PGA Championship is wrecking golfers on final round

The beast came out at Bethpage Black in the final round of the PGA Championship. Before runaway leader Brooks Koepka had teed off in the afternoon, there were 26 double-bogeys or higher. In the third round, when conditions got tougher as the wind picked up, there were 31 total — all doubles. Kiradech Aphibarnrat of...
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Serpentine Galleries chief resigns in spyware firm row
Yana Peel steps down, citing ‘misguided personal attacks on me and my family’The head of the Serpentine Galleries has resigned after it emerged that she is the co-owner of an Israeli cyberweapons company whose software has allegedly been used by authoritarian regimes to spy on dissidents.On Tuesday, Yana Peel announced she was stepping down as the chief executive of the prestigious London art gallery so the work of the Serpentine would not be undermined by “misguided personal attacks on me and my family”. Continue reading...
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US news | The Guardian
Marijuana, E-Scooters, Driver’s Licenses: Last-Minute Deals in Albany
Tuesday: Major developments on complicated issues in the last days of the legislative session.
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NYT > Home Page
From gas in Russia to China-bound plastics, Austria's OMV shifts focus for growth
After years of largely banking on low-cost Russia for growth, OMV is shifting attention towards the Middle East as its chemist chief executive chases his vision of making the Austrian oil and gas group a major supplier of plastics.
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Storms and flooding will impact the Ohio Valley
Severe weather could affect over 70 million in the southern Plains and the east coast. This could accumulate over the coming days to bring flooding to parts of the Midwest from Kansas towards Indiana. Meteorologist Pedram Javaheri has the forecast.
Platini taken into custody over 2022 World Cup corruption allegations
Disgraced former UEFA President Michel Platini has been taken into custody as part of a corruption investigation over the awarding of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar, the French financial prosecutor's spokesperson told CNN on Tuesday.
Kremlin calls for restraint in Middle East after U.S. troop move
The Kremlin called for restraint from all sides in the Middle East on Tuesday and said it did not want to see destabilizing moves in the region after the United States announced it would deploy more troops there.
Reuters: Top News - powered by FeedBurner
Fortnite's latest item lets you throw health at your teammates
Never a week goes by without Epic Games adding something new to Fortnite. In the past month alone, we've seen the Storm Flip, Proximity Grenade Launcher and even an Air Jordan 1 collaboration. As you'd expect from a Battle Royale game, most of the ne...
Engadget | Technology News, Advice and Features
Magician inspired by Houdini drowned after being lowered into river in chains
Chanchal Lahiri, whose stage name was Jadugar Mandrake, had not been seen since Sunday, when he was lowered into the Hooghly River in Kolkata.       
USATODAY - News Top Stories
Xbox One S, PS4 Pro, iPad Pro, Echo Dot, and more deals for June 18
Can't decide between an Xbox or PlayStation games console? Today we have found a deal on both consoles to help you decide which one to pick. You can get the Xbox One S 1TB Fortnite Battle Royale special edition console for $249 at Walmart or the PlayStation 4 Pro 1TB gaming console for $349.99.  If you decide on getting the PlayStation, then it's a good time to grab the PlayStation Plus 12 Month Membership as it is currently on sale for $39.99. You can also get an additional DualShock 4 wireless controller, so you can team up with your friends to complete challenges, instead of going solo.  Rather play games on a tablet? Then the iPad Pro would be a great choice.  Read more...More about Gaming, Ipad Pro, Xbox One S, Ps4 Pro, and Mashable Shopping IMAGE: WALMART $249 $50 OFF (17%) $299 Xbox One S 1TB Fortnite Battle Royale Special Edition Console Bundle -- See Details IMAGE: Amazon $29.99 $20.00 OFF (40%) $49.99 Prime Echo Dot (3rd Gen) -- See Details IMAGE: Amazon $699 $100 OFF (13%) $799 Prime Apple iPad Pro 11-inch 64GB WiFi Tablet (Latest Model) -- See Details IMAGE: VERIZON FIOS Fios 100/100 Mbps Internet for $39.99/mo w/ autopay + taxes, equip. charges & other fees -- See Details IMAGE: DELL $699.99 $300 OFF (30%) $999.99 Dell XPS 8930 Intel Core i7 8700 16GB RAM Tower Desktop with code AFF300XPS -- See Details IMAGE: Amazon $497.99 $202 OFF (29%) $699.99 Prime Dyson Cyclone V10 Absolute Cordless Vacuum -- See Details IMAGE: Amazon $349 $50 OFF (13%) $399 Prime Apple Watch Series 4 GPS 40mm -- See Details IMAGE: WALMART $349.99 $50 OFF (13%) $399.99 Sony PlayStation 4 Pro 1TB Gaming Console -- See Details IMAGE: Amazon $39.99 $20 OFF (33%) $59.99 Prime PlayStation Plus: 12 Month Membership (Digital Code) -- See Details IMAGE: WALMART $799 $300 OFF (27%) $1,099 Dell G5 Intel Core i5-8300H 16GB RAM GTX 1060 15.6-inch Gaming Laptop -- See Details IMAGE: WALMART $249 $80.99 OFF (25%) $329.99 Apple iPad 9.7-inch 32GB Wi-Fi Tablet (Latest Model) -- See Details IMAGE: WALMART $397.99 $102 OFF (20%) $499.99 Samsung UN50RU7200 50-inch 4K HDR Smart HDTV -- See Details IMAGE: AMAZON $39.99 $20 OFF (33%) $59.99 Prime DualShock 4 Wireless Controller for PlayStation 4 -- See Details IMAGE: AMAZON Up to 33% on Simpson Pressure Washer and Gas Generators -- See Details IMAGE: WALMART $169.98 $20.01 OFF (11%) $189.99 Frigidaire 30-Pint Dehumidifier -- See Details IMAGE: Amazon $59.99 $40.00 OFF (40%) $99.99 Prime Panasonic ER-GB80-S Body and Beard Trimmer for Men -- See Details IMAGE: AMAZON Up to 25% on Keter Patio Furniture -- See Details IMAGE: AMAZON $19.99 $10 OFF (33%) $29.99 Prime Alexa Voice Remote for Amazon Echo -- See Details
iOS 13 Warns Users When Deleting Apps With Active Subscriptions
Apple appears to be continuing its recent trend of making app subscriptions more transparent and manageable, as evidenced by another change discovered in the latest developer beta of iOS 13. When you delete an app on your device, you'll now be notified if it still has an active subscription. Never seen this alert before – Apple now tells you if an app you're deleting has a subscription still active. Good move. (Taken on iOS 13 beta 2.)— Federico Viticci (@viticci) June 18, 2019 First spotted by MacStories editor-in-chief Federico Viticci, the pop-up asks you if want to keep your subscription for the app, and notes that the app will still be available to use on your other devices if you do choose to delete it. It also tells you what date the sub will automatically renew unless it's canceled, and offers a Manage Subscription link that takes you directly to your subscriptions list. In April, Apple added an extra confirmation step when App Store users purchase an app available on a subscription basis or tap to subscribe to a premium service in an app, making sure no accidental subscription purchases occur. Earlier this year, the company also added a Manage Subscriptions shortcut in the App Store, where previously managing subscriptions required an extra step of tapping on the box with your Apple ID name and email address via the App Store or Settings.Related Roundups: iOS 13, iPadOSThis article, "iOS 13 Warns Users When Deleting Apps With Active Subscriptions" first appeared on MacRumors.comDiscuss this article in our forums
Mac Rumors: Apple Mac iOS Rumors and News You Care About
Iranian president: Iran isn't seeking war against any nation
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says his country is not seeking to wage war against any nation while at the same time stressing that it will withstand mounting U.S. pressure and emerge victorious.
Cricket legend Viv Richards on the 2019 CWC
Two-time World Cup winner and cricket legend Viv Richards speaks to CNN's James Masters about the West Indies' chances to win, India and England.
Michel Platini arrested over award of 2022 World Cup to Qatar
Former Uefa president detained in ParisPlatini taken into custody as part of investigationA justice official in France says the former Uefa president Michel Platini has been arrested in relation to the awarding of the 2022 World Cup.Confirming a report published by online news publication Mediapart, the official says Platini was taken into custody on Tuesday as part of the investigation into the awarding of the tournament to Qatar. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to discuss an ongoing investigation. Continue reading...
US news | The Guardian
Draghi shock hits euro, boosts stocks
European shares rallied and the euro took a sharp hit on Tuesday in a knee-jerk reaction to European Central Bank President Mario Draghi's comments indicating a possibility of new rate cuts or asset purchases.
Reuters: Top News - powered by FeedBurner
Michel Platini 'detained over awarding of World Cup to Qatar'
Former Uefa president Michel Platini is detained and questioned by French police over the awarding of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar, according to news agency Reuters.
BBC News - Home
Michelle Obama takes on James Corden in a celebrity-packed dodgeball game
You might not think you'd ever see Michelle Obama nailing Harry Styles in the groin with a dodgeball, but here we are. As part of his London-based edition of The Late Late Show, James Corden took on the former First Lady in a UK vs USA celebrity dodgeball game. "You would not believe how easy it was to get people to do this," says Michelle Obama as the US team is announced. "All I had to say was, 'You're gonna throw a ball at James Corden'." Turns out Mila Kunis, Kate Hudson, Melissa McCarthy, Lena Waithe and Allison Janney were all very much up for that. In fairness to Corden, though, his team is pretty star-studded too. As well as Harry Styles he also has John Bradley, Benedict Cumberbatch and a British-for-the-day Reggie Watts to back him up. Read more...More about Michelle Obama, James Corden, Culture, and Celebrities
Hong Kong's leader sorry after protests, but she's not resigning
Hong Kong's leader has issued a rare public apology in the wake of repeated record-breaking protests that called for the withdrawal of a controversial extradition bill with China that she introduced and championed. - RSS Channel
'Start Here': 1,000 more troops to the Middle East, and a 'war zone' in Texas
It's Tuesday, June 18, 2019. Here's what you need to know to start your day.
ABC News: Top Stories
Russia to Washington: Drop Middle East troop plans or risk war with Iran
Russia told the United States on Tuesday that it should drop what it called provocative plans to deploy more troops to the Middle East or risk war with Iran.
Reuters: Top News - powered by FeedBurner
LaVar Ball condemned for 'inappropriate' comment to female ESPN host on air
LaVar Ball has been slammed for making an “inappropriate” remark to a female ESPN host on Monday, with the network officially condemning him.
Facebook to launch digital currency, 'libra'
The project is the biggest step of any major corporation into the emerging realms of digital currency and blockchain technology.
NBC News - Breaking News & Top Stories - Latest World, US & Local News
Platini arrested as part of 2022 World Cup investigation
A justice official in France says former UEFA president Michel Platini has been arrested in relation to the awarding of the 2022 World Cup.
Factbox: Facebook's new cryptocurrency Libra and digital wallet Calibra
Facebook Inc revealed plans to establish a cryptocurrency called Libra on Tuesday. It will be run by an association comprised of other corporate investors and non-profit members, with an expected launch in the first half of 2020.
Democratic presidential hopeful Klobuchar details top policy goals
U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar unveiled on Tuesday a 137-point list of priorities she would address in her first 100 days in office if elected president, a sweeping set of policies she is highlighting as part of her bid for the Democratic nomination.
Reuters: Top News - powered by FeedBurner
Klobuchar lists actions she would take in first 100 days as president
Sen. Amy Klobuchar has outlined actions she will take to address climate change and health care atop a long list of wide-ranging priorities for her first 100 days in office if she's elected president in 2020.
Poll shows Medicare for All is confusing to most Americans
"Medicare for All" is in the spotlight in the 2020 presidential campaign, but many Americans don't understand what it is. - RSS Channel
Texas Is Latest State To Attack Surprise Medical Bills
A new Texas law says hospitals and insurers will have to work it out when they can't agree on a price — instead of sending huge unexpected bills to patients.
News : NPR
Going 'Zero Carbon' Is All The Rage. But Will It Slow Climate Change?
Cities, states, businesses and electric utilities are setting ambitious goals to cut greenhouse gas emissions. But it's not clear exactly how they'll do that or whether it will actually work.
News : NPR
Will Apollo nostalgia help NASA get its Artemis Moon money?
NASA's big moon push may be coming at just the right time.
FOX News - powered by FeedBurner
‘You need as many wigs as possible’: a guide to making the perfect pop parody
Ellie White and Natasia Demetriou, whose new sketch show features their take on Ariana Grande, offer up some crucial adviceModern Toss on parody actsEllie White and Natasia Demetriou met at the Edinburgh fringe, went on to become a comedy duo and now, nearly 10 years of ridiculous stage shows later, have their own BBC Three sketch show called, um, Ellie & Natasia. Among characters such as trustafarian teenagers and high-maintenance mums, one sketch is Sexy Baby – a music video that skewers Ariana Grande’s aesthetic and features neon pink, ponytails, adult nappies and so much more. So how do you make the perfect pop parody? Let’s get a guide from the experts … Continue reading...
US news | The Guardian
Women’s World Cup game-changing moments No 3: China in 1991
Fifa’s fears that the tournament would be a commercial failure and the players might not last 90 minutes proved unfounded at the Women’s World Championship For The M&Ms CupLike much of what is published on Fifa’s website, its account of what it calls “the inaugural Women’s World Cup” is served up with a healthy dollop of official spin and doesn’t quite tell the whole story. The basics are all covered, of course: staged in China in 1991 the tournament was contested by 12 teams and won by the USA, who beat Norway in a final staged at Guangzhou’s Tianhe Stadium and played in front of 65,000 people.Fifa boasts that, for the first time in the organisation’s history, six female match officials were appointed to help officiate at the tournament “in keeping with the true spirit of the celebration”. One of them, Claudía de Vasconcelos of Brazil, was given the honour of refereeing the third-place play-off when Sweden played Germany. There are, however, a number of far more intriguing vignettes that are notable by their absence from the official account of a tournament at which world football’s governing body claims that “women’s football celebrated its true coming of age”. They serve to demonstrate just how far the sport had yet to go and has since come. Continue reading...
US news | The Guardian
Libra: Facebook launches cryptocurrency in bid to shake up global finance
Digital currency will let billions of users make transactions but is raising privacy concernsFacebook has announced a digital currency called Libra that will allow its billions of users to make financial transactions across the globe, in a move that could potentially shake up the world’s banking system.Libra is being touted as a means to connect people who do not have access to traditional banking platforms. With close to 2.4 billion people using Facebook each month, Libra could be a financial game changer, but will face close scrutiny as Facebook continues to reel from a series of privacy scandals. Continue reading...
US news | The Guardian
Skimpy 'micro bikini' from ASOS confuses shoppers: 'When you get dressed and you're still drunk'
A new micro-swimwear design has emerged.
Rescue efforts underway after deadly earthquakes in China
Buildings collapsed when the twin temblors struck the southwestern Sichuan province late on Monday
CBS News - Breaking News, U.S., World, Business, Entertainment & Video
Facebook's Libra launch will extend its global domination
The cryptocurrency could wipe out many businesses and further concentrate corporate powerEvery week dozens of people walk into the Sunshine convenience store in Charlottesville, Virginia to send money to relatives in other countries. They use a service called MoneyGram, one of the two largest (the other being Western Union) firms that facilitate the conversion of US dollars into the currency of the receiving person, charging between $9.99 and $49.99 (£7.97 and £39.89) for each transaction.Many of the patrons of Sunshine alert their relatives of these transactions through WhatsApp, the encrypted messaging service owned by Facebook and used by more than 1.5 billion people around the world. Continue reading...
US news | The Guardian
Facebook announces Libra cryptocurrency and Calibra digital wallet
Facebook announced its cryptocurrency Libra and a global association of organizations that will govern it. And Facebook also announced Calibra, a new subsidiary that will build a digital wallet for Messenger, WhatsApp, and a standalone app on iOS and Android. The move has been expected for a while and it represents a big endorsement for […]
VentureBeat | Tech News That Matters
Shut Out by Shoe Giants, ‘Mom and Pop’ Stores Feel Pinched
A number of shoe companies have cut off many small retailers that were already struggling to adapt to shoppers’ changing behavior.
The New York Times
Casey Kasem’s daughter wants to bring star’s body back from Norway, stepmother denies elder abuse allegations
It’s been five years since Casey Kasem passed away in 2014 at age 82 — and the family war that ensued over the beloved patriarch is far from over.
New Yolo anonymous Q&A app attracts millions of teenage users, has parents wary
The new anonymous Q & A app, Yolo, has gained popularity among young Snapchat users but has raised concerns of bullying and privacy among parents.       
USATODAY - News Top Stories
How Libra Would Work for You
We break down the new Facebook-backed cryptocurrency and what the company hopes you will be able to do with it, even though it hasn’t quite arrived.
The New York Times
Donald Trump Jr.: Vote Trump -- The stakes in 2020 are even higher than in 2016
With my father’s official unveiling of his re-election campaign Tuesday morning, Americans are about to witness another 17-month mudslinging slog to determine the future course of the nation.
The Moderate Men Waiting for Biden to Fall
Joe Biden’s Democratic rivals are hoping he tumbles. Many are confident that he will.No one needs Biden to fade more than the other white, male, moderate candidates who believe they’d be able to step in and take his place. To anyone who complains how hard it’s become for a white man with middle-of-the-road politics to find space within the Democratic Party, many would recommend the tiniest violin, strings removed. Theoretically, it’s both the most crowded and most dismissed lane, full of people currently competing to be the most memorable also-ran: Senator Michael Bennet of Colorado, Montana Governor Steve Bullock, Representative Tim Ryan of Ohio, Representative Eric Swalwell of California, Representative Seth Moulton of Massachusetts, former Representative Beto O’Rourke of Texas, and, to a certain extent, South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg.They’re getting punchy—in part because they believe they’re starting to sense Biden’s weakness, and in part because they believe there’s an opening for moderates, with so many other candidates largely following the lead of Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont on progressive issues such as Medicare for All. For all the ways the 2020 Democratic primary race is like no election before, these candidates are still convinced it will still be like every other modern election, in that a white man from the middle will make it into the final round. And they think that there’s a way to energize voters around calls for compromise—though that’s not how modern American presidential politics works. When announcing that he wasn’t running for president in March, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said that he didn’t think he could break through as a moderate—and he was ready to spend millions of dollars on a 2020 campaign. But the moderates who are running insist that this is their moment, despite what you hear on Twitter and in echo chambers on the left.“The Democratic Party is going through the process of deciding if we want Joe Biden to be the nominee or not,” former Representative John Delaney of Maryland told me, waiting to board the plane in Washington, D.C., for what was his 29th trip to Iowa a week and a half ago. “He has 100 percent name ID, he’s very well liked, and he’s polling really well. If the Democratic Party decides for a variety of reasons that he may not be the best nominee, then I think it becomes wide open for other, more moderate-oriented candidates.”[Read: John Delaney is playing the long game]Delaney has already been to all of Iowa’s 99 counties. He’s made another 19 trips to New Hampshire. He’s been going at it for two years, and so far, what he has to show for it is 1 or maybe 2 percent in the polls, and the notoriety among insiders for throwing himself so hard into running a race no one believes he can win. His biggest splash so far came from delivering a speech at the California Democratic Party convention earlier this month in which he opposed Medicare for All, only to be told on Twitter by New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the rising Democratic star, that he should drop out. When her office turned down Delaney’s offer to have a debate, her friend, Representative Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, jumped in, tweeting “No means no!”Delaney is a self-made multimillionaire from two companies he founded, and though he’s largely self-funding his campaign, he has nowhere near Bloomberg-level money. What Delaney believes he has, though, is the freedom and guts to say what most of his opponents won’t, such as the idea that most Americans don’t want to give up their private insurance plans, as they’d have to under the current version of Sanders’s Medicare for All bill.“Everyone is afraid to say it in the Democratic Party, but if our nominee runs on Medicare for All, the Republicans won’t be afraid to say it,” Delaney told me. “In fact, they’ll probably spend a billion dollars, sending messages to the American people that one of the most important things in your life, your health insurance, which 100 million people like, according to polling, the Democrats are going to make illegal.” Walking through the farmers’ market in Des Moines, I watched Delaney make this case to Jenny and Joe Newman, a couple who had driven an hour in from Ames to see several of the Democratic candidates speak. “I just don’t know why we’ve got to shock the system,” Delaney told them. “I agree with you,” Jenny Newman responded. Afterward, they told me they hadn’t realized that Medicare for All would get rid of private insurance, and Joe Newman said that working as a podiatrist, he wasn’t sure whether that was the best idea.If the Newmans’ sentiments are representative of a larger population, it’s theoretically good news for Delaney. But that’s a big if. After our conversation, I watched him walk five blocks back to his car through the farmers’ market, with not one person appearing to recognize him.[Peter Beinart: Nobody knows anything about ‘electability’]John Hickenlooper, the former Colorado governor, was also at the farmers’s market, also not making big waves of his own. At the same California convention at the beginning of the month, Hickenlooper was booed for speaking out against socialism. The former Denver brewpub owner began this particular trip to Iowa touring a new brewpub in Des Moines, where he interviewed the kitchen workers about their knife skills, asked what botanicals were used in the gin, and talked up his “three-legged stool” plan of nonprofits, businesses, and government working together. So what, I asked him, did he make of the argument that Republicans will call the Democrats socialists no matter what, so they might as well have the courage to back big changes, and not chase the supposed center? “They are going to call us that. That’s why it’s important that we say we’re not,” Hickenlooper told me. Maybe now, one of Hickenlooper’s aides had argued to me, was the “insurgency of the moderates.”Hickenlooper wasn’t sure about that phrase. “Sounds like a movie script,” he told me. He picked at an appetizer plate of charcuterie and olives at the restaurant on the top floor of the hotel where he and 18 other Democrats quickly made their cases at an Iowa Democratic Party event in Cedar Rapids. Sanders had just gotten the crowd cheering as he said, “We will not defeat Donald Trump unless we bring excitement and energy in this campaign, unless we greatly expand voter turnout, and unless we give millions of working people and young people a reason to vote, and a reason to believe that participating in politics will improve their lives.”That, Hickenlooper said, could actually be where Sanders will be the one out of sync with where the party is headed. “I thought the path of the discourse had obviously taken a turn—organically, I think that almost always happens. One side pushes an angle, and if there are enough people that have a different perspective, somebody sooner or later speaks up,” he told me. “At a certain point, you step back and you say, ‘Wait a second. I think the majority of people don’t agree with the orthodox view.’ Senator Sanders deserves tremendous credit for actually providing clarity to some of the biggest issues. He really put into focus the problem, and his solution. That captured so many people’s attention that many people adopted it without really putting it within their own framework of what they believe, seriously thinking it through.”So how, I asked Hickenlooper, was he proposing to capture people’s attention? He talked about an apprenticeship program he’d pioneered in Colorado that was now being modeled in other states, even as he lamented that “no one pays attention because my name’s not Bernie Sanders.”“We’ve created a politics of celebrity and of attention. Doesn’t matter why people are paying attention to you, people have to pay attention,” he said.[Read: Who are the moderate Democrats in Congress?]Hickenlooper’s fellow Coloradoan, Michael Bennet, is among those who do not want the “moderate” label at all, though Bennet has a health-care bill called Medicare X, offering Medicare as an option, and is mounting a campaign that rejects the burn-it-down, all-out-war mentality that has set in among many of the loudest voices in the party.“I reject the idea that they’re moderate ideas,” Bennet told me after speaking at the Iowa Democratic Party event in Cedar Rapids. “The more I’m in this race, the less I think it’s about ‘moderate’ versus ‘progressive,’ the more I think it’s about whether you’ve got a vision that is connected to where the American people really are or whether you’ve got one that’s really good at responding to what’s on the cable at night or on social media.”It’s not just on social media and cable news, though. Combine the polling numbers for all the straggler male moderates, and that still wouldn’t add up to Sanders’s share. And for all the predictions about Biden’s numbers collapsing, they haven’t.“You all said I was going to fail from the beginning,” Biden said in Iowa last week. He looked at me. “You, you said, ‘Biden is going to start off and he’s going to plummet.’” (Though he was pointing at me, I noted that it was other people who’d made the prediction to me in my reporting for other stories.)But so far, seven weeks into Biden’s third official run for president, that hasn’t proved true—though the polls don’t reflect the small size of the crowds he’s drawing, the lack of enthusiasm most people in those crowds have been demonstrating, or the loose commitment to vote for him that they walk away with.
World Edition - The Atlantic
Neo-Nazi Sentenced to 21 Months in Prison For Sharing Video of Mosque Massacre and Calling it 'Awesome'
Philip Arps was sentenced in a New Zealand court today for sharing video of the Christchurch massacre, a terrorist attack on two mosques that killed 51 people on March 15. Arps, who has compared himself favorably to Adolf Hitler’s deputy Rudolf Hess, pleaded guilty to two counts of sharing the video and received a…Read more...
Gizmodo - We come from the future.
Facebook confirms it will launch a cryptocurrency called Libra in 2020
Facebook is finally ready to talk about its blockchain plans. Following numerous reports unraveling its upcoming announcement in detail, the company today said that its in-development global cryptocurrency, called Libra, will launch next year alongside the underlying blockchain-based network that will support it. The currency is designed not to be a speculative asset, like Bitcoin, but a form of digital money backed by a reserve of assets. You will one day be able to use Libra as payment for online and offline services, Facebook executives say. At the beginning, the company imagines Libra will be used mainly to transfer money between individuals in developing countries who lack access to traditional banks. Eventually, the goal is to create the first truly mainstream cryptocurrency: a decentralized global form of payment that is as stable as the dollar, can be used to buy almost anything, and can support an entire range of financial products — from banking to loans to credit. Although Facebook is building Libra, and plans to run the project through the end of this year, eventually it plans to cede the project to a larger community. The company has formed the nonprofit Libra Association with 27 other partners to oversee Libra and its development. The partnership includes venture capital firms, nonprofit organizations, crypto firms, and massive corporate financial, telecommunications, and technology service providers, including Coinbase, Mastercard, Visa, eBay, PayPal, Stripe, Spotify, Uber, Lyft, and Vodafone. Those organizations will also contribute to what is known as the Libra Reserve, the asset pool that will ensure every unit of Libra currency is backed by something of intrinsic value rather than by simple scarcity, as Bitcoin is. Image: Facebook If Libra succeeds, it could represent one of the most consequential products Facebook has ever released — both for the company and for the world. It could offer a compelling alternative to the existing banking system, particularly for people in developing nations. It could also make Facebook inextricable from its users’ lives — a high priority for the company amid calls from regulators in the United States and abroad that it should be broken up. According to Dante Disparte, the newly hired head of policy and communications for the Libra Association, “the goal really is to improve financial inclusion and do to the transfer of value and payments what the internet has done to the transfer of communication and information,” he told The Verge in an interview last week over video call from Washington, DC. While the Libra Association will have members based globally, it will be headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. Of course, Facebook has a business incentive to build on top of the Libra blockchain, and it’s launching its own subsidiary to do just that called Calibra. The company, which employs former Twitter and Instagram product chief Kevin Weil as its vice president of product, is in charge of launching, maintaining, and building on top of Facebook’s own digital wallet, which will carry the same name. Weil tells The Verge that Calibra will live inside of Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp at launch, but will also have a standalone iOS and Android app. Over time, Weil says Facebook will look to build new financial services, like credit lines, using Calibra. Because Facebook owns Calibra and also has a seat on the Libra Association, it will be the only entity on the currently 29-member board that will effectively have two votes. But the governing structure of the Libra Association is still evolving, and Facebook says it hopes to recruit dozens or even hundreds more members before Libra launches in 2020. “This was going to be a very involved endeavor that will not only require breaking new ground, but also coming up with a new decentralized form of government.” “This was going to be a very involved endeavor that will not only require breaking new ground, but also coming up with a new decentralized form of government,” Facebook’s blockchain chief David Marcus, a veteran of PayPal who ran Facebook Messenger for years, tells The Verge. “Because no one company can control it.” As such, Facebook says it’s open sourcing the Libra blockchain today under an Apache 2.0 license, meaning anyone can freely take the code and experiment with products built on top of it. “Imagine an open, interoperable ecosystem of financial services that developers and organizations will build to help people and businesses hold and transfer Libra for everyday use,” authors of the Libra white paper write. “To enable the Libra ecosystem to achieve this vision over time, the blockchain has been built from the ground up to prioritize scalability, security, efficiency in storage and throughput, and future adaptability.” Facebook and the other members of the Libra Association plan to recruit more partners to build out the network, and Marcus also says it will be raising money in the private sector to create incentives for people to quickly start using Libra and Libra-based technologies. “We will also continue engaging with regulators, policymakers, and experts to solicit feedback and ensure that this global financial infrastructure is governed in a way that is reflective of the people it serves,” reads a Facebook blog post on the Libra Association. “We believe this will be a significant undertaking — and responsibility — and we will continue to work openly and collaboratively as we move toward our goal of launching this new ecosystem in the first half of 2020.” Beyond the obvious financial incentives, Facebook is making an effort to tie Libra into its global mission of connecting the planet. The company says that 1.7 billion people, or 31 percent of the global population, currently have no bank, with no access to modern financial services. Offering those people free and lower-cost banking services could have immense benefits to their well-being, the company says. In this way, Facebook is presenting its cryptocurrency as a democratizing societal force in the same vein as its efforts to make free online communication accessible globally. Just as Facebook has launched efforts around the world to bring people online, through its controversial initiative and its Free Basics internet service, it’s now launching an effort to bring people free and low-cost banking tools. It remains to be seen whether Facebook’s banking and commerce initiatives manage to avoid the charges of digital colonialism that dogged its earlier efforts around internet accessibility. “Blockchain and cryptocurrencies have a number of unique properties — they are decentralized, globally accessible, low cost, and safe. But the existing blockchain systems have yet to reach mainstream adoption,” reads Facebook’s blog post. “Mass-market usage of existing blockchains and cryptocurrencies has been hindered by their volatility and lack of scalability. Some projects have also aimed to disrupt the existing system and bypass regulation as opposed to innovating on compliance and regulatory fronts to improve the effectiveness of anti-money laundering.” “You’ll see banks on this between now and next year.” Facebook says it wants to work with the financial sector on this, and not compete directly against it. “You’ll see banks on this between now and next year, because if we bring on another billion people, they’ll need savings accounts, loans, and things banks are very good at,” Marcus says. Facebook also plans to drastically reduce money transfer fees and transaction fees through Calibra, a welcome move in an industry that has historically preyed on the financially vulnerable. Marcus says the willingness of Mastercard and Visa to be a part of the Libra Association offers evidence that even companies that reap massive profits from the status quo see the potential in Libra. “One of the values that Mastercard and Visa bring to this network is trying to help merchant acceptance, and getting their merchants to accept Libra. That will provide a lot of utility,” he says. “If this ecosystem is successful, you’ll see a whole lot of financial service innovations on top of it.”
The Verge
Facebook’s Calibra is a secret weapon for monetizing its new cryptocurrency
The newly formed subsidiary will build Facebook’s digital wallet Facebook’s announcement this morning of a new cryptocurrency, Libra, and the nonprofit association that will oversee it raises questions about the future of global banking and Facebook’s role in it. But behind Facebook’s ambitions to create a quasi-nation state ruled by mostly corporate interests is a secret weapon, one the company hopes it can use to create another platform used by billions of people — and generate enormous new revenue streams along the way. It’s called Calibra, and it’s a new subsidiary of Facebook the company is launching to build financial services and software on top of the Libra blockchain. At first blush, Calibra resembles a fairly standard payments company — but its tight integration with Facebook’s enormous user base could give it a significant advantage over any rivals. Thanks to its proximity to the technical development of Libra, and its ability to leverage WhatsApp, Messenger, and Instagram, Calibra could very well become Facebook’s next big thing. Facebook’s digital wallet Calibra could be the company’s next big thing Calibra’s immediate goal is to develop and launch its own digital cryptocurrency wallet, and integrate that wallet into other Facebook products. The company will become a member of the nonprofit Libra Association and have equal voting power as Facebook and the other partners, which include Uber, Lyft, eBay, and PayPal, along with several other tech companies, financial service providers, venture capitalists, and fellow nonprofits. That way, Facebook can say it does not solely control the currency or the network by itself. It also gets the benefit of having twice the representation as other companies, at least for now. Calibra is how Facebook intends to make money off Libra, a digital currency it says it does not want to control, despite having created it. More generally, it’s a massive play for Facebook to get into financial services in a way that no other technology company may be able to compete with. Think of it as the Bank of Facebook — an arm of the social network that hopes to do for loans, credit, money transfer, and commerce what its suite of apps has done for online communication. Libra is the technology that underpins the network. But when it launches, Calibra will likely be how most people interact with the currency until competing wallets arise. In fact, it will likely be the first cryptocurrency wallet that hundreds of millions of people will have access to, by nature of being bundled with Facebook’s massive ecosystem. With billions of users potentially interacting with Calibra, it will instantaneously have many hundreds of times the user base of the world’s most popular existing wallets from Coinbase and others. Image: Facebook Kevin Weil, vice president of product at Calibra, says the digital wallet features will come to Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. But Calibra will also exist as a standalone iOS and Android app for those who don’t have Facebook accounts. He describes the core function of Calibra as two-fold: holding your money securely for free, and allowing you to transfer it to anyone else on the planet for a fee many magnitudes lower than current international money transfer rates. “For us, WhatsApp and Messenger are great homes for Libra. A couple billion people use them. But it’s not just that they use them, but how they use them,” Weil tells The Verge. “Messenger is to talk to close friends and family, and those are exactly the types of people you send money to. There’s a lot of overlap between the things you want out of a wallet for currency and the things you want out of a messaging app.” “We want to make sending money as easy as sending a text message.” Weil says Facebook gathered feedback about where its digital wallet should focus by monitoring how people used WhatsApp in developing countries, a prime market for Libra adoption. According to Weil, WhatsApp users would send photos of money transfer receipts to one another, and use those images to receive money across borders. But doing so is still cumbersome, time-intensive, and extraordinarily costly. “Why does it cost insane amounts of money to send money? That’s the goal,” Weil says. “We want to make sending money as easy as sending a text message.” Of course, many Facebook users can already send money using Venmo, PayPal, or even Facebook Messenger’s built-in peer-to-peer transfer feature. But for that you need a credit card or a bank account, a financial tool not accessible to roughly 1.7 billion people. Weil says Calibra will be available to anyone with a cheap Android smartphone. Underpinning all of this will be the security and transaction verification Facebook promises its blockchain-based Libra network will provide. There will also be a real identity component to mitigate the risks that Libra will be used to facilitate crimes. Another company could theoretically build an anonymous Libra wallet, though, so the mitigation here is primarily to Facebook’s reputation. Weil says Calibra will require you sign up with a government-issued ID, and Facebook’s digital wallet will also provide fraud protection and a public commitment to never share your financial details or transaction history with the social network’s advertising divisions. In other words, your Facebook account data will largely be kept separate from your Calibra account. Facebook says data from Calibra will never be used to target ads So if Facebook can’t make money off ads targeted using your purchase history and it doesn’t want to charge people for using the app, what about transaction or transfer fees? Weil says those aren’t the primary business model, either. “We want to reduce fees for everyone. We’re not planning to charge fees for peer-to-peer [payments]. There may be low fees for merchant payments, but that’s just to cover the cost of the risk and fraud and chargebacks,” he says. “We imagine that those fees will be an order of magnitude lower, like 10 times lower, than what they are today.” The real goal, Weil says, is to boost adoption to the point where Libra can have a vibrant financial services economy built on top of it, not just by Facebook but by any other company in the world. “You have financial services businesses like Visa and MasterCard who can drive merchant acceptance of Libra with millions of businesses around the world, and marketplaces like Uber and Lyft to make it possible to get rides and pay in Libra. And since their transaction fees are lower, maybe you even get a lower price,” Weil says. “People who might have only had cash before, you suddenly have access to a digital currency on their phone.” Weil says one day Calibra would like to offer financial services built on top of Libra, like credit, and he says there’s no chance the company would ever cut deals with vendors to secure exclusivity for its digital wallet. “I can’t imagine a scenario in which we would want that. Calibra can only be successful when the Libra ecosystem is successful,” he says, pointing to other founding members of the Libra Association, like PayPal, that already operate digital wallets that can be updated to support Libra. “They will be friendly competition on day one and that’s something we welcome. If a vast majority of people use the Calibra wallet, that defeats the goal of the Libra ecosystem.” Weil says any company will be able to build a Libra digital wallet, and you can even host your own on private servers. Weil says Libra becoming successful will have all sorts of positive ripple effects for all participants. “You suddenly have billions of new consumers for any online service. Businesses today that operate in cash only, if they have access to a digital currency they have access to advertising platforms, including Facebook,” he says. “There are meaningful side effects on Facebook’s business if Libra is successful.” Photo by Steve Jennings/Getty Images for TechCrunch Facebook blockchain chief David Marcus previously ran Facebook Messenger. Prior to that, he helped PayPal acquire Venmo parent company Braintree. Leading the construction of that ecosystem is the former head of Facebook Messenger: David Marcus. As the head of Facebook’s blockchain chain division, Marcus is uniquely positioned to combine his career in digital payments with his more recent experience at the helm of a multi-billion-user communications platform that, over time, has become a do-everything app for Facebook. (Among the things it does is transfer money.) Marcus says the concept of decentralization, when combined with digital commerce and Facebook’s massive user base, creates a perfect foundation for a new currency to take off. “This is something I’ve been dreaming and thinking about for many, many years,” says Marcus, who got his start in tech in the 1990s when he founded an internet service provider in Geneva. He later founded a company that let you buy items online using a prepaid mobile phone plans, sold it to PayPal in 2011, and rose through the ranks until Facebook poached him to run Messenger in 2014. “This is something I’ve been dreaming and thinking about for many, many years.” Marcus says that five years ago, the technology and policy apparatus surrounding cryptocurrencies wasn’t yet mature. But he “felt the time was right back in late 2017, in December,” and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg agreed. Zuckerberg tapped Marcus to run its new blockchain division in May 2018 as part of a substantial reorganization of his executive division. “We talked about the opportunity of doing this, and I had a pretty clear vision of what I wanted to try to achieve,” Marcus says. “At first, we really wanted to explore if there was a way of leveraging existing blockchain and network [technology]. My life would be a lot easier if there was such a thing. Sadly there wasn’t.” Marcus says Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies will coexist with Libra. But he sees the value of Libra not in how many dollars or euros it’s worth, but in what it will be used for. “If you look at a stable, high-trust, low-volatility form of digital-native currency that would be available to anyone with a $40 smartphone and move around at very low cost,” he says, “that is going to the extremely valuable.”
The Verge
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