 24. (Kathleen O. Ryan) The Future Now 41, Helm is hopeful. Aside from looking after her children, she’s a fierce advocate and mentor to other survivors and a consultant to organizations and politicians to ensure laws and programs are victim-centered. “Helping others is the ultimate payback. That I didn’t completely break forever. I’ve been broken and I have repaired myself stronger,” she said. She referred to the old Japanese art form called kintsukuroi, or “to repair with gold,” which is the practice of repairing broken ceramics with gold, making them stronger and more beautiful than before. “And I definitely kind of view myself as that, in the fact that I can turn around and leverage this pain into purpose and help others—that’s the ultimate thing for me, to be able to be strong enough to go out and help others, help them change their lives, help them recover their lives and recover their power.” For Help The National Human Trafficking Hotline is confidential, toll-free, and available 24/7 in more than 200 languages. Call: 1-888-373-7888 Text: “Help” or “Info” to 233733 Chat: humantraffickinghotline.org Tyler Durden Mon, 11/29/2021 - 23:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedge6 hr. 47 min. ago

I went onboard the largest container ship to ever use an East Coast port and found a visual representation of American spending during the pandemic

The CMA CGM Marco Polo can carry 16,022 twenty-foot-long containers and smashed records during its first trip to the US East Coast. Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.Thomas Pallini/Insider The CMA CGM Marco Polo is the largest container ship to ever call the US East Coast. With a maximum capacity of 16,022 TEUs, Marco Polo is a visual representation of how much Americans purchased during the pandemic.  Larger ships are able to call the Port of New York and New Jersey thanks to recent infrastructure improvements.  Ocean shipping has been thrust into the limelight during the shipping crisis as the public now realizes the critical role of container ships in keeping the world's economy functioning smoothly.Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.Thomas Pallini/InsiderThe backlog of container ships waiting to enter Southern California ports is spreading across the US, as Americans buy more and more goods. And the rising tide of consumerism during the pandemic has lifted all ports, including those on the US East Coast.Touring the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.Thomas Pallini/InsiderWe chartered a boat with a logistics expert to look at port congestion up close and saw how American greed is leading to shortages and empty shelvesIn May, the CMA CGM Marco Polo became the largest ship to ever call the East Coast. The Port of New York and New Jersey was the first American stop on a long voyage from Asia that was previously impossible for a ship of its size.Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.Thomas Pallini/InsiderThe largest container ship to ever visit the East Coast just arrived at the Port of New York and New Jersey: Meet the Marco PoloCMA CGM Marco Polo boasts a maximum capacity of 16,022 twenty-foot-equivalent units, or TEUs for short. One 20-foot container equals one TEU with the larger 40-foot containers equaling two TEUs.Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.Thomas Pallini/InsiderThe Bayonne Bridge guarding Newark Bay only had clearance for 12,500-TEU ships until 2019. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey elevated the roadway connecting Bayonne, New Jersey and Staten Island, New York in a $1.7 billion project to accommodate ships as large as 18,000 TEUs, just in time for the unforeseen pandemic.Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.Thomas Pallini/InsiderIt didn't take long for the ships calling the port to grow larger in size. The 15,072-TEU CMA CGM Brazil arrived at the port in September 2020, soon followed by the Marco Polo in May 2021.Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.Thomas Pallini/InsiderI went inside the East Coast's largest port and saw how a backlog of goods is moved amid never-ending chaos of ships, trucks, and trainsInsider went onboard the CMA CGM Marco Polo while it was docked in New Jersey. Here's what it's like onboard.Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.Thomas Pallini/InsiderA long, narrow gangway is the only way on or off the Marco Polo for anything that isn't a container. It's a long way up as the gangway sways with the weight of people on it.Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.Thomas Pallini/InsiderRegistered in the Bahamas, the CMA CGM Marco Polo is a nine-year-old ship delivered to the Marseille, France-based shipping giant in November 2012.Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.Thomas Pallini/InsiderHallways run the length of the ship's massive tower with rooms on each side.Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.Thomas Pallini/InsiderOur tour began in the ship's office, also known as the cargo office, where we met Captain Zeljko Mioc.Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.Thomas Pallini/InsiderThe Croatian captain has served in the maritime industry for more than 30 years, traversing the globe on container ships. Before that, he worked issuing airplane tickets at an airport.Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.Thomas Pallini/InsiderMarco Polo started this voyage in China, with the crossing via the Suez Canal taking around three weeks with a port call in Halifax, Canada before arriving in New York Harbor.Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.Thomas Pallini/InsiderPassing through the Suez Canal was normal, the crew described, even just a few weeks after the Ever Given had run aground and blocked the path for other ships.Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.Thomas Pallini/InsiderThe next stop was the bridge, located on the top floor of the tower. Luckily, there was an elevator in addition to the main stairwell to take us up.Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.Thomas Pallini/InsiderDirectories identify the areas of interest on each floor, helping the crew find their way around the ship.Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.Thomas Pallini/InsiderLike a hotel, the higher floors of the tower houses the crew bunks and staterooms for the ship’s officers. The higher the floor, the greater the rank of the crewmember.Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.Thomas Pallini/InsiderThe captain and chief engineer reside on "G deck," for example, directly below the bridge.Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.Thomas Pallini/InsiderWith the amount of time the average crewmember spends on the ship, it's likely that they'll soon know its directory by heart.Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.Thomas Pallini/InsiderMany of the rooms contain office-like workspaces with plenty of open space inside.Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.Thomas Pallini/InsiderThe corridors are largely identical but some feature artwork to break up the monotony including a print of Vincent Van Gogh's "The Starry Night."Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.Thomas Pallini/InsiderPosters on the staircase leading up the bridge are also reminiscent of old airline advertisements highlighting exotic locals that this ship visits on a yearly basis.Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.Thomas Pallini/InsiderThe very top floor of the tower is the "navigation deck" which houses the bridge, also known as the wheelhouse, from where the ship is piloted.Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.Thomas Pallini/InsiderViews from the bridge are expansive with a line of sight for miles on a clear day, helping the crew navigate and monitor other ships in their vicinity.Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.Thomas Pallini/InsiderEven the New York City skyline was visible clear as day from the berth around five miles away.Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.Thomas Pallini/InsiderThe navigation deck is the limit for the containers as anything stack higher might impede the crew's line of sight.Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.Thomas Pallini/InsiderA maximum of seven cranes, each taller than the ship itself, serviced the ship during its time in New Jersey.Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.Thomas Pallini/InsiderTrucks wait alongside the ship to receive their containers and then bring them elsewhere in the port where they'll be transferred to tractor-trailers.Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.Thomas Pallini/InsiderLongshoremen sitting 200 feet off of the ground pluck the containers off the ship one by way in a fluid motion that takes a surprisingly short amount of time given their weight.Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.Thomas Pallini/InsiderBack in the bridge, a small steering wheel is tasked with maneuvering the massive ship.Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.Thomas Pallini/InsiderBut unlike in days past, there doesn't always have to be someone with both hands on the wheel.Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.Thomas Pallini/InsiderTrack pilot allows the ship to virtually drive itself, similarly to autopilot on an airplane.Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.Thomas Pallini/InsiderThe bridge is comparable to the cockpit of an airplane and many of the same gestures can be found in both. The difference is that a ship's bridge is around 10 times the size of an average airplane cockpit.Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.Thomas Pallini/InsiderElectronic charts help the crew navigate, just like on modern airplanes. "Before we had paper charts and now everything is electronic," Mioc said.Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.Thomas Pallini/InsiderA black line on the chart shows the ship's path for the past 24 hours. In Marco Polo's case, it arrived in New York Harbor and made a loop around the Statue of Liberty.Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.Thomas Pallini/InsiderOn the side of the screen is a gauge that identifies the wind direction and its speed. Ships the size of the Marco Polo have a wind sail that can affect their course, especially while sitting idle at anchor.Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.Thomas Pallini/InsiderDepth is another important factor since the ship can run aground if the water is too shallow.Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.Thomas Pallini/InsiderEven with the conversion to digital, shelves in the bridge still store paper-bound charts, manuals, and other necessities.Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.Thomas Pallini/InsiderSome charts, like posters, are taped up to the walls for easy reference.Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.Thomas Pallini/InsiderVery high-frequency radios, or VHF radios for short, allow the ship to communicate with others in the immediate area as well as harbor pilots. Ships have come a long way from sending messages via Morse code.Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.Thomas Pallini/InsiderTwo types of radar, H-band and S-band help the Marco Polo avoid other ships, especially in times of poor visibility. S-band is the long-distance radar that helps the ship see beyond just its immediate area while H-band is better for shorter distances.Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.Thomas Pallini/InsiderH-band is also better at receiving distress signals from other vessels and is a maritime requirement. Mioc has never had to attend to a distress call as a captain but did say that he has found himself in "distress situations."Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.Thomas Pallini/InsiderIn the center of the console is a general compass while above is the magnetic compass.Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.Thomas Pallini/InsiderInstruments above the windows also give the pilot key information like engine rotations per minute and the rate of turn.Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.Thomas Pallini/InsiderOnly two crew members are typically in the bridge while the ship is in open ocean, Mioc said.Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.Thomas Pallini/InsiderThe captain, most times, is traversing the ship and checking to see that its operation is running smoothly.Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.Thomas Pallini/InsiderCameras around the ship also let the captain see everything that's going on.Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.Thomas Pallini/InsiderBut while the captain doesn't spend most of his days on the bridge, he will be present during times including periods of bad weather, intense vessel traffic, or maneuvering.Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.Thomas Pallini/InsiderThe bridge also features a small kitchenette with a coffee maker.Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.Thomas Pallini/InsiderAnd just beside the kitchenette is a small dining room-style table.Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.Thomas Pallini/InsiderCrews spend a few days in each port before moving on to the next one, with sea journeys often taking weeks.Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.Thomas Pallini/InsiderAfter New York, the next stop for Marco Polo was Charleston, South Carolina where it also broke records.Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.Thomas Pallini/InsiderThe life of a mariner can be filled with travel but there can be periods of extreme boredom while at sea.Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.Thomas Pallini/InsiderEach mariner has a job to do while on the ship but once workers are off the clock, they're still bound to the ship while it's on the water.Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.Thomas Pallini/InsiderThere is a gymnasium and recreation room on the boat but we didn't have time to see either on the visit.Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.Thomas Pallini/InsiderEast Coast ports have largely been spared from the backlogs affecting those in Southern California. But experts say it's only a matter of time before more ports see lines of ships waiting to enter.Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.Thomas Pallini/Insider"I think we'll see [backlogs] regardless of the coast," Nathan Strang, Flexport's director of ocean trade lane management, told Insider, noting East Coast ports like the Port of Savannah are experiencing backlogs.Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.Thomas Pallini/InsiderMarco Polo's record-breaking voyage to the Port of New York and New Jersey might soon be smashed by an even larger ship.Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.Thomas Pallini/InsiderIt's the new reality in ocean shipping as more and more skyscraper-like ships seek to move hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of containers between continents every day.Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.Thomas Pallini/InsiderRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 26th, 2021

Futures Slide As Dollar Jumps, Yields Rebound Ahead Of Massive Data Dump

Futures Slide As Dollar Jumps, Yields Rebound Ahead Of Massive Data Dump For the third day in a row, US equity futures have been weighed down by rising (real) rates even as traders moderated their expectations for monetary-policy tightening after New Zealand’s measured approach to rate hikes where the central banks hiked rates but not as much as some had expected. Traders also braced for an epic data dump in the US, which includes is an epic data dump which includes an update to Q3 GDP, advance trade balance, initial jobless claims, wholesale and retail inventories, durable goods, personal income and spending, UMich consumer sentiment, new home sales, and the FOMC Minutes The two-year U.S. yield shed two basis points. The dollar extended its rising streak against a basket of peers to a fourth day. At 730am, S&P 500 e-mini futures dropped 0.3%, just off session lows, while Nasdaq futures dropping 0.34%. In premarket trading, Nordstrom sank 27% after the Seattle-based retailer posted third-quarter results featuring what Citi called a big earnings per share miss. The company reported higher labor and fulfillment costs in the third quarter while sales remained stubbornly below pre-pandemic levels and profit missed analyst estimates. Telecom Italia SpA surged in Europe on enhanced takeover interest. Oil prices fluctuated as producers and major consuming nations headed for a confrontation. Other notable premarket movers: Gap (GPS US) sank 20% premarket after the clothing retailer reported quarterly results that missed estimates and cut its net sales forecast for the full year. Analysts lowered their price targets. Nordstrom (JWN US) tumbles 27% in premarket after the Seattle-based retailer posted third-quarter results featuring what Citi called a big earnings per share miss. Jefferies, meanwhile, downgrades the stock to hold from buy as transformation costs are rising. Guess (GES US) posted quarterly results which analysts say included impressive sales and margins, and showed the company navigating supply-chain issues successfully. The shares closed 9.2% higher in U.S. postmarket trading. HP (HPQ US) shares are up 8.4% in premarket after quarterly results. Analysts note strong demand and pricing in the personal computer market. Meme stocks were mixed in premarket after tumbling the most since June on Tuesday as investors bailed out of riskier assets. Anaplan (PLAN US) slides 18% in premarket as a narrower-than-expected quarterly loss wasn’t enough to stem a downward trend. Analysts slashed price targets. Autodesk (ADSK US) shares slump 14% in premarket after the building software maker narrowed its full-year outlook. Analysts are concerned that issues with supply chains and the pandemic could impact its targets for 2023. GoHealth (GOCO US) gained 8.4% in postmarket trading after the insurer’s CEO and chief strategy officer added to their holdings. As Bloomberg notes, investors are on the edge as they face a wall of worry from a resurgence of Covid-19 in Europe to signs of persistent consumer-price growth. Damping inflation is now center-stage for policy makers, with ultra-loose, pandemic-era stimulus set to be wound down. The slew of U.S. data as well as Federal Reserve minutes due today may provide the next catalysts for market moves. In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index erased earlier gains of up to 0.4% to trade down -0.1%, with tech and travel and leisure leading declines. Miners gained 0.8%, tracking higher copper prices on easing concerns over Chinese demand, while travel stocks slid over 1% on prospects of harsher travel curbs: Italy and France are debating new measures to cope with Covid’s resurgence while Germany isn’t ruling out fresh curbs. Oil stocks rose 1.2%, set for their biggest jump in over a month, with crude prices inching higher as investors remained sceptical about the effectiveness of a U.S.-led release of oil from strategic reserves. Here are some of the most notable European equity movers: Mulberry shares surge as much as 24%, the most since March 12, after the U.K. luxury company swung to a 1H profit from a year earlier and reported an increase in sales. Telecom Italia shares rise as much as 10% following a Bloomberg report that KKR is considering to raise its offer for the company after top investor Vivendi said the bid was too low. However, the stock is still trading below the initial non-binding offer from KKR. Golden Ocean gains as much as 9.6%, most since Feb., after earnings. DNB says “Golden Ocean delivered solid Q3 results” and adds “Furthermore, guidance for Q4 should lift consensus estimates and solidify further dividend potential in our view.” Intertek shares gain as much as 6.7%, the most since May 2020, after the company issued a trading update. UBS says the company’s accelerating momentum and reiterated targets are “reassuring.” Aegon shares rise as much as 5.5% after Credit Suisse upgraded its recommendation to outperform from neutral and raised the PT to EU5.30 from EU4.00. IQE shares slump as much as 21% for the biggest intraday drop since March 2020, falling to their lowest level since June 2020 after the semiconductor company said it sees softening demand in 4Q. Genus shares fall as much 15% after the animal genetics firm lowered its FY22 earnings guidance, leading Peel Hunt and Liberum to cut estimates. European stocks are on course for weekly losses, as the return of COVID-19 curbs, rate hike and inflation concerns sparked fears of a weaker economic growth outlook. "There's a two-way pull between macro concerns and what's happening bottoms-up in terms of corporate profits," said Nick Nelson, head of European equity strategy at UBS, adding that while the third quarter has been one of the decade's best reporting seasons for Europe, macro concerns such as a rise in U.S. bond yields and COVID-19 cases have been holding stocks back. Earlier in the session, Asian equities declined, on track for a third-straight session of losses, as higher U.S. Treasury yields continued to weigh on technology stocks in the region. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index slid as much as 0.6%, with Japan stocks leading losses as traders returned from a holiday to access the prospect of tighter U.S. monetary policy to curb inflation. TSMC and Tencent were among the biggest drags on the regional gauge. READ: Samsung Plans $17 Billion Texas Chip Plant, Creating 2,000 Jobs The renomination of Jerome Powell as Federal Reserve chair earlier this week has sent U.S. 10-year Treasury yields to about levels near 1.65%, implying higher borrowing costs. That’s adding to concerns about weak earnings growth in Asia as well as ongoing supply-chain constraints. Investors will now turn their attention to U.S. gross domestic product data and FOMC minutes due out after Asian markets close Wednesday.  “A cautious tone may still seem to prevail for now,” Jun Rong Yeap, a market strategist at IG Asia, said in a note. “Markets continue to shift their expectations towards a tighter Fed monetary policy.” New Zealand’s stock gauge added 0.6% after the central bank raised interest rates by 25 basis points, less than the 50 points that some economists had predicted. Singapore authorities, meanwhile, expect gross domestic product to expand 3% to 5% next year, a slower pace than this year as the country rebounds from the pandemic. Indian stocks fell ahead of the November monthly expiry on Thursday, led by technology companies. The S&P BSE Sensex slipped 0.6% to 58,340.99 in Mumbai to close at its lowest level in two months. The gauge gained 0.3% on Tuesday, snapping four sessions of selloff.   The NSE Nifty 50 Index declined 0.5% on Wednesday, reversing intraday gains of as much as 0.6%. Software exporter Infosys Ltd. was the biggest drag on both gauges and slipped more than 2%. Of the 30 shares in the Sensex, 21 dropped and nine rose.  Investors roll over positions ahead of the expiry of derivatives contracts on the last Thursday of every month. Fourteen of 19 sub-indexes compiled by BSE Ltd. fell, led by a measure of IT companies. “The scheduled monthly expiry would keep the traders busy on Thursday,” Ajit Mishra, vice president research at Religare Broking Ltd. wrote in a note. “We suggest continuing with negative bias on the index while keeping a check on leveraged positions.” In Fx, the most notable movers was the drop in the kiwi: New Zealand’s currency ironically slid to the weakest in nearly two months and the nation’s bond rallied as the central bank’s 25 basis-point rate hike disappointed traders betting on a bigger increase. The central bank projected 2% benchmark borrowing costs by the end of 2022. The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index advanced a fourth consecutive day as the greenback gained versus all Group-of-10 peers apart from the yen, which reversed its losses after falling to the lowest since March 2017. The euro underperformed, nearing the $1.12 handle amid broad dollar strength even before data showing German business confidence took another hit in November and amid renewed fears that Germany may be considering a full lockdown and mandatory vaccines. RBNZ Governor Adrian Orr said policy makers considered a 50bps move before deciding on 25bps, and he sees the OCR climbing to around 2.5% by end-2023.  Elsewhere, Turkey’s lira stabilized after Tuesday’s plunge. MSCI’s gauge of emerging-market stocks edged lower for a sixth session.   In rates, Treasuries were richer by 1bp to 2bp across the curve, paced by European bonds ahead of a raft of U.S. data preceding Thursday’s market close. 10-year Treasury yields were richer by ~1bp on the day at around 1.655%, slightly trailing bunds; most curve spreads are within a basis point of Tuesday’s close with comparable shifts across tenors. During Asia session, Treasuries were supported by wider gains across Kiwi bonds after RBNZ hiked policy rates, but still erred on the dovish side. Bunds remain supported during European morning as haven demand stems from prospect of a nationwide German lockdown. Italian bonds snapped a two-day decline. In commodities, oil futures in New York swung between gains and losses following an announcement by the U.S. and other nations of a coordinated release of strategic reserves. Focus now turns to OPEC+ on how the group will respond to the moves. The alliance has already said that such releases were unjustified by market conditions and it may reconsider plans to add more supply at a meeting next week. Base metals are well bid with LME nickel adding over 2% to outperform peers. LME copper rises over 1% to best levels for the week. Crude futures fade a modest push higher fading after a brief push through Tuesday’s best levels. WTI trades flat, having briefly printed above $79; Brent prints highs of $83 before fading. Spot gold holds a narrow range close to $1,790/oz To the day ahead now, and there’s a significant amount of US data ahead of tomorrow’s Thanksgiving holiday. That includes the weekly initial jobless claims, the second estimate of Q3 GDP, October’s personal income and personal spending, new home sales, and the preliminary October readings for durable goods orders and core capital goods orders. Over in Germany, there’s also the Ifo’s business climate indicator for November. Finally on the central bank side, there’s the release of the FOMC’s November meeting minutes, and speakers include the ECB’s Panetta and Schnabel, and the BoE’s Tenreyro. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures down 0.1% to 4,683.50 STOXX Europe 600 up 0.3% to 480.66 MXAP down 0.5% to 196.76 MXAPJ down 0.1% to 643.18 Nikkei down 1.6% to 29,302.66 Topix down 1.2% to 2,019.12 Hang Seng Index up 0.1% to 24,685.50 Shanghai Composite up 0.1% to 3,592.70 Sensex down 0.3% to 58,499.84 Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.2% to 7,399.44 Kospi down 0.1% to 2,994.29 Brent Futures up 0.4% to $82.63/bbl Gold spot up 0.1% to $1,791.37 U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 96.57 German 10Y yield little changed at -0.22% Euro down 0.2% to $1.1231 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg Olaf Scholz is set to succeed Angela Merkel as German chancellor after forging an unprecedented alliance that aims to revamp Europe’s largest economy by tackling climate change and promoting digital technologies The European Commission is set to announce the recommendations for the entire EU as soon as Thursday, Politico’s Playbook newsletter reported, citing three unidentified officials and diplomats Italy’s government is debating tough new measures to stem an increase in coronavirus cases, which could include restrictions on unvaccinated people and be approved as soon as Wednesday The ECB’s pandemic purchasing program may enter a “waiting room” rather than be abolished completely once net purchases are set to end in March, Governing Council member Robert Holzmann said at briefing in Vienna The U.K.’s biggest business lobby group has urged Prime Minister Boris Johnson to back down in its dispute with the European Union over Northern Ireland and not follow through with threats to suspend parts of the Brexit divorce deal Polish central bank Governor Adam Glapinski said further weakening of the zloty wouldn’t be consistent with the country’s economic fundamentals, helping lift the embattled currency from 12-year lows The supply crunch that’s helped drive inflation to multi- decade highs shows some signs of easing in the U.S. -- but it’s still getting worse in Europe. That’s the takeaway from the latest readings on Bloomberg Economics’ new set of supply indicators The unraveling of the Turkish lira threatens to erode Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s grasp on the economy and is already emboldening his political opponents. Small protests erupted in Istanbul and Ankara overnight, calling for an end to economic mismanagement that’s unleashed rapid inflation and triggered the currency’s longest losing streak in two decades A more detailed breakdown of global news courtesy of newsquawk Asia-Pac equity indices were mixed following the choppy performance of their US counterparts where energy rallied despite the SPR announcement and tech lagged as yields continued to gain, with the latest RBNZ rate hike, as well as looming FOMC Minutes and US data releases adding to the tentative mood. ASX 200 (-0.2%) was rangebound with the index subdued by losses in tech and gold miners which suffered from the rising yield environment, but with downside cushioned by strength in the largest weighted financials sector and with outperformance in energy after oil prices rallied in the aftermath of the widely anticipated SPR announcement. The strength in oil was attributed to several reasons including a “sell the rumour/buy the news” play and expectations of a response from OPEC+, while an administration official kept the prospect of an oil export ban on the table which is seen as bullish as it would remove US supply from the global market. Nikkei 225 (-1.6%) was the laggard on return from holiday amid flows into the local currency and with reports also suggesting the BoJ is considering tweaking its pandemic relief program. Hang Seng (+0.1%) and Shanghai Comp. (+0.1%) swung between gains and losses with early indecision due to the broad tech weakness tech which was not helped by reports that Chinese cyberspace regulators and police summoned Alibaba (9988 HK) and Baidu’s (9888 HK) cloud unit for telecoms network fraud, although the losses for Chinese bourses were eventually reversed amid gains in the energy heavyweights and after a mild PBoC liquidity injection. Finally, 10yr JGBs opened lower on spillover selling from global peers but gradually pared some of the losses after rebounding from support at 151.50 and with the BoJ in the market for nearly JPY 1.5tln of JGBs with up to 10yr maturities. Top Asian News Shinsei Drops Poison Pill Against SBI in Japan Takeover Saga Morgan Stanley to Repay Hong Kong Staff $5,100 for Quarantine KKR, Equinix Among Suitors for $11 Billion Global Switch Japan to Issue $192 Billion in Debt for Stimulus: Nikkei European equities attempted to claw back some of the week’s losses (Euro Stoxx 50 -0.2%; Stoxx 600 -0.2%) at the open with Monday and Tuesday’s session dominated by ongoing COVID angst in the region. Lockdown measures were enough to see investors shrug off yesterday’s better-than-expected PMI metrics for the Eurozone with today’s slightly softer than hoped for German Ifo report having little sway on price action. Despite the upside seen at the open, optimism has faded throughout the session as speculation mounts over whether the announcement of the German coalition deal (set to be unveiled at 14:00GMT) could prompt further lockdown measures for the nation. Furthermore, reports note that the Italian government is debating potential restrictions on the unvaccinated; measures could be approved as soon as today. On a more positive footing French Finance Minister Le Maire says at the moment he does not see any need for further COVID-related restrictions in France. However, it remains to be seen how long this viewpoint can be sustained. Stateside, futures are a touch softer with losses across the majors of a relatively equal magnitude (ES -0.1%) in the final full session of the week ahead of the Thanksgiving Holiday. Given the shortened week, today sees a deluge of data from the US with releases including key personal income, spending and PCE data for October, a second look at Q3 GDP, final Michigan consumer sentiment data, as well as weekly jobless claims and energy inventory data. All of which is followed by the FOMC minutes from the November meeting. In a recent note, BNP Paribas stated it is of the view that equities will go on to provide the highest returns across asset classes in 2022 with the French bank targeting 5100 (currently 4690) for the S&P 500 by the end of next year. From a European perspective, BNP expects the Euro Stoxx 50 to close 2022 out at 4500 (currently 4300) with the market “too pessimistic” on margins; albeit the Bank concedes that the resurgence of COVID presents a risk to its view. Sectors in Europe are mostly constructive with Oil & Gas and Basic Resources underpinned by gains in the underlying commodities with the former continuing to garner support post-yesterday’s SPR announcement. The Travel & Leisure sector lags peers with the Travel element of the group hampered by reports that the European Commission is preparing new COVID travel recommendations for the whole of the EU. For Leisure names, Entain (-5.0%) and Flutter Entertainment (-3.0%) have been hit by news that over 160 UK MPs and peers are said to be demanding that online gambling limits are lowered. Finally, Telecom Italia (+9.7%) is the best performer in the Stoxx 600 after source reports suggesting that KKR is considering a higher bid for the Co. in an attempt to win over support from Vivendi.   Top European News Scholz Seals Coalition Deal to Become Next German Chancellor Italy Readies Curbs on the Unvaccinated as Covid Cases Rise Booking Agrees to Buy CVC’s Etraveli for About EU1.63b Orange CEO Convicted in $453 Million Arbitration Fraud Case In FX, the Dollar index has gained traction and continued its gains above 96.500+ status in early European hours before eclipsing resistance at 96.700 to a fresh YTD peak at 96.758, with US players also preparing to wind down for the long weekend. Before that, the Buck will be facing a plethora of Tier 1 US data, including Prelim GDP (Q3), weekly Jobless Claims, and monthly PCE in the run-up to the FOMC Minutes – which will be eyed for clues on what could warrant an adjustment of the pace of tapering (Full preview available in the Newsquawk Research Suite). On the downside, immediate support will likely be at yesterday’s 96.308 low before this week’s current 96.035 trough. In terms of early month-end FX flows (on account of the holiday-shortened week), Morgan Stanley’s model points towards USD weakness against most G10 peers. EUR, GBP - The single currency dipped a 16-month low just before the release of the German Ifo survey, which unsurprisingly voiced cautiousness against the backdrop of COVID and supply chain issues – with Ifo forecasting a growth stagnation this current quarter, whilst ING believe that today’s Ifo signals that “The risk of stagnation or even recession in the German economy at the turn of the year has clearly increased.” The currency came under further pressure in what coincided with reports that Germany is mulling a full COVID lockdown and mandatory vaccinations, although the piece failed to cite any sources nor officials and seemed to be more an extrapolation of recent remarks from the German Health Minister. EUR/USD fell through pivotal support at 1.1210 to a current low at 1.1206 ahead of 1.1200. Traders should also be cognizant of several chunky OpEx clips including EUR 1.3bln between 1.1195-1.1200. Ahead, the SPD, Greens and FDP set to unveil their coalition deal at 14:00GMT. ECB speak today include from the likes Schnabel after Panetta and Holzmann failed to spur action across EU assets. Elsewhere, the GBP/USD is flat intraday and saw little reaction to BoE Governor Bailey yesterday, suggesting he does not think the MPC will go back to a hard form of guidance and stated that it is not off the table that they give no guidance at all on rates. Bailey also stated that decisions are made meeting by meeting and that they have a very tight labour market. From a political standpoint, European Commission VP Sefcovic said EU-UK talks on Northern Ireland trade rules will probably drag into 2022. Cable remains within a 1.3353-89 range whilst EUR/GBP trades on either side of 0.8400. Looking ahead, BoE’s Tenreyro speaking at the Oxford Economics Society – with early-Nov commentary from the MPC member suggesting that monetary policy will have to bite if there are signs of second-round inflation effects, but policy cannot fix energy price spikes. NZD, AUD - The Kiwi stands as the G10 laggard following a dovish 25bps hike by the RBNZ, with the board citing optionality. Desks suggest that FX was clearly gearing for a hawkish surprise from the central bank, with markets pricing some 35% of a 50bps hike heading into the meeting given the inflation survey earlier this month. Money markets were also disappointed, with participants flagging that the 2yr swap fell over 15bps despite the RBNZ upping its 2023 OCR forecast to 2.3% (prev. 1.7%). NZD/USD fell further beneath the 0.7000 mark to a current 0.6957 low. AUD meanwhile sees its losses cushioned from another day of firm gains in iron ore, whilst cross-currency flows help the AUD/NZD test 1.0450 to the upside. Nonetheless, the cautious market mood keeps AUD/USD around the flat mark after the pair found support at 0.7200. JPY - The traditional haven outperforms as risk aversion creeps into the market. USD/JPY pivots the 115.00 market after hitting an overnight high of 115.23. Some desks suggest that offers are seen from 115.30 on Wednesday, with more around the 115.50 area, according to IFR citing Tokyo sources. In terms of notable OpEx, USD/JPY sees USD 1.7bln between 115.00-10. In commodities, WTI and Brent Jan futures consolidate following yesterday’s gains post-SPR announcement. The release disappointed the oil bears given the widely telegraphed nature of the announcement coupled with relatively small contributions from members. Desks have also highlighted that the reserves will need to be replenished at some time in the future, and thus, analysts have passed the effects from the SPR release as temporary; although, cautioning that if the desired impact is not achieved, then further action can be taken – with a temporary export ban still on the table. Meanwhile, on the demand side, futures dipped after CNBC reported that Germany could head into a full lockdown, but the piece did not make a mention of officials nor sources but seemed to be more an extrapolation of recent comments from the Germany Health Minister, with an announcement on this matter potentially to come today. Further, tomorrow could see revised travel guidance for the whole of the EU, according to Politico sources, although "The biggest overall change will be a move away from a country-based approach and to a person-based one, which takes into account a citizen’s individual COVID status." Despite this month’s European COVID developments, JPMorgan sees global oil demand growing by another 3.5mln BPD next year to reach 99.8mln BPD (280k BPD above 2019 level); 2023 demand is expected to average around 101.5mln BPD (1.9mln BPD above pre-COVID levels) and suggested that global oil demand is on track to exceed 2019 levels by March 2022 and strengthen further. As a reminder, next week also sees the OPEC+ meeting whereby the group is expected to continue with plans of monthly output increases of 400k BPD, with a risk of a more dovish decision and/or commentary. WTI Jan trades around USD 78.50/bbl (vs high 79.23/bbl) and Brent Jan around USD 82.25/bbl (vs high 83.00/bbl). Elsewhere, spot gold is interestingly unfazed by the rampant Dollar as prices remain caged within a cluster of DMAs (100 around 1,793, 200 around 1,791 and 50 around 1,788). Copper prices are again on the grind higher with LME around USD 9,800/t at the time of writing – with participants citing underlying demand, particularly from China. US Event Calendar 8:30am: 3Q GDP Annualized QoQ, est. 2.2%, prior 2.0% 8:30am: 3Q GDP Price Index, est. 5.7%, prior 5.7% 8:30am: 3Q PCE Core QoQ, est. 4.5%, prior 4.5% 8:30am: 3Q Personal Consumption, est. 1.6%, prior 1.6% 8:30am: Oct. Durable Goods Orders, est. 0.2%, prior -0.3% 8:30am: Oct. Cap Goods Orders Nondef Ex Air, est. 0.5%, prior 0.8%; - Less Transportation, est. 0.5%, prior 0.5% 8:30am: Oct. Cap Goods Ship Nondef Ex Air, est. 0.5%, prior 1.4% 8:30am: Oct. Retail Inventories MoM, est. 0.3%, prior -0.2%; Wholesale Inventories MoM, est. 1.0%, prior 1.4% 8:30am: Oct. Advance Goods Trade Balance, est. - $95b, prior -$96.3b 8:30am: Nov. Initial Jobless Claims, est. 260,000, prior 268,000; Continuing Claims, est. 2.03m, prior 2.08m 9:45am: Nov. Langer Consumer Comfort, prior 50.7 10am: Oct. Personal Income, est. 0.2%, prior -1.0%; 10am: Oct. Personal Spending, est. 1.0%, prior 0.6% 10am: Oct. Real Personal Spending, est. 0.6%, prior 0.3% 10am: Oct. New Home Sales, est. 800,000, prior 800,000 10am: Oct. New Home Sales MoM, est. 0%, prior 14.0% 10am: Oct. PCE Deflator MoM, est. 0.7%, prior 0.3% 10am: Oct. PCE Core Deflator MoM, est. 0.4%, prior 0.2% 10am: Oct. PCE Deflator YoY, est. 5.1%, prior 4.4% 10am: Oct. PCE Core Deflator YoY, est. 4.1%, prior 3.6% 10am: Nov. U. of Mich. Sentiment, est. 67.0, prior 66.8 10am: Nov. U. of Mich. 5-10 Yr Inflation, prior 2.9% 10am: Nov. U. of Mich. 1 Yr Inflation, prior 4.9% 10am: Nov. U. of Mich. Current Conditions, prior 73.2 10am: Nov. U. of Mich. Expectations, prior 62.8 2pm: Nov. FOMC Meeting Minutes DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap We’ve had a number of requests to bring back our Covid tables in the EMR. At the moment I’m resisting as they take a considerable amount of time. While we work out an efficient form of articulating the current wave on a daily basis, in today’s EMR we show graphs of the daily rolling 7-day cases and fatalities per million in the population for the G7. We’ve also included Austria, given how topical that is, and also The Netherlands, given mounting problems there. These act as a useful reference point for some of the more stressed countries. The cases chart should be in the text below and the fatalities one visible when you click “view report”. Germany is probably the main one to watch in the G7 at the moment and overnight reported 66,884 new cases (a record) compared with 45,362 the day before. A reminder that yesterday we published our 2022 credit strategy outlook. See here for the full report. Craig has also put out a more detailed HY 2022 strategy document here and Karthik a more detailed IG equivalent here. Basically we think spreads will widen as much as 30-40bps in IG and 120-160bps in HY due to a response to a more dramatic appreciation of the Fed being well behind the curve. This sort of move is consistent with typical mid-cycle ranges through history. We do expect this to mostly retrace in H2 as markets recover from the shock and growth remains decent and liquidity still high. We also published the results of our ESG issuer and investor survey where around 530 responded. Please see the results here. As we hit Thanksgiving Eve and a US data dump of a day given the holiday tomorrow, the big story over the last 2-3 business days has been real rates in the US. As recently as Friday, after the Austria lockdown news, 10yr real rates hit -1.2%. Yesterday they traded above -0.95% before closing at -0.97%, +4.0bps higher than the previous close. Our view in the 2022 credit strategy document is that credit is more tied to real rates than nominal rates and if the market attacks the Fed as we expect, then they should go up. However, note that I’ve also said I suspect they’ll stay negative for the rest of my career so while higher real yields are likely, I suspect that this is a trade rather than a structural long-term journey given likely long-term financial repression. Anyway, rising real yields, a fresh covid wave and belief over a less dovish Fed post the Powell reappointment saw a tough day for equities, especially in Europe, before the US managed to eke out a gain into the close. The S&P 500 (+0.17%) was up for the first time in 3 days, whilst Europe’s STOXX 600 (-1.28%) posted its worst daily performance in nearly 2 months. On a sector level, it was the same story in the US, where energy (+3.04%) shares benefitted from climbing oil prices and financials (+1.55%) gained on steeper and higher yields. Larger tech firms retreated on the higher discount rates, with the Nasdaq declining -0.50%. Meanwhile the VIX index of volatility was back above the 20-mark for the first time in over a month, coinciding with a broader tightening of financial conditions. However, we dipped back below 20 into the stronger close. Honing in on bonds now and there was a major selloff yesterday that hit a number of European countries in particular. By the close of trade, yields on 10yr bunds were up +8.1bps, which is their single-biggest daily increase in over a year, actually since the day we found out that the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine had proven successful in trials and was set to be rolled out. The move came about entirely due to higher real rates, with Germany 10yr inflation breakevens actually down -2.0bps on the day. Similar moves were seen elsewhere on the continent, with yields on 10yr OATs (+8.6bps) and BTPs (+10.5bps) seeing sharp rises of their own, which occurred in part on the back of stronger than expected flash PMI data raising the prospect of a quicker drawdown in monetary stimulus, not least with inflation still running some way ahead of the ECB’s target. For US Treasuries, yields were a touch more subdued, and the yield curve twist steepened. 2yr yields declined -1.8bp whilst every other maturity increased, and all tenors out to 7 years are at post-pandemic highs. The 5yr nominal yield increased +2.2bps to 1.34%. The 10yr was up +4.1bps to 1.67% due, as we discussed above, to real yields. 10yr breakevens were flat (+0.2bp) at 2.63%. The 10 year is 7.5bps off of 2021 closing highs and in the 430 plus business days since the pandemic started there have only been 14 days with a higher close than last nights. Elsewhere yesterday, we had an important piece of news on the energy front, as the US announced that it would be releasing 50m barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, with the move occurring alongside similar decisions in China, India, Japan, South Korea and the UK. 32m of those 50m will be an exchange, whereby oil is released over the next few months that is then returned over the coming years, while another 18m are coming from an acceleration of an oil sale that Congress had already authorised. Oil prices rose following the release however, with Brent crude (+3.27%) and WTI (+2.28%) both seeing decent advances, in part because the contribution from other nations was smaller than many had anticipated, but also because the potential release from the SPR had been widely reported in advance, thus sending prices lower from their peak around a month ago. Even with the news, there’s no sign that inflationary pressures will be going away just yet, since much of what happens next will depend on the reaction of the OPEC+ group. If they move to cancel plans to increase production, then that could put upward pressure on prices again and help counter the impact of the move from the various energy consumers. And as we’ve been discussing, inflationary pressures have been widening for some time now, stretching beyond specific categories like energy and used cars to an array of other areas. Overnight in Asia stocks are trading mostly in the red with the CSI (-0.03%), Hang Seng (-0.06%), Shanghai Composite (-0.10%), KOSPI (-0.48%) and the Nikkei (-1.35%) all lower. The Reserve Bank of New Zealand has raised interest rates for the second consecutive month and lifted the official cash rate 25bps to 0.75%. There was some who expected 50bps so bonds are rallying with 2yr and 10yrs -5.5bps and -7.5bps lower, respectively. The central bank were pretty hawkish in their comments though. US Treasuries are 2-4bps lower across the curve overnight as well. Staying on New Zealand, the country eased its travel restrictions by allowing fully vaccinated travellers (and other eligible travellers) from Australia without any isolation from Jan 17 and those from the rest of the world from February 14. Elsewhere, South Korea reported its highest ever daily new cases of 4,115 with 586 critical cases with the PM announcing the situation is "more serious than expected". Futures are indicating a slightly weaker start in the US and Europe with the S&P 500 (-0.24%) and DAX (-0.09%) lower. Over in Europe, there’s no sign of the pandemic letting up just yet, with French health minister Veran saying in parliament that “we are sadly well and truly in a fifth wave of the epidemic” as France announced 30,454 new cases yesterday. Austria has been the main country in the headlines recently as it moved into a nationwide lockdown, but the reality is that the trend lines have been moving higher across the continent, raising the prospect of fresh restrictions. In terms of yesterday’s developments, the Netherlands announced that social distancing would be reintroduced on a mandatory basis, and that people should stay 1.5m apart, and Poland saw the biggest daily increase in hospitalisations since April. Elsewhere, Slovakia’s PM said that he was considering following the steps adopted in Austria, and the outgoing Czech PM said that mandatory vaccines for the over-60s were being considered. In spite of the growing Covid wave across Europe, the flash PMIs released yesterday actually proved better than the consensus was expecting, and even saw something of an uptick from the October readings. The Euro Area composite PMI ended a run of 3 successive declines as it rose to 55.8 (vs. 53.0 expected), with both manufacturing (58.6) and services (56.6) rising relative to a month ago. And both the German (52.8) and the French (56.3) composite PMIs were also better than expected. On the other hand, the US had somewhat underwhelming readings, with the flash services PMI down to 57.0 (vs. 59.0 expected), as the composite PMI fell to 56.5. To the day ahead now, and there’s a significant amount of US data ahead of tomorrow’s Thanksgiving holiday. That includes the weekly initial jobless claims, the second estimate of Q3 GDP, October’s personal income and personal spending, new home sales, and the preliminary October readings for durable goods orders and core capital goods orders. Over in Germany, there’s also the Ifo’s business climate indicator for November. Finally on the central bank side, there’s the release of the FOMC’s November meeting minutes, and speakers include the ECB’s Panetta and Schnabel, and the BoE’s Tenreyro. Tyler Durden Wed, 11/24/2021 - 08:07.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 24th, 2021

How smaller doses of more powerful drugs allowed Mexican cartels to overwhelm Mexican police and flood the US

"If Mexican authorities seized more than 100 kilograms, it means criminals are producing at least several tons," a former Mexican official said. A Sinaloa state police officer at a clandestine lab producing synthetic drugs, mainly meth, in Sinaloa state, June 4, 2019.Rashide Frias/AFP via Getty Images A record-setting bust in October underscores how Mexico has become a hub for fentanyl. The Sinaloa and Jalisco New Generational cartels have increased production of the drug, a powerful synthetic opioid analgesic. A flood of fentanyl into the US has helped drive overdose deaths to new levels. Ciudad Juárez, México - In late October, Mexican authorities seized a record-breaking quantity of fentanyl at a single laboratory in the northwestern state of Sinaloa, landing a major blow to the Sinaloa Cartel, officials said.But security analysts and cartel operatives say the bust was only proof of the "unstoppable" production of fentanyl in Mexico.Mexican soldiers found 118 kilograms, or roughly 260 pounds, of fentanyl worth roughly $50 million in a lab on the outskirts of Culiacán, a city known for being Sinaloa's Cartel stronghold.Mexican officials said the lab and warehouses seized in late October 2021 were used to store precursor chemicals used to make fentanyl.Mexican Secretariat of DefenseFentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid analgesic similar to morphine but 50 to 100 times more potent, according to US authorities. Mexican drug cartels have relied on fentanyl more than any other drug to keep profits rising.During the raid, authorities arrested Armando Bátiz Camarena, aka "El Inge," a known Sinaloa Cartel leader in charge of fentanyl production and shipment to the US, along with four of his men.Authorities also seized four bags of fentanyl precursor in paste form, over 4 pounds of Inositol, a powder used as a cutting agent for drugs, five firearms, and more than $14,000 and 160 Venezuelan bolivars.Although this was the biggest fentanyl bust in Mexico's history, it might not have any effect on the drug trade. It also may only be a sign of how Mexico is becoming the biggest player in fentanyl production."If Mexican authorities seized more than 100 kilograms, it means criminals are producing at least several tons," Manelich Castilla, former commissioner of Mexico's Federal Police, told Insider.Mexican officials said the lab and warehouses seized in late October 2021 were used to store precursor chemicals used to make fentanyl.Mexican Secretariat of DefenseFentanyl is easier to produce than cocaine or heroin since it requires just a few chemicals and some very rudimentary equipment, Castilla explained."It is very easily produced and 20 times more profitable than any other drug. You only need a very small dosage to create addiction," he said.Manelich said that the fact that small doses of fentanyl could provide such intense effects means it's easier to smuggle."To transport fentanyl you don't need big shipments. Now you can hide a very profitable load inside a trailer container and it would be almost impossible to find," he said.Mexico's defense secretary said earlier this year that fentanyl could be made in a few hours and was worth about $5,000 a kilogram in Mexico — a price that rises to about $200,000 in the US.In a sign of the scale of production, US authorities intercepted 17,584 pounds of meth and 389 pounds of fentanyl in a tractor-trailer crossing into the US near San Diego on November 17. Both amounts would be the largest seizures of either drug in the US in 2020 or 2021, US officials said.Potent productA chemical specialist in a protective suit with pills seized at a clandestine lab processing fentanyl, in Mexico City, December 12, 2018.Attorney General's Office/Handout via ReutersA Sinaloa Cartel operative in Culiacán who asked not to be identified told Insider that the busted lab was "very small" compared to production around Sinaloa."They busted one, and immediately some other 10 started operating not very far from that one," the operative said.The operative said fentanyl labs operate on a "mobile basis.""Some years ago the old bosses used to set established fentanyl labs inside warehouses or abandoned houses, but we learned that once they busted that lab, the loss was too much," the operative said. "So now we set up mobile labs in the middle of the woods and cook only small batches in several labs at the same time to build a big shipment."On a trip to Sinaloa state in early 2021, Insider visited a fentanyl lab operated by the Sinaloa Cartel. One of the lab operators described how cooks are trained to mix fentanyl "according to US needs.""The cook learned from a Chinese man brought all the way here" by the cartel, the operator told Insider, adding that the cook "is the only one who knows the recipe.""But many started dying because we still didn't have the right recipe, and some of them were not aware of the potency of the new product," the operator added.Mexican authorities examine a clandestine lab suspected of producing synthetic drugs, in Sinaloa state, August 2016.Mexican Naval SecretariatAccording to Manelich, most of the precursors needed to make fentanyl come from "the Asia region" but not exclusively from China. Shipments arrive by sea "inside one of many, many cargo [containers] processed at the port" in Colima state on Mexico's Pacific coast.A leaked 2019 DEA report called the Sinaloa cartel "a prominent producer and trafficker of Mexico-based fentanyl" into the US. The powerful Jalisco New Generation Cartel has also ramped up its production of fentanyl.The US Treasury Department recently sanctioned four men it said were CJNG members "operating through the port of Manzanillo in Colima" to import fentanyl precursors and other drugs."It is impossible to search all these shipments arriving into Mexico. What we need is a list of priority targets to know by name who are we looking for, who is in charge of these operations," Manelich said.Fentanyl seizures in Mexico have risen over the past year, according to Mexican officials. In 2020, authorities seized 1,300 kilograms of the drug, compared to 222 kilograms in 2019 — an uptick of more than 400%.More than 30,000 people in the US died of overdoses involving fentanyl in 2018, making it one of the most dangerous illicit drugs in history. Fentanyl-related overdose deaths have pushed total overdose deaths in the US to new levels.Manelich said the only way out is a "coordinated agenda regarding addictions and security.""Today Mexico does not have a policy or a campaign to point out the traffickers and the producers. The present administration's vision is very limited when compared to how things are done in the US," Manelich said.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 21st, 2021

This Strong Buy Stock Offers Big Upside Growth Potential

Dave & Buster's (PLAY) got crushed by lockdowns and social distancing. Luckily, things have returned to normal throughout most of the country and the arcade and sports bar standout is already posting huge growth as consumers race to have some fun again... Dave & Buster's PLAY got crushed by lockdowns and social distancing. Luckily, things have returned to normal throughout most of the country and the arcade and sports bar standout is already posting huge growth as consumers race to have some fun again.Good Play?Dave & Buster's owns and operates 143 restaurant, bar, and arcade hybrids in North America. The company’s tagline is “Eat Drink Play and Watch,” and it posted solid revenue growth since it went public in 2014.The coronavirus put a halt to much of Dave & Buster's business seemingly overnight, as it did with casinos, concert venues, and other in-person entertainment. The company’s revenue tumbled 68% in FY20 from $1.36 billion to $437 million.The pandemic is now seemingly in Dave & Buster's rearview amid rising vaccination rates and the massive U.S. economic reopening. Its first quarter revenue jumped 66%, with some of its locations still closed or under restrictions.The entertainment company’s operations had mostly returned to normal by the start of its Q2, with all of its locations open, including a new spot, by the end of last quarter—which ended on August 1. In fact, Dave & Buster's second quarter sales skyrocketed over 640% to $377.6 million to top its pre-pandemic total by over $30 million.PLAY’s $1.07 a share adjusted earnings also crushed our EPS estimate by 88%. The strong showing continued its recent stretch of huge bottom-line beats, with a 200% average beat in the trailing four quarters. Zacks estimates call for Dave & Buster's third quarter revenue to soar 191% to help it swing from an adjusted loss of $1.01 a share last year to +$0.10 a share. Overall, its FY21 revenue is projected to climb 204% to roughly match its pre-pandemic total at $1.33 billion. Meanwhile, it’s expected to report +$2.24 a share in adjusted earnings vs. a loss of -$4.70 per share last year.Dave & Buster's is then projected to follow up its huge comeback with 25% higher earnings and 18% stronger revenue, which would mark its best top-line growth as public firm—aside from its easy-to-compare FY21. Plus, its longer-term positive earnings revisions activity helps it land a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) right now.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchOther Fundamentals U.S. consumers are flexing their muscles despite rising prices. New data out Tuesday showed U.S. retail sales jumped a seasonally adjusted 1.7% in October vs. September. This topped expectations and it is possibly a sign of more good things to come in the vital holiday shopping period. In fact, J.P. Morgan announced it was raising its U.S. GDP forecast for Q4.Despite Dave & Buster's strong outlook and the broader hunger among many U.S. consumers to spend heavily in the face of inflation, PLAY shares are down 20% from their 12-month highs in March. Some of the blame could be placed on the fact that it soared off its covid lows and climbed after the initial vaccine news.Investors should also know that Dave & Buster's CEO announced his retirement in September and the firm is still in the process of finding his non-interim replacement. And PLAY stock is rather heavily shorted at the moment, at around 12% of the public float.Bottom LinePLAY is currently stuck in a channel between its 50-day and 200-day moving averages. The stock did pop 1.8% to $39.04 a share at the end of regular trading hours Wednesday.This gives it 30% upside before it would run into its current Zacks consensus price target of $51 a share and even more before it returns to its 2017 and 2018 levels of over $65 a share. And Dave & Buster's trades at a huge discount compared to its industry’s 27.2X average at 14.3X forward 12-month earnings.Overall, some investors might want to take a chance on Dave & Buster’s stock at the moment. And Wall Street remains rather high on the stock, with six of the nine brokerage recommendations Zacks has at "Strong Buys." Infrastructure Stock Boom to Sweep America A massive push to rebuild the crumbling U.S. infrastructure will soon be underway. It’s bipartisan, urgent, and inevitable. Trillions will be spent. Fortunes will be made. The only question is “Will you get into the right stocks early when their growth potential is greatest?” Zacks has released a Special Report to help you do just that, and today it’s free. Discover 7 special companies that look to gain the most from construction and repair to roads, bridges, and buildings, plus cargo hauling and energy transformation on an almost unimaginable scale.Download FREE: How to Profit from Trillions on Spending for Infrastructure >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Dave & Buster's Entertainment, Inc. (PLAY): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksNov 18th, 2021

At the last minute, Southern California ports delayed doling out over $4.8 million in fines for companies who haven"t picked up nearly 50,000 shipping containers

Shipping companies have warned that the extra costs which are set to top $100 million per day by the end of the week will be passed on to customers. Michael Wells/Getty Images On Monday, Southern California ports delayed collecting fines for cargo that had lingered too long. The fines went into effect on November 1, but won't be collected until at least November 22. The aggregate fines currently come to over $4.8 million for Monday alone, but will continue to rise rapidly. The ports in Los Angeles and Long Beach delayed the collection of millions of dollars in punitive fines for shipping companies that had let cargo containers stack up at terminals on Monday — the same day the locations were scheduled to begin the process.The two ports pushed the deadline back to November 22. Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka said the ports had seen "significant improvement" in efforts to clear the containers out of the shipping terminals since the $100 per day fines for leftover cargo were announced on October 25. "Clearly, everyone is working together to speed the movement of the cargo and reduce the backlog of ships off the coast as quickly as possible," Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero said.Seroka and Cordero said the twin ports have seen a 26% decline in cargo that had lingered at the locations for over 9 days — though the number may be deceiving. To date nearly 50,000 containers have remained at the ports past the six to 9-day grace period. When the fines were initially announced, 58,900 containers were set to be fined. Data from the Port of Los Angeles shows that most of the containers at the site were moved when the fines were first announced. But, recently the backlogs of containers on land have gotten worse at the same time that the number of cargo ships waiting to come into the port hit new records.The shipping containers began accruing $100 per day fines on November 1. The fees increase by $100 each day the containers that will move by land remain in the ports past 9 days, while goods that will move by rail incur fees after 6 days. Currently, over $4.8 million in aggregate fees from Monday alone currently loom over the shipping companies that have let their containers remain in the ports past the deadline. Trade publication Freight Waves estimates the fees will likely top $100 million per day by the end of this week.Multiple experts previously told Insider they expect the fees to do little to move the goods out of the ports, though the extra costs will likely mean higher prices for consumers. On Monday, 85 business groups, including the National Retail Federation, penned a letter to the Federal Maritime Commission, warning the charges will be passed further down the supply chain, Freight Waves reported.The new daily fees would be an add-on to even higher demurrage fines. Carriers are charged demurrage fines for every day the container stays at the port past its allotted time — typically between four to seven days after the container is unloaded from the ship. The fines range from $75 to $300 per day and can grow the longer the container remains in the port.On Friday, Hapag-Lloyd warned in its earnings call that the fees may also lead to an increase in abandoned cargo.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 16th, 2021

10 Things in Politics: Kamalaworld turns on itself

And President Joe Biden stresses "simple, straightforward competition" with China. Welcome back to 10 Things in Politics. Sign up here to receive this newsletter. Plus, download Insider's app for news on the go — click here for iOS and here for Android. Send tips to bgriffiths@insider.com.Note: We apologize for the delay in sending out today's edition.Here's what we're talking about:Kamala Harris' allies lash out at the media and one another as the bad press piles upBiden stresses 'simple, straightforward competition' with ChinaAn exclusive look at Republicans' long-awaited bill to legalize cannabisVice President Kamala Harris.Evelyn Hockstein/AFP via Getty Images1. INSIDE THE WHITE HOUSE: Vice President Kamala Harris' advisors are turning on one another. Harris' vice presidency continues to be the subject of unflattering portrayals, which is causing those close to her to increasingly lash out in all directions as the negative headlines pile up. The infighting comes with the White House seeking to sell President Joe Biden's massive infrastructure overhaul, which he signed into law on Monday.Here's how some Democrats say the White House should try to right the ship:Major shake-ups continued to be talked about: "They almost need to have a public scalp," one Democratic strategist who has worked with presidential campaigns told my colleague. Others say Biden and his top staffers need to do a better job shutting down the gossip from within.But some in Harris' orbit think things are unlikely to change anytime soon: "It's not like one issue or one confrontation or one group of people that aren't getting along — it feels like the whole thing is upside down," another Democratic strategist offered of the situation.Much of the finger-pointing is directed at journalists: "What the media has done to her office is appalling," Howard Dean, the former Democratic National Committee chairman, told Insider. Many Democrats feel that Harris is being judged by a different set of standards given her status as the first woman and first person of color to hold the office.Key quote: "None of this is helpful. I don't care if you work for Joe Biden or Kamala Harris," one former Harris aide said. "My advice to everyone is to stop using the media as your therapist."Read more about how Kamala Harris' allies are responding to bad press.2. Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping try to end tensions during their meeting: The leaders of the world's two largest economies talked for more than three hours during a virtual meeting and agreed on the need to find a better path forward amid increasing tensions, Reuters reports. "Just simple, straightforward competition," Biden told Xi about his desire to make sure concerns about Taiwan's future, human-rights abuses, and trade practices wouldn't veer into outright conflict. The meeting ended without any major announcement or joint statement after the two sides tried to lower expectations for it. More on what Biden and Xi discussed.3. Republicans to introduce a bill to legalize cannabis: Rep. Nancy Mace, a freshman Republican from South Carolina, is set to introduce a bill that would federally decriminalize cannabis. The legislation proposes to regulate pot much more like alcohol and if passed would allow for cannabis to be carried across state lines, though final say on many areas would be up to states. The proposal shows the increasing bipartisan support for action on cannabis-related issues, but it is unlikely to pass anytime soon. Here are 4 key details from the 131-page bill.4 Jurors are set to begin deliberations in Kyle Rittenhouse's trial: A Wisconsin jury spent two weeks listening to dozens of witnesses and poring over countless pieces of visual evidence during Rittenhouse's trial for fatally shooting Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber, as well as injuring Gaige Grosskreutz, amid civil unrest in Kenosha in August 2020. Rittenhouse has pleaded not guilty and testified he was acting in self-defense. For all the emotional testimony, there are some key details the jury were not allowed to hear. Here are 6 things the jury won't consider, including videos in which Rittenhouse boasted about shooting people as well as the criminal records of the three people he shot.5. Corey Lewandowski said Trump knew the election was over but wanted to sow doubt: Lewandowski, who served as Donald Trump's first presidential campaign manager, said Trump knew the 2020 election was over when the major news networks projected his loss. But Lewandowski told ABC News' Jonathan Karl for a new book that Trump wanted to "create enough doubt about Biden's victory so that when he leaves he can say he didn't lose and that it was stolen from him." More than a year after the election, Trump continues to cling to this narrative.6. Steve Bannon remains defiant after court appearance: The former Trump administration chief strategist said he was "taking on the Biden regime" following an appearance in which he faced two federal counts of criminal contempt for refusing to comply with a subpoena issued by lawmakers investigating the January 6 Capitol riot, the Associated Press reports. Here's what's expected next in the case.A Free Britney rally at Grand Park in Los Angeles on June 23.Ted Soqui for Insider7. #FreeBritney activists say they're not done fighting: A judge ended Britney Spears' 13-year conservatorship on Friday. #FreeBritney fans and activists celebrated the ruling but told Insider they weren't going anywhere. Organizers hope to use the movement's platform to fight conservatorship abuse more broadly. "This is bigger than Britney. It's not just about Britney," one activist said.8. Former Rep. Beto O'Rourke says he's running for Texas governor: O'Rourke announced plans to challenge the incumbent Republican, Greg Abbott, in 2022. The onetime lawmaker rose to national prominence with his closer-than-expected campaign to oust Sen. Ted Cruz in 2018 before a disastrous presidential campaign. O'Rourke's liberal positions he took during his brief presidential run could haunt his latest effort, but he remained somewhat defiant during an interview with Texas Monthly over his push for ​​mandatory buybacks of certain guns. More what's expected from O'Rourke's uphill push to turn Texas blue.9. The longest-serving current US senator is set to retire: Sen. Patrick Leahy, a Democrat from Vermont, leaves his Senate seat open ahead of next year's midterms. The race to replace Leahy is not expected to be competitive, though, after Biden's over 2-to-1 victory over Trump last year. He was first elected to the Senate as part of the "Watergate Babies" Democratic wave in 1974. More on Leahy's retirement.Steve Granitz/Frank Trapper/Michael Tran/Getty Images; Rachel Mendelson/Insider10. Brendan Fraser became a TikTok obsession and sparked "the Brenaissance": Fraser has been out of the limelight for years. But content about the actor has racked up over 166 million views on TikTok. More on how nostalgic creators see Fraser as a welcome contrast to the "dark and dreary" side of the internet.Today's trivia question: Who is the longest-serving senator in American history? Email your answer and a suggested question to me at bgriffiths@insider.com.Yesterday's answer: Herbert Hoover is the last Cabinet secretary to immediately rise from a top administration post to the presidency. In fact, no major party has even nominated a Cabinet secretary for president since Hoover was in 1928.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 16th, 2021

How Ryan Kaji Became the Most Popular 10-Year-Old in the World

In human years, Ryan Kaji is 10. In YouTube views, he’s 48,597,844,873. If, in our digital age, a person’s life can be measured by their online footprint, Ryan’s is the size of a brachiosaur’s, which, as a lot of Ryan’s fans know, is gargantuan. Another way of putting it is that even if every one… In human years, Ryan Kaji is 10. In YouTube views, he’s 48,597,844,873. If, in our digital age, a person’s life can be measured by their online footprint, Ryan’s is the size of a brachiosaur’s, which, as a lot of Ryan’s fans know, is gargantuan. Another way of putting it is that even if every one of Ryan’s YouTube views were just 30 seconds, he has been watched 4,500 times longer than he has been alive. There’s a sacred text that talks about an era of peace and harmony, where lions lie down with lambs. The kicker is that a child is in charge of it all. Except for the part about peace and harmony, we are in an age where a child does indeed rule a significant subsection of the Internet. Ryan has been the highest paid YouTube star for three years straight, partly because he has nine channels on the platform. His revenue last year, according to Forbes, was about $30 million. Most of that was from his far-flung merchandise empire: he (or his parents) has lent his name to 1,600 licensed products in 30 countries, including Skechers, pajamas, Roblox, bedding, watches, sporting goods, water bottles, furniture, toothpaste and, of course, toys. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] As well as a legion of YouTube videos, Ryan has shows on Nick Jr. (the Emmy-nominated Ryan’s Mystery Playdate) and Amazon Kids+ (Super Spy Ryan) and his own streaming channel. His animated superhero alter ego, Red Titan, will appear for the second time as a Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloon. “Ryan is bar none the crown prince of YouTube,” says Quynh Mai, founder of Moving Image & Content, a creative agency for digital content. (She does not represent him.) Yuki Iwamura—Sputnik/APThe Red Titan balloon will float in its second parade this Thanksgiving   How did we get to a place where a person can be the linchpin of a media empire before he has armpit hair? And of all the exuberant folks on YouTube, why has this kid raked in the most cash? Part of the answer is that this is no ordinary child, but another part is that Ryan’s rise speaks volumes about the way entertainment, business, technology and family life have changed in the past decade. Ryan’s prominence, and the existence of the genre of human known as “kidfluencer,” is a source of consternation to many parents, authorities and child-development experts. Four of the 10 U.S. YouTube channels with the most subscribers are geared toward young children. Legislation has recently been introduced in the Senate that may curtail the activities of Ryan and his fellow YouTube toycoons. But his ascent has also shown how profoundly childhood has been and is being reshaped, and that it may be too late to put the jack back in the box. One thing that everyone agrees on is that much of Ryan’s fame was a result of timing. He was about 3½ in 2015 when he asked his mom Loann Guan—the family changed its name to Kaji to preserve some anonymity as they got famous—if he could be on YouTube like other kids. Loann, 37, was a science teacher on spring break looking for kid-friendly activities. She and her husband Shion, 34, had watched YouTube in college and had a grasp of the format and how the algorithm worked. Read More: Meet TIME’s First-Ever Kid of the Year At the same time, technological changes were making online video more accessible to kids. “It was like a perfect storm when Ryan came in,” says Mai. Laptop prices had dropped enough that people were moving away from tablets. The YouTube Kids app had launched. “Parents gave their iPads to their children as entertainment devices, and that made it so easy for kids to navigate the Internet,” she says. Feeling stretched in terms of childcare, lots of parents needed to keep their kids occupied. “When young children see lots of colors and sounds and movement on a screen, it’s almost like a mobile above the crib,” says Dr. Jenny Radesky, a developmental behavioral pediatrician at the University of Michigan. “They calm down. They focus. Studies have shown that it often leads to less body movement.” The period after 2015 also marked a growth phase for the so-called creator economy. With the advance of digital ad technology, advertisers realized they could get more traction from microtargeting followers of a regular person—an influencer—than from a celebrity. Among the most popular figures when the Kajis began were the unboxers, people who filmed themselves opening shoes or makeup, or kids opening toys. So that’s what Loann and Ryan did. Ironically, Ryan had not really liked playing with toys as a baby, except one: a remote-control car, which, his dad says, he could more or less operate by the age of 6 months. This meant every relative gave him toy cars. When the unboxing trend spun off into the Giant Egg trend, Loann hid those cars in a papier-mâché egg she’d made. The resulting video, “GIANT Lightning McQueen Egg Surprise with 100+ Disney Cars Toys,” shot Ryan’s ToysReview, as the channel was then called, into the stratosphere. “That one video became his most popular video on our channel for the next two years,” says Shion. It currently has more than a billion views. At first, strange comments below the video alarmed them. “It was all gibberish,” says Shion. Then he saw Ryan typing random letters beneath videos and realized other kids were doing that too. Some of them may not have spoken English. “We noticed a huge percentage of the viewership coming from Asia,” says Shion. Ryan’s channel had launched just as YouTube was spreading to Asia, and videos like Ryan’s filled a void that TV had overlooked. Shion was born in Japan, and Loann in Vietnam. “For a lot of minorities,” says Mai, “YouTube was the place where you saw people like you.” Read More: I Raised Two CEOs and a Doctor. These Are My Secrets to Parenting Successful Children Ryan’s ToysReview quickly became one of YouTube’s most popular channels. By 2016, both parents had quit their jobs to make videos full time. Shion is a Cornell-educated structural engineer, which may be why he sensed the danger of having Ryan, just 5, carry the bulk of the show. He beefed up the production team to avoid burnout and had animators create characters based on Ryan’s personality for more content. Shion and Loann also appear in the videos and play with toys and games on their own channel. There may be a place in which one small family can produce so much intellectual property and be left in peace, but that place is not the USA, circa 2017. Ryan caught the eye of Chris Williams, who as a former Disney and Maker Studios executive had watched media habits change in real time. “I saw linear television’s ratings fall off a cliff,” he says. “I saw kids and family audiences flocking to YouTube.” His experience at Disney had also taught him about the power of building a franchise. “There are stars, characters and intellectual property on YouTube that have bigger audiences than the entire Disney Channel network. Why are we not thinking about them in the same way?” In 2017, he started Pocketwatch to do licensing deals with YouTube stars, and the Kajis, who had formed their own production company, Sunlight Entertainment, were among its first partners. Read More: How Dr. Becky Became the Millennial Parenting Whisperer The move came just in time. Merchandisers were not the only ones who noticed how much content was directed at the very young. Parents, child-development experts, media watchdogs and eventually legislators did too, and many didn’t love what they saw. There were videos of adults playing with toys in inappropriate ways. Some of the families on YouTube fell apart. Others seemed to be treating children badly to draw clicks. Advertisers pulled back. YouTube removed comments sections from and kept ads off some videos. It wasn’t enough. In 2019, YouTube and its parent company Google paid $170 million to settle allegations by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the New York State attorney general that it collected data about minors and violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. By 2020, YouTube required creators to specify whether their videos were for kids and stopped feeding personalized ads to those that were. Many kid-centric channels lost the bulk of their revenue. But thanks to the merch deals, the Kajis sailed on. Williams says the franchise is his company’s biggest earner. The reforms may have lessened the problem of advertising to children, but they did nothing to change the thorny fact that watching endless hours of a child opening toys is of dubious—at best—educational or social-development value. There’s not much definitive research on what that kind of media diet does to a developing brain, but the small amount out there is dismaying. In a study out of the University of Colorado, Boulder, 78% of parents reported their kids watched unboxing videos on a regular basis, with almost 17% estimating it at between three and nine hours per week. “The more time a child spends watching unboxing videos,” says Harsha Gangadharbatla, an associate professor of advertising, who presented the paper at a journalism conference in 2019, “the more likely they are to ask for things and throw tantrums if the parents weren’t purchasing those things.” Studies have shown that children form para-social relationships with the media figures they encounter. “They’re dealing with a developing brain that is figuring out the world,” says Dr. Michael Rich, a pediatrician and the director of the Boston Children’s Hospital’s Digital Wellness Lab. “And if one of the very powerful inputs into that developing brain is ‘Look at how happy Ryan is with his toy!’ of course they’re going to say, ‘I want that.’” Read More: I Was Constantly Arguing With My Child. Then I Learned the “TEAM” Method of Calmer Parenting Just before YouTube and Google paid the fine, the nonprofit Truth in Advertising (TINA) filed a complaint with the FTC against the Kajis—who then changed the name of their channel from Ryan’s ToyReview to Ryan’s World. The group had found that Ryan played with toys that would appeal to kids 5 years of age or younger in 90% of the channel’s 200 most popular videos. TINA claimed the sponsored videos were not clearly enough delineated. “Sometimes, they weren’t adequately disclosing such that an adult would know, and other times, it’s just the fact that this vulnerable population of toddlers cannot differentiate between organic content and ads,” says Bonnie Patten, TINA’s executive director. (The FTC does not talk about pending investigations.) Richard Drew—APRyan’s family made merchandising deals early and often, with 1,600 products to date Williams says the Kaji family has been unfairly singled out because they offer the biggest target. He points out that they have shifted to more educational content, with science experiments and travel videos. At the same time, he is open to greater research and regulation. “I worry about the effects of all of it. Not just what we see on YouTube and other platforms, but movies and TV,” he says. “Nobody wants to do the work around researching this stuff. They just want to make proclamations: ‘Hey, it’s different from what I grew up on. It must be bad.’” The Kajis maintain that they “follow the guidelines” for labeling their content, but, says Loann, “if I could do it over, I would try to incorporate more of the educational component right from the get-go.” A legal team screens their videos, but they do not have a child-development expert on staff. One solution would be to take down the old unboxing videos and stop putting up new ones. After all, Sunlight Entertainment releases 25 new videos a week across its channels. But surveys show that in the U.S., “the No. 1 thing for our channel is that they still want Ryan playing with toys,” says Shion. In August, however, YouTube announced that it would remove “overly commercial content” from the YouTube Kids app and mark sponsored videos more clearly. And on Sept. 30, as Congress began to take a closer look at social media companies, Democratic Senators Edward Markey of Massachusetts and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut reintroduced the KIDS Act, which would force sites like YouTube to stop recommending unboxing videos for kids. YouTube declined to answer specific questions from TIME, but pointed to a raft of policies, developed with child-development experts, intended to keep young viewers safe. Nevertheless, Pandora has already completed her unboxing. Ryan’s branded toys are everywhere. And he’s not alone. There’s a new crop of stars coming, on Tik Tok, Instagram and YouTube. Vlad, 8, and Niki, 6, Russian-born brothers who live in Florida, released their first toy figures in June. Nastya, 7, also a Russian-born Floridian, launches her dolls Nov. 15. Kidfluencers no longer have to hawk toys; they can just become them. Any discerning viewer who watches Ryan’s videos notices within a minute that they don’t offer much in the way of entertainment. The production is amateurish. There’s no narrative arc. This is intentional. The Kajis are not artists; they’re parents. They started making videos, they say, because their kid wanted to and was good at it. “We don’t really do multiple takes,” says Loann. “What I get from him, that’s what I’m going to use.” The DIY nature of the videos also mimics, they hope, what it’s like to go on a playdate. “We don’t want the viewers to watch our videos one after the other,” says Shion. “What we ideally want is kids to watch our video and then that inspires them to have an idea for what they want to do and they put down their iPad.” At the onset of the pandemic, they put up several videos of Ryan doing homework, so kids could feel like they were studying with a friend. Brendan George Ko for TIMERyan-themed products generated about $250 million in retail sales in 2020, according to Pocketwatch It’s difficult to ascertain if kids do indeed go play after watching the videos. The fact that some Ryan’s World videos are hours long suggests that a certain amount of sedentariness is allowed, if not encouraged. Many parents loathe them; they overwhelmingly garner one-star reviews on sites like Common Sense Media. It was Ryan’s World that caused Mike Lutringer, in Houston, to swear off YouTube Kids forever. When his second daughter was born and he and his wife needed to attend to her, he’d put on an educational Ryan video for his older child. “But very rapidly it’ll transition over to marketing and sales and reviews,” he says. “You can see how they’ve designed it to really capture the attention of the child.” Dylana Carlson, in Galesburg, Ill., on the other hand, says that during the pandemic, her two children would watch Ryan or another kidfluencer and then try to play the way they did. Occasionally they’d ask for a playdate with their Internet friend. “I think that they assume that they can just go meet these kids,” she says. “I have thought about this stuff, like, Is that depressing? Or is that weird? But corporations pay to have a dress-up Spider-Man come to the grocery store. How is this different?” Quynh Mai, the marketer, thinks this is one of the secrets of Ryan’s success. “These kids, I think, are really lonely,” she says. “Ryan provides the emotional connection.” As online friends go, Ryan is a Hallmark-level cherub. He appears to have a bottomless vat of enthusiasm for any toy/room/situation he encounters. In interviews, he is cheerful and eager, with an age-appropriate inability to be self-reflective. He loves school, especially math! He swims, plays soccer, does tae kwon do, but gymnastics is his favorite! He hates when he can’t find his lunch box! If he could have any superpower, it would be super speed! When he grows up, he wants to be a “game developer or a comedian who is a YouTuber who makes funny videos!” During the pandemic, Loann homeschooled the kids, and when the Kajis tested Ryan to see if he had fallen behind, they found he was several grades ahead. One of the reasons they moved to Hawaii this year is for a more academically challenging school than his public school in Houston. The other, interestingly, is that they felt the kids were spending too much time on screens. In Hawaii, they take more walks, which Ryan at first found exhausting. He’s also learning piano and Japanese, but he’s not crazy about either. Bea Oyster for TIMEThe Kaji family—Loann, Emma, Shion, Ryan and Kate—moved to Hawaii during the pandemic, partly to get the kids off their screens There are two ways to look at the Kaji parents. One is that they have dragooned their offspring into living out their lives on camera to get rich. The other, the one they present, is that they stumbled into a world where their child became a star and they tried to keep up. Ryan’s onscreen ability, they say, is as big a surprise to them as to anyone. He often takes a video in a new direction during shooting, telling the editors what effects to add as he goes. “On or off camera he is the exact same way,” says Shion. “He genuinely connects with his viewers.” Lest anyone think that’s pure parental boasting, Loann says Ryan’s 5-year-old twin sisters also love making videos, but “it’s not as natural to them.” (Yes, they already have their own line of toys.) The journey hasn’t always been a thrill ride. In 2003, Loann spent a month in jail for shoplifting, and after Ryan got famous, her arrest record became public knowledge. The family did exactly one in-person event with Ryan, in Bentonville, Ark. Thousands of families turned out, and the resulting melee shook them up. They reject the accusation that Ryan is their workhorse. Loann cites an incident on the set of Playdate when Ryan hurt his ankle. The production adjusted the scenes he’d shoot so he could sit and, after a break, kept filming. Loann agreed with the decision, but adds that “if that happens at home, we would not be filming for the next week or two.” The Kajis also say that while the family will go to L.A. for a spell to shoot his shows, Ryan’s YouTube videos take just a few hours a week. He belongs to local sports clubs and goes to school like other kids. Read More: ‘What Do People Want Me to Do? Wear Black Every Day?’: How Child Star JoJo Siwa Built Her Sparkly Empire What most worries Shion are families who try to emulate the Kajis’ success more recklessly. Ryan is the public face of kidfluencers, so any YouTube parent who is less than exemplary might reflect badly on him. Pocketwatch and YouTube issue manuals on how to be both parent and programmer, and Shion hints that he’s trying to start a working group of YouTube families to set industry standards. He won’t go into details, but says he would like more input from YouTube, especially on how families manage their finances, their kids’ time and fame. After all, the platform is taking a healthy cut of the money, and the minors who have made their name on it have few legal protections. The Kajis say a portion of the revenue from the family business goes into trust accounts they’ve established for their children, and they have put all of Ryan’s TV earnings into another trust. There are children on YouTube now with more subscribers than Ryan. His parents seem somewhat relieved. “I don’t want YouTube to be his future career,” says Loann. “We really want him to do something else. We’re continuing right now because he’s enjoying doing it.” The question remains: having found the perfect platform for their child, can they persuade him to leave it? —With reporting by Simmone Shah and Nik Popli.....»»

Category: topSource: timeNov 12th, 2021

The 5 best mattress for side sleepers in 2021, tested and reviewed

Side sleepers benefit from a softer mattress and zoned support. We tested dozens of models to find the best mattress for side sleepers. When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more. Casper The ideal mattress for side sleepers isn't too firm and provides good support and pressure relief. We tested dozens of mattresses, and the Casper Nova Hybrid is our top pick for side sleepers. If you want options for back or stomach sleepers, check out our guide to the best mattresses. Find out more about how Insider Reviews tests and reviews home products. Table of Contents: Masthead StickyAccording to the Better Sleep Council, nearly two-thirds of Americans prefer to sleep on their sides. If you're a side sleeper, it's crucial that you find a mattress that fits your style. While we have recommendations for all types of sleepers in our guide to the best mattresses, side sleepers make up such a large portion of the population that a dedicated buying guide was warranted.Side sleepers typically benefit from mattresses that have an average firmness or are a little bit softer. You'll also want a bed that supports you while providing pressure relief, especially around the shoulders.For this guide, I tested more than two dozen mattresses and consulted with experts. I should note that I am a side sleeper but occasionally sleep on my stomach and my back. My wife mainly sleeps on her back. Between the two of us, we have all of the major sleeping styles covered. In addition to our top pick, we list how we tested, other models we recommend, common FAQs, and terms worth knowing at the end of the guide.Here are the best mattresses for side sleepers in 2021Best overall mattress for side sleepers: Casper Nova Hybrid MattressBest budget mattress for side sleepers: Nest Bedding Flip Hybrid MattressBest foam mattress for side sleepers: Tempur-Pedic Cloud MattressBest mattress for side sleepers with back pain: Leesa Hybrid MattressBest customizable mattress for side sleepers: Sleep Number 360 i8 Smart Bed Best mattress for side sleepers overall James Brains/Insider The Casper Nova Hybrid Mattress is ideal for side sleepers who are looking for plush comfort, excellent heat dissipation, and good edge support.Overview of the Casper Nova Hybrid MattressCategoryProduct InformationBest forSide sleepersAvailable sizesTwin, twin XL, full, queen, king, Cal kingMattress typeHybridFirmness (1 softest to 10 firmest)4Motion isolation (1 awful to 10 best)3Heat dissipation (1 traps heat to 10 stays cool)8Edge support (1 awful to 10 best)6Trial period100 nightsWarranty10 yearsWeight89 poundsThickness12 inchesShipping and returnsFree shipping and returnsWhite-glove delivery and mattress removalYes, $149Showroom availabilityYes, nationwideOur review of the Casper Nova Hybrid MattressPros: Plush comfort is ideal for side sleepers, made with eco-friendly materials, excellent heat dissipation, good edge support, 100-night risk-free trial  Cons: Poor motion isolation, lingering new bed odorAfter testing five of Casper's best-selling mattresses, my personal favorite is the Casper Nova Hybrid. It's the softest of the company's mattress line, and it did the best job of cradling my body and ensuring I didn't wake up with aches and pains.The environmentally friendly construction of the Nova Hybrid is designed for pressure-relieving comfort and breathability. The top foam layer features small perforations to help with airflow to keep you from overheating. It was effective at keeping me cool, even though I tested the bed in the summer.The next foam layer features ergonomic zones that are firm around the lower back, waist, and hips but soft under the shoulders. Under that is another zoned support foam layer aimed at keeping your spine aligned, a must for side sleepers. Lastly, the base features individually wrapped coils with a firm border for added edge support. The Nova Hybrid's edge support was good and ideal for those who share a bed with partners. The Nova Hybrid comes shrink-wrapped in a box. Once unwrapped, the mattress needed significant time to air out. I still caught whiffs of the "new bed smell" two or three days after unboxing. The mattress is somewhat hefty, but it comes with handles, which make it easy to move around.Other than the odor, the biggest negative is the Casper Nova Hybrid has poor motion isolation, and I could clearly feel it when my wife or dog were moving around on the bed.I recently tested Casper's new Nova Hybrid Snow, which features materials that are supposed to provide better cooling. However, at $500 more than the Nova Hybrid, I didn't find the Snow provided an appreciable improvement on cooling. The Nova Hybrid already does a great job of dissipating heat. Plus, it has better edge support. Best budget mattress for side sleepers James Brains/Insider With its outstanding edge support, impressive heat dissipation, and sub-$800 price, the Nest Bedding Flip Hybrid Mattress is the best mattress for side sleepers on a budget.Overview of the Nest Bedding Flip Hybrid MattressCategoryProduct InformationBest forAll sleeping stylesAvailable sizesTwin, twin XL, full, queen, king, Cal kingMattress typeHybridFirmness (1 softest to 10 firmest)5 on one side and 9 on the otherMotion isolation (1 awful to 10 best)3 (on both sides)Heat dissipation (1 traps heat to 10 stays cool)8 (on both sides)Edge support (1 awful to 10 best)8 (on both sides)Trial period100 nightsWarrantyLifetimeWeight95 poundsThickness10 inches Free shipping and free returnsWhite-glove delivery and mattress removalYes, order by phone to get ratesShowroom availabilityYes, 11 showrooms in six statesOur review of the Nest Bedding Flip Hybrid MattressPros: Affordable, two levels of firmness to suit all sleeping styles, outstanding edge support, excellent heat dissipation, lifetime warranty, easy setup, made with CertiPUR-US certified foamsCons: Heavy, poor motion isolationThe Nest Bedding Flip Hybrid Mattress gets its name from the different firmness levels on each side of the bed. One side is medium-firm, which I found good for side sleeping. The other side of the reversible mattress is very firm — far too firm for side sleepers — so this review focuses on the medium firmness side.The unboxing process was effortless and took about five minutes. However, the Flip Hybrid weighs close to 100 pounds and I needed help lifting it, though it fortunately doesn't flop around much.The pocket coil center of the Flip Hybrid is sandwiched by gel-infused support foam on the medium-firm side and high-density base foam on the firm side. All of the foams are CertiPUR-US certified. The Flip Hybrid is a smart solution if you're looking for a mattress that quickly dissipates your body heat. It quickly removed the heat built up in bed when I got up, based on my temperature readings.The mattress also had impressive edge support. When sitting on the side of the bed, I felt supported thanks to the minimal sinkage. Lying on the edge felt comfortable. The motion isolation wasn't as good, though. It failed the bowling ball test each time. However, the mattress does have some good bounce to it, and I found it was easy to shift from one side of my body to the other during the night. Best mattress for side sleepers with back pain Leesa The combination of pocket springs and memory foam makes the Leesa Hybrid Mattress ideal for side sleepers with back pain, and the excellent edge support and motion isolation make it great for couples.Overview of the Leesa Hybrid MattressCategoryProduct InformationBest forAll sleeping stylesAvailable sizesTwin, twin XL, full, queen, king, Cal kingMattress typeHybridFirmness (1 softest to 10 firmest)5Motion isolation (1 awful to 10 best)7Heat dissipation (1 traps heat to 10 stays cool)7Edge support (1 awful to 10 best)7Trial period100 nightsWarranty10 yearsWeight115 poundsThickness11 inchesShipping and returnsFree shipping and returnsWhite-glove delivery and mattress removalYes, $150Showroom availabilityYes, nationwideOur review of the Leesa Hybrid MattressPros: Made of CertiPUR-US certified foam and pocket springs for support and breathability,  motion isolation and edge support are ideal for couples, average firmness that will appeal to a broad range of sleepers Cons: Heavy and hard to move aroundFor about a year, the Leesa Hybrid was the main mattress I slept on when I wasn't testing other models. During the time I slept on it, I rarely experienced back pain, which is impressive considering my history of chronic lower back pain that's regularly aggravated by unsupportive mattresses. The mattress is made of pocket springs and four layers of CertiPUR-US certified foam. The top layer is cooling foam, which did its job; I stayed cool while testing, even when the heat was pushing my AC to its limits. The next layer is contouring memory foam that offers pressure relief where your body needs it most. Individually wrapped coils are sandwiched between two core foam support layers. The Leesa Hybrid is an ideal option for couples for several reasons. First, the average firmness caters to all sleeping styles. Second, the bed has terrific motion isolation and did well in both my objective tests and my subjective experience. Lastly, with the coils going all the way to the peripheries of the mattress, the Leesa Hybrid has excellent edge support. The biggest negative is its weight. I risked aggravating my back and decided to unbox the 142-pound king mattress on my own. Even the queen weighs 115 pounds, which is more than most mattresses. When it was time to replace the Leesa Hybrid, I relied on the white-glove delivery people to remove it for me.Read our full Leesa Hybrid Mattress review. Best foam mattress for side sleepers James Brains/Insider The Tempur-Pedic Cloud Mattress features contouring foam that cradles side sleepers of all body types while providing excellent heat dissipation and pressure relief.Overview of the Tempur-Pedic Cloud MattressCategoryProduct InformationBest forAll sleeping stylesAvailable sizesTwin, twin long, full, queen, king, Cal kingMattress typeFoamFirmness (1 softest to 10 firmest)6Motion isolation (1 awful to 10 best)7Heat dissipation (1 traps heat to 10 stays cool)9Edge support (1 awful to 10 best)3Trial period90 nightsWarranty10 yearsWeight58 poundsThickness10 inchesShipping and returnsFree shipping, $175 return fee White-glove delivery and mattress removalFree on mattresses, foundations, or power basesShowroom availabilityYes, nationwideOur review of the Tempur-Pedic Cloud MattressPros: Most comfortable mattress I've slept on, three layers of supportive and comforting  CertiPUR-US certified Tempur foam that caters to all sleeping types, outstanding motion isolation, great heat dissipation, easy to move aroundCons: No white-glove delivery, unimpressive edge support, shipping charge is deducted from your refund if you choose to return your bed For my body type and sleeping style, the Tempur-Pedic Cloud Mattress is the most comfortable mattress I've slept on. Each night on the Cloud, I fell asleep within a few minutes, and it kept me cool through the night. I didn't want to give it up to test the next mattress.While firmer mattresses aren't generally recommended for side sleepers, the Tempur-Cloud bucks the norm thanks to the outstanding pressure relief provided by the company's patented foam. The top layer features this CertiPUR-US certified foam designed to cushion your pressure points. The next layer, also Tempur material, is firmer and adapts more slowly to your body for additional pressure relief. Finally, the base foam layer offers support and durability. Setup was a snap thanks to the light weight of the mattress and the easy-to-maneuver duffel bag-like packaging. While it had a bit of an initial odor, it was gone by bedtime 10 hours later.The Tempur-Pedic Cloud does a great job of dampening motion transfer. Not only did it pass our bowling ball test, but when my wife and dog moved around in the night, I didn't notice. The Cloud isn't perfect, though. The foam sinks significantly when you sit on the edges, and when I lay close to the edge, I felt like I was going to fall off. All-foam mattresses also aren't for everyone, especially those that like some bounce to their mattress.Finally, Tempur-Pedic's policies leave something to be desired: It doesn't offer white-glove delivery for the Cloud, the company deducts $175 from your refund if you decide to return your mattress, and the 90-night sleep trial and 10-year warranty are the shortest of the beds in our guide.Read our full Tempur-Pedic Cloud Mattress review. Best customizable mattress for side sleepers James Brains/Insider The Sleep Number 360 i8 Smart Bed is designed for couples with different comfort preferences thanks to the 20 firmness levels that are independently adjustable on each side. Overview of the Sleep Number 360 i8 Smart BedCategoryProduct InformationBest forAll sleeping stylesAvailable sizesTwin long, full, queen, king, split king, flextop king, Cal king, split Cal king, flextop Cal kingMattress typeAdjustable airFirmness (1 softest to 10 firmest)20 firmness levelsMotion isolation (1 awful to 10 best)3Heat dissipation (1 traps heat to 10 stays cool)3Edge support (1 awful to 10 best)6Trial period100 nightsWarranty15 yearsWeight80 poundsThickness12 inchesShipping and returnsFree shipping but return shipping fees applyWhite-glove delivery and mattress removalFree with purchase of mattress and baseShowroom availabilityYes, nationwideOur review of the Sleep Number 360 i8 Smart BedPros: Automatic air adjustments based on sleeping position, built-in sleep tracker, white-glove delivery included, good edge support, 20 firmness options make it ideal for all sleeping styles  Cons: Poor heat dissipation, poor motion isolation, tough to moveWhat do you do if you and your partner have completely different firmness preferences or sleep styles? Get an adjustable airbed. The Sleep Number 360 i8 Smart Bed is the best I've tested and has features you won't find in other adjustable mattresses.There are 20 firmness options, or "Sleep Numbers." Each side is independently adjustable so you can have a softer experience (my Sleep Number is 35), while your partner might prefer something firmer (my back-sleeping wife prefers 80).As someone who shifts from one side to the other with occasional pit stops on my stomach or back, I love the adjustable air option in the SleepIQ app (available for iOS and Android). When you activate this feature, the 360 i8 Smart Bed automatically adjusts the firmness as you shift positions to provide you with consistent comfort and pressure relief.Another great feature of the app is sleep-quality monitoring and recommendations. As it collects data about your habits, it gives personalized recommendations for how to improve your sleep. However, I found the SleepIQ app's sleep data wasn't as accurate as my Garmin Forerunner 945 smartwatch, but Tempur-Pedic is constantly making tweaks to improve the app. I noticed minor improvements even during the month I tested the bed.Sleep Number has its own team that comes into your home to set up your mattress and ensure it pairs with your phone. The white glove delivery took about 45 minutes.While I never felt like I would fall off when lying on the edge of the bed, there was significant sinkage when I sat on the edge to put on my socks and shoes. Another negative is the motion isolation: It failed my bowling ball test on every firmness setting. Read our full Sleep Number 360 i8 Smart Bed review. What else we tested James Brains/Insider We've tested dozens of mattresses over the years, and there are none that we outright don't recommend. Every mattress we've tested could potentially be a good fit for the right individual. However, here are a few that missed the cut for our guide but that side sleepers might want to consider.What else we recommend and why:Under $1,100Nectar Memory Foam: The 365-night risk-free trial and lifetime warranty are obvious pros of this mattress. Additionally, it was easy to set up and move around, has great motion isolation and heat dissipation, and is constructed from CertiPUR-US certified foams. The Nectar mattress just wasn't tops in any of our categories. Subjectively, I didn't find it particularly comfortable, and the edge support was poor.Bear Mattress: In a previous version of this guide, the Bear Mattress was the pick for athletes because of its Celliant technology, which is supposed to aid in faster recovery and better temperature regulation. That may be so, but we removed the category because we didn't find it as useful as our current categories. Also, after testing the Bear firsthand, I found it was too firm for side sleeping. We look forward to testing the Bear Hybrid, which is softer.Bear Pro Mattress: With its breathable Celliant cover and foam layers, the Bear Pro is terrific for a cool sleep. Setup was effortless, though the mattress experienced some damage in transit. The bed has impressive motion isolation. However, the edge support was poor, and while it's comfortable, it wasn't noteworthy enough to earn a top spot in any of our categories. Read our full review.Under $2,000Bear Hybrid Mattress: The best mattress for hot sleepers in our newly updated guide to the best mattresses for back pain, the Bear Hybrid is the softest bed from Bear. This makes it ideal for side sleepers. It's also easy to move and made from CertiPUR-US and Greenguard Gold certified materials. The biggest negative is its subpar motion isolation.Puffy Lux Hybrid Mattress: The Puffy Lux did a great job of keeping my spine aligned while sleeping on my side. It comes with a lifetime warranty, and the motion dampening was impressive. However, the edge support was poor, and the "new bed smell" took days to go away.DreamCloud Premier Hybrid Mattress: We named this mattress the best overall pick in our guide to the best mattresses. So, why isn't it a top pick in any of our side sleeper categories? The DreamCloud Premier just wasn't as comfortable for side sleeping in my subjective opinion. If I had to rank it, it would be the fourth most comfortable mattress I've slept on behind the Tempur-Pedic Cloud, Leesa Hybrid, and Casper Nova Hybrid. But when you take all factors into consideration — including the 365-night trial and lifetime warranty — this is an outstanding mattress worth your consideration. Read our full review.Birch Mattress by Helix: If we had a best latex mattress for side sleepers category, the Birch Mattress would be our pick, provided you spring for the plush mattress topper add-on ($450). The eco-friendly latex is responsive, offering nice bounce and easy mobility on the bed while still dampening motion transfer. The biggest negatives are that the topper doesn't attach to the mattress and is slightly smaller than the bed.Over $2,000Saatva Solaire Adjustable Mattress: If our customization pick isn't available or you just don't want a Sleep Number mattress, the Solaire is an excellent option. It has 50 firmness options, comes with white-glove delivery, and has better edge support than the Sleep Number. It's the mattress my teenager sleeps on. I prefer the Sleep Number, though, because of the automatic adjustable air feature and sleep monitoring. Read our full review.Purple Hybrid Premier Mattress: If you tend to overheat at night, we strongly recommend considering the Purple Hybrid Premier. It has excellent heat dissipation and comes with free white-glove delivery. The patented Purple grid offers outstanding pressure relief. The biggest negatives are it weighs 145 pounds (so don't plan on moving it) and that it failed our motion isolation tests. It comes in three-inch and four-inch-thick grid sizes. I tested both and found they were both great for side sleeping, but the four-inch was a little bit more comfortable.For a full listing of the mattresses we've tested, check out our guide to the best mattresses. Our side sleeper mattress testing methodology We used an infrared thermometer to evaluate heat retention and dissipation. James Brains/Insider I personally tested all of the mattresses featured in this guide. In addition to sleeping on each mattress for at least two weeks, I put each through a series of objective tests. The most important factors to consider when testing a mattress are comfort, edge support, and motion isolation.Here are some of the test results for the main attributes we tested:AttributeCasper Nova HybridNest Bedding Flip HybridLeesa HybridTempur-CloudSleep Number 360 i8 Smart BedFirmness (1 softest to 10 firmest)45 on one side and 9 on the other5620 levelsMotion Isolation (1 awful to 10 best)33 (on both sides)773Edge Support (1 awful to 10 best)68 (on both sides)736Heat Dissipation (1 traps heat to 10 stays cool)88 (on both sides)793Trial Period100 nights100 nights100 nights90 nights100 nightsWarranty10 yearsLifetime10 years10 years15 yearsHere are the main attributes we look for and how we test them:Comfort: This is based on my subjective experience having tested dozens of mattresses over the years. Side sleepers typically benefit from a softer mattress than other sleeping styles. I took that into consideration when evaluating comfort for this guide. Fortunately, I'm a side sleeper myself, so my subjective comfort played a big factor here. While sleeping on each mattress, I pay close attention to how firm it is, which sleeping positions my wife and I gravitate to, and if I wake up in the morning feeling refreshed or in pain. I also measure how well it dissipates heat by using a laser thermometer to compare readings before I lay down for at least an hour, as soon as I get up, and two minutes after I get up. Motion isolation: If you've ever shared a bed with a partner who tosses and turns, you know how important motion isolation is to getting a good night's sleep. I test this by setting a can of soda pop in the middle of the mattress. Then I drop a 15-pound bowling ball from four feet above the bed so that it lands 12 inches from the can. If the can stays upright, the bed has good motion isolation. If the can falls over, the motion isolation could use some work. In future updates to this guide, watch out for more detailed assessments using a vibration meter.Edge support: Edge support is important for feeling comfortable and supported on all parts of the bed. While we are developing an objective test to roll out in future updates to this guide, we currently use a helpful quasi-subjective test. First, I note how much the edge sags as I sit on it to put on my socks and shoes. Secondly, I lay on the very edge of the bed and slowly — and literally — roll off. If I can get to a 45-degree angle without falling, then the edge support is great. Otherwise, it could use some work.Portability: I look at how heavy the mattress is, if it has handles, and if it flops around when I try to move or rotate it. Also, as a mattress tester who is constantly setting up and rearranging mattresses, I move the mattress and rotate it several times throughout the time it's in my possession. My chronic lower back pain serves as a useful meter for how much effort I'm putting in, though we also look at objective measures like weight. Trial and warranty: The most foolproof way to know if a mattress is right for you is to sleep on it for an extended period, so a long trial is a must. I look at how long the trial is (100 nights was the median for the mattresses I tested) and if there are hidden costs. Since a mattress is such a big-ticket item that should last you up to a decade, I look at the warranty length. (Twenty years was the median for the mattresses I tested.)Setup: Unless a mattress comes with free white-glove delivery, I set up each mattress by myself. I note how long it takes, how difficult it is, if it comes with special instructions and tools, if there's an initial odor, and if the odor dissipates and the mattress expands by bedtime (always at least 10 hours after setup). I also note whether white-glove delivery is available for a fee. Side sleeper mattress FAQs James Brains/Insider What should side sleepers look for in a mattress?The only way to know for sure if a mattress is right for you is to sleep on it for several nights in normal circumstances. Therefore, your top consideration when looking for a mattress is a long trial period.Dr. Rebecca Robbins, PhD, associate scientist at Brigham and Women's Hospital and instructor in medicine at Harvard Medical School, recommends shopping around before choosing a mattress and trying it in person if you can. Yet, with the coronavirus pandemic, many folks may feel unsafe visiting showrooms, and several remain closed. Thankfully, our mattress picks come with sleep trials of at least 90 nights. If you find the bed isn't right for your sleeping style, you can return it.While she appreciates the benefits of a home trial, Robbins warned about the environmental implications of this policy, though. "Some of the mattresses will go into a landfill after they're returned," she said.What types of mattresses are best for side sleepers?There are essentially four main types of mattresses on the market: foam, hybrid/innerspring, latex, and adjustable airbeds. Though no one type is the best or worst for side sleepers, they each have pros and cons.Foam: Popularized by the bed-in-a-box industry, foam mattresses feature layers of gel-infused foam, open-cell foam, or viscoelastic memory foam. The best foam mattresses adjust to the contours of your side-sleeping body for optimal spinal alignment and pressure relief. All-foam mattresses tend to be more affordable than other varieties, but they are likelier to trap heat.Hybrid/innerspring: Both hybrid and innerspring mattresses feature metal coils that add durability, airflow, and support. Though the line between the two types of beds gets blurrier each year, traditional mattresses with pillowtops are generally called innerspring mattresses, while hybrids typically arrive at your door in a box and feature latex or memory foam. However, you can find innerspring beds-in-a-box and hybrids with pillowtops. The suitability of these mattresses for side sleepers will depend on the model, but consider a bed with a pillowtop for the added softness that side sleepers typically need.Latex: Natural latex mattresses are usually more eco-friendly than the other alternatives. Look for OEKO-Tex or Greenguard Gold certification. As for feel, latex is more responsive than other materials. It quickly contours to your body to relieve your pressure points. Plus, the responsiveness makes it easier for you to move around on your bed. You can also count on a cooler sleep, which makes it ideal for hot side sleepers.Adjustable or airbeds: Adjustable airbeds feature a combination of foam, latex, wool, or other layers and air chambers to which you can add or remove air to fit your comfort needs. Though they cost more than the other varieties, adjustable mattresses are ideal for couples who have drastically different firmness preferences since you can typically adjust the air of the two sides independently. Also, as your body and sleep preferences change, the feel of your mattress can change with you, making this an ideal long-term solution.Is memory foam good for side sleepers?It depends on the mattress. Good memory foam mattresses will conform to the contours of your body to relieve pressure points and keep your spine aligned. This is ideal for side sleepers. Tempur-Pedic mattresses are particularly good at adjusting to your body.What type of mattress is best for side sleepers, firm or soft?Dr. Luis Javier Peña-Hernández, a lung and sleep health specialist at the Pulmonary, Critical Care & Sleep Disorders Institute of South Florida, recommends mattresses that are not too firm. "Vast research exists to support side sleepers benefit from medium-firm mattresses," said Peña-Hernández. Robbins agreed. "The body's curves need a little bit of support, so a side sleeper should look for a mattress that is cushiony supportive and has a plush top," she said.Only one of our picks is firmer than average, the Tempur-Pedic Cloud, but I found the mattress's foam did an excellent job of contouring to my side-sleeping body and offering pressure relief, support, and spinal alignment.Are firm mattresses bad for side sleepers?The short answer is sometimes. Both of the experts we talked to said most side sleepers will benefit from a medium-firm mattress. Firmer mattresses don't have as much give at the pressure points. When your hips and shoulders don't sink in, your spine doesn't stay aligned, leading to discomfort. However, heavier soft sleepers tend to benefit from firm mattresses because their weight allows them to sink in more. Thus, they can achieve spinal alignment.What if I'm a side sleeper and my partner is not?If you and your partner have sleep preferences that are drastically different, Robbins suggests a mattress topper for one side of the bed. "It's a stopgap measure if you're not in the market for a new mattress," she said.She is also a strong proponent of couples sleeping apart to improve sleep quality. "A good night's rest will allow you to be a better partner," she said. "So prioritizing sleep is critical for couples."If separate beds or bedrooms isn't an option for you, we suggest an adjustable air bed that allows you to independently customize the firmness of each side of the bed. Our top pick for customization in this guide and our best mattress guide is the Sleep Number 360 i8 Smart Bed, which has 20 firmness options. For more answers to your mattress questions, check out our guide to the best mattresses.Is it bad to sleep on your side?No. In fact, side sleeping may be the best position for you. With stomach sleeping, your head is to the side, which can lead to spinal issues. Back sleeping is generally good for your spine, but you're more susceptible to snoring and breathing problems.On your side, you reduce your risk of sleep apnea, acid reflux, and back pain, to name just a few benefits. Glossary CertiPUR-US certified: CertiPUR-US is a not-for-profit certification program that evaluates the foams used in consumer products to ensure they are made without phthalates, formaldehyde, heavy metals, hazardous flame retardants, ozone depleters, and other harmful substances. Each foam must also emit less than 0.5 parts per million of volatile organic compounds to earn certification.Edge support: Edge support is important if you like to sit on the side of your bed or tend to gravitate to the edges when sleeping. The term refers to how supportive a mattress is to its very periphery. Some mattresses will sag significantly as you get to the edge. We say these models have poor edge support. Hybrid: When referring to mattresses, a hybrid has coils and another material, typically foam or latex. Hybrid mattresses are a lot like traditional innerspring mattresses, and "hybrid" and "innerspring" are often used interchangeably. We think the line between the two mattress types is so blurred these days that there isn't much value in differentiating between them.Motion isolation/motion transfer: These terms are two sides of the same coin. Motion isolation refers to the mattress's ability to keep movement on one part of the bed from disturbing other parts of the bed. So if your partner gets up in the night, you aren't jostled. A bed with good motion isolation will have minimal motion transfer. A mattress with awful motion isolation will have easily noticeable motion transfer. Check out more mattress guides James Brains/Insider The best mattressesThe best mattresses for back painThe best hybrid mattressesThe best foam mattressesThe best spring mattressesThe best mattress protectorsThe 9 best online delivery mattress companiesThe best mattresses for kids Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 11th, 2021

24 of our favorite gifts for parents who have everything, from custom breast milk jewelry to a bike for the whole family

If you're looking to gift a parent who needs nothing, these thoughtful gift options are sure to surprise them. When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more. lisegagne / Getty Images It can be tough to find a special gift for parents, but they deserve to be celebrated. We rounded up our favorite unique gifts that will surprise even the parent who has it all. Still looking for a gift? Check out our list of the All-Time Best products we've ever tested. Gifting parents is always hard, but they deserve to be celebrated as much as kids do. After all, they are the ones working around the clock to keep everyone happy, while sometimes also working a full-time job. Yes, becoming a parent sometimes means leaving all your hobbies and interests aside for a little bit, but when the occasion arises to treat them, why not give the parents in your life a cool gift you know they'll love or at least be intrigued by. Because these are original and unusual gifts they likely don't have, some are on the pricier side but we've included some clever, thoughtful budget options as well.Here are 24 of our favorite gifts for the parents who have everything: For the parent who has no time to cook but still loves yummy meals Thermomix Thermomix TM6, available at Thermomix, $1,499While $1,500 may seem like a lot to spend on a kitchen gadget, the Thermomix is considered essential in many European countries and it's easy to see why. It does everything: from weighing ingredients to knowing how much you need to slicing, chopping, and mixing.You can look up thousands of recipes (even in multiple languages) with it and cooking is as easy as following instructions on the screen. Plus, my kids love helping prep food with "the robot," as they call it. If you're looking for an option that doesn't cost as much, we recommend the Cuisinart Complete Chef.  For the parents who want to enjoy some child-free time Breeo Breeo X Series 19 Smokeless Fire Pit, available at Breeo, $349This fire pit is smokeless and so easy to get going. Its secret is just a better ventilation system that pulls up air to reburn the smoke. That means no more moving around the firepit to avoid that overwhelming campfire smell.The fire pit is ideal year-round and will hold up in any kind of weather. You can choose between stainless steel and Corten steel, which gives it a more rustic look, and throw in some extra add-ons for them to cook over an open fire.  For the parents who want to grow their own veggies without much hassle The Farmstand The Farmstand, available at Lettuce Grow, from $348For parents looking to grow their own vegetables at home, indoors or out, there's The Farmstand self-watering and fertilizing tower. It's pretty much plug and play: pop the pods in, fill the tank with water, and just wait for veggies to sprout. For a budget option, we like the Aerogarden for growing veggies right on the kitchen counter. For the parent who wants to enjoy snow play with the kids Funboy Funboy Winter Wave Snow Toboggan Sled, available at Funboy, $79Who said sledding down a snowy hill is only reserved for kids? This colorful inflatable sled can be enjoyed by the whole family. It holds two people, up to 250 pounds, and its durable reinforced bottom ensures they can use it over and over again.  For the parent who is ready to ditch the car Rad Power Bikes Rad Wagon 4 Electric Cargo Bike, available at Rad Power Bikes, $1,899This electric cargo bike will make the trip enjoyable for everyone, and they can alternate between pedaling or using the electric motor. The Wagon safely carries up to two children in bike seats, making it a nice alternative for those who want to ditch the car for school drop-offs. But, it's not made just to carry kids, they can also add accessories for carrying packages and larger cargo.  For the parent who works from home but needs a break from the dining room table The Edge Desk The Edge Desk, available at The Edge Desk System, $399.99Some parents have been working from home for almost two years while also sharing the table with children and other family members and, of course, making room for meals. This desk allows parents to have their own space, but even better, it alleviates back pain from sitting all day.They will basically rest their knees on a pad, sit on a little stool-like seat, and this position ensures they maintain a straight-back posture. It comes fully assembled — one less thing for them to worry about. For the parents looking for some extra fun under the covers PlusOne Plus One Sex Toys, available at Amazon, Target, and Plus One, from $14.99The whole notion that parents don't have sex is just antiquated. They do, and why not have things be more entertaining by adding a Plus One toy? These sex toys come in an array of prices, sizes, and exploration levels. One of Plus One's client favorites is this air-pulsing arouser. For the parents who love exploring new treats from the comfort of home Bokksu Bokksu Subscription, available at Bokksu, from $39.95They'll be ready to explore Japan from home with this subscription service that delivers delicious treats monthly. Every box supports family-run businesses in Japan and helps keep traditions alive. The boxes come with a variety of sweet treats, savory snacks, and teas.  For the parent who loves nail art but has no time to go to the salon ManiMe Mani Me Manicure Sets, available at ManiMe, from $12As someone who loves nail art, these sets have kept my nails happy while not being able to go for my usual manicure. There are plain and nail art sets and they are super easy to apply and remove. They last up to 10 days and are toxin-free.  For the parent who wants to have a really special piece of jewelry Milk & Honey Milk and Honey Breastmilk Jewelry DIY Kit, available at Milk and Honey, $145With this at-home kit, they can make a handful of pieces of jewelry with breast milk, formula, baby hairs, or even placenta bits. It's a truly unique way to immortalize the earth-shattering life event that is becoming a parent.The kit comes with all the materials, including resin, to create custom pieces. If the person you are gifting is not super crafty, you can always give them a gift card so Milk and Honey can make a piece of jewelry for them. For the parent who wants to take gaming to the next level Oculus Oculus Quest 2, available at Amazon and Best Buy, $299The Oculus VR headset allows them to be somewhere else, without leaving their house. It's perfect for both advanced gamer parents and also those just starting out. Oculus offers a wide range of virtual reality games to explore. While my husband enjoys more action-filled and sometimes scary games, I'm more into fun and sometimes addictive games like "Beat Saber" and "Moss." For the parent who loves plants but has little time to take care of them Botany Box The Original Botany Box, available at Botany Box, $54Botany Box ships succulents that will brighten up any corner of their house. Pre-potted and easy to take care of, these little plants are ready to thrive by the nearest window. For the parent who does everything one-handed, even baking KitchenAid Kitchenaid Nonstick Cookie Slider, available at Amazon, Target, and Kohl's, from $19.99Many parents know how to do almost anything with just one hand, simply out of necessity. Baking cookies is an all-time favorite activity for my family, but I often find myself struggling with getting the cookies off the pan one-handed. This slider pan makes it so cookies easily slide off onto a plate.  A fun activity for the whole family to play together Amazon Jenga Giant, available at Amazon, $99.95This giant version of the beloved game is perfect for adults to play outside with friends. But it's also a great way to bring the whole family together inside on a rainy day.  For the parent who needs a little help waking up in the morning Hatch Hatch Restore, available at Hatch, $129.99The Restore combines a soothing sound machine for deeper sleep with a sunrise alarm for a more gentle wake-ups in the morning. Parents can personalize it for their routine and even enjoy guided meditation to help wind down after a long day chasing children. For the parent who wants royalty-style jewelry Merci Mamam The Duchess Necklace, available at Merci Mamam, from $189Kate Middleton has this necklace, customized with her children's names and Prince William's initials. It is beautifully crafted and complements any outfit. You can personalize it for your recipient's family with "boy" and "girl" charms and choose from three metals and different chain lengths. For the parent who needs a better night's sleep Luna Luna Weighted Blanket, available at Amazon, from $54.99I added a weighted blanket after postpartum insomnia left me awake for days after the birth of my twins. This blanket will hug a parent while they lie in bed with 15 pounds of weighted glass beads.Although research is still limited, many people find weighted blankets help reduce their anxiety and add some extra hours of sleep. This one is available in smaller sizes, so if the person you are gifting does not want to share with their partner (like myself and my husband) you can size down. For the parent who gave up alcohol but still likes a yummy beverage Tost Töst All-Natural Non-Alcoholic Sparkling Beverage, available at Amazon, $32Last year, I quit alcohol because, even when having only one drink, I noticed how it affected my sleep and mood. Maybe it was all those sober years while I was pregnant and breastfeeding that changed the way my body processes alcohol. That said, I still enjoy a good yummy drink. Made with white tea, cranberry, and ginger, Töst is the perfect drink for us sober parents.  For the parent who wants a pick-me-up with extra moisture for their skin Skin Proud Skin Proud Frozen Over Moisturizer, available at Walmart and ASOS, from $15.97I'll admit I'm not the best at moisturizing and only recently started doing it because my face was basically begging for it. This Skin Proud moisturizer feels more like a gel and absorbs quickly, leaving my skin feeling soft and happy. What's even better, I can put it in my freezer for a couple of hours for a more cooling effect, ideal after a hot summer day. For the parent who wants to layer up in style State Cashmere The Cropped V-Neck Tank Top, available at State Cashmere, $90This cropped tank is as soft as butter and so incredibly comfortable. Initially, I was confused as to why I'd need anything in cashmere that was not a sweater, but the second I put this tank on I understood why. It's perfect to wear under a buttoned shirt or by itself.  For the new birthing parent who wants short workouts while also being mindful of recovery The DB Method The DB Method Machine, available at The DB Method, $329This machine helps with recovery from diastasis recti, among other benefits like lifting and toning the legs and rear. It is super easy to assemble and can be folded to store under the couch, meaning it won't take up precious play space. Khloe Kardashian credits this machine for her post-baby fitness. For the parent looking to start a new sport Bote Bote Breeze Aero 10′8″ Classic Teak Inflatable Paddle Board, available at Bote, $584.10This inflatable paddle board is lightweight but also super stable. It is ideal for those who are just beginning their paddle board adventures. Since it's inflatable, it's not only easy to store during cold months but also easy to transport in the car with kids.Because of its weight limit, the Bote Breeze is best for solo paddle board adventures. But, if you're looking for a board that can carry a parent and a child (or a dog), this one from iRocker is great because it has a 400-pound weight limit.  For the parent who loves to drink coffee and also support fair trade 44 North Coffee 44 North Coffee Beans, available at 44 North Coffee, from $8Based in Maine, this coffee shop sells its products across the United States and has supporters all over. Its organic coffee is Fair Trade Certified, but more importantly, absolutely delicious. You can gift beans, a gift card, or if they already know and love the brand, some gear. They also have a coffee sampler for those trying to figure out what blend of coffee they like. All bags come whole bean, but they can ground them for you if you send them a note to remind them.  For the parent who has no time for a facial but still wants to look radiant SolaWave Sola Wave Red Light Wand, available at SolaWave, $149Getting a facial is my favorite activity in the world, but since having kids, I've found myself looking for ways to have that spa-like experience at home. My skin needs it; I need it. This wand gives me just that. It combines microcurrent, red light therapy and vibrations to rejuvenate skin, minimize breakouts, and soften fine lines.  Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytNov 11th, 2021

Shipping"s Extreme Consolidation Could Prolong Supply Chain Pain

Shipping's Extreme Consolidation Could Prolong Supply Chain Pain By Greg Miller of Freightwaves, U.S. policymakers have never been more focused on global container shipping than they are today. Yet the “steel” of this industry — the ships and the containers — is outside of U.S. control, consolidated into the hands of an extremely small circle of non-U.S. companies that continue to bolster their market shares. The big keep getting bigger. Olivier Ghesquiere, CEO of container-equipment lessor Textainer, summed up the situation during his company’s quarterly conference call. “The question we always get is: How long will this last? In my opinion, it’s really about consumer demand that’s running very high and this can only be resolved in two ways: either by consumer demand coming down a bit or with infrastructure investment increasing. And as you can guess, infrastructure investment takes a long time.  “So our view is very much that this environment is here to stay for some time, and because of that, we’re unlikely to see a change in behavior of the various players in the industry.” No incentive to change behavior Three main decision-making groups steer vessel and equipment pricing and availability: shipping lines, which offer freight rates and purchase and lease ships and containers; container equipment lessors, which order new boxes and offer leasing rates; and container factories, which offer the prices for newly constructed boxes. Only a handful of companies control capacity in each of these three groups. And in each case, the current market situation is enormously profitable, removing incentives to compete more on price. According to data from Alphaliner, the top eight liner companies now control 81% of global capacity. Ghesquiere noted that prices obtained by shipping lines “are extremely high … [and] there is still plenty of cargo waiting to be shipped in Asia, so shipping lines really are in an environment where there is absolutely no need to change their behavior.” The same goes for container equipment factories, virtually all of which are in China. Following recent consolidation, the top three Chinese builders produce 83% of all new boxes. “They are charging expensive prices for their containers,” said Ghesquiere. “They have a vested interest in maintaining the high pricing levels, so we really can’t see why manufacturing prices would drop. They have no incentives to change behavior.” The pattern repeats yet again in the container-equipment leasing sector. Following recent consolidation, the top five players control 82% of the world’s leasing capacity. “Likewise, there is no risk here that the major players would suddenly change their behavior,” maintained Ghesquiere. Add it all up and it equates to a grand total of just 16 companies — eight liners, three factory groups and five box lessors — that control over 80% of container-ship capacity, box-production capacity and box-leasing capacity. Shareholders of each of these 16 companies would benefit financially if today’s high pricing persists. Ocean carrier consolidation Ocean carriers have been busy placing orders for new ships, whether directly on their own accounts or indirectly through chartered tonnage ordered by vessel-leasing companies. The orderbook has more than doubled since last year, but the new ships won’t hit the water until 2023-24, offering no relief to U.S. cargo shippers in 2022. As the new ships are being built, leading liner companies are acquiring secondhand tonnage, further consolidating the market. According to Alphaliner, the top eight liners are Maersk (based in Denmark), MSC (Switzerland), CMA CGM (France), Cosco (China), Hapag-Lloyd (Germany), ONE (Japan), Evergreen (Taiwan) and HMM (South Korea). Chart: American Shipper based on data from Alphaliner as of Nov. 8 Five months ago, these eight carriers had 19.7 million twenty-foot equivalent units of capacity on the water. Since June, they added 435,236 TEUs of capacity, bringing their combined fleet to 20.1 million TEUs and their market share to 81.1%. The net gain since June was driven entirely by increases in owned tonnage as opposed to new charters (the charter market is largely sold out), with MSC leading the charge as it continues to buy an unprecedented number of secondhand vessels. The largest liner companies are set to further increase their market dominance in 2023-24 when newbuilds are delivered, to the extent deliveries are not counterbalanced by lease expirations and scrapping of older tonnage.  According to Alphaliner data, Maersk’s orderbook totals 6% of its on-the-water capacity, CMA CGM’s orders-to-fleet ratio is at 17%, HMM and Cosco 20%, ONE 21%, Hapag-Lloyd 23%, MSC — which is far outpacing Maersk and is destined to become the world’s leading carrier — 24%, and Evergreen a whopping 48%. Liner shipping’s consolidation transpired amid the loss-making market of the past decade, setting up surviving carriers to reap the benefits of the COVID-era surge in consumer demand. Maersk bought Hamburg Süd (in 2017); Cosco merged with China Shipping (2016) and bought OOCL (2018); Hapag-Lloyd merged with CSAV (2014), bought CCNI (2015) and acquired UASC (2017); CMA CGM bought APL (2015); NYK, K Line and MOL merged into ONE (2016); and a major competitor — Hanjin Shipping — went insolvent (2016). Chart: American Shipper based on data from Drewry As Vespucci Maritime CEO Lars Jensen told American Shipper in a previous interview, “We have definitely seen the effects of consolidation. At least on the main trades, there is a de facto oligopoly, which means the carriers are able to somewhat better prevent the price wars we’ve seen in the past. This is the logical end point of 20 years of gradual consolidation.” Container manufacturing consolidation As consolidated as liner shipping is, its market concentration pales in comparison to the box-manufacturing sector. As previously reported by American Shipper, container manufacturing is dominated by a small number of Chinese businesses, most with ties to the state. Data from consultancy Drewry shows that the China International Marine Containers (CIMC) Group had a 42.5% share of H1 2021 production, Dong Fang International Containers 25.5% and the CXIC Group 14.1%. The dominance of the top three is increasing. Dong Fang hiked its capacity in 2019 by purchasing factories from one of the smaller players, Singamas. This September, CIMC agreed to buy Maersk Containers for $1.08 billion including assumed debt. The deal is expected to close by year-end, giving CIMC another 1.2% of market share and bringing the top three’s share of H1 2021 production to 83.3%. Chinese box manufacturers are producing a record number of containers this year. Textainer predicted that production would exceed 6 million TEUs, while container equipment lessor Triton (NYSE: TRTN) estimated around 5.4 million TEUs. The previous record, according to Drewry, was 4.4 million TEUs in 2018. Even so, China’s top three are protecting their pricing and not flooding the market with excess containers. The cost of a new container remains at an all-time high of around $3,800 per TEU. According to Ghesquiere, “There’s only three major manufacturers. When they can’t get enough orders, they prefer to reduce production and working hours at the factories [versus reducing pricing]. That’s certainly a sign that they are not changing their behavior.” Container leasing consolidation Containers used to move ocean cargo are owned by liner companies or by equipment lessors. Textainer puts the split at around 50-50. Among equipment lessors, Bermuda-domiciled Triton is the largest, with 25% of leased capacity, according to an investor presentation this month by Textainer. Triton rose to the top of the pack after a merger with TAL in 2015. Bermuda-domiciled Textainer is in second with an 18% share. Next in line with 14% are Florens, owned by China’s Cosco, and also with 14%, the combined holdings of CAI and Beacon. The owner of Beacon, Japan’s Mitsubishi HC Capital, acquired CAI (NYSE: CAI) for $1.1 billion in a deal that’s expected to close this quarter. Rounding out the top five is Seaco, controlled by China’s HNA, with an 11% market share. Chart: American Shipper based on November investor presentation by Textainer Comparing market concentration in container leasing to the liner business and container manufacturing, Ghesquiere said, “It’s pretty much a similar environment — we have five main players. “Leasing companies haven’t necessarily gouged customers in terms of the prices [but lease] durations have certainly been extremely positive and yields have been attractive. The inventory levels of most [leasing] players are extremely low, with everybody enjoying utilization rates above 99%. So it would take quite a few quarters until we would potentially see a change in behavior here.” Tyler Durden Wed, 11/10/2021 - 15:30.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 10th, 2021