law and order

Lawmakers May Decide Uber’s Place in Nevada Market

law and orderUber Technologies’ legal fight Nevada’s highly controlled cab business over Internet ride-sharing may be headed back to the political arena that a judge has at least briefly prohibited Uber’s unlicensed businesses statewide.

Whether his restraining order put the brakes on an unregulated transport service, or pulled the plug on emerging technology, is among the questions lawmakers could be left to determine if Uber can not convince state regulators to find a means to wed its virtual universe with the actual one on the Las Vegas Strip and the roads of Reno.

Uber says it is the victim of overzealous enforcement of antiquated laws which never imagined smartphones that could “e-hail” transport on demand. It is not clear whether any bills that will change the regulations are in the works. None of the simple outlines of the hundreds of bills state agencies and lawmakers have requested so far mention ride-sharing.

The organization said that it briefly ceased offering rides of the opinion in Nevada as an effect.

“It is unlucky that Nevada is the first state in the country to briefly suspend Uber,” company spokeswoman Eva Behrend said in an e-mailed statement.

Nevada’s attorney general says the multibillion-dollar business finds itself in park because it intentionally broke the law to optimize gains as long as it could and thumbed its nose at regulators.

Uber refused as it maintains it is a technology business, not a motor carrier to seek the permits.

Chief Deputy Attorney General Gina Session indicated the company might have been deciding a fight in court ” to get focus before the legislative session and get some impetus.”

“Uber’s strategy will be to begin operations in open breach of the law in the hope a groundswell of public opinion will override the regulatory concerns,” Gina told Washoe District Court Judge Scott Freeman. Gina said the firm acquiesced in consenting to regulation elsewhere, including Maryland, South Carolina and Nebraska.

“When it needs to, it can work with regulatory supervision,” Gina said. “Why not in Nevada? Are we the Wild, Wild West?”

Freeman said he believes he understands why.

“They can save lots of cash if the judge let them work without regulation since I discover they’re not a common carrier,” the judge said during a nearly seven-hour hearing late Tuesday.

At one point, the judge directly questioned Uber officials to the witness stand regarding why they suddenly left discussions with the state and found in Nevada Oct. 24 without any regulatory authority.

“Talks were underway,” the judge said. “Two days later, all heck breaks loose.”

“Or paradise,” Uber lobbyist John Griffin countered, “depending on your own viewpoint.”

From the consumers’ standpoint, Uber says its Internet application fitting riders with motorists using private automobiles is more efficient, more economical and much more accessible, particularly in underserved areas.

Uber asserts its service isn’t public as it is accessible exclusively to “members of the online community ? in sharp comparison to a taxi driver who only happens to be picking up actually anybody on the road,” Uber attorney Donald Campbell said.

The state differs.

“Only because you do not wait on the curb does not mean you are not accessible to the people,” Session said.

Before the opinion, Campbell proposed Uber may take another strategy going forward while it is in the statehouse or the courthouse.

Activists: Syrian Strikes Kill 60 in IS-Held City

Syrian Strikes Kill 60 in IS-Held City

Syrian government warplanes carried out a string of airstrikes Tuesday on the extremist Islamic State group’s de facto capital, shattering store fronts, killing at least 60 individuals and setting tons of cars ablaze, activists said.

A few of the air raids hit a favorite marketplace near an industrial neighborhood and a museum along the Euphrates River in northeastern Syria in the city of Raqqa they said.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights gets the death toll among them, at more than 60 36 civilians whose names it managed to record. The Local Coordination Committees said the strikes killed at least 70 individuals. Another Raqqa-based collective called Raqqa is Being Quietly Slaughtered said it documented over 80 departures. Such disparities are standard in the chaotic wake of strikes in Syria.

The death toll could not be independently confirmed by the Associated Press? Among the worst single day costs in the city.

The Syrian government and also the U.S.-led coalition often blast Islamic State group targets in Raqqa, but it wasn’t immediately clear what prompted Tuesday’s very extreme strikes. The Islamic State group lately released a video demonstrating what it said was the beheading of more than a dozen Syrian soldiers, including officers, and has slaughtered hundreds of Syrian soldiers in the past couple of months.

A militant video posted online Tuesday of the consequences of the strikes demonstrated medics bundle four bloody bodies into the rear of an ambulance amid cries of “God is Amazing.” In the backdrop, a fire truck attempts to douse burning autos that are several as grey smoke rises into the sky.

The video corresponded to AP reporting in the strikes and seemed authentic.

An activist who uses the name Abu Ibrahim al-Haqqani said nine airstrikes happened within half an hour. Civilian areas hit with one, he said, in the centre of the city.

“This is among the most horrible regime massacres in Raqqa to date,” said the Moscow-based activist, who manages Raqqa Is Being Quietly Slaughtered network. He said overwhelmed and ill equipped hospitals in Raqqa were appealing for blood donations following the strikes.

On Twitter, several accounts said without giving details several of its own members were killed in Tuesday’s airstrikes.

In Iraq, the al Nasir convent was blown up by the Islamic State group in the northern city of Mosul, that has been commanded by the militants since June. Iraq’s resident nuns fled the city along with most of the remaining Christians in Mosul when the city was overrun by militants.

Christians have been often targeted by the Islamic State group by killing clergymen and bombing their churches, in addition to spiritual minorities across Iraq’s north.

The group commands a third of Iraq and Syria, declaring the territory as a portion of its own self described caliphate ruled by its own violent interpretation of Shariah law. The militants of the group shot dead hundreds of prisoners and also have beheaded, observing its mass killings in on-line videos that were incredibly lifelike.

Greek unemployment could cause ‘social crisis’


And around to Greece where the government is currently saying it expects to achieve enough consensus with mission leaders representing the troika to get stalled negotiations going again. Helena Smith reports:

As government leaders dig in for another round of strategising ahead of the Paris assembly of tomorrow, officials are expressing confidence a deal can eventually be sealed.

Addressing reporters earlier today, the Greek government representative, Sophia Vaulters, said she considered when euro area finance ministers hold their last euro group assembly of the year, an agreement may be struck for December 8.

“The significant matter is the fact that a determination was required to get the process going again,” she said in what seemed to be a deliberate play to take the heat out of discussions which have been very bitter. “We’re going there to seal an understanding so that we can make it in time for [the eurogroup] on December 8,” she told a local radio station. The objective, she said, was to leave the EU-IMF bailout programme by the end of the year. That perspective was confirmed by a European spokeswoman, saying the review’s decision was of importance that was uppermost.

But with tensions – as well as the prospect of more nailbiting austerity not ruled out, despite official denials – the extreme left primary opposition Syriza party issued a hard hitting statement saying the discussions were doomed to fail. Any deal would be efficiently relegated to the dustbin of history if, as many considers, breeze surveys are held with the leftists leading in opinion polls.

“The government’s assembly together with the troika in Paris is the last episode in the soap opera of the supposed departure from the memorandum,” the party said in a statement. “The government that’s failing cannot give the Greek individuals to a fresh bailout deal since this will likely be cancelled in practice by people’s votes.”

Stacking the pressure in the government, air traffic controllers declared that they also will join a huge general strike which will increase the madness that day Greece will probably experience.

‘This Week’ Transcript: President Obama

HT roundtable

UNKNOWN MAN: ABC THIS WEEK — city on a border. Ferguson is bracing for that grand jury selection at any moment.

Will Policeman Darren Wilson be charged for killing Michael Brown?

More protesters detained as President Obama calls for composure in our ABC News exclusive.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We protest calmly.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

UNKNOWN MAN: Immigration confrontation — the president makes his move. His strategy to grant legal status to millions of undocumented immigrants. This morning, replying our questions that are demanding.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, HOST: The speaker says you are behaving to be an emperor.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

UNKNOWN MAN: As well as the race.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: I believe the American people, you know, they are going to need that new car smell.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

UNKNOWN MAN: How (END VIDEOCLIP sees what and 2016 he will do to keep his party in power.

From ABC News, THIS WEEK WITH GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS starts now.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And we start with the most recent from Ferguson. Demonstrations on whether to charge Policeman Darren Wilson for the shooting death of Michael Brown, heating up but no decision yet from the grand jury.

We are going to hear from President Obama in a moment.

First, let us go to the Steve Osunsami of ABC on the earth in Missouri — good morning, Steve.

STEVE OSUNSAMI, ABC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you personally, George.

We are learning the grand jury debating with potential charges against Police Officer Darren Wilson will be getting back to work. So it’ll be only a bit more hours before ‘s see a conclusion in this case.

Authorities have already set barricades up across the courthouse here, stressed that demonstrators might storm the building. Authorities are assured a 48 hour notice that the determination is reached.

There have been plenty of street fights outside Ferguson police headquarters, which is ground zero for the demonstrations here.

There were more arrests yesterday evening. We are told that Michael Brown’s family is extremely worried about it.

The Ferguson Action Network, another demonstration group, is assuring protests in at least 61 cities. Michael Brown’s family and other religious leaders are calling for composure — George.

STEPHANOPOULOS: OK, thanks, Steve.

Now exclusive with President Obama, waiting, the same as the remainder of us, to hear from that grand jury for potential violence.

That is where we start.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

STEPHANOPOULOS: Your FBI has warned about potential violence in the aftermath of that determination.

What’s your message to other people who want to protest and the folks of Ferguson?

OBAMA: Well I believe, first of all, keep demonstrations peaceful. You know, it is a state that permits everybody to express their views. But using any occasion as an explanation for violence is contrary to rule of law and contrary to who we’re.

You know, part of what I’ve requested Eric Holder to do is to not only participate with the people in Ferguson, yet to participate nationwide in a dialogue between law enforcement and communities of colour that oftentimes feel like they not being handled fairly by law enforcement officials. Occasionally their worries are warranted. Occasionally they are not warranted. Law enforcement has an extremely demanding job.

Mother of Jailed Former US Marine in Iran Pleads With Obama

obama

The mom of a U.S.-created former Marine accused of espionage in Iran lately begged with President Obama “not to forget” her son’s predicament as the U.S. continues anxious, high level discussions over Iran’s atomic system.
“Amir [Hekmati] was chosen from me almost three years past, falsely accused of being a true spy and sentenced to death,” Behnaz Hekmati wrote in a letter to Obama over the weekend. “That sentence was later overturned because of too little evidence, though nevertheless Amir languishes. It is a historical time for America as well as Iran. I plead you don’t forget Amir, his service, his wonderful smile and his passion for life… Mr. President, the pressure is intolerable, but we persevere – just as I understand Amir is powerful.”
Produced in Arizona, Amir Hekmati, a dual citizen of the U.S. and Iran, was traveling to Tehran in the autumn of 2011 to see his aged grandparents when he disappeared, according to his family. In December, Hekmati unexpectedly appeared on Iranian state television where he “admitted” to really being a secret agent sent by the CIA to infiltrate Iranian intelligence. U.S. officials and Hekmati’s family have steadfastly denied the claims against him.
“My son isn’t a secret agent. My son is not guilty. He is an excellent guy, a decent citizen, a great guy,” Hekmati’s dad, Ali Hekmati, told ABC News soon following the program. “These are all unfounded claims as well as a whole lot of lies.”
Ali Hekmati’s health has been failing for months as he fights with terminal brain cancer, his family says. “He needs only to see his son once again,” Behnaz Hekmati wrote in the letter.
Bergdahl Freed, What About Other Americans Held Abroad?
Daddy of American ‘Spy’ Calls Iran Claims ‘Group of Lies’
Iran to Family of American ‘Secret Agent’: Keep Silent
Hekmati was sentenced to death for the verdict, just after a secret trial in early 2012. He’s been held in an Iranian prison.
Bernadette Meehan, a representative for the White House National Security Council, supported the White House received Behnaz Hekmati’s letter and told ABC News the government remains “concerned in regards to the dearth of due process in Mr. Hekmati’s case” and is saddened by reports of Ali Hekmati’s failing health.
“We encourage Iranian authorities to release Mr. Hekmati promptly so that he may be reunited with his family,” Meehan said in an e-mail.
While Meehan said that U.S. officials do “increase the cases” of Hekmati and two other Americans now considered to be held in Iran – former FBI agent Robert Levinson and American pastor Saeed Abedini – during discussions, it’s done “on the sidelines” and “they’re not discussed in the context of the discussions.”

fun and celebration

Early-bird shoppers turn out on Thanksgiving

fun and celebrationEarlybird shoppers headed to shops on Thanksgiving in what is becoming a brand new holiday tradition.

In the Chicago suburb of Naperville, Illinois, the parking lot of a Wal Mart shop was full about 30 minutes before Thanksgiving deals began at 6 p.m., including $199 iPad minis.

In NYC, there were 500 people in line by the time a Target shop in the East Harlem neighborhood opened at 6 p.m.

Meat Market: How One 400 Turduckens Move by Post
And 200 individuals ran in at the Toys R Us in New York ‘s Times Square when it opened at 5 p.m.

Mary Smalls, 40, was outside attempting to get all her shopping done on Thanksgiving because she needed to avoid heading out in the day following the vacation that is called Black Friday.

“I will make an effort to avoid the crowds,” said Smalls, who intends to spend $300 to $400 on presents this year.

Why Thanksgiving Shoppers will soon Be Going Mobile
Thanksgiving shopping has come quite a distance. Just a couple of years back when a couple of shops began opened late in the vacation, the move was met with opposition from workers and shoppers who considered the day ought to not be profane.

But more than dozen leading retailers opened at some point on Thanksgiving. And this year, at least half of them — including Target, Macy’s, Staples and J.C. Penney — opened earlier in the evening on a holiday.

The Thanksgiving launches are just one manner retailers want to compete for Americans’ vacation dollars. Used to be that Black Friday was when they had concentrated their sales promotions. But increasingly, they have been pushing on those promotions earlier on Friday — and eventually into the vacation itself — to capture deal-hungry shoppers’ focus.

Shoppers Gobble Thanksgiving Market Savings Up
Bill Martin, the co founder of ShopperTrak, which monitors data at 70,000 shops internationally, is anticipating a sales increase of 3 percent to 5 percent to $2.57 billion to $2.62 billion on Thanksgiving. The amount of this past year grew twofold from the year before.

The National Retail Federation anticipates 25.6 million shoppers to make the most of the Thanksgiving launches, down somewhat from last year.

Kathy Grannis, a spokeswoman in the retail commerce group, said that earlier promotions in the month and shoppers’ uncertainty about when they are able to receive the best deals are variables that could result in fewer shoppers coming out in the vacation.

Eight ideas to improve Holiday Sales
However, Thanksgiving is beginning to take a bite out of Black Friday company. Really, sales fell 13.2 percent to $9.74 billion on Black Friday last year. Analysts said Thanksgiving sales were in part accountable for the fall.

And Gerald Storch, who runs a retail consultancy said shops get more of their share of revenues for the four-day holiday weekend than many others,.

“That is the reason why they keep doing it,” he said. “You must be first.”

Putin Says US Wants to Subdue Russia

Russian President Vladimir Putin accused the United States Tuesday of attempting to make Russia submissive; an attempt he said will not succeed.

Speaking at a televised meeting with pro-Kremlin activists Tuesday, Putin said that Washington “desires to subdue us, needs to solve its difficulties at our expense.”

“No one has succeeded in doing this in the history of Russia, and no one will,” he added.

Pro said the sanctions against Russia visited by the U.S. and the European Union run contrary to their own interests. Pro said U.S. allies in Europe were attempting to “shield others’ national interests” for reasons that were uncertain.

The sanctions over Moscow’s annexation of Crimea and support for a pro-Russian insurgency in eastern Ukraine have exacerbated the economic problems in Russia and led to a sudden devaluation of the Russian ruble.

Putin sought to project an upbeat picture saying that the prohibition on Western food would foster local businesses and downplaying the ruble’s nosedive.

Putin also expressed confidence the current Russia-West tensions would abate, saying “no one needs to exacerbate the specific situation on the planet.”

Reacting to an activist’s suggestion to impose quotas on U.S. films in Russian theatres, Putin rejected it, saying that the public should be given the right to select.

The Russian leader downplayed his speedy departure from the summit of the Group of 20 of the weekend in Brisbane, Australia, rejecting media claims he left due to a chilly treatment. The Russian leader insisted he held “constructive” discussions in Brisbane.

Putin was the first leader to fly out of Brisbane in Sunday day as a lunch was shared by his fellow leaders in the G20 and before they released the communique to cap off their yearly summit. Putin had departed soon before their discussions started on Ukraine.

online shop

Amazon Unveils a Listening, Talking, Music-Playing Speaker for Your Home

online shopThe complete failure of the Fire Telephone seemingly has not curtailed the enormous aspirations of Amazon in hardware. The organization today unveiled Amazon Echo, a somewhat quixotic, 9-inch tall speaker that plays music, subjects voice commands and Internet queries, answers in a nice conversational voice, and of course (since this is Amazon, after all) will mind directions to place various merchandises into your Amazon.com (AMZN) shopping cart.

This Amazon demo video of a family socializing with Echo lets you know all you should learn more about the apparatus. (Fair warning: it will likewise make your family look quite dysfunctional by comparison.) Like Google’s (GOOG) service Google Now, the apparatus is persistently listening and could be activated by voicing the name “Alexa.”

Amazon has been developing Echo inside Google’s Lab126 offices in Silicon Valley and Cambridge, Mass., for at least four years. The apparatus, codenamed Project D or Doppler, was part of Amazon’s first effort to enlarge its apparatus portfolio past the initial Kindle reader.

Amazon’s Fire Stick Is a Danger to Roku as well as a Challenge to Google
Several language businesses have been got by Amazon including Evi in the uk, through time, a text to speech business called voice recognition kit Yap, and Ivona.

As with all Amazon apparatus, the aim is, in part, to allow it to be simpler to purchase things. Another Amazon gadget, the Dashboard, enables Amazon Fresh associates also talk voice commands to add things to their shopping lists and to read bar codes. The Dashboard uses the exact same backend cloud service as Echo to field voice queries.

Amazon seems to be proceeding carefully with Echo. Customers must apply for one, plus the device will be sent out selectively, although it costs $199. The business should make sure Echo is economically carrying through its ambitious assurance–that it can field and reply to queries from the other side of the room and answering queries. Amazon is additionally probably seeking to prevent the exact same position when it was found with a catastrophic glut of excess inventory, it entered with the Fire Telephone and needed to take a $170 million writedown.

The Amazon Shop: Can a Retail Outpost Help Sell the Fire Telephone?
Michael Pachter, an analyst at Wedbush Securities, said he does not understand why individuals might be tempted to buy Echo. “I believe it is only a two way loudspeaker, but why is not there an app that lets me do the same thing without needing to spend $99 on hardware?” he said. “I believe it is a remedy that’s seeking a difficulty.”

More positively, James McQuivey, an analyst at Forrester Research, released this note:

“Every important digital platform business from Google to Apple would like to place detectors in your house. Google has cameras and thermostats thanks to its acquisition of Dropcam and Nest, Apple has added a group of programmer tools HomeKit, for building programs for the house. But Amazon is the first to place a mic interface that is consistent in your house, a learning and listening service that’s prepared to hear your every order. Certainly, it doubles as a linked loudspeaker and some of us will wind up purchasing it for that, but the Echo is only going to reach its actual goal when you commence asking it questions, having it finish jobs for you — particularly shopping jobs — only the manner Apple expects its users will socialize with Apple Watch.”

Amazon Gently Adds E Readers and New Tablet Computers
Michael added, “The danger for Amazon is that [the Echo] might end up being too early, placing the table for a celebration that consumers are not prepared to join. But there is not any better method to find that outside than to attempt; Amazon’s small rollout of Echo to its Prime users is just the proper manner to attempt.”

Vladimir Putin

Can Vladimir Putin save Saudi Arabia’s sheikhs from the glut of oil?

Vladimir PutinOn Thanksgiving Day, the effective oil cartel on earth, the Organization of Petroleum Export Countries, will face a predicament of a great thing.

There is too much petroleum on the planet, and not enough buyers. There are 2m barrels per day of crude oil generation that do not have a house, according to the International Energy Agency.

Opec still controls about 40% of the world’s international petroleum output of 94.2m barrels a day. However, the cartel’s management is falling: output from non-Opec members like Russia as well as the US is growing. Crude oil costs are skidding, with the US standard as well as the international Brent benchmark, West Texas Intermediate, at four-year lows. As of Wednesday Brent crude oil traded for around $80 a barrel, while WTI was around $74. And demand is down because of economic weakness in Asia and Europe, while supply is increasing.

Consumers are enjoying the low costs, as US retail gas costs average $2.81 a gallon – the lowest in four years, according to AAA.

This really is bad news for a cartel, which, after all, gets its own dignity and its gains from its capacity to control petroleum costs. In years past the cartel did a fantastic job keeping oil prices steady and high. But those high, steady costs additionally undermined Opec: it provided room for US shale oil companies create this and to invest in their own infrastructure -gushing supply of black gold that matches Opec. US crude oil production is at a 30-year growing due to the river of inexpensive and high shale. Customers may also go right to alternative petroleum companies or Russia, Mexico, Norway who do not belong to Opec.

What to do? In years previous, Opec put a floor under prices and would simply shut off the spigots to control generation.

Now, however, it is too difficult.

Opec is facing a competitive threat from various other sources of energy, especially US shale oil companies. Just turning off the crude oil pumps could mean losing the long term share of the market of petroleum and helping the opponents of the cartel.

These reasons make the Opec meeting in Vienna of Thursday critical, petroleum market watchers said. There is an increasing consensus that Opec’s 12 members will consent to at least a little reduction together with the cartel likely cutting about 500,000 barrels, to its day-to-day goal generation amount of 30m barrels. Goldman Sachs analysts said it “isn’t in [Opec’s] interest” to cut more.

That will not treat the mismatch between demand and supply, but it may help control some of the sudden losses in crude oil costs.

pension dropdown

Cap pension drawdown charges, Labour says

pension dropdown
Labour is calling for tough new cost limits to safeguard savers from being ripped off from April next year when new pension independence will empower the over- do whatever they like together with the cash and 55s for the very first time to take their pension pots.

Shadow pensions minister Gregg McClymont needs stringent price controls in the new wave of ‘drawdown’ products now being created by the financial services sector. Drawdown is being extensively promoted as a replacement for annuities, enabling pension savers to leave their cash invested in a mixture of equities, bonds and shares, then take a slow income from the money during retirement.

The government has already introduced a limit on fees of 0.75% a year on workplace pension schemes from April 2015 but left drawdown plans out of the regime. Labour needs a cover on drawdown products of no more than 0.75% but maybe 0.5% to shield the hoped-for 320,000 individuals expected to use some kind of drawdown from next year.

McClymont said: “Labour welcomed the brand new pension flexibilities declared in the budget, but we’re concerned the government hasn’t thought through the dangers of rip off charges being taken from the economies of hardworking individuals.”

Income of annuities have halved next April, ahead of the brand new pensions independence, but the options available are the topic of controversy. Nest, the pension supplier set up by the authorities to manage “vehicle enrolment” workplace pension schemes now establishes a consultation calling for the business to make drawdown products which match the challenges of low and moderate earners. “There are no acceptable alternatives for a large proportion of savers on average gains,” it said.

Research by Nest found that savers are seeking protection from inflation during retirement, a guaranteed income until death while desiring to prevent stock market volatility. Nest chief investment officer Mark Fawcett said that the organisation is investigating, although guarantees will likely be overly pricey for most savers insurance-established notions common in the US to help shield pensioners from the danger and from market volatility that their cash will run out.

“The options we as an industry grow during the next couple of years could discover the lives of huge numbers of men and women in old age. We certainly cannot afford to neglect consumers who’ll increasingly need to make selections that can have fundamental impacts on their lifestyles in retirement. Leaving their retirements to opportunity isn’t an alternative,” said Fawcett.