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    By CHRISTINA LARSON | The Associated Press Settling into a new home can be tough for anyone. So scientists have come up with some tricks to make transplanted burrowing owls feel like they are not alone in their new digs, playing owl sounds and scattering fake poop. The owls’ grassland homes are often prime real estate, and they’ve been losing ground to development in fast-growing regions like Silicon Valley and Southern California. Biologists have tried moving the owls to protected grasslands but the challenge has been getting the owls to accept their new homes. Just dropping off the owls in prime habitat wasn’t enough, prior attempts showed. In a pilot program, scientists took pains to create the impression that owls already lived there so they’d stick around. And it worked. “They like to be in a neighborhood, to live near other owls,” said Colleen Wisinski, a conservation biologist at the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance, which launched the experiment with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. RELATED: Sunnyvale’s shiny green laser seems to be scaring the crows away — for...
    (CNN)NATO -- the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, to give it its full name -- is a non-aggressive European and North American defense alliance set up to promote peace and stability and to safeguard the security of its members.The organization, which has its headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, was created as the Cold War escalated. Its aim was to protect Western European countries from the threat posed by the Soviet Union and to counter the spread of Communism after World War II.In April 1949, its 12 founders -- the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France and eight other European nations -- signed the North Atlantic Treaty, pledging to protect each other by political and military means. Over the decades since, the alliance has grown -- today it has 30 members. In alphabetical order, they are: Albania, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Montenegro, the Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey, the UK and the US.Since the end of the Cold War, more than a dozen...
    TOKYO (AP) — The French-Japanese auto alliance of Renault and Nissan plans to invest 23 billion euros ($26 billion) in electric vehicle technology over the next five years, the companies said Thursday. The alliance, which also includes smaller Japanese automaker Mitsubishi Motors Corp., will share research, auto parts and technology to bring down costs and produce 35 new electric vehicle models by 2030, aiming at markets around the world. The vehicles will use one of five common platforms, the main parts on which vehicles are built. Nissan Motor Co. will lead in developing a next-generation battery for the electric vehicles, while Renault will lead in developing electronics and software to connect millions of vehicles and provide digital services and features. “Today we are lifting the hoods of the alliance together,” Jean-Dominique Senard, the alliance’s chairman, said in an online presentation. Automakers around the world are trying to save costs and forge alliances. Recent COVID-related supply problems that are crimping production and growing concerns about climate change have made such coordination more urgent than ever. ...
    U.S. Ambassador to Russia John Sullivan delivered a written response to Russia’s recent demand that NATO agree never to allow another country to join the alliance and roll back security assistance with Eastern European allies, as American officials attempt to launch a confidential dialogue with Moscow. “We're not releasing the document publicly because we think that diplomacy has the best chance to see if we provide space for confidential talks,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken told reporters Wednesday. “We hope and expect that Russia will have the same view and will take our proposals seriously.” That comportment attempts to revert to diplomatic normalcy, more than a month after Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s team took the unusual step of publishing a “draft treaty” that proposed an unprecedented revision of NATO’s founding principles. Blinken rejected those public demands before and after a meeting with Lavrov last week in Geneva, but Russian officials have implied that they will launch a major new assault against Ukraine if they are not satisfied by the written response. UKRAINIAN VIEWS 'INCORPORATED' INTO US WRITTEN RESPONSE TO...
    President BidenJoe BidenFox News reporter says Biden called him after 'son of a b----' remark Peloton responds after another TV character has a heart attack on one of its bikes Defense & National Security — Pentagon puts 8,500 troops on high alert MORE on Tuesday said there will be no American forces moving into Ukraine as tensions flare over the urgent threat of a Russian military incursion. “There is not going to be any American forces moving into Ukraine,” Biden told reporters. The U.S. and its allies have warned that a Russian invasion of Ukraine could be imminent as Moscow has amassed at least 100,000 troops near its border with Kyiv. Biden’s comments come a day after the Pentagon announced on Monday that it is readying up to 8,500 troops to potentially deploy to Eastern Europe. Most of those troops would help the NATO Response Force (NRF), a multinational force that the alliance could deploy on short notice. That force has not yet been activated.  Asked about what would lead to the deployment of the 8,500 troops, Biden said it...
    NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced the alliance would not be deploying combat troops to Ukraine, which is not a member. The United States and its allies in Europe are concerned that Russia, which has amassed a significant military presence along its border with Ukraine, could invade after weeks of military maneuvering by Moscow. Those fears have ramped up even further in recent days. "NATO will not deploy NATO combat troops to Ukraine, but we need to be sure that there is no misunderstanding about our readiness, our commitment to defend all allies, especially in the eastern part of the alliance," Stoltenberg said on CNN on Tuesday. His announcement came a day after Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby revealed 8,500 troops were put on "heightened alert" for a possible deployment. The alert order was sent to units currently in the U.S. who would be mobilized as a part of NATO forces if the alliance chose to activate a military response. ZELENSKY 'DIDN'T SHY AWAY FROM ASKING FOR MORE' FROM US, SENATOR SAYS White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters on...
    (CNN)NATO will send a written proposal to the Kremlin later this week to "try to find a way forward" amid growing tensions over Russia's troop build-up on Ukraine's border, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told CNN's Christiane Amanpour on Tuesday."We will outline that we are ready to sit down ... and discuss arms control, disarmament, transparency on military activities, risk reduction mechanisms, and other issues which are relevant for European security. And also to sit down and listen to Russian concerns," Stoltenberg said. The NATO chief said last week that the Western military alliance would soon send its written proposals to Russia, responding to Moscow's security demands and suggest serious talks on arms control and measures of transparency on military activities and missile deployments.Stoltenberg's comments came a day after NATO announced that some member countries were putting forces on standby and sending additional ships and fighter jets to Eastern Europe.The moves signaled mounting fears of a possible Russian invasion of Ukraine, following months of military maneuvering by Moscow that has set off a tit-for-tat series of escalations with NATO.Read MoreSpeaking from...
    Vladimir Putin is in the midst of a colossal blunder—a miscalculation that will haunt the rest of his presidency. Regardless of what happens next between Russia and Ukraine, Putin has given the NATO alliance a renewed sense of purpose. He might have even strengthened it. At the same time, he has helped to restore the US’ leadership role, which he has long sought to weaken. Don’t get me wrong. While NATO will almost certainly emerge stronger in the event Russia engages in a cold-blooded assault on a neighbor, the people of Ukraine would be certain to suffer and that is not to be minimized. Their government is at grave risk and a protracted struggle for control of Ukrainian territory will come at a high cost. And whatever the outcome of Putin’s current gambit, he will certainly call it a success, much as he has already sought to predicate it with a tsunami of lies. The mood among senior members of the Biden foreign policy and national security teams is, at the moment, grim but purposeful. U.S. diplomatic personnel and their...
    A former administrator of a Jersey Shore-based affordable housing organization admitted stealing nearly $450,000 from the non-profit, authorities said. The Affordable Housing Alliance provides housing, support, and services to low- and middle-income families in Monmouth, Ocean and Middlesex counties.  Debra Agresti, 59, of Long Branch was sentenced to five years in New Jersey State Prison on Friday after pleading guilty to the thefts over the course of nearly seven years, according to Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Lori Linskey. Agresti reportedly admitted that while working for the Affordable Housing Alliance she made unauthorized purchases of numerous gift cards to pay for personal expenses and to obtain various goods and services from multiple vendors, Linsky said. An investigation revealed that between August 2012 and March 2019, Agresti purchased gift cards with a credit card associated with the non-profit, which is based in Neptune Township, Linskey said. In order to conceal her misuse of the credit card, Agresti allegedly intercepted monthly statements and created false invoices matching the amounts she spent on the gift cards, instead listing purchases of ordinary office supplies, the...
    NEW YORK (AP) — The crisis in Ukraine is hardly going away — a showdown of two world views that could upend Europe. It carries echoes of the Cold War and resurrects an idea left over from the 1945 Yalta Conference: that the West should respect a Russian sphere of influence in Central and Eastern Europe. Since coming to power in 2000, Russian President Vladimir Putin has worked steadily and systematically to reverse what he views as the humiliating breakup of the Soviet Union 30 years ago. While massing troops along Ukraine’s border and holding war games in Belarus, close to the borders of NATO members Poland and Lithuania, Putin is demanding that Ukraine be permanently barred from exercising its sovereign right to join the Western alliance, and that other NATO actions, such as stationing troops in former Soviet bloc countries, be curtailed. NATO has said the demands are unacceptable and that joining the alliance is a right of any country and does not threaten Russia. Putin’s critics argue that what he really fears is not NATO, but the...
    The U.S. and NATO forces plan to conduct large-scale military exercises starting next week as a Pentagon spokesperson says officials see "no sign of deescalation" from Russia.   The naval exercises, called Neptune Strike 22, will occur in the Mediterranean and last until Feb. 4. The USS Harry S Truman aircraft carrier will join the exercises, which will include integrated NATO defenses and anti-sub operations. TOP US, RUSSIA DIPLOMATS HOLD ‘FRANK’ AND ‘HONEST’ TALKS, REACH NO BREAKTHROUGHS Officials started planning the exercises in 2020, and rising tensions with Russia over a possible invasion of Ukraine will not deter years of planning.  Pentagon spokesman John Kirby speaks during a media briefing at the Pentagon, Monday, Feb. 8, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told reporters Friday that the exercise will show the "deterrence and defense of the alliance."  Kirby responded to questions over Russia’s potential to invade Ukraine by highlighting Russia’s "isolation" in contrast to NATO’s cooperative nature.  PSAKI CONFRONTED ON BIDEN'S HOT MIC COMMENT TO REPORTER: HE DOESN'T ‘DISMISS’ DETERRING PUTIN "This is not...
    The Hotline mailbag is published each Friday. Send questions to pac12hotline@bayareanewsgroup.com or hit me on Twitter: @WilnerHotline. Due to volume — and in some cases, the need for research — not all questions will be answered the week of submission. Thanks for your understanding. Some questions have been edited for clarity and brevity. When Oklahoma and Texas formally join the SEC, five of that league’s 16 schools will be members of the Association of American Universities (a prestigious academic affiliation). Why bother to compete against a conference where athletic performance ‘Just Means More’ than academic performance? In 2026, the ACC, Big Ten, Pac-12 and Notre Dame should play their own postseason ‘Run For The Roses Tournament.’ — Jon Joseph It would make for a fascinating twist, with the so-called alliance leagues breaking away from the SEC, Big 12 and Group of Five, at least in the postseason. I’m not sure that’s the right solution for the sport; nor am I convinced that it would work competitively or financially for the trio. If you cleave the postseason, you’re effectively cleaving the...
    Russian President Vladimir Putin is likely to authorize some degree of new conflict with Ukraine, according to President Joe Biden, who acknowledged that a “minor incursion” might sow discord within the trans-Atlantic alliance about how to respond. “It’s one thing if it’s a minor incursion and we have to fight about what to do and not to do,” Biden said. “But if they actually do what they're capable of doing with the force amassed on the border, it is going to be a disaster for Russia if they further invade Ukraine.” US RACING AT 'FORMULA ONE' SPEED TO ARM UKRAINE Biden’s candor about the potential dispute between allies suggests the likelihood of a new invasion by Russia, which annexed Crimea and destabilized eastern Ukraine in 2014. That prospect has loomed into view in the weeks since Russia presented the United States, and NATO writ large, with a draft treaty that would require a practical contraction of the trans-Atlantic alliance and a legal guarantee that no other countries would be permitted to join. CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM THE WASHINGTON...
    MOSCOW (AP) — The Russian Defense Ministry says all the troops deployed to Kazakhstan by a Russia-led security alliance this month to help quell violent unrest have left the former Soviet nation, with the last four military planes landing outside Moscow on Wednesday. The Collective Security Treaty Organization, an alliance of six ex-Soviet states, deployed over 2,000 troops to Kazakhstan two weeks ago at the request of Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev. Tokayev asked the alliance for assistance after protests over fuel prices spread across the vast, oil- and gas-rich country of 19 million people, growing into a general protest against the authoritarian government and turning into violent riots that killed over 220. A week after the forces arrived, Tokayev declared their mission accomplished on Jan. 13 and announced a gradual withdrawal that was reported as completed on Wednesday. Tokayev dismissed Defense Minister Murat Bektanov on Wednesday, criticizing him for an alleged lack of “leadership qualities.” “Having an army at our disposal that showed good results during command post and military exercises, we were unable to...
    At least eight Democratic donor groups are threatening to pull or have already pulled their endorsements and funding from Jim Crow filibuster-protecting Senators Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin. The largest and most recognized, EMILY’s List, a Political Action Committee that works to elect pro-choice Democratic women politicians, in 2018 invested $1.7 million in Sinema’s senatorial campaign. “Sen. Sinema’s decision to reject the voices of allies, partners and constituents who believe the importance of voting rights outweighs that of an arcane process means she will find herself standing alone in the next election,” EMILY’s List President Laphonza Butler said in a statement minutes ago. “So, we want to make it clear: if Sen. Sinema can not support a path forward for the passage of this legislation, we believe she undermines the foundations of our democracy, her own path to victory and also the mission of EMILY’s List, and we will be unable to endorse her moving forward.” Puck News’ Teddy Schleifer adds that seven other Democratic donor groups “said they would no longer support Sinema (or Manchin) going forward.” Those groups...
    In this article 6758.T-JP ADS BAC UNH MS PG VIDEO1:2701:27News Update – Pre-MarketsNews BriefingCheck out the companies making headlines before the bell: Bank of America (BAC) – Bank of America shares rallied 3.2% in the premarket after it beat estimates by 6 cents with a quarterly profit of 82 cents per share. Revenue was slightly below forecasts, but the bank's overall performance was helped by strength in investment banking. UnitedHealth Group (UNH) – UnitedHealth earned an adjusted $4.48 per share for the fourth quarter, 17 cents above estimates, and the health insurer's revenue also topped forecasts. UnitedHealth saw particular strength from its Optum unit's drug benefits management business. Morgan Stanley (MS) – Morgan Stanley jumped 3.5% in the premarket after beating estimates by 10 cents with a quarterly profit of $2.01 per share, and revenue essentially in line with forecasts. Results got a boost from robust deal advisory fees on a very active quarter for merger and acquisition deals. Procter & Gamble (PG) – P&G added 1% in the premarket after beating estimates on the top and bottom lines...
    Instagram/Azah Awasum Tiffany Mitchell, Kyland Young, Hannah Chaddha, and Azah Awasum of the Big Brother 23 Cookout alliance. Members of the all-Black Cookout alliance from “Big Brother 23” and other “Big Brother alums” from past seasons used the hashtag #BlkBBWeekend (Black Big Brother weekend) to document their visit to Phoenix, Arizona over the weekend of January 15. The attendees included Tiffany Mitchell, Kyland Young, Hannah Chaddha, and Azah Awasum from BB23, Beau Beasley from BB6, Parker Somerville from BB9, Lawon Exum from BB13, Jodi Rollins from BB14, David Alexander from BB21 and BB22, and Andrew Miller, Angie Tackie, and Breydon White from “Big Brother Canada.” “This was a special weekend because we were able to personally thank the previous Black BB alumni players for opening up, not only their arms to welcome us in the community, but opening the door for The Cookout to make ‘Big Brother’ history,” Tiffany Mitchell told Us Weekly. “It is their years of struggling to be accepted and represented that fueled our desire to ensure a Black winner for season 23.” Not all...
    The U.S. economy gained or regained just 199,000 jobs in December, down from 249,000 in November, according to the Department of Labor, marking the smallest monthly jobs gain in a year. The slowdown in hiring includes the otherwise high-paying, red-hot information technology industry. More Business News Alexandria, Virginia-based trade group TechServe Alliance reports the IT sector added just 2,000 jobs in December, little changed from the previous month. On a year-over-year basis, IT employment was up 2.72%, a growth of 142,800 professionals. The IT sector ended 2021 with 5.39 million Americans working in the field. “We expect a continued slowdown in hiring with a flat employment growth rate in the IT and engineering sectors for some time to come,” said Mark Roberts, CEO of TechServe Alliance, the national trade association of the IT and Engineering staffing and solutions industry. “With the tech unemployment rate dropping to 2%, it is clear the slowdown is more a function of companies struggling to find qualified talent, rather than a lack of demand,” he said. TechsServe recommends its members revisit compensation and...
              by Mary Stroka   Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate announced Thursday the creation of a statewide alliance of businesses to end human trafficking. The Iowa Businesses Against Trafficking coalition is open to businesses and nonprofits that are promoting both awareness of human trafficking and the Iowa Safe at Home confidentiality program for survivors of human trafficking and other violent crimes, a news release from Pate’s office said. The office is administering the coalition and the Iowa Safe at Home program and inviting all businesses to join the mission, Pate said in the release. Members are asked to commit to completing tasks for two themes: “Learn Something” and “Do Something.” “Learn Something” tasks educate employees, customers, and industry partners on the signs and impact of human trafficking in Iowa, while “Do Something” tasks empower people to take actions to prevent human trafficking. Businesses can apply for membership in the coalition at IBAT.Iowa.gov. They receive a window decal of the IBAT logo to post at their business. “Human trafficking is a form of modern slavery, and it must end,” Pate said in the release....
    Link the Russian-German Nortstream 2 gas pipeline project to the Ukrainian geopolitical file? The German government, which unites the Social Democrats (SPD), the Liberal Democrats (FDP) and the Ecologists (Alliance 90 / The Greens), cannot speak with one voice on this issue.“We should not practice [Nord Stream 2] In the conflict, German Defense Minister Kristin Lambrecht (SPD) announced on RBB radio on Thursday, “Tensions between the West and Russia around Ukraine have intensified over the past few months.” […] Rather than making connections with projects that have nothing to do with this conflict, ”the government member continued, quoting AFP.However, if there is an “increase” in Ukraine, the popular gas pipeline will not be approved for operation, said her colleague in the Foreign Office, Annalena Barbach, on December 12 – according to the same source, shared by Economy and Climate Minister Robert Hebeck from Alliance 90 / Leswerts. (SPF),According to President Olaf Scholes, he made vague comments on the matter, threatening to have consequences for Nord Stream 2 in the event of a Russian occupation of Ukraine … before declaring the...
    The NIH also accused EcoHealth of overcharging the agency on its "facilities and administrative" costs for the grant involving work with the Wuhan lab. "NIH identified that an inappropriate F&A was charged at a rate of 11 percent for years 2-5 of the subaward agreement," the letter states. The nonprofit should have charged a rate of 8%, according to NIH. House Republicans on the Oversight Committee led by ranking member Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.) said the NIH letter "confirms EcoHealth hid the truth about their risky coronavirus experiments in Wuhan." Oversight Republicans are getting results. \n \n@RepJamesComer recently requested NIH provide its communications with EcoHealth & Peter Daszak.\n \nA letter dated January 6, 2022 now confirms EcoHealth hid the truth about their risky coronavirus experiments in Wuhan.pic.twitter.com/XeOtyS6kK5 — Oversight Committee Republicans (@Oversight Committee Republicans) 1641935005 Because of these multiple violations, the NIH informed EcoHealth that its current grants will no longer be automatically extended at no cost. The nonprofit must "request and receive written prior approval from the appropriate NIH awarding Institute or Center (IC) before any extensions...
    The U.S. taxpayer-funded nonprofit group that collaborated with a Chinese laboratory on risky bat virus research just before the initial COVID-19 outbreak has earned another slap on the wrist from authorities. EcoHealth Alliance, which the government has already said broke rules with bat coronavirus experiments that critics call gain-of-function research, has been hit with more violations by the National Institutes of Health. In a letter to EcoHealth sent last week and just made public, NIH Deputy Director Michael Lauer blasted the organization's poor record of complying with agency standards and accused it of charging "inappropriate" rates related to a Wuhan lab grant. The NIH paused its funding of EcoHealth's Wuhan lab research in 2020 but has continued sending money to EcoHealth for other viral research. “[EcoHealth has] demonstrated a history of failure to comply with several elements of the terms and conditions of grant awards not only for these active awards, but also for the suspended award,” Lauer wrote of EcoHealth, which has reaped millions of dollars in grants from the NIH. Lauer accused EcoHealth...
    In MAGA World, it isn’t uncommon to find far-right Republicans trumpeting their love of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Sen. Ted Cruz, in October 2021, declared that he wanted to “see Texas become the center of the universe for Bitcoin and crypto” — and former Ohio State Treasurer Josh Mandel tweeted that Ohio “must be a pro-God, pro-family, pro-Bitcoin state.” Liberal economist and New York Times opinion writer Paul Krugman analyzes the MAGA far right’s “bizarre” obsession with Bitcoin in his January 10 column, offering some reasons for the obsession. Krugman writes, “There has long been a strong connection between support for Bitcoin and right-wing extremism — like the traditional association between conservatism and an obsession with gold, only more so…. It does seem important to understand the cultish aspects of the cryptocurrency movement.” Krugman’s column isn’t critical of Bitcoin itself, but he finds MAGA Republicans’ obsession with it strange — including Mandel’s goofy willingness to equate Bitcoin with “God and country.” “I still sometimes encounter people who say that we live in a digital age, so we should be using...
    BRUSSELS (AP) — NATO chief says the military alliance and Russia agree to try hold more meetings despite tensions over Ukraine. Copyright © 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.
              by Conrad Black   Almost no one seems to grasp the colossal irony of the current American political condition. The uniquequality of it is that the country is divided between two political forces which, in the tedious hyperbole of contemporary political jargon, view each other as an “existential threat to democracy.” The Democrats can’t sell the bunk that January 6 was an “insurrection;” they can’t wish away concerns about the integrity of the 2020 election. All they have is the tired claim that Trump is a threat to democracy, and in their advocacy of that falsehood, they have made themselves the threat to democracy. Trump emerged politically in 2015 to universal mockery. Nothing could have been more certain than that this vulgar and sleazy huckster (as he was portrayed,not without some reason), would bomb out trying to recalibrate his downmarket celebrity brand to catapult him into the White House. As Trump cleaned up in the 2016 Republican primaries, the Democratic strategists reached to the bottom of their campaign bag of tricks. Late in the campaign came the 11-year-old Billy Bush tape, in...
    In this article WBAFILE - In an Oct. 5, 2005 file photo people walk by a Boots pharmacy in central London. Drugstore chain Walgreen Co. says it will spend $6.7 billion to buy a stake in health and beauty retailer Alliance Boots. (AP Photo/Sergio Dionisio)Sergio DionisioWalgreens Boots Alliance CEO Roz Brewer said Tuesday that the retailer is looking into strategic options for its Boots business. In a virtual presentation at the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference, Brewer confirmed that the company is considering how to proceed with the U.K.-based drugstore chain. She did not say whether that would be a sale and who might be the buyer. This is a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.TVWATCH LIVEWATCH IN THE APPUP NEXT | ETListen
    The Pac-12 was anything but boring in 2021, which began with Larry Scott announcing his departure (Jan. 20), ended with a ghastly showing in bowl games and featured the hiring of a new commissioner, George Kliavkoff, a brief exploration of expansion, an alliance with the Big Ten and ACC, three in-season head coach terminations and plenty more. But ’22 also figures to be momentous with NCAA legislative landscape shifting rapidly, College Football Playoff expansion stagnating and the Pac-12 attempting to fortify its long-haul position in the sport. Here are 12 storylines to watch, in roughly chronological order: 1. Uncertainty in Westwood: Chip Kelly became a lame duck coach as soon as UCLA backed out of the Holiday Bowl. His original contract runs through the ’22 season, and there has been no agreement on an extension. The $9 million buyout drops to zero on Jan. 16, allowing either Kelly or the Bruins to walk away from the other for nothing. His return is more likely than not but hardly guaranteed despite the eight-win season. The next week or 10 days will...
    The Biden administration on Tuesday said it is "working in lockstep" with its allies as the NATO meeting with Russia looms amid heightened tensions with Ukraine.  U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman took to Twitter to share details of her meeting with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg and said they "affirmed a unified NATO approach" and agreed on the alliance's "unwavering support for Ukraine." NATO SAYS IT WILL NOT APPEASE RUSSIA WITH 'SECOND CLASS' ALLIES AS MEETING LOOMS "The United States is committed to working in lockstep with our Allies and partners to urge de-escalation and respond to the security crisis caused by Russia," she added.  The deputy secretary’s comments come just one day after Washington and the Kremlin met in Geneva to discuss security concerns as Russia has maintained a military buildup along Ukraine’s border.  Russia has justified the move as a precaution and has demanded the 30-nation alliance pledge to not expand eastward by allowing Ukraine to become a NATO member state. U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, left, and Russian deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov attend security...
    MOSCOW (AP) — The Kremlin said on Tuesday it saw “no significant reason for optimism” after the highly anticipated Russia-U.S. talks over Ukraine and other security issues. The talks aimed at defusing tensions over Ukraine took place in Geneva on Monday and offered no sign of immediate progress. Moscow went in insisting on guarantees to halt NATO’s eastward expansion and even roll back the military alliance’s deployments in Eastern Europe — demands that Washington had earlier firmly rejected as a nonstarter. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Tuesday the manner in which the talks were held — “open, comprehensive and direct” — “deserves a positive assessment,” but it’s the result that matters. “So far, let’s say, we see no significant reason for optimism,” Peskov told a conference call with reporters. “There are still several rounds (of talks) ahead of us, which will allow us to work out a clearer understanding, a clearer picture of where we stand with the Americans. For now, it’s impossible to draw any conclusions, unfortunately,” the spokesman added. Last month, Moscow submitted draft security...
    KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Afghanistan’s new Taliban rulers held talks over the weekend with senior leaders of an anti-Taliban alliance, the Taliban said Monday. The meeting, held in Tehran, was the first of its kind, underscoring Taliban efforts to bring their former opponents into the fold. During the meeting, the alliance leaders were told they could return to Afghanistan and were promised their safety would be guaranteed, Taliban-appointed foreign minister Amir Khan Muttaqi said in a short video released Monday. The alliance, known as the National Resistance Front, is led by Ahmed Massoud, the son of the anti-Taliban fighter Ahmad Shah Massoud, who was assassinated in 2001. The group coalesced after the Taliban swept into Kabul in mid-August as the Afghan government fled and Afghan forces offered little or no resistance to the Taliban takeover. Ahmed Massoud was joined by former governor of western Herat province, Ismail Khan. Following the Taliban push into Kabul and capture of the Afghan capital on Aug. 15, in the last weeks of the chaotic U.S. and NATO withdrawal from Afghanistan, a smattering...
    Finland and Sweden are 'closer than ever' to joing Nato after Russian threats backfired. Vladimir Putin's demands that the US ban the Nordic nations from the alliance has made their joining more likely in the wake of heightened tensions around Russian troops along the border with Ukraine. Sweden and Finland have been unaligned with a major military power since the Cold War but Russian rhetoric over an invasion of Ukraine has pushed them closer to Nato. A Finnish MP told the Telegraph that the country - which borders Russia - was closer to joining the alliance after Russian aggression. Nato is an alliance of 27 nations formed in 1947 in the wake of fears over a potential war with the Soviet Union in the wake of the Second World War. Vladimir Putin's demands over Nato membership has backfired in a time of heightened tensions over a potential invasion of Ukraine Nato officials believe that the countries admission to the alliance would be relatively straightforward due to the Nordic nations already meeting many of the criteria for membership.  US secretary of...
    Getty SS GreenLight Racing has formed a technical alliance with Stewart-Haas Racing. A new era has started for SS GreenLight Racing. The NASCAR Xfinity Series team has formed an alliance with Stewart-Haas Racing and will switch to Ford Performance after previously working with Chevrolet. SS GreenLight Racing announced the news on Friday, January 7, with a press release. The team confirmed that it will use Roush Yates Engines while SHR will provide technical support for all 33 races on the Xfinity Series schedule. Along with announcing the alliance with SHR, SS GreenLight Racing also confirmed that Joe Graf Jr. will return for his second full-time season with the team. 2022 ARE YOU READY?! ????#NASCAR #2022NewYear pic.twitter.com/aFpNrPbE9G — Joe Graf Jr (@Joegrafjr) January 7, 2022 “I am excited to be joining the Ford Performance group this season,” said Bobby Dotter, owner of SS GreenLight Racing, in a statement. “I know they have a proven winning product, and I am looking forward to working with them and the other Ford teams.“I have had a great working relationship with Stewart-Haas Racing...
    (CNN)Dozens of protesters were killed and hundreds injured during clashes in Kazakhstan, a police official from the largest city Almaty said Thursday, as troops from a Russian-led military alliance of post-Soviet states begin their operations in the Central Asian country to help quell the unrest. At least 13 law enforcement officials died in Almaty and 353 people were injured, state-run Khabar 24 TV reported. More than 1,000 people in different regions were injured as a result of the turmoil. Of these, almost 400 were hospitalized, with 62 people in intensive care, the Ministry of Health said, according to Khabar 24.There were overnight attempts to storm administrative buildings, Almaty's police department and the district directorates, and "dozens of attackers were liquidated," Almaty police department representative, Saltanat Azirbek, told Khabar 24. Azirbek urged people to stay at home as an "anti-terrorist operation" was carried out on Thursday "in the square of Masanchi, Karasai Batyr-Zhambyl and Baitursynov streets, at the location of three administrative buildings." Read MoreProtesters take part in a rally over a hike in energy prices in Almaty on January 5,...
    BRUSSELS (AP) — NATO announced Tuesday that the alliance will hold a virtual meeting of foreign ministers from the 30 member nations this week to assess the situation in Ukraine and upcoming talks with Russia. The extraordinary meeting of the alliance members on Friday will kick off a week of intense diplomacy over the military buildup on Ukraine’s borders and initiatives to ease the tension between the Cold War foes. U.S. President Joe Biden has warned Russian President Vladimir Putin that Washington could impose new sanctions against Moscow if it takes further military action against Ukraine. Putin responded that such a U.S. move could lead to a complete rupture of ties between the nations. The two leaders spoke frankly for nearly an hour last week amid growing alarm over Russia’s troop buildup near Ukraine, a crisis that has deepened as the Kremlin has stiffened its insistence on border security guarantees and test-fired hypersonic missiles to underscore its demands. Putin and Biden have spoken twice over the past month, before scheduled talks between senior U.S. and Russian officials on...
    Three dozen postseason games have been played, five have been canceled, and two remain. Our look at the winners and losers across the landscape … Winner: ESPN. With COVID ’20 creating pent-up demand and COVID ’21 forcing people indoors, the bowl season has produced impressive audiences for ESPN: All but two of the first 24 games registered one million viewers. Fans who believe there are too many bowls will be disappointed to learn the ’21 postseason has justified the current lineup and expenditure. All hail the Cheez-It Bowl, which drew almost five million viewers. Loser: The ACC. Without Clemson competing on the playoff stage, we saw the ACC for what it has been for year: A one-team league. The conference went 2-4 in the bowl season and is just 2-10 over the past two years. Until Clemson’s victory over Iowa State last week, the ACC had lost 13 consecutive bowls. The Pac-12 sends its sympathies. Winner: The SEC. After a few ugly losses early in the bowl season, the conference dominated the games that mattered most (combined scores of semifinal...
    BEIRUT (AP) — The head of Lebanon’s largest Christian party said on Sunday that a 15-year-old alliance with the country’s powerful Shiite group Hezbollah was no longer working and must evolve. The televised speech by Gebran Bassil, who heads the Free Patriotic Movement, signaled an unprecedented level of frustration with Hezbollah and suggested the 2006 alliance credited with helping maintain peace in the small country was in jeopardy. Bassil’s comments come amid a devastating economic crisis and also ahead of critical parliamentary elections in which his party is expecting tough competition. Undoing the alliance with Hezbollah would cost him more votes in the May elections. But Bassil, a former foreign minister, said the alliance is costing him credibility with supporters. Bassil is also the son-in-law of Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun. He has positioned himself as a reformer and is believed to have ambitions to run for president himself. Bassil pinned his frustration on Hezbollah’s other ally, the powerful Shiite Amal Movement, led by Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri. He said in recent months Hezbollah has backed Berri’s Amal at...
    A Chicago teacher who was on a plane to Iceland last week for a European vacation said she quarantined in a bathroom for four hours after finding out—mid-flight—that she had COVID-19, according to reports. Marisa Fotieo told 13 On Your Side that her ordeal started somewhere over the Atlantic when she developed a sore throat. She said she packed a few rapid tests and took one in the plane’s restroom. She found out she had the virus within seconds. FILE: A passenger on an Icelandair flight said she voluntarily quarantined inside the bathroom of a plane for four hours after learning she had COVID-19. (Photo by Bernd von Jutrczenka/picture alliance via Getty Images) (Bernd von Jutrczenka/picture alliance via Getty Images) She said she informed a quick-thinking flight attendant, who determined that there were not enough empty seats on the aircraft to properly isolate her. Fotieo told the station that she was concerned about the welfare of the other passengers, so offered to "just stay in the bathroom for the rest of the flight." CLICK HERE FOR THE LATEST ON...
    Iraq’s supreme court upheld the results of the October election of Shiite Muslim cleric and possible U.S. ally Muqtada al-Sadr on Monday, rejecting an appeal filed by pro-Iran factions. The Federal Supreme Court had not ratified the Oct. 10 election results, pending an appeal filed earlier this month by Hadi al-Amiri, who heads the pro-Iran Fatah Alliance, a political coalition representing the Popular Mobilization Forces, a state-sponsored Shiite paramilitary group.  Judge Jassim Mohammed rejected the lawsuit, which cited alleged voter fraud, and later certified the results of the election. The verdict cannot be re-appealed. Hadi al-Amiri, head of the Fatah Alliance, looks on during a press conference in Iraq's capital Baghdad on Dec. 4, 2021.  (AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP via Getty Images) Al-Ameri said he would abide by Monday’s ruling. "We abide by the decision of the Federal Court despite our deep and firm belief that the electoral process was marred by a lot of fraud and manipulation," al-Amiri said, citing "concern for Iraq’s security and political stability and our belief in the political process and its democratic path," The New York...
    Russia will not drop a demand that NATO “be rolled back” to its 1997 boundaries, according to a senior Russian envoy, a requirement backed by the threat of “a large-scale conflict in Europe” arising out of Ukraine. “We are not bluffing,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said Monday, per state-run TASS. “These are our real proposals. The West’s awareness of this needs to be facilitated, and we are going to make every effort to achieve it.” Russian President Vladimir Putin has amassed military forces around Ukrainian borders, ostensibly due to the dangers presented by Ukraine joining NATO at some future date. Putin’s team, which oversaw the annexation of Crimea and the invasion of eastern Ukraine in 2014, portrays the latest round of tensions a consequence of NATO expansion over the last 25 years, raising the prospect of a major war in Europe. FAMILY FEARS AMERICAN HOSTAGE PAUL WHELAN WILL SUFFER IF RUSSIA INVADES UKRAINE AGAIN “It is important to lower the degree of confrontation caused by the way our U.S. colleagues are looking after their Ukrainian proteges,” Russian Foreign...
    Thirty years ago, a labor organizer helped convince an anti-union consultant to document his methods. By Marcus Baram, for Capital & Main They were certainly an odd couple, the unlikeliest of allies: the union organizer and the notorious union buster. Bob Muehlenkamp, a stalwart of the modern-day labor movement, has coordinated hundreds of union organizing campaigns and was the organizing director of the Teamsters and SEIU 1199, the hospital workers union. Martin Jay Levitt, a master of corporate skulduggery, did everything he could as a consultant hired by hundreds of companies to intimidate workers into not joining a union. Once, during an organizing effort marked by threats of violence at one of the country’s biggest hospital systems, Muehlenkamp was handcuffed and arrested for trespassing, Levitt relishing another victory as employees voted not to join a union. They were on opposite sides, fighting tooth and nail, for close to 20 years. “The 50-100 Pay Gap” examines the crisis of income inequality in the U.S. A recent RAND study found that a full-time worker earning the median national wage of $50,000 would be making...
              by Eric Lendrum   A coalition of far-left pro-amnesty groups has filed a lawsuit against the United States Border Patrol, reviving the debunked hoax that horseback agents were seen “whipping” illegal aliens back in September, Breitbart reports. The lawsuit claims that the Border Patrol has demonstrated “physical abuse, racial discrimination, denial of basic necessities and medical treatment, and a complete failure to process asylum claims.” The only proof offered by the suit is the handful of photographs taken from the incident in September, which was debunked by the photographer himself as instead being captured in the moment that horseback agents were spinning their reins around in an effort to keep illegals away from their horses, rather than actually whipping them. Nevertheless, the lawsuit doubles down on the debunked claim that agents “lashed at [one Haitian migrant] with split reins.” Among the groups behind the lawsuit are the Justice Action Center and the Haitian Bridge Alliance; one of the lawyers involved in the lawsuit, Nicole Phillips, is a member of Haitian Bridge Alliance, a group which has received funding from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative...
    (CNN)For once, 30 years ago, Christmas really did herald an era of peace. The Soviet Union finally dissolved when its last leader Mikhail Gorbachev resigned on December 25, 1991. Its demise capped the Cold War between Communism and the West, in which hundreds of millions had lived within a wailing four-minute warning of nuclear annihilation. But this festive season, exactly three decades on, brings the gravest showdown between NATO and Russia since the red hammer and sickle flag was lowered over the Kremlin. President Vladimir Putin, for whom the Soviet collapse was a historic shaming, has Europe on edge, methodically building Russian forces on Ukraine's border as fears of invasion mount. While the West and Russia have had their awkward moments since 1991 -- over Serbia, Libya and Georgia -- the current confrontation is the most serious yet because Putin is consciously challenging the post-Cold War European order. After failing to crush pro-Western impulses in the former Soviet socialist republic of Ukraine, politically and diplomatically, he is threatening to do so by force with an incursion that would dwarf the...
    Michael Rubin joined rapper Lil Baby in a scrimmage game that featured the children who attended REFORM Alliance night.Photo: Shareif Ziyadat and Studio 76 Throughout 2021, Fanatics chairman Michael Rubin spent his time bringing his company to an $18 billion e-commerce empire. He took over Major League Baseball's trading card license, guaranteed $1 billion in revenue, and also locked up baseball's NFT rights. He lured the Dallas Cowboys e-commerce operations, started a Fanatics China operation and even got an investment from Jay-Z. Hours before the Philadelphia 76ers, a team he co-owns, played a home game against the Miami Heat on Dec. 15, Rubin put the business aside, and focused on something more significant. "I think of business all the time, but I didn't running up and down that court," Rubin said. "That's actually amazing to me. I didn't look at my phone for more than an hour. I didn't think about work." The reason: Rubin needed to pay attention to families impacted by an unfair criminal justice system. He needed to show his friend, hip-hop star Meek Mill, that he...
    DuesseldorfLuxury British store chain Selfridges is being sold to a Thai retailer and an Austrian property company in a deal that a source close to the matter said was worth around £4 billion ($5.37 billion).Thailand's Central Group and Austrian real estate company Signa Group, which already jointly own major department stores across Europe, said on Thursday they had struck a deal for the chain best known for its Oxford Street store in London.The Canadian wing of the billionaire Weston family bought Selfridges for nearly £600 million in 2003. W. Galen Weston, billionaire and retail visionary, is dead at 80Central Group, owned by the billionaire Chirathivat family, and Austrian investor Rene Benko's Signa together own department stores in Germany, Italy, Denmark and Switzerland.Founded in 1908, the Selfridges Group employs 10,000 people and owns 25 stores worldwide, including in major cities in England, Ireland, the Netherlands and Canada.Read MoreSigna and Central will take over 18 of the 25 stores and hope to build a luxury hotel alongside the Oxford Street flagship, the source said, adding that seven department stores in Canada were...
    VLADIMIR Putin has revealed a new alliance with China to create space weapons that could unleash havoc in the West if its satellites were destroyed.  Speaking at his annual news conference, the Russian strongman leader said the partnership was “strategic” amid fears he was plotting to invade Ukraine.  5Vladimir Putin shaking hands with the Chinese president Xi JinpingCredit: AP 5Russia's Kosmos 2543 was launched from a Soyuz rocket recently which was described as carrying a 'classified payload' As previously revealed by Sun Online Russian and Chinese space weapons could "unleash havoc" in a satellite attack. It is feared an orbital onslaught could shut down hospitals, crash the economy, knock out communications, and cause mass blackouts. At his press conference today, Putin said: "We cooperate with China in the security area. "China’s armed forces are equipped with the most advanced weapons systems to a large extent. “We are even developing certain high-tech types of weapons. We are working in space, aircraft areas.” The revelation of the alliance between Russia and China comes amid deepening concerns that Putin is plotting an invasion...
    Getty Philly rapper Meek Mill surprised 25 children in support of his Reform Alliance during the Heat-Sixers game on December 15, 2021. The holidays are a time for giving and acquiring minority stakes in professional sports franchises. According to FOX8’s P.J. Ziegler, Philadelphia 76ers co-owner David S. Blitzer is close to purchasing a 35% stake in the Cleveland Guardians. The Guardians are the Major League Baseball team formerly known as the Cleveland Indians. The mega-deal includes a path for Blitzer to take over the franchise from principal owner Larry Dolan, per Ziegler. No financial terms were disclosed and the Dolan family wouldn’t comment on the report, other than to confirm the two sides have had “meaningful discussions.” Stay tuned. Statement from Paul Dolan on the David Blitzer report: "While I can confirm meaningful discussions with David Blitzer about purchasing a minority ownership interest in the Cleveland Guardians, we can't comment any further." #Guardians — P.J. ZIEGLER (@PJFOX8) December 20, 2021 According to a report from Sportico, the deal is a “complex negotiation” which includes equity from the Dolan...
    A pro-migration advocacy group is suing the U.S. Border Patrol for supposedly abusing a Haitian migrant who was photographed while trying to dodge a horse-mounted border patrol officer. The plaintiffs allege “physical abuse, racial discrimination, denial of basic necessities and medical treatment, and a complete failure to process asylum claims.” A border patrol officer “lashed at [one Haitian migrant] with split reins,” according to the complaint. The complaint does not allege the border patrol officer actually lashed the migrant. The lawsuit also challenges the legality of the Trump-era Title 42 immigration policy, which allows law enforcement officials to expel migrant family units from the country. Thousands of Haitian migrants have been flown back home by the federal government since August. The lawsuit is being filed by groups that get funding from Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook profits. According to a press release from Justice Action Center, Haitian Bridge Alliance’s Nicole Phillips is one of the attorneys on the case. Haitian Bridge Alliance receives funding from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI). Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan are co-founders and co-CEOs of CZI. Their initiative “makes grants to organizations working in support...
    LOS ANGELES (CNS) -- A coalition of labor unions and other organizations Thursday announced a ballot measure initiative to create a tax on multi-million dollar property sales to fund solutions to homelessness, including permanent housing.The coalition will begin collecting signatures in January and hopes to get about 65,000 signatures by April to qualify for the November 2022 general election.If approved by a majority of voters, the measure would create a 4% tax on properties sold for more than $5 million, and a 5.5% tax on properties sold for more than $10 million."Homelessness and the housing crisis are at the top of mind for Angelenos, but we haven't seen our local government take the immediate and bold action that is needed," said Laura Raymond of the Alliance for Community Transit - Los Angeles. "LA's not-for-profit neighborhood organizations and community members have come together, with the assistance of local policy experts -- not politicians -- to create a ballot initiative that will address homelessness by keeping people in their homes and dramatically increasing the supply of housing that is affordable for Angelenos."Raymond...
    Share this: On Thursday, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a historic $40 million allocation to restore the Vale in Prospect Park.  This funding is the largest single allocation in the history of Prospect Park Alliance, the non-profit that sustains the park in partnership with the city, and will restore important landscapes within the 26 acres in the northeast corner of the park called the Vale (also known as the Vale of Cashmere). The mayor was joined by NYC Parks Commissioner Gabrielle Fialkoff and Iris Weinshall, chair; Sue Donoghue, president of Prospect Park Alliance, and community leaders. 
    More On: meek mill Meek Mill accuses flight crew member of racism after being asked about weed Meek Mill and Travis Scott got into a fight at ritzy Hamptons party Meek Mill says he apologized to Vanessa Bryant for Kobe lyric Vanessa Bryant blasts Meek Mill’s ‘disrespectful’ Kobe Bryant lyric Philadelphia 76ers partner Michael Rubin and rapper Meek Mill’s Reform Alliance treated 26 kids to a VIP experience at the team’s game on Wednesday — which included meeting TikTok stars Charlie and Dixie D’Amelio. The event was part of an initiative for Rubin and Meek’s Reform Alliance — which they founded with Jay Z, Robert Kraft and Clara Wu Tsai, among others, in 2019. We hear that on Wednesday afternoon, 26 kids — who’ve all been affected by the probation system Reform Alliance aims to change — arrived at Philly’s Wells Fargo Center before the Sixers played the Miami Heat. Sources said the kids all received special uniforms to play in a basketball game on the homecourt, with celebs and VIPs. The teams included Meek, Rubin, rapper Lil Baby, and the...