CASINO

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submitted by natka5 to Crypto_Currency_News [link] [comments]

KingCasino offers a large collection of casino games and table games of all types. All user information and cryptocurrencies in the system are safe from malicious attacks by using HSM technology and cryptography. The platform is a completely transparent system - all transactions are saved.

submitted by cryptoallbot to cryptoall [link] [comments]

King Casino offers safety to All user information and cryptocurrencies in the system are safe from malicious attacks by using HSM technology and cryptography

Obailukan1994

submitted by obailukan1994 to KingCasino_Community [link] [comments]

Start Simple, Stupid

Background Environment: Casino Information Systems Tech I, I don't work on Slot Machines, my responsibility starts after the Bank Controllers connect to the switch before getting routed upstairs to the servers.
We had a old Wheel of Fortune machine on the slots floor, this thing was massive and had a actual spinning wheel with I think four seats on it. It wasn't popular, but it was mesmerizing to watch that big wheel spin whenever I passed it.
The plan was to decommission it and put in the newer Wheel of Fortune game that used a 70" TV with two 32" TV's vertically set on both sides, saving space and updating the floors feel of not being painfully behind the times.
Old machine was ripped out (I was heartbroken, for some reason... they didn't even let us in IS play on the machines during our off times) and the vendor, a setup contractor, and our slots department started installing the new shiny one.
Day goes by, still in pieces. Not my department, not my issue. Day Two goes by, Poor slots, I wonder whats taking so long? Day Three..... what?
It was either Day three or four when I happened to be passing by and Slots, the Vendor, the Setup contractor dude, and the Gaming Commission were all standing around the sprawled out pieces of the game system. The Contractor and Vendor were arguing over something. The Vendor was saying the TV was bad AGAIN (again?) while the Setup Contractor was saying the display machine was broke. The Slot Techs and the Gaming Inspector were just standing there, and I was on good terms with them so I stopped by and asked what was going on.
Apparently they had just overnight another 70" TV on a special courier truck and it still was not working. None of it was anything that Slots or GI (who literally had just the job of watching the show) could do anything about.
ME: Sooo, has anyone tried a different machine to plug into the TV or another monitor to plug into the display port to see which it is?
-Blank Stares-
ME: Yeah, I have a spare machine upstairs that we use for the POS system if you want to try to figure out which it is?
Gaming Inspector: Do it. (He's a great guy, use to work in IT for a bank, and was my primary contact for any "funny business" that popped up on the IT side of things for the Casino.
I go upstairs and collect the spare machine, it had a DVI output that was the same as they were using for the TV, so it was worth a shot. I get back downstairs, and have the GI make the call to Surveillance to explain what I was doing before I stepped into the cordoned off area. I plug the TV into the machine and turn it on, screen shows the BIOS and normal start-up stuff. Contractor guy starts getting giddy.
ME: Alright, now lets try the other way.
I plug the Display machine into the monitor of the POS and tell them to start it up. Boots perfectly, could see the main display show up and "Wheel of Fortune" pops up.
Death Stares ensue between Slots and Gaming and the two outsiders. I look at the cable they were using for the TV and Display machine, tell them I'll be right back, and run back up to the Tech Shop and grab a newer DVI cable with both A and D pins and hand it to them and tell them to try this. (Disclaimer, I don't remember exactly which one it was, but it was better than the wonka cable they had)
They quickly rig it up between the Display and TV, and voila, its working.
TL;DR A simple DVI cable caused 3 days worth of yelling and a couple thousand dollars worth of unnecessary parts/shipping and time.
(This is my first OP on Reddit, so yeah....)
submitted by AuduneAdolynn to talesfromtechsupport [link] [comments]

Any casino employees can access the SIN "Surveillance Information Network" Casino Security System

http://www.tested.com/tech/455527-technologies-casinos-use-catch-cheaters/item/sin/
submitted by tetonpassboarder to conspiracy [link] [comments]

"I think I've lived long enough to see competitive Counter-Strike as we know it, kill itself." Summary of Richard Lewis' stream (Long)

I want to preface that the contents of this post is for informational purposes. I do not condone or approve of any harassments or witch-hunting or the attacking of anybody.
 
Richard Lewis recently did a stream talking about the terrible state of CS esports and I thought it was an important stream anyone who cares about the CS community should listen to.
Vod Link here: https://www.twitch.tv/videos/830415547
I realize it is 3 hours long so I took it upon myself to create a list of interesting points from the stream so you don't have to listen to the whole thing, although I still encourage you to do so if you can.
I know this post is still long but probably easier to digest, especially in parts.
Here is a link to my raw notes if you for some reason want to read through this which includes some omitted stuff. It's in chronological order of things said in the stream and has some time stamps. https://pastebin.com/6QWTLr8T

Intro

CSPPA - Counter-Strike Professional Players' Association

"Who does this union really fucking serve?"

ESIC - Esports Integrity Commission

"They have been put in an impossible position."

Stream Sniping

"They're all at it in the online era, they're all at it, they're all cheating, they're all using exploits, probably that see through smoke bug got used a bunch of times"

Match Fixing

"How many years have we let our scene be fucking pillaged by these greedy cunts?" "We just let it happen."

North America

"Everyone in NA has left we've lost a continents worth of support during this pandemic and Valve haven't said a fucking word."

Talent

"TO's have treated CS talent like absolute human garbage for years now."

Valve

"Anything that Riot does, is better than Valve's inaction"

Closing Statements

"We've peaked. If we want to sustain and exist, now is the time to figure it out. No esports lasts as long as this, we've already done 8 years. We've already broke the records. We have got to figure out a way to coexist and drive the negative forces out and we need to do it as a collective and we're not doing that."

submitted by Tharnite to GlobalOffensive [link] [comments]

The Hound of Hounslow (How an Autist Broke the Market)

On May 6, 2010, Jim Cramer’s brain broke. “That is not a real price,” he yelled to his monitor. “OK? That is not a real price.” Proctor & Gamble had just fallen 25% in a manner of minutes, then 29%, then 31%. Cramer had never seen such a shiny knife, such a beautiful buy, and he searched frantically for the right camera to beg his followers to add PG to their portfolio.
There weren’t enough buttons on Cramer’s soundboard to fully capture how he felt about the quickest drop in Dow Jones history. In what would later be dubbed “The Crash of 2:45” or simply “The Flash Crash,” over a trillion dollars was wiped from the stock market in a manner of 15 minutes. The odd thing was, despite dropping more than 9% at one point, the market would rapidly recover a bit after 3 PM and would close only 3% lower for the day.
In the ensuing days and weeks, journalists and financial commentators and United States Congressmen would try and determine where this volatility had come from. Something weird had just happened.
#
In the investigations that followed, regulators would consider a couple of theories. Was this a “fat-finger trade” where a trader inadvertently placed a large sell order, triggering a domino effect of sorts where algos would in turn sell? Was this a well-coordinated cyberattack, aimed to cripple American institutions? Was it simply a dip exacerbated by high-frequency traders? Had Janet Yellen forgotten to change the printer toner?
Nobody knew. But five months after the flash crash, the SEC and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) released a joint report that on May 6, 2010 the market was “so fragmented and fragile that a single large trade could send stocks into a sudden spiral.” They stated that a group called Waddell & Reed Financial Inc. had inadvertently played a role in the crash by initiating a sale of 75,000 E-Mini S&P contracts ($4.1 billion total) as a hedge to an existing position. This, the report said, coupled with the high-frequency traders trying to sell the long futures contracts they had just picked up from Waddell & Reed, led to a game of “hot potato” where the contracts were resold to other HFTs.
The report though was leaving out a crucial player.
#
In 2005, Navinder Sarao was living the dream. At 27 years old, he still lived with his parents in Hounslow, a working-class suburb outside of London, demanding tendies to be delivered to his bedroom by his sweet emigrant mother. To the people who knew him, Navinder, or Nav, was known to be quick-witted and quick to anger. He was dominant at Halo and FIFA, and he had a proclivity to focus on one task for hours and hours on end until he mastered it. He was almost obsessive in his interests.
Despite still living with his parents, young Nav had aspirations. In 2006, he responded to an ad in the Evening Standard that read, “Wanted: futures traders. Must work well under pressure.” That’s it. That was the ad. And Nav, with no experience and a honey mustard-stained tie, went to the FutexLive headquarters—a drab office situated above a supermarket 45 minutes outside London—and successfully hid his Asperger’s and got the job. He was now a professional trader.
Nav picked things up quickly. Realizing that he was surrounded by day-trading retards, he moved his desk to the corner of the shabby trading floor and bought a pair of noise-canceling headphones. He’d found success trading E-mini S&P Futures, which is the primary futures trading vehicle for the S&P 500. And with his noise-canceling headphones, Nav would follow the orders that would enter and leave the markets. His coworkers would marvel at the autist in the corner and the returns he was regularly pulling in.
Then 2008 happened. By the time the financial crisis was in full swing, Nav was almost thirty and had decided to leave Futex. He had accumulated $2 million from his trades the last couple of years, and he figured the most prudent move as a budding millionaire was to set up his command center in his bedroom. He still lived with his parents.
#
Nav realized something early on in the mortgage crisis that not everyone else did. He realized that governments would be forced to step in and save these retarded institutions, and he knew the banks wouldn’t be allowed to fall. And he bet $2 million—his whole net worth at the time—that he would be right. He made this bet on a Friday, and the following Monday, George Bush announced the TARP plan.
Prices proceeded to recover 19% over the next couple of weeks, and Nav rode the wave and turned his $2 million into $15 million. Did he rest on his laurels? Fuck no, this kid’s retarded! Nav didn’t want a wife and a home with a couple of kids running around. He wanted GLORY.
#
Around 2010, the markets were seeing an influx in high-frequency trading, and Nav took personal insult to these robots. People were getting scalped by these algos, and those scalps belonged to Nav. Those profits were rightfully his.
In order to beat the robots, Nav decided to build his own robot. And unsurprisingly, fueled by Code Red and autism, Nav’s algo worked magnificently. Pretty soon, he was regularly pulling in half a million a day. All the while living in a cramped bedroom of his parents’ home that cost $300,000.
#
May 6, 2010, started out as a regular day for Nav. The markets were sliding a bit, and Jim Cramer was flailing about his studio as though he were fighting a cloud of bats, but this was roughly on par for the time. Nav’s algo was pumping E-mini sell orders into the market—$200 million worth of orders to be exact—which ultimately resulted in a loss of liquidity (don’t ask me how this worked, I’m still confused why my PLTR 12/11 40C aren’t printing). At around 1:40 EST, or 6:40 in Hounslow, his mother called from the bottom of the steps to inform Nav that din-din was ready and would he please come down.
So Nav logged off.
And exactly one minute after that, the market began to fall at a rate that had never seen before. Nav had no idea though; he was in an argument with his father about why he needed to chew with his mouth open in order to let the scalding tendy fumes out. A trillion dollars had been wiped from American markets, and the instigator of it all was too retarded to know what he’d done.
The tendies were good though.
#
The trillion-dollar loss turned out to be not that big of a deal. The DOW snapped back from the 9% freefall like a rubber band, like any stock that Andrew Left has deemed to be a casino. But the NYSE and NASDAQ officials proceeded to meet over the next couple of months to try and determine what caused the nosedive and rapid recovery. In the reports that they would write, regulators made no reference to manipulation and no reference to Nav. In fact, he wasn’t even aware there was an investigation going on. He wasn’t aware he did anything wrong.
But regulators eventually began to notice that Nav was canceling a lot of orders. The CFTC sent him an email and asked if he could explain what he’d been up to. What was the reason for his canceling an obscene number of orders? That’s what big banks did. And that’d usually be fine and all, but Nav was a singular trader and that made it suspicious.
Nav wrote back to the CFTC explaining in careful terms that he had nothing to apologize for and that the CFTC could kiss his ass. He actually sent that. He told the CFTC to kiss his ass. Which, in hindsight, might’ve been a bad idea but the regulators were still too stupid and boomery to charge him with anything at the time. Nav would’ve gotten away with it too if it weren’t for a blabbermouth desk trader in Chicago who months later reported a different block of Nav’s trades to the CFTC, rekindling the case against Nav.
The investigation and case were dragged out over months and years, and I know 99% of you were too impatient to get this far, so I’ll give the cliff notes for the rest. Basically, Nav would eventually be charged with “spoofing,” which is the purchase of a large block of orders with the intent to cancel them. Spoofing artificially drives prices higher or lower. So the FBI and other concerned parties showed up on the doorstep of Nav’s Hounslow townhome in 2015, and he was extradited to the U.S. The judge learned he was worth $50 million, so he set bail to $7.5 million. Curiously enough though, Nav couldn’t access the $50 million or pay bail, and it was later determined that he’d somehow lost the fortune, seemingly to various shady investment advisors who promised to keep his money safe. (I personally like to think he’s stashed his earnings into a Caribbean account and that he’ll return to his private island once things blow over)
Over the next couple of months, Nav worked with investigators and taught them how market abuse happens. He was diagnosed with Asperger’s by a prison doctor, and the judge, sensing the moral dilemma of incarcerating an autist, and sensing Nav had received punishment enough from being scammed out of his $50 million, recommended a year of house arrest.
So Nav is currently serving his year of house arrest in the same bedroom where he amassed $50 million. But now he’s penniless at 41.
TLDR: Some autist beats the system, but the casino is angry and creates new rules to retroactively punish him for his winnings.
submitted by tugjobterry to wallstreetbets [link] [comments]

Genshin Impact: Don't let yourself fall victim to a predatory monetization model

So I originally had little to no intention of making a thread like this, instead wishing to stay silent and watch as the storm inevitably blows over. However, a few recent events have convinced me to act.
Just so you all have some insight, I’ve played MMOs and gacha games for basically all my life since I could get on the internet (over 10 years now), and have experienced things from Nexon’s horrible monetization models from Maplestory to Vindictus, to the casino rate odds of Black Desert lategame, to being actually respected as a consumer in Azur Lane. Guess which one I’ve spent the most money on?
While I love this game, and fully wish to be able to support MiHoYo for their wonderful work, the fact of the matter is that the gacha rates in this game are beyond predatory, and this monetization model they’re currently running beyond exploitive, and as a result, I find myself unable to even give a cent of my hard earned money to support these dubious business practices.
Yes, you can enjoy the game without premium characters. Yes, the exploration can be completed with everything they give you for free. You can sink tens of hours into this game without paying a dime. But you can’t have the full player experience, to sate your curiousity with new characters or just have fun with the characters whose design you love, without either shilling out untold and unreasonable amounts of money, waiting almost a year for a ‘pity pull,’ or spending countless hours rerolling until you get a starting roll that you enjoy, which isn’t playing the game.
When a new 5 star character comes out, are players going to make new accounts and reroll to try to get them too, abandoning all their previous progress? At this point they’ll be more obligated to participate in this predatory gacha system, by which point so you know, the pull rate get the specific character you desire off banner right now is about 0.06% (estimated), while banner has about a 0.3% chance without pity. If you want an RPG horror story, just try to calculate how many rolls on average it will take to get a specific 5 star character that you want, and then convert the cost into whatever currency you use. Then realize you need 7 copies of said 5 star character to truly experience them at their full potential. Thinking about these costs unironically makes me shiver.
But in this capitalist society with which we find ourselves, money speaks louder than words. This is why I come to you all with a proposition; I ask the community to please stop spending on this game until we, as consumers, are better treated and given the respect we deserve. Until the rates and the built in gacha system are improved upon, and we are seen as real people and not just a convenient source of income from which MiHoYo can trick into this terrible economic loop, I ask of you as a community to stop buying the ingame micro transactions and the various season passes, so that MiHoYo can get the message. Yes, whales will be whales and continue to spend huge, but even whales will run out of steam (and money), and a system that’s supported by a few whales is unsustainable in the long run. That’s not to say stop playing, but just stop spending. After all, this game can be enjoyed fully as F2P. Don’t be pressured to spend by big shot streamers and YouTube upstarts pouring thousands into this game.
In a separate post below, I will include useful links with information regarding gacha comparisons rates and in depth calculations. I ask that everyone also approach this thread respectfully, and keep the discussion that is to follow respectful as well.
Thank you for your time in reading my post, and I hope that it has been a constructive endeavour.
submitted by Kitsunekko to Genshin_Impact [link] [comments]

Covid-19 Update for December 8: 1,727 new cases, 1,397 recoveries, 9 deaths + Announcement of additional mandatory measures

Data is taken from the Covid-19 portal and today's availability by Dr Deena Hinshaw, Premier Jason Kenney, Minister of Health Tyler Shandro, and Minister of Jobs Doug Schweitzer. Dr Hinshaw's next availability is tomorrow.
There are currently enhanced measures in effect for multiple regions of Alberta and have been enhanced as of today. This link provides a quick summary of which ones are in effect for different regions of Alberta.
Top line numbers:
Value Current Change Total
Total cases +1,727 71,379
Active cases 20,388 +321
Cases with "Unknown source" 10,575 (83.9%) in last 7 days +427 (+0.4%)
Tests +19,071 (~9.06% positive) 2,410,675
People tested +7,433 1,534,783 (~355,521/million)
Hospitalizations 654 +45/+35 based on yesterday's post/portal data 2,325 (+64)
ICU 112 +4 413 (+10)
Deaths +9 (4x 70-79, 5x 80+) 640
Recoveries +1,397 51,000
Spatial distribution of people tested, cases, and deaths (since yesterday):
  • All other values are compared with respect to yesterday
Zone Active Cases New People Tested Total New Cases Total New Deaths Total
Calgary 7,529 (+57) +2,654 621,003 +583 28,946 +2 215
Central 1,526 (+53) +1,005 134,204 +176 3,881 +1 20
Edmonton 9,383 (+193) +2,664 513,626 +791 29,901 +5 304
North 1,212 (+65) +739 143,747 +165 4,757 +0 51
South 646 (-8) +307 97,153 +57 4,307 +1 50
Unknown 92 (-39) +64 25,050 -45 236 +0 0
Spatial distribution of cases for select cities and regions (change since yesterday) (cities proper for Calgary and Edmonton):
City/Municipality Total Active Recovered Deaths
Edmonton 24,542 (+625) 7,586 (+151) 16,692 (+469) 264 (+5)
Calgary 24,245 (+507) 6,490 (+117) 17,562 (+388) 193 (+2)
Brooks 1,296 (+2) 24 (-4) 1,258 (+6) 14 (+0)
Lethbridge 1,175 (+22) 259 (+9) 909 (+13) 7 (+0)
Fort McMurray 906 (+20) 222 (-3) 682 (+23) 2 (+0)
Red Deer 832 (+45) 373 (+18) 449 (+27) 0
High River county 658 (+2) 49 (-6) 602 (+8) 7 (+0)
Grande Prairie 562 (+15) 106 (+10) 451 (+5) 5 (+0)
Mackenzie county 447 (+4) 19 (+4) 415 (+0) 13 (+0)
Medicine Hat 334 (+11) 89 (-3) 240 (+14) 5 (+0)
I.D. No 9 (Banff) 324 (+8) 109 (-14) 215 (+22) 0
Cardston county 200 (+2) 37 (-2) 157 (+4) 6 (+0)
Wheatland county 146 (+1) 6 (-1) 140 (+2) 0
Warner county 137 (+1) 30 (-2) 105 (+3) 2 (+0)
Wood Buffalo municipality 111 (+1) 8 (+0) 103 (+1) 0
Rest of Alberta 16,113 (+461) 4,981 (+47) 11,010 (+412) 122 (+2)
Other municipalities with 10+ active cases is given at this link
Schools with outbreaks are listed online.
Quick numbers (as of today):
  • 108 schools are on Watch (+2)
  • 141 schools have 2-4 cases (+10)
Spatial distribution of hospital usage (change based on yesterday's post):
  • Hospitalization zone are where the patient is receiving care, not zone of residence
Zone Hospitalized ICU
Calgary 198 (+14) 34 (+2)
Edmonton 357 (+22) 66 (+3)
Central 50 (+3) 6 (+1)
South 18 (+4) 2 (-1)
North 31 (+2) 4 (-1)
Statements by Premier Kenney
Opening Statements
  • Here to lay out additional health measures which are necessary to protect healthcare system and save lives
  • Alberta has faced most of the year with lower levels of spread, hospitalizations, and fatalities
  • Having said that, last few weeks are different
  • Incredible work is being done by healthcare workers in face of this
  • Delays in surgeries have occurred, which for some may result in a shorter lifespan
  • Not doing anything now will result in continued growth of hospitalizations and further strain on healthcare
  • On advice of chief medical officer, restrictions have occurred. Government realizes that this can impact businesses and cause adversities
  • Knows many feed policies are unjust and why provincial government has stressed education first instead of using policy
  • On the other hand, while space can be made, it will have further health impacts (e.g. running out of capacity in hospitals)
  • If stronger action isn't taken now, hundreds or thousands more Albertans will die
  • Data appears to suggest a stabilization (around a reproductive factor of around 1.2), but that isn't enough
New Restrictions
  • As of today, all outdoor and indoor social gatherings are banned
  • The mask mandate will expand to all indoor places, with exception of rental homes and farm operations
  • As of December 13th, 12:01 AM:
  • (1) Retail, grocery stores, and shopping malls are restricted to 15% of capacity, down from 25%. Kiosks are open for takeaway service only. Malls cannot be used for socialization and shopping only
  • (2) Places are worship to 15% occupancy with previous restrictions applying. Online and drive-in services are still recommended
  • (3) Restaurants, pubs, bars, lounges and cafes are restricted to takeout and delivery services only. This will open up their access to provincial and federal supports
  • (4) The following will be closed:
  • (4a) Gaming centres (e.g. - casinos, bingo halls, gaming entertainment centres)
  • (4b) Recreational facilities
  • (4c) Indoor entertainment (e.g. libraries, science centres, water parks)
  • (4d) Trade centres
  • The restrictions do not apply to service visits, healthcare, or childcare .
  • (5) All Alberta employees must work from home unless employer requires physical presence for operational reasons (up from a recommendation)
  • No changes to schools beyond what was previously announced
  • These are all province wide and will be in effect for 4 weeks
  • Goal has been to be targeted. However, the whole province is seeing significant spread
Christmas
  • Knows the holidays are important for many people
  • The hard truth is that the single source of spread is at-home gatherings
  • If we let people gather for Christmas, we'll see a spike in cases
  • We can't let that happen, so please follow the gathering restrictions previously noted (only in-household or with 2 close contacts if you live alone)
Increased Enterprise Support
  • This isn't the fault of anybody who followed the guidelines
  • Until the contact tracing system was overwhelmed, we didn't see it being the fault of business owners
  • But we are seeing spread so widespread, it doesn't matter how careful you were
  • These are decisions are a last resort
  • Knows this impact will be real. So financial support for small and medium size enterprise
  • 4x growth in small and medium enterprise relaunch grant, while lowering eligibility from 40% of revenue lost to 30%. This will also be retroactive to March
Closing Statements
  • Thanks Albertans for their work for most of the past 9 months
  • We are seeing the end with vaccination possibly beginning in weeks...the end is in sight
Q&A
  • Why now, instead of two weeks ago?: Goal is to reduce contacts, assuming Albertans respond. This should be a very strong message and reduce transmissions. Measures have been increasingly harsh because each restriction creates harms, will hurt people who have sunk all their money in a business, and potentially increase self-harm. So this is a last resort
  • Why keep retail open instead of just curbside?: Encourages curbside, but some people may not be able to live without basic goods. Even most stringent policies around the world have kept retail open in some capacity. Feels the designation of essential and non-essential businesses in spring was a mistake
  • Why is cabinet being transparent about the reproductive value (R or Rt)?: Are preparing ways to publicly present this data, as well as healthcare capacity. Targeting next week
  • Do you think the softer measures before will cost lives/make economic recovery more difficult?: Shutting down early would have had significant impacts. Thinks it'd be a huge mistake to draw correlations between strictness of restrictions and outcomes and that there is a reasonable balance being stuck
  • Since you defined Covid representing "a tiny percent" of deaths, 300 deaths have occurred. There have been significant growths in hospitalization and cases. Do you take personal responsibility?: Rejects the premise of the question and calls it more of an "NDP speech". Feels the province has done more than other jurisdictions, especially early on. Also notes that BC, who has a government of opposite end of the political spectrum, has had a similar approach
Statements by Minister Shandro
Additional Details on Health Measures
  • Goal is to limit in-person interaction
  • Retail restriction has a floor of 5 people
  • Ski hills can remain open, provided restrictions are followed
  • Realizes that this is a lot to take in, but person-to-person exposure is fuelling the spread
  • We need limit contacts and be aware of the situation around you (even outdoors or at the grocery store)
Q&A
  • How does outdoor gathering ban even work?: Goal is to restrict social gatherings. So do not socially gather indoors or outdoors. If they gather in a park or on the sidewalk, that isn't allowed. Difficulty will certainly lie in enforcement and hopes it won't need to be used. It will be up to law enforcement to determine if they feel they need to use it
  • (Additional comment by Dr Hinshaw: Intention is to prevent group social activities. Not prohibited is fitness activities provided distancing occurs)
Statements by Minister Schweitzer
Opening Statements
  • Wants to make people aware that there will be significant impacts. This is not lost on anyone in government
  • Knows many people are impacted because people have ignored public health orders.
Additional Details on Small Business Supports
  • 40% may not be able to re-open after these closures without supports
  • Small businesses may now qualify for $20,000 support (up from $5,000) with a decrease in revenue lost to 30%
  • An additional 15,000 businesses should be able to qualify for this (totalling 500 million dollars)
Q&A
  • How many people will be affected with these restrictions?: ~30,000 businesses will be affected. Will be seeing how many people
Statements by Dr Hinshaw
Cases
  • 426 schools have active cases (~18%) with total of 1,701 cases
  • 108 schools on watch list (5+ active cases)
Edmonton Zone
  • The Royal Alexandra Hospital has decided to place facility on "Watch" status as a precautionary measure
  • Hospitals are safe places to receive care, but be aware that staff are under extreme stress
  • Edmonton Zone will enact additional measures:
  • (1) Postponing up to 60% of non-urgent surgeries (up from 30%)
  • (2) Diagnostic imaging may be reduced by up to 40%
  • (3) Ambulatory visits and procedures may be reduced as needed
  • AHS will contact those who are impacted
  • This is why these measures are needed and a sign of how Covid may impact more than the ill
Scope of the Situation
  • If you gathered all the people who have tested positive, it would be the 5th largest city in Alberta
  • 1/3 people have been tested
  • On October 8, positive rate was 1.34% with 184 cases in province
  • Today, positive rate is 9% and 7 day average is 1,785
  • Outbreaks in almost all group settings
  • People from 1 to 108 have been infected
  • Knows restrictions will impact many people
  • The fastest way to get there is to embrace these restrictions
  • Knows many people have embraced already, but everybody will need to do more
Q&A
  • Why do we think these measures will work, after the last two rounds?: This is the most significant round of restrictions. Points to Israel as an example (who shrunk their cases faster than even their first wave). Target will be to bring the health system out of risk
  • If someone is coming in from out of province, is that allowed?: If it's someone from out of province, it isn't allowed
  • A follow up question noted an example of family members in Alberta were quarantining were 2 weeks before Christmas. Challenge is that enforcement of a "quarantine" will be difficult to control. Province is saying "gathering for Christmas" won't be allowed with people who don't live in the home. Knows it's a big imposition but any suggestions like in the question may cause a Thanksgiving-like increase in spread
Additional information will be logged below:
submitted by kirant to alberta [link] [comments]

Ended my gambling career (for now) on a high note - jackpot handpay to end 2020. My thoughts and ramblings as a now-retired gambler.

Warning: long rambling stories ahead. I am bored and waiting to get through my first day back at work since before Christmas. You've been warned!
I've been going to the casino pretty regularly for the past few years. Before that, I played occasionally. I exclusively play slots. I view it as a night out - first with friends back when I brought $50 and played penny denom minimum bet spins and prayed to win $20, and then eventually shifting my mindset to playing higher bets and denominations. I hit my first jackpot handpay a couple of years ago. I hit $3700 on a $27 bet on a Geisha machine. I've hit a few other jackpots here and there, culminating with my biggest jackpot ever this past summer. I hit $12K on a $50 bet on a Pompeii slot machine.
Well, the long story short is that I have fallen out of love with gambling. I have somehow managed to have a positive ROI on gambling. I track my withdrawls and win on a spreadsheet. To put it bluntly: I have been extremely lucky over the past few years. I know that slots are not a viable way to win money in the long run, so I made a decision a few months ago to "retire" from gambling at the end of 2020.
I went to my local casino last Wednesday. It just so happens when I hit a jackpot that I usually do it within the first half hour or so I'm at the casino. Well, it happened again. After going up $600 or so on another slot machine (I don't remember the name), I went to one of my most hated/favorite old school slots - Zeus dollar denomination. One of my worst moments in all of gambling was a few years ago. I got a bonus round on the Zeus dollar denomination on max bet of $45 a spin. I was BEYOND excited. I've seen Youtube videos where people have won tens of thousands of dollars in that exact scenario. Much to my shock, I won nothing. In that game, you don't win anything for triggering the bonus. So I actually *lost* $45 on getting the bonus. I cashed out and left immediately.
Anyway, last week I hit a modest $4500. It was exciting...but not as exciting as I thought it should be. I was cool, calm, and...detached. The wins didn't mean much to me, and the losses mean absolutely nothing. My wife and I are in the EXTREMELY fortunate position that losing $500 or so every week or two at the casino is affordable. I'm not ignorant to how lucky we are to be in this position.
After getting paid out, I played a bit longer. But that hand pay drove home the realization that I had a few months ago: it was time to stop gambling. If I can't get pumped about a big win like that, and if I'm not even phased a little bit by losing, it's just not worth gambling any more. I used to go for entertainment, but even now gambling doesn't provide that much.
As I sit now, I am up roughly $18K over three years of slots. Not bad, but not life changing. Enough that I bought my wife a Burberry and Louis Vuitton handbag on separate occasions. The rest if stashed in savings or in an investment account somewhere. But I am 100% committed to being done. At least for 2021, and probably longer.
If anyone is interested in hearing my thoughts on how to win...I don't have any insight to share. It's luck. I got lucky. I know I got lucky. The usual tropes about setting win and loss thresholds is good advice. Sometimes I chased payouts and hit them. Sometimes I chased and lost. But I managed to hit more than miss, and for that I'm lucky. And thankful.
Anyway. I don't have a major takeaway or anything. I don't have many people I can talk about this with in my personal life, so I figured I'd share a bit of my story here.
If you do gamble, please do so responsibly. Good luck, and try to have fun. If you're not having fun, it's probably not the right way to spend your time or money.
EDIT:
I just wanted to say to anyone who reads this in the future that I appreciate the nice responses and PMs from people. It's nice to share a positive experience with others! I sincerely hope that if any of you choose to play in the future, you choose to do so responsibly. Gambling can be a hugely problematic lifestyle for some people. Stay safe. (end of preaching here).
I also want to take a second to address some comments from some people about slots being skill based. This is 100% false. The concept of slots being skill based in any way is demonstrably untrue with three seconds of reasonable thinking. If we accept that there is a hypothetical slot game which is based on skill and not pure luck, what are the consequences of that? First of all, this information would leak out. There would be no way to contain it. If one person can solve the system, another an as well. Subsequently, someone would write a book on the subject. Think about all the poker and blackjack strategy books out there. These are games where skillful play can increase your odds of winning. Last I checked, there aren't any books or Supersytem-level analyses from prominent individuals willing to stake their names and reputations on publishing a "slot technique" book. There's a reason for this. And also - think about this: casinos still carry blackjack tables for a reason: they still have an edge to win. If there is a surefire way for individuals to win when playing slots, casinos would 100% for sure take these games out of circulation. Casinos are not in the business of giving away money. Any claim there is a foolproof way to win money playing slots does not make sense when critical thinking is applied to the circumstances.
Slots are not like card games. Finding and playing only games where there is a "must win by" progressive is not the same thing as skillful play. That's more akin to something like card counting in blackjack. Many people who design slot machines and engineer the software behind the scenes have posted on Reddit and elsewhere that wins are based on random number generators running behind every spin. There is literally no skill involved - you win or lose each spin based on pure random luck.
I am saying this because there are a number of people who come to this subreddit to look for ways to cheat the system and get easy money. I see posts like this fairly often, and I'm only browsing this subreddit occasionally. Gambling is not, and should not, be a way for anyone looking to make a quick buck. If you're looking to get an edge playing slots because you need to pay bills or make a quick buck, you are already in serious trouble. Do not buy into the delusion that you can get an edge or guarantee a win. People saying this are snake oil salesmen who do not care for you or your well-being.
Anyway. I'm going to stop monitoring this post. I'm still open to receiving PMs or messages, but I've had my fun with this so far. I could do with fewer trolls, but this is the internet. I knew what to expect. Bon chance, everyone!
submitted by Creepy_Zucchini6387 to gambling [link] [comments]

COVID-19 Update Press Conference: December 22, 2020 (Scheduled for 1pm - Notes included)

COVID-19 Update: December 22, 2020
Scheduled for 1pm.
Today, Governor Charlie Baker and Lt. Governor Karyn Polito will join Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders and Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Mike Kennealy to provide an update on COVID-19.
Link to livestream and recording










Information on Temporary Capacity and Gathering Limit Information
submitted by TisADarkDay to CoronavirusMa [link] [comments]

Lost in the Sauce: Barr's DOJ shut down investigations of Trump and admin officials

Welcome to Lost in the Sauce, keeping you caught up on political and legal news that often gets buried in distractions and theater… or a global health crisis.
Housekeeping:

Post-election

On Saturday, Trump announced on Twitter that he has put his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani in charge of his campaign's long-shot post-election legal challenges. Other people on the team include Joseph diGenova, Victoria Toensing, Sidney Powell, and Jenna Ellis.
  • Giuliani worked with a Russian agent to smear Biden. diGenova and Toensing tried to get the Justice Department to drop charges against corrupt Ukraine oligarch Dmytro Firtash. Powell represents Michael Flynn and champions "deep state" conspiracies. Ellis said gay marriage leads to pedophilia.
NYT: Mr. Trump turned to Mr. Giuliani earlier on Friday in reaction to the latest setback he faced in court, this one relating to votes in Maricopa County, Arizona… A half-dozen other Trump advisers have described Mr. Giuliani’s efforts as counterproductive and said that he was giving the president unwarranted optimism about what could happen… In an Oval Office meeting with aides on Thursday, Mr. Trump put Mr. Giuliani on speakerphone so the others could hear him. He angrily accused the aides of not telling the president the truth
Giuliani’s conspiracy-riddled rant at Four Seasons Total Landscaping was so disastrous that it “scared off many of the lawyers” recruited to argue election-related lawsuits. Politico: “Campaign officials described the episode as disastrous...there are widespread concerns within Trumpworld and GOP circles that Giuliani’s antics are thwarting the president’s legal machinery from within.”
Two major law firms have withdrawn from Trump campaign cases as his legal challenges crumble. Arizona’s largest law firm Snell & Wilmer dumped the RNC and Trump campaign effort to challenge votes in Maricopa County. Porter Wright Morris & Arthur is abandoning Trump’s attempt to block Pennsylvania's popular vote for Joe Biden.
  • In one day (Friday), nine cases meant to attack President-elect Joe Biden's win in key states were denied or dropped - seven in Pennsylvania, one in Arizona, and one in Michigan.
The new federal chief information security officer, Camilo Sandoval, has already taken leave from his day job to participate in a pro-Trump effort to hunt for evidence of voter fraud in the battleground states. The group, Voter Integrity Fund, is a newly formed Virginia-based group that is analyzing ballot data and cold-calling voters. Sandoval was officially appointed on Nov. 4, 2020, but lists his starting date at October on his personal LinkedIn page.
WaPo: Sandoval is part of a hastily convened team led by Matthew Braynard, a data specialist who worked on Trump’s 2016 campaign. Another participant is Thomas Baptiste, an adviser to the deputy secretary of the Interior Department who also took a leave to work on the project. Braynard said in an interview that several other government officials on leave are also assisting the effort, but he declined to identify them.
Media’s role:
  • Facebook Cut Traffic To Leading Liberal Pages Just Before The Election: Liberal page administrators who spoke with BuzzFeed News said that their reach declined by as much as 70%, and still hasn’t recovered.
  • Facebook Live Spread Election Conspiracies And Russian State-Controlled Content Despite Employee Fears: The social network’s live video tool has recommended videos featuring misinformation and the hyperpartisan views of Trump allies leading up to and following election day in the US.
  • In the week after the election, Trump’s postings dominated Facebook, accounting for the 10 most engaged status updates in the United States, and 22 of the top 25. “I WON THIS ELECTION, BY A LOT!” was his top post.
  • YouTube Is Doing Very Little to Stop Election Misinformation From Spreading
  • Social media app Parler receives financial backing from conservative hedge-fund investor Robert Mercer and his daughter Rebekah, The Wall Street Journal reported. Parler turned into a kind of de facto home for conservatives’ protests against the election— including the persistent “Stop the Steal” campaign— after the race was called for former Vice President Joe Biden. Several high-profile conservative social media personalities encouraged people to abandon Twitter and Facebook because of their moderation policies, and instead follow them on Parler.

Transition

Emily Murphy, the head of the General Services Administration, still hasn’t signed the official letter that would allow the incoming Biden team to formally begin the transition. House Democrats are assessing options to force the GSA’s hand, which could include summoning Murphy to the Hill to testify or suing her. “Obviously, Congress could file suit against the GSA administrator for failing to do her duty. We could seek to get a court to, in fact, issue an order
Her ascertainment is the legally necessary precursor to the government’s assistance to the Biden-Harris Presidential Transition Team. It releases $6.3 million dollars to the team, which is funded by public and private money; a loan of expanded federal office space and equipment; access to government agencies that will begin sharing information and records about ongoing activities, plans and vulnerabilities; national security briefings for the president; and other support.
  • The Office of the Director of National Intelligence recently confirmed that it is not providing national security briefings to the president-elect. The Defense Department has also reportedly indicated that it will not meet with the Biden-Harris transition team until Murphy formally affirms the apparent winner.
One of the officials fired in Trump’s latest purge was helping prepare for the transition to the new administration. USAID Deputy Administrator Bonnie Glick was removed abruptly to make way for a Trump loyalist after she had been supportive of transition planning, including the preparation of a 440-page manual for the next administration.
The GSA’s refusal to enact the transition has locked Biden’s team out of crucial Covid-19 pandemic data and government agency contacts. The president-elect’s Covid-19 task force has been trying to work around the federal government by connecting with governors and the health community.
  • The head of Operation Warp Speed, Moncef Slaoui, called on the White House to allow contact with the Biden team, saying “It is a matter of life and death for thousands of people.”
White House’s Office of Management and Budget is considering 145 new regulations and other policy changes they could enact before Biden’s inauguration - rules that will be challenging to undo once they are finalized. Critics and supporters of the administration say they expect a final burst of regulations to be finalized in the weeks before Jan. 20.
The rules under development include policies that the incoming Biden administration would probably oppose, such as new caps on the length of foreign student visas; restrictions on the Environmental Protection Agency’s use of scientific research; limits on the EPA’s consideration of the benefits of regulating air pollutants; and a change that would make it easier for companies to treat workers as independent contractors, rather than employees with more robust wage protections.
Last week, both Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and White House trade adviser Peter Navarro said they’re preparing for a second Trump term. “There will be a smooth transition to a second Trump administration,” Pompeo said during a news conference Tuesday afternoon (clip). Pompeo then doubled down on Fox News (clip). “We are moving forward here at the White House under the assumption there will be a second Trump term,” Navarro said on Fox Business Friday (clip).

DOJ interference

Attorney General William Barr stopped career prosecutors in DOJ’s Public Integrity Section from investigating whether President Trump broke any laws related to his conduct with Ukraine last year. The section was initially given the green light to pursue “a potentially explosive inquiry” into Trump, but after the Senate acquitted the president during impeachment proceedings, Barr sent the case to the U.S. attorney’s office in Brooklyn.
Prosecutors in DOJ’s Public Integrity Section were also prevented from bringing charges against former interior secretary Ryan Zinke by political appointees atop the Justice Department. Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen told prosecutors that they needed to gather more evidence and refine the case against Zinke for lying to Interior investigators.
  • The investigation into Zinke stemmed from his decision to block two Native American tribes—the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan—from opening a casino in Connecticut. Zinke’s office had been lobbied heavily by MGM Resorts International, which had been planning to open its own casino very close to where the tribes intended to break ground.
Sixteen assistant U.S. attorneys specially assigned to monitor malfeasance in the 2020 election urged Barr on Friday to rescind his memo allowing election-fraud investigations before results are certified. "It was developed and announced without consulting non-partisan career professionals in the field and at the Department. Finally, the timing of the Memorandum's release thrusts career prosecutors into partisan politics," the prosecutors wrote.
An internal Justice Department investigation found that federal prosecutors who oversaw a controversial non-prosecution deal with Jeffrey Epstein in 2008 exercised “poor judgment” but did not break the law. “They just say he used poor judgment, and that's their way of basically letting everyone off the hook while offering some sort of an olive branch to the victims that we acknowledge weren't treated perfectly,” said Brad Edwards, who sued the DOJ in 2008 on behalf of Epstein accusers.

Immigration news

Eastern District of New York Judge Nicholas Garaufis (Clinton-appointee) ruled that Chad Wolf was not legally serving as acting Homeland Security secretary when he signed rules limiting DACA program applications and renewals. Therefore, in a win for Dreamers and immigration activists, Garaufis said the changes were invalid.
The judge described an illegitimate shuffling of leadership chairs at the Department of Homeland Security, the agency responsible for immigration enforcement, for the predicament of Wolf's leadership and that of his predecessor, Kevin McAleenan.
"Based on the plain text of the operative order of succession," Garaufis wrote in the Saturday ruling, "neither Mr. McAleenan nor, in turn, Mr. Wolf, possessed statutory authority to serve as Acting Secretary. Therefore the Wolf Memorandum was not an exercise of legal authority."
  • There's a renewed push to get Chad Wolf confirmed as Homeland Security secretary -- a position in which he's been serving in an acting capacity for a yearr -- before Inauguration Day. In the past week, Homeland Security officials spoke to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's office about bringing the nomination to a floor vote in the coming weeks.
Within the last six months, as the coronavirus pandemic gripped the US, the Trump administration filed 75 lawsuits to seize private land along the US-Mexico border for the border wall." People right now are having to choose between their health and their homes," said Ricky Garza, a staff attorney at the Texas Civil Rights Project, a legal advocacy group.
After a series of price increases, Trump’s border project will cost taxpayers $20 million per mile of border fence. A review of federal spending data shows more than 200 contract modifications, at times awarded within just weeks or months after the original contracts, have increased the cost of the border wall project by billions of dollars since late 2017.
DHS has expelled unaccompanied immigrant children from the US border more than 13,000 times since March, using the coronavirus as an excuse to deny children their right to asylum. Previously, unaccompanied children were sent to government-run shelters as they attempted to pursue their asylum cases.
Migrant children from Central America are being expelled to Mexico, where they have no family connections. The expulsions not only put children in danger - the policy violates a diplomatic agreement with Mexico that only Mexican children and others who had adult supervision could be pushed back into Mexico after attempting to cross the border.
The House Judiciary Committee released a report on the Trump administration’s policy of separating families at the border, revealing that the federal agency that cares for migrant children was not told about the policy. The chaos contributed to the inability to later reunite parents and children.
The Trump administration is trying to deport several women who allege they were mistreated by a Georgia gynecologist at an immigration detention center. Hours after one detained woman spoke to federal investigators about forced hysterectomies at a Georgia detention center, she said ICE told her that it had lifted a hold on her deportation and she faced “imminent” removal. Six former patients who complained about Dr. Mahendra Amin had already been deported.
Northern District of Illinois Judge Gary Feinerman (Obama-appointee) blocked a key Trump administration policy that allowed officials to deny green cards to immigrants who might need public assistance Advocates who had feared that the policy would harm tens of thousands of poor people, particularly those affected by widespread job loss because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Miscellaneous

Microsoft said it has detected attempts by state-backed Russian and North Korean hackers to steal valuable data from leading pharmaceutical companies and vaccine researchers. “Among the targets, the majority are vaccine makers that have COVID-19 vaccines in various stages of clinical trials.”
Two census takers told The AP that their supervisors pressured them to enter false information into a computer system about homes they had not visited so they could close cases during the waning days of the once-a-decade national headcount.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday signaled it’s unlikely to tear down Obamacare over a Republican-backed lawsuit challenging the landmark health care law. Chief Justice John Roberts and Trump appointee Justice Brett Kavanaugh strongly questioned whether the elimination of the mandate penalty made the rest of the law invalid. Kavanaugh appeared to signal on several occasions that he favored leaving the rest of the law intact if the mandate is struck.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) was sued last week by four whistleblowers claiming that he abused his office to benefit himself, a woman with whom he was said to have had an affair, and the wealthy donor who employs her before retaliating against the members of his staff who reported him to the FBI.
The Trump administration is rushing plans to auction drilling rights in the U.S. Arctic National Wildlife Refuge before the inauguration of Biden, who has vowed to block oil exploration in the rugged Alaska wilderness. Biden’s efforts could be complicated if the Trump administration sells drilling rights first. Formally issued oil and gas leases on federal land are government contracts that can’t be easily yanked.
submitted by rusticgorilla to Keep_Track [link] [comments]

The USA PATRIOT Act: The Story of an Impulsive Bill that Eviscerated America's Civil Liberties

The USA PATRIOT Act provides a textbook example of how the United States federal government expands its power. An emergency happens, legitimate or otherwise. The media, playing its dutiful role as goad for greater government oversight, demands "something must be done." Government power is massively expanded, with little regard for whether or not what is being done is efficacious, to say nothing of the overall impact on our nation's civil liberties.
No goals are posted, because if targets are hit, this would necessitate the ending or scaling back of the program. Instead, the program becomes normalized. There are no questions asked about whether the program is accomplishing what it set out to do. It is now simply a part of American life and there is no going back.
The American public largely accepts the USA PATRIOT Act as a part of civic life as immutable, perhaps even more so than the Bill of Rights. However, this act – passed in the dead of night, with little to no oversight, in a panic after the biggest attack on American soil since Pearl Harbor – is not only novel, it is also fundamentally opposed to virtually every principle on which the United States of America was founded. It might not be going anywhere anytime soon, but patriots, liberty lovers and defenders of Constitutional government should nonetheless familiarize themselves with the onerous provisions of this law, which is nothing short of a full-throttle attack on the American republic.

What’s Even in the USA PATRIOT Act?

What is in the USA PATRIOT Act? In the Michael Moore film Fahrenheit 9/11, then Rep. John Conyers cracked wise about how no one had actually read the Act and how this was in fact par for the course with America's laws. Thus, before delving into the deeper issues surrounding the PATRIOT Act, it is worth discussing what the Act actually says. Here’s a brief look at the 10 Titles in the PATRIOT Act:
Most of the provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act were set to sunset four years after the bill was passed into law. However, the law was extended first by President George W. Bush and then by President Barack H. Obama. The latter is particularly scandalous given that, at least in part, a rejection of the surveillance culture that permeated the Bush Administration was responsible for the election of Obama in 2008.

Passing the USA PATRIOT Act

Next, it’s important to remember the environment in which the USA PATRIOT Act was passed: Post-9/11. It is not the slightest bit of exaggeration to label the environment in which the PATRIOT Act was passed as “hysterical,” nor is “compliant” a misnomer for the Congress of the time. Opposition to the Act was slim and intensive review of one of the most sweeping Acts of Congress in American history was nonexistent.
All told, Congress took a whopping six weeks drafting, revising, reviewing and passing the PATRIOT Act. That’s less time than Congress typically spends on totally uncontroversial and routine bills that don’t gut the Fourth Amendment. The final vote found only 66 opponents in the House and one (Wisconsin Democrat Russ Feingold) in the Senate. The entire passage of the PATRIOT Act, from start to finish, took place behind closed doors. There were no committee reports or hearings for opponents to testify, nor did anyone bother to read the bill.
“Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism” is the bloated and overwrought full name of the bill, crafted by a 23-year-old Congressional staffer named Chris Cylke. This ridiculous name puts the focus not on the surveillance aspects or the erosion of basic civil liberties enshrined in Western society since the Magna Carta, but on patriotism. At the time of its creation, the messaging was very clear: Real patriots support massive intrusions on civil rights. As President George W. Bush said at the time, “Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.” This sentiment very much seemed to apply to American citizens.
While the argument that if you have nothing to hide you shouldn’t fear investigation is anathema in a Constitutional republic with regard to citizens, it should be standard operating procedure when it comes to our organs of government. If we cannot expect transparency from the United States Congress – elected officials charged with representing the will of the people and protecting the Constitution – then we certainly can’t expect it anywhere else.

The Unfortunate Growth of the USA PATRIOT Act

It’s no surprise to those in the liberty movement that given an inch, the government (in particular the military-intelligence community) took a mile. Even the nebulous definition of “terrorism,” largely centered around a long litany of acts rather than the motivation behind them, has expanded to include receiving military training from a proscribed organization (without actually committing any terrorist acts or even acts of violence of any stripe) as well as “narcoterrorism” – the latter particularly convenient, as the United States government continues its losing “War on Drugs.”
Indeed, in many ways, the War on (Some) Drugs was the template for the War on Terror. Both wars have no defined enemy, no defined terms of victory. Instead, they are waged against a nebulous concept, while enjoying bipartisan support for their ever-expanding budgets. What’s more, it didn’t take long for the Feds to start using the USA PATRIOT Act for things it was never intended for, including prosecuting the War on Drugs.
Perhaps the silliest application of the USA PATRIOT Act is the prosecution of Adam McGaughey. McGaughey maintained a fansite for the television series Stargate SG-1. The Feds charged him with copyright infringement and computer fraud. In the course of their investigation, the FBI leveraged the PATRIOT Act to get financial records from his website’s ISP. This was made possible by the USA PATRIOT Act amending the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, allowing for search and seizure of ISP records.
The New York Times discovered in September 2003, that the USA PATRIOT Act was being used to investigate alleged drug traffickers without what would otherwise be sufficient probable cause. These were investigations into non-terrorist acts using a law ostensibly designed to investigate terrorism. There was some suspicion that the Act was being used to investigate crimes occurring before the Act was passed, violating the ex post facto clause of the United States Constitution.
In one of the biggest power grabs (excluding virtually everything we know from Edward Snowden – more on that below), the FBI sent tens of thousands of “national security letters” and procured over one million financial records from targeted businesses in Las Vegas. These businesses were primarily casinos, car rental bureaus and storage spaces. The data obtained included financial records, credit histories, employment records and even people’s personal health records.
The FBI maintains and databases this – and, indeed, all information collected through the USA PATRIOT Act – indefinitely. In the good old days before the PATRIOT Act, the Feds were compelled to destroy any evidence they collected on someone later found not guilty of a crime. Note that the aforementioned data collection brought to public attention by Edward Snowden (which, again – we’re getting to that) falls under this provision. Not only is the government collecting obscene amounts of private and personal information about you, they’re also storing it indefinitely with no plans to stop.
What’s more, the FBI has approached public libraries to turn over the records for specific terminals, collecting information not about specific users who might be under investigation, but about anyone who has ever used the computer at the public library. Libraries, to their credit, have been very much at the forefront of resistance against the PATRIOT Act, with some litigating compliance despite operating on small budgets and others posting “canary letters,” which effectively say “The FBI Hasn’t Been Here Yet.” The removal of such a letter would warn patrons that the FBI has been sniffing around in their records.
Indeed, the greatest criticism of the PATRIOT Act is the simplest and perhaps most obvious: Why does an Act ostensibly passed to fight terrorism so drastically expand the government’s power to investigate virtually everyone else? The PATRIOT Act is not merely unconstitutional, it is an unprecedented expansion of state power in the Anglosphere, a culture based on restricted government and the primacy of individual rights.
An excellent example of this is the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) expansion. Most people are familiar with the term “FISA court,” but very few people actually know what it is – a special federal court created under the Carter Administration that grants approval of electronic surveillance of both citizens and resident aliens in the event that they are accused of acting in the service of a foreign power. The last part of this sentence is very important: The FISA courts are not simply for allowing surveillance of anyone that it might be expedient to collect information about. The scope of their powers is very, very limited.
Or was.
The PATRIOT Act lowered the burden of evidence required to obtain a FISA warrant for electronic surveillance and expanded the overall scope of the FISA courts. Any savvy federal agent can now drape his charges in the garb of (what else?) “national security” and obtain electronic surveillance privileges hitherto only dreamed of by investigators. FISA courts have become pliant tools in the hands of the Feds, gladly approving their requests to monitor phone and internet surveillance, as well as access to medical, financial and educational records.

The Future of the USA PATRIOT Act

Do we still need the PATRIOT Act? Did we ever? All laws are certainly a product of their times. But this seems much more acutely true of the USA PATRIOT Act, which was passed in a rush and under duress without due consideration.
Particularly in light of the revelations from Edward Snowden – that the government is spying on everything they possibly can – it’s worth asking if there’s any walking back. He points out that the police state apparatus was originally for drug dealers, then for terrorists, but ultimately ended up being applied to anyone and everyone.
What’s more, Bob Bullard notes another frightful aspect of the USA PATRIOT Act: Terrorism-related cases are not subject to the Freedom of Information Act. This means that there is little or no oversight. There is no surer hallmark of a police state than an all-powerful domestic surveillance agency with no transparency or oversight. While the USA PATRIOT Act might not create an American Stasi as such, it certainly paves the way for one.
Continue reading The USA PATRIOT Act: The Story of an Impulsive Bill that Eviscerated America's Civil Liberties at Ammo.com.
submitted by ammodotcom to Libertarian [link] [comments]

The Pretty Idiot's Guide to Human Space: Rugen (part 1)


The salvo of coilgun shells smashes into the complex of bunkers on the opposite riverbank, sending a spray of charred dirt, sandbags, and timber flying into the air. A sloped bastion caves in, burying the rifle pits at its base. One leg of a watchtower is blasted away and the whole thing sways drunkenly before twisting and collapsing across the trenches, the flagpole on its roof somehow landing upright and leaving the enemy's blue-and-gold standard waving in the debris-laden breeze.

The Human artillerymen beside me let out a cheer and jump up and down, slapping each other's outstretched hands.

The army of Humans watching from beyond the battery all jump around and cheer, too, their yells loud even compared to a half-dozen high explosive shells.

And... so do the Human gunners on the hillside across the river, and the army behind them. They all cheer and applaud. Even though they are, in fact, the enemy whose defenses are getting blasted into pieces the size of a poet's paycheck by the aforementioned coilguns. So... I cheer my lovely green head off right along with them, because things are exploding and stuff is burning and apparently the Humans on this planet just generally approve of that sort of thing.

My name is Solontha reValthinna, and I'm the Felra who goes to the places nobody else wants to and learns about them the hard way so you can learn about them the easy way. That's my angle as an author, and that's why I'm the Pretty Idiot.

----

"Solontha, darling, I've got just the destination for your next Pretty Idiot's Guide!"

My business agent only sounds that chirpy when she's found some new way to try to get me killed. I'd like to think it's because the more trouble I get into, the better the resulting books turn out. That, or she still hasn't forgiven me for that topless dance I did at the Publishers' Guild dinner party she took me to. In my defense, they provided the liquor. I just happened to drink a lot of it.

Also in my defense, my topless dancing is godlike.

"Not back to the Tarq Imperium, I hope? They said they'd shoot me if they ever caught me inside their borders again."

My agent clucked at me. "They said no such thing. They just heavily implied it. And that was only because you wrote that they were a bunch of pointlessly brutal totalitarian fuckwads."

I snorted. "That's right. And it was the 'fuckwad' part that they objected to."

"Nobody likes being called a fuckwad, Solontha. Fuckwads least of all. But, no, I'm thinking we send you to write about a Human planet this time."

Humans? Interesting... The few I've known, I've mostly liked. Well, I don't hate them, anyway. And they look kind of like us Felra, at least a little bit. If you took a Felra and eliminated everything behind her forelegs -- and kept her from dying from lack of some important organs, obviously -- you would have something that still doesn't look particularly like a Human. So, dye her green skin an earthier color, replace her beautiful tresses of feathery-branching tvan with coarser, single-stranded hair, remove one pair of breasts, and take a digit from each hand. She still doesn't look quite Human. Make her face a bit rounder and flatter, thicken her bone structure, and Congratulations! You've surgically converted a Felra into something that could possibly maybe pass for a Human in really poor lighting. Also, you're a sick fuck for doing such a thing.

Point being, Humans are sufficiently similar enough to us that they can be cute, in a goofy bipedal sort of way. And immersing yourself in an alien culture can be more rewarding if you can also immerse yourself in some attractive alien nookie along the way. Any aspiring travel writers who are reading this can consider that a pro-tip from the Pretty Idiot.

"So, any particular Human world? Somewhere with casinos, maybe? Or some place run by the Church of Giving Money, Liquor, and Carnal Pleasure to Sexy Alien Visitors?"

That last bit caught my agent off-guard. "Is that an actual religion?"

"If it was, do you think I'd still be working?"

"Of course you would. You love travel, trouble, and remunerated smart-assery too much to just quit." Ah, I'm such a lucky Felra. Most agents charge extra for that kind of quality banter. "The place I've got in mind for you is Rugen, a frontier-level colony world well off the outer fringe of the Arm."

"The tail-tip of nowhere, in other words. And what's the attraction for a Pretty Idiot to play tourist there? Societal collapse? Rampaging Felra-eating predators? Pandemic-level clown outbreak?"

"How about the longest-running ongoing war in the Known Galaxy? Two hundred eighty-seven common years and no end in sight."

Yow. I'm passingly familiar with war, having wandered through five or six of varying size and awfulness while sightseeing -- and writing about said sightseeing -- and three centuries is a lot of war, especially confined to one planet. I could only imagine how that could twist and scar a world and its people. The devastation. The tragedy of wasted lives and resources. The sheer dysfunctionality of societies raised for generation after generation on bitter vengeance and the never-ending march towards victory and a peace they can no longer even properly conceptualize. A world of bloodlust, paranoia, and the threat of sudden brutal death staining every moment of every day. Why, the possibilities for misery were endless.

It sounded perfect for a vacation getaway.

----

I took regular commercial liners as far as Thielbarra, but had to buy passage from there to Rugen on an independent freighter that was slightly more reputable than a spaceport prostitute, just not as hygienic. There were only three other passengers headed to my destination, including a Kreevin botanical researcher who ignored everybody and a not-very-sober Zharg who worked for one of the big interstellar communications providers and who must have fucked up his job just badly enough to get sent to an isolated hole-in-the-void posting, but not quite badly enough to be fired. I ended up sharing a cabin with the only other quadruped, an adorably optimistic Iraitrian missionary who was going to Rugen to set up a temple to the Harmonious Gods and try to get a congregation going.

Being the cynical agnostic wretch that I am, I just had to ask how much demand she thought there would be for a doctrine of cooperative religious pacifism in the middle of a war zone.

"You offer food to the starving, not to those with bellies already full," she told me. "Our beliefs are meant to be applied in the world, not just agreed with in the temple."

And did she expect to end the war all by herself?

"I hope to make a difference to someone. Whether it's by teaching the Way, by being an example, or just by offering a person who needs it a roof, a meal, and a sympathetic ear. If even one person considers their life to be better for having known me, my mission will be worthwhile."

Damn. I had been entertaining myself with the idea of flirting mercilessly with her for the whole trip, but all that earnestness. All that simple, undeniable goodness. Even my cynicism and libido combined couldn't look that in the face.

So I flirted with the ship's captain, instead. Not that there was any real challenge in it, as despite Felra not being four-armed lizard people, Jixavan males are completely enamored of our tails, which are both more voluptuous and generally more exposed than those of their own females. Pro-tip from the Pretty Idiot: if you're a Felra and need to manipulate a Jixavan guy, buy one of those tail-stockings their women wear. Even the biggest ones will be too tight and short for you, so cut a bunch of slashes in it and pull it as far up your tail as it will go. Then wear a skirt short enough to expose the top hem of the tail-stocking and enjoy your newfound powers of persuasion. I ended up getting twenty percent off my fare and three marriage proposals.

Captain Akothin had made a few runs to Rugen before, so I was able to ask him some questions about the place. If you've never read one of my Pretty Idiot's Guides before, part of my schtick, if you will, is lack of prior research regarding the places I go. My self-imposed limitation is that I can only obtain information by seeing for myself or asking someone with firsthand experience. No encyclopedias or hyperweb research. That media stuff is, at best, quarter-truths and agenda-driven grazershit, anyway. By going into a place without 'knowledge' of it, I go with fewer preconceptions. That's the 'Idiot' part of the title. The 'Pretty' part is because I am. And if you have to face life as an idiot, it really does help to be a pretty one.

The good captain had never actually made planetfall on Rugen, always conducting business from orbit. Sensible. Boring, but sensible. I therefore confined my inquiries to spacers' matters. Like, were we going to have any issues with pirates or paramilitaries on our way in-system?

"No pirates. Not enough shipping in or out for those guys to make a living raiding it and too far from any active lanes to make a useful base. Pirates operating across star systems have to really watch their fuel expenditures." Captain Akothin then proceeded to give a suspiciously well-considered dissertation on how to turn a profit in space piracy, which I will not share here but have filed away for future reference should too many of my books bomb on the market. And as for paramilitary ships affiliated with the warring factions? "I've never seen any."

What about orbital defenses? Would there be minefields to be tensely navigated? Would we be subject to stop-and-search by military patrol craft? "Rugen's a frontier-level system." The captain looked at me like I was a moron, albeit a moron with an incredibly sexy and distracting tail. "There ain't even a transshipment station, just a few cheapo weather and comm satellites. I just put the ship in a parking orbit and they send shuttles up. But it's not like the shipments are ever so big you'd need an orbital dock anyway, and shuttles are fine for passengers. Of course, that also means no orbital repair yard and no fuel depot, but that's not much worry since Rugen is just a long detour off our Thielbarra-to-Rialto route and I always do a refuel and refit at Thielbarra for safety's sake and, um, will you marry me?"

----

The shuttle ride down was as uneventful as such things generally are and afforded a chance to take in the view of Rugen from medium-high orbit. It was not a particularly exciting planet seen from 18,000 miles above its equator -- under the sparse clouds, some smallish seas, broad smears of iron-red in the right places to be deserts, accented by patches and streamers of an odd green that was almost an indecisive blue, and some blink-and-you'd-miss-them polar caps. But the thing is, it doesn't make a damn bit of difference how many planets you've seen out the porthole, or how much of an undifferentiated dirtball the one below you is. There is no such thing as 'ordinary' when it comes to the sight of a whole damn world suspended in space right in front of you. It's a moment of magic, every single time, and anybody who says otherwise is lying, or is a soulless shithead. Or, since those aren't mutually exclusive, they could be both, like a corporate journalist or a Rybathi.

I used the flight time to mentally review what firsthand knowledge of Humans I possessed. Pro-tip-slash-caveat: members of a species often behave very differently in their own polities than they do in foreign or more cosmopolitan settings. Expatriates or visitors to your world are typically trying to get along in your society and tend to adjust their behavior accordingly. Their behavior when they are in the majority and they get to decide what's normal may be radically different. That said, there were a few truths I felt comfortable in ascribing to Humans in general based on experience.

For starters, sexual dimorphism. Humans born biologically male or female remain that sex, unless medically altered. Females are usually smaller and are the ones with slightly inadequate breasts. Males tend to be bigger, stronger, and coarser-looking and, like most mammaloid males, have completely inadequate breasts. This dimorphism leads to the most basic social structures being built around male-female pairings and their offspring -- family -- rather than the looser pack-based structure of Felra. These family structures appear to have a relationship similar to, though vastly more complicated than, the Felra mother-daughter bond. Basically, if you wrong a Human, you may face retribution not just from her, but from her entire bloodline. Except sometimes you won't, because, like I said, complicated.

Second, though many Galactics tend to use the terms 'Human' and 'Terran' as synonyms, Humans emphatically do not. Among Humans, the word 'Terran' refers specifically to an inhabitant of the Terran Commonwealth, the oldest, largest, and apparently most detested Human stellar nation. Humans who are not Commonwealth natives tend to have negative reactions to being called 'Terrans'. In this context, the term 'negative reactions' seems to cover a range from 'cold and profane verbal correction' to 'assault with a power-nailer'. Maybe this trip would offer a chance to find out why that might be? I'd also been told that actual Terrans react poorly to being called 'Human', though I've never met any Commonwealth Terrans and can't say for sure if that's true.

Third, Humans tend to be territorial, and therefore possessive. They have a strong impulse to guard things they have laid claim to. Don't try to make use of anything a Human regards as their own without asking permission first, even if you intend to give it right back. This impulse extends quite strongly to their romantic or sexual partners as well and attempting to bed, or even flirt with, a Human who has been claimed by another will tend to be met with hostility. You could try asking for permission, I guess, but that just seems to lead to socially awkward hostility. And if you don't know why socially awkward hostility is worse than the regular kind, then obviously you've never been in a fistfight with a drunken Dahu who was sporting a clingy wet kilt and a massive erection.

next

****
More Known Galaxy stories
submitted by Bloodytearsofrage to HFY [link] [comments]

Dec/29/2020 news: \\ political party law reformed: idea > individual; transparency; female % \\ Pashinyan responds to "not being enough pro-Russian" \\ who owns which business? \\ protests & snap elect. \\ burglary case & HHK MP \\ humanitarian aid for Artsakh \\ Vitalik flexes muscles \\ bills pass

Your 14-minute Tuesday report in 3589 words.

Pashinyan about pre-war negotiations and "avoiding" the war:

The idea that a flexible foreign policy could have avoided this war is being constantly circulated. Those [former officials] who believe in this thesis must answer at least one question: as a result of their "flexible" policy, why was it not possible to avoid the war of 2016, which was preceded by the unprecedented escalation of 2015 and 2014?
The "flexible" policy adopted by Armenia for many years led to the introduction of Russian proposals in January 2016, which proposed the return of 7 territories (5 + 2) without any legal status for Nagorno-Karabakh.
Why did Russia make such an offer? For one simple reason, as a result of Armenia's "flexible" policy, the Madrid process had come to a standstill because Artsakh could receive a Status outside Azerbaijan only with the consent of Azerbaijan.
It was obvious to Russia and everyone else that Azerbaijan would not agree to this, so it was necessary to find ways to break the deadlock.
And, by the way, if certain people claim that Armenia's foreign policy after 2018 was not sufficiently pro-Russian and this was the reason for the war, then why in the conditions of the "sufficiently pro-Russian" policy of 2016 were Russian proposals born and why did the April war take place?
There was only one way to prevent this war: return the regions and forget about Artsakh's legal status. Now, after the war is over and we know the outcome, the number of supporters of [giveaway of 7 regions] is growing. What they forget is that if we gave away the lands to avoid the war, we would have the same situation in Syunik borders. They used to accuse us of "selling lands" [he means the contradictory statements like Nikol sold the lands, and why didn't Nikol sell the lands earlier to avoid the war].
The biggest failure by the supporters of the "flexible policies" is that they spent years trying to avoid a war instead of preparing for it. Our biggest failure is that we weren't able to recover enough embezzled public property in the past 2.5 years to help us better prepare for the war.
https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039231.html

businesses owned by opposition leaders

What are the known businesses owned by some of the famous people you might have seen in the public square lately?

Vazgen Manukyan

20% share in Lorva Amrots Ltd which plans to operate two hydro-power plants on Dzoraget river. Manukyan purchased the shares in 2011 after being appointed by Serj as the head of the Public Council.
In 2015-2016, he owned 30% shares in Vanavka Group. In 2015-2017 he had 30% shares in Jermakunq Group. These companies extracted and bottled water. At the time, the director of these companies was charged with illegal bottling and causing ֏55 million in damages to the state. The corruption case was sent to the IRS, which terminated the investigation after "not finding a crime". The companies export the products mostly to Russia.
 

Arthur Vanetsyan

Vanetsyan is a poor boy, according to the public declarations database. But if you have time, take a look at the investigative report I covered in Ap29/2020 news, according to which Vanetsyan's family allegedly used offshore firms and owns mining shares. More on that here. Here is a Hetq investigative report.
Vanetsyan's father owns AV Group flower importing business. About a year ago, the police investigated several flower sellers near a stadium. An opposition outlet claimed that the sellers were "beaten and forced" to testify that Vanetsyan's father was running an underground business. This was never properly proven and the opposition's claim that Vanetsyan was about to be charged did not happen. The police confirmed that there was an investigation against several flower sellers. These flower sellers ended up hiring Vanetsyan's co-party-creator Arsen Babayan as a lawyer.
Vanetsyan's father owns 50% shares of A B Export oil import company that began operating in 2017. It was a minor player that quit the market in 2019. Vanetsyan's father also owns 60% of A B Trans transportation company.
In Nov/2019, CivilNet wrote about Arthur Vanetsyan's cousins' possible involvement with Zangezur Copper factory (massive business). The same offshore firm in Cyprus, which purchased Zangezur shares, was tied to Vanetsyan's cousins' another business in the same offshore.
Vanetsyan's cousins also own a Switzerland-based Exoil wholesale cooking oil and shipping company. In 2019 it had a revenue of $148 million (11 billion Rubles). The cousins don't do this business in Armenia.
Per 2019 registration, Arthur Vanetsyan himself owns one apartment, $10,000, and ֏1 million.
Media reported in May/2020 that Vanetsyan's cousin purchased a ֏300 million mansion in Yerevan, which was donated to then-new political party "Hayreniq", co-founded by Arthur Vanetsyan and Arsen Babayan (the guy who is accused of helping HHK to fabricate documents in 2018 to hijack the Constitutional Court by appointing HHK MP Hrayr Tovmasyan as a judge).
Arthur Vanetsyan's mother served as the chief of the personnel-management department in Serj and Pashinyan administrations, before quitting and working as Serj's aide.
Vanetsyan's wife owns Villa Montessori preschool in Yerevan. She also runs the Young Education Center Ltd.
 

ARF Ishkhan Saghatelyan

Pashinyan appointed Saghatelyan as Gegharquniq governor for a brief period after the 2018 revolution, when Pashinyan created a unity-government, represented by all political parties. The honeymoon soon ended and each party went their way.
Saghatelyan owns shares in i-mega Service Ltd. It's a tourism agency founded in 2006. It operates in Armenia, Artsakh, and Georgia.
Saghatelyan founded Navasar company and serves as director. It's owned by his father.
Saghatelyan family owns the Tsovasar hotel complex on Lake Sevan shores. It's 10,000 m2 (a hectare?).
As of 2018, Saghatelyan declared ownership of 8 pieces of land, 2 apartments, ֏18.5 million, $45,000, and €15,000.
Saghatelyan's father is the mayor of Gegharquniq's Geghamavan settlement. This municipality had recently sent a letter demanding Pashinyan's resignation.
Saghatelyan used to be a shareholder of Shiman Ltd which is no longer active.
 

BHK leader Gagik "dodi gago" Tsarukyan

BUCKLE UP, KIDS! Overall, Tsarukyan runs 54 companies. Студент, комсомолец, спортсмен, u наконец, он просто красавиц.
His business empire was covered in details here. Textile, gas stations, malls, Multi Group empire, Shangri-La Casino, Ararat Cognac & Wine Factory, BMW official office Euromotors (also Hyundai, Gazel, Niva), Multi Motors, Magas Invest, Multi Wellness, Olimpavan sports complex, Kotayk beer factory, TechnAlyumin door & window factory, Multi Rest House hotel chain, Paravon luxury restaurant, Onira Club, Zvartnot's airport's upper-level service company Avia Service, Farm Adama, Multi Pharm pharmacy, Multi Leon gas stations, Multi Solar solar panels.
He owns shares in Frank Mueller Yerevan watch company, Fortsa, Multi Gold, Multi Diamond jewelry firms, several fish-breeding businesses.
He also runs businesses in Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Czechia, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Latvia.
Per official declaration, he owns $168 million, €29 million, ֏675 million, 14 pieces of land, 6 houses, 2 public buildings, 1 apartment.
 
Details for BHK MP Mikael Melkumyan and HHK Vahram Baghdasaryan in the link below.
 
https://fip.am/14388
https://hetq.am/hy/article/88755
https://www.reddit.com/armenia/comments/gagkyp/apr292020_wednesday_news_armenia_being_sued_fo?
www.civilnet.am/news/2019/11/01/Զանգեզուրի-պղնձամոլիբդենային-Մաքսիմ-Հակոբյանի-ու-նրա-որդու-փոխարեն-նոր-բաժնետերեր-Ժնևից-և-Աջափնյակից/369792
www.1lurer.am/hy/2020/01/29/Բենզինի-շուկա-Արթուր-Վանեցյանի-հայրը-դուրս-է-եկել-ոլորտից-Միքայել-Մինասյանի-մերձավորը՝-խոշորների-մա/182670

opposition continues the demonstrations

The street demonstrations, organized by the former regime and its allies, continue. They demand Pashinyan's resignation and the appointment of their candidate Vazgen Manukyan as the Prime Minister for the duration of a year, after which they agree to hold new elections.
ARF leader Artsvik Minasyan said they don't plan to discuss snap elections with Pashinyan. "Right now, our only demand is Pashinyan's resignation. We demand SIS to immediately hold every criminal accountable". The demonstrators gathered in front of the SIS building to present the demands.
https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039316.html

Pashinyan meets leaders of several opposition parties

QP leader Lilith: there is a possibility there will be a meeting between Pashinyan and the three Parliamentary political parties. They could discuss snap elections. The impression is that politicians who demand Pashinyan's resignation do not want snap elections in an attempt to bypass the citizen's right to form a government. Our political team reaffirms the position that none of us is clinging on seats. //
LHK MP Gorgisyan: we cannot hold snap elections now, under this chaotic situation. We will discuss snap elections if Pashinyan discusses his resignation and transfer of power. (LHK wants its leader Marukyan to be elected as Prime Minister by a Parliamentary vote) //
Pashinyan met BHK leader Tsarukyan. The latter is against holding snap elections unless Pashinyan resigns now, and presumably, he wants Vazgen Manukyan appointed as PM.
LHK leader Marukyan also wants Pashinyan to resign now so a new Prime Minister can form a new government cabinet "consisted of experts".
https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039261.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039268.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039299.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039322.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039323.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039327.html

felony case: ex-HHK MP charged with armed attack on ex-IRS official

In August of this year, Russia extradited a former HHK MP Alraghatsi Lyovik to Armenia. He was wanted for allegedly burglarizing and shooting at a senior IRS official a decade ago. At the time, his case was "frozen". It was relaunched in 2018. (magic wand)
NSS says: suspect Lyovik, with the help of citizens AK and AN, organized an armed burglary against IRS Chief (?) Avetisyan in 2008.
AK was in the United States. In 2004, he stole $150,000 from jewelry shops in Los Angeles. He got caught but managed to flee to Armenia.
Once in Armenia, AK colluded with policeman AN to organize a similar criminal ring in Armenia.
[MP] Lyovik personally knew AK, and learned about their burglaries. Since Lyovik had bad relations with the IRS chief (victim), he decided to punish the victim by urging AK to burglarize his house. Lyovik revealed the plot to his brother-in-law, who happened to be the victim's personal aide. The latter gave all the personal habits and details about the victim to the burglars.
[read the article for the full story, or wait for a Hollywood movie in theaters near you]
The burglars and organizers are charged with felonies.
https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/203835 , https://youtu.be/brdozVbwQ6A , https://factor.am/274836.html , https://armtimes.com/hy/article/183522 , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/203835 ,

Russian Orthodox chapel will be built

... in the Armenian settlement near Nakhijevan where Azerbaijan had earlier shut down a Russian helicopter, which killed and wounded Russian pilots. It'll be on a hill in Yeraskh. Construction starts on January 6th.
https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039259.html

Russian peacekeepers conducted training

... to stay in shape. A report by WarGonzo's Semyon Pegovn who returned to Artsakh to meet the New Year there.
https://youtu.be/-c1BSTkC-a8

Russia and Turkey comment

Russian MFA: The situation in Nagorno-Karabakh should not be used for the infiltration of foreign mercenaries into the region. Here we have exactly the same position as our Turkish partners.
Turkish MFA: we see that a ceasefire has been established. We hope to establish the joint RU-TR monitoring center soon.
https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039281.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039282.html

Vitalik Balasanyan will return the lands, kicks junkies, and restrict Facebook

Artsakh President Arayik earlier announced that he will allow his opponents to take jobs in the new coalition government. Kocharyan-ally Vitali Balasanyan became the Security Council chief.
Vitalik: we will return Hadrut and Askeran region with the help of Russian and Armenian military-political efforts. We are in a better situation now to solve territorial issues.
We will soon create border guard forces. It will report to MoD, which will report to the Security Council (his office).
Drugs have no place in Artsakh. Drug users must quit or leave Artsakh now.
We need to return to traditional values of giving women as wives after asking if the man had served in the army.
No public official will be allowed to use Facebook during work.
More: https://youtu.be/DceHyi4AB5g
https://www.panarmenian.net/arm/news/289056/

search operations are paused / the "welcome to Azerbaijan" sign

Azerbaijan received criticism for refusing to allow search teams to enter the Hadrut region yesterday. They also prevented UNESCO from checking the status of several Armenian cultural sights, after complaining that UNESCO was "biased" against Azerbaijan during the war.
HR Ombudsman: Any untrue information can not be a reason to disrupt the humanitarian process [referring to unconfirmed rumors on social media that Armenians opened fire at Azeris in Hadrut. An unofficial Iranian social media channel claims 3 Azeris were killed but due to an internal fight.]
The Human Rights Ombudsman also criticized the Azeri troops for installing a provocative "welcome to Azerbaijan" sign on part of a road that went under Azeri control near Syunik borders. The Ombudsman says it's meant to intimidate the locals.
https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039233.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039237.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039244.html , https://factor.am/325511.html

Parliament votes: BHK MP Naira Zohrabyan's chairmanship

Context: BHK MP Naira Zohrabyan referred to the majority of Armenian voters as human trash *(or as she says: impure), and called for the establishment of forced re-education camps so people won't vote for a "wrong party" again. The ruling QP party launched a process to terminate her chairmanship in Parliamentary Human Rights Committee. Read yesterday's thread for more details.*
QP MP Arthur: the law states that the Parliament can appoint and terminate the chairman. The termination of this seat does not require the same procedures as in the case of MPs and Judges. Armenian Constitution states that in Armenia, human beings are of the highest value, and inalienable human dignity is the inseparable basis of their rights and freedoms. MP Zohrabyan's public conduct is against it. //
The law gives the second-largest political party the mandate to appoint the chairman of this particular Committee. BHK, being the second-largest party, said they wouldn't appoint a replacement if Zohrabyan is voted out.
QP MP Arthur: per rules, if BHK refuses to appoint a new candidate, the largest (QP) party will receive the mandate. //
Parliament voted 78-4 to terminate Zohrabyan's chairmanship. BHK and LHK did not vote.
BHK MP Zohrabyan: this termination was a Constitutional crime.
https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039245.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039264.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039304.html , https://factor.am/325132.html

Parliament votes: registering parties becomes easier / ideology instead of person / financial transparency

The goal of this reform is to have political parties that are more about ideology and less about an individual. The reform will boost internal democracy within parties; it will expand the powers of the Party Assembly.
Parties will be required to add more anonymous voting mechanisms.
The law also requires more financial transparency.
The required membership to register a party is lowered from 800 to 300.
Some of the public funding given to political parties will depend on the % of female members in the administrative boards.
Parliament voted 99-1 to approve it.
https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039270.html , https://youtu.be/bPuZViCCCxo

Parliament votes: monthly fees towards soldiers' recovery are raised

Most workers pay a monthly 1000 Dram towards the Soldiers' Fund, which takes care of wounded soldiers and families of those who died. The govt found it necessary to raise the fee to cover thousands of new recipients. Here are the new fees and salary brackets:
֏1,500 for < ֏100k/month
֏3,000 for < ֏200k
֏5,500 for < ֏500k
֏8,500 for < ֏1 million
֏15,000 for > ֏1 million
Parliament voted 89-0 to approve it.
https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039296.html

Parliament votes: ban on public smoking is delayed until 2022

The govt had adopted a law to ban smoking in public cafes and the public display of cigarettes in grocery shops. The ruling party wanted to delay parts of the bill that were set to go into effect in January, citing possible financial issues for businesses caused by the pandemic.
QP MP: the cigarette industry pays $383 million to state coffers.
Healthcare Ministry: it will be a mistake if you delay this bill for the sake of $10 million in tax revenues.
Parliament voted 86-0 to delay the anti-smoking bill until 2022.
https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039295.html

Parliament votes: no tax on goods donated to Armenia

QP MP: When you donate a charitable product to the Republic of Armenia, you are exempt from customs duties and other tax payments, except for one payment, which we are trying to exempt with this bill as well. //
Parliament voted 80-0 to approve it.
https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039297.html

how is the Judicial Branch doing?

The Supreme Court protects or punishes judges. It also handles complaints. It's separate from the Constitutional Court.
bad boys
19 complaints against judges were heard, 14 of which were petitioned by Justice Ministry and 4 by Judicial Ethics Board. 10 judges ended up receiving disciplinary penalties, 3 received a warning, 3 were reprimanded, 2 were terminated, 4 were cleared.
the system is overloaded
61 judges are handling 6470 felony cases.
86 judges handle 175,940 civil cases.
24 judges handle 17,390 administrative cases.
The number of Arbitration cases rose from 3100 to 9900.
finances
This year, Supremes appointed 20 new judges. Supreme's budget remained the same this year. They returned ֏607 million in savings back to state coffers.
https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039249.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039284.html

anti-corruption: SIS busts an IRS agent

SIS says: IRS border inspector took a bribe from a citizen to help him avoid paying Millions of ֏ in import taxes by splitting a large load into smaller pieces, so each piece would fall below the taxable threshold.
https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039293.html

IRS wants you to file less paperwork

IRS says the latest reforms will help the exporters and simplify the process in which Armenia is used as a transit country for trade. Some tasks can be done online.
More: https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039247.html

update: electricity prices

...won't go up for low-income families or those using less than 400 kWh. That's 90% of consumers. The rest will pay 3 Drams more. The rates are presented (6-10¢):
https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039285.html

police to guard Lake Sevan against poachers

Police and Nature Ministry have set up additional checkpoints as part of measures against whitefish poaching in Sevan. 24/7 monitoring on all alleys leading to the lake. They will also travel across markets to catch contraband whitefish.
Why? It's the egg-laying season. Fishing is banned for now. The legally-allowed fishing tools were temporarily removed from the lake.
https://youtu.be/8ZyRGpEazMQ
https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039339.html

rare Caucasus Leopard is spotted by cameras again

https://youtu.be/2nidC5QJaIg

"only 10% of villagers should do agriculture"

...the rest should have access to other jobs. There is an opportunity now because many businesses operate remotely. Call Center workers don't have to visit an office. Businesses would rather pay less to hire a rural remote worker than more to hire someone in a Yerevan office.
The High Tech Ministry has an ongoing program to teach IT to 5,000 citizens. We must help workers to expand their skillset. We're working on a program to allow a worker to quit the job, not worry about the food on the table, and have enough time for education and learning new skills.
The villagers should ideally lease their smaller lands to large agricultural producers," said Economy Minister Qerobyan.
Full interview: https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039319.html

State regulators bust another price-fixing ring: fruit mafia

Yesterday, the Economic Competition Committee busted the egg industry's alleged price-fixing and anti-competitive practices. Today they say a similar collision was observed in the orange, mandarin, kiwi, lemon industry.
The companies Best Fruits, Art-Fruits, and Promout were slapped with a ֏39 million in penalties for colluding to raise the prices for the products that had an increased demand during the pandemic period.
http://www.competition.am/.../resources/Vo370_17_12_2020.pdf
https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039269.html

Lenovo slapped for "anti-competitive practice"

The Economic Competition Committee heard a petition filed by Oazis Computer company against Lenovo. The latter was issued a warning for anti-competitive behavior.
Public Regulator: "Lenovo" company had the ability to influence the process of importing Lenovo computers to Armenia from non-EAEU trade bloc countries. "Lenovo" took steps to reduce the import of Lenovo computers from non-EAEU states, by discriminating against Oazis Computer importer. Lenovo is given a month to correct the issue and fix the requirement and standards related paperwork.
(Facebook next?)
https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039333.html

Artsakh will also increase childbirth benefits

First child: ֏300k instead of ֏100k
Second child: ֏300k instead of ֏200k
(or ֏500k if one parent is disabled)
As for monthly child care subsidy payments, it goes from ֏15k to ֏27k until the child turns 2.
https://factor.am/325487.html

year wrap-up: births in capital Yerevan

girls 2019: 10173
girls 2020: 10489
boys 2019: 11251
boys 2020: 11430
https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039278.html

year wrap-up: tax revenues

2018: ֏1.257 trillion
2019: ֏1.458 trillion
2020: ֏1.379 trillion
https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/203846

COVID stats

+2483 tested. +348 infected. +22 deaths. +1267 healed. 13881 active.
https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039240.html

chess news

Levon Aronyan has advanced to the Airthings Masters quarter-finals where he will play against Hikaru Nakamura. He is 1pt behind the leaders. The winner receives a $60,000 prize.
https://www.chess.com/news/view/airthings-masters-chess-day-4
https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039228.html

French city of Valence to name a street

... after Artsakh capital Stenapakert. It already had Ijevan Park, Armenia Street, and Yerevan Street. Stepanakert Street will be located in a newly built district. There will be Toros Street as well.
https://youtu.be/EuQV5bt4Ytc
https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/203833

Italian city of di Lovere has officially recognized the Artsakh Republic

https://www.facebook.com/HayastaniDespanutyun/posts/3499573803472410
https://factor.am/325379.html

Kapan Medical Center has a new CT scanner

... thanks to generous diasporan donors like you. The first one was installed during the war in Goris city.
https://factor.am/325090.html

Artsakh children receive New Years' gifts

Focus on Children Now charity organization distributed gifts to hundreds of Artsakh kids residing in Gegharquniq province. Backpacks, clothing, items of basic necessity, money, and postcards written by kids living in the United States.
https://www.focusonchildrennow.org/
https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039302.html

Himnadram donates to refugee families

700 Artsakh families continue to live in 40 settlements of Gegharquniq province. The All Armenia Fund (HimnaDram.org) has provided food and household items to 241 families ahead of New Year.
https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039313.html

daily life in Syunik bordering villages Shurnukh and Vorotan

https://youtu.be/E1UJd4NtLLs
https://www.civilnet.am/news/2020/12/29/Շուռնուխ-Որոտան․-կյանքը-անկոչ-հարևանների-հետ/414772

donations for Artsakh & recovering soldiers

www.1000plus.am (recovering soldiers & their families)
www.HimnaDram.org (for Artsakh & Armenia)
www.ArmeniaFund.org (U.S. tax-deductible)

archive of older posts

Armeniapedia's archive of my daily news threads:
http://www.armeniapedia.org/wiki/Daily_Anti-Corruption_Reports

disclaimer

All the accused are considered innocent unless proven guilty in the court of law, even if they "sound" guilty.
submitted by ar_david_hh to armenia [link] [comments]

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