All factions in civil war involved in destroying world heritage treasures
It’s not just ISIS that’s looting and desecrating important historic cultural sites in Syria — all the factions involved in the devastating conflict have been involved in the destruction of archaeological treasures, according to Dartmouth scholars who used satellite images and other data to catalog the destruction.
As could be expected, the looting is most widespread in areas where centralized authority is the weakest. In regions held by the Kurdish YPG and other opposition forces, more than 26 percent of sites have been looted since the war began. In contrast, 21.4 percent of sites have been looted in ISIS-controlled areas, and only 16.5 percent in Syrian regime areas. ADVERTISEMENT
The study was led by Jesse Casana, a specialist in the archaeology of the Middle East. Overall, more than 25 percent of Syria’s archaeological sites Syria have been looted since the war began in 2011.
When Bobbie Pauley took the stand more than two weeks ago to testify against former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship, the only female miner at Massey’s Upper Big Branch talked about struggling with poor ventilation and working under dangerous roof conditions. She explained how she and other miners got tipped off when inspectors were coming underground, so they could clean up any safety problems and avoid government citations.
What Pauley didn’t tell jurors was that she lost her fiancé — fellow Upper Big Branch miner Boone Payne — when the Raleigh County mine blew up on April 5, 2010.
Prosecutors didn’t ask Pauley about Payne. Defense lawyers certainly didn’t. If you were in the courtroom that day and didn’t already know the story, you weren’t going to hear Pauley tell it from the witness stand.
Through a dozen days of testimony and nearly two dozen witnesses, both sides in the criminal case against Blankenship have often tiptoed around the elephant in the room: the Upper Big Branch Mine Disaster that killed 29 miners and prompted the investigation that culminated in landmark charges against the former CEO of the company that owned the mine.
Starbucks and Fiat Chrysler have been told they must pay back up to €30m (£22m) in taxes after European tax breaks were ruled illegal. Sweetheart deals Starbucks had with the Netherlands and Fiat had with Luxembourg were state aid, European competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager said. But the two countries disagreed with the Commission. And Starbucks said it would appeal against the decision. Further investigations into tax deals, including those covering Amazon and Apple, are continuing.
The current scandal around Volkswagen (VW) and possibly other German carmakers rigging emission measurements of their cars should have come as less of a shock to the press and the public. Surveys of German businesses have been already showing appalling levels of business integrity and VW is by far not the only German company involved in fraud and dodgy deals. Only a couple of years ago a special Eurobarometer Survey on Business Attitudes’ towards Corruption revealed that over half of businesses in the sample believed that procurement deals in Germany were either inside deals or pre-arranged as a rule. A similar percentage declared that favouritism towards friends and family was widespread in the German business community. These results are far worse compared to the other EU countries often praised as clean (Denmark, Sweden, the UK or France) and closer to the numbers registered in Romania or Italy.
How can such findings be reconciled with the image of a Germany which self-styles its business culture as high on both competitiveness and integrity?
The recent case of “cheating” at Volkswagen is still reverberating around the globe and threatens to reveal similar antics in other corporations.
Innovation takes new ideas and creatively applies them in the real world in ways which create value. But what if value is created for some in the short term but the impact for others is negative? The VW story points towards innovation that is toxic – either to customers, the offending organisation itself, or in the end, to both.
Toxic innovation develops and changes products, services or backroom business processes that harm customers. It can be deliberate and born of greed; it can be the result of benign but misguided intent; it can be an utterly unforseen and indirect effect. Ultimately, it can damage or destroy the organisation behind it.
Lawmakers rally to block attacks on key environmental law Staff Report Conservation-minded lawmakers are rallying to counter the GOP’s seemingly endless attacks on the Endangered Species Act. In a letter to President Barack Obama, 91 members of Congress warned that Republicans are “doubling down” on their efforts to undermine protections for threatened plants and animals. Led by Arizona Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva, the lawmakers asked the administration to reject the many proposals that undermine the Endangered Species Act, including those weakening or blocking protections for specific imperiled species.
WASHINGTON -- A district court judge on Monday dismissed four corruption charges against Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and his donor Salomon Melgen, but denied motions to toss out other charges including, notably, the senator’s solicitation of contributions for a super PAC.
Lawyers for the senator had asked the court to dismiss charges related to Menendez’s solicitation of $700,000 from Melgen for Senate Majority PAC, a super PAC run by former aides to Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) that made independent expenditures to support Menendez’s 2012 reelection.
The basis for dismissal offered by Menendez’s lawyers were the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United and 2013 McCutcheon decisions. Those two cases redefined corruption as only explicit bribery, excluding influence and access. The senator’s lawyers argued that this redefinition of corruption and Citizens United’s declaration that independent expenditures “do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption” provided freedom of speech protections for all “efforts to influence and obtain access to elected officials,” including any campaign contribution.
Judge William Walls disagreed, ruling that the charges related to the super PAC contributions made by a corporation run by Melgen and solicited by Menendez would stand. In his opinion, Walls writes that “the Constitution does not protect an attempt to influence a public official’s acts through improper means.” (Read Walls' decision here.)
While Citizens United may state that independent expenditures cannot lead to corruption, bribery statutes view the super PAC contributions made and their value in different, subjective terms.
“Notwithstanding the statement in Citizens United that independent expenditures have no actual value to candidates, a jury could find that Defendant Menendez placed value, albeit subjective, on the earmarked donations given to Majority PAC by Melgen,” Walls writes.
He goes to write, “Even if contributions to Majority PAC had no objective value to Menendez, they unquestionably had value to Majority PAC as an entity, and [the federal bribery statute] criminalizes corruptly seeking anything of value, even for another person or entity, in return for being influenced in the performance of an official act.”
After Libor, payment protection insurance, phone hacking and every other scandal, nothing appears to have been learned to stem the tide of bad behaviour from the world's largest companies.
And now VW has been caught cheating on emissions tests.
Not only is this a close repetition of other corporate attempts to dodge regulation, it's actually so uninventive that VW was caught and fined in 1973 for dodging similar tests. It paid $120,000 (the equivalent of about £400,000 today) and admitted no wrongdoing.
Walmart has removed the Made in USA labels from its website after being investigated by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission over deceptive advertising.
Walmart's Made in USA claims were called into question after Truth in Advertising discovered hundreds of products on the website were actually made elsewhere.
Wal-Mart pledge to buy American meets with skepticism The watchdog group filed notice with the FTC after comparing the Made in USA labels against the packaging of the actual products of hundreds of products. Plastic cutlery labelled Made in USA on the website was found to be labelled Made in China on the packaging, while a lotion that the website said was made in the U.S. was found to be made in Mexico.
The FTC closed its probe without laying charges after Walmart agreed to remove all the Made in USA labels from its website.
Yet later that morning, his mother, Sharese Wells, heard a knock on the door. A police officer stood in the doorway, along with the coroner.
Just a few minutes away from Wells' home, her son’s body lay in the dirt, blood pooling from his head. Next to him was a gun, which a Houston County officer said Chambers had dropped before the officer fatally shot him. Aside from the cop, who was unhurt, no one saw what happened. Police said Chambers had burglarized a nearby home, stolen a gun and put a cop’s life in jeopardy.
But maybe he didn’t.
Last month, lawyers for the Chambers family filed damning new court papers alleging that the Houston County police planted evidence on Chambers’ body and in the crime scene. Those court papers, including hundreds of documents and evidence, have been reviewed by The Huffington Post.
Perhaps higher deductibles don't lead to smarter shoppers but rather, in the long run, sicker patients.
In 2006, about one in 10 employees had a health insurance deductible over $1,000. Today? About half do.
To health economists, this sounded like good news; they've long theorized that higher deductibles would force down health-care costs. The idea was that higher deductibles would make patients become smarter shoppers: If they had to pay more of the cost, they'd likely choose something closer to the $1,529 appendectomy than the $186,955 appendectomy (yes, some hospitals really do charge that much). This would push the really expensive doctors to lower their prices so cheaper physicians didn't steal their business.
This was, however, just a theory. And a massive new study suggests it might have been all wrong.
Women who write about tech are no strangers to online abuse -- an issue some women say is serious enough to push them to change careers.
Catherine Adams, a researcher at Nottingham Trent University in the U.K., studied 100 female technology writers and found "one in five female journalists covering technology has disguised her gender to avoid sexist abuse, and nearly 40% have changed working practices for fear of being targeted," she wrote in a summary of the study published Sunday in The Guardian.
Adams also found that almost one-third reported that the abuse has gotten worse in the last year.
Almost thirty per cent of women are paid below the living wage, according to figures released by the Office for National Statistics. The government stats authority says 29 per cent of women workers earn less than the level calculated to provide a basic standard of living. The figures compare to 18 per cent of men who are missing out on the rate of pay, currently set at £7.85 an hour over most of the UK and £9.15 in London, where living costs are higher.
When it comes to gender equality, Japan ranks 104th out of 142 nations, according to the World Economic Forum, significantly behind other advanced economies. The BBC's Mariko Oi set out to discover what working life is like for five women in Tokyo.
Conservation groups say recent increases may be illegal Staff Report Conservation activists want to know why U.S. oil exports have been increasing despite a Congressional ban. According to a lawsuit filed by the Center for Biological Diversity and ForestEthics, exports increased from 44,000 barrels per day in 2009 to 351,000 barrels per day in 2014. The lawsuit challenges the Bureau of Industry and Security, an agency within the Department of Commerce, for withholding documents related to its oil-export approval process. The suit was filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco.
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